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Guardian (Jack/Kate), PG

Title: Guardian
Pairing: Jack/Kate, mostly gen-ish
Summary: Kate feels more like Aaron's guardian than his mother. (Post-island AU.)
Rating: PG
Note: This idea came to me during the luau when a few people asked for "Jack and Kate and babies." This is as baby-centric as I get! So this is for all the Jate fans, for all the fans of Jack and Kate, separately, but especially for isis2015, who had a bad day. :)

Jack is better with Aaron than she is, Kate realizes, watching Jack zip up Aaron’s coat, a tough job as the boy squirms, anxious to pet the dog passing by.

She’s standing a few yards away, half listening to one of the other moms here at the park. She still doesn’t feel like a mother herself. Even though the adoption went through long ago, she still thinks of herself as Aaron’s guardian. She likes the word better. She doesn’t have the first clue about being a mother, but she is here to protect Aaron, to keep him safe from any harm.

Jack can be so serious with Aaron, listening intently to his rambling 3-year-old prattle as if it were a speech by a Nobel Prize winner. And then, just when she thinks Jack is too serious, there comes his smile, rare on the island, more frequent now, as Aaron laughs. Kate beams at them both. It’s catching, the uncomplicated happiness of a little boy, sharing his joy at being with the only father he’s ever known.

Kate’s smile fades as she thinks of Claire and Charlie. Aaron won’t remember either of them. He wouldn’t remember Sawyer either, but that’s who Kate thinks of when she looks at his white-blond hair. Her breath catches in her throat at the memory of Sawyer. She doesn’t know if that’s part of why she’s so protective of Aaron, only that she’s determined to do everything in the world she can to prevent any heartbreak coming to that blond-haired little boy. The world is full of hurt, but she wants to make sure Aaron never knows anything like what she’s known, that he never has his world yanked out from under him like Sawyer did.That he never learns to hate, or fear, or lie or cheat.

She twists the ring on her finger. It still feels strange. Jack hadn’t insisted on it. He’d been surprised, but clearly pleased, when she’d wanted matching bands. She’s not used to the word “wife” either, even the second time around, but it’s just a word. It made Jack happy and so she was happy to do it.

Jack is so good with Aaron. He would die for the boy, Kate knows. He would die for her, and that’s what makes them a family. But if Jack ever lays a hand on Aaron, if he ever ... Kate allows herself to picture it, to let that sick feeling wash over her at the thought.

She’ll take Aaron, in the middle of the night, take him far away, where Jack will never find them. There’s a tightness in her chest when she thinks of leaving Jack, when she watches and waits for him to make that one wrong step that will send her out of his life forever.

But she won’t ever need to leave him, she reminds herself. Jack is a good man, the kindest she’s ever known. He’s a better father than she is a mother. She knows this. But it doesn’t stop her from making these silent, solemn promises to Aaron. I will never let you down. I will never let anyone hurt you.

Jack looks her way, a broad grin lighting up his face, and she waves. He has no idea that she plots her exit every day. He never will. Nothing bad will ever happen. She takes a deep breath, lets it out. Then another.

“Your husband is so good with your son,” the woman is saying and Kate nods.

“Thank you,” she says. “He’s ....” She thinks she needs to explain that Aaron’s not hers, not really, that Jack’s not his father. Instead she smiles and answers, “He is, isn’t he?”



( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 22nd, 2007 07:38 am (UTC)
Aw, honey. :) Thank you. That's so sweet of you.

I love the conflict there is in Kate, between what she knows of Jack and what she experienced with Wayne. I think that, in letting her mind go there, she was able to picture the worst of the worst and then to let it go. I also love how she relates her own growing up to being a mother, to taking care of a child and how what she went through makes her more determined to never be that kind of person.

It's a really lovely, bittersweet piece, hun. ♥ Thank you again.
Nov. 22nd, 2007 08:20 am (UTC)

So glad you liked it! This idea has been kicking around since the luau but your posts today about how much you still love Jack (and Kate) brought this back to mind. I can definitely see Kate being conflicted but I also think that once in mom-mode, she'd be a force to be reckoned with! And I've had that picture of Jack with his son (or, in this case, Aaron) on the playground in my head for a while now ... probably because Foxy seems like such a devoted dad in real life. :)

Have a better day today, hon!

Edited at 2007-11-22 08:20 am (UTC)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
I love this! The way Kate is so conflicted between thinking of Jack as the good man he is, yet she can't help but think of Wayne and the way he acted. Her promise to Aaron, her trying to ensure he has a good life, that he doesn't hurt as much as she did and still does, is perfectly in character.

This is absolutely amazing!
Nov. 23rd, 2007 06:55 am (UTC)
Thank you! I imagine it would be very hard for Kate to relax and trust anyone, even someone as dependable and kind as Jack. So glad you liked this. :)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
I kind of love that Kate doesn't think of herself as a mother, but there she is, basically laying down her life for the boy -- what a good mother does.

But more interesting is the idea that she's LOOKING for Jack to make a mistake and has to remind herself that he won't. Like she expects it, which says a lot about her life and how people have treated her. I also like the comparison to Sawyer with Aaron and how she doesn't seem to want Aaron to turn out like herself or him by giving him a life better than they had.

Happy Turkey Day!!
Nov. 23rd, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it! That's exactly what I was thinking here, that Kate is being a mother, and a fiercely protective one, even if she feels uncomfortable with the word. I think she'd have a hard time trusting anyone, even Jack, and that there would be this constant inner conflict and the urge to run when things "go bad," even as she tells herself they won't.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Hope it was a good one. ;)
Nov. 22nd, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
Awww, this is sweet. But the part of it I like is the underlying struggle, all those words Kate is uncomfortable with, and then the way she finds to make it work there at the end. Very nicely done.
Nov. 23rd, 2007 07:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think I mentioned this idea to you (in passing) a while back and it felt like time to write it. I can see these two working out, but not without a lot of effort on both their parts! ;) And I love the idea of Jack as a father, even if I'm not exactly "babies, yay!" LOL.
Nov. 22nd, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. It seems like a very real exploration of what Kate would be feeling in these circumstances. It rings very true how hard it would be for her to adjust to this life, to call herself a wife and a mother. Her worries are also very telling, echoes of her childhood and the childhood that she knows Sawyer had running through them. That's what she fears the most here, and I really think that she would. It felt spot on. And all the stuff you said about Jack's parenting sounded perfectly him too, how serious he was when relating to a three year old, how Aaron's laugh would make him smile, how he'd be more carefree in this life. You've painted such a vivid little snapshot here, and one that is simply perfect for these characters. Wonderful job, hon. ♥
Nov. 23rd, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! :) I tend to be more of a Skater but this is an idea I had for a while that I wanted to write. I think Jack would be such a wonderful father and I'm looking forward to him realizing that Aaron is really his nephew! And I think Kate would have a hard time adjusting to a "normal" life and that her tendency would be to bolt at a moment's notice, but I liked the idea that her promise to Aaron is what keeps her, even more than her vows to Jack. Very glad you liked this!
Nov. 22nd, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
Why is it that I always like Kate more in fics than in canon? Because once again, you manage to write her as something she could be, someone I understand and feel with and care for.

I will never let you down. I will never let anyone hurt you.

This is so her. And it's beautiful.

Happy Thanksgiving, love! Thank you for this ♥
Nov. 23rd, 2007 07:05 am (UTC)
Aww, it's so much easier to deal with Kate when she isn't flip-flopping between Jack and Sawyer and when she's not being petty and jealous just to further a damn romantic quadrangle! I can't ever quite give up on the girl in fic, even if she's bugging me in canon.

I loved the idea of her protecting Aaron here and that that's what makes her stay. I could see her leaving Jack, but not Aaron in this case.

Very glad you liked it. And Happy Thanksgiving, hon! :)
Nov. 23rd, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
oh, wow. guardian takes at its sense here, right? that is exactly how Kate sees herself. it's kind of sad that she's been hurt so much that she waits for Jack to lay a hand on Aaron.

but the family portrait is still so cute, even with everything underneath. as it was said, this is totally bittersweet (and awesome!)

Nov. 23rd, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)
Awww, your icon is adorable! And so perfect. :)

While it's impossible to imagine Jack ever hurting a child, I think it would be pretty hard-wired into Kate to expect something to go wrong. Of course, I like to think in this scenario that she manages to quiet her fears and realize Jack would never hurt her or Aaron and relax into being a happy family after all. They all deserve some happiness, right? Thanks for this lovely fb! ♥
Nov. 23rd, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. What a perfect post-island bit. Kate really isn't ever going be over her issues (how could she be?), and it's good to see her coping and trying and getting by despite that fact. And Jack's always struck me as having the potential to be a good father - if he was kept from yielding to his workaholic tendencies.

Aaron won’t remember either of them. He wouldn’t remember Sawyer either, but that’s who Kate thinks of when she looks at his white-blond hair.

Sad and spot on. Excellent work.
Nov. 23rd, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
I think one of the reasons that I don't read a lot of Jate fics is the ones I've read tend to be very unrealistically sunny and perfect. Not that we all don't love happy endings, but I guess I always like a bit of angst and conflict, especially if we're talking about these characters! I always relate to Kate as one of the few women on the island who doesn't want kids, and yet I feel like if entrusted with one, she'd do her damnedest to keep them safe from harm. And part of me thinking Jack would be a good father comes from Foxy being so good with his own kids. :)

Ahh, I had to work Sawyer in there somewhere. In my mind here, he didn't make it off the island. ;--;

So glad you liked this!
Nov. 23rd, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)
Wow! There was a lot packed into to this tiny story, much like how tiny Aaron is a symbol for Kate's past on and off island and her future with Jack. The writing is excellent, every line so sharply drawn.

Nov. 23rd, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much! That's one of the most wonderful comments I've ever gotten! :)

She does indeed see a lot in Aaron here, which is why he means so much to her. I felt that she kind of owes it to all those who are gone to raise him right.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 23rd, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! I'm blown away by your comment! I think I relate to Kate the most since she's the one woman on the island that we know doesn't want children and yet I think that if Aaron were in her care, she'd make - and keep - these kind of promises to never let him be hurt like she or Sawyer were. I think she'd always have those heartbreaks on her mind and that's the one thing that's going to make her stay, to keep him safe. I think that she'd take some time to get used to feeling safe and loved and needed but I also like to think that, in the end, she could do it. :)

Thanks so much for your fb!
Nov. 23rd, 2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
just when i think you can't write a better kate fic you go and write this.

so beautiful but also so sad kate always waiting for everything to fall down around her and seeing sawyer in aaron and never wanting anything bad to happen to aaron.

just a perfect insight into the mixed up world that is kate
Nov. 23rd, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I think it would be very hard for Kate to adjust to these roles and to ever feel "normal."

And I always seem to work Sawyer in there, somewhere, and this seemed the natural way to do it here. I think Aaron would remind her of him, especially since with his blond hair, he wouldn't look like either Jack or Kate, and that's just one more reason for her want to protect him.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
Nov. 23rd, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
I've kinda lost my comment mojo - it seems to have run off with my LostMuse, so may I just say that you never, ever disappoint. Please read between the lines - this is fantastic!
Nov. 24th, 2007 09:23 am (UTC)
you never, ever disappoint.

Wow! Thank you! I'm so incredibly flattered! :) I'd say that's a pretty damn good comment! Thanks for reading and leaving fb, hon! It's much appreciated. And may your mojos (of all kinds) return when you need them.

Edited at 2007-11-24 09:30 am (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
I don't usually read Kate/Jack fic, but the summary really intrigued me. I'm so glad I read this! You have Kate down perfectly here. I can see her as such a Mama Bear if she were ever entrusted with a child. I love her conflict - expecting and preparing for the worst, even though logically she knows it'll never happen. Well done!
Nov. 24th, 2007 09:28 am (UTC)
Hee, I don't usually write Kate/Jack fic! :) I'm much more into Kate with Sawyer (or Sawyer with Jack) but I do enjoy exploring the different relationships between all three of them.

I really relate to Kate because she's the only woman on the show who's not dying to have kids But I can totally see her as a fierce Mama Bear, if she were in charge of someone else's child, even if it's a role she never saw for herself.

Thanks so much for taking a chance on this and for such a lovely comment. :)

(Edited to change the icon!)

Edited at 2007-11-24 09:29 am (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
This is absolutely perfect, you've captured how Kate would be in this situation just wonderfully.
Nov. 24th, 2007 09:28 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you so much, hon. I'm honored you liked it! :)
Nov. 26th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
That really does seem like Kate...that she could wind up with the sterotypic perfect husband and kid and still be unable to stop thinking about running, because running is such a big part of who she is. Great job.
Nov. 26th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC)
Thank you! I have a hard time picturing her conforming to a normal life with ease, I think she'd always have itchy feet and be looking for something to go wrong so she could run. But having someone else to protect could help make her stay.

Anyway, thank you for reading! :) Glad you liked!
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