Title: Play the Game
Notes: As always, thanks for the follows, favs, reviews. Makes me feel a little less crazy for writing something like this.
Summary: He knew that Abigail would do everything to keep her safe, to rid their city of these mobster mongrels. But could he have predicted that she would love Abigail for her sacrifice? Could he have known that this lawyer would love her in return?
"No, Jo. It can't be you," Abigail insisted vehemently. She had pulled Joanna to a nearby booth, the soft piano floated above them, gave their dark conversation a little light. "Jimmy died for this. You don't have to."
"My family, my fight, Abby," Joanna argued back. "You have done too much already. The case is over without these cooked books. You said yourself that the prosecutor's case will be over in a week or so. That all the testimony you had left gave very little leverage to your case. What will happen when you run out of witnesses to depose?"
Abigail knew the answer and she hated that Joanna knew the answer too. Somberly, she said, "The case will be closed. We will have to confess that without our star witness' testimony coupled with our other meager evidence, Cirrillo will get a slap on the hand at best. He will be free by Christmas."
"Then let me do this," Joanna said.
Abigail refused again. "No, Cirrillo will have goons looking for someone like you, a grieving sister out for revenge. They won't suspect the lady lawyer snooping around. You need to stay in town, give the illusion that no one is after their stash. They gotta think that everything is Jake."
Abigail may have been the 'lady lawyer', but Joanna knew that this title had always given her friend a false sense of security. That simply being the woman gave her some invisible cloak, an ability to fly under the noses of their enemies. In most cases, that would be the truth. Joanna doubted that it was the case this time.
"What if you are followed? You can't honestly believe they don't watch you too. Always forcing your way onto Bobby's crime scenes. Coming here, to my father's establishment for the occasional drink. Surely they've seen us speak."
"You're my client's sister. Not so unusual."
"You are infuriating," Joanna countered. "And you are no match for them. If Torin really is Jimmy's killer, you don't stand a chance."
An easy smile crossed Abigail's lips. "And you do? My husband is a good teacher, Jo. I can take care of myself."
"It's your husband that worries me," Joanna stated gravely, not liking Abigail's smirk. "Don't treat this like some infantile game."
"Bobby wouldn't hurt us," Abigail insisted, her tone laced with warning. "And if I thought this were a game, I wouldn't be telling you to stay here." Abigail leaned forward now, eyes narrowing into serious slits and her lips forming a thin line of stubbornness. "You are always telling me that women can go where men cannot. That Jimmy wouldn't have sought me out in the first place if he didn't believe that were true. You may not like it now, but you still believe it. The prosecutor's office is scared. Those men that I work with? They wouldn't dream of schlepping down by the river to look for these books. Hell, they might be afraid that their names are in them! I don't have to fear that. I need you to trust me. This is the best way. The only way. . ."
. . .That protects you.
Joanna didn't need Abigail to finish her thought. She knew. She knew that Abigail would do anything to protect her and somehow Jimmy knew that Abigail was a genuinely good person. He knew that Abigail would do everything to keep her safe, to rid their city of these mobster mongrels. But could he have predicted that she would love Abigail for her sacrifice? Could he have known that this lawyer would love her in return?
"I promised your brother," Abigail said simply. The lawyer enveloped Joanna's hands into her own. She whispered, "I don't break promises."
"Abby," Joanna said reverently, her eyes falling shut as her emotions threatened to overwhelm her. Why did this feel like goodbye? She felt a chaste kiss on her knuckles that immediately popped her eyes back open. But the attorney had already risen from the booth and was going out the door.
It felt like goodbye because it was.
Joanna Hastens followed Oscar up the stairs and down the hallway toward the rear of the house. It seemed the night Abigail Rizzoli left her to pursue their salvation was eons ago and not merely the night before. In fact, she could argue that the conversation didn't even happen. That if she forgot everything for a moment, she could believe that Abigail was still here, walking by her side. Joanna glanced to her right, the woman next to her barely paying attention to where they were going, marveling at the details of this old house.
Her name was Jane. And Joanna knew this deep down and for those brief moments that she forgot, the reality swept back in just as forcefully. Abigail kissed her hand. Abigail said goodbye.
Oscar Dye had four bedrooms on the upper levels that had been vacant for quite some time. At one point they had housed all four Dye brothers, the master suite was home to his parents. The parents were long since buried and only one of Oscar's brothers was still living. At least Oscar thought so. Their father, Mr. Dye (God rest his spirit) had left everything to Oscar, the only brother to have gone to school and earn a degree in English. The younger Dye brother obviously felt dejected about the whole thing and therefore had disappeared.
Oscar had been living alone for the last 15 years or so.
"Nice big bed," he showed them proudly. The master suite was grand with no shortage of crown molding along the ceiling nor was there a space not covered with some plush rug. Jane found it curious that the name Dye hadn't lasted long enough to reach her ears. Names like Fairfield were legends; they were old money that had been atop Boston's richest and finest for decades. Clearly the Dye family, at least in this era, had money. What happened?
While Oscar spoke, it occurred to Jane that he, not once, had mentioned any children of his own. Maybe the Dye family fortune ended with Oscar.
The tour of the house accompanied with Dye Family history seemed to be over and it appeared that Oscar had no other plans than to dump them here for the night. Jane glanced at Joanna, then back to the enormous bed. Were they expected to share it? Even the normally confident redhead was looking a bit weary at the unspoken suggestion.
Oscar was completely oblivious to their discomfort and continued to speak, "I've got some fresh linen here. I'm sorry for my lack of preparedness. I never have guests, you understand."
Joanna politely smiled. "Oscar, everything is fine. You have been incredibly gracious."
"Got some nice dresses too, if you fancy a change," he said eagerly. He shuffled over to a wardrobe and pulled on the doors. "You look about my mother's size, Jane. Joanna, I'm afraid these may be a bit big for you."
"We'll be fine with what we have, but perhaps some nightgowns?" Joanna said. Jane could tell this errand was simply meant to allow them a little space, to give Oscar an excuse to leave the room.
"Oh, of course. I should have something in the next room," Oscar nodded, before scampering out and leaving them alone. Once he was gone, Jane was quick to breathe a sigh of relief for the reprieve.
"Do we have to stay here?" Jane asked, almost with a whine in her voice. "That hole of an apartment is starting to look better than this."
Joanna playfully smacked her shoulder. "Stop now! Oscar is a little excitable at times, but as much as I'd hate to admit it, we need him. He's the only other one in this backwards town who's talking as crazy as you."
"Again with the 'crazy'," Jane griped. "I'm not crazy."
Joanna pursed her lips some. "I guess I'm just projecting how crazy I feel unto you."
Jane rubbed her eyes. "Look, I'm sorry. I look like Abigail and you love her, but . . ."
"What? I love Abigail?" Joanna repeated, another comical look of alarm on her features.
Jane laughed mirthfully. "Please, even Oscar thinks something is up between you two. Why would he offer us one bed?"
"Us? You and me?" Joanna laughed now. Stepped toward the other woman and poked her in the chest. "Listen, there is no us."
Jane felt as if she just entered the twilight zone, the 'us' ending in somewhat of a hissing sound. Joanna's close proximity was also stirring in her emotions she knew she shouldn't have, but couldn't help. She tried stepping back some, to break this weird spell. Jane said as strongly as she could, "I didn't mean for 'us' to come out like that. I meant. . ."
Joanna cut her off, wouldn't let her finish. "Quite frankly, there is no Abigail and Joanna either, so stop with the insinuations. I care a great deal for her, but to love her hurts too much so I kindly ask you to never speak of it again, are we clear?"
"Joanna, I'm sorry," Jane tried again.
"Are we clear?" Joanna repeated, her voice thick with emotion. She was breathing in deeply, like she had just run a marathon. What was happening to her? Only Abigail had the ability to incense her in this way. This confusion, this trying to keep Jane and Abigail separate was becoming very difficult. Her head was saying one thing while her heart yearned for another.
"Clear," Jane said softly. "I'm sorry." Tentatively, Jane reached out and set her hand on Joanna's shoulder. Joanna shrugged away which only prompted Jane to grasp tighter.
There was an undeniable pull between them. When Jane didn't feel anymore resistance, she gently pulled Joanna into an awkward embrace.
"Don't do this," Joanna whispered, but she didn't pull out of the hug. She only melted into it. She savored it, breathing in the familiar scent of Abby that was laden in the fabric of her blazer. "Please. Let me go."
"I want to, trust me," Jane whispered back. "I don't do hugs."
Joanna laughed into Jane's shoulder. "Then stop." Stop looking like Abby. My Abby.
"Here we go," Oscar said, bustling back in with his arms full. He hardly noticed the two women jump back from each other like the other was on fire. He was too busy fiddling with the gowns and sorting them out on the bed. "I know it's a lot, but I wasn't sure what would fit."
"Thank you," Joanna said, going over to stand next to Oscar and inspect the offerings, grateful for the interruption.
"I guess I'm your resident expert now, right?" Oscar asked, at least aware enough to know the two women would need some sort of template to follow before they returned to the Charles River in the morning.
Jane was unable to hide her worry and relief. She wasn't kidding when she expressed her desire to pull away. She wanted to pull away, but didn't know how. Unwittingly, Oscar had saved them both from any more potentially embarrassing exchanges. Jane folded her arms, an attempt to regain control of her emotions and asked, "Is there anything else you can tell us?"
Oscar frowned, now deep in thought. After a long moment, he spoke again, "All I know for sure is that they found Mary Easton's body floating in the Charles some several weeks after she disappeared. It made sense, at least to her brother, that she go back to the place where everything changed. If she switched lives with Grandma Sue, so to speak, while tussling with the river, then perhaps going back would set their lives right again."
"Did John ever tell you how Sue died?" Jane asked, mostly out of curiosity.
Oscar thought again on that one. "Come to think it, he never did. I guess I could try to find out. Go back to the paper in the morning and do a little research. Why? You think knowing will help?"
"I don't know," Jane sighed. "This 'switch' happened with us both having last been at the Charles. Abby was wrestling with her attacker. I was fighting with a suspect. We both ended up in the river. It only makes sense that Sue Easton was there as well. If Sue wasn't at the river at any point in her life, then whatever we thought was happening at the Charles might be completely off base."
Joanna shook her head, began lying out the nightgowns on the bed. "Please, don't hypothesize that we may be wrong on our assumptions on how this crazy mess happened to begin with."
"John did tell me his grandmother lost a finger," Oscar mused aloud. "He had been told it was a farming accident, but what if that wasn't the truth? He was a very young boy when Sue died. In fact, he never seemed clear on the circumstances of her death either."
It seemed that Sue Easton's final moments of life were a mystery. Jane shut her eyes in thought.
"At what point do you think they switched?"
Oscar and Joanna were silent, wondering where Jane would be going with that question.
Jane continued, "You said that John made wild claims about Mary cutting off her own finger. She wanted to prove that she was Sue, right? But then he realized, she didn't cut it off. Now call me crazy, but I inherited Abby's wound when I got here. Then afterward, it disappeared."
"Just as Sue's old injury reappeared," Oscar added excitedly. "So what if Mary had gone through the same transformation? What if she inherited Sue's injuries? What if she lived on as her grandmother up until Sue's death?"
Joanna could only sigh now. "Please, listen to you two! If Mary became Sue while Mary was still a baby, explain how Mary can exist with herself?"
Good question, but it did cause Jane to smile in amusement. "Now who's trying to make sense of things?"
Joanna sneered in a playful manner. "It's bad enough we're talking about switched lives between past and future relatives. Now you want to theorize that the same soul can coexist with itself at the same time! I don't know how much more I can take of this . . . this . . . "
"Nonsense?" Jane suggested.
"Don't patronize me," Joanna scolded, this time seeming offended.
Jane sighed. "Okay, maybe I'm stretching it a bit. I'm tired. We both are."
"Then off to bed, both of you," Oscar said in agreement. "I can wake you in the morning, serve up breakfast and even get you a ride to the river. It would be dreadful to try and walk there."
Before either woman could utter a word, he was gone. The door shut with a deafening finality, leaving Jane and Joanna to ponder if they were really meant to share the bed before them. It seemed that Oscar wasn't really giving them a choice. With a sudden weariness taking over Jane, however, she found she cared less and less about the sleeping arrangements. If she had been keeping track of this time she was currently in, she hadn't really slept that much, if she discounted the times she was knocked out due to pain.
The two women undressed and redressed in the nightgowns in silence. They did this with backs to one another, the silent sound of fabric ruffling and falling to the floor the only disturbance. Joanna was finished first and Jane could hear her pulling back the decadent sheets. Braving a glance over her shoulder, she took in the beautiful daughter of Mr. Doyle and once again found herself comparing Maura and Joanna. Similar skin tone, similar body shape. She briefly wondered just how the Doyle family tree was constructed and where Maura fit into that tree.
Jane ended her scrutiny quickly, just to avoid another awkward explanation to Joanna. She climbed under the covers next to Joanna and laid there in a rigid straight line. She thought of home. She thought of Maura.
She shut her eyes and surprisingly saw the face of Scott Crane. She saw herself fighting the suspect, splashing in the water and then could feel herself sinking all over again. If she went back to the Charles would she have to endure another frightful swim? Would she have to succumb and allow herself to drown in order to go back? If she did that, what if it didn't work? What if she simply drowned instead?
That's how it seemed to work out for Sue Easton. She just drowned.
Jane reopened her eyes.
Joanna's breathing was even, but Jane knew she wasn't asleep. Even though they both needed rest, sleep wasn't going to be easy to come by on this night.
"I'm glad I got to meet you," Jane whispered. It was the best way she could think of, the best way to say goodbye. Tomorrow could be her last day.
"Likewise," Joanna replied, her voice just barely above a whisper.
Tomorrow could be both a beginning and an end.
Or maybe neither? Jane suddenly remembered something and shot up to a sitting position. Joanna quickly followed her and grasped Jane's arm out of instinct, a natural reaction to any time she sensed fear in Abigail. Joanna spoke through the brief sleep fog, "What is it? What?"
"Abigail had a note," Jane said, getting out of the bed quickly and retrieving the jacket she had been wearing earlier. The same one she had been wearing at the Charles River. She searched the pockets and found a brittle piece of paper. "Damn, this is close to ruined."
Quietly, Joanna had crawled out of the bed and joined Jane near the window, to use the moonlight to attempt a reading of the paper. Jane was tensing up with frustration, so Joanna softly laid her hands across the trembling ones. The movement calmed Jane just as it would have calmed Abigail.
"That's not the whole letter. Just directions. The rest, Jimmy meant only for me to read. There's another page."
Jane looked up. "Just for you?"
"I had planned on sharing this with Abby after she got back from the river," Joanna confessed. "I guess I just forgot about it when I brought you back instead."
My dearest Joanna,
There is so much I have discovered, masquerading as a runner for Cirrillo. I have the names of several corrupt officials, coppers, judges, you name it. Even if I testify for Mrs. Rizzoli, I'm certain he will serve a minimum sentence and nothing more. These men, men like our father have so many friends and even more enemies. I thought it would be simple to clear this mess out of our city, but the network is so much deeper than I imagined.
Speaking of the lawyer, she will have to be the one that takes care of you from now on. I know she cares a great deal for you and she has yet to meet you! Curious, right? All she knows of me is that I'm supposed to be this scared runner for a bad crime boss. That I'm testifying to protect my sister and my father. Her thirst for justice is unwavering and I admire her for it. I hope the work I'm doing will redeem our family for everything we have done.
The second page is a crude drawing, a map and some directions. I followed Grady to the Charles River. Saw him burying some of Cirrillo's books. I can only assume Cirrillo grew desperate. He needed a place to hide them until the investigation was over. I plan to go back for them, but if I can't, I'll need you to do it, Joanna. Find Mrs. Rizzoli and get those books! It would take a very clever accountant to explain his numbers and many clever lawyers to defend the men in them. It should put Cirrillo away for a long time.
Remember, I love you.
"Ideally, Jimmy wanted the books and his testimony together," Joanna sighed, refolding the letter neatly. "Those two things would have crippled Cirrillo."
"Why did Abby go alone?" Jane asked.
"Oscar had delivered the note to me. I told Abby about the books, just not the rest of the letter," Joanna confessed. "She caught me leaving The Robber that afternoon. I couldn't lie about my plans, so when I told her what Jimmy had wanted, she was fervent that she go instead. I had never seen her look so scared for me."
Jane swallowed down a think lump of sadness. Abigail went to that river sensing it would be her last, but she didn't waver. She just went. If only Jane could sit down with her mother now, explain just how brave and self-sacrificing Abigail was. She was more than just a story of 'ridiculous hijinks'.
"That was the last time I saw Abby before . . .," Joanna sighed, shaking her head of the memory. "I knew something was off when night fell and she wasn't at our usual meeting place. I went to the Charles and well, you know the rest."
Jane had listened intently, she did. She was also thinking. She was beginning to understand something, her time traveling problem was becoming a little bit clearer.
She still didn't have the how or the what, but maybe she had the why. Everything from her time, from the microfilm that she and Maura read together all described definitively the release of Cirrillo, the fallout of his case being thrown out, the death of Abigail Rizzoli. Before her jump, before the switch, all of this had been true. Cirrillo won. Abigail died.
Now it seemed that Jane was getting what she had wished for. Something had given her the opportunity to rewrite history.
"I wish I knew more," Jane said aloud, unknowingly clenching a fist.
"I'm done with the questions," Joanna said. "I'm afraid if I keep asking, I'll lose the very last bit of her that I have left."
Joanna's hands rested on top of Jane's again. So much love, so much anguish. Jane was overwhelmed by what she was sensing in the woman next to her and she wanted desperately to pull away, but she did not. Instead, she promised, "I will get her back for you."
"Oh yeah! And just how will you do that?" Joanna said with a laugh. "We don't even know how this happened to begin with."
"Forget the questions, right?" Jane shrugged. "Maybe we'll figure out the how someday, but we can't live like this. This is a very cruel limbo we're in."
"So we blow this place and go back," Joanna said. "We'll leave Oscar here. He's nuts anyway."
"We need him," Jane reminded her gently.
"Says you," Joanna murmured.
"No, says you," Jane said. "Weren't you the one earlier telling me we had to stay?"
"I suppose," Joanna admitted reluctantly.
"He's a little weird, but he's the only one that's been through this before," Jane said. "Sort of."
"We should sleep," Joanna said, unable to suppress the yawn. She led Jane back to the bed. They climbed in together. After a few moments, Joanna could feel the other woman curl up behind her and this amused Joanna greatly. "Didn't fancy you as much of a cuddler."
Jane grimaced before replying, "I'm not cuddling. It's cold."
"True. Proper cuddling would involve your lips on mine," Joanna agreed, her voice teasing.
Jane had to prop her head up to that. "Lips? Just what do you think cuddling is?"
Joanna sighed. "Let's just say it's something I'll probably never get Abigail to do, not in a million years." Joanna flipped over to face Jane, struggled to make out her features in the dark. "Why the sudden need to be close?"
"As you said. I don't believe that's all, so spill."
"Abigail died yesterday," Jane said quietly. "I mean, according to the papers in my time, she died. Maybe she faked her death, as we're doing right now. I don't know if she lived on in secret or if she still ended up dying at the Charles. All I can be sure of is that whatever we do will upset the original chain of events. I may go back to something I don't recognize. I may not go back at all."
I could die.
Joanna slid closer to Jane this time, taking one of those trembling hands into hers. She squeezed reassuringly, "Then I guess we'll be stuck together. And maybe, hopefully, Abigail is living on as you. That she will be able to read of our triumph in the future, that her sacrifice was worthwhile."
"I didn't consider that," Jane said, managing a smile. She tightened her hold on Joanna's hand, suddenly feeling brave. "Can I tell you something?"
Joanna said, "Of course."
"One of my first cases, one of my first big ones dealt with a serial killer. He kidnapped me. Tortured me. I got away somehow. Even now the details are fuzzy, but just the thought of him has always sent a chill through my bones. Later, there was a chance that he had somehow trained a replacement, an apprentice. It was the nightmare all over again."
Joanna stayed silent, while Jane gathered herself. This was obviously something Jane talked very little about and if this Rizzoli was anything like the one Joanna knew, it was best to let her work it out in her own way.
"He's always scared me," Jane confessed finally. Her eyes began to sting with the threat of tears. "But the thought that I may never see . . . that I may never get back to where I belong? That scares me more."
"You can't give up, Jane," Joanna said, her voice soothing and sure. "We may change the future tomorrow. We may turn the world upside down, but there's a reason this happened. There's a reason you're here and I have the utmost faith that whatever this thing is has saved both your lives. It may have saved my life. It may have saved Maura's."
"I'm glad you sound so sure," Jane joked, trying to hide her fear.
"I am far from complete certainty," Joanna replied, chuckling herself. "I just have to believe this happened for a reason. There's a reason I've been separated from Abigail. I hope that same reason will reunite us. That it will reunite you and Maura."
Jane hoped so. She cracked another smile that morphed into a yawn. With amusement, she asked, "Now which one of us is making assumptions? Maura and I are not together."
"No, I suppose you are not," Joanna said, shutting her eyes. "You are close?"
"Very," Jane answered quietly, resisting the urge to reach over and run a finger down Joanna's cheek. This isn't Maura. She is not Maura.
"I guess we're both very good liars then," Joanna concluded, before turning her back to Jane once more. "Goodnight, Jane."
Jane finally shut her eyes.