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06 May 2008 @ 11:20 pm
Fic, Lost: Emergency Contact (Cassidy, Helen), PG, for lostfichallenge  
This one was actually meant to be written for the flashbacks characters challenge but at the time I couldn't find an ending and left it there. But I thought it wasn't so bad to deserve ditching and since it was good also for the current prompt I've ended it according to the last episode and I can silence that voice that said to finish it.

Title: Emergency Contact
Characters: Cassidy, Helen
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Though if I was Locke I'd have kept Helen, indeed.
Word count: 2432
Spoilers: Up to 4x10.
Summary: Cassidy meets Helen at a victims of Flight 815 commemoration.
A/N: won third place at lostfichallenge #71, Unfinished Business. Uhm, this doesn't actually imply that the favor Kate was doing Sawyer has anything to do with Cassidy. I conceived the ending as completely unrelated to what was in 4x10.





Cassidy can’t really believe it, when she gets the call.

She has become much more pragmatic, since he flew; but she has to admit to herself that once in a while, she has had this dream.

One in which the telephone rings, she answers and he tells her that he wants to meet Clementine. Not that he’s sorry or that he wants her back. She doesn’t want his excuses and she’s far too wise, now, to allow herself to think that she’d want his love. But nonetheless, she had always wanted him to meet his daughter, especially after she found out he left them three times the money he conned from her. Sure, he had made sure it wasn’t possible to find out who did it, but Cassidy isn’t stupid by any means. She knew it was him from the second she got the news.

Then the telephone rings and it’s indeed related with him.

But it isn’t him. It’s an Oceanic attorney telling her that she’s listed as Mr. James Ford’s emergency contact and that they are sad to inform her that he was a passenger on Flight 815. Oh, and that he’s dead, of course. No survivors left.

It isn’t the fact that he’s dead that hits Cassidy the most. She figured long ago that with the life he led, he wasn’t bound to see the dawn of his first half of a century. No, it’s the fact that she was his emergency contact.

She asks the attorney whether he had still family. The attorney replies politely that they haven’t been able to track a living relative and that she was his first and only emergency contact in an agenda they found back in the Sydney motel where he had stayed before boarding on that flight. He asks whether she wants to be present at a commemoration for the victims, held at Oceanic’s expenses, in Los Angeles. Only if she feels like going, no obligations. If she comes, Oceanic will pay for her plane ticket.

Cassidy doesn’t have a reason to go. She doesn’t even know why she was his emergency contact after what happened. She doesn’t want to know. He stole all of her money, left her with a child and then made her even wealthier than she was before when all that she really wanted was for him to acknowledge that they had a daughter. She has never felt obligated, though; she only has used a very small part of that money and only for Clementine’s benefit. She doesn’t intend to ever do otherwise. It’s really not her business.

She tells the attorney that she’ll leave the next day and that they can leave her tickets at Albuquerque’s airport.

Thankfully the family living in the next apartment has a daughter pretty much Clementine’s age and they say it’s no problem to keep her for three or four days; the next morning Cassidy packs a suitcase and by six in the afternoon, thanks to Oceanic, she’s settled in a room on the last floor of the five star hotel in which the commemoration is going to take hold the day after.

Cassidy doesn’t have a single problem sleeping at night; she goes to bed at ten after calling her neighbor, reassured about Clementine. She wakes up at nine in the morning when she has to be down only at noon; she doesn’t feel like going out, though, so she just has a long bath in the hotel’s Jacuzzi, she chooses a pair of black trousers and a silk red shirt which is really the best she has. She decides to pass on the make up and enters the hall at half past eleven.

342 dead people and barely eighty are present; by noon, she thinks they can’t be more than one hundred and twenty. An Oceanic employee delivers a speech which is supposed to be touching, but that Cassidy perceives as plain rhetoric. And bad rhetoric, for that matter. She doesn’t applaud when she’s supposed to and notices that only a woman a couple of seats from her doesn’t, either.

She’s got straight dark blonde hair, firm but also kind of delicate lineaments; she’s older than her, maybe six or seven years. She’s wearing a white tailleur, simple but extremely elegant. She looks as bored and fed up with this as Cassidy feels and Cassidy doesn’t miss how fast she stands up when the Oceanic employee says that his speech is over and that they can commemorate their dead by eating a couple of sandwiches thanks to Oceanic’s catering service.

The woman only takes a glass of water and stands in a corner, not chatting with anyone, not bonding above seemingly shared grief like half of the people are doing; Cassidy kind of admires her and tries to follow the example, except that after she firstly answers to someone out of politeness she finds herself caught up in a net and she ends up with a group of seven or eight people, among which the woman with the tailleur is. Currently, a tall, blonde woman is speaking.

She’s dressed in black and looks definitely fed up. After five sentences, Cassidy decides that she doesn’t like the sound of her voice at all.

“I can’t believe it. He was my only son, he was doing so well, he really was that good at managing and he had to die at twenty two because he had to go searching for that.. that.. that stepsister of his. God bless her, that girl has always given so many problems, I can’t understand why he was so bothered with her and why he always had to..”

After listening more of that blathering, Cassidy decides she’s had enough.

“Excuse me, where do you come from?”

“What?”, the woman, Cassidy thinks the name was Sabrina, answers.

“Where do you come from?”

“I live in Malibu, but I don’t know how or what..”

“I went all the way up here from New Mexico because the father of my daughter died on that plane. He left me after conning me out of all my money, though he didn’t know that I was pregnant. Then I denounced him and he ended in prison thanks to me. I never spoke to him after, and I never will again, I guess. To me, it looks like your son cared for his sister. Or at least it seems to me that whatever she did, he was on that plane because he cared for her. Maybe if you cared about her, too, you wouldn’t be here complaining. And excuse me again, but if you were really sorry and you really respected your son, you wouldn’t criticize him like this, I guess.”

Then she turns and leaves the group, not really wanting to be involved any further; she grabs a sandwich from a table when she hears footsteps approaching her.

“You know, I was about to call her on it.”

She turns and smiles slightly at the woman in the white tailleur in front of her.

“I’ve just heard too much bullshit in too little time.”

“That, I can totally agree with. Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“Whoever he is that you came here for... why was it you? I mean, if..”

“I was his emergency contact.”

The woman lets out a bitter laugh.

“You know something? I’m here because I was the emergency contact, too. I’m Helen, by the way.”

“Cassidy.”, she answers shaking Helen’s hand.

--

They find themselves a table and they have a couple of other sandwiches together and after some meaningless chatting for half an hour, Cassidy can say that she likes Helen. She looks like a woman who doesn’t take any bullshit and for this, Cassidy is relieved. She also looks quite strong and rational and Cassidy is thankful for it, too, because she needs to talk with someone rational right now.

“You said you’re an emergency contact, too?”

“Yes. For my ex.”

“What a coincidence. Did he leave you?”

“No. I left him because I didn’t think he believed in me enough to overcome his problems.”

“Well, you can say mine left me for it.”

“Why are you here, then?”

Cassidy shrughs. That’s a hell of a question.

“You know. The only thing I wanted from him was to... no, for him to meet Clementine. My... his... our daughter. I think I woke up every day thinking that it could be it. He would call and... well, you know. I don’t know why he had me as a contact. I don’t have a clue.”

Helen sips from her coffee cup and nods.

“I can see it. You know, after I left him... he had an accident. He... he asked me to marry him but I refused. Not long after it... he was pushed out of a window. He lost his legs. I never heard from him since but... you know, sometimes I think I should have said yes. If I did... he wouldn’t...”

Cassidy hands Helen a tissue, which she takes gratefully, wiping her eyes before crumpling it in her hands.

“I understood it too late.”, she says finally, trying to smile and utterly failing. Cassidy nods, her eyes full of understanding.

“He opened a fund for Clementine with the money he got for some reward when he denounced someone in prison.”

“Did he?”

“Yes, but I never heard from him since I told him about her. Sometimes I just think I should have made the call, but you know. I felt like I couldn’t actually deal with his issues too, you know the feeling?”

“Even too well.”

Helen finishes her coffee while Cassidy takes another bite from her second sandwich.

“They are really all dead.”, she says without much meaning behind it.

Helen sighs and nods.

“If they were to be found alive, what would you do?”, she asks.

Cassidy has to think about it. It’s not really an easy question to answer.

“I’d go see him. Even if he didn’t want to see me. And I’d tell him that when he wants to meet her, he’s welcome. You?”

Helen laughs bitterly.

“I’ve realized I probably wouldn’t care he couldn’t walk. But I don’t really know if he’d want me back. I still think I was in the right of doing what I did, though.”

“I still think I was right to turn him in.”

“What was his name?”

Cassidy doesn’t know why she smiles when she says it, but she does.

“James. What was his?”

“John.”

“They’re similar.”, she has to observe.

“Yeah, you’re right. You know what? It’s like.. when you leave some business unfinished and you can’t ever finish it. If I only called him once..”

“I know. I guess we’re never going to finish it.”

It isn’t a question.

“No, we’re not.”, answers Helen. They both force a smile out of each other and Cassidy takes another bite from her sandwich. It’s cold and tastes disgusting.

--

Then the news say that some were rescued.

Cassidy’s hand trembles when she reads the newspaper, but when she reads four out of five names, she can’t help feeling just drained and sad.

Jack Shephard, Hugo Reyes, Sayid Jarrah, Sun Kwon.

There isn’t a James Ford. There isn’t a John, either. Then she reads Kate Austen, sees her face and laughs because hey, the world really is a small place. Clementine asks whether something is wrong. Cassidy answers no, there isn’t, and guesses that her business with James was never meant to be finished. Then she thinks about Helen. Hers probably wasn’t, either.

--

Then one day, a year later or so, a package from Los Angeles comes.

She opens it and finds two letters in it. One is enclosed in a regular white envelope. A messy but clear handwriting says Cassidy. The other one is in an old envelope, too big for the sheet inside, which was folded in four; she turns the envelope only to read a neat, clear Dimples written in uppercase on the back. She shivers.

She opens the other envelope first. Just a few lines.

I can’t leave the state, but he asked me to give this to you.

Kate.


Nothing more than that.

She takes out the other piece of paper from the second envelope. When she reads Dear Miss Clementine on the header she closes it suddenly, her heart beating way faster than it was supposed to.

It isn’t her place to read it, she thinks while her hands shake without control, putting it back in its place. She’ll give it to Clementine later. Maybe not today. Maybe when she feels less shocked about this.

But now she has to know.

She remembers reading on some gossip newspaper while she was waiting for Clementine’s visit to the dentist to be over that it looked like two of the Oceanic Six got engaged. Kate, for sure, and... Jack Shephard. Yeah, Shephard, or so she thinks. She wonders whether she should search for his surname or Kate’s.

She looks at the package. There is an address. It says Austen, not Austen and Shephard.

She calls an operator and asks for Kate’s number, relieved when they put her through and it’s her answering. If it was him, she’d have put the phone down.

Hello?

“Kate? It’s Cassidy. I had your package. No, don’t say anything. It’s alright. I just want to know one thing. When you left, was he alive?”

There’s a minute of silence and then yes.

Cassidy is satisfied. She could hang up now, but then she remembers.

“Alright. Listen, was there someone named John? Alive?”

John? You mean Locke?

“I don’t know the surname. Was the name John? Was there someone else?”

He was the only John. If you mean him, he survived.

“Was he alive when you left?”

Yes. But please, don’t tell the press, it’s..

“Don’t worry, Kate. I’m not telling the press. I know what it would mean. Thank you.”

She hangs up and now her whole body is shaking.

He’s alive. Maybe it’s not so impossible to finish this business after all. But now she’s got to make sure of something else. She searches for Helen’s phone number, they had exchanged it, then dials it when she finds it. Telling the press is something she’d never do, but she feels like Helen deserves to know.

“Hello?”

“Helen? It’s Cassidy here. Listen, I’m sorry for calling like this, but... could you tell me your John’s surname?”

“Sure. Locke. Why?”

Cassidy smiles as she tells her that their business, while unfinished, is still an open matter.

End.

 
 
feeling: sleepysleepy
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost kate (!!!!)janie_tangerine on May 6th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
We could just hope for that sort of gossiping! ;)

Thank you! I'm not very enthusiastic about Kate's promise being about Cassidy either but what happened here, I think it wasn't actually related to that. I mean, he could have asked Kate to give her that letter and meanwhile she promised him something else altogether. Who knows? Great to hear that you liked Cassidy here! I found out I kind of like writing her. Good, means I have one woman not giving me trouble ;) thanks so much again, you're really too good to me! ♥
elliotsmelliot: Lockeelliotsmelliot on May 6th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Where did this come from? I really liked how you used the prompt because both Cass and Helen each represent different sides of the unfinished business equation, at least to why it was unfinished, yet find themselves in the same place. I like the details you had about the Oceanic service, especially how few people were there, which to me was a sign of how dysfunctional all the passengers were. I'm pleased someone called Sabrina on her shit and Cassidy and Helen were the top candidates. I really enjoyed this. Thanks for writing Helen. I miss her!
the female ghost of tom joad: lost lockejanie_tangerine on May 7th, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)
Uhm.... it came from... good question. I don't usually go on that route. It may be that I was in a moment where I was realizing that I liked Cassidy with Sawyer much more than I thought and it seemed good to make her meet with the other cool woman of the flashbacks characters. Helen was great. I wish she could come back on the show really, maybe she'd kick some sense into Locke. *sighs* I so miss her, too.

how few people were there, which to me was a sign of how dysfunctional all the passengers were

Glad it passed through! That was exactly my target. And I never can resist calling Sabrina on her shit/getting people to talk about Boone even if they don't even know they're doing it. I'm probably getting way delusional these days.. Thanks so much, I'm really so glad you liked it! ♥
L: Des/Pen loveneated on May 7th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
That was really great. I´ve always loved the Sawyer/Cassidy/Clementine issue. And Locke/Helen was so great too. *votes for bringing her back in FF or FB*

And Cassidy telling Sabrina all these things. Great. Gah that woman... And I´m glad you brought up Boone. *whipes away the tears*

Great story and great idea. I can actually see it happen on the show.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost des/penny phonecalljanie_tangerine on May 7th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
*votes for Locke/Helen too* Ah, when I still liked Locke. Why did he have to go down the hill like that? *sighs*

See, I don't know whether it's a compulsive thing that I bring up Boone whenever I can even without mentioning the name but thing is, I need that. It probably shows how delusional I am about it these days.

But anyway, that's blathering. Thanks so much, I'm really so glad you liked it! I'd love if something like that happened. The women department is seriously lacking right now and bringing back those two would be a great thing. Let's just hope ;)
sad side of normal: Lost: baggagefosfomifira on May 13th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
I wish, I hope we'll get to see something like this in the show. I love seeing the Lost story from a whole different perspective, not that of the Oceanic 815 passengers, but of those who knew them and were left behind.

I really enjoyed what you did here. This isn't a story about Locke or Sawyer, here both Helen and Cassidy and characters who stand in their own right. I'm afraid that my feedbacking brain is pretty much dead, so I'll wrap this up while I'm still making a little sense by telling you I really enjoyed your story.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost -> generaljanie_tangerine on May 13th, 2008 07:44 am (UTC)
Don't worry about the feedbacking being dead, knowing you liked this is great! Thank you so much, I'm really glad you did! And yeah, I hope for some not-survivor perspective, too. If they could just remember that not Oceanic 815 exist, too..
siluria: Lost_Foxy smokingsiluria on June 1st, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
An unlikely meeting, one that there's certainly no canon for and you did a great job of creating very real interactions that could easily be canon.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost jack GUHjanie_tangerine on June 1st, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I don't know where I actually got the idea but then I thought it worked decently ;) glad it felt IC! ;)