Summary: Jack tends to Sawyer’s wounds
Rating: PG (still no smut ... but plenty of UST!)
Note: There are so many other things I should have been doing besides whipping out this next chapter, but damn it, I couldn't let it sit. Enjoy!
Feedback: Is good karma ;->
(Part 1) (Part 2)
Jack and Sawyer drew stares and gasps from the other castaways as they limped into camp just before sunset. Jack was leaning on Hurley’s ample frame and hopping on one foot, while Sawyer trailed painfully behind.
Hearing the murmurs, Kate looked over their way. “Oh my God!” she said, dropping the bananas she had been carrying and running over to meet them. Her hand flew to her mouth as she took in Sawyer’s blood-spattered torso and the claw and teeth marks decorating his right arm and chest.
Seeing the exhaustion and pain evident on his face, she wasted no time slipping her arm around his waist, carefully avoiding the bandage around his ribs. “Let me help,” she said softly. She didn’t bombard him with questions like Hurley had and he was grateful for that. Walking and talking was starting to seem like the hardest thing in the world. Good thing he wasn’t trying to chew gum too, he thought, with a wry smile.
“My cave,” Jack said by way of direction and the little expedition headed there. Hurley deposited Jack on the ledge he used as his bed and the doctor directed Sawyer to sit beside him. “Get my bag,” Jack instructed Kate. “Medicine, water, bandages ... just get me everything.” She scurried around the cave, rounding up all the medical supplies.
Sawyer closed his eyes with relief to be sitting down at last. “You should lay down,” Jack said and Sawyer nodded, only too glad to oblige. Jack leaned away from the ledge, leaving it for him to spread out on. Sawyer winced and let out a gasp of pain as he laid back.
First, Jack gave him the strongest painkiller he had and a sedative. He was going to have to stitch Sawyer up and he didn’t want him conscious for it. Sawyer meekly took the medicine, lifting his head slightly to swallow the water. He lay back, completely spent.
“OK, I’m, like, gonna go now,” Hurley said now that the attention was all on Sawyer’s wounds. “Because you know me and blood, not a good mix.”
“Yeah, thanks, Hurley,” Jack said distractedly. With Kate’s help, he washed Sawyer’s chest and arm. Sawyer’s eyelids were fluttering, but he still flinched and cursed under his breath each time Jack touched his wounds. Finally, he went limp and Jack turned to Kate. “You can help me with this, right?”
“Of course,” she nodded. “Whatever I can do.”
As they began the painstaking task of stitching up Sawyer’s wounds, Jack quietly told her what had happened.
Kate looked in wonder at Sawyer’s still form. “He stood his ground with that first polar bear, too,“ she said with admiration. “Everyone’s kind of forgotten about that in the meantime, though, what with..."
“All the other shit Sawyer’s pulled since then,” Jack finished her sentence. “I know. He’s certainly the last person I’d have expected to risk his life to save mine. There’s some good in everyone, though, right?”
“You know, right after he shot that bear, he told me, ‘I’m a complex guy.’ He wasn’t kidding!”
“Yeah, just when I think I have him figured out, he goes and does something like this,” Jack said, shaking his head.
Kate watched Jack as he worked, watched the care he took even though Sawyer was unconscious. “So does this mean you two are friends now?” she asked, amused.
“Who knows?” Jack sighed. “I wouldn’t mind that. I could see being friends with Sawyer now and I never could before.”
“Stranger things have happened,” Kate said with a smile. “Like polar bears. And that trap... Jack, your foot!” she exclaimed. “You haven’t done anything for it yet.”
“It can wait,” he said brusquely.
“Jack!” she chided him. “Let me take care of that.” She gingerly took off his shoe and rolled up his torn pants leg. She gasped when she saw the ugly teeth marks the trap had left. “Jack, this looks awful,” she said.
He shrugged, not turning his attention away from Sawyer, but he didn’t stop her from washing and bandaging the wound. “Here,” she said, popping a painkiller into his mouth. “You need one too.”
“Mmmph,” he said, swallowing it against his will. “I’m not done yet.” He waved her away and taped up Sawyer’s ribs, noting worriedly that there wasn’t much tape left.
“You need to rest,” she said with concern. He nodded and leaned back against the cave wall. He was bone tired. He could only imagine how Sawyer had felt before the drugs kicked in.
“He has two broken ribs,” Jack said worriedly. “Or at least they’re fractured. It’s going to take weeks to heal. He’s going to be in a lot of pain. I’ll have to keep him here, keep an eye on him, make sure there are no..” he stopped and yawned hugely, “... complications.” Jack’s eyes were starting to close. He didn’t notice Kate’s look of surprise at his intention to keep Sawyer in his cave with him.
“You know,” he said sleepily. “I thought he hated me.”
“Shhh. Get some rest,” Kate said as she laid a blanket over Sawyer. She draped another one over Jack and kissed him on the forehead. He nodded vaguely at her as she left.
A loud scream brought Jack violently awake, his heart racing. It was a man’s deep voice, full of terror and pain. Jack sat bolt upright, remembering where he was and who it was who was screaming. “Sawyer!” he called out, hobbling over to Sawyer’s side. It was too dark to see anything clearly, but suddenly he saw Sawyer’s arms flailing at the air above him. He breathing was shallow and panicky. He screamed again, just as Jack reached him. “It’s OK,” Jack said soothingly. “Sawyer, it’s OK. You’re dreaming.”
Sawyer sat up suddenly and he yelled again, but this time it was a cry of pure, visceral pain. Jack laid his hands on Sawyer’s shoulders and gently pushed him back down. “You’re OK, Sawyer,” Jack said. “I’m here.”
“I can’t ... breathe,” Sawyer gasped. “It’s suffocating me. Can’t .. get it off me!”
“The bear? The bear’s gone,” Jack said, concerned. “Take a deep breath for me, OK?”
“It hurts too much,” Sawyer whimpered. He felt again the crushing weight of the dead bear, the sticky blood everywhere, the feeling that he would never get free. He couldn’t seem to get any air and each breath felt like it was killing him. The ache in his ribs was cruelly sharp and agonizingly dull at the same time. ”Blood. I taste blood,” he muttered, as he still struggled against Jack to sit up again.
“You do?” Jack asked, fearing what that could mean. A punctured lung. If that were true, Sawyer was already as dead as the air marshall. He felt a sinking sensation in his stomach.
“The blood ... it’s everywhere,” Sawyer continued, mumbling incoherently. “There’s no air... it’s so dark...”
“You’re in the cave, with me,” Jack said, rubbing Sawyer’s damp forehead. “It’s probably darker than you’re used to. Maybe it seems stuffy compared to the beach. And your ribs are going to hurt like hell for a while. I’m going to do everything I can for you, but you have to help me help you, Sawyer. You have to lie still now. Just relax and lie still.”
A flashlight shone into his eyes. “What the bloody hell was that?” came a voice that had to be Charlie. Jack looked up to see him, Hurley, and Boone standing at the cave’s entrance.
“It was just Sawyer having a nightmare,” Jack said. “He’s OK now.”
“Jesus, I thought someone was being murdered,” Boone said. Sawyer didn’t seem OK. He was muttering under his breath and his head jerked from side to side as if he were fighting something off. They all stared at him like he was the new attraction at the zoo.
“Need any help, Jack?” Charlie asked finally.
“Yeah, hold him for me while I get him another sedative, will you?”
Charlie stepped over and took over for Jack in keeping Sawyer pressed against the ledge. He hadn’t seen Sawyer’s injuries up close yet and he gave a low whistle when he saw all the stitches. “Wow. I thought you were exaggerating, Hurley.” If Sawyer was aware of Charlie, he didn’t give any sign.
“Thanks, Charlie,” Jack said, as he grabbed the medicine and some water. “Now I’ve just got to make sure he doesn’t rip out those stitches or jar those broken ribs.” He gave Sawyer another pill and made sure he swallowed it. “I think I can handle it now,” Jack said. “Sorry you all were woken up.”
“’s OK. “
“No problem, dude.”
“Call us if you need anything,” Charlie said as they filed out with a last backward glance.
Jack waited for the sedative to take effect. If he were in a hospital, he could restrain Sawyer without hurting him, but his tired brain couldn’t think of anything to do here on this stupid island. He kept holding Sawyer down, but he couldn’t keep doing this forever. For one thing, he was exhausted himself.
Maybe he should call back one of the others and let them keep watch on Sawyer for a while. But he didn’t really like that idea.
He decided to see if he could fit on the ledge next to Sawyer and was surprised to find he could. He laid down beside him, keeping his arm across Sawyer’s shoulders. Sawyer was quieter now. Jack’s presence seemed to calm him down. Either that, or the pill was working remarkably fast. “Let’s get some sleep,” Jack said, yawning.
Sawyer tried to stay asleep, but the pain from his ribs kept penetrating through the fog in his head. When he finally admitted defeat and opened his eyes, he could not have been more surprised to find Jack sleeping next to him, with his arm draped over him, no less.
He vaguely remembered waking up in the middle of the night, panicking because he couldn’t breathe. The caves felt claustrophobically small, the ceiling low, the walls giving off a strong earthy odor. He was starting to feel short of breath again, like he would suffocate if he didn’t get out of there.
But first he had to know why Jack was acting so damn cozy. “Uh, doc,” Sawyer drawled. “You mind telling me why you’re curled up here next to me?”
Jack’s eyes opened slowly. His drowsy gaze fell on Sawyer’s amused face. He sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “You were thrashing around like a wild man. I thought you were going to tear out all your stitches or worse,” Jack explained, feeling strangely guilty. “I had to keep you still.”
Sawyer looked at him oddly, but he didn’t say anything else.
Jack’s arm had gone to sleep and he swung it around in a circle to get the circulation going again. “How are you feeling?” he asked, now fully awake.
“Like I’ve been mauled by a bear,” Sawyer said, wincing because he had made himself laugh at his own poor joke. “Ah, fuck,” he swore. “Remind me not to do that again.”
Jack checked Sawyer’s ribs as the injured man inhaled sharply. “You said last night you could taste blood. Can you now?” Jack asked, his forehead furrowed with worry.
“No,” Sawyer said slowly. “Well, I don’t think I’ll ever get that taste out of my mouth.” He spat and winced from even that small movement.
“So it was just part of your nightmare,” Jack said, relieved. “Do you remember?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t breathe. That damn thing was still on top of me,” Sawyer shuddered as he recalled. “I’m going back to my tent,” he said firmly. “I don’t like it here.”
“You’re not out of the woods yet,” Jack said. “Especially if you keep having violent nightmares like that. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to keep you here and keep an eye on you.”
“You ever think maybe you’re taking this doctorin’ thing too far?” Sawyer grumped.
“You’ll thank me later,” Jack said with a smile. A bark made him turn around. It was Walt with Vincent. “Will you tell me about the bear?” the boy asked, staring at Sawyer.
Sawyer looked surprised, then amused. “Sure, kid,” he said, a twinkle in his eye. “Pull up a chair.”
Walt looked around uncertainly, and then took a seat near Sawyer. “Well, it seems the doc here was in some trouble ...” Sawyer said.
Sawyer had demanded to go outside and get out of “this damn hole,” but Jack wouldn’t hear of it, no matter how much Sawyer swore at him.
But all day long, people found some excuse to come see Sawyer, whether it was to help Jack or to claim some small medical emergency of their own.
He was practically holding court at one point, retelling the story for about the seventh time as he sat propped up against the wall. He seemed to be enjoying himself, showing off his battle scars with ghoulish glee, but Jack could see he was flagging.
“OK, story time’s over,” Jack told Sawyer’s disappointed audience. “The amazing bear slayer has to rest.”
Kate refused to be shooed out with the others. She had shown up early and hovered around all day, bringing Jack and Sawyer water and food and generally mothering them.
Sayid stopped by too, commiserating with Jack over his own bad leg. He had brought Jack a walking stick he had cut and the doctor immediately tried it out. “This is great, Sayid,” he said, grinning.
For Sawyer, he brought a sheath that he had made from a boar skin. “So you can keep your knife handy,” Sayid said with a smile.
Sawyer took the gift and turned it over admiringly. “Thanks,” he said simply, looking at Sayid with surprise. Sayid put out his hand and Sawyer hesitated for a moment and then shook it, returning his smile.
Jack and Kate exchanged a pleased glance to see them shake hands.
Sayid then took Jack aside and asked him in more detail about the bear trap. “Perhaps the French woman’s team brought it along as part of their expedition,” he suggested.
“I hope there aren’t any more out there,” Jack said. “The next person might not be so lucky.”
“I will ask Locke to watch out for any others,” Sayid said before taking his leave.
While he and Sayid had been talking, Kate brought Sawyer his meds. Seeing her waiting on him so attentively gave Jack an odd feeling. He didn’t have any right to be jealous, but he always felt that little stab of resentment when he saw them together.
Sawyer was the hero of the hour and Jack would never take that away from him. He was as pleased as could be to see everyone flocking around Sawyer and hailing him as one of their own. It had to take something as dramatic as this to make that happen, he thought ruefully. He was as guilty as the next person of dismissing Sawyer. Just yesterday, he had accused Sawyer of vandalism for no other reason than that he was Sawyer.
Jack was glad to see the last person go finally and be able to relax. He ordered Sawyer to lay down and rest and for once Sawyer didn’t fight him on it.
That night, even though Jack upped Sawyer’s meds, his nightmares came back full force. Jack didn’t think twice before crawling in next to him and whispering soothing words in his ear as he held him down gently. Sawyer finally drifted off into a peaceful sleep and knowing he was safe for tonight, Jack slept too. (TBC)