A/N: Umm, I don't know where to start with this one. So I was sitting with my in-laws in their living room. Talking with them and being polite and all. And then Wintersong came on. It was just background music, and no one else seemed to hear. But I did. And I started just...bawling like a child. What a way to convince your in-laws of your sanity, right? So anyway...This was what was going through my head, and it hurt. If you don't know the song, go listen to it. Wintersong. Sarah McLachlan.
And don't mind all the typos that are probably awaiting you. I tried putting what I thought of in my head down on paper, and I started crying all over again. But this is probably just a hot mess that will only make me cry.
Maura wished sleep would overtake her, because any nightmare would have been better than her own thoughts. She tried to quiet the voices in her head, but nothing was working. Better get used to it. This is the rest of your life. She tried to cover her ears with the pillow, to escape, but the voice isn't from anyone but herself. And it's suffocating her from the inside out.
Taking a deep breath in, she tried to remember how it felt not to be alone. She tried to picture the bed dipping as if someone were climbing next to her. She tried to recall how it felt to be gathered in someone's arms, how her skin tingled with the contact of someone else's. But it felt stale. It felt as stagnant as her memory.
In an angry outburst, she threw the pillow away, and somewhere in the back of her mind she heard the crashing of her lamp. Good. She hated it anyhow. Jane hated it. Her clock blinked a painful 1:20 at her, rubbing it in her face. Six more hours until morning.
She got up, but didn't go to the closet to change out of her pajamas. Instead she went straight to the front door and opened it, staring into the vast whiteness of Boston's most recent snow storm. She stepped into the closest pair of boots and headed out, not even bothering with a coat. Because away was away. And she needed away.
The walk didn't help, though. She kept remembering. Remembering their first Christmas. The giddy childishness with which Jane interacted with her family. The tender love with which she had touched her that night…Maura held back her tears, eyes stinging with her sadness as she walked, curled into herself to try and block out the wind, the cold. She couldn't block out the cold. That was something she always felt. Seeping through her bones, rendering her useless on too many occasions.
Although she was not thinking about where to go, lost in the faint light of the beginnings of dawn, her feet didn't stop. They worked for her, on most days, so why would today be any different? And then she stumbled into the cemetery and she wanted to turn back, but her legs would not allow it, striding with practiced memory to exactly where she was avoiding. Even though she always ended up here.
She stopped, her hand flying to cover her mouth as a sob shook her roughly. There, on Jane's grave, was a lot more than she had placed there the night before. Surrounding her bouquet of holly was so…so much more. Lit Christmas lights were strung around the gravestone, flowers and wreaths and everything imaginable were strewn around it. But her name, her name was written there, covered up by none of it. Jane Clementine Rizzoli-Isles. Her knees gave out, her bare legs falling into the snow, so cold it hurt, but she was too numb to notice.
There, right next to the letter she had written and sealed away in an envelope were ten other letters. She picked them up, fighting to see through the tears that blurred her vision. Each was a handwriting she recognized, and they slipped through her fingers one at a time. Angela. Frank. Tommy. Frankie. Vince. Barry. Riley, Cavanaugh. Constance. Patrick.
Tremors wracked her body, her breathing erratic as she sobbed, unable to hold back anymore. She put her face in her hands, tears flowing freely as she cried. Nothing would be better. Something warm was draped over her shoulders, but she didn't look up, her unrestrained sobbing continuing as she saw the last thing. A laminated sheet of paper. Our lives were better for knowing you. Around the words were names. So many names. Some she knew well. Hope. Dean. Casey. Catlin. Rondo. Some she vaguely remembered. Mandy. Natalie. Joey.
Strong hands pulled her up, and her knees barely held firm, her weight falling to rest against whoever it was.
"C'mon, Maura. You're not in any shape to be out here."
She didn't argue. Neither did the kicking child in her stomach, and she let Frankie guide her back to his car, her crying never stopping. The world that passed her by as they drove was one she didn't want to be a part of. She saw Jane, everywhere. Where she threw her first snowball. Where they kissed in the snow. Where they skated in the park. Where they wanted to take their daughter.
Fresh tears spilled onto her cheeks. They'll never know each other. Jane will never know her daughter. Her daughter will never know Jane. They won't get to exchange gifts, have snowball fights…Jane won't be there to scare the boogie man away for her. Frankie didn't make her walk this time. He picked up her weeping form and carried her back to the house. Because she wasn't human anymore. She was just something broken. Something that used to be.
She was greeted with a mass of faces. Everyone. The Rizzolis. The Isles. And everyone in between. Her biological family. Her work family. Everyone else that ever meant anything to her was sitting there. She held her breath, trying to stop the constant flow of tears long enough to make sure she wasn't imagining them. She sniffled, before another whimper escaped.
Angela and Constance were there, guiding her to the couch, each holding her tightly. She tried to get her composure, but she was breathing too hard, her tears still hot in her eyes, on her cheeks. They shushed her quietly, rocking her, running soothing circles on whatever skin they could find.
"W-what…what time is it?" she blubbered out, her body shaking from the effort to keep quiet.
"Two thirty," Tommy said calmly.
"Y-you g-guys should be asle-ep," she whimpered in broken breaths.
"No, no," Angela breathed, finding Maura's hand with her own. "Janie made us promise. I-if anything happened, to make sure you weren't alone."
"To make sure you were safe," Constance added.
"To make sure you were loved," Frost murmured.
"And to make sure you kept living," Catlin finished.
Maura's eyes ached as more tears leaked from them, her body weary. From the stress. From the lack of sleep. She let her body relax into her mothers, her eyes closing and the last few tears escaping.
"I miss her," she whispered, her voice straining to stay even. "I miss her more than ever."
"We all do," Korsak said, walking up and crouching down so Maura didn't have to move to see him. "But we're all here. And that daughter of yours is gonna know her mother just as well as if she were alive. I promise you that."
"Everything I know came from Janie," Tommy said. "And I won't ever forget to remind her of that."
"We've got more than enough stories to last a lifetime," Frankie assured.
"Just because she's gone doesn't mean she can't impact one more life," Angela murmured, guiding Maura's hand to rest on her bulging stomach.
"C'mon, let's get practice. Telling stories, I mean," Hope said, kneeling down to sit next to Korsak on the floor. "Start with last year's Christmas."
"What was the first thing Jane did, December 1st?" Frost prompted, a small smirk on his face.
"Fell off the ladder putting Christmas lights up," Maura laughed sadly, sniffling.
She sat up just a little bit, as if excited to hear what everyone else remembered. And everyone saw it. They saw the sparkle in the woman's eye, the one only Jane could ever bring. The bodies in the room quickly piled to sit in view of Maura, laughing at all the memories they shared, and very happy to hear about new, different ones. It wasn't a permanent solution, but it was enough, as by 4, Maura had drifted to sleep in Constance's arms.
She had made it through Christmas Eve Night.