Disclaimer: I don't own the characters- no copyright infringement intended.
Before and After -On the Run
Constructive comments are welcome and appreciated. This is my first fan fiction.
She was sprinting down the trail at break-neck speed. The rain was cold, it pelted her body in a furious rhythm that echoed the patter of her footfalls. At some point during Jane's run, the downfall turned into sleet- blurring her vision and making the path treacherously slick. She pressed on with icy calm, using the inconvenient storm as one more chunk of fuel to stoke the fires of her simmering rage.
Overhanging branches, with streaming rivulets of slushy rain conspired against her; slashing at her face, bobbing up and down - seeming to laugh, as she ducked and dodged to avoid their malevolent onslaught.
She could only run. Run and hone the jagged edges of her fury into a cold, merciless, uncompromising weapon. Her mind plotted while her body moved on auto-pilot. Jane trusted her natural agility, her ability to move along and evade the hazards of the trail with a confident indifference.
She was running with a purpose, a focus and a mission. She would run to the trails end and desperately, hopefully, arrive in time.
Random images of her friend tumbled through her mind, spinning in kaleidoscope fashion, urging her to move faster.
Maura, offering to share her lunch and smirking like the devil when Jane asked if it was from the "dead person fridge."
Maura...animated, giddy with excitement while waving a gross wormy thing around with tongs - it was some kind of parasite she had just pulled out of a stiff. She explained (with reverence and great detail) the genetic evolution and adaptability of the blood sucking monster. Even Jane had lost her lunch that time.
Maura, undercover at the lesbian bar ... but barely covered... the image of Maura poured into that dress, or rather - bursting out of that dress - seemed to be in the forefront of all the other images. This nagged at Jane, but not enough to wholly distract her because the immediate need was much to frantic and dire.
Hoyt. Fricken Hoyt, had somehow (from prison) arranged to have Maura kidnapped. Arranged to have her stashed out here in the woods and had conveniently set Jane up. She knew she was running straight into a trap at full speed, literally, and yet, she had no choice. Hoyt would have Maura tortured and quite possibly murdered, unless Jane showed up at the scheduled time and place. She had no time to notify Frost or Korsak, nor was she permitted to. The directions had been very specific.
Earlier that day, a bicycle delivery man dangling a manila envelope between his teeth, pedaled up to the stoop as Jane was entering her apartment building. The guy was wearing a navy hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up and no helmet; which Jane noted immediately because protective headgear was required by the companies that used cyclists to do deliveries.
He skidded to a stop right in front of Jane. He wore dark sunglasses, which were unnecessary as it was nearly dusk; the sky was tinted murky gray with only the memory of blue, the air was chill and thick with the scent of impending rain and, Jane thought, foreboding doom.
The cyclist nodded at Jane and said: "Rizzoli?" It was definitely a question. He was making sure to mark the right person for his delivery. The detective's acute sense of intuition had signaled a red alert before the guy even muttered her name. Everything she observed, in the four or five seconds that elapsed upon his arrival, had sent a knowing chill up Jane's spine. The chill that said: this is so wrong, this is trouble with a capital T, this is going to ruin my night.
Jane nodded at the cyclist, knowing he knew she was "Rizzoli," but he still required the confirmation. He carelessly tossed the envelope to her, forcing her to lunge forward and fumble to catch it while he sped away on his bicycle.
But Jane knew. Jane knew every aspect of that little scenario had played out exactly as it was choreographed. She dreaded opening the envelope, knowing it held some ugly truth that could not be denied, nor delayed and she dare not wait. She ran her fingers through her dark unruly tresses, scanned the neighborhood as inconspicuously as she could under the circumstances, and flopped down on the stoop.
Jane shook the envelope so it's contents settled near the bottom and then tore it open across the top edge. She peered inside and was completely undone by what she found. A "5 X 7" photograph of Maura in the very same outfit Jane had seen her wearing not three hours ago. Maura. She had been hit, at least once by the look of an ugly purple bruise on her cheek. The photo showed her bound to a chair with duck tape, her head dangling listlessly to the side.
The envelope included a map and a note.
Dear, sweet Jane.
Did you think I had forgotten you so soon after our last little game?
Follow the map and you will find your friend.
You have two hours if you opened this package when you received it.
One hour to drive and one hour to run.
I know you can run Jane.
When your reach the destination on the map you will find Dr. Isles.
Remember what I said to Dr. Isles when she interviewed me? She won't be killed Jane, but she will be hurt...if you do not show up on time.
Don't call any of your little friends. My friends will know. Come alone Jane.
It's all about you Jane.
One last thing. Take your cell phone out of your pocket and smash it on the sidewalk in front of your apartment. If you do not do this my friends will know and Dr. Isles will suffer because of you Jane.
No time for calling friends anyway.
If you take the time to run upstairs and get your running shoes you will have to hurry... the clock is ticking Jane.
Run, run, run.
Two hours Jane. If you arrive late...it will not go well for Dr. Isles.
The moments from the time Jane opened that envelope were a blur to her. A frantic, hysterical ransacking of her apartment. She gave herself five minutes to change into sweats, put her running shoes on, stuff her guns, ammo, a very illegal silencer, night vision binoculars and a hunting knife into a back pack. She grabbed a warmer jacket and basically, just dumped Jo Friday's kibble all over the floor while trying to pour it into her bowl. She took no time to hug or kiss the dog and was barely able to keep from trampling her while stomping through her apartment to find the things she needed. She picked up her phone thinking she could get a quick call in to Frost- to let him know what was going on but, of course, her line had been cut. She didn't have the time to deal with the explanations anyway.
Jane broke every speed limit on the way. Getting out of the city was the hardest part and she knew she was being tailed by Hoyt's accomplices, but was to distracted to be sure which car behind her was the tail. The light was bad, it had started raining and she was having a terrible time keeping any kind of focus - except to follow the directions of the map and the instructions of that diabolical note.
Jane sped through every red light except for one. Almost certain the tail was several cars back she a took a risk that she would not be seen. In the lane next to her on her left, she noticed a passenger in the car on his cell phone just as they were pulling up to the red light. Fortunately, he was smoking so his window was open. Jane lowered her own window, un-holstered her Glock and pointed it at the guy. The light was still red and she yelled, "hey buddy"- he looked over at her and his eyes grew very big.
"Toss me your cell phone or I'll blow your head off."
So...Jane had a phone. The guy was really very cooperative. Jane didn't have the time to do all that explaining about being a cop, and that this was a police emergency. She would deal with the illegalities of her actions later, if she was still alive.
The problem with cell phones is you never really learn any ones phone number. You just program your phone with all your contacts when you set it up - then you never actually have to punch the number in because you just select a name when you want to call someone. Ugh. So it was when she tried to use this strangers phone: she could not remember one single phone number.
Maura would. Maura could recite every single phone number on her contact list and many, many more. Just thinking of Maura put a spike in Jane's adrenaline rush, which was so high already she was in a constant state of near hysteria and intense focus.
Hoyt had taunted her: "It's all about you Jane."
But for Jane: It was all about Maura.
Something inside her felt crushed to think about Maura being hurt. She wanted to rage, lash out and smash things. When she glimpsed that photo of Maura; her beautiful, brilliant, gentle, and yes, sometimes annoying friend - when she looked at that photo her heart froze into solid ice. Her anger was a ball of white hot fire: nothing would stop her until Maura was safe and she would stop at nothing to make that happen.
Jane shouted out loud while pounding on the steering wheel of her car, "Stay out of my fucking way assholes - I am coming to get you."
After exiting the freeway and speeding down a road with freezing rain: she could not recall a single phone number.
She dialed 911.
"This is officer 299 I need a secure line." She didn't want to take the risk that Hoyt's men had a scanner and was grateful that the department had set up this alternative for undercover officers and sensitive cases. After being transferred she took a deep breath and said: "This is detective Rizzoli. I have a 14588(kidnapping). I need you to patch me through to Detective Korsak or Detective Frost immediately."
Jane said: "Korsak listen. I don't have time to explain, so just listen. Hoyt had Muara kidnapped. He's got her up somewhere in the Northwest, past Medford along the Mystic...it's in the woods at a rental house or a cabin. He sent me a map and directions and I'm on my way up there..."
"Jane, why didn't you call for back-up? Again?...you are doing this again? withou..."
"Korsak NO... shut up and just listen. He's on a fucking time schedule. I only have an hour and twenty minutes left to get there. I got a head start and I need to get there first. If anyone shows up before me they will kill her. Hoyt set this up because he new I would come. If I don't get there on the time schedule he has allotted they will kill Maura and flee the scene. If I get there on time...I'm guessing they will take me and Maura somewhere else - to a second location."
"Jane...what the fuck?..."
"KORSAK! This was set up a long time ago and it's very sophisticated. I had no time to do anything but get in the car and go, I had to steal a phone off a guy to get this call through, and this cell phone is going to die because it doesn't have any charge left. l'm going to give you a general location... don't send anybody in until after 8:30. I have to be there by 8:00, anything that's going to go down has to happen after I get there or Maura doesn't have a chance. Do you understand Korsak? It's the game that's important to Hoyt. And me. If I break the rules Maura will suffer the consequences."
"Okay Jane...calm down...stay cool. Give me the location and Frost and I will take it from there - we'll get a helicopter on standby and all the back-up that's needed to flood the location after you get there."
No... Korsak...Christ! Be ready... but, absolutely do not move until after 8:30, I mean don't get anywhere near the place or they will know and Maura and I will both be dead...I'll try and call you but I have to turn this phone off to save the battery."
That was earlier in the evening.
And now, Jane was running.
The trail head was an ugly maw. A giant mouth that swallowed; intimidating by it's depth, the darkness seemed eternal and alive with malice. Initially, she was manic with anticipation, she needed to be moving and everything was taking too much time. Jane forced herself to be calm while perusing the map that Hoyt provided. Once satisfied, she strapped herself into the backpack and charged into the depths of a wooded trail that was seldom used. It slithered along the Mystic River like a deadly serpent.
The trail was dark but the moon was waxing, it created an ethereal glow, which filtered through the trees and cast a dappled luminescence. Her pace at the beginning was much to fast. Her mind was screaming, "slow down Jane you'll crash and burn before you get there," but her body paid no heed. High on adrenaline, fueled by anger and fear, she raced through the forest like a maniac. Slowly, ever so slowly, she managed to regulate her breathing, she steadied her pace and calmed her thoughts.
Jane had an hour to run...so Hoyt had said. She assumed he had calculated how long it would take her, personally, to run the trail. He probably also allowed for her increased adrenaline - she figured his calculations were dead on.
After the first couple of miles, Jane settled into her pace and mapped out her game plan. Hoyt had been right - it was "all about Jane," as far as he was concerned. He was a sociopath. As such, he cared for no one except himself. Therefore, he did not care about the people he manipulated into helping him toward his goal. They were pawns.
His goal was to move Jane all over the chess board, forcing Jane to play this game with him. He captured Jane's Queen and was moving in for a "Check Mate." But his "friends," his accomplices, had no idea they were pawns - no idea they were disposable pieces in a diabolical game. Hoyt was still in prison so he could not possibly take part in this evenings events personally. Jane knew what Hoyt's accomplices did not know: that they were lambs for the slaughter.
And, God help her get through this, but that was what she was going to do: move in for the kill. That was her only choice. She knew it with a certainty and so did Hoyt. He wanted her to do this. He wanted her to lose that part of herself that valued human life. The part that he could never understand and never would. He wanted her to be like him, he had set her up, and he played her emotions perfectly by stealing Maura away. How did he know? How could he know that threatening Maura would make her nearly insane? And it did. What did he see when Maura interviewed him at the prison? How could he possibly know how much Jane cared about Maura by that one interview?
Jane was maybe a hundred yards away from the the cabin, panting heavily, with ten minutes to spare before the appointed deadline. Her mind was clear now that she understood what she had to do. There was one man guarding the back door with a rifle. She circled through the woods on the right side of the cabin to get a better vantage point. With her binoculars she could see only one vehicle, an SUV of some sort. She focused the binoculars on the windows and could see at least one other person moving inside through the translucent widow shades.
It was as she suspected. There would not be a gang of kidnappers waiting upon her arrival. There were just these two guys, Maura, and maybe a third person that she hadn't seen yet - but probably not. Hoyt wanted her to succeed so he made certain that she would. Jane hated that she felt relieved by this knowledge...considering what she was about to do.
The sleet had turned to snow as Jane was skulking through the trees on the right of the cabin. She was grateful for the snow as it made her sneaking easier, quieter and the visibility more difficult for the guard - who was staring out at the trail. He was obviously waiting for Jane to run up and surrender herself. Jane was sure that's what Hoyt had told him would happen.
Jane attached her illegal silencer to the illegal Beretta she had stowed inside the back pack. She moved toward the cabin like a deadly cat stalking its prey, treading very carefully - stepping over branches that would crunch and give away her location. She had two minutes left before Hoyt's deadline was met. Jane didn't even need to clear the tree-line before taking her shot. The guard toppled over without so much as a grunt. She got him in the back of the head and he went down with a thunk and whoosh. The rifle he was carrying made a clattering sound when it hit the ground. Jane sprinted from the trees and positioned herself beside a cord of wood, which was stacked against the cabin wall.
Just as she was hoping, the other man inside came out to see what made the noise. He started to say: "Jerry? what the fuck is going on? It's almost time and that bitch had better get here becau...-" Sphisst.
Sphisst, is the sound a gun makes when fired - if it has a silencer attached to it.
Jane shoved the body of the guy (who was not Jerry) out of her way and slipped inside the back door. Everything was quiet. The back entrance was not lit so Jane crept through a small hallway into the kitchen, which only had a night light plugged into an outlet. She could see a small table with four chairs in the center of the tiny room. Counters and cupboards wrapped around the room in a sort of pleasant symmetry, juxtaposed to the old fashioned sink, an ancient refrigerator and a modern stove that looked pregnant in an otherwise sedate room.
Jane waited perhaps a minute, looking through the kitchen into the entrance to the living room. A gloomy yellow light emanated from there, casting shadows into the narrow hallway that connected it to the kitchen. She thought she could hear a television with the volume turned down very low, but other than that soft hum - she heard no other sounds.
Considering this lack of movement in the other room, lack of noise throughout the rest of the cabin and lack of time remaining - Jane decided to act. Ah fuck...what the hell, it's now or never(silent thoughts). If there was someone in there, whatever they were going to do to Maura - they were going to start at any moment, and she did not want to take the chance of being too late.
She slinked through the kitchen, gun raised and ready, peered into the living room and there was Maura. Her arms and legs were bound with duck tape, which fastened her to an old wooden chair. Maura was conscious and alert, her face was bruised on the left side where she had been slapped or punched and Jane felt a flash of rage erupt and overwhelm her senses. She charged into the room intending to "finish" whomever else was part of this charade.
She hadn't expected a child. In her haste to get to Maura she neglected to scan the entire room before rushing up to her friend, who had only enough time to say: "Jane, behind you." Jane felt the butt of a rifle digging into her lower back.
She lowered her gun to her side as she turned around slowly, astonished to see a young boy - he was wielding a 22 caliber rifle. The child looked terrified but determined so Jane backed up slowly as the boy was waving the gun back and forth in front of her stomach.
"Get back." His voice was steady but his hands were shaking, which made Jane incredibly nervous.
She glanced at Maura who seemed very calm for all she had been through. The smile Maura delivered Jane was filled with warmth, relief, and strains of worry. Jane lost herself for a moment in the depths of Maura's hazel eyed gaze - specks of green intermingled with amber gold...her grave intelligence...-
"Jane, this is Ronnie - he is currently the only person present if you disabled the other two...-"
Ronnie jerked his glare back to Maura, but kept the rifle pointed at Jane, his hands were trembling even more than they had been. "Shush," he said to Maura, his face was red and there were tears streaming down his cheeks. "Shush Maura...my uncle is coming back an' then I won't be the only one here."
The boy was so young, Jane thought he couldn't be more than eleven, twelve at the most. His hair was dark and curly and his face was speckled with freckles. This was seriously fucked up. Considering what the boy had said about his uncle returning, Jane decided to take a chance on disarming Ronnie - who had not even told her to drop her gun.
Very slowly she put her hands out to her side to let the boy know she was taking him seriously, she squatted down and placed her Beretta onto the floor. Ronnie nodded in silent approval at Jane. She continued to move cautiously, she didn't want to startle the boy - she maintained eye contact with him while she stood back up to her full intimidating height.
The boy took a deep breath and lowered the rifle a little, not by much -i t was more of a subconscious act of relief, thinking that Jane was not going to cause him any trouble. At that very instant, Jane lunged at him, intending to grab the barrel of the rifle and yank it out of his quivering hands. She didn't think she telegraphed her intentions in any way, but Ronnie stumbled back and away from Jane, flailing his arms and waving the gun uncontrollably in several directions.
And then he shot her.
Jane was aware of a hot, needle like pain in her side. She instinctively pressed her hand on the hot spot but didn't really think the boy had managed to hit her - until she saw the blood all over her hand.
And then she was pissed.
"aaaaaaww...Fuuc..Fu... Fu..dge... you little ... ugh..." Fudge?
Jane had bellowed out: "Fudge," and then she started to laugh.
The idiotic, perverse part of her brain that monitored what Maura would and would not approve of (language Jane), would not permit her to swear at the kid who had just put a bullet through her side. She was a little out of her mind and started to giggle. She could hear Maura's frantic voice calling her name and Ronnie just stood there with a shell-shocked look on his face.
Fear and confusion swept across the boys face as he realized what he had done - entirely by accident, which was apparent by his look of frozen anguish.
Giggling is not an appropriate response to being shot. Ronnie wasn't quite sure what was happening until Jane lunged at him again, but this time - she got her hands on the rifle and ripped it out of his hands. She shoved him out of her way, took two long strides and retrieved her Beretta from the floor. She haphazardly stuffed the Beretta into her backpack while keeping an eye on the boy.
Jane took a deep breath, winced at the now burning pain in her side and grabbed the boy by the collar, she shook him roughly and growled: "get Maura out of that chair and be careful removing the tape."
"Please don't hurt him Jane," Maura whispered as Jane looked into her friends eyes. Jane, gentled by Maura's calming tone and heartfelt plea, simply nodded to reassure her friend.
She glanced at the boy who was hastily unwinding the duck tape, tears were streaming down his face again, he was sniffling and muttering: "I didn't mean to," and Jane realized that at an earlier point in this evening; she had every intention of executing every person in this house - except for Maura of course.
Having the child in front of her, crying, unmistakably caught up in something he should never have been a party to - made her furious, and...so sad. She was immensely relieved that she hadn't ruthlessly shot the boy like she had the other men. What if the boy had been the look-out at the back door instead of inside the house?... Jane didn't know what she would have done. Could she have just shot him down like she had shot Jerry? Is that what Hoyt intended?...to make her murder a child?
Her thoughts were interrupted by Maura's voice. The tone was pleading and filled with frantic worry, suffused with an urgency that Jane had never heard before.
"Jane, you need to apply pressure to your wound. JANE, PRESS YOUR HAND OVER YOUR WOUND - YOU ARE LOSING TOO MUCH BLOOD."
"Huh," Jane looked back at Maura who was almost freed from the chair, not realizing she had wandered off in her mind - until she caught the worried look on Maura's bruised face.
And then, Maura was crouching at her side looking at her wound and mumbling about it being a "through and through," but it was bleeding too much. Jane couldn't seem to focus all of the sudden. A part of her just wanted to grab Maura and hug her, hold her close and not ever stop. She was so relieved that, other than the bruising on her face, Maura seemed to be uninjured.
She needed to think. They needed to get out of here before Ronnie's uncle came back with whoever else he might have with him. She needed to think and Maura kept poking at the hole in her side, and it was really starting to hurt.
"Maura stop...please...it's okay." Jane brushed Maura's hands out of the way and stomped back over to Ronnie, who was now sitting in the chair that Maura recently vacated. Snatching the duck tape off the book shelf it had been placed on, she leaned over and proceeded to truss the boy up in the very same fashion that Maura had been bound.
"We need to get out of here - NOW." She grabbed the boys rifle, and looked over at Maura who was kneeling on the floor in a puddle of her blood.
"Yes we do Jane, but first we need to staunch that wound or you will bleed to death."
The flight from the cabin had been tortuous. Jane was sliding into shock from the blood loss, the dehydration from her run and, Maura concluded, the overwhelming stress of this days events.
Maura's mind had not been idle during the hours she had been bound to that chair. Her photographic memory categorized and filed every item in the cabin that she could see; organizing the information, sorting and grouping objects together into an itemized list of things she would need should she escape.
After convincing Jane to allow her to bandage the gunshot wound, she ransacked the cabin in much the same way that Jane had torn through her apartment earlier that day. She poured whiskey from a bottle of Jack Daniels into Jane's wound to disinfect it. There were no medical supplies on hand and Maura knew the alcohol would burn, she knew it would cause Jane great discomfort, but she also knew that it was necessary. Maura was merciless in her reasoning and therefore, was prepared for Jane to be unreasonably angry with her.
Jane had yelped in pain and swore at her. Maura closed her eyes and pretended not to hear the stream of colorful language that spewed from her friends mouth like an erupting volcano.
"Christ Maura, Jesus, what the Goddamn hell, holy fuck fuc... fudge..." and Jane started to giggle again."
Maura bound the wound with torn pieces from a cotton bed sheet to create a makeshift field dressing. She sat Jane down on a chair in the kitchen and stuffed her into one of the men's down filled coats that she had found, zipping it up snug and pulling up the hood to keep Jane as warm as possible. She found some bottled water in the refrigerator and begged Jane to drink it while she prepared for their excursion.
After a frenzied but unsuccessful hunt for the keys to the Ford Explorer in the driveway, she had even resorted to searching the pockets of the very dead men behind the cabin: Maura concluded that the only way she and Jane could get away safely; was to take the trail by which Jane had arrived upon. A very grim conclusion, but once she had made this decision her actions were swift.
Maura grabbed a down sleeping bag and stuffed it into its sack. She retrieved the duck tape, a flashlight and some bottled water out of the refrigerator. She snatched some candles off the mantle and the box of stick matches along with the rest of the torn cloth from the bed sheet. All of these things went into the stuff sack with the sleeping bag. She tied this bundle to the straps of Jane's backpack. She found a lighter jacket in the bedroom for herself - it would have to suffice as the warmer jacket was needed for Jane. Her own coat had been left in the morgue when Hoyt's men had taken her. Maura hoisted Jane's backpack onto her shoulders, picked up Ronnie's rifle and eased Jane out of the kitchen chair.
They departed the cabin at the rear entrance and wandered into the night. Maura chose not to look to at the two immobile figures on the ground, she had dismissed them from her mind after her fruitless search for the car keys. Thinking about them (and why they were dead) would only complicate her immediate need, which was to get Jane to a hospital. The bodies were covered with snow and would soon be two, white, unremarkable mounds. She felt a pang of remorse for leaving Ronnie bound as she had been but, ultimately, it had been a logical decision.
The snow was falling thickly, dancing swirling patterns onto the now white ground. What had been a chilling rain earlier had turned into the first heavy snowfall of the winter. Maura thought it breathtaking to look at, enchanting even, but utterly inconvenient under the present circumstances. Thank God she had worn slacks to work and sensible shoes for once. Jane had teased her earlier that day.
"Oh my God, who are you? and what have you done with my friend Maura?"
"Very funny Jane... today is Friday, so it occurred to me I might take part in a modern work place custom."
Jane snorted, flashed that insufferable smirk and said: "Welcome to the Tribe."
She then elbowed Barry Frost in the ribs and snickered, laughing at her own joke. Barry hadn't known what to do. Should he laugh with Jane or reprimand her for making fun of "Dr. Death"? Maura was delighted by his wide eyed confusion and also by Jane's unfettered glee at her expense.
Maura cherished Jane's unrelenting honesty, her transparent sense of humor but mostly - her sincere and loyal friendship. Maura did not make friends easily. Maura's world was orderly, her thinking was linear and literal and defined by established facts. Jane was the only person in Maura's life who cared enough about her to say, "Maura no...just NO," when her "wikipedia mouth" had run away with itself.
Jane would say: "Sweetie, I have no idea what you are talking about, stop speaking geeky genius dialect for a second and use fewer and shorter words...please?"
Maura smiled with these thoughts as she guided Jane through the snow and onto the trail Jane had emerged from just a half an hour ago. Jane was slipping in an out of altered states. She described in detail to Maura how she came to be at the cabin at the appointed time. Described in detail her feelings and reaction upon receiving Hoyt's instructions.
Unfortunately, for Maura, these details were scattered like confetti on a very windy day. The order by which Jane disclosed the information bounced along the time line back and forth with many curious sidebar comments. Maura categorized these free associations in a very special file in her mind marked: "Jane's Uttered Nonsense."
Maura would not forget a single word of Jane's soliloquy. She would recall the words as well as tone, inflection and the various contexts by which these words could be applied. Later she would sort and categorize, ultimately arrive at a hypothesis, or at the very least a theory, that might explain some of the wilder notions Jane had been espousing to her. Analyzing this information now, however, would be irresponsible of her. She needed to get Jane to the hospital.
Her decision to take the trail seemed like the safest option when they left the cabin. The driveway in the front of the house led out to a well traveled road that accessed most of the residents along this route. Maura felt the risk would be to great as her kidnappers would be returning from that direction.
Ronnie had told her earlier in the evening that his uncle was coming with a van to take Maura to a "better house," and that she shouldn't worry because it was "kinda like a hide an' seek game" they were playing. When Maura asked if his uncle was bringing any friends to play in the game as well, Ronnie explained the rules to her.
"What kind of game would it be if there wasn't two teams Maura? My dad an' Jerry an' me is on one team - an' my uncle Roland an' another guy Paul, an' another guy Skeeter is on the other team. When they get here they get to take you away an' hide you... an' then... we have to wait awhile an' figure out how to find you again. Simple, right?"
Ronnie had patted Maura's knee, grinned wildly at her before offering her another sip of bottled water. The boy had been incredibly sweet, but sadly obtuse. Still, his treatment of Maura had been gentle, kind, and she was much relieved that no harm had come to him.
"Jane, can you tell me anything about this trail? Are there houses along the path?"
"Jane, you must have seen something while you were running along this trail, are there other cabins back here? Someplace we could find someone to help us, or borrow a phone?"
"Umm... all I did was run Maura, run and run andrunandrunrun run...andthinkabout... shooting those fucker...erjerks...butthere's ...um... theresacellphoneintheback...pack."
Jane's words were running together, her breathing was erratic, she was stumbling more frequently and her body was becoming listless. Maura had pulled Jane's arm over her shoulder and was carrying most of her weight as they plodded along. This was serious. Jane could not continue to walk and Maura could not carry her.
"There is a cell phone in the back pack." Maura deciphered.
With this new information Maura made a decision and accelerated their pace - she wanted to get Jane as far along this trail as she could before Jane collapsed. Her eyes scanned both sides of the trail as she propelled them forward. The wind, which was mild earlier had started to gust and howl. That was not good, Jane could not survive outside in a snowstorm with a gunshot wound. She desperately searched the depths of the forest on either side of the trail, looking for anything that could provide a shelter to hide and protect them. Then she would use the phone to call for help. But she had to get Jane settled someplace safe first, they could not stay outside exposed to the storm, nor to the men who would be hunting them.
And just as she was starting to really get frightened she saw something about fifteen yards off the trail. She spotted the massive trunk of a fallen tree. The decaying process revealed the hollow within a portion of it's trunk, new vegetation and smaller trees had sprouted up around the cylindrical mass providing a natural camouflage.
Maura pulled Jane along through that last little barrier of brush and woods. She spoke to Jane in a low, calm voice trying to infuse a sense of assurance and safety to her tone. "Okay Jane, were going to stop for a little while...everything is fine now. I'm going to make us a little camp and then call Frost to come get us." Jane mumbled something that Maura could not decipher, but she was relieved that Jane was still conscious enough to respond at all.
She deposited Jane on the ground, propping her in a sitting position against the massive log. The trail behind them was thick with snow, causing Maura to revise her earlier opinion of the storms inconvenience. The tracks that she and Jane left behind were almost indistinct and would soon become invisible.
Circling around and behind the giant log, Maura dropped Jane's back pack onto the forest floor. She dug inside the stuff sack of the sleeping bag and pulled out the flashlight she had take from the cabin. She covered the lamp with some (not all) of the extra rags she had brought for Jane's bandages. This provided the light she needed but dimmed it's brightness significantly. Waving the flashlight up and down the length of the dead tree Maura discovered an opening near the center on the back side.
She got down on her hands and knees; pulled the sleeves of her coat over her hands to protect them from the debris, and the cold, and cleared a space within and around the hollowed trunk. She found some scattered branches, on the forest floor and covered the top of the opening to prevent the inside from filling up with snow. The space inside was narrow but would suffice to fit Jane's long body and if she was careful, she could squeeze in along side her friend.
Maura ran her hand along the bruise on her face, feeling along the ridge of her cheekbone and up beside her temple. She knew she had a concussion. The blow that Ronnie's (now dead) father had delivered had knocked her out completely.
When she regained consciousness her head was throbbing and for a brief time her thoughts were chaotic and disordered. Eventually, her head cleared and she put her fears aside about the possible damage to her skull. Her more important need at that time had been to survive, to plan... but now, she felt a dreamy lethargy easing it's way, creeping, blunting the sharpness of her innate brilliance. She pinched her wrists to keep herself awake, brushed herself off and circled back to the front of the log to collect Jane.
Tears were streaming down her cheeks, she could taste the salt as they rolled along the side of her mouth and dripped onto the sleeping bag that she was zipping Jane inside of. She was unaware that she had been crying until she tasted the salty drops. Maura propped Jane's head upon the snug sack and elevated her legs with the backpack hoping to prevent further blood loss from the wound. With that done she leaned over and pressed a soft tear stained kiss on Jane's forehead.
Jane was in and out of delirium at this point but managed to become momentarily lucid as one of Maura's tears dropped onto her mouth. She reached out with her hand and tenderly wiped a tear off Maura's cheek.
"Don't cry Maur...don't be sad...I don't like it when you're sad...it hurts..." And then she drifted off again.
Maura crouched beside her friend in the crowded space inside the hollowed log, she stroked Jane's brow and smoothed the tangled locks of hair. After finding the cell phone in the pocket of the back pack Maura resisted the urge to call for help immediately. She wanted Jane settled and safe inside the cover of the log fortress. Now that task had been accomplished, she flipped the phone open, powered it on and punched in the number of Jane's partner - Barry Frost.
Just as the first connection was being made she heard muffled voices on the forest trail. She closed the phone to hang up and then quickly powered it off. She sunk down next to Jane and watched and listened. She watched Jane for any signs she might start to mumble so she could cover her mouth, and she listened intently to the sounds coming from the trail. She could just make out what the men on the trail were discussing.
"I tell you they came down this trail Roland...I know it, I'm not the best tracker in the world but I could see some tracks out the back door. I didn't see none out the front door."
"Yeah, well, I ain't gonna search all night Paul. I got a bad feeling about this and that Maura chick works for the cops. And did you forget already what happened to Jerry and Mal? Jeeze! I'd just rather let it go and get the hell outta here before we're over-run with swat teams with happy trigger fingers."
"They can't have gotten far... Ronnie clipped one of 'em with his 22... she was pretty bad off if the blood we saw counts for anything. I think we can catch 'em up an' grabbem back. I want my money after all this shit."
"Yeah well, you can't spend it if yer dead Paul... we'll go a little ways yet, but then I'm turning back."
Maura let out a deep breath as the men proceeded down the trail past the makeshift shelter she and Jane were hiding in. She let five more minutes go by before trying the phone again, resisting the urge to use Jane's favorite swear word F#*! Instead she said "Fudge." Darn, the battery was almost dead, the signal was strong but Maura knew she would have to make the best use of this call.
Frost picked up on the first ring.
"Barry this is Maura."
And then she waited through a very long pregnant pause because she could not find the words to begin explaining the extraordinary circumstances that she and Jane were in. Barry broke the silence for her.
"Maura? Thank God where are you? Where is Jane? We just dispatched a swat team and a back-up team of twenty..."
"Barry... wait, I can't tell you where I am because I was unconscious when I arrived... but listen. This phone has no charge left. Jane and I escaped and we are out in the woods, hiding. Jane's been shot and I have a concussion."
"That's okay Muara, I understand... leave the phone on and we will find your location by triangulating the signal."
Muara sighed as the phone started to beep at her.
"... um.. ..Barry, the men who kidnapped me are searching this trail. This isn't Jane's phone... you'll have to find out who it belongs to..."
"I can do that Maura, my phone has stored the number...just leave that phone on and we'll come find you."
"But Barry, (beeP) there is almost no charge left. How long will it take to get a tech guy to set this up for you?"
"Oh...okay, you're right Maura. Turn the phone off for half an hour and then turn it back on. Leave it on once you've powered up again but turn the sound off - don't forget that part Maura. You don't want those guys to hear it ring or beep."
Maura shivered, she felt she was losing her grasp on the situation very quickly. The only thing keeping her focused was Barry's calm, reassuring voice.
"Alright Barry... half an hour...we're in a log Barry, off the trail...I found a sleeping bag so we can keep warm...Jane's lost a lot of blood and she's in shock(beep). I better hang up Barry."
"Wait, Maura - what do you mean? You're in a log?... Maura? Maura?" The connection was lost.
Maura turned the sound off on the cell phone and powered it down. She started to shiver violently. The temperature had dropped and she was starting to worry about hypothermia. Not just for her but for Jane. She unzipped the sleeping bag and climbed inside with Jane. She wrapped her arms around her friend, twined their legs together and performed a tug and roll - shifting Jane's position on top of her body. Jane needed the warmth that Maura's body could provide her. She zipped them up together and willed herself to stay awake for thirty more minutes.
Holding Jane in her arms while waiting to turn the phone back on was, Maura decided, the sweetest thing. Certainly not ideal circumstances. Jane was nearly unconscious, was in shock and may die if Frost and Korsak couldn't find them soon. But, it still felt good to hold her. She kissed the top of Jane's head, tightened the embrace and whispered into her ear.
"Please hang on Jane...as long as I've got you, you'll be okay... don't let go Jane... hang on to me...I won't let you go Jane... as long as I'm holding you... you'll be safe... I love you Jane...
...I won't let you go..."
Jane's breathing seemed to steady itself and her body relaxed and settled more comfortably on top of Maura.
Finally, Maura slipped the phone out of her pocket and powered it back on, she had no idea how much time had lapsed but she was slowly losing consciousness herself. Sighing heavily, she completed this small task - barely remembering why it was so important. Her mind drifted back to what she had been doing. Holding Jane... much more important. Talking to Jane... urging Jane to not give up...whispering to Jane...I love you.
Dr. Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli were discovered six hours later. "IN A LOG" to quote Dr. Isles by way of Barry Frost.
The search was frantic and delayed, in part, by the heavy snowstorm. The wind had finally ceased allowing for better visibility. But, initially, Barry had not been able to find the signal from the phone that Maura was using. He swore and paced for three hours, not wanting to give up. And then, finally, that little light lit up on his computer.
Frost had stayed behind to oversee the technical end of the search, which Korsak gleefully appreciated. He liked Barry but still had moments of possessive jealousy where his former partner was concerned. He decided he would never sneer at Frost's geek like computer skills again.
Korsak had never seen anything so disturbingly beautiful. Jane and Maura were twined together, arms and legs and hair. Dead or sleeping peacefully in a lovers embrace? Korsak could not know at first glance. A part of his mind thought he should turn around, he was invading a private moment that was too intimate to intrude upon. Jane's wild raven mane was splayed all over Maura, intermingling, and in stark contrast to Maura's wavy golden tresses. The look upon their faces was... Serene. A word he seldom had use for but it popped into his mind as he gazed upon that other-worldly embrace.
The EMT's rushed in and spoiled the moment for him. A moment that would forevermore be etched upon his memory. Only because it was so unique. The forest was pristine. The snowfall was thick, clean and white in such a way that can only be seen in filtered moonlight. The branches of the trees were laden with heavy clumps that looked like powdered sugar. The trees cast deep, sharp shadows and the early hour of the morning only enhanced the feeling of enchantment.
This was like a twisted version of Snow White. Or maybe it was like Snow White meets Sleeping Beauty. Korsak snorted and then began to laugh out loud. He couldn't wait for Jane to get better so he could start the teasing. He knew she would get better. She had to...no one ever died in a fairy tale.
The emergency room doctor explained to detective Korsak that if Dr. Isles hadn't zipped them together into that bag - they would have both died of exposure. They both suffered from hypothermia, Jane required surgery for the gunshot in her side, and Maura had a hole drilled into her head. The concussion caused some kind of swell...he was sure the Doc could explain it to him herself...if she wasn't still unconscious. They were alive and they would recover and that was all that mattered to him.