DISCLAIMER: Lost and its characters are the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
All On You
You're lying in the middle of the aisle of the darkened plane cabin that had been split into half so long ago. You close your eyes at the memory the plummeting, the screaming, and then the darkness that comes at the end. Lying here is a lot less uncomfortable than you had expected; although the craft is tilted at an angle, you do not slide down. The rain splatters against the metal surface shielding you, and the sound echoes throughout the empty cabin, soothing you.
The thunder is what makes you open your eyes.
You sit up then, wondering if you should make your way back to the temporary camp set up not too far from where you are now. Then again, you would probably get more shelter in here than you would under the flimsy plastic tarps. You also know, however, that this is one of your last days on the island. Rescue has arrived, and rescue is taking you back. Though whether to jail or to a fresh start, you don't really know. Maybe it would be better if you stay, after all.
The minutes pass or maybe it's been hours but soon you see a figure approach. You tense at first, but then you recognize the blonde hair, as wet as they are, and you recognize the thin form, shivering as it is.
She joins you in the cabin, sits at the very edge where the rain is dripping onto the deck.
"Kate," she says with a satisfied tone in her voice, and you figure she must've been looking for you. She pauses to smile, then continues quietly yet with an amused tone, "You shouldn't spend the night here. You'll be leaving tomorrow, and hopefully on a plane that won't end up like this one."
You crack a smile, but that quickly fades.
"What's wrong?" she asks, all concern and worry, and suddenly you wish she wouldn't be any of those things.
She touches a cold hand to your face, and you lean into her touch briefly before pulling away. She seems to understand, and allows her hand to rest in her lap, watching you with that quiet intensity you've become so familiar with over the past few weeks.
You want to tell her, of course. You want to tell her that she can have your spot, that she can leave the island that she should leave the island. She's the one who wants to be back with her sister, who wants to have her real life back. You, on the other, don't have much of a life to return to. You open your mouth, but you don't know where to start, and so you end up just staring back at her instead.
"That's not how it works, Kate," she says.
You arch an eyebrow. "Not how what works?"
"You deserve to go back."
You wonder how she's able to read you so well, how she knows of the thoughts you were trying to formulate into coherent sentences just a few moments ago. You suppose the both of you have never really needed verbal communication; somehow, you've both been able to read each other's minds by bodily cues or meaningful glances. Really, words had only been for everyone else's benefit, so they could know what the two of you were discussing.
You turn her words over in your mind, and in the end you don't say anything. You just sit there quietly, the rain engulfing the silence between the both of you.
Somehow you leave her anyway.
You don't really remember how, but the fact is, you do.
And it breaks your heart, but slowly you bury the hurt away. You start anew.
You're used to running, to moving on. This should be easy.
But not a day passes that you don't think of her.
It's a bright, sunny day in southern California, and the air is dry and the sun burns your skin when you step out of the car and head towards the man standing in front of the fence that encloses the airfield. You slam the door loudly, so that he will hear, as you make your way towards him.
"I told you," you say over the wind and plane engines, "No more calls."
Two nights ago he had called you, depressed, and when you finally agreed to meet him, he showed you the obituary. You stiffen at the memory. That's why you didn't want to see him anymore but what could you have done? He hadn't called in weeks. But now, well. This was his second time in three days.
"This is the last time," he replies without turning to face you, his voice hoarse. He seems to lose himself in the sounds of the airplanes, and remains silent for the next few minutes.
You don't have time for this. You have your real life to be getting back to.
"How's Sawyer, then?"
The words slice into you like a knife through butter, and you exhale slowly to calm yourself down. "I don't think that's any of your business," you say coldly, knowing that the conversation has already taken a turn for the worse.
But he presses on anyway, "Does he think we should go back?" Now he turns to face you, and his eyes lock with yours. "Do you?"
"I don't have time for this," you answer, and turn back to your car.
"What about Juliet?"
You stop in your tracks. Just her name is enough to send shivers down your spine, to quicken your beating heart.
You left her there.
"We sleep in the beds we make, Jack," you glance back at him, "You should know that by now."
You have your hand on your car door when he calls out to you, "So why don't you fix your bed?" A pause. "You can always choose, Kate."
You pretend to ignore him, and slip into your car before driving off.
You can always choose. Why don't you fix your bed?
Three days later, you pick up the phone and dial.
He picks up on the third ring.
"Jack," you breathe into the phone, "How do we get back?"
It takes another week, but you figure it out.
Another two weeks, and then you and Jack are on a submarine a one-way ticket back to the island.
You never would've guessed that this is how it would turn out. You never thought you'd be the lucky one to leave, only to want to return a year later. Even if Jack hadn't called you all those times, you're sure you'd be standing right here anyway. It may have taken a little while longer, but in the end you would've ended up in the same place.
You know this because you can't live without her. You tried. You tried to move on. You tried to stop thinking about her. You tried to stop needing her.
Sawyer doesn't understand why you're going back. He won't understand. Maybe you should have told him, at least, but you don't want to deal with him. You don't want him to talk you out of it; you don't want him to convince you that the two of you could work, because the two of you could never work not when you're thinking about her when he's the one lying next to you at night. It's not fair to Sawyer. Not fair to anyone.
You sit on the bottom bunk bed in this tiny room somewhere in the middle of the submarine, resting your chin on your knees as you wrap your arms around your legs.
"You okay, Kate?"
You look up at Jack and nod shortly.
"We're doing the right thing," he says.
Although that sentence rubs you the wrong way (it's always been used as an excuse), it doesn't stop you from agreeing.
"I know," you say.
And you do. You do know that this is the right thing to do. You're pretty sure that it's the most right thing you've done in your life.
You sit quietly for the next few minutes, possibly hours, and eventually Jack moves to the bunk above yours. The bed above you sags with his weight, and for a minute you consider switching with him. But when you call out his name softly, he doesn't respond, and soon you begin to hear soft snoring.
You sigh and uncurl yourself to stretch out on the bed, then close your eyes and drift off.
You don't know how long you've been in the submarine, or how long you've slept, but you do know that he's awake because the room is quiet, not punctuated with snores.
It takes a while, but then you get a response. "Yeah."
"How'd you know you had to go back?"
"I couldn't leave everyone else there."
The sky is cloudy when you finally disembark the submarine.
You're glad to be off, to be away from the red-tinted room and the lack of fresh air, but you're slightly anxious, too. You glance nervously at Jack, but he doesn't seem to notice. Just closes his eyes and breathes in the salty air. It's quiet except for the waves crashing onto shore; no one's around to see you, to greet you as you arrive for the second time on the island.
You step off the boardwalk and onto the sand, where a small boat lies abandoned.
That's your mode of transportation back to the main island.
A couple of minutes is all it takes for you and Jack to push it down to the waterline, and you both hop in, heading for the bigger island.
The waves are rough this time of the year, and you wonder if it'll topple over. That would be a waste of a long journey here. But it doesn't topple, and with you and Jack rowing, it doesn't seem very long before the both of you arrive at your final destination.
You don't know if anyone's seen the both of you arrive; you're sure no one's expecting you. But you're not far from where they've set up camp, either, so it's possible that someone's seen you row the boat inland.
Jack smiles at you the first time he's smiled in a long time and you smile back, though a little unsurely.
He heads for camp and you want to follow, but you can't bring yourself to do so.
It's been a year.
A year of thinking, missing, hoping, wishing.
A year of burying feelings, of trying to move forward.
Then a flash of blonde catches your eye, sends a jolt to your heart, and even from this distance you're sure it's her.
You move forward, knowing.
"Kate," she says quietly.
It's nighttime and you're both lying under the stars with the waves crashing in the distance.
"Yeah?" you ask.
She turns on her side so that she's facing you, and you turn your head slightly to regard her.
She kisses you on the lips.
And she doesn't need to say it, when she finally pulls away from you, because you know, and she knows, and she knows that you know, but she says it anyway.
"I'm glad you came back."
She smiles, and you smile back.
"I'm glad I came back, too."
And you are.
You've never been so sure, so glad, in your life.
After all, you make the bed you sleep in. And tonight? Tonight is the first time in a long, long time that you'll sleep well.
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