Title: Lost Sheep
Characters: Beck, Heather and Others
Rating: PG -13 - for a couple of swear words.
Disclaimer: No, still don't own Jericho. Just having a little fun - not profit. No characters or fluffy plot bunnies were harmed in the creation of this fic.
Unbetaed. All mistakes are my own.
A/N: Happy birthday, Ditte - hope you had a great one! :)
Beck opened his eyes and frowned at the ceiling above him. His head was throbbing, his arm was stinging and he tried to remember why. And where he was. And what had happened to his clothes.
He knew he wasn't in his officer's quarters. And he sure wasn't in the bedroom of the tiny house he used in Jericho.
Beck sat up and winced as pain ballooned in his head. He glanced around and relaxed as he saw Heather sleeping rather awkwardly in a chair beside the narrow bed. He frowned as he looked at her. He remembered the road gang, the bullets grazing him, the rest of the drive to Antelope Wells, and he remembered her telling him they had arrived. He even remembered her introducing them as Sam and Heather, as they had done at Lovington, and beginning a frantic explanation of what had happened earlier. But from that moment on, it was all a blank.
He started and scrambled for where he normally kept his gun as the door silently opened and a tousled head peeked around it.
"Ah," the owner of the head whispered in a satisfied voice, "you're awake. And your Heather is finally asleep."
Beck frowned at the woman, feeling at a severe disadvantage. "Who - ?"
Heather jerked awake at his voice, sitting up and frantically looking around her.
"Sorry," the woman said, no longer whispering, "I didn't mean to wake you, Heather. I just wanted to check on you and the patient."
Heather blinked at her owlishly, and in spite of his puzzlement, Beck took a moment to appreciate how adorable she looked when she was sleepy and confused. And where the hell that came from, he had no idea. That bullet must have hit him harder than he thought.
"Oh," Heather said as she became more fully awake. She looked from the woman to where Beck was sitting up in bed, bare-chested and the blankets pooled in his lap. His cheeks and chin were dark with stubble and the bullet graze was a livid mark along his left brow. He looked dangerous, Heather thought, dangerously sexy, and she blushed furiously.
If Beck's head hadn't hurt so much, he'd have almost laughed at Heather's wide-eyed embarrassment and her painful blush.
The woman had no such inhibition. She laughed heartily at Heather's expression, and then turned to Beck.
"Sorry, Sam," she said. "I didn't mean to startle you or wake Heather. I was on my way to the kitchen to start breakfast and figured I'd check on you two."
Heather avoided Beck's eyes, and hoped her blush would subside quickly. "Thanks," she said. "Sam, this is Frankie. Frankie - Sam."
Frankie gave him a lazy grin and held out her hand. She was a pleasant looking woman with short brown hair and frank green eyes. Not a beauty, Beck acknowledged, but she had...presence. Beck guessed that she was in her mid-thirties and while she smiled easily, there was a wariness in her face that Beck had seen far too often since the Attacks.
He shook the proffered hand. "Nice to meet you, Frankie," he said. "Sorry I can't get up." He gestured at his naked chest, although he was relieved to realize he was at least wearing boxers.
"Don't let me stop you," she winked, then chuckled as the blood rushed back into Heather's face. Frankie quickly sobered. "How do you feel?" she asked, moving closer and taking a critical look at the wound on Beck's face.
"Like shit on a stick," Beck acknowledged, wincing as she gently probed around the graze.
"Yeah, I would think a bullet glancing off your skull would do that to you. Well, your timing was excellent during your dance with death, but it sucks when it comes to medical supplies. We used up our last bit of antiseptic and bandages just two days ago, and Tomas isn't due with supplies until the day after tomorrow. You're lucky that you have an emergency kit, but there was only one set of bandages, and your Heather used those yesterday when she stopped the bleeding. So, all we can do is apply the antiseptic you have in the kit and leave the wound to heal in the open air."
Beck shrugged and winced. "Not the first time," he said.
"Good," Frankie nodded. "Now, I'm sure you'd like to get up, go to the bathroom, and take a look around, but all I'm going to let you do is the bathroom. Camilla will want to take a look at you before we get you dressed and walking around."
"Camilla?" Beck echoed.
"The closest thing to a doctor we have. Camilla didn't think you had a concussion, just needed to rest. But Heather wouldn't sleep all night, just in case something happened while you were out."
Beck glanced at her, and Heather cursed silently as she blushed again, and quickly averted her gaze.
"Do I dare ask who undressed me?" he asked drily.
"Oh, that was Manny and Booker," Frankie said airily. "Your modesty in front of the ladies is intact."
Beck quirked his lips. "I am relieved," he replied, his tone warm and light.
Heather stared at him. Was he...flirting? While they were searching for his wife?
As if he read her thoughts, he said, "We're not here by accident, Frankie. We're looking for some people - people who were here six months ago. We're hoping they're here now."
Frankie frowned, looking interested. "We have a lot of people coming and going through here. Who are you looking for?"
"Simone and Maggie Beck. We were sent by Major Edward Beck."
"The one who defected?" Frankie asked.
Beck and Heather stared at her for a long, silent moment. "Yes," Beck finally said. "You know about that?" He had assumed his defection would be a deep, dark secret within the ASA - the government wouldn't want the general populace to know that he had successfully defected, or that they had agreed to a neutral zone around Jericho and New Bern. Their control was still too fragile in certain areas of the country.
"Not a lot, and not through official channels," Frankie said, confirming his unspoken assumptions. "I wasn't even sure it really happened - he's someplace in Kansas, right?"
Beck and Heather exchanged glances. "Yeah," Beck sighed, "some place in Kansas. Anyway, he recently received word that his family was here six months ago. He couldn't come himself, so he sent us."
Frankie stared at him for so long it was all he could do not to squirm. "I wish I could help," she finally said slowly. "They were here, but they left. Not quite two months ago. And I don't know where."
Beck hoped the depth of his disappointment didn't show in his face.
"Look," Frankie said briskly, standing and going to the door, "I'm going to go and make you guys breakfast. Camilla will be here soon and once she's given the okay, we can talk some more and I'll show you around. I don't know where they went, but somebody else here might. Or Gregory - only he's gone hunting at the moment. Just left the day before yesterday." She glanced at Heather, whose dismay was clearly written on her face. "I'll call you, Heather, when breakfast is ready." She gently closed the door behind her as she left.
Beck and Heather were silent for several long moments after they were alone. Beck avoided Heather's gaze as he struggled to adjust to the disappointment. He hadn't realized how much he had hoped - expected - them to be here, until he was told they were gone.
"We're not done yet, you know," Heather said, her voice pitched low.
He reluctantly met her eyes. "I know," he replied, swallowing his disappointment and fear, and starting to process the information Frankie had given them.
"And they were alive less than two months ago," she continued earnestly, trying to infuse hope into his eyes. "We know that now for sure."
Heather frowned at him, concerned, wondering if that bullet had done more damage than she thought. "That's good, isn't it?"