Summary: Jack didn’t want to go back to LA. That was what he said when the rescue boat had docked on the coast of Tahiti and his feet here finally back on solid, immobile ground – with Sawyer’s feet right next to them.
Disclaimer: I don't own Lost. At all. I wish, but alas...
Author's Note: For elise_509. Happy Birthday, sweetheart! Also used for philosophy_20, prompt #4: inertia.
Jack didn’t want to go back to LA. That was what he said when the rescue boat had docked on the coast of Tahiti and his feet here finally back on solid, immobile ground – with Sawyer’s feet right next to them.
Sawyer said, “Sure, Doc,” at the time, thinking, knowing the man was too practical to mean it. LA was what he knew, where he was comfortable. Sawyer wouldn’t have faulted him for that, wanting a little stability after nearly a year and a half of not knowing which way was up.
So Sawyer hadn’t expected it to stick. Jack would wake up the next morning, after his first night’s sleep on an honest-to-God bed in a long while, and change his mind. It wasn’t that Sawyer cared one way or another, where they went or where they didn’t, he just knew Jack was all.
They checked into the hotel, comped of course, too tired to notice the way the desk clerk eyed them when they said they’d only be needing one room. Jack tipped the bell boy way too much, feeling guilty for getting a free room for (in his mind) no reason.
Sawyer ignored them both, collapsing on the bed in a heap after pulling off his shirt and tossing it onto a nearby chair. Jack grabbed the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sigh off of the door handle and put it outside, closing the door behind him with a dull thud.
“Jesus, Jack,” Sawyer swore, sweating all over. He felt like every inch of him was on fire, burning and pinned down under the weight of Jack's body moving above him, around him.
His head was twisting against the sheets and his eyes were bolted shut. He wanted to watch Jack’s body move, see on his face exactly what Sawyer’s body was doing to him, but he just couldn’t force his eyes open. There was too much fire, too much heat, too much Jack.
When Sawyer’s eyes did manage to open, they opened to the sight of Jack pulling the blanket over them, trapping them in a cotton cocoon. The heat magnified and grew even more intense, even more hard to bear. If Sawyer had thought that he was burning alive before, he had no idea.
“What’d you do that for?” Sawyer asked in a voice that was barely above a whisper. It was all he was capable of at the moment, a whisper. His throat was dry and sore, horse from screaming Jack’s name so loudly that everyone on their floor had probably heard them. Sawyer didn’t even have the energy to care.
“I don’t know,” Jack replied, his voice low, sounding wiped out. “It felt like the island.” He lifted his head off of Sawyer’s chest and looked at him curiously. “Like your tent,” he explained. Sawyer returned his curious gaze and Jack’s eyes fell back to Sawyer’s tanned, broad chest. “Didn’t it?”
“Felt like I was on fire,” Sawyer replied, not seeing the point in being dishonest when he was the one who had brought it up – to the mention the fact that Jack knew pretty well exactly what effect his body had on Sawyer’s body. “So, yeah, I guess you’re right.” He nodded decidedly, and Jack looked back up. “It was just like the island.”
Jack’s head fell once more, down to Sawyer’s shoulder, where it stayed, their bodies curled around each other, an instinct now. They slept above the blankets that night, with the air conditioner going at full blast and the fan on.
“I don’t want to go to LA.”
Sawyer looked up with a definite note of surprise, and he suspected that Jack had seen it coming, because he kept his eyes glued to the map that Sawyer had bought downstairs.
He didn’t ask Jack if he was sure. He wouldn’t have said it, at this point, if he weren’t. Jack wanted a blank slate, a new life. He didn’t want to go back to where he could fall into old patterns for lack of knowing what else to do. Sawyer could understand that.
“Okay,” Sawyer replied, laying back down, flat, next to Jack. “So, we got more than enough money to live on, and even more than that between the two of us. The world’s our playground.”
Jack’s eyes remained on the map, even though he knew that Sawyer was trying to get him to look up, to capture his attention so that he could search his eyes and know what he was really thinking. He kept his concentration on the folded paper stretched out before them. He was giving Sawyer no choice but to trust him at his word, and Sawyer figured that he could give Jack that.
So, he fit himself snugly against Jack’s side and rested his chin on his shoulderblade, gazing down at the map along with Jack, staring at all of the world’s new possibilities.
“Where do you wanna go?” he asked.
They traveled for a nearly a year, never settling in one place for too long, a week at the most. They saw the world in the kind of way that most people talk about, but never really do. They saw the big places, like Rome and Paris, and tiny, hole-in-the-wall towns that were so small they weren’t even on the maps. They went everywhere they could, anywhere their feet would carry them.
But their feet got tired and they began to feel like standing still for a while. Wanderlust had been wonderful, had taken them over for quite a long, wonderful time. They had beautiful memories and pictures to boot, not to mention more than enough money to pick up and start moving again should the spirit ever move them.
They were ready to stand still again, to make a new home and a new life for themselves, have a place that was just theirs.
So, Sawyer bought another map and laid with Jack on another bed and asked him where he wanted to go.
New York. Jack wanted to go to New York. Sawyer suspected that he wanted to got to New York because it was about as far across the country from LA, and what LA meant for Jack, as they could get. He kept that suspicion to himself.
They were on the plane, heading toward Manhattan, to where Jack wanted to start over and make a home. Sawyer had his nose in a book, taking the occasional drink from the small, plastic cup filled with whatever soda he had picked when the flight attendant had come around. He turned to face Jack about halfway through the flight. His eyes were dropping and he yawned, tiredly.
“Hey,” Sawyer said, setting his book aside and turning all the way around, facing Jack. “You alright?”
Jack shrugged and gave a weak smile. “Tired,” he said. Sawyer nodded. They had boarded the plane in the early evening, but given that they were only halfway into a twelve hour flight, Sawyer knew it was easily the middle of the night.
The cabin had already begun to darken. His was one of the few overhead lights still on, and he decided to remedy that, reaching up and turning it off. They were cast, instantly, into darkness, until their eyes adjusted and they saw each other once more. Jack smiled at Sawyer, and Sawyer reached under the chair, grabbing his blanket.
“Guess it’s bed time, then,” he said, draping the blanket over both of them and relaxing against the seat. He wasn’t at his most comfortable, but he (and Jack) had certainly had much worse accommodations.
“Goodnight Sawyer,” Jack said, through a yawn, leaning his head against Sawyer’s shoulder and closing his eyes. Sawyer smiled, squinting in the darkness and trying his best to see Jack, to enjoy the moment – however simple it may have been.
“ ‘Night,” he replied, kissing Jack’s temple and finally letting his eyes fall closed.
Sawyer wanted to fire their realtor. He said he was going to, if she showed them one more cramped, stuffy studio apartment with a ridiculous price tag. Jack was more patient than Sawyer, but he tended to agree. And he was getting pretty tired of living in a hotel.
“You guys are going to love this one,” Susan told them, leading them out of the elevator and down the hall to the penthouse loft she had just called them, raving, about. It sounded promising, Jack had said, better than most of the ones that she had shown them before. It was a little expensive, but, if Susan’s information was accurate, it had definite promise.
Sawyer, however, seemed burned out by every other bad apartment that they had been shown, because he rolled his eyes at her back and grumbled, “You say that about all of ‘em.”
Jack tugged on Sawyer’s hand, pulling on their entwined fingers and sending him a stern look that screamed, “Behave!” so that Jack didn’t have to. Sawyer rolled his eyes again, but pulled on Jack’s hand right back, silently promising, “Yeah, alright.”
They stood behind her as she searched for the right key. Jack tried not to get his hopes up, given all the places they had seen up until this point and all the times that they had been disappointed. Sawyer just prepared himself to be disappointed.
“Voila,” she exclaimed, finally pushing the door open. Sawyer felt like he’d had the air knocked out of him. When he regained the ability to breathe, he looked at Jack and found him gaping, openmouthed.
It was perfect. There was so much space, high walls, a vaulted ceiling. The living room seemed to stretch on forever, into the dining room and the kitchen with no walls boxing in the rooms, no lines separating them. The second level was significantly smaller, just a bedroom and a closet and a bathroom, Sawyer guessed, and most importantly, it too was open. No high walls separated it from the rest of the loft, leaving it open to the high ceilings, to all that open space.
It was everything they were looking for. It was so damned perfect that Sawyer would have kissed Susan if Jack weren’t standing right there – holding his hand no less.
“So?” Susan asked, eyeing them both like she knew she’d done good. “Do you love?”
Sawyer turned to Jack as they made their way further into the apartment, their footsteps echoing off of the hardwood floors and the high walls. He could feel the cool air flowing, the wide open space inviting and calming. The smile on Jack’s face told him that Jack more than likely felt the same.
“What do you think?” Sawyer asked, just to make sure they were on the same page. Jack turned to face him, then back to all the wide, open space the loft had to offer. A smile spread slowly across his face.
“It’s perfect,” he said, with a touch of wonderment in his voice. Sawyer smiled. Susan may have pissed him off to no end before, but there was no way in hell she wasn’t getting this sale.
Stirring from his sleep, Jack found his mind foggy and his body stiff. Sawyer said he slept in the same position all night, that he barely ever moved or turned, so that probably explained why he woke up with a cramped leg or a stiff arm so often. Yawning, he rolled onto his back and ran a hand over his face.
A quick glance at the clock on his bedside table told him that it was almost one in the afternoon. At one point, Jack being in bed that late in the day would have been cause for alarm, a sure sign of illness, but it was par for the course these days.
Sitting up, Jack tried to shake away the last of his fatigue, pushing the white blankets tangled around his left leg off. He never slept fully under the blankets anymore, and neither did Sawyer. They enjoyed the wide open space of their home far too much to be boxed in, even in their bed.
Sawyer’s voice drifted up from the loft’s lower level, and even though Jack couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying, it was clear from his tone of voice that he was in the middle of an argument. Jack sighed. The past few weeks had been spent a lot like this. There was always someone that Sawyer had to talk to, had to argue with. It would lighten up soon, Jack knew. He’d been through this time of year with Sawyer a few times before.
Jack swung his body to the side and set his feet on the hardwood floor. Their bed was so low to the ground that Jack felt like it should be jarring. But it wasn’t. After a year and a half of sleeping in the sand and another year of camping out under the stars and sleeping on just about any surface that would accommodate the both of them, both Jack and Sawyer had found that they were more than used to it, that they preferred it that way.
The hardwood floor of the bedroom and the stairs was cold against his bare feet, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
As Jack suspected, Sawyer was at his desk, situated in the middle of their apartment, with his back to Jack. He had his feet up on the glass surface, balancing the phone against one shoulder and absently tapping a pencil against this knee – a weird stress relieving technique that he found, with time, worked. He looked frustrated.
“You ain’t listenin’,” he said, agitated and on-edge. Jack walked up behind him, laying a hand gently on his shoulder. Sawyer’s head jerked up, surprised, but he smiled, reaching up to hold the hand that Jack had placed on his shoulder with the hand that he had free.
The voice on the other end of the line was female and shrill, and Jack shook his head. It had to be Julie. No one since Susan could piss Sawyer off the way that Julie did.
“I don’t care if you have to schedule twice as many book signings everywhere else, Jack don’t go to LA and I ain’t goin’ anywhere I can’t take him with me,” Sawyer argued back, squeezing Jack’s hand a bit while he said it. Julie’s belligerent voice came back loud and strong. Jack couldn’t understand what she was saying, but her tone was shrill enough for him to know exactly how she felt.
Sawyer sighed and swung his legs off his desk, throwing the pencil down a little harder than he had to. “Fine,” he spat back at her, annoyed and obviously sick and tired of talking to her. “You do that.”
And he hung up on her.
“Call her back,” Jack told him, letting go of Sawyer’s hand and sitting in one of the leather armchairs along the wall just to the right of Sawyer’s desk. “And tell her you’re sorry.”
Sawyer snorted a laugh and shook his head. “That’ll be the day,” he grumbled and Jack shook his head at him. “She may be the best agent money can buy, but she’s a pain in the ass who hates not gettin’ her way.”
“Is that so?” Jack replied, his voice dripping with faux-ignorance. Sawyer had a habit of ignoring the fact that, one more than one occasion, Jack had heard exactly the same things come out of both of their mouths at different times and place. Julie was a pain in the ass, and she did hate not getting her way. But so was Sawyer, and so did Sawyer. He just tended to forget that whenever he had to talk to the woman.
Which he was, apparently, still doing, because he just rolled his eyes at Jack. And shook his head. “Call her back,” Jack told him again.
Sawyer looks up at him with his eyelids lowered a bit. He knew Jack wasn’t ordering him around, that he was just looking out for him and for his career, but he still couldn’t help but be annoyed. Jack looked away and sighed.
“Later,” Sawyer replied, and Jack just shrugged in response. There wasn’t much use ignoring with Sawyer, and there was even less use arguing with him when it came to Julie, so he decided to save himself a half an hour and stop trying.
“Coffee?” Jack asked, getting up from the chair and heading toward the kitchen. He came around to the other side of Sawyer’s desk and was handed an empty coffee cup. Sawyer watched him walk into the kitchen, fill his cup and a new, clean one, and he smiled and shook his head.
“You know,” he said to Jack, pleased that he didn’t even have to shout, that Jack could hear him even from across the apartment, no walls in their way. “I never thought I’d live to see the day.”
Jack turned back to him, confused, before topping off both of the mugs and walking back to Sawyer’s desk, handing him his coffee and standing in front of him. “The day that what?” he asked, taking a careful sip from his mug. Sawyer set his down on his desk and looked up at Jack.
“The day I’d be gettin’ up at nine to work and you’d stay in bed ‘til one,” Sawyer replied. Jack ducked his head, chuckling and nodding.
“Me neither,” he replied. Sawyer leaned back then, looking Jack up and down, like he was trying to wrap his mind around something. Jack wrapped his hands around his coffee cup, the warmth comfortable, not unbearable. He wondered, for possibly the millionth time since he’d me the man, what Sawyer was thinking.
“You miss it?” Sawyer eventually asked, picking up his coffee mug and finally taking a drink. Jack shook his head a little, like he was trying to figure out an answer. He shrugged, eventually, and sat down on the edge of Sawyer’s desk.
“Sometimes,” he replied. “Sometimes I miss feeling productive…important…”
“You’re important to me,” Sawyer replied. It was a borderline girly sentiment, and he would have been embarrassed to have it come rolling out of his mouth, if it weren’t true. His life was hectic in a way it had never been before he was doing honest work, even on the island – which was a different kind of hectic all together. He needed Jack to keep him grounded, and most importantly, to keep him sane. Jack was important to him for so many reasons, and Sawyer figured that, at this point, he could stand to tell him so every now and then.
“I know,” Jack replied, nodding and smiling. “If I wanted to be a doctor, I could be.” Sawyer looked up at him, a bit of his insecure disbelief lingering, still. “It’s not what I want anymore. I miss it, but...” Jack let his eyes wander around the apartment, over the furniture they had picked out together, the pictures from their travels that hung on the wall, along with the art that Sawyer had fallen in love with at some gallery opening they'd got free tickets too. And then they came back to Sawyer, and his smile grew wider. He looked so unsure, so vulnerable, so young. He thought he was holding Jack back, and Jack knew that. He also knew Sawyer was, often, full of shit, and, thankfully, Sawyer had come to realize that too.
“I like it here better,” Jack assured him, and Sawyer nodded, smiling a tiny smile before nodding again. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe Jack, that he doubted him, but that he couldn’t help but wonder, sometimes, if he weren’t being selfish, keeping Jack by his side all the time. They had a great life together. Sawyer’s job let them travel, flew them first class all over the country. And the best part of it all was that he could do it from home. They were never far from each other, which, he thought, should have been annoying. But it ended up suiting them just fine. Sawyer liked it that way, having Jack by his side, he just had to wonder if it was enough for Jack.
He guessed he should stop, that Jack was right. If he wanted to be somewhere else, he would be there. But he wasn’t. He was here, sitting on the edge of Sawyer’s desk, sipping coffee. So, that was obviously where he wanted to be.
“Hey,” Jack said. Sawyer looked up sharply, and gave Jack a small, but tired, smile. A look of concern took over Jack’s features even though he gave Sawyer a smile right back. “Are you alright?”
Sawyer shrugged. “Lot on my mind.”
Jack nodded. “The book is amazing,” he said. Sawyer closed his eyes, but smiled. That was the other thing. Jack always loved his work, but he couldn’t trust the man to be objective. He could have handed his editor a cocktail napkin he scribbled on between martinis and Jack would tell him it was a masterpiece. Then again, Sawyer thought everything he wrote was shit, even when it turned into a best seller, so maybe he shouldn’t be listening to himself either. “Hey.” Sawyer looked up again, into Jack’s reassuring, warm brown eyes. “It’ll do great, just like the others. Stop worrying about it.”
“I ain’t,” Sawyer denied, a little to quickly. Jack narrowed his eyes and Sawyer wondered why he bothered. Jack knew Sawyer as well as Sawyer knew him – too well. “Yeah, alright, I am. But I’m more worried about Claire and those rugrats of hers tearin’ up the place when they come in next week.”
Jack laughed and shook his head. Sawyer was changing the subject and they both knew it, but there wasn’t much point in not going along for the ride. Sawyer wouldn’t stop worrying until the book was out, no matter how many times Jack told him it was amazing. So, he replied, “Just be glad we don’t have an extra bedroom, or they’d be staying here.”
“Oh, believe you me, I am,” Sawyer replied.
“The book will do great,” Jack repeated, bring the subject back around with a knowing smile. Sawyer looked up at him, eyes narrowed, but eventually sighed and stood, shaking his head at Jack and smiling slowly.
“You think you know me so well,” he said, smirking. Jack smirked right back, setting his hands on Sawyer’s hips, hooking his thumbs through the belt loops of Sawyer’s jeans and pulling him closer.
“Yeah,” he replied, confidently. Sawyer couldn’t help but chuckle and run his hands up the back of Jack’s neck, over his short, spikey hair. “Isn’t it about your lunch break?”
Sawyer turned to the clock hanging on the wall behind them, then back to Jack, smirk back in place. “Well would you look at that,” he said. Jack leaned forward, painfully slowly, and brushed his lips back and forth on top of Sawyer's, but never actually kissed him, actively held Sawyer back from kissing him.
“So,” Sawyer said, his breath, his words, flowing over Jack’s lips. “You gonna make me lunch or somethin’?”
Jack smiled at that, and Sawyer felt it. He also felt the hands on his hips push him forward, allowing Jack to hop off of his desk, and then pull him back just as quickly, getting their bodies as close together as they could possibly be.
It was the only kind of heat that they didn’t mind, the heat of Jack’s skin on Sawyer’s skin, and vice versa. It was the only kind of heat they let consume them, because it was the only kind of heat that they couldn’t pull away from.
As Jack’s arms tightened around him, as his kisses grew more intense and passionate, Sawyer felt that familiar warmth spreading out from the center of his chest. He was consumed by the desire to get his clothes off, to rid Jack of his, and make love in the cool, crisp, comforting air of their apartment, of their home.
Clothes were thrown to and fro, littering the stairs and the furniture, as they made their way up to their bed, as Jack fell onto the soft, cool sheets and pulled Sawyer with him – the contrast to their searing skin instantly soothing.
It was different than the island, but it was the same. Here, they had a safe home, a secure life. Here they had the promise that none of that could be snatched away in the blink of an eye at the will of a malevolent, vindictive enemy. Here, they had space, open and cool and inviting. The stark contrast to the oppressive heat and humidity they had lived in was not lost on them, and they treasured it.
But there was still the heat, deep within them both. A different kind, but heat all the same. It was in the both of them, all the time, and it was the kind that they didn’t mind. It was what had brought them to each other, the spark that had started as hate and grown into something more, something better. It was in the heat of the island that they had found each other, in its blistering days and its humid nights.
It was like the island, but it wasn’t in moments like this. Because though they were in the wide open space of their home, thousands of miles away from where their bodies had first come together, not unlike this, the heat that had been with them then, the spark, was with them now, because it was a part of them.
The island had its heat and its fire. It had burned them both, and badly, many times over, but it had also given them each other. And though they were glad to be rid of it, to be in a better place now, they had to thank it for that.
“Jesus, Jack,” Sawyer said against Jack’s neck, his voice ragged. Jack held onto his back, pulled their slick, sweaty, burning skin together and held on, dug in. His fingernails scraped and cut and Sawyer growled at him for it, but never told him to stop, only rocked into Jack harder, so Jack dug even deeper into his skin.
“Sawyer,” Jack gasped, right into his ear, searching desperately for air, even though the fan was running and their was plenty of it. Sawyer panted against Jack’s shoulder, acutely aware of the way that his hair was clinging to the back of his neck, sweat pooling there. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Sawyer replied, without a thought and without hesitation. Jack’s eyes screwed tight as Sawyer started to move again, and god, he was amazed he could still think. But he could, and he did. He thought about Sawyer and about the island. He thought about how far they had come from here to now.
He would never miss the island, or Sawyer’s tent, and he knew Sawyer wouldn’t either. They would never think of it fondly, but for the moments they had spent there, together, which, if you thought about it, weren’t about the tent at all. They were about them. They wouldn’t think of the heat and the intensity of their time there, but of the way that their connection had been forged, the way it had carried over into this place, this life, that they had now.
It was like the island, but it wasn’t. It was better.