Faith in the Aftermath
Rizzoli & Isles – I certainly don't own them. I give a lot of credit to the people that do and thank them for letting me mess about with them for a bit. About the only thing I could claim is the general story.
Post 03x07 but the timeline is not defined.
Please read with care, the back story/case could be dark for some, maybe triggering. Mature readers only.
Her windshield glinted with broken bits of fall foliage and shards of an October rain, the wind dragging the droplets haphazardly along the glass. On a night like this Maura was grateful that Jane had won their disagreement over the resident parking sticker affixed to her windshield. The scant parking spots for visitors at the end of the street were filled, the nearest parking garage blocks away. For tonight at least, Jane was right and Maura would be willing to admit it. Admit that she was over often enough, picked Jane up often enough, that it was a matter of perception on whether or not she counted as a resident.
Approaching Jane's building, streetlights illuminated the open spot at the bottom of Jane's steps and for a moment it was evidence of a greater providence if she were to allow herself the luxury of faith.
Tonight in particular was one of the times she envied people of faith, coveted the sense of community, the pageantry of shared belief and more specifically, the ability to trust the unknown in times of personal trial. It fascinated her, the capability of the human mind to trust in something they viewed as fully omniscient and to grant that unknown power over their very existence. Religion fascinated her. One did not work around law enforcement and not come to understand the importance of the mystique. How that boost of strength a muttered prayer offered before they put their life on the line could carry a person forward when every other instinct said to run away.
Like today's arrest, headset in place, sitting next to Korsak, it was Jane's voice muttering the Lord's Prayer right before she and Frost led their team into the building that calmed Maura's own anxiety. It didn't make sense that comfort, but where Jane was concerned she'd given up on being able reduce everything into facts that could be understood.
Logic, science and absolute truth were not congruent with the annals religion. For Maura it was statistics and data that weighed out a calculated risk. To believe in anything different she needed to have it conveyed by someone else, to ride along with their conviction. So for today, Jane's prayer gave them both the strength to make it through. Through the sounds of a door breaking and voices clearing rooms, through the sounds of a struggle and Frost's voice cursing before Maura had heard sobs, female, broken. Jane's voice came next, cracking, the undercurrent of emotion deepening it with each word she muttered in reassurance to whomever she was with. The pitch caused Maura to drop her head. She didn't have to look at Korsak to know he had heard the same unspoken information. Whatever they had found was dire.
Once the car was parked Maura braced her hands on the steering wheel and gathered her thoughts. Shaking her head slightly at herself, she was annoyed and amused when the first notion that ran through her mind was that the open spot was an otherworldly validation that she had been right in her urge put her tea down and simply walk out the door.
This behavior, grounded in nothing tangible, was not her, it was not something she could understand or explain but she was beyond questioning her instincts anymore. Not at least when it came to Jane.
It was that same instinct that made her skip knocking and it barely registered on her conscious that the security chain was undone. When Jo didn't greet her with abject dog joy from the dark living room Maura felt her apprehension grow. Still hoping she was wrong, she quietly hung up her coat and placed her purse on the kitchen island, turning on the light. There was a half eaten bowl of cereal in the sink with a full glass of water. Standing on tiptoes she caught sight of the coffee table over the couch and it was clear of bottles.
It was not a good sign. It was a sign Maura was grateful for, but it was indicative. Jane would grab a drink at the Robber with the boys in celebration. She would grab a drink to unwind after a long day. Often she would grab more than one at the end of a tough day. But on a day when the demons wrapped around her brain and squeezed at her soul? It was water. Plain water.
Maybe it was because of Tommy. Maybe it was because she didn't want to deal with the lingering effects of over imbibing the next morning coupled with the responsibilities still left at work. Maybe it was as simple as wanting to prove she was strong enough to not need crutch like alcohol to lean on. That she, Jane, was ultimately stronger than many of the men that came before and would come after her.
All of those scenarios were likely. To a degree they were probably all correct. But more likely Maura believed that for certain situations Jane wanted to feel in control. She wanted to be fully alert to battle whatever came her way, real or imagined. Alcohol had the power to dull the edges of her awareness and that left her vulnerable. Perceived or otherwise Jane would not allow vulnerability.
Unless you knew how or where to look. If you could see the tightness around her eyes or the way she orbited the room, physically present but emotionally absent, it was there. When she would not meet Maura's eyes and her voice was methodical, measured, it was evident.
Turning around, Maura walked into the hallway leading to Jane's bedroom. Jo was belly down, lying in front of the bathroom door, her short terrier legs splayed out behind her as her nose was trained intently on the open space near the floor. With the glow from the kitchen, Maura didn't bother turning on an additional light as she opened the door and slipped inside, closing herself in and the light out.
When the bathroom door opened Jane didn't bother opening her eyes. Swallowing against the bitter aftertaste of bile on her tongue, she knew who it was. Had known the minute her front door had opened and closed as silently as possible. By now she didn't even question that Maura would come. She had even stopped hating the fact that she needed her to come. It just was.
Because it just was, she didn't hesitate to scoot forward when Maura leaned over to tap her shoulder, sliding between her back and the wall by the toilet. She was beyond fighting or trying to hold anything back and let herself be pulled and against the warmth of her friend, sliding down until she could rest the back of her head against her shoulder.
Maura didn't ask her if she was okay. She didn't tell her that it was going to be okay. She hadn't turned on the bathroom light or tried to pull her to her feet. Maura just got it.
"They had her handcuffed to the bed." Jane turned her head so she could feel the skin of Maura's neck against her forehead as she spoke. Maura didn't respond and Jane didn't expect her to. That was all that really needed to be said.
Maura shifted her hold, allowing herself the luxury of pulling Jane closer. Frost had pulled her aside the minute they'd cleared the building with the living victim, warned her before she went up. Even knowing what she would see, she hadn't been prepared. The bedroom, simulated luxury in an abandoned building, camera equipment knocked over and scattered from the initial recovery team. A woman, hair wet and matted crimson, arms, legs, bound, her unseeing eyes screaming.
"If we had had been five minutes earlier she might still be alive." The scene was fresh in Jane's head. Wet blood had coated everything. In her mind, any direction she turned she could see the splatter, the ceiling, the walls, the suspects. Her retina burned with the image of flayed skin around wrists and ankles from where the handcuffs had sliced without mercy. "She was sliced up from fighting to get loose."
In the morgue, Maura had seen the spit skin from where the victim had struggled brutally against the restraint. When she realized that Jane herself was rubbing her right wrist, she stopped trying to control the urge to run her fingers along Jane's wrists and dragged her nails back and forth gently over the skin. She had to remind herself that Jane's kidnapping was long over. Jane was there, physically in her arms.
Jane tried not to put herself in the place of the victim. Tried not to project how she may have felt when she woke up bound and helpless. How she would have felt the first time sour breath crossed her face and a strangers hands grabbed her body. She tried, but she failed.
When Jane shot up and dry heaved into the toilet Maura was up on her knees behind her, gathering up her hair, resting her free hand rest against the dip in Jane's spine. Finally pulling her away when she was finished, pressing toilet paper into her hand.
"I think some part of dinner didn't agree with me." Exhausted, sliding back down together against the wall, Jane felt Maura nod in response and that was it. Because Maura knew her half bowl of cereal wasn't the problem, but if Jane needed her to believe it was, then for now, it was. This time she gave up any pretense and turned onto her side so she could curl into Maura's chest, dabbing the paper against her running nose. "How many stab wounds?"
Maura cleared her throat. "Six in total." For tonight she wouldn't expound beyond that simple statement of fact unless Jane asked. She wouldn't clarify that each wound was skillfully placed so that the victim would survive for an agonizing amount of time. That the victim would have been brutally aware of each additional cut, of each rapist violating her. Tonight that was Maura's burden to carry alone.
"Was the other woman okay?"
It was semantics, Maura understood that. The other woman was okay in the same way Jane was okay. There seemed only one way to say it and be truthful. "Her physical injuries were limited to bruising and irritation from the tape binding her mouth, wrists and ankles."
Maura didn't need to tell Jane what she already knew. That the other victim had been bound and left in the corner of the room in full view of every horror, that her bruises would heal but her memories would not. Not immediately and perhaps not ever. Maura personally knew that you did not have to have single cell damaged in your body to be wounded. When she had watched the living victim leave the building Maura had wanted to tell her she'd be fine, to offer some hope, but she was not going to lie, her own nightmares told her differently.
They sat there together on Jane's bathroom floor long enough for the cool tile to turn cold, hard and unyielding. Long enough that their breathing was synchronized and Maura's eyes had slipped closed. Long enough that Jane seemed to come to herself, sitting up and shaking her head a bit. "Boy do we know how to live it up on a Saturday night or what? Just think Halloween is next week. Really, I'd say our trip to the Little Shop of Horrors was almost festive. If Freddie Krueger had shown up we'd have been able to say it was a rounding success."
Maura took that as her signal to stand up, stretching, allowing Jane her escape. "I think I'm going to swap our night of horror movies this year for Valentine's Day in October." She walked over the shower and turned it on, returning to reach a hand down to help Jane up.
"Ugh, Maura no. You get that out of me once a year." Jane tested out stiff limbs. "But I'm willing to compromise. Honestly I can't say that Silence of the Lambs is top of my list either. How about action?"
Maura shook her head, the limited light from the window making Jane's eyes shine against the darkness. "We can talk about it later. I am going to go walk Jo."
Outside the air was cold and she had left Jane's umbrella by the door on purpose. The icy droplets were a welcome cover as she finally gave into the knotted emotion in her chest. By the time Maura returned to Jane's building the rain dripping down her back had served its purpose and she was no longer trying to catch her breath between sobs. She brushed the water away from her forehead, rubbing lightly, the emotional release leaving a headache in its wake.
Letting Jo off her leash she let out a sigh of relief, Jane had turned the hall light on and left her bedroom door open. It was the closest admission of need Maura would get. And when she entered the bathroom the small pile of clothing and a towel said more than if Jane was standing there asking her to stay. Under the hot water she idly wondered if Jane knew how much she needed this too.
Her answer was on the nightstand, a glass of water and a bottle of ibuprofen. The answer was in the way Jane shifted closer, until Maura could wrap an arm securely around her waist and bury her face in her hair. Jane knew Maura needed this. Needed to feel her warm and solid and against her. Jane just got it, she understood.
Maura's hold was tight around her and Jane thanked God again that he saw fit to bring Maura into her life. The warmth along her back was the only reason she was willing to continue her tenuous belief in a greater power after the horrors of today. How else could she explain having someone in her life like Maura?
This afternoon at the scene it had helped knowing Maura could hear her when they pushed in that door and saw what they saw. She hadn't faced it alone. The girl, spread eagle, bound, alive just long enough for Jane to see the light fade from her eyes.
It could have been her.
For all the differences in the actual crime the result could have been the same for her if she hadn't been rescued. Kidnapped, tortured, raped, brutalized. Similar enough that she could feel Dominick's hand on her thigh and breath on her cheek. Maura had been with her there too, hearing and seeing but feeling as helpless as Jane did today. And she hadn't said anything that day. Simply took Jane home with her. Understanding, somehow, that Jane had talked enough, felt enough, allowing her to just be after everyone else had left. Absorbing her sarcasm, jokes and deflection with grace and quiet acceptance.
Jane stroked the arm around her waist. It was strong, anchoring and always there when she needed it. And she needed it so much. Even if she didn't know how to ask for it, couldn't find words for it, she always needed it. Not just for a moment. Not just for tonight. Always.
She turned abruptly, wrapping an arm around Maura, burying her face in the hollow of her neck, dragging the scent of her in. It wasn't enough.
Jane's lips were warm against her throat. The kiss was definitive. Distinctive. Lingering. Asking for everything and pushing nothing. Her body reacted instantly to the change before the touch was withdrawn. The pause weighted between them. Maura knew that it was her call at that moment. To stay in the past or step into the unknown, yielding to an unseen power. To let it be or to respond.
Instead she offered. Tightened her arms and pulled Jane with her as she rolled onto her back. Eyes glittered obsidian above her, growing closer until lips touched and she wanted more.
Jane pressed lightly at first, lingering, trying to categorize the sensations coursing through her until Maura's whimper of need broke into her mouth and she knew that it wasn't enough. It could never be enough. God had given her this woman and Jane could never be enough.
But she would die trying.
Maura opened her eyes watching Jane sit up, looming over her, hands conveying a message along her body. Fingers unfastened each button with care, pushing her top open, pushing her pants away. Eyes connected and there was a moment between them before Jane's shirt slipped over her head and the rest of her clothing dropped to the floor. Maura reached up, splaying her hand along Jane's abdomen, waiting.
There was no demand, there was no pressure. Maura was looking back at her, anchoring her with nothing but a simple touch at her waist and Jane fell in love with her all over again. She leaned over kissing her temple, lingering until she could feel Maura's pulse against her lips. Words slipped out unbidden.
"I love you."
And they continued to slip out as she mapped the curves and planes of Maura's body with her mouth and touch. When she paused she could hear Maura's voice echoing them back. The cadence, catching and changing, the words trembling as she worshiped the feather soft skin of one breast and then the other.
"I love you." The words were a whisper against her ear as Maura felt Jane stroking along her folds. There was no rush but there was need. There was desire. There was want echoing deep within her. Capturing Jane's hand with one of her own she pressed her closer, pushed her inward, breath staggering as a finger slipped in.
"Fuck." The word tumbled out but Jane couldn't help it. Maura was around her and Jane was in her. She could feel every millimeter of their connection and she throbbed with it as she stared into hazel eyes. She had not been prepared for this. "You're beautiful." And she was. In a way that Jane could not justify in words.
She added another finger and Maura's eyes fluttered closed before opening again, her breathing rougher. Jane kissed her, slowly, each stroke of her fingers, measured, prolonging this moment until Maura was moaning into Jane's mouth, seeking more.
Maura could feel each thrust building in her. Her body was dancing along an upsurge, meeting Jane's lead, whimpering against her lips when kissing became too much. Her eyes slammed shut when Jane's teeth scrapped against her neck, her thumb pressing along her clit over and over.
In that moment, the power that was them together swelled sharply and Maura arched up, holding her touch deep inside, a cry exploding out, thighs reflexively bracing up, sliding between Jane's thighs.
Jane slipped against the unexpected touch, the pressure rocketing through her until she felt herself fly apart, shattered, surprised, leaving her trembling and undone.
Maura was still pulsing around her fingers and her own body was still pulsing inside when Jane was able to open her eyes. She yielded to Maura's hand pressing against the back of her head, guiding her down, careful lips removing her tears. Her hands were shaking slightly as she ran her fingers along Maura's cheek, kissing her once, twice. Their labored breathing slowed and she gently slipped her fingers free, started to slide to the side when she felt Maura's arms tighten over her waist, strong, anchoring her.
Maura sighed in contentment when Jane shifted down her body to relax against her, resting her head on her shoulder. She adjusted her hold, freeing a hand to drift along the curves nestled into her own.
Jane looked up, tracing Maura's face with her eyes, silently praying to whoever was listening to let her spend the rest of her life just like this. It wasn't just enough, it was everything.
With each pass of her fingers along the smooth skin of Jane's back Maura knew she had touched the intangible. She had found trust in the unknown, discovered belief in a power that defied logic and uncovered absolute truth in the religion between them.
She was a woman of statistics and data.
And she would have faith.
A/N- A writing exercise I was playing with yesterday to darken up my tone from Synergy & Symbiosis so I could work on When the Bough Breaks and when I was done I thought with a little clean up I could share it.
Feedback welcomed and very much appreciated… It's always a bit harder to connect to the reader (which is the 'fun' after the writing part) when it is just a one shot but I would love to know what you thought/felt about it.