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Title: The Captain Goes Down With the Ship
Summary: Jack sees a way to save everyone
Note: A late luau fic for alliecat8, who asked for Jack and (if she wants it) emiliglia, who asked for S6 spec. (This is more like series finale spec, inspired by a conversation with elliotsmelliot) Thank you to eponine119 for the beta! :)
Spoilers: Contains elements of S5, although set during a(n unspecified) future crisis
Word count: 625
Warning: Character death

The wheel is encased in ice, so cold that he draws his hand back at first. It's the cold that makes his left hand shake, he tells himself. He tears a strip of cloth from the bottom of his shirt -- God, it's so cold... and wraps the palm of his hand with it. It works: he no longer automatically lets go of the freezing metal at first touch. He takes the moment before his flesh screams at him to tear his hand away to lash his left hand with his right. A second person could have tied his remaining hand, but Jack couldn't take that chance. Not with someone else's life.

While they were still knotted in a somber little group, intently discussing who it should be, and why, he'd gotten inside and locked them all out. The flush of his success had kept him warm at first, but that first rush of adrenaline is fading, evaporating in this frigid, rocky chamber.

He's done far harder things, he tells himself. The voice in his head sounds so much like his father's, he turns his head, half expecting to see him. But there is no one. He doesn't have time for hallucinations anyway, he says, or maybe it really is Christian who speaks. It doesn't matter.

He should have wrapped his right hand with cloth, when he had both hands free but now there's no time. He loops the rope over and around a spoke of the wheel as best he can one-handed and then he takes the end of the rope in his teeth He nearly cries out as his bare hand meets icy metal, but he can't let go of the rope. Its freezing, but it feels like fire. Not long, now comes the voice.

It takes all his strength to turn the wheel. He throws his whole body into it, every ounce he has, so that he's sweating, even in this cold, by the time it finally budges. He hears the whine of metal on metal and then -- success! an enormous roar building behind him.

He closes his eyes, bracing himself as the water rushes in, buffeting him hard against sharp rock and unforgiving metal. The water rises higher and he feels the same panic he did as he swam out to save Boone and Joanna, when he realized he could save only one. But now, now, he can save them all. He grips the wheel all the tighter, as if even now, the island waits to snatch the lives he's won from his grasp.

This is it, he thinks as the waves reach his chin. The water is so high now, Jacks has to crane his head to reach the shrinking pocket of air.

He remembers the shock of seeing Sawyer jump from the helicopter, the flood of sorrow inseparable from the guilt of not being the one to make the obvious sacrifice. He wonders what Sawyer thought, as the ocean rushed up at him, sure, somehow, that he wasn't thinking of his own death, but of everyone he'd just saved. I got this one, Jack thinks, but it's Sawyer's voice he hears.

The water is over Jack's head now, and the air in his lungs will only last another moment, maybe two. His chest burns with the need to breathe and now Jack can see Charlie, like he was there with him when he took his last breath. Charlie is smiling at him like everything is okay and so Jack smiles back.



( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
mm, yes, very nicely done. It still resonates on the repeat reading.
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
Thank you, hon! That's so nice to hear! Thanks again for the beta. :)
Aug. 15th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
This is so haunting and so very Jack. Amazing job.
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you. :) Glad you liked it.
Aug. 15th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
Wow. I had to go and read it again as soon as I hit the last sentence. I especially like the last two paragraphs where Sawyer didn't think of his own death, only the people he saved, and Jack seeing Charlie. Absolutely stunning.
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
Oh, wow, I'm so flattered that it was worth a repeat read! And yes, I really wanted him to be thinking of everyone else's sacrifices (fatal or not) who went before him.
Aug. 15th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Ooh... *shudders* Eerie. I like it!
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
Thank you, dear. Jack's always such a glutton for punishment, isn't he? I can totally see him doing this.
Aug. 15th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
This is very true to Jack's character, to not cry out in pain even when he's alone - because he has his father looking over his shoulder all the time.
This could indeed be the way the series ends. And Charlie is proud. :)
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you, dear. :) I'm so glad you liked those aspects of the fic. And oh, I used to have that icon. Still love it!

This could indeed be the way the series ends.
A happy ending really seems unlikely, doesn't it? Especially for Jack.
Aug. 16th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
I'm so very behind in both reading and writing, but I saw your contribution and had to read. Then read again. And a third time. It's wonderful, and very in character for Jack. Finally, an heroic effort on his part that makes sense. Charlie waiting to welcome him is bittersweet icing on the cake.

I got this one, Jack thinks, but it's Sawyer's voice he hears. Breaks my heart.

Good on you, mate!
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks for fitting it in right away, hon! I wasn't sure if the summary and title would drive more people away than towards it! Jack really is a born hero, isn't he? The more I think about it, the more this seems to fit (whatever the final circumstances may be). And oh, I couldn't leave out Charlie. Or Sawyer.

Breaks my heart.
*hugs you* I got a bit weepy with this one, I'll admit!
Aug. 16th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
Oh wow, that's very powerful, love! I liked seeing all his images of past things - well done! ;-)
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, dear! :)
Aug. 16th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Very nice insight! I really like that meeting with Charlie at the end!
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, hon. I am just a big sap like that. :)
Aug. 16th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Love this, very IC Jack!
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) It's really the way I see Jack, despite all his failures, he really does (well, usually!) put everyone ahead of himself.
Aug. 16th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, this gave me chills. I loved that he sees and hears Charlie and Sawyer; it's a comfort that he's not alone in the end. ♥ Brilliant!
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
Oh wow, thank you, hon. :) I'm honored!

it's a comfort that he's not alone in the end.
Gah, you're getting me all choked up again!

Aug. 19th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
I got shivers from how you described the cold. Maybe the temperature was a necessary distraction for Jack, so he would not have to contemplate his sacrifice. I liked very much how he heard Sawyer and saw Charlie as he strove to give himself like they had. Great work!
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
Wow, shivers, thank you! And thank you for the question that inspired this fic! I don't know how the series will end, but this just felt right (if incredibly sad) to me. ♥ It's too hard to believe that Jack could ever be happy, on or off the island.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC)
Thank you. Charlie's death was so incredibly moving, if I can come close to that, I'm very flattered.
Aug. 24th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
Oh Jack, our big damn hero. *sigh* I love him.

I'm taking advantage of this moment of lucidity from my meds to read and comment on this, because I just couldn't wait. I knew you'd put Jack in a situation where he'd have to do the absolute right thing to save the others, and that thing would be his death. Did you cry as you wrote it? Did you wonder how Sawyer would feel? I love the fact that he thought of Sawyer, and even though he thought, "I've got this one," it's Sawyer's voice he hears. Big damn heroes, both of them, but Jack makes the ultimate sacrifice.

This was beautifully written and prophetic, I think. Jack will die hearing his father's voice, I'm convinced. Right from the beginning he has been the savior, and the savior dies...to please his father. Hmmm, maybe I'm not as lucid as I thought. But anyway, I want you to know that I loved this in spite of Jack's death, or maybe because of it, since this scenario seemed to demand it. Thank you for showing us what Jack -- who has disillusioned a lot of people -- is really made of. And thank you for writing it for me. ♥
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
He is our big damn hero. I am so glad this felt right to you, it's totally the way I see him, as someone who would willingly die to save someone else. I used to think that would be Sawyer's fate on the show, but he made his sacrifice and lived and that lets him off the hook, I think. And that leaves Jack as the big savior. I don't know if he show will end like this, but it made sense to me and I'm glad it makes sense to you as well.

Yes, I absolutely made myself cry with this one. Because I am a big sap like that.

My pleasure to write a hero Jack fic for you. ♥
Sep. 1st, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)
I loved that Jack's for once made a heroic gesture that worked - at least, I think it had worked, since Charlie seemed pleased.
And Jack would be finally proud of what he did - and that is as close to happy as he can get, I fear.
This was very in character and even if it ends in death, it's not without hope. I really liked it.

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )


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