DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Willing, ready and able to stage a coup.
NOTES: I've only been working on this for six months now. The upcoming premiere motivated me to get it done! Oh and the police work and forensics is incredibly unrealistic, I know. Call it creative license which, were I being paid for this, I wouldn't do, but given I'm not…well, do the math.
DEDICATION: Those of you who so kindly feedback my stories. I appreciate it tons and tons. J/W fans will like the way this one turns out – after a lot of twists. Scout's honor!
I Know You're Out There Somewhere: Somehow I'll Return Again to You
Woody quickly saw the futility of arguing with her. He simply sat down next to her on the bed, glad she didn't scoot away as he'd feared she might. She even let him take one of her hands as he asked, "Why?"
Her whiskey eyes filled with fresh tears as she studied her lap. He watched, his heart clenched tightly in its cage of bone and flesh, as the tears fell and she made no attempt to hide them or wipe them away. Finally, she shook her head, words unable to convey to him the need within her.
Despite his own frustration, Woody wrapped his arms around her and gently drew her down to lie at his side. Her head rested on his shoulder and he drew a hand through her dark curls, letting her continuing tears soak his shirt, the cool wetness of it intensifying the emotional ache into something almost physical. Long moments passed – how long neither of them knew – before she murmured, "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," he replied, his voice raspy, his throat tight. It wasn't okay, not really, and she knew it, but in this instance the spoken truth could only hurt. Not that the unspoken truth didn't.
"It's okay, Jordan. I understand." His eyes were glued to the ceiling.
"Good," she snorted. "Can you explain it to me?"
He looked down at her to find her face upturned to his. Her red-rimmed eyes and tear-streaked face caused his heart to clench even further. Gently, he wiped the moisture away from her face. He kissed her forehead and disentangled himself from her. He walked to the door, stopping to look back. "I'll wait."
She bit her lip.
Her life restored to her, Jordan still couldn't return to Boston, not yet. She didn't know how to say it even to herself, but she needed space to sort out the last year or so of her life. She needed time and anonymity to help close up the gaping wounds on her soul. She knew she had at least one obligation back home – testifying for the FBI, but Drew Haley worked that out, flying to her instead. She appreciated his solicitousness. Then again, she got the feeling his personal experiences had given him too much familiarity with her raw emotional state.
She phoned a few times, calling the Morgue, avoiding Woody, much as she always had – except that one time. That one time. The one that had probably changed not only her fate, but Pollack's. No one asked when she was coming home and she was grateful. She let herself drift.
It didn't do any good. Not as far as she could tell at any rate.
She was beginning to wonder if she'd ever reclaim even a small piece of the life she'd led. Morose, bitter thoughts filled her mind and heart as she sat on the beach in San Diego, California. Somehow her wanderings had brought her as far from Boston as she could get without a passport. She arched her back, enjoying the warm sun on her face, marveling, as she always did in this part of the world, how beautiful the weather could be even in December.
New Year's Eve actually.
Her eyes were closed, but she felt the shadow cross her face. Opening them, she found herself staring at a priest. He smiled down at her. "May I?" His hand gestured to the sand next to her.
"I don't mean to intrude, but you looked… in need," he explained.
She flicked up her eyebrows and then shrugged. "I thought we were all in need of something, Father."
He chuckled. "True. Very true." Only the sound of the surf could be heard as it pounded forward and then withdrew along the sand. "Would you care to talk about it?"
Jordan gave him a sidelong look. She started to ask if he was serious, but something stopped her. "I – I don't know."
"You don't know if you'd care to talk about it?"
"No. Yes." She shook her head. "I don't know if I know how to talk about it."
"With God all things are possible," he reminded her. His eyes sparkled with good humor.
"Ah, you're God then?"
He laughed. "Hardly."
"Good," she replied. "Because this conversation would be over."
The priest studied her for a moment. "I'm sorry," he said after a moment's reflection.
"Sorry you sat down?"
He shook his head. "Sorry you feel that way."
Jordan nodded once, sharply. "It's… a very long story."
"Tell me one chapter." He inclined his head. "If you want to."
And suddenly, she did want to. "There was – was a man." She swallowed. "Two, actually."
"A sadly familiar story," he assured her.
"Yeah. You can say that again." She looked over at him as his mouth opened. "But please don't." At least taking that collar hadn't meant relinquishing his sense of humor, she thought. "Um… one of them… we had a – a history. Long. Complicated. It – It – We were friends and… then we weren't."
"I am going to guess this is where the second man comes in to the story."
Jordan nodded. "He was… not my type. Not that – not that I really have a type. I'm not good at all of the…whole relationship thing. Anyway, I – I did try with him."
"But it didn't work out."
"No. And a lot of it was my fault. Something – Something happened. Something I thought would be better, but… it didn't turn out that way." She took a deep breath and held it before going on. "So we were… apart. But – But…."
"You thought about trying it again?"
Again Jordan nodded. "And then he was killed. Before we could work anything out. Before I could tell him that I did care about him, more than I'd realized."
"You feel guilty?"
The priest shrugged. "Did you kill him?"
Jordan snorted. "It looked like I did at first." She waited for shock to write itself onto the priest's face, but his expression remained calm, impassive even. "But, no. I didn't."
"Do you suppose he knew?"
"Knew what? How I felt?" She shook her head. "I don't know."
"You said you weren't good at relationships, that you felt responsible for the fact this one ended, but you had decided maybe you could work it out."
The priest turned his face to the waves. "And yet you don't think this man realized how you felt about him? Did he know you? Understand you?"
She considered that. "Overall, yeah."
"Then he knew."
"Father, you don't understand. I didn't kill him, but – I still feel responsible. He was caught up in… something else from my life."
"Did you ask him to get caught up in this… something?"
She shook her head.
"Perhaps he did it out of … concern for you? Love maybe?"
She murmured shaky agreement. Sighing, she drew her knees up, wrapped her arms around them and laid her head down, closing her eyes.
"You're not responsible, Jordan. Pollack made his own choices and he wouldn't want you to feel this way."
She said nothing for a moment. The priest's words slowly seeped into her brain. She started. "How did you-?" He was gone. Utterly, completely gone. She stood up and scanned the beach in both directions, but found no one. She looked down and gasped. The only footprints were hers.
And she understood.
For the first time in seven months, the grief truly poured out. She sat on the sand and wept until she was certain she had nothing left. Then she stood up and, walking toward the bus stop, pulled out her cell phone to make a call.
Ten hours later….
Woody sat hiding in his office. Well, not hiding, not that he'd admit it. No, he was catching up on paperwork, planning on reading some articles on new techniques available to law enforcement. He had asked for this shift, had known it would be quiet until probably about two a.m., when the drunks would start to get rowdy or, worse, start to head home. Bitch of a way to ring in the new year, but better than staring at his television, watching that damn ball drop and wondering where she was.
Wondering if she'd be kissing someone at midnight.
He scrubbed a hand through his hair. Santana had already been in once, teasing him that if he didn't come out of his den by five minutes to, she'd come get him, that she expected her witching hour kiss to be from him. Woody figured he'd conveniently have to go to the bathroom about then.
Someone knocked on his door. He groaned lowly. "Give it up, Santana."
The door opened and a dark head appeared.
Woody's jaw dropped. "Jordan!"
She gave him a tentative smile, trying to gage the strength of her welcome here.
His blue eyes lit up as he took her in. "When did you get back?"
She made a show of checking her watch. "Forty-five minutes ago? An hour, maybe."
Woody's lips crinkled into a smile. "And you came here first?"
"Wanted to make sure I got here in time."
"Time for what?" His brows furrowed.
"In time to let go of the past year – years – and start this one out right." Her eyes glimmered with hope.
He could not refuse the invitation in them. He stood up and crossed to her, closing the door behind her. "You – You worked out the things you needed to."
She nodded. "With a little help."
He gave her a quizzical look.
"Never mind," she told him. ":Listen."
He could hear the squad room beyond them.
He knew in Times' Square that crystal ball was descending even as, in Boston, Jordan Cavanaugh had come into his arms and was rising on her toes.
At thousands of parties, people were chanting, he knew. They were even doing it here, the assembled voiced growing louder with each numeral, even as Jordan's voice had gone silent.
He had only a second to smile at that. Two. The two of them.
Their lips met and molded together gently, perfectly. Millions of people were probably doing the same thing, but all Woody cared about, all he knew, was that the woman he'd nearly lost was sharing this new year's kiss with him and he was determined that all of her future new year's kisses would be the same.
She pulled back, heart racing, breathing a little fast. "Happy New Year, Woody."
He rested his forehead on hers and smiled. "Happy New Year, Jordan."