Disclaimer;-Insert something witty about wishing she owned Sawyer, and how there would be no Jate problems if she did own it.-
Author's Note; Sometime after 'The Man from Tallahassee' - Just imagine The Man From Tallahassee happened, then the first scene in this fic, and then Sayid, Kate, Locke and Jack were released and all returned back to find rescue waiting there. Cooper was never on the island. Locke blew up the submarine, but ended up going back to the original group for reasons that aren't touched on here, & therefore I feel no need to try & explain away. Spoilers up to 'Left Behind', though. Right then. This is my first real attempt at a not completely Skate centric fan-fic (although I did try to do a Shannon centric one a while back, and have a Locke centric one in the works.) Keep in mind that I'm only thirteen... No haters please, although I'm aware I'm probably gonna get flamed to hell and back because of this. Oh, and by the way? reviewing is love.
UPDATED Upon actually looking over what had been posted at a time that wasn't past midnight, I realized that a lot had been cut off, overlooked, or misplaced. A paragraph was even missing from the end… So here it is, updated & how it was supposed to be. Reviewing is still love, though. )
She was a beautiful girl,
She was wild as the wind,
On top of the world,
'Til she fell in love with him.
The creaking sound of the metal door opening roused her attention. A twinge of guilt passed seamlessly across her face - she could feel it come and go quickly as she saw Jack - and Kate couldn't help but look immediately away. He knew what had happened between her and Sawyer, and although she knew she should feel guilty, she suddenly found those brown eyes that she couldn't look away from surprisingly soft, surprisingly appealing, now that Sawyer was gone.
"He's gone and screwed it up."
For a moment, her breath caught angrily in her throat. Sawyer. What kind of hero did he think he was, coming over here, trying to rescue... rescue... Well, God only knows who he was trying to rescue, but how dare he? Somewhere, at the back of her mind, she realized that all of this was totally irrational. Sawyer couldn't have made it here this quickly, and there was really only one person who...
Jack closed his eyes and Kate took this opportunity to study him, silently waiting until he finally nodded. "Juliet and I were gonna leave. We were gonna go back home-" He peeked out through one eye as though to assess what she was thinking - she pretended she didn't notice - and he closed his eyes again and continued, voice cracking slightly. "I was gonna save you - I was gonna save everyone."
Suddenly he was on his feet and with an angry roar, he'd thrown a folding chair into the opposite corner of the rec room, where it dented the plastic of the coke machine before clanging loudly to the ground. Kate had scrambled backwards, hands still knotted tightly in front of her, and, going by the look of horror on Jack's face when he turned to look at her, she looked scared. "Oh, Kate," he murmured, dropping to his knees and burying his hands in his face, letting out one dry sob before falling silent.
Kate pushed herself to her feet, watching him a little fearfully, before finally stepping closer and dropping to her knees in front of him. Twisting against her bindings carefully enough, she was able to reach up and pull his hands from his face. "What's happened? Is everyone all right?"
"Oh, Kate," he repeated helplessly, looking up at her as he regained control, now even though his voice still cracked on occasion. "Ben conned Locke into blowing up the submarine so Juliet and I couldn't get back to the real world and tell everyone about this place, and save you. God, Kate, I'm so sorry."
Kate's green eyes were focused attentively on him until he stopped speaking, at which point her voice came slowly, softly. "You shouldn't be apologizing to me. I... I... Who told you?"
Jack flinched away from her words, and Kate couldn't help but be slightly pleased that she could make such a conversation jump and he could follow her so seamlessly. But this was not the time to be thinking about that, and with a soft shake of her head, she focused on him and him alone as he spoke up.
"No one told me. I broke out of my cage, and saw you and… Sawyer on the security cameras."
Kate made a noise that was somewhere between a gag and a gasp.
"No, no, just afterwards," he read her easily, and she relaxed slightly.
"I, I... You know that there are two islands, right? And he had just told me that, and told me that he had kept it from me because he wanted me to have hope. It just went from there Jack it was just..." Even as she said her next words, she regretted them, and knew they weren't true, but she couldn't stop them now, and somehow knew they were the right things to say. "Mechanical. Unemotional. Animal."
He seemed to fall for and stock hope in what she was saying but kept his eyes averted to the ground. His next words again sent her physically backwards a bit. "Do you love me?"
"I..." Kate only wasted a beat of her time, and in that beat, she made her decision. Every man for himself, just as Sawyer had preached since she'd met him. "I do."
Jack smiled down at her, and leant forward to kiss her passionately, which she received and responded to before he broke away and gently pulled her hands up to untie her.
"Kate, God, I love you too. I... I've made a deal with them, Kate... Katie."
He didn't appear to notice her flinch at the childish nickname.
"They'll let us go, you and Sayid and Locke and I if we swear to go straight back to our camp and wait for rescue to come."
"Rescue?" Her hear thudded against her chest as he pulled the ropes away from her hands, and he wadded them up and wrung them as he spoke.
"Apparently Ben told Locke that the submarine was a one-way ticket, but he was lying. Ben says that he's gonna send a rescue plane to us, and as long as we don't let them know that they are here, they'll let us go home, Katie. They'll let us go home!"
During his speech she'd been rubbing her wrists apprehensively, but now a completely blissful expression crossed over her face and she collapsed into his arms. "Thank God..."
"And I'll take care of you, Katie. I'll pay your bail for whatever you did and... and..." Kate smiled slyly up at him - he looked like a little boy in a candy store, face childishly alight, rambling endlessly until he stood, gently pulling her to her feet, and stooped once more before her.
Kate looked down at him, puzzled, before it finally sunk in what he was about to do. Almost as soon as he began speaking, she began thinking furiously.
This couldn't be happening. Yes, she loved Jack - she hadn't been lying to him when she said that, but she had been lying to Sawyer when she told him that she just said it to make Pickett stop beating him. With every punch that Pickett had sent their way, she loved Sawyer more, and with every word Jack spoke to her now, she loved him more. How could she ever decide between another Tom and a man just like her?
Only the last four words of Jack's speech really registered in her mind, and she looked down at him with what she was sure was a slightly queasy look on her face.
"Katherine, will you marry me?"
And everyone told her,
That he was bad news,
A boy goin' nowhere,
Ain't no good for you,
Kate had felt a vast range of emotions when facing this man. Humiliation, lust, passion, anger, frustration, fear, even, but never this full frontal shyness. She loved him, but he wasn't right for her. Sawyer couldn't offer her the safety and satisfaction that Jack could. Everyone had warned her that Sawyer might lose his temper one day, that he might hurt her. Everyone had told her that he had done something really terrible, and one couldn't know what he might do next. Kate was the only one who really understood the full irony of the situation but, clearly, Jack was the better option. She knew that now. She was with Jack, now, and she'd just have to push away that tug at her heart whenever she saw Sawyer. She'd just have to ignore that happy spark in his eyes that seemed to die more and more with every move she made closer to Jack and farther from him..
Katherine had promised herself that despite the ever present fact that she had killed her own father, she would never become a cruel person. Death, if needed, would be quick and as painless as possible, and avoided if at all possible. Humiliation and indignity would also be avoided, and standing here, shuffling her feet and peering up at Sawyer through thick eyelashes, she felt her heart break. How could she do this to him, him of all people? He looked uncomfortable, face flushed with anger and injustice, but he managed to keep his cool, leaning against a tree, hands stuffed into jeans pockets.
"I..." She looked up at him to say a word in her defense, but immediately looked away. She couldn't go back on her decision now - but he looked so handsome, standing there, sweat dripping down his bare chest, dimples showing blatantly even in anger. "I didn't mean for it to get out."
"Oh, so you'd rather I didn't know about your little affair until you left with him on the rescue plane, hmm?" He drew out the word affair, letting it distort in the waves of his accent, a word that meant so much to the two of them. His voice came out soft and low, gravelly with held back emotion, and she was suddenly hit with the difference between Jack and Sawyer. Jack would be yelling at her by now. But still...
She truly hadn't meant for it to be that obvious - she hadn't meant for it to be common knowledge that Jack and her were going to be married as soon as they landed back in civilization. Now that rescue was coming, and everyone was safe, she would simply get on the plane and leave with Jack. He'd take care of her - sort out her problem with the law and take care of her for the rest of her life. However, you really should never tell the fat guy your secret - the whole island knew by the morning after Jack and Kate themselves knew. People were dropping by with congratulatory smirks all day. But really, Kate had never meant to hurt Sawyer. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt Sawyer.
"It's not that, it's just that -"
"Oh, just drop it Freckles. We all knew it was going to turn out like this. The hero would get the girl, just like in all the movies, while her re-ject was shot or just plain ignored and more or less written from the script. Just like in the movies, right, Freckles? But you couldn't be normal, could you Kate? No, had to come and apologize? Well, I don't want your damned apology. I don't want anything from you anymore, Freckles." His eyes sparked fiercely before he jerked his hands out of his pockets, and made to stalk away.
"I meant every single thing I said to you when we were in those cages - and everything I implied, too." She paused, breath caught deep in her throat, waiting to see if he'd take the bait as if her life depended on it.
All he did was pause, and look over his shoulder at her, lips a firm line, not even threatening to turn up at the ends. "Tell Jack that if he needs someone to testify as a character witness for you, he can look me up."
But wild ponies are born to run,
Don't you know wild ponies
Don't belong to know one,
So baby run,
This was a moment many of them had dreamed about for so long, but nevertheless most were crying as they hugged their friends good-bye. Kate seemed to pass through the next hour as though in a trance, watching the people she had come to love go their separate ways once more. She suddenly wanted to take back that one wish she'd made so often during their eighty days on the island - she'd give nearly everything to be back there again. It had become her comfort zone, with all but guaranteed freedom and surrounded by friends.
Kate could vaguely feel Jack's arm wrapped possessively around her waist - he let go of her only so she could hug Claire and then, later Sun. Throughout, however, even smiled fakely and muttered sincere good-byes that she'd rehearsed earlier so she could fly painlessly past this farewell, she watched Sawyer, dimpling at everyone he could and pausing to say good-bye to Jin not once but twice.
She glanced up to actually focus in on Jack only once during the whole hour long good-bye, and he looked just as she had expected. Important, talking quickly and gesturing in wide, sweeping motions, laughing softly as Desmond nodded. Kate felt slightly sick and looked back to Sawyer.
The guilt on her from everything Sawyer said to her just before the planes had arrived weighed an immense amount, and when he reluctantly crossed the room to say goodbye to Jack who seemed to be glued to Kate's side, she felt as though she was going to puke. Only now did her gaze focus, and only now was she totally aware of what she was saying, but all of this was lost on Sawyer as he completely ignored her and turned to Jack instead.
"Listen Doc, I know I gave you a hard time on the island, but..." Kate marveled at him as he searched for the right words. How could he grin teasingly at Jack, apologize, and flash her dark looks when she least expected them all at once? "Forgive me?" Sawyer stuck out his hand and, after a moment of appraisal, Jack took it and grinned at Sawyer.
"I'm gonna miss having you around, Sawyer. You always made life, uh, interesting?"
"Yeah well, I still expect to be able to come to you when I need somebody to save my ass." Only now did Sawyer acknowledge Kate's existence, as he wrapped up the slight unnecessary goodbye with a curt nod of his head. "Freckles," he drawled slowly, looking her up and down one last time. He broke his gaze away, and grinned at Jack, making to go in between the couple - Kate practically jumping away at the prospect of his touch. Nevertheless, she still caught Sawyer's last words to Jack, muttered into his ear, still saw Jack's look of complete respect.
"The best man won."
The first time he hit her,
Was right after church,
He said he was sorry,
But it only got worse.
Who would ever have guessed that Jack was religious, despite all of his rants about faith being a load of bullshit?
The congregation wandered amiably to it's feet, people stopping to shoot the breeze and gossip. Jack pulled Kate to her feet, forcing her through the routine once more of greeting people who's names she would never be able to remember.
"Yes, I had a lovely week, didn't you, Mr.…?"
"Oh, yes, I am very proud of Jack. You're absolutely right, that was a life saving operation he preformed, Mrs.…?"
It was all the same. She talked to the same people who said the same things after a sermon that seemed to be conveying the same spiritually enlightening message as last week. On Saturday Kate and Jack always went to the same restaurant, ordered the same dishes, and then went to see a sappy movie that always included the hero rescuing the heroine from the villain. Or, if they were watching a particularly off-beat movie, the heroine would be rescued not from the villain but from the reluctant anti-hero. Monday through Friday Jack rose at four thirty, dressed in a hurry and rushed out the door, usually before a groggy Kate managed to drag herself out of bed. She would lounge around the house until bedtime, with Jack arriving anytime between six pm and two days later. Always the same. Always.
Suddenly the soft voices in the church escalated to gasp and screams, but one, high, piercing shriek was followed by a rasping wheeze that had touched both Jack and Kate's lives so forcibly on the island. This fight for breath had marked Jack's first time being involved with the torture of a fellow human being, but it also marked his first chance to finally give Sawyer what Jack believed he deserved, whereas it was Kate's first real encounter with Sawyer, first time really knowing who he was. In the time it took for Kate to dart out of the pew and around to where the crowd was gathering, Jack had forced his way to the center of the group, and was apparently already kneeling over the patient.
The sighs of relief were evident. Dr. Jack Shephard is a famous doctor, you know… He'll fix it.
The hours passed slowly for Kate - it seemed as though days had stumbled by when, only an hour later, Kate and Jack were finally on their way home, absentmindedly discussing the day's surprisingly exciting events.
"Talk about de ja vu, though, right?" Kate chuckled, oblivious as Jack tensed up.
"Yeah. At first I thought it was Shannon - forgot where I was. Silly, huh?" Jack grinned uneasily and turned a sharp left corner, settling deeper into his seat.
"I know what you mean! I started looking for Sawyer right off the mark. I was prepared to start talking him into giving Shannon the inhalers!"
A horn blared and Jack swerved back onto his side of the road; he had started severely at Kate's words. "Yeah? Do you …uh… think about Sawyer a lot?"
Suddenly Kate was very aware of the stupidity of starting this conversation. What had she been thinking? Nothing - that was what she'd been thinking. Nevertheless she managed to shrug with what she hoped was an air of nonchalance as Jack pulled into their driveway.
"I guess - only as much a I think about everyone else. Speaking of which, have they set a date for the next reunion yet?"
Kate winced physically at her feeble attempt to change the subject. Hurriedly climbing out of the car, she stood impatiently waiting for Jack to get out of the car - he seemed to be taking his sweet time. She couldn't recall ever lying so immaturely to him before, and she was slightly curious to see if he could see through her poorly constructed fib.
"You know that what Sayid and I did to Sawyer… It was the right thing to do, Kate. It had to be done." Jack glared down his nose at her, leaning over the top of his silvery blue sports car.
Kate felt her blood rising as she threateningly took a step closer to her husband, despite the high heels and skirt. "No, Jack, it didn't have to be done," How was she keeping her voice so measured; so calm? "You could have just let me deal with him!"
"Left you to deal with him? He was hitting on you, Kate! He was trying to get you into bed with him! Are you saying you would have rather slept with him then have us torture him? - Oh, wait, you already did sleep with him, didn't you? What did he do to you, Kate, to get in your pants in a cage in the middle of broad daylight?! With security cameras, Kate! Was that a plus or a minus?! Kinky is better, right?!"
"How dare you!?" Kate shrieked, stepping even closer. She'd dealt with Jack stepping all over Sawyer for the last six months, but it was a completely different thing for him to imply that Sawyer would ever hurt her, for him to imply that Sawyer had made her do what she did. "I did what I did because I wanted to, it was my choice, Jack! Did it ever occur to you that maybe I loved him? As for the inhalers, all he wanted was a kiss from me, and you and I were to selfish to give it to him! Instead, you felt like sticking bamboo rods under his nails 'til he screamed, only to call me in, have him tell me that he didn't have them, and then stab him within an inch of his life! You never understood him, did you? You never wanted to! All he ever was to you was some redneck asshole who was competition for your girl! But he wasn't just that, he was a person, Jack! Who had thoughts and feelings and fears, Jack, fears! Just like you and I, Jack, except his fears were a hell of a lot more rational than yours! And he loved me. With his soul and his heart and every thought that went through his head. He loved me more than you ever could." She was close, now, her body pressed against his, her hot breath dancing about his neck. Jack's face was contorted with fury, and for a moment Kate was almost afraid of him. But these thoughts were quickly brushed away at his next words.
"And did you love him, Kate?"
The words were out of her mouth before she could even think about it. "And what if I did?"
Suddenly Kate was pushed up against Jack's car and his fist had connected with her cheek bone.
And now she's not the same girl,
That she used to be,
He's breakin' her spirit,
He sits in her dreams.
"It's flannel pajama night and you didn't even warn me ahead of time?"
Kate jerked out of sleep violently, green eyes flying wide open and arms wrapped tightly around her legs, both hands balled into fists.
"I'm sorry Katie, I didn't know you were asleep."
t took a moment for her eyes to refocus, but when she did she found Jack, peering over her from the top of his cowboy pajamas and, in his other hand, his astronaut pajamas. She shrugged and as she did so, she felt the small item in her hands shift which caused her to clench up once more.
So," Jack continued, ignorant to his wife's discomfort. "The astronaut pajamas or the cowboy ones?"
Kate relaxed slightly and giggled. "The astronaut one, it's kind of weird to wake up and find your face buried in a flannel cactus."
Jack seemed to be considering this for a moment before he let out a deep throated laugh. "I can imagine."
Kate grinned absentmindedly, looking down at the small chunk of plastic in her hands. "Jack... If we were to have a baby, what would we name it?"
Jack plopped onto the bed, stretching out and tucking his arms behind his head, but craning his neck to one side to study her. He took his time about it, but eventually spoke up. "I like the name Christian for a boy."
"Really?" Kate was surprised - wasn't that the name of his father? The name of the man who had made his life a living hell? Well, she mused silently, it was more or less as screwy as what she was about to suggest. "Maybe Diane for a girl."
Jack nodded appreciatively. "I was thinking Diane too - I've always thought it's such a pretty name. And maybe..." Jack's hazel eyes began to suddenly scrutinize a particularly fascinating planet on his pajamas, and Kate reached out to tip his head up to look her in the eyes, slightly concerned. Nevertheless, he mumbled the next words. "And maybe Ana-Lucia would make a good middle name for a girl."
There was no way to hide the meaning in that statement, but Kate kept blessedly silent, still fingering the pregnancy test just out of his view. Two could play that game, couldn't they? she wondered harshly. But should she say James or Tom? Which had she loved more? The answer to that question was obvious - Tom was just someone she could run too when things got rough. And she loved James, more than almost anything - more than everything save Jack. Still, would Jack recognize Sawyer's true name? Would he get angry again - so angry like he had only four days ago? Still, she was an independent woman. She'd made her choice, and despite the fact she wasn't sure who she loved the most anymore, Kate was still sure she'd made the right choice not very long ago when the rescue planes were coming. Even if his blue eyes did haunt her dreams. Even though he would have died rather than hit her. Even though - Again, she shook her head, and spoke, voice breaking only once, and coming out strong and clear.
"Ana-Lucia is nice. I like the middle name James for a boy, too." Kate looked up expectantly at him.
A slightly nauseous looking smile came across his face, but Jack seemed to hold his temper, as though to prove that he could keep control of himself, contrary to what had happened on Sunday. "James... Yes... Er, lovely."
There was a palpable silence, until Jack finally spoke up again. "So it's decided, then? Christian James Sheppard if it's a---- Wait a second."
A look of understanding and confusion crossed his face, and Kate couldn't help but giggle to find it had taken him this long. She held out the small pregnancy test to him and he grabbed it eagerly, one hand supporting himself on the bed while the other clutched it tight.
His face lit up with understanding - there were upsides to having a doctor for a husband, Kate mused - and he looked up to her with nothing but love on his face.
But wild ponies are born to run,
Don't you know wild ponies,
Don't belong to know one,
So baby run,
Something wasn't right. Kate couldn't put her finger on it, but her instinct to turn around and drag Jack in the opposite direction was the strongest it had been since they'd been on the island.
"Jack, trust me, something isn't right. We just; shhh!"
Kate ducked behind the non-fiction aisle, pulling Jack with her; he let out a muffled snort of laughter.
"Kate, baby, what are you doing?" Jack smiled up at his wife of fifteen months, crouching there, peering suspiciously over the top of the shelf.
"Shhh!" she hissed again, looking carefully around the bookstore. "Didn't you hear that?"
Jack paused, listening with interest for the first time since they'd entered the bookstore. And he heard it - that southern drawl that Kate was sure he had hoped he'd never have to listen too again.
"Nancy Drew my ass… Finished the Boxcar Kids weeks ago… The Hardy Boys?… Now there's a new one."
The voice was unmistakable to Kate and apparently Jack agreed, seeing as he stiffened and straightened himself back up to his full height. Kate looked up at her now standing husband with a childlike innocence, as though daring him to go and challenge Sawyer. Meanwhile, Sawyer was continuing his monologue.
"Hardy Boys? What kind of name is that, anyway? 'I'm'a boy an' I'm hardy, not to mention a detective along with my eighteen and a half brothers… I know! We'll call ourselves the Hardy Boys!'"
Kate began to giggle in an almost delirious fashion. It had been so long since she'd heard that voice that had been such an influence during such a hard time. Jack's glare silenced her and she rose, fingering her almost obnoxiously large engagement ring.
"Shall we go and see him, then?" Kate asked weakly, a slight grimace crossing her face even as she turned away from Jack and began to wander towards Sawyer's voice. A muffled grunt and shuffling steps told Kate that Jack was trailing reluctantly behind her.
"Well hey, Sassafras. Didn't 'spect to see you again."
How did he do that? She had been looking for him, yet he had managed to sneak up behind her. Kate wheeled around to face Sawyer who, despite the grin both looked and sounded really quite dismal. For a moment she considered slipping off both her engagement ring and wedding band and stashing them in her purse, but, even as she began to internally scold herself, she felt Jack's hand on her shoulder and all of her shamefully romantic Sawyer and Kate reunion fantasies were dashed.
"And at a bookstore, too," Jack commented slowly, Kate still smiling painfully up at Sawyer, trying unsuccessfully to break the palpable tension.
Kate craned her neck to look up and over her shoulder at Jack, who was staring grimly at Sawyer as though he was still competition. Kate nearly laughed aloud at this thought, but she quickly sobered up. Was Sawyer still competition to Jack? Was she seriously considering wavering from Jack? Of course not. Sawyer wouldn't take her back even if she wanted him to. But did she want him to?
The awkward silence hung in the air for a while before Jack cleared his throat and placed a hand protectively over his wife's belly, where Kate finally realized Sawyer's eyes had been resting the entire time.
"Kate's pregnant," Jack said a little too loudly, patting Kate's stomach cleverly. Kate rolled her eyes, but looked up at Sawyer, curious as to how he would respond to this.
Sawyer had nearly always been in complete control of his emotions. Kate had known this from the instant in which she had first met him, but even Sawyer felt things too strong to hide. This was apparently one of those times.
A multitude of emotions flashed across Sawyer's face in what must have been a split second; happiness, realization, fear, sadness, love, along with a million others even Kate couldn't read.
"I… Well that's gray-ett. Congratulations, Freckles, Doc." A slow nod to each and he turned to scope out his escape from the uncomfortable situation. "Been great seeing you, but there is," A quick glance over his shoulder to Kate told her all she needed to know, "business to attend to and women to see." Jack scowled, but even as Sawyer rounded the corner, Kate beamed hopefully up at Jack. He glared but then wordlessly shrugged and turned away, still very aware of the purple bruise on Kate's left cheekbone.
"Sawyer… James!" His retreating form paused but only turned fully when Kate reached out and brushed her hand against his arm, but she jerked almost immediately away - his touch was electric.
He turned on her, ready to stare her down, when suddenly a concerned look crossed his face. For a moment Kate didn't know what he could possibly be looking at until she felt his fingers brush gently against her bruise. She flinched away involuntarily, and as she looked up at him she could tell he was struggling to control his anger.
"What did you do?"
Kate answered swiftly - not a moment's hesitation just as Cassidy had taught her. "Was doing the laundry and stumbled down the stairs. Stupid, really, and quite embarrassing too. Landed spread-eagle on the ground floor."
Fast but apparently not fast enough, as Sawyer smiled and cocked his head to the side wordlessly, waiting for the real answer. From the short time Kate had spent with Cassidy, she'd learned a lot about her, especially her conning side. And sometimes, she almost thought Cassidy's style was identical to Sawyer's. But that was impossible - the world isn't that small. It seemed like hours passed, but Sawyer didn't move, simply watched her, patiently waiting for the truth until she couldn't stand it any longer and weakly blurted it out.
"He didn't mean to!"
"Aww, Freckles… What did you do!?"
He didn't look angry - yet, simply sad and slightly disgusted. Somehow this spurred her on and she told him, haltingly. Kate had flattened her hand against his chest even before she finished relaying the story and it proved to be a good decision - this way his anger at both himself for, Kate knew that looking at it in the way Sawyer would he would find it to be his fault, and at Jack for actually hitting her. She sputtered around trying to find something to say for a while, stepping back cautiously all the while before she finally said what she needed to.
"The baby," Kate began, but Sawyer, finally finding something to focus his anger on, cut her off.
"Oh, the baby. I bet he'll look just like the Doc! And it'll be a doctor, too, just like daddy dearest who he'll ate mashed potatoes with and played football with his whole damn life! He'll get into high school, and god damn, all the ladies will love him, because he'll be a knock-out, of course. Are you hoping for Jack's hair and your eyes, or your hair and his eyes? Oh, and what if it's a girl! I'm sure Jack'd be heartbroken, but you'd bravely raise her on your own 'cause Jack woulda left you by then, and she'd grow up happily ever after never knowing her mother was a God dammed convicted murderess!"
Sawyer had moved closer and closer with every word until finally once he stopped Kate had to crane her neck to look up at him. The only space between them was Kate's protruding stomach and all of her nerves were on fire, although she couldn't say for him. So she didn't have to reach very far when she stretched out her had to slap him.
"Shut up! Just shut up and listen, Sawyer! You know it's not gonna be like that… And besides, Jack doesn't want to find out where it's a boy or a girl because he doesn't care either way, but if it's a boy do you know what we're gonna name it?"
As soon as Kate had slapped him, Sawyer had backed off and was now sulking moodily a few feet away, rubbing his right cheek angrily. However, he perked up viciously when Kate said this, and he opened his mouth to say what was clearly going to be some sort of harsh but clever comment when Kate began to advance angrily, and he shut his mouth quickly, leaving Kate free to continue.
"Christian James Shephard."
"Oh, well, isn't that ni--"
Apparently, Sawyer wasn't on his game today, because the Sawyer she knew would have caught her point in a second. It took a while for what this meant to process, and even longer to decide what do. He made up his mind reluctantly, and strode cautiously towards her, clearly afraid of being smacked again.
"So, uh, that wasn't the Doc's choice of name, I take it?"
Sawyer was close to her once again, too close, actually. His hand reached out to touch her full belly, but he let his hand hover just centimeters from the floral print of Kate's sundress that was so reminiscent of the number she had worn in the cages with the Others. It seemed as though Sawyer couldn't touch her until, of course, he reached up and gently lifted her chin up towards him. For a moment all she could do was hope that Jack wasn't watching. Sawyer's lips were suddenly brushing hers and her heart stopped. She was paralyzed for a moment before she nearly fell over herself stumbling backwards.
He looked heartbroken. "Kate…"
"I … I'm so… so sorry, James." She turned on her heel, dress swishing about her knees.
Her heart thudded against her ribs as she practically fell towards where she had last left Jack, glancing back over her shoulder almost constantly. The fleeting vulnerability was gone from Sawyer's face and he looked as harsh and as cold and as angry as he had moments ago. Only when she stopped looking back did he speak.
"Don't call me James."
She went out for groceries,
Just an ordinary day,
She realized she was just a block from the interstate,
She sat at the stoplight,
The wheel in her hand,
And when the light changed she knew this was her chance.
"De ja vu is not a pleasant feeling, James."
Kate laughed as her son shrieked and knotted a curl of her hair around his little fist. Carefully extracting her hair from his hand, she quickly replaced her soft curls with a bunch of bananas. James didn't seem to mind.
But the de ja vu grew ever stronger as she pushed her son and the cart around the corner and firmly into the pelvis of a man she simultaneously never wanted to see again and thought about all the time. Kate immediately jerked her son out of the cart and jumped instinctively away.
"My God, ya damn woman! What the sh- Well, hey, Sheena, tryin' to prevent me from ever having a little un' like Jewish or whatever the frick he's named, there and - Hey!?!"
Kate couldn't help but choke out laughter past her surprise. Sawyer's wit suddenly seemed to slow around her in a way it hadn't on the island, as though being back in civilization with her made it all the more… well… real. He finally sorted out what he was supposed to be saying and regained his composure somewhat.
"You look good, Mama. You bounced back faster than Mamacita, ya know."
Kate watched his eyes travel her body but couldn't force herself to give him her usual disapproving glare.
"Mama and Mamacita? Don't you think that'll get a bit confusing after a while?"
"After a while? Will I be seein' you 'n her more often?"
Kate quickly changed the subject, too quickly, in fact too realize she was venturing into very uncharted waters. "This is my baby boy, Christian James Shephard." She looked up at Sawyer darkly as the little boy giggled once more. "As promised."
Sawyer closed his eyes and sighed heavily, wandering blindly towards a shelf and leaning heavily against it. "He's beautiful, Kate."
"He is, isn't he? I promise he's never had mashed potatoes before, though." Kate agreed mildly. "Hold him, why don't you?
And with that she took a few brisk steps towards Sawyer and thrust the little boy at him.
Kate smiled maternally at her baby as he wiggled and squirmed his way 180 degrees around in a terrified looking Sawyer's arms until he was looking up at his namesake. Tentatively the little boy rested one had one Sawyer's collarbone where Kate's own hand had rested so often before.
All three of them jumped about a foot as Patsy Cline's voice broke the silence of the grocery store. Kate shot both of the James an apologetic look before a scrambling for her cell phone through mountainous folds of high-grade leather.
"Hello?" Kate said breathlessly. The conversation was brisk and the usual. "Yes, Jack, I remembered to get the… uh…" Kate suddenly became very uncomfortable and averted her eyes from her son and Sawyer. "Strawberries… Yes, of course Christian's fine. I'll be home by noon… Love you too, Jack."
Kate closed the cell phone and stuffed it back into her purse unsurprised to find Sawyer still stiffly standing there, cradling her son awkwardly.
"So… You call him Christian?"
"I call him James when Jack isn't around. I don't like having my son named after a religion, and Jack's alcoholic late father. I'd almost rather have the constant reminder of a little Diane hanging around.
"Startin' to regret naming' a boy after his parent's worst enemies?"
"Oh, God, Sawyer…" Kate wasn't surprised, actually. It was regular Sawyer activity to hit that low below the belt. "You're not my worst enemy - don't flatter yourself so."
"Then who is it?"
Kate smiled weakly but it was quickly wiped away as Sawyer continued to stare her down. "I don't really think it's any of your business who my worst enemy is."
For several moments he kept silent, but his face gradually darkened until he took a deep breath of air and spoke.
"Did you ever even think you loved me? Did you ever care for me at all?"
Kate froze, mid-fuss at her lacy green camisole. She pivoted slowly around to face him and was horrified for what must have been the one hundredth time that day. His face was cold - as cold as when he'd confronted her about whether or not she intended to marry Jack, as cold as when he told her he was leaving on a raft because there was nothing worth staying for, as cold as when Danny Pickett held a gun to his head. His jaw was set, icy blue eyes as piercing as ever, and he'd since set Christian on the ground, where the little boy was now happily trying to chew the corner off a cereal box. Neither adult paid him any mind.
"It's a yes or no question, Kate, I don't need a damned explanation."
When did he step so close? For what was the third time since they'd gotten off the island, Sawyer was again too close and again Kate flattened one hand against his chest as though to push him away. But she didn't.
"I… yes, if you really must know, I did love you, but Sawyer, I can't…"
"I'm married, Sawyer, I've got a baby and even if I did still love you I-"Kate was relieved when he cut her off, until she realized what he was saying.
"Do you still love me?"
It was the bookstore all over again, their faces, their bodies just a hair's width apart. How could Sawyer expect her to make what was probably the most important decision of her life like this, with her body so impulsively deciding for her? Because whether or not to leave Jack, who was a wealthy, loving, respectable man who had only hit her once for Sawyer who was a lowlife, criminal, loving man who would rather die than hit her was way high up there in the running for most important decision.
Even now Kate glanced down to little Christian James, the son of one lover, named after another. First priorities first - would Sawyer ever do anything to hurt him? That was certainly impossible. But neither would Jack. She looked up at Sawyer curiously. His blue eyes were soft but angry at the same time and she could feel his straw blonde hair tickled her face. His everlasting stubble was evident and for a moment Kate was tempted to reach out and rub her hand against it. Her answer was suddenly clear.
"I do love you, Sawyer. I still do."
Wild ponies are born to run,
Don't you know wild ponies,
Don't belong to know one,
So baby run,
It had taken her what seemed like forever to decide how to break it off with Jack. There was no way she was going to cheat on him and after these past three months with Jack and Christian alone, with not a single sighting of Sawyer, Kate was sure she had finally made the right decision if only due to ever-present the ache in her head and in her heart.
She knew there were about a million ways she could go about telling Jack, and Kate still wasn't sure she'd gotten the right way. But she had to do it - that was for certain.
Kate was cleaning up the dinner dishes, watching Jack play solitaire in the living room through the open space in front of the sink that gave her a view of the room and the back of Jack's head. Patiently she waited for what felt like the right moment before carefully drying off her hands and walking into the living room. She curled up beside him on the couch, and for a moment she was ignored until finally, she spoke.
"You know that I do love you, no matter what, right?"
This held sway on Jack's attention for a few moments, but not nearly long enough. He looked up in mild interest and for a moment Kate thought Jack had caught on to what she was doing. Hadn't Jack's ex-wife left him, too? But he quickly looked back to his solitaire game, smiling condescendingly as though enjoying the apparent insecurity of his wife.
"'Course I do, Katie. And I love you."
She'd had it all planed out - exactly what she was going to say, how she was going to say it, but suddenly she couldn't. So she changed her plan, switched to a technique that had never even occurred to her when she first started planning ahead. Kate's next words brought him up out of his solitaire game for the rest of the night.
"Jack, I'm leaving you."
He was watching her kindly, as though she didn't know what she was saying. That look, that condescending, understanding gaze he'd settled pityingly deep into her eyes made her want to yell and scream and run out the doors into a knowingly waiting Sawyer's arms, jus to make him understand, but instead she took a deep breath and repeated herself, eyes averted.
"I'm leaving you, Jack. I still love you, and I always will, but… not like I've always thought I did. You can keep the money and the house and the car and everything - you can visit Christian whenever you want, but my bags are packed and Ja… I mean Christian and I are leaving tonight."
She leaned in to kiss him good-bye but he pushed her away.
"You're leaving… me… and taking… Christian?"
He didn't understand, Kate could easily see, it was written boldly across his now-pale face. He said the words slowly as though she'd said them in a different language, and he was trying to put meanings to the foreign words. Carefully, she rose from the couch and backed away, towards the hall way that led to the bedrooms.
"I still love you, Jack, but only as a friend… As a brother or a father, even, but not the way you want me too. And hitting me, my God, Jack! Saw - He would never hit me. I just can't stay!"
She rushed from the room, not waiting for his reaction. She scooped Christian out of his crib and scrambled back towards her and Jack's bedroom. Her half of the room was completely stripped, her few possessions already taken care of and sitting in the trunk of the taxi she knew was waiting for her outside. Jack hadn't noticed - why should he? He'd just gotten home an hour ago, and had immediately dropped his shoes and his tie on the couch and sat down to eat dinner.
She walked quickly back into the living room, a groggy little boy on her hip. Kate deftly handed him to Jack, who was still sitting, shocked, where she'd left him, perched on the edge of the couch.
"Say goodbye, Christian," Kate said softly, "You and I are going on a trip, but we'll see Daddy again soon."
Christian yawned and stretched before burying his head in his father's chest and wrapping his arms around Jack's neck, who held him close, nose buried in his son's hair, muttering something softly to him that Kate couldn't hear and didn't wish to, anyway. Jack handed Christian back to Kate just as deftly as she'd given the boy to him, pausing only to run a hand through his son's chocolate brown curls.
Kate watched her husband carefully, protectively pulling her son close before blinking slowly, leaving her eyes closed as she spoke next.
"You gotta understand, Jack. I love you so much. Just not in the way that-"
For a moment she stood, shocked, before turning promptly away, pausing only at the front door, aware he had trailed listlessly after her. So she gave him his chance. He took it.
"What's his name, Kate?"
Kate smiled grimly - she should have known that would have been his question. Juliet had mentioned it to her while they were still handcuffed to each other, a little after Kate had dislocated Juliet's shoulder. But what name should she use? He was known by so many. Kate opened the front door, letting the warm summer night breeze brush her hair back from her face as she paused in the doorway.
"His name is Ford."
Kate didn't bother to close the door, just smiled sadly over her shoulder at Jack as she walked down the patio steps, out onto the street and into the seat of the cab that was parked there.
Jack flicked on the porch light and walked slowly out onto the porch. He stood there, leaning against the railing and staring blankly at the spot where the taxi cab had been hours ago deep into the night.