A/N So the holidays have come and gone. I hope they were enjoyable for all. New story. This is AU and NOT connected to my previous AU series. This is a little different but I seem to have no control over where my head ends up so try not to blame me if you hate it. This is also NOT a Rizzles story. J and M are just friends for the duration of this one. Consider yourselves warned so you don't get mad at me later. (I'll revisit my Rizzles series after this story). Read and review as you see fit.
As always, I will update with a new chapter daily. I hope you all enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. I just happen to love them.
Mike looked over at the tall brunette sitting in what could be dubbed her usual spot. She was a regular. Guaranteed appearance in the bar at least once a week. Usually more. It all seemed to depend on her workload. Mike was used to that. He couldn't work a cop bar without getting used to the ebb and flow of cases and crime. So her presence in her usual spot wasn't what Mike kept looking at. It was what she was, or more accurately, what she wasn't doing that was the source of his concern.
Detective Jane Rizzoli had been sitting in her booth for about two hours. She had come in and ordered what could also be labeled her usual. A beer, Miller 64 in a bottle, and a shot of Jack. She wasn't a heavy drinker. But she wasn't a lightweight either. She could drink with the best of them and in Mike's opinion she held her liquor better than most of the other cops that made the Dirty Robber their bar. But he would never label her an alcoholic. He served plenty of those over the years. Detective Rizzoli was not in that category.
But, she did drink. However, today seemed to be different. Two hours and the bottle of beer and shot of JD hadn't moved. Hadn't been touched. Not even sipped. Every time Mike looked over at the detective the booze was sitting in the same place and the detective was staring at the same thing. There was an envelope sitting on the table to the right hand side of the shot of JD. As far as he could tell, she hadn't even moved in two hours. She hadn't gotten up to use the bathroom. She hadn't touched her phone. She hadn't even turned her head when random noises or conversations fell to the forefront.
Mike had never seen her act this way before. And it worried him. While he wasn't a 'friend' of the detective's, they were friendly. Casual banter was usually exchanged between the two. The detective was always warm and nice to Mike. Even though she was a cop she was a good tipper and always left a decent amount of money behind for Mike or the waitresses without fail. Her current state was something he hadn't experienced before. And he had seen her after some very bad days.
No, this was different. He looked around the bar to see if there anyone he could talk to about her. He understood that she kept to a tight group of people. Her family, mostly her brother Frankie and occasionally her mother, her partners Korsak and Frost and the doctor. But that was usually it. She was outgoing with all the other cops but Mike knew she didn't go out with anyone but the select few. He didn't think that odd. A lot of the cops kept a small group of close friends. A cop's life was tough and most chose to trust only a handful of others. Unfortunately, none of Jane's inner circle had made an appearance in the Robber tonight.
Releasing a heavy sigh, he walked out from behind the bar. He grabbed a towel and thought maybe he could engage her in a quick conversation while he wiped off her table. So, he slowly approached her not really knowing what to expect. He arrived at the booth and had hoped she would look up at him or acknowledge his presence in some way. But there was just nothing. She eyes were practically burning holes into the tabletop of the booth. She just continued to stare at the envelope. Mike could see that there was writing on the outside. All he could make out was 'Rizzoli'. She never looked up and it was immediately clear that her mind was somewhere else.
Mike cleared his throat a little hoping that might snap the detective to attention. But still nothing. In a small, quiet voice he tried, "Detective?" If he hadn't heard himself say it and was only watching the detective's reaction he would have wondered if he had really vocalized anything. She didn't even flinch. She was totally unaware that he was standing there. Which was odd for a veteran cop. Mike understood most cops always took in their surroundings. Even at the bar. Habit. But the detective was just not really there.
Mike stepped away not sure what else he should do. He glanced down at his watch. It was still pretty early. Only 8:30 pm. Maybe he should just leave things alone and let her be. So he went back to the bar to take care of some of his more thirsty customers.
He had a rush and got distracted but when he again looked over at the detective some thirty minutes later and she had still not made any movement his concern returned. He reached under the bar and took out a worn notebook. He opened it and flipped through the pages. The owners of the Robber had long ago decided one of the benefits of owning and running a cop bar was the contacts they could make within law enforcement and the judicial system. 'You just never knew when you may need a favor from a frequent patron' was preached to Mike frequently. So they kept 'The Book'.
It wasn't modern. In fact Mike always laughed when he looked through it. With cell phones, computers and iPads the owners could easily have stored all of the contacts of 'The Book' electronically but the owners were old school and liked writing in names and numbers. It was tradition. Even for the cops and patrons. It was considered an honor to be asked to fill in a name and number in 'The Book'. It had come to mean that the person was in fact a regular at the Robber.
He flipped through the pages until he found the name and number he was looking for. He hesitated for moment wondering if he was overstepping his bounds but the compelling need to try to do something for the detective pushed through his hesitations and he dialed the number and waited for a response.
"Dr. Isles," was the greeting he received.
He cleared his throat and spoke quietly. "Um, Dr. Isles? This is Mike, the bartender from the Dirty Robber." He paused hoping that was enough information that the doctor would remember who he was.
"Good evening, Mike." Mike got the impression that the doctor did remember him but could hear the uncertainty in her voice to be receiving a call from him of all people.
"Um, Ma'am, I hate to bother you but quite frankly I wasn't sure who else to call." He hesitated again not knowing if she was going to be mad that he called.
"What can I do for you?" with definite curiosity in her tone.
"Well, I'm calling about Detective Rizzoli, Ma'am." He waited to see if there was a reaction.
"Jane? Is there a problem?" and there was no mistaking the concern in her voice.
"Well Ma'am, that's just the thing. I'm not sure. But I think there's something wrong."
"Wrong? Mike, what is going on?"
"It's just that Detective Rizzoli has been here for about three hours now and she doesn't….look good." He wasn't quite sure how else to put it.
There was silence for a minute. "Is she drunk?"
"No Ma'am. That's part of the issue. She's been sitting in the same spot for three hours now and she hasn't moved. I mean not even a twitch. She ordered a drink when she first sat down but she hasn't touched it. She just hasn't moved. I think…I'm just not sure what's wrong."
Silence on the other end. Maybe he shouldn't have called. He was really pushing things here.
"I'll be there as soon as I can. Thanks for calling Mike."
Mike felt himself nodding his head into the phone. He hated it when he did that. The doctor couldn't see him nod. He hung up and looked back up at the detective. He wasn't sure if she would be mad at him later for calling the doctor but he immediately felt better that someone from her inner circle was coming to check up on her. That was the most he could do. He went back to take more drink orders.
About twenty minutes later, Maura entered the bar. She looked first to the bar and saw Mike. As soon as Mike noticed her he smiled and Maura could tell that he was grateful to see her. She followed his eyes over to the detective's booth and immediately made out the outline of her best friend. She nodded in Mike's direction and proceeded to walk over to Jane's booth.
As she approached her concern switched to genuine worry. She was concerned as soon as Mike had called. It wasn't like Jane to be at the Robber for hours without drinking. Jane had been distant and distracted over the last few weeks but they had yet to talk to about whatever was going on. She had made several recent trips out of town and Maura hadn't even heard she had returned from her last trip. As she approached Jane it was immediately apparent that something was wrong. There sat Jane looking down at an envelope that was sitting next to a bottle of beer and a shot glass full of a liquid Maura assumed was Jack Daniels given Jane's past drink orders. Jane wasn't moving. She seemed completely oblivious to all that surrounded her.
From a distance Maura could tell her breathing was regular and not labored. She seemed to be at rest. Her heart rate did not appear to be elevated. She was a tab bit pale. She didn't see any evidence of physical injuries. No cuts or bruising. No blood or even torn or rumpled clothes. But what really struck Maura as she made it to the booth were Jane's eyes. Even from a distance Maura could see that Jane's eyes were glazed over and unfocused. Wherever she was, mentally she wasn't at the Robber. And that worried Maura.
She slid into the booth across from Jane and was even more concerned when that movement and activity didn't seem to register with Jane. Afraid to touch her in her current state, she tried to reach her by just talking.
"Jane?" She tried and watched. No response.
"Jane." This time a little louder and she carefully placed her hands on top of Jane's.
Jane closed her eyes. It was Maura's first indication that Jane was aware of her surroundings. Maura wanted to say something again but felt like she should see if Jane would move or speak. So she waited.
"Please leave," was what Maura heard. Barely audible but there was no mistaking what Jane had said.
If Maura hadn't been so startled by the tone of Jane's words she would have been hurt by the implication of Jane's words. But her mind couldn't get past the tone. A tone she had never heard come from Jane. Lifeless. Flat. Defeated.
"Jane, look at me." She wasn't leaving. Not until she figured out what was going on with her friend. It had been long enough. Nothing but time passed between the two. No movements. No sounds. Jane had yet to look up.
"Maura, please, just leave." Again in a tone that just broke Maura's heart.
Maybe it was the tone behind Maura's answer. Or maybe it was the fact that as she said no she sat back into the booth and crossed her arms. Either way, something about Maura's response to Jane's request for her to leave finally made Jane look up at Maura.
And there was a look on Jane's face that Maura just couldn't make sense of.
"Jane, talk to me. Please." She leaned back forward and placed her hands back on top of Jane's. "I only want to help you."
Jane's gaze dropped down to Maura's hands. Maura was trying to determine if the fact that Jane hadn't pulled her hands away was a sign of progress. At this point she was prepared to sit in the booth all night long waiting for Jane to talk to her. And she was starting to believe that was exactly what she was going to have to do until Jane finally spoke again.
"Will you drive me home?" she asked as she allowed her eyes to lock in on Maura's.
"Sure," she answered. Maybe once they were alone Jane would feel comfortable telling her what was wrong.
Jane nodded her head a bit and finally moved. She pulled out money from her pocket to pay for the drinks she never touched and left enough for a generous tip for Mike. She put her hand on the envelope that had been sitting on the table and paused over it for just a moment. She then picked it up and moved to get out of the booth.
Maura only got up after Jane was completely out of the booth. She followed Jane outside the door pausing only for a moment to give Mike a nod of appreciation.