Disclaimer: I do not own Blindspot. More like it's the other way around… I've come to realize that THEY own ME. :)
A/N: Sorry folks, this is the last chapter. But you know, it's not like I'm not going to be writing more Blindspot fics by tomorrow, knowing me.
And so the layover passed this way, and it was time to board their next flight. Kurt noticed in surprise that Jane hadn't gotten anxious, and that even as they stood at the gate to show their boarding passes, she smiled and greeted the ticket agent brightly in what he assumed was Mandarin. It was all Greek – or in this case, probably Chinese – to him. He didn't want to say anything, lest he disturb a fragile balance inside her mind or give her a reason to be nervous, he simply appreciated the fact that Jane could at least appear to be happy. She certainly deserved it.
They were buckled into their seats on the flight to Guangzhou, sitting on the runway and waiting for takeoff, and Kurt was just watching Jane in wonder.
"What?" she asked him. "You've been staring at me for like an hour like you're confused about something."
Chuckling softly, he looked down for just a few seconds, immediately looking back up at her with a broad smile. "Guilty," he agreed. "But aren't I allowed to stare at you? I happen to think you're beautiful."
She couldn't help but blush slightly, her smile shifting in amusement. "Well, yes, you're allowed. But the confused part?"
He shook his head, feeling his heart swell a little bit. "Not confused. Just… so many things at once. And on top of that, always a little worry. Especially because… well, I hate to tell you if you didn't already notice, but we're on an airplane. And you don't exactly love those. We're about to take off, and yet… you seem…"
"Oh, that? That I'm not freaking out?" She grinned back at him, now understanding. "Well… you know… I have to tell you that I'm actually terrified. I'm probably going to be squeezing the life out of your hand here in a second. But I just keep thinking… after everything we've survived… surely we can make it two more flights…? Even if it feels to me, that we're about to plunge to our deaths…" Her face twisted into a grimace, knowing that she sounded ridiculous.
"Think of it this way, if it helps" he suggested casually. "I remember the time that we almost did plunge to our deaths. But, I guess that happens when you shut down a plane's engines. On purpose. But… we didn't plunge to our deaths, so no big deal. We just saved the world again, as we always do, because you landed the plane yourself."
Jane was beaming, enjoying sharing that memory with him. It had been during the beginning of that time that she didn't like to think about, of course, when there had been so many secrets, so many lies between them, but even then… she knew now that even back then she had loved him. Of course, she hadn't realized it at the time. It was true, what she'd said so much later, when she'd been just trying to talk down a fifteen year old with a gun. "It is possible to lie to someone, and still love them very much," she'd told the girl, and her eyes had gone to Kurt. Somewhere in between those two events, she had realized it.
But Kurt wasn't done talking, and she tuned back in. "So really, there's nothing to be afraid of, is there?"
She was squeezing his hand again, but not from fear this time. There were simply no words for what she was feeling at that moment. Yet again, tears gathered just at the corners of her eyes, and for a second she had to close them, simply overcome.
Kurt would have been alarmed by her reaction to his words, except that she was smiling. Yes, it was a somewhat pained smile, but a smile nonetheless. His free hand went to her cheek, and he felt her lean into it, just as she always did. He was going to ask her if she was okay for the thousandth time, but then her eyes opened. Looking into them, he could see that it wasn't distress she was feeling.
"You're right," she grinned. "What would I ever do without you?"
"Let's hope that we never have to find out," he whispered. Glancing out the window behind her, his smile broadened even farther. "Well would you look at that," he told her, tilting his head toward the view over her shoulder.
"What?" she asked. Turning to look behind her, her mouth opened wide in surprise. They were, in fact, already high in the air, almost at their cruising altitude. Turning back to look at Kurt, who was grinning from ear to ear, she didn't know what to say.
"How're you feeling?" he asked.
"Well," she said, looking back out the window and having to think about it for a minute. "I'd rather be on the ground…" Turning back to him and squeezing his hand, she took a deep breath. "How about we talk about something else for a while, and I'll just try to forget about the whole being in an airplane thing?"
Lifting her hand to his face so that he could kiss the back of her hand, he set it back down again and replied, "Anything you want. Like, okay I admit that it's not completely a different topic, but it is more Kurt Weller trivia… did I ever tell you that I'd never been on an airplane until I was twenty years old?"
She bit her lip, a look on her face like she had him beat, but he rolled his eyes and shook his head, saying quickly, "Alright, Miss 'I lost my memory and I'd never done anything so I did everything for the first time when I was thirty-something and then I got all my memories back and it was a horrible nightmare.' I know, you win." He hadn't actually meant to say all that, and he stared at her, shocked at himself, as he waited for her reaction. Just before he started to apologize profusely and beg for her forgiveness, he saw her shock turn to a smile and in a few more seconds, she was laughing.
"I think we can agree that that name is much too long. Please, just continue to call me Jane," she said, then dissolved into laughter at the whole thing. Kurt looked so adorably surprised and embarrassed, that that just made the whole thing even funnier.
"I'm sorry, I… I didn't mean to say any of that. It just came out," he admitted sheepishly.
"It was perfect. Hilarious. Just what we needed. I'm so tired of being emotional over everything. I want to go back to the deliriously happy part."
That was the longing in my eyes, she realized. I couldn't let go of that feeling. And maybe now… I can have more of it. The idea was almost too good to be true.
"I'm completely in favor of that," he told her. "I think we should start right now. Although… I'm good with whatever. Deliriously happy or not. Don't forget that." He looked at her seriously for a few seconds, directly into her eyes as if he was worried that she wouldn't take him seriously.
"I know." It was just one of the million things that she loved about him.
"I am also in favor of a little nap," he told her. "Not that I can probably sleep in the cramped little seat, but what if we just closed our eyes and at least pretend to sleep. We can pretend that we're back home." Realizing that a reference to the apartment might not relax her just then, he scrambled to cover. "Or Central Park. Or at the office. Or that coffee shop you like on the corner. Anywhere." Still he was a little nervous, waiting for her response.
She could see that he was trying to be careful of his feelings, and she loved him for it – even though she hated that he felt like he had to do it. But it would be okay, and things would settle down. Eventually. That part would come. What was important was that they were doing it all together.
"So many options," she replied, "and yet, I was just as happy with you on that mountain – well, until we started running out of food and water, and not including the whole blistered, bloody feet thing… but the rest of it? It was just as good as here or New York. I mean, no, the mountain wasn't quite as comfortable as we are here… just like this seat isn't quite as comfortable as that bed was last night…" She smiled at the memory, unable to imagine how blissful it would feel to sleep in their bed, with him, every night.
"And the shower," he added helpfully, an innocent smile on his face. For that he received a playful shove, and then feigned a look of confusion. "What?" he asked. "What'd I say?"
Shaking her head at him, she leaned her face up towards his for a kiss, and he leaned down and met her partway. Conscious of their surroundings, they kept it short and sweet, but she just hadn't been able to help herself.
"Fake nap now?" she asked.
"Or real nap. Whichever…" he replied with a shrug.
"Good. Then I have an excuse to snuggle up to you," she declared.
"For the record, a reason for that is never necessary. Just so we're clear."
The way he was looking at her was seriously distracting her from the idea of closing her eyes, however. "How can I close my eyes when I don't want to look away from you?" she asked. When he chuckled, she narrowed her eyes about him playfully. "That's not a joke. I'm serious."
"Here, I'll start," he said quietly. Against notable resistance, he let go of her hand, then wrapped both arms around her as they shifted in their chairs. When they stopped, she was leaning back against his chest at the same time that he was leaning forward slightly against her back. Their left shoulders were against their seats, and they were facing the window that neither was looking out. Now she couldn't look into his face without twisting to look over her shoulder, but the fact that he had both arms around her almost made up for this. Leaning down, he kissed the top of her head and told her, "Now you can pretend to nap, or really nap, and make this trip go by faster. How's that?"
There was only one word for that, of course. "Perfect," she told him, and finally closed her eyes, a smile on her face that couldn't begin to reflect the joy she felt inside – but that was alright.
The next thing Jane knew, there was a voice above her announcing that they would be landing in a few minutes. And then Kurt's voice was in her ear, even before she opened her eyes. "Hey, Jane, I'm assuming they said that we're going to be landing soon, but of course I have no idea… Care to help a guy out?"
Smiling, she opened her eyes and turned around to speak in his direction. "Yes, that's what they said. At first I didn't even realize they were speaking Mandarin…"
"Alright, alright, no need to show off your super human language powers and make a guy feel bad…"
He pretended to pout, and it was so cute she had to laugh, then kissed him on the cheek.
"How long is the layover here?" she asked him, stretching as much as she possibly could in such cramped quarters.
"About the same, a couple hours," he recalled. "And then… a really, really long flight."
"Thirty-five hours or so?" she groaned, knowing very well that she was making a ridiculous guess.
"No, actually, only about fifteen," he replied happily, as if this was great news.
"Do we have to?" she moaned dramatically. "We could just… live in China…"
Laughing softly as she let her head fall back onto his shoulder in pretend surrender, he took her hand again. "Is that what you want? To start over in Guangzhou, China? Where your adorable husband can't even speak the language? Poor guy…"
"No," she sighed heavily. "Of course not. China's fine, but I want to go back to New York. We need to get back and find the others…"
"Right," he agreed. "And the sooner we get the fifteen hour flight over with, the sooner we're home."
"Okay, but if we have to fly back to China in order to rescue them for some reason, I'm going to be really, really upset with you," she told him seriously.
"That seems fair. I'll take the risk," he said with a nod, squeezing her hand again.
It wasn't too much longer before they were on the ground, and a little longer after that before they once again had to navigate yet another new airport. This time, they had to collect Kurt's bag and then stand in line to have it x-rayed specially in order to fly into the US, after which it was checked through to their destination and they were once again carrying only their lighter backpacks.
Because of the extra step this time, though they had time to pick up food and water on the way ("We need to be sure we have enough food. It's a long flight," Kurt protested when Jane asked why he had as much food as the monks had given them for a three day trek down the mountain), when they reached their gate, the first group was already boarding. The crowd getting onto this flight back to New York was a little more diverse, so Jane and Kurt didn't appear so obviously out of place, and there were other travelers speaking English in the gate area around them.
"Last flight," he told her as they stood waiting for their group to be called, his arm slung casually over her shoulder. "How're you feeling?"
"Tired of traveling," Jane replied. "But happier than I ever thought I would be again."
"It's a start," Kurt said with a nod. "But I still see room for improvement."
"Oh, yeah?" she asked curiously.
"I mean, that's not bad," he added. "But I think I can do better."
"Really?" Looking up at him in amusement, she saw the glint of laughter in his eyes, and felt emotional all over again. How she had ever walked away from this, she could no longer remember.
"It's my personal challenge," he stated matter-of-factly. "And I figured you wouldn't mind either."
"No objections so far," she grinned.
Just then, an announcement was read first in Mandarin, and then in heavily accented English.
"Hey, I understood that one," he remarked excitedly. "And it's time to board the plane."
Together they stepped forward into the crush of the crowd, two people in the last group of travelers to board the New York bound flight that would have them home late the next morning.
"Hey, did you tell Hirst that we were on our way back?" she asked Kurt when they were buckled into their seats for the final leg of their journey.
A guilty smile appeared on his face and he shook his head slowly before answering. "I suppose I should do that. I just haven't been able to think about work, except for the obvious need to find the rest of the team… Other than that…" Finally she shook his head slowly, and Jane grinned.
"You probably should though, you know? I'm sure they're worried about you."
He couldn't help but notice how she left herself out of the equation completely. "Everyone's been worried about you, too, you know," he said gently. When she just ducked her head and averted her eyes, biting her lip, he knew that he needed to tread carefully. "We all care about you, Jane. Yes, it hurt me the most when you left, but I wasn't the only one who cared. Who was concerned. They'll all be happy to see you. And when we rescue Reade, Zapata and Patterson, they'll just be extra glad to see you."
The look on her face told him that she was feeling stress from the thought of facing the team, the office… the people besides Kurt that she'd left behind. "It might be strange at first, but… it can't be worse than…" He couldn't bring himself to say more.
She watched him bite his lip and try to decide what words to use, but she knew which time he was talking about and decided to save him the trouble. "I have to agree. This is definitely much sweeter than my last, uh… homecoming. And it doesn't come with battle scars or months of nightmares… at least, I hope it doesn't."
"It also doesn't come with a guy who was a complete asshole to you," he said bluntly.
Her face softened as she looked at him, and she put her hand on his cheek this time. "Hey, no fair. If I'm not allowed to do that, then neither are you," she chided him. "Besides, I'll tell you from experience that it's not all that much fun. All that guilt and blame doesn't take you anywhere nice. I'd much rather be here. With you. We're come a long way from those two people we were back then."
"We sure have," he whispered, putting her left hand in between both of his and holding on tight, as if there was some danger that she would slip away if he didn't.
"I wonder how much of this fifteen hour flight we can sleep through," she thought out loud, for his benefit.
"I'd say, at least the first few hours," he said. "Shall be give it a try?"
"Mmmmmm…. Yes, that sounds good," she replied as they curled into the same position as they had on the previous flight, except facing the opposite direction, since she was on his right, not his left this time. It wasn't long before they were both asleep, or at least pretending.
The flight back to New York was as long and boring as they'd expected, but in the end, many hours of naps, conversation, reading and eating all of the food that Kurt had bought in the airport later, they made it back to American soil. As they landed, Jane looked over the shoulder of the older Chinese woman who sat between herself and the window.
New York, she thought it awe. I never thought I'd see it again… I wasn't supposed to come back.
All he could see was the back of her head and a hint of her profile as she stared out the window, so it wasn't the look on her face that told him. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she was facing the window without moving a muscle, and that had was clamping onto his hand even harder than she had since their first flight had taken off from Lhasa the day before. Or the fact that her entire body had tensed and stayed that way. Maybe it was all of those things, or maybe it was just that he knew her so well, and he knew that this would be an emotional view for her.
He carefully threaded his right arm around her shoulders, between her neck and the back of the seat, without inadvertently disturbing the woman on the far side of her. Tugging her back towards him gently, but not attempting to stop her from looking out the window at the view of the city, he pushed her hair out of the way and then put his cheek down next to hers, over her left shoulder.
"Welcome back," he told her softly, feeling her breathe unevenly with the emotion of the moment. She wasn't upset, he knew, more overwhelmed, relieved and a hundred other things, but that deep down, it was a good thing. He couldn't imagine what she'd been through, and then to feel that she had to feel guilty on top of it all... There was so much for her to recover from, and yet, if there was anyone who could do it, it was Jane – the strongest, bravest, most determined person he'd ever known.
The plane banked gently, tilting up so the city was no longer visible on their side as it neared the airport and adjusted its position for approach. No longer focusing out the window, Jane turned towards Kurt. His cheek was still beside hers, over her shoulder, and now she pressed her face into it, her breaths coming faster than they should have as she attempted to calm down.
Taking her right hand in his left, he held it up, then pressed it against his chest, just over his heart. "Keep breathing, Jane," he told her, watching her smile at the words from so long ago. "It's going to be okay."
Little by little her breathing slowed down, back to normal, and she smiled weakly at him. Just then, the plane bumped as its wheels touched down on the tarmac, and a few seconds after the engines stopped roaring, a voice cam on over the loudspeaker. First in Mandarin, and then in English, it said, "Welcome to New York." Jane and Kurt just grinned.
From JFK, they took a cab back to their apartment. They could have taken a bus and then the subway, but after travelling for a week, a splurge on the cab seemed like a drop in the bucket. They'd paid for plane tickets from China, for goodness sake, so a cab across New York City seemed like nothing.
Jane was quiet in the cab. She sat snuggled up with Kurt, but he could feel tension in her. She wasn't completely relaxed, and he knew why. After as long as they had been gone, and as emotional as it had been for her to leave, coming back might be just as hard. Or maybe harder. He couldn't be sure, all he knew was that he was watching her like a hawk, and so far she had given nothing away.
He tipped the cab driver handsomely, and then stood next to Jane on the curb, their backpacks on their backs, as the car drove away. She was staring up at the building with a mix of determination, apprehension, happiness, fear… and so many other emotions, it probably wasn't possible to separate them all. Even after their journey from the end of the Earth, he had no intention of rushing her. What he did do, however, was to take her hand, and squeeze it gently, letting her know that he was there, and that he was going to be there. Even knowing that she knew that, he also knew that she needed that extra reassurance just then.
She was making a conscious effort to remember to breathe. Staring up at his building – their building – she remembered the last time she'd stood in almost this same spot, six months before. It had felt like an eternity that she had stared up at that building, before she'd forced herself to turn around and walk away, knowing that she would be hurting him more than anything in the world, and knowing that she would never see him again. The pain of that moment overwhelmed her, and for a few minutes that was all she could see or hear or feel – that night so long ago, and nothing else.
And then, the moment slowly faded, and something was different. She couldn't pinpoint it until she felt his hand holding hers, and she couldn't help but smile. It was bittersweet, here and now, because there was at least as much pain as there was joy.
She hadn't even realized that there were tears on her cheeks until Kurt stepped close enough to her to use his left hand, his free one, to gently wipe them away.
"Do you want to go somewhere else?" he asked. "It's okay if you do."
"No," she whispered, still staring up at the building. She could feel Kurt watching her, and she knew how desperately he wanted to help her. Still, she didn't move… couldn't move.
"Jane," he whispered from beside her, and when he didn't say anything else, she looked over at him. "It's going to be okay."
Taking a deep breath, and then another, she slowly began to feel it – the calm that was flowing from him into her. Those simple words, which he'd said to her what felt like a thousand times over the past week, were what it had taken to break the spell, and allow her to walk forward along the sidewalk.
Kurt followed her lead, squeezing her hand and walking along slowly beside her. Physically, he was exhausted. They both were. But mentally… their physical exhaustion paled in comparison to their mental exhaustion. If it took a few extra minutes to reach their apartment, or even if she ended up changing her mind about going in altogether… that didn't matter. The only thing that mattered was that the two of them were together, wherever they ended up.
She paused at the bench where she'd waited for him that night, so very long ago. The night that she'd slipped her detail, to his dismay, and had come here to wait for him to get home, and then kissed him, right there on the sidewalk.
When she stopped by the bench, he knew what she was thinking about. She looked around her, then up at the building, and then down the street in the direction that her safe house had been. The direction in which she had walked, only to be jumped and abducted by Carter's goons less than a block away. Her face clouded over slightly as she remembered, the slight smile that had been there a second ago disappearing.
Again, he squeezed her hand. "They can't hurt you anymore, Jane," he told her softly. "Not Carter or anyone else." Turning back in his direction, a faint smile returned to her face as she looked at him, and she nodded.
"Yeah," she whispered, but nothing else.
He was worried about her, of course, but she started walking again, toward the front door, and he followed along. They made it, slowly but surely, to the elevator without incident, and now he sincerely wondered how she would do when he finally opened the door… But he was about to find out, so he tried not to dwell on it.
In the elevator, she was silent. She stood beside him and gripped his hand tightly, starting straight ahead. Her breathing was slow but deliberate, as if she was counting inside her head to keep her calm. Yet again, he wished with everything inside of her that he could do more.
One one thousand.
Two one thousand.
Three one thousand.
Now do it again.
I can't look at him. As much as I love to look at him, if I look at him right now, I don't think I can hold it together.
When they stepped out of the elevator, Jane stopped, looking down the long hallway toward their door. Her breathing was suddenly faster than usual, and he looked back and forth from her face, down the hall in the direction of the door, and then back to her. He felt her squeeze his hand harder, more like she had on the airplane, and he squeezed back in reply.
It should have taken less than a minute for them to walk down the hall to their door, and yet, she swore it took an eternity. She knew, of course, that she was freaking out inside. That she was overreacting, but that didn't change anything. She also knew that he knew, even without her showing significant outward signs, how fragile she felt. After all, he always knew.
In reality, with the slow pace that she was setting, it took about a minute and a half to walk down the hall. Kurt walked beside her, holding her hand firmly. When she stopped outside the door, on the other side of the hall, he could sense that something was wrong.
Without taking her eyes off the door to their apartment, she let go of his hand, then took her backpack off her back and set it on the floor at her feet. She leaned back against the wall, breathing deliberately, and suddenly he was afraid that she was going to run.
She had no intention of running, she was just so scared… Inside her head she was talking to herself.
There's nothing to be scared of. You know that. This is Kurt, the man who just spent six months doing nothing but looking for you, and then bringing you back.
It's not Kurt I'm afraid of.
We've been over this. You don't have to be scared. If he's not scared – and he told you exactly why he wasn't scared – then you shouldn't be either.
JaneWeller. Look at the man standing in front of you. What you're doing right now is cruel, both to yourself, but even more than that, to him. Talk to him. The last time you didn't… well, that's how you got yourself into this mess.
The voice in her head was right, she knew. Turning slowly to look at Kurt, who'd also set both of his bags on the floor beside him and was standing against the opposite wall beside their door, she looked into his eyes. She knew all the things that he wanted to say without him having to open his mouth.
Talk to me.
You're my starting point.
I love you.
It's going to be okay.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, ignoring the rule against her saying those words. "Can we just… start over?"
The worry on his face softened a little now that she was talking to him, and he looked at her thoughtfully. "I guess so," he replied hesitantly, not really knowing what she was asking for. Leaning his head back against the wall across from her, he asked, "How far back are we talking? Because there's a few parts of our past that I don't really care to repeat…" No further elaboration was necessary, of course.
"No, not that far," she said, her voice just as soft as it had been when she spoke the first time. "Just… to the night when we were standing right here, like this."
"The night of the party, you mean? Two years ago?" he asked gently. "I could be okay with that." After all, that's where things had finally started to go right for them.
Smiling tiredly, she took a deep breath, suddenly knowing what she wanted to say. "So, I found something out, these last six months," she began, her back still against the wall. When he just looked at her without interrupting, simply raising his eyebrows, she smiled slightly and continued. "I found out that I could go anywhere, and it wouldn't matter. Because if you weren't there, I…" She closed her eyes and look a deep breath, then tried again. "I only ever wanted to protect you…"
He nodded at her, hating to see her so obviously distressed, but somehow knowing not to approach her yet. "I know, Jane," he whispered. "It's okay."
"But if I don't have to do that, if you really don't think so… then… this is where I want to be. Nowhere else on the face of this Earth. I love you, Kurt, more than anything…"
Those last words stung, but they were true, and she wondered if by using them now, she could reverse the power they'd had for so long.
This time, unlike when they'd stood in the hallways two years ago, she was losing her composure quickly. Of course, the first time had been a simple declaration of love, and nothing else. This time was… well, it was all so much more complicated now.
The tears were already beginning their trek down her cheeks, and that was when Kurt knew that the time for waiting for her to finish talking was over. Just as he'd done two years before, he closed the distance between them from one side of the hall to the other, leaning down to kiss the woman who had already been his wife for a long time, but who he had loved for so much longer – almost as long as he'd known her. The kiss quickly turned into an embrace, however, because it was hard to kiss someone who was crying the way Jane was just then.
"I love you, too, Jane. More than anything," he whispered in her ear. "And it is going to be okay. All of it. I promise." He whispered in her ear.
He'd promised her that so many times, from the first day they'd met. And even though there had been times when things between them had been very, very far from okay, there had also been the times in between when just his presence alone had made her forget any and every shred of misery she'd been feeling, and believe him when he said it.
And yes, it had been a hell of a bumpy ride to get to his point, but they were there, on their doorstep together, still standing and arguably stronger than ever. If she knew one thing about her husband Kurt, it was that he took his promises seriously, and that, as choosy as he was, he would never give up on her. She'd been fooling herself to think that she could protect him by running away. She saw that now.
When she'd calmed down enough that he felt comfortable leaning back to look at her, she found herself even able to smile at him, albeit weakly. "You ready?" he asked. "It's up to you. I mean after all, we have a sleeping bag…"
He cracked a smile, but she could clearly see that he wasn't making fun of her, only trying to lessen the tension. They did have a sleeping bag, after all… though a campfire probably wouldn't be appropriate in the hallway.
"I'm ready," she whispered, and he kissed the top of her head. They both took a moment and picked up their bags, and then he took out his keys.
"A wonder I didn't lose these somewhere along the way," he said, and she could see that now he was making idle chit chat just to have something to say.
When he pushed the door open slowly, she took a deep breath as she looked at the home that she'd thought she'd left forever. Their home. She'd been gone so long, that even though she'd lived there for more than a year, the idea that it also belonged to her was once again foreign.
"It looks… exactly the same," she breathed, standing in the doorway in awe.
"Well, you know I'm not one for cleaning," he joked, but she looked at him seriously. He'd walked a few steps inside and put his bags down, while she was still standing in the doorway. "I just… couldn't bear to change anything. It had all felt so perfect the way it was, when you were here… and I guess I wanted to preserve as much of it as I could… even though without you here, none of it meant anything. I knew that the only thing missing was you."
She reminded herself to breathe as she listened to his sweet words, smiling slowly. She had a sudden flashback to the first time she'd stood in that doorway, when Sarah had opened the door for her, Kurt standing in the background drinking a beer until finally Jane had been saved by the bell – the timer that told Sarah to check on dinner. That first night she'd walked the rest of the way in, feeling self-conscious as she and Kurt had talked… and then suddenly, the years melted away and there she was again, standing in the doorway and looking into his worried eyes.
"You okay?" he asked her.
"Yeah," she replied. "I was just remembering the first time I stood here. Sarah and Sawyer were here…"
"Ha! Right," he nodded, smiling happily as he walked the few steps back to where she stood. "When Sarah burned dinner, just like I said she would, and you came in, looking beautiful, and I gave you a beer, and you met Sawyer…" He stopped then, seeming to remember only then that not too much farther into that memory, there was a pitfall.
"We thought I was Taylor, then."
"But you weren't."
"No." She looked down, remembering a different night, long after the other memory… the night they had both found out, separately, that she wasn't Taylor.
His voice drew her back out of that memory quickly – he didn't want her going down that road. "And it's okay that you weren't Taylor, because you were someone better."
She looked up at him in surprise. Someone better than Taylor? Surely there was no one better than Taylor, as far as Kurt Weller was concerned. After all, he'd devoted most of his life to finding her. His memories of her were sacred.
"You were Jane. And you are Jane. And even better than that, now you're Jane Weller. My wife. Not just for pretend, for an opp," he said, winking at her. "But for real. And to this day, I don't know how I got so lucky."
Her head was shaking before she even realized it.
"Oh no, you misunderstood me. That wasn't a question," he told her with a grin. "I was absolutely lucky the day we got married. And I'm even luckier today. You know why?"
She shook her head silently, wondering how this self-professed choosy man had ever chosen her – and for that matter, how all of these words were coming out of his mouth. He'd never been good at pouring out his emotions on this grand a scale, even to her.
"Today I'm even luckier because I chased you to the end of the Earth, convinced you to come back home, spent about a week getting you back here, and tonight… I get to cook you dinner, we get to sleep in our own bed, and I get to tell you I love you as many times as you can stand it. Because you're really here. And that makes me luckier that I've ever been in my life."
Once again, she was stunned. Thinking back to the man she'd known so long ago, she couldn't help but look at him in wonder. "I swear you told me once that you weren't good at communicating."
"Maybe I just needed the right person," he said with a shrug. Watching her smile again, he stepped forward and took her bag from her, easing it off of her shoulder and leaning just far enough away to set it down by the wall.
She looked down at the chair beside the door as he put her bag down, and saw something she'd been looking for for a long time. "Hey, is that my jacket?" she asked.
"Oh, yeah. One of the neighbors was wearing it one day when I passed her in the hall, not too long after you'd left. I asked her, and she said she'd found it in the hall one night. Poor woman. I wasn't in a good place, and I wasn't exactly polite when I asked for it back…"
"I lost it the night of the party. That same night…" she told him, feeling a smile creep across her face.
"Clearly, kissing me was more important than holding onto your jacket," he grinned. "Good thing you're not holding it now."
"Why's that?" she asked innocently.
"Because," he said, stepping back up so that he was standing right in front of her. "That way I can kiss you and not worry about you losing your jacket. And what are you still doing, standing in the doorway? Come in already."
He took both of her hands, and gently pulled her into the apartment, far enough that he could reach his foot around the corner of the door and kick it closed behind her, then wrapped his arms around her tightly. "Oh, excuse me, I was just going to lock the door," he said, leaning past her to turn the lock before returning his face to its previous position, only a millimeter away from hers.
"Right," she replied seriously, "Just like you were just trying to reach the zipper on the sleeping bag when you did basically the same thing a few days ago."
"See? I'm glad we understand each other," he said, the last words he managed before they both leaned forward at the same moment, no longer needing to hold back.
It had been a long road, and there was still a long way to go. First thing the next day, they would be at the office, solving the mystery of where their friends were being held, as well as that little matter of why her skin could now glow with purplish tattoos.
Either of those mysteries, without any of the other things they'd been through in the last six months, would have been enough to stop the world for them all on their own – at least, they would have been before. But somehow, exactly because everything that had happened had gone the way it had, they could take it all in stride.
Yes, they were worried about their friends, but they would find them. And yes, Jane glowing purple was certainly a cause for concern, but they would figure that out as well. What they had both learned slowly, over the past few years without even realizing it until recently, was that no matter what, the bond between them was unbreakable. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't fight it. Luckily for both of them, they now knew better than to try.
It had been barely past noon when they'd gotten back to their apartment, and by 2:30 pm they'd eaten and made up for lost time, and decided that unless they woke up hungry, they were going to curl up in bed and fall asleep, giving themselves permission not to wake up until the next day. Never mind the fact that that wasn't how you were supposed to get over jet lag. They were dealing with far more than jet lag, anyway.
"Jane," Kurt whispered, not sure if the woman using his shoulder as a pillow was asleep, or just resting her eyes.
"Mmmmmm?" she replied, stirring slightly.
Kurt chuckled, pulling her closer, and tracing the ink lines on her shoulder with the tip of his finger. "I…" he started, finding himself mesmerized by her, and forgetting to finish his thought.
"I know," she replied, her voice sounding already half asleep. "I love you, too. And I promise, never again. And no, I won't try to cook you breakfast. I learned my lesson the last time…" When she felt him chuckling under her head, she forced her eyes open and picked up her head to look at him. "What? None of the above?" she asked, disappointed that she hadn't managed to guess correctly.
"I missed you," he said simply.
"Wow, I was way off…" she laughed softly, but he just shook his head and tucked her hair behind her ear again. She couldn't help but think that she might never get enough of that simple gesture. "I missed you, too," she whispered.
They looked at each other for a minute, their eyes saying far more than their tired brains were able to express just then. Just like they always had, they understood each other perfectly.
They didn't need the answers to all of the questions, though of course, they would keep searching. No, at the end of the day, all they needed was each other. All it had required to remind Jane that this was the only way that things were going to work was a little trip to the end of the Earth and back.
A/N: A few days ago, as I worked feverishly to finish this fic so I could get to work editing my book, I heard the song "Pompeii" by Bastille, which I've always loved, and I was struck by the lyrics. If you've read my other Blindspot fics, you know that music weighs heavily in my writing process, whether just as inspiration, or in actually being featured in the stories themselves. Anyway, the chorus of "Pompeii" (most of it, anyway) reminded me of the way this journey, at least my version of it, has come full circle.
And then it was pointed out to me a few days ago that "The Only Exception" by Paramore was also pretty perfect to describe Jane and Kurt, especially with this fic, where he told her (a few chapters ago) that she was the only exception for him. And so, in addition to not being able to claim credit for the brilliance of Blindspot, I can also make no claim on the lyrics of either of these songs… but judge for yourself whether they seem to fit.
I hope you've enjoyed this journey. It turned out more intense than I expected, but then again, they usually do when I write them.
"Pompeii" by Bastille (excerpt)
"…But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You've been here before?..."
"The Only Exception" by Paramore (excerpt)
"…And I've always lived like this
Keeping it comfortable,
Distance, and up until now
I'd sworn to myself that I'm content
Because none of it
Was ever worth the risk, but...
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception
You, are, the only exception…"