|Always One Last Favour - Lost - Jack/Sawyer
||[Jul. 11th, 2008|07:48 pm]
where the daydreams reign
Title: Always One Last Favour
Word Count: 1300
A/N: Queen inthekeyofd requested Jack/Sawyer with something black and white. Jack/Sawyer is a pairing that I really struggle with, but I've certainly tried my best for the queen – though I'd imagine that this isn't quite what you were hoping for and I really apologise for that. This is, well, extremely AU and ignores everything from Through The Looking Glass onwards.
Summary: Car crash, Hurley had said. "I'm fine, Jack. It's not me we need to worry about."
He closed his eyes as he clutched the phone, willing the voice on the other end of disappear. Hurley sounded bizarrely serious – it was like some kind of blasphemy to hear that worried plea from a usually cheerful man.
Car crash, he'd said. "I'm fine, Jack. It's not me we need to worry about."
Jack knew what that meant, even if he wished that he didn't. All of Hurley's postcards from around the world ended the same way: Sawyer says hi too! The odd couple travelling together. Sometimes Jack's feet would itch to join them on these adventures, but he knew where he belonged.
"Dude, it's his back. It's something with his back – I dunno. They won't tell me what exactly, but, uh, it really doesn't sound too good."
Jack bit his tongue and held the questions that rushed forward at bay. He didn't want to know anything more; he didn't need to.
Hurley cleared his throat in the crackling silence. "And, well, you're like some kinda spinal surgeon, right? Like, the best?"
Jack let the silence stretch and roam. He wet his lips and tried to clear his mind. "I can't help."
"Yeah, you can. I asked around and googled it and stuff. If anyone can fix it it's gonna be you."
"No." He'd promised himself that he'd never have to see Sawyer again. He'd never make himself do that. "You can find someone else."
"Yeah?" Hurley sounded angry now: hardly surprising. Hurley sounded angry at him a lot these days. Frustrated. "You don't think this means something?"
Jack thought of the island, thought of Locke, thought of Ben's tumour. He grinned the phone so tightly his knuckles went white. "It doesn't 'mean' anything, Hugo," he said – voice too tight, too harsh. He closed his eyes and reminded himself that none of this was Hurley's fault. The air slumped from his lungs. "Call Claire, Hurley. Claire or Charlie or… someone. You shouldn't be alone right now."
The shuffling sound of Hurley's breathing said that he was having to fight very hard not to say something he'd regret. I'm sorry, Jack wanted to say. I just can't do it – but the silence remained until Hurley grumbled. "Whatever, man. Thank a lot."
The phone clattered and went dead. Jack's eyes remained closed and he battled with regret – and half an hour later he found himself at the airport hunting for the earliest flight to Rome.
The way Hurley hugged him when he walked into this foreign hospital – having called ahead to let the medical team there know that he was coming – told Jack that he'd made the right decision, even if walking towards Sawyer's room left his stomach turning: he wasn't awake, he was told.
"I can't even promise I'll be able to do anything, Hurley," Jack said.
"I know," Hurley said – the thankful glee in his eyes said that he didn't know that at all. "Just go see him. And, y'know, decide if you can help."
Now Jack found himself here, hand opening the door: he didn't think he'd ever seen Sawyer quite so still or peaceful. Face like ash. Hair shorter than he remembered. Then again, he couldn't remember much – the image of Sawyer snarling at him to just 'get the hell out, Doc' was locked in his mind from the last time they'd seen each other. Nothing more.
The bed sheets, white and crisp, seemed to make Sawyer's skin look even sicklier by comparison. Jack made himself take the steps required to reach the foot of the bed: it felt like a trek, like a trip he should have been in training for. He hadn't been this close to Sawyer in years and could just imagine the eye-twinkling comments Sawyer would have been making if he was awake.
You, me and a bed, hero, Jack heard echoing in his mind. Are you thinking what I'm thinkin'?
He grabbed for the chart that sat by the end of the bed and swallowed hard as he read through the stats there. Not good. Really, really not good.
I doubt it someone, he'd replied with a bemused smile: he'd never known how to react around Sawyer, at first. Now he was right back at that stage.
"Looks like you really got yourself in a mess this time, Sawyer," Jack murmured. A real mess. He didn't even want to look up at his face, at the painful scratches and wounds that cut across skin he'd traced with his lips, with his finger tips, time and time again – but he did. He looked up and he saw all the years they hadn't spent together and all the opportunities they'd thrown away.
Stubborn bastards, Sawyer had said once, throwing an arm haphazardly around his shoulders, aren't we?
He took a biro and scribbled a few extra notes in the margins around Sawyer's chart – and he left, not another word to Sawyer's body.
"Book an OR," he said to the first intern he came across. Everyone here seemed to speak English. He'd be at sea if they didn't: it hadn't been a long time since he'd wielded this foreign tongue. "Soon as you can."
I'm going to fix you, he thought with a determined set to his jaw; shoulders down as he tried to locate the other surgeons in this place.
Sawyer asked him once what it was like performing surgery, holding people's lives in his hands; he hadn't had an answer, and as he wielded his scalpel on Sawyer's back now he still couldn't think of one. There was nothing like it. Nothing to compare it to. The heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping responsibility. Looking down at the open incisions he could remember performing on Ben like this in a different situation, a lifetime ago.
It's like being God, isn't it? Sawyer had said. That's why you're so into it. Kinky son of a bitch.
Jack could barely stop his hands from shaking as he stitched Sawyer up – nearly done, so close – with neat black thread. No, he thought, it's not like being God at all.
He knew for a fact that no God could ever be this scared.
"You're not staying?" Hurley said – outraged and defeated all at once – when Jack loitered in the doorway. "Sawyer'll want to say thank you and stuff."
Jack felt a smile twitch at the idea of Sawyer ever wanting to say thank you to him. He held it back and looked at Sawyer where he lay in his hospital bed: he was starting to look better already. Maybe it was just that Jack's eyes could hold a little more hope now.
"It's best if I'm not here," he said. "Cleaner."
He'd spent too long washing his hands after the surgery. His skin had felt raw and scrubbed away by the end of it, when an Italian nurse had placed a hand on his shoulder and made sure that he was alright. He wasn't alright, not at all. He hadn't been alright since they'd left the island – not really. Not even when Sawyer had been staying with him instead of running around the world with Hurley.
"That's not true, dude," Hurley said. "You know that's not true."
Jack shoved his hands in his pockets and shrugged. No point arguing with Hurley over this – he'd argued enough about Sawyer for a life time, with just about everyone he could potentially count as a friend. Not many of those these days.
He frowned and looked to the bed for a couple of seconds. "Don't let him know it was me," he said, heavy with thought. "Just… Don't mention it. Let him think it was one of the other doctors."
Hurley was never going to understand the reasoning behind that – quite honestly Jack didn't think that he did either – but he had to shrug, say goodbye, get the hell out of there.
There, he told himself as quick steps led him further and further away, you'll never have to see him again.
Not until next time.