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: "I'm going to write a short Valentine's Day fic," I told myself. Within seconds, of course, I had reminded myself that writing short fics is pretty much impossible for me. Despite the fact that I actively tried to keep this one short, it's going to end up being over 20,000 words. Oh well, sorry not sorry, as they say. It's broken into chapters, but I'm going to do everything I can to post them all today. Valentine's Day, of course. I hope you enjoy this story… I kind of love it, myself. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
Kurt was sitting at his desk, pretending to read through the file in front of him. In reality, he was watching for Jane. He didn't want to miss her reaction to what he'd left on her desk. It was nothing, really, just a little something for Valentine's Day.
The elevator opened a minute later. As soon as he heard the ding, he looked down, glancing up carefully after he heard the doors open. It was Reade and Zapata, and he cursed under his breath. Why the hell were they there so early, anyway? He watched them walk toward their own workstations, and just as he'd expected, he saw Reade walk right by Jane's desk without a second glance, while Zapata's eyes seemed to be drawn to it as if by magnetic force.
As Kurt watched from behind the glass wall of his office, Zapata said something to Reade, who turned around, already rolling his eyes at her and walking back towards where she was standing by Jane's desk. She was motioning towards it, her movements exaggerated, while Reade just shook his head in disinterest, turning and walking away again, back towards his desk. Zapata followed him, finally, and Kurt was relieved to see that she hadn't disturbed Jane's desk, only studied it.
A few seconds later, as Reade and Zapata had settled down in their chairs, the elevator dinged again. Kurt once again glanced down, raising his eyes carefully. This time it was Jane, he noted with nervous anticipation. He had also noticed that Zapata and Reade were now watching Jane to see her reaction, which, of course, wasn't quite ideal… but it couldn't be helped.
Jane reached her desk and looked at it as if she'd never seen it before. Her smile was self-conscious and a little nervous. Glancing around, she found Zapata and Reade watching her, but when her eyes went to Kurt, sitting at his desk behind the glass that separated his office from the bullpen, he appeared to be involved in whatever was in front of him.
Not knowing whether to be confused and disappointed or just plain confused by his apparent lack of attention, she sat down and stared at her desk. In front of her were ten Hershey's kisses wrapped in red foil, arranged in the shape of a heart. While she hated to spoil the effect, which was really very cute. It had been sweet of whoever had arranged them, but she couldn't exactly get any work done with them sitting there… And besides, she was getting more than a little attention from passers-by because of them, as well as Zapata and Reade, who she could feel watching her like a hawk without even looking at them – well, Zapata was watching, anyway.
After staring at the shape for another minute, smiling to herself, she pushed them into a straight line at the left side of her desk, out of her way but still sitting in front of her, so that she could go about her work.
There weren't a lot of people who would have – or could have – left them there for her. It wouldn't have been Zapata or Reade, Patterson wasn't even in yet… her most logical guess would have been Weller, though it was a little bit… over the top for him. After all, they'd only just started feeling comfortable around each other again. Yes, she'd taken a risk when she'd shown up at his place with beer a few weeks ago, and that risk seemed to have paid off. Things between them seemed to be… good. They'd talked comfortably for the first time in what felt like lifetimes, and it had been even more of a relief than she had expected, or than she'd wanted to admit to herself.
And then, of course, there'd been the revelation about Shepherd, and the night had gone back to being about work. She didn't blame him for that, of course, because the fact that Jane had found a picture of Shepherd in his high school yearbook had had chilling ramifications. He was legitimately and understandably shaken.
And yet, she couldn't help but be discouraged. After all, somehow it seemed like everything between them always turned back to work if only they waited long enough. Of course, that was how they'd met, so it really shouldn't have been a surprise. But it wasn't so much a surprise as a disappointment to her. For once, she wished that they could have had a little bit of time just for them… whatever that meant. Not Jane the consultant and Agent Weller… Just Jane and Kurt.
Since then, things had been… fine. He'd smiled at her more, spoken to her more familiarly… he was the epitome of professional, of course, but there was something else in his tone and in his eyes.
He's finally started treating you like a human being again, she told herself. Don't get yourself excited. She knew better than to think it was anything more than that. After all, with all they'd been through, they were lucky to be on speaking terms. She couldn't let herself get her hopes up.
Besides, she'd decided just a few days before, after a conversation with Roman, to take a chance, to do something outside of what the FBI told her to do. She'd gone out with Oliver again, and it had been… nice. He'd hadn't held it against her for the way she'd left things abruptly between them the previous time they'd gone out, and she was grateful for that. From what she could tell, he was a genuinely good guy, and she'd had a nice time. She liked Oliver. He was…
Nice? the voice in her head asked, slightly mockingly. That would be the third time you used that word to describe him or being with him in the last minute, it pointed out. Is that what you're looking for? Nice?
Well it's not like I have a ton of options, she reminded herself. And he is a nice guy. Why is that a bad thing? Am I supposed to want to go out with someone who's not nice? Because that doesn't sound right to me.
If all he is is nice, the voice said, hesitating before continuing, well, is that… enough?
We've been out twice, we're not getting married, she answered herself in frustration. It's not as though there's anyone else who's interested in me, anyway, she added, feeling something tug inside her chest unexpectedly.
Jane had brushed the heart shape to the side of her desk, Weller noted, and she had started working. He also noticed, as he watched the bullpen, that Zapata was still glancing at Jane now and then. It could have been because she felt like she was being scrutinized by Zapata, or maybe it was something else, but he couldn't help but think that Jane looked like she had something on her mind. Just then, his phone dinged, and when he looked down, he had a text from Patterson which read, "I've got something." Looking up, it appeared that the rest of the team had gotten the same text at the same time, because they all stood up and began making their way to her lab.
Kurt caught up with Jane in the hall, where she was walking behind Zapata and Reade. "Morning," he said, trying to keep the amusement out of his voice. After all, she didn't know he'd left the chocolate on her desk, even if he felt like he should have been the most likely guess.
"Good morning," she replied, glancing at him with a small smile that, if she suspected something, gave nothing away. "Any idea what Patterson has for us?"
He shook his head, honestly having no idea what she'd found. "Nope," he replied, "your guess is as good as mine." Jane nodded, looking ahead as they neared the door and slowing behind Zapata and Reade as they waited to file through the door to the lab. He felt her glance at him once more, and wondered if he was imagining it or if she was looking at him with suspicion, but the feeling was gone in an instant, and they were inside with the others before he had another chance to wonder.
It only took a few minutes for Patterson to outline her latest findings, which related to one of the tattoos on the back of Jane's shoulder, one that was so small they'd barely noticed it until now. Zapata and Reade were being sent out to follow up on a lead, while Jane was on her way back to her desk to research a suspect and Kurt was going to reach out to a few contacts to see if he could shake out any more leads. It was all very… routine.
What Jane found when she got back to her desk, however, was very not routine. Apparently in the short time that she'd been in Patterson's lab, a large bouquet of flowers had been delivered to her desk. She stopped short, several feet away, staring at it in confusion.
What in the world? she wondered.
Zapata had stopped at her desk to get her things before heading out, and she walked up beside Jane at that moment. "Wow," she said. "Who's that from?" She would have guessed Weller, except that… it didn't seem like his kind of gesture. The two of them worked together, after all, and as much as things seemed to be maybe going in that direction again between the two of them, this big a gesture seemed very unlike him, especially this early.
"I don't know," Jane said hesitantly.
"Well, go find out," Zapata prodded her, dying to know the answer to this mystery before she went anywhere.
"Oh, right," Jane said self-consciously, stepping forward toward the bouquet on her desk as if it was going to bite her. Approaching it slowly, she stopped when it was just barely within arms' length, reaching up carefully, as if she really did expect it to lunge at her, and plucking the small paper envelope from the holder sticking out of the flowers.
Zapata had walked up behind her, pretending to have only the most casual interest, when really she was dying to know who had sent Jane the flowers. They were beautiful, after all.
Jane opened the card slowly, as if she was afraid to know who it was from. Or maybe she was afraid of who it wasn't from…
What's wrong? the voice in her head asked. Who do you want it to be from? Who do you think it's from?
Without dignifying the voice with a response to either question, she slowly slid the small notecard out of the envelope, revealing a handwritten message. Jane, Happy Valentine's Day. I look forward to getting to know you better. Oliver"
Zapata, of course, was shamelessly reading over Jane's shoulder. When she read the message, her mouth dropped open. Oliver? Who's that? And oh my God, Weller is going to flip out when he sees this.
Looking up, Zapata saw that Weller was indeed seeing this, watching carefully from behind the glass wall of his office. She'd caught him staring at Jane, and a grin spread across her face. The look on his face at that moment that she'd looked up had told her all that she needed to know. Weller was not happy with this development, that much was obvious.
Turning her attention back to Jane, Zapata nudged her good naturedly in the side. "So, who's Oliver?" she asked teasingly. Jane, of course, turned bright red, already feeling uncomfortable without Zapata's prodding, but even more so with it. She could only hope that no one else was watching, but she didn't dare look around to find out.
"Oh, he, uh… I met him at that museum gala, where we were undercover," she stammered.
"Wait, was that the guy who made that big speech? About water?" Zapata asked, her eyes narrowing slightly as she remembered. He'd been a good-looking guy, Australian accent… yep, this would work out even better than she'd thought. He was definitely someone Weller would be jealous of. And judging from Weller's initial reaction, not just a little jealous.
"What? Oh, yeah, he was," Jane replied, more uncomfortable with this conversation by the minute and hoping that Zapata would get moving. Weller had told her to go with Reade to run down a lead, after all. Jane wanted nothing more than to hide the flowers under her desk and get on with her work before she had to answer any more questions. And please, please, before Kurt saw them. She couldn't put her finger on why she should dread him seeing them more than anyone else… after all, it wasn't though there was anything between them. They were barely even back to being friends, for goodness sake.
Really? We're going to pretend you don't know why you don't want him to see them? the voice in her head asked sarcastically. You know you can't hide your thoughts from your own head, right?
Shut up, Jane told the voice. There's nothing going on with us.
But you wish there was, the voice replied with a certainty that made her squirm.
I do not, she protested.
Okay, fine, you don't, the voice relented, in a tone that told her that it didn't for a second believe her.
Meanwhile, Zapata was still standing beside her, apparently having nowhere better to be. "So, how many times have you been out with him?" she asked, her interest now piqued.
"Oh, um, I guess… uh… twice," Jane replied, once again almost too flustered to speak. There was really no way to quantify how badly she would rather be fighting deadly bomb-wielding terrorists than Zapata's questions about Oliver just then.
Why are you so nervous? the voice in her head asked, clearly enjoying the scene just as much as Zapata appeared to be.
"Wow, that's a lot of flowers for two dates," Zapata observed innocently. Jane said nothing, just nodded.
From inside his office, Weller watched the women conversing. Zapata had looked up and caught him watching, and he already knew what she'd say the next chance he got. Thankfully, he knew that even as outspoken as she was, even she would do so when they were alone, and not in front of Jane – of that much he was certain. Still, even though he hated that he couldn't look away, his problem was just that. He could not look away. The sight of that huge bouquet of flowers on Jane's desk, knowing that someone else had sent it to her…
Who in the world sent her those flowers? he wondered in frustration. It was none of his business, he knew that absolutely for certain. They'd only recently gotten back on comfortable speaking terms, and she owed him nothing.
Nothing? he asked himself. Really? After everything she did?
We're not doing this again, he told himself. She made mistakes, but her intentions were good. She's still Jane, no matter how much I wish things had happened differently… When it counts, she's on the right side. And no, she doesn't owe me anything. The two of us… it's just… He looked down at his desk, putting a hand up to rub his temple. It was too complicated. It always had been, really, and at this point, it was worse than complicated. It was impossible.
It's not impossible and you know it, the voice in his head insisted. Stop making excuses.
Apparently she's already moved on, he thought, and was surprised to realize how much that thought bothered him.
She spends most of her time here, the voice reminded him. Here… with you. And you two have a bond that, despite everything, hasn't broken. That's not nothing, you know. Whatever is going on outside here, in her life, it can't possibly be that serious… yet. But if you do nothing… well, not only will you never know, but maybe it will get serious. And that will be on you.
Dammit, he thought in frustration. Looking up again, he saw Zapata saying something to Jane and then walking away, a smirk on her face, to join Reade at the elevator. He watched as Jane picked up the bouquet and pushed back her chair, looking down by her feet. She seemed to be considering putting the flowers under her desk, if he wasn't mistaken, but seemed to think better of it.
You could go out there and say something about them now, before she manages to hide them somewhere, the voice in his head suggested. Maybe you'll get some information about where they came from… you know, just in conversation.
It's none of my business, he told the voice, despite the fact that he desperately wanted to know who had sent her the flowers. His little display of Hershey's kisses in the shape of a heart had certainly been forgotten by now. What was I trying to do with that, anyway? he asked himself.
You were thinking that it was a cute thing to do, and it was. But it's not flowers… the voice said tauntingly.
I'm not going out there to talk about the flowers, he thought, now getting frustrated.
Have it your way, the voice said, relenting, but just be sure you're willing to deal with the consequences of doing nothing.
That was the part that got him, because he knew that whatever happened, he'd have only himself to blame. Attempting to go back over the files that he'd been trying to go through since coming back from Patterson's lab, so that he could figure out which of his contacts he should be contacting for help on the case, he found his eyes once again wandering to Jane. He was just about to look away when he saw that she had her phone pressed to her ear. Not the phone on her desk, but her cell phone. Whoever she was talking to, it was making her smile.
Damn, she's beautiful.
The thought was fully formed before he had a chance to stop it. Almost choking on the breath that he inhaled immediately afterwards, he looked down to try to calm his suddenly racing pulse, and to catch his breath. The glass wall of his office was both a blessing and a curse, that much was clear.
When Zapata had finally decided she'd had enough fun giving Jane a hard time and gone to meet Reade, who was waiting for her impatiently by the elevator, Jane had breathed a sigh of relief. Her first thought had been what she could do with the flowers… where she could hide them. Scooting back her chair, she looked under her desk. Unfortunately, there really wasn't much room under there, and the stems were insanely long. They would have hit the underside of her desk. Besides, she thought, knowing me, I'd knock them over and then have a giant puddle under my desk. That's all I need.
Instead, she replaced them on her desk, at the far end, where she liked to think they were less obvious, though she knew that she was kidding herself. With a nervous sigh, still not looking around, she picked up her phone from beside her keyboard and clicked the screen until she had Oliver's name and phone number in front of her. Taking a deep breath, she clicked call, and put the phone to her ear. The ring sounded impossibly loud, and she was suddenly afraid that the entire office could hear it.
Calm down, she told herself in annoyance. You're being paranoid.
"Hello?" Oliver's voice sounded clearly in her ear just then, after only two rings.
"Oh, uh, hi Oliver, it's Jane," she said nervously.
"Hey, Jane. How're you going?" It was an Australian expression that she'd only just come to understand meant 'How are you?' or 'How're you doing?' as opposed to being a combination of 'How are you?' and 'Where are you going?' as she'd first thought.
"Um, great, thank you… I just wanted to call and say, uh, thank you for the flowers," she told him nervously, hoping that her voice wasn't shaking as much as she felt like it was. "They're beautiful."
"You're welcome," he said, sounding pleased. "I'm glad you like them."
"Yes, they're… I've never seen them put together this way before," she said, trying to cover for the fact that she didn't know what most of the flowers in the bouquet were even called, despite a feeling that this was information that anyone else would probably have known. "It was a wonderful surprise, thanks."
On the other end of the line, he chuckled easily. "I'm happy to hear it," he said, sounding not at all self-conscious.
Which makes him the exact opposite of me right now, Jane thought, as she struggled to think of what to say next. "Well, I should get back to work, I just wanted to—"
"Wait, Jane," Oliver said quickly. "I know it's last second, but I was wondering… if you would have dinner with me tonight?" He sounded so uncertain, all of a sudden, and she felt badly for trying to rush him off the phone. "I mean, I know that it's Valentine's Day and it will be impossible to get a reservation anywhere fancy, but I just thought, if you don't have plans, of course…"
"I'd love to," she replied. "We just got a new case at work, so I'm not sure exactly what my day's going to be like, but if I can make it, I absolutely will." This, after all, was the honest truth. She had no idea where the day would take her, and she'd been working with the FBI long enough to know that few days actually turned out the way she expected them to – especially the ones that started out quietly, as today had so far. She knew better than to make promises that she'd just have to break.
"Fair enough," Oliver said on the other end of the phone. "I'll get back to you later, and we can see how your day's going, then?"
Jane couldn't help but smile, for several reasons. First of all, at how sweet it was that he'd asked her to go to dinner with him on a day when a date could be interpreted as such a big deal. She didn't see the fuss, but she'd heard enough of the hype surrounding Valentine's Day in the past few days, and it seemed like it could be rather intense. Secondly, it was sweet of him to be so understanding about her crazy schedule. Not everyone would have been as casual about her 'sure-I'll-go-to-dinner-with-you-if-I-don't-have-to-work," response. And third, well… honestly, it was just nice to be asked out to dinner. No, it was just nice to think that she might be having dinner with another person. The last time she'd spent conversing with anyone socially outside of work who wasn't a clerk in a store where she'd stopped to pick something up had been…
Almost two weeks before, when she'd gone by Kurt's place with the beer that he liked. Of course, there was nothing that said that that couldn't happen again, and there was nothing to say that it wouldn't. But so far it just hadn't. Besides, it was different with Kurt. It wasn't as easy. After all, things were different with him, and so very complicated. There was too much baggage, too much between them that weighed them down… she couldn't very well expect things to just go back to the way they'd been… not after everything she'd put him though. No matter how much she might wish that they could – which she did, of course.
But wishing for something didn't make it happen, and she couldn't ask him to overlook that much. It wouldn't be fair of her. She was just grateful that they seemed to have moved past things enough to be friends.
"That sounds great. Thanks again, Oliver," she said.
"I'll talk to you later then," he replied warmly, "Have a great day."
"You, too. Bye."
She didn't even realized how broadly she was smiling until she accidentally looked up and caught Kurt watching her, at which point her face froze, and she suddenly felt completely ridiculous, as though she was grinning like an idiot. He nodded at her, the look on his face serious but not unfriendly, as if he was thinking about something specific. She'd seen that look on his face many times, but it didn't always seem to mean the same thing. On the contrary, she was beginning to wonder if that was the look he put on his face when he didn't want her to be able to guess what he was thinking.
Fixing her expression into a more neutral one, she smiled at him the way she usually did – a small, slightly apologetic, slightly guilty smile. Not because she'd been talking to Oliver, or because he'd sent her flowers. No, those weren't the things she felt guilty for, when it came to Kurt. She felt guilty for the way things had played out between them. For the lies she'd told him and the way she'd deceived him. That night at his apartment, she'd felt those things less, maybe because of the fact that they were outside the office. Maybe here, in this environment, they weighed more heavily on her mind. Whatever it was, the slight, guilty smile that she felt on her face now, looking up at Kurt, was a completely different one that she knew she'd been wearing when talking to – or thinking about, for that matter – Oliver, just a minute ago.
One for the past, and one for the present, she thought, and found that the thought made her sad. She didn't want to think of Kurt as her past, after all. Especially not when he was looking right at her.
Well, I guess you should have thought of that before you did all the things you did to ruin everything, the voice in her head told her. Once again, you did this to yourself.
She managed to look away before her smile faltered, which she counted as her only victory just then, and hoped that he hadn't seen it happen. Unable to bring herself to look up again, her eyes darted to the flowers at the end of her desk. She stood up out of her chair to pluck the small envelope from the card holder, sitting back down and tucking it inside her desk drawer, out of sight. Glancing back up at her monitor, she realized that since she'd gotten back from Patterson's lab quite some time ago, so far she'd accomplished nothing – except talking to Oliver, which didn't exactly count as productive.
Sighing, she clicked her mouse to open the database she planned to use to search for more information. It was at that second, however, that the plan for the day changed completely.