19.19 Heaven or Hell

Chase half-lay on the ground, a poking stick held loosely in his hand. The darkness of the forest draped over him like a cloak, a faint flicker from the small camp fire every so often igniting his face with a flash of light. The camp fire was small tonight, the Others probably on the prowl for their lost member.

Muted whispers reached his ear, and a murmur of agreement made him look up from his tending duty. He caught a glimpse of her face in the corner of his eye, her solemn, calculating face.

He didn't trust it.

"Are we going back?" he asked quietly as he passed across the fire, crouching down to join the circle that had subconsciously formed during the 'meeting'.

"Yes."

Chase nodded, "And are we taking her with us?" he asked, jerking his head towards their prisoner. She raised her head; she couldn't hear what was going on, but she could sense the topic changing to her.

Trey was about to answer him when Ana –Lucia cut him off with a loud, "I say we kill her."

Kate scuffled in the background, and they all turned to look at Ana, the violent outburst surprising them all.

"We're not killing anyone," Chase replied coldly while the others overcame their shock.

"Why not? She's one of them. We should just shoot her, here and now."

Chase could feel his cheeks growing hot, and stubbornly ignored the increased intensity of their prisoners struggle. He would never let Ana kill the girl, simply out of spite if anything. "What did she ever do to you?" Ana drew a blank at the question, and Chase took the opportunity to extort her speechlessness. "She attacked me, not you. No one gives two shits about what you think, and we're not going to 'just shoot her'. She could be valuable. I'm the one who caught her, and I'm the one who's going to be teaching her a lesson."

Ana-Lucia answered with what only could be described as an animal baring its fangs, retorting, "You're a snotty little brat, you know that?"

"At least I have a heart you cold bi-" Trey pulled him harshly to the ground.

"Calm the hell down," he whispered, and Chase bit his lip, the swear word getting caught in his throat. The girl attacked him, not her, so where did she get off trying to tell him what they should and shouldn't do. "Don't forget we have to live together, try and be civil!"

Eko stared at him with his big eyes, and Trey's whispering remarks left his ear cold and his face hot. Rage he didn't know the origin of rose up in his chest, and he knew he'd have to leave that second if he wanted to escape the confrontation without a fight.

He lifted up his eyes for a second to glance at Bernard and Libby, his overgrown bangs casting invisible shadows in his vision; they were both looking at him, well used to the verbal catfights him and Ana commonly held. But both knew, as did he, he'd come close to crossing a line this time.

Trey was back to leaning into his ear, "Maybe you should take a second to cool off…"

"Shut-up," Chase answered sharply, and Trey rolled his eyes. The need to snap at someone was causing him to pick on the wrong people. He tore his elbow away from Treys grasp, taking the gun that was at his feet.

"Where are you going?" Ana asked the instant his hands touched the cool metal.

Chase glared at her and walked away, setting his eyes on someone else.

"What are you doing?" Ana asked again more insistently in the background, and Chase walked over to the girl and held the black gun to her head.

Kate's eyes opened wide when she saw the boy coming towards her, his hand steadying the gun with deadly experience. She subconsciously pressed her back against the tree, and she struggled to keep her face neutral. The light shadowed the boy's face in a lethal light, and she found herself more intimidated by this boy then she'd been by the countless thugs she encountered on the run.

"I'm going to untie you," he said in a strong, steady voice. Kate stared up at him, working hard to maintain eye contact. If he was going to kill her, he'd done it by now. "I'm going to tie your hands back up, and then we're going to walk into the woods. You're going to keep walking, straight forwards, until I tell you to stop. You're going to listen to every word I say, because if you don't, I will shoot you." He bent down on the balls of his feet, his arm extended, the black point pointed directly at her head. He lowered his voice an octave. "I'll shoot you in the shin, crack your bone with a metal bullet and drag you back here. Then I'll give you to the frat over there, and let her do what she whatever she wants with you. And it's not going to be pretty."

His thumb unlatched the safety, "Understood?"

The girl inclined her head an inch, staring hard at him. He watched her for another second, waiting to see any sign of rebel or weakness in her face or body language, but she didn't waver.

Keeping the gun in his hands, he went behind her and untied the cruelly tight knots that Ana had tied, placing his hand on the trigger when the ropes fell down to the ground.

Her hands floated in the air for a moment awkwardly, not yet used to the freedom. Chase picked up the rope and circled around the tree, and she pulled her hands out from behind her back. She eyed the gun and Chase tensed; now was the moment she decided if he had the bite to back up his bark. It would determine her attitude towards him, and without a seconds hesitation, he fired the gun into the bark centimeters away from her head.

Her gasp, as well as that of the groups was audible in the silent jungle, and he lowered the gun. "Don't even think about it. Ever."

All fight left her eyes, and she brought her hands together, dejected and weary. Chase quickly tied them, and then pulled her up to her feet roughly. His anger at Ana was inversely being brought out on the women, and he shoved her forwards, catching her before she stumbled down to the ground because of her tied feet, realizing his actions.

"You're alright," he muttered smoothly under his breath, and Kate could hear the undertones of genuine caring. He pushed her again, this time gentler, and she took a step forward, then another and another.

They walked into the jungle, the light from the full moon making the path more visible. Chase could feel his temper falling with each rhythmic step that they took, concentrating on the sound and motion instead of thinking. He kept her in front of him, his gun out and at the ready. She looked back at him, saw the gun, and kept going without breaking her stride.

"Stop," Chase ordered after a couple minutes. The light from the camps fire was long gone and the terrain was getting steeper, the girl beginning to slip and fall from her restraints. She stopped obediently, and he could see her faint glare in the moonlight. "On your knees," he ordered, helping her down when she didn't make any notion of moving.

The halt of motion brought back the train of thought he'd managed to lose on the walk, his anger slowly beginning to build once again. He walked away from her, sighing deeply, trying to steady his breath. The girl turned around in attempts to see what was going on, and he snapped at her, "What?"

She turned back around, facing the front, and he studied the back of her head. She was young- younger then Ana in any case, and though she had a threatening air about her, Chase got the idea that it was from experience, a necessity that she'd acquired but didn't necessarily enforce.

"What do you want from me?" she asked quietly, and he decided to ignore her, instead closing his eyes and leaning his head against his knees. "What do you want from me?" she asked more insistently, and Chase snapped his head up,

"Shut IT!" he growled. He was going to get up, but the rustling of leaves and a snap of a twig made him decide otherwise. It was a silent night, virtually windless and the noises were man-made. He wasn't alone.

"Why do your friends want to kill me?" she asked, and Chase resisted the urge to throw a rock at her. What part of shut it didn't she understand?

It struck him that by 'friends' she was referring to Ana, and he answered, "Ana isn't my friend." Another movement and Chase located the perpetrator. He concluded that it was one of his own people, come to investigate exactly what he was going to do, and the outline from the dark made him assume that it was Eko.

"Thank you," she whispered so quietly that Chase wasn't sure he heard her.

"What for?"

It took her a second to reply, "Not letting them shoot me."

"Oh, shut up. I'm not on your side; I personally don't care about your well being. The only reason I didn't let them do it was so that you could pay for what you did to my friends." And so that Ana wouldn't get her way, he contemplated adding, but he knew that Eko was in the darkness, and he would be judged.

The comment seemed to shut the girl up, and he stood up, walking up silently behind her, taking out his knife. "Why aren't you so talkative now?" he asked, and he could tell that he had surprised her by his appearance. Her jump made him smile; he hated arbitrary violence, but it seemed justified in this instance. She was one of them, and he needed to take his anger out on something.

"What's your name?" he asked, and she didn't answer.

"He asked you a question," Ana said, coming in from what he had thought was Eko. Eko followed her entrance across from her, shaking his head. Chase glared at her; he should have known only she'd be clumsy enough not to get caught spying.

"What do you want?" Chase asked, and the girl in front of him looked back and forth from Eko and Ana.

"He asked you a question!" Ana said again, this time shoving the girl into the ground and jamming her knee into the captives back. Chase went towards her, but Eko grabbed his arm and pulled him away.

"It will not help if we seem divided in the eyes of the enemy," he whispered wisely, and Chase gritted his teeth but nodded. He wanted to shove Ana into the ground and see how she liked being bullied, but knew that the weakness in their group would be instantly spotted and exploited.

"What's your name?" Ana asked dangerously, and the small sound of,

"Kate," could be heard, muttered angrily by the girl.

"Kate?" Ana repeated with a laugh, getting off her and rolling her onto her back. She crawled back onto her, punching her solidly in the face. Kate cried out in surprise, instantly trying to fight back.

"What's that short for, Kate? Katharine? Katie?"

The second that Ana said Katie, Eko and Chase knew she'd made a mistake. Something clicked in Kate's body, visibly snapping a portal that opened what Chase called from that moment on; psychopathically aggressive Kate.

Within the time that it took Eko and Chases combined effort to pull Kate off of Ana, she'd already given her a split lip, a bloody nose, numerous bruises, a bleeding eyebrow, as well as a rather sizeable gash to the back of the head. Eko held Kate back, holding her arms back- her hands still tied together as Chase stared at Ana lying on the ground.

She was an idiot, yes, but she looked so pitiful lying on the ground that Chase felt a shred of pity for the woman. It quickly stepped away as Ana got up slowly, wiping away blood that trailed down into her eye. Taking the gun, she stood up with only a tiny wobble, walking towards Kate with her arm extended.

Before Chase got a chance to shout out, "Stop!", a gunshot had already been fired, the sound echoing through the jungle.

---------------

She was sleeping when it happened.

She'd given up on creating a fire a long time ago, to finding anyone out there in the forest, and restorted to sleeping curled up in a tiny ball on the jungle floor. Maybe having a fire would've helped her out, but she doubted it. They would've found her quicker that way.

As it was, she went to sleep one night alone and curled up, woke up the next tied to a tree and gagged. They first give away was the presence of the fire she'd struggled so hard to create. It lit up her face, warming it pleasantly located just a few feet away. For a second she allowed herself to believe that someone, anyone she knew, had found her.

Her second thought was that of an unbearable aching in her arms and shoulders, the numbness of her legs chasing the fleeting daydream away, and instead making her wonder how long she'd been in her current position.


The third was the slowly escalating panic when she realized she was in the middle of the jungle, alone, tied to a tree by a fire.

She tried shouting for help, but it came out instead as a muffled howling sound. She started shaking, the fear seizing her body and tacking over. She started struggling against he ropes that tied her wrists together, scraping her arms bloody against the tree she was tied to.

---------------

Boone helped Jack out of the hole, the island doctor barely able to stand straight. Getting on level ground had been the hard part, every time Jack extended an arm or leg, shooting pain jarring his nerves and pain sensors, blinding him momentarily.

He wasn't usually the fighting type, and to be honest, he didn't quite know how to fight well. He surprised himself when he went for Sawyer not all that shocked when Sawyer had instantly retaliated. Sawyer was the kind of guy who got into bar fights and won.

Jack wasn't.

Michael attempted to help Sawyer out of the hole as well, the one good shot Jack had gotten in throwing him slightly off balance. Sawyer stubbornly refused, his anger shimmering down while he watched Jack's pathetic progress to land.

"Let me take 'em Metro," Sawyer requested sullenly, realizing that Boone holding Jack, who was almost twice as big as him, was quite a sad sight.

Boone looked questionably towards Michael, and Sawyer didn't wait for permission as he took Jack's free arm and hoisted it around his neck, holding Jack up carefully with his other arm. The doctor looked like he wouldn't be able to add two and two.

"How's Danoso?" Boone asked quickly as they started walking, following behind Sawyer uselessly.

"Goin' crazy. Kid's not thinkin' right, I dunno what's goin' on with her."

Sawyer saw Boone nod glumly out of the corner of his eye. Apparently not what he wanted to hear. Jack groaned, and Sawyer instantly lowered his hand as he felt a bone shift. Maybe it hadn't been such a bright idea to run him into the hatch door after all…

"Is he gonna be alright?" Michael asked rushing up to support Jack's other side. Sawyer glared at him,

"He'll be fine."

"What's wrong with her?" Boone asked, oblivious to Jack's condition.

"She swallowed a rainbow," Sawyer answered instantly, regretting it when he saw Boone's face. He knew how it was to care about the girl, and Boone's face showed genuine concern. "We don't know yet," he added after a second, quietly. It was as close to an apology as the kid was going to get.

Their progress to the camp was surprisingly efficient; they got their in record breaking time. Sawyer picked Jack up and laid him down on a slab of rock while Boone rushed into the tent where Danoso was sleeping.

Charlie jumped up about a foot in the air when Boone ran in, half asleep with his head in his hands. "Wotcha doin' in here?" he asked, then chastised himself for asking such a stupid question.

"Is she all right?" Boone asked, walking up to her slowly.

Charlie came up behind him, rubbing sleep from his eyes. "Bit delirious is all… and her leg started bleedin' again… and her fever's feels like it's been goin' up… and they've got to keep her tied down so she doesn't hurt herself… and she was just 'bout ready to bite her lip off, so Jack gagged her…" he stopped when he realized his list wasn't getting through to Boone.

He walked forwards; taking in Danoso's sleeping form. What was wrong with her? He took her hand gently in his own, the heat radiating off it like a furnace.

"Danoso?" he asked, and she moved her head to the side in her sleep. Boone bit his lip, and Charlie stood silently beside him.

"I'm sorry," Charlie muttered, and Boone stood beside her, holding her hand and taking in her body. Charlie turned around and walked out of the tent. She was the only one on the island who knew his secret, and for the first time in his life, he wished that she'd awaken and become lucid, if only to spread that secret to everyone.

He left the tent, the glare Boone was sending him telling him that much. Picking at his fingers he walked over to where Sawyer and Jack, who earned a double-take, were sitting.

"What the bloody hell happened to him?" he asked, staring at Jack wide-eyed.

Jack took a painful breath in, his arms clutching the area around his stomach. "Fell down the hole," he answered his voice weak and cracking. Charlie watched Sawyer give him an odd look before answering,

"We actually got inter a fist-fight, and doc 'ere forgot that he was still hurtin' from before. Idiot took me on, but I show'd 'em who was boss," Sawyer grinned, and Jack glared at him.

"Shut-up Sawyer," he muttered, moving an arm to hold up his head with one hand.

Charlie looked between the two, wondering what the hell had happened, and why Sawyer was suddenly making jokes like they were friends… wait a second, "Are you two like, buddies now?" he asked, shocked.

Jack looked up at Charlie surprised, the movement jolting his head, causing him to flinch in pain. Sawyer evaluated Jack from the corner of his eye, trying to gauge his reaction.

"S'long as we've both got a common goal, we'll bear with each other."

Charlie nodded, not quite understanding, but knowing that it was the special relationship that Jack and Sawyer shared that allowed them to be nice to each other in their own way. As long as they had something in common that they both cared about – be it Kate or Danoso or whatever, they would function the only way that they knew how.

"Well, sorry to break it to you, but cha look like hell," Charlie stated, patting Jack lightly on the shoulder.

"And 'ere I was thinking he looked more like 'eaven," Sawyer commented, and Jack just looked at him.

Charlie smiled at them, and then left, saying something about going off to find Claire and Aaron. Sawyer watched him until he was out of sight; he was an odd one. Kate's disappearance nudged him determinedly in the back of his mind, and he couldn't shake the feeling that this was all, in fact, his fault.

Jack coughed again, pulling him out of his trance, and he looked at him, rolling his eyes, "For a doctor you ain't too bright," he stated, getting up and pushing Jack down onto the blanketed stone.

Jack didn't have the energy or pain tolerance to resist Sawyers gentle push, his back giving way to Sawyers supporting arms before he reached the flat. "Lay tight for a moment. I'll get ya some water, but is there anything else… medical that you need I wouldn't know 'bout?" he asked, and Jack shook his head,

"I think you dislocated my lung," he muttered, and Sawyer looked at him, shaking his head.

"Uh huh," he said while they both shared a laugh, Jack stopping almost instantly. "But seriously doc, anythin' you need before you become Sleepin' Beauty?"

Jack shook his head, and closed his eyes. Sawyer started to walk away but Jack's soft voice stopped him,

"Find her," he said, and Sawyer felt a twinge of jealously. "Find her..." Jack trailed off, and his body shuddered. Sawyer moved in closer, but Jack was already passed out.

---------------

A shadow came out of the woods and she froze. All she could do was watch as a man came into the clearing, towering over the grass and dying fire. He gave her a quick glance and upon observing that she was awake, bent down into his satchel, removing a large needle.

Clear liquid sloshed around in it. He went to her, and she tried yelling out, but the gag put a stop to all sound. Fear took over her body, and she shrunk away as far as she could. The man didn't seemed phased by this, simply leaning in closer and wrapping a large hand around her neck.

Movement was impossible as he penetrated her skin with the tip of the needle, embedding a sizable length of it into her arm tissue. Injecting the liquid, she closed her eyes, hoping whatever it was wasn't fatal.

He laughed at her, and removed the needle, patting her arm as a trickle of blood created a small stream down her arm. He turned around, ignoring her now, taking some fruit from a bag by the fire, cutting it up and slowly placing each slice delicately into his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully, painfully slow. An ache in her stomach soon developed and grew, realizing how hunger she really was. Even though her mouth was dry from the gag, the prospect of food was making it water in the slightest.

The man finished with the fruit, packing everything away. He cleaned the knife and put out the fire. As soon as he gave his full attention to her, she felt the fear once again take over.

He walked closer to her, and she shrunk away, getting as close to the bark as was possible. The man stooped down and loosened her gag, level with her.

---------------

"Yes."

"Survey."

"Yesterday."

"Yeast."

"Timely."

"Yellow."

"Willingly."

"Y… Charlie!" Claire shrieked, and Charlie grinned at her.

"What?" he asked innocently and she slapped him lightly on the shoulder.

"You're cheating me!" Claire shrieked again, and Charlie couldn't help but laugh this time.

"I was not! It's called a strategy… something you apparently lack," he added on and she opened her mouth indignantly. Charlie laughed and wrapped his arms around her, lifting her up over him and placing her on his lap, tickling her.

"Stop it!" she yelled laughing, clearly enjoying herself. Charlie laughed, wrapping his arms around her as she squirmed to get free. He smiled, and she broke out of his grasp, pushing him down onto the ground, the hand holding her up near his head.

He smiled at her, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear, which stubbornly came loose a second later. She looked at him, analyzing his face, her other hand tangled in his hair.

"I was thinking yesterday," she whispered, and Charlie urged her on with a silent 'what?'. "You really need a hair cut," she laughed, and Charlie laughed with her as well.

"I- I do, don't I," he said, putting his hand into his hair and finding Claire's. He pushed his fingers gently through hers and she smiled. She leaned down towards him, and Charlie's heart skipped a beat.

But instead of Claire's lips on his, he jumped as he heard Vincent lobbing up behind them. Claire crawled off of him, waving the dog away with her hands, "Shoo Vincent, shoo," she said, scowling.

Charlie closed his eyes and got up dejectedly. Why did this always happen to him? When he opened his eyes to give Vincent some top-notch glaring, he found something oddly peculiar attached to the animals collar. "Commer, Vincent," he called, and Vincent ran towards him obediently, licking his face.

Charlie tried to dodge to kisses as skillfully as possible, getting his hands on the paper attached to Vincent's collar. The second it was removed, Vincent ran away, off to play with someone who paid him proper attention.

"What is that?" Claire asked, and Charlie shrugged his shoulders,

"I, dunno…"

He opened up the paper, three lines of handwriting taking up the entire area of the slip:

Jack,

Your precious Katie's with us;

Give us Rachel and we'll gladly trade.

You've got a week to decide which means more.

------------------------

She was somewhere cold, her wrists holding up the weight of her body. She came too and it took her a second to find her feet, and she shuffled them for a second before feeling the blood rush back into her wrists and fingers after who knew how long. She was groggy, more groggy then she'd ever felt, and she couldn't remember where she was, or how she'd gotten there. Her stomach was growling with hunger and her head was light from dehydration; she could barely stand, but her body refused to let her rest in this position.

She opened her eyes and all she could see was dark. A shiver ran down her spine, the creepy, steady drip of water all she could hear. She coughed out loud once, and then opened her eyes again, this time feeling the resistance on her eyelashes.

Was she blindfolded?

She stood up straighter and tried to rest her arms, but was discouraged to find that they were almost extended to their fullest.

What was happening?

"You're an idiot," a voice said in the back of her head, echoing. The cold of wherever she was penetrated her jungle clothes effortlessly, and she shivered again. She pulled on the rope that held her up, but it did nothing.

"Don't try that, you'll hurt yourself," the voice said again, reprimanding her. "What were you think attacking that cow?" it asked, and Kate felt the need to shrug. But she knew why. It was a personal pet peeve, one that had the potential to turn into violence, as it had before. Only Tom ever called her Katie, and she wanted to keep it that way.

"I know you're cold, but this is a precaution; one rightfully taken in my opinion."

Why was the voice telling her that? She knew that she was cold; she didn't need some stupid voice in the back of her head to tell her as well. And why was her own opinion different from the one she had right now? Did she have two minds?

"I'm sorry about my anger before, you shouldn't have been subject to it, even though you really weren't. She just pisses me off sometimes, y'know?"

Yes, she did know that feeling of being pissed off, she was feeling it right now. Why did she have such radically different thoughts?

"I'm glad you did what you did, but it was stupid, and know that I'm not in on whatever they decide to do with you. It's going to hurt, but you've left whatever protection I could have given you by attacking her."

"Shut up." Kate said weakly. She wanted to voice to stop, stop saying things and confusing her. The voice in her head was pissing her off, and she didn't exactly need it right now.

"Oh, I'm sorry, am I discomforting you?" the voice asked, and she nodded her head. "Well suck it up, cause they're going to do a lot worse!" someone slapped her face, and it occurred to her that the voice in her head might not be in her head at all.

"Who's there?" she asked sleepily, the sting of the slap lingering in the cold. Where was she? And why was it so damn chilly? The darkness was making her uncomfortable, and she shook her head to try and get rid of it. "I can't see," she stated, and she was slapped on the other side of her face. It stung more then the first one, and she could feel her face turning red. "Stop it!" she ordered, rewarded with another slap.

"They're pissed off Kate. You think that hurt? You can't talk to them like that or they'll do worse."

The voice changed and she recognized it now, someone familiar. She knew that the voice was quite new; she'd learned to distinguish it quickly, but not too long ago. It was a girl's voice, someone who she'd spent a lot of time with recently. "Answer their questions truthfully, and they'll see that you aren't who they think you are." Another slap but Kate kept her mouth shut. "Don't say anything until they ask; you're learning already. The little boy's on your side Kate, he just doesn't know it yet. Do what your told, when you're told, how you're told to do it. She needs to feel powerful, in control – do it and make her believe she is, keep to yourself. Do what they tell you, but off your own free will. You'll be surprised by how sane and free you feel."

She could see the image of the speaker, bright red hair, small, thin figure; but she couldn't recall the name. It was a girl, a girl she cared about…

"Danoso?" she asked quietly, and felt two warm hands on her cheeks.

"Listen to them, and remember – he's on your side."

Cold water drenched her head, running down her already freezing back. It ran through her hair, into her ears, and down her nose, mercilessly missing her needy, dry mouth. The water caused her to begin shivering, and she didn't think she'd ever stop. A familiar deadened feeling reached her sense when she tried to move her fingers, and she scrambled to her feet, feeling weakness engulf them.

A sharp slap stung her cheek, and she tried to move her hand to comfort the cold pain, but her arms were already extended to their fullest, stationary above her head and to the side.

Another bucket of cold water was splashed over her head, and she sneezed this time, the water trailing down her back and trickling down into her pants, dampening the already chilled material.

"I think she gets it," a small voice said, and Kate knew she heard this one before as well.

The urge to say 'Who's there' was strong, but Kate caught the question in her throat. The voice, Danoso, had she dreamed that all up? Even if it had been a dream, she heeded the warning that it represented. Whoever these people were, they were serious.

"I'm the one who gets to decide if she gets it or not," a hard voice reprimanded, and Kate gasped as another wave of ice water encased the top of her body, dampening her clothes more so, leaving them clinging coldly to her already uncontrollably shivering body.

"Then at least don't waste the bloody water," the small voice retorted, and Kate assumed he won the argument, no more water heading her way.

She could hear footsteps echoing through the room she was in, walking around her. A cold hard object landed lightly on her back, and it trailed around her body in respect with the footsteps.

"Do you know why you're here, Kate?" the voice asked, and Kate shook her head even though she knew why she was probably in her particular predicament. The object reached the same place it started and lifted off before it whistled back, smacking into her back with a sickening sound.

Kate gasped, the stick, presumably a length of wood, sending electric pulses of unbearable pain up and down her spine. She clenched her fists, willing herself not to tear up. The damp blindfold absorbed the few tears before Kate regained her composure. Her lower back throbbed where the place of impact had been, and the sharp voice asked again, "Do you know why you're here, Kate?"

This time Kate nodded. She could venture a small guess. She didn't know where anyone was, and she also didn't want to answer the question.

"Do you want to tell me why you're here, Kate?" she asked again, and the repeated use of her name aggravated her. Kate stayed quiet, anticipating the impact of the stick once more. It came, twice, and Kate forgot just how badly it had hurt the first time. The pain ebbed away slower this time, burned more intensely and for longer, and the question was asked again, "Do you want to tell me why you're here, Kate?"

"Because I attacked someone who was too much of a wimp to fight me fairly," Kate answered. She could feel the edges of a stubborn tendency beginning to rise up from the depths, one that had gotten her into a lot of trouble during her younger years.

It was a slap this time, the hardest one she'd gotten yet. It stung both hot and cold, the water that lingered on her cheek intensifying the strike. She knew that the voice was of the women she attacked, and knew that this was the result of those actions. Kate would rather the pain then let this women have her way, stubbornness she was born with taking over.

She had nothing to lose, but didn't want to get killed. She would play the line, tipping a toe over it occasionally, making sure to balance it out.

"You're here because you attacked me," she heard the hiss in her ear, and she knew these types of people. Who were truly cowards at heart, bullies who inflicted their pain behind barriers of protective walls. The ones who weren't brave enough to back up their bark; that operated among restraints without first proving their worth.

"I'm here because you're a coward," Kate said loudly, and this time the stick was whipped into her abdomen. Kate attempted to move her arms around the injured skin, failing to do so. She crouched over as far as she could go, and someone gripped her face, the nails that dug into her skin leading her to believe it to be the women.

"You'd better watch your mouth, or we'll have to deal with it another way," she threatened, and Kate wished she could see more then just black.

"Leave her alone Ana," the small voice said again, and the nails left her face. Kate resisted the urge to collapse onto her wrists, her body protesting and aching from the physical abuse. She refused to allow gates of certain feelings of helplessness to be reopened, knowing that it would only take a second to trigger the flow.

"Is that all you know how to say?"

"You proved your point. Now leave her alone. We both know that it's not her your after."

"When did you become poster boy for Others captured?"

"When did you become poster girl for bitches in action?"

Kate allowed a small smile on her face at the sound of the comeback, and the empty air that was accompanied with it. The boy was bright, she'd give him that much. Someone slapped her face, and her smile turned into an angry frown. Who the hell beat up on a woman that was tied up and blind?

"What are you laughing at?" Ana asked, and Kate caught her comment in her throat. She had all the satisfaction she needed knowing that a seven-year old boy had burned the older woman, and badly, in her mind, at that. There was much dead air and a couple of sounds of rustling something-others before she heard Ana speak once more.

"If you untie her, so help me God-"

"Just go."

The door opened and closed and after a second Kate finally let gravity take its course, collapsing painfully onto her wrists.

"Don't do that," a soft voice warned her, "it'll only hurt more later. Stand up and let me help you," it said, and she unwillingly found herself complying. She couldn't tell if it was the voice from before, or that of the boy.

Nimble fingers quickly untied her wrists, and she sank to the floor as soon as she was freed, wrapping her arms tightly around her stomach. It was sore to the touch, and her back was beginning to tighten, but she would be fine. Footsteps circled around her, and she felt the hands work again as the blindfold loosened and fell away.

"Didn't she tell you not to untie me?" Kate asked in a hoarse voice, her eyes quickly adjusting to the available light. She was in a rather large cell, a chair fused to the ground off to the side, two ropes that changed into chain hanging out of the ceiling. There was a thin barred door to the left of the fourth wall, and light flooded in from it.

As she took in the room, the boy – so it had been a boy – quickly worked on something on the ground and off to the side. "Why?" he asked, so suddenly Kate almost got whiplash from snapping her neck, "Would you prefer me to tie you back up?"

Kate shook her head mutely, glancing down at the wrists that had held her weight. They were pulsating, and she cringed as a particularly painful throb passed through one.

"Are you familiar with the concept of handcuffs?" he asked, and Kate got a better look at him. He was slight, skinny, his red hair tousled messily in no apparent order on his head. She saw a butterfly knife, which was illegal in the United States, and looked at him hard. That had been the object that cut her cheek, and he had been the person who'd inflicted the damage.

"How old are you?" Kate asked. He looked young, maybe as old as Walt, though a lot smaller and it made Kate wonder why and how he'd learned to use the knife.

The boy stopped what he was doing and turned around to three-quarter his profile to Kate. He tossed her a set of handcuffs that was attached by a chain to the floor, "Put those on," he ordered, and she stared at them.

Last times she'd worn handcuffs, she'd been on the plane with the Marshall. The Marshall had taken her from Australia, because she was a wanted fugitive in America. The Marshall and everyone else thought she'd murdered Tom, and wanted to put her in prison for the murder of Wayne. Wayne brought back memories that she'd rather forget about, and the fresh bruises on her back were a physical reminder of most of those memories.

"Put them on Kate," the boy said in a soft voice, and Kate snapped out of her trance. He had his knife out, Kate's blood crusted on the blade. Apparently he hadn't had the time to wash it off.

"Why?" Kate asked, looking at the handcuffs defiantly.

"Because if you don't I'll get Ana back into here, and you'll be strapped to the chair instead of the ground."

His fist tightened around the knife and Kate hesitantly reached for them. The cool steel touched her fingertips, but instead of recoiling, she embraced the metal with her palm. The familiar click filled the room, and she reluctantly tightened them around her wrists.

When she looked up, Chase was staring at her, as if trying to determine something. "What?" she asked sharply, instantly regretting her tone when he flinched. He just seemed so young to her, she didn't understand who these people were, or what they were doing.

"What's your name?" he asked, crouching down.

Kate wiped a thin trail of cold water off her nose before answering, "Kate."

He rolled his eyes, and Kate smiled. He reminded her of a small child who was explaining the differences between cartoon characters to its mother; all traces of the self-confidence and authority he had when the others were present in the room disappearing. "Yeah, but, Kate who?"

"Kate Austen."

"How'd you get here?" he asked, throwing his head to the side to move the bangs that had masked his eye.

She contemplated telling a lie, something she would be able to build on, but didn't see anything wrong with how she'd really gotten here. "Our plane crashed. A couple weeks ago."

His eyes went wide with surprise before he caught himself and bit his lip. She could tell that he was struggling to decide whether or not she was telling the truth, and Kate tried to figure out what word had acted as the prompt. "How do I know you're not one of them?" he asked after a second, and Kate felt that he was truly asking the question. She shook her head.

How did she know she wasn't one of whom? "I- I don't know what you're talking about."

"What was the name of the plane you crashed on?" he asked, going a different route, "The name of the company?"

"Oceanic Airlines. Flight number 815. We were going from Sydney to LA, and our plane crashed halfway there. We turned around and were heading to Fuji, but we hit turbulence, and landed here." No need to add her fugitive state; he'd eventually figure that out on his own.

The answer confused him, and suddenly he wasn't too sure of himself. Kate shivered and he got up to retrieve a blanket from the chair across the room. He heard the snap of chains, and turned around to see Kate standing as if to follow him, her back almost to him, pulling on her hands.

"It's chained to the floor," he explained, pulling the blanket and tossing it to Kate, "Just a precaution." Kate nodded, sitting down and reaching for the blanket. These people really had their bases covered.

"I'll be right back," Chase said, heading to the door and walking through it. He shut the bars and locked it with a beaten old padlock. "Don't make me be wrong about you…" he added as a passing thought, and left from Kate's view.

Kate watched him go, huddling into her blanket wondering where he was off to, and if he really thought that she had crashed here on a plane.

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"Should we tell Jack?" Claire asked, looking into Charlie's eyes. He didn't return her contact, staring at the paper in his hands.

"I don't know," he answered, trying to calm the sudden feeling of dread that poured over him like cold water. Kate was really missing? They had Kate? Everyone remembered the time Jack had come back, how been up he'd been.

"Well, what do you think it means?" she asked again, and Charlie still didn't look at her.

"I don't know," he answered, his tone slightly more irritated then before. But they destroyed the Others' camps, didn't they. Boone and them blew it up. According to island gossip anyways.

"Who do you think Rachel is?" Claire asked quietly, and Charlie turned on her, snapping,

"I don't know! I don't bloody know Claire! I'm not bloody God!" Charlie stopped himself abruptly, Claire's face mixed with fear and confusion. "Sorry," he muttered miserably. "I shouldn't've yelled at you. I'm sorry."

Claire shrugged and stood up, but Charlie could tell that she was hurt. He didn't want to worry about the stupid others right now, he didn't want to worry about telling anyone, and he didn't want to trek all over the camp to figure out whom the hell the Rachel girl they were talking about was. "Look," he offered, getting up and reaching for her hand. She held it grudgingly, as if it was an obligation she'd rather leave unfulfilled. "We'll go give this to Jack- or Sawyer if he's still not awake- and then grab Aaron from Troy and take a nice, calming walk around the beach. Sound good?"

"I'm not so sure we should just forget about this Charlie," she said, taking the paper and walking away from him, reading it over to herself. "If they attached this to Vincent's collar… they have to be close by… Charlie, my baby!" she yelled, running off, and Charlie followed her utterly confused.

"Claire! Claire slow down!" he yelled, finally catching up to her. He took her elbow and she stopped reluctantly, panic still flashing across her face.

"But Charlie-" she started, but he cut her off, placing his finger on her lips.

"Come with me Claire," he ordered quietly, and she nodded along, their past squabble forgotten, "We'll take this to Jack, or Sawyer. Aaron will be safe with Troy, and you'll be safe with me, safer then if you went off running into the jungle to get to Aaron. You can't just go running off like that Claire; you could get hurt in the jungle."

"But Aaron-"

"Aaron needs his mum," Charlie said quietly, smiling. "And I need you."

Claire hesitated a moment, the sweetness of Charlie's words not lost on her. "Fine," she gave in, and Charlie took her hand, heading towards camp. She allowed a small smile to appear on her lips. She would be safe with Charlie.

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It'd been a couple hours and Jack was still out cold, Boone was still in the damn tent, and Sawyer was again, feeling useless. He didn't like feeling useless, but it was the fact of the matter. He glanced into the tent once more, deciding that he needed to prioritize.

He started pacing as he figured out a list of things. Go find Kate… defiantly number one… but do I go with Jacko, or without him? Will he be pissed off at me if I go without him… not that I care or anything, and he's a doctor right, so he'll understand. Hopefully. If he wakes up…. He'll wake up, right? Course he will, that's all I need, Doc's life on my conscience, Kate missing, and an island missing its doctor…. Junior. Can't forget her… lover-boy seems to be doing alright with her, he'll keep 'er safe. Hopefully. Heard he almost killed Rose when we crashed- but damnit, concentrate! Kate. Danoso. Jack-o waking up. Missing anything? Doesn't seem like it… wait, yes. That is defiantly Hobbit running to me with a hysterical crying moma behind him… Not that Claire's that hysterical, but it does have a nice ring to it… good, now you're smiling. That's all you need, more people that hate you for being insensitive when they're so obviously distressed… why are they coming to me? Wait, where's Jack when you need him? …right, passed out cause I fought with him… disadvantages with fighting doctors noted… oh what do they want now?

"We found something- and we think you should know about it."

"Well that's nothing new," Sawyer drawled, giving Charlie an up-down, "But couldn't you just spare me this once?"

Charlie looked utterly disgusted with him, obviously getting the nature of the comment, while Claire remained blissfully naïve. He could just imagine the questions that would follow after their conversation.

"We found this," Charlie said, thrusting the paper into Sawyers hands, "And we thought you 'outa know about it. We could come back when Jack was awake-"

"That's okay," Sawyer muttered, opening the slip. The words written on it gave his spine a chill:

Jack,

Your precious Katie's with us;

Give us Rachel and we'll gladly trade.

You've got a week to decide which means more.

He read it a couple times in quick succession before gruffly asking, "Where'd you find this?" Charlie shrugged,

"Me and Claire were sitting by the beach when Vincent came up. It was tied to his collar."

"How long ago?" he asked, looking over to Jack. Even though Jack never talked about it, Sawyer knew that the last time he'd come back from the Others, it wasn't pretty. They'd hurt Jack above and beyond, and Sawyer didn't even want to think of all the things that they could do to a girl like Kate.

"About a half hour ago, but mate, they could've gotten to Vincent anytime. I mean,-"

"You dunno," Sawyer finished, though probably not with the same answer. "You know who this Rachel girl is?" he asked, and Charlie shook his head.

"I asked Hurley on the way back, and he didn't know anything about a girl named Rachel, we dunno who in heavens name she is."

Sawyer shook his head, trying to remember if he'd ever been introduced or seen a person named Rachel around the camp. "Go get me Sun," he said finally, and added, "and Walt if you can find him. We need to find out where the damn dogs been…"

He read the note again, and called back Charlie and Claire, "Never mind," he said, and he gave the note back to Charlie. Charlie took it like it was the burning bush, "Find Sun and tell her to look after Jack and Danoso. Make sure Jack gets that after, but doesn't go anywhere. I'm gonna go look for her."

"Sawyer," Claire started, but Charlie shook her head and she left the name hanging as a warning.

He pushed past the two, wondering how many lives these Others had. He amused himself with the thought of cat-like Others, that had nine lives, but resolved to hurt the one that had gotten Kate, and bad.

If they'd done anything to her… they were in for a surprise.

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"Kate…" Chase whispered, and Kate snapped to. "Kate?" he called again, and this time Kate answered with a soft,

"Yes?"

The door to her cell unlocked, and Kate watched Chase walk in cautiously. Something had changed about the way he presented himself, but she couldn't put a finger on what. His face came into the light, and Kate could see that there was a sizeable gash above his eye.

"What happened?" she asked quietly, but Chase ignored her. He walked over to the chair and sat in it. First facing forwards, then cross-legged, and finally twisting his body around so that his legs were hanging off the side. He fidgeted in the seat a while before he got up and started walking. "Chase?" she asked again, in a slightly more forcefully voice.

"Hypothetically," he started, standing in one place and doing the pee-pee dance, "If one was to believe you and say that he might know another that had been on the plane with you, would you be able to answer?"

Kate watched him, his constant motion making her dizzy. "If they survived, yes," she answered softly, and Chase nodded.

"Then, hypothetically," he started, crossing over to the chair once again, "If I were to describe someone to you, then you'd be able to name them- if, they survived?"

"Yes," Kate nodded, "Hypothetically." Something told her that these people defiantly weren't the others, and that they had a connection with flight 815.

"So if there was, hypothetically, a person on the plane that was about 50, African-American, soft spoken, kind, a type of den mother, you would identify her as…"

"Rose?" Kate asked, and Chase's face broke out into a smile. Kate smiled, knowing that she'd hit the jackpot.

"And she would have in her possession-"

"Her husband, Bernard's, wedding ring. Because-"

"His fingers swell in the air," they finished together. Chase hopped up to beside Kate, kneeling down on the floor next to her. "So she's alive?" Chase asked, beaming.

"Yes, she is. Why?"

"Her husband is curious…"

Chase's excitement seemed to deflate like a popped balloon. He got up and walked over to sit in the chair. After a second he asked, "How do I know you're who you say you are, and not just an Other that hung out at their camp?"

Kate looked down to the ground, wondering what she could say that would make him believe her. The Other's brought back bad memories, memories of a hurting Jack, memories of those days where she didn't know if he was okay, or where he was being held…

"We have a doctor there, at our camp," Kate started, speaking without knowing she was saying the words out loud. "He's the sweetest man on the planet. He's kind, caring; he can't stand to see people hurt or dying, even if he hates them."

Chase nodded. He'd known people like that- well, truth be told, only one person. He leaned forwards in his chair. He just needed something, anything that would give him a good excuse to trust Kate and let her free… run away with her. He hated it here, but she seemed to be struggling with her story.

"He got captured by them, the Others as you call them, that's what we call them too though. I remember the look on Danoso's face when she figured out that they'd kidnapped him to get to her. She was horrified. You remind me a little of her, you know," Kate laughed fruitlessly. How was she doing? Was she still sick, like she had been when Sawyer and her had left for the tent? Had Sawyer told Jack where she was going, and were they looking for her?

"How many more of your people are there?" he asked quietly, somberly even.

"48 at first, but a couple have passed away; we weren't very safe before, we've learned how to live now. It's better, but there's always a threat."

Chase nodded, but to Kate it seemed like a troubling thought clouded his face, but she couldn't bring herself to ask about it. "Jack – our doctor," she continued. Thinking about Jack made her body less sore and her heart a little lighter. "When he disappeared, I was scared. Then Danoso disappeared after him, and I was furious. The girl can never listen to anyone, no matter what they say. I told her to stay put and she did until I turned my back and she was gone."

"But Jack, he's the kind of guy that doesn't come by very often. He's like… the greatest thing that's ever happened to me, but I don't want him to be." She wanted to tell Chase about her fear of hurting him. Like she'd hurt Tom, and every other guy in her life. But he was just a kid, and probably didn't understand more then the typical love/hate relationship.

"Do you love him?" Chase asked quietly, and Kate glanced up at him. He seemed so innocent, so unlike the boy that had tackled her to the ground hours before. The question was filled with the naivety of a soul that hadn't been on the Earth for long. That only knew the feeling of love in its purest form.

"Yes," Kate answered, the admission frightening her. She did… didn't she? "I think I do."

The boy nodded, and Kate smiled sadly at him. "But I might not ever see him again, and I didn't even get to say goodbye." It was a cheap shot, and Chase laughed right through it. She smiled, and he came up to her, standing before her unsure.

"What was that girls name? The one that left as soon as you turned around?" he asked, a bit of hope filtering into his voice. He seemed to catch it, instantly appearing moody.

"Danoso. She was caught by the Others but got away from them and stumbled into our camp," Kate said, and his face fell a little.

"Right..," he said, and he sighed. "Would you take me to your camp if I let you?" he asked, and Kate nodded her head.

"I would probably be able to find my way." The eagerness couldn't stay out of her voice, the prospect of leaving these people and going back home.

Chase fidgeted, looking towards the door. After a minute of thought he bent down and took the chain that anchored the cuffs to the floor off. He looked up at her with such trust that Kate doubted had she been an Other, she'd be able to betray him. "I'm gonna leave the cuffs on so that if any of them catch us, we'll have a valid justification. Just stay cool and don't say anything, okay?"

She got up and followed Chase to the door, "Got it."

Unfortunately, they were caught almost as soon as they took a step out of the cell by Trey. At the sight of the other boy, Chase visibly buffed up, holding his head a little higher, squaring his shoulders and glaring at Trey, as if daring him to ask what was going on.

Trey had been walking down the hall when he saw Chase exit the cell, Kate right behind him. He reached for a set of keys he'd been using as a weapon since the crash, ready to pounce until he saw that Kate was sporting a set of handcuffs. "What is she doing out here?" he asked, shooting Chase a suspicious look. The kid could never listen.

"Since when do I answer to you?" he asked defiantly, and Trey noticed he still had anger from before waiting to be used up, "I'm allowed to roam the halls on my own, aren't I?"

Trey shook his head angrily, "Not with her in tow you aren't! If Ana-"

"Ana what? Kate needs a bathroom break. Besides, I know reciprocity's a bitch, but you do owe me one, right? I feel horrible for what we did to her before, and I want to make it up."

He looked between Kate and Chase, trying to figure out if something was up. Chase was a convincing actor, though Kate, at the moment, looked like a deer caught in headlights. Chase had saved his life a couple of times, and he saw no harm in letting Chase get his way this time. "Fine, but I never saw you," Trey said shortly, giving Kate a death glare before stalking away.

Chase waited until Trey was out of sight before muttering, "This way," and heading down a long hallway, eerily lit with a dark green hue.

"Where are we?" Kate asked, getting a short,

"Shut-up," from Chase.

She was surprised, because through the time that she'd spent talking to him, she had completely forgotten about the tougher, harder face he put on in front of his companions. Sharper, more sophisticated words would start to flood from of his mouth, his tone rising with anger with each word he spoke. He was clever, but he had a split personality, and Kate wanted to know which one was the true him. This bitter, hateful boy he'd become, or the softer, gentler boy he'd been inside the room.

All conversation stopped as they climbed down a ladder and entered the outside world from a dark cave.

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Boone was lying on the table, contemplating un-strapping Danoso. She looked uncomfortable, her face screwed up in a manner that suggested pain, and he didn't know where it was from. He'd already disregarded Jack's medical opinion once and ungagged her, cleaning off the dried blood as best he could without fear of hurting her more.

He fiddled with a stray thread off the thick nylon straps, watching her chest rising up and down systematically. It seemed so robotic, so forced that it scared him. He bent his arm and lay his head down on it, getting as close to her as he could.

It was unbearable to think about the worst case scenarios, and he stubbornly thought of only the best, what they would do when she woke up, what they would talk about. He'd tell her how much she sacred her, about this moment right now, about how scared he'd been when Walt came running up and told him about her condition. Boone curled up and placed his spare arm gently across her stomach.

He wouldn't let her get hurt any more then she was now. He wasn't going to leave her alone again, no matter how big of a fight they got into.

There were so many things that he didn't know about her, and yet he could see them going so far together. He didn't know if it was love, exactly, and it scared him to think about being that devoted to her, but he knew it was something close. Her face was scratched, origins unknown, and all he wanted to do was to take a magic eraser and scrub them off her face.

She still looked beautiful to him, if a little too pale. It struck him odd that they'd been on the island for God only knew how long, and she was still one of the lightest people around. Her dark red hair had gotten a tad lighter at the roots, probably bleached from sun exposure.

He'd never really noticed her eyes before, and they were vividly green, the black specks spread out evenly like strips on a tiger. They seemed a little wet, murky at the place where tears had gathered in the corner of her eyes. They blinked, and her eyelashes were naturally long, with the perfect amount of space between them.

They darted to him, and he suddenly realized that her eyes were open.

"Danoso?" he questioned softly, snapping up. Charlie had told him that she'd been acting crazy and he didn't want to trigger anything.

It took a second for her eyes to find the source of the voice, and when her eyes focused, she managed to whisper out, "Boone?"

Joy that Boone had never known erupted in his heart, and he felt his eyes become watery, "It's me. I'm here now, don't worry…" he gripped her hand, holding it tightly.

She smiled faintly from the touch, and Boone could tell she was weak. She seemed to notice that she was strapped down, her eyes opening wide and her small body struggling. "Boone, help!" she yelled, and Boone instantly got to work on the Velcro. She started to cry just as he got them off, and within the seconds that she was freed, she was engulfed in a full body hug, Boone wrapping his arms around her and holding her tightly.

"I'm here now, Danoso, I'm here…"

She was crying into his shoulder, what about he didn't know. "What's wrong?" he asked softly, and her body started to shake the more worked up she got.

"I thought they had you," she managed to get out in-between sobs. "I thought they'd killed you!" her voice cracked during the last word, and Boone rubbed her back.

"Who's they?" he asked, and she shook her head. Boone felt her hands clenching his shirt material, and he bit his lip. She was awake, but she was distraught.

"Them," she whispered softly, her head buried in Boone's neck. Now that she was awake and felt Boone in the flesh, she was reassured that what she'd just lived through had been a dream, or hallucination. But she couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't. They were two separate realities… Had she actually been captured by the Others? Was it just a dream? How much of her time with Jack and Sawyer had been real? How much a figment of her imagination? And what about Charlie? Had that been real? The sudden break of emotions hit her hard, and she was sobbing even harder into Boone.

"Hey," he whispered, trying to calm her. He pulled her back and looked at her, pulling her onto his lap. "What's wrong?" he asked, and she shook his head, pulling him into her once more. He resisted, trying to catch her eye, "I can't help you if you don't tell me. Charlie said that you were really sick before, and I don't want you scaring me like that again. What's going on?"

Images of various things shoot through her mind; that of a small boy, a plane ticket being handed to her, being strapped to a metal chair, dark things crawling all over her, watching Charlie's silhouette through the tent crack, a tree in the middle of the jungle, her hand on a baby's –Aaron's –chest. A picture frame, Boone laughing at her, Kate handing her food, Sawyer sulking outside the tent, Jack's impatient warnings regarding her fidgeting, the Other's camp blowing up, big, thick needles with clear liquid – all went through her head in a time span of a second, leaving her exhausted and confused.

"Talk to me," Boone's quiet plead came again, and Danoso opened her mouth to speak, nothing coming out. She felt safe in Boone's arms but at the same time, felt the exact opposite.

She was so scared, so frightened, Boone's arms gripped tighter around her and she ignored the pain in her stomach and leg. "I can't remember…" she whispered, and Boone wiped the tears off her face with a dirty rag.

He urged her along gently, "Remember what?" he asked.

"What's real and not…" Danoso said, and Boone tried not to look confused at her words.

He wanted to reassure her, make her feel safer but he didn't know how to do it. "You're tired, don't worry about it. You were probably having a bad dream…"

Danoso looked up at him, finally meeting his eyes. He had no idea. No idea how much more this was. How much of a crisis it was on her, how much this made her doubt herself. The tears stopped coming out of her eyes, and Boone held her until the sobs faded away.

Danoso struggled to keep her eyes open, Boone's warm body and protective cradling was doing little to prevent the urge. She felt him shift under her, and she whispered, "Don't leave me…" quietly. He must have heard, for he stopped moving, and she leaned her head against his chest and closed her eyes, giving into the waves of exhaustion.

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"I told you that you were going the wrong way!" Chase said, tripping on an uprooted tree root and bumping into Kate.

Kate lunged forwards, bracing herself against a tree, knowing that falling with her hands tied wouldn't be a very pretty sight, "We're going the right way, alright?" she sighed, and Chase stared up at her doubtfully.

He looked at her as if she were an idiot. "Then why aren't we there yet?" he asked, raising his eyebrows as she tried to figure out a satisfactory answer. She shook her head and turned to keep going, but Chase stopped her with his hand.

"Wait…" he whispered, suddenly on guard. His body tensed, and he reached into his back pocket for his knife.

Kate stared at him and he stared back, and she strained her ears for what he had heard. "What?" she whispered and he put a finger to his lips. His eyes twitched to the ground, and he stared at it hard, trying to determine the direction of the noise.

"…reckles!... Kat…. Kate!"

His head popped up, a silent question, and she smiled her name became louder, "Kate!"

The heavy accent made it simple to distinguish who the voice belonged to, and Kate shouted out, "Sawyer! Sawyer!" and Chase stared at her bewildered. "It's one of my friends," she explained, smiling. She'd be happy to see anyone that was familiar.

---------------

Sawyer's voice was growing hoarse. Did he really think that he would be able to find her? The hatch could have lead to anywhere, and he'd headed off the way that he was facing, the second that he'd left Charlie.

"Freckles!" he bellowed, and he hoped that the polar bears wouldn't come eat him, or that the stupid monster wouldn't attack him, or that whatever the hell this island had to throw at him, it would lay off. He wasn't particularly in the mood at the moment, and he heard his voice crack with his next, "KATE!"

"Sawyer! Sawyer! OVER HERE!"

Sawyer snapped his head around. Was that Kate? He ran towards the sound, hoping to run into someone soon. It was so close, and he was so sure that it was her. He heard a whisper of warning, and broke into a run, jumping through a large bushel of vegetation. Green vine-like strings whipped at his face, and when he opened his eyes, he saw Kate standing beside a boy, handcuffed, a knife to her head.

"Lil' Bastard!" he yelled as he came roaring into the cleared, and the boy's body froze, his head slowly turning to see Sawyer a split second before he came barreling into the little boy's body, crumpling against the weight effortlessly.

"SAWYER!" Kate screamed in horror, and Sawyer placed the boy between his legs, rearing his fist and yelling,

"I'll teach you to hold Kate hostage you worthless brat!" Kate screamed again when Sawyers fist knocked into Chase's head, the sickening sound reaching her ears and giving her a feeling of nausea.

"Sawyer, stop!" she screamed again, trying to grab hold of his hand as it winded back for another shot. Chase's face was bloody, his small body seeming even tinier covered by Sawyer. Sawyer stood up and dragged Chase along with him, the boy struggling to fight back with the ferocity of a lion as he was lifted into the air and smashed into a tree trunk.

Sawyer punched the winded boy in the stomach repeatedly, and once more in the face before Kate managed to pry him off. Chase fell to the ground motionless save for the random cough of a mixture between blood, saliva and tissue.

"Chase!" Kate gasped in horror, and Sawyer backed off as Kate rushed to the child's side and leaned him against her arms. "You idiot!" she chastised Sawyer, who realized just how small and harmless the child looked. "Chase, can you hear me?" she asked softly, taping his cheeks and looking into his face hopefully. She said nothing and she reached inside his pants and removed the keys to her handcuffs.

Taking them off, her attention automatically returned to Chase when he gasped, having troubles with the intake of required oxygen and his eyes opened to a slit, tears streaming down his face instinctively.

"What hurts Chase?" Kate asked softly, and Chase screwed up his face, as if the pain had just hit him. His small body tensed and contorted, and Kate held him firmly. She lifted him up and placed him on her hip after receiving no answer, and Chase's arm went around Kate's neck, the other hanging limply off to the side; the image a testimony to how absurd Sawyer's violence had been.

The shock ebbed away, and he began to sob, Kate beginning to walk, a befuddled Sawyer following her speechlessly. "What the hell were you thinking?" Kate demanded angrily after a second turning to face Sawyer, who held out his arms.

"What the hell did you expect me ter do Freckles? The kid had a friggen knife to yer head!"

"Because he whispering something to me! He didn't want to get caught by one of the others!"

"Weren't YOU caught by the Others!"

Kate glared at him and turned around, speed walking away from him. He struggled to keep up as she gave him a tongue lashing, "Well, obviously I wasn't! He's just a child, Sawyer! Why would you have tackled him anyways?" She didn't have to tell him that this child single-handedly apprehended her during their first encounter, did she?

"I don't even get brownie points for the fact that I'd come to your rescue no matter what the threat? Does that mean nothing to you?"

"Not when I was a, in no real danger in the first place, and b, the threat was a 12 YEAR OLD BOY!"

Chase hiccupped into Kate's neck, and she patted him soothingly on the back while trying to keep him balanced. "We're almost there Chase," she whispered, and he continued to cry. "Shh… we're almost there…" She had always known that Chase wasn't as strong as he made himself out to be, and Sawyer had effectively… beat the crap out of him. She didn't blame the little guy.

Sawyer watched Kate's actions and stopped for a second. What the hell was going on? Why was Kate comforting some kid and what in the name of HELL had just happened?

"Sawyer!" Kate called impatiently, stopping and facing him, reminding him very much of a nanny.

"Keep you're buns on lady," he muttered as he sullenly headed towards the two, glaring at the child hidden in Kate's hair.

He was so GODDAMN confused…

---------------------

He stared into her eyes, but she couldn't meet his gaze. She looked at the ground, getting as far away from his as possible. "What's your name?" he asked quietly, calmly.

She didn't answer.

He came a little closer, his face now not more then six inches away from her own. "What," he said slowly, "is your name?"

Again, she didn't meet his gaze or answer.

Her hands were tied, and he could probably kill her. She didn't want to die. She was too young to die. She didn't want to die in the middle of the jungle all-alon.

The man sighed. "I'm going to as you one more time. What, is your name?"

She didn't want to die, she didn't want to die. "Rachel," she whispered.

The man smiled. "Good. Now, look at me and tell me. What is your name?"

She knew what was happening. And she was powerless to stop it. She looked him in the eye a split second before she dropped her gaze. "Rachel."

"No it's not," he said, his smile growing. Rachel nodded. She was hanging off every word he was saying even though she didn't know why. It was like her body was propelling her to do so. "It's-"

TBC…

-LOST-

Cohen101

A/N: Oh Gawd. I'm soo sorry for how long it took me to update, and I hope that this chapter satisfied you. I realize I haven't had flashbacks in a LOOONG time, and this chapter would have had one, but I didn't think it was up to par, so I took it out. Hope you liked it, and don't except any more updates until around Christmas time… sorry!


I know that the chapter's ridiculously long, but bear with me! Lol… no excuse for that one, but I seriously have no time for anything right now.

Please review if you liked it, or if you want to yell at me, especially if your still reading!

Merry Christmas!!

MSG me if there are any mistakes – I'm waaay too tired to be functioning…