Summary: Hurley isn't the only one with a crush on Jack
Pairing: A few Hurley man-crushes, vague Jack/Sawyer
Spoilers: Up through the Season 4 finale
Word count: 2044
Note: Not at all what I thought I'd end up writing next (or, that I'd write anything at all!) Many thanks to zelda_zee for the beta!
Hurley could trace it all back to Jack's "Jedi moment."
Before that, Jack had been just a guy, sure a heroic one and all, who saved a lot of lives and pushed himself really damn hard, but maybe he was just a workaholic or something. But when Hurley saw him literally change Shannon's tortured breathing, just by talking to her, well, he never looked at Jack quite the same way again.
He took to kind of following Jack around, hoping for another display of sheer Jedi brilliance, but he quickly realized he wasn't the only one with a crush on Jack.
There was Kate, who always tagged along, whether Jack wanted her there or not. And mostly, Hurley told himself, Jack preferred not to have her company.
He had a feeling that Charlie had a bit of a man-crush on Jack as well, not that he'd ever ask him, but Charlie was just a little too eager to get Jack's attention. Hurley only noticed because that meant there was a lot less of Jack's attention for him.
And then there was Boone, who kind of alternated between being surly towards Jack and trying to be Jack. Not that his being a lifeguard, or so he claimed, could possibly equal Jack's being a world-class surgeon. And Boone wasn't exactly scrawny, but he was nowhere near as muscular and built as Jack, who could surely bend Boone in two if he ever had to.
Besides the crowd of people madly crushing on Jack, there was also the long line of people who simply needed medical treatment or Jack's advice about this or that. It was pretty damn hard to get a moment of Jack's time for anything other than a life or death situation.
What finally killed his crush on Jack, though, was Jack himself.
Everyone was dismissive of Hurley; Charlie, his so-called best friend, thought he was lying about the lottery money. Sawyer hadn't ever thought of a cruel nickname he didn't use on Hurley. And of course the women wouldn't give Hurley the time of day either-- which is what got Hurley in this stupid spot of having a man-crush in the first place -- unless it was to sigh and pine over Jack (or Sawyer) to him, as if he was one of their girlfriends.
The building resentment from that alone should have been enough to end his crush. But Jack killed it just by being Jack, the driven doctor who always had one more life to save, one more crisis to solve, one more pint of blood to give. Jack was, Hurley had to admit, a jerk when you came right down to it. Not in the way that Sawyer was a jerk. That was just honest jerkiness. Jack was a jerk exactly because he was trying so hard not to be. He was like Batman or Superman all right, not just when the world needed saving, but all the damn time. He just couldn't ever stop being Jack. Maybe back in the real world, he was an easygoing kind of guy, but here on the island, Jack was, to be honest, a complete tool.
It's not just because he wouldn't listen to Hurley about the Numbers. Or because he never took Hurley seriously after he told him he'd spent some time in a mental institution. There was always that look in Jack’s eye that meant he wasn't really listening to you, but to his own inner Bat Signal, which was clearly on the verge of going off every other minute.
And so Hurley gave up his crush on Jack. With the Jack-blinders off, he suddenly realized that the real action hero of the island was none other than Sayid. Smart, determined, incredibly capable and probably able to take down James Bond and John McClane, and anyone else who cared to try him, Sayid was the real deal. Plus, he always wore those formfitting tank tops and he had really nice arms. Really nice.
Trouble was, Sayid was just as busy as Jack. Always needed for strategic planning and building of weapons or interrogating strangers or ... well, the list just never ended. Although Sayid did at least find time to hook up with Shannon, which proved he was human in a way that Jack clearly wasn't. Still ... Sayid had no time for him, and that kind of sucked.
It wasn't until after Boone and Charlie were both gone that Hurley gravitated towards Sawyer. Now, there was a guy who always had time for playing cards or ping pong or killing a case of Dharma beer or tossing sticks for the dog to catch. Yeah, Sawyer could be an asshole, but it was only on the surface. Deep down, Sawyer was a complete marshmallow and Hurley was one of the few who ever got close enough to see that.
There'd be Kate, and Juliet, and all the rest of them, traipsing after Jack, while he and Sawyer sat side by side, soaking up the rays, and he'd want to shout, "Hey! Morons! You'll never get anywhere with Jack. Now, Sawyer, here, he's The Man!"
When he was with Sawyer, everything felt right. There wasn't any crisis too dire that Sawyer didn't flash that dimpled smile of his and make some wiseass remark, like Han Solo or something. Made you feel like everything would be okay. And, he knew Sawyer hated to admit it, but he had quietly been racking up his own list of heroic deeds until it might even overshadow the Ol' Doc's list himself.
Yeah, Kate tended to hang around Sawyer too, but a man had needs, Hurley got that. But then Kate would go on her merry way and it would be just the two of them again, shooting the breeze, the way it should be.
Then the freighter guys came and everything went to hell. Once upon a time, Hurley would have gone wherever Jack led, but now he followed Locke and didn't look back. Hurley told himself it was to protect Claire and the baby and that it was what Charlie would have wanted, but it really just boiled down to the fact that that's the way Sawyer was going. If they were all going to die, he might as well have Sawyer there to make the last days a bit better. Jack had everyone else, after all.
He never dreamed he and Sawyer would end up sharing a house. Sawyer was the best roommate ever, and if being stranded on a desert island and hiding from people who want to kill you could ever be called "fun," well, that's what Sawyer made it.
Of course, Kate would show up again, like a bad penny. But it wasn't long before she was on her way back to Jack. Hurley felt bad for Sawyer -- he'd heard the whole argument through those thin walls -- but he couldn't figure out why Sawyer was so hung up on Kate in the first place.
Sawyer was turning out to be the best friend he ever had. Sawyer trusted him enough to trick Sayid, which was huge, considering there was a time when those two were tight. Still, as awesome as that was, it didn't even come close to when Sawyer came back for him, when he was out there alone in the jungle. At that moment Hurley was maybe the happiest he'd ever been in his whole life. Sawyer had come back. For him. It was totally something Han Solo would do.
Sure, Sawyer had already doled out the nicknames "Han" and "Chewie," but anyone could see that Sawyer was really Han and that had to make Hurley Chewie, didn't it? Because no way would Han ever abandon Chewie. Ever.
Except for the one way that Sawyer did abandon him, finally. On the helicopter, when they were all seconds from going down, Sawyer fucking jumped and saved them all. He kissed Kate and told her goodbye, but he did it for all of them, including Hurley.
Any joy Hurley felt about getting home again and sleeping in a real bed and eating real ice cream and having his mom fuss over him was tempered by the fact that Sawyer stayed behind. If he survived that swim back that is, and Hurley told himself that if anyone could, it would be Sawyer.
Besides, Sawyer has never been to see him here in the institution. Not the way that Charlie and Boone and Eko came to visit. No, Sawyer's staying away had to mean he was still drawing breath somewhere back on the island. And that was one small thing for Hurley to be happy about.
When Jack -- the new, all-smiles Jack, who pretended everything was great and absolutely nothing was wrong -- first came to see him, it wasn't because he wanted to see how Hurley was doing. No, he wanted to know if Hurley was going to expose Jack's elaborately constructed lie. The panic on his face before Hurley shrugged and said he wouldn't was all Hurley needed to know about Jack's motives.
But something was different when Jack came back. Hurley couldn't quite put his finger on it but he reminded him again of the old Jack, the one he remembered from the island. The one he used to kind of hero-worship a little. Not that it mattered anymore. Not like it ever did in the first place.
Jack was visibly rattled when Hurley gave him Charlie's message. He tried to shake it off, but Hurley could see that on some level, Jack believed that Charlie had been here, had spoken to him.
Jack started to leave but paused, his hand on the door handle. "You... you don't ever see Sawyer, do you?" he asked in a voice so quiet, Hurley wasn't sure he heard him right.
"You mean here...?"
"No. Yes. I mean..." Jack stopped, searching for the words to explain what he meant, but he gave up with a shrug, his sentence left unfinished.
But Hurley thought he knew what Jack meant. "No, I haven't ever seen Sawyer here. I think that means he made it, dude. He's okay."
Jack nodded, flashing a quick, uncertain smile. "Did he ever tell you he dug that bullet out of his arm himself? After saving Michael from drowning...."
Hurley grimaced at the unwelcome name and Jack realized too late what he'd said. "Yeah, I guess it would have been better if Sawyer hadn't ..."
"Dude, it's Sawyer," Hurley said, surprised he had to point that out to Jack. “He couldn't not do that stuff."
Jack almost laughed at that. "Yeah, that's Sawyer all right. Always with the big heroic gesture." They both smiled for a moment and, for that instant, it felt like Sawyer was there in the room with them, like maybe he'd just told a really funny joke and they were all still smiling from it.
Hurley took a deep breath. He’d always thought if he'd confessed his crush on Jack to anyone, it would have been to Sawyer, but now he found himself doing the opposite. "I kinda... well, I kinda had a crush on the guy," he said, not meeting Jack's eye "You know, a man crush. Cuz he was so cool and ..."
When he did look up, Jack was smiling, although his eyes were wet. "Yeah, me too," he said with an odd little laugh. "Me too, Hurley." Jack rubbed his hand over his forehead, as if there was more he was going to say, but then he just gave a kind of defeated shrug and walked out the door.
It wasn't until after Jack left that Hurley realized... Jack didn't think he was too good for all of them. He never thought he was good enough.
Hurley settled heavily on his bed. All this time, he'd been misreading Jack. Turns out he had a case of hero-worship going on maybe just as strong as Hurley did.
He'd have to ask Charlie what he thought about that, the next time he saw him.