|Change Is Good, Unless It Isn't
Author: dontmissthis PM
A new medical examiner is in town and Jane would like to know more about her past. No major character deaths, but I swear you'll probably cry.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Tragedy - J. Rizzoli & M. Isles - Chapters: 25 - Words: 54,891 - Reviews: 530 - Favs: 176 - Follows: 424 - Updated: 03-27-13 - Published: 07-07-12 - id: 8296775
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
A/N: I can't believe I wrote this. May just be a one-shot, but could be multi-chapter fic if any are interested. Review and let me know!
Jane walked into the morgue expecting to see Dr. Pike lounging lazily at his desk as he usually did around lunchtime. Instead, she turned the corner and saw a woman flittering about in five inch heels reorganizing the entire room. Confused, Jane turned a complete circle to make sure that she was, in fact, in the morgue.
The woman looked over just in time to see her spinning around. As her eyes roamed over her features, Jane couldn't help but notice how beautiful this woman actually was. Her face turned scarlet as she realized she'd been caught spinning circles and staring in less than 5 minutes. That's a great first impression. She finally stammered out, "Wher-where's Dr. Pike?"
"He retired yesterday," the woman said with her head cocked to the side. "May I ask what you needed him for?"
"I, uh... I just needed to ask about a case." Damnit. Get it together Rizzoli. She shook her head as if to rid herself from stuttering any more. "Do you know where I can find the medical examiner?"
Maura looked at Jane, baffled. Had this woman not checked her email informing everyone of the change?
"I'm the new chief medical examiner," she extended her hand for Jane to shake, "Dr. Maura Isles."
Jane shook her hand and couldn't help but notice how soft it felt in her own calloused ones. She snapped back to reality as she realized what Maura had said.
"Oh," her eyes got wide, "Oh! I'm Detective Rizzoli. But, you can call me Jane."
She had never allowed anyone she had just met call her Jane, but there was just something about this woman that made her feel at ease.
"Okay, Jane, it's wonderful to meet you," she said with a smile that brought out her dimples and lit up her eyes. Jane completely forgot the reason she went down to the morgue to begin with. Now all she wanted was to know more about Maura.
"So, what made you decide to come to Boston?"
4 years, 2 months, and 8 days. That's how old Tanner was when they found out he had cancer.
5 years, 6 months, 17 days. That's how old he was when the treatments completely stopped working.
Maura exhausted every resource to try and cure him. Chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, and even alternative medicine in Mexico. But none of it had helped him. It was time to face the fact that her son was dying and there was nothing she could do to save him.
She walked over to the hospital bed where he lay for the last time. They were sending him home, a gesture of one last comfort he would be able to experience. His head was cool as she stroked the spot his once golden blonde hair used to reside. He was pale, frailer than she had ever seen him. She knew it was a miracle he was still breathing, even if she didn't believe in them.
He slowly opened his eyes and looked up at her, giving her the best smile his weak body could muster. She realized that his eyes were the only things besides his hair that closely resembled hers. Her lips pressed softly against his cheek, aware of how easily he bruised these days.
She would do anything to keep him with her. To be able to hold him against her at night, smell the baby shampoo in his hair, hear his laughter as she pushed him in the swings at the park. But it wasn't fair for her to ask him to stay with her when he was clearly in so much pain. When the cancer was reeking so much havoc to his insides that he could no longer walk more than five minutes at a time or eat solid food without crying. Even though she'd do absolutely anything to keep him with her, it wasn't fair to ask him to stay and she knew it.
A tear rolled down her cheek, which quickly turned to many, many more. No matter how hard she tried, she could not keep herself from crying. She held his hands and pressed her forehead softly against his. She fought the lump in her throat and the sobs escaping her lips. She didn't want him to think he had to stay for her, not when his body clearly couldn't take much more.
"Tanner, You...you can let go now if...if you want to. It's okay. I promise you it's...it's going to be okay, baby. Don't stay just because of me."
His tiny hands reached up and wiped the mascara-blackened tears from her cheeks and pressed the innocent kiss of a child against her lips.
"Mama, I know it'll be okay. Okay?"
She quickly nodded her head, fighting back tears once again. She couldn't speak, her throat was constricted too tightly and nothing remotely understandable would come out.
"I want to be a big boy, Mama. You said I would be a big boy and could get a turtle when I turned six," he gave a bigger smile than before, one that truly lit up his hazel eyes. "I really, really want that turtle, Mama."
She couldn't help but smile when she saw his eyes light up. It felt good to know that he was staying for himself and not for the fact he was scared for her. She briefly thought about taking him to get a turtle right at that very moment, but she didn't want to take away the joy that being a 'big boy' would bring. She could only hope that he made it five and a half more months.
"I know you do, baby. Let's take you home."
It was Tanner's birthday. Not that he would know it, he'd been asleep for the past six days straight. Maura leaned over from the recliner—that doubled as her bed these days—and grabbed one of his hands.
She laid her head down against his arm and prayed to every divine being she could remember. It didn't matter that she had never believed in them, she just wanted to make sure she had truly tried every single thing she possibly could. After she had ran out of every thing she could possibly pray to, she just lay against his arm and muttered "I love you so much, Tanner. So much," until her throat was raw from sobbing and strained whispers.
She quickly looked up as she felt his fingers move underneath her own hand. He was looking at her with a strength and determination she hadn't seen in a long time.
"It's my birthday, isn't it, Mama?"
She didn't even hesitate to question how he knew it was his birthday since he'd been asleep for so long—maybe her prayers really had been heard. She pulled him into a hug, feeling his heartbeat flutter against her own.
"Yes, it's your birthday," she pulled back and gave him a smile just as big as his. If he had been any stronger, he may have started bouncing up and down on his bed. But he wasn't, so instead he just wound his fingers together anxiously.
"So... Does that mean I get a turtle?"
Maura couldn't help the laugh that escaped her lips. He may be dying, but his never-ending excitement was not.
"Actually, you get something better," she said as she pulled him close to her.
His hands tangled in the hair around her neck as she carried him to the living room and sat down in front of a cage on the floor. He climbed over to where he could peek inside. Slowly, he opened the door and turned around with wide eyes.
"Mama, that's the biggest turtle I have ever seen!" He turned around just in time to see its head poke out and slowly crawl onto the hardwood floor.
"Actually, it's an African spurred tortoise," she said as she watched her son reach out and run his fingers across the shell. She had really tried to find a turtle, but the pet shop didn't have any mature enough to sell. The owner finally broke down and sold her his own pet tortoise so her son wouldn't be disappointed on what very well could be his last birthday. By the amazement written all over his small face, he was far from disappointed.
"What would you like to name him?"
He turned back around and climbed in her lap.
"I think I want to wait until tonight to name him, if that's okay?"
She smiled and pressed a kiss to his forehead, "Of course that's okay."
After a failed attempt of making a cake—where more icing ended up on their faces than on it—Tanner was ready to go to sleep. He looked up at Maura from his perch on the counter and she could see the pain in his eyes.
"Can I sleep in bed with you tonight, Mama?"
She had been sleeping in a recliner by his bed for months now, too afraid that she might roll over on him and he'd be too weak to wake her up. But it was her son's birthday today. If he wanted to sleep in bed with her, how could she say no?
She picked him up and carried him into her seldom used bedroom after putting the unnamed tortoise back in its cage. After changing them both into pajamas, she climbed under the covers and pulled Tanner close. She ran her hand down his back, silently naming each vertebra she touched. His breath started to even out against her neck and she said a silent thanks to those gods she didn't believe in less than five hours ago. She was about to drift off when Tanner's voice pulled her awake.
"I know what I want to name him, Mama."
She pulled back just far enough to where she could make out his face in the dim room. "And what would that be?"
His fingers started playing with the ends of her hair, as if he knew she'd need comfort.
"Tanner Bass Isles."
Momentarily, she was confused but then let out a breath of a laugh. "But that's your name. Wouldn't it be confusing to have two of you walking around the house?"
His voice barely a whisper, fighting against a sob caught in his throat, "No, Mama. This way you'll still have a Tanner Bass Isles when I'm not here anymore."
It took only a moment before the words finally sank in. She pulled him as tight as she dared against her chest, the sounds of her whispered, "Oh, baby," mingling with her son's, "I love you, Mama."
After a while the whispers and cries stopped, as both drifted off to sleep. Less than four hours later, Maura awoke at 1:07 am, and her son did not.
After the funeral where mainly families of Tanner's friends attended, Maura drove back to a home that was no longer filled with her son's laughter. She slid down against the closed door and cried until her chest was sore and she was completely out of tears.
Grabbing only a few pictures, Tanner's favorite stuffed bear, and Tanner's tortoise, she left the house and didn't look back.
She leaned back against the nearest table and looked over at Jane with an expression that she hoped gave away none of her hidden pain.
"I felt as though moving here would be beneficial."
Jane, not knowing the real reason why, only smiled a smile that showed her deep-set dimples and laughed. "Yes, I guess change can be good sometimes."
But, only Maura knew the extent of how bad change could really be.
A/N: Please don't kill me. I didn't even make it through writing that without crying. Should this stand alone as a one-shot or be continued? Do let me know! Good and bad. xx