A/N: Written some time ago. My response to the S2 finale. This is something different, at least compared to the other finale reactions I've seen. Written while listening to Revival by Soulsavers. I suggest you own this song. Maura POV.
By now it is hardly a concern. By now, that polished voice of careful regard and practicality has found its home. And it's simple. It lives everywhere.
Like before, it lives when you are reigning over your autopsy tables, drowning in silent pleads and whispers that force themselves into your throat and demand detail, fact, precision. Outside of that room, outside of BPD, you let the comfort of your factual self linger. You won't let yourself deter. You won't let it shift back into what was uncomfortable but had grown easy over the last few years. It was silly, anyways, to think that you, Maura Isles, would find comfort and ease in community. You know better now. It strikes you as unsettling how quickly you became that someone else, how quickly you molded into a world that was full of others. It was dangerously stupid; you won't let it happen again.
You felt it starting to chip away the moment you pushed up on bruised palms and bloody knees, hurling your limping body towards what you thought was your mother's corpse.
You felt it chip even more when you walked into that warehouse.
And then it felt like your entire shoulder was flicked off when his body began to fall.
You had stilled, legs bent beneath you, muscles tight, ready to spring, a sign that would have been dangerous, predatory, if you were a soldier or a force. Instead you found yourself watching as his body fell. For a moment it was not horrific. For a moment it was beautiful. For a moment the blood was turned from you, the pain of his features were hidden. For a moment he was flying.
Detail, fact, precision.
If you had not veered off you would not have gotten an almost dead mother and really dead dad.
The world has conditioned you to respond to death with a scientific mind. You notice markings on fingernails, disease that has changed the composition of someone's hair, the wounds that speak of surgeries past. Nobody taught you that a dead body means a dead friend, a dead parent. No! A dead body means it is time to go to work, time to discover secrets, time to tell the truth.
Maybe you did it yourself. But right now, it feels as if it was done to you. It feels as if this is what the world expected of you. Who else would speak for the dead? Who else would tell their stories? You don't feel as if you had a choice. It was too natural, too easy, too comfortable to grow into a woman who made Y-incisions instead of best friends. Who broke breast bones instead of bread. Who held cold organs instead of warm babies.
It felt right. It felt important.
It should have felt more might. It should have felt more important.
You wished it had been enough. You wished your science alone had not left you looking for more.
Yet somewhere along the way you lost yourself. It started with Jane Rizzoli.
She made you think otherwise. She made you consider a whole different world than the one you were so content with. She waved this shiny little thing in front of you and blindly you followed.
You have this memory. It was a long time ago.
It is you with your flowing long hair, with your bright and careful eyes, all your features too large on such a small face. You had rushed late into the play-yard, staying behind to gaze once more at the secrets that you found underneath that beautiful microscope your teacher brought. Your legs had carried you fast to where the others were throwing balls, picking teams, dancing in competitive circles. Back then you had been the girl who sometimes answered jokes with literal expressions, who had a hard time understanding some sayings and phrases. But that day everything changed.
You interrupted the game, your excitement blinding you to the expressions on their faces. Out of breath, cheeks flushed, you told them. Told them what you'd seen. Told them about the details and hidden shapes and lines and patterns that were there underneath the microscope. You never thought twice. It was too exciting to not share.
When they laughed and called you a freak, you stood frozen. So confused, your child brain couldn't make sense of any of it but you knew, even then, that what came next was important. You could stay, laugh it off, tell them it was stupid- the beauty that was there, there for the looking. Or you could walk away, refuse to let them change what it was that you found. Your excitement was too much. You walked. And you lived in your head. You never regretted it.
And then came Jane.
She made you think maybe you should have given longer pause. She sent rushing thoughts through your brain of what life might have been like if you had stayed on that playground. But Jane never gave into anything either. Jane was as fiercely independent as you were. You were both misfits, really. Jane, yes, a little bit less but with her crazy hair and big mouth, she too stuck out. It was lovely when you found each other. Lovely when Jane decided the two of you would be friends.
Jane gave you pieces. Being with her was like a treasure hunt. You'd look up from your conversation and catch her laughing, genuine laughter. Her unruly curls seemed to go on forever, her shoulders shaking, her smile fierce. She would slump onto the couch, her body carefree in touching yours, her hands seemed incapable of not reaching out for contact. Maybe it was something more than friendship, maybe it wasn't.
All you knew was it was something you'd never had. And as if Jane's smile wasn't enough, it came with siblings and a family. A home where people lingered, a community that included Korsak and Frost and cops that forgot to whisper Queen of the Dead behind their hands. It came with sharing drinks after work and Chinese takeout at all hours. It came with buying presents and getting presents. It came with arguments that were heated and held more heart than bite.
Jane brought a whole world with her and you loved it.
No, Jane didn't bring a world with her. Jane hugged your world and then added hers to it. She created something else entirely. She created a space for your facts and a space for her friendship. She let you have both.
But then Jane shot herself and everything went to hell. Hoyt almost killed Jane. Hoyt almost killed you. Jane did kill Hoyt. Then it was a rush of a year before Gabriel shot Doyle. Doyle shot Dean. Jane shot back.
Bullets messed everything up.
Detail, fact, precision. You should have stayed with what you knew.
Arguments with Jane you can handle. Your mother apologizing for not knowing you, not spending time with you, not being with you- handled.
Jane when she swam in her own blood, eyes wide in fear and pain, that was too much. Too much emotion that you did not know what to do with.
Hoyt. Too much.
The two of you created layers. Awfulness happened and you retreated into your science. Jane just retreated. Then it was other crimes, other facts, other evidence and eventually you and she merged back into the world of each other. The world of friendship that was infused with gentle smiles that should have been reserved for lovers. That worked until the next disaster hit and then it started over again.
It would have been easier if you had stayed distant. If you had let her miss her hero ceremony. If she had not rushed home when she realized your father was holding you hostage. If you had not given a damn about almost kissing Tommy. If she had not given a damn about you almost kissing Tommy.
So if now were to play out like it always does here's what happens.
You stay hurt, she did kill the man who fathered you after all. She stays stubborn in explaining that it was self-defense, that he was a bad guy. Finally she comes around and tells you that she doesn't regret killing a murderer but she does regret killing the man who brought you into the world. It's so something Jane would say. And you would accept that. She would hug you and you'd hug back. You would retreat back into your science a little more but soon a case would evolve and Jane would have your back and you would have hers. You'd ask her to come over for a drink and she would. You'd start meeting for pancakes in the morning like usual. She'd share your bed, you'd share hers. She would quickly be the most important person in your life again. That's how it goes. Done and done.
Except there's a problem, a flaw. A giant flaw. It's that part about you understanding, accepting that she shot Patrick Doyle. It's like you're standing on that playground again. If you say, it's okay, you stay. You roll over. If you say, it won't ever be okay, you leave. You hold your truth.
It's funny how Jane gave you back your mother but then took away your father.
Biological, adoptive, whatever. Love seeped in and it didn't matter if Doyle was a murderer or a father you never knew. He fathered you and as much as Jane wants to call him a sperm donor, there was a bond. A bond of, maybe. A bond of, what if. A bond of, something could come next.
She told your mother to step up, and she did. She told your father to step up, but then she squeezed off that last bullet.
It was a silly friendship. You were the only two women working in the homicide unit. Someone was bound to die.
So you retreat into your facts, you retreat into your knowledge and let time scar over the wounds. But there isn't a going back. There won't be a time where you glance up from that autopsy table and see Jane standing there with that shy smile that means she is about to ask you to dinner. You can't let her. It's too dangerous. You weren't made for it.
And your whole life you've taken any friendship you could get. You've forgiven anything, forgotten everything in order to get a flavor of it. Loneliness will do that. Jane Rizzoli will do that to you too.
This time you are refusing.
You stop yourself from really opening your eyes. Instead you let them settle in the darkness, not forcing them to adjust. They remain heavy and lazy as you crawl off the foot of your bed, toes meeting thick carpet. You make your way towards your dresser, letting yourself sense where sharp corners and door frames are. The lights stay off.
The darkness that is your room seems to seep everywhere. It fills into corners and piles up around your windows before it slips through cracks and starts staining the night. You never knew Boston could be so dark. But it starts in your room, in your home. The blackness that is everywhere pulses at its core, the drumming of its heart too loud to be anywhere beside this space, this spot. You feel the emptiness that is now your home. You feel the space that use to be occupied by Angela melt back into everything else. You welcome it. You force yourself to welcome it.
Silk pajamas hit the floor making a matching pile of peach. The air that gathers with their movement slaps your bare skin, jolting you slightly more awake. You can feel your skin talking.
Hands find dresser drawers. Count. One, two, three down. Fitted yoga pants that snap against tight calf muscles. Long-sleeved thermal that hugs your shoulders, encloses your wrists and bags around your unbound breasts. Lastly you tug on Jane's t-shirt, baggy and worn, stretched and loved. It smells of her. No matter how many times you've washed it with your brand of detergent, she lingers. Of course she would. Only Jane could make an old shirt of hers be an entire experience.
The material is ripped and worn, torn edges drown your shoulders. Your hair is messy, the tossing and turning has wrung your curls to flat and lifeless. Strands of uncombed hair fall across your face. You push them back, tuck them firmly behind ears. Face clean, harshly pale and soft.
You pad through your living room on bare feet, the wood floors solid beneath you. Toes grip panels, the seams between wooden slates marking your movements. Already you can feel the bottoms of your feet toughening up, calluses that you would smooth off with a hard brush remain.
Good. It makes you feel strong.
It makes this more than just the image that has melted inside your head. You get mad. You get hurt. You just stand there. You take what is said and then fight it back with words. You'd rather run. You'd rather do something really dramatic like walk home in the rain. Hunt down a perp. Slam your fist into something. Something, anything that screams-
I'm not okay.
Do you hear that world!
I am not okay.
The sliding glass of your back door makes a soft whoosh in the silence. You slip outside, letting the heavy glass slide back into place. The wood here, on your back deck, is much coarser than the shiny polish that stains the inside. Here you feel the soft parts of your feet catch, unfinished edges snagging against delicate skin. You press your feet even harder into the solid mass.
The first night you simply needed some air. You were tossing in bed, then sitting in bed, then pacing the small room, then pacing the house. Finally you'd flung open the doors and gulped down the cold night air. The air was intoxicating and soon enough you stepped outside.
You had stood there drinking it in longer then was just a breath of fresh air. You noticed the cold as it penetrated your robe. You had noticed that your physical sensations were suddenly stronger than your mental ones. Your brain quieted some.
The next night you paced less before you found yourself outside. That time you sat on a cushioned chair, contemplated starting up your small outdoor fire-pit. But you knew even the gentle snaps of fire would be too loud, too intrusive, too intense. Too Jane.
The next night you had walked directly to those doors not pausing to pace. The night after that sitting wasn't enough, your legs continuing to fidget. Your body had propelled itself forward, taking what it wanted.
Now, you don't sit at all. You don't contemplate the cold. You don't stand, you don't think of fires, you don't think of Jane. You take a few steps into the center of the deck and drop yourself down, stretch your body until you are lying on your back, limbs spread, head hitting weathered wood.
And it stops. Your brain stills.
There are no more thoughts of missing your friend. No more thoughts of how things got so messy. No more commands of returning to your distant, lonely world where details, facts, and precision are all you have left. No more thoughts about your hurt mother miles away. No more rehearing her words of wanting to know you more. No more dwelling on how you had to swallow it down, not let her get any closer. Closer obviously didn't look good on her; closer was a mess of facial scaring, broken limbs, shattered bones, and bleeding brains.
You don't think about how your father, that man, Doyle, flew. How his body looked as he fell. You don't think about the wallet of small photos that you took from him before they pronounced him dead. You don't think about the woman Hope, the name your panicked brain at the time could not make sense of. You don't think of how later your mind snapped awake, understanding the clue, after the silent ambulance took him away. Mostly, you don't think of Jane. You don't think of her long arms that haven't wrapped around you for the last eleven days. You don't think about all the feelings, dreams, and little futures that had danced in your brain the months leading up to that awful night.
Doyle flew and dreams of Jane spun right out of your mind. You literally watched them collapse out of your brain. They got tangled on each other, tripped into a heap that Patrick Doyle's body found when he landed. They didn't cushion anything. They almost sucked him down, speeding up gravity and making a nasty sound when contact was made.
All of it stops. All of it. Instead the pads on your fingers grip at timber, your fingers sliding between the gaps they make. The underside of your forearms make solid contact with the deck, with your little dose of nature, as you press your body firmly into it. Your shoulders tighten with the discomfort of lying flat but your body breathes and you settle in. Your neck stays warm with its blanket of golden strands that make their way from head to neck, getting tangled and settling on your clavicle, a few strands twisting their way underneath shirt and tickling your chest. Your back makes a solid, straight line, your hips pushing and rotating back so that your naturally curved spine flattens. Your abdomen sinks in, creating a dip between upper torso and pelvis. You don't know if it's the natural concave from lying down or the weight you've lost these last two weeks. Your hips flare out, rounding into thighs, calves and bare ankles. Toes point almost flat. You feel your entire body stretch with that one simple movement of pointing and flexing your feet. It feels as if the air has been trapped down her. It isn't cold. It feels as if your body has carved out a space that warms your muscles but still feels insanely fresh and bitter when you breath it in. And you breath in a lot.
Huge gasps of breath as if you were struggling. There aren't tears anymore but you gulp at the night, praying it will revive you. Your lungs expand over and over, you feel your ribs move. Occasionally you find that your right palm has rotated so that you are grinding the still broken skin, scratches and scrapes, against the harsh wood. The pain is dull but you will see the flare of infection and irritation in the morning. You turn your palm away, the air lapping at the sting.
Tomorrow you will go back to figuring out what the safe version of you is. You will go back to maneuvering around all that is broken. Maybe tomorrow it will start to be easier.
Tomorrow, easier. It's the only thought that occasionally smashes into your little haven out here, your little sanctuary. The sound of your laughter slashes through the Boston air. It disrupts everything. It's a dry, lifeless laugh. Tomorrow will not be easier. Tomorrow will not be better. Tomorrow you will still have a dead dad. Tomorrow Jane will still look at you with those drowning eyes, taking in everything. Taking in your face, your still bandaged hand, your lithe frame. At least she doesn't talk anymore, at least that. You've silenced her and you wish there was a way to unfeel her. You wish you didn't feel her enter a room. You wish you didn't feel her eyes. You almost bit out a remark yesterday to tell her to stop swallowing so loudly, you were tired of feeling the movement. She's everywhere. She stains your day just as the darkness of your bedroom stains your night.
You want to tell her to go away. To go stomp some more on the dashed futures lying on the floor of that warehouse.
But you don't. You won't.
Detail, fact, precision.
Every night you feel yourself close off a little more. Feel yourself stitch one more layer of protection. Feel the layer harden into another shell. Keep others out. Keep yourself in.
Detail, fact, precision.
Stretch harder. Grip the wood tighter. Breathe more. Gulp in your boundary. Build your wall higher.
Good, good. Just like that. That's who you are after all. That's who you chose to become on that childhood playground. Yes. Better. Remember that. Hold onto that.
She will seep in. Shake it off. Press harder; just like that. Feel your spine straighten impossibly more. There. She's gone. That will happen. It will take time to wash her out.
Until then, stay here. Gather strength from the night. Let it settle over your features. Let it pour, rain, harden your resolve. Feel the armor clamp tighter to your muscles. Feel it surround you. Close off. Close off.
Speak for the dead. It's your only role now. Speak for them. Don't speak for yourself. Don't speak for her. Step into it. Good. Just like that. Step into it. Step into it, Maura. Step into it. Yes, step into it.