Prompt: un_love_you, #14: “I'm awake and you're breathing.”
Characters: Juliet Burke, Kate Austen
Timeline: Left Behind
Word count: 564
Disclaimer: This is a fictional, nonprofit work for entertainment purpose only. The copyright in the TV show LOST and its components is owned by "American Broadcast Companies, Inc.", which reserves all rights therein.
Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber:
Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep’st so sound.
William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar
Sleep – those little slices of death, how I loathe them.
Edgar Allan Poe
Your chest rises and falls under the faint traces of moonlight, a steady filling-and-flattening interrupted by occasional pained sighs. Your eyes are closed, unaware of my watchful ones.
If only you knew how naïve you still are, Kate Austen.
Yes, naïve; for only someone with the innocence (or lack of self-preservation) of a little child would be able to drift away to the lovely fields of sleepyland in the situation we are in. Look at me: I keep my eyes wide open. You should stay awake, Austen, if only because there's a lethal column of smoke hiding in the dark somewhere.
You should stay awake if only because your enemy is handcuffed to you.
I could very well strangle you right now. You know I outdo you physically. You know that dislocated shoulder was more of a lucky manoeuver than true technique. You know I know that. If you don't, you're dumber than I thought.
How can you sleep, Kate?
It's hard to believe you are the same woman from that red-covered file. It's hard to believe you are the same woman that probably spent months waiting for the right moment to get rid of your own abusive father in a burst of flames. Hard to believe this scared, vulnerable thing has a criminal record the size of Alabama.
Then again, this place does wonders for our personality, doesn't it?
I could very well open the handcuffs. This is not as much about what Ben wants me to do, after all. This (and he probably knows that, deep down) was my opportunity to get away from him. If only for a week. If only to become as sick and despicable as he. Yes, I could open those handcuffs, release us both from the metal that cuts our wrists and restrains our moves.
But then you'll run away and I'm not really looking forward to being alone in this place.
(I wonder: were we to go our separate ways, who would Cerberus kill first?)
They say a good plan is based on truths. This one must be good, because I can't stop asking myself whether any of them cares at all. Three years leaving in a community, acting like the sweet little neighbour nice to everyone, and they discard you without a second thought. Maybe Amelia will notice the absence of the treacherous girl-next-door in their group. (She probably thinks I stole her muffin recipe anyway.)
Do you understand why I keep my eyes open?
You've lived with your friends for about two months and they miss you already. Of course you don't understand.
It's better this way, in the end. I realize I enjoy your company a lot more when you're not looking at me with accusing eyes. When you're not asking me questions to which I sincerely wish I knew the answer. When I don't have to pretend I'm innocent and you don't have to pretend you believe it. (Not that you ever did.)
So I will keep my eyes wide open, Kate, and I won't strangle you, and I won't open the cuffs. I will stay here, waiting for morning, envying that illogical peace you seem to have found in the middle of a dark, cold, humid forest. Let my worries be your lullaby, and I won't let your steady breathing become mine.
At least one of us deserves to sleep tonight.