halfdutch (halfdutch) wrote,

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Happy Birthday (Part 11)

Title: Happy Birthday (Part 11)
Summary: Sawyer tries to warn Shannon about Kate
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: A smidge of Sawyer/Shannon
Note: This chapter's a bit of a breather from all the past (and future) mayhem. I'm back so soon thanks to a super quick beta by guineverekay (who I forgot to thank in the last installment!)

To recap: As we last left things, Ethan lives, Kate's evil, Jack's clueless, Sawyer's mute, Sayid's dead but not gone, and Claire's dead *and* gone. (Sniff!) And Shannon/Sayid happened after I started this fic, so I'm not being disloyal. Oh, and Boone's gay. (Not that it matters in this chapter much.)

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Ever since that horrible day when Shannon had found Claire’s body, she had gone to her usual spot at the beach, but instead of sunbathing, she sat with her knees drawn up to her chest, listlessly staring out at the ocean.

Boone had been so busy tending to Jack he’d barely said hello to her. For once, Shannon wished she’d bothered to make friends with someone besides her stupid stepbrother. Not that they ever really talked, but even having someone sit next to her would have helped take her mind off the image of Claire’s pale face floating under the water. Claire had been her closest friend, outside of Boone, she realized with a shock.

Whenever she thought of that day, she also thought of Sawyer. She’d never even had a chance to thank him for saving her life before he was off on the expedition to find Kate.

And now Kate was back, and Michael too, but no one knew if Sawyer was ever coming back. And Sayid was dead. By now everyone had heard what had happened; or the distorted island gossip version of it, anyway. The monster had appeared suddenly and Sayid fell behind. The others scattered, unable to find each other until they had reunited at the camp. Maybe Sawyer was still alive, maybe not.

Shannon recalled how Sawyer had run so far carrying her when she’d had her asthma attack. However selfish a jerk he was before that, he had come through with flying colors for her then. It was why she had trouble believing he -- or any of them -- would leave Sayid behind.

Not that anything had made sense since they’d gotten here. She’d managed to cope by pretending that this beach was no different from one in Hawaii or Australia or Malibu, but her days of pretending were over. She broodily picked at her nail polish, trying to remember when she’d actually painted her nails last.

She should have asked Michael more about what happened, but he looked so shook up she didn’t want to push it. There was something off about the whole scenario, but Shannon couldn’t put her finger on it. She wanted to get Boone’s opinion, but he was tied up with Jack. Maybe now that Kate was back, Boone would spend more time with her.

Shannon decided she should try to get Kate alone and ask her what had really happened. Kate cared about Sawyer, too, and thinking about that gave Shannon a pang of jealousy.

Farther up the beach, Hurley threw a stick for Vincent over and over again, while Charlie and Walt sat by, watching disinterestedly. Hurley was, once again, Walt’s default babysitter, and he seemed to be taking his duties as an activities coordinator seriously.

Seeing Shannon glance his way, Charlie got up and walked over to her. She gave him a wan smile and he took it as in invitation to sit down.

Since he’d found out about Claire, Charlie had been completely withdrawn, barely talking to anyone. He’d particularly avoided her, as if her very existence were proof that Claire was dead.

But now he looked at her intently. He paused, obviously having given what he was about to say a great deal of thought. “I’m planning a memorial for her,” he said, his eyes surprisingly dry. “Do you think we should ... leave her there?”

Shannon took a minute to think, aware of his nervous gaze on her. “I don’t know,” she finally said, as she pictured Claire’s hair streaming underwater like a mermaid’s.

“I went out to the Pearl Harbor memorial once,” Charlie said, looking out over the ocean. “They just left them all there, and built the memorial on top of them. It’s really peaceful. Lots of pretty fish.” His voice trailed off.

Shannon didn’t say anything. “Do you think she’d want a proper burial?” Charlie continued talking as if he weren’t choking up. “Somehow the water seems ... OK.”

“Claire’s Lagoon?” Shannon said, her brown eyes welling up with tears. “I’m never going swimming there again, anyway. Maybe we should leave her there, in peace. And it could be for Sayid, too.”

She reached out and took Charlie’s hand and gave it a squeeze. He responded with a small, surprised smile. And then he leaned against her slowly, letting his body relax in stages. Shannon had never been the least bit maternal, but she unthinkingly put her arm around him as he laid his head on her shoulder.

Sawyer hovered in a dense clump of bushes near the beach, keeping an eye on Shannon. He raised his eyebrows to see her comfort Charlie, and then realized he was swallowing the huge lump that had come to his throat. Shit, he had things to do and here he was getting fuckin’ weepy.

He couldn’t recall when he’d felt so alone. He literally couldn’t tell anyone what had happened to him, and even if he was physically able to, he knew he wouldn’t. He’d kept secrets almost as gut-wrenching bottled up inside him all these years, a fact he prided himself on until now. What the hell did he have to be proud about anymore?

He had somehow managed to convince Michael he was on the level without going into details, but then Michael had been there, had had a clue what was going on.

How could Sawyer blaze in here and turn everyone against one of the most trusted, most liked people on the island? How could he convince them she wore the same pretty face, but one that could brutally kill with a smile?

Sawyer skin crawled. He almost wished she had just killed him, like she had Sayid. He was actually glad that he couldn’t talk now. It was one less thing to pretend with her. She kept wanting to kiss him, to touch him, as if nothing had happened and all the time he wanted to smash his fist in her fucking freckled face.

If only he had believed Sayid. Or if only Sayid had confided in him before things got out of control. You really should have trusted me more, Sawyer said silently to Sayid, who regarded him with the same patiently amused expression he’d had in life.

He’d been seeing Sayid since just after Kate awakened him. He kept thinking maybe he was really dead too, but the fact that Kate could see him and not Sayid, well, that was Exhibit A he was still alive. What court could possibly declare him sane, though, he wondered bitterly.

He’d walked after her in a daze, trying to figure out what the hell he was going to do against this superhuman bitch. Sawyer kept shooting sidelong glances over at Sayid as he limped alongside them, all the way back to camp. Sawyer didn’t know what was the crazier Twilight Zone shit; being followed by a ghost or being the kept boy of some kind of un-killable vampire woman.

So he’d started talking to Sayid, the only way he could now, inside that probably permanently cracked bean of his. Whether Sayid could hear him, he had no idea, but at times he almost seemed to react to what he was saying. That bitch gave me brain damage, Sawyer thought now, shaking his head at the apparition.

So what’s with appearing to Michael too? I thought this was a monogamous kind of haunting, Sawyer smirked at the ghost, hoping to get a measurable reaction, but he was disappointed there. Under Sayid’s solemn, unwavering gaze, Sawyer’s mood turned serious again.

What do you want? Sawyer asked him, wishing Sayid would just talk to him. His presence was undeniably unsettling. He made Sawyer feel guilty that he hadn’t done more. Well, I’m going to do it now Sawyer swore. He thought Sayid might have nodded at that, but he couldn’t be sure.

He had to get Shannon alone and warn her. Maybe it would have been wiser to go to Locke first, but the thought of Kate getting her fucking undead hands on Shannon made his blood boil.

At last Shannon left Charlie and began walking away. She luckily passed just a few feet from Sawyer, and he was ready. Making sure no one was around, he grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes with him, his hand firmly over her mouth.

She kicked against him wildly and elbowed him in the gut, but he didn’t let her go just yet. If only he could whisper in her ear, tell her it was OK. He turned her around so she could see who it was. Her eyes went wide when she saw him.

He took his hand from her mouth, making silent “Shh” motions.

“Sawyer!” she exclaimed, but she kept her voice low. Smart girl, he thought. He didn’t have to spell out the need to be quiet. Her eyes lit up and she was smiling, a watery smile that went right through him. Damn, it was good to be seen, if not heard, he thought.

Shannon gave him a quick hug, then stepped back, embarrassed. “What ...?” she started to ask, but she didn’t know where to begin, and then she saw his throat. “What happened to you?” she asked, horrorstruck.

He was ready this time. First he moved his mouth and shook his head to make sure she realized he couldn’t talk. He certainly had her full attention now.

He had scrounged a notepad and a crayon, of all things, from someone’s camp site and he held them up, feeling like a magician holding up a rabbit and a hat. His trick would be to get her to believe him. He didn’t rate his chances very high.

He paused, and then wrote down. “Sayid’s dead.”

She nodded. “I know,” she said. “Kate said the monster got him.” Something about the skeptical way she said it gave Sawyer hope.

He shook his head, frowning. “She killed him.”

Shannon read the words and looked up at him, shocked. “How?”

“Strangled,” he wrote.

It was a lot for her to take in and he could see her struggling to decide what to make of what he had written. “She tried to kill me too,” he wrote, deciding that a version of the truth was the best approach. He pointed at his own throat and nodded grimly.

“But how could she ... she’s not that strong,” Shannon wondered aloud, completely skipping, he was glad to realize, the question of “why.”

“She is now,” he wrote, with another solemn nod for emphasis. “She’s not Kate anymore,” he wrote, waiting to see her reaction, but she was looking at his hands, looking to see what he wrote next. “Ethan,” he wrote, and her eyes flew up to meet his. “He changed her into something like him.”

She still looked confused, and more than a little scared, but at least she hadn’t run away screaming from him yet. “She thinks I’m one too,” he wrote. “Gotta play along. She sent me here to get you.”

Shannon looked at him in alarm but he shook his head, his face pained. I would never hurt you, he mouthed, and she nodded.

“What do we do?” she asked, and he realized she believed him. She caught his look of surprise. “I never really liked Kate that much anyway,” she said, with a shrug, and he smiled, but it was so tinged with melancholy that it only made him seem that much sadder.

He looked so broken somehow, so desperately sad that she put her hand up to his face. “I don’t understand everything, but it’ll be OK, Sawyer,” she said, feeling the need to reassure him. “At least you’re OK. Well, mostly,” she hastily amended.

He nodded, having to swallow another lump in his throat. Her face, looking up at him so trusting and open, cut right through him. He realized he wanted to kiss her, but instead he pulled her to him and held her against his chest, vowing that he wouldn’t let anything happen to her.

Over her shoulder, he saw Sayid nod. Voyeur, Sawyer thought, with a wink. And then Sayid opened his mouth and Sawyer jumped.

“What is it?” Shannon asked, turning around to see what he had been looking at.

Nothing he mouthed, shaking his head again and squeezing her arm, but she looked at him strangely, doubt creeping into her eyes.

You’re picking now to try to tell me something? Sawyer frowned. Sayid’s mouth was still moving, but Sawyer couldn’t figure out what he was saying. Great, he sighed to himself. The mute leading the mute.

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