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Oasis Interlude: Aftermath

Title: Oasis Interlude:  Aftermath
Author: [info]shirleyann66
Challenge Community:   Awesome Ladies Ficathon  hosted by [info]ineffort 
Fandom: Jericho
Character:  Heather Lisinski (with a side order of Gail Green)
Rating: PG-13
Warnings:  Non-graphic references to kidnapping, torture and their aftermath.  Spoilers for pretty much everything that's ever happened in the series may lie within.   Since this was started LONG before the comic was released, any similarity to the events in the comics is purely coincidental.
Disclaimer/Claimer: I do not own nor am I affiliated with Jericho or CBS or any of the other PTB in relation to the show (although if anybody has a Major Beck just kickin' around with nothing to do, looking lonely...send him my way!). No infringement is intended. I'm just taking the characters out to play, and will do my best to show them a very, VERY good time. ;) 

A/N:  This fic immediately follows the events in chapter 107  of Oasis.  You don't need to know that story (I don't think..) in order to understand this chapter.  In a nutshell:  Heather was kidnapped by Constantino and tortured.  She was subsequently rescued by Beck and company, and Constantino was promptly executed by Beck.  Chapter 107 deals with what happened when Heather found out about the execution.  This is the immediate aftermath of her confrontation with Beck. 


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


“Heather – honey -” Gail was concerned. She'd opened the door to see Heather's angry, tear-filled eyes, pale cheeks and visibly trembling hands clenching and unclenching into fists. Heather was vibrating with nervous energy and Gail got the impression she was barely holding back her desire to pace furiously on the front step.


 

“Is...is Jake here?” Heather blurted out.


 

“No, he's...out.”


 

“Oh. C-could you let him know I was here?”


 

“What's wrong?”


 

“Nothing – I just -”


 

“Don't give me that! Come in, sit down and let me get you something to drink.”


 

“I-I'm okay,” Heather protested even as she let herself be brought into the house. She sat down on the couch while Gail bustled into the kitchen and came out with a glass full of clear liquid.


 

“You don't look okay,” Gail said bluntly. “Here – drink this.”


 

Heather took a gulp from the glass Gail handed her, and promptly started to cough and sputter, her eyes watering now with more than just angry tears. “Not...water!” she finally managed to choke out.


 

“No, some of Mary's best instead. Now, tell me what's wrong. Is...are you having...are you having trouble dealing with what Constantino and his people did to you?”


 

Heather gave a quick, nervous shake of her head. “No more than the usual. Eric's been helping me a lot with that.”


 

“Yes,” Gail replied regretfully, “he's been through it, too.”


 

“Yes,” Heather said. There was nothing else to say. She took another, more cautious sip of the drink in her hands.


 

“You're upset about something, though,” Gail persisted gently. “Please, honey. Tell me what's going on. Maybe I can help.”


 

Heather sighed silently, knowing Gail wouldn't give up until she'd gotten answers to her questions. Heather didn't know how much she wanted to share with Gail. Hell, she hadn't even known how much she wanted to share with Jake; she'd just wanted somebody she could talk to without fear of judgment.


 

She just wanted to talk to somebody...about what just happened with Beck, about what happened in Constantino's camp. About...everything.


 

“Heather?” Gail prompted when Heather's silence continued.


 

“I just kicked Beck out of town,” Heather blurted, and winced.


 

“What.” Gail stared at Heather in blank surprise, then gave herself a shake. “You'd better tell me everything.”


 

Heather found she couldn't look Gail in the eye as she gave a brief report of her confrontation with Beck over his execution of Constantino. She tried to gloss over the worst of it. Even the memory of the things she'd screamed at him, screamed about him made her wince, and the words he'd flung back at her made her burn with mortification and righteous anger. There were things said – and done - by both of them she couldn't tell Gail, things she would probably never tell anybody. When she'd picked up the coffee cup from his kitchen table and flung it at him, she'd truly hoped she'd do him a serious injury – and she wasn't sure what that said about her. Especially since, if she had the chance, she'd do it again. She didn't like this deep well of anger and violence she'd discovered inside herself.


 

She also didn't know what to do about it.


 

“Oh, honey -” Gail said sympathetically when Heather was finished. “I'm sorry you feel this way about what happened to Constantino.”


 

“He murdered him! How can I – how can we accept that?”


 

We all have.”


 

Heather stared at her in consternation. “Did you know about it before he did it?”


 

“No, but I suspected Constantino hadn't been shot while trying to escape. That was a little too convenient, given everything the man had done. Jake confirmed it when I asked him about it.”


 

“And...and it doesn't bother you?”


 

“It's one of the few things Beck's done that hasn't bothered me.”


 

“Gail -”


 

“What's this really about, Heather? You're compassionate, yes – but to turn on someone who's been a good friend to you for someone who was little more than a rabid dog -”


 

“How is he different?” Heather demanded, slamming down her now-empty glass and jumping to her feet.


 

“Constantino?”


 

“Beck!” Heather cried, throwing up her hands and restlessly pacing around the livingroom. “He tortured Jake! He...he's annihilated towns! Killed those who resisted the ASA – resisted himhow -”


 

“He's never done it for pleasure – or for his own personal power or gain.”


 

Heather stopped in her tracks and stared at Gail. She couldn't believe Gail, one of the last people in Jericho determined to believe the worst of Beck and to resist him at every turn, had actually defended him.


 

“I can't believe I said that,” Gail admitted ruefully, “but it's true. Even I know it's true.”


 

“Gail -”


 

“Honey -talk to me. Please. This isn't just about Constantino's execution, is it?”


 

Heather began pacing again, her movements jerky and frantic, her mind racing with everything she wanted to say and didn't know if she could – or should. But she'd just had a screaming fight with Beck and kicked him – Beck! – out of town and she was still seething with rage and hurt and...confusion about so many things. She finally stopped her frenetic pacing and spun to face Gail.


 

“I'm angry all the time,” she grated. “All the time. I have nightmares, and I seem to – my cuts hurt, even though Kenchy tells me they're healed. I hear them, I hear him, and even though I know I'm safe – I know I'm safe - I'm so afraid. And helpless.” She wrapped her arms around herself and stood shaking, staring at nothing.


 

“So...turning on Beck...relieves all that?” Gail asked gently.


 

“I'm so...scared...” Heather whispered. Gail wasn't sure if she'd even heard Gail's question.


 

“You need your friends more than ever, Heather. You have to let them help you. That includes Beck.”


 

“I don't want Beck as my friend!” Heather cried in frustration, bursting into sudden life again as she resumed pacing around Gail's livingroom.


 

What?” Gail blurted, genuinely shocked by Heather's words, wondering if she could possibly mean what Gail thought she meant.


 

“Oh, God...” Heather groaned, covering her face with her hands, but not before Gail saw the deep blush on her cheeks. Gail's secret and fervent hope and dream of having Heather as a daughter-in-law vanished in an instant.


 

“Oh, Heather. Honey. But I thought you and Jake -”


 

“No. We decided we were better friends than lovers.”


 

“When did you decide that?” Gail asked, astonished and wondering why Jake hadn't told her.


 

“After I returned from Patterson in May – the trip before I was taken.”


 

“When you'd been with Beck for a couple of weeks.”


 

“Yes.”


 

“Are you sure it isn't just infatuation?”


 

“Positive. I've known for...ever, if feels like. Probably since I first met him, but I really knew for sure when the War started and he left Jericho - and my heart went with him.”


 

“That long ago?”


 

“Yeah. I tried to...to get over it, and Jake knew right from the start I had...feelings for Beck that went beyond friendship. But Beck was married, and even if you ignore everything that's happened to me the last few weeks, not to mention what he did to Constantino – he's still mourning his wife. And now, with Constantino's execution - don't you see? How can I love somebody who...who can do something like that? He's just the same as the ones who did this,” she gestured bitterly at her torso.


 

“Do you really believe that? None of us know what we'll do when provoked, and we've all done things we're not proud of since the Attacks. Stanley -”


 

“Was pushed beyond endurance.”


 

“Jake -”


 

“Never intentionally.”


 

Gail considered the angry, hurt and confused young woman in front of her. “Then you need to talk to Darcy Hawkins,” she stated briskly.


 

Heather stared at her.


 

“If anyone can help you accept and understand Beck's actions, it's her,” Gail explained calmly.


 

Heather wondered why she'd never thought of Darcy before. “Yes,” she replied slowly, “yes. You're right.”


 

“Beck,” Gail sighed sadly, shaking her head. “Are you sure?”


 

“Yes.”


 

“I'm sorry, honey. Do you think you and Jake -”


 

“No,” Heather said, quickly shaking her head. “If we'd tried before I went to New Bern, I think we would have had a chance. But we didn't. And...it's just not there anymore, you know?”


 

“I know. I'm sorry.”


 

“Me, too. Although he's still in love with Emily – and has reconciled with her again, you know.”


 

Now it was Gail's turn to stare. “You know?”


 

“Jake told me.”


 

“I'm glad he told you – I just wish he would have told me. I've been thinking the worst about him since I began to suspect that he and Emily were having an affair.” Gail sighed. “I have to say I wish things were different.”


 

“Oh, you love Emily.”


 

“I do. But she and Jake are just...toxic together. Always have been. And not even the end of the world seems to have changed that.” Gail sighed. “I would have liked to have you as a daughter,” she said wistfully.


 

“I would have liked that too,” Heather replied, her voice choked with tears. “You should have had three sons,” she joked weakly.


 

Gail chuckled, also blinking back tears. “Two were almost more than we could handle.”


 

With a weary sigh, Heather sat down on the couch while Gail refilled Heather's glass and prepared one of her own.


 

“So now what?” Gail asked after several moments of silence had passed.


 

“What do you mean?” Heather asked. She felt exhausted, the rage-fueled energy she'd been running on draining slowly out of her.


 

“Are you going to apologize to him? Tell him you didn't mean it?”


 

Heather violently shook her head. “No! No.”


 

“You kicked him out of town. What if he listens to you?”


 

Heather stared at Gail, her eyes wide and vulnerable, frightened and angry. “Then he leaves Jericho and never comes back.” In spite of her best efforts, her voice wobbled dangerously.


 

“You'd be okay with that?” Gail asked skeptically even as she started planning what she'd say to Beck before he left on his long patrol to make sure he'd come back to stay in Jericho. Gail didn't seriously think for one moment Beck would leave Jericho because of what Heather had said today – but she could see him doing so if he honestly thought his presence was causing Heather undue distress. He could easily relocate his home and base of operations to Patterson or even Rogue River, and Gail suspected that would be disastrous for the young woman sitting on her couch.


 

“I'd be better than okay.” Heather winced at the false note of bravado in her voice and glanced away from Gail's all too knowing eyes.


 

“I think you're saying that because you know Beck won't leave – at least not because of this,” Gail said. “That means sooner or later you'll have to deal with him. Even if he were to never come back to Jericho proper, he's still part of the Territory's government. He's in charge of our army! What happens tomorrow when you have to face him in City Hall? What happens when he comes back from his long patrol? Or are you going to quit your job?”


 

“I...I hadn't thought that far ahead,” Heather muttered.


 

“Ah. Well, I think you need to think about what happens next. And honey, really. Talk to Darcy.”


 

Heather sighed and nodded. “You're right.” She finished her drink and looked at Gail. “I have to go. Thanks for the drinks, and for listening, and for the advice.”


 

“Any time,” Gail replied softly. “I mean it, Heather. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know.”


 

“Just letting me talk about it helped. A lot. And the two glasses of Mary's finest didn't hurt either,” Heather replied with a smile. It was a weak smile, but a smile nonetheless.


 

Heather waved at Gail before walking away, wondering when she'd be able to see Darcy and how she'd even start the conversation. But she'd do it. She was angry with Beck – honestly angry – but Gail was right. Beck would never leave the Territory. It was as much his home now as it was hers. She needed to work with him whether she liked it or not and she needed to figure out a way to accept his actions that would allow her to work with him again. Her feelings for him were another issue, something she struggled with each day and something she would continue to struggle with until...well, until she got over him, she supposed. She sighed and let her shoulders slump in defeat as she walked away from the Green house.


 

Gail sadly watched the younger woman walk away. It hurt her to see Heather in such pain, but this was a road she knew Heather had to walk on her own.


 

This thing with kicking Beck out of town, though, was something she could, perhaps, do something about. Gail closed the door and walked into Johnston's den. She sat down at the desk and pulled a pen and a pad of paper towards her. After a moment's thought, she started to write.

 


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
nativefloridian
Jul. 19th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
And this is the spark that lights the fire...

Sounds like Gail's note is going to be a real doozy. Can't wait to read Beck's next note either.
shirleyann66
Jul. 22nd, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)
Hee! Well, it certainly helps inform actions over the next little while. :D

The next batch of letters (at last count, 27 of them) are coming along nicely; I'm hoping to be able to post some (if not all) of them starting this weekend.
nativefloridian
Jul. 22nd, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
27!!!??? Damn, girl.
shirleyann66
Jul. 23rd, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
....erm....*mumbles* 29 now....

Of course, that number will likely go down during my next review (which should be the last before posting) because I'll be really looking hard at them and making a final decision as to whether the letters make sense, move story, and are in the right spot in the storyline. :D

If I wasn't writing this for the prompt challenge, it would just be a normal (for me) chapter length...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little --"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

-- Susan and Death in Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

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"And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based."

-- Lord Vetinari in Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

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They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.

-- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

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As a wizard, it was something that Ponder had only before encountered in acorns: a tiny soundless voice which said, yes, I am but a small, green, simple object - but I dream about forests.

-- Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

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In the 24th century, there will be no hunger. There will be no greed. And every child will know how to read.

-- Gene Roddenberry, as repeated by Jonathan Frakes in the documentary How William Shatner Changed the World

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We've got two lives, one we're given and the other one we make
And the world won't stop, and actions speak louder
Listen to your heart, and what your heart might say
Everything we got, we got the hard way.

-- Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Hard Way from the album Come On, Come On

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Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want.

-- John Mayer, Waiting on the World to Change from the album Continuum

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Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, "I'll try again tomorrow."

-- Mary Anne Radmacher, as seen in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Tales to Inspire

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I never loved the soldier
Until there was a war.
Or thought about tomorrow
'til my baby hit the floor.
I only talk to God
When somebody's about to die.
I never cherished freedom
Freedom never cries.

-- Five for Fighting, Freedom Never Cries from the album Two Lights

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It may sound absurd: but don't be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed: but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream

-- Five for Fighting, Superman (It's Not Easy) from the album American Town

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Had a dream last night took a time travellin' ride
Back to my childhood where those monsters reside
They snack on innocence and dine on self-esteem
But I like to be in touch with what makes me scream
Vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost
These are the things that terrify me the most.
No alien, psychopath or MTV host
Scares me like vampires,mummies and the Holy Ghost.

-- Jimmy Buffett, Vampires, Mummies and the Holy Ghost from the album Fruitcakes

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"I want to believe that... the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us... as part of something greater than us - greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen, to what's speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves."

-- Fox Mulder, The X-Files from the episode The Truth, pt. 2
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