Disclaimer: I do not own Blindspot. More like it's the other way around… I've come to realize that THEY own ME. :)
A/N: One more time, just like on all of my fic posts lately: sorry it's been so long. This one has sat unattended even longer, because I focused all of my (small amount of) fic time on Too Perfect. But this is now my only ongoing fic, so I should be at least a little more regular. Anyway, it's been so long since I worked on this one, and I don't have time to go back and reread 45 chapters (go figure!), so if any of my details contradict earlier chapters, please forgive me. (And feel free to send me a PM if you find a specific one that does. I'm all about having details correct)
After the previous morning's surprise, Jane was relieved to wake up without remembering another dream. She did wake up early, however, and arrived at the FBI building while it was still quiet. "You're in early," one of the guards at the front entrance said. "Not many people come in this early."
Jane shrugged, giving them an uncomfortable smile. "No time to waste, right?" She and her detail cleared security and continued on to the elevator.
When the doors opened in SIOC, Jane stepped out into the open bullpen, her eyes sweeping the cavernous space. The desks that were usually occupied were vacant save for one, and the noise that usually filled the air was absent. Her eyes landed on the sole person sitting at a desk. Kurt was staring at a file in front of him, scowling hard. He did not look happy with what he saw there.
The elevator had alerted Kurt to someone's arrival. He was waiting for Mayfair, but didn't expect her in for at least an hour. He'd come in at his usual early hour, and now he was apparently going to sit and stew, not accomplishing anything else, until he was able to confront her when she arrived. When he looked up in surprise to see who had stepped off the elevator so early, however, his face relaxed. Jane stood in front of the large metal doors, scanning the room.
She noticed Kurt immediately. As the only one there, he would've been hard to miss. When he looked up, a split second after her eyes fell on him, his expression softened. By the time she realized she was smiling at him, his face was already reflecting it back at her. Closing the file in front of him and turning it upside down, he stood up and walked towards her. She moved slowly in his direction, meeting him partway.
"Good morning," he said tentatively.
"Good morning." For a few seconds, they stood with their eyes locked on each other – this seemed to happen a lot.
"Sleep okay?" he asked.
Jane shrugged. "Yeah. Not a lot, but okay, I guess. Apparently I'm just not really the sleeping in type."
"Well, having a lot on your mind will do that." He grimaced slightly, and she nodded. Each of them was studying the other carefully.
"You have breakfast yet?" he asked.
"No. There's not really much food in my safe house…"
"Well, since we're both here so ungodly early, why don't he go grab something? I have a bad habit of skipping breakfast myself."
Her head bobbed affirmatively. "Sure," she replied before she'd thought about it. Her expression changed as she realized that while Kurt had mentioned setting up a bank account for her over the past week, it hadn't happened yet. She didn't have any money.
Just as she tensed and opened her mouth to speak, Kurt shook his head. "Don't worry, I got it."
Standing frozen for a beat, she smiled uncomfortably. "Oh, uh, thanks. You don't have to…"
"I don't have to what? Make sure you eat? Maybe. But considering that you don't really have any food in your safe house, that would be pretty rude of me. Besides, it's a coffee shop, no big deal. And… I want to." He was staring at her intently, and somehow it felt to Jane like it was a big deal. "Besides, I'm glad to have the chance."
She didn't have to ask what he meant. The fact that she'd been missing for twenty-five years and was now suddenly back was implied – which, in turn, meant that he was probably blaming himself yet again, even if it was unconscious. He probably will for a long time, if not forever, she thought sadly. She'd keep working on that. All she could do for the moment was smile at him with understanding and once again mumble, "Thanks."
"Let me just put that file away, and we'll get out of here." A few minutes later, the file secured, they stepped onto the elevator. Jane stood in the middle of the large space, her arms crossed awkwardly. After pressing the button to take them to the main exit, Kurt stepped back – closer to her, but with ample space still between them.
"Are you always here so early?" she asked.
"Usually. There has to be a reason for me to be in any later than… say, 6:30."
She nodded in understanding.
"As you may have noticed, there's not a lot of people who're in that early. It's easier to get things done."
"The work never ends, does it?" She'd already gotten that sense. After all, new crimes constantly required investigation, and it wasn't as though her case was the only one the FBI was working on.
He shook his head as the elevator doors opened, chuckling softly. "Nope, it doesn't," he replied. "But I like it that way."
"But you occasionally take breaks, right?"
They were walking out the front door now, and she glanced back at him as he held the door for her. From the look on his face, she got the feeling that her question, which she'd only asked out of curiosity and for the sake of making conversation, had touched a nerve. It hadn't seemed like a personal question…
"I'm sorry, never mind…" She shook her head and looked away, now feeling self-conscious all over again.
Clearing his throat, he turned to look at her as they walked down the sidewalk. "No, it's a fair question. Anyone in the office would tell you I'm a workaholic. And no, I'm not very good at taking time off. The work, helping people, solving cases… it's a part of me. I tend to let myself get lost in it. I've been that way ever since…"
She filled in the blank for him in her mind. Ever since he was ten years old and I disappeared.
Nodding, she considered this information. Knowing what little she knew about him, it didn't come as much of a surprise.
"Besides, I always believed…" His voice broke off for a second, and he cleared his throat. Looking pained, he tried again. "I always believed that if I worked hard enough, I'd find you. It just happened I solved a bunch of other cases along the way, too."
"And you were right," she said softly, trying to push her mouth into a smile. He just nodded, a faraway look in his eyes as he looked away from her.
He turned towards the building on the corner, a coffee shop that appeared to be doing a brisk business, even though it was not yet 6:30 am. "Here we are," he said, opening the door. Several people dressed in suits exited before the doorway was clear, and he held the door for them, and then for Jane.
Five minutes later they emerged with their coffees and a small bag of breakfast food. As he'd taken to doing, Kurt had chosen a selection so that Jane could try different things and figure out her likes and dislikes.
They didn't talk much on the walk back, both of them sipping their coffees and lost in thought. Back in the office, they sat at Kurt's desk and ate the assorted contents of the paper bag. People were beginning to trickle in now, and Jane had just taken a mouthful of a pasty with something sweet and raspberry flavored on top when a familiar voice sounded behind her.
"Breakfast meeting?" As usual, Jane couldn't tell whether or not Mayfair was annoyed. She had a way of being impossible to read that the younger woman found unsettling. Smiling awkwardly, Jane twisted around and looked up at the Assistant Director as she passed them on the way to her office.
"Absolutely," Kurt replied with a grin. Only then did Jane begin to relax. Kurt had known Mayfair for a long time, so she took her cue from him. Even so, she said nothing – just to be safe.
Kurt's eyes followed his boss as she walked into her glass walled office across the bullpen. Finishing the bite in his mouth, he brushed his hands together to knock the crumbs off, then took another sip of coffee.
"I have to go and talk to her, as soon as she settles in," he said cryptically.
Jane nodded. "About my case, or…?"
"About an old case of hers. I'm trying to find a connection, but I need more information." The look on his face said that he wasn't going to say any more just then. They were still just getting back on good terms, so she wasn't going to push her luck just yet. She still remembered all too well how much it had stung when he'd lashed out at her the day before.
"Okay, well, thanks for breakfast," Jane said hurriedly. Kurt was already standing up, leaving his coffee on his desk and peering down at her with a hint of a smile. He fished a keyring out of his pocket and unlocked his desk drawer, removing the thick file he'd been staring at when she'd arrived. She attempted to see the label, but he moved it too quickly.
"Don't mention it. It hit the spot." Nodding slightly towards Mayfair's door, he added, "Time to get to work. I'll see you in a bit."
"See ya," she echoed with a nod and a smile. Before he'd turned around, she saw that his jaw had clenched and he no longer looked happy or relaxed. Whatever he was heading in to talk to Mayfair about, it didn't look like it was going to be a friendly conversation.
The hum of voices was slowly growing louder around her as more of the early birds arrived in the office, and she looked around. Still no familiar faces. Taking another sip of her coffee, she watched Kurt and Mayfair's interaction through the glass wall. Kurt was even unhappier now than he'd been a minute ago. The whole observed conversation made her grateful once again that she and Kurt were back on good terms – he wasn't the nicest person when he was unhappy.
Her mind wandered as she sat and pondered what could have Kurt so upset when a strange buzzing sensation in her pocket interrupted her thoughts. Digging her phone out of her pocket, she glanced at the text on her screen. Patterson had summoned the team to the lab, which meant that Kurt was more than likely about to storm out of Mayfair's office. Wanting to give him a minute alone to decompress from whatever was going on in there, she hurried down the hall to the lab on her own.
"I'll dig something up, and sent it to you on the plane," Patterson promised.
"Thanks." Kurt seemed to have recovered from his earlier run-in with Mayfair. He no longer seemed angry, just his usual serious and case-focused persona.
Jane, meanwhile, had only heard one word from that last exchange – plane. Her heartrate suddenly skyrocketed, and the only words she could manage to get out were, "Sorry… plane?"
The others turned and looked at her in surprise. "I guess you don't remember how far away Michigan is, then?" Reade asked matter-of-factly. "It'd be a long ass drive."
Her eyes were wider than usual and she was trembling slightly. She didn't know exactly why she was having this reaction, but why didn't really matter just then. More important was how to make it stop. "Oh, right, okay," she mumbled. The others were already moving, though she didn't know exactly where they were going. Before she had time to wonder, Kurt was beside her.
"Come on. Time to get our gear and get going. We've got the jet. No being crammed into coach." He was standing close to her, watching her carefully.
It felt like something she should understand, but of course, she didn't remember what flying coach even meant. "Yeah, good," she mumbled. He watched her strangely for a few seconds, then turned to face to door to the hall.
"Come on. No time to lose."
She was working very hard to breathe in and out, and she wasn't sure she could do that and walk at the same time. It's a plane, not a torture chamber. Get a grip, she told herself. Still, she couldn't shake the feeling of impending doom as she followed a step behind Kurt.
On the way to the airport, Kurt drove. Reade and Zapata had automatically climbed into the back seat – it was easier to have Jane beside him than either of them. Besides, neither of them were especially excited to share a seat with Jane. Traffic was thick, even though morning rush hour should have been over, but they made it before the plane's hastily scheduled departure. They boarded what looked to Jane, compared to the large commercial planes not far away, like a toy airplane. She couldn't decide if getting on the smaller one was better or worse. Most likely, it didn't matter either way. Both options were bad. The last place she wanted to be was in the air – she just wished she knew why.
Kurt and Reade had filed in first, sitting down across the table from each other. They were already deep in conversation about the man they were on their way to look for. Jane and Zapata ended up in chairs side by side past the table, and Jane squeezed the armrests for dear life, even before they'd taken off.
No matter how she told herself that her fear might be illogical, based on how calm the others were, each tiny jolt sent her stomach into freefall, making her wince noticeably. Zapata's assurance about turbulence not bringing down a plane, which had come from a doctor of all people, did nothing to make Jane feel better. When they finally landed, what felt like days later, she was still just as shaken as she'd been when they'd taken off. Only when they'd descended the stairs to the tarmac did she finally relax, thankful to be on solid ground again.
A man in a dark suit and sunglasses who displayed an FBI badge met them and led them to a black SUV that looked just like the ones they used in New York. Kurt stepped up beside Jane as they walked. "You alright?" he asked.
"Better now that we're on the ground," she replied, trying to sound less shaken than she still felt.
"That flight was pretty rough," Kurt agreed. "They're not all like that." Jane just nodded stiffly, not wanting to think about air travel again whatsoever until it became absolutely necessary.
Expecting the same seat arrangement as before, Jane climbed into the front seat and Zapata took the one behind her. However, Kurt's phone rang as the man in the suit handed him the keys, which he tossed to Reade. "Mayfair, what's up?"
Thanks to the scrambled seating, they drove in silence all the way to Draclin, with the exception of a few minutes' worth of Kurt's end of the phone call with Mayfair and the eerily calm electronic voice of the GPS. None of them knew exactly what they were walking into.