"Lost and found"
A Lost fan-fic/significantly Alternate Universe (set mainly at the end of season 4 just after Ben Linus "moves" the Island; ignores much of Seasons 5 and 6 for now, but this may change when I finally get to watch these episodes)
A/N: John Locke-centric, and I do not own any rights to these "Lost" characters and stories. I am using a timeline of my own design that runs "flash-forward-normal" from 2004 to the present.
Summary: Locke finds a young castaway on the beach. Who is this boy, and why does he seem so strangely familiar to John Locke?
Locke rounded a slight curve in the path and saw David sitting on a boulder beside the freshwater pond at the cabin, dangling his legs in the cool water. The afternoon sunshine was warm and it probably didn't hurt the boy to get back to fairly normal daily activities. Locke made a mental note to find some clean shorts and shirts for David to wear; they'd likely be too big on him, but would suffice until they could get back to the D.I. compound. Deborah usually had a supply of adult and children's clothes that she found washed up on the beach or made from scraps of cloth and her own designs.
David stood with a smile and a wave, which John was happy to return. His backpack was heavily laden with fresh mangoes from one of his favorite trees in the jungle and the stringer he carried had five medium-sized vermillion snapper.
"Hi, David. Did you get my note?" Locke asked as he started emptying his backpack at the chest-high worktable he'd recently built. He was sweating from the hour-long hike, and drank deeply from a water bottle that he kept cooling in the spring-fed pool.
"Yes, sir. I did," the boy replied immediately, observing with interest as Locke lined up five orange-colored fish and half-dozen mangoes. "Wow, John, you caught all of these so fast! Can I go fishing with you next time?"
John chuckled, looking down at his son's earnest face. "Yeah, sure partner. It's not far to bring our catch back here, or we could even grill out on the beach if you want."
"Awesome. I'd like that a lot," said David. He moved the mangoes to the palm frond basket that Locke slid over in his direction.
Chatting while he worked on cleaning the fish, John nodded approvingly as David scooted a rough-cut high stool over so he could sit nearer the table. "How are you feeling? You were sleeping so soundly when I left; that's why I didn't wake you, by the way."
"Much better, I think. I'm not dizzy anymore, just super hungry." As if to emphasize what he'd said, David's stomach growled loudly just then.
Locke grinned at the boy and pointed with his knife to a bunch of very tiny bananas at the corner of the table. "I'll take that as a very good sign, young man."
David ate two bananas; obviously enjoying them while the other cleaned and filleted the five fresh fish. John noticed that the boy was attentive to everything he was doing, willing to help by passing over a second woven basket that was lined with banana leaves even before he asked for it. Locke felt proud in a way he'd never in his life felt before. It also seemed that David was in a mood to talk about himself and his family.
"I had a really good nap, too," David continued, handing him a few more of the clean banana leaves. "I was dreaming about my mom, back in California. Nana once said she wore pink a lot. She was walking outside of my old school by the playground, wearing a pink long shirt. I've had this dream before; Nana said she was coming to try to talk to me in my sleep, to check on me and see how I was doing."
Locke nodded, silently thanking Mary White for her gentle wisdom and appreciating that David was comfortable talking with him. Me too, he thought, recalling his recent dreams. I was dreaming about Helen.
"I'm glad you are feeling better. Here, you can help cook dinner; I wanna see what kind of a chef you are, kiddo." David hopped up from his seat with such alacrity that John had to smile again.
"It should be a nice evening to cook outside," John explained as he lined the nearby fire pit with coconut husks, followed by larger pieces of wood in a teepee shape. Working side by side, the two of them soon had a large fire blazing; in time, it would burn down to leave perfect cooking coals for grilling the fish.
David had found a hunk of a banyan tree log that he rolled closer to use as a seat near the cooking fire. He nibbled on a wedge of freshly cut mango as he poked at the coals with a long stick. Their snapper fillets were marinating while a pot of rice boiled in the well-used iron vessel. Locke stirred the rice with a long-handled cooking spoon, and then carefully replaced the lid, using a folded bandana to protect his hand from the heat.
"I probably should have already asked if there was anything you didn't eat, David," Locke wondered aloud, wiping his sweaty brow on his sleeve. He too had wrangled over a log to use as a seat by the fire.
The boy swallowed and paused for several moments, thinking. "Raisins taste kind of weird," he finally replied, making a face. "But I guess the chocolate covered ones are okay; I got those at the movies once."
John laughed since that wasn't at all the answer he'd expected (and it had taken David so long to come up with something he wouldn't eat). "Really? Me too, I suppose. How about onions?"
David shook his head. "Not raw, but cooked is okay for like spaghetti, or meatloaf and stuff." Locke laughed aloud; inwardly, he was more than a little amazed at these two odd food dislikes that he shared with his son.
"I'll remember that, buddy. Go ahead, you can put the fish on the fire," he said, handing a fillet to the boy. "Fish and rice might be one of my favorite meals of all time, breakfast, lunch or dinner."
"Back home in um, Honolulu, Papa and I would go out and get loco moco every Saturday after swim practice," said David, concentrating on placing the fish carefully onto the heated cast iron griddle, skin side down. The marinade was simple: sea salt and a little mango nectar, and the fillets sizzled where they landed.
They were quiet for several minutes, paying close attention to the fish as it cooked quickly, not wanting to burn their supper.
John raised one eyebrow, teasing. "Loco moco sounds a little crazy to me."
David giggled. "No, you'd like it, trust me… even if it looks totally gross. It's rice and hamburger, and then this gravy all over the whole thing with a cooked egg on top. I like scrambled eggs, but Papa gets over-medium." He paused, watching as Locke flipped one piece of fish with the spatula, and then passed over the utensil for him to finish. "We found a place that made tacky-something pork; it was really good. I'm not saying that right but it starts with a 't'."
Locke shrugged. "Teriyaki, maybe?" He nudged David gently with his shoulder, teasing the boy again. "Although I think tacky-something sounds more interesting."
"Tacky-something pork loco moco? We'd be the only two guys on Oahu who would order it. Oh, and there was also this Korean bar-b-cue place with this awesome stuff called bibim bap in a gigantic bowl; we were the only non-Asians in there most of the time but they were really nice."
"Honolulu sounds like a wonderful place to try restaurants. It's almost…"
John looked up at a rumble from the clouds overhead, moving quickly to grab the larger of the two woven baskets (they had lined it with fresh banana leaves, discarding the leaves that had nested the raw snapper fillets) and remove the fish from the cast iron griddle. "Rain coming, pal. Here, you carry the fish and I'll get the rice and fruit."
Not ten seconds later, as they both stomped up on the front porch of the cabin, the skies opened up with a heavy rain shower. For some reason that neither could explain, they stared at each other for about three heartbeats before laughing like mad men.
"We did it, Dave," said Locke. He set aside the mangoes and held the door open for David whose hands were full with the cooked fish.
"Yes, sir," David replied immediately, a broad grin splitting his face. At that very moment, John was struck with the image of hunting and fishing with his own father. Of course, those happy times were all before Cooper conned him into donating his left kidney. He shook his head at the unbelievable irony of it all.
David shook the cup and rolled the pair of tan dice. As he moved a piece, Locke snapped his fingers. "There you go, that's how you can block me from getting over onto that side. See?"
"Yep. This game has a lot of math in it. Kinda sneaky, John, if you ask me." The boy retrieved his dice and watched as the older man made his next move. Other than books, the only game in the cabin was a well-worn backgammon set.
David tucked his chin on one arm, tilting his head to the side. He chewed thoughtfully on the drawstring of the blue hooded sweatshirt Locke had given him to wear.
"John, can I ask you something?" he said as he shook the dice cup again.
Locke stretched his legs out to the side of the low table as they both sat on the floor, leaning back on the heavy futon. He felt comfortably full and relaxed after their hearty dinner. "Anything. Shoot."
The boy reached up to push his hair out of his face, making a small noise of irritation. "I don't know if your knife would work, but do you have scissors or clippers or something… I really need a haircut. This is bugging me."
John chuckled. "Not out here, I keep things like that back at my house."
David abruptly sat up. "I thought this was your house."
Locke shook his head, collecting his dice from the playing board. He'd moved two more pieces home. "Mm, no, this is just my cabin, a retreat I guess you'd call it. I have a house on the other side of the Island, actually most of us do."
"Whoa! There are more people?" David seemed surprised, and pleased at the prospect.
"M-hm, about twenty or so. We'll get over there in a few days, when you get back up to full steam. It's gonna take us all day to hike to the compound."
David was smiling broadly, very interested now. "That sounds… are there kids? And a school or something?"
"Not too many kids, I'm sorry to say," John replied, thinking of the broken down playground sets which the Dharma Initiative had installed some thirty or more years before. "You'll the youngest by far. How old are you?"
"I'll be seven in May."
"Okay then. There's Zach, and he's about thirteen or fourteen, and Emma is almost eighteen, I think," Locke continued, mentally calculating, and already planning a surprise birthday party for the boy, three months ahead of time.
"Oh, I guess that's cool," said David, sounding slightly disappointed that there was no one closer to his own age. He shrugged, and it was as if his disappointment was sloughed completely away. "I still want to meet them. Do you have a teacher, and a doctor, or somebody like that?"
"My good friend Deborah is a healer, so I reckon that's the closest thing to a doctor we have," John replied, interested in this line of questions from his son. "She's very skilled; I think you'll like to meet her."
David was quiet again, rolling the dice and studying the board for his next move. Locke noticed that he shifted his shoulders inside of the shirt, probably itchy from his healing sunburn.
"Are you ready for more of the aloe? It was she who made it for me," Locke offered as he collected his dice and moved two more pieces off of the board. He was winning this round, but David was a quick learner. John wanted to remember later to ask the boy about chess or other games.
David smiled, gingerly rubbing his shoulder under the shirt. "I probably should; I feel like I'm peeling like a snake." John chuckled, once again charmed by his son's sense of humor. As David rolled his dice again, he had no valid moves on the board. A few seconds later, both of them stifled big yawns.
"I think brush teeth and hit the racks," John commented. "For you and me, kid." Locke no longer wore a watch on the Island, having lost his years ago, but it felt late in the evening. He enjoyed the night sounds coming in from the open windows.
The boy got to his feet and padded over to where his now mostly-dry backpack was hanging from a peg. He rummaged around in the front pocket, pulling out his toothbrush. For some reason, he looked down to the floor and saw his lonely tennis shoe with a pair of grubby socks lying next to it.
"John, this may sound strange, but did you find my other shoe?"
Locke chuckled as he put the handle of his toothbrush in his mouth, quickly zipping a pouch on his knapsack closed with both hands. "Sorry, I didn't," he said around the plastic. "We can look on the beach tomorrow if you feel up to it."
David's eyes lit up. "Yes! And go fishing?"