Title: Follow the Blue
Author: Girl Who Writes
Feedback: is beloved if you feel so inclined.
Word Count: 1 973
Rating: PG - M
Genre: Romance, I suppose.
Summary: Sawyer waits for her to wake up, and then he stays.
Notes: I have taken it upon myself to spread the ConMama love. This was actually started awhile back and forgotten about it. Written for lostfichallenge's OTP challenge.
Special Thanks: my Uni for assigning me absolutely no work. What is up with that, anyway?
Spoilers: Season 1 and the very first parts of Season 2.
Disclaimer: J.J Abrams et al own Lost. I am merely a fan and make no profit from this, or any of my other fan-based, ventures.
He's been watching her since he got back, a bullet wound in his shoulder and boundless amounts of time before he joins Shannon and Boone on the hill, in shallow graves with their names crudely scratched into tree branches.
She carries the kid with her almost every moment of the day now – what he knows has been gathered from vague answers from Kate and Jack, and yelling on the beach. The VH1 Reject had a Virgin Mary stuffed to the brim with heroin and Mamacita's afraid for herself and for her baby. He sees her in passing, her hair knotted back from her face, the unsure expression on her face and the kid looking heavy in her arms.
He wants to call out and get her to come and sit with him for a bit, let the kid nap in her lap – or get Locke to bring the cradle over – and let her relax for a minute or two. He doesn't though, and Locke always comes trekking after her a little while later.
Time crawls by, and he feels like he's on a rollercoaster; some days he'll feel good enough to prop himself up, eat the mangoes, and read the bunny book – days marked by being able to stare at the expanse of pale blue sky beyond the crinkly blue tarp. Other days, he lies still for hours, staring at the roof of his shelter and waiting. It's too hot for him on the beach, but he can't – won't - be taken up to the caves.
The sun beats down hotter each day, he believes, but if he's unlucky, it doesn't pass in the evenings. If he could describe the bad days, when he knew Muhammad and Jackass were measuring his grave next to Sticks', it would be with the colour red - brightest, most fuckin' irritating shade of red imaginable; the sort that burns itself to your retinas.
It's one of those days, where the red is bad enough to the point he can't get his water bottle and doesn't feel inclined to anyway. The sun beats down hard and the beach is quiet as people search for cooler places. He lies in the muted sunlight and waits.
For what, he hasn't yet worked out, but it'll come to him soon. Night drops in like a sheet but the heat doesn't let up (does it?) but people come to the beach, around the fire, for food and water and whatever else is out there.
He closes his eyes and for some reason pictures Sticks and Metro going at it like rabbits, and knows if that's what's waiting for him on the other side, red is better no matter how bad it gets.
He falls into sleep like a stone in a bucket. And when he wakes up only hours later, the moon still high in the night sky, there's someone with him, and there's a cool breeze on the air.
"Mamacita," he croaks. She smiles at him, and dips a wet cloth into a bowl and wipes his forehead.
"Jack came and saw you, said you had a fever," her Australian accent isn't a drawl like the men he met back in Sydney, but more like a lilt. "I didn't want you to get any worse, so I thought I'd keep you company." The water is cold and wet and for a second, it's the best feeling he's ever had.
"Where's the kid?" his voice is broken from the weeks of infection that have plagued him.
"John has Aaron," she says, folding the cloth over his forehead. "He'll be safe with Mr. Locke."
"You called him Aaron?" He half expected the girl to call the poor mite 'Boone', because it was the sort of soft-hearted thing he'd thought she'd do.
"I always liked the name. It fit him," she says. "You want something to drink?" She has water bottles, and some food, and endless patience for him, the dying man. She half orders him to sleep, and he does.
A week of her midnight vigils, with the Great White Hunter watching her baby, and he felt like he was back to being something akin to his old self. Claire still brought him water and fruit at dusk, and came by just before she slept, but she always returned to her little shelter, where Locke and Aaron waited for her return. He wouldn't mind it if she stayed, like she did the first night, but he doesn't ask and she never does.
He's tired of lying around his old shelter, what energy he does have increasing daily and making him jumpy. Some nights he lies away, and stares at the patch of stars he can see from his makeshift sick bed, and some nights tries to trace his steps back; how the fuck did he get here?
He falls into restless sleep, and only wakes up when she reappears the next morning, leaving water bottles by his side.
"Oops, I didn't mean to wake you up," she offers an apologetic smile. "How are you?"
He pulls himself up tentatively. "Fine," he manages. She smiles brightly, and he decides it makes her look like she's swallowed a star; all shiny.
"Do you want to get up and go for a walk today?" she asks, placing some fruit – mangoes, he thinks – next to the water bottles, and pulling a comb from her pocket. He watches with fascination as she drags it through her long hair and then braids it back tightly, quickly; her fingers weave the hair in and out, and for a second, he's reminded of his grandmother and the knitting shit she used to do, the scarf she made him when he was six, with a pattern of teddy bears woven through the wool.
"I'd love to get out," he admits. "Been lyin' here feeling useless for days."
And because it's Claire, she doesn't make the startlingly obvious statement that he wasn't particularly useful before he left on the raft and got himself shot.
"John and Jack are working on something, so I was thinking of walking around to the little inlet, over the hill," she explains, standing. He feels like a child as she begins handing him things – a shirt that's been washed and almost feels like paper thanks to the hot sun; a towel, a peeled mango and a bottle of water. She chatters about the kid – Aaron, he's got to remember – and disappears for a few moments.
She returns with the baby balanced in the crook of one arm and another glowing smile on her face, an almost tender look in her eyes as she helps him stand up and they walk up the hill slower than normal. The bucket hat that she adopted all those days ago when they crashed is tucked over Aaron's little head, around Aaron's almost shell like ears.
"I'm trying to find another hat," she explains when he questions it, pointing out her nose is bright red. "Better me than him."
The inlet has a clump of grass and a sad-looking, but stubborn, tree. The sun shines off the surface, the sort of blue colour that almost overpowers the sky.
She sits on the water's edge, her shoes kicked off, managing to angle underneath the sliver of shade the pathetic tree offers. Aaron settles in the water with a surprised expression, turning around to gaze up at his mother before refocusing on his new surroundings. He splashes at the water with a heart-meltingly cute grin on his little baby face.
He's never much liked babies; but even he will admit that the picture they paint belongs on some sort of fuckin' greeting card. He takes a seat beside them both.
She bites her lip, and turns to him, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ear. "What happened to you on the raft?" she asks, her other arm wrapped around her son as he discovers the wet sand, throwing tiny fistfuls about.
He tells her. The idea that they had actually found help, that they were going home (where ever home was for him) and losing Walt. The gunshot, the floating for hours. She listens, her eyes wide, and he notices that her eyes are blue, too, but much more real than the colour of the ocean.
She fills him in on the little details he's missed – most of them about Aaron and how big he's gotten so fast, and he's surprised to find that the Mamacita's cooing about her baby doesn't annoy him. He finds it fuckin' endearing.
He must've swallowed a hell of a lot of salt water if he's thinking things like that.
They head back to the shelter when the sun reaches the middle of the sky, and their tree can no longer handle the task of keeping them shaded. Both mother and son are covered in sand and water, but content. Aaron – who Sawyer, much to his disgust, is thinking of as Roo – falls into sleep in his mother's arms, the oversized hat shading him.
Sawyer goes to her shelter, so Aaron can sleep and Claire can 'fiddle around' – folding and sorting clothes, writing a few sentences about Roo – god damnit, Aaron – in the little journal she keeps and chatting to him.
He's surprised to find how tired he is after just sitting on the beach, but Claire nods understandingly.
"Lie down inside for a bit," she stands up, bundling dirty clothes into a satchel. "I'm just going to go up and wash these out. Can you keep an ear out for Aaron?"
One of her blankets is just an enormous square of silky, tie-dyed blue fabric. It smells like sand and babies, and there are lip shaped pink stains around the edge, from her wearing her lip gloss to sleep. The tube is empty now, but he's caught her smelling the empty tube; a cloying, sweet, completely pink smell of strawberries and bubblegum. It's a completely childlike sentiment, but they all do it – in empty cigarette boxes, expensive stilettos, toy planes, in flora and in music.
He falls into dreamless sleep, and when he wakes up again, it's late afternoon, and Roo is in his Mama's lap, cooing as she tells him a story.
"…And Pooh was just saying 'Hello' for the fourth time, when a voice said, 'Me!' 'Oh,' said Pooh, 'well come inside'," Claire smoothed Aaron's hair off his face. "Shhh, don't wake Sawyer up. So, Whatever-It-Was came inside, and he and Pooh looked at each other. 'I'm Pooh,' said Pooh. 'I'm Tigger' said Tigger…"
Claire's soothing voice telling Winnie the Pooh stories lulls both him and Roo back to sleep, and he wakes up again, and it's morning; Roo is cooing to himself in his little cradle, at the way the sunlight plays across the top of the tarp. Claire is curled up next to him, still asleep.
And Sawyer waits for her to wake up, and then he stays. Because just as there is something intoxicating about Claire herself, there is something intoxicating about her world; the little bubble she lives in on the island – of days spent on the beach, and the lingering smell of lip gloss and perfume mixing with sand and mangoes, of abridged children's stories and making sure everything is in place for that day, before starting again the next. He feels like a kid in some kind of candy shop, wanting to grab a hold of as much as he can.
Who was it that mentioned something about second chances on the island? Even if this one wasn't meant to be his, well, he'll keep this spot warm for awhile.
And much, much later on, Aaron will grab his hand and drag him down a beach, along the shore line, where the water goes from deep blue to light to nothing.