Title: Now I'm Only Falling Apart
Category: AU, pre-slash
ADULT (because dude, torture. Kind of ratchets up the rating)
Summary: Mostly follows the events of the series, but without all that messy Kate business-- Sawyer admits to his attraction to Sayid fairly early on. Missing scene-type stuff and the like. Set during 'Confidence Man.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of it. *sigh*
Feedback: makes me veddy happy.
He couldn't help breathing faster now. It wasn't true, it couldn't be, and not because he in any way trusted Sawyer. He didn't, and all the declarations of lust in the world wouldn't change that, but it *wasn't* true. It couldn't be. There were too many flaws in the logic.
A tiny part of him wanted to blame Sawyer anyway. If Sawyer had hit him, then he would be justified in hitting Sawyer, and he was just so *tired* of being weak, of being vulnerable... he'd put up a good fight against it, but then he'd lost so much of the ground he'd been holding, just falling into the other man's arms like that...
He could have asked more questions of Locke, but he didn't want the answers, because there was no witness he could use to corroborate them with, and they would all involve tracking, killing, and skinning a boar, and that was one of the last things he wanted to think about.
"He'll tell me." Sayid offered.
"Hm?" Jack looked up.
"Sawyer. He will tell me, where the inhalers are."
"What makes you so sure?"
Sayid didn't say 'because he wants to sleep with me', even though it was true. He didn't know what Jack would think about that, didn't know what he himself ought to think, and wasn't ready to voice it.
"If he doesn't..." He shrugged instead. "I can make him talk."
"Woah woah woah... You don't mean--"
"I thought you were a communications officer."
"Part of my training entailed getting the enemy to communicate."
Jack didn't look sold on the plan, which Sayid was half glad of. He didn't say no outright, and that was either very good or very bad.
"I want ten minutes alone with him."
"Not alone." Jack shook his head. "I think... I think I need to be there to keep an eye on-- to make sure nothing-- Not alone."
Very bad, then. Alone, Sayid wouldn't have to torture Sawyer at all. He wasn't entirely sure, didn't *want* to be sure, of what he would have to do, but it wouldn't cause Sawyer any pain. But with Jack there... things would be different.
"It would be better--"
"No. I'm going to be there. If he needs a doctor, or--"
"I assure you, that won't be necessary. I know what I am doing, he won't--"
"I'm going to be there." Jack said finally, arms crossed.
Sayid gave in with a sigh and prayed Sawyer would just tell him.
"What's this?" Sawyer jerked his chin towards Jack, or maybe towards Sayid. He didn't have a lot of freedom to gesture in.
"It doesn't have to be this way."
"Yes it does."
"Just tell us where the girl's medication is."
"Not telling you anything, what the hell is going on here?"
"Sawyer, please." Sayid knelt before him. "If you just tell us now... If you give us what we want, then... I will give you what you want."
"And if I don't?"
He looked away. "Then... I will have to hurt you."
"Sawyer, tell him where the inhalers are! I-- I don't want to do this. But I will, and I... am good at it."
"I don't believe you. Not for a minute-- not for a second! What, you think you're gonna--"
"Sawyer." He grabbed a fistful of the blond's hair, locked eyes with him. "This is not a game. A girl's life is at stake."
"Go ahead. Do it."
"You can't. Can you? Never tortured anyone in your *life*, and you're telling me this ain't a game."
"If you tell us now, we can forget about this... and I promise you, I will pay you, however you see fit..."
"Fuck you." He snorted.
Sayid tried not to look at what he was doing, a glance to determine positioning, and then he averted his gaze.
"Are you really going to let her die?" Jack demanded. He was soldiering on well despite his obvious queasiness. Sayid had to admire him for that-- he knew if he opened his mouth now, he would be sick... "Are you that selfish?"
"Guess I am."
Jack looked ill, but he nodded slightly. Another stomach-churning glance, another sharpened bamboo shoot. Another pained sound, more taunts, Sawyer striving for the same note he hit all the times he'd pushed Sayid before. Jack finally put a stop to it with a shout, and when he asked 'what's wrong with you', Sayid didn't know which of them he was addressing, Sawyer for allowing, *encouraging* the torture, or him, for doling it out.
"I'll tell her." Sawyer gasped. Sayid was debating the impracticality of moving Shannon down from the caves in her condition when Sawyer continued. "Kate."
It felt a little bit like being stabbed.
Jack went to get her, and Sayid sat a ways off, head in hands.
"What'sa matter?" Sawyer demanded. "Feeling guilty?"
"How would you want me to feel?"
"D'no. Didn' think you'd do it."
"I wouldn't have, if you'd told us. I gave you every opportunity, I even offered to whore myself out to you! You pushed me to this, you've been pushing me ever since I met you and now I-- Well what about you? Don't you feel guilty?"
Sawyer's insouciance was there, but it sounded like a lie.
"Only her." Sawyer said, when Jack arrived with Kate.
"Come on," Jack took Sayid's elbow, helping him off the ground and leading him off into the jungle, but he stopped them nearby, giving them a vantage point to watch. Words he couldn't hear, but he could see everything.
His stomach twisted again as he watched them kiss. It was jealousy, despite how he'd argued against it before... jealousy and anger and shame. He finally offered himself, and Sawyer denied him for Kate.
Then she hit him and turned on her heel. Sayid's blood was still pounding in his ears, insides spinning and churning, and he was rooted to the spot. Jack seemed the same, and Kate ran into him, surprised at finding them so nearby.
"He never had it." She bit the words out.
Never had it. The echoing words replaced the ocean-like sound of his pounding head. All that, for nothing? At any moment, Sawyer could have stopped them, he was a victim, completely, and he let things get as far as they did, let Sayid... He'd sworn that was behind him, and Sawyer let him... all that, the pain and the screaming and the sick feeling, and at any moment Sawyer could have stopped it?
He could have demanded anything he wanted of him and had it before admitting the truth, too. But instead he allowed the torture, and then he claimed a kiss from Kate? Sayid strode back towards Sawyer, a man possessed, ran into him as he freed himself and lurched up from the forest floor. The knife still in his hand came up before he realized what was happening, and he found himself on the ground, atop Sawyer, under less than ideal circumstances, before he knew he'd done it.
The moment he sees it, he backs off as if burned-- and 'burned' describes the situation all too well. He feels too adrift, moreso than he ever has before. For the first time he can't take action, can't think. All the damage has been done and he cannot move to fix it. The blood, when Jack removes the knife, is dark and red and there's too much of it, and it's a miracle he isn't sick then and there.
"Go get my medical bag!"
Kate makes a nervous start to comply, but Sayid takes off. He can't think, but he can follow an order.
"I'll be faster." He snaps at her, doesn't look back. Runs to the caves as fast as he can.
She didn't deserve being snapped at... it wasn't her fault, not really. She didn't stab Sawyer, didn't torture him. She only even kissed him under duress. And she was only trying to help by setting off after the bag. But it's not her place to fetch it, it's his. It's his fault. And he can't be near his handiwork now.
He gets there, recognizes the bag. He'd be gone again in a second, but the boy, the brother, is there, is talking.
"Whose blood is that?"
Sayid doesn't need to answer, not really. And he doesn't want him following, is glad when the girl calls him back. He thinks if that boy had followed, he'd have wound up hitting him. It seems all he can do is hurt.
"I'll be leaving." He says it without preamble. What pleasantries can possibly pass between them now?
"Just got here." Sawyer doesn't look at him.
"I know what you meant. Not on account of li'l old me?"
"I could have killed you. I tortured you and attacked you, and you could have died."
"Yeah. That sucked."
"Well whaddya want me to say? It did?"
"You could have stopped it at any time... Sawyer, I swore to myself I would not be that man anymore. I was through with, with torture, with harming people, with... all of that. And then..."
"Would you have believed me?"
Sawyer blinked up at him. "Really?"
"I would have. If you had told me the truth."
"My mistake then."
"Does your life mean so little to you that you would encourage me when you could have ended it before it began?"
Sawyer only stretched his uninjured arm out, letter in hand. Sayid took it, unsure. Read over it.
"I have to leave. I... I can work on mapping the island. But I can't stay here. I can't be with you, not after what I--"
"I can handle myself."
"I don't want you to go... Like you said, I coulda ended it. This isn't your fault-- not completely, anyways. Don't go off on some suicide mission just because you and me got into--"
"You kissed her."
"So that's it."
"I went back on my word, I did the one thing I swore I would never do, and I made a complete *fool* of myself offering you-- offering you anything you wanted. You claimed to, over and over again, but when I was willing to submit to you, you kissed *her*."
"I knew no matter what I said, you and Dr. Christian Szell were gonna be watching. He's got a thing for her, and you... well, I figured you'd be jealous, too. Guess I was right."
"This isn't about jealousy. This is about..."
"This letter is undeliverable..." Sayid's brow furrowed.
"A single name, I doubt the sender even had a proper address..."
"No. Never did."
"Does it matter?"
"You ain't the only one who broke a promise and turned into something he hated." Sawyer shrugged. "Should I also go tromping off into the Jungle of Mystery?"
"No. You should stay here... recover."
"You plan on coming back?"
"If I find anything we can use... Who can say. But I'm going. Right now, actually. I-- I thought... maybe I owed you an explanation. Or maybe you owed me one."
"Yeah, well... Be careful out there." Sawyer crossed his arms and turned away.
"Duly noted. I-- For what it's worth, I-- It never should have gone so far... I'm sorry, Saw-- Do I still call you 'Sawyer'?"
"Yeah. Guess you do."
"I am sorry. I'm so sorry."
"Yeah. Makes two of us. Come back in one piece, 'kay?"
Sayid nodded and left.