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In Your Arms (Fanfic) - Early Birthday Present for Kat!! :)

 
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Wickedgal
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:24 pm    Post subject: In Your Arms (Fanfic) - Early Birthday Present for Kat!! :) Reply with quote

Hey x this is my fanfic and its an early birthday present for Kat (LittletonPace), her birthday lies on 25th Feb so hope you like it! It has a little bit of everything that she likes, PB &J, Conmama etc. Hope you enjoy this hun!
In My Arms

Summary: When Claire learns the truth about Charlie’s demise, she asks a surprising – and rather demanding – favour of Desmond. Consider this wishful thinking on my part. Not because of the circumstances surrounding it of course but it shows a little more humanity in Claire.

-----------------

Life seems to slow down for her, in those last, few, crucial seconds before she finds out the crippling news. She hesitates as Hurley’s hunched figure walks slowly towards her and she notices the tears inside his eyes before his lips begin to part and releases the words she wishes she could erase from her mind.

“H-He’s dead.”

She gazes at him, pretending she doesn’t comprehend when it’s blatantly clear she does. Why else would he have drifted towards her of all people if it was anyone else? If she pretends to not know, she reasons, she can lose herself into a few seconds of wonderful denial before the truth slams into her like a cluster of charging bulls. It’s worth being in denial if it puts off the inevitable slam of grief which will hit her.

“Charlie’s dead,” Hurley clarifies; his voice hoarse with torment and grief.

There you have it, she thinks to herself numbly, the cold, hard, bitter truth. She could easily scream with rage, cry and tear her hair out whilst sinking to her knees in despair, or lash out against the man who survived the mission Charlie hadn’t. She does none of these options, much as she loves the idea of doing all three.

“No…” She lets out a monosyllabic response of despair, shakes her head slightly and sinks into Hurley’s clumsy embrace, relishing the contact.

Claire, with her one free hand, clutches Hurley’s shirt like a lifeline and sobs against him, hearing the exact same, broken sound coming from him. It touches her, as well as comforts her, that Charlie meant a lot to Hurley too. In some ways, this helps her from losing it all together and burying herself in self-loathing like she wants to. She doesn’t want to hear words of comfort, she doesn’t want to receive false concern and she certainly does NOT want pity. What she does want…what she needs is closure.

First things first…she has a question that needs to be asked. Yet she fears the answer above all else. She figures out roughly that Charlie, towards the end, got it into his head that his one true purpose was to rescue everyone else – in particular, her and Aaron. She half hopes he died because of a freak accident or because he was murdered, basically anything that doesn’t suggest he died because of her. She doesn’t want his blood on her hands and yet she knows whichever way he went, he still died for her. And she hates him for it.

“How did it…?” She can’t even finish the question; her surprisingly strong grief has her in a chokehold, one from which she can’t escape.

She tries again. “I mean…how did h-he…?”

Damn. She can’t finish a damn sentence now and she can feel every inch of her body clam up, trying to protect the vulnerability that has been exposed to the world. Her hands feel clammy and warm, despite the fact she’s standing in the middle of a jungle in the bitter cold. Her breathing disintegrates into short, sharp bursts and the urge to scream possesses her fragile body.

Hurley sniffs, the tears starting to withdraw now as he remembers where they are.

“He was trying to help us,” he explains sadly. His tone seems to add a bit more to that sentence as if he almost wants to say, isn’t that what Charlie does though? Helps us?

At this point she could lower her head, succumb to her grief and become lifeless like a statue. There’s one last thing she wants to do, however, and it’s something she knows in her heart which has the power to kill and heal her in the same stroke. It’s not just an impulse – even though it kind of is – and it’s more of a need than a desire.

She has to see his body, if not for proof that he really is gone then because she wants to see him one last time…even if she doesn’t like what she sees.

“Desmond?” She turns to the Scotsman, aware she looks (and feels) like crap. She can feel the tears stick to her cheeks like metal to a magnet and her eyelashes keep sticking together as more tears rise to the surface.

“Yeah?” he replies, looking startled and wary at the same time.

He’s expecting me to yell at him, she realises with wonder. How can I yell at him? He may have survived when Charlie didn’t but does he expect me to be angry at him because of it? The problem is…she does feel resentment for him though she knows she shouldn’t blame him. She shouldn’t, in reality, blame Charlie either. They all have free will, even on this island, yet part of her wants to beat the crap out of him for leaving her despite his promises which stated the contrary.

“I need a favour,” she whispers, her voice lighter than air due to the fact that all emotion has been vacuumed clean out of her body leaving her somewhat giddy.

“Ok…” Desmond, naturally, becomes even more wary. She has to wonder if he knows what she’s going to ask of him, hence the lack of certainty in his answer.

She inhales deeply and gazes up at him.

“I want you to take me to his body.”

“Absolutely not,” Desmond replies swiftly, frowning at her. “What put that insane idea into your head, sister?”

She closes her eyes and resists the urge to hit him. How can she possibly explain the need to see Charlie’s body? It’s a morbid request, she understands, but surely not an unreasonable one? It’s impossible for her to explain to a virtual stranger why she wants to see the body of the man she loves, except for the obvious reason of closure.

Huh. The man she loves. When did she figure that out? When had she crossed the blurred line between friendship and love and, more importantly, why the hell hadn’t she told Charlie?

“Please, Desmond,” she says as she closes her eyes slowly. “I know you don’t want to go back there but you can just show me how to get there and I –,”

“It’s a fundamentally stupid idea.” She’s surprised by his hostile tone and it causes her eyes to open up again.

“Why?” she challenges. “I need to see him one last time. I didn’t…I couldn’t tell him that I…I…” The tears start gushing down her face now and she realises each tear shed weakens her and weakens her faith in Charlie.

He did this to me.

She raises her slender hand and brushes the tears away. She could so easily hate Charlie right now, mostly for leaving her but more for the fact that his sacrifice has left her with bloodstained hands. If it wasn’t for me, he’d still be alive, she realises dully. When she thinks about it carefully, she realises Charlie’s near death experiences on the island all happened because of her. He nearly died trying to protect her from Ethan, his deaths in Desmond’s flashes had always been because of her and she’s pretty damn sure his real death now is down to her as well. She doesn’t want to be like Hurley and believe she’s cursed – she doesn’t believe in curses, after all – but she does understand the choices a person makes can lead to disastrous consequences.

Poor Charlie. He never had a chance from the word ‘go’.

Desmond stares at her and she stares back, aware that the whole world has pressed pause as they lock horns, neither of them willing to back down. He understands her dire need to say goodbye to him but it’s too dangerous. She doesn’t even understand that Charlie’s body is inaccessible so what she’s trying to accomplish is impractical and definitely something he shouldn’t be encouraging.

“I’ll take her if you don’t,” someone pipes up.

They simultaneously turn around and see a surprising figure walk out of the crowd. A grim Sawyer, clutching his gun to his chest in a warrior position, walks forwards and smiles at an otherwise surprised and shell shocked Claire.

“W-What?” she stutters.

Sawyer turns to Desmond. “Look you got your reasons for not wanting to go back. I don’t blame you for not wantin’ to go. Jus’ tell me where to go and I’ll take her there. We’ll be there and back again by tomorrow.”

Desmond’s eyebrows knit together in frustration and he sighs in exasperation.

“It’s bloody night time,” he points out. “You can’t waltz through the jungle and across the bloody ocean just to say goodbye to him, Claire. He wouldn’t have wanted it. He died to make sure you got rescued and I’m gonna keep ya safe until you are. I owe it to him.”

Claire’s eyes fill with tears again. She’s never been so moved in her life. In those last few weeks before Charlie’s death, the two of them had been so close…almost like brothers really. If she closes her green eyes, she can see the string of happy moments before the Others, once again, crashed down on their temporary paradise. She can visualise those little moments of happy oblivion they all became settled under. The picnic, breakfast in bed, the late night stories about their lives and the gentle cuddles they used to share underneath the stars. She misses those moments, those little wonders amongst the dark canvas that is, unfortunately, her life. Very few happy memories does she recall pre-island.

“Then surely you can understand why I need to do this,” she persists, stepping even closer towards him so she can almost count the teardrops that spring from his eyes. “I owe it to Charlie to give him a final goodbye. The last thing I said to him was be careful.” She inhales deeply, finally arriving to the crux of the matter. “Everyone else who died here – Boone, Shannon, Ana, Libby, Eko – they all got their funerals. Why shouldn’t Charlie?”

The guilt in his eyes shows her she’s wearing him down.

“You understand why I can’t go back, don’t you? I can’t go down there because…what happened down there will haunt me for the rest of my life. I don’t need to relieve it twice,” he whispers, his eyes shutting as a thousand painful memories hovered in front of his eyes.

Ironic that now he’s gone, I’m still getting flashes of him, he thinks to himself grimly. Flashes of his life after he’s dead…huh. I guess that’s the definition of irony.

Sawyer nods courteously at him. “Like I said, I’ll take her.”

“Why?” Desmond questions him. “No offence, mate, but from what I know about ya, you’re globally regarded as a selfish bastard.”

Sawyer laughs mirthlessly, realising how cold the sound is amongst the mournful scene before him. He cuts the laughter short.

“I wanna help,” he insists. “Plus I got nothin’ better to do until Jack and his merry men arrive back.” He shrugs and then his expression becomes uncharacteristically sombre. “Who says she’s the only one who wants to say goodbye, anyway?”

“Jack’s gonna murder me when he realises I’ve let you go,” Desmond mutters. “Shouldn’t you wait until you hear what he has to say first?”

“No offence, Macbeth, but I’m done taking orders from Jack,” Sawyer replies quietly. “Like I said from the beginning…it’s every man for himself.”

Claire watches them through dreary eyes. Her world’s gone from one filled with colour to one filled with standard black and white. It’s bearable, tolerable and certainly something she can cope with but it lacks life.

Aaron gurgles inside her arms and she temporarily wakes up from her trance. He grasps her finger tightly and she kisses his fingers with love and affection. This little man, she thinks to herself with a small smile, he won’t break my heart. She just wishes she could get him off the island so he can have all the things normal little boys do. It’s just another wish to add to the list. The wish list she compiled at the back of her diary, mostly to do with Charlie. Her most recent ones are I wish I could tell Charlie how I feel, I wish we could all get off this island and be a proper family, I wish I knew how Charlie feels about me, I wish I could be a good mum the way Charlie is a good dad, and last but not least, I wish Charlie didn’t have to go…

She walks over to Sun, carefully removes the Bjorn and hands her son over to him silently. She doesn’t want to leave Aaron behind again but she can’t take him with her.

“Don’t do this,” Sun pleads. “Don’t leave him, Claire. What if something happens to you?”

Claire glances into her worried eyes and smiles emotionlessly. She appreciates the concern directed at her but she knows that she’s alone now and the one person she could always count on for good advice is gone.

“Something did happen to me, Sun,” she replies numbly. “I lost the man I love. I’ll be back soon.” Worry suddenly awakens her and she kisses her son’s head tenderly.

“You can’t leave him again!” Sun protests, her voice thick with concern and worry. “This isn’t what Charlie would’ve wanted.”

“I know,” Claire agrees softly. “But he’s not here and I know this is going to sound crazy but I feel…I feel like I can’t move on until I’ve told him how I feel. Even if he can’t respond.”

That’s the bitch of it really, she realises. She can scream and rant and cry and weep at Charlie and he’ll never be able to comfort and assure her like he used to.

“You ready, Claire?” Sawyer asks gently.

She blinks and notices something odd about the situation but can’t quite place her finger on it. Shrugging the matter off, she nods and then looks back at her son in Sun’s arms and bites her lip, worried about whether she’s doing the right thing or not.

She turns her gaze and notices Desmond and Sawyer are talking in low voices. She catches the words inaccessible, flooded and body but nothing more. With a last, lingering sigh which becomes lost amongst the ensuing breeze, she turns and starts to head towards the beach, finally realising what the odd thing she’d noticed earlier had been about.

Sawyer didn’t give her a nickname.

She doesn’t know why that’s significant but she feels like there’s a change in the wind, as if Charlie’s death is having a profound, irreversible effect on them all.

She shrugs again, wondering whether her imagination is running riot simply because it can or because she feels unsafe. For the first time in a long while, she feels unsafe and terrified of the future and she knows Charlie’s departure and subsequent death is the reason for it.

Oh Charlie, she sighs to herself. How could you leave me like this?

----------------

They reach the shore as the sun begins to rise up into the sky. It’s just as well – Claire dreads to think how they would’ve handled a journey underwater whilst the cold, detached moon gazed forebodingly at them as the only source of light.

“You ok?” Sawyer’s voice interrupts her thoughts.

She stares at the flat, unnervingly calm ocean and wants to give him a snappy retort like; does it look like I’m ok? I’ve lost the man I love and now I’m going on a potentially suicidal mission just to say goodbye to him?! If that sounds like I’m ok, then yeah I’m ok.

Somehow she manages to restrain herself and offers him a curt nod in response. It’s all she can manage at the moment. Without Aaron inside her arms, she feels numb, empty and completely vulnerable. She hates feeling like this.

“There’s the paddler,” Sawyer points out. “We should, er, get movin’. Jack’s gonna be mighty pissed when he finds out what we’ve done.”

“Since when did Jack being pissed off matter to you?” she asks, her voice devoid of emotion.

He chuckles. “Touché,” he remarks.

They reach the paddler and she lightly fingers it, intimidated by its sheer size. Don’t be so silly, she scolds herself. If Charlie can do it, so can you. She just hopes her journey doesn’t end the same way as his. Maybe Sun was right. She shouldn’t be doing this. Now that she’s here though, it would be foolish not to see this through until the end.

Sawyer grips the back of it and starts to push it into the water. She aids him as best as she can, though her muscle power is something to be desired. The paddler dips into the water with great ease and soon they’re off. The groan of the boat as they both clamber in shakes her up a little bit, subconsciously reminding her that this perhaps the most single-handedly foolish thing she’s done. It’s too late to back out though.

Sawyer’s paddle strokes are lengthy and powerful, whereas Claire’s strokes barely make a difference at all. Sawyer occasionally gives her an encouraging smile – which somehow turns out into a grimace – and it gives her reassurance…for about thirty seconds.

It doesn’t take too long before they reach their target and, simultaneously, they stare down into the heart of the ocean. They both gasp at the tremendous stature of the building, which lurks along the bottom of the sea like an aquatic predator. The distance between them and the station looks formidable and she withdraws a little bit, suddenly frightened.

“I got your back,” Sawyer reassures her, seeing her frightened, Bambi type eyes. “I won’t let anythin’ happen to ya. Ok?”

She shudders and then, nervously, nods.

“We’ll take three deep breaths,” Sawyer instructs, slipping his large, rough hand into hers. “Then we’ll jump. I promise you I won’t leave ya.”

She almost recoils from him, knowing the last time those words were uttered she’d been in an almost catatonic state under the protective watch of the man who’d inadvertently shown her how to live again.

“One…”

Can I really do this? Despair floods her mind and she begins to panic, like a deer caught in headlights with nowhere to run.

“Two…”

Charlie, please look after me, she prays. Please keep me alive so I can see my son again. It’s only afterwards that she grasps the fact that she’s recovered the long forgotten skill of praying. She never could pray before then, never really finding the need to do so.

“Three!”

She inhales deeply one last time and then feels her body arc gracefully away from the paddler. Water rises up to meet her as she jumps into the seemingly endless blue which promptly surrounds her. She remembers her near death experience in water and thrashes in fear as that memory comes storming back.

A calm hand in hers pulls her down and inadvertently pulls her mind sharply back to the present. She stops panicking and follows Sawyer. He pulls her along gently and she smiles, almost crazily, as she embraces this almost forgotten feeling of holding hands with someone new.

What a stupidly random thought, she chastises herself. Concentrate, Claire!

It’s strangely peaceful being underwater. The water gurgles around her like a newborn infant and she smiles as a trail of bubbles escapes her lips. She could almost watch them forever….

Sawyer watches her anxiously, pulling her sharply to reality just as it seems he’s about to lose her. He catches her eye and she immediately looks remorseful, as if she’s committed some sort of cardinal sin. His grip on her hand tightens and they slowly, but surely, manage to reach the station.

She can feel the life being sucked out of her body. Her body, unused to not receiving oxygen, starts to twitch and thrash like a fish out of water. This isn’t an unusual sensation in the sense that she’s been through this before. She feels almost sleepy as if she’s been kept up all night and only now gets the chance to rest.

This feeling quickly subsides the moment she feels her body being pushed upwards and feels fresh air slap her face. She gasps and inhales the air greedily, making her way over to a set of ladders she can see out of the corner of her eye. Unknowingly, she repeats the same action Charlie performed when he first arrived here. She lies back, breathing in and out deeply and stares at the ceiling in amazement. I’m alive, she realises in shock. This place is a hell of a lot further down than I originally thought.

Sawyer’s head pops up next and he grins weakly at her as he swims over to the side and joins her. She sits up and helps him out of the water and both of them stagger to their feet, overwhelmed by the intensity of actually getting here.

“You ok?” She repeats his words from earlier, surprised that she actually cares about this rugged, sarcastic, belligerent man.

“Yeah, sugarplum,” he pants. “I’m just dandy.”

She starts to wander around the station, not really looking for Charlie but not really sure what she wants to find. This, she decides, is a hellhole. There’s a rank stench of salt water and blood in the air and everywhere she turns the smell slams into her. There’s a severe lack of colour as well, which makes it an eyesore as well as a hellhole. The walls are metallic and seem to bear the scars of time, due to the patches of rust which swathe random parts of the wall.

A loud, startled “son of a bitch!” makes her whirl around and race towards Sawyer, who seems to be staggered by a discovery he’s made. She slows down, unsure about whether she wants to see or not.

A few tentative steps are all she takes before she can see what he’s discovered. Two corpses, both female, lie half in and half out of a white tarp. The dried blood around their abdomen leaves little to the imagination, for it’s as clear as day as to how they died. Claire gags, not used to seeing dead bodies like this. She wants to vomit, thereby purging herself of seeing this awful sight but she can’t. Shock halts her entire system and she realises that she may have made a fundamentally stupid error in coming here.

“Don’t look,” Sawyer commands, covering the bodies again. “Are you sure you wanna do this?”

It’s like he’s read her mind and picked up on the waves of uncertainty and doubt which rest there. No, I’m not sure, she silently responds. But I’ve made my choice and I’ll stick by it. It’s ironic, not to mention tragic, that she can commit to saying goodbye to Charlie but she couldn’t commit to him when he was alive.

She barely notices Sawyer rising and walking away as she falls to her knees. Everywhere is quiet and it seems like the world doesn’t move here. Death is trapped here like a slave and, in turn, it entraps those that dare come here. It’s just another morbid thought she keeps in her collection nowadays. Happiness is a feeling she can barely see anymore, let alone reach for. Her happiness and her chance at living a normal life died with Charlie.

“Over here.” Sawyer’s calm, resolute voice tells her that he’s found him.

Taking large gulps of air to calm herself, Claire rises to her feet as fluently and as silent as a ghost. She slowly walks towards Sawyer, who stands by a huge, metallic door which has a wheel on it in place of a handle.

As soon as she reaches it, she has to take a few more breaths, a few more seconds of denial, before her eyes gradually make their way into the porthole which peeps into the room beyond the door. And once she does, it’s like her life – and not just the world – pauses.

The room is flooded, naturally, due to the smashed in window on the other side. She barely acknowledges this. The blue, blue surface of the ocean, she learns, is one of those things in nature which deceives through appearance, for the water in here is murky and dark and looks formidable. Again she doesn’t focus on this. What she does focus on is the figure which floats through the water, resembling a ghost or a spiritual figure rather than a human body.

It’s an out of body moment for her because, in those few seconds before the sobs come bursting out, she feels light and weightless, as if she’s floating beside him peacefully. The moment shatters like glass and she falls to her knees again, not seeming to care that pain shoots around her body as soon as she does so. The metal floor crashes against her knees, tearing flesh so that a thin trickle of blood runs down her leg.

It’s a small price to pay for doing this, she assures herself.

“Can we get to him?” she asks quietly, knowing she needs to hold him one last time. At the moment, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

“I dunno,” Sawyer replies dubiously. “I don’t think we can get to him without this entire room floodin’. This door’s pretty damn hard to open as well. Guess that’s why ol’ Desmundo there couldn’t save him despite the fact he wanted to.”

“W-What?” Claire repeats, feeling confused.

“You mean you don’t know?” Sawyer looks incredulously at her.

“You were there, Sawyer,” she replies wearily. “All I heard was that Charlie had died. I didn’t get to hear about the circumstances surrounding his…death.”

Sawyer tells her the pieces of the story he’s heard from Desmond. She hates being lied to, or having the truth sugar coated, but this is one of those times where she’d rather hear anything but the truth. Every word that comes out of Sawyer’s mouth stings her like venom. It was just typical Charlie behaviour to save Desmond when he couldn’t save himself. It cripples her to learn that he still had time to escape but let fate win. But then again…it hardly surprises her to know he still put everyone else before himself, even as the last seconds of his life ticked away.

Something catches her eye as she gazes mournfully around the room. A scuba kit, abandoned on the cold floor, seems to move her more than anything else she’s seen so far. She moves towards it, her limbs stiff with the cold. Her soaking wet clothes cling to her and she involuntarily shudders.

“We can go if you want,” Sawyer says in a sombre tone.

“No.” She shakes her head firmly. “I didn’t risk life and limb just to back out now. Can we retrieve him from the window at the back?”

“We could…” Sawyer sounds extremely dubious. “I don’t think I’ll fit. ‘Sides…don’t you think Charlie would’ve done that if he could?”

“I don’t know, Sawyer,” Claire snaps. “He had plenty of chances to come back to me only he didn’t. As much as I thought I knew him, I didn’t really know him. This sounds selfish, I know, but why didn’t he at least fight to get out? It makes no sense.”

“Course it does,” Sawyer replies with a frown. “You never saw him from our point of view. The guy was crazy about ya, Claire. He followed you around like a lost puppy and when you were gone, you shoulda seen him.” He shuddered. “He completely shut down. If there was any way of gettin’ you and baby Huey off this island, he was determined to do it. When he died, even though this supposedly nearby boat ain’t exactly a rescue boat, he died with the knowledge that any other rescue boat or plane could find us.”

She stares at him, feeling immensely guilty for ever doubting Charlie. Bowing her head slightly, she tries to come up with solutions to retrieving his body herself. Before she knew it, she finds herself climbing into the scuba kit, the scuba kit meant for Charlie, and taking off into the water, not hearing Sawyer’s cries of protest.

If this was the opposite way round, you’d do this for Kate, she thinks. Don’t judge me for wanting to hold him one last time…

The water is still icy cold and she can’t help but shiver and squirm in its cold grasp. She’s a fairly good swimmer, yet it seems like an insult to Charlie’s memory to even think that.

With powerful strokes, she soon reaches the porthole and manages, with great difficulty to squeeze through and recoils as she sees Charlie’s lifeless face hover in front of her. Tears threaten to seep through her eyelids but she bravely links her arms around his and tries to squeeze him through the porthole.

No such luck.

She tries again, over and over even as the fear of leaving him like that threatens to rip what’s left of her heart into shreds. Hysterical sobs build up inside her, until she feels like she’s going to explode. She almost feels like giving up…almost.

One more attempt, she vows. I owe him that much, don’t I?

And surprisingly, it works. Faith and her resolve somehow pressure her limbs and muscles to come to life so she can gently, but firmly, squeeze him through the porthole. Part of her, the resentful, hateful part, questions why he hadn’t tried to do this before but death has a strange way of reshuffling someone’s priorities. Plus that noble streak in him certainly played a role in his final moments.

It’s only a matter of minutes now before she resurfaces in the station with his body in tow. Sawyer immediately assists her, helping to carry the surprisingly heavy body out of the water.

“I’ll, er, give you a moment,” he says awkwardly as she clambers out of the water and cradles the Briton’s head in her arms.

She barely hears him walk away. The world doesn’t even exist as she stares at the beautiful, lifeless face of the man she loves. She leans her head against his chest and starts to cry again. Her fingers grasp at his chest and for one, delusional second, she imagines she hears a heartbeat. How she wishes she could feel one.

“I never imagined I’d do anything this reckless just to say goodbye to you,” she whispers against his chest. “If anything, I thought I’d do anything this reckless to keep you alive and safe and next to me.” A particularly large tear trickles down her nose. “Oh, Charlie. How did we get here? If it weren’t for me, you’d still be alive. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.

“I love you, Charlie. I always thought I’d be saying it under different circumstances and you wouldn’t be dead when I said it. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to realise it. I always wondered if you felt the same way I did…I guess that’s a stupid question isn’t it? You always protected me and took care of me. I’m sorry I pushed you away time and time again. I’m sorry I never really got to know you. I would take you back but I don’t want the others to see you like this. It might upset them, especially Hurley.”

She leans forward and kisses his cold, frozen lips. What compels her to do that, she doesn’t know. It seems gross and disgusting but it feels right. It’s the perfect way to say goodbye.

“I love you,” she whispers again. “But now you know how much I love you. I’ve risked life and limb just to say goodbye to you and I don’t know if I’d do that for anyone else. Goodbye, Charlie. Thank you for taking caring of me.”

Out of habit, she strokes his fringe out of his eyes and feels nothing but love and tenderness seep out of her broken heart. She wishes the last image of him isn’t of his dead body but one where he’s smiling and carefree. It’s just another wish to add to the list – a list filled with wishes she won’t ever be able to fulfil.

The sound of footsteps pulls her out of her thoughts and back down to reality. She stares at Sawyer who gives her a small smile in return. He kneels down beside her and pulls her into a much needed hug. Surprised by the gesture, she succumbs to her secret desire to be held and cries the last of her tears.

The silence stretches out for eternity, interspersed with the odd sobbing sound from Claire. Sawyer holds her close and strokes her hair softly, looking guilty at doing this in front of Charlie. Dead or not, he still feels like he’s crossing a line by embracing and comforting a distraught Claire.

Eventually, she pulls away and blinks up at a sombre Sawyer.

“You can take me back now,” she says in a hoarse voice.

“Wait just a sec there doll,” he interrupts, staring down at the lifeless body of someone who, in another life, he could’ve called a friend. “This is about the closest he’s gonna get to a funeral, so let’s do it right.”

“Ok.” She sniffs and blinks back more tears, mostly because Sawyer’s tender nature is taking her by surprise.

Sawyer clears his throat and looks awkwardly at the ground. “Well, Chucky, I guess all I can say is thanks for trying to rescue us. You and I barely spoke – and I guess the few times we did, you looked about ready to kill me. I’ll keep this short, for both our sakes. Sorry I never made more of an effort for you. You were a better man than I’ll ever be.”

He cuts the speech short after that.

“Are you sure you don’t want to bring him back?” he eventually asks.

“I’m sure,” she replies numbly. “I don’t want anyone else to see him like this. It’s better for them to remember him as a friendly, loving, family man…not like this.”

He stares at her for a second; taking in her wet, dishevelled and haunted appearance and wishing he could make her smile somehow. He’s never seen her look so…helpless before. Even when she returned from her kidnap ordeal, she still had fight in her, though granted she didn’t remember what had happened to her. Now, the fight appears to have been drained from her body and the life has been sucked from her eyes.

They rise together and Sawyer goes to locate another scuba kit. She, meanwhile, stumbles around the looking glass station for a while. She’s done what she set out to do…so why does she feel like complete crap?

She hovers around the pool for a while and traces her finger amongst the ripples of water, startled when her finger touches something that’s not water. It’s paper. Admittedly, a soggy and thin piece of paper but it seems to offer her hope for some reason. She takes it out of the water and realises that she can barely read the writing on it. It’s some sort of list, judging by the fact that she can pick out a few numbers on it. The letters are blurred and disjointed, pulled apart by the ocean, yet she can detect one discernible sentence on it.

The night I met you.

The tug on her heart strings tells her that this has been written by Charlie and he wanted her to have this. From that, she works out that he passed it onto Desmond before he dove into the water but Desmond ended up in the water too, hence why this letter, or whatever it is, ended up drifting lazily along with the current.

Maybe it’s fate that it ended up with her, or maybe it’s just coincidence. She likes to think that Charlie still watches over and so gently guided his last gift to her because he senses how lonely she is without him.

Though the rest of the letter is an indiscernible mess, Claire clutches it to her chest like a lifeline and, for the first time in a while, smiles a genuine smile. It’s the same smile she offered him when they first met, the same smile she showed him when he walked onto the beach after the implosion of the Swan hatch and the same smile she gave him before he left her side forever.

In her heart, she knows she’ll never be alone. He’ll always be on the sidelines, watching over her and Aaron as her own guardian angel. In that sense, she knows he never really broke his promise at all. He’ll always be with her

For this reason, despite the grief and pain and unbelievable torment she feels at losing him, Claire believes she’s quite possibly the luckiest woman in the world.
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littleton_pace
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

awww, AMY!!! Thank you so much for this! Such a beautiful story! And you're right; it combined my favourite things! It was so heartbreaking; Claire making her mental wishlist and then finding Charlies' list at the end. I loved the whole plot of her going to see him one last time; i could see it playing out in my head so easily, especially with sawyer tagging along.

I loved the references to him taking care of her and his promise not to leave her. You captured what I think Claire was feeling during 4x01 so well; that numb anger at him for leaving because of her. Her guilt propelling her was so believable and understandable.

I sincerely love this hun! And im so touched you wrote it for my birthday
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