Disclaimer and A/N: I own no rights to LOST. This was written for the lostfichallenge on lj.

Merry Christmas

Ben didn't celebrate Christmas. It was too close to his birthday, too close to the day his mother died, for him to possibly take any pleasure in it. As a small child, especially in Portland, he had desperately wished that he could be a part of the families smiling as they shopped for gifts or in the homes with jewel bright windows against the black winter nights.

On the island, it was easier to ignore Christmas. Half the people there objected to it as a capitalist-elitist-Christian-crusader holiday on hippie-atheist-Communist principles, anyway. There was no snow, there were no evergreens strung with color, no carols, nothing to remind him that it was that time of year that families were supposed to put aside their grudges -- temporarily, if necessary -- and come together, just for one day.

Well, there was one thing to remind him. Ben's father always drank the most in December. As the years went on, he'd stopped getting wasted for four days straight, at least, from the twenty-second through the twenty-sixth. He'd never made Christmas a pleasant experience, of course -- it wasn't within his father's ability to make anything pleasant, not for Ben. Not when he was the reason Roger's wife was dead.

Ben stared straight out of the windshield of the van, the sound of his own breathing loud in his ears. It muffled his father's choked gasps surprisingly well. Or maybe it was the years of cold accusations and insults that deafened him to his father's death.

Once his father's body went rigid and still, Ben regarded him for a moment. The blood, bright red against his skin, was almost a festive color. Then, tossing the gas canister to the floor, he said, "Merry Christmas, Dad."