Disclaimer: Lost isn't mine, and I'm making no money from this. If it WAS mine, it certainly wouldn't have ended the way it did, for which I will never forgive the writers. Also, the title belongs to the band Forgive Durden.

Author's Note: I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's a little sappy for me, but given how cheeseball the ending of the actual show was, this is fairly tame in that aspect. But I wouldn't be able to sleep until I fixed something and shared it for those fans who feel like their soul was ripped out as much as mine was. So, here you go.

The End And The Beginning

It wasn't easy. Even in this happy, perfect world they'd created for themselves, the endings didn't tie up into neat little boxes.

Sawyer and Juliet. Jack and Kate.

But Jack and Juliet had been married, had even had a child together. Even though it was fabricated, they still remembered that life, right alongside the memories of the island.

And Sawyer and Kate had their history as well.

While she waited for Jack to fully realize what was going on, she let her mind drift back to decades of happy memories she'd shared with Sawyer. Her memories of their time together weren't all joyous, but every couple had their ups and downs. They had had their bad times, when Kate missed Jack so much it hurt, or when Sawyer closed up completely, and she knew he was thinking about how it might have been with Juliet. But those times were rare. Overall, Kate's life with Sawyer had been better than she'd had any right to expect.

Sawyer let his eyes wander to Kate. She was sitting on a pew, her eyes far away. He left Juliet with Jin and Sun and sat down next to her.

"You look lost, Freckles. Though I know for damn sure that we ain't anymore."

Kate smiled at him. "I was just thinking of that other life. You know the one I mean. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about it."

"I know just what you mean," Sawyer agreed with a nod. "Assuming you're thinking that if we're with the ones we were always supposed to be with now, then what happened with the rest of our lives? Was our time together pointless if we were always just gonna end up here?"

She was unable to stop herself from flinching. True, those had been her thoughts almost exactly, but she hated to hear it put so bluntly. "I don't think it was pointless," she said quietly. "Even aside from our daughter and how beautiful she grew up to be. Aside from us not being miserable our whole lives. I don't think it was pointless."

"Neither do I," he admitted. "I'd hate to think we were both just placeholders for each other until we could get back to them."

Kate was quiet for a few moments while she thought it through. If she were honest with herself, she knew that she and Jack never would have worked out in that world, not in the long term. She was too flawed then. And if Juliet hadn't died, Sawyer might have stayed with her, but he wouldn't have been as happy as he had been with her. She and Sawyer were like magnets, drawn together their whole lives, no matter how they fought it, until death did them part.

"I think," she said slowly, "that we were meant for each other there. We were both broken beyond repair, and we were the only ones who could understand that. We didn't complete each other or anything cornball like that, but between us, we made one halfway decent person. And we loved each other."

"But this is a perfect world," Sawyer continued, following her train of thought as easily as he always had. "Where we can be with the people we would have been with if everything in the world hadn't gotten in our way. It's like a second chance."

"But that doesn't mean that our first chance didn't mean anything," Kate said, her eyes filling with tears as she realized she might just be trying to convince herself of that. "Right?" she asked him, needing his agreement now more than ever. "James, please just tell me that you know that I loved you so much. I wasn't settling, and you weren't just some consolation prize."

"Shh, hey now, you know I know that," Sawyer replied, pulling her into his arms. He ran his hand through her hair soothingly, a gesture he'd perfected after half a million times. "I know that, and I'll remember it forever, so long as you remember that you were the love of my life. That life, at the very least."

"I'll remember," she promised in a whisper, her arms wrapped tightly around him. She sniffed and hesitantly pulled away from his achingly familiar embrace. She had to remind herself that that life was over, and she was now in the place she was always supposed to be. With him there, it was hard to remember such things. "What do you think is gonna happen next?"

Sawyer shrugged. "We go into the white light? Find nirvana or inner peace or, hey, maybe a whole bunch of virgins?" He raised his eyebrows at her playfully and managed to elicit a laugh.

"You think we'll ever see each other again?" Kate asked.

"Yes," he answered, his tone confident. "Wouldn't be much point of waiting for everyone if we weren't going somewhere together. And from how excited everyone is, my guess is we're going somewhere good. And it wouldn't be all that much to fuss over if I couldn't have my best friend there with me."

Kate let out a quiet sob, covering her mouth so she wouldn't disrupt the happiness in the rest of the room. Her eyes streaming, she threw her arms around Sawyer again. "Sawyer, I will love you forever."

Sawyer smiled. "I'll love you too. Hey, if it's Heaven, they can't fault us for an overabundance of love, can they?"

She shook her head and finally pulled away from him, this time sure she would be able to keep a hold on herself. She looked over at Juliet, who was studying them with not a trace of worry on her face. Juliet understood. Jack would too.

When Kate looked back at Sawyer, he was looking at Juliet, and no one could have missed the love in his eyes, but she wasn't jealous anymore either. Things were as they should be, and she was finally in a place where she could appreciate that.

Sawyer looked back at her, his eyes playful once again. "Hey, maybe in a century or two, we might see how our significant others feel about swinging?"

She put his hand against his shoulder and shoved him lightly. "Shut up, Sawyer. Don't ruin it."

Grinning, he replied, "We're about to go someplace nice with almost all the people that ever mattered to us. I couldn't ruin it if I tried."

"Damn right you couldn't," Kate said, wiping her eyes. "Go back to Juliet, James. Before you get me crying again. I'll see you on the other side, okay?"

He nodded, and for just a moment, he looked torn. "I'll see you, Freckles."

Then he walked back to Juliet and enfolded her in an embrace. Two minutes later, Jack entered, and Kate remembered all the reasons she was happy about this second chance.

But, even as she smiled and hugged all her old friends, some of whom she hadn't seen in decades, since they'd died on the island, she swore to herself that she'd never allow herself to forget how much that first chance mattered.