By Delia Lavender

I do not own LOST, Man in Black, John Locke, Jacob or any other character from the T.V. series.

I write only for my own amusement.

He had lied to James. He had never been human...

At least he had never been born as such. But the lie had its own truth. He had absorbed too many human lives, he had assimilated too much humanity, to remain a mere, organic machine...

He was a man now...he was.

He was a man. He was an angry man.

But he would escape this place. He had destroyed his creator...he would destroy his successors, too.

And in the larger world beyond the Island, he would set up his kingdom.

And he would be a man, forever.

* * * * * *

He had told James part of the truth...Jacob had stolen his humanity.

Jacob's world, so far away in time as well as space, had condemned him for what he'd done.

The creation of intelligent, living, half-organic machines had been forbidden. Especially those in the image of smoke...however useful they were as guards and spies.

So Jacob and his creation had been banished, sent away to serve as guardians of the Island.

The Island was the depository of much electromagnetic energy. Interlopers were to be discouraged...

But the electromagnetic storms resulting from the destruction of Jacob's world had reached far beyond its own dimension, affecting even the Island.

It had partly destroyed the force field protecting the Island. And it had given Jacob's creation self-awareness.

Jacob had been happy, at first. Smoke had become better company. Smoke could gather information about the beings whom Jacob would now draw towards the Island.

And Jacob's experiments could begin anew.

But as Smoke grew increasingly aware of his strength, his new self-consciousness, he also became aware of what he lacked.

Smoke hovered, reaching into his creator's mind, forming a link...

He watched as Jacob enjoyed the gifts of the Island, as he indulged in the pleasures his senses offered him.

The eating of fruit and fish. The satisfaction of appetite. The appreciation of sunsets, of dawn over the sea. The warmth of the sun against his face...

His loneliness at night. His dreams of lovely women. The sensations it evoked when he thought about his wife and children.

Smoke's awareness continued to grow. He could experience longing. He could experience lust. He could experience frustration...

But he couldn't do anything about his longing, lust or frustration.

To be alive inside a vacuum...never to know human sensations, human release...

But things changed, when the first men arrived at the Island.

Jacob was a god. Smoke was his enforcer. The new people built temples and monuments.

Smoke slew the evildoers. He absorbed their souls. He learned more as he incorporated these beings.

And he found relief in their deaths. Killing was the only way he could feel satisfaction. It was the closest he could come to sensuality.

Until he took his first woman. Her name had been Danae, and he had clouded her mind: taking the form of golden mist as he flowed over and into her.

He had later appeared to Jacob, in the shadowy form of a man, and had mocked him.

But Jacob, to Smoke's surprise, was still stronger than he was. Jacob had been furious. He had imprisoned him, squeezing him into the huge trunk of a banyan tree. There he was to remain for a long, long time.

Danae and her people had been sent back to their homeland. Danae had her child there, and he had become the hero/god Perseus.

Smoke was never to see his son, and his bitterness grew. Even after Jacob finally released him, he would always hate banyan trees and what they represented.

But Smoke had become Jacob's enemy. He disseminated the Island people, becoming stronger as he absorbed more souls. He evaded recapture, trying various paths around the rules, interfering with Jacob's experiments.

He killed most of the people Jacob called – until the DARMA Initiative arrived. They fought the survivors among Jacob's people, but DARMA displayed a weapon Smoke had never encountered before...

They had constructed a sonic fence, which had the power to stop Smoke. And Jacob, working through his slaves Richard and Horace, had caused the cabin to be built.

And Smoke had been outsmarted, again. He'd been trapped - again. With a circle of charged ash sapping his powers and holding him prisoner within the cabin's perimeter.

* * * * * *

Sometimes he managed to get out. The circle of ash would sometimes shift, leaving slight openings. He would fly over the Island, creating his characteristic tocka, tocka, tocka sound, free for a while...

But always...inevitably...Dogen would show up, with his incantations and more ash, to repair the breach.

Smoke hated Dogen almost as much as he hated Jacob and his representative, Richard.

Dogen treated him as though he was a monster. He reminded Smoke of his origins, of his long existence as a security system.

But Smoke was so much more! He had the essence of humanity inside him. If he was evil, it was because human beings were evil.

Jacob was a human being. Jacob had made him. Jacob had destroyed that first, nebulous body Smoke had created, before trapping him in the cursed banyan tree.

And Jacob had said that he would trap him again...and again. He would do anything to thwart him, to contain him...

To keep him on the Island. But, one day, some of the humans had set off a bomb...

* * * * * *

Another electromagnetic bombardment. And much power.

He had been working on his plans for countless years. Like Jacob, he had learned how to call to people, how to influence them.

And some of the people – Ben, for instance – didn't know who they'd really been working for. Not at first...

But John Locke had been the best. John Locke had been easiest to lead. And John Locke had been the one Smoke had duplicated...

Completely. Now he was truly a man...a real man...with mass and substance. He now experienced all the sensations, joys and temptations of a man.

And Jacob was dead.

Except for that pesky ghost in the jungle. Jacob as a young boy. Taunting Smoke as usual...telling Smoke what he could not do.

But how had Jacob returned as a child?

It didn't matter...Jacob was a spirit now, and a spirit couldn't hurt anyone. Certainly not Smoke.

But he must remember to keep his temper. Things could still go wrong. He could not afford to lose control of his people.

He was eliminating Jacob's candidates. He was killing anyone who might threaten him. He was preparing his people to sacrifice themselves for him.

Of course they didn't know this. He would give them their dreams...for a little while. Their dreams of riches, home, loved ones returned...

They would die among their illusions.

But he would not. He would escape the Island. When the sacrifice was completed, he would reach the mainland.

He would take only the cabin with him. The cabin that existed in between the dimensions, waiting in a sort of limbo.

But it was no longer a dark limbo. He had created the illusion of sun and garden, of a pleasant home.

He was a man and a man needed a home. A man needed a woman in his home...

His woman was named "Roxanne" and she was beautiful. He had found her in the temple, on the night he had destroyed it. She had joined his people briefly, before he had taken her away from the others.

He visited the cabin whenever he could, after his people had fallen asleep. He looked forward to his hours with Roxanne, in the big brass bed. All his sensual yearnings had been fulfilled with her.

So now, when he visited, he arrived a gentleman; wearing good slacks, a soft, open-necked oxford shirt, and shiny loafers.

No more jungle rot clinging to his sweaty chest. No more filthy, smelly boots. No more whiskers to scratch Roxanne's face.

And he always brought flowers, even though she was already surrounded by them.

Why not? He could appear dapper within the confines of the cabin. And the more civilized he looked, the less Roxanne trembled...

And a man should take care of his woman. He had learned that lesson from Richard. Many years ago he'd scanned Richard - then hanging from chains within the Black Rock - and had learned of his relationship with Isabella.

Of course, Smoke had used that relationship to torment him – but it had been of no use. Richard had been too weak to kill Jacob. Jacob, in fact, had turned the situation around, becoming Richards new master.

He had waited many more years, for someone like Ben to come along. Ben's hunger for power had opened him up to Smoke's blandishments. And his jealousy of John Locke had finally pushed him over the edge.

In the end, it had been easy to manipulate Ben into stabbing Jacob.

So now...what?

More manipulation. All of the candidates must die...but he could not do it himself.

Someone else must kill the candidates.

But he was maneuvering. There was certainly enough anger to work with...

James' anger towards Jack. Claire's insane resentment of Kate.

All of them with dreams, desires, deprivations, bereavements.

Just as he had. After all – he was a man, wasn't he?

Roxanne sometimes called him "Old Smokey" and he accepted it. He was certain she meant it affectionately. After his escape, he would become "Mr. Smoke" - it would become a real name, a real title.

He needn't be "John Locke" forever.

A real name - for a real man. A name of his very own. A name that unashamedly reflected his origins.

A name that humans would forever revere.

He smiled to himself. He threw a few more branches on the campfire. Nearby, Sayid stirred a little, but settled down again.

Everyone was dead to the world. Today's march had been long and hard.

He could slip away for a while. He could visit Roxanne. The cabin would be just out of sight, beyond those trees...

He concentrated, calling the cabin from between dimensions, then he slipped quietly out of camp.

Of course Roxanne had been upset, when she'd found herself trapped in the cabin. But he had talked to her, rationally explaining her need for protection. He had expressed his stubborn, indisputable right to guard her...

In the coming war, there would be no place safer for her than the cabin.

But he hadn't told her everything. She didn't know yet that she had conceived...

But he knew. He had heard the rapid tocka, tocka, tocka coming from her womb.

His son's heartbeat. HIS son...not the son of the fat, temple baker who'd demanded Roxanne as reward for defecting. Certainly not the son of Lennon, the impotent brute who'd been Roxanne's husband.

His own son...who would never be taken from him. Who belonged to him, as much as his mother did.

Soon he would be born, and Mr. Smoke would visit them both. He would approach the cabin at night, admiring its homey transformation, appreciating the pretty, white bungalow it had become.

And he would bring flowers for Roxanne.

She would greet him at the door. He would embrace her warmly. And then he would help her coax their flying son down from the ceiling.