Izabel (isisizabel) wrote,
Izabel
isisizabel

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Broken & Beautiful ~ Part II

Title: Broken & Beautiful
Author: IsisIzabel
Fandom: Jericho
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

xtremeroswellia (Angie) who seems to be having a bad day. *hugs*



 

II

 

-New Bern, Kansas-

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 Jericho men use of the two upstairs apartments for the duration of their stay in New Bern while the turbines were being built.

 

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.

 

“Heather.”

 

She looked up, stunned. She had expected it to be anyone but him. It could have been Constantino, one of his lackeys, or another New Bern resident that was looking for her, but not Eric Green. Not that she was complaining.

 

“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.

 

Stanley had told Heather about April’s death, and Heather had watched Eric walk around like the living dead for the past week he’d been in New Bern. He completed his jobs, but never stayed to talk or go to the pub when the night forced everyone to abandon the factory. He kept to himself, isolating himself from the group. Stanley had referred to it as, “Eric’s self-imposed exile.”

 

Until two days ago when he’d come to her with a question. He’d stumbled across a map of Jericho while on a supply run to the far end of the factory. It was an enlarged map of Jericho with the farm boundaries marked out in bright red pen. But he’d only seen it in passing, and hadn’t been able to get a clear look. He’d asked her if she’d known anything about it.

 

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?”

 

She nodded.

 

“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 Hammond’s. Heather swallowed and grabbed Eric’s arm, dragging them both into the shadow of an overflowing dumpster.

 

“Heather, what—”

 

“Shh!” she hissed, making a swift chopping motion with her hand.

 

They both watched as Stanley opened the door, an easygoing smile on his face. “Hey, Russell,” he greeted.

 

Stanley,” Russell nodded. He cast a sideways glance at his partner. “How’s it going?”

 

Stanley leaned against the doorframe, his body taking up most of the space. “Good. What’s going on?”

 

The deputy folded his arms over his chest and looked pointedly at Stanley. “Have you seen Heather?”

 

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.

 

Stanley was shaking his head. “No. She usually stops by before heading to her place. Why?”

 

“Just needed to ask her something,” the deputy replied evasively. “You all have a good night.”

 

Stanley shut the door, leaving Russell and the deputy alone.

 

“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 Jericho guys. It’s better if they don’t start snooping around like the girl.”

 

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, Jericho.”

 

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.”

 

“Mortars?”

 

“I saw them. And a cannon.”

 

“A cannon?” he repeated slowly.

 

“I saw the map, up close. It had an inventory of Jericho—what farms supply what crops. That kind of stuff.”

 

Eric shook his head. “Heather, why would New Bern attack Jericho? The mortars are a good idea—probably for defense purposes. You know that Ravenwood showed up here and hit them hard. They want to be prepared. And of course they have a food inventory of us. We agreed to give them ten percent of next years’ crops for the turbines.”

 

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 New Bern start a war with Jericho?” He shook his head. “This can’t be right.”

 

“Why are they looking for me then?”

 

Eric frowned.

 

“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 Jericho. And now they know that I know.”

 

“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 New Bern is going to invade Jericho. We need to go get Stanley and the others and get out of town. Tonight.”

 

“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 New Bern.”

 

“I’m not leaving until I know they aren’t going to start shooting those mortars at Jericho,” Heather pushed. She took several large steps backwards.

 

“Where are you going?” Eric asked slowly, his voice tired.

 

“The factory.”

 

“Wait—what?”

 

“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 Jericho. I can’t… I need to do this.”

 

“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.”

 

“Heather—”

 

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 New Bern was who would be going to the State Championship.”

 

“You’ll believe me when you see the factory,” she assured him quietly, solemnly.

 

He nodded slowly. “OK. Let’s go.”

Tags: fic: heather/eric, fic: heather/jake, fic: jericho
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