Warnings : Spoilers for pretty much everything that's ever happened in the series may lie within. Since this was completed 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: The following story has Half-naked!Beck, Interloper!Anita, Drunken!Heather and is really pretty crack-ish when it comes to characterization and situations. I hope you enjoy it anyway!! :D
PS - LiveJournal hates me... :(
Two days later, as Heather was heading to Gracie's market, she saw a military jeep screech around the corner and speed towards the med-centre. She saw the jeep slide to a stop, and men leap out, most turning to carry injured men through the doors but one man sprinted towards the sheriff's office. She broke into a run when she recognized the men as those who had gone out with Beck on the supply run.
She burst into the med-centre, and saw Kenchy and the others bending over a blood-soaked man on a gurney, a man Heather was guiltily relieved to see wasn't Beck. She grabbed a corporal by the arm. “What's happened?” she demanded.
The corporal looked at the commander and the commander glanced at Heather and then Jake, Jimmy, Bill and Hawkins as they poured into the med-centre as well.
“We were attacked while on our supply mission,” the commander said, including everyone in his explanation. “We sustained heavy casualties, and our force was split in two. Major Beck ordered us to return to Jericho with our injured and warn the town that Ravenwood is back.”
“Damn it!” Jake exclaimed.
The commander nodded. “I need to gather reinforcements and put the rest of the troop and the town on alert. The Rangers had better get in your defensive positions. The Major didn't know how long they could hold them back. He's pinned under heavy fire, and his force suffered the most casualties. We have to get back.”
“I'm going with you,” Heather blurted.
“This is a combat situation, ma'am,” the commander snapped as Jimmy and Bill rushed out after a glance from Jake to begin mobilizing the Rangers. “No place – and no room – for anyone who can't handle herself in a fight.”
Heather glared at him. “Give me a gun, and we'll see who can't handle themselves.”
“I'm sorry, ma'am, but we can't afford to protect you and I don't have time to argue.” He glanced at Jake. “Throw her in jail if you have to, but she stays here.”
Jake nodded and put a hand on her shoulder. She shook it off angrily. “If Beck need me and I'm not there -”
The commander's face softened. “He needs you to be safe, ma'am. If we take you out there and something happens to you...” he trailed off. “We need him to be a soldier, ma'am.”
Heather glared at him and then she deflated, nodding slowly. “You're right,” she conceded, “that was stupid.” She straightened and glared at him again. “But you bring him back to Jericho, you understand? No matter what -” and her voice broke.
“I understand,” the commander replied gently, then motioned for his men to follow him.
“How far out were you?” Jake asked. “If Beck and his men failed to hold Ravenwood, how much time do we have?”
“He's about two hours out,” the commander said. “We'd finished our mission earlier than expected, so we were closer to Jericho than planned.” With a nod at both of them, he left the med-centre. Heather dimly heard the spray of gravel as the Humvee tore off again, back towards the battle they'd left behind.
Jake put a cautious hand on Heather's shoulder. “He'll be okay,” he soothed.
Heather nodded. “Sure,” she replied tonelessly. “I'll be at Bailey's,” she added and walked sightlessly out of the med-centre. Jake and Hawkins exchanged glances and Hawkins said, “I'll meet up with you in a minute,” he said.
Jake nodded and headed off to take his place with the Rangers.
Heather was sitting at a corner booth, staring sightlessly at nothing when Darcy slid into the seat across from her. Heather blinked. “Oh,” she said.
“Robert sent me,” Darcy said and gave a tentative smile. “He's worried about you.”
Heather blinked at her. “That's...really sweet,” she said surprised. “I'll be okay. It's just that I have no role unless Ravenwood breaches the security of the town.”
“Oh?” Darcy said.
“I'm assigned to Bailey's,” Heather explained. “We have the still -”
“Molotov cocktails,” Darcy said, the light dawning.
“Yes,” Heather nodded. “We also have guns and ammo in the basement. We're close to city hall, the sheriff's office, and the med-centre – basically, we're the absolute last line of defense.”
“Just you and Mary?” Darcy asked.
“No – about a dozen of us. But we're prepared – we don't need to gather until we have reports of battles close to the borders of Jericho.”
Silence descended over the pair until Heather blinked and refocused on Darcy. “I'm sorry,” she said, “but why did Hawkins send you?”
“Like I said, he's worried about you. And I know...” Darcy hesitated. “I know what it's like to sit, and wait, and wonder if the man I love is dead or alive. And knowing there's nothing I can do about it.”
“The man I love,” Heather mused.
“You do care about him, don't you?”
“Oh, yes,” Heather nodded. “Love just seems so...tame a word to describe how I feel about him. And I only truly realized it when the commander said he was out there – under fire.”
“It takes great courage to be a soldier,” Darcy mused softly, “but sometimes I think it takes even more courage to love one.”
Heather nodded and smiled tentatively at her. “Thank you,” she said. “Where are Sam and Allison?”
“At Jimmy's. Margaret's a gem.”
“You're welcome to stay here,” Heather offered. “We both have soldiers out there today.”
Darcy reached out and covered Heather's clasped hands with her own. “We do. I would love to stay. What can I do to help?”
Heather was grateful for Darcy's warmth and kindness. “I'll show you the routine,” she said. “We drill every week, so I think we're ready.”
“I had no idea,” Darcy marvelled after Heather showed her the storage room of bottles, rags, matches and lighters.
“Nobody really does, except for those of us who do it,” Heather admitted. “Mary and I and about a dozen or so others just got tired of feeling useless. We realized Bailey's was at the centre of town and could help protect the main buildings. We made a plan and we drill each week, using water to simulate making the Molotov cocktails in the shortest amount of time and the least amount of spillage.”
Darcy grinned. “I'm impressed.”
Heather shrugged. “I hope we never need to use it,” she said.
They left the storage room so Heather could show Darcy the strategic locations where people would be stationed to throw the bottles once they were lit. The windows and walls had been reinforced with steel, to help slow bullets down.
Darcy whistled. “Who thought all of this out?” she asked.
“Mary and I, together.”
“Don't listen to her,” Mary said behind them. “It was all Heather. I just did what she told me to do.”
Heather shook her head.
“Trucks are coming,” Mary told them. “Military trucks – but whether Ravenwood or Beck -”
But she was speaking to air; Heather had already pushed past her and was outside although close enough to the doors to duck back inside if the trucks proved to be Ravenwood. She watched as the trucks roared into town and came to a halt at the med-centre and the sheriff's office.
More people came out onto the street when they realized the trucks contained Beck's men. Heather watched with her heart in her throat until she saw Beck jump out of one of the Humvees, barking orders at his men who scurried to carry them out.
She started walking towards him, almost not trusting her eyes. His uniform was bloodied, but he seemed to be moving alright. One of his men spoke to him and Beck turned and saw her. Beck spoke to his subordinate, handed him the helmet Beck held under his arm, then began to walk towards her, his gaze never leaving hers.
They met in the middle of the street. Heather was vaguely aware that Jake and Emily had come up to the soldiers, their weapons still in their hands and were speaking animatedly to Beck's men. Then everything else receded into the background until only Beck was left.
“Are you all right?” she demanded.
“Is Ravenwood coming?”
“Are your men waiting for orders?”
Heather nodded, cupped his face, stood on tiptoes, and kissed him hard as he gathered her close. It wasn't the unbridled kisses they'd shared a few days earlier, but it held promise and passion and something more than sex.
Heather slowly broke the kiss and stared at him. “Go do your job,” she said softly. “I'll wait for you.”
He nodded wordlessly. “I'll find you,” he promised, then turned and went back to his men and a grinning Jake and Emily.
Heather watched him with a smile then she turned and returned to Bailey's.