teaser: Hurley's not the only one who can pull off the insanity plea
author's notes: why does LOST always make me write such angsty stuff? Maybe because they keep killing off my favorite characters. Though I still giggle at Secret Agent Man Sayid. That song was playing in my head throughout the entire course of "The Economist".
/A Lot of Holes/
"If you keep this up," Ben says, "you're going to get yourself killed."
Sayid watches as the hands pull the stitches around his abdomen tight. Pain is there, hot and white against his side, but it's fleeting and that honestly has nothing to do with the Novocain he's been given.
He resists replying with a "when?".
"Just another body to bury, then." Admittedly, that was only marginally a better answer. The humorless look on Ben's face says as much.
Two fingers jab into his side and the pain returns in a flash. Sayid closes his eyes against the blinding ache, his jaw tightening like granite, refusing to say anything. Ben doesn't mind and his fingers come away sticky and red.
"Sometimes I'm concerned for your sanity, Sayid."
Somehow Sayid doubts that, but he says nothing. The pain dies away again, and he feels cold, cold right down to his toes, and he stares into Ben's eyes, obscured by the glare of the light on his glasses.
"Let's not forget what our job is," Ben tells him, and removes one surgical glove that oddly makes Sayid think of Jack, not that he's ever seen Jack with those latex, sterile, white gloves on.
He chooses that moment to pass out.
Shannon eyes him from across the beach, and Sayid can't remember the expanse of it ever being this wide or this terrible before, the sun blinding on the burning sand and Shannon's hair a brilliant white in the light, her eyes blue and piercing.
And he says, "Shannon."
He walks, his feet crunching over the dirt and the shells and the bones. The wreckage of the plane sends heat waves coursing over him, but he doesn't care, doesn't care that his skin melts away from his bones and that there are screams for help, pleas for mercy, all around him.
All that matters is Shannon, who stands apart from the wreckage, blood running down her legs and dying the white sand.
When he reaches her, she says, "You're killing a lot of people, and for what?"
Sayid wants to touch her. He needs to touch her. He reaches out a hand to her cheek, but she's already gone, the hot blue of her eyes scalding his flesh all that remains.
"For you," he tells the sand with her blood. "For you."
He spends a lot of time holed up in his apartment. He's taken up residence in Australia, and he chooses to stay there unless he gets a small, folded little note with a name and a city and instructions to go.
Sayid doesn't have family anymore, not any who would accept the bastard traitor that he was, no matter how famous he was for being a survivor. And Kate won't call, and neither will Jack, and Sayid stopped accepting Hurley's messages and he doesn't even think about Sun anymore, or any of them.
It's fine though. He prefers to be alone.
Under his bed he has a fine rack of an assortment of guns. He likes guns better than any weapon. A bullet to the head is far more painless than bamboo sticks under fingernails. Sayid isn't a torturer anymore, he tells himself, he is a murderer. And a murderer doesn't have to prolong the pain. He just has to get it done, and not get caught.
The note slips under his doorway with no resistance, because nothing could keep it out. There is no knock, nor any warning, but Sayid knows the instant it is there, its existence a very perversion of his home, and he would ignore it except that he's past the point where he has the strength to, and he closes his fist around the little slip, crushing it, before reading the message.
It says: Germany, her name is Elsa.
"Are you alright?"
Sayid blinks for a moment, concentrating on the long lines of her legs and her body, careful not to look up into her face and break the moment.
"Yes, fine." He looks into her face now and watches as Elsa smiles and turns back to the mirror. Her hair is pulled up into an elegant bun, and her back is bared in her red dress, and his fingers open and close for no real reason at all.
"You're a strange guy, you know?" Elsa murmurs, applying the last of her mascara with a flourish. "Where do you go when you look like that?"
He nearly says, an island, but instead smiles. "I was just admiring the view."
Elsa turns and winks at him, hiking the skirt of her dress up to give him a better show. "Come over here and I'll give you the best view in the house."
Of course, for a moment, he doesn't. He feels sluggish and slow, and he wishes her hair was a bit brighter, but he doesn't say so. Elsa wouldn't understand. No one ever really does. Maybe that why he spends all his time alone. No one understands, least of all him.
Sayid stands and tugs off his shirt, smiling at Elsa while smiling at someone else, and he cups her cheeks and looks into her bl—brown eyes and feels Elsa's slim fingers curl against his biceps and for the first time he thinks maybe he could love her, if only for the wrong reasons.
"You do go somewhere," Elsa says softly as she kisses jaw. "I can see it."
"I don't go anywhere," he replies, and isn't really sure if he's lying anymore.
Even if he is, it hardly matters. He can't really get back to where he wants to go, because it isn't the island he wants. It's what the island took.
On the phone, Ben says, "I wasn't so sure this was a good idea, if maybe I should have sent someone else for this case."
Sayid doesn't answer for a very long time. Instead he looks out into the snowy tundra of the German landscape and cracks his knuckles. Elsa's gone out for one thing or another. Sayid wonders if he should feel guilty that sometimes he doesn't pay attention, but he only does that when he has the strangest sensation that her accent is wrong.
Ben gives a put out sigh so Sayid asks, "Why is that?"
"You know why," Ben tells him, a little amused. "The resemblance isn't striking at all, but you're half in your own world most of the time and, well, it is a concern. Why don't you head back home and I'll let someone else take care of it?"
He thinks of Elsa, clutching the wound in her stomach, turning towards him helplessly, and his arms around her shaking body, trying to give her whatever life still beats in his heart, and the woman across from them, nearly drowned in the rain, her hand closed over the gun, shocked and horrified, and the overwhelming urge to just tear into her…
"I can handle it," he says.
Ben doesn't seem convinced but he says, "Good."
This time he runs, as though if he gets there faster he'll be able to touch her before she goes, as she always does, as she always must. The screams and pleas are even more distant now, nothing but hollow roaring against his ears in the face of Shannon's eyes watching him move across the ground.
He stops in front of her and closes his hand around her arm, the closest he's even been, and Shannon just looks at him, her disappointment almost palpable as he drags her close.
"You don't even know, do you?" she asks.
"Know what?" he repeats, but she is silent. "Know what? Shannon."
She draws back from him, but doesn't disappear to leave him standing in the sand alone. Blood rolls in thick rivulets down her legs as she kneels and draws their names in the sand.
Boone, she scribbles into the white dirt. Charlie. Claire. Locke. Sawyer. Ana Lucia. Libby. On and on the list spirals, each name a pick into his flesh until he's bleeding as much as Shannon is.
Then she writes, Elsa. Matthew Fisher. Jean Retiqiz. Names she couldn't know, but does, and he drops to his knees and Shannon stands, looking down at him with no sympathy.
"Look around you," she orders and he can do nothing but obey.
And he sees them, what he missed in his haste to reach her. The smoke and fire isn't from the wreckage of the plane, it's from the pyres that's burning them all. He sees Charlie, skewered on a pike, head lolling onto his chest as flames eat him, and he sees Libby with her face chewed off, her legs charred and burned, and he sees Boone with his chest cut open and Locke staring dismally into the sky. All of them, all the doomed names Shannon had written in the sand.
There's Elsa. He had stepped on her skull and crushed it without realizing, and there's the American Matthew Fisher Ben told him to kill, with the bullet still in his forehead, and Jean Retiqiz spread eagle and crucified.
Shannon picks up a shovel and hands it to him. "Start digging," she says.
Sayid closes his fist around the shovel.
"She isn't real you know," Ben tells him. "Even in the dream, it isn't really her."
Sometimes Ben orders a meeting with Sayid, usually it's nothing more than a game to Ben, to see how far he can make Sayid go, and normally Sayid doesn't. Go. But this time he went, and maybe it had something to do with the dreams that wake him up at two in the morning.
"You'll be tempted to kill me if I say her name," Ben points out.
Yes. Sayid remembers vaguely when Ben had learned that lesson. He remembers his hand around Ben's throat, squeezing. Don't talk about her. Don't say her name. I'll kill you. You don't have the right.
So he says nothing.
"How do you know?"
"It's a common side effect for people from the island," Ben answers, and blinks at him. "You've never talked to Jack or Kate, have you?"
Of course he hasn't. He hasn't seen Jack or Kate or anyone since the day Oceanic Airlines gave him his check and the first slip of paper found its way under his door in his hotel.
"In the dreams, what does she say?" Ben asks, and Sayid wonders if he honestly expects an answer from him, if there was ever a point where he would have been tempted to give an answer.
He turns and watches the crowd of people as the move by. He sees a blonde head among the masses, and it's just the right color, and his fingers close over the café table that they sit at and he watches the head until it disappears around the corner.
Then he looks at Ben.
"She tells me to dig their graves."
Ben blinks, as if that is the last answer he expected to hear, and suddenly he throws his head back and laughs and laughs. Some people even stop to look at him, this strange man who can't control himself.
"Oh, Sayid," Ben manages, wiping a tear away as it prickles the corner of his eyes. "You couldn't possibly dig all those holes. Better stick to what you're good at and take some sleeping pills."
Shannon runs her fingers through his hair, his head in her lap, their tent smelling of island fruit and fresh lovemaking, and she's smiling, her blonde hair falling across her face and she looks down at him.
"I didn't love her," Sayid tells her. "I didn't love her because she wasn't you."
"I know that."
"That's why I shot her. Because she wasn't you." He frowns and touches one of the legs that cradle his head. "I could never shoot you. I love you."
"You shot her because Ben told you to," Shannon points out.
"And because she wasn't you."
They fall silent, and Shannon hums that little French tune to drown out the screams of agony coming from outside their tent. Sayid thinks that if he ignores them long enough, they'll just go away. All he has to do is look into Shannon's face, and everything will go away.
"I believed you about Walt," he tells her.
"Yes. I know. I always knew." Shannon smoothes his grizzled face with her hands, her eyes gentle, more so than they had ever been. Maybe it's the sand that makes her always look so angry with him. Maybe she's never been angry with him, maybe it's just the way the light from the fire on the beach hits her face.
"I dug your grave."
Shannon says nothing.
"You're the only one I—no one else." He sits up and touches her neck, then her face, skimming her cheekbones and forehead, and lips. "I remember. No one else."
"I know." Shannon kisses his hand and curls her own fingers around his. "We can't stay here forever. Can you hear them, Sayid?"
"No," he starts to say, but it's a lie. He can hear them. He's always heard them. Their screams of overwhelming pain resonating in his very soul, like the coinless spirits on the River Styx, their bodies rotting uselessly on the ground, forgotten and unburied.
Shannon's mouth is warm against his, her lips gentle and soothing, her body sweet and welcoming, and softly into his ear, she says, "It's time to wake up, Sayid."
In his bedroom, the air as silent and still as her grave, Sayid wakes up.
Sayid wakes up.
notes: oh, did I not warn you about the small elements of horror? My bad. Sorry. The ending was supposed to be flimsy all along. It was my intention from the beginning. Really!