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the Other - 10 - the Infiltration
by Ellin (sapphire_child)
at June 30th, 2006 (07:58 pm)

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Title: The Other – 10 – The Infiltration
Rating: PG-13 for themes
Spoilers: set from about episode 14 of the new 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 “Cold Water” by Damien Rice
Authors Note: Short chapter I know but the next one will be longer (and hopefully written quicker than this one!) I had the most evil writers block for this chapter so I do hope its up to scratch!
~*~

When Claire finally found Charlie, he was brooding at the edge of the ocean, his jeans soaked up to the knees and his hands in his pockets. When she called his name he didn’t look up but she saw the way his shoulders stiffened before he sighed and tilted his head away.

She waded in slowly, trying to keep herself steady, until she stood shoulder to shoulder with him. For a long minute they just stood there, the waves buffeting their ankles like liquid bumper cars.

‘You’re going to get sick,’ Claire chided him, but there was no bite in her words. ‘The waters cold and you’re far too thin at the moment.’

Charlie didn’t respond and Claire heaved a great sigh.

‘Charlie…’

‘Don’t,’ Charlie said, soft and firm and dangerous. ‘Just… don’t Claire.’

Claire bit back a sudden sob and she turned her head to hide the tears that had sprung into her eyes. She hadn’t thought that Charlie wouldn’t even want to talk about what had just happened. He had always worn his heart on his sleeve and she could always tell when he was upset – even if he wouldn’t admit that he was.

‘You think Rousseau’s right, don’t you?’ Claire’s voice trembled miserably as she swiped an ineffectual hand at her tears. ‘You think that she’s right and that the Others are coming and that it’s your fault.’

Charlie didn’t answer at first and Claire turned to try and gauge his reaction, if any. Her own tears were still trickling down her cheeks and she was shocked to see that Charlie’s shoulders were beginning to shake.

She didn’t say anything further, just stood there and watched as he struggled to get his emotions under control. For almost a full minute, his face contorted into an ugly mask as he tried to stop crying and then eventually just gave up and began to swipe angrily at his face, taking deep, bubbling breaths. Claire reached a tentative hand to touch between his shoulder blades and her touch seemed to calm him. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths as she began to rub his back in slow, soothing circles.

After several more minutes had passed, he turned his tear-smudged face to her and touched her arm, stilling the motion of it.

‘I won’t let Them hurt you,’ he whispered. ‘I’m not going to lose you again. Not again.’

He gazed fiercely at her for a moment before turning back to the horizon. Claire took a step closer and leant her head against his shoulder, Aaron gurgling disconsolately in her arms. Charlie’s arms wove around her shoulders, slowly, oh so slowly, until he was holding her in his arms and then he pressed a kiss to her hair.

They stayed that way until the tide turned.

~*~

‘Hello,’

Danielle lifted her head immediately, her sham of sleeping useless in the presence of whoever this was.

‘Hello,’ she returned in her slow, careful English.

The speaker was a young girl, barely as old as Alex would be she supposed, and she was holding a small bundle in her arms – a baby. Danielle ached at the sight but tried to act nonchalant. This girl was not from the plane – of that she was certain. No, she had been her a long time – perhaps almost as long as she herself had been.

‘My name is Grace,’ the girl said.

‘My name is Danielle,’ she responded.

They stared at each other for a moment longer and then Grace came fully into the tent, folding her legs underneath herself so that she could be at Rousseau’s eye level.

‘This is my daughter, Hayley,’ Grace explained, showing Rousseau the bundle. Danielle reached out her uninjured arm and stroked the infants face gently.

‘She is beautiful,’ Danielle murmured. ‘I would ask to hold her but…’ she glanced down at her arm bitterly.

Grace nodded and then became very serious. ‘Was it really Them that you saw?’

‘Yes,’ Danielle sighed. ‘They are no more than two days away but these people…’ she shook her head, frustrated. ‘They will not listen to me. They think that I am insane, that I am a liar.’

‘Why would they think that you are insane?’ Grace pressed.

‘I hear things,’ Danielle confessed blankly, her eyes slipping out of focus and staring at nothing. ‘I hear voices, out in the jungle. Whispers.’

Grace’s breath caught in her throat.

‘Whispers?’

‘Sometimes they are there and sometimes they are not,’ Danielle continued as though Grace wasn’t even there. ‘But they always tell me things. Things I sometimes do not want to know.’

Grace leant right forward until she caught Danielle’s pale eyes with her own dark ones.

‘I hear them too.’

Danielle stared at her blankly for a long moment and then, inexplicably, her face split into a relieved smile.

‘You do?’

Grace nodded fervently. ‘They tell me things. Things I shouldn’t know – that I can’t know.’

Danielle reached out her good arm and gripped Grace’s shoulder tightly. ‘What have they told you?’ her eyes were alight with a feverish, intense glow as she shook the younger girls shoulder. ‘What have they told you girl?’

~*~

It was late by the time Charlie realised that Grace had gone missing. He went around the camp three times and still found no witnesses, Claire trailing after him rolling her eyes.

‘She’ll be fine,’ she insisted. ‘She can take care of herself.’

‘I know she can,’ Charlie said anxiously, twisting his hands together. ‘But it doesn’t mean that I’m still not worried about her. And what about Hayley? Christ…’

‘Come on,’ Claire put a firm hand on his arm. ‘She’ll turn up again okay? Let’s just go and have something to eat or something. You must be hungry...’

Charlie hesitated before allowing Claire to lead him back to her shelter and pressing a plate of food into his hands. He picked at it restlessly, constantly glancing over his shoulder. He didn’t even notice when Claire surreptitiously fished Aaron out of his cradle and nursed him, her back turned to him.

He didn’t even speak until there was the sound of pounding feet and Grace came running up, gasping for breath, Hayley bawling in her arms.

‘Grace!’ Charlie leapt to his feet and ran forward immediately, leaving Claire to stand awkwardly behind him as he gripped the younger girl’s shoulders. ‘Where the hell have you been! I’ve been so worried…’

Grace gasped for breath, her hair was falling into her eyes and her hands were frantically holding her daughter to her. ‘I was…I was…’

‘WHERE WERE YOU?’ Charlie practically roared, shaking her by the shoulders.

‘Charlie!’ Claire said, shocked. Other people began detaching themselves from their campfires and rushing over to see what the commotion was about.

‘They are coming!’ Grace managed to choke out finally and Charlie froze, staring at her wildly. ‘I saw them and They are coming!’

‘The Others?’ Claire demanded. ‘The Others are coming? You’re sure?’ a murmur of fear went around the small crowd that had gathered. Jack came pounding up from further down the beach, his face creased with worry.

‘What’s going on?’

‘Jack,’ Grace took a step towards him, effectively breaking Charlie’s hold on her shoulders. ‘I have seen Them – They are coming! We must go now!’

‘We’re not going anywhere,’ Jack said firmly, his voice carrying through the night. ‘If we just all stay here and…’

‘Do you want to be responsible for the deaths of all of these people?’ Grace practically shrieked. She looked almost as deranged as Danielle. ‘Would you like that on your conscience Jack? Because if you would like that then by all means, stay! I am leaving!’

And without another word, she turned to hurry back into the jungle.

‘If you’re that worried then why don’t you go back to the caves with somebody and stay there the night?’ he said peevishly. Grace paused and Jack’s eyes went to Charlie. To the surprise of many however, it was Hurley who stepped forward first.

‘What?’ he said defensively at their stares. ‘If there’s going to be a battle or anything I don’t wanna be anywhere near here.’

Charlie came up behind Claire swiftly to whisper in her ear as Jack continued to chastise Grace. ‘You should go too,’ he murmured. ‘Just in case.’

‘I’m not going anywhere,’ Claire hissed back defiantly. ‘What if she’s wrong?’

‘What if she’s right?’ Charlie returned.

Claire stared at him stonily for a moment and then sighed. ‘Fine. But only if you come too.’

All around them there was restless movement. People were starting to head back to their shelters, muttering together, worried voices mingling together.

‘If there’s going to be a battle they’ll need me,’ Charlie whispered fiercely, steering Claire towards Hurley and Grace.

‘But I need you,’ Claire whispered, stopping Charlie in his tracks.

The two of them regarded each other for a moment and then Claire leant up on her tiptoes to kiss him lightly. Her hand lingered on his cheek and she stroked a soft line down his jaw before turning away.

Charlie went back to Claire’s shelter to help her pack and after she had gone, he rummaged through his bag until he found his gun. Five minutes after Claire had disappeared into the jungle with Hurley, Grace and several others, somebody screamed from further up the beach and then, moments later, the first shot was fired.

The leaden feeling of dread deep in his stomach fell away as he stood up and checked his gun over one last time.

The end had finally begun.