Title: Not Her Life
Rating: PG
Genre: Angst/Tragedy
On the brink of death, Juliet thinks about the life that never was.
Finale spoilers. Character death.

'It worked.'

The words are on her lips, but her lips aren't moving. She needs to tell James, only she isn't sure why, because the fact of the matter is, it didn't work, and she's still lying here, milliseconds from death at the bottom of a hole, with a body full of broken bones, and a heart full of broken promises.

Stay six months, then go back home. Back to Miami. Back to Rachel.

Life doesn't always pan out like it's supposed to.

Her mind flashes to a hospital; a waiting room with a couple of vending machines, but that doesn't make any sense, because James is there, and she's never been with James back on the mainland.

They have operating rooms, and they have waiting rooms, but the vending machines are in short supply.

'We should get coffee some time.'

'I'd love to, but the machine ate my dollar, I only got one left.'

'We could go dutch.'

In that moment, she's here, at the bottom of the hole, but she's somewhere else entirely. At first it feels like it's some other life, where she had never said yes, had never gotten on that damn submarine.

But it's not. She knows it's not.

Whatever happened, happened.

She always said yes, and she always got on that sub, and she always fell in love with James Ford, and she always – always – died.

In that other life, though, she's wearing a white coat, and there's a smile on her face, even if she isn't entirely sure why. A place where space and time has no meaning.

She isn't sure how she got here, but she has memories of this other life – Jack, her son. A life that never was.

Though she's spend so much of her time around women having children, women wanting to have children, she had never seriously considered the thought until James, and even then, it had probably already been too late.

Whatever happened, happened.

Determinism is a major pain in the ass.

'Juliet…Juliet…It's me, baby.'

She closes her eyes, as she remembers her death, remembers her hand slipping from his grip, remembers falling, remembers setting off that damn bomb.

It was supposed to fix everything.

But it didn't. And she'd known that almost right away, as she'd hovered between two worlds – hovered between life and death. There's no fixing the past. It's already done.

She could never have that life – the life with kids, and a house with a white picket fence, and James. For a split second in 1977, it had almost seemed like a possibility, but the universe has a way of course correcting.

That's not her life.

Not in this world.