Title: Departed but not Forgotten
Rating: PG
Warnings: Maternal grief
Word Count: 450
Summary: Tammy Wilcox, mother of Jackie, continues to mourn her daughter.
Notes: Written for heroes_contest drabble challenge #35, "Spirit". Beta by dancingdragon3.

It had been four years and Tammy still missed her little girl bitterly. Jackie was in heaven now, she hoped. God was fair and loving, but she knew that Jackie had strayed a great deal. She'd been rebellious, perhaps even mean-spirited. Tammy understood. She'd been the same way as a teen. It had taken getting knocked up, abandoned, and disowned before Tammy had finally seen the light, throwing herself on the Lord's mercy. She'd found a new way to live, eventually meeting the wonderful man she'd married, who'd raised Jackie as his own. Tammy had feared what Jackie would have to go through before finding peace in her own turbulent soul.

The forty year old woman shut her eyes, holding a clenched fist to her chest in wordless misery at the hole in her heart that could not be filled. At one time, she'd been sorry and angry about Jackie's future, but that had been when she had a future. Now Jackie had nothing but a grave. After the funeral, Tammy found herself bursting into tears at the oddest moments – walking by Jackie's room, passing by honeycomb cereal at the grocery store with no one to buy it for, clocking out of work at 5 pm instead of 3. The hurt didn't stop, even if years had mostly dried the tears.

Only when pushed had Claire haltingly murmured about Jackie's last, surprisingly selfless act in this world. Jackie had told her friend to run, to save herself. Claire had said it jolted her out of her frozen panic, letting her escape. It proved to Tammy that the defiant girl had a good heart inside of her just as she'd suspected. That someone else had survived because of Jackie had brought her much comfort over the years. Though she'd always suspected there was more to things than a random murderer killing cheerleaders.
Heart thundering in her ears, Tammy leaned closer to her computer screen, hitting replay on the strange film clip of Claire Bennet. The sound of Claire popping her arm back into socket made her nauseous. The healing cut filled her with amazement. Claire spoke brazenly of how she could never be killed. Tammy's eyes watered, breaths coming faster. Claire's reluctance to speak of Jackie's murder took on a sinister light. Why was her daughter left to die by someone who couldn't?

Betrayal and burning anger consumed her. Her baby had been taken from her and for years the truth denied her. No more. She looked at the blurb under the video. New York, Central Park. From Texas, Tammy could be there in a couple days if she drove all night. She would not rest until she had her answers.