It had been three hours since the power had gone out leaving them all trapped on an elevator together, and Jane was starting to come apart at the seams.
Since the CIA she didn't do well in small enclosed spaces.
That was why, she made it a point to slip out of every brief and meeting early so she could take the stairs without holding up the team. She broke away almost as soon as they got into the building to book it up the stairs.
The team never noticed her absence or if they did they never said anything to her about it.
But today, she had been distracting, unfocused. Her brain still stuck on the faces of the children they'd rescued from a trafficking ring that day.
Memories of her childhood spring to the front of her mind making her wish for once that she'd never remembered them. Her mind churning, mixing the memories with the experiences of the present day until she could have sworn she'd seen Ian's face among the crowd and had picked herself up from the ground.
So, unlike normal, when the team had entered the building she'd simply followed. Until it had been too late for her to withdraw from the elevator without drawing attention to herself. Something she did her best to avoid.
Attention from the team these days came in glares, mistrust, and anger. Best to fly under the radar.
So she had sucked it up, berating herself for her mistake even as she stepped onto the elevator. Squeezing herself into the corner as far from the other three as she could. Counting down the seconds until they reached their floor.
But then four floors from theirs the elevator had jerked, sending Reade to the ground, and the lights had flickered.
They quickly discovered that the power to the whole building had been cut, and that Patterson had no idea when they would be rescued with everything going on.
Jane had managed to stay relatively unbothered as the team ignored her in favor of talking amongst themselves.
And for the first hour that had worked fine. But by the beginning of the second hour, the elevator had become a death trap.
Humidity and the increasing temperature nearly suffocating. Coupled with Jane's rising anxiety, she started to sweat through her shirt.
The others it seemed were not immune to the heat either, and she watched over the next hour as they steadily shed their clothing.
By the beginning of the current hour, Kurt and Reade had stripped down to wife beaters, socks and shoes discarded. She could tell that it wouldn't be long before they stripped down to their boxers. The image forced a smile out of her.
Zapata on the other hand had zero qualms about it, and stood proudly in a tiny tank and her underwear. Even then her hair was matted to her face, and sweat dripped noticeably down her neck.
Jane, however, had only removed her jacket. Her shoes, pants and long sleeve t-shirt remained on.
"Okay, Jane, what gives?" Zapata asked, breaking the silence between them all, her face serious, "It is literally a fucking sauna in here. You cannot tell me that you are comfortable in all that."
Jane just looked away, "I'm fine."
"Really?" Reade's asked, emboldened by Tasha's question, "Because I'm dying, and I'm wearing half what you are."
She didn't even know why they cared, "I'm fine, I'd rather not be half naked when they get us out of here," she tried to sound light, but she knew her voice pitched too high to be believable. The pounding in her chest only increased, sweat had long ago stuck her hair to the back of her neck, trapping the heat there.
She just wanted to get off this fucking elevator, she didn't need the team cornering her. She was only just controlling her anxiety as is.
"It's not like we haven't seen it all before," Zapata told her, Jane thought she might have been trying for funny but it came off sounding more bitchy than anything.
Not that the woman was wrong, they'd spend months looking at every inch of her body for clues. But that had been months ago, before the CIA had gotten their hands on her. They wouldn't want to see her body now.
"Why do you care?" She asked the woman honestly, hoping to get her to drop the subject.
That seemed to throw her off, but not for as long as Jane had hoped. "To be honest, you look miserable, and who knows how long we're going to be in here. Plus," Zapata stated with a shrug of her shoulders, "If you pass out we'll have to deal with it."
That at least made sense to Jane, because when had they cared for Jane's comfort? She doubted it had crossed their minds since her return.
"I won't pass out," She replied simply. She'd gone longer without water to drink in worse conditions.
Weller seeming to sense the growing tension between the two women, spoke up for the first time, "Jane, are you sure? Tasha's right, it's hot in here and we more than likely have hours till we get out. We just want you to be comfortable."
"I'm fine, just drop it," This time Jane couldn't keep the anger out of her voice. They didn't get to do this. Pretend to care. She didn't owe them anything, not an explanation or a reaction.
"Whatever, burn up then," Zapata growled, rolling her eyes as she turned so her back was to Jane. She felt Wellers eyes on her for a few minutes, but eventually his attention shifted. Reade had simply been pulled in by Zapata.
It was better this way, she thought as she slide down to sit on the ground in her corner.
She didn't know how much time had passed, but the team's voices had eventually become nothing but background noise. Her heart beat accelerating more and more the longer they sat in this box. Her head swam as she closed her eyes. Just for a moment.
Just for a second. She just needed a break from this never ending cycle of anxiety and upset. The heat starting to get to her.
But she didn't want to be weak.
She barely noticed her heart beat slowing or her lungs straining to fill and empty as the blackness welcome her.
She felt something sting her face, and she sluggishly forced her eyes open. Kurt knelt in front of her, his mouth moving but she couldn't hear what he was saying.
She tried to bring her hands up to push him away when he shook her, mouth still moving, but she found her limps heavy and unwilling to move.
She felt more hands on her, she tried to struggle but it felt feeble.
Kurt grabbed her face, and made her look at him, she struggled to focus on what he must have been saying.
"Jane please," She nodded, only just grasping his words, "We need to get you out of these clothes, you passed out from heat exhaustion, okay?"
Even in her sluggish state she felt fear grip her heart, and she struggled to make words.
"What is it Jane?" Kurt asked, his voice still sounding so distant.
"Please-don't," She managed to whisper.
"I'm sorry Jane, but we have to," He replied, and she felt him lifting her up. She assumed it was Reade or Zapata who fingered the bottom of her shirt, pulling up over her head. She closed her eyes. She didn't want to see their reactions.
But she heard someone's breath hiss between their teeth, as if they'd sucked it in too quickly.
"Oh my god, Jane," She heard Zapata gasp behind her.
She knew what they were seeing, and it disgusted her as much as she knew it disgusted them. Her tattoos had been one thing, but at least in some way the artist in her could see their beauty. Now scars, thick and thin cut through them. Ruining whatever beauty they may have had. Hot metal, knives, and electrical currents had all left their marks on her torso. Cigarettes and leather had burnt their legacies into her arms.
"Jane, open your eyes," She heard the concern in Kurt's voice and she forced herself to obey despite what she feared she'd find when she met his gaze.
"Someone, get Patterson on the phone, we need to get her out of here," Kurt demanded, "Tasha, help me get her out of her pants, she's still burning up."
This time she just turned her gaze to the ceiling and ignored the humiliation burning through her. At this point it didn't matter if they saw it all. She didn't matter to them. She wondered if they'd feel happy to see that she had been punished so thoroughly for her hand in Mayfair's death. Or if they would feel it hadn't been enough.
She certainly did.
She zoned out again.
She came back in, to the sight of the elevator doors being pulled open and paramedics streaming in.
Her head lolled to the side, and the last thing she saw before her vision went dark again was Kurt's face. She thought he looked concerned but it may have been a trick of the light.