Jack's been gone less than ten minutes when Hurley's breathing goes slow and even, chin on his chest and hands slack on his stomach. Every few seconds he snores a little, soft.
"Is he sleeping?" Sawyer asks, disbelieving. "Are you kiddin' me?"
"Shh." Kate thinks of Aaron: the deep, shuddering exhaustion that came after a tantrum or a big day, all of it suddenly too much to handle. "I don't blame him." She shifts around, back against the log, trying to get more comfortable somehow. She hisses. Sawyer looks up sharply, his face all guilt and fear.
"Hurt much?" he asks.
"I'm fine," she says immediately, and he looks at her like, bullshit. Kate smiles a little. "I mean, it doesn't tickle."
"Let me see."
"Damnit, Freckles, just let me see."
Kate sighs. With some effort she slips her arm out the sleeve of her filthy t-shirt, holding her breath against the sear of the pain. She can smell herself, blood and sweat and island. Sawyer looks. He puts one gentle hand on her bare shoulder, moves her closer into the light. "Son of a bitch," he says.
Kate gazes down. She's in bad shape: Jack did what he could to clean her up but it's ugly where the bullet hit, seeping, a hastily mended hole above her heart. "Well," she says finally, nodding at his chest. "At least we match now."
Sawyer shrugs and it looks like surrender, like all of the fight's gone out. "We already matched," he mutters. Kate is not going to cry.
"Come here," she tells him, tugging her shirt back on, his hand slipping slow down her spine. He doesn't argue. Kate leans back into the darkness, and Sawyer lays his head in her lap.
T is for: trouble, Lost, Jack/Kate, for adrenalin211. PG. 385 words.
In LA they're a family, for awhile.
The days blur by, busy and normal: the playground and the farmers market, cookouts in the yard. On weekends if he's not on call they walk the paths at Griffith Park, the baby on his shoulders, clutching at his hair. Jack always liked being married.
He buys them all ice cream from a truck parked at the curb and within seconds Aaron's face is a sticky chocolate mess, delighted. Jack laughs. Kate stares into the middle distance, an island in the middle of the sea.
She catches him looking and smiles. She slips her small hand into his.
He gets home from work and finds her upstairs giving Aaron his bath, sweatpants and a tank top and her hair on top of her head. It smells like Mr. Bubbles. "Hey there," she says, grinning, chin tilted up. "We were wondering where you got to."
Later he hears her crying in the shower, water turned full blast, door locked.
Jack leans his forehead against the frame.
"What if I got a job?" she asks him out of nowhere. They're sitting on the couch watching Leno, Kate jumping up every two minutes to wipe crumbs off the counter or turn up the AC. She can't settle.
"What if you did?" Jack likes that idea, the routine of it steadying. "What would you want to do?"
Kate hesitates. She looks very young. "I don't..." she begins finally, and the baby starts to cry.
Neither of them mention it again.
"Just tell me," he says once, desperate. They're in bed, lights out, her body warm on the other side of the mattress. "Please. Tell me what I can do for you."
Kate's head falls to the side, like she's grieving. "I love you, you know that?" she asks. Her hands slide beneath his t-shirt, over his heart. "I love you so much."
She gets up in the middle of the night and runs laps through the neighborhood, the soles of her sneakers snapping against the empty street. Jack hears her go.
"Shh." Kate drops a kiss on his forehead. She's beautiful even in shadow, eyes electric green in the dark. Sometimes Jack wonders if she wandered out of the jungle, like maybe she wasn't on the plane at all. He reaches up and pushes her hair back, looking. Kate touches his hand before she leaves.