stefanie_bean: (hugo and sun)
[personal profile] stefanie_bean
Chapter 1: Approaching LAX
Pairing: Hurley/Sun
Characters: Hugo Reyes, Sun Kwon, Carmen Reyes, David Reyes, Kate Austen
Rating: M
Length: 1982 words
Notes: Complete

Summary: A sensual, bittersweet tale of what happened when Hurley went to visit Sun in Seoul.

Chapter 1: Approaching LAX

I heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?

It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

- L. Cohen, "Hallelujah"

Chapter 1: Approaching LAX

The Oceanic Six returned to the ordinary world in early 2005, but the lies they had to tell stuck in Hugo Reyes's gorge like food going too fast down the throat.

At first it felt good to bathe in love and attention, especially from his dad. Even better, Kate, Sayid and Nadia had decided to put down roots in Los Angeles. Jack didn't count, because in the first place, he was from LA. In the second, he didn't have anything to do with the rest of them, not even Kate.

As the months wore on, LA started to suffocate Hugo. For one thing, his mom wasn't so understanding anymore. When was he going to get out and, well, do something? Anything? At least before the Oceanic 815 crash, when his mom had nagged him about “doing nothing but lifting a drumstick to his mouth,” he'd had a full-time job. Not much of one, but a job nonetheless. Now he didn't. There didn't seem to be much point.

What his mom wouldn't say, his dad would. “What about that girl you always hanging with? Pretty hard-core, huh, having that baby all by herself on a deserted island. Good for you she got some load-bearing hips.”

David Reyes's smirk just made it worse. If Hugo gave his dad the side-eye, David would ramp it up with a raucous laugh. “What's the matter, she give you the old 'Oh, we're just friends' routine? Be persistent, son, maybe you can talk her into something. That's how I landed your mother.”

“She's got a boyfriend, Dad. That doctor, the one from the crash.”

David sniffed and said, “She got a doctor boyfriend, but she's hanging around with you. What are you, her handbag? If you don't step up to the plate, son, you'll never hit a home run. You won't even get a pop fly.”

When Kate came to visit, Aaron crawled around the living room rug, trying to pull himself up on the coffee table. Kate held onto the back of Aaron's overalls so he wouldn't crack his head on the glass, while Hugo's dad got more and more insufferable. David would lean into the room with a half-grin on his face, or stick his head in the door as he went from the kitchen to the den.

Finally Hugo just told Kate, “Can we hang out at your house? Because my dad--”

“I know,” was all Kate had to say.

Then Jack and Kate did start taking up with each other again. To fill the long afternoons and evenings, Hugo started driving around LA in an old 1974 Ford Pinto salvaged from his dad's brother Emil's body shop. Instead of scrapping the battered rust-bucket, Uncle Emil let Hugo pound on it to the point where it would at least pass inspection.

“What you want that Pinto for?” Emil said. “All somebody has to do is rear-end you, and boom.”

All Hugo would say was, “I like it. It fits me.”

Emil just looked at him, not saying anything, not wanting to ask if his nephew meant the wide, generous front seat, or… something else.

The Pinto wasn't the only car that had passed through Uncle Emil's shop. His dad had restored the red 1971 Camaro hardtop and given it to Hugo for a belated birthday present. It sat in the garage unused, next to his 2003 yellow Hummer H2.

On his drives around LA, Hugo would pull off the San Diego Freeway at the El Segundo Boulevard exit, then wind through the surface streets to get as close as he could to the LAX runways. He never parked there very long, not wanting airport security to get too curious about what he was doing there.

Whenever he could, though, he'd stare at the jets as they slid up and down their ordained paths, and covered the sky with their criss-crossed trails. Jet noise joined with rumbles from the highway to make a deafening roar, one which might almost drown out his fears and recriminations and regrets.

The massive planes made Hugo think of that final approach to LAX, when the cars on the 405 looked just like tiny ants scurrying about, busy with their insignificant lives.

No doubt someone in one of those jets was staring down at the freeway right now, maybe even focused on the very spot where Hugo was parked. That stranger might wonder for a few seconds what that car was doing there, before leaning back and gripping the arm-rests with sweating palms.

If he really wanted to go somewhere, all Hugo had to do was walk up to the Oceanic Airlines ticket counter and show his Gold Pass. Anywhere in the world, on the house.

Every time he planned to leave, though, something came up. His mother and father threw him a party. Jack wanted him to come to his father's memorial service. Then, since Jack was so much busier at the hospital now, would Hurley like to come by Kate's house, have some virgin Long Island iced tea, swim in the pool?

All this Hugo did with good graces, but the skies beckoned. At night he lay awake for hours, wondering if he should go back on the clonazepem, if it would do any good.

Hugo sold the Hummer to some guy in the neighborhood for cash, then stuffed the wads of bills into the St. Vincent DePaul Society poor-box at Our Lady of Lourdes parish, trying not to look at the long lines for the food pantry.

At first he hadn't wanted to drive the Camaro, but his dad convinced him otherwise. It's not like it was bought with lottery money or something. Did he want all that work to go to waste? Anyway, either his dad had taken the Camaro out around the block more than a few times, or Hugo had hallucinated the Numbers in the mileage on the odometer. Maybe it was the first. Please, let it be the first.

The panic faded all on its own as the clonazepem prescription sat on his dresser-top, unfilled.

Uncle Emil talked Hugo into letting him sell the Pinto for scrap. Afterwards, over a couple of tall cold ones, Emil said to his brother, “I tell you, that car's a bomb. And he was never gonna get a girl with that beater, anyway.”

David Reyes just shook his head.

* * * * * * * *

One balmy September afternoon right after Labor Day, Hugo sat parked by the LAX east runway, watching the fishbelly-white underside of a 747 as it came in for a landing. His phone chimed out the first six notes of Ave Maria, which meant a call from his mother.

Over the final fading jet-screams, his mother shouted into the phone, and Hugo almost couldn't believe what he was hearing.

“Some woman just phoned the house looking for you,” Carmen said. “And not that Kate, either. You listen to me, that one, she's just stringing you along while she's in between boyfriends.”

“Mom--” Hugo protested, but Carmen was on a roll now.

“So this woman who called you, she got some funny Chinese name, what was it? I can't remember. Anyway, she wanted your phone number, but I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.”

On she went. Phone calls from youngish-sounding women didn't happen to Hugo every day, Carmen relentlessly pointed out. In fact, those hardly ever happened at all. So she agreed to pass the woman's number on to her son, even though it was against her better judgment.

“Mom,” Hugo sighed in love and exasperation, “It's OK. Just give me the number.”

After Hugo hung up, he stared at the unrecognized digits which he'd just keyed in. He thought about making a voice call, but instead texted, “Hey, Hurley here.” It was probably nothing, most likely just another scammer. Those weren't so bad, though. In fact, some of them were downright amusing. It might be a reporter, but they stopped calling a few weeks after the Oceanic Six had been back.

The worst, though, were the family members.

Hugo dreaded the calls from relatives of Flight 815 passengers, people who wanted to know what really had happened to their wife or husband or son. Not that PR bullshit from the news, either. The families' need for closure ripped open a whole host of wounds Hugo would rather have left untouched.

When he'd first gotten back to the States, Hugo had talked to a few of them, but soon he could no longer bear to lie through his teeth, saying he didn't know anything. More often than not he did know how they had died, sometimes in horrible ways.

No one from Libby's family ever contacted him, though. Sometimes he wondered about that, but fear of breaking the Oceanic Six pact of silence kept him from tracking down any of her people.

Months had passed since Hugo had heard from any Oceanic crash family members, though. He put his phone in the drink tray, thinking to cruise by In-N-Out Burger for a couple of Double-Doubles and a vanilla shake, when his phone beeped.

Well, here goes nothing, he thought. He flipped the phone open, and almost dropped it onto his lap. The name on the caller ID was printed in letters as small as his current prospects for happiness.

They read, “Paik Sun-Hwa.” The message was, “Hey yourself.”

Hugo called her back, but got sent to voice mail, which led to a game of telephone tag for the next few days. When he finally spoke with her, he almost couldn't understand her soft, formal phone voice, more shy and hesitant than he remembered from the Island.

He clearly remembered the last time he'd seen her. When the Oceanic Six survivors had landed in Honolulu's Hickham Field, Sun's parents had bundled her into a limousine whose driver looked like a linebacker. A large, dark-suited man rode shotgun. Bodyguards, Hugo thought at the time.

Up till that surprising text message, he'd heard no word from Sun.

Her small voice crept over the airwaves, inciting and saddening him at the same time. Jin-Soo Kwon's tombstone had finally been completed. Would he like to come to Seoul and see it? It was such a long flight, fourteen hours from Los Angeles. The way she said it sounded like she was apologizing for such a fundamental flaw in the planet's geography.

“It is a lot to ask,” she concluded. “I will understand if it is too much.”

“So, what about Jack, Kate, Sayid?”

“I've invited them too, of course. But it could be a challenge for Kate with Aaron. And Sayid and Nadia, I don't know…” Her voice trailed off.

“I hear you.” Hugo knew what was up with that. Sayid and Nadia could leave the United States anytime they wanted, but getting back in might be another story.

Sun repeated, “If it is too difficult, Hurley, I understand.”

“Name the date, and I'll be there.”

“A week from now? It's short notice, I know. That's not a problem?”

“Not for me,” Hugo told her.

She made a faint drawn-in ahhh sound, as if everything was explained and already settled. Her soft deference wrapped a string of tenderness around his heart, and he could barely manage to sputter out that he wouldn't miss it for anything.



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