Rating: PG, 15 (if some of the characters get their way it could be 18 soon) I dunno, there's some language that shouldn't be exposed to kids, but since I learned most of it when I was 8 I honestly have no ratings. Maybe I should stop rating things?
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, never will. I'm just playing with this bad robot in a pretty big sandbox. (okay, even I know that's a terrible pun!)
Summary: Oceanic Flight 815 had a couple more passengers on board.
Notes: I plan to post this as each new part airs on Channel 4 but they surprised me by showing both parts of the pilot in the one night - the next chapter will be coming soon but it's not quite ready yet.
Thanks to Andy and Emmy for looking this over for me!
Distribution: INAP (when I post it), Effects... (when it's back), BBBFic, PYGS and my LJ, anywhere else - just ask, I'll probably say yes!
The constant sound was starting to really get on his nerves now. Why didn't someone just hit the snooze button? Oh. Right. Xander moved his arm to do just that and his world exploded in pain.
That didn't even begin to cover it but it seemed to be the only word his brain was capable of coming up with right now. He gritted his teeth and flexed the fingers of his right hand, movement with only a
little pain. Next he rotated his wrist slowly, again not so much with the mind-numbing agony. Gradually he worked his way up his arm testing each joint, each muscle, for the source of the pain. Nothing, just discomfort. So, not his arm then.
He blinked experimentally and found himself staring into a broad expanse of blue sky. Tiny fluffy clouds drifted across his vision and he could almost believe there was nothing wrong with this picture if it wasn't for the acrid stench of melting plastic and burning… flesh.
He jumped up, or tried to, and doubled over in agony. Fighting to catch his breath again he narrowed the agony down to his left side. He'd had the occasional broken rib in the past but this seemed worse.
He looked down and saw his shirt was now an interesting red color, dyed that way by the blood coming from the gaping hole in his side. He gritted his teeth and wrapped his fingers around the shard of metal sticking out of the hole, he was just gathering his strength to yank it out when he felt a hand grip his shoulder and a voice telling him to stop.
"You'll make it worse – let me look at it."
Xander looked up to see a man with close cropped dark hair talking to him. The man was wearing a dark suit which seemed ridiculously funerary for the heat, and had an air of abstract compassion. Xander pegged him as a doctor, maybe a paramedic, and given the way the man was now examining the wound in his side, he figured his observational skills hadn't atrophied that much.
"Doesn't look like it's in too deep, it's safe to remove." There it was – definitely a doctor. Score one for the famed Harris power of seeingness. Or something. "Want me to do it?"
"No it's okay, I'll manage." Xander said and, before he had the chance to think about how insane this was, grabbed the offending piece of metal and pulled. "Ow!" Again with the understatement.
"Here." When the blinding pain faded a little Xander looked up to see the other man holding out a miniature bottle to him. Vodka. Smirnoff it looked like. He looked up in puzzlement, "pour a little of it on
the wound – it might stop any infection getting in."
"Ah," Xander took the tiny plastic bottle and carefully cracked the seal. He hissed as the liquid splashed onto the wound, but noted gratefully that it actually numbed it slightly as well. "Thanks."
Seemed like he was the king of understatement today. "What happened?"
"You don't remember?" Xander shook his head at the question and the other man carried on, "The plane… something happened. We crashed."
"The plane. Crashed. Huh?" He searched his memory, he'd been on a plane?
"Will you be alright for a while? I need to see who else needs help."
"Huh? Oh… sure. Can I do anything?"
The other man looked him up and down, checking him over for other injuries possibly, before nodding once. "Know anything about triage?"
"Kinda, it's sorting the injured into groups based on who's likely to survive and who needs the most help."
"Exactly. Think you can do that?"
Xander nodded once, he'd been in far too many battle situations not to know his way around a triage.
"Okay, try to get those who can move as far away from the wreckage as possible – it's not stable."
The other man held a hand out to help him to his feet. As he stood, Xander's eye widened as he took in the sight of half a plane lying burning on the beach before him. A blonde girl stood in the middle of
the chaos screaming constantly, a heavily pregnant girl was near the water clutching at her in belly, a short man who looked oddly familiar was looking around him in shock, jumping at every sound. Others were running around, shouting, crying, searching for their loved ones. And yet more were lying unmoving. Possibly they were never going to move again.
"What's your name, by the way?"
"Huh? Oh – Xander."
The other man held out his hand to shake, "Nice to meet you Xander. I'm Jack."
Xander watched as, with one final nod, Jack broke off into a run headed straight for the remains of the fuselage. Speed was definitely a bonus here but Xander thought there was a good chance that by hurrying like that Jack might miss things - important things.
Picking his way carefully through the debris, Xander kept to the outskirts of the crash area. With Jack being right in the thick of it all he could focus on anyone who might have been thrown clear. Sure
enough, he'd barely gone ten yards before he spotted a hand reaching towards him. He broke into a run and reached the casualty less than a second later.
"Can you hear me? Where are you -" He stopped mid-question as he took in the extent of the girl's injuries. Every breath she took gurgled in her throat but despite the pain she must have been in she made no other sound. At first glance and from side on she had appeared to be relatively unscathed. Standing over her, however, Xander could see her chest slicked with blood and gore. Below that… well, he'd seen for more serious injuries than anyone ever should, but even he had never seen someone torn in two before. From the base of her ribcage down there was just... nothing.
He rocked back on his heels. There was nothing he - or anyone else - could do. "I'm sorry," He whispered before taking a deep breath and forcing himself to stand.
As he turned he heard one final gasp, a long rattling exhale and then nothing more. Not looking back, he walked away.
A loud explosion from the crash site spun him around. Scanning the crowd of survivors for the source, he saw the jumpy blond man start a little as a chunk of burning engine crashed to the beach just behind him. Xander frowned a little - the man's reactions were just a little bit… off somehow.
As the dust began to settle Xander heard an ominous sounding creak and, as he pinpointed the source, he realized that the exploding engine had de-stabilized the surviving wing. It was clearly about to snap off and he saw the danger at precisely the same moment he heard Jack shouting. "Hey! Get her out of there!"
Xander was running again before he made the conscious decision to move - the pregnant girl he'd seen at the water's edge was seated beneath the precarious wing. She was with a large man who looked up at Jack's shout and Xander could almost see the words `oh crap' form in his brain.
And then he was there, at their side, grasping the girl's arm and hauling her to her feet. Between them, Xander and the big guy dragged her away just in time. As Jack reached them Xander threw himself to the sand, dragging the girl down with him and sheltering her as much as possible. The wing finally broke free and crashed to the ground
where they'd been sitting barely moments before.
"Are you all right?" Jack was still shouting, but that was okay because that was pretty much the only way Xander could hear him over the ringing in his ears. He was about answer when the girl beat him to it.
"Yeah. I ... I think so." Australian - probably Sydney - Xander thought. Which made sense, given that the flight had left from there, but what the hell was someone so obviously in her third trimester doing on a trans-continental flight?
Whoa. Xander blinked rapidly as he realized that things were starting to come back to him. He remembered being at the airport and arguing with the girl at check-in about whether he needed assistance in getting on the plane because of his `medical condition' as she had so politely put it. They'd come to a compromise, he recalled, she wouldn't force him to accept someone leading him to his seat if he'd agree to board the plane before any of the other passengers. That still rankled with him since it singled him out, but it was clear she
was going to make an issue of it otherwise, so he'd reluctantly agreed. Of course, his companion had been more than happy to be treated `like I'm famous or something.' as she'd put it. Xander's heart sank as he realized he hadn't seen her since the crash. She was a survivor, her whole life up until this point had proven that, surely she wouldn't let something so mundane as the plane she was in plummeting to the ground rob her of that?
"Anyone up there?" Jack's question dragged Xander back to the present.
"Xander? Did you spot anyone else up there?" He nodded towards the dunes Xander had been circling round before the wing collapsed.
"No, no one alive." Xander sighed a little. "I didn't get very far though - if you guys are okay here I'll get back to it?"
The big guy was still lying on the sand trying to get his wind back; he waved a hand in Xander's direction. "Go - I'll look out for her. Hey," he looked at the girl curiously. "What's your name anyway?"
"Claire." She replied, and Xander caught the tiny eye roll that he recognized as meaning that she was probably more capable of looking out for herself than anyone realized. Again he wondered just why any pregnant woman would chose to travel so close to her due date. Weren't there laws - or at least regulations - stopping that kind of thing?
"Nice to meet you Hurley."
Xander looked from one to the other, marveling at the surrealism of the polite introductions. Jack was apparently as perplexed as he was and Xander caught his eye with a shrug and a small grin.
"Don't leave her." Jack ordered Hurley as the doctor stood to go.
"Dude, I'm not going anywhere."
Satisfied they were safe for now, Xander headed back to the tree-line to look for any other survivors, hoping in the face of all the evidence that he'd maybe find her alive, even though he was getting the sinking feeling all he would find would be bodies. Still, he had to look. What else could he do?
It took him nearly an hour of combing the area immediately around the beach to realize he wasn't going to find any one else alive. He supposed it was possible there could be some survivors deeper in the jungle but it would take a group larger than one to seek them out. He reached the top of a small incline and turned to look down at the
crash site. The earlier frantic activity had given way to a more… leisurely pace. It was as if his own recognition that there were no more survivors to find had spread out to the others and they were now focusing on finding their belongings, on looking for anything that might help them get through the next few hours until the rescuers arrived.
Something made him think it might be a little longer than a few hours.
"Wow. Helluva mess. Who'dda thought one plane could do all this?" He started a little at the familiar voice and turned quickly to see her standing there, looking out over the carnage with dirt - and blood - streaking her face. Grabbing her into a hug he reveled in the scent of her hair.
"Faith. You're alive."
"Y'know, I'm starting to see what Dawnie meant when she said you really see what's going on." Her voice was a little muffled and he realized he was still holding her tightly against his chest. Like a lifeline. He released her and took a step back.
"Uh, sorry. We don't really do the hugging thing do we?"
"Not to my knowledge." She answered, giving him a strange look. "What ha-"
"Hey!" They both turned as a shout from the beach interrupted her. An Arabic looking man was climbing the dunes towards them, "We're going to start a signal fire, to guide the rescuers. Could you help collect some wood?"
Xander nodded, "Sure, good idea." There was no point holding onto the hope there was anyone left out here he could help, at least this way he'd be doing something useful. He held his hand out for the other man to shake. "I'm Xander, and this is Faith."
The other man looked at his hand for a moment before gripping it with a smile. "Sayid."
Night had started to fall by the time Xander finally stopped. The stack of firewood he and Sayid had collected between them would be more than enough to see them all through the night - hell if he was honest, it'd be more than enough to get them through the week. A sense of despair settled over him, he was starting to really doubt they were
going to be found any time soon - it had been hours now, there should have been a spotter plane by now. Shouldn't there?
Sighing in a way he knew would surprise most of the people he worked with these days, he tried to push aside the defeatism and become the carefree joker he was expected to be. Part of him remained surprised at how quickly he was able to do that, that same part of him probably had a future filled with hours on a therapist's couch. Or possibly
locked in a nice white room where the walls would be lined with a really comfortable soft fabric. He grinned to himself, hell maybe he already was in the nuthouse, he hadn't forgotten the time Buffy thought they were all figments of her fevered imagination and he had to admit he could see her point.
Looking around he noticed that most people had sorted themselves into smallish groups of two or three, each of them gathering around smaller satellite fires with the larger signal fire at the center. It would almost be like camp if it wasn't for the wreckage strewn over the beach. Spotting Faith sitting next to the pregnant girl - Claire, that was her name - he headed over in their direction. As he wandered slowly towards them pieces of conversation washed over him, Sayid talking to the jumpy kid and giving voice to Xander's own thoughts.
"You'd think they would have come by now." Xander nodded as he passed them, not slowing, not wanting to acknowledge someone else's concerns.
Finally he reached the piece of wing Claire and Faith were seated on. He wondered briefly if Claire realized it was the same debris that had almost fallen on her earlier.
"Hey." he said softly as he dropped to a crouch next to them.
Faith looked over and smiled, "Xander. So what happened to…" A loud crash from the jungle interrupted her and everyone jumped up to see what had caused it. Something was out there. Something large.
Every one of them stared in horror, watching as huge trees seemed to be pushed aside like twigs. Xander stayed where he was, letting the others push past to get a better view. This was all too familiar. Faith, he wasn't surprised to see, was at the front of the crowd already. As he watched she turned and seemed to be searching for something. He frowned a little until she spotted him and moved towards him. She'd been looking for him?
The noises stopped abruptly as she drew near and conversations flared immediately - what the hell was that, where had it come from, were they safe? Too many questions, not enough answers. Faith gripped his arm lightly and pulled him aside. In a low voice guaranteed to stay just between them, she surprised him yet again. "I'm thinking that was definitely something that would fit in my job description, and you're kinda the resident expert here. Any ideas?"
He laughed for a moment then stopped as he saw she was serious. "I'm no expert Faith."
"You're Watcher-man these days, right?" He nodded curtly, "Well then - you're the expert. What do you think?"
He gaped at her, she was genuinely asking him for his expertise. It was just a shame he had none to impart.
"I honestly don't know. I'm half expecting to see a bright yellow jeep with Jeff Goldblum in it come roaring out of the jungle with the amount of noise that… whatever it was, was making." He shrugged. "Could just be an animal I guess, doesn't have to be job related."
Faith crossed her arms over her breasts. "So you think that with all the weird shit that's gone on today some freaking giant whatzit tearing the jungle apart isn't `job related'? Come on!"
Xander's frown deepened. "Faith, the plane crashed, there was nothing… supernatural about it. It happens all the time, just not usually to us. Not everything has to revolve around… what we do." He tried to keep his tone as light as possible; the truth was he was worried about Faith. Was she getting so caught up in being a Slayer that she'd
forgotten that the world kept on turning more or less oblivious to the things that went bump in the night - and the girls who hunted them?
She was looking at him with that incredulous look again, like he had an extra head or something. Finally he gave up. "What? What `weird shit' happened today? Other than, y'know, the huge piece of metal which should never have left the ground in the first place falling out of the sky, killing god knows how many people and stranding us here on
this god-forsaken rock in the middle of nowhere? What other `weird shit' have you got for me?" He was breathing heavily, ranting, but Faith didn't look pissed at him. Instead she just softened her grin and leaned forward to whisper in his ear.
"Xander? Where's your patch?"
He pulled back, blinking. His hand automatically went to cover the socket - how could he not have noticed he'd lost the patch? Just before his palm hit his cheek he flinched back. What the hell? He'd seen the movement.
From his left… eye.
He dropped his hand away and stared at Faith open-mouthed. A million thoughts running through his head, a million comments, a million questions. He couldn't give voice to any of them. Finally he managed to squeak out, "Yeah, that's some weird shit all right."
As the sun rose Xander realized he hadn't slept all night. He'd been sitting next to the fire intermittently covering his eye, blinking, waving his hand in front of his face, trying to puzzle out exactly what had happened. Okay so he'd seen some pretty freaky stuff in his life, but body parts mysteriously growing back? That was, to use Faith's term, some weird shit.
A hand dropped onto his shoulder and he looked up - to his left - to see Faith looking down at him. "Morning, how you doing? Did you get some sleep?" He asked.
She dropped down in that easy grace she had and grinned. "Peachy." She scanned his face. "You look like shit. Take it you didn't sleep?"
He shook his head, "How could I? That *thing* out there and then…" He waved his hand towards his face, towards his eye. "This. Not exactly conducive to a full eight hours, y'know?"
She nodded and put her hand on his elbow, "Actually, I don't know. Don't figure anyone but you knows, but you're no good to anyone like this."
He blinked a little, marveling at how odd it was to have both eyelids do that at the same time. When did Faith get compassionate?
She grinned again and tightened her grip on his arm. "C'mon, let's see who we have to beat up to get something resembling coffee. `Kay?"
He smiled, now that was more like the Faith he knew.
Several of the others were up and about already, Xander guessed he wasn't the only one who'd had trouble getting some shuteye last night, and wasn't that just an odd turn of phrase. They approached the group where Xander could see Sayid sitting cross-legged talking to the familiar looking jumpy guy, who was hunched in on himself. Xander
frowned for a moment as he contemplated what this guy's problem could be. Then he shrugged a little, the guy had just survived a plane crash - of course he was going to be jumpy, just `cause he wasn't acting in the same way Xander was didn't mean there was something wrong with him.
The group was talking about what had gone on the night before, what the thing in the jungle could be. Faith glanced knowingly at Xander but neither offered an opinion. Yeah, so maybe she was right, maybe they were the closest things to experts right now, but experience had shown Xander that most people weren't ready to deal with that kind of truth.
"We're going to go out, look for the cockpit." Xander looked up to see Jack crouching next to them, talking about looking for a transceiver.
"Count me in." He wasn't sure where that came from, last thing he wanted to do was leave the beach and head into the jungle where the demonic reject from Jurassic Park had set up home, he sighed as he acknowledged that this was definitely something demonic, but he also knew that Faith was right. They knew what was going on, and since they
did know, there was no way he could let someone walk into a situation like that without backing them up. He glanced across and saw Faith nod once. She got it.
Almost as soon as he spoke, the nervous guy piped up with his own offer to join them.
"I don't need any more help." Xander frowned at Jack's comment and bit back the automatic 'who died and made you king', god knew he didn't want the job and Jack seemed to know how to cope. For now Xander let it go, and smiled a little as Jack backed down and walked away.
Xander stood and turned to Faith, "You coming?"
She looked up, squinting against the glare of the sun in her eyes. "Nah, I'm cool. I'll stick around here for a while. Keep these guys company."
At her words one of the guys jumped up and nodded enthusiastically. Xander instantly pegged him as a spoiled rich kid, the kind of guy Cordy would take to the country club back when she used to go to country clubs.
"Yeah, don't worry. I'll… We'll watch out for her."
Xander grinned at Pretty Boy. "Cool." He turned to Faith and whispered sotto voce, "Don't hurt him too much, okay?"
She just grinned at him with an evil glint in her eyes.
When Xander caught up with the others the nervous guy was talking to the slim brunette he'd seen Jack cozying up to last night, She was saying that she felt like she knew him from somewhere and Xander started when the blond burst into slightly out of tune song. Quelling the now automatic reaction to look around for Sweet, Xander's jaw dropped as he recognized the song.
Taking a good look at the blond guy, it clicked. "You're Charlie Pace!" He almost shouted it, when did he turn into a rabid Fan Boy? "Driveshaft, right?" Charlie nodded and grinned. "Man, you guys rocked! Shame you split up."
"We didn't, we're still together. We're in the middle of arranging a comeback tour right now."
Xander was more than a little star struck, he'd never been around a genuine celebrity before, but before he could say anything more Jack arrived looking distinctly unimpressed and Xander remembered this wasn't just a walk in the park. They had to get going.
A little further into the forest and suddenly the sky darkened and the heavens opened. Xander gasped as the rain soaked through his clothes in an instant.
"You guys? Is this normal? Day turning into night; end of the world type weather? Is this normal?"
No one answered Charlie, he seemed to be talking just for the sake of it, but Xander couldn't stop the chill that crept down his spine at the musician's words. End of the world type weather. All too normal for him.
After what seemed like an eternity of walking, during which Xander resolved to actually make some use of his gym membership if he got home, they finally came to where the whole front half of the plane was lying at an angle. A heavy gloom settled over them, seeing it like this, torn apart in the middle of the lush jungle, it made it all too real.
The cockpit was, of course, at the top of the incline. Xander reflected that nothing in his life was ever simple - they'd have to climb up the inside of the wreckage to get to it. The body-filled wreckage at that. He resolved not to think about what he was holding onto to pull himself up the incline. His foot slipped a little on something soft. Nope, he definitely was not thinking about what that might have been.
As he neared the door he saw Jack had gotten there before him and was using a fire extinguisher to beat at the locked handle. He frowned, there must be an easier way to open it… Just as he considered telling Jack he could try to pick the lock, the door burst open and something - a body - came tumbling out. Kate, the brunette, screamed and all but
leapt into Jack's arms. Xander rolled his… eyes, he had to get used to the plural again, and muttered under his breath "Behold Buffy and Angel, the next generation."
Charlie seemed to notice as well and laughed nervously at Xander's comment even if he didn't get the reference. When Xander looked back up Jack and Kate had already disappeared into the cockpit and as he pulled himself after them he could hear choking. Dammit! Someone was alive in there!
The pilot was a mess, understandable really, and as Xander approached he heard him say "They're looking for us in the wrong place." His heart sank. This was worse than bad. There was an apocalypse going on out there, they were stranded, and no one knew where they were. No one was coming for them.
He barely noticed as Kate moved past him, looking for Charlie. The ramifications of what he'd just heard were too great. The defeatism tried to overtake him again. But before it could really get a hold on him, a thud from outside dragged him back to the here and now.
"What the hell was that?!" Charlie called from behind him just as the pilot stepped forward, craning to see. Xander watched in horror as something reached in and grabbed the pilot and pulled. He was yanked upwards repeatedly, battered against the window. Xander lunged towards him, trying to grab his legs, trying to pull him back down.
He was too late.
"Get out!" He yelled, turning to the others and leading the way. They half-ran, half-slid down the plane and as they made it out he paused to make sure they were all there. Kate took off at a run and Jack was hot on her heels. Charlie looked shocked, like he was about to throw up, and Xander pushed him on. "Go!"
The musician didn't need to be told twice, he ran as if the hounds of hell were after him and for all Xander knew he could be right. And just how did he end up bringing up the rear?!
He could hear it - whatever it was - was following him, he knew he had to get away, get back to Faith so they could find this thing and she could kill it. He saw the tree root before Charlie did, in fact he wasn't sure Charlie noticed it at all. It tangled around the blond's foot and he went sprawling, unable to get up.
Xander slid to a stop beside him and yanked at his shoulder, trying to help him stand. "Jack!" he yelled for the other man, whatever it was was right behind them, he knew it.
Together he and Jack freed Charlie from the tangle of roots and with one glance over his shoulder Xander ran.
By the time they finally stopped, Xander had no clue where he was. Inwardly cursing his extreme lack of any sense of direction, he looked around frantically, spotting the fact Jack was no longer with them at the exact moment he heard a startled scream from beside him. He looked around to see Charlie on the ground with Kate on top of him demanding
to know where Jack was. Yup, definitely Buffy and Angel all over again.
He and Charlie managed to calm her down by telling her they didn't know where Jack was but they were going to find him. "Really?" She aimed her question at him and Xander wondered what it was about Charlie that made her more or less ignore him.
"Hey, we found you didn't we?" He grinned a little, acting friendlier than he felt, and turned back the way they'd come. Jack had to be back that way somewhere.
This time there was no conversation, no attempt to lighten the mood, instead the three of them spent the entire walk searching the area for any sign of Jack. Xander was also keeping both eyes open for Rex – his new pet name for whatever it was out there that could knock down trees and pull a human through toughened safety glass with ease. He wasn't going to mention that to the others though, they knew the danger. If they didn't before, they certainly did now.
Another clearing, another shock. Kate slowed to a standstill and stood transfixed, staring at something on the ground.
"What is that?" Charlie asked just as Kate reached down for it.
Xander's mouth dried instantly as he recognized the aviator pin worn by pilots. Wings. But how did it get here?
He swallowed as he noticed the reflection in the water, as one they all looked up to see a form stretched on the tree branches far above their heads.
"It's the pilot." Xander started as Jack joined them. Where the hell had he been hiding? And how did he know that?
Charlie coughed a little, "Guys? What could do that?"
Off the top of his head, Xander could list at least fifteen different demons which, if they were near civilization, had the strength and speed to fit the answer to Charlie's question. But out here? On a tropical island? He wasn't so sure he wanted to have an answer.
Trying not to think of the way the body was positioned in the trees, like bait or worse – like an offering, he shook his head slowly.
"I don't know."
(and I missed Wonderfals last night - so I've caved and ordered the DVDs)