UPDATE A/N: I changed the title because the older one did not really fit the story written. Safe With Me is a song title (which I do not own) by Kyler England. Sorry for the inconveniences.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted in this work of fanfiction do not belong to me, but belong to that of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT. I'm not making any money or anything off of this. No infringement intended.
Life and death, it was a line. One Jane was far too comfortable with. She knew it as well as the back of her scarred hand. She knew all of its grooves and how to avoid that one spot where it was a little worn. She found herself and thrived on that line. It was where she belonged, who she was.
She had an inescapable need to help, to protect and serve. Being a police officer was the only place she found that she could really do each of those things. That thin line between life and death was one she toed often, recklessly at times, far too willingly for her mother's liking. But it was her job, her career, her life to toe the line willingly, recklessly and often.
So when her brother called, his scared, panic stricken voice filling her ear, she had to step up, move from one crisis to the next which, if she had time to think about it, was the epitome of her entire life.
Jane was sitting with Casey when she got the call. They were talking about a life and a future she wasn't even sure was worth it anymore. She was trying to help him but he was just as stubborn as she was. They were cut from the same cloth in that regard.
She was aware she was trying to talk a grown man out of a decision that had already been made but she thought if he would justlisten to her then maybe he wouldn't risk his life so needlessly. And maybe that was her big sign and she just missed it. Was it even love? Or was it her need to protect coming out, because if she saw a man on the ledge of a building about to jump, she'd do her best to talk him out of it. And maybe the exhaustion she felt while fighting for Casey, the fatigue that seeped down her spine and through her lungs, maybe that was what Maura and her mother (and everyone else) all felt at one point or another about her, maybe that was why she was trying so hard, because she knew how it felt, she'd been there. She was there.
But there wasn't time for in-depth thoughts, or life reevaluations.
The building they were investigating was collapsing. Several people had been killed and others were trapped in piles of debris and fallen concrete. It was all hands on deck. She couldn't stay to work it out, she couldn't think about what that meant for them, for her, because the pull of life and death was far too enticing, calling out to her like an old friend.
The scene was chaotic. Everywhere she looked there were workers covered in dirt. City service members with their filthy uniforms and dirty crests and authoritative voices looking tired but determined to push through to help everyone they possibly could.
Men and women from all walks of life – firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, police officers – were all doing their best to bring people to safety, to pull as many as they could back to their side of that delicate line. Every one of them, like her, was ready and willing to risk their own life to go back in again and again.
These were her people. A strange sense of calm hit her as she stared at the chaos surrounding her. These were her brothers and sisters in arms all coming together for a cause. This was why she loved her job. This was where she was supposed to be, focused and in control. This was who she was.
Frankie ran toward her covered in gray dirt from head to toe. His voice was panicked as he told her Tommy was in there with TJ and Frost. She wanted to tell him something reassuring but there just wasn't time before he was called for by another officer to continue helping.
Then Jane saw Maura. She was working on live people as though she did so every day. Jane couldn't hear what Maura told the paramedic but he ran off yelling at someone and things were getting done and she was struck by this image of Maura reassuring a live patient and commanding the scene around her. This image hit a chord with her because it seemed like only yesterday when the precinct was taken under fire with Maura filled with panic at the mere thought of working outside of her comfort zone. But here she was doing just that, and Jane was in awe of her in this moment, in this light.
She was able to talk to Korsak eventually. He led them via iPad to a secret tunnel that would hopefully put her beneath where her people were. Even if it was only by sheer will and dumb luck, she was not going to go to her partner's funeral; she wasn't even going to think about it because he was going to be okay. She was not going to let her brother be lowered into the ground next to their grandmother either, wasn't going watch her mother weep. And she sure as hell wasn't going to watch them bury a tiny little casket because of something as stupid and inconsequential as 'wrong time, wrong place.' Whatever needed to be done, she would do it. She had to step up.
And maybe that was something she hadn't been doing a whole lot of lately.
The light from the flashlight in Jane's hand shone through the dust as they walked through that unstable tunnel. A lot of this could've been prevented. She could've driven Tommy and TJ home. She could've focused on the case more, rather than being distracted by her personal life. If she had just been better, been stepping up, she could've prevented a lot of this. Sure, the building would've probably still collapsed but if they'd worked harder or faster maybe they could've evacuated it in time or been more prepared or something.
And Maura was there right beside her. Jane briefly wondered how many times she was going to put Maura in situations like this where her life was at risk. The medical examiner somehow talked and weaseled her way into going with her. Maura had her own level of stubbornness that Jane could never argue against. And Jane tried. She told her to go back, wished for her to go back, hoped she would go back. But Maura stayed, just like Jane figured she would though it didn't mean the detective had to like it. Not only did she stay but she used sarcasm in her defense and if Jane had been thinking about anything instead of their current predicament she would've noticed the sarcasm. She would've noticed how much Maura had grown, how she was more than that closed off, overly scientific person she was when they met. She would've seen Maura treating patients as people. She would've wondered if Maura had seen her change, like a werewolf, into this person who didn't step up and just decided to remain silent or if she, too, was too caught in her own life to notice anything else around her.
The building shook and dirt and dust and concrete fell around them. Jane covered Maura's shoulders with her arm and pushed her further to the ground so if anything were to fall on them, it would hit Jane first. Jane didn't think about what that meant, what any of this meant, because they were surrounded by life and death and she'd be damned if she had to call three mothers and tell them their sons didn't make it out of a building they never should've been in in the first place.
But that was how it always was, some big life altering event always got in the way of big life altering thoughts. So they worked side by side traversing through the tunnel, trying to find the sweet spot. They came to a blockage and with the heat sensor by some miracle found them. And somehow, by some divine intervention, she didn't have to make any of those phone calls.
Body bags and discarded gloves surrounded her, Maura had disappeared, Tommy and Frost were put into ambulances, and she was left standing there alone. She closed her eyes, breathing it all in. It was just another day in her crazy life teetering on that line she knew all too well, only it wasn't. When she opened them again her eyes landed on Casey and that tiredness she felt at his apartment increased tenfold and she felt like collapsing like the building behind her.
He was always showing up despite saying he didn't want anything to do with her. And she was too tired to think about it, too tired to fight him on it anymore. He was looking at her and she didn't feel it. Maybe it was the continuous rejection, or maybe it was the chaos still surrounding her, or the sight of Maura hugging her birth mother with sad eyes off in the distance, or a three-month-old baby in her own mother's arms, or maybe it was just as simple as being overworked and overtired.
But those feelings she'd been associating with Casey – the butterflies in her stomach and the softening of her edges – were gone. Sometimes love (or whatever was between them) wasn't enough. It wasn't enough for Casey. And if giving her heart to him wasn't enough, if being vulnerable wasn't enough, if being this other person for him wasn't enough, then what would be? What else would she have to sacrifice for him so that they could work? Who was to say when enough was enough? And why had she let this go on for so long? Why hadn't anyone told her to let it go? Because she surely wasn't herself when she was around him.
That thought resonated with every tendon in her body. Unreasonable anger filled her and she felt her hands stiffen. Why hadn't anyone told her to focus? Or smacked her out of it? It was like when she was in the middle of a long, hard case and she hadn't showered in three days and she started to smell her own stink. She wondered why no one had told her to go clean up, or if they had and she hadn't been listening.
With him, she wasn't the person who walked through falling buildings, who shot through herself to get the bad guy, who went into a basement without backup because someone needed her. She'd become someone else entirely, the opposite of all that…the type of person who, despite her gut telling her not to, got into the back of a van and wound up handcuffed to a bed in a strange place begging her partner to save her. She was the slow detective, putting clues together at a snails' pace and letting her best friend fall victim to a man who wanted to kill her, again. She was weak and fragile and begging, which was not at all who she was or wanted to be. And being with him, around him, constantly fighting for his attention and affection was exhausting. And she couldn't do it anymore.
He walked away, and she didn't try to stop him.
And Maura was there covered in dirt at her side as she always was, as Jane hoped she'd always be. And she made a dumb joke, a bad joke. Maura laughed and Jane had a flash of a time sitting on Maura's couch wrists bandaged and drinking a beer laughing off another serious incident. She saw the same look in Maura's eyes as she did then and wondered how many times Maura had swallowed what she really wanted to say or do for her sake.
Suddenly she felt like hitting her knees, falling and never getting back up. She was so tired, exhausted from the day's events, she just wanted to sleep.
The water was almost too hot and Jane knew it would leave her skin raw and red, which was how she wanted it after such a horrendous day. She stepped underneath the shower head and watched as the water at her feet turned a nasty gray. She closed her eyes.
Her thoughts seemed to bounce everywhere and she tried to hone them in on the sole action of getting clean, but every time she blinked something else was there. Everything she had refused to think about during the day, everything she shoved to the side to get the job done, was coming to the surface. Like an erupting volcano, she couldn't stop it.
Images – old and new – played like a movie behind her eyelids. The water raining down on her reminded her of every crime scene she'd gone to where it was wet from a passing storm. She couldn't breathe. And the more she tried to focus the more she seemed unable to, the more what if scenarios played in her mind. God, what was wrong with her? What was happening? This, whatever this was, didn't happen to her. She didn't have near panic attacks, which was what felt like was happening. She didn't play the 'what if' game because it was a dangerous game that led to dangerous thoughts that led to things she didn't want to think about. There was that idea again of shoving things aside and she tried. She did. Casey. She could focus on him, couldn't she? It always worked before, why not now?
She had been distracted, during the case. She looked up Casey's driver's license on her best friend's computer. She had put real work aside to mope over a boy, like she was in high school again. She licked her lips, her heart still racing. Jane extended her shaky hand resting it against the wall of the shower as soap burned her eyes and the hot water rushed over her back.
She had that thought again. She wasn't herself when she was around Casey, she was someone she didn't recognize. Who was she and where was the real Jane Rizzoli? Where was that badass tomboy from South Boston who beat all the boys at their own game? Where was the woman who didn't need a man to make her happy? Where was the woman who became the youngest person ever to be promoted to the rank of detective in the entire BPD? When had she started this downward slide? Her hand clenched in a vice like grip, fingernails dug into her palm. She swallowed thinking back to that day, to the pieces of concrete, the clues she put together too slow. She was being hard on herself, she knew, but really it was true, at least in her mind it was.
As she washed the conditioner from her hair, images of body bags being placed on the ground and the injured being rushed to hospitals filled her head. There was just so much death, so much destruction and she felt she could've maybe prevented some of it, but she didn't. That was the real failure.
And Maura. Maura was there with her biological mother and she hadn't been paying any attention to that either. They both were class A avoiders at times and she wished she'd made Maura talk to her about it, at least a little bit just so she would've had a better view of what was going on. "Fuck," The detective groaned throwing her head back. She didn't even know what was going on with Maura except her kidney was in jeopardy of leaving her body. The kidney was probably already sold with a time stamp and everything. How did kidney transplants even work? What was the recovery time like? She, of course, would've known all of this had she been paying attention and asked.
And it was because of a boy.
A boy who wouldn't give her the time of day until senior week, a boy she almost lost her virginity to, a boy who lied to her, never called her and shoved her away repeatedly for the sake of pride. And he still wouldn't give her the time of day because he needed to feel her. Seriously, what kind of bullshit was that? She was willing, ready to help him, be with him because she felt something more for him, she felt drawn to him and she'd called it love a bunch of times but now she wasn't quite sure. But there was something there, something worth exploring but apparently that wasn't enough for him because he needed to feel her. (What was she anyway? Jane Rizzoli, the elusive fuck?) And he was willing to risk life and limb for that? It seemed stupid, was stupid. Though she knew somewhere in the back of her mind – or hoped anyway – that it wasn't just for her.
If she thought about it which was all she seemed to be doing at the moment, the same thing had happened with Dean. They were both always coming around at their own convenience making it seem like it was for her. They offered dinner and looked at her, made her feel special, like she wasn't just one of the guys – a role she'd played her entire life – and she'd bought it. She'd fucking bought it. They made her care about the relationship, made it seem they were so important because of their jobs and 'official business' only they mixed it with pleasure at her expense and she was left feeling betrayed and heartbroken picking up the pieces in the end. They acted like heroes while she was thrown into a never ending downward spiral.
She laughed hollowly as she got out of the shower. God sure had a nasty sense of humor.
She haphazardly dried her hair and threw on some clean pajamas. She'd been an ass lately. And as stupid as it was, Casey's rejection still stung. But she could fix it and move on, or so she hoped.
A/N: I'm going to try and challenge myself with this story and it might end up a total train wreck, you've been warned.