Author Note: Hello, This is my first LOST fan fiction, and it might be a little rough because I hate starting out stories. I would definitely appreciate any constructive criticism that you may have, no flames though please!! Thanks. This story is basically just my impression of what might have happened in Ben's life, so it will probably eventually be considered an AU story if his story EVER gets fleshed out more on LOST, which I'm sure it will at some point.

STORY TITLE: Now we'll never have to be away from each other.

Character centric: Benjamin Linus

It was 1986 and like any usual day, Benjamin Linus was on his way home from his special DHARMA training. He was working to become a medic at the STAFF, one of the many DHARMA stations on the island. Ben was in the process of finishing up his four-year study in Medicine and for that he was still stationed at the Barracks, the living and training quarters for the DHARMA initiative.

It was shortly after four O'Clock when he saw her: It was an old friend of his, Annie.

Ben hadn't expected to ever see her again, She had left the island almost fourteen years ago, in December, right after his tenth birthday. Annie had given him his first birthday present he had ever received. They were two wooden dolls she had carved and painted herself, one was a boy and the other a girl one to represent each of them. Annie had taken the boy that was 'Ben'. "This way we'll never have to be away from each other." She had said.

He remembered when she left, he had stood emotionless on the very dock she was coming down now, holding his white rabbit tucked under his arm as he watched her board the submarine and leave him for what he thought would be forever. Later, he had cried himself to sleep. His only friend he ever had was gone and his life was empty, his world felt as if it had come to a complete standstill like a complete train wreck.

Annie was the only one who talked to him, and it was nice to be able to share things with someone he enjoyed being with, sometimes they would do homework together, learn how to play chess lying on their stomachs on a picnic blanket in his backyard. Annie would raid her pantry, and make him try her special sandwiches that had odd combinations of food, laughing in hysterics when he made a face at her chocolate ham, "I can't believe you tried it Ben!" She'd say. But Ben would do whatever she told him to do and Annie apparently enjoyed ordering Ben around. Sometimes Annie would rope him into playing house with her, or pull him around blindfolded, giggling as turned him around making him disoriented as she made him guess where he was located. When Annie left, Ben no longer had that sort of attention or company, His father certainly paid him no mind, and no one else had time for him either.

The other children avoided him as if he were the plague, perhaps because of his lack of social skills and the fact that he didn't really know how to play with them. To Ben, the games they played seemed rough, childish and pointless, made only to glorify the athletically privileged, which he wasn't; Being that he was smaller and weaker than the other kids his age. Without Annie there to stick up for him, he was the object of their teasing.

Ben had decided to leave the barracks over the next month in hope to find his mother. He planned it carefully; On a scrap of paper, Ben had quickly jotted down the fresh code his father had been given for the day (they changed the combination frequently for security reasons) so that he could turn off the sonar fence that protected the living area.

He went to school like normal, and afterward had gone sneaking out of the barrier, returning home only long enough to take the things he had packed the night before with him.

Ben had met a hostile in the jungle and begged the stranger to take him with him. The ragged man had told Ben to return to the barracks and to be patient in order to join his people.

As the years had passed Ben believed that the hostiles had forgotten him completely. Perhaps they hadn't wanted him in the first place. But hadn't that been what the school teachers had been warning the children? That they would be taken by the hostiles if found by them? Ben had already faced one of them and the hostile had simply told him to return home. Maybe he was just a reject, maybe he didn't belong anywhere.

Ben had always felt that way, except when he had been around Annie.

And here she was now;

Annie had just gotten out of the docked submarine and was coming up the wooden loading dock toward the yellow houses, wearing a casual orange summer dress. Her dark hair cascading over her shoulders. He recognized her immediately, she was the same as he remembered her. She was positively glowing in the afternoon sunlight as she always seemed to have done, radiant as if a light were about her, though she was far more beautiful than he could have imagined she'd be.

And here he was, DHARMA training uniform with a STAFF local stamped on the right, skinny, geeky, his hair somewhat hanging limp from the heat, wearing the same round glasses, sulking and gawking at her from behind the bushes. Ben felt like an embarrassment to himself, who was he kidding? She wouldn't like him anymore, they had been children when they had been friends, time and age changed all relationships between a boy and girl. He knew she'd reject him.

His social anxiety took over, and Ben quickly looked away as he saw Annie look in his direction. He hurried off in the opposite direction as if he hadn't ever seen her, taking the long way back to his house so he would avoid running into her, walking as quickly as possible. He hoped that he had only imagined her catching his eye. If Annie had seen him, she might have thought that he was a stalker.

What if in the last fourteen years she had forgotten all about him? He couldn't be too memorable, could he? Ben had been painfully shy then- he had barely said two words, she had done all the chattering as he listened intently. And what in the world would he say to her now, after all those years? For all he knew, she could be completely different now. Maybe they didn't have anything in common anymore- or maybe they never had, Ben could hardly remember . . . The only thing they might possibly be able to discuss would be the carved dolls, but what if she didn't even have hers anymore? He could just imagine the critical look she would give him if he told her that he had kept that carved doll she had given him if she had thrown hers away. Later Annie would laugh at him with her friends, giggling and wondering how in the world they were ever friends in the first place.