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: In the five minute drive home after dropping my four year old off at pre-school yesterday, I was listening to "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" by The Script, and the outline of this story literally materialized in my head. (And yes, I know that the plot isn't what's described in the song, but that was where the idea started) By the time I had gotten home, it was halfway written (in my head). I think this is my way of forcing Kurt to atone for his behavior in the first half of season two, because I simply refuse to accept it. I know that he's a better person than the one he's been acting like… and I'm trusting that he's going to realize it, too – even if I have to write him that way myself. Denial? Absolutely, but I'm happy that way. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this.
She's been having dreams about him lately. Not nightmares, nothing sad or scary or stressful… on the contrary, her dreams of him are blissful. Perfect. Exactly what her life might have been like if… yes indeed, if… There were so many different things that could have helped them end up in a different place than where they are now, and most of them are things that she could have done differently. That she should have done differently. She knows that now, and of course, hindsight is 20/20.
The first of these dreams, as crushing as it had been to wake up from and find out that it had been just that – a dream – it hadn't seemed insurmountable. She had pushed it out of her mind, the same way she'd done with every other painful thing that had happened to her since she woken up in Times Square.
The problem is that it hadn't just been that one dream. She's started having that dream of the two of them, or some variation of it, more and more often. It's gotten to the point where now she's having it every night. Sometimes she has it more than once a night – if she's even able to get back to sleep after the first one. Sometimes, she even sees the images from these dreams when she's awake. She's gotten to the point where she simply can't escape them, and she feels like she's losing her mind.
There's no one to blame for this but herself, she knows, which is what makes it even worse. And she knows that she should talk to someone about it… in theory, at least. Except that no, she's built a wall around her emotions to keep them in check, and no one's getting in. Not again. Besides, the one that she used to talk to these kinds of things about – the only one she had really confided in – was him.
If the others have noticed a difference, they haven't let on. Then again, she's gotten very good at hiding things from them since she's been back. At first it was the physical scars that she was the most conscious of hiding, but it quickly grew to include everything else as well. They don't trust her, she knows, and they never will again.
And they shouldn't, she tells herself. There are some things that simply don't deserve to be forgiven, no matter how good the intentions behind them.
So she keeps it all hidden, because what else can she do? There's no other option. There's no one to confide in, even if she wanted to. She tells herself she doesn't want anything from anyone. It's easier this way. She almost believes it, even.
It's after 1:00am one night, and she's already had that dream once. She simply can't stand the thought of having it again, so she gets up and dresses quickly in jeans and a long sleeved black shirt, a grey sweatshirt and her hooded jacket. It isn't logical, she knows, getting dressed and going out in the middle of the night, but she wants – no, she needs – to put a physical distance between herself and the place where these dreams haunt her night after night.
She walks for miles, not really paying attention to the direction she's going or thinking about where she'll end up. She boards a bus, rides it for a while, gets off at a subway station, then rides that for a while as well. Really, it doesn't matter where she goes, she thinks to herself… only that she keeps moving. Anything is better than giving in to sleep. To her dreams.
After more than an hour of walking and riding, she stops and looks around in surprise. It hadn't been her intention to come here, but here she is – back where it all began.
For a few seconds, it's hard to breathe. What am I doing here? she asks herself. She honestly doesn't know, but she doubts it's a coincidence. The desperation she feels for answers, for redemption, are so strong that they physically hurt, and both her head and her chest feel as if they're going to burst.
She tries to remember the spot where she was found in a bag that night. Someone did tell her where it was, at some point, but that detail escapes her now. So she just stands still, turning in a slow circle as she looks around, blinded by the lights assaulting her eyes from every direction.
The crowds are light at this hour, but she's certainly not alone here. No, even in the middle of the night there are people who are, for some reason, awake and out and about, passing through Times Square – though everyone else pretty much seems to have a destination. Everyone but her.
Laughing ruefully, she thinks that this is pretty much par for the course. Isn't that how it's always been? she asks her herself sadly. For as long as I can remember, I've been the one who didn't know where I was going or what I was doing. Everyone else has a direction, a life. And then there's me, just standing still, or, better yet, struggling just to stand up.
You almost had a life, the voice in her head reminds her helpfully. You could have.
Right, she thinks sadly. How could I forget? Except that… I couldn't have. It was never mine. Even back when I thought it was…
She feels herself falter, and knows that she should probably sit down before her legs give out completely, because suddenly, she feels like that's a distinct possibility. After so many nights of little to no sleep, and of days of pushing herself so hard both physically and mentally, she's been running mainly on willpower, plus the odd boost from caffeine – and all of a sudden, there is neither in her system.
Did I mean to come here? she wonders as she looks around her for somewhere to collapse. Now she's not so sure. It hadn't been a conscious decision, but now that she's here… maybe she had meant to end up here. Suddenly her knees go weak and she staggers to a concrete bench she has located nearby just in time. It appears to rise out of the sidewalk nearby, which she might have thought was strange looking if she hadn't been so preoccupied with not falling down. She barely manages to pull herself up onto it before the last of her strength gives out.
Before she knows it, a barrage of images flashes before her eyes. She vaguely remembers someone saying something about your life flashing before your eyes before you die – that's supposed to be something that happens, or so they say. Of course, it's relatively difficult to prove or disprove. In any case, she wonders if this is like that, and if that means she's going to die… though she doesn't feel like she's going to die. She can't even find it in herself to worry about it, because really… what's the difference? If she's going to die, no one's going to miss her.
The images don't stop, and she wonders how long it's going to go on, because she feels an ache in her chest that's growing stronger every minute. At some point, she knows, her heart will simply burst from the pain of what she's having to watch.
This isn't the kind of torture that she underwent at the hands of the CIA. No, this is the same kind of torture that led her here, that has pushed her from her warm bed in the middle of the night. The images she sees flashing before her eyes are of herself with the team and, most painfully, with Kurt. She wishes she could make them stop, make all of it stop, because she's gotten to the point that having to constantly recall her past happiness, along with the dreams of what might have been, are worse than what the CIA had done to her.
Physical pain, she had been trained to endure. Emotional pain… this kind of emotional pain… her Sandstorm training could not have prepared her for this, and it's breaking her. That much she knows.
A police officer comes over to ask her if she's alright, and she assures him that she is, she's just out here in the middle of the night because she needed some air. He looks at her suspiciously, obviously not believing her story, but he walks away. Her head drops to her hands, leaning heavily against her knees, and she wills it all to stop. She begs silently for something or someone to make it all stop.
The rest of the night passes this way, which feels like slow torture to her. As tired as she is, she doesn't sleep. She's used to this, going for days without sleeping, and she does it frighteningly easily these days. In truth, she's had far too much practice.
As the sun peeks between the buildings from the east, she knows that the team will be arriving at work soon, if they haven't already. While Zapata and Reade are less ambitious with their hours, Patterson is an early bird, and Kurt… She shakes her head at merely the thought of his name. He's nearly always the first one in. There had been plenty of days where she had assumed that she'd have been there before him, because she couldn't sleep, and she'd always found him already there, hard at work.
Because he very often can't sleep either – that much they'd had in common – though he's haunted by different demons than she is.
You could have gone in and talked to him this morning, she tells herself. You spend so much time thinking about him… Why don't you just go in and talk to him? Isn't there a chance that that would help?
What would I say? she thinks with resignation. What's left to say now? Besides, I already know that it's not going to change how he feels about me… and I wouldn't expect it to. I don't deserve his forgiveness.
Isn't that for him to decide, the voice asks, gently for once, instead of its usual somewhat abusive tone. She can only sigh sadly. Hope is something that she no longer has when it comes to Kurt.
They're friendly with each other now… well… friendly-ish… They talk sometimes, and every once in a while, she sees him look at her the way he used to. It's only ever for a split second, and then it's gone, as if he suddenly thought better of it. As if he'd forgotten for a second that they are no longer what they had been. As if he suddenly just remembers everything that has happened between them, and remembers that he needs to treat her… differently. Coldly. Distantly. However it is he thinks of her in his head she doesn't know, all she does know is that he'll never think of her the same way again.
Of course he won't, she reminds herself. I'd never expect him to.
"If I were you, I'd hate me, too." Her own words floated back to her. Despite his denial immediately after that, those words refused to leave her mind. Maybe he didn't hate her, but right now she hated herself. After all, she was the one who'd done all this.
For a long time, she had accepted his coldness towards her as her punishment. She had done horrible things, after all. She deserved whatever hatred he had toward her, despite the fact that he denied hating her. But slowly, as the team began to work together better and even Kurt's behavior toward her softened slightly…
In a way it's harder now, now that things are civil between them once again. Back when she had to deal with the hostility, it was easier to make herself understand that things between them were permanently finished. It had made it easier – marginally, anyway – to stop herself from missing him, from missing what they had once had, because she didn't get anything from him but hostility. Now… having him as a friend, or whatever it is that they are now… it almost hurts more, because it reminds her just how close they had come to something else, and consequently, how much she has lost.
So let's get something straight, her mind interrupts her thoughts, Instead of going to work, you're sitting on a bench in Times Square like you have nowhere better to be… Why?
Honestly, she doesn't know, but now that she's here, it seems like as good a place as any. What's the difference?
Of course, they're going to be expecting her at work pretty soon, and eventually they're going to notice if she doesn't show up.
So what? she asks. She simply can't bring herself to care anymore.
By 9:15, her phone is ringing. It's rare that she arrives in the office after 8:30, so she's surprised that they waited as long as they did. She looks at the display, which says "Kurt," and shakes her head sadly. She could easily have answered… but then what? Tell him where she is, and that she's been there most of the night? Have a discussion about whether or not she would be going to work?
And yes, she knows that they can track her through her cell phone. It's not as though she hasn't seen Patterson do it to unsuspecting suspects over and over. So yes, eventually they will probably show up here. For whatever reason, the thought almost seems appealing to her.
If you want someone to show up, why not just answer your phone and say so? she asks herself.
No, she thinks, the old Kurt would have shown up without asking questions. He would have done anything for me. The old me. Now… I've lost that privilege. Her head aches from the effort of her thoughts.
She knows that Kurt will think that she's been taken by Sandstorm again, and that she probably should have answered her phone. Yes, she may be worrying him for nothing. Or, maybe not, she realizes too late, because this realization hurts.
Maybe he won't be worried at all.
As much as she feels guilty for making him worry, the thought that he won't be worried is even worse.
Patterson will track the phone, she reminds herself. If they're really that worried, they'll just show up here. With that thought in mind, she sits and waits to find out. Part of her dreads having any of them show up looking for her, of having to talk to them, but the other part of her is even less excited about the thought that maybe no one will.
I can't win, she thinks sadly, staring out at nothing.
The crowds around her are growing as the hour grows later. She's been so wrapped up in her thoughts, she hadn't even noticed that the streets were becoming more and more crowded. There is a sea of humanity moving around her, which feels surreal as she sits still amidst it, and yet, it seems fitting to her. She's at once lost in the middle of a crowd and yet completely separate from it.
As more people crowd the streets, the buzz in the air grows louder, forming a background hum that she almost finds soothing. She loses track of time, and doesn't notice that her phone buzzes over and over again in her pocket. Not that she would have answered it if she had noticed. Calls from Kurt, Patterson, Zapata and even Reade all go unanswered. Most of them are from Kurt, but she doesn't see any of them.
It's crowded in Times Square when he gets there, somewhere around noon. He's embarrassed that it has taken him so long to get there, but at first he really had just assumed that she was elsewhere in the building. Then, he had thought that she was just running late. When Patterson had finally tracked her phone and told him that the signal was coming from Times Square, he had had trouble believing it.
Is her phone malfunctioning? Had it been stolen? Why in the world would she be in Times Square? And why wasn't she answering her phone? That's the part that worries him most.
It surprises him to find just how worried he is about her.
It seems too easy, that Patterson was able to track her so quickly, and he's afraid that when he gets to the coordinates that she gives him, he'll find someone else holding Jane's phone. It's the kind of thing that has happened to them many, many times before on various cases.
But no, he finds her easily, thanks to the GPS signal and Patterson, who had pinpointed her location exactly. It's Jane, and she's sitting still on a concrete bench, staring at nothing, hugging her legs. He stops for a few seconds, off to the side of her and ten feet away.
What is she doing? he wonders. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone, typing a quick message to Patterson. Got her. Don't know what's wrong, but she's safe. Will check in later.
He continues to stand still, just watching her hesitantly. Suddenly, he's at a loss. That seems to happen a lot lately when it comes to Jane. What could be the problem?
Go find out, the voice in his head tells him. Isn't that what you came here for?
Kurt walks up to her slowly, pausing before he speaks. He's at a loss for what to do or say, because she looks like she's fine… physically, at least. But at the same time, looking into her eyes, she's clearly not fine. It's like suddenly, the fact that he does know her, and he does care about her – more than he's been willing to admit to himself for quite some time – comes rushing back. It was so much easier to hate her, after all, and this is so much more complicated.
After a few minutes of watching her, he takes a deep breath and steps forward. "What's wrong, Jane?" he asks. No pleasantries, no greetings – not that he's ever been one for small talk. Even so, there had been a fairly comfortable banter back and forth between the two of them… before… everything… but that's now long ago and far away, and these days they're lucky if they can string together two sentences in a row to each other without feeling awkward, and/or wondering if they've made the other feel awkward. Or at least that's how it feels to him.
He hates that it has come to that, just as much as deep down, he knows that she does, too. The problem is simply that neither knows how to fix it.
She still hasn't answered his question. Now, almost a full minute later, Jane just shakes her head.
Is it a bad sign that she doesn't want to tell him? he wonders. Or is that to be expected? After all, it's not as though things have been good between them. Better lately, sure, but that's really not saying much. After all, 'we're getting along better than the night when I arrested her, immediately after which the CIA tortured her for three months' isn't really an improvement to be proud of.
Still, he can't help but think that she looks… haunted. Something is obviously wrong. No matter how bad things may have been in her head over these last months since she's come back, she's barely mentioned it at all, to any of them, barely flinched over any of the dangerous things she'd been asked to do… on the contrary, she has thrown herself into danger with a passion that has made them all worry a little bit, because why would she want to risk her life like that? And yet, she has done it.
And now, she sits on a bench and refuses to move, refuses to speak… She appears to have simply shut down, and he doesn't know why. Suddenly, he needs to know why, and not just out of curiosity. He realizes that he's worried about her, and not just a little.
Maybe she just reached her breaking point, the voice in his head reasons. Everyone has a point after which they simply can't do any more. Maybe she finally reached hers.
Maybe, he thinks. But why now? Yes, he knows that he isn't exactly privy to what goes on in her head anymore, but it seems to him that if she was going to reach that breaking point, it would have happened a long time ago.
So, what are you thinking, then? asks the voice. That since she survived a lot of bad shit already, you think that now, since nothing's ever going to be that bad again, she'll get through all the rest of it fine? You know that's not how it works, idiot. She's beyond traumatized, and you know it. Even if she doesn't tell you about it.
He knows that his next question is going to be a very tough sell, especially considering the fact that so far all he's gotten is a shake of her head, but he tries anyway.
"Jane," he says quietly, "talk to me. Here, somewhere else… anywhere. Just… what's wrong?"
Again, she just shakes her head, and he's sure that that's all he's going to get. Then, after another minute of silence during which he grasps desperately for what to say next, she finally speaks.
"It doesn't matter," she says. Her voice is flat, and he's never, ever heard her sound quite like that before… not even in all the time when she didn't have a clue about her identity. She sounds… defeated.
What's she talking about? he wonders, glad that she's decided to talk but at the same time, confused by her response. Why doesn't it matter? What doesn't matter?
He keeps watching her, and that's when he realizes why he suddenly feels such a sense of familiarity. The look on her face reminds him of the Jane he knew a long time ago. Before everything. "Fine, then I'm going to sit right here until you decide you're ready to tell me what's wrong."
"Don't bother. It's not worth it," she tells him. I'm not worth it, she adds inside her head, but adding those words even feels like it would take more effort than they're worth.
Because they're both so stubborn, they sit in silence. He manages to sit for forty-five long minutes before he asks her again. "Are you ready to talk yet?" he inquires quietly, seeming to rouse her from her thoughts.
She continues to stare straight ahead and just shakes her head.
Every time he looks at her, which he does frequently, thinking only that eventually he's going to outlast her and he's going to get her to talk, she looks more and more defeated. Every time, she looks more and more like the Jane who had just come out of the bag, right here in Times Square, the one who had been so scared of what would happen to her. He hadn't been there when they'd found her, and yet he feels as though he had been.
Watching Jane appear to regress to who she had been at what he now knows was the 'beginning of Jane,' so to speak, he suddenly feels the same protective instinct wash over him, one that hehasn't felt since those early days, kick in as well. It surprises him, and he has to admit that he doesn't hate it. Does it confuse the hell out of him? Absolutely. But it's almost… peaceful. Things had been so simple back then, and he had never realized it. He knows that it's just nostalgia he's feeling, but he can't help but wish that it could be that way again.
Maybe it… he thinks for a split second before his rational thought interrupt.
Of course not. Don't be ridiculous. He sighs and looks out at the crowd, looks back at Jane, thinks some more about where they are and where they've been.
Finally, after two hours of sitting and doing nothing, saying nothing, he happens to look over and is surprised to see a tear on her cheek. She wipes it away quickly and pretends nothing had happened. But he had seen it. He shakes his head and sighs.
Come on, Jane… he thinks, but says nothing. They're both still trying to outlast the other, and it would be comical if it wasn't so sad.
After three and a half hours, he tries again. "Are you ready to talk yet?" he asks her once again. Again, she just shakes her head. "I'm not going away, Jane. In case you haven't noticed by now."
"You should," she tells him hoarsely. It's the first time she's spoken in hours, and the sadness in those two words cuts through him.
But no, he feels like he has already let her down enough for more than one lifetime, and whether she likes it or not, he's finished doing that. Even if he has to sit there with her all day and all night to try to get her to talk to him… whatever it takes. She has obviously forgotten that she's not the only stubborn one.
It's almost five o'clock, nearly a full five hours after he arrived beside her on that bench, when he reaches behind her tentatively and puts his arm around her shoulders. "Jane," he says, just loudly enough for her to hear him. "Please."
Over the past hour, she's begun to look like she was going to fall over with exhaustion. Or is it just desperation? Or something else? Both? In any case, he's decided he'll take the chance of getting his ass kicked for making contact with her, because so far they haven't gotten anywhere just sitting there.
Once upon a time, that was the only way to get through to her, he remembers. The memories that flash in front of his eyes then are bittersweet. They make him smile, but the fact that they make him smile leaves an ache in his chest.
It's not that he's losing his patience with her, because he's more than prepared to wait, but he just wishes desperately that she didn't seem so determined to outlast him. What exactly is she trying to prove, anyway?
She shakes her head in protest to the contact, but when he tugs on her shoulder gently, she doesn't fight him. Her head lands on his shoulder, just barely. Barely, but enough.
It's as though with that one action, they've suddenly gone back in time. Back to before she had a real identity. Before she'd met Oscar – as Jane, anyway. Before Mayfair or Carter had died. Before they'd started lying to each other. Before he'd arrested her. Before she'd been a double agent for Sandstorm. Before they had both made so many big mistakes.
So many mistakes.
"I miss you," she whispered. It's so quiet, he almost doesn't hear it over the noise of the people walking by around them.
It strikes him as a funny thing to say, since they see each other almost every day, and because since she came back to the FBI, they've slowly gotten back to what he feels like good terms. It's not the same as what they'd once been, of course, but he has realized, painstaking slowly, that he worries about her, especially when she ends up with Sandstorm without warning and he has no way to back her up.
Slowly, he has realized that if something happened to her, it would affect him. He knows this because there have been so many times recently when he'd thought something had happened to her, and he suddenly felt as if he couldn't breathe. Or when something almost did happen to her, and it was as though the world threatened to stop turning. And now, also, because something is happening to her right now, and she's refusing to let anyone help her… and he feels like it's slowly killing him.
He turns to look down at her, and notices that there are tears on her cheeks. Not just one this time, and he can tell that they didn't just start. How did I miss that? he wonders. The tracks left down her face by tears that she hadn't bothered to wipe away are proof that she's been crying for at least a few minutes, maybe longer.
He looks at her and thinks hard, trying once again to read her and considering the only few words that he's managed to get out of her all afternoon. He always used to know what Jane was thinking, what she was feeling. Before. These days…
I've chosen not to see it, he realizes. The team has even made comments to him here and there, even Allie had said something about Jane a few months back… he's just chosen not to listen. He's told himself that he doesn't know her because he had wanted to believe it. Really, it was just that he hasn't wanted to forgive her, and it's easier not to forgive her if he keeps telling himself that it had all been a lie.
But now, sitting here with her, he can see that it wasn't a lie. He sees that he's been unfair to her. So unfair. And as much as he's been hurting over everything that he's been through, as lost as he's been feeling, he's allowed himself not to see that she has been, too.
"I'm sorry," he says quietly. She shakes her head quickly, sits up off of his shoulder and turns away, so that her back faces him.
Why is he doing this? she wonders. Why won't he just leave me alone? I'm fine.
Of course, she knows that she's not fine, and she knows that he knows it, too. But somehow, having him here and acting like he cares… it's making it worse instead of better. After all, it's like having reality slap her in the face. "Yes, he's right in front of you, and yes, he's finally being nice to you, and no, you still can't have him." She wants to scream in frustration just then, but it's just not worth the effort.
"You should go," she says over her shoulder. "You've wasted enough of your day on me."
But he's finally starting to understand, and he's not going anywhere. He looks up at the buildings that surround them, reaching toward the sky and covered in neon lights that glow in the gathering darkness. He looks around at the crowds moving effortlessly around them. People screaming, shouting, talking, walking close together, some holding hands…
Somewhere in the course of the afternoon on that bench, the anger of the past months has simply evaporated. It's just… gone. Maybe it floated up to the sky above them. Wherever it has gone, what's left in its place is a collection of feelings that he hasn't felt for a while. Guilt. Regret. Sympathy. Empathy, even. The things that have been masked for so long by his feelings of anger and betrayal, which he has allowed to overshadow the rest, as if he alone was the only one hurting.
He shakes his head, only now fully taking in the effects of his actions since his father died, but this time, thinking about the effects on people other than himself. Thinking about how they have effected Jane. Looking down at the ground, he shakes his head sadly.
You did this to yourself, he tells himself, appreciating every bit of the irony.
Sliding off of the bench for the first time all afternoon, he stretches slowly, turning towards her. Her eyes are on the ground, tears on her cheeks. She doesn't acknowledge that he's now standing in front of her, though he knows that she knows he's there. Her breath catches in her throat as he steps directly in front of her.
"I'm sorry," he tells her again, and her head immediately starts shaking quickly back and forth.
"Don't," she chokes out, but she can't manage any other words. If he would just leave her alone… After all, there's nothing he can do for her. She'd thought that physical torture was horrible – and it had been – but she'd been able to escape into her mind. Now… there's no escape from her thoughts, and she can't bear much more of this.
She tries to scoot back, away from him, but he has his hands on her shoulders before she can. She doesn't fight against him, exactly, though he does feel her pushing herself away, weakly attempting to free herself.
If Jane wanted to get away from you, he reasons with himself, she would kick you to the ground in less than a second.
"Jane," he whispers again, "I'm sorry." He'll say it as many times as he needs to, until she believes him.
He's surprised when she relaxes against his hands then. She doesn't lean toward him, but she at least stops pushing away. Ever so slowly, he takes half a step closer, still standing in front of her. She's sitting with her knees folded up in front of her, her arms wrapped around them tightly, her head leaned down against her knees. He's worried because she's shaking her head back and forth, but if she's saying anything, he can't hear her.
"I was so unfair to you. I've been so unfair to you," he says, stepping closer and hoping that she can hear him. The concrete bench is elevated, but she's still noticeably lower than him. Her head stops moving, and he takes that to mean that she can hear him. Her face is still tucked against her knees, but her breathing seems to be more even than it was a minute before, judging from the movement of her shoulders – on which his hands still rest.
He steps forward again, now pressing close to her and squatting awkwardly, tugging her to him gently with both hands. His knees and his back are going to be screaming at him in a few minutes, he knows, but he doesn't give that a second thought. For Jane, he'll take any amount of physical pain. After all, she's endured unspeakable pain – literal torture – simply to protect them.
And how did you repay her? he asks himself. He shudders at the thought of how he has acted over the past months. He doesn't deserve to be forgiven, and he knows it.
He doesn't know what else to do, what else to say. Nothing he can think of saying seems adequate, after all. After about ten minutes without a reaction from her, his back and knees let him know that his position needs to change soon, and honestly, he starts to wonder what he's doing. Maybe it's better if he leaves her alone, after all, like she's been telling him all along.
No, his mind reminds him, you promised yourself that you weren't leaving without her. And you're not.
His arms loosen from around her, and he stands up slowly, just looking down at her.
What do I do now? he asks himself. He's at a loss, which scares him, and he thinks back to all of the times where he knew exactly what to do where Jane was involved. More recently, there had been other times when he chose to pretend that there was nothing he could do for her. But not knowing what to do? This is new.
That's when she finally looks up. Her eyes, like her face, are damp, and the green of her eyes is piercing as she looks at him. He realizes that her eyes are pleading with him… but for what?
There was a time when he would have known. He would have been able to read it just as clearly as if the thought had floated through his own head. There's no one else to blame but himself for the fact that he can't quite read her this time, he knows that now.
He sits back down beside her on the concrete bench, sighing heavily and then turning to look at her. She's watching him now, as if she can't figure something out, but she's still holding back. Instead of asking her what she wants to know from him, he asks his own question.
"How long have you been here?" The team had noticed that she wasn't where they expected her to be when she didn't show up for work in the morning, but judging from the circles under her eyes, he guesses that she's been there for a lot longer than that. She looks away and shrugs. "Jane," he says softly, and takes her hand, slowly, unsurely, ready to let go at any second if she gives an indication that she'd prefer it.
But she doesn't. On the contrary, when his fingers intertwine with his, he feels her hold on tightly, as if she's afraid he'll suddenly disappear. She closes her eyes, breathing deeply a few times, and then opens them, looking back up at him, her face blank. It's almost as though she's made her expression unreadable on purpose.
Why the hell not? she asks herself. What do I have to lose?
"I don't know," she says quietly. "Two o'clock? Two thirty?"
He's been there since around noon, so he knows she means two o'clock or two thirty in the morning.
"Why?" he asks simply.
She shrugs, looks away out at the neon lights that are dancing around them, now that the sky is dark above. It's after six o'clock now. "I've been having… dreams…" Her voice trails off and she doesn't look back at him.
"Nightmares?" he asks quietly. He knows that she used to have those, at first, and it wouldn't surprise him if she's having them again, given everything she'd been through.
But she shakes her head, an anguished look sliding across her face before she manages to regain control of her expression. It's not blank this time, however, and a shadow remains despite what is obviously her best effort at hiding it.
"No," she whispers.
Deciding that she probably wouldn't have said anything if she wasn't willing to talk about it, he decides to ask. After all, what's the worst that can happen? She refuses to answer? "About what?" he asks softly. He doesn't know why, but he finds himself holding his breath as he waits for her answer.
She looks around slowly at the twinkling lights once more, then slowly, her eyes come back to rest on him for a few seconds, as if she's debating whether or not she's going to tell him. "Us," she whispers, looking away. He stares at her, trying to understand what he's just heard. Meanwhile, she won't meet his eyes.
She's been having dreams about… us? Logically, he could have been expected to ask follow up questions, but from the way she had looked at him, and the way she had looked away… he knows.
"It's stupid, I know," she says quickly, in barely a whisper, still refusing to look at him. She hopes that he can't see the blush that she can feel on her cheeks. "Because I know you don't…" She shakes her head, and a shadow passes across her face before she quickly gains control of her expression once again.
He's surprised, to be sure, because it's certainly not something he's thought about in a very, very long time. The two of them. That idea had died a long time ago for him, when he'd found Taylor's body under his childhood campsite. When he'd found out that she wasn't Taylor Shaw in the worst way possible.
When he'd stopped listening to her.
He closes his eyes as a shiver runs down his spine at the memory of that night, of everything that had happened that night, and everything that had happened as a result since then.
But they've slowly moved past that, and now, sitting here with her, he realizes that everything between them doesn't have to be dead. That it isn't dead. Because if it was, he wouldn't still be here, six or seven or however many hours it is later, wouldn't be sitting and holding her hand and wanting nothing more in the entire world than to make her stop crying. He wouldn't be sitting there hating himself for what he has put her through since she came back. And he certainly wouldn't be wondering if…
He surfaces from his thoughts to find tears falling down her cheeks again. They seem to be gaining speed, and she's gripping his hand tightly, starting to gulp for air, as if she can't catch her breath.
It's like watching her heart break, and he knows that it's not for the first time because of him, and it's tearing him up inside… because he knows exactly what that feels like.
Without stopping to think what her reaction might be, he turns towards her and wraps his free arm around her, pulling her tightly into a one armed hug, because there seems to be no chance of her letting go of the hand that she's already holding. She's breathing even faster and more unevenly now, and he rubs his hand across her back slowly. At some point he turns his head so that he can speak closer to her ear, thinking that this may be the only way she'll be able to hear between the din around them and the noise that is likely happening in her head.
"Jane," he whispers. It amazes him, when he thinks back, how many times just saying her name has been enough to say everything he needs to say. Her breathing has slowed down a little, and she seems a little less frantic. He wonders how long she's been holding all this in. Considering that he was always the one she confided in most, he guesses that it's been a very, very long time.
Again, a stab of guilt shoots through him. He could have stepped in and helped her long ago, but he had been so wrapped up in himself he couldn't see that she was hurting too. No, he had refused to see it, refused to care about her, even. Now he feels like scum.
I can't change it, he thinks sadly. If only he could, he would do it in a heartbeat.
It takes a while, but eventually she's still, but he doesn't move, just sits there holding on tightly to her for what feels like a long time. He doesn't mind, except that now he's going on seven or so hours sitting in Times Square with her, and he's ready to go somewhere a little more comfortable. Warmer. With a bathroom and some food, maybe.
He shifts slightly, feels her tensing, and he can't help but smile. "Easy," he says, "I'm not trying to go anywhere." It's as though once she'd allowed him to hold onto her, she had no intention of letting him let go. "I was thinking, however, that maybe we could… go somewhere else? You know… besides this bench? It's not my first choice." He feels her lean into him, feels her nod her head slowly.
It's a little tricky, trying to move slowly from the spot where they've been sitting for so many hours, mostly because she doesn't seem to want to let go of him, or for him to let go of her. When he finally manages to stand up, he feels the bitter wind even more harshly than he had when they'd been huddled together, though he realizes that he hasn't really noticed the temperature for hours. Reaching out his hand, he helps her up to a standing position, and then can't help but smile when she holds tightly to that hand, once again refusing to let go.
Again, it almost feels like they've gone back in time. When he'd arrived in Times Square somewhere between seven and eight hours ago now, he'd been more frustrated with Jane than worried about her, though worry had been there as well. Now… as he stands and looks at her, there are so many things that he remembers about her that he had forgotten. That he had made himself forget, so that he could hate her. Instead, he now hates himself a little bit for the way he's acted, but he decides that he'd rather focus on her, and the way he feels about her. He's not quite sure what he feels about her, but he knows that it's not hate. Not anymore.
He takes the hand that's squeezing his and brings it up slowly to his chest, moving his jacket aside, even though it means that cold air rushes in. He holds her hand there, against the fabric of his shirt, just over his heart, and looks down at her. Neither of them speaks, but they look at each other knowingly, thinking back to that day so long ago.
If he'd had his way, he could have stood there far longer… but he notices her shivering for the first time, and decides that it's time to go.
"Come on," he whispers, "let's go. We'll figure it out." He takes a few steps, letting her hand fall from his chest, but still holding it. She looks at him hesitantly as he tugs at her hand, but still she doesn't move. After a few seconds' pause, he steps closer to her once again.
For a second he thinks about kissing her forehead, remembering the last time he did just that. It feels like another lifetime.
Not yet, he tells himself. It's too much too fast. Which strikes him as hilarious, because they have always moved so slowly, how could anything between them ever go too fast? But he knows there's still a lot to think about, and a lot to talk about, so he lets it go for now.
Instead, he looks deeply into her eyes and squeezes her hand in his.
"Please," he says quietly. "One more chance."
Hoping that he looks as sincere as he feels, he stands there and watches her. For a few seconds, she doesn't move. It feels like an eternity to him, because he's honestly not sure what she's going to say. He's been so horrible to her since she came back, and he really believes that another chance is more than he deserves…
But slowly, she begins to smile. It isn't a big smile, but it is centered in her eyes. Those beautiful green eyes that are looking up at him now. She nods her head just a little and steps forward, leaning her head against his chest. His free arm comes up to wrap around the middle of her back, and once again he has the urge kiss her, this time on the top of her head. Instead, he turns his head to lean his cheek against her hair, his eyes falling closed with relief and, considering how long they've now been there, exhaustion.
"I never asked you," he says, leaning back hesitantly, "Why did you come here?"
She looks up at the lights, sighing heavily, and then back at him. "I didn't even know where I was going, I just had to get out of my house. I was trying to escape those dreams… and then suddenly I was just… here. I guess I just… it's stupid, but maybe deep down I thought that if I came back to where it all began, maybe somehow I could… I don't know. I wanted to just reset time somehow. Go back and make all of my decisions again… undo my mistakes." She looks away for a second, and then feeling his eyes on her, she finally looks back at him.
"Sounds good to me," he says, smiling, as if it all makes perfect sense. She feels a prickling behind her eyes, and wills herself not to cry. She's already done too much of that.
He sees that she's barely holding on – of course he does, because suddenly, that connection that he worked so hard to destroy – though he never quite succeeded – has been restored. And because he can see that she's barely holding on, he simply smiles at her… the way he used to.
"So… ready to go?" he asks her. This time she nods, and falls into step beside him, finally abandoning the bench on which she's spent the better part of the past twenty-four hours. The lights of Times Square shine brightly down on them as they walk away, just as they had shone down on her that first night, the air nearly as chilly, as well.
But this time it's different. Instead of being alone in Times Square, she and Kurt walk hand in hand, melting into the crowd that moves and swirls around them. No one has to call the FBI. They head for the nearest coffee shop, like any pair of normal – and very hungry – people might on a chilly evening.
And just like that, they both get a second chance.