Rating: R (Sexuality, language)
Sawyer came bounding back to the caves, excited to share his revelatory solution with the group: A large yellow surfboard with orange stripes. He’d have pegged Boone as the most likely to want it, and now he was going to use it, all right. Sawyer smiled as he imagined the pleased look on Kate’s face and the grudging admiration he’d get from Sayid. Even Jackass would likely be saying, “Well done, Sawyer.”
A light rain had started falling, and he held the board above his head like an oversized newspaper. It wasn’t particularly heavy and two people could easily carry the board, even with Boone on it, he figured. He’d brought along several belts to strap Boone in place. He felt like Santa Claus, finding just the perfect thing for the occasion among his stash and the thought brought an enormous grin to his face.
Reaching the caves just as it started to really come down, he propped the surfboard up outside the entrance, laid the belts beside it, and went in. He intended to do this properly, bringing everyone out to reveal his prize dramatically.
No one looked up as he entered. Shannon was crying inconsolably while Kate held her. Walt, Michael, Hurley, and the Korean couple stood by uncomfortably. Sayid sat off to the side, his bad leg propped up.
Sayid noticed Sawyer first. “Ah, you’re back,” he said, looking Sawyer up and down for a sign that he had brought something useful. “What is this solution you were talking about?”
“Uh, it’s outside,” said Sawyer, sensing that his moment of glory was not going to play out as he’d envisioned.
“Whatever it is, it will have to wait for daylight,” said Sayid. “It’s too dangerous to head out now in the dark. Especially when we still don’t know what happened ...” his voice trailed off. He clearly wanted to avoid mentioning Charlie or Claire’s name.
“You’re just going to leave them out there alone?” Sawyer said heatedly. “Hell, I’ll go. Just tell me where they are, Freckles.”
Kate looked at him, her face drawn with worry. “We’ve been talking it over for the last half hour, Sawyer,” she said, shaking her head. “Sayid’s right. Even before today, we wouldn’t risk the jungle at night. And now ...” she sounded as if she were about to start crying herself. “Even if we reached them safely, we couldn’t carry Boone back in total darkness. We’d do him more harm than good.”
Sawyer looked from one drawn face to another. “So that’s it?” he said angrily. “It’s pissing down rain and they’re out there without a goddamn thing?”
“Why do you care?” said Shannon, glaring at him. “You don’t even like Boone or Jack. Why are you even here?”
“Shannon!” Kate started to say, reprovingly, but Sawyer cut her off.
“Right,” snarled Sawyer, his eyes narrowing. “Better to let them rot in the jungle.” He turned and fled the caves, feeling as wanted as a six-year-old whose mother forgot to pick him up from school. Again.
Sawyer walked over to the surfboard and looked at it sadly. He had an urge to smash it, but he wasn’t going to be that stupid.
“Sawyer.” Sayid had limped out after him. “What do you have there?”
Sawyer wordlessly indicated the surfboard. Sayid smiled when he saw it. “That’s splendid,” he said, looking both pleased and surprised.
“You think so?” Sawyer said, trying not to grin like an idiot. “Yeah, I thought it would be right for the job,” he added casually.
“I know how you feel,” Sayid said. Sawyer looked at him guardedly. “Waiting until morning will be difficult. I might try to go tonight myself if it were not for my leg. But with Ethan out there, and who knows what else, I think we have no choice. But I don’t like it.”
“You and me both,” nodded Sawyer.
“Don’t listen to Shannon,” Sayid added, with a careful eye on Sawyer. “She is merely upset about her brother.”
“Well, there’s no love lost there, she’s right,” Sawyer sighed. “But, I just get tired of always being ...” he stopped, not sure what word he was looking for.
“Things will change,” Sayid said, patting Sawyer on the shoulder. “When they see that you have some good in you.”
Sawyer looked away, surprised by Sayid’s words and just as surprised that they had brought a lump to his throat. He just nodded and mumbled, “I guess.” He coughed and cleared his throat. “So, any ideas on what to do until morning?”
“Come in,” Sayid smiled. “We can get a card game going.” He slapped Sawyer on the back and the two men went back in to join the others.
Every time he closed his eyes, Boone felt like he was falling again. Then he’d come to with a start, antagonizing his leg all over again. Jack held him firmly and he drew what warmth he could from Jack’s strong arms, but he was still cold down to his bones.
“Try to sleep, Boone,” Jack said, giving Boone a squeeze of reassurance, but it wasn’t enough to make the pain go away. Or the cold. Or the nightmares. He closed his eyes and there he was hung up like a dead boar, with Locke sawing away at his leg. He woke up screaming from that one. He could hear the knife grinding on his thighbone, see the crazed look in Locke’s eyes.
“It’s OK, Boone, it’s OK,” Jack said patiently, soothing Boone’s terrors.
“It hurts so much, Jack,” Boone said, sobbing from pain and anger. He let out another scream, this one from frustration. He started clawing at his own arms, trying to distract himself from the pain in his leg.
“Hey, hey, stop that,” Jack said gripping him so tightly that he couldn’t move his own arms.
“I’m sorry,” Boone said, sounding like a child who has been bad. “I just can’t take it anymore. Jack, you’ve been so good to me. You didn’t have to stay with me.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Jack said sighing. “I’m sorry this happened. I’m sorry we’re stuck here.”
“Jack,” Boone said brokenly. He turned his head to look at Jack. He couldn’t really see his face, except for his eyes. Jack’s breath was hot on the back of his neck. Boone strained closer to his mouth, seeking the warmth there. “Jack,” he whispered again, longingly. He barely dared to breathe, afraid of saying or doing anything that would let Jack know how he felt about him.
Here he was in Jack’s arms, but this was a twisted answer to his wish. The excruciating pain in his leg wiped out the bliss of being held by Jack. If he could just wish the pain away, just ignore it for a minute, and just concentrate on Jack, on the feel of his chest underneath his wet T-shirt, on Jack’s thighs cradling him safely, on Jack’s reassuring, solid presence. Boone let his head fall back on Jack’s shoulder.
Earlier, he had thought Locke could read his thoughts. Now, he wished Jack could. He could never do anything so dangerous as to say something, but now, almost more than he wanted the pain to stop, he wanted to kiss Jack. If he could have made a bargain with God to kiss Jack just once and then die, he would have made it in that minute.
He thought he felt Jack’s heart beating faster, speeding up to match his own, but surely that was his imagination. Then he thought he heard Jack’s breathing grow raspy. He closed his eyes. Were those fingers in his hair his imagination? The hand that turned his head toward Jack’s? The lips that met his, first so softly and then with undeniable hunger?
Boone moaned softly, giving into Jack’s kiss, melting into him. A sweet ache spread from his throat down to his stomach as Jack grabbed his hair and pulled him in even closer. Jack’s tongue slowly explored his mouth and Boone began to feel deliciously warm all over. He shivered, this time from the pleasure of anticipation. His hands dug into Jack’s shirt, caressing his firm chest and stomach.
Jack pulled up Boone’s T-shirt and the warmth of his hand on Boone’s chest was electric. Jack teased Boone’s right nipple until Boone thought he would come just from that. He impatiently took Jack’s hand and slid it down to the bulge in his pants. Jack’s hand closed firmly on Boone’s cock, and Boone inhaled sharply. Jack moved so slowly, so tenderly, seemingly afraid to jar Boone’s bad leg.
Boone didn’t want to move a muscle, scared to jostle his leg, and reluctant to wake if this really were a dream. His stomach muscles contracted as Jack’s hand began rubbing his cock with sure, firm strokes. He moaned again, burying his mouth in Jack’s neck. He clung to him as he had when Jack had rescued him from drowning. Jack was saving his life all over again and it was nearly driving Boone out of his mind. He kept Boone at the edge of orgasm for ages, teasing him, prolonging the torturous pleasure. “Jack,” Boone begged, “please....”
Jack answered him with a fierce, probing kiss, and finally sent him over the edge into an all-encompassing, glorious, blinding orgasm. Boone lay against Jack, spent and gasping, the pain of his leg having receded for several merciful seconds.
He drifted into sleep, the nightmares at bay for now.
“What is it Boone?” Jack was saying.
“Hmmm?” Boone said sleepily.
“I thought you said something,” Jack said, also sounding drowsy. He yawned. “I thought you said my name.”
“I, I guess I was dreaming,” Boone said. The cold, hard night pressed back in on him, and his leg was throbbing worse than ever. Tears came to his eyes, but whether they were from pain or disappointment, he couldn’t say.