Never Say Never
A Boone and Ana Fic
It was twilight, a mystical hour for some; for others, it was just the end of another laborious day and the beginning of the night.
Ana flickered through some paperwork, mostly out of boredom. She wasn't a workaholic, but she found a strange kind of comfort in staying in the office long after everyone else had left. Sure, the office bored her, and she much preferred being out on the street than doing paperwork, but she didn't want to go back to her hovel of a flat, of a life even.
She was flicking through files of people who'd recently been incarcerated, mostly as a means of a catch up because she'd just returned from Sydney, following a lead on what had been the most high profile case of her career. She wouldn't admit it to anyone - especially since she generally didn't admit to feeling anything other than negativity - but she'd been quite pleased her mother had put her up to the task. It wasn't often her mother gave her tasks which went above and beyond what she was capable of, but she took full advantage of those moments if and when they arrived.
Right now, she was looking at the profile of one Charles Hieronymous Pace who, weirdly enough, had been on her flight. She tilted her head to one side as she read the charges, wondering how a drug addict had escaped her peripheral vision. There were telltale signs you could spot from a mile off - the inexplicable shaking, the endless fidgeting, the snappish tone to their voice as evidence for otherwise unnoticeable agitation…
But, then again, she had been stuck at the back of the bloody plane, in a place where the wheels came down.
Ana sighed, tossing the paperwork aside as she wheeled about in her chair. She spun it around once, twice, out of boredom, her dark eyes always on the clock. It was only eight, which wasn't really that late, and there were some officers still around; there had to be, by law. She wasn't completely on her own - which sort of negated the point of her being here really. She thrived on solitude, preferring deserted spaces to places where crowds dwelt.
In a strange way, being an isolated person was both her blessing and her curse.
Sighing loudly again, Ana picked up the keys and decided to do what she always did when completely and utterly bored - go to the bar. There was a bar she knew, opposite her flat, but she had been barred from it, only because she'd become extraordinarily opinionated - well, more so than usual - in regards to the new barmaid they'd hired, nearly reducing the new girl to tears.
Ana half smiled - if you could even call the miniscule twist to her lips a half smile. That had been a good night, only because she'd been utterly frustrated at a fellow officer's promotion. The fact her career was echoing her life, in terms of the fact she was going nowhere in each, had caused her mood to reach critical on the terror radar, eventually resulting in her lashing out on the first poor person who'd looked at her the wrong way.
But, then again, wasn't that her life story? Lashing out against people who, in hindsight, probably didn't deserve to be on the back end of her temper?
She preferred not to overanalyse her life; it was crap and that was all there was to it.
She locked up, nodding briefly to the security team as she left the premises. There was something in the air that night she couldn't quite understand. She'd turned down an offer to go this concert thing, which was supposedly happening tonight, not so much for the entertainment but in case things got, in Theresa's words not hers, "rowdy." It was just standard police procedure really.
Yet, all the same, she vaguely regretted not going, as if there was something particularly special about this concert.
Ana shook her head, mostly to clear her head of these uncharacteristically pensive thoughts she was experiencing. She released her bun, allowing her dark curls to spill down her face. She'd realised as of late she was vaguely pretty and, if she'd been one of those girls who'd cared, she could've acquired numerous boyfriends.
But she hadn't; and up until tonight, the reason for her solitude had been purely down to a matter of principle and the fact she generally hated men.
Tonight, however, she felt like there was another reason for her hesitancy to enter a relationship, a more significant one other than the fact she felt like men were arrogant pricks who deserved to die.
She wasn't quite sure, however, and that's what she hated even more than men and working alongside her mother - uncertainty.
Ana rolled her eyes at her own behaviour; she was dying for that drink now, if only to clear her own mind. Lately, it seemed to be like a dog you'd been given to look after by a friend - something unfamiliar which didn't seem to know any boundaries, any rules, which your life may have, up until that point, had. She wished her life had some sort of meaning sometimes; she felt like a train some days, always making the same stops, always completing the same routines, amongst dull and frankly unattractive - in the mental sense, not the physical - people.
"Excuse me," someone called.
She ignored the voice; usually one only had to look at the permanent scowl on her face and they would back off. This was either a drunk, an insane person, or someone who clearly had no boundaries when it came to mortal peril.
"Excuse me? Miss?"
The voice was persistent, meaning she had to engage with another person. What effort.
"Yes? Can I help you?" she snapped, whirling around.
She was startled to see someone with a mop of auburn hair and a baby face, sporting a leather jacket and dark jeans. He seemed to be sending out two conflicting messages with what he was wearing against what he looked like. His youngish face, with sincere, rich eyes and a vulnerable twist to his smile, gave her the impression he was innocent, definitely a stranger to the rough parts of L.A. His clothes, on the other hand, gave her almost the opposite view. She had no idea what to think.
What threw her even more was there was a familiarity about him which she couldn't quite place. Had she arrested him at any point? No, that would've been stupid - anyone she arrested wouldn't have wanted to run into her again at any point. Had she met him at a bar then? She hadn't slept with him, had she? Many times had she woken up in a stranger's bed, purely because of alcohol and not because she had been remotely attracted to them.
"I noticed you're a cop," the man said, noting her uniform. "There's a guy who was treating my step sister roughly earlier and, when I intervened, he got violent. This Arab guy stepped in and knocked him out. He's still in the alley."
He pointed to where he meant, and that's when Ana became suspicious.
She'd heard many stories of innocent - but stupid - girls being lured into alleyways and assaulted in ways which had often given her nightmares. Sure, no one had used the 'there's an unconscious guy in the alley' line, but times were changing. Lines which had worked before were becoming obsolete; and, even though she had the power to arrest him, there was a part of her which was frozen to the spot with fear.
"I'm not going to hurt you," the man said in exasperation, when he realised she had no intention of talking or moving any time soon. "And, if I did, you'd just arrest me afterwards, so it would be pointless."
"Ok…" Ana glared at him. "Lead the way, then."
He scrutinised her carefully, and she could almost detect some sort of bewilderness in his eyes, as if he was immensely confused by something. Not that she cared. She just wanted to head to the bar and forget everything, same as always.
"What's your name?" she enquired. "Why are you out here?"
"I'm Boone Carlyle," he stated, still staring at her. "I was out here trying to keep my step-sister safe. Her name is Shannon Rutherford. She falls for the…wrong type of bloke, let's say. I was out here tonight trying to persuade her to break it off with him when he overheard and started beating me to a pulp. Hence this." He pointed to his face and, as he walked underneath a lamppost, she almost gasped as she saw the various cuts and bruises on his face.
"That's the price I paid for babysitting her," he added bitterly. "And then this Arab swarms in, all noble and heroic, and suddenly she's kissing him, like she knows him." He rolled his eyes. "Stupid little slut. I'm done with her."
Ana raised a curious eyebrow in his direction. If this was still a ploy to get her in the alley, well, the guy was a half decent actor, she'd give him that. He certainly looked like the guy whose sister would screw over time and time again.
She walked to the alley and saw he wasn't lying. She saw the still figure of a man who, judging by the size of him, looked like he was all brawn and no brains. Whoever had knocked him out had obviously done a thorough job - the man looked like he wasn't going to be waking up any time soon.
"He should be taken to hospital," she noted calmly.
"Hospital?" Boone spluttered. "He should be thrown into jail! He was beating my sister, I'm sure of it."
"Unless your sister is lurking here and prepared to give a statement, it's unlikely anything will be done about that anytime soon," Ana stated coolly. "So, unless you've got proof…"
"Proof!" Boone threw his hands up in the air. "Does no one take me seriously? Can you at least, I dunno, put him in a cell or something? Just so I can find my sister and bring her back to give evidence?"
Ana chewed her lip, feeling an unexpected surge of sympathy for the man. She knew what it was like to want justice when a crime had been committed. She had scars along her stomach which served as a constant reminder of the crime she'd been through, although she'd managed to deal with it quite satisfactorily.
"I don't have the keys to the cells," she confessed. "I only have the keys to the office, so whatever you want me to do with him, it's gonna have to wait til morning."
Boone snorted, as if he'd expected this lack of co-operation. She felt for the guy, she really did, but she didn't really have the time or the energy to deal with matters which, in reality, shouldn't have been her problem.
She could've just walked on, ignored him, but she felt drawn here somehow. Even though she was pretty sure she hadn't seen him before in her life, Boone's face seemed to have a touch of the familiar about it. But, then again, she knew his type - the whiny, almost pathetic type of men who were needy and clingy, which verified the fact she was definitely sure he wasn't her type.
"It's not my call to make." She felt the need to justify what she was doing, which was a first. "All I see here is an unconscious man who looks like he needs hospital treatment. There's nothing more I can do."
She turned to leave, when a rough hand grabbed her shoulder, forcing her to turn around. She started to push him off, fed up of being treated like crap, when something strange came over which made her freeze. The world around her seemed to disappear, and she could see an entire new world before her eyes.
A series of flashes emerged before her eyes, each flash containing a different image, a different setting, a different piece of that world. She saw plane crashes and islands, Dharma stations and the open sea; she saw faces of people she liked and people she didn't; she felt her heart almost stutter into life as she remembered falling in love and falling apart again. It all was there, spread out before her like a broadsheet newspaper.
A few faces stood out from the crowd; there was a tall, Nigerian priest, whose arms locked around her as she broke down; there was a tallish doctor man, with kind eyes and stubble, who comforted her when she was alone; there was a long haired, gritty southerner, whose eyes were as hard as the words which came out of his mouth.
And then there was Boone, the youthful, bright eyed young man who had followed her around like a lost puppy, driving her crazy until she'd eventually succumbed to his charm. She saw his smile, heard his laugh, remembered what his kiss felt like, and remembering all of it made her eyes widen and her jaw slack.
She turned to face him, noticing he was wearing a similar expression on his face. His eyes were wide and he seemed to be at a loss of words. He stepped forwards, out of some sort of determination to reach out to her, and she found she didn't want to stop him. Every nerve in her body warned her against doing this, because she was currently living a happy - well, that may have been a bit of a stretch - life as a single, free, independent woman.
"Boone?" she asked incredulously. "Is…Is that you, man?"
He smiled at her; it would've made her melt, but she remembered the bad along with the good. She remembered how they used to fight about anything and everything; she remembered how angry he used to make her, mostly because of his naïveté, and how she would often do stupid things as a result of their fights. And she remembered him leaving her, above everything else. It might not have been his fault, but he had. And she couldn't forget that.
She stepped forward, observing him quietly, her face expressionless. She took in the familiar crinkle around his eyes, the twist to his smile which made it look crooked, the slight sparkle to his eyes which she could never understand, and, above all else, the way he seemed to look at her like there was no one else in the world but her.
With him, it looked cute; for anyone else, it was just creepy and unnecessary.
"It's me," he said, grinning widely.
"Good," she murmured, mostly to herself.
And with that, she stepped forward, raising a hand to level with his cheek, as if she was going for a gentle caress. If only she was a woman like that.
Instead, she raised her hand and slapped him hard. He reeled back and she panted slightly, glaring at him with dark eyes filled with venom.
"What was that for?" he yelped, clutching his cheek.
"For leaving me you twerp!" she snapped. "And there's plenty more where that came from."
He stared at her, clearly torn between amusement and bewilderment . Rubbing his cheek, he took this moment to study her. She hadn't really changed, except she was infinitesimally nicer than he remembered. The Ana he'd known wouldn't have even stopped to help, preferring to carry on walking rather than conversing with a stranger. But, physically, she looked the same; dark, wavy hair, eyes filled with pain even when she was smiling, olive tanned skin… He could pick her out of a crowd if he'd the mind to.
"You haven't changed, have you?" Boone asked, fighting the urge to smile. "You're still the same psychopathic, bitter woman I crashed on an island with."
She folded her arms, still expressionless.
"And you're the same gullible, naïve, sometimes insensitive twerp I somehow ended up with," she retorted.
"But would you have me any other way?" he asked, moving towards her.
Her face visibly softened. "No."
Boone was now dangerously close to her, so close in fact that she could count his eyelashes. She felt his hot breath against her skin and realised she hadn't seen him like this in such a long time. This reunion could've gone a million other ways, and she was perhaps the only woman who would slap someone she'd missed. She often wondered how she'd ever found the strength to fall in love again. After all, it took a lot of strength to allow yourself to fall for someone, and she never thought it would've been for someone like him.
She was gradually learning, however, you could never say never to love. It came, it engulfed lives, it changed worlds, and it left again.
And, as she reluctantly allowed his lips to meet with hers, she felt a sudden change come over her. The bitterness didn't quite leave her so much as being drained from her body, leaving room for happiness and joy to fill her body. She had a shot at happiness now, though she remembered quite clearly the days when that hadn't been the case.
All she knew was that she was ready to leave with Boone.
She was ready to move on.
A/n: Ok, this is a strange story for two reasons - 1) It's Ana and Boone, who never met, so you'll have to forgive some dramatic storyline changes. Boone doesn't die, obviously, but not sure when to really set it. Take it that Boone was around for the raft setting off. Also, I am aware I changed things during the finale. Boone doesn't remember until he touches Ana, so all the events preceding that are purely circumstantial. 2) It starts at the end, which is a weird place to start but it felt right for the story. The next chapter will detail how they meet, so hope you like!