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Lost Sheep - Ch. 2/??

Title: Lost Sheep
Characters: Beck, Heather and Others
Rating: PG
Chapters: 2/??

Disclaimer: No, no, not even a Christmas miracle will give me ownership of Jericho, or give me a Beck of my very own under the tree. Just having a little fun - not profit - and all characters will be returned safe and sound.



Heather managed to find a vehicle for Clark, although she insisted on doing a complete tune-up before handing it over to him. Clark told her that it had to be ready in two days - and that raised questions in her mind. Why would Beck's men need a civilian vehicle so desperately? But she worked hard, and Clark picked up the car early on the second day. She frowned as she watched him drive away, and then shook her head and went back to work.

Her curiousity was piqued again when she overheard Dale and Skylar that afternoon. They were discussing Clark's request for camping gear and how they'd had to call in favours to find some within the deadline he had given them.

But it was the conversation between Clark and Hawkins that really got her thinking.

"He was looking for non-military issue guns and ammo?" Heather repeated, frowning at Darcy.

Darcy nodded, her eyes intent as she leaned over the table in the small kitchen in Heather's garage. "Have you heard of anything happening? Robert isn't talking, of course, but I want to know if there's a mission that will take Robert out of town. It's only been three months since he was shot, and he's still not 100 percent. The post-op infection took a lot out of him. Could you talk to Beck? If there's any way for them to complete this mission without Robert - just this once..." Darcy trailed off.

Heather sighed. "I'll see what I can do," she assured Darcy, "but I can't guarantee anything."

"He listens to you," Darcy replied with a grateful smile. "I know it may not be possible, but if Robert could have at least another month to recuperate, it would make all the difference."

Heather nodded. After Darcy left, Heather was skeptical about what she could possibly do. She hadn't spoken with Beck alone in three months, not after she had quit her job as liaison and told him that she couldn't work for him, or defend him anymore. She wasn't sure which had been worse - the decision she had made, the look in his eyes when she broke the news, or the fact that he had only nodded and let her go without a word.

She had been angry about what he had done to Jake. About what he had done to Jericho. Furious, actually. She had wanted him to defend himself, to argue with her, to try to make her understand. She wanted an excuse to scream at him, to batter against that damned controlled reserve until it broke, and then she could vent her own rage, batter him until he broke. Instead, he only looked at her with those eyes, those eyes which for one moment were surprised and yet not surprised, vulnerable, hurt and ultimately, lonely. Then he lowered his gaze, and when he looked at her again, his eyes showed nothing, and had shown nothing to her since.

They dealt politely with each other, but never alone. If she sometimes missed him; missed their old relationship; missed seeing warmth or amusement in his dark eyes when he looked at her, she seldom admitted it.

But now she had to go to him and ask him for a favour. She didn't even know if he would see her alone, or speak to her about anything other than the bare necessities. She began to think of alternatives to having to go and face Beck in his office.

There was obviously a mission of some kind underway, and if there was a mission, then Jake would be right in the middle of it. Perhaps she wouldn't have to speak to Beck about it at all, she mused. She could ask Jake to keep Hawkins out of the mix. At least this once.

Heather walked over to the Green house. Emily greeted her with a less than sincere smile, and the smile dropped away entirely when Heather asked to speak with Jake.

"He should be back any minute," Emily replied. "Come on in," she reluctantly invited, "and have a beer while you wait."

Heather smiled. "Thanks." She ignored Emily's reluctance. She had tried to talk to Emily about Jake before, and never made any headway. Heather had finally given up, and only hoped that as time passed, the relationship with Emily would ease.

As they waited, Heather made conversation. They discussed what was new in Emily's world; how Gale was doing out on the ranch; what Emily was planning on doing with the house in the Pines, which had been vacant now for months; how Stanley and Mimi were doing without Bonnie. They were starting to discuss Dale and Skylar when Jake and Eric came home.

Heather rubbed her hands nervously on her thighs when Jake walked in and she bounced to her feet. "Could we talk?" she asked Jake without any preamble, ignoring Emily's glare and startling Jake and Eric.

"Sure," he said, his eyes concerned.

She quickly summarized Clark's activities, and Darcy's request. Jake, Eric and Emily exchanged glances as they shook their heads. "No mission that I know of," Eric said thoughtfully.

"So what do you think it's all about?" Heather asked, frowning in thought.

"Well, if Beck or Clark is part of it, it's going to be delayed for awhile, whatever it is," Jake soothed.

Heather frown deepened. "What do you mean?"

"I just met up with Clark. Beck's come down with food poisoning, they think. He's being treated by their medic right now."

"Food poisoning?" Heather echoed blankly, her breath catching in her throat.

"Or maybe just poisoning - Clark wasn't too forthcoming. Anyway, according to Clark, Beck will be down for the count for awhile. And while Beck is down, Clark is in command. How long exactly Beck is off-duty will depend on how severe Beck's illness really is. Clark didn't seem too worried, though, so it can't be all that bad."

Heather blinked, appalled. "Food poisoning?" she repeated. "Are the rest of the men all right?"

Jake nodded. "Clark said they're fine. They've isolated what Beck ate, and they're checking their stores right now."

Heather's mind raced. Now that the first spurt of fear had subsided - and she refused to think about that too deeply - there were things in the story that didn't make sense.

Jake grasped her shoulders, gave her a small shake to get her to focus on him, and looked her straight in the eye. "Go tell Darcy that everything's okay. Whatever Beck - or Clark - was planning is on hold until Beck's better. Hell, maybe Clark is just trying to get out of uniform for a change and go camping!" Jake grinned his crooked grin, and Heather reluctantly smiled back. "Anyway, Clark didn't mention any official missions requiring civilian camouflage to me."

Heather hesitantly nodded. She didn't believe a word of it. Beck ate what his men ate. If he was sick but the men were healthy, then either somebody was trying to kill him, or somebody was lying.

"Okay?" Jake prompted when she remained silent.

She nodded. "Okay," she agreed.

They started talking about other things after that, and she chatted easily as she finished her beer. Behind her calm face, though, her mind was racing. She refused to stay for supper, noting the strained look in Emily's eyes even as she issued the invitation.

Heather sighed as she walked away from the Green house, heading towards Beck's small house near the sheriff's office. As she walked towards the shortcut through the back alley behind the sheriff's office, Heather pondered the tension with Emily. Heather didn't know what she could do to convince Emily - heck, the whole town - that she wasn't sitting on the sidelines, pining for Jake. It surprised her that in times like these, people's love lives were still subjects of such intense speculation. She thought, though, that the small-town gossip gave an illusion of normalcy in a world gone mad.

She supposed she could ease the relationship with Emily easily enough if Heather just told her the whole truth. But she didn't want to tell Emily that it wasn't Jake's brown eyes that haunted her, but a different pair of dark eyes. She didn't even want to admit it to herself, except in the safety of her dreams and the dark of night.

Her feelings for Beck were confused and intense. She hated him. He had tortured Jake. Terrorized the town. Followed a corrupt government without question. She respected him. He had risked his command to save a town in trouble. Gave her the benefit of the doubt when she lied to his face. Admitted his mistake, and waited for his fate like a man. Let Jake take his swings without complaint.

She glanced up as she entered the back alley, just in time to see Clark come out the back door of the sheriff's office with camping gear on his back. She quickly hid behind a fence as she watched Clark walk away from her. He hadn't seemed to notice her, but she waited until he was at least half a block away before she stood and cautiously followed him.

She hesitated when Clark got close to the outskirts of town. She hoped he wasn't leaving the town limits, since she didn't have a ready excuse to follow him. She watched from behind a tall fence as he changed direction and purposely strode towards the garage of one of the abandoned houses. He obviously wasn't expecting to be observed, or if he was, he wasn't expecting it to raise questions. Heather frowned as he disappeared into the garage. She made herself comfortable behind a fence, and waited until she saw him leave the garage - without the camping gear.

Once she was certain Clark was out of sight and earshot, she went to the garage and tried the doors, only to find them locked. She looked through the windows, frowned and ran back to the Green house.



Dec. 29th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'm working on it! :)

Dec. 29th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
woo hoo!! *no pressure* (gentle nudge, gentle nudge)

Dec. 29th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
woo hoo!! *no pressure* (gentle nudge, gentle nudge)

LOL - if only the plot bunnies would slow down just a little...just so I could catch them all. :)

I'll be typing chapter 3 up tonight - most of it is written, but it needs some transition/smoothing before it can be posted...oh, and it needs an actual end to the chapter, too. ;)



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