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It's all for fun.
A/N: Thanks for all the lovely feedback! I'm glad those of you responding enjoyed the story thus far. Hopefully the ending will not disappoint.
Part Eight: Our Place in Time
It was still deep night when Jordan woke up. She'd come home to her empty house, eaten a dismal dinner, soaked in the tub and then crawled into bed. Woody had invited her to dinner, but she'd declined. She was too confused to be anything other than alone.
She lay in the darkness, everything still around her. For a moment, she held her breath.
"Hi." His voice was warm, sensual as ever, sending chills up her spine, back down it and into her toes.
Danny sat on the edge of her bed, watching her, his dark eyes filled with concern. Slowly, he stretched out beside her, bringing her into his arms, stroking her hair, murmuring softly to her. "Hey," he said after a moment, pulling back enough to smile at her. "You remember when they told us they thought Sarah had spina bifida?"
She gulped and nodded, unable to speak
He smoothed her hair. "We went home and cried. Both of us." His smile was sad at the memory. "We were scared as hell and then – we told Ed about the test results and he started to – to say all the things someone is supposed to say." He paused. "You stopped him. You told him it didn't matter, that we would love her no matter what, that we could handle it."
Softly, Jordan spoke through free-flowing tears. "I always was stubborn."
He tilted up her chin. "No. You've always been so full of life, Jordan. Even when living your own life scared you – you had so much passion for life that you did everything in your power to speak for the dead and to help anyone else who needed it." He kissed her cheeks, her nose, her mouth. "Jordan, don't stop living."
"You try to tell yourself you're moving on. You go to work; you take care of the kids. But deep down, you grieve." He rested his forehead against hers. "That's not living."
"Danny, I can't-"
"Yes, you can!" His voice was stern and profoundly sad.
"I don't want to lose you!"
He took a deep breath. "You won't. I'm always with you. Nothing can change what we had. But you have to keep going, Jordan." He held her more tightly. "Do you remember something you said to me once, about Max? About how sometimes you wondered if it might have been better if they'd put him in the ground when they buried your mother?"
She nodded, clinging to him.
"Don't do that, Jordan, don't do it to our children. Don't make their lives all about the father who isn't there. Don't make me some hero or saint who isn't real. Don't need them so much you end up resenting them." His face was quite serious as he regarded her. "Laugh. Live. Love."
She took deep breaths, her eyes squeezed shut. After long moments, her heart's pounding the only sound, she nodded. His lips found hers. He kissed her deeply, his tongue darting into her willing mouth. She arched against him and he ran his hand down her back. He broke the kiss and laid his mouth against her ear. "I love you, Dr. McCoy." He drew out the syllables, letting them float in the darkness. Jordan felt the warmth of his lips on her forehead and his scent enveloped her. And then he was gone.
Somehow she knew he wasn't coming back. The emptiness she'd felt almost seven years ago was back. The kind of emptiness waiting to be filled.
Owlishly, Woody stared at the bedside clock. Who in the hell- It's three a.m.! Cursing mildly, stumbling from his bed and tugging on a pair of sweat pants, he trudged to the door. He was awake instantly when he saw her on the other side of the peephole. "Jordan! Are you okay?"
She nodded. "Um – Can I come in?"
"Yeah, sure." He scrubbed a hand through his hair. "Get you something?"
"Are you sure you're okay?"
She looked up at him, her eyes glittering in the dim glow from the streetlight. "I'm fine."
"Then – uh – don't take this the wrong way – but why are you here?"
She took a step toward him. "Because… I like you, too. I don't want to go back to the past, Woody. But I think – no, I want to find out what's in the future."
He stared at her, her words seeping into his consciousness. "You and me?"
"I can't make any promises. Except that I'm not afraid anymore. No one more step forward, half a mile backwards."
He chuckled at her. "Jo, I'm so sorry for everything-"
"Shh." She put a finger to his lips. "No regrets."
He put his arms around her. "Are you sure?"
She stood on tiptoe and whispered in his ear, "Yep. And I'll still be sure in the morning."
Woody looked down at her, at his second chance. She smiled in that sly, tender, yet almost mocking way she always had. Wordlessly, he lifted her into his arms. He dipped his head and kissed her. Her lips were soft and warm. He ran his tongue along her bottom lip, tickling her in just the way he'd fantasized about it. Her lips parted just enough to let him slide his tongue into her mouth. She made a small mewling sound and the arms she'd put around his neck tightened around him. He drew her body closer.
One of her hands slid to his chest and began tugging at the old t-shirt he was wearing. "God, Jo, don't do that," he whispered, his voice hoarse.
"Why not?" she demanded.
He smiled at her. "Because I'll never make it to the bedroom if you do that."
"There's a problem with that?" Her grin was positively wicked.
"The floor's damn har- um, uncomfortable." He blushed. "And I – I really don't want the first time to be on vinyl tiles that need to be replaced."
She removed her hand from his chest, cupping the back of his head instead. "Then you'd better get a move on, Farm Boy."
Eagerly, he complied with her command. He kicked the door shut behind him, wanting the whole world to be confined within the walls of his room that night. When he laid her on his bed, it was gently done. He searched her face for a moment, part of him waiting for all the old Jordan uncertainties to tear her away from him. The only uncertainty in the honey of her eyes though was why he hesitated.
His mouth sought hers again as his hands began unbuttoning the shirt she'd tossed on. She was bare beneath it, her skin as soft and supple as in the same fantasies of kissing her. He finished with the buttons and wrestled her out of the garment. She responded by tugging his t-shirt over his head and running her fingers along the sculpted muscles of his chest and abdomen. The sucked in breath he took told her he liked what she was doing.
She set every nerve ending in his body on fire, her simple touch arousing him in a way no other woman ever could. Already close to the edge of pleasure, he distracted her by kissing his way down her throat, over her collarbone and finding one nipple with his mouth. She cried out in pleasure as his tongue swept over her. Her back curved into a question mark as her body came off the mattress. She panted as he intensified the pressure and as one hand began to caress her other breast. Her body tensed, aching with anticipation. For the first time in over a year, she let herself feel desire – and feel desirable. Her pulse quickened again.
Woody broke off and gave her a teasing grin as he began to trail his hand down her abdomen. She groaned as he fingers slipped into the waistband of her jeans. He wondered if she would be bare beneath those, too. His fingers deftly flicked open the top button and slid down the zipper. She wriggled her hips to help him remove the denim. Woody forced himself to focus on her long legs, stroking his way up her calves, kissing her skin, working up to her trembling thighs, which parted easily at his touch. Finally, he ran his fingers over the most intimate part of her body. Not bare, but silk was damn close. She bucked as he stroked her through the cloth.
He blew a breath softly along her thighs. She shivered with pleasure. Her hands clutched at the pillow beneath her head, scrabbling along the cotton case for purchase. Her moans sharpened as he continued to kiss his way along her body. Her senses reeled from his gentle, but relentless, attention to the physical core of her being. "Woody, Woody, Woody," she cried. "Woody, please!"
He moved up her belly, letting his fingers continue to subject her to his tender mercies. "Please what, Jo?" His voice was soft and teasing.
She groaned at him. "I want you."
He stretched out next to her, one leg thrown proprietarily over her. "I'm right here." He raised a hand and twirled a lock of her hair in his fingers.
"You know what I mean."
He whispered in her ear. "Tell me anyway, Jo."
"I want you – inside." Her eyes flickered shut, then she opened them wide. "Make love to me, Woody."
He kissed her, feeling her meet him the whole way. She rolled on to her side and opened her body to him. He held her as closely as he could, moving inside of her, feeling the tension build in her body and then she cried out, her voice wild and sharp, as release took her. Her fingers gripped his back, the nails leaving half-moon marks in his skin. He followed her quickly as she still shuddered around him.
For a long time, they lay silently, holding each other, their breathing slowing. Jordan kept her head on his chest as his fingers played through her hair. When his breathing was steady, he asked, "Why?"
"Why what?" she responded, sleep reaching for her.
"Why now, Jo?"
Sleep retreated. She lifted up her head. "Because I still love you. And because I once sat on the fence too long."
He cocked his head. "You still love me?"
"Sometimes, Woody, it's that simple." She smiled at him.
"Then – Jo – years ago… why did you leave?"
"Because I couldn't stay." She kissed him lightly. "And I did love Danny. I always will – you have to know that. He's the father of my children and – and he made me feel things I'd never felt before. Things I'd been too scared to feel." Her dark eyes took him in levelly. "With Danny I found out the more people I let into my heart, the more room there was." She pressed her lips together for a moment. "Without him, I've learned that I can survive whatever pain life throws at me without retreating into myself."
Woody cupped her face in his hands, his fingers tracing her cheekbones. "Does this mean I have to stop hating him?"
She laughed. "That would be helpful." His thumb ran over her lower lip. She nipped at it, smiling at his surprise. "Can you accept – everything?"
His eyes glittered in the darkness as he pulled her to him tightly once more. "Yeah, Jo. I can." His hands stroked down her hair, coming to rest on her shoulders. "I never stopped loving you." He grinned. "I'm not sure I really knew who you were – the way you are now – it about kills me that it took someone else to – to find that – but if it means we finally have a chance…then yeah, I can live with everything."
Decidedly more certain of herself than ever in her life, but still not the planet's most spontaneous person, it took Jordan almost another two years to accept Woody's marriage proposal. In the end it was her forthright, honest oldest child who, with a roll of her eyes, made up her mother's mind. "Come on, Mom. Marry him already. If you don't then having another baby is going to be difficult."
Holding a pancake on a turner that Saturday morning, Jordan gaped at Catherine. "What is that supposed to mean?"
A deep sigh from her ever-so-grown up eight year old punctuated the reply. "Mom, don't take this totally the wrong way, but you're getting kind of old."
By the time Jordan reported the conversation to Lily on Monday, she was laughing about it. "Old!" She grinned. "Old! Me!" Jordan had gestured to her outfit that day – jeans which revealed every curve was still as well toned as ever, a low cut top that declared Jordan either had great genetics or a good plastic surgeon, as well as understated jewelry that brought out the depth of her eyes and the splendor of her complexion.
"Old? Never!" Woody was leaning against her doorframe, smiling.
Lily excused herself, leaving Jordan to slide into her detective's embrace. Woody gave Jordan a long kiss that had her wondering about the feasibility of locking her door and clearing her desk. Instead, she stunned him. "We have to get married."
His eyebrows arched, giving him the boyish look he'd almost outgrown. "Or you father will come after me with a shotgun?"
She laughed. "No, not that." She bit her lower lip. "Though – well, according to Catherine I'm getting old and, therefore I should marry you."
"And what does Catherine's mom think?" Woody ran his hand down her hair.
Jordan took a deep breath. "Catherine's mom thinks it's time." She leaned up and kissed him.
He took her face in his hands. "Are you sure, Jo?"
She nodded. "Oh, and one more thing."
"I think I'm scared."
This teased a wide grin from Jordan. "Catherine says if I don't marry you soon having another baby is going to be difficult."
Woody peered into her eyes for a moment. Then he dipped his head down to hers, their noses touching. "Do you want one more?"
"With you? Yeah." She wrapped her arms around him. "Hell, Farm Boy, if we do things the way I did with Danny, we can have another two or three."
Woody gave her a leery look. "Now I know I'm scared."
Father Paul married them in a small ceremony at the church Jordan had attended – sporadically – as a child and young woman. It was ten years to the day that Bridget Sparks had jumped out of that morgue window.
As they posed for photographs afterwards, a figure in the last pew caught Jordan's attention. She started to say something, but the photographer commanded the bride and groom to smile at that moment. She glanced up at Woody and let the huge grin wreathing his face encompass hers. When she looked back, the figure was gone. She gasped quietly.
"What is it?" Woody whispered in her ear.
After a moment, she shook head. "I thought- I saw…."
"Did you see someone who shouldn't be here?"
"No," her voice was soft. "Just a well-wisher."
She nodded. "Very sure." Jordan slipped her hand into Woody's. "Come on, Hoyt. Your kid may not be big enough to tell anyone else about yet, but I am eating for two and we're both hungry."
Woody gazed around the church and mouthed, "Thanks." To God or Danny McCoy, he wasn't certain. It didn't matter – he'd asked for a miracle and gotten it.