Title: Black Halos

Characters: mostly Sawyer & Kate, with guest appearances by everyone, both from the island and from flashbacks.

Rating: PG-13, will go to R in a few places

Summary: "This, Sawyer, is why the Red Sox will never win the series. Some people were just meant to suffer. You and that girl of yours are two of them, but maybe your stronger together." A SK AU story.

Status: WIP

Author's Note: Before you start reading this, I should really set the stage for this story. First of all, this is an AU or 'what if' fic. It asks the question "What if some of the survivors met years before the plane crash? Which events would be different? Which wouldn't have happened at all? How would the characters deal with them?" This takes place about 5-6 years, to be more specific. As for ages, I'm using the actors ages as guides for my characters, with a few variations. For instance, Evangeline Lily is 26, so I'm assuming that's how old Kate is. Role that back 6 years, and she's about 20 in my story.

Another thing you may notice throughout the story, are lines from the show. It's sort of like a scavenger hunt. Different characters might use lines that they did in the real Lost show. The line doesn't even have to belong to that character. Jack might say something that Sawyer said originally, and so on. As a reader, have fun looking for those.

I should also mention that I'm in for the long haul with this fic. I haven't tried an epic before, but after writing for 5 years, Lost seems like a good genera to try it. If I ever get a writer's block, feel free to send ideas to get me going. I'm doing a lot of pre-writing for this fic, but I'll consider all suggestions. Last but not least, enjoy, and please review.

Black Halos

By: Silver Spider

Chapter 1

If asked, Sawyer would say that he could count the number of good people he knew in his life on one hand. His grandmother was a tough old southern lady, but she kept him in line for years after his parents' deaths. Not that it did much good in the end, but he was grateful for the effort. Then there was his uncle Bo, who, despite his own quirks, was always there to give obscure but oddly helpful advice. He was in the ground too, of course. Poor bastard died of a brain tumor years back. He never got to meet Sawyer. He died only remembering the young yet already troublesome teenager called James.

Well, that narrowed the list of good people down to one or two who were still in the land of the living. Sawyer winced, lightly running his fingers across the small stitches on his right temple. Ah yes, there was one good person. A bit starry-eyed and more than slightly idealistic, but a good man none the less. No matter how many scrapes Sawyer managed to get himself into, he could always count on him to patch him back up. Not without a few scolding words, mind you, but that was to be expected.

Sawyer raised the shot to his lips. His eyes scanned the bar for perhaps the fifth time that evening. It was relatively clean, or at least as clean as a bar can be in that part of town. At one point, it must have been a very pleasant restaurant, but the decades had caught up to it. At least it wasn't as bad as some of the places he'd found himself in over the last few years, but there was nothing really special about it. If it weren't for the replay of the last Red Sox game on the television in the corner, Sawyer wouldn't have known he was in Boston.

It was close to one in the morning, and the bartender was wiping down the counter, ready to close up shop for the night. Aside from Sawyer himself, there was only one person in the bar. In the far corner of the counter, he saw a young woman with long blond curls and a far away look that spoke volumes about her. Sawyer didn't see a purse anywhere, but there was a dark navy colored duffel back at her feet. She was dressed in simple blue jeans, and a white shirt under a faded old brown leather jacket. Her delicate fingers played with the napkin, and as he watched her from the corner of his eyes, Sawyer noticed two things: she was not a natural blond and she was too young to be drinking.

"Scotch on the rocks, please," he heard her ask the bartender.

"You got ID, young lady?" he didn't sound accusing, but was clearly uncertain about her age.

The woman reached for the back pocket of her jeans and quickly produced an ID without argument. The bartender took a quick look at it, then looked back at the woman as if comparing the picture to her face. Satisfied, the man handed the card back to her with a smile. Sawyer rolled his eyes. Even from his position several seats away, he could see that the ID was clearly fake, but if the bartender couldn't tell, who was Sawyer to argue? Besides, she looked like she needed that drink.

"I'm sorry, Miss Hart," the bartender apologized. "It's just a formality. What did you say you wanted?"

"Scotch on the rocks," she repeated, and the man went across the bar to retrieve the alcohol.

Suddenly the woman stiffened, her nostalgic gaze turning hard and serious. Sawyer watched as her back straightened, and she looked around the bar listening for something intently. Without waiting for her drink, the blond swiftly got up, grabbed her duffel bad, and headed to the ladies room to her right. A frown passed over Sawyer's brow, until he heard footsteps outside. The rusty hinges of the metal door squeaked as it was pushed aside, and a man entered.

There was nothing terribly extraordinary about him. He was just an average middle aged man with a slightly squared jaw and hair that was already starting to gray on the sides. By his attire, Sawyer guessed that he was probably some sort of law enforcer, and his suspicions were confirmed when the man flashed a silver badge to the bartender as he walked towards the table. Well that explained why it had only taken a glance to convince Sawyer he wasn't going to like this guy. Alright, Sawyer usually didn't like anyone, but there was something about this particular man that put him on edge.

Sawyer could tell that despite his appearance he was quite intelligent. His gray eyes scanned the bar with the determination of a blood hound hunting for its prey, which Sawyer guessed wasn't far from the truth. Still he looked uninterested, taking a small sip of his liquor. When he finally took his eyes off his shot and met the man's gaze, Sawyer saw the vaguest hint of suspicion. Smart dog, he smirked, recognizes a criminal when he sees one.

The man only acknowledged Sawyer with a nod in his direction, but the southerner didn't return the gesture. Instead he tipped back his drink, letting the entire content of the shot burn down his throat, and reached for his wallet.

" 'Bout time I headed home, Matty," he said to the bartender, throwing a twenty on the table. Sawyer was just about to leave, but then stopped and turning back, running a hand through his hair. "Listen, if Chris comes in, don't let him get too wasted, 'kay? Man's far too good for it."

"You should talk, Sawyer," the bartender laughed. "You drink almost as much as he does. You sayin' you're not good enough to stay sober?"

"I'm sayin' don't let him get wasted," Sawyer repeated, "I'll see you later, Matty."

Without another word, he brushed past the other man. The first thing that hit Sawyer as he stepped out into the alley way behind the bar was the strong smell of garbage. Matty must have forgotten to close the lids, and some rats probably crawled in. It didn't help that several of the protruding pipes were leaking, making the garbage soggy and rotten. The city sounds filled the cool April night air. There weren't too many cars on the streets, but Sawyer could still hear sirens in the distance, not at all uncommon for that neighborhood.

All things considered, Sawyer liked Boston well enough, but he tended to spend his nights in the unsavory part of the city. Not that he didn't have enough money to live quite comfortably, but after growing up in a middle-class southern family and then being shifted around by the foster care system, Sawyer just didn't have any love for the upper class. Unless he was doing a job, of course.

He took out his silver Zippo lighter and a pack of Marlboro, tapping it against the heel of his hand. Reaching inside the pack, Sawyer cursed under his breath when his fingers closed around a single cigarette. If this is what being cheap led to, next time he was buying a full carton. He stuck the cigarette between his teeth and was just about to light it, when a noise from the behind the corner on his right caught his attention. Curious, Sawyer walked around the building and turned the corner just in time to see the navy blue duffel bag fall to the ground from a small widow in the side of the building. It fell out of his view behind a large garbage can, but seconds later, a pair of legs appeared from the same window, and Sawyer watched the girl from earlier in the bar clumsily climb out.

Sawyer casually cocked his head to the side, a smile pulling at the corner of his mouth at the sight of the girl's firm jean-clad ass. Then he frowned. She's just a kid, he reminded himself scoldingly. Get your mind out of the fucking gutter, Sawyer. Since the window was a good five feet off the ground, she landed on her hands and knees, but quickly got up and dusted herself off. He raised a questioning eyebrow at her, but she didn't seem to notice him. The girl reached for her duffel bag, but before her hand could close around the handle, she froze again. Kicking the bag to the corner, she quickly dodged behind the dumpster, crouching as close to the wall as she could.

Strange kid, Sawyer thought absently and lit his cigarette. If she was from the streets, as the bag suggested, it could be a number of things. Sawyer really didn't see her drink too much, but there could have easily been drugs involved. Then again, she looked a little to clean for that. Whatever was scaring her probably had nothing to do with any kind of narcotics.

"Excuse me, sir," Sawyer turned his attention away from the girl, and watched the law enforcement officer from the bar approach him from his left. "If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you a few questions."