It was barely 7.30 am, but already seemed like mid-morning. The sun was bright, clear of the horizon, and surprisingly hot for the time of day, as was usually the case on tropical islands.
Sawyer was glad he'd told no one about the lagoon he and Kate had found. On a day like this (which was practically every day on this Godforsaken spit of land) it would be teeming with every single one of the 40-something survivors of the ill-fated Oceanic Flight 815. No privacy. No seclusion. No relaxation.
It would be about as tranquil as a public pool. A public pool on the weekend in the middle of summer. The sort that little kids pee in.
Yeah. Not cool.
In any case, he hadn't. It would be just him and the lagoon. Even the tramp through the mosquito-ridden jungle would be worth it once he saw the sparkling blue lake and felt the cool water on his aching back.
He swatted a bug out of his face. Shouldn't be much further now.
In no more than a few minutes, the sound of running water could be heard.
It was all he could do to maintain the rest of his dignity and resist the temptation to run the rest of the way, like a little kid running down to the seaside, with floater bands on his arms and a sailor hat on his head.
A rare smile forced its way onto Sawyer's face as the cool blue lake came into view. And the water was pure. As in no salt. As in not sea water. As in the best damn thing he had seen all week.
He stripped off his shirt as quickly as if he were diving into a hotel bed rather than a lagoon, and took a running jump into the refreshing water. It felt so good!
He surfaced and shook the drops out of his hair, so that some strands lay stuck to his forehead. Either he didn't notice or he didn't care.
He turned around and floated on his back, staring up at the cloudless blue sky, and thinking about the poor bastards back on the beach, suffering through the blistering island heat.
Sayid had once said that the island was very close to the equator, that's why it was so hot.
Sawyer smirked as he thought of everyone else practically melting on the beach, while he lay here in the cool, blue, island paradise. The caves wouldn't exactly be sub-zero either.
"I guess we both had the same idea for cooling off."
The voice startled him, and he spluttered, some water going up his nose. It was uncomfortable, but he chose to ignore it or rather, hide it. He needed the rest of his dignity. His dignity was all he had.
He righted himself quickly back into his floating position, and attempted at a nonchalant glance in the direction of the speaker, as if he hadn't heard them at first.
"Jesus, Freckles, can't a man get a little privacy?" He said, combining just enough charm and sarcasm so that he didn't sound angry, nor overly happy that she had turned up.
"Did I scare you?" Kate asked, allowing the amusement to leak into her voice, knowing how much this insinuation would irritate Sawyer.
In reply to this, Sawyer merely sent her a sly sideways glance as if to say 'Oh, don't you wish?'
Kate stood by the waters' edge for a few more seconds before losing her patience and beginning to undress.
Sawyer would have protested, in order top keep up appearances, but he was enjoying the sight far too much to worry about such little things.
Sawyer must have had a lingering expression of annoyance on his face, because Kate paused before entering the water.
"C'mon," She said. "It's a big lake."
"Be my guest." Sawyer replied after a second to collect himself, being sure to add, as always, a hint of sarcasm. "So long as you don't mind swimming in a lagoon full of corpses."
Just for a moment, Kate hesitated. She had forgotten about the bodies they had found, it appeared. But the morning was so hot, and the water was so inviting, that piranhas wouldn't have kept her out, and within seconds, she was swimming out to the middle of the lagoon.
"I may have underestimated you, Freckles." Sawyer said, although not in the least bit surprised that he had not warded her off. "There ain't many girls I know who would jump into a lake with dead folks floating around."
"I'm a complex girl, sweetheart." Kate quipped, while innocently swimming past Sawyer over to the waterfall behind him, basking in the image of Sawyer's face, screwed up in an expression of incredulous irritation.
Although Sawyers exterior reaction had been one of frustration when Kate had shown up, in truth, there was no one he would rather have shared the lagoon and beautiful morning with.
Neither of them had a towel to dry off with, and didn't dare returning to camp with wet hair and clothes. People would ask where they had been, and in the end, they'd have to tell them. The kiddy-pool scenario was rearing its ugly head.
But Sawyer had no complaints. He had never been opposed to lying in the warm morning sun next to a beautiful, half-naked woman after a refreshing swim in a gorgeous blue lagoon.
But it was over all too soon, as the sun was still just as hot, if not hotter, and they seemed to dry out in minutes.
Sawyer looked back at the sparking blue lake, wondering if he should jump back in, pulling Kate with him, so they would have to dry out again before going back to camp, but quickly dismissed the idea.
The change of temperature when stepping out of the clearing and back into the jungle was noticeable, probably because they had been lying in the sun for a while. It wasn't cold, just cooler. And humid. And sticky.
Yep, this was the life.
Jack breathed a huge, if slightly theatrical, sigh of relief when he spotted Kate finally emerge from the jungle and onto the beach.
"Kate?" He started across the sand to her, trying not to look too mad, but enough to get his message across. "Where have you been? I asked everyone from the caves, but no one saw you leave this morning."
"I got up early." Kate replied simply, more than a little annoyed rather than touched by Jack's concern.
Jack frowned for a second or two, debating something with himself, before speaking.
"Well, you're back now. C'mon, we're stacking the rest of the new firewood."
Kate hid her irritation and slowly and reluctantly followed Jack down to the beach.
Charlie sang quietly to himself as he helped prepare that day's breakfast.
They we're having coconut. On an island. That was about as original as peanut butter and jelly.
Locke had taught him how to crack the coconuts just right so he didn't lose any of the milk, but he hadn't really caught on.
He hoped no one liked coconut milk, anyway. He sure didn't.
"…I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts… all standing in a row… big ones, small -"
His song was cut off by loud shouting coming from a little way down the beach.
Charlie stopped cracking the coconuts and squinted in the direction of the noise.
A medium-sized crowd was gathered, all facing inwards, and all shouting encouragements to whatever they were grouped around. Perhaps someone had finally pulled a gun on Sawyer.
At this thought, Charlie decided this was something he definitely couldn't miss.
His hopes and enthusiasm faded quickly, as once he got a bit closer, he saw anticipated victim standing at the back of the crowd, cheering along with everyone else.
He jogged the last few meters just as the shouting was beginning to die down, squeezing into the mass beside Shannon.
"What's all this?" he asked. Either she ignored him or she didn't hear him.
He pushed forward a bit more so the center of the crowd came into view.
The people on the inner of the group made a sort of race-track, short and rectangular, lined with pebbles and small shells. On the track were some large, exotic-looking crabs, which appeared to be racing one another to the finish line (two sticks wedged into the sand so they stood vertically, a long piece of seaweed strung between them to create the effect of a flag-banner.).
Shannon wasn't much of a conversationalist, so he fought his way along a few steps until he was standing next to Hurley, another one of the spectators.
"Crab-racing?" He asked inquisitively.
"That's right." His friend replied. "You never know what sort of crazy games you're gonna come up with until you're stranded on a deserted island."
"You made this up?" Charlie asked, receiving a nod from Hurley. He smiled, amused. Crab-racing seemed like something Hurley would find entertaining. "How do you get them to race?"
"They always walk in the direction of the ocean." He answered, never taking his eyes off the track. "Come on… come on… NO!"
A crab had just scuttled over the finish line, and it was clearly not Hurley's, judging by his anguished moan. A few of the spectators leaned in and picked up their crab, Hurley included.
His was one of the last, and continued to flail its legs in the air, as if still trying to make it under the seaweed banner.
Hurley held it up to eye level, and looked at it sternly.
"Dammit, Snappy, you let me down." He said to his crab, who snapped its claws at him a few times in protest, hence the name.
Charlie snickered to himself. He was not in the least bit surprised that Hurley had named his crab, and was willing to bet that he was the only one who had.
Remembering the winning crab, he turned to spot it scurrying down to the water's edge.
"Then whose is that...?" Charlie asked, gesturing to the runaway crab.
No sooner had he spoke, a hand reached out and snatched the crab off the ground.
"Gotcha, you little bastard." Sawyer said to the crab, retreating back to the crowd to collect his winnings. "Don't you dare try to give me the slip."
"Typical." Charlie muttered, spotting Sawyer holding the winning crab and grinning smugly.
"Pathetic excuse for a molluk." Shannon frowned as she kicked some sand at her crab, which she had allowed to scuttle back down to the moist sand by the water.
"Mollusk." Sawyer corrected as he sauntered past back to his tent at the other end of the beach. "The correct word is mollusk."
Shannon glowered after Sawyer. That's what he did; he'd purposely get up your nose, irritate people for no particular reason apart from quenching his seemingly unceasing boredom. He was a jerk, a vagabond, a cheater who didn't care about what anyone thought about him.
That's what Shannon loved about him.