Pairing: Jane Doe/Kurt Weller
Summary: Tell me what you want.
A/N: I wrote this between midnight and 3 AM last night, which some people will recognize as both the absolute worst time and the absolute best time to write. To be honest, I never meant for the story to turn out like this. All I set out to do was to write a simple J/K PWP. I ended up with this. And I have to say I'm extremely excited for people to read it.
Soundtrack: “Is There Somewhere” & “I Walk the Line” by Halsey
She’s quiet on the way home.
This in itself isn’t odd; she’s prone to bouts of introspection as much as he is, especially while riding in the car together after a case, but what’s odd about this instance is the timing. What he doesn’t like is the timing. Now is not a good time for her to be silent and brooding and cut off from him.
He still shakes, when he thinks about it; his whole body shakes. Just the image of that gun being pressed to her head, and her helpless for the first time before it, is enough for him to grip the steering wheel too tight, for him to loose feeling in the ends of his fingers, for him to feel like he wants to drive off a cliff, or into opposing traffic. He straightens the car self-consciously, overcorrects by accident, then re-corrects. He takes a breath to calm himself, and then another. They’re loud, but he doesn’t try to quiet them. He knows she’s too lost in her own head, too lost in might-have-beens, to notice he’s spiraling out of control.
And that’s a pity, really, since she’s always been the only one able to bring him back from the ledge—and yet here they both are, standing at opposite ends of the same pit, about to fall into the bottomless middle, each unable to hold the other back from the blackness. It’s ironic, really, when he stops to think about it. This lifesaving effect she has had on him these past few months has come much too late. A good part of him died along with Taylor all those years ago; his trust, his family, his childhood all went up, burst apart into thin air—just like Taylor herself. And now, when the rest of him is dangling, threatening to disappear too, her lifesaving words are nowhere to be heard.
He pictures the gun to her head again, the malice behind it, the genuine intention in the holder’s eyes to spray her brains and skull all around that deserted alleyway, and he knows where the words went. He thinks they both left the better, stronger parts of themselves back there, too. Even though they both got out with their lives, he knows now without her having to speak that they aren’t the same anymore. Near-death experiences pile up, he thinks, as much for her as for him. They pile up, and then they become too much, and eventually you crack under the pressure, unable to take another one. You break. You die. Is it a coincidence that this afternoon was the time that made them both shatter into silence, into pieces of what they had been? Is it fate?
Is it the reason his name was inked onto her back like a brand, because she’s going to meet her end with him?
When they pull up to her street, her security detail is already waiting on the far end of the block. As he steps out of the car, Kurt holds up a hand in acknowledgment. He can’t see them, not when it’s this dark, but he knows they’re watching. For once, their presence makes him uneasy instead of relieved. He does not like the idea of people waiting outside Jane’s apartment, hidden in dark cars, watching her, no matter if they wear badges that read FBI or not. The man who pressed a gun to her head this afternoon wore a badge, too. And he almost succeeded in pulling the trigger.
When they reach the top of her front stoop and she takes out her keys to unlock her front door, he steps aside to watch out for her. To watch her. Her fingers shake now on the doorknob as his did before, on the steering wheel. When the keys slip through her fingers and clatter onto the concrete, it’s nearly as loud as a gun going off, and they both flinch visibly. He doesn’t make a move to help her by grabbing the keys out from under her, though; he knows that sudden movements scare her now. Sudden movements can easily mean a sudden death, no matter where or whom they come from.
She doesn’t say goodbye or wave him away when she finally fits the key into the lock and pushes the door open, and so he follows her inside. He has not been inside her safe house, not since moving her in that first night, and he is strangely intrigued to know what it looks like now. It’s been nearly four months since she moved in here; nearly five since they first met. But still, at times, she is as barren and unknowable to him as these walls that hold up her makeshift home.
He thinks that perhaps he is the same to her. And he realizes that he knows not one way to bridge that gap. At least not tonight, not after what happened. There’s really nothing to say anymore.
She is methodical as she locks the door behind them. She does up each lock, three in total, before adding on the slim chain bolted into the frame. Then she yanks on the doorknob with all her might, as if testing its mettle. It rattles in its frame, but stays. She tries again, and though the outcome is the same, something in it must have changed, or reassured her, for she doesn’t try again.
Without a word, she walks past him, throws the keys onto the worn table in the middle of the room, and marches into the kitchen. He listens to her rummage around in the cabinets for something, for multiple somethings, but he doesn’t turn her way to find out what it is. He is feeling volatile, standing here in her home with nothing to do and nothing to say. He should go home, he knows. He should take a long, hot shower and work out the kinks and wash off the bloody residue. Cry out the fear, the might-have-beens, safely amongst the spray, where no one can hear. Then maybe later, he’ll go out, and he’ll find a girl or maybe he’ll pick a fight. He needs a release of some kind; he needs to kill someone or almost kill someone. The man who wore the badge and put the gun to Jane’s head today wasn’t enough. He needs more.
The sound of a sharp thud jerks him back to reality, to her home, and away from the almost-bloodshed of this afternoon and the soon-to-be-bloodshed of tonight. The sound is strange, but oddly familiar, and he focuses on it for a moment, eyes closed, puzzling over it, before he turns to her and identifies its origin.
It was the sound of a half-full glass bottle hitting worn wood. A sound he is familiar with, admittedly, but which he has never heard in her home. He blinks, swallows, as he stares at the scene unfolding before him.
Something about the sight of the whiskey bottle in her hands frightens him. Maybe because it’s already half-empty (made that way, he knows, by her alone, after days like this one). Maybe because it’s his favorite brand (and perhaps hers too?). Maybe because she is setting out two glasses instead of one and he knows that when (not if) she offers him one, he will accept.
They’ll toast to her almost-death and they will drink.
And he knows what will happen after that, too.
Because he has been here before, with others. He has been here before, with himself. There is no good or noble end to a night like tonight.
But after an afternoon like the one they just had, he thinks, what is the harm, really?
When she holds out a glass, overfilled, he takes it. She does not offer a toast, but they click glasses anyway. He watches her finish hers in one long, extended gulp before he starts on his.
The whiskey tears through his throat on the way down, destroying the interior of his esophagus, and nearly lighting his stomach on fire, but he swallows it down anyway. It brings tears to his eyes, though of course he doesn’t let them fall. It’s too much, too fast, but he doesn’t stop and he doesn’t ask for water.
And neither does he demur when she fills another for him. It’s too full again, and he finds himself wondering as he swallows it down if she did this on purpose, or if perhaps she just doesn’t know how to regulate this type of alcohol.
Little sips and small doses, he wants to tell her, that’s what whiskey’s for, Jane, but he’s feeling inebriated already, and the more he drinks, the less it seems to matter. Let Jane drink however she wants to drink. She’s the one who nearly died today, after all. She was the one tied up, forcibly made helpless, left only to cry, beg, and pray, in the face of death pointed right at her face. She was the one who wasn’t allowed, for the first time in her life that any of them can remember, to fight back in order to save herself. Let her drink however she wants to drink.
It’s after the second one that he, somehow, comes to his senses. He sets the glass on the table, upside down so she cannot refill it, and takes a step back, to the door. He doesn’t plan on driving, but he does plan on getting out of here. The walls have grown closer, and larger, and more plain, somehow. And she has only grown all the more detailed amidst them. He doesn’t want to be in this nameless place with this nameless woman any longer—he can’t. He needs to be gone.
He’s nearly at the door by the time she speaks, and for a moment, he wonders if he could make it through all the locks and out onto the other side, all while pretending he hadn’t heard her. He closes his eyes at the thought, sways a little at the temptation.
“Please,” she calls to him again, her voice rising, cracking. “Don’t go. I don’t want to be here alone tonight.”
“Jane…” Her name comes out of his mouth clear, un-slurred, momentarily sober. Her words woke him, cut through to that part of him that will never fully surrender to alcohol, or to anything else. “I…” He turns to her, to tell her that he can’t, to tell her that it’s not a good idea, to tell her that he needs to go somewhere and sober up for a while, but the second he looks into her eyes, all the words disappear again.
Because he can see that look in her eyes again, that desperation—it’s the same look she wore when that gun was pressed against her temple, when he was the only thing in the world standing between her and death—and he doesn’t know if he can walk away like that look means nothing. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to forgive himself if he does.
He knows how it feels to be where she is, to be alone and scared and to be pushed away by everyone and everything. And she must be able to see that empathy in his eyes, because as he stands, staring at her, she comes closer. It’s just one step at a time, each taken slowly enough so there’s never really a moment where he can tell her to stop, and eventually she’s right there. Right in front of him, close enough to touch.
He knows what the next part is. He knows how it will happen. He knows what it will feel like, and he knows it will feel so good, and even if it’s just for a moment, just for a few minutes or a night, so good is tempting enough that—
He takes a step back. He makes himself do it. He makes himself physically retreat from her and what she is so willingly proposing to give him.
He doesn’t want it to be like this between them. He doesn’t want her to finally come to him out of terror, grief, and sorrow. He doesn’t want her to take him in order to get her control back. He doesn’t want this moment between them to be borne out of death and blood and fear, no, he wants it to be—oh, how he sounds like a child thinking this, but it’s true; it is—he wants it to be about love.
He doesn’t want her to remember this tomorrow, to be faced with this reality of what they’ve done, and to feel nothing but empty, nothing but shame and regret and humiliation. Because that is what she will feel afterwards, he knows this. He can picture it, the morning after: the way she’ll avoid his eyes, the obligatory “I’ll see you at work” dismissal (which will be worse, in the aftermath, than any sort of rejection she might’ve given him beforehand), and then the hesitation, the waiting for him to leave. Because he will leave, and they both know it. He will not force his presence on her. He will not force a single thing on her.
“I—I don’t think this is a good… Jane, this isn’t a… I don’t want—”
“Is it because I’m not Taylor?”
He closes his eyes, pushing the words away, banishing the ache in her voice. He shakes his head to dispel them and, swaying with the movement, he nearly falls. Suddenly he feels much too drunk for this. He can’t be doing this, can’t be having this sort of conversation. Not now. No, no, no—
“Is it because I’m not enough Taylor for you?”
He can hear her voice break as she speaks the words, vocalizing her secret fear, and he wants so badly to tell her that that’s not what this is about. That this thing between them, it is something else entirely. It has nothing to do with his childhood best friend. But all he can manage to get out is her name, and barely that.
His voice is cracked, breaking. Splinters of it fall down his throat and lodge in his windpipe, obstructing his breath, his words.
“Jane,” he tries to say again, to answer her question. Maybe if he keeps saying her name, she’ll realize what he means. She’ll realize that it’s her that he wants, not that child from his past.
Taylor has been dead for years, for decades. For a lifetime, she has been dead. He has accepted it; he has been made to accept it. He has tried to make his peace. And yet…
Jane is right to fear his wants, to repudiate them, because even now, when he looks at her, he wonders if this is what it would have been like, with Taylor, once they’d grown older. Would they have fallen in love during high school, or perhaps later on, when he was home on breaks from college? When the time came, would they have made love in his childhood bedroom, or hers? Or perhaps in that old treehouse in the backyard, the one they shared as children? And there, the act would not be a perversion, but a tribute: they would christen the ramshackle, too-small building anew; they would make it whole and beautiful and completely their own. And yet afterwards, would they still be staring at each other now, as he and Jane are, torn apart by their fears and their loves and their endless, crippling worries?
No. He knows the answer at once. No, he and Taylor would never be like this; they would never have these sorts of conversations or these sorts of twisted wants. They would have had a charmed, normal life together, as his many daydreams and nightmares have informed him in great detail over the years. Everything would have been perfect between them. Storybook. Pristine. Their lives, and their life together, would have been untouched by suspicion or fear or death or a naked woman trapped in a bag in Times Square—
Suddenly, Jane reaches up to grip the lapels of his jacket and force his attention, perhaps reading his thoughts, or at least sensing their trend. She pulls his coat so tight that the collar digs into the back of his neck, causing him to stoop down, to fall to her level. To see her, Jane, and nothing else.
“Don’t tell me you don’t want this too,” she whispers to him, her voice hoarse, yet suggestive. Her eyes are alight as they catch his, but with what he can’t be sure. She’s trying to be sexy, he knows, but her fingers are shaking as she attempts to hold him to her, and her nose is running down to the rise of her lips, and her voice is as raspy as his, and there are tears in her eyes, and the absolute last thing she is to him is sexy. She must have seen this scene acted out before—for he, too, feels like a character in a play as she holds him in place—and she must know even as she plays the part that her facsimile of seduction is just that: it does nothing for him except fall woefully, heartbreakingly short of its intended mark.
She is a failure, and he can see it in her eyes. She knows it already, even as she tries her best to succeed, to overcome. She’s a failure, again and again.
And yet, worst of all, it is that failure which prompts him to finally take her in his arms. Her shortcomings make him wrap a comforting arm around her back and bring another up to cup the back of her neck, to draw her lithe, slim body flush against his—
He is both disappointed and grateful when she collapses against his chest, sobbing, before their lips can meet. Her cries are loud in this safe house that has never—to his knowledge—held another person at night but her. He wonders if she has wept here before, like this, alone. Have her sobs echoed off these walls so often that they’ve left marks? Do the windows and the ceilings know the language of her keening?
Her hands dig into his back, his shoulders, his neck, as she searches for a purchase from which to gain strength. But there is no strength to be found in him, and little comfort, too. He wants to offer her something, anything, but he has nothing left to give.
At least, he has nothing left to give that she would want.
He hopes she can’t feel it, can’t sense it, the desire he still feels for her in this moment. He knows what sort of men prey on broken women like this, and he does not want to be that sort. He has dedicated his life to eradicating men of that sort. He cannot let himself—
But she is here in his arms and she is warm and she is alive and even if she’s not Taylor, she’s still Jane, Jane that he almost had to watch be executed today, and he should not, but he wants her still. He wants her like he always does: at the worst, most inopportune moments. He wants her in the middle of a fistfight, and he wants her as she straps into her field gear, and he wants her now, still, as she cries into his chest and shakes inside his arms and begs for the acceptance he shouldn’t have the right to give.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers hoarsely, and he hopes she can hear the words, and know all that they are for. He has so much to apologize for, and it would be good to start now.
“I’m sorry, Jane,” he whispers, pressing his face down into her hair, inhaling the smell of shampoo and sweat and gunpowder that lingers in her short, dark locks. He pictures the gun once more, imagines the flash of the muzzle—
He inhales deep, drawing her in, willing her to become a part of him. He runs a hand through her hair, down her back. As it trails down her spine, she shifts towards him, into him. He lowers his face, presses it against her neck, and opens his mouth to taste the ink of the bird beneath her ear, hungry for and envious of it. He wants to be as integral a part of her as those tattoos seem to be. He presses himself closer, holds her tighter.
“I can be Taylor for you if that’s what you want. If that’s what it takes, I can do it, Kurt. I promise.”
He freezes around her, mid-exhale, his entire body locking up. And her, trapped inside his grasp. Trapped with another loaded gun to her head, though this time they’re both holding the trigger, and they’re both daring each other to pull it.
His heart beats faster at her offer, but he no longer knows if it’s excitement or shame that powers him now. He does not want to know.
“I can be whoever, whatever, you want. Just tell me what that is.”
Her hands are moving against him now, pushing back his jacket, loosening his belt, working through the buttons on his shirt. She rips the Bureau’s badge from his waistband and throws it to the corner of the room with a fury he did not imagine her still capable of, at least not after this afternoon. And through it all, he stands, powerless beneath her, as she gains her control back.
“Just tell me, Kurt.”
She’s careful with his gun whens he takes it off; she sets it down on the table gently, and for that he is grateful. He wonders if she still senses the muzzle against her temple. Can she feel the weight of it, the cool touch of the metal, soon to be burning hot? Can she hear the report, firing in her ears, just before the bullet will crack her skull and fly through her brain?
Her hands are on him now, clutching him between his legs with an efficiency that he can’t help but think of as ruthless. He tries to say her name again, but finds he can no longer speak. He can hardly breathe; all he manages are delirious gasps, lascivious groans. He shudders, surrendering to her touch; seeking more of her, he pushes himself against her, wraps his arms around her, and buries his face in her neck.
He once promised to protect her, to keep her safe at all costs. Privately, he has even gone so far to as to swear to give his life for hers, if it should come to that.
He wonders if, before they are finished tonight, he will have broken every vow to her he has ever made.
“As long as I get to be who you want, Kurt, I’ll be whoever you need. You know I will.”
Her lips are at his ear when she gives the ultimate surrender, and he closes his eyes, shuddering against the warmth of her breath, of her hands, of her promise.
He wants to tell her that he didn’t ask for this, that he never wanted things to get this far between them, but he knows that would be a lie of sorts. Every time he mentioned Taylor, he fed this fire. Every time he looked at her a little too long, or looked away a little too quick, he struck another match. Every time he saved her life or put her in mortal danger—
“Just tell me who you want, and I swear I will be her.”
He tries to tell her that it isn’t Taylor that he wants. Or rather—it isn’t just Taylor. Because he wants Jane, too.
He wants them both and he is well aware that he’s a son of a bitch. He is well aware that he is little better—no, he is no better—than the monsters he puts away. But she is all he has left, all he will ever get to have, of either of them. She is everything, all wrapped together in one beautiful, tragic, otherworldly body.
And she is offering.
Is this the excuse the others use?
“Please, Kurt,” she says again, sniffing, fumbling with him for a second before catching her stride again. She draws a sharp breath, exhales, focuses. And he can’t breathe, can’t see, can’t think. Not with her hands on him, nor with her words in his ears. But even before she speaks next, he knows what it is she’s going to say. And he also knows—as well as she does—that it will be the last time she will have to say it. “I’ll be whoever you want. All you have to do is tell me who that is.”
He closes his eyes, chin trembling, shaking his head. He won’t say it. He won’t answer her; he can’t. He won’t do this to her, to Taylor, to himself, to them. He won’t.
But Jane won’t take no for an answer; she never has. And she’s good; she pushes him and tempts his senses in just the right ways, and it’s almost like she has been with him his whole life, because she knows exactly what to do, she knows how to force out an answer out of him even when he’s trying with all his might to keep it in—
It’s just one word, one broken word that falls from his lips, and he doesn’t know if it’s what she wants to hear, or what she expects or hopes to hear, and perhaps it isn’t any of those things, or maybe it’s even all of them, but he doesn’t stop to wait, or to see, or even to ask. He just gives in to her, finally, and feels her do the same with him. He pulls her lips to his and lets the rest fade to black. The night, their night, gradually runs together in his mind until it becomes nothing more than a blur of darkness and moonlight and the feel of her skin against his and the sound of her breath and the way she says his name, but there’s one distinct thought that remains, afterwards. It comes to him just as he’s falling asleep, as he’s watching her rest beside him, watching her breathe, he himself almost gone, too. Yet the thought stays with him come morning.
What a coincidence, he thinks, that Jane, just like Taylor, rarely ever needs to ask him for something twice.
. . .
Author’s Note: Reviews would be GREATLY appreciated. This story turned out nothing like what I was planning to start with, and I ended up falling in love with it as I wrote it. I would love to hear what you guys ended up thinking of it! Thank you so, so much for reading.