It had been a busy day. Three dead bodies, in twenty four hours, one sadistic killer. A monster of a man, who tortured, his victims for months, sometimes, even years, before killing them.
Everyone was busy. Korsak was busy chasing down leads. Jane, and Frost were on a stake out. Maura stayed late, to try and get caught up on all the bodies in her morgue. It was busy, but it wasn't really out of the ordinary. They were always busy.
This, time they were too busy. Too busy trying to catch a killer, to notice some very important things. Too busy to realizes that his next victim was going to be one of their own.
Jane blamed herself, more than anyone, for what happened next. She was to busy to make anything of the fact that Maura didn't answer her phone call. She was too busy when she got home, to call and see if her best friend had made it home, amidst the chaos. She had been too busy to notice, that her friend never made it home. That she made it to the parking lot, but not her call.
When she arrived at her desk the next morning, she plugged in her phone. She had been too busy to remember to bring her charger home. That's when she found out that she had ten missed calls. Every one of them from her mother. Three voicemails.
She was too busy to call her back. She headed to the cafe to get a cup of coffee. Her mother met her in a panic.
"I called you. Why didn't you answer me?"
"Ma, I'm fine. You don't have to worry about me. I forgot my phone charger, and the phone went dead. I was on a stake out until three a.m. I'm fine."
"It's not you that I'm worried about."
"What do you mean, ma?"
"Maura never came home, last night."
"She probably worked late. She falls asleep at her desk all of the time."
"I called her. I called her cell phone. I called her office home. She still hadn't made it home, when I left to come here, this morning."
"Maybe you just didn't see her."
"I waited on the couch for her, all night. She called me and told me that she was going to stay until midnight, and that she would make sure to let me know when she got in."
"Maybe she forgot."
"Can you just go see if..."
"I'll go see," Jane agreed.
But she found the morgue empty. She found Maura's office empty. She wandered into the parking lot, looking for her car. She found Maura's car. Her purse was sitting on the ground, next to the car. That is when the panic set in.
Jane reached for her phone. Her fingers felt clumsy, as she dialed a familiar number. It rang twice, before the party she was trying to reach answered.
"Frost? I need you to come out here."
"To the parking lot."
"I need you to bring a crime scene tech with you."
"Why? Jane what's going on?"
"What do you mean missing?"
"She never went home last night. She's not in the morgue. She's not in her office."
"Maybe she went home with someone."
"If by someone, you mean that she was abducted by a serial killer."
"Why are you assuming that she's been abducted?"
"Her car is still in the parking lot."
"Like I said, maybe she went home with someone."
"And she left her purse next to the car, dumped on the ground, along with the keys?"
"I'll be right there."
Six months later:
She stares at herself in the mirror. She wipes the sleep from her eyes. She pulls on her clothes. She feels like a zombie, as she pulls her hair into a pony-tail. She shakes her head, trying to shake the sense of grief. Today is the sixth month anniversary of Maura's disappearance. No body, no leads. Nothing.
Nothing, but a sense of grief. A sense of loss. Shoes that can not be filled. Qualified medical examiners have filtered through BPD, since her disappearance. Eight M.E.'s in six months. The loss grates on everyone.
There are no fun, and games. It's all business, all the time. Every member of Boston PD wears a solemn face, in remembrance of a fallen colleague. A hero. One whose reappearance seems less likely with each passing day.
Jane pulls on her blazer, and heads out the door. She waltzes past her coffee pot, on her way out the door. There is never any sleep, anymore, so she skips the caffeine. She slowly makes her way to the car.
She clears the car of snow. It's late February, and a fresh six inches has covered her car, since she came in last night, at midnight. She warms the car up, as she scrapes snow, and ice. Finally when her fingers are frozen, beneath her two pairs of gloves she climbs inside. She finds herself staring at the air freshener, hanging from her mirror.
It no longer smells of anything, but cardboard. She refuses to take it down. It is a gift, that Maura had given her, to cover up the smell of old take out, and dirty socks. She looks into her mirror, and puts the car into drive. She pulls into the street, and creeps down the road. She stops at the light.
She arrives at the precinct, and parks her car. She climbs into the elevator, after going through security. She reaches her desk. She finds that her partner is already there. He stares at her solemnly. She stares back at him, wondering the last time she could remember seeing him smile.
"You ok?" he questions.
"Same as yesterday?"
"Yep. Why do you always ask?"
"I keep thinking that if I keep asking, eventually your answer will change. One day you will be ok."
"No. I won't. My best friend was abducted by a murderous bastard, because I was too busy doing other things. If we ever find her, it will probably be in a hole, in the ground."
"We've been over this a million times, Jane. It wasn't your fault."
"I know, but you are never going to convince me of that."
"I should have pieced the clues together sooner. If I had realized, then she would still be here."
"We all should have. We were in the middle of an investigation. We were trying to find him, before he struck again."
"And we failed miserably."
"We'll find her."
"Only if he wants us to."
"Do you even believe that, anymore?"
He doesn't respond.