Theresa falls down the stairs. He is six years old and he isn't quite sure he understands that sometimes you fall without getting up again. He starts calling her name and climbing down the stairs slowly. When he arrives at her side, he's already shouting at her to wake up. Her legs seem funny and she has her eyes open, and he keeps on looking because there's something unique on Theresa's eyes now, something even a six years old little rich boy knows to identify.
Shannon doesn't have that look when they're introduced to each other. She's a little eight years old pink wearing girl with pouty lips and she's holding to her father's hand somewhat fiercely, as if daring him and his mother to get close. It takes him time to get her to play with him and she just says that her mom died and that she only wants her father because he's her only family. Boone asks her if she doesn't want an older brother and it's the first time that he sees Shannon's real smile.
Theresa had been Catholic. Once, she took him to mass, very early on a Sunday morning and he kept on looking at the candles and saints, and the image of Jesus in his crucify was awfully captivating.
"Why is he there?"
"He died so we could be forgiven."
"Because sometimes God needs people to die in His Name."
He never understood this.
One day, Shannon falls down the stairs. He's fifteen and she's thirteen and he'd been chasing her because she entered his room without knocking and he had been jerking off, trying to picture his girlfriend's breasts and lips and stop thinking about Shannon's bony hips and still childish chest, trying not to picture her flushing and panting, bitting through her name, trying not to gasp it.
"Boone? Could you… what are you… Ewww, gross! I'm going to tell dad!"
"No, no, stop!"
He's still shaking when he pulls his boxers up, wiping his hand hastily against the bed cover, trying to get a hold on the blonde lithe girl that is now laughing out of his reach until they get to the stairs.
"Shannon, wait, don't run!"
She doesn't listen and her ankle twists funny and her eyes go wide and then she's tumbling down and now's Shannon falling down the stairs and he isn't six years old but for a moment his insides feel like that.
He stays by her side. She doesn't have that unique, ghostly look that Theresa had: she's crying softly and she's scared. In a very tiny voice she says that her leg hurts and to please, please don't go away, Boone. I'm afraid, it hurts. It hurts so much.
Don't worry, Boone says. He's also crying but he lies down next to her, trying to smile. Don't worry, Shan. I'm going to take care of you.
Later, when their parents arrive at the hospital and Shannon's right leg is in a pink cast and she has learned she has to say goodbye to ballet, Shannon says to her dad that it had been her fault for running down the stairs even if Boone had told her not to. That's the first secret they have that it's only theirs. When they're alone they smile and he has to stop from reaching towards her and holding her, kissing her, protect her as he said he would. Sometimes they shared their pancakes and then they would stop speaking to each other for weeks.
He still doesn't get why people must die. Boone watched Shannon decay and he used to get mad because he's not sure how she thinks she's going to be able to fool him. He knows she's stronger than she seems when she wants too, and he's angry that he couldn't tell her this.
He doesn't get many things these days, like the fact that he's on a stranded island with forty survivors of an air crash with Shannon and people has died and now maybe it's his turn, even if he could have been spared but it couldn't have been like that. After all, messiahs need people dying in their name.