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the Other - 01 - the Girl
by Ellin (sapphire_child)
at April 4th, 2006 (06:00 am)

Here follows the first installment of my Lost fanfiction, "the Other". All of the entries here have been resposted in the order of their original post date with the exception of the first post with the first teaser trailer I made for this fic. Read, review but most of all - enjoy.

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Title: The Other – 01 – The Girl
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 “The Curse Stops Here” by The Whitlams
~*~

The jungle was quiet when she set out to visit their graves. No whispering voices or the crunching of footsteps that constantly reminded her that she wasn’t alone. There was only the early morning mist, the occasional distant chirrup of a bird and her own feet pushing and kicking aside sticks and stones and making more noise than she should have been permitting if she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.

They were always watching.

They were probably watching her right now as she hurried down familiar paths she had trod and worn for years. The thought made her skin goosebump all over and she rubbed her bare arms, trying not to shiver. It was still early after all, and under the trees it was always relatively cool – until the humidity set in of course.

She tripped over a sizeable sort of stone that hadn’t been there the day before and for a sickening moment she thought she might completely fall but then her hand was wrapped around a low hanging branch and she had righted herself. She took a tentative step forwards, found no other obstructions and continued on her way, glancing down every so often to check that there was nothing else to fall over – it could prove dangerous in her current state.

They weren’t too far from home – the graves. There were no flowers or crosses to mark them but she knew where they were all the same. She’d been coming here every day for a long time now and she knew all of the trees and rocks by heart. The road was instinctual, habitual – as familiar as the back of her hand as they said.

She passed the tree with the broken branch, trailed her hands over the leafy ferns, skirted a particularly large outcropping of rock and found the quartet of trees that told her that she was finally here.

She didn’t really know why she’d buried Him next to her mother – He’d always done nothing but hurt them – both of them. But she’d known, somehow, that it was the right thing to do. And so she had done it. She had dug His grave and then dragged His limp form down the same path she had just taken, leaving behind an angry smear of blood.

Blood. It had been an integral part of her life for as long as she could remember. Her own, that of her mother, all the animals He had slaughtered for no other reason than He could, the blood of the Others, and then finally His.

But there had been no blood here for a long time now and the thought comforted her enough that the warning prickle on the back of her neck dissipated – at least for now.

She knelt down at her mothers feet but it was too awkward to do that for very long and so after a moment or two, she curled her legs underneath her body instead, landing with a soft thud on the ground. One hand idly began rubbing the taut skin of her belly as her thoughts began to come to the fore one by one.

She couldn’t remember how many weeks she had to go now – at first she had counted the days, the weeks, the months, but then the use had faded as the days began to blend into each other, and she had stopped keeping a tally in chalk on the wall.

Now who knew how long she had left? She guessed at a week or less – her body would tell her when it was time and if it didn’t then the whispers might. They always told her things – the things that she didn’t already know in any case. He’d never liked it, her knowing things she shouldn’t have. Her mother said that she scared Him because she knew things that He didn’t.

When the whispers finally found her she headed back home – taking a different road this time than the one she had taken there, to the graves. This path too was familiar, every tree, clearing, dip in the ground was an old friend. But all too soon she stopped short, realising that there was somebody else here, in her jungle.

The whispers faded and then stopped as she edged forward tentatively, step at a time. A man lay crumpled, curled underneath a tree – asleep? He was only a small man, lightly built and malnourished at that, and dirty as all hell.

It wasn’t one of the Others, of that she was certain. They would never be caught out like this. Unless it was a trap? But why would they ensnare her? It would have been quite easy to just snatch her away before now – she was alone after all.

She took another small step forward, placing a hand on top of her belly and peered curiously at the mans face – at the dark cavern of his mouth, the dirt on his skin, the dark scrubby beard and tangled hair – but mostly at the creases in his forehead and around his eyes.

She could tell just by looking at him that he was in pain – whether physical or mental she couldn’t be certain yet. But people’s faces didn’t crease into frowns like that when they were asleep unless they had reason for it. And she knew he couldn’t be cold, after all, the morning wasn’t that chilly and in any case, he was wrapped snugly in a jacket with a hood. And he wasn’t shivering.

She glanced him over once again, puzzling over the black bands around his wrist and what looked like a ring on his right hand. It featured two letters – his initials? Absurdly, she noticed a hole at the end of his left shoe where the tip of one of his toes was barely poking out and almost giggled.

Her eyes went back to his face and she continued to stare at him when a sudden, horrible thought seized her, making her take a sharp breath – what if he wasn’t asleep at all, but dead? Suddenly trembling, the girl lowered herself awkwardly in front of him and stared intently at his chest. It didn’t appear to be moving.

Whole body juddering now, she picked up one of his limp hands in hers – the fingernails black with dirt – and after a long, tense moment, she smiled (if tremulously) and the shakes subsided.

‘Wake up now Charlie,’ she murmured, stroking his hand gently. ‘Wake up now.’

Almost immediately his eyes flickered open and then his mouth opened and a single word, a name, bubbled from his lips.

‘Claire?’

He blinked confusedly at her for a moment as she processed the name he’d just uttered. It wasn’t her name but this man, this Charlie, he had a kind voice, deep and rough (and hoarse at the moment), but very gentle in the handling of the name ‘Claire’.

She smiled down at him.

~*~

Charlie’s first impression was of a huge wall of curved stomach and an immediate association of Claire?

A moment later he pushed his weary eyes upwards and his insides gave a sharp jolt. Claire wasn’t pregnant anymore and this certainly wasn’t Claire anyway. If he’d had the energy to push her away he would have done so but this girls hands were warm and soft on his and in any case, she was so pregnant he would have been a fool to think that she could cause him any harm – and if she’d wanted to hurt him then why wake him up first? She’d have had an advantage attacking him while he was asleep.

He made a mental note to not let himself get too paranoid as the girl smiled widely at him, showing crooked teeth. God she couldn’t be more than fifteen, all big, dark eyes and long hair and huge belly. He wondered vaguely where she’d come from – there was a haze of sleep still clouding his brain somewhat – but then she reached over with one of her soft, warm hands and stroked his lank hair away from his face.

Charlie sighed, his eyes falling shut. He was exhausted, malnourished – he must be hallucinating again. At least this was a nice hallucination instead of the usual, terrifying, religious-life-and-death ones he’d had before. Her fingers traced through his hair several more times and then her hand fell away and he felt a soft whoosh of displaced air as she stood up.

‘Get up on your feet Charlie,’

Charlie shook his head; he was too tired to get up. And anyway, she was just a hallucination wasn’t she? He figured that he shouldn’t follow any more hallucinations – even if they were nice. They only seemed to get him into trouble.

‘Please get up on your feet or I shall have to make you do so.’

This time she reached down and began to tug at him. Charlie opened his eyes and after several failed attempts, he found himself sitting up. Several more tugs and he managed to clamber to his feet with the aid of the girl and the trunk of the tree he’d been sleeping underneath.

He stood there feeling triumphant for a long moment as he swayed but then his knees buckled and he was leaning against her.

‘Are you a hallucination?’ Charlie asked, leaning heavily into her shoulder. She was quite a bit taller than he was and surprisingly strong. ‘Because I’ve never had a hallucination as nice as this before. Like a few weeks ago, I thought that Aaron was in trouble and so I…’

‘I am not a hallucination,’ the girl interrupted, her voice slow and precise. ‘Do you suppose that you can walk a little? You must be very hungry and tired and you certainly need to bathe. My home is not too far to walk from here.’

Charlie blinked, a little startled at her manner of talking and the way she paused at awkward times – almost as if English wasn’t her first language – but nodded all the same. His sleep-addled brain was beginning to clear a little but he still wasn’t all there – yet. The girl smiled again and picked up his half-empty backpack from the ground.

‘We walk this way,’

The girl began to lead him through the jungle quite silently and Charlie tailed after her, one hand on her shoulder, occasionally stopping to lean against her. She didn’t say a word and after several minutes, when his brain had started functioning enough for him to form coherent thought patterns, he realised that she had been calling him by his name earlier.

‘How did you know my name?’ his pace slowed a little. How did she know his name? He hadn’t told her had he?

‘I just knew,’ the girl said and tugged him onwards. ‘Sometimes I know things. Things like that.’

‘What do you-?’

‘No more talking now.’ The girl interrupted, her voice firm. ‘The whisperers are in this part of the jungle today. We will be safer inside.’

‘Whisperers? Inside where?’

‘You will soon see,’ the girl was beginning to sound a little impatient now and Charlie shut his mouth. It was too tiring to try and talk and walk at the same time – it was actually making him feel a little lightheaded. It had been a good few days since he’d had anything substantial to eat – he’d been surviving mostly on water and air and the hope that sooner or later he would feel compelled to go back to camp.

It still hadn’t happened.

As he plodded along behind the pregnant girl his thoughts turned to Claire and Aaron, safe and comfortable back at camp. He sincerely hoped that neither of them were ever stupid enough to consider spending nearly a month plodding through the jungle with no fixed idea of where they were heading and next to no preparation resulting in fatigue, starvation and dehydration.

Charlie mentally giggled when he realised that starvation and dehydration rhymed and then continued on with his stream of consciousness.

How many times had he nearly died in the past four weeks? How many times had he found himself curled up underneath a tree as the irrational torrential rain had poured down onto his head and he’d wished like anything that he could just stand up and turn back the way he’d come and run all the way home?

And then he would remember the reason he had run away in the first place and he would hunker a bit lower underneath his miserable tarpaulin (before it got blown away and caught high in a tree which ripped it to shreds when he tried to disentangle it) and tell himself that it was all for the best.

She didn’t want him around anyway.

He hadn’t parted with Claire on very good terms. She was still angry at him for lying to her and stealing Aaron and then he had exploited her yet again, asking her to pass on a message that he should have been strong enough to give himself, in person.

And that wasn’t even mentioning the kiss. The kiss that shouldn’t have happened, that he hadn’t meant to mean anything but which weighted on his mind even now as he tried to run away from it.

The kiss made him hurt all the more because he knew what he was missing now, and what was worse was that he knew he couldn’t ever have it – not now. She hadn’t been expecting it, he’d known from the expression on her face, how she had looked so completely shocked when he had leant forward – swiftly in case she tried to turn her face away – and touched his lips to hers for the briefest, sweetest moment.

He hadn’t meant to feel such a sense of rightness when he kissed her. He also hadn’t meant it to be for the whole of her mouth, but he had slipped at the last minute…or at least that’s what he told himself. It hadn’t been much of a kiss anyway, the barest brush of lips…

‘We are here.’

Charlie snapped back to reality with a jolt that felt very much like whiplash and turned his head this way and that, trying to figure out where “here” was.

The girl reached and took his hand, leading him through a pair of metal doors, which had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. She shut and bolted them once they were inside, and then switched on the lights. Charlie glanced around vaguely. It wasn’t dissimilar to his own friendly neighbourhood hatch – they appeared to be standing in a long corridor – the Dharma logo on the wall sported a large, six pointed star instead of a swan.

‘Come with me,’ the girl led him down a corridor and into what appeared to be sleeping quarters. Charlie gladly crawled under a blanket and gave a great sigh. Even if this girl was a crazy, gun-wielding maniac, at least he might get some decent rest here before she decided to cut him up and make his internal organs into stew.

‘Sleep as long as you need to,’ the girl murmured, tucking the blankets in around him, but Charlie had already drifted into a doze and by the time she left the room, he was dead to the world.