Disclaimer: LOST, unfortunately, does not belong to me - and is the proud property of its creator J.J. Abrams.

My first LOST fanfiction, and I won't do the show even the slightest amount of justice. Flashbacks are in italics.

I know this has been done before, but everybody's got to get onto the Island somehow, right? Enjoy :)

"We're here, Miss Lovett."

Her eyes blinked open reluctantly, and despite this were still clouded with sleep. She felt oddly constricted wearing her jeans in bed, which she quickly realised she hadn't fallen asleep in, and the top button of her shirt had come undone. Quickly fastening it, she tried to detangle her legs from a blanket someone had placed over her up to her waist, and sat up. Her head felt unusually light, as if she hadn't quite recovered from drinking copious amounts of alcohol; and her mouth felt as though something had crawled inside and died. She coughed dryly.

"Did you drug me?" She choked, bringing her hand to her forehead and resting it there; her cold palm offering her sore head some relief.

"I'm afraid it was necessary. The journey can be somewhat unpleasant. I moved you to the bed so you'd be more comfortable," a man replied, handing her a glass of water. "And in my defence, I did in fact tell you what was in your juice before you drank it." He chuckled, "and you didn't exactly hesitate much."

The memory flickered in her head, like an untuned television. She should of been more wary.. but, boy, did she hate travelling.

"Do you remember, Miss Lovett?"

His voice was pleasant and familiar, or as familiar as a voice can be when you've only known the owner a week. She felt an odd sadness knowing that, where she was going, he'd be the only face she'd know.

"I know, I know, I remember now. And please," she sighed, rubbing her head before smiling. "How many times, Mr Alpert? Call me Ava." She thankfully took the glass and tipped it gently into her mouth, swilling it briefly before swallowing.

"Very well," he chuckled. "Then I insist you call me Richard."

"Deal." Ava smiled and slid off the bed, careful not to hit her head on the exposed pipes as Richard took the empty glass from her hand and gestured down the passage with a reassuring smile.

Her legs protested painfully, and Ava wondered how long the journey had taken. She headed for the beam of sunlight that she assumed was coming from the small entrance to the submarine, the walls on either side of her cold and bleak. Sure enough, she came to the ladder that had led her down here God knows how many hours before, and she grasped the rungs gratefully.

Her knees ached, her elbows ached, her head ached, and she was very aware of Richard on the ladder behind her. Not soon enough, though only after a few seconds, she emerged; and the light blinded her so much she wanted to cry out. Shouldn't she have been given sunglasses?

She blinked and brought her hand over her eyes protectively, and when she lowered it, a man came into focus. He had a bunch of orchids in his hand, but she didn't notice them.

His eyes - warm with his expectant smile, and verging on transparent.. She felt too exposed under his gaze, naked, and she almost shrank back despite herself.

Ava turned to Richard, who had just emerged from the sub to stand behind her, and he gave her a small nod; his arms crossing across his chest. She felt as though he should push her forward slightly; like a parent urging a shy and nervous child to warmly greet a relative they've never met. She gathered herself, feeling foolish, and tried to return the man's smile with a courage that she didn't feel.

So this was him.

"Hello," the man said pleasantly, confidently, stepping forward slightly and extending a hand. "My name is Benjamin Linus."

Ava paced back and forth in front of the board; scrawled with multi-coloured equations in varying degrees of visibility. Light streamed in from the large window at the back of the room, where there was a small fishtank on the sill - containing several tetra, and a floor of brightly coloured stones.

She looked pitifully at the poor boy sitting before her as he spun a pencil nervously between his fingers, occasionally dragging the tip lightly over the wooden desk, and tapping his foot; which she would have found it irritating if it weren't for the circumstances.

"I didn't want to have to do this," Ava sighed. "But you gave me no choice."

"If I could just-"

Ava shook her head, and this was enough to silence him. Hah, a week ago, a gun in his mouth probably wouldn't have shut the boy up.

"I tried, Oliver," she said sincerely. "But it's out of my hands. I'm sorry, if it was up to me, it would be different."

"But you're the head of the department!" He argued, the lead of the pencil breaking as he stabbed it point first into the table, adding another hole.

"I said it was out of my hands," Ava sighed. "It was passed on to the Headmaster."

And she'd been bollocked for it - that was the last time she defended a student, no matter how talented they were. It was only when the boy's mock result had been shown to the Head that it was clear she wasn't going to be able to cover for him anymore. And oh how she'd tried, it was a wonder she hadn't been given the boot herself.

Poor boy, she thought, I wonder how his parents will react. If they were mine, well..

He raised his head, "If I'm not in tomorrow, it's because my mum's killed me." The pathetic look in his eyes didn't even touch Ava, and this was what made her a good teacher. Unmoved, unaffected, some of her students called her cruel.. Heartless.

"I'm afraid you won't be in my lesson tomorrow anyway, Oliver. It's still quite early in the year, perhaps you can replace Biochemistry with another subject?" Ava suggested, giving him a small smile. She was still human after all.

"I suppose," Oliver muttered, then he looked up hopefully. "What about Physics?"

"You'll need to work hard, very hard," Ava said sternly. "And you'll actually need to show up."

"I will," he said quickly. Then he hesitated, "will you put in a good word for me?"

Ava rolled her eyes, "of course." She turned her back on him and began to rub her work off the board. "Now bugger off, I've still got to prepare for my next class."

Ava shook her auburn hair out of its disheveled bun before immediately tieing it back up, and then wondering why she'd bothered; it looked exactly the same as it had before she'd taken it down: like she'd slept on it. She sighed and lazily following the scar on her cheek with her eyes before tracing the tissue with her finger; it felt like it took forever for her to reach the end of it.

A knock on the door awakened her from her memories, and she hurried from her bedroom into the bright hall.

She opened to door to Ben, and he gave her another of his warm, crooked smiles. She let out a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding, and opened the door to allow him in - he placed a single orchid in her hand as he passed.

"Ben," she breathed, "you don't have to hand me flowers every time you visit."

"Good thing it's just the one then." He surveyed the room before turning to her, the corners of his mouth twitching. She'd noticed this about Ben -his humour was subtle, and he always looked slightly confused when she laughed at something he'd said. But sometimes they just shared a smile, and she'd close her eyes to avoid the laughter in his, because otherwise she'd end up breathless. She always did find things far funnier than they ought to be, but said that she was simply 'entertaining herself'.

Ava closed the door and moved to place the orchid in a vase, along with the bunch he had given her when she had arrived, and the single flower he had brought on his visit the day before, and the day before that. Smiling at them briefly, she leaned over the counter, her feet leaving the ground slightly, and switched the kettle on.

"Tea or coffee?"

"Coffee would be lovely, thank you." Ben answered, taking his now usual seat on the couch.

Ava prepared the cups and took a seat opposite him, relaxing back into the cushions and tucking her legs beneath her. Ben, however, sat forward with his knees together and his hands upon them - he never seemed to relax.

"How are you settling in?" He asked, after a brief silence. Ava, who had one ear on the kettle, almost didn't hear him.

"Oh, fine, thank you," she albeit grinned. "This place is so relaxing, I can't remember the last time I didn't have something to do, or some place to be. The house is lovely, and I can see the mountains from my bedroom window."

"You can see the mountains from every window." Ben stated, bowing his head slightly, but keeping his eyes on her.

Ava laughed, "yes, but it makes a lovely change from sheep and cows." The kettle clicked off and she pulled herself up before padding over to the kitchen. "Not that I'm complaining about sheep and cows mind you!" she called over her shoulder.

"We have cows - if you want to see them from your window, all you have to do is ask."

She chuckled as she poured the water, and Ben sat in silence until she returned; handing him a white mug (after the awkward moment of who should be holding the handle, where Ben eventually held the bottom before she burnt herself)

"Thank you."

She took her previous position and shifted to make herself comfortable. She could feel Ben's eyes on her as she ducked her head over her mug and breathed in the warm steam.

"Ben," she said suddenly, not lifting her eyes from her drink. "Are we going to do this everyday? You come, hand me a flower, and ask me more questions? What else could you possibly want to know about me?"

Ben glanced at the vase on the counter before bringing his eyes back to her. "Do you not like flowers?" he asked innocently.

Ava actually laughed, "no Ben, they're beautiful. But that's not what I meant."

"Well, I think I have the right to know a lot about you. I brought you here safely, I'm funding your research, and I've put a roof over your head. Yes?"

"Yes, I suppose." Ava stammered, feeling guilty. "Thank you," she said quickly, because she felt it was necessary.

"No trouble at all." Ben took a short sip fom his coffee and then hesitated, not taking his eyes from the cup. "How's living with Richard?"

The room grew cold as the sun sidled behind a cloud, and Ava's eyebrows knotted.

"Oh, it's fine. He's almost never here.. I just hope he doesn't mind me staying for a while.."

She'd been surprised when Ben had told her that there was a slight shortage of space at the Barracks, and that she'd have to live with Richard until they could make further arrangements. Although, Richard had seemed almost as surprised as she had - but Ben had just raised his eyebrows and Richard had nodded. Ava couldn't possibly figure out what 'further arrangements' meant; they're didn't seem to be any construction in the Barracks, and all the houses looked as if they'd been built at the same time, and that no new additions had been made.

"I'm sure that if he's said he doesn't mind, he doesn't mind." Ben breathed, drumming his fingers on the side of his mug. "I can try and arrange for you to live with someone else if you really wish? Perhaps another woman?" He said this nonchalantly, but Ava detected the undertones of an order, and the man took another sip without breaking his gaze.

"No," she said quickly, and Ben raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "No, thank you, I'll be just fine."

The truth was, she couldn't stand living with other women. She'd much rather live on her own, or - if she had to - with a man. They were much less fussy, and didn't talk as much.

She thought later that she may have given Ben the wrong impression.

Next chapter is already written, so I'll post it dependent on reviews. There'll be at least one flashback in each chapter (for the time being) and I haven't yet decided whether this should be a Richard/OC or Ben/OC - perhaps I'll post a poll.. :) or you can tell me your preference, judging on her character.

Thanks for reading :)