Characters/Pairings: Richard, Daniel, Charlotte, Eloise; Dan/Charlotte, Richard/Isabella
Spoilers/Warnings: Spoilers for 6x09 "Ab Aeterno." Character death.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: He remembers love, and no matter how long he lives, he'll never forget.
A/N: For greedyslayer, who is responsible for this plotbunny. :D
"Because I'm in love with the woman sitting next to me, and I would never do anything to hurt her."
Richard can feel Ellie roll her eyes.
But there's something achingly familiar in the man's eyes – in them, he can almost see himself – and he forgets that risking everything based on such an excuse will likely be seen as a sign of weakness. He lets him go.
Ellie returns alone. "Why did you let him go to the bomb?" Richard ignores her. "He could have easily killed us all! Don't tell me you believed his rubbish about love."
Richard clutches John Locke's compass but he's a million miles away. The young man's words echo in the back of his mind, stirring the memories he keeps hidden there. Serving Jacob and the island has been his life for almost ninety years – burying the past as best he can, focusing instead on the tasks at hand, makes his job easier.
But he remembers love, and no matter how long he lives, he'll never forget.
"Maybe I did," he says.
Ellie's eyes widen in disbelief and something bordering on contempt. They're both silent for a while. Finally she scoffs. "Do you know what he said? He said he's from the future. I suppose you believe that as well."
And maybe he does.
When Richard sees him again, twenty-three years later, the man is pointing a gun at him.
He's different now. Whatever he's after, he'll do anything to get it. Again Richard feels a connection with him – the man's eyes give him away. He's desperate, but more than that he's broken. A distant memory surfaces and Richard can almost hear the crack of the doctor's skull, feel the blood on his hands.
He can't help thinking this man's desperation will have equally disastrous consequences. Then he hears a shot.
Four days after Locke vanishes for the second time, a body is found in the jungle. Richard has a feeling it will be her.
It doesn't matter where she went when they disappeared, or how she died or how her body ended up back here. All that matters is that she's dead and the man who loved her couldn't save her, no matter how hard he tried.
It's a story Richard knows all too well, and apparently one of Jacob's favorites. He tells himself there's a reason – there's always a reason. He touches her icy cheek and sees Isabella in her place, and he wishes he could have saved them both.
He buries Charlotte alone, right where they found her. It's the first funeral he's been to in years. He doesn't say anything and he doesn't pray (he wonders if he's forgotten how), but he marks the grave with white stones and a few wildflowers from a nearby bush. He stays there for hours after he's finished.
In a way, it's not just for Charlotte but for all of them. It's the funeral Isabella and Daniel deserved, and the one Richard knows he'll never get.