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Hero of the Day, Part 2

Title: Hero of the Day, Part 2
Pairing: Jack/Sawyer
Summary: Sawyer's all over the news. He's a hero. (AU)
Rating: PG-13
Note: Many thanks to zelda_zee for the fb and beta! I thought I'd whip the rest of this fic out but it has been giving me all kinds of trouble. More to come, but for now: Part 2...

Part 1


Sawyer opened his eyes to white. His right arm hurt. He tried to sit up but his head throbbed unpleasantly. Hospital he realized with disappointment as he looked around the small, sterile room. Last thing he'd known, he was bleeding out on the floor of an airplane, the closest to rejoining his mama that he'd ever been.

He let out a deep sigh and once the nurse realized he was awake, she sent the cops right on in. Sawyer's tongue felt thick, probably due to whatever he'd been doped with, but he answered their questions the best he could. They seemed to have the whole story already, just asked him to clarify a few particulars, the where and why-fors of his stabbing a crazed hijacker in the throat.

"You ever in the military?" The cop had already closed his notepad, so the question was definitely of the academic type.

"No," Sawyer said slowly, wondering at the query.

"Just curious where you learned to use a knife like that." The cop, an older, grizzled type, raised his eyebrow, as if waiting for Sawyer to spill his lengthy rap sheet.

"Boy Scouts," Sawyer answered firmly and the two cops laughed.

"What kind of badge d'ya get for that?" the younger one said, shaking his head in amusement.

"Those folks are damn lucky you were on that plane," the older cop said, all seriousness as he stuffed his notebook in his pocket. "Airline's pickin' up your hospital tab, by the way. Probably fly you wherever you wanna go."

Even this short talk had tired Sawyer out. All he could do was nod as they walked away.

He hadn't even thought about bills, plans. All that seemed far away. He barely listened to the nurse when she came back in, fussing over him and tucking him in. He was all over the news, she said. He was a hero.

Sawyer should have been relieved that he was here, instead of in jail, relieved to be considered a hero and not a killer. Mostly what he felt, under the ache of his arm and the fog of the drugs, was the same old deeper ache that never went away.

He must have closed his eyes for a minute, because the nurse had become a doctor. Sawyer didn't pay him much mind, figured it was time for his temperature to be taken or something, but then he realized that the man in blue scrubs was none other than Handsome Jack.

"Hi," Jack said, almost shyly as he approached Sawyer's bedside. "Hope I'm not disturbing you... the nurse said you were up."

"Yeah, if bein' flat on my back counts as 'up,'" Sawyer smiled, although it felt like an effort to do so.

The scrubs, though baggy, suited the doc. Short sleeves showed off well-defined arms and unexpectedly, some intriguing tattoos. Aware he might have been caught staring at them, Sawyer turned his scrutiny back to Jack's clothing. "They got you workin' here?"

Jack stood by the bed somewhat awkwardly, as if not sure what to do without a clipboard or some other doctorly accoutrement to keep his hands busy. "The hospital was good enough to loan me these. My clothes were, well..."

"Ruined," Sawyer finished for him. He'd probably bled all over Jack's nice suit. "Sorry 'bout that," he said, getting a surprised laugh in response.

"Sorry?" Jack looked more than incredulous, he seemed almost mad. "For bleeding on me? For saving everyone's lives on that airplane? If it hadn't been for you..."

"If it hadn't been for you, Doc, I wouldn't be here right now." It was as close as Sawyer could come to thanking him. Jack gazed at him a little too long, a little too intently, as if he could read Sawyer's ambivalence about still drawing breath as clearly as he might read his chart.

Sawyer looked away first. He was injured, wasn't he? He wasn't up for a damn staring contest.

"Yeah, well, we were both lucky all around," Jack said, settling onto the empty bed across from Sawyer. "You almost didn't make it. Thank God we were near an airport."

"And where is that?" Sawyer realized no one had told him yet.

"Texas. Some little town I never heard of," Jack said sounding puzzled at being the one to supply that information. "It was the closest place the pilot could land."

"Mmmhmm," Sawyer nodded. "Thought I heard some twang on those cops."

"I'm sure they've talked to everyone now," Jack said, rubbing the palm of his left hand with his other thumb in a way that suggested the ritual of a surgeon washing his hands, or maybe it was just nerves. "They were waiting for you to come to. I think everyone else is already on the next plane to Miami."

"Yeah?" Even in Sawyer's fogged state, he realized that meant that Jack should be gone too. "You're not on it."

"No," Jack looked slightly embarrassed. "I offered to stay behind, in case, well, just in case. And they couldn't find my luggage anyway, so ..."

"Well, that's mighty... nice of you." Sawyer was finding it difficult to come up with words. Damn drugs. His eyes were starting to close, no matter how hard he tried to keep them open.

Jack got to his feet, realizing that Sawyer was seconds from sleep. "Listen," he said, leaning down low so Sawyer could hear him. "You mentioned your mother back there, on the plane. If you want me to get in touch with her..."

That opened Sawyer's eyes. "Be a little hard, 'less you can talk to the dead. She got shot in the head when I was eight." He hadn't meant to say those words, so flat, so harsh, but there they were.

Jack drew in a quick, pained breath. "I'm sorry," he said, dark eyes sympathetic and maybe even a little watery. "I ... I'm sorry about that." He seemed about to say something else, as he had before, and then he merely squeezed Sawyer's arm.

"Get some rest," he said softly. His breath felt warm on Sawyer's cheek, almost, Sawyer thought, like a kiss. Just the drugs, Sawyer sighed as the overhead light dimmed.

----

Sawyer woke the next morning -- at least he thought it was the next morning, judging by the fact that the overhead lights in his room were on. It was hard to tell with no windows and the hallway lights were never off, so yeah, it was anyone's guess what time of day it was.

He felt several shades better than last night, but still towards the "like crap" end of the spectrum. He'd always hated being sick and having to lie in bed. But he was wise enough -- and honestly, weak enough -- not not to mess with the IV in his arm or the other tubes hooked up to his anatomy.

He stared at the nondescript, off-white ceiling overhead. This was a strange kind of limbo. He hadn't even known where he was until Jack had told him last night. He wasn't entirely sure he was still alive, to be honest, except that his arm still hurt and his throat was dry and he didn't think you'd realize all that if you were stone dead.

He could just reach the nightstand without dislodging his IV. There wasn't anything to read there, not even a Bible, which struck him as downright un-American, especially if he really was in Texas. There was a beat-up looking TV remote and he swiveled to find the TV. There it was, mounted in the corner, high enough where no patient could pull it down, he observed wryly. He clicked it on and chose between some program in Spanish, a talk show, a game show and the local news. He paused on the news station and nearly dropped the remote when he heard his own name.

The nurse had been right. He was all over the news. They'd even dug up an old photograph somewhere, God knows where. What gave him the biggest jolt, though was seeing Jack commenting on the daring heroics of one James Ford. "If it hadn't been for him, who knows what might have happened..." he'd said, squinting thoughtfully into a camera lens. Jack was still wearing the same suit from the airplane, dramatically spattered in blood, so he must have done the interview right after the whole thing had gone down.

He got that awful knot in his stomach he always did whenever someone used his real name, since like as not, it had usually been in the context of some policeman or judge or social worker, sitting there, raking over his sordid little life and everything going back to that one damn night.

He'd been traveling under his real name, because it raised fewer flags than "Sawyer," did. He'd never expected to see either name splashed across the news, let alone with a photo that might as well have been a mug shot. He kept watching, expecting them to get into his whole history, but no, it was just "Hero of Flight 815," and that was it. He shut off the TV, surprised to be confronted with a breakfast plate. He hadn't even heard the nurse come in. She chattered on, clearly thinking he'd be pleased to be lauded as the local hero. She made him swallow some pills but he passed on the food. He didn't have the stomach just now.

------

Sawyer woke with a start: he'd been dreaming, the same old dream where he was that little boy under the bed, frozen. His heart raced as he heard the screams but his limbs were heavy, far too heavy to move. It took him a moment to realize he was awake and here, in this hospital bed and another moment still to realize he wasn't alone.

Jack hovered in the doorway, shoulders slightly hunched. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?" He looked embarrassed to be catching Sawyer at the wrong time.

"No, no... just a bad dream. Must be those drugs they're givin' me," Sawyer said sitting up and trying to rub his face free of sleep. He felt sweaty and sickly. He must look a sight.

Jack, on the other hand, looked damn good, shaved and showered, unlike himself, Sawyer thought, suddenly desperate for a shower.

"You okay? You look a littler feverish," Jack said, reaching to feel Sawyer's forehead, probably just instinctual doctor stuff but Sawyer jerked his head away.

"I'm fine," he insisted. "What happened to the scrubs?" he asked, happy to have another topic to seize upon. He surveyed Jack's new outfit: Heavy boots, a black Harley Davidson T-shirt and obviously brand-new jeans that were still stiff and a tad too tight, not that Sawyer was complaining.

Jack cleared his throat a little, as if aware he'd crossed a boundary in trying to touch Sawyer. He wasn't Sawyer's doctor after all. Just some guy.

"Ahh, well, they still haven't found my suitcase," Jack explained. "So I had to do some shopping." He shrugged, clearly not entirely pleased with his purchases. "I forgot what it's like to break jeans in!" he laughed, rubbing at the stiff denim. It was a nice, giggly kind of laugh that Sawyer couldn't help but join in. Jack had these great lines around his eyes when he laughed, something Sawyer always loved in a man.

"They had belt buckles even bigger than yours," Jack continued, a mischievous light in his eyes, "I thought about getting one with a Camaro on it..."

"But you thought better of it," Sawyer finished for him. "Shame. They make good conversation pieces."

"They do," Jack nodded and he held Sawyer's eyes for just a beat too long, recalling, probably, that first moment when they'd met, all because of Sawyer's ridiculous eagle belt buckle. If they were at a bar, the right kind of bar, and they both had a few drinks in them, Sawyer might lean over right now and kiss him. But this wasn't a bar and neither one of them was drunk. Sawyer was a little high on meds, that was all.

He felt at a loss for words suddenly, and he was never at a loss for words.

Jack must have felt the same way, because he was twisting his hands around one another again in that odd habit Sawyer had noticed last time. Only now he was definitely rubbing one finger, a bare ring finger.

He caught Sawyer's glance and his hands stilled. "Still not used to not wearing it," he said with a sigh. "You married?"

"Nah," Sawyer said, lying back down and turning onto his side. He felt drowsy again, but a nice kind of drowsy, where he'd drift off and there'd be no dreams. "Never found the right one."

Jack nodded, chewing over, perhaps, that Sawyer hadn't said, "the right woman." Or maybe he was just fresh out of small talk, too.

"I figure I'll get a flight out in a few days, but there's no real rush," Jack said, his words rushed as if he'd practiced this little speech. "I .. I kind of hate to think of you alone in the hospital here, by yourself."

Sawyer nodded. He didn't want to make too big a deal of it, but he was glad Jack was staying. Real glad. He flashed him a drowsy smile. "You just don't wanna leave Texas without that Camaro belt buckle."

"You're on to me," Jack laughed, his hand rubbing absentmindedly at his new jeans. He stood up to take his leave, pausing in the doorway to add, “They put me up at the local Best Western. If you need anything...”

Sawyer just nodded. He wanted to tell Jack he'd seen him on the news and heard what he'd said about him, but he figured it could wait. He wasn't going anywhere just yet and neither, it seemed, was Jack.

TBC

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
elise_509
Jan. 23rd, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
I love this story so much it hurts. But what I love most of all is that you included Jack's man giggle. Oh, the man giggle. It's perhaps wrong to love a man's laugh so much, but apparently Sawyer agrees. :) I also like the Harley shirt and the too-tight jeans. Yummy.

On a not Jack-is-hot note, I love that Sawyer is getting attention that is praise and not damnation. I'm eager to see where all this goes, especially how he and Jack continue after this.

Sorry the fic is giving you trouble, but it's totally worth it. This is so great. I can't wait for more! :)
halfdutch
Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
Ahh, thank you, hon! I felt a bit weird posting tonight but then I figured, well, people can read or not read! ;)

This fb makes me grin broadly -- and want to break out into my own gleeful version of the man giggle! I don't know why this fic has been so difficult but it just IS. It wanted to have a lot of boring scenes with a nurse (which I squelched) and then it wanted to get naughty far too quickly. I'm glad it's hitting the right notes, finally! ;)
(no subject) - elise_509 - Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Jan. 24th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
obreesprit
Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:37 am (UTC)
I think everybody loves Jack/ Foxy's giggle. I think it's especially cute when he ducks his head when he giggles, as if he's shy about it. It's awesome that Jack's sticking around for Sawyer. I wonder if he's going to eventually ask Jack about the woman with the baby and Jack's mention of his ring.

Poor Sawyer being all high on drugs. I hope he can get off of them long enough to stay awake for an entire conversation with Jack. You can't just sleep while love passes you by!

I can't wait for more-- like everybody else who reads your stuff; it's all so excellent! I wonder a little about what Jack's plans had been and why he's so willing to put those plans on hold for Sawyer. I wonder what kinds of things they're going to do together where they realize they like each other. I thought it was cute having the belt buckle be the thing they danced around with regard to their true feelings. "You just don't wanna leave Texas without that Camaro belt buckle."
"You're on to me," Jack laughed... Very well done. Sawyer needs to start returning some of that shy attraction Jack is giving him if he doesn't want to scare him off.

Thanks so much for sharing!!
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Aww, so glad you're enjoying it, especially the belt buckle convo! :) And don't worry, this one's headed for a happy ending!
zelda_zee
Jan. 23rd, 2008 08:00 am (UTC)
This fic just keeps getting better and better. I'm anxious to see where it goes from here!

And good for Jack for staying behind so Sawyer doesn't have to be alone. And the flirting was fun. Looking forward to the next bit...
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks again for the hand holding on this one. I don't know why it's been so troublesome, but it just has been! :) Very glad you're enjoying it!
alemyrddin
Jan. 23rd, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
This is so cute.
I love those lines Jack has around the eyes, and the whole conversation about the belt.

also, Sawyer being comforted by the fact that Jack was staying was adorable. :)
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you, hon! Sawyer needs someone there for him! :)
kataren
Jan. 23rd, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
Okay, how did I miss this the 1st time 'round? *blames all the new & cool anime she's been watching*

Jack's so cute! - hitting on a guy while in a SECURITY LINE! And yet, it's sooo IC of him. Plus, doesn't hurt that it was Sawyer-babe. ~_^

Sawyer! Let the man take your temp! :P And other doctor stuff. Does that include hair-play? *wonders*
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
That's the beauty of fic, it isn't going anywhere (most of the time, anyway!)

Glad you're enjoying this! I don't think Sawyer quite realizes Jack is flirting with him yet... and yes, there might be some hair play!
astra2104
Jan. 23rd, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
Awww. I love Sawyer being weak and helpless and pumped full of drugs.

It's so comforting to read those two wogether again - thanks very much, hon!
*snuggles you and the fic*
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Hee, I have rather a fetish for injured!Sawyer -- which the show only feeds! They must know us fangirls quite well, at least in that respect. (Others, not so much!)

Very glad you like this one. ♥
bluedahlia
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
Oh I like where this is going. Part 1 was an excellent opener and I was thoroughly hooked. This installment just adds more fuel to the fire.

thanks so much for sharing ♥
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Oh, your icon is too perfect! I don't think Jack (on the show anyway) will ever realize how lucky he is to be rid of Sarah!

Very glad you like this latest chapter. Thank you! :)
luna481516
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
My favorite line is random but very Sawyer:
Sawyer looked away first. He was injured, wasn't he? He wasn't up for a damn staring contest.

And oh how I liked Jack both giggling and wearing tight new jeans! Can't do better than that.
Looking forward to the continuation.

halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)
Hee, glad you liked that line! I do think he would be inclined to be a bit grumpy. :)

And of course who doesn't love the man giggle and if ONLY we could get Jack in tight jeans! More coming soon, I hope!
keyweegirlie
Jan. 23rd, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Oooh....so good.. ;)

I seriously can't wait for more.

*hugs*
-C-
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Awww, yay! More soon, I hope!
siluria
Jan. 23rd, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this - it was very much needed :) And TBC are very evil letters when place in that order at the end of a part ;) But I shall look on the bright side and the fact that I get to read more. I like the evolution of the story (especially the jeans moment), and I particularly like Sawyer as the hero - the tragic hero in this case with his desire to be back with his mother, which is quite heartbreaking to read. Hopefully Jack will pull him out of that...
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! Glad the timing was good ... you never know, I felt a bit odd about posting but I was happy to see other new fic on my flist and figured I should go ahead, since I had it ready.

And aww, I'm a sucker for Hero!Sawyer as well. Jack will do what he can to keep him here on earth!
(no subject) - siluria - Jan. 24th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Jan. 25th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - siluria - Jan. 25th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
alliecat8
Jan. 24th, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
I haven't even read the first part of this (because I'm lame and I didn't know it existed until today), but I'm completely intrigued. One thing that really grabbed me and made me smile was Sawyer's nickname for the Doc: "Handsome Jack." And there's so much promise of great things to come! :) Now I'm off to catch up on what I missed.
halfdutch
Jan. 24th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
I hope it holds up, reading it out of order! Thanks for catching up with this one. :)
uhzoomzip
Jan. 25th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
yay, another chapter! i'm loving the whole jack/sawyer vibe (which just hasn't held my interest recently). i love the details like sawyer being nervous about his name and picture being publicized and him telling jack about his mother and jack wearing a harley shirt.

looking forward to where this will go next! :-)
halfdutch
Jan. 25th, 2008 06:50 am (UTC)
Aww, I'm so glad the vibe is working for you here! :)

*icon twins you*
janie_tangerine
Jan. 25th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
Well this was an awesome chapter 2. I love how much in character those two are even if it's an AU. Sawyer is just perfect and at least for once he gets the praise which is even better, Jack with his giggling and that outfit is something great too and I love how this chapter was set up and how those two are relating to each other in this. And for some reason I love how Jack was mad at Sawyer when he said he was sorry for ruining his suit. Well can't wait for part #3 ;)
halfdutch
Jan. 26th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm glad they're in character, even though it is an AU. I always love finding new ways to have them get together and of course, amp up the angst! More coming soon, I hope!
jenthegypsy
Jan. 26th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Finally got a little time to catch up, so I sought you out. Love how you flesh out the details in a transitional piece like this one, one where the ground work is built upon slowly. The "getting to know you" moments, as it were. Jack's caring nature and Sawyer's longing is shaping up nicely - as is the tension that putting both of them in the same room creates.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Comment Fairy is on hiatus - sorry.

"Love it."

The End.
halfdutch
Jan. 27th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you, hon. That's very lovely and detailed fb, indeed! *HUGS* I'm so glad the slow build-up is working here. And I always love dreaming up ways to get them alone together! :)
emiliglia
Oct. 15th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Eeee! I was bouncing when I found that there was another part to this. (Although I noticed there were no more after this one. *pouty face*) I love this story. It's still them and they're still angsty, but it's how we always knew they'd have gotten along before the island or even on the island if Kate had never been there. And although it's them without so much angst, I'm thinking there's some (lots?) planned that hasn't really been delved into yet. Love this!
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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