A/N: This one is dark, you guys. There's not much fluff in this story, at least not at first. Bad things happen to both Jane and Maura. I've been writing this story for well over a month, it's already well over 100,000 words long, and I think I'm only about 80% done with it at this point. But I've been dying to get this chapter posted, and see if there's any interest in it. I usually try to post my chapters once every other day, but with this story, the chapters are all pretty long, and I'm probably going to update only once or twice a week.
This story breaks down Jane and brings her to rock bottom. It's sad, and there are moments that could be considered triggery to some people (though not in this chapter).
This isn't my usual fluff-fest, but I am a firm Rizzles shipper. I've also never written a story that doesn't have a happy ending. Keep that in mind as you read.
And if this story hits you in the feels, I'd love to hear about it in a review.
I didn't think this needed to be said, but now I'm forced to add this to all of my stories:
This work of fiction belongs to me, sociallyawkwardpenguin. The Rizzoli and Isles characters belong to TNT. However this story, and all original characters, belong to me. Absolutely no reposting of this story is permitted (including translations of this story) without my express written permission. If you see this story posted in any other forum besides Archive of our Own or FanFiction, please notify me via private message immediately.
He showed up in her life when I least expected it. She met him at a conference, and they hit it off immediately. He was quirky and awkward just like her, and they seemed to be able to sync their idiosyncrasies surprisingly well.
He was all she could talk about when she came back from that conference.
He was sweet and kind and generous, just like her. He was smart and shared so many of her interests and talents. He was good looking and surprisingly unpretentious for someone with his wealth and connections.
He was perfect for her, really.
He lived two hours away in Connecticut, and she started spending more and more weekends commuting to see him, or having him commute out to see her.
It didn't take long for all that commuting to start cutting into our time together. It took her longer than it should have to realize how much I was starting to miss her, but I continued to encourage her to see him. It killed me to do that, but she was so damn happy, and I could never deny her an opportunity for happiness.
I was saddened, but not surprised to hear that he had gotten a job at a hospital here in Boston several months later. He started meeting up with us at the Dirty Robber on Friday nights, and as hard as I tried not to like him, he was simply too much like Maura for me to hate him. Hating him would have been like hating Maura, and I definitely didn't hate Maura, even when I knew I had lost my opportunity to tell her how I felt about her.
Eventually he took my place next to Maura on Maura's bed, spending more than just the occasional night with her and getting to do all the things with her I had wanted to do.
I often think back to the night before she left for that conference, when things were simple and happy and I was too scared to tell her that I had feelings for her. I had been giving her a hard time about leaving, trying any excuse in the book to just get her to stay. It was hard enough not having her around for an entire week; it was even worse when Dr. Pike was called in to replace her.
That night was the last of the good times, really. We went to the Dirty Robber for dinner and drinks. We laughed with Korsak and Frost, and then I went back to her house where we fell asleep together on the couch watching movies.
The following morning I drove her to the airport, and I came so close to telling her that I loved her. Looking back at it, it would have been so easy, and maybe, just maybe, my life wouldn't have taken the turn that it has in the years since then. It was the first of two times in my life that my inaction would cost me dearly.
When she came back from that conference, everything changed. I did my best to be happy for her, and she did her best to stay the best friend she always was.
Inevitably though, I was replaced, and the hurt became more than I could handle.
He proposed to her over a beautiful candlelit dinner at an expensive French restaurant a little over a year and a half after they met. I'm pretty sure the diamond he gave her was worth more than her house and both of her cars combined.
I was the first person she told. She came by in the middle of the night, long after I'd used a six pack of beer to drown the loneliness and the hurt enough to fall asleep. Initially I mistook her late night arrival and her excitement as trauma, and thought her tears were a signal that she was hurt. I remember opening the door to my apartment and seeing her there, and immediately pulling her in for a tight hug.
She didn't hesitate to hug me back. It was the last time I ever hugged her like that.
After she broke the news of her engagement and I did my best to be happy, cheerful and encouraging, I couldn't bring myself to hug her again. Not like that. I couldn't touch her anymore. She wasn't mine to touch. She hadn't been for over a year. She never really had been to begin with, but before he showed up in her life we were both fooled into thinking that it was okay. It was perfectly acceptable for me to hug her. To touch her. To sleep curled up with her on her couch or in her bed.
No, after that hug I didn't touch her again. Not until that one last time, that time I can't think about anymore.
She asked me to be her maid of honor and initially I said yes. That's what best friends do, right? This was about to become the happiest time of her life and I certainly wasn't going to ruin it for her.
But the wedding planning and hearing about him all the time and their plans for their honeymoon and their plans for their whole lives together started getting to me.
For reasons I don't quite understand, they pushed for a quick wedding. They were engaged in February, for Valentine's Day, and they chose a May date to get married. They picked a venue and a justice of the peace. She chose the most gorgeous white wedding dress I had ever seen. I had to walk away from her after she put it on at her fitting, because all I could do was imagine her in that dress with me there in front of that justice of the peace. Her fiancé, her sweet, caring, quirky husband-to-be was still a faceless, nameless being up until that point, even though I had met him countless times before.
But when she tried on that dress and she stood there beaming in front of me, he became William Sheridan, and I realized that in a matter of weeks, Maura was no longer going to be Maura Isles. She was going to be Dr. Isles-Sheridan.
The idea of strong, independent Maura Isles taking anyone else's name, even in hyphenated form, was enough to make me physically ill. I had to excuse myself and quietly toss up the salad I'd had for lunch in the dress shop's bathroom.
Not long after the wedding dress fitting, one of my cases took me to New York. I dealt with a homicide detective and a lieutenant with the NYPD as we consulted on one another's cases. We were on the track of a serial killer, and our files combined gave us the break we needed in the case. The arrest took place in New York and I was invited out with their unit to go celebrate.
I went with them, and they were a nice bunch of people. I can't say much more about them, as I never really got to know them that well. I had locked myself up tightly by that point, too worn down by the loss of Maura to really let anyone else in. I was surprised when, at the end of the night, the lieutenant called me over and offered me a job. They needed someone with my skills right away, and they were willing to pay almost $20,000 more a year than what I was making in Boston. They would even help out with moving arrangements and housing.
He didn't know it at the time, but that lieutenant was giving me the out I had been desperate for since William had shown up in Maura's life. I told him I would give the Boston PD two weeks' notice, and I would start on May first. I wouldn't allow myself to think of how I was betraying Korsak, Frost or Cavanaugh. I was barely giving two weeks' notice, and I was leaving them for New York, of all places.
I did allow myself to think of how I was betraying Maura. Maura's wedding was set for the Saturday following my arrival in New York, May sixth. I would not be there for it.
I drove home the next morning and started packing. I called my mother and my brothers over to my apartment, so I could break the news to them first.
Needless to say, they were unhappy with me.
My mother actually cried. She cried first because I was leaving, and then she cried when she realized what I was doing to Maura.
"You're her maid of honor, Jane! You can't pick up and leave a week before she gets married! What is wrong with you?" she cried.
"I have to go, Ma. I can't give this up. It's $20,000 more a year than I'm making now, and a bigger opportunity to move up the ranks," I answered lamely.
"What do you mean? You would hurt Maura for $20,000? She's relying on you! You're her best friend! How could you do this to her?" Ma was astounded, and frankly, so was I at how callous I sounded. But my heart had been worn away and this was all that was left of me to answer her.
"I'm sure she'll understand," I lied. I knew she wouldn't understand. I knew that she was going to be irrevocably hurt by what I was doing. I knew she would probably never speak to me again, and her anger at me was going to be what got me through making this break. It would be the final nail in the coffin that contained our friendship-slash-whatever-it-had-been.
"Janie," Frankie said, more serious than I'd ever seen him before. "You gotta think about this. You can't do this to Maura. Just tell them that you can't start until after the wedding."
"I can't," I lied again.
I watched my mother throw her hands in the air and sob, and Frankie got up and left in disgust. My mother and Tommy quickly followed him out.
Frankie didn't speak to me again for six months. It was the longest we ever went without speaking to one another, and I'm pretty sure that if what happened to me at that six month mark didn't happen, he still wouldn't be speaking to me, but that's a story for later.
The following morning I walked into BRIC and gave Cavanaugh my two weeks' notice. It was the first time in my years at the Boston Police Department that I'd ever seen the man rendered speechless.
He called Korsak and Frost into his office and made me stand there and tell them what I was doing and where I was going. I had prepared for that. I had prepared for their outrage and their anger and their hurt. I squared my shoulders and let it roll off my back. I ignored their questions about Maura's wedding. Instead, I told them I had to go down to the morgue and let Maura know I was leaving.
Maura was in her office, at her desk, still wearing a pair of black scrubs as she meticulously finished her notes on her latest autopsy.
Her face lit up when she saw me. I never came down to the morgue anymore. I hadn't in months. I just waited for her reports to come through, and most of the time they came via emails that I didn't bother to respond to unless I had a work-related question.
I could never understand why she never questioned how I pulled away in the months leading up to that moment. Maybe it was just expected. Or maybe she'd found a replacement for me and she never realized how far I'd pulled away. How I'd been slowly walking out of her life since the day she came back from that conference and couldn't stop talking about William.
That day though, as I hovered outside the door to her office, her face lit up. She was clearly thrilled to see me. It pained me to think that in a few seconds I was going to wipe that smile off her face with my news.
I told myself then, that moment would be the last time I would ever see that smile. I tried to memorize it.
I may have lied to my mother about my reasons for leaving, but I will not lie and say that I didn't go into this situation knowing what it would do to Maura.
I will not lie and say that part of me didn't fear hurting her, because she had hurt me, whether she knew it or not.
I will not lie and say that I have not regretted what I did that day every moment of every day since then.
None of that matters though. Not anymore.
"Hey," I said, quietly.
"Hi Jane!" Maura effused, jumping up from her seat to greet me. It really had been months since I'd been down there to visit her unannounced, and her surprise and her excitement at my visit was obvious.
"I have to talk to you," I said as I walked into her office and closed the door behind me softly.
And just like that, the smile fell from her lips, and when I left her a few minutes later, she was crying. I closed the door behind me and didn't look back.
The last two weeks I spent at the Boston Police Department were awkward and difficult. I stopped receiving new cases immediately after giving my notice and was relegated to tying up loose ends on my existing cases. I spent eight hours a day behind a desk doing paperwork. That meant I didn't have to go out to crime scenes and see Maura there, which was better for me.
I met with the district attorney and discussed a game plan for the cases I had that were still pending trial. I had already discussed the issue with my new lieutenant, and was told that upon receipt of a valid subpoena, the NYPD would allow me to travel back to Boston to testify at depositions and trials. This would keep the suspects' defense attorneys from arguing that the arresting detective was not there to testify. I wasn't looking forward to coming back and seeing Maura in the courthouse, but it was part of my job and it was something I was going to have to deal with. If I was lucky, I would be called to testify on days when she wasn't being called, and we would be able to avoid each other that way.
Korsak and Frost made it a point to give me dirty looks whenever they left the BRIC to pursue suspects, serve warrants, and make arrests. Neither of them had anything left to say to me. They'd stopped bringing me in coffee and donuts when they ran down to the cafe. Frost even went so far as to throw away the coffee I brought up for him one morning. After that, I stopped doing it. I'd broken up their little dream team, and was leaving them for New York of all places. I had added insult to injury, and I didn't care, and they showed me that they didn't care either.
I was one of the most decorated homicide detectives on the force, but at five o'clock on the Friday before I left for New York, I shut off my computer for the last time and walked out of BRIC as if I was unknown to anyone. There was no going away party. There was no last round of drinks at the Dirty Robber. There were no well wishes or requests to stay in touch. Frost, Korsak and Cavanaugh had made it a point to not be there when I was leaving. It was better that way anyway.
I walked my service weapon down to the basement storage area, across from the morgue, and turned it in to the officer on duty. I had left my badge on my desk. I no longer needed it, nor did I need the reminder of who I had been or what that place had meant to me.
I didn't look at the doors to the morgue as I headed back to the elevator and went back up to the lobby. I didn't look into the District One Cafe as I walked through the lobby and out the doors of the Boston Police Department for the last time.
I really thought that walking out of there that day would free me of the weight I had been carrying on my shoulders since the day Maura had come back from that conference, but instead it just got heavier. That weight has never really left, though I've gotten better at ignoring it.
The movers had been to my apartment during the day, removing the last of my belongings and starting the drive to New York a few hours ahead of me. I'd seen photos of the neat little apartment on the Upper West Side that would become my home. It was small and would be cluttered, but it wasn't Boston and that was all that mattered to me.
All that remained in the apartment was a suitcase with some essentials I would need when I got to New York, Jo Friday, and the baby tortoise that Maura had given me. I walked the suitcase and the tortoise down to the car, strapping the terrarium into the back seat with the seatbelt and putting the suitcase in the trunk. I walked back up and picked up Jo, took one last look around, and left, pausing only to lock the door behind me.
As I turned to walk down the hallway and out the front door one last time, I was surprised to see Maura standing there waiting.
"You were just going to leave and not say goodbye to anyone?" Maura asked. It was clear she had been crying. Her makeup was ruined, her eyes were bloodshot, and her hands were shaking. Even in that state she was more beautiful than anyone I ever knew.
"We already said goodbye," I answered quietly.
"No, we didn't Jane. Two weeks ago you came down to the morgue, told me you were leaving, and that you couldn't be in my wedding. Then you walked out. I don't think you ever said the word goodbye."
"Well then, goodbye, Maura." I kept my tone quiet, left the iciness that I was feeling in my heart out of my voice.
I tried to walk away, but she put her hand out and stopped me. She actually whimpered when jerked my arm away from her touch.
"What happened to us, Jane?"
I shrugged. Jo Friday started to squirm in my arms, so I let her down. She ran right up to Maura, tail wagging. She'd missed Maura too.
Maura seemed to be waiting for an answer, but I didn't really have one to give her. Not one she would want to hear, anyway.
"Why are you leaving?" she asked instead.
"I got offered a job."
"You already had a job," she argued.
"They offered me more money," I added, not really trying all that hard to convince her. We both knew I couldn't convince her, the same way she knew she wasn't going to be able to convince me to stay.
"They offered you more money to leave your family and work in a city you despise. Why are you leaving, Jane?" Maura pressed.
I sighed, looked at her and the hurt written all over her face. I didn't know how to answer her, so I leaned forward and kissed her. I put every ounce of the love I'd felt for her for so long into that kiss. She didn't react at all. She just stood there, eyes wide open, hands shaking, so I let her go and whispered, "I'm leaving because I can't be trusted not to jump up and object when the justice of the peace asks if anyone has just cause for why you and William shouldn't be married."
I stepped away from her and picked up Jo Friday. "I wish you nothing but happiness, Maura Isles."
And then I walked out. I walked down the stairs and out the door and put Jo Friday in the car, then got in and drove away.