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10 February 2012 @ 04:18 pm
fic, Lost: the curse (Boone/Richard), PG13  
Title: the curse
Pairing/Characters: Boone/Richard, Jacob
Rating: PG13
Word count: 5600 ca
Warnings: uhm, one of the characters is a ghost. I think that’s it. Set in late S1 but implies having seen the entire series.
Summary: “I know that his touch killed you because he did the same to me, once. But I fear it was for opposite reasons.” or, where Boone might be dead and Richard might be immortal, but the reason is the same and the result isn’t that different after all.
Author notes: written for sunsetdawn20 at this year's Lost HoHoHo exchange at lostsquee for the prompts: being touched by Jacob is like the mark of Cain, plus angst, plus rare ship and Boone & Richard from the favorite characters section. Also, there’s some kind of wacky theorizing going on and I took some liberties with the whole Jacob-touched-people-from-flight-815 business. Title stolen from a Josh Ritter song.

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground (…) You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.


Genesis 4:10-17


***


Damn, Boone thinks, where is it?

He had the damn book with him when he went to buy coffee at the airport’s bar, but now that he has brought Shannon hers and has one hand free, he has realized that he must have lost it somewhere between there and their gate. He can’t even remember if he left it at the counter – maybe he did, but maybe he had put it between his elbow and his side and if fell down on his way back. In that case, good luck to him – he’s never going to find it again.

As if this day couldn’t have started any worse. He sighs, takes a sip from his coffee cup and heads for the bar again. But it isn’t there and according to the waitress they didn’t find it on the counter.

He wonders if he has time to buy himself another one at the airport’s bookshop – he isn’t sure that he can take such a long flight with Shannon next to him and no excuse to not pay her attention.

After last night, the one thing he actually needs is to sit as far away from Shannon as possible, but he already knows he’s fooling himself. He needs that, sure, but he won’t sit anywhere else, and he knows that too.

Then someone touches his shoulder.

“Excuse me? I think this belongs to you.”

Boone turns and finds himself face to face with a man that has to be over thirty but younger than forty; blonde, blue eyes, nice smile, and Boone’s copy of
Watership Down in his right hand.

“Yes, it does. Where –”

“You were using your elbow to keep it still, but it fell down at some point before you went out of the door. I picked it up, but then I couldn’t find you.”

Boone nods and takes the book. “Thank you so much. I have a long flight, I was hoping to finish it.”

“It’s a good one. I hope you like it,” the man says, and then goes back to what’s presumably his table and his coffee. There’s a book next to the paper cup; something by Flannery O’Connor. Boone can’t make out the title, but it’s not as if it’s his business. He takes another sip from his coffee cup before running back towards his gate. They should board in a short while if he isn’t wrong, and the last thing he needs is giving Shannon reason to snap at him for being late.

He has a feeling that the next eight hours are going to be the worst of his life.



--


Sometimes he wonders if he should have let Jack cut the damn leg.

Maybe he could have survived after all. Of course, his days of running in the park would have been over, but maybe he’d still be alive.

The afterlife is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Mostly, it’s such a lonely business.

One would have thought that if there had to be an afterlife, it would be something better than being a ghost stranded on a crazy island where no one can see you. He has tried to hang around the camp, but after seeing his own funeral he decided that he couldn’t take it.

He has gone through half-hearted attempts to contact Shannon and Jack and then he gave up. No one can see him or feel him, so why bothering?

He spends about a week wandering around the godforsaken piece of rock. He learns that if he looks down in water surfaces he can see himself, but if he tries to touch the water, his hand goes right through it as if it wasn’t there at all. At least his face isn’t covered in blood – there’s a nasty scar on his forehead and one on his cheek, but that’s it. He’s only wearing the torn jeans he had on when he died. No shirt or else. Then again, why should he care about modesty? No one can see him, after all.

Not much different from when I was alive, right? , he thinks bitterly more than once during that week.

If he ever runs into some random people from the camp, they don’t see him.

Of course they don’t.

After that week, he decides that sticking in the camp’s proximities won’t work. He’s already bored to tears, but the idea of going back there makes him sick, so he figures he might take a walk inland. He has nothing but time, right?

His feet don’t bleed or hurt while he walks, even if they’re bare.

He hates this. He wishes he felt pain or anything else.

He doesn’t.

--

Boone momentarily forgets his problems when he follows a couple of people he has never seen before to a village.

He isn’t sure he can process it.

There are houses in the middle of this island. Houses with people living inside them, electricity, swings outside them and children on the swings.

The only solution he can come up with is that they have to be those Others that people were discussing back on the beach, but the last thing he’d have suspected would have been that they would live in a properly furnished village inside this stupid island.

If he was alive, he’d wish for a drink.

But he isn’t, and he has no idea what to do. Walk inside? Gather information? And what would he do with it, since he’s a ghost that no one can see and therefore couldn’t communicate it to anyone? Movies make afterlife sound a lot better than it is – in movies, ghosts know how to make themselves be seen or walk in someone’s dreams. Boone doesn’t even know if he could do that, and in that case, he wouldn’t know where to start from.

It’s really not ironic when the story of your life is the story of your death.

Then he notices someone walking towards him. He doesn’t try to hide – it’s not as if this person is ever going to see him, right?

Wrong, because the man stops dead in his tracks as soon as he glances at the tree in front of which Boone is standing.

Boone’s eyes widen as he stares back at the other man. Tall, dark hair, dark eyes (and they’re nice eyes indeed, Boone thinks, with quite long eyelashes; the shape is also lovely, not too wide and not too narrow), thin lips, lithe body, not tanned but not overly pale either.

And as the man’s eyes widen, Boone knows that there’s no other explanation.

“You can see me?” Boone whispers, his own voice sounding strange to his own ears. He hasn’t spoken since he left the beach.

“You’re dead?” the man asks in return. Boone gives him a tiny, shy nod.

He expects the man to run.

He comes closer instead.

--

“I should have understood it the second I saw you,” the man says after a minute or so. It felt longer, though. A lot longer.

“What – what do you mean?”

The man smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. He shakes his head. “You have no idea, don’t you?”

Boone is positive that he doesn’t.

As usual. Being out of the loop is nothing new.

“About what?”

“You are one of the plane crash survivors. Were.”

“I – how do you even know?”

“We are more informed than you would imagine. But that’s not about it. Before you boarded your plane… by chance, did you meet a blonde man, around my age? He has blue eyes. And he has touched you. Even a small thing. A small pat on shoulder, maybe.”

“I did,” Boone answers, remembering the man who gave him back his book.

“I knew. I could feel it.”

Boone is about to ask what this is all about, but then the man in front of him raises his head and meets his eyes again. “I know that his touch killed you because he touched me, too, once. But I fear it was for opposite reasons.”

--

If Boone still had blood running through his veins, it would be turning cold right now.

As things are, he merely stands still, feeling as if someone had taken the ground from under his feet. He can’t strictly feel it, sure; he can only perceive that there’s something solid under his soles and that’s it. But right now, he feels as if he’s floating on thin air, and it isn’t a nice sensation at all.

“I’m not sure I’m following you,” he whispers, his voice so thin he can barely hear it. The man gives him a slight shrug and nods towards their left.

“Come with me. There is a small clearing near, I can explain you everything there. You should know why you’re dead, at least.”

Boone doesn’t object and follows the man for a couple of minutes. They stop on the top of a small hill, from which the entire freaky village is visible. Boone sits down, following the other; damn, he needs to learn his name, at least.

The grass under his legs feels the same way sandpaper used to.

“What’s your name?” he asks. “I might as well know it, since you’re the one person that can see me on this entire piece of rock.”

“There is another for sure. But that’s not the point. I’m Richard.”

“Boone. So, what is this being touched business about?”

“The man you met… he’s named Jacob. He lives here. He has… I don’t know how to define it. To be entirely honest, I don’t know what he does exactly, or how he does it. He never told me. But when he touched me, he made me… you could say ageless.”

“Ageless?”

“I was born in the nineteenth century,” Richard replies, quietly, his eyes not blinking, and Boone wishes he could afford to assume that Richard is insane.

Being born in the nineteenth century and looking barely forty isn’t stranger than being a ghost that only one person can see.

“So… he turned you into… someone immortal?”

“To be fair, I asked for it. I never should have,” Richard whispers quietly. “But… this has happened for a long while. Every time someone arrives here, Jacob searches for a replacement. Whether it happens or not… it requires a death for the process to be set in motion.”

Boone isn’t sure he wants to know what this entire thing stands for. “Replacement?”

“He has wanted someone to take his place here for a while. But that doesn’t concern you, I’m afraid.”

“Right. Because I was the required death, wasn’t I?”

“If it consoles you, it’s… more or less random.”

“Random in which sense?”

“There are certain people that… can be considered for replacements. In your group, it’s no more than seven or eight.”

“So everyone else is good for… taking one for the team?”

Richard looks at him one second, narrowing his eyes before giving him a nod. “It’s put in very crude terms, but that’s accurate.”

Boone thinks that he wants to cry. So not only he wasn’t good enough for whatever beauty contest this place is hosting, but among the other forty people that aren’t, as well, he’s the one who has to die, and suffering like hell, on top of that?

“Did you say that you regret asking him to make you immortal?” He has to think about something else. It sounds as good as any other argument.

Richard shakes his head and stands up, brushing grass from his trousers.

“It’s a long story and I have business to attend. But if you want to find me tomorrow, I usually come here in the late afternoon.”

He’s gone and has disappeared into the forest before Boone can object.

Boone sighs, running a hand through his too-clean hair (of course it’s clean – it can’t get dirty if he’s not alive, right?) and figuring that he might as well stay here. If Richard is the one person on this island who can see him or talk to him, there’s no sense in going anywhere else. Of course he could take a walk through the village, but just seeing it from here makes his skin crawl.

He closes his eyes, knowing that it’s useless because the dead don’t sleep. He waits.

--

“You were here the whole time?” Richard asks the next afternoon. Boone gives him a half-shrug, not bothering to move from his current position.

“I’m tired of walking aimlessly around here. No one I meet recognizes me, if I meet them altogether. Why should I go anywhere else?”

Richard nods and drops sitting next to him.

“Thanks for coming,” Boone says then. He figures he owes Richard at least that.

“Why should you thank me?”

“No one forced you to come here and you told me enough. You didn’t have to.”

Richard’s lips curl up, slightly. “Believe me, I can use some different company. That said, I could bring you where Jacob is, if you want to have a talk to him yourself. But I’m afraid he might only confuse you further.”

“Why, has he been doing that with you for the last century or so?”

“You’re not entirely wrong,” Richard whispers. “But it’s the way he is. If you want a straight answer, you will never have it. I should have known better.”

“Than asking for eternal life?”

“Seeing the world change and fade and everyone you know disappear while you don’t change at all isn’t as good as it might seem. Of course, I can only guess that dying the way you did isn’t anything you wished to experience, either.”

Boone snorts. That’s an understatement. “At least he could have made me die quickly and painlessly, if I had to.”

Richard doesn’t try to justify this Jacob person.

Good.

Because it’s totally not what Boone needs right now.

“I suppose you couldn’t tell me what he even is, could you.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know that myself.”

Exactly the answer Boone had expected.

Whatever Jacob is, appartently he likes to keep people in the dark.

--

Richard comes back the next day – Boone hadn’t expected it at all. He had stayed in the clearing only because he has realized that he’s tired. How being dead means he can be tired is an entire different question, but he has decided that there’s no point wandering around. He has been running after Shannon half of his life and after Locke half of the time on this island, it only gained him a death that was everything but merciful, and he has spent his time from then wandering aimlessly.

He’s allowed to rest for a while, considering that his afterlife is everything but peaceful. If only at least it was the good kind of different from his real life, but no such luck.

“I didn’t think you would be still here.”

“I don’t have a particular place to go.”

“Actually, it’s strange. If everyone who dies on this island was like you, you would have quite the company.”

“So what, I’m a special snowflake now?”

Richard raises an eyebrow, as if he has never heard that expression before, but then he nods. Boone figures it got the point across.

“I wouldn’t know why. There are many things I don’t know, even if by now I should.”

Boone thinks he can relate even too well.

“How did you understand at once that I had been… touched?”

Richard sighs. He looks thoughtful. His eyes are really something, Boone thinks. He shouldn’t notice that kind of thing now, but he can’t help it. Not when they’re fixed on some not defined point in the horizon, and when Richard barely blinks. He can’t help staring.

“I just… felt it. It was a strange sensation. As if there was something making you and me at least somewhat alike.”

“But is there some reason why I’m not… wherever I should be?”

“Either he likes you more than the others, or the opposite. Surely you must have made some kind of impression,” Richard says. “Then again, I… can’t imagine him disliking you.”

“Excuse me? I died. I can’t believe he liked me.”

“That’s not the point. You aren’t the first, though I hope that you are be the last. What I mean is that I have known him for two centuries, as much as you can know someone like him. He isn’t the kind who doesn’t let you have a peaceful death because he feels like it. He’s only cruel with people he despises. And I highly doubt you would make him feel that. I know his despise. If it was that, I’d have felt it.”

“That doesn’t reassure me much.”

“I wasn’t aiming for that.”

And it’s a good thing. Boone isn’t sure he could have taken it.

--

“You really do like it here, don’t you?”

“Not particularly, but I don’t feel like being around people I know if they can’t see me. And I don’t care for the rest of this island. It’s as good as any other place.”

Richard doesn’t comment either way and Boone is more or less thankful for it.

“But if you want me to go… I mean, this is your hiding place or whatever, if I’m… haunting it and you don’t want to I can go. It makes no difference either way.”

The part about it not making a difference isn’t completely true, since he likes the clearing well enough, but Boone is still technically haunting Richard’s place. More or less.

“It’s all right,” Richard replies. “I don’t mind. And it’s nice to have some company.”

One of the things Boone would always have liked to have is the ability to bury his feelings under a good amount of denial. He has been trying for half of his life and it hasn’t worked at all. Now he wishes he could ignore that when Richard told him that he didn’t have to get lost he had felt… good. Maybe even a bit grateful.

It’s pathetic.

So pathetic.

Then again, story of his life. It’s ridiculous that when someone does something nice for him, whatever it is, Boone feels this stupid, idiotic relief.

They don’t say anything else until Richard leaves one hour later or so. But it’s the good kind of silence.

Boone doesn’t mind it. What he minds is the silence that makes him company when no one else is around.

He stares at the village, the small houses all put in neat rows. If he didn’t know better, he could be in any small village in the central US.

Not as if you’ll have a home of that kind anymore, he thinks, and forces himself to either change subject or think nothing at all.

--

It’s an accident. A couple of days later, as Richard sits next to him, his arm brushes against Boone’s. It should have been nothing – the two times Boone tried touching someone, his hand went right through them and the other person didn’t even flinch.

It’s different. Richard flinches back and Boone does the same, because – it had felt real. Richard’s arm had felt like an arm and hadn’t… gone through him or some similar ghost nonsense.

They stare at each other for half a minute before Boone gathers the guts to speak.

“Could – could I?” he asks, his voice unsure.

“Yes,” Richard whispers. “I’m sorry, it took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting –”

“I wasn’t expecting it either. No offense taken.” Boone tries to keep his tone light, but he fails completely and opts to reach out instead. He slowly, slowly moves his hand until it touches Richard’s wrist, lightly. He feels bare skin instead of nothing. It’s warm, he thinks as he moves his thumb, searching for Richard’s pulse.

It’s there. Steady and strong, and Boone swallows. He doesn’t move when Richard’s hand turns up and does the same. He finds no pulse, obviously, but it seems as if this works both ways.

“You’re cold,” Richard observes.

Boone hadn’t known, but he isn’t surprised.

“You’re not,” he replies. “This isn’t – how is it even – it’s because he still touched the both of us?”

“It could be,” Richard agrees. Suddenly his eyes narrow for a second, but then he shakes his head, whatever he was thinking obviously discarded.

“What was –”

“It was nothing. For a second I thought you might not be what you seemed, but… you couldn’t be him.” He looks about to say more, but then he bites his lower lip and doesn’t add anything more . “Don’t mind me.”

Boone isn’t too sure about this – what the hell did Richard think he was? – but he lets that go. He’s too stunned about what they have just found out to worry about anything else. To be entirely truthful, if this is some other piece of crap about rules that work on this island, he isn’t sure that he wants to know.

“Are you sure it isn’t something I should know?” he asks anyway, unable to stop himself.

“I am not sure I should make your afterlife even more complicated,” Richard replies, and Boone almost smiles at that. They’re still touching. Boone pretends not to have noticed. It’s too good a sensation to give it up.

“Good, because I’m not even sure that I want to know.”

Richard leaves half an hour later. When he takes away his hand, Boone suppresses the urge to shiver.

--

He thinks, what have I done?

He knows that if Richard is right then he hasn’t done anything to deserve dying, or at least nothing worse than another thirty-nine people or so, but if he’s here there has to be some reason.

The point is that there’s only one solution he comes up with and that he can’t escape from. But he can’t believe that he’d deserve to wander through this piece of land forever because he couldn’t push Shannon out of the door the moment she tried to kiss him. He failed to resist that temptation, of course, but he’s sure that out of all the survivors, there must have been someone with worst skeletons in their closets.

He would have never acted on it if she hadn’t made a move first, and at least about this he’s sure that he isn’t deluding himself. The entire thing was at least half her fault, so how come it’s him being stuck here?

Not that he’s ever going to get any answers.

--

“On the first day you said you could bring me to see this Jacob. Which means… he actually lives somewhere? As in.. a real person would?”

“He does.” Richard asks. Boone tries to resist the urge to reach out and touch him.

“I figured… well, if he couldn’t see me it would be the worst joke of the last two centuries, since I’m like this because of him. If he’s somewhere on this island, couldn’t I talk to him?”

“I already told you, you could,” Richard agrees. “But you most probably won’t get answers.”

“I know. But considering that the alternative is rotting here forever, I might as well try.”

“That’s what I’ve thought for the last eighty years or so. Still, I can bring you there.”

“Good,” Boone replies, and attempts to stand up.

Considering that he hasn’t been standing on his legs for… a long time, it’s ridiculous that for a second he can’t find his balance. He shouldn’t need to find his balance.

Then Richard’s hand grabs his arm, steadying him.

“Are you all right?”

No, Boone wants to scream, but he nods instead. When Richard’s fingers aren’t touching his arm anymore, he feels cold.

It’s ridiculous. He hasn’t felt warm or cold or anything in between since he died, except whenever Richard touched him.

This makes no sense at all.

--

“How old were you?” Richard asks as they walk through a jungle that looks the same everywhere and feels like cardboard under his feet.

“Twenty-two. I would have been twenty-three in a few months.”

Richard swallows, looking down at the ground. He seems pensive.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. He isn’t what I would call considerate in his choices, most of the time.”

Boone doesn’t have anything to reply to that.

He would have liked to live a long life, indeed, but that’s not happening.

--

They stop in a clearing when the sun sets. Richard says that he doesn’t like to be among these particular trees at night. Boone doesn’t question it. The man might be immortal, but no one says that he can’t be killed, and he’s the one who knows how this island works. Certainly not him.

He sits down in front of a small fire Richard builds, and says nothing.

“I keep trying to make sense of it.” He doesn’t even know why he says it, but maybe it’s only because he can’t stand to be silent much longer. Not when for the last week or so he has only talked to Richard, whenever he was around.

“Did you manage it?”

“No. Everything I come up with sounds ridiculous. I mean, it’s not as if I died without regrets, but who doesn’t? I’m not – I’m not special. The only special thing about me is that I’m here.”

“Do you think that little of yourself?” Richard asks, and what gets to Boone is that… he merely sounds curious. Not as if he’s sorry for him.

At least.

“I never was the special snowflake. I never even wanted to be one. It’s just the way it is, no point in crying about it.”

Richard doesn’t look too convinced, but he doesn’t push it.

“He won’t take anything back, will he? Of… whatever he has given me.” Boone asks after a short while.

“I’m not sure if he can,” Richard replies. “Or at least, I’m not sure that he could do that for me, and I know better than asking. You don’t ask someone to take back something that they gave you because you asked them. Not when it’s something as huge as what I asked for. Not when only a god could do it.”

Boone can understand it, more or less. He only wishes he had had the same choice.

--

Richard says that he will get some sleep. Boone agrees to keep watch – it’s not as if he needs it.

If, while Richard is asleep, Boone’s fingers slowly, lightly touch his face, no one is there to see it. It makes Boone feel horrible, but he misses the feeling of touching someone for real, and if he’s careful enough, Richard won’t ever find out.

He has soft skin, Boone thinks as his knuckles brush against Richard’s temple.

--

He hadn’t known that death would have made him starve for touch.

He should have never even tried to steal that contact. When Richard wakes up, Boone has to think constantly about keeping his hands in check. They’re threatening to raise and reach out and take, and that’s not something Boone just does.

He never has. With anyone.

It would help if Richard wasn’t a sight for sore eyes. Boone never only stuck to girls – Shannon he might have loved, but about everyone else he’s been with, he never cared about gender. As long as he liked them, what was the big deal?

Right now, he wishes he only liked girls. This is making him feel doubly uncomfortable.

“Something is troubling you,” Richard says, stopping next to a tree and leaning against it.

“How would you know?”

“You aren’t hard to read. I have been around to know enough on the subject.”

“Listen, it’s just – this whole not being able to touch anything business is driving me insane,” he answers, figuring that there’s no point in hiding this. “And this whole being dead thing is driving me even more insane, and at the prospect of spending eternity haunting this island is – I’m not sure if I can take it. And – I can’t think straight.”

“You could keep me company then,” Richard replies, sounding slightly amused. “I have accepted that same prospect a long time ago. And I could do a lot worse.”

Boone doesn’t know what made him go from standing in front of Richard, a safe four feet distance between them, to kissing him.

He doesn’t even realize how fast he moves.

But one second he’s standing on cardboard ground, and the second his hands are on Richard’s face and he’s crashing his lips against Richard’s, which are thin and slightly cracked and warm, oh-so-warm.

For a second it all feels wonderful, and then he realizes what he’s doing and flinches back, taking a couple of steps backwards.

“Sorry,” he says. “I have no idea what –”

“I do,” Richard replies, his voice so soft it’s barely audible.

“You what?”

“You’ve been dead for two weeks and I’m the only thing you can touch. I haven’t forgotten what humanity is means just because for me time stopped two centuries ago.”

Boone’s head is spinning and he isn’t sure that he can believe his own luck. It just makes sense that someone would get what he’s aiming for now and not when he was in the world of the living.

“Still, sorry. I wasn’t thinking straight. I haven’t been for a while.”

Richard nods, looking down at him for maybe a second more than appropriate; Boone wishes he could stop himself, but apparently his inhibitions are as dead as he is.

Richard doesn’t push him away this time either – actually, his lips press back when Boone moves forward and kisses him again. Richard tastes strange, or maybe it’s only his perceptions being screwed, but it isn’t a bad kind of strange. His cheek, the barest hint of stubble covering it, is warm under Boone’s otherwise unfeeling hands, and when Richard’s tongue brushes against Boone’s, it feels so good that Boone isn’t sure that he can think straight anymore.

Not that he was thinking straight in the first place, but when it’s over, he feels better than before. Less restless, maybe.

“Thanks,” he whispers as he takes a step back on the cardboard ground.

“Don’t mention it,” Richard replies, and then he starts walking again. Boone follows.

--

There’s a beach, and a foot belonging to an Egyptian statue around which Boone can’t even begin to wrap his head. Boone thinks that whoever invented Myst probably came from this godforsaken piece of rock.

Except that at least that game was over at some point, and the ending wasn’t only one. This one is not over. At this point, Boone thinks it’s never going to be. Not to mention that the ending has passed already and he isn’t getting a second chance.

“Knock on the door. You should be able to,” Richard says. “He’s most probably under there. I should say good luck to you, shouldn’t I?”

“Maybe. I’m not so sure that whatever happens will end up being good for me, though. Then again… at worst, I’ll just wander around here forever.”

Richard nods, takes in a deep breath.

“At worst, that’s exactly what I will do, as well. But I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

“You know, you wouldn’t be such bad company either,” Boone says, knowing that he’s smiling slightly even if there’s nothing to smile about. Richard’s eyes are warm though, and his hand is even warmer as it gives Boone’s arm a tentative squeeze.

“Good. I told you it wouldn’t be that bad, would it?”

For a second, Boone is tempted to go back with Richard instead.

After all, it wouldn’t be so bad.

But then Richard’s hand isn’t there anymore and Boone wishes he could force himself to stop thinking foolish things for good. They might be cursed to an eternity on this piece of rock, but it doesn’t change that Boone is dead and Richard isn’t, and while Boone had more or less mastered the art of deluding himself, he isn’t that far gone.

“Thank you,” he says, his voice soft, as Richard turns his back and turns back towards the path they came from.

Richard turns back to him, another mostly sad smile on his lips. He nods, and then he’s gone.

Boone slowly turns back towards the statue. He takes a deep breath he doesn’t need and starts walking. When the jungle becomes sand, it doesn’t make a difference. It still feels like cardboard.

He hates this.

He wonders what he should ask. Why me, why this, can’t you let me stay dead in peace, send me somewhere else, what did you want from me.

He isn’t even sure that he wants to see Jacob’s face knowing that a simple tap on the shoulder is the reason he’s dead.

But for fuck’s sake, he has died trying to do a good thing, and he wasn’t scared when he realized that if he wanted to use that radio he couldn’t get off that plane. He hadn’t been scared to die back then. He had been scared after, of course, and asking Jack to let him die took a lot out of him, but you would have to be insane not to be scared at that point.

He can’t back out now.

He raises a hand as soon as he sees the door, wondering if he can even knock. He glances behind him – his feet haven’t left any trace on the cardboard sand.

Then the door opens itself. Boone can’t make much out – inside it’s all very dark. He can see a dim fire somewhere, but that’s it.

Fine, he thinks. He isn’t accepting an aimless destiny he never asked for without at least trying to stand up for himself. And if it comes to nothing, he might have someone to share some sort of fucked up eternity with after all. He doesn’t lose anything by this point.

He walks inside the statue, and the door closes behind him.

End.
 
 
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