Summary: Sayid decides he must test Kate, but first he has to get Sawyer out of the way
Rating: R for violence, language, subject matter
Warning: It's getting darker. The next chapter is the really dark one.
Note: Thanks again to guineverekay for the invaluable beta. Without her, this would have been a lot longer and a lot less focused.
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Boone breathed into Jack’s mouth, and continued the chest compressions as Sun and Shannon stood by helplessly. Boone wasn’t sure how long it had been since Jack had stopped breathing, but he knew he couldn’t give up yet.
“Come on, come on,” he said under his breath, looking fearfully at Jack’s face so still and pale. “Help me, Jack,” he begged silently. “Help me help you.”
Finally, gloriously, Jack spluttered back to life, choking and gasping. He opened his eyes and looked around him, seeming to see Boone for the first time.
“Jack,” Boone beamed, not bothering to wipe away his tears of happiness.
“What happened?” Jack said slowly, looking from Boone to Sun and then to Shannon.
Boone looked at Sun and she shook her head slightly. “Uh, you’ve had a fever,” Boone said, choosing his words carefully. “You stopped breathing for a minute or two, but you’re OK now.”
“You did CPR on me?” Jack asked, lying back. He had the barest hint of a smile on his face.
“Yeah,” Boone admitted, with a goofy grin.
“Thanks. My chest hurts like hell,” Jack said. “And my stomach,” he added, clutching at his middle. “Oh!” he exclaimed, doubling over again. Sweat broke out over his face. “I’m not so sure I’m glad you brought me back,” he groaned.
“Don’t be silly,” Shannon said, smiling. She patted Boone on the back. “You’ve had the best unlicensed healthcare the island can offer. And there aren’t any lawyers here, so you can’t sue.”
“Sun says,” Boone began, then stopped, seeing the look of alarm on her face. “Uh, sorry, I haven’t had a lot of sleep here. What I mean is, I think Sun thinks you’re over the worst of it.”
“That’s good,” Jack said weakly. His body relaxed, the stomach spasms over with for now. He closed his eyes again. “I think I’ll just take a little rest. Say, where’s Kate?” he asked.
The others froze. Shannon jumped in. “She’s had a bad fever too. She’s sleeping it off now.”
“But she’s OK?” Jack said, feeling vaguely that there was something he should be remembering about Kate. Cobwebs of his fever dreams still lingered in his mind. Something about her. He just couldn’t remember.
“Yeah, she’s super,” said Shannon hurriedly. Boone looked at her angrily. “What?” she whispered back. “I had to say something. Come on, let the man get some sleep,” she said, pulling him outside.
Kate and Sawyer walked on ahead of Michael and Sayid, so they didn’t notice the two men conferring in low tones.
“We need to test her,” Sayid was saying, noting Kate and Sawyer’s body language. They weren’t touching, but there was an unspoken intimacy between them. Now and then, they would exchange a lingering glance, or laugh at something the other said, and Sayid’s eyes narrowed.
“First we have to get her alone,” Sayid continued. “You must distract Sawyer somehow.”
“Yeah, how am I gonna do that?” Michael asked. He was regretting whatever foolish impulse had forced him to volunteer for this fucked-up rescue mission.
“Perhaps you can look for a new walking stick for me.” Sayid stopped and broke the stick over his knee.
“OK,” Michael agreed. Tricking Sawyer was not high on his list of safe activities, but really, what choice did he have?
“Keep him away for as long as you can,” Sayid said, fixing Michael with a stern glance, and he gave his reluctant assent.
“Sawyer! Kate!” Sayid called. “Can we take a rest, please?”
The other two stopped and turned around. “Leg bothering you?” Sawyer asked, strolling back to Sayid.
“Yes,” Sayid replied, pleased to be given such a perfect opening. “I was hoping someone could find me a new walking stick. This one has just broken.”
“I’ll go,” Kate said, but Michael cut her off.
“No, you should rest, too. Sawyer and I can go look, right?” Sawyer shrugged and he and Michael strolled off as Sayid and Kate sat down.
“How are you feeling?” Sayid asked Kate carefully.
“I wouldn’t mind some food,” she said, pushing some stray hair out of her eyes. “How about you?”
“It’s not so bad,” he said. “Listen, could you take a look at my leg?”
“Sure,” she said, looking at him quizzically. “But I’m no doctor.” She bent over his leg and started to examine it. When she looked up, she saw he had his knife out. He grabbed her by one arm.
“What’s going on?” she asked, alarmed by the look in his eyes. She tried to pull her arm away from him, but he had a firm grip on it.
“I am sorry but this is necessary,” he said, holding the blade against her arm.
“What are you doing?” she gasped as he pressed downward on the knife. It drew a thin, bloody trail on her arm. Her eyes met his in a panic. “Sawyer!” she shouted as loud as she could. “Sawyer!”
With her free hand, she clawed at Sayid’s face, but he pulled her closer to him, putting the knife to her throat. “Do not call for him again,” he said, his voice low and menacing.
Frustrated in her efforts to free herself, she head butted him, dazing him momentarily. ”Ouch!” he exclaimed, but he did not let go.
Someone tackled him from behind, a blur of blonde hair and stubble. “What the fuck are you doing?” Sawyer said, pinning him to the ground. He’d never seen Sawyer so angry. Sayid still held onto his knife, but now that hand was pinned. “Let it go,” Sawyer said, his expression murderous.
In the next instant, Sawyer grunted in pain and fell heavily on top of Sayid. Michael stood behind him, a large tree branch in his hands.
Kate screamed. As Sayid struggled to get the unconscious Sawyer off of him, he shouted to Michael. “Don’t let her get away.”
Michael looked uncertainly at Kate and then advanced on her with the tree branch. She was up in an instant, running away from him. Michael ran after her, swinging the branch. Finally, he connected with the back of her head, and she went down in a heap.
“Help me,” Sayid said, and Michael walked back and helped him roll Sawyer off to the side. Sayid took Sawyer’s belt and secured his hands behind his back with it. Then he cut strips of cloth from Sawyer’s shirt to tie his legs together as well.
They then approached Kate and tied her with Michael’s belt and some more cloth. Sayid rolled her over. There was a thin line of blood on one arm, but when he brushed it off, there was no cut underneath.
“You see?” Sayid said excitedly.
“Yeah, I see,” Michael said. “Now what?”
Sayid sat back. “The French woman told me that an infection had killed off all her colleagues. It drove them mad and she had to kill them.”
“You want to kill Kate?” Michael said, his voice nearly squeaking in astonishment.
Sayid shook his head. “No, first we must make sure.”
“How do we do that?” Michael said uncertainly.
“Trust me,” Sayid said grimly. “She may not feel a knife, but she will feel this.” He took one of her fingers and bent it back at an ugly looking angle.
Kate gasped and her eyes flew open. “Sayid! Why are you doing this?” she begged, her eyes wide as they darted from him to Michael.
“Forgive me, Kate,” Sayid said gently but with complete detachment. “We need an explanation. How is it that if I cut you, you are magically healed?”
‘How should I know?” Kate snapped back, her eyes watering from pain or fear. “Nothing on this island makes sense. How did Charlie come back from the dead? You want to tie him up and torture him too?” She was getting angry now, her fear evaporating.
“Tell me again how you killed Ethan.”
“What?” she blinked at the sudden change of topic. “I told you. I cut his throat and I escaped.”
“She what?” Michael gaped.
“Why do I not believe you?” Sayid pressed. “I know when people are lying, Kate, and you are lying about that. Are you in league with him?”
Something flashed across her face. Something like recognition. Or acknowledgment. “’In league?’ Where did you learn English? Comic books?” she sneered. “Don’t be ridiculous.” She looked different. Haughtier than the Kate they knew. All her hesitation and fear was gone.
She leaned back, arching her neck and exposing her throat. “You want to take another shot, Ali?” she said, taunting him.
“What the fuck is going on?” Michael asked, thoroughly confused.
Sayid inched closer to Kate. With one hand he grabbed her bound wrists and with the other, he pressed his knife to her throat. ”Is this what you want?” he asked “You want me to cut you?”
“Go ahead and try,” she said. She smiled serenely, but her eyes were cold and hard.
“You’re not actually going to do this, are you?” Michael protested. “She’s nuts or something. I mean, God knows what Ethan did to her.”
“Yes, God knows,” Sayid said almost absent-mindedly, not taking his eyes off Kate. Slowly, Sayid’s hand pressed harder against her neck until little beads of blood appeared along the knife edge.
“Sayid!” Michael yelped. “What are you doing? You can’t just kill her.”
“Just walk away,” Sayid said, still not even looking at Michael. “Her blood is on my hands.”
“No way, man!” Michael tried to pull Sayid away and found the knife at his own throat.
“I told you to go,” Sayid said coldly. “No one asked you to come in the first place,” he added. “Go back to camp. Go now.”
Michael looked from Kate to Sayid and then over to Sawyer, who was still lying sprawled some distance away. “Uh, yeah, sure, that’s a really good idea, Sayid,” he said, sweating. Sayid released his hold on him and turned back to Kate. With a last backwards look, Michael fled.
Sayid took Kate by her hair and forced her head back, the knife again biting into her neck. She smiled invitingly at him, and with a swift motion, he drew the blade across her throat.
“Kate!” came an anguished howl. Sayid turned, but Michael had gone. It was Sawyer. He was propped up on his elbows, madly trying to free himself from his restraints. “Sayid! What did you do?”
“You do not understand, Sawyer,” Sayid called back. “I have not actually hurt her. You see?” Kate had gone completely limp in his arms. He prodded her, but she didn’t respond. A panic seized him. What had he done? She had dared him to do it and he was glad to do what she wanted. Glad, he wondered wildly.
He checked to see if there really was a wound. There was. He grew cold. He checked her pulse, and noted with relief it was still there, still strong. He let go of her and she crumpled over onto her side.
“She is alive,” Sayid announced, turning to address Sawyer, but Sawyer was already there. He had managed to untie himself and was standing over Sayid, breathing hard, his face a mask of pure hate.
“You get off on killing defenseless women, you sick fuck?” Sawyer said, viciously kicking Sayid in the thigh, squarely hitting his old injury. Sayid yelped, nearly dropping the knife.
He tried to get to his feet, but Sawyer was too quick for him. Sawyer delivered another hard kick, this time to Sayid’s stomach, and when he doubled over in pain, Sawyer dove for the weapon.
“You’re going to have to kill me too, you cocksucking piece of shit! Because I’m going to kill you if you don’t.” Sawyer breathed in Sayid’s ear as the two men grappled for the knife.