Lost and its characters belong to JJ Abrams, Bad Robot and The Others. Jack feels an overwhelming sense of guilt as he watches Kate sleep while they're held by the Others.

Lost – Culpa Mea
By Mystic
June 26th 2006
Jack told her to go to sleep because she was starting to panic and he didn't know how to deal with that. He understood that her being confined to that room with them was making her crazy. He watched her search every inch of the room, looking for a way out. Not necessarily away from them, just, out. It was almost as if she couldn't breathe. She banged on the door, kicked the leg of the bed, then pushed on each of the walls. Sometimes, she told him, they weren't actually solid walls. He didn't question her.

He suspected she had some experience with being held captive. Jack wondered just how many times she'd had to escape. He knew, because she had a mug shot, that at least once they'd had her behind bars. She never talked about it; he never asked. Never thought to. He also knew she hated being stuck in one place, being confined. He found the power cable, severed by a knife, lying in the pantry not long after they'd taken over the hatch. Jack showed it to her and she gave him a lop-sided grin.

"Long story," she managed before taking it from him and dumping it in a trash can. He noticed she held it away from her body, in a vice grip and she didn't glance at it again. She didn't want to. He walked into the pantry and glanced around, seeing the boxes stacked atop one another, her footprints on the dusty lids where she'd climbed up and out. Jack put them back, and when he next saw her, she was walking towards the back door.

She never stayed inside the hatch too long. Said it made her nervous. Jack used to think it was just that it was the hatch. He never thought about the fact that it was almost like jail cell. Cement everywhere, metal columns, bleak and grey. He sighed, leaning his head back against the wall where he sat not far from Sawyer. The other man snorted, his head shifting in his sleep. It was hard for Jack to sleep while sitting on a cold hard floor. Harder still when every time he started to drift off, she shifted her breathing in some way that Jack noticed. In some way that alarmed him.

Kate was almost calm when she slept; her breath flowing in and out evenly. Jack watched her, lying on her side, right hand curled under her chin, the left against her thigh. There were no blankets to cover her, but he didn't think she was cold. It was actually comfortable. He glanced at Sawyer before sliding himself to lean against the bed, to watch her. He knew she'd hate it if she opened her eyes and found him gazing at her. She'd say he was being too over protective. She'd roll over, facing the wall, and tell him to leave her alone.

Or she'd get up and re-examine the room.

He watched her nostrils flare slightly before she furrowed her brow and took in a jagged breath. Jack wondered if she was having a bad dream. Sarah never had nightmares. She slept like a log, her features never shifting in the ways Kate's did now. Sarah didn't have dark secrets; Sarah didn't have painful memories.

Jack also didn't pay enough attention to know that answer for certain. He knew that's what killed their marriage. He was too busy paying attention to everything else, to making sure everything was fixed; he forgot to check the stitches on his own life.

He broke his marriage.

Jack touched her cheek, watched her flinch before her face softened, as if realizing it wasn't the monster in her dreams, but the man who loved her. He loved her. Jack felt his own breath leave him as he watched her shift closer to him, her hand uncurling and lying flat against the bed between them. He wouldn't break this, he thought to himself. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

Kate's eyes flashed open and she blinked up at him, confused. "Jack?" She asked, her voice thick with sleep.

"I'm sorry," Jack repeated, turning around and pressing himself into the edge of the bed. "I couldn't save you." He closed his eyes and leaned his head back, slumping until he felt the cool mattress cradle his neck. Jack pinched the bridge of his nose before letting his hand drop onto his stomach. He felt her fingers touch his shoulder gently before she unexpectedly kissed his forehead.

Jack opened his eyes and glanced up at her as she looked down at him. He watched her cheeks flush in the dim light and she smiled, something awkward about it. She bit her bottom lip, letting it slide out slowly before whispering, "You did."