it takes some getting used to
By gale

SUMMARY: You know you’re having a bad month when being in a plane crash ISN’T the worst thing that’s happened to you.


When he first woke up, Boone didn’t realize anything was wrong.

Okay, that wasn’t entirely true; he knew *something* was wrong. His brain was fuzzy, too fuzzy to think, and it hurt to open his eyes more than a crack so he didn’t do it that often. He could hear someone – he thought it was Shannon, but he wasn’t sure – crying, but that was dumb, because why would Shannon be crying over him? Shannon cried, yeah, but not over *him*.

When he finally opened his eyes all the way, he saw that yes, it *was* Shannon, and she jumped to her feet and yelled “JACK!” loud enough to make his head hurt, then went running out of the cave. He opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out.

”It’s okay,” Jack said, hurrying over to him. Shannon was right behind him, and so was Sun, of all people. Huh. All three of them looked pretty crappy, pale and kind of drawn, especially Jack. Shannon’s makeup was smeared, and she didn’t even seem to notice, which was – new, and weird, and not in the mildly interesting way digging a hatch out of the ground was weird, either. Sun’s eyes were wide, like she was surprised to see him. Like she was surprised he was still there.

“It’s okay, Boone, you’re fine,” Jack said, and that was when Boone started to realize something was wrong, because Shannon crying wasn’t weird by itself, but Sun looking surprised he wasn’t dead and Jack being all soothing and reassuring? Not good. Not even *remotely* good.

“Boone,” Jack was saying, and Boone looked at him, blinking a little. Thinking was still fuzzy. “How do you feel?”

”A little—“ he started, and coughed a few times. “A little thirsty. And my leg hurts.”

Jack’s mouth was a thin line. “Sun,” he said, and she handed him a canteen. Jack handed it to Boone. “Here. But not too much, okay? You’re a little dehydrated, and the last thing you need to do right now is throw up.”

“Oh, thank you,” Boone muttered, but he made himself not gulp it down. He’d finished about half the canteen when he put it aside and took long, deep breaths.

Jack frowned at him. “Does that hurt?”

Boone shook his head. “No, it’s just – it feels a little weird. Kind of tight.” He looked at himself. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, he noticed. He’d been wearing one when he went into the plane. So where--

”Where’s my shirt?” he asked, frowning at himself. There were cuts on his chest, he was noticing. Cuts, and a lot of bruises – and wait a minute, were those *stitches*? The shirt going missing was one thing, but he hadn’t had stitches when he and John had left that morn—

“John,” he said, looking at Jack. “Is – where is he? Is he okay?”

”He looked okay the last time I saw him,” Jack said. He sounded grim. “Boone, I need you to—“

”Seriously, he said his legs were crapping out on him.” Boone shook his head. “I don’t – how’d I get back here?”

”Boone—“

Boone peered around Jack and looked at Shannon. “Where’s my shirt?” he asked again.

Jack took hold of his chin. “*Boone*,” he said, and Boone shut up. It sounded a hell of a lot like his mother’s voice, the two or three times she’d really gotten angry with him. “You need to listen to me, okay?”

Boone nodded.

”Good,” Jack said. “We had to cut your shirt off you. I don’t know where John is; no one’s seen him since he dropped you off.” He took a deep breath. That didn’t seem like a great idea, because Jack looked like a strong gust of wind would knock him on his ass, but Jack was still using the voice so Boone wasn’t about to say it out loud.

”You were hurt, Boone,” Jack said, as gently as Boone had ever heard him speak; even more gently than when Shannon had her asthma attack. Another sign something was wrong. “You were – you were very badly hurt. You’ve got some stitches on your chest and your stomach, but I think you’ll be all right. It doesn’t look like infection’s set in.” Another deep breath.

“You told me the plane fell on you, Boone,” Jack said, still so gentle. “Do you remember that?”

”I—not really,” Boone admitted. He’d been in the plane, plane fall down go boom, and then he was here. If he’d said anything, he didn’t remember it.

”John told me you ran off a cliff,” Jack said, “when he dropped you off. So that’s how I treated you. Then you told me you were in the plane and it fell down. Those are two different courses of treatment.” He was speaking slowly and clearly, as if to a child. Boone was starting to get irritated. “You get that, right?”

“No,” Boone said dryly, “I think I’ve suffered some brain d—“

”Shut up and listen to him,” Shannon whispered, and that, too, made Boone shut up. She looked like she was going to be sick.

“Yeah,” Boone said, “I get that. With you so far.” He coughed again.

”Okay,” Jack said. He licked his lips. “By the time I figured out you were right, it was.” He met Boone’s eyes. “It was too late. Infection was started to set in, and it was swelling. We did everything we could, and I think the amputation saved your life as much as the transfusion, but – Boone, we had to lose the leg.”

Boone looked at him for a minute.

Then he said, slowly, “I don’t understand.”

“Your leg,” Sun said. “The blood was not draining. Jack could not do what he needed to do to save it. He does not have the tools here. If he had not removed it, you would have died.” Her face was less surprised now, more kind. “He saved your life.”

“No, I get that,” he said, and looked at Jack. “Thank you. I don’t think I’ve said that before. Have I?”

Jack shook his head, smiling a little. “You’ve been out of it for a day or two,” he said.

”Okay,” Boone said, easing his chin back out of Jack’s grip. “And – I mean that, Jack, thank you,” he said, because Jack had saved his fucking *life*, and if he could shake that sense that something was really, really wrong it would be a very good day, because even pale and exhausted-looking, Jack was still hot. And Jack was looking at him all concerned and happy he wasn’t dead, which, whoooo, bonus.

“But that’s stupid,” he said, glancing down past his chest and at his leg, “because my leg’s right he—“

Then he stopped. And looked again.

In a voice he almost didn’t recognize as his own, he heard himself ask, “Where’s my leg?”

*

He didn’t yell. The three of them kept looking at him like they expected him to, what, throw a temper tantrum or something. But he sat there for a second, most of his weight on his hands and the rest supported by the rock wall against his back, and stared off. He saw them, but he didn’t *see* them.

He had one leg. He had a leg-and-a-half, actually, because the leg had been amputated just below his knee, and Jack had said something about that being a good thing, too, because the femoral artery was in the thigh and if he’d bled out from *there*, Jack couldn’t have been sure even amputation would save him. Boone paid attention to that without really paying attention, like taking notes in college. On autopilot.

He had one leg – or, okay, leg-and-a-half – and he was stuck on a deserted island. They had no crutches, no wheelchairs. There weren’t any places to get prosthetic limbs around here, and he had the sneaking suspicion there hadn’t been any left over from the crash, if anyone had even worn one. He was, in effect, crippled.

Crippled. The way John had been. John, who was still missing.

“I’d like to be alone now,” he said, in that same not-his-but-coming-out-of-his-mouth voice, and closed his eyes.

*

When he woke up, Shannon and Jack were gone. Sun was still there, smiling at him. It was a nice smile, he realized, and wished he hadn’t. He was in no mood to go around noticing how nice things were.

“Sun,” Boone said, startling her. “Seriously. I’d like to be alone.”

”You have been,” she said, sitting next to him. “I got here a moment ago. Shannon and Jack left after you fell asleep, and have not come back since.” She started digging things out of the knapsack she’d brought. “Are you hungry?”

”Not really,” Boone said. “But if you have any Darvocet, I wouldn’t say no.” Sun frowned at him. “Darvocet – it’s a painkiller. I don’t think we have any.” He waved a hand at her. “Never mind.”

Sun looked at him for a few seconds, then went back to digging things out. “You need to eat something,” she said, taking out a couple pieces of fruit and a bottle of water. “You must keep your energy up.”

Just looking at food made Boone’s stomach roil. “I’m not hungry,” he said.

Sun looked doubtful. “You have not eaten in almost three days,” she pointed out, “and you have not had enough water yet. You are still weak.”

”I’m fine.”

”You are not.”

”Yes,” he snapped, “I *am*.” He glared at her. “Just – go away, Sun, please? I’m not hungry. I’ll eat something later, maybe, but right now—“ It wasn’t entirely a lie. Thinking about eating was enough to make him nauseous.

It was either visible on his face, or Sun was good at understanding what wasn’t being said; either way, she just nodded and left, leaving the water and fruit behind.

Boone rolled over onto his side as best he could and went back to sleep.

*

That was the way the next week went, really.

Eventually, he ate. Not a lot, and never anything more than a couple pieces of fruit, but enough to keep Sun and Jack from staring at him like he was on suicide watch or something, and really, that was the best Boone could manage just then. He drank plenty of water and didn’t speak unless spoken to, and not even then if he could avoid it.

John came back a couple of days into his – well, Jack called it his recovery, so what the hell. He was still wearing the shirt he’d worn when he carried Boone back to camp, blood and all. He spent his days out in the jungle and his nights by himself, and he didn’t stop by to see how Boone was doing. On anyone else, Boone would have called it guilt, but with John he wasn’t sure.

Michael and the others launched the raft; Claire’s baby – the one she’d had while Jack was performing emergency surgery – was kidnapped by the Frenchwoman, and Sayid and Charlie stole him back; John took a group of people into the jungle and opened the hatch. Sawyer, Jin and Michael came back, talking about radar signals and speedboats and Walt being kidnapped.

Boone found out about most of that after the fact. He slept through most of it.

*

The day after everything returned to normal – everyone from the beach back there; Aaron checked out and pronounced just fine, if maybe a little colicky; Sawyer treated for a gunshot wound to his left arm – Shannon appeared, hands on her hips and said, “You know, you could get off your ass and *do* something.”

Boone looked at her for a long moment, then said, “Like what?”

”I don’t know. Something.” She was wearing one of Sayid’s shirts over her tank top, he noticed. It looked good on her, and for some reason that made him suddenly, unaccountably furious.

“Well, let’s see,” he said thoughtfully, ticking off on his fingers. “I could go hunting – no, wait, one leg. I could help in the garden – no, wait, one leg. I could go fishing – no, wait, one leg. I could—“

”You could help Claire with Aaron.”

”Claire,” Boone said, “has had that baby welded to her since Sayid and Charlie got him back. And I don’t blame her one bit.”

Shannon rolled her eyes. “You’re not dead, Boone, God. You can do something instead of sitting here on your ass all day.”

He looked at her for a long minute. After half a minute, Shannon stopped tossing her hair and started looking uncomfortable.

”I can do something,” Boone said, sounding thoughtful again. He should keep his mouth shut, he knew; right now, he was apt to say or do something horrible, if not both. Shannon was a bitch eleven times out of ten, but she didn’t usually do it to be hurtful. There just wasn’t a filter between her brain and her mouth. Boone had inherited his temper from his mother – slow to rouse, slow to cool, and in-between absolutely hateful.

“You know,” he said, “I could. I could kill myself, spare everyone the trouble of – wait, no. The guns are all locked up, there aren’t enough knives handy, no one thought to bring enough sleeping pills to overdose on, and it’s not like I can just gimp myself off a cliff, it’d take too long.” He pretended to think about it. “I mean, I could just stop eating. It’s slow, but it’s not like I’ve been all that hungry lately, and it’s probably the most humane way available.” He smiled at her. “And if you’re very good, I could get Sayid in here for a deathbed confession and tell him how less than a month ago, you got drunk and came to my hotel room to get your brains fucked ou—“

Shannon slapped him.

Neither of them said anything. She put her hand to her mouth and looked horrified.

“You know,” she said after a couple of seconds, tears spilling over, “you can be a complete asshole sometimes, you know that?”

Boone waited until she had stalked out of the cave to answer her.

“Yeah,” he said quietly, “I do.”

*

The thing was, he didn’t actually want to kill himself, not really. It seemed too – too *final*, somehow. It seemed a little stupid to survive a plane crash and having his leg cut off only to kill himself a week later. Besides, everything he’d told Shannon was true: not enough sleeping pills, no real access to the knives or the guns, and he’d look sort of stupid hopping on one leg off the side of a cliff. Not to mention that that didn’t necessarily mean he’d actually die in the attempt; God, he could be left in even *worse* shape than he was now, with no way to do anything about it one way or the other.

On the other hand, everything *else* he’d told Shannon was true, too. He wasn’t exactly in a position to go hunting or fishing, or much of anything else, for that matter – and that included getting himself to the bathroom and back, and the less he thought about *that* the better. Thank God for Sun, who didn’t so much as blink. He figured she’d had an invalid relative at some point, but he didn’t ask and she didn’t offer.

He could have asked John, but John was spending most of his days at the hatch – oh, no, the *tunnel* - and when he wasn’t, he was still avoiding Boone altogether. He could have asked Jack, but Jack was usually keeping an eye on John – and Kate, too, though that part seemed unspoken. But since Kate was within ten feet of Jack at all times, and Jack was smiling and talking to her and not exactly discouraging the attention, it didn’t seem to be rocket science.

All in all, he was getting used to this sleeping-18-hours-a-day thing. Made the time pass quicker, that was for sure.

*

The next morning, bright and early, Jack was shaking him awake, all disgustingly awake and sleeveless. If he’d been more awake, Boone would have cheerfully hated him, but that required too much energy. “How are you feeling?”

”Shitty,” Boone said flatly. “When are the stitches coming out?” Sure, there’d be scars, but he could live with scars. Scars were the least of his problems.

Jack knelt down and lifted Boone’s shirt up, peering at them for a minute. “Another week or two,” he said. “They seem to be healing pretty well, but a couple were pretty deep and I want to make sure they don’t open up again.” He nodded in the direction of Boone’s legs – well, leg. “Can I?”

”Go ahead.”

Jack lifted the blanket back and stared for a minute, occasionally touching and prodding it – the stump, and God, that was still so weird to say. His stump. He had a stump, not a leg. He was always going to have a stump.

“It’s healing all right,” Jack said, carefully replacing the blanket. “You should let it get some air.”

”They’re going to stare,” Boone said, squeezing his eyes closed for a second. “They *already* stare, but if it’s out where people can see, they’re going to stare even more.” He hated it. Given time, he could probably get used to the part about only having one leg, but people were always going to *stare*. If it hadn’t required a ridiculous amount of effort, he’d be in another cave, one by himself.

“They’re not going to stare,” Jack said.

“Really?” Boone looked at him. “And how would you know that? You’re checking the security tapes every night before you go to bed?”

“Boone—“

”Fine,” he said, closing his eyes again. “I’ll leave it off this afternoon, all right? Now go away. You’re interrupting my sleep.”

Jack snorted. “Oh, right. God forbid you not get your daily 22 hours.”

”Fuck off.” Boone didn’t bother to open his eyes, but he heard Jack’s footsteps lead away, so he guessed he’d won that round.

*

Boone was well aware that just about the stupidest thing he could do while they were stuck here was to crush on a guy - *any* guy, unless it happened to be someone who was both Out and Proud, just so he couldn’t make any mistakes about whether or not said guy was straight; and since no one had done that after two weeks – after the terror settled down into low-lying panic and more than occasional boredom – he decided he’d be better off not staring at anyone, period.

But Jack was like something out of a fucking *western*, all broad-shouldered and uncomfortable with heroics and he had arms people could write bad blank verse about, and right after Jack dragged him back to shore Boone decided well, crushing was okay, just don’t *do* anything about it. Especially not with Jack, who was straight with a capital S.

And somewhere between the whole not-drowning thing and the emergency-surgery thing, Boone decided that it wasn’t so much a crush as slowly, desperately, despairingly falling in love with someone – like, *despairingly*, like something out of a goddamn Lifetime movie. But Jack was smart and funny and not at all hard on the eyes, and he was polite to women and small children (well, just Walt, so small child, anyway), and probably old people, too. It was just his luck that he had to survive a plane crash to meet the man of his dreams.

*

It had been two weeks since It Happened (as Boone was calling it in the back of his head), and John was still avoiding him. Not that he blamed the guy for *that* part – if he’d been responsible for someone being crippled forever, Boone was pretty sure he’d have taken a powder, too – but it still sucked.

And more than that, it *hurt*. There was one person on this entire goddamn island who knew what he was going through, even if it wasn’t exactly the same, and he was like smoke. It wasn’t doing wonders for Boone’s already-crappy temper.

The fifteenth day after It Happened, Boone woke up and found a pair of crutches propped up next to him.

There was no note, but he thought he could figure out who was responsible for them without much trouble.

*

So, okay, crutches. Boone understood them in theory, but he’d never actually had to use them. They couldn’t be that hard, could they?

Well, no, not on solid ground. On solid ground they were probably great, very handy. But the closest the island came to solid ground was in the caves, and that wasn’t “solid” as much as it was “extremely rocky, good for sliding out from under crutches”. The jungle was just as bad, with the occasionally marshy bits and the dirt and the parts you had to hop over which, hey, *crutches*. And he could forget the beach unless it was absolutely necessary, because soft sand was even less his friend than the marshy bits were.

Still, he was trying. Maybe everyone would get off his damn case now.

”Shannon,” he said a couple hours later, when she showed up to see how he was doing and bring him breakfast, “I’m going to need some pants. And a pair of scissors, if you can find one.”

*

By lunch – thanks to some help from Shannon, who bitched and moaned the whole time, but Boone caught her smiling at least twice, so he just bitched and moaned back and made a mental note to do something nice for her later – he was on his feet. Kind of.

“You’re up,” Jack said, when he stopped by a couple hours later to check the stitches. He sounded surprised.

“Good thing you didn’t say ‘you’re on your feet’,” Boone said, “or you would have gotten a crutch to the stomach and I would have been on my ass.” He gritted his teeth and leaned back against the wall of the cave, carefully moving the crutches away from his body. You wouldn’t think it’d be so hard to balance on one leg. “Is this okay, or—“

”No, no, it’s fine,” Jack said, lifting Boone’s shirt up to the middle of his chest and running his fingers over his ribs and the upper part of his stomach. Boone stared at the ceiling of the cave and told himself it was impersonal, Jack was doing doctor things, he’s not hitting on you, you’re not on a *date*.

”Everything looks okay,” Jack said after a minute, letting the shirt drop. “Day after tomorrow, I’ll start taking some of the stitches on your chest out. The ones on your stomach need another week, I think.” He dried his hands on his pants and said, “Okay, now let me see the leg.”

“Easier said than done,” Boone muttered. “Do you want me to actually take them off, or can you just—“ He nodded at the pants he was wearing. One leg had been cut so it ended two inches below the kneeline. If he’d had a sewing kit handy he could have hemmed the damn thing, but Jack had appropriated the sewing kits before sunset on the first day, and right now Boone couldn’t argue the logic of that.

”No, that’s – give me a minute,” Jack said, and dropped to his knees.

Boone stifled the urge to burst out laughing; he had an idea it’d sound more than a little hysterical. Everything he’d ever wanted, up to and including Jack on his knees in front of him, and all he had to do was lose a limb.

Okay, he said silently, I could have been more specific when I was wishing for this. I get that now.

“Still looks okay,” Jack said, climbing to his feet. “Leaving the pants open at the knee lets the air get in. That’s good.”

”It was easier than making the sad puppy face at you and seeing if it’d get me any needles and thread,” Boone said. No reason to lie to the man. Besides, some part of him was taking a perverse thrill in watching people’s eyes slide over the missing leg like it was a gruesome optical illusion.

“The whole thing’s good, actually,” Jack said. He ran his eyes over Boone, head to foot and back up again. Boone resisted the urge to wiggle. “I’ll admit it, I’m surprised to see you up and around so soon.” He smiled a little. “Pleasantly surprised.”

“Yeah, well.” Boone shrugged as best he could. “I figured it was either go off a cliff and hope something sharp killed me on the landing, or get on with it. This was easier than finding a free cliff.”

“Good,” Jack said, still smiling. “I’m glad.”

“Besides,” Boone said, “you’d be pissed if I undid all your hard work.”

After a second, Jack said, “Yeah, that too.”

They looked at each other for a couple seconds.

Finally, so slow he thought he might be dreaming, Boone said, “Um. Do you want to—“

”Jack!” Kate called, and it was by the grace of something outside himself that Boone didn’t slam his head against the wall. The woman had the worst timing *ever*. “You ready?”

”In a minute,” Jack called back. He looked at Boone. “We’re going exploring,” he explained. “No one’s been to the south more than a mile or so, so we thought—“

”Jack,” Boone said, “it’s okay.” He was aware that his face was expressionless, that his voice was utterly calm. It was the same face he used when he talked to his mother after shareholder meetings: pleasant, friendly, and meaningless. “I’ve been around women enough to know that the longer you keep them waiting, the crankier they get.” He nodded at the mouth of the cave. “Go on. I’ll be fine.”

Jack looked at him for a long couple of seconds, then nodded. “I’ll check on you later,” he said, and left.

Boone wasn’t going to hold his breath. He was, however, going to look for a knife.

*

“What the hell are you doing?”

”I,” Boone said, not looking up, “am whittling.” He looked at the piece of wood in his hand. “At least, I’m trying to. I can’t say I’m having a lot of success with it.” He sighed and tossed it aside, then glanced up at Sawyer. “Why do you care, anyway? Aren’t there people down at the beach you could be irritating?”

Sawyer didn’t answer, just kept looking at him. “All the things you could be doing with your free time now that you’re not spending all your waking hours with Captain Survivalist, and you go with one you suck at. Always figured you had more sense than that, Metro.”

“Yeah, well.” Boone looked down at the slowly-growing pile of failed wood carvings. “Things change.”

”Sometimes,” Sawyer agreed, leaning on something. To Boone, it looked like a solid length of wood – not bamboo, and not the thin-but-sturdy trees near the beach. This one looked more like some of the trees he’d seen further inland. “This,” he said, tilting his head towards the stick, “is for you.”

”Wow. A stick.” Boone cocked his head. “What do I owe this to?”

”Your charm, your personality,” Sawyer said, “and your fine, fine ass.” He propped it next to Boone. “Thought you might want to spend your time doing something more than torturing innocent pieces of wood that never did anything to you or your loved ones.”

If Sawyer was aware of the irony in suggesting Boone get off his ass and do something useful, he didn’t show it. But then, Boone was starting to think the whole Sawyer-being-useless thing was an act. “Such as?”

Sawyer leaned one arm next to the stick and shrugged. “Weapons, maybe. It’s all well and good to have a case full of guns—“

”Wait, what?” Boone looked at him. “Guns? What guns? We have guns?”

”—but five guns and forty-seven people is not what I would call good math.” He stood up straight and hefted the stick, twirled it a little. “Here,” he said, holding it out to him. “Give it a shot.”

Boone took the stick from him, frowning it a little, and put the knife down to grasp it with both hands. It was as good as it looked, sturdy but not unwieldy, and not too thick to hold properly. “I know shit about archery,” he warned.

”Neither do I,” Sawyer said. “But in a pinch, you could probably get people to learn to use spears.” He shrugged again. “Sure, there’s the Lord of the Flies vibe, but I’ve seen Hurley run. Big boy’d give whoever was chasing him a workout.”

That made Boone smile just a little. “I don’t think we’re that bad off yet,” he said, but most of his attention was still on the stick. He glanced up at Sawyer. “But it’s a thought. Think you could get me a few more of these?”

”Maybe,” Sawyer said, casual as anything. But his eyes were serious in a way Boone hadn’t seen before. Other than the fact that they looked alike, it was hard to reconcile this Sawyer with the one who’d beat the snot out of him a few weeks ago.

”Why’re you doing this?” he asked.

“I’m bored,” Sawyer said. “And it’s not like you have anything better to do.”

”Least I have an excuse for being on my ass most days,” Boone shot back, but he was smiling. Spears. They could do spears – and maybe bows and arrows, if anyone here knew how to make one. But spears were just very sharp sticks. Boone could make very sharp sticks.

“This might work,” he said, trying to be cautious. He met Sawyer’s eyes. “Thanks.”

“Like you said, Metro,” Sawyer said, “it’s a thought.” He reached out and flicked one of Boone’s crutches – but not hard enough to tip him over – and smirked, then turned and left.

*

“Hey,” Jack said, peering over Boone’s shoulder. Boone resisted the urge to lean over it protectively. “How’re you feeling?”

”Not dead,” Boone said grimly. He was tired – he got tired easily, anymore – and his leg was starting to ache from not having ibuprofen since breakfast, but he figured the sooner he got himself used to not attacking the pain meds, the better. He’d been starting to put a dent in them, and it wasn’t like they could pop down to the pharmacy and get some more.

”What are you making?”

Boone didn’t look up. “Spears.”

He could hear the frown in Jack’s voice. “You think we’ll need them?”

”I think it’s better we have them and not need them,” Boone said, “than we need them and don’t have them.” He frowned at the length of wood. It *looked* thick enough, but the real test wouldn’t be until it was needed, God forbid. “I thought you were spending the morning with Kate in the garden.”

“Came to get some water,” Jack said. “You sure you’re feeling all right? You’re sweating.”

”I’m outside on a tropical island,” Boone said. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and kept carving. Doing something with his hands made him feel useful, made him feel like he was doing something. He hadn’t felt this – well, not good, but not-crappy since It Happened.

He was aware that Jack was still watching him. “Look,” Boone said, glancing up at him. He shaded his eyes with his hand. “I’ll finish this one and go inside, okay?”

“Uh huh,” Jack said absently, running a hand over Boone’s forehead.

Boone jerked back. “I’m not running a fever,” he snapped. “I tire easy these days, okay? It just means I’m hot.”

Jack looked at him wordlessly, then handed him the canteen he was holding. “Here,” he said. “I think you need this more than I do.”

”Fuck off.”

Jack let out a long breath through his nose. “Okay,” he said, “the hard way.” He crouched down and took the knife away.

“Jack!”

Jack ignored him. “Now, you’re going to go inside out of the heat, and you’re going to drink this—“ he hefted the canteen again “—and maybe eat something, and get some rest.”

”All I’ve been doing is resting,” Boone said. He was starting to get a headache, and not from the heat. Either he was on his ass all day, draining everyone’s time and resources, or he was overexerting himself and needed some rest. There was never going to be any kind of happy goddamn medium.

“Jack, I—“ He closed his eyes, counted to ten in his head, and opened his eyes again. “I need to *do* something. I can’t just sit here and rot in a cave.” He was more than a little embarrassed to find tears in his eyes. “If you want me to beg to stay out here, I will. I’m not proud.” He snorted. “I’m not a lot of things I used to be.”

“Yes,” Jack said, “you are,” and his voice was so firm Boone could only look at him. “And you don’t have to beg, okay? I don’t want that.” He looked around. “How the hell did you get out here, anyway?”

”Walked,” Boone said, but shrugged when Jack arched an eyebrow at him. “I asked Sun to help me out here. Thought I’d try to get some fresh air while everyone was out for the day. It seemed easier than trying to do it at night, when everyone stares at you like you’re an extra from a bad Italian zombie movie.”

”You say that like there’s a good Italian zombie movie,” Jack said, smiling a little. The smile slowly faded, but the light stayed in his eyes. “I’m not upset to see you out, Boone. I’m just worried.”

Boone made a noise to show he was paying attention. “One of the first things they teach you in med school, huh?”

“Not really,” Jack said, and kept looking steadily at him.

And there it was again, that weird, slow sense that they were having at least two different conversations. It had happened that day in the cave, when Jack was checking his stitches, and sometimes Boone caught Jack glancing over at him, but it was even stronger now. It was almost like Jack *wanted* him to say something, wanted him to try and make the first—

“Boone,” Kate said, and they both jumped. But no, not a hallucination; there was the lady herself, carrying another load of sturdy sticks from wherever Sawyer was finding them. It looked like four, maybe five. “There you are. I thought you’d still be inside.”

”Thought I’d try to get some fresh air,” Boone said, his voice even. He looked away from Jack. “Sawyer send you?”

”Michael’s got him looking at something,” she said. “I was heading this way, thought I’d save him a trip. Is that going to be enough?”

Boone looked at the four – yeah, definitely four – sticks and the one almost-finished in his lap, then mentally toted up the ones he had already stockpiled. “It’ll do,” he said, nodding. “Thanks.”

Kate shrugged. “No problem. Like I said, I was heading this way anyway.” She turned a bright smile on Jack, who returned it. “Hey, stranger. Thought you’d abandoned me.”

”Nah,” Jack said, grinning at her. “That’d be rude. I was just—“ He glanced at Boone, and if Boone wasn’t mistaken, he was looking for a graceful exit.

Of course he was mistaken. Had to be. “He was coming by to see how I was,” Boone said, reaching up and taking the knife back from Jack’s fingers. “After he got the water for the two of you. I was a side-trip.” He flashed a brief smile at Jack. “I’ll be fine. You guys go.”

Jack looked troubled. “Boone, I’m serious. You should go inside.”

”And I will,” Boone assured him, “as soon as I’ve finished here.” He made a shooing motion with his free hand. “You guys get going. I’m a big boy, Jack, I’ll be fine.”

”Okay,” Kate said brightly, smiling at him. It was a nice smile, part of Boone noticed absently. Jack was probably very lucky. “You’re sure, right? You’re not just being nice?”

And she wasn’t trying to be cruel; that was the hell of it. She wasn’t trying to rub her happiness in his nose, to make him feel like he wanted to throw up and start screaming and go looking for that hypothetical cliff. That only made it worse.

”I’m not just being nice,” he told her, still holding onto that smile. It didn’t feel real, but it must have looked it; she was beaming back at him. “Ask Shannon. I’m never nice.” He ducked his head and tested the edge of the blade against the pad of his thumb. It would hold; he’d just trade it out for another tonight or tomorrow morning. “Seriously, I’m going to finish this and head inside, get some rest.”

“How?” Jack asked. “You’re out here by yourself, you don’t have any available handholds—“

”Then I’ll figure something out,” Boone said, not looking up.

Jack sounded doubtful. “If you’re sure.”

”I’m sure,” Boone said. He still didn’t look up. “Go plant things. Make them grow.”

He told himself he just meant the fruit.

*

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Jack and Kate had finally gotten together. Hooked up. Paired off. Whatever euphemism you wanted to use, the time for it was now. You could hardly find one without the other at meals, and even during the day if they could manage it. They probably even slept next to each other, but Boone had – with Sun’s help – moved into a small cave off to the side, one with holes in the rock he could use as handholds to get up in the morning and lever himself down at night, and he wasn’t in a position to see, for which he was more than a little grateful.

Boone told himself it didn’t hurt. Jack was straight, which he’d known from the start, and he hadn’t owed Boone anything; he’d known that from the start, too. Maybe he didn’t think Kate was good for the guy, but in his more honest moments he knew that wasn’t any kind of actual information on his part as much as it was seething jealousy.

Anyway, what was the other option? That he’d wake up one day and find that not only was Jack not as straight as he’d thought, but that Jack had no problems being in a relationship with a mostly-still-bitter cripple with one leg and lingering scars, physical and otherwise? Riiiiight. And the day after *that*, they’d all be rescued and scientists would be able to clone him a new leg.

*

“You’re still acting squirrelly, you know,” Shannon said, going through John’s collection of knives. She held one up; Boone shook his head. “I mean, it’s better than when you were off with Locke all day, reenacting The Deer Hunter or whatever—“

”That’s about Vietnam, Shannon,” he said, rolling his eyes. She made a face at him and held up another knife. “Maybe.”

They were both silent for a minute, Shannon holding up knives and Boone shaking his head or telling her to put them aside. Then Shannon, not looking at him, said, “So. Um. I’ve started seeing Sayid.”

”Okay,” Boone said after a minute. He wasn’t sure how she wanted him to react.

“And I just thought, you know, that you should know,” she said, holding up another knife. He shook his head. “So you don’t decide to go all caveman on him or whatever like you did Trevor—“

”Trevor,” Boone said, “was an asshole.”

”Well, yeah, but he was an asshole with a Ferrari,” Shannon said. “And it wasn’t like he was that bad of a boyfriend.”

”He cheated on you. With your *roommate*.”

”Yeah, but Nicky was a bitch anyway.” Shannon tossed her head and looked at him. “I’m serious, Boone. I really like him. And I don’t—“ She shrugged and looked away. “I don’t want you. Saying anything to him.”

Boone was quiet for a long time, studying the knives he’d had her put aside. That one, he decided, and picked it up, testing it against the edge of his thumb. Yeah, it’d do.

“About what?” he finally asked, and Shannon smiled at him – *really* smiled, for the first time in how long he wasn’t sure. It was a beautiful smile, he noticed, instead of the really pretty ones she usually wore.

”Okay,” she said, and nodded at the knife in his hand. “That it?”

”Yeah.”

”You want me to put the rest of these back?”

”Please.”

*

It was weird, but Boone hadn’t been this fit since – God, *ever*. He’d never exactly been out of shape, but never had to work for it, either. He’d never been one to do four or five hours a week at the gym, and he’d never really *had* to.

Being out here was different. There was no caffeine, no alcohol, plenty of fish and fresh fruit. Getting around involved walking in soft sand and across rocky terrain, if not outright hiking, and he was so tired at the end of the day that he slept like someone had brained him with a stick. Any toxins he’d managed to store in his body had been sweated out weeks ago, and he hadn’t had any real opportunity to get any more in his system. He was in the best shape of his life: his upper body was compensating for his lower body, what with his stomach muscles and arms and back. If it wasn’t for the missing leg and the lack of any kind of sex life, he’d say this was the best he’d ever felt, no question.

And the effect wasn’t lost on other people, either. He’d noticed people starting to stare at him, and not just with the morbid fascination they saved for the leg. One of the really hot girls from the beach, the redhead – Jenny, Jessie, something with a J – had made a point of coming by when he was outside working on the spears, smiling at him and making small talk. Surprisingly Hot Guy With a Ponytail had offered to spot Sun a couple mornings in bringing Boone breakfast; that one, he’d overheard. Hell, Sawyer had leered at him and asked if he’d needed some help scrubbing his back, and maybe Boone’s gaydar was on the fritz, but that damn sure sounded like a come-on.

And he’d smiled, and said no thanks.

“No!” he told Shannon that night. “I said no thank you to someone scrubbing my back. What the hell?”

”Well, it’s Sawyer,” Shannon said, wrinkling her nose. “Being hot only gets you so far.” She looked over at Boone. “Don’t say it,” she warned.

”Wasn’t even thinking it,” Boone lied. “But it’s the principle of the thing. It’s not like I’m fielding a lot of offers these days.”

”Oh, don’t even start,” Shannon said. She grabbed hold of his arm and helped him up enough to get his hands in the holes so he could start hauling himself up. “You know,” she said brightly, “if you ignore the cripple thing, you’re looking good these days.” She cocked her head. “Buff and sweaty works better for you than gel monkey. I mean. Hypothetically.” Shannon coughed into her hand.

Okay, Boone thought, so it was still weird between them. But even weird and awkward was better than they’d done in the twelve years previous, which was both impressive and kind of sad. “That’s not the point,” he said, stopping halfway up. He was more than a little aware that he looked mildly stupid like this, like someone doing a crappy Spider-Man impression, but he still got winded easily.

“Okay. So what is?”

Boone looked over his shoulder at her as best he could. “It’s different now,” he said after a few seconds, looking back at the wall.

Anyone else would have taken the hint. Not Shannon. “How?” she pressed. “The leg?”

“The leg,” he agreed. “I mean, that’s most of it. But more of it’s me.” He shifted his weight to get a hand free, made a little gesture in the air with it. “It’s—“

But then, he knew what the problem was, and it’s wasn’t the missing leg, not entirely. It was him.

Everyone here was rebuilding – who they were, who they were supposed to be, trying to find a happy medium. With the exception of John, Boone couldn’t think of anyone who *didn’t* want to be rescued, but after the debacle with the raft, no one had tried to do anything about it. He’d overheard Kate telling someone something Jack had told her once, that who they’d been before had died in the crash, and that was as good an analogy as any.

Except he was behind everyone else, because – big surprise – having a limb amputated sort of set you back in the Becoming a New Me process. He’d had to start from scratch twice now, where everyone else had just had to do it once, and it had left him – skittish. Part of him was stuck thinking that if he tried to start over *again*, something else would happen, and maybe this time he’d be dead instead of just crippled.

Also, yeah, one leg. Nothing in the world to make you feel less sexy, especially when most people still winced and looked away when they caught sight of it.

“It’s mostly me,” he said again, and tossed his head to knock his bangs out of his eyes. “I can barely stand to be around me, some days. I’m not putting anyone else through that.”

”Whatever,” Shannon muttered, digging around in the duffel bag at her feet. She handed him a shirt. “I’m not condoning Sawyer, okay? Yeah, he’s hot, but if you tried anything Kate would hand you your *other* leg.” And God love her, she didn’t look embarrassed at saying it.

“Kate,” Boone said, his voice muffled by the shirt, “does not need to start hoarding all the hot guys on this island.” He got his head and one arm through, and balanced his weight on his other arm while he finished putting the shirt on. “Like Jack’s not enough.” He glared at her. “Don’t say it.”

”Wasn’t even thinking it,” Shannon said, but Boone had the sneaking suspicion she was lying, too.

*

He still had bad days, of course. Some of them. Okay, most of them.

It was strange; he’d never known, before, how many things he took for granted. Like taking a bath, or a piss. Going for a walk. Bending over to pick something up. Everything was a small chore these days, except sleeping. He’d almost accepted the fact that he was never going to be totally independent again – not while they were here, anyway – but it still burned.

And inevitably, that was when Jack came looking for him. Like, say, the next morning.

“Jack,” Boone said in as mild a voice as he could manage. Considering that he was leaning against a tree and breathing hard, halfheartedly holding the crutches in his hands, it wasn’t all that mild.

”Morning,” Jack said, eyeing him. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and his face and chest were wet. So were the legs of his pants. Probably out doing laundry, goddammit. Most people stripped down as much as they could when they did laundry; beating dirt out of clothes in the ocean sort of got them clean, especially since they’d run out of soap a couple weeks ago, but it didn’t do much to keep the waves off whoever was doing it. “Everything okay?”

”Everything’s fine.”

”Okay.” Jack paused, then added, “Because, you know, you’re outside—“

”I’m not an air plant,” Boone said, bringing his breathing under control. “I wanted some sun. Maybe a walk.” He opened one eye. “Well, a hop,” he said, and closed it again.

“Boone,” Jack said. Now he looked concerned. “That’s dangerous.”

”How?” Boone asked, opening both his eyes and glaring at the other man. “Are wolves chasing me? No. No one’s shooting at me, no one’s dropping planes on me. For Christ’s sake, I’m not even going that far.” He firmed his grip on the crutches and pushed himself off the tree—

-- and promptly fell flat on his face.

There was a pause.

”You know,” Boone said, still sounding mild, “I should have seen that coming.” He rolled over onto his back and stared up at the sky. “Actually, I’m surprised I haven’t done that more often.”

“Jesus!” Jack was at his side, gripping his arm tight. “Are you all right?”

”I’m fine,” Boone said.

”Don’t give me that,” Jack said. “You fell on your face.”

”Yeah,” Boone said, “and I’ve fallen down before.” He grinned a little. After a while, it started to almost be funny. “You should have seen me the first time I tried to get around on these things.” He reached out and patted one of the crutches.

Jack still looked dubious. “That doesn’t mean—“ he said, still holding onto Boone’s arm. Boone shook him off, glaring at him.

”I’ll be fine, Jack, okay?” And even if I’m not, I don’t need you pitying me, he thought. Everyone else does it; I don’t need it from you, too.

“You know,” Jack said, not unkindly, letting go of his arm, “some days, I cannot imagine what the hell is going through your head. You’re so goddamn *stubborn*.”

Boone pushed himself ‘til he was sitting up and kept glaring. “You want to know what’s going through my head? Fine. I’m tired, my appetite’s for shit, I can’t keep weight on. Even with the crutches, I still need help getting around, and it’s making me dependent on other people, and I *hate* that. I hate it. I’m crippled, and I’m going to be crippled for the rest of my life, and there are mornings I would rather die than get up, and no one here knows what that’s like.”

”I do.”

Boone and Jack both jumped at the sound. There was John, standing a few feet away, satchel slung over his shoulder. His expression, as always, was unreadable, and he didn’t look all that dirty or dusty.

John spoke to Jack, but his gaze never left Boone. “Jack, can we have a moment, please? I’d like to speak to Boone alone.”

Jack glanced at Boone. “Is that okay with you?”

Boone nodded. He didn’t look away from John.

”Okay. I’ll be over here if you need me.” Jack headed back in the direction of the caves, occasionally glancing over his shoulder as he walked. He wouldn’t be far off, Boone knew. The thought was weirdly reassuring.

John and Boone looked at each other.

Finally Boone said, “So? Go ahead, sensei. Start talking.”

“I’m not the one who needs to talk,” John said, looking at him. “I could. There are things I could tell you, Boone. I could tell you I understand. I could tell you I know exactly what you’re going through, only worse, because what’s wrong with you is obvious: you’re missing a leg. I had both my legs, but the nerves were dead. There was no way I would ever walk again, they told me.” He paused. “And then I came here.”

”And you were magically healed,” Boone said, unable – unwilling – to keep the bite out of his voice. “Which is great for you – and don’t think I’m being sarcastic, because I’m not. But then your legs start failing you just in time for *me* to be the one to climb his ass up in that plane. And I’m the one who got wounded, and you brought me back to camp. And you lied, John, you fucking *lied*.” He couldn’t have stopped now if he’d wanted to.

He didn’t particularly want to.

”Jack said if you’d told him the truth, he might have been able to save the leg,” Boone said. “Maybe not, but he’d have had a better shot at it. But you lied and said I ran off a cliff – which hampered his treatment, and it made me sound like a goddamn moron, so thanks – and in order to keep from getting gangrene, Jack had to amputate my leg.” He took a long, shaky breath. “There isn’t going to be any magical island healing for me. I don’t have dead nerves. I’m missing a leg. I am missing a le—I am *missing* a *leg*, John, because it has been *cut the hell off*. And for once, John, I would like a goddamn straight answer. I would like to know—“ He let out a breath and looked at him. “Why? Why me?”

John was silent for a long time.

Get a grip, moron, Boone told himself, and took long, deep breaths until it didn’t feel like he wanted to cry anymore. He hadn’t cried in years. He felt like an idiot.

”There’s nothing I can tell you that would make sense to you now—” John started.

”Oh, *bullshit*,” Boone said. Same old John, making like Caine on Kung Fu. Same old wise man in the woods crap.

“—because you’re not ready to hear it,” John said, speaking over Boone like he’d never said anything at all. “And don’t tell me you are, because for the first year after I lost my legs I didn’t want to hear it. The good wishes, the apologies, the explanations – I was deaf to all of it. I can understand that, now. I can see it clearly, because I have distance. And because things are different now. They’re different here.”

John crossed the two or three steps to stand in front of him, then dropped to his knees, reaching out to rest his hands on Boone’s thighs. Boone was struck with the urge to cry again, the second time in as many minutes, and damned if he knew why.

“But I can tell you I’m sorry,” John said quietly, and damned if *he* didn’t sounded like he was crying, too, which was the last thing Boone had been expecting. “I’m sorry it happened, Boone. I’m sorry it had to happen. I hope you’ll understand one day, but even if you don’t, that doesn’t change how much—“ He took a breath. “How much I wish it hadn’t happened.”

He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the top of Boone’s head. “I’m sorry, son,” he murmured, voice so sad but his eyes were dry, and that was when Boone finally lost it.

*

Jack came back a while later – how much longer, Boone couldn’t be sure, because he didn’t have his watch with him, and he was pretty sure he’d fallen asleep. In John’s lap, no less, and God, he was such a fucking baby today, between that and the crying. But John had just held him – was still holding him, in fact; and when Boone went to sit up, he watched him but didn’t try to help. John understood that sometimes you had to do things for yourself or go crazy.

“Everything okay?” Jack asked. He was standing a few feet away, clearly not wanting to intrude but willing to if that was what Boone wanted. He was also wearing a shirt. “I heard yelling.”

”It’s okay,” Boone said, waving him over. He swiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. “We were just talking.”

”I got yelled at,” John said, sounding almost cheerful.

”Can’t say I blame him,” Jack said grimly, but his eyes were on Boone. “You’re sure you’re all right?”

”I’m fine,” Boone said. “There were some things I had to get off my chest, that’s all.” He rolled his shoulders and reached for his crutches.

This part was never going to get any easier. “Um, can one of you—“

John started for him, and by all rights should have gotten there first, but somehow Jack did. His touch was oddly personal, for a doctor, his hands strong on Boone’s waist. “Thanks,” Boone said after a second, and got his foot under him.

John watched and didn’t say anything.

*

After dinner that night, Jack waited until Boone was settled in for the night – crutches propped up next to him, safely under a blanket, as comfortable as he was going to get – to come in and announce, “I can take the rest of those stitches out, if you want.”

Boone blinked at him. Sawyer still had his copy of Watership Down, but someone – he wasn’t placing any bets as to who – had left a copy of Weaveworld on his makeshift bed. He’d have preferred Imajica, but hey, Clive Barker was Clive Barker. “Can’t it wait until morning?”

”It can,” Jack agreed. “But I’m going out early with Sun tomorrow, so I probably couldn’t get to it ‘til tomorrow night, if not later.” He shrugged. “Up to you.”

Boone sighed and put the book down. “Fine,” he said, and took off his shirt. Jack sat down and unpacked a couple rolls of “gauze” – torn-up T-shirts, in their previous life – and some tape, a pair of nail scissors.

“This is probably going to feel weird,” Jack said. “Pressure, maybe more of a—“

”—an itching sensation,” Boone said, “but don’t scratch, and if they come open again, yell for you and you’ll come running.” He looked at Jack. “You said that last time, too.”

”Wasn’t sure if you’d been paying attention,” Jack said. He snipped a couple of threads and pulled them free, carefully tracing his fingers across the marks that were left behind. “They don’t hurt?”

Boone shook his head. Maybe he was starting to get over this whole stupid love/crush notion; Jack was touching his chest, and he wasn’t so much as getting an idea, let alone a dirty thought. Of course, that might be his current lack of sex drive, but he didn’t think so. Hell, not even Jack’s arms were getting to him, and those things were like gateway drugs.

Jack snipped a final stitch and made a neat little pile of thread on the ground. “Okay,” he said. “If you want to, you know, take your pants off, I can get to the ones on your stomach and abdomen.”

Dammit. He’d actually forgotten about those. “Give me a minute,” Boone said, shifting the blanket aside. Jack averted his eyes. “This isn’t as easy as it looks.”

It wasn’t. His body was still used to two legs, approximately the same length, and taking pants off with your legs stretched out in front of you wasn’t easy on a good day. The easiest way was just to unzip and undo, then shove them down as far as he could and scoot the rest of the way out. The nicest way to describe it was “ungainly”, but it worked.

Boone put the jeans aside. Depending on how he felt when Jack left, he’d either try to put them back on tonight or wait until tomorrow morning. Sure, it’d be warmer than just sleeping in his underwear, but some nights it really wasn’t worth the effort expended.

He got under the blanket and shifted a little, then said, “Okay, you can turn around.”

Jack did, still looking calm and professional. “These look better,” he said, mostly to himself.

”That’s the idea, I thought,” Boone said.

”No, I mean—“ Jack shook his head. “It hasn’t even been a month. They shouldn’t look this healed, even with the stitches holding them in place.” He frowned a little and traced the scars. “I’d say another couple of months, most of these will be gone.”

”Funny,” Boone said dryly, “how I seem to keep losing things.”

Jack looked up and glared at him. “I did the best I could—“

”Jack, no.” Boone shook his head and smiled a little. “That wasn’t a knock, okay? I know you did.” He shrugged and sucked in a deep breath when Jack traced the deepest mark, a jagged line to the left of his navel.

”Hurts?” Jack asked.

Boone shook his head again. “Tickles,” he said, trying to keep his face straight. “I take the laughs where I can get them these days.”

“I think that’s what everyone’s doing,” Jack said, cutting stitches. “I’m leaving this last one in another couple of days, okay?” He pointed with the scissors; Boone nodded.

“Okay, then.” Jack sat back and dropped another tiny pile of thread to the ground. “You’re just about done.”

“Really?” Boone looked down at himself. There were scars, sure, but Jack was right; they looked a hell of a lot better than they had any right to. “So what do I owe you, doctor?”

”Just be glad you have good health insurance,” Jack said, grinning.

And son of a bitch, there it was again, that weird sense that there was *something* here, some picture he wasn’t seeing, because coming from anyone else that would have been flirting. Maybe awkward flirting, sure, but it was all there – the little tease, the smile, the physical proximity.

Jack wasn’t grinning now. He was staring at Boone, his mouth curved in a smile that seemed more reflex than anything else. But his eyes were light, and he seemed oddly focused.

“What?” Boone said, blinking at him.

“I hope I’m not out of line,” Jack said, “but—“ He looked at Boone for a second, like he wanted to say something, then shook his head and kissed him instead.

It was a good kiss – a really good kiss, in Boone’s admittedly touch-starved opinion. For a second, he forgot they were stuck on an island in the South Pacific, forgot he only had one leg. Jack was a really good kisser, and Jack apparently wasn’t straight with a capital S, and Jack was kissing *him*. And using tongue, so whoooo, bonus.

Then he shifted his weight a fraction and his leg wanted to twitch but it couldn’t, it wasn’t there anymore, and it all went to hell.

Boone pushed away and took a deep breath. “We can’t do this,” he said, not meeting Jack’s eyes. His choice of words was deliberate; “we can’t”, not “I don’t want to”, because that would have been a lie you could see from space.

”What?” Jack’s eyes were wide. “Why not?”

“Well, for starters, you’re seeing Kate—”

Jack looked at him. “What? No I’m not.”

”Yes you are,” Boone said.

”No, I’m not.”

”Yes, you are.”

”*No*, I’m *not*.”

”*Yes*, you – look, why are we arguing?”

“Thank you,” Jack said. “Because one of us knows whether or not I’m seeing Kate, and here’s the thing: it’s not you.”

“Oh, don’t give me that,” Boone snapped. “You’ve both been walking around all smug and freshly-fucked for weeks now.”

”Yeah,” Jack said, “and in case you didn’t notice, so has Sawyer.”

Boone gaped for a second. “Oh my God. You and Kate and *Sawyer*?”

”No!” Jack cleared his throat, then added, “Well, no, okay, once, but—“

”Oh my God,” Boone said, almost admiringly. “You are a whore.” He fumbled for his crutches and clamped his mouth shut before he could say anything else. He was feeling hateful again.

“Boone – Boone, will you—“ Jack scooted over before he could get any leverage and clapped a hand over his mouth. “Can I talk for five minutes? Please?”

Boone glared at him, but he didn’t move or try to speak. He could have tried kicking Jack with his foot, but Jack would just grab his ankle and hold him there.

”Thank you.” Jack didn’t take his hand away, though. “Now: are you trying to tell me you never – not once, in your entire life, *ever* - had sex for fun? Fun, not an emotional commitment.”

Boone shook his head, but he didn’t stop glaring.

“Okay,” Jack said. “That’s what that was. It was weeks ago, and for your information, Kate and Sawyer are together. Not me and Kate, or me and Sawyer. Kate and Sawyer.”

Boone glanced down at Jack’s hand. Jack took it away.

“Thank you,” Boone said. “And also, fuck off. Didn’t your parents ever teach you it’s evil to pick on cripples?”

”My parents didn’t spend a lot of time teaching me anything except how to shut up and do what they wanted,” Jack said, “and I’m not picking on you.” He looked genuinely baffled.

“Of course you are,” Boone said, sounding and feeling about a hundred years old. “For fuck’s sake, I’m pissy and bad-tempered and I have one leg. I wake up in a cold sweat four nights out of seven, taking a piss is still considered a gymnastic exercise, and I can’t be sure, but I think I’m starting to develop a very mild case of agoraphobia. Or claustrophobia. Whatever. Some kind of phobia; I get twitchy if anyone gets too close to me.” He looked at Jack. “And *that’s* who you want to start up with?”

”Yeah,” Jack said blandly.

And for some reason, Boone believed him.

Still: “For god’s sake, *why*?”

“Because,” Jack said, “you’re pissy and bad-tempered and have one leg.” He was smiling a little. “And you could have given up, but you didn’t. I’ve seen people give up after injuries like that when they have access to prosthetics and painkillers, but you just gritted your teeth and got on with it. You’re tenacious—“

”So’s a pitbull.”

”You like to read. You’re smarter than you let on to anyone. You have a sense of humor. You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever met.”

”You’re straight!” Boone said suddenly, and immediately lowered his voice. “Okay, I didn’t meant to yell that part. But you *are*.”

”I’m mostly straight, yeah,” Jack said. He was smiling even wider, now. “And occasionally – crooked.”

”’Crooked’?”

”I like people,” Jack said. “Most of the time, those people are women. Not always. Not in a while, actually,” he admitted. “The last guy I went out with was – God, first year of residency.” He shrugged and rested his hands on his thighs. They were really nice hands, Boone decided. He hadn’t noticed them before. Of course, looking at Jack meant looking at his face, maybe his arms. Okay, yeah, and his ass, but come on.

“So it’s been a while, then,” Boone said.

”Well, yeah, but before…what happened,” Jack said, and Boone figured he meant the Kate-and-Sawyer thing, “the last time I’d had sex was four months after I got divorced, so it’s not like I’m—“

”Divorced?” Boone asked. Man, no one told him *anything*. “When were you married?”

”Before the plane crashed,” Jack said. He was starting to sound impatient. “Can I talk now?”

”Oh, right.” Boone shook his head. “Sorry. Go on.”

”The point is,” Jack said, sounding normal again, “yes, I like you. Yes, I’m attracted to you. I’ve been attracted to you for a while. If we were back in the real world, I’d probably ask you out to dinner, but that’s sort of pointless when everyone eats together anyway. You’re smart. You’re good with people, aside from occasionally getting your ass kicked. You’re one of the most stubborn people I’ve ever met; even when you should give up, you don’t.” Jack cocked his head. “Also, it hasn’t exactly missed my attention that you look like *that*. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep from getting distracted when you’re trying to close gashes in a guy’s chest and all you want to do is bite his neck?”

Boone coughed. “But. Um. You didn’t, right?”

”No,” Jack said. He made a face. “*That*, at least, I learned in medical school. Patients get irritated if you take advantage of—“ He stopped, mid-sentence, then sat up a little straighter and stared at Boone for a minute. Just – stared.

Uh-oh. “What?”

”You like me,” Jack said, like it was just dawning on him, like he was putting a puzzle together.

”I like things *about* you,” Boone allowed. His hands. His arms. His mouth. His ass. Pretty much everything he’d seen, so far, and that included the less-physical things. And whoa, was *that* scary.

”You like me,” Jack said again, grinning outright now. He was perilously close to a singsong. It would have been entertaining if Boone still hadn’t wanted to punch him a little. “You *like* me.”

”Not right now, no.”

Jack folded his arms across his chest and grinned at him. It should not have looked anywhere as near as good as it did. “You like me,” he said.

It sounded like the end of an argument, and it wasn’t like he was wrong, so what the hell. Boone gave it to him. “Yes,” he said, letting out a long breath. “I like you. Okay? So what?”

”So this,” Jack said, and kissed him again.

Boone let him for a second, then pulled back and said, “’So this’? *That’s* what you’re wooing me with? Really? God, no wonder you got divor—“

and then Jack was leaning in to kiss him again, so he stopped talking and finally, finally, *finally* kissed him back.

*

Having sex hadn’t been high on Boone’s To-Do list since the crash. The last time he’d had it, frankly, wasn’t any kind of experience he wanted to repeat, and since they’d landed everything had gone to hell so fast no one had had *time* to have sex. The daily diet of “Run! Polar bears! Noisy dinosaur things! Dead people! French women! Kidnapping! Murder! Amputation! RUUUUN!” hadn’t left a lot of time to pencil in “have sex”, though at least now Boone knew people were having sex somewhere. And anyway, since It Happened, his sex drive had been nonexistent. He was either too angry or too miserable to work up the energy to try, not that anyone would have taken him up on the offer. He hadn’t even wanted to masturbate, and the last time he’d gone this long without had been – God, junior high, if not longer.

Even so, he was still surprised when he panted “we’re not having sex” into Jack’s mouth, trying to ignore what Jack’s hands were doing.

Jack looked at him. “What? Why?”

”You’d have to take the blanket away to see what you’re doing,” Boone said, “and that’s – no. That’s a dealbreaker.”

”Boone—“

”No,” he said again, shifting away. “I know it seems like I’m coping like a champ over here, but it’s still a fucking *stump*, Jack. I’d prefer no one see it. Preferably, ever.”

Jack pulled back enough to look at him. “I’ve seen it,” he said, reasonably enough. “I cut it off, stitched it up, cleaned it out—“

”You know, none of this is making me feel sexy,” Boone pointed out.

“All I’m saying is, you don’t have to be freaked out about it around me,” Jack said.

“No, I’m freaked out about it around *me*,” Boone said. “And the point is, until I *stop* being freaked out by it, it’s staying covered, so if that means no sex for a while…” He shifted. “Then I’m sorry to disappoint you,” he said, sounding – feeling – oddly prim.

Jack pushed himself up on one arm. “You’re not disappointing me,” he said. “I’m just saying that when you *are* comfortable enough letting someone – letting *me* see it, I’ll be waiting.” His fingers trailed along the edge of Boone’s boxers. “And in the meantime, I’ll just have to go with Plan B.”

Boone looked at him. “What’s Plan B?”

Jack grinned and leaned down to kiss him again.

Then Jack’s hands were under the blanket, and under the waistband of his boxers, and oh God he hadn’t had hands – his own, or anyone else’s – on him in entirely too long, because he was already ready to burst. “Slow down,” Boone said, his voice loud in the silence. “Jesus, Jack—“

”So come already,” Jack murmured, his breath warm in Boone’s ear. “It’s not like I’m going anywhere.” His hand never lost rhythm, all sure, firm strokes from tip to base and back again, a steady circuit that made Boone’s breath come faster. And it wasn’t like Jack was unaffected, either; he was flushed red from his face to his stomach – probably lower, but his jeans were in the way – and his dick was a stone weight pressing against Boone’s thigh.

“Just—“ Boone said, “just – just let me—“ He slid his hands in Jack’s jeans and shoved them down, dragging his boxers with them with skills he hadn’t used in years. Jack muttered something that sounded like “thank you” and rolled his hips, shifting his weight—

--and then their dicks were pressed together, slippery-wet in Jack’s hands, and Jesus *Christ* he hadn’t been this eager in months, maybe longer. Jack was breathing fast now, saying nonsense words under his breath in this quietly desperate voice that made Boone’s own breath stutter in his chest. He had to stop that, he had to, and it wasn’t anything at all to bite Jack’s shoulder and come. The shudders made him buck against Jack, buck hard, and Jack came too, shaking through it while Boone clutched his waist and whispered his name over and over until they both could breathe again.

After a minute, Jack leaned his weight against Boone, catching his breath. “Hi,” he said, grinning. He looked so good like that, sex-stupid and totally not like a man who could perform complicated surgical procedures. Boone tilted his head up and kissed him.

“Hi,” he said, smiling back. “That…wasn’t bad.”

Jack pushed himself up on one arm. “Not bad?” he said, sounding incredulous. “That was – no, you know what? That was good. That was very good, actually – and you’re so full of crap right now, aren’t you?”

Boone kept smiling. “Just a little,” he said, kissing Jack’s mouth again.

This felt good. This felt – normal, nearly, except for the lack of coffee and the fact that he didn’t usually have sex outside. But Jack was grinning at him, and he felt flushed all over, and for the first time since It had Happened, he knew he was going to sleep well that night. Orgasms always did that to him.

“So Plan B was, what, frottage?” he asked after a second.

”Don’t knock frottage,” Jack muttered into his mouth. Boone hadn’t ever actually met someone who could talk and kiss at the same time. It was mildly impressive. “It got me through ninth grade.”

“Uh huh.” Boone ran his hand up Jack’s arm and rubbed his thumb along the inside of his elbow, smiling when it made Jack flex his fingers. “So are there plans for the other twenty-four letters of the alphabet, or are we going to be down to board games at some point?”

Jack shrugged. “I have a few ideas,” he said.

Boone liked the sound of that.

*

”So I was thinking,” Jack said the next morning, before Boone had so much as opened his eyes.

“Mmmngh,” Boone said, keeping them closed. He still wasn’t sure last night hadn’t been some kind of really, really good dream, his subconscious’s way of saying “hey, sorry about the missing leg thing. Here, have a sex dream that’s better than actual sex you’ve had.” Which wasn’t anything to make light of, but if he opened his eyes and he was alone, he was going to be pissed.

Boone opened his eyes. Jack was staring back at him, entirely too awake for whatever-the-hell in the morning.

“Okay,” Boone said carefully, squinting up at him. He pushed himself up to his arms, then scooted until he was sitting up. “You were thinking.”

”The spear thing was a good idea,” Jack said. “Especially if we go through with Sayid’s plan to try and find where the Others are keeping Walt—“

”Wait, there’s a *plan* now?” Boone said. You lost a leg and started spending your days carving crudely effective weapons, and people stopped telling you *anything*.

“Well, at least something else is making you cranky now,” Jack said dryly, trying to peek under the blanket. Boone smacked the edge of it down.

”Plenty of things make me cranky,” Boone said. “Quit trying to peek. And quit distracting me.”

“How am I distracting you?”

”For starters,” Boone said, “you’re breathing. Put a shirt on.” He could have carried on a conversation with a shirtless Jack, of course, but he’d wind up agreeing to do something stupid, like climb in a plane perched in a tree. Dumb things happened to him when he stopped paying attention; he wasn’t about to do it again.

Jack reached for his shirt and slid it on, but he was smiling when his face came back into view. “As I was saying: the spear thing’s a good idea, but we can form – I don’t know, committees or something. Put people into groups. One group gets the wood, one group carves. Something like that.” The smile faded slowly as he started to think about it.

So did Boone. “That could work,” he said after a minute, nodding. “God knows it’d give people something to do. Which leaves me as, what, quality control inspector?”

“Not really,” Jack said, clearing his throat. He took another minute to get dressed – put his jeans on, find his shoes – before he spoke again. “I was thinking more about training you myself.”

Okay, *that* was new. “To do what?”

”Triage,” Jack said, tying his sneakers. He wasn’t quite meeting Boone’s eyes, which made sense, because Jack wanted him to—

“That,” Boone said, “is an incredibly stupid idea.”

”No it’s not.” Jack looked mildly affronted.

”Yes it is!” Boone shot back. “You went to medical school, Jack. You had, God, how many years of training—“

”Just triage,” Jack said, “and how to put stitches in. God willing, you won’t have to actually operate.” He winced. “Okay, probably you’ll have to pull bullets out of people.”

”*Probably*? I have an English Literature degree! I don’t get squeamish at the sight of blood – which is handy, because, you know, missing a leg - but that doesn’t mean I can make medical decisions!”

”Well, it’s *something*,” Jack snapped, turning to look at him, “because it’s not like you can hop around on one leg taking people out!”

There was a very long pause.

”God,” Jack said faintly. “Boone, I’m – God.” He looked pale. Almost greenish, really. “I’m sorry.”

“Why?” Boone said. “It’s not like you’re wrong. Hell, it’s not like I haven’t had the same thought a hundred times.” He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. And he’d had such a good night, too.

“Jack,” he said, opening his eyes. “You think I haven’t figured out what I can and can’t do by now? I’d be okay with a spear, but I can’t run. I can’t even hop all that fast. You’re going to need every able-bodied person to either defend the caves or go after Walt, and as much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, that’s not me anymore.” He nudged Jack in the ribs. “Though you could have found a more polite way to say it.”

Jack managed a small smile. “I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t think you could do it,” he said, meeting Boone’s eyes again. “This isn’t just favoritism. You’re not easily rattled by the sight of blood, you have a basic working knowledge of first aid—“

”So do sixth graders,” Boone said, but he was smiling, too.

”—and you’re good with your hands.” Jack didn’t even look over, just held up a warning hand. ”I *meant* the carving,” Jack said, but now he was grinning. “And you follow orders, so if I tell you the five things to do when removing a bullet, you’ll do them.”

”I did get you pens,” Boone said thoughtfully.

“And it won’t just be you,” Jack added. “I’m going to train Sun in the basics, too. She’s good with herbal remedies and simple treatments, but she can’t dig a bullet out of someone any better than you can. It’ll be good to have backup.”

”Especially,” Boone said, “since you’ll be going after Walt.”

Jack looked at him and didn’t say anything.

”I’m not stupid, Jack,” Boone said quietly. He already felt exhausted, and he’d been up all of five minutes. “Don’t try and tell me you’ll be staying behind to take care of everyone at the caves. You’ll be going out – you, and Kate, and Sayid, and John if he decides to go along with you. Probably Michael, maybe Sawyer.”

“It’d be better if Michael stayed behind,” Jack said, “but I don’t think that’s going to go over too well.”

“Probably not,” Boone agreed. “And if I were feeling selfish, I’d ask you to stay behind, too.”

”But you won’t.”

Boone just looked at him. After a second, Jack looked away.

“Was that a fight?” Jack said after a minute.

”I think so,” Boone said. “We both yelled. We both apologized, sort of. It’s very awkward now. Add in two months’ of silence at a time and ridiculously expensive presents, and it’s a lot like holidays with my family.”

Jack scooted closer to him. “Switch the expensive present part with a couple bottles of scotch, and you have pretty much every Christmas I’ve spent with my parents.” He reached out and took Boone’s hand, squeezed it a little. “So do we have the make-up sex now or later? It’s been a while. I’m a little rusty.”

Boone cleared his throat. “Rain check,” he said quietly. “You might as well start teaching me this morning. Nothing complicated, though; there’s no telling what I’ll remember before I get my blood sugar up.”

Jack grinned and started talking. From what Boone could tell, it sounded like introductory lecture stuff, so he let himself drift for a couple of seconds.

A couple months ago, he’d been in a plane crash. He and forty-seven (forty-six, now – no, wait, Scott; forty-five) people had survived something that should have, strictly speaking, killed them all. Just over a month ago, he’d been in an accident; it should have killed him too, but instead he just lost a leg.

He could say that now: “just lost a leg”, like it wasn’t not the worst thing in the world. Because it wasn’t. It happened, and it sucked, and it was never going to *not* suck, but it happened. At some point, you had to just accept it and get on with things.

And apparently, “things” involved learning basic anatomy, how to stop and/or slow bleeding, tying a tourniquet, and early morning sex with a handsome doctor. All of those things would have bene a hundred percent better if he still had two legs, but he didn’t.

And the scariest part of all was that he thought he’d be okay with that. Eventually.

Jack had hold of his hand, cradling it carefully, pointing with his other hand to the thin tracery of veins at his wrist. Boone leaned back against the wall and listened.

*

Things I learned writing this story: don’t give me a prompt like “…and an AU where Boone lost the leg AND survived would be AWESOME”, because, man, I’ll do it.

For ficangel, for the Boone ficathon. This…this was supposed to be a lot shorter. Like, a *lot* shorter. I don’t know how much, exactly, but not, you know, longer than regular fic. I got bitchy-but-caring Shannon and the father/son parallels with Locke and Boone, but torn loyalties – I think I fell down on the job on that one, kind of. [winces] Sorry. (Though you *could* argue that Boone’s torn between wanting Jack to be happy – even if it’s with Kate – and wanting Jack with him, period, happy or otherwise. I suspect that’s just me covering my ass, though.)

On the other hand, there’s gratuitously!nice!Sawyer and a very, *very* brief mention of a Jack/Kate/Sawyer threeway (and in anime, that’s what we call FAAAAAAAANSERVICE). And on a personal note, I can now tell people I’ve written amputee porn, and you never know when that kind of thing’s going to come in handy.
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.
.

Profile

iphignia939: (Default)
iphignia939

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags