A/N This all started from a prompt (thanks lurkingwhump!) about Jane being in a near miss and needing stitches followed by Kurt looking at all her scars and feeling guilty. It began as a one shot and then became a fourteen shot because I can't write short things? It's all super angsty, h/c type scenes that are loosely connected (in a way that hopefully becomes apparent). Gets a little suggestive at places but no smut. Lots of references to torture (obviously!)
Anyhow, blindspotters, this is my countdown to S5 gift to you all for welcoming me into your far-flung, non-conforming, close-knit fandom. Fourteen one shots, dropping one a day until April 30.
In the end it's just another traumatic memory, one more moment Kurt Weller will never forget. There had been so many in their lives but at least they didn't occur quite so frequently anymore. He'd just gotten complacent, hadn't come so close to losing her in a long time.
This time they're part of an elite FBI Hostage Rescue Team, responding to a multiple hostage, multiple kidnapper situation. At the moment he and Jane are exploring a possible avenue of entering the building from behind, while the lead negotiator distracts the kidnappers by asking them for requests.
Silently they sneak around the property, looking for another way in. It's a tall warehouse with an open second storey so the hope was to enter in the distant corner of the loft, take the kidnappers by surprise. Weller slips into the lead and scouts ahead, before he indicates for Jane to move forward too. He loves the way they move together, so smoothly and wordlessly, without the slightest effort.
Jane is the one that points out the way up, an intricate series of hand and footholds that access a series of ledges they can jump, to finally get in the second level. Then, of course, she leads the way as well, showing him the best holds while making it look easy.
They're on the highest ledge, about to step in through a broken window when everything amps up quickly.
First, Jane stops and sniffs, gives him a concerned look. Weller points at his nose to indicate that he also smells the gas coming from inside the building, then holsters the weapon he had just drawn and exchanges it for a knife.
He waits as Jane also puts her gun away and takes her knife out, watches their backs as she steps inside the building, then follows her in.
Jane is by the edge of the loft by the time he silently clears the area behind her, makes double sure that it's empty. As Kurt approaches her, he hears a voice coming from the lower level, the tone of it somewhat erratic.
Jane holds her finger up to her lips, then all of a sudden she turns and tenses, immediately making Weller also into protective mode. That's when he hears it too, the voice quieting but another faint sound taking its place.
The ominous flick of a lighter wheel, apparently not quite enough to give a spark but extremely alarming nonetheless.
She moves before he can even react, then he's right behind her, over the rail. It's a long drop, more than twenty feet, and Weller hits the ground hard on his feet before rolling to absorb his momentum.
He looks up as soon as he catches his balance again, sees that Jane had landed square on the guy threatening to blow the place up, removed the lighter from his grasp. But then Weller also sees that another one of the kidnappers is halfway through throwing his knife at Jane and everything starts to unfold in slow motion.
She's wrestling her opponent into cuffs when he shouts her name, the panicked sound of his voice echoing throughout the warehouse. Jane looks up just in time to contort her body away from the knife coming right at her chest, somehow manages to mostly avoid the blade while simultaneously snapping the second cuff onto the kidnapper.
Kurt tackles the knife thrower, has to seriously restrain himself from using inappropriate force while doing so. Then it's more takedowns, two each, before the rest of the team comes in and secures the situation, bringing in EMTs to check over the hostages too. But even through all the additional action, Weller's mind is still stuck on that moment, coming to his feet with the knife headed right for her chest, nothing he can do but shout and pray.
When all the other personnel come spilling into the building, his brain finally jumpstarts itself, comes out of the frozen moment and starts to search the room for his wife.
He tells himself she had taken down two guys after the close call with the knife, certainly hadn't acted as if she had taken a serious injury. But then again it's Jane, she could probably have dealt with both assailants while bleeding out.
Just the thought of it makes Weller queasy, panic even more. He increases the urgency of his visual search until he finally spots her, leading one of the perps towards the exit of the building.
Kurt jogs after her, slyly slips his arm behind Jane's back as he catches up to her and starts walking beside her. His eye is immediately drawn to her blood soaked shirt and he frowns as his heart illogically leaps right into his throat.
She's right there, practically dragging the poor kidnapper in her hurry to get rid of him, not looking injured except for the obvious evidence all over her chest. Yet Weller still feels panicky, once again remembering what could have been.
They get outside and she delivers the kidnapper, then follows him wordlessly away from the crowd until it's quiet and just the two of them, hidden behind the SUVs.
Weller immediately reaches for her vest, needing to get her out of it and see the cut, how deep it is. Jane catches his hands as they tug her body armour away, helps him lift her shirt in the next motion.
"It's not deep," she says. But he knows she'd say that even if it was so he has to see for himself.
It's a long gash, just under her collar bone, slicing from her sternum to her left shoulder. About as bad as the amount of blood would suggest, definitely deep enough to warrant stitches. But the wound doesn't look dangerous, really is just a glancing cut.
Good thing she's so goddamned agile or it could have plunged straight into her heart, certainly had been thrown hard enough to do so.
"Goddamn it Jane," he says, with no anger in his voice. Just tired resignation, complete relief.
"It's okay, Kurt," she replies. "I'm fine."
Weller sighs as he shrugs out of his jacket and drapes it over her shoulders while simultaneously using her shirt to press hard against her wound. He keeps his right arm around her as he turns her to face him, his left hand occupied with her bloody wound.
"It'll just be a few stitches, you don't have to look so worried," she adds.
But the scene keeps playing over in his head, along with all the other ones where she nearly died. And it's all he can do not to bury himself in her, standing behind the SUVs, just barely a step away from the crime scene.
She brings her hand up to rest on his, silently asking if he wants her to take over. But Weller leaves his hand right where it is, smiles a tiny bit as her fingers curl in between his.
"Look at me, Kurt," Jane demands, taking his eyes in hers.
He does as commanded, gazes into his wife's green tinted eyes. Her expression is concerned, but definitely not for herself.
"It's just a cut," she says again. "So you can stop freaking out now and take me to get it sewn up."
Her tone is teasing, affectionate; a corner of her mouth quirking upward as he frowns dramatically at her words.
"Yes ma'am," he says, more gravely than he means to. But then he can't help but sneak in a kiss, just to reassure himself of her existence before guiding her to an SUV and needlessly trying to help her into the passenger seat.
Jane is deliberately flirty on the way back to their local field office, her left hand crawling all over his lap while her right holds the bloody shirt to her seeping chest wound. Kurt resists at first, is still trying to shake free of the memory that won't leave him alone. But he has no defence when she starts rubbing him up the inseam of his pants, following it right up to his groin.
Weller exhales a long breath, silently tells himself to focus despite the intense distraction that Jane is providing.
"Jane," he groans, his voice full of desperation and need.
Jane takes his warning in stride, pulls her hand away from his jeans and laces it in his instead.
Fuck he loves her, how she can read him so well. That little impish grin on her face, teasing him while still steadily bleeding from her chest.
The drive back to Denver takes awhile, but Weller's distracted from the negative drift of his thoughts by Jane's hand squeezing his tightly, her thumb rhythmically running along his. The panic doesn't take hold, make the scene flash before his eyes if she's actively countering it, proving to him that she's right there, mostly fine.
"It's okay, Kurt," she repeats, intermittently. And he tells himself to just listen to her, to let her touch soothe him. Because she's the one bleeding, shouldn't have to reassure him too.
But of course she still does, the way she always does. Because she's Jane, his unstoppable wife.
They finally get back to the office and he lets her go off to the medical unit while he stares blankly at some paperwork, his mind running right back to the knife, glancing by her heart, then her neck.
He should have been first over the balcony, the one taking the larger risk. Any injury to her, even a small one felt like a failure on his part as her partner. Which inevitably leads to overprotective thoughts, ones that seriously piss Jane off.
Weller sighs, can't help but think she shouldn't be put in those situations anymore, that they should both put in for something less dangerous. There's a lot more to consider than just themselves now, family responsibilities. A more reasonable couple might have decided to split the risk, only have one of them do that kind of work. Except she's Jane and he's Kurt and even with kids they go on missions together because the thought of doing them apart is unthinkable.
They had always agreed that when they decide to slow things down career-wise, they would do it together as well. Discuss it like adults instead of just having arguments about it when he's triggered into protective anxiety. The exact anxiety that he can't shake at that moment, that tells him he needs to shield her from all danger.
At least he now understands that it's his shit, that none of this is Jane's fault. She had never changed who she was, would never back down from risks, was always willing to be first over the walls. And he loves that about her so it isn't reasonable for him to flip his shit at her about it whenever she happens to get hurt. Not when all his anger is just misplaced fear and guilt.
Kurt sighs again, trying his best to keep all of that out of his head. He does not want to start an argument with Jane, which is basically a guaranteed event if he starts saying what is on his mind. So he just sits and stares at the paperwork, grinding his jaw and waiting.
Thankfully, the stitches don't take long and Jane soon appears at his office door wearing a warm grin and a new shirt, no evidence of the wound showing.
Weller immediately stands up and walks towards her, trying to shed the urge to overreact. He drapes his arm around her shoulders and gives her triceps a little rub for his own reassurance, trying to make the gesture seem casual, not as full of relief as it is.
Jane leans into him comfortably, looks up at him with knowing eyes.
"Take me home, Kurt," she says, half demand, half plea.
He couldn't be happier to oblige, is eager to leave his broody thoughts at the office. Quickly he bundles her back into the SUV and drives them to their quiet bungalow, a slightly bigger version of their first house.
It's quiet when they walk in, the kids and even the dog over at Allie's for the duration of their impromptu mission. At least the case had been nearby, no cross-country flights involved. And now they were home, just the two of them, standing in the entryway.
"Are you hungry?" he asks, already knowing what she'll say.
"No," she replies as predicted, a tiredness having set into her shoulders. "I just want to go to bed."
Weller has no problem with that request, finds her hand with his and leads her into their bedroom, sitting her down on the side of the bed, on top of the covers.
Normally Jane would protest about tooth brushing, wanting to wash off. But she can clearly read his need for reassurance, is all patience as he lifts off her shirt, then lays her down on the bed and kneels, straddling her.
Her skin is just the slightest bit red beneath the gauze when he pulls it off to take a closer look at the stitches; a neat but long line, all the way from her sternum to her shoulder. Kurt brushes his fingers all along them, feels the heat coming off her skin.
"It's right above your heart," he says, unable to prevent the words from spilling out. It's all that had been on his mind for hours, the image still freshly burnt in.
"I'm okay, Kurt," she replies yet again, her tone perfectly reassuring, no impatience in it at all.
"I know. I just. I should have…" he sputters, his mind grasping at distant possibilities, all those should haves.
He should have been first through, he should have protected her from injury. He should have convinced her to let the job go, should have mitigated the risk in their lives.
She's been hurt so many times, has so many scars. From her childhood, from Orion, from Afghanistan. From her time with the FBI. From her time with the CIA.
As his thoughts darken Weller moves his hand from the freshly sewn wound on her chest to those older scars, his fingers running the still-present markings. They're much fainter now but he can still see them as clearly as ever, especially when he's in that mindset. And he's always done this, drawn this pattern. Mostly to tell her they're a part of her and goddamned beautiful like the rest of her; but partly as a reminder to himself of how badly she can get hurt when he fucks things up.
He's stuck staring at the worst of them, dragging his thumb across a long ropy streak of scar tissue along her waist when Jane finally reaches down to capture his hand, interlacing her fingers with his.
She brings his hand back up to her sternum, just above her new stitches. Rests their hands there together, waiting for his eyes to come up and meet hers before she speaks.
"You're never going to let it go are you?" she asks quietly, giving him a small rueful shake of her head.
What kind of man would he be if he could let something like that go? A mistake that left her marked in so many ways.
"No, I should never have let them hurt you," he states, as firmly as he can.
Jane gives him a wan smile, grips his hand tightly.
"Oh Kurt," she sighs affectionately.
Weller looks his wife up and down, draws his eyes over all the familiar markings on her body. Of course he's glad it doesn't seem to bother her nearly as much as it eats at him, all the reminders of her past.
"Have you really let it go?" he asks, even though she's told him before.
Jane brings his hand up to her mouth, kisses him solidly on the knuckle of his thumb. Weller thinks again about how it shouldn't be up to her to reassure him, how much he loves her for doing it so willingly.
"Yeah, the memories of the orphanage and Shepherd's army of two were worse in so many ways," she says softly. "We were just kids, helpless. At least I was trained to take on the CIA, had some hope of escaping. And I actually was a terrorist, though that doesn't make their methods any more justifiable."
She is so fucking tough, resilient as hell. It makes him prouder than anything to call her his wife.
"But that's all way in the past, Kurt," she adds, pulling him down towards her slowly.
Jane exhales contentedly as he wraps his arms around her, then brings his lips down to her new wound and kisses his way across her heart. At least he can do that for her, show her how much he appreciates her steady support.
She giggles a bit, almost silently but he feels the rumble in her chest through his lips and it makes his own heart loosen, his anxiety ease. Lying on his side and pulling her to him, Kurt rests his chin on top of her head, revels in the way she fits into him when they curl up together.
"Mm," Jane murmurs, low and appreciative.
He can feel her start to nod already, the action of the day finally catching up to her. Normally he'd convince her to put on pajamas, properly crawl under the covers. But his soul is so soothed by cuddling her tightly, there's no chance he's letting her go for any reason at all.
And just as Kurt's sure that she's drifted off, Jane somehow pulls his arms around her midriff even tighter, melts into him completely.
"I feel so safe now," she murmurs, barely audible as she slips off to sleep.
"I don't even dream about it anymore."