Summary: Every night, she tells him a different story
Spoilers: Season 3 only
Note: I seem to, er, have written this pairing again! I haven't been the biggest Juliet fan but writing her in fic is helping that. I promise more Jack/Sawyer soon! Huge thanks to zelda_zee for the beta. Fits the Lost Riffs Prompts: "A strange desire to trust/an uncharacteristic urge to confide."
He watches her come and go among them, smiling, but for all her appearing to help, her working tirelessly alongside of Jack, Sayid is not convinced.
Everyone else seems to have accepted Juliet by now, overcome any natural suspicions of her after a few weeks. Only he keeps an eye on her, sure that she still has a hidden agenda, that she is very likely in contact with her people. Everyone else may have let down their guard, but not Sayid.
When she takes a backpack and hikes out of the camp early one morning, he grabs his own pack and follows her at a discreet distance. He knows the way she's taking; a direct path to the barracks. Her pace is steady and a bit hurried, as if she's late for a preset meeting, but he keeps up with little difficulty.
The electrified fence is off, fortunately, so he's able to follow her across the once-formidable boundary.
She heads to one of the cottages, shrugging her pack off as she goes inside. Sayid waits for a few minutes, but no one else appears. The person she is meeting must already be there. He approaches as quietly as possible. He's surprised to hear music coming from the building. When he peers in the window, he sees only Juliet. She's roaming the living room, touching objects here and there at random, as if in greeting. She has a strange little half-smile on her face, almost as if she were about to cry, but then she shrugs off the momentary sadness.
She drops her pack and then pulls her shirt over her head, throwing it on the couch behind her. She strips off the rest of her clothes, tossing them aside as if glad to be rid of them, and Sayid reconsiders the nature of her liaison. She shakes her hair loose of its ponytail and only her breasts bounce with the motion. Her body is leaner and harder than he'd imagined -- not that he'd actually given it any thought. She would surely carry a little more weight back in the real world, her hour-glass figure, those curves, would be more dramatically pronounced.
Sayid steps away from the window, ashamed where his thoughts have led, unsettled at having been an unwitting Peeping Tom. He waits longer but hears only the sound of water running. She came all this way just for a shower. And, perhaps, to revisit the last place she'd called home.
Perhaps, he thinks as he hikes back to camp, he was wrong about her. It doesn't mean he likes her any better, only that she might not be as much of a threat as he'd thought.
He's dirty and tired after his trek, so he strips off his shirt, slowly washing away the grime of the hike with bottled water and a small sliver of soap, methodically lathering up his arms and chest, all the while thinking of how much he would love a nice, hot shower.
Perhaps he should have stayed back there and taken one. Running water. Electricity. Soft beds. Actual doors and walls. Such luxuries they had at the abandoned village. He's not sure why they all haven't relocated there, except for the continued belief that rescue is nearer if they stay by the beach, in sight of a boat or plane.
He's deep in thought when the flap to his tent is flung back and Juliet strides in. She looks vaguely amused, but not surprised to find him half naked.
"What do you want?" he asks, glad that he is not, in fact, naked at the moment.
She flashes that smug grin that's nearly a smirk. "I just wanted to let you know when I'm going to be taking my next shower. Tomorrow, around 4. I wouldn't want you to miss it."
"I'm afraid I don't know what you mean," he lies, although there's really no point if she saw him today.
She doesn't answer, just gives him a long, hard look and then leaves.
He splashes the rest of the water over the back of his neck, shaking the moisture from his hair. His first thought is that he must go and apologize to her, that he certainly never meant to descend to the level of some cheap voyeur.
And then he remembers whom he's dealing with. This is Juliet. She's called him out, tried to embarrass him. She's done her best to make sure he won't follow her again. Which leaves her completely in the clear to set up her next meeting with the Others. If she truly had nothing to hide, she would have been furious with him. She would surely have taken the opportunity to tell him off, perhaps complain to Jack.
By telling him when she's going next, she must be confident that he won't follow her. And so that is just what he's going to do.
He watches her all day and sure enough, at 2:00, she puts on her pack and sets off and he follows her, as before. He hangs back, determined not to be seen this time.
She keeps stopping for a drink or to fix her hair and he starts to think she must be aware he's behind her, that she's giving him the chance to catch up and perhaps stumble out into the open and reveal himself.
He finds himself staring at her lips as she drinks, at her throat as she swallows the water from her bottle. That is not why he's following her, he sternly reminds himself. She may be putting on a show for his benefit. At this point, he can't be sure if she knows he is following her or not. It's a strange sort of game.
Finally, she reaches the barracks. She goes to the same house and again he hears music coming from inside. He picks a different window as his vantage point. Her clothes are strewn over the floor and he hears the water running. He starts to consider that maybe she is just having fun with him, that all this is really about is her indulging in the luxury of a hot shower.
The water stops and then the back door opens. He creeps around, certain he's catching her partner in crime as he enters. But it's only Juliet standing there, in a robe, with that mysterious little smile on her lips.
"Why don't you come in?" she says, and holds out her hand.
He wants to explain why he's here, what he thought she was up to. He's never at a loss for words and yet he has no idea what to say, how to justify himself.
He has no choice but to follow her inside. He's still thinking of what to tell her, how to explain his behavior, when she starts to undo the sash to her robe. She's staring at him the whole time, reading his reaction and he realizes now what she thinks, how badly she's misread everything.
"Juliet, I ..." he starts to say but she leans forward, shushing him with a kiss. This is just one more manipulation on her part. She's using the only weapon she possesses - herself -- to try to gain control of the situation.
He takes a step back. "This is not what I wanted," he says quietly, folding his arms. She smiles that little smile again and opens the robe. She's naked underneath.
Sayid doesn't know why he doesn't leave, why he stands there, transfixed, as she slowly lets the robe slip to the floor. He doesn't want to admit that this is the reason he followed her here today.
She can surely see that he's hard at the sight of her. Her skin is flushed and the pulse in her throat seems to be beating as fast as his own, but he still doesn't expect, when she takes his hand and guides it between her legs, how wet she is. For him. She closes her eyes, shuddering slightly as his fingers slip inside and then out again, circling slickly.
Her eyes are still closed but her lips part, her breath coming faster. She trembles and emits a small whimper. She leans forward, breathy and flushed and her tongue flicking over his mouth in a not-quite kiss.
With a lazy smile, she turns and walks out of the room and he follows her to a small bedroom. They fall onto the bed together. She pulls his khakis down past his hips - no time for him to undress completely -- and then she pulls him on top of her. Her eyes are wide when he thrusts inside, holding his gaze for the first few minutes, trying to read his thoughts, maybe, match his rhythm, before closing her eyes and throwing her head back. Her blonde hair spills out over the pillow and for the first time he thinks of Shannon.
His breathing is already ragged and now a sob threatens to choke him completely. He can't stop now, he's so close, and when he comes, so do the tears. The grief washes over him again.
He's laying pressed between her breasts, but he's barely aware of her, lost in thoughts of Shannon, until Juliet starts stroking his hair. With one hand, she brushes the damp strands out of his face, the other rests on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry," he says, unable to look at her. "This is the first time... since Shannon."
"Mine too," she says softly. He raises his head to meet her gaze, not understanding. "I mean, since Goodwin. I don't know if you ever met him. He was killed, too. By Ana Lucia." Her eyes turn to flint as she speaks the name. "We've both lost someone," she says as Sayid stiffens in her arms.
"I loved her," Sayid says. The same words he said at her funeral. "Did you love him?"'
"No," she shakes her head, not sadly, but matter-of-fact. "But I miss him, just the same."
She continues to stroke his back, one hand smoothing his hair, for a long while. It's a false sort of intimacy, one built on nothing but physicality and a shared sense of loss. It's not enough to build anything upon.
Or so he thinks, at first. He spends a few sleepless nights alone before deciding that even this small connection, this fleeting pleasure, is better than nothing. He doesn't love her. It's not the same as what he had with Shannon, or likely what she had with her lover.
He's content to leave this thing between them as it is, a hurried, frantic coupling, and then both of them silently going their separate ways.
She knows everything about him down to the last detail and he knows nothing about her. He never addresses this imbalance, never asks her about her life before the island, but it must be on her mind as well.
The third or fourth time they sneak away to meet, as they lie here in her bed, spent and warmed by each other's bodies, she tells him about her sister, the one she'll never see again. He listens without asking any questions. She offered him her body and now she's offering him this glimpse into her life and he's not sure he knows what to do with it, so he lies beside her. He winds a strand of her hair around his finger while she spins her tale.
The next time they come together, his hands leave marks on her hips, and she leaves bite marks on his neck, scratches on his back, but somehow it's less frantic than before. She no longer closes her eyes when he's deep inside her. He takes his time getting to know her body, to map each section of her as he's tried to map the island.
Every night, afterward, when they are quiet and still, she tells him a different part of her story. It could all be lies, one fabrication wrapped around another. Slowly, each time, she reveals more and more about herself. She talks about her job. Her ex-husband. The person she used to be, one he'd never recognize.
The balance slowly starts to tip. Now he feels that he is the one holding back, while she has told him everything. He would talk about his past, but she already knows. No woman he's ever been with knew of the things he's done. Would Shannon have loved him if she'd known the whole truth? And Nadia, who knew firsthand what he could do, was never really his. He searched for her with the hope that she could forgive him, that by saving her he'd saved himself, but perhaps he was wrong to hope for that. She might have spit in his face when he finally found her.
All that would be left for him to tell Juliet is why he's led the life he led, why he's made the choices he has, but there aren't reasons enough to justify himself to her, or to anyone else.
She lies on her back, holding his hand overhead, tracing his fingers as she tells him of the first time she realized she wanted to be a doctor. "My dog, Blackie, was run over by a truck. I cried and cried," she says. Her voice is calm, almost laughing at the memory and somehow that makes it seem that much sadder. "So I vowed I would save lives. First I was going to be a vet. And then one day it became about saving people. And then about creating lives instead of just saving them."
"You wanted to play God," he says softly.
"Yes, I suppose I did. Most doctors do, I think."
He wants to tell her he knows a little something about playing God, about deciding who will live and who will die. But she knows that, so he says nothing.
She falls silent. They don't speak as they dress and walk back to camp, always careful to arrive separately. The rest of the group might have guessed at their liaisons by their frequent absences, but no one has said anything and Sayid certainly doesn't plan to make any sort of public concession to what is, after all, a private affair.
He's surprised then, when she enters his tent the next morning. Without even greeting him, she thrusts a sheaf of papers into his hand.
"What is this?" he asks, looking at her and not the papers.
"It's my file," she says simply, drawing a deep breath and then letting it out. "Oh yes, they have one on me too. I thought it's only fair that you read mine, since I've read yours."
He glances down. "Juliet Burke" is typed in neat letters on the front. As he starts to flip through it, she turns to go.
"Wait," he says. He closes the distance between them, holding out the report. "Please take this back."
"Why? Don't you want to read it?" she asks. She looks vaguely hurt at his rejection of the file, as if it's a rejection of her outright.
"I would rather hear it from you."
He had once thought Juliet's face a mask, incapable of showing any real emotion. Now he knows her so well that even if she didn't take his head in her hands and kiss him, he'd see just how happy he's made her.
The file falls to the floor, unread.