Prometheus – Chapter 47

The sign to Englewood came upon Maura several seconds before her GPS gave her warning to turn off, however the sound of her phone vibrating for the sixth time since she had left home bothered her more than the incongruity; each time Ian and each time leaving a message of increasing length.

There were text messages that followed, too.

Maura didn't try to read them.

Her GPS directed her through streets of townhouses, until she finally turned towards what was inevitably a dimly-lit apartment block of around fifty units. Her eyes scanned the individual windows, seeking light, shadows, or a combination of both.

Not even she understood why she did it.

She parked amidst Datsuns and beaten-down Fords, pushing her Prius across nature strips that Maura imagined once had been curated with a pride that had since been lost.

And as she opened the door into the fall evening, stepping out onto the dew that covered the grass and breeze that coated the night, not for the first time she wondered, why she had chosen to come…

Until her phone chimed for a ninth time, and this time she read it.

'Is that you?'

The 'OIC', or 'Officer-In-Charge' as it happened (Maura hid her distaste at the simplicity of the anagram) was a sandy-haired detective, a man of medium height with a jaw as square as his shoulders and what looked like a lifetime of casework etched into the creases on his brow.

"Detective Mitchell." He extended his arm gruffly toward Maura once she opened the front door, a medium-sized black samsonite case beside him. Maura's concern instantly shifted to the woman she had left in kitchen, cradling the black coffee Maura had been able to extract from the ancient coffee maker that came with the house.

"I have your phone." Was his next comment, followed by, "Where's the felon?" as he craned his head over Maura's shoulder.

Maura bristled, unmoving from the entryway. "If you mean Jane Rizzoli, that definition is up for debate."

"Not according to my brief." Mitchell countered with a shrug, disinterest written all over his face. "My orders are to maintain base here until the Surgeon case is closed." His eyes flicked from Maura's, down to where her feet planted at equal intervals at the door, and back up again. "If you don't mind-"

Maura grit her teeth, stepping aside to allow the man past her. She watched him appraise the area as she would have expected him to – before gesturing with his chin down the hall to Maura's right.

"Stairs that way?"

This time, when he spoke, Maura detected an underlying fatigue in his voice, a resistance that reminded Maura of Vince Korsak in an odd way. She bit back her planned retort, pressing her lips together and running a rough hand through her hair.

"As I am to understand, yes." She answered.

Mitchell narrowed his eyes in Maura's direction, as if he had read the very same change in Maura's demeanor, and he stepped further inside, the suitcase dragging behind him.

Before he could move any further, without thinking Maura reached out, hand closing around Mitchell's upper forearm.

"Look," She said, her voice low. "I know why you're here. And I know what you're here to do. We don't want to get in your way. We're-" She paused, swallowing around the truth. "-grateful, we can expect to be protected." Maura glanced over her shoulder. "But you should know, what you're dealing with is not an ordinary protective custody situation."

"Ms Isles, I-"

"Doctor." Maura corrected, sharply, and thought she caught the edge of the detective's wince.

"Doctor Isles. My apologies." His tone appeared genuine, and it threw Maura even further off-center. Her hand dropped from Mitchell's arm. "I'm not here to judge. Or to do anything but keep you safe, to be honest." With a nod in the direction of the upstairs level he continued. "I intend to spend my time up there, not to disturb, but I do need to be clear on a couple of key points and I need to be sure the both of you..." Mitchell glanced away from Maura to a less-specific place to her left. "-will go by the book."

The mug lowered from Jane's lips almost as slowly as it was raised. From her place seated on the stool at the small kitchen island, her eyes locked on Mitchell's as they entered, before placing the mug onto the bench and pushing it outward from her body.

"You must be Rizzoli." Mitchell said, tone so close to nonchalance it was somewhat unsettling. "I'm Agent Mitchell, your part-time housemate until this is over."

Jane watched him carefully, but didn't speak, and Maura realised then how attuned she had become to Jane's body language; that she could deduce from posture and expression alone that Jane was – albeit not relaxed – but at least currently unthreatened by his presence.

The tight coil of anxiety that had settled at the base of Maura's spine began to slowly unwind.

The agent turned to his case, opening the top and pulling out a sheet of paper, cordless telephone and cradle.

"Your link to the outside world." He said, stepping around Maura to the kitchen bench, reaching forward to plug it into the mains and phone lines before lining it up below a small gap on the wall. Tacking the paper to the wall, he tapped it twice before turning back to them.

"You can dial out." Mitchell gestured to the phone hung against the wall. "The numbers are pre-programmed to this list. It's tapped right to the exchange. Any other numbers won't work. But they will register." He shot a look in Jane's direction that made Maura grit her teeth.

"Dean has probably already briefed you on the security detail outside. They are 24/7, so even when I'm not here, the place is covered."

"I may need my phone." Maura started, and at Mitchell's narrowed stare she found her hands lifting to her hips in defense. "I've been pulled out of nowhere, Agent. I have responsibilities."

Mitchell's lower jaw slid to one side, and he watched her a moment, before continuing.

"Myself, or my colleague Agent Cassidy will be here eight 'til eight. You can use your phone under supervision, if you have to." Glancing between the two of them he continued. "Nobody, and I need to make myself very clear here – nobody else will be coming to the house. Regardless of what they say, what they are wearing, or who they claim to be, unless they look like this-" Mitchell pointed to his own face, "-or this." He reached into his coat pocket, pulling out a picture framed by thin white cardboard, 'CASSIDY, R.' written in neat black block letters underneath the mid-shot of a younger, darker haired man. "-they are not to come inside." He taped the picture above the list.

Maura studied the print carefully, noting that Jane barely shot it a cursory glance, instead maintaining her focus on the agent in front of them.

"If anyone tries," He said, "-you hit the panic button. Here-" Mitchell gestured at one of the light switches, and Maura turned her attention to notice, for the first time, a small circular discolouration in the backing plate, right at the bottom. "There's one of these on each light switch. In all rooms. It takes a fair amount of pressure so don't be worried about fumbling around in the dark, but, don't press it unless you want every fed within a ten mile radius bursting in."

Taking a step back, Mitchell crossed his arms over his chest. "There's a kitchenette upstairs, so I'll be out of your hair most of the day."

"Any questions?"

Maura shook her head, her mind whirling with ways she could get a message to Anna, with her phone in custody, and everything screened, she-

"You're from New York?"

Maura blinked. The fact it was the first time Jane had spoken looked equally as surprising to Mitchell.

He nodded slowly. "Upstate, yes."

Jane narrowed her eyes and tilted her head. "You don't strike me as a Yankees guy. Not-" She gestured up and down his body with a hand. "-Obnoxious enough."

Mitchell blinked one, twice, then suddenly to Maura's surprise his face split open with a grin and he chuckled, shaking his head.

"Guilty as charged, Rizzoli."

Maura had never been a baseball fan. In fact, her knowledge of competitive national sport was poor; she kept her interest steered to Olympic events, or World Championships, and if her passion lent itself more toward fencing and synchronized swimming, she was never one to say.

However she knew enough to catch the playful glint in Jane's wince as she responded.

"How does your family take it?"

Maura's eyes darted across to the agent.

Mitchell shrugged. "Considering the Red Sox won last years' world series, with begrudging respect."

This time, Maura watched as surprised followed by something more… honest… flashed behind Jane's eyes as she leant back on her stool. "They did, huh?" She responded, a genuine smile crossing her features.

Of course, Maura thought.


Jane nodded to herself as if pondering Mitchell's news, paused, the nodded again. Her smile didn't fade as she regarded him a second time.

"Of course they did."

"4-1 against the Dodgers." Mitchell added, wryly. "They didn't have a chance. Wait-" He stopped mid-sentence and raised an eyebrow in Jane's direction. "They don't have television where you've been? It was the biggest news in the New England area for months."

The where you've been sunk heavily into the inevitable silence that followed, and Maura watched the smile flicker then fade on Jane's face.

"Yeah, well I… didn't have much of a chance to watch it." Jane answered, finally, before glancing in Maura's direction, and Maura practically felt the way Jane twisted herself out of the darkness like a gymnast when she added- "Something tells me doc isn't into baseball." At the look shot her way by Mitchell, Jane shrugged. "-She's from Chicago." She said, "It's basically baseball death there."

It took a breath to separate the sentiment, that the three of them seemed to be equally aware of, before Mitchell tapped his finger against the wall.

"Except for 2016." He said, and this time, Jane's shock was palpable. Playing along with the surprise Mitchell nodded, before leaning conspiratorially forward. "I mean, it was the first time since 1908 so… still a fair assessment."

"Please tell me they weren't playing-"

"No." The agent shook his head. "The humiliation was Cleveland's."

She nodded, and Maura was so busy filing away the genuine relief on Jane's face she almost missed the way Mitchell's expression softened, as he shifted on his feet.

"Anyway," He lowered his head, linking his fingers behind his back. "I'd better go, but…" He pressed his lips together. "-ESPN is doing a Major League special, showing all the championship games of the last five years." He glanced up at Jane. "You're set up with on-demand, you can search for 2018 pretty easily if you wanted to."

Maura watched Jane watch him, and there was something in the scrutiny akin to the way she used to look at Suzie, when Maura was trying to convince both that neither was a threat.

"…huh." Jane responded, finally, in what was the most Maura had heard Jane speak in almost all of the combined time they had spent together.

…And that was how Maura found herself on the couch for the next four hours, learning the fundamentals of major league baseball; a lap-full of microwave popcorn, pretzels and TGI Fridays' mozzarella sticks in lieu of dinner… and if Maura spent more time watching Jane's face than the television; the excitement at the good shots and irritations at the 'carelessness' – according to Jane – as she brandished a kernel of popcorn and animatedly explained to Maura what was going well and what wasn't, she wouldn't admit it.

Nor would she admit the way her heart lightened at Jane's excitement when she challenged referee decisions from over a year ago as if it was live.

-And if she felt Jane's knee pressing a little closer to hers under the couch throw, or the way the back of Jane's hand fell just that fraction closer to the bowl on Maura's lap when a foul ball was called, she left it alone, too….

…Until a player Maura only knew as Nunez hit a home-run in the seventh innings, and Jane's hand found Maura's without warning, grip so tight it forced Maura to turn and find wide eyes staring back at her, tears spilling over her cheeks and a look of… hope… on her face.

Maura smiled, squeezed the hand in hers, and nodded.

By the time eleven o'clock rolled around Maura fell into bed exhausted, body aching and head spinning but heart unusually light, Jane's popcorn and pretzel-crumbed hoodie and astonishingly carefree smile lingering behind her eyelids, drawing her to places her dreams wouldn't have taken her… until now.

Until, at least, then.

The door was so unassuming she checked the business card, twice.

Urgency warred with trepidation in Maura's veins. What if it wasn't his?

What if this was all a ruse?

Pressing her hand to the door, Maura took a breath and leaned against it, carefully.

"Jackson, are you there?" She called out. "It's Maura."'

Maura started awake to the slamming of a door, the sounds of old pipes groaning with the onset of hot running water. For a moment she thought she had been caught in between dreams, until the clear sound of retching filled the air and she bolted upright, swinging her legs across the mattress until the pads of her feet planted on to the cold wooden floor.

She heard the sound again, clearer and far more distinct, followed by a dry, wracking cough that made her reach for the door to her bedroom before she could stop herself.


Pushing open the door, Maura gasped.

The hallway was freezing.

Heart in her throat Maura pulled her pajamas more tightly around herself, reaching for the nearest light switch, squinting against the gravelly feeling in her eyes as she chased the condensation of her breath into the corridor and stumbled for the thermostat mounted in the hallway. With a sequence of clumsy button-pressing, she managed to turn off what was essentially 'night mode', and turned the entire house to winter mode, before turning on her heels and hurrying to the closed bathroom door.

"Jackson?" She tried again. The air was cold enough to sneak under the thin wool of her jacket – something Maura hadn't expected she would need particularly –


"Jane?" She called, pressing the pads of her fingers into the border of in the wood. "Jane it's me."

Maura heard a groan and soft thud, and her forehead fell to the door, hands splayed across the surface.

"Jane," She tried again. "I'm coming in." Clenching her jaw, Maura took a breath and dropped her left hand to the door handle, whispering her next words as a plea for both Jane and herself "I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry-" She murmured, wrapping her hand around the doorhandle and twisting it counter-clockwise, pushing her shoulder into the surface of the door with just enough force to swing it open.

The sight that greeted her made her mouth run dry.

The room was a complete mess; chairs and couches overturned, mirrors and windows shattered, glass fragments scattering the floor and in amongst it all, bare-foot, revolver in hand, stood..

Maura gasped.

"Jackson. No-" She whispered. "Don't."

Maura pushed through the door, heart thundering in her chest as she took in the dark figure cowering in the corner, crouched between the bathroom sink, fingers curled around the base of the toilet.

"Jane." Maura stepped inside, closing the distance between the two of them in three swift strides, crouching down, hand hovering just above Jane's left shoulder blade. "It's just me."

Jane's entire body seized as she threw up again, her fingers bunched into fists against the tiles.

This was far from the Jane she had left that night, Maura knew. This was closer to… the Jane she had first met.

This late into the night, Maura didn't need to ask to theorise what had thrown her back that far. It was something she would need to unpack with Jane later, but for now she had other priorities.

Maura lowered her hand, swearing under her breath when her palm made contact with Jane's icy skin. Jane flinched, and the tangled mess that was something between a groan and a gasp that ricocheted against the wall poured a different kind of ice into Maura's veins.

Her other hand followed and it slid up the ridges of Jane's spine on top of her white tank, up to the base of her neck.

"Jane, hey, you're alright." She murmured, rocking forward, dangerously inside Jane's personal space. "It's alright. But I need to look at you."

With her left hand Maura reached for Jane's bicep, adding just enough pressure in an attempt to get her to turn around, to face her.

Jane's body moved limply with the force and she fell against the side wall, almost over-correcting so that her head came dangerously close to the cupboard underneath the sink, and Maura's eyes immediately widened in alarm.

Her skin was ashen, her eyes wide and glazed. The cold of the night had struck Jane's lips a worrying shade of blue. Maura reached to grasp Jane's right hand and she shuffled closer, right palm reaching for her cheek. The smell of bile lingered in the air, and Maura lifted herself up on her knees to quickly flush it away, before moving the back of her hand to Jane's forehead and taking quick stock of the pallor of her skin and the chattering of her jaw.

Sagging downward Jane eyes drifted closed as her entire chest heaved with the pressure of breathing, tremors wracking her frame. Maura knew if she didn't move quickly, Jane would spiral into full-blown hypothermia, if she wasn't already teetering on the edge right now.

"Jane." She repeated. "Look at me." She lowered her hand to grip Jane's chin, turning her face-on. Glassy eyes shifted across Maura's features, unable to focus anywhere for longer than a second. "I need you to look at me, Jane."

It after the third pass across Maura's face Jane finally blinked her eyes once, hard, and locked somewhere just above the bridge of Maura's nose.

"That's it." She smiled gently as she ran her thumb of her along the underside of Jane's jaw. "Now, I need you to trust me."

Maura took a deep breath. Throwing a quick glance over her shoulder at the shower, she turned back, bracing herself.

"I need you to stand, Jane."

It took almost a full four attempts, until Maura's legs burned and her chest heaved and every effort made Jane colder and weaker to the point Maura was mere seconds from demanding an ambulance. But the panic in Jane's eyes after her legs gave out for the third time, gave Maura the last ounce of strength it took to pull them both upright.

"I've got you." Maura encouraged, more than a little breathless, one hand wrapped around Jane's waist to keep her from swaying, as she shuffled them both backwards. "Stay with me."

Jane's steps became sturdier and more confident, Maura checking behind her every few seconds until her free hand could reach the shower door, swinging the glass open and reaching inside to turn on the water.

"Just a little longer."

Maura adjusted the temperature until it was just below the "regular" heat of a normal shower – anything hotter was reckless considering Jane's state – but it still sent steam billowing through the air of the bathroom. With careful pressure and as close to a prayer as Maura would ever loose into the ether, she pulled the disoriented woman inside.

Jane's gasp was immediate as soon as the water hit her clothed body, eyes widening in surprise, her left hand shooting out to press against the tiles and right tangling in the fabric of Maura's top, just above her waist.

Maura moved their bodies together further under the spray, so that it plastered her hair to her forehead and soaked into the flannel of her pajamas until they clung to her skin. Jane's tank top and sweatpants were faring no better, her hair sticky black tendrils that fell across her collarbones and down over her back.

"I'm sorry." Maura said softly, releasing Jane's waist to cover the hand bunched against her own abdomen, taking a careful step backward to give her space. "But it was the fastest way to warm you up."

Maura's new position was now too far away from the water to offer any decent amount of warmth, but Jane was immersed, and that was all that mattered for now. For the first time Maura noticed dressing was gone from Jane's right shoulder, the healing bullet wound puckered and smooth and Maura sent a silent thanks – again – to Susie for her care. As the seconds passed, Maura slowly increased the temperature in tiny increments, watching Jane carefully for any signs of hypotension and keeping herself distracted from the cold discomfort clinging to her back by listing, one by one in her mind, the symptoms she was searching for.

None eventuated, and ever-so-gradually, a shade of pink began to colour Jane's lips, her tremors subsiding into a subtle rise and fall of her shoulders as she breathed in the silence.

Droplets of water clung to Jane's eyelashes, and beneath those her focus had sharpened.

And Maura realized, too late, that she was staring.

Heat rushed to Maura's cheeks, and she glanced away. Jane's fingers twisted more tightly in her top, and the words that came so softly may have been missed had Maura not become so accustomed to the cadence it felt like a second skin.

"…Thank you."

Maura smiled then, her head tilting upward and eyes softening to the rare calm in the ones staring back at her.

"There's no need to thank me, Jane." She said, her hand settling atop Jane's again. "Perhaps, the hot water system?"

The tiny smile that graced Jane's lips was a relief Maura's body didn't realise she needed, until suddenly it faded, and Jane's brow furrowed, eyes narrowing and her hand rising to Maura's shoulder.

"You're cold." She murmured. "I'm sorry,"

But Maura shook her head. "It's alright." She said, "Doctor remember?" With a wider smile she ran her hand up and down Jane's left arm. "If you're warm enough, why don't you grab a towel, let me sort this-" she waved her free hand up and down her body, aware for the first time exactly how her pajamas were clinging to her skin. There was a flash of… something… behind the dark eyes in front of her that sent a different chill down Maura's spine, before Jane turned away.

It was telling, Maura wasn't exactly shy about her body. Over the years she had become more than accustomed to the attention.

Yet there was something about this that felt…. more.

Maura's hand stilled by Jane's wrist. "Your turn to make coffee." She said. "Guessing we're not heading back to sleep any time soon."

Jane's eyes seemed to soften with relief, and she nodded, once. Maura's grip tightened in a movement she hoped conveyed reassurance.

"We need to watch the second finals game."

A/N: I'm an Aussie but Boston is my spiritual home and was even before I knew about RI. Yes I'm a Red Sox fan and have no hesitation in trolling other teams in this fic because Aussies make sport life. My wife - who lived in Naperville for a year - is a Cubs fan so let's just say the baseball interlude created some friction in the house for all of ten minutes!

Lots of love to all, hope you're keeping safe.