A/N: Hi everyone! So so sorry for the late update! I had to write some stories about my own characters for uni. This is a really short chapter, but I like to think it's a good one. Please please please review and I'll update you sooner than I did last time, I promise :) xoxo laptopheroine
Dinner with Roman is nothing short of a disaster.
Jane is desperate for it all to go well, following a tough few days settling Taylor in to the NYO. The strange looks have yet to abate, even though at the moment Taylor isn't even allowed on active cases. She's been spending her time studying past cases, doing exercises from Quantico and self-defence training with Tasha. All Jane wants is a little normal, like her first dinner with the team.
Normal lasts all of seventy-three seconds.
Roman arrives right on time. He hugs Jane and claps Kurt on the shoulder before standing in front of a shy Taylor. "Hey, Taylor." He smiles a little awkwardly. "I'm Roman."
"So you're Jane's brother?" she asks.
"What was Jane like as a kid?"
Suddenly Taylor has flashes. She's little, maybe three or four, chasing another little girl across a lawn. The girl turns around to look at her and laughs.
"I have to go." She leaps out of her seat and bolts out the door. She doesn't even know where she's running to; just that she has to get out. She forgoes the elevator in favour of the stairs, and finds herself sitting in the stairwell, back pressed against the cold wall.
Jane finds her there a few minutes later. She sits next to her in silence for a minute.
"What did you remember?" she asks.
"How did you know I remembered something?"
"I know the look. The shock of uncovering your first memory, combined with fear, and- and anger."
"Anger? How do you know I feel angry right now?"
"Because you have every right to. Anger at yourself, for losing those memories. At the universe, because it's crap. At us. Because we have what you don't."
Taylor doesn't speak for a while. When she does, her voice is tiny, bouncing off the concrete walls of the stairwell. "I think I had a sister. Older. I remember playing with her."
"Did you get any defining characteristics? Do you think you could sit down with a sketch artist?"
"No, they were just flashes. I was really little so the memories would've been hazy before the ZIP."
"The first thing I remember and it's a whole bunch of nothing."
"It's not nothing. We know you have a sister. That's something."
"Oh, what are you gonna do? Look up 'fifteen year old blonde girls with sisters' in the FBI database?"
"Hey. You have to be patient with yourself. It's only been a few days."
"I'm sorry I ruined your dinner."
"Don't be. I ruined a dinner with Kurt's sister almost the same way. Besides, Roman gets it."
"He was ZIPPED too?"
"Sort of runs in the family." Jane stands and offers Taylor her hand. "You ready to come back or do you need another minute?"
"No, I'm okay. Thanks for the talk."
Taylor follows Jane back inside. The group continue their dinner like nothing's happened, much to Taylor's relief and gratitude. Once dinner's done, Kurt makes up some pretense about needing to call the office and goes out onto the patio, shutting the door behind him.
"Hey," Roman says. "I know you're trying to fake normal even though you're not quite sure what that is yet. But you don't have to. Not around us."
Jane nods. She reaches across the table, as if to take Taylor's hand, without actually taking it. "Him and me? We are the only other people in the world who know what it's like to start from scratch the way ZIP makes you. We can help you get through it too, if you'll let us. You won't go through it alone like I did."