This just changes the one thing from the finale: Kate slept with Jack, not Sawyer - how we all would have preferred it to happen. This is set a year and a half later.
Eighteen months, and he had just walked straight back in without a second thought.
Kate and Sawyer had ran, as he had told them to, and they had came back to camp. At first, they looked for him, desperately, but after months of searching, they had to give up when Kate's strength deserted her. Ironically, she was the only one who continued looking after that point. Soon enough though, she had to admit also, that it didn't seem like Jack would be back with them anytime soon. It was a thought that pained her terribly, but she kept up her hope that he would return.
And there he was, even if he was eighteen months late.
Kate had taken over from him, assuming the position of leader. She hadn't meant to step into his shoes, but after a year had passed, she realised that she had. When people had problems, they went to her for solutions. She held the key to the gun case, the ones that she knew Sawyer didn't have still, not that they had much use for guns, she just felt secure knowing that they weren't all hidden in the same place. When people were arguing over something, they came to her to settle it. Everytime, she wondered, what would Jack do?
But he was there now.
He had come back a little over an hour ago. He'd looked for her, but she'd hidden in her tent, unsure of what she should do. It would have been easy enough to jump into his arms and hold him until her limbs screamed in aches, but she couldn't. Things were more complicated than that now. Eighteen months was a long time, and as much as she'd missed him and loved him, there were things that needed dealing with first. Things had changed, massive, huge things.
So she'd stood in her tent, with Claire, wondering what to do until Claire had practically forced her to go and talk to him. She supposed that Claire had every right to kick her out of her tent and literally make her do it, because she'd been the one who'd listened when Kate had broken down and needed Jack the most. Claire had been her strong shoulder, and at a time when she could admit that she needed one, the younger blonde had been there all along.
He was sitting on the edge of the shoreline, watching the sun beginning to set behind the horizon. He hadn't moved. People had lied for her, telling Jack that Kate was out in the jungle, and wouldn't be back for hours. Locke even pretended to go out and find her, but she knew that he was really going out to find a boar for that nights dinner. And now, hours later, it was time to do more than stare at the man who captivated her. After all, if Locke returned before Kate decided to talk, visibly alone, she knew that Jack would likely go out looking for her himself.
Gathering up all her strength, she walked forward, ignoring the whispered 'good luck' that Sawyer shouted to her, and sat down in the sand just behind him to the side, at an angle to him. He probably couldn't even have seen her out of the corner of her eye, so she gave herself a moment to compose herself. She stretched out one leg in the sand, whilst bringing the other up to her chest and loosely wrapping her arm around it, the other hand propping her up in the sand.
"Well, aren't you a sight for sore eyes?" She said, ready to face him and watching as Jack jumped, not noticing her presence before.
He grinned at hearing her voice, recognising it instantly as the one he had heard in his head for a year and a half, getting him through the day. Without a second thought, he launched himself on her, holding her in his arms and crushing her against him. He'd waited too long to hold her in his arms again to waist another second.
"Good to see you too." She half-laughed from within his strong embrace.
He relaxed his arms, bringing his hand up to her cheek, touching her softly to prove that this was real. "You have no idea how much I've missed you." He told her. It was the first time in eighteen months that she'd heard his voice. She'd not heard it since they were torn apart back at the Other's camp; him swearing that he'd find a way back to her.
"Could it have been as much as I missed you?" She asked, hugging him again. She'd had her taste, and now she wanted more.
"I guess that depends." He asked her, drawing her face up to his.
"On what?" She asked.
"On what that night meant to you?"
Ah, that night. The night that she'd remembered every night for eighteen months. The night that had moved her world, and made her feel safe in an unsafe place. The night that, only hours before her and Sawyer were ordered to run, her and Jack had finally given into temptation.
"It meant everything." She whispered to him, knowing that, at the moment, Jack couldn't even begin to understand what 'everything' now meant to her.
"You don't regret it?" He checked.
"It changed everything." She said, wishing he could immediately understand what she meant by that. "But, it got me through the hardest days, and I don't regret it for a single second."
"Me either." He said, shaking his head. "I couldn't stop thinking about you, Kate. It was so much easier knowing that I'd told you how I feel, but at the same time it hurt so much because I never stopped feeling so strongly, and I couldn't do anything about it."
She bit her lip, looking up at him. "And do you still feel that way?" She asked.
He nodded firmly. "Yes. You?"
She nodded as well. "I never stopped."
He smiled, and where he was still cupping her cheek, he kissed her, only soft, but before the kiss could develop into anything stronger, Kate had pulled away from him. His lips on hers would have been enough to distract her from the world ending, but there were things that needed to be settled before she found her temptations rebuilding once again.
"What's wrong?" He asked, noticing that she was shaking slightly.
"Nothing...I uh...I just...have to tell you something." She said uneasily.
"What is it?" He asked, terrified that she was going to reject him. He couldn't deal with that, not after so long wishing to be with her again.
She tried to explain, opening her mouth and letting out exhales instead a number of times before she simply pulled herself to her feet.
"Kate?" He asked, looking confused as she stood. For a moment, he feared that she was going to run, just like she had after their first kiss, but his fears were settled when she reached her hand down to him.
"Come on, I'll show you." She said.
He got to his feet, not using her hand to lift his weight at all, just holding it, and followed her down the beach. It didn't take him long to figure that they were heading towards her shelter, as he noticed it hadn't moved an inch from the last time he had seen it. He wondered what had become of his shelter. He could still see it standing along the beach, about ten feet behind Kate's, but he had a feeling that, after eighteen months, someone else would have chosen to accomodate themselves in his shelter.
However, he was shocked to find that Kate led him past her own shelter, which seemed to house Charlie's guitar, strangely, and on towards his own. His was on the very outskirts of the camp, built after he had needed space to sleep away from the people, yet still close to them. When they got outside of his shelter, he could gently hear a female voice, Claire's, coming from inside of the shelter, and Kate stopped them outside the entrance, turning to face him.
"Okay, before I show you, I need you to promise me something." She said quickly, and he could see her nerves rising.
"Anything." He said softly, nodding.
"I need you to promise that you're not going to freak out on me." She said, bringing her hands up to her stomach and wringing them about together, as if she feared her fingers might disintergrate if she didn't move them.
He frowned. "Why would I freak out on you?" He asked.
"Trust me, I freaked out with this." She told him with a half-laugh. "I know you're probably entitled to a moment of freaking, but I've needed you so much in the past year and a half, and you haven't been here..."
"Hey, whatever it is, I'm sure it's not that bad." He assured her, cutting her off from her nervous babbling.
She smiled, and for a moment, a look of peace came over her eyes. "Actually, I think it's the best thing that ever happened to me."
She turned and headed inside, and after a moment, Jack followed her. He saw Aaron first, kneeling on what had once been his bed. He was so much bigger now, no longer the weeks old baby he had last seen. He still had his blue eyes, but they were brighter now, a lot like Claire's were. In the same way as his mothers, his whispy blonde hair, longer than usual, curled even more the longer it got.
Beside him was Claire, and not a thing about her had changed. She didn't look the slightest bit different, and that had surprised him. Kate had looked different, when he thought about it, but so far, he hadn't been able to pin what it was that wasn't the same about her. Perhaps the thing that shocked him, however, was the fact that sitting up in her arms was another baby.
"You had another baby, Claire?" Jack asked, but knew straight away that this wasn't Claire's baby.
Claire shook her head, silently looking to Kate.
Kate took a deep breath, and took the baby from Claire's arms. Straight away, Jack saw that the baby instantly looked more in place in Kate's arms. "No, Jack...I had a baby."
He felt all the air leave his chest, shocking him so deeply that all he could do was stare. His eyes instantly fell upon this child. Kate's child. It was a girl. He could see that. She was wearing pink clothing, which, from his best guess, was just a sleepsuit with the sleeves cut off to keep her cool. She had dark hair, whispy, but still rather long, skimming down to the bottom of her scalp in the same think, unruly way that Kate's did.
Claire sensed the tension in the room, and knew that Kate needed the time alone to explain to Jack what had happened in the past year and a half. Taking Aaron, she left, mumbling something about going to find Charlie on her way past the silent pair. Now alone, Kate bit her lip, feeling the nervousness coming back to her, all the while, the baby played with Kate's hair, finding a small lock that was within her reach and playing with it in her fingers as she often did.
"Yeah, Jack. She's yours. Ours..." Kate confirmed.
Jack looked shocked, but through his shock a smile formed, and he approached Kate slowly. "Oh my god...I...I can't believe it."
"Neither could I, but I had eight months to get used to it." She said, slightly amused as she remembered how much she'd panicked at first.
"Only eight?" He asked, a concerned frown crossing his face when he worried about the effects from a premature birth.
"Well, from when I knew." She said, taking away his initial fears of either of them being hurt by the birth.
"What about the birth, was everything okay?" He asked, wishing he could have been there. He was this baby's father. This was something he should have experienced. He should have been there, either as a father, or a doctor.
"Yeah, hurt like hell though." She grimaced. The pain was something she'd been more than happy to forget about. "Sun and Claire helped me." She looked at him, biting her lip and then added one more comment. "Sawyer was there too."
There was the look she knew was coming. The disappointed, yet curious look. "Sawyer?"
"Not like that." She assured him quickly. "He helped me through it. He held my hand, told me that everything was going to be okay. He told me that wherever you were, you loved me."
"I did. I still do." He sighed softly, stepping closer again.
"Sun wasn't so lucky, though." She revealed with a sad look on her face.
Remembering that Sun was pregnant as well, Jack instantly became concerned. "What happened?"
"A couple of weeks after we got back here, she miscarried." She told him. "After that, everyone looked to me for what to do. I kinda took over from you as leader, but I'm not as good a doctor."
Jack smiled at her. "You seem to be more of a midwife now."
She nodded. "Nikki and Paulo's baby is due in two months, we think."
Before Jack could say anything else, the baby in Kate's arms began to grumble, looking up at Kate and trying to tell her her something. What impressed Jack was how easily Kate knew what her baby was trying to tell her. Motherhood suited her, he could tell that much already. He wished he could have been there to see her holding the newborn against her, hearing the newborn cry that peirced your ears at times, but it didn't matter because it was the sound of your child.
"I think someone needs changing." She said, taking the baby over to what could only be described as a changing mat. She lay the baby down, and kneeled before her.
Unsure of what else to do, Jack sat beside her, curiously looking down on the girl who he'd been told was his daughter. In return, the baby looked up at him with wild eyes. The same wild eyes that he saw when he looked at Kate. Whilst Kate went about changing her, Jack reached down, and the girl grabbed his finger, locking his gaze with hers.
"What's her name?" He asked softly, never taking his eyes away from the green orbs that he'd missed out on seeing so much already. She had his nose, he noticed.
"I was terrible with thinking of names." She remembered with a slight laugh. "So people just kept suggesting them to me all through the pregnancy. About a month before she was born, Claire said 'Allie', and I just fell in love with it. I didn't want it to be shortened from anything, so she's just Allie." Kate told him.
"I like it." Jack nodded, mermerised by the baby. "It suits her." Beautiful. "Tell me about her." He requested softly.
"She was born on September 22nd, a year exactly after the crash." Kate said, concentrating on her task without looking up. "Everyone's watches had run out by then, but Hurley said that when he heard her crying when she came out, the sun was just starting to rise so we think about 5am. She's ten months old next week. She likes mashed guava and mango, but gets fussy when I try to get her to eat mashed bananas. She likes the sound of the ocean, it always gets her to sleep unless its really rough. She's going through a phase of grabbing bugs off the sand at the moment as well, but if one of us doesn't see her then Aaron takes them away from her." Kate smiled at the baby, who was still watching her father. "She even has her own Sawyer nickname."
"What is it?" Jack asked.
"Buttercup, unless she's crying or grabbing his hair, in which case he usually calls her Babyzilla."
Jack laughed softly, and Kate stroked her finger down Allie's cheek, and her daughter looked up at her with a smile. "You've never been this quiet when I'm changing you before." She said in a sing-song voice. "Are you just showing off because Daddy's here?"
"Whoa...Daddy...thats sounds weird." Jack said. Daddy. He was a father. At first, he had been so overwhelmed, and now, it was sinking in. He was a father. This beautiful child looking up at him was his daughter. His little girl. His flesh and blood.
Kate smiled at his innocence with the child. "It could be worse, you could be 'grandpa'." She joked. It sounded rather embarrassing to admit, she knew, from the moment she'd seen she had a daughter, that Jack would be a protective parent. She didn't know how, but she just knew. It was probably because he was so protective with her already.
"It's a bit early to be thinking about that." Jack insisted, but she could hear the slight worry in his voice.
"No, its not." She said cheerily. "Me and Claire have already decided that Aaron is marrying her one day."
Jack's head whipped up quickly. "Whoa! What?" He asked, clearly protectively.
Kate smiled softly at their daughter. "Aaron's always following us around looking at her. He's going to fall in love with her one day. It's obvious."
Jack gave a soft laugh. "Everyone said that about us." He remembered.
Kate nodded. "They were right."
Having finished changing her diaper, Kate lifted Allie into her arms, sitting the clean girl in her lap as she started to play with her hair again. Jack watched, seeing how easily Kate seemed to hold Allie. It was like the child was made to fit into her arms. He felt so sad to have missed out on so much of his daughter's life.
Kate smiled, kissing her head. "That's right, baby, Mommy."
"She's talking?" Jack asked, having snapped out of his trance as Allie had mumbled, but clearly, the word 'mommy' to Kate.
Kate nodded. "First words were three weeks ago. She hasn't stopped since."
"What were they?" Jack asked curiously, transfixed by the beautiful girl. "The very first ones."
Kate suddenly looked rather embarrassed, and looked up at Jack sheepishly for a moment. "I was talking about you." She admitted. "I always talked to her about you, so that she'd always know who you were when you came back, and out of the blue, she just said 'da-da'."
The genuine pride that showed on Jack's face was enough to convince Kate that no matter what doubts she had faced in the past eighteen months, this moment, Jack and their daughter in the same place and time, was worth it. "Wow." He whispered with a grin.
"She says a lot of words now." Kate said. "We've been teaching her. Bird, Claire, Aaron, Sun, Sawyer...she can't pronounce them, but she's really trying."
He should have been there, he thought again. He had missed out on her first words, what else had he missed out on? He'd not been there the first time she opened her eyes, or been there to hold her in the night when she woke up screaming. He'd not even been there whilst Kate was carrying her, to convince her that everything was going to be okay, and that nothing bad was going to happen. He wasn't there to help her through her weird cravings, that she'd probably been unable to satisfy in such a remote location, or to help her through her more emotional times.
"I'm sorry Kate." She looked up at him, seeing how clearly devestated that he was that he'd missed so much. "I'm so sorry I wasn't here. I'm sorry that I've missed all of this."
Kate nodded. "It's okay." She said softly. "I knew you'd come back eventually, so I wrote everything down. It helped, because it felt like I was talking to you. It's in the purple book beside the bed." Inside the book was everything...the day she found out she was pregnant, the day she'd felt the first kick, how she'd practiced by taking care of Aaron for longer than usual...every doubt, fear and hope that she'd had.
Jack scooted over, taking the book, but he didn't read it yet, looking back to the girl. "Can...can I hold her?" He asked tentatively.
Kate smiled. "I think it's about time."
Jack opened his arms as Kate released Allie from hers, nudging her gently in Jack's direction. She crawled away from Kate's legs, and used her knees to pull herself onto her feet. Kate smiled, she'd been doing that for a week now. This time, however, she started taking steps, holding her arms out to Jack's.
"Oh my god." Kate gasped.
"Are these her first steps?" Jack asked, not taking his eyes away from her.
"Yeah." Kate said, and he could hear her voice getting emotional. Of course, Kate, as he remembered her, had never gotten emotional over such a small gesture, but this was their child, the child that their passion and love had created, taking her first unaided steps on her own two feet.
Jack enveloped Allie in his arms as soon as she had reached him, and felt tears come to his own eyes. He was proud. He'd known her for a total of five minutes, maybe a little more or less, and he was already holding her like he'd done it a thousand times, knowing that no matter what she did, he'd love her and be proud of her.
Hearing his daughter calling him 'dad-dad' for the first time was so much more emotional that it had been to know that it was the first thing she had said. She knew who he was. She'd never seen him before, but something about him made her know that this was her father. He held her tightly, never wanting to let this beautiful child out of his arms.
"Yeah, baby girl, daddy's home now." Jack said to her.
"Ho...home." She repeated determinedly. He let out gentle laugh as he recognised the same determination that Kate had, when she was adament on doing something.
Kate watched with a smile at the sight of what she'd never thought she'd see, and saw a tear slip down Jack's cheeks and fall onto Allie's dark hair. Jack had come home. It had taken him eighteen months, and there was a lot ahead of them now. Of course, it was going to take a while to get to a safe place for the three of them, but for now, they'd get by with taking baby steps towards it.
After all, Allie could do it. Why couldn't they?