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Birthday fic for bachlava

Title: On the Other Side
Summary: Alex has a lot to learn
Note: Birthday fic for bachlava. Not sure if you'll like, but the thought is there! Thanks to zelda_zee for the beta. Also for "Unfinished Business" prompt at lostfichallenge.
Spoilers: The Shape of Things to Come
Rating: PG
Word count: 1044





The first thing Alex notices is the grass: It's somehow more intensely green than seems possible, at least in contrast with the pool of red spreading out underneath her head. Blood. Her blood. She gets to her feet, somewhat shaky. She's dizzy and her head hurts. Flames flicker behind her. The smoke is everywhere.

She looks down on her own lifeless body without quite realizing that it's hers. She's distracted by the movement around her, flashes in the corner of her eyes that make her turn her head. The pale faces of people she's never seen before crowd behind her, turning en masse to follow Keamy into the jungle. There are so many of them, but they move with complete silence.

She watches the jungle swallow up the last of them, still wondering how it is she'd never noticed them before. But now Keamy is gone and she can return to her father. He hasn’t moved from the window, still staring at the ground in frozen horror and she smiles, to let him know everything is okay.

It's only then that she sees the shapes behind him: A man in a Dharma jumpsuit with a pinched expression on his face. There are also faces she does recognize: Danielle and Karl. They hover so close to Ben that he must feel them but she knows he does not. Her father, her real father, Robert, is there too, though somewhat fainter.

Ben cannot see them because they are dead, and so, she realizes at last, is she.

Danielle beckons to her and she finds herself drawing closer until she's inside the house with both the living and the dead. Her mother’s arms feel real, solid, around her. She can feel the anger in the room, and the shock, and it seems to come from both those living and dead.

Her eyes are adjusting from darkness into light, or perhaps the other way around and Alex can now make out shadowy figures behind Sawyer as well. Sawyer's head is lowered, his hands clutched uselessly around a rifle. It's shocking to see that the man behind him is also holding a gun, a shotgun that dangles from his hand as if he were seconds from dropping it. A pretty woman with pale hair faces away from the man with the gun. She doesn’t recognize a portly, white-haired man or another man, dripping wet and clutching his chest, but Tom grins as he nods at her in morbid amusement. They can see her, too.

For some reason, Alex approaches Sawyer first, rather than her father, who hasn't moved from his position at the window. She places her hand on Sawyer's arm and he shivers as if he can feel her, but he gives no other sign that he knows she's there. Only she can see the tears streaking his face. By the time he finally raises his head, no one else -- that is, none of the living -- will even know that he had shed tears for her. Alex is moved by his private grief. She didn't know he cared. She wishes she could comfort him. Strange, she doesn't have the same urge to go to her father, to comfort him or be comforted by his sorrow.

Instead, Alex turns her attention to Claire. She clutches Aaron tightly, oblivious to the shapes over her shoulder, a gray-haired, distinguished-looking man and a pale woman with curly hair who stands some distance away, as if refusing to acknowledge her lover's presence.

Without a word being spoken, Alex knows who they all are, knows how they lived and died: drunk in some alley or thrown through a windshield. Or shot in the head. That seems the most common.

She raises her hand to the back of her own head, finding she can feel the soft stickiness there. Robert -- she must start thinking of him as her father now -- copies her gesture, as if welcoming her to the club.

She's dizzy from all this death, from the knowledge of how the son impassively watched his own father choke to death, of her mother's last thoughts before she pulled the trigger to kill her husband. It seems only seconds apart from Danielle's own death, as if the life lived in the meantime counted for nothing.

Alex closes her eyes and now she can see the secrets of the whole island spread out before her, of each inhabitant and the ghosts that follow them. There are too many men killed by their own children, two many men followed by a virtual army of the dead.

The dead outnumber the living to such a degree that she does not understand how the living can escape their ghosts, how their invisible presence cannot help but weigh on those responsible for their deaths.

"They know we are here." Danielle says simply, the first time anyone has spoken since Keamy fired that fatal shot. "At times, only now and then, they can see us."

She just now notices that one of the living is watching her, but appears to be trying not to stare. “Oh, him,” Danielle, shrugs. “He can see all of us. But how would he explain this, to them?” She gestures to include Locke, whose ghost is a bloodied young man with intense blue eyes, and Hurley, who, for some reason, seems to be followed by Pryce, who stands with arms crossed, looking annoyed.

The silver-haired man, whom Alex now realizes, is both Jack's and Claire's father, takes her outside, where she now has to acknowledge that the crumpled body on the ground is hers, that this is all real.

Christian for that was his name, whispers in her ear about when and how she will appear to Ben. She nods seriously, taking in the business of becoming her father's conscience, of leveraging his own guilt against him.

Christian has an aloof elegance about him, an eerie calm that must unnerve anyone still living who is unlucky enough to see him. Alex takes a measure of his serenity into herself, confident now that she can still do some good.

The living are preparing to move and their ghosts will go with them. Alex falls into line.

She has much to learn from the dead, and much to show the living.

If you've forgotten who Pryce is.

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Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
jenthegypsy
May. 7th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
Whoa - that is amazing. Well done!
halfdutch
May. 7th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
Thank you, darling! :)
demonqueen666
May. 7th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
Ooh, creepy-good. This really does fit in with the idea of how the island works: the ghosts that follow after the living.
halfdutch
May. 7th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! I wasn't sure if it was getting a bit ridiculous with the sheer number of ghosts crowding around but the island seems to keep them around to haunt someone at a moment's notice, doesn't it? Whether they are separate, intelligent entities or just a manifestation of each person's guilt, who knows? There's plenty of guilt to go around!
elliotsmelliot
May. 7th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)
The dead outnumber the living to such a degree that she does not understand how the living can escape their ghosts, how their invisible presence cannot help but weigh on those responsible for their deaths.

Chilling! Was Pryce one of the Others Hurley ran over? I loved your description of Christian and Boone.
halfdutch
May. 7th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, that's just who Pryce is. (Here's his Entry at the Lost wiki</a>.) I'd forgotten about him, actually, myself! So many dead on the island -- I'm sure the real writers easily lose track!
eponine119
May. 7th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
This is spooky and fabulous and so fitting somehow. I loved it.
halfdutch
May. 7th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I think I like the idea more than the execution but I'm very glad you found it spooky! The dead would be quite busy -- and very numerous -- on the island, especially if it's not limited to those who *died* on the island!
zelda_zee
May. 7th, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
I love the eeriness of this - how each person is oblivious to the fact that they're surrounded by ghosts. For some reason I love that Miles can see them - I wonder what he thinks of the crowd? And I don't think I mentioned before how much I liked Sawyer's reaction.

Glad you persevered with this one!
halfdutch
May. 8th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
Thanks again for your support and encouragement on this one!

I think Miles is trying to play it a bit cool. :) And I kind of had the idea that he can only see the recently dead but I guess I left that open!

In rewatching the scene from the ep, we don't get *any* reaction from anyone other than Ben and that's just wrong! I'd like to think that Sawyer was horribly upset and not just worried about Keamy coming back for Alex's body! It's so sad to think Alex is really gone!
bachlava
May. 7th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC)
I wish I could tell you how much I loved this, but I think I'd get a little overwrought and gushy and frankly embarrassing. This was beautiful. Thank you so, so, so much, from the nice place in my too-often-hardened fangirl's heart.
halfdutch
May. 8th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad that this made you happy! :) Even though it's not exactly a happy fic -- still, if anyone deserves to be haunted by anyone, Ben deserves to be haunted every second by Alex. God, that was brutal!

At least there's a chance she might come back on the show, as well!



ETA: Okay, my TV is determined to give me some Tania Raymonde: She's on a rerun of Malcolm in the Middle right now! :)

Also, here's this.

Edited at 2008-05-08 02:05 am (UTC)
bachlava
May. 8th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
if anyone deserves to be haunted by anyone, Ben deserves to be haunted every second by Alex. God, that was brutal!
ITA so much there isn't even a word for it. I will refrain from ranting here and now, though.

At least there's a chance she might come back on the show, as well!
Really? If this turns out to be the case, I'll be very happy. I did hear that Mira Furlan approached Darlton and asked to be written out of the story, as she no longer wanted to continue in the role, but... I just wish they'd had Danielle retreat into the woods and persuaded Mira to take two cameos a season or something.

Also, here's this.
Thank you! ...Is it wrong of me to perving on her just a little? Twenty is old enough to be a girlcrush... right?
gottalovev
May. 7th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
thanks for the link to Pryce, I had no idea (but it makes sense now, thanks!) and who is haunting Sawyer? Cooper? sorry, I am curious.

now I really found this extremely fascinating! and yes, spooky! I love how much of it is implied/deduced, almost nothing being said. it really adds to the atmosphere :)
halfdutch
May. 8th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC)
Thank you, hon! Zelda reminded me of his name, I don't know if I ever knew it!

And yes, both Cooper and Duckett are haunting Sawyer, as well as his parents. He hasn't got as many as Sayid and Keamy, but he definitely has his share!

Very glad you liked this one. It's such a shame to lose Alex completely, I do hope she comes back as a ghost at some point!
janie_tangerine
May. 7th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
Talking about the good kind of creepy! I really liked it. Definitely looks like the dead people outnumber the living, aye? Alex's reactions were spot on and there were so many good details in here, like her and Danielle embracing and everyone followed by at least one ghost *waves to Boone, always glad to see you in each possible shape*. Loved also that Christian is seemingly the boss over there or something similar and that Alex is going to be Ben's conscience. And I absolutely loved Sawyer's reaction here. Great work!
halfdutch
May. 8th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
Thank you, hon! It is a very crowded island if the dead never leave (even if it's only in the minds of the living, but still, they seem to have quite an active post-death existence!)

I'm glad you liked the idea of Christian taking Alex under his wing -- even as a bad father, he'd be so much more fatherly than Ben! And I really do hope Alex haunts Ben! He deserves it.
hendercats
May. 8th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
This is fabulous! Am loving the idea that people on the island are followed by their dead - the concept has blown me away, and your execution is amazing. (gush, gush gush)
halfdutch
May. 8th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I really liked the idea but wasn't sure I'd done it justice. So thank you for those kind words! :)
(Deleted comment)
halfdutch
May. 8th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much for such kind words! :)

And hey, I've been meaning to friend you for a while and this seems like the perfect opportunity!
(Deleted comment)
halfdutch
May. 8th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Aww, yay! :) Look forward to getting to know you better!

toestastegood
Jun. 6th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
This is so fantastically creepy and sad. I just watched the episode with Alex's death in it a couple of nights ago; it was so sad and brutal. Reading about her joining the ranks of ghosts on the island like this is perfect, and I love the way you sketched out everybody's ghosts in just a few sentences, as well as showing that Miles can see all of them - no wonder he always looks so spooked! ;)
halfdutch
Jun. 7th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you, hon! It's too sad to think we've seen the last of Alex. And the dead outnumber the living at this point, don't they? Very glad you liked this. And I wouldn't want to have Miles' gift, I don't think!
alemyrddin
Jun. 19th, 2008 10:28 am (UTC)
Amazing take on Alex's thoughts and of the roles of the dead on that island and after.
I think this is extremely close to what happened for real - even if canon, with an unexpected (and completely unrealistic) twist disproved the death of Claire's mother.

I incredibly loved Sawyer's silent tears (duh! But still, it was such a moving image).

and hee, I looked up Pryce before getting to the end of the fic! I had completely forgotten about him. ;)
halfdutch
Aug. 1st, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
Oh noes, I didn't notice this comment until now!

Thank you so much for your fb here. :) And yeah, who expected to see Claire's mother alive and well again? Not me!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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