halfdutch (halfdutch) wrote,

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Happy Birthday (Part 15)

Title: Happy Birthday (Part 15)
Summary: Jack is convinced Sawyer’s gone nuts
Rating: PG for language, suspense

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Sawyer jumped. He’d almost forgotten about Sayid, but there he was again, blocking him from leaving the cave. The look on his face was stern and his mouth was moving, but Sawyer didn’t know what he was saying.

What?! Sawyer said, throwing his arms wide. Both of them were speaking but neither was capable of making a sound. It was like a comedy routine, only no one was laughing.

What the hell good is it to haunt me if I don’t know what the fuck you want? Sawyer demanded in frustration. Sayid glanced behind him. What is it, you crazy, goddamn ... Sawyer was just gearing up for a full rant when Jack ran back into the cave, right through Sayid.

Sawyer broke off, but it was too late. Jack had seen him holding an animated conversation with thin air.

“You OK, Sawyer?” Jack asked. He wore that concerned expression that meant he wasn’t about to let this drop. He walked over to get his backpack, keeping a careful eye on Sawyer. “I can’t believe I left without this,” he said slowly.

Sawyer weighed his choices: Make a break for it and grab Shannon -- wherever the hell she was -- or try one more time to convince Jack that Kate wasn’t Kate anymore.

He grabbed Jack by the arm. Don’t trust her, he mouthed. She’s not Kate.

This time, he thought Jack finally understood him, but that didn’t mean he believed him. She did this to me, he said, pointing at his throat.

Jack’s expression wasn’t encouraging. “It’s all right Sawyer,” he said calmly, putting his hand over Sawyer’s. “I know you’ve been through a lot. It’s going to be OK.” His eyes were wide, but his voice was still calm, authoritative.

Sawyer wanted to scream from frustration. Jack didn’t believe him. He dug his hand in harder. I’m not crazy, he said. She’s with Ethan now. He emphasized Ethan’s name, hoping to God he could convince Jack to at least start doubting her.

“OK,” Jack nodded gravely, but Sawyer saw the doubt and worry in his eyes.

Jack. Believe me. Sawyer shook him. Jack tried to pry Sawyer’s hand off his arm, growing more panicked by the second by his behavior.

Sawyer smiled sadly and let go of Jack’s arm. Well, he’d tried. There wasn’t anything else he could do, short of tackling the doc.

He turned to leave and he was nearly outside when he felt a sharp jab in his upper arm. He spun to face Jack and saw the needle in his hand and his grim expression.

Sawyer felt his knees buckle and then Jack caught him. He leaned weakly against Jack, staring at those dark eyes in desperation.

You ... idiot, he mouthed. Jack’s only response was a pained look. He dragged Sawyer awkwardly to his own bedroll and laid him down. Sawyer couldn’t do a thing. Whatever Jack had used was strong. He could already feel himself going under.

Jack knelt beside him and hesitantly put his hand on his forehead. “I’m sorry, Sawyer,” he said, and he looked as though he meant it. “It’s going to be OK. I have to go now, but I’ll be back. No one’s going to hurt you. You’re safe here.” He stroked Sawyer’s forehead gently. Sawyer blinked up at him, too weak to think or move.

If only Jack knew what he was doing. Sawyer cursed him and then himself. The last thing he saw was Sayid, shaking his head at him. I tried, he said to the ghost, and then he was out.

Jack stood up, satisfied that the sedative had taken effect. He hated to do it, but what choice did he have? Maybe Kate was right and whatever had happened to Sawyer had pushed him over the edge. The things he said, at least as much as Jack understood him, were the ravings of a lunatic. And a dangerous one, if he was going to go after Kate.

He couldn’t just leave him here like this. When he woke up, he’d be furious and capable of anything. With a heavy heart, Jack searched for something to tie his hands with. Then he tied his ankles. He tested the bonds and they seemed like they would hold.

Kate was still waiting for him. They still had to find Walt. It just never stopped, he thought with a deep sigh. He prayed that nothing else happened today, that they’d find Walt safe and sound.

He didn’t feel right leaving Sawyer on his own, so when he saw Sun outside, he grabbed her. He motioned to the cave and said Sawyer’s name and she nodded as if she understood. She gave him an oddly searching look, as if she wanted to say something, but of course he couldn't understand her, no matter what she had to say. In other circumstances, he might have asked Kate to watch him, but seeing her was likely to set Sawyer off.

“What took you so long?” Kate asked impatiently when he finally joined her. “We have to get going if we’re going to find Walt before nightfall.”

“Sawyer was really upset. I had to sedate him,” Jack said. He decided against telling her about his wild accusations just now. If Sawyer persisted in his paranoid suspicion of her, then they’d have to find a way to keep them apart. Or keep Sawyer locked up somehow.

Kate shrugged and slung on her backpack and for a split second, Jack considered the idea that Sawyer could be right about her. Except it wasn’t possible. There was no way Kate could overpower Sawyer. She weighed maybe 100 pounds. Sure, she was stronger than she looked, but not that strong.

No, the only explanation was that Sawyer was suffering from delusions. He ran to catch up with Kate.

Boone’s heart was still pounding. He had been running after Jack when he saw Ethan. His blood froze at the sight.

Luckily, Ethan hadn’t seen him, so he dove behind a tree and waited. All he could picture were those dead eyes and terrifyingly blank face and that curious, leaning-forward stance of his, powerful arms dangling by his side as he’d prowled the jungle. He was looking for something and Boone prayed it wasn’t him.

He hadn’t dared to look out for the longest time. He was no match for Ethan and his only chance was to get back without being seen. Finally, he had to look. He had to warn the others.

He didn’t see anything, but he still waited another five minutes before daring to move out into the open. And then he ran for all he was worth, as if the hounds of hell were on his heels.

He burst into Jack’s cave, startled to see only Sun. She was leaning over someone, and he was even more surprised to see that it was Sawyer. And that he was tied up.

Boone bent over, trying to catch his breath. “Where’s Jack?” he managed to gasp out finally. “Michael’s dead. And I just saw Ethan!”

Sun flinched at his news. “Walt will be so sad,” she said finally. “Jack has gone to look for him. He ran away when he heard about his father.”

Boone sat down next to her, casting an eye at Sawyer. “What’s going on with Sawyer?” he asked. “When did he get back?”

“Today, I think,” Sun said slowly. “Shannon found him. Someone ...” she put her hands to her throat, mimicking someone being strangled.

Boone flushed guiltily. It had only been a few days ago that he’d tried to choke Sawyer because he thought he’d hurt Shannon. “But why is he tied up?”

Sun shook her head. “I’m not sure. I think he tried to tell Jack the same thing Michael told me. I believed Michael. I do not think Jack believed Sawyer.”

“Was it about Kate?” Boone said and felt a thrill of fear when Sun nodded.

“Michael said her name, just before he died,” he said, his voice dropping to a whisper. “I wasn’t sure I’d heard him right.”

“He told me Sayid thought Kate ... wasn’t Kate. That she couldn’t be hurt. He saw him cut her, and then the cut disappeared.”


“I know. It doesn’t make sense. But he was afraid of her. And now Sayid is dead.”

“And so is Michael,” Boone said grimly.

“And Sawyer cannot speak,” Sun said. “So we are the only ones who know about Kate.”

“Where is she?” Boone asked, watching Sawyer’s still form, noting the ugly marks around his neck. “She must have done this too, right?”

“She’s with Jack.”

“What?” Boone jumped to his feet. “We have to warn him. We have to stop her.”

“How?” Sun said simply. “I think Sawyer tried.”

“But now you and I know. We can convince Jack. We just have to get him alone, away from her.” He looked again at Sawyer. “We need him. Can you wake him up?”

”I can try,” Sun said. “Wait here. I know something that will help.”

Boone stared hard at Sawyer’s throat. He pictured again Michael’s bloodied body. How could Kate -- sweet, helpful Kate -- have done either of these things? And Jack was alone with her now, with no idea that she had become some kind of monster. And the poor sap was in love with her.

Boone was sick with fear over what she would do. Maybe Jack was safe as long as he didn’t know about her, at least he fervently hoped he was.

Jack and Kate had been hiking for an hour, with no sign of Walt, and the exertion was starting to catch up to him. He still was too weak from being poisoned. “Wait a minute,” he said at last. He stopped and sat down wearily.

Kate turned and looked at him with concern. “Are you OK?”

“Just tired. Maybe I was the wrong person to come out here with you.”

“The choices are getting kind of limited,” she said with a wry smile.

Jack didn’t smile back. “I wouldn’t joke about it,” he said, still troubled by having to drug Sawyer. And by thoughts of Michael, who was probably dead by now.

“Of course not,” Kate frowned and sat down next to him. “Should we turn back?”

“No,” Jack said firmly, getting to his feet. “I’ll be OK.”

“You don’t look OK,” she said. “Wait here. I’ll come back for you.”

“I don’t like the idea of you going off alone,” Jack said. “It’s not safe.”

“And you’re going to protect me, big strong Jack?” There was an unusually cruel note of sarcasm in her tone.

Sawyer’s words played through his mind. “She’s not Kate,” he had said. Nonsense, he told himself. And then a blur of movement in the tall grass caught his eye.

“Walt!” he yelled and they both ran after him. The caught up to him easily, and Kate grabbed his arm.

“Walt, you had us really worried,” she said. “We came to take you back.”

He pushed her arm away and then drew back in fear. “You killed my dad!” he yelled, his face contorted with rage and hurt.

“What?” Kate looked as if she hadn’t heard him right. Her eyes was bright, her cheeks flushed with confusion. She dropped his arm and Walt ran off.

Jack looked at Kate for her reaction, but she was already in hot pursuit of Walt. Jack ran after her, but he soon fell behind. He had to stop again. He felt like he was close to passing out, so he bent over, gulping in air and waiting until his head cleared.

He heard a scuffle some distance away and a sharp cry. And then he heard nothing.

“Kate!” he bellowed. “Walt!” There was no answer.

He pushed himself to get up, to go on, to find them. His lungs were burning and his legs felt like rubber. He ran hard, circling out from where he’d seen them last, but he couldn’t find either one of them.

He finally collapsed to the ground, Walt’s accusation ringing in his ears. Sawyer can't be right, he can't be, he thought with despair.


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