Summary: The Lord of the Flies tells a story of the fall of civilization. But what about the tale of its redemption? [Jack x Ralph] [One-shot]
Lord of the Flies © William Golding
"They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate."
– Lord of the Flies
God, he loves the rain. Because somewhere out there, a fire is being put out. Somewhere out there, someone is being saved.
He lets the droplets of water dampen his hair and soak into his shirt, blur his vision until the soccer field in front of him becomes nothing more than just a smudge of green and gray. He intertwines his fingers together and watches with mild interest as drop by drop, rain dots his hands, his arms, his skin. Each drop so small. So insignificant.
Shifting from his sleeping position on the ground, Ralph turns around until he's face to face with vivid blue eyes.
"For what?" he yawns and then smiles.
"I…" The blond's grin just widens and he can just picture the scowl on Jack's face; it's obvious that the redhead isn't used to apologizing.
"I'm right. I know I'm right. We need to hunt," Jack whispers defiantly, but with the subtlest hint of pleading. "But… too much fighting is just useless, y'know? I don't want… to waste too much of our time. I – "
He stops then, and Ralph waits patiently. Yet soon his friend turns around, signaling the end of their conversation. The blond sighs and wishes they could just talk about it more, wishes that they wouldn't need another day to yell at each other about the necessity of shelters and the frenzy of hunting. But at least they are talking. And when he falls asleep again, there is a smile on his lips.
"Come join us!"
Ralph glares at the hunter in front of him. He hates the crude spear in the other's hands. He hates the savage paint smeared all over his face. He hates –
"Ralph," Jack touches his shoulder, and he wants nothing more than to rip that hand off his body, but he finds to his horror that he can't. He simply can't.
"I'm chief," he bares his teeth, holding the conch tight. "And I don't care if you have your own little group of hunters, because nothing has changed."
"Everything has changed," Jack whispers, for once the calm one between the two. But then his voice rises: "Ralph! You idiot! Everything has changed! If you keep being stupid and going on your own and with Piggy," and now his characteristic sneer returns full force, "you won't last long! You won't have any food without my hunters! Join us! Join me!"
Ralph just continues glowering at him, hoping to burn him with his gaze. And maybe it works, because fear flashes on Jack's face for a fleeting moment –or is he just imagining it?– before his grip on his shoulder tightens.
"Ralph," he says, his voice again becoming quieter, and God, Ralph hates that voice, hates the fact that he's not the rational one here, even maybe the savag – No.
"No!" he snarls, finally breaking free.
"Join us and we can become stronger than ever," Jack insists, his words tumbling out more quickly, more frantically. "We can hunt pigs… so many pigs… and we can… we can build so many shelters, too! We can become stronger than ever!"
Ralph stares at him, silent. Could everybody really compromise and live together again? Could they… really reunite again? It would be so much easier, so much more organized, and best of all, they could… But…
"What?" Ralph laughs cruelly. "You want me in a group where you would be chief? Where you would take my conch away? And you would want me, someone who can't hunt, who isn't a proper chief, and who's even a coward? Do you even know what you're saying, Jack?"
The redhead opens his mouth and then stops, looking right at Ralph. And suddenly Ralph can't see the hideous face paint anymore. And that scares him more than anything.
"Ralph, about that… I didn't mean… I – "
"Forget about your hunters!"
And with that, Ralph runs from the clearing and leaves Jack all alone.
With a feral snarl, he lunges at the savage, clawing at his chest, his face, everything he can find.
"How dare you! How could you – "
For a second, Jack says nothing and does nothing, letting Ralph scar his arms and his neck. But then, waking up, he shoves his rival aside.
"Stop!" he cries, shaken. "We… I… we didn't mean to go so far!"
"So what? So what?" Ralph glares at him, hands on his knees and ready to attack again. "Simon is dead! You guys aren't just hunters or even savages anymore! You're a murderer!"
And then he does jump at Jack again. He doesn't care that Jack has a spear in his arm and can easily run it through his heart. Maybe it would be best anyway, to kill and be killed, so he doesn't have to remember Simon's helpless body as it was being torn apart, his pleading voice drowned by vicious howls, and his eyes, his eyes –
Yet instead of attacking back, Jack catches both his wrists in an iron grip, and Ralph reminds himself, with self-disgust welling in his stomach, that Jack is much stronger than he is. He knows then that he is completely vulnerable, but he does not close his eyes or look away but keeps his gaze –his hatred– fixed on the savage. He expects the blow, or at least yelling, but instead all Jack does is stare at him. And then –
"I'm sorry, okay, Ralph? I'm sorry!" Jack's face is pale, his voice rises with every word, and something strikes deep within Ralph. "It went too far!" When the blond doesn't respond, he shakes him harder, more violently. "Okay? Okay? I said, I'm sorry!"
Finally, Ralph snaps out of it.
"It's too late!" he somehow manages to get away from Jack's grasp. "Simon is dead! You guys killed him! It's too late, Jack!"
He lets his arms stay limp by his sides, but his gaze of pure animosity never leaves Jack's face. The other just looks at him, his visage still white, still open. Eventually, though, the color returns to his face and he becomes expressionless.
"I see then," he says, "that we can't resolve our differences. We… I'm just a murderer. A savage. That's true." He turns around, preparing to leave. "But," he pauses then, "at least I can admit it. And what about you, Ralph?" And when he swerves to meet the blond's eyes, Jack has the most contemptuous sneer that Ralph has never seen before. And it shakes him horribly. "Are you going to delude yourself that you didn't murder Simon with us? That you didn't tear him to pieces as well?"
But Jack has already leaped into the dark mouth of forest and fled. And that was the last time the two talked with any resemblance to civility.
A shiver runs through Ralph's back, even though the rain is lucid and warm. He wipes his forehead, touching the spring rain and the sweat that has accumulated with his memory of the hunt. And then swiftly, abruptly, lightning blinds his vision.
Jack kisses him with the ferocity of the rain pounding around them and in his veins. Uncontrollable, unbreakable, and irresistible.
With a growl, Ralph pushes him away and punches him. Hard. He wants a deep purple bruise to form on Jack's pale cheek, to make him remember that he is not wanted so close.
Clutching his knees, the redhead pants, his usually sharp, focused blue eyes hidden by a curtain of drenched burgundy bangs. With a horrid sound, he spits out blood, much to Ralph's satisfaction. The blood, though, is quickly washed away by the flooding earth, just as Ralph's glee does when he sees the triumphant smile Jack gives him when he at last looks up.
The color drains away from Ralph's face. Jack knows.
"You can't run away forever, Ralph," he says quietly, almost rationally.
But how can Jack –Jack– be rational, especially with that maniacal smile adorning his pale, gleaming face? The face of a hunter. A killer.
A sneering face taunting him and asking him how his own is any different. Jack just won't let him run away.
"What are you doing?" Ralph yells, fists raised and ready.
And then Jack laughs. Simply raises his head and laughs cruelly, letting the rain soak into his very pores.
"You think about it, don't you?" he at last turns to look at Ralph again, his voice perfectly serene.
When the other freezes, he calmly lifts himself off the ground, the brutal grin still on his lips.
"It's in your mind. In your nightmares. Always." When Ralph still doesn't move, Jack comes close enough to whisper in the blond's ear: "You can't escape it."
Ralph forces himself out of his daze, out of his horrid recollections, and viciously pushes Jack aside.
"I am not like you!" he hisses. When he realizes that the thundering rain is drowning all his words, he screams them: "I am not like you!"
"Let me kiss you again and let's see how you feel," Jack smirks, and Ralph barely –just barely– catches himself before he almost pummels Jack to the ground.
I am not a violent person. I do not let violence overtake me.
The blossoming flower on Jack's cheek tells a different story. And with a snarl, Ralph runs away.
Then the thunder comes hollering, its voice deafening, demanding. The lightning must be close, Ralph ponders, closing his eyes, feeling his ears buzz from the thunder. It simply can't be ignored.
He had to come back. He couldn't simply leave him alone.
First in his memories, in his nightmares, the hunter with the spear terrorizing him on that damn island. And now he's here again, eager to continue to chase and break him down. And in school of all places, Ralph sighs dejectedly, the most cynical of smiles on his face. The school is a haven, where everybody is acknowledged and respected, the principle declared so many times in pointless assemblies. Ralph, of course, has never believed that. What he did believe was that school is an establishment founded on civilization, where there is at least some order. Safety.
But, now that he's thinking about it, is high school really different from the island? After all, all schools were overrun by children who would –and did– stab each other once the adults' back were turned. What a revealing epiphany, Ralph smirks. If only he had been smart enough to figure it out sooner.
Jack is now stalking him in a whole new territory, with a whole new set of rules that Ralph is just too tired to comprehend. Exhausted. He is just so exhausted. From forcing that smile everyday since his return to his parents and his friends so that they can't see the monster lurking behind his fair complexion and now clouded eyes. From repressing the memories of wretched freedom under innocent blue skies. From chanting to himself every single day, I am civilized. I am civilized. I am civilized. And from praying, pleading, begging every single night for forgiveness.
And sometimes he feels so completely drained that when Jack smashes his skull into the lockers the moment the halls are empty and devours his lips with his own, he simply doesn't have the strength to fight back. He opens his mouth compliantly to the hunter's territorial tongue and simply goes limp and leans into that warmth –
Blood. So much blood. Simon. Piggy.
He shoves Jack to the floor. He desperately wants to lunge at him, to tear him apart, the adrenaline already coursing through his veins. But he's promised himself that he will spill no more blood. So he pierces Jack with the fiercest glower he has.
"What do you want?" he asks Jack, who is once again at his feet.
"My, Ralph," the other sighs innocently, lounging almost leisurely on the floor. "You sure look tired. Would you like to talk about it?"
Ralp is well aware of the perpetual dark circles around his eyes, which only grew worse since Jack's assault began.
"You know exactly why," Ralph grits out, concealing nothing from his enemy. "You've been stalking me ever since you've known that we were in the same goddamn school. What do you want?"
Jumping up with surprising agility and dusting dust nonchalantly off his pants, Jack just smirks.
"You know what I want," he drawls. "We never finished the hunt. And I'm going to end it no matter what."
This time, it's Ralph's time to laugh, if not a little maniacally.
"What are you going to do, Jack?" he asks shrilly. "Are you going to kill me? Run me over with your spear at home? Or better yet – use a gun because that's more civilized!"
Jack slams both hands on either side of Ralph, and the blond feels fear grip his heart for only the smallest fraction of a second before he reminds himself that he's not afraid of Jack. He's not afraid of death even, as long as he goes down while keeping Jack's savagery at bay.
"You're tired of keeping that pathetic façade of yours," Jack's voice is surprisingly soft. "But you'll have to wear that mask. Every. Single. Day. Until you die."
God. He's right.
Utter dejection, hopelessness, pins Ralph to the spot, his eyes widening at he envisions his bleak future. Well, he thinks, I guess it won't matter because I won't last long then. But… is that how he wants to think? Does he even have a choice…?
"But did you notice something?" his pursuer smiles near his ear. "When I'm with you, the mask is off. You can finally be yourself. You can finally breathe. Maybe that's why you always return my kisses, have you thought about that, hmm?" Ralph's breathing has become shallower until he's panting. "The best hunter lulls his prey to him. I was too young back then; I couldn't have understood. But now I've realized two things. Now I know," Jack hums quietly, sweetly, in his ear. "I'm going to end this hunt."
He then pushes himself away from Ralph and saunters away, his steps light, confident. And Ralph closes his eyes and leans on the wall, cursing and missing that warmth.
Closer and closer. With every crack of thunder, the lightning nears. It's so beautiful and Ralph closes his eyes and lets the pure white light up behind his fluttering eyelids. If lightning hits him, would he still think it was beautiful right before it strikes his face? But it never does. Always, always, the lightning eventually recedes, only daring to come as close as it can until it comes to a standstill with Ralph's tranquil gaze.
He can't keep this up. He's been skipping more and more classes until he's so close to simply dropping out. He doesn't know how much time has passed since Jack first grabbed his collar and kissed him on the soccer field. Months, weeks, years?
Horrifyingly, it's not because he's trying to avoid Jack's assaults. He wishes it were that simple, though. If he was simply trying to evade Jack, he would have simply switched to a different school and been done with it. Well, he is trying to stay clear of the redhead, to resist those embraces and kisses that he both hates and loves. And that's where the problem lies.
He can't stand being in school, being so close to that monster. But he can't stand being alone, isolated, in the dark that he has created for himself. Jack was right all those years ago. Ralph is a monster, too. And maybe that is why he's drawn to that sinister smile, because maybe the two are the only true monsters out there in this cruel world that is still too civilized for either of them.
Yet it's so wrong. So perverse. They murdered Simon together, perhaps that's true, but Ralph lives in regret every single day while Jack still sings merry songs in his choir and dares to smirk at him. And Piggy. Jack never stopped Roger from brutally smashing Piggy's brains, a grotesque image that still so often haunts him. It's just… so wrong.
So when Jack twists his chin to kiss him in the boys' locker room, he struggles against his body's worn instinct to relax in the hunter's possessive arms and bites Jack's tongue. He tastes blood immediately and relishes in its metallic taste, in Jack's pain. He knows that he has made an oath not to succumb to violence, not to let any blood spill onto the floor. Well, he reasons, the blood won't spill anywhere but in his mouth.
Jack immediately pulls back and stares at Ralph, who smiles for the first time in months, blood trickling down his lips. Then Jack hits him, punches his face so hard that Ralph's head bangs into the lockers and makes him slide to the floor, groaning. When his vision clears, he looks up to Jack, who's still staring at him with impenetrable eyes. Neither moves. Silence passes between the two for a minute, then an eternity, and then at last the same realization dawns on both of them.
"You can't win!" Jack snarls and swiftly leaves the locker room.
It is the first time that he has fled from Ralph.
For the first time, Ralph begins noticing things about Jack. He discovers that Jack is still the leader of his choir, albeit a new group of boys ready to bow to his every command, watching his every move with deferential, fearing eyes. He sees how Jack smiles, triumphantly, spitefully, angrily, and how he often subtly tempts his followers to spiral into his own feral ways.
Ralph also realizes that Jack has no friends. Plenty of admirers, even a girl or two with whom he fools around. But nothing else. And when he glances at Jack's face for the briefest moments, he notices that the redhead also has dark circles under his eyes. Lighter than his, but definitely present. And not only that. Ralph's breath hitches with the realization, but Jack's eyes are the widest, the bluest –the most beautiful– when they are focused on him.
There is definitely something wrong with him, Ralph knows that about himself. But there is also something definitely wrong with Jack. And not just his blatant animality. There is, Ralph is starting to discover, something infinitely more complex and more touching about Jack than he could have ever fathomed. And he wants to run away from it and understand it at the same time.
That's why for once he's the pursuer when he corners Jack in an empty classroom when dark is settling down. Briefly noticing the sunset casting delicate hues of red and purple (the color of bruises, he notes) into the room, Ralph wonders why both of them are still in school so late. Maybe they have both been waiting for each other.
Jack, of course, acts casual, even pleased, when he sees the blond.
"Like I said," he chuckles, striding to him and catching his chin in his hand, "the best hunter lulls his prey to him."
"Why didn't you take me then?" Ralph asks, his visage expressionless, just when Jack is about to claim his lips, and with a start, Jack lets his chin go and takes a step back.
"What?" he asks, cautiously.
"Two weeks ago," Ralph says slowly, almost nonchalantly, "I bit your tongue and you punched me to the floor. You could have just continued with your assault then. You could have even raped me, if you wanted to. But you just ran away. And," he looks directly into Jack's wide eyes, "why did you stop kissing me just because I bit your tongue? Did I hurt you that much?"
There is mockery in his voice, but there is so much truth to what he has just said. Jack only kisses him when he kisses back. Every time Ralph pushes him away, he smirks, laughs, and leaves, but he never forces another kiss.
"What kind of hunter are you, Jack?" Ralph tilts his head. "What kind of hunter accommodates his prey?"
"Shut up!" Jack lunges at him and pins him down onto one of the desk.
He looks down at Ralph, on his back and so vulnerable, with the most feral of expressions, and for a heartrending second, Ralph wonders whether he was wrong and whether he will regret his words now. But again, there is nothing but silence. All color drains from Jack's face when he realizes that he isn't moving, that he can't move.
"What do you want?" he asks at last, and for once, he sounds tired. So tired.
I'm the hunted. How would I know? Ralph bites back this sardonic reply (why? In consideration of Jack's feelings? Since when did he accommodate his enemy?) and instead answers sincerely:
"I want to know a lot of things, actually. Why do you need my consent to kiss me? Why did you stop last time? But you don't need to answer all those questions. I just want to know this," he gazes calmly at Jack. "You said long time ago that since our time on the island, you realized two things. I'm assuming that the first thing was that you knew that I was weak and tired after the island, that all I was doing was pretending and hiding. Am I right?"
Jack stays still for a moment but at last nods slowly, narrowing his eyes into a glare.
"But what about the second thing?"
Jack abruptly lets go of Ralph's wrist and turns away.
"And why should I answer any of those questions?" he asks coldly.
Slowly, Ralph sits up.
"Because if you answer that one question, I promise you that the hunt will end."
Maybe I should run, Ralph now thinks, just like the lightning that's slowly withdrawing. If he leaves right now, he has a feeling that Jack will stop tracking him down. How can he continue the chase when Ralph now knows so many of his weaknesses? It would be so easy to simply stand Jack up on their meeting. Everything would then end. Perhaps things could go back to normal.
But remembering his countless sleepless nights, he knows that he needs to stay.
Slowly, he turns his head to look at Jack, who for once has no smirk or sneer but simply a carefully emotionless face.
"It feels refreshing, though," Ralph says lightly, watching the other as he makes his way to the bleachers and sits next to him.
For a few minutes, neither of them talks. They just sit next to each other, almost amiably.
"Are you going to start?" Jack at last asks bluntly, with a slight edge to his voice.
"I will," Ralph replies, closing his eyes. "I just can't remember… the last time we talked like this."
The blond blinks, startled by how quickly Jack replied to the statement.
"I think," the other then starts, avoiding Ralph's gaze and staring –almost glaring– in front of him, "that I made the wrong choice."
All of a sudden, lightning once again reaches hungrily for the ground, halting Jack's speech. The moment it touches the earth, dull gray skies suddenly illuminate into day. Both stare in wonder at the awesome spectacle in front of them, all around them, not afraid to be blinded by the light.
"I enjoy being chief," Jack continues, his voice even, "and I enjoy hunting. I can't pretend to be Mr. Civilized like you, Ralph. We can't all be angels," and now there is a tone of resentment. "But I… I…" He pauses and then takes a deep breath, "I didn't mean to kill Simon. I don't think anybody did. But then I felt that there was no way out, and it was… easier… just to put on paint on my face and keep hunting. To just forget."
Ralph has a scathing retort ready. He glares at Jack, yet when he sees the red bangs plastered on his forehead and his piercing eyes staring right ahead, he stops.
"I'm sorry, okay, Ralph? I'm sorry! It went too far!"
"And it just got worse. Roger killed Piggy, and I didn't know what to do. I couldn't have cared less for that four-eyed idiot, and I couldn't yell or do anything against Roger when we both knew that there was Simon's blood on our hands. But I knew –I knew– that it shouldn't have happened, even though I was really starting not to care, I was just starting to leave all that behind… It's so much easier to just keep hunting."
"It sure is easier," Ralph cuts in, his voice dripping venom. "It's so much easier than to think about them every fucking day of your life, wishing and regretting so hard that it hurts."
"Yes, it sure is," Jack snaps, "and when someone takes the harder, noble way instead, they end up like you. You're barely living your life and it's pathetic!"
They exchange an intense glare, and it's with the greatest effort that Ralph says:
"I'm not like Roger," the redhead states quietly. "I don't want the blood. Not the blood of people anyway. I know that I can just continue living like I am now. No one's ever going to punish me for what I did on that island. But… we deal with what happened in very different ways, Ralph," he then smirks, gazing at the other with ironic mirth, "but we will end up the same. The island might not have killed us then, but it will kill us eventually."
Breathing becoming more frantic, Ralph stares at Jack. He's right. He's right. Fear overwhelms him,, and even though Jack is still smiling, he can see the same fear mirrored in those crisp blue eyes.
"But it doesn't have to be that way," Jack then murmurs. "I think I've found a way out. And what's even funnier is that it was always there."
"You need me, don't you?" Ralph whispers. "You need me to atone your guilt."
"Yes, isn't that pathetic?" Jack laughs wryly. "But guess what?" he then comes close enough for a kiss. "You need me, too." He pulls away, almost tauntingly.
"I do not!" Ralph spits out.
Now the fear shows even more evidently in Jack's expression, and Ralph smiles with sick enjoyment. Jack abruptly stands up.
"Well then," he says lightly. "I can leave."
He turns around. This time, Ralph feels the color drain from his face, his breath leaving him. Something grips him, suffocates and drowns him. It's even worse than his perpetual regret, his self-disgust, or even the fatigue of living in a world he no longer belongs to. It's sadness. It's pure despair.
This dizzying realization must have only taken less than a second, because he still has time to clutch Jack's sleeve before he's gone.
"No," he whispers.
Jack lazily turns around. There's triumph in his eyes, but even more evident is the relief.
"I told you so, didn't I?" he sits back down, grinning, but his smile is different now, just a little softer.
Ralph just huffs and huddles closer, suddenly hating the rain that is now pelting hard onto the ground.
"Is that all you have to say?" he asks.
"Don't trivialize what I just said," Jack cautions, narrowing his eyes. "It took months, even years, to figure this out, and weeks until I could finally find a way to tell this to you in a way that even you can understand. But," he lightly touches Ralph's chin when he's about to turn away indignantly, "I have one last thing to say." Gently, he kisses the blond's closed eyelids and the dark circles under his eyes. "I'm sorry."
Each drop of rain that touches is hands, his arms, his skin, is so insignificant, Ralph notes faintly. But together they can penetrate even the toughest barrier. Together they can seep so deep until they reach a person's soul.
And when Jack kisses him, not angrily or possessively but soothingly, tenderly, Ralph closes his eyes and lets him in.
Together they share their first kiss.
A/N: Hazaa! I have always wanted to write a Lord of the Flies fanfiction. Jack x Ralph is just one of the most beautiful and complex pairings when written right, but it just takes so much skill and time to write a believable story about the two connecting together after the island. I really believe that you need a full multi-chaptered story to truly make a developed relationship between the two plausible, but since I don't have time for that, hopefully my one-shot is at least (semi-)believable.
There are just so many scenarios between those two that are just not possible in my opinion. First, could they ever get together if they hadn't been rescued? It would have been so much harder; both need time away from the Lord of the Flies to really understand what happened on the island. And no, twelve-year-old boys will not want boy sex slaves. At least not right away (or at least, I hope not; this generation is getting corrupted so fast…). If it was an AU where the oldest boys were fifteen/sixteen-ish, it would be more believable. And Ralph will need a lot of time to forgive Jack (note how he doesn't say that he forgives Jack in this story).
Okay, so there was my rant. Yes, I do think that the boys would have eventually turned gay (or experimented at least) if they stayed on the island long enough. Hope you enjoyed this ~
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