She had always carried a lot of guilt, that was something Jane had realized as soon as she got all of her memories back.
Right from her parents' murder, she had blamed herself for everything. For not saving Roman from the orphanage, for everything that happened to him there. For being unable to protect him from Shepherd, abandoning him when she enlisted.
Then there were the things she did for Orion, governmentally sanctioned murder. Oh, and getting an entire town wiped out in a drone strike, including the woman who had saved her.
At least there'd been someone else to blame for much of that; the South African government, their captors, Shepherd, the US government. She'd failed, been complicit, but the fault wasn't entirely hers.
But then there was the ZIP, the tattoos, preying on Weller to infiltrate the FBI. No matter what she'd done to counter all that, even including stopping Shepherd from nuking DC, it hadn't taken the guilt away for having done it in the first place.
Jane groaned internally, raked her fingers through her hair. She felt hollow, eaten through with anxiety and regret before she'd even started thinking of all things she'd done to Kurt. Running away without consulting him, cheating on him, letting him bankrupt himself chasing her all around the world, taking him away from his daughter.
Not to mention plotting to murder him while he was desperately trying to save her, freeing Shepherd and making him culpable in everything she'd done.
And yet, sending him off alone to execute a dangerous illegal mission that she'd set up; it was as guilty as she'd ever felt. Forcing him to commit murder to save her was not at all what she had in mind when she'd agreed to killing the CIA agent. That snap decision had been based solely on not wasting time with Sho, a prodigious time waster, when their window was closing on saving Rich. And though she had hoped to find a way around actually killing the guy, it was hard to muster up much sympathy for a torturer. It's not like she hadn't imagined the satisfaction of snapping Jake Keaton's neck a million times in her three months with him; would certainly have done it to get herself out.
So it had been an easy answer to give, which is what she would have explained to Kurt if she'd had the chance. But then guns had been drawn and he'd been forced to leave without even a proper goodbye.
The thought of him not making it back got caught in her throat, nearly made her choke. Jane forced herself to breathe through it, do her best to block out the ugly concept.
She had been pushing back on the encroaching panic for what seemed like ages, stewing in her own guilt and ignoring Sho until he left her alone, when a radio squawked and the Russian mobsters suddenly became more alert. Her heart leapt into her throat, anticipation gripping her entire body as she waited to see what would happen.
Finally, Weller strode into the room, dirty and visibly tense. Jane first exhaled a sigh of relief, then found herself holding her breath without realizing it, wondering what he had managed to come up with. She had one hundred percent faith that he'd completed the mission somehow, the only question was if he'd had to kill the agent along the way.
When he produced the hand Jane exhaled in quiet relief, sure that it meant he hadn't had to murder the man, while also having given the sadist a fairly just consequence. Still though, Kurt seemed bothered, in a rush. And even after the fingerprint confirmation and they were allowed to leave, he was stony and silent walking out of Sho's ridiculous mansion, hard for her to read.
Of course it upped her anxiety and guilt, wondering what was going on in his mind as he led her to the rental car. She realized that he hadn't touched her at all since he'd made it back, wondered if that meant something or he was just focused on getting away from Sho's turf.
Even after they were on the road though, he was quiet, had only asked if she was okay, if they had done anything to her while he was gone. When she told him nothing had happened to her he had nodded in relief then told her that Rich was okay and gave her a quick run down of the mission on the boat before clamming up again, looking thoughtful and bothered.
Jane sat in the passenger seat, wondering what the hell was going on in his mind. It wasn't often that she couldn't read him, know how he's feeling. But nearly two months away from each other and the stress of living on the run had affected him more than she'd hoped. And now she was praying that her rash solo decision hadn't harmed things between them.
For awhile she waited for him to speak again, hating that she felt so unsure about things with Kurt after itching so desperately for him for months. But when it became clear that he wasn't going to offer up his thoughts, she couldn't contain herself any longer.
"I'm sorry," she said, forcing herself to look at him while she spoke. "I would have never agreed to kill him if I knew I was making the choice for you."
Kurt inhaled audibly, then frowned as he shook his head a little.
"You have nothing to apologize for, Jane," he replied, giving her a strange look. "You did what needed to be done."
Now it was her turn to frown, wondering what he meant by that; if it was a good thing or a bad thing to him. But before she could ask, he continued on.
"I would have just wasted time arguing with Sho, when there was no way he would have given in. You made the right choice, I just couldn't see it in the moment."
She wondered why he still sounded so upset then, why his words still carried an emotional edge to them.
"But I still put you in a position where you potentially had to kill a CIA officer," she said. "I would never want you to have to compromise your integrity that way, Kurt."
Weller just sighed, let out a hollow joyless laugh.
"Have you forgotten I almost murdered Jake Keaton with my bare hands the first time I met him?" he asked. "And that was before I could even admit to myself how much I loved you."
"We both know I would stop at nothing to get you back, Jane," Kurt continued, his voice quiet, a low growl. "And I know you weren't planning on actually killing the guy either. But you had the instinct to make the hard call in the moment."
He looked over at her as he made his conclusion, then reached over to tangle his fingers in hers. She wasn't sure how to respond, but it turned out that he had more to say anyways, saved her from replying.
"I guess this has all just made me realize more about myself. That I'm not cut out for this, I don't have the skillset for the world we're living in."
Jane squeezed his hand in encouragement, hating that he felt so much self-doubt. She depended on him so much, they all did. He was her rock, even when she was alone, broken in two. It hurt to see his usual steady confidence slip away.
"You though, you're right on it," he said. "And you act when necessary. I'm just so in awe of you sometimes."
Of all the things that could have come out of his mouth, praise for her actions was not at all what she expected. She had felt so guilt ridden, having made that decision so easily. But the transaction had to be made and time had been short. It had not been the moment to think about the sadistic CIA agent that possibly had to die.
"You shouldn't be," she replied, looking out her window deliberately. "It's not a part of me I'm proud of."
Kurt grasped her hand tighter, brought it up to his lips and kissed her on her thumb.
"I know," he said. "But I am. It's what got you through everything you've been through. It's part of what makes you so goddamned special."
Dammit, count on Kurt to be supportive of everything, including her criminal background, a life of dubious moral choices. She'd been so afraid of dragging him into the darkness of that world, putting him up to killing a government agent.
For a moment she got a little choked up at his unwavering belief in her, including all the parts of her that she didn't like to look at. She wanted to tell him how much it meant to her, for him to accept her more than she accepted herself. But the words got stuck in her throat and all she could do was grip his hand as tightly as she could, try to tell him through physical contact.
Kurt squeezed back in response, looked over and smiled at her tiredly.
"I'm so glad you're safe," he sighed. "And we even managed to get Rich back. You made the right call, Jane. So don't be sorry for anything."
A little bit of the ice in her chest melted with his words, the words started to unstick in her throat.
"I love who you are, Kurt," she said, "And I don't want you to have to know this world, I don't want it any of this to even touch you. But we are going to get through this together."
He nodded, gave her a look that was somehow both water and steel. And this time she pulled his hand over to plant a kiss on his knuckles, made a silent promise to protect him no matter what it took.