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Shift (Jack, Sawyer, Kate) PG

Title: Shift
Summary: Three different reactions to the crash
Rating: PG
Note: For astra2104's day as Queen at lostsquee. She requested fic set during the pilot and I don't think I've ever really written that...!

Jack wakes to the sound of strange birds and insects. He opens his eyes and all he sees is green. This is not the plane.

A dog, just as out of place as he is, appears, then runs off into the jungle. There's a jungle.

He wonders if he’s dreaming, until he tries to stand and a searing pain stabs through his shoulder. You can’t feel pain in dreams, can you?

He fumbles in his suit jacket pocket, finds two small airplane bottles of vodka the stewardess slipped him. He still feels drunk. Maybe he simply blacked out on the plane. There’s no island, there’s no roar coming from the beach.

A pair of tennis shoes dangles, surreal, from a tree overhead, tossed there by the same force that threw him from plane. Thankfully, there is no body.

He sees his first body on the beach. There is nothing but noise and chaos and heat and people screaming, some bloodied, most in shock. He starts to run, assessing injuries as he runs past.

He’s still dreaming. Or still drunk. Just like Dad. He zeroes in on a pregnant woman, shaking the image from his head of his father's shaking hands during that last operation.

He helps the pregnant woman -- just a girl, really -- to safety and looks around. His father’s body is somewhere in that wreckage or else it’s lost in that jungle, but he can’t think about that right now. Someone else needs him.


Sawyer’s hands are perfectly steady as he lights a cigarette.They shook back in Sydney, when he first took the gun out, but they’re not shaking now.

He’s the only calm one in the chaos. In the back of his mind, he thinks he might be in shock, but everything is too crystal clear for this to be shock. He sees everyone else running around, screaming, looking for loved ones.

If that was his body, crushed beneath the wing over there, no one would care, no one would miss him.

The rush of nicotine is just what he needs, but he could really use a drink. Probably, there’s a whole minibar back in the plane.

Some idiot in a suit -- who wears a suit on a plane? -- is out there being a hero, rescuing people. He’s not going to be that guy. What’s the point?

He takes another drag on the cigarette. He’s only got himself to depend on and that’s fine by him.


Mercifully, Kate got the cuffs unlocked and off in those in horrible seconds before the plane crashed, but she can still feel them around her wrists. She's rubbing them when she stumbles across the doctor, shirtless and on his knees, bleeding from a wound he can’t reach and asking, breathlessly, for her help.

She doesn’t know he’s a doctor yet, not until he tells her. He doesn’t know who she is, and so she says nothing, just listens.

He wouldn’t have asked for her help if he knew who she was, wouldn’t confide in her, wouldn’t smile at her like that.

Her hands tremble as she stitches him up. He’s not going to know about her, as long as they’re here. She runs through her aliases, tries to think of the right backstory, but he doesn’t ask.

He looks at her with gratitude, like they’ve shared something. She smiles back because, for all he knows, this is who she is, someone who helps, someone who listens.

She can be that person now, if she wants. The crash was a godsend.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
Okay, I love this. It's so clear and to the point and it works so well. I love the threads you pull through all of them, the shaking hands or lack of them, the images that they somehow share. That worked really well. And I love each of their attitudes to what they've just been through. It fits so well. In a way, they're all thinking about themselves, but it comes across so much differently for each character.

I love Jack trying to put the pieces together at the beginning. I sat down with a notebook to rewatch this, and the first word I wrote was 'green', so I like how you picked that out too. I like how he thinks it's his dream, how he's just drunk, how he can't quite take it in. And I love the way he thinks about his father's body being somewhere in that wreckage, but he pushes the thoughts away. He does what he needs to do.

Sawyer is kind of the complete contrast to that. I love how he's so calm, and how even he knows that's not quite right. But I think he's changed by what he's been through in Sydney, and he's kind of shut down. It's not quite shock, it's different to that, it's a kind of giving up, a kind of resignation. That kind of shows when he's watching Jack and just sees the pointlessness in it all.

Kate is kind of this middle ground between them. She believes that she's like Sawyer, but she wants to be like Jack, which is why she spends so much damn time flitting between the two of them of course. But I love how she has the lies on the tip of her tongue, but Jack never asks for them. I just really like the simplicity in that detail. And I love how Jack makes her want to be a better person, makes her want to be the kind, helpful one, at least while she's there. You get the impression that it's always going to be temporary, but I don't think that makes her mean it any less.

I love the way it just all fits together and I love how much you can show us of these characters with such few words. Just lovely. Great work :)
Jul. 27th, 2007 04:53 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much! You always leave the most lovely, detailed feedback! ♥

I really enjoyed revisiting the pilot, knowing what we know now about them, what was preying on each of their minds that we didn't know at the time: Jack's dead father and his guilt over that and his own drinking, Kate's being a career criminal and deciding that this is the moment to make a fresh start and reinvent herself into someone she wish she might have been, and, of course, Sawyer in his own nosedive from what happened in Sydney. I do think so much was established in those first few scenes with these three and it all holds up even (or especially) knowing what we know now.

Thanks so much for your fb on this!
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
Seriously, you totally wrote the Jack one I would have..only you did it ten times better and shorter so I ADORE IT! With all that confusion, I still don't know how he got his bearings, I don't know how any of them did, Shannon..remember Shannon, I think she and Jack acted pretty much the way normal people would..screaming and having a WTF moments.

Oh Jack, I still don't know how he hit solid ground and wasn't killed..or how Claire didn't lose the baby, or how Locke could walk..but it's that island, that crazy kooky island that did it.

You make me read Kate! But you have her nailed down in this, I swear I can still see her walking out of that jungle..through those bushes rubbing her wrists and finding Jack..looking at him as he held out the needle to help him.

Sawyer..he had me at that scene, he did, but I think a lot of that was almost bravado on his part, just so cool and collected that he can stop to smoke..he hides a lot, he does, but you totally get under his skin to the real James..and do it magnificently!
Jul. 27th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
Oh thank you, so much, hon! :) It was such a treat to go back to the pilot and think about them all again, knowing what we didn't know about them at the time. You always say the sweetest things! ♥ Glad you liked this one! So much great fic is already coming out of the luau! And goodness, I'm already completely behind on reading myself!
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was...exactly what I had in mind.
That is so well-written and it just fits; I love how I can read this and have all these different images and feelings about each person stumbling through my brain, and you just write a few well-chosen sentences and they all make sense.
Jack thinking about his father's body somewhere in the wreckage, Sawyer thinking about the man he shot, Kate running through her lies...these are all things we didn't know during watching it the first time, but rewatching it with all this information, and especially reading this fic where you bring this together, it gives real depth and layers to each of them.

Plus I think you - once again - managed to sum up Jack in a nutshell:

His father’s body is somewhere in that wreckage or else it’s lost in that jungle, but he can’t think about that right now. Someone else needs him.

Thank you so so much for this! It makes me fall in love with the show and fandom all over again ;)

Jul. 27th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so happy this hit the spot!

I really enjoyed revisiting the pilot and our first impressions of these characters and how that shifts just a little now that eknow more about them, what must have been on their minds in the first chaos of the crash.

I'm loving all the wildly different and amazing fic your prompt produced.

All hail queen Astra! And I'm so glad you're using the Blingeed icons. YAY! :)
Jul. 25th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
wow, this is pitch perfect. I really love it!

my favorite section is Sawyer's (pffft yes, I know. but it's GREAT)

If that was his body, crushed beneath the wing over there, no one would care, no one would miss him.

that is sad but also pretty true. how did he evolve, our boy. I am proud.

awesome job and I love how you have that hand thing to tie it all together.
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! Man, I can never get enough of Sawyer and I loved revisiting that first impression we had of him because, he definitely made a lasting one there, with me. And glad you liked the shaking hand motif ... I guess it started when I noticed just how steady Sawyer's hands were when he lights that cigarette -- and yet how much they shook back in Sydney.
Jul. 25th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
Lovely work! I never connected Jack's recent memories of his father with his immediate on-beach help to Claire, but you're exactly right. And Kate, almost as much as Rose or Locke, does seem to react positively to being on the island, doesn't she? She's just a lot more personally aware of the negative connotations as well.

Probably, there’s a whole minibar back in the plane.

Ah, Sawyer. Good to see that your priorities are in order. ;)
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
Thank you! I really enjoyed rerunning the events of the pilot through the filter of what we now know about them. And Kate, poor thing, just trying to start over, be someone new and better. Can't run from your past, Kate. Especially when they have a file on you!

And aww, Sawyer, I think he started plotting to ransack that plane pretty early on. The man has both a death wish and a very strong instinct for survival!
Jul. 26th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
Ohh, this is so good. Jack thinking he's just drunk, like his father, Kate, not knowing which of her personas she should show to Jack, undecisiveness that lasts to this day.

I especially loved the detail of how Sawyer's hands didn't shake after the crash, when he was lighting that cigarette, as opposed to when he almost killed that man in Sydney. The plane crash shock couldn't win over the shock of murdering an innocent man.
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:04 am (UTC)
Thank you, love.

I especially loved the detail of how Sawyer's hands didn't shake after the crash, when he was lighting that cigarette, as opposed to when he almost killed that man in Sydney. The plane crash shock couldn't win over the shock of murdering an innocent man.

That was really the impetus for his section and the whole "shaking hand motif," the contrast between his being so cool and collected in the aftermath of the crash, versus what we see later of him in Sydney. I'm glad you liked it. I always love it when a new detail like that from canon jumps out at you!
Jul. 26th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
(Reader's Digest Condensed Version)- Awesome triplet!
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
Jul. 26th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)
I love this, the way it looks at the three of them. I started copying and pasting lines that I thought were brilliant, but there were too many. Jack's ones about dreaming and being drunk, and then Sawyer so calm, and the last line for Kate.
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:07 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm seeing so many great fics based on this prompt (including yours!), it was such a good one! And I really enjoyed revisiting our first impression of all of them, and their first impression of their situation, and adding in what we know about them now. Canon doesn't hold up to being revisited but the pilot really does.
Jul. 26th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
wow, this was just lovely - so insightful and on point for each of the characters. and happy memories for the pilot - what a great two hours of television!
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Thank you! It was a lot of fun to go back and relive the pilot again! It really was a great two hours of TV!
Jul. 26th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
This really takes me right back to the beginning! A lovely read, so perfect for each of them.
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you, especially for reading this while on the road. And wow, did I love yours! :)
Jul. 26th, 2007 08:00 am (UTC)
Oh, this is just... perfect! Jack, and his coming to consciousness without really understanding what's going on, Sawyer and his hands. But, strange as it is, what hits me most is this line about Kate:

She smiles back because, for all he knows, this is who she is, someone who helps, someone who listens.
She can be that person now, if she wants. The crash was a godsend.

Or maybe not so strange. It's what I think about her, after all.
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
Thank you! I do think Kate stood to benefit from the crash maybe most of all and she definitely seized her chance to become someone new. Glad you liked this. :)
Jul. 26th, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
Those were so insightful and perfect! I especially love Jack's one with the mentions of his father and the drink. Just perfect, really.
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! I have such a weakness for anything to do with Jack and Christian so I was happy to be able to retroactively fit that reference in there. :)
Jul. 26th, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
Marvelous! Three perfectly in-focus snapshots - love it!
Jul. 27th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
Oh thank you! :) ♥
Jul. 28th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
All three viewpoints were insightful and perfect. I liked Sawyer's the best, go figure. ;) I hadn't really thought about how silly Jack might look to Sawyer, in his suit and running to and fro. We knew both men right from the beginning, didn't we, and yet now we know how desperately Sawyer longs to be the hero (yet is terrified of it), and how desperately Jack often wishes he didn't have to be. They're mirror images of each other and even of themselves, just like we all are. And Kate's always a broken mirror, for anyone to see clearly, even herself. Really excellent job, hon!
Jul. 28th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I always love Sawyer the best too, surprise, surprise! ;) I love going back to the beginning and seeing it through new eyes, with new information so this was really fun to do, especially how Jack and Sawyer mirror each other even though they don't realize it, and, as you said so perfectly, Kate's the broken mirror who doesn't know which one she's more like.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )


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