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Promises (or lack thereof) - Pt. 4/25

Challenge:  love_bingo    
Rating:  PG to PG-13
Words:  950
Prompt:  LO5 - Heavenly Love
Warnings:  Nothing too explicit but will warn for violence/implied torture in a couple of the later parts (I'll post a specific warning on those posts). Everything in the series and comics is fair game, so spoilers ahoy!  

Disclaimer:   I do not own, nor am I affiliated with, CBS or Jericho or...whoever else may actually own this show.  I just like to take the characters out to play.  I put them back, mostly unharmed...although not always...this is for fun, not profit and no copyright infringement is intended.

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Beck found her in the middle of the field, standing still, looking around her, breathing deeply. Beck walked up to her, his eyes scanning the terrain, looking for strategic points for defense, looking for areas of weakness. The flat, empty Kansas prairie was deceiving; it wasn't completely flat, and distances were difficult to judge. Any advantage would lie with the one who wasn't a stranger to the area.

"What do you see when you look at this?"

Beck blinked, startled, and met Heather's gaze. He looked away, scanning the horizon, and for a moment he could see two armies engaged in a bloody battle, with no high point, no camouflage, no strategic objective other than control of the roads in the area; with no way to win except to grind the other side into a bloody pulp beneath their feet. His nostrils flared at the imagined stench of blood and sweat and fear. His ears ached at the ghostly cacophony of gunfire and artillery rounds, at the screams of troops from both sides. He could feel the adrenaline, taste its metallic flavour on his tongue. He could see the carnage, the stillness of the battlefield, the dead and the dying.

He blinked the visions away.

"I see," he said carefully, "a very difficult place to defend."

Heather stared at him, then laughed. "No - I meant - " she stopped and cocked her head as she observed him.

 "Where're you from, Beck?"

Beck frowned at her. "From?" he repeated stupidly.

"Yeah. You had to have grown up somewhere, right? You weren't born wearing a uniform, were you?" Her teasing smile took the sting away from her words.

Beck flushed a little. "Almost," he replied. "I was born in New York but my father was career army, like his father before him. I grew up all over - here, overseas. Why?"

"I was born and raised in New Bern. A geeky tomboy never quite fitting in that small Kansas town. I couldn't wait to get out and see the world. I ended up going to college in Denver. I moved to the mountains. I didn't get too far physically, but it was as different from New Bern as you could get. And I could never get comfortable.

"When I came to Jericho to teach, I felt...like I was expanding - like I could finally breathe. When I drove here, and could see the sky and the horizon again, this vast expanse of land and - and - and freedom. I felt comfortable in my own skin again, seeing the sky and the horizon - I felt like I had come home. It felt like heaven.

"You see a place difficult to defend; I see my home. 

"We'll fight, Beck. We'll do whatever you need us to do to help you win the war that's coming. To hold this place against all enemies in your absence - to give you and your allies a safe place when you need it. You'll be leaving soon -"

She broke off and glanced away, blinking rapidly at the brilliant blue sky. She swallowed hard and continued. "This is our home, and we love it. We'll do whatever it takes."

Beck gave a short chuckle. "You've proven that already - several times over."

Heather chuckled and glanced away. "We'll do whatever it takes," she repeated softly.

Their eyes met, and he was taken aback at the bleak determination in her eyes. He looked at her with increasing respect, and a sudden desire to see the Kansas landscape the way she saw it. To feel connected to something other than bloodshed and battle plans and maneuvering to keep his growing base of allies hidden from the ASA until the time was right to strike. With the ASA incursion into the East, he was rapidly running out of time - and options.

He looked at Heather and saw a woman determined, a person standing her ground, a person prepared to sacrifice everything for a cause she believed in and to protect the home and people she loved.

"You'll help us, won't you?" she asked. "Before you - before you have to go?"

"Yes," he said without hesitation. "Of course I'll help you. But we don't have much time."

"I know," she said.

"The only advantage we have is the advantage of surprise. It's going to be hard work, especially to have you ready before I leave, and to do anything without someone noticing."

"If anyone can do it, it's you," Heather said, quietly confident.

Beck blinked at her, surprised. Then he a quirked a half-smile at her. "I'm not sure I deserve such faith, but...thank you."

"It's true," she replied, and for a moment she looked at him the way she'd looked at the landscape a few minutes before. Like she was filled with an almost transcendent love of and connection to him. He felt dizzy, as - in a split second - he could see their potential future: making love with the afternoon sun shining across their bed; girls with their mother's eyes and boys with their mother's smile. Passionate arguments, and healing laughter; peaceful, lazy Sunday afternoons, breakfasts and morning routines. Heather with gray in her hair and lines on her face, growing ever more beautiful in his eyes.

He blinked, and it was only Heather again with her faith in him shining in her eyes, blinding him.

He felt something give inside him, some resistance to her, his will power fracturing under the spell she wove around him without even realizing it. He felt himself falling a little more in love with her and wondered what she'd say if she knew.

He opened his mouth, then closed it again. No promises, he reminded himself.

No promises.




Part Three          Part Five




   

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Quotes

"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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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