A/N: Ever have one of those nights where you just...feel things? This is one of those nights. And this is what came out of it, a quickly written...mess that I've only edited for spelling. A stand alone, set to the "On My Honor" universe I've previously written and posted. Should probably check those out to understand this one, but not entirely necessary.
Maura stares from her spot on the couch as her daughter stands in the living room entrance, blood shot eyed and blotchy faced. A wadded up tissue balled in her shaking hand.
"Momma…" Olivia's voice cracks as she sniffles. The teenager looks forlorn and lost, and Maura's stricken by how small her 17-year-old daughter seems in that moment.
"Oh, sweetheart...come here." Maura pats the space next to her on the sofa. "Jane?!" Maura calls out in her next breath, the words clipped and panic-tinged as Olivia lurches forward, her head coming to rest in Maura's lap as quiet sobs wrack the trembling teen's body. Maura runs her hand up and down her daughter's back, her heart breaking with each shuddering breath.
Jane comes running in almost immediately, brow furrowed as Maura glances quickly at her wife.
I have no idea Maura mouths at the unspoken question, grateful for the parental backup. Jane hurries over and settles next to Maura, calloused hands immediately running through Olivia's tangled blonde mane.
Jane presses a kiss to Maura's temple, before turning her attention down to Olivia. "Kiddo, what's wrong?"
Shuddering breaths and loud sniffles fill the air before Olivia calms down long enough to respond. "Yo—u know wh—where my birth pa—arents are bur—ied right?"
Jane's movements through her daughter's hair stills. Maura stifles a sob as she allows her head to fall onto Jane's shoulder. Of course they should have anticipated this.
"Not far from here." Jane sighs as Olivia's sniffles strengthen again and fresh tears dampen Maura's already tear-soaked jeans.
"Can we go after I gr-raduate to-mor-row? I sh-sh-ould…please?"
"Of course we can go..." A tear slips down Maura's cheek as she continues to lightly trace soothing patterns across her daughter's heaving back.
Olivia turns to look up at her parents. She wipes her nose and offers a heartbreakingly sad smile as an attempt at fruitless reassurance.
"Thank you. I just thi-think it's the lea—least I could…they should…" Olivia's sentence dies on her lips as a fresh wave of sorrow overcomes her. She burrows back into Maura's lap, fingers clutching at her mother's top.
Jane throws an arm over Maura's shoulder, pulling her closer as Maura silently cries for, with, their daughter. "Shh…Livie, you wanna go? We'll go."
No more words were spoken, and once the sobs subside, the television is flipped on. The Rizzoli family allows fiction to drown out reality for a fleeting moment and as Jane carries their slumbering daughter to her bedroom later that night, Maura can't help but feel they failed to prepare Olivia for this moment.
"Do you think she remembers tomorrow's the day of the accident too? I mean, shouldn't we give her a heads up? She's already an emotional basket case…what if the date changes her mind?" Jane rambles nervously, pacing their bathroom as she kneads her hands together.
Maura glances at Jane through the mirror, chewing her bottom lip in thought before nodding her head firmly in conclusion. "We shouldn't try to deter her. She's never asked to go to their graves before."
Her words sound sure, but her face shows a woman anything but convinced.
Jane opens her arms out to Maura as the smaller woman stands and steps into the lanky detective's embrace. "She's a kid. She shouldn't have to be upset about anything other than graduating. Tomorrow was already gonna suck…" Jane whines as she rests her head atop Maura's.
Maura presses a kiss to Jane's clavicle as they sway in silence. "Should we have done a better job pressing her to face her adoption?"
Jane ducks down to meet Maura's gaze; sympathy written all over chiseled features. "You know the answer to that better than anyone."
The medical examiner does. She just hates that there's no way she can protect her baby from the inevitable.
The heat is oppressive. Though only the middle of June, the air is muggy and stagnant, more fitting of a mid-August day than a day on the dawn of summer.
Jane navigates the car through the gravel; the sounds of tire meeting rock piercing the otherwise eerie silence of the cemetery.
Pulling to a slow stop, Jane cuts the ignition. She turns in her seat to look back at a stoic Olivia. "It's the headstone just up there."
Olivia nods and lets herself out. Shoulders back and fists clenched, Olivia makes her way up the worn path as her parents watch, admire, from their perch against the family car.
Jane moves to follow as Olivia drops to her knees in front of her birth parents' headstone, but Maura's light touch to Jane's forearm impedes her progress.
"Wait. Give her a moment."
Off Jane's confusion, Maura clarifies. "If I were at my birth mother's grave for the first time, I'd need a minute alone too."
A scarred hand reaches over to tilt a trembling chin up; the detective kisses her wife, wrapping the smaller woman up in a bone-crushing hug. Jane whimpers as Olivia's soft cries filter through the stale air.
"This is worse than Hoyt". Jane whispers. Maura nuzzles further into Jane's chest, fingers lightly running up and down Jane's forearm. "She'll let us know when she needs us."
Right on cue, Olivia turns. Her puffy eyes and runny nose is all Jane and Maura need to hear her request. The two women walk hand in hand towards Olivia, splitting when they reach her to flank either side of their teenager, shoulders brushing but careful not to initiate any further contact with the emotionally worn girl just yet.
The three women sat, staring at the cold stone staring right back at them.
"It was today?" Olivia asks, though the visual evidence is right in front of her.
Jane looks up at the sky, jaw clenched tight. "Yeah baby, it was today."
"I don't remember the accident." Olivia speaks softly, sadly, fingering the small scar on her left shin, the sole reminder of the car accident that took her birth parents' lives 14 years ago to the day. "I don't remember them." Olivia sniffles again, before continuing. "It's weird to think that I'm still here and they…aren't."
Maura slips an arm around Olivia's shoulders, but otherwise remains silent, allowing Olivia time to work out her feelings.
"It was just them and me. What kinda daughter am I that I've never even visited my birth parents? I've just let 'em sit here all alone as if they didn't even exist." Olivia sobs into her hands. Maura pulls Oliva into a side embrace, burying her face into the young girl's hair.
Jane rubs her face, physically forcing the tears back into her body. "Momma and I come visit them anytime you have a big milestone. We've come for every birthday. Every school graduation. When you lost your first tooth. We even came right after you introduced us to Billy."
It's news, and the pause in Olivia's cries is music to Jane's ears. "Really?"
Maura brushes a strand of hair behind her daughter's ear, her own face mirroring the pain seen on Olivia's. "Really".
Jane drops her head to her knees, head tilted to watch Olivia and Maura. "We love you so much Liv, but we know we weren't the first to. Not a day goes by where I don't wonder if your parents would be happy with who stepped in for them."
Her voice hitches, and Jane coughs to cover the tremor. "After I got shot at in your school's cafeteria, I came here and cried for like…an hour apologizing for putting you in danger. For dishonoring their sacrifice the way I did." A tear slips down Jane's cheek as Olivia entwines her hand with Jane's.
On the other side of Olivia, Maura swallows thickly. She reaches over to wipe the tear from her wife's cheek before taking over. "At first, I think our visits were based in atonement. You became our daughter because they died. You fill our lives with so much joy, but it comes out of unspeakable tragedy. To feel even remotely grateful for someone else's death is an incredibly difficult emotion to deal with."
The detective nods at Maura in tacit understanding as she squeezes Olivia's small hand. "Eventually, it wasn't about looking at things in terms of loss, but carrying on, ya know? Instead of focusing on all the things your birth parents were missing that we got to experience, we focused on loving you as much as we knew your parents would. As much as your parents did. And we made sure to come here to share everything with them, so that we could carry on without forgetting."
"Why didn't you ever bring me?" The teen questions, though there's no anger or resentment in her voice. Just genuine intrigue.
Maura's quick to respond. "We never wanted to force you into visiting. We wanted to allow you to form your own opinions of how you wanted to honor their memory. If you had gone your entire life never wanting to visit, that would have been okay. You've always openly spoken about your birth parents, so we knew that you'd eventually come to a decision on your own terms, without any poking or prodding on our part." Maura hugs herself before softly adding, "Sometimes, its easier to imagine than face the truth."
Olivia nods, her gaze lingering back on the headstone before her. "This adoption processing sh—stuff sucked for you too, huh?"
A fresh wave of sobs overcomes the teen, and she lurches back into Maura's arms. Maura looks at Jane, tears clouding the hazel eyes Jane loves so much.
Please Maura mouths as she hugs their child's head tighter, desperately trying to absorb all the pain Olivia was feeling.
"Liv, just because you can't remember doesn't mean you didn't love them. And just because you love us, doesn't mean you can't love them too." Jane watches helplessly as Olivia continues to cry in Maura's arms, Maura crying along just as hard.
One, two, three tears fall until suddenly, Jane breaks too. Several minutes pass, until Olivia abruptly sits up. "Momma! I've been crying all over your new dress!"
"I don't care." Maura responds, as she not so gracefully wipes her runny nose with her hand.
Jane guffaws. "Good thing I'm in a cemetery. I must be dead, if I just heard Maura Isles say she 'didn't care' a dress was ruined."
It's a crude joke, perhaps, given the circumstances. But somehow, just what the family needs to pull themselves back out of their sadness.
Olivia stands, offering her hand out to Maura to help her up as Jane pulls herself up.
"Thanks." Olivia simply states as she turns to face her mothers. "I don't just mean for today. I mean for everything. I can't imagine my life with any other set of parents. And I think they" Olivia gestures back to the headstone "would be incredibly grateful for who I ended up being raised by".
Jane ruffles Olivia's hair and Maura reaches down to squeeze her daughter's shoulder. Olivia smiles, the first one it seems in days and squints up at Jane. "What are we tellin' Nonna? We're like, so late right now."
"I was thinking we no-show it" Jane shrugs as Maura clucks her tongue.
"It's Olivia's party, Jane! We'll tell Angela the truth – we made a family pit stop. I'm sure she'll understand."
Olivia looks at Jane. "She's been married to you for this long and still thinks Nonna'll let that fly?"
Jane laughs and kisses Maura's cheek as the medical examiner pouts. Olivia steps forward and rubs her bleary eyes, before kneeling down in front of her birth parents grave one last time.
"Bye Mom and Dad. Maybe'll I'll start comin' around more often."
Jane smiles proudly as Olivia stands up and swoops under Jane's arm. "I think they'd like that, kid." Mother and daughter walk arm in arm to the car, until Jane realizes Maura has yet to move from her spot.
"Maur, you comin'?"
"Yes, one moment." Maura calls out over her shoulder before turning her attention back to the grave, where she kneels down. She reaches into her purse and retrieves the spare booklet she collected from Olivia's graduation ceremony, placing it at the base of the gravestone.
"Thank you for your daughter. I promise we'll continue to keep her safe," whispers the woman who valued science over religion, as she fingers the two names carved on the stone. Maura swipes away one last tear before brushing off the dirt from her knees and rejoining her family.
And as the three Rizzoli's walked back to their car, a gentle breeze cut through the stifling air.