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A Handful of Photos (Jack/Sawyer, PG)

Title: A Handful of Photos
Pairing: Jack/Sawyer
Summary: Jack's favorite subject to photograph is Sawyer
Rating: PG
Word count: 1428
Note: For inthekeyofd's day as Queen at lostsquee. This is a sequel to the fic I wrote you two years ago, The Sea, with Jack and Sawyer in Mexico. I'm so honored you love that fic so much and I hope this one comes close. :) *mwah!* Also using for fanfic100 prompt "Home." Many thanks to zelda_zee for her beta.



Jack never does anything by half-measures, so when he comes across an old camera, he quickly becomes obsessed with it. The camera -- an old Hasselblad that somehow turned up at the village market -- never leaves Jack's hand. He turns the shack into a darkroom and spends nearly all his time in there, his hands smelling of chemicals when he finally emerges.

He photographs everything: the children of the village, the stray dogs, the extravagantly blooming bougainvillea, all of it set against the stunning backdrop of the Sea of Cortez. His favorite subject, though, is Sawyer.

At first, Sawyer is happy to smile for the camera and pose with his shirt off, leaning artistically against their house, pretending to read his book. Jack prints up the photos and proudly shows them to him, but soon Sawyer's enthusiasm wanes. He has limited patience for talk of chemical baths and finding just the right mix to capture the dazzling reds and oranges of the bougainvillea, the deep blues of the ocean, the crisp white of their house against the sky.

Soon, Sawyer also tires of being a model and refuses to cooperate. He mutters every time Jack pulls the camera out and asks doesn't he have enough damn photos of him yet?

Jack isn't deterred, however. He learns to sneak up on Sawyer, like a cat in the wild, when Sawyer is immersed deep in a book, his concentration so intense that he doesn't notice Jack snapping away.

Sawyer's penchant for late-afternoon siestas in the hammock out back is another chance for Jack to catch him on film. Sawyer is beautiful and unguarded in sleep, his lips parted, his brow slightly furrowed, perhaps reliving a bad memory from the island, or before. The first few buttons of his shirt are undone, showing a tantalizing bronzed triangle of skin. Jack loves everything about Sawyer, every little delicious detail, and the camera eats it all up.

Jack pins up the newest photos -- trying to decide which ones work, which ones he might redo. Photos of Sawyer litter the darkroom, as they do the house. It's not just that Jack loves to see Sawyer around him, everywhere, it's that none of the photographs ever really do him justice. Jack can't ever get the mix right, can't quite capture the stunning blue-green of Sawyer's eyes or the way they glint with wicked humor, those dimples lighting up his face in a way that Jack has yet to really commit to film.

They're watching an old Humphrey Bogart movie at the local bar one night -- Sawyer always likes the old movies and sometimes gripes, only sometimes, about how they've never gotten a TV -- when Jack realizes what he's been doing wrong. Black-and-white. It's timeless. The pictures he's been taking of Sawyer are nothing more than snapshots.

Jack has to place a special order for black-and-white film and impatiently waits two weeks for it to show up. The first photograph he takes is from far away, of Sawyer, down at the beach, his white shirt gleaming against the dark of the sea. He takes a series of shots, catching Sawyer walking up the hill to their house, stopping to throw a stick for one of the local dogs. Sawyer looks relaxed and happy, hair dripping wet, an open, laughing smile on his face as he rubs the dog behind the ears.

Jack knows the photos are good, but he has to wait until he develops them to see how good they are. Finally, he thinks as he watches the images slowly come to life in the tray. Sawyer in black-and-white takes his breath away. He looks like he stepped out of another era, like some raffish movie star from years past. It's not just that the black-and-white captures his amazing bone structure, or the light in his eyes, it's that there's something bigger than life about him that Jack feels is finally there, on film. He selects one photo, a close-up of Sawyer as he bends over the dog. The shaggy fringe of hair obscures his eyes, but the dimples show through so clearly. Maybe it was never about capturing the color of Sawyer's eyes. Maybe, Jack thinks, those dimples are really the key to the Sawyer he knows.

He spends almost all afternoon in the dark room and holds his breath when he brings the photos into the house. Sawyer rolls his eyes at yet another batch of photos of himself, but goes back to look at them one more time.

"They're good," he admits. "Doesn't really look like me, though."

Jack just smiles at that. It's funny that where he sees the elusive, quintessential Sawyer that he loves -- relaxed, laughing, achingly handsome -- Sawyer doesn't see himself at all.

"Why do you take so many photos of me anyway?" Sawyer asks. It's not his usual teasing, grumpy tone; he sounds genuinely perplexed.

"Because you're impossibly gorgeous," Jack answers, kissing Sawyer's furrowed forehead. Sawyer shrugs him, and the compliment, away.

"Yeah, but, it's kinda like..." Sawyer pauses, as if he's not sure he should say what's on his mind, but then he plunges ahead. "It's like you're thinkin' there's gonna be a time when I'm not here. Or you're not here. When those photos are all you're gonna have to remember me by."

There's a look in Sawyer's eyes that Jack hasn't seen in years, one of doubt and distrust.

"No, no," Jack swears, alarmed that Sawyer would attach so ominous a meaning to some simple snapshots. "I just want to immortalize you on film, that's all. I mean ....we're so happy here and I just want to capture that."

Sawyer raises one eyebrow in a way that means he's unconvinced. "So you aren't thinkin’ that one day the other shoe's gonna drop? That this is all too perfect to last?"

"No!" Jack says, firmly, squeezing Sawyer's arm. "Never. This is forever. I meant that. You, me, the beach, the moonlight, all of that."

"Okay," Sawyer sighs. "How can I argue when you're wearin' those sad puppy-dog eyes?" He gives Jack a long, deep kiss to let him know he's forgiven. But he looks stern --still holding Jack's face in his hands --- when he asks, "But can you stop with the damn photos already?"

"Here." Jack disentangles himself and reaches for the camera. "Do with it whatever you want."

Sawyer smiles, his first real smile around Jack in days, and turns the camera on Jack. "What do you say we skip ‘Smile’ and go straight to ‘Take your shirt off’?”

-----

Even though he didn't really know him, Aaron ends up with his uncle's things. Among them is a box of old photos. They're the really old-fashioned kind, not digital or anything, but printed by hand. The photos all seem to be from a certain time period, around the turn of the millennium, right after Uncle Jack was rescued from that island.

There are several guidebook-worthy shots of the sea and the village where his uncle lived until he died, but most of the pictures are of a blond man, sometimes smiling, sometimes scowling at the camera. The photos are professional and beautifully composed, but Aaron wishes there were some of Uncle Jack in there. He doesn't know this other man at all.

He keeps flipping through and finds some more intimate photos -- the blond man coming out of the shower with just a towel on, one of him fast asleep in bed. And there are some nudes of the man’s bare backside that lovingly dwell on the dimples on his lower back. Aaron lets out a low whistle. No one told him about this side of his uncle. The photos span several years, decades probably, and always there's the same blond man, now a bit older, in the same bed, the same hammock.

At the bottom of the pile, Aaron finds some photos that don't have the professional framing and focus of the others. But here he finds what he's been looking for: photos of his uncle, smiling and laughing, looking happier than Aaron's ever seen him. The only photos he's ever seen were the grim post-rescue ones in the newspaper or the ones taken before the crash, where Jack always looked serious and unsmiling.

Aaron stares a long time at the last photo.

It's blurry and off-center, but it's definitely the best photo of the bunch. Jack clearly took the picture himself; you can see his tattooed arm holding the camera, and he's kissing the blond man with his eyes closed. In the background is the sea at high tide, and even though it's in black-and-white, Aaron thinks he's never seen anything more vivid.

Comments

( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
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geminigrace
Jul. 12th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
This is lovely and poignant, happy and sad and very beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this!
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad I was able to contribute something. :)
elise_509
Jul. 12th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Jack and Sawyer and doggies! and schmoop and grown up Aaron looking fondly at his uncle's photos...it's all love love love for this. So lovely and warm and fuzzy! :)
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Aww, yay, thanks, hon! :) It's good to write a happy ending for them when we know they'll never ever get one of their own. (And definitely not together!) ♥
zelda_zee
Jul. 12th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
Damn! This fic still is making me cry! There's something about it that just tweaks at my heart just right. I love it SO MUCH! I'm so glad you came back to these two, with their peaceful, contented life in Mexico. I wouldn't have thought there could be a fic wonderful enough to be a sequel to The Sea, but this is worthy of it. It's truly a beautiful fic. *loves*
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks so much for your support on this one! I wasn't at all sure it would live up to The Sea!

I love the idea of them ending up happy and together, after all they've been through. And I'm so excited that it's kickstarted your J/S muse again. That's the best of all! :)
inthekeyofd
Jul. 12th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
You've killed me, thank you.

OH MY GOD, thank you thank you THANK YOU, I adore this!!!! It's a PERFECT SEQUEL TO THE FIC OF LOVE, seriously, between what Jack is trying to capture to what he figures out why he just can't capture it...and even why Sawyer doesn't want to take any more, fearing that it's for when it all goes away...and then the one-two punch of the ending, Aaron looking at the pictures and then finding the one of Jack kissing Sawyer, it's all just so vivid, I swear I could SEE those pictures.

I can not thank you enough for this, it's just GLORIOUS!!!!
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
My pleasure, my Queen! :) I didn't have any ideas at all for your prompt but when you posted about how much you still loved The Sea, I was like, "Dammit, I have to write something for D.!" And so this one came about. I'm so happy you like this one too! It means so much to mean that you love both fics as much as you do and that you're always so sweet and supportive! ♥
siluria
Jul. 12th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
I always remembered the original, and re-read it when the beloved Queen pimped it again. I think this is a perfect accompaniment, and the ending with Aaron and the photos is wonderful - we get to see that indeed Jack's belief that it would be forever was true. Lovely fic! xx
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! That is so sweet to hear, that you went back and reread it. :) I was going to sit this prompt out because nothing suggested itself at first, but when she made that post, I swore I would write something for her.

I am so in love with the idea of a happily ever after for these two because you know we'll never get one on the show - at least not one that's anything like this. :) Thanks for your kind words!
(no subject) - siluria - Jul. 14th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - halfdutch - Jul. 18th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
janie_tangerine
Jul. 12th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. I'm sort of tearing up here. The first part was just... I loved it. The descriptions were something gorgeous and I could half relate to Sawyer because my aunt is exactly like Jack here, she makes me want to break her camera ;) I could totally see Jack becoming sort of obsessed with it. The pace of the action was perfect, the imagery so vivid. Oh, and Humphrey Bogart movies? Bonus with me.

Jack just smiles at that. It's funny that where he sees the elusive, quintessential Sawyer that he loves -- relaxed, laughing, achingly handsome -- Sawyer doesn't see himself at all.

That was so poignant. The reason for which Sawyer didn't like the whole picture business was something I could totally picture (and yay for how that section ended!).

The Aaron bit reminded me of that scene of The Bridges of Madison County where they see the pictures/read the diary and well, might be a coincidence but it's always points with me ;) I loved how it worked in relation with the first part. And it's so good to have confirmed through it that what Jack said before actually came true and the tone of the ending was so lovely and bittersweet at the same time. Wow. What a worthy sequel indeed!
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
Ha, you've been on the receiving end of an obsessive shutterbug? LOL. Glad that part rang true, then. It would be had not to be snapping away all day if Sawyer was your subject!

And I'm glad the bit with Sawyer being insecure about the photos worked. Deep down, we know it takes a lot for him to sit still and let someone love him.

You know, I hadn't thought of that movie here, but you're right, it is similar! And it kind of kills me to write them as having died, even if they lived such a happy life. *sniffles* Thanks so much for your lovely fb on this one! :)
elliotsmelliot
Jul. 13th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this happily ever after tale. I can see why Sawyer questioned Jack's hobby, but you convinced me that Jack wasn't dishonest in his answers. You did a great job describing the photos taken. I felt like I was looking at them. I wish Uncle Jack left me a box too!
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! :) I love the idea of a happily ever after for them, and I wouldn't mind seeing those photos either!
haldoor
Jul. 13th, 2008 06:20 am (UTC)
Oh, beautiful! Completely evocative and stunningly atmospheric! How right it seems that Jack can only discover the true images of Sawyer when he photographs him in black & white! And I adore the idea of the pictures being passed on to Aaron! Lovely work! ;-)
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Thank you, hon! I'm so glad you liked it, including the idea of Aaron ending up with the photos. :)
snookscribbles
Jul. 13th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
Love this. So glad that you wrote a sequel to "The Sea."

I love the characterisation in this. I love obsessive Jack, but its your Sawyer that really slays me. I love how he's blase, then annoyed, and finally showing his insecurity. But I'm so glad you didn't end it there, because, yes, Sawyer would take the camera and get over his insecurity and take the pictures that give Aaron the insight into Jack.

And Aaron's coda is just perfect. Lovely, lovely end to a beautiful fic.
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! It was a joy to revisit this 'verse and I'm so glad that you felt it lived up to the first one. And it's great to hear that Sawyer's reactions rang true -- he didn't really feel included until he turned the camera on Jack. :) And aww, I'm so glad you liked the coda with Aaron.
nomango
Jul. 13th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
Die!? They don't die! They're back on the island forever young and gorgeous and sexxing!

Lovely stuff, thankyou:)
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
No, no, of course they never die! They live on, forever, happily ever after! :) Happy to hear you liked this!
(Deleted comment)
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
Awww, zelda_zee said it made her cry too. I guess anytime we think of them dying, it's incredibly sad, even if they lived the happiest life possible. Thank goodness we have fic to offer some rays of hope to tide us over. The show is getting increasingly grimmer, and I think that's one of the reasons that Lost fandom has been in a bit of a slump. Hurrah for the luau! ♥
inthe_parlance
Jul. 14th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
This was so wonderful; I love, love, love it! And Aaron found the photos years and years later when he was a grown man because Jack and Sawyer had decades of living together and loving each other. *nods*
halfdutch
Jul. 14th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! It's definitely a thought that makes me happy, that they'd have a lifetime of love together after what they've been through. :)
luna481516
Jul. 14th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
This made me cry. Like a damn movie. And I'm at work.
The epilogue with Aaron just killed me. Dead.

The first part was lovely and schmoopy and was a nice tie-in to Foxy himself being a photographer, and I loved that he resorted to B&W to capture the artfulness.
Then the curious descendant discovering the archive, knowing nothing more about "the blond man", not even his name, and the pictures telling the story of how they grew old together, that seriously killed me. Thank you.
halfdutch
Jul. 18th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, hon, sorry to make you cry! (And GOD, I love that icon of yours. *stares*) I know I made my beta cry with this too (and got myself as well). I almost wrote this as the epilogue only, and have the whole story told only through photos but I couldn't resist revisiting these two and how those photos ended up being taken and, of course, what they meant to both of them.

Thanks so much for your fb. *hands tissues*
demonqueen666
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
I love CameraHappy!Jack; it's one of my favorite recurring ideas in fic. ANd of course he would get obsessed with taking pictures of Sawyer, following him around with the camera, stalking him practically, trying to capture those good looks on film. And there's something so evocative about those photos being left behind as a legacy, and the idea that it could only properly be captured in black and white.
halfdutch
Jul. 18th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you, hon! I toyed with the idea of having Sawyer be the shutterbug, but of course it had to be Jack, who's always so focused and obsessed even when it comes to a hobby! I love the idea of the photos being left behind, too, even if it's heartwrenching to think of a world without either of them in it!
fosfomifira
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
*wipes away tear*

The ending, it killed me. I know I'm being selfish and childish, but I don't want them to die. I want them to live happily ever after. It's so sad to think that maybe Jack died and Sawyer lived on, but couldn't live with those photographs of them together. But that's me running away with it.

The story was beautiful, the mental images it evokes are simply gorgeous. They're so happy together, even if - or because - their insecurities haven't simply disappeared. I love it, even if it got me a little bit teary.
halfdutch
Jul. 18th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, darling. *hugs*

I didn't mean to kill you with fic! It is a melancholy ending, even with them having the happiest life possible together. If it's any help, when I wrote it, I imagined that Sawyer was gone too and that he would never part with these photos. *starts to get teary again myself* Gah, it is such a sad thing to contemplate them both being gone, or one without the other. I wanted to convey "forever" in a different way with the photos but it can't help but be sad if the two of them aren't there in person.

*sniffles and hugs you again*
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