She was gone. She had just gone out the door like he wasn't even there. Those last few moments talking to her, he wasn't even sure that she had understood who she was talking to, didn't know if she realized that she wasn't alone. Wasn't sure if she had even been speaking to him as she stared blindly around her, eyes empty of everything but the past, her voice lost and desperate as she pleaded with him, saying she was only nine. He could only stare, hurting with a pain that wasn't his as he listened to her words. He had no idea what to do, what to say. She was so clearly beyond him now, beyond any help that he could give.
And then Jordan was gone. Even as he struggled to fight the right words, the right things to do to make her stay. Into the rain, into the wind, she vanished like a ghost, like some vision he had had of perfection that turned out to be, in the end, only wistful thinking. Only imagination after all.
He had been fascinated with her from the beginning, her tough talk hiding a surprisingly passionate heart. He had admired the intensity with which she had thrown herself into everything she did. Personal relationships were not a strong suit. Instead, she excelled at the superficial, the brief, the sardonic. From the beginning, it had been almost an obsession with him, to get below that bright and shiny surface, to the darkness that ate at her, drove her, pushed her past all endurance in her quest for justice. He wanted the real Jordan, the one she kept hidden from everyone except maybe her boss, Garret. He wanted to make her lighter, somehow, take some of the darkness from her. He didn't want to lessen her in any way, didn't want to make her smaller. He just wanted her free, no longer the victim of memory, elusive and slippery. He wanted her to be as strong as she pretended to be.
Was this love, this compulsion to help her even when it was against his own best interest? His need to make sure that she understood that she would never be alone again, not if he could help it. Every time she turned those huge brown eyes on him, swimming with shadows and secrets, he wanted to promise her the world, if only she she would let the past go, if only she would take all the amazing confidence and walk cleanly into the future. That was all he wanted for her, to understand that she had a future, a time beyond this time, beyond whatever tied her to her childhood with tarnished chains.
Even before her perfume faded from the room, he wanted her back. He remembered reaching out for her, like anything he could do could stop her. It was only the past that was real to her, he was finally beginning to understand that. He was the ghost, the shadow, insubstantial against her crystal clear world. She had never been real to him, never been anything more than a voice whispering into the wind. She had lived in two worlds; the past and the present were interchangeable to her. Until history, personified by a madman, reached out and snatched her back, leaving him with nothing. Remorse tasted like ashes in his mouth. And he felt like a fool, because even with her gone, even with her leaving like he was nothing to her, he still wanted to go after her.
"You're an idiot, Woody," he muttered aloud to the empty room, the room that had lost everything when it lost her, and the he was out the door, too. Into the rain. Into the wind. Following Jordan.