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Numb (Yet another Jack/Sawyer fic)

Title: Numb
Summary: Set 19 years in the future: Sawyer is dying of lung cancer
Pairing: Jack/Sawyer
Rating: PG-13, four hankies
Spoilers: None
Note: Although sort of similar to effexxor’s “Death in a Black Trenchcoat," this is actually loosely inspired by having just seen the movie “Constantine.” Spoilers up through “Outlaws.” Kind of a sequel to "Luck," but not the kind anyone asked for!


Sawyer hadn't had a cigarette in 19 years, but the damage was already done. His teens and 20s were spent in smoky bars, chain-smoking while he drank and played pool and flirted. Until his supply of cancer sticks ran out after the crash, he'd lit up whenever he could.

He was getting worse, Jack knew. He couldn’t lie to himself anymore. There weren’t any X-rays to read but he knew the cancer had spread.

Sawyer had started coughing up blood nearly a year ago. Before that, it was just the occasional shortness of breath, some tightness in the chest. Now, he couldn’t do more than just lie there, gasping for air.

Jack didn’t sleep nights anymore. He just lay with Sawyer, willing him to breathe, choking back tears at the tortured rattling noise Sawyer’s chest made.

Eucalyptus couldn’t help this. The stash of drugs was long gone; they had run out of nearly everything in the first six months. Jack hadn’t been reckless with doling them out, but there had been other emergencies, and then one day there simply wasn’t any more medicine.

There wasn’t any medicine to give Charlie when he’d caught a tropical fever. Or Claire, when she’d suffered complications giving birth to Charlie’s baby. They were buried together, in the small cemetery plot that had gotten too big for anyone’s liking.

That was so long ago, none of the children on the island remembered them, not even their own son, also named Charlie. Only Walt played Charlie’s guitar now, having painstakingly taught himself how. Jack felt for him. There was no else Walt’s age. He was younger than the original survivors and much older then the generation born on the island.

At least Jack and Sawyer had had each other. Jack’s hair was completely silver now, like his father’s. Sawyer’s beard had flecks of gray in it and both their faces were lined from the unrelenting sun and years of hard living.

If he’d been back home, Sawyer would likely have had a beer belly by now, like his daddy had had. But living in the jungle had kept them all lean. And now Sawyer was rail thin, a shadow of his former self.

Any day now, Sawyer’s lungs would give out. And there wasn’t a damn thing Jack could do. They’d had nearly 20 years together, 19 amazing years, more than he thought he’d ever have with anyone. He’d felt so lucky to be with him, so lucky that out of the tragedy of the plane crash, at least one good thing had come out of it.

But their luck had run out. Sawyer’s breaths were coming more painfully. He was gasping like a fish that had jumped out of its bowl. He just couldn’t get enough oxygen.

“It has to be ... today,” Sawyer wheezed, his eyes boring desperately into Jack’s. “It’s time. You know .. it is.” They were alone in the shack they had built together. Sawyer was as comfortable as Jack could make him, lying on the last of their blankets.

“Sawyer,” Jack’s voice broke. He squeezed his hand. “One more day. Please.”

Sawyer shook his head with an effort. “That’s what you said ... last week. I can’t ... anymore.”

Jack nodded, tears running down his face. “I know. I know. I just ... I can’t either. I can’t let you go. I don’t want to.”

“Not up to you... doc,” Sawyer said, using his old nickname for Jack. For old time’s sake. “Never ... was.” Another coughing fit came over him. The blood he coughed up was a frothy pink.

He lay back stiffly once the coughs had subsided. Jack stroked his forehead. There was no color left in Sawyer’s face, just a sickly gray tinge. His face was bathed in sweat.

And then Jack hated himself. Hated himself for not giving into Sawyer earlier, for prolonging his suffering for his own selfish reasons. “OK,” he said. “I’ll get it.” His voice sounded hollow. He felt like someone had scooped out his insides.

It was someone else who went over to the suitcase and got out the gun, someone else who loaded the last bullet they’d saved all these years.

The gun felt heavy in his hand. He held it for about an eternity, and then he walked over to Sawyer’s bedside.

“The last bullet...” Sawyer sighed. He looked at the gun, and then at Jack. Their eyes locked. Neither one wanted to say anything. Neither one wanted to take the inevitable next step.

“Seems like we been here ... before,” Sawyer choked. “Only I fucked ... it up. Guess that ol’ ... marshall can chew my ... hide about it now.”

“Sawyer!” Jack choked out his name. He didn’t try to stop his tears.

“Now I know. The ... head ... not the heart,” Sawyer gasped. “Don’t want to ... botch this one, doc.”

“You want me? Or you?” Jack asked, stumbling over the words. He didn’t know what was worse. Handing Sawyer the gun or Sawyer asking him to pull the trigger.

“Thought ... I’d go out .. like my daddy,” Sawyer said, red spittle showing on his lips. “Bullet ... in the brain.” He grinned, a ghastly smile that broke Jack’s heart.

“Sawyer.” Jack's voice cracked as he said his name. “What if I want to keep it? For myself,” he asked, his face drawn.

Sawyer closed his eyes and what little life was left in him seemed to shut down with those blue eyes cloaked. “You can’t do that. They all .. need you. You’re just ... being ... a selfish bastard ... you know.”

“I know,” Jack said, choking out a smile at Sawyer’s insult. “I just can’t fucking stand it. I don’t want to live without you.”

“Don’t be .. melo... dramatic, Jack,” Sawyer sighed. “You either ... let me ... pull the trigger or ... you’ll have to ... smother me .... or break my ... fucking ...” he gave into another coughing spasm, this one even more violent. “Neck,” he finally finished.

“Do you want me to do it?” Jack asked, his voice pained.

“No,” Sawyer choked out the word. “No big deal for me. You gotta ... keep your slate ... clean.”

Jack nodded, his head bent as he swallowed the enormous lump in his throat.

“Take me ... outside,” Sawyer said haltingly. “Please, Jack ... I want to see ... the sun.”

Jack helped him up, and they slowly made their way outside. Sawyer nodded when they had reached a spot he approved of. He looked around him, making a note of the blue sky, the glistening ocean, the lush green of the jungle and surrounding hills.

And then he studied Jack’s face, putting his hand up to every familiar line as Jack blinked back tears.

“Do you want me to leave?” Jack said, his voice barely audible as he helped him to the ground.

“I wouldn’t mind ... if you stayed...” Sawyer gasped, reaching out his hand to Jack. “I don’t want to go ... out ... alone.”

Jack handed him the gun and took Sawyer’s other hand in his. “I love you, Jim,” Jack sobbed. He kissed him on the forehead, and then once on each cheek, and one last time on the lips.

“I love you, Jack,” Sawyer said. He smiled again, and it seemed to Jack that he was already far away from him. He put the gun to his temple. Then he closed his eyes and Jack did, too.

The gun sounded impossibly loud. Sawyer’s hand went limp in his. Jack doubled over, sobbed brokenly over Sawyer’s body. He cried huge, wracking tears until he couldn’t breathe anymore, until he was completely out of tears. He sat until after the sun set. Until he felt almost as cold as Sawyer did.

In the gray twilight, he felt like time had stopped. He allowed himself to believe he was dead, too, that he had entered some kind of limbo. It was the end of everything. Sawyer was gone.

Jack numbly thought of how he could take his own life. He could cut his wrists, letting himself die drop by drop. He could swim out into the ocean, take a few lungfuls of water, and mercifully drown. He could jump off a cliff, smashing himself on the bottom.

If only he had one more bullet. And then he thought of something. He took the gun from Sawyer’s hand. He hadn’t dared to look at Sawyer’s face, and now he saw the bullet wound was smaller than he’d thought possible. Sawyer actually looked peaceful, he was shocked to see. He covered his mouth with his hand, stifling the fresh sobs trying to get out.

He ran down to the beach with the gun. Kate saw him run past and followed him.

“Jack!” she called. He didn’t stop. She ran after him, calling his name.

She found him scrabbling through a pile of pebbles, trying desperately to fit one into a chamber of the gun.

“Jack!” she gasped. “What are you doing?”

“Sawyer’s gone,” he said, looking at her finally. His eyes were rimmed red, his face a mask of pain. “There aren’t any bullets left. But anything bullet-size will do.”

“Jack, no!” she exclaimed, wresting the gun from his hand. He didn’t fight her, just crumpled into her arms. She rocked him gently as he tried to cry, his chest heaving, a broken wail coming from deep within him.

“You know this isn’t what he’d want,” she said softly. “You have to live, Jack. We need you.”

“I don’t want to live,” he said hoarsely.

“Give it a day,” she said, rubbing his back. “Just one more day, OK?”

He choked and she wasn’t sure if he was laughing or crying. It was the bargain he’d made with Sawyer. One more day. And then one more. Until there weren’t any more days left.

They sat there until the stars came out. Jack felt nothing. Just numb. Slowly, he let Kate lead him back to camp. One more day, he said to himself. Just one more day.

Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
foxxcub
Feb. 18th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
Dude, you are a fucking MACHINE. How do you churn this stuff out?! And please, sick girl here, I CANNOT read anymore of your Sawyer-torture, no matter how much it kills me. Guh...now I have to attempt go back to my Skate writing, but I'm depressed...

Don't you have some het to be writing? *shoves back to keyboard*
halfdutch
Feb. 18th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC)
Well, inspiration struck and voila. Also, the siren song of fic calls louder than the siren song of bill paying or laundry. :Sigh:

The het muse wasn't speaking to me yet ... must chain myself to desk and stare at pretty pics of Kate and Sawyer. Life is hard. ;-> OK I *promise* a het Sawyer fic where he isn't tortured or dying or getting mauled or strangled or anything.

(BTW: This turns easily into a het fic: just substitute "Jack" for "Kate" and vice versa! Presto! Except Kate's hair -- not so gray yet.)
(no subject) - foxxcub - Feb. 18th, 2005 05:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Feb. 18th, 2005 05:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foxxcub - Feb. 18th, 2005 06:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Feb. 18th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foxxcub - Feb. 20th, 2005 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Feb. 20th, 2005 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foxxcub - Feb. 20th, 2005 03:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ada_farrow - Feb. 21st, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Feb. 21st, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foxxcub - Feb. 21st, 2005 11:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ada_farrow - Feb. 23rd, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Feb. 24th, 2005 02:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ada_farrow - Feb. 21st, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Feb. 21st, 2005 11:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foxxcub - Feb. 21st, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
demonqueen666
Feb. 18th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
Woah. And yike with the darkfic. Angsty, depressing goodness, once you get over the...depression. I make no sense, do I? ^^;

You're trying to kill all the happy thoughts I have left, aren't you? Sheezus...
halfdutch
Feb. 18th, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
Sorry to bum you out! I was hoping it would be a good, cathartic cry.

Next up: something smutty and only slightly angsty. *I promise!*
you_ravish_me
Feb. 18th, 2005 11:02 pm (UTC)
*wipes tears* OH MY GOD!!!!! Poor Jack! Poor Sawyer! So heart wrenching! But so good! Heart breaker! *wipes more tears* Well done:)
halfdutch
Feb. 19th, 2005 01:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! You don't want to know much I made *myself* cry over this. Sniff.
yndigot
Feb. 19th, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
Jesus. You with your Sawyer-angst. Do know that I mean this in the best possible way--that was profoundly disturbing. It's a compliment, I promise. Really takes something to write like that. But, Jesus.

I like Jack calling him Jim. A lot.
halfdutch
Feb. 19th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC)
Sigh. I know. I need to join a 12-step program or something. "Hi, my name is HalfDutch and I'm a Sawyer Angst Addict!"

I solemnly swear to take a break from bumming you all out and get more lighthearted (and smutty!) Er, ahem, except for wrapping up Happy Birthday.

I like Jack calling him Jim. A lot.
Thanks. ;-) That might not be his real name but I'm going with it until they givve me something else.

(no subject) - yndigot - Feb. 19th, 2005 03:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Feb. 19th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
dustyirish2003
Feb. 20th, 2005 05:00 am (UTC)
Oh my God- I stumbled my way over here after reading 'Luck', curious about what other masterpieces you had written lately, and now I am sitting here bawling my damned eyes out. In the best possible way. That had to be the most beautiful- and utterly heartwrenching- thing I've read in...well, in just about forever. I am honestly just about speechless right now. Just positively gorgeous. You've got some damned fine talent, for sure.

You weren't kiddin' when you said you've been busy bringing on the Sawyer angst, were you? ; ) Well, I'm here to say- please, *please* keep it up, for all of our sakes. Just...wow. - Jen
halfdutch
Feb. 20th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks so much. I made myself cry quite a lot with this one but I wasn't sure it that was just me.

I don't know why I keep bringing all the Sawyer angst, but it's such a deep well I don't see it running dry anytime soon. I've just got Sawyer on the brain (even while watching a movie about demons starring Keanu Reeves!) so I don't think I *can* stop. ;->

mariesg16
Feb. 21st, 2005 11:58 pm (UTC)
that was awesome. Definatly one of my fav pairings. :) Any more fics coming soon? *begs*
halfdutch
Feb. 22nd, 2005 01:46 am (UTC)
Thanks! I've got more Jack/Sawyer coming up as soon as I can get to it! I was happy to see people writing some fics based on that last scene in "Outlaws." I'll take platonic or angsty rival J/S too!
crystalkirk
May. 30th, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
*cries*

I actually found something I hadn't read, and damn, break my heart why dontcha? I really loved this. It just feels so real. As much as I love post-island fics, in reality, I really don't think I ever want them to get off the island when the show ends. I've always liked the thought of them just remaining there until the end.

Hopefully their end won't be this heartbreaking though, hee!

Anyway. Yeah. Great job with this one too, as per usual. :)
halfdutch
May. 31st, 2005 06:05 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad there was one that was new to you. (And wow, did I make myself cry over it when I wrote it!)

I do love post-island fics but most of them are as sad as this - or sadder! It seems everyone always just wants to get back to the island!

God only knows how the show will end. Maybe a rescue boat ... and a last look at the island? I don't see them following the survivors back to the real word. Or it could all end right there. (like uberaeryn's "Two to Go" (shivers)
hils
Feb. 2nd, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC)
*cries*
halfdutch
Feb. 5th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
*hands you tissues*

(no subject) - hils - Feb. 5th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
inthekeyofd
Sep. 6th, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
I love this feedback challenge because I can catch up on all the fic I didn't read during the first season.

Just one more day..just one more day, you know, it's sad because usually that is what people want..but Sawyer just couldn't take it anymore and having one more day for Jack just wasn't the right thing to do.

This killed me for a number of reasons, the thought of them having those 19 good years and the happiness they had there, the fact that they built a shack together, the fact that Sawyer did the deed himself and even then, Jack looking for something small enough to use as a bullet.

But what's even sadder is that it's almost as if no one is there that remembers those gone anymore, and what happens when they all just become stories around a burnt out fire...*sigh*

I loved everything about this as well, and thank you for thinking about how the medicine would eventually be gone and people would die of things that could have been cured on the mainland..including Claire's complications.

As always, very well done!!!
halfdutch
Oct. 13th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks so much for catching up with this one, darling! I'm HORRIBLY behind with responding to comments, so please excuse how long it took me to reply.

God, I killed myself writing this one! I don't think I could kill Sawyer off again, except from old age! I do love the idea of a happily ever after for them, but of course this ended in the saddest way possible. *sniffs* I think I have always rather hoped that Lost was just about a group of people surviving on a desert island, not so much with all the mysteries and Dharma initiative and stuff that we ended up getting! But as long as we have Jack and Sawyer, I guess I'll keep watching.

♥ ♥


zombiehippy_1
Feb. 5th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
snif...
i dont know if i can be co herent.
Oh how beautifully terrible , i like the part that he and sawyer had 20 years together. Oh my i had it together then
"go out like my daddy, and Jack had to remain clean,
i cant see i am tearing up again. i gotta go blow my nose.
i just read your other fic about the photos and gosh i cant stop crying. oh golly
halfdutch
Feb. 5th, 2009 10:14 am (UTC)
Re: snif...
Oh, sorry, hon! Those are two of my saddest fics!

[And I had a feeling this was the fic you had just read when I saw the subject line -- gah, this one made me cry my eyes out as well. I don't think I can ever kill Sawyer off again, at least not in real time!]

*hands tissues*
Re:thanks - zombiehippy_1 - Feb. 10th, 2009 03:01 am (UTC) - Expand
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