Title: Whisper Through Skin - 1/3
Warning: Adults only, language and sexual situations. Spoilers for S2, speculation for S3.
Sawyer doesn’t even know it’s happening until it’s over.
Fear and rage, bound and gagged, then the startling light and the more startling and painful noise; Michael gone, deal made and game over but then he’s confused – he watches Hurley leave and starts to shake his head in question, he looks at Kate, at Jack, and his confusion heightens at what he sees, because it’s not what he expects.
Then the hood, and he’s hot, struggling and snarling around the gag, blinded yet still he fights against the rough hands around his arms and bruising on the back of his neck, then there is one ear-ringing blow to the side of his face which stuns him. From that point he just breathes but his body is still stiff, still trying to resist, then he notices.
He has no idea how far he’s been led when the realization sinks in, so heavy it pushes him to his knees and so frightening he does his best to stay there, kneeling, thinking maybe if they just gave him one second he can shake it off.
They don’t give him the chance.
He feels the cool of recycled air, smells the staleness of it, then he’s shoved on to what feels like a cot and the hood is ripped off and the gag follows, and he shakes his head, blinks his eyes and breathes deeply – this little bit is a precious freedom of its own – but he already knows everything is gone.
The loss is more powerful than any he’s ever felt before and he falls forward and vomits, can’t stop it, not even when it’s been reduced to dry heaves and then a pin prick, sharp but short on his upper arm, and he feels a drug-induced sleep dragging him into darkness even more obscene than that in which he had already been immersed.
Again he’s grabbed and again he fights, harder this time but against fewer pairs of hands, one pair smaller than those which he’d struggled against earlier, then he’s forced down on to the bed and someone is in his face, shouting, he knows, then suddenly scents and touches combine in his head and he knows.
“Stop it, fuckin’ stop it, can you understand me? Listen to me for a goddamned second, there’s somethin’ you need to know!”
Hands are still on him but they cease attempting to force him to move, but the way they’re clutching tightly at his shirt tells him he doesn’t have much time.
He speaks slowly and deliberately and he hates every word.
“I can’t see you. I can’t see anything.”
Jack, then, of course, hands rough against the sides of Sawyer’s head and he knows Jack is looking for some type of injury, issuing orders, ‘how many fingers am I holding up’ and Sawyer almost laughs but his throat burns with bile and bitterness and he just shakes his head.
“I can’t fuckin’ hear you, either.”
From that point on he has absolutely no control; Kate grabs one arm and Jack the other and he’s practically being carried, and he tries to cooperate because this must be escape but he trips more than once and every time he does their touches become harder, more insistent and more impatient.
They’re outside, then, and it’s night, he can tell by the smell and the cool and they stop, both Kate and Jack relaxing slightly and Sawyer frowns, confused, then Jack grabs his hand, his finger stroking it firmly and quickly over and over again.
“Ain’t got time to hold hands just now, Doc,” he says sarcastically, or thinks he does. He feels the words, the way they roll through throat and over tongue and teeth, reverberate through blood and bone but he has no idea if he makes sense, if he’s too loud or too quiet.
But he can feel it as his voice breaks.
Jack grabs his wrist and shakes it hard, then starts again with the movement of his finger over Sawyer’s palm, more slowly this time.
Finally, Sawyer understands. Or thinks he does.
“Sayid? Once for yes, twice for no, Doc.”
There is one hard tap, fingertips against the heel of his hand.
“Fuck. Fuck, okay, what else?”
It takes too long, an eternity, but before Jack finishes something clicks and Sawyer interrupts.
“He brought Scotty’s boat.”
“Then what in the hell are we waitin’ for?”
He feels Kate slip away and then Sayid, he first assumes and then knows by the feel of him, take her place, and again he’s being carried, and he shoves the rage and the fear and overwhelming sense of helplessness aside.
Just get me home, he thinks repeatedly, just get me home.
Finally they do, through jungle and over the water, but he already knows the truth by the tightened posture of both of them as they help him ashore and dump him without ceremony at his tent and then disappear.
Home isn’t what it used to be.
“Shit. Destroyed? Completely?”
“Anything left to save?”
maybe. not in yet.
“The fuckin’ button.”
“Anyone else end up . . . anyone else end up like this?”
It takes an eternity for Jack to respond, so Sawyer already knows the answer well before his fingers touch his palm, slowly and lightly, two times, whispering through Sawyer’s skin.
Sawyer curses and rips his hand away. “I hate this goddamned Miracle Worker bullshit! I’ve told you everything I fuckin’ remember, everything that I don’t fuckin’ see and I don’t fuckin’ hear, Jesus, black, pure black and I can’t hear anything.”
Jack grabs him by the wrist.
He can’t think.
For a man so cut off from the world he feels it crowding in around him.
Whether under Jack’s orders or some hugely misguided sense of duty, he is never left alone, someone is always there, always touching him, forcing food on him and reaching out to steady him if he makes the smallest of moves.
He is quickly able to tell who is who, but that doesn’t help, it only makes it more difficult because he feels like he has to adjust his behavior accordingly, something he’s never done before, not like this. But now he’s the beggar in the palace who should be grateful for what little he receives.
But he receives much too much, he hates this attention.
He grits his teeth, headaches coming on hard and, he knows, due to tension and frustration rather than whatever had happened, and at first he makes a minimal effort to at least not lose his temper completely, especially with Sun or Rose, but the more everyone hovers and watches and helps the more claustrophobic he becomes and he lashes out, yells at everyone to just get the fuck away, he needs to think.
They retreat but they don’t leave, he feels them watching him warily, and it’s infuriating when he’s forced to slink into his tent, fumbling and finding his way by feel, to fucking hide, and he pounds at the ground with one fist over and over, savoring the pain because that, at least, feels real and unfiltered by his skin, no, this goes straight through, no mistakes or misunderstandings, pain is hard and harsh and sharp and real.
Until he’s grabbed from behind and forced to stop.
gone. just me now.
He shoves Jack away roughly, collapses and curls up, and he thinks this isn’t that much better, being watched constantly by Jack.
“What in the hell did this?”
don’t know. discharge maybe don’t know.
He can suddenly see Jack, or rather he imagines how Jack must look right now, head falling forward and shoulders dropping in momentary defeat, tired and frustrated but determined somehow to fix it, but the mental image isn’t comforting.
He just becomes angrier that Jack hasn’t fixed it already
The rest still take their turns spying on him, helping him, talking to him or trying to, but for the most part he keeps company with Jack.
He’s furious and he hates this; he hates Jack, hates that Jack is now his chief babysitter, hates that Jack sees him this vulnerable, that Jack is the one who leads him and then waits when he has to piss or take a shit, hates everything about him.
He hates especially the fact that Jack can see and hear.
But he won’t move unless Jack is the one moving with him. Over the short time since they’ve been forced to work as a team they quickly developed an abbreviated sort of code, Sawyer speaking with what’s left of his voice and Jack speaking by touch, and as much as Sawyer hates Jack, this is easier with him – with everyone else there was too much coddling, sympathy.
It’s easier with Jack.
He also uses Jack as a target for his anger; he curses, blames him for the fact that it happened and blames him for not fixing it, twice tried to attack him physically out of sheer frustration and Jack takes it, this fury, responds only by gripping his arms tightly until Sawyer’s rage is spent.
Jack takes it but Sawyer knows by the increasing tension in Jack’s body every time they’re forced to touch at he won’t take it much longer.
Sawyer looks forward to it, to the moment Jack will snap, because then Sawyer can snap, as well.
He sleeps as much as he can, too much.
But when he sleeps he dreams, and when he dreams he can see, and he can hear, and it’s gotten to the point that he welcomes nightmares in addition to good dreams.
As long as he can see and hear, he’ll take whatever monsters might be lurking and throw the doors of his mind open wide.
Not long after their return he steps into the fire.
He had decided to move on his own and he stood, well aware of the exact location of the fire, he could smell it and he felt it, but he was overcome with the now-familiar sense of vertigo and he stumbled, no one there to steady him because he had refused to ask.
He curses, not just because of the pain but because this will mean more – more pity, more pairs of eyes on him, more humiliation.
not bad. lucky.
For the first time Jack is rough with him; making absolutely no effort to be gentle as he treats the burns on Sawyer foot and calf, and Sawyer hisses in pain and again lets loose, swearing and shouting and fighting, but then Jack’s hand is tight in his collar and his knee pins Sawyer’s left hand to the ground, palm up, and he’s breathing heavily, obviously angry. His fingers dig in hard into Sawyer’s hand but he’s not talking, waiting for his anger to ease, Sawyer knows.
Sawyer smirks through the pain, thinks it about time Jack quit being a fucking doormat, hopes that Jack will hit him so that he can hit back, close quarters in the tent and he won’t need to see to hurt, won’t need to hear, he just needs Jack’s body underneath him.
He wants someone else to hurt. He especially wants Jack to hurt.
He feels liberated for a moment, freed, and just as quickly he feels frightened at the idea of being left alone and he hates it, this constant back and forth in his head and absolutely no way of making anybody understand any of it, no matter how much he talked or shouted, he couldn’t look into anyone’s eyes and see that they actually got it, that they knew.
“No more what?”
“Good, great, that’s fuckin’ fine! Get the hell away from me, not like you’ve helped one goddamned bit, get the hell outta here and let me figure this out on my own!”
He waits, knows Jack is staring at him, and then Jack leaves abruptly, the weight and the feel of him gone.
Sawyer can still smell him, though, in the still, hot air of the tent and on his own skin.
He thinks this is exactly what he wants, to be left the fuck alone.
He swims inside his own head.
Sometimes he thinks he hears, thinks he sees – he hopes. But the dark is so dark that he can feel it. It’s solid and thick and impenetrable, heavy in his skull, and the weight of it makes him tired.
The silence is total. There is the familiar sound of his blood pulsing through his veins but even that is muffled, pushed far away by whatever doors have slammed shut in his brain.
He’s alone, and he swims inside his own head and he mourns.