Author's Note: This idea comes from a talk me and my boyfriend had about how sometimes the things you think were right, are wrong.. and how you're not ever sure if the right thing to do is really the right thing or the wrong thing!
Love and Hate:
"Cynicism is the road most frequently traveled,
for those afraid to show they really care. It
is not realistic or tough; it's unrealistic
and cowardly, for you do not have to try."
For the first five months that they lived with the Dharma Initiative, Sawyer couldn't recall a day where he and Juliet didn't get into a full-out fight about something. He couldn't recall a day where either of them ever got along, or even one where it wasn't himself who initiated the fight between them.
He recalled something his uncle told him as a kid, that fighting was a way people actually hid their emotions from each other rather then showing them to each other. And so all his life he'd taken those words to heart. It was definitely much easier to be sarcastic and angry towards people then it was to be nice and show that you care. And it definitely hurt less if you didn't show them that you cared.
Although for a reason he couldn't understand, Juliet would only fight with him on things that he started. She had refused to begin a fight with something that, in her mind, would actually hurt his feelings. For whatever reason she could be so nice, that she could care even that little bit, made him want to pick even more fights. And he supposed it could only be concluded that it was because he was jealous that she could be that way, that she could still care after all this time.
Today, he supposed he could say that he pushed her little red 'DO NOT PUSH' button, one too many times to test her patience. "Son of a bitch," he muttered, standing in the living room of the house they shared together. "What in the hell would make you talk to that bug-eyed little bastard in the first place?!" he yelled out.
In truth, he was almost positive it was because the topic was about a pint-sized Benjamin Linus that she got more hostile then usual. They'd avoided the little kid, knowing he was there and yet remained blissfully ignorant of him at the same time.
Juliet's eyebrows furrowed in response. One of the only real clear indicators of when she was honestly and truly annoyed or angry about something. "And what exactly would you have suggested I do?" she asked him, keeping her voice more calm then she really felt. "Stand back and watch?"
"He's Ben," Sawyer stated matter-of-factly. "So yeah, I'd've suggested that you walked away."
Juliet narrowed her eyes, a look of pure cold hatred growing over her features. "His father hit him," she stated forcefully. "Would you like it if your--"
"Don't even go there," Sawyer growled out the warning.
Juliet froze, if only for a moment in response to the warning. In truth, she'd forgotten for the moment about his past. So she dropped the question she'd been about to ask. "Tell me, James.." she said cautiously. "Tell me you could have stood there and simply watched a father hit his son."
"If it's Ben, then sure," he stated confidently.
Juliet frowned. "What if you didn't know who he was?"
Sawyer stared at her. "The difference is that I do know."
Juliet shook her head in response. "Do you have absolutely no feelings for others whatsoever?" she asked suddenly. "That little boy isn't the Ben we know yet."
"He will be," Sawyer told her without hesitance, regardless of the fact he knew she was right.
Juliet sighed. She'd never met someone who couldn't be even slightly empathetic whatsoever to somebody regardless of who they were, or who they would become. "How can you be so.. unfeeling?" she asked him suddenly. "I don't care what's happened in your life, James.." she stated warily. "There's no just reason to be such a pompous ass."
Sawyer was shell-shocked from the statement for a moment. "Because I know what he'll become," he told her. "I know what he's going to do to me, to Kate, and to a lot of other people!" he threw back at her now. "So what'd he do to make you leave?" he asked her. "Turn the power off in your little house?"
"Don't even begin to think that my life on this island was all fun and games," she warned him carefully.
Sawyer narrowed his eyes, watching as the icy and cold look returned to her face. She hadn't looked so distant since before the time travel, since she'd just changed sides to the survivors.
"What makes you think he treated me any better then he treated all of you?" she asked him, her voice so serene it almost scared herself, and she could tell it made him uneasy.
Sawyer rolled his eyes. "What, were you two together or somethin'?" he asked her. "Bad break-up? So you follow Jackass and wind up with us?" he questioned. "And now.. what? You feel bad because you just saw Ben's daddy take a swing at him?"
Juliet couldn't even stop herself at this point. "There was nothing between us," she growled out. "You really want to know what he did to me?" she asked him, the frustration seeping through in her words. "He made me stay on this god-damned island, he forced me to stay here by using what I loved against me."
Sawyer frowned. "A boyfriend?" he asked with a roll of his eyes.
"My sister," she snapped out in anger. "Three and a half years I've been on this island, James," she told him. "And these last five months were because you asked me to stay here. And all you do is fight with me, so tell me this.. why in hell am I still here?"
Sawyer was silent in response. He was silent because he now knew she had basically been a prisoner on this island. He was silent because she was right.. and he was silent because hardly anyone had ever put him in his place anymore.
Juliet's voice wavered with emotion that she couldn't hold back anymore. "I stayed here, with you, because I thought it was the right thing to do, James.." she told him. "But maybe I was wrong.." she stated quietly. "Because you don't care, you've never cared who you hurt to make yourself feel just a little bit better."
"I've always been alone, Juliet," he told her. "Everyone comes and goes, and nobody stays forever," he warned her. "You can't live life on the false pretenses that people will stay forever."
Juliet narrowed her eyes at him. "You're making yourself be alone," she admitted. "You're the one pushing all of us away," she explained carefully. "Look around, Daniel got on the sub and left, Miles and Jin took to a different damned house.." she stated, motioning her arms around the little house.
"And you're obviously the next one to go," he muttered with a shrug of her shoulders.
Juliet shook her head and took a deep breath. "I haven't gone anywhere," she told him. "I stayed, James.. but my idea to stay here because its the right thing can only go so far with you pushing me so far away."
"Well maybe doin' the right thing ain't the right thing to do, maybe the right thing was the wrong thing to do," Sawyer pointed out to her.
Juliet felt furious for one moment, but after that her eyes softened slightly. "Are you saying that to get rid of me, or because you're not sure if jumping off that helicopter was the right thing to do?" she asked him quietly.
Sawyer stared at her, uncertain of what to say. "Seemed right at the time.."
"Until she never came back," Juliet finished for him. "You're not the only who to get left behind that day, James.." she pointed out. "A lot of us got left behind. We're just the few who have to live with the reminder.."
"Every time I try to do the right thing, it always turns out to be the wrong thing to do," Sawyer admitted with defeat, taking a seat on the couch and putting his head in his hands.
Juliet felt the ice melt a little further as he talked now. And for whatever reason, he'd hit a soft spot within her. So she took a seat beside him and grabbed one of his hands as he removed them from his face, giving it a gentle squeeze.
Sawyer glanced at her. The look of compassion on her face was almost enough for him to throw it into her face, but this time he couldn't come up with the words to do it. How could she have compassion for him after how he treated her? "I can't even think something, and try to do the opposite of it. Because I know I'll just go with the opposite of it, so I'll be thinking the right thing, go with the opposite, and still do the wrong thing."
Juliet arched an eyebrow up in response to his statement.
"Or I'll do the wrong thing because I decided not to do the opposite of what I thought, because I thought doing the opposite was the wrong thing to do, and somehow I still do the wrong thing, thinking I'm doing the right thing," he raved on.
Juliet's eyebrows furrowed in response. "You know.. considering that shouldn't make any sense, and I understood it.." she muttered. "I suddenly feel as cynical as you do. And that was cynicism at its best."
Sawyer glanced at her. Suddenly he couldn't help it because of the way her face was contorted and he simply laughed. A full-out, full-blown laugh that hadn't come out in a long time. The fact that she seemed offended that he'd laugh only served to make him laugh even harder.
Juliet stared at him with slight confusion. But the childish giddiness that came over him was just too much, and she couldn't help the chuckle the escaped her lips because she'd never seen him laugh so hard before.
"How do you do it?" Sawyer questioned her once he had gotten over the humor of her reaction. "How can you be so.. empathetic to people who wrong you?"
Juliet smiled only a little at his question. "I don't know," she responded honestly, leaning back on the couch. "Ben held me prisoner on this island, killed someone I loved to prove to me that I was his, that he owned me.." she admitted. "And still.. I couldn't fight the urge to help him now," she told him. "Jack held a broken plate to my neck and threatened to kill me, and I still fell for him," she explained.
Sawyer couldn't help but look at the woman beside him in a new way. She'd just admitted even more things to him that he hadn't known before. Jack had threatened to kill her by slicing her throat open with a broken plate? It hardly even sounded like Jack but somehow, he believed her.
"And I'm fairly certain you and Sayid wanted to torture me that time I was going to get the medicine for Claire."
Sawyer felt a sudden rush of guilt in that moment. "Not to mention all the times that I've started fights, thrown things in your face that I shouldn't have," he muttered. "And still, that's after you shot a man to save me and Kate, stayed here for me because I asked.." he pointed out. "Lied to Jack so we could go on a damned suicide mission."
Juliet smiled sadly. "I didn't shoot Danny for you.." she admitted. "I shot him for me.."
Sawyer raised an eyebrow in confusion. "What did you get out of shooting him?" he questioned.
Juliet frowned. "Not what I expected.. that's for sure."
Sawyer frowned now in response. "What did you think you were getting then?"
"Ben told me he'd finally let me go home," she answered casually. "He told me, if I helped Jack, if I helped you two to escape so Jack would save his life, that he would finally let me go home."
Sawyer found that empathy that she'd been talking about. "And what did you get.. because obviously he never sent you home."
Juliet looked away.
"Juliet.." he stated softly. "What did he do?" he asked her, and he was shocked when she stood and began lifting her shirt. "What the hell are ya'.." but he paused, staring at the mark on her back. "What the hell is that?" he asked, reaching out to touch it.
Juliet stepped away, dropping her shirt back over it quickly when she felt his finger tips graze it. "Ben's way of saying, 'I let you live'," she answered coldly.
"Another way to say you were his.." Sawyer spoke the words softly, but he could see the way she flinched from the statement and he immediately felt bad. He watched as she headed towards the door and he frowned, getting off the couch immediately and grabbing her wrist as she went to open the door.
"Don't," Juliet warned, turning and slapping his hands away. "Just don't."
Sawyer regarded her reaction warily and put his hands in the air as a sign of truce. "Don't leave," he requested one more time. "Please."
Juliet closed her eyes and leaned her back against the door.
"I'm sorry.." he apologized finally. "You were right.." he admitted, taking a step closer to her.
Juliet opened her eyes and her breath caught in her throat slightly. He was right in front of her, they were nose to nose. And she found any rebuttal lost.
"I don't want to be stuck here alone, Juliet.." he told her softly. "You're all I got."
Juliet's eyes softened slightly. And she felt the words she told Jack come back to her. "We're on our own here, James.." she told him, closing her eyes and shaking her head. "We're already alone.."
Sawyer frowned at her words. "Not if we stick together."
Juliet smiled sadly, not bothering to open her eyes as she thought. "You don't want to be stuck with me," she warned him.
"What if what we thought was right at the time, seemed wrong now.. but really," he began. "It was right.. it was the right thing to do so that we'd get to where we are now," Sawyer questioned her.
Juliet opened her eyes and studied his face, and his words. "So you're saying.. being stuck together, is right?" she retorted.
"If we want it to be.."
Juliet wasn't sure why the response made her stomach flip a little. She wasn't sure why it made her feel a little differently then ever before, but it did. "How are we supposed to know if its really right, James?" she asked him. "If everything that's right is wrong.."
"Then maybe if it feels wrong, it's actually right.." he told her with a shrug.
"And what happens if it feels right?" she asked.
"Then maybe it's right.."
Juliet arched an eyebrow up in response, but she smiled nonetheless. "That makes no sense.." she pointed out to him.
Sawyer grinned. "Nothing in life ever does, does it?" he questioned. "Let me know if this makes any sense to you.." he told her, right before he removed the small amount of space between them and pressed his lips to her.
Juliet gripped the lapels of the jumpsuit he wore and pulled him just a little closer during it. And when he pulled away, her only response was to say.. "Not at all.. but it felt.."
"Right," Sawyer stated with a small smile.
"So does that make this right or wrong?" she questioned with curiosity.
Sawyer grinned. "You gonna stick around to find out?"
Juliet smiled. "I guess I am.."
Ahh.. the useless fluff bunny invaded my mind at the end of this.