Summary: She doesn't glare at him so much as hold his gaze steadily. It doesn't waver, and she doesn't attempt to look away from him.
Disclaimer: I don't own Lost. At all. I wish, but alas...
Author's Note: For zelda_zee, to whom I promised this fic was coming. I don't know why this wanted to be in two parts, but it did. The second part is yours too. ;) Used for psych_30, prompt #28: Free Association.
“I don't forgive you.”
Sawyer looks up. It's distressing how Sun can do that, sneak up without him even noticing she was there. If she'd managed to get her hands on a weapon he'd be toast right now – though, he thinks he might deserve that just a little.
“What?” he asks. She doesn't glare at him so much as hold his gaze steadily. It doesn't waver, and she doesn't attempt to look away from him.
Sawyer's been in quite a few fights in his life (though very few of them involved words beyond curses and epithets) but it has always been his experience that people tend to look away, to find something else to focus on out of discomfort. It gives you a damn good opportunity to search their face, their eyes, for their weaknesses. And it was certainly a lot easier to bear their judgment when it wasn't shining directly on him.
“I've tried,” she goes on. “I've tried to forgive you, but I can't.”
Sawyer nods slowly. He ignores the tightening in his chest, the twinge his heart gives at hearing the words come out of her moth. True, this was what he expected, but it certainly wasn't what he wanted.
“You wanna have this conversation in private?” he replies, ignoring what she had said to him. The look on her face remains, her eyes still steady as she watches him stand and pull open the flap of his tent. He has know way to know if that was all she came here to tell him, but he hopes that it wasn't.
She breaks the eye contact she had established and walks past him, entering his tent. He can feel her anger coming off her in waves as she passes him. He's been in this position many times before, with many women before. He has to wonder, as he sighs out at the beach, why this time feels so different. Probably because Sun is different. Sun isn't a mark. She isn't a woman that he has to lie to. She isn't a woman that he has to charm into liking him. She already did, and all he had shown her (shown anyone) was a belligerent, angry, mean-spirited man who stole what he wanted and kept it for himself. All he had shown her was that and she had still liked him. And now...
The tent's flap falls closed behind him as he enters the tent. His head is ducked and his hands are in his back pockets. She's looking at him again, her arms crossed over her chest, her mouth set in a thin, angry line. Sawyer suddenly feels like he's back in high school, like he's back in the principal's office for breaking that kid's rib. On thing's for sure, though, he's more ashamed of himself now than he ever was then.
“I only have one question to ask you,” she says evenly, though she knew that one question had a way of leading onto others. He is reminded, in that moment, why he's always respected her so much. Where most women would be weak, would begin to cry and become overtaken emotion, Sun is hard as a stone. She stood tall after the things that were done to her, and in the face of the man that did them to her. She didn't shrink away and hide. She confronted her past in order to let it go. She was one of the only truly brave people that he had ever known.
“Go ahead,” he tells her, and waits.
“Why me?” she asks. Her voice is not small. She doesn’t shrink away from the question, but reaffirms her strength through it. Her voice, her tone, demands an answer, and in a situation that he would normally lie through, he can't help but realize that he owes Sun so much more than that.
“It made sense,” he replies, quietly, more reserved. With anyone else, this wouldn't be right, it should have been the other way around. But Sun didn't fear him, not even after what he had done, and he, well, he found himself more ashamed than he'd have thought he would be for what he had done to her.
“How?” she asks, just as strongly as before, determined to get a straight, definitive answer out of him.
“Freckles woulda kicked the crap outta Charlie. Ana Lucia too.” Sun narrows her eyes, but nods slowly. “Like I said, it made sense.”
She crosses her arms over her chest and nods a few more times. Her mind seems to be working a mile a minute, taking in everything he has told her and processing it slowly. He waits, kicking the sand loose a bit and running a hand through his hair.
“I don’t forgive you,” she repeats. He sighs and nods.
“Yeah, you said that,” he says, lowly, almost under his breath. Even now, he can't admit to her that hearing her say the words hurts. It wasn't as though her cutting gazes over the past few days hadn't said them for her, but hearing them, well, hearing them was another matter entirely.
“Do you know why I don’t forgive you?” she asks.
He shakes his head. “Because I don’t deserve it, because I’m an asshole, because you shouldn’t,” he replies, shaking his head. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t danced this dance before. He'd pissed a lot of people off in his life, done a lot of things that didn't deserve forgiveness, but this was the first time he had ever truly cared about getting it, and probably the first time he had ever wanted it.
She shakes her head and lets it fall. “No,” she replies. “I don’t forgive you because you aren’t sorry.”
“Like hell I ain’t,” he spits out before he has time to think. She gets a hard look in her eyes then, and fixes him with a hard stare.
“You cannot expect a person to forgive you by displaying your goodness for them to see, and you cannot expect them to know you are sorry because you've smiled at them. Forgiveness requires an action. And what it requires now is that you look me in the eyes and tell me that you're sorry. What it requires is that I believe you, because I do not believe you now. If you are truly sorry, if you truly wish to have my forgiveness, that is a good place to start.”
It sounds easy. In his head, it is. He can say the words over and over, and mean them, but making them come out of his mouth, looking her in the eyes and admitting what he’s done, admitting that he’s sorry for it, seems to be another matter entirely. Shame was easier to live with when it was kept silent. He could torment himself day in and day out with it, but in the end, it would stay inside his mind.
Admitting to Sun that he was sorry for what he had done to her was the same as admitting what he had done to her. Once he had been able to hide behind the knowledge that Charlie was the one who had attacked her, but now, he was also the one that had confessed, that had apologized. He had the high ground now, and here Sawyer was, pushed down a few levels and forced to see the scar his manipulations had placed on Sun.
He may not have pulled the trigger, but he’d handed an obviously dangerous man the gun.
He looks at her now only for as long as he can, trying to force the words from his lips and failing time and time again. His own desperation, to be needed, to be hated, who the hell knew anymore, had forced him to this place, and all he had to do to pick himself back up, to repair the damage he had done, was apologize.
It sounded easy. It was nowhere near it.
“I didn’t think so,” she says, rolling her eyes toward the sand in obvious disappointment, and attempting to push past him and leave the tent.
“Hey, wait now,” He catches her by the shoulders and is surprised when she allows him to stop her, when she doesn’t push his hands away and demand that he never touch her. He reminds himself, once more, that this is why he respected Sun so much, because she was so unlike most other women.
“Do you know how many people I’ve apologized to in my life?” he asks, even though she has no way to know that.
“Not many, I would guess,” she replies, and a proud smile crosses his face before it runs away from her powerful stare.
“You gotta give me time, alright?”
“Why do I have to do anything you ask?” she replies, her voice tight. He lets her go then, takes a step back and runs a hand through his hair.
“I like you,” he tells the sand because he can’t tell her, can’t face her gaze while the words come from his mouth. Maybe he’ll be able to start here, he thinks, and work his way up. He sees her feet shift, her weight leans on one as she crosses her arms. “You’re smart and you’re strong. There aren’t a hell of a lot of women like you. So, you have to give me time because I want to say it. And the fact that I like you makes it harder.”
“Why?” she asks, quietly. He senses the change in her. If she were upset, she would demand an answer, but she doesn’t. She asks, confused. Feeling as though he’s gaining some ground, he looks up to the tarp just behind her head and focuses.
“ ‘Cause I care,” he says. “If I didn’t like you, if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t wanna say it. But I do, and if I do…I have to think about what I did. It ain’t easy, and…I need time. And if you wanna tell me to go to hell, I get it, so go ahead.”
She sighs and shakes her head. He looks at her then, because she is looking away from him. “I suppose I can understand that,” she tells him, much to his surprise. “There are many things that I have done that I do not wish to think of.”
“Nothin’ like this, I'd be willin’ to bet,” he replies, almost under his breath. A small smirk forms on her lips, and her head gives a quick shake.
“You would lose,” she says. He stands up a little straighter and eyes her a little more curiously.
She lets out a breath. “I believe what you are saying. If time is what you need, I can wait.”
“You shouldn’t have to.”
She screws up her face a bit, puzzled. “Would this be easier for you if I hated you Sawyer?” she asks.
“God, yes,” he answers.
She nods back, tilting her head to the side and considering him. “Well, I am afraid that is something that I cannot give you.”
He smiles uneasily and looks down. “Maybe you just need time too.”
She nods at the top of his head. “I suppose that depends very much on you, now,” she replies, walking past him and lifting up the flap of his tent. “I am willing to wait, Sawyer. But not forever.”
He nods and watches her leave, watches the tarp fall behind her and obliterate the light from the inside of his shelter. With a heavy sigh, he sits and runs a hand through his hair. He sure as hell hopes it doesn't take forever for him to grow a pair, but knowing himself the way he does, it just might.
He sighs again and lays down, closing his eyes tightly.