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Fic: Lost {Richard/Miles}

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Jul. 13th, 2010 | 10:08 am
posted by: rohanfox in spilltheirguts

written 6th june, 2010.

Title: The Future in Theft
Rating: T
Characters/Pairings: Miles/Richard
Warning(s): Character Death, angst.
Spoilers: "Some like it Hoth" and "The End".
Summary: "The tragic thing is, I'm laid here with a pocket full of diamonds, in the asshole of our free nation, hitting bottom because I'm terrified that if I don't, Richard won't need me."

The first thing you need to know is, this isn't going to be your usual happy movie-romance kind of story.

The second thing is that it probably won't make a lot of sense, at first. Maybe if you read it and reread the pieces of the giant fucking puzzle of my life will come together. Step back and you see the full picture in all it's broken, jagged glory. Hey - when you see it, look me up and find me, because I lost sight of myself a while ago.

The thing is - and here's the real kicker, the real ass-biting pain in the neck part - is that I've gotten so used to my life jumping around from timeline to timeline, emotion to emotion, place to place, that it's kind of hard for me to tell you my whole life story in one nice, neat, linear narrative anymore -

(and I've never been much of a writer, not really. It's much easier to show somebody how you feel with actions rather than words)

- and the thing is, life's much more interesting this way; if you can ignore the odd, collapsed feeling under your skin, like you're never really satisfied. I guess knowing the ending first does kind of take the fun away from the story. And when my head isn't too busy trying to separate timelines and mysterious Islands and how to help an ex-immortal settle into his newfound existence, I'm trying to figure out which feelings are mine and which are a dead person's. I'll try to make this as easy as possible for you.

So, here we go. Prepare for take off. The lights are on, so please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts.

Flash backwards to my seventh birthday. We moved around a bit, usually because a neighbour died and I freaked. My mom, she doted on me and everything, but sometimes she had different things to worry about than her sorry excuse of a son. This - this was one of those days. When you're six years old - well, turning seven? It's a big deal. I wasn't expecting a surprise party full of kids I didn't know the names of, or a choice between chocolate or sponge cake. But I certainly wasn't expecting to bound around the corner -

(I can't remember ever living in a house, with stairs. Some kids don't get it that easy, but hey, a flat wasn't all that bad)

- with the biggest cheshire-cat grin you've ever seen, only to find a room without coloured paper wrapped around toys, but full of the sound of my mother crying and whimpering. Ill, again.

She'd forgotten my birthday. I really can't catch a break.

Oh! And the third thing? This is a love story.

The exits are situated here, here and here.

Flash forward and I'm lying in another rotting, stinking motel bed, the thin burgundy blanket hardly keeping me warm. And I'm laying there, all the while thinking - I have no idea why I'm here. This is the exact opposite of what I'm supposed to want.

Maybe that's the point. Richard - he's laying next to me, and I'm pretty certain he's awake, too -

(it's so hard to tell. The trick is listening to the breathing rate but the thing about Richard is, he's the calm little centre of the fucking world)

- and he's all about philosophy and living in the moment, but that's only because he's spent nearly two hundred years sitting around on an Island because he never thought about dying before. It scares me a little that Richard might only be hanging 'round because I know more about death than anyone. Even here - the shitty little motel in the asshole of America - all I can hear is the last thoughts of some dumb twenty-something who realised at the last second that maybe putting on that shade of lipstick and that skirt wasn't the best choice, because now her daddy is about to shoot her jaw off and wait for her to bleed to death because she didn't become the perfect little Doctor that he paid so much money for her to be. I think, how can somebody take away a life, just like that. Must have been a shock to see her hanging about near a red light, I mused. She was thinking about how the room smelt like piss and oh, God, who was going to find her body and would her mom be ok and she really, really wished she'd told her dad when she dropped out of her degree -

The world stops spinning when cold fingers touch mine. My hand is burning and it's sweaty as fuck, but he doesn't seem to mind. That's the good thing about Richard. He doesn't ask questions. Not anymore.

She was pregnant, too. I really, really wished she'd told her dad she was pregnant.

I don't want to tell Richard I'm doing this on purpose. Hitting bottom. He's all about living life to it's fullest and here I am, lying through my teeth about how this is what we want. I spoon-feed him bullshit about how a normal life, with picket fences and a nine to five job, it's not for us. Because when you hit bottom - when you're at your absolute worst, everything seems better by comparison. No matter what shit life throws at you, it seems better than whatever the hell you've made yourself.

The tragic thing is, I'm laid on a shitty motel bed on the last remains of a dead pregnant prostitute, burgundy sheet barely covering me and my best friend -

(and holy shit, is it cold)

- trying to hit bottom. The tragic thing is, I'm laid here with a pocket full of diamonds, in the asshole of our free nation, hitting bottom because I'm terrified that if I don't, Richard won't need me. Richard will go grey and get a job and live the rest of his life with a beautiful wife and three kids and all I'll be left with is a head full of borrowed feelings and the knowledge that death hits you the same way age hits you the same way love hits you: hard and fast and unexpected. And when it happens, that's it, there's no turning back. Death is power the way love is power the way money is power. Me, I've had my fair share of all of them. Richard may have had power on the Island, but knowledge means shit in the real world.

Flash forward. Prepare for take off, Frank says. Enjoy your flight.

Flash again to the 70's and I'm fucking some woman I can't remember the name of -

(I try not to say anything during our 'lovemaking' because really, it would be a total mood killer if I shouted out a guy's name instead of Julie or Michelle or whatever the hell this woman told me an hour ago)

- and I'm high and drunk and sure, it's really not as glamourous as I remember it from my teenage years but at least I don't care that it's a woman's mouth and not Sawyer's making me feel completely euphoric and free. Weed won't be all it cracked up to be when I wake up mid-morning, but right now I doubt I could give a shit. The wonderful thing about alcohol and drugs and sex is they it make you feel young again, make you forget that you're always dying, every one of us is dying and you're the only person in the world who knows what it feels like to truly die. Cancer, old age, being drained of blood. Drowning and burning and snapping your neck on your work tie, your body hanging loose and limp over the desk in your office. Sex makes you forget that. Even if it's sex with not just a person, but an entire gender that if you were sober would turn you off faster than you can say Dharmaville. It isn't love, but it's nice. Ignorance is bliss, my incoherent mind thinks. But, really, the only things that my mouth produces are syllables and noises that really don't make sense in English.

Flash to the next morning, and I have a killer headache and an arm that's too thin and not enough muscle for my liking is draped across my chest. My pants are half pulled on, half off; and shit, I really need a shower. I blink my eyes as if it'll help, but really the light is going to be too bright and the edges too blurry no matter how many times I close my eyes. I lay there and listen to the soft sounds of Julie or Michelle or whatever her name is -

(I think she said her name was Marianne, but that was in between kisses and drink so I don't really feel bad about not remembering)

- trying to ignore the thudthudthud of my heartbeat in my brain. Being sober sucks.

Flash again, and this time I'm driving for the first time. I'm pretty good at it, too, only it sucks because I don't talk to my mom anymore and I don't even know my Dad's name so I have nobody to share this moment with. The only friends I have are drunk half the time, because they don't want to remember that giving you life is pretty much the worst thing your parents ever did to you. I learnt a lot from them. They also gave me the scars where my piercings used to be at this point, but that's another story.

After all, this is a story about love. Not mutilation.

Flashback to whatever-her-name is draped over me like I'm her fucking mattress, and my head is pounding like a really bad club remix of Annie Lennox. The tragic thing is, no hangover could be worse than the sad, sad way Sawyer looks at me from the doorframe, eyes soft around the edges like he's actually empathising with me. Really, he's just judging me, patronising and pitying. Like I'm a dying little flower he can only observe. Like I'm all alone, and he feels sad for me because he's not. He's got Juliet now. Beautiful, sparkling, Juliet. I hate her just because she has softer flesh than me; long hair, a full bottom lip, a cinched waistline. I hate her because she has small pointed feet and long, feminine legs. I hate her because of the way her hips curve outwards. I hate her because she's so beautiful she could be carved from stone.

I hate her because I don't hate her at all. I just hate the way I'm stuck in this tragic little daytime TV love story where the handsome hero falls for the beautiful princess and the jester gets left in the background. Sidelined. Comic relief for the true, brave characters.

I hate the fact that she's a woman, and I'm not. I hate the way that I hate everything about the woman laid on me. If I liked the feel of her soft, small lips, then I highly doubt I would have been thinking about the man staring at me oh-so-sadly from the doorway when I was fucking her. When she was fucking me.

Flash again. Not like a photographers' flash, that's more of a woman's thing; I've never really been into women, despite what my past sexual history would tell you. No - this is a hard, brutal flash that leaves you dazed and wondering where the hell you are. Think lightning. Think Island.

This time, I'm sat in a diner with Richard and all I can think is "Tarantino movie". I half feel like saying this to Richard, but he wouldn't understand. I still have a lot of things to show him, after all. We've been off the Island for a week and Richard is trying to get used to things. This is the first time that he's been anywhere where he gets served, and he hates it. He tells me, "I'm used to doing things more co operatively than this, " He pauses and looks at the menu with distaste. "And what exactly is a 'hamburger'?"

I tell him that this is how things work here. People give you a service, and you pay for it.

"I know," he sighs, "but that doesn't mean I have to like it."

Richard, I sigh back. If you want communism, move to China.

Flash again, only it's softer and gentler this time. My teenage years - my first kiss, to be exact. I kind of always expected it to be a girl, because that's just the way my mom taught me the same way society taught me the same way TV taught me. I moved to a new school because a kid in my last school got hit by a car and I freaked a lot of people when I started crying and holding her and telling her that her mom did love her, really, and I'll look after her little sister for her, because I've never felt anybody feel so compassionate for another human being in my life, and by shit did it move me. I was 14. I was 14 years old and I felt the last things a girl my age felt when she died.

The sad thing is I never even met her sister, never mind care for her.

So here I am at my new school, and I sit next to this guy in my class. It's funny, because he was called Richard too, only everybody called him Dash because he was the fastest little fucker you'd ever meet. He wasn't a typical American jock, though; you'd have a pretty gruesome death on your hands if you put him in a High School football pitch. He was skinnier than me and only a bit taller, with high cheekbones and gorgeous sea-green eyes you could lose yourself forever in. He had this matt of messy brown hair that was just begging to be brushed back - and I did, eventually. A few weeks later we were sitting on a wall near my flat, and fuck knows what I was thinking, but I brushed that little lock of hair that kept falling in his gorgeous eyes back and next thing I know, his fingers are wrapped around my wrist and his perfect pink little mouth is pushing against mine like I'm the only important thing in the world. It isn't love, but it's nice.

I didn't really define myself as being gay. I just... liked guys. The truth is, I didn't really care, but pretending to be torn up about my sexuality was a very nice distraction from the fact that I could feel death.

Again, a flash. This time, I'm old. Not as old as my mom or dad when they died, but by modern living standards, I'm old. I can't smile without my face creasing up like cotton but Richard likes to make me laugh anyway. I tell Richard that this is what dying feels like. Empty and desolate.

I tell Richard that I'm glad I'm dying this way. That I know I'm going to die, but I don't mean it in the way Richard thinks.

"Everybody dies," he tells me sadly. "Even people who're supposed to live forever."

The truth is, he squeezes my hand and I want to tell him everything. How I lied. How we starved and I made him miserable just to make him stay with me. The truth is, I never do.

The truth - I half wonder if he's known it all along.

Flash. It's 5 months later from my first kiss and Dash, he lives up to his name and moves on from me faster than he'd ever run before, I think. This is the first time being gay bothers me, because he moves onto a hot little piece of ass called Amelia. He calls her "buttercup" and I feel like tearing out my intestines and feeding them to myself.

Flash to Richard - the other Richard, my Richard. He's pressing me up against the wall of the Ajira airways bathroom and feeding me his tongue, and shit, it's good to be off that fucking Island. I just know we aren't being quite as subtle as Richard hopes but really, I doubt I could care about anything with his body pressed up against mine like that. There's a little part of me deep inside that really, really wants Sawyer to walk in, because 3 years of unrequited love fucking sucks. When I realise this is when I pull away, and Richard's eyes are clouded over and it hits me, just like that, that Richard is doing this for selfish reasons too. That's all love is, really. One sorry excuse after another to use somebody for their own purposes.

Not that this is love. But, it's nice.

This is where the love story really starts - not when he pulls me from my seat by my collar as soon as Kate and Claire are asleep and Sawyer's up front talking to Frank, but the moment I pull away and he pulls me back. Just the smallest of touches, his lips barely touching mine as if I'm some precious little thing he's so endeared with and that's it, I'm his. The only problem is, he's not mine. Not yet.

He presses his forehead to mine -

(and other parts of his body, too, now I mention it)

- and I half whisper, half laugh against his lips that we probably shouldn't do this, here, because I fixed this plane with duct tape about two and a half hours ago.

"I thought you believed in duct tape," he whispers back. He tries to kiss me again and shit, is it tempting; but I push back and laugh, but my heart isn't exactly in it. But I miss his warmth and his scent and the feel of him already. I spent three years in love with Sawyer and this man has done to me what Sawyer did, in less than a day.

This, this is hitting bottom.

Flash again. I'm seventeen and my boyfriend is piercing my lip for me. There's a girl holding my hand -

(not that I really care. I've experienced a lot more pain than this, borrowed pain from the victim of multiple stab wounds)

- and I guess you could call her my girlfriend. One big, happy, fucking family. As if sex is the answer. Love is power the way death is power the way money is power. Power, however, isn't happiness. They both kiss me when it's done and it's not love, but it's nice.

Flash to teaching Richard how to drive. This is a short lived adventure and besides, I like the feeling of being in control too much to let him drive anyway. I won't even let him control the radio because he picks the channels where all they do is talk. He says he likes to listen to their stories.

We're arguing. Flash.

It's only over the God damned radio, but I think we both know that's not what's wrong, not really. Arguments are like love, they just hide whatever you're really feeling. He says he likes to listen to their stories, so I turned the damned thing off and shout at him. Well - not shout at him, shout near him. He still looks like he's going to cry anyway, but I'm tired of the lost little lamb facade now and it'd be nice if he dropped it. So I shout at him, you want to hear somebody's story? I'll tell you a fucking story.

So I tell him my whole life, and it's as jumbled and as messy as telling you has been. He seems to understand, though. He's quiet the whole way through, at least.

That's the good thing about Richard. He doesn't ask questions. Not anymore.

Flash to later that night and I'm lying on a shitty motel bed, burgundy sheets barely covering me, Richard's fingers resting on mine. I wish she'd told her dad she was pregnant.

Flash forwards, again. Richard tells me that he feels like we're "Thelma and Louise", and I can't help but fall a little bit more in love with him for staying up to watch late-night films on our shitty TV in the room we didn't pay for, just so I could talk more freely about pop culture.

Flash back and I'm letting him fuck me into the floor of the first motel we didn't pay for. This is in California, before I decide that living in my past really isn't the best idea and we steal a car to just drive. I tell Richard that this is okay and we're just borrowing it, but we both know he's not quite that naive. He did, after all, know how to work the coffee machine in the last motel before our money ran dry when I didn't. I can't believe I wanted to be a cop when I was younger, when I don't even realise when the damned coffee machine isn't plugged in. There's carpet burn on my back for weeks, but I really don't care; it's jut nice to feel Richard's hands on my back when he pretends to feel bad about it.

Flash to a week later and he's angry at me. Flash to the day before when he kisses me again and he's drunk, forcing his mouth on my face like I'm some kind of doll you practice CPR on.

"This isn't love," he tells me, "but it's nice."

Flash to kisses and sweat and sex. Flash to me taking twenty too many pills mixed with vodka, because being sober means that you remember all your pain. Makes you remember years spent on an Island in love with a man who could never love you back, not really. Makes you remember the god knows how long afterwards you spent completely obsessed with a man who was obsessed with aging and death. Love is power the way death is power.

Flash back, way back, to my mom's funeral. Flash. Think lightning; think anger and pain and my teenage years. Flash. Think Island. Think Richard Alpert.

Flash and I'm asking him about his wife. This is not longer after we've fallen in love, and it's tragic because I guess it's love based on a lie -

(but isn't everything? there's a pocket full of diamonds in my pocket and it's burning a hole)

- and the sad thing is, I don't really mind. I ask him what her name was, and he tells me Isabella. I ask him if he still thinks about her.

"Yes," and he's running his finger up and down my spine. "But I think about you a lot more."

Flash, but not like a photographer's flash. Think glamour magazines, and that's more of a woman's thing. And I never really was into women.

Flash to Richard walking in on me and some half naked girl lip-locked like crazy, because I'm imagining she's him and that he really does like guys and that he's not just using me, and my alcohol-induced mindset gets really confused when I think there's two of him in the room, before I realised that the one kissing my neck right now has breasts and is decidedly softer than Richard under my hands and I shove her off. I somehow manage to pay for her taxi and collapse on Richard. I think, anyway. This is what he told me later, because in all honesty I really can't remember a lot from that night. I remember telling him I loved him, but Richard somehow never mentioned that part. He did, however, mention that the reason I woke up in only my boxers was because I followed him around the small cramped room in Vancouver, taking my clothes off so that "he wouldn't have to". Richard was laughing about it, but even in my hangover -

(and suddenly I'm back in Dharmaville, Sawyer's sad pitying eyes following me in Richard's dark, questioning ones)

- I can tell he's hiding something. Not that I mind. I kind of missed there being a mystery.

Flash to thousands of miles worth of gas. Flash to hundreds of stories shared between us. Flash to bruising kisses in the dark - but this is later, much later. Flash to me being Richard's. Richard being mine.

Because this is my life. So jumbled and awkward and meshed together.

Flash back, way back. To when I first move out.

Mom, I tell her. I love you.

"Then don't go," she cries. I can't help but feel bad - who wouldn't? She's alone and dying and I'm leaving her.

I have to do something for me, I say. Don't you understand?

"I love you," and it's so sad and pitying and broken and she's the only person to say this to me in my whole life. And suddenly - oh, suddenly I feel small and selfish and insignificant. I can hear dead people but she raised me, she brought me into this world and it's the most magnificent thing - only it's the worst thing she ever did for me.

I love you too, I say. But you forgot my seventh birthday. I sigh and the sound sounds so patronising. I have to find somebody who I need as much as they need me.

Flash and I'm making Richard watch Star Wars with me. I told him I kinda missed Hurley so he got a taxi to the rental store when I was asleep and rented all six with money he earned washing dishes a while back. We take up shitty jobs for pay for gas, because when there's so record of Richard anywhere in the world it's far too easy to simply not pay for motels. We do this maybe six, seven times in each state before moving on somewhere else. Right now we're driving to find Frank, because by fuck do we owe him.

Anyway, I digress. We're watching Star Wars and Richard isn't asking questions, because it's Richard and he doesn't like to annoy me, he says. He raises an eyebrow when I lean into him like this really is some teenage drama they used to show at 4 when you've just gotten back from school, but he doesn't say anything, just lifts his arm and puts it around me. I fall asleep with my face in his chest and shit, he smells good to say we've been driving for 16 hours straight in the middle of summer. He wakes me up with a kiss when the movie's finished so he can move me to the bed, and I think this is the second time I tell him I love him. The tragic thing is, I fall asleep again before I can hear his response.

Flash, and I'm dead. I left behind a note, for Richard - I couldn't express to him the way I felt, really. So I wrote it down, here, in this story. I'm telling you my life because I was too chicken shit to tell him fully, properly, all those years ago, when we argued over the radio. I told him everything up until he presses me against the bathroom door. It's hard to explain an obsession when all it really is, is love.

The note, when I took one or two or maybe twenty too many pills, it's scrawled and messy and written in the shitty little pens you get when you buy a lottery ticket. There's a used stub in my wallet. I'm sure you can guess the numbers I circled, right?

Anyway - this note. I'm half numbed because I don't want anybody to hear my thoughts after I've died. I don't want anybody to feel my last feelings. This is the cowards way out, I know, but it's easier than aging and dying when it's not in my control. And I like control. I won't even let Richard control the radio.

The Island, I write. It always gets you in the end.

Flash. Think Island.

I don't know whether we've flashed forwards or backwards or sideways. All I know is I'm a cop and for a while, I'm in love with Sawyer all over again. I get the strangest sense of deja vu. We fuck maybe once, twice. It isn't love, but it's nice.

And then, flash. I meet Richard. I can't work the coffee machine and he plugs it in for me. It's like a bad sitcom romance, only the fact that my whole entire life flashes before my eyes kind of takes the humour away. Flash, my first kiss. Being ditched for some blonde bimbo bitch. Flash, I'm moving out. Piercings. My mom's funeral. Flash and I'm in the 70's, and I'm in love with a man who will never love me back. Flash and I'm pulling a grey hair. Richard's pressing me against the bathroom door. We're travelling together and he fucks me and I fuck women who I don't feel any attraction to. Flash I'm hitting bottom. I'm hiding diamonds in my pockets so that Richard can never leave me. So that he needs me as much as I need him.

Flash and it's my seventh birthday. Flash and I'm writing out a suicide note. I'm taking too many sleeping pills. I'm imagining Richard's face when finds me.

Richard - and I think he's dead too, because I know I am, he's cradling my face in his hands and crushing his mouth to mine and yeah, my hands are pretty much everywhere; his clothes, his hair, his skin.

"Miles," he whispers against my lips. "I missed you. I really, really missed you." And he kisses me again, and I don't mind. If this is the afterlife then I don't know what all those dead folk were complaining about. Death is pretty horrible but it's worth it for this, for Richard needing me and loving me without the lies and the manipulating.

I tell him everything. How I hid the diamonds so he'd stay with me. He tells me he knows. He says he knew ever since the night I followed him around and took my clothes off, they fell out of my pocket right after I told him I loved him. He says he didn't mind. He finds it endearing, and he kisses me again, and I don't think I've ever been happier than this moment when he smiles against my lips.

"You used a lottery ticket," he frowns, his hands resting on my hips. "Even though you had a pocket full of diamonds."

I know. I was never going to cash it in. I was doing an experiment. The tragic thing is, it worked. I won.

The Island, I write, it always gets you in the end.

But what's not so tragic is that it isn't the end. Giving life to you is the worst thing your parents ever did to you but death - it's plagued my whole life and 5 minutes ago I found out I was dead, too, but it's the most liberating thing that's ever happened to me. I can move on. Move forward. Flash.

Think lightning. Think Island.

Think the fucking pearly gates of heaven opening up to greet you.


I'm alive again, but Richard, he thinks I'm dying. I tell him it's probably just flu but he doesn't believe me, but after a while I lose my voice and the ability to argue with him, with it.

It's incredibly sweet, actually. I'm laid in a shitty motel bed with a spring pressing into my back and I can barely move, and Richard's sat vigilantly by me, holding my hand and reading a book about the common cold. He keeps telling me he doesn't want me to die. He keeps telling me he needs me. He looks like a frightened child and, oh - I'm reminded of myself in California all those years ago, the man on the floor crying out for Kimberly. This was the first time I ever encountered death properly, too. I tell him this and he kisses me, and it's so soft and gentle and I know that this is the start of something. I don't know what, but something. My life is one big fucking puzzle all jumbled up and scattered but I know already that this is my favourite piece, when he crawls into bed and wraps his arms around me.

This might be love -

(and the thing is, it's ironic. This is when I told Richard that I'm not going to die, not now, but someday I will and he will, but he shouldn't worry about it. Because I'll bug the shit out of him in the afterlife, I told him. You're not getting rid of me that easily)

- and fuck, it's nice.

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from: abfoyt
date: Feb. 17th, 2013 02:25 am (UTC)

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