Disclaimer: LOST is not mine.


Ben liked the dark. He found it comforting, like a warm embrace, and took at least one night a week to just sit outside or walk through the park. Sometimes Alex or Juliet would join him, especially if he was just sitting on the porch. But tonight he was alone, staring thoughtfully into the dark, lit windows on the edge of his vision and consciousness.

On this particular night, a short, violent thunderstorm had just swept through, leaving the air feeling clean and cool. He'd listened to the rain drum on the roof and watched it pour off, overflowing out of the gutters and smacking into the lawn. After the rain, the clouds cleared off patchily, pricked through with starlight. A light breeze rustled through the village and Ben breathed in deeply.

Quietly, the door creaked open behind him. "Hey," a voice said.

He glanced up, over his shoulder, at Juliet. She was silhouetted in the doorway, soft light behind her, and he smiled.

"Mind if I join you?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning against the door frame.

"Not at all," he replied, gesturing at the empty chair next to him.

She sat, brushing a stray piece of hair out of her face as she did so. "Nice night."

Ben nodded. "I thought so."

For a few minutes, they both remained silent, listening to crickets and frogs chirp. When Ben felt Juliet's eyes on him, he looked at her, eyebrows raised. She smiled a little and said, "I realized what day it was while you were out here."

"I assume you don't mean what day of the week? That's not much of a realization," he said, smirking.

Juliet shook her head, rolling her eyes playfully. "It's our anniversary."

Ben shot her a surprised look. "Our anniversary?"

"Yes, you know, it's a day that commemorates an event --"

"Thank you, I know what an anniversary is," he interrupted dryly. "I just didn't know you were keeping track."

"Well," she replied a bit sheepishly, "to be honest, I wasn't. Not really. I just happened to look at the calendar and I remembered." With a shrug, she added, "Thought you might be interested."

He glanced away from her, across the village, before answering, "Sorry, but I didn't get you anything."

"Me either."

Ben laughed a little and looked Juliet. The breeze caught her hair and made it flutter lightly against her cheek. It looked nice when she wore it down like that, but she didn't very often. And he'd never told her that he liked it. Actually, now that he thought about it, he rarely told her what he was thinking about her. Which, considering how much time he spent thinking about her, was pretty ridiculous. He knew he was lucky that she wanted to be with him. She was beautiful and intelligent and younger, and he wasn't the only one interested in her. Yet here she was, sitting next to him on the porch of the house they shared, giving him that lopsided smile that he couldn't help but always return. Sometimes he thought about what it had been like on the island before she'd arrived, when it had just been him and Alex. Things had been good then, but he didn't see how he could return to it. Juliet was just too much entwined with his life now. He could think of a lot of bad metaphors to describe it -- her name even lent itself easily to them.

He probably should have remembered that it was their anniversary. Even if she didn't care, he still should have.

Taking her hand, he began, "Hey, Julie?"

With one eyebrow quirked, she asked, "Yes?"

Ben just watched her for a moment, taking in the line of her jaw, the curve of her lips, her arched eyebrows, her blue eyes -- and thought, one more time, about how lucky he was.

The wind blew her hair into her face again and he brushed it out of her eyes. "I love you. A lot."

Her smile grew almost imperceptibly bigger before she leaned over and kissed him softly. "And you said you didn't get me anything," she murmured against his lips, and kissed him again.