Pairing: Jack/Sawyer, implied Sawyer/Kate, Jack/Kate, Jack/Ana (Neither of the women make an actual appearance, FYI)
Summary: Sawyer doesn't like to take the easy way out
Note: OMG! I wrote fic! Thank you, AOL clip for kicking the muse back into gear. ;-D And three wonderful ladies, crystalkirk, mediocrechick, and rogueapprentice are celebrating birthdays this week. If this passes muster, then please consider a birthday present. If not, well, then I owe you all! Claiming for fanfic100 "Square."
Spoilers: Set after The Hunting Party, with mild spoilers from Fire Plus Water.
Jack was used to people hovering before they entered the room in the hatch he had set aside as his office. He didn’t know why they did and it was damned annoying. It’s not like he was that unapproachable, was he?
So now why was Sawyer hovering out there? He was practically pacing, head down, running his good hand through his hair. Jack didn’t have time for this.
“What is it?” he snapped, striding out.
Sawyer’s head jerked up in surprise. Now that Jack stood in front of him, hands on his hips, an impatient frown on his face, he smiled, that slow grin that always made Jack want to slap it off.
“Just need a minute of your time.”
Jack glanced toward the exit. He was due to meet her any minute.
Sawyer caught his glance and the smile stretched even wider, although the eyes glittered. “Guess you’re too busy to do your own doctorin’ lately.”
“Meaning?” That snappish edge was still in Jack’s voice, try as he might to keep it out. Sawyer did not get to judge him. Sawyer did not get to tell him what -- or who -- to do.
“You know Kate's helpin’ me with my exercises.” He said her name deliberately, like he enjoyed the unfamiliar taste of the word in his mouth. And like he knew how much it would irritate Jack. He swung his arm gently, like Jack had shown him how to do. Had told him to find someone else to help him, knowing full well who he would choose.
“She’s perfectly capable. And since you two are ...”
Sawyer looked beyond Jack, shaking his head, his mouth open as if he were going to say something. Instead, he just ran his tongue over his bottom lip.
“So was that all?” Jack prompted, eager to go.
Sawyer rolled his bad shoulder with a little shake of annoyance and Jack watched the movement with a critical eye. “Your arm bothering you?”
“Good as can be expected. Doc.” No one could put a sarcastic spin on a word like Sawyer. Slap a little English on it, send it bouncing back with a vengeance. He stepped forward, smile gone now, eyes dark, intent. “How long you gonna keep this up?”
“Keep up what, Sawyer?” Jack’s voice broke with exasperation. “Why don’t you just --”
“Hatin’ her. How long are you gonna blame her?”
“What?” He sputtered. “Kate? I don’t hate her.”
“Yeah, I think you do, doc. And I think it’s just as tough on you as it is on her. Because even if you’re not exactly the hug-and-learn-and-grow type --”
Jack looked up to the ceiling and laughed. “Sawyer, you--”
“Let me finish.” Sawyer stepped closer, until his faces was inches from Jack’s, daring him to look away or step back. “You know you have to forgive her sometime.”
“Sawyer,” Jack couldn’t help smiling. “I thought you’d be thrilled I’m out of the picture.”
He tilted his head back, blue eyes glinting dangerously. “Oh, you made it real easy for me, yeah. I mean, the doc’s mad at her and she’s just aching to play nurse and -- oh my, how handy -- here’s a guy who’s in real bad need of a little TLC. Someone who’s awful damn responsive.”
Jack shifted uncomfortably, but refused to look away. He knew his mouth was stretched in a smile, but his fists clenched at his side.
“Yeah, pretty damn convenient. Only...” he leaned in, until Jack could feel his breath on his cheek. “I never really liked the easy way.”
Jack stood his ground, eyes narrowed. He let the silence fill the space between them. He wanted to just turn and walk away, and if he did, he knew Sawyer wouldn’t follow. He wouldn’t pull on his arm and beg him to talk to him, like Kate had. The memory filled him with disgust.
“Look,” he said, licking his lip. “I don’t hate her. I’m just ... done. I’m just tired. Tired of not being able to trust her”
He watched Sawyer turn over the words, decide if they were enough. By the puckering of his forehead, he knew they weren’t.
“So instead you’re going to trust her? Kate’s a lot of things, but she’s not a fucking evil bitch, like her. I mean, Mike told you what all went on, right?” His voice was pitched higher with anger.
Jack shrugged. “It was an accident, Sawyer.”
Sawyer shook his head, disbelief and anger flitting over his face. “Fine," he said after a long moment, face pinched with hatred. "Think what you want. I hope you do find out the hard way. Because apparently, you like the hard way.”
“Don’t you?” Jack didn’t know why he lowered his voice, why there was that odd tremble in it. “Isn’t that what you just said?”
“You have no idea what I like, Jack.” The look in Sawyer’s eyes had changed from anger to something like a challenge.
The air was almost humming between them and Jack had a fleeting premonition of what was going to happen before Sawyer closed the distance between them, lips pressing roughly against his, tongue impossibly hot as he opened his mouth to him in surprise.
Sawyer had his head in his hands, thumbs rubbing hard over his jaw line, and Jack’s fists flailed at his side before he brought them up to cover Sawyer’s. He was drowning, trying to break away, get air, stop the firm, slow slide of tongue and the rasp of beard and the pull of hands and the burn of fabric that had every inch of him tingling, but he couldn’t. Wasn’t sure he wanted to.
Finally, finally he pulled back. He kept his head down. He couldn’t meet Sawyer’s eyes. He knew his face was flushed. Knew his heart was racing and his palms were sweaty and he knew Sawyer knew it. Knew he’d be grinning that enormous, predatory grin. Prayed he didn’t know what other body parts he was affecting like Jack was a switchboard he’d lit up with about 100 signals at once.
Shit! Why did this always happen to him -- why couldn’t he ever see it coming?
“But ... you love her,” he mumbled, addressing the key around his neck rather than Sawyer.
“What?" Sawyer actually snorted. "You mind tellin’ me where the hell you got that idea?”
Something in Sawyer’s voice made him look up. He was smiling, but it wasn’t with triumph. Just honest confusion. And a kind of breathless look that Jack didn’t want to admit he could feel in his knees.
“You said so ... when you were sick.” Jack was regaining control, steadying himself. His voice grew firmer as he warmed to the memory. “You asked for her and then you said you loved her.”
Sawyer raised one eyebrow and gave a little hiss of disbelief. “You mean when I was havin’ some kind of crazy fever dream? Hell, Jack, what if I had said I loved Minnie Mouse? Fuck, I might have thought I was Minnie Mouse, for all I know. For all you know. And what you know, apparently, isn’t worth shit.”
Jack could only respond with a puzzled smile. “But ... you’re with her now, right? So this ...?”
“I never said I didn’t take the easy way. Like you. You two got together when I was gone.” Sawyer said it matter-of-factly. No apparent jealousy, which threw Jack off even more.
He flushed and looked down at his hands. The palms were still wet, so he wiped them on his pants. “I didn’t know this was going to get so complicated.”
“It’s always been complicated, doc. Question is, what are you gonna do about it?”
Jack looked up, met him full in the eye. “Right now? Nothing. I have a meeting. There are other things going on on this island than ... this.”
Sawyer rubbed his shoulder absently, as if it were bothering him. Suddenly, he looked tired. “Yeah. You go take care of that. Gotta keep your priorities straight.”
“Sawyer!” Jack couldn’t keep from sounding exasperated as Sawyer turned to walk away.
“Later, doc,” came the soft reply. “Not through with you yet.”