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24 January 2010 @ 11:39 pm
limbo no more  

It’s night because it’s dark, or it’s dark because it’s night, or maybe they are dead and maybe this is what death, real death, actually feels like. post-season 5. kate, jack, sawyer. kate-centric.




Her body shakes, teeth clenching mostly out of habit, and she feels her eyes squint shut tightly, an old song from many years before washing over her head. Hush little baby don’t you cry– and now she’s thinking of Charlie and Claire and damn it, Aaron. The little boy’s face tugs at her heartstrings and she’s not here now, she’s not experiencing The Rapture all over again. Her hands aren’t cemented to Sawyer’s shirt collar, and Jack’s not behind her, holding her roughly, whether to brace himself or shelter her (that’s always been the question, hasn’t it?).

There’s gravel and mud and metal everywhere and she feels her eyes fling open, nails clawing at the ground around her, one hand still on Sawyer, still bringing him up with her, pulling him forward, determined not to let him go.

She smells the warmth of the jungle and eventually she begins to see green. She collapses in a clearing, air thick with the smell of iron or maybe blood. She’s never been good at differentiating.

Jack’s staring back at the blast incredulously, perhaps thinking of Juliet, mind possibly flipping through old memories and what-if scenarios, of dreams she’s sure he had of her when they were in LA together. No, when they were in LA. Not together. Never together. Even when alone in a room with one another, they were never really together.

There’s no survivor’s instinct of surge of adrenaline, just exhaustion, and it barrels into her, forcing her to cough, choke, cackle even. She’s laughing now, she’s lost in a fit of hysterics and she wonders idly if maybe she has lost her mind. The splotches of blood speckled over her arms look like freckles, red unnatural freckles, and she’s giggling again, because it’s funny, it’s hilarious, and her laughing frenzy ends in a fit of coughing.

After what could easily be either seconds or days, she finds herself turning towards Sawyer and he’s vacant, eyes packed away and hidden in a place where she hasn’t been granted entrance. He’s looking back at her, but he’s not seeing her, and she’s biting down on her knuckles to keep from crying, because oh god, they’ve just lost Juliet, and oh god, they may all be dead in a matter of minutes.

It’s night because it’s dark, or it’s dark because it’s night, or maybe they are dead and maybe this is what death, real death, actually feels like.

Her fingers are rubbing her lower lip and she’s not sure why, in fact she’s hardly even aware of her movements. It’s as if her brain is someone else’s and she’s watching the scene numbly, too tired and scared to move.

When her lids close, the picture is the same as when they were open, black, black, black, nothing, nothing, nothing.

She doesn’t dare dream.

There’s heat on her collarbone, the smell, distinctly human, lulling her back into the realm of the awake. Her eyes flash open and she’s not surprised to see Jack hovering over her. She’s not relieved or comforted or even a little less frightened. His presence means nothing, for they’ve all been walking corpses for too long.

He’s pouring water over her shoulder and now she’s smelling blood and wincing from pain she didn’t know she had left in her. He uses his shirt to apply pressure to her skin and she drops back into herself again.

She looks away.

Thank you’s and how are you’s are not phrases the three ever ask, because the gratitude and dependency on one another has become so great that they hardly even feel it anymore. And they know how the other is, and sometimes, sometimes they just don’t care.

She finds her voice the day she decides to sit up, leaning against a tree, alone in the thicket of woods. She hears the snap of a tree branch and she exhales as Sawyer appears before her, large shell in his hand.

“Here,” he says, hanging her the object and she realizes that it’s filled with water. She takes it, because she’s not sure what else to do. “Jack said you’d need it,” he adds brutally, making it known that he’s following orders again.

Her eyes widen. Jack’s back in charge. They’re back in the jungle. They’ve been cast away to float on their own.

They’ve been here before and it didn’t end so well. Sometimes, she wishes it had turned out worse.

“J...J...” is all she utters, throat burning and closing in until she gags. She drinks the water automatically while Sawyer scratches the back of his neck, eyeing her curiously.

“Yeah, Jack,” he says in closing as he retreats.

She’s still gasping for air as he disappears, the word burning inside of her chest. She hadn’t been thinking at all of Jack. Jack, was a given. She’d been trying to say Juliet.

The beach is barely a mile away. They’re to set up camp, start over, figure things out. None of this is spoken, but it’s known. They know not what else to do. None of them want to keep trying. The will to go on has been extinguished weeks ago, but what else can they do? They’re all fighters, survivors even, and they let their bodies press onward while their minds retreat.

She’s sitting in the water, washing off the bad, but there’s simply too much of it. She can’t wash away the memories and there’s no point in trying. She’s shivering and it’s at least ninety degrees out.

Jack and Sawyer aren’t waiting for her. They expect her to fend for herself. This won’t be easy if they don’t learn to accept that there are things, god so many things, that they cannot change. They’ll have to learn to live with the things they did change. They’ll have to figure out how to cope with what they did to her.

Jack’s building a fire, bottles of rum and scotch lined up outside of his tent. She doesn’t ask how they got there. She doesn’t much care.

Sawyer’s found a worn copy of The Time Machine. Her eyes widen at the title and she laughs outright, crumbling over until she’s a mess of limbs and hysteria.

Jack doesn’t flinch. Sawyer looks from the book to Kate and then back again before shooting her a look that says, that’s irony for ya, kid.

It’s been about a month, she guesses, and they’re finally starting to ask the important questions they should have rightly acknowledged from the get go. She’s pushing her way out of her tent and she ambles over to Sawyer, who sits underneath the shade of a large tree. In the old days, she’d offer him a smile as a sign of her peaceful mood. But, too much has changed, and there’s nothing worth smiling about. They’ve all lost too much.

“It’s funny who we’ve all become,” she says quietly, leaning her hip against the body of the tree.

Sawyer shuts his book, but doesn’t meet her eye. She’s taught herself his new ways.

“Jack and his alcohol,” she mutters outright, squinting at the sight of Jack by the water, bottle in tow. “He’s become who he’s always hated.” She thinks of Jack’s father and the stories he used to tell, the regret that once filled his voice, and the disgust. She supposes he holds himself in the same light as he once held his father. It’s too bad, she thinks, because in her opinion, the tragic heroes always did receive the worst criticisms.

“Yeah,” Sawyers says plainly as if he doesn’t understand why she’s talking to him about this. As if there’s a million other people she could be talking to.

“And me,” she says lightly, casually almost. “I finally figured out how to take care of somebody else for a change, instead of always worrying about myself.” It’s the first she’s ever openly discussed Aaron since the incident and her voice should be wavering, except it isn’t. They’ve hardened, adapted, grown despondent. “Then the first opportunity I got to throw it all away, I did.”

Sawyer meets her eyes slowly. His hopelessness matches hers. They only ever have tragedy in common.

“You con, I run,” she repeats, remembering.

His fingers stiffen beneath the sand and it takes every ounce of strength she has left to finish her thought.

“Maybe you really loved her,” she decides, hair falling over her shoulder. “Maybe you just convinced yourself you did.” She shrugs lightly. “Doesn’t matter, does it? None of it even fucking matters.”

He stays silent, eyes glued to Jack’s back while she looks down at him numbly. They’ve all done a terrible number on one another and she’s not so sure there’s any going back for any of them.

After what could have been a matter of mere seconds, she trudges back towards her tent, unable to bear the harsh sunlight any longer.

“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about,” Sawyer says at last, his face buried once more in his book. “Freckles,” he adds, as an afterthought.

She swears she’s hallucinated this last part. She can’t remember why this matters, but it does.

"Talk to me," she demands, hovering over his body stiffly, her eyes unflinching and unforgiving.

Jack lays on his back, not even glancing in her direction.

She grabs his shoulders and shakes him, crying for the first time since she can remember in months, and she hears the sound of fabric tearing.

His eyes flicker to hers as she lets him fall back down against the rough sand.

"Talk to me," she pleads, the hysteria draining from her voice. "Talk to me."

She’s all broken record to brick walls.

Her fingers are still bleeding as she steps into the jungle, the newly sharpened stick at her side and knife in her pocket. They need meat and she’s sick of fishing. Jack had been little help, barely even looking up at her while she spoke, no words coming out of his mouth afterwards. She can’t remember what his voice sounds like anymore, and it’s starting to scare her.

Sawyer’s been content to eat the occasional trout and live in his world of fiction and make-believe, so she set out to do this herself. She can’t think too much about what’s happened to the three of them, to her friends, because doing so could result in a breakdown she’s not ready to have. Someone has to keep them alive; she just never thought it would be her.

There’s a rustling behind her and she turns wild-eyed, almost ready to give in, to let whatever beast overrun her and attack her, to have something finally put an end to this hellish life she now owns. She’s beginning to think she’s immortal and the late night chuckling and laughing over this fear are started to rattle her. She really might be losing her sanity.

A mess of blonde hair appears from the thicket, Sawyer’s eyes fixed firmly in front of her, not on her, but he reaches for her makeshift spear without saying a word.

She’d smile, but she’s forgotten how.

Instead, she sticks her hands in her pockets.

“Lions and tigers and bears,” he smirks in amusement, a scary tenor to his voice. He pushes a branch out of the way for her to slip through first. He glares straight at her and her eyes burn directly through his.

Oh my.”





Current Mood: excitedexcited
silver_wrightsilver_wright on January 25th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
This is ridiculously amazing! So tragic and perfect and... guhh! Thanks for the great early morning read!
Courtneyhelen_halliwell on January 25th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it!
heather jane: Grinning Claire :3woodshavings on January 29th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
Oh my god, this fic is amazing! Really, really good :D


Thank you’s and how are you’s are not phrases the three ever ask, because the gratitude and dependency on one another has become so great that they hardly even feel it anymore. And they know how the other is, and sometimes, sometimes they just don’t care.

The whole of this paragraph... <3
Courtney: mistakes we knew we were making - losthelen_halliwell on January 29th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
Why thank you! I'm glad you liked it! =)

I'm really happy you enjoyed that paragraph...that might be my favorite part of the story and I think, in a way, it sums up the relationship between the three (at least as well as I can express it....).

Thanks for reading!