This chapter has been beta-ed by so original, to whom I'm extremely grateful. Thank you so much!
I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any
rights to the television show "Lost". They were created by
JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof and they belong to them, Touchstone, and
I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show "Lost". They were created by JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof and they belong to them, Touchstone, and ABC.
Thanks for reading!
The need for air was probably what caused him to regain consciousness.
He opened his eyes; his brain quickly registered that he was underwater, and his arms and legs started to move. He felt like he'd never reach the surface. When he did, his lungs about to explode, he took a few avid breaths. In a flash, he realised he had just fallen from a crashing plane. But he didn't have much time to reflect on that, as he noticed bubbles on the surface of the water, only a few feet away from him.
Something, or someone, was sinking.
Without even thinking, Sawyer went back underwater. The water was a little muddy and it wasn't easy to see. But it wasn't long before he found something: airplane seats, on which a man and a woman were still sitting. They were both unconscious and Sawyer wondered if they were dead. Moving closer, he noticed a piece of shrapnel sticking out of the man's chest. No air bubbles were coming out of his mouth, as it was in the woman's case. Best to concentrate on her, then, Sawyer figured.
Quickly, he undid her seatbelt and pulled her up. Upon reaching the surface, he swam to the shore, making sure her head was above water. When his feet touched earth again, he picked her up and carried her out. He then put her down on a big, flat rock. For a second, he didn't know what do to next. The woman, in her late twenties, wasn't moving. Should he give her mouth to mouth? Before he could decide on a course of action, she finally coughed and opened her eyes.
Kate was staring at a soaking wet, blond man. For a moment, she felt completely lost and she panicked. Who was he? Where was she? Frantic, she sat up. She was surprised to discover she was sitting in front of a waterfall in what seemed to be a tropical jungle.
The plane. It had been falling. How could she still be alive? She tried to speak, but before she could she started coughing again.
"Where is he?" she finally asked, her voice raspy.
For a second the man didn't move or speak. But then he briefly gazed at the water behind him before looking at her again. He didn't have to say more: Kate jumped to her feet, in a sudden adrenaline boost, and rushed over to the lake. But the stranger got up, too.
"There's nothing you can do for him," he declared with a Southern accent, grabbing her arm to stop her.
Even though his features were hard and cold as he spoke, she could discern some worry in his blue eyes. But she wasn't going to let him stop her.
"Let go of me! I can't leave him there!" she shouted, freeing herself and entering the water.
She had to do something to save him. She wasn't going to be responsible for another man's death.
Surprised by her determination, Sawyer briefly stood there, watching her. Should he let her find out for herself what had happened to her companion? Whoever that man was to her, it wasn't a good idea for her to see him, considering the state he was in. She was bound to have a serious breakdown at the sight of him. But would he care if she did? Not really. And why should he give a damn anyway? He was a murderer, a loathsome person. Saving the day wasn't something you expected from the kind of man he was, he told himself.
"Damn women," Sawyer muttered before sighing deeply and reluctantly following her into the water.
Under the water, Kate was trying to find the marshal, but it was hard to see and she had no idea where to look. Coming up to the surface to breathe, she saw the blond dive in, and she followed him back under. Soon, they found what they were looking for, and in a flash she realised why he had tried to stop her.
Kate briefly shut her eyes before moving closer to the marshal. The man who had saved her was watching her, waiting to see what she was going to do. Not wanting to show any sign of weakness, she quickly undid the marshal's belt. She reached to grab him, wanting to pull him up, but the stranger was quicker than she was.
Just as she was about to follow the men to the surface, something caught her eye: a silver case lying at the bottom of the lake. The Halliburton! She couldn't believe her luck. That case contained the most precious thing she had. Running out of air, Kate quickly grabbed hold of it, and headed towards the surface.
When she emerged, the Southerner had laid down the marshal on the same rock she had been on just a minute ago. She stood by, frozen, until the man's gaze met hers and he spoke.
"There's no pulse. Nothing we can do," he said coldly.
"That's impossible," she countered disbelievingly, grabbing the marshal's wrist to check for herself.
But he really was dead, she realised.
Gently, she let go of his hand. She knew her companion was staring at her curiously, but she didn't care. Edward Mars, the man who had been chasing her for the last four years, was dead. Maybe she should be glad, but she wasn't. The guy had only been doing his job. And now, because of her, he had died. One more person to add to the list of people she had killed.
Overwhelmed, Kate started shaking. She sat down, the details of her ordeal finally sinking in. The terrifying minutes during which the plane had gone down, her frantic race to unlock her handcuffs, the smoke, the fear...
She forced herself to take a deep breath. Against all odds, she was alive. She owed her life to the man in front of her, there was no doubt about it. In an effort to focus on something other than shock and guilt, Kate looked at the blond man.
"Thank you," she told him, "for saving me. And for helping me get him," she added.
His blue eyes briefly met hers.
"Yeah," he replied, seemingly uncomfortable. "What's this?" he asked after a few seconds, pointing at the silver case with his chin.
"It's mine," she replied curtly.
The stranger shot her a penetrating look, but didn't say anything. He just wondered:
"Who was he?"
Kate had to swallow the lump in her throat to reply:
"I don't know. He was just sitting next to me," she lied.
The man seemed surprised and Kate understood why. She had gone nuts trying to save him. Could someone get so upset over a person she hadn't known two hours earlier?
But, to her relief, he didn't ask more and started looking around.
"Where the hell are we? Where's the plane?" he wondered aloud.
There was no sign of a crash around them, nor was there black smoke clouding the sky. Could the plane have fallen into the ocean? After all, they had been flying over the Pacific at the time of the crash. She and the blond man were probably extremely lucky to have fallen to the ground.
"I don't know," Kate answered evenly. Her mind was already kicking into gear: that plane crash was her chance to escape the authorities once again. All she needed to do was to avoid the rescue team that would arrive shortly and find a way to disappear again. Fast.
She needed a plan. It didn't take her long to hatch one, since all she had been doing for the last four years of her life was figure out ways to avoid being caught.
First of all, she needed the key to the Halliburton. She was about to reach for the marshal's wallet when her fellow castaway apparently had the same idea.
"What are you doing?" she asked, her heart suddenly beating faster. She kneeled next to the lifeless body.
"Well, Cupcake, maybe he has a cell phone," the stranger drawled with a mocking smile. "We could call 911 and... oh-oh, look what I found!"
He was staring at Mars' clip-on badge.
"He was a U.S. Marshal... Interesting," he said as he took it, eying Kate suspiciously. "You said you were sitting next to him?"
Kate's heart skipped a beat, but she was used to keeping her cool. Her voice was calm and assured when she said:
"Yeah, but it doesn't mean anything. I'm not a criminal."
"Then why was he on the plane, Pumpkin?"
"I don't know. Maybe he was coming back without the prisoner he had gone to get. Maybe he had been able to escape or something," she offered.
"Maybe," the man replied, obviously not convinced.
"Think whatever you want," she countered. "We don't have time to waste. We've got to find that plane if we want to be rescued."
Their eyes were locked in a silent duel. Kate remained strong; she had no time to waste with him. At one point or another the authorities would show him a picture of her and he'd find out she really was a criminal. But for now, she had to set her plan in motion.
She grabbed the marshal's wallet from his jacket and put it in her pants' back pocket. None of this escaped the Southerner's attention.
"Why are you taking his wallet, Sweet cheeks?"
"When rescue comes," she replied, "we'll tell them who he was in case they don't find him."
The blond seemed to ponder her answer for a moment, but then his eyes fell on the marshal's ankle holster and he reached for it. He was obviously disappointed when he found it empty.
"The gun must have fallen into the water," he mumbled to himself.
Kate got up.
"We can't stay here, they'll never find us. We need to find the plane," she declared.
Of course she had no intention of ever getting there. But they had to start moving if she wanted the chance of losing this annoying man and make a run towards freedom.
"And how are we going to find it, Honey pie?" he wondered, sarcasm lacing his voice as he got up, too.
Kate gazed at the sky.
"Based on the sun's position and the direction we were flying, I can tell you the plane is probably... that way."
"Then what are we waiting for, Freckles?"