Summary: Jack couldn’t ignore him forever
Note: This is a sequel to foxxcub's Amateurs. That’s right, it went from brainstorming with her to a full handover of this because I was stuck on some other fics. *gulp* I love her fic (and her) something fierce, so I hope this is taken as the loving homage that it is. She created the Jack/Jamesverse. I'm just playing in it. (Using for fanfic100 prompt "Rain")
He stood at a distance, watching him stretch like a cat.
Sawyer’s shirt was off, as usual, and Jack could see the hard lines of every muscle in his abdomen as he raised his arms over his head. The island had made him lean. Jack’s eye followed the play of those muscles as he stretched lazily to the left, and then the right as if he were warming up for a race.
He was several yards off, with his back to him, but Jack knew it was him by the prickle that ran down his neck. He stood out like he was in color and everyone else was in black and white: the guy in the gray tank top, who had just pulled his sweatshirt off over his head and was now smoothing his ruffled hair. And then he turned in his direction and Jack felt a jolt of adrenaline, chased by a queasy feeling in his stomach.
He hadn’t seen him since that night at his house and his mouth went dry as he imagined trying to talk to him. What would James say? Or would he just ignore him?
But he hadn’t seen him. He didn’t glance up once or he would have seen the way Jack was openly staring at him.
One of the other students caught his eye and waved to him enthusiastically. Rather than draw attention to himself Jack ducked away. He headed for the bleachers, reluctant to let James out of his sight.
He was still going through his stretches, his gaze focused on the track. Jack had been dimly aware he was on the track team, but he’d never seen him race. Or seen him in the locker room, he realized, a flush spreading through him as he thought about watching James undress. Or shower. He shifted in his seat, willing himself not to get an erection here in public.
Now the team was taking its places on the track and Jack sat back, eager to watch him run, to see him in motion. He still couldn’t quite reconcile the can’t-be-bothered, cool James he knew with this serious looking, wiry runner in front of him now.
But if he could be on the football team and have the coach none the wiser about his partying, then he guessed someone like James could pull it off too.
A whistle blew and James was off, faster than he would have thought, and he took pride in watching him outdistance the other runners, in that fierce look of concentration on his face.
He held his breath as James rounded the final curve and found himself smiling like an idiot when he finished first.
James was doubled over, getting his breath back, and getting clapped on the back by the other runners when the coach came over. Whatever he said wasn’t good news, because he saw James straighten and a frown steal over his face that had been flushed with triumph just a minute before. He stood stiffly, fists in balls at his side and he looked about two seconds away from punching the coach.
But instead he just shrugged and walked off the field slowly as everyone looked after him.
Jack ran down from the bleachers, desperate to find out what had happened. He edged near the crowd, hoping to overhear what the coach had told James. He didn’t want to have to ask.
But already the coach was ordering onlookers off the track and the team back to their places and Jack left without any answers. He took one last look at James, who was leaning against the fence, lighting up a cigarette in clear violation of school rules. His head was bent down and when he looked up, he looked right at Jack.
Jack’s heart stopped as he waited for James to acknowledge him. What he got was a crooked half-smile and then a toss of that shaggy blonde hair before James turned and walked off.
“Do you want me to talk to him?”
Jack was jolted out of his reverie by Sayid. He started guiltily, ashamed to be caught staring at Sawyer.
“He does nothing but lie in the sun. He should really be pulling his fair share like the rest of us.” Sayid stood, arms crossed, gazing with disapproval as Sawyer strolled off towards the inviting shade of the jungle, book in hand.
“No, I’ll talk to him,” Jack said quickly. “I think he’ll listen to me.”
“Oh?” Sayid’s eyebrow raised in amusement. “Since when does he do what you ask?”
“Well, never,” Jack admitted with a laugh. “But it’s time I talked to him anyway.”
Sayid said nothing, just nodded, but Jack had the uncomfortable feeling he knew what was on his mind, what had been on his mind ever since Jack had recognized James on the plane.
He couldn’t ignore him forever.
“Did you hear about Ford?”
Jack’s head was deep in his locker when he heard the name and he had the urge to ask what the hell had happened, but he stayed there frozen, glad they couldn’t see how red his face was.
“Expelled. They found his stash in his locker.”
“Did they arrest him?” Mike asked.
“Just under the legal limit, I heard. But it’s not like it’s the first time for him.”
“Yeah? I heard he was in jail back in Tennessee, before he came here.”
Jail? He knew James was tough, but he hadn’t figured on that.
“No, you guys got it wrong. His whole family was killed and he’s under witness protection. But he blew it and now they have to give him a whole new identity.”
“HIs whole family? How?”
“Dunno. Some maniac. Dude, I heard he was in the house when it happened. He was just a kid. Barely escaped getting killed himself.”
Jack stood stock still as the wild theories flew around him. Jesus, no wonder he drinks. Finally he slammed his locker shut.
“None of you guys know shit,” he said angrily.
“What, like he’s your best friend all of a sudden? Just because you got high together once?”
“I don’t do that shit,” Jack fumed. “And neither does he.”
“So,” Benson shrugged. “Doesn’t make a difference. He was still dealing.”
“Yeah. Either way he’s history,” said Mike.
“Yeah,” Jack said quietly. “Guess so.”
Jack wasn’t very good at this tracking thing. All he was succeeding at was getting himself lost. It was hot and the hint of rain in the air just made everything hotter and stickier. He stopped, panting from exertion, and stripped off his T-shirt and wiped his face with it.
“Boo!” came a low voice in his ear and he nearly jumped out of skin.
“Sawyer,” he said with exasperation when he saw who it was.
“Been watchin’ you go round in circles,” Sawyer smirked. “Thought I’d save you the trouble.” He didn’t look anywhere near as hot and tired as Jack was, even though he’d put his shirt back on in the meantime and it clung to him damply.
“Thanks,” Jack said darkly, feeling more than a little foolish.
“So, what did you want with me anyway, doc?” Sawyer, the usual cocky grin on his face. He put a strong, negative emphasis on the last word.
Jack didn’t bother denying that he’d been looking for him. “I need to talk to you.” He felt completely unprepared. He took a deep breath, all too aware of those moody sea-blue eyes on him, weighing him and finding him wanting.
“Yeah, well I’m here,” Sawyer said, crossing his arms, that irritating smirk still firmly in place.
“You never contribute anything,” Jack said sternly, as if Sayid were there, watching him and making sure he had the conversation he’d promised to have.
Sawyer just shrugged. “So I’m lazy.” He toed the ground with his boot, watching the circles he drew in the dirt. Then he looked up again, those blue eyes burning right through Jack. “That really why you tracked me down? Coulda told me that anywhere, doc. Coulda just passed me a note, you know? 'Dear Sawyer, Straighten up and fly right, Sincerely, Doc Shephard.'" Jack hated that smug, superior smile more than anything.
The air was thick and so humid, it was practically sucking the air out of his lungs while he decided whether to call Sawyer by his real name and finally drop this pretense of being strangers.
“Why do you work so hard at being the resident asshole?” Jack demanded, stepping closer. “What made you like this? Was it before or after...”
“Before or after what?” Sawyer’s eyes sparked, daring Jack to say it out loud.
“High school,” Jack said at last. “Before that? Or since?”
“Little bit o’ both,” Sawyer said softly, raising his chin up as if expecting a blow to land there.
“What happened to you?” Jack dropped his voice now that he was within inches from him. “Where did you go?”
”And this is where I’m supposed to unravel my sad little life story, right, and you’ll try to make it all better? Mr. Fix It? Amazing doc heals all, saves all?”
His bitterness stung at such closer quarters and Jack resisted an urge to reach out and put a hand on his shoulder. He invited and defied comfort, as if he were testing Jack by displaying his pain like a red flag to a bull. Jack bit his tongue, stopping all the stock phrases that came to his mind.
“You don’t know me, doc. You never did. And you don’t want to.” Sawyer turned, signaling that the conversation was over.
Jack’s hand shot out, grabbing him by the shoulder and forcefully turning him back around. ”And you don’t know me. You think I don’t know that I can’t fix people? Don’t you think if I could, I’d start with myself?”
Sawyer scowled, like a dog kept at bay, but then the moment passed and he just laughed. “You got problems doc? I’d say your only problem is getting some alone time with Freckles.”
“No, you’re my biggest problem. James.” He said the name softly, watching for his reaction.
Sawyer stiffened like he’d been insulted. “Name’s Sawyer, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“James,” Jack said again, deliberately, taking another step closer to him, his hand still on his shoulder. “What happened to you?”
He’d wondered so often what had become of him and if any of those crazy stories about his childhood were true. Over the years, James had slowly faded in his memory, until he’d almost forgotten about him. Then on the plane, he’d known him instantly. Even though he was no longer that reedy, wiry teenager, he was still the cocky kid who was too cool for the room, who carried himself like he was walking away from a fight.
Sawyer sneered and pried Jack’s hand loose. “Listen, just because we got off together once doesn’t mean you’re my long-lost soulmate, got that?”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” Jack snapped, covering the sharp thrill he got to hear Sawyer actually admit it had happened.
They stood glaring at each other, locked in a staredown that neither was willing to lose. The atmosphere was so charged, Jack felt that something had to give, but it wasn’t going to be him.
And then something wet fell on Jack’s head. He looked up and within seconds, the sky had opened up, drenching him with drops so big they hurt. He put his hand up to shield his eyes and when he dropped his head, Sawyer was right there. He stepped back in surprise and Sawyer followed, pressing his body against his so that all he felt was the heat and solidness of him and just how much of a man he was now.
He closed his eyes as Sawyer’s mouth slid over his and his tongue darted into his mouth and then he let his jaw go slack and his whole body relax into him as they kissed.
Jack buried his hands in Sawyer’s hair as he inhaled the fresh smell of the rain and the scent that was uniquely Sawyer. All that was missing was cigarettes and his dad’s Jim Beam and he could be right back there in his downstairs bathroom with the rain beating outside. Sawyer’s hand was running up and down his left arm, bringing back the raw feeling of his tattoo when it was just a few days old.
A low growl sounded in Sawyer’s throat as Jack’s hand moved to the front of his jeans, feeling how hard he already was. “Fuck, Jack,” Sawyer moaned as he began to rub roughly over the wet fabric with the heel of his palm.
Sawyer thrust his leg between Jack’s thighs and began a rhythm of his own, his eyes closed, his breath shallow. He pressed one hand into the small of Jack’s back, the other roaming over Jack’s chest.
“I don’t know what to call you,” Jack gasped as Sawyer’s hand slid under his waistband, fingertips tracing circles along the curve of his ass.
“Fuck, I don’t care,” Sawyer groaned and he pulled Jack’s head to his so hard their foreheads knocked together. Jack let out a pained laugh and Sawyer huffed out a chuckle in between breaths before crushing his mouth over Jack’s.
And then he was walking Sawyer backwards, into the nearest tree, so he’d have something to lean against. The wind picked up and the branches of the tree lashed them unevenly with collected rain, but they couldn’t stop even though they were soaked to the skin.
Jack peeled Sawyer’s shirt up, licking up the rain that ran down his chest, and then his hand closed around Sawyer’s cock, his heart in his throat as he watched the rapid rise and fall of Sawyer’s chest as he started to move his hand. Sawyer groaned and closed his eyes, thrusting his hips up into Jack’s fist, his own hands gripping Jack’s shoulders tight.
That first time, they’d just been fumbling in the dark and there’d been nothing but the feel of Sawyer and the sound of his moans. He hadn’t seen Sawyer’s face at all. Now he watched his every touch register on his face, saw him bite his lips and thrust his head back and memorized the way his eyes squeezed tight and he wrote it over the other memory tattooed in his brain.
“Fuck, Jack, fuck, fuck,” Sawyer moaned and he shuddered violently and then he was coming over Jack’s hand, a hot burst in the endless wash of rain.
Sawyer slumped against the tree, his pulse pound wildly in his throat, his dripping hair matted to his head, and Jack almost wished it was like before, with them coming together. But then Sawyer reached for him and backed him up against the tree and Sawyer’s grin banished all thoughts of the past. “Hey doc,” he whispered in his ear, pausing to tug at his earlobe with his teeth. “You ever do this with anyone else?”
“No.” A delicious shudder ran through him as Sawyer teased his thumb over the head of his dick. “Just you.”
“Just me?” Sawyer purred. “You really were the Golden Boy, weren’t ya?”
“Fuck you,” Jack gasped as Sawyer’s hand cupped his balls lightly. “I never... was...” and then he stopped talking, lost in the waves of pleasure running over him. The beating rain was like another pair of hands on him, amplifying every sensation, making his skin tingle and burn and making him shiver with cold even as the heat Sawyer was generating consumed him. He was shaking now, as it took him over and then he went under with a cry, hands clasped desperately in Sawyer’s hair as the world went black and then red.
And when the last wave receded he realized he was standing there half naked and sopping wet. He started to shiver now that the rain was winning out for his attention. Sawyer looked cold and miserable too.
“Shit, we’re really fuckin’ wet,” Sawyer said, laughing, and then a sly smile crossed his face and he started to run.
“Hey!” Jack yelled, running after him, both of them hurtling through the jungle as if they could escape getting wetter by outrunning the rain.
Jack felt a laugh building in his chest and running shook it free. He couldn’t help it. Something about this mad, wet dash, made him laugh, and he heard Sawyer laughing too and they ran even faster until they were both almost giddy.
“Do you even know where you’re going?” Jack panted between giggles, and Sawyer shot back a breathy, “Fuck, no!”
They ran until they had to stop, collapsing in the mud and panting and still laughing in between ragged breaths.
“Shit, we’ll never get back,” Sawyer said and just as Jack was trying to imagine how they would spend the night out here, it stopped raining as suddenly as it started.
“How ‘bout that?” Sawyer said, squinting up into the sudden sunshine. He stood up and started trying to wipe the mud off himself, which resulted in even more fits of laughter.
“Yeah, just a short storm,” Jack said. That heavy, anxious feeling that had been on him since the crash -- since long before, really -- was settling back into his bones.
They started walking back together, their former giddiness replaced with a pronounced awkwardness. They trudged until they recognized where they were and all too soon they’d be back among the others and that would be it, Jack realized.
He stopped short and Sawyer turned to look at him, puzzled.
“One question,” he said, his palms starting to sweat at the way Sawyer was staring at him.
Jack didn’t have one question for Sawyer, he had hundreds and they all buzzed through his brain at once. But he had Sawyer’s attention now, so he plunged in. “When did you change your name?”
Sawyer looked surprised, as if that was not what he’d expected to be asked. “I was 19,” he said, without offering to elaborate.
Jack nodded, pretending to be satisfied.
“I gotta question for you,” Sawyer said, his chin going up.
"Shoot," Jack said, reading his grim expression and bracing for whatever he might ask.
"You ever learn to handle your whiskey?" Sawyer's mouth split open in a smile and Jack couldn't help laughing along with him, even as he felt the sting of disappointment that this was the question.
"Yeah. I became a real pro," Jack said quietly.
"Yeah, I imagine you did." Sawyer's smile faded. "Little tarnish on the gold, there."
Jack shrugged. "Yeah.”
They walked back the rest of the way in silence.