|THE GIFT -- RATED G
||[Nov. 5th, 2005|02:54 pm]
|||||"Seasons of Love" -- "Rent" OMPS||]|
TITLE: The Gift
CHARACTERS: Charlie, Claire, Sun
WORD COUNT: 644
He's found the perfect thing.
A few weeks ago he overheard Claire telling Shannon how much she wants one of these, how it would make the perfect addition to her shelter, but how she's just a little too frightened of going into the jungle to look for it, especially after everything that's happened. Ethan. Danielle.
And now the murder, he thinks. Even more reason to stay out of the woods. If you're smart, that is. But then again, nobody has ever accused him of being smart.
It's taken him nearly two weeks of daily forays into the greenery to find this. He's climbed mountains, forded streams, climbed more trees than he--or his scraped knees and arms--care to count. He's been chased by polar bears (how many of those things are there?) and boars. He's nearly had the breath squeezed from his very lungs by enormous constrictors. He's even had to fight his way out of a particularly nasty patch of quicksand.
But now he's found what he's been looking for, and all of the hardships he's faced are all but forgotten. All he has to worry about now is how to give it to her.
It's too big to hide behind his back. Way too big to hide under her pillow. Maybe he can wait until she's away from the shelter and install it himself. But what if he does it wrong, or puts it in the wrong place? He could end up making a bigger mess of things. The last thing he wants to do is mess this up. He and Claire are this close to having something special. She's the most wonderful thing to happen to him in a long time. Maybe even the only wonderful thing that's ever happened to him.
Dude, it's just a crush, Hurley told him once. You'll get over it, she'll get over it. You'll move on. I just can't see the two of you together forever, you know? That remark had almost earned Hurley a black eye.
He's had crushes before. He knows what they feel like. This is different. It feels different. It has to be different.
And then it comes to him. How he's going to present the gift to her. He'll emerge from the jungle, carrying his prize like a hunter returning with his kill. He'll look like a hero. She'll see him, see what he's carrying, and she'll know, without even having to ask, what he had to go through for her. What he had to endure. And she'll run to him, and throw her arms around him, and she'll say--
"Charlie! Look out!"
The warning comes too late, and suddenly, he's pitching forward, toppling until his face meets the damp earth where Claire and Sun are tending Sun's garden. Sun gasps, her hands covering her mouth. Claire looks very, very upset.
"Charlie, you big oaf!" she scolds. "Look what you've done! You've crushed the sprouts!"
He picks himself up quickly, and Sun cries out in dismay.
"They're ruined," Sun says in a small voice.
"Oh, no!" Claire exclaims, then glares up at him. "Why don't you watch where you're going? Where were you heading in such an awful hurry?"
He stammers for a moment, then manages to say, "I was bringing you something."
"What?" she asks.
"This," he says, and bends to pick it up. He stops, and has to bite his lips to keep from crying. The gift, like Sun's garden, is ruined. Torn and tattered from where he's fallen on it. He picks up the shreds that remain and crushes them in his hands. He continues to stare at the ground, taking deep breaths and fighting back tears. "Never mind," he says. "Just never mind."