In the End

Chapter Forty

The beauty of being lost is getting found.

Dedication: This chapter(and ending) is dedicated to Crazyhorsegirl88 for all the work she's put into helping me with this series, this story, and the ending, for always being there and supporting the story, even when I'd come up with the crapiest endings(and believe me, they were there), and for giving me that push(uh...for lack of better wording) with plots I wasn't too keen on writing. So thanks for putting up with my crazness and nonsense...I can't believe this is finally over! I did it! Uh...we did it. Yeah...we all did it. You get the picture.

So take these words

And sing out loud

'Cause everyone

Is forgiven now

'Cause tonight's the night

The world begins again

-"Better Days" by The Goo-Goo Dolls

Is this a lasting treasure

Or just a moment's pleasure

Can I believe the magic of your sighs

Will you still love me tomorrow?

-"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by Gerry Coffin and Carole King

Chapter Forty: As Fate Would Have It

The hallway was packed. Families seemed to be rushing in by the dozens, reuninting with those once lost but now found. For a moment, Jack just stood in the middle of it, absorbing everything in. He watched as Sayid stood anxiously, clearly waiting for someone, looking almost pale with nerves. Boone was hugging his mother not far from there, and Charlie was now on the phone with someone, smiling and talking happily. He wasn't that far away, and 'Driveshaft' was a word Jack heard frequently from the conversation. Hurley was impaciently waiting for Charlie to get off the phone, ready to introduce him to someone who Jack assumed to be his mother. Jack was the only one who wasn't with someone, and he was just taking this in when someone called his name.

"Jack!"

He turned, but the voice was coming towards him. The only thing behind him was the door to Kate's room. His eyes lingered there a moment before he was forced to face Mark, whose face was covered in sweat, and he was panting, as though he had run here.

"I tried to get here earlier," he explained, immiedatly jumping into conversation, fighting to catch his breath, "they wouldn't let me in."

"Did you tell them who you were?" Jack said, relieved that the first thing said wasn't about the island or Kate. But it was also odd to talk to the person who, six months ago, was his only friend, the only one on his side.

"Yeah," Mark said proudly, "when the guy wouldn't let me through, I said 'Listen here, I'm the best friend of the crazy-ass doctor who was on that flight'."

Jack grinned at the wording.

"And?"

Mark shrugged sheepishly.

"Then they threw me out," he admited.

Jack grinned again, and Mark punched his arm.

"Glad to have you back," Mark said happily. For the first time Jack considered what losing one of his only friends could mean to Mark. They each were never the most popular of persons around, becoming easy targets for pranks or fights. Or just lonliness.

"So what'd you do without me?" Jack asked lightly.

"I could ask you the same thing," Mark glance behind him, eyes scanning over Kate's room, "so how was falling in love without the therapist there to guide you every step of the way?"

Jack snorted.

"I don't see a therapist," he protested truthfully. Not that often, anyway.

Mark's eyes suddenly narrowed with curiosity.

"So," he began, "have you popped the question yet?"

Jack stopped. It felt like the ring box was turning over in his pocket, reminding him that it was there. And now, there was almost no excuse for it to not be used.

"Do you know who she is?" Jack asked, at last.

Mark shrugged, a grin forming across his face.

"Sure," he replied, "so our little Jack finally becomes rebellious."

Jack shook his head. He couldn't even bring himself to laugh at the statement. That relief was gone, and now Jack's mind was back in the room again, waiting for her to wake up once more, wanting to know what to do. But the only answer he could get right now was the one he didn't want. As much as he hated to admit it, the only possible way things would work out would be if Kate somehow escaped, if she ran away. And the only way they could be together was if he went with her.

"It's not like that..." Jack trailed off, unsure of what to say. He'd changed so much over the past six months; he didn't know if anyone who wasn't on the island could ever become used to that.

"Hey!"

So Charlie had finally got off the phone. Jack turned towards him. Looking to Mark, Charlie stopped whatever it was he was going to say, an eyebrow shooting up in curiosity.

"I'm a friend," Mark explained quickly, grabbing Charlie's hand in a firm shake. He looked to Jack. "I'm gonna go."

Jack didn't have time to question his abrupt departure, Charlie ignoring the introduction all together.

"I've got to go," he began, "I just wanted to say...you know...nice knowing you."

"Yeah," Jack nodded, "you too."

Charlie nodded behind him.

"And who's that guy?"

Jack glanced behind Charlie to the man who Jack immediatly recognized as the one who was under the hatch with Boone and Sayid, leaning against the wall painfully, a pair of crutches rested beside him. Jack shrugged anyway. Charlie decided to go with the answer and didn't say anymore.

"And..." Charlie glanced around, as if watching for someone, "thanks for, you know, saving my life." Jack nodded again, remembering how he not only saved Charlie from his hanging, but from the drugs too. "Anyway, you're coming to the tour, right?"

Why wasn't he surprised?

"Tour?" Jack said anyway. He figured Charlie was itching to tell someone.

Charlie grinned.

"Yeah," he said, "a reunion tour. My brother's flying in-" his grin widened even more, "I'm going home."

Jack couldn't help but to say it.

"And Claire?"

He realized that he would've been angry if Charlie just left Claire after everything, especially since there was no huge conflict, like Claire being on the run from the law, to stop him. It was the opportunity that Jack wanted and could never have.

"She's coming too." Charlie grinned mischieviously: "Think I have a chance with her?"

Jack raised an eyebrow at the question.

"Depends on what you mean," he answered awkwardly.

"That's what I told him," Hurley said happily from behind them. He grabbed Jack's hand, shaking it. "Nice knowing you...thanks. Have a good life, Dude."

Short and sweet.

Both men disapeared before Jack could say a word, their laughter echoing back to him as they made their way down the hall. Watching after them, Jack contemplated what to do. He could stand here and wait for everyone to come to him, or he could go up and force people to talk to him. Then again, were he to stay in this one spot, he'd be tempted to go back in Kate's room and wait for her to wake up, thus driving himself and his mind crazy with worry and guilt. Meanwhile, people would still be wondering where he was...assumingly. At last Jack took a few steps forward, meeting his decision halfway.

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"Excuse me!"

Sun looked up at the frantic call. She sat alone on a bench that was propped up against a wall. No one had come for her, but then again, it wasn't too long ago that they were rescued. She let everything revolve around her, watching the floor, waiting for something to happen. Jin's watch still rest on her wrist, the only memory she had of him. He had waited so long for this day, had worked so hard for it, and now he wasn't even here to share the joy. She hadn't even smiled yet.

Now she did look up at the call, a frantic man approaching her with quick strides, hair grey from stress and face pale and worried. He wasn't with anyone, and he wasn't from the island.

"I'm looking for a boy," he explained, "he had a dog...Walt." He stopped, concidering his next statement. "And his dad, Michael."

Sun's eyes widened at the mention. Along with Jin, Michael had to be the second-most dedicated one to want off the island. They'd worked on the raft together, risking their lives to get rescued. And then they really did risk their lives. But she never thought she'd have to explain that to anyone, and she kept quiet, not sure how to.

"I'm Walt's father-" the man stopped himself, looking pained at the pause, "stepfather. Brian." He reached out to take Sun's hand, and she relucantly shook it. "Can you help me?" He watched her as she watched him in fear and uncertainty, afraid to admit what happened. She didn't have Jack's job, she couldn't tell people about a loss. She was good with sympathy, but she never had to tell someone about a death before.

"I'm sorry," she said at last, it being the only thing she knew to say. He looked at her anxiously, shoulders drooping at her words. She looked down to the floor. She couldn't do it. Tears began forming softly in her eyes, and she must of made herself obvious, because Brian kneeled down, calmer now. He placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Hey," he said, only half-sympathetically, mostly anxiously, "I didn't mean to upset you. I just want to know where my son-" he fought with his words- "ex-son, is."

A tear fell from her eye as she looked up at him. It was all he needed to know.

"Oh God," Brian breathed, running a frantic hand over his head, closing his eyes and opening them again. Her mouth open to reply, to offer some sympathy, but she couldn't. She couldn't say or do anything. She was frozen at the confrontation. "I've got to go."

He ran off before she could redeem herself. Looking back to the floor, Sun let her tears fall silently, looking for no comfort round her, much like Danielle, who sat on the opposite end of the same bench.

(space)

Danielle looked up. She could hear Locke's footsteps before he reached her. He was smiling. He looked like he'd cleaned up, though still wearing his same dirty clothes from the island. Somehow, she couldn't picture him wearing anything else. There were certain people who looked to be born to do things, and Locke was one of them. Born to be a hunter, trakker, or just living in the jungle. Seeing him in the city didn't even feel right.

"Good to be back," he said, nodding.

She didn't reply. Everything was just so different now. She hardly recognized anything she saw...even the styles of clothes on the visitors looked unfamilar. No one talked to her, but doctors had swarmed her, begging to examine her, interested to see what sixteen years alone did to a person. She had demanded a lawyer.

"Mind if I had a seat?" Locked asked next.

She still didn't reply, though she wanted to. She wanted to talk to him...but the shock of being rescued, of not being on the island, hit her so hard that she couldn't talk to even those who had grown somewhat close to her.

"I'll stand," Locke said with a grim smile, stuffing his hands into his pockets. He looked around, exmaining the room, as she watched him. She wasn't afraid to really study someone, intemidate them, even. She liked having the upper hand in a relationship, liked knowing that that someone didn't have too much of an effect on her. "Do you have a place to stay?"

Danielle watched him, interested. Locke was the only person she felt the slightest bit vulnerable to, only because it almost seemed sometimes that he understood her. He, too, had lost a daugter at the hands of another man; and he, too, had to live alone with the consequences.

And now, Danielle found a crazed smile of amusment spreading across her face.

"I haven't lived in a home for sixteen years," Danielle replied.

Unlike the others, she hadn't ever been able to call the island 'home'. Home was where she wouldn't have to fight to survive everyday, living alone with what felt like the ultimate punishment. Home wasn't on an island, an island that did her twice as much bad as good. Home was where her daughter was. At one point, right when the two reunited, Danielle gave the place some consideration. Having her daughter back was the only thing she had ever asked for. But when that was taken away from her, she found her faith stolen with it. Dying with it.

She was about to ask Locke what he meant by the question, if maybe he was offering her something, when she caught him looking far away, watching someone else. A boy in his early twenties, smiling. Yet Danielle seemed to know it was all an act. Despite being isolated for so long, she'd learned a lot about people. They were cruel. Unfair. Selfish. Bitter. But they suffered. Whatever it was that Boone and Locke had done, whatever secrets they kept, whatever harm they caused, they had both suffered in their own way. But, yet, the look on Locke's face was unmistakingly pride.

"You look like you're proud of him," Danielle commented, looking up to him.

Locke smiled sadly.

"I am."

(space)

He knew people were watching him, eyeing him in curiosity, but he let it past. Anxiously, Sayid found himself falling apart in nervousness, waiting for her. She had to come. She'd be there. They told her she would, and if she wasn't...he didn't know what he do. By no means did Sayid want to replace Shannon, but there was really no one else he had. There'd be no more hatch or computer to deal with, and even he could admit that the closest thing to a friendship he had was with Boone or maybe Jack. Now that this was all over, he wanted to have a change in his life. He didn't want to dwell on it, not at the moment. He wanted to move on, letting himself go, letting it all breeze by him in a swift memory. He didn't want to live with the burden of her death, but he didn't want to completly forget her either.

"Sayid!"

He turned at the call, so swiftly he almost fell over. Ungracefulness and anxiety taking over him, his usual grace and manners seemed to leave him for a moment. Sure enough, it was her. Nadia was running towards him. Her arms were around him sooner than he could think, the embrace catching him off-gaurd, sending him staggering backwards. Quickly Sayid caught his balance, regaining control of himself with it. She kissed him briefly on the cheek, smiling brightly as she finally pulled away.

"You look so old," she commented, running a hand over the side of his face. He blushed.

"That's what I've been waiting to hear," he teased, unhurt by the comment. He knew what she, hopefully, meant. He did feel older in years, like he had spent six years instead of six months on the island.

Nadia smiled sadly, tears leaking through her eyes. When he didn't smile back, she took a step back, alert.

"What happened to you?" She demanded, both concerned and afraid.

He still hadn't decided what to tell her. Even as he stood there, waiting, Sayid couldn't figure out what to say to her. How to explain...everything. How he'd lived those years they were apart, how he'd searched for her until he'd unintentionally found someone else. It was almost ironic.

"Sayid?" She asked cautiously.

"I didn't know you had a girlfriend." Boone's interruption saved him. It wasn't the response he'd prefered, but it bought him time. Sayid turned to him.

"She's an old friend," Sayid explained, slightly embarrased, while worried what this looked like. But to his relief, Boone was beaming, grinning ear to ear.

Boone nodded, brushing off the explaination.

"Look, I've got to go, but-" he looked to Nadia uncertainly. Sayid turned to her, and she smiled, brushing Sayid's arm with a hand as she walked off to give the two a moment alone. But neither spoke too quickly, until Sayid decided he should fully explain himself. The smile was gone from Boone's face, his normal serious demeanor he'd developed on the island returning.

"I'm not trying to replace your sister," Sayid said truthfully. Boone shook his head.

"Don't worry about it," he shrugged, "look, I just wanted to say...thanks. You know, for everything."

A weary smile escaped him. He'd never considered that, despite their ongoing fued regarding Shannon, they had become close friends.

"I'm sorry about Shannon," Sayid offered, glancing over to the woman Boone was standing with earlier. He assumed her to be his mother. "Is that your mother?"

Glancing behind him, Boone nodded.

"We'll move on," Boone assured him, shrugging. It seemed to be a nervous habit of his, Sayid had observed, as though he wanted it to seem like nothing bothered him. "Eventually."

With the added word he smiled sadly, diverting his eyes to the floor. Sayid knew that he really had little reason to complain. After all, Shannon had family, friends, who had known her for years. He'd fallen in love with her, but so had others, in a different sense. And now they'd have to live on, with no real explination at all. There was no doubt in his mind that the true story of the hatch would never be told, which was why he felt obligated to say:

"Thank you."

Boone looked taken aback.

"For what?" He inquired.

Sayid smiled.

"Everything."

Boone laughed a little at the repetitive line, and they shook hands.

"Keep in touch," Boone said before he attempted to leave.

He'd never realized how much he'd came to admire the boy, who really didn't seem that young at all anymore; and it was then that Sayid realized that he'd come to miss the island. It'd become almost like a safe haven, a memory he could look back on and, for the most part, be proud of. There'd always be that part of his life where he'd work harder than ever before and now, in its own way, it was paying him off. The loss was still there, but there was no denying that they had, in fact, been rescued.

"Leaving so soon?"

They looked up. Locke was standing over them, smiling. Not to far away, Danielle was resting against the wall, looking slightly more pleased than when Sayid first walked past her. Eyes wondering to her, the two met eyes, and Danielle gave a nod of acknowledgement. Smiling a little, Sayid turned back to Locke.

"I am," Boone admitted, "I've-" he glanced around uncertainly, "got things to do."

"You weren't leaving without saying good-bye, were you?"

They turned at the new voice. Callum was hobbling up to them, struggling due to the crutches underneath his arms, a cast surporting an apparently broken leg. Boone raised an eyebrow and turned to Locke.

"How'd he get here?" He inquired curiously.

Callum grinned.

"We've all got secrets, Mate."

Without a doubt, Callum was definetly one of the happier ones Sayid had come across. In the bright light of the hallway, Callum looked paler than ever, greasy hair falling from his hair in strings. But he kept on smiling.

"So what are you going to do?" Callum asked, eyeing each of them.

Boone grinned.

"You're the one that's been on the island for three years," he reminded him, "what do you do, anyway?"

Sayid listened curiously. He'd never even considered Callum, or really any of them, as having a life off the island, at least in terms of working. Callum, however, blushed madly, cheeks turning brick red against his pale skin.

"How about you?" Callum retorted back, quick to change course of the question.

"What do you do?" Sayid found himself asking, repeating Boone's question.

Callum shook his head.

"It doesn't matter."

"Yes it does," Boone insisted, "come on, it can't be that bad."

Still blushing, Callum gave in.

"Fine," he said bitterly, "I'm...I dance."

He looked immediatly to the floor, cheeks flaring with embarrasment. Right off, Boone let out a laugh. Even embarrasment couldn't stop Callum from glaring at him, and the quick reflex got Boone quiet quickly.

"I mean," Boone shrugged sheepishly, "that's gotta suck with your foot."

Callum scrowled. With the cast, Sayid noted, he could be out of job for months, minus the therapy after.

"What kind do you do?" Locke wondered seriously, despite Boone's attempts, still, not to laugh.

At the question, Callum brightened a little.

"Theatre," he replied proudly.

Boone snorted loudly, and they all turned to him.

"Sorry," Boone attempted honestly, "it's just...you, dance?"

"And what do you do?" Callum shot back angrily.

Boone shrugged innocently.

"I run a buisness."

At this, Locke smiled.

"It's a wedding buisness," Locke added, grinning as Boone glared at him, incredulous.

"Yeah?" Boone snapped. "Well John makes boxes."

Locke shrugged.

"It's honest work," he noted.

Personally Sayid would've pictured Locke doing something more...active. Like owning a ranch, or something of the sort. But they didn't have time to contemplate as the woman Boone had introduced out as his mom stepped up to them, blushing a little at her interruption.

"If you wanted more time..." she trailed off, clearly regretting interrupting.

"It's fine." Like Callum earlier, Boone blushed madly. "Mom, this is John-" he nodded to Locke, and then to Sayid and Callum in turn, "and Sayid and Callum."

His mom's eyes narrowed at mention of Callum. Sayid was admittedly relieved, as stereotypes and discrimination was something he was always on alert for, and whenever it slid by, he couldn't help but to be grateful.

"I don't remember you being on the flight list," his mom noted gravely.

"Long story," Callum muttered bitterly. He looked down the hallway absently, as if expecting to see someone there.

"Do you have somewhere to go?" Locke asked.

Callum continued to stare down the hall.

"Yeah."

He looked to the three of them, nodding before hobbling away. Meanwhile, Boone's mom shyly backed away, giving her son some space. The conversation grew serious again, the laughter gone, returning to their normal pause of uncertainy or sympathy. This time, it was both.

"Where are you going?" Sayid asked Boone.

Boone shrugged.

"My mom'll probably want to reintroduce me to my family," he paused thoughtfully, "and after that, who knows." He grinned. "Maybe I'll take up dance."

Sayid smiled at his joke, though he didn't necessarily find it amusing. Once again they stood in silence, waiting for someone else to leave; all of them waiting for this to truly be over.

"You going back home?" Locke asked Sayid suddenly, breaking him away from his momentary daze.

A grateful smile on his face, Sayid glanced down the hallway, where Nadia was waiting patiently for him.

"I think this'll be home for awhile," he confessed happily. He fully intended to make up for lost time, though the past would always linger. Though their time together was short, and he, hopefully, had many years to go, Shannon would always be a part of him. A different part of him. A part of him that was brave, who had let himself open up around her more than he had with anyone else. He was truly in love, and now came the burden of moving on. Boone was the next to speak.

"So I guess this is good-bye," Boone commented, grin gone from his face. Suddenly, Sayid was torn between staying and going. This was a part of his life that would change him forever, but he wasn't sure if he was too keen to play it back. Not all of it, anyway. Boone glanced behind him, to where his mother was waiting, rather impaciently.

Boone held out his hand to anyone who would take it. Locke shook first. He and Boone met eyes, and suddenly Sayid knew it was time for him to leave.

"I have someone to meet," Sayid interrupted, glancing towards Nadia. He offered a smile to Boone and Locke, but stopped suddenly before leaving. "We're not telling anyone, are we?"

It was one of things he'd thought about on the long trip home. Militaries and governments would fight wars for the technology on that island.

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"As far as I'm concerned," Boone said lightly with a shrug, "unless someone finds that journal, no one's ever gonna know."

"Journal?" Sayid inquired cluelessly.

Boone glanced towards him.

"My journal," Boone explained solemnly, "I left it on the island."

To even Sayid's surprise, Locke smiled at this.

"All things must pass," Locke recited with pleasure. Boone studied him, and even Sayid himself considered the comment. Now that the things they cared about the most, the things they had lost, were gone, was this a chance to finally move on? He glanced again to Nadia, who was still waiting, though less patiently. Was this his chance to start over? Again? Was all of this like a pre-test, getting him ready for the real thing?

"Weren't you just leaving?" Boone inquired after a long pause, taking the liberty of changing subjects. Sayid quickly snapped out of his thoughts.

"Yes," Sayid replied. He didn't know what to say, so he just gave them each a nod.

"I'm gonna go to," Boone decided. He looked at Locke. "Thanks."

Locke looked slightly taken aback.

"For what?" He asked, though sounding more interested than puzzled.

"For second chances," Boone explained, shrugging sheeplishly.

After that they all grew quiet, considering this, though truly just buying time. How were you supposed to say good-bye? What were you supposed to say, after a situation like this? And all throughout the hall, dozens of others were trying to figure out just that.

(space)

"So this is it."

Sawyer glanced up and down the hallway, watching as everyone reuninted with their family and friends, hugging and crying. Balloons and flowers everywhere. It was beginning to make him sick.

"This is the big rescue," Rebecca agreed.

As it turned out, she had been fine, just a little shaken. He hadn't seen Jack since his visit earlier, though there were rumors that he had been around somewhere. But mostly, thoughts were centered on Kate. What was going to happen to her? He actually felt bad for Jack, how his life would be knowingly ruined at any given moment, unwillingly.

"So I'm sitting here and wondering," Rebecca began suddenly, "what the hell am I going to do?"

He'd considered that as well. Even he could admit that, in the "real world", he wasn't in the best place to be in a relationship. But that didn't mean that he was ready to just drop everything.

"I mean," she turned to him, looking pale. They were sitting on a bench against a wall of the hospital, both feeling too restless and nausiated to stand. "My sister's dead. My family hates me...you know the story." She turned away, her worried face contorted with disgust.

"They don't hate you," Sawyer snorted with a small smile.

Rebecca stared straight forward, not turning to him this time.

"You don't know them," she replied coldly, crossing her arms. She stared into space a few moments, eyes distant, caught in a trance inside a world that Sawyer would never really know about. "And I can't stay with you."

"Nah," Sawyer remarked sarcastically, "I'd never want that."

A playful smile on her lips, she stole a glance towards him, the two meeting eyes briefly. But despite his comment, he honestly didn't know what he'd do. He wasn't even sure if he had a place to live.

"And you're in this boat too, right?" She went on. "You have no where to go..."

Sawyer darkened at the way she was able to make that assumption. He could've at least acted like things would be okay. Maybe they were too old for that now. That's why he didn't jump right to it. They were adults. When things were bad, they knew that there was scarce hope they'd get better. Miracles became like a long-lost friend, dreams disapeared with hope, reality setting in, and for at least him, far too early.

"I guess," he grumbled bitterly.

"I don't want to end this," Rebecca rambled on, getting to her feet. He instinctivly reached up for her as she struggled to stand straight, but she pulled away, crossing her arms as she looked around enviously at the crowds around her. "I mean-"

A hand flew to her head in a quick movement, and Rebecca was suddenly down on the floor, lowering herself as quickly and cautiously as she could. Sawyer was immediatly at her side, calling for a nurse. And Rebecca immediatly turned it away. Bringing her hand down, Sawyer could now see that her face was streaming with tears, her unkept hair sticking to her skin in beads of sweat.

"I still love you," she went on, despite her struggle, "I guess..." she trailed off, eyes darting around the room in a daze before finally finding their way back to Sawyer's confused and worried stare. "I don't have anywhere to go-" she was on the verge of sobbing now, face looking paler by the moment, "I just, I need someone. I need to know that I have that one thing..."

"What the hell are you trying to say?" Sawyer shot before he could help himself, partially a little afraid to know. He watched her with intense anticipation that was almost anger, anxious and yet terrified to know what she was getting at.

And then at last her eyes found his, and his fears were confirmed. She looked up to him desperatly, that desperation being the only trace of emotion in her eyes. Not love, not anticipation. It was just that desperation she had described and everything that came with it: the uncertanty, the fear. But not until much later would what she said make sense with her reason:

"Marry me."

He stared at her. Never once had he heard those two words come out of anyone's mouth. Even with Casey, they had been so far from even thinking about marriage...so the only way he could answer was the only way he knew how. Because there was no way in hell that she was actually suggesting this.

"Was that a question?" Sawyer said sarcastically, looking to her incredulously.

Rebecca let out a soft sob of disbelief at the sarcasm, and that's when he broke. No way was she going to let him get out of this. That's when he really started wondering, worrying. Was she pregnant? What the hell had he gotten himself into?

"Sawyer!" Rebecca exclaimed with a sob following.

She looked pitiful. She looked desperate. She looked like she actually wanted this. He really had no choice. He wasn't going to turn away from her. He didn't want to.

"Get off the damn floor," Sawyer mumbled, "'course I'll marry you."

Grabbing her arm, he helped her get to her feet, Rebecca pulling him into a tight embrace, sobbing harder than ever.

"You better not be in it for the money," Sawyer warned, "I ain't even got a place to live."

A smile crossed her face, shaking away the tears as Rebecca pulled away.

"Of course I'm not," she insisted.

"Good."

Silence passed between them, while around them no one noticed. No one would care about their decision. Truthfully, would it even matter? What if they began to spend time together off the island, only to realize that they no longer had nothing in common? Without that constant isolation or trauma, there would be nothing to bring them together. They had no where to go, no one to go to.

"Why are we doing this?" He wondered outloud, speaking his next thought.

Rebecca smiled sadly, clearly pitying even herself.

"What else do we have?" She said sadly, taking one of Sawyer's hands in hers, letting it dangle there. For the longest time they just stood there, both still amazed, shocked over what was happening. It really sparked change, a chance. A final escape from the past. This could really be it for him. But part of him was still angry. Here he was, his life finally going good for him, and he still hadn't gotten that revenge. It had been all he'd lived for for the longest time. Why he was who he was now. The process of becoming this person he was, all of it had evolved from that determined sense of revenge. Back then, that was all he had. And now...should he call it 'options'? There was something else. And now he'd get to spend enternity waiting for the next bad thing to happen, because things just couldn't go this great.

(space)

"Who's he?" Nadia asked curiously, leaning on Sayid's shoulder a little as she nodded towards a man standing alone, leaning against a far wall, looking lost. Jack, Sayid realized. He still had yet to see him talk to anyone, and since he'd left Kate's room he hadn't gone back in. Sayid frowned in concern. He couldn't tell which it was, that no one wanted to talk to Jack or that Jack didn't want to talk to anyone. Perhaps it was both.

"Hold on," Sayid said to Nadia, placing a hand on her shoulder before crossing the hall to Jack.

He reached him, standing in front of Jack nearly a full moment before Jack looked up. Hands stuffed deep into his pockets, Jack rested carelessly against the wall, hardly looking up, just enough to acklowedge Sayid's presence. His face was so worn from exhaustion and worry that it now just looked...empty. There was nothing there, no emotion whatsover. Sayid was so taken aback by his appearance that he stopped, unsure of what to say. Jack's current situation suddenly hit him in a realization of pity, and the one thing Sayid thought to bring up was probably the one thing Jack didn't want to discuss.

"How is she?" He asked, carefully awaiting an answer.

Jack stared at him, eyes turning in anger, though there wasn't enough fuel behind it to lash out, just disapointment in the question, wondering how he could've asked it. But at last Jack opened his mouth, swallowing, clearing his throat, before responding.

"She's alive," Jack informed him quietly, voice sounding broken, pained. Afraid. And just from the look in his eyes, his empty face, Sayid knew this was true. Sympathy, empathy, or pitiness, no matter how vast in amount, couldn't cure that kind of emotion. But help maybe could, and just offering it. Because, from that distance in which he first spotted him, Jack did look, without a doubt, lost. Or maybe not lost at all. This was a different kind of lost. He was found now, but he had nowhere to go. He didn't know what to do. He needed for someone to be there to tell him this, only there was no one there. He was alone. Terrified.

But one thing Sayid knew was that ignoring this situation could sometimes make things worse. The agony would just continue on in a long, drawn out pain. It never went away. Sitting here, on this wall, would do nothing. Without a doubt Jack deserved that kind of peace, but prolonging this could make things even worse, at least in emotion. Even harder to confront, just knowing how long you were able to put it off, that you did put it off.

"Can I see her?" Sayid offered innocently. He wasn't completly blind to the situation, he definetly cared about Kate as well. But at least Kate was under doctor's care. Jack was the doctor, and things definetly weren't looking well for him right now.

He half-expected Jack to deny his request, to turn away, and that would be the last he ever saw of him. But he didn't. Instead Jack looked down to the ground, kicking himself away from the wall. Sayid followed behind him as Jack led him to Kate's room, taking note of that still truly empty, exhausted appearance. Soon the room door was opened, and a bright light hit him.

Kate was asleep. Laying in the hospital bed, hooked up to almost a half a dozen wires, dried blood and scars decorating her skin in deep and horryfying cuts and bruises. Looking so still, so helpless, she was hardly recognizable. Jack didn't talk. Sayid didn't dare glance towards him, though he was curious of Jack's reaction to all of this. Though just the stillness and silence of the room (minus the ongoing beeping of machines) told him everything he needed to know. If there was one thing Jack needed right now, it was help. Someone to fix this, because he couldn't. And if there was one thing the castaways owed him, it was to do just that. But Sayid could see no way they could help. After all they survived, all they'd overcome and accomplished, almost no good seemed to come from it. There were losses, too many. Too many betrayels, too much still-standing guilt. Too much pain. Too much trauma. And there was nothing more they could do. And because of that, Sayid had to leave. He needed to think. What could he do? And he couldn't think in here, not with Jack beside him, baring within him the true essence of post-crash trauma. Everything seeming so helpless, hopeless. He couldn't help, but he had to. Somehow.

"Thank you," Sayid offered with a nod, eyes leaving Kate's bed as he turned, stepping away from it all. To think that six months ago they hadn't known each other, to remember those first few days of hiking to get transciever signals and building signal fires, it all seemed so surreal. It was so surreal to think there was so much more awaiting them, good or bad, and that those six months would remain just that, six months. Six simple months of time. Of course, they weren't simple in truth, but now, off-island, time was back. Things moved forward without your consent. Days went on.

And Sayid was finally out in the hallway, ready to say good-bye to yet another person he may never see again, when just days ago, hours ago, it seemed like enternity would be spent with them, with these people. And now it was over. Just like that.

"You leaving?"

The voice made him jump. It was still Jack, but it seemed like a different Jack. The one from months ago, before all this started. Though simple, the question seemed innocent, relieving them from that tension and emotion of the room. A sad smile escaped him.

"Yes," Sayid admitted.

Jack tried to force a smile, failing miserably. Instead he shook Sayid's hand, Jack's scarred skin sending shivers up his spine in reminder of just how serious and hard Jack's life had become.

"Thanks," Jack said, making it known between them what he was being thanked for. Just help in general. "Have a good life."

Sayid had to smile at the wording, dropping his hand.

"You too," Sayid offered with a nod.

Face falling, Jack glanced behind him, eyes landing on the sleeping Kate, laying, to some eyes, as good as dead as she took her few moments of peace. The suggestion was like a good laugh to these two. Who knew what would happen, and that was the problem. At last Jack turned back to Sayid, looking more helpless than ever. He didn't speak.

"Good luck," Sayid said in true meaning. It was the least he could offer. Jack nodded, though he didn't look as certain of the offer. With one last sympathetic smile, one last glance around the room, Sayid finally turned away, walking out on the life that would once feel so foreign, he'd wonder if he'd dreamed it. Wonder if it was real. But to Jack and to Kate, and maybe even others, there'd be no doubt. It was real. It was too real.

(space)

His hand hovered over the doorknob, relucant. He stared at it, watching his hesitant reflection looking back at him through the gold. He took a deep breath. Closed his eyes. And turned the doorknob.

Nothing happened. Eyes snapping open, Jack looked down in confusion to the knob in one hand and the housekey in the other. Had someone it replaced? He tried the door a few more times, growing frustrated at each attempt. He'd finally forced himself to go back to his own house, and now he wasn't being let in. That's when he realized it. The door turned to the right, not the left. Taking a deep breath, Jack forced himself to calm down before he pushed the door open. His eyes closed once again, taking in the senses around him- the smell of dead grass in the yard, the sound of a dog barking next door. Sounds he never expected to hear again.

With a creak, sqeaking in protest from standing shut for so long, the door opened, revealing a dark room. The blinds were closed, lights off. He put a foot in the doorway, still hesitant. Reaching over, he first tried the lights. Nothing happened. They'd cut off the power. Sighing, Jack took a look around the neighborhood before stepping in. He was well-known here, especially now, and all the familiar sights and memories were coming back to him. But the years of memory suddenly turned back into the present, and despite the dim room, Jack stepped in fully, the door standing ajar behind him, waiting to be shut, to block him from the world out there. To put a roof over his head, to put true walls around him. Protection, shelter. Everything he was used to having to fend for himself for was being offered to him right now with one simple step, one simple movement. Ignoring the darkness of the room, Jack gazed around it, memories flooding back to him. It was supposed to be a family home. He and Sarah had planned it that way. In fact, there was still a half-finished nursery left upstairs, a project he'd never brought himself to go back to. He hadn't even stepped in the room in years. Maybe now...

He closed the door behind him. Taking slow steps, Jack began to move around the room, running his hand over the leather of the couch, everything still in place as he left it. The mantel was bare: no pictures, not even a clock. The fireplace had only been used once, years ago. It was a poor excuse for a home, as empty and still as it was when it was first built.

The kitchen was the next room, a white tile floor still sparkling, things still in place here as well. Except for one. A newspaper sat on the counter, dated fall of 2004. The headline entry was "Red Sox Win World Series". Picking up the paper, the unfamiliar touch of ink sending quick shivers up his spine, Jack let out a snort. If there was one thing he and his dad had ever had in common, it was a love for this team. Neither really knew why, though Jack found himself sympathizing with their curse, the little faith put in them. Especially when he was younger. He heard the saying practically every night, though in his mind, his own name could easily be replaced. That's why he'd never suceed. Never be a hero. And even now...

There was a crash from the next room, his bedroom. Jack jumped. There wasn't supposed to be anyone else here. Instinctivly, he reached to his back pocket for a gun, so ready to pull it out for his protection, but his heart stopped in realization that it wasn't there. Things were different now. He couldn't go around fighting for the sake of fighting or hunting down those who hurt him. Now there were rules, laws. He was no longer in charge, only a mere person in a world too big for words. Cautiously, all Jack could do was step into the hallway. That's when he noticed a light was shining from the floor of a pantry; a flashlight. Taking quick breaths, Jack stood there, waiting.

And then he saw it. The slightest flicker, but it was there. A shadow. Someone was hiding. And, somehow, Jack knew who that someone was before they came out. Creeping out from behind a dresser, looking all of determined, ashamed, and frightened, was Kate. She stared at him. Breathing even more quickly than before, Jack's mind turned in hurried circles, trying to find an explination.

"Jack-" she finally began for him, taking a step forward. She was walking, only the slightest limp in her legs. Her jeans were torn to shreds over the knees and around her ankles, but she took no notice. Dried blood dotted her sneakers, but there was no concern for it.

"You can't be here," the words escaped him before he could think. It was now, he realized, that their fate would be decided. Whatever that was going to happened was going to happen now. She'd made up her mind, she knew what she was going to do. "What are you doing here, Kate?"

"I'm not staying."

The answer came quickly, as though planned. She attempted to sound assuring, as though this helped him. As though he wanted that. Jack shook his head in protest.

"You can't help me, Jack," Kate said, voice shaking a little. She took another step closer to him. Jack shivered. It was as though he could already feel her right next to him, entering the circle of space around him.

"You don't even know-" Jack tried desperatly. This wasn't happening. Not now, not so quickly. All he had wanted to do was to finally bring himself to go home. Then again, he had decided before that his home was with Kate, and as fate would have it...

"Don't act like this isn't happening!" Kate scolded, desperation hinting with her tone. She needed him to be okay with this. That was why she'd come, why she was here.

But just that was all he could do, act like this wasn't happening. It was all he had ever done. She should've known that by now.

"How'd you get here?" He demanded, the possibilities leaving his breath to escape him in worried gasps.

"I can't be here, Jack," Kate said, ignoring him. She looked at him, shaking her head with sympathy. At last she was in front of him, hand reaching out to him. "I've got to do what's best for me."

Jack looked at her incredulously, hurt reeling through him freely. He opened his mouth, yelling at her, before he could really consider this.

"What about what's best for me?" Jack yelled angrily. This was his house, the one place he still had some control over. So he should have control over what happened inside it as well. And he wasn't going to let her come in here and throw herself out, give up. He wasn't going to let this be ruined for him, again.

Kate stared at him, mouth slightly agape, both with pity and annoyance. Her eyes still had that dazed look about them, though she was definetly more focused now, as though the new enviroment, being away from the hospital, made her feel more...comfortable to be.

"It can't be about you now, Jack," she shot, tone plain, anger leveling itself, having a magnificeint control over her emotions. "It's got to be about what's best for me...the baby!"

"And you think that what's best for you is to run off, with no money, no where to go?" He felt so betrayed that she was even thinking to do this, though he didn't know what he was expecting. For her to give into his help? For there to be some miraculous happy ending? A heart-feeling, satisfying happily ever after? "With the baby and in your condition?" He didn't go on, and she didn't protest. Perhaps, he thought, she was aware of this. Sometimes you just had to do what you had to do. Personally, Jack never care for this way of living. Because sometimes, it pushed you way over your limit, with no choice. He looked around, hands on his hips, shaking his head incredulously at the way things were playing out. It was typical. Something seemed to be finally working out, and it was jerked away from him before he could linger in the excitment of it, enjoy it. "I thought we were going to do this."

She watched him, emotion of pity swimming in her eyes, tears itching to be let loose but still held back.

"That was then," Kate said simply. He envied how she was able to contront and accept the situation. How she knew that this wasn't what she wanted, but it was what needed to happen. It was what made her so much stronger than he, a trait he'd never possess, no matter how much help she gave him. He just placed so much in guilt, and even sometimes, so much in self-pity, that it was impossible to be like that.

Kate didn't need to finish. The worse part was that he knew, had known all along, that this was what needed to happen. The least he could do was help her out, support her. Work out some kind of plan, to still somehow be apart of this. No matter what the risk, Jack still wanted to be apart of this, to be there for her and their child. He didn't want it to look like he walked out on them. He wanted the kid to have a real chance, and he wanted to be there to help give it to them.

Her eyes trailing to the pantry, the light still on inside, shining through the ajar door, a smile suddenly spread across her face.

"I ate all your chips," she admitted lightly, amusement replacing guilt.

His mind suddenly clicked off, his own amusment setting in, though along with his normal concern. For this one moment, their fate wouldn't matter. It was what comic relief was all about, and Jack found himself, once again, grateful.

"Those could be six months old, Kate," Jack reminded her.

Her face suddenly fell, as if some sudden sick feeling acknowledged this.

"I know."

Silence drew over them then, fate hovering above them like a time-bomb, waiting to rain on them, finally playing its part in this cruel game. He felt like he was being sent back home after making it all the way across the board, except unlike in a boardgame, there were no second chances being given now. Not a single chance of a redo, no forgivness. You just had to go with it, and they both knew it was time.

"I can't stay long," Kate noted quietly, reading his mind.

Jack nodded.

"I know."

Another moment of silence passing, they stood there in the hallway, waiting for something to happen. Maybe, Jack thought, if they just kept standing here, never saying anything, never picking back up the problem, nothing would have to happen. Things could just stand still, time could just stand still. They'd never move out of this moment, the snapshot remaining there forever and always. It wouldn't have to become just another memory, just another picture in his mind. It could exsist for as long as he wanted.

But Kate broke the chain of silence, crushing his theory with a betrayed power.

"I'm sorry, Jack," she began, voice shaking again. Suddenly she was closer to him, leaning next to him against the wall. They were blue, Sarah's favorite color, and they could use repainting, he decided then. Briefly, Jack wondered what Kate's favorite color was. "You've just...you've got to promise you won't come after me. You can't do that to yourself." He didn't answer. "I know you want to...but you just have to know that things will be okay." She offered him a sad smile. "Trust me."

"I can't-" Jack admitted. He wasn't ready to let her go. He just wanted one more day, one more chance. He wanted to go with her.

"You'll be okay, Jack," she went on, a hand brushing against his face. Shuddering at the touch, Jack longed more than ever to just have more time. But her hand suddenly left again, and Kate swallowed, straightening her back, wincing at the pain as she did though. He winced himself, unable to think of her out there on her own like this. What if something happened? What if there had been something wrong with her, something they hadn't told him? Something deathly, something he'd never know about...he couldn't let this happen. "So just tell me you love me and...I'll go."

She looked up to him.

"I can't-" he began, feeling helpless. He didn't want to do this. He couldn't.

"I've got to go," Kate said, glancing around nervously through the rooms in the house. It was then he realized the real reasons for all the blinds to be drawn, for the darkness. It was all for her.

"Kate-"

He was desperate. He couldn't breathe. Suddenly he felt himself lowering to the floor, bringing Kate with him. Sitting there, he found her hand, clutching it just as he had in the hospital. A vision flashed in front of him, quite a few times. all the times he had found Kate beaten, hurt. All the times he had saved her. Why should now be any different? The ring was still in his pocket, and this was the perfect time to bring it out, to offer his full commitment to her. But the moment went on, and all he could do was sit there, shaking. She wanted to go, she had to, and he couldn't make it harder for her. It'd be selfish, even he could learn to admit that. But he really did want to give her a final reason to reconsider...

"Just close your eyes," Kate instructed, frantic to get away. Maybe she needed this to be done. That had to be it. She wouldn't naturally do this to him, surely. "Count to ten-" she studied his eyes, making sure he understood, "and I''ll be gone." He didn't respond. He just sat there in disbelief. This was actually happening. He'd close his eyes, and he'd never see her again.

Suddenly her hand was on his face again, carrasing it tenderly, and moments later her lips were on his, embracing him in a soothing kiss. A kiss good-bye. He closed his eyes without meaning to, and as though that were the plan, she pulled away just then.

"I love you," she whispered into his ear, her breath making him shake desperatly.

He couldn't open his eyes as she walked away. He couldn't count. He just concentrated. Listening carefully, he memorized every last footstep, their distance away, the way they went, so that when his eyes finally did open, Jack was able to stand and look around. To search for her, to find her. This couldn't be the end. He didn't want it to be. But yet, the end always came when you didn't want it to.

Desperatly he searched through every room, determined that she had stayed, simply hiding. It was insane, he knew, but it had to be. She had to be there. But before he knew it he was back in the hallway, gasping for breath. He grabbed onto the wall, letting himself sink onto the floor. She really was gone. He'd checked everywhere...the garage, outside. She had simply disapeared. Just like that. It was all over. Head buried into his hands, Jack remembered sitting in a simular fashion with his father, right after Sarah left him. But now he was alone. There was no help, no chance of a redo. And all he could do was sit there, taking in this completly horrific nightmare, shaking himself into panic as he did. Because the worst realization came when he knew that one thing would never be true, the one thing he had always wanted would be the one thing he'd never get. Not now, now without Kate. Because without Kate, the one he loved and, almost more importantly, the one who loved him, the one who had faith in him, hope...everything sunk in at once, like a final ending to a tale, a tale where the hero didn't win, where no one won. And now all he could do was sit here and wait, hoping that she was right. Hoping that she'd come back for him, or that some day he'd find her. He hated being lost, hated it more than anything. He wanted to be able to say how things went again, to be able to guide the story and do it his way. And he knew just the perfect line to end it with, his dream ending:

'And they lived happily ever after...'

The End.

Author's Note: Wow...yeah, it's over. And now for the insanely long series ending author's note! First of all, regarding Sawyer and Rebecca. If you don't like cheesy castaway weddings where everyone reunites and everything and the couple lives happily ever after than good, neither do I(except for special occasions). Basically, they want to be married because, well, they need to be. They need to know that they have someone, that they're not alone. Okay, now, what to say...

Guess I should do the thank-yous. Big thanks to anyone who ever read and reviewed(or even didn't review). Short and sweet or in long paragraphs, I truly am grateful for every review and reader I have. I really do write for myself, but I'll also write for whoever will read, and it's really inspiring when you have such great people supporting you. So thanks to those who have been behind me throughout this crazy ride, espceially(let me know if you want your name off this list, for whatever reason): Orlando-Crazy, Chris Anthony(thanks for letting me ramble on in review replies at Lost-forum!), Whirlwind-2005, Freckles-101, Kirstieee.x, NYR88, Ella Jullian SinortiaDanzer, Eliza4892, Oreata, aurorasmist, lordoftheringsfanficreader, standardblack, crookedview, Lillywriter, hjr, bella-writer, clarkson04, FanOfLost, future cop, rain1657, shannanagin, celes19, autumn-leaf16, and everyone else who ever left a review or was a fan of the series. Oh, and I guess I should thank Crazyhorsegirl88(sigh)...just kidding! You guys have no idea how much of a help she's been...truly I'd have to say she's saved the story quite a few times, including from its original ending. Thanks so much for countless hours of giving off plot ideas and questions about the smallest of things...I'd definetly have to say this series wouldn't of been half as good without her help...or at least I wouldn't of felt so confident with it. So, Crazyhorsegirl88, thanks bunches for all the help and support...you have no idea how grateful I am for it(and because of that, I should no longer have to be the death of Jate! hehe).

Lastly, thanks to anyone, artist, shows, movies, producers, ect., who I've mentioned in disclaimers. A very special thanks to the creators and producers and cast and crew of Lost for bringing us this amazing show, especially to J.J., who's been a major inspiration with my writing.

Okay, so if I remember correctly, I promised you guys two surprises. The first was that ending. The second is what comes after the ending. Yup, that's right, a sequel. I don't know when it'll be out, but I am planning on writing a sequel to this. It'll be written so that anyone could understand it, regardless of whether or not they've read the series. However, there'll be plenty of referances to the series' characters and plots. Also, I definetly want you guy's opinions on this, what you think about me writing a sequel to this. It could simply be put into an epiloge, but I decided I kind of like the detail I could do with it. So please, feel free to give me any feedback on that.

Wow...so this is finally coming to an end. Once again, thanks sooo much for all the support! It's definetly a major confidence booster, especially when you've got people who have been reading since story one. Thanks so much for sticking with me through all of this, and I truly hope you weren't disapointed by the ending. You've got a couple of cliffhangers setting up a sequel: Sawyer and Rebecca's engagment, Jack and the ring, and most importantly, Kate on the run with the baby. So keep an eye out for that, and let me know if you want me to let you know when the sequel will be up.

So...yeah...guess this is good-bye. For now. And guess there's only one thing left to say...

(taps microphone) (clears throat) (sings)

I'd like to know that your love

Is love I can be sure of

So tell me now and I won't ask again

Will you still love me tomorrow?

Will you still love me tomorrow?

Will you still love me tomorrow?

Just kidding! I'll shut up now...

Fated: 12-19-04 to 8-20-06

Thanks again!

Until next time...

October Sky