Don't they have gentlemen where you come from, he says one day. Passing throwaway drawl in a voice that can make 'down under' sound like even more of a suggestive phrase than it already is. Claire shivers and imagines and wonders at the American sense of geography, which is poor at best.
Gentlemen, she says, well not very many that I can think of.
He has a tilted smile that hints at knowledge beyond her experience, and a way of laughing from his chest that says he's never been one to stop and ask for directions.
(Typical male, she teases him, much later.)
In a normal world she is sensible and organised and doesn't have time for roguish Americans, and in a normal world he plays for the rich and tall and bored and his sharp eyes pass over the tiny sweet blondes. But they are lost; they are well and truly off the map.
Obviously you were brought up well, she says, when he brings her water and scowls at Jin until he relinquishes a patch of precious shade.
He doesn't say anything and she learns not to say much about childhoods, but his smile tilts north-north-west and she spins, longing, like a compass needle.
(I've always been magnetic, he tells her, laughing.)
It's dark and cool and by firelight their skin flickers golden-rough. His fingertips find her scattered freckles and hers find his scars, and they relearn the geography of their shrinking world.