Disclaimer: I am not Tess Gerritsen, but thank you to her and TNT for the show Rizzoli & Isles. Now go watch the show. And buy the DVDs. And the books. Which I shameless stole from for this chapter.
And I firmly expect a whole lot of you to be pissed as hell at me about this. Just remember, death threats means no followup stories, and that means you will never see Korsak, Angela, Frost and Frank's POV.
This was Maura's nightmare.
When she had first heard the phrase "a magical summer," Maura had rolled her eyes and signed up for extra classes. It was in college, where people were returning home from their first summer as perceived adults, finding lost connections with friends they'd not seen since leaving high school, and trying to fit in back at home. Maura, who had gone to boarding school much of her life, saw no benefit in returning home, and had informed her parents she intended to take extra classes. The decision had been a perfect solution to the uncomfortable living situation she anticipated.
This year's summer had been, however, magical. It would pain Maura to say it, so as she looked at Bass she simply though to herself how very pleased she was with the way life had worked out. Silent as ever, Bass munched on his lettuce while Maura bustled about the house preparatory to work. Or rather he should have been eating his lettuce. The limp leaf in his dish was from last night, untouched, and the fresh one seemed uninteresting to him. Maura was a medical examiner, but that didn't mean she didn't know how to diagnose the most common ailments in tortoises. After all, what responsible pet owner didn't learn how to care for their beloved animals?
Even Jane knew how to care for Jo Friday and little Watson.
Sighing as she squatted by Bass' shell, Maura reflected on the summer. There was a great deal of her past that had come back to haunt her, from Garrett to her biological father. Surrounding it all was the curious protection of Jane Rizzoli. They still had not codified or defined their relationship status, save Jane's passing comment of informing her mother she was refusing to go on any dates until further notice, so would she knock it off? Curiously, Angela had acquiesced, making Maura wonder exactly what Jane had told her a few days ago.
Too many things revolved around Jane. She was heart-breaking, breath-taking, gorgeous, tough and brave. She dragged Maura out of the morgue as often as possible, including her on many of the Homicide Department's team building activities. And then there were their extra curriculars, as Jane put it.
Was that all Maura was? An extra piece of entertainment? A passing hobby? It certainly didn't feel that way when Jane announced she would do anything to get Maura back from her father. Even take on the mob. That had also included Jane making a joke about how they were very West Side Story. Maura was a little surprised that Jane made the star crossed lovers connection.
Bass's lack of eating recaptured Maura's attention. Desperate, Maura tried for some bok choy, but Bass sighed and ignored it. Her mind went into, as Jane would say, overdrive. It was still summer, which meant Bass was not yet ready to hibernate. It also meant he needed to be eating more, in order to acquire the body mass necessary for hibernation. Tortoises were not native to New England, nor were they particularly fond of the too-short spring and autumns.
Over the years, Maura had made changes to her living, in order to accommodate Bass. She kept her air conditioning fairly low, so that it was warm enough for him, and she kept her heat rather high in the winter for the same reason. Quite certain temperature and light were not the issue for his appetite loss, Maura went down the list. He had places to hide and enough room to roam. The south facing French Doors let in natural light from the patio, and Maura had many excursions in the back yard with Bass, much to Jane's bemusement.
That meant the most likely causes were an illness or a disturbance. She apologized to her beloved Bass and went to get the thermometer. He was not pleased with her, but withstood the indignities. Thankfully, his temperature was normal. Which left only one likelihood.
The very idea that Jane and Jo might possibly cause Bass distress horrified her. Maura sat down next to Bass and looked at him, mournfully. The tortoise oozed towards her and put his shell against her leg. It was very obvious she loved Bass and he her, which made the concept of his discomfort mortifying. What was she to do, she asked herself. Even going over to Jane's might be part of the problem. After all, it could be that he missed her. But logic reasserted itself. Maura would not prejudge a possible bloodstain, and similarly she shouldn't prejudge her evidence, she told Bass, firmly. A day of not eating is not outside the norm for any animal.
She stayed home, alone, that night, telling Jane she had some paperwork to bring home. The detective looked slightly curious, but let it pass, saying she wanted to watch the game, and would be at her parents. For the next night, Maura simply said she was tired. Quickly, two days passed and Bass still did not eat. At a loss, Maura asked his caregiver to bring her to the office, but made sure to make time for her normal exercise routine with Jane. Her level of distraction could be measured when Jane asked her why she was staring at Chuck.
The absolute truth was that Chuck's muscles reminded her of the cording on Bass's neck. Which was embarrassing. So Maura again quoted science, which sufficiently distracted Jane. She couldn't lie, but she didn't have to tell the truth if she didn't answer, now, did she? Maura regretted not being completely honest later that day. She ended up regretting a great deal about that day.
Knowing how panicked Jane was about Frankie, Maura should have known Jane would do something reckless and bold like that. Knowing how worried Jane was about Maura's safety, she should have known Jane would do something that phenomenally stupid. If, as Jane once joked, she had a brain in her head, she would have radio'd Vince to tell him to tell Jane everyone was safe and okay. Then maybe Jane would have done something, anything, other than to shoot the man through herself.
That moment was going to live on and on in Maura's nightmares. She could see Jane's body, lifted off the ground from the transfer of momentum from the gun to her abdomen. The mathematical equation ran through Maura's brain, unbidden, based on the gun, the bullet caliber, the angle, the distance. Her mind then started processing every single organ, placing them around the most probable trajectory, and determining which trauma had been introduced to her best friend.
Her lover. The woman she loved above all else, whom she had no ability to help or provide succor. She was no longer in control of her life.
This was now Maura's nightmare.
This was Jane's nightmare.
She was herself, but not herself. She was shorter, blonde, but she was still Jane Rizzoli. She wasn't very likable. Her partner was neither Barry nor Vince, but someone else. Tom. Not Tommy, her brother, but more of a man. An annoying, arrogant, man. It was he who saved her from Hoyt, not Korsak. And then he was gone. Korsak was retired. Barry was there, but he wasn't young.
Hoyt came back, and this time Jane shot him in the back. He would never walk in her dreams again. Maura was there, but she looked like the cute lab chick from some TV show that Jane and Maura had watched one night when neither of them could sleep. Maura wasn't very nice, though. She didn't like Jane, and her hair was black. Wasn't this an episode of that forensic anthropologist's show? Where she was a writer and she solved crimes with the FBI? Yeah, that show. It had a whole episode where everyone was different.
Thinking of the FBI was why Gabriel Dean was there, obviously. Ugh! Not Dean! She thought about Hoyt, but he didn't come back. Dean did, and this time, when she went to the FBI offices with him, she slept with him. Bad Jane! Bad dream Jane! What the he'll was wrong with her dream self? Waking up would be a good thing now, but every trick she knew to kick her ass awake failed. She even tried the things Maura told her about. Shout, kick, fall down, cry. Something to break the cycle.
The cycle ignored her, and merrily moved on to show her herself, married, pregnant. Her parents divorced, and her mother dressing like a tramp and finding comfort in Vince Korsak's hairy chest oh my GOD brain, you need to stop doing these things to me, please wake up, please wake up!
None of this was right! Frankie wasn't a Marine, her father never worked at Kinkos, Vince was never a rent-a-cop, Maura never slept with a priest - A priest? What in the world was wrong with her? Maura's mother was a serial killer (okay, that part was believable) and she had a twin sister (now that was just trite). Of course, the idea of her, pregnant, kicking someone's ass in court felt like her. Except for the pregnant part. So much was herself, only through the looking glass.
Life through a fun-house mirror. Her hands were still her hands, and the scars were still scars. That was the good thing about ugly scars: you couldn't pretend they weren't there. Instead of her indelible scars, her torment was a life she had no control over and a world that was not her own.
This was now Jane's nightmare.
The End (for now)