A/N: First of all, I don't really consider myself much of a writer, certainly not compared to some of the fantastic, amazing writers on this site. I started this story after I wrapped up my one and only other story. Obviously, with the description of Tommy, you can tell it's a little dated given the recent sides on the show. I'm always hesitant to publish because my writing 'style' is so rambling in a free style manner. I hope some of my original readers are still out there. I have to admit that I've got a lot of this written in bits and pieces and maybe this is my way of just kicking myself into gear to finish. OF BIG NOTE: You are going to have to trust me on this one that this isn't a character death story. PLEASE REVIEW so I know there is interest to continue. THANKS FOR READING!
It was raining on a Thursday the day she buried Detective Jane Rizzoli. Cold and gray, the kind of Boston day that hinted of things to come but still managed to seep in between the seams and chill to the bone. Dr. Maura Isles felt… nothing, absolutely nothing. Any other day and she would probably marvel at the sensation of feeling empty…hollow, her genius intellect utterly and altogether stalled into silence; running at a bare minimum capacity that allowed her to function as expected. But not this day. She sat stiffly in a hard, fabric covered folding chair with Jane's family, Frost and Korsak standing protectively at flank behind her as she numbly watched the priest conduct the grave side service. She flinched at the twenty-one gun salute, silent tears streaming unaware down her face as her hands clenched white knuckled in her lap around her twisted handkerchief.
The floral covered casket was a mystery to her. How could it possibly contain the Jane she knew? Jane was a force of nature, all energy and light, smoky warm voice, sparkling eyes, mischievous smile and flailing arms. She was everything and the scientist in her knew that an infinite being couldn't occupy a finite space. There are no documented 'infinite' beings. Her eyes slipped shut, releasing a fresh trail of her tears. Exhausted beyond words, emotionally and physically drained, she couldn't think beyond getting through the service and getting away. She just needed to be alone to think about Jane and figure out who she would be without her; sift through the millions of pieces of her shattered self and pull some back up around her to become Dr. Maura Isles again.
She startled at the large hand on her shoulder. Eyes slowly opening, she realized that she was the only one left seated and absentmindedly wondered how long the service had been over as she noticed people retreating to their respective cars under the cloak of black umbrellas, some speaking in low tones to groups of family members. Soft cries of anguish echoed in her head and served as a harsh reminder as to her whereabouts and the reason she was dressed in the somber black Dior dress and matching Louboutin heels. She wanted so desperately to close her eyes again but she owed so much more to Jane than a cowardly retreat. Looking up into the sympathetic face of Barry Frost, she managed a slight lifting of her chin in silent reply before standing on shaky legs. Relying on the steadying hand he placed at her elbow for a moment, she smiled softly and walked towards the Rizzoli's.
Approaching slowly, she watched Jane's immediate family as they formed a tight knot listening to the Police Commissioner's condolences. Frank, posture tall but looking ashy and gaunt, stood closely behind Angela whose eyes were red rimmed, complexion splotchy from crying, triangular American flag clutched tightly under her arm. Maura had been present when they were informed of their loss and had watched the painful unraveling of a woman faced with her greatest fear; outliving her child. She now stood amazed at Angela's ability to stand with such outward strength and grace. Next to his mother, Frankie wore his uniform proudly; black armband in place but the rigid tension in his shoulders belied the effort he was putting forth to remain strong. Studying his face, Maura thought he looked incredibly young and lost. Fidgeting nervously next to his younger brother and standing slightly away from the group was Tommy; thick black hair pulled into a tight, slick pony tail revealing the prison tattoo on his neck that peaked out above the white collar of his open shirt. His dark eyes darted around constantly, seeming to expect the worst.
Still unnoticed by the family, the doctor continued her observations; choosing to focus on the least known family member, Tommy. He was certainly his sister's brother, tall and lean, athletic with a pronounced grace and hidden power in his movements. When his eyes met hers briefly, she determined that they were the exact same shade as Jane's but didn't hold the ever present warmth. Closing her own, Maura flashed to seeing amused dark chocolate opening her apartment door to let her in, rolling upward before returning with a smirk at something she'd said, looking down and holding her close when she was upset. Used to hold. She had to remind herself to start using past tense when thinking of her best friend. Swaying a little she opened her eyes to find Jane's mother approaching.
"Maura, honey, come back to the house with us." Angela Rizzoli's scratchy voice was all warmth as she pulled the thin Medical Examiner into her arms, enveloping her in a cocoon of limbs and bosom. Squeezing lightly, afraid that too much force would certainly break the fragile woman, she leaned in close to whisper against a cold ear. "You were family to her which means you are our family. My daughter." Placing a kiss against Maura's temple, "You do what you need to do…and tell me how to help you but please come back to the house with us to celebrate her life as a member of our family. Jane wouldn't want you to be alone and you need to eat." Holding the petite woman at arm's length, Angela gave her the type of discriminating once over only available to the tribe of women that call themselves mothers. Shaking her head, she clucked her tongue. "For God's sake, you are skin and bones."
Released from the loving embrace, Maura caught Angela's eye briefly before looking away, unable to share too much of her sorrow with the one person who had lost a daughter, knowing that her own pain surely paled in comparison. "Thank you Angela. I…" Putting her need to be alone second and doing what she thought Jane would want her to do; she squeezed their fingers and tried to paste the semblance of a smile upon her face, failing miserably in the process. "I'll be there." It was then that she remembered that Barry had driven her to the funeral and that she was without her own car. "Oh."
As if he materialized from her thought alone, Frost approached from her left. "Dr. Isles, I'll be glad to drive you and take you home whenever you are ready. I was about to head over to Jane's par…to the Rizzoli's home in a few minutes. Let me know when you are ready. I just want to say 'hi' to Frankie." Maura didn't miss the worried look he exchanged with Angela before he walked away. Truth be told, she knew that she wasn't handling her best friend's death well and the fact that her typically well constructed exterior was beginning to show cracks left those around her feeling uneasy. She would have to make a concerted effort to better hide the physical manifestations of her grief which would be difficult at best. She found it almost impossible to sleep, haunted by nightmares of that day or sweet memories of times with Jane that upon waking left her with a profound ache. Eating was minimal and was a forced action. She could tell in the way her impeccably tailored clothes hung loosely on her small frame that she had lost weight in the subsequent days and it seemed that no amount of expensive concealer could hide the dark circles under her eyes. You. You have dark circles under your eyes. Are you not sleeping again? Sarcasm always at the ready, Thank you. You look nice too. Closing her eyes for a second, she could hear that husky voice as if it had been whispered in her ear, ghostly warm breath causing her to shiver. Blinking on a sigh, she wondered how long it would take for her perfect recall to fade.
The drive to Revere where Jane's parents lived was passed in silence. Maura sat rigidly in the passenger seat staring out the window at the changing landscape, absently twirling the ring on her middle finger. Frost's quick glances her way didn't escape her attention so she tried to give him a reassuring smile as they pulled up to the curb. "Dr. Isles," he ventured and looked down. "I know how close you and Jane were and well," finding hazel green with his soft caramel brown, "I just wanted to say how sorry I am…and, um, well, that me and Korsak, we've got your back." Albeit a small one, the first genuine smile that Maura had felt in days played at her lips, eyes filling with tears when she reached out and patted his arm. "Thank you, Barry. That means a great deal to me." Unable to say more, she swiped the errant tear that escaped down her cheek. "Shall we?"
Entering the Rizzoli household, she and Frost paused inside the front door as he took her coat and she tried to still her racing heart. The last time she had crossed this threshold was a week prior to the day, the day before…Her lips curled as she remembered Jane teasing her about wearing Armani to gnocchi night. Really, Maur? Armani? If you get red sauce on that I probably won't be able to afford the dry cleaning. Shaking her head and squaring her shoulders, Maura pulled on every ounce of reserve she possessed. Navigating the press of bodies, she made her way to the kitchen to find Angela and Jane's Aunt Maria, whom she had met at a Fourth of July picnic, washing glasses and refilling the coffee urns. Stepping in with purpose, she placed a hand on the bustling woman's shoulder. "Angela."
Turning in surprise with coffee filters in hand, "Gah! OH! Maura, honey. I'm so sorry." Placing a hand over her heart, "I was just startled." Her eyes softened as well as her voice. "I'm glad you are here. You remember Frank's sister Maria don't you?" Smiling cordially, her upbringing took over on auto-pilot. "Of course." She turned and smiled at the taller woman who had just opened a bottle of wine. "It's good to see you again." The three women stood quietly for a moment before Maura pushed herself into action. "Here, allow me." Taking the filters, "I'll make the coffee. Angela, you should be with your guests. I can handle this. Please." The underlying reason behind the plea wasn't lost on the elder Rizzoli. "Sure thing, sweetie. Thank you…but first we need some wine. Maria, come ON already! I've never known it to take you so long when it comes to alcohol. You are usually the first in line." Passing out glasses of dark red, Maria spoke up, lifting her glass. "To Jane." Reluctantly clinking together, an awkward pause followed until Angela broke the silence after catching the stricken look on the weary doctor's face. "Okay, Maria, we need to get back in there. Bring a few bottles of wine just in case we are running low." Pausing at the door after Maria had left the kitchen, sad eyes found stoic hazel green. "She would be proud of you, you know." With that, she left the kitchen.
Inevitably, Maura had to join the group of the living as they told story after animated story about Jane. While it wasn't quite the level of rambunctious revelry typical at a Rizzoli family gathering, it seemed to be just a touch south. Dropping back to a corner with her glass of wine, she was bombarded by the garlic and basil laced aromas and robust sounds of the get together, the warmth of the close room engulfing her like a blanket. When she found herself searching with a half smile for Jane, she froze, her breaths coming in escalating pants as she tried to swallow against the bile rising in her throat. Placing her glass safely on the table next to her, she exited the room as quickly as she could without causing a scene, stumbled through the kitchen and out onto the back stoop before losing the measly contents of her stomach across the rail.
Maura braced her arms against the cold wrought iron and sucked in a shaky breath, swiping her hand fiercely across her mouth. Tears were once again flowing as she tried to get control of her trembling body. She had determined that she would allow herself the two weeks leave she had requested to fully grieve for Jane. During that time she would devise a plan of action, sort through the hurricane of emotions raging through and around her and organize them, compartmentalize and move on. Tiny boxes. Her life had been sorted into tiny boxes and she could do it again. Couldn't she? A raw sob escaped her throat and her hand flew to her mouth in shame. She didn't think that she would ever be able to put Jane in a box. An infinite being cannot occupy a finite space. Scrubbing her hand over her face in much the same manner she had watched her friend do countless times; she covered her eyes and shook her head. It would take longer than her approved absence and she knew it. She knew it deep down into her soul. Jane was…gone. Her…her…her what? Her person, her best friend, the only one she had ever…her…? Sickness boiled in her stomach and she retched again over the rail. God, Jane. Please. I need you so much and you aren't here…
Her breathing returned to normal as she stood there in the frigid evening air, the familiarity of her surroundings both comforting and torturing her in equal parts. She had stood in this very place countless times watching Jane play with and wrestle Frankie to the ground and vice versa. Come on punk. Let me show you how a real cop takes down a perp. "Can I get you anything?" Presented with a cold damp rag, she flinched, realizing that she wasn't alone. Finding Frost's kind eyes, she took the offering and wiped it along her face, reveling in the crisp cool comfort against the prickling heat of her brow. Her voice was broken in defeat with her selfish desire. "Jane. I need Jane." Cringing at her own words, she exhaled a shaky breath. "I'm sorry, Barry. That was…I know that I'm not the only one hurting. She was your partner. I'm so sorry." Without prompting, she realized that Frost seemed to always be waiting in the wings this past week. Once the facts were presented, it didn't take Maura's superior intellect long to put things together. With a molten stab of pain in her chest, she found her voice without looking back at the younger man, her words coarse and quiet. "Jane asked you to look after me didn't she?"
Frost nodded and gave a slight shrug even though Maura hadn't turned around. Draping his suit jacket across her shoulders, he thought back to that night at the Robber when Jane had posed her request, well, if he were being honest it was more like a demand. He hadn't made much of it at the time because he never believed the day would come that Jane Rizzoli wouldn't be a force to be reckoned with…she was always the larger than life big sister that wouldn't take any of your shit and made you better for it. Shaking his head a little, he finally replied, his voice low. "Um, yeah. After your…after the, um, Doyle case, she made me and Korsak swear, you know, if something happened to her, to make sure you were okay…to keep watch." He kept his gaze forward as he joined the doctor at the railing, his voice softer. "Those hours you were missing; man, she was freaked. I'd never seen her like that. It took all Korsak and I had to keep her from tearing the city apart with her bare hands. You know how she…was when it came to you. She might've acted all hard ass but… she loved you." Frost pretended not to notice the small gasp and tremble in slight shoulders as he continued wistfully. "You know, I never really thought it would happen. She just kind of seemed…I don't know... like she'd always be here." Squaring his stance and clearing his throat, he shoved his hands deep into his pockets and blinked back the tears. "But I meant what I said before, Doc. We've got your back. I've got your back. We were family before and we still are."
Her body crushed by the weight of the day, Maura nodded to Frost in the yellow glow of the porch light. She removed his coat and handed it neatly back to him, her hand lingering on his arm. "Thank you, Barry…for everything." She swallowed hard before continuing, looking him in the eye. "You should know…Jane thought a lot of you and was proud to have you as her partner." Sighing heavily, the mere process of speaking seemed to get more and more cumbersome. "I am going to call a cab and go home." She held her hand up and arched an eyebrow to stall his protest, "Call your girlfriend and spend some time with her. What's her name this week?" Frost couldn't help but chuckle at how the Doc had picked up on Jane's running joke about his revolving door love life. Smacking his lips, he shot the doctor his best grin, "Veronica. Oh, wait, no. It's Felicia."
Maura smiled and moved past him, standing in the doorway to the kitchen. "We'll be okay Barry. It will just take some time to get used to…well." Leaving the unspoken hanging, she entered the house to say her good-byes to Frank, Angela and Frankie with a reluctant promise to come to dinner the following Thursday. She would have to find a way to get out of the obligation. It was much too soon to sit through gnocchi night without Jane by her side. She didn't know if she would ever feel comfortable again without Jane close to her, in her life.
Now sitting in the back of a cab as it pulled up to her cold dark home, she took in a shuddering breath. Handing the driver his fare, she wasn't interested in change, exiting the car with leaden steps, ignoring his rambling. The persistent rain poured down and drenched her completely on the short walk to her front door, the damp roar amplifying her ever present headache. Numb fingers fumbled across a glowing key pad as she used the security entry code to disengage the locks. Closing the door behind, she stumbled into the kitchen, losing a heel with each uneven stride, not bothering to pick them up. Checking that Bass had food, she unzipped her dress and continued on with her routine, exhaustion her unhappy guide.
Grabbing a glass and a bottle of wine from the wrack, she made quick work of the cork and tiredly made her way to her bedroom, dropping her dress in the threshold without a thought to the cost or wrinkles. Regardless of the fact that it was vintage Dior, she scarcely believed she would be able to wear it again now that she associated it with Jane's…with the funeral. Crossing a well known path in the dark, she placed the expensive Cab and Riedel glass on her bedside table, switching on the lamp. Her eyes closed heavily as a tear made its way down her cheek and she prepared for the next step in this new nightly ritual. Slowly, she walked over to the antique chair in the corner and stopped, taking in the carefully draped suit jacket. How many times had her friend left her clothes and bag strewn carelessly across this same chair? Reaching forward with trembling hands, she brought the garment to her face, inhaling deeply. Jane. God, Jane. Slipping it on, she returned to bed, pulling the too big coat around her, wrapping herself in Jane's scent. She dreaded the day when that unique fragrance would fade only to be replaced by the nothingness of the day to day floral notes of her bedroom and the light hint of her Chanel perfume.
She didn't bother to pull the comforter back as she didn't expect much sleep, instead she settled on top, propped against the multitude of pillows. Sipping her wine in the darkness, the smell of Jane so close that she could almost feel her, she allowed her tortured mind to finally allow the playback that always occurred in the darkness of her bedroom, her eyes slipping shut.
"Maura!" Jane all but growled her frustration at the woman separated from her by the bulk of her sofa. Dark eyes narrowed as her hand reached out in a petulant fashion, jaw clenched. "Give. Me. The. Remote." Light hazel eyes widened at the tone but the doctor remained poised as her head tilted slightly to the side and she presented her best, irresistible smile, the backs of her well defined calves brushing against the coffee table. "But, Jaaane," she practically purred. "You could record the Red Sox game with your DVR and we could instead watch the movie. I've read that it's fantastic and historically accurate and I'm your guest after all." Jane stepped right; Maura countered to her right like complementary colors on the color wheel moving in tandem.
Arms crossed in defiance as chocolate brown eyes narrowed again, her plan formed. Placing a scarred hand on the back of the sofa she smiled, tensing her forearm. "You've had your own key to my place forever. That cancels out the 'guest' card. You are going to have to do better than that Dr. Isles." Before she could respond, a yelp escaped her lips as Jane leaped over the sofa and had her flipped and pinned underneath her stretched out across the plump cushions. Breathing hard both women stared into each other's eyes, flushed and unsure of the emotional weight that had suddenly settled between them. The detective finally rolled to the side and squeezed in against the back of the couch, propping up on her left elbow as she leaned forward, brushing her right hand casually across the doctor's stomach and over the edge of the sofa to produce the discarded remote. Blinking against the magnetic draw of endless hazel green, the excitement of victory seemed a little less but Jane smiled rakishly while waving the remote. "Looks like I win." Her words were quiet as she studied her favorite face. Maura lay there comfortably and smiling that crooked smile that the hard boiled detective could not resist. Shit, I can't deny her anything. What the hell is happening to me? "Okay. Fine." She handed the prize over to her friend. "We'll watch your movie and I'll record the game." As an after thought, "But DON'T answer any phones. Frankie always calls during the game…"
Rolling to her side, knees drawn in and a burning ache in her chest, Maura allowed the inevitable to happen as it had every other night that she had tried to avoid it. Pulling the lapels of Jane's jacket around her, she breathed in the detective's warm scent and allowed her thoughts to drift to their last day together, a reluctant traveler as tears trailed silently down her cheek.
You guys are going to have to hang with me on this one and trust that I'll make it okay. If you've read my other story, you know I'm not about an unhappy ending! I would appreciate it if you could take a sec and let me know you are reading! Thanks so much! I appreciate all of you!