Summary: Sawyer tries to warn Jack but he can’t get him alone
Note: Sorry for the long wait! My last update was almost two months ago! I got stuck and then I got monumentally sidetracked. By the Jack/Sawyer smut There's more dramatic stuff coming up later, FYI.
And my, how the world of Lost has changed in the meantime! The dead and the living do *not* match up. And fyi, you know the real upside of a multichapter WIP - not having to think of a new title! ;-D I went beta-free on this to avoid further delay.
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(A recap since it's been so long: Jack was unable to save Michael from his "boar attack" wounds. Thinking Ethan is back, he returns to camp to make sure Kate is safe. He doesn't yet know that Michael has died. Or that his last word was "Kate" - his murderer. Now the only one who knows about her is Sawyer - and she still thinks he’s on her side, although she’s beginning to have her doubts. So far, Sawyer has only told Shannon, by writing everything down in a small notebook.)
Jack was surprised to find so many people in his cave when he returned. Everyone looked up expectantly, as if they’d just been waiting for him. “How’s Michael?” Charlie asked, and Jack just shook his head. The collective mood grew considerably darker.
Kate threw him a smile and he wished desperately that everyone else would just evaporate. At least he knew she was safe from harm. For now.
And then he saw who was sitting next to Kate. “Sawyer?” Jack asked, stepping inside.
Sawyer swiveled his head and stared at him, his eyes intense and haunted.
“When did you...” Jack started to ask and then he saw Sawyer’s neck. Kate was holding Sawyer’s hand, Jack was surprised to see.
He was ashamed of the wave of jealousy that washed over him. Sawyer was clearly injured, and Kate was just being kind. “What happened?” Jack asked, bending over to examine Sawyer more closely.
Sawyer just looked at him and shook his head, his mouth turned down, but his eyes never left Jack’s. A chill went through Jack.
“We don't know who did this to him,” Kate said bitterly, as Sawyer swallowed uncomfortably. “He can’t talk now.”
Jack ran his hands over Sawyer’s throat, all the while aware of Sawyer’s eyes boring into his. He looked away, skittish of Sawyer’s troubled stare.
“What’s this green paste on his throat?” Jack asked. He looked up to see Sun nodding and gesturing. “I'm sure it helped him. Thanks,” he said, smiling at her and she nodded back solemnly.
Sawyer and Sun exchanged a glance and Jack felt he was missing something. But he had other things to worry about.
He asked Sawyer to clear his throat, to try to make a sound, and he did, to no effect. Kate sat by tensely and Jack had the oddest feeling that Sawyer didn’t want her there. His eyes stayed on Jack, desperately trying to communicate something.
“Who did this?” Jack asked and Sawyer only shook his head. “Was it Ethan?”
Sawyer paused, and shook his head again.
“Do you know who it was?”
Sawyer mournfully shook his head once more.
Jack sighed and sat down next to him. “Are you hurt other than that?”
A ghost of a smile played over Sawyer’s face and he shook his head firmly.
Sun pointed out the lumps on Sawyer’s head and Jack examined them thoughtfully, his eyes scanning Sawyer’s face for a reaction.
“You’re OK?” Jack asked and got a curt nod in return. Those eyes, though. There was grief there, and something more Jack couldn’t name.
Sawyer was never exactly an open book, and now Jack foolishly found himself trying to read his mind. And if he could guess, it was that he wanted to get Jack alone and tell him -- or show him -- something.
Jack decided that even if he was wrong, it couldn’t hurt to continue the exam without so many onlookers.
“Look, I need some space, OK? Can you all clear out for now?” Sawyer gave him the barest of smiles in return.
Charlie and Hurley dutifully left as did Sun after a moment’s hesitation, but Kate stayed put. “You too, Kate,” Jack said. “I mean it.”
She tried to protest, but Jack walked her to the cave exit. “Give me a minute with him, OK?” he said. She nodded finally. “You can’t tell me what happened to him, can you?”
“No,” she said, shaking her head, her eyes wide. “I just want to know he’s going to be OK.”
Jack felt that stab of jealousy again. And then, as if she were reading his mind, she kissed him, not even bothering to see if anyone was looking first.
Embarrassed, Jack cut the kiss short. “OK,” he smiled. “Right now, I need to go in and figure out what to do for Sawyer.”
“You do that,” she said, with a pleased smile. “I’ll be here.”
He walked back into the cave and practically ran into Sawyer. He’d followed Jack -- and seen him kissing Kate. But the emotion on Sawyer’s face wasn’t jealousy. It was fear.
“It’s OK, Sawyer,” Jack said, leading him back inside. Sawyer’s gaze was directed outside the cave entrance to where Kate stood, keeping watch.
“So, was I wrong in thinking you had something you wanted to tell me?” Jack asked.
Jack immediately had Sawyer’s full attention. He nodded vigorously, looking relieved at Jack’s words. He held up a hand as if to say, “Wait” while he dug into his pocket. But he came up empty-handed. His brow furrowed as he tried his other pocket. Then a full panic set in as he began looking desperately around him for the missing object.
“What are you looking for, Sawyer?” Jack asked. “Can I help?”
Sawyer didn’t answer, just kept up his mad search. He face had drained of all color and he looked like he might be sick or faint, so Jack made him sit down again.
“What is it?” Jack asked. “Sawyer, look at me. What is going on?”
Sawyer made a scribbling motion and Jack nodded and started looking around for some paper and something to write with. “Why didn’t I think of that?” he berated himself under his breath as he looked.
While Jack looked, Sawyer fidgeted nervously, continuing to glance outside. Finally Sawyer stood up and put a hand on Jack’s arm. Kate. He mouthed her name.
Jack looked at him, puzzled. “What about her?”
Sawyer simply pointed to his throat. He could the wheels turning in Jack’s mind. He gave Jack a gruesome smile.
“What are you saying?” Jack grabbed him by his arms and Sawyer’s smile faded. He glanced in Kate’s direction.
She killed Sayid, Sawyer mouthed.
“What? I don’t understand you, Sawyer!” Jack was growing frustrated -- and angry. “What are you saying about ... Kate.” Jack’s voice changed on the last word.
Sawyer’s head whipped around and saw Kate standing there, a concerned look on her face.
“I thought I told you to wait outside,” Jack said impatiently. He let go of Sawyer.
“I’m sorry,” Kate said, looking hurt. “It’s just that Walt’s run off. I thought you might want to help me look for him.”
“Damn it,” Jack’s shoulders drooped at the news. He looked at Sawyer, who shook his head almost imperceptibly and frowned at him.
Don’t go, Sawyer said, so that only Jack could see him.
Jack weighed the situation. “OK," he said to Kate. "I don't want you going off alone. Not after ... everything."
“You’re OK, right, Sawyer?” Kate said firmly, fixing him with a determined gaze.
He could only nod.
Jack sighed. “OK. Let’s go. Sawyer, why don’t you stay here?”
“If you want, I can stay with him,” Kate offered.
Jack considered this. "You're a good tracker," he said. "Better than me, certainly. But if you want to stay here, then..."
Sawyer caught his eye and Jack got the distinct feeling he didn't want to be alone with Kate. He nodded at Sawyer and took Kate aside.
“Kate, what’s going on with you and Sawyer?”
Kate was the picture of confusion, tinged with resentment. “What do you mean? You think I have something going with Sawyer too?”
Jack sighed. “That’s not what I said. But there’s some tension between you. You don’t know what it is?”
Kate frowned and shook her head. “I don’t know. Maybe he blames me ... for Sayid’s death.”
Jack froze. “What did you say?” Was that what Sawyer was trying to tell him?
“I mean, Sayid died trying to save me. Or to bring me back. Maybe he blames me for that. They were getting to be really good friends, although neither one would admit it.”
He shook his head. “I don’t know. It’s almost more like he’s ... scared of you.”
Kate let out a short, surprised laugh. “What? Scared of me? That’s crazy!”
“Yeah,” Jack laughed. “It is.”
She frowned. “You don’t think that maybe he’s ... well, got some damage because of the whole choking thing.”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. I’d like to check him out some more,” Jack sighed heavily. “But you’re right, we need to go find Walt. Sawyer's not going anywhere just now.”
“Right,” she nodded. “But can I just ... can I just talk to him alone for a minute? I want to see if he really is afraid of me. I’m sure you’re mistaken.”
Jack looked at her oddly, but then he nodded his OK. “I’ll see you outside,” he said.
Kate walked over to Sawyer, making sure first that Jack was out of earshot.
“Well, that took forever to get rid of him,” she said. “What’s going on anyway? He seems to think you're scared of me.” She gave him a hard look.
Sawyer shrugged and shook his head. Then he pulled her in for a kiss. She drew back. “Sawyer,” she hissed. “We have to be more discreet.” She paused, smiling at him. “Actually, we don't have to pretend for much longer. Because I want you to do it now. As soon as I’m gone, I want you to find Shannon and bring her to the spot I told you about. I can rely on you, right?”
He nodded and mouthed the words, Of course.
She gave him a quick peck. “I miss your voice,” she said wistfully. “I hope it comes back soon, lover.”
He grinned and patted her on the ass as she walked away. She gave him a smile over her shoulder as she left.
When she was finally gone, he let out a deep breath. He had to get Shannon now and get her away from here. He hadn’t been able to make Jack understand and he didn't know if Shannon had been able to tell Locke - or to convince him what was going on. It was a damn crazy story and Sawyer was just lucky that Shannon believed him.
He thought suddenly of Sun. Now that he was sure she understood him, maybe he could get her to help, somehow. But he didn’t have time to try to bring someone else up to speed. He had to get Shannon to safety now, before Kate realized the truth about him. If she didn’t already, he thought grimly.
He couldn’t help feeling that they were both playing a game, waiting until just the right moment to show their cards. And when they did -- someone else would die, and Sawyer wasn't sure he could stop it.