By: Thought

Disclaimer: None of it's mine. None, I say!

Summary: He needs to shatter her.

Continuity: Set post 'The Long Con'.

A/N: Because Sawyer is love.


The occupants of the beach camp steer clear of his tent. Stay clear of him in general. The looks he gets are hostile now, instead of the almost friendly glances he had been receiving up until his little stunt with the guns. It's only been a day and already he's been tag teamed by the self-appointed rulers of the island. Jack is angry, yelling at him loud enough for the entire camp to hear and when he accuses Sawyer of taking what rightfully should have belonged to him, Sawyer is fairly sure they're not just talking about the guns anymore.

"You ain't got a chance in hell of getting' them back, Doc," he tells Jack before the man storms out. Jack doesn't answer or look back – apparently the southerner isn't worth his time anymore.

The dawn sunlight is just glimmering off of the water and gives Locke a supernatural halo when he stands directly in its path, right in front of Sawyer. Locke tries, with firm words and promises of miracles beyond his wildest dreams, to extract the location of the sought after weapons, but Sawyer doesn't say a word except to tell the old man to get out of his light, he's trying to read. Locke looks defeated when he leaves, and Sawyer hopes Charley isn't nearby to witness it – the stupid boy is only useful as long as he still has the vision of Locke as some sort of demon God that needs to be brought down. The last thing Sawyer needs is for him to realize that Locke's just as human as the rest of them.

By the time Sayid makes it over to talk to him, the sun is high in the sky and beating mercilessly down on the inhabitants of the beach, scorching the sand and giving everything a sticky, uncomfortable feel. "I don't know if my fingers are fully healed from the last time, Ali," he sneers at the other man, holding up his hands as if offering them up.

"I know you have no intention of telling any of us where the weapons are, Sawyer. I just want to know why you did it." The water's like a living thing as it laps against the shore, the only audience to Sawyer's brief moment of surprise and disconcertion.

"Isn't that obvious?" he asks, lazily rising to his feet.

"I suppose, if one were to subscribe to the theory that you have no other motive aside from that of having control—getting one over on Jack – then the answer would be simple. However you don't strike me as a man who does something so momentous without a very good reason, and without knowing and planning for all the ramifications of your actions."

"He wants us to hate him."

He watches Kate where she stands just off to their right, and wonders how long she's been there. "Don't psychoanalyse me, Freckles." But Sayid already appears to understand more than he should, and Kate's looking much too satisfied with herself.

"I've been thinking," she continues on as if they're standing around discussing the weather. "You took the bullet out on the raft. Why wasn't Michael shot? It was his son they were after."

"What're you getting' at?" he asks irritably, though he knows exactly where she's going with this, and he also knows exactly how much she thinks she understands and how much she doesn't have a clue about.

"I think," she says, clasping her hands in front of her and appearing much too damned proud of herself, "That you're suicidal."

He blows out a breath. "Why the hell would I wanna kill myself?"

"You feel as if you've ruined people's lives just like Mr. Sawyer did to you. You think you've become him, and if you can't kill the real thing, yourself is the closest you're gonna get."

Sayid looks confused. Sawyer feels anger bubble up; he had trusted her with his secrets and she went around blabbing them to anyone who cared to listen. And yet, hadn't he done the exact same thing to her?

"I think you should stop talking now, Freckles," he tells her in a deceptively calm voice. She smiles sweetly at him, and continues talking, airily ignoring him as if he hasn't spoken at all.

"He's got this massive inferiority complex," she explains to Sayid. "It all stems from when he was eight, which, personally, I think is a damned long time to carry a grudge, but that's just me—" He moves swiftly behind her, pinning her hands to her sides with one arm and covering her mouth with his hand. She's surprised, and he uses her momentary awkwardness to jerk her off balance so that she can't get a good footing on the sand.

"Sawyer—" Sayid moves forward half a step, as if he's not sure whether to interfere or not. Sawyer has a pretty good idea that Sayid understands troubled pasts just as well as he and Kate, and is grateful that the man doesn't go into a blazing rage that Sawyer dared to touch her. Sayid is not Jack. Not Jack by a long shot.

"She's no one to be talkin' about guilty consciences. She's got one the size of New York. He feels Kate tense in his hold, and tightens his grip. He needs to do this. He's seen the gleam in her eyes, the understanding that she's a criminal, and therefore would be forever denied a normal existence. She sees him barter lives, toss out witty one-liners like he doesn't give a damn, and he can tell how much she wants that detachment from reality. No consequences. He cares about her too much to let her do that to herself – she doesn't understand what it is that she's striving for, and he hopes she never will.

"She walks around, flirtin' with the Doc 'cause she thinks he'll fix her. Make her all better and take away the guilt. She thinks that by bein' everyone's friend, it magically makes what she did all better." She goes still, listening as he ruthlessly tears all of her walls and defenses down, and cuts straight into the soft core hidden beneath. "Right now, she's trying to get me back for playin her for those guns by tellin' you my deep dark secret. You wanna know what that secret is? When I was eight, my mama went off and slept with a con-man, Frank Sawyer. My pa found out, and killed her. Then he came upstairs, sat down on the bed right above where I was hidin', and blew his own brains out. I wanna find the bastard that did that to my family, and kill him. Doesn't make me suicidal. She's probably just spent the day with our resident shrink, and thinks she knows everything now. I'm sure she's been plannin' this since last night, thinking she had some great wonderful plan that'd make me hate her. And that'd give her an excuse to hate me, 'cause right now, she can't bring her self to do it. She still thinks that if she fixes me, all her sins'll go out the window and she'll be free to run off and have 2.5 kids with Dr. Jack."

He feels hot tears fall on the hand that he still has over her mouth. They make him smile. He needs to shatter her to prevent her from freezing like he has.

Sayid doesn't know what to say. He turns, leaving Kate and Sawyer to fight out their differences on their own. He lets her go, taking a step back and affecting a bored expression. She spins on him, eyes furious. "What the hell was that!"

He shrugs. "The truth."

She shakes her head back and forth like a loosened marionette. "It's not. You don't know what you're talking about."

He shrugs, turning away and sitting back down with his book. "Leave me alone, Kate. I don't wanna deal with your whinin' right now. Go cry on Jack's shoulder."

She stands for a long moment in front of him, and he's sure she's trying to figure a way for all of this to just be him, trying to force everyone away. Finally, she moves away, kicking sand back at him. He watches her progress down the beach, and is pleased to note that her shoulders have slumped, and her hands are clenched at her sides. He's succeeded. He's just saved Kate Austin's soul.