"#5 The first time I heard myself on the radio. #4 Dad teaching me to swim at Butlins. #3 The Christmas Liam gave me the ring. #2 Woman outside Covent Garden calls me a hero. #1 The night I met you." - Charlie Pace's greatest hits
Charlie Pace and Claire Littleton were characters on the tv show Lost. Both were survivors of the Oceanic 815 plane crash, and though they didn't know each other before the flight, they formed a special bond very quickly that grew deeper throughout the first few seasons of the show. Charlie boarded the plane a floundering has-been British rock star/drug addict, and Claire a soon to be single mother on her way to give up her baby for adoption. Their lives couldn't have been more different, and had the plane never crashed, they would have never found one another.
Charlie and Claire's relationship went through many ups and downs, but the one constant was that Charlie would do anything to protect Claire, and later her son Aaron. He felt a responsibility towards them almost immediately, and taking care of them gave him a purpose and a reason to clean up his act. Their relationship was a welcome reprieve from love triangle drama, and they were generally a constant on the show amidst all of the plot twists and turns. There were some rough patches, such as when Charlie was sent into a dark spiral when Claire was kidnapped by the Others, and then again when she found out that he had a secret stash of drugs and threw him out of her life, but they were always able to reconcile. However, while I always imagined Charlie and Claire staying together forever in a sort of fairytale happily ever after, that did not end up happening in the show. Throughout the third season, Desmond was having flashes of Charlie's demise and saved him from death many times. However, when one of his flashes showed Claire and Aaron getting rescued, Charlie decided to finally accept his fate. He cared more about Claire and Aaron than about his own life and was willing to sacrifice himself if it meant that they would get off the island. He said his final goodbyes to his little family and left his ring (a family heirloom to be passed on to his children) for Aaron, knowing that he wouldn't come back from his mission alive. Charlie proved himself one of the show's greatest heroes in the end, and I don't think that Claire would ever forget him, even if her grieving in canon was quite short-lived.
Once Charlie died, my interest in the show began to wane, as he was my favorite character, but I did stick it out until the end. While I abhorred the flash-sideways construct of the last season as well as the fact that the ending was built all around Jack's perfect version of heaven, I will admit that seeing Charlie and Claire reunite in the end made me very emotional. If nothing else, Charlie and Claire got a happy ending in Jack's dying mind, which is better than what they got in real life. At least Claire was able to get off of the island and could raise Aaron herself, so Charlie's sacrifice wasn't completely in vain, and I would hope that she would tell her son stories about the man that should have been his father in order to keep his memory alive.
1x05: White Rabbit
Claire: "Thanks Charlie."
Charlie: "For what?"
Claire: "People don't seem to look me in the eye here, I think I scare them. The baby, it's like I'm this time bomb of responsibility just waiting to go off."
Charlie: "You don't scare me."
Kate: "You okay?"
Charlie: "Yeah... I mean I barely knew her - barely know her - Claire. She's been missing over a week and every day she's gone it feels like bits of me are crumbling."
Claire: [reading her diary] "Today I realized I really like Charlie. There's something about him that's just so adorable and sweet. Even in a scary place like this, Charlie makes me feel safe..."
Claire: "I remember peanut butter. Why do I remember peanut butter?"
Charlie: "It was imaginary peanut butter, actually."
Claire: "I don't know what happened to me. I'm scared. I want to trust you."
3x12: Par Avion
Claire: "What's gotten into you Charlie?"
Charlie: "I'm sorry?"
Claire: "It's just you've been so depressed all week, and now it's breakfast in bed and picnics?" Charlie: "Well I woke up this morning, and I thought it's time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and seize the day and... I can't think of anyone I would rather do some day seizing with than you. So, what do you say? Let's drop the cherub off with Auntie Sun and Uncle Jin, and you and I go for a little stroll." Claire: [placing her hand on his arm] "I would love to!"
Charlie: "Well I woke up this morning, and I thought it's time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and seize the day and... I can't think of anyone I would rather do some day seizing with than you. So, what do you say? Let's drop the cherub off with Auntie Sun and Uncle Jin, and you and I go for a little stroll."
Claire: [placing her hand on his arm] "I would love to!"
Claire: "You know, I'm not giving up on you either Charlie. It's gonna be okay. You're gonna be okay. We'll get through this together."