Author's Note: This story is going to take place as though Sawyer had given

Kate his spot on the raft. She sailed away with Jin, Michael and Walt, and

snuck off. Everyone got rescued. The law has been told Kate is dead.

Yada. Yada. Please, please comment! This is my first Lost FanFic, and I'd

love responses!

Disclaimer: I do not own Lost, nor anything affiliated with Lost.

Almost Home

Chapter One

Jack was surprised how fairly easy it was to slip back into his old life. After over a month on the island, he would have thought that life back home would have been hard to get re-adjusted to. But, it wasn't. His old job was still there, just as he had left it. His hands could still skillfully perform any procedure without hesitation. It was almost as if he had never been gone, the plane had never crashed. Sometimes he wondered if he'd really been here all along,and the entire island had just been some crazy dream.

The only thing that put a halt to the illusion it had been a dream was the consistent pang in Jack's heart whenever he let his mind drift to her. He had tried to talk her out of leaving on the raft, out of running. Wouldn't have been better for her to just finally stop? But she was so stubborn, that was for sure. She barely even listened to him, let alone took him seriously.

Of course she had managed to sneak away before the rafters got rescued. And when they'd all be questioned about if they'd met the prisoner, the one who'd been escorted by the marshal, they all answered that she had been alive when the plane crashed, but had sustained enough wounds to do her in within the first few days. She had been burned in the fuselage with the rest of the victims. Jack couldn't help but wonder how much trouble they'd all get it, if she ever was found.

Part of Jack still hated Sawyer for offering Kate his spot on the raft. He could have gotten her killed. And part of him was still jealous of the soft kiss that she had placed on Sawyer's cheek when thanking him.

But it was Jack who got the good-bye hug. A long, hard hug. She hadn't spoken a word, just held him for a few good minutes. She had felt so tiny in his arms, and he had wanted nothing more than to beg her to stay, to offer to protect her from anything she was afraid of. A surprising urge to kill anyone who had ever tried to hurt her, or ever would again swelled within him. But most of all, he had wanted to kiss her.

He had done none of those things. When she had finally pulled away, and looked at him with tears in her eyes, the only thing he'd been able to say was, "I'll miss you." He had spoken the words so softly that he still wondered if she had even heard what he'd said. When she had turned to walk towards the raft, he had to leave. He didn't want anyone, especially her, to see the tears that he couldn't hold back.

In the two months since Jack had been home, he had beaten himself up with regret. There were so many things he should have said to her, so many things he had wanted to. Why hadn't he just leaned over and kissed her good-bye? Would that have changed anything, maybe made her stay?

But stay for what? So she could get cuffed and whisked off to jail the minute they got rescued? A part of him still believed that deep down she was good. It always had, and always would. She couldn't have done whatever it was she had been accused of. There was just something so innocent in her eyes.

But what bothered Jack most was not knowing where she was. Who was she with? Did she have enough food? Could she get money? Was she safe, was she scared?

Did she ever wonder what he was doing?

Sighing, Jack quickly rubbed his eyes, and then picked up the styrofoam coffee cup he'd been nursing for the past half hour. Tossing it into a corner trashcan in the staff lounge, he opened the door and headed back towards his office.

His mind was so wrapped up in his thoughts of her, that he almost didn't believe his eyes when he walked into his office and saw her sitting on his desk, playing with his stethoscope. Jack stared at her for several seconds, trying to get a grasp on the situation that lay before him.

Finally, he spoke.