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Say It Out Loud

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"C'mon," Kurt had heard himself say. "We'll go down to Charlie's. First round's on me."

They didn't have any particular New years traditions as a team. Years that they didn't have an active, urgent case, they'd always just gone their own separate ways (which for Kurt, at least, meant home alone to his apartment just like it was any other day).

This time, though, as they'd wrapped up their last briefing of the year and Mayfair had dismissed them, he'd looked across the table to where Jane was sitting next to Reade, to where Tasha was sitting just a bit apart from everyone else, and the slightly sad look still shadowing Patterson's face, and he'd made the completely impulsive suggestion of going out together - the whole team - to celebrate.

Mayfair had politely declined, but when Jane lit up at the idea, the rest of them had agreed.

All of which explained why Kurt was now sitting in a boisterous, crowded bar on New Year's Eve.

It was ten minutes to midnight. There were only a few minutes left in what had possibly been the strangest, most amazing year of his life.

It was good, he realized, looking around the warm light bouncing off the wood and glass of the bar, seeing how it caught the light in Patterson's hair, who smiled slightly at whatever Reade had just said. In the corner of his eye he saw Jane look down at her drink, then dart her gaze around the bar quickly like she did every so often, watching the people and movement and exits, another subconscious artifact of her former training, and then... the light caught in Jane's eyes as she looked up at him and his heart got stuck in his throat, like it did more and more often these days.

He smiled back, and the somewhat hesitant twist of her mouth to broke into a full, happy grin. Her eyes danced - that was the only word for it, and he couldn't look away.

"Yo, Weller! Earth to Kurt, you in there?" Tasha snapped her fingers near his face and he shook his head like he was shaking off water.

“Yeah, I’m here.”

“When’re you two gonna stop beating around the bush and actually talk about the giant elephant in the room?” she asked, in no way subtle, but then subtle wasn’t exactly her style. He had Reade for subtle. Tasha was for the straight shot right to the point.

“And which elephant might that be?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, boss. You know exactly which one I’m talking about. The entire New York branch of the FBI knows exactly which elephant I’m talking about. You. And Jane.”

“There’s no ‘me and Jane’, Tasha.”

“Bullshit. You pretty much haven’t taken your eyes off of her for the last three months, and those aren't ‘I’m working a case’ or ‘I don’t trust her’ looks.”

"Tasha-" he started warningly, but she gave him a pointed look.

"Like I said before. It's one thing if you don't admit it to anyone else, but you've gotta admit it to yourself." Her tone shifted, grew more serious. "You know we've all got your back, right? Just like out in the field, this isn't any different. I'm serious. Whatever the two of you've got between you, it's bigger than just attraction and more than just these cases. I'm not a big believer in destiny or fate or whatever you want to call it, and I pretty much think the idea of soul mates is bunk, but then there's you two."

Hearing Tasha lay it all out like that, Kurt felt his stomach clench. There were certain things he simply didn't think, didn't give a voice to, even if it was just the voice inside his head.

Trust her to say it right out loud.

"You want me to tell you I'm in love with her, or that she's, what did you call it, my soul mate?" he asked softly, carefully, trying the feel of the words out on his tongue. He meant it to be dismissive, but... Part of him felt like he should've said them to Jane first, but the rest of him felt a kind of rush of relief at releasing them into the world.

It felt like the world shifted a little bit.

And Tasha was grinning softly from ear to ear.

"I just wanted to make sure you knew it. We trust your judgment. I just wanted to make sure you were trusting yourself."

She reached back and grabbed her jacket, shrugging it on as she went back to where Patterson was sitting. He watched their heads tilt together as she probably asked if the other woman wanted to share a cab. They'd all been a little more protective and conscientious of their resident genius since David had been killed - she was bouncing back from it, but slowly, as was to be expected, and where once she would've been a sort of bubbly and chatty while drinking, now she tended more towards brooding and an aching sadness in her eyes that tore at all their hearts. Knowing that Tasha would make sure she got home safe, and seeing that Reade was also paying and getting ready to leave as soon as the ball drop was over, Kurt turned his attention back to Jane, who'd gotten up while he'd been talking to Tasha and was coming back from the restrooms.

When she saw him looking at her again she smiled, and yeah, he was completely gone. He smiled back and she came over, taking up the space Tasha had vacated.

The crush of the crowd had her standing much closer to him even than she normally did. It seemed natural enough to take her hand with his when they brushed against one another and lace their fingers together. Distantly, he heard the countdown start, but everything had narrowed down to Jane.

When the cheering started, and the people around them jostled them, he tugged just enough to pull her in against him and tucked an arm around her waist to anchor her.

"Kurt-" she started, but he shook his head just enough to stop her.

"New Year's tradition," he said simply, then gave in to what he'd been wanting to do for weeks now and leaned in to brush his mouth against hers.