Disclaimer: I do not own Blindspot. More like it's the other way around… I've come to realize that THEY own ME. :)
It felt like days before a nurse reappeared to tell Kurt that he could follow her back to Jane's room. Visiting hours were beginning, by the end of which she would be ready to be discharged, unless something had changed in her condition or the doctor decided that she needed further observation. Though the walk to Jane's room at the other end of the floor wasn't long, per se, it felt as though it took years. When he was finally standing in the doorway and the nurse left him there, peering into the room at Jane as she slept, for a second he couldn't make himself go any closer.
Of course, this hesitation didn't last. What he'd wanted more than anything for all the time that he'd been forced to remain in the waiting room was to be by her side, and he certainly wasn't about to squander the chance now. He walked past the room's other occupant, who was staring at the TV that played quietly opposite her bed, over to Jane. There was a chair just beside her bed, and he pulled it up so that he could sit near her head.
Glancing at her as she appeared to be sleeping peacefully, he had the urge to reach out for her, though he knew that he shouldn't disturb her. She needed her rest, after all. The urge to hold onto her, for some tangible evidence that she actually was there in front of him, and that she was alright, however, was stronger than his willpower and his promise to himself to let her sleep, and before he knew it, he'd taken her hand between both of his. Almost immediately she stirred, her eyes fluttering open, and to his immense relief, she smiled at him. He didn't know why, but something felt different. He swore that she hadn't smiled at him that way since… before. Yes, it had been a very long time since he'd seen that particular smile on her face.
Or, you're just imagining it, he reminded himself.
She didn't know what had woken her up at first, as she was stirred to consciousness yet again. It was probably another nurse coming by for one thing or another, she decided. But no, something was different. As she always did when she woke up, she took a status report from her senses before she even opened her eyes. That was when she identified what was different. There was a light pressure around her right hand. Someone was holding her hand.
Who could it be? she wondered. And then all of a sudden the events of the previous day and night that had been lost to her in her exhaustion began to trickle back, building to a flood within seconds. She was ninety-nine percent sure that it was Kurt. When she opened her eyes slowly, and her suspicions were confirmed, she felt a smile take over her face completely without her even having to try. Indeed, she was so flooded with relief to see him there, and by the fact that he was the one holding her hand, it almost took her breath away.
She hadn't felt so genuinely, simply glad to see him since… When had it been? A very, very long time ago, before all of the mess between them had started. Somehow, she suddenly knew that all that was behind them now. Now, however it had suddenly happened, she felt… lighter was the only way to describe it. Like she could simply be genuine relieved and happy to see him there, and the rest of it didn't matter.
"Hey," he said tiredly, "Are you okay?"
The warmth he could see in her smile intensified – which he hadn't thought was possible – and she nodded slowly. "Yeah," she replied softly. "Doing a little better… just… sore… and tired."
He nodded, knowing that that was completely normal reaction. After all, he'd been shot more than a few times over the years. It didn't really get easier, and he wasn't nearly as good a patient as she was being this time. He recalled checking himself out of the hospital against doctor's orders more than once, actually.
"You look like hell," she told him, suddenly noticing that he looked terrible. She couldn't see herself, but she hoped that she didn't look as bad as he did. "You stayed in the waiting room all night? You didn't get any sleep?"
His smile gave it all away, so he just shook his head slowly, knowing that he wasn't about to lie to her. Not about something so stupid. No, scratch that. He wasn't going to lie to her, period. Not ever again. They had done enough of that.
"No, I… tried to sleep on some chairs, but it… kinda sucked. I didn't sleep," he admitted, looking down to avoid seeing her shaking her head at him, and then back up seconds later because he simply couldn't resist the pull that he felt towards her.
"You should have gone home. There was nothing you could do for me in the waiting room," she told him softly.
He grinned then, and he replied, "Yeah… I knew you'd say that."
"So why didn't you?" she asked, shaking her head at him.
With a shrug, he looked away again, then mumbled, "I didn't want to leave you here alone." He didn't look back at her immediately, and when he did, their eyes met in a look of understanding.
Okay, so we're on the same page, they seemed to be saying to each other. Finally… we understand each other.
"That was sweet," she whispered. "Ridiculous… but sweet." He chuckled quietly at how ridiculous he felt just then, because she called him ridiculous and he had taken it as a compliment.
Maybe it helped that she'd said 'ridiculous and sweet,' he thought.
Maybe it helped that she's Jane, the voice in his head offered helpfully.
Maybe, he allowed.
"So now you look like hell, because of me," she said, the smile still firmly intact on her face. She wasn't laughing at him, he knew, and yet there was laughter in her eyes. It made him slightly giddy just to be sitting there beside her, holding her hand in his, which was definitely a new feeling for him.
"You're really good with the compliments this morning, you know that?" he asked her, his eyes dancing happily.
She laughed and blushed, realizing that she'd not only just called him ridiculous but now said that he looked like hell. Which he was, and he did, in her defense, but maybe she wasn't being quiet as tactful as she could be… At least he didn't seem to be taking it badly…
"I'm sorry," she said, pretending to look away sheepishly but then peering back up at him with a smile. "I guess I'm not any better at giving compliments than I am at taking them."
"Wait, which one of those was the compliment?" he asked, pretending to be alarmed, "Ridiculous or looks like hell?"
Her smile grew wider still, and he couldn't help but think that she hadn't looked so happy in a long, long time. "Hey!" she protested in mock indignation. "I also said you were sweet!"
"Okay, yes you did," he told her soothingly. "That is one compliment and two insults."
"Not that you're keeping score, of course," she said, feigning sarcasm, but grinning. Her tone was warm and the only teasing was good-natured, the kind of banter that up until then they had only been slowly re-learning how to do. It felt as though all of a sudden, it had come back to them.
Leaning forward tiredly, he balanced his elbows against his knees, his hands still holding hers gently as he raised her hand up toward his face. Moving his left hand out of the way so that he could kiss the back of her hand gently, he lowered it again very slowly as he replaced his hand left around hers, holding on even a little tighter than before.
Once again, the words of the nurse from the night before floated through her mind.
Oh, honey, that man is so clearly in love with you…
It probably should have been awkward after that, and she couldn't help but think that any other day out of all the ones since she'd come back to the FBI, it would have been. Except that suddenly, as he sat beside her hospital bed and held onto her hand with both of his, what he had just done – kissing her hand – hadn't felt awkward at all. On the contrary, it had felt… like he suddenly understood just what had been going on in his own head.
He stared into her eyes, trying to gauge her reaction, and he noticed that her smile didn't falter. Actually, he swore that it actually got brighter, and that her expression grew softer, before his eyes. This, in turn, only made him smile at her even more earnestly than before, letting go of a breath that he hadn't known that he was holding.
It's going to be okay, he thought in wonder, allowing himself to believe it for the first time in what felt like forever. We are going to be okay. Whatever that means.
A doctor came in then, bustling through the door and greeting both of them, as they looked up in surprise. He asked how Jane was feeling, and they chatted about her injuries. The doctor said that he saw no reason why Jane couldn't be discharged in just a little while, as planned. "Assuming, of course, that you understand that you're going to need to rest."
The doctor stressed the word 'rest' emphatically, looking from one of them to the other. Clearly he was already suspicious of whether or not she would take this idea seriously, whether he was just guessing randomly, or he could somehow tell from looking at her. It was also clear to the doctor that, based on the fact that Kurt was holding Jane's hand, especially because he continued to hold her hand as the doctor stood in front of them, that this man was going to have something to say about it, and hopefully, that he would convince her to rest.
Jane nodded solemnly, hating the idea of rest but for once, knowing that she wasn't going to get away with anything else, if for no other reason than Kurt would do whatever he needed to do to make it happen. And though the feeling was slightly uncomfortable to her, knowing that she had no choice, at the same time, she was surprised to find that she liked it, this feeling.
That's what it feels like when someone cares, the voice in her head informed her. But don't act like he just started caring about you, or that you didn't know that he's cared about you before now. You know that's not true. She smiled in spite of herself then, knowing that the voice was right. It had been a blessing and a curse as things had happened the way they had, but she could not deny that she knew it – he had always cared about her.
"She's going to rest, don't worry about that," Kurt informed the doctor, turning to look at Jane as if daring her to contradict him. She could only smile at him in surprise. Maybe, just maybe, she could get used to surrendering just a little control… after all, if it meant feeling like this…
"I promise," she said, smiling at Kurt and then turning to the doctor, nodding at him as well.
"Good," said the doctor. "I'll get the paperwork started." With that, he turned and walked out.
Jane watched the door, suddenly feeling shy about looking Kurt in the eyes. Her smiled had dimmed, though not disappeared, as she'd tried to occupy her thoughts with something… anything really… but she was suddenly coming up blank. When she felt him squeeze her hand between his, her smile renewed itself automatically, and she turned slowly to look back at him.
She wasn't ready to talk about it, whatever this was that was happening between them, but she would if that was what he wanted. When her eyes came to rest on his, however, there were no questions in his face, only a tired smile.
"Looks like we both need to rest today," she ventured, to which he nodded slowly.
"Agreed," he said, stifling a yawn. "I've already informed the office that I'm taking the day off."
Her eyes widened in a dramatic display of pretend shock, as she replied, "Wait… you?Take a day off?"
Rolling his eyes at her and chuckling, he just shook his head. "Exactly. You see what you're doing to me?"
Despite his smile and his joking expression, she seemed to take his words more seriously than he'd meant them, and her smile dimmed as her face clouded over. "I'm sorry," she said, looking down at the edge of the bed that lay between them.
"No… Jane," he said quickly, almost amused by her ability to blame herself for just about anything, even something that hadn't contained an ounce of blame for anyone. "Hey," he said, but her eyes remained fixed between them, on their hands. Scooting his chair as close to the bed as he could, his knees against the metal frame, he leaned his arms against the edge of the mattress, pulling himself down as far as he could into her field of vision since she'd refused to look up at him.
She smiled just the tiniest bit when she saw what he was doing to get her attention, but her eyes remained fixed. "That wasn't a criticism, Jane," he said, attempting not to sound as desperate as he suddenly felt. "What you are doing to me, if you want to use that phrase, are all good things. Getting me to take a day off to sleep after I've been up all night is something that I've failed to do far too many times. I don't usually take care of myself like that. But I know that if I don't, I won't be any help to you. And that's all I want… is to be someone who has the chance to be good to you. And good for you. I've always been driven and focused, just because of… everything…"
He paused, knowing that no further explanation was necessary, then continued. "But you've made me realize that it's not enough. And maybe it took for us to go through so many horrible things, and for me to have to work so hard to get my head on straight again, only to have to worry about losing you again, twice in one day, before I finally realized just how unable I'd be to go on… if…" His voice was cracking now, and he stopped to collect himself.
Twice in one day? she thought, now confused. Well, I guess he thought he might lose me when he saw me get shot yesterday… I guess in that moment, it would have been terrifying to watch… I certainly would have felt that way if I'd had to watch him get shot… And she knew this first hand, of course, because she had seen him get shot before, right in front of her, of course. But twice in one day?
Her mind ran through the events of the previous day as she tried to figure out what in the world the second thing could have been. Maybe he wasn't thinking of yesterday, she thought… but then what day would it have been?
And then it hit her, all of a sudden. He wasn't talking about losing her in the way that she was thinking of, as in that she would have died. No, the second way that he'd thought he'd lost her was less… literal.
Oliver, she thought. She'd completely forgotten about Oliver since the moment she'd hung up the phone with him.
Of course, when it came to Oliver, she'd done nothing wrong. Not that there was a tally sheet between them, of course, but after all, Allie was having his baby… so clearly it wasn't as though he felt like she wasn't allowed to go out with anyone else. It wasn't a matter of control, and she knew that. Until yesterday, it never would have occurred to her to think twice about going out with Oliver.
Her thoughts moved slowly along the timeline, trying to find the parts she had missed. She'd been out with Oliver twice, with a great deal of time in between, and while she had told him that she'd had a good time, and she was pretty sure that she'd said that she'd go out with him again… no plans had been made. Yes, Oliver was a nice enough guy… she had had fun with him, and he'd been incredibly kind and understanding when she hadn't wanted to talk about so many different things. Many of which, she couldn't talk about. Would never be able to talk about, really, or would never want to talk about. At least, not for a very, very long time.
And how exactly do you build a relationship that way? she wondered.
And then there was Kurt, who knew all of it. Who had, as far as she could tell, seemed to have loved her for as long as he had known her. Yes, their baggage was crushingly heavy sometimes, but somehow when they were together, the weight of it, when balanced correctly, felt perfectly manageable. It hadn't always, of course, but it did now. The rest of it, the future… well, they could figure it out… if they both wanted to. As recently as yesterday morning, it had seemed impossible. But now…
She wanted to. And it was pretty clear that he did, too.
Which only left one question, really… but it was a big one: What now?
Having been so lost in her own thoughts, she'd just realized that his forehead was lying on top of their three hands, there on the bed in between them. Their hands were still clamped together, her right between both of his. If she'd been able to turn adequately to bring her left hand over, she would have smoothed it over his hair in a comforting gesture… but she didn't have that kind of range of motion. If she had, she probably wouldn't have been there in the hospital at all, of course.
So instead she did her best to squeeze his hand. "Kurt," she whispered softly. Slowly, he lifted his head, and the look on his face was enough to make her feel guilty for putting him through such an emotional ringer when he'd sat up all night, because of her. "You're not going to lose me," she told him, smiling even though she felt herself fighting back tears and quickly losing the battle.
He bit his lip then, knowing that she had understood exactly what he'd meant when he'd talked about being afraid he'd lost her twice in one day. Of course she did. Their connection was strong once again. Nodding as a fresh wave of exhaustion overtook him, he simply nodded at her. "Good," was all he said.
Mercifully, a nurse came in then with Jane's discharge instructions, and Jane was surprised to see that it was the same nurse who had helped her out of the car the night before. "Good morning," the woman said warmly. "Well, afternoon soon. I hear you're going to be going home in a minute, as soon as we go over a few things and sign some paperwork."
"Yes," Jane replied. "I'm beyond ready."
"I'll bet," the nurse said. Jane noticed now that she was wearing a nametag that read "Jessica," and that Jessica was looking back and forth between the two of them with great interest.
"Okay, so what do I need to know?" Jane asked, eager to get it over with. They spent the next five minutes going over instructions for her care as she recovered, most of which Jane already knew, but listened to patiently, pretending she hadn't heard it all before. She'd never actually followed most of it before, after all. Kurt sat beside her, nodding seriously, and Jane knew that he intended to enforce these guidelines to the letter. Again, she would have been annoyed except that… she actually liked the feeling that he cared enough about her to be so… overzealous.
It's not overzealous to want you to get better, the voice in her head reminded her. Clearly, this was going to take a while to get used to.
Jessica finished going over her discharge information, and had Jane sign a few forms, and then she was informed that they would take her downstairs in a wheelchair and that Kurt could pull the car up after which they were free to go. Jane nodded, feeling relieved to be leaving, as Jessica left the room to get a wheelchair. Only one thing was still bothering Jane, and that was the uncertainty that she'd ended up with earlier – when it came to herself and Kurt…
She and Kurt were still smiling at each other, tiredly but happily, when Jessica returned a moment later with the wheelchair. Kurt helped Jane slowly down from the bed and into the wheelchair, and Jessica walked alongside them as they wound their way through the hallways, into the elevator, and then back out through the lobby. When they reached the main entrance, exiting through the door into which they'd come the night before, the sunlight was blinding, and the air was cool but not cold. Considering that it was February in New York, they couldn't have asked for nicer weather.
Kurt left Jane sitting by the curb as he jogged off to get his car. As soon as he was out of earshot, Jane turned to look at Jessica, surprised to find her smiling down at her knowingly. "You were right," Jane told her simply.
Jessica nodded, looking pleased. "I know," she told Jane. "So you can see it now, too?"
"I can," Jane said, feeling happiness bubbling over inside of her.
"You love him, too. I can tell," Jessica said quietly. Jane's smile just widened, as she looked down at her lap. She knew that she was blushing, but there was no reason in the world not to. After all, it was the truth… and dammit, she'd been through enough to have earned any little bit of happiness she could get.
Kurt pulled the car up to the curb then, leaving it running as he got out and walked around to help Jane inside. He looked up at Jessica and smiled warmly, suddenly remembering her from the night before. "Thanks for your help," he told her, to which she nodded.
"You're very welcome," she replied. "You both take good care."
"Will do," Kurt replied, then turned his attention to Jane, helping her to stand up carefully. Helping her into the car even more slowly, attempting to keep her from jarring her injured side. As soon as she was seated, Jane turned to look out the window, smiling happily at Jessica before turning her attention back to Kurt, who was now sitting on her left and helping her with her seatbelt, just as he had the day before.
"Did you eat today?" he asked her, suddenly realizing that he hadn't eaten in… Well, suffice it to say that it made sense why his stomach was suddenly making the noises it was making. The standoff they'd ended up on the day before had started before lunch time, they'd been sitting in the ER at dinner time, and he'd spent half the night in the waiting room. By his estimate, he hadn't eaten for more than twenty-four hours.
No wonder I feel like both falling over and eating anything and everything, he thought.
"Not much," she replied, trying to remember if she'd eaten anything off of the tray they'd brought her that morning. Come to think of it, she was pretty sure that she hadn't.
"What about yesterday?" he asked her, fairly sure that 'not much' meant no, and that her answer was going to end up being the same as his, just because they'd been together almost the entire previous day.
"Um, I had breakfast yesterday…" she said hesitantly.
"Something besides coffee?" he asked, almost accusingly.
When she scoffed slightly, he knew that that answer was also 'no.' So she hadn't eaten in… what? Two days?
"Jesus, Jane," he muttered under his breath. "And I thought I was bad. At least I had breakfast yesterday…" He turned to glance at her as he pulled out onto the road, and was surprised to see that she was grinning at him.
"Yep, we're quite a pair," she agreed happily, as if he'd been laughing about their matching poor eating habits, and not criticizing them. This made him chuckle in spite of himself, and his mood was immediately lightened. After all, he couldn't change the way the past few days had gone… but much like the past year or so, if it had gone any differently… well, who knew? They may or may not have ended up where they were at that moment. And really, how in the world could he wish away something that had brought him to such a good place? It was impossible.
"And I suppose there's no food in your house? As usual?" he asked her. His tone was somewhere between friendly and accusatory, but he knew that it was borne out of his genuine concern for her well-being.
Rolling her eyes and smiling, she replied, "Guilty."
"What am I going to do with you?" he asked, pretending to be exasperated with her.
She looked thoughtful for a few seconds and then replied, despite the fact that his question had been completely rhetorical. "Knowing you, I'm guessing you're going to park outside the grocery store and tell me to stay in the car and rest, and they you're going to go inside and proceed to buy almost enough to feed the entire team for a week or more."
Enjoying the surprised look that appeared on his face a second later, she added, "What? I still remember that time I had poison ivy…"
Shaking his head at her in amusement, he realized that she was right. Maybe he wouldn't buy quite that much food… though knowing himself and how badly he wanted to be able to assure himself that she had what she needed, her exaggeration would possibly turn out to be truer than even she expected.
"You may be right, I suppose," he replied, no longer even trying to contain the smile that he felt fighting to burst out across his face. When he parked outside the grocery store, just as she'd predicted, on the way back to her place, he was finally able to look at her for more than half a second, no longer having to look at the road. He'd been aching to do just that since they'd left the hospital.
"Please… do me a favor and don't go chasing any criminals while I'm inside?" he pleaded with her, only half kidding. "I know how much you hate being told to stay in the car…" He was alluding back to more than one early case in which he'd told her to do just that, for her own safety. It hadn't usually worked, of course, and knowing her as he did now, he was actually worried about whether she would stay in the car even as injured as she was.
"No promises," she said, her eyes sparkling with laughter.
"No Jane, I mean it," he said, turning more serious. "If you see the bad guys, call me. Do not try and take down any rogue produce thieves yourself. Do you hear me? You're too important to me…" Suddenly the look in his eyes was intense, and she felt herself being first drawn in, and then swallowed up by it, until she didn't want to look away.
She smiled at him earnestly, but still happily, then. "Okay, I promise," she replied. "But hurry up," she admonished him playfully, "I don't want either of us to be the main characters in one of those Snickers commercials where they turn into a different person because they're so hungry… I'm capping my list of identities at three, thank you." She held eye contact with him, as her meaning was transferred silently back and forth between them. Alice. Remi. Jane. Then she continued, adding, "And I don't want you to be anyone except Kurt."
He smiled at her sense of humor in the face of pain, exhaustion and hunger, nodding as he chuckled. "Understood," he agreed. "I'll be right back."
Watching him disappear around the corner to the front door of the store, Jane thought back on the last few days. After a few minutes, she expanded it to the last few months. A few minutes more, and she allowed herself to remember back to the beginning, where her conscious memories, as Jane, started – with the bag in Times Square. Those black and white flashes… she tried not to dwell too much on those. It wasn't easy, but as she kept reminding herself, as she kept hearing Kurt's voice in her head, reminding her, that wasn't her. That was Remi. She was not Remi.
No, she was Jane. Flawed and imperfect, used and abused by her own life and by people and establishments that were supposed to have either loved or protected her, if not both.
And yet still, through all of it, she was Jane. Not defeated. Maybe not triumphant, but far from giving up. She had walked through fire and she had made some choices that could have ruined her, and yet… there she was. With a second chance. Few people got so lucky and she knew it.
It could have been the painkillers that were still in her system, or exhaustion, or an overwhelming dose of emotional upheaval that she'd been through in just about any span of time that she could remember, no matter how short or long. There was really no point when she hadn't been going through something.
It could have been one of those things, all of them or none of them, but whatever the reason, she picked up her phone, stared at the screen with a faint smile on her face for a minute, before clicking open a new text to Kurt. After staring at the emoji keyboard for another minute, smiling to herself some more, she pressed the picture of the tiny red heart with the tip of her finger, then pressed send before she could change her mind.
She had literally no idea why she'd just done that, and she quickly turned off her screen, suddenly embarrassed and wondering how he would react. A minute later, she felt her phone vibrate between her hands and she opened it so that she could read the reply he'd sent.
It read, "This is the sweetest Valentine I think I've ever received. And because we were so busy yesterday, I'll forgive your lateness. Please believe me when I say that there is no one in the world I would rather text a heart emoji to. I hope that's not too serious a declaration for you, but it's how I feel. (Also, I should be out of this store in ten minutes or less. Please tell me you are still in the car!)"
Laughing out loud, she put her hand over her mouth in surprise for a minute, removing it so she could more easily assure him that yes, she was still in the car.
"Hey," she typed, "those Hershey kisses on my desk, in the shape of a heart… that wasn't you, was it?"
"What makes you think it was me?" he replied.
"Because you were always the one who was nicer to me than I deserved."
His reply popped up within seconds. "You have always deserved more than what I could give you. But I do my best."
"So it was you," she said, smiling as she typed.
Another text popped up on her screen seconds later, but he seemed to be ignoring her comment about the Hershey's kisses and moving on to another topic. "Thank you, Jane. And not just for staying in the car."
She knew somehow, despite the complete lack of a tone to base her assumption on, that he was talking about a lot of things, all at once. Seconds later, a tiny red heart, just like the one she'd sent him, popped up in a separate bubble on her screen, and she bit her lip, forcing herself to breathe steadily, a smile spreading across her face.
"Hurry up, Weller," she typed back.
"Why? What's up?" came his reply.
"Because… no reason. It's just better when you're here," she told him matter-of-factly.
Staring at his screen, having stopped in the middle of the aisle he'd been walking down, he couldn't help but grin. Little did he know, he was wearing the same grin on his face that she wore as she sat in the car waiting for him. It shouldn't have surprised either of them, of course, not after everything they'd been through together.
Maybe… just maybe… It's all going to be okay, she thought in amazement.
Just like he had told her from the very beginning.
A/N: There was no good end to this, and I desperately wanted it to keep going… however, I promised myself I would post the whole thing today, Valentine's Day, so it has to end, and this was the point I picked. (And there's the fact that I'm currently in the middle of two other, long multi-chapter fics, and I can't afford to start another one) So this is it. I hope you've enjoyed this "short" story as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)