Disclaimer: I do not own Jericho in any way, shape, or form. If I did, I would have found a way to make a third season.
Author's Note: I've been on a bit of a Jericho kick lately, and I have a lot of small fics popping into my head. This "story" will be a place for me to post them as they came. This first one is about Emily, one of my favorite characters, and how Jericho is more to her than just a town. Enjoy!

Emily: Thicker Than Blood

"What is it that keeps you so tied to Jericho?"

Roger had asked her that about a month after he moved to town. He had been walking her home after a night at Bailey's, and somehow the question had just slipped out. They had stopped in the snow together in front of her house, and Emily had studied the brightly-colored Christmas lights strung across Gray's Anderson's roof while she tried to think of an answer. In the end she had just shrugged. Then Roger had grinned and pulled a sprig of mistletoe out of his pocket and held it over their heads and they had kissed. Emily had completely forgotten the question after that. Until Roger appeared to her in the bathroom of Bailey's, the same words on his lips.

"What is it that keeps you so tied to Jericho?"

She hadn't even known what to tell him the first time he had asked. (The second time she had been too upset to think of anything but whether or not he was okay.) She hadn't known how to tell him, hadn't known how to make him understand that Jericho is more than just a town to her. It's her home. This is where she belongs, where she has always belonged. In Jericho, with her family.

She had only been four years old when her father had left them for another life, leaving his wife alone with a preschooler and a baby boy. They had had no family in the town, no one to help them make ends meet. But in the end they didn't need anyone. The residents of Jericho had a way of taking care of their own, and while many of them had shied away from the Sullivans because of Jonah's reputation, they all came flooding back the minute he left. Emily knows she has the Greens to thank for that, among so many other things.

When the new school year started, her mother had taken up a teaching position at the high school. Emily started preschool, and since there were no official daycare programs she spent her afternoons in the Green household with Jake and Eric. More often than not, Stanley Richmond, Jake's best friend, was also there. He and Jake were both three years older, but the younger Green boy immediately took Emily under his wing. By the time she was seven, the three of them were a force to be reckoned with. Jake and Emily were forever getting themselves in trouble. Stanley was the more cautious of the three and often voiced his doubts about their many schemes, but he was also a fiercely loyal sidekick who never failed to be right beside them when the show began. Or when the punishment was handed out.

Jonah Prowse was not exactly scarce during Emily's childhood. He showed up every now and then to check on his son and daughter. As a child, Emily loved these visits. It was her father who taught her how to shoot, how to hotwire a car, and how to sneak candy out of Gracie's store without being caught. He also taught her how to drive a truck at eleven years old. (Jake and Stanley had loved that, although there had been hell to pay when Johnston Green passed them halfway to New Bern in Stanley's father's truck.) It was only as she grew older and became more acquainted with her father's work, and began to realize the hold he was developing on Chris, that Emily's attitude toward Jonah began to change.

The years flew by, and soon Jake and Stanley were graduating. Stanley had managed to land an outrageous football scholarship, and he took off for college. A year later his parents were killed in a car crash and he was forced to return to Jericho to take care of the family farm and to raise his younger sister.

Emily finally graduated three years behind her two best friends, and headed off to college to get a teaching degree. Two hours after she received her diploma she had her bags packed and was on her way back to Jericho. She had planned to take up a teaching job alongside her mother, but halfway through that summer cancer intervened and suddenly Emily and Chris were alone in the world.

Chris was eighteen by then, and Emily kept trying to convince him to go to college. But no matter how many times Chris assured her that he would think about it, he never seemed to go. Instead he preferred to follow the example of Jake Green, who also had never left Jericho. Emily was glad to have her best friend around, especially with how close they were becoming, but it still bothered her sometimes that a person as talented as Jake was still sitting around doing nothing at the age of twenty-five.

Emily took up her mother's job at the high school and fell completely in love with it. The salary was small, but it was enough for her and Chris. But Chris was beginning to slip away, leaning more and more in the direction of their father. Emily's one consolation was that Jake seemed to be keeping an eye on him.

And then one day she woke up to find that Chris was dead and Jake was gone. It had all happened so fast. That was when she had cut Jonah Prowse out of her life forever. Nothing he said or did, no words of regret or offerings of peace, could ever make up for what he had done. It was his fault Chris was dead, and Emily would never be able to forgive him for that. He might have given her life, but he was no father of hers. He had given up that right long ago. And the entire town of Jericho had stepped in to fill the void.

That is what she knows she could never hope to make Roger understand, even if he were still here: how much these people mean to her. It was Johnston Green who had taught her how to fish and throw a football. It was Gail who she had called at ten o'clock at night when she still didn't understand her homework and her exhausted mother had already fallen asleep. It was Gray Anderson who had helped her put up the Christmas lights when she was too young to do it herself. It was Shep who had helped her pick out her first car, and it was Stanley's father who had put down his plow long enough to drive out and help her change her first tire. It was Gracie who had always found ways to make sure she and Chris got some of their favorite candy, even when money got too tight for their mother to afford it. It was April Green who had sat beside her as her mother fought for her life, and it was Jake who had held her while she mourned her. It was Johnston who had offered to cover her history class when she caught the flu, and it was Gray, of all people, who had finally found a way to fix the kitchen sink that refused to stop leaking even after the plumper came by. It was Eric who had made all the arrangements for Chris' funeral, and it was Gail who stayed with her that night and who had checked on her for days afterward despite the fact that her own son had vanished. It was at the Green household that she has spent twenty years of Christmases and birthdays, and it was at the Richmond ranch that she has spent even more New Years and Super Bowl parties. The people of Jericho are her family.

And now they're in danger.

Emily swings her gun over her shoulder and heads outside to meet the others. New Bern is coming to attack Jericho. But this is their home, and they are not about to give it up. The time has come for them to fight, and maybe even die, to defend what they love. And Emily is determined to stand beside them. Jonah might have turned tail and run, but she is not about to make the same mistake. She learned long ago that there are some things that are thicker than blood. Not for the first time, she's glad her mother chose to name her Sullivan instead of Prowse.

She's never really been her father's daughter anyway.

So how was it? Write a review and let me know! There are more of these on the way, so keep your eyes open.