All things considered, I’d rather be in Cleveland….
Author: BeachEngineer -
Rating: TV-MA (18)
Setting: Post Season 7; cross over w/ Lost. I’m not going to flashback to anyone other than Xander in this Fic. Island events will change to incorporate Xander, but I’m going to try to keep all other character flashbacks as same as the show.
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine; they belong to the Mutant Enemy and Bad Robot production companies, respectively. With two companies named like they are, how can you not expect them to be crossed in a fanfic?
Author’s note: **”Statement”** signifies a foreign language. Sorry I’m not fluent in Korean, so you’ll just have to pretend.
Author’s note #2: If some of the lines in this sound familiar, it’s because I’m quoting directly from show transcripts. Just wanted to make that clear, in case anyone was wondering. Credit where credit is due, ya know. Thanks Lost & Buffy writers for allowing me to play across your sandboxes.
Part 10 – Back to the Beach
“As soon as they’re up, You should move out.” Locke said, “People are probably getting thirsty.”
“You aren’t coming?” Xander asked.
“Someone should stay and help salvage the wreckage here.” Locke replied. “There’s a lot of cleaning up to do to make this site camp-ready.”
“Sure. Charlie can stay & give me a hand. It’ll give me a chance to get to know him a little better.”
As Xander blazed a path through the jungle, he shouted back to Jack and Kate, “Try not to fall behind, it’s real easy to get lost out here.”
“Try not to get lost, he says.” Jack said to himself, “Did you hear that, Kate?” turning to make sure she was still following him, he noticed she was staring at him w/ a glassy eyed expression.
“Kate?” Jack said, snapping his fingers in front of her face.
Shaking her head, Kate returned from being a million miles away and responded “What?”
“Were you checking me out?” Jack questioned.
“No harm in it.” Jack laughed.
“Trust me” Kate said, ”If I was checking you out, you'd know it.”
“Yeah, so then what were you thinking?” Jack challenged. “Right now. Don't stop to think, just tell me.”
Your Tattoos. Kate responded. “What’s up with them?”
Jack expression hardened at her question. “We need to head over this way.”
“It's not like I'm asking a personal question.” Kate grumbled.
“It IS a personal question.” Jack responded curtly. “Come on.”
Jack turned, taking deliberate strides to catch up to Xander, leaving Kate to race to catch up.
“You don't have to get all quiet on me.” Kate pleaded, “I just want to know.”
“Well, you're not going to know.”
“What's the big deal?”
Stopping short, Jack looked Kate and said sharply, “It's not a big deal. It's just something I did. I had my reasons. And I don't want to put it out there. I HAD a reason. Drop IT!”
“It's just that you and your tattoos don't add up.” Kate responded, blatantly ignoring his request to drop the subject. “Are you one of those hard core spinal surgeons? One of the one’s who think they’re all hot shit & drive a Ferrari?”
Jack pushed past Xander, “That's me.” He replied snarkily, “Totally Hard core.”
“Hey Xander” Kate said, nudging him. “Ask Jack about his tattoos.”
“Oh, you guys have an inside joke. How absolutely wonderful for you both.” Xander commented, “If you guys are finished verbally copulating, there's a whole beach of people waiting for us to get some drinking water to them.”
“How much further to the beach?” Kate asked.
“We’re almost there.” Jack answered.
“Quiet! Both of you!” Xander said, shushing them with a finger to his lips.
As silence fell across the three, shouting could be heard in the distance.
“… I know you can't understand a word, and normally I'm not the talking out loud type, but since I have a captive audience, I hope for your sake you pay attention. I'm not exactly having the best month of my life. I barely knew my son, and now, I gotta be his daddy.”
“You hear that?” Xander asked.
“It sounds like someone yelling…” Jack remarked.
“…And then to top if off, I have a deranged Korean guy trying to kill me and for what?…”
“Did he say kill?” Kate questioned, “It sounds like Michael.”
Ignoring Kate’s question, Xander dropped his pack full of water and began to run towards the shouting.
“…Look, I get it, right. It's the watch. Mine broke and I found this in the wreckage, and I figured, hey, why let a $20,000 dollar watch go to waste which is ridiculous since time doesn't matter on a damn island…”
As Xander broke through the jungle wall onto the beach, he saw Michael standing next to a large piece of the plane wreckage, holding the fire axe, with the Korean woman from the plane.
“…If it’s so important to you, take it back!” Michael shouted, throwing something down at the sand at his feet.
As Xander came around the wreckage, he saw the Korean man on the sand in front of Michael. Pushing himself, Xander ran faster, hoping to get to Michael in time.
“I’m sick of this bullshit & I want it to stop!” Michael bellowed, raising the axe above his head.
Xander leapt at Michael, attempting to tackle him as he prepared to bring the sharp blade crashing down upon the Korean man handcuffed to the plane wreckage.
Michael glanced up at Xander just as he crashed into him, causing the axe to fall away, and knocking into the sand and the wind out of him.
“Jesus, Michael!” Xander asked, “What the hell are you doing?”
“Get… off… me!” Michael panted as he tried to catch his breath.
“I was cutting him loose.” Michael answered in short breaths, “We don’t have a key for the handcuffs.”
“Isn’t that a bit like using a shotgun to kill a fly?” Xander glanced over at the handcuffed Korean, “Did anyone try picking the lock?”
Michael offered no response as Kate and Jack caught up to Xander.
“Jesus!” Xander knelt down to examine the handcuffs.
“What happened?’ Jack asked.
Ignoring Jack’s question, Xander said to Kate “Go ask Sawyer for a paperclip or some other small piece of metal or wire.”
“While we’re waiting,” he said turning back to Michael “Mind telling me how he ended up handcuffed?”
“I'm getting tired of saying this.” Michael replied exasperatedly, “I was just walking the beach with my son, and all of the sudden this dude is all up on me. I didn't do anything. Sayid had to pull him off me & handcuffed him there until we could figure out why he attacked.”
**“Honey, please just let me go and explain this to them.”** The woman begged. **“Maybe they'll let you go.”**
**“How will you explain?”** the man shouted at her, **“Your place is by my side. And we will not explain ourselves to a thief.”**
Xander tilted his head, listening to the two converse, and in a halting accent, said **“Are you….alright?”**
The two Koreans turned in shock at Xander’s question.
The man was the first to come around from the shock of hearing Xander speak Korean. **“They handcuffed me here! I did nothing wrong! He’s the thief!”**
“Whoa, whoa,” Xander said, motioning for him to slow down, **“I only know a little.”**
“You speak Korean?” Kate asked returning with a short piece of wire.
“Only a few basic phrases. Yes, No, Are you alright? Hit harder!”
“Hit harder?” Kate asked with a VERY questioning look.
“I knew this Korean Sl…..um, Ti Kwan Do instructor”, he replied, “she wasn’t all that fluent in English, but she loved to yell at me in Korean.” Taking the wire from her, he bent one end and fed it into the handcuff lock.
“Too bad she didn’t teach you more.”
“ She couldn’t.” Xander paused as a sad look fell over him, “She died.”
“Oh,…I’m so Sorry.”
Brushing the sadness aside as quickly as it came on, he replied, “It was a few years ago. She died saving a lot of people…um, stopping a bank robbery.”
Under his breath, Xander whispered **“Thank you, again,Chao-Ahn.”**
Twisting the wire around, he felt it catch on the mechanism, and giving it a final tug, Xander popped the lock open, releasing the Korean man.
AS the Korean began to stand up, Michael gave him a shove, “Keep your hands off of me.” He shouted as he stomped off, “And stay away from me and my kid.”
“I’ll go try and calm him down.” Jack said as he followed after Michael.
Turning back to address the couple in the sand, Xander said.
**“You should avoid him for the time.”**
**“We will.”** the Korean woman replied **“Thank you…”**
“Sun.” the woman said, touching her chest, “Jin.” Touching the man’s.
**”You’re welcome, Sun, Jin.”** as he bowed slightly toward the couple.
As the noon sun beat down on the beach, Jack called out to the rest of the crash survivors.
“Can everybody gather around?” Jack yelled. “Has everyone gotten some water? Good. I’d like to discuss something with you all.”
As Sayid approached the crowd that had gathered around Jack listening to the doctor’s speech, Xander stepped up next to him and offered Sayid a bottle.
“It's about time.” Sayid said. “I am dying of thirst.”
“You’re welcome.” Xander replied.
“I’d like to talk to you all about moving the camp from the beach to the caves.” Jack continued.
“Is he serious?” Sayid asked Xander, “Is there a reason you didn't consult us when you decided to form your own civilization?”
At the suggestion of moving from the beach, the crowd immediately broke down into a cacophony of questions and overlapping conversations.
“Settle down everyone.” Jack shouted, trying to regain order, “46 people need to drink a half gallon a day each, that’s a lot of water to be hauling back and forth through the jungle every day, and it’s not a short hike.”
“Well, what happened to live together, die alone?” Sayid asked Xander.
“Jack thinks that digging in together is the only way we're going to survive.”
“What do you think?”
Xander was silent as Jack continued.
“The caves make too good a shelter just to be used just as a water supply. The caves have an unlimited supply of fresh water, tree canopy keeps the temperature down, shields out the sun, and the openings are narrow, easier for protection against predators. We might be able to get a few to go with me before nightfall, start setting up the camp.”
“Our best hope of survival is in being spotted by a plane or a ship,” Sayid argued to Xander, “for that we need to organize everyone to keep that signal fire burning while others scout the island for supplies. Digging in anywhere else is suicide."
“Don’t look at me” Xander responded. “I’m not moving anywhere, I agree with you.”
“I agree, our best chance for rescue is to be noticed here on the beach, not in the jungle.”
“Then why aren’t you arguing with him?” Sayid questioned.
“All of us? Staying on the beach, in the sun without water?” Xander said, “It’s at least a 3 hour hike to the cave. Carrying all this water back and forth would be real pain in the ass. It is the only source of fresh water we've found, Sayid.”
“What are you proposing?”
“Jack has some good points,” Xander gestured to Jack.
“We’re not giving up hope of a rescue, Xander said he’ll be staying on the beach to keep the signal fire going, and hopefully we can get some other volunteers, so having all of us here isn’t necessary. We don't need to bring the water to the people. We need to bring the people to the water. No one is forcing you to go if you don’t want to, but I think we’ll all be better off….”
“So…” Xander turned to Sayid, “Looks like some people are seriously considering following Jack to the caves. I'd like to know where you stand.”
“Right here. I've got one priority right now and that's to get off this island. If a boat passes, I will not be responsible for us missing it. I'm not going to admit defeat.”
Xander sat at the opening to his makeshift tent, whittling away at a stack of branches he had collected, while watching Jack lead his group off toward the cave.
As he reached for another branch, Kate jogged up. “Sayid has a plan.”
“Yeah, to find the source of the distress code, I know."
“The signal's coming from somewhere on the island. He thinks we can triangulate it using the Transceiver we got from the cockpit & some of the other electronic trash we were able to salvage all we need are batter…. Wait! If you know about the plan, WHY aren’t you helping?”
“The signal has been running on a loop for 16 years, Kate.” Xander shot back. “And the woman that left it, she wasn't rescued.”
“How do YOU know she wasn’t rescued?”
“If she was rescued, they’d have shut off the transmission.”
“I believe in the plan. So are you going to help or what?”
Well, I wish I shared your faith, but if it’s batteries you’re looking for, I’d check with Sawyer.”
"Three antenna. Three points of a triangle. One here on the beach. Another, Kate will position in the jungle, roughly two kilometers in, and the third I'll take to high ground, up there.” Sayid explained. “If the French transmission is coming from somewhere from within our triangulation, I'll be able to locate the source. But there is a complication.”
“Of course there is.” Boone whined.
“The power cells I grafted onto the antennas are dry.” Sayid continued, “There's no telling how long they'll last. A minute. Maybe more, maybe less.”
“So we have to wait until we're in position before we turn them on.”
“Wait. Wait a second. How are we going to be able to tell that we're actually in the right position?” Boone asked. “We have no way to communicate with each other.”
Sayid reached into his bag, extracting a fist full of bottle rockets.
“Bottle rockets?” Kate asked disbelievingly.
“Thank god for fireworks smugglers. Now, when I'm in position I'll fire off my rocket. When you two see it, you fire yours. As soon as the last one has gone up we all switch on our antennas. We’ll set out at first light, it’s too dangerous now to be wandering the jungle.”
Xander woke up early, as he usually did, and made his way down to the waterline.
Stretching, he took off his shirt & waded into the surf. Allowing the cool water to assist in waking him up. As he emerged from the surfline, he saw Jin casting out a net into the churning water.
**”Good Morning.”** Xander shouted to Jin, who returned the greeting with a dismissive wave.
Xander wiped the excess water from his arms and chest before pulling his shirt back on. From his location, he could see Kate and Sayid getting ready to put their plan to triangulate the signal into motion. Sayid was giving last minute instructions to Boone on the operation of the antenna before he and Kate set off.
Xander shook his head, he knew that finding the source of the signal wasn’t going to amount to anything. It just didn’t FEEL right to him.
As Kate and Sayid disappeared into the jungle, Sawyer walked past him dragging a large blanket wrapped bundle.
“Wouldn't mind sharing a few things with her myself.” Sawyer said.
“What are you doing, Sawyer?”
“Heard the doctor was vacating the premises. Thought I'd best lay claims to my new digs before somebody else did. I could fix his place up real good. Might even find somebody to share it with me.” Sawyer said gesturing in the direction Kate and Sayid departed in.
“Somehow, Sawyer, I don’t think Sayid is your type.” Xander said as he walked off.
As Xander returned to his camp, he could overhear Michael yelling at Walt for reading the comic book, again. In Spanish no less.
Xander felt sorry for the kid. Xander knew what it was like being on the receiving end of a mad parent, not that Michael was ANYTHING like his father.
Just then, an idea hit Xander, diving into his tent, he began to dig through his possessions, extracting a worn paperback book. He thumbed through it briefly, before setting it beside him. There was plenty of time, he thought, it’s better to wait for the right time to give it to Walt.
“Hey Walt.” Xander whispered conspiratorially, trying to avoid attracting Michael’s attention.
“Hey Xander, what’s up.”
“I’ve got something really cool for you” he said, handing him the book.
“The Odyssey. What’s so cool about this?” Walt asked.
“Well, it’s in English for one thing,” Xander said, “Also it’s like the first comic book, it’s an adventure a story about a hero who, returning from the Trojan War, gets lost trying to find his way home, and the adventures he has. “
“What kind of adventures?”
“Well… he comes across lots of monsters, the Cyclops, the Sirens,…” Xander paused. “Sirens. Oh shit. . . Sayid.”
He turned and sprinted towards the jungle.
“Hey!” Walt yelled. “Where are you going?”
Turning around Xander ran backwards shouting “Uh look, Walt, I’ve got to go. Give the book a try, you might like it.“
Turning back, Xander pushed passed the foliage wall and disappeared into jungle…