Disclaimer: I do not own Rizzoli & Isles. Etc. etc. This was a prompt over on tumblr: Rizzles - stuck in an elevator. I believe the anonymous prompter was hoping for fluff. I am notoriously terrible at fluff.
Maura Isles attends four Rizzoli family dinners. She meets Jane's mother and father, and continues to get along well with Jane's younger brother, Officer Frankie Rizzoli. Vince Korsak comes to dinner twice; he's an easy conversationalist, doesn't get impatient when Maura pauses to analyze the appropriate response while speaking. Maura likes them all.
It takes nine weeks before Angela institutes Sunday dinner once again. This time, she is the one to call Maura and invite her for dinner. Jane does not mention it during their morning walk, does not disinvite the Doctor, but she doesn't speak to Maura throughout the entire evening, even as Maura watches her push her mother's gnocchi around her plate, watches her skirt her mother's worried looks, watches her disappear onto the living room couch with her father to watch Sports Center. Vince Korsak is absent.
It is Maura's seventh family dinner when Angela takes her aside on the porch before she leaves for the evening. Jane is returning to work in the morning – desk duty – with a new partner and new cases, and strict orders not to even ask to be sent out into the field.
"Doctor Isles," Angela begins nervously.
"Maura, please," Maura offers gently. She is unsure. Mrs. Rizzoli is kind and warm and affectionate in ways Maura Isles has never experienced. She has never been unsure in Maura's presence before.
"Janie goes back to work tomorrow morning." Maura wants to flinch at the nickname, but manages to hold herself still. "You'll be there, won't you?" Angela looks up at her carefully.
"I won't be with Jane directly, of course," Maura needs to be exact in this moment. This is how she retains control. "I'll be in the morgue." She does not say, "And Jane refuses to enter the morgue." This is not her place to explain.
"But you'll be there with her?" Angela repeats urgently.
Maura Isles does not shrug. She lays a gently hand over the one shaking on her arm. "Yes," she assures her friend's mother. "I'll be there."
"Janie trusts you."
"Mrs. Rizzoli –" Maura has to stop her from using that nickname.
Maura waits, patiently.
"I filled her freezer," Mrs. Rizzoli explains. "Lasagna and gnocchi and my mother's famous pumpkin pie. Anything and everything she ever said was her favorite. I made them all, and I put them in her freezer, you know." She takes a deep, shaking breath. "But she hasn't eaten any of them. I'm not blind," she waves her free hand towards the front door of her home. "I know she doesn't eat anything when she comes over here. I'm her mother, Maura."
Maura blinks. She does not know how to reassure this woman, this matriarch and mother. She has never had someone make homemade pasta to soothe her, she has never had a freezer full of love.
"But she eats when she's with you sometimes. She agrees to go out to dinner with you. And when you gave her those bran muffins for after your runs, she ate every single one." Guilt is not Angela Rizzoli's aim, but Maura feels it curdle in her chest nonetheless. "She trusts you."
"She loves you," Maura murmurs.
"Yes." Angela waves her away. "I'm her mother. But you'll be at work with her."
Maura nods, encouraging her gently.
"You know Jane. She'll work herself ragged, lose herself in those files and cases, and she'll forget to sleep, let alone eat."
"I understand, Mrs. Rizzoli."
Angela looks at her gratefully, as though this is perhaps the greatest kindness Maura could have given her. She pulls the taller woman into a tight embrace. Maura hugs her gently, unsure, uneasy. The doctor moves away after a quick three count. "Thank you for dinner," she bows her head. Angela has tears welling in her eyes. Maura cannot meet her gaze; Jane's eyes are like her mother's. Maura and Jane have not made direct contact in three months. Jane said hello to her at dinner tonight, but she did not say goodnight.
"Anytime, Doctor Isles. You're welcome anytime."
Maura doesn't bother to correct her.
[Here are the things Maura Isles does not tell Jane Rizzoli's mother that night on the porch.]
[A week before Jane went into that basement, the two of them went to dinner in Cambridge, and then Jane took her to the Harvard Film Archive's screening of Hiroshima Mon Amour. Maura had mentioned they were showing the film once, two weeks prior. Jane took her hand on the way back to Maura's car. Jane kissed her that night on Maura's front porch and refused to come inside for a drink. She smiled shyly, tucked her hair behind her ear, scuffed her feet on the steps. Licked her lips. Jane grinned, big and slow and easy easy easy when Maura kissed her softly once, twice, before pushing her gently down the walk towards her car.]
[Jane did not speak to Maura the entire time she was in the hospital. But she never asked Maura to leave either.]
[Three days after she got back to her own apartment, Maura touched Jane's shoulder while the other woman was standing at the kitchen counter, cutting vegetables for the soup. Jane whirled around, backed Maura against the wall, and held the knife to her throat for fifteen seconds, her dark eyes empty and ferocious simultaneously. Maura did not cry out.]
[Maura refused to leave Jane's apartment. She sank down against the kitchen cabinets. Watched silently as Jane drank three beers in a row, and flinched when she threw the fourth, still full, against the wall.]
["Have you made a list?" She'd asked. And waited and waited and waited. At one in the morning, her legs were asleep, and Jane was drunk, head lolling back against the fridge. The soup never got made. The beer stained the wall. Jane listed them for her, the ones she knew:
Touching her shoulders from behind. Her wrists. Her hands. Her neck.
Rooms with no windows.
Going down the stairs.
Her own perfume: lavender.
Knifes. Needles. When someone else was holding them.
The scent of uncooked meat. Mothballs. Gasoline.
Maura memorized the list exactly. Carefully. Leaving room for more if necessary. She glanced pointedly at Jane's apartment door, the stairs beyond it. "I run them," Jane shrugged. Jane did not have to list scalpels. The nightlight in her bedroom made sense. "Ma doesn't know, about the nickname thing." Maura didn't open her mouth, but Jane spoke quickly as though to cut her off, "Don't tell her. It'd break her heart." "I don't think I can go down to the morgue, Maur." Jane cried then. Maura rose from her position on the floor, pressed a kiss to two fingers and pressed those fingers to the top of Jane's knee. Waited until Jane rose stiffly, scrubbed her face in the bathroom, changed into pajamas. Sat against the foot of the bed until Jane's breaths rose deep and even. Promised gently. Gently, gently gently to the quiet. That she'd return in the morning. That she would not run. Locked the door on her way out.]
[Jane won't look her in the eye, but she lets Maura come over. Jane does not think she is safe, does not trust herself to be able to keep Maura from harm. But she needs to put her eyes on Maura's body. Needs to examine her carefully, cataloguing the physical evidence each day that Maura is safe, here, whole. Maura aches for Jane's simple brown eyes. She stands silent each day, eyes on the floor, as they greet each other, lets Jane run her eyes unhindered along her petite frame, gather the evidence the detective needs.]
[Maura sleeps with both her work phone and her personal cell on her bedside table, ringers all the way up, now. Jane calls her at three in the morning more often than sometimes. Maura has talked herself hoarse for days in a row, waiting for Jane's breath to even out over the phone. I'm here. I'm whole.]
[When Jane calls at night sobbing and sobbing and sobbing, gulping for air that will not obey, Maura slips on her shoes and out her door and drives the fifteen minutes to Jane's apartment in eleven flat, phone pressed to her ear, not speaking. She stands in the living room and lets Jane examine her, thin chest still heaving. Lets herself be pushed down onto the couch. To be covered with a blanket. Pillows her head on her arms and watches Jane's downturned head, arms folded across bony knees, back slumped against the living room wall. Neither one sleeps on the nights when Jane calls her with tears clogging her throat.]
[These are the things Maura Isles does not tell Jane Rizzoli's mother on Angela's front porch at Maura's seventh Rizzoli Family dinner.]
"Hello, Detective Frost," Maura nods pleasantly at the younger man.
"Doctor Isles," he smiles in return.
"Detective Rizzoli and I were about to head out for some lunch. Would you care to join us?"
The two of them have perfected this conversation over the past week. Maura comes upstairs sometime between one and two pm, she invites Detective Frost to escape the Brick for lunch with her and his partner, he shakes his head, and says, "Thanks, but I'm fairly swamped. Maybe tomorrow?"
"Of course," she agrees pleasantly, and turns to face the woman seated across from him. The woman who glances quickly back down to the piles of papers covering her desk to hide the glower she was shooting her new partner. "Jane, are you ready to go?"
Here is where the routine can be thrown off. There are several scenarios that can occur in the next several moments, none of which Maura Isles would have been familiar with several months ago, all of which she has learned and categorized in the past week alone. Jane's shoulders stiffen, and her face darkens as she glares at the paperwork before her. "Shit, Maura," she mutters. "I forgot about lunch."
Maura does not even glance at Detective Frost as she steps around his desk to lean a hip against his partner's. She knows he can still hear them, even as she lowers her voice, but he does an excellent job of staring at his computer screen and pretending he can't. "Jane," she begins.
"You heard the Newbie," Jane swipes an angry hand in her partner's direction. "We're busy as fuck. I can't get away right now."
Maura doesn't flinch at the swear, but her spine straightens infinitesimally.
"We have to eat, Jane." We always. Never you. If she insinuates that Jane, herself, and Jane alone needs something, this conversation will be over. The walls Jane Rizzoli can erect in under ten seconds are thick and impenetrable, even to Maura. Jane's skin is pale, taught across high cheekbones. Her normally thin frame looks stretched, as though one might be able to see the light glowing right through her. We have to eat. "It's past one o'clock. And I haven't eaten since before our run."
"Go grab something then. I'm not stopping you." Jane plays petulant child remarkably well. "Besides, it's raining cats and dogs out there," Jane hasn't even bothered to look towards the window, but Maura can hear the rain slapping against the window pane nearby, and the low rumble of thunder has been ominously circling the building all morning. The weather channel was calling for 3-4 inches by the evening. Maura reaches up to finger the ends of her honey blonde curls; not even the hairspray she applied liberally this morning is enough to counteract the humidity of a summer storm.
"We'll go downstairs then and grab soup and a salad from the café."
"Soup and salad?" Jane scoffs gently. "You're not helping your case, Doctor Isles."
"Jane," Maura murmurs, and she sees Detective Frost shift in his seat from the corner of her eye.
Jane growls. "I'm busy, Maura."
"Please come to lunch with me." Guilt is a powerful thing. Maura is uncomfortable in many social situations; she is still not completely at home with the many law enforcement officials she interacts with on a daily basis. The café causes her anxiety moreso than an unfamiliar restaurant. Jane knows this. The lights flicker above them, and Jane glances up quickly, managing to look everywhere but at Maura's face.
Frost is typing something at his computer, studiously avoiding his partner's dark gaze. He has known Jane for three weeks, worked closely with her for four days. Maura thinks he'll get along just fine.
Jane huffs, running a hand through ragged curls. She drops the pen in her other hand, places both palms flat on the top of the desk, and stares at them. Maura does not look at the silver raised scars, glowing against Jane's pale skin. When Jane takes two deep breaths, and clenches both hands into fists, Maura stifles a smile.
"I'm not eating any of your rabbit food," Jane mutters.
There is clam chowder in the café on Fridays, and hardy Reuben sandwiches are on special. Jane will nibble at half while glaring around the room, will declare herself finished before Maura has finished her last bite, and will not argue when Maura wraps the other half of Jane's sandwich up and hands it carefully to her to take upstairs and be consumed later. This is a victory.
Jane pushes herself up, and Maura takes a step back, giving the detective her space. "Want anything?" Jane glowers in Detective Frost's direction. This is, once again, part of the new routine.
"Coffee?" he asks.
"Fine," Jane agrees, slipping into her blazer, and turning towards the elevators.
Doctor Isles and Detective Frost share an easy nod.
"C'mon, Maura. Twenty minutes tops and then I'm back up here."
"Alright," Maura agrees easily. Jane waits stiffly for the doctor to step away from the desks, before following her towards the elevators. Maura tries not to miss the light touch of Jane's warm palm at the small of her back, does not slow her steps to force Jane to walk beside her instead of just behind and off to the side. Doctor Isles is adept at this new routine. She has worked hard to constrain any rogue melancholy for such silly things as small touches and easy banter and Jane's warm gaze. She does not suggest the stairs, despite the fact that the lights in the building have just flickered again; she has learned.
They are somewhere between the third and second floors when the lights flicker and go out, when the elevator grinds to an abrupt halt. She is standing in front of the panel, reaches out and presses the call button. It's an older model, there is no two-way communication. The lights do not come back on; any emergency generator power is routed to the morgue, to evidence, to holding. Not to the elevators. Jane is standing across from in the elevator. Maura hears her take a breath, filling her lungs with air. They will not run out of oxygen, Maura is certain, but she knows this is not the fear Jane is trying to control. Control. Jane is no longer in control of this situation. Maura feels her heart rate increase.
"Jane," her voice cracks into the darkness. She left her phone in the morgue. She closes her eyes against the darkness, remembers Jane's sitting abandoned on the edge of her desk. No flashlights then. "Jane," she repeats.
"Don't," Jane's voice is sharp. Careful.
"Jane, where are we?" she asks gently, gently, gently.
"I said. Don't." Jane hisses. Maura hears the rustle of Jane's clothing. She is pressing herself against the wall of the elevator, away. Maura is the threat. Jane is pushing herself as far away as possible.
Maura spreads her hands, knowing the action is futile in the darkness. "Jane, it's Maura."
There is silence. Maura forces herself to regulate her breathing, forces her heart rate back to resting, ignores the pounding of it echoing through her body. Jane whimpers. Maura swears silently. She has read extensively on PTSD in the past, and specifically in the past several months. She has spoken with her own therapist about how best to support loved ones suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Jane whimpers. They kissed twice. They've been friends for over a year. Jane has not looked her in the eye in 101 days. Maura wants nothing more than to curl around her Detective, turn all of the lights on and open the windows, and hold her, hold her close. She cannot hear the storm that is surely still raging outside. Jane whimpers. Maura closes her eyes tightly and clenches her hands into fists for five beats of her heart before forcing her body to relax, muscle group by muscle group all the way to her toes.
"Jane," she speaks gently, an undercurrent of iron in her tone. "I need you tell me where we are. Who are you?" She asks. She does not move from her side of the elevator. "Where are we, Jane?"
"Elevator," Jane manages. Her voice comes from lower than it should: she's slid down to the floor.
"That's right, Jane." Repeat the patient's name. Ground her. Maura shudders. "Where are we, Jane?"
"Boston," Jane gulps. "Boston Police Dep-Department."
"What's the date, Jane?"
"Please," Jane whispers. "Please, don't."
When they are freed from this elevator, Maura will go back down to her office – a place Jane has not visited in fourteen weeks – she will hold a pillow to her face and scream. But for now, she swallows a mouthful of tears and continues. "What is the date today, Jane."
"August. August 10th."
"Yes, Jane. Today is August 10th. And who are you?"
"Yes, Jane." Jane's answers are short, to the point. Maura can hear her beginning to hyperventilate from across the small space. Maura could be there in three steps. She doesn't move. She remembers the list, the stupid, fucking, necessary list. That beer stained the wall, until Angela Rizzoli painted over it two weeks later.
She remembers a conversation they had last Wednesday, when Jane was cleared for desk duty. Jane had explained, haltingly, slowly, as though Maura was dragging the words kicking and screaming from deep within her: ["I've been working on breathing exercises. I need questions to keep me focused. Where am I. Who I am. What I do. That kind of shit. And if I can't answer, I need to count."
"Count…?" What, specifically, Maura wants to ask. Tell me specifically so that I am as prepared as possible. I will be as prepared as is humanely possible.] She has never felt so out of her depth before.
["This is so stupid." Jane muttered, clenching her hands into loose fists. Maura did not reach out to hold those aching hands. She did not shift her body closer. She did not press a kiss gently gently gently to Jane's temple.
"I have to count myself. Like body parts. Toes and eyes. And that kind of shit."
"Take inventory," Maura had muttered.
"Yeah," Jane shrugged. Inventory.]
"Jane," Maura says, surprised at her own control when her voice does not squeak. "Jane, take inventory. Please. Jane."
She waits. And waits. Jane is panting across from her, taking deep gulps of air. Maura can imagine her heaving chest, her shaking palms, her bowed head, and fluttering eyelashes, and the tears she knows are streaming down taught cheeks. Maura reaches up to wipe away her own tears impatiently.
Finally, "Two," she hears from across the empty space between them. "Two eyes," Jane is mumbling, sniffing, still struggling to breathe through her flashback. "One foot. Two fe-f-feet."
Maura read Dr. Seuss for an independent study in college: childhood literature. She wants to vomit. She hears Jane unzip her boots carefully, pull her feet out from her shoes. "One. Two. Three." And on until ten. She doesn't realize she's been holding her breath, until Jane's deep voice says, "Ten. Ten toes." Childlike.
Jane gathers strength. Knees. And legs. Ears. Nose. Arms and elbows. Lips. Maura shudders. Hands. Jane falters, her breath catching. "Two hands," she repeats.
"Please. Please no. No. No. Nononono. Please."
"Jane," Maura's voice finally breaks. "Jane. Sweetheart." She cannot help the pet name. "Jane how many fingers? How many fingers, Jane?"
"I can't. I c-c-can't. Please."
Maura is shaking, moving before she has control, trailing a hand along the closed doors to the handlebar across the elevator. Sinking down to kick off her heels, inching towards the Detective curled up on a ball on the floor. "Jane. Jane. Jane Ja-" Maura is repeating Jane's name as she inches forward. Gently. Gently. Her aching fingers touch fabric, polyester. Jane flinches. Maura ignores the tears dripping down her own chin.
"Hands," Jane whimpers.
"Yes, sweetheart," Maura murmurs.
"Here. Here," Maura murmurs. She does not reach for Jane's hands, but instead spreads her fingers and lays her palms flat on top of Jane's knees. "Jane? Jane. I need you to count me. How many fingers? Jane. How many hands?" She waits, not daring to breathe.
Finally. Finally. She feels fingers callused and rough slide carefully down her own. Her entire body is shaking, but her hands are steady. Steady hands. Steady, Doctor.
Jane's index finger finds Maura's right pinky finger. Traces its entire length. Her ring finger. Middle. Index. Thumb. On to her left hand. Each one. Three times. And on the third time, Maura hears her, "One. Two. Three." Slowly, stuttering, shaking, Jane counts her. Ten fingers.
"Jane," Maura whispers.
"Hands," Jane repeats. And Maura cannot contain her gasp when two strong hands cover her own. Jane taps Maura's wrists with her index fingers. "Two hands."
"Yes," Maura murmurs. "Two hands." She can feel the scars on Jane's palms. "Who am I, Jane? Sweetheart?"
Jane's entire body is shaking, trembling against Maura's touch. "Maura."
Maura Isles stifles a sob. "Yes," she can only whisper. "Who am I, Jane?"
Jane begins tracing her fingers again. "Ten fingers. Two hands." Maura nods into the dark. "Maura. Doctor Maura Isles."
"Maura. My Maura," Jane's voice is clearer now. "Maura. Healthy. Whole. Maura."
Maura nearly collapses forward, her head coming to rest against Jane's scarred hands, covering her own, atop the Detective's knees. "Healthy, whole Maura," Jane continues softly, gently. Jane's here with her now, hands holding her hands, still in the dark, but here with her. Not lost in the basement. Not with him. Here. With her. Healthy, whole Maura Isles.
They stay that way until the lights come back on, and the elevator jolts back into movement. "My Maura." Jane murmurs. Repeat the patient's name. "Yes," is all Maura can say. Again and again and again.
The lights flicker back to life. The elevator begins to descend once again. Maura cannot move until Jane's muscles tighten beneath her, and the Detective straightens her long body out, standing up, and pulling Maura with her. With her, and into her, wrapping her arms, strong and solid around Maura's back, tightening to hold Maura against her thin frame. Maura rests her head against Jane's collar bone, puts one hand on either side of Jane's waist. Gently.
"Alright," Jane says, as the elevator comes to a stop and the doors ding open. Maura takes a step back. Smoothes her skirt with careful, shaking hands. Jane's fingers are easy on her chin, lifting her head. Brown eyes meet hazel, red rimmed and still glassy. Jane's cheeks are streaked with tear tracks she has yet to wipe away. Maura covers her mouth with one hand, physically holding back any sounds that might escape. Jane stares at her, and Maura lets the Detective study her. Dark eyes tracing her forehead, her cheekbones, down to her chin, back up to meet her own impassive gaze.
Maura remembers the list. The necessary list.
"I think I'm going to take the rest of the day," Jane murmurs. Maura nods. She steps back out from Jane's personal space. The detective's body is still thrumming, pent up energy pulsing out from her every pore. "Will you please drive me home?" Jane asks, gently, no longer meeting Maura's eyes as they exit the elevator together.
Gently. Gently, gently, gently. Maura nods, and turns to the stairs, knowing Jane will follow. It was going down the stairs that was on the list.