Title: Just Another Con, Just Another Game

Author: Tinkerbell99

Disclaimer: Not my characters

Summary: She'll sit, she'll drink, and she'll twist that ring. He'll watch her the whole time, lick his lips at just how easy it would be. Another pretty lady whose husband ain't around. (Sawyer centric)

Note: Expanded from a cult ships challenge on LJ

Chapter 2: Sawyer's not the only one playing games.

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Her words tumble in a nervous rush, slowed only by the alcohol's fiery burn. "He fixes people." She smiles bitterly before she drinks. "My husband…fixes people."

The man sitting next to her doesn't understand, couldn't possibly, yet pierces her with sharp eyes through the clouds of smoke. He keeps a bottle ready and waits patiently, just as he has all night.

Tucking blonde hair behind her ear she continues her story, directing her words to the amber liquid in her hand. "I was someone else to fix, only…" she trails off. The truth is foreign on her tongue. "Maybe I wasn't broken," she muses, finishing her glass. These aren't the thoughts she should have, the feelings she vowed to keep.

She's seen him here before, tending bar late into the night, but the confidence is new. He's close and he's quiet and he looks at her in that way and she knows she could have him. The colors swirl with the smoke and the hour, a haze settling over her eyes. "I should go," she whispers at last. His hand strokes her jaw and she's slipping away.

"You know," he drawls, "You don't have to go home." There's a question in his eyes, and a hard glint she can't quite place.

"No, it's late. I have work tomorrow and…Jack is-"

"Jack," he whispers, whiskey scented breath warm on her cheek. "Jack isn't home. Said so yourself."

"Still, I should…" She fumbles nervously through her purse looking for her keys. In her haste, they drop to the bar and land in a cold metal crash on the counter. When she reaches to take them, her ring catches in the sick neon glow, capturing her gaze. Forgetting the keys, she lifts her hand, letting the dull light filter through the diamond. It passes cleanly, as though it were made of glass.

Maybe that's all it is anyway, she thinks. Brilliant and cold, so flawlessly clear it's like there's nothing there at all.

The ring is eclipsed by a strong insistent hand. "Allow me," he says, and takes the keys.

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In the morning she wakes to pale sun and a cheap motel bed, the man from the bar still beside her. It's different than she expected. She thought she'd feel weak or scared, but it's power somehow, this feeling she has. It's control and it's strength and she isn't scared.

Her thoughts are broken by a calloused hand tracing the scar on her back Twisting to face him beneath the sheets, she answers his silent question. Her words twist and spin, weaving into a confession. Not of guilt, but of dreams. She tells him of all she desires, all she would change. She blasphemes her storybook world.

Later, his tongue finds that scar and she shivers beneath his touch. It's wrong and it's a sin but maybe that doesn't matter anymore. He's not the man she loves and he's not the man she married. Those two reasons should be merged into one and it isn't love that guides her now.

Her eyes find the ring when she reaches up to tangle hands in his hair. He moves over her, but her eyes stay locked on the glassy jewel. She finds it's cheapened in the morning sun, dulled and darkened with her act of revenge.

She plays the game for weeks on end. She thinks she should feel guilty for this, for what she's done to Jack and for using the man from the bar. She pities him for his unknowing part in this charade, but blames her husband for teaching her the rules. Jack's the one forcing her to play. There is no guilt, and she waits to make the final move.

Her heart quickens with every lie she tells, the hollow words tumbling easily from her throat. With every excuse she waits, convinced Jack will call her bluff. She tenses herself in preparation for sharpened words and practices her own cutting response. It's an ugly cat and mouse they play, waiting for him to notice just what she's done. Waiting for him to care.

But as the days slip into weeks, what hurts her the most is that he never does.

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"What do you want right now?" It's another morning, another cheap motel with his husky voice invading her melancholy thoughts. The setting is the same, but something's changed. She's grown weary of the game, tired of waiting to take her turn.

"Everything," she whispers as the tears fill her eyes. Light streams through the window in dusty beams before resting on a worn leather briefcase perched on top of the dresser.

"That so," he grins, failing to notice her watery smile. "Maybe I'll just give it to you." Rolling over, he moves to kiss her, but she dodges him and turns away.

"Didn't you have to leave?" she asks. The dullness in her eyes masks the chaos of her mind.

The numbers on the clock prove her right and suddenly he's swearing, scrambling to dress and make it out the door in time.

She slips from the bed unnoticed, not bothering to smooth the sheets. Something in her heart, something in her mind tells her to end this. That the game is about to turn, to cut her losses and leave. "Sawyer…" she begins.

"Where're you going, sweetheart?" he asks as he turns to face her, fingers grazing the handle of the unlatched case.

She'll tell Jack tonight, pack her things and go. She'll leave her husband. She'll leave them both. She knows now it's better to leave than to lose, and loss is inevitable with this kind of risk. She'll put this game behind her, close the lid and pack away the pieces.

"I'm leaving." Simple words still his hands and he drops them to his sides. The briefcase remains closed above the dresser.

"Why don't you stick around a while?" His words are strangely low and harsh, accompanied by a guarded smile that only strengthens her resolve.

"No," she says. "It's over." She glances in the mirror, and suddenly she sees. It isn't Jack and it isn't Sawyer, this opponent she's been playing. It's her. It's the scar on her back and the ring that catches in the light.

The door swings shut behind her, and at last she feels she's won.