Inter Somnia/Whilst Dreaming: LOST; Alpert-centric; established Richard/Isabella; PG-13 (for cursing, idk, it's not my fault Frank and Sawyer swear like sailors). Post-series, spoilers for seasons 5 and 6. Also features Miles Straume as a character, references to several other 815 survivors. Prompt used: "Sorry, I must have dozed off for a second."
Richard Alpert dreams of water. He dreams of a beautiful, big ship floating on the surface of the ocean, underneath a clear blue sky and the light of the summer sun.
Alpert stands on the deck of the Black Rock. He rubs his wrists and relishes their feel. Here, he is not in chains. No one is in chains; on this ship, every man is free. His fine clothes are cut from cloth befitting a man of his station. No dirty rags for Doctor Alpert. He is no slave, and he will certainly not dress like one.
A slender hand presses against his shoulder. “Mi amor.”
Richard turns. There is a young woman in a white dress. Dark hair spills across her shoulders in curls. He knows her. This is Isabella, his wife, and she is alive. Isabella is alive, and as he takes her into his arms, he knows he is also alive. They watch the sunlight sparkle on the water's surface.
Richard Alpert dreams of water, and for the first time, it is not a nightmare.
A voice breaks Alpert away from the attentions of his wife. There is a young man in the uniform of first mate, and he's Korean. Were there any Koreans aboard the Black Rock?
“Richard.” The young man's face, once fuzzy, comes into focus. “Hey, Richard—”
Alpert blinks. “Is that you?”
The sound of the waves grow louder. He blinks again—and Richard Alpert is sitting in a lawn chair on a patio, underneath a blue sky punctuated with puffy clouds. The world smells of honeysuckles and freshly cut grass. He has traded the garb of his time for blue jeans and a T-shirt that isn't his but belongs to someone who attended a Driveshaft concert in 2003.
“Dude.” Miles Straume is standing over him. “Did I just wake you up?”
Richard manages to clear his head of the remaining vestiges of his dreams. “Sorry, Straume. I seem to have dozed off for a second.” He smiles. “I rarely had the privilege of such short naps while working under Jacob's instructions.”
“Geez.” Miles looks genuinely concerned for Richard's sleep cycle. “Good thing that's over. I mean, it's not a good thing he's dead. But—you know—it's good you got your life back.” He pauses. “What was the dream about?”
“I was on the Black Rock— the ship—and everything was different. In a good way. My wife was there, too.” He can't help but let the wistfulness of a dream world now gone seep through his words.
“Wow.” Miles shuffles his feet and Richard recalls telling young Straume the story of his life before the island, somewhere between landing in Los Angeles and settling down in the house they all now call home. “Sorry for interrupting that.”
“It was only a dream. And if the ship hadn't crashed, all of us would not have met the way we did.”
Miles shrugs. “I dunno. Daniel always made it sound like our stories were written in stone. Maybe we we're all meant to meet up eventually, one way or another?”
“That sounds nice,” Richard says, and he means it. He regrets not spending more time with the physicist Faraday before his death. Everyone from the freighter spoke of him with a mixture of respect and fascination. He was very much the Alan Turing of his group, poor man.
Another voice cuts through the air, from behind Miles and Richard, a rougher, older voice at that. “Guys, who’s here? Claire's comin' over and she's bringin' the kid!”
“It's me and Richard!” Miles shouts back. “And Sawyer is upstairs somewhere!”
The owner of the third voice soon appears in the doorway between the patio and the house. His wild gray hair and khakis don't mix with his flamingo-pink apron, but it works for him. He has a whisk in his hand that is suspiciously wet with batter.
“Well, shit,” Frank Lapidus curses. “Does anyone know where Kate went off to? I know she doesn't want to miss seeing Claire and Aaron.”
“She went to visit Walt this morning,” Miles points out. “So she's probably coming back right now. C'mon, Frank, relax for a second.”
“All right, all right. I guess I'll call her. We can't all be relaxing—no offense, Doc.” On that note, Frank retreats back into the house, muttering something about pancakes and waffles and allergies that Richard only catches bits and pieces of before it fades away into the interior.
Miles sighs. “I'm gonna make sure Frank doesn't burn the house down. Do you need anything?”
Richard stands, reluctantly at first. “No, thank you, go ahead.”
The older man puts his hand on the younger man's shoulder. “Really, Miles. Don't worry about me. You've done enough for me so far. The least I can do is—”
Richard's response is cut off mid-sentence by a loud sound from upstairs that sounds suspiciously like an electronic explosion—like a motherboard bursting into flames. It’s quickly followed by the sound of a Southern accent cursing loudly with his signature line: “Son of a bitch!”
“The least I can do,” Richard corrects himself, “is to keep Sawyer from destroying our only way of contacting Hurley back on the island.”
“You can fix computers now?” Miles smirks, a gentler expression on him than on others.
“What, did you think the computers on the island fixed themselves? Excuse me.” Before Miles could retort, Richard is beating a quick tread into the house and up the stairs, stopping only to grab the fire extinguisher hanging on the wall.
So Richard Alpert, on his way to keep James 'Sawyer' Ford from destroying yet another desktop computer, allows himself a brief thought on his current living situation. He decides that, all things given, it isn't a bad way to live.
And if Doctor Alpert ever grows homesick for the sea, the ship, the feel of Isabella's hand—he always has his dreams.
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