Walking stealthily through the jungle with a stranger following not to far behind and carrying a baby in his arms, Sawyer-usually thinking of himself as street-smart in every possible situation-was trying to keep himself from totally losing it.
For one, Claire was missing-and Claire wouldn't have just left her baby behind. (Just a couple of days ago, he'd saved her life during a battle in the Barracks...now, he was being forced to watch over her child.) How had this happened so fast? Sawyer wondered, often finding himself blinking with wonder at the baby he was holding, who wouldn't stop crying, no matter what he did to comfort it. (Singing didn't seem to help.) Out of sheer desperation he'd tried some Bob Marley and then, when that didn't work, some Elvis Presley-but somehow, crooning to the tune of "I'm all shook up" didn't have the desired effect, and Aaron only kept wailing harder.
Not only had he lost Claire, but he knew nothing about taking care of a baby. And, on top of that, he was dreading each moment that got them closer back to the beach, and the camp, where he'd have to explain what had happened to everyone. Kate's going to kill me.
"Jesus-can't you shut that baby up?" Miles Straume, following as far behind as possible without getting lost, called after him with exasperation.
"I'm tryin', okay, 'Squirt'?" Sawyer snapped over his shoulder with equal frustration.
"Have you ever considered 'Dr. Spock'," Miles retorted with a sly-eyed smirk, "that maybe the kid just needs his diaper changed?"
"He ain't smellin," Sawyer pointed out with a scowl, after sniffing Aaron's bottom.
"He could be wet," Miles pointed out cunningly with a sly wink that made Sawyer want to strangle him right on the spot.
"OK well then if you're such a damn baby expert, then why don't you change him?" Sawyer snarled, whipping around so fast that Miles nearly lost his balance. "Besides-in case you haven't noticed, I don't got a spare diaper anywhere on me, so...unless you're planning on magically materializing one-"
"I know when I'm in the jungle and I have to use the john, I just use a great big leaf," Miles pointed out with a snide sneer. "Should we toss on it?"
"Toss what?" Sawyer exclaimed, gesticulating wildly around him before staring back at Miles with disgust and utter disbelief (as all the while Aaron continued to wail), "You got any quarters on you? 'Cause I sure as hell don't-for in case you haven't noticed, 'genius'-money is pretty much useless around here," he muttered half-heartedly (already having been forced to make peace with that fact long ago).
"Well...guess tossing the baby wouldn't work," Miles mused wistfully (meanwhile, Sawyer simply gaped at him). "So then-how 'bout rock, paper, scizzors?"
What the hell does he think this is-summer camp? However (instead of complaining) Swayer simply shrugged listlessly; the baby's screaming was starting to give him a headache. "Works for me," he said.
First time they both got scizzors. Second time, they both got rock. Third time, they both got paper. "What the hell?" Miles was as impatient and frustrated as he was by that point.
"Guess that means we both loose," Sawyer stated with dark triumph, "Go and find us a leaf big enough to cover the kid's butt, will ya?"
"Hey-I'm just glad it's not Number Two," Miles snickered.
"Come on, get a move on," Sawyer insisted, "we're gonna have to make camp soon-and I want to get this kid to sleep as soon as possible."
It took Miles only a few minutes to find a gigantic tear-shaped leaf. "Let me-I did this for a cousin once, back home," Miles confessed as he made a bed of leaves for Aaron to rest on, and Sawyer gently-yet cautiously-set him down. He watched, amazed by Miles's sprite, however graceful movements (it was as though he'd been doing this all his life)-as Miles carefully removed Aaron's shorts, then diaper, and then set both aside.
Meanwhile Aaron seemed absolutley transfixed by his new caretaker, staring up at Miles with wonder and peacefully sucking his thumb.
"Sonofabitch..." Sawyer couldn't help but be impressed. "You're a natural."
Miles grinned proudly, smirking with a nod, "Told ya so."
"So how do you get the kid to sleep?" Perhaps he'd just make it through this one after all...and then, Kate could help him go look for Claire...
"Gotta use two more leaves to swaddle him," Miles informed, seeming much to sure for Sawyer's taste; besides, what was that word Miles had used?
"What the hell's a 'swaddle'?" Sawyer scowled, staring back at Miles with suscpicion: at which Miles nearly choked as he bit back laughter.
"Guess we know who the smart one is, huh?" Miles grinned (and Sawyer had to restrain the urge to throw a punch to his face; he knew, in spite of his suspicions, that Miles was needed-and if he lost his cool, it would only start Aaron up again). "A 'Swaddle' means surrounding the baby with a blanket up to his chin...so that he feels safe and at home, as though he were in his mothers' womb."
"Well-that makes sense," Sawyer noted (trying not to show his embarrassment).
"'Course it does," Miles approved (again, sounding so over-confident that Sawyer wanted to whack him upside the head). "Every child needs to be comforted."
"Okay then," Sawyer nodded in agreement, "You can 'swaddle' the kid...I'll go find us some firewood."
Walking off, he tried to recall if he'd ever been swaddled by his own mother, who had died when he was nine...but, knowing if he was, it would have been so early in life that he wouldn't be able to remember. Thinking: Sure would feel nice to feel all snuggled with right about now...
Returning to the camp was beginning to sound better and better.