Kate wrapped her arms around herself. The night was cool and she wished she was back on the beach, wearing a warm sweater. But she wasn't. Instead, she was alone in a cage, watching Sawyer's chest rise and fall as he'd finally fell asleep.
Unable to detach her eyes from him, Kate reflected on the last couple of days. During that short time, it had become increasingly obvious that they neither had the power nor the desire to ignore their connection anymore. Back on the beach they'd had many distractions and it had been easier to keep their distances, both emotionally and physically. But here, there wasn't room for petty games: they were alone, together, against the Others. They had nothing but each other.
In the shadows, she could distinguish him sleeping on his right side, his back to her. She had heard him growl in pain a few times before he'd fallen asleep. It saddened her, but at the same time she couldn't help but laugh silently. Today had hardly ever been the first time he'd been hurt while on the island. Over the last two months, he'd been tortured, punched, stabbed, shot, stomped on, tackled and so on.
And today, he'd been hit with the butt of a rifle and tasered... all because he had kissed her. Well, he knew what he was doing, trying to see what they were up against. But while kissing her hadn't been his primary goal, she knew it hadn't been a casual, meaningless kiss. He had been telling her something.
That kiss... She still felt weak in the knees thinking about it. For a few seconds, time had stood still and she had forgotten all about where they were. Like in those silly romance novels her mother used to read.
Today, seeing Sawyer defend himself against those man, grabbing their rifle, she had been proud of him. Something she wouldn't have thought possible in the days following the crash. At first, he had been nothing more to her than an arrogant, selfish loud-mouth. Now, she knew just what a courageous, protective, smart, funny man he was. But above all, he understood her and respected her. Like no one had ever come close to.
Slowly, little by little, they had opened up to each other and she'd gotten to know... James. Learning something as simple as his first name, earlier today, had been like a revelation and she had felt a little overwhelmed. She had felt as though she was looking at a stranger. Now, she realised that, for the first time, there had been no other barrier between them than those bars and that had been unsettling. She just didn't know how to react. But, in true Sawyer-fashion, he had quickly broke the tension by telling her she tasted like strawberries. And then it had been so easy to just enjoy their flirting for a moment.
Did it mean she loved him? Kate sighed. Feeling that way for him complicated everything, but it was getting just too hard to deny it anymore.
Would they ever have the chance to be together anyway? To be free at last, not only from their inner fears and regrets, but also from the people who wanted them behind bars?
"You should really get some sleep, Freckles," Sawyer suddenly said, startling her. He rolled onto his left side to look at her and they gazes locked. Yes, there definitely was something different in the way he looked at her lately, Kate thought, feeling her heart beat faster.
"You should, too," she replied, trying to sound casual.
"I just can't. Too many things on my mind," he sighed, his intense eyes not leaving hers.
Needing to feel closer to him, Kate walked up to the bars and slid to the ground.
"Like what?" she asked softly, afraid of opening that door, but unable to stop herself.
He was silent for a couple of seconds, as if he had been trying to decide if he was going to really tell her what was on his mind or not.
"Just trying to find a way to get us out of here and..." he began. His gaze not faltering, he added: "... and thinking about you."
For once there was no trace of sarcasm in his voice and Kate was touched. Could it mean that he felt the same way for her she did for him? She couldn't decide and she grinned in response.
"Keep me out of your sexual fantasies, Sawyer," she said, trying to sound menacing but knowing full well she wasn't succeeding very well.
She heard him chuckle, but he didn't offer a reply.
"Can I call you James?" she asked on an impulse, cursing herself as soon as the words left her mouth. Why did she have to ask something like that?
Sawyer rolled onto his back and was silent for what seemed like an eternity. Kate grew worried. What if he closed up his heart again? She couldn't take it, she was certain of that. Without him, she was lost.
"Why would you want to do that?" he finally asked, sounding insecure.
"Because you're nothing like him," she stated, relieved. Tenderness was obvious in her voice and it didn't escape him, causing him to grin widely at last.
"Alright then, James it'll be..." he paused for a second, before adding a meaningful "... Kate."
They shared a smile and Kate realised that, never in her life, she had felt so close to someone. She could never even have believed such an intimacy was possible. Could never have believed he would be the one for her.
As they both returned to a sleeping position, she knew that, while they still didn't know all about their respective past and mistakes, they knew what was most important about each other: who they really were.
She was Kate.
And he was James.