DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Willing to stage a coup.
A/N: Don't know where this one came from but it was much better in my head – I do know that. There's very little back story, so hopefully you will just enjoy the situation and outcome. Let me know!
Of Rabbit Holes and Romance
Jesus! How in the hell…? Woody cursed to himself, shifting as much as he could, trying not to jostle the fragile body in his arms. He groaned slightly, angry at the situation, at the fact his cell phone wouldn't work, even at her – a little bit. They wouldn't be here now if not for the typical Jordan Cavanaugh impulse to do everything herself, as if no one else could quite get it right. He sighed. There wasn't any use in being angry with her. She'd followed a lead.
In the middle of one of Boston's colder Novembers.
Into an area even more isolated than that mineshaft she'd fallen down last year.
And he'd followed her.
They'd been arguing – her screaming that they needed to talk to the suspect now; him yelling back that they needed to get back to the city, get a warrant, do things the right way. Then the ground had swallowed them up. Or so it seemed at the time. Woody had had time to think about it and he'd determined they'd been standing on top of an old, shallow well of some sort. The wood covering it had rotted – obviously – been covered by leaves and other detritus and had just sat there waiting – evilly almost – for someone to come traipsing along. Lucky them.
In his arms, Jordan moaned softly and shivered.
Woody hugged her to his body more tightly. The damp surrounding them had seeped into their clothing, mingling with the cold to chill them both. He was hardly concerned for himself however. While he was pretty certain he'd turned an ankle badly in the fall, all things considered, he'd done well enough. He'd been vaguely aware of her as they fell. He knew she'd somersaulted at least once, apparently striking her head as she did so. He'd heard the wet snap of bone as she'd landed and her ensuing screams – mostly in anger – let him know at least one of her ankles was broken. Still what worried him now was the head injury.
"Jordan," he hissed.
"Wha-?" Her voice was thick, slurred.
"You've got to stay awake."
"Want to sleep."
"I know," he sighed. "You can't." He gently tilted her chin up so she had to meet his gaze. "You have to stay awake."
"Don't want to," she insisted.
"Jo, you hit your head." He gave her a moment, hoping the words would sink in. "If you fall asleep, you could – you – it would be bad."
She didn't reply for a long moment. "I know."
"You don't understand." His fingers gripped her jaw a bit more tightly. "You could die."
She stirred herself in his hold, spoke in a voice that was exhausted. "I'm a doctor, Woody. I know that."
"Then you know you have to stay awake."
She gave him a small, woozy head shake. "I'm tired."
"I know. I'm sorry, but-"
"Woody. I'm. Tired." Tears leaked from her eyes as they wreathed her words.
"You can sleep when we… Jo?" His eyes flashed in the dimness. "What the hell do you mean?"
"I'm tired," she murmured. "Tired of cutting up dead people. Tired of fucking up my life and the lives of everyone around me. Tired of disappointing my friends…." Her voice became tiny as she added her last word. "You."
He gulped in a harsh breath. "Don't say that, Jordan!"
"Just let me go to sleep, Woody." She almost whined.
He shook her – not roughly, but enough to elicit a groan. "No! Look, you can be tired of cutting up dead people. Fine. But the rest of that?" He shook his head fiercely. "It's bullshit. Bullshit, Jordan!"
"Please… look at everything. My dad. Pollack." She took a deep breath. "Us."
"Just let it go, Woody. Please?" Her amber eyes begged him. Just let me go. It's okay. It's time.
"No!" He iterated.
She swallowed. "You'd all – You'd be better off."
Softly, he drew a hand down her cheek. "I wouldn't. Not even close."
She snorted and then moaned. "Right. 'Cause falling down this rabbit hole is the best place you could be." They both knew she was only half talking about the physical situation.
"I'm here with you. It could be worse."
Looking at his face, she knew he meant that, but it couldn't penetrate the despair within her. Since Pollack's death she'd been functioning, nothing more. Each day, even after she'd been cleared and had come back, pushed her farther away from her friends. Each case left her more numb than the last. Each night grew longer until they stretched before her, more time than she'd been on the run. All she wanted was for it to end – somehow, some way. If it ended here, that was all right. She grinned weakly. "Whatever you're on… I want some."
He laughed at her, biting back tears. He'd seen Jordan Cavanaugh at her best and worst, championing others' causes, hurtling toward her own self-destruction, digging for those remote bits of innocence-proving evidence, chasing ghosts and shadows, and he'd been along for a lot of that ride. He'd never seen her like this, though he supposed he knew deep down it was bound to happen at some point, even to her. Even Jordan Cavanaugh had only so many resources to draw upon she found herself down the rabbit hole, trapped in a world of unsettling madness and buried despair. He didn't want to hear her talk the way she was talking, but if it kept her mouth moving and her brain conscious, he'd take it. "Come on, Jo. What would I do without you?"
"A lot," she croaked.
"So… give me a list."
She glared at him.
"Can't do it, can you?"
The goad worked. She spoke slowly, her tongue feeling twice its normal size and inexplicably covered with a thick coat of fur, but she was awake. "First… no more getting into bad sit… situations because of me. Second… promo… promosh…."
He gave her a gentle shake. "Promotion?"
Woozily, she nodded. "That. Next… find some – some sweet, gentle girl and settle down."
"You mean someone who would bore me in less than a week?"
"Shut up," she instructed, though given the lethargy in her voice it didn't carry much weight. "Someone uncomplicated. Then have babies – lots of little presidents… their wives if they're girls maybe." She went silent.
"What next?" He asked with bated breath.
"What's next? After the babies?"
"What I s'posed to do, Farm Boy? Plan your whole life for you? I think my crys'al ball broke when I hi' my head."
Her eyes slipped shut and her body relaxed into his. The feeling of holding her, his arms wrapped around her would have intoxicated him at any other time. Now it terrified him. "Jordan. Jordan! JO!" He barked. She started in his embrace. "Stay awake."
"Why?" She whined. "Told you everything."
"Yeah?" His mind raced, looking for something to keep her conscious. "Well, you didn't hear mine."
"Hey, it's only fair."
She sighed heavily, forcing her eyelids up and open. Her eyes were glazed, far off, but they were open and she hadn't fallen into the possibly deadly sleep. "Fine. Wha'ss your list?"
He took her hands between his, rubbing them, trying to keep blood flowing in both their extremities as he talked. "First, I get you out of here."
"Hey, my turn, remember?" He didn't give her a chance to protest. "Then we find a shrink, therapist, hell, a priest. I don't care. And we talk. We work everything out between us. After that, I take you somewhere special, romantic – don't ask me where," he rushed on. "Somewhere though. And I get down on one knee and ask you to spend the rest of your life with me."
"Idiot!" She snorted.
"Did I criticize your list?"
"Well, never mind. Once you say yes, I'm going to get you whatever sort of ring you want. You want the Hope Diamond on your finger and I'll get it, Jordan. Then we get married and go on our honeymoon – somewhere warm and tropical I might add. We lie around in the sun, play in the ocean, stay in bed as long as we want." His voice lowered. "And I plan on us wanting that a lot. After that, we come back to Boston, find a nice place to live, a couple of extra rooms and I don't care how much practice it takes, I'm gonna get you pregnant."
She giggled mildly.
His voice faltered as he drew her even more tightly against him, willing her flesh into his, his heart demanding she not give in. "After that – After…" he swallowed painfully. "After you curse me during labor, we're going to be so happy with our little girl, we're gonna do it all over again. Boy the second time around."
"Got 'em named?" Her eyes sought his, tried to focus.
"Uhhh… I don't know. I like Catherine. Eleanor."
"Something strong. Classic. Franklin Delano Roosevelt maybe or Dwight David. I could even go with William Henry Harrison."
She shook her head slowly, her eyes closing again. When she didn't respond to his gentle pleas, he gave her cheeks a couple of light slaps, careful not to jostle her head. "Can't do it, Woody."
"Yes, you can!" His voice was fierce; tears leaked from his eyes. "I am not letting you-"
Her eyes fluttered open. "Can't name my kid after some president."
It took a moment for her words to sink in, a moment when his heart stopped in his chest. Then he understood what she meant. "You have a better idea?"
"Scientists? Philosophers maybe? Jean-Jacques Rousseau Hoyt?" She managed a firmer smile this time.
Laughing, his nerves still on fire with anxiety, he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. "Does this mean you're going to stay awake?"
"I hope so." She nestled her head onto his shoulder. "So, tell me about this wedding…."
It took another three hours before a team led by Matt Seeley and Garret found them. Both were rushed to the nearest hospital, suffering from various cuts, abrasions, the onset of hypothermia and, in Jordan's case, a broken left ankle and a concussion resulting from a hairline skull fracture. Garret, Lily and the others would joke for weeks – months even – with her, pinning her skull films up in the break room to prove she did really have a brain in that head of hers. Nigel sectioned the x-ray and labeled the areas. It escaped no one's attention that the one for "impulse control" was so tiny he had to write the words on a post-it and attach it with a string. Jordan took it in stride – in limping stride due to her bum ankle, but in stride nonetheless.
The day Woody took her home from the hospital she insisted she was fine, but he stayed for a while at her apartment, settling her in, caring for her in a way that she'd begun to let him do in the hospital. For a while they sat at opposite ends of her couch, saying nothing, simply drinking the herbal tea he'd made them. Well, hers was herbal, his was actually a small measure of Scotch.
She held the mug in her hands as if letting go of it would somehow leave her vulnerable, more so than she already felt. She could think of no way to say it, so she blurted it out. "Woody, about… what you said… I know it was just to – to keep me… conscious."
Wordlessly, he reached into his shirt pocket and handed her a card. It was the sort of card a doctor's office gives you to remind you of your next visit. She studied it for a moment and then looked up, her eyes confused, uneasy. "What's this?"
He smiled softly. "Step two." He moved closer to her; she had always been a magnet for him. His very body seemed to crave her presence, even when there had been so little chance they would ever be – or remain – lovers. "I hope Step Three won't take too long to get to and, Jordan? I really will get you the Hope Diamond if you want it."
She took a breath, a delicate smile playing on her features. "You're scaring me a bit."
"No." Now she did grin. "Unless I was hallucinating, you seemed pretty good at the whole wedding planning thing. You may have missed your calling!"
"Guess we'll find out, huh?" He leaned closer and she met him halfway, their lips touching chastely, experimentally, with promise.
"I'm still not naming any boys after presidents."
He wrapped her in his arms. "I can live with that, Jo. Just promise me one thing."
"Just one?" Her eyes twinkled.
"For now." He laughed. "Promise whenever you fall down that rabbit hole, you'll always make sure I'm right there with you."
Slowly, she nodded. And smiled broadly before kissing him again.