One of our own

Characters: Charlie, Locke, Sawyer, Jack, Hurley and Sayid.

Summary: AU story based around 'The Long Con'. After Locke witnesses Charlie's attack on Sun, the camp leaders – Locke, Jack and Sayid – must decide what is to be done with him.

Author's Note: This story is in part a study of Charlie's differing relationships with Locke, Jack and Sayid. As such the story will be told in three parts. The first chapter concerns Charlie's relationship with Locke. I think Charlie and Locke were drawn to each other in their mutual need for a pupil/mentor relationship. I feel the breakdown in trust between them (on both sides of the relationship) was intensified by their past grievances. Charlie was screwed over by an older brother in the past and then latches onto an older man on the island. Locke was screwed over by a young friend and then latches onto a younger man on the island. Then history repeats itself. I think Locke and Charlie are feeling the same sort of betrayal.

Disclaimer: I don't own Lost…hence why Ep.13 of S2 doesn't play out like this.

Chapter 1: John Locke

Locke watched from behind the bushes that ran alongside Sun's garden. Charlie was crouching in the undergrowth at a distance from the Korean woman, who was calmly tending to her plants. Locke had followed him here from the beach. Along the way he had noticed that Charlie was nervously twisting a piece of black cloth in his hands, looking like a man on a mission.

After guessing what Charlie was up to Locke had considered calling out a warning to Sun, but he had found that he was curious to see whether Charlie would actually go through with it or not. Locke had lost much of the affection he had felt towards the young musician in the early days, but he was still fascinated by Charlie. After their confrontation on the beach, Locke had been half-expecting him to retaliate in some way…but he never could have predicted this.

As he watched, Locke remembered the time he had crept up on Sayid and knocked him unconscious. He had no idea of Charlie's motive for targeting Sun, but he was aware of the trickiness of his situation. He had to approach his quarry ever so slowly and ever so quietly. The slightest misstep and Sun would turn and look into the face of her attacker. If Sayid hadn't been so caught up in his excitement over the French transmission, Locke mightn't have been so lucky.

Locke saw Charlie visibly flinch and almost cry out as Vincent came bounding into the garden. He sank down very low in the grass – probably praying the dog wouldn't pick up his scent and give him away. Fortunately for him, Vincent didn't stay long, but hurried away on the path to the beach.

The dog seemed to have shaken Charlie's nerves. For a moment Locke thought he might give up altogether and slip back into the jungle. Then suddenly the rain came. The garden was filled with the sound of water slapping against leaves. Enough noise to cover his footfalls. Taking his chance, Charlie rose to his feet and advanced on Sun. He whipped the black hood over her head. Sun gasped and raised her hands up to her face, which Charlie sloppily tied with a length of ragged cord. Clasping her upper arms he dragged the slender woman through the grass. Then he did the strangest thing. He let her go and darted behind a tree.

Sun was immediately on her feet, shaking the cord from her hands and tearing off her hood. Without looking back, she fled towards the beach.

Charlie emerged from behind the tree, wide-eyed and gasping. He came to a halt on the edge of Sun's garden and stood staring over her trampled plants. Locke decided it was time to show young Mr Pace exactly how to sneak up on someone. He slipped quickly and quietly through the bushes, stepping lightly over the undergrowth. Charlie didn't begin to turn until Locke was in reaching distance. Catching him off-guard, Locke shoved him to the ground. Charlie lay sprawling on his back, staring up at Locke in fear and astonishment.

"You didn't think I'd taken my eye off you, did you Charlie?"

Locke stood over him for a moment, their eyes locked together. Then he stooped to retrieve the cord that had fallen from Sun's hands. He straddled Charlie, seized his wrists and started binding them together.

"Get off me!" Charlie screamed in a panic.

Locke slapped him. Just a slap this time, not a punch. Yet it seemed to serve as a sharp reminder because Charlie ceased to struggle and protest. Locke tied his hands securely and was about to haul him to his feet when he heard someone approaching. Locke looked up to see Sawyer running out of the jungle. The Southerner halted, surveying the scene that lay before him.

Locke frowned. "What are you doing here, James?"

Sawyer took a moment to answer.

"I came looking for whichever of those evil-eyed natives it was that jumped Sun. What are you doing trussing up one of our own?"

Locke stood and planted his foot on his captive's hip to keep him from moving. "Charlie was the one who attacked her."

Sawyer's eyes flicked to Charlie. He snorted. "The hell he did! You sure your old eyes aren't playing tricks on you, Gramps?"

"I've got better eyesight than you, James," Locke reminded him. "I saw it all from the bushes. He snuck up behind her, put a hood over her head, tied her hands and dragged her away through the grass."

Sawyer raised his eyebrows and whistled.

"Damn! I guess that's one up from stealing babies in the night. I can't say I know what's gotten into him lately. Still, you best untie him before Jackie Chan arrives to scatter his limbs around the jungle."

Locke felt Charlie squirming at the mention of Jin. Not only with fear it seemed, but with a sudden rush of remorse. This attack on Sun clearly wasn't something Charlie had spent a long time thinking over.

"I'd say Jin has every right to be angry," said Locke.

"Sure he does!" Sawyer agreed. "I'm just not advocating for bare-fisted murder here. At least give him a chance to run for it."

"I'm not letting Charlie go until I find out why he did this."

Sawyer rolled his eyes, impatiently.

"He didn't do it for any reason!" he insisted. "The boy's gone nuts. He ain't the first and he won't be the last. Did you never consider that pounding him into sand in front of everybody might have tipped him over the edge? Why don't you go easy on him? Take him to the hatch to settle down. Give him a shot of his jolly juice and I'm sure he'll be nice and docile for you."

Locke looked down at Charlie. His captive had stilled like a trapped animal who knows that it cannot escape. He seemed to be waiting for them to decide his fate. His head was turned towards Sawyer. He was frowning at the man. Locke wasn't sure if Charlie was scowling at the remarks made about his sanity or whether he was simply confused that Sawyer of all people was standing here in the rain pleading his case. Locke was rather suspicious himself.

"It's not like you to be so compassionate," he questioned.

Sawyer smiled, disarmingly. "Hell! Maybe I've got a soft spot for the guy. What's that tune he always plays? 'You all Anybodies?' Man, that's catchy. Some days I just can't stop myself from humming it."

"This isn't the time, James," said Locke, cutting through the sarcasm. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't let Jin find him here."

"All righty, how about this. Maybe you'd like to think we're all living in fear of the mental midget here…truth is we ain't losing too much sleep over him. At the end of the day, Charlie's one of the little people in this camp. He ain't armed and he sure can't fight worth a damn. They ain't scared of him. But if the island authorities start sharpening up their spears for him, well…I reckon that'll get them scared. Maybe they'll start thinking that if anyone steps out of line then the higher orders are gonna come crashing down on them too. And they aren't gonna like that one bit. It only takes a few nervous whispers and you and Sgt Jackass could have yourselves a civil uprising on your hands."

Locke sighed. Sawyer was a slippery character, but he spoke sense at times. Locke imagined that he was right in his prediction.

"I'll take him to the hatch," he decided.

Sawyer nodded, seeming pleased with himself.

"Looks I saved your skin, Amigo!" Sawyer bragged to Charlie. "Don't forget this in a hurry, you hear? You owe me one."

"I won't forget…" Charlie muttered.

Locke hauled Charlie to his feet and began marching him through the jungle. He quickly put Sawyer's interference out of his mind. Right now Locke was focusing on keeping his anger restrained. His thoughts were consumed by memories of Eddie; the young man he had taken under his wing and who had ended up betraying his trust. He remembered that day in the forest when he had levelled a shotgun at Eddie's head and come close to pulling the trigger. Once again he was alone in the woods with another young man who had let him down.

Charlie was the first person Locke had bonded with on the island. Personally Locke felt like their connection had started before then…he thought it started the first time listened to his Driveshaft CDs. Music appreciation had been an important escape for him during his wheelchair-bound years. Locke had always considered Driveshaft to be an underrated band and he knew Charlie was their chief songwriter. When Locke had met Charlie he thought it was his destiny to help him with his drug problem, just like Charlie's music had once helped him.

Now Locke was no longer sure he believed in destiny. And as for Charlie…he had thrown his help back in his face. Locke was through with helping him.

To be continued…