Log in

No account? Create an account
14 February 2009 @ 01:28 am
fic, Lost: I've Been Everywhere 10/14 (Sawyer, Jack, ensemble), PG13  
Exam done, I've got two weeks before the last one, and I'm not even as sleep deprived as I should be. Which means I'll go on with this and tomorrow I'm writing for some of the birthday fics I owe.

Title: I've Been Everywhere 10/14
Rating: PG-13, will reach NC17 overall
Characters for this part: Sawyer, Jack, Tom
Word counting: 3432 this part, 50000 ca overall.
Disclaimer: Lost is not mine and all the folk songs used here are not mine. The places really exist and I've never been there.
Summary: Sawyer is a rambling musician during the Dust Bowl, Jack a former doctor from L.A. traveling with him.
Thanks to: elliotsmelliot for the great beta job for which I can't be grateful enough and to fosfomifira for the title. I'd still be searching for one otherwise.
A/N: okay, sorry if this gets long. First: you remember that poll re Jack's singing/dancing abilities? This is half of the reason. Then: the songs referenced here are all traditionals except for Love in Vain by Robert Johnson (there's also a version by the Rolling Stones) and then this song by Woody Guthrie called The Company Doctor whose lyrics you can find all over the place but which I don't have and couldn't find, so I guess they are just around and that if it ever was some actual song he never recorded it, but it was so perfect that I had it in anyway. And that'd be all.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII, Part XIV

9. The Company Doctor

Learning that his lovely assaulter’s name is Ana Lucìa Cortez, that she was born in La Mesa, that she enrolled a couple of years before and that he won’t probably see his money again since she does the same favor she did to him to everyone not from New Mexico that crosses her path doesn’t make him feel any better. Learning it from her mother, who loaned them a bed in her house as soon as she saw them coming to the village, doesn’t really mean much. Learning that usually the money is put to good use doesn’t mean a fucking thing. Sawyer doesn’t give a damn about the money, but no one had asked that bitch to shoot him in his left arm when he’s left-handed. Right, maybe she had assumed he was right-handed, but what the hell, no one had asked her to shoot him, period. This business will have him thoroughly fucked up for two weeks or so Jack says and that’d be just peachy, except that they don’t have a dime in two and surviving three weeks without a dime isn’t exactly easy. Oh, it’s possible, but he doesn’t look forward to experiencing just that again, not really. Right now he doesn’t have anyone to take care of, too (like he did a good job in the first place then, but that’s another matter), and they did have two dollars each day in three (and they were worth exactly like a dime), but still.

Anyway, he doesn’t want to weigh on the bitch’s mother, who is actually a really nice person and can’t afford to have them both in her house at all; also, he doesn’t want to run into Ana Lucìa again if she were to drop by and so as soon as Jack gives a very tentative green light two days later they catch a ride from the guy that goes to Lordsburg every three days or so and that’s where they are now.

Lordsburg isn’t exactly a big town, but it has motels and it has places he could have tried to get some money playing in, well, if he just could. Damn.

“What are you thinking about?” Jack asks as he looks at the door of one local which sports a pretty big flyer. He comes closer and reads it, then shakes his head. “Like hell. You aren’t.”

“Doc, we need some money.”

“Well, you fucking aren’t. You use that arm now, you could fuck it up for another while and you don’t want it.”

“Yeah, but look at it. It’s fifteen dollars for one evening, looks like they guy’s desperate enough.”

It says that they need someone to play music in there that night; fifteen dollars isn’t bad and considering that the town is practically a big rest stop and always has been they could at least get a place to sleep. Not to mention, since there aren’t trains and they can’t really afford to wait for someone to catch a ride, maybe they could find some bus tickets to get the hell out and it’d cover it all.

“Listen, you can go and ask him, but you aren’t doing anything other than singing. Is that clear?”

“Oh, you fucking control freak. Fine, fine.”

He doesn’t really know how he’s supposed to get away with it, it’s not like he can sing without music. Or well, he could but that isn’t the way people like things sung when they aren’t in church.

The bartender actually recognizes him though; as soon as he sees Sawyer getting into his place his eyes widen so much that Sawyer actually feels scared for a second. Three seconds later the guy is all over him introducing himself as Tom something but his friends all call him Mr. Friendly for obvious reasons (well, ain’ that just fun?) and oh God, he’s such a fan, and he loves all of the songs he plays, his own especially, and he has seen him playing in some random place in Nevada a few years ago and it was such a show and Sawyer has to cut him there because he’s touched but he has this little problem.

“See, I saw your flyer out there and...”

“Oh, I’d be delighted to...”

“Yeah, one moment, one moment. See, I got a problem... a problem and my shoulder’s injured. That jackass over there, who’s my doctor and don’t wanna hear no for an answer, says I could only sing if needed so if you got someone who plays and they’d take me I’d be more than happy to split with ‘em.”

Tom suddenly looks way more serious and Sawyer is relieved. He can’t deal with attention, or at least that kind of attention. It was already embarrassing enough with Charlie.

“See, that would be no problem for me, but matter is that this evenin’ there’s lots of people comin’ on the Greyhound ‘cause they’re opening another motel in a week and they search for jobs. So I figured I should get some entertainment, but this place... see, it’s a total graveyard in that sense. That flyer’s been out there for a week now and you’re the first comin’ in.”

“Oh, damn.”

“Maybe you could do a couple gospels but...”

“That ain’t my style.”

He almost doesn’t hear Jack approaching until he’s next to him, looking everything but at ease.

“Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” Tom answers turning in his direction. Sawyer thinks that the guy has stared at Jack with wide eyes a second too long than normal, but he’s tired and he’s got a wound and he’s low on blood. He probably hallucinated it.

“That piano over there, it’s good? I mean, does it work or not?”

“Why, sure it does. I can’t play the thing for shit, the guy that owned this place with me did, but he died some years ago. Why’s that?”

“Doc, what the fuck are you implying?”

“I’m implying that you’ve got your evening act.”


Sawyer doesn’t even feel disturbed for the fact that he and Tom said the same thing at the same time.

“I play the piano. Well, I did. I haven’t for a while. But I’m pretty sure I remember how to. He can sing, I can play, it’s done. What about it?”

Tom suddenly gets enthusiastic again and shakes Jack’s hand probably for five minutes before releasing it and tells them that if they want to rehearse he’ll be darn glad to let them, it’s not like he gets any customers before the afternoon and it’s still eleven in the morning.

Sawyer catches the occasion and just drags Jack away in a corner, keeping his voice low hoping that he doesn’t get heard.

“Doc, what the hell? Since when do you know anythin’ ‘bout playing fucking piano?”

“Well, you never asked.” Jack’s smile is quite satisfied; Sawyer hates that he’s having fun over him being completely clueless, but he’ll let that go for now.

“And why didn’t you tell?”

“Because there wasn’t the need. Christ, you are the musician here.”

“What the hell does that mean? You could have told anyway!”

“Well, I play it, but I don’t exactly like it.”

“How good are you?”

“I’ve studied it since I was five and kept on until I was sixteen. I’m good enough to follow a tune if you sing it to me once.”

“And you don’t do it?”

“I told you I don’t like it. And I have my reasons and I really don’t feel like sharing them right now. So we can do this or we can’t, but you said it, that’s good money.”

“Yeah. Right. It’s good money. Listen, can you sing, too?”

“Fuck, no. Or at least, I’m not off key but you’re surely better at that than I am.”

“Fine. We need to rehearse, then let’s rehearse.”

He goes talking with Tom and they settle on seven songs. That should be good. Or so he hopes. Then he goes back to Jack, figuring that deciding what to do will be a pain. One that has studied piano probably only knows classical music.

He finds out he’s way wrong because Jack isn’t that clueless. Sure, Sawyer has done this thing for years so he obviously knows his subject better, but Jack knows quite some stuff and it takes just half an hour to decide without much discussion. Not too obscure stuff really; after all when your setlist is My Darling Clementine (he still hates it but at this point he just sings on automatic), Oh, Susannah (same thing really), Dust Can’t Kill Me (well, it was pretty well known where there’s dust and figures that whoever’s coming is from there), Brother, Can You Spare A Dime (again, popular stuff), some version of Jesse James that he and Jack both knew at least, In New Orleans and Streets Of Laredo just because he’s pretty sure everyone knows that. Even if Jack wasn’t agreeing on the title, insisting that it was another one, but since the music was that, they just settle on letting Sawyer sing his thing.

Then they actually rehearse in the afternoon and he gets really surprised because Jack wasn’t pulling any jokes on him before. He isn’t just good; he’s very good and he really can follow a tune alright. Pretty much better than alright, at least looking at Tom’s enthusiastic face. They stop rehearsing after an hour and a half because people start to arrive and they have everything settled down anyway; then Tom shows them some backroom and they stay there discussing the songs for a while until they get out to have something to drink before they’re due on stage.

He’s actually surprised when he sees Jack dumping down a full glass of whiskey in one shot; it’s not like he doesn’t drink, but never like that. Jack shrugs and tells him that he has to be reasonably drunk in order to carry on with this playing business and Sawyer doesn’t push the subject. He looks steady enough when he gets up on stage anyway.

Sawyer is surprised to get the cheer he gets as he sits on the chair Tom kindly provided; but after all he saw right, most of the people that fill the place up come from the dust and yeah, right, fine, he’s famous in there. He made peace with it.

Everything goes fine until Jesse James. My Darling Clementine and Oh, Susannah get seriously impressive applause and in the second case some people even start to sing along; Dust Can’t Kill Me receives a very respectful silence before the bar explodes as it cheers it up, while practically everyone sings in his place during Brother, Can You Spare A Dime.

Then at half of Jesse James his shoulder starts fucking hurting and he almost misses a beat; Jack notices it though and keeps an eye on him throughout all the rest as he plays and Sawyer is seriously in awe here. But not enough to keep his head off the fucking pain that’s tearing through his shoulder. As the song finishes, he can’t help wincing and someone from the crowd asks him whether he’s fine. He answers yes a little too quickly and Jack stands up and comes near him; as he whispers near his ear, Sawyer shakes his head.

“Like hell. We have two others and...”

“I know. You go resting. I’m dealing with this.”


“Fuck, I don’t like it either, but you got shot four days ago. Shut up.”

“But Tom...”

“I told him that if you didn’t feel any good I’d take your place. Stand the fuck up and go.”

It’s probably the tone that does it; Sawyer is on his feet before he’s even aware of it. The crowd doesn’t look too thrilled with the switch, but as Sawyer gets off the stage, Jack coughs and everyone is looking at him right now. Sawyer doesn’t envy him. Not really.

“Okay, folks, you’ve seen that our singer there isn’t feeling well...”

At least Jack gets some nods of approval. Sawyer accepts people patting his other shoulder and shaking his hand as he goes back to the counter, where Tom passes him a fresh beer and Sawyer shoots him a look of gratitude.

“... so I hope you won’t mind that I’ll be up for the next two. I... well, I’m not nearly as good as he is and I’m afraid that what I can sing isn’t much good either but well, I’m accepting the rotten tomatoes I’m sure you have in your bags down there.”

Sawyer doesn’t know whether to be more surprised of the fact that Jack does have a sense of humor even if it kind of sucks or of the fact that people actually laugh; he shrugs as Jack goes back to the piano, his hands clenched into fists. He really, really doesn’t envy him, and his shoulder fucking hurts. Oh, that bitch.

And then he almost drops the glass on the ground because Jack has started, he wouldn’t have ever imagined that he knew that song out of anything since it has to be one of the most obscure ones he ever ran into and while Jack is right, he’s no singer at all, he isn’t that off key, even if he gets close. Thankfully he’s playing the thing slow enough to avoid slipping into mistakes.

“Doctor Leo Hayes was our company doctor, from the big coal companies he got his pay, for thirty-nine years he tried to cure us, and now today on his deathbed lay. He called his five boys and his three daughters, and at his bed we stood around, we heard him tell the history of the coal miners, and he said, "Don't let these people down... You are all connected with the practice of medicine, you promise you'll keep true I know, you will do your best to help these people, I close my eyes for I must go... His youngest girl was Doctor Betty, with her face so pretty and her smile so sweet, she walked the coal towns of Force and Byrndale, she saw the sewage waters flowing down the street."

The whole crowd shuts up as Sawyer did, as Jack plays it perfectly and sings it borderline off-key now; Sawyer can feel it trembling as his fingers are firm and he can barely swallow his drink.

“She saw the children drink the cankered water, she saw the chickens fly up on the roof, she saw the waters overflow the sewers, and flood their gardens of victory, she went to the big shots of the Shawmut Company, she did not beg and she did not plead, she stood flatfooted and pounded the table... sewer pipes and bathrooms are what we need, my daddy told me to fight to cure sickness, but I can't cure sickness with sewage all around...”

Sawyer finds out he has been holding his breath. And then Jack’s voice cracks for a second before going back on track.

“I quit my job as the family doctor, I nailed up my shingle and went on my own, I carried my pillbag and waded those waters, I set by a deathbed in many a home... I saw you catch rainwater in rusty washtubs, I saw you come home dirty up out of your pits, wtched you ride with your coffin up to your graveyard, wih not a nickel to pay your burying debt... On July the fifteenth from the hills around, three hundred miners walked down through town, the state inspector was testing the water, while he was working you stood around... One miner asked him to have a drink free, the inspector looked out toward our pits, he set his hat back on his head and says, ‘I wouldn't drink a drop of that on a bet..’.”

Then Jack takes a breath and goes on. Now that’s a mite personal, Sawyer thinks. Has to be. Jack’s face is what Sawyer figures is his own face when he plays I Ain’t Got No Home. Which means, personal.

“I think of my daddy and brothers and sisters, when we stood around his dying bed, when I walk the streets of the company towns, I can hear every word my daddy said... the Shawmut Company is caught in its own paws, the people not worth the money they cost, a hundred have died, three hundred not working, thirty thousand tons of coal is lost.”

Jack’s fingers leave the keys for a second as he wipes his brow with the back of his hand and nods, smiling weakly, as a couple of seconds after he’s over he’s met by a wild applause. Fuck, Sawyer thinks as he notices Jack’s cheeks reddening, now maybe there’s someone who’s worse than him at dealing with this.

Then the jackass decides to honor the contract and as soon as his fingers hit the keys again Sawyer’s jaw drops because now, now that’s way out of his range and he’ll probably fuck it up, except that Jack doesn’t and then he can just see why. He can just fucking see why and he wishes Michael was here to philosophize about black souls, because he isn’t even playing the guitar and he’s as white as it goes, but Jack knows how to play the blues indeed.

“And I followed her to the station, with a suitcase in my hand... and I followed her to the station with a suitcase in my hand... Well, it’s hard to tell, it’s hard to tell, when your love’s in vain... all my love’s in vain...”

It looks like Jack doesn’t even give a damn about his voice completely cracking at when the train rolled up to the station; he keeps on going just taking a deep breath between the second and the third stanza before going to the last part.

“When the train, it left the station, there was two lights on behind... When the train, it left the station, there was two lights on behind... Well, the blue light was my baby, and the red light was my mind... All my love's in vain, all my love’s in vain, all my love’s in vain...”

It just sounds like someone has been ripping his heart out and that isn’t just what you’re supposed to do when you sing the blues? , Sawyer thinks as his hands join the mad applause Jack is receiving right now. Tom is actually crying and blathering something about Jack being some kind of great, great, beautiful human being and now Sawyer has a suspicion that maybe this deceased partner of Tom’s wasn’t exactly a partner just in business terms. Whatever, not Sawyer’s business. But as Jack shakes hands with someone in the audience mildly embarrassed, his shirt stained in sweat, his cheeks flushed, Sawyer has to smile just a bit. That wasn’t bad. Not at all. That was way better than not bad. And if it was all about that ex wife of his, he must be way more upset about it than he usually lets on.

Tom slips Sawyer twenty dollars saying that the five more were all earned and Sawyer just hands them to Jack as he reaches the counter and asks for another whiskey because fuck, he really needs to get more drunk now.

Sawyer can’t really blame him and can’t help feeling like something has shifted in the way he’s looking at Jack. He doesn’t know what, but he probably knows why and he’s not sure what it means.

feeling: coldcold
halfdutch: JS flirt by isis2015halfdutch on February 14th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Ohh!! You keep pulling surprise out of your hat! Jack is a dark horse indeed, isn't he? I love the idea of him singing the blues in such a heartwrenching way.

Sawyer can’t really blame him and can’t help feeling like something has shifted in the way he’s looking at Jack. He doesn’t know what, but he probably knows why and he’s not sure what it means.

\o/ Oh, we're almost near the end. I'll be both so happy to see them finally realize what they mean to each other, but very sad when the fic ends!
the female ghost of tom joad: lost jack/sawyer ♥janie_tangerine on February 14th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
Ha, it did take me ten chapters to get there, didn't it? I swear I'll be paying it off... I hope. I so hope. Anyway, Jack is totally realizing that soon, too... *cough*

Lol, to decide if Jack singing wasn't too much of a stretch I kind of made a poll but then I went with it. Hey, I can never resist the piano and I could just see him as the blues kind of guy. Thanks, glad you liked it!
Janicejaydblu on February 14th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
Oh I hated for this chapter to end! Sawyer is falling in love. *squees*
It must have been the competition from Tom that spurred him on. And Jack, you never know what that guy is hiding, really. Awesome chapter. :)
the female ghost of tom joad: lost jack **janie_tangerine on February 14th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
Hee, I had to end it here. But next one will be coming soon so don't fear. ;)

LOL, it would have been some competition indeed!! I sort of was killing my head over who would be the inn owner then I was like fine, Tom it is. And no, you never know, but I miss him playing the piano. Thanks, glad you liked it!
etpmvempetpmvemp on February 14th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
I think that I can imagine Jack playing the piano... It probably has to do with doctors.

And Sawyer may not know what it is that shifted, but we do, we do!
the female ghost of tom joad: lost jack/sawyerjanie_tangerine on February 14th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
Mm, I love me some Jack playing the piano. I wish they showed him doing it in canon more often.

And we do, indeed. He's just momentarily not wanting to admit it on a rational level. ;) Thanks for reading!
alemyrddin: Jack Sawyer smirkalemyrddin on March 18th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
this was such an awesome part!
I loved that they played together so well, and then that Jack sent Sawyer to rest and sang those two songs alone... how heartbreaking and yet beautiful.
*runs to the next part*
the female ghost of tom joad: lost jack/sawyer ♥janie_tangerine on March 18th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Jack playing the piano = one of my favorite things ever. I really wanted to have it in someway but knowing Jack I needed the situation to be half-extreme in order to sell it, glad you liked it!