Summary: The police have Sawyer trapped in a motel with his hostage, Jack.
Rating: R for language, violence
Warning: Sad! And longish.
Note: If you were hoping for smut, I’m sorry to disappoint you. This chapter’s all about the angst. And although I’m *not* religious, my main character is in this fic. I don’t have any particular beliefs or agenda myself.
Also: this is the chapter that finally fulfills demonqueen666’s 50 Day Fandom Challenge to write something to this quote from the Goo Goo Dolls’ song, “Iris”: “When everything feels like the movies, you bleed just to know you’re alive.”
(Part 1)(Part 2) (Part 3)
“Fuck!” Sawyer was pale as he leaned against the motel door. On the other side, who knows how many cops were swarming. He bowed his head, clearly trying to come up with a plan.
Jack sat slumped against a wall on the other side of the room. His head still hurt too much for him to be thinking clearly. He watched Sawyer closely, tensing to see what he would do next. He was glad Sawyer hadn’t bothered to recuff him. As woozy he was, he couldn’t pose much of a threat to Sawyer. Besides, Sawyer still had a gun.
Sawyer peered through the blinds and quickly jumped back. “Snipers,” he said under his breath. He put his hand over his eyes, but just for a moment. When his hand came down, his face had changed. The sympathetic man who had bandaged Jack’s head wound was gone and in his place was the convicted murderer who had threatened to cut his throat.
Sawyer’s face was set, his eyes hard. His expression chilled Jack. “Get up,” he said, his voice cold.
Jack put his hand on the wall, pushing himself up. His head swam. He felt like he was going to pitch forward, so he leaned over, bracing his hands on the bed. “What are you going to do, Sawyer?” he asked quietly.
Sawyer didn’t answer him, just walked over slowly. He pulled the pistol out from the waistband of his jeans and pointed it at Jack.
“I’m not going to try anything,” Jack said wearily. “You can put that away.”
“Don’t try to tell me what to do, preacher,” Sawyer said, his voice a near growl. The gun didn’t waver. Sawyer grabbed Jack by the arm and hauled him over to the window.
“I got a hostage,” he yelled. “You hear me? I ain’t comin’ out.” He jammed the gun under Jack’s chin, pressing so hard that Jack started to choke.
“Sawyer,” Jack gasped out, fighting against the hand holding the gun. As his hand brushed Sawyer’s -- still raw and bloody from when he’d smashed the mirror - Sawyer let out a yell and instinctively flung his fist back, hard. The gun connected with Jack’s jaw, and he went down, pulling Sawyer with him.
Just then, the window exploded violently inward with a sharp crack, raining glass down on them. Sawyer stared up in shock at the shattered window and the blinds now rattling crazily as the wind forced its way into the room.
“Fuck, they’re shooting!” Sawyer’s hand closed even tighter on Jack’s arm, as if to reassure himself they were both still there.
Jack realized he had been holding his breath only when he let it go suddenly. What had just happened? Maybe he was wrong, but he felt God’s hand in their having fallen just as the bullets slammed through the glass.
The throbbing in his jaw brought him back to reality. He put his hand to the spot where the gun had hit him, moving his jaw tentatively to make sure it wasn’t broken. It wasn’t. Sawyer caught the movement and Jack saw remorse flicker in his eyes, although he didn’t say anything.
“Hey,” Sawyer said, as he gave him a nudge. “Hey, we gotta move away from the window.” Jack nodded and crawled to the other side of the bed, Sawyer right behind him.
The look of regret on Sawyer’s face had been lightning-quick, but now Jack knew that he wasn’t willing to hurt him. Or that if he did, it didn’t matter.
Although his temple and his jaw still throbbed painfully, Jack’s head was suddenly clear. He couldn’t pinpoint why or how, but now he didn’t fear what Sawyer could do to him. It didn’t matter if Sawyer killed him. A feeling of utter peace descended on him. It was acceptance of anything that might happen, and knowledge of what he was here to do.
He’d been asking God this whole time why this had happened, why He had let this happen. And now he realized. Because Jack had been hurt, broken, and humiliated, Sawyer had reached out to him. Jack’s weakness had awoken some tenderness in Sawyer. Because he’d seen his father lash out, the way Jack’s had. It wasn’t much to have in common with Sawyer, but it was something.
Kate was gone, lost. But Jack could still save Sawyer. He glanced over at the man with the gun. Somehow he felt he’d known him much longer than a day or so. He felt like he’d always known him.
“Help me with this,” Sawyer said as he began pushing the mattress towards the window. Jack hesitated and then helped him move the mattress so that it blocked a good deal of the window. They then pushed the bed up against the mattress to hold it in place.
Jack leaned against the bed, watching Sawyer warily. Sawyer sat facing him, his eyes on the window, the gun lying loosely in his lap. The phone rang. Sawyer just looked at it blankly until it finally went silent.
“What are you going to do Sawyer?” Jack asked again, keeping his voice low and calm, as if he were talking a scared cat out of a tree. “Do you expect to get out of here?”
“I can’t believe she fuckin’ called the cops.” Sawyer looked past him, as if picturing Kate wherever she was now, maybe speeding down the highway in a stolen car, blaring the radio.
“Maybe she didn’t,” Jack said evenly.
“That’s some really big fuckin’ coincidence,” Sawyer snorted. He gave Jack a cool, appraising glance. “Why would you want to defend her anyway? After what she did to you?”
“She’s not all bad. No one is.”
Sawyer snorted again. “Ha. Well, she comes the closest. I guess it’s your job to find the silver lining, huh? Let me tell you, that is one fucked-up bitch. She couldn’t even leave a priest alone...” his voice trailed off in disgust.
Jack bowed his head, the sense of shame he’d almost forgotten returning full force.
The phone rang again and Sawyer grabbed the receiver. “Yeah?” he said tersely. He glanced at Jack. “He’s OK. No thanks to you gun-happy yahoos out there. You ever hear the word ‘negotiate’? Well, I got a hostage and we’re gonna negotiate. If there’s any more shooting, he’ll be the first to get shot, got it?”
Those words should have worried Jack but they didn’t shake his preternatural calm. If he was going to die today, he was ready.
“I want a car,” Sawyer was saying. “Full tank of gas. No tracking devices. No one following.” Sawyer frowned. He didn’t like what he was hearing on the other end. “You wanna think about that some more? No one wants to see the priest die, but so help me, I got nothin’ to lose here.” He slammed the phone down.
He didn’t look at Jack, which might have been cause for concern. If Sawyer was going to kill him, he’d probably have to work himself up to it. Sawyer didn’t seem cold-blooded enough to be chatting with him one minute and shooting him dead the next.
“What did they say?” Jack ventured to ask.
Sawyer ran his hands over his face. He looked drained. “They don’t wanna give me a car.” He finally met Jack’s eyes, a cold, amused smile on his lips. “They say there’s no way I’m getting out of here alive with you.”
Jack’s confidence wobbled for a moment. “It seems pretty hopeless,” he said finally. After a long pause, he said, “Have you considered giving yourself up?”
“Never,” Sawyer said flatly, smacking the box spring with his hurt hand, and Jack winced for him. “There’s no way they’re gonna cuff me and cart me back to pump me full of poison. I’m not gonna give ‘em the satisfaction. I’d rather go out here. “ He waved the gun, a manic look in his eyes. “You know, blaze of glory, fuckin’ Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
“Your hand...” Jack pointed at Sawyer’s bloodied knuckles.
“Forget it,” Sawyer said with a shrug.
“Doesn’t it hurt?”
Sawyer looked at him, amazed. “You want to know if I’m in pain? Un-fuckin’ believable. You tryin’ for sainthood or somethin’?”
Jack managed the ghost of a smile. “I’m OK, if that’s what you mean. I know you didn’t mean it.”
Something flashed in Sawyer’s eyes again, something like sympathy. Or maybe Jack was seeing what he wanted to see there.
“Don’t mind the pain,” Sawyer said. “At least we know we’re not dead yet, huh?”
“We might both die today. I know I’m ready. Are you, Sawyer?”
“No, I’m not fuckin’ ready. There’s a lot of things I was hopin’ to do first.” His face turned wistful and Jack again caught a glimpse of a different Sawyer. He was talking quietly, more to himself than to Jack. “I wanted to go to the desert, you know, just get far away from the city and see all the stars. After it rains, it’s supposed to bloom like fuckin’ crazy. I always wanted to see that.” Jack thought he detected some mistiness in Sawyer’s eyes.
“Aw, fuck it,” Sawyer said, his face going hard again. “I guess it’s the end of the line for me. I bought myself one more day, is all.”
“It doesn’t have to be the end, Sawyer,” Jack said gently. “There is a life after this life, if you want it.”
“I don’t believe in all that crap,” Sawyer said harshly, waving the gun again. “I grew up goin’ to church, sure. But when your Daddy blows his head off in front of you, you kind of stop believin’ in God.” The words rang between them like a challenge.
“That was a terrible thing,” Jack said, picking his words carefully. “I can’t imagine what that was like for you. Life dealt you a horrible blow when you were very young and I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, James.”
Sawyer’s head jerked at the mention of his first name but he didn’t interrupt Jack.
“I’ve often wondered what my life would be like if I’d had a different father,” Jack continued. “I might not have become a priest.”
He had Sawyer’s full attention now, however grudging.
“I didn’t want to be the man my father was,” Jack said, unable to keep the bitterness out of his voice. “He was a brutal man. There were times I wished he was dead. There were many times I wished I was dead. But I had to find a way to make something good come out of it. I had to have hope. Because the alternative was despair. God gave me hope. He can give you hope, too Sawyer.”
Sawyer just stared blankly at him. “I’ve heard that God spiel before,” he said after a while, shaking his head. He gazed at Jack as though he pitied him. “You can believe whatever you want. If that works for you, great. Me, I’ll take the despair. At least it’s real. At least I can feel it.”
He held his damaged hand out to Jack. He was growing so angry that the hand started to shake. “That’s real, motherfucker. You wanna compare scars? I bet I got yours beat. That’s what’s real. That’s what life is. And that’s all there is. And when we’re dead, that’s the end of it. Fuckin’ peace, maybe is all. Just quiet and ...” his voice broke as his face crumpled in some combination of fury and sorrow.
“Sawyer...” Jack tried to say, but Sawyer cut him off angrily.
“Forget it padre. They’re gonna kill me today one way or the other. I just want to make sure it’s on my terms, not theirs.”
Jack kept silent. There had to be another way to get through to Sawyer. He started to pray. He hoped there was still time.
“You know Gary Gilmore?” Sawyer said, addressing the air and not Jack. “He went out the right way. Shot in the heart. No goddamn injection for him.” Suddenly he stood up. “Fuck!” he bellowed.
He started pacing around the room. “I’m never gettin’ out of here,” he said, as if he couldn’t really believe it. “A cheap crummy motel room. What have I seen since I been out? A gas station, a parking lot and this fuckin’ motel.”
The phone rang again and he swore and pulled the cord out of the wall and hurled it across the room. It hit the wall hard and fell to the floor with a thud.
Sawyer grabbed the beside lamp and threw that. Then he grabbed a chair - the one Jack had been cuffed to - and threw it at the TV. Still not satisfied, he held the TV over his head and threw it to the floor, grinning at the noise of the impact.
A loud knock came on the door.
”Everyone OK in there?”
“Peachy!” Sawyer yelled back with a smirk. “Just doin’ a bit of redecoratin’!”
Sawyer looked around at the destruction he had caused. Then he stared at the gun in his hand, stared as hard as if he were having a conversation with it.
And then he looked at Jack. His face was a mask, except for the eyes, which burned into Jack’s.
“Sawyer?” Jack said, standing up, getting a terrible feeling from the look in Sawyer’s eyes.
“You’d best get back behind that mattress,” Sawyer said and Jack’s heart began to pound.
“What are you going to do?”
“Never mind.” Sawyer walked over to the door and unlocked it. He held the gun up as he turned the doorknob.
“Wait!” Jack yelled, rushing to stop Sawyer. He grabbed Sawyer by the arm. Sawyer turned on with a low growl. He pointed the gun straight at Jack’s forehead.
“You wanna die too, preacher?” Sawyer asked.
Jack swallowed hard. “You won’t pull that trigger, Sawyer. Come away from the door and let’s talk about this.”
“Done talkin’,” Sawyer said, weariness creeping over his face. “Can’t you see I’m just done? Just let me go,” he said quietly.
“You can’t,” Jack said firmly, his fear vanishing. “I’m not going to let you. Sawyer, it’s suicide. You can’t do it.”
”Doesn’t matter.” Sawyer’s eyes were wet. He gave Jack an anguished look. “It’s too late.”
He turned back to the door and Jack threw his arms around him, trying to wrestle him away. Sawyer elbowed him hard in the stomach and when he doubled over, he pivoted and threw a punch to his jaw. Jack fell to the floor; Sawyer had knocked the breath out of him and he couldn’t move or cry out as he saw the door open.
Sawyer stepped out, firing the gun. The response was immediate. He was hit with a volley of bullets. It seemed to be happening in slow motion but Jack was suddenly able to move. He tackled Sawyer, knocking him to the ground and back inside the room.
He ignored the frenzied shouting outside. He just got Sawyer clear of the door and shut it.
Sawyer was lying in a bloody heap. Jack counted at least seven bullet wounds, three of them in the chest. He wasn’t breathing.
Jack prayed he could remember how to do CPR. He laid Sawyer on his back and began breathing into his mouth as he pressed on his chest in intervals, mindful of his wounds. “Please, God, not yet,” he begged. “You can’t take him yet!”
Still nothing. “No, you can’t do this!” Jack yelled, before trying again. “Please, this time,” he prayed. And then he felt an inrush of air that meant Sawyer was breathing on his own.
“Thank you,” Jack said quietly as he hovered over Sawyer.
“Sawyer, can you hear me?”
Sawyer’s eyelids fluttered and then he was staring at Jack, his eyes clouded with pain and confusion.
“Don’t move,” Jack ordered. “I’m going to go out and tell them not to shoot. And to get an ambulance.”
“No!” Sawyer’s eyes widened in alarm. “Don’t,” he gasped, his voice raw and raspy.
“I’m sorry, Sawyer,” Jack said, meaning it sincerely. “If you don’t get medical help, you’re going to die.”
“Gonna die anyway. Just will you ... wait?”
“Wait for what? For you to die here?” Jack asked in alarm.
“Yeah,” Sawyer said, closing his eyes, seemingly drained from the effort of talking.
“You’re not going to die,” Jack’s voice was firm. He took Sawyer’s hand in his and gave it a squeeze.
“Don’t be ... stupid,” Sawyer wheezed. “They might save me tonight and ... kill me tomorrow. I don’t mind going, just not ... like that.”
A loud metallic bang sounded. They were trying to knock the door down. It had locked automatically. Jack could open it and save them the trouble, but he needed that extra minute with Sawyer.
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Jack said, watching the door shudder under the force of the repeated blows. “Sawyer, I came to the jail to give you the Last Rites. It’s also called the Sacrament of the Infirm. It’s also said for those who are sick or wounded. Can I say it for you now?”
Sawyer opened and closed his eyes and Jack took that as a yes. He didn’t have any oil, but he figured the Lord would understand. He wet his finger and rubbed it on Sawyer’s forehead and his hands. "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in His love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit,” he said. ”May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”
He leaned over Sawyer, listening to his unsteady breathing. “Sawyer. James. Tell me you believe. If you die tonight, or tomorrow, or years from now, you must know God loves you. He’s always loved you. He’s just waiting to forgive you and to take you home.”
Sawyer managed a weak smile and a harsh, gurgling sound that was probably laughter. “You know, I would have liked to see those desert flowers.”
“You will,” Jack said, knowing it was a lie. Sawyer knew it too. “I’ll go, James. I’ll go for you.” He took Sawyer’s hand in his and squeezed tight.
“Wouldn’t mind ... seeing ya on the other side...” Sawyer smiled and was still.
The door shuddered one last time and gave way. Jack shielded his eyes as dozens of bobbing flashlights blinded him. “Hands in the air!” someone shouted.
Jack obliged, although it meant having to let go of Sawyer’s hand.
“He needs an ambulance,” Jack said as he was grabbed and pulled upright roughly. Men in riot gear swarmed around Sawyer, and Jack was hustled outside. In the blinding lights, and swarm of people, he made out one familiar face.
“Good to see you,” Officer Locke said, stepping forward and offering his hand. Jack took it automatically, although he was still looking back at the motel door. “Are you OK?”
Jack was too dazed to answer.
“Father Shepard? Come with me,” a female paramedic was saying, taking Jack by the arm. Jack nodded and let himself be led away to a waiting ambulance.
“Sawyer needs you more,” he said as the woman shone a light in his eyes. “He’s hurt badly.” The woman exchanged a look with her partner.
“I’m sure they’re taking care of him,” she said finally.
They took his pulse and fussed over his head wound as he distractedly looked for Sawyer. Finally a stretcher made its way into the motel room and came out bearing the man who had held him hostage for 42 hours.
Jack stood up and brushed the paramedic away as he walked over to the stretcher. Sawyer’s eyes were vacant, staring at nothing as they carried him past Jack. But he was still smiling.
Jack felt like the pavement was rushing up at him. He swayed and would have fallen over if a strong hand hadn’t held him up. Through a blur, he saw the kindly face of Officer Locke. He didn’t say anything to Jack, just nodded and squeezed his arm.
“It’s all over,” Locke said at last, taking him back to the ambulance. “He’s at peace. And you’re going to be OK.”
Jack nodded, unable to answer as the paramedic hooked him up to an I.V. He didn’t know what to feel. He was vaguely aware of tears spilling down his face as they bandaged his head and wrapped a blanket around him.
He was surrounded by people -- the paramedics still working on him, the police waiting to question him, and behind them he could see news cameras flooding the scene with bright lights, but he felt curiously alone. He couldn’t seem to hear what anyone was saying to him. He just saw mouths moving.
A harsh light from above swept over the scene. Jack looked up as the helicopter flew over. He was surprised to realize it was evening. The stars were starting to come out. He wondered what they’d look like in the desert, away from all these lights.
End note: This is the ending I'd pictured, even before "Do No Harm."