Characters: Sawyer, dead!Boone mainly, then Jack, Sayid and everyone who doesn't show gets at least a mention, but all the characters are somewhat included.
Word counting: more than 7000, so I split it in two.
Disclaimer: Lost? Not mine. The movie? It was Frank Capra's. Anything mine? No. Got it? Yes? Nice!
Challenge: 62, Happy Holidays
Spoilers: it's AU, but takes into account S3 finale stuff.
Summary: Post-rescue AU. Sawyer is on the run and ponders what he has left to live for, except that someone unexpected helps him figure things out.
A/N: So, this is my, uhm, personal take on 'It's a Wonderful Life' featuring Sawyer as George Bailey and Boone as the, uhm, angel. Could seem crackish but it really isn't. The amount of sugar has been shortened by a good deal, though I couldn't avoid some in the ending. And, Interior, South Dakota, exists since it's on my atlas and I actually went and checked for some names for a place, but I really don't remember how I chose it and of course I've never set foot there my whole life, so I just went and made it up. Sorry to anyone who actually lives there. Thanks to lasamy for betaing. And I'm aware that Boone looks more the ghosts from Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol', but it served better my purposes.
Sawyer cursed, because he really couldn’t get how the hell he finished in Interior, South Dakota, while parking the car in the darkest road he could find. Then he opened the door and got out. It was freezing and he wore only his jeans and a leather jacket; right, he had also a wool scarf, but it wasn’t damn near enough in South Dakota winter.
He tightened it around his neck and opened the back door of the car, took a backpack from the seat, closed the door and threw the key in the snow on the road; then he left the hallway and came on a bigger road; there was a shitty motel in the corner, which actually looked like a bug’s hole, but it was good enough for one night. And you don’t complain when you’re on the run.
The man at the reception didn’t complain and asked for forty dollars; Sawyer said he’d pay at the check out in the morning and signed on the hotel register as Tom Joad. Then got his key and locked himself in room 24, an ugly hole without heating but with a hard bed and a couple of bugs crawling on a worn out carpet. He sat on the bed and opened his wallet, counting twenty dollars. His hands trembled, with that damn cold they didn’t want to stop shaking.
Sawyer sincerely hoped that the FBI idiot wouldn’t find him that night. Oh fuck, what a mess.
He still remembered the day Kate came at his door.
He had used almost all of his Oceanic settlement to pay off his debts and the rest for a small bilocal in LA; then one day she showed up, kissed him and asked him to leave everything and go with her. He went, and the FBI guy (who was chasing her at the time) found out about him too. True, no one had denounced him except for Cass, but he still was an ex con man, he still was an ex convict, and he was running with a girl wanted for murder. What about it?
It lasted six months and half the country, and those weren’t bad months. Hell, they were together, no one else, to him it was enough. Then one day, in some hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, Kate broke down in tears and told him she couldn’t handle it anymore and that she was turning herself in.
But he couldn’t go with her. If he did, somebody was going to find out about Duckett and about everything and sure he didn’t want to finish under trial for fucking murder; he had tried to convince her to do otherwise, but she kissed him again and left.
He read about it in the papers; she was going to have a trial soon and looking at the name of her lawyer, Hurley was paying for it. But the FBI agent wanted him too. And so he was running, not standing in one place for two days in a row. He didn’t even try to get in touch with anyone he knew. Because he was going to drag down whoever he called and so he lost touch. Before, he heard from almost everyone. Now he didn’t know shit.
His stomach started to complain and he decided to invest his last money on dinner. Then, who knew. He left the backpack there and brought only his wallet, the jacket and the glasses.
Sawyer chose a little bar not too far from the motel; he got himself an hamburger that tasted like nothing and started to walk back once he was finished; what a nice way to spend December 23rd.
He saw a bookshop on the corner, open. Hell, why not? Sawyer went in, put the glasses on and started having a look.
“Are you searching for something in particular?”
Sawyer turned to the counter, where stood a seventy-year-old or something woman, dressed in some wool pink sweater, two black, thick glasses, white neat hair and a urge to smile in his direction.
Sawyer still knew his job. He smiled too, careful to show a single dimple at the corner of his mouth.
“Nope. Just havin’ a look. And I don’t have much to spend anyway.”
“There are a lot of occasions here.”
“I don’t think I can afford anythin’. Not even occasions.”
“How much you have?”
“Eighteen dollars and 75 cents. All my money, though.”
“You won’t get far, you know that?”
“Yeah, I do. I’ll just make somethin’ up. And I’ll be havin’ a look anyway.”
She smiled and chuckled; Sawyer turned to the nearest shelf. His hands got warmer with the heat of the room and he started to pick books and flip through the pages. He didn’t know how much time had passed when she called him again.
“You seem quite an expert.”
“I just like ‘em a lot.”
“More than you like people?”
“You ain’t all that wrong.”
She laughed again, then raised her eyes.
“What’s your name?”
He considered what to answer, but then again, he was never going back to Interior.
“Nice, it suits you. Who’s your favorite?”
He considered that too.
“Guess Steinbeck. Yeah, I’d say that.”
“You have the look of it. Well, you know, maybe you’d like this.”
She went to another shelf and handed him a book. Sawyer took it and recognized a hard cover first edition of Of Mice and Men, still in good condition, with thick crisp pages; it almost smelled like California earth.
“That’s... well, y’know...”
”Great, isn’t it?”
“What?! I really don’t..”
“I know you don’t have money, but anyway, the day after tomorrow is Christmas and no one in this place will ever buy a book, I’m here just for hobby, it’s not like I’m actually gaining anything. Almost no one comes anymore, these days. Really, keep that.”
“I... well... thanks, then.”
“Don’t you mention it.”
Sawyer had rarely ever felt really touched all his life, but he was, walking out of the store with the book in the inside pocket of his jacket. It didn’t last too much though; he was about to go back to the hotel when he saw the FBI agent talking with the guy at the reception. Wonderful, what about that? They had tracked him down.
Sawyer turned and ran; he didn’t know where he was heading, but he had been lucky enough to stop in that shop (otherwise he would already be on the FBI car) and he just had to go far, as far as possible. It started snowing and he cursed that damn leather jacket while his body started to shiver violently.
Somewhat he ran out of that damn town for maybe fifteen minutes, but he had to stop on a bridge just outside the city limits; he leaned on the rails, feeling the blood in his mouth. His legs were numb and he felt like he couldn’t move for his life or he would just throw up. The snow started to fall again into the dark water of the river and suddenly Sawyer felt tired, like he never felt in his life.
He couldn’t see anything in front of him and when he looked back he could see only failures. He couldn’t think of a good thing he had done or of some good ever coming out of him, Kate was gone and he could only hope for another fifteen years in prison.
He took a breath, closed his eyes, tightened his grip around the rail bars and...
“I wouldn’t do it if I were you.”
Sawyer opened his eyes and turned with a jerk.
It couldn’t be.
Last time he heard that voice it had been on the island, but it just could-not-be.
But it was.
In front of his very eyes, there was Boone.
His hair was longer than he remembered, falling down on his face in small, thick, dark waves; those blue eyes looked even bigger, his skin was as fair and flawless as ever, the lips were just as pink and soft. He wore a pair of jeans low on his hips and a white wifebeater; his feet were fucking bare and even if he was wet it didn’t look like he felt cold.
“You still remember me, I see.”
Now he was also confused.
“’Course I do, but... does this mean I’m dead? ‘Cause, you know, last time I saw you...”
“It was at my funeral. Yeah, I know, but you aren’t dead yet. Though, if I let you do as you were doing, you’d be.”
“If you let me? Metro, I really don’t...”
“You still didn’t jump, right?”
“Well, no, but..”
“Good because I’m here to help you.”
“You helpin’ me??”
“Sure. I don’t do it for charity anyway.”
“And what would you gain outta helpin’ me?”
“Yeah. You know, you have to earn them if...”
“I don’t wanna know. I’ve seen that crap movie twenty times when I was six and I never wanna see it again for that matter. This can’t be. This is crazy, just...”
“Can’t argue on that, but this isn’t the right time. And why should you commit suicide anyway? You know, I’d rather be at your place than here, and I didn’t have a chance.”
“Because, Prettiness, this is shit! If ya don’t know it, FBI is trackin’ me down’, Freckles is gone, I’ve got eighteen dollars and no one to call, nowhere to go, nothin’ to...”
“And you think this is enough?”
“I ain’t no good, you idiot! I’ve never been, I ain’t, I never will!”
Boone just shook his head and laughed.
Now this was becoming annoying.
“You laughin’ now?”
“Yeah. And you know why? Because you really have no clue.”
“I have no clue.”
“If you think you are no good and you’ve never been you are so wrong.”
“Please just lemme go and do this, ok? I’m tired, I...”
“Like hell I am. Seriously, you shouldn’t.”
“Well, you know what, Metro? I really wish I had never been born.”
Boone froze and looked at him with a sort of disbelief.
And suddenly, Boone smiled.
“You do, huh? Well... I think we can do it. Can we?”
He raised his head looking at that gloomy sky, then smiled again and turned back to Sawyer.
“That’s alright. I can do this.”
“You can just ask me. I can do it, no problem. If you wish so, you won’t exist anymore and things will change accordingly. Maybe for the better, since you’re no good. How about it?”
Sawyer leaned back on the rail, wondering how crazy this whole thing was. But... well... what about that? No FBI agent, no Freckles to think about, no Sawyer anymore to his parents, maybe.
What did he have to lose?
“Well then, Metro. Surprise me.”
“You sure? Really sure?”
“Fuck that, YES!”
“As you wish then.”
Boone’s fingers snapped and suddenly it stopped snowing. Sawyer couldn’t feel blood anymore in his mouth, but his jacket was also lighter too.
“Hey, where is the book? And where are my glasses”
“You never existed, therefore the old lady never gave it to you. And Jack never diagnosed you anything, so you never got glasses. And you never were on the island.”
“Oh... you mean this is for real?!”
“You though I was joking? I wasn’t.”
Sawyer leaned on the rail again, feeling just slightly unstable. It was kind of too much to take.
Maybe he was really dying and hallucinating all of that.
“Hey, we don’t have time for your bullshit, Sawyer. I need to make you see a few things.”
“Being dead has its advantages.”
Boone touched his arm and suddenly the bridge disappeared. Sawyer closed his eyes and waited.
“You can open them, you know?”
“I don’t think I wanna.”
“You should. I can’t prove you wrong otherwise.”
Sawyer opened his eyes and found himself in an empty room, light blue walls, with a lot of chairs and a coffin at the end.
“Are you a friend or family?”
Sawyer turned to his right, where a black guy dressed in a suit stood. He didn’t know what to say but fortunately Boone stepped in his aid.
“Good. You know, just one guy came once. That’s a shame, though. I’ll leave you now, mourn as long as you like.”
Sawyer nodded and followed Boone to the closed coffin.
“Who the hell...”
“Open it, and you’ll know it.”
Sawyer shrugged, lifted the cover of the coffin and let it come down with a crash, falling on a chair and shivering all over.
“It can’t... it can’t be...”
“Was... that... Locke?”
“But... he’s on the island! He didn’t come with the rescue!”
“Wrong. You remember why he didn’t come?”
Sawyer closed his eyes and tried to.
He hadn’t gone because the rescue guys wanted to take him on the boat at every cost and he stepped in and convinced them to leave that fool there, if he wished so.
“You didn’t exist. No one stepped up for him and he came back. Three years passed and he couldn’t take it anymore.”
“That’s... that’s not...”
Sawyer just couldn’t get that.
'Cept for the man you killed in Sydney. They got files on us, James. All of us.
He shivered, remembering that night. It couldn’t be. It couldn’t. Not Locke. Nor Mr. You can’t tell me what I can’t do... he just...
“It’s possible. It’s because you weren’t there. Now come, you have to see another thing.”
Sawyer couldn’t reply because Boone had touched his arm again and when he opened his eyes he was surrounded by trees, he was on a hill, the ocean and some graves were in front of him.
“Are we on the island?! At the graveyard?!”
“Sure. Take a look around. You notice something?”
Sawyer turned his head. It was the graveyard alright, but it was different and...
“That grave wasn’t there when we went. And that other too...”
“Go have a look.”
Sawyer went to the first one and when he read the name he could only scream.
“Charlie?? But that’s not possible! He’s with Claire! They were married...”
“No, because you remember what you said when he wanted to go to the Looking Glass?”
“I... I said it wasn’t a good idea and that it was better for Desmond to go since he knew the whole thing and it wasn’t worth sacrificing a life for a fuckin’ flash...”
“And that’s what happened. Desmond blew the whole thing off and came back. But, you didn’t exist here, and Charlie went. And he drowned. He sacrificed himself for letting the others go. Or at least he believed this.”
Sawyer turned to the other grave and understood what was wrong.
“Hey but... Libby’s and Ana Lulu’s were near! Now they’re far from each other, what the...”
“Simple. Jack never gave you that gun on the raft. He gave it to Sayid. The shot down where my... sister died still happened, but Sayid had the gun and Libby was killed there too.”
“So she never was with Hurley. Michael never killed her.”
“Because... ‘Cause I wasn’t.... dying there...”
“Mainly, yes. But you’re forgetting something.”
“Have another look.”
Sawyer turned around again and saw them. Two graves in a corner. New graves. To him at least.
“I ain’t sure I wanna see them.”
“You asked for it, Sawyer.”
He shot Boone a glance and went in front of them. And when he read the first name...
Sawyer look at the second one and fell on his knees, his hands on the wooden cross; his eyes started to water even if he tried his best not to, then he felt his body shaking and then he turned his head and five minutes later his mouth tasted of vomit.
The writing on the cross read Sayid Jarrah.
He was still shaking when Boone put a hand on his shoulder.
“Son of a bitch... he can’t be dead! He can’t! Me ‘n Juliet saved ‘em!”
“No, Sawyer. You didn’t. Because you weren’t there and why would Juliet go, if you didn’t go first? She never went back. Neither did Hurley, because he wouldn’t have had occasions to go back. They both did because you were the first, but you didn’t exist. They killed them on the beach.”
Sawyer stood up, his knees shaking.
“That’s another thing I’m gonna show you. Our business here is over, come on.”
Sawyer closed his eyes again.
He was sure he wouldn’t like it.
When he opened them again, he was in a dormitory full of kids. Sleeping.
“Metro,” he whispered, “Where the fuck...”
“Shut that mouth and follow me.”
Boone brought him to a bed and Sawyer almost screamed when he saw who was sleeping in it.
“Yeah. And lower that voice, damnit!”
“But this is a fuckin’ orphanage and don’t think I can’t recognize one! Shouldn’t he be with that fuck up of his dad?”
“No, Sawyer. Michael and Jin died on the raft.”
Sawyer felt a shiver run through his spine. That was too much. Too fucking much.
“You weren’t there. You never did the CPR on Michael and he died on sea. Jin couldn’t explain himself to Ana and he she killed him there before they got to your camp. Walt was always with the Others and they got him back at the final shot down. Locke took him in, but you saw that, right?”
Sawyer didn’t answer and just lowered his eyes trying to find a sense in that mess.
It was a nightmare, fuck that, and...
They were on a street, he guessed in some Chinese LA zone; he turned and saw Sun come out of a grocery shop. She looked ten years older than last time he saw her, she wore sunglasses and plain jeans and walked with a three year old blond child.
The fuck? was the only thing he could think.
“Sunshine?”, he muttered coming closer.
She raised his eyes, but there was just suspicion there.
“And who are you?”
“You ain’t recognizin’ me?”
“I do not know you. And now sorry, but we must go.”
She almost ran away and he felt... empty? Or what?
It had been like a punch in the stomach. All his life he had wanted people not to notice him if he wasn’t conning them and now he actually felt like shit because she didn’t have the slightest idea of who he was.
“You’re wondering who the child is, aren’t you?”
“And where were you? You just disappeared!”
“You may not have existed, but I did. She would recognize me.”
“Right. Well, who’s that?”
“It’s Aaron, Sawyer.”
Sawyer just fell sitting on the road pavement, leaning against the nearest wall.
That was too much.
“But she was...”
“Jin died. She has never been pregnant. And Claire... Claire committed suicide a year after the rescue. Rose died of cancer because she left the island, but Claire couldn’t go on. Even after her and Jack found out they were half brothers.”
“But... she was with Charlie... they had just had a girl when I left with Freckles... and Rose n’ Bernard, they stayed there with Locke... and Sayid was searchin’ for that girl of his when...”
“Charlie died in this world, Sawyer. Did you forget it already? Come on. We still have places to go.”
Sawyer didn’t get the chance to answer. When he opened his eyes he was in a bar. Outside it was raining hard and all the people spoke with an accent that...
“Are we in fuckin’ Scotland?”
“Another drink, brother, and it’d better be full, aye?”
Sawyer jerked and looked at his right.
Desmond was half-sprawled on the counter, waving an empty whiskey glass at the bartender. He was very thin, at least ten kilograms short of his weight on the island, his hair was dirty and badly kept, his hand shook.
“You can ask him. Just buy him a drink before, or I guess he won’t answer you.”
Sawyer felt slightly confused but paid better attention to what Desmond and the bartender were saying.
“Like hell another glass. You’re too wasted and you aren’t paying me shit.”
“Hey, you! I’m paying for this guy’s drinks. And a whiskey for me, thanks.”
The bartender shrugged and Sawyer move closer. Desmond eyed him with some gratefulness, but Sawyer was feeling slightly disgusted. It wasn’t possible. Alright, on the island he drank but...
“Well, thanks brother! I’ll drink to you, then. But how you did it?”
“I think I know ya from somewhere. Weren’t you on that flight?”
“Nay brother. I was on that island but wasn’t on the bloody flight. Though one of them died ‘cause of me.”
“Didn’t you have a girl?”
“I couldn’t. Not after what I did. He died ‘cause of me, brother. I couldn’t go with my girl if I knew that.”
Boone came nearer and whispered in Sawyer’s ear.
“He never moved on past Charlie’s death, Sawyer. He didn’t want to see Penny after the rescue and he just came back here and got wasted like that. And I’ll tell you, he’ll be ending like your friend Edgar Allan Poe in a short time if it keeps on.”
Sawyer just couldn’t get something like that. He just waited for his whiskey to come. He drank, Desmond drank his too and passed out on the desk of the bar. Sawyer paid for both of their drinks and closed his eyes, thinking about how hellish that situation was. Then Boone touched his arm.
When he opened his eyes he wasn’t sitting anymore but was standing at the entrance of some kind of hospital and Boone was at the reception.
“May we see Hugo Reyes?”
“Good for him. Second floor, ask and they will show you.”
“Come on, let’s go.”
It didn’t take long for Sawyer to recognize an asylum.
“The fuck are we doin’ here?”
Boone didn’t answer and led him through the hall, then at the second floor, then into a common room.
Where Hurley was sitting at a table, playing Connect Four and repeating the numbers over and over.
Sawyer didn’t dare going nearer. He couldn’t bear that.
He just turned and ran into the hallway, breathing hard, waiting for Boone to join him.
“You want to know what happened to him too, right?”
“He got rid of the imaginary guy he saw when he got with Libby. Do you remember?”
“He never was with Libby and the guy eventually returned and definitely drove him crazy.”
What stuff you seeing?
I don't know, maybe like a bald guy in a bathrobe.
You mean like that guy there?
“I... I think I’m gonna feel sick. This ain’t right!”
“You haven’t seen the worst, Sawyer. Not yet.”
Sawyer wanted it to just stop it already, but suddenly he was in front of a library, probably at the closing hour. It was hot. He looked at the entrance and it said Miami Dade College Library.
Boone told him to watch who was closing it.
Sawyer had a better look and fuck, it was Juliet. Her face looked worn out and she looked frail, thinner than she ever was, in her black dress, white scarf around the head and the sunglasses. She had a bunch of flowers in her hand went ahead on the road after she closed.
“Juliet...? But... how... what...”
He let her go, he knew she wouldn’t recognize him anyway, and turned again to Boone.
“She’s going to her husband’s grave and then to LA to get her nephew. Her sister moved to LA and died there in an accident some days ago. She fell from the stairs and broke her back.”
“But she was a doctor!”
“After the island she didn’t want to be anymore.”
“But what has this got to do with me?”
“You’ll see soon enough. It’s the last thing you have to see, actually.”
Sawyer closed his eyes again.