"I just needed to see you."
Kurt's irritation that she's slipped her protective detail immediately becomes concern. "Is everything okay?"
Jane's nervous butterflies seem to migrate south at the intensity of his expression, his complete focus on her and what she needs. He'll do almost anything for her, she senses it—but will he do this?
She has to try, Patterson's sorrowful words about wasted time still resonating deep within her. Answering with her actions, she steps forward and presses her lips to his, her hands coming to rest on the nape of his neck.
His breath catches, and the moment stretches out, but he's stunned, barely responsive. Has she screwed up by doing this? Did she read him wrong? As she begins to withdraw to assess his reaction, he rocks forward, his hand brushing the side of her neck as he tilts his head, his lips barely an inch from hers. It's a silent invitation, instinct rather than thought, and she brushes her mouth across his a second time, brief and tentative. He follows as she moves back, purposeful now, catching her lip between his for an instant that's both electrifying and strangely reassuring.
He wants this. And oh, god, I want this…
They gaze at each other, his gentle hand against her neck still making her skin tingle, the pulse in his neck beating hard and strong against her fingers. His eyes hold desire, but also a question, and she tries to put words together in some kind of coherent order, her voice slower than usual. "I just… I wanted…"
Jane's gaze falls on his lips again, and she almost gives up trying to explain in favour of another kiss, but she owes him an answer. With an effort, she focuses on his eyes again. "…a moment that was just…us."
For a second, Kurt just watches her, as though his brain is trying to catch up with his body. But then he smiles, understated and soft, and she can't resist anymore. Curling her fingers around the back of his neck, she kisses him again, and he responds as though they've been together for years, his tongue flicking out to tease her lips as she leans her whole body towards his. He's still holding a bag of groceries, can't pull her as close as she wishes he could, but she senses his hunger matches hers. She caresses his neck and loses all awareness of everything but his lips, his body heat, the tremor in his breathing…
The sound of Sawyer's voice is a shock to both of them, Kurt's body tensing as he turns his head towards the door to the apartment block, tearing his lips from hers. Jane is left gasping for a nanosecond, trying to process the rude interruption, but she quickly finds the funny side, breaking into soft laughter as Kurt takes a step back from her, grinning.
"Hey," he says to Sawyer, and Jane smiles as the curious gaze of the child falls on her.
"Mom said I could help you with the groceries."
Still regaining his focus, Kurt stumbles over his words as he hands Sawyer the paper bag. It's actually kind of adorable. "Yeah, you—you can. There, there's—that's yours."
Jane hesitates for a moment, watching him with his nephew. The hottest moment of her remembered life has suddenly become family time, and as he looks back over at her, she sees a different kind of invitation in his eyes—does she want to come in, have dinner with them, spend the evening together?
Her brain is having trouble shifting gears, and she knows Sarah won't be as clueless as her son. She doesn't think she can deal with interacting with anyone but Kurt right now. Conversation, food, behaviour suited to the proximity of a child? Those things won't be happening anytime soon.
"See you tomorrow," she says to Kurt.
There's a little disappointment in his face, but she senses he needs time to think just as much as she does. That semi-stunned look is back on his face as he tells her, "'Kay."
A goodbye kiss would be welcome, but with Sawyer there, it's not going to happen. As Jane begins to walk away, she hears him tell Sawyer, "Great timing," and can't help but glance over her shoulder with a smile.
Kurt is still watching her, and she senses his gaze on her back as she picks up the pace and heads in the direction of her safehouse. Part of her wishes he'd send Sawyer back upstairs and come after her, but an equally large part is glad that he won't.
Once she's around the corner and out of his sight, she lets out a relieved breath and takes another one, slow and deep, trying to calm herself down as she walks. Her body is still keyed up, her underwear damp and clinging to her overheated skin. If he lived alone, if he asked her to come up to his apartment, she'd go—that isn't even in question.
Even as her libido still demands attention, a sense of warmth and belonging is settling into her chest. Kurt didn't push her away, didn't tell her they had to work together, so they shouldn't become involved. That was her biggest fear as she waited outside his apartment block. Now that she knows he feels as strongly as she does, they can move forward together. As a couple? Friends with benefits? She doesn't know. At this point, she'll take either. They can work out what they mean to each other—outside of Kurt Weller and Taylor Shaw, reunited childhood friends, investigator and victim—with time.
Hopefully, it'll involve lots more kissing. And everything that comes afterwards.
Chapter 2: Girlfriend
“Yeah, buddy?” Kurt asks distractedly, his mind still on Jane as they wait for the elevator.
“Is Taylor your girlfriend?”
That gets him to focus on the here and now. How is he supposed to answer a question he doesn’t know the answer to himself? “She wants to be called Jane now, Sawyer, remember?”
“Okay. Is Jane your girlfriend?”
“Uh…I don’t know yet. Maybe one day.” Please, god.
“I thought people only kissed their girlfriends.” The elevator doors open, and Sawyer rushes inside with the grocery bag, standing poised to hit the button for the right floor as soon as Kurt joins him.
As the elevator doors close, Kurt wonders if there’s an easy way out of this discussion before they get back within Sarah’s earshot. “Sometimes people kiss other people to see if they want to be their girlfriend or boyfriend. But only if they say it’s okay first,” he adds, trying to make sure his nephew understands consent and boundaries.
Not that Jane bothered with consent or boundaries, and not that Kurt cares a single bit that she didn’t ask first. In fact, if she wants to ambush him with surprise kisses every day from now on, he’ll be fine with that.
“Oh, okay.” As the elevator arrives at their floor, Sawyer looks up at his uncle. “I don’t want a girlfriend. Unless she can play Mario Kart.”
Kurt suppresses the urge to laugh and rests his hand on Sawyer’s shoulder. Ah, to be nine years old again. “You know what, buddy? One day, you’re probably gonna meet someone who can kick your butt at Mario Kart, and you’ll love it.”
Sawyer frowns. “I don’t know if I want her to kick my butt. I like winning more than I like girls.”
Remembering all the times Jane has managed to knock him on his ass during sparring sessions, and how impressed—and turned on—it makes him, Kurt grins. “You’ll understand when you find the right one. For now, just focus on getting as good at Mario Kart as you can.”
As they enter the apartment, Sawyer asks, “Does that mean I can have the new game for my birthday?”
“Oh, you’re hitting up Uncle Kurt for Mario Kart now?” Sarah gives her son a reproachful look as she takes the groceries from him. “But if he gets it for you, what am I gonna get you?”
“How about the new Pokémon?”
As his sister and nephew continue the conversation on their own, Kurt heads into his bedroom, needing some space. Now that he doesn’t have awkward questions to fend off, he can finally process what just happened.
He can’t even be mad that Jane slipped her protective detail anymore. With them watching over her, she never would have kissed him. And even though they must only have spent thirty seconds making out on the street, he’s already addicted to the way her lips feel against his.
When she tried to explain herself, to convey that she wanted a moment just for them… Fuck. Just remembering the desire in her voice makes him start to get hard, now that he doesn’t have to worry about controlling himself.
He should go after her. Go to her safehouse, so they can talk about this. Sure, Weller. Talking is exactly what would happen if you went over there. Not to mention that Jane’s protective detail is still posted outside, and word tends to travel fast around the NYO.
No. Now isn’t the time. If she’s anywhere near as affected by his kisses as he is by hers, she’ll need time to think. Not that thinking seems to be getting him anywhere except for hot and bothered.
God, if only Sarah and Sawyer were somewhere else tonight. He could have invited Jane in, and…
It isn’t the first time he’s imagined himself alone in a bedroom with Jane, but it’s the first time he’s known how she kisses when he’s thought about it. He groans softly and grabs some clean clothing from his dresser before heading for the bathroom. He’s gonna need a hell of a cold shower to calm himself down.
Late that night, Kurt begins the process of getting ready to go to bed—checking doors and windows are locked, turning out lights—but his mind is still on Jane. It has been since the moment he realised she was outside his apartment block earlier.
He won’t sleep until he knows she got home without incident, and her detail is actually within range to keep her safe if necessary. Feeling a mild flutter of nerves, he hits the button to speed-dial her cell phone.
It rings for what seems like an eternity before she picks up. “Hi.” Her voice is a little breathless.
“Hey. Sorry I’m calling so late. I just wanted to make sure you got home okay.”
There’s the hint of a smile in her voice as she replies. “Yeah. I snuck back in just fine.”
He sighs. “Jane, we need to talk about that. Really.”
Jane’s voice is less annoyed than the last time they had this discussion, but no less firm. “I don’t need a detail anymore, Kurt. I’m military trained. Sure, the first few nights it was probably a good idea, while I was still getting used to my situation and the sedatives were wearing off. But I’m out in the field every day now, putting my life on the line with you and the team. I already took down a guy who snuck into my first safehouse. I had him under control before some sniper shot him.”
“I just… I need you to be safe. We still don’t know who did this to you.” He closes his eyes, conflicted. What she’s saying makes sense, and god knows it’ll be easier to get some time alone with her if she doesn’t have a detail. But he can’t lose her, not now.
“You don’t think you’re being a little overprotective?”
“I’m being very overprotective, but I have reasons. One more now than I had earlier today.”
On the other end of the line, he hears Jane sigh, but she keeps quiet, maybe unsure how to talk about…them. Whatever they are to each other now.
He’s being selfish, curtailing her freedom for his own peace of mind. Have a little faith in her. She can take care of herself. “We’ll discuss it with Mayfair tomorrow.”
“Thank you.” Jane’s voice is quiet, but emphatic.
“And I’m sorry about earlier. Being interrupted by Sawyer, I mean,” he adds quickly, not wanting her to think he has regrets.
Jane laughs a little shyly. “Hope you didn’t get the third degree from him on the way back upstairs.”
“His interrogation skills are impressive, for someone who’s nearly ten,” Kurt admits wryly.
“I’m sorry, too. I know what I did kind of…came out of nowhere.”
If there’s one thing he never needs to hear her apologise for, it’s that. “I shouldn’t say this, since I’m undermining my own authority here, but… I’m glad you snuck out.”
“Me too,” she says softly.
Kurt leans against the French doors that lead out onto the balcony, watching the city go by. “We should get some sleep. But I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Thanks. Sleep well.”
After he hangs up the phone, he lets out a relieved breath. She doesn’t regret coming over. He didn’t realise until now just how much that possibility had worried him.
They’ll have to handle Mayfair carefully. She’s already asked him if the case is too personal, if Kurt needs to be reassigned. Maybe it is, and maybe he should, but the thought of another agent handling Jane’s case bugs the hell out of him.
Kurt finishes turning out the lights and retires to his bedroom, but he already knows sleep will be a long time coming tonight.
Chapter 3: The Park
“Mayfair told me she lifted your detail.” Kurt leans against the lockers beside her, a faint smile on his face.
After the hell of the last couple of days—two long-haul flights, plus a much shorter, but more hair-raising flight, where she had to land the plane on a steep trajectory without any power—Jane is pretty exhausted, and she can tell Kurt is, too. The captivity and torture alone would have been bad enough, but the flights had tipped things from stressful into draining. Still, she’d managed to get some uneasy sleep on the FBI jet home, and her newly granted freedom is making her feel a little wired now.
“Yeah. You were right. She took it okay coming from me.”
Kurt had recommended, during a quiet moment at the airport, that she should be the one to ask Mayfair to lift her detail—since if they went in together, or if he brought it up, their boss would immediately question his motives in advocating for Jane. “And maybe she’d be right to,” he’d added, making her smile a little.
Now she’s free to walk out of the building unescorted, she can’t wait to get going. She’s going to take the subway, maybe grab some takeout… Unless Kurt wants to make a claim on her first night of freedom, that is.
As though he senses her need to spread her wings, he tilts his head, considering. “You and I, we need to sort out some things. There’s a park at the end of my street. Meet me there at ten o’clock?”
Ten o’clock is far enough away that she still has time to be out and about. He seems to have an instinctive sense for what she needs, sometimes.
“I’ll be there.”
He nods, then reaches out to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear. The temperature in the room seems to rise by several degrees as they gaze at each other, holding back because of where they are, but completely aware of the potential for more between them.
As Reade and Tasha enter the locker room, debating something Jane has no frame of reference for, Kurt drops his hand back to his side. “See you guys tomorrow.”
When Kurt leaves his apartment, five minutes before he’s due to meet Jane, he expects to be the first one there. When he gets to the end of the street, though, there’s a familiar figure sitting on the backrest of one of the benches, her feet on the seat. Even from a distance, he’d recognise Jane’s silhouette anywhere.
As he gets closer, he realises she’s eating a small pot of ice cream, the kind you can buy at movie theatres, and he can’t help but smile. She’s looking out at the water as he approaches, and doesn’t realise he’s there until he asks, “Did you go home at all?”
Jane looks up, a faint smile on her face. “For about a half-hour, in between dinner and a movie.”
Amused, he sits beside her on the back of the bench. “You took yourself on a solo date?”
“It wasn’t planned that way, but yeah, I guess I did.” She holds out her spoon. “Want some?”
He puts his hand over hers to tilt the pot, checking the flavour. It’s got enough caramel and chocolate to tempt him, so he takes the spoon and scoops out a slightly melted helping, his hand still over hers.
“That’s amazing,” he says, once he’s eaten the mouthful of cold, sugary goodness.
“I’m still in the process of trying out new flavours to see what I like. This one goes firmly in the ‘yes’ column.”
Jane steals her spoon back and finishes the pot within a few seconds, while Kurt scans the park for threats, out of habit. “So what movie did you see?”
“Some superhero thing. To be honest, I’ve already forgotten what it was called. It’s been a long few days, and I was only really paying attention to the fight scenes.”
“If you want to go home, get some rest…” He doesn’t want her to go, but he feels like he should have at least given her a night to recover from their hazardous trip to Turkey, before dragging her out here.
Jane leans over and tosses her empty ice cream carton into the trash can nearby, then straightens again, turning her body a little more towards him. “I’m fine, Kurt. I wanted to see you.”
Tentatively, he reaches for her hand, reassured when she laces her fingers through his. “There was a moment, back there on that plane, that I thought we were gonna die.”
“Just a moment?” Jane gives him a wry smile. “No offence to Patterson, but I was pretty sure we we’d nosedive into the runway.”
“Not then. Before that, before Patterson contacted us.” Kurt shakes his head. “When I thought the only option we had was to blow up the plane. I looked at you, and all I could think about was how unfair it was that we had to die, when we only just…” He isn’t sure how to finish, trailing off with a sense that he’s revealing too much, making a fool of himself.
Jane watches him intently. When he goes silent, she says, “I came to see you the other night because of something Patterson said. About pushing David away when she just wanted to hold onto him. And then it was too late; he was gone.”
Kurt nods. He’d had the same thoughts on the plane as he’d contemplated putting a bullet in the fuel tank. Regrets that he hadn’t followed Jane back to her safehouse that night. Despair that he’d never know what they could be together. Even after they were safely back on the ground, the thoughts had lingered.
Jane hesitates before continuing, “I know the work we do is dangerous. Either one of us could die tomorrow, or we both could. But if that happens, I don’t want to have any regrets.”
Kurt reaches out to brush his fingers over her jawline. She leans into the touch a little, her eyes falling closed. Unable to resist any longer, he sways forward and kisses her, the way he’s longed to in every idle moment since Sawyer interrupted them the other night.
Jane is the one to escalate their kiss this time, and he tastes traces of her ice cream as he wraps his arms around her. Their embrace is a little awkward, since they’re sitting side by side on the backrest of a park bench, but being this close to her feels right, somehow. He doesn’t want to draw away, and she makes no move to either. Her fingers caress the side of his neck, and he’s sure she doesn’t mean it to be as much of a turn-on as he finds it.
When he shifts uncomfortably on the bench, his pants too constrictive for his growing arousal, she pulls back, her expression filled with the same craving he feels. Before he can speak, she gets up from the bench and holds out her hand a little shyly.
He puts his hand in hers and stands up, too. “What—?”
Jane loops her arms around his neck and presses against him, their bodies fully aligned as she gazes up at him. “Just needed to get closer.”
He kisses her again, his lips growing urgent against hers. With a tiny moan, she rubs against his hard cock, and he groans, cupping her ass for a second before reining himself in. Pulling away, he tells her, “Speaking of regrets, right now I’m really regretting asking you to meet me in public.”
She looks up at him through her eyelashes. “You could…walk me home?”
Unable to resist, he gives her another soft, brief kiss before telling her, “If I take you home now, we won’t sleep. And we both need to rest after everything that’s happened. Especially if Patterson solves another tattoo tomorrow.”
She sighs, smiling a little ruefully. “I know. You’re right.”
“How about tomorrow night?” He brushes his lips against her forehead. “We won’t have to get up early Saturday morning. We can stay up as late as we want.”
“It’s a date.” Jane gives him one more kiss, lingering but undemanding, before drawing back. “I guess we should probably cut this short for now.”
Neither of them lets go of the other, and after a second they both break into light laughter.
“A kiss for the road?” he suggests.
“Mmmm. Yes, please.”
One kiss is all he intends to give her, but by the time they part, breathless and aroused, they’ve spent several minutes making out, and his body is begging him to take the next step.
“Go. Yeah.” She withdraws to arm’s length, and he keenly misses the heat of her against him. After a slight hesitation, she whispers, “Goodnight, Kurt.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She gives him a smile he’ll remember for years to come—simultaneously shy and full of joy—and turns to leave. It takes every tiny shred of willpower he possesses not to go after her as she crosses the park and heads out of sight with a last glance over her shoulder.
Fuck, she’s incredible. As kids, they’d been as close as a brother and sister, but now they were adults and she’s been returned to him, the connection between them is as different as it can get, yet still just as intense.
And now he needs to calm down before he can head back home.