To Remember and To Let Go
Summary: Because I'm a massive softie and just wanted everybody to love everybody and after watching (and bawling my eyes out) the finale again, I decided to write this fic. Each chapter is a different person as they interact with everyone else. First to review gets to pick which person they'd like me to do next. Warning - this will be unbelievably corny and cheesy but, hey, I don't care lol. Warning 2 - this may make you cry. No suing me over paper wastage or the fact you cried so much nothing makes you emotional anymore :P
Chapter 1: Charlie
They wait outside the church, his arm draped around Claire who, even though she must be exhausted from having to go through labour (again), manages a smile in his direction. And she leans forward and kisses his lips, whispering something into his ear he finds difficult to catch at first.
"I remember peanut butter."
He bites back a laugh. She's teasing him, plucking out a memory among many, and he fights the urge to just assault her lips until they're both breathless. But they have people waiting inside, a place to look forward to moving on to and he can hardly wait.
So they step forwards together, hardly the nuclear family but still a strong force to be reckoned with. He remembers seeing an array of faces here, faces he didn't even remember until now. There was Jack, who once again saved his life, and he wasn't even grateful for it. There was Sayid, ever the helpful, who stood over Jack's shoulder as he brought him to life (in another life it'd been Kate) . And then there was Hurley. Sweet, dear, kind old Hurley. The one who'd kidnapped him and delivered him here.
He thinks out of everyone that's who he's looking forward to seeing again. He's not even sure who else will be here, who else will have remembered yet.
"I caught you staring," Claire murmurs beside him as they walk.
He knows exactly what she's talking about and conceals a secret smile.
Even though she's recovering from giving birth, she keeps up with his lengthy strides, yet he slows himself down anyway. The entire way there, they never drop hands, never move away from each other just in case - even though there's no possibility of it - this is a wild dream and they'll end up somewhere else, apart once again.
"Yeah?" He gives her his familiar smirk. "I caught you staring back."
And she lets out a soft laugh. Aaron stirs inside her arms, blinking up at them both, strangely quiet for a newborn infant. But, then again, Aaron has never been a normal baby. Conceived out of a moment's desperation, loved by a man with no biological relation, and cared for by a woman scared more of responsibility than any other crazy crap they experienced, sometimes he has to wonder whether the infant is aware of anything, whether he remembers anything and maybe that's why he's being so quiet.
They walk up the steps and open the door. Inside, the place feels warm. There's a sense of belonging here, even though he recalls only ever visiting this place once or twice. And there's only a handful of people here so far.
Hurley's not here yet.
But someone else very dear is.
Breaking away from Claire, he walks towards Desmond and Penny, unable to speak. What do you say to a man who was both your redemption and the bane of your existence? The man who was both your blessing and your curse?
But he opens his arms out anyway, letting the man hug him, letting his tears soak through his shirt (it's just a shirt; the tears, however, seem to symbolize something darker).
"Desmond." He briefly grins. "Are we just going to say each other's names and leave it there?"
"I - I can't think of anything else to say, brother," Desmond quietly confesses. "It never came true. I didn't manage to get Claire off the island."
"Well, no," he concedes, his grin widening. "But you got Hurley to literally drag me to the concert. You brought Claire back to me. I guess that more than makes up for it."
"No." Desmond shakes his head. "It doesn't. You got me off the island and back with Penny…."
"So you could find me in another life and get me to Claire," he finishes. "Dress it up anyway you want. You got me back here."
And they hug again.
When they fall back, he studies Penny carefully, remembering her face as clearly as though he were back in the Looking Glass again, staring hopefully at the screen like a lost boy about to be rescued.
People have this habit of simply saying his name and just leaving it at that. It's almost amusing, because he knows there's more to be said than that. With Penny, however, it's like she's tasting the name on her tongue, and there's some kind of meaning to it he doesn't know because her eyes twinkle with soft, sad laughter.
"You're Penny." He holds up his hand, a gesture meaningful only to Desmond. "I died with your name on my hand."
She smiles, amused by the comment, and then reaches up to kiss him on the cheek, something which surprises him.
"I'm glad I got to meet you at last," she says, her voice like silk.
"A fellow Brit? Wow. I thought I was the only one," he jokes.
She shakes her head, still smiling, then returns faithfully to Desmond's side. The two of them look so good together, he can't help but grin. And it's a nice, if not inaccurate, thought that it was solely his sacrifice which brought them together again. Actions are one thing; it's easy to do something, react to something. It's a whole other thing having enough faith - enough love - to keep you waiting for them.
He pats Desmond on the shoulder, his eyes spotting Claire. More people have arrived. More people are crying, hugging, catching up. And he sees Boone and Shannon, each of them looking more grown up, more mature, than he remembered. So he meanders his way towards them.
"Hey, man." It's not a great opening line. "How ya been?" Nor is that one.
"Charlie." Shannon smiles. "It's been a while."
No one really knows how long. There's no time here it seems. It's probably been years for some. For others, even longer.
Boone smacks him lightly on the shoulder as if to say good times. As far as he knows, he never had a moment with Boone you could class as being good. But he appreciates the gesture.
Sayid is somewhere in the rapidly growing crowd, part of the hugging and endless parade of love and laughter.
"Still want that fish?" he quips, trying to break the ice.
And she laughs. God bless her, she actually laughs. It strikes him how he's never heard her laugh before. It rings through the church like bells and he laughs alongside her. It saddens him that although they're all here together, like they're at a college reunion, he barely knew any of them.
Maybe it's just proof how great their bond really is that they didn't know each other, yet had this amazing tie to one another. You couldn't really think of one person without thinking of the person connected to them, such as with Kate, Jack is the person who always springs to mind.
Someone taps him on the shoulder. He slowly turns, a dawning smile emerging as he sees Hurley there, standing next to this woman he can only just remember the name of. And that's when he breaks down again.
Rolling down the hill at full speed; falling flat in the water when fishing took a more practical approach; laughing until his sides hurt at Jin's Korean ghost story which, despite the fact no one understood what he was saying, still managed to freak the hell out of Hurley. These are the times which stick out to him most, some of the best days of his life.
And he practically bounces into the embrace, Hurley's arms picking him up and swirling him around. Now he knows the reason he wore that stupid grin, because that stupid grin has somehow ended up on his face.
"Love ya too, dude," Hurley wheezes. "Kinda pressing on my intestine, though."
He releases him, studying him, noticing an imperceptible change in him. They've all changed, granted, but there's something stronger about this man, something calm and controlling. He's proud of the change.
Libby, bless her heart, comes up to him and hugs him too, her hair swept up into a high ponytail. She looks…. Oh, what's the word?
She kisses him on the cheek, though he doesn't even remember having one conversation with her. But the look in her eyes says she knows a lot about him, which makes him realize Hurley probably talked a lot about him. The thought oddly touches him.
The three of them start chatting away, like they've been friends forever, talking mostly about their own reunions. Not many men can say they've seen the love of their life give birth twice to the same baby. Not many men can say the love of their life was on a day out with residents of a mental health clinic when she found him.
And eventually he finds his way back to Claire. She's still smiling, and gently passes Aaron over to him, sensing he needs to hold him in his arms again. He peers down at the baby, overwhelmed with love and joy. Fate has given them a second chance at being a family again. This time there is no way he's screwing it up.
He lets Claire wander off again, her own need to find people to hug and catch up with matching his own. He catches Boone staring from across the room and knows why. And he walks over, showing him Aaron with gushing pride. And Boone, to his credit, doesn't question why he's holding him, how he ended up Claire, even though he must wonder.
Boone smiles down at the tiny infant, pulling faces and throwing him the odd grateful look because he always needed to be part of the loop somehow (the whole thing with Locke, anyone?)
And then the big guns arrive. The atmosphere changes immediately. Sawyer arrives with Juliet by his side, something which has him reeling (when did THAT happen?) with surprise and shock. But he doesn't question it; after all, the world didn't stop just because he died.
Sawyer catches him staring, and the briefest of smirks crosses his face. It seems like centuries ago they were bickering over stashes, or the best way to keep an infant quiet, or the dangers of driving a broken van down a hill towards a valley of rocks. In that smirk he seems to say we both ended up with blondes…go figure.
He momentarily holds Aaron up, as if reminding him about the moment of bonding - maybe not with each other - they encountered. Sawyer's smirk softens into a smile and he knows he remembers. But the uneven height to his eyebrows seems like he's saying yeah, I read to the kid. We had a moment. It ain't happening again.
Some things never do change.
Kate's next in, her side looking surprisingly bare. It sort of figures Jack would be the last to remember and to let go. Still, he makes his way over, remembering those first few simple days when she kept him company and told him he wasn't a coward, even though he knew that's what he was.
"Hey," she greets him, smiling. "You're here."
"I'm here," he affirms.
"So you know what I meant before?" she asks curiously. "When I said thank you….you know that was for getting us rescued right? I mean, half the people in this room owe you their lives."
He thinks maybe she's just being over nice on purpose, trying to make up for something. He doesn't know but part of letting go means not holding on to the things which otherwise would've made you bitter and lost.
"You lie," he teases, grinning softly. "Thank you, all the same."
She leans in and hugs him, careful to avoid Aaron, and he feels her sigh against him. Whether that's a happy sigh or not, he doesn't know.
"Wanna hold the baby?" he asks, holding Aaron out to her.
She hesitates. There's some kind of story there he'll probably find out later. There's such utter longing in her eyes, yet its laced with regret and a lot of guilt. So he drops it, deciding maybe there are some items of baggage you'll always hold on to.
"You think Jack will come," she asks, her eyes clearly filled with love.
"Uh-huh," he replies. "He's never let us down before. We all know Jack just needs that little push to get going. He'll be here."
And he smiles at her, before slowly walking away, catching up with Claire. Halfway across the room he spots Locke, who grins as he reunites with everyone. Their eyes meet and they share a look of understanding and respect. The things they did, the words they released, are all history now.
"I missed you," Claire murmurs in his ear, distracting him.
"I was gone for like a minute," he murmurs back, teasing her.
"Every minute without you feels like a year."
And he knows she's not over exaggerating; merely drawing back on a life lived. His eyes soften and he gently takes her chin, lifting up her head so he can gently kiss her. And, just like that, they fall in love all over again.
Then Jack walks in, wary joy on his face. He resembles a toddler the way he moves, examining the world through new eyes as he slowly makes his way forwards.
He gives him a momentary smile - which goes unseen, sadly - before turning his attention to Aaron. People start to swam around them. Sayid and Shannon are there.
"Hey, Charlie," Sayid says, the briefest of grins hovering on his face. "A few hours ago you were the body in the back of Hurley's car. Now you're here."
"He shot me," he says in reply, chortling. "Guess I did deserve it for bowing out on him too soon."
They share a one armed hug, as Shannon zooms in to inspect the baby. She beams, and soon Sun arrives to see them. And the next few moments blur by; he can barely tell what happens, who he speaks to, only that he's unbelievably happy. But it's more than that.
He's at peace.
And before he knows it, he's sitting next to Claire, her head resting against his, and a warm, white light hovers around them. And there's nowhere to go but forward. Onwards.
A/n: So that was Charlie. Who's next? Whoever's first to review and leave the name of the person they'd like me to write about next will be first, and so on and so forth. The finale had me in tears, even though I've seen it like three times XD I can practically memorise it line by line by now lol. Enjoy and please review!