Title: Trapped in a Nightmare
Author: Azn Eyes
Disclaimer: Lord of the Flies, William Golding
Summary:6 long years after their island rescue, Jack & Ralph find themselves trapped in each other's lives once more. Something special reawakens from their reunion & what began as a simple bet just may turn into something more… Ralph-Jack-OC slash.
Author's Note: I've read the book and seen both movies, but I don't remember much, so I just mixed some stuff together from all three. I don't recall if Ralph's surname was mentioned, so I just made one up. Also, this story takes place in the present time, not in the fifties.
(01) Unexpected Confrontations
The fair-haired youngster gasped direly for breath as he stumbled through the foliage. His side was pained with the beginnings of a cramp and his lungs were screaming out in need of oxygen. He ran onwards, however, never stopping, for stopping may mean the end of his life! He stumbled frantically away from the dreaded whistles of the Hunters—the whistle of death, to his ears. The cloak of black smoke grew higher, denser; the flames danced mockingly around him, barring his last escape route.
'No!' the child cried out miserably when he realized that he was trapped. He attempted to avoid the burning flames licking his body, but it soon became clear to him that this was a battle he could not win. The boy crumbled to the ground, sobbing, as he succumbed to the slow, painful death. He was being burned alive . . .
Ralph woke with a start and instinctively groped his body to make sure that it was all there. He sighed with relief when he realized that it had all just been yet another nightmare, directly linked to those last horrible days on the island. Although he hadn't exactly been cremated alive whilst on the island, that and such similar dreams of death have constantly haunted him for nigh of six years. It was unexplainable as to why, and it tended to give him these psychotically queer reactions.
Then again, this particular nightmare may have been caused by anxiety, for he was to go to a new school the very next day. His first day at a new school. Again. Ralph loathed the fact that his father's job forced them to move so much, though his father tried to make up for it by sending Ralph to only the best private schools the country had to offer. But Ralph would trade the "glories" of all those best academies to just go to and stay at a public school, to just be an ordinary kid.
Brushing the light fringe from his eyes, Ralph sat up and hugged his knees to his chest, wondering what the morrow would bring. New friends. Again. New teachers. Again. New people to meet. Again. Yup, this school was going to be just like all the others—proper etiquette, respectful, rule obliging, and just plain boring!
The boy sighed and tried to think of something else. Mistake! The terrible, terrible memories of the island swiftly flowed back to his mind's eye . . .
The plane crash.
The separation of the group.
The beast that wasn't a beast.
"Things have changed so much since then," he mused in relief, resting his chin on a knee. He recalled how happy he had been when they had finally been rescued; how a great burden had been lifted from his shoulders . . . "And we all lived happily ever after," Ralph reflected, "just like in fairy tales."
He remembered how heavenly the island was at first, how perfect . . . or so they thought. Then all that they believed was good crumbled away into nothingness, leaving behind but traces of its former existence.
Simon was (in a way) the gluey stuff that held the group together. He was the kind-hearted one, but in the end, where did that lead him? To death's very door! Yes, Ralph remembered it all; how the Hunters had murdered Simon; how the boy's corpse had been bathed with moonlight before being washed into the sea; how even the stars seemed to mourn the death of the beloved child, because that's all he was—a child. They all were, but their innocence was robbed from them by their need to survive. Simon, however, was still innocent when he died, and his body was returned from whence it came.
"Simon didn't deserve to die. Piggy didn't deserve to die. None of them deserved to die." Ralph smiled sadly, bitterly. "But they did."
Yes, like a fairy tale, their paradise, too, had come to an end.
"Then what comes after 'happily ever after'?"
Gazing into a mirror, Jack brusquely flipped the collar of his white shirt and donned his coat. It was a crisp, chilly winter morning, and the bitter winds bit into his face the moment the teen stepped out the door. Trembling violently from the cold, he grabbed a scarf from a nearby hook before slamming the door closed.
'Yo, Jack! Where the bloody hell are ya going?' yelled a drunken voice from inside.
'School, Dad,' he replied, rolling his eyes. 'Where I go practically every day!'
'When will you be home?'
'Later,' he shouted back shortly. He wrapped the scarf tightly around his neck and proceeded down the street. He was lucky to have no books to carry, for it left his hands free . . . er, somewhat—they were jammed into the wool-lined pockets of his too-small jacket.
Jack jogged to the end of the street and waited for his school bus, which arrived a few minutes later. After climbing aboard and muttering a brisk "g'mornin'" to the driver, he made his way to the back of the bus; past the remaining empty seats, past all the other boys giving him weird looks; he went to the very back, to "his" seat. There was only one problem: someone was already sitting there!
'Er . . . Excuse me, you're in my seat,' Jack said, drawing the other's attention from the window. The boy looked up at him with wide eyes, wide beautiful eyes of stony black.
"Those eyes . . ." Jack thought. "I know those eyes. Could it be . . .?"
'Hello, Jack,' the teen greeted solemnly. 'I didn't know that you went to this school.'
'Ralph,' the other replied in turn, though through tightly gritted teeth. 'As a matter of fact, I didn't know you went here either. Now, get out of my seat!'
'Your seat?' Ralph scoffed. 'Since when is this your seat? I don't see your name on it anywhere!'
'Oh yeah? Look behind you.'
Ralph twisted around to look at the worn leather seat cover. In the bottom, right-hand corner, something was written in smudged pen ink. Squinting, he realized that it said: "Jack Merridew".
'Whatever,' Ralph muttered, shrugging. He stood up and went to the front. This was no easy task, for the bus was in full motion, swaying and leaping from potholes and such.
Jack watched the other's retreating form to make sure he wouldn't come back. Then he slumped into his seat, sighing—it was not in content, however. Ralph's reaction had unnerved him somewhat. When he had last seen the other teen—no, boy, for it had been almost six years since they had last seen each other and they had both been "boys" then—Ralph was just as childish, if not more so, as he was. The "past" Ralph wouldn't have just walked away. He would have fought Jack for the seat for all he was worth, if for pride if not anything else (even though it was a rather stupid thing to do). This "new" Ralph just walked away as if it was nothing.
Suddenly, Jack felt somewhat foolish for making such a fuss. Who cares if someone else sat in the seat? What's the difference? The new Ralph realized that, which was probably why he just walked away. He was so . . . mature now, especially in such matters as this. Jack raked a hand through his hair, which was unruly from the wind. That feeling of inferiority returned to him, inferiority simply caused by the other's suave indifference. He had last felt it that last time he saw Ralph, for Ralph was the only one who could make him feel this way. And he last saw Ralph . . .
'The day we were rescued from island,' Jack murmured aloud. Frowning slightly at the memory, he looked out the window and watched the houses flash by in a blur, much like the emotions running through his head. Jack had hardly even thought about the island after they were rescued. He didn't give a shit what happened back there, or how the other boys were doing . . . He only cared about the here and now.
'Everything seems to lead back to that fucking island!' he muttered, disgruntled.
He glanced out the window at the blurred trees now passing by—looking, but not really seeing. Despite how much he hated the kid, Jack just couldn't seem to get his mind off of Ralph. It actually came as a relief to him when the bus pulled into the school's driveway some ten minutes later, and he had his friends to distract him.
'Hey, Jack,' Lee greeted him happily the moment Jack had stepped down from the bus.
'Hey,' Jack replied; he punched his friend lightly on the shoulder.
'Anything the matter?' Fred asked. 'You look like you've seen a ghost.'
"Close enough," murmured Jack's subconscious mind, which he ignored.
'Oh, nothing's wrong,' he replied quickly.
'Are you sure? Because you're really pale.'
"Damn! Why does Fred always have to be so fucking 'perceptive'?"
'Nah, I'm just . . . tired, that's all,' Jack lied.
'Oh, all right then,' Fred responded, though he did not appear happy with his friend's answer.
'Really, Fred, I'm fine!'
'Of course you are,' Terry said, laying a meaty, muscular arm on Jack's shoulder. 'You do remember what today is, don't you, mate?'
'Er . . .'
'Today's the day we begin wrestling in gym class!' the larger teen replied before Jack could form an answer in his scattered state of mind.
'Oh, yeah, I knew that.'
'Don't worry about it, old boy. You'll do fine,' John said, 'though probably not as good as our champ here.' He indicated Terry's towering form; the latter grinned smugly.
'Yeah,' Jack agreed absentmindedly.
'Aw, you'll do okay for yourself, Jack,' Lee said. 'You could pull one over any kid, any day. And by the looks of it, that one, especially.' When he said that, he pointed out the retreating back of a nervous-looking boy.
'Y-you mean Ralph?' he stuttered.
'Ralph? Is that the git's name?' Lee looked confused. 'Well, yes, then. You could pull one over that Ralph guy any day.'
Jack smiled, remembering the last time he had fought with Ralph. The competition had been almost equal. Almost. By the end of it, Ralph had definitely come off as the worst, though scarcely. It had been corroding Jack's insides to know that he almost lost to Ralph . . . Ralph! The thought was laughable. Seeing the teen again brought Jack the opportunity he had wanted for a long time—the chance to finally beat Ralph, with a big margin of difference to brag about. He laughed inwardly: an evil, piercing laugh (not that anyone could hear it, though).
"Well," he thought, "you had best be ready Ralph. History is about to repeat itself, but in my favour this time."
Ralph miserably made his way to his homeroom class, dragging his bag along behind him. He glanced at his wristwatch, realizing he was pretty late, considering school had started at 8:00, because some stupid teenagers had told him that Room 101A was in the basement when, in truth, the academy didn't even have a basement! Ralph had spent all of ten minutes wandering frantically around the first floor looking for any staircases that may lead to this supposed "basement". Eventually, however, he found his way into the main office and instead asked the secretary where his class was.
Now that's where Ralph was heading. His (real) homeroom, which was on the second floor of the building, for the classroom setup was completely messed up! Unlike other normal schools he's been to, where 000's are in the basement, 100's are on the first floor, 200's are on the second floor, 300's are on the third floor and so on, this school was just a shit hole.
"Though a very nice one," he mused, gazing around at his handsomely polished surroundings.
Having finally located the right room, Ralph tentatively knocked on the door, which soon swung open to admit him.
Although it was still early in the morning and the class should have been wide awake after having had a full night's sleep behind them, Jack's teacher (Mr. Piddy) always found a way to make the class sleep before 8:30 with his lengthy mathematical lectures.
'Then after you have added the squared amounts of both numbers, you . . . That's right, Mr. Johnston! You have to find the square root of . . .'
Jack's weighted eyelids finally closed over his eyes.
Zzz . . .
A sharp knock on the classroom door snapped the teen out of his sleeping reverie. He forced his eyes open in time to see Mr. Piddy open the door. After a brief discussion with the person who knocked, he stepped back to admit the other into the classroom. Then he turned back to his class, announcing, 'We have a new student, class. I'd like you all to meet Mr. Ralph Macpherson. He has just recently transferred to our grand academy. Let us all give a nice round of applause to welcome him.'
The students lazily clapped their hands together, all feeling extremely foolish.
Jack did a double take. Ralph was in his homeroom! He smiled vengefully, expecting hours upon hours together with his old nemesis. This was, perhaps, the opportunity he had been waiting for.
'Yes, well . . .' Mr. Piddy seemed somewhat disappointed and embarrassed by the lack of enthusiasm. 'You may go sit in the empty seat beside Mr. Merridew over there,' he uttered. 'Jack, put up your hand to show Ralph where you are.'
'Don't trouble yourself, sir,' Ralph said quickly, with a hint of disbelief in his tone. 'I already know who Jack is.'
'Oh, very well then.' Mr. Piddy clapped his hands together and made his way to the front of the room. 'By the way, Ralph, if you have any trouble in my class, do not hesitate to ask for help.'
'I will, sir,' he replied automatically, slumping into his seat and shrugging off his coat and bag.
'Good. Now, where was I? Ah, yes. After you find the square root, you have to . . .'
'Hello, Ralph,' Jack whispered menacingly.
'Jack,' the other responded indifferently, gazing straight ahead.
'It may interest you to know that I have been awaiting this for quite a while now.'
'Seeing you again.' In a flourish, Jack was leaning across the aisle to speak to Ralph. He lowered his voice dangerously. 'I have wanted this for a long time, Ralph—to have my revenge!'
'Oh, really? I haven't given you a second thought since we were rescued,' Ralph replied, not once looking in the other's direction.
Infuriated, Jack suddenly grabbed the teen's jaw and forced their eyes to meet; Ralph tried to shake off the offending hand, but the blunt nails were digging painfully into his skin.
'You had better watch out, Ralph,' Jack warned, before he released the boy's face and settled himself back into his seat.
After the other had finally let him go, Ralph rubbed his jaw, trying to soothe the worried flesh. He glared evilly at the person across from him. Seeing Jack like that after all those years, he realized that someone had yet to kick his ass for being so conceited.
"No, Jack," he thought darkly, "it's you who has to watch out."
It came as a great relief to Ralph when the bell rang an hour or so later, signaling the soon-to-be start of second period. Stuffing his pile of papers into his bag and making a grab for his coat, he filed out with the rest of the class and into the crowded corridors of the school. Not wanting to be late for his next class, he tapped the closest person on the shoulder.
'Yes?' inquired the other.
'I was wondering . . .might you be kind enough to tell me where Room 213 is?' Ralph stammered.
'No, I'm sorry, mate, but I can't help you,' the boy replied. 'I'm new here as well.'
The teen nodded.
'I've only just come, like, yesterday. The school is quite large—I'm sure you've noticed, mate—so I haven't really had the time to look around for a bit. But honestly! The banners and such on the wall are quite cute, don't you think? Everything seems to match one way or another.'
Ralph smiled, wondering if this guy was secretly a female; the way he talked was . . . like a valley girl, really—an Australian valley girl, because he kept using the word "mate".
'So, have you got a name then, kid?' the other asked.
'It's Ralph. And you are . . .?'
'Raymond Parker, but you can just call me "Ray"—everyone does'
Ralph snickered inwardly, for "Ray" sounded a good deal like "gay"; Ray, thankfully oblivious to his thoughts, remained indifferent.
'Well, we've got to get around to class now. So, I guess I'll see you later then, Ralph.' He grinned heartily.
'Yeah, I'll see you around!'
Jack shoved his way through the mass of people, trying to make it to class on time. If he were ever late again, his teacher would give him another detention! Then his mother would punish him (again!) and he would be grounded for a month (again!). Yeah, history seemed to repeat itself a lot. Speaking of which . . .
'Ah, made it!' he sighed in relief, hurrying into his history classroom and taking his usual seat by the window.
'Good morning, Mr. Merridew,' Miss Mitch greeted him stiffly.
"Hmph," Jack thought bitterly, "Miss Bitch is more like it. No wonder she isn't married."
Despite his cynical reflections, he forced a smile on his face.
'And a very good morning to you, miss,' he said sweetly. 'I feel absolutely terrible for being late for history class so often, and I do hope you'll forgive me for such tardiness—it was foolish behaviour on my behalf and I swear it will never happen again.'
Miss Mitch actually had the grace to smile.
'Well, it was in the past, after all,' she said. 'I'm glad you're here on time today. Just be sure you aren't late again.'
In a motherly fashion, she pinched his cheek before strolling away.
'What the hell was that all about?' Terry asked, laughing as he settled into the seat beside Jack.
'Shut up, you,' Jack snapped, rubbing his cheek. 'I'm surprised you're on time, Terry. What happened? You got let out early because the chem. lab blew up again? Is that it?'
'Maybe,' his friend replied slyly. 'But I swear to you, Mr. Merridew,' he said in a mock imitation of Jack, 'it will never, ever happen again! I felt absolutely terrible for mixing those chemicals together, even after Mr. Laurel had specifically told me not to. I just wanted to see what would happen.'
'Did you really, though?' Jack questioned, ignoring the idiotic impersonation of himself.
'Did I what?'
'Blow up the chemistry lab . . . er . . . again.'
'Well, duh!' Terry responded with the tone of 2+24.
'This is what? The fifth time this month?'
'Seventh, according to Mr. Laurel.' Terry screwed up his face and began to imitate the chemistry teacher. 'If you blow up this lab one more time, I will personally see to it that you are expelled!'
'Did he really say that?'
'Yeah.' Terry shrugged. 'Not like I haven't heard that threat a bajillion times before, though.'
Jack would really have like to tell his friend that a "bajillion" wasn't a real number, but John suddenly appeared and he lost his chance.
'Maybe you should take his threat seriously this time, Terry,' the newcomer said as he took his seat. 'He seemed pretty ticked.'
'Yeah, you can't really fail chem. again!' Jack pointed out. 'Your parents will have a fit!'
'Ah, let them!' Terry shrugged again. 'I didn't want to come to this stupid school in the first place—this stupid school with all these stupid rules and stupid teachers. Like, uniform! Hello! Who cares what the fuck we wear!'
Jack rolled his eyes, only half-listening to his friend's rants, which he had heard only a million times before.
That's what it had always been like for Terry, though. He had always been the "tough guy" of the group, who blamed his parents for everything—from his negative behaviour towards school to the size of his overly large feet (okay, so that was their fault, but . . .). In Jack's opinion, his biceps more than made up for his slow mind; they were the only thing Terry really prided himself in.
John on the other hand . . . Well, let's just say John was different from the rest of the group. He was always the geeky, over-achieving, brainy type. Oddly enough, the others still thought him "cool" enough to join their little gang, and it wasn't just because they could copy their homework off of him. He was just . . . cool. However, John was of much smaller stature than Terry and thick-rimmed, bottle-cap glasses framed his eyes, making him look very much like a mutated insect.
Jack smiled as he thought up a description of himself and how he fit into their gang. He had made a reputation for himself at the school—that he was able to get any guy he wanted within one week! (If it was a unisex school, he would have bet his barracks that he could get any girl or guy. But alas, he went to an all-boy school.) However, this also gave him the labels "slut", "whore", "player", and other such vulgar names, but Jack couldn't care less. Nor, it seemed, could the other boys; they couldn't get enough of him! Once he decided that he was going to have them, they were his (but only for as long as Jack wanted them). Such bias, really, but for the few weeks that they went out, the other boys were treated like kings! This was because his reputation also allowed Jack to earn some major bucks, which he (obviously) spent on his weekly honey. More than once, his friends have placed a large bet that he wouldn't be able to get the one he wanted; he proved them wrong every time and, thus, the dough was gained.
The piercing school bell rang, signaling the start of class.
'Okay, class, settle down,' Miss Mitch said, clapping her hands.
'You can sit down now, class,' she repeated.
Still, no one paid her any heed.
'I said SHUT UP!' the teacher screamed, slamming a metre stick onto the nearest desk and creating a loud slapping noise.
Shocked, the class settled into their seats.
'Ahem, please take out your textbooks and turn to page 341,' Miss Mitch said sweetly, as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. Then again, her little outbursts were ordinary because they happened almost every day! She would tell the class to sit down, shut up . . . They wouldn't listen . . . She'd lose her temper . . . yada, yada, yada.
'Now, continuing where we left off yesterday—Britain granted Canada its request for a constitution, which was introduced . . .'
Half-listening to the teacher's (now-)monotone voice, Jack retrieved his book from his bag . . . or tried to anyway. Leaning forward, he frantically searched his bag for his history book. Eventually coming to the realization that it wasn't there, he sighed irritably and raised his hand.
'Yes, Mr. Merridew?' Miss Mitch asked in a restrained tone, obviously annoyed that he had interrupted her lesson.
'I'm sorry, ma'am, but I forgot my textbook in my urgency to get to class on time,' he said with a straight face; Terry and John smirked.
'Very well, you may go retrieve it.'
'Thank you, miss.'
Jack immediately jumped from his seat and practically fled across the room, taking the time to accidentally-on-purpose knock the textbook off the front-most desk with a loud slam! Scowling, Patrick (the class brainer, teacher's pet, etc.) bent down to reclaim his book as he readjusted his polished glasses on the bridge of his nose.
Jack smiled broadly and quickly left the classroom before Miss Bitch could punish him again. He took his time roaming the halls, making his way to his locker; he wasn't in any real hurry to return to his history class. The teen glanced into the other classes, wondering which one Ralph was in.
"Why are you thinking about him?" scolded his conscience. "Stop thinking about him, unless you're thinking about knocking him out senseless!"
Jack's pace increased considerably (as if to block out the voice with the growing wind resistance caused by his walking pace) and he rounded a corner.
"Why are you still thinking about him! STOP!"
He was in such a rush that he didn't see the other kid until it was too late! With an "oof"-like grunt, he bumped into the other, almost knocking him to the ground. Almost. The teen didn't fall, but his books were knocked clean from his hands and scattered across the corridor floor.
'Sorry, chap,' the other guy said, stumbling. 'Didn't see where I was going there.'
'Um . . . it's all right,' Jack replied, confused, wondering, "Shouldn't I be the once apologizing?" For a moment, he watched the kid retrieve his books before leaning down to help him.
'Thanks, mate,' the boy said. 'Yeah, well, I'm sorry for bumping into you. I was just thinking about some . . . things.'
'What kinds of things?' Jack asked, immediately interested.
'Oh, just some things about a guy I met earlier,' was the simple reply, without a hint of modesty.
Jack gave his companion a once-over, noticing how attractive the other was . . . very attractive.
'Really? You met a guy?' he said distractedly, hoping his thoughts didn't betray him. This guy was obviously new. Jack would have noticed a sexy face like his. He has a sort of "hottie" radar.
'Yeah,' the other said. 'He was really hot, too.'
'What did he look like?' Jack questioned casually.
'Oh, he had dark hair and tanned skin. Broad shoulders . . . And his eyes . . . Oh my! His eyes were dark, so dark they look like a still, black lake reflecting the clear darkness of night.'
The teen seemed lost in the mere memory and Jack wondered who could have such an impact on him. Not anyone he knew, surely. The only guy he knew that could make others feel that way was . . . well . . . him!
'No, wait,' the other teen said. 'His eyes were more like a mirror, reflecting his true character . . . his heart . . . his soul . . .'
'Really? This one must be quite a catch.'
'He is.' The boy glanced furtively at Jack and cleared his throat. 'Why? Thinking of taking him away from me, mate?'
'Maybe,' Jack responded smoothly.
The other laughed.
'You wish.' He balanced his books on one arm and extended his hand to Jack in a business-like fashion. 'So are you willing to place a bet on that?'
Jack eyed the hand with growing confidence, knowing for sure that he'll be able to win over this "mystery" guy, even with Mr. Pretty-Boy here to contend with.
'You've got a deal, kid.' He shook hands with his acquaintance. 'What's the time limit?'
The other seemed deep in thought for a while as he considered it.
'Two weeks,' he finally replied.
'What? You don't think you could do it in one?'
'No. I just thought you might need the extra time.'
Jack crossed his arms.
'I happen to have a reputation for getting any guy within one week, so why would you think otherwise?'
The teen shrugged.
'I didn't know you had that reputation.' He shrugged again. 'Fine. It'll just be the one week then.'
'Yeah, starting today and ending on Tuesday next week.'
'Then what do I get if I win?'
'The guy, for one,' Jack replied. 'Plus . . . say, fifty bucks.' With all the money he saved up from winning bets, fifty bucks was nothing to him. (But you'd think he'd spend that money on purchasing a decent jacket, but he didn't really give a shit about that.)
'Okay, and if you win, the same goes for you . . . and you get to keep your reputation intact.'
'Fair enough. It's a deal!' Jack responded, smirking.
The other smiled and quickly walked away with his mound of books.
'Wait!' Jack called after the departing back. 'You didn't tell me his name!'