Disclaimer: I don't own Rizzoli and Isles.
Against the protestations of her family, her friends, and Maura, Jane checks herself out of the hospital in time for Frankie's funeral. It's a miracle that she's alive, and she knows it, but Frankie's death was her fault, and she knows that too. What's a little pain if it means she can say goodbye to her brother?
She lets Maura push her out of the hospital in a wheelchair because she's pretty sure that if she tried to walk she would collapse. Maura's dressed all in black for the first time since Jane has known her. The severe color makes her cheeks look much paler than they really are.
Maura hasn't spoken much since Jane woke up three days ago, four days after a bullet ripped through her abdomen, four days after Frankie died on a cold metal table in Maura's morgue. Other than arguing her way out of the hospital, Jane hasn't spoken much, either.
Tommy's waiting outside for them, his dark suit not quite concealing the dragon tattoo that wraps around his shoulders and neck. Prison has changed him, and not for the better. On the other hand, with Frankie's death, Jane's incapacitation, and their parents' collapse, he's been forced to step up. He's playing chauffeur today, with Maura's car. There's not a cop in Boston who's going to book him for driving without a license. Not this week.
Jane wonders bitterly whether she should insist on smelling his breath before accepting a ride from him. She shoves away the thought. This isn't the time to sort out her feelings about her only living brother.
Tommy drives with careful concentration the whole way, as if he's trying to disprove Jane's uncharitable thoughts. The road through the cemetery is lined with cars. It looks like every cop in the city is there. Frankie was well liked. There's a guilt factor, too. They know now that they should never have left headquarters so unprotected. Jane wonders which officers were told they would have to miss the funeral today, to stand guard at headquarters so that that nightmarish day wouldn't repeat itself.
Way up at the front of the line, close to the plot that will be Frankie's grave, Frost and Korsak stand guard over an empty patch of road. When they see the car coming they step aside and wave Tommy into the space. Korsak opens Jane's door; Frost opens Maura's. Any other day, Jane would poke fun at them—Got busted back to traffic cops without me around to keep an eye on you, huh?—but today she feels like maybe she'll never joke again.
Tommy pops the trunk to get the wheelchair, but Jane shakes her head.
"I'm gonna walk," she croaks, her throat achingly dry. Never mind that she hasn't taken an unassisted step since she was shot.
"Jane," Maura says, an anguished expression on her face that makes Jane's stomach hurt.
Jane clenches her jaw. "Give me a hand, will you?" Just riding in the car has been painful. Getting up's going to be worse.
Korsak takes her by the left arm, firm but carefully solicitous. Frost moves as if to take her right, but Maura steps forward at the same time and after the barest of hesitations Frost backs off. One of Maura's hands is firm and steady as it grips Jane's forearm, the grip of a woman used to wielding a scalpel. Her other hand closes on Jane's. Maura's skin is soft and warm. Jane had forgotten what warmth felt like.
"On three," Korsak tells Maura. "One, two, three."
On "three," Jane's world goes white with agony. She doesn't cry out, just makes a kind of whimpering sound as Korsak slings his arm around her waist and he and Maura each pull one of her arms around their shoulders. There's no strength in her legs, no strength in any part of her, and Maura's crying now, silent tears that trickle down her cheeks.
"Please, Jane," she begs. "Use the chair."
But Jane owes Frankie better than that. She doesn't get to wheel herself comfortably to his funeral when she's the one who failed to get him out of headquarters in time for the surgery he needed. This pain, overwhelming though it is, is cleansing, too. It's the only thing that can penetrate the fearful numbness that's filled her since Maura had told her, Frankie died, Jane. He died.
Each step sends another flare of pain through Jane's abdomen. She's not so much walking with Maura's and Korsak's support as being carried by them, but she's upright and that's what counts. Tommy and Frost follow close behind, as if to catch Jane should she fall. She's not going to fall.
The crowd is already gathered around the open grave. Jane knows every face except the priest's. There, on the other side of the deep hole, are her mom and dad, clutching at each other, broken.
Jane's told that they couldn't be pried out of the hospital while she was unconscious. They haven't been to see her since she woke up. She understands, sort of. She shot herself trying to save her brother, and they love her for that. But they also blame her for not doing it sooner, and for being the one who inspired Frankie to want to be a cop in the first place. She understands, because she blames herself for the same things.
The service passes in a haze. Jane hears the priest's words without hearing them. She cries without crying. Maura and Korsak are steady on either side of her. Korsak keeps his arm around her waist, his fingers digging into her side, closer to the stitches holding her together than he probably realizes.
He's been at the hospital constantly. He blames himself, he told her, for not taking the shot and killing Bobby himself. He should have figured out sooner that there was something wrong.
Don't be an idiot, she'd said. She hadn't said: I'm the one who was in the building with those murderers, and I did nothing.
Frost has been glued to Korsak's side lately. He doesn't seem to blame himself, at least not that he's come out and said, but every time he looks at Jane there's a hint of pain in his eyes, like he thinks that even though she survived he's lost her anyway.
She has to look away when they lower Frankie's coffin into the ground. She hates herself for her weakness. She hates that there's no one left to punish for what happened to Frankie, no one except herself.
Afterward, she's grateful to her injury for providing her with an excuse to leave without accepting dozens of people's condolences. "I'm sorry," she mumbles to her parents.
Her dad presses his hand to her cheek, says, "Take care of yourself, Janie."
Her mom says, "Frankie was the best of us."
Jane gives Tommy a look that she hopes says, Stay with them and Don't get drunk and Thank you for being here. She hopes it doesn't say, I wish it was you who was buried today.
Korsak and Maura help her back to Maura's car. "You okay to drive?" he asks Maura as they gently lower Jane onto the passenger seat.
Maura scrubs at her cheeks, tears smearing across her face, and Jane realizes that Maura isn't wearing makeup. She looks younger without it. More like the lonely little girl Jane imagines she once was.
"I'm okay," Maura says.
"Jane," Korsak says, his voice choked, his hand heavy on her shoulder. "I love you, okay? So you take some time, and you heal, and then you come back to us. Okay?"
She finds the strength to murmur, "Thanks, Korsak."
She and Maura drive to Jane's apartment without speaking. Jane lets her head loll, her eyes drifting shut, though she doesn't sleep.
The doctors—the same ones who'd insisted that Jane should stay another week in the hospital—had told them that Jane couldn't live alone until she was far more recovered. Tommy had volunteered to stay with her, but Jane had been horrified at the idea. Korsak and Frost had both offered to babysit as well, but there was only one person Jane wanted to have around, the one person whose presence wouldn't rub her raw, like sandpaper on an open sore.
Maura put up more resistance to the idea than Jane expected. She blames herself for Frankie's death, though she and Jane both know that Maura did more than anyone else in her position could have accomplished.
How can you want me around? Maura had demanded. After I—
I need you, Maura, Jane had interrupted, because she hadn't known what else to say.
It was enough.
Navigating the steps up to Jane's apartment is an incredibly time-consuming and torturous task, almost bad enough that she rethinks her insistence on staying at her place rather than Maura's. Then Maura unlocks the door and helps Jane maneuver inside and Jane, for the first time all day, is moved to tears by the familiar sense of home as she collapses onto her couch.
On the floor, Joe Friday is nestled up against Bass, the two of them looking as cuddly as a mangy rescue dog and a giant tortoise can be.
A tank top is draped over the back of a chair, where Jane left it after deciding to wear a different shirt to work out with Maura on that fateful Sunday.
And Jane is crying.
Maura sinks onto the couch next to her, as close as she can get without touching her, hugging herself like a lost child. "I'm sorry," she gasps suddenly, the words sounding as if they have been torn out of her soul. "I'm so sorry. So sorry. So sorry."
Jane can't take that Maura is blaming herself, she can't take it, and she just needs Maura to stop talking, and so she seizes Maura by the back of the neck and kisses her. There's a moment of shock, and then Maura grips Jane's shoulders and kisses her back.
The kiss is not gentle, and it's not tender, and it's not what Jane has imagined, the few times she's dared to imagine it. But it is desperate, and fierce, and loving. She can taste Maura's tears—or maybe they're her own—salty-slick, can feel Maura's fingers digging into her shoulders. She loves this woman, her best friend. Right now, that's the only thing she's sure about.
Jane pulls back when it gets to be too much. She's gasping for air. It feels like she's drowning.
"I miss my brother," she whispers.
"I know," Maura whispers back.
She tugs at Jane's shoulders, twists her so that Jane is reclining with her back against Maura's front. Maura hugs her from behind, her arms a vice around Jane's torso. It's the first embrace Jane has accepted since she woke to find herself living a nightmare. She leans into it, her hands coming up to cover Maura's, her ear pressed to Maura's chest, listening to the accelerated beating of Maura's heart.
She leans against Maura, and breathes.