A/N: Well, well, well. It's certainly been awhile, hasn't it? This is the final chapter to this story. "Do You Believe?" was pushed to the side and forgotten, and I'm ashamed to admit that. Life, dream-chasing, and more life had gotten in the way. But some of you reached out to poke me over time, and I found this chapter sitting on my computer. It's not perfect, but I think it's a good place to end the story. Honestly, anything is better than leaving it unfinished. Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed, and cared enough to check-in with this story. This will very likely be my last R&I fic, and what a wonderful ride it was. But as the saying goes- never say never.
There were distant, unidentifiable noises surrounding her. Maybe they were easily identifiable, but she was incapable of concentrating enough to figure them out. Everything was so unclear, so foggy and dark. She moved her eyes rapidly from side to side, trying to find anything, to see everything, but there was nothing more than darkness. Her chest felt as if there was a weight resting on it, making it hard to take the deep breath she believed was vital. She tried anyway. She inhaled. Too shallow. She tried again. Her lungs only accepted minimal air. Now she started to panic. She tried to move- she couldn't feel her legs and her arms wouldn't obey her commands to reach out. She surrendered, but only for a moment. After a careful, surprisingly calm moment of recalculations, she tried to breathe deeply again. This time however, she sucked the air around her in slowly, and a familiar scent filled her nose. Maura's light perfume ignited her heart into a quickened beat.
Maura, the hospital, their children. Every minute, every memory, and every day leading to that moment came back to Jane and her eyes opened.
"Maur?" she said in what sounded like more of a croak. Her throat was dry and her mouth drier. "Maura?"
"Jane?" The hopeful, shaky tone that came from the blonde was not lost on the detective, no matter how slow her mind was working.
"How long have I been out for?" It was almost alarming, how casually Jane could ask such a question, but she was a little too familiar with unconsciousness by now.
"Just about an hour." Maura rushed to Jane's side and place her hand in the center of her chest. "Try to lay back. You lost a lot of blood." Maura's usually calm eyes were troubled, clouded with fright.
"Hey," Jane reached out. Her limbs felt heavy but they were finally obeying her brain's orders to move. "C'mere." Maura was beside her in an instant and the M.E. was atop her in a loose, careful embrace.
"I was so scared, Jane." Maura whispered delicately, her voice unsteady. "I watched as you slipped away."
"It s'okay now." The raspy slur was spoken through a tight smirk. "Sam and Olivia?" No detailed questions needed to be asked.
"They're waiting patiently for your return to the room." Maura brushed a few errant curls back from Jane's forehead. She smiled so softly, a smile that only the mother of their children deserved. "They're perfect, Jane." Tears glistened brightly as they pooled along Maura's lower lashes. "They're small, which is to be expected, but their vitals were strong from the moment they were born. Samuel looks more like Casey," Maura said, clearing her throat. "His hair is lighter for now, as his complexion. Olivia is a different story." Maura's fingers dipped into thick, ebony hair. "She looks just like her mother. I've never seen a newborn with so much hair before."
"That explains the heartburn," Jane joked. Her strength was returning, as was her humor and impatience to see her children. She started to fidget with the bedsheets, a motion that didn't go unnoticed by Maura.
"I'll go get the nurse." Before Maura could move away, Jane held her in place with a gentle hand around her wrist.
"Can you make sure my mother isn't in the room when we get there?" Jane pleaded with wide eyes. Maura found the request to be a bit odd but not entirely uncharacteristic for Jane.
"I don't want to be rude-"
"I want it to be just us when I see them. Like how it would've been if this had been done naturally or if I hadn't blacked out on the table." There was a hint of bitterness in Jane's voice. If Maura Isles was one to guess, she'd venture an assumption that Jane was mad at herself.
"I'll make sure it's just us and our babies." Maura leaned over and kissed her fiancee's dry lips, lingering for just a moment. "I love you, Jane." The exquisite M.E. sauntered towards the door and threw playful words over her shoulder, "But now my love is to be shared so don't be selfish."
"They're so small, Maur'! I can't take care of them." Jane's head shook forcefully with denial. "They're too delicate! When was the last time I was ever careful with something delicate." Her dark brows knit together as she looked down at the tiny beings placed on her lap. The large cushion beneath the newborns served to protect and comfort. Maura looked on lovingly. "I'll break them!"
"You were great with TJ." Maura pointed out.
"TJ was twice the size of Sam when he was born!" Jane's panic was endearing to Maura, if not slightly alarming. "And don't even think about using Jo as your next example!"
"What about me?" Maura leaned forward, scooting to the edge of the chair she had been occupying at Jane's bedside. "Sometimes I'm sure that you believe I'm made of crystal- you handle me so carefully." The soft spoken blonde ran her fingertips along the front of her son's generic onesie before doing the same to Olivia's button nose. Both children were sound asleep.
"Maur, it's not the same."
"I believe it is." Maura smiled down at her children warmly before looking back to her detective. "I've been on the receiving end of your most gentle touch, Jane, for years now. I know for a fact that you will not break our children." Somehow the fact that Maura had said those words with a straight face made Jane smile. The two women looked at one another silently for long moments, understanding filling their hearts. A gentle knock shattered the moment.
"Ladies, I'm sorry to interrupt-"
"But you did anyway." Jane grumbled. The male nurse shuffled nervously.
"There's a few people in the waiting room that are eager to meet those two," he said, pointing to the two swaddled bundles on Jane's lap. "They keep asking the staff to come and check on you."
"We'll let them know when we're ready." Jane wanted to yell at the intruder to let her family be, but she was mindful of the slumbering infants.
"It's just that-" the young man looked from Maura to Jane and back again, quickly realizing the doctor was the calmer of the two. He stepped further into the room and spoke quietly. "One of them keeps flashing their badge and it's making everyone nervous."
"Older guy or younger guy?" Jane asked and rolled her eyes. Frankie she could understand, he probably picked that behavior up from her. But Korsak? That'd be something.
"Actually, she's an older woman. Looks a lot like you!" He pointed at Jane and smiled, seemingly proud of the connection he had just made. Maura could barely stifle her laughter. Jane looked at her amused fiancee.
"Ma hijacked a badge just so she could intimidate strangers into pushing past my request of some alone time. Unbelievable."
"Very believable," Maura added. "And very Jane-like."
"You did not just…" Jane gawked.
"I did and you know it's true."
"Can I let them in now or what?" The nurse had started his retreat.
"Fine," Jane growled out between clenched teeth. "Send them in." The brunette looked at Maura and took a deep breath. "Are you ready?"
"I am." Maura stood and lifted Samuel up from where he had been resting so peacefully. "I am for whatever may come next, as long as we do it together."
Jane watched as Maura positioned the small being against her shoulder and rubbed small circles on an even smaller back. So much love flooded her heart in that moment- it was hard to believe that she had ever forced herself to imagine her life turning out any other way, or shared with any other person. Maura Isles was so obviously Jane Rizzoli's "meant to be", and it only took an unexpected pregnancy to make her believe.