Disclaimer: Lost? Not mine.
Spoilers: Set during Eggtown, quotes from What Kate Did, The Long Con, and references to plenty others (The Brig comes to mind pretty quickly). Basically, everything up to Eggtown is fair game.
I only really got into Lost during the third season (I'd never managed to catch it before) and so I had to catch myself up by watching the online episodes on ABC dot com before the finale (which, by the way, blew my mind), so hopefully I've managed to do it justice. Forgive me for any typos: somehow I only manage to finish writing when I'm sick (food poisoning, this time) so it's possible a few might have slipped by me.
This is my first Lost fic, so I hope I kept the characters, well, in-character. Any feedback is appreciated, and I hope ya'll enjoy!
By the way, I imagine this taking place right after Kate and Sawyer's argument in the morning, so here we go:
This whole thing, this entire idea had been stupid. A waste of her time and a waste of energy she just didn't have any more. The muddy earth makes a satisfying squelching sound underfoot as she tries to tell herself the beds hadn't been that comfortable, and she's never really minded the beach, anyway.
"Well, now, hold up a minute there, Freckles."
She doesn't want to stop, doesn't want to turn around, but her hand still stings from where it connected with his cheek, and she thinks for a second that maybe she owes him this. She wrings her hands, knowing she will regret this somehow, but can't stop herself from thinking that maybe this time they'll get it right. She turns around to face him.
"What, Sawyer? What could you possibly want now?" Her voice cracks a little and Kate hopes he doesn't notice. Because that's just not something she can deal with right now. But he's wearing that damnable smirk of his and next to nothing else –it looks like he barely had time to pull on a pair of jeans before he decided to come racing off after her– and by the time he's ambled over to her she knows he knows.
"Take it easy there, darlin'. I just don't want 'cha running off so quick." He reaches around her, sliding her pack off her shoulders. "Lemme walk you for a while. Ain't you heard, girl?" His face stretches into a wolfish grin, not unattractive (and that, she knows, is part of the problem). He shoulders the backpack himself and leans in to whisper conspiratorially, his breath tickling her ear, "Here there be monsters." The way he wiggles his eyebrows comically makes her bite back a giggle. It almost makes her forget this morning. She doesn't know if she's ready for that quite yet.
She settles for shooting him a furtive glance and half a smile, shaking her head. "I'm a big girl, Sawyer. I can take care of myself."
He throws up his hands in defeat. "Well, hell, I gotta take a leak anyways." Snaking an arm in front of her he pulled back a leafy bough, ushering her through with an expectant glance, wondering if she'd recognize the same line twice.
Kate rolled her head slowly, really just an excuse to look anywhere but him. Sawyer always made things so difficult, and right now, as much as she wanted to be mad at him she knew the minute she locked her gaze with him he would show off those dimples and she would remember what his stubble felt like, scratching agreeably over her skin. Kate suppressed a shudder just at the memory, knowing he would take advantage of the effect he so obviously had on her, and stepped through the clearing he made, waiting until he stood just behind her to turn around and press a hand over his heart. "That is so romantic." His eyes had closed the moment her skin had touched his, but when she repeated the familiar line they shot open (he was back at the beach, back in his tent all over again, watching her go, and he barely had time to wonder if she, too, remembered the last time this happened). He watched silently as her fingers flexed over his chest, and maybe now they could fix things, he thought; come full circle.
"Mm hmm. Yeah, well," and this time it was Sawyer's voice sounding a little stretched, and Kate could feels his pulse quicken under her wandering fingers, "What can I say, Freckles? You've gone and hooked yourself a real Southern gentleman."
The way he was looking at her now, as if searching her for something, made her extremely nervous. But then again, she had never been one to back down first. "A good ol' boy, huh?" His hand caught hers when she reached to trace his jaw-line and suddenly she knew what was coming next.
"We gotta talk, Katie."
She sighed, wondering exactly when this thing between them had gotten so serious. "I know. I know we do, Sawyer, but it's just –"
"You love me, Freckles?"
She almost has to choke out the word, and he's not saying that it's easy for him but at least he can say it without looking like it leaves a foul taste in his mouth; "Yes."
His eyes narrow. "You love him?"
Her hand is still trapped beneath his, resting just above his heartbeat, and Kate thinks she was wrong; they will never get this right, because she doesn't deserve to (and, hell, maybe he doesn't either, even though his hand fits perfectly over hers).
"I kissed him." It's harder to admit than she'd thought it would be, and she doesn't like the fact that she recognizes it.
He snorts defensively, tossing his head. "S'not an answer." Even though he's trying so hard not to look hurt, Kate can see that her confession wounded him, and she wants more than anything to take it back, to take it all back.
She bought her other hand up, playing with the belt loops of his jeans. He sucked in a breath of air; wisely, neither of the pair commented. Instead, Kate pressed on. "You'd just been shot and I was in that damn hatch all day, and I wanted you but I wanted to want him." Her voice was more than wavering now, and her fingers had hooked themselves into his jeans, tugging herself closer to him. Her shoulders sagged, and in that moment, when she felt his broad palm flatten against the curve of her back, it was all she could do not to cry.
"It's just…Jack, he's so good. And I wanna think he can make me good like him. Like I'm worth something. I want to be somebody that somebody like Jack can trust." His hands left her then, and Kate couldn't remember feeling so cold, wishing his touch had lingered. She sucked in a trembling breath, stumbling back and closing her eyes just to have an excuse to avoid his searching gaze. "He can't make me good, Sawyer. I know that. I know, but maybe if I'm around him I can... pretend for a while." She hangs her head, shoulders jumping as she fights to regain her composure.
She hears a dull thud as her pack slides off his shoulders, hitting the ground. She brings her hands up to cover her face, hiccupping. His footsteps crunch heavily in the silent jungle, and she wipes away the few tears escaping her despite her best efforts because, Goddamnit, she really didn't expect him to just leave her here alone.
"You spend all this time talkin' 'bout how big and bad you are, but you wanna know something, Freckles?" and her heart jumps (he didn't leave, he didn't walk away like he probably should have) even though she can hear the sneer in his voice, and she blindly reaches for him, realizing he'd moved closer to her still, "You don't scare me." Everything is silent.
And then he kisses her, and being kissed by Sawyer, she decides, might just be the one thing she will never grow tired of, because his mouth is slanting over hers hungrily at the same time that his arms are crushing her to his chest, and Kate can't ever remember a time she felt more… just, more. Sawyer kisses her like there's nothing else, like he's got all the time in the world and nothing is more important than sucking her bottom lip into his mouth. His hair feels good slipping through her fingers.
He pulls back first this time; his hands move to cup her face. He's close enough to count every single freckle scattered across the bridge of her nose, and were he to judge by the way her eyes close when the pad of his thumb brushes softly over her cheekbone, she just might let him. Her breathing is heavy, and when she feels his lip ghost over the outline of her ear she shivers in his arms, hands scrambling to find fistfuls of a shirt he's not wearing.
"James…" she breathes, sinking into him.
"Hell, Freckles, I could be just as good as your St. Jack." Between his lips so maddeningly close to her skin and the one hand that somehow slipped under her tank top, drawing lazy circles on the flesh of her lower back, Kate doesn't have time to wonder how Sawyer's quiet whisper could be the loudest sound in the jungle. Her back arches and she bites down on her bottom lip when his hands slide teasingly into the back pockets of her pants. How is he so warm? With his hands on her like this she is on fire.
He continues, trailing kisses over her cheeks, her jaw, down her neck until his lips hover right over the spot where the column of her throat meets her collarbone. "Probably better, I bet. The Doc don't know what to do with a woman like you, Freckles, and I ain't looking to educate him." He presses a kiss to her flushed skin. "But if it's good you say you're looking for" –another kiss, this one longer, lingering– "I can be reeeal good." He drags the word out before he nips at her neck, lavishing attention over her pulse point, part of him selfishly hoping it would leave a mark.
She's straining against him, moving to be closer but there is no more room left between their bodies, her actions only creating a warm friction between them and she's going to implode from the heat. He chuckles against her skin, his breath coming in warm, moist puffs against her skin, and she's all but trying to climb him now, toned arms gripping his shoulders, his back, wherever she can reach.
He stops his ministrations, pulling his head back to catch her gaze straight on. "I could be real bad, too" and he looks at her as if he could devour her.
"You're not bad, James" she pants, and later, maybe, there will be time to be embarrassed about the way she's already thinking about trailing her hands down his chest to work on his zipper. "Never bad."
Her words do something to him; he stops her when her hands begin to fall, tickling the back of his neck on their way down, and takes a step back, catching them loosely once again in his. Her eyes flicker closed when he rubs his thumbs over her knuckles, and her mouth is open, head tilted up, waiting. When instead of catching his lips, her mouth lands somewhere on the underside of his neck, she doesn't falter, leaving hot, open mouthed kisses on his skin. "You're so good, James, and I'm so sorry" she manages between kisses, and he swallows deeply.
He doesn't know why she believes he's such a good person, because he's not. But he wants her, he wants her, and with her eyes closed like that, trusting in him so completely in these few seconds, he knows how this has to end. Whatever she's done, his heart plummets, it can't have been bad enough for her to deserve him (He's only gonna hurt her, he knows, because he's Sawyer and Sawyer rips apart families and makes women think he loves them. Sawyer is the worst kind of man).
"Freckles, wait…" he gasps, pushing her roughly away, and it almost physically aches to see the hurt written all over her face. "I ain't no type of good. I'm no good for you."
Kate is still, silent, not understanding what brought about this change in him. His shoulders are squared though, and she knows somehow this means he's made his decision. She'll be damned, though, the day he starts making hers (she doesn't count the times before, when Pickett held the gun to his head and she really would have done anything), and tries to reach for him.
"What makes you think you're such a bad man, James?" She's still flushed, but she's frowning now, and she's never looked more beautiful. "You're not. I know you're not."
He crosses his arms, dismissing her easily (at least, it looks easy, but it's taking everything Sawyer has in him to keep from grabbing her up and kissing her). His eyes narrow, and Kate takes a step back, scared for the first time by the way he looks at her. "And every time that I look at Sawyer, every time I feel something for him, I see you, Wayne, and it makes me sick" he spits out, throwing her own words back at her, and she visibly flinches. His voice has gone deadly low, "Doesn't sound like any kind of good to me, Sweetcheeks. In fact, I'd say it sounds pretty damn bad, don't it?" His lips curl and this is the kind of smile he's perfected; dangerous and angry, and he knows he looks frightening, towering over her small frame like some sort of monster.
He doesn't have time to feel bad for the way her shoulders are shaking now. He tucks away the guilt safely into the back of his conscious; he'll deal with it later while he wishes they were still curled up in his bed.
"You know what, Sawyer" she finally gasps, the words tumbling clumsily from her lips (but he's glad at least that she's back to using that name; it makes it easier for her to hate him, and he needs her to, right now), "You're right." Kate laughs, but it comes out sounding more like a sob, and raises a hand to her forehead, pushing away the curtain of curls protecting her from his gaze. "Of course you are. I don't
know what I was thinking." She stares him down, refusing to further weaken herself in front of him, not this time, and he notices she's starting to get control of her heavy breathing. "You're absolutely right. You're James, but Goddamnit you try so hard not to be. Why bother?" She laughs again, and it comes out better this time (a sharp bark) but it's still not hers. "Why bother when you can be Wayne or Sawyer and everyone can hate you?"
Now, maybe he's not the smartest man, but he's done his fair share of reading (most of it here on the island, but regardless), and he's done enough to know that good ol' Billy Shakespeare got it wrong; the whole thing about roses and names. Because when she calls him James, he feels... like he could be the man he was once-upon-a-time supposed to be. Like he could be that man for her. But James still says the wrong things at the wrong times, and now she's back to calling him Sawyer. And he'll be damned if he hadn't done everything in his power to deserve it.
He takes a second to collect himself. Her words shouldn't hurt him this much, should they? They'd had this conversation before; Good thing you don't hate me, Freckles and she hadn't corrected him then, but he's afraid to say it again now. Because he's afraid she might.
It's a standoff, and he's the first to back down, stooping to collect her bag, resisting the sudden urge to throw it at her as hard as he can.
He knows it's not her fault he's such an ass, but sometimes he finds it easier to pretend.
He sighs, victorious and yet defeated, and misses the look she shoots him before accepting her pack back, shrugging it over tanned shoulders. "This ain't ever gonna work, is it, Freckles?" he calls to her retreating form, stuffing his hands in his pockets like some disgruntled school boy. He'd done what he was convinced was the right thing (and it was, because she was better off without him, wasn't she, and it didn't matter what he wanted) but he still felt sick about it.
She turns, and can offer only the smallest of smiles. Maybe he imagined it. She shakes her head.
"Not this time, Sawyer."