Prompt. Anonymous - Headcanon: Maura cannot lie because when she was younger she indeed lied once, accidentally resulting in something tragic.
A/N: warning. character death
Maura has always been fond of this particular button-up of Jane's. Simple and black. It compliments every feature; olive skin, sharp angles and raven hair.
But not today. Not with red, swollen eyes and dark circles from days of restless sleep. Jane looks gaunt. Her shoulders slope and she barely carries herself.
She is a shell.
Jane's hand had slipped seamlessly into Maura's in the church and fixed itself tightly there. Her knuckles protruded. She seemed almost skeletal. Maura was sure she had forgotten to eat through her grief. But the pressure that had settled between her fingers had been welcomed and the only thing keeping Maura from falling apart.
Jane had remained stoic throughout the service, and Maura wasn't sure if she had even been present; but rather had floated away only to return when Maura gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and the shifting and creaking and the pews made the muscles in her jaw tighten.
Now in Jane's apartment, she had made herself a fixture on the couch as Maura busied herself opening a bottle of wine. Walking from the kitchen, she sits in beside Jane who is staring intently at a spot on the wall in front of her. Setting the glasses down on the coffee table, Maura reaches down and removes her heels before tucking her legs under her and to the side and facing Jane. She takes Jane's hand into her own, but her friend does not move. Maura's eyes narrow as she studies her. Her jaw moves and clenches in place. She absently grinds her teeth. The lines around her eyes are pronounced as she tries to focus on nothing.
Her face is unreadable. Jane is not here.
"Jane." Maura says her name with a quiet reverence as she reaches out for her hand.
Jane blinks and looks down at their intertwined fingers. The corner of her mouth twitches into a sad smile.
"It's not fair."
Maura shakes her head, "No, it's not."
"I cah-an't-.." her breath catches and Maura knows Jane is catching the cry that has been threatening to escape her all day.
"I can't wrap my head around it." Jane says flatly composed
Maura takes in a deep breath and tilts her head down in an attempt to meet Jane's averted eyes.
"It will never make sense." she says softly, "And that is what makes it so difficult. Death gives no answers. It only takes what we know. It is unforgiving and unrelenting but is as perennial as the grass."
When Jane's eyes meet her own, Maura can see the tears threatening to spill over.
"But if I had f-f-flanked'im like I was-ssupposed to-.."
Maura presses a single finger to Jane's lips, gently and effectively silencing her, "You cannot burden yourself with 'what ifs'. You will drown yourself under guilt if you do. Barold knew just as well as you the risks of your job."
Jane closes her eyes and takes in a shaky breath as she grips Maura's wrist lightly and lowers her hand back to her lap.
"He's dead." Maura's tone remains neutral.
Jane's eyes are open and wide. A flash of anger moves over her features before she recoils slightly, as though the words have left a mark. Her hands become loose in Maura's.
"Jesus, Maur." she scoffs, "Make it black and white why don't ya?"
Maura tilts her head, "It is though, isn't it?"
Jane scoffs and glances around her living room in an attempt to focus on anything but the grim reaper.
"Do you know why doctors tell a family that their loved one has died? Because it leaves no grey area. They use no other word. It is finality."
Jane's eyes focus back on the wall across from her.
"Does it hollow you out?" Jane's voice quivers.
"It does. He was my friend too." Maura squeezes the hand between her and runs her thumb over the back of Jane'e knuckles, tracing each peak and dip, "Do you remember when you asked me I had ever had a best friend?"
Dark eyes glance at her and Jane gives a weak nod.
"I did while I was living in France. Her name was Adelia. I was nine when she died."
"What happened?" Jane asks, her gaze falling back to her lap. She runs her fingertips over the back of Maura's hand and up to her wrist, making abstract patterns.
"She slipped into a canal and drowned. It was my fault, really. It had rained heavily the night before. I lied to my mother and told her we were going to the library, but Adelia and I went down to the canal instead. I wanted to catch frogs."
"To dissect?" the question comes out small but doesn't stop a small smile from creeping to Maura's lips. She leans to the side and bumps her shoulder to Jane's.
"You know me so well."
Jane's eyes shut and Maura can feel wet warmth land on the back of her hand and roll away.
"She slipped on a patch of moss and fell into the canal. I picked up every branch I could find, trying to reach out for her. I ran along the shore screaming for her. But then she just disappeared. She became caught on some debris about a mile down from where we were and I was able to pull her out, but it was too late." Maura runs her hand absently through her hair, "I stayed with her. I begged for her to come back and was so sorry that I lied. I pushed and beat on her chest. My mother and the police found us at dusk. I told them she was dead."
Maura can feel her own stinging of tears beginning to build. She wraps her arm around Jane's shoulders and gently pulls her close. The tears streaming down her face are constant, and the warmth seeps through the fabric against her shoulder.
"I have never stopped seeking atonement. I made a career from it and it is a moment like this where I could lie and say everything will be okay. But it won't be. You can only endure and hope that the sharp pain will become a dull ache."
"You can't lie." Jane sniffles.
"I can, only the risk is too great."
Leaning back, Jane's face expression becomes determined. She raises her hands and and they rest at the line of Maura's jaw, cradling her.
"Dohhn't you le-leave me." the words stumble out of Jane's mouth and Maura can feel her own tears begin to fall. The ache in her chest amplifies. It is sharp.
Placing her hands over Jane's, she takes in a wavering breath. She won't speak of the inevitable or make a promise that she knows Jane can't do the same of.
"I won't. Not tonight." she whispers.
Jane's eyes follow a single tear, and she leans in placing a tender kiss at the corner of Maura's mouth, capturing it and she stills.
P.S AN: the line "perennial as the grass" is actually from a wonderful piece of writing titled "Desiderata" which I highly recommend giving a read.