Just Forget the World, Part 1 of 1
Spoilers: Through the summer finale of season 2, "Remember Me" (2x10)
Warnings: It's Hoyt, you know? It gets kind of dark.
Disclaimer: The only thing that's mine is the plot, such as it is.
Note: I started writing this when I noticed someone complaining that Jane didn't immediately go make sure Maura was okay; it then stalled for a really long time, because writing something just to make a point doesn't at all work for me. I will say that I didn't see it at all as a slight. Anyhow, after a while, heroic Jane took over and gave me a direction to go with this. And, yes, once again I stole my title from a song. In this case, "Chasing Cars."
Her mind was a whirlwind – all panic and hatred and very little coherent thought; she staggered back away from Hoyt and right into Korsak's arms, sobbing out her anger and fear.
There was, though, a tiny, rational voice in the back of her head reminding her that Maura was only a few feet away, no doubt at least as scared and traumatized as she was.
She, that voice insisted, had practice at this; Maura didn't.
Thirty seconds. You have thirty seconds to freak out with someone who can take it, then you have to go be strong for her.
Korsak was murmuring something in her ear in his animal whisperer voice – no doubt words of comfort, but the only thing she was really aware of was that voice in her head: One, one thousand. Two, one thousand.
Somewhere between the moment that Korsak's arms tightened around her and when he began to rock her gently from side to side, the voice in her head had morphed from her own to Maura's. Eleven, post-mortem trauma. Twelve, post-mortem trauma.
He began to stroke her hair as the voice in her head hit twenty, post-mortem trauma. Only a few isolated words penetrated. "Aw, kid, it's gonna be okay" – she heard that one more than once. "Damn good thing you did it" – he repeated that one too.
But what she heard most were the deep sighs, always followed by a quiet, "Jane, Jane, Jane."
At twenty-nine, post-mortem trauma, she wrenched herself away from the safety of his arms with a guttural groan and staggered back a couple of steps. She shoved everything she was feeling deep down inside the little hole inside where she kept the memories of waking up in that damn basement and Frankie's gurgling wheezing as she begged Maura to save her brother's life.
It wouldn't stay there, of course, but for now it would have to do.
Damn it; she was up to forty-four, post-mortem trauma.
"Maura," she gasped, seeing in her mind the bright red blood welling up under Hoyt's scalpel. "Is Maura – Korsak, is Maura – is she – ?"
Her own blood dripped into her eyes from the cut on her forehead, obscuring her vision; she lifted her still-bound hands and impatiently rubbed it away with her jacket sleeve.
"She's – "
Jane whirled towards the sound of Frost's voice. Her heart froze at the sight of Maura slumped motionlessly against him. "God," she whispered. The taser. She'd forgotten about the taser.
She stumbled towards them, Korsak hot on her heels as he said, "She'll be okay, Jane. It's a shallow cut. Probably won't even scar."
Didn't he understand?
It wasn't the scar; it was the blood.
The bastard had drawn Maura's blood.
He'd drawn Maura's blood because she was a coward who dragged her best friend along to interview a psychopathic killer because she was too scared to face him alone.
She was just coherent enough to know that Maura herself would try to claim the opposite – that she'd asked and even insisted on coming along – but in her heart of hearts, she knew the truth.
It was her fault.
That blood – she might as well have spilled it herself.
Damn it. Hadn't she told herself this would happen? Hadn't she told herself to keep everyone the hell away from her?
She'd had a target on her back for years, and she'd known all along anyone she cared about would get drawn into the crossfire.
Jane impatiently ripped away from the steadying hand Korsak had put on her arm and staggered the rest of the way across the room. "Get – get this damn – " She impatiently held her zip-tied hands up towards him. "Get this offa me."
He held up his empty hands in silent appeal.
"Korsak," she moaned, "get it off me. Now. Please."
"Here," Frost said, pulling a utility knife from his pants pocket and tossing it to Korsak.
She yanked her hands away as soon as he sawed through the plastic. "Maura?" she whispered.
There was no response; Maura's eyes didn't even track to hers.
She wiped away more blood and looked imploringly at Frost. "What – ?" She looked at Maura again. "Maura – "
Again, no response.
Frost used his chin to gesture towards the arm he had around Maura's back, pointing out that he was the only thing holding her upright. "Taking the taser a long time to wear off."
"I got this. Go. I got her." She impatiently pushed Frost's arm – and then Frost himself – away, settling next to Maura and putting her own arm around her. "Maura? It's over. You're safe."
Though Maura made no overt move, Jane could feel her trembling. She looked back at Korsak. "Did…you…ambulance?"
"You're in a hospital, Jane."
She glared at Frost, then turned and eyed Korsak. "Did you call an ambulance?"
"On its way," he said quietly.
Thank God he understood. It couldn't be here.
Maura shuddered against her; the preternaturally calm, even breathing hitched as the taser began to wear off and emotion took over.
Jane cleared her throat. "Wait outside?"
Frost was about to protest when Korsak shot him a look, all but shoving him out the door.
The blood pouring unchecked down her face no longer mattered; she didn't need to see to feel the hiccuping sobs now wracking Maura's body. She turned, wrapping her arms more fully around her friend, whispering reassurances that came from somewhere other than her conscious mind, which was a maelstrom of a thousand emotions.
The next few minutes were a blur; the next conscious memory she had was of snarling at an EMT who'd brusquely insisted she let go of the still shaking Maura. She'd threatened to drive them both to the hospital itself, as a matter of fact, before Korsak stepped in and somehow managed to get the EMT to relent and put them both in the same ambulance.
She was staring out the little hospital window at the setting sun, her thoughts racing. Her hands ached like hell but, for once, she was perfectly willing to concede that it was probably psychosomatic.
He was dead.
A good chunk of her brain refused to believe it – refused to believe it was over, that he was gone, that she could finally be free of him.
She looked down at her left hand, shaking slightly as it held a small plastic cup of water.
Not ever free.
But freer – that, maybe.
Her heart rate shot through the roof at the sound of the quiet voice calling her name from the doorway; the sudden lump in her throat prevented any kind of verbal response.
"Jane?" Maura repeated as she came into the hospital room to stand at Jane's side.
She glanced at Maura, then back at the window, cataloguing the pale skin and the haggard look to her usually even-keeled friend.
"Hey." She forced herself to show only mild concern. She suspected, though, that Maura the Body Language Expert would notice the way she kept staring at the bandage on her neck. "You all stitched up?"
"Didn't need any. Just a butterfly bandage and surgical glue."
"What about you?"
She took a long sip of water, then crushed the plastic cup in her hand and paced through the room several times.
She scowled. "They want me to stay."
"Well, it is a head injury. You can't be too careful."
She clamped her jaw down tightly to keep her teeth from chattering. She shuddered. "I don't wanna stay." Despite her best efforts, her hoarse voice cracked. "I want it to be over."
At least – and this was minor, minor comfort – she would never have to face the bastard in court again. Keeping her cool with him smirking at her – or, worse, staring at the scars on her hand with proud delight – from the defendant's table had been just shy of impossible.
"I understand. But, Jane – "
She shrugged helplessly.
"You and your self-inflicted wounds," Maura sighed.
"It was for a good cause." Jane's hand went subconsciously to the scar on her side. "They're all good causes."
"Mm. That doesn't make it easier for those of us who watch you do it." Jane flinched as Maura covered her hand with one of hers. "I'll stay with you."
"I already asked the doctor to discharge you. I said I'd make sure you were all right. I am a doctor, after all."
For no real reason that she could think of, tears flooded her eyes and she blinked them away with a sniff. "Thanks, Maura."
Jane heaved a deep sigh. "It's over. Right? It's over?"
Maura squeezed her upper arm. "Yes. It's over."
"Happy birthday to me."
She reached over to give Jane a quick hug. "Happy birthday to you," she echoed quietly, before pulling back and once again squeezing Jane's arm. "Come on. Let's get you discharged. Korsak arranged for a patrol officer to drive you home."
"What about you?" Jane eyed her worriedly. "You don't got anything to prove, you know."
"Another patrol officer is going to take me to get my car. It'll be all right, Jane – it'll only take me a few minutes. Besides, your mother's waiting for you at home; she sounded anxious for you to get there."
Jane winced. "Ma? Really?" She sighed. "I can come with you."
"Your mother said for me to send you straight home."
"You do realize that's so she can yell at me without feeling bad 'cause you're giving her the 'don't yell at Jane' look, right?"
"I have a 'don't yell at Jane' look?"
Jane grinned. "Yeah. It's the same as your 'don't yell at the dog' look."
That night, after all the guests had left, Jane and Maura sat together on Jane's couch as she opened the rest of her birthday presents. Most were inside jokes, a few were girly things sent by relatives who hadn't seen her since she was five years old, and a couple were clearly afterthoughts by people bullied into attending by her mother or Korsak.
Maura's hands had begun to shake just as they'd said goodbye to Angela; Jane had watched helplessly as she slowly unraveled.
What could she say, really?
Sorry a psychopathic killer tasered you and sliced you open?
Sorry you're gonna have nightmares for years?
Sorry being my friend nearly got you killed?
None of it would help. None of it could help – she'd been subjected to all the meaningless platitudes in the world after Hoyt the first time and not one of them had done a goddamn bit of good.
Maura curled up into a tight ball in the corner of the couch, shaking, as Jane tried to keep herself from losing it. One of them had to keep it together somehow.
"Thank you," Maura finally whispered.
"For not telling me it'll be all right."
It nearly destroyed her, right then and there, but Jane shoved the wave of emotion aside and held out her hand. "C'mon. Let's at least lay down."
Maura shook her head, meeting Jane's eyes with visible reluctance. "I can't sleep."
Jane shrugged, meeting her eyes directly. "I know." She shrugged. "I get it. Just…lay down."
"I – "
"I hadda face this myself." That first night alone from the hospital had been nothing short of horrific – every sound had sent her reeling; every flicker of shadow had terrified her; every beat of her heart sent a jolt of pain through her still mostly non-functional hands. It had been worse than being in the basement, where at least she had the peace of imminent death to look forward to. "You don't."
Maura nodded slowly. "Okay."
She followed Jane into the bedroom, where she deliberately lay, fully clothed, on top of the blankets. "Just lay down," she said again, gesturing to the covers. "You gotta rest, Maura; nothing says you gotta sleep."
Maura stood at the foot of the bed for what felt like an eternity before she finally sat down. Jane rolled over onto her side and just waited until she finally lay down on her back.
"Do you hear him?" Maura asked, fingers trailing over the cut on her neck. "When – ?"
"Yeah," Jane said quietly, holding up one hand. "When they hurt. Hear him. Smell him, even, sometimes."
Maura nodded slowly. "You're shaking," she said.
"So are you."
Maura looked down at her own hands in surprise. "Oh."
Jane watched her silently for a few minutes. "Maura, I'm sorry you got sucked into this – "
"I know. It's not your fault." Jane opened her mouth to protest. "You didn't ask me to come, Jane."
"Let me finish," Jane added, silently screaming at herself to shut up, to stop – to keep this shameful secret at least to herself – but she continued anyway, "I'm so sorry you were there…that this happened…but I'd be lyin' if I said…."
Maura nodded slowly; Jane felt the motion, even as she stared resolutely at the ceiling. "In a strange way," Maura said, "I'm glad I was there, too. I wish it hadn't happened, of course, but I'm grateful that you didn't have to face that alone."
"But it's true, Jane. I knew what I was getting into. I knew the risks. I knew what might happen. I knew he'd marked me as a target."
Maura shrugged. "I learned from the best, I suppose. Some things are worth risking everything for."
Maura rested her fingers lightly on the scar tissue on Jane's abdomen. "You can't tell me you don't agree."
"I'd have died. If you weren't there."
"No – "
She couldn't meet Maura's eyes. "Yeah. I didn't fight back until he went after you. I was too freaked out. So you kinda saved my life. Again."
Jane jumped when Maura's faintly shaking fingers closed around her hand. She forced herself to turn and meet Maura's eyes; they were filled with tears, but there was no lie in them. Naturally.
Jane managed a small smile.
"Then I'm doubly glad – well, not glad I was there, but glad I was there," Maura said. "And if that's true, it was worth the risk."
"Maura, any – " Jane stopped to clear the lump from her throat. "Anything you need to...you know...get through this. Anything."
Maura pondered that in silence for several long minutes. "I'd like to try to sleep," she finally said. "If that's all right."
Jane nodded vigorously. "I've got some pajamas you can borrow."
A few minutes later, they lay down again. Jane glanced to the side; Maura fidgeted, tense and uneasy – but, then, so was she.
Jane released a breath, then a second, trying to match her breathing to Maura's deliberate meditation next to her.
"You can control dreams, you know," Maura said, though her tone of voice was more hopeful than certain. "Don't think about him."
Jane grunted. "What should I think about?"
At that, she managed a small smile. She has no real illusions of a full night's sleep, but it was worth a try, anyway.
Their hands collided on the mattress as they reached for each other.
At least she wasn't alone.
Tonight, they'd either sink or swim – but at least they'd do it together.