Fandom/ Pairing: Lost, Sawyer/Kate, past Sawyer/Juliet
Word Count: 1321
Summary: "I never got my ass kicked by a crazy Aussie thought I stole her kid."
Author's Note: Picks up right after "Recon". I never redux. Sort of dark, I guess? Title is one-half Larry Levis poem and one-half Matt Nathanson song, 'cause that's just the kind of girl I am.
So they sit in the jungle for awhile, watch the fire. Ain't like anybody's expecting them home. Kate's wrapped in the blanket like she's hopin' to go invisible and when he glances over at her she's just staring into the middle space, quiet. Sawyer swallows. Since she got here he's been real careful about not doing shit like looking at her for any length of time (all the good it did him) and he shifts his weight now, coughs. "Heard you had a rough day."
Kate shrugs, does that little eye-roll thing she does when she's actin' like something don't bother her. "You could say that."
"Yeah." Sawyer considers his hands. It occurs to him to wonder how many more women he's not gonna be able to protect, and then he just says it. "I never got my ass kicked by a crazy Aussie thought I stole her kid."
She smiles again, which he guesses is what he was after: the corners of her mouth tilt up, cautious (you wanna drink, you gotta play). "You never, huh?"
"You got airplane vodka in that canteen?"
"I wish." He does, too: he aches clear down to the grinding dust of his bones, like his goddamn ribs are scraping together. The last dregs of a hangover pulse behind his eyes. "Should've hunted around a little more at the Hydra. Coulda found us another liquor cart."
"What's it like there now?" she asks, then stops. "I mean. Does it look the same as when--?"
Kate studies the fire, won't look at him straight on. He guesses he doesn't blame her. "I never made Head of Security in Dharmaville," she says eventually.
Sawyer raises his eyebrows in spite of himself. "Oh, you're playing now?"
"I'm playing if you're playing."
"Fair enough." He takes a swig from the canteen. Kate settles back against the log he's sitting on; she feels warm and alive against his knee and God, God, he never deserved a good thing in his life. He left her dress back where he found it. He wishes he wanted to wish her away. She smells like dirt and sweat and jungle (he'd know her all the way the hell across time) and even with all his practice he's surprised by the enthusiasm with which he hates himself. There ain't enough booze in the world. "I never," he begins slowly, groping for something to say, "robbed a bank."
She holds out her hand for the water.
"Really?" he asks, handin' it over, thrown less by the fact that she did it than by the idea that he didn't guess before: she always was a capable thief. It was one of the things that made him want her so bad back at the beginning, like here was a woman you needed to watch all the time--who was always getting ready to make off with somethin' you wouldn't know you needed 'til after she was gone. He thought she was a pistol. He liked the way she moved.
Kate shrugs. Her shoulders rise inside the scratchy gray blanket, everything they own salvaged from one wreck or another. "I never jumped out of a helicopter."
Sawyer doesn't answer. There's something in her voice he don't cotton to, something vaguely accusatory (I've seen you, you know). He thinks of that talk about Clementine however many days ago, how onto him she acted. How sure she knew just what he was after when he dove, like any living soul on this island has a goddamn clue how he operates. Sawyer's eyes narrow. "What're you gettin' at, exactly?"
"What? Nothing." Right away she goes guarded, watchful as a junkyard stray. "Easy."
"Yeah." Easy. He shakes his head. "Well. I never made a bunch of money from a plane crash and shacked up with the Doc, so I guess you could call us about even."
"Hey." That one pisses her off something serious (it's so close to the surface with Kate, it's all so fucking close); first thing she's off the ground and whirled on him, her ropy body backlit by the fire. Her mouth opens (to tell him, maybe, you shacked up all right and if she's jealous let her be, none of it even matters anymore), closes. "You want to do this now?"
"I ain't doin' nothin'." He gets up to go: this game is bullshit, there's no way to win it, and he's a damn fool for thinking it'd make him feel any better. He needs to get out of this fucking place. He needs that fucking woman, and he couldn't even tell you which one he means. There's--there's too much to hold, here. He's halfway into the palm trees before she calls out.
"I never tried to convince myself I was better off alone."
Sawyer stops. That one's plain bullshit as much as it's true, since by all accounts Kate's always thought she was better off with a boyfriend and a backup. He turns around anyway. "I never said I loved somebody when I didn't."
He's aimin' to be a bastard, no question about that; it's a low blow he's after, a way to outgun her (and she's a pistol all right, a firecracker, a goddamn time-traveling h-bomb to the heart; God, he wants to go home). Sawyer waits to feel satisfied. Kate gets very still. "Is that what you think?" she asks quietly, and in all the pain and panic he's heard from her since the day they crashed on this burning rock, he can't remember her ever sounding so low. "Really?"
Damn it to hell. "I don't know." It feels private, the expression on her face, like something he doesn't deserve to see. Sawyer looks away. "Drink or don't."
Just like that she recovers, winds up and launches the canteen at him, hard. It hits the middle of his chest with enough force to bruise. "Drink yourself," she says, shaking her head. "I'm done here."
She goes. He watches the empty space for a minute, the hungry mouth of the jungle. Sawyer sighs. He thinks of subs and freighters, women missing in the middle of the night (I ain't with nobody). It occurs to him, not for the first time, that he's just about had his fill of being left.
So he follows.
It takes him a minute to catch up with her (she's running, she's so damn quick). Outside the ring of orange light cast by the fire it's dark as hell and just as spooky; his breath is loud inside his head. He grabs her arm and turns her around, her back thudding against one of the banyans. His hands are tight around her wrists. She ain't the kind of girl you bring a flower and he ain't the kind of guy allowed to hope but he'd rather get swallowed by smoke than hurt her again and for a minute they just stare at each other, stunned. Somewhere a bird cries out. "I'm sorry," he says, and it's the first time he's ever told her. They are very, very close. "I'm an asshole. I'm fucked up."
"Well," she mutters, and rolls her eyes again. He can feel her heart knocking at her ribs through her t-shirt. She doesn't move. "Nice to know some things haven't changed."
He laughs a little at that, his face falling forward, his cheek against her mouth. They're sweating, cold. Kate sighs. "Come on, Sawyer. Let's just...come on."
So he follows her back to the fire; they settle themselves on the ground. Sawyer's chest steadies. He can hear the camp quieting down for the night, familiar, sounds from a long time ago. His hand lands on top of hers.
"I never thought I'd come back here," she says, almost a whisper, but when he looks over at her to answer her eyes have already slipped closed. The fire crackles. The canteen is empty. Sawyer tries to sleep.