Disclaimer: I do not own Blindspot. More like it's the other way around… I've come to realize that THEY own ME. :)
Jane sat bolt upright in bed, breathing heavily. What was going on?
It took several minutes of confusion, during which time she struggled to piece together her jumbled thoughts before she finally understood what was happening to her.
It had been a dream.
Oh my God, she thought. It wasn't real.
It was another few minutes before she caught her breath, but she couldn't lay back down, couldn't relax. She just continued to sit there, struggling to breathe normally and to calm herself down.
It was a dream, she repeated to herself.
Kurt hadn't been removed from the team. None of the things that she'd been so upset about were real. It was a relief, but even so, she couldn't get her heart rate under control. Glancing up at the clock, she saw that it was only 3:53 am. Since there was no way she was going to fall back to sleep, she pushed the covers back and stood up. Still feeling shaky, she turned off her seldom used alarm clock – it was rare that she slept long enough for it to wake her up, anyway – and then went into the bathroom to take a shower. She might as well get ready for work. If she went in early, it would be far from the first time she was in before the rest of the team. Besides, it was better than sitting there, thinking about the dream that she'd just had, which she was sure that she would dwell on until she saw Kurt in the office with her own eyes.
It was later, but still barely 6:00 am when Jane stepped out of the elevator into the familiar bullpen outside of Kurt's office. It was still and quiet, none of the agents in their department having shown up this early. That was fine with her. Again, it wasn't the first time that she was the first one there. She cradled a large coffee cup in her right hand, taking a seat in the chair at her workstation and twisting it around to face the elevator. She knew that she would have to wait a while, but there was no way she was going to get any work done until she saw him. It had been all she could do to keep herself from texting him at 4:00 am, after all, asking him to reassure her that he hadn't been removed from the team. She'd used all her willpower on that endeavor, so she didn't even attempt to do anything but sit and stare tiredly at the elevator, willing it to open.
Her eyes were heavy, and they fell closed more than a few times before she heard the familiar ding even once, announcing the arrival of the first agent of the morning. Jane was startled out of her semi-consciousness, suddenly sitting rigidly in her chair, her eyes now wide open. To her immense relief, it was indeed Kurt who stepped out of the elevator, spotting her immediately and his face filling with confusion.
It wasn't as though Jane had never been in the office before him before, but this time was different. She wasn't working, not even pretending to be working. Instead, she was staring at the elevator when the doors opened. The large coffee in her hand and even more tellingly, the dark circles under her eyes, told him that something was definitely wrong. She'd had trouble sleeping in the past, but lately it had seemed like she'd been doing better, as least as far as he could tell. They weren't quite best friends, but he would describe their relationship at present as… close. He felt like if she'd been having trouble sleeping before now, he would have noticed something. At least… he wanted to believe that there wasn't something going on that he'd simply failed to notice.
"Jane," he said worriedly, stepping out of the elevator and walking towards her. "What's wrong?" To his surprise, he saw her eyes tear up slightly.
"Nothing," she whispered, shaking her head. Her voice cracked on simply that one word, and it was obvious to him that there was a lot more than "nothing" wrong with Jane.
Sighing slightly, smiling at how very Jane she was being, refusing to acknowledge that anything was wrong even when it was so blatantly obvious, he sighed. "Come into my office," he told her, taking a sip of the coffee he was holding.
As he watched her, she simply nodded. He'd almost expected her to argue, and was surprised at how easily she had agreed.
Just more proof that something's wrong, he thought to himself, walking past her and then holding the door open for her.
She walked in front of him, her shoulders slumped and her feet dragging, finally dropping down to sit on the couch against the far wall of his office. Following her through the door slowly and watching as she sat down, he walked towards her, watching her carefully. Both her hands were wrapped around her coffee cup, and she was staring at the top of it stubbornly, refusing to meet his eyes.
"Jane," he said in a gentle voice, hoping to get her to open up. "Did you not get any sleep?"
"Some," she replied without raising her eyes.
"Not enough?" he asked kindly, taking a step towards her.
"No," she whispered, shaking her head. "But sleep was the problem."
Sitting down next to her on the couch and turning to face her, he simply watched her for a few seconds, trying to read her body language. It didn't take a special connection to be able to tell that there was something going on. He leaned against the pillow on the back of the couch, stretching his arm out behind her, trying to project calm that he hoped would rub off on her. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked. It was pretty clear that she did, at least to him, but he didn't mention that part.
She breathed slowly and deliberately, thinking that it was a good thing that she didn't have to look him in the eyes at this angle, and nodded slightly. "You remember yesterday?" she asked, then paused.
"In general, yes," he replied, smiling at her question, which was obviously not really what she wanted to know. "Did you have something specific in mind?" When she didn't even flinch, didn't grimace or smile or roll her eyes at his terrible joke, he got even that much more concerned, and he waited for her to continue.
"When you told us that you… that you were going to sacrifice yourself, your career, for the team," she continued slowly. He nodded, even though she couldn't see him, waiting patiently. He was pretty sure they were almost to the part where she articulated the problem. "When I said…" Her voice had trailed off to nothing, but she forced it back up to her mouth once again. "When I said there was no team without you?" she asked.
He nodded slowly, adding, "And then Nas beat me to taking the fall," he added with a sigh. It could have been his imagination, of course, but he swore she tensed up when he mentioned Nas.
"I had a dream last night," she said, so quietly that he had to lean forward in order to hear what she was saying, so that his position now matched hers. Both of them were perched on the edge of the sofa, shoulders hunched forward, his arms resting against his knees, like hers. "In my dream… I don't know. I think maybe Nas giving herself up to Weitz hadn't worked the way it was supposed to. All I know is that when the rest of us came in the next morning – this morning, I guess – they'd somehow managed to take you down as well. You were off the team and no one knew why, and Pellington wouldn't tell us anything… and we… I…" Her voice trailed off, sounding specifically as though she'd been overcome by emotion.
But there's no reason for her to have been that upset, he thought. Even if that had actually happened…
"You all, our team… you would've been okay," he said reassuringly. "You would've figured it out." But she was shaking her head before the words were out of his mouth. Setting her coffee down on the table in front of her, she leaned her elbows against her knees and rested her face against her palms, so that he couldn't see her face at all. Her hair fell down to complete the effect of what she was trying to do – to hide from him, basically, he was pretty sure.
Sensing that logic wasn't going to help at the moment, he switched tactics. "What time did you wake up?" he asked her more gently.
She had to stop and think about it, because the morning had been such a blur. "Just before 4:00," she replied in a muffled voice, her hands still covering her face.
So she's been thinking about this for three hours already, he thought sympathetically.
"I thought we had an agreement," he said slowly. "You were supposed to call me if you needed me. No matter what time it was."
There was a pause, and he wondered if she even remembered that conversation. It had been a very, very long time ago. "That was… before," she replied simply. Her voice sounded sad. She'd taken her hands off of her face and now rested her arms against her knees once again, her hands dangling in front of her just like his were doing. Her eyes stayed down, pointed at the floor.
For a second the comment stung, as he realized that she had assumed, understandably so, really, that that deal had evaporated along with everything else between them. Why should she assume otherwise? Reminding himself that there was nothing he could do about the past, only fix the present, he leaned slightly towards her so that his shoulder bumped hers, leaning back again, but leaving a smaller distance between them than he originally had.
"Well then," he said, as if it was the most logical thing in the world, "I guess we need to make the deal again. Okay?"
She shrugged, still staring at the floor, and he swore she tensed up so that every muscle in her body was contracted. For a few seconds he just stared at her, shaking his head slightly at how things could have changed so much, and yet not at all. She was, as she always had been, simultaneously as tough as steel and as fragile as glass. And like he always had, he loved that about her.
"Jane, I mean it," he told her sincerely. "You don't have to feel like there's no one who's there for you when you need someone, because it's not true. Unless… there's someone else you'd rather call in the middle of the night…?" He wasn't sure why he'd added that part. Had he been trying to ask about that guy she'd been dating – Oliver – without actually asking?
Maybe. The question had seemed to just slip out.
Slightly embarrassed, he watched as she just shook her head, smiling sadly. "Oliver and I broke up, if that's what you're trying to ask me," she replied. "He said that he… didn't have the emotional real estate for someone whose life was as complicated as his," she repeated. "And let's face it, my life is about as complicated as they come."
Why does she sound like she believes that he was right? he wondered. Why does she always let herself believe the bad, but not the good?
Now he was embarrassed that his question had slipped out, and he wondered if it showed, despite how hard he was working to keep his composure.
"Speaking of people you talk to in the middle of the night…" Jane said, switching the topic slightly, "I can't help but notice that you're telling me to call you in the middle of the night…" She knew it was none of her business, but if he could ask her, then she could ask him. Right? "…but I don't want to wake anyone else up…"
The half-finished half-question hung in the air between them, and she raised an eyebrow at him. He was surprised that she had even asked, but then again, he supposed that she had been emboldened by both exhaustion and his own question. It was only fair, after all.
He had a sudden flashback to the day they'd first gone undercover together as husband and wife assassins, the day they'd first met Rich Dotcom. They'd barely known each other, and as they danced, she'd asked him more than a few personal questions. For anyone else, he would have brushed them off and refused to answer. But for Jane… despite the very short time that they'd known each other then, he'd answered every question sincerely. He'd wanted to open up to her, something he'd never experienced before in his life.
She hadn't even been able to bring herself to say her name out loud. Nas. The name made her slightly queasy. The woman's presence on their team had caused Jane so many conflicting emotions over the time that she'd been there, and now she'd sacrificed herself so that they could continue chasing Sandstorm… But that didn't change the fact that watching her with Kurt had been excruciating.
He stopped and smiled slightly, realizing that she hadn't known that things between himself and Nas had ended, just as he hadn't known that she was no longer with Oliver. After everything that had happened recently, to each of them, for some reason the thought that neither of them were seeing anyone made him feel… what?
"No problem there," he said softly, now looking at his hands and contemplating what exactly was going on between himself and Jane at that moment. "There hasn't been for a little while now." Glancing up at her, he saw her nod ever so slightly, though her face didn't change.
Still, she stared at the floor, all of her muscles tense. He watched her for a few seconds, thinking for the thousandth time that this place they'd ended up, the way things had unfolded between them… it felt so unfamiliar and yet so familiar at the same time. They were both so different than they had been so long ago, and yet… at the same time, this was like being back at the beginning. No, he corrected himself, it wasn't quite like being back at the beginning. After all, now he had the benefit of hindsight. What this was was a second chance.
Don't waste it, he cautioned himself.
"Jane," he began softly. "I don't like to see you like this. I don't like that you spent hours and hours worrying yourself. It was just a dream, okay? I'm not going anywhere, at least that I know of." He stared at her for a few more seconds, before swallowing the lump in his throat. "And if you wake up in the middle of the night, or even if you can't sleep in the first place… and you need someone, I want you to call me, no matter what time. Okay?"
Her eyes still fixed on the floor, she breathed in and out, noticeably more slowly and deliberately than before. There was a hint of something in her face, something that she was trying to hide… his first instinct was that she'd winced… but why would what he'd just said have had that effect? He didn't understand.
Her mind was having trouble processing his words. No, not processing them. She was having trouble believing them. Not because she didn't want to believe them, but because she wanted to believe them so badly, and it made her mind scream with alarm bells – protective doors inside her mind that slammed shut when something like this happened… Something that could potentially lead to her getting hurt again. After all, what were the odds that it wouldn't all crash to the ground all over again? While logically she knew that it was different now, she'd programmed herself thoroughly not to believe the kinds of things that she'd once dreamed about. That things could work out between them. After all, it was too complicated. They'd proven that time and time again.
He knew what was missing, all of a sudden, and why he wasn't getting through to her. Even so, it took him a few seconds for him to gather his courage to do anything about it. Slowly, he leaned forward and laid his right hand lightly at the base of her neck, tugging ever so slightly back toward him. The change in her was immediate, he noticed, as he felt the muscles that were so tense as they began to relax. She let herself lean slowly to her left side, towards him, until her head was on his shoulder.
Normally, she told herself, she wouldn't let this happen. Certainly not in the office, even this early in the morning when no one was around. But that day, as emotionally exhausted as she was, she had no energy to even try to tell herself to do anything else. No, just then this was exactly what she needed.
When he turned his head slightly, his cheek landed against her forehead. It hadn't been on purpose, but once it did, he wasn't about to move it from there, savoring the contact. Instead, he remained perfectly still. The only thing still moving was his right arm, which, now that she was closer, could reach across from the back of her neck across her shoulders.
When he felt her shudder slightly against him, tugging her closer to him was something he did without a second thought. Her breathing was uneven, but she seemed to stabilize the longer she leaned against him.
"Do we have a deal?" he asked, still holding onto her. For almost a minute, she didn't answer, just concentrated on breathing in and out, until he really thought that she wasn't going to answer.
It was surreal, being there so early in the morning, sitting on the couch in his office with him, leaning against him and letting him see her this fragile, this vulnerable. It had been a long time since the last time she'd done that. Though really, she hadn't exactly chosen it, it had just… happened. She'd been powerless to stop it.
She wanted to answer, but she couldn't bring herself to speak. Did she want to believe him? Of course. Did she think that if she had another nightmare, that she would call him? She knew herself at least well enough to know how stubborn she was, so it wasn't a certainty, but she liked the feeling she got when she thought about being able to lean on him that way. That he wanted her to lean on him that way. There was no one else to whom she would even consider confiding something like this, and only then did she realize how much she had missed it.
So what are you waiting for? she asked herself. Honestly, she wasn't sure. She wanted to tell him that they had a deal, and yet, she couldn't quite do it.
He sighed then, shaking his head just a little bit but keeping his cheek leaned against her. "You're so stubborn. You know that right?" It was a rhetorical question, of course. They both knew that she was stubborn, and they both knew that the other one knew it. For that matter, they both knew that he was equally stubborn, too.
When he turned his head just enough to press a kiss against her forehead, however, he felt her breath catch in her chest. Unable to explain how he knew to do so, he reached his left arm up around the front of her, so that she was now in the center of a hug, both his arms holding onto her tightly.
"Do we have a deal?" he asked in a whisper against her cheek. There is no one else but you, he thought, willing her to hear it in his actions alone. He knew that he should tell her that, but it seemed like that would be too much at that moment.
"Okay," she whispered back. "It's a deal."
He suddenly realized that it wasn't quite the deal he wanted. More than he wanted to help her deal with the nightmares, he wanted to be able to do something that would stop her from having nightmares in the first place…
Baby steps, he told himself. It's a starting point.
She knew that any time now, he was going to have to let go of her. It was just about the time when the others would start arriving, and this wasn't exactly appropriate workplace behavior… But God, did she appreciate it… She'd have been perfectly happy to stay that way indefinitely.
What does that tell you? the voice in her head asked her.
Not now, she told the voice. Over-analyze me later, but not now. With a sigh, she felt herself relax again, and let herself lean against him a little harder. He must have been having the same thoughts about the others' arrival, because after a few seconds of slightly increased pressure of his cheek against her forehead, she felt him slowly lean back, away from her, his arms dropping reluctantly as he sat back, watching her carefully all the while. The look on his face could only be described as intense concern.
"Are you okay?" he asked. It seemed like a silly question, one that he'd been asking her for as long as he'd known her, or so it felt like. He felt as though he was suddenly very far away from her, now that he'd let go of her, and he had to fight the urge to move right back to where he'd been.
"Better," she said after a few seconds' thought. She might not quite be at okay, but she was a hell of a lot closer to it than she'd been when she'd come in that morning. He was still watching her, and she turned and looked into his eyes, smiling slowly. "I meant it, you know," she said quietly.
"What?" he asked, momentarily confused.
"That there is no team without you," she replied, managing not to look away this time. "So since we're making deals, don't think of sacrificing yourself, even for the team, again. Okay?" Her voice was quiet but insistent, the look in her eyes serious.
He didn't know that he could make that promise, but this wasn't a time to argue with her. "I hope it never comes to that again," he said as a compromise.
Noticing that he hadn't quite agreed, she let it go. After all, she didn't want to argue with him any more than he wanted to argue with her.
"Me, too," she replied. He couldn't help but notice that the eyes looking back at him almost seemed haunted – though he supposed there was enough reasons for that to be true.
"You would be fine, you know," he began, referring back to Jane's statement a moment before and echoing what he'd said at the beginning of the conversation. "Without me. The team would. You would," he added. "Of all the people I've ever met, you would be the one who would be the most fine of them all."
Watching him sadly for a few seconds, she shook her head just a little. You don't get it, do you? she asked him in her mind.
"No," she whispered, feeling her composure slipping at the mere thought of Kurt being off the team. Suddenly the dream was flashing before her eyes all over again, and she felt her eyes getting misty.
"Hey," he said, watching her newfound calm slip away and not wanting her to go backwards. "I'm sorry," he said, sitting facing her on the couch as her body faced the other end of the room, so he was once again facing her profile.
Momentarily distracted from her racing thoughts, she turned to look at him, confused. "Why?" she asked. "You didn't do anything."
"Nothing besides something well-meaning that upset you. You know that that wasn't my intention, right? We need to fight Sandstorm, and it's more important than any one of us… I thought it was the only thing we could do," he told her.
"I know," she replied, staring into his eyes. "But I wouldn't have been fine. I've already been through that once… losing you. I already know. Besides, I… I don't want to have to be fine without you."
How does she do this? he wondered, feeling an ache in his heart and wondering how in the world she had that power over him.
You love her, stupid, the voice in his head informed him. Glad you could catch up.
For a few seconds, no words would come out of his mouth. What exactly is she saying? he wondered.
Really? the voice in his head asked in exasperation. It's pretty obvious. She's distraught at the idea of losing you. What do you think that means?
"How about this?" he asked, choosing his words carefully and speaking slowly, trying to control the speed of his thoughts, as well. Was this going to backfire on him, or was this the right thing to do? "Assuming that we both survive the day, and that we have the energy afterwards, why don't we… get those drinks I've owed you for so long? Maybe some dinner, too." He couldn't help but wonder if he had read her correctly, or if he was about to regret the offer.
It couldn't be much more obvious, the voice interjected, but he ignored it, watching Jane nervously.
Slowly, he watched her expression change, the anxiety slowly making way for what he swore was relief. The corners of her mouth curled into the hint of a smile, and he felt the knot in his stomach loosen.
"I'd like that," she finally replied, just as slowly as he'd asked. It was the kind of thing she'd wanted so long ago, that hearing it now, it was simultaneously too good to be true, and yet also, after everything that had gone between them, also slightly terrifying… but in a good way, if that was possible.
You know that doesn't make any kind of sense, right? the voice in her head asked. Terrified in a good way?
Yep, she thought simply. That's the only way I can describe it.
"Good," he said, still holding eye contact with her and not having lost any of the intensity of the past few minutes. He smiled back at her now, immensely glad that he'd asked, and fighting the urge to take her hand, or to reach out for her in some other way. It was taking all of his willpower.
Finally feeling self-conscious from several minutes of staring into each other's eyes, Jane's smile grew wider, into an actual smile, and she looked down and picked up her coffee, taking a drink and then shaking a now empty cup, before setting it down again.
"It's going to be a long day," she grimaced. He wondered if she was referring to how tired she was already, or the fact that there was something to look forward to at the end of it. He supposed it could have been both.
"Why don't we walk down to the place on the corner now, before things around here get busy, and get you a refill?" he asked. His own coffee sat on his desk, she noticed.
Nodding, she realized that she was probably going to need a lot of coffee that day. "I can go," she said. "You don't have to-"
But he cut her off. "Nope, I don't," he said with a shrug. "But I want to. Unless you'd prefer I didn't come with you." He was still looking directly at her, and once again, she stared into his eyes. There was nothing but sincerity there, and she smiled back at him without the hesitation that had been there before.
"I'd prefer that you did come with me," she said, feeling herself blush just a little.
"Then let's go," he replied, standing up. "Because I have a feeling this is going to be a nonstop day."
"Right," she chuckled, "unlike all the other calm days around here."
"Exactly," he said, winking at her with a grin. It was nice to see her smile, even if it was hesitant and even though he knew that her emotions were swirling just below the surface.
They started toward the door of his office, glancing self-consciously at each other as they moved, just a little closer together than usual. Once again, he held the door for her and she walked through it ahead of him.
At the elevator, the doors opened as soon as they walked up and a startled looking Zapata stepped through the doors. "Hey, you two, good morning," she said in surprise. "What's going on?"
"Early morning coffee run," Kurt replied. "It's one of those days. You need anything?" They'd switched places, and Zapata was now standing outside the elevator, the other two now inside the doors, which Kurt was holding open.
"Nope, I'm good," Zapata replied, holding up her own coffee cup. "Thanks."
"We'll be back in a few minutes," he told her, then released the elevator doors, which began closing seconds later. They saw Zapata nod, and then she disappeared from view. Jane had moved back against the back all of the elevator, leaning tiredly against it for support. The adrenaline that had flooded her system when Kurt had arrived was quickly seeping out of her. He stepped back towards her, moving into the space beside her after pressing the button for the lobby, leaving only a fraction of an inch between their shoulders.
He was pleasantly surprised when he felt Jane's head lean against his shoulder not even a second later, and without thinking about it, he brushed the back of his left hand against the back of her right, his index finger hooking very loosely around hers. It was only for a few seconds, she knew, but she tried her hardest to commit the feeling of those few seconds to memory. She didn't have a lot of experience with the feeling of peace, but this was, she thought, a pretty good example.
When they stepped out into the lobby, which was now bathed in sunlight, a few minutes later, his hand grazed her lower back absently, dropping again before he'd even thought about it. Their day was bound to be filled with chaos, just like all of the others, but there, at the center of it, they had each other – in the same way that they always had, in some respects, and in a whole new way, in others.
They glanced at each other as he held the door that led them out of the lobby and out into the sunshine, and they couldn't help but smile. Somehow they knew that, despite the frantic and unpredictable pace of their lives, all the rest of it would fall into place as long as they had each other. Which they did.