"Lost and found"
A Lost fan-fic/significantly Alternate Universe (set mainly at the end of season 4 just after Ben Linus "moves" the Island; ignores much of Seasons 5 and 6 for now, but this may change when I finally get to watch these episodes)
A/N: John Locke-centric, and I do not own any rights to these "Lost" characters and stories. I am using a timeline of my own design that runs "flash-forward-normal" from 2004 to the present.
Summary: Locke finds a young castaway on the beach. Who is this boy, and why does he seem so strangely familiar to John Locke?
Like a good neighbor
"Whatcha' got there, Dave?" asked Locke as he stomped the wet grass from his boots at the edge of the back step. He hooked his thumb in the shoulder strap of his backpack, opening the screen door and letting David walk in under his outstretched arm. Once inside, John toed off his boots and left them on the rubber mat. He continued into the kitchen in his stocking feet.
"Hi Dad," the boy replied with a big smile, holding up the five-foot long stick. "It's a bo-staff. My friend just made it for me; he said he would teach me some cool karate moves when I get my stitches out." He leaned it carefully into the corner by the kitchen door, making sure it was out of the way and would not fall. David had very quickly gotten into the habit of leaving his sneakers outside on the front or back step, depending on which door he came in. He had even taken upon himself, without being asked, the chore of sweeping the doorways as a help to Deborah.
"Zach? That was really nice of him, he's a good kid," John said, hanging his backpack on a hook and taking out his two nearly empty water bottles to rinse them out and refill them at the sink. "I'd forgotten you said you finally met him the other day."
"Yes, I did. How long has he been here, Daddy?"
"I think Zach and his sister were on the plane with me, Oceanic 815, but in the tail section. So that was eight years ago." Locke left the pair of now-filled water bottles on the counter and then washed and dried his hands. "Is your ruck-sack ready to go, pal? Deborah wanted to check your arm and bandage before we left. I'm about to have a sandwich too. Want one?" He pulled a loaf of bread from the cupboard and stepped over to the refrigerator.
David nodded vigorously at the prospect of something to eat; breakfast seemed like ages ago. "Please. I'll go get my stuff ready. Be right back!"
John had to chuckle to himself as he realized that David rarely seemed to care what was on his plate: it was food and that was all that mattered to the healthy, growing boy. He selected cold cuts, cheese and yellow mustard, shaking his head with amusement at the interesting combinations of supplies that often arrived in the Dharma Initiative quarterly food drops.
Deborah came into the kitchen, dusting off a light tan canvas shoulder bag. She smiled when she saw Locke standing at the counter, a picture of domesticity as he made sandwiches. "Coffee, sugar, salt and flour? That's it?"
John looked up sheepishly when he realized she was watching him, sucking mustard from his thumb. "That was the message from Rose. Richard visited them early last week. Maybe we can add some seeds or other gardening supplies?"
The woman opened a nearby cabinet, taking down five packets of herbal tea that she had blended and tucked them into her bag. "It just doesn't ever seem like very much for them, John," Deborah commented. "And I realize it's their preference to live simply." She wiped her hands on her apron.
"Honey, you know that Rose and Bernard can ask for anything they need," he assured her, leaning over to kiss her on the lips. She chuckled and reached up to brush her thumb along his chin. "He fishes with Vincent and she does wonders with their goats and chickens."
"They have goats and chickens? Really? I can't wait to see them." David left his full backpack by the kitchen door and sat at the table, his chair scraping lightly on the floor. "Do they have a farm at their house?"
"Yeah, I guess you could call it that," replied John as he set a plate down in front of the boy and then he pantomimed the lean-to structure with one hand against his forearm. "They built a nice little cabin up on the north shore, actually it started out as a big lean-to, and they live just a bit inland… far enough to get some protection from any storms that might come in off the ocean, and close enough for Bernard to fish if he wants."
"I like fishing too. What was his wife's name again, Daddy?"
"It's Rose and Bernard, and they have a big dog named Vincent. He's a yellow lab, I think." Locke came over to the table with his own plate, smiling at the mustard already smeared brightly on his son's cheeks; he also smiled at the memory of Vincent's previous owner, a young boy named Walt. Deborah brought them both glasses of orange juice.
"Thanks, Deb," he said, dropping a small handful of pretzel sticks on David's plate and then upon his own. "Before I forget, did you pack clean socks, buddy?"
David chewed and swallowed quickly, nodding his head. "Yes, sir." He leaned closer to whisper behind his hand: "And underwear." Deborah hid a smile, concentrating instead on her cup of tea.
"Excuse me, I gotta go see a man about a horse," David said, getting to his feet and heading around to the other side of the banyan tree. The three of them had stopped for a brief rest, drinking deeply from their water bottles. Of course, David also had a mango for a snack.
Locke snickered, wiping beads of sweat from the top of his head and then wiping his hand on his pants leg. "Where did you hear that expression?"
David grinned broadly, pushing down one of the pins on the bandage that covered his left forearm. "Papa said that sometimes. He had a bunch of sayings like that." The boy blushed, laughing. "Especially for going to the bathroom."
John glanced over at Deborah whose shoulders were shaking with quiet laughter as she re-packed her satchel. "I'm sure there were some expressions he didn't want to say in front of you either. Don't go too far, partner. Alright?"
"David's grandfather sounds like he had a lively sense of humor," Deborah commented when the boy was out of earshot. "I would bet he had a bit of a playful streak too."
"Joe? Oh, that he did," replied Locke. "A bit salty as well, if you know what I mean, which makes sense as he was retired military." The woman nodded in understanding.
"Mary was much quieter, very soft-spoken, although I only met her once or twice. A calming influence for her husband," he added. He chuckled softly to himself. "And Helen was bold, just like her father. David reminds me a lot of her." John leaned over to kiss Deborah's cheek but she pulled him in closer, encouraging him to kiss her more properly. As they stood there in each other's arms, neither of them heard the boy's footsteps as he returned.
David cleared his throat quietly as he held up a handful of golf clubs he had found.
"Boy, that was quick," said John, stepping back, clearing his own throat and fighting down a smile. Deborah reddened a little as she straightened her blouse.
The boy shrugged, his eyes twinkling with good humor as he looked up at them. "I can go back and play in the jungle, Daddy, if you need more grown-up time with Miss Deborah." He laughed when Deborah swatted his shoulder with the back of her hand.
"What have you come across now, young one?" she asked, curious as to the purpose of the strange looking metal rods.
"I think its golf sticks, they were stuck in some branches where I went to the head over there." He looked at the long handles, his brow wrinkling with concentration. "But I don't know what all of the letters and numbers mean."
Locke hefted his backpack up to his shoulders, adjusting the straps more comfortably across his chest (his was the most heavily laden with items for Rose and Bernard). "Clubs," he corrected gently. "Here, let's see what kind they are…"
The older man turned the club heads up, tilting his own to read the labels on each one the boy held for him. "Oh, 'Ping', that's supposed to be a really good brand. One wood, five-iron, nine-iron… kinda bent up though, and an 'S' for sand wedge."
"But this is metal, isn't it? What do you do with a one wood?"
"Sometimes it's called a 'driver'. I think you usually hit with that one first." John shrugged, giving a lop-sided smile.
"Oh, well that's a weird name for it anyway. Did you ever play golf, dad?" David leaned the clubs against the tree trunk, getting his backpack re-situated. He frowned again when he took up his bo-staff, puzzling over how to carry all of the items he'd collected.
"Not much really, I didn't get into regular golf but miniature golf was fun for birthday parties and stuff." John held out a hand, offering to carry one or two of the golf clubs.
"Do you think we can fix this one?"
Locke shook his head, scratching a bead of sweat and/or a mosquito from behind one ear. "Eh, don't think so. Maybe you could leave it here for Richard to find?"
David giggled, a mischievous glint in his eye. "He'd probably like that, wouldn't he?" The boy pushed the damaged nine-iron into the thick banyan branches, covering it with vines he pulled into place.
The trio stepped into a clearing and Locke immediately spotted Rose Nadler, sitting in what he was sure was a favorite spot, her eyes closed in meditation. When he had first met her after the crash, they were the only two survivors of Oceanic flight 815 who knew of (or at least suspected) the special healing powers of their Island: Locke no longer needed his wheelchair, and Rose no longer had cancer.
"Excuse me, lady, I think you're in my seat," said John, teasing. It was an old joke between them, dating back at least eight years.
Without opening her eyes, Rose smiled serenely at the sound of his familiar voice. "Well, sweetheart, I can move one over if you like; there's plenty of room out here if you wanna be on the aisle." She looked up, accepting both of his hands to help her rise from the roughly hewn palm tree log she was sitting on.
"Hello, Rose. How are you?" he asked when she leaned back in his warm embrace.
She stretched up and kissed his cheek, still smiling as she patted his muscular shoulder. "Very well, thank you. Bernard is out fishing, of course, but I expect he should be back anytime now. It's so good to see you, John."
Rose turned to Deborah and the women embraced affectionately. "And you too, honey; you're both looking well, lovebirds. I really do hope you have some good stories to catch me up on! The college and dental school adventures are getting repetitive out here, if you know what I mean." Her shining eyes belied her grumbling tone.
Deborah laughed in sympathy, giving her friend's elbow a squeeze. "Actually, yes. We have several rather good stories for you and Bernard."
"Rose, I'd like to introduce you to…" John began but then he stopped as he looked around, finding empty space. He chuckled, spotting David several yards away on his hands and knees next to the chicken coop, peeking in through the slats. Rose gestured in invitation, and the three adults started walking toward the fire ring. A pot of water steamed as it rested on the flat stones.
"The incredibly curious youngster over there is David," said John, shaking his head and beckoning when the boy looked up when he heard his name. David hopped to his feet and ran over, wiping sand from both hands as his backpack shifted precariously from side to side; at least the zipper was closed so nothing was falling out of it. His bo-staff and pair of golf clubs were leaning against a nearby shrub.
"Daddy, daddy! You won't believe it, there's baby chicks over there, a whole bunch of them! All fluffy and tiny ones!" The boy was practically dancing on his toes in his enthusiasm at his discovery.
Rose's eyebrows darted upward against her smooth mahogany skin, nearly reaching her floral patterned head wrap, and she gave John a look of wonder, mouthing silently Daddy? She noted that the boy had a clean, bulky bandage on one arm but that it didn't seem to slow him down (and she was well aware of Deborah's considerable skill as a healer).
"Yes, I see some of them on the edge of the coop," he said, putting one hand on top of the boy's head, slowly turning him. "Rose, I'd like you to meet my son, David. Dave, this is our good friend, Rose."
David beamed up at Rose as he shook her hand. "Very nice to meet you, ma'am. How did you get seventeen baby chicks over there? Are they from the Island?"
"Um, well yes, my husband and I built a coop for the eggs we found up in the jungle, to keep them safe," she replied, her jaw still dropping in surprise but she appreciated how handsome and polite the youngster was.
Remembering her manners, Rose offered them each a seat at the fire and started gathering small wooden cups for tea. She looked from Deborah to Locke and back as the boy dropped his backpack with John's, and then stood leaning against the seated man's body. David's slender arm draped across John's neck and one of his fingers unconsciously tapped the soft cotton shirtsleeve.
In that flash of a moment, Rose saw what Deborah and Richard had seen when they recognized the father and son together. It was uncanny at how similar the two were in their appearance and even in their body language. She smiled inwardly when she observed that his tennis shoes were mismatched and that he wore cargo shorts merely one or two shades away from Locke's dark brown trousers.
"Welcome to our humble home, David," she told him as she poured hot water into four cups, thinking to herself that this really was going to be a wonderful story. "How old are you?" She sprinkled dried hibiscus flowers in each one.
"I'm six, no, almost seven. I'll be seven in May," he replied, brightening when she offered a platter of cookies. "May the fifth."
"Seven huh? You'll be a tall drink of water when you grow up, just like your daddy here, I'm sure," said Rose, nodding in John's direction. "I didn't make these too terribly sweet but they are enough for Bernard. You've never seen such a sweet tooth in a grown man."
Deborah bit into a cookie, appreciating its light texture even more because she knew it was baked over a small campfire. "You have had some good luck with the bee hives this season, haven't you? This has honey in it."
"We did, finally. Got a few stings up and down my arms to show for it but I think the hives will work out up in the jungle thattaway," Rose said, waving one hand toward the mountainous tropical forest. "My husband got it into his head that he needed another project to work on," she added, chuckling softly. "Lucky we're not allergic."
John smiled in agreement, recalling that Bernard had always been a hard-working man on the Island, and interested in many things. He reached around and opened his backpack, laden with supplies for the couple.
"It doesn't ever seem like much, but we brought supplies for you, from the Dharma drop of course," he said, showing her the cans and packets he had carried.
"Thank you, John," Rose told him sincerely. "We can even work out a fair trade this time… goat cheese and honey."
David wrinkled his nose as he bit into a second cookie, stepping around the fire to sit on a large hunk of a palm tree. "Miss Rose, goat cheese doesn't sound right."
Rose laughed, gently squeezing the boy's nose between her fingers. "I am completely sure I can change your mind, darlin' when you taste it; we make our cheese from fresh goat's milk. And it's good for you." She winked at him. Deborah was pleased to see that David and Rose had quickly become friends; they both had open and kind temperaments.
David giggled but did not look very convinced. He was about to ask her a question about the goats when a large yellow dog came leaping along the shell-lined path; Vincent skidded to a halt, barking excitedly when he caught sight of the youngster. He approached Rose, whining softly but he skirted well around Locke and Deborah who were both unpacking their satchels and stacking the supplies that they had brought.
"And this is Vincent," she said rubbing her hand along his ear as he sat in the sand at her feet, looking up expectantly. "I know, I know, we haven't had visitors in a while, have we, sugar?" Rose and Bernard both typically included the intelligent animal in most of their conversations.
David was obviously enchanted, totally accepting that Vincent understood what was said, and he offered his hand to the big dog who licked it once before looking back up to Rose's face. "Meet David," she told him by way of an introduction. "You most certainly do know our friends John and Deborah over there, silly thing."
The dog barked again, seemingly in reply before he headed off into the nearby jungle. Moments later, Bernard stepped around a stand of coconut palm trees, carrying a stringer of eight medium-sized and brightly colored fish.
"Hello, honey I'm home! I thought I heard familiar voices," he called to John as he dropped the fish on a woven-bamboo table. Locke strode over from where he was unloading his backpack, and the two men shook hands and embraced roughly, laughing as they thumped each other on the back. Bernard then leaned down to kiss his wife's and Deborah's cheeks.
"Good to see you, Bernard," said John. "Rose here was just telling us that you needed some new stories around your campfire."
Bernard grinned, his teeth shining against the backdrop of his salt-and-pepper beard. "Sure, why not?" He transferred his freshly caught fish to a large basin filled with clean water. His eyes widened when David hopped up from where he'd been gathering canned goods and golf clubs that had fallen over under a bamboo table.
David gaped in surprise, recognizing Bernard as someone from his past, and then beamed at his father. "Hey! Hi, Dr. Nadler. Daddy, you already know my dentist from when I was a little kid in California? How cool is that?"
A/N: Sorry about the cliffhanger. It was not intentional…