Disclaimer: I do not own Blindspot. More like it's the other way around… I've come to realize that THEY own ME. :)
Jane woke up with a throbbing headache. What the hell happened? she wondered. As she slowly came to, she noticed that the ground under her felt strangely hard, and as she tried to move, she realized that she hurt all over – and not just a little. When she opened her eyes and saw only blackness, that was when she began to panic.
She struggled to remember something, anything, that would help her figure out what was going on, but her brain felt foggy and sluggish. This felt familiar… all too familiar. Even as she started to shake, she knew that she was having panic attack. Unfortunately, that didn't do anything to stop it from happening.
Her breathing accelerated quickly and she tried to sit up, which only caused her more pain. Her thoughts were racing, not even holding onto one for long enough to be conscious of what it was before the next one had taken its place. In her mind, she saw those eyes that had often haunted her nightmares…
Oh my God, did he find me again? Is that what this is?
Just then, there was a sound of movement nearby, and she scrambled backwards as fast as her aching body would move, until her back hit a wall.
Where am I, and what's that noise? her mind screamed desperately, suddenly filled with panic. She tried to remain quiet, but she was gasping for breath, making quiet impossible. She had not been this scared since the black site… before she'd managed to turn her mind off, and make herself numb to it all. While she attempted to do so again, it just wasn't working. Not yet.
Kurt regained consciousness only about a minute after Jane, but the details seemed to come back to him faster. Clearly, their covers had been blown on their latest undercover op. He tried to remember what had happened, but the last thing he could recall was standing in front of a group of five or six very large men with very large guns, watching one of them slap Jane across the face, hard, with… what had he used, anyway? It hadn't been his hand, but something metal.
God, that must have hurt.
Speaking of which… Where was Jane?
Then, as his thoughts finally cleared for a second, he heard something. Attempting to sit up, he recognized it as a sudden, fast rustling, and then the sound of someone breathing rapidly… too rapidly. As if they were panicking.
Please, be Jane, he thought.
"Jane?" he asked hesitantly, afraid of what he would do if she wasn't there with him. He could only imagine what horrible things might have happened to her if… No, find out first, before you panic, he told himself.
There was a pause, a choked sob, and then a voice that sounded far too small and panicked to belong to the woman he knew as practically indestructible. "Kurt?"
Her rapid breathing continued despite the sound of relief in her voice. No, he swore she was actually breathing faster and harder now than less than a minute before.
She's probably having flashbacks of the black site, he realized, already moving forward slowly, walking on his knees in the direction of her breathing. "Yeah, it's me," he said, hating how scared she sounded. He found the wall just to the left of her before he actually found her, and then moved his fingers slowly and carefully along it until he located her.
"Hey," he said, his right hand coming to rest on her right arm, noticing that he didn't feel any fabric, only skin, until he reached her shoulder. This was because, he noted with relief, she was wearing one of her trademark tank tops. He'd felt her shiver slightly from his touch, and he rested his hand on her shoulder for a second. "Sorry," he whispered, mistaking her shiver for wincing.
"No," she said with some effort, smiling just a tiny bit for a second at his concern, despite how terrified she felt, "it didn't hurt." The opposite, actually, she thought, but decided not to say so out loud.
His hand squeezed her shoulder before it moved up through empty space, finding her chin almost immediately and tracing along the bottom of her jawline around her left cheek. Her face was pointed away from him and the slight movement he felt matched exactly with the sounds of heavy breathing coming from her direction. Pressing lightly on her cheek with his index finger, he turned it so that it faced him – even though they couldn't actually see each other – then held his hand up against the side of her face, moving this thumb back and forth in what he hoped was a soothing motion. This wasn't the kind of thing he would normally do, of course, but this wasn't exactly a normal circumstance, either. Touch had always worked to calm her down in the past, and that was all he could think of just then.
His fingers were light against her cheek, and even though she registered his touch, it didn't stop her from shaking. His left hand moved up her right arm, jumped to her cheek and then up the right side of her face, as his other hand had done on her left cheek. The right side of her face, he quickly noticed, felt suspiciously swollen.
She flinched against his touch on that side, and he quickly moved his fingers back, past her hairline but not surrendering the contact completely. "Sorry," he whispered. "That's where that guy hit you, wasn't it?" She didn't speak, but he felt her head nod between his hands. His left thumb felt something slightly sticky on her temple, and he felt her flinch again. "Hey, hang on," said, trying to get her to stay still, "I think you're bleeding."
"I'm fine," she whispered, her voice shaking almost uncontrollably.
She couldn't see it, but he shook his head at her, feeling his chest constrict with concern for her, and frustration with her and her complete disregard for her own well-being.
"Jane, you are so far from okay…" he whispered, shaking his head at her. Then, thinking quickly, he leaned towards her and said, "I'm going to need my hands for a second, okay? I'm not moving… I'm right here…" His left hand fell from the side of her head, then slid lightly down her arm, his fingertips just skimming her skin, down to her right hand. Taking her hand in his, he placed it on the cotton of the t-shirt he was wearing, over his heart. He knew that what he had to do – withdrawing from her – was going to make her nervous, but he didn't have a choice, so he decided to get it over with as quickly as he could.
Hesitantly, he removed his hands from her, immediately feeling her gasp, the tension in her traveling through her hand to his chest. "Jane, talk to me," he said as he reached awkwardly for the short sleeve on his left shoulder, attempting to tug at it hard enough to rip it.
"I… I can't…" she stammered, and he felt momentarily helpless. What he wouldn't do to be able to do something to fix this.
One thing at a time, he told himself. First, get the bleeding on her temple under control. Then, check for any other injuries. After that… play it by ear.
"We're going to be fine, Jane," he said soothingly as he tugged hard at his sleeve, which finally began to rip. "Just… hang on a second…" He pulled the sleeve the rest of the way off, breaking the last of the seam. Folding the small piece of cloth, he held it in his left hand as he tried to reorient himself to where she was in relation to him. His hands moved slowly in the direction he expected to find her, finding her shoulders just where he'd guessed.
His right hand remained on her left shoulder. He worried about what other injuries she might have, and promised himself he would get to that shortly. His left hand went back up along her cheek until his fingers grazed her temple, once again finding the spot that felt sticky.
"Here," he told her pressing it against her temple gently, feeling her wince. "Hold this right there for a while." He felt her shift, felt her hand leave his chest reluctantly, and seconds later, felt her fingers brush against his on the makeshift washcloth that he'd just made out of the sleeve of his shirt. He moved his fingers out of the way slightly, so that she could put hers there, letting his fingers sit over hers for a few seconds before moving them away.
Meanwhile, Jane still sounded like she was hyperventilating, albeit maybe a little bit less than she had been. "What else hurts?" he asked her quietly.
She was trying, but it was so hard to concentrate on the sound of his voice – there were so many other noises in her head vying for her attention, and all the while she kept seeing Keaton's eyes… it was almost as though they were haunting her. Every time she saw them in the darkness, as she did again just then, she gasped slightly and her panic increased, destroying whatever progress she had made.
"Jane," he said evenly, still trying to get her attention. Both of his hands were on her shoulders now, his thumbs fanning back and forth across the ends of her collarbone in an attempt to sooth her nerves. "You need to tell me what else hurts," he told her seriously. When she didn't answer, he moved his hands to the back of her neck, trying to get her attention back on him. His voice dropped slightly when he added, less seriously, "And if you tell me you're fine again, I'm going to have to check for injuries myself."
Of course, the only way he could tell that she hadn't been injured when they had not one single beam of light, if she wouldn't tell him one way or the other, would be to carefully move his hands over her. This was a very… strange thing for him to be threatening, he realized. It's not as though he would have made the same threat – offer? – to anyone else on the team… And technically, he was her boss… And yet at the same time, this was Jane, and she was the exception to everything, and always had been. He simply had to know that she was okay.
As much as you might like that, she told herself, it sounds like something for another time… So you'd better tell him what hurts.
He heard her sigh heavily in between breaths, followed by several more, quick gulps of air as she struggled to get control of her voice enough to use it. Then she finally replied slowly, "My head feels like it's going to explode, my side stings, I think I may have broken ankle, and I feel like I may have been hit by a truck… just all over." As though as soon as she finished talking, she began breathing hard again.
"Okay," he replied, keeping his voice as calm as possible and glad to see that she was at least telling him what hurt. "So let's talk about where your side hurts."
"It's fine, Kurt," she replied. "I'm fine." She was still breathing heavily,
"Will you stop saying that?" he asked her with a sigh. "Jane, I know exactly what this reminds you of, and I know that you didn't like enclosed spaces before you went there…" He paused, waiting to see if she would try to deny the truth of his words – which she didn't. "I know this is scary, but you're not alone, okay? This is not the same as that time…"
Even though it made no difference, her eyes closed as she tried to block a rush of emotion caused by his words. She was immensely grateful that she wasn't there alone, because if she had been… she didn't know what she would have done. As it was, this was bad enough. Nodding, though he couldn't see it, she was unable to get her voice to work just then.
"Now tell me where your side hurts," he insisted gently. "Which side, first of all?"
There was a pause, and he could feel her fighting to get control of her breathing once again. "My left," she told him in a small voice. His right hand immediately skimmed down her arm until it reached her waist, then using only the tips of his fingers, his hand stopped.
"Where?" he asked. He sensed hesitation before he felt her shift, bringing her hand up to meet his and brushing back the bottom of her shirt and moving an inch further in, towards her stomach, to reveal skin that, he couldn't help notice, was far softer than he had expected.
"There," she told him, trying to keep from wincing as he touched the area that hurt so much, moving her hand back slightly for the inspection that she knew he was about to occur. "I think I remember someone kicking me there. It… really stings."
She could hear him suck in air as he digested this information, and she knew, because she knew how protective he could be when it came to her, that he was angry that someone would kick her. His fingers moved gently over the patch of skin and a little bit around it, to try to tell a difference, and she tried to remain as still as she could despite how much it hurt.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, feeling her flinch and then moving his hand back out onto the cotton of her shirt, settling it low on her waist, just above her hip. "No broken skin there, thank goodness. Hopefully no internal damage…" He noticed that the sound of her breathing wasn't quite as heavy as it had been, but she was still not at all in a good place. It seemed doubtful that she would be okay until they managed to get themselves out of wherever they were being kept. And even after that… he hated to think how this experience was going to stay with her. But that was a problem to be dealt with after he assessed her injuries.
Trying to keep his mind focused on making sure she was physically alright first and foremost, and trying not to worry about the other things, most of which were out of his control, he asked, "Which ankle?"
"My left as well," she replied quietly. Moving around to the side of her, so that he was almost sitting against the wall beside her, but staying as much within arms' reach of her as possible so that she knew he was still there, he found her leg and ran both hands down it to where her boots began. Unlacing that one carefully, he pulled it off slowly, laying it against the wall where he'd have an easier time finding it again, and exposing her ankle. He could tell without being able to see it that it was quite swollen, so if it wasn't broken, it was definitely a bad sprain. Once again, he heard her suck in her breath when he touched it.
"I'm sorry," he whispered again.
There was a choked sob from her direction, as if she was trying to stop the noise from escaping her, but failing. Her breaths started coming harder and faster again, and he set down her foot carefully, moving back around to the front of her.
She felt him moving around in front of her, so she crossed her legs to get them out of his way, keeping her injured ankle on top of her opposing knee. Though she couldn't stop shaking, it helped to know that he was there.
Once again, his hands found her arms, sliding back up to her shoulders and then hesitating only a second before moving to the back of her neck, the tips of his middle fingers barely grazing the skin before his fingers were in her hair. His fingers pressed just a little harder, now, massaging her scalp slightly in what he hoped would be both distracting enough to get her attention and possibly helpful to the headache she'd said she had.
"Jane," he said, kneeling in front of her and leaning forward so that his forehead just barely touched hers, "Keep breathing."
It wasn't lost on her that that was the same thing he'd told her so long ago, but she couldn't bring herself to respond beyond a hitch of her breath as she fought to calm herself down once again. She hated that she felt so weak, that she seemed to have no control of herself or of her emotions here, in this place… but it was far too close to being back at the black site, and it was all she could do not to break down completely, even with Kurt right there in front of her.
The sensation of his hands in her hair, working against her scalp gently, was helping her to cope with her headache, and the fact that he maintained contact with her, so close in front of him, did help her a little to calm her down. Her right hand still held the cloth against her temple, but her left hand moved in his direction as she tried to make him more real, there in front of her, and when she found him, she wrapped her arm around his waist – hesitantly at first, and then tighter.
"It's okay," he mumbled, knowing that at any second, their situation could go from bad – which it was, when he thought about the reality of it – to much, much worse. He needed to figure out what was going on, but he also needed to keep Jane calm. It was going to be a balancing act, that much was for sure. At those two words, he felt her arm tighten around him, and he turned his face slightly to lean his right temple against her forehead so that he could brush his nose against her right hand, which was holding the makeshift cloth of his t-shirt sleeve against her right temple.
He knew better to promise her anything just then. The closest he dared come to a promise that they would be okay was exactly what he'd said. At that second, they weren't great, considering all of Jane's injuries and the fact that clearly, someone had locked them inside of something, but they were okay. After all, it could have been worse. They were both alive, and they had been thrown into whatever this place was together. He shuddered to think what it would have been like for her if she'd been in there alone. This was bad enough.
Eventually his arms began feeling heavy from holding them up so long. Slowly, he dropped them back down to her shoulders, but this time he wound them around her upper back, holding on securely. She leaned forward and laid her head on his right shoulder, keeping her injured temple facing up, so that she was facing into his neck, though she couldn't see it. He felt her breath tickle the skin there, and was surprised to find that it comforted him. If nothing else, he knew that she was still breathing, and that her breathing had slowed down somewhat, which was encouraging, too.
With no idea how much time they'd been there already – wherever they were – after they'd sat there long enough that Jane seemed to have calmed down, Kurt knew that he needed to find out more about this room they were in – if it was big enough to be called a room. After all, odds were that eventually, someone would be back for them. He needed to know as much as he could about what they were dealing with.
Leaning back from Jane slightly, he felt her immediately hold on tighter. Smiling sadly at her in the dark, even though she couldn't see it, he couldn't help but wish he didn't have to move, that he would have loved to have stayed exactly where he was.
Get out of this first, he told himself. There's time for that later.
But isn't that what you always think? the voice in his head asked. That the time isn't right? That there will be a better one.
Maybe, but it's even less right just now, he grumbled in his head.
"Hey, it's okay," he told her quietly. After a pause, he added, "I need to stand up and check the size of this room, so I have a better idea what we're dealing with. Eventually, someone's going to come back for us, and I want us to be prepared."
Of course, there was no guarantee that someone would come back for them, and in a way, there was also no guarantee that someone coming back for them would be a good thing… They both knew these things, so there was no sense in saying them out loud. It was simply too many hypotheticals, none of which they had any control over.
He felt her right arm wrap around his left side, and he knew that she'd abandoned the idea of holding the cloth on her temple. Her arms tightened around him, and he had to smile despite himself, and despite the fact that he knew how scared she was. He couldn't help it. The feeling that it gave him that she leaned into him for comfort… at that moment he felt guilty for enjoying it, but he did, more than a little bit. Turning his head back to press his forehead against hers, he then lifted his head slightly, just enough to press a light kiss to the spot where his forehead had just been.
There was no way he would ever have acted like this with anyone else, he realized as he kissed her forehead, not even if he'd been in this situation with Zapata or Patterson and they'd been just as scared as Jane was just then – not even if it was for exactly the same reasons. He'd been denying a lot of things to himself for a long time. He'd begun to realize it when Jane had been dating Oliver, but he'd still tried to tell himself that that feeling of jealousy was nothing. Now, suddenly, everything was becoming very clear to him. It seemed ironic, of course, since he couldn't see anything else, and now suddenly his feelings for Jane seemed blindingly clear.
"I'm not leaving you," he whispered, "I promise, okay? I just need to know how big this room is, and then I'll be right back here. Alright?" She nodded slowly, but he could feel the tension in her everywhere, and he knew that she was trying to force herself to be alright when she didn't feel it whatsoever.
It's okay, she told herself. It's okay. She felt what little calm she had in her slipping, and her breathing quickly began to accelerate again as Keaton's eyes flashed in front of her eyes once again.
God, I hate this, he thought as he pulled away from her. He noticed that she didn't drop her arms from his sides until he forced himself to move back, away from her, and she had no other choice.
Pulling her legs up in front of her, hugging her knees to her tightly and trying to keep from leaning against her injured ankle, she made herself as compact as possible, feeling the distinct and increasingly panicked urge to curl up into a tiny ball. She wanted to shut out the world, to escape her thoughts – even though she knew that it wouldn't work.
Hating every second of it, he moved back, away from her, finding the wall with his hands and moving to the left from where he'd started. He moved only another two feet or so before finding a corner. "Here's the corner," he told her, trying to talk as much as he could to alleviate her fears at least a little. Stretching his hands up as high as he could, he found that he could just barely feel the ceiling with the tips of his fingers. Lowering himself back down, then turning at a ninety degree angle and moving along the next wall, it was only a few seconds before he found a door – locked, as he expected.
"There's a door here, Jane," he told her. "It's locked, of course…" He heard her heavy sigh, followed by the sound of her panicked breathing. "Hey, shhhhh… don't do that. I'm right over here, okay?" he said, trying to keep the words flowing when really, there was nothing to say.
Maybe four feet from the first corner, he found another one, and his theory of their being in some kind of walk-in closet began to seem more and more possible. "I found the next corner, Jane," he told her. No reply this time, just continued heavy breathing. "Hang in there, okay? I'm right here." Now he was working his way down the wall opposite the one she was sitting against, moving slowly and methodically to try to find out as much as he could. But the wall appeared to be simply a long, flat piece of drywall, nothing out of the ordinary.
As he moved, he could hear that she sounded increasingly frantic, which made him move faster. Reaching the next corner, he continued to narrate his progress. "Here's the next corner, so I'd guess that you're sitting just short of the middle of that wall, the longer side," he told her. Reaching the next corner quickly, he said, "Okay, last corner and now I'm back the wall you're on." He slowed down slightly, so that he didn't accidentally kick her. "If I had to guess, I'd say from the size that this is a walk in closet. It seems to be about six feet by four feet."
The sounds of hyperventilating were right beside him when his leg brushed carefully against her shoulder. She jumped back in surprise, despite the fact that he'd been talking to her that whole time and she had an approximate idea where he had been. He grimaced, feeling her move quickly away from him, kneeling down and extending his hands carefully along the ground to find out how far she'd just moved.
"Jane, it's okay," he murmured, "It's just me." There was no response, only more rapid breathing. "Move back over here…" He heard her shift slowly, and tense up in fear for a second when one of his hands found her leg. "Okay, there you are," he said soothingly. The difference was almost immediate, as he felt her begin to relax.
"Now let's try this," he said. Keeping his hand on her leg, he turned himself around so that his back was against the wall that she'd been leaning against, his legs out in front of him with his knees bent. Putting his right leg down so that it was out of the way, he tugged on her slightly, trying to get her to move around closer to him. He knew that there would probably be no calming her down completely as long as they were inside that tiny space, but he was going to try his best.
"Move over here, towards me, okay? Turn around this way…" He managed to get her to sit in front of him, turning so that her back was against his chest. His arms wound all the way around her shoulders in a tight hug as he held onto her, leaning his head down beside hers so that his mouth was near her right ear.
Even though she wasn't as tense as she had been, now she was shaking. "Sssshhh," he murmured in her ear. Without even realizing it, he started rocking slightly from one side to another in another attempt to calm her. He had no experience with this kind of thing but, as often seemed to happen with Jane, and only Jane, he just did what felt like the right thing, and it seemed to work.
"Now that we know what kind of space we're dealing with, we should listen and try to figure out what's going on outside, okay?" It had been a long time since the last time they'd been this close – since the last time they kissed. That felt like a thousand years ago, in a lot of ways. But sitting and holding onto her like this, he couldn't help but wonder why in the world it hadn't happened again since then. Of course, he knew why, but… Somehow none of those reasons seemed valid when at that moment. After all, how could anything be more important that Jane?
"The best part of that is that we can just sit here quietly, just like this, and listen," he told her, still speaking right into her ear and leaning his cheek against hers. He felt her nod, her cheek moving against his scruffy one, and he noticed that her breathing had mostly settled down again, so that she now sounded only slightly terrified, instead of full-on panicked. It was progress, he supposed.
"Kurt," he heard her whisper after a few minutes of quiet, during which she'd begun to let herself relax against him. It would be a lie if he said that he didn't enjoy sitting there with her so close, despite the harrowing situation in which they found themselves. "I'm sorry."
He shook his head without moving it off her cheek, so that she could feel it. "You have nothing to be sorry for, Jane," he said without a second thought. After all, what could she possibly think was her fault?
But she shook her head. "No, I do," she whispered. And then, in a voice that he could hear breaking, she added, "So many things…"
"Hey, none of that," he whispered back. "On the contrary… if not for Shepherd and Sandstorm and Remi…" She noticed that he mentioned Remi as a person who was just as separate from her as Shepherd was, and she loved him for it. "…and my dad… Taylor… and all of the unthinkably horrible things in our lives, we might not be where we are right this second – I mean, I'm not crazy about the part where we're locked in a closet – but you and I…" He shook his head against her, to be sure that she could feel it. "I can't regret any of it. Which sounds crazy, I know. And I know… we have no idea what's going to happen – though I believe that our team's going to find us, and you should, too. The thing is, when I get an excuse to sit here with you like this… it's hard to have any regrets."
Her head shook against his immediately. "Kurt, they could be holding us for ransom," Jane said in exasperation. "They might kill us." It was true, he knew, and she said it chillingly matter-of-factly… Once again he wished that he could look into her eyes. They'd always been able to say so much to each other without uttering a word.
"Not if I have anything to say about it," he said with more confidence than he felt. What she'd said was absolutely the truth – they were at the mercy of a group of criminals – people who were known not to have any. And yet, he felt as though they'd gotten out of tighter spots before.
She squeezed her eyes shut and then it was her turn to shake her head at him. It was hard not to be exasperated with him. Did he not understand how serious this was?
"Shhhh," he whispered into her ear again. "We're allowed to listen for noise out there to try to figure out what's going on, but that's it. Other than that, focus on this. Right here. You and me. Not the size of the room, not where the room is, not what may or may not happen beyond what we know for sure – which is currently nothing – nothing else. Okay? Just us." He moved his cheek slightly so that he could kiss hers, about an inch in front of her ear, then moved back, without breaking the contact between their cheeks.
He could hear – and feel, for that matter – her breathing become uneven, and he hoped she wasn't going to cry. There was nothing that he hated more then when she cried. Pulling her tighter, he felt her shift, turning around in his arms so that she could lay her head against his chest, her legs curled up together on one side of her.
She could now hear the rhythmic thump-thump of his heart, and she tried to focus on that, along with the feeling of his arms around her.
Just us, she repeated over and over to herself. Just us.
Just then, there was a loud noise outside the door – the sound of another door slamming and several loud voices. She felt his arms tighten around her as she became rigid with terror. They were both frozen in place, listening. One voice was shouting something loud and angry to another, going on and on. Something about four o'clock and the boss and the plan, as best she could make out. Then there was the sound of a door slamming once again, and silence.
She didn't relax at all, even after the door slammed and the voices could no longer be heard, he noticed, and he didn't loosen his hold on her even a little. If anything, he held onto her just a little tighter. Leaning his face down against the top of her head, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"It's okay," he whispered into her hair. It might not be, they both knew, but for the moment, they were still alive, and they were together. That would have to do for now.