The Survival of Aaron Littleton
Author: Girl Who Writes
Spoilers: A few minor Season 2. Nothing extreme.
Characters: Aaron, peripheral major characters.
Summary: Aaron Littleton dreams of running on the sand, and of a yellow dog.
Author's Notes: A bit odd, I haven't seen anything like this before but I admit I haven't written anything like this before. I hope you like it :nervous: Written for the cultships challenge community at livejournal.
Aaron Littleton dreams of running on the sand, and of a yellow dog. Of a monster hiding in the jungle. Of waterlogged books and a broken guitar.
Aaron Littleton dreams of this almost every night.
He was four when he and his mother, and a bunch of other survivors got rescued from the Island in his dreams. The very first photograph ever taken of him was of his mother carrying him through Sydney Airport, his arms wrapped around her neck, and her arms clutching him tightly. He remembers that his mother cut it out and framed it in a chipped blue when they moved into the dingy apartment overlooking a main road. A smeary black and white newspaper clipping was the first ever picture taken of him.
He still lives with his Mum and his sister after all these years – twenty two next birthday, and he still lives in the flat above the fish and chip shop. His friends – the few he has – think he's soft, not getting a place of his own; the garage pays him a good wage working on the fancy cars. But he owes it to his mother to take care of her, after all.
He was just a kid when they got back from the Island. A regular cherub, who had been raised by a single mother with the assistance of a dozen strangers; raised on water logged literature instead of television (read to him by a man named Sawyer, who's dead six years by now), and fruit instead of candy, he could write his name in the sand and sing songs in Korean (they left Sun behind to look after Boone and Shannon, Mum said).
He can't even remember how that song goes anymore.
He remembers the interviewers, the cameras, the stories on the television about the Little Boy Who Survived, even though he was Kidnapped And Stranded on an Island.
He's got those articles stored under his bed, in a grungy old shoebox. Mum tried her best to keep him safe, but he thinks of the media as maggots on rancid meat; they suck all the good out of something and leave behind a husk. His stepfather Charlie was like that; a washed up musician who used all their money from Oceanic on heroin and then went and had a heart attack before his daughter – Aaron's kid sister, Amy – was five.
Mum still blames the media, and not Charlie.
Aaron still sees his face on the odd magazine – Where Are They Now? articles next to pieces about dieting and astronomy. The stick a grainy photo of him and his Mum next to a paparazzi photo of him now, drinking coffee or walking in the street. And they turn his life – sand and cement, hope and resignation – into tawdry tales for the masses.
They question his intelligence, his talents, his sanity for not taking advantage of being born on an island to a terrified girl, and being some third-rate singer like his stepfather. Being a mechanic isn't good enough for Aaron, so say his public. He should've – nay, could've – down more with his life if he Hadn't Been Born On That Island; his girlfriend would be prettier (even though she's plenty pretty as she is), his job would be better (he likes his job just fine) and … he forgets the complaints the magazines make. There are so many.
His mother tells him and Amy to ignore what people say, and switches off the television whenever a story about them comes back on – there's some investigation about the island going on, even eighteen years later. Instead, his mum writes long emails in the internet café to the remaining survivors.
"Don't listen to the news, Aaron, its all rubbish. Just make sure you're happy."
But he was four when he became public domain, and he needed guidance. A four dollar magazine seemed to have sorted out his life, and he let them judge him for far too long. Now he's stepped back, and seen the mess.
He's never spoken to the media himself, not knowing how to explain that there was nothing strange about the island to him - cement still throws his equilibrium; television grates on his nerves; he may fix them but doesn't drive a car or even have a license, and he can't go to the beach because Sydney beaches are such a mockery of the Island beach, with the yellow sand and the sky blue water.
Aaron wants to tell someone that the island was the best thing; he learnt confidence from Sawyer, he learnt nature from Sun, he fished with Jin and he sung along with Hurley. It was Eden. He was just a baby. Aaron the baby lived the island. Aaron the boy lived The Real World. Aaron the man is living the media, following him and hounding him about every move he makes, because aged survivors aren't as attractive on film as he is, now. And he'll drink his coffee and fix people's cars and go out with his girlfriend, and pretend everything is just background noise.
Aaron Littleton is thinking of having business cards made up. They won't say Aaron Littleton, Mechanic, because that isn't who he is; it's what he does.
They'll say Aaron Littleton, Survivor.
Because that's what he knows, above all else. Survival.