Thank you everyone that reviewed the last chapter. I greatly appreciated you're reviews, and the feedback because the last chapter was a turning point in the story, and I really put so much into that chapter just because the chapter was primarily focused on Sawyer and Taylor, and him having to say goodbye. From here on I'm about to step up the action and shift back into the 'Outlaws and their Girl' on the run/from place to place style. A reunion between Jack, Kate and Sawyer in on the way:)

Chapter 23- Run

The sound of loud knocks on the door jilted Kate awake. She placed her hand to her rapidly beating heart as her green orbs scanned the darkened hotel room in fear. Kate's curly chestnut locks were matted to her oval shaped face with perspiration in tangles. Kate brushed her hair aside and then planted her hand firmly on the sheets. What time was it? She had to be hallucinating. Kate's hand dropped to her mouth as she turned around to look at Jack. She had already woken him up a couple times that night so she didn't want to bother him with her panic attacks. She took in a deep breath and then tried to calm her nerves.

Kate wrapped her arms around her body as she tried to ignore the chill that was running through her bones. She had this horrid feeling that something was wrong. Kate bit her lip as she cautiously stood up. Her heart was still racing a mile a minute because she was pretty sure she had heard a loud knock. She swallowed nervously as she approached the door. Her footsteps echoed on the floor with empty thuds.

Jack stirred. He wrapped his arms around Kate's pillow expecting to feel her warm body but when he realized that her presence was absent he opened his eyes. "Kate?" he murmured.

Kate turned to face him. "Go back to sleep Jack,"

He sat up and wiped his eyes tiredly, "Did you get any sleep at all?" He patted the spot on the bed next to him. "Come back to bed baby,"

"Just hold on one second," Kate debated whether she should tell Jack about the knocks, but decided against it since she had been the only one to hear it. Especially since things had been pretty sane between them the last couple of days.

"Are you hungry or something?" Jack pulled back the covers and stood up. He stretched out his arms, flexing the muscles in his back, and then dropping his arms down to his sides. A yawn escaped his throat as he reached for the keys. "Where to?"

"What?" Kate asked quietly still intent on checking out the noise. She looked towards the door suspiciously and then back at Jack who was reaching for his pants.

"You don't have to get dressed." Kate said.

Jack smirked, "So what, I'm going to pull up to a McDonald's drive through bare-chested and in boxers?"

Kate fought the urge to make a comment about that not being such a bad idea. Jack walked over to her and then placed his hand on her arm. She could see the concern in his hazel eyes, the same concern she had seen too many times to count. Kate's stomach lurched at the thought of Jack worrying over her again. His hand dropped down to her back and he massaged her gently, moving his hand around in calming circles.

"What's wrong?"


"Kate," Jack said softly. He stood in front of her and then reached for her hands like a parent would to a child that was lying. He flinched when Kate pulled her hands away. Jack took in a deep breath but continued to look at Kate in hopes that she would talk to him. "Did you have a nightmare?"

"No, I just…" Kate placed her hand against the side of her face. She used to be so good at lying but these days her skills were waning. "I thought I heard something."

"Where?" Jack asked a little startled.

Kate placed her hand against his chest, "Calm down,"

"I am calm,"

Kate shook her head, "You're getting jumpy which is the main reason why I didn't wan to tell you,"

"I'm not jumpy, I'm calm," Jack lied as he tried to recompose himself. He placed his hands on Kate's arms and guided her away from the window. "Where did you hear this noise?"

""The door,"

Jack's hands dropped from Kate's arms as he narrowed his eyes to the door. Kate lunged out and grabbed his arm bringing him back towards her. "What are you doing?"

"I know what you're going to do, and you can't do that."

"I have to check."

"What are you going to do just swing open the door and step outside with your hands raised?" Kate shook her head. "And if someone is out there, then you could get shot and I'm not going to let that happen." Kate didn't want to take any chances. "It could be the Marshal he could've found me."

Jack balled his fists. He wasn't going to let the Marshal take Kate. Jack paced the floor as he tried to think of a way out of the hotel if the Marshal was outside, or even worse Sawyer's 'friends.'

Kate moved over to their suitcase and then brought it onto the bed. "Maybe I heard something…maybe I didn't."

"We can't take chances," Jack said as he walked over to her. "Kate, I'm going to keep you safe I swear I'm not going to let anything happen to you,"

"I swear the same, we've come too far," Kate opened the suitcase and then started to search around. She felt Jack looming over her and she suspected that he didn't have a plan which was unusual for Jack. Kate sighed in relief when her hands rested against the cold metal. It was a wonder to her how Jack hadn't found the gun yet even though they had been sharing a suitcase.

"Where did you get that?"

"Don't ask," Kate rolled her eyes towards him. "You've softened me a little, but I'm still a fugitive, with something to protect." Kate took off the safety. "Hopefully I won't have to use this,"

"If anyone has to use the gun it should be me," Jack whispered as he held out his hand.

"We can't argue about this now. Turn off the lights."

"I don't want you to have the guilt on your hands of killing anyone," Jack whispered in her ear as he placed his hands on Kate's shoulder.

"I already have the guilt of murder on my conscious, and if anyone is out there after us, it'll be self defense." Kate bit her lip as she looked back at Jack. "Would you think I was a monster if I told you I would kill someone that tried to hurt you without a shred of regret?"

Jack stared back at Kate in silence for a couple of seconds and then answered. "No,"

"The same goes for Sawyer, Taylor and Chloe. When the people I love are in danger I fight back…because at the end of the day that's all I have. Now Jack, please turn off the lights," Kate watched as he hesitated at first and then walked over to the light in his boxer briefs. If someone was watching them then they probably got a kick out of all of the night's activities. Kate frowned at the thought of someone watching her sleep with Jack. She was brought back to reality by Jack bumping into her shoulder. Kate looked up at him. "Maybe I'm wrong and we're alone, but just in case…" Kate placed her hand on his shoulder and brought him to the ground. Together they took refuge behind the bed with their heads raised so the could look towards the window. "The downtime was fun while it lasted."

Jack cautiously looked at the gun in Kate's hand. "Kate, let me hold it."

"No Jack!" She exclaimed.

He bit his tongue in order to hold the 'I'm a better shot than you' comment that was on the tip of his tongue. As if Kate could read his mind she glanced over at him with narrowed green saucers.

"I am just as good of a shot as you Shephard if not better," Kate declared.

Jack just nodded trying to withhold the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

Kate hit him.


Kate looked towards the window once more slightly paranoid. "We've been in a lot of tight situations and I haven't exactly sat back and played the damsel in distress…I've been kicking ass right along with you."

Jack snorted, "You make this ordeal sound fun."

Kate placed down the gun so she could wipe her clammy hand along the bed spread, "Well it hasn't been fun obviously with all the breakdowns I've had along the way, but if it wasn't for all of this…" Kate motioned around with her hands. "Then we would've never met."

For a second Jack lost all recollection of the possible outside intruder as he stared into Kate's eyes. He loved when she was honest with him, because he knew how difficult it had been for her to start opening up to him in the first place. "I want to kiss you now,"

"With a gun in my hand?"

"It just makes you look that much sexier,"

Kate grinned and then placed her hand underneath his chin as she brought him closer. "If we're still safe and sound in a couple of hours, then you know what I want to do."

"It seems barely appropriate to talk about that now."

"Yeah," Kate looked away.

"But I agree, after we're clear then we can have a little 'us' time…oh but um…" Jack scratched his head. "One problem,"


"No more condoms,"

Kate bit her lip, "Shit, okay we'll have to work something out later but…my god, okay let's concentrate. There could be someone outside waiting to kill us or put us underneath the jail and here we are talking about sex,"

"We are practically married."

Kate smiled, "Still, we have to focus. I was really scared earlier because I thought I heard something but I'm starting to believe that it wasn't anything." She tilted her head to the right to get a better view of the window. Eerie shadows bounced off the paned glass windows making it look as if someone was standing right outside.

An engine revved outside loudly which startled Kate temporarily. Her eyebrows furrowed low over her eyes. "Did you hear that?"

"Of course," Jack said.

"Good, just making sure I'm not going crazy." Kate reached for Jack's hand with her other. Her heart rate had increased once again and the nagging feeling that something wasn't right clouded over her once more. She squeezed Jack's hand tighter as then engine revved louder. Kate bit her lip. "Someone's outside,"

Jack nodded, "I know,"

"I think it's them," Kate said through her teeth. She raised the gun and then placed it on the bed close by. "So I did hear something…" Kate rummaged around in the bag for the money Taylor had given them right before leaving. "I'm going to violate you for a second," She whispered.

Jack stared back at Kate in confusion through the dark. She used her hand to hold back the elastic strap of Jack's boxer briefs. "What are you doing?"

"Just in case we have to make a sudden run for it," Kate tucked the envelope of money between the elastic strap and Jack's bare skin. "Thank god you wear boxer briefs otherwise we would have to get creative,"

"Why don't we take the bag?"

Kate looked behind her, "Because…"

The high beams flashed on temporarily distracting them both. Kate shielded her eyes with her hands and the gun dropped down to the floor.

"Shit!" Frantically Kate dived down onto the floor and started to search around for the gun, the high beams impaired her vision. She squinted as her eyes focused on the gun which was now suddenly in Jack's hand. Kate reached for it, but it was too late.

Outside the engine revved even louder than the first two times. The car groaned in protest, but the foot on the pedal wouldn't allow the car to relax. A door was thrust open and then a silhouette broke into a run. An explosion sounded ten seconds afterwards. The window shattered and shards of glass sprinkled down like rain onto the carpet. The curtains billowed violently and then fell to the ground in a heap.

Kate and Jack were slammed against the wall as lamps crashed to the floor. Protectively Jack tried to cover Kate. He heard her scream but he held onto her tightly. It appeared that an explosion had just gone off. As Jack tried to gather his thoughts the sudden shuffling of footsteps and more breaking glass started to ring in his ears. The gun. He didn't have any time to thing. Fight or Flight. Fight or Flight. There was no where to run because the door was blocked. He felt the gun being pried from his hands. Kate was surprisingly strong. Jack blinked and then he realized what was going on.

Someone was in the room with them.

A fire burned behind the shadows in the night, remnants of what appeared to be Jack and Kate's only transportation. Jack's mouth dropped open as he watched the hulking figures approach. There were three of them with guns drawn. They looked around the room with swift motions, a gun in each one of their hands.

Shots were fired.

Screams of agony filled Jack's ears and a chill ran through his body. The gunshots were coming from underneath him. Kate was firing at the shadows.

They fired back but their guns were aimed at the walls creating a million bullet holes through the cheap wallpaper embroidered with flowers and white lines.

One by one they fell.

Kate pushed Jack off of her. He fell backwards and crashed into the wall.

"Are you okay!" She screamed as she looked around swiftly and then stood up.

"Get down," Jack grabbed Kate's hand and pulled her back onto the ground. "We don't know if there are anymore of them out there." His breathing was labored and fear coursed through his veins, but he knew that he couldn't let his apprehension overcome him because he had to protect Kate.

"If there were anymore they would've rushed in after them…" Kate paused to point at the three dead men on the floor, "Jack we have to go." When he made no signs of moving Kate dived down and then swung his arm around her shoulder. "More of them are probably on the way!"

"I'm fine," He jumped in front of Kate and then started to walk cautiously towards the door. He clenched his jaw as he stepped over the three dead bodies. Jack couldn't bring himself to look down at their faces even though he knew they would've killed him if Kate hadn't killed them first.

"I have the gun," Kate made her way in front of him and then made a quick maneuver towards the window. She dodged down and then held out the gun towards the window as she looked out. Her mouth dropped open in horror at the sight in front of her. "Shit!"

"What?" Jack asked with wide eyes as he joined his fiancé by the window.

"That explosion was our car." Kate cursed underneath her breath at their inability to keep a car. "We have to go, and somewhere along the way form a Plan B,"

Jack nodded trying to take their situation in. He wasn't used to being the one that followed the orders, he was used to being in charge, but their current situation had caught him completely off guard even though he knew they were in constant danger. "They have to have a car,"

"Are you kidding me! Drive in their car?" Kate cried. "If you think we have a bullseye on our back now then wait until we take their car. We're wasting time we have to get out of here Jack."

Swallowing down the last of his fears Jack dropped down to one of the intruders and searched around for a gun. He finally found one a couple of seconds later still clasped inside a bloody hand. Jack felt his stomach heave but he withheld the vile rising in his throat. Kate was pulling him up again and the world started to spin around him in a blur as they started to run.