Note: Birthday fic for alliecat8, ellel and ficangel. I hope you ladies don’t mind sharing. The muse isn’t as cooperative as I’d like! Inspired by a comment from cmonkatiekatie that she’d be content with Jack and Sawyer just holding hands. So this is for her too. Set during S1, when the canon Jack/Sawyer was plentiful!
“Something wrong with your hand?”
Sawyer could have sworn he was alone on the beach or he never would have been flexing his sore left hand this way and that for anyone to see. He turned, scowling at the source of the question. He already knew it was Jack. Knew that jackass’s voice so well he could hear it in his sleep.
Jack wore that familiar smug grin; seeing Sawyer in pain obviously amused him. He strode closer, backpack slung over his shoulder. Making his rounds, Jack would say. Butting in was more like it. Being a doctor not only made the man think he was an expert on everything, but that it gave him the right to poke his nose anywhere he pleased.
“Just a little cramp,” Sawyer said with a shrug, self-consciously tucking his hand into his lap.
“Let me see,” Jack said, dropping to one knee and holding out his hand expectantly. He was squinting into the sun, so maybe that smile wasn’t quite the smirk Sawyer’d thought it was.
“’s nothin’.” Sawyer kept his hand right where it was. It had been bothering him something fierce but he wasn’t about to share that fact with the good doctor. Last time he’d been railroaded into seeing him, he'd been forced to confess his whole sexual history and tricked into thinking he was dying. He could do without that kind of doctoring. Besides, it wasn’t that bad. Just some cramping. And aching. And a little tingling. He’d live.
“Sawyer. Come on. It’s been bothering you for a while now. You might as well let me take a look at it.” Jack leaned in, eyebrows raised, his whole manner one of exaggerated kindness.
Sawyer wasn’t buying it, but while he was staring down those seemingly innocent brown eyes, somehow his hand had ended up between Jack’s. The Doc took his balled-up hand in his, cradling it delicately, as if Sawyer were a lion with an injured paw. His hands were surprisingly warm as the callused fingers gently coaxed Sawyer’s fist to open.
He only realized how tense Jack’s touch made him when his next question made him jump.
“Where does it hurt?”
Sawyer started to say, “Everywhere,” but then simply pointed with his free hand at the lines where the pain was the most concentrated.
Jack “mmm hmmed” as he asked Sawyer to bend and flex his hand for him. He ran his fingers over his wrist and up his arm, finding the ropy knot of tendons just below his elbow. His eyes were on Sawyer, watching for his reaction as he dug his thumb into the sorest knot. Sawyer flinched. He couldn’t help it. Jack nodded to himself as he explored Sawyer’s arm farther up, testing the muscles around his shoulder.
“The tendons in your arm are really tight,” Jack said. He wasn’t really looking at Sawyer, but past him, probably mentally matching what his fingers were telling him about Sawyer to one of those illustrations of exposed muscles and ligaments. “What have you been doing?” he asked, but Sawyer didn’t answer.
He stiffened each time Jack’s fingers probed another sore spot. The man had radar in his fingers, like he knew just where his muscles were holding onto their secret pain. But as Jack’s hand kept moving, he found some of the tension leaving him. It hurt like hell, but in that way you need to work a muscle so it will let go.
He closed his eyes, trying to will the ache away, willing Jack to rub out the last of it. He relaxed into his touch, mouth falling open as the pain radiated up and down his arm, as the tingling spread to his fingers and maybe even his toes. He could feel his skin warming as the blood flowed back into his arm. But underneath the little prickles of sensation and heat was something else, something that made him jerk his hand away from the Doc.
He’d been leaning closer to Jack. His heart was beating too fast for his liking and he was uncomfortably aware that he’d just been thinking of how good Jack smelled, somewhere between freshly washed and just starting to work up a sweat from the heat of the day. He smelled like Jack. Sawyer hadn’t even realized he could recognize Jack by scent as well as sight and sound, or that he would ever have to fight the urge to bury his face in the soft, worn cotton of Jack’s T-shirt.
“Yeah, thanks,” Sawyer said, rubbing his own hand now that he had it back.
“So, whatever you’ve been doing with that arm, I’d give it a rest,” Jack advised, his face curiously flushed, even with the hot sun beating down on them.
“Sure, yeah,” Sawyer said, and then it dawned on him why Jack was grinning like that. “Look, it ain’t that,” he protested. “I mean ... well, yeah, just not to the point where I’m crippling myself.”
“Good,” Jack’s grin had grown even wider now, but he looked away, clearly embarrassed.
“I’ve been writin’,” Sawyer blurted out. “Okay?”
“What have you been writing?” Jack’s serious doctor expression slipped back into place just like that, replacing the naughty little-boy grin he’d been wearing a second ago.
“My memoirs,” Sawyer huffed. “What’s it matter?”
“Well, like I said, give it a rest for a while. Take up another hobby.”
”Like what? What am I supposed to do?” Sawyer hated the whine that had crept into his voice. “What’ve you got against readin’ and writin’ anyway?”
“Nothing at all, Sawyer. Just maybe vary it a bit.” Jack unconsciously rubbed his hands together and Sawyer found himself watching enviously as the fingers slid over each other. “You really keep to yourself,” Jack was saying. “Reading. Writing. Those are solitary pursuits, Sawyer. If you ever wanted ...” He stopped himself, forehead wrinkled in thought, as if he wasn’t sure what his next words should be.
“Wanted what?” Those prickles danced up and down his arm again. They spread to the back of his neck, where he felt the hair standing up. Just like there was an electric current running from Jack to him, even though they weren’t touching.
“Never mind.” Jack reached out, patting Sawyer on the knee. “Just don’t overdo it, okay?”
Sawyer nodded, a vague sense of disappointment settling in his stomach because that wasn’t what Jack had been about to say.
But now Jack was standing up and hoisting that backpack into place. Time for his next patient, whoever that was.
He was already a few yards away when Sawyer yelled after him. “So, Doc. You want me to lay off these solitary pursuits? What d'you suggest I do instead?”
Jack just kept walking, not turning back. “Find some company, Sawyer,” he shouted. He ducked his head and Sawyer knew that meant he was grinning that idiotically boyish smile of his.
Sawyer stretched out, a grin spreading over his own face. The doc had his rounds to tend to. Same as tomorrow. He could wait until then.