Nobody Does It Alone
Summary: How epic was the finale? Seriously loved it but thought the ending needed an extension so…voila! I just think the survivors would have wanted to say a lot of stuff so here we go. It's extremely cheesy I know but hell, I love cheese so I say bring it on! :P
It's strangely quiet as he walks by, though he can detect a faint buzzing noise in the background – the sound of chatter perhaps? Smartly dressed, hair gelled back and with the mindset of a man who has no idea what he's doing, he pauses before the door and has a moment of quiet reflection.
Seeing his father here again, here of all places, is like a strange kind of fairy tale. The tears are still running down his face as a quiet blend of joy and overwhelming sadness shakes his body. He wasn't ready to die and yet, at the same time, he was. Getting to this point, he realises, was just one more step along the road to finding peace and a way to, finally, let go.
After a few seconds of heavy hesitation, he inhales deeply and walks in. There is definitely something of a spiritual feel to this church, as if many souls have walked in and out of here and left an imprint. Now, it holds a collection of souls who were once strangers and now are something close to family than anything else.
It's a kaleidoscope of reunions, both private and public. Some are just content with shaking hands or exchanging brief hugs, whilst others literally succumb to tears at the sight of people they've not seen before in what feels like a great stretch of time. Everyone, however, wears a deep and sincere smile, as if they've been waiting for this moment in a long, long time.
"Jack," Locke greets him, wearing a grin that would've fooled anyone into thinking they had always been friends. "We've been waiting for you."
Jack blinks back more tears, unable to speak. He takes Locke's outstretched hand and finds that everything he wants to say to this man has dissolved on his tongue. He wants to – no, needs to – apologize for ever doubting him but there's more than enough time for that.
"It's good to see you, John," he manages, throwing him a wobbly grin in return. He means every word and not a single note of falsity enters his voice.
Jack steps around Locke and sees Desmond and Penny together, looking ever so much the Romeo and Juliet of the group. He can't even find the words to thank Desmond for what he's done, bringing them all together like this.
"I told ya I'd see ya in another life," Desmond quips at him, after they share a long, brotherly embrace.
"Yeah," he replies with a soft grin. "I guess you did."
Gliding past everyone, he stares at someone who he never dared to imagine would be in his life again. The last time he saw that face, it was covered in blood and fixed in position, never to move again.
"Hey, Jack," Boone says, grinning widely. "Bet ya never thought you'd see me again, huh?"
Jack, despite himself, laughs.
"No," he admits. "I did not." He glances at all the other people he's loved and lost in his time – Charlie, Libby, Shannon, Sun, Jin, Sayid – and feels overwhelmingly honoured to have known such brave and wonderful people.
They step into a natural hug, Jack silently apologising for his failure to fix Boone on his side and Boone forgiving him on his. When they step away, Boone is immediately swept off into the small crowd clustering around Charlie, Claire and baby Aaron, whilst Hurley swoops in to hug Jack.
"Thank you for believing in me, Hurley," he whispers in his friend's ear.
"No problem, dude," Hurley replies, grinning from ear to ear. "You made one hell of a leader. Don't know what we'd have all done without you."
Jack simply beams, lost for words in the thick torrent of emotion he's feeling.
"Hey, doc. Long time, no see." Sawyer is next to greet him, bearing Juliet on his arms like the proudest and happiest human being on Earth.
There's no need for handshakes on this front. Jack pulls him into a hug and wishes he could amend for the lifetime of heartache he caused this man, this rough, gritty but warm hearted man. In a way, he has so much to thank him for. They both loved Kate unconditionally, each keeping her safe when the other couldn't.
"We're proud of you, Jack," Juliet chimes in earnestly, her eyes glowing with joy and affection.
He hugs her as well, remembering he's done this before. This time, she's comforting him and he appreciates and loves her for it. He steps back and examines them together but can't bring himself to wonder how and when Sawyer arrived here. The hows and the whys aren't important – it's just enough to know they're all here.
Then, the one person he wants to see more than any other smiles at him. She takes his hand and, unlike everyone else, doesn't embrace him. It's more than enough of them both to sit down and bask in each other's company. She left and he didn't and it makes the joy of meeting again that much sweeter. Jack doesn't remember much about his school years only that Charles Dickens came up with a quote that pretty much sums up everything he wants to say about this whole, beautiful reunion.
The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting up again.
Every single person in this room he's had to watch leave him, in some shape or form. The joy which bubbles up inside him at seeing them all here almost makes the pain of losing them worth it. With his hand inside Kate's, it reminds him that kissing Kate goodbye was both the sweetest and hardest thing he'd ever done and seeing her break down like that makes all this not worth it. But she's lived her life and moved on, he understands. However she went, whether that was tucked between her bed sheets or in somebody else's arms, all that matters is that she's here now with him.
He can't ask any more of her than that.
They sweep in together, as a family. His arm is around hers and she's tucked into his chest like they're two halves of the same whole. They can barely keep apart for more than five seconds without feeling like something's missing.
They're one of the firsts into the church, along with Hurley and Libby. The reunion between Hurley and Charlie, now he's sobered up and remembered, is a bittersweet one. They walk slowly towards each other, tears in both pairs of eyes.
"Hey, bud," Charlie murmurs as he wraps his arms around him. "It's good to see you again."
"You missed a hell of a ride, dude," Hurley says in a constricted voice. "I could quite literally kill you for dying on me like that…except we're already kinda dead."
"Well spotted," Charlie jokes, though it's half-hearted. He can barely speak himself over the rush of emotion. "I've missed you."
Claire and Libby exchange hugs and joyful words although her eyes never leave his. He smiles at her, silently assuring her that whatever happens next he'll be there with her every step of the way. He's never left her in a way; he's always watched over her even when she couldn't see him. He'd watched her gradually forge the bond between her and an older Aaron back in the 'real world', watched her smile through thick tears on his wedding day and watched her fall into a final sleep, choosing to drink his way into despair when he couldn't find her in the afterlife.
It just made their reunion that much more bittersweet when he stumbled upon her at the Driveshaft concert, and one touch of her hand had wiped away the amnesia he'd momentarily encountered.
The doors open and Sawyer and Juliet, followed by Boone, Shannon and Sayid, walk in. Everyone is smiling, joyful to have found each other again. Memory is a strange thing, Charlie notes to himself, as he walks with open arms towards Sawyer. It could deceive you into thinking there was nothing to remember, only for a floodgate of forgotten memories to open with a simple gesture such as the touching of one hand to another.
"Howdy there, Chucks," Sawyer greets him. "God, it's good to see you."
"When did this happen?" Charlie gestures to Juliet, grinning mischievously and raising his eyebrows. "I gotta say, I always thought you'd end up with a blonde."
"Not your blonde, o' course," Sawyer finishes for him, smirking as if nothing has changed.
"God, no," Charlie agrees, pretending to look horrified by the premise of it.
They both laugh and shake hands, hitting each other lightly on the shoulder as they pass each other. He shyly takes Juliet's hand, aware he'd never really made an effort with her, and kisses it before moving on towards Boone and Shannon.
Everyone spills into the room then and, just as he is pulled into a hug from Sayid, the figure everyone has been waiting for arrives at last. Still looking the part of leader as ever, Jack walks into the room and Charlie smiles fondly at him though he doesn't seem to spot him.
Jack seems to be lost at his own party, especially as he notices people he hasn't seen for years. His cheeks glisten in the light, marked with tears no doubt, but he still looks exactly as Charlie remembers him.
Claire returns to his side and everyone seems to cluster around them to gaze at Aaron. He feels someone slap him on the shoulder – Boone's greeting is as American as it gets – and Shannon kisses his cheek and peeps over his shoulder at the baby. Right here and right now, he's never felt so gloriously happy in his life. Everyone he's ever loved on the island is here.
He just has time to catch Kate's eye and give her a quick but firm embrace before she waltzes over to Jack and takes his hand, leading him to a pew and smiling lovingly at him. He has a lot to thank her for. Her gentle commandment to give Claire the blanket had resulted in her grabbing his hand and making him remember.
He stares up at the sky and, for the first time in a while, allows himself to cry. In every life he's had, real or otherwise, he'd always screwed up badly somewhere down the line, so how in the hell has he acquired this happy ending?
"Are you alright?" Claire whispers, noticing the tears on his cheeks.
"Am I alright?" he repeats, staring into her eyes and barely noticing when Boone gives out a mock wolf whistle. "When I'm with you, love, the word 'alright' becomes superficial. Try 'extremely, absolutely, tremendously overjoyed' and you'll know what I am."
She tentatively picks up a finger and wipes away his tears, laughing as more come and as she realises her own eyes refuse to stay dry for very long. They'd never been very good at having a serious conversation, mostly due to Charlie's incessant attempts to turn the topic into something light hearted.
She can't really complain about it though – it's one of the many reasons why she loves him.
Walking is something many people take for granted. Every step he takes fills him with pride and he has Jack to thank for that. Putting aside their differences, he's always admired Jack for his commitment and dedication, even if he once believed it was for the wrong cause.
He looks around at everyone he's ever known and admired and feels like they've come a long way from the day of the crash. There's Kate, a once dangerous and manipulative fugitive, who is now a treasure of a friend and an extremely brave and courageous woman. Sawyer had made a startling change too, from being a sarcastic and belligerent jerk to a responsible, mature and caring man.
As he goes around greeting and hugging people, he reflects on the person who, in his eyes, has made the most astonishing of changes – Jack. Ultimately, he'd proved that faith isn't something to scorn or laugh at and it's you don't have to be religious to have it. Having faith in something means keeping to what you know and fighting to make sure it exists with every breath that you took. Jack's faith came from trying to find his purpose and protecting the people he loved. At least he discovered, before it was too late, that faith was a part of him whether he liked it or not.
"We've been waiting for you," he says, smiling as Jack walks forward.
They briefly shake hands.
"It's good to see you, John," Jack replies earnestly and, despite their past, there's no animosity. They both understand each other now, truly giving weight to the idea of 'letting go.'
"Hi, John," a very familiar voice speaks up. "How's it going?"
"Boone," he breathes. "Wow."
The young man saunters up to him, a cheeky grin plastered on his face. He doesn't look too different, except he seems to radiate confidence instead of jealousy and paranoia. Ever much the underdog of the group, it's a pleasant change to see him as he should've been – a confident, youthful and relaxed young man.
"You know, ever since you told me you were in a wheelchair," Boone states casually, "I can't get used to seeing you walk, even though I already have if that makes any sense."
Locke laughs. "I understand completely. For other people it's the opposite way round. Not that I've told anyone else, really."
Boone smiles, flattered by his personal inclusion in Locke's tale.
"Tell me," he asks casually, "did you ever get that ridiculous hatch open? The one that was underground?"
"Yes. Yes we did."
"Seriously?" Boone's eyes widened fractionally. "How? What was inside it?"
"Dynamite," Locke replies. "As for what was inside it, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Do tell all," Boone commands, steering Locke away from the crowd.
Locke smiles secretively, understanding that to tell the story of the hatch will mean telling the entire story in one fell swoop. Boone, to be fair, was always a good audience, patient, attentive and a good listener. There are certain parts of the story he's missed, but he's sure Jack or Kate or Sawyer will fill them all in. After all, they're positively made of time now.
"I'd tell it to you," he says slowly, "but I think we'll be moving off soon."
The younger man looks puzzled. "Moving off where? I don't understand."
Again, Locke smiles at Boone's naivety.
"That's the beauty of a mystery, Boone. It's not about where we end up, but the journey. For us, it's nearly over. Where we go from here I'm not sure but I'm excited to find out, aren't you?"
"You always were an ambiguous old fool," Boone grumbles, but his eyes twinkle with amusement.
"That I was," Locke murmurs, his eyes flicking over to Jack. "That I was."
He wonders sometimes what life would've been like if certain things hadn't happened, like if he'd never regained the feeling in his legs. Things would've been different certainly but would they have had the same outcome?
Everything happens for a reason he believes. He's unbelievably glad to be proven right. Every factor, every event has led here, to this day and to this moment. All roads lead here, he recalls Jack saying in mockery of something he'd once said. As Jack glances around the room, he meets his gaze and he's sure they're both thinking the same thing: thank God we did the things we did. We've ended up where we're supposed to be and that's because we were destined to be together. All of us.
After all the reunions, people start assembling as they prepare for the home stretch, the last lap of the course – the moving on.
Sayid and Shannon hold hands and smile lovingly at each other. Claire leans her head against Charlie's and gently rocks Aaron, proud to have her family back. Sawyer and Juliet kiss tenderly, unfazed by everything going on around them. Hurley and Libby exchange excited smiles and entwine their fingers together, feeling as excited as a newlywed couple being released into the world for the first time. Sun and Jin smile at each other and hug one last time, as if afraid of being parted again without a last show of affection. Jack and Kate, meanwhile, just stare at each other, realising how much they have been through together.
Then, as if from nowhere, Christian Shepherd walks gracefully down the aisle in between the pews and places a firm but reassuring hand on his son's shoulder. Then he continues on, opening the doors at the back of the room which releases a bright burst of white light onto everyone. It purifies them almost, cleansing them of their past crimes and giving them a new start.
Charlie and Claire gaze at it with wonder and then smile at each other, leaning in for a quick but tender kiss. Jack gazes at Kate and then stands up, preparing for his last speech before the moving on begins.
"My friends," he begins, gazing at all of them in turn. "It's been a…privilege knowing you all. We've been brought together by something bigger than all of us and I would just like to say one more thing before we embark on…whatever the hell you'd call this."
He gazed at Kate, whose eyes are filling up as he speaks.
"We've survived together, we've fought together, we've loved together and we've lived together. So, let's not die alone. Let's do this whole 'moving on' thing properly. It's been a hell of a journey and I'm glad we've taken it." His voice, predictably, starts to choke on the words he's saying. "The time we've spent together has been the most important time of our lives. Whatever else has changed, the way we feel about each other won't change. So, who's with me?"
Sawyer stands up, followed by Juliet. What follows is a tumult of support for the man who led them through thick and thin and never ceased in trying to protect his friends. No matter what bad decisions he may have made, the love towards him has never faltered and he feels overwhelmed by that.
"Verdict?" he asks, turning towards Kate.
"A little corny but I like it," she teases. "So it's become 'live together, die together' now, has it?"
He blushes but smiles at her.
"Thank you," he whispers, gently stroking her face.
"What for?" she asks, confused.
"For being there," he says simply.
"I have always been with you," she replies with a soft smile. "So, what's next?"
Jack gestures towards the door, noticing that people are starting to walk towards it. Charlie and Claire, holding hands, are the first to walk through and soon disappear out of sight and the crowd soon dwindles, leaving Jack and Kate behind.
"What's next?" he repeats. "Moving on, I guess."
"Why don't you sound so sure?"
"I don't know," he murmurs, looking terrified. "This is all new to me, Kate. It was a lot easier when I knew what to expect. The not knowing it's…terrifying."
"We all feel the same way," Kate reassures him. "That's why we're all here, Jack. We're all together because nobody does it alone, Jack."
"Ok," he says finally. "I think I'm ready."
They stand and smile at each other before walking towards the door, still hand in hand. They pause, take one last look around at the place they created to be together and then step into the light, feeling a thousand memories float towards the surface bathing them in the warmth each one brought.
"You don't seem afraid at all…I don't understand that." "Well, fear is sort of an odd thing."
"If I didn't know any better I'd say you were worried about me, Jack." "And if I didn't know any better I'd say you have a problem with staying in one place for too long, Kate."
"I'm sorry I kissed you." "I'm not."
"Why are you sticking up for Sawyer? He'd never do it for you." "Because I love you."
"I have always been with you."
"I couldn't find you…"
"I love you." "I love you."