Jack Driscoll stopped stumbling through the dense forest and caught his breath. His breathing seemed unnaturally loud in the suddenly quiet jungle. He placed one hand on a thick branch and hung his head, his dark hair falling into his eyes. Jack had just left Carl and the others after battling the massive insects, and he knew he was a fool to go off alone. But he wouldn't leave her here. The others might take her for dead and Jack knew that he should as well. There was very little chance that whatever… monster had Ann would spare her but he could see her in his mind's eye. And he wouldn't leave the jungle until he had her back.
He remembered when he first noticed his feelings for her had gone past simple attraction. He had already made a fool out of himself when he had turned the corner of the narrow halls of the ship and found her there. He inwardly cringed at his crude compliment.
How had she not slapped him then and there?
But then Jack remembered what happened later. Having just come to deliver the new pages of the script to Carl he saw her standing with the ocean as a backdrop… and that was the precise moment he fell in love with her. The tears in her eyes had stopped him, gripped him. And he stood frozen for a moment, as her eyes locked on to his. He was unable to look away, unable to even blink. He could summon the expression on her face at that moment to his memory and spill out thousands of words of poetry. She inspired him. As soon as the moment was broken, he had hurried away, unable to see anything but her face illuminated by the sunset. He stumbled below deck, sat at his typewriter and 2 hours later had produced a play. It was his fastest work ever, yet it seemed to be his best. He couldn't even fathom how much control she had over him.
And then he had rushed to show it to her.
And she kissed him.
He remembered how it felt. Like he had been in the middle of train wreck. He was that disoriented. That night he lay awake for hours, reliving every moment. The next morning dawned and he was bleary eyed and exhausted, having hardly slept, but unable to wipe the stupid grin off his face.
And she had grabbed his hand in the boat on the way to the island. She needed him to protect her and he had let her down! He had let the beast take her from him.
He wrenched himself upright, ignoring his muscles that screamed in protest. Every fiber of his being needed her there with him and with renewed vigor Jack threw himself into the dense jungle. The muscles in his legs bunched as he pushed off a stump and caught himself from falling face forward with his forearms. He scrambled back up yanking himself upright and jumping through a gaping hole in the trees. He heart rapped a steady tattoo as he crashed through the underbrush and finally when he paused he heard something.
A deep, steady breath. It rattled the trees around him and the wind whispered along with it.
He was close.
His breathing slowed and he willed every muscle in him to go slow as well. He even tried to regulate his own heartbeat. Inch by inch he left the relative shelter of the trees and exposed himself in the open. And then he saw her.
He saw her. He remembered. And everything was worth it.