Title: Penance
Author: Girl Who Writes
Rating: PG
Characters: Kate, Jack
Summary: Of course, Tom was your friend, and you still remember the blood – all that blood. Maybe it is better if everyone on the island watches you carefully
Notes: Written for Lost Fic Challenge on livejournal. Had to include the quote, "There's no such thing as miracles." I hope you like it, and reviews are very much appreciated.


"There's no such thing as miracles."

Your mother used to take you to church. Tom never had to go, his mother didn't believe (and everyone used to talk about her). You used to have to wear a dress and shoes that pinched, and you used to have to sit still. You can remember which one of those was worse.

Claire's unwilling to let you hold Aaron now; she's unwilling to let anyone but Charlie come close to Aaron, but it stings especially when she looks at you uncomfortably and holds Aaron tighter. You want to sit down in the sand next to her and explain you'll never get the chance again. You want to take Claire's son in your arms and close your eyes and pretend that your life is like Claire's – the things marring it always work themselves out.

But she makes up an excuse and gets up, gaze firmly on Charlie.

'You helped deliver Aaron, you should be able to hold him,' you think childishly. You feel ashamed of yourself – you're a common criminal, why should you hold the baby? Why should you have the right to ask?

You thought Claire was your friend.

Of course, Tom was your friend, and you still remember the blood – all that blood. Maybe it is better if everyone on the island watches you carefully; and you contemplate whether or not you should see if Sawyer still has the Marshall's handcuffs. You're positive everyone will feel safer. Maybe even you.

Then you remember Sawyer's the one who shouted your secrets from the rooftops and you curse him.

And then you remember Sawyer's on the raft and you miss him.

You don't ask for anything after that. You pick up your backpack and move down the beach a little. Not far enough away for people to talk, but far enough away that you'll be left alone. Eyes talk more than mouths here.

You don't do much for three days. You have some overripe fruit in your bag that you eat without tasking, and a bottle of water that you unconsciously ration because you cannot summon the energy to go for more.

You sit on the sand and get lost in the sky for hours but the whispers still reach you. Whether they are from the others, watching you strangely, or from the jungle and you're getting sick, you don't know. You fade out and sit around in the sun.

Jack comes looking for you on day four and he sits down beside you, knocking into you a little.

"Hey, Kate."

You don't flinch.

You remember those days at Church better now. You remember words better than anything – "Eternal Damnation", "Penance", "Miracles." You wonder which this island comes under.

"Are you okay?" Jack's voice is patient and you don't feel an inclination to answer just yet.

You thought for a second that maybe this island was a miracle, saving you from years of imprisonment. You crash landed on an island with polar bears and thought that was fate's way of saving you.

This is your penance. You're incarcerated on an island with people who suspect you, people who fear you and people who distrust you.

Jack hands you another water bottle and stands. "It'll pass in a few days," he reminds you. "Gossip keeps some of these people going and, you've gotta admit it's high class gossip."

"It's not that," you reply, looking up at Jack, the sun obscured by him.

"What is it then, Kate?"

"Just waiting to be rescued," you refocus back on the water. "Raft's been gone awhile."

Jack's follows your gaze. "I trust them. They'll be back eventually," he says calmly. "Hurley's organized some big bonfire tonight – him and Charlie have been catching fish all day. People will be fine once you join the group again."

You offer him a small smile but no reply and he treks back to the caves to continue his bid for sainthood. You drink from the fresh water bottle he brought you. And you tell yourself you'll go to Hurley's bonfire because your last mango is overripe and not because he asked.

And as you approach, you see people whispering and move away from you as you grab some fruit. You smile at Claire and she smiles back but tightens her grip on Aaron. You see Jack talking quietly with Sun and put your fruit in your backpack.

This was supposed to be your miracle. They were meant to smile and act normally, not move away from you; not protect their children from your presence.

Your walk up to Jack and for a second you want to start crying, and have him make everything better for you, for a change. But you hold your head up, frowning. Sun genuinely smiles at you and maybe that softens the blow a little.

Jack looks at you, and looks at the people staring at you and grimaces.

"There's no such thing as miracles, Jack," you say quietly. And you retreat back to your shelter, your own self made hell, and let the others talk about you. Because you're tired of running to where the whispers don't reach.