A/N: I started writing this after 3x04. Of course at the end of 3x05 there's a promo for Jake and Leslie getting trapped together. Well... this is my take.
Leslie takes pills to sleep. Nothing psychiatric, God knows – even if they can't legally fire you anymore, she can't afford to take risks with her job right now. But her mind just won't quit at the end of the day, so she takes a pill. It wasn't every night, but recently, it has been. Recently like since she met Jake Doyle, and when she stops to think about it, that is a lot longer than she wants to believe.
The point is, she's been sitting on the floor of this basement room for a few hours now, and the only reason she's still awake is because she physically can't fall asleep. So she hears the door bang open, and keeps her head down, feigning unconsciousness while they push someone else into the room. The door closes and she waits to make sure they all left. She must be listening really hard, because she knows it's him from the way he groans, and she can hear the instant he sees her, before he even breathes her name.
She blows out a breath and wraps her arms tighter around her knees, turning her face as far away as she can, eyes squeezed shut. His footfalls approach and he lays his hand gently on her shoulder, saying "Leslie" out loud.
She looks up defiantly because she knows she has no choice, showing Jake the bruise on the side of her face from when they knocked her down. As her eyes take in the carnage of his face her stomach flips over, but she works to keep it off her face.
"I knew as soon as they grabbed me you had to be behind it," she says, but she planned it angry and it only comes out soft and sad.
He eases himself down beside her and looks at her even as she turns her head to face forward. He braces his arm on the floor but she feels the heat of his skin; he may as well be touching her.
"Leslie, you have to know I had nothing to do with this. I don't even know who these guys are. I don't know what they want."
"No..." She glances at him and looks away. "I know. But every bad thing that happens to me traces back to you."
There's a silence and she hears every breath he takes in and lets out, steady and slow.
"If I could do anything... If I could keep you safe from all this..." He leans closer, somehow. "Leslie, I would do anything."
She looks at him from the corner of her eye because if she turned her head... This is too much. She pushes herself a few feet away across the dirty floor. Presses her forehead to her knees again and focuses on breathing slowly all the way down to her stomach and letting it out again. This weight, this pressure in her chest. They've only been in here together ten minutes and who knows how long it will be after that? How can she survive this?
"I wish you weren't here." She sees him wince. She wants to say, It just hurts so much to be close to you, but she knows he'll take it the wrong way. The same way he takes everything. If they get out of this alive (please God) she can't leave having ruined all the defences she's built in the past months. She has to stay strong.
Closing her eyes again, Leslie counts her slow, even breaths, and tries to fall asleep. After a few minutes she glances at him, stony and silent against the wall, and lies down on the floor, uses her arm as a pillow. Even if she can't sleep, she has to at least rest her mind. As if that's possible three feet away from Jake fricking Doyle. Of all the goddamn people in the world... Right, calm; deep breaths.
A few minutes pass, and she's so busy trying to ignore every sound he makes that she almost misses it when he says quietly, "Six months ago I told you I loved you."
She curls into a ball and says, "Jake."
"Leslie, as far as we know we've got nothing but time right now. Please let me just say this."
Taking another deep breath, she uncurls and sits up against the wall, staring at her hands in her lap. Silence is her answer.
"Six months ago I told you I loved you," he says again. "I can't tell you when I started, but sometimes it feels like I always have. And Leslie, I know you're mad at me. I know I frustrate you, I know I'm a stupid fricking idiot and all—" That almost makes her smile. Almost. "—but I think you deserve to know that I... that my feelings haven't changed, and I don't know if they will. I'm not trying to say that I'm going to wait for you or some other clichéd line out of Hollywood, but I just. I really thought you should know that." He heaves a sigh.
Leslie stays perfectly still, staring at her hands, as tears pour down her face. It feels like someone turned her tear ducts up to full blast and they don't even belong to her.
His voice is so gentle when he goes on. "You keep saying that I only do things for myself. What you don't know, Leslie," (he leans toward her, like she's a magnet) "is that I will do anything for the people I love. You kept me at this huge distance so I could never show you. If you ever gave me a chance, Leslie. I think you would be surprised.
"I know you would." He shuts his mouth and watches her sadly. "Then again, I guess your expectations of me now are so low that you'd either be surprised by nothing or everything." His mouth shifts to the side and he looks away. "Probably nothing." He hesitates a moment, then turns toward the wall and leans his head against it, closes his eyes.
Leslie presses her face to her knees and cries silently, because she has next to no actual control over her emotions. She puts up a good fight, but they always shove through. There can't be anything harder than needing comfort from the one person you absolutely can't ask. It hurts so much, and she's so tired. She remembers what she said all those months ago. Why are we hiding from the truth? But what do you do when the truth, the absolute, unquestionable, irrefutable truth is something you can't accept? Of course she loves Jake, but that doesn't mean she can be with him. He's basically a vigilante and she's a prominent RNC Sergeant. It's just impossible, an impossible situation. Impossible.
The spiral of her thoughts works her up into a ridiculous state and she forgets to be quiet; the next thing she knows, Jake is gathering her up in his arms and she's crying into his bloodied shirt. She must be an absolute disaster, a bruise on her face and dirt in her hair and now snot all over her face. All she can do is cling to him and allow his steady heartbeat and gentle hands to calm her.
When she's soothed and nestled against his chest, drowsiness finally threatens to overwhelm her. Voice thick, she only just manages to say, "Hafta sleep now. Hope tha's... okay..." and she's out.
Despite their surroundings, exhaustion and the heat of Jake's body produce a deep and dreamless sleep. She doesn't know how long she's asleep, but when she wakes up they're huddled on the floor and she's still absurdly wrapped up in Jake. She disentangles herself and sits up slowly, feeling achy and foolish. She watches him for only a second – when you disregard all the shite, he really is just stupidly beautiful – and then rises gingerly to her feet and stretches very carefully. Everything hurts and a couple things pop, and by the time she's finished Jake is watching her.
She stretches her back once more, cracks her neck, then sits cross-legged a respectable distance from him. He sits up too and they look at each other for a moment. Neither of them really wants to bring up the fact that they've been in this room for a pretty long time by now and no one has even checked on them.
Jake smiles a little and nudges her knee. "This has got to be the first time I've ever seen you with a speck of dirt on you. Don't go hiking much, do you Sergeant?"
Leslie smiles back, a little. "Not with you, Jake Doyle. The big hills are a touch out of our jurisdiction, aren't they."
He tips his head back to look at her appraisingly. "D'you ever take a weekend out of the city? Just out of curiosity, of course."
She has no doubt he's trying to distract her, but she actually very much wants to be distracted. Somehow they manage to have an entire rambling conversation in which they trade pokes and nudges and lean millimetres closer, even going so far as to laugh occasionally (call it more of a chuckle). They keep track of the minutes in their heads and Jake looks over her shoulder at the door every so often, but they do a pretty good job of not talking about it and not thinking about what they're not talking about. By the time the door bursts open and the room fills with people, she knows more about Jake than she ever imagined she could.
The cops are hers, but the family is all Jake, and she feels small for just a moment before Rose pulls her close and tells her they were all so worried about the both of them. Leslie smiles and looks down and feels self-conscious and, well, still a bit scared. It's been... a while, since she's been the victim. They have to go to the station to give their statements, and the brass gives her a few days off to recover. She hopes it will only take a few days.
When Leslie comes out into the hallway, Jake and Rose and Mal are still bunched together talking, and she hears Mal say, "Pint?" She wants to slip away around the corner, but Jake makes eye contact and she stays where she is, shifting from foot to foot. They finish up their conversation and Jake walks over to her, doing that stupid thing where he holds eye contact the whole way across the floor. It gives her butterflies no matter what else she's feeling about him at the moment (and that isn't fair). She can see Rose and Mal in the background, smiling over at them (relieved, encouraging, hopeful) before they turn to leave, but she kind of can't look away from Jake.
He reaches her and stands the way he always stands (like the world just wants to watch him move in that leather jacket, or maybe she's projecting) and she fidgets, nibbling on her lip and worrying her hands.
She doesn't say anything and Jake is probably used to her immediately jumping all over him by now, so he's a bit delayed. He catches her hands and pulls them apart, holding one loosely in each hand as he says, "Let me drive you home."
She looks down and away, chewing on her cheek now. "I don't know if that's such a good idea."
He squeezes her hands, once, and she meets his eyes. He doesn't smile, or wink or waggle his eyebrows like an idiot. He looks straight at her, and she can hear his message loud and clear: He wants to see her home safe. He doesn't want her to be scared. And she doesn't have a better offer right now (or any offer at all), so she nods and follows him to his car, which someone must have driven over earlier. He hangs on to one of her hands and she wouldn't admit it if you asked, but she clings to that hand for dear life, and walks pretty close beside him, too. There's not much scarier than being kidnapped, threatened, physically assaulted, and locked in a tiny room with no idea of whether you'll ever see daylight again. If there is, she certainly doesn't want to experience it. A door slams down the corridor and she just jolts, just the tiniest reflex, but she knows Jake felt it.
She spends the whole drive looking out the window. He walks her to the door, and she unlocks it and lets them both in. They stand in her foyer and she... doesn't know what to do. It would be instinctual and nice and so incredibly stupid to fall into bed with Jake, but she knows she can't do that. Not now, not after all... after everything. She looks up at him, worry in her eyes, and he runs his hands over her shoulders and down her upper arms.
"Leslie, whatever you need. I'm here for you. If you want me to sleep on the couch... or leave, that's fine."
He looks so deep into her eyes, and she gets lost for a minute. His hands move up to touch her hair and the edges of her face, and she hugs him to keep from kissing him.
She steps back and says, "I have a guest room." His adam's apple bobs; his face doesn't change. "But I don't... I don't want to be alone... Would it be okay if—" (she winces) "—if we both slept in the guest room?"
Jake steps back and gestures toward the bedrooms like she's a queen, then gives her a little push from behind. "Get on with you then."
She can't help a little smile as she climbs the stairs, since he can't see her anyway. The guest room is pristine and untouched, not really being one for guests as she is. She hops from foot to foot again and says, "I'll just go change my clothes. Can I give you anything clean...?"
He laughs and looks down at his body. "Only if you just happen to have some men's pyjamas stored in your dresser somewhere."
He raises his eyebrows at her in what looks like genuine surprise and she can't help blushing fiercely, damn that man.
"I may have a thing or two I bought for the Mayor before... you know. Never worn. Okay?"
He nods, grinning at her embarrassment, and she practically runs to the washroom to finally check on the state of her face and hair. It's not good, but she can't bear the thought of a shower (alone, which she decides not to dwell on), so she scrubs her face and brushes her hair upside down, shaking out the dust and grime. It feels so good to change into her clean pyjamas, even if her body is still a little stale – she does furtively apply deodorant. Again, not dwelling. She pulls the packet of PJs from her closet and drags her feet back to the guest room.
Offering up the clothes without meeting Jake's eyes, Leslie crawls into the bed as he leaves the room. She turns her face into the pillow and wraps her arms around herself, torn between feeling really stupid and just scared.
He comes back in a hurry and she looks up gratefully as he climbs into bed beside her. Immediately she snuggles into his side, telling herself it's just for tonight and there are extenuating circumstances. She's exhausted but her mind keeps racing, and she can feel Jake's heart beating fast too. She puts her hand over the spot on his chest. He brings his hand to cover hers and wraps his fingers loosely around hers. She holds on tight and their hands are right at her eyeline; she watches his thumb move over her knuckles.
And sighs loudly. "Jake?" He hums in response. She counts three slow breaths, trying to be brave. "I never told you. I loved you... too." After a second he tugs her on top of him and she peeks at him briefly from behind her hair before pressing her face into his neck. "This is still going to be hard," she says, her voice vibrating against his skin.
He wraps his arms tight around her for a minute, then says, "I'm not buying that past tense for a second. Leslie Bennett."
"Ever the detective. Jake Doyle." That was more of a murmur, and now her lips are touching his neck and that is not good, so she rolls back onto the bed. She rests her head on his chest (possibly covering her face with her hand) and sleeps.
For the second night in a row, she wakes up feeling like a total idiot. She sits up slowly, eyes on Jake, still asleep. On the bed there beside him she knows that she's going to keep feeling like an idiot unless she stops this now. She sighs heavily, and that wakes Jake up.
He looks at her with his head on the pillow and says, "No heavy thinking before breakfast."
She shakes her head and looks down, and he sits up and takes her hand again.
"Leslie, what makes you happy?"
She makes a face, but he tugs on her hand and she says immediately, "My job. And..." She doesn't want to say it, but what's really the point of lying right now? She's already shown him so much. "You."
He smiles and laughs a little, like he can't help himself, and then he puts his serious face back on. "Why can't you just let yourself... Why can't you just let us be happy, Leslie?" He puts his other hand on her knee, looking deep into her eyes the way he always does. "It's not as hard as you think. It doesn't have to always be a fight."
She drops her eyes to his chest and thinks about this. It's not like she's a miserable person, but the honest truth is that nothing makes her as happy, nothing makes that balloon of happiness swell in her chest, the way Jake does... or did. She hears her own voice again in her head: Why are we hiding from the truth? This is... she doesn't want to think how long, since this all began, and she feels the same now as she did all along. Like she knows she shouldn't want him, but she always does and it seems like she always will. Is it worth fighting and hiding and fighting and hiding for the rest of their lives?
She meets his eyes again, her brow furrowed. She looks deep into his eyes, trying to find the answers there, and he kisses her softly, just a peck on the lips before retreating. She catches the back of his neck with her hand and kisses him deeply, the way their kisses always go. It feels so good and her face is immediately blazing hot, and she thinks it's ridiculous. The whole thing is ridiculous.
She detaches herself and leans her cheek against his, her mouth at his ear.
"Okay. We're trying this again."