Summary: A retelling of the blue lagoon. Santana and Brittany are marooned on an island for years and struggle to readjust to society after their rescue
Disclaimer: not mine
Spoilers: For the very hungry caterpillar. Otherwise none
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7
AN 1: I am going on holiday to a beautiful computer-free location until the end of the month, so ths is the last update for a bit, but I've written a lot of the next chapter so I will publish fairly soon after I get back.
AN 2: I don’t like to post warnings because it gives away what’s going to happen, but I should mention that there is some fairly graphic description of injury/ character death in this chapter.
It had taken at least two weeks of planning, then collecting materials and experimenting, but as the sun went down Will secured the last post and sank to the ground, exhausted, and closed his eyes winced as his muscles began to stiffen and burn from all the lifting and strain of the past few days. He had just begun to drift off when he felt sand hit on his feet, and a little giggle drifted by his left ear. He stayed still, and kept his eyes closed, and when he felt more sand hit his chest he lunged up and grabbed the person –Brittany- by the middle and pulled her down gently to the sand. She shrieked and giggled, and began to thrash when he started to tickle the bottom of her feet. There was movement at the corner of his eye, and the next thing he knew he was bowled over by Santana, who had taken it upon herself to rescue Brittany. She had tangled her hands in his beard and was determinedly tugging on it when he called truce and let Brittany up, his eyes tearing up. She scrambled up and stood over him, grinning.
‘We win!’ She held a hand out to help him, and he got to his feet.
‘So what were you guys up to today?’
‘Climbing trees.’ Santana held her hands out to show him. They were rough, cracked, and had blisters all over the palms. He frowned.
‘I hope you’re being careful. If you-’
‘Break a bone you’ll be all crooked forever,’ she finished for him, impatiently. ‘I know. Is it finished?’ He grinned triumphantly.
‘Yup. Girls, I introduce you to... your house.’ He bowed low and gestured at the little hut he had spent the last few weeks putting together. They ran inside, and he flopped back onto the grass, spent. Despite all his efforts the hut was a barely vertical structure that he had cobbled together using strong cloth and wood that he had managed to scavenge from around the island, and it had taken him at least a week just to figure out how to get everything to stand safely. He was proud of it, though, and it had kept him busy, which was worth it for that alone.
‘Will, it has beds in it!’ He had ripped and re sewn the seats from the plane into rectangle shapes, and stuffed them with dry grass. It made him sad to think how low their standards had fallen. Brittany came running out and barrelled into him, and wrapped her arms around his waist.
‘Thanks, Will.’ He gave a little hug back, and focused on putting something together for dinner before the sun went down completely. The girls got busy moving all their things into their new house, which only took a little while, and they crawled into bed just to see what it was like. It was scratchy, and uneven in places, but it felt good to not have to sleep with sand blowing in their faces. Now that the sun had mostly gone down it was dark inside the hut, much darker than outside, and Brittany groped for Santana’s hand to make sure she was still there.
‘It’s nice to have a room again.’ Santana squeezed her hand.
‘Yeah, like a house-room. We should put stuff in it to make it look nicer.’
‘I don’t know. Shells and stuff. Do you want to do that tomorrow?’
‘Yeah. After reading.’
Dinner was a mix of all the fruits and vegetables that will had found (and pre-tested), and some little shrimp that had gotten caught in the nets the last time they had gone fishing. Brittany ate hers quickly so she wouldn’t have to look at its black eyes bulging out of his head.
‘Hmm?’ He was staring at the sea again
‘Don’t you want your own house?’
‘I do. There are just some things I want to do first.’
‘Like what?’ She yawned, and Will smiled.
‘I’ll tell you tomorrow. Why don’t you go and try out your new beds?’ They stood up and gave him a quick hug before heading into the hut and falling asleep almost instantly
‘Tell me about your mom again,’ Santana said. They had just climbed up one of their favourite trees and were tucked into a wide fork several feet up. Brittany took out some braided vines and some of the shiny stones she found in the pool, and carefully laid them across the flattest part of the branch.
‘Okay, but let’s start making decorations for our house.’ She picked up a piece of vine and started to try to make a necklace. ‘My mom is the most beautiful lady in the world. She sells clothes-’
‘What, like in a shop?’
‘No, she walks wearing clothes and then people like them and buy them, and she has to take pictures all the time. Sometimes she lets me come with her and I get to take pictures too. It’s really fun.’ She finished looping some vine around a pretty red shiny rock and frowned when it immediately fell apart.
‘She took you places with her?’
‘Yeah, all the time. We’re her three musketeers.’
‘Who, your sisters?’ Brittany nodded, frowning as the necklace she was trying to make fell apart again. She glanced over at Santana, who had someone managed to knot the stones into the vine. She was now tying it together to form a sparkling net.
‘How are you doing that?’ Santana reached forward and showed her how, her hands weaving around Brittany’s gracefully.
‘Tell me about your sisters.’ Brittany grinned.
‘They’re really fun, and nice. They play with you all the time.’
‘All the time?’
‘Sometimes I have to ask and ask, but they always say yes in the end. Look, I’m a princess.’ She had picked flowers off the branch and braided them together to make a crown.
‘Princess of what?’ Santana asked sceptically.
‘The island. You can be my royal helper. Or,’ she added, watching Santana’s face darken, ‘we can take turns. I’m the Princess of Islandia!’
‘That’s a silly name.’
‘You’re silly. Why do you always ask me about my family?’ Santana didn’t answer; instead she shimmied backwards away from the trunk until the branch they were on began to shake and shudder in protest.
‘My mother doesn’t like me.’
‘Why not?’ Santana shifted again, further away, and the branch began to shiver.
‘She forgot my birthday. And she likes to sleep in her office instead of at home with me.’ Brittany inched out towards Santana slowly, mindful of the creaks that were coming from the branch.
‘Maybe she’s just really busy.’ Santana looked like she wanted to argue, but she just nodded her head.
‘So who did you play with?’
‘I play with you.’
‘Oh. Emma. She took care of me when my mom was working.’ She began to bounce up and down on the branch gently, unconsciously, and Brittany gulped.
‘Come back this way.’ Santana looked at her, her eyes all dark and sad. ‘If you come back, I’ll let you be Princess first.’ Brittany unwound a length of her crown from her head and held it out. Santana sighed and started to move back, but she had only just started to shift along the branch when she realized how thin the branch that she was sitting on was, and Brittany watched her freeze up. She held her hand out as far as she dared, and Santana held it tight, closed her eyes and moved back to the safety of the fork where they had been sitting before. She opened her eyes.
‘Thanks.’ Brittany nudged her gently with a still-shaking hand.
‘Don’t do that. You’re going to fall.’
They climbed down the tree, and Brittany held Santana’s hand tight the whole way back home.xxxxxxxxx
Will had been busy the whole day, spreading bright orange pieces of cloth across the sand and weighting them down with rocks at intervals along the beach. As soon as he was done he was going to have to start building a hut for himself, although to be honest he wasn’t in any hurry to do that and run out of things to do.
While he was cooking dinner when he pulled out the sweet potatoes that he had found when he had gone exploring, and he carefully cut and spread them out onto a hot stone near the fire to roast. Brittany and Santana had quickly gotten over their distrust of new foods, and they happily tasted all finished most of everything he made.
‘Where did you get that from?’ Brittany asked, wiping her mouth. ‘I liked it.’
‘It’s sweet potato. I found it today when I went looking around.’
‘You went exploring by yourself?’ He chuckled.
‘I don’t need an escort to look around. I‘m the adult.’ She didn’t smile, though.
‘I don’t want you to go to new places without us.’ He leaned over and gave her a little side hug.
‘You don’t have to worry. I’ll always come back.’ He waited until she nodded before he reached behind him.
‘Now, who wants some kiwis?’xxxxxxxxx
The next morning was hot, so hot that even Will wore his shirt buttoned up to protect against the sun and they had to sit under the trees at the edge of the beach for morning lessons. To everyone’s surprise Will’s idea of spending the mornings doing some schoolwork had actually stuck, as both Santana and Brittany found themselves needing routine and familiarity. Will tried to throw in other subjects like history and geography, but they were almost impossible to teach without any books, context or maps, so he settled for reading and arithmetic.
‘So, read that again, Brittany.’ Brittany hefted her copy of the very hungry caterpillar onto her knees and read aloud.
‘On Tuesday, he ate two... pears.’ She looked up at him anxiously for confirmation.
‘That’s pretty good. Why don’t you go back and pick your favourite sentence, then you can read that for me again?’ She nodded, her tongue peeking out the side of her mouth as she concentrated.
By the time the sun got to the top of the sky it was so hot that no one could concentrate anymore, and Will let them go early.
‘Hold on a second,’ he called, just as they started to run off. ‘I’m going to go and look around a little more today, so I probably won’t be back until the sun sets.’
‘No, wait are you going?’ Santana had pulled up short, and Brittany skidded to a stop beside her.
‘I’m not sure, really. I just want to look around and get a better idea of the island; I was actually thinking of making a map. I promise, I’ll be back soon.’ He grinned and strode away across the sand, quickly disappearing into the trees farther down the beach
As the day went on they kept forgetting that he wasn’t around and after the fourth time they had ran back to the camp to check in with him Brittany flopped onto the ground, exhausted.
‘I don’t want to walk anymore,’ she said, closing her eyes. They had spent the day running around on the beach and her skin felt hot and tight. Santana handed her a grapefruit, and she bit into it gratefully.
‘I hope Will gets back soon, I’m hungry,’ Santana said, wiping her mouth and smearing juice across her face.
‘Me too. Today’s been boring. And itchy.’ She picked at the skin that was peeling off her shoulders.
‘You’re all burned,’ Santana said. ‘See, that’s what happens when you don’t cover up.’ Brittany stuck her tongue at her and kept picking at her skin.
The sun had just started to set, and the fire had almost completely disappeared before Will came out of the forest. They immediately ran up to him, and he caught them as best he could with his shaky, rubbery muscles.
‘Hey, it’s okay,’ he soothed, as Brittany began to sniffle. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘You were gone for a really long time. And it’s getting dark.’ She wiped her eyes and glared up at him accusingly. He sighed.
‘You’re right. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.’
After dinner Will got up to mark the tree- he was halfway through his eleventh ring- and he had an idea. He turned to where the girls were staring gloomily into the fire, which he had built up as big as he could.
‘Santana, when’s your birthday?
‘Uh, May 26th.’
‘And yours, Brittany?’
‘That means we missed both of your birthdays. How would you like tomorrow to be yours? Both of yours, I mean.’ They looked at each other, surprised.
‘What would we do for our birthdays?’
‘Whatever you want, Santana. We can come up with some ideas tomorrow, okay?’
‘Does that mean we’ll be six tomorrow?’
‘That’s right.’ He glanced up. ‘It’s getting late; I think we should go to bed. The faster you go to bed, the faster tomorrow will come,’ he said quickly, and they almost sprinted to bed.
Brittany settled down first, as usual, and she waited for Santana to stop shuffling around.
‘We’re going to be six tomorrow,’ Brittany whispered. She didn’t want Will telling them to go to sleep.
‘I don’t feel six,’ Santana said, curling against Brittany’s side. Her head fit neatly under Brittany’s chin.
‘Maybe you will tomorrow.’xxxxxxxxxx
Will woke up to a weight on his chest and pain in his feet. When he opened his eyes he saw Brittany carefully piling rocks onto his chest and Santana pulling his toes. The sun had only barely begun to rise, and the air was chilly.
‘It’s our birthday! You need to get up!’ He groaned and sat up.
‘I’m up.’ He huddled around the fire trying to keep his eyes open as the girls threw little bits of wood on it to make it flare and chased each other in circles like puppies.
‘Are you awake yet, Will?’ Brittany had come over to stare at him sympathetically.
‘Almost, he grumbled. ‘Here, sit down for a second.’ They dropped to the ground in front of him and stared expectantly. ‘So, like I said yesterday, today can be your birthdays.’
‘What day is it today?’ Brittany asked
‘It’s the 15th of October today, I think.’
‘So we can have two birthdays?’ Santana asked.
‘Sure. So, we can do whatever you want to do today, but we have to get some things done first.’ They both looked at him warily. ‘Not much; we just need to bring in the fishing nets I put out last night.’
They spent the day swimming, and running. Will let them dress him up as a monster, and he spent a good few hours chasing them around the island and making the best dinosaur noises he could. He climbed up to the thinnest branches of the highest trees to pick Santana’s favourite fruits, and he made a special trek to a cool freshwater pool to take them to look at colourful fish that he knew Brittany would love. By the end of the day he was so tired he could barely see straight, and he settled the almost comatose girls into bed before falling asleep almost immediately after. He had done well, and he knew it, and he let the pride from that carry him off to sleep.xxxxxxxxxxx
Brittany woke up because something was pulling at her hair, and when she raised her hand to swat it away the uncomfortable feeling only doubled. She cracked an eye open to see Santana’s face hovering over hers.
‘What are you doing?’ She could barely get the words out, she was so tired, but Santana only took her hand and tried to pull her upright.
‘Shhh.’ Her eyes were wide and alert, and excited. ‘You’ll wake Will. Come with me, I have to show you something.’ The urgent tone in Santana’s voice had managed to erase most of Brittany’s sleepiness, and she sat up quickly.
‘What is it?’ Santana only smiled and stood up, pulling Brittany with her. They left their house and tiptoed past Will who was snoring on the sand, and Santana began to lead her away from the campsite into the darkness. Brittany stopped and pulled on her hand.
‘What’s wrong?’ Santana looked like she was trying not to just pull her along.
‘I don’t want to go so far away.’ The beach was dark and loud, and the leaping fire was casting shadows on the ground and along the trees.
‘It’s okay, we’re not going far.’ They only went a little further before Santana stopped and sat Brittany down on the sand. She went over to a tree right on the edge of the beach and reached into a hollow in the trunk of a tree. Brittany watched her nervously, not happy with how she was half blending into the shadows. Santana gave a triumphant squeak and bounded back, clutching something in her fist. She made Brittany close her eyes, and she heard a rustling before she felt something touch her lips.
‘Open your mouth,’ Santana said. Brittany hesitated before complying, and as soon as she did she felt an intense sweetness on her tongue, so strong that she felt the edges of her jaw prickle and her eyes flew open.
‘What was that?’ Santana was grinning, her teeth shining bright in the darkness. She held up a small white packet.
‘It’s sugar.’ She spilled a little into her palm and tipped into her mouth. ‘Here.’ She took Brittany’s palm and poured some into her palm. It was so sweet it almost made her eyes water, and she licked at her palm to get the rest of it.
‘Where did you get it from?’ Santana’s smile went slightly wicked.
‘From the plane. I didn’t go in,’ she added, watching Brittany start to scowl in disapproval. ‘I was just near the plane and I saw them on the ground. I was going to give them to you anyway, but I decided it should be our birthday present.’
‘It’s a good one,’ Brittany said. Santana grinned again, reached behind her back and pulled out another packet.
‘How more do you have?’
The next morning Will woke up to blissful, calming, surprising silence. After taking a minute to appreciate not being woken up by screeching children, he dragged himself up to make sure that they hadn’t accidentally suffocated themselves or wandered away. He found them curled up in their hut, fast asleep.
By the time they got up he had scaled the fish, cut up fruit and steamed the mussels, and he was feeling pretty damn accomplished. He set their breakfast in front of them with a flourish and frowned when Brittany turned green at the sight of the food. Santana seemed to be swallowing convulsively.
‘Are you guys okay?’
‘Yes. We’re fine,’ Brittany said quickly, and very unconvincingly.
‘Are you sure?’
‘We’re just sleepy,’ Santana said, giving the biggest yawn she could.
‘Well... all right.’ I didn’t seem like they were going to tell him any time soon. Maybe he could bribe them with something later.
‘What are you doing today?’ Santana asked, nibbling on a piece of mango.
‘I want to look around a little bit more today, and you could come with me if you like,’ he offered. Brittany glanced at Santana.
‘Okay. When do you want to leave?’
‘Soonish. Let’s just get some water and fruit and things, then we can set off.’
Will packed a backpack that he had found with everything he thought he would need; food, water; an incomplete map and various warm clothes. Brittany and Santana carried a coconut each and a ball made out of socks to play with.
It wasn’t long until they were deep into the forest, and at some point the trees grew so close together they had to walk in single file, but Will was careful to keep to a straight line so they didn’t lose their bearings. When they passed the little stream with the white flowers on the bank Brittany hurried ahead until she reached the rocky place she had got to the last time before she stopped and waited for the others to catch up.
The vegetation continued to thin out, and it wasn’t long before almost all of the trees had disappeared and they had to stop to rest and take shelter from the sun, which had come out in full force.
‘How long do we have to keep going?’ Brittany asked. They had drunk most of their water already and the constant walking was making her both tired and bored. Will took a swig of water.
‘Only a little further. I just want to get to the top of that cliff. I should have a pretty good view of the whole of the island from there.’ He pointed to a enormous outcropping of rock that overlooked the water. The base of the cliff looked a lot less intimidating close up, and Will left the girls and his bag at the bottom, and began to climb, carefully.
The slope was gentle enough that he could walk most of the time, but the way was so narrow that he could see almost straight down to the ground if he leaned too far to the left. He fixed his gaze upwards and climbed slowly, trying not to look down.
It was taking longer to reach the top than he had anticipated, and as he reached the halfway mark he started to seriously consider giving up. Just as he made up his mind to make his way back he spotted something embedded into the rock several feet away. He moved closer, and he saw that it was a curved, smooth piece of metal, with numbers stencilled across one of the edges. He moved around the side of the cliff as fast as he could to try to find where the piece of metal had come from, and when he saw the plane partly buried in the side of the cliff face his grip slipped and he felt his feet start to slip out from under him. He caught himself, and shouted down reassurance to the girls, who had started to screech his name.
The impact the plane made as it hit the rock had deformed and warped the cliff face and destroyed most of the foot and handholds, and he had to use his fingers and toes to cling on. It was a small plane, incredibly rusted and old fashioned. When he peered into the cockpit he could see that it was full of ancient, broken dials that were covered in cobwebs and random debris. He couldn’t see inside the cockpit properly from where he was, so he shifted to get a better view and the bleached and cracked bones of a very small skeleton came into view, crumpled into the corner nearest him. He reeled away, barely catching himself, and he waited until his hands stopped shaking before he peered in again. He took a deep breath and leaned closer, carefully avoiding looking down and remembering how high up he was, and he saw that the skeleton was dressed in what looked like tattered leather and old fashioned flying headgear. Something glinted in the light, and he risked leaning a hand on the edge of the cockpit so that he could see what it was. He finally got close enough to see the letters A.E. glimmer and reflect the sunlight that filtered through the broken window. A.E...
‘No. No way.’ He laughed out loud in disbelief, and just as he reached a hand into the cockpit, the ground beneath his feet shifted, his hand slipped and slid along the plane, and he felt his centre of gravity slowly shift to the empty space to his left. He free fell for several feet before he hit the slope, and he began to roll, faster and faster until he was bouncing off the cliff, first against smooth rock, then he was hitting boulders, and he might have been okay except his leg had got caught between two rocks and he had felt the crack it made as it was pulled free in his teeth; and then his back hit a corner of a particularly sharp rock and Oh fuck he was breaking in half, he couldn’t breathe, he was being ripped apart and there were red-hot knives searing into his skin. His head hit something hard, and he felt himself start to black out. He welcomed the darkness; he ran towards it and let it cradle him and carry him up and away from the broken mess that was lying at the bottom of the cliff.