Title: Thinking

Author: Girl Who Writes

Characters: Jack, Kate

Rating: PG (very minor bad language)

Summary: He doesn't let his thoughts get this messy often, and it's almost a relief. Don't think about Kate. Don't think about Kate. Don't think about Kate.

Notes: Once again cutting the deadline for lostfichallenge at very fine. My first attempt at a male-POV. Jack's turn. I should just work my way through the entire cast. Anyway, this is kind of offbeat but what this week's lyric-quote inspired. I think I used the quote oddly but it fits.

Is it true that you like to sleep alone, or is that what you just tell everyone?

He knows he has to be strong for the group; he knows he has to focus on keeping the survivors healthy, keeping them relatively happy and safe. He is the doctor on the island. The second he added 'doctor' to his name, he knew he had to do this.

He'd grown used to people hearing the name "Dr. Shepard" and having them spill their life stories to them. He'd discovered there was something about doctors that made people want them to know everything, want them to fix every single fuck up in their lives. And while sometimes it made it easier to 'fix' them when he knew everything, sometimes he hated his patients with a rage and frustration that made him wonder why he still bothers with people.

He knows why he bothers with her.

That thought slips through the rest of his well-organized consciousness and he allows himself a small smile at that.

Since he can remember, he always surrounded himself with people who mattered. People with money and polish and diplomas and careers. He doesn't know if it's because of his parents, or his education or his work or what precisely. Maybe he's a snob and he never really paid enough attention to his own actions – outside of patient treatment – before.

Like Sarah. Kate's different to Sarah in every single way that matters. Kate's a brunette, Sarah was a blonde. Is a blonde – she's not dead. He sits down on a rock and examines what's left of their paltry medical supplies while he thinks. He doesn't let his thoughts get this messy often, and it's almost a relief.

Ever since he was a boy, he had his own personal mantra – almost like a theme song. Don't annoy Dad. Don't annoy Dad. And then he got married. And divorced. And it became, "Don't think about Sarah. Don't think about Sarah."

And now, he doesn't think about Sarah. Or his father – much. He's got other rhythms beating through his head.

Where was he? Oh yeah, he was thinking about Kate and Sarah and how different they were.

Sarah had been blonde for most of their marriage. Kate was a brunette.

He'd already covered this.

He cursed himself for the ridiculousness of his thoughts and managed to knock over the peroxide which he cursed at again until Kate looked at him with a questioning look.

Kate cared. Sarah never did.

He chastised his thoughts for being so unfair. Sarah didn't not care; she just liked to be the priority. And being a doctor made that hard for him – he didn't have the time for his patients and their life stories, and a wife who wanted to be at the top of his "to do" list every moment of the day.

Kate liked to slip under the radar. Maybe it was because she was a criminal (that thought made his mind hurt) or maybe it was because she…

Kate was amazing. Kate was amazing.

If she hadn't still been watching him, he might've cursed himself for that thought. Sarah had been safe, normal and trustworthy. Kate was a criminal of what he could only perceive of violent means from what the Marshall had told him, had done nothing but lie to him since they'd crashed on the god forsaken island and spent her days running circles around both him and Sawyer. He'd thought she'd had Sayid in her toils for awhile, but the Iraqi seemed to have untangled himself quicker than he and Sawyer had.

He wasn't sure he wanted to be untangled.

He stood up then, and pushed everything to the dark recess of his mind where some semblance of angst still resided; just enough to torment him.

Kate was beside him in a second, wearing that smile he – in his weaker moments – liked to pretend she wore for him. "I'm going to check on Sun's garden. What to help me plant the guava seeds?"

Her smile is more genuine than Sarah's ever was, but he might've just decided that with her so close.

And even when he agrees and they trek off into the jungle, he cannot imagine Kate as anything but a loner. She didn't need anyone dragging her down. She was fine the way she was. Better than fine.

Don't think about Kate. Don't think about Kate. Don't think about Kate.

And she's talking to him, but before he answers, he realises he realises that if Kate was ever his patient (and he sure as hell hope she never will be), she wouldn't tell him anything. And he kind of likes that.