After Jack got Kate out of the shower and back into bed her fever was beginning to decline. He had been so completely terrified when Kate had been screaming in pain that he hadn't been able to stop and process what had happened. With Kate settled in bed, Jack finally sat down and took a deep breath for the first time in hours. The last time Kate was awake, she had been unable to see. As much as Jack did not want to admit that it was a possibility, he knew that she might never be able to see again.
Jack's thoughts were interrupted by Sawyer entering the bedroom.
"What's going on Doc, Plato out there said he heard Freckles screaming earlier? You ain't just letting her writhe in pain are ya?"
"Of course not Sawyer! I would never want to see anyone in the kind of pain she was in earlier, especially not her. I am doing everything I can for her Sawyer, EVERYTHING!" Jack shouted at Sawyer.
Sawyer realized that whatever was going on with Kate must be pretty awful to have Jack falling apart like this. "What''s going on Doc, is she dying?" Sawyer asked with complete sincerity and concern.
"NO! She is NOT dying!" Jack responded immediately.
"Ok…so then what's going on? Why was she screaming earlier?"
"Something is affecting her brain. I don't know if it's the fever or the malaria itself or a combination of both, but its taking a toll on her brain. I have no way of knowing what's really going on with no way to test her blood or get an MRI or anything remotely helpful. All I can do is beg God that it's the fever and not the malaria. She's confused, forgetting things. She seems to drift in and out of lucidity. She was screaming earlier because her head was hurting so much she thought she was dying. She actually thought she was dying Sawyer. I've never seen her look so scared, not even when we first encountered the monster. And to top that off, she can't see. She's writhing in pain, delirious, terrified, and she can't see and there is nothing I can do about it!" By the time Jack finished filling Sawyer in on what was happening, he had tears running down his cheeks again.
Sawyer couldn't believe what he was hearing, or seeing for that matter. Jack was sitting in front of him, completely breaking down because the situation with Kate was so dire.
"What do you mean she can't see?
"I mean just that Sawyer. The last time she woke up, she couldn't see anything, she's blind."
"Wait, what? She's blind? Forever?"
"I don't know, that's what I meant before. If this is the fever affecting her brain, there is a good chance that her eyesight will come back in the near future once her system is back to normal. But if it's the malaria causing this, then it's going to be permanent."
"So you're saying she might never see again?"
"It's possible. Hell, she might have permanent brain damage. The confusion and delirium, that might never go away either."
"What you mean is she may never be the woman we both fell in love with again?"
Jack took a deep breath, realizing that was exactly what he was saying. Despite his promise not to let her die, the Kate he loved could already be dead. "Yeah Sawyer, that's what I'm saying."
They sat in silence for a few moments, each taking a moment to study the frail, sick woman in the bed and to reflect on what she meant to each of them. They both knew that losing her, in any capacity, would be devastating.
"She's the most independent person I've ever met," Jack said after a few moments of silence.
"Well that's for damn sure," Sawyer agreed.
"We're on a deserted island."
"Well yeah Einstein, that ain't changed for some time now," Sawyer replied, looking at Jack in confusion.
"Sawyer, if she can't see, she can't be independent on this island. There's too much danger. She wouldn't even be able to walk around outside the hatch without someone with her. She could fall, step on a snake, run into that monster. She can't be independent anymore. And if the malaria doesn't kill her, that might," Jack sighed with defeat.
Sawyer didn't have anything to say in response to that because he knew that Jack was right. The need for independence was one of the traits he shared with Kate. They understood that about each other. It was part of the draw between them, even though he knew the draw between them would never be as strong as the draw between Kate and Jack. He knew that losing her independence would destroy her and that she would never recover.
"Well Doc, I guess you'll just have to teach her that she can be dependent on you."
"Thanks Sawyer." Jack realized that Sawyer was making a genuine effort to accept the growing relationship between himself and Kate. The two men were beginning to come to an understanding. The truth was, the two men were beginning to realize that the relationship they had was actually that of friends, despite the frequent outward displays of animosity.
"How are things out there?" Jack asked, realizing he had been so caught up in Kate for the last few hours, the rest of the island could have disappeared and he wouldn't have realized.
"Same ole same ole. Johnny boy's making friends with John Doe in the armory. Wonder woman and Saddam are taking turns trying to gently coax info out of him. Jaba and the VH1 has been are dying to know what's going on down here. Blondie and baby Huey and the rest back at the beach are doing just fine, living it up on the food that fell from the sky."
"Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about the food drop. Has that all been sorted through? Was there any medicine with it?" Jack asked, suddenly realizing there might something helpful to him in the unexplainable food bundles.
"I don't know Doc, I think Babar was handling that. I'll ask him when I get back to the beach though; make sure you get anything useful."
After another moment of silence Jack suddenly looked at Sawyer and said, "Claire is my sister."
"What? What the hell do you mean? We're all just one big island family of nut jobs? Panda Express and Jackie Chan are my mommy and daddy!" Sawyer was beginning to think the doctor really was losing his mind.
"No, I mean it, she's my half-sister. Turns out my father was having an affair in Australia a while back. We just put the pieces together earlier."
"Well now I feel like I oughta break out in a rousing rendition of It's a Small World After All."
"Spare me, please!" Jack begged teasingly.
"Well, I guess you got something good out this nightmare after all," Sawyer said in a rare moment of true earnestness.
Before Jack could respond, both men noticed Kate starting to rouse from her sleep. Jack immediately turned his full attention to her, hoping against all hope that things would be ok when she opened her eyes.
"Kate, can you hear me?"
"Mmm," she mumbled incoherently.
"Kate, wake up and open your eyes, come on now."
Kate stretched her arm above her head and then opened her eyes.
"Kate, I need you to answer me, can you see?"