A/N: A possible overview of what happened after "The End" when Hurley became the new Jacob.
The first thing Hurley did as official "Protector of the Island" (a.k.a. "A Job He Did Not Think He Was Cut Out For") was make Benjamin Linus – the enemy of he and his friends for so long, the man who put them through hell and back – his Number Two. Prior to actually asking Ben if he wanted the position, Hurley never in a million years would have imagined looking to this shifty, ruthless man for help with directions, let alone help in protecting an entire mysterious island with a light in its heart that could never go out.
The second thing Hurley did, Ben and Desmond by his side, was bury Jack Shepherd.
He couldn't explain it to either of them, the feeling he suddenly got minutes after the seeming destruction of the island stopped and the sun came out. As he and Ben hefted a still-out-of-it Desmond through the jungle, heading towards the beach to regroup and process all that had just happened, their eyes were forced up by the noise of something passing above: the Ajira plane flying over the trees, back to civilization. Hurley wondered if Sawyer and Kate had actually made it, hoped Claire and Miles and Richard and Lapidus were safely on board.
His moment of hope ended abruptly, however, when a sudden jab of despair and sadness came over him. Hurley did not know if this was a product of becoming the new Jacob or if it was because they'd spent so much perilous time together, but he knew in that instant that Jack was dead. After the three of them had reached the beach, Hurley laid Desmond down to recover and then headed back through the bamboo, Ben trailing behind.
Ben saw them first: Vincent the apparently invincible dog, and Jack. Hurley lifted his former leader and friend and carried him back to the beach, to where they had buried the others. Once Desmond fully awoke he joined them in digging a grave, all three men silent the entire time, thinking, Hurley crying on and off. This was too much to take.
They agreed to say a few words each about Jack. Ben went first, with sentiments of how strong he was, how much of a better man he had been. Desmond picked it up, lamenting the great loss, remembering the late man's courage and drive, his compassion and selflessness. He thanked him for saving them all; told him he'd see him in another life.
Hurley didn't know what to say, didn't know how to take the three most important years of his life spent in comradeship with this man and turn it into a couple of sentences. So he began speaking, and did not stop for what could have been hours, but his companions said nothing, made no move to interrupt. He ended with a teary "I'll miss you, dude," and then had nothing more to say.
Hurley's next act was to get Desmond home, back to Penny and little Charlie. It was the least he could do for the man who had done so much for him. The island felt a lot emptier once Desmond had sailed away, despite the small population of Others still present.
He and Ben found Rose and Bernard soon enough, visited with them and discussed what had happened. They didn't want to know much, though Rose did ask where Jack had been buried so they could pay their respects. Vincent stayed with them.
Ben suggested the island stay a mystery to the rest of the world, to keep it a secret place that no average person could reach. After being caught up in a constant back and forth between good and evil for so long, always managing to land somewhere in a gray area, he liked the idea of tranquility. Hurley agreed; he just wanted peace.
Time went by in a weird way, and there wasn't much conflict. Protecting the island seemed a whole lot easier to Hurley than he'd expected, especially after seeing everything that had happened to get to this point. It probably had something to do with the lack of a giant smoke monster/angry man harassing everyone.
One day he stumbled upon the old golf course he'd made back when Oceanic first crashed, and he and Ben rebuilt it, made it even better. They played tournaments with the island-dwellers, people he tasked Ben with leading directly.
He didn't think it would be a good idea to leave the island often, if at all, in case something happened to him in the reality he was no longer a part of. (He also didn't want to be constantly tempted to never come back.) He left only three times:
Once, to make sure his family was all right, letting them believe he was really dead to avoid the heartache of leaving again. He said his last goodbyes under his breath from across the street while his mother cleaned and his father tinkered with an old car.
The second time, he went to check in on Claire and Aaron, Kate, Sawyer, Desmond, and the others who had been lucky enough to make it back. He couldn't believe how much Aaron had grown and how good of a mother Claire had become, marveled at the maturity of Sawyer as they joked about all of the nicknames he'd given, held Kate as she cried when he explained their burial for Jack. Ji Yeon was growing into the spitting image of Sun, but her eyes were Jin's, and it made Hurley tear up. Desmond, Penny, and their son were a beautiful, happy family. Miles, Richard and Frank were all doing well, just as Hurley had hoped.
The last time he briefly left the island was many, many years after he'd become its guard. He gathered together the group he had thought of as "the children of the island", though they were all adults now. Aaron and Ji Yeon Littleton, Charlie Hume, Walt Lloyd. He spent hours answering questions about their parents, about the island, about the time the Oceanic survivors spent there. There was laughter amongst them, and there were tears that felt endless, but most importantly there were promises to never breathe a word of the island to anyone else.
More years passed, years in which Hurley knew his surviving friends were coming to their ends, followed by their children, then theirs, and so on. He knew if he'd gone back towards the end of their lives, he would have wanted to extend their time on earth, but he did not want to place that burden upon them, and so he focused solely on the island, and on helping others. He and Ben were a surprisingly good team, and it got to the point where he hardly remembered the bad acts his friend had committed.
Eventually, after hundreds or thousands of years (Hurley had realized early on a calendar was not important when you were protecting an island), he was tired of the job, ready to let go and give someone else a chance to run things. They found a good substitute already on the island, offered the job to them, gave them the option of having a second-in-command. It was a whole lot less lonely, that way.
Water was blessed and drank, responsibilities shifted hands, and Hurley was prepared to move on and see his loved ones again. Ben had a more difficult time with accepting the end, but when Hurley was ready, Ben stood firmly by his side, just as it had been for what seemed liked forever.
"You know, you were a real good number two," Hurley tells him outside of the church. Libby is waiting inside, along with the people who shaped his life the most. Except for one, except for Ben.
"And you were a great number one Hugo," Ben replies genuinely, though he looks conflicted.
Hurley knows his longtime island protector partner still has stuff to work out. "Thanks dude. I'll see ya," he says, promises. He hopes Ben can find what he is looking for and join them. He turns and heads back inside to the friends he has not seen for so many years, full of joy and satisfaction.
He did his job.