Title: After the End
Characters: Hurley, Ben
Rating: PG-13 for one silly hatesex mention (not between Hurley and Ben, you sicko!)
Spoilers/Warnings: Spoilers for LOST finale
Summary: Hurley sets the rules.
Disclaimer: I avow no ownership of, or claim to, the characters of LOST, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter.
Author’s Note: This is a silly, but hopefully somewhat poignant, piece of crack inspired by the idea that with the Smoke Monster dead and gone, protecting the island is actually a very boring job. The title is a tribute to the first Harry Potter überfic I read. I apologize for any inaccuracies related to the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings references, as I have seen only the original three Star Wars movies (sorry, Hurley!) and none of the Lord of the Rings ones (sorry, Dwight Schrute!).
Word Count: 1,947
“So…now what, dude?”
The airplane had disappeared some time ago. Silently, reverently, the two men had watched it go, needling its way through a sky so richly blue that it nearly matched the shade of the ocean that shone and sparkled past the edge of the jungle and the small stretch of sand beyond, all the way to the horizon. It was as almost as though the storm had never happened, as though the rain had not ripped through the jungle and entire cliffs had not dropped into the sea with the force of the quakes that shook the island from its core.
The smaller man turned and looked up at the place where the last wisps of the plane’s smoky trail had disappeared into the clouds, the topaz hue of his eyes matching that of the heaven and sea that bounded his island home. After a moment, he turned his gaze to the larger man sitting on the rock next to him.
“I don’t know, Hugo. I suppose that depends on the rules. Your rules.”
The larger man exhaled and then nodded slowly, his treebark-brown eyes narrowed in thought. “OK. I guess the first rule is that I want to go back to being called Hurley. ‘Cause, like, even though everything was all weird when we first crashed here, with the polar bears and the creepy French lady and the smoke monster and all that, it just seemed more friendly and…and fun and all when I was Hurley and Sawyer was Sawyer and Locke was Locke and the only times our names got changed was when Sawyer was making fun of us. The only person who ever called me Hugo back home was my mom, and she said it all, ‘HOO-go,’ but when you say it, it’s like, “’HYYYYYYUUUUU-go,’ and…it just doesn’t work for me, dude. Sorry.”
The other man smiled and nodded. “All right, then. Rule number one: You shall be called Hurley. What else have you got in mind?”
Hurley didn’t answer right away. Instead, he fingered one of his muttonchops in silence for a little while as he stared off into the distance. The other man—who was happy to continue to be called Ben, although it didn’t matter so much to him, as he had taken on so many monikers and identities before that a name had become little more than a convenience to him, something that got his attention so that he knew someone else was talking to him—waited patiently.
Finally, Hurley folded his hands in his lap and turned back to Ben. “So I think I see it like this: Locke was like the dark side of the Force, except that the dark side is always part of the Force, like yin and yang, and you can’t just defeat it. But Jack did defeat Locke, or the smoke monster, or whatever that thing was, and so unless a new smoke monster or something else comes here to mess with the light, we can just kick back and enjoy ourselves for a while. So if I can just make up rules and stuff, then I, like, decree that we look for some Apollo bars and see if we can fix up the ping-pong table—maybe it’s still at our old camp—and see who’s really number one.”
Ben gave a short laugh. “I doubt my ping-pong skills match up to my assassination abilities, so don’t expect much of a challenge. But I’m still up for it. And if we can’t find a ball, there’s a tree near the old Dharma barracks that has some large, lightweight seeds that would probably make a good substitute.”
“OK, then.” Hurley smiled. “Rule number two: Let’s play ping-pong and have some fun.”
With a nod at each other, the two men stood at the same time and began the walk back to the beach. After a couple of minutes, just after entering the bamboo grove that bordered the place where they had just been, where everything began and ended, they spotted the body, and the dog lying next to it, and they stopped for a moment.
“Jack, you’re more of a Jedi than Luke ever was,” Hurley whispered. Ben simply bent down and patted the dog on the head.
Then the men continued walking, Hurley first, and then Ben several steps behind him, and it was only after they had pushed through the thicket and stepped out onto the sand that Ben remarked, “You know, I’ve never actually seen any of those movies.”
Hurley stopped short, causing Ben to walk straight into his backside, which, luckily for Ben, was amply cushioned. “You’ve never seen Star Wars? None of them? Not even the first one? Wasn’t it going to be shown at Dharma movie night, like, a week after we tried to blow up the hatch? You were still there, and you were, like, twelve. How could you not have seen it?”
“Sayid had just shot me, Hurley, or have you forgotten that already?” Ben responded in his usual dry fashion. “The Others healed me at the Temple, but…put it this way: Movie night was pretty much the last thing on my mind at the time.”
“Dude. It was STAR WARS.” Hurley had not been so indignant since he had seen that stomach-lurching series of numbers engraved on the side of the hatch.
Ben shrugged. “Sorry, Hurley. I’m more of a book-club sort than a moviegoer anyway.”
Hurley’s frown deepened, his fuzzy eyebrows drawing closer and closer together until he finally erupted. “NO! If we’re gonna work together and, like, run this island and protect that light or whatever, you need to understand what is the most awesome, life-changing story ever to have been told in the history of everything!” He paused before adding, “Well, besides Exposé, of course. But it’s a very close second.”
“Hold on now, I didn’t say I wouldn’t watch it,” Ben hastily replied, raising his palms in surrender. He had been beaten up many times already, but he suspected that a pummeling by an angry Hurley just might do him in after all. “But I’ll bet that any tape of it that might have been sitting around the Dharma barracks from when I lived there with the Others has been destroyed.” If entire cliffs had fallen into the sea, it was unlikely that ‘80s videotapes, as hardy as they might have been, had managed to survive.
For a second, Hurley looked crestfallen, but then a smile crept over his face. “Then I’ll just have to make sure we get it,” he declared forcefully. “Rule number three: There must be Star Wars. And no crappy VHS copies, either. Rule number four: DVD players only, until something better is invented, and then we get those.”
And so, just as Jacob had gone out into the world and touched his candidates, inexorably drawing them to the island to live out their fates and deliver the island from its longstanding stalemate, Hurley went out and found his own people. Indeed, it was no coincidence that a cargo ship containing crates of state-of-the-art consumer electronics found itself marooned upon the island after a bad storm hit on the way from Daesan, South Korea, to Los Angeles, California. And it was no accident that a plane bound from Shanghai to New York City, on which a small Chinese businessman hoping to sell a large stash of pirated DVDs in America had been flying, somehow blew so off course that it, too, crashed upon the same shores that had once claimed Oceanic 815.
Of course, it was Hurley running things, and so there were no casualties, or even major injuries. And he had chosen the seller of pirated DVDs because he hadn’t wanted to rob George Lucas of a single cent of his well-deserved profits. (Snagging the Korean-made DVD players and flat-screen TVs had been less of a concern; after all, Samsung had not directly contributed to the making of the Star Wars films, and that was what mattered.)
It took some time, as well as help from the new castaways, to get the old Dharma generators up and running again. (Hurley was thankful that language barriers were apparently non-issues for the island protector. And for the record, once the project was completed, Hurley made sure that both the ship and the plane were repaired and sent on their way back to the rest of the world, filled with anyone who didn’t want to stay on the island, as well as Desmond Hume, who, of course, was eager to get back to Penny and his son.) But once the project was finished, the result was well worth it: a giant movie screen, composed of multiple flat-screen TVs, hooked up to a series of surround-sound speakers and a DVD player (had the final island time shift been to 2009, Hurley would have had the benefit of Blu-Ray technology, but alas, it was only 2007, and Blu-Ray technology had yet to hit the mass market), all artfully arranged in the giant crater where The Swan had once stood.
Hurley stood back and surveyed his jungle cinema happily. And then he and Ben and the few people who had decided to stay on the island took their seats and marathoned all six Star Wars films. After a couple of days spent playing ping-pong, they returned to watch Lord of the Rings (that “Merry” character looked oddly familiar, but both Hurley and Ben chalked the similarities up to one of those weird island coincidences), and then, after more ping-pong, all of the Harry Potter movies.
Hurley’s next project was getting online. (Rule number five: Let there be Internet!) Before long, the two island protectors had started a private, but highly epic, multifandom role-playing game in which Luke Skywalker, Frodo and Merry (as both an amusement and a tribute, the avatar for the latter consisted of an old photo of Charlie Pace from his Drive Shaft days), and Harry Potter, all played by Hurley, battled fiercely against Darth Vader, Saruman and Gollum, and Voldemort, all played by Ben, for possession of a Force-imbued ring constructed of material from the Philosopher’s Stone. At one point, Hurley and Ben got into a bit of a dispute over whether Voldemort had the power to turn himself into a highly destructive column of smoke. The argument ended when Hurley declared, “Rule number six: Voldemort being a smoke monster is not canon, and therefore not admissible! Maybe one day you can start your own game with your own rules, and then you can play Smokedemort, but not under my watch.”
But even epic quests and Harry/Gollum hatesex sideplots get boring after several centuries, and so it wasn’t long before Hurley and Ben decided it was time to move on. Guarding the island simply wasn’t particularly interesting when there was no real-life nemesis to battle, and Hurley realized it was time to end it all when he began to think back on the days of pressing the button in the Hatch, dodging bullets, and running from the smoke monster with deep nostalgia. Luckily, by then, the handful of Korean-cargo-ship and Chinese-airliner castaways who had stayed on the island had been fruitful and multiplied to become several hundred strong, and Hurley had found a willing volunteer to take over the protector role, as well as to off himself and Ben.
As Hurley fell willingly onto young Chung-Hee’s dagger, he breathed, “Rule number seven: I’m done, dude. May the Force be with you.” Ben, who had similarly impaled himself, managed a smile and whispered back, “And never tickle a sleeping dragon.”
Finally, falling sideways off the daggers, they moved on.