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Chapter 47: Deo ex Equo
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: 5132 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 has ways to get you where you need to be.

Chapter Index

Chapter 47: Deo ex Equo

Hugo hadn't been married twenty minutes when it became apparent that this wasn't any ordinary wedding. His mouth still tingled from Claire's warm kiss, and the scent of roses from her flower crown lingered on his beard. Aaron had mentioned cake, but Fr. Aguillar's severe expression dictated that there wasn't going to be any. On the other side of the living room, his mother was wringing her hands from nerves.

“Blessings on you both,” the priest said. “Now for plans.”

Penny gathered up Charlie into her arms, as if waiting for a signal.

“Right,” said Desmond, drawing his wife and child close in. “We'll meet everyone down at Marina Del Rey. Our Mutual Friend II is at Poseidon's Marina, Slip 16.”

Sawyer laced his arm through Kate's as if he were escorting her through a square-dance promenade, instead of towards the back door. “Roger that, Captain.”

“Wait,” Hugo said. “What about, you know, the dudes outside? In the black SUVs?”

“I got a few Jedi mind tricks of my own, Luke,” Sawyer replied. “Freckles, time to vamoos.”

Carmen rolled her eyes at Sawyer's butchered Spanish, while Hugo tried to sort out the little shadow which hovered over Kate. She was going to pull something, he was sure of it, although he couldn't say what. “Guys, go straight to the pier, OK?”

“You got it,” Sawyer said, but Kate wouldn't meet Hugo's glance.

It wasn't until the back door clicked behind the two of them that Carmen whirled around to Hugo, and the sorrow in her face cut him to the heart. “I won't have this! One son's already gone, and we never see him. He never calls.” To Fr. Aguillar she pleaded, “Now after losing this one, twice, you're taking him from me.”

“Carmen, love,” David broke in.

She swung from Fr. Aguillar to her husband. “Now I have no sons.”

Hugo grabbed the notepad and pencil by the phone, and rushed forward. If he didn't act quickly, this was going to spiral out of control, and time was of the essence. “Mom, listen. You got to do exactly what I say here.”

Something in his tone got through to her, because she fell silent. Hugo scrawled on the pad as he spoke. “You and Dad, you got to fly to Hawai'i, then take the ferry to Moloka'i. When you get there, there's a town called Kauna...”

Oh, for the love of Mary, don't let me forget the name. Or how to spell it.

The word leaped into his head, lit up like a sign. “Kaunakakai. Right outside, on the way to the beach, there's this diner called the Blue Lagoon. Just ask anybody where it is. Go there and there'll be a big guy there, bigger than me, with lots of tattoos.”

David gave Hugo the look he used to give him right before his last hospitalization, but his tone showed interest. “What's this man's name, son?”

Hugo came up blank. A friend of Pele's wouldn't make any sense to them. “I dunno. But it doesn't matter, because he's kinda expecting you. He'll help you rent a house.”

“A house?” David said. “You're not making sense.”

“Yes, he is,” Claire put in. “Hurley, you're going to move the Door to Moloka'i, aren't you?”

Love surged through Hugo as he gazed at Claire with all the warmth he could muster. She gets it. She really gets it. “Claire's right. Now listen, 'cause this is important. You got to rent a house, not buy one.” Or Pele's gonna be mega-mad. “And on the, what do you call them, Claire? The solstice and the what?”

“The equinox. On the solstice and the equinox.”

“Yeah. I'll be there. We both will, and we'll visit.” Until you're ready to come to the Island. That wasn't going to happen right away, though, so no point in bringing it up. All in good time, he thought, as he pressed the streaked note into his mother's hands.

Desmond and Penny had been waiting patiently through all this. Now Desmond sprung into action, steering Penny and Charlie towards the door.

“You too, Desmondo,” Hugo said. “You watch your back.”

From his pocket Desmond took the compass. He must have polished it, because it shone like a bronze star as he tossed it into the air before catching it. The laugh in his voice matched the one in his bright eyes, and briefly Hugo saw him as he had appeared on that weird beach under the multi-colored stars. Desmond's white linen shirt and blue jacket flickered into that of an old-fashioned sea captain's, and as the compass glittered, so did the gold braid on his shoulders.

Penny's sensible “Come along, then,” broke the spell, and Desmond was himself once more.

From the circle of Claire's arms, Aaron started to whimper, and Hugo at once knew why. Pretty much the only friend Aaron had ever known was disappearing, and as far as Aaron knew, for good.

“It's all right, Snugglepot,” Claire said. “We'll see Charlie on the boat.”

All at once Carole's arms wrapped around Hugo's neck. In a hoarse, urgent voice she said, “You take care of her, you hear?” When she broke off to hug her daughter, his own mom moved in to hug him even harder.

Cold, hard rain blew into the kitchen when Fr. Aguillar opened the back door. “Children, it's time.”

* * * * * * * *

Rain beat a drumline on the roof of Kate's Ford Escalade as she careened down Santa Monica Boulevard towards Highway 1. Sawyer glowered from the passenger seat, knowing better than to interfere or comment on her driving, even though his heart rose in his throat. Two, then three sets of emergency vehicles passed them, going in both directions.

At least the goons in front of Chez Reyes hadn't been parked in their usual spot. Maybe they were made of brown sugar and were afraid they'd melt. Sawyer reached out to turn on the radio for weather and traffic, but she laid her hand on his.

“It won't make any difference,” Kate said.

“Make any difference how?”

She didn't answer. He soon found out, though, when she didn't slide into the left turn lane at the PCH to head south to Marina Del Rey. Instead, she swerved right, almost skidding out on pavement slick with water and mud.

“Goddammit, Kate! You shanghai-ing me?”

She flinched when he shouted, but didn't stop driving. “I want some things from the house.”

He and Kate had only stayed at Chez Reyes for a couple weeks, but Sawyer had already put the big Topanga Canyon house behind him. What the hell did she want back there, anyway? He stole a look at her neck, where the diamond ring hung. So it wasn't that.

“Some hiking boots that fit, for one. I went for three months with blisters, remember?”

He did. Back in their early beach days, he had once held her foot and daubed flecks of blood with scraps of moss. The broken blisters had never gotten infected, but they kept reappearing, a consequence of ill-fitting boots scavenged from a dead passenger lying in the wreckage.

She was still rattling off her list. “...The baby clothes I bought. Pampers. Some pads for... afterwards.”

“Sir Hugo said we'd have everything we need.”

“And he knows what about babies? Claire worked her fingers to the bone trying to keep Aaron warm and dry.”

“On the beach, Kate. You been in the Barracks. They got stuff there you and Claire can use.”

“Not for babies, though. There haven't been babies there for forty years.”

“Beggin' to differ with you, sweetheart, but according to the man who should know, there's babies there now.”

“They're... Others. They're used to it.” At once she clapped her hand to her mouth as she realized what she'd said. “You know what I mean.” Then, sullen as a disgruntled teenager, she added, “You didn't have to come with me. You could have gone with Hurley and Fr. Aguillar in the van.”

Sawyer heaved a sigh. “What, and let you drive up here on your lonesome? All right, but we ain't lingering. Grab what you want and let's get the hell out.”

All along Highway 1, brown waterfalls cascaded down the hillsides, sending slimy water ocean-wards. Opaque waves as dark as the sky heaved up almost to the road itself. Even with the windshield wipers at full speed, Sawyer still had to strain to see the road ahead.

Only one more stoplight till Topanga Canyon Road. Sawyer was increasingly coming to believe that there was a God in heaven, even if His sense of humor ranged from ridiculous to savage. Well, if there was one, Topanga Canyon Road would be barricaded due to mudslides.

On the other hand, he really wouldn't want that to happen. Sawyer had never seen an LA mudslide, but he knew they could bring entire houses down in minutes. Cars got submerged, and while you had a fighting chance in water, good luck swimming through thick brown goo.

So he saw with a mixture of relief and anxiety that the mountain road was clear, even though way more people were headed down to the PCH than away from it.

* * * * * * * *

Claire huddled down in a stuffy cardboard box in the back of Fr. Aguillar's meal-delivery van, her arms wrapped around Aaron. The little boy clung tightly to Willie the Orca and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, squeezing their plump plush bodies almost flat. Fr. Aguillar had refused them a flashlight, so they sat virtually blind, forbidden to speak above a whisper.

At first Aaron had balked at climbing inside the refrigerator box. In a moment of inspiration, Claire had said, “Let's play a game. What kind of dinosaur are you?”

“T-rex!” Aaron had answered at once.

“What kind is Charlie?”

“A velociraptor!”

“Good. The two of you have been in cages in the dinosaur zoo for ever so long. Now, though, you've escaped the zoo, and you're going to get on a boat. It's going to take you back to the island where you were hatched.”

“From an egg!” Aaron said, giving a few swift claps. “Dinosaurs aren't born. They come from eggs.”

“That's right, Cuddlepot. But the drivers don't know they have a dinosaur in the box, so you have to be very, very quiet until we reach the boat. Doesn't that sound like fun?”

It had felt like a nightmare to Claire, but Aaron had grinned and jumped inside the box.

Now every bounce of the van jarred her bottom and lower back. They stopped for a long time, much longer than a traffic light cycle, but all Claire could hear was Hugo's remark, “Looks like they were parked outside the subdivision.” Then, tense with anxiety, he said, “Oh, crap, here they come.”

Fr. Aguillar answered with a laugh in his voice, “Don't worry. The collar still has meaning for a lot of G-men.”

Claire hung on to Aaron in the dark, hoping and praying he didn't speak, or have to pee, or want to know what kind of boat could travel to Dinosaur Island. From his little fidgeting movements she could tell he was bored.

The delay went on for a very long time, and she braced herself for the box being ripped open, the blinding glare of a flashlight in her eyes, Aaron ripped from her arms—

Stop it, she told herself in no uncertain terms. You hid from far worse on the Island and survived. She began to rock Aaron back and forth, just as she used to when he was a baby, and slowly, gradually, his fidgets ended.

Finally the van coughed to a start. Loudly Fr. Aguillar said, “San Jesús Malverde, gracias.

Hugo's answer was a long, slow, “Dude.”

On they rumbled until the van pulled to a stop once more, and the box side-flap opened to reveal Hugo's smiling face. As he helped her to her feet, Claire squinted in the pearly grey light, overcome with the familiar smells of salt and rotting seaweed.

“Mummy, mummy, there's the dinosaur boat!” Aaron shrieked, pointing to Charlie, who was perched on deck of a yacht a good twenty meters long. Equally luxurious craft bobbed on either side in their own slips, but other than themselves and the Humes, the marina was deserted.

Light as a cat, Desmond leaped from deck to dock. “So where are Kate and Sawyer, then?”

“Dunno,” Hugo answered. “I thought they'd be here by now. We had an unscheduled stop.”

“I told you, son,” Fr. Aguillar said. “Cops respect the collar.”

“I think it was when you told them your Beemer was in the shop, which was why you had to drive the church van.”

“They respect the collar even more when they think it's attached to money.”

Claire bent down to Aaron. “Say goodbye to Fr. Aguillar, and thank you for getting us to the dinosaur boat.”

The priest gave Aaron a solemn handshake. “You're welcome, Mr. T-Rex.”

Stretching up, she kissed Fr. Aguillar's leathery, scarred cheek. “Thanks from me, too.” As an afterthought she added, “Who's Jesús Malverde?”

Fr. Aguillar grinned. “The patron of outlaws and smugglers.”

Desmond was still preoccupied, though. “We can't ring up Kate or Sawyer, since you made us leave all the mobiles behind.”

At once Claire felt a change along the skin of Hugo's arm, as a depth opened in his eyes. The unseen glow warmed her, but frightened her a little, too.

“Damn,” Hugo said. “They've kinda gone off mission.”

“What?” Desmond said, sharp.

Claire could barely hold on to Aaron, anxious as he was to join Charlie on deck. To Desmond she said, “Might I ask the captain's permission to come aboard?”

Before Desmond could answer, Penny called out, “Of course, Claire. Just mind the gangplank, as it's a bit wobbly.”

Tightly gripping Aaron's hand in hers, Claire tried not to look down at the churning water between the dock and the yacht. Behind her, Hugo said, “Dezzy, let's get underway, take off, whatever. Head north along the coast, but slowly.”

Claire spun around, despite the swaying motion of the gangplank. “We're not just leaving them!”

“It'll be OK, Claire. Trust me.”

A little shiver went through her at who he was, what he had become. As he crossed the gangplank, it creaked under his weight, and she knew that it held only because he willed it so.

“All right,” Desmond said, resigned. “Make ready to weigh anchor.”

* * * * * * * *

After twenty minutes, Kate saw that the southern traffic down the mountain road had stopped, and only she and Sawyer were left in their slow progression northwards. Maybe Sawyer was right, that this was a crazy idea after all.

The child in her womb fluttered, as if agreeing.

What were a pair of boots, anyway? Even if hers were gorgeous: Columbia Cascades which fit like slippers. Not that her feet were swollen or anything. Just... spreading. Hormones did that, she had read. Hormones which loosened everything up and softened the joints, including the ones in the feet.

And the hips. She shifted in the plush leather seat, edging away from a twinge of pain, and barely heard Sawyer's low growl about how Hugo and Desmond were going to leave without them, and if that's what you wanted, Freckles, why didn't you just come out and say so?

“I'll be quick,” she said, only half-listening to him, preoccupied with the thought that this was it, good-bye to California for good, trying to push down the column of joyful excitement that kept bubbling up no matter what, the prospect of adventure, something new—

“Dammit, Kate, slow down!”

She hit the brakes, felt the car slide on the muddy asphalt, then deftly pulled the Escalade out of a spin. Up ahead, right after the curve, a Lexus SUV blocked the mountain road. Its front end had crashed into the guardrail, and a dump-truck's worth of mud covered its back end.

“You think they're all right?” Kate said.

A middle-aged man and woman stood in front of the Lexus, arguing loudly, heedless of the driving rain which soaked them to the skin. Bad directions, can't handle the car, where did you go to driving school, if you weren't such a bitchy nag... the angry words ricocheted back and forth like ping-pong balls.

Sawyer rolled down his window. “You folks want a lift down the mountain? 'Cause you ain't goin' nowhere right now.”

The man looked over slowly, as if a rock or tree had suddenly spoken to him. A soggy golf hat was plastered to his head. “No thanks,” he said in tones cold as the rain. “We have Triple A.”

“Well, alrighty then,” Sawyer said, rolling his eyes at Kate. “Freckles, you think you can back up this land yacht and get us down the hill?”

The woman fussed with her phone, making complaining noises. “I'm not getting any coverage.”

Kate's stomach sank to her knees. All at once the Escalade seemed very large, the road narrow, and the guard-rail as flimsy as aluminum foil. Sawyer must have felt her hesitate because he said, “Time for a Chinese fire drill, Freckles. Let's switch.”

Lodged behind the wheel, Sawyer stuck his head out one more time. “Last call, folks.” The squabbling couple ignored him.

Inch by inch, Sawyer managed to point the SUV downstream instead of up, and Kate fought back tears as they slowly crept back the way they'd come. The house at the top of the hill had never been home, she knew that. All the same, it might have been on the other side of the world instead of a mountain. Sure, they could drive all the way around to the north. That would take hours, in this rain, and who knows what roads would be closed.

This is it, she told herself. Just get us to Marina del Rey. Please.

They had just rounded a curve, one of the steepest along the road, when everything fell apart. Sawyer's explosive, “Son of a bitch!” was almost drowned out by a grinding, squelching sound like nothing Kate had ever heard before. The whole SUV shook with one thud, then another.

“Sawyer, what the hell—“

“Damn it, I'm trying—“

“Look out!” she shrieked, but it was too late. A wall of brown mud slapped the SUV into the guardrail.

“Oh, my God,” Sawyer whispered. Mud had covered all the driver's side windows, blocking out what little light there was. He frantically tried to back up, but clods of earth and rock had piled up behind them as well.

Another wave of brown flowed over the windshield, leaving only the passenger side windows clear. Don't look don't look don't look, Kate told herself as she stared down into the steep canyon, the arroyo at the bottom filled with swirling muddy water capped with tiny crests of foam.

Sawyer turned to Kate with a look of pure helpless apology. The SUV must have been resting up against the guardrail, because when the hillside gave another shudder, the guardrail collapsed beneath the weight. They were going down.

It didn't happen as fast as Kate would have thought. In the movies, cars ricocheted all the way to the bottom, bursting into flames at the final bounce. This slide was slower, almost gentle, cushioned as it was by sodden earth.

The SUV rolled onto its side, so that gravity pinned Kate against the passenger door. Above her, Sawyer flailed and grabbed at the seat belt, clinging to it for stability.

Finally, after what must have been only a few seconds, but felt like minutes, the SUV slid to a halt. It rested on its side, angled up somewhat, as if something had pushed them into a 45 degree angle, with Kate on the low side. Rain watered the mud on the windows into streaks, so that she still couldn't see anything outside.

Everything was still, except for the incessant patter of rain.

Sawyer let out a long breath. “Whew. Who scheduled that carnival ride?”

“We're lucky to be alive,” she snapped back.

“We ain't out of the woods yet.” A bit of daylight slipped through the streaked driver's-side window. “I'm gonna risk a peek.” The engine had died, though, and the window wouldn't roll down.

“Can you open the door?”

“I'm gonna try. Gotta get this damn seat belt off first. If I tumble onto you, Freckles, don't squawk.” Sawyer grunted and pushed, but finally the door opened. He pulled himself up and climbed out of the car, then gave a low whistle.

“How bad is it?”

He leaned down and extended a hand to her. “Take a hold, and get a step up on the steering wheel.”

Embedded in mud, the SUV was wedged in a rocky cleft between the slope of the canyon wall and the arroyo beneath. Kate and Sawyer clambered away from the car, barely getting free before the Escalade shifted and slid another twenty feet into the whitewater. Angry water tore around it as if it was an intruder, trying with all its force to pull it in. After a brief struggle, the swollen stream won, and the Escalade bounced on its way downstream.

Kate looked up the canyon. Slick with mud, it would be almost impossible to climb up. Below, the flooded stream bed surged. She sank onto a mud-slimed rock, shaking with sick fear. “Think we can wait for the water to recede?”

“We can't stay here, Kate. The rest of that hill could come down at any second.”

Kate had never felt so trapped in her life. When the child twitched once, then a few more times, she steeled herself inside. “I'd rather risk drowning than getting buried alive.”

“Great to have choices, ain't it?”

“Look, there's a little path right above the water-line. Anyway, you know we can swim. Didn't we survive that swan dive into the ocean, on the Island?”

Sawyer's grin encouraged her, but inside she wondered. How much of that had been skill at swimming, and how much had been Jack wanting them to make it to safety? Never mind. They had to try.

They had just picked their way down to the stream when Kate saw the horse.

I must be in shock, she told herself. Because horses didn't just rise out of the foam, especially not from a flood which had already carried away two tons of US-made steel. Water ran off the creature's flanks, so deep a black that they stood out like smears of midnight against a sea of pale brownish-grey.

Sawyer gripped her arm, tight. “Kate, you see that horse?”

“I see it, all right.”

The horse was large, larger than she remembered from that afternoon on the Island, when in tears she had stumbled out of the Swan Hatch into the steaming jungle to where it had calmly grazed in a shaded clearing. Its mane reminded her of a woman's hair whipped by the breeze, and its long, curly fetlocks skimmed the ground. Thick muscle roped its chest and shoulders.

What held Kate rapt, though, were its eyes. Warm brown, dusted with a faint golden sheen, the horse held her in its gaze as she approached.

She barely heard Sawyer as he repeated, “Wait, Kate, don't...” When it did no good, he slipped behind her. The horse nickered, lowered its head and gave a few snorts.

“It was on the Island... How can it be here?” Sawyer sounded as if the shock had just caught up with him.

From high on the hillside came the faint wail of sirens. The Escalade must have made it to the arroyo's outlet. Or maybe the stranded couple had finally managed to call for help.

The horse heard it, too. Then it did something Kate wouldn't have thought possible. It knelt down in a full crouch, lowering its body almost to the ground, as if inviting her to climb aboard.

She hesitated. “This is crazy. Horses' knees don't work that way.”

“This one's do. You see another way out of here, Kate? I say we accept the invite.”

Flashing cherries were massed at the hilltop now, a lot of them. Bullhorns spouted garble which echoed off the canyon walls. Out of the slurry of sound, Kate distinctly made out, “Down there.”

They see us. OK, here goes nothing. Kate climbed onto the horse's back and clung to the thick mane, with Sawyer right behind her, his arms tight around her waist. The horse raised itself to its feet without effort.

A horse can't do that, not with two riders. Who are you? What are you?

The horse stepped into the flood. Churning waves pounded Kate's knees as it continued to wade, until water covered its shoulders.

Then, incredibly, the horse broke into a gallop. It cut through the foaming muck as if it were thin as air, speeding along the water-way, leaping over fallen logs. They passed the caved-in Escalade, pinned by rushing water against a boulder.

That could have been us, Kate said to herself. Then there was no time for thought as the horse burst through a thicket of overhanging branches onto the mud-slicked surface of Highway 1, pausing as if waiting for traffic. There was none, however, on the highway.

Out of the corner of her eye Kate spied the flashing lights of emergency vehicles making a blockade. The horse thundered off to the north, away from Marina del Rey. Behind her, over the thunder of hooves, rain, and the crashing surf, Kate barely heard Sawyer's roars of, “Wrong way! Steer the damn thing, for crissake!”

She could have no more guided her mount than altered the course of the planet. The horse pounded past stranded cars and a few police cruisers. One officer bellowed at them as they passed, and a few people snapped pictures.

The horse pounded along at breakneck speed, with that exhilarating sense of leaving the ground with every beat of the heart. Behind them, Kate heard the howl of sirens and the blare of orders from the highway patrol. Stopping was as impossible as diverting the horse from its path, and so on they flew, until the horse veered sharply left, towards the sea.

It had to slow down in order to pick its way through the forest of boulders which dotted the sea-coast. Kate's heart leaped to her throat, because she knew where she was. She and Sawyer had driven up here months before, when Sawyer had stopped her from throwing Jack's engagement ring into the ocean. “You'll regret it,” he had said as he restrained her wind-up pitcher's throw.

It was the very same spot. There was the jetty, sticking out into the sea like the tongue of a defiant child. A milky fog had blown in, making the jetty's seaward end almost invisible. That didn't stop the horse, though. It pounded over the rocks without a stumble, increasing its speed.

When they went airborne, Kate wrapped her arms around the horse’s thick neck and buried her face in the long mane. Right off the end of the jetty they soared, and in that second's flash of terror and confusion it seemed the horse might sprout wings and carry them away.

No chance, though. They hit the water with a crash, and the shock almost flung Kate off the horse's back, and Sawyer along with it. She gripped hard with her legs and clung to the mane with an iron grip. The horse sank a bit, almost up to Kate's neck, then pulled itself forward with powerful swimming strokes.

One wave slapped Kate's face, then another. Sawyer was still with her, his grip so tight that she could barely breathe. The water was cold and stank a bit of oil. In the calm seconds in between waves, she saw that it had stopped raining, and that they had passed through the murky fog.

It was Sawyer who saw the ship first. “Son of a bitch, Freckles, look! Look!”

A seventy-foot yacht, sleek and beautiful, rode the choppy waves a few hundred yards ahead of them. Hugo's big form waved and shouted from the deck, followed by Desmond, who unrolled a ladder down the side.

The horse swam harder and closer, then stopped, drifting. Everything gelled into an instant of silence. Even the pounding waves seemed to pause, and Kate let go of her death-grip on the horse's mane. It craned around to look at her with one shining golden-brown eye, its neck far more flexible than a horse's should be, and its gaze was warm and compassionate.

It wasn't saying good-bye, was it? Kate whispered into the wind, “Will you be there, too?”

The horse bowed its head as if it understood. Yes.

All at once the horse's body melted away from between her legs. It dissolved into the ocean so quickly that she sank, pulled down by Sawyer's weight. For a terrifying moment she stayed submerged until he let her go, before dragging her to the surface. They had drifted closer to the yacht, and now Desmond was in the water with them.

“Can you make it to the ladder, brother?” he shouted to Sawyer.

Sawyer nodded.

“Then go, for the love of God!” Desmond held Kate's head above water, murmuring, “Relax, love. Don't fight me. I've got you. Just go limp.”

Easier said than done, but she tried. Soon he was pulling her with strong strokes to the side of the yacht, where she clung to the lowest rung of the ladder for dear life. “I got this,” she sputtered out.

“You sure? Because Penny can throw down a harness.”

“No, really.”

“Aye, then.” He gave her a strong shove under the hips, so that she could pull herself up a few rungs and wedge her foot under the lowest one. Above her, Sawyer had almost reached the deck.

Climbing up was harder than it looked. She shook so hard from cold, terror, and exhaustion that she didn't even care when Desmond held fast to her rear end as he stabilized her climb. When she reached the top, Sawyer heaved her up onto the rocking deck where she collapsed, capable of nothing but staring at the faces circled around her.

“Where's Claire?” she said. “And Aaron?”

Penny smiled, full of reassurance. “We thought it best she take the children down below.”

Kate shivered. Probably so they wouldn't see us drown.

Hugo plopped to the deck, his eyes full of warmth and mischief. In a breathless, excited voice he said, “Dude... did you two both just swim out here on a horse?”


(no subject)

Date: 2016-05-06 11:17 pm (UTC)
desdemonaspace: (Default)
From: [personal profile] desdemonaspace
Thanks for updating! What an exciting chapter! I had to google Jesús Malverde, and it turns out, he's real, although not recognized by the Church.

I love your Fr. Aguillar. I judge a successful, well-written fic by its OCs, and yours are splendid.

The getaway by the various couples, and your plans for David and Carmen, make me wish like mad another chapter was in the offing. The escape on horseback was especially thrilling. Hugo has powers! Or the Island does. Seems Hugo can tap into it at will, and what's great about him is how sparingly he does it. Also, Hugo's new powers don't make a Marty Stu out of him - he's still Hugo. Well done!

Can't wait for more. Please update soon.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-05-07 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, glad you liked. Also glad that you're sticking with this story despite my long lag between chapters.

Fr. Aguillar is actually a character in the story, although he's never shown. After Hugo wins the lottery, he gives a press conference, in which his beloved grandfather dies of a heart attack. While Fr. Aguillar is saying the graveside prayers, he's struck by lightning in a freak storm. This sequence of events (and others) lead Hugo to believe that the lottery money and the Numbers are "cursed."

But thanks! I'm glad he resonates for you as a character.

I suppose Hugo's a little Gary-Stu-ish, although I think that Hugo's suffered enough in the original canon. Now he can get a bit of happiness. ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-05-07 02:34 am (UTC)
desdemonaspace: (Default)
From: [personal profile] desdemonaspace
No, no, he's not a BIT Gary Stu-ish. I noticed when he was trying to remember what to tell his mother about where to go an who to see, he fumbled in a very human, very Hugo way. I liked that. If he nailed every last detail all of the time, it wouldn't be believable.

Plus, he's got his hands full with the Island, and there, he is getting it right. Beautifully right.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-05-28 12:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thanks. Sorry I didn't respond to this earlier.

Also, a new chapter is up, if you're interested. ;)


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