A/N: A big thank you goes to M. who runs only the best Tumblr in the world: fuckyeahjasonkimberly (dot tumblr dot com).
It holds all my love for this couple, and was a huge inspiration when writing got bumpy. If you've not yet checked that out, you really should, it's incredible. Big hugs to you M., this one is one I hold very dear, and dedicated to you, and I hope I've done it justice.
Knock knock KNOCK.
He yanked the door open, looking a little rumpled but alert despite the hour.
My lip began a quiver, and if I weren't shivering so much I would have crawled into his arms. As it was, water dripped from my hair and my clothes, forming a squishy puddle in the carpeted hallway.
"Kimberly?" His voice sounded rough from sleep.
"Surprise," I offered lamely through chattering teeth.
"Jesus, you're drenched." He hauled me into the warmth of his room, one of many in the complex that housed the international ambassadors of world peace.
I let out the breath I didn't know I had been holding, relinquishing an intangible weight to him as his hands efficiently stripped off my coat. He then headed to the built-in closet at the far end of the room, retrieving several fluffy white towels and bundled me in one of them.
I looked around the room. The television was on, softly broadcasting a repeat from the qualifying rounds of the Olympics in London. I deliberately turned my head away.
There was a desk off to the side of the room and I made my way over. I sat myself gingerly down on the chair in front of it, which was as neat and organized as he was, and heard him in the ensuite bathroom running a bath, presumably for me.
He appeared a moment later, cast a swift glance at the TV and reached over and flicked it off. A slight crease appeared between his brows as he came and sat on the edge of the desk and folded his arms.
"So," I echoed.
His eyes followed my movements, missing nothing.
"You wanna tell me why you're here in Switzerland at two in the morning?"
I ducked my chin. "Um, I wanted to see you?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Why didn't you tell me? I would've at least gone to the station to get you."
I shrugged half-heartedly, and more water dripped from my hair. "I didn't really plan it," I answered honestly.
He didn't say anything, unfolding his arms and reaching down to rub mine through the towel. My teeth stopped their unnatural chattering, and my eyes were fixed at some point near the floor. I felt, more than saw, him straighten and head back to the bathroom. The tap gave a small squeak as he turned off the water, and a second later his dark head appeared from around the bathroom door.
"Bath's ready. Come on."
I got up obediently and trotted to the bathroom, steam enveloping me the moment I stepped through the door.
"I haven't got any of those fruity smelling stuff that you like, but here's my shampoo and shower gel." He set a couple of towels on top of the lid of the laundry hamper before leaving and returning with a standard-issue bath robe that had the logo of the complex printed on it.
I reached for it, rubbing the fluffy material between my fingers. "Thanks, Jase."
I felt his eyes on me for a long moment before he nodded, letting go of the robe and closing the door behind him.
It was several minutes later before I pushed myself to peel off my sodden clothing. But as I sank into the hot tub of water, I was already feeling better than I had in the last sixteen hours.
I emerged later to find him on the bed with an arm behind his head and reading a book. He set it down the moment he saw me and gestured to the clothes he had laid out for me on the bed. It took me a moment to realize that they were mine.
"I unpacked. That's all you brought?"
I shrugged and crawled up on the bed next to him. I had barely even packed. I had gone straight from the stadium to the train station and caught the first Eurostar out of London directly to Geneva.
I pulled the robe tightly around my body, dragging my knees up to my chest and stared blankly out of the window.
The rain pitter-pattered against the windows and the memory of Jason's proud eyes the day I won the Pan Globals flashed through my mind. My hands balled into fists and I cringed, feeling like I had swallowed a brick.
A comforting warmth that was unique to him settled itself over one of my hands, gently coaxing them open. He wound his fingers through mine and squeezed lightly.
I clung to his hand in a death grip. Tears blurred my vision and I fought them back.
"It's okay," he said quietly.
I could vaguely make out the outline of mountains in the distance. I bit the inside of my cheek so hard I tasted blood.
My lower lip wobbled and I forced myself to meet his eyes. Dark as night they pierced my soul. He had always seen me as I was. Made me want to better than I am. And I've never felt so much like an utter failure as I did now.
A lone tear leaked out from the corner of my eye and ran down my cheek. His hand came up to cup the side of my face; so gently it made me hurt, and he brushed away the wetness with the pad of his thumb. A compassionate gesture, so kind and so understanding and so completely, utterly him.
A sudden, inexplicable rage filled me and I pulled back sharply, wrenching my face and my hand out of his grasp. My very being protested; I felt cold where I was warm before, both my body and my heart, but I ignored them all.
"Don't," I said, unconsciously repeating his words, but where his was meant to comfort, mine came out ready to draw blood.
He eyed me carefully as I jumped off and paced the floor beside the bed, unable to bear his closeness, his presence, and everything, everything that he stood for.
Pace pace pace.
Pace pace pace. My anger grew.
I snuck a look at him, and found him patiently observing me as I wore down the carpet. He didn't seem the least bit fazed, but then, very few things are able to rile Jason Lee Scott.
My eyes narrowed. His looked steadily back.
He brought his forearms to rest on propped knees and waited me out.
I cracked, as he knew I would. Grabbing the first pillow I could get my hands on I hurled it at him with all my might.
I didn't even know why I bothered.
For the guy could move like lightning. He swiped it aside with enough force to pulverize a putty, managing to look only mildly irritated with me.
I hurled another pillow at him.
He grabbed that one clean out of the air and set it down on the bed beside him.
I reached for my clothes and flung the lot at him.
He looked amused. "You gonna throw your robe at me next?"
I glared. Then as quickly as the anger came, the tears returned. I spun around with my back to him, looking up at the ceiling, refusing to let them fall.
I heard him unfold his long frame and get to his feet. The next thing I knew, strong arms encased me from behind and I was warm all over again.
I managed maybe three seconds before I shuddered, and a sob wrestled free. "I gave it up, I gave it all up and I failed."
He kept quiet, arms tightening around me, supporting me.
"I left it all behind. Home, Tommy, my powers... I left it all behind for nothing." My hand came up and I dashed furiously at the tears in my eyes.
It may have been five minutes, or fifty, but eventually the tears stopped, and I calmed to the steady thump of his heartbeat behind mine.
He said, with simple conviction in every word, "It took a lot of courage to try, Kim."
I swivelled around in his arms and he released me to take a step back. It made me feel bereft, and it must have shown on my face for Jason smiled and chucked me gently under my chin, though he misunderstood the cause.
I wrapped my arms around my body, trying to replicate the feeling I just lost, and failing miserably.
He reached out to tuck a strand of my still-wet hair behind my ear. "To give up your powers," he said quietly, "and chase a dream, that took a helluva lot of courage."
I gave an inelegant snort. "I was selfish and idealistic."
"Nothing selfish about wanting something for yourself, Kimberly." He shrugged, "And as for being an idealist, it's what's so special about you."
"No, that's you, Jase." I hung my head and looked at the floor, wanting his arms around me but unable to tell him so. I shook my head instead, feeling unworthy. The words slipped out in the barest of whispers, "Why do you have to be so perfect?"
He blinked, then chuckled wryly, a deep sound that melted over me, sending tingles up my spine. I glanced up sharply, biting down hard on my lip.
"Far from it actually," he muttered, then sighed and ran a hand through his dark hair.
My fingers itched to do the same.
"Would you feel better if you called Tommy?"
A touch of surprise flickered in his eyes. I suppose my answer had been rather quick.
"Okay," he said and left it at that. He glanced around the room then stepped past the bed and grabbed a pillow, throwing it to the floor. "Here," he pulled down the sheets so that I could get in, "I'll take the floor."
I glanced at the floor; it didn't look very comfortable.
"It's fine, really."
I worried my bottom lip between my teeth. "Jason," I began uncertainly, feeling terrible.
He looked up, and smiled slightly. "Kimberly, it's fine. I don't mind."
"Can't we just share the bed?"
His hands came to rest low on his hips and he fixed one of those intense stares on me.
I flushed. "I know we haven't done so since that one sleepover we had with the gang before we hit puberty but I just thought that perhaps given—" I broke off, suddenly aware that I was babbling. I looked away feeling uncomfortably hot.
He crossed the room lightly and sat on the edge of the bed, one foot planted firmly on the floor and the other folded under the knee. All at once, I became avidly conscious of the fact that all I had on was a bathrobe.
"Kim," he started, then sighed with a glance at the ground. "Look, if the positions were switched and if I knew my girlfriend were sleeping in the same bed as another guy, 'upset' would be the least of it." He met my eyes. "No matter that we don't think about each other in that way."
For reasons I didn't want to contemplate, his words stung. A lot.
I clutched the robe close at my neck, my fingers turning white. I could do little other than nod. "I suppose you're right," I said, trying to sound as if I didn't care and probably failing miserably.
A half-smile tipped the corners of his lips. I forced my gaze from them, and upwards to meet his eyes.
Dark. Mysterious. Sinful. According to the hordes of giggling girls in the corridors of Angel Grove High. But I saw courage, I saw strength, and I saw honor.
I saw him.
"Try again," he said softly, and I knew what he was referring to. "Nothing of value is ever easily gained."
I took in his words with a single deep breath and felt them all the way to my bones. A smile lingered, a small one, but my first ever since my crushing defeat at having realized I wasn't good enough for the Olympics. I reached out on impulse, with a strong urge to touch him, but curled my fingers tightly in the end and let them fall to my side instead. "Who made you so wise?"
He was silent for so long I didn't think he would reply. "You did," he said quietly. "All of you did." He tilted his head, as if a thought just occurred to him. "You know, Trini's three floors up. Want me to get her for you?"
"Would it be terrible if I said that I just want to be with you?"
He smiled, shaking his head. He held his arms open and I walked right into them, pressing as close as I possibly could, and dreading the moment that he would let me go. He pressed a kiss to the top of my head. "Of course not."
And then he let me go, taking with him his special blend of musk and spice, and warmth and strength.
I left three days later, Zack and Trini waving effusively as I boarded the plane back to Florida.
I missed them already.
My smile faltered as my eyes landed on Jason. He was always so much harder for me to say goodbye to. I've never really wondered why before; just accepted that it's the way that it had always been, and always would be.
I wondered now though.
And it didn't take me long at all to finally realize why, and to understand.
I wrote the letter to Tommy soon after. It was one of the hardest things for me to do, but one of the easiest decisions to make. I kept it short: citing the distance, my new training schedule, differences...