Disclaimer: I do not own Blindspot. More like it's the other way around… I've come to realize that THEY own ME. :)
She'd told him only the day before: "There is no team without you." And yet, here they all sat, looking at each other blankly at the conference room table. Well, it might be a stretch to say all of them. At the table were Zapata, Patterson and Jane. All the team members who were still left.
They'd been told that Pellington would be in shortly. Notably absent, of course, was Kurt. Reade wasn't there either, since he'd unceremoniously walked out a few days before, and his future was only slightly less unclear that Kurt's. Nas also wasn't there, but that wasn't a surprise either. After all, she fallen on her sword, so to speak, the day before, sacrificing herself to keep the team from having to go before Congress, so that their team could remain intact to fight Sandstorm.
Except that they weren't intact. There had been six of them not so long ago, and now there were only three. They three remaining team members had already exchanged their echoed words of disbelief and confusion, and now they simply sat and waited. What exactly were they supposed to do, now, anyway?
Pellington came in brusquely, looking at each of them with the same cold expression that he always wore, the one that reflected at the very best, disinterest, and at worst, displeasure – not that you could really tell the difference. None of them could remember having ever seen the man smile. Not once.
Taking the seat at the head of the table, he got right to the point. "Agent Weller is no longer on this team," he said, not wasting time with pleasantries or with beating around the bush. "I'll be assigning a new team leader as soon as I can. Though I have to say, the last time I interviewed for that position, I found the other applicants for the job woefully underqualified compared to Agent Weller…"
"Wait… what?" Zapata was the first one to react.
Pellington looked at her in surprise, raising an eyebrow. "Is there a problem, Agent Zapata?" he asked coldly.
"What do you mean, 'he's no longer on this team?'" Zapata almost demanded. "What exactly happened since yesterday?"
Pellington seemed to ignore the question, and merely began speaking again where he'd left off, looking at Patterson, then Jane, and then Zapata again. "In the meantime, Agent Zapata will take point on the Sandstorm investigation. The team may continue to have Roman assist you as cases allow... assuming that he…" Pellington paused, as if looking for the right words. "…stays out of trouble."
He turned his cold eyes back towards Patterson next. "Agent Patterson, your team in the lab remains the same." Finally, looking at a shell-shocked Jane, who had still not recovered from the bombshell that he had dropped first, he said, "Miss Doe, your role as consultant with this team also remains the same… At least for now."
Those last words filled her with dread, but it was nothing compared to the panic that she felt over his first words. Blood pounded in her ears, and for a few seconds she could hear nothing else. All three women sat in stunned silence for several seconds as Pellington regarded them, attempting to assess their reactions before he ended this short meeting. He'd said what he'd come to say.
"But… but sir," Patterson sputtered. "What… what…?" She needed to know what had happened to Weller, but in her shock, she was simply incapable of forming a coherent sentence at that moment.
"Why is Weller no longer on the team?" Zapata asked again, more bluntly this time, filling in her co-worker's question without hesitation. Jane just continued to sit in stunned silence.
"New evidence has come to light," Pellington replied in the same cold voice. "His presence puts the mission of this team in jeopardy, and he has been reassigned."
"And what the hell does that mean?" Zapata blurted out in frustration. "Weller is essential to this team. His name is on Jane's back, for God's sake." Pellington regarded her outburst without a single change in his expression, which only served to anger the three women in front of him even more.
"Agent Zapata," he said, a hint of condescension in his voice, "I suggest that you calm down. I am not at liberty to discuss the decision that was made. All I can tell you is that Agent Weller is no longer on this team, and that he will be replaced. As will Agent Reade."
That was almost too much for Zapata to hear, and if Patterson had not reached out and laid her hand on Zapata's shoulder at that moment, it seemed entirely possible that Zapata may have lunged at Pellington. Jane, sitting across from the other two women, simply continued to sit there, frozen, her brain still struggling to process what they had been told.
There is no team without you. She'd just told him that yesterday. He hadn't done this himself… had he?
Surely he wouldn't have done something that would jeopardize his career after he'd already known that Nas had sacrificed her own so that he could keep his… A sick feeling crept into her stomach, and she hoped that she wasn't going to be sick.
Pellington said that he'd been "removed." What exactly did that mean? Was it different than being fired? What had happened? Not that any one thing was better than another, because whatever had happened, he wasn't there. He was… off the team. Her mind refused to process these words together. How could that be right? After everything… This was his team. How could they function without him? How could they expect the three of them to just move on, just add not one, but two strangers to their midst and expect those two people to even begin to understand? This wasn't just a job, after all. It had been personal, to all of them, but especially to Kurt.
And then suddenly she felt as though she'd been punched in the stomach. Kurt. What would this do to Kurt? Never mind what it would do to the team, or what it would do to her… She'd never worried much about herself, after all. When given a choice, she'd always put anyone and everyone before herself. No, she was literally unable to imagine doing what they had been doing for as long as she could remember without Kurt. She'd seen him knocked down before, but this…
This isn't happening, she told herself. The problem, of course, was that it very much was happening. She glanced across the table at Zapata and Patterson, wondering if she looked as desperate as she felt at that moment. Wondering if they felt as desperate as she did. How could this…? No… It just couldn't…
Her thoughts were jumbled, trampling wildly over each other in their attempts for her attention. She couldn't have articulated them if she'd wanted to just then. As much as she tried to listen to the conversation going on around her, she heard only voices, no actual words.
When she looked into the eyes of the other two women, she saw many of the same emotions. Confusion. Frustration. Fear. Worry. Maybe a hint of desperation, but she had a feeling that that one was mainly hers alone. She felt her composure slipping, and she silently begged herself to find enough strength to at least make it through this meeting. At least until she could escape from this table, from Pellington, and barricade herself… somewhere. She didn't even know where. In the end, it didn't matter much. All she knew was that she couldn't do… this. Whatever this was, whatever their team had become, she couldn't do it. Jane had been through a lot, and she liked to think of herself as someone who could deal with more than her share of life's crap.
But this? No.
Jane wasn't sure how much of the conversation she'd missed, much less if there'd been anything important, but suddenly she turned slightly to face Pellington only to see him stand up, nod at them and make his way back out of the conference room. Patterson and Zapata, who sat facing the door, watched him go as he retreated back to the elevator, glaring at him through the glass. Jane didn't notice it, of course, even though they were looking right past her, and facing her direction. No, Jane was having a hard enough time continuing to breathe in and out.
Saying nothing to the other two, Jane pushed herself to her feet, pressing her hands against the table hard in order to lift herself up, then walking on shaky legs towards the door. Glancing at each other worriedly, Patterson decided to be the one to voice the concern that she and Zapata communicated without even having to speak to each other.
Of course Jane was going to be the hardest hit by Weller's removal. They were all reeling, of course, but he and Jane… well, they all knew that their relationship had always been the exception… in every way.
"Jane," Patterson, called after her. But Jane was already out the door of the conference room, and they watched helplessly as she stumbled out into the bullpen, then quickly rounding a corner out of sight.
Both breathing hard from the shock of what had just happened, the women nodded at each other. "I've got Jane," Patterson mumbled.
"I'll try and get Weller," Zapata said with a nod as she lifted her phone to her ear. There had to be a good explanation for this. Or at least… they hoped so.
"Good luck," Patterson mumbled.
"You, too," Zapata replied, already hearing Weller's phone ringing over and over in her ear. This did not bode well.
Patterson headed in the direction that they'd seen go, peering around corners as she came to where one hall intersected another. Realizing quickly that she had waited just a little too long to have a good chance of finding Jane quickly, since their building was distinctly labyrinth-like and Jane had, after all, been trained in the art of being invisible when necessary, Patterson took to combing all of the hallways in the entire section. Of course, Jane could have ducked into a room anywhere along any of those hallways, Patterson thought in despair. It wasn't as though Jane didn't know how to disappear if she wanted to... which of course, just then, she did.
After an hour, it was with a heavy sigh that Patterson admitted to herself that Jane didn't seem to want to be found. She was there somewhere, at least she hoped that she was, but she'd simply been unable to find her, despite the very short head start that she'd had. Trudging back to her lab, she'd sent a text to Zapata, informing her of his fact. It seemed that Zapata hadn't had any better luck getting in touch with Weller, sadly – or Reade, for that matter. She'd tried getting ahold of him, as well, when she hadn't gotten Weller, desperate for someone to tell her that what seemed to be happening wasn't actually happening. It just couldn't be.
When Patterson walked back into her lab, wondering if she could possibly scroll through the security camera footage from the hallways and find a clue to where Jane had gone, she found Zapata sitting dejectedly on a stool, her head in her hands, leaning her elbows against the counter next to which she sat. She didn't know what to say, so she said nothing, simply walking over and sitting down beside her.
"Weller would be so pissed if he could see us right now," Patterson said, sounding suspiciously sniffly. "He'd tell us to get back to work."
Zapata nodded absently, sighing and then replied, "I just can't believe this. I mean, what the hell happened since yesterday? And why didn't he tell us anything…? Don't we deserve to know? After everything we've been through together?" There was an angry edge to her voice, and it made Patterson feel even sadder than she already did. Zapata was justified in her anger, of course, and in a way she felt it, too. At the same time, Kurt Weller was the most honest and decent man she knew, and if he had indeed done this on purpose, than he had a damn good reason. If he hadn't done this to himself, well, that was a whole different story, one that she was afraid to even consider.
They sat in silence, alternating between glancing at each other and staring into space. This wasn't happening. It couldn't be happening.
They were lost in thought when Jane stepped wordlessly into the doorway, pausing there and standing awkwardly. She'd debated between leaving the building and stopping in the lab, but indecision over where to go if she left the building had helped her make the decision. After all, no sense in giving Pellington more ammunition to use against her. Besides, she'd had a feeling that she would find the two of them there, doing pretty much what they were doing – nothing – just sitting there, looking almost as shell-shocked as she felt.
Patterson looked up and noticed her first. "Jane!" she exclaimed. "I was looking for you for an entire hour!" She slipped off of her stool and walked over to Jane, who looked visibly distraught. She didn't appear to have been crying, but from even just a quick glance, the other two could tell that the news had hit her hard. Pausing uncertainly in front of Jane, who was still standing in the doorway, Patterson finally leaned forward and hugged her tentatively.
Jane tensed when Patterson put her arms around her, knowing that the other woman was just trying to be supportive. She'd spent the past hour or so in some sort of trance. She'd found a quiet room – she didn't even know where she'd been, exactly – and just sat, staring straight ahead. Her mind refused to work, refused to think. She'd just… tuned out. This was not reality. She simply refused to accept it.
When Patterson stepped back and looked at her, she knew that she should attempt to mold her face into a smile, but she simply could not bring her to do it. Looking at her with concern, Patterson couldn't help but mutter, "We're going to figure this out. We are. It's… it's what we do, you know?"
Jane nodded weakly, appreciating Patterson's optimism but suddenly feeling very, very tired. The past hour or so had simply drained her of all the energy in her body, and she found that there was suddenly nothing left. And yet, she could not give up. After all, if their situation was reversed, there was no way he would ever have given up on her, no matter how their past might have made someone think otherwise. "I'm going to see if I can find him. If he's at home, first. If not… I have a few other ideas," Jane told the other two tonelessly.
"Do you want us to come with you?" Zapata asked. The question was mostly a formality and they all knew it. After all, if she did find him, they imagined that Jane would probably prefer to have a private conversation – as much as the other two would also love to be able to hear his explanation.
"No, I… I'm fine," she replied hesitantly. She knew they wouldn't insist, that they would come along if she wanted them to, but would otherwise let her handle it alone. After all, it wasn't as though he was missing. Not yet, anyway…She was simply looking for someone who probably just didn't feel like answering his phone. The fact that she didn't even remember how many times she'd tried to call him, and text him, during the time before she'd appeared in Patterson's lab… Well, she tried to put that out of her mind. She'd thought that maybe she'd have better luck than the other two at getting him to answer… but apparently she'd been wrong. Even though she told herself that that wasn't a personal affront to her, and she had no idea why he wasn't answering or responding, it still stung. She liked to think that after everything, their relationship would have made her the one to get through to him.
Maybe he couldn't answer, the voice in her head suggested. Of course, this didn't make it better. On the contrary, this suggestion just made her feel worse.
"Call us if you need anything?" Patterson asked tentatively. There was no guarantee that she would, of course, but Patterson hoped that she'd at least consider it. They knew Jane well, and therefore knew that the chances of her asking for help were relatively slim.
"I will," Jane whispered, then turned and walked out of the lab. She would start at his apartment, then the park at the end of his street. After that… well, she simply hoped that she would find him in one of the first places she looked. Preferably his apartment, and with a really good explanation for all of this.
Thirteen hours later, just after ten o'clock that night, Jane let herself in through her front door with a heavy heart. If he'd been at his apartment, he wasn't opening the door. He hadn't been at the park where she'd failed to meet him that night… the night when she'd chosen to go to Oscar over Kurt. As she had done many times in the past, he agonized over why in the world she'd made that decision. At the time it had made sense to her, but now… she had only regrets. Especially now that he seemed to have simply disappeared without a trace. He also hadn't been at a dozen other places that she'd tried, hoping against hope even as it seemed to drain away little by little.
Her phone buzzed and she held her breath for a second, hoping that the text was from him. It wasn't, only Zapata, checking in. Jane typed a reply, updating her on the fruitless search for their boss, their friend, pushing the door closed behind her and dropping her phone on the first hard surface she found. She was drained. It wasn't that she was giving up, because that had never been in her vocabulary, and certainly not now, with Kurt missing, but at that moment it was all just too much. The problem was, of course, that she simply didn't know how to make it stop.
Sitting down on her worn out sofa, she rubbed the heels of her hands against her tired eyes, pushing her shoes off of her feet and leaning over until she was lying down. Curling up on her side, she closed her eyes tightly against the frustration, the desperation, the barrage of images that continued to pound in her head. It wasn't better when she closed her eyes, however. If anything, it was worse. After all, the images were in her head, so closing her eyes only made them clearer.
Where are you? she thought, unable to accept that this was happening. There had to be a good explanation, and yet… even Patterson had been unable to come up with a single lead. That was a bad sign, even though none of them wanted to admit it.
The exhaustion of the day quickly caught up with her, and Jane drifted off into a fitful sleep, willing it all to simply not be true when she woke up, and yet knowing that it just didn't work that way.