Vaguely inspired by the Indigo Girls song "Southland in the Spingtime", but the little plot kept changing until it was nothing like I had first set out to write. Here it is, though! Set right after the end of Season 6, once they'd been released from the hospital after the crash. Very fluffy, complete.
I forgot to mention this before, so thank you to Cittykat for reminding me - my one-shots are not part of the same timeline as Wonderland, so any inconsistencies you may see were done with a set purpose.
He finally found her on the roof of the building, leaning against the brick wall, eyes closed and face tilted upward toward the setting sun – like she was absorbing the last of its warmth before it fell below the horizon. The orange light seemed to make her skin glow, and there, in that moment of complete and undisturbed peace, she was absolutely radiant.
Jordan started and quickly glanced over her shoulder. "Oh, Woody. I didn't hear you come up."
"I noticed." He grinned widely at her, coming to stand close beside her at the wall. "I looked all over the morgue for you. No one knew where you were."
"Ah." She nodded, turning her gaze back out over the city. "Probably because I didn't tell anyone where I was. Kinda wanted to be alone for a while." There was a pause, and she rested her head against his shoulder as her breath came out in a long sigh. "Though I certainly won't turn down your company."
There was a vulnerability around her that took Woody off guard. Not giving himself a chance to hesitate, he wrapped an arm around her waist to pull her closer. She didn't resist, instead leaning heavily against him and twining her own arms around him in a loose, sideways hug. "You okay?" he asked, trying to see her face. But it was shrouded by a thin curtain of her dark hair, and she did nothing to move it.
"It's so beautiful," she said with another soft sigh, avoiding his question as she continued to stare out over the city. "The sun. I've always loved this time of day; it's just so…calm. Like I can finally let out the breath I've been holding all day, knowing I survived another twenty four hours."
Woody wasn't sure what to say, so he titled his head just enough to kiss her temple. Her skin was so warm, and that warmth seeped through him. She was alive. "My favorite time of day is twilight, just after the sun sets when all of the stars start to come out."
Jordan smiled at his touch and turned her face into his chest, closing her eyes in contentment as she breathed in the scent of him. "You don't see many stars in Boston," she murmured with a chuckle. "Too many city lights."
"So I've noticed," Woody replied. "I remember, back after my dad died, my uncle took Cal and me hunting one weekend. We camped out in the woods without a tent, and I just laid there by the fire counting the stars, finding all the constellations I learned back when I was a Scout…"
"How old were you?"
"About sixteen, I think." He shook his head as the memory came back, the peacefulness of it all. "But ever since then, I immediately look up to the sky as soon as night falls, wanting to find those same constellations. I haven't been able to do that since I came here."
Jordan gave his waist a quick squeeze. "I'm sorry, Woody."
But he just shrugged, adjusting his grip on her so that he could hold her upper body more tightly to his chest. "It's a small thing to sacrifice, given everything I've found in return."
The sincerity behind his words made her stomach flutter, and she was struck again with just how much she loved him. They hadn't seen much of one another in the week since they were released from the hospital after the plane crash. As much as she hesitated to admit it, it had been one of the longest weeks of her life without being able to be with him. Now that all of her cards were on the table…well, she was having a difficult time justifying being apart.
Not having the faintest idea how to vocalize any of those thoughts, she asked instead, "Do you miss Wisconsin?"
"Sometimes," he admitted softly, leaning his head against hers. "I've changed a lot since I left, so I'm not sure I have a place there anymore. Not now that Boston has become home to me. But…yeah, sometimes I miss it. The way all of the fields come to life overnight after the frosts are done. Being able to roll out of bed on a Saturday and go horseback riding through the woods. You know, at night on the farm it gets so quiet – not like here, with all the hustle and bustle of the city."
"And the stars," she added for him, turning her gaze up toward the sky. The sun was nearly below the horizon, but the lights of the skyscrapers were too bright to make out even the biggest star in the growing darkness. She had never really paid attention to that before.
"Yes," Woody agreed. "And the stars."
"Will you take me there?" Jordan requested suddenly, pulling away just enough to see his face. "To Wisconsin?"
He gawked at her for a moment, not sure he had heard correctly. "You…you want me to take you to Kewaunee? Really?"
"Not to stay," she ribbed playfully, flashing him a very contagious smile. "But yeah. I want to see those same stars you saw. I've never really seen them, you know? Growing up in Boston, and staying in big cities my entire life. I've…never been outside all of this. I want you to show me those constellations."
"I'd love to," he whispered, reaching up one hand to cup her cheek.
She leaned into his touch and closed her eyes, feeling the sting of tears. So much time had been wasted. Too much time. That had become all too clear to her during her illness, and then when they had all faced death together on that mountain. Everything could be gone in an instant. She had always known that, but now that she had nearly lost her life – twice this year – to things completely out of her control…now she really felt it. Felt the loss of him and her own life through all of the "what if"s and "could be"s. It took her breath away.
As though reading her thoughts, Woody brushed away a stray tear with his thumb and leaned his forehead against hers. "I am so happy you are standing in front of me right now, Jordan. I...don't know what I would ever do without you in my life."
"I seem to recall," she murmured humorously, ignoring the tears now falling unchecked over her face, "you telling me once that I only brought you pain and misery. You know, the time when that lady smacked you in the face with a trashcan and you ran off to the West Coast?"
"I remember. And boy, was I wrong about that."
She knew, listening to him, that he wasn't just talking about that one incident. He was referring to every time he had ever made her feel unwanted, every time he had told her to leave - all of the times he had pushed her away. Those small words - "I was wrong" - seared through her, and she cautiously met his gaze, almost afraid of what she would see there. His eyes were filled with such devotion, such love, that she felt her knees start to shake.
"Springtime," he whispered. He was so close that the word brushed across her lips. "We can go to Wisconsin this spring, when everything is beginning to bloom."
She swallowed, unable to look away from him now. "Okay."
"We can lie out in the fields all night, away from the rest of the world, and count the stars."
Jordan opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. That was one of the most romantic things anyone had ever said to her, one of the most genuine and truly heartfelt. How could she possibly respond? "Woody..."
"I missed you this week, Jo," he told her softly, sensing her struggle and giving her an out before she resorted to spilling corny jokes to fill the silence.
"Yeah?" Her lips quirked upward at the corners, appreciating what he was doing. "That's good, 'cause I missed you, too."
She could feel his breath on her face, shallow as it belied his confidence, and her heart began to pound as he leaned forward just a bit more until their noses were touching. They had been here, in this very position, so many times before. But always in the past something had forced them apart. A car driving by in that desert. A phone call. Her insecurities and fears, and then his. Pollack. Lu. Dragging them away from each other before Fate threw them back together again. Because they always found their way back here, so close to everything that could be.
Only this time…there were no interruptions. He smiled at her as she reached her arms up to wrap around his neck, bringing his body even closer to hers. But then Jordan stilled, so contented just to be standing there with him, to be smelling his cologne, to be able to play with the small strands of hair at the base of his head. Woody let her, just as happy as she was to leave the moment as it was.
"Are these happy tears?" he asked as her eyes began to overflow again.
All she could do was give him a slight nod before using the hand in his hair to tilt his head just so and finally pressing her lips to his. The kiss was a short one, but the promise it held did not fade as she pulled away and fell against Woody's chest. He held her tightly, and she realized with a startling clarity that she never wanted him to let go. She never wanted to be apart from him again.
"Do you, um, want to come stay with me tonight?"
The question was shy, and she couldn't help remembering the handful of times she had invited him before – and the number of times he had said no. But then she remembered their one night together at the Lucy Carver Inn, and her face flamed with desire as she recognized how close they were to finally making this strange relationship work.
"I'd like that." He ran a hand through her hair and over her jaw, angling her face for one more kiss. "Maybe tomorrow we can start planning our trip."
"I'm sorry you're going to have to wait so long to see your stars again," she said, tucking her head back under his chin.
"I think staring at you in the meantime, Jordan, will be just as wonderful as stargazing."