Title: Playing Games
Fandom: Lost and Bones
Summary: After being rescued, Hurley passes the days in Santa Rosa without anything interesting happening. Then he strikes up a bond with a brilliant new transfer.
Notes: Takes place after season 3 of Bones and season 4 of Lost... I think. Don't tell me I'm the only one who wanted Hurley and Zack to meet! AU because of what happened during season 4 of Bones, but I didn't watch season 4 and NO ONE CAN MAKE ME. *sticks fingers in ears and sings loudly*
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There was something different about today. A shift in the air, currents swerving around and colliding with each other. Or maybe Dennis had just farted, Hurley wasn't really sure.
"Looks like they're bringing in a new patient."
Hurley didn't look up, continued to stare at the chessboard. "Don't even think about distracting me, dude. It hasn't worked before and it's not gonna work now." Reaching for his rook, he moved it down the board. "Checkmate."
A sigh. "Remind me why I play against you again?"
"Cause you've got nothing better to do?"
She smiled, amused. "Good point."
Hurley finally took his eyes off the board and noticed the attendants bringing in the new transfer Ana Lucia had just mentioned. The new kid's eyes were wide and bright as he sat down in a plastic chair at the edge of the common room, and Hurley thought he looked like he was trying to hide, to be quiet and small so that no one would notice him.
The dark circles under his eyes hinted at something Hurley had seen all too many times; this was a transfer from one of the scarier facilities out of state.
"That guy looks like he needs someone to take him under his wing." Ana Lucia said, looking pointedly at Hurley.
"Yeah yeah, I'm going." Hurley muttered, getting up and ambling over to the where the kid was sitting. He didn't question this proverbial purgatory he was stuck in anymore; if Ana Lucia or Eko or Charlie or Boone asked him to do something, he did it. No skin off his back, after all. They were dead, hallucinations.
"Hey man, what's up?" Hurley asked, sitting down on the chair next to the new transfer and holding out his hand. "My name's Hurley, welcome to Santa Rosa."
The kid stared at his outstretched hand, unresponsive.
"He's acting like it's poisonous snake or something." Ana said with a snort. But just as she finished speaking, the other patient took Hurley's hand and shook it tentatively.
"Nice to meet you, Hurley. My name is Zack."
"Zack, cool name. Nice to meet you too." Hurley could feel Zack's hand relax just as he let go and knew he's succeeded in easing the tension running through the guy. Just a little. "You play chess?"
"Yes. I find chess very stimulating to my intellect." Zack replied after a moment, a tremor of surprise in his voice. "I haven't played in a rather long time."
Hurley grinned and motioned Zack towards the table where he'd been playing minutes earlier. "Don't worry, I'll go easy on you."
- - -
"You'll go easy on him? Looks like it should be the other way around to me."
"Hey, how was I supposed to know I'd be playing against a chess genius?"
"I assume you're speaking to one of your hallucinations?"
Hurley turned away from Ana Lucia to look at Zack, whose hand was hovering above his knight as he eyed the board with single-minded concentration. After a few more seconds of thinking, Zack moved the piece, taking out Hurley's bishop. Hurley still hadn't answered Zack's question when the kid looked up from the board calmly. "If the topic of your particular mental dysfunction is an uncomfortable topic for you, we don't have to discuss it any further."
Hurley nodded slowly, not at all up to explaining the reality of the situation to Zack. "Yeah... let's not do that."
Ana Lucia shook her head. "He's like a fucking encyclopedia."
"Very well, we can find another topic of discussion." Zack said, his lips pressed into a thin line as he searched for an appropriate topic. "Are you originally from Los Angeles?"
"Yeah..." Hurley paused, partially because he was struggling for his next move, partially because he had a suspicion about something else. "You don't recognize me, do you?"
Zack frowned. "No. If you are a person of cultural significance popularized by the media, then I am afraid I would not be aware of your identity."
Hurley looked at Zack like he was an alien. "Huh?"
"I don't watch very much television. Unless it's March Madness."
"Oh." Hurley wondered what had landed Zack in a mental facility. He was obviously intelligent, well-spoken, calm to a fault. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with Zack.
"On the surface, doesn't seem like there's much wrong with you either." Ana Lucia said pointedly, arms crossed in front of her chest as she watched the game proceed.
Zack continued speaking, waiting for Hurley to make his move. "So you're from Los Angeles then. Do you have family here?"
"Yeah, my mom and my dad. They don't visit me much anymore." Hurley moved one of his pawns in a futile attempt to distract Zack from his queen. "What about you?"
"My most recent place of residence was Washington D.C."
"D.C? Dude, that's like a million miles away! What are you doing here?"
Zack looked away uncomfortably, making a strange grumbling noise in his throat. Hurley took the cue to avoid the topic.
"Never mind, man. Sorry I asked. You just concentrate on kicking my ass." Hurley motioned at a white pawn. "One more space and you get your bishop back."
Zack didn't move, choosing to stare at the board instead with a dead look in his eyes. "My parents were very dejected by what I did and did not have the constitution to maintain contact with me as I recovered from my lapse in sensibility. However, my sister and brother-in-law encouraged me to move to a facility close to them. They live in L.A."
The kid's words gave Hurley the creeps and he found himself tensing. "What did you do?"
"I ended a man's life for the greater good."
"You're a murderer?" The revelation did not bother Hurley as much as he thought it would. After the Others, I guess nothing else really cuts it in scare factor.
"Yes, more or less."
Hurley frowned. "There's nothing 'more or less' about murder, dude. You either killed someone or you didn't."
"It's... a complex situation."
Hurley was about argue that it couldn't possibly be as hard to explain as Zack thought it was, when it occurred to him that his own life story was the very definition of complex.
Hurley lowered his eyes to the board. "Complex. Yeah, dude, I can totally get behind that."
Zack looked grateful to see that Hurley was dropping the subject. "Thank you."
"No problem." And then they were back to the game, both of them pretending to be two old friends when the situation was anything but, with the ghosts of the past sitting and watching right behind them.
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