Summary: James Ford has some questions to answer
Jack sipped his coffee and watched the suspect through the one-way mirror.
James Ford had his head down, scraggly blonde hair obscuring his face as he stared at the backs of his cuffed hands that lay flat on the table. He didn’t move for a full minute, and then when he did, he looked straight at Jack.
Jack felt the force of his gaze - those blue eyes seeming to burn through the glass, to see right into him. And then Ford looked away quickly, dropping his head once more. Jack let out a breath. Of course the guy hadn’t been able to see him. But it still gave him an odd feeling.
He rubbed his hand over his face, trying to wipe away the last traces of sleep. He’d been called in when they couldn’t get anywhere with the guy. Why it couldn’t wait, he didn’t know, but when he got the call, he came, no questions asked. He finished his coffee and tossed the styrofoam cup. He hated instant.
He walked in, making a mental note that the man didn’t look up right away. “Hello, James, I’m...”
“Jack.” Ford was definitely staring at him now, his face gone white.
“That’s right,” Jack nodded as he pulled a chair out and sat down, vaguely troubled that he’d been told his name. He was going to start things on a more official note, introduce himself as Dr. Shephard, but a more personal approach might work even better.
Ford was straining at his cuffs. “Christ, Doc, what are you doin’ here?” His voice was quiet and his eyes were wide.
“Just here to talk to you,” Jack began. He talked slowly, calmly. He could see that Ford was in some kind of state but he ruled out drugs. The eyes were bright but it was just excitement, he decided.
“How did we get here?” Ford leaned forward, his voice low. He looked around, as if worried about being watched.
“I’m not sure what you mean,” Jack leaned closer, encouraged by Ford’s instant trust in him.
“What’s the last thing you remember, before you ended up here?” Those desperate blue eyes were fixed on his.
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
“I’m not sure anymore,” Ford admitted. He leaned back, his nervous energy giving way to fatigue. Jack wondered when he’d last slept. “I remember going to sleep, as usual, on the beach,” he continued, looking up at the ceiling as if that helped him remember. “And then when I woke up, everything was different. Everyone was gone. I was back here and I don’t know how.” He let out a bitter laugh. “All those times I wished I could just be back and now I am.”
“Where were you?”
“Where was I? With you, you idiot.”
Jack nodded encouragingly, ticking off different manias in his head as Ford continued to stare at him like he was the crazy one.
“And where was that?”
“Hell, I don’t know the exact location. Some fuckin’ deserted island in the middle of goddamned nowhere.” He just gaped at Jack, thunderstruck.”You don’t ... Fuck.” He looked away quickly, and Jack saw there were tears in the corner of his eyes.
“You’re not Jack,” Ford said quietly. He turned to look him full in the face again, his gaze both sorrowful and accusing.
Jack felt a pang. He wanted to play along, wanted to let Ford think he was this other Jack. But that was crossing a line, even in an interrogation. He sighed.
“My name is Jack. Maybe I’m not the Jack you’re looking for.”
“Sure as hell look like him. But you’re a cop, huh? Not a doctor?”
“I’m both.” At Ford’s confused look, he added. “I’m a psychologist. I work for the police.”
“Oh. So you never operated on anyone?”
“No,” Jack laughed and shook his head.
“Never delivered a baby?”
“Right, that was Kate anyway.”
“Never mind.” Ford’s face had closed up now, his eyes wary. The moment when he would tell Jack everything was gone. And they hadn’t even gotten to Frank Duckett yet.
“Do you know why you’re here?”
“No. I keep tellin’ you, I don’t know how I got here.”
“But do you know why?”
“No. Do you?”
Jack opened the file folder and sprinkled photos of Duckett’s corpse around the table. “Do you remember him?”
Ford’s face was still a mask, but he saw panic in his eyes. Panic and defeat. “It doesn’t matter.” He covered his face with his hands. “Yeah, that was me.”
“Why did you kill him?”
”Thought he was someone else.” Ford dropped his hands.” Guess I been doin’ that a lot lately.” The smile that twisted his face wasn’t pretty.
“Who do you think I am?” It wasn’t what he’d planned to ask as a follow-up to a murder confession.
“I told you. Jack. Doctor. Goddamned hero. All-American ...” Ford paused. “Tell me something. You got a tattoo on your shoulder?” He indicated his own left arm. “Right here?”
“Lots of people do,” Jack smiled, that odd feeling he’d had when Ford had first laid eyes on him taking root in his stomach.
“Let me guess ... a big number five and some kinda pyramid and a buncha Chinese letters?”
The hair rose on the back of Jack’s neck. “How do you know that?”
“And maybe you got one on your inner arm, too ... stars and flames and shit.”
“I don’t know how you would know that.” Jack stared at him now, wondering if he had ever woken up, if he was maybe still in bed, dreaming this strange encounter under fluorescent lights.
“Because I know you, Jack,” Ford said softly, teasing him with a wistful smile. “I know everything about you.”
“You’ve only just met me,” Jack said stiffly. The man was a con artist. Somehow, he’d managed to research him ahead of time.
“Ah, but you never knew everything about me. See, I’m not the talkative type. And I never told you about Duckett. I never told you about Sawyer. The real Sawyer. And I never told you my real name.” He was grinning now, eyes glittering so that he looked wild, capable of anything.
“But you’re going to tell me now?”
”No. But I am going to tell you something I never told him. Something I should have.”
Ford swallowed hard and his mouth tugged down. “I love you, Jack.”
Jack raised his eyebrows. “You were ...?”
“That’s all you’re gettin’ out of me,” Ford said, a cold smile fixed on his face. “And I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”
Jack nodded and stood up, conscious suddenly of the detectives who’d been watching this the whole time. Well, he’d gotten him to confess to the Duckett murder at least. It was a start. He felt an enormous letdown, like he'd blown this one completely.
“Tell them to send someone else next time,” Ford called out after him as he turned to leave. “You never could tell when I was lyin.’”