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The Other - 11 - The Warning
by Ellin (sapphire_child)
at July 10th, 2006 (11:59 am)

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Title: The Other – 11 – The Warning
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. The lyrics in the cut are from “Savin’ Me” by Nickelback
~*~

What exactly possessed Charlie to run towards the sound of gunfire was unknown to him, but before he could stop himself to think about it, he was off down the beach. As he ran, someone’s shelter was set alight and the flames went up with a great whoosh into the trees. Within minutes the whole camp was burning and the screams intensified.

The Others were everywhere, mere shadows flickering in and out of the smoke as the other survivors ran around aimlessly, trying to avoid the gunfire and the smoke. A group of people rushed past Charlie, heading towards the water – friend or foe he couldn’t say. The smoke was getting thicker by the minute and the cool night breeze was carrying tiny glowing embers into the night sky.

Guns were still going off, screams were piercing the air. Charlie felt a bullet whizz past his head and he instinctively dropped into the sand. In another situation, the image of himself crawling backwards through the sand might have been funny to him but this certainly wasn’t a time to laugh. Taking temporary refuge behind a tree, Charlie whirled around when somebody grabbed his shoulder only to find Jack there looking grimly terrified.

‘Charlie, try and find any of ours you can and get them all together. We can’t fight them spread out like this.’

Charlie nodded quickly and headed towards the nearest shelter.

When he reached it however, all he found was a bloodied body. He cast his eyes down, offered them a single moment of silent prayer and then continued on. Within a few minutes he had directed about half a dozen people to a marshalling point. They were a sad bunch, none of them seemed to have any sort of weaponry. Charlie reached up and – surprised at his own strength – broke off a fairly hefty sized branch and handed it to one of them just as Jack came running up, with a handful of guns and a small group of his own. Sayid’s eyes were positively black as he cocked his rifle and nodded over to where most of the Others were standing, half obscured by smoke.

‘We can’t let these bastards do this to us,’ Jack yelled above all the noise. ‘Grab rocks, sticks, anything you can. Don’t let them think that they can just walk in here and take us down without a decent fight.’

As everyone rushed forward into the smoke, Charlie amongst them, several of the Others, using slings of some kind, propelled rocks towards them. Jack copped one to the head and he collapsed immediately. Charlie hardly had time to register what had happened before he was locked into close combat with one of Them.

The man before him was short, even shorter than he was and close up, Charlie could see that he was quite young, probably just a teenager. Charlie raised his gun and squeezed the trigger and the boy stumbled forwards, his eyes wide and shocked. As Charlie glanced around to see where his next attacker might come from, somebody cuffed him viciously around the head and he went face first into the sand, the taste of blood and sand on his lip.

Rolling over onto his back, he aimed blindly and was satisfied to hear the mans scream and the heavy thud which meant he had fallen into the sand. As he got to his feet, Charlie heard one of the bodies on the ground give a harsh cough and then their ragged breathing caught up to his senses. He glanced back down at the two of them. The man was coughing up blood, staining the sand dark.

Charlie turned away.

The battle it seemed had moved on quickly without him and it was relatively quiet here now. He began to move towards the thick of it again, the gun in his hand feeling heavier than before despite the bullets he had already spent.

‘Charlie!’

Somebody yelled his name and he began to run towards the person who was waving frantically at him, calling his name. Closer up he could see that it was one of the other survivors, Neill. Charlie didn’t know him very well – mostly by name and face than by any other means – but he did know who he was.

‘Neill!’ Charlie called back, confirming that he had heard, that he was coming, but as he ran, his foot caught on an unidentified object and his ankle collapsed underneath him as he fell sideways.

‘Charlie!’ Neill ran forward and hauled him to his feet. ‘Are you okay? My God they’re everywhere!’

’I know. Come on Neill we’ll…’

As he spoke, Neill’s eyes went over Charlie’s shoulder and quite suddenly he threw a punch that barely missed the side of Charlie’s face. Charlie hobbled several steps back, unwilling to get caught between two people in a kill or be killed battle. Neill’s punch, whilst strong, was ineffectual. It hit his target but didn’t stop it. A moment later, the Other came barrelling forward and retaliated fiercely. Within an instant, He had placed His hands on either side of Neill’s head and with a resounding, horrible crack, broke his neck.

Neill crumpled to the sand.

Charlie froze solid, staring at the body.

The Other stared at him for a long moment.

And then He took a slow, ominous step forward.

‘You’re the one who killed Ethan,’ he rumbled, his voice hissing over all his consonants like he shared his DNA with some form of reptile. Charlie didn’t say anything and the Other continued to speak as he took another slow step forwards.

‘And then you crossed the line. You were the one who killed William as well.’

‘Oh was that his name?’ somebody said sarcastically. Charlie jumped when he realised that it was him who had spoken.

The Other was getting closer, he raised his arm and Charlie saw that he was holding a heavy wooden stick, there appeared to be a long piece of metal through it – a crude axe. Charlie took an unwilling step backwards at the thought of what it could do to him and then he winced heavily when he put too much weight on his injured ankle. He became more aware of the fact that he was actually holding a gun and he could easily shoot this bastard down, but as he hefted the gun more securely into his hand and went to raise it, the man spoke again.

‘I’m going to kill you,’ the Other hissed, his pace quickening. ‘I’m going to hurt you for hurting my brother.’

Charlie froze completely, the gun halfway up.

‘Your brother?’

‘Yes!’ the Other screeched suddenly. ‘My brother!’

And with that, he began to run towards Charlie, an incoherent, raging scream, escaping from his mouth like he was nothing more than a wounded animal.

And then the gunshot went off.

Charlie screamed as he felt a warm liquid splash all over him and the next moment, his attacker ploughed into him, knocking him to the ground. After one deep breath Charlie assessed the damage that had been done. He was being pinned to the ground by someone who was quite clearly dead and who was currently bleeding all over him. His ankle was still searing with pain as well but nothing else seemed to be hurting as he shoved the Other off and looked up at the person who had just saved his life.

Claire was standing not more than six feet away; shock still, one of the handguns in her trembling hands. Her face was pale and set, determined and frightening. There was a deep scratch across her left cheek and her usually sparkling eyes were blank and cold.

‘Claire,’ Charlie’s voice came out as a croak. She lowered the gun slowly and stared at the man she had just killed. Charlie repeated her name until she looked at him.

‘Charlie,’

Her face crumpled slightly as she pulled him to his feet and held him tight around the shoulders.

‘Are you okay Charlie? You’re covered in blood.’ She plucked at his t-shirt, wiping ineffectually at the bloody fabric.

‘It’s his, not mine,’ Charlie explained, pulling back to look her in the face properly. He noticed, absurdly, that he’d inadvertently covered her in blood as well. ‘Are you okay love?’

Claire nodded her head, avoiding his eyes. ‘I’m okay. I think.’

Another gunshot sounded, from further away. People were yelling and running but the Others seemed to have all but disappeared.

‘It sounds like it’s nearly all over,’ Charlie limped several steps forward, peering through the dim light from the burning shelters at the shadowy figures there.

Claire followed him to the tree line cautiously. As they walked, she pressed the gun into his hand and he took it without question. As they passed by one shelter that was burning particularly fiercely, somebody came running out from the jungle and gave a great yell. Within moments, the two of them were surrounded by a wall of dark faces and glinting weapons – They had moved so fast they didn’t have time to even react. Charlie took a quick step backwards, away from one side of the circle only for his ankle to collapse on him.

‘Do not touch them,’ a cold voice spoke and a man stepped through the circle to address them. He had short cropped hair and pale, cold eyes. ‘They are mine to deal with.’ He paused for a moment, obviously relishing the moment before he spoke. ‘Hello there Charlie.’

‘If you want to kill me…’ Charlie said quickly.

‘We would have done so already,’ the man interrupted, sounding thoroughly bored. ‘Now I want you to listen to me and listen to me good and hard Charlie – because if you don’t, I’ll take great delight in killing this pretty little creature here right in front of you.’

The man nodded towards Claire and Charlie immediately tried to stand, his face a mask of pure fury. Claire held him down, a firm hand on his shoulder. The man before them chuckled suddenly.

‘What’s so funny, eh?’ Charlie demanded.

‘Oh, just that the great rock star and murderer, Charlie Pace, could be undone by a simple ankle sprain, a pretty little girl and a bastard child.’

Claire visibly flinched. ‘Fuck you!’ Charlie growled and the man began to laugh at him again as he struggled to stand and Claire held him down. Some of the others in the circle began to laugh as well but when the man spoke again, his voice was colder than ever before and they swiftly quieted.

‘This was a warning, Charlie. The next time you cross the line, no one will be spared.’

And then, without warning, the Others flitted back into the jungle quite silently, as though they had never even been there to begin with, leaving a feast of carnage behind them.

Charlie and Claire didn’t dare move for almost a full minute after they had left but finally, Claire helped him to his feet and the two of them stood side by side as they watched the rest of their camp burn slowly into a crumble of dark ash. Claire reached out blindly and caught Charlie’s hand in hers, curling her fingers around his own, thin digits and Charlie gave a long sigh. Her gun was still in his hand and he still hadn’t asked how she had gotten it but he wasn’t about to start asking questions like that now when there was so much else happening.

‘What do we do now?’ she murmured, so quietly that he almost didn’t hear her. ‘God, Charlie…’

‘I guess we find the other survivors,’ Charlie murmured back, squeezing her hand. ‘Make sure the people at the caves are still okay. Start cleaning all this bloody mess up...’

‘But it’s all just…gone,’ Claire whispered shakily. ‘All our shelters just burned away, our supplies, our tarps... There’s nothing left. All the trees…and what are we going to do with all the bodies? We’re going to have to start all over again.’

Charlie nodded grimly. ‘Yeah. We’re gonna have to start all over again.’

The sound of a voice calling out stilled them both.

‘One of ours?’ Claire questioned immediately, her voice low. ‘It could be a trap.’

‘You heard Him,’ Charlie sighed. ‘If They’d wanted to kill the two of us, They would have. He had us surrounded and He let us go.’

The two of them began picking their way through the debris, coming to a stop whenever they saw a body. And then, finally…

‘Hey Chassy.’

Charlie started at the rasp of a southern drawl and peered down at one of the many crumpled bodies on the ground. He’d have known that voice anywhere, but he still had to come a little closer to make sure. Claire followed in his wake, gasping when she saw the state of the man on the ground.

‘’bout time someone showed up.’ The man rasped. His eyes were dark with pain, his shirt blackened with blood.

‘Sawyer.’