Those Days You Felt Alive
Prompt: This fic is for a prompt at jjverse (at LiveJournal) in which we were told to write how we wanted a JJ fandom to end. I picked Lost, since that's on the forefront of my mind right now with it quickly coming to an end. I wanted to write/post this before the finale. It's a little sappy and a little unrealistic, but the prompt was how I wanted the series to end, and I just really want a happy ending for these two.
I'm thinking when you smile
for your blue skies
for those times you felt alive
breathing and softly releasing
I won't let you go
Spitalfield (Those Days You Felt Alive)
It's not the first time he's been conned into being Miles' date. Funny, he'd always thought he was the conman of the two, but he'd been drug along on too many of these "dates" to even complain.
He hadn't wanted to come, mainly because Charlotte was going to be here, and he didn't see that going over well. Couldn't expect privacy from anyone these days. Admittedly, though, he'd been rash, and he'd tried to ask for forgiveness, but he couldn't really expect a big yellow flower to solve all his problems. So much for being romantic.
He'd ruined things there, no doubt about it. But that didn't mean he had to show his face around her again. But when Miles pleaded with him so that he didn't have to go alone, he'd finally agreed, making some quip about how showing up with another man wasn't going to do much for Miles in the way of getting ladies, to which Miles had replied, "I'll tell them you're my partner, they'll of course be disappointed, but then when I tell them you're my police partner, they'll be relieved and impressed by my call to duty." Leave it to Miles.
Now James sits stiffly in his seat, his jacket draped over the empty seat beside him for Miles, who'd gone to talk to his father and, of course, Charlotte. James had chosen to save their seats, as the concert hall was filling quickly.
"This seat taken?"
He looks up to say yes, but as soon as he sees the woman standing there, he changes his mind and pulls his jacket off the chair back. "No."
"Good," the blonde says, lowering herself into the seat, "The only seats left were in the back, and if my son saw me sitting back there, he'd know I didn't come early enough. I got caught at work…" She trails off like she notices that she's talking about something mundane, but he shocks himself by being legitimately interested.
"What do you do?"
"Oh." She smoothes her skirt against her legs, and even though she mentioned her son, James notices that she isn't wearing a ring. "I'm a fertility specialist."
"A doctor huh? Big shot." He grins.
"More of a researcher," she says.
There is a lull in conversation, but James sees Miles working his way back up the aisle, looking pointedly at the woman beside James. James gives a little half-shrug and turns back to the woman. "You say your son? He playing tonight?"
The woman's eyes are searching the rows in front of them. "Yes, actually. He's playing piano."
The woman shifts in her seat suddenly, looking him full-on. "I'm sorry, this is going to sound really strange, but have we met before?"
James meets her eyes, and for a moment he thinks they have met before, and his heart leaps into his throat, then the feeling is gone. "No, I don't think so."
"Oh." She looks disappointed, then holds out her hand. "I'm Juliet."
"Juliet," he says, and the name feels right on his tongue. "I'm James, you can call me Jim."
"It's nice to meet you, James" she says, ignoring his request for her to call him Jim, and settles back into her seat. A man turns around a few rows in front of them, scans the room and finally his gaze lands on the two of them. He throws up a half-wave and mouths "You made it," to which the woman, Juliet, smiles and nods.
Juliet flushes. "Is it that obvious?"
"Yeah, actually. And he's sitting up there right now wondering who the hell I am and where you met me and how you could possibly bring a date to his son's concert. That's assuming none of those guys beside him are his date."
Juliet actually laughs. "I doubt that."
"Then he's thinking it, trust me."
Sure enough, the man glances back over his shoulder and then turns his attention away.
Juliet covers her mouth with her hand, and her hair falls around her face and he almost reaches to move it back, but he has to stop himself. What is up with this?
"So are you here for someone, or are you just enjoying the festivities?" Juliet says after she's recovered.
James decides it's best not to tell her that he'd come with his partner, whose seat she'd just stolen. Miles was bound to be none too happy about that, and Juliet would probably get the wrong impression.
"A friend of mine, his dad runs the museum, so he had some extra tickets."
"And I stole his seat," Juliet says. It's not a question.
"Actually, I sort of loaned his seat out."
"I'm not going to apologize for it. Although I did see him stare me down. My son's lecture about being at least 30 minutes early for these kinds of events, however, would be far worse than your friend's scorn."
"You don't know Miles," he says.
She looks at him oddly for a moment but shakes her head. The lights fade, so he's lost the opportunity to ask her anything else.
Outside the concert hall, he leans against the wall to wait for Miles. He lost Juliet in the crowd after a rushed goodbye. She'd headed toward the stage to, congratulate her son, who was one hell of a pianist.
He wasn't looking forward to seeing Miles after that, but it had been worth it, though he wished he'd had a chance to ask Juliet out or something. Then again, she'd acted kind of strange around him, so he didn't know if a date would be the best option.
The sidewalks in front of the hall are clearing out, and, as usual, it is taking Miles forever to get out of the building. He was like that anywhere, always had to take a "good bye tour" like he was so damn popular. James catches a glimpse of blond hair and realizes it's Juliet again, this time hugging her son and patting the man he'd seen earlier on the arm. Both their smiles are forced. The man and son walk away, and Juliet turns the other direction, almost immediately catching his eyes.
"Hey," she says, smiling and moving to where he's standing. "Your friend making you wait outside for him since you gave his seat away?"
"Haven't talked to him yet, but he's my ride, so I'm hoping he's not too mad."
She smiles. "Well, thanks for the seat," she says lamely.
She stands in front of him for a while, and then sighs. "Listen, I don't do this, I really don't, but it's just---I don't know. Would you like to, I don't know…we could get coffee or something."
He's stunned. "What?" However, he's not stunned by the fact that she's just asked him out, but there's something more. Something about those words propel him to somewhere else, somewhere dark and he can't breathe, and her face is bloodied and she's asking him to kiss her.
"We—we can go dutch," she says, the real her, the one standing on the street.
He blinks, rubs his eyes, but he still can't get rid of the image. After a moment, he breathes, "Juliet. It worked." He doesn't know why he says it. He braces himself back against the wall. He can hear his heart pound in his ears and Miles is telling him It worked, that's what she wanted to tell you. It worked. And Locke isn't dead but he's someone else, and he's a candidate and Jack stays, but that isn't possible because he'd just seen Jack. That was Jack, with Juliet's son. Jack.
"James?" Her voice is distant, and he realizes he's on the pavement now, blinking up at the dark sky, and finally he sees her eyes.
"Juliet." He pulls her to him before he can stop himself, presses his lips against hers. For a moment she resists, but then he feels her deepen the kiss until she pulls away, panting, and her tears mix with his.
"You—you remember, too?" she says, touching his face.
He nods and pulls himself into a sitting position. His brain can't comprehend what's happening, what has happened and what didn't really happen and she's alive and there is no island, or is there? She's looking him in the eyes like she can't believe it either, and the few people that have gathered disperse with whistles and jeers.
"I love you," she says finally and shakes back her hair, runs her hands through it, then grabs his hand on the pavement. "It worked," she says, "I don't understand how, but it worked."
"I love you back," he says. He doesn't understand how either, and there's still all these things that he can't account for—like Jack, Hurley, Kate, where is everyone, and do they remember?—, but the most vivid thing in his memory is her, and that's all that matters for now, they can figure everything else out together.