Hi, sorry for the long wait, I know it's been ages! We had an earthquake here which knocked out the internet and I've been busy with assignments from university (To those who are considering it, NEVER take Egyptian Studies. Ever. ) This chapter is short, it was supposed to be the start of a longer chapter, but I wanted to get something up! It's my holidays now so hopefully I'll be able to spend some time writing. Thanks for all the reviews and PMs :)
There are arms around his chest, so tight it's hard to breathe and he's tastes blood. There is a body laying heavy on top of him, a heart pounding against his. He wriggles around with as much strength as he can muster, trying to get out of the monsters fiercely strong grasp. He kicks his legs, his left connecting with the beast, and almost instantly, the arms release and warm hands are pressed up against his cheeks.
He can hear it speaking to him, a soft, calming voice, but not one he is able to make out, so he fights against it once more. He feels it's hands caressing his cheeks now, spreading cold tears across his face and he cries out, bringing his own arms up to shield himself. The hands move to slide back his hair, and then there are lips against his forehead, ready to bite him like some kind of vampire. He lets out a pained whimper, his voice broken and shaking with terror, with no idea where he is or what is going to become of him. But this time he hears his own name being repeated over and over again in response and he opens his eyes, sitting up and balling his fists protectively.
"Leave me alone.." Jack manages weakly, batting away the monsters arms with shaky hands.
"It's Kate, Jack." The monster tries, but he won't believe it. Fear and anger boiling, he begins to yell, throwing its arms off his shoulders and pushing himself as far away as he can get.
"Get off!" He cries, pulse raising and lungs ready to give out, too fearful to do anything but dissolve in to tears as panic takes over "Just go away...leave me.."
There is a pause as if the monster is actually considering it, but he hears it shuffling around before him, ready to attack, and he forces himself further away. His head connects painfully with something wooden and he brings his arms up in protection again, realizing there is no escape. Then he sees a bright light, illuminating his surroundings. Jack sees Kate.
"It's just me, Jack." She says, faining calm, holding a torch under her chin and watching him closely, wise enough not to reach out and touch him straight away. "You were having a nightmare. You wouldn't wake up..."
He looked dazed, and even when she shone the torchlight in his eyes, he didn't so much as blink. "Hey, can you hear me?"
Jack didn't respond immediately, instead taking a moment to look around and realize he was still sitting on top of Kate's bed in her tent, in the middle of the night, on the island. He hadn't been taken by a monster, he was perfectly fine. His eyes were full of unshed tears, and as he remembered the nightmare, they began to spill out uncontrollably once more. Silently, at first, but when Kate set down the torch and moved close to him, wrapping tight arms around his body, he couldn't hold them back.
His head was laying on her shoulder, and Kate ran a gentle hand through his hair, pressing her lips against the left side of his forehead, managing, somewhat, to rock his larger frame in her arms. Rubbing his back soothingly, she let her hand travel further down, feeling nothing but cold wetness that made his singlet stick to him. She followed the trail around across his stomach and down to the knees of his sweatpants. She didn't know if he was drenched in sweat or he had wet his bed in fear, either way, she didn't need to embarrass him anymore. She was too worried about how freezing his body was, and it seemed he'd been that way for a while.
"I have to get you another blanket, you're so cold." She whispered, but the arms around her neck only tightened. She gently worked to peel them off, reaching over to Jack's bed, grabbing his sheets and wrapping them around his shoulders. He instantly threw himself back at her, and Kate held him, unsure of what exactly she should be doing. She thought about what Juliet would say. She'd want him to talk to her about what he'd seen, and she would ask him if he tried 'becoming the hero' like she'd taught him. Kate didn't want to do that though. She knew Jack didn't want to talk, and was just beginning to feel comfortable enough that he could sleep in her bed and let her hold him when he was upset. She didn't want to ruin that. So she chose something generic, waiting until he had calmed down, and starting by kissing him again, this time against the cheek.
"Are you okay?" She asked, and he nodded against her shoulder.
"I had a nightmare." He replied, voice barely above a whispered. "It didn't work. I can't win. I killed them all and I lost. I can't laugh either, it's just not funny."
"I know," Kate said pathetically, not being able to add anything of great value. "We'll talk to Juliet, we'll find something that helps you. I promise."
She knew she shouldn't promise. But maybe if they both believed it enough, they would find some kind of solution. Maybe she could convince Juliet to give him some kind of drug?
"Don't tell Juliet I failed." Jack added softly, voice calm but his heart still pounding a mile a minute. "I don't want any of them knowing." Kate promised she wouldn't, if he didn't want her to know, and again, she damn near forced him to believe she was going to make him better.
They sat in silence for a few moments, Jacks body still shivering against her until she finally decided the last thing he needed was to get sick.
"I'm going to get you some fresh clothes, okay?" She said, wriggling out from his grasp and padding over to his suitcase, searching through it with a torch between her teeth. Surprised when she found nothing, she faintly remembered Rose saying something about Thursday being the new wash day, and figured Jack's clothes must still be on the clothes-line from the morning. "I'll be right back." She hurried, racing out of the tent and down the beach, remembering the last time she left him alone for a second and came back to find him convulsing on the floor.
Jack watched Kate leave, then let his head fall into his hands, massaging his temple wearily. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He was supposed to be the strong one they all turned to, the first one to grab a gun and head off into the heart of darkness. Now, when he examined himself all he could see was a wet, shaky, skinny body and all he could feel was a stuffed up, congested nose and eyes too sore from bawling on Kate's shoulder. All so far from the action hero they had seen him as - so far from the man he was supposed to be.
His mind instantly turned to the crumpled pair of jeans he had left on the floor, or rather, to the collection of pills stored in the left pocket. He wondered, if he took one, would everything feel better? He didn't exactly know what they were, and even though he had ruled out all of the anxiety medicines he could think of, it didn't mean that the pills wouldn't be able to help him. He thought of the worst possible outcome of taking a pill. There was no way he could actually die from taking just one, he assured himself - he wasn't sure why, but that disappointed him somehow - but he could get violently ill. On the surface, that sounded terrible, but as Jack began to think about it, the idea didn't seem that bad at all. If he got sick, he had something else to take his mind of worrying about the Others, if he got extremely sick, then he would be far too delirious to remember any kind of nightmare he might have. The longer he thought about the pills, and the more he romanticised the idea of being so ill and near death, the more he wished for it. When he began to consider downing all the pills in one go, simply to see what happened, he was glad when Kate returned and took his mind of the sheer stupidity.
Still, if he could get away from Kate for a while.. he could take just one..
She passed him a pile of freshly washed clothes, smiling sympathetically and noting there was water in her pack if he needed it. Offering water was her solution to any kind of injury, ailment or distress. Yet, he knew he probably should take it, he'd been sweating all night after all, but while it was true his head was starting to hurt and his throat was raw, he didn't want to be anymore of a burden. The water supply was running low and Sawyer and Sayid weren't scheduled to make a trip to the waterfall for another day. He shook his head.
Jack turned away from Kate and quickly threw on the crumpled pair of jeans and grabbed a white button up shirt from the pile Kate had handed him. Looking at it closely, he was surprised how similar it was to the one he had worn when they crashed. Turning it over, he traced a line of very thin stitches down the left side, the placing matching the scar on his back precisely. It was his shirt. The one he was going to wear to his father's funeral. The one he was wearing when he killed the Marshall. The same one he wore when Kate tried to tell him what she did and he rejected her. He didn't want to wear that one anymore. Throwing it on to his suitcase, he had a choice of the green one he was wearing when Kate found him, or the grey button up with a brown pattern he wore the first time Kate kissed him. He chose the grey one.
Slipping it on, and struggling to do up the buttons in the low light, he smiled when Kate held the torch out.
"Good choice," She commented, running her hand down his chest. "I love this shirt."
He smiled back at her, shifting his feet and kicking the sand. "Look, Kate," He said, shaking his head regrettably. "At first light I'm going to fix my tent. It was nice of you to make me a bed in here, but I can't stay. You shouldn't have to deal with.. with this."
Kate look physically wounded, then she looked confused, and then she just looked hurt. "Jack," She started, shaking her own head as she struggled for the right words. "I told you I loved you, everything about you. I love taking care of you, and I want to help you."
He nodded, still not completely convinced, but not willing to argue. He did like living with her, he just didn't know if he should be.
He tried to disguise a yawn, and Kate turned the torch on him, catching him out.
"It's still early," She said, "Why don't you try and get some more sleep?"
He didn't protest, but made Kate promise to wake him if he looked unrested. They lay on his bed this time, Kate flat on her back with Jack next to her, his head buried in the crook of her neck and an arm across her chest holding on to the opposite shoulder. It took him only seconds to fall back to sleep, and after a few minutes of watching him, Kate found it impossible to keep her own eyes open as well.
Hope it was alright, I have the end of the next chapter ready, I will try and finish it tonight :)
Next chapter : Jack talks to Rose, and is once again tempted by the pills...