Pairing: Jack/Sawyer (Lost)
Spoilers: Exodus Parts 1 & 2
Summary: Sawyer couldn’t stay out there forever.
He’d held his breath for hours and waited for the sharks. He knew the score, he’d seen Jaws enough times to know where the equation of blood and salt water sat on the food chain. When the chill of the water started seeping into his skin, Sawyer actually wished they’d shot him in the head; at least then he wouldn’t be feeling a damn thing.
The sharks never came. But the storms did.
The clouds rolled in around dawn, making Sawyer realize just how long he’d been out, clinging to what was left of the fuselage cabin. It hadn’t tried to pull him under like the rudder had, something he hadn’t considered when he’d been treading water in the dark with one arm, his strength draining out of him like a slow leak in an oil drum. He remembered Jin grabbing his good shoulder and hauling him onto whatever was shiny and bright in the glow from the flames and he’d obliged, letting his weight collapse on the hard surface and not thinking twice about whether or not it would hold him. How long had it been—minutes, hours?—and already he was so very tired…Darkness hit him before he could even wonder if Michael was still nearby.
When the rain started, Sawyer thought he was back in the jungle, surrounded by foliage and land. Then he blinked, felt himself in the continuous bob and his legs dangling into a suspended nothingness. Felt the dull throbbing sting in his shoulder; he hadn’t so much as looked at the wound, let alone touched it. Water pounded him from all sides and suddenly all he heard was Jack’s voice in his head, telling him to apply pressure and clean it and all that shit. He closed his eyes, his cheek still pressed against the slick surface of the fuselage debris, and willed sensation back into his sleeping arms.
The storms tossed them freely and they could do nothing but hold on. Somewhere Sawyer heard Michael yell at Jin to keep him close--don’t let Sawyer pass out, man, keep him conscious--and he had enough strength to smile, because Jin wouldn’t have a fucking clue. Or maybe he would. But he wanted them to yell through the wind and squalls; their voices meant they were still alive, that he was alive, and the ocean hadn’t taken them.
Eventually, he blacked out again.
He was cold, yet his skin simmered with heat, and his body shivered from the combination of both. His eyes wouldn’t open, but he could hear their voices.
“He’s gone into shock.”
“There wasn’t anything we could do for him. I mean, it was all we could do to stay together.”
“No one’s blaming you, Michael.”
Sawyer felt a cool palm against his cheek. He sighed right before he realized he no longer felt the pain in his shoulder.
“Doc, you cured me.” He sank into the touch. “Hallelujah.”
He clenched his teeth against the biting cold blackness, but he was warmed in the comfort of such a nice dream.
Sawyer could still see the way Jack’s throat convulsed as he pretended not cry. He hadn’t admitted it then, but he’d wanted Jack to shed some tears and prove to him that he felt pain like every other man. It had never been his intention when his mouth opened up and spilled the secret he’d kept like a trophy from Jack, but when it was over and everything was said and done, he’d wanted tears as a reward.
There’s bright light swirling through dark and Sawyer imagines that it’s morning again. He tries to kick his legs, regain some feeling, but they’re heavy and lead-filled. He thinks maybe that his feet are bare and dry.
“Easy there.” Jack’s hands have returned, pressing into his shoulders.
“Ah, so you finally found me out here.” Sawyer smiles and runs his tongue over the cracked surface of his lips. The taste of salt is still with him. “I knew you would, I knew you’d come. ‘Cause we need savin’.”
He can feel Jack’s scent floating beside him, bringing calm. He can let go and not worry about sinking anymore; Sawyer relaxes his hands and lets them drop to his sides.
“I’m just gonna float a bit, Doc. I need to take a breather.” He wishes his eyes were open so he could see the expression on Jack’s face, if he’s pissed or worried sick or fed up and ready to leave him to his own defenses, which aren’t much. Sawyer stretches his arm out, no real faith in what his fingers will find.
A hand folds into his with damp fingertips and callused skin, squeezing him with strength Sawyer’s forgotten.
He sighs, relieved. “I meant to tell you back there…I meant…” Sawyer threads his fingers into the hand. “Daddies die all the time. At least you didn’t watch yours go.”
A breath huffs out. “Is that why you decided to tell me?”
“Naw.” He’s tired again and feels this virtual consciousness start to fade. He needs to stop floating and grab on before he’s gone. “Every boy needs to know his pop loved him once in awhile. That’s all.”
Sawyer releases the hand he’s anchored himself to and fumbles for the metallic edge he’s come to rely on.
“It’s all about the honesty in the end, Doc ol’ boy. I never was real good at it, but you’re a goddamn pro.”
“You don’t know that.” Jack’s voice is sliding away.
“’Course I do. You made your living giving honesty to people. I just took it from ‘em and ran.”
Jack’s shushing him and the faint noise treats Sawyer like a caress, gentle and warm. Sawyer smiles again and promises to thank Jack when he’s returned home.
He’s chilled with fear and melancholy—he can’t stay out here forever. Jack was supposed to save them, save him, goddamn it, that was his fucking job. He was supposed to rescue him and fix him up all perfect and then they’d start all over again.
But he hasn’t come like Sawyer thought. He hasn’t seen light in days or tasted anything but sea; his heart turns in on itself and he starts to shake with the knowledge that he’s floating into a tunnel with no end. His throat is tight but he lacks the effort or strength to cry.
Then Jack’s there, lined in white, cupping his face in strong hands and telling Sawyer he’s all right, everything’s all right, he’s right there. And Sawyer lets himself choke on a sob--god, Jack, I’m fuckin’ tired of being cold--before he blindly kisses him, wanting more than just his words to save him. He wants Jack’s taste, his heat, his strength to take over and pull him back from the dark edge.
Jack’s dry, he’s always dry, and there’s not a trace of salt as Sawyer bites his lower lip, tugging him hard against his chest, which is suddenly bare, or maybe it’s always been that way. He can’t get close enough to him and he thinks if only he could squeeze his eyes tight he could will himself to mold into him and become one. But that’s too much, even for his current reality, and Sawyer makes himself content to let Jack slide his tongue into his mouth in slow, wet strokes.
You’re okay, Sawyer, you’re okay… He can hear deep whispers in between their pants, and he wants to believe him, wants to believe this is real. Sawyer digs his thumb into the base of Jack’s throat, searching for the pulse he knows is there, thrumming hard and fast. He can feel it pound under his skin (he’s alive he’s alive) and Sawyer pulls his mouth away and sighs along Jack’s jaw, pressing his cheek to Jack’s as his hips beg for contact and friction. Jacks answers him in heavy thrusts and soft groans and somehow he’s above Sawyer and there’s solid ground beneath him.
Sawyer doesn’t stop to think on it, doesn’t think on how he’s no longer suspended in the weightless void that’s held him for so long; there’s nothing but hard warmth and damp, tight tension. Jack’s hand is closing in on him, around him, sliding along Sawyer’s length before pressing his own against him, squeezing them together in his fist, and Sawyer hangs onto his breath like it’s his last. There’s a vibration in the back of his throat and he’s faintly aware that he’s murmuring Jack’s name in amongst rambling nothings. He splays his hands along Jack’s stomach—he can feel the muscles there ripple and shimmer as he sweeps his fingers back and forth before joining Jack’s grip surrounding their cocks. As his fingertips slip over Jack’s knuckles, he sees a flash of memory, of his hand folded once again in Jack’s.
He’s been there before. He hadn’t let him down after all.
Sawyer thrusts against him, into their molded hands, feeling safe and saved—he doesn’t care if it’s real or not. The light comes slow and fast all at once, and as he slides into its embrace he feels Jack’s forehead pressed to his and the whispered remnants of okay brush over his closed eyelids. Sawyer crushes his mouth to Jack’s and somewhere there’s a broken thank you.
When he finally woke, he was dry and lying on the cot in Jack’s cave, his shoulder bandaged, clean and white. He blinked slowly and started to sit up.
“Hey, hey.” And Jack was there, helping him up, one warm palm soothing him in small circles along his lower back. “He’s conscious. How ‘bout that.”
“What…” Sawyer’s voice was unused, thick. He swallowed hard and Jack handed him a water bottle. “What…happened?”
“You don’t remember?” He watched Jack’s eyes widen slightly.
“Current managed to carry the three of you back to shore. Michael and Jin carried you to the caves…to me. It’s a damn miracle you guys even survived.”
Sawyer nodded and acted like it all made sense. “Well. Good for them. Better do somethin’ nice for ‘em, I reckon.” He dropped his head, added quietly, “And Walt?”
Jack sighed. “Gone. We’re still looking for him.”
“Ah, hell.” Sawyer jabbed the heel of his palm into his eyes.
“So…you don’t remember anything after you were shot?”
He shook his head. Jack’s smile faltered, but it was faint.
“It’s common after a trauma like that. You’d lost a lot of blood…” Jack stood and started to busy himself with Sawyer’s bandage. He stopped looking him in the eye. “And you were slightly delirious.”
Sawyer just watched him carefully unwrap the gauze surrounding the cotton and tried to sift through the blurred moments flitting through his mind. He remembered the gun, the bullet, the explosion, the storms, the despair…
The word honesty came and went for a moment. Sawyer paused.
“Did I…did I say anythin’?” he finally asked.
Jack’s hands stilled for a second. “Yeah. But it wasn’t anything incriminating.”
“So what’d I say?”
“It’s not important.” He wrapped the wound back up. “Okay, everything looks good. You’ll live.” Jack tried smiling at him again, but this time it seemed harder for him.
He still wouldn’t look him in the eye.
Unease crept over Sawyer as he closed his hand over the bandage and sighed.
“Thank you, Jack.”
He stopped suddenly, looking straight at Sawyer, his throat bobbing in a quick jerk, and Sawyer felt a stab of longing that was both foreign and familiar.
Then he ducked his head and left Sawyer alone for the first time in days.