Will You Take A Rain Check?

Sawyer winced as Kate helped him back into the hatch. He had been up for a little while and was still feeling a bit woozy. As they walked back through the hatch interior, Sawyer saw Locke and Eko talking quietly in a corner. Neither man looked at them.

They entered the bunkroom and Sawyer paused. "You think you can get me some water, Freckles?" he asked. "I'm still feeling pretty dry."

"Sure. Why don't you sit down," she said, easing him into a chair before she left the room. She returned with a large glass of water and handed it to him.

He thanked her and quickly drained the entire glass. Sawyer looked tired, and Kate briefly regretted bringing him outside. He had been out of it for over a day in the hatch, and who knew how long before then. She took the glass from him and set it down on the dresser.

"Come on. Clothes off, get in bed." She grinned and knelt down to help remove his shoes.

"Freckles, there's nothing sexier than a woman who isn't afraid to say what she wants. But as much as I'd like to oblige you, I don't think I'm up to it right now. Will you take a rain check?" Sawyer's cheeks were still a little fever flushed and he looked tired, but his bright eyes twinkled.

Kate smirked up at him. "Yeah Sawyer, a rain check is fine." She stood up and removed his shirt, placing it over the back of the chair. "Okay. Pants next." She looked at him, daring him to say something.

Sawyer rose from the chair. "Do you mind closing the door? I am not an exhibitionist and I don't want Locke or Eko to see me naked and get a complex."

"All right Shy Boy." Kate closed the door and went over to stand near Sawyer. He had unzipped his jeans and was fumbling a little trying to get them down using just one hand.

"Here, let me help you." She yanked his jeans down then moved his right arm around her shoulders to steady him. He grinned at her and carefully stepped out of the jeans.

Sawyer took the few steps over to the bed and sat down. Gingerly he eased himself into the bed and moved as close to the wall as he could without hitting his shoulder. Kate leaned in, pulling the sheet and light blanket over him. "Sweet dreams."

He looked up at her. "What, no good night kiss, Mom?"

Kate smiled. "Oh sorry." She leaned over and kissed his forehead, then looked down at him.

Sawyer was no longer smiling, but there was an almost tender look in his eyes. He reached out and took hold of her arm. "Kate," he said quietly. "Don't leave yet." He held her arm gently, caressing her with his thumb. "Promise I won't bite."

Kate hesitated. She knew what he was asking. She glanced at the closed door then back at him. Okay. I can handle this. "Well . . . just for a minute."

Kate climbed onto the bed, settling herself on top of the blanket. She carefully snuggled up next to the injured man, putting her head on his shoulder. Sawyer sighed deeply, moving his right hand up and down her arm. He had thought about her next to him, had fantasized having her this close to him for a long time and here she was. Did I have to almost die to get you next to me? Is that all it took, Freckles?

"Sure you're not too cold?" he asked. "I can make room for you if . . . "

Kate shook her head. "Nice try. I'm fine right here."

"Killjoy."

Kate put her arm across Sawyer's chest and sighed quietly. So many things had happened in the past couple of weeks. The way they had fought the day before the raft launch, then parting without saying goodbye. She had spent much of the next few days after the launch trying to convince herself that things were better this way; trying to ignore and deny and explain away whatever it was she felt for him. And she had tried to convince herself that she had another, better option available. She had done a pretty good job of it too, until Sun showed her the bottle with the messages from the raft. She was devastated and as always, buried her feelings, but she had felt like a simmering pot getting ready to boil over. No one knew she was barely keeping it together.

Then while playing golf with Jack, she saw Eko carrying Sawyer and everything came back and hit her hard. She knew Jack was hurt and confused by her behavior. He didn't understand her and she didn't completely understand herself either. She did have some feelings for Jack, and not just respect. But it was something else with Sawyer—something was between them and always had been. She was drawn to him and found him attractive, intriguing and exasperating. She had always been able to relax around him, been able to be herself, more than she ever could when she was with Jack. She often felt Jack expected something of her or wanted her to change. Sawyer just seemed to accept her as she was. They understood each other. She knew the barriers he put up between himself and the others, and sometimes with her. She looked into his eyes but now all barriers were down and she saw only tenderness and desire.

"Kate . . . " he whispered.

She shifted a little so she was partially over him now, her face just inches away from his. Sawyer inhaled sharply and pulled her closer to him. They closed their eyes as their lips met. At first the kiss was soft and testing, a little hesitant. Then Sawyer deepened the kiss, opening his mouth and caressing hers. Her tongue met his, stroking it gently, then harder, pushing back and forth. They had known this would happen again—they had been waiting for weeks—and now it was tender and exquisite and glorious. Soon kissing wasn't enough for Sawyer and he moved his hand across the back of her neck and around her shoulders, his fingers under the straps of her tank top. Kate gasped and moved her lips to Sawyer's neck, kissing him, eagerly nibbling the sides of his neck and across his throat, then moved her mouth up to his ear, softly placing her tongue inside.

Sawyer shuddered and arched his back, moving underneath her. His left shoulder burned but all he could think of was Kate: her scent, her touch, her warmth, her nearness. He quietly moaned. He had never had to wait this long for a woman's touch and he was hungry for it—hungry for this woman's touch. For Kate.

Kate smiled as she felt his undeniable arousal against her hip, pleased at his reaction. She wanted so much to reach down and grasp him or just brush her hand against him but held back. She was used to holding back, to waiting. She was a planner and knew this was not a good idea. Not now. But God this feels good. Sawyer moved his mouth down her throat kissing her, licking her, nipping her neck over and over.

Kate pulled back and took a deep breath. "Hey! You said you wouldn't bite."

"Uhmmmm . . . I lied . . . real shocker, huh?"

They both laughed and allowed that laughter to bring things to an end. Kate backed away from Sawyer and propped herself up on one elbow, her other arm on his chest. His eyes were closed, but he held her wrist firmly. His heart was beating quickly, but then slowed down along with his breathing, and eventually his grip lessened. After several minutes she thought he had fallen asleep. Then he spoke, his eyes still closed.

"Freckles, when we start, it's not gonna be like this."

"Not going to be like what?" Now her heart started beating faster.

"Like this . . . in a bunk bed . . . like a couple of teenagers fumbling around with condoms after school when no one's home. It'll be different."

Kate looked at him, conflicting thoughts and emotions racing through her, not sure of how to respond.

"Different?"

"That's right." He opened his eyes and looked at her, a grin on his face. "For starters, we won't even need rubbers. Got myself fixed years ago."

She was not surprised. Of course he had. She knew his background. He was also a planner and didn't leave things to chance.

"And another thing, bunk bed may be a step up from an airplane seat under a tarp but that's not how we're gonna do it. Not the first time, anyway."

"It's not?" she asked wryly.

"No, it's not." Then Sawyer's tone changed from playful to serious. "I've been doing a lot of thinking. Something about being out there on that raft, then trying to get back here that helped clarify a few things." He looked at the bottom of the bunk above him. "I don't think we're getting out of here. I didn't believe it before but I do now. This is it. This is home. And you know what else, Freckles? I'm not interested in playing games with you anymore." He looked directly at her. "You and I are gonna be lovers, Kate." He paused when he heard her sharp intake of breath then continued. "But it can't happen until you're over your thing for the doc."

Kate frowned and looked away. "I'm not . . . "

"Come on, don't even give me that. After everything we've been through you still can't be straight with me? You know what I mean. You still got a little case of hero worship for Jack. But you need to make up your mind about who you want because in case you've forgotten, I don't like to share." With that he kissed her hand and then firmly nudged her off the bunk. She caught herself before she fell on the floor and stood up facing him.

"Sawyer!"

"I mean it Kate. You figure it out and come back when you're ready." His tone was serious and the twinkle in his eyes was gone. Sawyer hoped his voice projected the confidence he did not completely feel. Then he saw the confused look on her face and his eyes softened a little. "Time for you to leave, Girl. I need my beauty sleep."

Kate went to the door and looked back at Sawyer. Was he right? Her heart was pounding. She opened the door and turned back.

"I'll be back to cash that rain check." She left the room, closing the door behind her.

"Don't wait too long," murmured Sawyer as he closed his eyes.

A few minutes later he was asleep.

Epilogue

Locke and Eko watched silently as Kate walked through and exited the hatch. Eko turned to Locke.

"That woman . . . is she Kate? He called her name as I carried him. She is his?"

Locke looked at the hatch exit, then toward the bunkroom before turning back to Eko.

"No. Not yet."

The End