Dear Annie,

If you were here right now, I don't know exactly what you would think of me. You wouldn't be proud of me; at the very least, I know that. In the last two years, I feel like I've reverted back to my old self. The self that I was before you came back into my life. You brought change into my life, and for some unknown reason, you were able to look past all of my faults and see the little boy that you befriended with an Apollo bar all those years ago. I did so many terrible things to you, but you could still forgive me. How does that work? And ever since I left the Island, I've realized that without you, I don't stand a chance of being like that little boy who you trusted with your friendship, your life, and even your heart.

You made me a better person for the few months that you came back into my life, and for that I am incredibly grateful. I only wish I had one more chance to tell you just how grateful I am, and I wish I could see you again. I am the best part of me when I am around you, I am a part that I didn't even know existed before you came back to me.

What kind of word could possible explain this? I've pondered this so many times in the last two years I have been without you. What kind of word could possibly define your ability to make me a better man? What kind of word could define the way that I feel about you? I know what I feel. It's the same thing I felt for you when we were young kids, and it's the same thing that I never told you about. I don't know why I never told you, but I didn't. I don't think I could.

Ben

0o0o0o0o0o

Dear Annie,

Against all odds, there may be a way for me to get back to the Island. It has been brought to my attention that there is a woman with the knowledge to bring us all back. By 'us', I mean the six who were able to get off of the Island: Jack Shephard, Kate Austin, Hugo Reyes, Sayid Jarrah, Sun Kwon.

I have scheduled to meet with this woman, Eloise Hawking, to find out what necessary means we must take to get back the Island. I imagine that it won't be simple. Nobody knows where the exact location of the Island is, and I don't intend on doing what Jack did – flying back and forth in the mere hopes that one of these times the plane will crash and land him back on the Island. But if there's any chance that I can come back to the Island, I will take it. And if I make it back, I'm going to find you.

That's a promise.

Ben

0o0o0o0o0o

Dear Annie,

I met with Eloise Hawking and discovered that the only way that I can get back to the Island is if all of us go back – every single person that crashed on the Island and managed to escape. It shouldn't be too difficult. I know that Jack already wants to go. I know where Sayid is. Kate will probably be the hardest to convince, and Sun has a daughter now. Hugo is easy enough to persuade. You would probably hate me for using these people to get back to the Island, but I can't stand it here. The Island is calling me. I need to come back.

There is one other person that managed to escape the Island and come back to the States: John Locke. Yes, John Locke left the Island and came back to the States. Imagine my irritation when I discovered that he had left you alone – after I had explicitly asked him to look out for you and keep you safe. This makes me even more worried about you. Where the hell are you, and who are you with?

Anyways, it shouldn't be too terrible to get him to come back to the Island since he's dead. The police ruled it a suicide. I know how fond you were of him. I'm going to really miss him too.

But the positive to all of this is that his body should be easy enough to transfer. And I have an idea that Jack will be more than willing to help me.

Ben

0o0o0o0o0o

Dear Annie,

Getting everyone together has been more difficult that I originally thought it would be. In fact, I'm beginning to think that it's downright impossible. I've practically been living with Jack for the last two weeks. He's in terrible shape. I flushed his drugs down the toilet the other day, but I don't know exactly what he thought about that. And I haven't seen him touch a drop of alcohol IN the last three days, but only time will tell how that all goes.

Jack and I have been working hard to get the other four to join us. Eloise is absolutely sure that the only way we can go back is if we all leave together, but that proves impossible when they don't want to go back. But I'm trying, dear Annie.

I do believe that's the first time I've ever called you by any kind of endearment. And considering you'll never read these letters, it's almost as if I'm writing to myself. So, now I just feel foolish, and I can assure you that I will never ever use such endearments in my letters ever again.

Ben

0o0o0o0o0o

Dear Annie,

Jack and I met with Kate, Sayid, and Sun on the docks last night. We tried to tell them our plans, but they all thought that we were insane and they refused to go with us. I was just beginning to think that we had failed when Sun threatened me at gunpoint. I made the mistake of revealing the survival of her husband to her. But, apparently, it wasn't a mistake because it was enough to convince her to come back to the Island to find her husband.

Now, we have only Kate, Sayid, and Hurley to convince. We have John and Sun. But time is ticking. Eloise revealed the location of the Island, and she also told us the date that we must leave. It's very soon, I'm afraid, and this is our only chance. The Island calls to me so loudly now, I can barely stand it. I have to get back. I must get back.

Ben

0o0o0o0o0o

Dear Annie,

We've done it! I'm writing this letter from my less-than-comfortable seat on the Ajira Airways Flight 316. I don't know how it happened, but everyone was at the airport at the exact time, and we all boarded the exact same flight. I'm finally on my way home!

It's impossible to know when the Island will affect our flight and we'll crash, but I can wait patiently. Just knowing that within hours I will be home, on the Island, is enough of a comfort for me. And then I will look for you. I can't believe we will finally be reunited! How could fate be so kind to someone like me?

"How can you write?" Jack asked from across the row to Ben.

The man didn't even look up from his piece of paper as he responded sarcastically, "My mother taught me." A lie, yes, but still. What kind of answer had Jack been expecting from such a stupid question?

"Aren't you the least bit nervous?"

Ben shrugged. "What do I have to be nervous about? I'm going home."

"Do you think anything's changed?"

"It's been three years," he replied in a monotone voice. "I'm sure some things have changed. But it's been my experience that the Island barely ever has any significant changes. And even if something's changed, at least we're going back."

Jack shook his head. "Why do you love it there so much?"

"I told you. It's my home."
Jack squinted and saw the name written clearly across the top of Ben's sheet of paper. He smirked. "You sure you're not going back because of her?"

"I'm not sure I know who you're referring to."

Jack pushed himself up in his chair and rested his chin in his hand thoughtfully. "The insane woman you pulled out of the jungle."
Ben shifted in his seat and frowned. "She's not insane." His voice was void of emotion, but Jack could tell he had struck a nerve.

"I knew you knew who I was talking about."

"Of course I knew," Ben replied quietly.

"Truthfully, I never ever thought you could fall in love with anyone. On the Island you were such a heartless bastard. You still are."

Ben scoffed. "Thanks for your kind words, Jack. I feel so much better now."

Jack chuckled. "Do you always do that?"
"Do what?"
"Resort to sarcasm when you're trying to avoid an uncomfortable situation?"

Ben looked away and shook his head. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, come one, Ben." Jack chuckled again. "All I had to do was mention the phrase 'falling in love' and you were practically squirming with discomfort."

"So, your point is?"
The man shrugged. "Doesn't matter. But you do realize that you love her, don't you? At least tell me that much."

"Excuse me, Jack, but this is none of your business."

Jack smiled. "Fine, Ben. Have it your own way."

Ben swallowed hard and bent over his sheet of paper again. Jack was right. He was uncomfortable.

"But," Jack interrupted his thoughts, "I hope that when we get back to the Island, you find this girl, and you tell her how much you love her. She deserves that at least."

Ben didn't so much as acknowledge the man. He just went back to writing, pretending that he was concentrating on the letter, while, in actuality, his thoughts were on Jack's troubling, but truthful, words. He really did need to tell her. Annie deserved to know. But, when the time came, would he have the courage to say those words that were three of the most powerful words in the entire universe? That was the real question. And it was a question that Ben couldn't answer.

His pen moved across his paper but he barely knew what he was writing.

I hope that I find you well,he resumed his letter, and I hope that you won't be angry at the way I abandoned you yet again. I hope that you know that I only did it for your good, and for every one else's. I hope that you're not angry with me, and I hope that when I find you again, you won't be insane, like you were the last time I found you.

Hopefully I will see you very soon.

Ben

P.S. In the event that I never find you – I hate even the thought of that – I just wanted to tell you something. Something that Jack told me I should tell you, but I don't know if I will ever have the courage to say it, even if I do find you. So, I suppose I should tell you now. Annie, I lo–

And in that moment, the most wonderful thing happened. The plane hit a terrible amount of turbulence. And it dropped right out of the sky.

The Island had finally claimed the Oceanic Six yet again. And Ben had managed to twist the rules – the rules that had said he could never return – and now he had come back home to the Island.

Dear Annie,

I'm back, and I'm coming to find you. I won't stop until I do. I promise.

Love, Ben