Title: Safety Net

Rating: FRT (Fan Rated suitable for Teens)

Spoilers: Whole series is fair game, but especially the finale, "Skin and Bone".

Warnings: Nothing more than what was in the show, so if you can watch that, you can read this. :)

Disclaimer: Not mine. If it was, the show would still be on.

Notes: My first Inside fic. Think of it as a fandom skinny dip before I dive into my 10hurtcomfort claim. ;)

The line in italics comes from the script I read for "Skin and Bone". (Amazing what you can find on the internet. :P) And it doesn't belong to me, either.

Safety Net

© 2007, By: Ash Carroll (a.k.a. ShadowDiva)

She hobbles out the door and down the front steps - squinting against the bright sunlight - and pulls up short when she sees them.

"Oh, hey."

Web's gaze unsettles her, reminds her too much of him. Sometimes he looks at her like a proud father. But other times - most times - he looks at her like a man. And she feels ten years old again - dirty and ashamed, because she knows he likes what he sees. And he's not sorry.

Paul and Mel are mirrors of shock and surprise and she glances away. She doesn't like the reflection she finds there; it reminds her of the looks on her parents' faces when she showed up on their doorstep after eighteen months with him. And she can't go there again. Not today.

Danny's face is a mask of concern and for a moment she has to make sure he's really looking at her. She's only seen him this way one other time. It's wrapped in a haze of Myocet and bloody water, but she remembers him looking down at her with worry in his eyes.

He reaches her first, and she registers the sirens wailing in the distance and the fact that he's talking to her, but can't seem to understand what he's saying. She doesn't have much time to try, either, because the world spins and tilts to the left and she goes with it.

She waits for the inevitable moment when she hits the ground, but it doesn't come and it takes a few seconds to realize that it isn't going to.

He caught her.

"Easy, Locke," he says, and she isn't sure how to react - she's always had to catch herself.

Her first thought is what if he drops her, but he doesn't. Just picks her up like she weighs nothing, and she doesn't know how that's possible with all the baggage she has.

She realizes it doesn't matter. The important thing is that he can handle the weight.

The ambulance has arrived - the sirens are blaring in her ears, red and blue flashing behind her eyes - and her head is fuzzy. She leans it against his shoulder and wonders how much blood she's lost. Is still losing. It's flowing down her ankle in a warm trickle, which is good, she thinks, because the rest of her feels cold.

She shivers and Danny holds her a little closer. He's warm, in spite of how cold he's always been to her, and he smells like soap. It makes her feel strange, and it takes her a minute to figure out what the feeling is. Then she remembers.

It's clean.

She hasn't felt clean in so long - fourteen years - that she's forgotten what it's like. It's heaven, and it's almost enough to make her believe there's a God. She already knows there's a Satan; she spent eighteen months in hell.

"Come on, Locke. Rebecca." Her eyes flutter open - he never calls her Rebecca; always Locke, or Blondie - and meet his. They're unguarded, and she can see fear and worry swirling in their depths like a brewing storm. "Stay with me."

She tries to answer, but her mouth feels like it's made of cotton and she can't form the words.

He lays her down on a stretcher and the EMTs get to work - poking, prodding, taking vitals. He tries to move out of the way, but she catches his arm and can't make herself let go. This isn't heaven anymore. She's sliding back into hell, and she doesn't have the strength to claw herself out again.

"They need room to work, but I won't be far," he says, prying her fingers off his arm and squeezing her hand. "You're safe, okay? We got your back."

He looks her in the eyes, guard down, as he moves out of the way so the paramedics can do their jobs.

You're safe. We got your back.

She's heard it enough times. But this time, she remembers warmth and a feeling of clean, and senses him nearby even though she can't see him.

And she believes it.