DISCLAIMER: Lost and its characters are the property of JJ Abrams, Bad Robot Productions, Touchstone Television, ABC and Disney. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For l_amero, who prompted with "secretly meeting at the caves." Takes place during 1x08 ("House of the Rising Sun"), but I've elongated the time between when Jack starts thinking about setting up camp at the caves and when he actually does so. And thanks so much to theagonyofblank for the beta read!
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"I hear you're going to the caves to get water."
Kate turns around, blinking into the sun. She recognizes the voice right away, but it takes a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the streaming light around the shadowed silhouette in front of her.
Even once Shannon's features become visible, Kate still has to squint, and it makes her want to reach out and snatch the sunglasses perched on top of the blonde's head. Instead, she turns back around, deciding to rummage through her backpack one more time. The action doesn't really have a purpose, though, other than giving her something to do, since Kate already knows that she has everything she needs.
"Want any help?"
Shannon has stepped over within Kate's peripheral vision and appears to be idly twirling a strand of hair around her finger. Not quite the image of an ideal helper. Kate looks over to Shannon again; her forehead remains creased, even though the sun is no longer in her eyes.
"I saw that stunt you pulled with Charlie and your brother. If that's the kind of 'help' that you're offering, then no thanks."
Kate hasn't known Shannon for very long (hasn't known anyone here for very long), but she knows that Shannon isn't exactly the volunteering type.
Shannon just laughs. It's been a while since Kate has heard anyone laugh, and she does her best to ignore the instinctive urge to smile at the airy sound.
"I'm not going to make you do all the work and then take all the credit, if that's what you mean. Even if I wanted to, you're not quite as gullible as Charlie, I don't think."
They simply stare at each other for a minute, a smirk still tugging at the corners of Shannon's lips, even as Kate refuses to look anything but serious. Kate feels like she shouldn't trust Shannon's motives, but can't quite articulate a good reason not to. In any case, an extra pair of hands will save her a second trip back and forth.
Kate picks up the second pack off the sand and tosses it towards Shannon, who is obviously startled by the sudden movement, but manages to catch the bag nonetheless.
"Come on, then."
They don't talk, but Kate can't help but be impressed with Shannon's ability to keep up with her.
She picks up the pace, and even though it vaguely makes her feel like a bitch, she can't hide the small smile that appears for just a second when she hears Shannon start to breathe a little harder.
By the time they reach the caves, both women are covered in a sheen of sweat, and while Kate can't tell whether her own shirt is any dirtier than it already was, Shannon's tank top isn't nearly as pristine as it was before they left.
Kate decides that she actually likes Shannon better when she doesn't look like she just stepped out of an ad for some 'fabulous island getaway.'
"Was there some kind of race I wasn't aware of? Because last time I checked, not having enough time for something wasn't really an issue around here."
Shannon settles down on a rock near the mouth of the caves, flinging her backpack off to the side. Kate calmly fills up two empty water bottles and hands one to Shannon before sitting down next to her.
"Yeah, sorry about that. I always feel better if I'm moving quickly."
Shannon mumbles something that Kate can't quite catch, before standing up to go wash off in the little waterfall flowing over the rocks.
Kate leans back against a tree, content to simply sit still for a bit (even though it contradicts what she just said), the light spray from the stream cooling her heated skin. She doesn't quite realize that she's been staring at Shannon's legs until her eyes lift to find a full-blown grin and amused blue eyes.
She blinks, blushing slightly, even though it's not like she consciously decided to check Shannon out or anything. Still, she holds Shannon's gaze, curious about what's going through the blonde's mind.
"Jack seems to think we're not going to get rescued."
Shannon's grin has faded, and Kate frowns at the blonde's statement, seemingly coming from out of nowhere.
"Jack... Jack is trying really hard to do what he thinks is best. Just because he's become our alpha male doesn't mean you have to believe him."
Shannon returns to her original spot, sitting down beside Kate once again, but turning so that she's still looking Kate in the eyes.
"Well Jack did just disappear into the freaking jungle by himself for a night. Not sure I completely trust his judgment, to be perfectly honest. So what does our alpha female think?"
Kate chuckles lightly at the designation. She hadn't really thought of herself as 'alpha female,' but decides that she kind of likes it.
She glances briefly over to where they found 'Adam and Eve' and sighs.
"I don't know. I don't want to die here."
It's the only answer she can come up with. Her thoughts turn to her last conversation with Jack he keeps forgetting that she hasn't made up her mind yet, keeps acting like it's a sure thing that she'll be coming with him.
Kate's stopped paying attention to Shannon and doesn't notice the other woman's movement until they're only an inch apart. Kate jumps, startled, her eyes now once again glued to the bright, slightly mischievous ones in front of her.
"Me neither. I want to feel alive."
Shannon's words are merely a whisper, and her eyes drift down to Kate's lips before she leans in and presses a soft but lingering kiss against the corner of her mouth.
Kate can only blink, bewildered, as she watches Shannon pull back again. Kate's heart hammers in her chest, and while she's never really considered kissing Shannon before, now that Shannon's kissed her, and Kate can't get the thought out of her head, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
They gaze at each other, Shannon clearly waiting for practically daring Kate to make the next move. After some (but probably not nearly enough) hesitation, Kate goes for it, reaching up to the back of Shannon's head and pulling their lips together.
Kate's never been one to waste opportunities.
It hasn't even been 24 hours before Shannon catches Kate's eye, nodding slightly towards the jungle before throwing some empty water bottles in a backpack and heading off in the direction of the caves. She doesn't look back, apparently confident enough that Kate will come after her.
Kate manages to maintain her conversation with Sayid, even as her gaze remains on the departing blonde Kate swears that there's way more movement in Shannon's hips than is strictly necessary.
To follow or not to follow? Shannon probably doesn't even know where she's going; will probably get lost, and it'll be Kate's fault when they need to send out a search party for her later. So going after Shannon is really only to save everyone a lot of trouble.
Even in her head, the excuse sounds pretty ridiculous.
"Sayid, I just remembered something I have to do. We'll talk more about this later, okay?"
She walks away before he gets a chance to reply.
Shannon's had a few minutes' head start by the time Kate enters the jungle behind her, but it doesn't take much time before she finds her, standing with her hands on her hips and looking around in confusion.
"You're going the wrong way."
Shannon whirls around at the sound of Kate's voice.
There's a flash of something a distinct mix of scared, frustrated, and relieved in Shannon's eyes, but then it's gone, replaced with the usual impatience and arrogance. It's enough to make Kate wonder, though, if there's more to Shannon than she's assumed; if the blonde bimbo routine might hide something deeper.
"About time you showed up."
Kate simply shrugs, but offers up a smile before turning around to set them back in the right direction. She makes a point of not going quite as fast this time, but not too slow, either, since she doesn't know how much time they have before some unwanted company could show up in the form of Jack and the others, coming to settle in.
They wordlessly fill all the water bottles once they arrive at the caves, fulfilling their pretense for being there.
It isn't long, though, before the backpacks have been discarded, and they're pressed up against a tree (Shannon complained way too much about the dirt last time). Kate still doesn't even like Shannon very much, but there's something about this the release of energy, the clash of bodies, the lack of thought that goes along with it that's intoxicating.
For a short while (ten minutes? thirty? an hour? Kate's not sure), Kate can forget.
Forget that she's here. Forget that she barely knows this woman. Forget about Jack. Forget that she once killed a man. Forget that she's stranded on an island, in the middle of fucking nowhere.
For a short while (like Shannon said, time doesn't really matter here), all Kate knows is the body in front of her, the feel of skin on skin, and the sound of soft cries in her ear.
Just like Shannon suggested, Kate feels more alive.
It's not until the next day that Kate realizes what happened.
She passes by Shannon, not noticing anything, really, but still... Something catches her attention, and she looks back over her shoulder, even as she continues walking forward.
Shannon is filing her nails, and even before Kate can fully put everything together in her head, her hand is reaching to her back pocket. It's empty. She laughs, shaking her head, and sees Shannon smile as well.
They're on the same page now, and Kate doesn't know whether to be amused or insulted.
Later, Kate finds Shannon lying out on the beach, sufficiently far away from everyone else to remain out of earshot.
"Seriously? All that for a damn nail file? I'm not Sawyer, you know. You could've just asked for it."
Kate's not sure what bothers her more the fact that she fell for Shannon's game so easily, or that Shannon felt like she needed the game in the first place.
A slow smirk spreads across Shannon's face, but she doesn't open her eyes.
"Sure, but it was a hell of a lot more fun this way."
Kate can't exactly argue with that one. She almost regrets that she's already broken into all the locked suitcases at this point. Getting the nail file back from Shannon could have been interesting.
"Well why didn't you just take it the first time, then?"
In going over everything in her head, that's been the thing that confuses Kate the most.
Shannon finally opens her eyes, not even attempting to hold back her shit-eating grin. This time it's Shannon who's facing into the sun, but Kate's shadow, stretched across Shannon's face and torso, keeps her from having to squint.
Kate tries not to shiver, in spite of the heat, as Shannon's eyes roam slowly appreciatively up and down her body. Shannon shrugs.
"I was planning on it, but what can I say? I got distracted and forgot."
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