Darkness Within

in follow up to A Gentleman's Dilemma

Beta'ed by Heartsways

AN: And here is the final part. Heartsways commented that she really liked how I did not tie up everything with a happy lesbian bow at the end here, and I have to agree with her. This is as much a non-ending as it is an ending. The story is just starting, truly. There will potentially be one more story in this universe but for now I'm done with the heavy, depressing shit. Expect something a little more light-hearted from me in the next few days.

Trigger warning for sexual assault and a whole lot of gender issues.


The bleeding won't stop.

Maura Isles has not actually closed a wound like this since her residency, and that was years ago. She had been too young then and she feels that same level of immaturity and terrified lack of confidence now, Jane's life hanging precariously in the balance.

Her crime scene kit has fallen open on the basement floor, she's pulling out everything she can possibly think of that might be required to patch Jane up. Gauze, needles, a small package of painkillers – the list goes on, but Maura's too afraid to actually do anything with the tools she's assembled.

It's been so long since she's worked on a living, breathing person that she's not entirely sure she remembers how.

"Where are the EMTs?" She asks, rifling through her kit, hoping she has some sort of antibiotic ointment that's slipped towards the bottom.

Korsak, fingers slick with Jane's blood, glances at her and then at his watch. "Two minutes."

They'd called as soon as Korsak had fired the shots at Hoyt, they did not want the sound of approaching ambulances to alert him to their presence as they surrounded the house.

"Move." Maura can't wait that long. Jane can't either. She'll bleed out.

He backs out of her way, and Maura's hands are quiet. Still. Doctor's hands. Her mother had always said that she'd had them. She threads the needle deftly, knowing that the small one that she's using is going to be harder to handle than the larger, more crude one that she's used to.

The dead don't mind.

"Are you going to close that?" Korsak asks, pointing at the gaping hole in Jane's chest.

Maura doesn't answer. her fingers are feeling inside the wound, forever grateful that Jane has passed out. It's easier this way, to concentrate on the injury and not on her lover. The vein is nicked, but not fully severed. How had he managed to carve down that deep and not puncture a lung? The suture kit is in her hands and she's selecting another needle – one for internal stiches, not the external one she's already threaded. She doesn't even know what she's doing – it's been years.

This is easy. A practiced motion. Pour alcohol on the needle, get it clean.

She's not used to her patients breathing.

Jane's chest rises and falls and Maura is grateful that Korsak's jacket is covering Jane, sparing her yet another indignity.

Three stitches on the inside and she's got the vein mostly closed. It'll at least hold together until they can get Jane to see a practicing doctor. She has a license, but she works on the dead, it isn't the same. Maura bandages the wound there and tries not to look at the injuries to Jane's hands. She's not touching them, leaving it to the care of the professionals.

The wail of the ambulance alerts her to the paramedic's approach and Maura presses her hands against Jane's wounds, eyes nervously glancing downwards to her soiled pants. It did not appear that Hoyt had had the time, but Maura was going to recommend a rape kit regardless.

Hoyt is bleeding on the floor. They've ignored him for the most part. Catherine Cordell is lying prone on an old mattress in the corner. Maura hasn't even been over to check on her and she frankly doesn't care that much. Jane is here. Jane is hurt. Jane needs looking after .

"Doctor Isles," Korsak begins as the EMTs swarm around them. "Does Jane have a preference on hospitals?"

Maura thinks, closing her eyes and envisioning a map of Boston. Beth Israel is the closest, and probably the best, but Maura would rather Mass General because she knows more people on the staff there. It shouldn't be her decision to make and yet Korsak is thrusting that responsibility upon her as though it is the most natural thing in the world.

She can't handle the responsibility.

"Mass General if she can make the trip without complications," Maura tells the lead who is wrapping gauze around Jane's right hand and carefully immobilizing the scalpel still imbedded within it. His partner is doing the same on the other side.

She bites her tongue to keep from telling them to be cautious, to do their jobs and not mess this up. That this person is too important to her to lose.

Korsak's hand is strong on her arm, helping her to her feet as the EMTs get Jane onto the gurney they've brought with them. With Jane is someone else's hands – more professional hands who actually know how to handle these things in an emotionally detached way, Maura can finally let the rush of emotions that she's held in check go. The dam breaks and Maura's sobbing into his shoulder, she can't maintain her composure any more.

He pats her on the back, fingers tracing patterns in her scrub top. They're still covered in Jane's blood and Maura is glad that her shirt is black. Black doesn't show stains.

Maura's freezing and she can't feel anything.

"Did you want to go along?" The question falls on deaf ears as Maura tries to calm down. She's so afraid. What if they can't save Jane's hands? What if she dies on the way there?

Frantic questions tumble half-concocted through her mind and Maura can barely think.

Will Jane be alright? Did I close the wound correctly? Did I cause the vein to rupture more when I was in there. I couldn't see anything. What if I made it worse?

In, out, breathe.

She doesn't look at Korsak, or at the EMTs as they take Jane away. She has a job to do here. To make sure that the evidence is processed, that everything is as it should be.

"I should stay here." Maura's stepped away, composed and professional. There's a redness about her eyes, the only sign of her previous weakness.

She'll go see Jane later.

There isn't anything she can do now.

x

Jane wakes up in a dimly lit room, her hands aching. She draws them up, staring at the thick bandages there, and wondering why she can't really move them that well.

She must be in a hospital.

Fuck.

At least I'm alive.

Her father is snoring quietly in a chair next to her, Sports Illustrated lying open across his lap. He was reading an article about Kentucky basketball, Jane wrinkles her nose at it. She doesn't like Kentucky.

"Da-" her voice isn't working right. Jane swallows, throat suddenly even drier than before. She doesn't know how she got here, all she can remember is feeling Hoyt pressed against her and pain, so much pain.

Her father doesn't hear. He's dead to the world, won't be up for a few more hours. Jane settles back down on the pillows.

Her whole body hurts.

Jane closes her eyes and tries to not think about things. Hoyt had been able to see through her as though she was nothing – as though years of hiding her sense of self and personhood from the world at large meant nothing. He had seen Jane – Jay – every aspect of her being.

He had seen it and he knew how to hurt her with it.

Heaving a long, shuddering breath, Jane tries to not cry. The tears stream down her cheeks regardless and Jane realizes that she can't control this.

She has never felt so out of control.

She wants to see Maura.

x

"Janie, are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah ma. Jus' had a psychopath nearly rape me, 'm jus' peachy." Her mother is hovering. Jane hates it when she does that, hates it when her mother treats her like a little girl. She's curled up on her side, face buried in her pillow, desperately wishing that her mother would go away.

Since she woke up her room has been a never-ending parade of nameless faces and people that Jane only barely knows. The brass have to come in and personally check up on her, and she has to be commended by the media for surviving such a brutal attack. Jane does not want to have this on display, but it's all over the fucking place and she can't stand it.

At least Korsak's keeping his distance. He'd come to visit her once, just for a few minutes to say that he was sorry to have seen her that way. It meant more to Jane than anything that anyone else in her long stream of visitors had said to her. Korsak knew. He understood that being seen that way was not how Jane wants to be perceived by the public.

Jane is so grateful that he's avoiding her.

"Really." Her mother is starting up again and Jane wants to scream. She hates the fact that she can't get her to fucking leave so she can grieve and cope with the loss of her dignity. Jane wants it back, but she doesn't know how to recover it. "You look terrible."

"Thanks, ma." Jane grumbles.

Her mother's lips are pursed and Jane tries to not think about what might be going on inside her mother's head. It's never good to think about it too much – her mother's mind is a devious place. "So your friend Doctor Isles called me earlier to check up on you."

Jane's heart quickens and she inhales quietly.

Maura.

Maura, who has been conspicuously absent since she's been stuck in this goddamn hospital bed, is worried about her. Maura, who Jane asked to not come and see her, is worried about her.

Jane knows she's a fucking idiot.

"What did you tell her?" Jane asks.

"Nothing! I told her to come and see you herself," Her mother winks at her and Jane winces. "She's quite attractive you know, does she have a boyfriend? Lucile Salverton's son is in town and since you're laid up maybe I could introduce them…"

"Ma!" Jane's throat hurts, her entire body hurts, but she will not let her mother start to fuck with her relationships. No. Fucking. Way.

"She is seeing someone then?"

Jane nods mutely and thinks about how easy it was with Maura. How she could be herself. Her normal, fucked up, completely confused and awkward about it, self. The self that Hoyt had seen, hidden behind a layer of badly acted femininity that Jane does not possess.

Fuck, how had he seen it?

"Ma, is there any way that you could tell her that I'm fine?" Jane doesn't look at her mother when she asks. She's avoiding the subject – not telling her mother about who exactly is fucking Maura.

"Clearly you're not."

Crossed arms and a stern expression become the Rizzoli matriarch, Jane thinks, staring as her mother shakes her head in disbelief at Jane's request. She should know better. Ma doesn't take shit from anyone and can see through one of Jane's pain-killer addled lies in a heartbeat.

She doesn't know what to do.

Jane wants to see Maura but she can't. She doesn't want to see her – doesn't want Maura to think she's weak. Jane knows that she should know better, that Maura has never judged before, that Maura will not judge now.

Can't risk it.

Hoyt saw something in Jane that she cannot place. He picked up on the most carefully guarded secret Jane possesses and was able to exploit it in such a way that Jane can't even begin to unravel how to cope with it.

Although she will never admit it publicly, Jane knows that seeing the department-assigned shrink will do her a world of good.

The stiff, low-thread-count blanket that is half-covering the injuries to her stomach is balled up in Jane's fist and she can't even begin to look at her mother. "I know – but…" Her hair falls into her eyes and she wants to cut it all off so she can look at the world with some clarity again. She hates everything about herself, but Maura made her understand. Maura is the light at the end of this dark tunnel. Jane cannot see her, cannot risk rejection.

She knows she's crying when she turns to face her mother, eyes stinging as she shows a vulnerability she thought that she'd never openly admit. "I don't want her to worry."

x

Evana Kingston is not the shrink that she wanted to be assigned to her. Jane had wanted Cruz or even Stevenson, at any rate; a guy. She doesn't think that she can tell a woman about this. Maura is an outlier in her comprehension of the situation – Jane doesn't think that she can make another woman understand.

Jane sits in her hospital bed and does her exercises. Her fingers move sluggishly and it hurts like a bitch, but Jane knows that she has to keep doing the exercises or else she'll never get her hands back. Her left hand has been trapped in a cast, but her right is mostly free to move around. She can feel the stitches pull and oh god, they fucking itch as she moves. She stretches and wiggles her fingers and tries not to think about how this is just another fucking thing that Hoyt has taken from her.

Kingston sits in the one comfortable chair in the entire room and watches Jane.

Jane watches her back with narrowed, suspicious eyes.

"I take it you don't want to talk?" Kingston eventually begins. Jane isn't used to being forced to see shrinks when she's already in the hospital for other reasons.

She shrugs. "I don't mind – I just kind of wanted to talk to a guy about this, Doc." Jane pauses for a beat, letting the conversation fully lull before adding, "No offense, but it's hard enough to talk about this as it is."

The doctor's curly hair shakes as she nods her head in the affirmative. "I would think that that is why you need to talk to a woman about this – rather than a man – a man cannot possibly understand what it is like for a woman to go through what you went through."

Jane winces. Bites her tongue.

Hoyt has taken that from her as well. She'll probably never be part of the boy's club again – not after nearly getting fucking raped by a crazy man.

She has been crying so much in the past few days that she cannot any more. Jane doesn't even want to cry, she's angry, she wants to hit things. She squeezes her hand strengthening ball as hard as she can and nearly cries out at the pain of forcing her hand into that shape with the wound that's still healing at its center.

"Besides, you know the drill, no favorites, who you get assigned to is who you get. The department doesn't have the resources to be at your beck and call." Kingston frowns and Jane knows that she's insulted her. She doesn't really care. "So it's this or out of pocket, but we both know you can't afford that."

Fucking great, this chick's a bitch too.

"I know," Jane says quietly. She's staring at her broken hands, at the shambles of her dignity.

Maybe she should just be honest.

"Everything I say to you in here is in confidence, right? This will not find its way into my personnel file?"

Kingston shrugs, "Unless you confess to killing someone or talk about suicide – there isn't any reason for it to."

Jane's eyes narrow and she squeezes the ball tightly again. "I need your assurances."

"You have them."

The ball is in her hand and she's squeezing it. It hurts like a bitch but she won't stop – can't stop – has to get better. Jane tries to think of where to begin.

The beginning, Maura would tell her. The beginning is the very best place to start.

Jane fucking adores her.

Maybe when this session is over she'll call Maura, tell her she's sorry for shutting her out and pushing her away. It isn't that she doesn't want Maura here with her – but rather that she is too afraid of what Maura might say.

The last thing Jane had said to her was 'I love you.'

Maura understands. Perhaps better than anyone.

No, Jane can't do that. Can't force Maura to be her crutch until she's well-enough on her own to take care of herself. Not yet. She's not better, she's still weak.

"I'm not really comfortable with my gender identity."

The department issued shrink looks up from her notepad. "Oh?"

Jane swallows. She shouldn't have said anything. Not many people even understand what she's going through – let alone how her personal situation might make the pain of this even more unbearable. "I don't want to talk about that though."

Kingston stares at her for a moment, curly hair going every which way. Jane is fascinated by how it goes off in every direction. There's no humidity in the room – Jane wonders if her hair is just naturally like this, fucking insane and fucking fascinating. "I think you need to."

"No." Jane inclines her head, but her tone is firm. She's squeezing the ball again. Her hand hurts so much, but she can't stop. The pain is real; it shields her from the emotions she's feeling. "I can't."

"Is it because of Hoyt?" Kingston's question is a legitimate one. Jane supposes she should answer.

"He saw through it. Right fucking through it." Jane doesn't look at Kingston, she can't. "I try so hard to hide it, and he saw it."

"He saw what, exactly?"

She doesn't want to talk about it. Doesn't know how to best articulate it. She's always had trouble with this – never been able to put it into words. Maura never makes her put it into words. Maura never forces her to self-identify when she doesn't know who the fuck she is.

"Me," Jane says eventually, tears in her eyes. "He saw me. He saw how best to hurt me. He saw it fucking all." She looks away. "Fucking bastard."

"Anger is a normal response Jane. It means that you're processing," Kingston says sagely and Jane gives her a withering stare. "Besides, if you are indeed gender variant at all, to be forcibly assaulted and nearly raped is probably the most effective way to hurt you."

"What do you mean if?" Jane demands. She can't fucking believe this. She can't handle this shit. Why is Kingston saying this? This is not what she needs to hear. Not right now, probably not ever.

"Well, I cannot be sure if you are truly gender variant after seeing you for only one session."

"It really isn't your place to say. I'm here to talk about Hoyt, about what happened to me recently, not something that I've been struggling with my entire life." Jane crosses her arms, winces as she presses up against the barely-closed wound in her chest.

Kingston sucks on the tip of her pen, "That could, potentially, be for the best."

x

Maura doesn't come.

Jane told her not to come. She isn't surprised that Maura isn't there.

Still the ache of her not being there is almost more than Jane can handle. She finds herself looking for Maura as the nurses come in to check on her stiches and to make sure she's doing her exercises.

Jane sees her in the wives of the high-ranking police officials who stop by to check on her when their husbands are too busy to be bothered. She smells their expensive perfume and marvels at how Maura always manages to smell like summer and of rain despite her family's wealth.

God, she misses Maura.

She has been debating calling Maura – knowing that she is the one who must break the silence. Maura respects her wishes. More than anything, Maura understands why Jane can't see her.

Fuck it.

Her one moment of weakness, her resolve fails, she picks up the phone and dials out of memory – she never programmed Maura's number into her phone. "I need you," she whispers. It's noon, Maura can come over her lunch break.

Kingston is a fucking cunt and Jane hopes she goes off and dies somewhere. She's been awful about everything, but has signed off on Jane being mentally sound – pending further sessions, to return to work. Jane is at least grateful for that.

Hoyt has taken everything from her, and yet this is who she's pushed away the most. She has to fix this.
Has to tell Maura she loves her above all others.

"Maur, come see me?" The question sounds pathetic from her lips, but she asks it anyway. She knows that Maura will not say no.

"Of course."

It is in that moment, and for the first time since all this started, that Jane feels completely okay with herself.

"You and me
Have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes
Are all worn down, the time for sleep is now
But it's nothing to cry about 'cause we'll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms"