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Promises (or lack thereof) - Pt. 8/25

Challenge:  love_bingo   
Rating:  PG to PG-13
Words: 1,096
Prompt:  LI3 - Saying Good-bye
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.


The orders Beck had been expecting and dreading had finally come in. They were leaving Kansas behind and were heading towards Columbus - part of the ASA offensive to take the east.

Despite the fact he had no intention of fighting for the ASA, he had to obey orders. He and his coalition had decided the best time to make their move was when they crossed the Mississippi in order to seize their earliest opportunity to swell Columbus' ranks. Their only other option was to make their play here, in the heart of ASA territory, surrounded on all sides with no secure supply routes - and nobody in the east knowing they were here. In the end, Beck admitted grimly, he'd failed. His coalition simply didn't have the strength to attack from within the west. 

But now the time of waiting was over, and he was relieved.

Except it meant leaving Kansas. It meant leaving Jericho virtually undefended.

It meant leaving Heather.

He knew that shouldn't be a factor for him. In spite of his feelings for her; in spite of their close friendship; in spite of the fact that they'd never said a word about it, they'd both understood he had nothing to offer her. That there was nothing he could offer her.

And now he had to leave her - leave her, for all intents and purposes, alone and unprotected. Would he lose her, too? Would she disappear, like the others? But he couldn't take her with him - and he had no right to ask her to follow him into danger or to ask her to wait for him. He was still, as far as he (officially) knew, a married man. He was going to war by betraying the country he currently served. The price if he failed was death. There were too many reasons why he couldn't promise her anything; why he couldn't ask her for anything.

So he stood in his office, and he told her the news. 

He told her good-bye.

He didn't tell her he loved her - but he was afraid his eyes told her for him.


Heather heard his words, and listened to the things he didn't say.

She knew all the reasons why he said good-bye so coolly, why he almost, but not quite, touched her. Why he leaned closer and then moved away.

They were both good people, trying to do the right thing, with the ghost of a woman hovering between them and the ghost of a child hovering over them.

Heather paced her house, struggling with her conscience, struggling with his. Struggling with the possibility there was no future for them -

Or for him.

She stopped in her tracks and blinked at the thought. Then she headed out the door.


Absolutely no one at base camp was surprised to see her.

When the lieutenant opened the door and ushered her in to Beck's tent, the only one who looked surprised was Beck. The captains quickly glanced between the two of them, and then took their leave. The last one gave Heather a smile as he walked past, and she heard the snick of the lock before he pulled the door closed.

She was dimly aware that the word would be spread; that they would be given all the privacy they needed tonight. She knew she'd probably be embarrassed about it tomorrow, but tonight, she simply didn't care.

Heather stood, her hands twisting together, and she stared at him, her eyes wide and pleading, afraid he'd tell her to go. He stared back, impassive, his surprise gone or hidden, his arms crossed tight against his chest. Then he dropped his arms to his sides and his expression changed, softened, and she let out the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. He walked towards her.

He reached out one hand and gently ran his fingertips over her brow, down her cheek and across her lips. She sighed at the light scrape of his callouses against her skin. He brushed his thumb lightly against her lips, and she tentatively pressed a kiss against it. She was rewarded with his sharp intake of breath and suddenly burning eyes.

He blinked, glanced around, then he walked to his desk and turned down the lamp so the room was in semi-darkness. When he returned to her, he gently laced slightly shaking hands into her hair as he lowered his mouth to hers.

It was much later, as they lay entangled on his cot, that Heather realized neither one of them had spoken a word.

They made love again in the depth of the night, Heather swimming up through layers of sleep to discover skillful hands coaxing her awake, coaxing her to levels of arousal she hadn't known she could reach.

At 04:30, Beck's phone buzzed. Heather groaned softly as he rolled from the cot and walked, naked, to the desk to answer it. She watched him speak briefly, then turn to look at her as he hung up the phone and walked back to her, unself-consciously confident in his nudity.

He crouched beside the cot, meeting her wide, sad blue eyes.

"I'll take you home," he said softly, regretfully. "We leave at 06:00."

She nodded, unable to speak around the lump in her throat.

She sat up, tousled and tired, with a pleasant ache in muscles she hadn't used for far too long, and an unpleasant ache in her heart she knew wouldn't ease until she saw him again.

Beck walked her to her door and they hesitated in the pre-dawn light.

"I don't know when or if I'll be able to get in touch with you," he said finally. "But I'll call and write whenever I can."

Heather nodded, blinking back tears. She appreciated the offer even though she knew it would be almost impossible for him to do either.

"I can't -" he stopped, then squared his shoulders. "No promises," he said quietly.

Heather nodded again. "No promises," she agreed softly, her voice choked with tears.

He abruptly pulled her against him, kissing her hard, passionately, thoroughly. She clung to him, kissing him back, branding his taste, his skin, his texture, his essence into her memory.

When the kiss ended, they fiercely held on to each other, before taking deep breaths and resolutely pulling away.

He gave her a half-smile, then he turned, and bounded down her front steps, back to the humvee.

He didn't look back.

She didn't go into her house until he'd turned the corner and disappeared from sight.

Part 7          Part 9



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January 2015


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"So we can believe the big ones?"


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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."

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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.

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


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Listen to your heart, and what your heart might say
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