Title: Broken & Beautiful
Pairing(s): Jake/Heather; Heather/Eric (friendship)
Rating: PG-13 (for references to violence and slight language)
Summary: Take place during episode 2x01 (Reconstruction), at the end of Jake and Heather finding each other again. Inspired by the song Broken & Beautiful by Suzie McNeil.
Author's Note: This is for
Five Weeks Earlier
Head down, Heather hurried down the sidewalk as fast as she could, wishing like hell she hadn’t gone to the east end of the factory, let alone discovered what was being kept there. She didn’t think anyone had seen her, but they’d definitely heard her. She’d been forced into hiding underneath an empty packing crate, wedged between a cinderblock wall and an old metal filing shelf. Her back and legs ached from the tucked position she’d assumed for nearly an hour before she’d had a chance to run.
The sun was setting against the steeple of the New Bern Baptist Church at the far end of town as she turned sharply down a back alley she’d played hopscotch in as a child. It was the quickest route to Hammond’s Shoe Repair. Mr. Hammond had died shortly before the bombs, and Constantino had given the
She needed to get to Eric and the others.
Heather could see the sign a hundred yards away to the back entrance now, and felt a sense of relief. The knot of dread that had coiled tightly in her stomach hours earlier was slowly loosening. She shivered hard, not sure if it was the cold or her nerves. She came to the spot where the alley converge with another and never saw the other person coming.
They collided hard, and she nearly fell over, but strong hands steadied her. Instinctively, she started to pull away, not seeing the person that held her.
She looked up, stunned. She had expected it to be anyone but him. It could have been Constantino, one of his lackeys, or another
“You OK?” he asked softly, his eyes looking at her, but not seeing. They looked haunted, exhausted. His hands were smeared with grease, his beard unkempt and slightly matted.
Until two days ago when he’d come to her with a question. He’d stumbled across a map of
She hadn’t, but it had intrigued her and she’d finally gotten her chance to get her own look at the map. And she’d found the working machine. And the supply room. And suddenly it all made sense.
“We need to talk,” Heather answered with a tight strain in her voice.
Eric blinked, as if suddenly realizing Heather was in front of him. His eyes narrowed slightly and his head tilted a bit—a look she’d seen of Jake’s face once or twice. “The map?”
“What’d you find out?” he asked quickly.
“Not here,” she replied swiftly, looking around. “We need to—”
A sharp, loud knock cut her off. Both she and Eric turned to see Russell and one of Constantino’s deputies standing outside
“Shh!” she hissed, making a swift chopping motion with her hand.
They both watched as
The deputy folded his arms over his chest and looked pointedly at
Heather’s eyes slid shut and she leaned against the brick wall behind her. “Shit,” she muttered. They had seen her.
Eric nudged her. “What?”
She shook her head, concentrating on the men a couple dozen yards away.
“Just needed to ask her something,” the deputy replied evasively. “You all have a good night.”
“Harry, this is wrong,” Russell said quietly, shaking his head.
Harry poked Russell hard in the shoulder with his index finger. “Constantino’s orders. We need to find the Lisinski girl.”
“We don’t even know if she knows anything!” Russell argued.
“But she might. We can’t have her telling the others,” Harry snapped coolly.
“Telling us what?” Eric whispered in Heather’s ear. She pressed a finger to her lips, silently pleading with him to be quiet.
“It’s still wrong,” Russell said finally, shaking his head. “I don’t care how we justify it.”
“It’s us or them, Russ,” Harry hissed. “How many people have we lost in the last few months? Constantino’s right—help isn’t coming. If we want to survive another year, we need to start taking what we need. Right and wrong don’t matter. Survival matters.”
“You sound just like him,” Russell sighed sadly.
“You don’t have to like what we’re doing. But you better not get in our way. Be a shame if something happened to your wife… or your pretty little girl.”
Russell had Harry pinned to the wall before anyone could blink. “Do not,” he ordered through clenched teeth, “threaten my family.” He let Harry go and took several steps back. “I know what I have to do. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it.”
Harry snorted. “You just keep an eye on those
Russell stiffened. “What are you going to do?”
“We’ll deal with Heather when we find her.” Harry replied cryptically. He turned and started down the opposite way of the alley. Russell paused for a minute, standing in the middle of the cobblestone alley with his hands on his hips. It took a moment, but he eventually turned to leave.
Heather didn’t breathe again until he was out of earshot. She turned to see Eric staring down at her, worried.
“Heather, what’s going on?”
“I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see,” Heather muttered, lifting her hand to her mouth and chewing her thumbnail. “And they know I saw it. Shit.”
“What did you see? Did you see the map?” Eric asked anxiously.
She stopped biting her nail and lowered her hand. “I saw what they’re planning to do.”
Now whatever patience he had was slipping. Irritation flashed in Eric’s brown eyes. “What are they—”
“They’re planning on invading,
Eric chuckled, disbelieving. “What are you talking about?”
Heather shook her head, fear in her eyes. “Eric, they converted the east end of the factory into a place to build mortars.”
“I saw them. And a cannon.”
“A cannon?” he repeated slowly.
“I saw the map, up close. It had an inventory of
Eric shook his head. “Heather, why would
She gaped at him. It never occurred to her that he wouldn’t believe her. Did he really believe that? She squared her shoulders and arched an eyebrow. “Eric, you asked me to look into it! You’ve seen the map! You knew something was off with this.”
“But…” he trailed off. “I never… Why would
“Why are they looking for me then?”
“How exactly do you think Harry’s going to ‘deal with’ me?” she demanded.
He looked less sure. “Heather—”
“Dammit, Eric!” she snapped finally. “I’m not crazy! I know what I saw! And I know what I heard! Haven’t you noticed the way people shut up when you walk into a room? I grew up in this town, and for the past two weeks I’ve been treated like an outsider. Because they’re planning on using those mortars on
“I just can’t believe—”
“Believe it, Eric!”
Eric stared down at her and folded his arms over his chest. “Let’s say you’re right. Let’s say
“Then you believe me?”
“I heard the same thing you did,” Eric admitted. “That guy—Harry—is looking for you. And I think I’d rather he not find you. And I’ll admit that I’m still not sure about the map. Something about it is—”
“Hinky?” Heather supplied.
“Hinky?” he repeated dubiously. He shrugged. “OK. Hinky. Which is why now would probably be a good time to leave.”
“No. I’m not leaving,” Heather insisted.
Eric looked at her as if she’d grown another head. “Did you not hear what I said? What Harry said? They’re looking for you. We need to get you out of
“I’m not leaving until I know they aren’t going to start shooting those mortars at
“Where are you going?” Eric asked slowly, his voice tired.
“I’m going to stop them,” Heather said, steely resolve in her voice. “I don’t know how, but if I can dismantle the machine they’re using to build the mortars—”
Eric shook his head. “This is a bad idea. We should just leave. We can be home before they know we’re gone.”
Heather sighed, standing in the middle of the alley, the tip of her nose pink from cold and her eyes bright with tears. “Eric, I helped them get the factory back up and running. I helped them. That means I’d be helping them destroy
“And you need to do this tonight?”
“They're looking for me, Eric. That means I don't have much time before they either find me, or work faster to do... whatever it is they're doing.”
“OK, OK!” He raked a hand through his disheveled hair. “Let’s get the others and we’ll go with you.”
Heather laughed softly. “I think they’d notice a dozen of us going into the factory, even if it is at night. I can get in and out faster by myself. And I know that factory.”
“Well, I’m not letting you go by yourself,” Eric snapped, walking towards her. “So if you’re going, so am I.”
She tried to smile. “And they say chivalry’s dead.”
She laid a hand on his arm. “Thank you, Eric.”
“I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this,” he admitted. “This time last year the biggest difference we had with
“You’ll believe me when you see the factory,” she assured him quietly, solemnly.
He nodded slowly. “OK. Let’s go.”