DISCLAIMER: All things Rizzoli and Isles belong to Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro, and other entities. I'm altering their realities for fun, not profit, as I own nothing and have the credit report to prove it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To mf.vinson[at]gmail.com
"I'm bored," Jane Rizzoli announced as if it were breaking news.
Dr. Maura Isles sighed internally. She loved Jane, but her best friend sometimes had the attention span of a flea on amphetamines. It was worse since her pain medication was reduced. "Isn't there a game on?"
"There isn't anything on except stupid talk shows and game shows and reruns that were old when I was a kid."
Maura lowered the pathology journal she was trying to read. "You'll be coming home with me in a few more days."
"Why can't we go now?"
Maura bit back a grin, certain that Jane was playing with her. She knew a thing or two about that game. "Large caliber gunshot wound to the chest. Entry in the mid right quadrant, exit through the back in the upper right quadrant."
"All right, all right, I got it. I did something stupid and this is my punishment." Jane sighed and turned toward Maura. "But I'm still bored."
"What do you want to do that you're allowed to do?"
"Can we go for a walk?" Jane asked hopefully.
Another lap around the ward might settle her down, Maura thought, or wear her out enough for a nap. "All right," she agreed, and got up from her seat to help Jane, who was eagerly trying to get ready to get out of bed.
Everything in the hospital was a performance. First, Jane had to sit with her feet dangling while Maura made certain her socks were on correctly and moved the I.V. pole and all the lines so they wouldn't get caught on anything. When Jane stood, she kept one hand on the bed while Maura checked that she wouldn't flash anyone. Finally, they were able to move toward the door.
The half steps she had to take annoyed Jane as much as anything else about the hospital. She tried taking regular steps, and they hurt like a bitch. So she stayed close to the wall, using the rail for support, and holding Maura's hand tightly.
By the time they got back to her room, Jane was paler, and sweating little, and Maura didn't bother to ask any more, because Jane always said she was fine, even though it was obvious that she was extremely uncomfortable and probably in actual pain.
Jane was asleep within minutes of getting back into bed. Her breathing evened out into the new cadence Maura was familiar with, and color returned to her face. Maura looked at the clock before picking up her magazine again. They had an hour or so before people started coming by.
Jane hated being seen like this, and at the same time was glad for visits from her friends and family. Frankie was supposed to come tonight. He'd been out of the hospital for two days, staying in his old bedroom at their parents' home, being babied by their mother.
Jane made it clear to her mother that she wasn't going to do that. Maura was going to stay with her, or she with Maura, and while her mother was welcome to visit, she wasn't moving in or camping out or making excuses to come over three times a day. It helped that she would be with Maura "She's a doctor, Ma. She saved Frankie's life. I'm pretty sure she can handle this." who her mother adored since the first time Jane dragged her to a family dinner.
Maura tried to read her magazine, but she, too, was restless. It was almost a week since she ducked through the doorframe to hear Jane screaming for someone to take a shot. She instinctively turned in the same direction as dozens of gun barrels, just in time to watch Jane wrestle Marino's gun away from her head, where any shot would be fatal, to her body.
There was noise, and the mist of blood out Marino's back, and in slow motion, they fell to the ground. Korsak and Frost were there right after she was, pulling his corpse from under Jane, causing a stream of blood to flow from beneath her into Maura's knees as she desperately grabbed Frost's hand to keep pressure on the entry room while she shoved hers under Jane, ignoring the scrape of concrete, trying to find a way to slow the bright red blood that was everywhere.
Maura stayed until Korsak picked her up so the EMTs could carry on. In the back of her mind, she was amazed that Frost hadn't vomited, as he usually did at a crime scene. Of course, the blood there wasn't fresh, and he didn't know the victims. Maura didn't realize her teeth were chattering as she watched the EMTs move Jane to a gurney and load her in the ambulance.
Korsak removed his suit coat and put it on Maura's shoulders. He put his arm around her, looked at Frost, and jerked his head toward the parking lot. Frost got on Maura's other side, and the three of them walked through the chaos to Korsak's car.
They reached the hospital shortly after the ambulance, but it was too soon for any information other than both Rizzolis were still miraculously alive. Korsak paced, and Frost stared at the wall from the chair beside Maura, who stared at the hem of her once beautiful dress, now saturated with rich, red blood. Jane's blood. It was drying on her clothes, flaking from her skin as it oxidized.
When Frank and Angela arrived, the waiting room was overrun with police officers of all ranks. Angela was quiet, Frank grim, and Frost gave up his seat so Angela could sit.
"Maura, honey, are you all right?" Angela asked.
Maura didn't recognize her own voice. "No. No, I don't think so."
What happened was easy enough to answer, and Maura saw it fast forward through her head. Frankie injured. Jane's desperate begging. Marino's double-cross. SWAT and EMTs invading her morgue, and taking Frankie away before she ran upstairs, hoping Jane found a way out. It slowed down as she stepped through the door, careful of the glass still clinging to the frame. Guns in the hands of every visible officer, Frost staring, Korsak swearing, Jane screaming, fighting. An explosion, and everything slowed again, as blood sprayed from Marino's back and they both dropped to the sidewalk. Blood. More slick, bright blood. Not at all what she was used to dealing with, and this was the second time today and she didn't have gloves and didn't give a damn because if she didn't do something, Jane would die, and that was completely unacceptable.
Maura shook her head and pulled Korsak's jacket tighter.
"Rizzoli!" a voice cut through the soft conversations going on everywhere.
Frank waited for his wife, who pulled Maura up, and a path cleared to the doctor.
"What's going on?" Frank asked the nurse.
"Both of them have been moved to surgery. It's going to be a while, but we'll keep you updated. Family can wait in the surgical waiting room. I'll take you there."
Angela kept her arm around Maura as they moved through the halls. She was glad that someone needed mothering. Taking care of Maura gave her something to do besides worry. This was the day she dreaded more than any other, and to be told by Lt. Cavanaugh that both Frankie and Jane were injured shot was a sucker punch of the worst degree. Cavanaugh was no help. He didn't say how or why they were hurt, only that Jane and Frankie were heroes. Angela didn't want dead heroes; she wanted her children alive and whole, squabbling over whose turn it was to buy beer and whether that was a legal shot on goal and who was the best pitcher in the American League.
The surgical waiting room was empty except for the three of them. A few minutes later, Korsak and Frost arrived. After that, officers moved in and out, paying their respects before heading downstairs to give blood.
Maura's head shot up when a surgeon entered. He had far less blood on his scrubs than Maura had on her person. "Mr. Rizzoli came through surgery without any complications. We're going to keep him in ICU overnight. He'll be in recovery for a few hours before he's moved. Someone will let you know."
"Jane?" Maura asked hopefully.
"Another team is working on her."
'Working on her' could mean any of several things, but Maura chose to interpret it positively. Jane's injuries were more severe; more time was needed to repair the damage.
When Angela and Frank went up to the ICU to stay with Frankie, Maura stayed and waited for Jane's surgeon. It was after midnight before he came to the waiting room.
Jane was stable. In recovery. On her way to ICU soon. Maura asked question after question, getting a detailed picture in her mind of Jane's injuries, which were not as bad as they could have been, before thanking him.
Korsak and Frost trailed her up to ICU, but stopped at the waiting area outside the doors. While Maura got buzzed in, they sat down to wait a little longer.
By the time Maura reached the nurses' station, Angela was there. "Yes, she's family," Angela repeated firmly before turning to Maura. "Is there news?"
"She's out of surgery. He said she's stable, and will be moved here from recovery."
"Is she ok?"
"She will be, barring complications." Maura tried to not think of them. "How's Frankie?"
"He's awake. He keeps asking for you." Angela put her hand on Maura's shoulder and urged her forward.
When he saw her, Frankie's eyes opened wide. "Maura," he rasped, smiling.
Frank stepped back so Maura could get to his bedside. She tried to make a joke. "How's my first live patient this year?"
"Still alive. Thank you."
"Thank your sister."
"Where is she?"
He didn't know, and she didn't want to be the one to tell him.
When she didn't answer, Frankie asked again.
"She's on her way," Maura said. "You need to rest."
"Your poker face sucks, Maura."
"So Jane says." Maura began to back away from Frankie's bed, uncertain how much longer she could hold herself together. "Rest," she urged, and fled.
Not far, just to the waiting room, where Frost and Korsak were both on their phones, and had one question when they finished those conversations. Maura filled them in about Frankie while they waited.
Maura heard the gurney roll from the elevator and stood up. When it got close, she recognized Jane, pale and unmoving, and followed them in. She stood at the nurses' station with Angela, impatiently waiting for them to get Jane hooked up to all the instruments.
She had to wait a little longer. Angela and Frank went in first, and when Frank returned to Frankie, Maura went in.
Jane was wedged on her side, to keep pressure off her wounds. Maura just stared for several seconds, watching the slight rise and fall of Jane's chest.
"Talk to her," Angela urged.
Maura bit her tongue. Nothing she wanted to say to Jane should be said in front of her mother, who didn't know yet the circumstances surrounding the shootings. Instead, she walked up the bed, around Angela, and kissed Jane's forehead. "Rest. Heal. I'll be back soon."
"You must be exhausted," Angela said.
"Yes. I'll be back in the morning."
"I'll make sure they know you're allowed in."
"Thank you. They're safe now. You should go home, too."
"We will. Good night, Maura."
"Good night, Angela."
When the ICU doors opened, Korsak and Frost stood up. "As well as can be expected," Maura answered before they could ask. "Would one of you please take me to my car?"
"We all ready had it moved to your house," Korsak said as they walked toward the elevator.
"Thank you. Oh my goodness, Bass."
"He's at your place with Jane's dog."
"Thank you so much."
"Yeah, you're welcome. It's not big deal."
"Everything's a big deal," Maura corrected him. She looked at Frost. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah," he nodded decisively. He was alive and uninjured, and beginning tomorrow, they could start sorting out exactly what happened. "She really all right?"
"Good." After this, Jane Rizzoli was officially the toughest cop in Boston P.D., and Frost realized it was time to have a serious talk with Korsak about her, one that required alcohol and time and ended with a handshake.
They took Maura out through the emergency room, past the line of officers still waiting to give blood. No lights or sirens on this ride, only Maura struggling to stay awake, and at the end of it, Frost and Korsak making her wait in the car while they checked out her house again, to be safe.
Maura wanted to just go to sleep, but there were things that still needed her attention. She removed Korsak's jacket and laid it over the couch. It needed to go to the cleaner or be replaced. She fed both animals, and let Joe Friday out in the fenced yard for a few minutes, and finally made it back to her bathroom.
Before removing her dress, Maura took a long look at herself in the full-length mirror. She hardly recognized the woman who looked back. Her dress was stiff with dried blood, and it was still on her hands and legs. There was some on her forehead, and more in her hair. She looked down at her shoes, with huge scrapes the same rusty color as every other stain.
She couldn't take it any longer, and quickly stripped. Maura left the dress and everything else she had on in a heap in the floor. Their next stop was a garbage bag, where she wouldn't have to look at them ever again.
Maura got into the steaming shower. For the first several seconds, the water around the drain was darker. 'Jane's blood,' she realized, and a sob tore from her.
So much was lost today, and even more nearly taken. As she rushed through the station, trying to find Jane, she counted the bodies she passed. Officers, witnesses, and miscreants lay in unnatural positions, blood drying darkly around them.
She didn't want to remember what came next, and couldn't stop it, and nothing was ever as loud as the sound of Marino's gun discharging into Jane, except the wail that came from Maura as she saw it again.
The water was cooling by the time Maura pulled herself together. She finished her shower, toweled off, and went to her bedroom. She got panties and one of Boston PD shirts Jane left there, and got into bed.
The dog joined her a few minutes later, and Maura heard Bass making his way toward them, and all she needed all she would ever need was Jane beside her, making all of the evil that they saw each day fade into nothing.
When she woke, the sun was in her eyes. The dog immediately jumped on her chest, and Maura wondered how long she slept. She saw it was nearly 11 a.m., and threw back the covers. She checked for Bass before putting her feet down, and Joe Friday danced around her legs while Maura went to let her out in the yard. She started coffee, and put food and fresh water down for the animals, and went back to her bedroom to prepare for a day in the hospital.
The intensive care unit was a blessing of sorts. It was quiet, apart from the machinery, more so after Frankie was moved to a regular surgical recovery unit and Angela wasn't coming in every few minutes, seeking a change that wouldn't occur any time soon. It also kept away the officers wanting her statement. Although Maura felt better today, she was in no hurry to revisit everything that happened in the detail an official statement required.
She tried to read, and watched Jane, and watched how her nurse cared for her.
"I know her from last time," the nurse volunteered.
"Last time?" Maura asked.
"When she saved that woman from that psycho."
"I don't remember you, though."
"I didn't know her then."
"She's a hero."
"She is," Maura agreed. It didn't make her feel any better.
"Let me know if either of you need anything."
"Thank you," Maura said, and it was just them again, and the quiet beeping of machinery. She knew Jane didn't think herself a hero for surviving Hoyt, and certainly wouldn't for yesterday. Everyone was desperate, Jane most of all, as she feared for Frankie's life and drove Maura to utilize bits of her training she never had call for. Jane would probably call Maura a hero.
Maura didn't feel she deserved that label, either.
They had to talk, and they were terrible at it. Jane hated to talk about her feelings, or anyone else's unless it pertained to a case. Maura missed the emotionally intimate conversation chapter of the book, as well as several on either side of it, and had no idea how to tell Jane the things she needed to say.
How could you do this? Why couldn't you trust me? A few seconds longer, you would have known Frankie was safe. You didn't have to shoot yourself. What do I tell Frankie? What do I tell your mother? You always jump in first and I can't stand that any more. I'm so afraid, Jane. I've always been afraid, but every time I see your wounds, I am terrified. What's to keep you from doing something so stupid again?
"Maura," Frankie grinned, much like his sister's, and Maura got up from her chair to accept a bear hug from him.
"How do you feel?"
"Much better now that I'm gettin' real food. How's Jane?"
"Improving. She continually complains about wanting to leave."
Maura moved so Frankie could get to Jane.
"Hey yourself. Didja bring me somethin' to eat?"
"I think Ma's bringin' somethin'. How you feel?"
"Like I been shot, moron."
"I was shot twice," he answered indignantly.
"Enough," Maura said. "It's not a competition, and even if it were, Jane would win because of Hoyt, and I don't want to hear about him, either."
"She always this touchy?"
Jane rolled her eyes. "Only child."
"Oh," Frankie said, as if that explained everything, and Maura had to wait to ask Jane what they meant. "First funeral's tomorrow," he told Jane in a casual tone.
"Make sure your shoes are shined," she answered.
Frankie nodded, and Jane nodded back. Their parents came in then, before Maura was able to decipher what they shared. Angela hugged her, and that distracted Maura, and the question was lost in the happy noise in the hospital room.
Maura didn't plan to go to the funeral, but dressed as if she did. It turned out to be a good thing because Frankie showed up early with Jane's dress uniform in a bag, and neither of them listened to a word anyone said. Jane disconnected everything while Frankie restrained Maura from stopping her. He turned Maura loose, laid his sister's uniform on the bed, and turned his back.
Maura watched Jane, still not believing she would endanger her health in such a fashion. Despite slowness, grunts, and groans, Jane got her pants and shirt on without help. She sat heavily on the bed. "Frankie."
While he turned around, Maura went to Jane. She took the socks from Jane. "As a medical doctor and your best friend, I think this is a horrible idea."
"Noted. Now please either put my socks on or give them to Frankie."
Frankie, who watched the exchange, had nothing to say. He'd seen enough fights between his sister and his mother to know that the safest thing to do was stay out of it.
"Jane, please don't do this."
"Maura, I will never be more serious than I am right now. Either help or get out of the way."
Despite her misgivings, Maura dropped to a crouch and put Jane's socks on. Jane handed her shoes down, and Maura eased her into them, and tied them.
Jane stood again, and Maura looked at her. "Turn around," she told Frankie, and he fled to the hall while Maura undid Jane's pants and properly tucked in her blouse. When she was satisfied, she handed Jane her hat. "It's too much to hope you'll use the wheelchair, isn't it?"
Maura called for Jane's brother, and he returned with a wheelchair, which he somehow coaxed Jane into.
Maura and Jane sat in the back seat while Frankie drove. Korsak and Frost waited outside the church. "They're waiting for you," Korsak announced, and he, Maura, and Frost exchanged worried looks.
Jane walked in slowly. She was leaning on Maura, but it didn't look like it, and Frankie's hold was more cautionary than anything.
By the time it was over, both Frankie and Jane were gray with exhaustion and pain. Maura couldn't believe that they intended to do this again twice the next day, and the day after that.
She shouldn't have been surprised when Frankie took them to Maura's afterward, and left Jane on the couch with a bottle of white pills that Maura promptly confiscated, even though they had Jane's name on them and were appropriate for pain management in her current condition. As soon as he left, Maura went to get a drink so Jane could take one of the pills.
To her amazement, Jane wasn't on the couch when Maura returned. She hurried down the hall and found Jane curled on her bed, Joe Friday madly licking her face. Maura sat in the ell of Jane's thighs and calves. "I wish you told me what you were planning to do."
"I knew you'd argue. I had to go. Those guys died because Bobby Marino was dirty. They died in the place they should be safe. I survived, and it's my duty and my privilege to attend their funerals."
"I understand, but you should be in the hospital."
"Nah." Jane scrubbed the dog's head again. "I'll do better here."
It was another of those moments they kept having, and Maura filed it away, but kept the warmth. "If you intend to wear that uniform tomorrow, you need to take it off before it gets any more wrinkled or furry." Maura stood up and waited for Jane to ask for help, pleased when she did.
Maura was far less pleased when she removed the dark uniform and saw bright red blood on the bandages covering both of Jane's wounds. Not so much that she was worried. Yet. And she had to get Jane's shoes and pants off before she, and Maura suddenly flushed. This was not at all what she pictured when she got Jane Rizzoli nearly nude in her bed.
That was a thought for another day, and Maura's doorbell rang. Jane stiffened. Maura laid Jane's shirt on the bed. "Stay still," she instructed.
"Be careful," Jane answered, and waited impatiently.
Pharmacy delivery, with exactly what Maura needed to clean and re-dress Jane's wounds, plus an antibiotic, and a second, stronger pain prescription, all from Jane's doctor. Maura realized just then how thoroughly Frankie and Jane planned her early escape, and wasn't sure whether to be angry as she returned to the bedroom.
Jane's pants were around her ankles on the floor, and Maura did her best not to laugh. She put the bag on the nightstand before kneeling to remove Jane's shoes and pants. She put the pants with the shirt; she would give them both attention once Jane was asleep.
Maura gave Jane one of the stronger pills and killed time for a few minutes before she tackled Jane's wounds. The exit wound was larger, and Jane somehow missed her scapula, so the only damage was to her ribs, and it wasn't really that bad. The stitches looked fine, and she gently cleaned and bandaged it. The front wound was harder. She had to stay so close to Jane, and she knew all the things that could have gone wrong if the bullet's path deviated even a millimeter.
Her tears were silent and unexpected, and Jane stopped her, and that was just as well because Maura couldn't clearly see what she was doing.
"It's all right," Jane comforted, not minding the awkwardness of her position or the slight tension on her stitches. It was Maura, and anything she needed from Jane, Jane would give.
"It almost wasn't." That thought wrapped around every other, accompanied by mental images of Jane and Frankie bloodless and bare on her autopsy table. The whole time, Maura hadn't feared for her safety, only for Frankie's, and after Marino dragged her off, Jane's.
"But it is." Unlike Maura, Jane didn't take time to consider every possibility. Things worked out or they didn't. In this case, Jane had to admit she was extremely happy that they did. Frankie was safe at home, and she was a little busted up, and no one else who mattered to Jane was physically harmed. "Everything's ok, Maura."
"No, it's not." Maura forced herself from the comfort of Jane's arms. She had to somehow make Jane understand.
"Have you looked at yourself? Do you have any idea how close you came to dying?"
Jane bit back a laugh as a line from one of her mother's records surfaced: "I'm not scared of dying/And I don't really care" *
" long term damage," Maura continued.
Jane finally realized what drove Maura's lecture. "I'm not going to leave you," she interrupted.
"Of course, you are. Everyone does."
"Not happening." Jane raised her aching arm to touch Maura's face.
Maura pushed it down. "You aren't supposed to do that yet."
"You know that's a suggestion, right?"
"No, it isn't."
Jane reached across her body to touch Maura with her other hand. "Look at me, please?" she coaxed.
After darting round the room for several seconds, Maura's eyes landed on Jane's.
"I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."
"What were you thinking?" Maura burst out.
Jane understood Maura's question and answered immediately. "I had to get Frankie outta there. I had to get some help."
"By shooting yourself? Did you think for even a second?"
"That's all I did." Jane looked away, toward a corner of the room. "Once we were someplace I knew he couldn't hurt you, I fought. I kicked, I grabbed at everything. I saw my friends dead at their desks, and I wasn't gonna let him add me to that number. Bastard," she hissed, and unconsciously began to rub the scars on her hands. "No one was gonna take a shot, and Frankie was bleeding to death and I didn't know if you were all right, and I had to do something."
"And shooting yourself seemed like a good idea."
"No, it seemed like a crappy idea, but it was only one I could come up with." Jane sighed and looked back at Maura, who was obviously still angry. "I'm sorry you saw it."
"Do you think it would be any different if I didn't?"
"No." Jane realized what she was doing with her hands and stopped. "I'm sorry," she said again.
Maura couldn't choose one from the things trying to get out, and rather than push either one of them more, answered, "Don't be sorry. Just don't do it again." She picked up a gauze package, opened it, and wet it with distilled water. Maura set all of her attention on cleaning Jane's wound, careful of the stitches and bruising. She applied antibiotic cream and re-bandaged it.
Jane watched Maura's hands, unable to look at her yet face yet. Maura was mad, and it was her fault. Jane was sleepy, too; the pain medication was beginning to kick in with a vengeance, and she yawned and owwwed at the stretching muscles.
Maura finished what she was doing and cleared away the small mess. She put Jane's uniform over a chair and got a flannel shirt from the closet, one of several she brought over. Button up shirts would be much easier until Jane regained some range of motion.
Jane eased down onto her side. Joe Friday immediately took a position at the back of her legs, and Jane stopped Maura from leaving.
"Right after, you know, I was looking at the sky and my ears were ringing, and then you were there, and I knew everything would be ok."
Jane watched the open door sadly, hoping for Maura's return, but the narcotics laid claim to her first.
* Lyric by Laura Nyro, And When I Die
Two hours later, Maura came back. She spent the first one pulling herself back together, pondering how Jane could reduce all of her carefully constructed defenses to rubble with a few words. It was part of why she had so few friends; whenever she started to be close with someone, Maura backed away. She hadn't with Jane, and this was where it led.
Except that Maura had no clue what "this" was. She was still the Queen of the Dead, but she was someone else, too. Someone who had friends, in the plural; an adopted family, two if you counted the Homicide Division; and a heart that was no longer completely her own. She didn't understand at all.
She did understand that, short of keeping Jane and Frankie unconscious, tomorrow was going to be a long, difficult day, and she wanted Jane to look her best, so she gathered Jane's uniform and took it to the bathroom to be brushed and steamed.
When she finished, Maura checked on Jane again. She was snoring softly, still on her side. Joe Friday was still curled behind her thighs, and Bass made his way into the room and watched Jane. 'His thoughts can't be any more muddled than mine,' Maura thought, and rubbed his shell before changing into a nightgown, setting the alarm, and getting carefully into bed.
It was still dark when Jane's whimpers and motion woke her. Maura reached out and touched Jane's hip. "What do you need?"
Another groan was the answer. Maura slipped from bed and went to get a glass of water. She knelt by Jane and touched her face gently. "Wake up."
"Huh? Ow. Shit."
"Take your medication," Maura instructed.
"Ok." Jane pushed up enough to drink without drowning herself or the mattress. She picked the tablet from Maura's palm, threw it into her mouth, and emptied the water glass.
"Go back to sleep."
"Are you going to stay?"
"Yes." Maura put the empty glass on Jane's nightstand and went around the bed. She got in again.
"Closer," Jane demanded sleepily. She'd been shot; she could have a little babying in the middle of the night.
Maura moved slowly, so she wouldn't jostle her patient. She left several inches between them, but put her hand on Jane's hip. "Go to sleep," she instructed again, glad to hear minutes later that Jane listened.
Maura woke before the alarm clock and turned it off. She put on her robe, and coaxed the dog from the bed. Bass was gone, probably in search of a good spot for basking in the morning sun.
She started coffee before taking Joe into the back yard. It was fenced, but only high enough to keep Bass in, and Maura thought about replacing it with something dog proof since the dog was going to be here for several weeks.
After she fixed a cup of coffee, she got the phone and dialed the Rizzoli home. She was surprised when Frank answered, but gave him the message that she would pick Frankie up today. Going by how he looked yesterday, Frankie would be in no condition to drive by the end of the day.
That done, Maura put food and fresh water out for the animals and ate a bowl of cereal before going to the bedroom to get ready. When she came out of the shower, Jane was sitting on the bed with her feet on the floor. She looked as if she was getting ready to stand up. "Stop right there," Maura commanded.
"I need to pee."
Maura went to Jane, and sat beside her on the bed. She put her arm around Jane's waist, and they got her up. Maura stayed close, but let Jane walk unassisted to the bathroom.
She finished drying and put on undergarments, hose, and her slip while she waited for Jane. The toilet flushing was fine. The shower starting, not so much, and Maura hurried to the bathroom. "No shower yet," she said from the doorway.
"Geezus," Jane twitched.
"Once the stitches are out, you can, but until then, no."
"I look like crap and I probably smell worse."
"Be that as it may, you can wash in the sink." Maura got two washcloths and a towel from the linen closet and put them on the sink.
"What about my hair?"
Maura looked at the wild tangle. "I'll braid it, and you'll have your hat on. Do you need help?"
"I need coffee."
"I'll get you some," Maura answered, and left.
When she finished, Jane still didn't feel completely clean, but she could deal. She looked in the mirror, stunned at her too thin, pale face. Moving around made the pain spike, and she leaned on the sink and waited for it to pass. Jane was well acquainted with the ebb and flow of pain, to the point where she could ignore a great deal, but this wasn't one of those times. Fortunately, it faded before Maura returned.
Maura helped her dress again, and gave her a second cup of coffee and a slice of toast with a pain pill. Jane started to argue, saw the look on Maura's face, and decided against it.
"Why are we leaving so early?"
"So we can pick up Frankie."
"He drove yesterday."
"I'm driving today," Maura said in a way that made it clear the topic wasn't open for discussion.
Jane's family was still at the breakfast table when they entered, and as soon as Jane and Maura were seated, Angela put coffee, French toast, and bacon in front of them. Maura picked at hers, but Jane ate everything while Frankie finished dressing.
"You're going to stay for dinner," Angela told them before they left.
Two services were three times as bad as one. The short break between them meant that they had to grab something quick so the Rizzolis could take their medication. Parked in a McDonald's lot, Maura handed out yogurt and pills. No one talked while they ate, or while Maura drove to the next service.
The day's toll was obvious as Maura drove to the suburbs. Both Jane and Frankie dozed, and were asleep when they arrived. Maura looked from one to the other and knew she couldn't get them both from the car without assistance. Korsak and Frost were around them all day, helping both Rizzolis in and out of the car.
Maura got her phone and dialed the house she was parked in front of, and after a brief explanation, both Frank and Angela came out to give her a hand. More stairs were too much for any of them to contemplate right now, so Frankie got his father's recliner and Jane got the couch, with her head in Maura's lap, Maura's hand stroking her head.
Frank brought her a glass of wine and sat in Angela's chair. "How'd they hold up?"
"They were fine, but I don't see how they can do it again."
"Got to," Jane said quietly.
"Hey, baby," Frank said quietly. "How you feelin'?"
"I'm all right."
"Do you need something for pain?" Maura asked.
"All right," Maura answered doubtfully.
Jane closed her eyes again. As long as she didn't move or try to breathe too deep, nothing hurt more than she could stand. Jane didn't want to worry Maura any more than she had all ready. Maura was distracted all day, her normally bright eyes dark. They hadn't resolved anything last night, and Jane knew Maura was still carrying that tension. Maura had to be tired, too. She was up doing things while Jane was unconscious, and doing even more while Jane was awake.
Guilt hit her then, for putting Maura through all of this, and all of the other things that shamed her came in with it. Why was she alive when so many good cops, good men, were dead? If she survived Holt, and she survived this, there had to be a reason, but what was it? She hated the way cops who didn't know her looked at her. Her own colleagues made a wall around her, and reluctantly parted only for the Mayor and Chief of Police after the first graveside service. She didn't like the way they looked at her, either. She was lucky, but she wasn't a hero, and certainly not the hero they would need while all that mess got cleaned up. All she wanted was to go back to work. She knew from experience that it would be three months before they let her return to her desk, and she would probably be chained there for another three. How long after that she got back on the street depended on how hard she worked. The only real holdup she could see was the psychologist. He reluctantly released her after a year, without her ever telling him anything of substance. She told Maura more about Hoyt than anyone, and still revealed little.
Just thinking about him, in no matter how roundabout a fashion, made her shiver, and Maura's hand moved to her forehead to check for fever.
"Would you please get a blanket?" Maura asked Frank. He nodded and got up, and came back with two blankets. He covered Jane first, then his son, then went to the kitchen.
"You're supposed to be keeping Maura company," Angela said as soon as he stepped foot on the linoleum.
"I am. I just came to get the wine."
"How are the kids?"
"Asleep. I just covered them up."
"Then I should slow this down."
"Probably. They had a hard day." He watched his wife adjust the knobs on the stove. "Ang, come sit with us."
"In a minute." Which she needed because she nearly lost two of her babies, and she wasn't sure she could see them looking so vulnerable just yet.
"All right." Frank went back to the living room. Maura was stroking Jane's head again, and it looked like Jane was really asleep again. "More wine?"
"Thank you." Maura held her glass out for him.
"How is she really?"
"She should still be in the hospital."
"Yeah, besides that." Some day, when they were out of hearing of either Jane or Angela, he would tell her about the final basketball game of Jane's high school career, for the state championship in her division. After the game, instead of begging a few bucks and an extension on curfew, she hobbled to his truck. "My foot really hurts."
"Let me see." And after one look, "Christ, Janie, how long has it looked like this?"
"Couple days," she muttered.
"Right." He got out his phone and called their family doctor, who agreed to wait at his office for her. She got a huge lecture while two infected toenails were removed, but it stayed a secret between them, even though he couldn't imagine how much painful they must have been, especially running at top speed. When he asked her why she didn't say anything before, Jane told him, "They were counting on me."
"She's stable," Maura said after a few seconds' consideration.
"So she hasn't made anything worse."
"If she does, you can make her go back to the hospital."
"I don't think anyone makes Jane do anything."
"Just you, Maura, and I'd love to know how."
Maura started to deny it, then reconsidered. Jane ran the marathon with her, in a spandex suit with P.U.K.E. across her chest. Jane went to yoga with her, no matter how much she complained about it. She made a point of ordering something with fruit or vegetables when they ate together. When they worried about Hoyt, Jane went to bed, and to sleep, because Maura checked after Frost arrived.
"I love those shoes," Angela said, startling Maura back to the present.
"Me too," Jane murmured, then groaned. "I drooled on you, Maur. You shouldn't let me do that."
"It comes out in the wash," Angela said.
"Exactly," Maura agreed. "Do you want to sit up?"
"Unh uh. Comfy here."
"Then go back to sleep."
"Dinner?" Jane asked hopefully.
"I'll make sure you get up for dinner." Maura smiled a little.
"K." Jane shifted a little, and closed her eyes.
"Massage her scalp and she's yours forever," Angela told Maura.
Jane cracked one eye. "I'm not a stray dog."
"I'll keep that in mind," Maura answered, continuing the same movement along the line of Jane's hair where it was pulled close to her scalp.
"Sometimes it was the only thing that would quiet her down."
Both eyes opened then, and Jane pushed herself up. "Ow, ow, ow, ow, damn it, Ma. Ow. Don't you dare. Ow, ow, shit, ow. Do you see any rings? No. Ow." Jane pulled her right arm close to her body and glared at Angela.
"What did you do?" Maura and Angela asked in stereo.
"Just moved too fast. And yes, it hurts, damn it, so don't ask."
"Language," Maura reproved.
"Remember the study," Jane reminded her in the same tone. She stumbled across it one day while looking for something else on the web. People who swear at the onset of sudden pain experience less pain than those who don't. She saved the link, verified that the story was accurate, and gleefully e-mailed it to Maura.*
Angela smiled at them and got up. She returned to the kitchen, and turned things up, and got to work again. A family dinner went a long way toward making things right in her book.
She packed leftovers for Maura and Jane, and sent them home soon after the meal. Maura suspected Frankie was being bundled off to bed as she drove them back to her house. She walked Jane through the house to the bedroom. There was no need to pretend that either of them would be awake long.
She removed Jane's uniform, starting with the shiny black shoes. Her dressings needed to be changed, and Maura saw Jane sway a little while she waited for Maura to return with what she needed.
There was only a little dried blood on the bandages this time. She carefully cleaned and bandaged both wounds. She cleared up the mess, brought Jane a pain pill, and buttoned her into a flannel shirt before tucking her into bed.
Maura still had things to do before she could join Jane. The animals needed attention, and her answering machine was blinking. Before attending to either of those, Maura changed into a nightgown and robe and hung Jane's uniform in the bathroom. Half an hour later, she slipped into bed, and quickly into sleep.
Maura woke well before the alarm again, and heard the rain falling. "I don't want to do this," she thought, and remembered Jane's determination. " my duty and my privilege," was what she'd said, and Maura knew that would get Jane through the day no matter what.
Maura turned off the alarm and got out of bed. Jane could sleep for another hour or so, and that was the best thing for her. The quiet time was good for Maura, too. She spent it on the floor with Bass, drinking coffee and feeding him the last of the fresh strawberries. It was nice to do something that didn't require thought, or deciphering complex emotions, or understanding Jane Rizzoli.
Maura thought she knew Jane, but one gunshot made her question everything. She still could not grasp Jane's insistence on sacrificing herself to her ideal of the greater good. That was what put her in Hoyt's grasp. It was what made Jane think that she could trade her life for Frankie's or Maura's, even though nothing ever made Maura as happy as the slightly desperate greeting Jane gave when she called after meeting with her biological father.
But what did it all add up to? Maura still wasn't certain. There were too many variables still in play, too many things that could go wrong. Today's weather was an example. It mean more work for so many people, beginning with Maura, who had to figure a way to get a shirt under Jane's uniform blouse. The dampness today would make it too easy for her to get chilled.
By the end of the day, Jane was trying to suppress a cough. They made no attempt to go inside when they took Frankie home. Maura hurried Jane home. The cough worried her, because it could herald infection, as well as cause Jane undue pain.
Jane was lethargic and sluggish, and Maura verified that she was running a fever. She dosed her with pain medication, an extra Tylenol, and cough syrup, and stayed until Jane was asleep. She changed her clothes, got a bottle of wine and some reading material, and came back to sit on the bed to keep an eye on Jane.
It reminded her of the hospital, as she listened to Jane's breathing, alert to any change that might signal trouble.
Jane didn't sleep easily, which also concerned Maura. She twitched, moaned, and murmured. Her fever persisted, and she coughed occasionally, once violently enough that she woke, groaning loudly at the pain.
It was a difficult night for both of them. Maura forced liquids and medicine into Jane every few hours, and left messages with the answering service for Jane's doctor. He called back early in the morning, and told Maura he'd meet her at the hospital. Maura looked at Jane and sighed, knowing Jane would feel betrayed, and knowing she had no choice.
Maura got off the phone with the doctor and called for a private ambulance. Then she hurried to dress and tend the animals before it arrived.
Jane stayed asleep, breathing shallowly, sweating, coughing occasionally, moaning afterward. Maura rode in the ambulance and stayed with her. It was a little less traumatic, since there was no blood, but there were x-rays and tests and four different bags hanging on the IV stand. By mid-afternoon, Maura realized she was going to be there for hours to come, and called Korsak to stop by her place on the way home to tend the animals. She didn't tell him what was wrong, but wasn't surprised when he showed up a few hours later.
"How is she?"
"How are you?"
The look he gave Maura clearly said he didn't believe her. "Call me if you need me to take them for a couple days."
"Thank you so much."
"It's nothing. Take care of yourself, Doc."
He left, and Maura went back to trying to read and watching Jane, who was forced to sleep sitting up to aid her breathing. It was obviously uncomfortable, and she twisted to the side a few times every minute seeking relief.
Maura thought for a minute that Jane was dreaming when she heard her voice, but the second time, she dropped her magazine and stood up. "Right here."
Jane looked at her with both eyes, tilted her head to one side and closed one eye. "They have me on some good shit," she concluded.
"They do. How do you feel?"
"Not feeling much of anything, but I wanna lay down."
"It hurts to breathe."
"Then make it stop."
Maura didn't mean to begin crying. She was exhausted and worried, and Jane's belief that she could somehow fix everything was more than she could take.
"Oh, fuck. No, don't cry, Maur." Jane tried to reach for her. It was a lucky swipe, and she caught hold of Maura's sleeve. It was enough to tug on, to encourage Maura to come closer. "C'mon, it's all right." She found Maura's wrist in the fabric, and pulled a little harder, and Maura sat on the bed, her back to Jane, who tried to get her closer. "It's ok," she soothed.
"No, it isn't. You shouldn't have left the hospital in the first place, and now you have both bacterial and viral infections."
"It's worth it."
"No, it isn't. Your life is worth more than your pride, and if you don't think it is, I don't know what to say."
"I had to," Jane began.
"You didn't. No one would have thought less of you for staying in the hospital like you're supposed to, or using a wheelchair, or showing that you hurt. You're not superwoman."
Jane tried to sigh, but the attempt to draw in more air than usual both hurt and caused a coughing spell. Maura put her hand in the center of Jane's chest to both support her and keep her from leaning too far forward.
"Pretty colors," Jane gasped when she finished. It took nearly a minute for them to clear, and by that time, Maura had a cool cloth for her face and a cool drink for her throat. When she was settled again, Jane asked Maura, "Will you at least sit up here with me?"
Maura looked at the things connected to Jane, most of them on her injured side, before nodding. She picked up one of the journals and went around the bed. Half an hour later, they were both asleep, Jane's head on Maura's shoulder, Maura's cheek on Jane's head.
She knew by the quiet hallways that it was late when she woke. Jane was deeply asleep, and her breathing sounded better. She was pink instead of pale, and her fever was gone. Another crisis averted, and short of something apocalyptic, Jane was staying in the hospital until her doctor voluntarily discharged her, even if Maura had to tie her to the bed.
Maura blinked several times to clear away the distracting image those words brought up, but it made her start thinking again. She turned enough to kiss Jane's head and deeply inhaled her scent. It was all her, and if Jane were awake, Maura would be content to sit and unravel her braid and comb out any tangles. But she wasn't, and Maura had only the rollercoaster of her thoughts and a kaleidoscope of memories. Both, for months, had Jane at the forefront. She roiled through anger, fear, panic, dread, relief, laughter, joy, and returned to anger.
She couldn't remember ever being this angry before. It didn't even make sense, except that it was Jane, and since they became friends, Maura felt everything more intensely; so she was irrationally angry with Jane for putting her life in danger. Granted, the first circumstances were exceptional. There was nothing exceptional about what brought them here now. It was Jane's pride and bullheadedness, and while Maura admired those traits in other circumstances, she still did not understand what drove Jane to do things like that.
The hand on her thigh twitched, and Maura looked down. The scar on the top of her hand was nowhere as prominent as Jane believed it to be. On so many occasions, Maura saw her move her hands out of sight, as if she were ashamed of their appearance. She put her hand over Jane's, and Jane hummed a happy sound, and Maura questioned why that one small noise suddenly made everything all right.
The nurse came in and woke Jane again to check her vital signs. Jane sleepily did what was asked, and as soon as she was released, turned into Maura. This time, Maura put her arm around Jane, who slid down the bed a little and turned further into her. She was asleep again almost immediately, the twin reliefs of Maura's presence and the easing of pressure on her back allowing her to rest.
Maura watched her. The nurse coming in was only the beginning. Soon, there would be others, coming from nearly every department, and Maura ticked them off in her head. Phlebotomy, pulmonology, radiology, physical therapy. Jane's doctor, with whom Maura intended to have a chat. There were phone calls to make, too. Korsak, so he would tend the animals. Jane's parents. She should call work, just to see how things were going.
All of those things could wait until Jane was ready to let her go, which she wasn't ready to do, even after Dr. Green removed the stitches. Jane was familiar with the pull of suture thread, but it still flipped her out, especially on her chest, where the stitches looked huge.
The lecture he delivered to Jane while doing that eliminated Maura's need to speak with him alone. "If you do that again, Detective Rizzoli, you'll be looking for a doctor who puts up with that kind of bullshit," he told her.
"Got it. When can I go home?"
"Maybe tomorrow. We'll see how you're doing. And please take note: The stitches being gone doesn't mean you're healed. It's going to be a month or more. Again, are we clear?"
"Yeah, I'm not 100%."
"You're in the low 30s. Don't push it."
"Oh, come on, low 30s?"
"You shot yourself through and through, so there are two external injuries and a track of internal injuries. Then you complicate things by leaving your hospital bed barely a week after to stand in the rain and get pneumonia." He used his best dad voice.
Jane recognized the tone. She'd heard it countless times from her father's mouth, and struggled to not roll her eyes. A glance at Maura showed that she would get no support from that corner. "Fine, I got it. I'm an idiot."
"Reckless," Maura corrected gently, realizing it was the word she'd been searching for to describe Jane's behavior. "You're reckless with the wrong things."
"Exactly, Dr. Isles. I trust you'll keep an eye on her?"
"Yes, I will. Thank you."
He nodded. "See you tomorrow, Detective."
"I'm not goin' anywhere," Jane sighed like a grounded teenager. "Don't say it," she muttered to Maura when they were alone.
"I wouldn't dream of it."
"Was that sarcasm?"
Maura just smiled, and Jane slowly reached up and pulled her pillow over her face.
* Honest. E-mail me for the link.
After Dr. Green left, Maura began making calls. Jane's parents first, and she got a relieved sigh from Angela, followed by a lecture about making them worry. Korsak, who was at her house when he answered his cell. Frost, as a courtesy.
In between, techs came, each in a different color according to specialty. The physical therapist who came at mid morning wore Jane out. She'd forgotten how much work that was, and between that and the pain medication that they didn't give her the option of refusing, she fell asleep.
She was awake for lunch, which both she and Maura made faces at, and a call to Frost brought him to the hospital a little later with soup for Jane and a salad for Maura. He was happy to see his partner looking better, although Maura looked tired. Frost stayed to chat for a few minutes while they ate, but was careful to keep the conversation away from cases. Maura threatened he and Korsak after they got Jane into the back seat of Frankie's car after the first funeral, and he did not want to know what the even-tempered coroner would do should he disregard that warning. One outburst from her was more than enough.
Techs and nurses paraded in and out during the afternoon, and her mother and brother came to visit. Behind Angela, Frankie signaled to Jane that they were both in big trouble by drawing his forefinger across his throat.
Jane sat through her mother's lecture. It was much quieter and less extensive than one would have received at home or over the phone. After that, Angela sat beside Maura to chat while Frankie and Jane talked too quietly for Maura to hear. She kept her eyes on them at all times, alert for another round of scheming.
Jane looked at the clock. They had an hour until dinner, and the staff would be busy until then. "How you doin'?"
"I'm fine," Maura answered.
"Why don't you go home? I'm sure Bass misses you, and you can get something decent to eat, and get some sleep."
Maura looked askance at her. "You honestly believe that I'm going to go home after you and Frankie spent an hour whispering to each other?"
"We were talkin' about the investigation."
"Oh, he's really in trouble now."
"Don't be like that, Maura."
"Didn't you hear anything Dr. Green said?"
"Yeah, and I'm doin' exactly what I'm supposed to."
"No, you're not."
"Frost won't tell me anything."
"And he won't. Neither will Korsak, and neither will Frankie after this."
"That's not fair."
"Do you really want to talk about fair now, Jane?"
They stared at each other. Jane could read Maura, and the combination of emotions Maura showed did not bode well for any discussion. "No, I just. I'm worried about you," she admitted.
Maura's anger faded. "I'll go when visiting hours end."
"Vince has been taking care of the animals."
"Vince is also taking care of dinner," he announced from the doorway.
Jane smiled at him. "Hey."
"Hey yourself. Nice to see you looking human."
Jane maturely stuck her tongue out at him.
"Do not taunt the man who has tasty food in the bag." He put it on the tray table. "Everyone's fine. No messes, they both ate. I'll take care of their dinner after I leave you lovely ladies."
"Thank you so much."
"I know Joe thanks you," Jane added.
"Yeah, yeah. What's the good word?"
He nodded. "Just let me know if you need anything. I don't care what it is. Except, you know, feminine hygiene stuff. We ain't married, and it ain't happening."
Maura giggled at his discomfort and Jane's snicker.
"Now that I've fed you and amused you, I'll be on my way. Hey, Doc, walk me to the elevator."
Jane wanted to go with them, but there was no way she could keep up, much less catch up.
He waited until they were near the elevator to say anything. "Jane still needs to give a statement."
"I know." Maura gave hers at the hospital. The intensive care staff were very good about keeping everyone but family away from the patients, and she waited until Jane was deep in drugged sleep to meet another detective in the hospital coffee shop. It took hours, and fortunately Jane was still asleep when she returned.
"I'm not gonna do it here."
"You're going to take her statement?"
"Do you think that's a good idea?"
"Yeah. She'll talk to me. Plus, I can read her pretty good." Let me know when you take her home, and I'll come by a day or two after that, ok?"
"All right," Maura agreed. "Thank you again for all your help."
"That's what friends are for. Good night, Doc."
"Good night," Maura answered absently, and returned to Jane.
"What was that about?" Jane asked as soon as she came in the door.
"He needs to get your official statement."
"Then why did he leave?"
"It can wait until you're home." Maura put the bag on the bed and opened it.
"That smells good," Jane said.
Maura put two large and four small containers on the tray table, the hinges toward Jane. It didn't help. As soon as Maura opened the first one, Jane announced, "That one's mine."
She was right, but Maura quickly closed it and checked the others. Salisbury steak for Jane, chicken for her, salad and pie for both of them. "You have to eat your vegetables," Maura said firmly while turning the container toward Jane.
They were still eating when Jane's father stopped by on his way home. "Hi, Maura," he said while moving to Jane's bedside. "Hi, Janie."
They chatted for a few minutes before he kissed Jane's forehead and excused himself. Other than the nurse, that was the last intrusion of the evening.
Maura stayed an hour after the announcement of the end of visiting hours. She sat beside the bed, watching the evening news and Jeopardy! and whatever came on after that while Jane dozed intermittently. Maura realized how tired she was.
She called a cab, and kissed Jane's forehead. That woke her. "Mmmm?"
"I'm going home."
"I'll see you tomorrow."
"Good," Jane repeated sleepily, and her eyes closed.
The ringing phone woke her early in the morning. "Isles," she answered by habit.
"He sprung me."
"I'll be there soon."
"Please bring real coffee."
Maura chuckled. "I'll bring coffee."
"You're welcome. I'll be there as soon as I can get ready."
An hour and a half later, Maura entered Jane's hospital room. She was all ready sitting anxiously on the bed. "I brought you some clothes." She put her bags down on her chair and removed her coat.
"They won't let me shower unless there's someone to help."
"I don't know these people."
Maura started to question Jane's logic, then stopped. "Do you have what you need?"
"They left it in the bathroom."
"All right." Maura went around the bed. Jane moved to the side and stood. She took a second before beginning to walk.
Like everything else, taking a shower was a chore, but Jane was thrilled to finally feel clean. Maura retreated into her professional persona and tamped down every personal thought about Jane while she helped her bathe and dress.
Shortly after they finished, Jane's nurse returned to complete the discharge paperwork. Jane dutifully signed it, and handed it to Maura. She knew the instructions would be followed to the letter. She was so glad to be getting out of there again that she didn't even fuss about using the wheelchair.
"I love this couch," Jane sighed happily less than an hour later. Joe Friday stretched along her thigh, tiny tail thumping enthusiastically against her hip.
"It is comfortable," Maura agreed from Jane's other side.
"You wanna give me the no list now and get it out of the way?"
"The no list?"
"All the things you're gonna tell me I'm not allowed to do."
"It's quite long."
"You're not gonna leave me any wiggle room, are you?"
"Not a millimeter."
"All right. I'll just do what I'm gonna, and you can yell at me after, like usual."
"No sudden movements. No 'forgetting' to do your exercises. No excessive movement. No lifting anything. No carrying anything. No doing anything you know you aren't supposed to. No beer. No yelling at the television or newspaper. No calling the office. No shop talk." Maura paused while she tried to think of other things that Jane might do.
"At least my hands work this time," Jane joked.
Maura's stomach lurched. How close she had been to losing Jane overwhelmed her for a moment.
"It was a joke," Jane explained when Maura didn't answer. She turned her head. Maura's eyes were closed, and Jane didn't understand the expression on her face. "A crappy joke," she added quietly.
'I must improve my self control,' Maura thought. She didn't sleep well the night before. She woke often, and each time she reached out, expecting to find a warm body, there were only cool, empty sheets. Each time, her body went immediately into panic mode before she remembered that Jane was still in the hospital. She changed the subject. "Are you ready for a nap?"
Even if she wasn't, it was obvious Maura was. After the chaos of the past days, Jane wanted to take care of Maura as much as possible. Right now, that meant taking a nap she really didn't want. "Do we have to move?"
"No," she answered Jane. "Joe, off."
The dog obediently jumped down from the couch and sat at Jane's feet. Maura handed Jane a throw pillow and slid forward. Jane lay on her side, and Maura grabbed the other pillow for herself. She backed into Jane, then laid down. Jane put her arm across Maura, and Maura linked their hands. She was asleep in minutes.
Jane watched her sleep. Her head was too fuzzy for deep thoughts, but she knew she caused Maura considerable emotional pain. She remembered for a moment the silence in the moments after pulling the trigger. It wasn't really silence, but the muffled ringing that follows a burst of excessively loud noise. Her thoughts were jumbled. Not panicked or afraid for herself, but Frankie.
She went to church only on holidays that her mother was able to corral her, and didn't consider herself religious, but she prayed then, that Frankie would be all right. Nothing hurt until they began to move her, and then she saw Maura's face above her, eyes wide, lips moving. She couldn't hear Maura's voice, couldn't hear anything, not even the siren she wanted so badly to alert her that her baby brother was getting the help he needed.
Maura looked the same when Jane woke in the ICU, a little panicked but still perfectly dressed, coiffed, and made up, holding Jane's hand too tightly. Jane squeezed it, and Maura sighed with relief and began to explain Jane's medical condition. It was more than Jane could take in. Her eyes glazed over, and she fell asleep before Maura finished. Maura was there every time Jane woke, the same worried look on her face.
The first few days bled together in a haze of morphine and pain, and it was Maura she wanted, and only Maura. Her parents were more than she could deal with, especially her mother, and Maura was her buffer.
For the first time, Jane realized that she was concerned only with Maura's reactions. She didn't give anyone else any thought once she learned Frankie survived. Jane knew Maura didn't understand why she and Frankie went to every funeral, and she couldn't really explain it. It was a cop thing, and they quietly agreed that they were going, no matter what anyone else might say. The only one Frankie let in on the plan was Jane's former partner. Korsak called Dr. Green and left a message telling him that Jane was leaving the hospital and asking that anything she needed be routed to her pharmacy and from there to Maura's home. By the time the doctor got the message, the Rizzolis were long gone, with Maura as their unwilling chaperone.
Jane was more tired than she realized, and her thoughts became disjointed as she slipped toward sleep. Her final coherent thought was that she really, really liked Maura's shampoo.
They slept much of the day away, Joe Friday behind Jane's calves. The doorbell, followed by the knocker, woke them. Maura got up and stretched on her way to the door. She peered through the peephole and recognized Angela Rizzoli.
"I brought soup and fresh bread," Angela announced.
"Thank you." Maura closed the door and followed Angela to the living room.
The dog moved almost as soon as Maura left, and was getting a tummy rub. The best thing about staying at Maura's was that Angela didn't have a key and couldn't just pop in when the spirit moved her. "Hey, Ma."
"How do you feel, Jane?"
"I brought you some soup."
"Thanks. How's Frankie?"
"A little better. Your father sends his love. I just wanted to bring you some dinner."
"Thank you so much, Angela," Maura said.
Angela finally surrendered the bag to her. "Everything is still warm, so don't wait too long to eat or you'll have to reheat it," she instructed.
Jane bit down on her smirk. "Thanks, Ma."
"You're welcome, Janie. You're coming to Sunday dinner, right?"
"If Maura says it's ok."
Angela looked at Maura.
"Barring complications, we'll be there. Should we bring anything?"
"Not this time. I'll see you both Sunday." Angela walked to the couch and bent down to kiss Jane's cheek. "Behave," she instructed softly.
Maura heard her and smiled a little. "Thank you again, Angela."
"You're welcome, Maura. I'll let myself out. Good night, girls."
Maura took the bag to the kitchen and went back to lock the door. Since being kidnapped by her biological father, she was far more cognizant of her safety. When she returned to the living room, she asked, "Are you hungry now?"
"Yes," Jane answered, and Maura returned to the kitchen. Jane sat up, and slowly stood and made her way to the kitchen. "What can I do to help?"
"Sit down." Maura stirred the soup, then turned to face Jane. "Will you please just let me take care of you for a few days?"
"Who's gonna take care of you?"
"You, when you're recovered."
"You're tired now."
"We'll go to bed early." Maura turned back to the stove.
Jane watched her prepare their meal. Maura sat on the stool beside Jane while they ate, and wouldn't let Jane clean anything up. She gave Jane her medications, got a glass of wine, and they returned to the couch.
Jane was asleep in less than an hour, and Maura turned off the television and closed her eyes. Bass was next to the couch, Joe was behind Jane's legs, and everything was quiet.
Maura was glad. There was far too much in the past weeks. She wanted to return to a routine, even a different one. While Jane recovered, they would spend much more time than usual together. That thought made Maura happy. Even when Jane was in a bad mood, Maura enjoyed her company.
At the moment, she was especially enjoying how Jane was keeping her warm. Their combined body heat was making Maura sleepy, and she fell asleep again.
It was dark when she woke, and Jane's hand was on her breast, held there by Maura's. She didn't move their hands, just lay still. Jane was still asleep, her breathing even, and Maura didn't want to disturb her by moving, but she needed to go to the bathroom.
When she opened the door, Jane was calling her.
"Coming," she answered.
Jane sat on the couch, looking sleepy and confused. Maura helped her up, and they went to bed.
"Just sit down, Maura. You're drivin' me nuts."
"I'm trying to help."
"I know. You're doin' a great job. Now sit down and watch the game with me. Please."
"No, I don't need whatever it is. I need you to sit down."
After a few seconds, Maura did. Jane took her hand. "I know you wanna take care of me, and I appreciate everything you're doin', but stop. I need to do things for myself."
"You are convalescing from a serious injury and subsequent infection."
"I know. I'm getting' better, so you can lose the panic."
"There are still thousands of things that can go wrong."
"They're all afraid of you. Nothin's gonna happen."
"Korsak is coming to take your statement tomorrow."
"Great. Why are you changing the subject?"
Maura didn't answer.
Jane huffed, but Maura still didn't answer. "Ok, you don't want to talk about something." Jane picked up the remote, turned on the television, and tuned in the ball game. She could be silent, too.
At least until a standup double, followed by a walk, followed by a line drive to the outfield that brought in two and left one on base. Cheering made Jane cough, which set off a chain reaction that left her sitting stiffly for several minutes after it stopped. Maura watched her, but made no effort to intervene as long as Jane continued to breathe.
Coughing that hard was exhausting. Jane's injuries exacerbated it. In the fourth inning, she went to the bathroom and didn't return. When Maura went looking for her, Jane was in the middle of her bed, holding Maura's pillow. When Maura ascertained Jane was asleep, she got a light blanket from the linen closet and covered her.
Maura woke Jane for dinner, and they watched TV for a few hours after before going to bed early again.
The morning was closer to how they were before. Their legs were twined, arms across each other, facing. They didn't say anything right away, but smiled at each other. Maura intended to kiss Jane's forehead, but Jane raised her head, and instead, Maura met her lips.
It was a pleasant surprise, especially because Jane immediately kissed her back. Even without the chemistry between them, it was the best kiss Maura ever received. Jane's kiss told her things, and promised others, and made her pulse accelerate. Maura was afraid to open her eyes when it ended. What if Jane was upset? Keeping Jane in her life was more important than how. She steeled herself.
Jane smiled little while she watched Maura think, but it faded when the first thing Maura said was, "I'm sorry."
"I shouldn't have."
"I want you to."
Maura's brows came together. "But you said before"
"You said I wasn't your type," Jane interrupted, openly smirking. "Guess we were both wrong."
"We shouldn't," Maura repeated. "You're still recovering."
"Can't think of a better reason. I'm alive. Now shut up and kiss me."
Maura's brows came together again. "Isn't that a popular culture reference?"
"Yes." Jane bit her lip, wanting neither to sigh nor laugh, because both would hurt. "And an urgent request."
When Maura continued to frown, Jane took the initiative and kissed Maura. At first, it was just nice, but as Maura relaxed and responded, it improved exponentially. Jane felt like she couldn't get enough air through just her nose and reluctantly broke away.
"Are you all right?" Maura asked immediately, anxiously.
"Great," Jane grinned, and winked at her while working on controlling her breathing.
"You aren't healthy enough for that yet."
"Are you offering an incentive?"
Maura smiled, certain Jane was serious although her question sounded like a joke. "I'm all for anything that will get you back on your feet."
"Not exactly the position I had in mind."
Maura blushed, but managed an, "Oh?"
Having Maura flushed and a little flustered beside her wasn't helping anything, but flirting with her was always fun, and more fun now that what was behind it was out in the open. "When I'm on my feet again, I wanna take you on a date."
"I'd love that," Maura beamed and kissed Jane again.
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