Two Parts of the Same
The truth was that Sawyer terrified Kate.
James didn't. James was handsome and charming, and when his eyes glittered, it was usually because he had something flirty or otherwise amusing to say. Or he was undressing her in his mind.
Sawyer might as well have been a different person. He was all hard edges and anger. And when his eyes glittered, it was usually because he was feeling particularly dangerous. The moments when he was truly contemplating homicide.
Of course, Kate knew he'd never hurt her, James or Sawyer. Physically, anyway. People could say whatever they wanted about him, but she knew he'd never raise his hand to a woman unless she was actually endangering his safety. Maybe not even then, considering his tendency to prefer getting beaten up to telling the truth.
She rarely called him James, even when it was James she was speaking to. More often than not, saying his name chased him away, and brought out his sarcastic and bitter counterpart. So he was Sawyer even while he was James, but he was never James while he was Sawyer. Kate wished it was the other way around.
Both of them wanted her, but it was only James that loved her. Sawyer didn't feel love, didn't have time for it, only revenge. But he did have feelings for her. Maybe it was the closest he could feel to love, whatever that was for him. Or at least, that's what she used to think.
As for Kate, she loved them both, in different ways. She knew it was naïve, but she hoped her love might soften Sawyer, even a little, so she might see James more often. But she knew why it was usually Sawyer she dealt with. Sawyer was penance, and protection, and punishment. Penance, trying to make up for becoming what he hated by living a life that could never keep him happy. Protection from what he'd done, his mind's way of saying, 'James didn't do it! It was Sawyer!' Punishment, more than anything else. He'd become the man who destroyed his life, who killed his parents. So James was sent back into the inner recesses of his mind, allowing Sawyer to run the show, to make damn sure everyone hated James for his past crimes, even if they couldn't know that was why they were supposed to hate him.
For that matter, Kate wasn't sure there was anyone else on the island that even knew James existed. Locke knew his real name was James, of course, and often called him by it. Kate thought that was a stupid thing to do. Sawyer's eyes didn't quite glitter when Locke called him that, but they glinted, and it was enough to tell her that Locke wasn't putting himself in Sawyer's good graces.
She could easily pinpoint every important moment in their history and name which side of him she was dealing with at the time. It was Sawyer who demanded a kiss for Shannon's medicine, which he didn't have. But it was James who kept him from demanding more. It was James who showed her the letter, and Sawyer who ripped it out of her hands again. Sawyer who'd ended their game of I Never, but James who'd started it.
Conning her for the guns. Telling her Jack was as good as dead during the cave-in. Outing her as the convict to the rest of the survivors. All Sawyer, without a doubt.
But when he held her and let her cry after Ana Lucia and Libby died? The 'mix tape?' When he actually took his eyes off of the Others in the jungle so he could untie her hands and her gag when she was taken? Sawyer would have focused on the enemy at all times, no matter what other distractions she provided.
She'd only ever seen James and Sawyer work together once. And it changed everything.
For a brief moment after they'd had sex in his cage, the two parts merged into one. The process had started when she kissed him and couldn't tell him why. It was James that she had made love to; she could tell by the way he'd looked at her, as if he could hardly believe that she'd consider him. But she imagined he'd used a few of Sawyer's tricks to make her moan. And then James said he loved her.
But then Pickett had come with his gun, which instantly brought Sawyer out to play the protector. But when he had threatened her, said she'd die too if Sawyer didn't let go, James wanted to give up his life to save her.
And Sawyer let him.
In that moment, the two of them became one. Sawyer looked at her with James' eyes as he wondered if he could kill Pickett and his friend before one of them managed to shoot her, and decided it wasn't worth the risk. Kate saw how much it killed him to let go, how it took more physical effort to give up than it did to hold Pickett in place.
And in that moment, she knew, finally, that there was more to Sawyer than she'd ever known. He could love, could consider others over himself. And for a second, she hated him for giving up, for leaving her in the same instant that she realized that he really was the one for her, the only one who could understand her and everything she'd done.
However, when they'd survived the encounter, James and Sawyer became almost separate entities again. And Sawyer liked nothing better than to make life difficult for James, so their relationship was rocky, at best.
But after almost losing him, Kate knew she had to fight for him, even if it meant fighting with him. Because there was an amazing person when James and Sawyer came together. And if she had to, she'd spent the rest of her life fighting with the two sides of the one man she loved to bring him back.