He promised her it didn't matter.
He told her all those days ago that it didn't matter, when she was ready to come out about what she had done. He said they all died, and it didn't matter.
It mattered now.
It mattered because he felt betrayed. He felt lied to. It was all about him. Never mind that she had burst into tears when he demanded answers, never mind that he left her crying there, alone. It wasn't about her. She was the criminal, and she had lied. She would always be the bad guy in Jack's eyes.
Now people were beginning to look. She could feel the Korean lady's eyes boring into her from behind. Kate was grateful she didn't understand any of what had just happened. But now more people were coming. She didn't need them to see her like that. She was Kate, strong and beautiful Kate, and she liked their perception of her to stay that way.
Clutching the toy plane tightly in her hand, she stumbled out of the caves and into the jungle.
No one knew where the waterfall was. Only her and Sawyer, but she figured he was helping the others move the fuselage up the beach. She just needed to get away from the caves, from everyone else. From Jack.
The water was warm. As she perched on a rock next to the waters edge, staring at her muddled reflection, she wondered how easy it would be just to plunge under the water and not come up.
Maybe then Jack would realize what he did. Tore her heart apart. How could she ever think he was the guy for her? Mr. Right. The one who could change her, be her salvation. No, he was just like the rest. His cold, accusing glare was that of the Marshal's. He could never understand her. Never.
Oh, help, she was crying again. Her tears dripped from her eyes and into the pool below. They made little ripples, and soon, her reflection wasn't visible anymore. She hadn't realized that the sky was crying with her. The pool became a boiling pot stung with raindrops.
Kate couldn't bring herself to move. Her clothes were soaked and it was freezing, but still she continued to sob, her wail drowned out by the pounding rain. It was better like this.
"Kate!" she didn't hear him at first. Someone was calling her name, "Kate!" She didn't move. She didn't care. If it was Jack, who had followed her after the ordeal, it was best if he didn't find her. She didn't want his hero act. She didn't want him to be her hero.
"Dammit, girl, what are you doing out here?" Kate looked up to find Sawyer standing beside her. She swallowed back a half-sob,
"Go away Sawyer," she told him dully.
"You kidding me? I just ran all the way out here lookin' for you. No way I'm goin' back without you!"
"Yeah, well I'm not in the mood to go back with you," she told him quietly, her throat was sore from crying, "So just leave me here."
"Nu-uh," he said stubbornly, "It's raining, Freckles, everyone's worried about ya."
He just stared at her for a moment. She was looking away from him, so he couldn't see the quiver in her lips, or the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes.
"What are you doing out here all alone anyways?" he asked as he sat down beside her, "You and St. Jack opened the case, figured you'd be back at cave town celebrating."
"I don't feel like celebrating.
By now the rain had stopped. The castaways had since gotten used to the sudden on and off tropical downpours. The sky would open at one moment with impending doom, and then the cascading sheets of rain would stop like someone had cut the tap.
"You look like hell, dontcha," Sawyer noticed. It was true. Her clothes clung to her in all the wrong places, and her hair fell in matted strings around her face. "Who got your panties in a bunch?"
Kate didn't answer him. Didn't even look up, "Whatcha got there?" he reached for the hand that was clutching the plane. Kate tried to pull away, "Easy, sweetheart, I just wanna look." He uncurled her fingers from the toy. There were little splotches of blood from where the plastic had pressed into her skin, "This yours?" she nodded. Tears welled up in her eyes again, "What is it?"
She shook her head, sending teardrops into the water below, "You wouldn't understand."
Sawyer was fast getting tired of these neutral replies. He just wanted to know what had happened, why she was crying.
"And Jack did?" he prodded, moving closer to her, "St. Jack must've been so happy when you told him your se—"
"Shut up," she hissed through clenched teeth, "It's none of your business."
"Well hell Freckles, I gave you the stupid case," he said loudly, tugging on her arm, forcing her to look at him, "If it's Jack's business, why can't it be mine too?"
Kate couldn't answer that. She knew what she wanted to say.'Because Jack is a better man than you'll ever be,'
But after all that had happened that day, she wasn't so sure anymore.
"I heard you two," Sawyer confessed, his voice surprisingly soft, "heard him yelling at you," his blue eyes were warm, flickering with concern, and a flash of anger, "If anyone could understand, it's me, Kate. We're more alike than you think."
Kate nodded slowly. He knew her better than Jack. Knew what made her tick, knew her limits. If he was Jack, he wouldn't have left her alone, "Stop crying, okay? C'mere," Placing the toy plane gently on the ground beside them, he reached over to take her other hand, pulling her into his lap. At the moment, Kate couldn't care less. What little world she had created on the island had come crashing down around her and right now, she just needed to feel safe and protected. Sawyer could do that for her. He wrapped his strong arms around her and she sobbed into his chest.
"It's okay,' he whispered into her hair, "It won't let him hurt you again."
At one time, Kate had imagined Jack telling her that. Come to think of it, she had dreamed of this situation with Jack. When they were rescued, and the Marshall tried to take her back to the states, he would hold her tight and tell her everything was going to be okay, she was free now, with him. But the Marshall was dead, and Jack was far from being her hero.
Hearing those words come from Sawyer, she felt a warm sense of relief wash over her, much stronger than anything she could dream up. Her tears stopped and she dried her eyes.
"Anything you wanna tell me Freckles?" she looked up at him and shook her head, no. He nodded, "Alright." Dropped a quick kiss on her tear stained cheek. She smiled and nuzzled her nose into his shoulder. He smelled of cigarettes and rainwater.
Sawyer was right. This was something she would not too readily admit. He did understand.
Sawyer could be her hero any day.