She had the dream again. It was the morning after their late night arrival, and Kate had only slept a couple hours before the ocean air had seeped into her consciousness.
For most, the scent of the sea might bring back some warm childhood memory of family and sandcastles, beach towels and smiles. For Kate, that scent would always be associated with black smoke and fiery debris, uncertainty and chaos. At night she feared that salty sweet aroma, for it only meant she would be visited by that phantom shadow; the one who's sole pleasure and purpose seemed to be tormenting and mocking her
This morning, for some strange reason, Kate awoke angry.
Sick of feeling scared and useless, after the nightmare had come, Kate dressed hastily, slamming drawers, yanking on her boots, not caring who she woke. She marched determinedly down the stairs, and found the messy state of the house to be the perfect opportunity to work off the fierce tension riding on her mind.
A couple of hours later, the sun was on the rise, coffee was brewing, and somewhere between the hauling all of their gear to the spare room, and wiping every surface of the living room, Kate had decided to push the dream to the back of her mind as she had so many times before. There were more pressing things she should be worrying about.
It was beautiful here. She should at least try to appreciate that.
The early morning fog was just clearing and the trees were beginning to change into the gorgeous hues of flame, distinctive to this area of the country.
She was standing on the back deck of the house, letting the crisp air refresh her, contemplating walking to the lake at the end of the property. It was about fifty yards from the house she guessed, and she couldn't really seem the harm in taking a morning stroll down to check it out. So why did Sawyers face keep jumping into her mind?
Anger she might be able to handle. The worry was something else. She couldn't stand feeling so guilty about making them worry for her.
It was just that...she couldn't stand being cooped up in the house anymore. Not with the sky turning a sapphire blue. It was reflecting on the surface of the lake, making it look silver. The fresh water seemed to be enchanting her. This air didn't small at all like the ocean. It smelled like earth.
Making a quick decision, she grabbed her jacket and took off.
He had been watching her stare into space for twenty minutes now from his position under the brush at the edge of the woods. She was standing on the back deck, wrapped in a MANS flannel shirt. He felt the beginnings of rage course through his system, and closed his eyes to control it. For now, it had to be controlled. He had been given specific instructions from the man who hired him to keep his violent impulses in check.
After spending the night freezing, staring at her bedroom window, cursing her for trying to escape him, The Wolf felt his control slipping every minute that he spent crouched, waiting for her to make a move.
Suddenly, she seemed to come to a decision, and he watched her go back into the house, and re-emerge with a coffee mug in hand. His pulse quickened. She was leaving the safety of the house, heading down the worn path to the lake.
Letting her get enough of a head start, the man began to follow. He could just see her in front of him, walking briskly, and he did his best to keep up while still remaining in stealth. Finally, he decided to let her go ahead of him, and he followed at a slower pace, his smokers lungs having trouble keeping up.
He knew where she was headed, and it might just be her biggest mistake.
After about five minutes of pushing through the dense foliage, he saw her standing at the edge of the water, sipping from her mug. She had a satisfied grin on her face as her eyes followed a flock of geese making their way south for the winter. He imagined sneaking up behind her, and wrapping his hands around her soft neck, kissing her and squeezing until he could see her eyes bulge in the panic of her impending death. He felt himself grow hard at the fantasy, and was about to act on it when she began to move down the shore to a small old dock positioned about ten yards down.
She tested the wood with her weight, and deciding it was safe, walked out over the water. Death by drowning, he thought. That would be a thrill. No, no, he had to wait for permission to act from the boss. For now he was just supposed to scare her into paying. After she paid his boss, the man had been assured that he would be able to take his time with her, and that thought alone was what had sustained The Wolf throughout these last months of only watching her.
His steel grey eyes focused back on her. She was looking out over the water, breathing deeply. Her dark hair was whipping around her like a halo, and he began to see red at the edges of his vision. He gripped the tree next to him for support, and in doing so, snapped a large twig in half.
Her head whipped around, startled out of her thoughts. He remained absolutely still, not even breathing, scared that she would see him. If she did, he would be forced to act.
She seemed to be looking right at him, and he felt his heart rate increase with anticipation. If she began to run, it would finally be time, and The Wolf couldn't say that he would regret doing so against his orders. He could simply disappear, back into this blind society, where his kind roamed the nights. And all trophy's he took from her, the greatest love of his life, tucked neatly into his memory like those that had come before her.
The moment stretched for an eternity as he waited for her to make a move. When she abruptly turned and walked off the dock in the direction of his house his impulses seemed to overwhelm him.
Having enough of this cat and mouse game, he followed, slipping on his leather gloves in preparation for what he was about to do.
She had been stupid to come down here alone, and now, not even this person, this MAN, who was keeping her here would be able to protect her.
She disappeared around a curve ahead, and he started to make his move. Just as he was about to grab her from behind, a voice rang out harshly in the morning air.
Sawyer was panicking.
After waking up to see the back door cracked open, he felt ill with worry and anger. The very first night he was supposed to keep her safe, she had been taken. Abducted from right under his nose.
He wasn't sure why he was screaming her name. She was probably long gone by now. He ran back up into her room. All her stuff was still there. He ran back down. Had she actually cleaned the place? He thought incredulously.
She had! All their gear was neatly stacked in the spare room, and the common areas of the house were gleaming.
Sawyer opened the sliding door to the back again, and scanned the tree line. He noticed her shoes were gone, and there was coffee on the counter, but his overwhelming fear of something bad happening to her, seemed to block all common the sense from his brain.
"Damnit" he curse when he couldn't find the shirt he had tossed on the couch last night. Without bothering to find another one, he pulled on his boots, needing to do something.
He had to find her. If she wasn't on the property, he would call Sayid, and the rest of his contacts. He would pay whatever it took to get her back. If The Wolf took her last night, Sawyer doubted that she would even be alive. He fisted his hands. If she was dead, he vowed to spend his dying days avenging her.
He shook the thought out of his head as he tore out of the house down the path to the lake. The cold air hit his bare skin but did nothing for the heat that was simmering in his gut. So help him, if she was down this path, daydreaming, and picking daisies he was going to…beat her senseless? Kiss her? haul her over his knee? Well, he was going to do something, and wasn't going to be pretty.
He had laid out the rules last night for her. She hadn't liked it, but she wasn't supposed to leave without letting him know first. It seemed bossy and childish, but to Sawyer, it was a necessary annoyance. She was his responsibility now, and even though she would rather ear dirt then admit it, she was depending on him.
How was he going to protect her if he couldn't even keep track of her?
"Kate!" He used his hands in an attempt to yell louder, but all her could head around him was the bustling of trees and the autumn breeze shaking the dry branches.
He was about to give up when Kate appeared walking quickly down the path. Sawyer nearly collapsed. She hadn't noticed him yet, but he clenched his jaw against the rage that had been building inside since he had peeked into her room that morning.
"Just what the hell do you think your doing!"
His voice startled Kate, and she jumped back putting a hand over her heart. She might have laughed, but she was incredibly nervous. He thought she looked ready for a battle, and regretted what he was about to do.
Slowly he walked the five feet separating them. Kate looked at the ground, but her fists were clenched. He grabbed one of the roughly, pulling it up in front of her face.
"Is this what your gonna fight HIM with?"
She wouldn't look at him, and he realized that she was either going to cry, or going to punch him in the face. In defiance, he shook her arm, making her finally meet his eyes. He realized it was going to be the later, as she motioned to take a swing at him. He was prepared, and gripped her other wrist hard.
"You want to fight? Ok lets fight then!" He was too riled up to even let her explain, and she knew that it would be useless to try.
"Let go of me Sawyer." She said through gritted teeth.
"Not until you tell me what's going on in that pretty little head of yours. If I am supposed to be protecting you…."
"Your not supposed to be, I never asked for this you just…..just, stormed into my life, took me over, and….I needed some air!"
"Took you over? It was you who took me over sweetheart, and so far its not working out too well."
She looked visibly hurt by his words, but he couldn't stop.
"you know, maybe, just maybe you could show a little gratitude!"
"Gratitude? For what? You manhandling me all the time? Or for kissing me, and then pretending like nothing happened? For dragging me out here to this gorgeous place only to lock me in a cage and tell me I need your "permission" to leave?"
"Is that what you think this is? Some lame ass game of "who's the man?"
She hadn't meant to sound so ungrateful. Especially after totally creeping herself out by the lake.
"I just meant...I needed air Sawyer. I cant stand being so cooped up all the time." She was trying to soften her voice to calm him down, but it didn't seem to be working. He still hadn't let go of her wrist, and she was beginning to get angry. "Let go of me."
He didn't. His eyes were a dark blue, and the bore into hers in challenge.
"Don't leave the house again." he said simply.
"Let go of me Sawyer, or I swear it, you'll be on the ground."
This time he let go of her wrists, choosing to believe her. She was hugging her torso in defense, and he felt like a jerk. She looked up at him, and tried to hide a smile.
"You probably want this back." She said, and began to take off the flannel shirt she had thrown on.
Sawyer looked down, and had forgotten that he didn't have a shirt on.
"Were you in a hurry?" Kate asked through clenched teeth.
He took the shirt from her, and gave her a sly look, and Kate waited for a smart remark. Instead there was silence, and she looked up at Sawyer in question. He was staring intently at her, his face serious. "I was worried about you Freckles."
For a moment, there was no words between them, but they seemed unable to break eye contact. Finally, Kate looked awake nervously. He walked over to her, and seized her hand, kneading it lightly with his thumb to get her attention. When she looked up at him, his brows were knit together in concern and longing. She felt tears spring to her eyes, and he instinctively pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her shoulders. She leaned her head against him, and let out a steadying breath, trying to shake off the eerie morning. After a moment, she looked up at him, and he felt his heart swell. She looked so small in his arms, her face flush from the warmth of the flannel against her cheek. She smiled slightly at him, and he looked her face over as if seeing it for the first time. In fact, he had dreamed about its every detail for many months, but he had never been able to appreciate the real thing except when they had kissed on the island. Feeling suddenly warm, he kissed her forehead, and tucked her body under his arm as they walked back to the house.
The stranger stormed through the forest, tearing and thrashing at anything in his path. He had been so close to her. He could still smell her soap in the air. It invaded his nostrils, and he longed for a cigarette just to get rid of the scent. None of his marks before Kate had ever incensed him the way she could. She was so beautiful, and awful at the same time. Her eyes tormented him in his sleep, and he yearned for her body what seemed like every waking hour. He fell to his knees, out of breathe from exertion, and anger.
If that man, Sawyer, hadn't come along, she would be in his grasp by now. He would be dragging her through these very woods, and no one would ever see her again. Well, Sawyer had made a mistake by getting involved with THAT one. Just like every other man who had ever been in Kate Austen's life. The ones she helped put into the ground. And now, this Sawyer would know the curse that came along with being involved with a woman like that.
Right now he needed to find someplace to recover, to plan. He needed to refocus or he was going to anger his boss, and that was something that even he knew wouldn't be smart. He needed to be smart if he was ever going to get her. He realized now that he had lost control. No, SHE had made him lose control! She had always had the effect on him, and it was time to end.
Ahead he saw the road, and stumbled to it, violence, and misery on his mind.