A/N: Wow, a big break, huh? What can I say? I'm trying. But I can promise you I never leave a story unfinished and TRY not to go longer than 2 weeks without an update. I hope you all are still sticking with me. Here's the next chapter. Happy reading!

Kill & Collect

Chapter 5

Jane drove for another half an hour until she was sure they were out of harm's way. She ended up turning off the dirt road and into a heavily wooded area where the station wagon would be obscured by the trees. She cut the engine and glanced at Maura. "We should be safe here."

The brunette climbed out of the car and looked around. The smell of damp leaves and bark hit her senses and the orange-yellow leaves were a serene sight. It was beautiful. Too bad she was not experiencing this in a different situation. Hiding for their lives was not the ideal scenario.

Maura climbed out of the car as well, holding her duffel bag. She walked over to the front of the car and placed the bag on the hood. After locating her first aid kit she looked over at Jane who was still standing by the driver's side door.

"Come sit over here," the blonde instructed. "I need to look at that arm." She pulled some white latex gloves out of the kit.

Jane shrugged off her leather jacket and tossed it in the car before silently walking over to Maura . Her arm was throbbing but she tried her best to mask the pain she felt. She was the protector after all. However, the blonde noticed Jane wincing as the brunette made herself comfortable on the hood of the station wagon, resting her feet on the metal bumper of the vehicle. Maura couldn't explain it, but in some way seeing Jane hurt made her hurt as well It was an odd feeling. None of this would not have happened if the brunette was not trying to protect her. Was she feeling guilty now? Maura shook her head. Why should she feel guilty? Jane wanted to protect her. The blonde dismissed her thoughts and snapped on her gloves. She stepped closer to her patient and began further inspection of Jane's arm.

"Yes... I can see the bullet," Maura concluded as she closely looked at the wound. "Thankfully, it's not lodged too far in your deltoid muscle."

"Deltoid muscle…" Jane nodded. "Good to know."

Maura pulled a few disinfectant wipes out of her bag and began to delicately clean around Jane's wound. The brunette watched as Maura wiped the dry blood that was caked to her skin and then glanced at the blonde's face. "So uh… what do you do in the hospital anyway?"

Maura gave a small smirk. "I'm a trauma surgeon."

Jane raised her eyebrows and let out a soft chuckle. "Lucky me."

The blonde smiled in response but her expression slowly melted back into concentration as she worked. The brunette silently observed Maura, noticing the seriousness on her face. Jane wondered if this was how Maura looked while working on an operating table in the hospital. She looked so professional... so adorable. Adorable? Hazel eyes temporarily looked up connecting with brown. "What?" Maura asked.

"Nothing," Jane said replied, averting her eyes. She internally chastised herself for being caught staring.

Maura wondered what that look was about but decided to ignore it for now. She had work to do. She tossed the bloody wipes aside and picked up the knife that was resting next to her bag. "Now, I should be able to remove the bullet with this. However, I'll have to sterilize it first in order to avoid infection."

"Oh, right. I don't think I have..."

Before Jane could finish her sentence, Maura pulled a lighter from her bag. "This will have to do."

The brunette shook her head with a small smile. "Jesus, what else do you have in that thing?"

Maura lit the lighter and began to run the flame along the sharp edge of the knife. "I found it necessary to pack essential tools needed in case of emergency situations, Jane."

The brunette nodded. "Makes sense, I guess."

"You guess?" The blonde said, not taking her eyes away from the small flame. "It seems to be coming into good use now isn't it?"

Jane gave a small smirk. She liked Maura's spunky comments.

When the knife was safely sterilized, Maura stepped in front of the brunette and looked into her eyes. "I'm afraid I don't have any anesthetic. This is going to be painful."

"That's alright." Jane slowly shrugged. "I've felt way worse pain than this, believe me."

The blonde lightly bit her lower lip and gave the brunette the once over. "Okay, now take off your shirt."

Jane raised an eyebrow at her. "Huh?"

"Unless you want to get even more blood on my tank top."

The brunette's mouth gaped open in surprise at the comment. "Really? I'm kinda shot here."

A small smile formed on Maura's lips. "I'm joking, Jane," the blonde said. "Besides, I know you were only saving my life... again." Their eyes connected for a silent moment before the blonde continued. "But you should take it off. There will be more blood as I remove the bullet. Eventually, we may be seen by the general public. I'm sure the sight of blood all over your top would be pretty alarming."

The brunette sighed. "Alright, doc. You win." Jane grunted as she began to lift the top.

Maura assisted her and set the piece of clothing next to her first aid kit. Jane was only in her dark jeans and black sports bra now. Maura tried not to stare at the rippled muscles of Jane's abdomen but they were extremely distracting. The blonde shook her head and tried to focus on the task at hand. Maura stepped closer with the knife and leaned over the brunette's right shoulder. She placed a firm grip on the brunette's bicep with her left hand in order to keep the arm steady. "Okay, I'm going to start."

"Go for it," the brunette braced herself.

The brunette's jaw muscles contracted as the sharp point of the knife began to penetrate her wound. More blood slowly trickled down her arm. Jane sucked in a breath as the pain rushed through her. "Err… fuck… you weren't kidding…" Jane strained between her teeth.

"I'm sorry. I'll try to do this as fast as I can."

Jane closed her eyes tightly and tried to focus on something else. Maura winced in sympathy as she caught the pain written all over the brunette's face. She hated that she did not pack an anesthetic of some kind. Then another thought came to her. "Did you know it's been proven that sometimes a story can help distract the brain from pain?"

"No…" Jane groaned. "I wasn't aware, Dr. Isles."

"I think we should try it. Tell me a story."

Jane frowned in confusion. "What?"

"Tell me a story about your past. I've already shared a significant part of my past with you. I feel it's only fair that you tell me about yours. Hopefully, it will take your mind off the pain."

Jane only stared at her and Maura stopped her task to look into skeptical brown eyes. "Try," the blonde sincerely insisted.

The brunette sighed heavily and lowered her eyes. "Alright…" she muttered. "What do you want to know?"

"How did you get your scars?" Jane suddenly looked up again, catching Maura's gaze. She had not expected that question. Maura saw the apprehension in her eyes and became unsure of her own idea. "You don't have to tell me if…"

"No, I'll… I can tell you. You've told me about your past."

Maura gave a nod and then continued to carefully work on the brunette's shoulder. Jane slightly flinched at the pain but began her story.

"Okay uh… when I was eighteen I joined the army right out of high school. It's kinda funny because that wasn't my first choice for a career."

"No? What was?" Maura asked.

"A cop."

Maura raised an eyebrow at this and lightly smirked. "Really."

"Yeah…" Jane's lips formed a small smirk. "Well, a detective."

"That's exciting. What changed your mind?"

"I don't know really. I guess I wanted something bigger. The army just seemed to have more to offer, I'd get to travel, see new places and the pay was good. I also wanted to make a difference in the world. Anyway, over the years I eventually moved up in the ranks. I turned out to be a damn good shot with any gun they gave me. I became one of the best marksmen in my rank… they told me I was good enough for the green berets. I figured what the hell so I went for it. Before I know it I'm a green beret sniper."

"The Special Forces… you must have been honored."

Jane nodded. "I was… there was a shit load of training and tests but I passed. My first mission with my new team was in Somalia. That was six years ago now. There was heavy warfare and a lot of gun fights. We were sent in to help keep the peace… I had never seen so much blood in my life…"

Maura tore her eyes away from the wound to look at Jane. The brunette had a faraway look in her eyes.

"On the fourth night our camp was overrun. I fought as hard as I could against those bastards, but there were too many. I was knocked out from behind and was taken as a prisoner. I had no idea where I was when I woke up. Some fucking hole underground. I just remember it was dark and cold. Then every few hours these men would come in and interrogate me. They wanted me to tell them our plans and wanted information, but I wouldn't tell them anything. They beat me up pretty good. I must have been down there two days and wouldn't tell them shit… I wouldn't let them break me. But then on that third day… that's when it happened."

"Your hands?" Maura asked in a soft whisper.

Jane nodded. Without thinking, she began to trace over the very prominent scars on her palms. She had accidentally forgotten her gloves at the motel because they left in such a hurry. Maura noticed this but did not say anything.

"They… held me down on the hard ground and hammered these… spikes into my hands. It felt like…" Jane shivered in remembrance. It was hard for her to explain that agonizing pain. The brunette cringed at the memory. She could still feel the metal sliding into her flesh, awaking all the nerve endings and pain receptors in her hands. These thoughts were so disturbing; she could no longer feel Maura working on her shoulder anymore. "I couldn't move. I just remember feeling so… helpless. I found out later they had used horseshoe nails."

"Oh, Jane…" Maura softly spoke. The blonde could not fathom how people could be so inhumane. She felt an overwhelming urge to comfort the brunette but she knew the type of person Jane was. She accepted pity from no one. Maura pushed back those feelings and channeled her emotions into removing the bullet from Jane's arm.

The brunette shook her head. "I was nailed to the ground for what felt like hours until a rescue team found me."

The bullet finally gave way and Maura let out a breath of relief as the bloody slug fell into her gloved palm. "Got it," Maura suddenly said, holding up the bloodied bullet with a small smile of triumph.

This broke Jane out of her trance and she smiled lightly. "Hey, look at that," she said with some amazement. "Nice work, doc. I barely felt a thing."

Maura gave a shy shrug. "I told you the story would work. However, removing the bullet would have been more efficient using the proper tools and…"

"You did great," Jane cut in.

Maura lightly blushed and cleared her throat. She stepped aside and rummaged through her first aid kit. "So, um… what happened after the rescue team arrived?" The blonde asked, pulling out antiseptic and more disinfectant wipes.

"They wrapped me up and sent me home."

Maura looked into Jane's eyes and knew there was more to this story. To endure torture to that caliber would change a person's life forever. The blonde stepped forward and began to clean Jane's wound again. "What happened after you came home?" Maura tried to push. She could tell the brunette was attempting to put up a barrier but that was not going to fly with her.

Jane looked down at the grass and swallowed. This was beginning to feel like a fucking therapy session, but unlike all those times when she felt trapped and overwhelmed by people who tried to speak to her in the past, Maura made her feel safe.

"When I came home… I was a goddamn mess," the brunette confessed. "I wouldn't talk to anyone and that included my family. I wouldn't let anyone near me. I just wanted to be alone. So I would lock myself in my apartment day and night... twenty-four hours a day."

Maura paused and looked at the supposedly broken woman in front of her. But Jane did not look that way to her. She saw a woman with a dark past yes, but Jane did not look broken. The woman sitting in front of her looked strong, sharp and confident. Nothing like the woman Jane was describing herself as.

Maura finished cleaning Jane's arm and was now wrapping the wound in a bandage. "Do you experience nightmares?"

Jane nodded hesitantly, keeping her eyes down. "Yeah, I do… can't say I've gotten used to them."

"How often do you have them?" Maura gently asked.

The brunette took a moment before she answered. "Every night," her raspy voice whispered.

A silence passed between them as Maura continued wrapping Jane's shoulder. Again Maura had to stop herself from prying. She wondered what the brunette experienced in those nightmares. She wondered if Jane woke up in the middle of the night frightened and alone. She wondered why she wanted to be there to protect her. The blonde shook her head and finished the bandaging on Jane's shoulder. "All done."

The brunette looked down at Maura's handy work with high approval. "Thank you," Jane softly said.

"You're welcome." Maura packed up her kit and handed Jane the tank top back. The brunette pulled the top back on and Maura could not help but feel a little disappointment in no longer being able to feast her eyes on Jane's abdomen. Shaking out of her thoughts she pushed aside her bag and gingerly took a seat beside the brunette. More silence. The only sound that could be heard was the rustle of leaves blowing in the trees.

Jane glanced at the blonde and saw her fidgeting with her hands. She obviously had something else on her mind but seemed hesitant to speak. "Go ahead," Jane finally said.

Maura looked at her. "Excuse me?"

"I can hear the wheels in that brain of yours turning. You have more questions."

The blonde let out a soft chuckle. "You don't mind?"

"No," Jane replied. In fact, the brunette found this talk comforting. She had never told anyone her story before and in a way it felt freeing.

"Okay. Um… I'd like to know… how Hoyt came into the frame."

Jane smirked. "Picture, Maura?"

The blonde frowned.

"You meant to say, how did Hoyt come into the picture."

Maura folded her arms and lifted her chin defiantly. "You find it amusing to correct me, don't you?"

"Maybe a little," she lightly smiled.

Maura rolled her eyes trying to hold back a smile of her own. She sobered up immediately when Jane began to speak.

"Anyway, I uh… I told you before that I was in a really dark place when Hoyt approached me. I was… well… I wanted to end it all." Jane looked down, avoiding eye contact with the blonde.

"You mean… end your life?" Maura asked.

Jane nodded. "I wasn't the same after Somalia… and nothing in my life was getting better."

Three years ago

The wind blew her hair wildly in the night air as Jane stood on the ledge ten stories up from the ground. Wearing an old Red Sox sweatshirt, gray sweatpants, and tennis shoes, the brunette stood on the roof of her apartment building, looking down at the street. She was tired of the nightmares, tired of no longer feeling comfortable communicating with her once loved ones, tired of freaking out when she was touched… it had to stop. In her mind this seemed to be the only solution. The brunette closed her eyes and prepared for her descent. All she had to do was let go.

"You don't want to do that, Jane."

The brunette was slightly startled by the intrusive voice. She turned to see a man standing a few yards away. He had long white hair, wrinkled skin, a thin frame, and he was dressed all in black. Not exactly the stereotypical look of a guardian angel.

"Who the hell are you?" She shakily asked, somewhat angered by the interruption.

"The name is Hoyt."

The brunette frowned in confusion, still not understanding where this man came from. "Well, Hoyt, I would like to be alone right now."

"Why? So you can jump to your death?" He clicked his tongue. "Now, that would be a waste."

Jane swallowed the lump in her throat and shook her head. "No… it wouldn't be. I'm useless, I'm… a mess. I'm no good to anyone."

"Oh, I seriously doubt that. You have so much to offer. You have skills that are extremely useful."

"How would you know?" Jane challenged.

"Because I've been watching you, Jane."

The brunette frowned. "Watching me? Okay, you can stop right there old man. I've heard enough." She turned back to the ledge.

"You want to disappear." Hoyt suddenly spoke, taking a step closer. "You no longer want to exist in the world. Your family and friends seem like strangers to you and no place feels like home. Not anymore."

Jane slowly turned back to the strange man. That was exactly how she felt.

Hoyt lightly smirked, knowing he had struck a nerve. "You're hurting the people around you, mentally and physically. You don't want to and you don't mean to, but you can't help it. In the deep recesses of your mind you know it's not right. You're not right… and you want that to stop, don't you?"

A lone tear escaped Jane's eye and trailed down her cheek. "Yes…" she helplessly whispered. Finally, someone got it. This man got it. "That's why I'm here… to stop it. No one understands what I've been through. They can't understand."

"I know." He was closer now. "I can help you. I'm offering you another way out besides…" He looked over the ledge and then back at Jane. "… death."

Jane looked down as well. The street and cars below seemed to be moving upward; getting closer and closer. Was this really where she wanted it to end?

"I can make Jane Rizzoli no longer exist." Hoyt went on. "I can make her disappear. I can give you a new life."

Jane frowned and turned towards the older man. There had to be a catch. "Why? Why the hell do you want to help me?"

"Because Jane… you are an unbelievable weapon. You're one of a kind. And as I said, it would be a waste to see you jump off this building. I believe we can help each other." Hoyt saw the brunette hesitating and he shrugged. "But who am I to stop you? Do what you must." The older man began to walk away.

Jane closed her eyes. What the fuck else did she have to lose? Or live for? "Wait."

A sinister smile spread across Hoyt's face and he turned around. Jane stepped down off the ledge and took a step forward. She wrapped her arms around her herself, looking like a lost puppy. Dark circles were under her eyes due to her lack of sleep. Her hair was a tousled mess, practically shielding her face. "What do I have to do?" She asked shakily.

"What you do best my dear... kill."

Maura shivered slightly at the story. She was actually more disturbed by how lost and damaged Jane was than her becoming an assassin. They both sat there, silently marinating over what Jane had just shared. The brunette felt vulnerable about opening up like this. She had never told anyone about her attempted suicide… her highest point of weakness.

Maura was still wrapping her mind around the tale. She knew Jane had a dark past but had no idea it had reached that extreme. After a few moments, the blonde finally looked up and stared at Jane's profile. "He took advantage of you. He took advantage when you needed help the most."

The brunette gave a small nod. "I realize that now. I may have needed help, but I didn't want it. I didn't want help that involved some shrink sitting there pretending to listen to me and trying to analyze me. At the time, Hoyt's offer seemed like the best therapy. I had no bank accounts, credit cards, or documents past three years ago that had my name. He even burnt off my fingertips so I couldn't leave fingerprints behind." Jane held up her hand and the blonde took Jane's hand in her own to take a closer look. She indeed noticed that the normal patterns that formed a fingerprint were not present on Jane's hands. How could she have not noticed this before?

"That must have been painful," Maura said. She unconsciously ran her thumb over Jane's fingers.

The brunette felt the touch throughout her body and gently pulled back her hand. It was too much. "It was," she said. "I felt it was worth it though. He made me disappear. Jane Rizzoli did not exist. I was living as a ghost that no longer had consequences for my actions and ties to the world. All I had was me."

The blonde studied the woman that sat beside her. "That sounds very lonely," Maura softly said.

Jane licked her chapped lips and shrugged slightly. "That's what I wanted…" The brunette ran her thumb over the scar in her palm. "But now…"

Maura waited for the brunette to finish but when the sentence was never finished it caused her to look at the woman beside her. "Now, what?"

"I… don't think I want that anymore."

Maura's eyebrows drew inward, trying to understand the meaning of the brunette's words. Was she saying she no longer wanted to be lonely? Before Maura could question this, Jane loudly cleared her throat, breaking the intensity of the moment.

"I wanted to check out the back of the station wagon. We may be able to use some supplies."

"Uh, yes. That's a good idea," Maura replied with a nod.

Jane hopped off the hood of the car and made her way to the back of the vehicle. Maura sat there a moment contemplating over what had just happened. Jane had just shared something very personal with her and it made her feel… closer? She was not sure but Maura knew she felt fortunate that Jane felt safe enough with her to tell her those events.

Jane ended up finding a cooler stocked with snacks and water. There were also a few suitcases full of clothes and a few sleeping bags. They had obviously ruined some family's European vacation. Either way, they had food for the time being and they were grateful. After resting for another hour, they set off on the dirt road again.

A/N: Please tell me what you thought. Forgive me if some of the things in this chapter seem unrealistic. It's a story, go with it! Those of you who know the show well will notice I used some little things from the show. Anyway, let me hear it!