pg | no warnings apply

He watches her, because he can get away with it, because nobody questions why a man is looking at a pretty girl. And out of habit, or necessity, he profiles her as he watches.

He watches, as she translates, as she talks to herself, as she laughs at herself. He watches as she drinks, notes how there's a colorful residue left on the rim; she still goes to the trouble of putting make-up on in the morning. He watches as she snaps at Sawyer, as she returns Hurley's greeting, as she goes to Claire when the Australian looks dizzy. He watches as she grows frustrated, at herself, at the entire French-speaking world.

And he watches as he snaps at her and she crumbles, as she walks away.

She is eating, too-dry fish at dusk, and she almost chokes on a too-big piece of fruit. By the time he is at her side, she's cleared it, spit it out onto the sand, with Boone walking away, yelling at her, "Maid's off today, so you had better clean up your own mess."

He waits for her to say something to him, but she focuses on her fish, picking out little pieces, eating like a bird.

"I did not mean," he begins, "to upset you, earlier this evening."

She shrugs, puts her bowl of fish down in her lap. "Whatever."

He waits, watches, until she sighs heavily and turns towards him.

"Something else you want? A copy of Les Miserables wash up somewhere, and you're just dying to know what happens to the little bread thief?"

"I've read it already, albeit not in the original French, obviously."

"Then I don't understand why you're sitting here."

"I'm sitting here because I feel that I injured your feelings earlier, when I had not intended to."

He can see tears welling up in her eyes again. She sniffles, screws up her mouth, glances away a half a dozen times before speaking again.

"The thing is, I told you that I couldn't do it. I told you my French sucked. I didn't even want to try, but you ... you insisted, in that reassuring voice of yours, and then when it was just like I said, when I wasn't good enough, you got mad at me."

"I wasn't mad with you - "

"Right, whatever. It's like everything else on this damn island. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a soldier. I'm a ballerina who can't even carry on a conversation with a French 6-year-old. I'm not going to be good at anything, so there's no point in trying." He starts to speak again, but she waves him off. "I'm already stuck with Boone here telling how worthless I am. If I want to listen to the 24-hour Shannon is a Useless Piece of Shit Channel, I call my stepmom."

"Shannon - "

"Just go, okay. Go."

He spots a gin bottle from the airplane mini-bar in the sand next to her, decides that further conversation would be pointless. When she comes to him later, instead of alcohol on her breath, there's an empty look in her eyes. He knows, without trying, that any professions of her self-worth will be rebuffed and ignored, so he simply listens as she sings.