A/N: I make absolutely no promises in this fic, except that it is so angsty the feelings will be coming out of your ears. It's rated T, but a certain 4-letter word does pop up at a couple points, so I'd probably put it around PG-15. Leave me a review and let me know what you think. Don't hold back—I certainly didn't with this story. Enjoy!


August 27

Day 92

Jane Rizzoli was a mess. She had been sitting on her couch all weekend, either the TV remote or a bottle of beer clutched in her fist round the clock, staring listlessly at whatever laugh-track sitcom was on it-didn't-matter-which cable channel from dusk til dawn. Sleep came at random, short intervals during the day, messing with her inner clock and darkening the circles under her eyes. Believe it or not, this was her way of coping—wallow incessantly for a set amount of time, then be ready for whatever insanity life brings on Monday morning.

In some ways, she felt stronger; she was finally letting go and moving on with her life.

But in other ways, she felt like an idiot; she was mourning the loss of her best friend and love of her life, when said person had not even returned from her convention in Paris yet.

"I'm glad I sent it," Jane said to herself for the thirtieth time that hour. She glanced down at Jo Friday, who was staring up at her with a curious expression. "I'm glad I sent the letter, Jo. It was absolutely killing me and I'm glad I did something about it."

Jo cocked her head to the side and stared at her master.

"Oh, don't give me that look." Jane settled back into the couch and flicked channels aimlessly. "I'm done questioning myself. That's what got me into this position in the first place." She snorted at herself. "'Different kind of love', my ass. Yeah, the in love kind of different, you moron. Jo, why am I such an imbecile?"

Jo blinked. Jane nodded solemnly.

"Yeah, you're probably right."

Jane took a long draft from her beer, muted the television and pulled a blanket over her face, relishing the darkness. "It's been a long road, Jo. And, honestly? I'm glad it's almost over."


June 11

Day 15

"Ma! I'm taking Maura to the airport now!"

"Hold on, hold on, I'm coming!" Angela Rizzoli came bustling around the corner, frantically wiping her flour-covered hands on a dish towel. "Oh, we're going to miss you so much, my dear," she lamented as she took her surrogate daughter in her arms and squeezed tight. "Don't worry about the house or the tortoise; we'll take good care of them while you're gone."

"Thank you so much, Angela," Maura replied, returning the hug enthusiastically. "I'll miss you too."

"Now, don't you go about falling in love over there, you hear?" Angela pulled back and waved the dish towel vaguely at the window. "Boston has you etched in its heart already."

"Oh, come on, Ma, really?" Jane rolled her eyes and gave Maura's waist a little push, guiding her towards the door. "She's gonna miss the flight."

"Be careful driving!" Angela called out as the door swung shut behind the two women, leaving the oldest Rizzoli alone in Maura's very empty house.

They pulled into Logan with few minutes to spare. Jane helped her friend get her luggage checked and accompanied her as far as the security gate, where both women hesitated to leave each other.

"So…" Jane started out, wringing her hands uneasily.

Maura smiled: a small, sad expression. "So."

"Twelve weeks without you, that's…" Jane shrugged. "That's a little crazy, what am I going to do?"

The shorter woman appeared thoughtful. "Well, there's work. You could always build on your relationship with your mother, Frost, Korsak, your brothers…"

Jane felt the corner of her mouth twitch. "Yeah, but…"

She trailed off, but Maura understood. "It won't be the same."

"No, it won't be."

They looked at each other. Jane's stomach was turning painfully—she desperately wanted to tell Maura no, don't go, stay here with me…but the sensible part of her knew too well that the doctor had to leave. She let out an involuntary sigh of defeat and hoped her friend didn't notice. This wasn't going to be easy.

Maura did notice, however. The light sadness in her eyes deepened when she heard Jane exhale heavily and she immediately wanted to comfort her. "Oh, Jane…" Maura reached out and wrapped her arms around the detective's strong shoulders, pulling her into a hug.

Jane held Maura as tightly as she dared, inhaling the smaller woman's sweet scent and wishing she could stay like this forever. When the ME retreated, Jane slid her hands from around her friend's waist a little too slowly and once again hoped she wouldn't notice. Maura didn't this time.

"I'm only a phone call away."

Jane nodded, the ever-growing lump in her throat preventing her from forming words. She watched Maura pick up her carry-on and head towards the security gate, and when the blonde turned around to wave goodbye one last time, it took all of her willpower to keep the tears down and wave back.

For God's sake, Rizzoli, keep it together.

The second Maura turned away, Jane was sprinting for the exit, pressing a hand over her mouth to muffle the sobs trying to escape her lips. She didn't stop running until she reached her car, and at that point the tears were coming down so hard it took her three tries to unlock the door.

Once inside the car, Jane dropped her keys carelessly onto the floor and let out a heartwracking sob. Lifting trembling fingers to her cheeks, she realized her skin was soaked with salt water and more was coming. "Oh, my God," Jane somehow managed to squeak before a fresh wave of sobs hit her, shaking her to the core. She had never felt like this before, not even when her grandfather had died. Such an overwhelming feeling of loss and helplessness was completely new to her. She wanted to flee. She wanted to get as far away from the airport as fast as she possibly could. But the tidal wave of emotions hit her so hard that she couldn't see, never mind think, straight enough to get herself safely home. No, she'd have to wait for it to pass. It always did. Somehow, it always did.


May 28

Day 1

Jane slammed the door of her apartment and fell back against the cool wood, panting hard. She drew a hand to her stomach and attempted to slow her racing heart by taking long, deep breaths at controlled intervals. Holy shit. Holy, holy, holy shit.

Slowly, she slid to the floor and brought her knees up to her chest. Shoving her hands into her hair, Jane dropped her forehead to her legs and let out a huge breath. Stomach in knots. Heart racing. Skin tingling. Flushed. Out-of-breath. Squeezing her eyes shut, Jane wasn't surprised to feel several tears fall on her hot cheeks. Devastated beyond recognition.

She hadn't just run a marathon, nor did she eat anything raw or potentially poisonous. It wasn't flu season, so her symptoms clearly weren't indicating a physical problem. Nobody had died. Well, somebody had, but no one that affected Jane outside of work. No, this was a different kind of sorrow. Sorrow that was accompanied by an emotion that terrified Jane to no foreseeable end.

"I'm going to a convention in Paris in two weeks."

Maura's out-of-the-blue remark earlier that day in the morgue had caused Jane to do a double take.

"What?"

"A convention. In Paris. For current, former and aspiring members of the Doctors Without Borders program. They asked me to come and speak about how great an opportunity it was for me, how many doors it opened in my life, and things like that."

"Whoa, wait a second…when is this thing?"

"I leave on the eleventh."

"Maura, that's in two weeks!"

"I just said that, Jane."

"And you waited until now to tell me? How long is it going to be?"

"Well, since it is run by a world-wide, ongoing program with members constantly on active duty, making it very difficult for everybody to be there all at once…"

"Maura…"

"Twelve weeks, Jane. I'm going to be in France for twelve weeks."

"Twelve weeks? You waited until two weeks before you leave to tell me that you're going to be gone all damn summer?"

"Jane…"

"What, is the entire Indian subcontinent part of the freaking program? Why the hell does it last so long?"

"See, this is exactly why I didn't tell you about it until now…"

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"It means I knew you'd react this way, Jane, no matter when I told you! You'd be furious at me for not telling you the moment I found out, especially since it means you'll have to spend the summer working with Dr. Pike—"

"Holy shit, Maur!"

"—but I didn't find out about the offer until ten days ago, Jane. And I didn't make a final decision until I knew what I was going to do during the break periods!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, there are lapse times? You mean it isn't just a crazy-ass long convention?"

"Of course not, Jane. The program runs three times in total, for two weeks, giving the administrators time to—"

"Maura! You're only going to be working for half the time you're there?"

"For God's sake, Jane, would you stop interrupting me and just listen?"

Silence had fallen then, and Jane felt overwhelming guilt as she stared at her best friend. She took a deep breath to calm herself and had tried to start over.

"…I'm sorry. What…what are you doing when you're not with the doctors?"

"I'll be taking refresher courses at a local college. Jane…I'm so sorry to have sprung this on you. I should have told you the moment I knew."

"No, Maura, don't…don't think that. I overreacted, and I apologize. It's your life, and what I think isn't important."

"Jane, what you think is more important to me than anybody else."

It was that remark that sent Jane's heart rate skyrocketing. Her insides had twisted and she suddenly couldn't breathe. None of these sensations were new, though—she knew she had felt each one individually at one point, just…never all at the same time. It petrified her, but she didn't let it show as she hugged Maura and continued to chat about her summer plans as casually as possible.

Now, alone in her apartment, all of those feelings were washing over her again, tenfold in force and accompanied by an incredible sadness. Jane dug the heels of her hands into her eyes and started to cry openly, feeling herself grow weaker by the second. It can't be true. I can't feel this way. It can't hurt this much. Please, God, please, don't let it be true…


June 23

Day 27

It had been nearly two weeks since Maura had left, and Jane was ready to murder Dr. Pike by any means possible. As a homicide detective, she'd seen her fair share of odd killings, and at this point in time, she wasn't picky.

"Oh, for goodness sake! Gone twelve days, and I'm still finding Dr. Isles' tools out of place," the mouse-faced ME griped as he delved noisily into a drawer of medical supplies near the back of the autopsy room. "What I wouldn't give for one square inch of organized space…"

Jane felt her fingers curl into fists at the same time Frost laid a hand on her arm. "Steady, Jane," he warned under his breath, not taking his eyes off Pike.

"What I wouldn't give to tell him where to stick his scalpel…" she muttered angrily.

"Is there a problem, Detective Rizzoli?" Pike asked as he turned around to face the pair, a pair of tweezers held aloft in his hand.

Jane raised her eyebrows. "Hmm? Oh, no, no, Doctor," she replied scathingly, crossing her arms tightly over her chest. "Do continue with your rummaging and complaining and reorganizing. Detective Frost and I have the autopsy covered, don't you worry about that."

"Jane," Frost hissed.

Dr. Pike drew himself up to full height and stared down his nose at Jane. "I apologize, Detective Rizzoli, for wanting to have a little structure in my morgue," he said, just as sarcastically. "I realize you and your fellow detectives are used to bumbling through your cases with an unnecessary amount of help from Dr. Isles, but her…unorthodox methods will not be practiced here, while I am the acting Medical Examiner. Now, if you two will excuse me, I have a proper autopsy to perform."

Fury burned Jane from inside out, and it took all her self control to keep herself from throwing the nearest object as hard as she could at Pike's head. You know what? Screw this. I'm not listening to this anymore. "Fine," she snapped. "Fine. You're excused. I'm leaving." Without further ado turned on her heel and stalked towards the exit, running a hand through her hair. "I'm sick of this bullshit."

"Jane!" her partner called after her.

"Text me if you find anything important, Frost, I'll see you tomorrow."

Jane pushed out of the autopsy room and heard Dr. Pike exclaim, "Oh, immediately, Detective Rizzoli," before the doors swung shut behind her. She shot him a scathing look through the glass and stomped towards the elevator, eager to get out of there.

Korsak found her two hours later sitting at the bar at the Dirty Robber, nursing her fourth beer. He slid onto the stool next to the young detective and dropped a hand onto her shoulder. "You okay, Jane?"

She scoffed, running a finger up and down the neck of the half-empty bottle. "I'd be better if he was gone."

Korsak nodded slowly and watched his old partner for a minute. Her posture was weak, her usually wild hair hung limp around her pale cheeks, and dark circles rested just under her eyes. Something was very off about her, and had been for a while now. The elder detective sighed and slid his hand off of Jane's shoulder. "You miss her, don't you?"

A cynical smile quirked Jane's lips as she looked up at him. "Is it that obvious?"

Shaking his head, Korsak idly traced a scratch on the bar. "He's here for the whole summer, Jane, and we've all got to deal with the bastard." When the brunette's head shot up in surprise, he nodded. "Yeah, he is a bastard. But that doesn't mean we give him hell til he leaves. It just means we have to suck it up and let him do his job. Okay?"

Jane heaved a sigh. She took another swig of beer before answering. "So I'm not allowed to hold him at gunpoint when he won't give me the tox reports?"

Korsak laughed, and clapped Jane gently on the back. "Give her a call, Jane, and don't worry. We'll all get through this."

With that, the elder detective left the Robber. Jane sat still, thinking while she absently traced the mouth of her beer. After a few minutes consideration, she pulled out her phone, typed in a quick message, and hit "send".

Hey, Maur. I know it's late there, but I just wanted to touch base. Pike's a moron and we all miss you terribly. Let me know how it's going when you can? –Jane

It was a good ten minutes before her phone vibrated, causing her to jump. Half hoping it was Frost with news on the case, she opened her inbox and felt her legs go weak upon seeing the sender.

I miss you all, too! Try to be nice to Dr. Pike, please. I'm about to go to bed, but I'll call you tomorrow before our farewell dinner. Goodnight. Maura x

She fought the overwhelming urge to kiss the little x after Maura's name and realized it was definitely time to stop drinking. She stood up and dropped a few bills on the bar, leaving her half-empty beer behind. Jane walked out of the Robber and onto the darkening streets, wishing as she walked home that her best friend was there to see the sun go down in Boston.


July 4

Day 38

"Janie, what's wrong with you today? You've hardly touched your burger!"

Oh, stuff it, Ma. Staring pointedly at her mother, Jane took a big, slow bite of her cheeseburger and chewed languidly. Angela scowled. "Don't be a smart-aleck."

"Don't criticize my eating habits," Jane shot back.

Frankie leaned back in his chair, balled up a napkin, and lobbed it at his sister's head. "You've got a problem with my grilling?"

Jane snatched the napkin up from where it landed on the table and whipped it back at Frankie. "I've got a problem with you throwing shit at me like you're four!"

"Hey! You don't talk like that in my house, Jane Rizzoli!"

Tommy had the intelligence to stay out of the fight, but Jane glared across the table and caught him with a mouth full of watermelon, watching her with interest. With a low growl, the detective dropped her half-eaten burger and stood up, wiping her hands on her jeans. "I need some air," she said curtly, and without further ado she turned on her heel and stalked towards the door, ignoring her mother's calls.

Jane slammed the door to the guest house behind her and marched straight across the yard, digging desperately in her pockets. The key, the doorknob, the turning and thrusting came in one fluid motion and Jane suddenly found herself standing inside Maura's spotless kitchen, completely and utterly alone. Shit. She felt a now-familiar tightness in her chest and began to breathe hard. Her gaze darted around the silent, empty space. This was Maura's home…where she read, where she ate, where she slept…this is Maura's home

With a deep, shaky breath, Jane fell back against the door and slid slowly to the floor, digging the heels of her hands into her eyes. "God, what am I doing?"

Something nudged against her foot and she jumped, instinctively clapping a hand over her hip where her gun wasn't there. She looked down and realized it was just Bass, biting inquisitively at her shoelace. Jane moved her foot away and he retreated into his shell. The detective sighed heavily, dropping a hand onto his shell. "What am I doing, Bass?" she muttered. "Is this pining? Am I pining for Maura?"

Of course, the tetrapod didn't answer. Jane idly began to trace the design on his shell. "I just can't stop thinking about her," she whispered, staring around the kitchen. "Whenever I'm at work, all I want to do is get in the elevator and go down to see her. But I can't, because she isn't there. And today, I don't have any desire to go see the fireworks. I want to watch them with her, but she isn't here. I'm sick of this family get-together crap, and it's barely two o'clock." She let her head fall against the door with a dull thunk. "God, I want to tell someone how I feel, but I don't even know how to explain it to myself! I feel…damn, Bass…" Jane reached up and ran a hand over her face. "I miss her like hell."

The tortoise was quiet. Jane relished the silence for a few moments, taking the opportunity to think carefully. "She told me once that she loved me," the detective whispered. "I didn't say so, but I do love her back. I love her so much that it hurts. That doesn't mean I'm in love with her, does it? That's…that's just not possible. I love her differently, is all. Yeah. It's a different kind of love." Jane shivered and rubbed her arm vigorously to get rid of the goosebumps that appeared. "I just want her home, Bass. I just want her here."


July 16

Day 50

"Rizzoli."

"Hey, Jane."

"Maura! Hi! How are you? Wow, gosh, what time is it over there?"

"Only about ten o'clock. I'm on my way to bed, but I thought I'd give you a call first. It's been a while since we've talked, hasn't it?"

"Sixteen days. Erm…I think. Anyways, you missed a…a fun fourth of July."

"I know. I've always loved the excitement of Independence Day in Boston and I'm sad to have missed it this year. But I'm having a wonderful time in Paris! I absolutely adore this city. I can't believe how long it's been since I was here…"

"That's great, Maur, great. Is this a…is this an on week, or off week for you?"

"On. We've a lovely group of English doctors who came directly from Uganda amongst the participants this time around. Well…most are lovely."

"Why most? Is there another ME who rivals your knowledge of intermittent adhesive corroding obstructions of the orbicular artery or something?"

"…I won't even bother correcting that sentence. No, it's…it's Ian. He's here, and he's staying until the last session."

"…Ian? As in, Ethiopian-speaking, Australian accent, still-wanted-by-Interpol-for-smuggling-drugs-no-matter-how-helpful, Ian Is-His-Last-Name-Even Faulkner?"

"Yes, that Ian. And, he's asked me to dinner. Several times now."

"You've…you've said no, though, right? No way in hell, after the way he treated you?"

"Of course I said no, Jane."

"Good. The bastard. He has some nerve…"

"Well, I mean, not only would he be arrested if he ever set foot on American soil, but a long-distance relationship is something that I have come to believe to be unwise."

"…and he's a jackass."

"Jane."

"What?"

"Please stop saying that."

"Why?"

"Because I asked you. Please."

"Oh. …oh. Uh…okay. I'm sorry, I didn't…didn't realize."

"Yes, well, I'm not too happy about it, so I try to not think about it too much."

"I…I'm really, really sorry, Maur. I had no idea…"

"Well, it's…it's hard to forget about someone you once loved so…completely, Jane. No matter how much it hurts."

"Yeah, I can understand that."

"…you can? You mean…Casey? Or somebody else?"

"Oh…oh no, Maura, I just…what I meant was…you know what, that's a story for another day. Listen, uh…I should go. Long day, haven't taken Jo out since this morning, should probably get something to eat…"

"Is it a new case? Are you all getting along okay with Pike?"

"Yeah, and he's really…he's really something. Look, Maur, I really should go. I'll talk to you soon, okay?"

"Alright. And I promise, I'll take care of myself around Ian."

"I'm just trying to look out for you, you know?"

"I do, and I thank you for it. Goodnight, Jane."

"'Night, Maura."


July 31

Day 65

I hate church. I love God, but holy goodness, do I hate church.

"Jane."

Angela's elbow in her side caused Jane to jump. She twisted her head to glower at her mother and was met with a glare in return. Stop fidgeting, mouthed Angela.

I'm not, Jane mouthed back.

The elder Rizzoli raised her eyebrows and stared pointedly towards the front of the church. Jane let out a huff and folded her hands, looking forwards again. Oh man, do I hate church.

Prayer was an instinct after receiving Communion. The structure never changed, throughout all of Jane's life: get up, walk slowly, receive, walk back, kneel down, pray. Since she was a child, she always started her reflection the same way—with a prayer to her guardian angel (whoever that turned out to be).

To keep me safe, to guard and guide. Thank you, God, for everything. Dear God…dear God…

This was a first. Jane shifted uncomfortably on her knees and squeezed her eyes shut tighter, hoping something would come to her. Never before was she unsure of what to pray. Usually she'd pray for the victims of her case, for the perps to be brought to justice, for her family, for Maura…

Dear God, I really don't know what to say.

She dropped her forehead to her folded hands and took a deep breath.

I think…I think I should pray for myself, this time around. I mean, it's a bit selfish, but…you know, I haven't spoken to you all summer and I'm…kinda in a bad place right now. Maura's gone and I…really, really hate it. Like, really hate it. More than I was raised to believe I should. And I don't know if that makes it wrong for me to talk to you about it, but considering you're all-knowing and whatever, I'm going to assume you already know. So…yeah. I really am sorry, if you don't like this. I'm not a huge fan of feeling this way, either. So if you can help me out…send me one of your signs, or strike these thoughts from my brain, or something…really, whatever suits you would be fine. I just need to know if this is the right way for me to go. What should I do? As much as I hate this idea…should I forget about her completely? I mean…I'm really tripping around in the dark here. I just want something. Something to tell me what to do.

"Janie."

Jane opened her eyes and blinked rapidly. Red spots filled her vision as she realized just how tightly her eyes were closed. She glanced up at her mother. "What?"

"Fr. Gene is about to give the final blessing. Are you okay? I haven't seen you pray that hard since Grandpa passed."

"No, I'm fine." Jane rose to her feet and cleared her throat, surprised at how clogged her voice sounded. "Just…just a hard case, that's all."

Angela nodded sympathetically and laid a hand on her daughter's arm. "Hang in there, Janie," she whispered, rubbing gently. "You'll get through this. You always do."

"Yeah," Jane muttered back. She sighed gently and looked dejectedly down at her hands. I always do.


August 13

Day 78

"There has to be something we've missed." From her spot on the floor, Jane waved a file vaguely in the air. "I mean, why kidnap Katie and not all the other women?"

"Dow has a plan, Jane," Korsak replied, not moving his head from where it rested on his hands. "Last time around, he killed the exact same number of women before he slipped up."

"He had Carol Rutter tied up in a motel room when we caught up to him last time," Jane replied. "Where's the proof that he wasn't going to kill her?"

"Where's the proof that he was?" Frost chimed from his chair, his head rolled back to stare at the ceiling.

Silence fell over the bullpen. Jane heaved a heavy sigh and dropped the folder on top of the pile to her right. "Let's keep digging," she growled, rubbing her face with both hands. "There has to be something we've missed."


Well after midnight, Jane unlocked the door to her apartment and slipped inside. She tossed her keys away, not caring where they landed, and dropped her bag to the floor. "Jo?"

The dog was already en route to where her master stood, tail wagging sleepily. She pushed her nose into Jane's leg and was promptly lifted into the detective's arms to be squeezed within an inch of her life.

"He took Katie to get to her best friend, Jo," Jane muttered into her dog's neck. "He built a crazy ladder of victims in order to get to her. All because…all because his best friend signed a freaking DNR."

Two salty tears fell into Jo Friday's fur. The mutt twisted her head to start licking her master's cheeks while Jane made her way over to the couch. She dumped the dog unceremoniously on the cushions and sank down beside her, bringing her hands up to her face. "She was just doing her job, Jo. Nothing but the right thing, and now she's paying for it." With a shaky gasp, Jane looked to the ceiling and squeezed her eyes shut tight. "Oh, God, it's like Hoyt all over again."

Memories of Charles Hoyt, all those she had locked away in the back of her mind, were bubbling over again, overtaking her consciousness. Jane was just doing her job when that beast first found her, and she paid the price multiple times for allowing her path to cross with his. Her hands throbbed as she remembered being pinned to the floor by his scalpels…the scars on her neck stung where Hoyt teased her—taunted her—with the deadly metal instrument on more than one occasion. And then—Jane's chest tightened painfully as all the air drained out of her lungs—the bastard threatened Maura. He wanted Jane to suffer for doing what she was supposed to do, just like Dow wanted Katie's roommate to suffer for obeying his best friend's will to not be resuscitated. History, it really felt like, was repeating itself.

No. No…Jane wasn't going to get lost in those memories. Not again. Quickly, she wiped her cheeks and cleared her throat, pushing away the fear with determination. "No, no, I won't let it happen," she found herself saying out loud. "That fucker is going down. Nobody screws with somebody's life like that and gets away with it."

Still ignoring the fact that her apartment was in complete darkness, Jane pulled out her phone and shot a quick text to Frost, letting him know she was in for Katie's emancipation operation the next day. The moment the screen cleared, she speed-dialed Maura and made her way into the kitchen to fill Jo's food dish. The phone rang four, five, six times before it cut to the ME's voicemail.

"Hello, you've reached Doctor Maura Isles. I am unavailable to answer my phone right now, but if you leave your name, number and reason for calling, I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you."

Hearing her best friend's voice caused Jane to choke up a little bit—it had been a long, restless two weeks since they had last spoken to each other—but she cleared her throat once the message ended and started to speak.

"Hey, Maura, it's me…Jane. Um, I was just calling to check in. I realize it's probably really early over there, so I hope I didn't wake you, or anything…but…yeah, all I wanted was to talk for a little bit. We've got a tough case going, and I was kinda looking for a friendly voice. But, you know…you can talk when you can talk, so…call me back? Um, thanks. Alright. Bye."

She hung up the phone with a sigh. God, I sound stupid on no sleep. With a shake of her head, she finished filling Jo's bowls and made her way to the bedroom, peeling off clothes as she went. In just her underwear and bra, Jane fell on her back on top of her cool sheets with a groan of contentment. "Oh, dear Lord, I'm glad today is over."

The phone buzzed in her left hand. Surprised, Jane squinted down at the screen, and realized Maura had already sent her a text message in response.

Jane, I can't speak to you right now. I'm with a friend at the moment and have a very full schedule for the next few days. If I find time, I'll call you back. Maura x

Something hot stung Jane's insides, and she felt her chest tighten. The detective swung her head sideways to look at her clock: 1:53 in the morning. It was nearly 8AM in Paris. Maura could do that math in her head in seconds. Tears springing into the corners of her eyes, Jane bit her lip and stared at the ceiling. Did she even listen to the message? Does…couldn't she guess how much I need this, just by looking at the time? I mean… "Dammit…"

Soft clicking of slightly overgrown claws on hardwood floor announced Jo Friday's arrival. The dog jumped onto the bed and lay down across Jane's thighs, letting out a sigh of contentment as her master began to stroke her head. "I'm losing, aren't I?"

Jo woofed. Jane dropped an arm over her eyes and groaned. She had experienced the pain of realization, the pain of acceptance, the pain of distance…now, here was the pain of withdrawal. For the first time all summer, Jane felt helpless.


August 14

Day 79

"Katie?"

A loud cry echoed through the BPD as Jane, Frost and the newly-rescued Katie stepped through the doors. Across the lobby, a tall, dark-haired woman sprinting towards them, her wide eyes visibly despite their distance. "Katie!"

The two detectives looked up in surprise, and it took a couple of seconds for them to realize it was Katie's roommate. Korsak had gone to pick her up as a precaution before his partners left to carry out their entrapment assignment, and she had clearly been waiting on edge all morning. Jane glanced towards the elevators for a moment and saw her old partner just stepping out, a grin spread out across his face.

"Sam!" Katie had barely taken two steps when the taller woman crashed into her, spinning both of them nearly out the door. They clung to each other as if their lives depended on it, tears mixing together as they sobbed into each others' shoulders.

"I thought you were a goner," Sam choked out through gritted teeth.

Katie let out a relieved bark of laughter. "Me too."

Sam pulled away from her friend, squeezing the shorter woman's forearms gently. "I am so, so sorry for what he did to you," she whispered, staring into Katie's eyes. "I never meant for any of this to happen."

Katie reached up and took Sam's face between her hands. "Don't you dare blame yourself for this," she growled. "In no way is it your fault that you meet psychos on the job. Do you hear me?"

Jane watched Sam nod, and Katie's face broke out into a smile. "We're alive. You're safe. That's all that matters. Okay?"

The taller woman nodded again. Katie kissed her cheek and drew Sam close again, holding her like she'd never let go. Jane glanced at Frost, who had also watched this exchange, and found him looking at her with concern. He pointed to his own eye and Jane reached up to touch her cheeks, finding them wet. Slightly alarmed, she was careful to arrange her expression into a casual one as she waved Frost off and quickly wiped under her eyes as she headed for the elevator. She opened up a new text message and punched the up arrow, typing as she waited.

Hey Maura, just wondering if you got my message last night.

Jane paused, unsure of what to put next. She took her time entering the elevator and pressing the 3 button, thinking hard. As the doors closed, she began to type again.

I've kinda been hoping to hear from you, how you've been doing. Give me a call if you can? I'd really like to talk. –Jane

Satisfied, Jane slipped her phone into its place on her belt and shook out her arms. Relax, Rizzoli. You got him; it's all paperwork from here. She stepped out of the lift and made her way to Homicide, feeling a little bit better about the way things were going.

Then, as she was sitting down to begin the necessary reports, her phone vibrated.

I got your message from last night, Jane, but I really am too busy to speak right now. It sounds like you're quite occupied as well, so I think it's best that we spend some time focusing on our individual tasks and then see where we are in a few days. Good luck on the case. Maura x

The sick feeling from last night was back. Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Biting her lip, Jane fought to keep her emotions at bay. She's too busy. She needs time. She needs time. I need time. Don't I? Time is…good.

It didn't sound convincing, even inside her head. The sting of rejection caused all the detective's muscles to tense, her fingers to curl into fists. Something felt very wrong about the way the doctor was pulling away so suddenly from her. It wasn't the way their friendship worked. It wasn't like a light switch, something you could turn on and off. Surely, her Maura knew that?

A thought popped into Jane's head, one she immediately rejected with her entire body. Digging her nails into her palms, she forced herself to take several deep breaths. "No," she hissed to herself. "No, she wouldn't do that. She wouldn't let it happen again. She's too smart for that. She's too strong for that."

Even as she talked herself into believing that, a small part of her mind prayed, please, God, give her the strength to walk away.


August 17

Day 82

"Ian, Maura? You're telling me that for the last three weeks, you've been spending your free time with Ian?"

"Jane, might I remind you that I am an adult and am perfectly capable of making valuable decisions on my own?"

"Maura, might I remind you that Ian is as steady as overcooked spaghetti and a criminal to boot?"

"We haven't done anything more than talking, and since when is that part of your concern? We've known each other for years, Jane! We have a history! The past means something to both of us!"

"Clearly not enough for you to consider all the times he's left you hanging!"

"He's always come back!"

"Only to turn around and leave again the next day!"

"You know what, Jane? He's not walking out this time. Our split will be mutual. We are parting ways when the seminar ends no matter what, so I am going to enjoy the rest of the time I have with him, if that isn't too troubling for you."

"Yeah, well, it is."

"Well, good thing you aren't the boss of me."

A very heavy silence fell. Both women were breathing hard, and it felt like Jane's heart was about to explode. She hurt absolutely everywhere—because of Maura, because of Ian, because of Paris, because of this summer, because of her heart and her uncontrollable feelings for her friend. Unable to stop herself, she slammed her fist into the nearest wall in frustration. Fuck!

"What was that?"

Now her hand throbbed as well. Taking a deep breath to steel herself, Jane exhaled slowly into the phone. "Nothing. I…stubbed my toe."

"Oh."

The silence went on for a few more beats. Jane took another deep breath and felt tears begin to sting the corners of her eyes. She looked up to the ceiling to keep them from falling and bit her lip. "I don't trust Ian now, and I never will."

"I know. But this is my life, Jane, and I make my own decisions."

"Yeah." No matter how much they might hurt me. "Well."

"Well."

"I should…I should go."

"Yeah. Me too."

"I'll…see you when you get home."

"Yeah. See you then."

"Bye."

"Bye."

Jane hung up, feeling like her world had just fallen apart. She squeezed the phone firmly, as if it had done her personal offence, and fought to keep down sobs. There was an indescribably heaviness weighing on her heart—Maura had been pulling away all summer. Their talks had become few and far between, and Ian was the cause. Now they were fighting like teenagers, when one got a boyfriend and left her friends in the dust. Shit, when the hell did I go back to high school?

Flopping on her back on the couch, Jane attempted to slow her racing thoughts. How can I feel so juvenile and yet so old at the same time? If she was in any other position, the detective would already be mapping out her apology for Maura, ready to greet her when the ME was once again on American soil. She'd explain herself, let Maura say her peace, and together they'd make repairs. But this time…this time it's so much different. Jane draped an arm over her face and sighed heavily. Do I even want to reconcile things with her? I've been in pain…so much pain, all summer long, and not once has speaking to her alleviated it. If anything, it only made this all hurt even more.

She had no idea what she wanted to do. We have history. We have—well, we had—a strong bond as coworkers and friends. We trust…ed each other. We relied on each other. Is that all gone now? Or simply…not worth it anymore?

With a groan, Jane swung her legs off the couch and sat up, digging the heels of her hands into her eyes. "God dammit, Jane, you're in love with her! You can't be happy anymore by simply being her best friend! You can't just forget how you feel!" She bit harshly into her wrists as all the words she couldn't say clogged her throat. Her head swam and her chest hurt; every breath was labored and painful. This can't go on. You can't just let it sit anymore. It's eating you alive. She has to know. Jane…it was like she swallowed rocks…Jane, you have to end this.

A strangled sob escaped her lips, and without warning she crumpled to the floor. Suddenly, it was all too much to bear. Her heart finally shattered and every piece ached with a pain unlike one she'd ever experienced before. If this was love—if this was what love really felt like—then Jane didn't want to be in love anymore. She didn't want to feel anything anymore. It hurt, it all hurt too much, and she couldn't stand it.

Curled up on her worn Oriental rug, Jane was absolutely finished. She was no longer who she used to be. The unshakeable Jane Rizzoli—the driven, hard-ass homicide detective that even Charles Hoyt could not destroy—had been broken by Maura Isles.

I can't do this anymore.


August 25

Day 90

Maura,

I've thought over how I would say this at least a thousand times over the course of the summer, and I finally realized it would be too hard to say out loud. Call me a coward, if you'd like, but I don't agree. Cowardice would be staying silent. Whatever the consequences may be, I need to get this out there. It hurts too much to keep inside. I hope that, in some way, you might understand and be able to forgive me.

I just want to say that I love you. I really, really love you. It's almost impossible to believe, but I love you so much that I sometimes can't even breathe. It's taken me far too long to realize that I am completely, stupidly, unintentionally, uncontrollably, thoroughly, and absolutely undeniably in love with you. It kills me to know that I have to wait at least another week to hear your voice again, and whenever I think about our fight and how quickly our friendship is going to end when you return, I wish I was dead already. But no matter what the risks or repercussions are, I need this closure. I need to tell you just how much I adore you and wish you could be mine…and then I can finally accept the fact that you never will be.

At the end of the day, all I want is for you to be happy, and if Ian makes you happy, then who am I to take that away from you? If he is really what you want, then please, be with him. Buy a house in the suburbs, raise a family, and grow old together. Or, travel the world with him. Heal all the sick people in Africa. Push the borders as far as they go for as long as you can. Live the way you want to live, Maura. I'm not telling you that I love you because I want to hold you back—I'm telling you because I need to let you go. I can't be your friend anymore; it wouldn't be fair to either of us. I want you to move on with your life, and I need to try and do the same. I'm sorry, Maura. I never meant to fall in love with you. Please forgive me.

Jane


September 2

Day 98

She didn't go with her mother to pick up Maura from the airport. She made up some lame excuse involving an active case to avoid that particular lunchtime road trip. I can't see her while I know what's waiting in her postbox.

She purposely slept through the welcome-home dinner for the doctor and ignored the five angry messages her mother left in her voicemail. I have to cut her out completely.

She drank herself nearly into oblivion, trying to numb the painful desire to speak to Maura, and passed out on her couch with Jo Friday on her stomach. No more talking. No more actions. No more trying. No more thinking. No more hurting. No more, no more, no more.


September 3

Day 99

It took her a solid ten minutes to wake up the next morning, and another five to realize the incessant pounding she heard was not, in fact, coming from inside her own head.

"Jane! Open the damn door, or I swear to God I'll kick it in!"

She let out a moan that didn't sound remotely human and rolled onto the floor. Pushing herself up slowly, Jane cradled her head in one hand and stumbled to the door. She clicked the deadbolt, slid the chain-lock aside and saw it was a fuming Frankie who stood in the hall. "The hell, Frank?" she growled, rubbing her squinted eyes viciously. "It's the freaking crack of dawn!"

"It's the freaking crack of noon, Jane." The younger Rizzoli stepped into the apartment and raised his eyebrows at the large number of beer bottles scattered throughout the living room. "But of course, you wouldn't know that, because you're hung over as hell."

"Screw you."

Frankie sighed heavily as his sister made her way back to the couch. "Jane, what the hell happened to you last night? Ma's pissed that you didn't show up."

"No freaking kidding." Jane ran her hands slowly over her face, trying to ignore both her churning insides and her brother. She wished he would disappear so she could go back to sleeping for the rest of her life.

"Maura wasn't too happy either."

Wonderful. Exactly what she was hoping to hear. Shit. Jane wanted to throw up—she just couldn't decide whether it was the thought of Maura, or her hangover. "Right."

Frankie let out a huff and dropped down on the couch next to her. "Janie, what happened between you two? Did you get in a fight, or…?"

"Yeah," Jane jumped in before he could keep guessing. "Yeah, we did."

"Oh." The younger Rizzoli paused. "Can I do anything?"

Jane shook her head. "Just stay out of it. It'll blow over."

"Well, you owe Ma a phone call, either way."

"I know, Frank. Can you leave now? My head hurts like a bitch and my stomach isn't in a much better mood."

Frankie stood up, rubbing the back of his neck self-consciously. "I'm sorry, Jane," he said after a pause.

So was she. "Yeah. Me too."

The apartment was silent for a moment. Then Frankie laid a hand on his sister's shoulder and patted gently. "You'll work it out, Janie. You're best friends. You'll work it out."

As he walked out the door, Jane raised an empty beer bottle in the air, toasting the sky. "Here's hoping."


September 4

Day 100

Numb. That was the goal. Complete and total lack of feeling towards this whole situation. Able to accept whatever happened tomorrow when she saw her in the morgue, in the lobby, at a crime scene. Realizing that the only way to go…was away.

Jane didn't go to church that Sunday. Instead, she spent the entire day watching all of Maura's favorite movies. Scouring the Internet for poems, articles, chapters of books that reminded her of the doctor. Eating foods that they ate together. She locked the door to her apartment and shut off her phone, desiring the freedom to flush Maura completely out of her system without interruption. She cried, she yelled, she scared Jo into the bedroom multiple times during the process, and by the time she was ready to go to sleep that night, Jane was completely numb. She had let out what she could, and pushed the rest down. Face-down on her bed, the detective felt raw. Ready to face tomorrow, but so, so empty.

"If this is falling out of love," she muttered into her pillow, "I never want to be in love again."


September 5

Day 101

When Jane walked into the BPD the next morning, the very last thing she expected was to see Maura Isles the moment she stepped foot in the lobby. The doctor was standing off to one side, closer to the café than the elevators, talking seriously to Dr. Pike as she faced away from the entrance to the building. Jane froze the moment her eyes fell on the shorter woman, forcing herself into taking deep, slow breaths. Forget it, Jane. She's read the letter. She never wants to see you again. It's over.

Before Jane could convince herself to start walking again, Maura shook hands with Pike, and the Western Massachusetts ME made his way towards the exit, looking grim. He paused when he reached Jane's side, not bothering to smile. "I'd say it was a pleasure, Detective," he sneered, "But…"

"I feel the exact same way, Doctor," Jane interrupted before he could finish. She simply waved when Pike shot her one last condescending look before exiting the police department, and called over her shoulder, "Enjoy the hinterlands of Western Massachusetts!"

Jane faced forward again and found herself turning into her former best friend's embrace. Utterly flummoxed, only one word escaped her throat before her heart jumped into it: "Maura!"

The ME's arms tightening around the brunette's waist. "I'm sorry about the fight we had," Maura said softly into Jane's shoulder. "I know how you feel about Ian. But he didn't follow me here, and I've no intention of traveling to Uganda any time soon."

The detective didn't know what to do with her arms. She didn't know what to do with anything. This wasn't supposed to happen. This wasn't part of the plan. This wasn't right. "I…he…"

Maura pulled away, saving Jane from having to figure out whether to hug back or not. She smiled lightly at the flabbergasted woman and squeezed her hand, causing her to jump slightly. "He's gone, Jane. I'm back now."

"Yeah, I can see that," Jane breathed before she could stop herself. Holy shit, what the hell is going on?

Still smiling, Maura backed towards the elevators. "I really did miss you, Jane," she called over her shoulder as she turned away, leaving a very confused Jane Rizzoli behind.

Jane wasn't sure how long she stood there in the lobby, completely frozen, attempting to control her racing thoughts. Holy shit. She hugged me. Holy shit. She spoke to me. Did she get the letter? Did she read it all? Does she care? Is it just an act? Does she feel the same way? Is she just doing this for the sake of the job? Did she…does she…is she…

There was only one way to stop this insane mantra circling Jane's thoughts. Pushing away all fear, all sadness, all anger, she crossed the lobby and jabbed the down arrow with one finger. You have to know. You have to know for sure or you're never going to be able to let it go.

Before she knew it, Jane was walking through the doors of the autopsy room, not the least bit surprised to see that Maura had already scrubbed up and was reorganizing the instruments on her trays to her liking again. "Hey, Maura, I have a question."

The ME glanced up. "Yes, Jane?"

"You got your mail when you came back, right?"

"I stopped by the post office on Saturday, yes. Why?"

The words were positively falling out of Jane's mouth. "Did you happen to get a letter? A very important letter?"

Maura paused. Her eyebrows furrowed as she thought hard for a moment, and then slowly, she shook her head. "No, I don't believe I did. Bills, yes, and some notes from old friends, but nothing of extreme importance. Why? Did I miss something while I was away?"

Jane felt like she had just watched the entire scene play out from somewhere outside her body. She didn't get the letter. The good ol' reliable U.S. Postal Service. They lost a local letter. I wonder how many times that happens? I wonder why it was mine they chose to misplace? I wonder how many lives have been torn apart because of a faulty postal system? I wonder why in Heaven, Hell, and God's name did she not get that letter?

She heard the words come out of her mouth like it was somebody else speaking. "No, not really. It was just a newsletter. I have it on my desk somewhere, I'll copy it and bring it down for you."

The ME grinned down at her instruments. "Okay. Thank you, Jane."

Jane watched herself walk out of the autopsy room and into the elevator. She watched herself hit the 1 button and ride the lift up to the entrance. She watched herself cross the lobby, walk out the front doors, and get into her car, locking herself in. As her knuckles turned white on the steering wheel, Jane crashed back together, suddenly hyperaware of everything that had just occurred. "She didn't get the letter," she whispered disbelievingly to herself. "She doesn't know anything's changed. Everything's changed, and she doesn't know."

Numb. That was all Jane could feel. Disbelief, and numbness. She tried to reach inside herself, tried to draw out the pain and anger she was supposed to be feeling, but was blocked by a wall of icy indifference. Her defenses were up again. She knew she was still in love with Maura, and she knew it had to be dealt with, but suddenly, Jane didn't know how to. It was like the entire summer hadn't happened. All the progress she made—her discovery, her internal battles, her acceptance, her plans to work it out—was all gone. She was back to where she started: in her car, in denial, and alone. I'm back to the beginning. Slowly, Jane raised her eyes and stared at their reflection in her rearview mirror. Aside from a glimmer of incredulity, they were completely devoid of all emotion. It was over. And it had just begun again.

"Back to square one."

She couldn't bring herself to cry.


September 5

Day 1


A/N: *hides behind couch* Reviews...? :3