"It's a map, Jack." Amy shook it in his face, smiling. "One genuine, authentic balloon-recovery map."
Jack grinned at her, and raised his eyebrows. "You did it."
"Did what?" asked Locke, from the kitchen sink.
"Got you a map, my good sir." She watched as Locke came over, wiping his hands on a dish-towel. He looked over her shoulder at the map on the table. "Look," she continued. "All you have to do is follow the squiggle and it'll lead you to his balloon. He says it's got a big smiley face on the top."
"A big smiley face, huh? Well, I'd have a big smiley face if I managed to lead my captors right into a trap…" said John, not looking altogether convinced. He picked up the paper and considered it. "I know this bit, though…" he continued, pointing to an area of the map. "… and this part looks legitimate." He looked to Jack, who shrugged. "Well, I don't know. It could be alright."
"Worth giving it a try, isn't it?" asked Jack, taking the map back. "I mean, even if it's a trap we get our answer." He looked towards the door of the armory, then back to Amy. "How'd you get it out of him?"
"I just explained his predicament." Not a lie, not a lie. "I told him what you might do if he didn't give us something to work with."
Nodding, Jack looked at the map again. "It does look pretty legit." He stood, map in hand. "I'm going to speak to Sayid. See what he thinks." He left the hatch.
"Well, Amy," said John, turning to her. "I'll take a shift if you want to get some sleep."
"Thanks, John," She smiled, "But I think I'm going to go a walk."
Amy walked through the jungle, only half-aware of where she was going. The trees were green, so intensely green after the dim light of the hatch. She heard birds calling loudly and the ocean behind her. Gradually the sounds lessened as she found herself continuing deeper, deeper into the forest. Eventually she arrived at the small clearing where Henry had been strung up in the net.
Smiling, she kicked over some of the fallen leaves to reveal a half-eaten mango, rotting now in the heat. The net still lay on the ground, left by Rousseau. For a moment she stood, savoring the silence, and then she knelt on the ground. She reached her hand towards the net and touched it tentatively. Nothing. She gripped it in both hands and concentrated.
A baby, dark-haired.
A young girl.
Who was Alex?
With an effort, she managed to stop the flash. She could do it. She could control them. Ben did make it different. That seemed to be the only explanation. Ben had helped her, and she was in a position to help him. The decision was made. Hoisting her pack higher on her shoulder, she turned back to the beach.
She had almost reached the edge of the jungle when she heard them, not too far off to her left. First Jack's voice, loud, and then Charlie's, then a murmur that must have been Sayid. She veered left, jumping through the foliage without much grace.
The three men were carrying packs, and Jack held the map in his hand. He turned as she appeared on the track behind them.
"Alright, Amy?" grinned Charlie, then he turned to Jack. "Is she coming?"
"Amy, I thought you were staying at the hatch." He said, coming closer. He was frowning.
"I just went for a walk. I was headed for the beach." she replied, "Where are you going?"
"Following your map," Charlie piped up.
Jack nodded, confirming it. "There's no point wasting time."
"Well, of course, I want to find out he is a liar sooner rather than later." Said Sayid, eyes narrowed towards her. She ignored him.
"I didn't realize you'd be going so soon," she said honestly, to which Jack shrugged. "I'll go back to the hatch, if you like?"
"Would you?" asked Jack, gratefully. "I mean, I'm sure John can manage, but for the sake of fair shifts and keeping this quiet… Well, it'd be easier." He gave her a tired smile.
"No problem," she smiled back, "I'll just get some stuff from the beach and go straight back."
"Right." He clapped her once on the shoulder then turned, beckoning the other two men to follow him. "See you later." He threw over his shoulder.
"See ya!" said Charlie with his usual cheer. Sayid nodded to her once, and followed on.
"Good luck!" she called after them, a sinking feeling in her stomach. Tonight, then.
"Ben?" Amy turned the combination to the armory and opened the door wide, sticking her head in. He was sitting on the cot, reading. He looked up at her, a smile touching his bruised face. "Ben, Jack's gone to find your balloon tonight. We're leaving." Without waiting for his answer, she hurried away and retrieved her pack from the sleeping quarters. First, she tucked her gun into the back of her pants.
Sorting through the mess of her belongings, she selected only the most essential; her journal, some loose papers, a few books. Opening a cupboard, she began taking her things from it and throwing them haphazardly into her bag.
"If you folded them, you'd maximize your storage space." Came a soft voice from behind her.
Amy turned quickly, straightening. Ben stood in the doorway, smirking at her. It was strange to see him standing in the hatch, not in his usual containment of the armory. He did not look out of place, just… strangely comfortable, like he should have been there. Like he belonged there. She could see he still held his right shoulder awkwardly, a little higher than the other one. She could not shake the feeling of his belonging, though, and something jolted through her skull.
A different type of hatch.
Headphones, video monitors.
Jack? Why Jack?
At her wince, he moved closer. "What was that?" he said quickly. "Did you see something?"
"I don't know," she muttered, turning back to the bed and emptying out her pack. "Nothing relevant, anyway." Distractedly, she reached to fold the shirts, but he caught her hand.
"Allow me to pack," he said, raising his eyebrows at her, "Or I suspect we will be here for long enough. You could get food." He added, pointing her towards the dining area.
She nodded, too elated by the feeling of his hand against hers to take offence at his insinuation, and went to the kitchen. Ransacking the cupboards, she collected some Dharma-branded food; things they could eat on the way, things that wouldn't be missed.
"We don't have long," she called through to Ben, stuffing some granola bars in a small knapsack she had looked out for him. "Maybe only half an hour, an hour tops."
"What did you do to John?" came the reply. She could hear the amusement in his voice.
"What did I do to him?" she repeated, feigning shock at his accusation. Food supplies sorted, she moved over to the bookshelf. "Oh, thank you very much. Actually, as it happens, he had to go down to the beach. Fix something for Claire, I think he said."
"Claire?" the voice was interested, now.
"She was on the plane, a nice girl, pregnant." Her finger skimmed over the spines of the books, searching for something to take with her. "Gave birth a few weeks ago to a little boy, Aaron."
"We have a sufficiently extensive library at the Barracks, you know." She turned again, to find Ben standing with the full pack on his good shoulder, smiling amusedly at her. Not giving her a chance to reply, he held up her journal in one hand. "What's this?"
She moved forward to meet him, and plucked it from his fingers.
"You mayn't." she said with a smile, tucking it into the knapsack. He sighed theatrically, and looked around. His face grew serious.
"So this is it. You're leaving."
Amy looked around too, sadly. She was leaving. She'd made this decision. She was helping him escape. What would they think? They had been nothing but kind to her, for the most part. No, she told herself. I can't regret this. This is my decision. Yes, this was her decision. Her ability made her an outcast, or at least made her feel like one. As soon as the first flash in the tent, she knew she'd have to leave, or face more hiding, more secrets. And… with Ben, it was just accepted. No secrets, nothing to hide. She felt safer with him.
Still, one last thing to do. Going back to the cupboards, she made up a bowl of cereal and walked over to the armory. Concentrating, she took one step into the small room and appeared to trip, dropping the bowl onto the floor. It smashed, its contents splashing all over the concrete. Carefully stepping around the mess, she pulled the blanket to the floor, dropping it in a heap, creating the appearance of a confrontation and an ensuing struggle.
Ben watched her silently as she approached him. "Turn around, please." He did so, and she took out one of her now neatly folded shirts, crumpled it, and threw it on the floor of the bedroom. Again, she dragged the blanket to the floor as if she had been forced to pack her things. "There."
"Ready now, Amy?"
She looked at Ben, the leader of the Others, the man she trusted. His eyes were careful, seemingly looking for second thoughts from her. He stood before her, one hand supporting the pack's strap on his uninjured shoulder.
Amy nodded. Yes. Yes, she was ready. He gestured for her to go first. With a pang of sadness, she opened the blast doors and headed out of the hatch, away from the castaways.
"Overpowering you when you had your hands full…" Ben quipped as they left. "Well, that was certainly very clever of me, don't you think?"