Caught in a Net
Jack looked over at Sawyer's tent. The small flame flickered outside the long dark green ferns and blue tarp, casting small silhouettes of Sawyer's figure, almost creating a sort of silent shadow show, telling a tale of solitary and dark. Jack could see Sawyer's shadow, hunched over slightly, arms probably resting on his legs, one hand poised, holding a small stick, a cigarette.
He watched as the shadow of Sawyer raised that hand, placed the small cigarette shadow to his lips. Wisps of dark smoke escaped his mouth in an almost serpentine shape. The next moment Sawyer tipped his head back, as though sighing or breathing deeply.
Jack felt like a voyeur. He didn't like that his eyes wouldn't voluntarily move from the silent shadow show in front of him, barely twenty feet away. The fire swirled left, right, around in a circle, dancing to the breath of the wind. The rest of the survivors had their own small boy scout fires, but the one that Sawyer had built, the one which now allowed quiet dark images to play, was not small, and was not tame. It snapped and crackled, and its flames shot out like a predatory tongue, attempting to whip anything too close. It was wildfire, set in a small stone circle, and set too close to the breaching tide. It was in danger of being extinguished, of extinguishing itself.
He wanted to get up, go over to Sawyer's tent, call inside or knock on the palm fronds, whatever the etiquette was when approaching a makeshift home on a beach. He wanted to hear Sawyer's southern accent, his scratchy drawl, the clever puns and nicknames he gave everyone. As much as he didn't want to admit it, he wanted Sawyer's dark eyes on him, and he wanted his own eyes on Sawyer, looking over his bare flesh, wanting to kiss it, taste it, feel it under his fingertips…
Jack looked away from the tent to his left, where Kate stood, illuminated by the soft light. She really was beautiful.
"Yeah, Kate?" he asked, trying not to act like she'd interrupted a very private thought.
"How is Michael?" she asked, settling down on the sand beside him.
"He's doing fine," Jack answered, glancing back over to Sawyer's tent. He tried to make it look like he was just moving his head, like he wasn't doing it on purpose. When he looked back to Kate, she was looking at him very carefully.
"You sure? You seem a bit distracted." Kate peered at him, the fire making her warm brown eyes more intense.
"He's in no danger," Jack replied, looking at her full-on. "He was dehydrated and undernourished when he came out of the jungle, Kate. We've already remedied that. He just needs some rest and he'll be fine."
Kate had a right to ask him, he knew that. She had been with him when Michael had come running out of the jungle, out of the Other's side, and collapsed at their feet. Still, he didn't like having to account for everyone and every little thing that happened to them, and then having to keep everyone updated when they could just as easily see for themselves. It was just the exhaustion talking, but it didn't stop him from feeling so strongly about it. He was tired of this leader gig. The problem was, it was either him or Locke, and, as much as he hated the job, as much as every fiber of his being just wanted to step down, to listen to that little voice in his head that sounded a lot like his father, he just couldn't relinquish the responsibility to someone he didn't trust. So that left quitting out of the question.
"Well?" Kate after a small silence.
"Well what?" Jack asked, glancing to her expectantly.
"Well…what's the plan, Jack?" Kate asked, giving him a look. "The Others sent Michael out. Is that what they thought you meant by a trade? Are we supposed to give up Henry Gale now?"
"No," Jack said softly. "If they'd wanted to use Michael as a bargaining chip, they would have ensured we'd understood the rules and upheld our side of the bargain. We made no deal."
"Yeah, okay, but what if they operate on a different set of rules than we do?" Kate asked. "They don't think like we do, and they don't seem to have any morals. What if they expect us to give them their man, and we don't? Are they going to come after us again?"
"It just seems odd to me that Michael crossed the line that not so long ago they held a gun to my head and told us not to cross on pain of death, and then they send him out unharmed while we still have something that they want--"
She stopped, looked at Jack. He looked on the verge of a nervous breakdown, suddenly.
"I'm sorry," she said. She looked at him with concern shining in her expressive brown eyes. "It's just--sorry."
She got up abruptly and Jack looked up at her, feeling like crap now because she had just been trying to help and offer advice. One part of him wanted to tell her there was no need for her to apologize to him, that this was his role, his niche, and he had to perform it without fail or things would go from bad and complicated to far worse. It wasn't her fault that the weight of the entire world was on his shoulders; it wasn't her fault, but the other part of Jack was too tired and confused to really care.
"It's okay," he finally settled on saying. "We'll talk about this in the morning, okay? After I check up on Michael."
She watched him a moment before nodding slightly. "Okay," she said softly. "Good night, Jack."
"G'night, Kate," he said quietly as she walked off along the camp.
She was right. The Others were most likely trying to pull something, and the only way to prevent anyone falling into a trap was to interrogate Michael, although judging from the drivel that had slipped from his lips the past few hours, it didn't seem likely he would be coherent enough to tell them anything for a while. Or maybe Michael didn't know anything at all.
Jack was up and walking before he even realized what he was doing. And yet he knew exactly was he was doing, what he had to do.
He walked up to Sawyer's tent, to the burning fire which hissed angrily at him, and knocked on the small bit of plane fuselage which held up most of the fern and tarps which reflected the revealing play of dark images.
The tarps were pushed aside the next second and Sawyer stuck his head out. His long, dirt blond hair was messy and unkempt. He turned his intense eyes onto the doctor standing before him.
"Damn, doc," Sawyer commented, sounding amused. "To what do I owe the pleasure of you knockin' on my door so late at night?"
Damn him, he made it sound dirty. Jack pretended he hadn't heard the double entendre in Sawyer's words, although it did cause a stirring in his body.
"The Others sent Michael back out to us without any reason. They could have used him for a bargaining chip to get their guy back but they didn't."
Sawyer looked at Jack expectantly. "Yeah. So?"
"So something's not right," Jack continued. "Now I'm going to go back out there, to the line we weren't supposed to cross, and I'm going to do some investigating."
" 'Investigatin'? You mean snoopin'," Sawyer said, the beginning of a grin fleeting across his soft-looking lips. "Somehow I don't think they're gonna appreciate you playin' Sherlock Holmes all over their property."
"I know," Jack said. "That's why I want you to come with me."
Sawyer actually looked surprised. "An' what makes you think I'd wanna tag along?"
"I need someone to cover my back when I go in. You have the guns." It was that simple.
"Last I checked, you had one, too. What happened, Doc? Did Bonnie over there steal it from you?" Sawyer nodded in Kate's general direction.
Jack stared at Sawyer for a very long time. Sawyer raised an eyebrow.
"Hell, Doc, you're makin' me blush."
Jack sighed, unable to stop himself from acknowledging the words, or the effect Sawyer's gravelly voice was having on his body. He pursed his lips, glanced in another direction, any direction, as long as he wasn't looking at that undeniably attractive face, took a few seconds to get himself back under control, and then looked back to Sawyer, who was watching him with renewed interest. He stepped close, very close to Sawyer, so their faces were barely an inch apart.
"If the Others are there," Jack said very quietly, all his willpower focusing on keeping his gaze on Sawyer's eyes and not his lips, "we are gonna need more than one gun."
Sawyer watched him carefully. Jack felt Sawyer's breath hit his face. They were almost the same height, with Sawyer maybe barely an inch taller. It made the gap between their mouths even smaller.
Sawyer finally spoke. "All right, Doc," he said, smirking so the dimple in his cheek became apparent. "You got me curious. I'll join your little quest for the lost arc."
Jack nodded. He turned to leave when Sawyer grabbed his arm, and that one touch sent electricity tracing up and down Jack's spine. He bit his lips so he didn't gasp, then looked back to Sawyer expectantly. Their eyes met and Jack felt there was something behind Sawyer's eyes, something barely concealed, something very lusty and dark and dangerous.
"What, Sawyer?" Jack asked, trying so hard to keep himself under control.
"Just tell me, Doc," Sawyer said, all serious now. "What do you expect to find out there?"
Jack didn't answer for a moment. Sawyer's hand stayed firmly on Jack's arm, the skin-on-skin contact clouding his mind so it was taking far longer to think of a response than he would have liked.
So he did the only thing he could do--he glanced down at Sawyer's hand, then back to Sawyer, who got the hint and dropped his hand.
"I don't know," Jack replied. "Honestly? I hope we don't find anything."
Sawyer looked at him, giving the barest of nods.
"Be ready bright and early tomorrow, Sawyer. I don't want anyone else asking what we're doing."
"Something tells me Freckles don't know you're planning this little trip," Sawyer said.
Jack shook his head. "She doesn't." He turned and began walking away. "Be ready."
By the time the sun was just creeping over the horizon and the barest traces of warm colors were seeping into the dissipating night sky, Jack stood on the beach, backpack securely fastened, checking the barrel of the 9mm gun to make sure it was loaded. Sawyer walked up to him, holding a rifle and two 9mm guns.
"This enough for you, Dr. Livingston?" Sawyer asked, grinning as he held out one of the 9mm to Jack.
"Yeah," Jack said after a beat, taking it and shoving the nozzle under his belt. He nodded at the rifle. "That necessary?"
Sawyer pointed the rifle skyward and leaned it back against his shoulder. "Better safe than sorry." Jack turned to head off. " 'Sides, if the 9mm doesn't do the job, this here rifle will."
"If you say so," Jack said, moving on.
By the time they had trekked deep into the jungle, the sun had risen, small shafts of sunlight spilling down in between thick trees. There hadn't been much conversation, but the silence wasn't strained. That was one of the few nice things about Sawyer, Jack thought, that it wasn't awkward to be in silence with him.
"You know, I'm surprised you agreed to come," Jack said.
"Yeah?" Sawyer's southern drawl came from behind him.
"Yeah," Jack said, stopping and turning around to look at him. "Most people would argue this is an unnecessary risk, that's it too dangerous."
"But not you, Doc," Sawyer said, and smirked.
"Not you, either, I noticed," Jack replied. It was as if every time the two spoke to each other there was a mental swordfight. Sawyer kept parrying, as if he was trying to get the subject off of himself. But Jack kept on pushing that parrying sword right back up to Sawyer's throat.
"Well, what can I say? I'm a good Samaritan."
Jack laughed and snorted simultaneously.
"I got a question for you, Doc: why'd you choose me?"
Jack looked at Sawyer. After a moment he answered, choosing his words carefully, "Because you had the guns, Sawyer. And you seemed the least likely to oppose the idea." He turned to start moving again.
"Somethin' tells me Freckles wasn't gonna say no if you asked her."
Thrust. Jack stopped and turned back to Sawyer. "Yeah, well Kate didn't really think going out there the first time was such a good idea."
Parry. Sawyer walked up to Jack, stopping just a couple of feet away from the doctor. "Lucky for me, then," he murmured huskily.
Stab. Jack shivered slightly, before he could stop himself, at those softly spoken words and their possible meanings. Jack cursed mentally, hoping Sawyer hadn't seen, but Sawyer's attention was on the path ahead of them already.
"How long we got to go, Doc?" Sawyer asked, starting off ahead of him.
"About another mile, I think," Jack replied, hating the fact that just four words had made him lose control so easily. Four words that probably were meant sarcastically, because that was just like Sawyer--sarcastic. But a part of Jack's brain wouldn't hear of it, and kept swearing that there hadn't been a trace of ill-meaning in those murmured words.
"Damn it," Jack hissed under his breath.
"What?" Sawyer asked, turning to look at him. "You cursin' at me?"
Jack looked up quickly. "No," he said immediately.
"Well then, let's quit stallin', doc, 'less you wanna get there by sunset."
Jack actually laughed a little at that. Sawyer's eyebrow rose. "You're right," Jack conceded, starting forward. "Let's get moving."
"Yessir," Sawyer said. Jack ignored him.
After about another half a mile, Jack tripped over something, and before he could catch his balance, his knee buckled from the unusual angle, and he fell face first onto the jungle foliage.
" 'Bout as dainty as a cat, 'eh, Doc?" Sawyer's voice reached his ears.
"Very funny, Sawyer," Jack said, starting to get up. He glanced up when he saw something out of the corner of his eye, then froze. It was Sawyer's hand, extended to help him.
"You're very generous today," Jack said, not taking the hand.
"Ever heard of not bitin' the hand that feeds you?" Sawyer replied, never missing a beat.
Jack swallowed and stared a moment longer before finally reaching out and taking Sawyer's hand. It was strong and warm, with a firm grip, and Sawyer easily pulled him to his feet.
Jack's knee buckled.
"Whoa!" Sawyer shouted, grabbing Jack around the middle before he could fall to the ground again. "What'd you do, break it?"
Jack pulled back very quickly, the firm feel of Sawyer's toned body against his own causing him to shiver uncontrollably. He was so preoccupied with trying to quell his body's reaction that he forgot to balance on his good leg and toppled over backwards, just managing to reach back and hit the dirt with his hands rather than his back.
Sawyer stared at him, confusion and maybe some anger mixed on his face.
Jack couldn't stop shivering. He closed his eyes, trying to concentrate on making it stop.
"You cold, Doc?" Sawyer asked, and Jack's eyes shot open. He was kneeling by his side the next moment, to Jack's dismay and delight. "You're shiverin'." He went to reach for the doctor.
"Don't!" Jack's voice came out shrill. Sawyer froze, then glared at him. His expression said it all: what the hell is the matter with you?
This was ridiculous. Why was Sawyer's touch causing such a reaction all of a sudden? But then, when had they gotten to touch? The few times had usually been initiated by Jack himself, on fleeting impulse or moments of sheer boldness, such as after he'd given Sawyer his handmade pair of glasses. He had patted Sawyer's shoulder, very quick, seemingly inconspicuous, but the warmth had stayed with Jack the rest of the day.
"I need to look at it before I move it again," Jack said, sounding much calmer, to his relief. "It's probably just a sprain, but just in case…."
Sawyer nodded after a beat, then sat back.
Jack inspected his knee very tenderly. It throbbed at his touch, and it felt slightly stiff, as if it was starting to swell. He pressed gently on the bone and there was a small twinge, but nothing sharp that would indicate a broken bone, and the pain was not so terrible that it implied a torn ligament.
It was nice to retreat into doctor mode. There was nothing to compromise it, not Sawyer sitting barely a foot away, not the desire to turn his head and catch that sensuous mouth with his own.
"Well? Is it sprained?" Sawyer asked.
"I think I just hurt it," Jack said. "Give me a minute."
After a few minutes passed, Jack attempted to get back up, slowly. Sawyer heaved himself to his feet and held out his hand. Again Jack froze.
"Not offerin' again, Doc."
Jack took his hand and Sawyer pulled him to his feet, Sawyer's other arm automatically going to Jack's hip as if to make sure he wouldn't fall again. Jack swallowed, closed his eyes, and tried to breathe calmly, but he managed to remember to lean on his good leg.
"You need a walkin' stick?" Sawyer asked, and Jack opened his eyes to find Sawyer's face uncomfortably close.
"That'd be the best course of action, yeah."
"You're soundin' all 'med-school' now."
Jack turned his face away from Sawyer's and looked down at the foliage, trying not to feel Sawyer's body pressing against his. "There's one."
"So what, you gonna hobble on over there?" Sawyer asked.
Jack glared at him.
"Okay, Doc," Sawyer said, shifting, his hand sliding suddenly up Jack's hip. Jack breathed in sharply, then froze. Sawyer's eyebrows came down and he peered at Jack for what seemed like an unbearably long time. Jack prayed silently, but Sawyer's look was far too intense…and if anyone could piece things together and figure people out, well, it was Sawyer, the conman.
"Okay, I'll just mosey on over there and grab you your very own personal Jesus stick." Sawyer slowly released Jack and started over to the stick.
It was just that moment Jack's eyesight became suddenly very clear and focused on just one tiny glinting string stretched between two plants.
"Stop!" Jack yelled, just as Sawyer's foot collided with the string. Jack was already moving as fast as he could, but the trap was sprung. There was a loud snap, a crack, and suddenly Jack and Sawyer were squished against each other in one of Rousseau's nets.
"Damn it!" Jack hissed.
"Calm down, Hero, we got ourselves some guns," Sawyer said, his mouth right next to Jack's nose. "We can shoot ourselves down."
"Yeah, I know the drill," Jack managed to get out. "Where's your gun?"
"Back of my jeans," Jack said flatly.
"Yeah, the same," Sawyer said. "So who's gonna do the honors?"
Jack just didn't want to accept defeat that easily. He tried moving his arms down, inadvertently brushing Sawyer's side, and cursing at himself mentally because, despite the fact that they were caught in a net, a part of him was enjoying the fact that this put him in direct contact with Sawyer without arousing suspicion.
"Any luck with that?" Sawyer finally asked, when Jack finally realized his hands weren't going to make it around to his own gun.
"Can you get mine?" Jack asked, glancing at Sawyer's face, which kept brushing his. Sawyer turned his head slightly and their lips brushed. The next moment Sawyer's hands were sliding around Jack's waist, under his shirt, searching for the gun. Jack's lips parted and he breathed in shakily.
Sawyer's hands stopped for a moment, and Jack tipped his head back slightly to look at him, causing their mouths to connect for another second, lip against lip. Jack closed his eyes and tried hard not to react, not to let loose that little gasp or those soft little whimpers, but it felt so good. When he finally opened his eyes again, he saw Sawyer looking at him, something very like realization dawning in his intense eyes.
"Well, at least one of us is havin' a good time," Sawyer smirked.
Jack opened his eyes and stared. "What?" he asked.
Just then Sawyer slid his hands directly up Jack's shirt, his fingertips spreading along Jack's skin, up over his ribs, over his stomach, sliding over his chest.
That was more than Jack could willingly handle. He tried to force out, "What--what are you…"
"I'm savin' us, Doc," Sawyer said, lips against Jack's ear. "That's what I'm doin'."
Sawyer mouth was on Jack's neck the next moment and that was when Jack decided he didn't care anymore. It felt too good to fight, too good to think. Sawyer's hands slid around Jack's back, kneading the flesh like bread dough, his soft lips sucking at Jack's throat, lips and tongue and teeth marking his entire shoulder. Jack felt suddenly very warm when Sawyer moaned against his skin. "God, Doc, you feel so good…"
"Kiss me," Jack whispered urgently. "Please, Sawyer--"
Their mouths collided and Sawyer's hand was on Jack's ass, pressing their lower bodies harder together so that both could feel they were hard. Jack moaned into Sawyer's mouth when Sawyer's hand slid down over the front of his jeans and closed around the telltale bulge. Jack reached up into Sawyer's hair, gripping the strands, forcing Sawyer's mouth harder against his own, tongues touching and exploring each other's mouths. Sawyer sucked hard on Jack's lower lip, causing Jack to murmur Sawyer's name with a heated passionate fervor. "Yeah, that's right, Doc," Sawyer whispered against Jack's mouth, sliding his hand over his erection. Jack thrust into his hand just as Sawyer sank his teeth into Jack's shoulder.
"You want me, Jack?" Sawyer murmured into Jack's ear, kissing his way down his jaw. His fingers tugged playfully at the fringe of Jack's jeans. "You want me?"
"Yes," Jack forced out, almost whimpering with need. "God, yes…please…"
With one hand, Sawyer undid the fly of Jack's jeans, his other gripping the base of Jack's neck, forcing their mouths together. Jack reached for Sawyer's jeans, but Sawyer caught his hand and murmured huskily, "Not yet, Doc. You first." With that, he shoved their mouths together, parted his lips wide, and plunged his tongue deep into Jack's mouth just as he took Jack in his hand and squeezed lightly.
Any cries of pleasure were lost, muffled by Sawyer's mouth and its hungry kisses. Jack moved his hips in time with Sawyer's agonizingly slow movements, so full of need that he tried to make Sawyer go faster, but Sawyer was setting the pace, however taunting.
After another few agonizing strokes, Jack finally tore his mouth from Sawyer's and breathed out, "My God--Sawyer--"
"Didn't know you believed in God, Doc," Sawyer whispered, sounding as though he was smirking. "Being a man of science an' all."
He kissed Jack's neck warmly, wetly, and gave a little nip. Jack exhaled sharply and moaned. Suddenly Sawyer rolled his hips, bumping their pelvises together, and Jack cried out.
"You like that?" Sawyer asked, lips against Jack's pulse, which was beating rapidly. He ran his tongue down his jaw, then kissed his chin.
Sawyer's free hand moved from the base of his neck to Jack's ass again, pushing him harder into his hand, teasing him, guiding his rhythm. He jerked Jack good and hard twice, just enough to rip another cry from Jack's lips.
"Say pretty please, Doc."
"Dammit, Sawyer, don't--"
Jack looked down, reached for Sawyer's hand, and covered it with his own, speeding up the strokes. Sawyer grinned against his shoulder as Jack tipped his head back and parted his lips to let more air in, trying to breathe but whimpering with need and building friction as Sawyer finally took charge, doing things with his fingertips and thumb and the way he squeezed and pulled and pushed, his hips striving to meet the deliciously demanding pace…
"Oh, God…" Jack breathed out, cursing under his breath.
"That's right, Doc," Sawyer whispered, voice so low he was barely saying the words. The next moment Jack heard a zipper and Sawyer took Jack's hand and put it around both of them. He slid his hand over Jack's and began to guide the rhythm, letting loose a purring moan that made Jack, if even possible, go harder.
Without thinking, Jack sped up the rhythm, thrusting his hips in time with Sawyer's, their sweating bodies rubbing and warming and becoming so hot with the fevered contact. Their mouths met again, the soft or hard pushes of their parted lips and the brushes of their tongues almost falling into the same rhythm as their hips, their breathing turning into pants of need, their murmured words and curses becoming more frantic, more passionate. Jack felt Sawyer's rhythm beginning to falter, becoming more erratic, and the explosion of pleasure humming and growing just beneath the surface told Jack they were both incredibly close.
Suddenly Sawyer released Jack's hand and both went to Jack's ass, his mouth poised an inch from Jack's, his eyes closed as he murmured, "Bring me, Doc."
Their mouths collided and Sawyer pulled Jack right up against him just as Jack gave one hard stroke that brought Sawyer with a long moan of release, and then another that brought Jack with a soft cry, muffled by Sawyer's soft lips.
They collapsed against each other, the net holding them both securely upright. There was a long silence, broken only by the small chirping of birds, the occasional wind rustling the foliage, and the sound of the creaking tree branch holding the net.
"Sure took you long enough to let me in on the secret," Sawyer murmured against Jack's shoulder.
"Yeah," Jack replied softly, spent.
"Well, I hate to break the mood, but I don't feel like explainin' to the French Chick, those Others, or some smoky Hell-Monster what the hell we're doin' all hot and sticky in this net."
Jack started laughing.
"Yeah, very funny," Sawyer mumbled, reaching around Jack's back with some difficulty and dislodging the gun from his jeans. He let his fingers slide over Jack's back and got a small sigh for his trouble. "Now let's get outta this damn thing before my legs fall asleep." He aimed at the rope holding them up.
"You should let me do it," Jack said.
Sawyer looked at him. "What, you think I can't do it?"
"I bet I'm a better shot than you."
"Well, you're on!" Sawyer snapped, turning his attention back to the gun and aiming only a second before squeezing the trigger. The rope snapped and the two men plunged to the ground, Sawyer landing hard on top of Jack.
"Mmm, that's better," Sawyer said, smirking down at the doctor.
"We're going to be missed, Sawyer," Jack said, somehow managing to keep a level head with Sawyer's sweat-slicked body pressed to his own.
"Oh yeah. We didn't tell anyone 'bout this little rendezvous, now did we?"
Jack actually blushed slightly. "I didn't have this planned," he said, pushing Sawyer off and getting to his feet. He hastily zipped himself up.
"Well, that was really convenient then, wasn't it, Doc?"
Jack ignored him, placing the gun back in his jeans. Sawyer zipped up his fly, then glanced back to Jack, who looked a little worried.
"What?" Sawyer asked.
"What if someone asks where we were?" Jack said.
Sawyer watched him for a moment, a small smirk slowly spreading across his face. "Tell 'em the truth, Doc." He turned to head off and said over his shoulder, "Tell 'em we got caught in a net."