All of this about Jordan's past was shown in the episode The Gift of Life in Season 1. There is mention of a suicide attempt – both here and in the actual episode – so if that upsets you at all, steer clear. The two lines with the title below are from the Indigo Girls song, "Keeper of My Heart".

I'm not too sure when exactly this takes place, so that's up to you.


These arms are burning
But they're open wide

"So why exactly did you never become a cop?"

Jordan just chuckled and shook her head, continuing to study the file spread out across the coffee table in her office. "Where's the fun in that, Woody?" she asked good-naturedly, nudging his shoulder with hers. Something caught her eye and she picked up the single piece of paper. It was an interview transcript. "Besides, there was no way I'd follow in my dad's footsteps. Talk about a bad idea!"

Woody nodded, seeing what she was hinting at with that train of thought and not wanting to touch it with a ten foot pole. They'd been going over this cold case for hours. So far, Jordan had found inconsistencies all over the place – starting with the medical exam and moving onto the forensics. It really made him wonder; if she'd been on this case when it came through eight years ago, it probably would have been solved already. But then again, the original detective had recently been fired for mishandling the evidence of another case. Anyone would have been better.

"Sometimes I think you're better at my job than I am," he muttered, running a hand over his face and rubbing his eyes as he stifled a yawn.

"Don't be ridiculous," Jordan responded distractedly. "You're decent at what you do." But she gently touched his arm in a silent show of peace, not wanting to hurt his feelings with the joke.

The detective leaned back into the plush cushions of the sofa and turned his head to look at her. She was fully engrossed in the transcript, not showing any sign that she felt his eyes on her face. "You seriously never considered it? Joining the Force?"

"Nope. Never crossed my mind."

Rather abruptly, she dropped the paper back to the table and met his steady gaze. Hers wavered just a bit as she realized he had never heard this part of her history, and she suddenly needed him to understand. "I was actually going to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. Did you know that?"

"Really?" Woody sat up again, wide-eyed as she divulged this to him. "No, you've never mentioned that before."

"Yep." She smiled softly at him and covered one of his hands with hers, taken by how interested he was. "I was almost done with the program, too, before getting myself kicked out. I spoke for the victims even then," she explained before he could speak. "The head surgeon didn't take too kindly to that."


Jordan laughed and raised her eyebrows. "'Wow' what, Farm Boy?"

"Your brilliance is kind of intimidating." He shook his head, looking away from her to stare at the far wall with a goofy expression on his face. "Here I am, a nerdy kid from Wisconsin, sitting next to the most intelligent woman in Boston. Cardiothoracic surgeon? Jeez."

"Oh, please!" She hit his shoulder lightly, lips twitching as she tried to hide her pleasure at his compliment. "I'm far from brilliant. I'd have been miserable if I continued down that path, anyway. Getting kicked out was probably for the best." Biting back the rest of the story – and burying the subsequent suicide attempt as far back in her mind as she could – she leaned her head against his shoulder and ran a hand over his chest. "You're not too bad yourself, you know."

"Thanks." Easily following her movement, Woody slipped an arm around her waist to hold her as close as he dared. "So how'd you end up here?"

"Oh, well. That is a long and complicated story."

He simply nodded, knowing very well that she had just shut the conversation down, and reached for another paper without jostling her. Jordan watched him for a minute, heart tightening. He hadn't argued, hadn't pushed, hadn't insisted. He had let it go. Very few people in her life would have done that. She took a deep breath and let it out in a long, slow sigh. He really was one of the best friends she had ever had, and that meant more to her than she could ever express. That need for him to understand was suddenly so overwhelming that not telling him the rest just felt wrong.

"I met Garret a few weeks before…before I left the hospital," she pressed on softly. Woody stilled in surprise and gave her his full attention, but she didn't look at him this time. "He kind of got in my head after a woman died on the table. I watched the whole thing – thought it was my fault at first, even. But it was the doctor. Garret knew it from the autopsy, I knew it because I was there. I was selfish for a day or two, keeping silent. But, like I said, Garret got in my head and I went to the hospital Board. Only person fired was me."

"I'm sorry, Jo."

"I was too, at the time. Went home, took a handful of sleeping pills, and let my dad pour me a few too many drinks. I thought I had ruined everything, Woody. My life, my dreams…"

Her voice faded off and Woody started down at her, shocked. "Sleeping pills and…and alcohol? Jordan, that -"

"Yeah, yeah." She cut him off, making a waving gesture with her hand like it was no big deal before resting it on his chest again. "I know – knew – exactly what that would do. I just didn't care. I was dead for a few minutes there, but the same doctor who ruined my career saved my life. How ironic is that?"

The words hung in the air for a few seconds and Jordan almost regretted telling him all that. Rather than let the silence turn awkward, she tried to laugh. "They offered me my place back and I said no. Then Garret offered me a job as a coroner. I took it. Medicine was always my calling; I just needed a shove in the right direction. I've held a living, beating human heart in my hands and yet…my place is right here. A voice for those with no voice and all that philosophical crap." She paused, though, relishing for the first time in a while that feeling of saving a life rather than dealing with the dead. "Anyway, to answer your question – no, I never even considered being a cop."

"I think you made the right choice, accepting Garret's offer." Woody leaned down to kiss the top of her head, and Jordan pulled her legs up onto the couch so that she could snuggle just a little closer. His presence was so soothing. "If you had gone back to being a surgeon, I probably never would have met you."

"No," she agreed softly, unconsciously fiddling with the top button of his shirt. "Probably not. Hey, wanna take a break? I could use a bit of shut-eye before tackling this case again."

"Sure. I'll just go -"

"No, stay." It came out as a purr – something she certainly hadn't intended – and she swallowed as she become aware of the movement of her hand near his throat. "I bet you're just as worn out as I am. A nap would do us both some good."

"Are you sure?"

She could hear his heart start to beat faster and a smile pulled her lips back just slightly. Not bothering to respond, she gently nudged his shoulder until he began to lie backward on the couch. She settled herself half on top of him, half in the spot between his side and the back cushions, his arm still around her waist. After a moment of trying to get comfortable on the narrow space, their legs ended up tangled together, her face pressed close to his. A few embarrassed chuckles later, an easy quiet fell through which they could hear the other breathing. It felt nice – right, even – and Jordan had to bite her tongue to keep from saying that out loud. Too many complications, and she was already making them worse.

"Sleep tight, Woody," she said instead, closing her eyes as she fished around the top of the sofa for the blanket usually thrown there and pulled it over them both.

He kissed her hair one more time before sighing and closing his eyes, too. "Night, Jo. We'll figure the rest out later."

But whether he was talking about the case or about their odd relationship or about what little of her sordid past she'd shared, she didn't know. And frankly, at that moment in time she just didn't care.

They'd figure it out later.