… and another cheap hotel,
two beds and a coffee machine
but there are groceries to buy
and she knows she has to go home.

Another ditch in the road you keep moving,
another stop sign: you keep moving on
and the years go by so fast,
wonder how I ever made it through.

Two Beds and a Coffee Machine, Savage Garden.

Two Beds and a Coffee Machine.

The gun was smoking on her hands, the sounds of the shot still clinging to the walls of the house. She watched horrified as he also looked down towards his chest, where a red spot kept spreading until her stepfather tumbled and fell down, his blood pooling around him in sort of a sick, bad joke.

She was sure she was going to wake up soon and it all would have been a nightmare, but then her mother screamed and she was still there, with the feeling of a gun on her hands.

- JAMES! JAMES!– dropping the gun, backing off against the wall, trying to find the door, the young girl saw her mother drop to her knees, holding him, smearing his blood all over her clothes.

She felt nauseous.

- Katharine! What did you do! What did you do! HELP! James, James, wake up!

Kate just ran away. She didn't stop until she was in a cheap hotel with to beds and a coffee machine, thanking the fact that her father had thought her how to survive if she ever needed it.

.-.-.

She remembers during her dreams. Waking up in the middle of the night, hearing steps coming over her door. She used to clutch her pillow and close her eyes really tight, hoping against hope that that would make everything go away.

She begged without voice. Please, she'd mouth. Please, just go. Continue.

Most of the times it didn't help. The door would still open without a sound. The footsteps would come closer. She'd feel the mattress weight down, and would feel his shaky hand caressing her hair, trying to get the covers down her body without waking her up.

He used to smell her. He'd get close to her neck and he'd just inhale and sigh softly, feeling her arms and watching her lithe body.

She never dared to open her eyes, for when he'd start moaning and the bed rocking.

He'd let a kiss over her cheek after that, and he'd let his eyes roam for another long second, before covering her and going away.

She lost track of the times she wept herself to sleep after that.

.-.-.

- May I help you, miss?

Slowly Kate turned, trying to stop biting through her lip so she could smile towards the old man.

- Hi, dad.

She had prepared for lots of possible scenarios, but none of them had been her father to drop his gardening tools to wrap his arms around her, hugging her tightly and fiercely, smearing her with dirt and God knew what other things but she didn't mind as for the first time in months she clinged to someone..

The man (she had his eyes) shook of his gloves, taking her face into his big, calloused hands, looking at her as if she could just disappear. She couldn't really blame him. She had been missing for five years now.

- My girl… - his soft tone changed to a half joking one. – Blond? I'm not sure that color suits you, sweetheart!

- It's better than red. – she assured, leaning into his touch. The man gave his daughter a soft kiss on her brow, but he was frowning in worry.

- You can't stay here. The police still comes around to ask about you.

- I… I know, I just wanted to know… if…

- He died. – he saw how Kate closed her eyes. He passed his hands over her bare arms, holding her face. – Honey, what happened?

- I must go, dad.

- But Kate… - he sighed again. – Of course. Do you need money? Where are you going?

- I'm not sure, dad. –

- Use nanny's name, when you want to get in touch with me.

- Joan Hart? – she half smiled, and he grinned.

- Beats Sarah Beth Lee any day of the week, you got to admit that.

.-.-.

- Kate…. Kate!

Her breathing is heavy. For a moment, she doesn't remember where she is and she wants to get away because there are hands over her.

- KATE!

It's not her stepfather's voice. She opens her eyes and there are brown eyes, dark eyes that smile at her for a moment. Two sighs and Jack gives her a small smile.

- It's me, Kate. Calm down. – he says softly, caressing her face. There are other hands on her arms and when she turns her head a little, it's Sawyer there, with a serious face.

- Is she gonna be okay, doc?

- It's just a fever. – mutters Jack, before going towards the plants and ointments that Sun is also preparing. - Keep her awake, Sawyer.

He sounds worried. Sawyer just mutters his agreement. He's passing his big hands down her arms, as if she was cold. Maybe she is. She snuggles against the warm lap, and for a moment tries to remember when was the last time she did that.

- Now, don't sleep sweetheart. - Sawyer shakes her softly and her eyelids flutter again. She's not sure she has ever heard him speak so softly. - Nightmares, Freckles?

His hands go towards her hair, tucking a strand against her ear. Jack comes close again, holding a cup. She takes a few awful sips of whatever it is, and then she's lying down again, Jack checking her pulse and Sawyers fingertips against her forehead.

She smiles a little bit.

- Yeah… you could say that.