halfdutch (halfdutch) wrote,

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Happy Birthday Part 13

Title: Happy Birthday (Part 13)
Summary: Sawyer is found out, Jack tends to Michael
Rating: PG-13

To recap: No one knows Sun speaks English except for Boone and Michael. But Michael, poor guy, was attacked by a "boar," which was really Kate and Ethan.

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)

Sawyer and Shannon sat in the bushes, working out a plan that would keep him out of sight and her safe. She leaned against him as he scribbled in his notepad.

“Stay away from Kate,” Sawyer wrote.

“Duh!” Shannon said scornfully, shaking her head at him, but she did it with a smile.

He grinned at her, looking almost like his old, scoundrelly self. “Seriously,” he wrote, underlining the word. “You can’t ever be alone.”

“Who’s going to be my bodyguard against Ethan and Kate?” she asked. “You? You’re in hiding. Sayid’s dead. Jack worships the ground Kate walks on. Charlie -- well, a fat lot of good he did Claire!” She snorted. “Let’s see, who else? Hurley? Please. From what you say, Michael just ran away. And my brother? Don’t make me laugh. Kate was tougher than him even before she became Evil Wonder Woman.”

“Locke.” Sawyer wrote.

“I guess it’s Locke or no one,” she sighed. “But he’s almost as creepy as Ethan. After all they were friends. Are you sure we can trust him?”

Sawyer frowned and shook his head. Who knows? He put a question mark next to Locke’s name and scribbled “Stick to Jack, then.”

“Why can’t you just tell everyone what happened? I’m not feeling all that safe, here. Why can’t I just stay with you?”

Sawyer’s frown grew deeper. “Have to keep her fooled as long as I can. Don’t know how to stop her yet,” he scrawled.

“Are you sure you’re ...” she paused, choosing her words carefully. ”...thinking straight?” she finished.

He stiffened. She’s right, he thought. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. This is why he’d never signed up for any kind of leadership duties. He’d been more than happy to leave all the running around and decision-making to the idiot blowhards who actually liked that kind of thing. Looking out for himself was usually a full-time job anyway.

He reviewed the last 24 hours: He’d been knocked out twice, nearly asphyxiated, and rendered mute. Then he shook his head to clear it. No time for self pity.

“You tell Jack what’s up,” he wrote. “Or get him out here so I can tell him. Same with Locke. Two heads better than mine.”

She nodded, smiling crookedly at his odd phrasing. She noted with concern the tears in the corners of his eyes that he was stubbornly ignoring. Even though he was sitting right next to her, he seemed so far away, sunk in melancholy thoughts.

She impulsively leaned up and kissed him. He was surprised, but instead of moving away, he leaned in closer, putting down his writing implements and taking her head in his hands. As they kissed, she felt a sudden moisture on his lips. They tasted of salt. He was crying, she realized and it sent a pang of sympathy through her.

He made a small noise in the back of his throat. “Sawyer!” she cried loudly, drawing back. “Can you say something?” He made another strangled sound, and then shook his head in frustration.

“Sawyer?!” came a British-accented voice. Charlie stood a few feet away from them. “Wow, man, not only are you not dead, you’re clearly ....” Charlie’s enthusiastic voice trailed off when he saw Sawyer’s neck.

Charlie turned pale. His hand went unconsciously to his own throat. “Ethan?” he managed to croak out.

Shit! Sawyer swore silently. He didn’t know what to say. Or rather, what to try to say. He opted not to answer, just looked at Charlie gravely and tried to shush him.

But it was too late. By now Hurley and Walt had heard the commotion and come over. Shannon and Sawyer awkwardly stood up, making sure to stand a few feet apart from each other.

”Dude,” Hurley said, nodding at Sawyer approvingly. “Way to defy the odds, man.”

“You were betting on whether he was alive?” Shannon asked, glaring at Hurley.

“No, no, of course not,” Hurley stammered. “I just meant ... hey, it’s good to see someone not dying around here for once is all.”

There was an awkward silence as everyone noted the pained expression on Sawyer’s face. “He can’t talk,” Shannon said. She glanced at Sawyer, trying to get a hint of what she should say to the others. He shook his head slightly. “Someone tried to kill him,” she said finally and she could see him relax at her choice of words.

Suddenly, the sandy beach seemed of great interest to everyone else, as three pairs of eyes stared down at if fixedly.

“We’ve got to get Jack to take a look at you,” Charlie said after another painful silence. With a quick look at Shannon, Sawyer nodded his OK. He picked up his writing materials and put them in his pocket.

She took his hand and they all trooped over to Jack’s cave.

When they got there, Jack was nowhere to be found. “Locke came and got him. Boone, too,” Rose told them. “Some kind of emergency, I guess.”

Shannon led Sawyer into Jack’s cave and urged him to sit down. They were alone again for the moment. “Does this ruin everything?” she asked.

He shook his head. He took out the notebook and wrote. “If you see Kate, don’t let on you know. Very important.”

“I know,” she sighed impatiently, but immediately felt bad about being short-tempered. “I’m sorry. I’m just so nervous. I’m scared, Sawyer.”

Hearing someone else enter the cave, Sawyer shoved the notebook back in his pocket. It was Sun, followed by Charlie, Hurley, and Walt. She carefully examined his neck, her solemn, dark eyes growing wider as she took in the bruising and swelling. She also found the two lumps on his head, and the matted blood in his hair. She busied herself with some kind of concoction which she then rubbed gently on his throat. It felt cool and soothing. Sawyer was surprised at how light her touch was.

A shadow fell over them and they looked up to see Locke standing in the doorway. He looked at Sawyer, but didn’t say anything. Instead, his eyes rested on Walt. “Walt, can you come with me for a minute?”

Sun’s hand froze at Sawyer’s neck, but she soon went back to applying the paste.

Walt followed Locke out as the rest of them exchanged worried glances. After a few minutes, they heard Walt yell something that sounded like “No!” Sawyer jerked his head toward Shannon and then toward the door and she got up to find out what was going on. Charlie followed her out. They were both back shortly, looking pale. “Michael’s been attacked by a boar,” Charlie announced dully. “It doesn’t look good.”

“Oh man," Hurley exclaimed, clearly upset. “He just said he was worried something was going to happen to him. I never thought ... He asked me if we’d all take care of Walt.” He sat down heavily, his head in his hands.

Only Sawyer heard Sun’s sharp intake of breath as she unconsciously gripped his arm. He shot her a quick glance and she started when she realized he was staring at her. Understanding passed between them, but this wasn’t the time or place to talk -- or try to talk -- about it. He nodded slowly at her, then darted his eyes to the others and she nodded back. He put his hand over hers and gave it a gentle squeeze.

She finished up with her herbal treatment and smiled at him as Shannon returned to his side. Sawyer gave his attention up to Shannon. “This isn’t just a coincidence is it?” she whispered. He frowned, shaking his head slightly.

He caught Sun’s eye again, and she looked at him sadly before glancing away.

Charlie continued to bring the others up to speed. “So Jack’s with Michael, but I don’t know if he can do anything for him.” He was quiet, and then he picked up a random object and threw it against the cave wall. “This is fucked up! There’s too many people dying on this goddamn island! This is bullshit!”

“What’s going on?” Kate asked, stepping into the cave. She froze when she saw Sawyer. Then she ran over and threw her arms around him. “Oh my God, Sawyer! Thank God you’re OK,” she said as she hugged him. Sawyer shot Shannon a warning look and she stood up and gave them some space.

“Sawyer, say something,” Kate said, with a little laugh, her forehead wrinkling in puzzlement.

One corner of his mouth turned up, but his eyes were hard.

Then she took a look at his neck and her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh my God! What happened to you?” She tut-tutted over him, making little motherly noises.

“Someone strangled him,” Shannon spoke up, her arms across her chest. “It fucked up his voice.”

“I’m so sorry,” Kate said, caressing his cheek with the back of her hand. Sawyer kept his face neutral, but it was an effort. There were tears in her eyes, he noticed with disgust. “I hope it’s not permanent,” she said, searching his face, and his breath caught in his throat.

“Has Jack seen this?” Kate asked, looking around at everyone. “Where is Jack?”

“Michael was gored by a boar. Jack’s with him,” Shannon said bluntly, not able to keep the edge out of her voice.

“That’s terrible!” Kate said, looking shocked. She sat down, seemingly overcome with emotion. Sawyer hesitated briefly before patting her on the back.

Shannon took this as her cue to leave. With Jack still gone, it was time to find Locke, she decided.

“He’s not going to make it, is he?” Boone asked Jack.

Jack looked grim. “No, he’s not,” he said quietly. “There isn’t anything else I can do for him.”

Boone was quiet for a moment, looking at Michael. “What do you think is going on?” He asked Jack. “Is this just the beginning of something worse?”

“I don’t know,” Jack said, staring at his own hands as he pulled apart a piece of gauze. “I wish I knew. I wish everyone was safe.” He finally dropped the gauze now that it was just a mass of threads. “I wish I knew where Kate was right now.”

“Do you really think they’re coming back for her?” Boone said. He had an impulse to put his hand on Jack’s shoulder, or to take his hand, but he didn’t. He wanted to ask Jack if he was in love with Kate, but he didn’t do that either.

Jack looked up at him, worry written in every line of his face. “Why on earth did I let Locke go? We should be coming up with some kind of defense plan. We shouldn’t just be sitting here!” He stood up and started pacing.

“I can stay here with him,” Boone offered. “If you want to get back.”

“No,” Jack shook his head. “I couldn’t do that.”

“You just said there’s nothing else you can do,” Boone said. “Go! Go see if Kate’s OK.”

Jack paused, considering it. “I can’t leave you here alone. Then you wouldn’t be safe.”

“You love her, don’t you?” Boone said, his throat tightening as he said it. “You have to go.”

Jack ducked his head. “OK,” he said huskily. “Thank you, Boone.” He hugged him awkwardly.

Boone flushed. “Get going, will you?”

Jack nodded and, with one last look at Michael, walked away.

Boone sat back down, resenting the hell out of Kate.

“Kate,” he thought he heard her name, spoken so low he wasn’t sure if he was imagining it. He jumped, realizing Michael had spoken. “Michael!” Boone said, bending over him. “I’m here. It’s Boone. What did you say?”

But Michael didn’t speak again. His eyes were still closed. There was a rattling sound in his chest. Boone sat there, too stunned at first to understand that Michael had just died. What did he mean? Had he heard him right? Maybe he had said, “Wait.” Or even, “Walt.” Boone felt wetness on his cheeks and wiped away the tears he didn’t even realize were there.

And then he ran after Jack, hoping he could still catch up with him.


Thanks to guineverekey for betaing!

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