Missing Scene 3x03 - Struggle

Maura waited patiently outside, the uncomfortable bench seat lacking in any kind of physical cosiness. She recrossed her legs multiple times, tapping her high heels against the pavers and checking the time on her watch repeatedly. She couldn't imagine that communication between Jane and Casey would go well, he had been back and hadn't bothered to contact her. It was hardly an indication of his keenness to re-establish a relationship with her.

So Maura sat, eyes glazed as she stared into the foliage and contemplated her own erratic few days. There was something about having a body on her autopsy table show signs of life, that had tapped into some deep seeded fears and her erratic behaviour in the days that followed could only be described as out of character. There was still a feeling, in the pit of her stomach that she couldn't quite shake; yet she was immensely grateful for Jane's impending crisis as a distraction.

And timely enough, as Maura's mind tangentially ran away with itself, Jane pushed open the door and stride towards her. She was a picture of disappointment.

Within moments, Maura conceded to the debrief over boxed Shiraz, though with arms looped, she was already planning on opening one of her vintage reds. Honestly, Jane would never know the difference. It was a short drive to Maura's and for once, Maura drove while Jane sniffled her way past the darkened houses, intermitted with some poor attempts at humour; sarcasm really.

"Settle yourself on the lounge," Maura directed, pushing Jane's back slightly, an open palm between her exposed shoulder blades. "I'll pour our glasses."

"Okay," Jane murmured, swallowing at the lump that had seemed to grow as she walked through the door. She sighed heavily, kicking off her boots and settling down, legs folder underneath her.

Maura returned quickly, with two over filled glasses. She handed one to Jane and placed her own on the coffee table. "I'll just prepare a few nibbles for us, something to absorb the alcohol." She grinned and Jane appeased her with a small smile.

"I really am, so sorry, Jane," Maura said softly, lingering at the edge of the room. "He doesn't know what he's missing out on." She stopped short of suggesting Jane was better off with out him; she had learned over the years that those kind of comments weren't even remotely beneficial. Just empty, ridiculous justifications.

Jane nodded, eyes refilling with tears before she drew her gaze away and focussed on the cushion in front of her. She used her fingertips to trace the embroidery, working a thread loose. Maura disappeared into the kitchen, arranging a few items on a platter before returning. Jane had managed to drink half the glass in the short time it took her to arrange a blue vein cheese, some wafer thin rice crackers and a trail mix with dried fruit, mixed nuts and some dark chocolate coated goji berries.

Maura settled down next to Jane, leaning back and sipping at the 2005 Merlot she had poured them. She observed Jane quietly, waiting for her to break the silence. "Even I know that this isn't a Shiraz and it definitely hasn't come from a flagon," Jane said, slightly teasing as she held the glass up in front of her.

Maura shrugged and shook her head. "No," she agreed, "I had a few bottles out, may as well drink them."

"I could do with a few tonight," Jane confirmed.

They sat quietly for a few moments, sipping from their glasses and consuming a slice of cheese each. "Maybe he's having some difficulties, from his last deployment. PTSD or generalised anxiety; depression."

"So what, he decides I'm nothing to him? Because he's been traumatised?"

"Trauma impacts on different people in different ways."

"Yeah well, I've seen enough of my own trauma without having to deal with his," Jane bit back, anger merging with the sadness. "At some point my luck has to change, right?"

"Luck?" Maura explored, expression questioning.

"Yeah, am I that unlovable? Surely at some point I have to have a relationship that works out, isn't that how it works?"

"Oh honey," Maura said, shaking her head. "I'm not one to give relationship advice but I don't think it's you that's the issue here. Casey probably doesn't know what he wants, and it's easier for him not to have to think about it. It's easier for him to just push you away."

Jane rolled her eyes, biting down on her lower lip. "It sucks."

Smiling slightly at the ineloquence, Maura nodded. "Yes, yes it does."

"Think I can drink my body weight tonight?"

"Drink as much as you like, consider it medicinal."

"I'm not sure you're meant to recommend that I write myself off," Jane said softly, tipping the glass to her lips and gulping down the last few mouthfuls. "Not usually what the Doctor orders."

"Yes, well, I think you've earned a few lately." Maura reached out and squeezed Jane's arm, fingers wrapping around her bicep, just above the curve of her elbow. Jane calmed her posture, losing some of the tenseness and tearfully meeting Maura's concerned glance. "Are you alright, though?" she asked hesitantly, not really asking about the Casey situation. "I mean, generally. We haven't talked much since…well, since everything."

Unwilling or unable to answer, Jane just held Maura's gaze, her mind racing for a range of different answers. She couldn't find it in herself to simply answer no; the prospect seemed too vulnerable, too honest. Everything else just seemed like a brush off, inconsequential utterings. Maura slowly moved her thumb back and forth, maintaining her loose grip and Jane made no effort to draw away from the gentle touch. A tear fell from Jane's eye, hitting the soft skin of her cheekbone before tumbling to her lap. "Obviously coping well," Jane muttered, awkwardly laughing.

Maura cocked her head to the side and gave a look of empathy, saddened by the role she had played in compounding Jane's stress. "It's not just Casey…" she murmured, trailing off.

Tearing her gaze away, Jane held up her empty glass. "Clearly, the issue is that I'm out of wine. Is the bottle on the bench?"

"Here," Maura intercepted quickly, "I'll get it." She took the glass and briefly went to the kitchen, pausing with two hands on the island bench top, drawing in a few calming breaths. She returned with the bottle, refilling Jane's glass before handing it to her and topping up her own. With the large glasses, the wine was empty. She placed another, held securely under her arm on to the table. "To save us getting up," she explained with a soft smile.

"Thanks." Jane leant forward and cut some cheese, dropping a few brazil nuts in her mouth before topping a cracker with the blue vein. An easy silence fell between them, just the clock on the wall infusing with their internal thoughts and dialogue. "I think," Jane said after a while, shivering at the cooling night, "that I'm just really tired. Exhausted."

"It's been a while, since you had a break."

Jane nodded. "I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep – you know, uninterrupted by work or family dramas." Or the nightmares that had changed and morphed but still haunted her during the early hours of the morning.

"The body needs sleep; even Jane Rizzoli's," Maura said softly, maintaining a lightness and non-accusatory tone.

Jane narrowed her eyes but agreed, muttering, 'yeah yeah."

"I would like to help," Maura offered slowly, holding her head up with her hand, elbow on the back of the lounge chair. "Honestly, is there anything? Anything at all?" Jane blushed, embarrassment rushing across her expression. She shrugged. "I'm just, I know that our lives have been and still are crazy; it's surreal. And I'm here, if you want to drink to inebriation or want to talk things through. Or if you want to hide in my guest room for a few nights, it's nice to not be alone sometimes too."

"It's so much better now, that we're not fighting." The words were rasped out, voice strained and colour slowly draining away from her face. "I've been a crappy daughter, sister – now and over the years. And I've been such an awful friend, I shot your father, Maura. I actually shot your biological father under the protection of my badge and I never even apologised. And now Casey, what do I have to do? One day I'm going to be old and decrepit, I'm going to die alone in some run down apartment building."

"Would you like me to argue each of those points with logic and reality? Or would you accept a hug and we'll save rationality for sobriety?"

Jane responded with a tearful laugh, holding her glass out to the side as Maura rolled forward and wrapped one arm around Jane's neck and with slight pressure, held her tightly. Jane allowed her chin to rest on Maura's shoulder briefly, exhaling a long breath. "Maybe if you still have those feather pillows, I could stay in your guest room for a night or two?"

"Of course," Maura said softly. "And," she continued faintly, "you are so loved and will never, ever be alone." Releasing Jane, Maura sat back, holding an open palm to Jane's cheek and met her tear filled eyes before nodding, waiting for an acknowledgement. She received it in way of a half shrug and some hastily brushed at eyes. "And you know, you are welcome here any time and for as long as you want."

"Thank you."

"I do need to restock the beer though, your brothers drank it all – celebrating our brush with death, your operating skills and I suspect, my physical inability to stop them from working their way through the entire case."

"Yeah, I think you need to actually. This red wine is turning me into a soppy mess."

Maura shook her head, observing her glass closely before taking a long sip. "It's a misconception you know, that certain alcohols result in an altered emotional state. Research shows that…"

"Shhhh Maura," Jane interrupted, tipping her glass to her lips and wiping further at her wet cheeks and lower eyelids. "Let me have my feeble excuse."

Maura grinned, reaching out and tapping Jane's knee. "Okay," she conceded, relaxing back and resting her head against the back of the sofa, long hair spreading over her shoulders. It was as much as she was going to get out of Jane that evening, but it was better than nothing. A few short sentences; honesty creeping out between the routine of sarcasm and jesting.

Sometimes it felt good to be back in the old patterns, as complicated and complex as they may be. Until the next crisis at least.