Author's note: This is more creepy than angsty. I'm generally liking the third season of Lost so far, but I think Des should be a bit more unhinged than they've made him. Hence this fic. It's is set roughly three days after the hatch imploded, before the events of "The Cost of Living". (I'm not sure if there have been three nights since the hatch imploded; I'm just estimating.)



Nights

Desmond watched the sun go down over the ocean with a feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach. Nighttime again. He wasn't used to it, the cycle of day and night, the natural periods of light and dark. He had been on an artificial schedule in the hatch for so long that his body no longer remembered when it was supposed to sleep.

He had tried, that first night after the hatch had been destroyed. He'd hunted down a light pair of pants and had curled up in the corner of an abandoned tent as far away from everyone as possible, using Hurley's tie-dyed shirt as a pillow. Sleep had come eventually, and he relished it, the ability to tune the world out without having to worry about getting up until morning.

The tranquility was short-lived. Not long after he had drifted into the bliss that was deep sleep, he'd heard a beep. It was the hatch alarm. He tried to ignore the sound, but it came again, and again, and again, each time louder and faster. The longer he tried to stay asleep, the more insistent the alarm got, until it blared in his ears, making him jerk awake, his breath coming in gasps.

It was several minutes before he remembered that he was on the beach and that there was no button to push any more. There was no button, no alarm, and no hatch.

Secure in this knowledge, he tried to go back to sleep. Again the alarm sounded in his dreams, waking him. This happened over and over, all night long. Desmond had no way to time it, but he would have bet anything that each interval between the nightmarish sound was exactly one hundred and eight minutes. Sometime before dawn, he finally gave up on sleep and took a walk on the beach instead.

The next night, he tried again in the hopes that his brain would realize he no longer needed to wake up to push the button. It took longer to fall asleep, but this time he stayed asleep. This time, he dreamed.

He was on the beach, sitting on the couch from the hatch, looking out at the ocean. Instead of the more normal clothing he had been wearing for the past day, he was back in the bland, gray Dharma suit. None of this seemed unusual, and so it didn't occur to him to be upset when Kelvin walked out of the jungle, grinning.

"Hey Des, you finally stopped shaving!" was the first thing he said. He laughed as if it was some great joke and joined Desmond on the couch, draping an arm across the back and tapping one foot on the sand.

Desmond said nothing.

"Aw, what, are you not talking to me any more?" Kelvin asked, still chuckling. "So I lied about your damn boat; so what? I fixed her for you, didn't I?"

"And a lot of good that did me," Desmond responded finally. "Lies or no lies, I'm still on this bloody island."

"One little setback and you're calling it quits? I expected more from you, Des."

"Why the hell should I care what you think?" Desmond demanded.

Kelvin shrugged. "I don't care if you care. I'm just saying."

Again, Desmond made no reply. The waves breaking on the sand filled the silence with their rhythmic roar. Desmond stared vaguely up the beach, squinting in the sunlight.

"I keep seeing things," he said eventually. He didn't know why he was telling Kelvin, other than the fact that Kelvin had been the only one he had to talk to for so long. "Things that haven't happened yet. People saying things, doing things…people"—his voice caught in his throat—"people dying." He looked down at his hands and sighed. "I think I'm losing my mind."

"Well, that's the price you pay," Kelvin replied indifferently. Desmond looked at him in surprise and had to bite his lip to keep from screaming. Kelvin was still sitting on the couch, grinning, but there was blood running down the left side of his head.

Kelvin was dead. Dear God, Kelvin was dead. Desmond's thoughts rang with the realization…he's dead, he's dead and YOU KILLED HIM…

"What are you talking about?" he managed to choke out.

"It's the price you pay for blowing the dam," Kelvin explained, still sounding unperturbed despite the blood that was now soaking into the collar of his Dharma suit.

His statement was punctuated by a beeping noise coming from somewhere in the jungle. Desmond's heart skipped a beat and he looked over his shoulder into the trees. The beep sounded again, the unmistakable hatch alarm, and when Desmond frantically turned back to Kelvin, the other man's face seemed to fill his whole world.

"You wanted to know what would happen, didn't you, Des?" he said, and laughed.

Desmond bolted awake, damp with sweat. His heart raced in his chest, and it took him a very long time to shut out the accompanying racing of his thoughts. He's dead, he's dead, Kelvin's dead, you killed him, Desmond Hume killed Kelvin Inman…

And now, as he stood on the beach watching the sunset, he wondered if it was even worth it to try to sleep. During the day, he acted nonchalant and pretended that the transition from hatch to beach was easy, but nighttime revealed the truth. He wasn't free. The only thing that the destruction of the hatch had done for him was internalize his personal hell.

The sun disappeared behind the horizon. Night descended. And somewhere, deep in Desmond's subconscious, the alarm started to beep.