Three More Minutes – Chapter Three

He's back in control, and out for revenge. There's a .45 poking out of the back of his jeans and a crease in between his eyes that shows he means business. The slouch in his back is missing, and unless Kate had seen his weakness in the jungle she would not have believed this was the same man. His forehead is pulled down into a frown, his body drawn tall and there's a confidence that exudes from him, because this he does know.

There is nothing to do but wait, and Sawyer is pacing up and down in the hatch. The five of them were supposed to meet down here but no one's turned up except for him and Kate. And the multitude of thoughts whirling in his mind.

"Sawyer, stop." The constant movement is driving her crazy even though she's itching to get going. Neither of them are any good at waiting.

He makes a concerted effort to stop, but ends up tapping his leg incessantly, annoying Kate even more. To stop tensions escalating further he blurts out something that's been circulating around his head.

"It's too sudden."

"It's always too sudden," she replies vaguely, her mind far away in her own world of troubles. She blinks and looks back at him, to focus on the immediate events, rather than the past. She exhales and sits down on the sofa. Sawyer remains standing, too much adrenaline pumping around his body, his mind.

"I just wish – three more minutes, you know? To straighten things out, to…to say goodbye. Three more minutes. There's a million of them everyone's wasting, but three tiny ones can't be spared? It's not fair." He doesn't even know if he's talking about Ana anymore, not when the palimpsest of his parents deaths threatens to emerge.

"I know." She's serious now. "It's not fair. It's never fair. But even three minutes…that's not enough to say goodbye to some people."

Her mossy green eyes look at him in this intense way that no eyes should ever be able to look because it's too damn dangerous, and he can suddenly see how she views him; it's surreal but he loves it and he feels the same, three minutes would never be long enough to say goodbye to Kate. He can't even think about it. Losing Ana was one thing, little more than an unended fling, but three minutes? That's all he needed to make things right, to tie up their loose ends.

She looks as though she is misinterpreting his look and he wonders how someone so good at reading his emotions when he doesn't want her to can get it so wrong.

"Kate. Stop it. The thing with Ana was never going to be anything real, anything more than a quick lay and some tossed barbs. She knew I liked you. There would never have been anything real. There is no way in hell we would have been a "couple"." Sawyer's hands curl into mock quotations and the sneer on his tongue is the only thing that is stopping her from laughing at the ridiculous gesture he is making.

Something else comes into his mind, and he has to know about it. He knows it may not be a suitable time, but it's burning the roof of his mouth and if they're heading out to danger later, he needs to know now.

"Jack tells me you two were caught in a net." He wiggles his eyebrows to insinuate in his usual leering way but the grim line of his mouth suggests he doesn't find it amusing. There's a tightness in his chest and he wonders how Kate is coping with the knowledge that he and Ana shared some carnal knowledge with each other.

Kate knows exactly what he is insinuating, but she's tired of all the secrets and lies and mistranslations, the sex and kisses and covertness that seems to be plaguing the island.

"We were caught in a net, but that was it. No implications, just the oh so very literal meaningI don't want to talk about this now anyway."

The question of her and Jack will inevitably lead to the question of Sawyer and Ana and she quite frankly does not want to know. She sees Sawyer visibly relax and there's a vindictive part of her that wishes he could feel the hurt she does, even if it she has no business feeling it. But Jack has said things to her too, and maybe it's a good time to get things out in the open.

"You told Jack he was the closest thing you had to a friend." She's hurt, and it shows, but Sawyer just laughs. She narrows her eyes angrily and crosses her hands against her chest defensively.

"You think we could ever be just friends? You think we've ever been friends? You can't be just friends with someone with whom you share enough sexual tension to explode the whole damn island!"

His eyes are sparkling, he's teasing her, and she's completely fallen for it. She's fighting not to give in, but he grabs her round the waist. She tries to hit him back but he clutches her tighter and it annoys her, so she tries to elbow him, but he's already anticipated it and he pushes her struggling form against the hatch wall.

"You're not going to head butt my pretty little head now are you darling?" he drawls, his lips curved up in a smile. She's angry, and it's heightened by the fact that he's anticipating her moves, and her eyes are sparkling with anger, whilst his are with amusement, and he leans in and she hungrily matches her mouth to his and attacks him in a way that's thoroughly acceptable to him.

They never hear Jack come in, they never see him standing in shock, and they definitely do not hear him leave as quietly as he entered.

Soon they will be leaving to find the Others and Walt, but for now they are oblivious to the world, only aware of the feelings the other is invoking in them.

Later is later, because Sawyer and Kate are living in the now.