Disclaimer: "LOST" is the property of ABC. This was written per request.

Slipping Under

Sometimes he thinks Alex forgets she's just a kid. Maybe that's not surprising, growing up here, with all of them, no one even close to her own age but Karl (and now not even him). Maybe that's not surprising, when you're Ben's daughter. Richard has always thought that Alex regretted her childhood slipping through her fingers too early, that she resented Ben and the rest of them for gently (and not so gently) making sure she grew up a little too fast (and sending her conflicting messages the whole time about whether or not she was acting too old or too young for her age).

But when she finally arrives at the Temple, a few bruises shadowing her cheek and mouth, and he takes her inside to question and comfort her, she kisses him, hard, through her tears. In the moment before he puts a hand on her shoulder to push her gently away, he realizes that he's been wrong -- it's not the rest of them that want Alex to grow up too quickly. It's her.