Title: For God and Country and Heather Lisinski
Characters: Beck, Heather, OCs
Rating: PG - Strong Language
Disclaimer: No, still don't own Jericho...I'm just playing with the characters. I'll return them relatively safe and sound .
Heather had been awake for hours when Jim and Trev returned. She had searched the small room thoroughly for anything she could use as a weapon or as an escape route. Or to at least come up with an escape plan. She was in a standard storage room, no windows and with a single bare lightbulb in the middle of the ceiling. There were shelves from floor to ceiling, attached to the floor, the wall and the ceiling, and completely bare. Unlike most rooms in buildings, this storage room did not have a drop ceiling - it was bare concrete, and had no openings large enough for a human being to fit through. She had even climbed the shelves to check.
Underlying all of her morning activities were thoughts of the corporals who had guarded her, and the hope that they were alive. She worried about Beck, and how he had reacted when he found out she was gone. She could imagine the controlled rage in his eyes, the cold commitment to a course of action, regardless of the consequences. It was part of him, part of what made him so good at what he did - it has saved Jericho more than once in the last two years, and would save Jericho again in the future. But she tried not to think about how far he would go to get answers. And she also tried not to think about what he would do if she died here. She resolutely shut down thoughts of Beck, and turned her mind to determining where she may be located.
She knew she was in a large industrial building, and the light in the storage room had burned all night long. They were obviously close to a power grid, which eliminated some of the areas farther away from Jericho and New Bern. Since she didn't know how long she was unconscious, or asleep during the journey here, it was difficult to estimate the distance that they might have travelled. Based on the information she had, she had - to her own dark amusement - narrowed the possibilities to a 200 mile radius around Jericho and New Bern when Jim and Trev entered the storage room.
Heather froze, and Jim gave her a coolly assessing look, and said, "Constantino wants you." He cuffed her hands behind her back again. She fought the panic as they walked, and carefully concentrated on her breathing, the way Hawkins had shown her. In spite of the situation, Heather felt reluctant amusement as she realized that Hawkins was another man who would be very pissed if she let herself get killed here.
Constantino looked up from behind his desk as Trev and Jim pushed Heather into the room ahead of them and stared at her silently. She lifted her chin and defiantly glared back, hoping that he could read all the contempt she felt for him in her face. His eyes were flat and expressionless as he looked at her, and the silence stretched for long, tense moments.
"You wanted me," Heather finally said, her voice bitter. "Now you've got me. What's next? Execution at dawn? Tied down to a bed and raped? Tortured?"
Constantino gave a cold smile. "Things have changed," he said. "We don't damage any of the merchandise anymore. Besides," he paused and gave her a hard stare, "it's not about you anyway, Heather. You're secondary. The one I really want is the one who's going to come riding to your rescue."
Heather stared at him, appalled. "Why?" she whispered. "He protected New Bern as well as Jericho. Everything we do, we do for both towns. Why - "
"Beck is garnering too much support - too much power in this area. I'm not about to allow that to happen. I could never win in a direct confrontation," Constantino shrugged. "But I could lure him into an ambush."
"You didn't need me to do that," Heather frowned.
"Not necessarily, no. But as far as we can tell, you're the only one outside of his men that Beck truly likes and trusts - and so, the only one who would hurt both Jericho and Beck. By taking you, Beck will be angry, less likely to listen to his advisors, and therefore easier to capture or ambush."
"You're underestimating him," Heather said. "If anything, he's going to be even more focused in his hunt for you."
Constantino shrugged. "He hasn't been able to find me so far. I doubt if being more focused will help him do it now."
"So what now?" Heather asked.
Constantino leaned back in his chair. "Now we wait. In a day or two, we'll let word leak back to Jericho that I was spotted in the vicinity. When Beck and his men deploy to find us, they'll find us, all right. In a place and a time of our choosing. And I'll take care of Beck, once and for all. In the meantime, you'll be kept here in case we need to use you as leverage. Once we've taken care of Beck, then..."
Heather swallowed. "Then?" she asked.
Constantino shrugged. "I'm sure we'll find a use for you. Or not." He nodded at Trev and Jim. "She is not to be touched until I say so." Constantino gave Trev a hard glare. "Do you understand?"
Trev nodded. "I'll get my chance. You're not a virgin anymore, are you, Heather?"
Constantino's eyes met Heather's, and for the first time, something other than emptiness flashed in his eyes. Heather couldn't read it, but she suddenly knew - she knew - that Constantino could answer the one question she had left from that night in the prison cell.
"Tell me!" Heather spat at Constantino as Jim and Trev pulled her towards the door, stopping them in their tracks.
Heather continued, speaking quickly, "When I was in New Bern - when you had me in custody. Remember?" her voice was bitter and venomous as she looked at him, and then glanced at Trev.
"Who lied to the deputies that night? Who lied to you?"
Constantino was silent.
"The doctor didn't know me - so he had no reason to lie. But somebody did. Who?"
Constantino stared at her for a long moment, his eyes flat and dead. She had told Beck that killing Constantino would be like killing a snake, and at this moment, she realized how right she was. She had thought the life had gone out of Beck's eyes after he was told about his wife and child - but even at his lowest point, his eyes were never as empty as Constantino's.
"I don't know if you remember my wife," Constantino finally said, his voice as distant and as flat as his eyes, his right hand twisting his wedding band.
"What?" Heather asked, confused.
"She was a...fragile woman. Prone to depression, fits of rage, states of euphoria, erratic behavior, alcoholic binges. She didn't go out much, especially as she got older; she was a virtual hermit by the time of the Attacks. I managed to keep her relatively under control after the Attacks, but when Ravenwood - well. It was her last straw. But the years before that were...hard. For many reasons."
"I don't see - "
"Your grandmother was a good woman. She was kind when others...weren't. I owed her. I owed her memory."
Heather stared into Constantino's eyes for a long moment as realization dawned.
"The doctor didn't know you - didn't know your name, and that's what saved you. There was a virgin in that cell. It just wasn't you."