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the Other - 04 - the Runaway
by Ellin (sapphire_child)
at April 25th, 2006 (02:11 pm)

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Title: The Other – 04 – The Runaway
Spoilers: set from about episode 14 of the second season, from there its just spec and my muse having some fun.
Summary: Charlie, unable to cope with Claire’s estrangement any longer, sets off into the jungle alone. But after a month of pain and hardships, he stumbles across something he wasn’t ever expecting to find out there…
Disclaimer: Isn’t mine, never has been, never will be and I promise I’m not making any money – writing fanfiction is simply for my own self-satisfaction. Lyrics in the cut are from “Lost Without You” by Delta Goodrem
Authors Note: I wasn’t actually planning to have this chapter but then it popped into my head before the next one. I think I’ve gone now and overdone Claire’s emo-ness in relation to Charlie so if I have, feel more than free to smack me and say “we’ve got the picture! She’s emo over Charlie being gone!” and I shall nod and then round on my muse and say “I told you so!” whilst she shakes her fist vehemently at me and yells “screw you hippy!” … or something like that anyway. Enjoy!
~*~

Claire wasn’t entirely sure how she thought that she could track Charlie down with no tracking experience, no supplies and a baby in her arms but she did know that she couldn’t just sit still and wait for him anymore. John and Kate’s return had given her a good proverbial slap in the face and she was more anxious than ever about Charlie’s whereabouts.

Holding Aaron closely to her chest, she raised her other hand to her face to brush aside the hot, angry tears that were still sliding down her cheeks. She silently cursed her short legs as a stitch began to cut into her side but she kept going, pushing her way into the jungle in the direction that Charlie had gone more than a month ago.

‘Claire…’

‘I don’t want to hear it Charlie.’

‘…I’m sorry.’

‘No you aren’t. You know that I would have told them even if you hadn’t asked me to.’

‘Not for that, for this.’


And then he had kissed her. God…why had he kissed her? It would have made everything so much easier if he just hadn’t kissed her. She had been far too shocked at the time to actually kiss him back – not that he had kissed her very hard in any case, but still…

She brushed at her tears more angrily still. As if things hadn’t been complicated enough between them! Things had been blissfully simplified when he had left her alone after the whole kidnapping fiasco – until he had gone and run off into the jungle that is. She could just imagine his reaction if he could see her now, storming off into the jungle to find him.

‘I thought you weren’t even talking to me? Why do you care that I’ve disappeared into the jungle?’

‘Just because I’m angry at you doesn’t mean I want you to go and top yourself!’ she muttered angrily to herself. ‘Jesus Charlie, you’ve even got me talking to myself now…’

‘So what, you waited a whole month to come and find me? Some friend you are...’

‘Shut up!’

‘Claire!’

They were beginning to come after her now – the others. They were going to try and bring her back to camp, she knew it. Well they were just going to waste a trip weren’t they? She wasn’t going to come back until she was dragging Charlie with her by his left ear…

‘Claire!’

It wasn’t until she heard footsteps pounding up behind her and someone grabbed her shoulder that she realised she had actually stopped moving and was just standing there with a shaking hand against her cheek, tears pouring down her face. Aaron gave a disconsolate gurgle.

‘Claire?’

She turned her face up to gaze solemnly at Eko, tears ripping down her face. ‘I think I just hit that point where you realise that you’ve completely fucked everything up and all you want to do is sit and cry forever because you’ve been such an idiot.’

Eko gripped her shoulder a little more firmly and then Claire leant against him, resting her temple against his chest and breathing a great sigh as yet more tears leaked down her face and into the torn shirt that Eko always wore. He folded his arms around her shoulders tentatively and then squeezed gently.

‘Do you think he’ll come back?’ Claire murmured but perhaps she said it too quietly because Eko didn’t answer her – in fact, he didn’t speak at all. Not even after he had led her back to her shelter and left her there alone to sort herself out. Claire sat there silently for the rest of the day, ignoring everyone who came to her. There was nothing they could say that could help her. All she wanted – all she needed – was Charlie.

~*~


‘Oh!’

Charlie looked up sharply at Grace who had placed a hand on her stomach.

‘Was that another contraction?’ he asked.

Grace shook her head and smiled. ‘No. It just kicked. Here – would you like to feel it?’

Charlie hesitated before laying down his fork and reaching a hand over to lay it on the taut skin of Grace’s belly. Despite himself, he smiled when he felt a miniscule foot kicking against his hand.

‘Looks like you’ve got a tap dancer.’

Grace looked confused. ‘Tap…?’

‘Yeah it’s a type of dancing…’ when Grace continued to look non-plussed, Charlie’s eyes grew round in comprehension. ‘Ohhh right, you probably wouldn’t have ever seen any tap dancing before would you?’ Charlie took his hand away from her stomach and stood up. ‘I never did dancing or anything but in tap I think they sort of shuffle their feet around – a bit like this.’

Grace lapsed into giggles as Charlie scuffed his feet about and then did a dramatic sort of finish, both arms held clumsily in the air.

‘It’s probably nothing like that,’ Charlie apologised. ‘But it gives you a rough idea.’

‘Are you much of a dancer back where you come from?’ Grace asked, still giggling breathlessly.

Charlie gave a snort of derisive laughter. ‘Are you kidding me?’

Grace chuckled and then rested her hands on the top of her belly bump. ‘My mother was a dancer when she was small. She did ballet.’

Charlie nodded, trying to look interested as Grace smiled nostalgically.

‘She taught me a little bit – when we got bored. There were lots of records with music we could do ballet to in here but He didn’t like us playing the music very often.’ Looking thoughtful, Grace stood and grasped the kitchen bench carefully before doing a clumsy plie. She laughed. ‘I cannot do it with being pregnant however. You are meant to tuck your pelvis underneath and then pull your stomach in.’

‘I can see how that would be a problem in your current circumstances,’ Charlie said teasingly and Grace chuckled again before waddling around the counter to get herself a glass of water.

He watched her carefully as she swallowed down the entire glass full and then refilled it again. She had been having contractions all day with increasing regularity and whilst she insisted that she’d had days like this one, heavy on the contractions and baby movement, Charlie couldn’t help but think that she was more than likely about ready to pop.

‘How many weeks in are you?’ he asked suddenly. Grace stared at him.

‘I am sorry?’

‘How many weeks pregnant are you?’ Charlie asked, more insistently. Grace rolled her eyes.

‘I am fine Charlie. I am not going to have the baby today, I promise you.’

‘How can you be sure?’ Charlie countered immediately.

‘Because I am sure!’ Grace snapped angrily. ‘And to answer your stupid question, no I do not know how many weeks into pregnancy I am. I was keeping a tally but I lost count. The days blur together here – had you not noticed?’ barely pausing to draw breath, she steamed on. ‘Now, if you don’t mind, I am going to go for a walk – without you breathing down my neck!’

Grace stormed out of the kitchen and outside, slamming the main door behind her so hard that Charlie winced.

After several hours had passed by, Charlie went outside into the almost-darkness and called her name a couple of times. There was no answer. Feeling slightly worried but knowing that he’d get his head ripped off if he did try and bring her home, Charlie retreated inside again and put on a record, settling himself down to listen.

~*~

‘Charlie!’

Charlie jerked awake. The record player had stopped playing and Grace was calling from the kitchen.

‘Charlie!’

She called his name again – more urgently this time – and Charlie was up and staggering groggily towards the kitchen, banging into walls and doorframes as he went.

‘Grace? Are you okay?’

‘Charlie? Charlie! Oh God…quick…quick…Oh God…’

Charlie frowned, broke into a run, gripped the doorframe and swung into the kitchen only to freeze in the doorway. All the blood seemed to rush out of his head at the sight that met him. Grace was standing in the kitchen, one hand was supporting her hugely swollen stomach and the other was gripping the kitchen bench so tightly that her knuckles were discoloured.

‘Having…contractions,’ she grunted, as though he needed an explanation.

Charlie hurried forwards. ‘Are they just normal contractions or…?’

‘No… Noooo I think I am – I think I am having the baby… now… oh it hurts… Charlie…’ Grace let go of the bench and gripped Charlie’s shoulder instead. He could feel her nails digging frantically into the flesh around his collarbone but he barely noticed – his head felt like it had just imploded, the enormity of the situation hitting him square between the eyes. Grace was having her baby. He was only other person here. He, Charlie, was going to have to deliver the baby, Grace’s baby.

‘Oh. Fuck.’

Grace actually laughed, her breath whooshing past Charlie’s ear. ‘Yes that is what I also thought.’

‘Oh fuck!’ Charlie repeated, running a hand through his hair. Grace took a deep breath and then pulled back just enough to look Charlie in the eyes. If she felt uncomfortable being this close to him she didn’t show it but Charlie was feeling decidedly nervous as Grace licked her lips and gasped out a question.

‘Do you know how to do this thing?’

Charlie stared back into her eyes and desperately wanted to tell her no, desperately wanted to say that he’d only ever watched someone else deliver a baby before – he’d never even done basic first aid training for Gods sake! There was no way he could deliver her baby!

But then he took her hand off his shoulder and squeezed her fingers gently. Then, to his great surprise, his mouth opened and a calm voice spoke into the empty terror that was flooding into the room.

‘Yes. I know how to do this.’