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Title: Normal (is what you get used to) or pattern of an (extra)ordinary life
Fandom: Jericho
Author: shirleyann66
Prompt: #286, pattern
Rating/Genre: PG, Het
Pairing: Heather Lisinski/Edward Beck
Notes/Warning: Character Death

Edited to add:
Disclaimer:  i do not own Jericho; no infringement is intended, and this is just for fun, not profit.  I'm just taking them out to play for a little while.

A/N 1: This is being cross-posted to writers_choice, beck_heather</lj>, my personal journal, and possibly JerichoFanfiction.com and to fanfiction.net.

A/N 2:  This is a stand-alone, one shot.  No relation to any story that has gone before, or to the story that's currently in progress.  I saw the challenge, and the killer attack plot bunny came out and got me.   What can I do??

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When Heather was a child, her grandmother taught her to knit. The first time Heather looked at a knitting pattern, it was another language, a seemingly random collection of letters and numbers that made no sense. Heather couldn't understand it, and had to take it on faith that the instructions in front of her would make the scarf the picture promised.

Her grandmother solemnly assured her that the instructions really would make sense eventually, and that the scarf really would look the way it was supposed to. But, like life, it was only looking back at what had gone before that revealed the true pattern in all its glory.

But patterns are fragile things, Heather thought. They shift. They change. And then they settle and become routines, until the next change. The next shift.

The first time Heather and Beck made love, it wasn't making love so much as it was making a claim. Beck told her later it was the way she was teasing him as he was chopping wood; the way she looked, smiling in the sun that finally made him pull her into his arms and kiss her. They were as safe as they ever were, outside the limits of Jericho, and they made love in the grass beneath the trees. Afterwards, she traced the dappled shadows on his skin and watched over him as he slept.

And the routine of her life changed, breaking apart and reforming around this new aspect of their relationship. In the days and weeks that followed, she learned the pattern of his muscles, of his skin, of his scars. She learned the pattern of his moods, of his personality, of his thoughts. And each time Beck went out on a mission, he came back a little harder, a little colder, a little more broken. Heather would relearn his patterns and loved him a little more in spite of them – or perhaps because of them. She was fascinated by him, as if he were something exotic that she would never fully know or understand.

They had been together for a year before she truly realized that he had been learning her patterns as intently as she had learned his; that she was as fascinating to him as he was to her.

But they never learned the pattern of making love with each other. Each time was different, and each time was a surprise.

She called him Edward only once, when she recited her wedding vows. He was Beck to her, always Beck, only Beck. Edward belonged to another woman, belonged to the time Before. Before the Attacks. Before the war. Before every day was a true blessing, and every night a true miracle. Beck was embedded in the pattern of her life; Edward was a distant relative who was remembered, but never seen.


When the children finally came, the pattern reformed to include them. The end of the war and Beck's retirement from active duty changed the pattern again.

Moments in a life.

And now, Heather thought, another one. She stood with her children at the grave site, with her friends surrounding her. She was thankful that he had never died in battle (her fear); instead he died of old age and illness (his) – it meant that she had had years with him. Years in which Beck was an intrinsic part of the pattern of her life.

And now, she would need to create a new pattern – one without him.

She gave a half-smile as she listened to the service, her youngest daughter holding her arm, and thought that, like knitting, it was only when you looked back at what had gone before that you saw the true pattern in all its glory.

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A/N 3:   This is a little...sad, I guess.  Contemplative.  All I can say is that I've been really missing my mother (1.5 years) and my father (14.75 years) the last couple of days. And this is what came out.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ditte3
Jan. 6th, 2009 08:32 am (UTC)
Beautiful.
shirleyann66
Jan. 6th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
rubberbisquit
Jan. 7th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC)
This was made of pretty and bittersweet, and that's a great combo this time of year. I love it :)
shirleyann66
Jan. 8th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you love it. :)

And good to "see" you. I was starting to wonder where you were (and if you've been writing *cough* no pressure *cough*). ;)
rubberbisquit
Jan. 9th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
I'm still around, lurking slowly. School starts in approximately four days and I went back to work this week so I'm a bit crazy. Chapter seven is almost updated! I've got about a page left to go then drafting and then it'll be up :)
shirleyann66
Jan. 10th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
Back to work already? Wow! I'm impressed! :)

And I don't know if I should confess just how pathetically happy the news that chapter 7 is on its way made me - but I squee'd like a little girl. LOL

Looking forward to it...[rubbing hands eagerly]
onceiwasaturtle
Apr. 12th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
That was fabulous! I'm glad I stopped by for a read -- I'm going to friend you so I can read through some others when I've got more time. ^^
shirleyann66
Apr. 12th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Wow - thanks!! *beams happily* Glad you liked it.

(I friended you back, if that's okay (still not really sure about LJ etiquette :) )).
onceiwasaturtle
Apr. 12th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
:-D

(It's perfectly fine -- I'm always glad to make new friends!)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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Quotes

"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little --"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

-- Susan and Death in Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

---------------------

"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."

-- Lord Vetinari in Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

---------------------

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.

-- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

---------------------

As a wizard, it was something that Ponder had only before encountered in acorns: a tiny soundless voice which said, yes, I am but a small, green, simple object - but I dream about forests.

-- Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

---------------------

In the 24th century, there will be no hunger. There will be no greed. And every child will know how to read.

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

---------------------

We've got two lives, one we're given and the other one we make
And the world won't stop, and actions speak louder
Listen to your heart, and what your heart might say
Everything we got, we got the hard way.

-- Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Hard Way from the album Come On, Come On

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Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want.

-- John Mayer, Waiting on the World to Change from the album Continuum

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Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, "I'll try again tomorrow."

-- Mary Anne Radmacher, as seen in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Tales to Inspire

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I never loved the soldier
Until there was a war.
Or thought about tomorrow
'til my baby hit the floor.
I only talk to God
When somebody's about to die.
I never cherished freedom
Freedom never cries.

-- Five for Fighting, Freedom Never Cries from the album Two Lights

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It may sound absurd: but don't be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed: but won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream

-- Five for Fighting, Superman (It's Not Easy) from the album American Town

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Had a dream last night took a time travellin' ride
Back to my childhood where those monsters reside
They snack on innocence and dine on self-esteem
But I like to be in touch with what makes me scream
Vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost
These are the things that terrify me the most.
No alien, psychopath or MTV host
Scares me like vampires,mummies and the Holy Ghost.

-- Jimmy Buffett, Vampires, Mummies and the Holy Ghost from the album Fruitcakes

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"I want to believe that... the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us... as part of something greater than us - greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen, to what's speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves."

-- Fox Mulder, The X-Files from the episode The Truth, pt. 2
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