Title: A Twisted Fairytale
Summery: Jack and Kate meet in prison.
A/N: So supremely AU it's hardly even funny. Starts in the flashback in 3x01 "A Tale of Two Cities" where Jack is in prison and then goes off on its own merry way. And yes, this is about as much of a chaptered fic as you're ever going to get out of me. If you can spot the two little Easter Eggs, then you so get a cookie or something.
The guy in the cell next to her is quickly becoming the most annoying and interesting man she has ever met. Or overheard. Same thing.
In either case, he's spent the entirety of two hours of jail time ranting and yelling at the cops, other prisoners, really anyone that'll listen, about how his ex-wife is sleeping with his father; his married father. His wife left him to carry on an affair with his father. The man is convinced of that, so convinced that he punched his father at his father's AA meeting and thus ended up in jail because of it.
She finds it ironic. She killed her father. Stuck him in the house, let a little gas leak into the air, accidentally created the spark, you know the usual. It's interesting that her next door cellmate has daddy issues too. She likes that. Irony is what keeps a smile on her face and the wrinkles away.
He punched his father. She killed hers. It's like the same thing.
"Hey," she hisses, moving closer to the bars separating their cells.
He looks up from glaring at his knees, utterly confused by the whisper. The cops have ignored him since at least an hour and a half ago. It's not them that want to talk to him. It's the woman in the cell next to him.
"Hey," she repeats, smiling at him.
"Hi," he answers, cautiously. This isn't his first time in prison but he isn't used to conversing with the other prisoners. Isn't that against some jail rule?
"So you punched your father?" she asks, head cocking to the side curiously. He nods. "Is he going to press charges then?"
He shrugs. He really has no idea. It's not something he can't see his father doing but at the same time, they're family. "Probably not."
"Then why are you still here?"
"Spending a night in jail to learn my lesson," he says with a sarcastic laugh.
She laughs with him as she sits crossed-legged at the bars between them. "My dad used to do that to me all the time. I wasn't the daughter he wanted and with no one else to arrest in a town of five hundred, the sheriff was all for the idea," she explains. "Or it could've just been that I was caught with pot and alcohol a lot."
He follows her example and sits cross-legged opposite her. "You're not from California, are you?"
She shakes her head. "Iowa born and breed," she says proudly.
"What are you doing in LA then?"
She shrugs. "Felt like a change."
"And daddy was okay with that?" It's weird. He's known this woman for ten minutes, literally met her in a prison cell and he feels as though he can talk to her as though they were old friends. He doesn't even know her name but he feels connected to her.
"Daddy got blown up," she says with a straight face.
He frowns, not in shock but at her frankness. "You blew up your father?"
She isn't ashamed of what she's done. If she's going to be tried for it, she can't afford to be. "He treated my mom like shit, beat her and stuff," she tucks her hair behind her ear. "and he was an awful drunk. Something needed to be done."
"Did he abuse you too?"
She's silent as though she's considering lying to him. When she can't think of a good reason to, she answers, "Not physically. He didn't lay a finger on me. But you can mess with a kid in other ways, you know?"
He's suddenly reminded of his own father and nods. "Yeah, I know."
"So what about your dad?" she asks. "How are you so certain he's sleeping with your wife?"
"Ex-wife," he corrects. "I just know. I know my dad. I know Sarah. They're having an affair."
"You've never caught them?"
He shakes his head. "I will."
She considers him. "Why do you have such an overpowering need to prove yourself right?"
"I've listened to you for the past two hours," she says. "Trust me when I say you have a need to prove yourself right."
"You don't know me off two hours of eavesdropping."
"And you don't know me after fifteen minutes of conversation but that didn't stop you from asking personal questions about my dad," she counters.
"It seems we don't know each other then," he says.
She nods. "It would appear that way."
He holds out his hand to her, even though there's no way they're going to get their hands through the bars to shake. The police might tolerate prisoners conversing but he doubts they'll allow any physical contact, even an innocent hand shake. "Jack Shephard."
She holds her hand level with his and pretends to shake it. "Kate Austen."
"What do you do for a living, Kate Austen?"
"I haven't worked in over a year," she responds. "Not since I went on the run after blowing up my dad. What about you, Jack Shephard?"
"Spinal surgeon out of St. Sebastian's."
"Oh, how the mighty have fallen," she comments with mirth.
"Hey, you blew up your dad."
"And you punched yours, oh mighty surgeon," she grins cheekily at him. "I thought doctors were pacifists."
"You really did grow up in a small town," he says.
She shrugs. "I wasn't kidding." They stare at each other for a few seconds, content to say nothing. Complete strangers they might be but they're damn close complete strangers. She glances towards the end of the hall where the police are standing and talking. "Want to know a secret?"
He can't see the harm so he nods. "Sure."
She gets a secretive grin on her face, one that he's only seen on his best friend's four year old daughter's face before now. "I'm going to break out of here," she whispers. "Tonight. In just a few minutes actually."
He stares at her in shock now. This woman is insane. Doesn't she know that breaking out will only make it harder on her?
The grin deepens and she leans in, the tip of her nose brushing the bars, "Do you want to come with me, Jack Shephard?"
He's still so stunned by her revelation that he can't even nod or shake his head to answer her question. She was breaking out, tonight, right now, and she offers to bring him with her?
It's going to be much more of a pain in the ass if he breaks out now. One night in jail isn't that bad and it isn't like it's headlining news. A world-renown surgeon breaking out of prison, however, is. If he breaks out with her, he'll not only be a fugitive but an accomplice to her prison break.
"Jack?" It isn't the first time she's broken out and he isn't the first man she's had a conversation with behind bars. He's just the first man she's ever offered to break out of prison with. It feels right and she doesn't want to mess it up.
He blinks. "Are you serious?"
Her grin turns coy. "Of course I'm serious," she whispers.
"I… I hardly know you."
"Oh come on," she rolls her eyes. "You know all about my dad, which is more then most of my old friends can say. I know about your dad, which I'm assuming is more then even your mother knows, and we have this connection thing, don't you think? I get you. I feel like I understand you."
"Yes, we have a connection," he admits. "But do you have any idea of what you're proposing?"
"I'm proposing a way out," she states.
"For you too," she insists. "You're stuck where you are, Jack. You're being drowned by the people in your life. You're not like them. They don't get you like I do, I can tell and I've just met you."
"You're assuming too much," he tells her. It might be amazingly accurate but she has crossed a line with her assumption.
She gives him a pointed look. "You know it's true, Jack. People like you and me don't do good around people like our dads, and your wife."
"I'm not like you."
"I'm not a bad person, Jack," she says, looking hurt. "I've just made a few bad choices."
He sighs. "I'm not saying you're a bad person, Kate," he answers. "I just don't think it's a very good idea."
"It's not an easy life, I won't lie about that," Kate tucks her hair behind her ear again. "But I think you'll like it. There's no one to answer to. No one to tell you not to do something. No family shit. And… you travel a lot."
He laughs. "How much is a lot?"
"One week New York. The next in LA."
He nods. "Would we… be together then?"
She laughs. "I'm not going to ditch you, Jack, if that's what you're thinking," she tells him. She isn't thinking about sex. A friendship is what's being offered. "If you come with me tonight, then you're stuck with me until you want out. And to get out, all you have to do is pick up the phone."
He's insane too for even considering what she has in mind. "How…" he pauses and leans in, "how are you planning on doing this?"
She grins that childish grin again and tells him.
She gives him a few minutes to process the plan. She wants him to come with her but she isn't going to force him. If he isn't sure then she can't risk having him with her. He needs to be sure and for that, she can wait.
Finally, he looks up from his hands. She cocks her head at him, silently asking him his decision.
He nods. Yes.
Fifteen minutes later, he's a fugitive.
He's lost at what to do but she's got his back. Stick to the alleys, she tells him as general advice and right now, stay close to her. They have to find a place to spend the night and by tomorrow night, they'll be long gone from L.A.
How she finds the place, he'll never know. One minute he's at the police station and seemingly the next, he's in a run-down motel room with a woman that he just met roughly an hour ago and he is a fugitive with her. It doesn't seem real yet.
There's only one bed but they're adults and neither really mind sharing. The bathroom leaves something to be desired in the cleanliness department. It'll do for a quick shower each and they only use the toilet if they absolutely have to. There's a TV but it only gets fuzzy public channels and they don't really feel like watching TV.
He first realizes that they don't have anything but literally what's on their backs when he gets the urge to brush his teeth and finds he doesn't have a toothbrush.
"We'll pick some things up once we get out of town," she says with a simple shrug.
"And how exactly are we going to get out?" he asks. It's not like they can use his car. Or hers if she has one.
"Trains probably," she responds. "The cops check those last, so we'll be fine. After a while, we can probably get a car from one of my friends."
He nods, unsure of what to do now. He just broke out of prison. He chose to alienate himself from his former life and all on a whim after meeting this woman. He can't go back, even if she says he can. Going back is going to trial. Where he is now is likely where he'll be for the rest of his life.
She gives him a smile, understanding his awkwardness. "This isn't sex, you know."
He gives her a confused look.
"This, whatever it is that we have here, it's not about sex. Or even dating, we're just…"
"… two people on the run," he finishes for her. "I know. I figured back in prison."
"Oh good," she smiles. "Where do you want to go?"
"Pick someplace. Any place you can think on the continent that you have always wanted to visit or really loved or whatever. Just pick somewhere."
"You're letting me decide?"
She laughs. "First of all, moving around is hardly ever planned. It's sporadic and has no pattern, that's the point," she says. "And second of all, I think we should take turns picking the next spot. You go first."
"How much can we be in public?" he asks.
She thinks for a moment. "Enough to live a normal life given the circumstances, I'd say."
"Ever been skiing?"
She's absolutely horrible at skiing and he takes a small pleasure in giving her her first real lesson. By the end of the day, she's bumped and bruised but flushed with pleasure. It's good that she brought Jack into this life of hers. She forgot how lonely she gets without someone around.
Now she has a constant companion, a live-in best friend, and it's only been a month since they met in prison.
To her surprise, he's adjusting to the life of fugitivism very well. After a two hour lecture about the rules of the road and tips for not being seen, he's set. His morals seem to have disappeared. He has no problem with shoplifting and scamming now. He can fire a gun and accurately too. He picks up on things amazingly fast and when she's stuck, he has the answer already planned out. He's much better than her last partner, both in looks and in brain.
She was right about him though, he does like the life. She's glad for that. Seeing him smile is part of the reason she gets up in the morning. She knows she told him that it wasn't about sex and that they wouldn't date and she still believes that partners shouldn't be involved romantically but what wouldn't she give to have those strong hands of his on her body in the middle of the night?
He's an attractive man, Jack. He knows it and uses it against young sales clerks while she darts around, stuffing this and that into her pockets. She can't help but to be irked with jealousy every time he does it. She has to remind herself with a sharp pinch that he isn't hers, as much as she wants him to be.
She should've seen this coming, this desire for him. With their connection and strong bond, it's surprising that she didn't try to jump him that first night they spent together. She can't jump him. He's given no indication that he wants anything more then her friendship. She's shown him a side of himself he didn't know existed but one that he loves and he's eternally grateful to her for that but they're friends. They can't be anymore.
She finds little way to keep her curiosity in check. When he's sleeping, she'll spend ten or thirty or sixty minutes staring at him. Sometimes when they're driving from place to place, she'll rest her hand on top his. He doesn't mind and most of the time he'll grip her hand back. She takes full advantage of his offer to give her one of his shirts to sleep in at night since her old pajamas are falling apart.
Despite all that, she starts to withdraw from him.
He starts to notice her acting weird when the holidays start to draw near. At first he thinks that it's because she has some vendetta against Christmas but then she surprises him with a Santa hat and a tacky sweater. She loves the holiday, she insists, and he has no reason not to believe her.
Except that she's off lately.
They decide to stay in the Yellowstone region for the month of December. It's nice there and tourists are scarce. They can hide easily and be gone even easier.
In the six months that he's known her, he's only considered calling his family twice and every time he does, the mental picture of his father with Sarah and his mother having no clue about any of it makes him so nauseous that he hangs up the phone without finishing the number. He hasn't even started to dial his friends. Those people seem meaningless now. They're a part of the old Jack. The new Jack has Kate and the road and that's all he needs to stay happy.
They came across his wanted poster three months into their adventure. It was in the post office, naturally. He was wanted for escaping federal custody and aiding a known fugitive evade the law. She was so proud of his first wanted poster that she bought the drinks that night.
That Kate was the one he was used to. Not the one prone to long silences and sighs. Or the one that got increasingly quiet as the days past. Something's up with her. He knows her so well by now that he can tell when she has a new split end. She's about smiles and enjoying the life that's been forced upon her by her decisions.
"We need to talk," he announces during a rerun of The X-Files two days before Christmas.
She frowns but turns off the TV nonetheless. "About what?"
"What's wrong with you?"
She feels a flash of panic. "What are you talking about?"
"You've been weird lately, Kate," he says. "Different. Cold even."
She shrugs. "I wasn't aware that—"
"Don't feed me that bullshit," he snaps.
She recoils, unused to hearing him angry. She's seen nothing but smiles and humor so much that she didn't match anger with him ever. "What do you want me to say?"
"I want you to tell me the truth," he says. "Something's wrong with you and I want to know what it is."
She licks her lips. She's on thin ice now. One misstep in either direction and she loses him forever. "It's nothing. Just forget about it."
"How can I forget about it when I don't know what it is?"
"Jack, just drop it please."
He eyes her and sighs. "Fine," he says in a resigned tone. He turns off the light and all she has to stare at is his back that night.
It's a month later and another out of the way town they stop in, this time in southern Colorado. They don't talk about their yuletide conversation. She's hiding something and he's angry at her for that but it's a fair trade and they can live with it. For now.
"You wanna shower first?" she asks after they check in. The bathroom is about the same as their first bathroom but it's been four days since their last shower. It's a necessary evil.
"Sure," he answers.
Ten minutes later, he calls out for her from the bathroom and cautiously she approaches the slightly cracked door. "Yeah?"
"Bring me my shaving kit?" he asks.
She bites her lip. His beard is right where she loves it; enough to cover his chin but nothing resembling a full beard. She can hardly stand the idea of him shaving it. Handing him the means is another thing all together. "Yeah, sure, one sec."
She fetches the shaving kit and after knocking on the door, she pushes it open so she can hand it to him. Oh crap. Bad idea.
He turns to face her, completely comfortable in his towel and utterly oblivious to her reaction. "Thanks," he smiles at her as he takes the kit from her.
"Uh-huh," she manages, unable to take her eyes off his back. She needs to get out of that bathroom before she does something stupid. How she does it, she has no idea, but she's out of that bathroom and nothing's happened and she can breathe a little easier.
He emerges from the bathroom ten minutes later, cleanly shaven and wearing only his jeans—goddamn him. "I was thinking we could take the day off from us," he comments. "There's a hundred miles of hiking trails around here. You like that right?"
She nods. "Yeah, course." The only good memories she has of her father is when they went hiking.
"Go shower and then we can go."
"Done and done, sir," she teases. Thank God for it too. She thinks she might've lost it there for a second.
She only takes fifteen minutes to shower and get dressed. She's the most low-maintenance girl ever, he comments with a smile causing her to flush. He's packed everything for a hiking trip, he tells as her as they strap into the car. All she has to do is pick a trail.
"Why are you doing this?" she asks after he pulls out of the motel parking lot.
He flashes her a confused look. "What do you mean?"
"Why the hiking trip, Jack?" she asks. "Why today?"
"Why not?" he challenges.
She can think of a lot of reasons. They need to get some food. She can't survive on Ramen noodles forever. She also needs some feminine products because she is a girl and it is that time of the month. It wouldn't hurt anything if they snagged some aspirin too. They're almost out. They should be hitting a convenience store right now, not going for a hiking trip.
"Because we need to get some things."
"We can do it tomorrow."
No, they really can't. Food and pills can wait but she needs a tampon today. "Jack…"
He sighs. "We'll go after, alright?"
She briefly wonders when deciding power passed from her experienced hands into his more capable ones. "Fine."
He looks at her, looking worried and concerned. "Are you alright?"
"Fine," she mumbles. This isn't a good time to be testing her limits. She's pissy and easily annoyed enough without him going out of his way to make her so.
He wisely doesn't say anymore until they reach the trail and then it's only to tell her to grab her pack out of the backseat. They start down the trail in silence. He doesn't seem to mind; hiking's a silent sport. Talking on happens when there's a break or a deer's been spotted.
She stops to tie her shoe an hour later and he declares it a good time to eat. She isn't complaining since she didn't have breakfast. He drops his pack and hands her a paper sack. She doesn't ask where he got fresh fruit; she isn't sure she wants to know but she smiles broadly anyway. "Thank you."
He looks up from his sandwich and returns her smile. "No problem."
They finish eating in silence. She's wrestling with guilt and that's why she doesn't want to talk. He's been nothing but kind to her and supportive since they met and she's been treating him horribly lately. It isn't his fault. It's hers. She can't get over her crush and instead of dealing with it like an adult she stubbornly blames it on him and uses that as a reason to be distant.
"Are you sure you're alright?" he asks.
"I really wish you'd stop asking me that."
"Then tell me where the girl I met in jail went," he retorts. "Do you want me to leave? Is that what this is?" He knows she said that she wouldn't ditch him but things change in seven months. She could've changed her mind. There isn't anything he can do about that.
She looks panicked. "No."
"Then what is it?"
She looks down at her hands. She can't tell him the truth and lying isn't going to last much longer before he decides to leave her. She's never been left before. It's always her that does the leaving. She isn't sure she could handle that. "Nothing. It's nothing."
"It can't be nothing, Kate," he snaps and she flinches. "I gave up a lot to follow you around the country, I think I deserve a little bit of the truth from you."
"Are you regretting it?" she asks, turning her hurt to anger at him.
"No," he shakes his head. "No, of course not. I'm just worried about you."
"I don't need you to worry about me," she snaps.
Now it's his turn to look hurt. "Something's wrong, tell me what it is."
"Stop saying that."
"Then stop asking," she yells. This is going horribly. She should just tell him how she feels but she can't. She's going to lose him either way now and she'd rather it ends with her retaining her dignity.
His jaw clenches. He's fighting to control his temper. Yelling at her isn't the way to get something out of her. She needs to be approached with calm and rationality but she makes that so hard. "What's wrong?" he asks once more, softer and calmer then he ever has.
She bites her lip and shakes her head. "Can we just drop it?"
He kneels in front of her, and takes her face in his hands. He's so close to finally finding the truth that he can taste it. "What's wrong?"
She can feel tears stinging the corners of her eyes. She blames her period for this. It's making her too emotional and vulnerable to his prodding. "Jack..."
"Tell me," he whispers. "Please just tell me."
She's so close to crying now that a tear spills over and rolls down her cheek. He moves to brush it away and in doing so, he misses what she mumbles. "What?"
It hurts that she has to repeat it. Men need to learn to listen, damnit. "I said I love you."
He looks confused. She always confuses him. "I love you—"
She shakes her head sharply, cutting him off. "I don't mean like friends," she says in a soft voice. She forces herself to look him in the eye. "I mean like I really love you."
He's stunned into silence. She does that a lot to him too. This time though he's silent for so long that she's convinced that she just ended their friendship. They had a beautiful thing going. It was almost like a fairy tale, a very twisted one, but one nonetheless and she's just ruined it.
She starts to pull away from him but then his fingers tighten around her cheeks. She has no time to think, no time to react because he moves in and practically attacks her with his lips. He skips the testing, hesitant part normal to first kisses. He dives right into the deep, hot, tongue filled kiss common to lovers that have known each other for ever. He doesn't relent either. He gives her time for air and then he's there, in her face, never letting her go. Her hands grip his shirt, his shoulder, any part she can lay anchor on. This is so much better then she's ever imagined because he's there and he's kissing her like he's drowning and she's air and God she could just die right now.
"God, Kate," he whispers when he's satisfied that her lips are as red and swollen as they can be. He leans his forehead against hers, sharing breath with her.
She's so happy, so filled with disbelief at what just happened that all she can do is smile lazily and ask, "What?"
"I've waited for you to say that since—"
She interrupts, flushed with excitement. "What?"
He smiles adoringly at her. "I think I've loved you since we met in prison."
She laughs. "Good," she whispers, stroking the side of his face. "God, I love you so much."
He's embraced this, them, so much that she kicks herself for not saying anything sooner, for not noticing that he felt the same way towards her but refrained from saying anything because she said no dating when they met.
If she found him a good friend before, she finds him a great lover now.
If they did great work before, now they're amazing together.
If she ever considered living without him, now she can't even fathom not waking up with his arm around her waist and his nose pressed into her neck.
They had this connection thing when they met and it hasn't died since. He'd felt it when she broke him out of prison that this woman was one that he could see himself spending the rest of his life with. He knew after knowing her for just minutes and he would do anything to hold onto that.
She still thinks that one day he's going to leave her. He made a wonderful doctor and an even better criminal. If there's a ladder in life, he's several rungs ahead of her and he has no reason to stop and pull her up with him, none that she can make out. She told him that she wasn't a bad person once and that may be true, but she isn't nearly as good of a person as he is.
She doesn't regret taking him with her because if she hadn't then she wouldn't have this man in her life that loved and understood her unconditionally. She regrets taking a man who was above her and dragging him down to her level.
He assures her that she has no reason to think like that; that he chose this life and if given the chance to do it over, he would still chose her. He isn't better then her, not at all. It's all in her head.
She isn't so sure.
"I've been thinking."
She looks up at him from her spot nestled in his lap. "Never a good sign," she teases.
He pinches her thigh in retribution. "Anyway, I was thinking."
She laughs and rests her head against his chest. "Okay, about what?"
He's silent for a moment, then; "We should get married."
She frowns and picks her head up from his chest. "What?"
"We should get married," he repeats.
"Jack…" she starts cautiously. They've only been lovers for four months, only known each other for eleven. In the normal world that was too soon for anything matrimonial and didn't they spend every day trying to be normal?
"Why not?" he asks.
When she can't think of a reason, he smiles. "Marry me, Kate."
She isn't saying yes—not yet. "And how do you think we're going to get a marriage license?"
His smile takes a mischievous turn. "You know that friend you mentioned in Tennessee?"
She nods. "Cassidy, yeah. What about her?"
"She's very good at faking documents, isn't she?"
She slowly starts to smile. "Yeah, she is."
"I'm sure she could fake a marriage certificate."
She moves up to kiss him. "Yes."
She laughs and nods, kissing him again. "Yes, I'll marry you."
He's impatient after that and she can't blame him. He wants to do it now. She grabs their bags while he goes to get the car. Ten minutes later, they're speeding towards the Kentucky/Tennessee border.
In her excitement and happiness, she reaches over and grabs his hand, just like the old days when they were still lying to each other about what was plainly in front of them. He smiles and glances over at her, gripping her fingers tighter.
It isn't really anyone's fault when another car runs a stop sign that he doesn't see it in time to react. The other car holds a blonde, her baby, and her former rock-star fiancé. They can't take back that rash decision now. Collision is unavoidable.
By the time the paramedics arrive, there isn't anyone to save.
Comments are love.