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11 December 2009 @ 12:29 am
devil's arcade - epilogues  
Paris, June 20th, 1946

Sawyer is slowly drinking his second coffee this morning when the phone rings. It takes him by surprise and if the cup hadn’t been half-empty already he’s sure that it’d have spilled out. Good thing that it didn’t, since it’s still hot.

It’s just, he doesn’t take to being surprised very well, not much. Not since five years.

He shakes his head, puts the coffee back on the table and picks up the phone on the fifth ring; as he does, he turns his head towards the attic’s window. Or well, it isn’t exactly an attic, it’s rather the last floor on some 19th century building near the river which was cheap and fitting enough to the requirements, but it’s a nice place. Sawyer likes it. It’s quiet, the view is wonderful and it isn’t too big or too narrow.

“Yeah?” he answers; it’s not like it isn’t the same five people calling, so he really doesn’t need to introduce himself to whoever it is on the other side.

“Sawyer?”

“... Sayid?” he whispers into the receiver, falling on the nearest seat. Well, he hadn’t really been expecting of everyone to be him, but he’d recognize the voice everywhere.

“I see your memory is still functioning,” Sayid answers, and Sawyer can swear he’s trying not to laugh.

“Like hell it wouldn’t. And how is it that you got this number? Or how’d you know that I was here at all, for that matter.”

There’s another soft restrained laugh, then Sayid speaks again. “It was easier than you would think, but long to explain over the phone. How are you doing?”

Sawyer takes a breath, trying to find a way to summarize I’m doin’ pretty decently considering I should be in jail in the US instead of here and that two nights on three I dream about Cassino or whatever place in the Appennini I spent seven months in and I’m this close to breaking something each time the phone rings and I’m not expecting calls.

“Decent. You?”

“I meant the both of you.”

“How do you even know...?” Sawyer asks, not managing to hide his utter disbelief.

“Another conversation I would like to have in person. I... we are in Paris.”

You... and who... oh. Right, don’t tell me,” Sawyer says, remembering that evening when Sayid and someone else disappeared up the stairs of the hotel. “You are, huh?”

“We are.”

“Well, I guess that a conversation... in person could be arranged. Maybe call in an hour when I might actually have had time to discuss it?” Sawyer asks, realizing that it’s obvious that he’s just pretending to be annoyed.

“Surely. But you didn’t answer the question.”

“Right. And I really don’t know why you think I should but...” Sawyer pauses, the sound of running water still coming strong from the bathroom. He allows himself a second to smile just softly before picking his cup again and taking another sip. Then he takes a breath.

“Good. We’re... we’re good,” he says. And it doesn’t really feel like he’s telling a lie.

New York City, December 28th, 1946

Charlie sits on a bench in Central Park trying not to freeze his ass off, wondering why the bloody hell did he ever even want to go to America.

Maybe because after being back Manchester was too small or constricting or just different from what he remembered, and he just needed a change of air and he had enough money left for... well, giving it a try. Not that his family wasn’t perplexed but hey, he did the bloody war for four years almost, he could go to the US alone just fine.

He’s wondering how much of a stupid idea it was, since Boston didn’t manage to do anything for him and while he does like New York, it still feels alien to him. Like everything else has felt alien for a while. Who is he kidding, like everything else has felt since the day he was discharged. He’s about to stand up and at least find a place where he’ll get some hot coffee for a small price; after all it’s no use staying here when he has also read the New York Times two times already. He does, but just as he goes...

“Charlie?”

He turns and he thinks that his surprised expression has to match Boone’s. Yeah. Because Boone is right there in front of him, tightening a black coat around his waist, and it’s just weird to see him wearing just that and jeans and not white clothes smeared in red blood. His hair is slightly longer, his eyes are exactly the same and... Charlie didn’t ever expect to see him of everyone. Last he knew, Boone had gone back to California.

Charlie’s hands shake. It’s half from the cold and half from something else, but Boone doesn’t need to know that now and Charlie just puts them in his pockets trying not to move too much and nodding, sure that his face is still showing a look of total disbelief.

“Boone? Since when are you in New York?” he asks, his voice sounding strangely rough.

“And since when are you in America?” Boone asks coming closer.

“Well. I just, uh, figured I could visit. England’s not exactly the nicest place to be right now.”

“I’ll agree that from your point of view we are a much better choice. Anyway, I moved here some six months ago. I... listen, why don’t we just go grab a coffee? It’s freezing, here.”

Charlie nods and waits for Boone to reach his side; then follows him out of the park and in a nearby road where there’s a small bar. They sit at a table and order. Boone’s cheeks are completely flushed, probably from the cold, and Charlie’s hands won’t stop shaking.

“You asked how long I’ve been here, right? Well, it’s... when I was shipped back home I tried going to med school again, but... I don’t think I can stand to see blood anymore. I quit after six months and my mother wasn’t exactly pleased with it.” He bites his lip, shakes his head, swallows. “I had some money with me. Shannon was going to dancing school here. You know, after my mother heard about what she was doing when we were out there, she didn’t exactly want to talk to her either. So I just figured I’d come here too. At least I’d know someone. It’s as far as it gets anyway.” Boone takes another breath and Charlie doesn’t fail to notice how he’s trying to keep his hands busy while they’re waiting for the coffee to arrive. Right now they’re ripping a paper napkin into neat, symmetrical pieces. “It’s okay, I guess. I mean, when the war was over someone said that if I ever wanted to get some job always with the Red Cross they could set me in some office, I asked them if they could do it here and well, they need the office work too. I’m fine. What about you?”

“What am I doin’, you mean? Ah. Nothing much really. I mean, I’ve had some jobs here and there, for a while I wanted to help my dad but... uh, he owns a butchery. Just... no. You know, right?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I do.”

“So I’ve taken some random jobs but... whatever, I’m here and I’m walking and I’m still in one piece. Guess it counts, doesn’t it?”

“Of course it does. Just to know, you’ve got any news?”

“About whom?”

“Man, Desmond saved your ass more times than I can count and you don’t keep in touch?”

“Oh, right. Well, we sort of do. In the sense that he doesn’t exactly have an address. He sends me letters though,. When he leaves some address where I’m sure he’ll get a letter in two weeks I answer him, but that happens like once every six months. He and Sayid are just around I guess. First letter I got was from Casablanca, the last was from Cairo. Why would he ever want to go to Cairo again I don’t know. About what are they doing... who knows. He isn’t exactly specific. But they’re doing decently. I think. You got news yourself?”

Boone nods, not looking surprised in the slightest.

“Uh, I see Michael sometimes. His kid goes to school near the place where I work. He sort of limps but he’s alright, I guess. He’s in touch with Jin, last time I heard his wife was pregnant. About Jack, uh, well, it’s the same thing as Desmond is with you I guess. I mean, I gave him my address back when they left in ’44 so he wrote there at the beginning. Once in a blue moon and changing addresses too, but at least it’s the same city.”

“What?”

“He and Sawyer, they sort of went to Paris and ended up staying there. Don’t ask me why. I don’t ask personal things and I just know what I’m told. I’m not too surprised anyway. They were sorta close back then. I just write back and it seems they’re okay.”

Charlie nods and lets out a breath. It’s cold, dammit. He shivers and Boone lets out a half laugh which isn’t exactly heartfelt but still.

“What, are you still cold?”

“Don’t be amused. Back home it’s mostly wet, not bloody freezing.”

Boone nods and for a while neither of them talks. They finish their coffees and order two more, then Boone turns to Charlie again. “When did you arrive?”

“In the city, this morning. Exactly four hours ago. In the US, about three weeks ago.”

“Right. Where are you staying?”

“I don’t know. I reckon I’ll search for some hotel. Shouldn’t be too hard. And I haven’t exactly wasted money until now.”

“But just to know, is this a vacation or...”

“I don’t know. Back home I just… don’t do anything. I can’t find something I want to do and I just feel like it’s not home anymore, if you get what I mean. Then again it’s not like I know anyone here either. Apart from you, I mean. but I just asked for a visa for three months. I figured that if it didn’t work out I’d just get back.”

“Well. I. I have a spare bed. If you need it, of course.”

Charlie looks at Boone for one second, feeling like he’s fucking staring right into him, damn those eyes, but Boone is sort of half-smiling again and Charlie finds himself saying that he could save some money. Also, he really doesn’t want to turn the offer down for some reason he can’t exactly pinpoint.

“Well. Why… why not, I’d say.”

“Oh. Great.”

“Are you sure that...” Charlie says, but Boone shakes his head.

“Shut up. Do you want another coffee?”

“Just if you offer,” Charlie answers, realizing that his hands aren’t shaking under the table anymore.

“Deal,” Boone says before asking for another round and maybe a couple of pancakes.

There’s small talk, after that. They follow some unspoken agreement that says to avoid the war and then after cup of coffee number four Charlie picks up his backpack and his suitcase and follows Boone out of the bar.

--

A few days later, the street fills up with people celebrating 1947 and might it be a better year than 1946; they order dinner from some cheap Italian restaurant and then sometime after midnight Boone sits next to Charlie on the spare bed and takes a breath before speaking.

“You’re still there, aren’t you?” he asks, his tone suddenly dead serious.

“Mate, if I said no I’d just lie about the obvious. I am.”

“I sort of am, too. Not like you could be, for me it could never be like that, but... it’s just there, you know? I can’t shake it away.”

Charlie breathes in and out a couple of times, trying to find something to say and failing to find anything appropriate enough or appropriate at all.

“Listen, I just... I was wondering... how long could I stay?” he asks then, not exactly because he was planning it but he needs to know if his presence just doesn’t help things. “I understand if...”

“Oh, you can really be such an idiot when you want to. You can stay as long as you want, don’t even ask that.”

There’s something in Boone’s usually unnerving stare that says that he really means that and Charlie feels something unclench somewhere inside his chest.

“Well, then I guess that my presence didn’t bother you so much in the end.”

Boone rolls his eyes and doesn’t even spare him an answer before muttering that he’ll just break out the alcohol.

For some reason it feels so familiar that for the first time since May 1945 Charlie feels pretty much completely at ease. Which is way more than he could have hoped for.

End.
 
 
feeling: okayokay
 
 
 
Shona: lost - charlie (feedback)toestastegood on December 30th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
On the one hand, I am very annoyed that I have reached the end of this fic because it has been such an adventure going through it. I have paced myself as much as I possibly could, but even so it seems to have gone past too quickly. I could quite happily read another 30,000 words about everyone in this gorgeous AU setting.

On the other hand, I am SO DELIGHTED that everyone got a happy ending! Delighted and stunned! From the second I started reading this I had myself braced for some sort of character death. I figured it was a war setting and it was bound to end unhappily, and secretly I had to worry that Charlie might end up dying before the end. Because, dude, it's Charlie. Fate has it in for him. I should have realised that he has three separate guardian angels on his side: Desmond, Boone and you. ;)

By all logic, I really shouldn't have enjoyed this half as much as I did. I knew I'd love it because, well, it's you and you are fantastic, but two of the three pairings do nothing for me so I was expecting that I'd end up skimming through the Desmond/Sayid and Jack/Sawyer sections to zone in on Charlie and Boone being adorable idiots. You really sold me on the other two pairings as well, though! Your Desmond POV was really delicious, and I was completely brought along with his attraction to Sayid. It seemed very natural.

One of the best things about AUs are the way they can play with canon, as a wink to the audience, and I loved what you did with their canon stories in this. Desmond's thing with Penny wasn't ignored but it was shown how the AU situation itself affected it. I loved the mentions of their family situations as well, from the reaction of Boone and Shannon's mother to Charlie's dad working as a butcher - and why, this time, work in a butcher's shop wouldn't exactly be ideal for poor little Charlie.

I know next to nothing about this period of history so I can't say whether or not it's accurate (although, knowing you, I'm willing to bet it is!) but the atmosphere itself feels spot-on. It's so bleak and depressing and there's no light at the end of the tunnel. It completely strips away any of the glamour associated with war, and I think for this period that is absolutely right. The battle scenes with this are something that's going to stick with me as an example of how to do a historical AU properly. Hats off to you, completely.

I really hope that this fic is something you're proud of. I think it's so emotionally strong and that the growth of the relationships - not just the romantic ones, but all of the friendships as well - is done so well. I've really enjoyed taking my time reading it, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for some stunning Lost AUs. ♥ You're a star.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost des/sayid gropingjanie_tangerine on January 3rd, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
First thing: sorry for answering so late but I'm having friends over and I wanted to reply properly and I found time just now. :(

Okay, uh, right, this = in the top three best comments ever seriously. I'm so flattered it isn't even funny and I'm just so happy that you liked this this much, aw. *blushes again*

And ha, I probably could have written a lot more if I had gone for my original plan which included some of them arriving in Germany, but it steered another way. Even though if I get some ideas for the same setting I'll definitely won't pass. ;) And ha, trust me to be the only person who writes a story set in WWII and doesn't kill anyone. I did think about it for one second because I knew it'd have seemed strange but then I was like whatever, who cares. *cough* And I doubt you'll ever see me killing Charlie in anything AU so you're safe on that particular issue. ;)

Lol, I guess that defying logic is my mission? ;) Seriously, if you bought the Jack/Sawyer and Des/Sayid even without particularly shipping them then I feel realized ;) and it's just great to hear that the attraction seemed natural. I fretted over that point a lot, so.. <3 and thanks also regarding the canon issue. I love to do that kind of thing so it's great to hear you thought it worked. I have fun with that. And yeah, Charlie's father being a butcher in this case was particularly NOT ideal..

And that whole bit about the period just made me squee in delight because (not kidding) I did research for about one year tops in order to write some of this stuff so it's really the best thing you could say to me. And I never thought war as anything glamorous so I was really trying to convey that impression. (Sides: THANKS for that bit about the battles especially because they were probably the hardest thing I ever wrote tops. It's just so great to know they worked.)

Oh, I'm definitely proud of this. I still think I could have expanded a few things but hey, I can always write snippets sometimes. Who knows? ;) And thanks so much again for the great feedback, you made me so happy that I can't even say and you're the one who's the star. Really. Thanks. <3333333333333333333333
lover all alone: Lost: Jawyer good morninginvisiblelove on December 31st, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
*APPLAUDS*

Wow, I am seriously impressed with this epic you've got here! What an incredible amount of work must have gone into this! Such an interesting AU to place the boys of Lost into. But the life/death situation of wartime certainly worked for them after all of the turmoil we've seen them encounter on the island.

I usually only ever read Jack/Sawyer in the Lost fandom, but I definitely enjoyed the other pairings in here as well: particularly Sayid/Desmond - which means you did an ESPECIALLY epic job since I usually pair them with Nadia and Penny, respectively ;)

Seriously though, you did such a lovely job with this. <33333333 *SHOWERS YOU WITH SPARKLY CONFETTI*




...P.S. If you ever felt so inclined, a J/S one-shot of them being all adorable and Parisian would be much much loved :p *points to icon of them waking up in their Parisian flat for inspiration* ;)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost jack/sawyerjanie_tangerine on January 3rd, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
*blush*

Aw, thank you so much! *feels flattered* Really, I'm blushing like crazy here. (PS: sorry for replying so late, I'm having friends over so I don't have much internet time but I wanted to reply properly XD) It's so great to know you liked it, also because er, yes, I did put a lot of work into it so it's just flattering for the ego. ;) I don't know why I got the idea but it just seemed like a good setting, so I did give it a try. ;)

I'm so glad you liked the other pairings too! Ha, slashing D/S is hard also for the reason you said (and I kinda ship them with their girls too) so it just makes me even happier to know that I did sell it. ;)

Thanks so much again!! <333

(and ha, since it's you and I might feel inclined I swear I'll think about that. *wink* <333)
(Deleted comment)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost des/sayid ♥janie_tangerine on January 3rd, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
(Ha, I actually wanted to post it there but I think I completely missed it when I went around re-posting. *fail* I totally will!)

That said, thank you so much!! <3 Well, late than never is always good around these parts. ;) And I'm so glad that you liked it! I just love to put canon stuff into AUs so it's great to know you think it worked this wound. ;) And ha, Boone/Charlie is a good ship imo, and since I spent years fretting over selling all the slashing in this it's great to know you liked the whole deal. <33

Thanks again! ♥
metallic_etoilemetallic_etoile on January 10th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
So, uh, oh my god. That was just... Like, so amazing. I'm completely awestruck at the sheer awesomeness that this fic exudes.

The whole idea of this fic is so completely original to me. Like, I've never read anything like it before, and, Jesus, it was completely brilliant! I can't even get over how *real* you made everything feel. Like, the whole time, I was just hoping that none of the boys would get killed or hurt really badly.

Your characterizations were so spot on! Like, when I was reading it, that's one thing that I kept thinking. Your Sayid and Desmond are perfect and Sawyer's letter being incorporated into the story is just pure genius. And, god, Boone and Charlie were amazing.

And, seriously, your descriptions about everything that was happening around them were... idk, beautiful? Well, maybe not beautiful when we're talking about the actual war, but, like, the scenery? Man, it makes me wanna go visit those places now. And, speaking of the war descriptions: Super believable. It's like being transported back into that time when all that stuff was happening.

This is definitely one of my fav fics ever! And like, my favorite AU LOST fic I've ever read. I'm completely in love with this, especially the ending <333333

You are made of win. As is your story :D
the female ghost of tom joad: lost des/sayidjanie_tangerine on January 13th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
*feels ridiculously flattered* Oh my, no, you kind of left me speechless because this = most awesome comment ever or something.

I can't even say how glad I am you liked this so much. *blushes like crazy* And I'm so happy it felt real to you because I was sort of really trying to convey that. I love writing AUs especially if historical but in this case it was way harder to work on the atmosphere so it's just great to know it worked for you. And ha, meet the only person who writes a fic set during WWII and doesn't kill any main character. ;) But I can't kill people if they aren't already dead in canon and in AUs I just can't bring myself so ha, yes, I saved them all.

I'm so happy that the characterizations worked for you. I was especially worried with Sawyer's and Sayid's so knowing that they sounded IC makes me very happy. ;) And I couldn't avoid the letter now, could it?

Uh, I totally get the beautiful/not beautiful thing and seriously, thanks so much again. The settings were the hardest part and the war descriptions literally kicked my ass so knowing that it paid off is the best thing you could say to me. ;) And I'd say that a trip to Italy is always worth it *cough*.

And again, really, thank you so much. I know I said it like ten times but really, I could say it another ten and I'm just so flattered again I can't even say. Thanks again, I'm so happy that you liked it this much! :D
30_rock_office: Jin & the French Squad30_rock_office on January 15th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry that I'm only commenting now, but this one of the best LOST stories I've ever read. The couples were perfect and I loved how you developed the characters. There were absolutely no spelling/grammar errors to speak of either. Just wonderful! :)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost -> generaljanie_tangerine on January 16th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Now is awesome, thanks for reading and commenting at all! ;) And aw, I'm flattered, I really am. Thank you so much, I'm really glad you enjoyed the story and the characterizations. And ha, that last line makes me happy because as a non-English native it's the best thing you can say to me, even if you need to thank my beta for something there. ;) Thank you again!! :D
a geek in such the wrong way: lost-s/sd-gunshowhaldoor on February 4th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Really, really slow (me, that is; not you!)! And my fb is probably not nearly as good as it should be, but I just wanted to let you know that I read the whole thing, and enjoyed it very much. Sayid and Desmond worked really well in this, and I loved how you constantly have Des saving Charlie's life! He and Boone were really sweet together too! And of course, Jack and Sawyer. How like them to sort of not like each other but really they are each other's best friends in the end. You made it seem like a very realistic view of war too; the boredom/sameness and the reality of people being killed and/or wounded really hit home. Thanks for sharing! (and poor Sawyer getting the bullet in the same place!) 9excuse all the edits!)

Edited at 2010-02-04 07:05 pm (UTC)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost sawyer/sayid *_*janie_tangerine on February 4th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Nah, thank you for reading! And don't worry about the edits, you're talking with one who managed to edit a comment five times...

That said, I'm so glad you liked it! :D Selling the Des/Sayid was my main worry so it's awesome to know they worked for you in this one. And I couldn't avoid the canon nods, I mean, Des saving Charlie all the times was too perfect not to do it. ;) And the Jack/Sawyer parts were the worst to do because I was set on slashing them when I started and then in the end they decided they'd have rather gone for friends with benefits and so I was completely not following my plan, so it's great to know you liked them too and that this whole thing worked for you also on the realism side. Thanks so much again, I'm so glad you liked it indeed!! <3333
janellla: 910 hugjanellla on April 1st, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
OK, I want to go have a good cry, but the kids are home from school, the husband is home from work...I'll just have to be stoic. I never want this story to end. You nailed each and every character as they appear in LOST, but you gave them so much texture and density, they stand completely on their own in this story--this novel. To state the obvious, I loved it, and I will read it again.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost des/sayid ♥janie_tangerine on April 9th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
OUCH, SORRY FOR ANSWERING SO LATE! I was attending a supernatural convention for the whole Easter weekend and I'm getting to early comments just now so really, SORRY again for replying after a week. *headdesks*

That said, thank you so much! I'm really glad that this story worked for you, I really worked hard on it and it's just awesome to hear that you liked it (especially the characterizations because that was the worst part after describing battles, lol). Thanks again, it's so awesome to know you liked this!! :D