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Which Way the Rain Falls

Chapter Text

He grudgingly admits that Jacob has a certain charm, the way he likes squinting out at the ocean, the breeze ruffling his short-cropped hair, but denies that the charm has ever affected him.

He has held many debates with Jacob, shouting matches about their destinies, how nothing will change, how Jacob is wasting his time, that no one can break the cycle. He always convinces himself that he won.

He wants nothing more than to be free, but Jacob controls and manipulates and lies to innocent people just so that he may remain trapped. This is what he tells himself, and this is what forces him to find his loophole.

He tells himself so many things, just to avoid the truth. He is the liar, he is the manipulator, but he only controls himself. He knows, but chooses not to believe, Jacob’s human-like goodness.

Esau doesn’t believe in angels. He believes in things he can see. He believes in the innate evil of humans, the cycle of destruction that never ends, and the freedom that is so far from him.

Humans, he knows, believe the existence of things they cannot see, touch, or hear. They believe that angels walk among them, doing good, helping those in need.

Esau feels the sharp lurch in his gut when Ben kills Jacob. The relief washes over him, but is eclipsed by guilt and the harsh feeling of something lost. He knows this feeling, has sensed humans experiencing it. The feeling of someone you love dying, and the self-hatred following it.

Maybe, he muses as the body burns, you can’t know the existence of angels until they leave.

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“I know you’re awake.”

Jack opened his eyes, blinking rapidly to reorient himself. The anesthesia had left him feeling rather weak and nauseous.

“Why did you say that?”

Juliet was silent for several moments, washing her hands and the tools, her back to him. “Which part?”

“That . . . I was trying to prove something to myself. That I . . . don’t love you.” He struggled to sit up on his elbows. Juliet turned and gently helped him, placing a pillow behind his head and sitting down on the bed next to him.

“I said what was true. You love Kate – I see it. I don’t want to get in the way of it.” This was all coming out wrong. Juliet shook her head and made to stand up. “What I’m trying to say . . .”

“Juliet.” He grabbed her arm, and although his grip loosened quickly, it was enough to make her sit back down. He tried to pull her closer, but her slight resistance made him pause.

“I don’t want to hurt you, either. But I love you. I meant what I said, and what I did. If Ben tries to come anywhere near you . . .” Jack blinked several times, trying to maintain consciousness.

“Go back to sleep, Jack. Heal. I’ll talk to you again later.” Juliet stood, and Jack’s arm slid down hers limply.

“Believe what you like, Juliet, and I’ll do the same.”

She left the tent with her heart in her throat.

Chapter Text

"I have this under control."

I don’t know what I'm doing. Time slips away, and I don’t have a plan. So I do what I always do: I lie.

This is how I survive. Some might call it cowardice, but I only think of it as necessary. I lie to myself to prevent things from slipping away, beyond my control.

"So?"

I act cold, unfeeling. To me, sentimentality is a weakness, a vice I must rid myself of.

No one realizes how human I am until my façade breaks down.

"Everything I did, I did for the island."

I wish I could consider myself unselfish. Everything I do, I do in service to something else.

These are the lies I tell myself, hoping that they are true.

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They stay up late, giggling like children, imagining the future.

“We’re gonna grow up together and get job assignments, and we’ll still be friends when we’re old and dying . . .”

Ben stops laughing, the smile slightly faded from his face.

“What’s wrong?”

“Annie . . .” he turns and grabs her hand. “Why should our jobs be in DHARMA? There are other places out there, you know.”

She frowns slightly, her round, child-like face thoughtful for a moment. “You mean we should run away?”

He nods eagerly, his eyes clear and bright. "Let’s go, Annie! Let’s run. There’s nothing keeping us here; we could sneak onto the next sub and –"

"Ben." She speaks his name softly, almost inaudibly, but it cuts through his excitement like a gunshot in the middle of the night. "You're only hurting yourself."

Ice encircles his heart. "What?"

She leans forward, takes his face in her hands, so that he can't look anywhere else. "Don't try to convince yourself there's something better out there. We're fourteen, for heaven's sake. You know that this is probably the safest place on earth."

"We're not on earth," he whispers, his voice cracking. "This is hell."

"If this were hell, you wouldn't be here." She moves forward and kisses him, briefly, before shifting away. "Don't leave, Ben. Please."

He nods, tears starting to crawl down his face, and kisses her again.

He regrets the promises that he made that night.

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No one can deny that he's successful. Dan has devoted his life to his studies, and many wonder how he avoids the distractions.

Everyone marvels at how fast he's achieving things, and most ponder where he's going next.

Only the subject in question knows that: nowhere.

Daniel realizes how fast he's hurtling towards nothingness. It just takes a brain condition and an invitation to an obscure island to come to the conclusion.

He knows that his discoveries will endure for years to come, even if his name crumbles into obscurity. It's not enough.

He wants to have a life, something to be proud of. But he doesn't know where to start.

Maybe this island, this invitation is the beginning.

Maybe he'll end up becoming the person he wants to be.

Maybe he should go.

Chapter Text

Ricardo returned a few minutes after Jacob sent him out. He sat down on the log next to Jacob and stared at his hands for a while, holding them up to his face. They were shaking uncontrollably.

"Are you all right?"

Ricardo glanced up. Jacob's voice was a little softer now, gentler (well anything would be gentler than screaming in his face), and he seemed genuinely concerned.

"I'm fine. It's just . . ." He struggled for the words. "Yesterday, I was on a slave ship to the New World, and now I'm sitting next to the de- a man who says he made our ship crash." He shook his head. "Los tiempos cambian tan rápidamente."

A smile flitted across the other man's face. "Yes, Ricardo. How quickly the times change." He squinted out to sea, as if waiting for another ship to come floating over the horizon.

"You said you wanted to live forever, Ricardo. And I granted you that wish. But do you know what that means?"

Ricardo shook his head again, looking over the sea as well. "How could anyone?"

"I do." Jacob's attention shifted back to him. "You might say I've been alive for an eternity. But then I wouldn't really know it, would I? There would be no sense of time." He sighed. "I've lived over 2000 years, and believe me, Ricardo, even the stars change in that time.

(it doesn't make any sense how could it it's just too huge what if i'm next oh god what have i done)

"You will live the life that many wish they had. A chance to never die. You will not leave this earth."

(i'm stuck here forever and ever what am i doing i can't be here but there's no turning back, can't change the past el pasado es el pasado)

"Ricardo." Jacob's hand touched his arm. "You're going to live. You're going to stay. It's going to be all right. I'm staying here, too."

(i'm staying here for eternity)

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He composed himself as he walked confidently up the pier, keeping his eyes locked on those of the man at the other end.

"Charles."

"Ben. Don't offer me one of your pathetic explanations about how you're so sorry and this is for the better and it's what the island wants." Widmore's icy eyes bored into Ben's blue-green ones. "You came here to gloat about your victory."

The guards on either side of Widmore tensed a little, but Ben gave them a look and they backed off. Charles let out a short laugh.

"See? You don't think about the island, what's best for the island, you care about what's best for you. You need everyone to be afraid of you. And the reason I'm in handcuffs, Ben, and not you, is because I wasn't afraid of you."

Ben's jaw tightened slightly, but his voice was emotionless as ever when he spoke. "The reason you're in those handcuffs, Charles, is because you broke the rules. You abandoned the island, you abandoned us."

Widmore laughed again, as humorless as before. "I broke the rules? That's rich, Ben, coming from one who deliberately disobeyed orders for the exact same reason --"

Ben snapped and punched Widmore, as hard as he could, across the face. His knuckles split on the other man's jaw, and he turned on his heel to march back down the pier, leaving Widmore with his face turned to the side, blood beading on his cheek.

Richard met him a few paces into the woods with Alex by his side. "How'd it go?"

"Fine," said Ben shortly, scooping a giggling Alex into the air and hugging her gently. "It's over. Let's go back to camp."