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Shelter from the Cold


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#1 JillliJ

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 09:19 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR MARY ROSE!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!

This fic is my gift to you, MR, for being such an awesome friend!  Hope you enjoy it.

Author: Jill
Rating: PG
Season: any
Archive: sure, just tell me
Disclaimer: not mine, promise
Author's notes:  Thanks to a very special person for some much needed help on this.


Shelter from the Cold

Every story has an ending
Even when it can’t be told.
And every broken heart starts mending
When it finds shelter from the cold.


Michael McLean

*****

The door to the room swung open and a blast of cold, stale air hit her in the face as her eyes strained to see in the near total blackness that yawned before her.  Harper was shoved into the room and Beka heard his cry of pain as he hit the floor hard, before she too was pushed roughly in from behind.  She managed to stay on her feet and turned back to face the guards silhouetted in the doorway.

“You really are creeps, you know that?” she seethed, too mad to be picky with her vocabulary.

“And you shouldn’t have come here,” the leader of the guard sneered.  “Now, enjoy your night.”  

The door started to close and Beka, remembering Harper and seeing they really were going to be stuck in this dark, cold cell for the foreseeable future, swallowed her pride.

“Wait!” she cried, taking a step toward them.  “If you’re gonna leave us here, we could use a blanket, and some bandages, and maybe a light?” she asked in what she hoped was a calmer, more penitent voice.

“Wouldn’t really matter,” the guard said with a laugh.

“It would to us,” Beka pleaded.

“After tomorrow, not even to you.  They’re building the pyre as we speak.  You’re both to be burned at the stake when the sun rises.  Now, good night.”

The door slammed shut with a clang that pierced steel, stone, and flesh alike, and darkness encompassed the two friends.

For minutes, maybe hours, silence reigned as Beka stared at the blackness that had been the doorway, her brain refusing to process what she’d just heard.

“So, Boss, how’s the head?”

Harper’s quiet voice broke the stillness and she realized her eyes had adjusted enough to make out his form in the darkness as she turned to face him.  He had managed to scoot to a wall and was leaning back against it.  

His voice also dragged her thoughts back to the here and now, something she realized was exactly what he meant to do.  Shaking her head to clear it, she forced herself back into “tough captain” mode, for Harper’s sake as well as her own.

“Mother of a headache,” she replied, reaching up to touch the sticky, congealing blood that surrounded the lump on her forehead, “but it’s quit bleeding.”  She settled down on the cold, stone floor next to him.

“How’s the leg and the wrist?”

She could just make out his shrug in the dark.  “Not too bad,” he replied dismissively.

“Liar,” she said.  She could barely see him cradling his right wrist to his body and could tell from the stiff way he had his left leg stretched out before him that he was in pain.

“I’ve had worse,” he told her mater-of-factly.

They slipped into silence again, and Beka moved closer to him as the cold of the cell started to seep into her skin.

“I’m sorry I got you into this,” Beka finally said quietly.

“Don’t be,” Harper replied earnestly, turning to face her and squinting in the dark.

“But if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be sitting here right now, waiting to –”

“Beka, if it weren’t for you, I’d have been dead and rotting years ago,” Harper interrupted fervently, “or a slave.”

Beka sighed.

“Besides, Boss,” Harper continued with a smile to hide the pain he was in,” this isn’t the first time I’ve sat all night in a cell waiting for the final round-up, if ya catch my drift.  Why do you think I accepted Mr. Bobby “The Sleaze” Jensen’s offer so quickly?”

Beka desperately wanted to say ‘and it won’t be the last, Kiddo’ or something to that affect, but she couldn’t because it would be a lie.  No one knew where they were; there would be no miraculous sunrise rescue.

“Beka, you should try and get out,” Harper said when the silence got too heavy.  “You could probably make it.”

“Can you run?” Beka asked by way of an answer.

“No.”

“Then I stay, too.”

Harper didn’t bother to argue.  He simply shifted his position with a grunt and leaned his head back, letting his eyes slide closed.

“Hey, Boss?” he said, “remember the time we pulled that sweet heist on Ranthath V?”

Beka groaned.  “The one where you hacked into the computer and reprogrammed all the museum’s ‘bots?  How could I forget?”

“Well, you gotta admit it was one of the easiest scams we ever pulled.  All you had to do was walk in there and tuck the statuette under your shirt and walk back out.”

“Yeah, because the museum staff were frantically trying to keep all the security ‘bots from taking their clothes off!” Beka laughed.  “What were you thinking?  And what kind of virus does that?”

“A very simple one.  I just convinced them all it was time for a maintenance shower.  Much easier than actually hacking; and much more fun, too!”

“Harper!” Beka cried, slugging him lightly on the shoulder, and she could almost hear Harper’s grin even if it was too dark too see it.  “You remember Singapore Drift, or Kerringway?”

“You bet!” Harper replied.  “And how ‘bout dinner at Cavenough’s, or TPing Dylan’s quarters, or teaching Trance how to bake cookies?”

“Or you how to read, or surf?” Beka added with her own smile.

“Yeah,” Harper sighed happily.  He opened his eyes and swiveled his head in her direction.  “Thanks for that, by the way.  I really mean it.  I was just a street kid from Earth; you didn’t have to do all that for me.”

“You were worth it, Harper, every last minute of it.”

They quieted for a moment, but Harper couldn’t stand the silence for long.

“They were good times, weren’t they.”

“The best,” Beka replied, a slight catch in her throat that Harper didn’t miss.

“Did I ever tell you about the time I got my head stuck in a bucket when I was eight?” he continued purposefully.

“No!” Beka laughed.  “How on earth did you do that?”

“We were acting out stories at the dump, see, and I got picked to play “The Man in the Iron Mask…”

They talked for hours in the dark, huddled close against the bitter air.  Harper shared the happy memories of Earth, the stories Beka had rarely heard him talk about.  In return, Beka shared her own memories; taking the Maru for a joy ride at the age of nine, shaving Rafe’s hair off as he slept, scamming her way into a Trans-Galactic “meet-and-greet” at the tender age of twelve.

They almost forgot their situation until Beka noticed she could make out Harper’s features more clearly.  They fell silent again as a small square high on the cell wall gradually changed from black to grey, revealing a window they hadn’t noticed before.  Dawn was approaching swiftly.

The growing light also allowed Beka to finally get a good glance at the young man beside her and sadness filled her.  He still cradled his wrist tightly to his body, and a dark stain spread outward in his pants-leg from the ragged gash in his left thigh.  It reminded her of the fact she had failed to protect him, something she had always promised him she would do, and it made her want to cry or try and fix him up.  He saw her looking and silently shook his head, telling her it didn’t really matter now and Beka smiled sadly.  He’d come a long way from the filthy, paranoid kid she’d pulled from the wastes of Earth all those years ago, and in that time he’d wormed his way into her guarded Valentine heart.  He was her brother in every sense of the word that mattered.

She was so lost in thought she was startled when his fingers gently touched her forehead, brushing the dried blood.

“You’re beautiful, Beka.  I know you don’t always believe that, but it’s true.”

She didn’t know what to say to such an open, serious remark from Harper, so she just smiled.  They sat waiting now, all pretense gone as the first rays of sunlight leaked into their cell.”

“I never thought it would end this way,” Beka finally said.  “I always figured I’d do something big, live forever, or go out in a blaze of glory on the Maru or something.  Not like this, just waiting.”

“Well, you got the blaze part right,” Harper smirked half-heartedly.  

“This is just so…so…”

“Frustrating?” Harper filled in.

“No, wrong.”

A sound came from outside their cell and they both jerked their heads to the door but it passed and they remained inside, hearts fluttering.  Presently, Beka felt a hand slip into hers and she squeezed it.  She could feel the rough fingers and hard calluses that told of a lifetime of hard work, not all of it voluntary.  She was also surprised at how small it felt and to find that it was shaking.  

“It’s okay, Seamus,” she tried to sooth, her turn to offer comfort.  “I’m here.”

“I hate fire, Boss.  I always have,” Harper whispered, his voice catching.  “And I’m scared.”

Beka squeezed his good hand tighter and laid her head on his shoulder.  They stayed like that until they heard the sounds that told them the guards really were returning.  Beka then shared a look with her friend and an unspoken agreement passed between them.  Wordlessly, she got to her feet and then helped Harper shakily to his.

“Love ya, Beks,” Harper said to her quietly.

“Love ya, too, Kiddo.”

They were standing calmly in the center of the room when the door swung open.  As the guards surrounded them, Harper’s hand found hers again, and she was glad for its presence.  She squeezed it one last time before they were pulled apart and their hands bound tightly behind them, Harper paling with the pain.

Then, heads held high, they were lead down a long hallway and up a flight of stairs and out into the sunlight.

THE END



*runs from thread*

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Keeper of Harper's Bunk on Beka's Ship
Keeper of Beka's Unoffical Little Brother


#2 Mary Rose

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 10:29 PM

Oh, no you don't!!!!  Get back here!!!  You can;t just leave it like this.  Who do you think you are, the author of 'The Lady Or The Tiger?  

You have to write more.  This is my b-day fic and I adore it and I want more because it's so incredibly good.

You really captured them both so well.  And the interaction between them was spot on.  I don't know what you were worried about.
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#3 Happy Phantom

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:50 PM

Wow... *is speechless*
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#4 charli

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 03:07 AM

Love it!!  

You did a great job!

*whispers to MR*  I told you she could write Beka angst...
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#5 hannahthewriter

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 04:48 AM

Quote

“Did I ever tell you about the time I got my head stuck in a bucket when I was eight?”
LMAO! Oh it's even funnier because I can just see him doing that. :lol:

Back to the fact that right now, this = me :cry:

So good. Absolutely perfect characterisation and interaction between B + H. And terribly sad ending. Gah! I love it because of the friendship stuff but I'm tearing up because of the sadness factor. What to do?
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#6 Rhiannonjk

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 08:13 AM

Wow Jill!  As usual, this is absolutely fabulous!  I love it.  

And don't tell anybody, but I love the un-ending as well

Absolutely Fabulous.  You rock.

Edited by Rhiannonjk, 30 June 2005 - 08:14 AM.

***Is easily distracted***


#7 aldomar

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 08:57 AM

What can i say? WOW!

This was really good. You did so well with the very personal interaction w B/H.

Well done.

#8 ChicaFrom3

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 12:19 PM

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

It's absolutely fabulous, spot on perfect, and a terrible way for them to go out but it's so PERFECT.

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
God Save and God Bless!
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#9 Anastashia

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 10:23 PM

Um...um

It can't end that way.
The Science Fiction Examiner

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I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
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#10 Narc

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 12:53 PM

That was absolutely beautiful.
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#11 JillliJ

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 11:00 PM

Thank you, thank you for the reviews!  Glad you ....er....mosty liked it.  :D  :whistle:

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Keeper of Beka's Unoffical Little Brother


#12 Fendy

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 12:19 PM

This was really well done.  I loved it!



Fendy

I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in
I watched myself crawlin' out as I was a-crawlin' in
I got up so tight I couldn't unwind
I saw so much I broke my mind
I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in


#13 JillliJ

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 11:19 PM

Thanks!!  Glad you guys liked it.  Sorry, there is no more. :)

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Keeper of Harper's Bunk on Beka's Ship
Keeper of Beka's Unoffical Little Brother


#14 Cheile

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 01:12 AM

you send them to their deaths and then say there's no more?!?!?!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

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#15 liath

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 10:21 AM

This is great but SO sad :( .
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