He is Risen
Synopsis: Three part fic. A month after Charlie's death, Desmond and Locke revisit the Looking Glass station and make a chilling discovery.
Characters: Desmond and Locke.
Authors Notes: This is another story that I've had in the works for a while now. It began as a theory that I came up with to explain Desmond's visions and Charlie's sacrifice together with some other island mysteries. It is a concept I'm rather proud of. I would love for this to happen on the show, though I accept that it almost certainly won't (though maybe it should…we crushed fans need some hope).
Desmond surfaced in the moon pool and tore the snorkel from his face. His head was whirling, his temples throbbed and his vision was a blur. This is what happens when you combine diving with heavy drinking, he told himself. He paddled over to the steel ladder and clambered out of the ocean.
Locke was already on his feet, stripping away his diving gear and surveying the Looking Glass with a curious gleam in his eyes. Desmond looked past him to the blankets that covered the remains of the two women who had been murdered in this station. Locke didn't seem disturbed by the bloodstained floors or the sickly scent of decay that hung in the air. He didn't even shudder at the sight of the bolted door and the flooded room at the end of the chamber.
"Why did you bring me here, brother?" Desmond moaned, squeezing his eyes closed and fighting down a wave of nausea.
"I've explained that to you, Desmond," Locke reminded him. "I brought you here because it is time for you to let go."
Desmond grimaced. An hour ago he had been slumped on the beach, gulping down the wine that he had stolen from Rose and Bernard's tent. Locke had wandered over and asked whether he could share his drink. Desmond had refused, saying that he was polishing off the bottle himself and raising a toast to his good friend who had passed away. His friend who had died saving his life. Locke had mentioned something about how it was over a month now since Charlie had drowned and the time had come for Desmond to make his peace. The next thing he knew Locke was hauling him to his feet and dragging him over to the outrigger.
"I'm not gonna find any peace here…" Desmond muttered, scowling at the tall man standing over him. "You're just gonna make my nightmares worse. You don't know what happened down here, boxman. You've no bloody idea what we went through! You don't understand how this feels!!"
Locke folded his arms and sighed wearily.
"Don't you remember what I told you in the hatch?" he asked, patiently. "Don't you remember what I said to you about Boone?"
Desmond frowned, struggling to recall their conversation.
"He was the kid who died because I was following a vision," Locke explained. "I keep telling myself that Boone was a sacrifice the island demanded. I tell myself that it was supposed to happen and I was just a servant of fate. But not a day goes by that I don't question the part that I played in his death. He was my friend. He trusted me. He was young and brave. He was a good kid who didn't deserve to die. But that is what happened, Desmond. I failed to save him."
Locke hissed through his teeth, his body tensed with an enduring frustration. He came to sit beside Desmond on the edge of the pool.
"Don't tell me I don't understand how you feel…" he said, tightly.
Desmond swallowed, regretfully.
"I'm sorry, brother…I remember what you said. How could I forget? That was the night you banged on the hatch door, right? You might have failed to save your friend, but you wound up saving my life..."
"And then you saved mine," said Locke, smiling philosophically. "And you saved Charlie for as long as you could. It turns out that you were right to save him. Charlie died in the act of saving your life. When you think about it, Desmond, it all connects. This was all supposed to happen…"
Desmond clenched his teeth, shaking his head.
"Charlie wanted to sacrifice himself for Claire and Aaron, not for me! That was the vision. The helicopters were supposed to fly them away to safety. But they haven't come, boxman! They haven't come!"
Desmond held his cringing face between his palms, kneading his hair with trembling fingers. Since Charlie's drowning the flashes had stopped, but his final vision hadn't come to pass. There had been no rescue. Not for Claire and her baby. Not for the rest of Charlie's friends. Nothing but a ship of armed strangers whose only interest was in the island, not the people stranded on it.
This was why Desmond couldn't come to terms with Charlie's death. He felt like he had broken faith with his friend. When he had burdened Charlie with the mission that would take his life, he had offered him this one consolation, this one solemn promise that his sacrifice would ensure the safety of his loved ones. Why else would Charlie have submitted to such a terrible fate?
He glanced towards the locked door of the coms room. The shadowy sea was rippling against the window, sparkling as it caught the light from the main chamber. Desmond felt like Charlie's spirit was still trapped behind that door, suspended in its prison of water and metal. His soul would forever be drowning and suffering until it knew that Claire and Aaron were in a safe place.
"Charlie didn't want to die for nothing," Desmond said flatly. "Those people back at the beach…they don't understand what he went through for their sakes. They think it was an accident. 'Poor little Charlie' they'll say, 'He was always getting himself into scrapes'. They don't know what he did.Not even Claire or Hurley get it. They were the ones who cared for him the most, but they never saw the man he truly was. Charlie was a hero and I'm the only one who saw it…"
Locke raised his eyebrows, intrigued by this claim.
"Oh so you think you're the only person that knew who Charlie was?" Locke shook his head, incredulously. "Tell me, Desmond, did you know that when we first crashed here Charlie was a heroin addict?"
Desmond opened his mouth and then closed it again.
"I didn't know…" he conceded. Sometimes he forgot that he had only known Charlie for a month and during that time they had seldom talked about their past lives. "What difference does it make? He was a good man!"
Locke shrugged. "Maybe he was in the end. But when Charlie came to this island he was just a mixed up kid, very insecure about himself. He had made some bad choices and lost his way. He didn't take drugs for pleasure. He took them to fill a hole inside himself. I was the one that convinced him to quit. Giving up his stash was Charlie's first offering to the island. In return the island gave him a sense of hope and salvation. It gave him a family to love and care for..."
"…and then the island killed him." Desmond gave a cynical snort. "What a beautiful story, hey? Almost a fairytale."
Locke sighed. "Even with his love for Claire and Aaron, I don't think Charlie was ever truly content. He was so precious and possessive about them. He could never do enough for them. In the end I think the island gave Charlie the chance to die for them so that he could finally be at peace."
"You're wrong, brother!" Desmond insisted. "Charlie wanted to live! He was hoping to be rescued along with the rest of us. Who are you to say what Charlie was feeling? A whole month he had this hanging over his head. You weren't even there! You were off in the jungle blowing things up. So don't pretend that you cared or even knew about what was happening to him."
"Oh, I knew that Charlie was in danger," said Locke, hastily correcting him. "I probably knew before you did."
Desmond squinted. "What are you talking about?"
"Boone told me," he explained. "The day following the hatch implosion I saw Boone in a vision and he helped me to save Eko. There were other things that he showed me. He hinted that there would soon be trouble for Charlie, Claire and the baby. That's why I protected Charlie when we went after Eko. I told him to go back to Claire. When he wouldn't I just made sure that he didn't go into that cave. Charlie wanted to save Eko from the polar bear just like he wanted to save Claire from drowning. But I sensed he would have been killed in the attempt."
Desmond remembered that day. He remembered waking up naked in the jungle. His flashes had started, but he had yet to experience a vision of Charlie's death, though he had seen Locke making a speech.
"Don't tell me I don't care," Locke continued. "I would have protected them. I would have kept their family together. But then I saw you pitching that rod on the beach and saving them from the lightning. I realised that you had been appointed their protector, not me. I had other work to do..."
"Some bloody protector," Desmond muttered, shamefully. "I failed to save Charlie from his fate and now Claire and Aaron are all alone and still stranded on this island. This whole thing is a tragic mess…"
"Maybe so," said Locke with a solemn nod. "But it's time for you to clean it up, Desmond. Let's get this over with."
Locke rose and strode towards the coms room, beckoning him to follow. Desmond remained where he was and watched in shocked disbelief as Locke stood before the door and peered in through the porthole.
"For Godsake man!" he yelled. "Don't look in there!"
Rather than listening to him, Locke moved his face closer to the glass.
"Desmond, you're gonna want to come and see this…"
Desmond shook his head, closing his eyes. He didn't like to think what he would see if he looked into that room. Some ruined skeletal shape floating in the saltwater. That wasn't Charlie. His friend was gone. Desmond wanted to remember him as the perky Englishman with the lively eyes and the sunny smile. Not whatever was darkening and shrivelling in that flooded room.
Suddenly Locke was grabbing him under his armpits and dragging him across the chamber. Desmond protested and struggled, but the old hunter was strong and he was sluggish from the wine that he had consumed. Locke slammed him into the door, holding him in place before the porthole.
"Open your eyes…" Locke instructed, firmly.
Desmond kept shaking his head. He raised his hand and pushed against the cool window. He remembered pressing his palm to Charlie's hand on the other side of the glass. It had been like touching his reflection in a mirror. He had seen Charlie's death so many times that it had begun to feel like his own. Desmond felt like a Siamese twin separated from his brother who had not survived the surgery. He had been freed from everything but his shame and loss.
He realised that Locke wasn't planning to release him until he obeyed. He swallowed and reluctantly allowed his eyes to flutter open.
He stared into the undulating water and saw nothing. His eyes flitted from the ceiling to the walls to the floor. Nothing at all. No body, no bones, not a trace of the man who drowned in there. The room was empty.
"He's not there!" Desmond spluttered. "Why isn't he there?!"
Locke tilted his head, his beady eyes twinkling.
"He's not there for he has risen…" Locke said mysteriously.
"What's that supposed to mean?!" he demanded.
"Oh…it's a line from the Bible. When Mary found the tomb of Jesus empty there was a young man in white who told her…"
Desmond grabbed Locke by the front of his shirt.
"I know where it's from, you smarmy bastard! I want to know what you've done with his body! What are you trying to do to me?!"
"I haven't done anything, Desmond. I'm as shocked as you are. Well, maybe not as shocked. I've seen my fair share of miracles..."
Locke looked him steadily in the eyes, his face marked with sincerity. Desmond was tempted to believe that he was telling the truth.
"But how…how is that possible?!" he stammered.
"Don't underestimate the value of sacrifice," Locke answered. "One thing I know is that this island rewards those who make offerings when they are called to do so. You wanted to save Charlie from this room…."
Locke tapped the window with his knuckle.
"…he's gone…" he whispered.