DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To terpister[at]yahoo.com
By KD Williamson
The dilapidated house was filled to the brim with tension thick enough to take physical form, but it only took a second, emboldened by a bad decision, to snap it into a million pieces. It took place in a moment outside of time. Everything had a fuzzy crystalline quality and moved at a snail's pace, but that didn't make it any less horrifying. The sound of gunfire echoed as if a million shots had been released instead of one, and as the bullet found its mark, propelling Frost backwards into a nearby wall, Jane was convinced it had to have been a barrage of fire to have taken her partner down so impressively.
"No!" Jane wasn't aware of the word leaving her mouth, but it reverberated just as the gun shot did. Her heartbeat roared in her ears and the cold chill of fear rolled down her back mingling with the sweat that gathered there. The fear dissipated quickly, leaving the red haze of rage. Jane's vision tunneled as she eyed the assailant. His eyes were wide. His face was dripping with sweat, and his entire body trembled. He was the epitome of the scared teenager that he was. While he shook, Jane stood rock steady. Tension coiled in every muscle. Her voice was a confident husk but deadly in its delivery. "Put the gun down. Now!"
His body jerked as if he had been slapped. "I-I didn't mean to do it!"
Jane swallowed and licked her lips. She was supposed to be gentle at times like this and do her best to talk him down, but at this moment in time, she didn't have it in her. "Then put the gun down and make this shit right, Greg!"
The tears started. "I don't want to go to prison. I can't "
"So you'd rather die instead? That's where this is heading."
"Then make a choice! Be a man." Jane eyed him carefully looking for signs of capitulation or continued opposition.
In her periphery, Jane saw an arm flailing in the air. "I'm okay," Frost called out weakly.
Momentarily distracted, Greg swung the gun around toward the sound. Without hesitation, Jane took the shot and watched with grim satisfaction as it hit its mark, his exposed shoulder. He dropped like the proverbial fly. Moving quickly, Jane reached him in record time and kicked the gun from his grasp. She peered down at him. Greg's face was gray with pain. Tears spilled from his eyes. "I didn't mean to shoot him."
Jane put her gun in her holster. He wanted pity, but she had none to give him. "But you did mean to kill her?" Her was the victim, Gina Williams, found shot and beaten in a dumpster two days prior.
Greg turned away and sobbed. "She was going to leave me."
The sound of approaching sirens was more than welcome. Frost's groan drew Jane's attention. When she reached him, he had pulled himself up enough to lean against the wall. He peered up at her and smirked. "If I'd known this was how the day was going to go, I would have put on clean underwear."
Jane took a deep unsteady breath, and the strain that rumbled through her body unwound itself, leaving behind fear and apprehension brewing in her belly like a storm. "You're an ass."
"Yeah, but I'm a live ass. Help me get this vest off."
Police flooded the room. Jane barked out instructions, pointed them toward Greg's weapon, and kneeled beside her partner, looking everywhere but into his eyes. "Did it go through?" Jane tried hard to keep the fear from her voice.
"Nah, burns like a bitch though."
"I guess it's a good thing he didn't bring hollow points to the party." This time. Jane tried to swallow down the memories of his blood covering her hands as she pressed down on the wound in his abdomen. She loosened the velcro strips.
Frost reached out touching her arm. "Jane?"
Her muscles clenched, knowing that he sensed her distress. "Yeah?"
"Look at me."
"Let's get you out of this first." Jane mumbled.
"I can see that." Jane peeled the vest from his body.
"Uh huh, but you're freaking out." Frost added and winced.
"No, I'm not."
"Bullshit. This wasn't your fault just like it wasn't last time. Shit happens."
An EMT appeared beside them. Jane clenched her jaw. "I'm fine and I know," she growled. Doesn't make it any less real. Their eyes met, and Jane tried her best to telegraph that it wasn't the time or the place. Frost's nod was almost imperceptible, but she saw it nonetheless. He kept his eyes on her as his chest was stripped bare, revealing the bruising on his left upper pectoral. Unable to help herself, Jane winced when she saw it even more so when she saw old scars.
Frost chuckled. "Too bad I don't have a date tonight. The ass would have been plentiful. Women dig the scars. Makes me look dangerous."
Jane heard a snort come from the EMT. She knew what he was trying to do, but a mere distraction wasn't enough. Her heart rattled in her chest like thunder. It nearly took her breath away. Frost must have noticed but then, he knew her better than almost anyone.
"You should see the piece Jane gets to go home to every night. I'm surprised she still remembers her own name."
The snort turned into a chuckle as the men peered in her direction. The eyes on Jane were enough to keep her from spiraling, but dark clouds remained, hovering nearby. She watched warily as the technician probed the area and checked Frost's range of motion.
"It looks like deep tissue bruising. We can take you to get x-rays if you want? It's procedure after all."
"S'okay just give me an ice pack. I'll be fine." Frost countered.
Momentary relief burned through Jane. "I'll make sure he gets home and situated."
The man nodded and helped Frost to his feet. They all watched as Greg was wheeled past them, still sobbing.
The low tones of the radio surrounded them, reminding them of the quiet and making it cacophonous. Frost broke it with a sigh. "So now I get the silent treatment?"
Jane's grip on the steering wheel tightened. I need a minute. Just give me a minute. "Not right now, okay?" Her tone was low and strained.
"Jane," Her name from Frost's lips was an admonishment.
"Just give me a fucking minute!" She screamed. It was only through years of practice that she was able to maintain an eye for the road as feelings bombarded her.
"No! For you to wallow in all the negative shit? I don't think so. I know you! Now talk to me." Frost finished in a whisper.
Jane's chest heaved as the thunder returned, bringing with it dread that struck her like lightning. She glanced in his direction and pointed at him accusingly. "That's twice! The third time better not be a fucking charm!"
"I know it's scary, but I'm still here. Remember that and don't pull a disappearing act like last time. Drop me off and don't you dare go to the precinct. Go home to Maura."
Jane opened her mouth to refute that she had even thought of doing anything else. Liar. Her lips snapped shut.
"Uh huh. One other good thing came out of that besides the kick ass scar."
Jane released a bark of bitter laughter as stormy thoughts churned. "Yeah, what the hell was that?"
Jane bit back a gasp, remembering how she had found life for herself as Frost lay in a hospital bed fighting for his. Jane's silence was her acknowledgement. It was the most awful of times a hurricane of chaos and Jane was caught on the outskirts where everything was the most violent, leaving her emotions battered, bruised and windblown. She retreated into herself, hoping it would provide a barricade, but it wasn't enough. Maura swept in bringing the calm, bringing relief just as a best friend should. With it, she brought something new. Jane reached out for it as if she had a choice, letting it seep into her, but she made sure to give it back tenfold.
"She has to love you a hell of a lot to put up with your shit."
Jane tried to swallow the emotion clawing at her throat. In lieu of voicing it, she hid it in habitual humor. "Are you trying to say I'm an asshole?"
Frost peered at her for a few seconds, and she knew he saw through it all. Instead of calling her on it, he sighed and chuckled, instinctively knowing there was only so much she could take. "Only eighty five percent of the time. The other fifteen you're almost sweet. I imagine she sees that more than we do."
Frost was right. Maura had seen her at her worst through Hoyt and her partner's near demise. Jane was determined to show Maura the best of what was left even though parts of her were missing. Still, just like Frost, she saw it all. "Yeah, maybe." Her voice was husky and thick.
"Better keep it that way. I'd probably think we were in some bizzaro world if you ever came in with rainbows shooting out your ass."
Jane blinked as a surprised laugh escaped. "Not sure what that would look like."
"It would mean you being a girl."
"But I am"
"No just no. I'm convinced that your cock is bigger than mine."
More laughter bubbled free. Jane bit her bottom lip to stop it and slowed the car to a stop. "Why in the hell do you do that? You're the one that's hurt, but you're trying to make me feel better." She asked grumpily.
"It's what I do. Get used to the shit. Will you? Now help me out of the car."
Staring at her partner, Jane made a tiny sound of acknowledgment in the back of her throat.
"C'mon, I have to pee."
Jane sighed and for once did as she was told. Once inside, she busied herself as he emptied his bladder. It was the least she could do.
"Oh shit. I always wanted a white maid."
Jane rolled her eyes. "It's just a sandwich and beer."
"And a blanket and the remote."
Heat flooded her face. "Yeah, well."
"You gonna kiss my forehead too?" Frost asked.
"Just sit your ass down before I kick it."
"Ah, there she is."
Frost screwed up his features as if he ate something bad. "Ew." He sat down and reached for the remote.
Jane stood and watched him for a few seconds. A myriad of feelings lodged in her chest. "Call me if you need anything?"
"Uh huh, now get out of my house. Dream Machine is on."
Jane switched off the ignition and sat in silence, listening as the engine settled. She pushed a hand through long, thick tresses. The churning in her gut continued gnawing away at her insides. It would have been easy to hide in the job and the paperwork covering her desk. In times like these, it was even easier to want to fall into old habits. The temptation was there singing in her ear, promising the absence of emotion and emptiness, but the easy thing was not always the right thing to do. It was a hard lesson learned.
She peered out the car window. Maura had left the light on for her just like always.
This was her choice.
To feel nothing or everything.
To wallow in her own personal damage or allow herself to continue to heal.
Sucking in a desperate breath, Jane opened the door.
Her choice was made.
Letting herself in, she found her way through the darkness until she found what she was looking for. Moonlight cast a pale shadow, illuminating Maura in peaceful repose. Peace was the one thing she wanted, but love was what Jane needed. They could talk in the morning, and Jane knew they would. With urgent, shaking hands, she stripped out of her clothes, letting them fall haphazardly to the floor. Without another moment's hesitation, Jane lifted the covers and slid inside. Heat blasted her as skin met skin. Maura whimpered and murmured.
Jane wrapped Maura in her arms, pulling her closer until there was no space between them. Jane's hand slid between Maura's breasts, covering her heart. She closed her eyes as it quivered excitedly.
"Jane? Are you"
"Shhh." Jane buried her nose in thick blond hair, surrounding herself in familiar smells. She gasped when Maura's hand covered her own. Jane eased her embrace, allowing Maura to turn. Sleepy green eyes blinked back at her, knowingly. Completely and utterly captured, she held Maura's gaze, letting her see everything. Jane leaned into fingertips that trailed along her cheek.
When she had seen enough, Maura smiled and Jane was flooded with light. She surged forward capturing Maura's lips with her own and swallowing the moan of surrender that followed. Her hands wound their way through Maura's hair, fisting and tugging as need tore through her. Maura's answering whimper only fueled her blood, but Maura's hot tongue sliding over her own set Jane on fire.
Scissoring their legs together, Jane flopped on her back. Refusing to break the kiss, she followed Maura upward and held on as legs wound around her. Moments later, Maura tore her lips away and gasped raggedly for breath. Wet lips brushed against Jane's forehead as she buried her face in Maura's neck in a moment of reverence before they lost themselves in each other.
Peace rolled through her in billowing waves, and a calmness settled deep within filling the cracks that had started to form. The storm could rage on outside these walls, but here laid the eye. Here laid Jane's center.
There were no bullets, no blood and no evil.
There was only truth and quiet.
In this she could in this she would wallow.
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