A/N: Finally the story has an ending. It took me almost four years but I finished. TR took me in all different directions, some planned and some not but I'm satisfied with it. Thank you to all that have stayed and given me so many good comments and suggestions. It was truly appreciated.
Chapter Fifty Two: There's No Place Like Home (Part Two)
"What are you?"
The creature extended its hands. "I am life, death; I am all things eternal Slayer." Its head tilted as it continued to study her. "I am the island and it is me. The Others call me Jacob but I have possessed many names since the dawn of time."
"Are you the little girl I keep seeing?"
"If that is what you wish. I take many forms." Flashing its teeth, it transformed, the little girl in the white dress appearing before her eyes. "What is it that you wish most Child?"
"You know the answer to that. I want these people off the island."
The girl giggled and shook her head. "But what is it that you really want most deep in your heart?"
Faith crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm not going to beg."
"It's a simple question that requires a simple answer. I know you will not beg because it is not in your nature. It is not in a slayer's nature."
She studied the little girl until she could no longer stand the silence. "I want Sayid to live." She cleared her throat. "That's what I want most right now."
The image standing there morphed back into the creature and suddenly was standing in front of her, robes moving silently. "I will grant this request on one condition."
"Why am I not surprised?"
Its long fangs flashed into a smile without humor. "I will save his life and the lives of all the others if you will stay."
Faith stared up into the dark eyes hovering above hers. "Stay? You mean on this island?"
"You want me to agree to never see my friends again if I'll stay here and what? Protect it from Widmore?"
"You belong Faith; it is your destiny to be among those that cherish you for what you are." It circled her slowly, fingers drifting lightly over her shoulders. "You have found your place here as a leader and a sister. There are no chains to obligation, only purpose and will. Do you not find yourself deserving?"
"And if I want to check up on them from time to time?"
"You are permitted to leave but one must always return. The power of this island is now in your blood; I am in your blood. There is not one without the other."
"And the smoke and my eyes changing? What happened with Keamy?"
"The island protects its own." It was facing her again. "Do we have a deal?"
Faith looked down at her hands and remembered in a sudden flash of memory that her fingers had once been coated in Sayid's blood. She looked back up immediately. "We do."
Long teeth flashed in victory, a deep hiss of a chuckle escaping. "Good Child." Faith remained still as it leaned towards her, cold lips brushing her ear as it began to softly whisper. "Then there is only one thing left to do…"
She blinked out of the vision to find herself on her back, the concerned face of Richard leaning over her. His hands grabbed for her arms and she looked around as she was hauled to her feet. "What… Where's Sayid?"
"He's fine; he has no injuries." Richard maintained a grip on her hand. "You talked to Jacob didn't you?"
"I talked to something, that's for sure."
"What did he tell you? Did he tell you anything about the island?"
Her eyes met his and she slowly extracted her hand. "He… It told me we had to move the island." She watched his eyes grow wide. "What is it? What does it mean?" She looked around again. "Where did Sayid go?"
"Kimberly has taken him back to the beach. I assured him you would follow shortly."
"I didn't know what else to tell him. He wouldn't have left if I had told him the truth."
"And how do you know what the truth is?"
Richard stepped back. "I knew you would make the right call Faith. We must go to The Orchid. Ben will not be able to move the island without you."
She watched him snatch up a gun and her crossbow from the ground. "And Keamy? What did you do with him?"
"The island takes care of its own." The repeated words sent a shiver up her spine. "He won't be bothering anyone ever again."
"Did you kill him?"
"Faith, we must go."
"Did you kill him?"
"He threatened us! He shot Kimberly and he shot your…" Richard inhaled sharply. "He shot people you care about and would have killed many more before taking you. What else should I have done?"
Something had her taking a step towards him but she merely snatched back her crossbow. "Take me to the Orchid and let's get this over with before I change my mind."
The Orchid was a station that had been used as a greenhouse and as Faith followed Richard to a hidden elevator she was struck again by the fact that nothing on the island was what it seemed. She remained quiet as the elevator took them to the very bottom of the hatch and she didn't wait for him to motion her forward before stepping off and striding down a long corridor.
It led her to an oval room and her eyes narrowed at the sight of Ben bundled up in a heavy jacket. "What's with the fur Benny? I'm guessing you're not a PETA member."
"Very funny and I'm guessing you're here to solely be sarcastic." He tossed a jacket at her. "Put this on."
"Because where we're going, it might be a bit cold."
Faith narrowed her eyes and glanced over at Richard who was standing beside Locke. He nodded and with a sigh, she shoved her arms into the sleeves, zipping it up quickly. "Now what?"
"Now we move the island."
"Oh yeah? Just like that?" She frowned. "Is this the part where you hand me ruby red slippers?"
"No, this is the part where you do what I tell you because it's very important that nothing goes wrong." Ben zipped up his jacket and directed his attention to Richard. "Locke is in charge while we're gone. You know what to do."
Richard nodded, his eyes going to Faith. "I do."
"What exactly is going on?"
Locke moved forward to clasp her on the shoulder. "You're going on a little trip and when you come back, we'll be waiting."
"Somehow I knew you'd be sticking around."
He smiled and stepped back, her crossbow in his hands. "I doubt you'll need this."
"What a shame."
"Faith?" Ben stood at a door. "Are you ready? If you want the people on this island to keep surviving, we have to do this now."
Without hesitating, she nodded. "Let's go. Show me what to do."
He disappeared through the door and with one last glance at Locke and Richard, she stepped quickly after him. The room was cold, her breath visible each time she exhaled, and she looked around until her gaze settled on a large wheel.
"You've got to be kidding me."
Ben cracked a small smile. "I'm not and I need your help to turn it."
"And turning it does what exactly?"
"It moves the island."
He grabbed onto the wheel, eyes staring at her. "I know you dislike me, I know I've lied and I've done some terrible things in the past but it was to save this island and the people on it. I also know it's a lot to ask but you are just going to have to trust me Faith."
She took a step forward. "You're right; it is a lot to ask." She moved to stand beside him and grab onto the wheel. "But what other choice do I have?"
"Good answer. I want you to listen carefully to what I'm about to say. We're going to move the island and because of that it's going to move us. Wherever you go, if I'm not there too you must wait for me. I'll find you."
"I have your word on that do I?"
He didn't blink. "You do."
Without a response, she motioned with her head and they began to push. It took several attempts to get it started but soon the wheel was creaking from the force of their hands. She knew she was doing most of the work but that barely seemed to matter really as the room began to glow, sparks flying from the wheel. Faith continued to push until she couldn't see any longer and as a flash of energy went through her, she screamed.
The weather was scorching hot and showed no signs of letting up. Tourists weren't common in the area but no one paid her any attention as she sat there, fan in her hand and an old newspaper lying on the table top. How many days had she been there? She had lost count and she wasn't sure it really mattered. She had been a lot of places lately. None of them had mattered until this one.
"Sickly sweet don't you think?"
Her head turned only slightly to see Mayor Wilkins sitting at the empty seat at the table. The café customers around her took no notice and it wasn't like they would, he didn't exist in their world. "The Great Taunter is back, how nice."
"It disappoints me that I can only seem to reach you now in the direst of situations." The First leaned on the table towards her. "He's not coming for you."
"You can go now."
"He'll never come for you. There is no home for you and this torture you're subjecting yourself to is-"
"I said you can go." She slid her glasses down her nose, eyes flashing from brown to black before returning just as quickly. "Give it up already, you've lost and if we were keeping count, which I am, that would make twice now. So leave before you bore me to death."
Eyes flaring, the image sat back with a huff. "You slayers and your inability to have humor astounds me. Suit yourself but you backed the wrong horse."
"I think it's beyond obvious you did Firsty and now you're stuck in this little dimension with no one to taunt but people who barely give you a second glance. Not being able to return to the island is really hurting you isn't it?"
"If it's hurting me, I imagine it's killing you inside." It sneered. "Regardless of anything you're told I hope you enjoy that empty feeling because it'll be with you for a long time to come!"
Faith rolled her eyes and looked away, a second look back alerting her to the fact that the image was no longer there. With a sigh, she stood up from the table, taking the paper with her. It was a short walk back to the small hotel room she had paid for under an alias and she welcomed the breeze she felt as she opened her door.
It was the sight of Ben standing with his back to her at the window that had her exhaling and with a sigh, she shut the door with a flick of her wrist. "It's about time you showed up."
"If you had stayed in one place as I instructed…." He turned to face her. "You do realize that coming here was a mistake don't you?"
"I wanted to see for myself that he was okay."
"And now you have, in fact you've known for two full days."
"Been following me have you Benny?"
He smiled thinly. "I was just making sure our tracks were completely covered before we returned to the island. I take it you're ready to return now that you're certain he's happy in his new life with Nadia?"
Faith glanced one more time around the room; there was nothing in this life or in her past that held any sway or meaning to her now. Her gaze lingering on the window and finally she nodded. "Yes, I'm finally ready."