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Chapter 50: Farewell to the Jedi
Pairings: Hurley/Claire, Kate/Sawyer
Characters: Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, Benjamin Linus, Desmond Hume, Claire Littleton, Kate Austen, James "Sawyer" Ford, Rose Nadler, Bernard Nadler, Carole Littleton, Aaron Littleton, Background & Cameo Characters, Original Non-Human Characters
Rating: M
Length: 3083 words
Status: Complete
Notes: Fantasy and supernatural elements. Think American Gods on the Island.

Summary: Hurley is now Protector of the Island, while Claire, Kate, and Sawyer head back to our world. But when it comes to love, the Island gets you where you need to be.

On fanfiction.net

On Archive of our Own

Chapter Index

(A/N: We've come to the end, Constant Readers. Thanks so much to everyone who believed in this story and stuck with it all the way through. Namaste, and may you find your own Island somewhere, some day.)


Chapter 50: Farewell to the Jedi

Three days earlier, a chartered sailing yacht had left Oahu for a week-long cruise, when the storm erupted out of an empty sky. Winds churned the sea into twenty-foot funnels, and by the time the weather cleared, all eight of the wealthy passengers had drowned, as well as the captain and most of the crew.

Only a man and woman remained, a deckhand and the ship's cook. Thirsty and sunburned but in no real danger, they clung to what remained of the damaged hull. At first they thought that the great flash of brilliant white which engulfed them was ordinary lightning.

They drifted into a current which pulled them towards the Island's shore. Porpoises leaped alongside them, squeaking in their high-pitched language.

They had another day to go.


* * * * * * * *


Hugo pulled his outrigger canoe well out of the tide-line and surveyed the old Oceanic 815 beach camp. Brilliant sun danced off bone-white sand, making him squint.

At first he had wanted to welcome the newcomers with open arms, but Ben suggested that the gradual approach might be best. Let them get their bearings, recover from the shock of the wreck, of sun and dehydration. Slowly the Island's healing balm would work on them from the inside, just as a coconut shell full of aloe jelly would salve their outsides.

All Hugo needed to do was make sure everything was in order.

His old welcome-note still stood pinned to its wooden stake, its black marks as clean and legible as the day they were written. Below the message he scrawled a P.S., that there was now water east of the beach.

Vincent dashed around the beach camp, wanting Hugo to play. Hugo tossed driftwood into the surf and Vincent bounded in after it, then shook water everywhere.

“You got the right idea,” Hugo said, wading into the surf after the dog. Waves wet the bottom of his board shorts, while cool ocean sprays kissed his cheeks. As Vincent splashed, Hugo opened his arms to the ocean.

“Hey, fish, we got some new people coming. They won't have a clue what to do, so give them more of a break you gave me, OK?” That seemed a bit ungrateful, so he finished up with, “Thanks.”

It was hard to fish without tackle, so Hugo added five bone fish hooks to the fishing gear in Sun's old shelter. Long ago, the green god Komos had given Bernard fish hooks which caught true and caused no pain, and some of that magic had passed on to the ones Bernard carved, too.

Hugo puttered in Sun's tent, trying to shake the feeling that she might catch him trespassing. Not much danger of that, though, as many years had passed since Hugo had spoken to the dead. That chance encounter with Christian Shephard outside the bamboo grove had been the last.

Sometimes Hugo caught fleeting ghostly impressions in twilight shadows, but when he tried to catch a better look, nothing was there. He had glimpsed Sun in her garden, and she had shot him a brief unsmiling look. Greenish light shone through her as if she were made of dusty glass. He'd never seen Jin.

Whatever knots bound the dead to this place were slowly coming unraveled.

The beach camp in order, Hugo was about to paddle back to New Otherton when he saw that Vincent had disappeared. Where was that dog, anyway? Hugo was just about to bellow for him when Vincent yelped a few times from the eastern end of the sea-strand.

Hugo headed in Vincent's direction, then stopped short. Further down the beach, a stranger sat on a driftwood log.

The man's iron-grey head was bent over a blue box, his face fixed in an attitude of deep concentration. A closer look showed that it wasn't just a box, but a small board game. The man's ragged cutoff shorts dripped, as if he'd just come out of the sea. A light dusting of freckles covered his deeply tanned shoulders, and the sparse hair on his chest was gray.

When the dark man saw Hugo, a smile crinkled his slate-blue eyes.

Hugo studied him, confused. If the dude was from the wrecked boat, then he was ahead of schedule. Of course, with the Island, who knew? The Island and Hugo were pretty down after all these years, but ultimately the Island had a mind of its own.

Hugo held out his hand. “Hey, welcome. What you got there?”

The man didn't return the gesture, despite his smile. “It's a game. I'm waiting for someone to play it with me, but they're not here yet.”

“Don't worry, man. She probably washed up down the beach. She'll be here soon.”

The man broke into a sharp explosive laugh. “She? That's a good one.”

What the hell? Hugo could have sworn that the other approaching castaway was a woman.

Mischief narrowed the dark man's eyes. “You want to play a round while I wait?”

“Sure.” Hugo settled himself heavily on the other end of the log, the game board positioned between them. Ivory, it looked like, from a very long time ago. Nobody would make anything out of ivory today.

The dark man held out two fists to Hugo. “Go ahead, pick.”

Hugo tapped the man's left hand, and his eyes went wide with shock.

The man opened his fist with a grin. “You're white. Just like in chess.”

“Dude.” Hugo wondered why he hadn't noticed the misty grey aura surrounded the dark man. “Hey, I'm sorry.”

“Sorry for what?”

“That you're dead.”

“Why? I'm not.”

“So you're not from the wrecked boat.”

“Boat?” the man said. “What boat?”

“ETA sundown, probably. Busted up in a storm.”

A bitter curtain fell over the man's face. “I suppose you brought them here.”

Hugo was genuinely surprised. “Why would I do that? I haven't brought anybody here. I'm just the welcoming committee.”

The man made a noncommittal noise as he arranged tiny white and black stones on the ivory board.

“So, how do you play this?” Hugo said.

“You know Parcheesi?”

“Yeah, man, sure. Who doesn't know Parcheesi?”

“Oh, you'd be surprised. It's a lot like that, but no dice. Instead, we roll these knuckle-bones.”

“'Roll them leaden bones,'” Hugo quoted.

“'Seven come eleven, boys, I'll take your money home.' Don't worry, we're not wagering. Just good clean fun.”

The rules weren't that hard to understand, although the game actually wasn't much like Parcheesi. They played a round, which Hugo lost. He couldn't remember the last time that had happened, and he rose to the unexpected challenge. “Better than checkers, for sure. How about we play again?”

The dark man set up, and this time added some extra pieces carved of glossy, reddish wood. Now the board was divided between white, black, and brown. “For the one who'll be joining us soon.”

Another figure stepped into view. Back-lit sunlight surrounded his blond hair like a halo and reflected off his bleached-linen caftan. Hugo started to struggle to his feet, almost knocking over the game board in the process, but the newcomer waved for him to stay seated. The dark man sat motionless, his smile mutating into a wry grin.

Realization hit Hugo like waves slapping a rock. “Whoah, Jacob. You said I'd never see you again.”

Jacob gave a small smile. “I guess I was wrong.”

“Wouldn't be the first time,” the dark man remarked.

Jacob settled himself cross-legged on the soft sand in front of the game board. “And it won't be the last.”

“Oh, man,” said Hugo, fighting a toppling-down-the-rabbit hole feeling. Just when he thought it couldn't get any weirder, he recognized the dark man sitting across from him. The last time, the man had worn John Locke's face. The eyes were what did it, though. You could always tell by the eyes. “You.”

“The very same.”

“Glad you didn't start without me, Samael,” Jacob said.

“We already played a round,” Samael said. “Where have you been?”

“Just touring the place.” Jacob turned to Hugo, smiling. “You've done wonders with it.”

Hugo couldn't resist a small flush of pride. “It's not all me. I got lots of help.”

“You've done well, Hugo, given the rough start.”

Ignoring the dagger in Jacob's last remark, Samael said to Hugo, “I take it that Claire's all right?”

“More than all right,” Hugo answered. An old, icy reflex flickered through his gut, more habit than real fear, since Old Smokey didn't look very threatening right now.

Samael must have felt the change in temperature. “I don't expect you to tell her that you saw me.”

“You got that right, dude.”

There was no fight in Samael, though.“I just want you to know that I'm sorry.”

Hugo wished there were Emily Post columns for dealing with the dead. Some you could talk to about anything, including their deaths. Others didn't like to bring it up. You just stumbled your way through and hoped you didn't hurt their feelings too much. “Claire's not mad anymore, but I gotta tell you. She's always gonna think that Kate did the right thing by shooting you.”

“No offense taken,” Samael said.

Jacob sat silent as a Cheshire cat, a small smile on his angular face.

“OK, your turn,” Hugo said to Jacob.

For an instant Jacob looked confused. “My turn? We haven't started playing yet.”

“No, your turn to say you're sorry.”

Samael leaned back, clearly amused at where this was going.

“Excuse me, I, uh—”

“You don't get it, do you, Jacob?” Hugo said.

“He certainly doesn't,” Samael chimed in. “He was never swift on the uptake.”

“Don't be mean,” Hugo shot back. “Jacob, do I got to spell it out for you?”

“You think I— You think I had something to do with that? With Claire?”

“Didn't you?” Hugo said.

Samael cupped his chin in his hand, arm resting on his knee, as if this had been coming for a very long time.

“It was his idea.” Jacob stabbed the air in his brother's direction, like a small boy caught at something he didn't want to own up to.

“I know that.” Hugo settled his whole massive stubborn weight in Jacob's path, for however long it took for Jacob to get the point. “When did you first find out?”

Jacob passed a hand over his face. “When I heard the baby. I knew my brother had been… watching her. Until then I didn't think he'd really pull it off.”

“I set the infant on the busiest boar run, right at snacking height,” Samael said in a helpful voice. “Just so there would be no slip-ups, although the gunslinger got there first. Ultimately, of course, I'm glad he did. In the end, I mean.”

Hugo folded his arms across his chest. “Then what'd you do, Jacob?”

Again Jacob looked confused. “Nothing.”

“That's right, man. Nothing.”

“That was the point. I didn't interfere. I always wanted people to choose the good on their own.”

Hugo sat with arms still folded. He could do this all day if need be.

“Admittedly, there were … difficulties,” Jacob finished, twisting one of the ovoid wooden pieces between his fingers.

“Dude, people don't just choose to be good on their own. They need help from other people.”

Jacob shook his head, skeptical.

“Never mind, man,” Hugo said. “You'll figure it out sooner or later. Let's just play.”

The three of them rolled the bones and moved their little pieces around the board, lost some of them to capture, won them back. Jacob won the first round, then Samael, then Hugo, but not by much, because Samael was an especially clever player.

As the afternoon stretched on, the lowering sun shone through Samael and Jacob's translucent forms, highlighting them with reddish-gold. If Hugo was going to paddle home before dark, it was time to go.

Samael put the game in a rucksack, then slung it over his shoulder. “Coming, Jacob?”

“Where you guys headed?” Hugo asked, curious.

“To the Heart,” said Samael. “I visit a lot these days, just to look. It never gets old. You want to join us?”

“Nah, gotta get on home,” Hugo said. “Thanks for the game. Nice seeing you, too, Jacob. Cool surprise.”

The two brothers crossed the beach towards the jungle. Samael draped his right arm around Jacob's shoulder in a light, companionable gesture, and Jacob brought his arm up around his brother's waist. Neither of them left a shadow on the orange-tinged sand, and soon they faded into the dusk at the forest's edge.

They were gone now, really gone. Moving on.

When Hugo pushed the outrigger into the surf, a swift current pulled him out to sea. He paddled more for show and to have something to do than out of necessity, as fast-breaking waters carried him around the western coast towards home.


* * * * * * * *


When you take your first step on the Dharma road, there's no telling where it will lead you. So thought Hugo as he plodded towards New Otherton in the cool of the evening. Soon the town's roofs peeked through green canopies of overhanging trees and trailing vines, and before he knew it, he stood on the threshold of home. From inside, lamplight cast dark green shadows over the porch.

A delicious shiver of anticipation played over him. When that the door opened, love as soft and warm as golden light would bathe him from head to toe.

The hinges creaked as he opened the door. “It's me.”

“Hey, you,” came her voice from within.

The spaces where the oil lamp didn't reach had filled up with moon- and starlight, making the blonde halo of her hair glow silver. She sat cross-legged on a thick woven floor mat, nursing the baby. “Lucas is almost finished. I'll get up in a minute.”

“Don't. I know where the kitchen is.”

“Hope you don't mind that I ate already.” She gave a small apologetic laugh. “Nursing's hungry work.”

“Where's Leia?”

“Spending the night at Jenn's. Last night they went to a party, and now they need another whole night to talk about it.”

Hugo brought a large bowl of spice-laden curry to the low table and dug in. “So, where's Mom?”

“Which one?” she said.

“Both of them, I guess.”

“Tending to your dad.” Her sweet face grew serious. “He's fading, you know.”

Hugo sighed, deep and sad. His dad didn't have much time left.

“He's not afraid, Hurley. He's at peace. It was the best gift you could give him.”

Supper finished, he joined her on the mat, taking his son's foot in his hand and pinching it a little.

“What are you doing, trying to wake him up?” Claire said, smiling. “I thought you wanted him to settle down, so we could take advantage of the quiet.”

“Just trying to hurry him on.”

“Look, he's done.” Claire gently pulled the baby off her breast, then set him down in a large woven basket. Lucas murmured a bit in protest, crammed a chubby fist into his mouth, and settled down.

Hugo and Claire rose. He drew her close, to breathe in the sweet warm scent of her hair. That never got old, no matter how often they stood like this.

“Everything in order down at the beach?” Claire said, nuzzling his chest.

“Great.”

“They've probably arrived by now, I imagine,” she said as she came up for air. “I remember how scared I was that first night.”

He pulled her even closer. Her small but very pregnant body had trembled against his as they sheltered up against a scrap of fuselage, the stink of burning rubber and flesh all around them. So many years had passed since then, with so many detours, yet here they were.

“It'll be different for them.” He rubbed the small of her back, pretty sure that the baby would stay asleep long enough for things to get interesting.

“Hurley?” she said, something still on her mind. “I know we're not anywhere near there yet, but what happens when we get to one hundred and eight people?”

“I dunno. I guess people will start dying.” Against his will, he thought of his father. “Or maybe a few will decide to leave.” Like some of the kids, but he didn't want to say it out loud. Charlie and Aaron had already sailed around the Island more times than anyone could count, and Aaron was talking of setting out onto the open ocean someday. Charlie would join him, and Desmond was already bragging of having two more sea-farers in the family.

“Someday” came upon you before you knew it.

It was Aaron and Charlie's choice, though. On his watch, at least, no one was going to stay on the Island against their will.

“And after that?”

“There'll always be shipwrecks, Claire. And more babies. It's gonna balance out.”

Claire didn't answer. Instead, she gently tugged on Hugo's long hair, inviting him to kiss her. Her open, wet mouth played over his, pulling him into a pool whose waters poured out endlessly, yet never overflowed. Her blue eyes met his, bright as reflected stars, inviting him to kiss her once more for good luck. Even after pulling away, the glow of her mouth still rested on his.

In his sleep, Lucas made little mewling noises.

“I missed you,” she said. “Even if it was just since this morning.”

“Me too,” Hugo said. “It's good to be back.”

(The End)


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