FEEDBACK: Yes, please. I respond to everything except flames. Constructive criticism is valued.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters. No profit is being made. It's all for fun.
A/N: Another fic I found languishing on my hard drive that was originally intended to be longer. It was written late in 2005 actually, some time after "Road Kill," so keep that in mind when reading it, please.
Back to You
Woody woke up, disoriented, blood pumping. He looked around for the source of the low, pained sound and calmed slightly when he realized it was his roommate. His very temporary roommate. Then his nerves tightened again. Jordan was moaning. And not in the good way he'd used to fantasize about. Get that thought out of your head he told himself. That ship sailed a while back. Or maybe it just sank in the harbor.
She jerked and made another sound, this one incoherent but pleading. Woody got out of the double bed he'd appropriated and crossed the space to hers. The floor might as well have been an ice rink and he was afraid if he let out the breath he was holding he'd be able to see it. "Damn motel," he muttered. In the throes of whatever nightmare she was having, she had kicked off the covers and now she shivered. Woody drew the blankets up over her, his fingers brushing her arm. He winced at how cold her skin was. "Bad idea, Woody. Very bad idea," he whispered in response to the urge impelling him. She moaned again, almost a sob. He slid into bed next to her and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close, ignoring the little voice chanting bad idea.
The scent of her hair, the lingering trace of her perfume, even her fabric softener on the t-shirt she was sleeping in enveloped him. He couldn't decide if he should curse the circumstances that landed them here or be grateful. The comedy of errors – or what might have seemed like one a year ago, when they were still friends – rankled. It had been your basic wild goose chase. The state guys in Vermont nabbed a guy who claimed he'd been responsible for a three-state killing spree which started in Boston. A pissing contest ensued, and Woody and Jordan ended up being sent to Vermont to interrogate the guy. Woody had promised the D.A. he could handle it, but Walcott had insisted Jordan go along since the m.o. was a strange and exotic poison. The guy in Vermont claimed – after a twenty minute rant about conspiracies, Frank Sinatra and the finer points of hang gliding - he'd killed his victims with rat poison. Jordan had snorted and left.
Of course, after the drive up, having to wait while the Vermont state guys proved again that they were in charge and listening to the head case's bizarre ramblings, it was late in the day and the weather had begun to turn. Jordan had insisted they'd be fine getting back to Boston and Woody hadn't argued. They were back on speaking terms for the most part, but the awkwardness between them might as well have been a third person. He assumed she wanted to get back to her boyfriend; she assumed he wanted to spend as little time with her as possible. Mother Nature didn't care about either assumption. Woody still wasn't entirely certain where they were, except some wide spot in the road where a bunch of other motorists got stranded by the sudden white out as well. And since wide spots in the road aren't known for their abundance of amenities, they'd agreed to share the motel room they were able to find. It was that or the lobby of the Laundromat.
Jordan had showered while Woody had figured out that there was a sandwich shop two doors down from the motel. The guy who ran it was as stuck there as the motorists he was suddenly catering to. At least they weren't likely to stave. Jordan had claimed exhaustion and buried herself beneath the covers shortly after eating. Woody called it a day when the television went to the test pattern, about the same time the heating unit decided putting out half as much heat as the night got colder outside was one its best ideas ever. Frustrated, tense and jealous, Woody had gone to sleep in a dark mood. He realized now holding Jordan that his mood obviously wasn't as dark as her dream. She moaned again.
"Hey," he murmured in her ear. "It's okay, Jordan. It's a dream."
She thrashed, twisting in his grip, turning. "No, no, no," she muttered, her tone low and tearful. "No!" She pushed at him, hitting him in the chest.
"Jordan! Jordan! Wake up!" He shook her lightly to punctuate his words. "It's a bad dream.
Just a bad dream."
Her eyes flew open, but there was no recognition in them. Her gaze darted around, her brain racing, trying to figure out the situation while Woody's voice kept sounding so calmly in her ears. She felt his hands along her back, rubbing gently, soothingly. At last, she uttered a sound halfway between a scream and a gasp. He expected her to push him away, to berate him for slipping into her bed, but instead she wrapped her arms around him and snuggled herself up against him tightly.
For a few minutes the only sound was her harsh, ragged breathing which slowed gradually. Woody kept murmuring comforting, bland words, but she heard the tone more than anything and she felt the way he held her, the way his warmth drove out her chills and how the gentle sweep of his palms against her back soothed the tension in her muscles. She relaxed against him, not moving away from him, not willing to leave his embrace.
"You want to talk about it?" He asked when he could tell she was calmer.
"Um – I – It was a bad dream."
Above her head, his mouth quirked into a grin. Jordan could state the obvious at times – mostly when she wanted to avoid something. "I got that. About your mom?"
She shook her head, her long hair tickling his chest. "Kessler."
She felt him flinch. "Your apartment?" The words were spoken through clenched teeth.
Woody wanted to look at her, to brush her hair from her face, to watch something he'd once hoped was love and desire flare in her eyes, but he didn't dare because, as he kept reminding himself, that something was long gone. He found words he hated instead and let them burn their way out. "Pollack's fine."
She nodded. "Yeah. Of course. It's not that."
"Then what is it?"
She shuddered and let the words creep out. "In my – In the dream, I point the gun at her head. I – uh – I do what she wanted." She choked on a sob.
"Jordan, you wouldn't ever-"
"Yeah, I would. And that was her point. That was what she wanted to show me."
"It's a dream!"
Against his chest, her head moved back and forth in negation. "And that's not even the worst part," she told him after a while.
He remained solid, letting her decide when to explain more of it.
She sniffed several times. He could feel her gathering her strength. "The worst part is I'm too slow. I waited too long." Another sob worked its way out of her and he thought he heard a word contained in it, but to him "Again" made no sense.
"I'm too slow. Even as I pull the trigger, I watch – I watch her shoot. Not Pollack. She kills – She – She…." Jordan dissolved into sobs once more.
Woody held her tightly, murmuring those same bland words again, aching for her, thinking a lot of if onlys. A few words here and there, an action or two, and her nightmare never would have happened. Or if it had, in some form, at least he would have the right in her life to kiss away her tears, to hold her against him until she stopped shaking, to remind her with his words and his body of everything that was right in the world, instead of all the things that were wrong. He spoke softly. "Max? Garret?" He smiled a little. "Nigel?"
She pulled back from him, looking up into his face. Tendrils of dark hair clung to her wet cheeks. Her dark eyes swam like whiskey. As he watched, she moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. Her silence began to worry him. Was she retreating from him? Had he stepped too far? Her voice, a hoarse croak, rasped the cloth of darkness around them. "You. Kessler puts a bullet in your head and I can't stop her."
Woody gaped at her, his heart pounding in disbelief in his chest, his mind whirling. "Jordan-"
Her mouth was on his, her hands threaded themselves into his hair, pushed his head closer to hers. Woody's arms tightened reflexively around her. One hand in the small of her back nudged her body closer. Eagerly she pressed against him as her tongue danced with his. Coherent thought fled, replaced by the fulfillment of years of desire. Her hands slid under his shirt, tugging up the hem. He hissed as her fingernails traced lightning bolts of need into his skin and shot them straight to his groin. Her palms flattened against his abdomen, sliding upwards. His breathing came in fast, shallow breaths even as his lips sought out the tender places along her jaw line and neck to kiss. She moaned softly, threading the warmth of the sound with his name.
Something in that brought him back to reality. He'd crawled into bed with her to soothe her, to warm her up, not to – not to seduce her or be seduced by her. He realized maybe they still had a chance and he wanted that leap to be made not out of her desperate fear, but because she wanted to make love with him. What he wanted was not for a night – or enough nights so that her nightmare faded. He wanted everything.
He pulled away. "Jordan-"
She ignored him, sliding her hands higher on his chest, rucking up his shirt.
"Jordan-" Woody reached for her arms with the intention of stopping her, of talking with her. In the darkness, with her so close and the desire so palpably fierce between them, his fingers found not the flesh of her upper arms, but brushed softly instead against her t-shirt where it covered swell of her breasts. Jordan gasped in pleasure and anticipation. Her body shifted, offering itself up to his touch. Woody looked into her eyes. She gazed up at him, pupils huge with adrenaline, irises smoky with lust. She placed one hand on each side of his face and looked into his face. He watched her as she lost herself in his eyes and he knew she'd never let herself do that before. He was lost.
She brought her mouth back to his. This kiss was more lingering. She tickled his mouth with her tongue, teasing him gently, until he opened his lips to her. For long moments, they simply shared that single kiss, exploring each others mouths, one teasing the other by gently sucking in the other's tongue or bottom lip. They giggled into each other, breathed through each other and held each other until other desires burned too hotly to be denied.
Slowly, with tenderness, they began to pull off the other's clothes. Woody distracted his partner by cupping her breasts and running his thumbs lightly over the nipples until she trembled next to him. Gingerly she fingered the scar he would always carry, the memento Riggs had left him with. Her eyes filled with tears and she looked up at him. His face was inscrutable. "Jordan, I'm sorry. That day in the hospital-"
She put a finger over his lips and shushed him. "No more apologies, Woody."
"Jo, we need to talk about things."
She nodded. "I know. But not this. Not now"
"This. You. Me." She put her hand on his heart and rejoiced in its strong beat – and prided herself on its somewhat accelerated beat. Her voice dropped to a whisper. "Making love."
"Are you sure?"
She nodded. "No more talking, Woody. Not now."
He grinned. "What if I was going to tell you that you're gorgeous?"
She blushed and even in the darkness, he could see the faint color staining her cheeks. "Okay, okay, if you insist."
He reached for her and pulled into his arms. "One more thing."
"It's important." His tone told her it was.
"Say it again." She looked up at him blankly. He added, "What you said. That day."
"Why?" Her eyes took on a well-deserved suspicion.
"Please, Jo." The way he said it made her heart flutter with fear and tremble with hope all at once.
She took a deep breath and, leaning into him, pressing her lips to his ear, she murmured, "Please don't leave me. Please." She hesitated. "I love you."
He took her face in his hands. "I'm not going anywhere, Jordan Cavanaugh. I couldn't go anywhere without you."
"Because you know I'll buy a plane ticket and follow you?"
He laughed. "There is that. But no." Woody pressed a soft kiss on her lips. "Because I love you, too. These last months – I've had a lot to deal with. Hardest of all was losing you, losing everything I thought we could have had together."
She smiled, her slow, slightly-crooked, happy smile. "Let's find out." His eyebrows arched in question. "What we could have together."
He dipped his head down to kiss her, but first his mouth brushed over her ear, his lips murmuring, "I love you too, Jo."
"Show me," she whispered in the dark. "Show me."