The Art of Running To Stand Still

Title: The Art of Running to Stand Still
Rating: PG-13 to be safe
Pairing: Kate/Sawyer (duh – do I write anything else??)
Summary: Nothing post season one – set sometime before the raft sails.
Warnings: None – unless introspective two-shots aren't your thing.
Status of fic: Complete
Author's Notes/Disclaimer
: I don't own Lost and the lyrics are from Feel by Robbie Williams. Some of the dialogue is taken from the S1 finale. Also a small reference to Andrew Marvell.

i: Hold My Hand, I Want to Contact the Living

I don't wanna die,
But I ain't keen on living either.
Before I fall in love,
I'm preparing to leave her.

He was falling.

He was dreaming, he was aware of that at least. A distinct unease hung upon him as his subconscious wrestled to free itself from the dream-Sawyer that continued on the steady descent downwards into nothingness. His stomach had positioned itself in his throat by this point, and the fear of hitting the bottom increased ten-fold with each second.

He looked upwards with no difficulty, because in dreams one didn't conform to the laws of physics. There was no cliff, no abyss, just light and the absence of.

Shining far, far above him was a distinctly feminine figure with long, billowing curls and a tough posture. She was mouthing something to him, but he couldn't hear over the thundering roar of the wind passing him as he fell.

"This is because of you" he murmured.

Sawyer woke up abruptly, scrambling against the sand, as he fought to overcome the sensation of falling. He shook his head, as if to both clear it of the dream and of what the dream meant.

This was the third time he'd had this dream, although the last sentence was new. This was the third night since he'd bartered his way onto the raft, the third night since he'd vowed to himself to leave her behind. He was no dream-analyst, but he knew damn well what the dream meant.

He was falling for her; yet the more he fell for her, the further away the possibility of being together became.

He couldn't be with her. He just couldn't. It didn't mean he didn't want to though, boy, did he want to. Sometimes he wondered if the thought of being with her was better than actually being with her – being with her in every sense of the word – but that couldn't be true.

Sawyer knew himself too well. He disgusted himself sometimes, but he was under no delusions. He would chat up girls with his well-placed dimpled smile and his sexually-charged swagger, charm them into bed, then charm them out of money. Kate had no money; there was nothing in this chase for Sawyer to gain except for her. The thrill of the chase was one thing, but Sawyer wasn't sure if he wasn't addicted to it. He had cast aside more girls than he cared to remember, and he couldn't be sure that he wouldn't do that to Kate. He had never had a relationship that had truly lasted, and he couldn't promise Kate his eye wouldn't wander elsewhere. He couldn't promise her anything. And that was why he was leaving.

He knew that if he stayed, she would break his resolve. His attraction wasn't one sided, he knew this for a fact, and for once this wasn't an arrogant assumption but a carefully constructed case. He had watched the way she acted towards him, compared it to how she acted with what he considered his main competition, Jack. He had never experienced such a burning jealousy as he did when she was around him.

The closer she got to him, the more he lashed out. He jumped aboard the raft crew, exposed her criminality, called her names even he was ashamed of. She had apologised to him, sort of. "I wasn't after your spot" she had said. This had made him feel even worse. She was too good for him.

So he pushed her away by digging himself into a deeper hole. Ironically, his discovery that Kate was the fugitive of the island made him want her even more, with the realization that her behaviour was all just an act, that she was more like him than she wanted to admit. But he had had to dangle her insecurities in front of her, in front of anyone who would listen.

"Give that back."

The tremble in her voice hadn't escaped Sawyer. You're ruining everything, her eyes had flashed at him. The stolen passport for her had meant the desired illusion. For him it had meant the grand reveal. She was no better than he was, not really, and the sooner she realised that then maybe he could stop digging.

"Well, look at this…she don't care about nothing or nobody but herself."

And that was exactly why he could never be with her. She didn't exactly bring out the best in him, and he was so busy trying to prove that she belonged on his level and not Jack's, that this foolish rivalry was repelling Kate more and more. It was easy enough to slip into the role he had carved out for himself on the island, but to use it so viciously against Kate for his own personal gain had made even Sawyer himself wince.

Oh, and that look she had given him afterwards. He almost set sail then and there.

He tried to make it up to her, in his own way.

"Set sail tomorrow." She looked up, green eyes searching his, looking for the James inside him. Maybe that was what scared him into malice. She could see inside him when she didn't even have a clue what went on behind his rough exterior. She was in danger of exposing his hidden secrets, and Sawyer went straight for the pre-emptive tit-for-tat.

"You here to say sorry Sawyer?"

This was the chance, the opening, whatever it was that could at least make things right before he left, to leave for once on a good note. Yes. This was it.

"Sorry don't suit me."

Pride comes before a fall. Sawyer couldn't admit to defeat, not for anyone. Not for Kate, not even for himself. Defences were back up.

"You cornered me Freckles."

"I cornered you." The disbelief in her voice settled into a steely hardness reflected by the cold glint of her eyes which turned the fire's sparks into flint.

"Said if you wanted my spot…guess I believed you."

False words. He didn't want her to leave. He wanted to be the first to leave, to put the control of this confusing push-pull firmly back within his grasp.

"Well, that's that…better start packing."

He glared at her, daring her to leave after his dismissive gesture. But she stayed. Curiosity killed the cat.

"Why's it so important for you to be on that raft?"

Sawyer dealt his final blow.

"Because there ain't anything on this island worth staying for."

There. He's said it. If she doesn't leave now, then maybe, just maybe…

Her mouth twists into a melancholy smile. She reaches out to him one last time -

"Be safe, Sawyer."

And then she's gone.

The next day he's determined not to look for her, to seek her out amongst the bustle of the beach. His furtive glances are not missed by some of the other inhabitants, however, and they wondered if he knew Kate was with Jack.

Sawyer's finishing preparations are fuelled by his stubbornness and his pointed non-thinking about Kate. This is exactly why he must leave. His sharp wit and quick thinking gets clouded by a certain woman with pre-Raphaelite curls and a will as strong as his. He must leave, must leave so he can reconstruct his Sawyer façade once more, because the only person he can depend on is himself.

He spots her unwittingly, talking to Claire, a rucksack on her back and a determined look on her face. She turns in his direction, and he ducks his head in annoyance, muttering about the damn woman and wishing she would look away so he could gaze back at her in freedom.

He turns for her, one last moment of weakness.

But she is gone.

ii: The Female of the Species is More Deadly Than the Male

I scare myself to death,
That's why I keep on running.
Before I've arrived, I can see myself coming

She is teetering over the edge of the abyss.

Dare she topple over, join the other inhabitant of the ever-lasting darkness and risk total darkness for total light? She shouts into the nothingness: "Sawyer!"

The man, this Sawyer, doesn't hear her. The wind is too noisy, and it whispers into Kate's ears as her hair flies with abandon. She must chance everything for nothing. Every second she wastes he falls further and further from her. He tries to reach her but only succeeds in lengthening the gap.

Her indecision is costing her. She wants to run away, but there is nowhere to go. She either stays, or she jumps.

"I want to Sawyer, I really do, but I don't know if I can." She can see him looking up at her, but he can't hear her, hell, she can hardly hear herself speak.

Actions speak louder than words, Kate.

She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath.

And jumps.

Kate gasped as she awoke from her dream, sitting bolt upright and glaring at her makeshift room as if it was it's fault that she had been woken. She frowned as yesterday's events floated back into her mind and she stood up fully, determined to distract herself from all things to do with Sawyer.

She hates that there's someone on this island who can see right through her, particularly after all her hard work at reconstructing herself into someone new, someone better. Someone different. But underneath she is exactly the same, which is why as soon as Sawyer gets too close to finding her out, she runs.

When Jack asks her if she wants to see the raft off, she sees no reason to, not any more. Although it doesn't mean she doesn't want to. Jack embodies everything she should want, everything good and strong about the world, yet it's a certain drawling Southerner who has won her over, despite his horrible behaviour towards her. And that is why she must leave before he leaves, so that she can make the definitive move, so that she doesn't end up like her mother. She wants to give in, because deep down she knows that he's not like that, but his actions are too familiar to let her give into the comfort, and she has to leave that behind, has to change the cycle. But most of all because it would be so easy to fall to temptation.

"I'm not very good at goodbyes" Kate says to Jack, although what she really means is I don't want to say goodbye. She distracts herself with their quest, and tries to ignore the ugly feeling in her stomach that she might never see Sawyer again. His rejection had stung her, but it was his loss, she kept reminding herself.

Still, she couldn't help asking Charlie "have you seen Sawyer?" and as she left the beach where the raft would be leaving one last time, she couldn't help but look over her shoulder for one last look at the man she simply couldn't get out of her head.

She limited herself to this one look, and her eyes swept the horizon for a glimpse of Sawyer working on the raft.

But he was gone.

Jack tried to engage her in conversation as they followed the rocky path, but all he found was classic Kate; smile, lie, repeat as needed. The smile was hollow, the laughter empty, and when she looked out to sea, it was into a different world, one where dreams were the reality and everything else fizzled into the background.

It could have been so different, she thinks, without a clue that there would still be world enough, and time.

iii. Epilogue

I just wanna feel real love,
In a life ever after
There's a hole in my soul,
You can see it in my face, it's a real big place.

In their dream they are together, clutching each other as they hurtle down the abyss. She has jumped, he has caught her. He hangs onto her for dear life, inhaling her soft curls as he protects her head against his chest. She nestles into his chest, small fingers curling around his waist. They close their eyes…and wait.

When they open them, the wind is still whipping about them, but the scene has changed. The darkness has given way to golden sands, yet what Kate notices first is the curves of the beach, the path of the sparkling waves. This is their beach.

So when he grabs her by the waist and whispers in her ear, she is too surprised to do anything but follow his lead and dance to the crescendo of the waves.