Summary: A night like any other on the island; the calm before the storm...
Spoilers: Early season one through seasons three.
Warnings: None, really, besides a bit of language and themes. Title is taken from a song by Feist and the story was originally written for falafel_fiction at lostsquee's luau!
Vincent ran off again that day. Michael brought him back. And it’s the same, every time. Walt’s eyes shine and they hug and he hugs the dog, burying his face in his fur. It’s so simple and so happy, they could (should) be in a back yard with a white picket fence, in California.
But they’ll make do here.
With a tennis ball Michael found in the luggage of the plane, and the sea before them, chasing the dog and running into the surf, laughing. They’ll play until everyone sits by the fire, they’ll eat, and Walt will sleep. Peacefully.
And it strikes Michael, as he watches his son sleep, with thousands of stars above him, that this is the wrong place but this is exactly what he should be doing for the rest of his life. It’s at this moment he falls in love with being a parent.
Sayid is playing solitaire on one of the crates left over from the wreckage. He deals the cards into the piles, sorts, then re arranges his cards. There’s a light wind blowing off from the shore, but the cards stay put.
“Mind some company?”
The man is heavyset, American, normal, lonely. Sayid smiles, gesturing at the other chair by the crate. The man sits, and Sayid continues to play, occasionally glancing at the man, who is staring at the surf.
“My name is Sayid.”
They shake hands. One man continues playing cards while the other man watches the surf for planes, boats, or any kind of transportation. Once a while, Arzt will look over and point out a move Sayid missed. One time, he says, “Sorry, that’s left over from pointing out my student’s mistakes.”
Sayid laughed, “And what do you teach?”
“Science,” Arzt says, “mostly biology.”
“So you’ll enjoy your time here, on this island.”
Arzt laughed, “Let’s hope we’re not here that long.”
Both men smile. One returns to his game, the other to watching the surf, the waves rising and falling.
They talk the whole night. Laughing, telling jokes and stories from their childhood. Funny ones, sad ones. They think of games they can do; one is one that Claire made up. They each pick a person and then make up a life story for them. So far, they have a sinful nun, an ex- Cuban dictator, and a muscle man who was the secret lover of many famous models.
Then they turn to each other’s life stories. Charlie thinks that she is some kind of runaway. From a bad marriage, maybe. Here husband may have not wanted the baby and left her. Or maybe she is an angel, and this is the child that will save the world from all the bad things in it (or maybe that’s the drugs talking). For her part, Claire really does believe, in a way, that he is an angel. Sent to her by…someone, to help protect her this first night, until the planes come.
From far away, Ethan stares in wonder at this, his own miracle. A pregnant woman on the island. He moves into the jungle to find Juliet.
Somewhere in the night, Nikki fell asleep in his lap. Her head is resting against his shoulder and her hair falls lightly over her eyes. His leg is asleep and cramping underneath the weight of her body, but he doesn’t want to move her. And he, himself, doesn’t want to move. He wants to lay here, with her, until the get rescued. When they can turn in the diamonds for cash, and make a life for themselves.
“Hey- how are you?”
The man asking is the one who, apparently, was put in charge. Paulo smiles at him, tells him that they are both mine.
This man- the doctor -smiles. “Good, that’s good. I’m just trying to check in with everybody. And, I know you can’t shake my hand or anything, but I’m – Jack. Jack Shepard.”
“Hi. I’m Paulo, and this is Nikki.”
Jack smiles again (he does this a lot, even in the worst situations), “ Well, say hello to her for me when she wakes up.”
Paulo promises to do this and watches the man walk away. In his arms, Nikki shifts and he cradles her, not wanting her to wake up, not yet, at least. He begins to sing o her, softly in her ear. She smiles and holds him tighter. His heart burns and he thinks, this is a perfect moment.
Hurley is sitting the farthest he can from the jungle. It’s not that he’s afraid, he just wants to be far away from it, for safety reasons. The ocean just seems- better. Even though it’s deep and dark and should frighten him more, he likes it. He’s always liked it. He can hear his mom’s voice in it, see his friends celebrating; somewhere across the ocean. It washes away everything bad, and just the good is left.
For some reason, tonight, it reminds him of chocolate chip cookies. His mom baking them. And car grease, on the ground. His dad fixing up a brand new car. It reminds him of records, like the ones he’s listening to; slow songs that mean something. Head-banging and trying to re-create the scene from the film Wayne’s World with his friends. The disastrous ending to that.
It reminds him of home; and he knows they’re close.
Jin is going through the wreckage, finding all that he can of their belongings; he finds their clothes, her perfume bottle (unbroken), her finds their books and magazines for the flight. In fact, somehow, he finds everything. Except for the watch. And, as he realizes this, he gives their stuff back to Sun, who is sitting at the beach. And he leaves the group, walks down the beach to a spot at the land, where the surf curls back up and rushes down to meet the ocean. And he sits down. And he cries. It is good for him to be apart because a man should never do this, especially not a Korean man, who would be frowned upon for displaying emotion so publicly. But the feeling of relief, of escape, is so great and so powerful, and the realization of his freedom is so overwhelming…words would never express it.
Later, he would find the watch and wear it, with a small bit of sadness.
Shannon is sitting by herself on the beach, gathering thoughts and trying not to cry. She wants Boone to be here, but he is too busy playing hero for his sister. The jungle she is sitting by frightens her, being on this island scares her half to death. And, looking around, most of the people are sitting in pairs of are too far off to be bothered. So, she gets up on shaky legs and walks over to where her brother. He looks surprised to see her.
“Shannon! I thought you were going to try to sleep!”
She shrugs, “I got bored. Want help?”
He nods, smiles, teases her a bit, and then hands her a water bottle and a bowel. The two walk around the camp, handing out food and, at the end of the night, they set up camp by themselves, eat a bit. Her face scrunches up when she bites into the food.
“What?”, he asks with a laugh.
“It tastes like shit.”
He laughs out loud, “Well, it wasn’t going to be restaurant quality.”
She shrugs and nods. “When are they going to come?”
Boone looks at his sister, her face illuminated by the small fire by them, her lips trembling, and she’s scared but would never admit it. He hugs her, kisses her forehead and tastes sweat.
“Soon. They’ll be here soon.”
He’s not scared. Not afraid of the jungle, of the ocean, of being alone. He’s not afraid of these other people. Not afraid of where they are now. Whatever they are, wherever this is, he’s sure he’s been through worse, done worse. And his only hope is that they’re rescued before anyone else can realize that. Looking around, he knows that he cannot con anyone here, nor can he trick anyone for anything. His collection is already beginning and in it he has at least one thing from everyone around him on the beach.
His eye catches those of the young pregnant girl on the beach and she smiles at him. He smiles back, then turns away. In his collection, he has at least five books. One of them is Watership Down. The back cover says that it’s a social allegory, involving bunnies. Which makes him laugh.
He opens the book, “ The primroses were over…”
Sun is sitting with Locke. They are around a fire, and Jin placed her near this man, who was silent and older, and still strong looking. For protection, he had said, while I am not around you. Still, Sun thinks, looking at the face of the older man. There is something a little off about him. He is sitting, staring into the fire. And she sits with him. She wants to ask him something. To feel less alone. To be a bit proud of her practice at English.
Quietly, she brushes off her shirt and skirt, her least favorite outfit. And she will not admit this, but clothing is something she takes pride in, the beauty of it. Now it is not so beautiful and she wants to change. Be in a home with a shower and a change of clothes. With or without her husband.
The man next to her hands her a towel, says that it may help, and then- when she does not reply- motions brushing dirt off.
She smiles at him, takes the towel, and wants to say thank you. Instead, she nods her thanks. They continue to sit in comfortable silence, both wishing to talk, but neither knowing anything to say.
Kate is sitting by the make-shift tent that holds Edward Mars. People walk around her, build fires, and interact with one another. She waits for the death of the man she believes is the devil. Honestly, she doesn’t want him dead; she simply wants him gone. Gone from her life, yes, but not dead. It will mean the end of his chasing her, though, the end of her running, and the end of her fear. Of being betrayed. Of losing, all the time. With him gone, people will stop looking at her as she walks past them. Whispering, wondering what she had done. Who she had killed. If they would ask her, she would tell them, but no one wants the story from the convicts point of view.
Inside the tent, the man cries out. The people who set up their own tents are too far away to hear; there has been too much death and fright recently, and no one wants any more. Not her. Certainly not her. But she stays by the tent until she falls asleep, waiting and listening. For either life or death.
The other end of the island. A night like any other. Fires burning on the beach with people resting by them. A jungle full of mystery and an ocean leading to home. The people rest by their fires and Ana Lucia and Goodwin talk by their own. They are telling each other jokes they heard; bad and corny ones, ones that are actually good, and ones that are guaranteed to make you laugh and forget your worries.
Libby is by her fire with Emma and Zach. She is trying to get them to sleep, which is impossible. They keep asking her questions, about why the plane crashed. When they are going to be rescued, who she is, and if their parents know. Eventually, the two children fall asleep, and Libby passes out by them, waking up at small noises and creaks.
Cindy is asleep on the shore by her friend. They talked about the plane, about the island, about where they might be. For some reason, they went into the ocean and out for a swim. It just seemed like a thing to do. That night, they were the first to make the food for the rest of the group. They- especially Cindy- just wanted to be helpful.
That night, Eko has still taken his vow of silence, and he is praying to himself. Meditating on scriptures- those from the gospels, those from the psalms, those from the proverbs. To keep him faithful, to keep him hopeful, and to keep him sane. And he thinks of Yemi, too, thinking how proud his younger brother would be of his older brother. He goes to sleep that night with “How Great Thou Art” on his lips.
Ana Lucia has fallen asleep, and even in her sleep, her body is still rigid. Stiff. Goodwin looks down at her and smiles. At least, he thinks, one of the new people has the possibility of being interesting.
In her dreams, she sees a child. And a husband. And a home. A family, safe in California. A child growing up and getting older and her growing older too. Both are no longer things she would mind; in fact, she would welcome them. These types of dreams used to make her sad, but now she loves them, holds them with her, even when she wakes up.
Ben is on his way to see Jacob, and, in the meantime, he walks past both camps, re-depositing Goodwin and Ethan at their respective sites. He walks into the jungle, humming to himself, sure that this will work out. Somehow, Jacob will have a plan and Widmore will be kept off the island. Everything will work out. He has confidence and he knows that, right now, whoever these people elected as their leader have none.
And he’s right.
But Jack is confident too. As he falls asleep that night, he thinks that, possibly, something good may come of this. His mother will forget about the death of his father, with joy at his own coming home. They will all be rescued, and, in the meantime, things could be worse. Instead of the middle of a mountain range like the Donner Party, they are not children like the characters in Lord of the Flies, and this was the twenty first century. No one stayed lost for long.
Neither Jack nor Ben is prepared for the other, or for the island’s choices and decisions. But both are more men of faith than they think (now).
Hundreds of feet below the ground, a man finishes up his tasks for the night. The world did not explode, he is not dead, and so he believes that maybe the failure was not as drastic or dramatic as he thought it would be. Maybe everything will be all right.
So he does his nighttime ritual. He eats a small dinner, exercises, and reads some books from the shelf.
Then, he turns on the radio (he couldn’t sleep without the music) and he goes to sleep. And he dreams the same dream he’s had for two and more years. He’s kissing Penny in an apartment in London. And they’re happy. And he’s home.
Before he can try to return to the church…the army…before he can try to find heaven on earth again…he needs to get home.
We all go round and round
Partners are lost and found
Looking for one more chance
All I know is, we’re all in the dance.