-1A/N: Hey everyone! I'm really excited about this story because its my first ever full-length story for Lost. Yes, I did do Only to Seattle, but that doesn't count because it never got finished (it might still get finished) and I did that one with Shiggity. Anyway, I'm not exactly sure how long this story is going to turn out to be, but so far in my notes, I've figured out that its going to be longer than 5 chapters, so that's something.
All you really need to know before reading this is that it takes place during Man of Science, Man of Faith and serves as a sort of alternate version of that episode. So yes, there are some spoilers for Season 2 in here. Anyway, I hope you guys like it!
Disclaimer: Nothing that you recognize in this story is mine and I don't claim that it is.
All The Right Reasons
Whispers, almost silent against the chill night air, pierced through the darkness, ringing in Walt's mind. Always the same, urging him to come back, to stop running. At first, Walt had thought they were nothing more than a figment of his imagination, but now he wasn't so sure. They sounded so solid, so palpable. Yet he could see no one, nothing that could make such sounds.
Fear was the most tangible emotion in Walt's mind. It coursed wildly through his veins, his heart pounding persistently within his chest. Most of all, the fear was what kept him going, kept him moving. It seemed as though Walt could hardly think straight without the pains of complete physical exhaustion forcing its way into his system. He couldn't say why, but in the back of his mind he just knew that if he stopped, if he listened to the constant, pounding whispers in his mind, then it would be all over for him.
Walt had no idea where he was going. He didn't even know where he was. It was little more than an hour ago when he had woken up, body sprawled out on the damp ground, the barrage of trees that was the jungle looming over him. He had hardly known who he was, yet alone where he was and why he was here.
After a moment of enduring the burning pains of a headache, he was sure of only one thing. His name was Walt. From that conclusion, he also knew that His father was Michael. He belonged with Michael. Somewhere in his subconscious, he could see an image of himself running down a seemingly never ending stretch of beach, a large yellow lab bounding clumsily along at his heels.
He didn't understand these images. By this time, Walt could remember just about everything about his life. His mother. His father. Brian. But a beach? A yellow lab? And all of the people he had seen. When he had lived with his mother and Brian in Australia, though the beach lay little more than a half hour's drive away, he had never been allowed to go. His mother had been too afraid of shark attacks and drowning. But the image in his mind of the beach and the yellow lab were as clear to Walt as day in that moment when he regained consciousness in this unfamiliar place.
"Help me dad! Please!"
As if in a memory, these pleas and cries for help exchanged between himself and his dad ran repeatedly in his mind. He couldn't remember ever uttering them, ever feeling so desperate that he needed to call on his father for help. The truth was, he hadn't known his father that long. Just long enough to meet him and then leave his home and everything he knew to get on a plane with him and travel to LA.
Always, with the voices in his mind, pounding in his ears, Walt could feel phantom hands laced over his shoulders, pulling at his frame. The hands gripped him tightly, constantly trying to pull him backward.
"We're going to have to take your boy…"
A voice Walt didn't know accompanied the grimy feeling of hands gripping his shoulders. He didn't have time to think about the hands, or the sound of the pained voice of his father and the memory of his own fearful voice. Walt had to think about the present, about right now. Someone, something was after him. The whispers. They were all around him, as if trying to consume him. He had to get away, but to where? He didn't even know where he was, why he was in the jungle.
So now he ran. Ran without any idea where he was going or how he was ever going to be safe. Afraid of everything around him, everything that he saw. It was dark, darker than any night he had ever experienced. He had no way of knowing if it would ever be light again.
"It isn't safe, boy…"
The whispers resounded in his mind with a new fury. "No…" he mumbled, desperate to fight them off. He could feel the burning sting of tears forming in his eyes and he didn't have the strength to fight them off. Soon, one stray, hot tear rolled defiantly down his cheek.
"You must come back….back to us…"
"No!" Walt shouted, not even knowing what he was yelling at or if it could even hear him.
The whispers grew more persistent in his mind and he didn't know how much longer he could stand them. He couldn't even hear himself think! He felt the urge to stop running, to throw himself on the ground and claw at his own skin, to tear away whatever was inside him that was barraging him now.
Just as he knew that he couldn't take it anymore, that he would have to give in and stop running, to go back, Walt felt his very world begin to spin as the ground disappeared beneath him. His worn tennis shoe had caught itself on a protruding root, dropping him face first to the moist jungle floor.
Walt hissed in pain as the air got caught in his throat from the sudden fall. He did not stop though as he hit the ground, for he now found himself rolling uncontrollably down a steep slope. He screamed and he kicked wildly as he fell, not knowing what could possibly await him at the bottom.
After what seemed like an eternity of scrapes and bruising, Walt felt his body roll to a stop at the base of the hill. His senses went wild when he felt the freezing chill of water seeping over his body, soaking his already ragged clothes. Groaning in pain, Walt lifted his head to look around him. He let out a tiny breath of relief when he realized that the whispers had gone and now he was left in silence. Reaching a hand up to the burning on his mouth, Walt realized that his bottom lip had been split in the fall. Using his sleeve, Walt wiped the drizzle of blood from his chin and lips. He could taste the copper tint of the blood in his mouth, giving him the urge to choke.
Pulling himself painfully to his feet, Walt could feel his clothes cling tightly to his skin. He was soaked from head to toe with the water from the large puddle he had fallen into. As he took a step away from the puddle, his worn khaki pants sloshed with water and his shoes squeaked. He was dripping wet. Slower now, he moved on through the jungle, much less afraid. He was free of the whispers, and though he felt far from safe, he knew somehow that if he could just keep moving, he would be okay.
Walt was happy to see that the visibility in this part of the jungle was much better than where he had previously been. The trees were far less dense and because of this, He could see tiny rays of moonlight creeping through the jungle canopy, painting streaks of light on the jungle floor.
There was a large clump of trees to Walt's left. Something wasn't right. He could feel it. Moving closer to the trees, as if to use them as a shield, Walt slowly peered around the corner, looking into the expanse of jungle on the other side. Just as he did so, a large yellow lab came bounding straight at him, barking excitedly and then darting quickly past him. The dog was like a streak of white light in this pale moonlight, so bright that Walt could hardly make out its form as it flashed past him. But just as he saw the dog, for just that split second, Walt's mind lit up in obvious recognition. Vincent. Vincent. How could he ever have forgotten? He felt a brief rush of relief wash over him at seeing his dog.
That relief soon vanished. Then he heard it. Voices. Panic.
"Vincent!" came a cry from nearby. Though it was nearly impossibly to see clearly in this dim moonlight, Walt could clearly see the form of a tall blonde woman, probably in her early twenties, move into view. With her came a long beam of light, illuminating the whole clearing. She had a flashlight gripped tightly in her right hand and, as Walt looked closer, a red dog leash.
Walt held his breath, forcing himself, despite his looming fear, to be completely silent. He let out an inner sigh of relief when he realized that the light had not fallen on him and the woman had no idea he was watching her.
"Its not a good idea!" A thickly accented voice from a man that Walt could not yet see.
"I saw him 5 minutes ago. Besides, you're the one who said there isn't anyone out there," the blonde replied smartly. Had these been the ones who were making the whispers? Were they the ones that were after him?
At this last remark from the blonde, the unknown man with the rich accent came into view. He too was tall and well built, Walt noted. He looked tired by the way he moved and even in the dim light, Walt could tell by his mass of coal black curls and his olive skin that the man was likely of Middle Eastern decent. Looking at the two standing in the clearing together, Walt felt a pang in his heart, a tiny pinch in the back of his mind. It was as if he ought to know them, ought to remember them.
"I said we didn't see anyone," the man corrected her as he approached her. "The dog will come back on his own. He always does."
Walt felt an utter sense of confusion when he realized that these people were looking for Vincent. But how? Why? How did they even know Vincent?
"Watching his dog was the one thing anyone has ever asked me to do." the blonde replied, now facing the man. She looked pained, as if too much had happened to her in too little time, "If something happens to him…"
But who had asked this woman to watch Vincent? Why?
"When was the last time you slept or had something to eat?" Now the man looked concerned for her. His feelings were etched out his face, radiating in his eyes. He cared for her. Somehow, Walt didn't question this or brush is off as just a guess. Somehow, he just knew, "You're exhausted."
"I can't tell that kid that I lost his dog because I was exhausted," the woman replied, strumming a chord in Walt's mind. Someone had told her to watch Vincent. This was all just too confusing. Too wrong. But yet, at the same time, eerily right.
Suddenly, the sound of a dog barking came from behind where the man and woman were standing. It came from past the clearing and back into the trees beyond them. In an instant, they both took off after the sound and out of both his curiosity and his confusion, Walt stormed after them.
Walt was exhausted and it burned deep within his legs, muscles stiff, with every rapid step he took. It didn't take him long though, to come upon what he was looking for. He soon found Shannon, almost a hundred yards away from where they had previously been standing. She was alone, in a clearing not unlike the one they had been in before. The man, whoever he was, had gone.
Not realizing what he was doing, Walt didn't stop at the tree line that circled around the clearing. Instead, he felt drawn to her and to everything that was going on around him. He continued to edge forward into the clearing. He didn't realize any of this though until the moonlight that had a clear shot at him from the treeless canopy had washed completely over him, revealing his presence to the woman.
Walt's breath caught painfully in his throat as he realized what he had done. The woman gasped in obvious fear at the sight of him. Before he had the chance to step back or even to take another breath, she screamed, trembling as she moved farther into the clearing.
"Walt?" she called from where she stood, body shaking like a leaf. She looked much like a dear caught in the headlights, frozen in fear and unable to move.
Walt had never been more surprised or even afraid in his life. But in that moment, he made complete eye contact with the woman, and in that moment, everything came racing back to him in a sudden rush of memory.
"What makes you think I need a dog to take care of me?"
"Vincent took care of me when my mom died, and nobody would talk to me. They pretended like nothing happened. So I had to talk to Vincent. He's a good listener. You could talk to him about Boone if you want…"
"Alright, but only until you get us rescued, okay?"
It was only a tiny fragment of memory. A brief few sentences, but with that came a name. Shannon. He knew that this woman, however he knew her, was Shannon. He had asked Shannon to take care of Vincent. Somehow, in this strange place, this was possible.
"Shannon…" He said tentatively. It wasn't a question.
"Oh my God…" Shannon gasped. Not in fear, but in sheer wonder, "How did you get here?"
"I don't know…" was the only reply Walt could think to give. It was entirely truthful. He didn't even truly know who this woman was. All he knew was her name.
The woman began to walk towards him, clearly in a state of shock. "Sayid!" she called out. Walt assumed that she was calling for the man he had previously seen her talking to. The one that had gone after Vincent. Somehow, the name fit. It was as if Walt had known that was the man's name all along. "Sayid!"
"Shannon!" Sayid came bounding through the brush, Vincent following at his side as Sayid had the dog's collar in his grip, "What is it? Are you alright?"
Before Sayid could take notice of Walt, Vincent saw the boy and immediately broke away from Sayid's grip to run to him. He leapt onto Walt, nearly knocking the already exhausted boy down.
"Vincent!" Walt said excitedly, a feeling of warmth washing over him as he realized that now at least he wasn't alone in this unfamiliar place. At least now, he would have Vincent.
"Walt?" Sayid voiced, puzzled. The man turned to look at Shannon, as if unable to question how Walt's presence was even possible.
"I just found him out here," Shannon said lamely, not quite sure what else to say about the situation.
"What are you doing here?" Sayid immediately asked, voice serious. After a moment, he added almost hesitantly, "What happened to the raft?"
"What raft?" Walt replied, completely confused at Sayid's question.
"You don't remember the raft?" the look of worried confusion etched on the man's face was beginning to scare Walt.
"No," he responded quickly.
"But you remember Shannon…You remember me…" It almost wasn't a question. It was more of a statement, Walt decided. A very worried statement.
"I only know your names…" Walt admitted, embarrassed.
At this response, Sayid's eyes grew wide. He gazed at Walt for a moment, as if looking him over for some sort of defect, something to explain everything that was going on. He then turned to Shannon, who looked equally disturbed as she gaped at Walt.
"We need to get him to Jack," Sayid said, voice hushed, eyes wide.
A/N:Well, I hope you guys liked it! That was only the Prologue, so for those of you who were just looking for Jate, you'll really like chapter 1. Anyway, feedback would be really great from you guys, so please review! I'll try to get an update up soon.