Disclaimer: I do not own Blind spot. More like it's the other way around… I've come to realize that THEY own ME. :)
A/N: When I uploaded ch2, FFN was being funny, giving me errors and for some reason, not sending out a notification email. So if you didn't realize it was posted, I'm sorry. :(
When the cab pulled up in front of Jane's place, she was so blissfully comfortable on his shoulder, she didn't even notice that the car had stopped at first. It was only when the driver's voice cut through her thoughts that she realized it, and when she opened her eyes she was surprised to find they were already there. It was too late to scramble for money in her pocket, because Kurt had already paid the driver.
"Thanks," she mumbled, to which he just smiled at her with a small nod as she sat up and they both unbuckled their seatbelts.
Standing on the curb as the cab drove away, she wondered for a second why he hadn't just stayed in the cab and kept going on to his apartment. Surely he knew that she could make it to the door herself, right?
Glancing at the door, and at Roman's detail, who were sitting nonchalantly in the car nearby, she looked back at him.
"I know what you're thinking," he told her. Of course, this just made her curious, and she waited for him to go on.
"Do you?" she asked skeptically.
"You're thinking that you would have been perfectly fine to walk to the door by yourself," he said, "Right?" He reached for her hand, not yet moving. After all, the door was not very far away and it didn't feel like there was any other excuse not to have to say good night. He was in no rush to get to that door.
Watching him in amusement, she felt herself blush slightly. "Well, I would have been!" she insisted quickly. It was only after his face changed to slight distress that she realized what he was remembering – the night she'd kissed him the first time, and he'd let her walk home. Granted, it had been a much farther walk that from the curb to the door… but then again, she'd only gone a fraction of that distance when Carter's men had jumped her. That night had set in motion so many other things. Everything, really. She shivered slightly, telling herself it was from the cool breeze that blew on them, but knowing otherwise.
All of this led me to you. And you to me, she reminded herself, trying to quell her own sudden feeling of panic. She squeezed his hand in hers, smiling the best she could.
Looking at her, he could see that she had understood. He'd watched her expression change, probably the same way that his hand. As it had happened so many other times, no words had been necessary. Now they were standing there, both of them with racing thoughts of a night long ago when so much had happened to them. Things had gone from very, very good to very, very bad in a matter of seconds, even though Kurt hadn't known it at the time. That night was like a microcosm of everything they were. Both extremes, the best and the worst.
The seconds ticked by as they remained rooted to that spot at the curb. Jane knew that Roman's detail was observing them with casual interest, and she waved to them, attempting to appear calm, then looking back at Kurt. As so often happened between them, he squeezed her hand as communication, and she nodded ever so slightly. It was her reminder that it was okay. They were both still there. The path they'd taken had been long and difficult, but they'd made it to this point. The past was… well, it was just that. It was the past. They couldn't claim that it held no power over them, but it didn't determine their future. That much they'd already learned.
"Come on," he said, his arm slipping around her waist, propelling her gently toward the door. Knowing that there was no other real option, she began moving with him. It was only a few seconds before they were at the door and she was fishing her keys out of her pocket. He let his arm drop reluctantly from her waist, feeling that it was much too soon but with no other choice.
"Do you want to come in for a little while?" she asked. It wasn't a line of any kind – she truly didn't want the night to end, and if he left, then it was officially over.
He knew that for both of their sakes he should say no, because it was already late – though he honestly had no idea what time it was. Such a mundane detail was of no interest to him.
"Sure," he replied. Given the choice, of course he said yes, no matter that he knew he shouldn't.
She opened the door, walking in with Kurt close behind her, and looked across the room to find Roman sprawled across the couch. He looked up at the sound of the door, a wide smile immediately appearing on his face as he sat up to greet them.
"Hey," Jane said, smiling just because of how happy he looked to see her. "I brought you something. Empanadas." She left out that they were from Times Square. While it was a harmless detail and a fact, it just seemed better somehow to omit it. Even though Roman, like Jane, was no longer the person who'd been involved in the plan to leave her in Times Square, it still felt like a raw nerve to her. This was an interesting contrast, of course, since with Kurt, Times Square was their point of connection, even though he hadn't actually been there when she'd been found.
"I see you brought a friend, too," Roman replied with a grin, looking from one of them to the other. The men nodded at each other. There was a mutual respect between them that Jane had never thought she'd see. It had been like that in her dreams – literally – not just as in the expression "in my dreams," but in her actual dreams. She'd thought that the two of them getting along was too good to be true, but here they were, smiling at each other. "I guess the drink with the team was good?" he asked. The expression on his face told her that he could see it had gone better than good.
"Yeah," Jane said, taking off her jacket and laying it on the back of a chair as Kurt followed her into the room and did the same. She handed the bag to Roman, and then said, "I'll be right back. You two play nice." With that, she walked back across the room and disappeared into the bathroom.
"You want a drink?" Roman asked. "Jane has something stashed in the kitchen, I think." He started to stand up, but Kurt waved him off.
"I got it," Kurt told him, walking to the kitchen.
Roman watched with interest, noticing that Kurt seemed to know exactly where the bottle was, as well as the glasses. Interesting, he thought. He knew that there was a lot of complicated history between his sister and Agent Weller, but he didn't know all the details.
Kurt's hand hesitated before he picked up the bottle that was about a third full of light brownish liquid, a hazy image flashing before his eyes. That night.
I helped myself. Hope you don't mind.
His back was to Roman, for which he was grateful, and he closed his eyes, taking an extra second to compose himself.
It's far in the past, he reminded himself. You ended up here. It's okay now. Taking a deep breath, he allowed himself to pick up the bottle, also taking three glasses carefully from the cabinet. He still remembered exactly which one she kept them in. A moment later, back across the open living space with Roman, who sat at the far left end of the couch, Kurt sat down in the middle of it and poured the other man some of the liquid. He slid the glass across the table toward Roman, then poured some for himself.
"You guys have a good night, I guess?" Roman asked.
Despite the fact that he knew that Roman liked him, and that he was fairly certain that Roman could sense at least some of how he felt about Jane simply from observing his actions at work, Kurt also knew that Roman was fiercely protective of his sister. He wondered if Roman could possibly feel more protective of her than he did himself, or if their protectiveness of her was perhaps evenly matched.
"Yeah," Kurt said with a nod. "We met up with Patterson and Zapata, hung out with them for a while. They called it a night and Jane wanted some food, so we took a walk and ended up in Times Square."
Roman nodded, and they both sipped their drinks, glancing at the TV. It was turned to one of the news channels. Kurt's automatic thought, looking at the TV, was to hope that nothing would happen that was important enough to call him back to work.
Jane emerged from the bathroom then, and both of the men looked up at the sound of the door, both smiling at her.
"Hey, come have a drink," Roman said, looking down at the bottle. "We helped ourselves. Hope you don't mind."
The memory hit Jane like a freight train, literally knocking the wind out of her. It was all she could do to remain standing, reaching her hand up to grip the doorframe before her knees gave out in surprise. She wasn't sure whether or not she'd been able to stop her face showing just how much dismay she felt, she only knew that it hadn't crumpled completely. It wasn't the same, and she knew very well that this wasn't that moment, but for a second, that moment was all she could see… Kurt staring at her with cold, hard eyes and saying almost the exact same words that Roman had just said as he sat beside the same bottle… Her entire body stung, and yet was numb at the same time. It took all of her strength to remain standing, and to somehow force her face to retain some semblance of calm. Somehow, she managed to remind herself to keep breathing.
Kurt heard the words that had been almost identical to his own with dismay, flinching painfully. While he knew that Roman had no idea what he'd just triggered in his sister, for a split second he hated the man for causing Jane as much pain as he knew that he just had.
That's not Roman's fault, it's yours, he reminded himself, at which time he turned his frustration on himself, now having to force himself take a deep breath, and to calm down, just as Jane was having to do. She, however, had the added burden of Roman watching her. He saw the expression that flashed across her face for a split second, and he knew that, of course, she'd made the connection, and that it had stung more than a little.
Jane, look at me, he begged her silently, but to no avail. She was staring at that bottle. He couldn't tell if it was the same one, or not, but it didn't matter. In her head, it was all exactly the same. She probably wasn't even seeing Roman anymore, only him, back on that night, and then seeing everything that had come after it. He tried to stop himself from shuddering, to no avail.
"Come have a seat," Kurt managed to say. Even he could hear that his voice sounded off. When she finally looked at him, slowly, recognition passed between them, and he did his best to tell her, with his eyes, that it was okay. He was staring at her even more intensely than usual, and he hoped that she had gotten the message. He patted the seat beside him on the couch, on the side opposite the one Roman was on, and she moved slowly forward in his direction.
She wanted to believe that the scene before her eyes was the one that was really happening, and not the one in her head, but she couldn't quitebe sure.
Roman wasn't exactly sure what had just happened, but something had just freaked Jane out. That much was for sure. Weller was suddenly a little off, too. He didn't think asking either of them would make it any better, however, so he simply sat on the uncomfortable feeling, watching them with curiosity. It had something to do with what he'd said, he thought, but since he couldn't pin down why that would bother them, there must be a story behind it. While he immediately felt defensive on Jane's behalf, he had also seen how protective Weller was over her – to the point of distrusting him, her own brother – so he didn't think he had to worry, exactly. For the time being, he was content just to see how things played out.
Jane sat down uncomfortably by Kurt, leaving a small but noticeable space between them. The tension was palpable, as they both sat and remembered, all the while fighting hard not to remember. Thankfully the TV provided background noise, and Kurt picked up the bottle, pouring a small amount for Jane. He wasn't sure if she would refuse it, or if she would feel like she needed it, with the memories that were undoubtedly assaulting her, but he figured it was better to err on the side of "just in case."
She watched him pour a small amount of liquid into her glass, fighting to stay in the present but feeling the echoes of the past pulling her backwards with icy claws. As much as she would've liked to drink it all in one gulp, she didn't trust herself to reach for it – she was pretty sure that she was shaking just then… or maybe it was her imagination. It was hard to be sure – reality felt more than a little bit fluid just then. Gripping the edge of the couch cushion tightly, she gritted her teeth. She did her best to lean back far enough to be out of Roman's view, with Kurt between them, because she didn't want him to be worried by the state of distress she was in. Surely, she could pull herself together enough to at least fool him. He didn't know her as well as Kurt did, after all.
Kurt glanced down and saw Jane clenching the edge of the cushion, her knuckles actually beginning to turn white from the exertion, and he knew that he had to do something. Setting his glass down, he reached his left hand down slowly, settling it gently on top of her right hand, wrapping his fingers around the left side of hers and rubbing his thumb across the ink lines that wove across the back of her hand.
In the uncomfortable silence, Roman had begun eating the empanadas. "These are really good, Jane, thanks," he said in between bites.
"Oh, sure," she said, momentarily pulled from her thoughts.
When she felt Kurt's hand on top of hers, only then did she realize that she had a death grip on the couch cushion. She forced herself to breathe more slowly and deliberately, gradually unclenching her fingers. As soon as they released the cushion, however, her fingers balled themselves tightly into fists, which she managed to lay on top of the cushion instead of pressing into it.
Baby steps, she told herself.
Even through the movement, Kurt's left hand stayed draped over Jane's. His left hand now loosely but securely covered Jane's right fist, his thumb still moving slowly back and forth along the skin beneath it. While it wasn't quite enough to calm her down, the sensation at least kept her tethered to reality.
After breathing in and out for another minute, Jane forced herself to put her thoughts aside enough to attempt a normal conversation with Roman. Sitting forward enough to look around Kurt – who took the hint and sat back slightly – Jane watched her brother finish a third empanada.
"So, how was your day?" she asked him.
It's not her most normal tone, but it's more relaxed that she was a few minutes ago, Roman thought with relief.
He shrugged glumly. "Same old thing," he replied. "I met with Dr. Sun this morning and then… came back here. Don't get me wrong, it's still better than being trapped at the FBI…" He hoped that neither of them took his words as complaining, because it had certainly been worse. "It's just…" Shrugging again, he couldn't think of anything else to say. He figured that they got the idea, anyway.
Jane and Kurt both nodded sympathetically. While Kurt did have the power to do something about Roman's frustrations, of course, at the same time, he absolutely had to tread carefully. It wasn't as simple as treating him the way he'd treated Jane at the beginning, as much as she wanted it to be. He had people to answer to, after all. And though it may have been unfair, the fact that they had started out knowing Roman's history was a distinct disadvantage for him. No, they hadn't treated Jane this way – though if they'd known her past, she probably would have been treated far worse. In any case, it was what it was.
Jane had made her feelings clear to Kurt on several occasions already, and as distracted as she was at that moment, she wasn't up to doing it again. Besides, in front of Roman wasn't the place to do it, anyway.
"I know it's hard," Jane replied sympathetically, and then, the words tasting bitter in her mouth because she knew how hard they were to receive, she added, "Give it time." She hated the fact that she also knew how much those words didn't help either, but really, what else could she say? There wasn't anything she could say just then that would actually help. That was how it felt, at least.
Roman nodded, then glanced at his watch as he yawned. He'd been having trouble sleeping, Jane knew, just as she had at the beginning. Just like she still did now.
"I'm going to try to get some sleep," he told the other two, standing up and stretching. He and Kurt exchanged nods, and then he smiled at Jane, pretending that he didn't see Weller's hand over hers.
"Good night, Roman," she smiled at him with as much warmth as she could. She was still nowhere near 100%, but she'd managed to distract herself from her thoughts at least enough to pretend that she was okay, for Roman's sake – even though she had a feeling that he knew something was wrong, and would probably ask her about it later.
"Good night," he replied, nodding at the pair of them with a slight smile.
They watched as Roman disappeared in the direction of his bedroom before either of them moved. Now alone, still they remained as still as statues for almost a full minute, Jane staring at her lap and Kurt watching her. She'd managed to gain only a very tenuous hold on her emotions, and now that they were alone, she could feel that hold slipping. She knew that a conversation was unavoidable, and she dreaded it.
"Jane," Kurt said softly.
That was already almost too much for her. Just the way he said her name, with so much emotion behind it… She slipped her hand out from under his, bringing her feet up onto the couch as she drew her knees into her chest, hugging them tightly. She laid her left cheek on her knees and closed her eyes, having successfully curled herself up into a ball that matched the knot that her stomach had contracted itself into as soon as the words had left Roman's mouth. It was amazing, really, that she'd managed to behave almost normally for that long.
However, she hadn't completely shut Kurt out. The one concession she'd made, the one "in" that she'd left him, whether she'd realized it or not, was that her face still pointed in his direction. If she'd really wanted to shut him out completely, he reasoned, she would've turned away from him, or buried her face in her knees.
Seeing the intensity of her emotions, of course, only made his memories of that night stronger, despite the fact that he didn't want to remember.
There was just so much pain... For both of them. The emotions they'd felt that night hadn't been the exactly the same, but they'd both been in excruciating emotional pain.
I had the power to make it go differently, he thought. That was one of the hardest things about remembering that night – knowing that had he behaved differently, so many other things never would have happened.
As much as he still felt anger when he thought of that night, though nowhere near as much, he no longer felt it towards Jane. He felt it towards himself, and towards Sandstorm. As much as he would never have undone all the things that had been done to both of them, which had brought Jane into his life, what had been done had still hurt. Having it all triggered again… it wasn't easy.
He'd just been staring at her as she curled tightly into herself, sitting that way and watching her for several minutes, though his mind had been elsewhere. Now, finally actually seeing her, he felt the familiar ache in his chest that came when he couldn't fix things, and he wondered if he could make this better. He had to at least try. After all, this was Jane. He would have done anything for her.
"Jane," he said softly, trying again. He swore he saw her squeeze her eyes just a little tighter when he said her name, and wondered if he'd just imagined it. Turning his body to face her, he folded his left leg up slightly in front of him and hesitated. He didn't want to make it worse, but he'd always followed his instincts with Jane, and his instincts were telling him to reach out to her.
His left hand moved first, coming to rest gently on her right shoulder. While for a split second he thought that she was going to grab his arm and pull him into some kind of hold, she was so tense, when the initial second of surprise passed, he felt her muscles relax ever so slightly. Taking that as a sign of progress, he moved his hand slowly to the base of her neck, so that he could move his thumb slowly across the skin there.
The tension was still radiating off of her, but he could feel that slowly, he was making progress. Next, he reached out his right hand, laying it lightly on her right elbow, which sat tensely near her right knee, getting much the same reaction he had the first time. Again, he felt a slight relaxation of the muscles under his fingers, which he took as encouragement. Sliding his hand away from him, along her arm, until he reached her left hand, which overlapped her right arm, holding onto it to secure herself in the ball she'd rolled into.
Again, he let his right hand sit lightly over her left, moving his thumb across her skin. Grasping it tightly seemed like too much just then, so he didn't try to. He sat there, now almost hugging her, with his arms almost halfway around her, feeling her breathing very deliberately.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly, remembering how hatefully he'd looked at her that night. How much he'd actually felt the hate towards her that night. He'd had a right to those feelings, perhaps, but she hadn't deserved to have them aimed at her. Not really. And she certainly had deserved to have a chance to explain. He'd abused his power, and he knew that now. As many things as she had done wrong, his transgression, in his mind at least, was the far bigger one.
A shudder went through her then that was so strong, it made him wonder if there was something more serious wrong with her. When it stopped a few seconds later and she continued shaking slightly, it took him a second to realize that the movement continued because she was actually crying. Silently, so hard that it made her whole body shake. While his heart ached in dismay, in another way he felt relief. For a second he'd been afraid it was some kind of seizure.
His arms were already partially around her, and now he did the only thing he could do when faced with a crying Jane that he was already holding onto. Winding his arms the rest of the way around her without another thought, he pulled her closer until she was leaning against him. While he knew that there was only so much he could do at the moment, it felt better to be holding onto her like this, even if it did mean feeling her shake, now almost uncontrollably, against him.
Leaning his cheek against her hair, he squeezed his arms tighter around her, feeling his own breathing become rapid and shallow. Jane wasn't the only one who was losing her composure, apparently. He tried to breathe more evenly, but found it more and more impossible as his thoughts assaulted him.
She'd lost track of what was happening for a few minutes, and things were only beginning to fade back in around her. It was a strange sensation, but she felt like she was watching herself from outside of her body. Watching Kurt reach for her, his arms moving slowly until they were partway around her, and then seeing him whisper something in her ear. Except that unlike what would make sense from the distance she saw it from, which would have been that she wouldn't have heard what he'd said, she could hear it perfectly in her ears. "I'm sorry." It was as though he was right there beside her.
Because he is right there beside you, she reminded herself. After that, suddenly she saw everything from back inside her body, and she actually felt his arms around her, realizing just how tightly he was holding on. She was surprised to feel herself shaking. The sensation felt strange until she realized that there was a reason for it: she was crying.
How disassociated am I that I can't even feel my own emotions properly? She wondered, feeling slightly frightened of what was happening to her. Attempting to clear her mind, she tried to focus, telling herself to think not about herself, but about Kurt. He had always been the most solid thing in her life, which was why the memory of that night shook her so badly.
It's not that night anymore, she told herself insistently, even though it was all she could see in her mind.
Stop looking at that picture, she told herself. That's all it is. An old picture. If you want to see where you are, open your eyes.
It was so simple, and yet, it was something that hadn't occurred to her. With a great deal of effort, she forced herself to open her eyes just a crack. Her vision was blurry from the tears in her eyes, and at first she couldn't figure out what she was looking at. Then she realized that she couldn't see much of anything because, as she suddenly also felt, Kurt had pulled her close and was holding onto her surprisingly tightly. How had she not noticed that before?
With a sigh, she felt herself slowly begin to calm down, the sobs beginning to subside. As she did, she realized that the shaking that she had felt was not coming exclusively from her, but from him as well. For what felt like the millionth time in her relatively short memory, she felt a pain in her chest – a pain that she'd come to learn only recently was reserved for pain caused by, or on behalf of, Kurt. This time, it was the realization that he was hurting along with her that made the ache appear. Now it was time to do something about it.
Her eyes were already open, and she moved slowly to unclench herself from the ball into which she'd contracted herself, feeling as though she was only able to very deliberately relax one individual muscle at a time. This was going to take a while.
Kurt didn't immediately realize what was happening, because for a minute, he'd gotten so lost in his own guilty thoughts, they had drowned out his thoughts of what was happening to Jane. However, when he began to feel movement in his arms, his mind snapped back to attention. His breathing began to stabilize, and his attention turned away from himself.
Lifting his head off her hers slowly, he was surprised to see that her eyes were now open. Her arms were loosening under his right arm, which he moved back slowly, his hand gliding along the line that her arms made around her knees. When he came to her left hand, his hand moved behind it to her right arm, covered by her left, and then ran back, away from him along the bare skin there to her right hand, which he plied gently from under her left arm, meeting no resistance. Lowering both of her arms, she raised her head, still looking at him carefully, as if she wasn't sure what to expect.
Suddenly, she felt very tired. Her entire body was sore from the exertion of tightening her muscles to the point that they couldn't get any tighter and holding them there, and now that she'd released all that tension, her muscles felt like jello. It was all she could do to hold herself up.
Though it was irrational, she knew, at that moment she felt completely defeated, and at some level she almost expected him to repeat what had happened that night. She heard the words echo in her mind, beginning with the line that Roman had very nearly recreated, and continuing through that whole conversation. She hadn't even realized that she remembered that whole conversation. Or maybe she hadn't, not until just then.
I helped myself. Hope you don't mind.
I've been trying to call you. Are you... What happened?
My father died.
I know, I got your message. I'm so sorry.
Of course I am. Kurt, s-something happened today and...
It's funny that we still call you Jane. Isn't it? I get it. You don't really feel connected to Taylor. It... Was such a long time ago, wasn't it?
What is that?
It was Taylor's. It was her favorite doll. She took it everywhere. She couldn't sleep without it. So he buried her with it.
What? He buried her with it... Jane. My father... killed Taylor Shaw, 25 years ago. He told me, right before he died. So... if Taylor Shaw is dead... Then who the hell are you?
I don't know.
Who are you?!
I don't know. I don't know. But, Kurt, please...
Turn around, get on your knees, and put your hands on your head.
I can explain.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
No, don't do this.
You have the right to an attorney.
You need to listen to me.
You said you remembered! You remembered what?! Fishing? Camping with us? How?! You lied to me. I let my father back into my life... into my home. I let him be around Sawyer! He killed her. And I let him back in... Because of you. So turn around... get on your knees... and put your hands on your head. I'm not gonna say it again. Do it. Put your hands on your head.
It's over. Whatever this is, whatever it was about... it's finished.
Jane Doe... you're under arrest.
She'd begun to shake again somewhere during that flashback, and when she finally reached the end, the first thing she was conscious of was that there were tears on her cheeks, still flowing from her eyes. The next thing she realized was that once again, Kurt was holding onto her tightly. This time it felt more like a hug. She wasn't in her cocoon any longer, now she was just simply in his arms, which were wrapped around her tightly once again, the side of her head against his shoulder. Feeling as though she'd been released from whatever spell had come over her, she deliberately slowed her breathing, exhaling slowly.
"Hey," she heard him say as he leaned away to try to find an angle from which he could see her face, once again looking at her with concern. "Stay with me, okay?" Nodding weakly, she closed her eyes again, now completely out of energy. She'd thought that she was empty before, but this felt a hundred times worse. Maybe a thousand. She was in no shape to make mathematical comparisons, all she knew was that she couldn't move from the spot where she sat. But thanks to the fact that Kurt had pulled her tightly against him, there was no reason for her to move. She was fine where she was. Better than fine, even.
Now that she was conscious of her surroundings again, she noticed that he shifted his arms around her, smiling ever so slightly – all that she had the energy for – when gentle fingertips moved against the skin on the back of her neck. It was soothing, and she already felt herself getting drowsy. Pushing her eyes open, she fought the feeling. She didn't want to go to sleep. She wanted to stay awake and savor this moment, because who knew if she'd ever have another one like it. With everything that had happened, she'd trained herself never to expect anything like this even once, never mind more than once. Not to mention the fact that she wanted to avoid the nightmares that were sure to haunt her that night, after everything that had happened in the past few hours.
He watched her struggle to open her eyes, and couldn't help but aim a bleary smile in her direction. He was pretty sure she was close to falling asleep as it was – he certainly was, and he was sure that she was much more tired than he was – and he wished she didn't seem so determined to fight it.
"You need to get some sleep," he observed.
Though she knew that he was right, in her head the words translated differently. You need to let him go home and sleep, she told herself. He does need to be functional tomorrow for work – he's the Assistant Director, after all. As usual, there was no equivalent thought about her well-being.
"I should let you get home. It's has to be late by now…" she started, glancing sideways to attempt to look at the clock, but lacking the energy to turn far enough to actually see it.
"It's… 12:30," he confirmed reluctantly, looking at his watch. He knew he should get home, but sitting here with Jane in this condition… his own need for sleep was secondary. His need to know that Jane was okay was far more important.
Sighing heavily, she forced herself to pick up her head off his shoulder, struggling to sit up. "Okay, we need to…" He let his hands slip from around her, seeing that she seemed determined to get up – though not because he wanted to let go of her. Bringing them to rest on her shoulders lightly, he tried to make eye contact with her.
"Jane, there's no rush…" he protested quietly. He wasn't quite sure how to say that it was more important to him to know that she was okay than to go home, knowing that she would protest that she was fine, whether she was or not.
She was deliberately not meeting his eyes, because she got the feeling that if she did, she might just fall apart again. He knew her too well, after all. He knew when she was pretending, like she was now, and he never failed to call her on it. Just then she had no energy to protest.
So then why are you? she asked herself. Ignoring the question, she shook her head.
"I'm fine," she grumbled, knowing that she wasn't fooling him any more than she was fooling herself. "You're right, I need to get some sleep."
Kurt knew Jane, and her trouble with sleep had been the subject of conversation more than once in the past. He knew that she had had nightmares and avoided sleep because of them for a long time, though he didn't know about lately. He had a feeling, however, that it was going to be a rough night for her in that department after everything that had happened. It was hard to think about leaving her there to fend for herself… but what was the other choice?
Maybe there should have been alarm bells going off in his head, he would later realize in hindsight. But when Jane said that she needed to get some sleep, for some reason that he didn't understand, he simply took her at her word. When he looked back later, he would blame exhaustion or the fact that he didn't want to believe that she'd been just saying what he wanted to hear…
"Are you sure?" he asked, staring at her with concern. She somehow forced herself to move toward the edge of the couch, his hands now falling all the way off of her as she moved. He continued to watch her as she stood up slowly, stretching and moving around the room, continuing not to look at him.
"Yeah," she called over her shoulder in his direction – still not making eye contact – in a voice that he could tell was forced.
With a sigh, he stood up slowly, walking over to where she was moving around, pretending to straighten up. She'd hung up her jacket, and moved a few little things around, but basically she was just keeping herself busy so that she wouldn't have to look at him.
"Jane," he said, standing still in the middle of the room and waiting until he had her attention before he spoke again. It took a minute before she realized that he was prepared to stand there until she looked at him, so finally, with a sigh, she gave in. Finally standing still, she met his eyes.
"I'm fine," she said defensively. "Really. I'm tired, but it's late, so that's normal. I'm going to go to bed as soon as you leave." She hated the words even as she came out of her mouth… hated the idea of going to sleep, and hated the idea of him leaving. Pushing aside the feeling of desperation for him to stay, she kept her expression carefully controlled. That desperate feeling – that she didn't want him to go – was something that she would never admit, because…
Why, exactly? she asked herself again.
Shut up, she huffed back inside her head.
On the outside, she simply smiled and did her best to project a calm she didn't feel whatsoever.
Kurt walked slowly to where he'd laid his jacket over the back of a chair, watching Jane all the while. He didn't quite believe her, but at the same time, she was insisting that she was fine… He could tell her that he knew that she wasn't, but she was so goddamn stubborn… Knowing her, they'd go back and forth like that all night.
His jacket was on now, and he walked slowly towards the door, still studying Jane closely for anything that might tell him one way or the other what he should do. He knew better to leave her like this, and yet…
So why are you doing it, then? he demanded of himself. She's this upset because of you! But for some reason, his feet continued to propel him slowly to the door. His hand on the handle, he turned around and looked at her again, his eyes still searching her face for clues, but finding none.
"You sure you're okay?" he asked seriously. He could feel his willpower slipping. If he was going to walk away from her, he needed to do it quickly.
She smiled tightly, hoping that he'd see it as just a tired smile and not the desperate one that it felt like. "I'm fine," she replied, in possibly her most convincing performance ever. Still, he eyed her suspiciously, and she willed herself not to break.
Not yet. At least wait until he leaves.
He turned the doorknob and then, before actually pulling he door open, he turned towards her. She'd stepped towards him, so she was much closer now. He took his hand off the doorknob and instead brought it to her face, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
Jane saw his hand moving toward her as if it was in slow motion, and she willed herself once again not to break into pieces. Now that he was reaching for her, she wasn't quite sure that she could do this – convince him that she was fine so that she could send him home – after all.
And why are you so desperate for him to go, anyway? she asked herself again. Ignoring the question, she took a deep breath as his fingers pushed the hair behind her ear and then sat lightly against her cheek. He leaned down and gave her perhaps the gentlest kiss in her memory, leaning back less than a minute later and looking into her eyes with concern.
"I'm okay, I swear," she told him before he had a chance to say anything. Still, he didn't quite believe her, however. Everything about her seemed to support her claim, but there was something off that he couldn't quite identify… "You need to get home and get some sleep," she reminded him again. "Come on… aren't you the one who was telling me that we'd see each other tomorrow?"
He blinked in surprise at the complete turnaround that had occurred in the past few hours. Again, something seemed off, but he couldn't put a finger on it. "Yeah," he said, distractedly, as he watched her carefully. Finally, he couldn't think of another reason to stall besides a gut feeling that he couldn't explain. "Good night, Jane," he said softly, once again grasping the doorknob and this time, slowly pulling it open.
"Good night," she whispered, the fake smile still firmly on her face. "See you at work in a few hours."
Where it will be as if nothing has changed, her mind supplied helpfully. It was true, of course, since they couldn't exactly treat work like a date, but it was pretty painful to have that pointed out at that moment.
Reluctantly, he stepped through the front door, forcing himself to take one step and then another on the sidewalk in front of the house.
After watching him take the first few steps, Jane closed the door. She couldn't do it anymore… couldn't pretend that she was okay.
Feeling as if every bit of strength had just flowed out of her through her feet into the floor, she took a step closer to the door, leaning her forehead against the smooth surface of the inside and focusing on not falling down. Just then she felt like she was going to break into a million pieces if she moved a single muscle, so she remained as still as she could. She knew that she needed to force herself to stand up, to move, but just then it felt impossible. At that moment, all the thoughts emptied from her mind except the sight of Kurt stepping through the door, and she wondered why she'd just insisted so hard that he go home. Now that she'd gotten what she wanted, she wondered why she'd wanted it in the first place.
Because he needs to go home and sleep, of course, her mind replied, but she and her mind both knew that that was a cop out answer. What she really wished, at that moment, was that she hadn't just sent him away.
It took a minute before she felt the tears leaking from her eyes. Slowly at first, and then faster.
All she could think about was how she really didn't want to be alone just then. And yes, she could wake up Roman, if he was even sleeping, and she knew that he wouldn't be mad. He'd sit up with her all night, if that was what she wanted. The thing was… as much as she loved her brother, it wasn't Roman's company that she wanted. It would require far, far too much explanation to tell Roman why she was so upset just then, and she didn't have the energy for it. Not just that, he simply wasn't the person whose company would sooth her best.
Outside, hearing the door close behind him, Kurt made it about more two steps before he slowed to a stop. Suddenly, his feet simply refused to go any farther. He was rooted to the spot in which he stood, his mind racing. All he could see inside his head were Jane's eyes.
Suddenly, he realized why she'd seemed off. Besides the obvious fact that because he knew her so well and he knew that she wasn't okay, all he could see in his head was her face. Specifically, her eyes. They were haunted. The expression in them wasn't anything he'd seen any time recently. No, it had reminded him of the early days, just after she'd first been found in Times Square. To put it simply, she looked terrified. She'd looked like the Jane that he'd known in the beginning, who could have broken so easily.
And I just walked out the door, he thought. What's wrong with me?
Now he stood still on the sidewalk, unsure, unable to make himself take another step away from her, but also unable to make himself turn around.
What the hell do I do now? his mind demanded. He stood still, taking deep breaths, waiting for the answer.