A/N: Again, I'm sorry for the wait. I hope you enjoy!
Jane had read the same sentence over thirty times, which had less to do with the fact that she reading an article about atypical hemolytic–uremic syndrome in the New England Journal of Medicine (which she had found in reach on Maura's nightstand) and more to do with her increasing anxiety as she waited for Maura to return to the room.
She wiggled on the bed, her body stiff from the lack of movement. Her lower back ached terribly, and she missed the luxury of rolling over. The incision on her leg burned and itched terribly; she eyed the bottle of Vicodin on the dresser across the room, taunting her mercilessly. At least her pain was a good distraction, pulling her mind away from the fact that Jenna had explicitly asked for Maura and only Maura as she hobbled through the front door, sobbing so hard her words had come out in choked hiccups, a couple hours after she and Matt had stormed out of the house.
The door to the bedroom swung open at the ideal moment, as Jane had just been entertaining the idea of army crawling across the carpet. Maura's face was a little flushed and tired, but she smiled pleasantly in Jane's direction, reaching for the medicine bottle and clasping it in her grasp before she sat down on the edge of the bed by Jane's feet. "I do believe you're due for one of these," she muttered.
Jane eagerly took the bottle, popping the pill into her mouth as she swished it down with a glass of water from the nightstand. "You look like you could use one of these, too." She nodded in Maura's direction.
"Consuming another individual's prescription medication is illegal," Maura reminded her. Jane rolled her eyes, and Maura let out a tiny, unamused sigh. She kicked her shoes off, scooting further up on the bed.
"So?" Jane prodded, tossing the medical journal onto the nightstand. She wanted to talk while she was still coherent, before the Vicodin swept her into a blissful stupor.
"She's fine," Maura muttered, pressing circles with her thumb against her foot. "Rather, she will be fine. Tonight was just a lot for her to process, and while they did argue quite badly, I do not believe that it will determine the ultimate fate of her relationship," Maura reasoned.
Jane let out a small sigh. "I worry about her though, Maur," she spoke softly, reaching for Maura's free hand so naturally that she didn't think twice of it, playing absentmindedly with her fingers. Maura scooted further up on the bed. "I'm not saying Matt is 'the one,' but I'm afraid she's gonna let a lot of good things get away from her if she doesn't start letting people in."
Maura nodded. She fell back against the opposite pillow, pushing a breath of air between her teeth. "I worry because we can tell her all we'd like about everything working out for the better, but our actions speak volumes louder than our words," Maura spoke softly. "What hope is the promise of true love when all she sees is it ending in shambles?" She looked down at their hands, their fingers still intertwined.
Jane's throat felt tight. She gripped Maura's hand tighter. "It's not all on us, though." Her words held false reassurance. They had raised a fiercely independent daughter, who had not been taught to value family first as much as either of them would have liked. The weight of their mistakes pressed heavily on them now.
"She'll be okay," Maura spoke, not quite addressing Jane's remark, but they both needed to hear the words, spoken carefully, spoken with hope. Perhaps one day it would actually be okay, instead of waiting countless days in vain for the words to ring with truth. "I should go soon," Maura eventually muttered the words sleepily, though she curled a little closer into Jane's side.
"I should've taken the couch," Jane's voice was becoming incoherent in her exhaustion as well.
"Don't be ridiculous," Maura's mouth moved against Jane's shoulder. Jane let out a tiny sigh of contentment, craving the warmth of Maura's body. "You need a bed. I'm fine on the couch."
"Stay." The word escaped Jane's mouth quickly, before she had time to even consider it. She hated how desperate she suddenly sounded.
Maura let out a small breath, so incredibly close to Jane. They were so incredibly tired, so incredibly spent. So incredibly lonely.
"Jane," Maura spoke timidly. Her nose knocked lightly against Jane's neck. It shot a shiver up Jane's spine. She turned her head, locking eyes with Maura.
"Can we just pretend for a moment that it's fine for me to do this?" Maura spoke, her voice almost pained as her lips grazed Jane's chin. "That we won't have to talk about it in the morning?" She brushed her lips lightly over Jane's. Her words were so raw, so desperate to be free from regret.
Jane let out a small whimper, her body unfurling, pulsing with need. "Stay," she whispered again. Maura nodded, pressing her lips against Jane's neck, dappling it with small, warm kisses.
Jane's heart ached in a different way when she finally succumbed to slumber.
Jane hobbled into the kitchen the next morning, trying her crutches for the first time. She was sore and achy, but drenched in fierce hope.
Jenna sat on one of the barstools, a cup of coffee steaming in her grasp. Her face was puffy and blotchy, and she had cried her mascara into a pool beneath her eyes.
Jane maneuvered her body into one of the chairs at the kitchen table, letting out a heavy sigh. "Hey, baby girl," Jane muttered, her voice still a little hoarse with slumber.
Jenna turned slowly, looking sullen and tiny. "Mama," she spoke the word, so small and heartbreaking. It had been years since she had called Jane that. "I fucked up."
"We all fuck up sometimes," Jane reminded her solemnly, searching for her eyes. "But that doesn't mean that we don't get second chances." Jenna looked skeptical. "Look, I know that as parents we feed you so much bullshit sometimes, and that everything that comes out of our mouths sounds painfully cliche, but things really do have a way of getting better, especially if you're willing to believe they will."
Jenna nodded, looking morosely at her coffee again. She edged her gaze up from the brim of her cup eventually, looking shyly up at Jane. "Mom stayed in with you last night, didn't she?"
Jane chewed on her lower lip.
"I couldn't sleep, so I came out to see if she was still awake, but I didn't see her on the couch," Jenna continued.
Jane still said nothing, though her heart pounded a little more intensely.
"I used to pretend that it didn't bother me, that you guys were getting a divorce, you know," Jenna continued on when it was clear that Jane was going to leave Jenna's speculations unconfirmed. "I was twenty-two, independent, eager to, well, finally free myself from all your shit. So why should it matter that you guys didn't want to be together anymore? Why should it matter, because it wasn't supposed to affect me." She paused, swiveling in her chair. Her voice was small as she continued, "But sometimes, I feel so little again, and I want to come home, to the house I grew up in, and have my parents happy and content and hopeful. I just want to feel like everything is going to be okay." She stopped again, and Jane almost spoke into the silence, but Jenna picked up her thoughts before Jane could think of something appropriate to say. "But last night, when I woke up, expecting to find Mom alone on the couch, but instead realizing that she had stayed in with you - things just felt strangely right again, even though things are just a shitty mess right now. But that one little moment...and I'm sorry if it doesn't mean anything, or if I'm just making things up in my head...I don't know Ma..." She stepped down the stool, her feet padding against the ground as she approached Jane, sitting in the seat opposite of her. Jane reached for her daughter's hand, holding onto it with purpose. "I really did believe for a moment that everything was going to be alright."