Challenge/Prompt: 5_roses, #2. Awkward Silence. Also kinda done for the gayisland challenge
Summary: A mildly AU version of Lost in which I don’t actually kill off Shannon and so on. And she and Claire fall in lo- something.
Author’s Notes: I fall through about three writing styles in this, which is why you should never start something in a Spanish lesson, continue it in a French one, and then finish it up on your laptop at home. On the other hand: yay! Shannon/Claire [is love].
Shannon isn’t sure quite when it changes, and she definitely isn’t sure why or even how. It takes a while for vague realisation to creep over her, like sunburn or heat rash or something. Clinging irrevocably to her like she’ll never get rid of it.
She thinks it began somewhere around the time Sayid decided he loved her, but had a distinct lack of interest in her. It’s something that tends to happen when people come to realise that yes; she really is as self-absorbed and mercenary as she comes across. There are other layers, dark and more suffocating than anyone would ever know or even want to know; but she’s just a poor little rich girl with unsuccessful dreams and a very unsettling relationship with her stepbrother.
That was the problem. Sayid became more interested in hunting down The Others and even though he held Shannon for a while as she trembled after dodging a bullet from Ana Lucia, she knew, and she still knows, that Sayid would love to freeze her under a glass frame to keep her safe from the island but he likes that he has her rather than actively taking an interest.
She let him stay thinking like that, and everyone else too; it was easier to be Sayid’s Girl than sink into oblivion under the moniker of ‘that bitch’.
Kate spent her life following Jack and Sawyer around like a puppy waiting to be kicked and Libby was just too sensible and Ana Lucia felt guilty about that almost killing her thing but actually had no time for her and Sun had her husband and her unborn baby and ten shades of silent pain and so Claire turned into the one Shannon talked to because after Boone died the world crumpled in on itself and she needs people like others need air.
There were all sorts of cracks forming in her relationship with Sayid anyway, cracks Sayid barely noticed and Shannon wasn’t interested in mending. She just sat with Claire who was mourning over Charlie and the fact he’d gone batshit crazy, and Shannon had Aaron in her arms and he slept in his cute, tiny baby fashion and when Sayid got back from yet another suicide mission or whatever she gave him vague I’m glad you’re not actively dead smiles and let the world split between them.
Shannon thinks it changed slightly when the church was finished. Charlie and Eko grinning and proud of their wooden shack. Islanders were given the option of going for a service of some kind but Shannon declined. She still declines, taking Vincent for long walks that that lead her deep into the forest. Shannon no longer sees Walt. She hopes that that’s a good sign.
The rain takes her by surprise and she gasps, Vincent barking and fleeing for the relative dryness of the trees. Shannon thinks about following but she doesn’t, instead sitting down in the long grass, lying back and closing her eyes and letting herself get soaked.
The rain stops unsettlingly swiftly, leaving Shannon gasping and sodden and muddy. She sits in the grass until she dries, making daisy chains out of the flowers around her like she did as a kid. By the time she’s found Vincent and made it back to the beach she’s entirely dry, and Shannon proudly drapes her strings of flowers around Aaron’s neck. Claire laughs.
“You do know he’s a boy, right?” she says, eying the little white flowers with amusement.
“You never know,” Shannon replies, carefully sliding a band of daisies around Aaron’s tiny wrist, “He might grow up gay.”
She pretends not to see the look Claire gives her- half terrified, half amused, sort of mixed up with a couple of other things Shannon refuses to acknowledge. But Aaron gurgles and he likes the flowers even though Charlie makes a fuss and pulls them all off later.
A day later when she’s all entwined with Sayid on a private beach somewhere getting sand in places that there should never, never be sand, Shannon tastes a name on her lips that isn’t his and barely remembers to swallow it. That, she decides much later, is the starting point. Shove a pin in it and remember it. Blame it on the sand.
Things start shifting, thoughts and feelings and alliances. Almost too quick for Shannon to be able to keep track of them. People die- lots of people die. Sayid smiles vaguely and walks away and Shannon doesn’t call after him. She makes daisy chains for Aaron because she likes how cute he looks in them and she likes the smiles Claire gives her. She watches Charlie develop jealousy and wonders whether he’ll burn down his church in a fit of pique. Nothing makes much sense. Shannon makes the least sense of all.
“Claire,” she says vaguely. Claire turns to look at her and Shannon likes to think this is the point that she realises everything’s changed, snowballing for the last few weeks into a breathless tidal wave crashing over them both and getting them mutually soaked. She intertwines their fingers.
“I…” she begins helplessly. She wonders if she’s actually outing herself. If there’s anything to out. Her stomach twists. Waves splash in the background. There’s never any privacy here. No silence either. Funny that. Even the hatch was full of beeping and stuff before Locke took it into his head to mess with it. Shannon’s ears fill with white noise, and she wonders how long it can last before it shatters and kills them.
Always with the awkward silences and uncomfortable pauses and sleeping looking out to sea hoping for something else like a ship and Shannon wonders if she and Claire have ever had a proper conversation or if it’s always been this unearthly hush.
“I’m sorry,” she says softly, but Claire doesn’t let go and Shannon tries to find the words, “I… I, um… I sort of…” The word love sticks uncomfortably to her tongue because it’s not quite true. Shannon doesn’t love anybody.
She leans over and presses her lips firmly and gently against Claire’s, scaring herself in the process, both by what she’s doing and that she wants it so bad.
“Is that going to be problem?” she asks. Claire looks at her for a long moment and Shannon suddenly thinks that maybe there’s a lot about Miss Littleton that she doesn’t and will never know.
“I don’t think so,” Claire replies, squeezing Shannon’s fingers. “We’ll be all right.”
Shannon smiles with something she thinks is relief.
“We have to be,” she shrugs.
(The next day, they wear matching daisy chains.)