Disclaimer: See Prologue.

Rating: PG-13

Rating: A, E, R, ALT

Tears and Silence 

Lighthouse/November 9, 1996


All through the game Jer seemed to sink into his own private world. He became glum, and didn't talk as much as usual. Jonny chalked it up to the fact that Jer kept losing, but Jessie was a little worried. She had never seen him like this: pensive, and brooding. When she looked out the window and saw the massive storm that had blown in within the last hour, she told the others that they should probably head back to the house, just in case.  

Quest Compound/November 9, 1996


Pregnant clouds hung ominously in the sky as Jonny shut and locked the lighthouse door. Thrusting his hands deep into his pockets, he lowered his head against the howling wind and walked the few steps to where Jer and Jessie stood waiting for him.

"C'mon, let's try to beat the storm," he said, glancing at the heavy sky and leading the way back down the path to the house. They heard a helicopter in the distance. None of them spoke. They walked single-file, with Jessie following Jonny and Jer bringing up the rear.

When Jonny was about ten feet from the kitchen door, Jer stopped walking. Trying to resolve himself to what he had to do, he swallowed once, then called, "Wait!"

Jonny turned and backtracked a few steps to where Jessie stood, about eight feet from Jer. "What?" Jonny asked. Jessie looked at him questioningly.

Jer pulled a gun from where he had concealed it in the waistband of his pants. Leveling it at them before they could react, his finger tightened on the trigger.

Hadji looked up from the plate he was drying. What he saw caused him to drop it, and it shattered to pieces on the tiled floor. The crash brought him back to his senses. Knowing he has little time to act, he picked up the Colt where Race had left it on the counter and ran to the door. 

Jonny realized at once what was happening. Looking at Jessie, he saw her in complete bewilderment. He had seen that look in Hadji's eyes once. He put out an arm to steady her, but stopped when he saw the look in Jer's eyes.

"Jer- what-" Jessie said shakily.

He closed his eyes briefly, then opened them again and began to speak, his intense gaze never leaving Jessie's face.

"I should tell you first." He sighed. "I owe you that at least." A pause. "I'm not-- who I said I was. Obviously. My real name is Jeremiah Surd, Junior." He watched her eyes widen. "I came to kill your father, because I thought he killed mine." His voice lowered. "Yesterday I found out it was you. You." He took a shuddering breath and steadied his right hand with his left, aiming the gun at Jessie. Squeezing the trigger, he whispered, "I'm so sorry…"

A gunshot rang out.

Jer fell to the ground, knocked over by the force of the bullet. His gun flew from his hands, his bullet burying itself harmlessly in the kitchen door. Hadji dropped Race's gun and closed the distance to where Jonny and Jessie stood. 

For Jessie, time seemed to stretch and bend. She had time to see the bullet rip through Jer's white shirt and tear into his chest. She watched in horror as the blood began to seep out of the ragged hole and soak his shirt. She saw the expression of pain and surprise on his face as he fell.

She found herself thinking Oh God the blood there's so much blood there's so much BLOOD and almost like a dream she found she couldn't move, rooted to the ground in shock and fear. Her mind struggled, refused to accept that this was real, it was real, that Jer was lying on the ground eight feet away from her, bleeding, dying, and that he'd tried to kill her, to kill her-

With a tremendous crack of thunder the ponderous clouds chose that moment to unleash their fury. Jessie snapped back to reality as the slashing rain stung her face and neck. She found that she could move again. She took a step towards where he had fallen and felt Jonny's restraining hand on her arm. She tried to shake it off but Jonny only tightened his grip as her hair began to whip around her shoulders in a scarlet flurry. He was shouting something but she couldn't hear him.

The helicopter they had heard earlier was landing. It crouched behind Jer's broken body like some grotesque oversized bird of prey. Jessie watched as a dark-haired girl jumped out before the blades had stopped. Jessie recognized the girl from Jer's pictures- it was Caroline.

Caroline ran to her fallen brother and knelt down beside him. His eyes were closed and he didn't move. Jessie was too far away to tell if he was breathing or not. Caroline didn't hesitate but lifted him up and cradled his still form against her body. He lay limp and unmoving in her arms. As she carried him away, Jessie tried to follow, but Jonny still held her left arm and now Hadji held her right. Together they restrained her.

As Caroline neared the helicopter, Jessie saw Julia emerge to help her daughter. Jessie drew in a startled breath.

Until she saw Julia with her own eyes, she could delude herself and pretend it was all a nightmare: soon Race would wake her up and she would tell Jer about this awful nighttime drama and they'd both laugh because of course he'd still be Jeremy Whittacker, who loved her and held her and protected her, not some dream-monster, Jeremiah Surd's son. How could there even be a son? She wondered crazily. At least, a son his age? Unless of course he was conceived just before…

But in that one split second when Julia helped transport Jer's broken body, this last thread of hope was ripped away from her and she believed what she wanted most to disbelieve.

She watched the helicopter rise and disappear into the black-gray clouds. When it had disappeared she numbly turned to Jonny and Hadji. They held her in silence until the tears came, sobs that wracked her body. Then they led her back into the house.

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