Author: Jade Eclipse PM
In order to win a war, you need someone tricky, someone to plan. Someone like a con artist, maybe? AU is inevitable.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sawyer & Sayid - Words: 1,708 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Published: 05-17-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2944314
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary: In order to win a war, you need someone tricky, someone to plan. Someone like a con artist, maybe? AU is inevitable.
Disclaimer: I own neither Lost nor Richard Adam's Watership Down (a tremendous book, by the way, totally something Sawyer would like. The title of this story is derived from it, but I honestly don't know what it has to do with the story itself). You don't need to have read it to understand this. Just know that El-ahrairah is the very clever one that all the bunny legends are about.
Author's Very Brief Note: Couldn't resist.
By the way, it's vague so I clarify: Sawyer's 'Good morning' comment comes from Confidence Man in season one.
Sawyer is out of character… waaaaay out of character. He would never do the things he does here. Just pretend he has a really bad headache and isn't feeling up to snuff. Because he's hard to write when he's snarky. I tend to portray his angst-y side. Anyway, this is mostly a practice in dialogue, so I went lax on the description… I'm not too pleased with this, but oh well. It's something. Forgive me for it; I have three major papers due and I'm sick, hence… badness. It is a silly, stupid story, and I expose it to the critical eyes of readers who will go 'Tsk, tsk, Jade Eclipse, Sawyer's out of character and you should know better than write when you're sick'. And I'll have no choice but to agree.
I realize I'm posting this on the day an episode airs. With less than five minutes to spare (Oh, yeah, I live dangerous). And that it will be AUed by said episode. And that it's impossible to get reviews this way. Sigh.
Details: No pairings. Main characters are Sayid (vanishing, vanishing, vanishing! I rather miss him) and Sawyer.
War with the Others was a daunting enough idea. Despite what Michael said, the prospect was enough to terrify. After all, they knew that the Others had guns; knew that they were resourceful and territorial. Jack was still determined to do something, especially since Henry Gale (or whatever his name really was) had led his rampage in the hatch and butchered two people. An attack like that would not stand without retaliation, but the very thought was intimidating. And, on top of all that, there was the single truth Jack was trying not to admit to himself- he would need more help than he could get from his circle of island allies.
He knew the benefits and skills of each person willing to help. He knew his warriors and trackers and diplomats. They had everything they needed on this island to have a full-fledged war, including the guns that Kate could now lead them to. But what he needed was a mastermind, and he unfortunately knew exactly where to find one.
He knew that approaching Sawyer himself would spark defiance in the southerner. So Jack had asked Kate to go approach the island's resident outcast, as much as he hated it, but she had refused to be a part of the war. Sayid had overheard and volunteered to do the job. Jack had been reluctant to agree, since Sawyer liked Sayid about as much as he liked Jack, but no one else stood a much better chance. So it was Sayid who approached Sawyer's blue canvas tent as the setting sun painted the sky orange, his expression already smooth, humorless, businesslike.
Sawyer was found reclining in one of the airline seats. He was reading some tiny book, squinting at it without the aid of his glasses. He looked up at the sound of footsteps on the sand and plastered on his most maddening grin, posture forcibly nonchalant. "Good mornin' to you too, Muhammad. What can I do you for? You ain't here to shove things under my fingernails again, are you? 'Cause no one on this island offers a good manicure these days." He regarded his hands critically.
"What are you reading?" Sayid asked, keeping his voice conversationally light. Sawyer gave him a suspicious glare and then displayed the front cover. Sayid nodded without reading the title. "Did you read this often before the crash?"
Sawyer's eyes flashed angrily in his direction again. The southerner knew that Sayid was in no way here to discuss reading materials, and the unspoken subject was annoying him. "It whittles away the time," he replied. "Better than running around the Jungle of Mystery gettin' shot at by things."
Sayid wondered if that were an insult regarding Shannon or if it really were just some offhand comment that Sawyer hadn't thoroughly thought over. He believed it was the latter; even Sawyer wasn't so cruel. "And what is your favorite book?"
Sawyer's exasperation got the better of him. Tossing down his novel, he snapped, "What the fuck do you want, Aladdin?"
Sayid hardly missed a beat. They were finished with the nonsense. "I want to enlist your help against the Others."
Sawyer snorted and glanced away from Sayid's steady stare, off down the beach to the place where the signal fire used to burn. "Why would I want to help you?"
"Because there is going to be a war. There is going to be a war and our side will need your help if we want to win. After your trick stealing the guns, Jack decided that you would be necessary for victory, and-"
"Hold up now. The doc sent you?"
Sayid folded his arms and answered carefully. "I volunteered."
"Oh, now wasn't that noble of you. Look, I don't wanna help the good doctor with anything short of writin' his suicide letter, so go off and have your happy little war somewhere else. I'm not involved. I'm not about to put my life on the line for a crowd of people who don't give a damn about if I live or die. I'm not a hero."
"I am aware of that, yes," Sayid agreed with his unflappable calm. "If you were a hero, I would not have to ask you. But you need to know that if Jack starts a war with the Others, there will be an incredible toll. People on this island will die."
"But not me," Sawyer pointed out jauntily. "I'll be safe and sound during your damn war."
"This is an island; there would be no 'safe.' As little security as we know in this place, it would all be gone. The war will stretch from all shores. No one will be able to stay out of it. I would suggest you help from the beginning so there will be less of a cost."
Sawyer looked up at him appraisingly. "D'you even agree with Doc's heroic mission? 'Cause you didn't strike me as the martyr sort."
Sayid shifted his weight to the other foot. Sawyer was being characteristically uncooperative, and he needed to phrase the answer to that question well. "It does not matter if I agree or not," he said. "To the best of my knowledge, Jack has never been at war. I have been. If there is to be a conflict in this place, I prefer we win it. You seem to have come into that equation. Jack has decided, in spite of his dislike for you, that you could help. If he's right, then it could end this faster and it doesn't matter my opinion."
There was a long, pensive silence as Sawyer seemed to consider this, his head tilted at a thoughtful angle. Then he suddenly grinned lazily and decided, "Watership Down."
"My favorite book. They're all pretty smart, for rodents. If you just ignore the fancy metaphors, it's good." They basically had the same careers, after all. Except the characters in the novel seemed to con for the sake of survival and noble intents, whereas he did it for money. "Liked that manuscript, too, till the doc decided to light it up. Hey, when did he become Stalin of the Island, anyhow? I always thought he was just a prick, not some sort of Mussolini clone."
"Will you help or not, Sawyer?"
"Well, now, I still can't figure what's in it for me. Jackass wins his war, runs a few victory laps around the island on a white horse, and I go back to being the Island's Most Hated, except with fewer guns. And so, yeah, people are gonna die. Not. My. Problem."
Sayid felt an instant resentment towards the southerner, and made no attempt to keep the coldness from his voice when he said, "Do you really think everyone is fooled? You are not as indifferent as you try to appear. Now, will you help, or would you rather stay hiding in your tent?"
"Well… I am running out of books," he said. "But heck, it's only war. You don't need my help."
"Who would you have fight? Sun? Claire? Rose or Bernard? These people are not soldiers, Sawyer. We cannot afford battle. If you want to be responsible for the deaths of these people, then fine. But we need to win this through strategy, through being subtle instead of direct. Our approach often involves guns, but we will need a plan if we want to ultimately win. I will not try to force you into this, but you ought to consider that."
Sawyer made a face and spat, "Ah, hell. Fine. I'll play El-ahrairah. But don't expect me join Jack-o-lantern's fan club like the rest of you brainwashed idiots."
Sayid had to grin at that. "I wouldn't expect you to," he said.
Not every one followed Jack, after all, no matter what Sawyer had come to believe. Sayid personally believed that war on an island was nothing short of folly, but maybe there would be less of a toll like this. Maybe, there would be a chance at peace in the middle of nowhere.