Characters: Sarah, Jack
Note: Written for the "Least Favorite Character" prompt at lostsquee. Because Sarah definitely tops that list!
Jack never really loved her. He loved that he had saved her, that she was his miracle. He didn't love her, Sarah. If the surgery hadn't been a success, she had no doubt that she would have remained just another patient to him, a failure never to be mentioned, rather than his greatest triumph.
They honeymooned in Hawaii and their days together were giddy, brand-new. That phase didn't last long. All too soon he was pouring himself back into his work. She hadn't understood that he gave everything he had to his job; there was nothing left for her.
She spent the first year trying to smile and pretend everything was okay, that she wasn't terribly lonely, that she could wait indefinitely to have children.
She slept with the first man who flirted with her, who made her remember what it was like to be wanted.
Funny how Jack never had time for her, not until she left him. Then he couldn't stop following her, spying on her. Now that he'd lost her, he had all the time in the world to spend trying to get her back.
She was glad to see how much she'd hurt him, because it meant he did care, on some level. Probably he only cared about his reputation, or for having failed at something someone in his position was not supposed to fail at. He wasn't good at admitting failure. She'd honestly thought he'd just disappear into his work, instead of stalking her every move.
And then he did disappear. Suddenly, into the blue. It was a relief, actually, not to have to worry about looking up from an embrace to find those haunted eyes drilling into hers, not to have to worry about any more late-night phone calls. Jack was truly out of her life for good.
His disappearance hadn't shocked her; it was his reappearance that did.
It wasn't the same Jack who came back. The man she saw on the news and in the papers was just a shell of the man she'd known. No longer confident and arrogant and handsome, he was broken, shattered in some way she could only guess at.
There'd been an awkward phone call and then, thankfully, he'd left her and Mike alone.
When the call came from the hospital in the middle of the night, she could have refused to go but she found herself driving the familiar route to St. Sebastian's anyway.
Jack looked terrible, like he'd been drinking. He probably hadn't bathed or changed his clothes in days. Even when she'd supposedly broken his heart, she'd never felt sorry for him because he'd left her long before she'd ever left him. But now she did pity him.
The haggard-looking man who sat there, slumped over on the exam table, his eyes red from crying, was not Jack.
Sarah wavered in the doorway. He'd never needed her. He'd given her back her legs and then he'd reluctantly given her her freedom. This man had nothing left to give her. And she had nothing to give him. She couldn't save him. He was beyond saving.
She had come to give him a message. This was the last time he should bother her. She had a new life now. He barely seemed to take her words in, too busy staring at her swollen stomach, the visible proof of how much she'd changed and how long it had been since he'd known anything about her.
She walked back to her car, slowly, trying to tell herself not to feel sorry for that man back there. He was dead to her, even before that plane went down. It was better to think of him as having died in that plane crash, better for all of them.