Disclaimer: LOST is the property of ABC. This fic written per request on my livejournal.

Something Like Fear

The whispers don't even start softly; they're just there, suddenly, and it sends something like fear crawling up Dan's spine. Charlotte's already got her gun out, but she doesn't know where to point it, and he can see in her eyes how much that bothers her, faced with the green-black jungle, dripping with odd noises even at the most normal times.

And then it's like the jungle bleeds; a form pours out from between the leaves, and Charlotte clicks the safety off on her gun as she points it at Benjamin Linus.

There's an unnatural stillness then, which shouldn't surprise him -- Linus controls this island, right? For a long moment, Dan and Charlotte stare at him, and he doesn't move or speak. Finally, a small, humorless smile slips onto his face and he says, "You're not actually going to stop me from going in there?"

"Um, actually that was the plan, yeah," Dan replies. It occurs to him that he should really be holding his gun, so he fumbles with it.

Before he manages to get the safety off, Linus says easily; meaningfully, "Maybe you'd like to rethink that." He flicks his eyes to Charlotte, and something heavy sinks into the pit of Dan's stomach.

"Don't listen to him, Dan," she says, without taking her eyes off Linus. She won't make that mistake again.

"Think about it, Daniel," Linus begins, all but ignoring her. His eyes look totally black. Maybe they are. "You don't want to worry about her every time she's out of your sight, do you?" He glances at Charlotte again, a tiny hint of a smile -- that might be cruel, or amused, or both -- on his face. "And Miss Lewis here doesn't seem like the sort of woman who wants to be kept in your sight every second."

If Linus threatened him -- now, that wouldn't have bothered Dan. Not at all. It's easy to be brave when you're only worrying about yourself. But the threat to Charlotte...it turns him cold. He hopes she doesn't hate him for it.

In one quick motion, he drops his gun to his side, flicking the safety back on. "Dan--" Charlotte begins.

"Let him go," Dan sighs. For a second he thinks she's going to argue, maybe just shoot Linus (which would solve the problem, actually, but he knows he doesn't have it in him to put a bullet in anyone), but then she lowers her gun as well.

As Linus walks by them, into the Orchid, with a whisper of air, he remarks, "You have more sense than they give you credit for, Faraday."