Title: Play the Game
Notes: I'm quite horrible with WIPs. I think its equal parts ADD and WayTooMuchToDoInADay. Warning number one. This mixes with my love for the paranormal. Warning Two. May be some subtexty, femslashy stuff. Warning Three. So, you have been properly warned. Despite all that though, feedback is always nice. Gets me motivated.
Summary: In 1930s Boston, the game is changing. The mob is becoming more ruthless. Bodies are showing up everywhere, including the client of struggling lawyer, Abigail Rizzoli.
June 1887 Boston
Mary Easton was always up for a swim.
She shed most of her clothes as she raced toward the water. Her brother wasn't too far behind her.
It wasn't too often that they had time together like this. Even though it was only the two of them, their lives had begun to steer them away from each other. They were growing up and the world was offering them new and wondrous sights every day. There was nothing they could do to stop it.
Except maybe take a swim in the Charles.
John Easton loved the water about as much as his sister. It was why he wasn't alarmed when she didn't surface after a long few moments. She was always teasing him, scaring him.
"Mary, that's enough now!" he called out, grinning.
Suddenly, the sun bounced off the water, so bright it blinded him.
He stopped grinning. Something was wrong. She still had not surfaced.
"Mary?" he shouted now. He dove under, but couldn't see anything. He resurfaced and tried again, "Mary? MARY?"
She was nowhere to be found. He splashed and dived, splashed and swam and hit the water with open palms as if that would make her reappear.
It had always just been the two of them. He couldn't lose her. He had no one else.
After several frightful minutes, he chanced a glance at the bank and he saw a crumpled Mary curled up and shivering.
"Thank the Lord!" he gasped, swimming over to her. He raced up once he was on land again and gathered her up. "Mary, you scared me! Never do that again!"
"M-M-Mary?" the young woman said meekly.
"Yes, that's you, child," John scolded playfully. He squeezed her tight to his body and held his tears at bay. She was alright.
It was then Mary reached up to John, to cup his cheek in her palm. Her eyes seemed different, he noted with great concern. So distant her gaze had become. Her thumb brushed gently against his skin before she said, "My God, is that you John?"
John was stilled by his sister's sudden amnesia. "Yes, Mary. Of course it is."
"I never thought I would ever see you grown," Mary exclaimed softly, reverently. "I thought I would be long gone before. . . How did I end up here?"
"See me grown?" John repeated. "Mary, what has gotten into you?"
"Gotten into me?" Mary repeated. "I should say John, you should recognize your grandmother when you see her!"
John Easton wasn't quite sure what to say to that. He daren't say she was insane, suddenly afraid to be scolded by the grandmother he had barely gotten to know before she died. But how absurd! This was Mary!
At least he thought it was.
"Let's go, Mary," he said stiffly. "We're going to see the doctor, okay? You nearly drowned just now, do you hear me? Let's go, alright?"
"But my name is not Mary!"
John glanced at her, looked at those eyes again and in that moment, he knew.
He didn't want to believe it, but he knew.
That woman? That was not his Mary.
It was someone impossible.
It was something Torin Grady didn't expect; the weight of a human body.
It was heavy and cumbersome, his new career choice presenting its first negative attribute. Well, not the first, but perhaps the most nettling.
If he hadn't fallen behind the grind with his studies in medical school, perhaps he would have realized such knowledge about bodies beforehand, but that was neither here nor there. He was in this predicament now. This wouldn't be the first murder in Boston and it sure as hell wouldn't be the last.
Please! I'll do whatever the boss needs!
You've already said too much.
Grady had never seen someone beg for their life before. He had never seen a grown man on the verge of tears. Only in children had he seen such fear. That fear had Grady nearly salivating at what was to come next. In fact, this night held a great many firsts for Grady, personally. He had followed his target, interrogated his target and then strangled his target. He'd done all those tasks frighteningly well.
This is what happened when a man in this town owed certain other men favors. He had finally become what his mother was afraid he would always be: a sheep. A murdering, disrespected shell of a man.
Following the crowd. Getting mixed up with the wrong people. Now he was a killer.
He finally dropped the load near some leftover construction debris and exhaled heavily. Looking ahead, he wiped his brow with a handkerchief and relished the brief break. Damn, it was dark! He squinted hard, hoping to clear up his surroundings just a little. Finally, he spied a good spot.
"'Bout time," he muttered to himself. With great pains, he hooked his hands under the pits of the poor schmuck he was dragging and pressed onward to his destination.
After a few attempts, he lifted the body and shoved it through a void in the unfinished wall. A bit of dust kicked up when the body hit the floor again, stinging his eyes. He backed away, mumbled, "Bloody hell. . ."
Yes, hell. He would be going to hell for this.
The man glanced at the sky once, almost fearfully, then back to the resting place he selected. He removed his hat and held it tight. Quickly he said, "I know we never met, sir, but it wouldn't be right to leave you without a blessing. So here goes. This life is just a resting place. Be with the Lord now and forgive me for abandoning you like this. "
Until we meet again, may God
Hold you in the palm of his hand.
The Boston streets were eerily quiet, but Grady found himself comforted by it. Killing had given him a rush like no other, but now it was sinking in what he had done before God. He took great pains to slow his gait, not wanting to look hurried or guilty or excited.
Not that there were many folks around to see him, but he didn't want to take any chances. He neared a familiar hole in the wall and had a sudden thirst for anything that would wash away the grit he could feel in the back of his throat.
He pushed through the doors of The Robber and prepared himself mentally to drink away the sins of the night.
But nothing could wash away this sin. Not when he desperately needed to taste it once more.
The site for the new Boston Natural History Museum was supposed to be a place of new hope in these crazy times. Instead it was the site of another grisly murder and quite frankly, this gumshoe was getting tired of working them. The horrid things people did to other people just shook him cold most days.
From what he could gather, at least this fella seemed to die peacefully. No blood, no disfiguration that he could see so an open casket service for his family. Cause of death would probably be harder to determine, but perhaps this was the kind of thing that kept him in the game. That's right. Murder was a game, forever changing. The mob was getting more creative, if not more bold and he had a feeling this was definitely a mob hit.
"Bobby. Who's this broad?" grumbled his partner, Lane.
He didn't have to look but he did anyway. Tall and thin, she towered over some of the other men here by a few inches. She opted for less traditional dress, wearing some trousers and a blazer. A fedora draped over her eyes. Maybe she hoped it would disguise her somehow. Or maybe she knew she would stick out like a sore thumb.
Bobby presumed it was the latter.
Her gaze was on the building, steady and curious. The detective gave his partner a tight smile and replied. "Don't worry. It's just my wife."
"Humph. She didn't wear that to the Christmas party."
"She wanted to."
"Well, you better get her out of here Rizzoli," his partner warned. "This is no place for a woman, even if that woman is a lawyer. Remember what happened last time she stuck her nose where it didn't belong."
With little protest, Bobby made his way over to his wife. She didn't look his way which meant she full well knew he was coming. She was just going to be intent on ignoring him. What a wife! None of the other fellas had such a time, but that was part of her charm, wasn't it? He stood beside her and tried to spy what it was she found so interesting, but he knew his efforts would be fruitless. She had a much better eye for detail than he.
"Abigail," he finally said. He glanced at her attire. "Those are my trousers."
"They're comfortable," she replied with a half shrug. Her stance was almost rakish, yet the soft features of her face made the look so sultry. Maybe too sultry for the public, but he wouldn't have that argument here and now.
"Why are you here? You should be at home. . ."
"Doing what, Bobby? Washing the dishes or painting my nails? I didn't become a lawyer to sit at home."
"Well, it's not like you got any cases. Maybe you should find some clients."
Because her single most important client ended up a victim.
"Maybe you should find some murderers."
All of his murderers could have very well killed her client.
They were silent for a moment, as if in some standoff. She hadn't had a decent client in months. He had failed to make any arrests in a longer time. They were both feeling the heat.
Bobby could see the corners of her mouth turning up. They always argued like this and they both secretly loved it. A man didn't find many women like Abby. The kind that could freeze a man in his tracks with a look; a look that said more about strength and honor than most men could ever claim to own. She was powerful.
"Was it him, Bobby?"
As if on cue, the clouds took on a dark edge.
She knew. She just wondered if her husband would lie about it.
Bobby Rizzoli loved being a detective, but there were certain parts of the job he really hated. The stiff found in the walls was an old client of Abby's. A client that had taken a stand against the mob. He had paid for his testimony with his life. He didn't have it in him to confirm it.
"Your silence is enough, I suppose," she said, looking down at her feet now. "I told you Jimmy needed protection."
"We tried, you know that Abby," Bobby said gently. "Jim knew the ins and outs of all their dealings. He also knew coppers that could be involved and that paranoia drove him to run. Nothing we could do."
"I have to right this. For his family," Abby said with determination. Jimmy only ever mentioned having a sister. "I convinced him to do it and now he's dead."
"You were his lawyer. You could be dead right now," Bobby argued. "I won't allow you to observe or help or whatever it is you think you're going to do. Not this time, Abby. Let me handle it, okay? "
He almost grimaced. Using the word 'allow' probably wasn't the best tactic. Abigail was not one to be "allowed" to do or not do anything. Thankfully, she saved him the lecture.
"I was co-counsel," she argued back. "And I was the girl. No one paid any attention to me in there. They certainly won't pay me any mind at The Robber."
"What do you think you'll find in a hole like that?" he grumbled. "They got nothing but twits in there. And they serve slugburger all day long."
"It's where I found Jimmy and he was no twit," she retorted.
"He was a patsy and we should've seen that coming."
Abby sighed before motioning that she wanted to check out the half-finished museum. Without Bobby, it would be impossible for her to roam the site without being stopped by his other brothers in law enforcement.
He wanted to protest again, but it was useless to argue with a woman like Abby. After two years of marriage, he was still dizzy with this dame and he would follow her anywhere.
Searching the crime scene provided very little. Abigail Rizzoli prided her ability to notice things that her husband could not, but this crime just wasn't going to yield those inspired observations. It was as simple as it could be. Jimmy was strangled. He was dumped in the wall, the killer possibly hoping that no one would notice and continue to build around the body.
The Robber was bustling tonight. The music and the energy of the crowd almost made her forget what her objective had been.
She leaned back in her booth, sipping some whiskey and surveying her surroundings. She'd smirk at the dames who glanced her way. It took a few long moments, but the recognition would show on their surprised faces once realizing the devilishly dashing gentlemen in the suit and fedora was actually a woman.
In the courtroom, Abby was all lady and finesse and she rarely ever got to speak. Such was the nature of her occupational hazard. In the darkness of the booth, however, Abby was able to disguise her soft features and long hair just enough to fool most of the passersby. When she was scouting, putting her ear to the ground and listening for the bulls, she was this new persona. She wasn't Abigail Rizzoli, the lawyer. (As if they would notice her anyway.)
She was simply Abby, a women who'd grown tired of the limitations of her gender. Who'd taken her partners case and turned it on its head by finding Jimmy. Jimmy had been the key to ending one of the biggest mob families in Boston.
She hoped returning to The Robber would return such luck again.
"Here's something you don't see every day," came a wickedly feminine voice. Abby glanced up to spy a strawberry blond in a dress that draped over her shoulders and showed off her back. There was a hat on her head, angled down and obscuring her eyes just a bit. She carried a lit cigarette in one hand while her other hand rested on her hip.
Abby sipped her whiskey, the burn giving her voice a bit of a raspy edge. "Don't like it? Take a hike."
"Oh, I like it, honey," the woman insisted, sliding into the booth across from her. "I can see why Jimmy would want to talk to you."
Maybe The Robber was going to provide something after all.
"Jimmy?" Abby repeated curiously. "You knew him?"
"I did," the woman confirmed. She stole Abby's glass off the table and much to the lawyer's surprise watched her new companion swallow the rest of her glass in one go. She reacted to the liquid with a small cough before saying, "My name is Jo."
"Hello, Jo," Abby said, barely holding back the sneer. She wasn't much on sharing her alcohol with anybody. She extended her hand anyway and began, "My name is . . ."
"Abby, I know. Jimmy talked a lot about you," Jo said, setting her hand into the lawyers. Abby quirked an eyebrow as she gave a light squeeze in greeting. Jo smiled broadly and said, "Nice to finally meet you."
Their hands separated, leaving Abby with a somewhat empty, cold feeling at losing physical contact with Jo. She didn't understand or appreciate how unhinged this woman was making her feel, but she couldn't dismiss the gal. Not yet. Not when it involved her (now dead) key client.
"And what were you to Jimmy?"
"He was my brother," Jo answered sadly. "Our father owns this place."
Abby stiffened. "Your father? He owns The Robber?"
"It's no accident you found Jimmy here. He wanted to talk to you. He saw an opportunity."
Abby sighed inwardly. "You were the voice on the phone."
"You are good."
"The anonymous tip about a rival gangbanger inside the Cirrillo camp, it came from you? So you and Jimmy set me up and for what? To help your father kill off the competition? Well, look where we are. You used me and your brother to wipe out another crime boss and you failed. How does it feel?"
"See it how you must, but we only did what we had to. Ours have been dying first," Jo said rigidly. "Eye for an eye, Mrs. Rizzoli."
With narrowing eyes and a growing distaste in her mouth, Abby said, "Oh, yes. Killing someone is the exact solution I come up with in response to killing."
"Killing is an unfortunate hazard in our world, but we're not savages. There is an honor code amongst the men in this town. There should be a certain level of respect between all the families. We don't kill just to satisfy some bloodlust, you have to believe me on that."
"I don't have to believe anything you say, lady," Abby huffed.
Jo smiled. "No, you don't, I suppose. You're an upstanding citizen with no skeletons in her closet, isn't that right, Mrs. Rizzoli? So what's with the men's clothing anyway? Make you feel powerful?"
"No one is a saint." Abby had averted her eyes down and away now. This Jo was both a blessing and a curse. She also talked too much. "And quit with the Mrs. Rizzoli crap. Mrs. Rizzoli is my overbearing mother-in-law."
"Ah, yes. Your husband. Bobby, right?"
Jo was all grins and confidence again, smoke swirling around her head. She removed her hat and the pin in her hair, the move both liberating and undeniably sexy. Abby could never imagine her unruly locks of hair ever falling over her shoulders as perfectly as Jo's just had. Abby watched her new companion with intrigue.
"What would Bobby do if he knew you were sitting here with me?" Jo mused aloud.
Abby smiled now. "He'd shoot you. Then arrest you."
"Why haven't you done so?"
"Shoot me," Jo clarified.
"I'm a lawyer, not a cop," Abby replied. "If Jimmy had been truthful about who he really was, I would have helped him anyway. I don't like your family or your business, but I'm a good judge of character. Jimmy was a good man."
Jo's confident mask faltered then. "I hardly doubt if Jimmy had been truthful about his lineage that you would have helped him."
Abby shrugged. "I guess we won't now, will we?"
"Jimmy was next in line, you know," Jo said quietly. "He was ready to make our business legit, but he wanted to get rid of our other problem before starting fresh. Seeking you out had been his best hope. An intelligent lawyer with an inside track. It was his hope to end this without violence."
"Showering me with compliments won't get anywhere with me," Abby huffed. "But buy me another drink and maybe we'll become the friends that Jimmy wanted us to be."
"You help me avenge Jimmy's death and you'll never pay another cent in this place again," Jo assured.
Abby did like the sound of endless drinks. The whole avenging bit, though, she wasn't too sure set well with her. She whipped out a cigarette of her own and before she could blink, a light appeared in front of her. Jo was at the ready and Abby leaned forward, a little puff followed and soon she was her own chimney stack.
"This really doesn't seem like your kind of spot."
Abby chuckled. "It is on days like today. Just one thing bothers me. Why me? I'm not the lead in this trial. I certainly don't get to speak with the witnesses or address the jury or get to do much of anything without going through the partners first."
To this Jo's smile grew quite large. "You know, Mrs. Rizzoli. There are just some places that a woman can go that a man simply cannot. Jimmy was wise enough to know this."
Abby couldn't help the grin, though she was not sure about why she was doing so. She should've been upset that Jo called her Mrs. Rizzoli again. She should've walked out once she learned the truth about Jimmy and his sister. In fact, she was quite confident she didn't want to indulge this Jo any further or speculate as to what she meant with her last statement, but the tone was clear.
The game was changing in Boston and Jo was about to enlighten her on all the new rules.
It was time for Abigail Rizzoli to go all in.