Pairing: Kate-centric, slight Sawyer/Kate
Summary: This scared her more than dying
Spoilers: General S3
Note: A very dark and strange speculative fic: What Kate might do if she found herself pregnant. Definitely not a fluffy baby fic. I can't say why I felt the need to write this one, but thanks so much to eponine119 for encouraging me to post this, despite my misgivings.
The second Kate started coughing up blood, her first thought wasn’t that she was going to die. She’d seen it happen to Claire and then she’d seen it happen to Sun and she knew what came next. Without any more serum, there was no hope.
But her first, panicky thought as she stared at her bloodstained fingers was that now she couldn’t hide this anymore, the thing that scared her more than dying.
She thought she’d been scared the day she’d finally had to admit to herself that she was pregnant, when she added up all her symptoms and mentally backtracked to that first time with Sawyer and came to the same, stomach-wrenching conclusion.
She hadn’t asked him for a pregnancy kit, hadn’t bothered to sneak one from his stash. She knew. And it was only going to get worse. She’d been keeping secrets her whole life but a secret like this is not one you kept for very long. It was the one bad situation she wouldn’t be able to run away from, not here.
The thought made her crazy, made her want to take off, strike out into the jungle, even though she could only end up right back here. She decided she’d run the only way she could. She borrowed one of Sawyer’s guns, checked to make sure it was loaded, and pressed the cool barrel against her temple. She counted down from 10 but when she hit “1” her finger refused to obey. Instead of pulling the trigger, the gun slid out of her hand. Relief washed over even as she tasted bile.
So she had done the next best thing. She avoided everyone, especially Sawyer. If she went to his tent, like she wanted to, he would notice, just as quickly as she had, that her breasts were swollen and too sensitive to touch. If she slept beside him, he’d notice that she got up every 20 minutes to pee.
He’d stop asking after her, stopped following her with that sad gaze. She let him think she didn’t care anymore and eventually he stopped trying. She almost gave in so many times in the middle of the night but sharing this nightmare with him wouldn’t help either of them. So she had said nothing. It had been four weeks, since she’d known and each day she woke up with the dread of if on her. No one had guessed; she hadn’t put on any weight because she hadn’t been eating.
Jack had asked after her, with kind, doctorly concern, but she brushed him off. She was moody, she said, because of the way things stood with Sawyer. It was only half a lie. He’d nodded, his eyes hooded and uncertain, and let her be.
She looked off to her left. Sawyer’s tent was just a few feet away. If she screamed, someone would come, they would get Jack. He would do everything he could for her but it wouldn’t be enough.
Her stomach convulsed and she spat up again, trying uselessly to block it with her hands. She spread her palms, staring in horror; the blood appeared redder now and she knew she didn’t have long. The beach was blurring before her eyes, the only sharpness now in the clarity of her mind, This is it.
She had only minutes left before she passed out. Time enough to make it to the jungle, she prayed, time enough to get so far that no one could find her.
She made it just to the jungle’s edge before her legs gave out. She crawled behind a fallen tree trunk. Like an animal, she thought as she hugged her failing knees into her body, rocking herself. Animals crawled off to give birth. To die. She hadn’t pictured this is how she would die, covered in dirt and blood, whimpering like an injured dog.
She should have gone to Jack. She should have gone to Sawyer, let him hold her every night while he could. She should have written him a note, at least. She tried composing it now, in her head, as if somehow, he’d get the message if she just concentrated hard enough.
James. She’d started calling him that when she was mad at him, when she wanted to make sure he was paying attention, using his name like a reprimand, like her mother did when she called for her by her full name. But Kate had also whispered his name in his ear when she came with him inside her and maybe that made up for it.
She started the letter again in her mind. James. She wanted to say she was sorry. Wanted to tell him she had no regrets, that he shouldn’t blame himself. Tell him she loved him. It might not be the truth but if you were leaving someone, you had to leave them right. She’d done this all wrong. Her whole life, she’d fucked it up.
He had meant more to her than just a warm body. She just couldn’t explain that when he looked at her the way he did, like he knew her, like he loved her. He wasn’t seeing her for who she was. He couldn’t begin to know her and if he had, he’d have drawn his hand back as quick as if he’d been burned.
She was doing him a favor, keeping him at arm’s length. It wasn’t about Jack, not really, but it was so easy to let Sawyer think so.
I’m sorry, she would say, for making him believe he wasn’t good enough for her. I was lucky, she would have said. I was lucky to know you. I was lucky to have you.
“I was lucky,” she whispered to the jungle and then the blood came up again.
He came out here sometimes, when he wanted to be alone. Everyone else avoided the spot, but Sawyer felt at peace here, in the quiet and shade.
Sawyer was the one who insisted they bury Kate where they found her, and in the end, Jack gave in. Jack had wanted her laid to rest with a handmade cross, on the rise overlooking the ocean, next to Sun and Shannon and Boone. The tree was marker enough, Sawyer argued, prepared to fight Jack on this, but Jack hadn’t fought him anymore, just gave him a long hard look before he walked away and let Sawyer do what he will.
He’d dug the grave by himself. He’d dug too many graves here.
Another day faded into night as he let his fingers trail over the decaying tree. Each time he touched it, a little more came away. Soon, he thought, there would be nothing left.