Three More Minutes

Title: Three More Minutes
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Slightly manipulated from the grave-digging scenes of Kate and Hurley in Three Minutes to Kate and Sawyer.
Warnings: One or two mild instances of language, but nothing major.
Status of Fic: WIP
Author's Notes/Disclaimer: Lost unfortunately does not belong to me in any way, shape or form.

It's a desperately hot day, and the world has shrunk to two murdered women and the aftershock that comes with death. There are two solitary figures, two shovels, two piles of discarded sand, two graves. Two people given wide berths out of respect and sadness and just a little fear. The designated grave diggers work on in the heat in silence, thinking, reflecting. One of them is male, transferring raw emotion into the thrust of the shovel. One of them is female, desperately trying to understand.

Kate's not exactly sure when Ana-Lucia became important to Sawyer; all she knows is that somewhere along the line, something happened between them, something that didn't include her. She can guess at what it was, and it makes her feel guilty that this is what is occupying her mind whilst she's four foot into Ana's grave.

She digs on, determined not to glance at his face. She knows it's wrong, to be jealous of a dead woman, and she's not even sure exactly what she's jealous about. She hits the shovel harder into the ground with each push, venting her frustrations into a pile of sand that will smother Ana in an eternal declaration of her turbulent emotions.

She never hated Ana, never knew her well enough; but what she represented, the other woman, that she did. She hadn't even been aware of this status until after Ana-Lucia's death, so why it's hitting her so hard right now is eluding her. But deep down she knows it's because he's upset, and whilst she prides herself on seeing a little more of him than the other survivors, she's never seen him like this and she's realising how little she knows about him.

She hated Ana for having the courage to be with him, when all Kate could do was run away; she hated her for making moves on him, when she was too afraid to give in to his. And now she's claimed some part of him, something Kate can never have, and she's jealous of this dead woman with the eternal sneer and shoot-'em-up attitude.

She stops her increasingly frantic shovelling and rests her chin on the top dejectedly, vaguely registering the steady dig and throw of Sawyer in the grave next to her. Her lip trembles uncontrollably and she turns away from him even as the sound of a strangled gasp escapes her lips. She's grieving, but not for Ana, for Sawyer and for herself, and if killing her father doesn't send her to hell then her lack of grief for Ana will, but still she accepts his comfort when he climbs out of one grave into another and stands behind, grasping her shoulder. She's afraid to turn around, to expose herself, to see him exposed, but the second an unsuppressed tear rolls down her cheek his finger is there to scoop it up and she can't help it, she turns, and when she sees the faintest shimmering in his eyes she can't take it any longer.

The shovel falls, making a dull thud against the wall of the sandy grave, and she tries to climb out of this hole she's dug. The metaphorical irony would have made her wince at any other time, but he's pulling her back down by the belt loops on her dusty jeans, dragging her back down with him.

He's standing so close to her, towering over her, and she flinches slightly, because she can't imagine ever invoking the depth of emotion she sees in his eyes that Ana must have caused. He's not saying anything and his jaw is working, his Adam's apple is bobbing as he struggles to retain his calm façade, he's staring right at her and she's entranced by him so much she doesn't realise he's kissing her until she feels his lips capture hers.

He's rough, persistent, as if he's trying to force out the feelings, the memories, the pain all out, and Kate is the same, until she realises that they are standing in the grave of the last person he must have kissed, and she breaks off, repulsed.

Sawyer looks a little dazed and he stares at her in confusion, so she stares right back until she can see understanding dawn in his eyes. He reaches out to her, but she takes a step back so she's flush against the four foot wall of the graves.

"Sawyer," she whispers sadly, but all he says is "it so easily could have been you."

They resume their digging, soldiering on in the sweltering heat. Not a word is said and the silence hangs over them uncomfortably. But questions are burning Kate's tongue and she has to ask:

"Did you love her?"

Sawyer turns his head slowly towards her, before climbing out and walking over to the cliff top where he sits contemplatively. Kate follows him, unsure of his reaction but too much in need of an answer.

"Ana-Lucia was a conniving little bitch."

He says it almost fondly and her heart sinks.

"She was a means to an end, as I was to her. Whatever connection we had, it was simple. She's the sort of girl I'd pick up in a bar and fuck in the back alley. It was raw, primal. She'd do her thing, I'd do mine."

He looks at Kate sharply.

"I could never love a woman like that."

Kate thinks she should feel relieved, but it opens up her insecurities, and guilt and fear of rejection make her close off to him. She turns away, head bowed, biting her lip until it bleeds.

His arm reaches out and grasps her wrist.

"Hell Freckles, you think you and me have ever been simple?"

She doesn't look up at him but smiles despite herself, fixating on the hand that's rubbing the underside of her wrist so gently.

"If you'd-"

His gruff voice breaks off at this, and he retreats, aware that he's bared himself too much. She blindly gropes next to her until she finds his warm knee and she squeezes reassuringly as she stares out to sea and wonders vaguely about Hurley. Her thoughts move on to Libby, then back to Ana, and she finds she can't hate her, because she can recognise a messed up person and she feels sorry that there will be no resolution to her life.

Her hand is still on his knee and his arm comes up to loosely rest on her shoulders. She's upset at how far Ana and Sawyer went, that she had not even an inkling about it, but she can't blame the woman with the hole in her chest or the man who has his heart on his sleeve. She wonders if this brings back the ringing gunshots signalling his parents' deaths, and she squeezes his knee tighter.

"I'm sorry Ana died," she says, and she means it.

Sawyer draws her closer, and as she leans her head into the crook of his neck he plants a soft, lingering hiss on her hair.

They sit and stare; for now, they have the time.