Newspaper Word Cutouts

Disclaimer: I'm just playing make-believe on a really large scale here. All characters and the like are not mine, but property of JJ Abrams, ABC, etc, etc, etc. Yeah, Lost ain't mine. And either are the song lyrics in here. They belong to the fantastic Imogen Heap and are from her song "Hide and Seek." And that's not all I have borrowed in the name of creativity. We have some Moby Dick, a little Dirty Harry and Clint Eastwood, a touch of Bob Marley, a dash of Casanova, a sprinkling of James Dean, some Tennyson and Idylls of the King, and some Great Expectations. Wow. That is a lot of intertextuality.

Rating: R (language, adult themes, sex)

Summary: He's been playing the name game for as long as he can remember. She of all people should understand that. Sawyer/Kate.

Author's Note: I just can't stop. I am addicted. Lost has sucked me in and doesn't seem to be letting go. So here is my second stab at this genre's fanfiction. This piece is, well, odd, and that's coming from the author. It is ultimately Sawyer/Kate, but I guess more than anything, a portrait of Sawyer. That said, do enjoy and please, pretty please, review.

1. johnny cash

where are we?
what the hell is going on?
the dust has only just began to fall
crop circles in the carpet

Four minutes after James Ford was born there was a massive power outage at Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee.

If he was a man of faith, he'd call it a sign. But he's not. It is what it is. No sense in questioning it.

Eight years later, give or take, his dad put a bullet in his mama and then blew his own fucking brains out on his son's own damn bed.

James Ford might have listened to too much Johnny Cash as a child. He has yet to call Folsom Prison home, he's never been to Reno, but he has shot a man. Just to watch him die.

If he was a man of faith, he might say that's why he's on this island. But he's not.

It is what it is.

- -

It is funny.

It is funny what you think of when you believe your life is seconds away from ending.

He didn't catalog the important moments of his life. He didn't think of his proudest moments, he didn't think of all the places he had never seen or the women he had never fucked. He didn't regret mismanaged decisions or pine for unmet dreams.

Instead he saw his father, he saw his father sitting on a porch, their front porch. And he was singing, singing slow and long, hymn like and hypnotizing.

"When I was just a baby, my mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns."
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowin' I hang my head and cry."

It never happened. But as the back of the plane was wrenched off, and the oxygen masks danced on the panic in the air before him, he could almost swear that it was real.

He woke up with sand in his mouth. He woke up with sand in his mouth and blood in his eyes. And he remembered. Everything.

Time passes like slow sand slipping through an hourglass. And suddenly he is aboard a raft and floating out and into the sea and setting sun.

He holds the gun in his sweaty palm. The hot metal pressed up against his skin. He fingers the trigger, the sun beating on his neck, and he holds the gun like a crucifix and wishes he was in Reno again.

2. captain ahab

sinking, feeling
spin me around again
and rub my eyes
this can't be happening

Call me Sawyer.

Eight minutes after three in the morning, James Ford opens his eyes and he is underwater.

The salt-water stings his eyes and he shuts them, his shoulder burning, burning, burning, and fuck, it hurts like hell.

He has never been shot before. Hurts a hell of a lot more than he thought it would.

Against his better judgment, which he always seems to be sorely lacking, he opens his eyes again and all he sees is inky, spilled ink, inky darkness stretching from him into the beyond.

He can hear voices, voices begging him, pleading with him to just stay here, stay put and wait it out.

"Stay, stay here. Stay with me." Oxygen deprived and dizzy, he swears that it is Kate. That Freckles is somewhere, down by the ocean floor, lying there languid and lingering. For him. Begging him to stay, with her and the mermaids, the silence and the never-ending darkness.

Maybe he will. It is tempting. Maybe it is.

He drifts a little lower, down and down. And it is so easy.

Jesus Christ, man. You don't die like this. No, if you're going down, you're going down in a blaze of bullets, a pistol clenched in each hand and the goddamn devil himself screaming right through you. Not like this. Not like this.

Not yet.

- -

He once read it somewhere. Or maybe he saw it on the Discovery Channel. Isn't really worth a damn where he got his information from, he thinks, as the tepid water splashes across his legs. But sharks catch their prey by listening for a heartbeat.

He thinks of this as a sliver of the moon shines down and a hop, skip and a leap away the water ripples, ripples with a motion buried beneath the undulating surface.

Sharks can hear a heart beating. And, Sawyer, he tries to fashion himself as heartless once again.

3. dirty harry

when busy streets
a mess with people
would stop to hold their heads heavy

They all started dying in a hurry.

Ana-Lucia went first. They found her strangled in her tent. It didn't make a damn bit of sense. But she was dead and they were left to deal with the reality.

Jack finally flipped. It was odd, even for him, to see the lone stable figure of the bunch crack. And Kate was there; Kate was there to talk him down off of whatever ledge he was contemplating leaping off of.

Michael was next. Some thought he had gone mad. And maybe he had. Maybe he had finally been the one to succumb to whatever illness that French chick and that crazed son of a bitch who had lived in the hatch before they arrived had blathered on about. Maybe it was just grief and worry and fear eating away at a father. Whatever it was, it led him into the jungle, deep into the heart of the jungle as the sun was setting and night was dawning.

Of course, they had to fucking follow him. And there they are. Right now.

In the weeks following the crash, Sawyer didn't think he would ever find himself in a full out battle in the midst of broken trees and claustrophobic canopies. But here he is. Fists flying and cries echoing.

If this is what makes a man a hero, he wants no part in it. It lacks the intimacy of the kill he has found himself accustomed to.

Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track of myself.

And they are everywhere and nowhere. He doesn't understand. He can't see, he isn't thinking. Rain drips down his forehead, down his hanging hair and into his eyes.

He hears a yelp, and he whips his head around. And he can see, between the soaked strands of hair he can see her, holding her face, blood slipping down her cheek and in between her fingers.

He had hit her. Some son of a bitch, more animal than human, had pistol whipped Kate across the face. And she was on her knees and in the mud and bleeding, bleeding, bleeding and she had been hit and hurt and Sawyer doesn't even think about what he is doing anymore.

You've got to ask yourself a question…

The gunshots echo in the jungle. The man, or maybe he is just a boy, in the rain and gloom it is impossible to tell, falls. He falls on Kate who falls to the ground, covered in her own blood and that of another.

Something connects in between his shoulder blades, hard and fast, and he falls to his knees. He rolls to his back, unloads a shot or two into some poor son of a bitch's gut and the blood rains down on him.

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

- -

He crawls over to her across the sticky jungle floor, and she just lies there, underneath the body of a dead man, breathing fast and heavy, out of fear or pain or maybe a terrifying combination of the two.

He pushes the body off of her. He pushes the body off, and she just remains there, halfway crumpled in the dirt, fully conscious and aware.

"Michael's dead," she whispers, and slowly rises to her feet.

- -

If this is romance, he isn't quite sure what to think of it.

He takes her by the water. He found her there. Leaning over and attempting to wash the macabre mix of blood, sweat, grime and mud off her arms. He recognizes the cove, the water, the falls. He knows the dead sink beneath the surface.

He calls her name, only half of it comes out choked and wrong. She just hangs her head. And then they are kissing, and he had forgotten it could ever feel like this.

Chronology has fallen to the wayside. It is just touch and feel, snatch and grab, take and run.

He fucks her there. In the dirt, creating injuries all their own, sharp marks on the skin amid the damage already wreaked.

And they stay there. For maybe longer than necessary. They just stay there, post-coital, half clothed, the slow drizzle sliding down slick skin.

"Why…" A hushed whisper, illustrated across his naked shoulder. "Why…is it…that whenever someone dies…" Hand brushing up and down, disrupting the light hair on his scarred forearms. "We need to feel…" Fingers dancing across empty belt loops, edging ever closer, ever closer. The metallic teeth that keep him caged inside. Lips pressed to his shoulder, breath invading skin. "That much more…"

He swallows. And she watches him, he can feel her eyes on him even in the darkness. Especially in the darkness.

Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie and motherfucking Clyde.

4. mr. sawyer

hide and seek
trains aren't solving machines
all those years
they were here first

They bury Michael. They place him in the expanding makeshift cemetery, next to Ana-Lucia, neighbor to Shannon and Boone and the marshal. They say kind words, and bow their heads, thinking of Walt and rafts and the dead.

Sawyer can only think of Bob Marley.

Kate grabs his hand. He knows she is crying and he lets her. And her hand feels so damn cool against his skin and he wonders why he is holding on so tight.

"Won't you help to sing, these songs of freedom

'Cause all I ever had, redemption songs, redemption songs…"

He wishes they were still out on the water and burning in the sun.

He watches the first handful of dirt fall six feet down.

Redemption songs.

He holds a fistful all his own and watches it drop, some of it trailing off into the wind, riding off and away. And he hopes, a silent prayer, foreign and unfamiliar after so much time, that maybe now this man has finally found some peace.

- -

15 minutes before eight o'clock, a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer washes up on shore, a mess of matted paper and bleeding ink enclosed in the battered, wet leather.

- -

As the years passed by, from the age of eight to this, he has whittled that letter down to nothing more than a short, succinct memo. He finds himself constantly in the habit of composing letters in his head. And he applies it for everything. Everything. Anything and everything can go back to this single man. And it might be like a prayer, his own silent appeal.

Dear Mr. Sawyer,
You fucker.
Are you happy?

- -

They lie there, in a strange repressed silence. They lie there in his tent, next to each other, forearms barely, just barely touching each other.

He fears fucking Freckles might be habit-forming.

And it is late. The moon has replaced the sun. It is late. And it doesn't really matter what time it is. It really hasn't mattered for too damn long.

He'll just stare straight up, up and up and up, staring at the roof of his makeshift home and watching the slowly drizzling rain slide down the sides of the tent.

Her hand slides. It slides over, crossing an invisible line, set down silently, wordlessly. She crosses it, and grips his hand, and all he can think is a litany of cusses, a string of epithets.

Out of the corner of his eye, he can see her looking up at him. Grave. He can see the gravity, the earnestness and the almost hopefulness there.

He pulls his hand away, away from her fingers tracing small circles on the underside of his wrist, and flings it across his bare chest. The palm of his hand comes to lie on his left shoulder. Battle scars and bullet wounds.

He listens as she exhales, deep and frustrated. And she is quiet. And he waits. He knows what's coming.

"Sawyer, why do you do this?" Exasperation. He decides that exasperation is the perfect word for her tone.

He imagines there weren't tears at the end of that question. That her voice didn't break when she said his name.

He's not weak. And he doesn't waste his time on those that are.

"Do what," he drawls, and, Jesus, does he crave a cigarette, a bottle of whiskey. He craves anything he can put between his fingers that isn't a healed injury or a hand of another.

"This. Why do you do this? God, Sawyer. It's so…one step forward, and two hundred steps back." She stops. And she isn't collecting her breath. No. She is fine and so is he and the rain is picking up speed and he left his goddamn shoes outside his tent.

"Freckles, what the hell are you tryin' to spit out?"

She sits up. Airplane regulation blanket pressed to her bare chest. And she looks down at him, she looks down at him, and raises a hand to his face, cool palm pressing to his cheek and turning him towards her.

Gentle. She is almost fucking gentle with him.

"Why won't you let me in?" she whispers, shaky breath, trembling fingers.

He looks her in the eye, and he speaks without thinking. Bad habit, bad fucking habit.

"Because you'll eventually want to be let back out."

She looks more chastened than appeased. She looks like a fucking dog kicked square in the face. And she lays back down in silence.

5. giacomo casanova

oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before
the takeover
the sweeping insensitivity of this

He has always traded women like party favors. End the night with a stiff drink and a good lay with a pretty face and an even more attractive physique.

When he was 23, a woman proposed to him. They were still naked, shining with a sheen of clean sweat, and she just blurted it out. "Will you marry me?"

And he had drawled, slow yet impatient, "Ain't you already got a husband?"

And she had smiled, aiming for coquettish, yet landing somewhere in the realm of desperate.

"I could leave him. For you."

And he chuckled. Because what the hell else does a man do when a woman he has known no more than two weeks proposes holy fucking matrimony?

"Baby, marriage is the tomb of love."

And he kissed her on the forehead and walked out the room, shaking his head. He was far from amused.

- -

He thinks of the way she kissed him that first time. He thinks of the way she let them touch and for a second be something a little bit more. He thinks of the way they kissed, and wonders if it was mere anger, pain, convenience or coercion that fueled the action.

There was a certain madness to it all. The scent of the jungle creeping its way into his mind, the dirt, the sweat, the salt. There is always sweat. It doesn't matter where you are, the hour, or the temperature. There is always at the very least that thin sheen of sweat dripping down the back of a neck, plastering a shirt to a clammy spine.

This really wasn't any different.

He thinks of the way she kisses him, and he wants to watch the word 'love' escape her lips. He wants to hear how it sounds coming from her, he wants to hear the way it leaves her tongue and lands with him. For him.

He wants her to love him.

He runs a hand through sandy hair. And stops. "Ain't that just fucking perfect," he whispers into the wind.

He can see himself in her. And he wonders if loving her makes him a narcissist. He always has been enchanted with himself.

He can also see her with Jack, with Jack. Jack. He can see the effect the Doc has on her. The gentleness, near tenderness they seem to share. It only has amplified since Ana-Lucia's death.

And there they are, four hours later. Strolling the path from the hatch to the beach, and he finally flips the lid and waits tosee what surprisesspill out.

"Do you love him?"

"What? Who? What? I…I…no, no I don't love him." She stutters and it makes him wonder.

"Do you love me?"

And he imagines he will never forget this moment for the rest of his life. He will be old and gray and finally upon his deathbed, taking in that last gasp of air, filling his lungs, and this moment will spring to mind. That goddamn youthful arrogance, that hope so blindly attached to the promise of love and the anticipation of commitment, a word that sticks to the roof of his mouth and he can't quite seem to spit out.

It's that old goddamn game of "love me, love me not." He can picture a daisy in his hand, chanting, chanting, chanting softly "she loves me," "she loves me not." And for a fleeting second, she loves him, she loves him, and he watches the petal fall and realizes the stem isn't completely dry.

She looks him in the eye, and he has to respect her for that. Hell, he has to love her for that. She looks right at him, unreadable.

"No, Sawyer. I don't."

And he has to chuckle. He has to. It might be a coping mechanism, or maybe he has fast-forwarded this all and is dancing somewhere in the future, and in retrospect this whole scenario is laughable. The plane crash, the heroics, the disaster, the death, the inner workings of a love triangle more fitting on daytime television than this island of doom.

"Right…yeah, that's right."

And he thinks, yes, she is in love. She is in love with ghosts, with the dead, with a past she carries around in her back pocket, packaged safely inside a toy airplane far safer than Oceanic Flight 815 proved to be.

She loves a toy airplane neither Jack nor he could ever dream of flying higher than.

She is in love with men she has helped put in the ground. And Sawyer wonders if he were to fall over dead that maybe then, maybe, as long as she holds the dagger, the cyanide, the noose, the trigger, his heart, that maybe she could love him too.

6. james dean

still alive
hide and seek
trains and sewing machines

(you won't catch me around here)

blood and tears
they were here first

"It hurts, doesn't it?"

He turns around, and there is Jack, ambling slowly, deliberately through the brush towards him.

"What you goin' on about, Doc?"

And Jack just smiles, a smile void of humor or good cheer, but instead grim and maybe even pained.

"What hurts, Jack?" he whispers, not sure he wants to hear where this is going.

"Life. Life, it still manages to go on here, in the middle of nowhere. And it still manages to hurt like hell."

- -

"You seen Kate?" Maybe he likes to toy with Jack. And that is why he asks him this. Maybe he likes to set people off, light them on fire, and watch them hop around trying to quell the flames.

"That's funny. I could ask you the same thing." He looks at him the way a man looks at a thief. And it pisses him off.

"You want me to play the villain, sheriff? You want me to point and draw and let you shoot me down? Place all the goddamn blame on me and let you ride off into the sunset with your pretty little lady? Will it make it that much easier for you, Doc?"

He's in his face, and Jack isn't backing down. He's not sure why he is surprised. He never thought of this man as a coward. But now he has got him cornered and he'll go from here.

"The bad news, boy scout? It don't work that way. You're a simple man, Jack. You're a simple man, but you ain't going to be able to dumb this one down into a game of cops and robbers, my friend."

Sawyer turns to leave, leaves sticking to the soles of his shoes, branches cracking beneath each heavy footstep.

And Jack won't let this drop.

"Why are you doing this, Sawyer?"

And he smirks; of course he smirks. Sawyer doesn't smile; he smirks. It is smug, it is obnoxious and as he looks at Jack, that kind face contorted with emotion now, he has to wonder why and how Kate could ever want him over Jack.

"I ain't doing this on purpose, Hoss," he whispers, and is slightly embarrassed by the amount of emotion bleeding from the statement.

- -

He finds her in the hatch. He finds her in the hatch and he has possession screaming in his blood.

He kisses her, hard, teeth gnashing, biting lips. He kisses as he would kill, and it makes her moan all the louder.

He pushes her against the kitchen counter, imagining how the sharp edge must bite into the small of her back. He kisses her and claims her and wonders, fleetingly, again, if this is the definition of romance, and if so, how they ever managed to package it into children's stories.

He spins her around and bends her over, a blender skidding to the floor in the confusion. The crash and the clang echoes in his ears as he rips her pants, her panties, down and off her hips.

She might have protested. Or merely gasped, prayed, begged for him out loud.

Her hands are splayed across the countertop. And he imagines once they are through, her handprints will still be there, wide and spread.

He kisses, he nips, the back of her neck, and slowly recognizes that he is speaking. Short snippets, incomplete sentences. The meaning is still there.

"I love…I love…I love…"

He hears a ringing in his ears, alarm bells, sirens calling, and clenching her hip like an anchor in all this, he lets himself go over.

He has no idea how long Jack was standing there.

Kate stands shame-faced, frantic, hurriedly adjusting her clothing. Sawyer takes his time, slowly zipping up his pants. He is suddenly eight again and waiting for the gun to fire.

"You going to type in the code?" He'd call it a snap, but the tone is too tight, too taut to break just yet. Sawyer imagines his teeth are clenched shut, grinding, grinding, grinding.

Kate just walks away. And the two stand there. Spaghetti western style.

Locke found some old filmstrips. Press conferences and antiquated film. And he can hear a voice projecting across the openness and the tight, confined spaces.

"There is no way to be truly great in this world. We are all impaled on the crook of conditioning. A fish that is in the water has no choice that he is. Genius would have it that we swim in sand.

We are fish and we drown."

Dear Mr. Sawyer,
You fucker.
Are you happy?

The handprints disappeared sixteen minutes later.

7. sir lancelot

mmm, what'd you say?
mmm, that you only meant well
well of course you did
mmm, what'd you say?
mmm, that it's all for the best
of course it is

mmm, what'd you say?
mmm, that it's just what we need
you decided this
mmm, what'd you say?
what did she say?

Sawyer was never a fan of geometry. There weren't any rounded curves he could bullshit his way around. Only angular corners and sharp, exact points.

Maybe that's why the term 'love triangle' irks him all the more.

He thinks of it as a kind of misnomer. Love triangle. To him it implies a neatness, an angularity, a perfected proportion this fucked situation is sorely lacking. Three points that come together to add up to a guarantee, a promise and at the very end of it, an easy outcome.

He doesn't really know what the appropriate term would be. He is a con artist. A grifter. A man who has made his living lurking in the shadows and latching on as a well-dressed parasite. He scraped by high school with the minimally acceptable grade in English composition. He can charm, he can debate and argue and throw out witty barbs and poisoned sarcasm.

Sawyer isn't very good with truthful words. He is better with action. A plan, a pistol, a prize.

Yet still, he imagines, he thinks, and he wonders if maybe this is all nothing more than a dreamcatcher. His father had one once, hanging in his office, in the window. Even as a child Sawyer found it odd. A net of yarn and string hanging inelegantly on the pane, lying in wait to let the good pass through, let the hope in and for the future to fall from there.

He asked his dad why he had it there. He hadn't understood. Maybe he still doesn't. And he had waxed on about faith and belief and the inevitable, and Sawyer wonders today if that's when the line between the two men was drawn.

He likes to think that maybe that's what they are now. Some kind of dreamcatcher, some kind of snarled, twisted mess of hopes, emotions and desires.

He and Kate and Jack are not the defined points of a geometric shape. No, they are the interwoven design of something none of them can unravel unharmed.

And only time will tell which direction the wind shall blow.

- -

He had never read Tennyson before. He had almost dropped out of school at 16, but kept going all the same. Rarely attending class, and when he did, spending his lunch outside smoking with cigarettes with the stoners and the like.

But here he sits. Squinting in the bright sunlight. He lets the words wash over him and tries to ignore the pain.

And then they were agreed upon a night
(When the good King should not be there) to meet
And part for ever.

When he looks up, Kate is standing over him.

"Tell me you love me." A short, quick undertone, shame sliding off her like salty sweat.

"What, I'm your new trick pony now, Freckles? It don't work that way."

He thought she knew better.

- -

She has a look in her eyes when he says they need to talk that just screams of everything he is about to say. Makes it all the damn harder.

He has never given a woman away. He has abandoned, dumped, royally screwed over, fucked around on and altogether shattered the heart of many a woman, but he has never offered one up to another man.

He watches her retreating figure down the beach. The slow, unconscious sway of her hips, the way her hair whipped about her face, salt and sand sticking to her as she moves farther and farther away.

Towards him. Towards what he is lacking and could never offer.

She hadn't said a word.

He closes his eyes and runs a hand over his face, the stubble scratching the palm of his hand.

He wants to tell her that she has to choose. That it has to be one or the other, that it can only be him or the other. But he doesn't. Because he knows, deep down he knows, that this very well might not be the case.

They are in the wild now. And all the guidelines and rules of commitment and monogamy went down in the fiery crash of Oceanic Flight 815.

And Sawyer's center of being is somewhere at the bottom of the sea, floating with remnants of the dead.

He has never considered himself as noble before. Never had a reason to. But watching her move farther and farther up the beach, it is the only damn word he can think of.

8. pip

ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cutouts
speak no feeling, no, i don't believe you
you don't care a bit,

you don't care a bit

She is wearing purple when he spots her. And he figures. He always liked her best in that. And he'll be damned if she doesn't know it.

She is sitting in the trees, among the verdant leaves and the remaining over-ripened fruit. Her entire face is blocked by the shine of the sun, and maybe for the first time in his life, amid the halo of daylight framing her face, he understands the meaning of the word 'beauty' in its purest sense.

She slides on down, back to the earth, back towards him. And they begin to walk, a slow stroll with no destination in mind.

"How are you?" She asks slowly, measuring each word as though it might be the last shared between the two of them.

"Peachy keen, sweetheart." He isn't sure if he meant for it to be as acidic as it sounded, but he damn well enjoys the crestfallen look that graces her face. "And 'bout yourself?"

She just smiles, tight-lipped, the grin failing to reach her eyes.

"And how about Doc? How's he been doin'?" The problem with Sawyer is he has never known when to take his finger off the trigger and give the attack a rest.

She freezes. And he expected it. "Stop it."

He throws his hands up, in defeat, in defiance, in a declaration to keep the punches rolling his way. "Stop what exactly, Freckles? Merely inquiring into the state of dear old Jack."

She jabs a finger into the center of his chest. He'd say her eyes are swimming but he doesn't like to think of the water, the ocean, the sharks. "No, you don't get to do this." Shaky voice leads to shaky nerves on his part. He can deal with wailing women. But there is something about a broken Kate that makes him slip a little too. "You…you did this. You let me go."

...suffering has been stronger than all other teaching…

The distance between the two is shrinking, shrinking, shrinking. His breath is catching and he blames the humidity, her swimmy eyes, her shaky words.

and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be.

"You can't let go of something that was never yours to begin with."

Her jaw is trembling, and he leans in, just a little bit more, and whispers, "You're his now."

And he turns, begins his slow descent from her and back down to the beach, his home. The leaves hang heavy above, clouds hovering dangerously above.

He is almost out of view, he imagines. And he can picture her still rooted in place, waiting to grow tall with the trees around her.

The wind rushes past, and he almost believes he can hear her breath in deep.

"I love you." And he stops. Her erratic, hysterical call resonating in his head. No, not a call. A plea. A prayer.

A claim.

He turns around slowly, and there she is. Yards away and still.

"I love you," she whispers, and he imagines this is what they call a second chance.

I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.

9. james ford

you don't care a bit
you don't care a bit

"Australia was the first time I ever left the damn country."



"Got deported."

She laughs softly. "There's a surprise. What'd you do?"

"Started a fight with the wrong man." And he looks at her, square in the face, and maybe for a bit, longer than necessary.

He could call it a start. And maybe that is what this is. Starting again. With her. And with himself. Simple truths. They always lead to something more. Or at least that's what he's banking on.

- -

Maybe it is a triangle. Maybe there are three separate points, three separate concepts connecting together creating nothing but white noise trapping the three of them in the center, left to tango or duke it out. There is the commitment, the unattainable and the need. And what it creates…he doesn't quite understand.

He does understand though that maybe, maybe he and Jack make Kate a whole. He does understand that sometimes it takes more than one to make a person.

The safety and the trigger. You need both to feel safe around a gun.

A plane crashes in a jungle, and rather than death, he meets something else. He would call it rebirth if he was a religious man. He would call it fate if he was John Locke. He would call it nothing if he was the Good Doctor.

But he's not. Any of them. He isn't even sure anymore who the hell he is. And he doesn't think it really matters. Not here.

He can call it happenstance and coincidence, a chance, a fluke, a brush with the unknown and a reversal of fortune. And he shall.

There is the sea and the jungle. There is her and himself. There is a rock and a hard place.

He imagines a man is little more than a cut and paste model of all the influences throughout a lifetime. But the glue can't always hold. And every now and then, a man can fall apart.

Every now and then, a man can rebuild himself.

One hour and four minutes before the sun rises, James Ford sits on an abandoned beach.

And he whispers, singsong, slow and long, hymn like and hypnotizing.

"You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine
I walk the line…"

Maybe he did listen to too much Johnny Cash as a child. Maybe, if his father hadn't died at the age of 42 he would have listened to even more.

He watches the tide go out, the expanse of beach getting wider and wider with every thirsty gulp of the ocean, leaving little behind save for sand.

And, yes, he thinks. Jack is the safety, and he, Sawyer, the sea. And she will continue to swim out, get lost in him, slide under the waves and forget about the tide and eventually find her way back to Jack, crawling up the sandy beach.

He is just waiting for the day she can no longer see the shore and she finally drifts far enough under that the ocean claims her as his own. Forever.

42 minutes after 4 in the morning and today is James's birthday. It's about damn time he's allowed to start again. And he will. He'll step away, away into the jungle, among the heady leaves and enveloping mystery. And her.

Yeah. It's about damn time.

(you don't care a bit)