Quiet Desperation

A/N: OK, this is a heavy AU story, wherein Sawyer and Charlie are two of the Oceanic Six, and Kate (and Claire) are not. Just a one shot drabble basically, of an idea that came into my head one day.

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation…" ~ Walt Whitman

It works well, the two of them living together, because Sawyer doesn't care when Charlie shoots up heroin, and Charlie doesn't care when Sawyer drinks until he passes out.

Neither of them are quite sure how it happened, how the two of them drifted together like this, except that neither of them had anywhere else to go and both of them needed something solid from the Island to grasp onto, to remind them of what they left behind.

They're not friends exactly, but they have both lost something that they know they can never get back.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

They don't talk about it. When Sawyer comes home in the early hours of the morning, fumbling with his keys, and finds Charlie motionless on the couch with a tourniquet still around his arm and a needle dropped to the floor, he merely stumbles over to check his pulse and then shake him awake when he finds one. Sawyer doesn't know what he'll do when the day comes that he can't find a heartbeat.

Charlie stirs and opens his eyes to gaze blankly at Sawyer, as if he was expecting to see someone else.

Sawyer takes the tourniquet from his arm while Charlie watches vaguely, then takes the needle from the floor and puts it on the coffee table where he doesn't have to worry about stepping on it accidentally. It joins a mess of cigarette butts and crumpled beer cans. Neither of them spend much time cleaning up. It doesn't matter. They don't care.

"Geez kid," he growls softly, "Are you trying to kill yourself?"

But he turns away quickly and heads for the kitchen so that he doesn't have to hear the answer. He's afraid he already knows.

When Sawyer returns from the kitchen with a beer, Charlie's already sitting up, holding a lighter to the bottom of a teaspoon, melting the heroin into something he can inject.

Sawyer pauses briefly in the doorway, watching. It's a scene that he has grown used to, but, even drunk, he can feel how wrong this is, watching someone destroy themselves and going along for the ride. He wants to tell Charlie to lay off, have something to eat and then get some damned rest, but he knows that Charlie will just ignore him, and honestly, Charlie's better company when he's high. He talks more and even makes jokes occasionally, albeit sarcastic and bitter ones. Sawyer doesn't mind.

"Ain't you had enough already?" Sawyer slurs anyway as he collapses down on the couch and pops the cap off of his beer.

Charlie glances at him briefly before returning his gaze to his heroin. Sawyer can tell that he's trying to stop his hands from shaking. Charlie hardly ever looks anyone in the eye these days.

"Haven't you?' Charlie challenges, gesturing to the beer that Sawyer clings to like a lifeline.

Sawyer has no answer, and they settle down into silence as they both take their poison.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

If Sawyer doesn't drink himself to sleep, he dreams about Kate, and when he wakes up, it's like starting all over again. Like this is his first morning in the real world without her and he has to grab another drink quickly before he starts to think about how he'll never see her again, how he just left her.

Sawyer suspects that it's the same for Charlie with Claire.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

They never speak their names. Even at his drunkest, the closest Sawyer has come is a slurred, "I miss her."

Charlie pulls his hood up over his head and stares down at the baggie of heroin on the table.

"I miss her too," he says quietly.

They both know that they are talking about different people, but it doesn't matter.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Sometimes Sawyer thinks about not going home. He thinks about drinking until he doesn't know where he is or how he got there. He thinks that maybe he should just get lost again, but then he remembers Charlie, and he knows that if he was ever to get lost, he would have to take him too.

So Sawyer goes home and drinks his was to unconsciousness, while Charlie mainstreams smack until his veins are threatening to collapse, and they both try to forget everything.

End.