Author's Note: sorry for the inexcusably long time that it took me to update! I'm so sorry, and I hope that this chapter makes up for the long "pause" in my updates at least a little bit!

He kissed her slowly and gently, and at first Kate was surprised by his sudden action, but in an instant she relaxed and kissed him back, tentatively and then with increasing fervor. She didn't want this connection, which had started as nothing more than a whisper in her soul, to end, and she felt like she could let herself be kissed by Sayid forever. She locked her hands behind his strong neck, her fingers slipping into his curly mat of hair. Even as she was intensely aware of his kisses, which were growing in intensity, Kate buried her hands into his hair, realizing that she had longed to do this since the ill-fated day they met.

Sayid pulled away from her slowly, and Kate was left breathless, staring helplessly into dark brown eyes that were so close to her own. In that moment, his face so open and readable, she knew that he had kissed her because he wanted to ease her pain, not to satisfy a lustful need. Kate had been kissed many times, but never like this. Never so gently, with such restraint, but so openly at the same time. She felt her lips turn up in a wry smile at the direction her thoughts were taking.

Seeing the plaintive, and slightly confused look on Sayid's suddenly tender-looking face, Kate drew herself closer to him, wrapping her arms around his neck and allowing her face to rest against his shoulder. She heard him let out a nervous breath of air, making her smile. His arms wrapped tightly around her, and Kate allowed herself to relax into his arms.

Oddly, Kate didn't feel the slightest urge to speak; to ask Sayid what he was thinking as he held her. Because she knew. She knew that he kissed her out of longing, desire, and need for a strengthening of the connection between them, and she knew that he held on to her now still desperately afraid that something stronger than the forces of nature would tear them apart. Sayid moved slightly against her, to kiss her forehead, and she shuddered, but gradually relaxed again as his thumb stroked her shoulder, and she was able to close her eyes, just for a moment.

It may have been for only a few minutes, or it may have been for hours, but upon waking Kate realized that she was not cold, or alone, and her next realization was that it was a thought she had not had for years. When was the last time she woke up feeling safe? She couldn't even remember. She turned her head and saw that she was lying curled next to Sayid, her head on his shoulder, his arms wrapped around her. It meant nothing, the fact that he was willing to hold her, as too many had. But the fact that he was not blind to who she was and what she had done, just by looking at her.

"Sayid?" she whispered, and he turned to face her. He had already been awake; had he even slept?

He looked at her without speaking, the expression on his face open and questioning. She saw him visibly breath in sharper as he looked at her, and she smiled slightly.

As if he knew what she was feeling, knew what she needed and wanted, he brought his lips to hers and kissed her softly. He brought her closer to him, his hand rubbing her back slowly and gently. His hands did not wander, and she could sense no lust in his kisses. Somehow, he knew what she was feeling, and knew what she wanted. And though they were trapped on a godforsaken deserted island, with unseen dangers that became more and more apparent every day, here was someone she could hold on to, who did not want anything from her other than a gentle reassurance.