Fandom: Rizzoli & Isles
Category: Established R/I with a bit of everything else (and the kitchen sink chucked in for good measure!)
Word Count: Just shy of 6,000. This part 2,200.
Notes: I got a bit of a plot-bunny in my head and this was the result. Keep an eye on the time-stamps to avoid any “WTF?” moments… ;-)
A big thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to leave feedback. As always, it’s very much appreciated.
Disclaimer: Don’t own a thing. Please don’t sue me.
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“Where the fuck are the medics?” Jane spoke through gritted teeth, her anger the only thing stopping her from completely falling to pieces.
“Three minutes,” Korsak said, folding his jacket and pushing it beneath Maura’s head as if that would make a fucking difference.
“I need something thicker. Fuck. A towel or something.” Jane’s hands were soaked with blood where she was pressing the pillowslip against Maura’s abdomen. The cotton slip had fallen out of the closet as the man had fled. It was pink, like everything else in the room, and absolutely useless at stopping Maura from bleeding. Jane threw it aside, where it landed with a wet slap on the floor, and she grabbed the towel Korsak held out to her instead. The towel felt better: thicker, more substantial, but the harder she pressed, the more blood flooded out, and it quickly became hot and heavy beneath her fingers.
“I don’t…” She looked up at Korsak. “I don’t know if I’m doing this right.”
“Just keep pressure on it,” he said, sounding as uncertain as she felt. “Keep pressure on it. They’ll be here in a minute.”
He covered Maura with a blanket from the closet, its cheerful rose pattern only emphasizing how pale she was. All the color seemed to have drained from her and her limp fingers were freezing cold when Jane squeezed them. The uneven rattle of her breathing filled the room.
“Ambulance is here.” Korsak’s voice startled Jane. She nodded, still pushing down, waiting for Maura to react, to move her hands away or at least tell her that she was doing it all wrong and correct her positioning. But Maura didn’t flinch and Jane pressed harder as she listened to the footsteps pounding up the wooden stairs.
~ ~ ~
The paramedics had politely but firmly moved Jane aside. Working with quiet efficiency, they had inserted IVs, fastened an oxygen mask into place, and wrapped a thick padded dressing across Maura’s abdomen. As instructed, Jane squeezed the bag of fluid she was holding, watching it stream into the line as the medics strapped Maura onto a gurney. They had only been in the room for a few minutes but they were already looking to leave.
“Can I ride with her?” Jane asked.
Neither of the men responded—they didn’t even seem to have heard her—so she repeated her question, raising her voice above the crackle of radios, the creaking of the wooden floor, and Maura’s labored gasps.
Poised to lift the thin metal gurney, the elder of the men shook his head. “Sorry, ma’am, there’s not really enough room.”
It was a lie and he lowered his eyes to stop Jane calling him on it. She knew what he was thinking, had spoken to enough paramedics to know that the one thing worse than their patient coding en route to the hospital was their patient coding en route in front of a loved one.
“I’ll take you,” Korsak said, handing his bag of fluid to the medic. “C’mon, give them some space here.”
She tucked her IV under one of the straps, fumbling for Maura’s hand but only succeeding in touching her fingers briefly. The medics almost ran down the stairs with their burden, and sirens were screaming before Jane had even reached the front door. Korsak put his arm around her shoulders and guided her out toward his car.
~ ~ ~
Jane folded her shirt neatly, taking care to try to preserve the evidence. She placed it into the paper bag alongside her pants and then peeled her underwear off. Her bra was sodden and when she looked down she saw a deep red stain covering her chest. She walked slowly into the toilet cubicle, knelt, and vomited until her stomach ached and there was nothing left inside her. The tiled floor was blissfully cold beneath her bare legs. Maura had only been in surgery for an hour but cops were already queuing to donate blood and hovering in the ER, waiting for news. Jane wrapped her arms around her knees, rested her head on them, and wondered how long she could stay like that before someone came to find her.
~ ~ ~
It wasn’t that Jane wasn’t listening, just that not much of what the surgeon was saying to her was really making sense. He was an older man with deep shadows beneath tired eyes and an accent that lilted in unexpected places. He used words like ‘hypovolemic’ and ‘superior mesenteric artery’, and Jane nodded, mentally noting them for later when Maura would be awake to explain what the hell he was talking about.
Maura had made it through the surgery. The surgeon had opened his monologue with that fact, and by the time the ringing in Jane’s ears had faded she was playing catch up trying to understand the damage that the single stab wound had wrought. It had been bad, ‘touch and go’, there had been massive blood loss and lacerations to Maura’s stomach and transverse colon. She was intubated, comatose, and settled in the ICU and Jane—being listed as her next of kin—got a golden ticket to her bedside.
Jane stood up when the surgeon did and began to follow him out of the waiting room. As she passed Korsak, he caught her in a bear hug and for a second she allowed him just to prop her up.
“Give the doc our love,” he said.
He left, then, to interrogate the seventeen-year-old who had murdered one woman and left a second fighting for her life. Jane turned in the opposite direction and headed for the ICU.
~ ~ ~
The nurse taking care of Maura had given Jane a long, appraising look before ushering her into a chair, covering her with a blanket, and supplying coffee and a sandwich.
“She’s doing okay,” he said, his hands careful as he checked the dressings swathed across Maura’s abdomen. “Did Doc Fairley explain what’s under here?”
“He, uh, well…” Jane shrugged. “He tried.”
“Okay.” The nurse tucked the sheets back into place and perched on the arm of Jane’s chair. “She was bleeding out when she arrived and really the only way to deal with that in a time-critical patient is to cut. She has a wound from here,” he pointed to the left of his own abdomen, “to here.” His finger arced over to his right side.
Jane swallowed dryly. “Jesus.”
“He located and repaired an arterial bleed and lacerations to her stomach and large intestine.”
“Gonna hurt like hell when she wakes up.” Jane spoke from experience, her hand unconsciously drifting toward the scar on her own abdomen.
The nurse gave her a curious look but didn’t push and Jane didn’t say anything else, didn’t mention her self-inflicted injury or the hours Maura had spent by her side as she recovered. She wondered whether this was her penance; having to see Maura like this seemed to be an object lesson in ‘what goes around comes around’.
“She’s comfortable at the moment. You finish your sandwich,” the nurse said kindly, somehow sensing that the conversation had come to an end. “I’m just over by the desk if you need me.”
“Thank you.” Jane waited for him to leave and then pulled her chair closer to the bedside. Maura’s fingers were warmer when Jane took hold of her hand, and her face was no longer quite so deathly pale. Jane kissed her palm and settled in to wait.
~ ~ ~
Tuesday: 3.15 a.m.
The numbers meant very little to Jane but she watched them anyway, having quickly established that red was bad and came with an alarm, and that amber was satisfactory. She had yet to see anything flash into green. Danny, the nightshift nurse, made frequent checks, changing fluids, emptying drains, and adjusting certain settings on medication pumps and the vent. He plied Jane with coffee, gave her chocolate from his own snack box, and at no point attempted to tell her to go home and get some sleep.
She looked up as he approached.
“There’s a call for you at the desk.”
“Right.” She automatically turned to Maura, but Danny came to stand by the bed.
“Go on, I’ll keep an eye on her.”
Jane’s knees clicked loudly as she stood. She groaned, trying to work the kinks out of her back.
“You want a Tylenol chaser with your next coffee?” Danny asked.
“Yeah, maybe.” She gave him a weary smile and hobbled over to the desk, where a nurse she didn’t recognize handed her the phone and pressed a flashing button on the keypad.
“Hey.” Korsak sounded as exhausted as she felt. “How’s she doin’?”
“Critical but stable.” Jane sighed. “Whatever the fuck that means.”
“Means she’s hanging in there, I guess.”
“I guess so. You making any progress?” She heard a faint rustle as if he was looking through his paperwork.
“Our bad guy is Thomas Argyle. Renowned crackhead in NYC, decided to put down new roots in Boston. Started crying like a baby within the first ten minutes of the interview, then owned up to this one and the West Roxbury job.”
“That’s good.” Although she tried to sound enthusiastic, they both knew it was a hollow victory. She was on the verge of ending the call when Korsak spoke again.
“First officers on scene have also been interviewed. They both swore to checking that closet, but one later admitted he’d only opened the door closest to the wall, said he’d been afraid of disturbing the scene.”
“Jesus Christ.” Something in Jane’s arm ached and she realized belatedly how hard she was gripping the phone. “Stupid fucking bastards.”
“I know. They’re gonna get written up for it.”
“They should come down here and look at her, Korsak.” Jane’s voice cracked and tears slipped down her cheeks. “They should come down here and see what he did to her.” She wiped her nose on her hand and then gratefully took the tissue the nurse held out. Korsak was stumbling through an awkward goodbye. She put him out of his misery by promising an update in a few hours and hung up.
“Thanks,” she said to the nurse, and laughed dryly when the nurse offered her the rest of the box. “I think I’m good.” She took a deep, steadying breath and walked back to Maura’s bedside.
~ ~ ~
A team of doctors had ushered Jane into a small waiting room and left her there without telling her anything. Danny had finished his shift and the new nurse had been called to assist the medics with whatever they were doing. Maura had seemed better; most of her numbers were green and the dayshift nurse had been very impressed with something she had seen in one of the drains.
Jane stood up so fast that she knocked her chair over.
“Is she all right?”
“She’s fine,” the nurse said, righting the chair for her. “She’s asking for you.”
The words didn’t really make sense at first and Jane just nodded blankly.
Seeming to take pity on her, the nurse put a hand on her arm. “The doctors just took her off the vent. She’s kinda drowsy but she’ll know you’re there.”
Something in Jane’s legs abruptly gave way and she sat down again. “She’s awake?”
“On and off.” The nurse smiled. “Take a minute, detective, then you can go see for yourself.”
~ ~ ~
Despite the drugs that made it so difficult to stay awake and the pain that repeatedly caught her unawares, Maura smiled the instant she felt Jane squeeze her hand. It took her three attempts to move her fingers and two to open her eyes, but when she did, the expression on Jane’s face made all the effort worthwhile.
“Hey, baby.” Jane leaned down and kissed Maura. Her lips tasted salty where her tears were falling.
“Ssh, don’t cry,” Maura whispered. “I’m okay.” Sleep was already pulling at her, blurring her vision and her speech. “Love you.”
“I love you too,” Jane said, and Maura allowed herself to lean back into the pillows and relax, no longer worried about the sutured rent across the width of her abdomen, or whether she would get an infection, or how long it would take her to recover.
“Hell of a day,” she murmured.
“Yeah,” Jane said. Her fingers stroked gently across Maura’s forehead. “Yeah, it was one hell of a day.”
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And now for our regularly schedule pimpage for anyone who might be interested in reading some original f/f fiction by me… My first novel, Snowbound (written under the pen name Cari Hunter), is available to buy at Bold Strokes Books or over on amazon (where it’s now out in Kindle!) \o/