Character(s): Eloise Hawking, Daniel Faraday, Richard Alpert
Prompt: Why was Eloise willing to send Daniel to what she knew would be certain death, and how did she deal with knowing about it his whole life?
Word Count: 1235
Author's Notes: Big thanks to my beta levitatethis. This is my first Lost fic (of any length), but the prompt was too fascinating to pass up. Daniel is my favourite character, so writing about Eloise was a challenge I wanted to rise to.
Summary: Eloise has a unique perspective on the life and death of her son. It isn't an easy one.
Eloise has always known what to do in a crisis. She might occasionally show uncertainty, or disbelief, but she is always capable of making snap judgments in a time of need. Others freeze with panic, Eloise acts.
Growing up on the island, few things surprise her. At 17 she has seen things most people wouldn't believe, and she is no stranger to death. Still, leading a stranger to inspect a nuclear weapon, with no real guarantee that he won't set it off, is nerve wracking to say the least. When he starts babbling about time travel she decides he's crazy. That is, until he and his friends vanish before her eyes in a flash of light.
This is where her obsession begins.
Everyone knows that Richard Alpert is no ordinary man. For one, a big one, he doesn't age. No one knows what he is exactly, and no one has ever been brave enough to ask. If anyone ever has, at least, the tale has not been shared. Despite his obvious knowledge and ability, Richard never takes a role of power. He guards his secrets, such as his connection to Jacob, but only the leader ever knows just how tantalizing that secret is. Richard maintains his role of adviser, and no one has ever sought to question it. At least, not that Eloise knows of.
Because Richard is untouched by time, Eloise focuses almost all of her inquisitive attention on him. He claims to know nothing more about time travel than she does. She doesn't believe him, how can he know nothing of time when he is unaffected by it, but her relentless questioning yields no results.
Despite what might seem an annoying level of persistence on her part, Richard is never cross with her. In fact, on one memorable occasion he simply smiles and says, “You'll be a great leader for our people one day.”
The words spark an entirely different line of questioning.
Richard's declaration comes true sooner than she expects; but she knows the moment he says it, deep within herself, that she is meant to lead.
In 1974 the time-traveling man appears again.
She doesn't know it's him at first. All she sees is the back of his head, the gun in his hand, and Richard. Richard who doesn't age, but can he die? Richard who is vital to the survival of her people. Richard who is her mentor, her confidant, her friend. Richard who would die for her, because the position of leader is too important, he says. He would protect her from this gun-wielding madman - probably a Dharma scientist gone insane - even at the cost of his own life. She can't let that happen.
Steady - aim - breathe - fire. Eloise is no stranger to taking life, knows the necessity of it; but would she have hesitated, acted differently, if she had recognized the man she murdered before she pulled the trigger?
She keeps Daniel's journal safely in her personal possession. In her free time she leafs through it, and tries to understand. The equations are beyond her, the higher math, but the notes fascinate her. The possibilities they suggest, coupled with the wonders she has seen, rock the foundation of her existence.
Every line of text also brings pain; pain in knowing what she has done to a son not yet even born. Now she knows he wouldn't have harmed any of them. He had just wanted to talk, been desperate to talk, and in his hour of need she had snuffed out the light of his life. She murdered her own son for the crime of being desperate to talk to his own mother.
She spends countless hours thinking about it. Richard tries to console her, in his own peculiar way, but once more he is unable to answer her questions. Can she prevent the tragedy that will unfold? Daniel's notes suggest it is all but impossible, and Richard seems inclined to agree, but she sets her mind to undoing the knot, to finding another solution anyway. Surely she can simply prevent his birth, how hard could that be after all, but does she really want to do that? Does she want to keep one of the most brilliant minds the world has ever seen from existing? The subject of his - her son's - brilliance is not up for debate.
She can't bring herself to wipe him out of existence like that.
She'll just have to keep him from the island. If he never comes to this place, then he won't die at her hands. When the time is right she will tell him everything, and he won't have to feel the tragic sting of his own wondrous discovery.
Despite knowing about her son before he is ever conceived, motherhood is not easy for Eloise. Later in life, looking back on it all, she can see her mistakes all too clearly.
Knowing what Daniel is capable of - her exceptional boy - only makes her push him harder. She knows he won't break, because she's seen what he will accomplish.
She still has the journal. She keeps it hidden, safe.
At the same time, the older he gets the harder it becomes for Eloise to act as she should. The more Daniel begins to look like the adult he will become, the more her memory takes her back to that horrible day, and pain fills her soul. The agony of knowing how he might die, her beloved, at her own hands, is simply too much. The weight is crushing.
Their relationship is strained, to say the least.
What must he think, when she gazes at him with a face full of agony? Is he unable to see the love buried below?
Eloise stares down at the leather-bound journal, its pages blank and crisp and new, with a mixture of joy and heartbreak. She has always known that one day she would find it, this symbolic touchstone of everything, but it is still a shock to see it here, now, untouched by pen or time.
For a moment she considers walking away. She wants to change the future, does she not?
No, she decides. She will not be afraid of some blank sheets of paper. This journal is destined for greatness, and refusing to buy this perfect gift won't change the future.
She considers changing the inscription, but the words just seem to flow from her fingertips.
It isn't until the accident that she gives up hope. Until then, despite all she knew about time travel and inevitability, she still thought she could prevent it. She never imagined it could be a willful decision; that she would send her son to his death because it was his only hope at salvation.
The island will heal his fractured mind. It will give him back a life worth living. She knows he would rather die than live like this: his brilliance wasted, his memories muddled, his sense of self fragmented.
At least he will know, she reassures herself. He will see his theories validated, and even travel through time himself. The island will give him as much life as it can, until one day he will point a gun at a man untouched by that human construct, and Eloise will finally end it.
Just as she'd always known she would.