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the world will follow to the earth down below

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Kate enters the tavern with a crumpled note in her hand, scanning the patrons morosely drinking their last. He’d asked, so she’d come.

(They could have stayed exactly where they were for this.)

She finds him at a back table, chair tipped against the wall, a cloud of smoke hovering around him.

“Sawyer,” she says by way of greeting, staring down at him through the haze and tries not to return his smirk.

(It was always too damn easy with him.)

“Didn’t think you’d come,” he says and her eyes sting from the smoke but she doesn’t sit, just leans against the table.

“Couldn’t it have waited?” she jokes and tries not to think of Claire huddled in a corner with Aaron, of Richard and Miles who’d begged her not to go.

“I wanted to see you,” he says, cards on the table, and his gaze drops from her eyes down her body and back up again (Kate shivers, hates herself). “Figured you’d take any reason to run at this point.”

“Don’t know what you mean,” she answers, fingers digging in to the wood of the table and recklessly – she hates the habit – plucks the cigarette from his mouth and takes a draw. It’s tangy and cheap in her mouth and tastes just a bit like him, so she doesn’t give it back, lets it dangle between her fingers.

He’s decent enough not to say the words, to say why he asked her here, with hours – if not minutes left. He probably thought she wouldn’t come. Really thought that, as though –

“Let’s go then,” she says and heads for the stairs, wondering how he found such a rickety place to make his last stand. When it happened, the décor would hardly matter.

(He stops her at the top of the stairs, just out of sight of the bar below, and pushes her against the wall. The cigarette drops from her fingers, burns a mark on the floor.)

“No time,” he mutters, forehead tilted to hers, hair grown too long again. It’s easy for her to lean up and catch his mouth with hers. If they had time, she’d lead him on, kiss him slowly, drag him down the rest of the hall and have her way with him.

But as he’d pointed out, time was the one thing they didn’t have.

(Proper wasn’t exactly their style anyway.)

Fingers tug at her jeans and she’s grateful he’s not wearing a belt because his slide off his waist easier than she’d thought, and he’s rough when he pushes himself inside her. Kate gasps at the little air there is between them, his skin hot under her nails, and hangs on, the seconds ticking by. Suddenly the world rushes in her ears and she’s certain this is it, it’s happening, but it’s just her, choking out his name for the last time. Precious seconds later he still hasn’t let go -- but all Kate feels is the frightened beating of her heart.

“Stay with me?” she asks when she finds her voice and she’s certain it’s the first time she’s asked that of anyone, but she’s grateful when he nods, presses a last, chaste kiss to her lips before they slide down to the floor.

“Kate,” he says --

(There’s just enough time to clasp his hand in hers before the world really does end.)