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Lost Sheep - Ch. 19/??


Title: Lost Sheep
Characters: Beck, Heather and Others
Rating: PG
Chapters: 19/??
Disclaimer: No, still don't own Jericho. Just having a little fun - not profit. No characters were harmed in the creation of this fic, although their hearts may be breaking a little bit...  :(

Unbetaed. All mistakes are my own.


------------------------------------

They spent the next hour in tense silence. They weren't uncomfortable with each other, but with the situation - both the one behind them and the one approaching them. When they met the men sent to escort them back to town, they pulled over and Clark hurried to the car to ask Beck to ride back to Jericho with him in one of the humvees while a corporal rode with Heather.

Beck hesitated for a moment, then nodded. He turned to Heather. "I'll see you in town," he said, then gave her a quick, hard kiss before he got out of the car. Clark's jaw dropped, and then he grinned as Beck strode purposely towards the humvee. Clark gave Heather a wink before he followed his commanding officer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heather felt an enormous sense of deja vu as she bit into the hamburger and closed her eyes with pleasure.

"No fresh food for weeks?" Mary asked lightly.

Heather chuckled as she chewed, savoring the meal. "Just the last one," she replied.

"But I see you've had something fresh recently. Or somebody."

Heather stared at her. "What?" she asked blankly.

"You haven't actually looked in a mirror for awhile, have you?" Mary asked drily.

Realization dawned and Heather's hand slapped over the hickeys on her neck. She blushed furiously and put her other hand over her face.

Mary grinned at Heather's embarrassment. On the one hand, she was glad that Heather wasn't just hanging around, waiting in the wings for Jake's inevitable break-up with Emily. On the other hand, having a fling with some random guy she'd only recently met wasn't Mary's first choice for Heather at all.

Mary grinned as Heather sighed and met Mary's gaze.

"So?" Mary asked, leaning closer. "Tell me all about him."

Heather blinked at her for a moment. "Him?"

"Yeah, him," she laughed, gesturing at Heather's neck. "Where did you meet, and how on earth did you manage to get some private time while travelling with Beck? I would have expected him to watch you like a hawk."

Heather stared at Mary, stunned. "Ummm...," she finally said, struggling to keep a straight face, "it was a lot easier than you might think."

"Good lord - he didn't find a, er, friend himself, did he?" Mary asked with interest.

"In a, uh, manner of speaking," Heather replied.

"I never would have expected that of him," Mary said, shaking her head. "But who am I to judge, right?"

"Well," Heather replied, "he was separated from his wife before the Attacks."

"Really? Well, anyway," Mary said, waving away the distraction, "enough about him. Tell me about, you know, the other him."

"There is no other him, Mary," Heather responded calmly.

"It was a woman?" Mary shrieked, causing every head in the place to turn in their direction.

Heather burst out laughing, hiding her face in her hands. "No! I mean, it's Beck! My "him" is Beck!"

Mary gaped at her, then sat back with a stunned "oof". Heather shrugged her shoulders with a rueful smile.

"Wow," Mary finally said, getting her voice working again. "Well. Wow. I...I mean, I'm glad you're having a fling - but Beck?" she hissed.

"Oh, sure, you shrieked it out when you thought it was a woman," Heather laughed, "but you're keeping it down because it's Beck?" Heather shook her head and grinned at her, still laughing.

"But it's Beck! He's done some pretty nasty things. What about what he did to Jake?"

Heather thoughtfully chewed a fry. "The world has changed, Mary," she slowly said. "We've all done things we didn't expect we'd ever have to do. We've all become more ruthless when it comes to survival. Jake, Hawkins, Eric, Dale, you and me and Emily - we've all changed. And if we deserve understanding and acceptance, then Beck deserves it, too."

Mary shook her head. "It's apples and oranges," she protested.

Heather shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not."

"Well, this is just a fling though, right? Just until Jake wakes up and smells the coffee about his relationship with Emily?"

Heather shook her head. "No," she replied with a soft smile. "This isn't even close to being "just" a fling."

"Look, the two of you were out there, alone. In danger. It's natural to be attracted to each other. No one would judge you because you had a road trip fling. But now you're back and - Jake's here."

"Number one, Jake is with Emily - "

"No, I mean he's here. In Bailey's. And he's coming this way."

Jake rushed up, pulled Heather to her feet, enveloped her in one of his patented, Jake Green bear hugs and held her tight. "You're okay?" He held her away and searched her face, his eyes alight with relief at seeing her back safe and sound. Then his eyes fell upon the livid marks on her neck.

"What - who?" He searched Heather's face. "Did he - My God," he breathed.

"Jake - "

"I'll kill the son of a bitch!" He spun around and rushed to the door.

"Jake! Jake! NO!" Heather yelled, running after him.

She caught up to him on Main Street, halfway to the sheriff's office. She grabbed his arm and dragged him forceably to a halt.

"Jake!" she demanded, "what do you think you're doing?"

"Look at you!" he cried. "Look at your neck! Look at what he did to you!"

"Oh, what - you've never seen a hickey before?" Heather snapped sarcastically. "Or given one?".

Jake stared at her. "Are you saying you were willing?"

"Of course I was willing! What did you - ? Honestly, Jake, you need to start giving him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, this is none of your business!" she glanced around at the circle of interested onlookers they had gathered. "And it's none of their business either! If you would bother taking a minute to think once in a while, things would be a whole lot better."

"Heather!" Jake stared at her, shocked, his eyes wide and hurt.

Heather gave an exasperated, albeit affectionate sigh. "Come with me. Let's take this conversation out of the limelight."

She grabbed his hand and tugged him behind her towards her house.

Beck followed Clark out of the sheriff's office in time to see Heather leading Jake away by the hand. He stood at the top of the stairs staring after them until Clark turned back to him.

"Major?" he asked, his voice carrying clearly down Main Street. Every head within earshot whipped towards them and Beck suddenly found himself the focus of at least ten pairs of curious eyes.

He suddenly felt strangely vulnerable in his jeans and t-shirt, his face dark with the day-old stubble he hadn't yet had an opportunity to shave. He glanced around and his gaze stopped at Mary who was literally gaping at him. He cocked his head and frowned at her; his eyes flicked in the direction where Jake and Heather had disappeared and then back to Mary.

"Please wait a moment, Commander," he said, and trotted down the stairs past Clark and walked towards Mary, his puzzled frown deepening as her eyes seemed to grow even larger as he approached.

"Mary?" Beck questioned. "Are you all right? What's going on?"

Mary stared at him. "Holy crap," she blurted.

Beck's eyes widened. "I'm sorry?" he asked, glancing around, completely lost.

Mary's shock gave way to a wicked grin. She lowered her voice and leaned closer, "I understand now why Heather has hickeys on her neck." She lowered her voice even more. "And why she looked so happy about it."

Mary grinned wider at the dull flush that crept into Beck's face. She patted his arm with a laugh, and then turned and went back into Bailey's.

Beck blinked after her, then shook his head and went back to Clark, ignoring the others on the street.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heather had dragged Jake to her house and had been arguing with him for the last half hour. She alternated between trying to calm him down and trying to get him to accept her new relationship with Beck. Jake for his part alternated between wanting to accept whatever made her happy, and wanting to run Beck out of town on a rail. Preferably in tar and feathers.

"I'm not a child, Jake," Heather finally said, exasperated. "I'm fully capable of make my own choices."

"It'll never work, Heather," Jake warned. "Sooner or later, he and I will have a showdown, and trust me - I won't be the one leaving this town."

"It doesn't have to be that way, Jake," Heather quietly replied. "If you would just keep your head out of your ass long enough, you would know we need him."

"I know we need him - but we don't want him!" Jake snapped.

"Well, I do! I want him! I want him here, protecting us. I want him here, with me. I want him here, where I can protect him! And I want him here, part of this town, welcome wherever he goes."

"That's asking too much, Heather."

"Really? Why?"

"Because he tortured me! He terrorized this town! And for what? To avenge the death of a monster! We can't trust him!"

Heather stared at Jake for a long moment. "Think about everything you've done since the Attacks, Jake," she said gently. "Think about what Hawkins has done. Think about what Hawkins did before the Attacks."

Jake flinched slightly. "We don't need Beck's tactics," he argued.

"Be honest, Jake," she said. "You would call on him in a second - tactics and all - if you had a use for him. Wouldn't you? If you needed to get information from somebody, you would let Beck do whatever he needed to do. You would expect him to use whatever means were necessary - wouldn't you?"

Jake stared at her, trying to come up with an answer. He wanted to say no - he wanted to say he would find another way - but he couldn't lie to Heather. Not while she was looking at him with those honest, innocent eyes.

"I can't deny it," Jake muttered, breaking eye contact with her.

"He told me we couldn't turn a blind eye to what happens to others and then scream injustice when it happens to us. It took me a while, but I have to agree. If we would accept his tactics to protect this town, then we have to accept him. You have to accept him."

Jake sighed. "I'm not going to be best friends with him, Heather. Not even for you."

Heather cocked her head. "I don't expect you to," she replied softly. "I don't even expect you to forgive him. But at least stop threatening to kill him. That would help."

Jake gave a reluctant chuckle. "Well, I think I can go that far, at least," he agreed, "but I'm making no other promises."

Heather laughed. "I'm not asking for any," she replied and hugged him.

After Jake left, Heather got reaquainted with her house. It was both familiar and alien to her after six weeks away. She would reopen the garage tomorrow, she decided, but for the rest of the day she would just take some time for herself, to get herself resettled in her surroundings.

At five o'clock, she headed to the sheriff's office. Not because she thought Beck would be able to break for supper with her but to find out when he thought he would be off duty and determine where they should meet.

It felt decidedly odd that she didn't know where he was or that she didn't have some idea of his schedule.

She didn't like it. At all.

Beck wasn't at the sheriff's office. He was out with his commanders assessing damage caused by Constantino's recent attacks. The relief was clear in the men's voices, faces and postures as they told her what was happening.

"Did he leave a message for me?" she asked the almost painfully young private behind the front desk, trying to sound like it was something she was expecting rather than something she was hoping.

"Sorry, ma'am," he replied, shaking his head. He didn't look familiar to Heather, and she wondered if she had met him before.

She nodded, thanked him and turned to leave, hoping her disappointment wasn't too obvious.

"Ma'am?" the private called. She turned back and gave him a questioning look. "Welcome back ma'am," the private hastily blurted with a shy smile. "I just wanted you to know that we're really glad the Major's back - and that you're back, too," he added.

She grinned at him. "We're glad to be back, too," she replied, although she wondered if that was really true from Beck's perspective. He had found a level of acceptance in Antelope Wells that Jericho was not prepared to give him.

Yet.

As she walked towards Bailey's Heather knew things were going to change now that they were back in Jericho. After all, their trip was like a piece out of time. Now they were back in their real world, with their very real and very serious responsibilities. Beck had to again become the commanding officer of the largest hostile armed force in ASA territory - and the most hated man in Jericho. She had to once again become the town's Ms Fix-it, the Jill-of-all-Trades, all things to everyone.

Heather knew Beck was expecting her to distance herself from him. Had expected it from the moment they left the safe house. And the damn thing was, he would let her, too, if that was what she wanted. The way he'd made love to her this morning told her he'd let her walk away from him. He'd made love to her like he was imprinting her on his memory, and on his body - memorizing her tastes, her sounds, the way she felt, the way she looked.

Even as she shook her head at his pessimism, she understood the reasons for that assumption. He was the most hated man in Jericho, and she had allied herself with the town in that respect. But alliances change, she thought as she opened the door to Bailey's. It was going to be different, but with her support and Jake's help, she hoped that Beck would eventually earn the same kind of acceptance he had found in New Mexico.

She smiled at Mary as she walked up to the bar. "Hi," she said.

"Hi," Mary replied. "No food at home?"

"Nope. And I won't be able to get any until tomorrow."

Mary nodded. "I'll get you something to eat. And here," she handed Heather a folded piece of paper.

"What's this?" Heather asked with a puzzled frown.

"From Beck," Mary winked, then moved to serve a couple of off-duty soldiers down the bar.

Heather hesitantly unfolded the note, and couldn't help the smile and the relief that ballooned in her chest. It wasn't anything special; just a quick, impersonal note telling her he would be gone until very late and that he would talk to her tomorrow. But it proved that he hadn't forgotten her in the flurry of duties and demands on his time that currently surrounded him, and that - like her - he didn't want to lose what they had found.

"Hot love letter?" Mary teased when she came back.

Heather laughed. "No. But it feels like it. And for no apparent reason."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was very late when Beck finally made it back to the tiny house he'd called home since he'd arrived in Jericho. He hadn't spoken to Heather since they had parted company on the road, and he hadn't seen her since he saw her walking away with Jake. He tiredly glanced at his watch as he opened the door. He reluctantly decided that one in the morning was far too late to go to a woman's house, especially if she wasn't expecting you.

Tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow he would find her and they would determine what happened next.

They were back in their reality, he thought as he tiredly removed his boots at the door, their trip already felt like a dream and the responsibilities of protecting this town and surviving already wrapped around his shoulders like a cloak. Beck wondered if what they had started in New Mexico would - or could - survive now that they were back.

He flicked on the hall light, padded through the open bedroom door, and stopped short. Heather was curled up under the covers, her brown hair spread out on the pillow.

The feelings that expanded through him were so jumbled and confused he couldn't name them all. Relief. Happiness. Hope.

Love.

He quickly stripped, turned of the hall light and crawled naked into bed beside her. With a sigh, he curved around her, resting his forehead on her shoulder. She smelled wonderful, and felt even better. He didn't know what the future held, but he finally had hope that it included the woman he held in his arms.

------------------------------

A/N:  Yes, two chapters in one day.  :)  I'm going to be taking a small hiatus from this fic.  Not because I don't intend to finish it, but because I have nothing else written OR plotted out in any detail.   In the meantime, while this fic is in suspension, I will be playing in some prompt communities, so I'll still be posting stories, I just don't know when I'll be continuing this one.  :)
 


 

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
nativefloridian
May. 8th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
If you would bother taking a minute to think once in a while, things would be a whole lot better.

...and this is reason #1 why I've never cared much for Jake.

"I understand now why Heather has hickeys on her neck." She lowered her voice even more. "And why she looked so happy about it."

Heh. Mary sure knows how to embarrass a guy

"Hot love letter?" Mary teased when she came back.

Heather laughed. "No. But it feels like it. And for no apparent reason."


nice.
shirleyann66
May. 20th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
...and this is reason #1 why I've never cared much for Jake.

I do love Jake, but he's a very reactive character. Which is great for the hot-headed hero type, but in the long run, I much prefer the thinkers - the Becks and the Hawkins of the world. :)

Heh. Mary sure knows how to embarrass a guy

If anybody can do it, Mary can. ;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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I never loved the soldier
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