Characters/Pairings: Lost: Kate, Sawyer. Oz: Keller, Beecher, Ryan, Cyril, Hoyt, Schillnger. Hints of Kate/Sawyer and Beecher/Keller.
Word Count: 2,261
Warnings: Character Death(s)
Author's Note: Stealing an Oz plotline here and running with it.
Timeline: Post-island Lost. Season 6 Oz, but only very loosely.
Summary: AU. With no death row in the women's prison, Kate finds herself shipped off to Oswald Correctional Facility.
The day Kate goes to jail, the day she gets sentenced to death, she gets an interesting surprise. There’s no death row in the women’s prison, we’ll have to take her to Oswald, she’d been told or, more accurately, her lawyer had been told. She’d frowned and her lawyer had muttered something about an all-male prison and she’d just assumed she’d misheard him or misunderstood him and then she was on a bus headed for Oswald Correctional Facility.
Except she hadn’t, she learns, as she slips into her prison blues (or blue-grey to be precise; at least it wasn’t neon orange) and lets an irritated looking correctional officer, whom she’d heard called LoPresti, lead her to her cell.
And she has company.
There aren’t very many cells on the cell block and, with her as the new addition, she figures about half of them are filled. One next to her and two on the opposite side. The man next to her looks at her with the wide eyes of a child, while the one diagonal to her, the one with more tattoos than she can count half-leers at her. And then there’s the one directly across from her, the one who doesn’t even get up to greet her but lays on his cot with his arms behind his head and a look of casual disinterest on his face. Somehow she knows that he’ll be the one who’ll give her the most trouble.
The sound of the cell door shutting chills her to the core, reminding her yet again that she’s lost her freedom and she isn’t ever getting it back.
She doesn’t know where the voice is coming from at first. It sounds different, somehow innocent (that word loses its meaning here) and that quality reminds her of the man with the wide, curious eyes. “Hi,” she replies, softly, and it’s weird because she can’t see him and talking to someone she can’t see is a little unnerving.
“You’re not supposed to be here,” he tells her. No, she thinks, I’m not, but really don’t they all think that. Isn’t that what appeals are for? She doesn’t fully grasp what he’s getting at until he adds, “The pretty ladies don’t come here.”
She closes her eyes as she answers, “I’m an exception.” If anything that’s true. She’s always been the exception to the rule.
“He’s mental.” The man opposite her, Chris Keller, explains the next day, with Cyril gone to some meeting with his lawyer. “His brother got him all fucked up.”
Kate nods, glancing over at Keller’s neighbor, who’d been mumbling various things to himself this morning, some of which having sounded fairly like a demonic chant. “And him?”
Keller frowns, as he replies, “What do you think?”
She presses her lips tight together, unsure about her current living arrangements. She knew she was going to death row but she didn’t count on it serving as the funny farm as well. “And what about you? Are you insane too?”
“I’m interesting.” He says, with something like a self-satisfied smirk taking over his features. She didn’t think that admission was anymore comforting than the other two had been.
They get meals twice a day, cafeteria food that’s barely a step up from what they used to serve in her high school lunchroom. The guy who comes to deliver them is tall and full of hard edges. Cyril perks up whenever he’s around and Keller tells her that it’s because the two are brothers. Ryan and Cyril O’Reily. He also tells her that getting on Ryan’s bad side is a recipe for disaster and she’s inclined to believe that.
When he hands her a tray he gives her a smile that makes her shiver and a look like he’s seen her naked before and it kind of reminds her a bit of Sawyer (and Keller does to, when he smirks) and she suddenly feels alone because she misses Sawyer, she misses Jack, she misses Sun and Hurley and Claire and everyone else. She doesn’t think she’ll be seeing them again either, and it hurts.
So she smiles back one day, tells herself that this is all that’s left, flirting with strangers just to make herself feel alive, just to make herself feel less alone.
Sawyer, of course, is the one to prove her wrong (because just like when he didn’t shoot the boar, just like when he took all the guns, she remembers that there’s very little she knows about him, about James).
He shows up, under the guise of being her lawyer, a few weeks into her stay there. His suit fits him perfectly and he practically oozes charm. He’s a con man, she reminds herself, she shouldn’t be surprised, he once did this for a living (and he still might).
“I get a new lawyer?” She asks, with a wry grin, wrapping her hands around the bars (these are cold, the other ones were warm under the sun she remembers, warm against her skin as he pressed her into them, her hands twined above her head).
Sawyer glances around carefully, making sure the CO’s have gone, and then tells her, “I had to find some way to get in and see you. Figured lawyers are just as full of shit as con men, shouldn’t be too hard.” He keeps his voice low but steady and she thinks if she closes her eyes she’d be back on the island. “So how you doing Freckles?”
“I’m on death row, how would you be?” She’s unaware of the harsh tone to her voice until she’s said it. He doesn’t flinch but still she looks down. “I thought you’d have split by now.”
“Yeah, well, I plan on it but I didn’t want to go without seeing you…again.” He wanted to see her one last time is what he means.
“They haven’t set my execution date yet.” Kate tells him, on that note. “I don’t know if I should be relieved or freaked because I could die a week from today and I won’t know it until they decide to tell me.”
“Probably better that you don’t. Can’t dwell that way.” He replies and he’s right and it really should make her feel better but it doesn’t, not really. She’s still going to die, all she can do is dwell, all she can do is wonder when and tick off the days on some imaginary calendar.
Still, she mumbles a half-hearted “yeah” and asks how Jack is (drunk, edging on insanity, or so Sawyer claims) and if he’s heard anything from Claire (“rugrat’s growing faster than she can keep up with). She doesn’t ask what she really wants to know (“do you miss me?” “Does leaving the others behind still make your stomach turn like it does mine?”) for fear of the answer, and when LoPresti says time is up she puts on a smile and says goodbye like she’ll see him again every day for the rest of her life and he’s only going to work at his cushy nine-to-five job (they wouldn’t have had that life even if she wasn’t here).
He puts his hand up to the bars and she lets her fingers curl around it and tries not to cry when he drops it and leaves because she knows somehow, intuitively, that this really is the last time.
“Lawyer my ass.” Keller observes, not five minutes after Sawyer’s gone and she’s curled up on her cot, back against the wall, knees pulled up and in.
“What makes you say that?” She asks, defiant, like she knows without a doubt that she’s in the right.
“Because last time I saw him he was running cons down in
Despite the fact that he was most likely right and it worried her that those two ran in the same circles at some point in time, she puts on a look of innocence and confusion as she tells him, “I think you’ve got the wrong guy.”
“Maybe.” He shrugs. “Or you do.”
Keller gets visits from his ‘lawyer’ too. Of course, she’s fairly sure he’s an actual lawyer (and an ex-prisoner to boot, or so she’s heard) but sometimes she doesn’t think that’s why he’s there.
“Hey, what’d I tell you two? No smooching!”
No, he’s definitely not here on strictly business.
“You think he’ll be able to get you off?” She asks, and she truly doesn’t realize the multiple interpretations of that question until Keller gives her a devilish grin.
“Yeah, I’m sure that won’t be a problem.”
She rolls her eyes.
Kate never truly realizes the extent to which her cell neighbor had departed from reality until the prison psychologist, Sister Pete, gives him a sock puppet (
When it gets taken away from him, however, she’s glad, for the first time, for the walls and the bars that encase her.
They get mail every few days, from a man in the same prison outfit, with eyes tattooed on the back of his bald head (is that what it takes to survive, she wants to ask, is that what it’s like outside the cell block).
(Keller would probably laugh, tell her eyes, that Oz and this place they call Em City is nothing more than a death trap)
She gets a letter once. Already opened, roughly, but the letter itself is still intact. The man merely hands it to her (Keller gets his thrown at him) and she takes it and plays with the edges of the envelope until she gets the guts to open it.
There’s no return address but she recognizes the careful scrawl before she reads the name signed at the bottom. Sun.
Her friend writes about her life after the rescue, how her and Jin’s daughter is doing. Sun tells her that she thinks her and Jin are going to make this work and how they’re thinking of moving, someplace by the beach (force of habit, for all of them) with the money from the Oceanic settlement. She also tells Kate that she misses her, that she would visit but she can’t, that she hopes her appeal goes through.
Kate saves the letter, shoved under her pillow, still in the envelope. It’s what she thinks about when she tries to sleep at night, that hope.
Death row starts to empty out eventually. She wonders if this is what it’s like when you’re eighty, watching your friends die off one by one.
Except they don’t die.
Keller is the first to go.
His lawyer (which if you say it right sounds like lover), Tobias Beecher, comes in one afternoon, all upbeat and makes a show of telling Keller in front of LoPresti and Schillnger (she’s not sure what that’s about but she’s always figured there was bad blood) that he got Keller off of death row.
Two hours later and Keller’s getting his stuff together and waiting for them to come move him to Unit B.
“Did you do it?” She asks, watching him move about his cell, feeling a bit like she’s losing a friend.
“Now why would I tell you that?” He asks, like she’s trapping him and he’s fifteen steps ahead of her.
“It doesn’t really matter now. Even if you did they can’t charge you twice. Double jeopardy.” He remains unfazed. “So did you do it?”
“You’re in here for what?” One of the things she’s learned about Keller is he’s a master at turning the focus off of himself and on to someone else. “Blowing up daddy wasn’t it?”
She answers, only to see where he’s going with this, “Yes.”
“Did you do that?”
“No,” she lies, same old story.
“Yet you got convicted of it. And you know there’s plenty of reasons for you to do it. Maybe he started making nighttime visits to your bedroom; maybe he beat your mother.” She keeps her eyes level, doesn’t let him see her flinch. “Of course maybe you just don’t want to admit to doing it. Not because it’ll get you in trouble with the cops or any of that bullshit. Maybe you don’t want to admit it to yourself. Maybe you’re ashamed.”
He lets the silence filter through the cell block. It’s just the two of them at the moment with Cyril gone for ECT and Hoyt passed out in bed.
“So no, I didn’t do it.”
Hoyt gets ruled insane and transferred out to the psych ward right around the time Cyril starts talking about this special ECT treatment he’ll be receiving and she knows what’s up the night Ryan spends the night in his brother’s cell and one of the CO’s takes notes.
She thinks it’s better that Cyril doesn’t know what’s about to happen. If it’s better if the world just goes black and you’re completely blindsided.
At least it would cut out the waiting part.
But Cyril comes back to his cell the next day, courtesy of a stay of execution and none the wiser for it.
The second time he’s not so lucky. The second time he doesn’t come back. His things are collected and people shuffle in and out for an hour or so and then it’s complete silence. She’d give anything for Hoyt’s muttering or Cyril’s nonsense babbling or Keller’s snarky remarks.
She’d give anything not to be alone.