Disclaimer:I would love to own Lost. Sadly, I do not.
Teaser: two days after Claire gets back to camp they bury Charlie.
Author's Notes: my first Lost fanfic because I finally decided to sit down and write something for one of my absolute favorite TV shows.
/A Silent Kind of Faith/
"She set a rose to blossom in her hair
The day Faith died—
"Now glad," she said, "And free at last, I go,
And life is wide."
But through long nights she started into the dark
And knew she lied."
-"The Dead Faith", Fannie Heaslip Lea
One day after Claire gets back to camp, Desmond brings Charlie back.
With a certain macabre calmness, she admits that she might have known. Deep down, in a place she ignores, she might have known that when Charlie said goodbye, he meant it forever.
Desmond tries to apologize, and tries to explain things. Claire could give him some measure of peace, some forgiveness, by listening, by touching his arm and letting him in on her private grief. Claire could do this.
She doesn't. She turns and walks away.
Two days after Claire gets back to camp they bury Charlie.
Softly, in the earlier hours of predawn, Jack asks if she wants to say something, like Sayid did. Like Shannon almost did. Like Hurley did. Like so many before her have done.
Claire says no, she doesn't, and doesn't tell Jack she can barely convince herself to go. She wants to ask them not to bury Charlie because they'll be going home soon and she wants Charlie to be buried somewhere that isn't here. Somewhere that isn't the island that took his life.
But instead, she wraps Aaron up—Aaron, who's been crying ever since they've gotten back, who knew before Claire and whose face is scrunched up and red with rage and grief—and watches Sawyer and Jack dig the whole that will hold Charlie for the rest of eternity.
Right beside Shannon and Boone. And not far away from Ana Lucia and Libby. And Claire realizes that she misses each and every one of them and it doesn't matter if she barely knew them. She misses them all because there are so few people on the island.
And each one is like a stone in her heart and she grips Aaron hard as if to ward off the pain.
When Desmond gets up, gripping between his fingers a ball of paper, Claire doesn't listen.
Kate touches her shoulder and Claire says nothing. In some private chamber of heart she cries out, and she hates and misses and hates, but when she turns her head into Kate's shoulder she says nothing.
She is silent as stone.
Three days after Claire gets back to camp, one day after they bury Charlie, she finds the ring in Aaron's crib. The heavy, metallic band had gotten lost under Aaron's makeshift blankets and only by the glint of the sun does she happen to notice it.
She picks it up, touching the metal, and feels reassured. Because she knows it's a piece of Charlie. It's a weight that's warm and once was worn by a man who was willing to die for her.
When she puts it on her finger it's too big for her and she has to close her hand into a fist to keep it from sliding into the sand. She runs the tips of her fingers over the sturdy DS and presses her lips to it every night after, a sort of sorrowful goodnight to someone who can't appreciate the gesture. Not anymore.
When Sawyer notices her constantly clenching her fist to keep Charlie's ring on her finger, he finds a necklace chain that used to have a cross on it. He presents it to Claire with his normal sourly warmth and awkwardly gives her a shoulder pat, like an older brother.
Claire accepts the chain and slides the ring on. Sawyer stalks off, muttering because he hates being the good guy, and Claire hooks the necklace around her neck, the ring sliding under her shirt. And she smiles at Sawyer.
It's the thought that counts, anyway.
Five days after Claire gets back to camp, three days after they bury Charlie, Claire notices that Desmond is trying to read a wrinkled, crumpled sheet of paper.
He can't, of course, and the frustration is obvious in his eyes.
Water has washed the words away.
Eight days after Claire gets back to camp, six days after they bury Charlie, the helicopters arrive.
Jack organizes everyone into small groups to be taken off the island. Surprisingly, there are no arguments over who gets to get off first, over who gets the first seat. Maybe they're all not quite ready to leave, or ready to believe that it's really over.
Sayid goes to visit Shannon's grave one last time. And Hurley goes with him. Jack says something to Kate, and her face tightens, and they both go into the jungle to deal with one thing or another—that Other they brought back with them, probably. Sawyer frowns at them both, and Juliet stuffs her hands into her pockets.
Locke looks old for the first time.
The unanimous decision is that Claire and Aaron will go first with Sun and Jin. Desmond goes to Charlie's grave and Claire doesn't go with him.
But she notices he doesn't come back with that crumpled paper.
She gets on the helicopter with Aaron, Jin trying his best to help her up and in without touching her too much.
The wind from the helicopter blows hair into her face as she turns and looks one last time back at the island.
In the distance, Claire is almost sure that she hears a deep, rumbling moan. She is sure because Locke turns around suddenly, staring at the trees like he is trying to press them all into a little ball that he can take with him.
Claire thinks it sounds like someone crying.
Two days after Claire gets off the island, she hears an older song from Charlie's band playing.
Kate frowns at the TV and says that, apparently, they've been replying all of Drive Shaft's songs ever since their plane went down.
That's when Claire remembers Charlie had a brother.
Five days after Claire gets off the island, she tracks down Charlie's brother.
She's been putting it off and she knows that. A part of her doesn't want to find him because it'll be like admitting Charlie is really gone and she doesn't want to admit it. She wants to cling to the idea that maybe it's all a bad dream.
Kate would have gone with her, she knows. Sun, too. Hurley. Sawyer. Jack. All of them. But she says nothing to any of them and sneaks out of the hotel they are all bordered up in wearing Charlie's hoodie—Kate gave it to her once they got off the island—and carrying Aaron like an annoyed mother.
Once she's bought her bus ticket, Claire calls Kate to let her know that she's safe. There's just something that she needs to do alone.
In the early afternoon Claire knocks on Liam Pace's door clutching a baby and a ring.
"I'm—I'm Claire Littleton. I knew your brother."
"You know Charlie?"
"Yes. He and I… well, we were—friends—we were friends. He helped me look after Aaron. Oh, Aaron's my baby. I had him on the island and I wouldn't have been able to do it if Charlie wasn't there. I—I just wanted to tell you that."
"Oh. Thank you."
"That's not the only reason, I mean! I mean—Charlie… Charlie gave me this ring. Wait, let me just—see? He never took it off, no matter what, and just… just before he died he gave it to me. Well, he left it in Aaron's crib, but I've been looking after it. But it's been in your family for a long time, right? I thought maybe—"
"—maybe you'd want it back? Charlie said something about how you passed it down—"
"Oh, sorry. Yes?"
"The ring. It's yours, Claire. Charlie gave it to you. Or to—Aaron, right? It's yours and Aaron's. That's what Charlie wanted."
"But Charlie said—"
"That we pass it down to our first born."
Claire puts Aaron to bed that night, shuts off her lights, clutches Charlie's ring, and sobs.
A month after Claire gets off the island, everyone starts to leave.
Sawyer disappears suddenly and Kate won't say why. Juliet's sister comes to Sydney and they leave everything behind. Jack and Kate argue, bitterly, and then Kate goes to America with some strange man from the Hanso Foundation.
Jack checks up on Aaron, and gives Claire his phone number just in case. Then he buys a boat ticket home and goes to bury his father. Sun and Jin go with him and Claire notices that they are very subtly changing their names, and she can't imagine why.
Penelope Windmore and Desmond Hume have a messy, messy reunion. And Desmond holds her like a dying man and cries and Penelope grasps him like a lifeline and sobs. And the media goes wild with a love story that spanned four years of separation.
In the shadows, Locke buys a plane ticket back to Los Angeles.
Claire stays in Sydney because it's all she's ever known.
Two years after Claire gets off the island, she stops calling Jack every time Aaron has the sniffles.
It's for the best, too, she decides because she heard it from Sun who heard it from Kate that Jack isn't in the best place at the moment. She hasn't seen Jack in two years, but she figures that Kate would know.
Claire has never heard from Locke.
One the television Claire hears the news report about the marriage of Penelope Windmore to her estranged lover Desmond Hume, an 'island survivor'. Claire sees a picture of Penelope decked out in her yards and yards of lace, and Desmond looking handsome and clean-cut, and rubs an aching part of her breast.
Desmond still looks haunted, even as he smiles and grips Penelope's hand. Claire wonders if he's still having flashes.
Sayid sent letters in the beginning, but stopped a year into it. He wouldn't be hard to find, Claire knows, but she doesn't look for him. Maybe that's for the best.
Once, she got a letter from Sawyer. Only once, and only three weeks after he disappeared. It hardly said anything; it just said not to worry. And, Claire thinks now, it was more a letter to Kate than anything else.
Thank God there wasn't a return address, because Claire didn't have the heart to tell him that Kate didn't.
Four years after Claire gets off the island, she forgets Kate's phone number. Not that it matters, since they haven't spoken in a year. But it's the separation that hurts the most, she supposes.
Sun and Jin move again, and this time Sun doesn't send her a new address. Jack isn't anywhere to be found, and no one knows what happened to Locke.
For the second time in her life, Claire feels like she's trapped on an island, completely isolated from her friends.
But whenever she feels particularly lonely, she clutches the ring on a chain under her shirt, and feels inexplicitly better.
Seven years after Claire gets off the island, Aaron asks about his father.
Claire settles down beside him at the kitchen table and tells him his father was a rock star.
notes: Just because I could. And I have no idea why I chose it to be Claire-centric, since I like Kate more. She's probably just the only one who would end up being stable after the Island. Eh.