Characters: Jack, Sayid, Sawyer
Summary: Sayid was right where Jack knew he’d be.
Note: “Missing” scene for What Kate Did. Belated birthday fic for uberaeryn. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! This was an idea I was kicking around for a while and then I saw a comment you made somewhere that you wanted a Jack/Sayid convo, so hope you like it. (Even though it's not remotely p0rny.) Kisses to themoononastick for the beta. Claiming for fanfic100 prompt, "Black."
Sayid was right where Jack knew he’d be.
He walked up the gentle rise to Shannon and Boone’s graves, the two rough crosses stark, unmistakable, even in the fading light. It was hard to distinguish Sayid’s silhouette against the darkening sky, but who else would be here at this hour?
During the walk from the hatch, Jack had tried to think what he could say to convince Sayid to come back with him. He arrived with no better idea than he had when he left.
Sayid didn’t acknowledge him, not even when he said his name softly. He was staring, not at the freshly dug grave, but out to sea, which grew a darker, inky blue with each passing second. Soon, there would be nothing but blackness.
“Sayid,” Jack began again. “You can’t stay stay out here forever.” There was no breath, no tears, no protest. Just silence.
Jack had lacked his father’s poker face when it was time to tell family members the worst had happened. Maybe it was his gravity or the brisk way he spoke, but Christian inspired stone-faced grief, soft implosions as the news sank in. The ones Jack lost, their loved ones would throw themselves into his arms with sobs or screams, or lash out with their words or their fists while he stood there, wasting time he didn’t have, until they were calm again.
Most of the bad news he’d delivered was done without words. One look at him, and the family always knew. Just as Shannon had known.
Maybe it was better to have this conversation in the dark.
“When’s the last time you ate?” Jack asked, keeping his voice even, careful not to push.
Back in civilization, Jack might have bought Sayid a drink. Given him a cigarette. Here, all he could do was hand him his water bottle. Sayid took it and drank deeply, draining the bottle. He kept ahold of it, instead of handing it back, his fingers tapping it lightly.
“I am not hungry,” Sayid said finally. His voice was quiet, but firm, a hint of an edge to it.
A bird sounded in the jungle, suddenly close and loud and Jack felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. “It’s not safe out here,” he said. “It’s time you think about coming back with me.”
“The birds cannot hurt us.”
“No, but something is making them restless.”
He could barely make out the details of Sayid’s face anymore in the deepening gloom. The louder and more riotous the sounds of the jungle grew, the quieter Sayid seemed, as if he were trying to fade into the ground or the ocean, which was now just an idea behind them, swallowed up by the night.
When he spoke again, Jack had to lean forward to hear him. “It was my fault.”
Jack was ready for this. “Shannon? How could that be your fault?”
“I didn’t believe her,” Sayid’s voice rose in fury, breaking with grief. “I thought ... I thought she was seeing things. Dreaming. What she said sounded mad. If I had only believed her, she wouldn’t have run off. You see? She ran from me to her death.”
“Sayid. You can’t blame yourself.” Jack resisted an urge to reach out to clasp him on the shoulder.
“Don’t you blame yourself for Boone?”
“No,” Jack said after a long while. “I blamed Locke.”
“I know you better than that, Jack. You still lie awake at night, wondering what else you could have done for him, don’t you?”
Jack ignored how his heart pounded at being called out so accurately. “No,” he lied. “But I blamed myself when Claire was taken. I didn’t believe her. After everything I’ve seen here, things I knew weren’t possible, I fell back on science, on the logical answer. And she stopped trusting me. So she ran. What happened to her and Charlie, that was all my fault.”
“But she lived. They both did. And...”
“You didn’t love her.” The words fell like stones.
Jack rubbed his hand over his forehead. “I can’t imagine what it’s like for you, Sayid, to lose someone you've just found. But, believe me --”
“You called me Sawyer.”
Jack stopped, ran his own words back through his head. “I did? I’m sorry. I guess I’ve spent so much time talking to him, trying to get him to respond.”
“Ahhh.” Sayid fell silent again. “So, will he live?”
“Yes, I think so.” Jack pictured him as he’d seen him last, his body finally still, the violent chills having at last subsided. He’d left him in Sun’s care, after the hour Jack had set for Sayid to return on his own had come and gone.
“Listen, you could come back, take a shift, watch him. It might ... help.”
He was surprised to hear what sounded like a laugh coming from Sayid. “You really think that my face is the one he’ll want to see when he finally wakes up?”
“And mine is?” Jack found himself laughing in return. “Maybe not. But at least he’d know he was back. Among friends.” He emphasized the last word. “Come on,” he said, standing up and holding out his hand. “Let’s go home.”
“I prefer to stay here. I don’t want to see,” he stopped, searching for the right word. “That woman.”
“You won’t have to. You can stay in the hatch. Push the button. Read some books. For as long as you like. As long as you need.”
A minute or more passed and Sayid slowly rose to his feet. “As you wish.”
Jack checked on Sawyer, who still slept like the dead, before turning his energies to getting Sayid to eat something and get some rest. Sayid obligingly nibbled at some fish and fruit, but somehow Jack ended up being talked into getting some sleep, with Sayid promising to keep an eye on Sawyer for a few hours.
He climbed into the top bunk, as he had every night since Eko had carried Sawyer in here, more dead than alive. He cast a discreet look down at Sayid, whose intent gaze was wholly focused on the comatose man in the lower bunk, as if he could will him better, just by looking at him. Satisfied, Jack closed his eyes, gave himself up to sleep.
The alarm was sounding, growing in volume and shrillness. He sat up, his heart thudding against his ribcage. How long had it been going off? The chair where Sayid had been was empty and when he checked on Sawyer, he too was gone. No. NO. He ran into the main room, ready to kill Sayid with his own hands. The counter was at 12 seconds. 11 ... 10 ... “SAYID!” Jack bellowed, turning around and around, searching for him.
He ran to the computer to enter the code, but froze at what he saw. A mangled mess of plastic, glass and wires. “NO!” he shouted.
He didn’t fight back when the hand clamped over his mouth. “It’s too late now. For all of us.”
Jack could only stare as the counter clicked down from 3 to 2.
“It’s better this way.” Sayid sounded perfectly calm. Jack closed his eyes, bracing for a blow or an explosion as the counter hit zero.
“I’m sorry,” Sayid whispered, and a bright white light filled the room.
The room went dark again and Jack reached out blindly, free from Sayid’s grasp suddenly. His hands scraped against something cool and metallic. The blinds. He was in the top bunk still. Just a dream. He put his hands over his face, letting the terror from the nightmare fade.
“Yes, I’m here. I’m sorry, I turned on the light by mistake. Go back to sleep.”
“It’s OK, I’m getting up. Perfect timing, actually. Was having a nightmare.”
Sayid flicked the light back on. He didn’t prompt him and Jack wondered whether to say anything. But then he realized maybe he finally knew how to start that conversation.
He climbed down, turned to the bottom bunk. Sawyer was asleep, just as he had been. His breath came in soft puffs against Jack’s hand. Everything was alright. Just a dream. Jack let out a deep breath.
He turned to Sayid. “I dreamed you destroyed the computer. So that ... whatever disaster we’ve been pushing the button to prevent from happening, would happen. So you would kill us all.”
Sayid didn’t say anything at first, his dark eyes simply resting intently on Jack’s face. Then his lips curved in a bitter half smile. “You think I’m a danger?”
“Are you?” Jack crossed his arms, then uncrossed them.
“Jack.” Sayid held his hands up, palms out. “She offered me her gun. She told me to shoot her. I could have killed her then.”
“None of us are going anywhere,” Jack said, trying to keep calm, but something in Sayid’s eyes, something feral, propelling him back into his dream. “Can you live with it? Seeing her every day?”
Sayid gestured toward Sawyer’s sleeping form. “You could ask him the same thing, if he ever comes to. What we did to him ... “
“Was something he wanted.” Jack’s voice held a warning. “We both know that. It was wrong and it got out of hand and there isn’t a day that I don’t regret it. We added it to our list of regrets, both of us.”
“We did it for Shannon.” Her name was barely audible. Sayid wasn’t even looking at him now, but through him. He took a step back, and then another, until the wall stopped him. “To save her life. Except that wasn’t the real reason. I wanted to kill him because I hated him. Because I thought he had tried to kill me.”
Jack stood still, just let Sayid speak, say what needed to be said.
“And when I found Locke was the one, I wanted to kill him. But I didn’t. I didn’t kill him for Shannon, when she asked me to. I swore I was done with that.”
“And now ... I watch a man who hates me. I hope that he lives. The man who attacked me is now my ally. I don’t have the luxury of revenge.”
Jack nodded. Sayid had stopped talking. He was pressing the heel of his hand hard against the bridge of his nose, as if that were the only thing holding him together.
Sayid would give him no more assurances than this. He would make no more confessions. He, like so many of them, had lied and manipulated for a living. Was, in all likelihood, lying now.
Jack sat down on the bunk, casting a glance at Sawyer, oblivious to the conflicts he would wake to. The same as before, only worse. All they did here was lie to each other every day. Lie to themselves. Rescue is inevitable. No one else will die. We are all safe. We are all in this together.
“Sure,” he said, finally, speaking to Sayid but not looking at him. “Everything will be fine.”