I've done a few stories before, but this is mainly my first one, and definitely my first Lost fanfic. So I hope everyone likes it, and here are my only requests concerning reviewing: constructive criticism is fine, but please don't be mean. I'm really sensitive (I hate it, but I am), so I'll probably get really worked up if I see a review that's actually mean. Anyway, if you want to know anything else about me, feel free to read my profile. And here we go with the story!

Disclaimer: I don't own Lost. But I wish I owned Charlie. And Driveshaft.

Chapter One: Beginning

The Beach

Charlie Pace scowled at the sand. He wasn't mad at it, of course; that would be pointless. Then again, his anger with the world was probably also pointless, since no one seemed to care.

What he hated was that no one knew him on the island. They knew he was a has-been rocker, but his music meant so much more to him than MTV ratings. They thought he was just a stuck-up junkie, but ever since his first time quitting, he hadn't started again, not once. And he wasn't stuck up. He was one of the most deep, committed, dedicated people on the island. His relationship with Claire, his steadfast guitar practicing, and his meaningful past all proved those things. But he was stereotyped as the junkie of the island, and he felt like that title would haunt him forever.

Things with Claire were, as usual, fluctuating. He missed the old times, what he considered the golden years, when they were such good friends. He had known even then that she, as a single mother, would be hard to win over in trust, but he had persisted, because there had always been something about her. He still tried hard to win her trust, but he knew he had crossed that line long ago. She kept giving him more chances, and she kept listening to what he had to say, which was more than he could say for most girls. Still, she didn't trust him anymore, and there were times she could really hurt him.

Unlike most has-beens, Charlie didn't miss the fame and fortune. And unlike most of the flight 815 survivors, he preferred the island life. Anything, at this point, was better than his old life. His young years were regrettable. He'd had a fair family, with a mother who had big dreams for her young boy, but like most fathers, his had sheltered him. He hadn't lived a full childhood, always feeling like he had been kept in the dark. His teen years had had a few ups, but mostly he was the misunderstood "punk" kid with the hot older brother. He'd never gone to college; he and his brother made their new lives with Driveshaft. The club days had been regrettable, and he hated to think about them. The early record days were fun, but soon after, he had gotten into the drugs. And those were the worst days.

Despite his tiring relationship with Claire and his bad reputation on the island, Charlie liked it. It was a nice break from reality. He didn't need money or even food, and finally, he didn't need a fix. Sometimes he felt like he did, but he knew he didn't.

Charlie was a good person, and he wasn't even an unhappy person, for the most part. In reality, his life was one simple word: "misunderstood."

Sunlots Apartment Complex

A knock sounded on the door, and Ellie groaned to hear it. She was in the middle of playing her guitar, and she didn't want to be disturbed. She was blowing all her waitressing money on the apartment she was renting. And the only reason she was renting the apartment was so that she could practice her guitar without being yelled at by DA's every five minutes. Dormitories on campus at Emory had strict policies against plugging an electric guitar into an amp and playing away. Not that that was what she did. Ellie played each note with detail, because music was the one language she could speak in. Others couldn't understand it, but it was the only language she could get her words out.

"Elle, could you get that?" shouted Allison from the shower. Allison was Ellie's older sister, the opposite of Ellie in every possible way, besides the fact that they had both gone to Emory University. No one understood why Ellie, the don't-give-a-care rebel from Atlanta, would go to any college, let alone a good one. Emory wasn't Ivy League, but it was respected in her city. She could get a handful of jobs from working there.

Then again, that was why Ellie did things. To spite others. Everyone had expected Ellie to give up after high school and start stealing to live, but instead she went to Emory and got a waitressing job. Everyone had expected Ellie to cut her sister off completely even though Allison was funding her Emory education, so Ellie split an apartment's rent with her.

"Okay," Ellie groaned, setting her guitar lightly aside. She hoped it wasn't anyone she knew, because in her opinion, she looked terrible. Her long, thin, straight red hair had been piled on top of her head with a few clips she had found lying around, and she was wearing a baggy NIRVANA T-shirt and sweatpants.

She sighed when she opened the door. It figured. It was her boyfriend, Jake.

Jake raised his eyebrows when he saw her. "You look terrible."

Thanks, she thought sarcastically. She had no idea why she had gone out with him for so long. They had known each other since high school, and pretty much had been a Hands-Off couple since their senior year of it. Now they were almost graduating from four years at Emory, and still together. When anyone asked Ellie why she was with him, she couldn't answer. She supposed it was just, as usual, to spite people.

"What is it?" she asked in a bored voice. She had stopped flirting with him a long time ago. Jake went out with Ellie for her looks, and Ellie went out with Jake for some completely unknown reason she couldn't figure out. He was gorgeous, of course, but she really didn't care.

"I don't know," Jake said with a shrug. "Those weirdos from our medicine class said they had something really important they had to tell us. They want to meet us at Josh's."

Ellie rolled her emerald eyes. Josh's was the place she waitressed at on the weekends. She hated going there, especially for leisure. "Why? Can't we just blow them off?"

There was another of Ellie's weird traits. She was a perfectly nice person, but she could be vicious for absolutely no reason.

"I wanted to, but they said it was something good." He shrugged. "Whatever. I'll go, but I have football practice in two hours. We have to be back by then."

Ellie shrugged. "Works for me. I was in the middle of writing a song."

He rolled his eyes. Jake was what you could call unappreciative of Ellie's work. "Don't even get me started," he muttered. "Let's go."

Ellie knew that Jake found her weird and abnormal. But she took comfort in the fact that she was simply misunderstood.

The Hatch

"Hey, Freckles," said Sawyer in his dripping Southern accent. He bounded up to Kate with a broad smile on his face, dimples going wide.

Kate let a small grin show. "Hey, Sawyer," she replied lightly. "What's up?"

"Doc over here says I should confess to the priest," Sawyer explained, smile not wavering. He obviously found pleasure in making Jack sound as stupid as possible.

Kate sighed. Why was she always attracted to the bad boys? "What'd you do this time?" she asked him with a tsk, tsk clicking of her tongue.

"I didn't do anything!" he said with a shrug. "I mean, I bossed the has-been around a little bit, but really, so what? He's practically a stalker to that poor single mother."

"God." Kate rolled her faded green eyes. She wished Sawyer would stop picking on people and Jack would stop treating Sawyer like a son. Then again, she had virtually no control whatsoever of these things. "Leave Charlie alone. The poor guy has enough stress."

"C'mon, Freckles," Sawyer said, sitting down on one of the hatch's nice seats. "You don't find his incessant nagging on Claire a little strange?"

"So he had a crush." Kate shrugged. "You've never had a crush before?"

Sawyer looked up at her behind his blue eyes in an Isn't-it-obvious? way, and she felt a small rush. But before she could reply, Jack came in, as it seemed was his custom.

"Hey," Jack greeted casually, grabbing a towel from one of the closets. "Anyone care if I take a shower?"

Kate still found it strange that they could take showers on the island, but she figured it wasn't that important, in the scheme of things. Instead she said, "Jack, did you tell Sawyer he should confess to a priest?"

Jack nodded. "If he believes in that kind of thing, yes," he said easily. "Ecko would listen to him, and Charlie's building that church."

"Do you really think," Sawyer snorted, "that I'm some kind of devout Christian? Doc, I hate to break it to you, but if I was, I'd be on my way to Hell about now." He snorted. "I done enough bad things in my life to ensure that."

There it was again. Kate always sensed it in him. Sawyer's voice shone with pride, but beyond that was shame, the thing she always felt about her past.

"Whatever," Jack said with a shrug. "It was just an idea."

Sawyer and Jack continued arguing for a while, until finally Kate demanded, "Are you going to take that shower or not, Jack?"

Jack glared at Sawyer and left to take his shower. Sawyer grinned at Kate.

"I always win," he chuckled.

Kate groaned. "Sawyer…" she started, but she knew it was pointless.

Josh's Pizza Restaurant

"This better be good," Ellie said to the two seniors waiting for them at the table. People all around her and Jake were staring at them, but she hardly noticed. She was used to it. They were both surprisingly beautiful people that were completely different, yet you still couldn't find where one of them ended and the other began, they were holding each other so close. Ellie knew Jake didn't care about her, but she liked to think he held her close because he loved her and wanted her at his side.

Whatever the reason, they attracted many eyes, and even the other seniors weren't quite used to them. Jake was wearing a brown-and-yellow-striped polo with a nice pair of jeans, and his straight brown hair was brushed. He was clean-cut and preppie, the opposite of Ellie. Her long red hair was left tangled but elegantly down to her waist in lifeless but stunning straight strands, and her emerald eyes were surrounded by dark eyeliner that cut off her expressions from the rest of the world. Her thin legs were covered with battered-up jeans, her feet with beat-up skater shoes, and her upper body with another baggy shirt, this one reading DRIVESHAFT in bold letters. They looked completely different, and yet perfect for each other.

"It is," Jenny finally said. Jenny was the girl of the two seniors, a very smart physics major who was going out with boy, Andrew. Andrew smiled, and even though Ellie thought it was cute, she just scowled and sat down.

A waitress rushed over to them. "Hey, Elle!" she greeted excitedly. "I can't believe you came when it wasn't a weekend."

Ellie laughed. "Hey, Jess. I don't know why. They just told me to." Jessica was one of her fellow waitresses at the restaurant.

Jess shrugged and turned to Jake. Ellie didn't blame her—everyone liked Jake. Jess smiled to him and said, "Hey, I'm Jessica."

"Hell-o," Jake said in a flirty voice. Ellie should've cared, but as usual, she didn't. She just rolled her eyes and scanned the menu even though she knew it by heart.

"So what can I get you guys to drink?" Jess asked energetically, obviously boosted from Jake, college football quarterback Jake, saying hi to her.

"Coke," Ellie said in a bored voice.

"Coke," Jake agreed in a voice just as monotonous.

"Same," Jenny and Andrew agreed. Jess smiled and left.

"So what is it?" Ellie asked. "This is stupid. Just tell us."

"Okay," Jenny said, taking a deep breath. "Remember that project we did a few weeks ago on the bird flu? And how that medicine we made had negative results?"

Jake squinted in confusion. "Dude. Negative? I thought that was bad."

Andrew shook his head. "No. The bird started out with a mild college version of the bird flu, and after our medicine, the disease came out negative. We cured it."

"Right," Ellie said, "but that was just one bird." She found it very hard to believe that she had found the cure for a worldwide panic-causing disease.

"We retried it on at least ten others," Jenny explained. "All turned out negative."

"But," Jake said, "you said yourself it was just a mild version of the real bird flu." He, like Ellie, seemed eager to find a way to rebut the truth.

"Yeah, so we sent it to the government or something, and they made the medicine less mild. And it worked." Andrew took a deep breath, just as Jenny had, as their drinks arrived. "You guys, we found a cure for bird flu!"

"Dude," Jess said, almost dropping their Cokes. "Elle? You? You hardly even got into Emory."

Ellie laughed. "I know. But I didn't really do the work."

"Neither did the rest of the class," Andrew told her, "but the entire class is winning some multi-thousand-dollar award and a free plane ride to Fiji. And then a cruise from there."

Ellie couldn't believe it. "But…why?" she demanded. "You two were the only ones who did any work. Sure, Jake and I were there, but we didn't do anything! And there were a few others in our group, but the people in the class weren't even doing the same project as us!"

Jenny shrugged. "The people at the award company said they wanted to encourage hard working at Emory."

Andrew nodded. "They also said that the Ivy League people were thinking about letting Emory in. Grades and standards are high enough, and they just came out with the cure for bird flu."

"Dude!" Jake said excitedly. "Emory's going Ivy League? That's awesome! Professional football programs love that kinda stuff!"

Ellie didn't look so excited. "Won't tuition go up?"

"Not for us," Andrew replied. "We're the graduating class, and they love us, anyway. No, this whole mess is free, cruise and Ivy League and all."

The Beach

"Have you ever been thankful the plane crashed?" asked Charlie quietly.

Claire's head spun around. Charlie knew he probably shouldn't be there, but he missed her, and he missed Aaron. Aaron was like the hope of the island. He was the one young, sweet face that made everyone else keep going.

At first Claire just gave him a dirty look and didn't answer, because she didn't want him there. No matter what her personal feelings were for him, she wanted to take care of Aaron, and if they was any chance Charlie was using, she wanted him away from her son.

But Charlie's bright blue eyes forced themselves into hers, and she felt her lips moving before her brain could stop them.

"Yeah, sometimes," she said in her thick Australian accent. "If not for the crash, I wouldn't be raising Aaron. He'd be in someone else's home."

He decided now wasn't the best time for show-and-tell. He didn't want to tell Claire that if not for the crash, he'd be back in LA or possibly Great Britain, snorting whatever heroin he could find lying around, and trying desperately to find cash.

"I know how you feel," he said instead.

"You mean you'd be on drugs?" she asked stiffly.

Charlie stiffened. They'd had a pretty normal conversation. Why did Claire always have to turn their relationship into a fight? He liked her a lot, and he couldn't even explain why, but it felt like all she was ever trying to do was look for something wrong with him. It was exhausting.

"Yeah," Charlie mumbled. "Probably would."

Claire's eyes looked apologetic, but she didn't say anything else. After giving Aaron a final glance, Charlie left. He didn't have anything else to say.

A Highway in Atlanta

"This is so sweet," Jake said.

Ellie didn't say anything. She was sitting in his Maserati Spyder's passenger seat, letting the wind blow on her and trying to tell herself she didn't give a care in the world. But all she could think about was how she didn't want to go on this stupid cruise. Life had to just take and take from her. It took her parents, and it had taken all her happiness. She figured the cruise was its way of giving back, but she didn't want to give it the pleasure.

"Elle," Jake said loudly. "You hear me?"

She nodded, still not saying anything, her bright green eyes focused on the advertisements zipping by. Why couldn't people just leave the sky the way it was? It was this beautiful mess of clouds, and all these street signs were ruining it.

They reached a stoplight, and he turned to face her. His dark, uncomfortable eyes were scanning her, wondering what was going on. Jake had never understood his girl. "What's wrong?"

Ellie sighed, knowing that her moment to soak up the sun was over, and turned to him. "Nothing," she said with a shrug. "Except this music," she added with distaste, referring to the rap music blasting through Jake's car's expensive speakers.

"No taste," Jake said, shaking his head.

She was in a bad mood, and she hated where her life was at right now, but Ellie wasn't a normal person. So instead of arguing with him and defending the music she loved, she said with a shrug, "That's me." Because she didn't feel like putting up a fight about it. He didn't appreciate the things she loved. He didn't even love her. But because of the person she was, she didn't let it faze her. Instead she let the wind blow back her hair and she tried to enjoy herself, despite the circumstances and the company.

The Hatch

"Jack?" Charlie asked hopefully. "Could I talk to you for a second?"

"Sure," the doctor replied, hastily getting up. "What is it, Charlie?"

"I was wondering if you could talk to Locke for me," Charlie said hopefully. Jack scowled at him, but Charlie ignored it. "It's just that I'm still not sure he believes that I'm clean. I mean, he saw me throw those Virgin Mary statues into the ocean, but he probably thinks I saved some. He's never going to trust me again. But you know I'm not using, right?"

Jack shrugged. "I don't know, Charlie, and it isn't my place to say."

"But the withdrawals!" Charlie reminded Jack. "I never got any, not when Locke took them in the first place. Remember? Not once. So obviously I never started after the first time I quit."

"Or," Jack said, "you did use, and Locke didn't get all of them."

Charlie groaned. He muttered British ravings under his breath, and looked back up at Jack. "Look, Jack, I'm not using. Okay? Honestly. I just wish people would treat me the way they used to. I'm just like anyone else."

Jack shook his head. "I believe you're not using, Charlie, but no one on this island is like anyone else. You're an ex-addict, Kate's an ex-convict, Sawyer's a con-man, I'm an ex-spinal-surgeon, and Claire's a single mom. Do any of those have anything in common?"

Charlie shook his head slowly. "No, but I'm not talking about jobs or situations. I'm talking about our bloody hearts," he said, trying to sound deep but coming off as good old Charlie.

"Charlie, everyone's different," Jack said with a shrug. "Maybe there's someone out there who understands you, but you especially are different. I don't really know how to say this, but Claire isn't used to the bold musician types. Neither is anyone else I've met. Maybe sometime you'll find someone who can understand you perfectly. But on the island you have to deal with people's assumptions."

Sunlots Apartment Complex

Ellie was sick of packing. She'd been packing for hours while listening to all of The Cure's greatest hits, and now she was sick of it. The Cure especially. With her complete and utter lack of romantic life and no one understanding her, they practically sang her feelings right out of her. And in such depressing songs, that wasn't a good thing.

She zipped her suitcase closed and looked around. She had a huge suitcase-full, plus (obviously) her guitar in its case, as well as her purse, messenger bag, and toiletries bag. She didn't have a lot of stuff, but with the plane ride, the cruise near Fiji, and the week-long hotel stay in Fiji after the cruise, she didn't want to leave room to forget.

A knock sounded on her door again, and this time Allison got it. Allison wasn't coming on the trip with her, because Ellie wasn't allowed to bring anyone older than her. The idea of the cruise was to encourage college work, not post-college work.

"Hey, Jake," Allison said coldly. Allison hated Jake. It drove Ellie crazy most of the time, but sometimes she was glad she wasn't alone.

"Hey," Jake greeted without any emotion. He thought Allison was hot, because being a good-bodied, red-haired Sanders girl like Ellie, Allison was good-looking. But Jake couldn't stand people who couldn't stand him. Ellie was just glad he didn't know how she felt about him.

"I can't believe you're leaving America for the first time," Allison said, just like a mother would. Being in her thirties and having raised Ellie her whole life, Allison pretty much was Ellie's mother.

Ellie rolled her eyes. "Thank God," she said, shaking her head. "Bloody Americans." She was purely American herself, but nothing pleasured her more than to use British phrases to make fun of her native country. Ellie was, as Allison also said, a Brit at heart.

So Ellie opened the door to leave.

Claire's Tent

"Charlie's not using," Locke said, walking up to Claire in her tent.

Claire looked up in surprise at Locke. "Why do you say that?" she asked.

Locke shrugged. "I know this isn't proof, but he threw all the statues into the ocean. And besides that, I just overheard a conversation he had with Jack, and he sounds honest. I'm not too fond of him any more, but Claire, I can honestly say he's not using again."

Claire was surprised by this, but it didn't change much. "Listen, Locke," she said in her thick accent. "It's not just that. It's the continuous amount of times he's lied to me."

"That's who Charlie is," Locke said. "My instinct is to hunt as Charlie's is to protect. And to mankind, lying is one of the easiest ways to shield someone from his or her enemies."

"But he can't just lie and get away with it!" Claire said sharply.

"You and Charlie are two very different people who happen to be very attracted to one another," Locke told her. "But in the end, if you keep blowing up at him and he doesn't stop lying to you, it's going to end dangerously."

Claire shook her head. "Then it wasn't meant to be."

Locke shrugged. "It's not my place to agree or disagree with you, Claire. In fact, none of this was my place. But I wanted you to know he's not using."

The Plane

Ellie's medicine class had taken up about thirty seats on the plane, but most of them just looked uncomfortable. They were getting right off the plane and onto the cruise ship, and they didn't look too thrilled.

Ellie didn't really mind the ride. It was a nice view, and Jake was right next to her with his arm around her. Sure, he was checking out about fifty other girls, but that didn't matter. He was there, and that was, as usual, more than she could say for anyone else.

The plane landed smoothly, and they continued down the runway for a few minutes. Jake spent this time talking to Ellie, something that was rare for them.

"This is weird, isn't it?" he asked. "Kind of like the perfect way to start off our graduated lives, but also a really scary way?"

That was what she loved about Jake. He wasn't stupid; he could be intelligent and even deep when he tried. He just didn't apply himself much, and in return, he seemed to be dull.

"Yeah," Ellie replied with a nod. "Really scary. But the cruise should be really cool."

Everyone began unloading their things from the overhead bins, and Jake politely got Ellie's bags for her. She was touched.

"Thanks," she said, really meaning it.

"No problem," he said. A second later, a flight attendant walked up to them.

"Can I get you anything?" she asked.

Jake grinned at her. Ellie knew that grin. It was a flirtatious grin, the same kind he'd used with Ellie before they were together.

She sighed and put her headphones on. Music was the only thing that helped her deal. Without it, she would probably just explode.

The Hatch

"Jack!" Sayid and Hurley said, rushing into the main room of the hatch.

"What?" Jack asked in surprise. Locke was with him, and he looked just as anxious to see what was going on.

"We just picked up something with the transceiver thingy," Hurley explained excitedly. "We couldn't talk into it, but we heard a message."

"What is it?" Jack asked. His heart was racing, even though he doubted it was a real chance to get off the island.

"There's some kind of specialty college cruise going on off the coast of Fiji," Sayid explained, "and they said that, for the sake of their intelligent upperclassmen, they may stop at uncharted territory to try to map out some new islands!"


Did you like it? I hope so. It took me long enough. Anyway, reviews make me happy, but if you don't have time or whatever, don't worry about it. Just review some day to tell me whether or not you liked it. I know some people don't like breaking up the Claire-and-Charlie thing, but I really don't think it was meant to be. And I know the OC's don't fit in that well, but they will, and they'll mesh with the 815 characters well, I swear. Look for an update soon!