Disclaimer: No son mios!
SUMMARY: Hurley helps Charlie negotiate the relationship hurdles of helping Claire do her chores. Hurley POV, with Charlie/Claire elements.
CHARACTERS: Hurley, Charlie/Claire
This is an entirely useless piece of humorous fluff that I couldn't get out of my head and HAD to get down on paper. It was actually inspired by some promo pics from this week's episode (#1.08, "Confidence Man,") but since there are those out there who don't want to be spoiled, I won't say what the pictures WERE. For those familiar with the shots, you'll probably figure it out pretty quickly. ;) Anyway, don't take this seriously -- it's just a piece of harmless fun that I wanted to write so I could finally give Hurley's voice a try. Man, I love Hurley. He's a riot! Please enjoy!
DEDICATION: To all the wonderful people who have reviewed my Lost stories to date, but especially "Picket Fences" and "Life Lessons." Seriously, the comments I've been getting have all been so sweet and kind and wonderful, and TOTALLY unexpected. The outpouring has been incredible, and I can't thank you all enough! I'm sorry I can't reply to everyone's comments, but thank you to EVERYONE who has reviewed, and I only hope I can continue to please!
Hurley was an easygoing guy. Life could throw sticks and stones at him and he let them bounce off, because the day was just too short to worry about every little thing that went wrong. His plane crashed on a deserted island? Well, hey, he'd survived. Something to be thankful for. There was an invisible monster in the woods? He hadn't heard from it in a week, and he was still wearing his skin. Another blessing in disguise. Their chances of being rescued were slim to none? At least it'd give him a chance to work off a few pounds. Or not. He wasn't picky.
The rest of his castaways, however, had temperaments that ranged from snotty (read: Shannon) to sweet (read: Claire) to stoic (read: Sayid) to asshole (read: that redneck jerk sumbitch Sawyer).
Then there was Charlie. Twitchy Charlie. Charlie was… high-strung, to put it mildly. Which was why Hurley was only slightly surprised, while doing a crossword one day, to see the amiable Brit bolting through the jungle towards him, a look of absolute terror on his face.
"HIDE ME!" the rocker yelped, diving behind Hurley's seat of choice, which happened to be a particularly large boulder.
"Uh… dude?" Hurley glanced over his shoulder at the cowering young man. "The hell are you doing?"
Charlie held a frantic finger to his lips. "SHHHH!" he hissed, as if his life depended on it. "Don't tell her I'm here!"
"Don't tell wh-"
Hurley blinked at him then shrugged. "Whatever, dude. Just don't blame me if you stick your face in a patch of poison ivy."
"Who are you talking to, Hurley?"
Looking up at the pleasantly familiar Australian accent, Hurley shrugged again. "Nobody. Just practicing insults to hurl at Sawyer next time I see him."
Claire laughed softly and waddled closer, one hand on her pregnant belly, the other on the small of her back. "You shouldn't do that," she chided with a twinkle in her eye. "I don't think Sawyer's as bad as everyone thinks he is, really. I think if someone just took a moment to talk to him, he'd be much easier to stomach."
"Maybe. But not just now. I was actually looking for Charlie. Have you seen him? He was going to give me a hand with a few things, but he's disappeared. I swear the boy's like a leprechaun. There one second, gone the next."
For a moment, Hurley debated telling her about the rock star cowering behind his boulder, but thought better of it and shook his head. "Nah, not lately. You try the hills, up behind the caves?"
Claire sighed and shook her head. "He wasn't there. Where could he BE? You don't suppose he went down to the beach, do you?" She started to turn away, as if to head in that direction.
"Don't let her go!" Charlie hissed frantically, low enough that Claire couldn't hear him. Hurley could barely make it out himself. "It's too far!"
"I doubt it," Hurley said, waving a hand behind him to shut Charlie up. "Nothing down there for him except sand. He probably ran off to use the little boy's room or something. You want me to look for him?
"Oh, I don't want to bother you, Hurley."
"It's not a bother. Besides, I think Jack'd kill me if he found out I let you go wandering down to the beach when you look ready to drop that baby you're carrying in, like, ten seconds."
Claire laughed a little and blushed a soft shade of pink. "You really wouldn't mind?" she asked, rubbing her belly fondly with both hands.
"Nope. I bet he's closer than you think." He ignored Charlie's soft grunt of protest.
"Well… if you're sure…" She sighed. "My back's so sore, I feel like I'm going to snap in half. If you find him, can you send him down to meet me at the caves? I think I'm going to have a bit of a sit down for a while."
"Sure thing, Claire. Take it easy. You need a hand?"
"No, I can make it. Thanks, Hurley."
He watched her trundle back into the jungle, towards the not-too-distant silhouette of the caves the survivors had made their home while trapped on this island. When he was sure she was out of hearing distance, he spoke over his shoulder to Charlie. "She's gone, dude. You can quit hiding."
Charlie sat up and leaned his back against the boulder. "Bloody hell," he muttered, rubbing his eyes. "Dodged a bullet that time."
"You didn't answer my question before."
"The hell are you doing?"
"Oh, that one."
"I'd have thought that was pretty obvious, actually. I'm hiding from Claire."
"Any reason why? Or do you just get off hiding behind rocks while pretty girls look for you?"
Charlie glared at him. "I wasn't hiding."
"Dude, you JUST said you were hiding from Claire."
"Yes, well… slip of the tongue, all right? I meant I was avoiding her."
"Your words, and I quote. 'HIDE ME!' End quote."
"No one likes a smartass, Hurley."
"Would you just answer the question?"
"WHY ARE YOU HIDING FROM CLAIRE?"
"Oh." Charlie scrubbed an embarrassed hand through his hair. "I… Look, it's a bit complicated and sort of embarrassing, all right? So I'd rather not talk about it."
"What, you were chatting with her and got a woody or something?"
Charlie gave him a mortified look. "Holy Mary, Hurley, you kiss your mother with that mouth?"
Hurley shrugged. "Dude, I just call them like I see them, and EVERYONE sees the way you look at Claire. So if it wasn't the drive shaft, what was it?"
"It was… what she… wanted me to DO," Charlie managed to say, blushing red as a lobster.
"What? Like, pornographic stuff or something?"
"Seriously, dude, unless you say she wanted you to get nasty with the dog, I don't see what the problem is."
Charlie gave him an exasperated look. "It was laundry, all right? She wanted me to help her with her laundry!"
Hurley barked out a laugh. "Yeah, right," he said, shaking with mirth. "Good one!" Charlie gave him a very stern look, and Hurley choked down the rest of his laughter. "What, like, you're serious?"
Hurley burst out laughing again, even harder than before.
"Look, it's not bloody funny, all right!" Charlie protested as Hurley wiped a hand across his streaming eyes and tried to catch his breath. "It's dead serious!"
"Oh… Oh, God, and I thought Jack was anal…!" Hurley managed to wheeze before erupting into uncontrollable laughter yet again.
"It's LAUNDRY, man!" Charlie argued, eyes half wild. "Women's laundry! Full of all kinds of frilly bits and lacy whatnots and … and NO, all right? Just no. I can't get my hands in that stuff!"
"Really? I thought, being a rock star and all, you'd have had your hands in that stuff all the time."
Charlie shot him a withering glare. "Funny."
"I thought so. Dude," Hurley held out his hands, palms upward, "it's LAUNDRY. She's not asking you to put together her trousseau or something. She probably just wants you to beat stuff on rocks since she doesn't have a lot of mobility."
"And what if it's more than that? What if she wants me to … to SQUEEZE things?"
"You've lost me there."
"Squeeze things. You know, like… like her panties." Charlie looked like he was going to be sick.
Hurley shook his head, mystified. "Dude, are you even hearing yourself? Why the hell would Claire want you squeezing her panties?"
"I dunno. Girls are weird like that. They'll send you down to the chemist's for a Mars bar and a box of tampons and act like that's NORMAL. It's like they have a whole different set of notions on what's acceptable behavior and what's total rubbish."
Hurley clapped Charlie on the back. "Congratulations, dude. You have successfully figured out the mystery that is woman. Get yourself a kewpie doll."
"It's not that EASY, all right?" Sighing heavily, Charlie flopped down on the ground again, looking defeated. "Let's say I help her. Let's say I wander down to those caves and help her do her laundry, and somehow I get through it with a shred of dignity. What next? How much more intimate can you GET with a person than helping them do their laundry!"
"Well… When a man and a woman love each other very much-"
"Oh, shut up."
"What? What did I say?"
Charlie pulled his knees up to his chest and set his chin on them. "This is Hell," he said glumly, staring at the jungle. "This is Hell, and I'm the butt of some lazy demon's demented practical joke."
Hurley rolled his eyes. "Dude, this is the deal," he said. "You like Claire. Claire obviously likes you. She's asked you to help her with her laundry, probably because she's about as flexible as a reinforced steel girder, but perhaps also because she feels close to you. Like you just said, laundry can be pretty intimate. So if Claire trusts you enough to help her with her laundry WITHOUT turning into a total panty-sniffing loser douche bag, then maybe it means she's ready to get a little bit MORE intimate. Get me?"
Charlie's brow was furrowed with deep thought. "So…," he mused, "what you're saying is Claire's asked me to help her with her laundry NOT because it just came to her out of the clear blue sky, but because she has a calculated plan to give me a quick snog behind the barbecue pit?"
"Something like that, yeah."
"Which means that I really shouldn't be worrying, because it's all gonna work out in the end."
"And I was hiding behind your boulder because--"
"--you were acting like a jackass."
They were silent for a minute. Finally, Charlie looked up. "Do you get a lot of practice at this?" he asked.
"What?" Hurley asked back.
Hurley shrugged. "What can I say, dude? I'm in touch with my inner cherub. Between you and Claire and Jack and Kate, I get plenty of practice."
"Well thanks, man."
"Not a problem."
Charlie stood up, dusting himself off. "Better head down there now," he said, a little abashed. "Do you think she'll be angry that I ditched her like that?"
"Nah. Just… don't overcompensate."
"Don't suddenly get all nervous and over-generous and offer to squeeze her panties. Just… don't."
Charlie turned a little green. "Oh, God. You know what you've done, right? You've planted the bloody seed. I'm never gonna get it out of my head now. I'll be sitting down there, pounding a perfectly innocent sundress against an equally innocent rock, and my sodding tongue's gonna blurt out So, you want me to squeeze your panties, Claire? Shit on a shingle, Hurley, thanks for that."
Hurley shrugged again. "If you start panicking, just picture her naked."
"What? It always works for people in front of big crowds."
"Yeah, big crowds full of FLABBY OLD MEN! Not perky young blondes who just happen to be eight months pregnant and bloody GORGEOUS taboot! Oh, Mary Jesu, I'm doomed. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna screw this up royally and she'll never forgive me. Shite!"
Hurley sighed. "Dude?"
The anxious rock star fixed him with a frantic stare. "What?"
"You're overreacting again."
Charlie swallowed, visibly trying to rein in his emotions. "Right. Yes, I know I am. Hell."
"Just walk down to the caves, say, Hey, Claire, sorry I'm late, grab a pair of socks, and go for it. It's not brain surgery, dude. You don't even have to separate the darks from the lights. All right?"
Charlie's hands were flexing at his side, but he gave Hurley a terse nod. "Right. Yes. You're right. I can do this. I've just got to go for it."
They were silent for a minute.
"You're still here."
"Oh! Right. Sorry." Clearing his throat, Charlie turned away towards the caves, pausing briefly to look back over his shoulder. "Thanks again, Hurley."
Hurley gave him a half wave. "No problemo, Pablo."
With a last smile, Charlie turned away completely and jogged through the jungle towards the encampment. Hurley watched him go, and shook his head.
"Dude's got issues," he mused, and calmly went back to his crossword.