Prompt: Hi, can you write something with kid!Rizzles again. The Moment makes my heart just…GAH. Anything. Anything at all. Writers choice.
"What's your last name," Jane's dark eyes search Maura's face.
"S-smith," she replies and immediately she feels like she's sinking. Her chest gets hot, and she can't breathe right.
"Woah, hey…hey, hey, Dex…breathe."
"Doyle," Maura puffs out, falling into the older girl's arms, resting her head against Jane's chest. "My last name is Doyle." She amends, and she feels instantly better, even though she knows that Jane is going to be frustrated with her. "I'm Doyle…I'm sorry," she says preemptively, and Jane pushes her away gently, reaching out to straighten the collar on her brand new dress.
"S'okay…" she says absently, tucking a strand of golden hair behind Maura's ear, "It's okay."
But it's not. Jane's dark eyes flick up, to the door barricaded with a desk chair. "What if I can't do it off?" she asks nervously.
Jane almost smiles, "Pull it off, Maura," she says, "and you will be able to. We just have to think of another way around it."
Maura shudders. That Jane has used her given name, and not one of her many nicknames, makes her feel even more nervous than she already is.
"What do I say then…when they ask me?"
Jane reaches out and straightens the bow in Maura's hair. "Say…you want it to be Isles," she says after a moment of contemplation. "Say…you think that Isles is the prettiest last name you've ever heard."
Maura bites her lip, "But it's not really, Jane."
Brown eyes find hers. Firm fingers on her shoulder. "Yes it is," she says seriously, "It's the name of the people who are gonna adopt you. It's the most beautiful name you've ever heard."
Oh…well, when she looks at it that way…
"Okay," she says, and Jane smiles, which makes Maura smile too, though it fades quickly as the reality of the situation comes back to her.
"When are you going to come visit me?"
Jane stops smiling. Jane looks a little angry. Maura looks over her shoulder for the source.
"Dex," gentle voice, even though the deep chocolate eyes are serious. "I'm not going to visit you, remember? This isn't like when we were apart in The Home, or when those fucking Peterson's had you, okay? I looked up these people, and they're the best. They've got…houses, and…like…private planes and stuff."
Maura's eyes go wide, this bit of information making her forget the swear. "House- es, Jane? Are you sure?"
Jane nods confidently. "Yes. And they want a little girl to dress up nice and to take to parties and who's really smart and good. And that's you. They're gonna take you."
"Maybe I'm too old."
"You're nine. That's…not too old."
"You said seven was too old when I went with the Petersons."
Jane's hands curl for a moment. "…Double digits," she supplies, "it's double digits that really matter. Plus it's all about demeanor."
"I don't know that word yet."
Jane really does smile this time. "Aha! Stumped you! Finally," Maura can't even pretend to pout when Jane is looking at her like that. "Well? Go look it up and write it down, Dex. Just because you might leave today doesn't mean you have to stop playing."
Maura turns away from Jane and runs over to the book case in the corner of the room. She pulls the old, worn dictionary down onto the floor with a soft thunk.
"Carefulla your dress," Jane says, watching.
Maura nods, and flips the book open. "Duh-meen-or?"
Jane chuckles. "Dee-meen-or," she corrects, and Maura trails her hand down the page.
Demeanor: outward behavior or bearing. "a quiet, somber demeanor" synonyms: manner, air, attitude, appearance, look.
She reads the little definition over and over until she has it memorized, and then she hefts the dictionary back up onto the shelf and makes her way back over to Jane, who produces a little pocket notebook and the stub of a pencil out of her back pocket.
Maura flips to the first empty page, and Jane holds her hands out flat, so that she can use them as a miniature desk.
"So," Maura says, lip between her teeth in concentration, "we can't do this anymore?"
"Who says?" Jane asks.
"Well…If you're not going to visit me…"
Jane sighs, "Doesn't mean you can't do it anymore, Mo. Plus, your new parents are going to know tons of words you don't…and they're gonna send you to the best schools money can buy. No more shit hole for you."
"That's a swear, Jane," Maura says, finishing her work and stepping back.
The brunette studies the notebook for a second. "Sorry," she says absently, "Hey…you know, I can't hold on to this anymore. You're gonna have to take it."
Maura looks down at her dress, found folded this morning in the trunk at the foot of Jane's cot, like magic. "I haven't got pockets," she says sadly.
Jane pretends to look thoughtful, and then, from behind her back, from nowhere, she pulls a little black purse, complete with shoulder strap and little silver buckle.
Maura cries out happily. "Jane!"
The brunette grins, and it almost reaches her eyes. She holds it out and Maura takes it quickly, opening the clasp and peering inside. There's a new pencil in there, and a new little notebook, and a folded five dollar bill."
"Jane…" said reverently this time.
"It's…it's a going away present…you know?" Jane says a little thickly, and Maura looks up as Jane looks away. "And you save that five dollars okay? And…uh…if they're mean to you. If they make you feel bad, or they do bad things at night, like the Petersons. You get away. The first time you can," Jane's voice has gone serious, and she looks back at Maura. "listening?"
The little girl nods.
"Use that five dollars and take the bus to 181st. Say it back."
"One eighty first."
"Good. If you're in trouble. You go there. And you go in the house on the corner with the picture of the dog."
"House on the corner with the picture of the dog," Maura says dutifully.
They stand together in silence for a while, until a new thought occurs to Maura, and she looks back around.
"What about Paddy?"
Jane's face hardens. "What about Paddy?" She asks darkly.
"What if he comes back for me?"
"He's in Jail, Dex."
"He could get out."
"No. He couldn't."
"Yes," Maura presses, "He could. I read in a book at the library that there is something called a pay-roll. He could get it and then he wouldn't have to stay in the prison. They would just check up on him every once in a while, to make sure he's not-"
"It's called parole, Mo, not payroll, and he has to be eligible for it…and he won't be. Not until you're grown." Jane turns away from her and opens the trunk at the foot of her cot, she roots around for a while and comes up finally with two shiny, patent leather buckle shoes.
Maura cannot be distracted. "Are you sure?"
Jane runs a hand through her hair. "God, Maura, I…I just know, okay? Paddy Doyle's in jail for practically forever. He's not gonna come after you, and if he tried, I wouldn't let him." She drops the shoes on the bed and spins to grab Maura around the waist. She plops the little girl down on the bed and then kneels, so that she is a little shorter, looking up into Maura's face.
"I wouldn't let him, Maura. You know that right?"
Maura nods. Yes. She believes that with all of her being.
Jane will protect her. Jane knows everything.
The brunette smiles and grabs a shoe. "Good. Gimme your foot."
For as long as she can remember it's always been Jane and Maura.
J.C. and Point Dexter
Tag and Smalls
Brown and Goldie.
Runner and Hops.
Names upon names upon names that Jane has called them, bending down to whisper a new one in Maura's ear when no one was looking.
You're Smalls here. And anyone messes with you, you call for Tag. You tell 'em Tag's your sister and she doesn't take no shit.
That's a swear Jane.
Say it, just the same.
She remembers Jane was Neen when she was MoMo, and J.J. when she was Em, but always they were together. And always, Jane would find time every day to tell her she was Maura. Tell her that her name was the most important thing. That she couldn't just give it away to anyone who asked.
You're Maura. You're Maura. You're so special and important and nice and good. Say it back.
I'm Maura. And you're Tag?
Not to you. To you I will always be Jane. No matter what. Okay?
I'm Maura. You're Jane… I like it.
…Good. Go to sleep.
Always. No matter what other people called them. It was Maura. with Jane.
As they descend the stairs into the main hall, Maura reaches instinctively for Jane's hand. The noise of the prospective parents, of the yells and shrieks of the other children, each trying to outshine the other, it makes Maura's head spin.
Jane takes her hand, but does not hold onto it. Just squeezes it and lets it go.
"I'll wait here for you," she says at the first landing, and when Maura turns to look at her, she sees that Jane's eyes are shiny.
"You're hurt!" she says, alarmed. She's only seen Jane cry once, the night she broke her ankle stealing Maura back from the Petersons, and even then she carried Maura four blocks to the shelter before letting anyone look at it. "What hurt you?"
"Shh," Jane says pulling her back, away from the view of the main hall. "No. I'm not hurt. I'm not hurt, see? I'm fine."
"It's just a meeting right?" Maura says, watching the older girl's face closely. "I'll go. I'll meet them, and then I'll come back and tell you how it went. They might not even take me…right?"
Jane's eyebrows pull together. "They're gonna take you, Maura. You're bright and pretty and they'd be fools not to. Okay?"
Maura shuffles her feet before remembering that she has new shoes. "Well, I'll at least come back to say good bye."
Jane smiles and then pulls her close, into a hug that is familiar and comforting and safe…and a little sad.
"Go, Smalls. Don't keep them waiting."
"I'll be right back, okay?"
"Yeah. Okay. Be brilliant. Remember the things I told you."
"Okay, Jane. See you soon!"
Maura turns and takes the last flight alone, and the woman known only to her as Mrs. D beckons her towards the sitting room, looking harried.
"Maura! Goodness I looked everywhere…you look lovely, thank heavens. There are people here, asking for you by name, child. Here, come here, straighten your bow."
Maura glances back towards the stairwell. She can't see Jane from this angle, but she is comforted by the knowledge that the brunette is there, she has never not been there, and she is comforted by the fact that when she is done with her interview, Jane will be there, picking her nails and sitting on the landing. Waiting for her.
"Oh, Richard!" Maura turns to see a dark haired woman clasping the hand of a tall, broad shouldered man.
"Richard, she's lovely!" The woman approaches her. "Hello, darling. You're name's Maura isn't it?"
"Yes," Maura says, and then, Jane's voice in her ear, "ma'am."
The woman beams at her. "I'm Constance Isles. My husband and I have heard a lot about you…would you like to sit down and talk to us a while?"
Dex, what's the most important thing I ever taught you?
Um…to look for knowledge everywhere?
…Yeah…maybe…that was a good one...But, no. The most important thing is to know what opportunity looks like. The most important thing is to grab it, when it comes, alright?
Can't you grab for both of us, Jane?
….No. Not all the time. So you have to always be on the lookout for opportunity. Alright?
"Yes," Maura says, trying to smile her nicest smile. I would like that very much."
"Jane? Are you sleeping?"
"Maura, your feet are the equivalent of polar ice caps. How could I be sleeping?"
"Can you take me to Paris?"
"I read about Paris in this book in the library. Can you take me there?"
"I…no, Maur. I can't."
"Because…it's like…hundreds…It's like thousands of miles away from here."
"But you asked me what I wanted for my birthday..."
"I meant like…a new chapter book, or…some crayons, or…some new shoes. I didn't mean a trip to Paris."
"I-I'm sorry. I just read it and it sounded really fun, and there this…giant tower there that's pretty and I-"
"Jesus, Maura…don't cry. Don't cry, I'm sorry. Come here…come here. I'm sorry. I'd take you to Paris if I could. I swear."
"I'm sorry. I won't ask for anything again. I showed Carmen in school the book, and she said her daddy was going to take her over Christmas. I thought we could go and I could play with her there."
"Nothing…never mind. Listen to me. Are you listening?"
"I can't take you to Paris for your birthday. I wish I could. But that doesn't mean you should stop asking for things, okay?"
"No…not ever. You deserve to have everything you want. Say it back."
"I deserve to…"
"Have everything you want."
"Have everything I want."
"You're smart and kind and you're going to be great…Say it back, Maura."
"…how come everyone else has to call me Point Dexter."
"They don't haveto, they just do…so they don't get to know your real name. They don't deserve you."
"But you know it."
"Yeah, because I'd never hurt you, or take it from you."
"They might…yeah, look, Maur, say it back, okay?"
"I'm smart and I'm going to be great."
"You're gonna be."
"I'm gonna be."
"Do I deserve your socks?"
"You think about her often," the therapist shifts in her chair and it creaks quietly, Maura turns her head away from the window, and smiles a little sadly.
"More, now that I'm back here," she says, turning back to the window, "The other day I walked past Faneuil Hall, and…it was like I was back in time."
"You two used to go there often?"
"She was panhandling, I realize that now…but back then I thought she was the queen of that place. Clam Chowder on my Birthday…a stuffed animal…"
"She looked out for you."
Maura shakes her head, turning back, eyes wide. "She took care of me," she says firmly. "Do you understand the difference? She made sure I was fed and educated…"
Maura nods, looking down into her lap. "Yes," she says finally, "and adopted."
The therapist lets her sit with her thoughts for a moment, and then says gently, "You know, Dr. Isles, it is not your fault that you were adopted and she was not."
"I don't know that she wasn't," Maura says quickly, "I just assume…she was nearly fourteen, and, being a teenager in the foster care system is the kiss of death. And her record was far from spotless."
"She was delinquent?"
Maura fires up immediately, "She was brilliant. She was kind and gentle and funny. If she fought it was because she was fighting for me, and if she ran away, or skipped school it was because she was rescuing me from one hell hole or another. If they could have just written that in her file…"
The therapist sits back in her seat, eyebrows raised, and Maura takes a deep breath.
"I'm sorry…I'm just…"
"You feel guilty?" The therapist suggests. "You feel as though she would have been adoptable, were it not for you?"
Maura makes a noncommittal sound. "It's just being back here is so…haunting. I thought it would be different…I thought it might be like coming home. But it's not."
"You did not feel at home in London, with your mother?"
Maura almost laughs, "Nor in Brussels, or Hamburg or Paris…Oh!" The memory hits her hard enough to make her gasp.
"When I was a little girl, God…I must have been five or six…I asked her if she would take me to Paris. Like…it was just somewhere we could walk to."
"How did she respond."
"She said…" the conversation comes back to Maura fully, and she feels tears in her eyes. "She said that I deserved good things to happen to me…she said I should never stop asking for things, because I deserved them."
"Was she wrong?"
Maura shakes her head, wiping a tear away. "She deserved them too. She…she saved my life."
The therapist nods, "You mentioned last time we met that she…took you, from an abusive situation?"
"My first family placement," Maura says tonelessly. "The older brother liked to sleep with his hand inside my pajama bottoms."
"And how did Jane find you?"
She caught up with me at my new school one day…just appeared out of nowhere, and I mentioned it to her…and…I thought she was going to go crazy right there."
"She came for you that night?"
Maura nods, remember the way her bedroom window had slid open soundlessly. "That same night. Climbed the trellis up to my room. Broke her ankle falling on the way down. A hairline fracture…it must have been."
Maura looks down at her hands, knotted in her lap. "When I was younger, I used to day dream about running away and finding her." Maura almost smiles. "But then I would think about how disappointed she'd be in me, for leaving such an amazing place. She must have fixed it somehow…that they'd get me…though I can't imagine how."
"It sounds like you've been thinking about her for a long, long time. Not just since you came back to Boston."
"Yes," Maura allows this confession because she is alone, and this man is sworn to keep her confidence. "Yes, I suppose I have."
"Have you come back to find her, Dr. Isles?"
Maura looks up.
What's the most important thing I ever told you?
To be true to myself no matter what.
That's it…you didn't say anything else.
Well I am now. Listening? The most important thing is to find the person who makes that truth shine bright.
Like a lightbulb?
Like the sun.
181 Essex street. Maura stands outside of the little building, her heart pounding. There is a wooden sign hanging by the front steps, and when Maura walks up to it she sees, not a dog, but big block letters that read.
Essex Street Children's Home
Maura stares at the words for a long time, until the door of the house opens and a woman pokes her head out.
"Are you Mrs. Montgomery?" a tall, tan woman with jet black hair makes Maura go weak at the knees for a split second, before she realizes that this woman is not the woman she is looking for.
"Am I- No," she says weakly. "No…I'm sorry…I…I was just looking for…" what? She lets the sentence trail off.
"Can I help you find something?" the woman says good naturedly, stepping out onto the front porch. "A lot of tourists come to the Hotel on Essex, which is really 118, not 181…"
Maura tries a smile, "No…no, I meant 181. It's just been a while since I've been here and…it's not what I remember."
The woman raises an eyebrow, "We've been here nearly a decade… How long have you been away?"
"Nearly three," Maura says, smiling. "Do you…Do you know what was here before you?"
"Sure do!" The woman says cheerfully, beckoning Maura up the stairs. Maura hesitates for a moment, and then climbs the little staircase and steps through the open door into the front hall.
It is warm and homey inside, and as Maura looks around she sees that the walls are lined with framed photographs of kids. She supposes they must be the kids from the Home, past and present.
"Here," the woman is pointing to a sign, old and wooden and hung to the right of the front door. "When our Detective got us the funding for this place, she was adamant that we put this somewhere. It means something to her…though I'm not sure what."
Maura feels like her heart has simply ceased to exist. She is looking at a painted silhouette of a dog, faded white against the brown wood.
Lazy Dog Books The sign says, and then in smaller letters underneath. Not all who wander are lost.
"Y-your detective?" she stutters. "J-Jane?"
The woman's eyes widen happily.
"Do you know her?"
The drive across town is endless. Maura feels like she is bursting. She wants to get out and run, just so she will be moving, but she forces herself to stay still in the back seat of the Cab.
Jane is across town, overseeing the construction of a second children's home.
"It's her passion…aside from police work. She's tireless. I don't know what we'd do without her."
But Maura had barely been listening. She'd lost the thread of the conversation at the words: Jane is across town.
Jane is across town.
The car moves impossibly slowly. Maura closes her eyes.
What will she say?
"Jane? Are you sleeping?"
"No, Maura, are you alright?"
"Because I can sleep on the floor if you don't want me to-"
"No! Don't go. Don't go…he might come in if you go."
"No. Jesus, no, Maura. That bastard is never going to lay a hand on you again."
"That's a swear, Jane."
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Come here, you're shivering."
"I was lonely without you, Jane."
"I was lonely without you too, Maur."
"Maybe next time a family will want both of us."
"…Yeah…maybe. Hey. Listen…just because that Peterson boy is a…bad person, does not mean that you don't deserve a family, okay? You deserve a family. The best."
"I deserve a family. The best."
"Are you crying? Are you hurt?"
"I'm fine. Go to sleep."
"Where we gonna go tomorrow?"
"Yeah. Somewhere together."
There is a woman on the corner when the cab pulls up. She stands with her hand on her hips, talking animatedly to a man in a hard hat.
Maura throws too much money at the cabbie and steps out of the car, and a voice she did not ever expect to hear again, hits her squarely in the chest.
"…done last week, Tom. But that's okay. That's no big deal…I can just talk to my buddies down in building inspection. I can just make sure that you get 'Sour Dave" at every single one of your walk throughs…no big-"
"Alright! Alright, Rizzoli, Jesus. Fine. You win."
He turns away, and Jane turns too, towards Maura. She looks up. Their eyes meet.
Maura has spent twenty seven years convincing herself that the pursuit of knowledge, the acquiring of personal possessions, and the extensive travel of the world are the things most important in life.
She has spent twenty seven years, moving from place to place, from degree to degree, because she believed that was what Jane would want. She would want her to learn everything, do everything, experience everything. She'd stayed away out of fear of disappointing her best friend, the reason she was doing all these amazing things. She'd stayed away out of fear of being disappointed, or worse…devastated.
They stand there for what feels like ages, simply looking at each other. And all the things that Maura was practicing in the car. All the explanations and apologies and meaningless phrases fly directly out of her head.
Jane's eyes tell her everything she's ever needed to know.