Pairing: none, maybe mild Charlie/Claire
Summary: Aaron is just a regular teenager, but his mother can't seem to let go of the past.
Notes: A future fic, told from Aaron's POV. My mind likes to think the future holds strange things for our favourite castaways. Un-betaed, of course.
Aaron's mom always said that in a just world, Kate and Sawyer wouldn't have gone to jail for being criminals and murderers. In a just world, Jin wouldn't have been hunted down by Korean goons and Sun wouldn't have hanged herself in anguish. Locke wouldn't have been denied that cutting edge experimental surgery to correct paraplegia on the basis of his unstable psychological profile, and Father Eko most certainly wouldn't have been thrown out of the priesthood and exiled by his people to the deserts of Nigeria for his crimes against innocent people. In a just world, she said, none of that would have happened.
Aaron thought his mother had a rather warped sense of justice.
"They weren't perfect. God knows none of us were..." She would say, holding him much too tightly (he was fifteen and far too old to be coddled) and her eyes filled with that familiar faraway look. "Why couldn't the world leave them in peace?"
There were no easy answers to her questions. Some of the most important years of Aaron's life had been spent on The Island. That's how his mom always referred to it, with a mix of fear and wistfulness, and you could hear how she capitalized the title... as if The Island were royalty and expected nothing less than your utmost respect.
She and the other survivors had been his family, protecting him, keeping him secure and safe from the horrible Others that had plagued them for seven long years. Rescue had come in the shape of an off-course fishing trawler, and things had never been the same since. The survivors, his family, wanted nothing more to live out the rest of their days as normally as possible, and were now scattered across the globe. Rarely did they make contact with each other. Aaron often wondered why they tried so hard to isolate themselves. Surely, strength in numbers would have eased their collective pain. Even he still had days where the images would come unbidden: Ana wordlessly cutting up passion fruit and guava for him, Dr. Jack looking serious as he tested Aaron's reflexes, Uncle Charlie looking forlornly in his direction, but rarely speaking to him or his mom, no matter how many times she apologized. That last one hurt the most. He had been angry with Charlie many years, for causing his mom so much pain and denying her the love and acceptance they had both craved. But it was hard to stay angry with someone when you couldn't really remember his face or his voice.
Aaron was a teenager now, and a very normal one at that. Despite having been on The Island for seven years like the rest of them, youth gave him the advantage of forgetfulness. The solitude and uncertainty of the past was gone. He was like every other boy his age, his life consumed by the mysteries of the opposite sex, cutting edge video games, and the latest in rock music... even if the tabloids said otherwise. ('FORMER ISLAND BABY LIVING NAKED IN COLORADO WOODS!' one tabloid exclaimed.)
But as easily as Aaron could forget, his mother could not. Ironically, they had decided to settle in Los Angeles; she cited that she couldn't go back to Sydney where her old life had been, that she needed a fresh start. Fresh start or not, The Island still had a magnetic pull on her. It haunted her thoughts, as he imagined it haunted every other survivor's thoughts. Except for him, of course. He would come home from school and find her sitting at the kitchen table, still in her work clothes, staring out the window with a lukewarm cup of coffee. And then she would smile as he walked in, call him to her side and hold him close.
"Remember how quiet it was on The Island? No getting stuck in rush hour traffic or answering phones all day?" She would say, smoothing down his rumpled hair. Not even a question about school. She rarely asked Aaron about homework; he was, as his mother put it, 'bewilderingly brilliant'.
"Remember when you were four, and kept running in and out of the water, shrieking for Walt to join you?" She pulled back and looked up at him. "Why don't you go check the mail? Maybe Walt wrote back."
Aaron doubted it. Everyone had assumed Aaron and Walt would bond, both being Island Youngsters, but it had never happened. Whereas Aaron had been silly and fanciful as a child, Walt had been serious as stone. He hadn't always been like that, Mike used to say, so sadly Aaron remembered his young self would tear up at the expression on the man's face. It seemed like Walt had suffered the most out of all of them. Unsurprising, when Aaron had finally heard about the trauma Walt had gone through, the things the Others had done to him, it struck him as worse than any trauma the adults had experienced. (That lady Shannon included, he thought. Living through terror was worse than the sweet kiss of death.) Losing Vincent to old age the very day before rescue arrived hadn't helped either.
"Fine, I'll check the mail." Aaron replied anyway. It was in his best interest to be agreeable right now. Later that night he would be sneaking out with a couple of friends to the beaches, where there was going to be a massive party, organized by several seniors on the basketball team. Maybe that chick with the cute smile and the wavy red hair would be there. And if not, he could always find solace in the waves, waves that had comforted him even as a baby, cradled in the arms of his castaway mother.