A/N: I wrote this a while ago and am only just getting round to putting it up. Hope you enjoy. R&R!!
Sawyer sat by himself, away from the rest of the survivors, smoking a cigarette from one of his scavenged packs.
It was beginning to get dark and campfires were being lit. The scurry of activity felt distant to Sawyer as he sat outside his hand-made shelter, guarding his collection of gathered items.
They say no man is an island, but Sawyer thought he could do a pretty good impression.
Sweeping his gaze over the beach, his eyes fell on a lone figure walking slowly down by the shoreline. Something about the persons stance, the way they walked with their head down, arms hugged around them self, made them look weary and unapproachable.
Another island, Sawyer thought to himself, as he stubbed his cigarette out in the sand.
He looked back out at the other castaways, who were now drifting towards their own shelters, ready for sleep after another day on the Island, yet another day without rescue. Sawyer wondered what it felt like to have people you'd want to go back to.
Sawyer looked up. It was the person who had been walking alone down by the ocean.
"Can I have one of your cigarettes?"
Sawyer raised his eyebrows. Charlie was standing before him, his hood pulled up over his head, looking like the guy that lost the fight.
"Please? I need it, man."
Sawyer gazed at him critically, for so long that Charlie went to turn away.
"Forget it," he muttered.
Sawyer sighed. "Hold on."
Even islands need company sometimes. He motioned to the sand next to him. "Sit down then."
Charlie hesitated, and then sunk down onto the sand. Sawyer pulled a cigarette out of his pack and passed it to Charlie. He held up his lighter and watched as Charlie leant in to the flame. The boys hands were shaking so much it took him several attempts before he got it lit, but finally the tip of the cigarette flared red and Charlie inhaled deeply, holding the smoke in his lungs for as long as possible before exhaling slowly.
Sawyer took out another cigarette for himself and lit it up easily with a casual flick of the lighter. He glanced sideways at Charlie. The boy had his knees pulled up to his chest, hunched in on himself, his head bowed so his face was hidden in the shadow of his hood. The slightly ragged bandages on his fingers bore the letters F A T E. With every puff the cigarette tip briefly cast enough light for Sawyer to see that the boys' eyes were bloodshot and sweat was glistening on his forehead.
"So what is it?" Sawyer asked finally.
Charlie glanced at him. The kid really did look like hell.
"What?" he asked.
"What are you on?" Sawyer elaborated. "Or not on anymore, as the case seems to be. What drug?"
Charlie was silent for a long moment, staring at the burning red tip of his cigarette. Sawyer was just starting to think that Charlie wasn't going to answer him when Charlie sighed softly.
"Heroin," he said quietly.
"Heroin?" Sawyer couldn't keep the surprise from his voice. He frowned at Charlie, "How's a kid like you get mixed up in heroin?"
Charlie frowned, "I'm not a kid. I'm 23."
"Sorry, Mr. Grown Up," Sawyer smirked a little. "Well ain't you just the stereotypical little rock star. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. There was sex, right?"
Charlie rolled his eyes, "Brilliant, now you're mocking me. Whatever, thanks for the smoke."
Charlie stood up too fast, and swayed dangerously. Sawyer caught his arm and easily pulled the boy back down.
"Hey, easy now. I wasn't mocking. I'm curious. You got me interested."
"I'm not here to be your entertainment for the evening," Charlie said resentfully.
"Hell kid, I'm just trying to have a conversation."
Charlie still looked offended, but stayed seated anyway, puffing ill-temperedly on his cigarette.
Sawyer took a drag from his own cigarette and blew a couple of smoke rings. After a moment Charlie copied him and Sawyer took this as a sign that he could start up the conversation again.
"So, how did it happen? The drugs 'n' all."
Sawyer sensed Charlie tensing up next to him and thought that he had spoken too soon, but-
"It's complicated," Charlie said finally. "Everything… everything just got out of control."
The light from his cigarette showed Sawyer the lost look in Charlie's eyes, and he was surprised to realize that he was feeling sorry for the boy beside him. He couldn't remember when he last felt sorry for someone.
Sawyer nodded, "Don't it always."
They were both quiet again, breathing smoke out into the night.
Sawyer knew what it was like to be addicted. He guessed that his need to relentlessly hunt down the man responsible for the deaths of his parents was sort of the same as Charlie's need to fry his brain with chemicals. Sawyer knew how the need itched and tore you up inside, how it made you lie awake at night thinking about it. He knew what it could turn a person into, what it could make a person do.
"So how long has it been?" Sawyer asked, "Since your last fix."
"Two days," Charlie said, as if it was a lifetime.
Sawyer nodded knowingly, "I've met a few junkies in my time," he said.
Charlie winced at the word but Sawyer didn't notice.
"Most of them were scum-"
"All junkies are scum," Charlie cut in bitterly.
Sawyer just shrugged. "Anyway, I seen one of 'em going cold turkey through withdrawal. It ain't pretty, I know. But it'll get better, I can tell you that."
"It'll get worse before it gets better," Charlie said darkly.
Sawyer leant back against his shelter.
"Well now, ain't that just the truth about everything?"
Charlie took a final drag from his cigarette and stubbed it out.
"Thanks for that," he said gratefully. He glanced at Sawyer. "You won't tell anyone, will you? About me?"
Sawyer shook his head, "Nah."
Charlie stood and started to walk away.
"Hey kid," Sawyer called after him.
Charlie stopped and turned back.
"If you ever need another cigarette, just come and find me, ok."
Charlie smiled slightly.
And Sawyer realizes that he's smiling to himself as he sits alone outside his shelter, watching Charlie walk away.
Maybe he's not as good at being an island as he thought.