Let's dispense with a lengthy intro to this week's Brief story! As our LOST bonanza continues, our hero Desmond finds himself in some unlikely company. Will this stranger be his savior or his destruction? Read and find out!
Constants and Variables (Part 5/?): LOST, Desmond Hume-centric, PG-13, prompt - “Do you know what you’re doing?”
Canon note: Takes place during season five of LOST, albeit an AU take on said events in episode six, "316". It's actually ridiculously AU because it fucks with two major plot points, one involving Desmond and one involving Daniel, both of which will become evident as soon as the story kicks into gear. Spoilers for the rest of season five and events in season six are within. Eventual Desmond/Daniel and implied Juliet/Sawyer & Jack/Kate.
In these recent chapters, events will run concurrent with the events of "Whatever Happened, Happened" and "Dead Is Dead" in season five.
Previous chapters: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four
"So you must be Desmond."
Desmond Hume stops, one foot out in front of the other. He doesn't know the voice, but somehow, the voice knows him. He has the feeling that the other person, a man, has a gun trained on his back but he has no proof. So he keeps his back turned, lest he be greeted with a bullet in the chest.
"You've got me, brotha. You know me, but I don't know you. Have we met?"
The other voice is very matter of fact, each word to the point. "No."
"Will we ever meet?"
"Probably not. Then again, I can't see your future."
A wrinkle forms between Hume's brow. He'd said your future. He'd made it specific. And that worries him. "What does that mean?"
"It means your path is unknown to me. It's interesting. It's also dangerous."
"Who are you?"
The mystery man laughs. "Oh, it's much too early for that. I'm really breaking the rules being here, but I persuaded Richard to let me in. I had to see for myself how the variables were shifting."
"Alpert?" A hundred questions bubbles up inside Desmond and he manages to keep them from spilling out all at once.
"Mmm. Maybe. He'll never tell, though. He's been around too long. Don't turn around just yet."
Desmond curses mentally. He's been slowly turning his body to see his mysterious guest, but the other man's words stop him yet again. "Did you come find me for a reason?"
The man laughs again. This one sends a chill down Desmond's spine. "Actually, yeah. I'm here to lead you through the fence. You know, the big bad fence that keeps the smoke out? And then you'll have to get to where you're going. The tower, right? Do you even know what you're doing?"
Desmond does not even bother asking how this other man knows where he's going. Someone probably ratted him out. "It was Jack, wasn't it?"
"The doctor? No, it was Hurley. He's a nice guy. Gave me an Apollo bar. He didn't look very pleased to see me though."
"Who are you?" Bugger this, Desmond thinks, and turns on his heel to face his guest—and his face drops. There is no gun, no weapon at all, just a lone man in homespun clothes who looks like he's been living on this island for an eternity.
The moment of silence that passes between the two men stretches for what feels like an eternity.
"Sorry to disappoint you, Hume." Jacob's mouth twists into a wry smile. "But right now, I'm your best chance of bringing you closer to your goal."
Every atom in Desmond Hume's unusual body screams at him one very loud message: this man is up to no good. Luckily for Jacob, Desmond ignores them all.
With a great reluctance, Desmond is following Jacob through the trees, although he's also watching the other man move forward with envy. The man who had introduced himself as Jacob is a natural in the jungle terrain. Trees seem to bend and twist out of his path. Sunlight falls upon his silhouette like a heavenly raiment. It would be beautiful if he were not so troublesome.
"I don't normally do this," Jacob explains, stepping over a shallow stream that Desmond misses and soaks a boot in without looking.
"What is that?"
"Leave my habitat to lead someone across the island. That's usually Richard's job, but you're not part of the plan. I had to come here myself to keep an eye on you."
"And what exactly is your plan?"
Much to Desmond's irritation, Jacob smiles and puts one finger against his lips. "Not yet. That will come later."
Desmond sees that the trees are cleared out up ahead. He sees several tall towers, like electric poles, forming a fence in the clearing. He had heard about the fence during the orientation, but this was his first time seeing it up close.
"What time is it?" Jacob asks.
"I don't know, I haven't wound my watch since 2007," Desmond answers sarcastically.
Ignoring Desmond's sass, Jacob examines a tall rock standing out in the short grass. "Almost time."
Jacob looks over his shoulder at Desmond, who is now standing with his hands on his hips, bag balanced against one shoulder, sweaty and irate. "In a few minutes, this fence will come down and Richard will be picking up a delivery."
"Yes," Jacob says, clarifying nothing as usual. "And if you—we—do not cross through at the correct time, the fence will come back down again."
"And then what?"
Jacob scoops up a handful of dirt and rubs it between his fingers. "Well, if you're caught in the fence when it falls down, you'll look like this."
Desmond watches the dirt fall from Jacob's grasp and into the island breeze, and agrees that it's not a fate he's looking forward to. He also agrees that, obnoxious and vague as he is, Jacob is good at making a point.
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