[What happens, when we die?] He's working the buttons on his shirt when she asks. It's her 20th birthday and she's sitting on His bed, waiting.
He looks at her. [Why do you want to know that? You're not going to die.]
[Beckett says everybody dies. Beckett says I am lucky that I am not dead.] She pushes this tentatively. Lately, when He is not with her, all He seems to do is fight with Beckett. She's heard them screaming from her room at the far end of the building. And sometimes, when He comes to her after these fights, He is not gentle, and she has to bite her lip to keep from crying out.
[Beckett is a fool. He does not know many things.] The response is abrupt and truncated, sent bitterly, through an angry haze. She doesn't push Him, even though she can feel this is a lie.
[You fight more, now] she pushes some hair behind her ear, changing tack.
His fingers pause on the buttons of His shirt and He doesn't say anything for a while. She can feel Him shifting through regret, or sorrow, or…she shakes her head. It's all too muddled. She wishes she could hide things from Him the way He keeps things from her.
[Do you know how old you are today?]
She nods, not taking her eyes off of Him.
She bites her lip, [twenty]
He looks at her for a moment, like He can't believe it. She feels His flicker of disbelief, feels it get snuffed by something harder and darker. Arousal.
[Take off your shirt] Not a suggestion, but she doesn't stop to wonder if she should question Him. She loves Him the way she loves the balloon He brought home this year, dark green and hovering like magic. She's never seen anything like it in her life. She doesn't know but to cling to it.
She does as she's told, as she has on her birthday for the last two years.
He turns to her, bare chested. [Lie down.]
It does not occur to her to say no. She loves Him, and He is there.
[Do you know why we do this?]
Yes, she knows the answer to this question too. She nods and He kneels above her, looking her over. His hand reaches out to trace over her collarbone, down, to press against her heart, beating a little fast under her skin.
She smiles up at him and he puts both his hands on her waist, positioning. [You're my father. You're teaching me.]
She could have sworn she said the right thing. The last time He'd asked that question she'd been a child, He'd asked her why she thought he was doing the things he did. He'dtold her that he was like her father.
She shies away from him, now, holding her face where it's still stinging from His hand , but He takes her around the throat and lifts her up so she's sitting.
[Don't you dare call me that again.] He pushes anger so hard that it feels like her chest is caving in. Her lungs don't have enough space to expand. She is going to pass out.
And then he releases her, letting her fall back against the mattress and she pulls at the air desperately, trying to stop the world from spinning.
He leans down over her, so that His lips are against the corner of her eye, catching the one stray tear that manages to escape.
[I love you so much.] He says, hands on the waist band of her leggings. [I'm your teacher, yes, but I'm more than that. I'm more than your father] pushed roughly, with only the faintest twinge of guilt. She pushes up against His hands, desperate to make Him happy. She snakes an arm around His neck. She kisses Him.
Later, when He's fully inside of her and the stubble of his cheek presses against her smooth one, He tells her again that He loves her. This is the truth, she can feel it in the pit of her stomach. He loves her, He loves her, He loves her, and she holds onto that feeling tightly, shutting her eyes hard enough to see stars.
She goes to repeat the words back to Him, but He thrusts hard, and the words are swallowed up in her gasp.
[Happy Birthday, Jane] He's working the buttons back up on his shirt, and she's tangled in the sheets.
It's my birthday, she tells herself. Happy birthday, Jane.
[Jane.] She looks around at him, but he's not speaking. And the feeling of her name is not His feeling but something else entirely. It confuses her.
[Jane!] more insistent and filling her up like a song. She sits up. He looks at her curiously.
"JANE." no one says, "Jane, wake up."
No one and yet, she knows that voice. She knows that pull…that feeling, stronger than anything here in this room.
He's finished with his shirt and he turns to her, reaching out for her. She flinches back and he looks angry.
[You're mine] he says, but already it feels weaker, and his anger is melting to something like fear.
"Jane!" The brunette sits upright in bed, nearly throwing the doctor off of her. In the half morning, her girlfriend looks pale and scared.
"Jane!" she says, breathless, "I couldn't wake you. You were grunting. Like pain. I touched you and it burnt…it burnt like fire…Jane?"
But she's already falling back. Already being dragged down again. And she flails out with her hands grabbing at Maura, one hand connecting around the back of her neck, the other sliding into the dark blonde hair.
She falls back down into unconsciousness.
And she drags Maura with her.
He slams her up against the wall, her long legs wrapped tightly around His waist. There is no cake. There is no balloon. He does not bother to say happy birthday. He barely manages an I love you, before His fingers are pulling at her tank top.
She is twenty five years old. Too old for cake and balloons.
[Stop] she pushes her fingers through His hair, trying to move His face away from her neck. He grunts and shakes His head, pushing her back harder. [You like this] He murmurs.
She frowns slightly, wondering if that's true. It doesn't matter, she has something she wants to say.
[Stop. Please. just for a moment.]
He growls deep in the back of his throat, but pulls away, releasing her, and she drops her feet to the concrete.
[What? What is it?] she looks down at her bare feet, gathering her courage. They moved again three weeks ago, from down by the marina to this compound near Roxbury (another nosy police man, another dodge and near miss. She is old enough now, to understand), and for once, the car ride had been during the day. She'd seen the world sliding by through tinted windows, and part of her had ached to know it.
[Well?] He's impatient.
She looks up at him [I want to go ou-] but the thought dies at once, as she glances past him. All of her current thoughts are wiped from her mind, and she can't do anything but stare.
[You want to go ow?] he pushes his impatience like anger, looking at her staring over his shoulder. [what in the hell are you talking about?]
She doesn't answer. She can't. Her feet feel frozen to the stone. She stares.
Behind him, dressed in loose fitting sweats and a tank top, is a woman. She is petite and blonde with wide green eyes. And she is standing behind him, hands limp at her sides, with an expression that is somewhere between hatred and despair.
"Jane," she says quietly.
He whirls, sucking in a breath like it's the last one He'll ever get, and Jane watches as His eyes widen and then narrow, his whole face contorting in rage.
"You!" He hisses, and he points at her.
The woman looks down at his finger pointed at her chest, and then back up into Jane's face. And the Invictu feels a pull, like an invisible line around her belly button.
Get to the one you love.
She would know that pull anywhere. She takes a step forward, around Him, and the woman almost smiles.
"Hi, sweet girl," she says, holding her hands out a little, and Jane doesn't know why she's there, or where she's come from but she knows it is right. It feels right, and she reaches out her hands too, feeling relieved.
But then He is storming past her, running at the woman, and his hands are out like he wants to hurt her. Like he wants to kill her and, the woman's eyes are wide and scared and she turns away from him but she doesn't run, and Jane acts without thinking.
She lifts Him off his feet. She throws Him back and away, off to the side. He lands with a hard thunk and there is silence. Jane looks back at the woman. The woman looks at her.
[Say my name again] she pushes the request gently, tentatively.
The woman smiles like sunlight. "Jane."
Jane takes a step towards her, and then another, but she isn't half way there, before He is pulling himself up and charging at her. And this time, because he's coming at her. She doesn't defend herself.
He smacks her across the face so hard that she is knocked off her feet. She drops to her knees and covers her head, and He brings his boot up and back down against her shoulder blade.
She screams and so does He.
"You're MINE!" He yells at her, and she thinks there must be no end to this wrath but death. He is going to kill her. "You're MINE YOU'RE MINE, YOU'RE MINE."
And underneath his yelling. In her head, she can hear the woman. Her. calling her. pleading.
[No. No! Jane. Wake up! Wake Up!]
They lay there, wrapped around each other, panting and shaking. Maura is trying to calm her heart rate, but Jane's breathing is quick and shallow in her ears and her body, and she cannot manage it. She tightens her hold around the slender waist, feeling the Invictu press her head more firmly into the crook of her neck. Maura can feel her pain, muted. Held back.
"It-it was…just a dream, right? Just a dream?" the doctor tries to say this comfortingly, but it comes out a stuttering question. "It's okay, Jane. I'm okay. You can share your pain...it was just a dream...right?"
Jane doesn't move for a moment, and Maura can feel her indecision plainly: keep her safe or keep her informed.
"Don't lie to me, Jane," she says gently. "You don't have to hold back. Tell me. Do you know what that was?"
A head shake.
"It was more than a dream though, yes? The way I fell in with you…it was different than the other times. It was…more…real. Is it still going on?"
A nod against her shoulder, accompanied by a whimper, and Maura gasps, pushing Jane away as another part of the dream comes back to her.
"Jane!" she breathes, pushing the dark hair away from her face so she can look closer. "No, don't pull away, come here. You're bleeding."
The fact that an actual cut exists from a blow that was received in a dream does not do anything to calm Maura's already racing thoughts.
If that wasn't a dream…if that was real…if it was really happening. She shakes her head, running her thumb gently along Jane's cheekbone. It can't have happened. We're here…in our house…we're safe.
But Jane shakes her head, her arms coming out to pull the doctor closer again. She is breathing hard and fast, her whole body shaking with something like effort.
[We are not safe]She pushes, and Maura realizes that the undercurrent of emotion that brings this to her is fear. And as she understands that, a new realization crashes over her as well.
[You're afraid] she closes her eyes, against the feel of the invictu's hands on her back, they shake, even as she presses them hard against the doctor's spine.
[I am] an admission that Jane trusts no other to hear.
[You've never been frightened like this before. Not even at the top of the tower with Hoyt.] And Jane pulls back and looks her in the eyes, her expression torn between fear and agony.
[Nothing has felt like this before.]
Maura takes Jane's hands in her own. [Show me] pushed with all the determination she can muster. Jane opens her mouth to protest audibly, but Maura forestalls her, shaking her head.
"Show me, Jane. Don't be afraid," she puts one of Jane's hands on the back of her neck. "Show me."
And Jane leans forward and presses her forehead to Maura's.
The blast of pain is so strong and so immediate, that Maura's first and overwhelming desire is to scream. But the air is knocked out of her repeatedly, and she knows that all she's able to do is whimper pitifully as the feeling rocks her.
She is being ripped apart. Something is physically ripping her in two, she can feel her shoulders slipping out of joint and her knees distending and dislocating. She opens her mouth but her tongue won't cooperate. It is like being drawn and quartered. She is being pulled and pulled and pulled, but something is also demanding she stay.
She has to go.
She must not move.
She writhes once, and vaguely, she can feel the pillow under her head. She is going to pass out and then…
The feeling is gone. It simply vanishes, like a flame that's been snuffed out.
She opens her eyes and looks at Jane. The brunette looks back at her wide eyed. She is panting, but the pain seems to have disappeared in her as well.
"Is it…is it over?"
Jane rolls her shoulders, like a test. "For now."
Maura sits up. Her lungs feel like she's been running up a hill with lead boots. "What was that?"
Jane shakes her head. "I don't know." But Maura can feel that she does.
"It wasn't a dream, Maura," the way Jane says her name makes the doctor look around. Jane holds her gaze for a moment and then drops it to the bedspread. Her hand goes up to finger the cut under her eye.
"It happened," she says quietly.
Maura sucks in a breath, "I could have done that while we were sleeping…Just because that's where Pazerretti hit you doesn't mean-"
"No," Jane cuts across her, standing up and moving to the window. "It happened…before I knew you. It happened when…" She rubs her head, thinking. "But you weren't there. He was simply mad I wanted to go out."
Maura stands too, though she doesn't approach the Invictu. "I was there this time," she says softly. "You protected me. I remember," And indeed, when Maura thinks of the dream it feels more like a memory now than anything else. Like an event, rather than her brain's usual nighttime fabrication.
For a moment they are silent, Pazerretti's cries seeming to echo around the room.
"Jane," Maura goes to touch her, to say more, but her phone is buzzing on the bedside table. Sighing, she turns around and picks it up, signaling to Jane that the conversation is not over.
"Dr. Isles," she says impatiently.
"D-doctor," one of her interns stutters. "You need to come to the hospital."
Maura swallows her initial irritation at tone of the young woman's voice. She doesn't know how she knows. She just does. "He's awake?" She asks the voice.
There is a pause. By the window, Jane turns as if in slow motion. It's written all over her face too.
"Yes, ma'am…he's been very agitated. Muttering in his sleep. Making wild gestures."
"Like he's pulling something," Maura mutters. Jane's eyes widen.
"What is he doing now?"
"He's awake…He…asked for you by name, Dr. Isles. And now he's just…he's just waiting."
Maura feels her knees go weak, and she sinks down onto the mattress in front of her. "Do not allow anyone to go into the room. Do not communicate with him in anyway…what is your name?"
"Aneesa Williams, Doctor." the name is not familiar to her.
"Dr. Williams, you are to lock the door to his room. Do you understand? I will be there…three hours. I will be there. Do you understand me?"
"Three hours," She says again, and hangs up the phone. She stares up at Jane.
"Him," she says simply.
"Yes," Maura replies.
More silence. and then, Maura turns and strides over to her closet. "I've got to go, Jane."
"He asked for me," she turns to look at the brunette, "promise you'll stay here." she says, and even though her voice does not rise at the end. She is really asking, begging, if she's honest. "Promise you'll stay here, Jane."
"Three hours?" Jane asks her own layered question of her own.
Maura nods, "I've got to see Korsak…I've got to ask him why…" why I hate this man so much…why he wants me and not you, Jane. Maura thinks this last part, blocking this last thought from her.
"Maura," it's the way Jane says her name that makes her turn, makes her drop her coat and move over to the Invictu and wrap her arms around her middle.
"Come back," she feels Jane whisper into her hair. "Come back." And Maura knows she's felt her hatred and her determination, even if she hasn't heard the words.
"Come back," Jane whispers again. "I choose you."
And Maura pulls back and presses her lips to Jane's, wanting to convey that those three words are the only ones she ever needs to hear, ever again, and Jane wraps her hand in Maura's hair and holds on, and it is deeper and more alive than anything that the doctor witnessed between the Invictu and Him. She knows it. And she knows Pazerretti knows it too.
The kiss burns hot…like fire.
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