A/N: AAAAHHHHH. I was in the middle of writing a new chapter for my Rizzoli and Isles/Bones crossover, but then the season finale happened and GAH. I was so distraught and horrified and upset and confused and sad that I had to write something. I literally have no idea how I'm going to handle six months until the new season!
"Never. Detective Frost, you saw what she did. She killed my father. She killed him right in front of me. I will never be able to forgive her for that."
"Listen, Maura." She registered the use of her given name, indicating a level that she and Frost, though friendly, had never before reached. "Jane did what she needed to do. It could've just as soon been me that pulled that trigger."
Maura stood up and made to leave, not caring that it was her office and she should be the one to tell Frost to get out. "I wish it had been you. I could've withstood that. You and I, we work together, but that's not all that Jane and I are. She's my best friend, I thought I could trust her, I thought she cared about me—"
"Whoa, Maura, come on. There is not a single person in the world Jane cares about more than you."
Her voice was strangled. "Then why'd she do this? She cared more about Agent Dean than she did about my relationship with my father!"
She headed for the door, but Frost took a step and slammed the office door shut. The move startled Maura, distracted by its boldness and sheer loudness, from protesting or forcing her way through. In a dark bitter voice, Frost said, "Patty Doyle was the man who fathered you, but he was not your dad. I know that much. Furthermore, I know it wasn't Jane's plan to kill him. She wanted to incapacitate him, to keep him from hurting anyone else at the scene—you saw it! He fell!"
"She killed him same as if she shot him through the heart," Maura said viciously. "And don't you dare presume to tell me otherwise." With that, she pushed past him and yanked the door open, slamming it resolutely behind her.
Jane, meanwhile, would never be presumptuous enough to say that she was feeling worse than Maura, yet objectively speaking, she felt like she was. Everything had happened so fast—she had experienced the same hurt, shock, and confusion that Maura had, but put guilt on top of it all. This added up to having Jane sitting alone at the bar of the Dirty Robber, downing a seemingly endless number of drinks. Fresh guilt came over her in waves—what if that had been Pop, just trying to protect me, and Maura had killed him?—but then it would briefly subside by lapsing into justification: Yeah, well Pop wasn't a mob boss. He didn't try to take the law into his own hands and kill people. And she'd feel good about it for a moment or two, but then she'd take another sip of beer and think something miserable like, that's all I do. I solve homicide cases, but I kill people all the time. How many lives have I taken on the job? Am I too trigger-happy? Was Dean's shot enough to take Doyle out of action?
But the worst of all was remembering in perfect, heartbreaking clarity the look on Maura's face and the harshness of her voice right after the deed had been done. Both had burned through Jane's heart like acid, and she was not surprised that recalling this memory for the umpteenth time had finally caused tears to well up in her eyes. She remembered running to the hospital to see Maura after Constance had been hit, how Maura had asked her to find the bastard who'd almost killed her mother. And then I killed her father. I killed my best friend's father. Just the mere thought of these words forced a sob out of her. Maura would never speak to her again, and Jane didn't know that she could blame her. Look how I treated her after I found out she knew Tommy was a suspect in that bank robbery. What was I thinking? How could I call myself her friend?
She glanced up when the television above the other side of the bar started playing a news story about Patty Doyle's death. With a growl, Jane snapped at the bartender to change the channel, and he wordlessly complied.
"Jane." It was Frost. Jane turned to look, and he sighed upon realizing how much she had clearly already had to drink. "C'mon, let's get you home."
"No," she mumbled, shaking off his weak attempt to take her by the arm. "Pull up a chair, partner. Or former partner, maybe I should say."
"What do you mean?" he asked patiently.
"I just decided. I'm gonna move to Florida, go be near my dad."
"And away from Dr. Isles?"
"I don't have a lot, Frost, but there are two things in my life that I love more than life itself: Maura Isles and my job, in that order." She hadn't planned on telling him this, and though she had never mentioned anything even close to it before, Frost was not surprised. He perfectly understood that Jane did not mean platonic love, and he knew from personal experience that drunken words were sober thoughts. "Maura hates me now, so I have to leave. Go be a cop somewhere else. Isn't that a great idea?"
"Look, Jane, you just gotta give her time. She'll come around."
Jane nearly cut him off, slurring her first few words: "No she won't. She won't, Frost, 'cause she doesn't need to. She should hate me for the rest of her life, and after she dies, too, she should still hate me when I'm rotting in hell for what I did."
"Don't say that, Jane. You didn't mean to kill him."
"But I killed him. I let him die when I promised her I wouldn't do anything. Constance almost died and then—and now—her father's dead because of me. I'm a bastard, Frost."
He put an arm around her shoulder, and she didn't pull away. She merely stared miserably at the near-empty beer bottle in front of her, as if willing herself to literally drown in the amount that remained. Frost's voice was unsteady, as though he was still trying to convince himself to believe in what he said: "Patty Doyle was a murderer, Jane. You did what you had to, what you should have done. It was self-defense."
"It wasn't though, Frost, it wasn't. He didn't shoot me, he shot Dean. Because Dean followed him there even though—even though I told him not to, God, what was I thinking when I told him about Doyle…"
"You were thinking of the law! And Maura of all people should've been able to appreciate that you've loved her more than her father ever did—"
"Frost, no, you don't know what you're talking about!" Jane complained, trying to cut through her desperate, drunken haze to make him understand. "Dammit, as much as I hate to say it, he loved her! That bastard sonuvabitch mob boss loved her, so I can't just call him this bad guy when there was obviously more to him than that! He killed Flynn to protect Maura, and if I had a single goddamned brain in my head I'd have stopped to know that he wouldn't have hurt me, either, because he knows I'm Maura's best friend."
"You are her only friend," Frost said shortly. "She needs you, Jane."
"Needs me? Needs me, Frost? The bastard who killed her father?"
"She'll be lost without you, Jane. I had a chance to talk to her when we were checking out the car that hit her mother—you were the first person she called after the accident, and you were the only person she called. No other friends, no other family. Sure she's mad as hell at you right now, and like you said, maybe from her point of view it's granted. But in time, maybe a lot of time, she'll remember how much she needs you."
But he was talking to a wall. Running a hand through her disheveled hair, Jane sniffed, "I loved her more than Doyle ever did, and I showed her."
"Did you tell her?" Frost asked quietly.
Jane shook her head, and the crying picked up its intensity again. "She'll never love me, Frost. It doesn't matter, nothing matters, because now she'll never love me!"
She was too drunk to care that she was crying this hard in a public place, and in front of Frost. This pain was beyond embarrassment, and had only been increased, not numbed as she had planned, by all of the alcohol. Jane was barely conscious of Frost's arms around her, trying to comfort her; barely conscious of the tears and the mucus flowing freely down her face, into her mouth. All she could register was the light taste of disgust, which perfectly matched how she felt about herself at the moment and her behavior earlier that day. Probably because she was finally too exhausted to fight it anymore, she allowed herself to be cajoled into going home. Frost drove her to her complex and walked her upstairs, then hesitated outside her actual apartment door.
"Stay," Jane muttered, still crying quietly as she fumbled with the keys.
He gently took them from her and unlocked the door, pushing it open. "You want me to stay?" he asked softly.
She inhaled deeply, and it was a tired, wet sound. "Yeah. Sleep on the couch."
"Sure thing, Jane."
Frost barely slept a wink, distraught on behalf of his friend. Jane only slept because her body was so overwhelmed with all it had consumed in the last couple of hours, and her guilt-ridden heartbreak was no match for the powerful substances she had so indulgently ingested. It made for a long, uninterrupted sleep, and she did not even stir until ten-thirty in the morning.
Her first conscious thought was of the horrible headache she had, and she dimly wondered if that was what had woken her. From there, her memory quickly worked backwards: she was hungover; she'd been at the Dirty Robber for God knows how long; she had killed Patty Doyle …her heart plummeted at the memory. For a few glorious seconds, the day had been new and full of promise, the sun had been shining, she had even (as usual) wondered what Maura would be wearing and what quirky facts she would share with her today.
But none of that would ever be again. Every day for the rest of Jane's life would be darkened, regardless of sunlight, by the memory of what she had done. She screwed her eyes shut and ground her fists into them, but no action could ever erase that scathing, horrified look on Maura's face after Jane had shot her father. With each small realization came a sharper, harder pound in her temple, a physical reminder to taunt her about what she had done. A life without Maura in it—her smile, her face, her friendship, her embrace—was one Jane did not want to think about, but she had brought it on herself.
She wanted nothing more than to stay in bed all day, but the physical pain was becoming too much to bear. Moving deliberately, Jane got to her feet and headed to the kitchen for some Advil. At the sound of her door opening, Frost quickly turned from the couch, and he could tell that Jane was initially surprised to see him.
"Oh yeah," she muttered, walking to one of her kitchen cabinets.
He stood up, suddenly worried more than ever about his potential to say entirely the wrong thing, now that Jane was sober. "Jane, I… I don't… uh, you okay?"
Jane tried to smile, but it came out as a grimace. "Yah, sure, don't worry about me, Frost. Just got a bit of a headache." She shook out some pills and downed them without any water. "Thanks for bringing me back."
"Of course. Can I do anything else?"
"No, man. Go ahead and go home."
A slightly more genuine smile graced her features. "Yes. I swear I won't drink myself to death again. I just …I just need some time to myself."
He nodded solemnly. "I understand."
She wanted to walk over and hug him, just so he would know how grateful she really was, but Jane stayed put. Outward displays of affection always made her feel uncomfortable, and Frost probably would have felt awkward, too. So with a few more muttered exchanges, he picked up his coat and walked out the door, leaving Jane completely on her own.
A shower seemed like a good idea, but as she changed out of clothes she had fallen asleep in, Jane opted instead for shorts and black sports bra. She'd promised Frost not to beat herself up with anymore alcohol, so the next logical tact seemed to be beating up the dummy Frost and Korsak had given her several months ago. With each punch, Jane thought one negative thing about herself; with each kick she internally reminded herself why she was unworthy of Maura ever laying eyes on her again. Ultimately she got so riled up that without even noticing, she had started saying the self-effacing things aloud. It only stopped when one particularly heavy punch had caused the dummy to swing so drastically it seemed liable to swing to the floor. Sweaty and exhausted, Jane finally allowed herself that shower.
For Jane, showers had always been quick. Growing up, she had never understood why women felt the need to take "luxurious," half-hour long showers when there were people all over the world without the mere simple luxury of running water. Standing in a shower longer than it was necessary to rid yourself of sweat or grime was such a waste—or so she had thought until today. Granted, it wasn't a conscious action, but Jane stayed under the boiling jet for nearly forty-five minutes, crying again. Nothing could ever wash away what she had done. No baptism could ever eradicate the guilt that racked her to the core, or rid her of the self-loathing she had built up so quickly.
After her shower, she slipped on a robe and curled up in bed with a magazine she flipped open but never read. Jo Friday jumped onto the bed next to her, and when Jane didn't immediately pay her any attention, the dog nuzzled her head under her owner's arm. For the first time in several hours, Jane genuinely smiled.
"You'll always love me, won't you, Jo?" she murmured, scratching behind her pet's ears. "You won't ever care what I do… so long as I feed you and walk you. You won't ever turn your back on me."
And it was only for Jo that Jane left her apartment at all that day, to give her a walk. It was a gorgeous day outside, but Jane felt guilty taking any joy in it, and returned as quickly as possible to her apartment, which somehow felt cluttered and empty at the same time. Still exhausted from all that had happened yesterday, she fell asleep at four in the afternoon and didn't wake up until her phone went off the next day.
There was a call from operations about a murder. Instinctively Jane had said she'd be right there, but after hanging up, was suddenly pricked with worry that Maura would be there as well. As if anticipating this possibility, Korsak was the next person to give her a call:
"Jane, I just thought you should know… Maura's taking some personal time off. Dr. Pike is going to be handling this case."
"Oh," she said dully. "Okay."
True to Korsak's word, Maura did not show up to work for three full weeks. When Pike announced his last day on the job, Jane chickened out and called in sick. Even though she knew she was merely prolonging the inevitable and that she could only afford to miss two days at most, Jane didn't care. She had not once tried to call or email Maura, because she knew anything she message she left would be ignored, and rightfully so. Nothing she ever left on a machine could communicate how she really felt.
Sitting up late at night on her second day away from work, Jane pulled out an old legal pad. It was the only paper she had in her apartment, and she didn't feel like going out to buy something more suitable—but she wanted to write Maura a letter. The need to do so had overcome her suddenly, and something told her not to ignore the feeling. As she tried to come up with the perfect thing to say, she thought sourly to herself that it was too bad Hallmark didn't have a sorry-I-killed-your-father card. She wanted to laugh, but the urge quickly left her and she felt disgusted with herself. She and Maura had often exchanged macabre quips over bodies of victims, but those victims had never been personally connected to them.
It took several drafts and a couple of hours, but Jane finally got something out that she felt she could stand behind:
Let me start by saying that I absolutely understand if you want to read no further (assuming you didn't tear this letter apart on sight). I am completely aware that nothing I ever say to you will make up for what I did, for my abominable actions. You have every right to be angry with me, because in retrospect I realize that I betrayed your trust. I do not exaggerate when I say that realization hit me harder and has hurt longer than a bullet I once shot through myself. Saying "I'm sorry" will never be enough, and I know that. But in case you had just the slightest doubt, I need for you to know that I am sorry. I'm so sorry that I hurt, physically, every day—and it's made even worse by knowing that it can't compare to the pain I've inflicted upon you.
This letter is not meant to excuse away what I did, or justify it by any means. It is to serve only as an explanation. I can hardly live with myself as it is, but (perhaps selfishly), I am hoping to lessen the pain even slightly by trying to tell you some of my thoughts and motivations.
I say "motivations" plural only as a technicality: there are some things motivated by pure, involuntary instinct—whether it's instinct to save my own life or another person's, or instinct to follow through on the law. More often than not, those are not conscious decisions. They are made in the heat of the moment. When I shot Doyle, that wasn't premeditated. It was fueled by adrenaline and fear.
You, Maura Isles, are my motivation for everything else.
I didn't follow you to the burned-out factory that day to kill Patty Doyle. I didn't even really go there to catch our killer. I went to protect you. I went to make one-hundred percent sure that you were safe. When I realized that hit-and-run was a straight attempt to murder you, I knew I was going to do anything in my power to protect you. When Hoyt had us trapped in that prison infirmary, I felt like I deserved to die for my stupidity. But I couldn't let him kill you, I couldn't let him hurt you even more when I saw him cut your neck. I didn't care what happened to me; I had to make sure you were safe. When Bobby showed his true colors and tried to kill us, I did what I had to keep you alive. I had faith in you to keep Frankie alive, which is exactly what you did, even when you were under so much pressure and we were almost killed.
All of this makes it sound like I'm trying to say you owe me or something, but that's not what I mean. I don't know how else to tell you I love you. I need you to know that. Even if you never speak to me again, I have to get it out—I'm in love with you, Maura, I love you so much. But actions speak louder than words, and the last action you saw me take was violent and seemingly uncalled for. It was not my intent to kill Patty Doyle. But I was confused. You have told me off more than once for trying to defend him, and you have called him a callous murderer. What changed? How did he redeem himself? I know what I did will never be right in your eyes, please don't think I'm fine with what I did. I just have to know why you were so quick to stand by him and not me.
But this isn't about me. It's about you and how I've hurt you. I am so profoundly sorry. You are the person in this universe I love more than anyone else. I didn't know I could love somebody this much, and I hate myself for causing you this much pain. In spite of all my stupidity and horrible decisions, and in spite of the possibility that you will never talk to me outside of work again, I will always remain
Eternally yours, Jane
There was no time to wait for a post office to deliver this. Jane carefully folded the letter in an envelope, wrote Maura's name on the front, and headed for her car. If she backed out now, she knew she'd never get the letter out there. But once she reached Maura's house, Jane sat in the car for nearly two minutes. A light was on somewhere in the house, but unfortunately that was all she could tell from the curtained window. The temptation to go and ring the bell was incredibly tempting, but Jane did nothing more than run to the mailbox and slip her letter inside. Her heart raced all the way home, and it wasn't until she was in bed and had turned the lights off that it seemed to go back to normal. Her stomach felt twisted in anticipation, and she had trouble sleeping as she struggled to imagine how Maura would react to her letter.
Jane's worst fear was confirmed when she awoke the next morning to a text from Maura: I'm leaving Boston.
That was it. Three words and Jane felt like her world had imploded. She called in sick again, but actually felt it was legitimate—she threw up after reading the text. It was probably a culmination of the horrible diet she'd been on lately combined with her lack of steady sleep and exercise, and the devastating implications of Maura's text had been the last straw. Jane had poured her heart out as best she could, and while it might not have been as nicely worded or articulate as the kinds of letters Maura was probably accustomed to reading, it had been Jane's best. Maura's response had been so cold, and even though Jane had been expecting something like it, she had dared let herself hope for so much more.
She had no idea what all she accomplished that day. Probably nothing. The ache of the thought of losing Maura gnawed at her from the inside out, rendering her immobile. Jo had been forced to relieve herself in the apartment, because despite her pleading barks and gently nudges against Jane's leg, Jane really could not be bothered to leave. She never would have thought anyone could make her feel this down.
Around 8:00 that night, there was a knock at her door. It would be Frankie or her mother, probably, and she had no desire to talk to either of them. The knock repeated several times, and Jane waited for an impatient Italian voice to accompany it, but none came. She glanced at her phone, waiting for a family member to call, but the device remained silent on her coffee table. When the knock came again, and louder, Jane finally launched herself off the couch. It felt surprisingly good to do something so active—what a joke, thinking opening a door is active…
Fully prepared to tell off whoever it was, Jane yanked open the door, but felt immediately winded at the sight of who was standing there.
A/N: please review for more. I hope to be inspired when/if I see the episode again. If I can handle it.