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Love Murder

Chapter Text

The blood spread outwards from the prone figure, crimson seeping between the floorboards and starting to harden. The only sound was the whisper of pen across the paper.

“What’s it look like to you?” Frost asked. Korsak grunted. The small living room buzzed with activity as CSI personnel dusted the entire area.

“It’s him again.” Korsak finally begrudgingly admitted. Frost nodded.

“Same MO as the last few. Young female, 20s, killed at close range with a serrated knife to the throat.” Both of the detectives eyeballed the red rose lying on the girl’s chest, both hands of the victim manipulated to be grasping the stem gently. “And the rose.” Frost finished.

“It’s our third in the last month alone.” Korsak sighed and ran a hand through his grey hair. “No clues, no anything. The crime scene is pristine. Whoever it is, they aren’t any normal serial killer.”

“Korsak! Frost!” A CSI operative called urgently. The two homicide detectives glanced at each other. The CSI personnel rarely talked to them.

They stepped over the body and joined the CSI operative by the window.

“What is it?” Korsak asked, his gravelly voice curious.

“We seem to have a note here.” The quiet man handed over a piece of paper. Korsak eagerly took it and Frost peered over his shoulder. Messy handwriting scrawled across a plain white page.

Korsak, Frost. Are you surprised that I know your names? This game has been boring lately. Can two homicide detectives match an artist like me? 287 Maple Rd. Room 433.

Your friend, J

Frost finished reading first, and urgently unclipped his radio from his belt. “This is Frost, calling in a tip. We need a unit to meet us at 287 Maple Rd., Room 433. 10 minutes.” He reattached his radio and patted Korsak on the shoulder.

“Let’s go.”

Korsak looked over at the CSI operative.

“Good eye. Dust the page for fingerprints and get the results to my desk.” With that, the two homicide detectives of the Boston PD exited the building.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Boston PD!” Frost called through the door. With no reply, he raised his leg and smashed the lock and door in. Both detectives raised their handguns, and a police detail followed them in.

Frost turned the first corner, glancing in a combined open kitchen and dining room with large bay windows.

“Clear!” He shouted. The uniforms moved deeper in the house. Korsak, being not as spry as the younger men, simply followed Frost as he remained on high alert.

“Dammit!” Korsak cursed as the pair turned another corner. A blonde, young female lay on the carpeted ground of the living room. Her eyes stared unseeingly at the ceiling. The neck wound was easily visible, along with a single, precious red rose clutched in the hands of the victim. A single note lay below the note, and Frost snatched it up.

Too late.

Frost almost threw down his gun in anger, but he knew it wasn’t wise while the house was still unexplored. He tapped Korsak’s arm, the warning clear in his eyes. Korsak nodded tightly.

“Clear!” Frost’s voice was hoarse, and the sound startled even himself. Noises of confirmation from the other units resounded through the house. Frost and Korsak started up the stairs on the other side of the room.

The pair managed to go through what seemed to be a guest bedroom and a bathroom, when they heard the sound of a window opening. They glanced at each other, alarmed, before sprinting down the hallway to reach the last room; the master bedroom.

Frost kicked the door in with no hesitation and raised his gun in preparation.

“Freeze!” He shouted. The flutter of the curtains drew the attention of the two men. They cautiously made their way to it to see a fire escape right outside the window. An alley lay below, and a lone figure was strolling, not running away. The figure was dressed all in black, long slacks with a long coat that draped to the knees. The detectives could barely make out that the figure raised a hand and slowly waved goodbye.

Frost snapped out of his stupor. He grabbed his radio.

“All personnel within house! Perp is making their way away outside! I repeat, all personnel, converge on perp outside the locale!” He all but screamed into the radio. Affirmatives were quick and the detail poured out onto the street. Frost and Korsak joined them, nearly breathless from their rush through the house. The head of the detail shook his head curtly.

“No sign of perp, sir.” He apologetically revealed.

“Fuck!” Frost cursed. He rarely did, but it was a sign that he was really, truly pissed off. Korsak grit his teeth. The killer had killed 21 up to date, and this was the first time they had ever seen him, and they had let him get away. Cavanaugh was going to murder them.

Chapter Text

“Fuck.” Jane grunted in pain. She glanced down at the hastily bandaged wound across her abdomen. The hospital sucked, but it might be a necessary evil for this occasion. Angela Rizzoli had been cooking for Sunday dinner, and the smell of lasagna filled the house. She, as per the usual, barged in without asking for permission.

“Oh honey!” She cried out as soon as she peered in through the crack in the door. “Are you okay?”

“Ma!” Jane shouted. She squirmed on the bed until her back was to the door. “How many times do I have to tell you not to walk in without knocking?”

Instead of retreating, Angela stepped through the door and kicked it close behind her.

“What’s going on? Are you ok?” She asked worriedly. Jane groaned. This was one of the worst things about coming home to have dinner, all the nagging and prodding.

“Nothing, ma. I just accidentally cut myself while I was fixing some guy’s car, alright?” Jane sighed. Working in a garage was greasy, smelly, and that was discounting all the perverts who didn’t actually think she was capable of fixing a car by herself.

“Do you need to go to the hospital?” Angela kept worrying.

“No ma! Just.. Just get out! I’ll fix it myself later.” Jane protested. Angela finally left with one last concerned, motherly look. Jane probed the area with her fingertips, and winced in pain. Perhaps the hospital was really becoming a better option.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Dr. Isles!” A voice called. Maura turned around, exasperated. She had just been planning to go home after a 20 hour shift. However, despite her annoyance, her face remained carefully neutral.

“What is it?” She asked. The orderly handed her a clipboard with a note on it.

“I’m sorry, but there’s an emergency patient. There’s no one else. Can you go check it out?” The orderly nervously requested. Everyone knew the reputation of the icily stoic Dr. Isles.

Maura wanted to grunt, but it would be horribly unladylike. She instead allowed herself a small sigh.

“I can.” She curtly agreed. She looked at the information on the paper. With a last nod at the orderly, she walked down the hallway towards the elevator, her expensive heels snapping smartly on the linoleum.

She stood at the elevator, her stance rigid and not belying the fatigue that lay beneath. With a ding, the doors opened and she stepped inside. Pressed the button for the right floor, she glanced at the watch. According to the file, it was a laceration and hopefully enough, she would be done before the hour. Rizzoli. What an odd name. It must be Italian.

She stepped out onto the floor and made her way down the hallway. Opening the right door, she glanced in. A slim, muscled, and tan woman paced the floor, her eyes unfocused. The patient was wearing slacks and a sports bra. Dr. Isles blinked. The woman looked positively, downright dangerous. Something about her stance screamed ‘predator’, and the way she moved was with confidence and hidden power. Was she even injured?

Instead of asking, Maura cleared her throat. The patient – Rizzoli, Maura reminded herself – snapped her gaze up to her. Maura immediately felt pressured, the intellectual gaze scrutinizing her every action.

“I would like to request that you sit still as I examine your wound.” Maura tried to regain composure, but the patient’s gaze never wavered as she made her way to the cot.

Maura forced her legs to work, moving her towards the bed. Rizzoli helpfully swung her legs over the bed to face Maura. An amateur bandage covered the wound. Maura sighed. Self-applied bandages tended to get infected quickly.

She reached out practiced fingers to test the muscles, to see if which ones were still functioning. Rizzoli’s abs twitched, shredded, and Maura withdrew her hand and looked up.

“Was that painful?” She asked, confused. Most patients were quick to point out pain, yet Rizzoli hadn’t made a sound as her muscles had violently rioted. Rizzoli’s dark eyes darkened even more as she reluctantly nodded.

Maura nearly lost her breath, and her heartbeat speeded up. She swallowed again and looked down at the bandage.

“I’ll have to remove it.” She exhaled a shaky breath. What had gotten into her? Even lack of sleep never did this to her. Even though Rizzoli didn’t say anything, she knew that consent had been given. She gently worked her fingertips under the edge of the bandage, and began to peel it away. A slow, drawn out hiss filled the air. Even the resilient Rizzoli couldn’t resist the excruciating pain she must be in.

With a final tug, the bandage was off and the wound exposed. Maura dropped the bandage carelessly into the trash. She washed her hands and snapped on clean, latex gloves before continuing. She glanced up at the strange girl.

“Can you lie down? It’s easier to work on muscles when they’re relaxed.” Maura requested.

“Of course, Doctor Isles.” Maura shivered as the patient spoke for the first time. A low, husky voice seemed to be Rizzoli’s default voice. Maura could feel eyes burning into her back as the creaking noises indicated Rizzoli following her request. Maura turned around once the patient had lied down, and she moved over to begin the cleaning of the wound.

She looked at the large laceration across Rizzoli’s tanned abdomen.

“What happened?” She asked. It wasn’t a common wound, and she was curious.

“Slipped and cut myself with a tool in the garage.” Rizzoli smoothly answered. Maura narrowed her eyes almost imperceptibly. Not many knew, but outside of being a surgeon, she used to be the Chief Medical Examiner of the Boston PD. She knew that was not a wound you could get from cutting yourself. Against her better judgement, she found herself following the line of questioning.

“Where did you really get it?” She asked quietly. Her voice had dropped an octave in seriousness. Rizzoli’s lips curled up in the barest smile. She leaned in and made eye contact with the blonde doctor.

“I slipped and cut myself with a tool.” She whispered. Her voice was rough and dangerous. Maura narrowed her eyes.

“As you wish.” The predator in her patient was overpowering her natural inquisitiveness, and she reluctantly backed down.

“This might hurt a bit.” Maura continued as if nothing had happened. She swabbed the wound gently with antibiotics, and Rizzoli took a deep breath. The wound was still slightly fresh, seemingly less than a day. Maura noted these details before carefully stitching the skin and plastering the area. As she was withdrawing her hand, finished, Rizzoli grabbed it. The patient tugged with just enough force to bring Maura to eye level, almost two inches apart.

“You are not to tell anyone.” Rizzoli breathed. Maura shivered. She shakily nodded, at which Rizzoli released her hand. Amused, dark eyes observed as the doctor caught her breath. Rizzoli pulled on her shirt, before slipping silently out the door.

Maura stared at the hollow in the bed where her patient had been lying not a minute ago. Who was she? She obviously hadn’t gotten the wound the way she had said, but how dangerous was she truly?

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Hey! Maura!” A voice called from the hallway outside her door. Maura groaned and glanced at the time. She had gotten just over 7 hours of sleep, after finishing her shift at 1PM. The sky was dark outside, and her biological clock was well and truly screwed up. She rose and walked over to the door, stilled dressed in respectable clothes as she had passed out without changing.

She swung open the door, exasperated.

“What are you doing here, Barry?” She yawned. He laughed amiably.

“What kind of welcome is that for a friend?”

“A welcome for a friend who woke me after 7 hours of sleep.” Maura grumbled. Nevertheless, she opened the door wider to let the off-duty detective into her house.

“Aw, Maura, another long shift?” He rubbed the back of his head, slightly apologetic. Said doctor nodded tiredly.

“Coffee?” She peered up at the detective. Without her heels, she was average height, not at eye level with the man as she usually was. He grinned.

“You really know me!”

Maura moved off towards the kitchen, setting the coffee brewer and pouring herself a glass of room temperature wine.

“So what’s the occasion?” Maura asked, swirling her wine and staring into the whirlpool.

“Korsak and I were thinking about going out to a bar. Are you up?” Barry invited. Maura tilted her head thoughtfully. The two were some of her only friends outside of acquaintances at work.

“Why not?” She conceded with a shrug. She needed dinner anyway.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“There’s a serial killer.” Korsak sighed morosely as he stared down at his beer. Maura sympathetically patted his shoulder.

“You’re making it sound like it’s worse than usual.” Maura inquired, interest piqued.

“21 victims, and it’s been less than a year.” Korsak admitted. Maura’s eyes widened.

“That’s an extremely high number. Any leads?” She asked, before retracting a bit. “Sorry, I know that case details are confidential.”

Frost smiled sadly.

“Doc, why did you leave? We need you here.”

“I had to take a break.” Maura repeated. She had been saying that for a whole year. Maybe it was time for the break to be over.

“This is a really hard case, and we need you on it. The other docs can’t match up to you.” Frost turned up the flattery. Maura laughed, the serious moment broken. She swatted his hands.

“I know you’re just complimenting me to get me to come back!” She smiled. “Fortunately for you, it’s working. I might.”

Frost and Korsak stopped drinking and looked at her.

“Really?!” Both of them exclaimed. Maura was taken aback. Were people really expecting her to leave the profession forever?

“Yes.” She repeated resolutely. The two detectives cheered and hugged the surprised blonde.

With the conversation drifting to other, less serious topics, Marua let her mind drift. The patient of hers that afternoon had been intriguing, and she wouldn’t mind seeing her again. As if answering her thoughts, the jangle of the front door’s bell alerted the group to the entrance of another patron. As Maura glanced at the door, she took in the form of the lean, tall figure of Rizzoli.

With a sharp gaze, Rizzoli’s eyes also landed on Maura. Maura sucked in a breath as the dark, heady eyes raked over her body.

“Hey Maura, you know that chick?” The background noise had faded, but Frost’s voice cut through. Maura tore her gaze away from Rizzoli standing at the door.

“She was my last patient before my shift ended.” Maura replied distantly. Frost smiled.

“Is she nice? She’s my type.” He joked, suddenly sensing Maura’s tense aura.

“She’s interesting.” Was all Maura could say as Rizzoli made her way across the room to the bar, taking a high seat.

“Well I’m gonna try my luck.” Frost was serious. He rose from his seat, and swaggered confidently to the bar. Maura groaned and covered her eyes. She was going to tear him apart.

“What, no faith in Frost?” Korsak joked as he prodded Maura’s shoulders.

“I’m not saying that it’s Frost, I’m saying that girl is cold.” Maura’s muffled voice leaked through her arms. “He probably doesn’t have much of a chance.”

Korsak shrugged.

“We’ll see.” He simply said, and took another pull of beer. Maura tiredly lifted her head back up and surveilled the disaster zone as she sipped her wine. Frost had bought Rizzoli and drink and was attempting to engage her in conversation. Surprisingly enough, Rizzoli was reciprocating. Maura’s eyes narrowed. From what she had seen, Rizzoli would not go for a man like Barry. A dark feeling twisted in her gut.

Barry was looking pleasantly surprised and was ordering another drink for the girl. The two seemed to be hitting it off, but Maura was an expert in reading expressions. Rizzoli’s face was masked in fake interest. She didn’t want to see her friend led on, but she wanted to know Rizzoli’s reasons. As if sensing her thoughts, Rizzoli glanced over and a slow, lazy smile spread across her face. With a shock, Maura realized it was genuine. The smile turned dark, with a flash of teeth, before Rizzoli winked. It was so fast Maura didn’t know if it had even happened. She had turned her fake, interested face back on and was facing Frost.

“Well, what do you know?” Korsak mused. “Frost has still got those moves.”

For a reason she didn’t know, Maura held back from admitting what she knew.

“Yeah. He does.” She replied, unfocused.

Chapter Text

“Dr. Isles!” A voice called. Maura looked up from the familiar dissection table in the basement of the Boston PD Headquarters. She had missed this, somewhat. Working on the dead was so much more comfortable than working on the living. Frost jogged into sight, having called from the area of the elevator.

“You got the tox screen back for the two latest victims?” He inquired, trying his best to not stare at the cadavers laid out on the table. His dark skin has a green tinge to it.

“Yes, it’s here.” Maura waved vaguely at the table behind her, and continued to sew up the Y-dissection on the chest of the second victim. Frost gingerly stepped around her and picked up a beige file labeled “Tox Screen”. He patted Maura on the shoulder to indicate his gratitude, and made his way out of the lab, still avoiding the dead bodies. Before he disappeared around the corner, he glanced at Maura.

“It’s great to have you back, Doc.” He confessed. Maura didn’t pause in her work, but Frost could see her lips pull up in a smile. He continued on his way.

Korsak glanced up from his desk as Frost trampled noisily through the small homicide detective’s area. Frost slapped the file down on Korsak’s fingers.

“What’s in it?” Korsak asked. Frost shrugged.

“Haven’t seen. Brought it up from Maura so we could look at it together.” Korsak nodded and flipped open the outside. They scanned the pages in silence.

“Neither of the victims have any poison in their system. Doc has also confirmed that cause of death was the bleeding from the arterial vein in the neck.” Frost sighed. “Man, we just can’t seem to catch a break. No clues.”

Korsak held up a hand.

“Wait, look at this.” He pointed out a small sub-section at the bottom. Frost peered at it. “Both of them had alcohol in their systems.”

“What do you think it means?” Frost asked. Korsak rubbed his nose.

“It might be a long stretch, but the serial killer could be frequenting bars and taking his marks.” Korsak theorized.

“Don’t let Maura hear you guessing, or she’ll break out in hives.” Frost joked. He turned serious. “That is a plausible explanation though, he could go home with them and kill them unexpectedly. That would explain the lack of signs of struggle and forced entry.”

Korsak thoughtfully nodded, and jotted down notes in the margin of the report. Frost sighed, and rubbed his temples.

“This case is driving me crazy. Want to go see if there are any witnesses?” He suggested unenthusiastically. Korsak nodded affirmatively and the two set out.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“What’s your name, gorgeous?” A voice rasped. Jane glanced up, taking in the sight of a college-aged brunette. Judging by her voice, she smoked. Jane looked back down, dismissing the offer. She didn’t go for brunettes. Put off, the girl walked off. The bartender smirked.

“That’s cold, Rizzoli.” The proprietor of the bar commented. “Didn’t even give the poor girl a chance.” Jane flicked her eyes up to briefly glare at the bartender.

“Another beer.” She brusquely ordered. The bartender sighed and poured another of Jane’s favorite. She came to this bar because the occupants were discreet. Usually. This week, it seemed everyone was prying into her business. Especially that blonde chick. What was her name again? Isles.. Maura Isles.

“I’m going.” Jane announced as she slipped off the bar stool. The bartender only spared her a nod as she continued chatting with the friendlier barflies. Shrugging on her jacket, Jane exited the room without making eye contact with anyone.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“No one knew her very well.” The neighbor confessed. Her eyes bounced nervously between the two detectives. “I’m not in trouble, am I?”

Frost shook his head and snapped his notebook closed.

“No, it’s fine Ms. Randell. Thank you for your cooperation.” He reassured. With a glance at Korsak, the two walked towards the stairwell. The day of interrogation had not been going well. None of the neighbors had been friends with the vic, not even the one directly across the hallway.

Korsak rubbed the bridge of his nose and grimaced. He glanced over at Frost, who was grumpily leaning against the wall.

“Let’s go ask around the second vic’s area.” Korsak tried to think positively as he lightly patted Frost’s shoulder. Frost just grunted.

The elevator ride down was silent. As the two were exiting the building, someone came jogging up.

“Detectives!” The male voice called. The two turned, surprised. Witnesses rarely approached the pair by themselves.

“Yes? What is it?” Korsak eyed the young man. He was around the same age as the victims, fresh out of high school.

“I knew the girl wh.. who died.” The man shifted his eyes, constantly looking around. The two detectives were intrigued. Her neighbors didn’t know her, yet this guy did?

“What do you know about her death?” Frost interrupted. The man looked startled as he switched his gaze from Korsak to him.

“I.. Not much. I know that she started going to a bar recently.” He rubbed the back of his head. “It’s called Lynx.”

Korsak looked at Frost, indicating that he should take notes. Frost pulled out his pad. Maybe the day was looking up.

“How do you know that?” Korsak asked. The man was taken aback by the question.

“I.. I sa-saw her leave the bar.” He inelegantly lied. The detectives glanced at each other again. Korsak unlocked his police cruiser.

“Come on, you’re coming to HQ with us.”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

There was a knock at the door.

“Come in.” Maura called, still focused on the file below her. Inside lay all legal information she could get about Jane Rizzoli. Frost stepped inside, shutting the door behind him.

“We got a suspect upstairs. Could you take this and get a DNA sample for future reference?” He held up a small vial with a hair inside. Maura narrowed her eyes.

“How did you get this?” She demanded. “I’m pretty sure a ‘suspect’ is not in full custody yet.”

Frost rubbed his nose, a nervous sign.

“I might have lifted it off him when we were putting him in the car.” He grudgingly admitted. Maura looked scandalized.

“You can’t do that!” She protested. Frost rolled his eyes.

“Aw, Maura. Can’t you just see the DNA? Please?” Frost pleaded. This could be their big catch. Maura nearly growled. She swiped the vial out of his hand.

“Fine.” She forced out. She looked back down at the file, dismissing Frost.

“Thanks Maura!” He grinned brightly before slipping out.

“I’ll send it up to your desk when it’s done.” Maura called after his retreating form. She sighed as the door closed. She closed the file. She’d look at it later.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“I’ll ask you again, punk.” Korsak growled at the man, who they had identified as Ross Wayman. “Why did you kill her?”

“I-I didn’t!” Ross protested. “I only met her once.”

Korsak glanced at the mirror which was a window on the other side. Frost was undoubtedly looking in. Korsak left the room without another word.

“Want to go in as the good cop now?” Korsak asked Frost, who was waiting for him outside the door. Frost nodded.

“This guy seems like he’ll break under that. He doesn’t seem like the type to have the nerve to kill 21 girls though.” Frost admitted. The nervous man was anything but a killer, but he was their only suspect at the moment. The detective eased the door open and slipped inside.

“Hey, Ross.” He said in his most soothing voice. “It’s okay, I’m here to help you.”

Ross looked up, nervous to see another uniform.

“I told you, I didn’t kill her!” He stammered out. Frost cringed on the inside. This man had no will.

“How did you meet her? Will you tell me that?” Like calming a spooked animal, Frost guided the man to gently spill his guts.

“I met her when she first moved to the complex.” Ross started. “It was.. Maybe a month ago. I saw her and I thought I really liked her, so I dropped by to say hello.”

Frost internally sighed in relief. Finally, some answers. He pulled out his notes to take down what Ross was saying.

“I wanted to ask her out, but she said that she couldn’t, that she was going to some bar.” Ross continued. Frost’s eyebrows drew together. Why couldn’t she go out with some guy if she was just going to what sounded like a singles bar?

“Why couldn’t she go out with you if she was already frequenting a bar?” Frost pushed. Ross paused.

“I mean, I asked, but she wouldn’t tell me.” Ross admitted. Frost could see he was telling the truth, so he waved his hand to indicate that he should go on.

“I followed her to the bar that night.” Ross shifted his jaw. Nervous. “At first, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary there. Drinks. People. A dance floor.”

“What happened then?” Frost inquired. He could sense something come up.

“Then some guy started hitting on me!” Ross exclaimed. He tugged at his hair. “Some queer dressed in bright pink pants. He was the epitome of the stereotype! He asked me if I wanted to go home with him.”

Frost’s eyebrows rose.

“So, one gay asked you out. What’s wrong with that?” Frost’s hackles were starting to rise. The stammer and the apparent homophobic tendencies were getting on his nerves.

“We-well.. I looked around..” Ross continued, shaken by the “nice cop”’s accusatory tone. “It was a gay bar. All the couples were gay.”

Frost sat back. It sounded like their serial killer wasn’t a man after all. He glanced at the shaken ex-suspect.

“You saw her, then?” He asked finally. Ross nodded vigorously.

“She was talking with a tall brunette. They both saw me, though. I hightailed it out of there as soon as that happened. I think she knows who I am.” Ross was definitely scared now. Now there was a reason why he had approached the detectives. “Can I go now?”

Frost waved at the door.

“You’re free. We have all we need.” Frost smiled, a tight grimace that didn’t fool anyone. Ross scrambled out of his seat and all but ran for the door. Korsak came in a moment later.

“You heard everything?” Frost glanced at his partner. Korsak’s face was set in a glare.

“We’ve been on the wrong trail for months. It’s a woman.” When Korsak spoke, his voice was gravelly and angry. “At least we now have a vague description. A tall brunette. It fits the person that we saw walking away at the second vic’s house.”

Neither of them remembered that Frost had given a tall brunette his business card at the bar the other night.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Ugh!” Maura slammed the steering wheel. “Start!” She turned the ignition again, to no avail. The sleek, expensive sports car remained silent. She climbed out, and dug out her phone from her purse. Quickly finding the nearest car garage, she called them requested a tow truck to bring her car to be fixed.

The day had been too good to be without something happening. Cavanaugh had basically waved her right in, ignoring the year she had been away. When she had protested at the easiness, he fixed her with a stern look.

“Don’t thank me. We need you here, Doc. If you find that too easy, you’ll soon see that you’ll have to make it up to everyone who missed you.” He had admonished, and Maura had quietly crept down to her untouched office.

She was quiet as the tow truck hooked under her bumper and pulled her to the garage. She climbed out, brushing down her expensive pencil skirt. She glanced around at the oil-streaked surroundings, nearly shivering with the disgusting state of the area.

“That is fucking sexist!” Maura heard a hoarse voice scream. “Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’ll fucking ‘connect’ better with a female customer or something!”

Maura’s lips turned downward. Profanity. What a waste of a language, to use such slurs.

“Just get over there and fix the goddamn car, alright?” A deep, masculine voice yelled right back. Maura sighed and leaned against her car. She stared at the only doorway, and waited for her mechanic to arrive.

What she wasn’t expecting was Rizzoli to stroll around the corner, still obviously full of rage. It was obvious Rizzoli wasn’t expecting her either. Rizzoli seemed like the type of person to want to remain in control, and the lapse in a cool veneer seemed to fuel her rage.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” She growled. A full tool belt was strapped to her waist, hanging dangerously low on her hips. Maura swallowed.

“My car broke down.” Maura replied, her voice curt. She wasn’t going to give in to Rizzoli. The woman in question narrowed her eyes, before focusing on the car instead of Maura.

“Shit!” She exclaimed, her eyes widening. Maura sighed and tried to block it out. “Goddamn, that is an expensive car.”

“Will you please fix it instead of wasting my time?” Maura tried to steer the attention of the awed mechanic to more productive areas.

“Yeah yeah, Doc. Right on it.” She replied. The mechanic absentmindedly tossed a wrench in the air and caught it as she circled the car, looking for any outside flaws. Finally, she opened up the hood of the car and peered inside.

“Your fuel pump and spark plug are both fucked up.” She finally commented after scanning the mess of metal parts. Maura raised an elegant eyebrow.

“What does that mean?” She queried. She felt dumb having to ask. Rizzoli glanced at her with a derisive smirk on her face.

“Nothing your elitist ass needs to know. You’ll have to leave this overnight, we need to order both those parts.” Rizzoli seemed to take pleasure in causing Maura misery. Now she needed to take a cab home, and she hated doing that.

“Thank you.” She gritted out. Rizzoli smirked and kept flipping the wrench.

“No problem.” Maura left the area with the words ringing in her ears. Why did she have to be so condescending? She entered a small room labeled “Payment”.

“Hello? Sir?” She tried to get the attention of the man sitting behind the desk. He glanced at her, before doing a double take. He stood up hastily, holding out a large, beefy hand.

“Hello, uh- ma’am.” He stumbled. Maura held out a dainty hand and carefully shook the man’s proffered extremity.

“One of your mechanics informed me that a spark plug and a um.. fuel pump.. had to be replaced.” Maura disclosed. “I’m here to pay. The mechanic also mentioned that the car would have to be left overnight.”

The man pulled some paper out of a back pocket and jotted down what Maura was saying, before pulling up a list of prices on the screen of his computer.

“Cash or credit?” The man tried to be professional, but Maura could sense his eyes sliding down her body. She shivered, not in a good way. His eyes on her body felt slimy and vile.

“Credit.” She held out a platinum card, and he ran it through the system. He glanced at her again.

“Since your car is going to be here for the night, do you need a ride home?” He offered. Maura wanted to say no, but it would be rude. She hated being rude. She also hated cabs.

“That’s very kind of you.” She replied in a clipped tone. He creeped her out.

“Great!” He rubbed his hands and pulled a set of keys off the wall. “Let’s go.”

Maura immediately regretted her decision as he led her towards the road.

“Hold it, Hoage, where are you going?” A deep voice burred. The same voice that had been yelling at Rizzoli earlier.

“Jus’ driving this pretty lady home.” When deferring to what seemed to be the boss of the garage, ‘Hoage’ reverted to his apparent southern accent.

“Hoage, you gotta stop hitting on the customers.” The boss, easily six feet and hairy, shut down Hoage’s protests. “You ain’t driving this gal home.”

Maura sighed. Back to the cab then.

“Rizzoli! Get your feminine ass over here and drive this customer home.” Nearby, the man’s voice was even louder and rougher than before. Rizzoli’s angry scream from the other room indicated what she felt about the command. “If you ain’t gonna cooperate, I’m gonna have to fire you. Again!”

Rizzoli finally walked in, a dirty rag thrown over her shoulder and her hair tied up.

“I ain’t driving some prissy shit home.” She hissed at the man standing next to Maura. Maura tried to contain the situation before it turned into a large fight between two stubborn individuals.

“I’ll take a cab. It’s fine.” She placated. The man glanced down at her.

“See that, Rizzoli? You’re forcing a fine mam to take a cab home.” He growled. Rizzoli growled right back.

“Fucking fine!” She relented. She stomped back into the other room to presumably grab her keys. Maura sighed. She didn’t want to be used as a piece in the ongoing war between the garage’s owner and the temperamental mechanic, but it seemed she had no choice.

Rizzoli reentered with a set of keys twirling on her fingers, with the rag missing.

“Follow me.” Her order was curt and angry. Maura followed meekly after the seething woman. The two exited through a car entrance and started walking down the road. Rizzoli finally stopped in front of a small, comfortable-looking car.

“Get in.” She indicated the passenger’s side before walking around to the driver’s seat. She climbed in with a grunt of satisfaction, and twisted her key in the ignition. Maura eyed the seat before sitting down. How had she ended up in the same car as her former patient?

Maura gave her directions to the upscale part of town, and Rizzoli glanced at Maura as the car rumbled to life. The car ride was silent the whole way through, Rizzoli apparently having spent all her energy fighting with the garage owner.

“Here.” Maura finally opened her mouth as Rizzoli pulled up in front of her house. Rizzoli looked at her, but didn’t say anything. Maura started to climb out of the car, but stared back at Rizzoli. High, proud cheekbones, a defined nose, and dark eyes stared back at her.

“Thank you.” She managed. “For bringing me home.”

“No problem.” Rizzoli breathed. Maura broke the connection between their eyes and closed the door softly. She stood on the street as Rizzoli pulled away, and stared at the back of the car until it turned around the corner.

Chapter Text

“Janie!” Angela Rizzoli’s voice had the magical property that allowed it to cut through any other sound. “Janie! Dinner’s ready.”

Jane ran a hand through her wet hair. She squinted through the curtain of water at her hands. They were nearly scrubbed raw, but that didn’t mean she needed more cleaning. She grabbed a cloth and continued to wipe her arms and legs. Blood was notoriously hard to get off, after all.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Hey, Maura?” Frost glanced around the corner. Maura was once again dissecting another body in the underground morgue.

“What is it, Frost?” Maura smiled. He never did get over his fear of gore. “I can’t hear you from there, come in.”

The detective reluctantly walked in, still avoiding the sight of the cut open cadaver.

“We’re going to see Ross again. The ex-suspect. Do you want to come?” He asked the wall, head turned away. Maura decided that she had teased him enough already. She snapped off her latex gloves and waved an assistant over to sew up the dead body.

“I’d be glad to. Let’s get going.” She headed towards the hallway, gripping Frost’s elbow lightly and guiding him out.

Korsak glanced up as the two entered the detective’s workplace above. He stood from his chair, groaning and stretching.

“I’m so done with all these nasty paperwork.” He announced. “Let’s go visit our creep.”

Frost took his time driving to Ross’ place. This was, after all, a routine checkup. The man had given them his address when they had first started to interrogate him. They knocked on the door, but got no response.

“You think he skipped town?” Frost glanced over at Korsak. Korsak shook his head.

“He’s too much of a coward.” Korsak grunted. He rapped the door, harder. No sound.

“You think he was right about the serial killer knowing who he was?” Frost finally asked. Korsak’s face was grim.

“Let’s find out.”

Frost kicked in the door, smashing the lock.

“Boston PD!” He yelled into the seemingly empty house. The two detectives led the way, with Maura standing outside the door safely. Korsak shouted from one of the rooms and Maura and Frost came running.

“Damn.” Frost growled as the two entered the scene. “Too late.”

The trio stared down at the body of Ross Wayman, a note plastered to his chest.

Nice try

- J
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

There was a scraping noise that undulated as something dragged over the grooves in the floorboards. The sound grew louder and louder until it seemed to be right by Maura’s head.

“Hello, Doc. Did you miss me?” An amused voice seemed to pierce the tension-filled air. There was a brief silence before an axehead slammed into the floor just by her face, the sharp blade slicing smoothly into the wood. All Maura could hear was the roar of blood in her ears and her own hyperventilation. She forced her mouth open, her lips parting with extreme effort.

“I know where your base is. I’ll tell them. You wouldn’t kill me.” She threatened. She felt pitiful. Small. Helpless. Duct tape bound her arms, knees, ankles.

“You wouldn’t do that.” The voice didn’t sound scared at all. In fact, it sounded chiding, like disciplining a small child.

“I w-would.” Maura hated the wobble in her voice. Weakness. “Why wouldn’t I?”

The body of the speaker squatted, their lips right by Maura’s ear. The voice chuckled, the low, throaty noise reverberating in her ears.

“Because you love me.”

Maura awoke with a gasp. She hadn’t had that nightmare in months. Her skin was beaded with sweat, her nightshirt clinging to her damp skin. She brushed her hair out of her face and climbed out of her overheated bed. She glanced at the clock. 5:39 am. Might as well get up. She shivered in the predawn chill. Stepping into the bathroom, she glanced at her haggard appearance. It brought back memories she didn’t want to relive, the time where she had been so guilty she could barely function.

As she stared at herself in the mirror, lost in thought, a small scratching noise at her bedroom door stirred her into action. She nudged open the door, and Bass receded into his shell. Maura smiled gently before rubbing her tortoise’s back.

“Hey, buddy.” She whispered. She padded softly to the kitchen, where she sliced strawberries for Bass and left them in his dish. He slowly started making his way to the bowl, and Maura stepped back into her room to take a shower before work.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

 

“Huh. That’s weird.” Maura commented while looking down at the file. She had arrived at work, early. No one was present, so she had descended to her office to continue looking at Jane’s file. That was one perk of being part of the department, she had access to files that would otherwise be private.

Maura traced a finger over the stamp. ‘Confidential’ covered the information on Jane’s records during police academy. It had surprised Maura that the brash and dangerous female had once aspired to become a police officer. She flipped through the rest of the pages, inconsequential information analyzed and stored if an occasion ever required it.

“Doc?” A smooth voice queried as a man in a dark suit slipped in her office. Maura glanced up, then hesitantly smiled. Gabriel Dean smiled back before taking a seat on the chair in front of her desk.

“What brings you here, Mr. Dean?” Maura’s brain ticked. She could use this to her advantage.

“Please, Doc.” Gabriel smiled winningly. “Just call me Gabriel. And to answer your question, I’m working on the new serial killer case.”

Maura curtly nodded, taking in the information, before indicating the file in front of her. She hated lying, but it seemed she really needed to this time.

“Thank you, Gabriel. I’m working on the serial killer case too. I need some information on the background of Jane Rizzoli. Could you take a look at this file and get the information that seems to be confidential?” She pleaded silently with her eyes. Gabriel paused, and flipped open the file.

“She’s just a civilian. This seems suspicious that something could be confidential in here. I can do that for you.” He looked back up at Maura. Maura smiled back at him. The hives were already forming with her lie, but she refused to itch. “By the way, can you go out for dinner tonight? A bunch of the department is heading out.”

Maura’s smile cooled a bit. She didn’t especially like the man, he always hit on the female detectives.

“I’m sorry, Gabriel. I have a cadaver to examine. Maybe some other time?” Her offer was fake, but her smile was sweet enough for Gabriel to overlook it. The man nodded slowly, before standing up.

“I’ll get this back to you tonight, before I leave.” He indicated the tan folder in his hands. Maura sent another glowing smile his way. He grinned back before jauntily strolling out of her office. As soon as he closed the door behind him, Maura’s face dropped. The day had just begun, and she already felt exhausted. The FBI officer had often dropped in on the Boston PD, occasionally even taking credit for the hard work of the homicide detectives.

With all the paperwork dealt with, Maura only had one more job to do. She stood up from her comfortable chair, stretching her tired muscles before carefully patting down her expensive clothing. She exchanged her soft office loafers for her high-heeled Jimmy Choos. With a shift of her weight to make sure her feet were correctly arranged, she confidently stepped out of her office. She walked over to the cold storage, and pulled out the body of Ross Wayman.

Several hours of dissection later, she set her final scalpel on the table. She had seen all that the poor man’s dead body could offer her, and it was time to inform the detectives of what she had found out. She called an aide over, asking the scrub-covered man to run a message to Frost and Korsak upstairs. With that, she dropped tiredly to a convenient chair behind her. She glanced at the slim Rolex on her wrist. It was just about time for dinner.

“Hey, Doc.” Korsak’s familiar voice greeted Maura as he entered the room. Maura waited patiently for the slim form of Frost to follow, but after a few seconds, it was apparent he wasn’t coming.

“Where’s your partner, Korsak?” She asked. It was rare that the two separated. They were, after all, partners in homicide. That type of bond was hard to come by.

“Frost felt sick, so he went home. I think he’s still moody about how Ross wasn’t our killer.” Korsak tried to joke, but it fell flat. “So, what do you have to tell me about the body?”

Maura stood up from the chair, indicating the body laying before her, along with the bullet she had pulled out of its’ body.

“Shot through the heart from behind. Ross had his phone in his breast pocket, it stopped the bullet from leaving completely. If the perp had shot him from the front, it may have saved him.” Maura started, picking up the small, sleek bullet she had extracted. “I have the serial number for the gun, if you’d like to run it through the system.”

She handed Korsak a scrap of paper with the number on it, along with a small plastic bag with the bullet inside.

“There was nothing unusual with the tox screen. Cause of death was the bullet, obviously.” Maura finished up. She glanced at Korsak’s face. “What about the scene? What does it tell us?”

“A jimmied lock on the window in his bedroom. Perp probably got in that way, shot him, and left through the same window.” Korsak theorized, recalling the clean crime scene. “Well, Doc, thanks for the info. I’ll run it through the system before calling it a night.”

Maura nodded and saw the detective out, before retreating back to her office. She rubbed her temples. The recent killing of Ross Wayman had seemed to be the work of the serial killer, but it didn’t have the same MO. That either meant it wasn’t the work of the serial killer, or that the MO of the female victims held special meaning for the killer.

“Hey?” A voice called out, muffled, from outside her office door.

“Come in.” Maura invited, not feeling too friendly. Gabriel strode into the office with a familiar file in his hand, thickened out with more papers. He set it down on Maura’s desk.

“Here’s the info you wanted.” He preened, almost asking for praise. “Flashed a badge, said it was for the case, and I got it.”

“Thank you, Gabriel.” Maura eyed the folder hungrily. She might finally get some answers. She nearly forgot to lay on the flattery a bit thick to satisfy Gabriel’s pride. “You did really well. I’m so glad you did this for me.”

He smiled under the flattery.

“No problem for you, Doc.” He flashed what was supposedly a winning smile. Maura grimaced on the inside. With another flirtatious grin, Gabriel finally left her office. Maura stared down at the closed folder. Jane Rizzoli. Her heartbeat quickened, and her instinct screamed at her to tear through the documents.

She flipped open to the first page. This she had already seen. Family members, date of birth, hospital, residence. She continued. Elementary, secondary education. No college.

There it was. Police academy. Her grades were listed. They were high, with outstanding marks in shooting and protectional instincts. Obviously she would have graduated as an honor recruit, if something hadn’t happened. Hands shaking slightly, Maura turned the page again. A new page that she hadn’t seen before had been inserted into the area below the stamp of confidentiality. Maura scanned it eagerly, before leaning back, horrified. The truth had been much worse than she had expected.

Chapter Text

“Where’s Korsak?” Maura demanded as she entered the work area above. Various detectives glanced up, surprised at the disheveled state of the usually impeccably dressed doctor.

“He’s at the café.” One of the detectives supplied helpfully. Maura flashed a curt smile at him. Even if he had provided her with the information she needed, she could still feel his gaze on her body. Without another word, she spun and headed downstairs to the small police lounge where Korsak alleged was. Time was of essence.

“Korsak?” Her voice filled the room. She hated being loud, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Several detectives looked up, but none of them were Korsak. She stepped further into the café, but a hand settled on her shoulder stopped her from proceeding.

“Doc? What’s going on?” Cavanaugh’s voice was haughtily curious. Maura turned around, immediately wanting to brush off the hand. Cavanaugh was equal parts condescending and unhelpful. She needed to find Korsak, now.

“Have you seen Korsak? I–” Maura had been prepared to tell the commander that Frost was in danger. Looking at the cooly indifferent look on his face changed her thoughts. “I just need to tell him something.”

“I’m sure he will turn up.” Cavanaugh offered some vague words of reassurance, before making his way out of the café, a coffee in hand. Maura flicked her eyes around the room once again, before exiting. She would just have to go herself.

Since her car was still in the garage – despite their assurances that her car would be fixed soon – Maura had been loaned a police cruiser. In a few minutes, Maura Isles was breaking traffic rules for the first time in her life. The police sirens were turned on, and Maura winced at the brashness that possessed her as cars shifted out of her way. She ran multiple red lights, but found herself not caring as she reviewed the dangerous facts she had seen. Focusing herself on the task, she thought of Frost’s location. She had only been to Frost’s small, one-person apartment once, but her eidetic memory had kept the address carefully stored in her archives.

She swerved around another blaring car, apologizing under her breath. Usually, she would never do anything to inconvenience others. There was no choice here, however. She could either get there in time or arrive just as Frost started the death rattle.

When a grunt of exertion, she swerved the car into a slot on the side of the road. Not minding how unseemly she must look, she climbed out of the car hastily. She stared up at the familiar apartment face. It looked undisturbed. If her memory truly remained accurate, Frost’s apartment was on the first floor.

She entered the front door of the complex without incident, and knocked on the door labeled ‘102’. It was silent within. Feeling a twist of dread in her gut, she knocked again, louder this time. When there was again, no reaction, she pulled out a set of lockpicks. Maura Isles was a perfectionist, and that meant learning as many skills as she could. Even ones that were considered unsavory. With another glance over her shoulder to make sure there were no witnesses, she set to work. With a wiggle of her wrist, the door clicked open. She set down her purse, only taking her phone in case of emergencies. Maura knew she was no police officer, but she had to do something. As a last resort, she sent a text with Frost’s address to Korsak’s phone.

With trepidation, she eased open the door and glanced inside. It was dark, the blinds pulled and the lights off. She slipped inside, her heels having been discarded outside for the sake of silence. Maura didn’t dare to turn on the lights. Her heartbeat felt like a hummingbird, fluttering rapidly in her chest.

She left the door ajar, hoping against hope that Korsak or other officers would soon arrive. She crept past the small living room and the pristine kitchen. The silence was so deep Maura was sure she would have been able to hear a pin drop. As far as she could recall, there was only one more set of rooms in the apartment. A bedroom with an adjoined bathroom. She arrived at the end of a short hallway, only a door separating her from the impending danger. There was no other way to do it.

Maura closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. After taking three – the most efficient way to fill the system with oxygen, Maura pulled up from the dredges of her memory – she twisted the knob and walked into the room.

Her stockings made the barest whisper against the carpeted floor. The room was drab, a bed lying right in the middle with a small wardrobe situated against the wall. A small window leaked in beams of the street lights outside. Even from the door, Maura could see the broken lock on the window. Her heartbeat sped up once again, a hammering roar filling her ears.

“I know you’re here.” She swallowed, the action not soothing her dry throat. “I saw your records. I know about Hoyt. I know you’re here.. Rizzoli.”

Instead of a verbal reply, Maura heard the faintest whoosh of air before she was knocked forward, her arms wrestled behind her back in a vice-like grip. Whoever it was immediately duct-taped Maura’s forearms together, before shoving her to the ground. Maura’s breathing was harsh, filling the room with her panic.

“What are you going to do?” Maura surprised herself by breathing out a question. She knew that talking to a serial killer was one of the dumbest things she could ever do.

“I can’t let you go back and tell them.” A rough voice answer. Maura finally dared a glance upward. She was right, after all. Jane Rizzoli stood, proud and angry. Here in this shadowed room, Rizzoli paced and stared at Maura like she was prey. “How did you know?”

 Maura was startled by the question. She hadn’t expected to be interrogated. She thought back to the file she had pulled out of the archives..

She flipped open to the first page. This she had already seen. Family members, date of birth, hospital, residence. She continued. Elementary, secondary education. No college.

There it was. Police academy. Her grades were listed. They were high, with outstanding marks in shooting and protectional instincts. Obviously she would have graduated as an honor recruit, if something hadn’t happened. Hands shaking slightly, Maura turned the page again. A new page that she hadn’t seen before had been inserted into the area below the stamp of confidentiality. Maura scanned it eagerly, before leaning back, horrified. The truth had been much worse than she had expected.

In front of her lay photos of a crime scene. A dead man’s body lay on the side of the road, his throat slit with a serrated knife. James Hoyt. Former serial killer and famous for his surgical precision. Maura glanced down at the file, taking in more information. Jane Rizzoli had been caught entering her dorm room past curfew. This small mistake had doomed her. She had disobeyed direct orders to avoid Hoyt at all costs.

“Why Hoyt?” Maura muttered to herself. She flipped a page. Jane Rizzoli had been taken by Hoyt. Bound. Scalpels through her hands. Maura winced. Injuries like that left long-lasting scars and pain. Rizzoli had escaped through her own ingenuity, returning back to the relatively safe campus of the police academy. Instead of removing her from the academy, they had decided to give her a second chance, due to her escape by her own means.

The file outlined that they had had experienced officers come in and train small groups of recruits with evidence from the Hoyt’s crimes, but they had refused Rizzoli the same education. Stating that she was too fragile after her victimization, she had been given a leave of two months. Instead of waiting it out, overwhelming conclusive evidence pointed to the fact that Jane Rizzoli found and killed Hoyt herself.

“Why?” Maura whispered. She could feel Rizzoli’s eyes trained on her every movement. “Why did you kill Hoyt?”

“Because those fuckers wouldn’t.” Rizzoli’s voice was filled to the brim with anger. “I did them a fucking favor.”

“You just went outside the law!” Maura protested. She knew that whatever good Rizzoli had done by stopping a serial killer was negated by the fact that she had considered herself above the law for it.

“Do you think I’m some charity?” Rizzoli knelt down in front of Maura, gripping her chin so the two would be face-to-face. “I don’t care about the fucking law. It was personal.”

Maura gasped. She remembered how Rizzoli had been captured and kept in Hoyt’s van for a month, before escaping. It hadn’t be vigilante duty that led Rizzoli to killing Hoyt. It had been revenge.

“I’m gonna ask you again.” Rizzoli breathed, raking her eyes over Maura to make sure she had no tricks. “How did you find out? That file is sealed.”

“I got an FBI agent to unlock it for me.” Maura finally admitted. Omission of truth was fine for Maura, but direct lying gave her hives and itching. Posed with a direct question in a serious situation was almost impossible to avoid. “I also saw Frost give you his card, which has his address on it. That bar, that night, I knew it wasn’t a coincidence.”

“Fuck. They should make you detective, Doc.” Rizzoli stood up from her squat and walked over to the window, peering out. Maura considered the possibility of somehow getting her tape off and escaping. She dismissed it. She was a doctor, not a police officer. Do no harm. Instead, she watched as Rizzoli paced back and forth in front of the window, the lights throwing her shadow across the room. She looked uncaged. Feral. Terrifying. And in spite of it all, Maura remembered the humanity underneath. The way Rizzoli had driven her home. The way she refused to be put down by the men in the garage.

“They’ll be here soon.” Maura finally uttered. Rizzoli snapped her gaze up to make eye contact. “I texted them before I came in.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Rizzoli replied. Maura had just given her the warning she needed to remain uncaught. “This doesn’t help your investigation.”

Ignoring Rizzoli’s words – they hit too close to home – Maura shifted her arms uncomfortably.

“Where is he?” She asked after the awkward silence. “Frost.”

Rizzoli’s mouth curled into a smile, but it didn’t come close to her eyes. Knowing Rizzoli even briefly, Maura knew that there was nothing the woman did without passion. She was full of fire and rage, emotion and hate.

“He’s safe.” Rizzoli admitted. “For now. I was waiting for him when you came in.”

Maura’s body relaxed in relief. He was alive. She had arrived in time. The sticky adhesive of the tape irritated her wrists.

“I’m a Doctor. Not a detective.” Maura started. Rizzoli’s eyes lit up in curiosity. “I wouldn’t hurt you, even if I had the chance to. So could I please get this tape off?”

“You have some nerve, Doc.” Rizzoli stayed where she was. Her eyes were now narrowed in suspicion. “Asking your capturer to set you free.”

“Yes, you’re right, I suppose.” Maura sighed. It had been worth a try. Her skin, easily irritated, was itching all along the arms now.

“Why are you a doctor?” Rizzoli’s voice pierced the silence that had blanketed the room. Maura stirred, surprised by the inane question.

“It’s.. Surgical.” Maura tried to call up the feelings it stirred within her. “I want to help people. I’m not good with people, though. Live ones anyway. Dead ones are much more understanding. That’s why I’m at the morgue now.”

“Shit, Doc.” Rizzoli laughed, a deep, husky noise. Maura shivered. “I always knew you were into some morbid shit behind that facade. What I really meant was; why aren’t you a detective?”

“Do no harm.” Maura stiffly recited. She didn’t think she would ever be able to take a gun and shoot someone. Her position as the morgue’s specialist allowed her to work on the cases while remaining as a passive character, a non-violent one.

“That’s a shame. You’d be good.” In some twisted semblance of normalcy, Rizzoli was now complimenting her. “You found out before the others and got here before I got to Frost.”

“That was a matter of coincidence.” Maura loathed to admit it, but chance encounters did happen and coincidence could be attributed to some of them. “I only understood the context because I had met you before.”

Jane sat on the bed with a unnecessary flourish, and Maura examined her for the first time since entering the room. She was wearing long, dark pants. A dark button-up was tucked in with a belt cinched around her waist. Comfortable black boots allowed freedom of movement. No jewelry. Hair up in a loose ponytail. As Maura shifted her gaze to Rizzoli’s face, she was startled by the fact that Rizzoli was staring back at her.

“You done creepin’ on me, Doc?” Rizzoli asked, her eyes full of mirth. She clearly remained unperturbed despite the fact that her identity had been revealed. At the very least, she looked calm on the surface. Maura flushed, a red tinge creeping up her neck. She hadn’t been ‘creeping’ on the unruly woman, she convinced herself. Rizzoli’s uncanny eyes could see the denial within Maura’s eyes, and she threw her head back, a belly laugh erupting from her throat. It was deep, throaty, and thoroughly amused. She resumed staring at Maura, before finally seemed to make a decision within herself.

“I’m not going to kill you.” She admitted. Maura narrowed her eyes. Words from a serial killer were never completely honest. How could one trust another who had killed innocents?

“Why?” Maura’s whole body may have been wracked with fear, but her curiosity remained. Rizzoli stared at her, dark eyes drinking up her body.

“You warned me about the detectives coming soon.” Rizzoli stood from the bed, brushing imaginary dust off her pants. “You could have ambushed me, but you didn’t.”

“That’s not all of it.” Maura breathed, watching Rizzoli stretch and roll her neck in a sinuous movement. Although Rizzoli did have a semblance of honor, it seemed, she would not give a potential victim just for the favor of safety. “What’s the real reason?”

“You can always see right through me, Doc.” Rizzoli quietly answered. That was it. Respect. One intelligent individual to another. Maura wasn’t sure whether she was flattered or repulsed by the praise of the serial killer in front of her. “You saw through me at the hospital, and you figured out where to find me.”

“Yes.” The finality of the statement seemed to mark the shift between the two individuals. Whether it was simply the end of a conversation, or the admittance of Rizzoli’s admiration, something evolved in the air between them. Before either of them could make any more comments, the sound of heavy boots on the floorboards at the entrance stopped them. With a last glance at Maura, Rizzoli climbed out of the unlocked window. Within a few seconds, she disappeared across the rooftops, presumably to escape.

“Freeze!” Frost’s reassuring voice yelled as his face swam into view within the doorway. Maura’s face remained impassive, but her insides were a mess of conflicting feelings. “Doc! Thank God you’re okay.”

The next few minutes seemed to pass in a blur. The duct tape was cut from Maura’s arms, and she sat in a police cruiser, protected by officers as they searched the house for other signs of invasion.

“Are you okay?” Korsak’s gruff voice pierced the silence she had been sitting in. Despite his rough exterior, Maura knew that he was truly concerned.

“I’m fine.” Maura replied. The experience had actually been far less traumatic than she had expected. Rizzoli hadn’t injured her at all, despite the ample amount of time that had been provided.

“Did you see the perp?” Korsak hated asking his friend such direct questions, but he needed what facts he could get from what seemed to be the only living witness left. Maura so badly wanted to explain everything, how she had first met Rizzoli, but something stayed her tongue. Maybe it was the twisted code of honor the killer had.

“I was caught by surprise.” Maura wasn’t lying, she had been nevertheless been terrified by the tackle as soon as she had walked in, but omission of truth was a lot easier than lying.

“Did you hear their voice? Anything?” Korsak was grasping at straws, and he looked at Maura pleadingly. It broke her heart to impede the investigation.

“Sorry.” She finally offered, a little consolation to the disappointment she had proved to be. Her heart clenched. When had she started becoming okay with helping a serial killer? She might convince herself that she wasn’t directly helping Rizzoli, but she knew that by not giving up the valuable information she had, she would set back the investigation by months.

Korsak didn’t even look angry, he just sympathetically patted the doctor on the shoulder before walking off to talk to some CSU investigators. Maura caught Frost’s eye, and he gave her a curt nod, his way of comforting her. Within the hour, the scene was wrapped up and the area cleared.

Chapter Text

“I hate to ask, but could you go pick up my car?” Maura glanced through her eyelashes at Frost, trying to gain enough pity for him to do the errand for her. He sighed, grinding his shoe into the ground. Maura smiled inwardly, knowing that it was his sign of resignation.

“Why’d you need this, again?” Frost was trying vainly to find excuses to not do the useless task, and rightly so. Maura didn’t really have a legitimate reason, but seeing Rizzoli again so soon would make her world feel too surreal. Serial killer, garage mechanic. The two just didn’t seem to go together.

“The guys there are creepy.” Maura settled for the truth. She had been truly unnerved by the mechanic who had breathed heavily and smelt of cheap cigarettes. “He wouldn’t leave me alone, and I really don’t want to go back.”

Frost nodded understandingly. Most of the police personnel regarded Maura as the epitome of ladylike behavior, and having harassment directed at their favorite examiner brought out the protective instincts in almost all of them. Frost finally sighed and swiped the keys out of Maura’s pleadingly outstretched hand.

“I’m only doing this ‘cause you saved my life.” He ribbed, trying to conceal the real reason why he was acting like a whipped puppy. He half-grinned, still showing that he was sincere about the thanks.

“Great!” Maura exclaimed, a smile lighting up her face. Frost sheepishly grinned. “Ask for Rizzoli, she’s supposed to be working on it.”

With a last nod, Frost exited the fancily decorated office. Maura sat back, exhausted. She had returned to work the day after the incident, unwilling to abandon one of her havens. The more worried of her friends had protested, but she had waved off their concerns. Just being at the morgue calmed her.

All too soon, another intruder entered her office. Maura blinked once again and glanced up at the visitor, the picture of poise once again. Korsak was just closing the door, a vial daintily clutched within his left hand. Maura eyed the vial nervously. Could it be a lead?

“Hey, Doc!” Korsak greeted casually as he shuffled forward. He grinned widely as he held up the vial, a single dark strand within. Maura’s blood froze, feeling as if it had crystallized and pierced her tissue. Cold sweat immediately broke across her back, a chill sweeping through her body. “Got a lead that could end this.”

“What is it?” Maura tried to be calm, but her hand shook slightly as she reached out for the vial. She shouldn’t be feeling so much sympathy for a killer. Rizzoli was a sociopath, that much was clear.

“It’s a hair. Found at the scene, on the bed in the room you were found.” Korsak was proud, puffing his chest out. The case that had been stumping the homicide branch for months could be coming to an end. Yet even with the joy she should’ve been feeling, Maura’s insides twisted uncomfortably.

“I’ll run it through the lab myself, and then the system. I’ll get the results up to you as soon as I can.” Maura knew she had no other choice. She was the Chief Medical Examiner, and it was her duty to capture the criminal that was Rizzoli. And yet, she couldn’t keep out of her mind the sight of the true laugh Rizzoli had released the other day. Joy had been written across the sharp features, dark hair cascading down a lithe back, mouth parted, lips chapped and–

“Doc?” Korsak’s voice broke through her reverie. “Thanks for doing it yourself, but be careful. Personal grudges suck up your life. I’ll leave it here?”

Within a minute, he had silently left the sample on her desk and exited the room. It seemed he was busy with other things as well. Maura stared at the single, dark hair in the vial that could end Rizzoli. Send her to jail for life. With a sigh, she stood and plucked it off the table, determinedly striding out of the room.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Jane! Watch out!” Frankie’s voice was overwhelmingly loud, and didn’t help at all his elbow slammed into her nose. With a sickening crunch, something popped out of place. Frankie groaned and tugged his older sister upright. She was holding her nose, her expression screwed up with pain.

“I-I o-okay, this is bad. Tilt your head back” Frankie stammered, leading his older sister inside the house. He grabbed the first towel he could see, some flowery thing his mom had gotten a while ago. He held it up to the nose that was now bleeding profusely, and tried to staunch the flow. Jane batted his hands away, holding the rag to her face. Angela Rizzoli walked into the room, before immediately swatting at Jane.

“On the good towel!” She protested, haplessly buzzing around the injured girl, trying in vain to get her to relinquish the cloth. Jane groaned as the Rizzoli matriarch plucked the towel away from the injured nose and loudly exclaimed at the amount of blood already soaked in. Frankie chuckled quietly, before silencing himself as the older sister glared at him. Angela handed Jane a paper towel soaked with cold water as she continued complaining.

“How do you always manage to turn Sunday dinner into a circus, every week?” She focused all her ire on Jane, while Frankie shifted in the background.

“Me?!” Jane protested, glaring at her little brother over her mother’s shoulder. Frankie raised his hands in surrender, and tried to get his Ma’s attention.

“It’s my fault. I did it.” He tried to defuse the situation by relocating the blame, and Jane pointed at him, clearly agreeing.

“Yeah! It’s his fault!” She complained as she staunched the flow of blood with the towel that had been dyed pink.

“No, I know you didn’t mean to do it.” Angela waved off the accusation against her middle child, and Jane threw up her hands in disbelief.

“So, this is my fault!” She exclaimed.

“Look, I tell you all the time, don’t roughhouse with him!” Angela Rizzoli sympathetically glanced at her son, before glaring at her daughter. Looking at the uncooperative expression on Jane’s face, she groaned dramatically before turning her back. Jane pulled out her phone from her pocket as it buzzed, quickly scanning the text before standing up.

“Got to go, garage needs me.” She knew that she should’ve quit this job. Maura Isles knew where to find her if she so wished. She was taking a giant gamble with this. Angela reentered the room, looking scandalized.

“Going to work? Your pa is going to be here any minute!” Her face was a picture of disappointment and protest.

“Duty calls.” Jane simply replied, before striding towards the door. She smiled at Frankie before gently pushing his chest. “Later, jerk.”

“I’m sorry.” He called as she walked out the front door. Jane’s voice wafted back from outside, playfully lilting.

“No you’re not!”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Frost glanced around at his greasy surroundings before coughing discreetly. The pair of legs that were laying beneath the car jerked in surprise, before the owner pulled himself out. A tall, lean, and tan mechanic climbed up from the ground, towering over Frost. His hair was dark and curly, and he looked to be Italian. He seemed to have a smirk permanently plastered on his face.

“Hey.” He had an annoying twang to his voice, and one side of his mouth always remained tilted up. “I’m Giovanni. What can I do for you?”

“I’m here to pick up a car.” Frost stiffly replied. The casual slump of Giovanni’s shoulders reminded him of a hunched over bear. “A Maura Isles.”

Giovanni’s eyebrows rose, and the other side of his mouth tugged up to form into a giant smile. His eyes immediately zoned out.

“Yeah, that chick that came by the other day? She was hot.” He reminisced, seemingly lost in memories. Frost sighed.

“Well I need her car.” He recanted impatiently. His suit was becoming crinkled in the oppressive heat of the garage.

“I ain’t the one working on that. Rizzoli’s the one you lookin’ for.” Giovanni commented. He smiled again. “She’s hot too.”

“Where can I find her?” The conversation – if it could be called that – with the mechanic was dragging on far longer than Frost would prefer. Giovanni seemed to be lost in his own world of hot girls, but at least hopefully he knew where he could get Maura’s car.

“She just clocked in. Go check in the next slot.” Giovanni jerked his head at the small doorway that apparently led to another small garage. Frost stretched his shoulders a bit before walking over. This errand was becoming a chore. He stuck his head in, but the room was empty. Maura’s expensive car was sitting in the middle, but the garage door was closed. He glanced around, noticing a small office door on the other side of the car.

“Uh.. Rizzoli?” He called out into the emptiness. It echoed, bouncing around him. Rizzoli was an Italian name, wasn’t it? Within a few seconds, someone stepped out of the office. Frost did a double take.

“Jane?” He was surprised. The girl he had met at the bar the other day hadn’t seemed like the hands-on type, but what did he know? He hadn’t even had the time to call the number she had given him. She looked equally startled.

“Barry?” She replied in just as incredulous tone as he did. “What’re you doing here?”

“I’m here to pick up Maura’s car?” He lamely plucked the keys out of his pocket and jangled them. Jane stayed near the door of the office, looking a bit awkward.

“I-I okay. I’ll open the garage door for you, it’s all set.” Jane seemed out of balance, confused, a little like a wild animal dumped somewhere other than it’s natural habitat. The two had little else to say to each other, but Frost could feel her eyes on him as he climbed into the car and revved the engine. Everything was in place, and he edged out onto the street as the garage door opened in front of him. Finally, this favor could end.

He glanced back at the opening, and Jane was standing outside now, still staring quite intently at him. He nervously waved a little, before opening the window just a crack.

“If you’re up to it, how about dinner?” Courteous down to the core, Frost didn’t just want to leave without another word. Jane’s face cracked into a smile that didn’t reach her eyes, before shaking her head a bit.

“I’m busy the rest of the week. I’m taking the bad shifts because the boss it out for my blood. Maybe some other time, Barry.” She spoke quickly and efficiently, and as Barry pulled away, his mind already on other thoughts, she strode quietly back into the garage.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Jane Rizzoli liked to think that she was in control. Her natural personality was tempestuous, and arguments were her forte. Yet the cold, calm feeling of manipulating the strings was like a rush to her, making her heady with the potential. She couldn’t count all the times Maura Isles had made her lose that. The blonde doctor had seen right through her, all her carefully crafted façades. What was this now? Sending the man she was going to kill right to her doorstep, to pick up Maura’s car.

The man was obviously oblivious. He had smiled, invited her out for dinner. He didn’t know that she had been waiting in his room the other day, waiting for him to come home so she could kill him. Maura Isles had told no one who Jane Rizzoli really was, and this gave her an unimaginably large amount of power over Jane. With a word, she could destroy everything Jane had built since she had left academy.

This left Jane with a dilemma. Would she destroy the one person who could reveal her, or trust her? The answer was obvious. Kill her. It would be easy. The doctor was not a target in the investigation, and her home wouldn’t be protected. All it would take would be a jimmied lock and a knife. The doctor had seen her, looked into her eyes. She was too dangerous to live. Jane desperately tried to latch onto that reasoning, but her motivation slipped away. She couldn’t kill Maura Isles.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Maura!” Frost called as he entered the morgue. The blonde doctor looked up curiously. No new cadavers had arrived, and it was rare for the detective to come down unless it was about a case. Her unspoken question was answered as the detective raised his hand and showcased her car keys. “I got your car from the garage.”

“Thank you, Frost!” Maura smiled widely. There was one less problem, and those seemed to be piling up and drowning her. Jane Rizzoli was digging her claws into Maura’s life, and it would be unstoppable unless she cut it now. Frost dropped the keys into her open hand after he crossed the room.

“Why didn’t you tell me Jane worked there?” He continued. Maura was startled by the continuation of the conversation. She hadn’t expected any complications.

“Jane?” She repeated numbly. Why did Frost know.. That night in the bar! She had forgotten, and she couldn’t believe how awkward it must have been for Rizzoli to look into the eyes of her saved victim. “Rizzoli?”

“How do you know her full name?” Frost asked curiously. His intelligent dark eyes were scanning Maura’ s face. “I didn’t even know her last name until today.”

“I..” Maura’s brain was scrambled. This changed so many things. Her usually perfect memory blanked as she tried to figure everything out. “Her boss called her that. Rizzoli.”

“Well, why didn’t you tell me?” Frost pressed on. Maura stumbled back against a cool metal table. His continued questioning was putting her in an increasingly bad position. It was nearly impossible for her to completely lie. Semi-truth was always the best.

“I was going to..” Maura started. Her brain was screaming at her. Yes, why didn’t she? Why was she protecting Rizzoli? “It slipped my mind. I completely forgot when I sent you to get my car.”

It was all she could say without breaking out in terrible hives. Frost still looked suspicious, but his eyes softened. Maura was obviously unsettled by something, and it wouldn’t accomplish anything by pressing her even more.

“It’s okay.” He finally relented. Maura breathed out in relief. Rizzoli was complicating her life to new heights. A sudden thought struck her. Protecting Rizzoli was direct intervention with a police investigation. She could go to jail for simply hiding the information she had. A cold sweat broke up her neck and back. Why was she taking these chances?

“Thank you, again, for bringing my car back.” Maura forced a smile, and Frost slightly smiled back. In the aftermath of an awkward questioning, he slipped out of the room and headed up to his own workplace. Maura remained stationary, ignoring the cut-open cadaver that she was supposed to be inspecting. This could jeopardize her whole life. Would she turn Rizzoli in or not?

Korsak turned the corner, apparently having just missed his partner. Maura welcomed him in, still on autopilot while thinking furiously about what she should do.

“Got that DNA off the hair yet?” He asked this innocent question, but it stirred a whole different dilemma within Maura’s head. She was sure it was a match with Rizzoli. While Korsak looked on questioningly, Maura tightly nodded before waving over one of the orderlies.

“Has the DNA been extracted from the hair yet?” She asked, a dreadful feeling settling in the bottom of her gut. The orderly glanced at Korsak, before continuing.

“Not yet. At best it’ll be ready tonight, worst, tomorrow morning.” The orderly nodded curtly once more, before crossing over to the lab on the other side of the glass doors. Maura released a breath she hadn’t noticed she had been holding.

“Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer.” She tried not to let joy creep into her voice. Rizzoli was still out there, potentially killing others, and here she was, protecting her. Korsak nodded, looking disappointed, before jumping a bit as his radio crackled.

“We have an incident on Sector 825, we need backup. It looks like homicide.” A voice buzzed out of the small grill. The two stared in surprise at each other. Was it another victim?

“I got to go. You’re welcome to come, doc. We might need our CME.” Korsak was all business, hastily heading for the doors. “See you there.”

Maura stared at the doors that swung closed after the detective left, her mind working furiously. She couldn’t lie, and if anyone asked about the DNA samples with the orderlies directly, her entire operation would come crashing down. There was only one thing she could do. Her hand shook as she reached for the phone.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“What does it look like to you?” Frost asked as Korsak entered the scene. The detective stood over the body, hands on his hips.

“It’s the same MO.” Korsak replied. They stood in silence for a while as CSU buzzed around them. “Something’s different.”

Frost nodded affirmatively. The body lay splayed out in the bedroom like normal, a flower clutched to its chest. Something seemed out of place. Korsak knelt to examine the body at a more personal level.

“Frost, look at this. I figured out what’s different.” He confided after a moment. He pointed at the flower clutched to the victim’s chest.

“It’s not a red rose. It’s a white freesia.” The two detectives stared at the flower. The past 21 victims, not counting Ross, had all been consistent. What had changed enough for the flower to have switched from red rose to a white freesia? A clack of heels alerted them to Maura’s arrival.

“Preliminary notes?” She requested as she snapped on latex gloves.

“Same MO, but the flower is different.” Korsak answered for them both, and Frost merely nodded alone. Maura paused for a second, the gears turning, before she turned and looked at the body for the first time. She made cursory glances at the rest of the body, the lacerated throat, before looking at the flower.

“A white freesia.” She breathed quietly. Having a MO shift was a big matter when a sociopath is involved. It meant a mental shift.

“Do you know what it means?” Frost asked. Red roses indicated love, which is why they thought the serial killer was picking up girls at bars. The killer had loved the victims in their own, sick way.

“White freesias indicate trust.” Maura replied after a pause. What was Rizzoli playing at? Asking Maura to keep her secrets hidden like this.. It was ridiculously brazen. “It’s a popular flower between lovers.”

“Is there someone she could be communicating with? Someone who knows her secrets?” Frost was nearly talking to himself, but his words punctured Maura to the core. In fact, there was someone Rizzoli was communicating with, someone who knew her secrets. Her. Maura Isles was mentally harboring a criminal.

“I’ll get the guys to take the body back to the morgue. Can you perform the autopsy ASAP?” Korsak took charge, worriedly looking at the shellshocked doctor and his pensive partner. He waved over some CSU personnel, explaining what needed to be done. Maura peeled off her gloves. She couldn’t do the autopsy in front of everyone. Her world seemed to be boxing in around her, the room enclosing her in heavy, cloying guilt.

“Yes.” Maura simply replied for Korsak’s benefit, as he led her to her car. Maura trusted her body to drive as her mind drifted on the mess she had gotten herself in. Rizzoli’s dark eyes seemed to be watching her every move, but what could she do?

As she pulled up in front of the station and entered, she decided something within herself. She might not be able to help them directly, but she would do what she could without catching Rizzoli herself. She headed up to the homicide workplace, and approached Frost and Korsak, who were standing in front of a clear board with photos plastered across it.

“There’s something wrong with the pattern. This victim seems different.” Frost was saying as Maura walked up. Korsak nodded in agreement. The photos of victims were scattered across the large board, most of them with no connections to the others.

“The most recent victim was blonde.” Korsak traced the photo of the girl they had identified with the driver’s ID in her back pocket. “The last was blonde too. Isn’t there something weird about that?”

“The ones before were redheaded.. Brunette.. blonde.. colored hair.” Frost’s eyes narrowed. “There were no consecutive colors before. Why blonde, why now?”

They finally noticed Maura was quietly standing there, observing the going-ons.

“Doc, how are you doing? You feeling fine?” Korsak inquired. Maura flashed a fake smile, before staring at the board again. The last victim had been young to middle-aged, blonde, with a white freesia attached to her. There were a lot more meanings to this victim than Maura had originally attributed. The victim, was in fact, very similar to Maura. Well-off family.. A doctor.

Maura didn’t mean to, but her breathing was nearly uncontrollable. Fast and heavy breaths were rushing in and out of her lungs as she connected the dots.

“The victim is nearly identical to me.” She finally managed. Frost grabbed Maura’s shoulders.

“Breath!” He concernedly shook her gently as she tried to get her hyperventilation under control. Rizzoli was sending a very dire message.

“I have to get down to my lab.” She shook off his hands. Frost and Korsak watched her as she rapidly made her way out, wobbling just a bit on her heels. She couldn’t stand to be around people right now.

She leaned against the wall of the elevator, the coolness of the metal seeping through her expensive clothes. It brought her some levity to reflect upon the recent events. Rizzoli was sending her a message. It would be so easy to kill her, Maura knew that. She couldn’t have guards without a reason, and Rizzoli had killed so many, what would stop her from killing more?

She stepped out, semi-composed, and strode towards her office. A black body bag lay on the dissection table, the latest victim. Maura couldn’t stand to see the body so soon, the blonde hair and the ugly wound opening her throat. With a practiced movement, she flicked open the door and stepped into the dark room. She hit the switch by the door, expecting an empty room.

“Your security sucks.” Rizzoli’s eyes took in Maura’s body in seconds, the lean killer leaning on her desk. “They should at least check who’s coming in.”

Maura’s heart jumped madly, the shock sending her body into overdrive, cold sweat beading, frozen blood coursing through her veins.

“You shouldn’t be here. They don’t know I know you.” Maura forced out. Rizzoli seemed like a dream, a nightmare, sitting here in her very office, casual and lovely.

“And why is that?” Rizzoli was toying with her now, stepping closer, heat radiating across the small space between them. “Why haven’t you told them, Maura Isles?”

Maura wanted to close her eyes, wish it all away, hide forever, but she knew she couldn’t. She had done this to herself. She had led herself into this train wreck.

“I don’t know.” She whimpered, the words emerging like scared mice from her throat. “You need to go.”

“You’re the one who invited me here, remember?” Rizzoli’s voice was darkly humored, raspy and delicious, a soothing anthem to Maura’s ears. “I did what you asked.”

“You don’t need to stay. Please go.” Maura pleaded, her insides a twisted mess of fear and helplessness. She squeezed her eyes closed, terrified beyond belief. A soft sensation brushed her cheek, and she shivered. Rizzoli’s other hand brushed against her neck, feeling her thrumming pulse.

“For you, Doctor.” Rizzoli quietly spoke, the sound filling the silent room. Maura reached her hand up, feeling like she was moving underwater, as she grasped the stem of a flower. The heat in front of her disappeared as the door softly opened and closed. Certain that Rizzoli was gone, Maura finally opened her eyes and brought her hand down from her cheek.

A white freesia was clutched in her tightly clenched fist.