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02 April 2008 @ 11:49 am
Fic, Lost: Dead But Also Here (Boone/Charlie), R, for 12_stories and lotsa other places  
Title: Dead But Also Here
Characters/Pairing: Boone/Charlie, the O6 and mostly of the other dead people
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Pfff. See the title? If they were mine, the first word wouldn't be there.
Word count: It's long.
Spoilers: general S4 up until Meet Kevin Johnson, mostly about the FFs.
Summary: for 12_stories #12, watching. Since he woke up on that sort of other side, Charlie had asked others, but no one was able to describe their state, or whatever it can be called, like Boone did. “We’re dead, he had said, “ but we’re also here”.
A/N: I had started this thinking it was going to be a nice, little humor story with them making remarks about living people and it grew into another thing completely. Guess you could summarize it saying how Team Hot and Undead managed to win at life seeing what happened in the first eight episodes of S4. Seriously, my heartfelt thanks go to elliotsmelliot for being the most excellent beta ever for this one; also, dedicated to falafel_fiction because I had promised her Team Hot and Undead action a lot of time ago. And since it fit both prompts, I'm entering this for charliepacefic challenge #2, making a new friend (and in this case also getting laid by said new friend), and charlielives challenge #4, future Charlie. Oh, and about the Liverpool Airport, I didn't invent a thing and I found the prayer room pics on their website. Won second place at the challenge at charliepacefic.




banners by sapphire_child



Boone is the one that has explained it better until now.

Since he woke up on that sort of other side, Charlie had asked others, but no one was able to describe their state, or whatever it can be called, like Boone did.

“We’re dead, he had said, “ but we’re also here”.

And he’s right, because dead but not exactly is what they are.

They aren’t alive, but they have a body. Whether it’s their own or whether it isn’t, they don’t know, but fact is, they do have it. They can touch each other and their skin feels exactly as it felt before; they have a beating heart but their blood doesn’t flow and their wounds last barely for seconds. Their nails don’t grow but Shannon’s skin tans and their hair grows if they cut it. No one tries to find some reason for this. It’s not like they care.


--

Charlie wakes up on the beach and the first thing he notices is that his clothes aren’t the ones he remembered wearing, but some jeans and a leather jacket which are way more Liam’s style than his.

“Told you we were gonna have a new one soon.”

He turns his head and sees Ana-Lucia standing near him, exactly as he remembered her to be, maybe only with prettier hair or something like that. He really isn’t in any shape to notice.

“Don’t listen to her. Welcome to the club.”

He turns to the other side and sees Shannon sitting cross-legged near him, wearing a pink bikini and a white towel around her hips, blonde shiny hair scattered around her face by the wind; soon a small crowd gathers around him. There are Eko and Libby, the Exposé girl and her boyfriend and Charlie thinks that the voice he’s hearing has to be Artz. Who else would be complaining about everyone being screwed and pigs walking?

“Come on, you could have at least given him a hand.”

Charlie hadn’t stood up yet, still too confused by what was happening; but he grabs the hand stretched in front of him and when he’s up, he meets Boone’s stare.

Charlie has to say that he looks everything but dead; his hair is longer, his eyes are always crystal-clear blue, even his cheeks are slightly pink like he remembered. Alas, no one actually looked dead, for that matter.

“As she said, well, welcome to the club. I’m kinda sorry when we get new members, truth to be told, but I guess there’s nothing one can do, right?”

Charlie suddenly feels like this isn’t going to be that bad.

“I guess not. Oh, well, seems I’m on for a nice ride, or am I not?”

“It depends. It’s fairly better than one could think.”

“And just regarding that, what this exactly is? I didn’t really picture death like... yeah, you know...”

“Good question. I wish I knew. There’s just one way I found to describe this. Sort of. And I had quite some time.”

Charlie nods. Yeah, bloody sure he had.

“How is it?”

“We’re dead, but we’re also here.”

--

There are a lot of options to pass your time, when you are dead but also here. Shannon tans; Ana speaks only with Libby; Eko is seemingly never at their other beach camp; Artz pines after Nikki.

Charlie and Boone, occasionally in Shannon’s company, they don’t do any of this.

They watch.


--

He really doesn’t have much time to get acquainted with his new state; after barely ten minutes, Boone says that he and Shannon are going to see what the others are up to. When he asks what he means with others, whether he’s referring to the remaining dead, Boone answers the ones who are still alive.

Charlie goes with them and finds he’s walking way faster than he ever could when he was still, well, living. While they trek through the jungle, Shannon tells him that Boone is usually the one always around their camp and who usually brings everyone else news, but that sometimes she goes with him, too. Charlie feels slightly creeped out at the idea that dead people had been watching them, except that right, he isn’t one of them anymore. Creeped out is not something he should be.

They arrive in the clearing just when the two groups meet.

Boone is behind Jack the whole time and Charlie can’t help noticing how sad he suddenly seems to be. He can guess that Boone’s got his fair share or reasons.

Shannon stays in Sayid’s proximities. She’s absolutely out of place, dressed in her bikini and still with her towel, bare feet not leaving a trace on the ground and not getting dirty.

If Charlie thought that being dead meant he couldn’t feel any pain, he has to think about it again because he can hear the sound of his heart shattering when Hurley and Claire embrace.

He hears them crying and he feels just as miserable as they probably do; he comes closer and he knows that Hurley won’t feel his hand on his shoulder or that Claire won’t feel his fingers brushing her hair, but it’s something for him, at least.

He turns and meets Desmond’s eyes, even if Desmond can’t know it.

He sees an ocean of guilt behind them and he wishes he could tell him that it doesn’t matter and that he doesn’t blame him; and before Locke speaks and the split happens, he wishes Hurley hadn’t stopped him before and that they had gone together to Claire. He can’t see Desmond giving her the list now, but he hopes he’s going to.

Then Locke speaks, the split happens and Charlie guesses he’ll have to make peace with the idea that she isn’t going to have it anytime soon. It’s not like he can blame Desmond for not going with them. He’ll probably want to know how come Naomi said Penny sent them.

In a few minutes, Charlie, Boone and Shannon are the only three left.

“So what now?” she asks.

“I think we should go and see what they do. Two can go at the beach and one with Locke. Then we meet again in three days at our camp. What about it?”

“I’m going with Locke’s group,” Charlie answers without even thinking about it. Boone nods and he leaves with Shannon; Charlie turns in the opposite direction.

--

Once he and Boone are going to the Barracks and the question occurs.

“Don’t you ever think about why we’re doing this?”

“What do you mean?”

“This watching business. It’s really just us two. Could it be because we just can’t let it go?”

Boone stops for a second, then smiles and shrugs.

“Does it really matter?”

Charlie realizes it doesn’t.


--

Three days later he sits on the beach, his head between his hands, desperately trying to make sense of what had happened in the last seventy-two hours.

No such luck.

From Kate bouncing from camp to camp, from Hurley pulling that con on Sayid, from... well, that, he doesn’t know what has happened. It looks like a nightmare and he’s been dead for too little time to actually feel as detached as he should feel.

He raises his head and sees Boone walking down the shore. His bare feet don’t leave prints in the sand; a light breeze scatters his hair. He is alone.

He sits next to Charlie a few minutes later and Charlie guesses he can as well start, since delivering the news is something he isn’t actually wishing for right now.

“Where’s Shannon?”

“Sayid and Desmond left on a helicopter the new people came with. They’re going on the freighter. She went, too.”

Now I guess he’s never going to give her the list, Charlie thinks, even if right now it doesn’t seem actually so terrible, given what he saw.

“So she went on the helicopter?”

“Surely not. Oh, right. I guess I should show you a few tricks. Or advantages of being dead. I guess we’ll have time for that. Anyway, there really isn’t much more to say. Apart from some drama.”

“Drama?”

“Sorry. We started to refer to what happens there like it is a novel. It’s just... we need to feel like we’re superior or something. It’s idiotic but whatever, you make peace with it. Shannon will be back soon, too, anyway. What about your side of the force?”

Charlie has to let out a bitter laugh at that. Surely Boone has improved his sense of humor. Not like it’s a bad thing. He gives Boone a fairly honest and neutral recap of the last days’ facts, leaving it out.

Except that Boone must have really improved also his sensibility or something like that, because the next question leaves Charlie without much escape.

“And what else happened?”

“What? Mate, that’s all.”

“You haven’t mentioned Claire once and you haven’t looked so disappointed since you woke up on that beach. I can safely tell you that everyone else has been disappointed for a good week after arriving.”

“I wouldn’t want to bother you, really.”

“I think bothering is something we’re all kinda past, Charlie. Guess nothing can bother, when you’re in the same boat, right?”

Well, it may not be what he had imagined and Charlie doesn’t have an idea why Boone would care, but he’s got to admit that he’s doing a fairly decent effort. And at least now he feels like talking about it.

“Well... it’s just that... you’ve seen her at the clearing, right? Well, there... I mean, the day after they arrived… she just looked fine as ever. Like, I don’t know, she was all smiling around, like she didn’t have a care in the world and... Oh, bollocks, it’s just nonsense.”

It feels stupid, saying it out loud. It feels like he’s wishing for Claire to be miserable when he had died in order for her and Aaron to be happy and safe in the first place; but he just couldn’t help feeling like she wasn’t even thinking about him anymore.

“It isn’t. Believe me, it isn’t. It’s just... I know it feels wrong to actually be glad if you see them sad because you aren’t there anymore. It’s alright. It makes you feel like you were important for them. And hey, there’s always a bright side you can look on.”

“Is there one?”

“Sure. You can always think about how she would feel if she knew you were there.”

Charlie actually tries to picture Claire’s face for a moment and can’t help burst out laughing.

“Mate, you are a sodding sadist.”

“I’m not! And for your information, every time I feel angry I think about John’s face when he saw me last time. Oh, you don’t know how good it feels until you try it.”

“Could I?”

“Well, technically you could and I’ll show you how sooner or later, but unless they call you someway like John did with me or they’re in danger, we can’t. I mean, we can’t show up just for the sake of creeping them out. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry. No problem.”

Boone’s hand goes to his shoulder, squeezing it.

“Hey, you want to switch places?”

“No. No, I’d rather stay there. I don’t have quite any business at Jack’s. So, Shannon is following Sayid?”

“She is.”

“Now, that’s a woman in love. Sorry for that.”

“Don’t be. It’s not like you aren’t right. Oh, by the way, there she is.”

Shannon had appeared suddenly in the middle of the beach and looked like she was bursting with happiness. As soon as she saw that Ana wasn’t interested in hearing her news and no one else was around, she ran in their direction.

“You won’t even begin to guess what’s happened! Desmond spoke to Penny!”

What?!” Charlie screams, suddenly very interested in the matter. Boone listens intently, too, while Shannon tells them about Desmond’s amnesia, the call and the meeting with Michael. Charlie doesn’t really get past the call bit and for the first time since he was back he actually feels glad that at least Desmond got something good out of this.

When Libby and Nikki come into sight, Shannon excuses herself and runs to them; Charlie looks at Boone, puzzled.

“And what’s with that?”

“There’s a bet going on.”

“A bet?”

“Yeah. About the odds of Desmond actually meeting Penny. Shannon says she’ll come here and they’ll live happily ever after, Ana thinks that Desmond will die first, Nikki says it’s gonna last two days if it happens and Libby keeps the odds. Seems like Shannon’s winning now.”

“Does this happen often?”

“Oh yeah. They’ve got to pass the time.”

“Are there others going?”

“Sure. There is... well, who Kate was going to choose was pretty hot when there were just me, Shan and Artz, but it’s gotten quite old now and no one cares really. Then there was how much time is going to take for all the buttons of Desmond’s shirt to fall, and that’s pretty hot right now. If you want to start one on whether Claire is really sorry or not, I’m sure they’ll take on it.”

“Mate, you actually were alone with Artz here for two weeks?”

“Hell yes. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.”

Charlie smiles and nods; he’s starting to think he has had way more luck.

--

“I never asked you what you think about it.”

“About what?”

“About everything, really. Why we’re dead but here. Why everything worked out as it did.”

“Charlie, I’ve stopped thinking about these things way too long ago. I just accept it and I’m pretty okay with the way things are. Are you?”

Charlie has to say that he’s pretty happy with it, too.


--

Karl joins them a few days later.

Then they leave and all there’s left is a wreck.

The barracks are a wreck; there isn’t one standing.

Whoever is still there, is more or less a wreck. Charlie thinks that Desmond is the only relatively sane one of the bunch, which says everything about the state of the rest.

Sawyer is the living incarnation of defeat; Ben had disappeared; Locke spends his time hanging around Jacob’s shack and the new bet is whether he actually talks to him or if it’s an excuse not to stay between the wreck’s debris. Claire eats after three days and only when Juliet forces her; on her side, Juliet doesn’t actually look very good herself and for all the good Desmond can try to do, being around and trying to at least make someone less miserable, Charlie has to say that it doesn’t work.

After a week, Boone tells him they’re having a meeting on the beach; they being, of course, the unseen side of Craphole Island.

They all sit in some kind of circle on the shore, water touching lightly their clothes without wetting them.

“Okay, this can’t possibly go on,” Boone says, speaking before everyone else. “It’s not supposed to be like this.”

“And how was it supposed to be? Happily ever after? And why do you care anyway?” Ana says bitterly.

“No. He means that they never should have split and if things stay like this, it won’t be good for them here and for the ones who left. As sorry as I may be to agree with him, he’s right.”

“Shan, you’re a darling. And Ana, I don’t know about you but I care. Alright? I still care and I think we must do something.”

“Can we?” Charlie asks remembering their conversation a week or so ago.

“Yeah. If we believe it’s for their own good, we can.”

“And what does His Highness suggest?”

Charlie guesses Ana isn’t of the let’s-get-involved party.

“Simple. Someone shows up here and convinces them that they’re looking more dead than we are. Someone else shows up there and convinces who left to come back. Now, I’m up for it, of course. I think two people should be enough. I can go either place, but…”

“I’ll go there,” Charlie says without thinking too much about it, probably following some impulse. “I mean. I’m here because I wanted everyone to be rescued, not because I wanted this. If I can do something to make it better, hey, that’s cool. Though I’d really prefer to be there. You get it, right?”

Boone nods, looking at him with some sort of gratefulness.

“Alright. Then you go there and I’ll stay here. Before, I’ll see to teach you some of that stuff I told you the time before. Then we can start. A week of time should be fine.”

Charlie shrugs and says he’s alright with it. It’s not like time is pressing or something.

--

“I think one of the best was the teleportation.”

“I told you we could do some cool stuff.”

“Well, I must say the most appealing to me was actually the visions thing. It’s way cool. How did you come up with the airport stuff, by the way? It was way better than my poor attempt at it.”

“Your poor attempt wasn’t that poor, even if I think that Hurley was only more confused than he was before. About mine... well, I guess I had some time to think about that.”

They stop, leaning against a tree; Charlie finds himself just at ease.


--

Charlie doesn’t go back to the island often, at first. With Boone, they had agreed that he was going to keep a low profile first and just watch the now so called Oceanic Six without acting, if he could help it. Then as soon as something happened he was to go back to the island to decide what to do.

At first, he brings his guitar from the abandoned beach camp and makes a random trip to Boston, a place he’s sure he won’t meet anyone he knew, in order to resume his various musical stylings and get some money in case he needs it. Then he goes back to the island, leaves the guitar there and goes back, determined to start doing things seriously.

Unfortunately, he’s one, they’re six and ubiquity is something he hasn’t still been gifted with.

Sun is the first one he visits and the first one he decides it’s better to leave alone; she had to leave and he’s surely not going to convince her of everyone to go back.

Among other things, he finds out that whenever he shows up for everyone to see, he passes for the most normal human being ever. That’s why he decides to go through with some advice Boone gave him before leaving; he has his hair cut, he buys some new clothes, everything goes fine.

He buys also a hoodie like the one he had when they crashed and that’s how he attends Kate’s process; in the parking lot, though, he doesn’t show up. But he sees it all.

Meanwhile, he curses himself for not going sooner after Sayid because when he finds out he left for Iraq he doesn’t know whether it’s out of his jurisdiction; for now, he decides to let him be. When Kate’s trial is definitely over and he sees them going out of the house bringing Aaron to the park, he decides that he has seen enough. He tries not to think about how enraged this makes him feel and settles on going back to the island. It’s time to decide a course of action.

--

As soon as he’s back, Boone runs to greet him and there’s the hand on his shoulder again. Charlie notices that no one else is in the camp.

“What happened?”

“Sometimes the girls have their night out and the others go and follow them. This time they took Karl though, they said he needed cheering up.”

“Have you got any Craphole News?”

“Yeah. Nothing good. I’ve showed up with Sawyer.”

“And what did he do?”

“The first two times he took me for a hallucination, the third I gave him a slap and right now I guess he’s better than he was before. Even if well, if I have to be honest, there’s much, much room for improvement.”

“Desmond?”

“Still the most stable one.”

It’s something Charlie still finds hard to believe but he doesn’t have any reason whatsoever to doubt it. He doesn’t ask about Claire, though. He thinks he doesn’t want to know.

“Anything else?”

“Yeah. They are all staying at the Temple.”

“With the Others?”

“Yes, but it’s not like there is another choice. Anyway, there’s something I’m positive of.”

“Which would be?”

“One day I went and had a look first at the remaining stations and then... someplace I’d rather not go often. But if I’m not mistaken, right now it’s impossible to reach this island without knowing the exact coordinates.”

“You mean it’s like it was before we crashed?”

“Yeah. The magnetic anomaly Desmond took care of pushing the button, well, it’s still there but without the need of pushing it. Do I make sense?”

“Given how much I never understood about it, yeah, you do. Anyway, for the outside world news, I’ve got some pretty not too nice stories myself.”

Boone nods and looks straight at him.

“Alright. Let’s hear it.”

“I think we should leave Sun out of this. She can’t come back now and she won’t be able to after.”

“Is she okay?”

“Yeah, pretty much. I think she had her baby while I wasn’t there, but she’s fine. Kate’s on parole, but she’s free.”

“Does she have...”

“Yeah. Yeah, she’s raising him. Don’t get me started on this one, please. Jack looks alright. Sayid, I’ve lost him because he went to Iraq but if you think I should find him, I will. Hurley... well, he looks fine but definitely not too much.”

Boone nods and looks quite troubled.

“Is there something you should tell me and you don’t want to?”

“You said he’s the only one who doesn’t look fine?”

“Yeah. I should show up with him, right?”

“I think you should. Try to plant a seed. Maybe he’d listen to you and at least him, Jack, Kate and Sayid need to be back here.”

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“It’s not like I don’t agree that it’d be better if they came back, but why do you want it so much to happen?”

“Well, it’s in your right to ask it. In all the time you’ve been here, I mean since the crash... have you ever thought... that it was better than out there? That you had found... I don’t know how to say it, what was lacking before?”

Charlie thinks about it and nods briefly. He understands what Boone means.

“I think that what happened made it stop working. Sure, Sun is probably better off there.”

Charlie thinks about what happened to Jin the day the helicopters took off and shivers. No, Sun doesn’t need to be back.

“But about the others... it’s only a question of time. They’ll probably end up worse than the people back here.”

“You think the only way is to have them back? And for good?”

“Either everyone leaves or everyone stays. But I think that being apart like this it’s not going to work. And about why I actually want it to happen... well, I just can’t stand watching everything fall apart here. About there, they’re going to want to be back sooner or later. There wasn’t any other way, but they’re going to regret leaving. I guess that if we think about it before they do, we’d avoid quite some trouble. I just... I can’t stop caring, you know?”

Charlie nods and has to agree. He doesn’t like the state of things either, which means he’ll try.

--

“So, how did it go?”

“I planted the seed. He’s gone back to Santa Rosa, though. But he’s definitely not going crazy, for that matter.”

“Good. Jack and Kate?”

“He’s working. Looks fine enough. Kate, though... oh, I can’t sodding stand it. I mean. I know that she has all the good intentions. There was all that shooting there at the Barracks, if Hurley only managed to take Aaron with him I couldn’t really see another way out.”

Charlie shrugs, thinking about that day, when at the Barracks everyone got more or less separated and Hurley, who had Aaron with him before the shooting started, was the only one running towards the beach camp and not towards the Temple. Charlie remembers a lot of smoke and fire, that day.

“It’s not like I’m blaming Kate or something. I mean, I should be thankful that he’s alive at least. But you know, this really isn’t what I was hoping for when I closed that door down in the Looking Glass.”

They sit on the beach at sunset, the water leaving their bare feet dry. Charlie is wearing his real world clothes, Boone his green tank top and a pair of clear jeans; suddenly Boone stops looking over the horizon line and turns in Charlie’s direction.

“Have you tried showing up with her?”

“I can’t. I just can’t bring myself to.”

“I can see it. Fuck, that’s crazier than what I’m seeing here. And I’m not seeing any sane thing, not right now.”

“Boone... how’s Claire?”

Boone lets out a soft breath and shakes his head, closing his hands around his knees.

“I don’t think you want to know.”

“Is it that bad?”

“It’s worse.”

Charlie closes his eyes and realizes that Boone was right. Eight months ago, he’d have felt torn up hearing such a sentence. Right now, he only feels deeply sorry and more for Aaron than for anyone else.

“Is it cruel that Aaron is the one I’m feeling for most?”

“No. No, that’s how I’d feel, too.”

Their eyes meet again, and Charlie loses track of time for a second or two. There’s quite some pretty sincere sort of understanding showing beneath the clear, intense blue; Boone’s lips are turned up into a sympathetic smile and yeah, since his heart sort of beats, Charlie can feel that now it’s beating faster.

He doesn’t really know who moves first or who is the one closing the gap between the two of them.

But then there’s a soft kiss, quite chaste truth to be told; Boone’s hand goes to his neck and Charlie’s goes to Boone’s hair, feeling it soft, clean and smooth under his fingers. They don’t go further and there’s nothing passionate to it, but it definitely feels nice.

After, they don’t say anything and Charlie agrees to go searching for Sayid.

--

“Boone, he’s a sodding hit man. For Ben!”

There’s silence after it and Boone looks more shocked than Charlie has ever seen him.

“What the hell could Ben have told him?”

“The only thing I was able to make out was that he thinks that by killing the people Ben tells him to, he’s protecting the ones here.”

“That’s bullshit. No one can get here and I’m sure that Ben knows it.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure of that, too. What do we do now?”

Boone brings a hand to his forehead; Charlie can only hope he comes up with a better plan than the current one.

“We can’t take it slow any longer. Charlie, we’ve got to hurry. I think... yeah. Alright, let’s do it like this.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I’m telling Shannon to take my place here. She’ll have a kick out of pissing Sawyer off, anyway. Maybe Karl can help her, I don’t know. I’m coming with you.”

“Are we going for Sayid?”

“No, Charlie, you’re going for Sayid.”

“And who would you go for, then?”

“I’m going for Jack.”

--

“Do you ever miss it?”

Boone stops again and smiles softly, then looks ahead at the rest of the road dividing them from their destination.

“You mean living?”

“Yeah. Pretty much.”

“Do you?”

“Less than I’d have thought.”

“Same for me.”


--

They stand outside the door of Jack’s apartment and Charlie watches Boone with the corner of his eye. Outside it’s fairly cold and Boone looks kind of strange with a blue scarf around his neck and a black heavy jacket, but it’s probably because he had only seen him in, well, kind of summer clothes until then. They’ve been here for a while, but Boone is still looking straight at the door, biting his lip.

“You want me to go instead?” Charlie offers.

“No. No, we both know it has to be me. Sayid needs a friend and well, you fit the category much more than I ever could. Jack... Jack needs a push.”

“Well, I could...”

“Charlie, no. I don’t think you were there, right?”

When I died, was the implicate follow-up. Charlie shakes his head. He was with Claire. He couldn’t find anyone with the right blood type, though.

“No, I wasn’t.”

“He gave me his blood,” Boone says, his voice barely louder than a whisper. “He’ll have to listen to me.”

“How far are you willing to go?”

Boone looks at him and it’s the most serious stare he has ever given him.

“You heard about Shannon saying that the island wouldn’t let Michael die?”

“Yeah, but...”

“Jack isn’t going to die. Just as Michael wasn’t. That’s established and well... Charlie, I’ll go as far as I need. And after I’m done, I’m going to need your help.”

“How?”

Boone’s hands leave his pockets and he grabs Charlie’s arm.

“Now, whatever I say after I cross that door, Jack’s not going to have a good time. Not for a while. You go find Sayid. Tell him anything, whatever you want to, as long as you show him that Ben has been playing around with his head. Be friendly, be whatever you want, but do it. When... when I’m done here, we’ll switch places. I’ll go to Sayid in order to get him in contact with Jack and I guess I’ll have to discuss practical matters. You’ll come here because Jack’s going to want to go back and you’ll see that he’s fit to.”

What the hell has he in mind?, Charlie thought without asking, but he nodded. He could do it, sure.

“After they meet, it’s going to be a matter of time. Maybe Kate won’t come and Sun either, but that isn’t the problem right now. And then, while they try to find a way to the island, me and you will give them the final push in the right direction.”

“What have you got in mind?”

“We should have a talk with Penny Widmore, I think.”

Charlie grins at it, because it hadn’t even crossed his mind, but well, Boone is right. That’s the only way.

“Mate, you’re a bloody genius.”

“Well, thank you so much, but I guess I’ll have to go there. I’ll come to you when it’s time.”

“How will you find me?”

Boone shakes his head and takes a few steps in the direction of Jack’s door.

“Charlie, I still have some secrets.”

He disappears and Charlie leaves, again. It’s not time for watching anymore, he thinks while he tries to remember where Sayid was supposed to go last time he was with him.

--

Charlie spends the next two months pursuing Sayid; it takes about one week to convince him that he isn’t hallucinating and about two others until Sayid believes him.

Charlie can’t even start to imagine what’s going through Sayid’s head at the moment; at one point he had thought that he was going to try to kill himself (even if that wasn’t something he was really worried about), but in the end Sayid’s rational side had won, at least for the moment. Luckily he didn’t get any assignments in that frame of time; and it was also a good thing because Sayid was stuck in a small apartment he owned in New York, thus being unable to avoid Charlie’s presence.

One evening at the end of his eighth week of his mission, Charlie is hanging around Sayid’s living room, trying to feed him some brilliant piece of lyrics he has come up with, since he still comes up with song lyrics and he thinks that asking advice for it would be a nice way for Sayid to distract himself, Boone appears on the room’s doorstep.

He raises a hand in Sayid’s direction, probably to stop the inevitable questioning, while Charlie gets closer.

“Do I have to go there?”

Boone nods, his head quite bent down; Charlie notices his wrist shaking and out of nowhere, squeezes it for a second before closing his eyes and leaving for Los Angeles.

When he walks into Jack’s apartment he understands what Boone meant by I’ll go as far as I need. The smell of alcohol and dirt is enough to make Charlie’s stomach clench and when he sees that monster of a beard Jack grew he feels creeped out for a second.

Then he remembers Boone’s face when he came into Sayid’s living room and he realizes that he hadn’t surely taken any pleasure in this.

He sighs and crouches next to Jack, who is passed out on a mattress on the ground. He resolves to force him to shave, first thing.

Then he sees the bottle of Oxycodone in his left hand and understands why Boone thought he was better suited for this task. He rolls his eyes.

“Ah, mate, first the caves and now this?”

Jack slowly opens his eyes and then closes them again.

“Am I definitely going crazy now?” he mutters.

“No, you aren’t. It’s more of your lucky day.”

--

Charlie sits at a coffee shop near Jack’s house; Boone is in front of him, quite comfortable in his casual jeans jacket, sipping a cappuccino covered in chocolate.

“Now, this is a thing one misses on the island. How is he?”

“Fine. I managed to get him off the smack last week and let me tell you, he’s damn bloody stubborn.”

“Sorry to make you go through that.”

“It was the only way. What does Sayid say?”

“I didn’t tell him anything about the Penny side of the matter, but he got an assignment from Ben two days before I went. He was to leave tomorrow and go to Russia, or someplace like that.”

“I guess he won’t.”

“No. He’s going to London instead. I told him he was going to meet Jack in the airport a few hours after he arrived or so. Is he in any shape to fly?”

Charlie shrugs and nods.

“Yeah. He flew when you were driving him crazy, he can now.”

“Good. Has he shaven, at least?”

“First thing I made him do. Hey, but you know what? I think that Heathrow is too big. And it’s not original.”

“You also want to be original? What do you suggest?”

“Liverpool, of course. There isn’t a better place for reunions than the John Lennon statue.”

Boone at that laughs, seriously, and when Charlie looks at him he thinks Wow first because well, what else can you think with blue, amused eyes sparkling and staring at you. Then he thinks Bollocks, I’m losing it.

“That’s fine. I’ll tell Sayid to get there from London then.”

“Good. Oh, by the way, Kate won’t answer Jack’s calls even if he sobered up.”

“Fuck. I should have searched for the Marshal when I was still there. Charlie, have you spoken to Hurley, lately?”

“Sure. I went a couple of times. He says he’s ready to go out, if it means that they’re going back.”

“Great. You think you can you get Hurley to go? In order to be in Liverpool tomorrow night.”

“Yeah, sure. Are you telling Jack?”

“I am. I think I owe him a couple of apologies at least. But I’m so finishing this cappuccino first. It’s damn good. Wanna try it?”

Charlie nods and takes a sip, nodding in approval.

“Tastes bloody fine. Hey, are we going to be in Liverpool, too, by the way?”

“I was just going to ask you whether you were up for some England sightseeing tonight. In the early morning, anyway.”

“Home sweet home. Sure, I am. But I guess we won’t be just sightseeing.”

“I was thinking more along the lines of Penelope Widmore.”

--

“You know what, Boone?”

“Yeah?”

“Doesn’t it feel like it came out best than you expected?”

“Oh, it did. I should say I’m sorry regarding Kate’s parole, but you know what, I’m not.”

“Neither am I. Never pictured her for one to stay on parole.”

“Neither did I.”

The sun shines through the leaves of the trees and their skin is warm. They can’t feel anything hurting under their bare feet, but this is one of the days in which the island really looks like the best place they’ve ever seen. It’s never too late to appreciate what you’ve got.


--

They agree on not showing up when they’re in the airport. As soon as Penny, Jack, Sayid and Hurley meet, the ball will pass into their hands and they won’t have much to do. Boone is sure they won’t need anymore help. Charlie doubts it but the idea of seeing them next on the island looks definitely appealing.

Neither Hurley nor Jack had flinched when Charlie told them the meeting place. Boone tells him that Sayid was kind of perplexed but didn’t say anything after Boone had told him who was the evil mastermind behind it all. Charlie just shrugs saying that they can’t recognize a cool idea when they are offered one on a silver plate. Of course, he got Jack and Hurley to share the flight. He chuckles, thinking about how much fun he has lost by not being there to see their sorry faces in the queue for boarding.

Sayid arrives first, wearing dark glasses and a black trench; then he sees that there are still a couple of hours early and stands up again. Boone and Charlie follow him for ten minutes or so before he enters the 24 hour Prayer Room. He stands still in the center, alone, for some time, his hair looking a dark violet because of the light pink/violet light the room is bathed in. After, he takes a small notebook out of his pocket, writes something on a sheet, folds it and goes to the corner of the room, where there is a small bonsai, its branches covered in other sheets of paper instead of leaves.

Sayid places his own on a branch, then turns and leaves the room.

Charlie turns to Boone then.

“You know, I’m feeling...”

“Like we shouldn’t have watched it, right?”

“Quite so.”

Boone nods in agreement, but then they go back to the statue again; Sayid sits on a bench and closes his eyes, letting out a relieved breath.

An hour and a half passes and then Jack appears in the airport hallway. He wears dark Ray-Bans, too, his jeans jacket, a clean flannel and looks healthy enough, though tired; Hurley is behind him, walking slowly first, but then speeding up his pace when he sees Sayid standing up.

Charlie feels something close to happiness first when Hurley and Sayid embrace, then when Jack and Sayid do the same thing. Then an elbow pokes his waist and he turns in the direction Boone is indicating. As soon as he sees Penny walking down the aisle towards them he holds his breath. Charlie and Boone go nearer when she reaches them.

“I take it you are the half of the Oceanic Six I was told were going to show up under John Lennon this morning?”

“Yes, we are,” Sayid answers, puzzled. “But who are you?”

“Right, I should have introduced. Does Penny Widmore tell you anything?”

The three of them nod and no one asks who told her.

“Good. I was also told that we are headed in the same destination. Are we?”

“Yeah. We definitely are,” Jack says, taking off his glasses and shaking her hand.

“Then come with me. I guess we’ll have to plan things in a short while.”

They all leave the hall and Charlie suddenly feels both bursting in happiness and dead tired at the same time. He can’t believe that it’s over, but at the same time he’s sure they aren’t going to need any help anymore.

“Boone, mate? Did we really do it?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I think we did.”

Boone’s voice is shaking with disbelief, too. Charlie turns to him and then he doesn’t know how it happens but it happens.

Suddenly his arms are around Boone’s shoulders and Boone is kind of crushing Charlie against his chest, there, under John Lennon, in the main hallway of the airport, with dozens of people passing by unable to see them. Charlie thinks he might be crying even if he tries not to relent, but when he feels something wet on his shoulder he realizes he might not be the only one. He releases his hold for a second in order to look at Boone; he’s actually crying a bit, a couple of tears running down cheeks pink, flushed and perfect as his lips are.

They never talked about it, the first time.

Now it only seems the next natural step to take. When they kiss this time, Charlie can safely say they meet halfway and that they both initiated it. There’s really no hesitation, nor the awkwardness that was between them the first time. Boone’s lips are soft under his own, he tastes like cappuccino with insane amounts of sugar thrown in without being sickeningly sweet and Charlie just kisses back, feeling Boone’s hair beneath his fingers again and leaning in when Boone’s hands reach his face. It’s not like they are in a hurry right now.

They part and they’re both flushed and grinning in some kind of insane way.

“What about now?”, Charlie asks.

“Well... I guess we should go back, we belong there and that’s no question, but... you know what?”

“What?”

“I think…well, what about one more last night in the real world? You know, they usually have hotels near airports. I mean, we can actually show up and, you know, just have a free night?”

Charlie’s smile grows wider.

“Now, mate, I think this is a bloody awesome idea.”

--

It just seems like they’re just there and that the dead part of the sentence has momentarily left them alone. Charlie can only feel mostly glad that whatever is different for them now, it doesn’t concern this, not too much.

The bed is soft, way too soft; he can’t even remember the last time his back touched a mattress. They don’t sleep, hey, what good is sleeping when you aren’t alive?, so he never saw the point of laying on a bed even during his time in the real world; but right now the feeling of clean sheets on his back and under his fingers is enough to make him feel overwhelmed.

That would be enough, but there’s more to it.

They have turned off the light but he can see Boone in the pale light of the streetlamps in front of the hotel. They’re on the second floor or something like that; his eyes are almost glowing, like a cat’s or something among those lines. His skin feels soft under Charlie’s hands and from the moment in which Boone’s lips hover on his neck and his chest, Charlie’s whole body shivers.

It’s different from what he remembered because they don’t sweat, but it’s also pretty much the same because he doesn’t doubt that the sight of Boone’s flushed cheeks and of his mouth sticky and slick couldn't have been that different in another life.

When his legs are somewhat hooked around Boone’s waist and there’s soft, warm breathing against his shoulder, he really can’t remember any of his few times with a man being that different. When they come it happens more or less at the same moment, blue, glowing eyes staring in his own and long, brown locks brushing his cheek. While a spasm of pleasure runs through him, Charlie kind of forgets everything to begin with and has never really felt much alive than right now in a long time. He wonders whether it’s the same for Boone or not, but he’s positive that it could be.

--

The Barracks are more or less up again. A five year old Aaron is on a swing and Jack is pushing him. Sawyer sits on a bench, reading a battered copy of Our Mutual Friend and looks at them once in a while, trying not to smile, but he does. Claire sits next to him, looking pretty much okay (and if Charlie had seen her when he was on his outside world mission, he’d have found it quite unbelievable).

Sayid stays in front of another house, quite further down, seemingly making small conversation with Desmond, who looks quite fondly at the house in front of them once in a while. Hurley gets out of another house a couple of minutes later and Sawyer gives up on reading, seeing that he’s coming in their direction.

Juliet sits on the porch in front of the sling, seemingly chattering with Rose but in truth looking at Jack with some kind of dreamy look dancing across her eyes; Kate is there, too, even if she mostly looks lost in her thoughts.

Locke gets out of a house and heads to the jungle, passing right in front of Boone and Charlie when he leaves, but of course he doesn’t notice them, not at all.

“And I had told him to bring the family back together.”

“Mate, I think he really didn’t understand a thing of that vision, according to what you told me.”

“I should have been less cryptic. Anyway, I guess Shannon has safely won the bet. Though now they’ll have to find less exciting topics to bet on.”

“I’m quite positive of it, myself. Well, seeing the circumstances, we did a pretty good job, didn’t we?”

“Damn right we did.”

Charlie looks at Claire for one second, biting his lip.

“If you want to show up in some of her dreams or something, I think you could. Hey, you’ve earned your slot for breaking the rules once. I mean, I told you we can’t show up just for the sake of it and that’s what I was suggesting, but if you do it one time no one’s going to protest.”

Charlie smiles and shakes his head.

“No. I’m happy she’s fine now and I’d still do it all over again, but she’s there, I’m here and it wouldn’t be no sodding use. I mean, we’re watching them because we can’t let it go I assume, but I guess one has to let go of something eventually.”

“Funny. As soon as I let go of Shannon she died.”

“That’s luck, mate. That’s really pure luck.”

“It was. Try to be stuck with Artz.”

“That’s the thing I can pity you most for.”

Boone just shakes his head like he always does when they touch the topic, but Charlie knows that it’s really just a scene.

--

They do what they have done since they came back. They stand here and they watch them. When Boone’s fingers find Charlie’s, it feels just as right as ever. Charlie guesses that being dead, in the end, is pretty much a bearable condition seeing the circumstances, but being also here is just the best part about it.

End.

 
 
feeling: busybusy
on rotation: at the zoo - simon and garfunkel
 
 
 
the female ghost of tom joad: lost dead boone & charliejanie_tangerine on April 3rd, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Yep. From the beginning until Charlie leaves from the first time. I hated my Word for it, and much. Thankfully I had a handwritten draft but still, it wasn't pretty ;)
Ellin: awkward is sexy; dansapphire_child on April 4th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
Jeeeeez...at least you had the draft but still. I've had something similar happen and I was so pissed =P stupid Word.