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She is lucky that she's not in surgery when it happens. The pain is so immediate that the world spins and her vision tunnels, and for a long, long minute she can't do anything but slump against the desk in her office and try not to be sick.

She cries.

The tears are not just from the pain, although the pain alone is enough to induce them.

She cries because she knows that somewhere someone is going through this too. It has really happened to her, and is not just the phantom pain that Maura must endure.

What has happened?

How will the two of them bear it?

Later, when her hands allow it, she searches the Internet hoping to find some news.

“Accident,” she types. “Palms on fire.”

“Woman loses hands,” “woman loses fingers,” “woman loses the ability to move fingers.”

Nothing in the search results matches what must've happened.

 

She takes a week off work.

Her boss understands. She's already found her husband, and they've been married for almost 5 years. She still has a scar above her eyebrow.  She hit her head and passed out when he was hit by a car two years before they met.

 

Take all the time you need, her boss says.

When Ivan broke his leg I was on crutches for almost 3 days. And that was nothing to the emotional toll.

Maura goes home and wraps her hands in hot washcloths.

She wonders about the man or woman who has this actual injury, wonders if she is alone, if she is frightened...if she will heal.

The heat on her hands does not help and so she switches to ice. It numbs the pain in her own hands but she knows that somewhere out there is a woman (and she can finally admit that it is most likely a woman), her soulmate , who does not have the luxury of this comfort.

She cries again, that night, even though the pain is just a dull ache.

She cannot help it.

The first time she shakes the Detective’s hand, she feels the scar against her palm, and her mind shuts down.

The woman keeps talking to her, oblivious, and Maura only comes back to the conversation when the hand pulls away from hers abruptly.

The woman is looking at her, clearly waiting for a response.

“I’m sorry,” she says breathlessly. “Your hand. That scar-”

She doesn’t get any further. The Detective (God! She hadn’t even registered her name ) is already striding away, her long, dark hair swinging over her shoulder.

Detective Korsak comes to stand next to her, whistling lowly under his breath. “She doesn’t like to talk about what happened,” he says.

“No,” Maura says vaguely. “I should have realized.”

They watch together as Jane slams her hand against the elevator call button at the end of the hall. She doesn’t grab her hand at the twinge this sends up to her elbow, but Maura does.

She grimaces, flexing the muscles in her lower arm, and when she looks around at Vince he is gaping at her.

“Detective,” she begins.

“You?” he asks, clearly flabbergasted. “ Jane?

“Me,” Maura says with a little smile. “Jane.”

Korsak whistles again and then he laughs. “Good on you for becoming a doctor,” he says. “It can’t have been easy with her throwing herself around like she does.”

Maura smiles back, overwhelmingly relieved to finally have someone to talk to who knows her other half.

“I was lucky,” she says. “It developed late. I missed her childhood injuries altogether. Nothing until I was sixteen.”

Korsak nods. “Didn’t come for me until 20,” he says. “You know, they say that the longer it takes, the longer you’ll be with the person.”

Maura nods, but doesn’t answer. She has heard this too, though she knows there’s no medical data to back up the claim. She glances down at the Detective’s hand and sees he doesn’t have a ring.

Korsak sees where she’s looking. “Ah,” he says quietly. “We never met.”

Maura looks up into his face, surprised. “Met?”

The older man nods. “Yeah. It’s been almost five years since I felt a soul phantom. She’s either very careful...or…”

Maura reaches out and touches him on the arm. “I’m sorry,” she says.

She has not truly meant that phrase until this moment.

“Thank you,” he says.

They stand together, lost in thought, until Korsak shakes himself. “So what are you going to do?” he asks. “Are you going to tell her?”

Maura hesitates. The answer up until ten minutes ago was always a resounding yes. She thinks of the time her mother slapped her across the face when she was 19. Had Jane felt it? What had she been doing at the time? Had her cheeks burned with shame as well as stung from the hit?

And what had happened to Jane in her twenties that caused Maura to favor her left knee for the better part of a month. Had her friends made fun of her walk the way Maura’s had?

“I...didn’t make a very good first impression,” Maura says now. “It was so unexpected.”

Korsak smiles. “Well, Jane can be pretty prickly,” he concedes, “But she’s not one to hold onto a grudge when there’s no reason to. And I think you’ll both find that you’re very well suited to each other.”

Maura asks Detective Korsak what he means by this several times.

He tells her she will have to figure that out for herself.

There are several close calls.

Jane is not overly careful with the body that ghosts Maura’s nerve endings. She breaks her nose one afternoon, Maura feels it snap while she is in the middle of an autopsy, and it is only with practiced effort that she does not cry out.

When she sees Jane that evening, at a crime scene, Jane asks her to set the fracture and she cannot come up with an excuse fast enough to decline.

Tears spring to her eyes as Jane’s nasal bone slides back into place. She’s lucky that Jane spins away with her hands over her face, and doesn’t notice.

Frost notices though. And on the way back to the cruiser he punches Jane on the arm, eyes on the doctor.

“Ow! Jesus, Frost, what? I took that rookie down a notch for making fun of you puking!”

Maura rubs the spot where he’s punched the brunette, and meets Frost’s laughing, knowing gaze for half a second before he turns away.

“Yeah,” he says. “Thanks Jane.”

After awhile, she doesn’t know what holds her back. She was waiting for Jane to warm to her, and then she was waiting until they were truly friends. And then...and then...what?

She comes up from the morgue one morning to deliver a tox screen result, and she hears Jane come to her defense. Some of the other officers have been calling her names, saying that she is stuck up, cold; They are saying that it’s no wonder she hasn’t found her Soul yet, she never feels anything at all.

Jane jumps to defend her with a viciousness that borders on feral.

“How did your wife feel when you got your mircropenis stuck in your fly last night, Crowe?” she snarls.

“How’d she feel when that junkie down on fourth knocked your tooth out? Did she cry like you did, or did you boohoo enough for the both of you.”

Crowe sputters, but cannot come up with an answer fast enough to stall Jane’s wrath.

“Talk about the doctor again, and I’ll turn you inside out. See how Megan likes that feeling. Got it?”

Maura stood around the corner with the folder pressed to her chest, heart pounding.

Oh yes. Everyone within earshot understood perfectly.

They spend hours and hours together that turn into days. They sleep next to each other at night. They talk about every single topic there is to be talked about.

But they never discuss soul matches.

Is that what Maura is waiting for? She sits in the corner of her couch, and watches Jane pop the top off of one of her beers.

“We can watch anything you like,” she says over her shoulder, “As long as I don’t have to read it. Oh, and it’s in color! Black and white makes me depressed. I dunno why.”

Maura takes a breath. “When did you start getting phantoms?” she asks.

For a moment, Jane goes statue still, back still turned. Maura waits, barely breathing. It would not be unlike Jane to simply walk out without answering.

But, “I was seven.” Jane turns slowly to look at her. “I was seven and someone grabbed her. Really hard.”

Maura had been younger, five maybe. She’d wandered away from her mother in a department store, and upon finding her, Constance had taken her around the wrist and pulled her all the way to the car.

The bruising had lasted for days.

It had been years before Maura understood her mother’s emotion that day to be fear and relief rather than anger.

“Her?” Maura hears herself ask the question.

Jane has started back toward the couch, but now she stops, glancing up at Maura and then away.

“Yeah,” she says heavily. “I know. Total cliche right?”

Maura frowns. “I don’t follow.”

Jane sighs. She chooses the armchair instead of returning to her spot next to Maura. “Tomboy kid,” she explains. “Becomes a cop...stays a tomboy. Of course she’s also gay.” She shrugs. “For a while, I tried to pretend it could be either. I told myself I wouldn’t know until I knew...but I was just trying to prove people wrong.”

Maura wants to kiss Jane Rizzoli so badly that she thinks it might be possible for Jane to feel the aching.

“People making assumptions about you only speaks to their small minds,” she says. “And you are an amazing detective, and a wonderful, loyal woman. You must know that.”

Jane looks at her for a long couple of seconds and then drops her gaze back to her bottle, cheeks slightly pink. “They used to talk about what my Soul was like,” she says, voice quiet.

Maura leans forward. “How could they know?” she asks.

Jane shakes her head. “They didn’t,” she says. “They don’t. They just...you know, Crowe and O’Leary...all those other asshats. They always say that my Soul’s probably a drunk, or a junkie...or like someone in a mental facility somewhere.”

Maura sucks in a breath. “That is simply cruel,” she says.

Jane shrugs. She seems to gather herself for her next sentence, and Maura knows what it will be before she speaks.

“Remember when we met?” Jane asks. “Remember how you started to talk about my scars?”

Maura nods. “Yes,” she says. “Forgive me. I was-”

“Hoyt did it.” Jane pushes the sentence out through gritted teeth, and Maura falls silent.

“He...when I sent him to prison, before Korsak rescued me, he got the drop on me and he put scalpels straight through them.”

Maura can’t help the little whimper that leaves her lips at this. For a second she remembers the dizzying pain, the agony that had lasted for more than an hour.

“They’re probably right,” Jane whispers to her knees. “She’s probably gone crazy.” She looks up at Maura, eyes bright. “Think of all of the pain I must have caused her.”

And if there is such a thing as fate, Maura thinks it has been keeping her from confessing until just this moment. She stands and moves over to Jane, pulling the bottle from her hands and replacing it with herself. She takes Jane’s face between her hands and she kisses her.

There is a happy chorus of tinkling bells and a bright, glowing explosion that happens when their lips touch, and Maura knows that she is not the only one who feels it.

Jane’s eyes are wide when they pull apart.

“I was in the last year of my surgical residency,” Maura says. “I wasn’t in surgery, just in the office I shared with some colleagues. What hurt the most was knowing you were out there, and I couldn’t find you.”

Jane is still staring at her, not blinking.

Maura presses their lips together again.

“I didn’t get phantoms until I was a teenager. Sixteen. So if you’re thinking-”

“Oh, but you felt me get shot in the knee,” Jane says over her. She is looking into Maura’s face, searching it as though she’s never seen it before.

“Who hit you?” she asks. “Was it the same person both times? The same person who grabbed you?” her eyes have gone dark.

And Maura has never been alone. Not really.

She takes Jane’s hand and kisses the palm, right over the scar, and because they have kissed, because they both know now, her thrill of excitement is doubled and rebounded between them.

Jane smiles, a happy, watery thing. “I was so afraid I’d never get to meet you,” she says. “I was so afraid that you’d end up hating me. I...I was so afraid, Maura.”

And there will be weeks, and months, and years for them to tell each other of their fears and worries. Right now, all Maura wants to do is get closer to the heartbeat that she was made for.

“I love you, Jane,” she says softly. “I love everything you are.”

Jane pulls her close, wrapping her long arms around Maura’s shoulders. She kisses her temple.

“I love you too,” she whispers. “I’ll always be here.”