Categories > TV > Lost

Poker in Phuket

by LyraNgalia 0 reviews

Just how friendly is a friendly game of poker? (Season 2 spoilers: What Kate Did (minor) and Lockdown (extensive))

Category: Lost - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Jack, Sawyer - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2007-02-09 - Updated: 2007-02-10 - 1484 words - Complete

Poker in Phuket

"You wanna play real stakes, man? Name 'em." The bravado in Sawyer's voice, and the insistent look in his eyes, cut me to the core. It wasn't the game he wanted; sure, he was sore he lost that hand so spectacularly, but although his ego would have insisted he try to win back his stakes, it was the presence of Kate that drove him to this, and we both knew it.

"It's a pile of fruit, man," I replied with a laugh, trying to defuse the situation, trying to keep things light, trying to hide what I was certain was written all over my face, in every turn of my body.

"And I want it back." And suddenly I'm lost. It wasn't just the challenge in his voice and his eyes that made me do it. It was simply his voice and /his eyes/. Funny how little it takes from this man to have me at his mercy, and how much willpower it takes from me to hide it.

Kate, not being privy to my thoughts, misunderstands. "Should I go and get a ruler?" she asked, her posture and expression broadcasting how asinine (and amusing) she thought this whole display was.

I give her a mild glare and a half curve of the lip, showing her that I knew both how silly this was and how I didn't appreciate her putting it that bluntly. Sawyer, on the other hand, shifts uncomfortably in his seat and does not meet Kate's eye for very long. He's hurt by her comment, I realize in a flash. Though he may not understand why, and I suspect he doesn't, he is wounded by her seeming dismissal.

But then the moment is gone, and Sawyer turns to Hurley. "Fun time's over, Mongo. Why don't you head to the buffet?" I tune out the rest of the exchange, realizing I had once again stepped into Sawyer's trap, and, once again, it wasn't a trap laid for me.

Kate looks at me expectantly, waiting for a response to something she said that I didn't hear. I smile vaguely and nod, all the while preoccupied, thinking of all the attention Sawyer lavished on the fit, dark haired woman and wishing fervently that he would give even a fraction of that attention to me.

"One more hand, doc," Sawyer says, puffing out his chest, and I nod in response, half distracted. And in a softer voice that had me immediately think of silk sheets, he continued, "What's it going to take?"

A part of me wanted to say "One night with you," just for the sheer value of striking him dumb with shock, but I continue to play my part as the responsible doctor. "The medicine you stole from the armory. All of it." He looks at me, surprised. I suppose he figured I would have asked him for the guns, but I've retreated into my responsible doctor self. He finally nods, and sets to shuffling. I sigh silently, thinking this may be the longest game of poker I'd ever played. For despite all my promises not to get caught by his charm, by his inexplicable appeal, I find myself alone with Sawyer once more, my unrequited feelings once again the giant white elephant on the beach, invisible to all but me.


"So where'd you learn to play cards, doc?" I know he's probably doing it to distract me, to keep me from paying attention to the cards, but I'm fighting against some part of me that just wants to believe it's small talk, that maybe Sawyer is really interested in how I learned to play poker.

I glance around the beach, but eventually succumb to the part of me that wants to talk to the man sitting in front of me, to tell him about me in hopes that he'll find me as intriguing as he finds Kate, who is watching from a ways up the beach. "Phuket," I admitted reluctantly.

Sawyer looks surprised at the answer. I wonder if he's surprised by my answer or by the fact that I answered at all. Maybe he expected that I learned how to play poker during college or med school. "What the hell were you doing in Thailand?" And now I'm the one surprised. I didn't expect him to know where Phuket was. As if reading my mind, or maybe just the pleased surprise on my face, he continued. "What, you don't think I know where Phuket is? Just 'cause I dropped out of ninth grade don't make me an idiot."

I am just about to respond when the motion of his hands as he begins dealing the cards catches my eye, and my heart immediately sinks. I'd thought, no, I'd hoped that he was truly interested in how I'd ended up learning to play poker in Phuket... "Far East, huh? Wouldn't have taken you for a world traveler. Where you got the art on your shoulder?" His voice washes over me, and I'm almost tempted to let him think I didn't notice that trick he just pulled. It was a fine bit of slight of hand; I'd been watching for it, and I still almost missed it.

"How 'bout you deal again?" I suggest when I finally shake myself out of the spell his voice has cast on me. He stops with an astonished "what?" that I can almost believe was genuine and I continue, "And this time, from the top of the deck."

He grins at me, and I'm suddenly very glad we're sitting down or else my knees would have buckled under me, as clichéd as that sounds. "Well, I had to try." I smile back, being the only one to understand how ironic that statement was. I know he can't, won't, be interested, but time and again, I have to try.


I stare at my cards. A pair of nines. I glance over to where Kate and Hurley stood and see that they've drawn a small crowd. For the past half an hour or so, I've managed to keep my mind purely on the game, and not on the man in front of me and how I wished he would even spare me a glance that wasn't for "the doc", or at the very least, had not overheard his fevered admission of "Kate... I love her." I guess then I would have had my dreams and wouldn't spend every second I saw either of them wishing I was the object of his affections.

"Ten mangos," I finally say. So much for keeping my mind on the game.

"Okay," he sighs. "I'll call you with the aspirin, and raise you a bottle of amoxicillin."

"Do you even know what amoxicillin is?" I have to ask; Sawyer's already surprised me once today by knowing where Phuket is, so I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Besides, I can't help but be curious about him, and despite knowing what I know, I want to know more about him.

He smirks and answers, "You may have been to Phuket, doc, but I've been to Tallahassee." I'm momentarily confused, but he continues, "Let's just say, something was burning and it wasn't from the sunshine." I can't help but laugh. And now I know the story behind his 'outbreak.' Even though I admit it was mean-spirited, I had been curious about it when I figured out he needed glasses, and now I know.

Still a bit pleased from learning more about him, I glance down at my pile and go for it. "I'm all in." He looks surprised, and we're back in the game. I can deal with poker, even if it is with a man I dream about every night whom I know loves a woman I've come to think of as one of my best friends.

Finally, after the requisite attempt at getting into each other's heads, he calls and I lay down my cards. I can't help but smile as I do. More and more, I suspect my hunch is right. "A pair of /nines/?!" he says in disbelief, "You pushed in on a pair of /nines/?"

"You caught me." The smile grows wider on my face; I'm almost one hundred percent certain he's in such shock because I still beat him. To confirm my hunch, I insist, "Let's see 'em." A pair of fours. I could have laughed. The man may surprise me at every turn, but I can still play poker with the best of them. "Guess it was enough, huh?"

"Son of a bitch," he mutters at me as I straighten and get my backpack together.

"I'll come get the meds later," I tell him. It's a promise, though I'm certain he'll take it as a threat. I'll take my victories where I can get them, since I know I've already lost where it really counts.
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