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Equal and Opposite

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It’s cold. It’s always cold. She blinks awake, wishing not for the first time that she could gauge the time. But there is no sun. There’s no light at all aside from the single flickering bulb forever threatening to fail. Her hands hurt. Her hands always hurt. She listens for the familiar sounds of angry, heavy footsteps, but hears none. It could be the middle of the night, of course. She doesn’t know.

She doesn’t like not knowing. She’s not good at not knowing. But the past – days? weeks? who could tell? – have been filled with exactly that. Her cuffs rub at the sores on her wrists and she winces just a bit. Really, she barely feels it anymore. Nerve damage, she thinks absently, mind too tired to think any more than that. She hears something outside the door. Not the same thing she always hears. Her ears perk. She doesn’t know if she should hope or not.

It sounds like gunshots, maybe. Faint, muffled through the thick steel door, but gunshots they certainly could be. She’s not sure if that’s good or bad. She’s not sure if she’s really even hearing what she thinks she’s hearing. She leans her head against the wall as a shiver runs through her. He promised to bring her a blanket. Why didn’t he bring her a blanket?

She’s maybe asleep, she’s not really sure, when she hears voices outside the door. They’re not his voice. One of them sounds like she’s heard it before.

“Maura?” the voice yells.

That’s her name. She thinks. She tries saying it out loud. “Maura.” Her voice is hoarse, throat dry, and the last syllable breaks. It feels familiar in her mouth.

“Maura!” the same person yells again. “If you can hear me, tell me where you are!”

“In here,” Maura tries to call back, but her weak voice doesn’t reach much farther than her own ears. She’s not sure why she’s calling out at all. Whoever this is will probably just hurt her, anyway. They’re probably with him.

The door bursts open with a loud, violent sound, but Maura barely notices. She looks up at a woman who looks familiar, like she’s seen her before, but she can’t quite place it. Two men stand in the doorway. The woman is tall and has wild curls flying in every direction. She’s holding a gun. Her eyes soften when she sees Maura, and she runs over to help her. “Maura,” she says, her voice breaking as she starts to cry. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

“I…” Maura doesn’t know how to respond. “My hands hurt.”

The woman looks down at Maura’s cuffed hands. Without hesitation, she lifts her foot and slams it into the pipe Maura’s chained to, causing it to collapse. She helps Maura up and leans in to pull her into a hug.

Maura jumps away. She draws her still cuffed hands close to her chest, trying to distance herself as much as possible. Who gave this person the right to touch her? “I want these off,” she says, gesturing to the cuffs still on her wrists.

“Um… okay.” The woman seems hurt. “They’ll probably have something in the ambulance.” She reaches out again, but seems to think better of it and pulls her hand back. “Can you walk?”

Maura nods. She follows a male police officer through the winding halls of the building, the woman and the older man behind her. She can hear them talking. She tries not to let on that she’s listening.

“She doesn’t recognize us,” the woman whispers.

“She’s just in shock.”

“What if she doesn’t come out of shock?”

“She will, Jane.”

Jane. Maura frowns. That name is pulling a reaction from her. Something deep inside her is being tugged at, but she doesn’t know why. All she knows is that she knows Jane somehow. And she doesn’t like not knowing.

Suddenly, like she’s blinked and transported, Maura’s stirring awake in a bright white hospital room. She doesn’t know how she got there. She looks around. Her eyes don’t focus on anything in particular until she sees who’s sitting in the chair beside the bed. “Jane,” she whispers. She almost smiles. Her Jane is here.

Jane’s eyes go wide. “You know who I am?”

And that’s when Maura puts the pieces together. “After a traumatic event the brain tends to repress certain memories related to the event. Sometimes it takes unrelated memories too,” she explains mechanically. Her voice sounds tired even to her own ears. Science is a reflex. It’s safe. She’ll hide in it as long as she can before someone rips her away and forces her back into the real world.

“But not anymore, right? You remember now?”

Maura nods. “I’m starting to. Being away from the scene is likely helping my brain to sort through everything.” She looks down at her wrists, expecting to see the same angry sores she’s grown used to. They’re hidden by bandages. Clean, sterile, white bandages. She doesn’t know why the sight bothers her.

Jane smiles. “I’m gonna go get the nurse. She wanted you to rest before they started looking at you.” She stands up and leaves the room, coming back just a minute later with another woman in scrubs.

“Hi, Maura,” the nurse says with a smile much too wide. “My name is Ann. I’m just going to ask you a few questions so I can get an idea of how you’re doing, okay?”

Maura nods. She doesn’t want to answer any questions. But the logical part of her brain, the part that’s a doctor, knows it’s important, so she stays quiet and tries to focus on Ann’s words. Most of the questions are yes or no, so she’s able to answer without thinking too hard.

“Looks like Dr. Connor wants to do a rape kit,” Ann says, reading from her clipboard.

“What? No,” Maura snaps. Rage rises in her. She can’t quite place why she’s so angry, but she doesn’t stop it. Anger feels good right now. Anger feels right. “No, nothing like that happened. It’s not necessary.”

Jane frowns. “Maur, are you sure? Maybe we should do one just in case.”

Maura narrows her eyes as she looks back at Jane. “We aren’t doing anything. I’m saying it’s not necessary. No.” She turns back to Ann. “I know I’ll have to sign the form that says I’m refusing recommended treatment. That’s fine. Just bring it to me.”

Ann doesn’t say anything for a minute, like she’s at a loss. Finally, she nods slowly. “Okay. I’ll let Dr. Connor know.” She writes something down. “We want to keep you for a couple days to monitor your condition, but we should be able to get you home by Friday.”

Home. Friday. These words used to mean something to Maura. Now, they’re just words. Then she realizes she still has no idea what day or time it is. “What day is it today?” she asks.

“Tuesday. June 18th.”

June 18th. Maura turns to Jane, whose gaze is now focused firmly on the floor. “I was gone for three weeks?” she says. It didn’t feel like three weeks. It didn’t feel like anything. It felt like one, horrible endless day. She watches Jane rub her hands together in a way that reminds Maura of a hundred other times she’s done it. Slowly, she knows, her brain will start to rebuild itself.

“It took a long time to connect the dots,” Jane says quietly. “Joe Harris worked really hard to make sure it looked like an inside job.”

Maura doesn’t react to that name at all. She’s not sure if that’s someone she’s supposed to know or not. “Is that who took me? Joe Harris?”

“Yeah.” Jane sighs. “I’m so sorry, Maura. Joe Harris and whoever he was working for only went after you to get to me.” She reaches out to take Maura’s hand, but Maura shifts to move it out of reach. Jane pulls her own hand back into her lap. “We’re gonna find whoever it is, okay? I promise you, we will. But whatever you can remember… it might help.”

Maura should be feeling bad for Jane right now. Jane is upset. The natural response would be sympathy. She searches inside herself for her sympathy, but finds only annoyance. I’m the one who was kidnapped and tortured. I’m the one who barely survived. She’s the one who should be feeling bad for me. “I’ll let you know if I do,” she says coolly. She doesn’t look at Jane.

The clock on the wall tells Maura it’s just past 1:00 in the afternoon. She wonders when visiting hours will end, when she’ll be allowed to truly rest. She knows everyone else will want to see her. She can’t deny them of that. Can she?

The thought barely has time to leave her mind before Angela comes in, a flurry of energy, and runs right to the bed to lean down and capture Maura in a tight hug. Alarm bells are sounding in every part of Maura’s body. She freezes for a second, waiting for her arms to respond to her brain’s commands. Finally, her body comes back into focus and she shoves Angela off of her, breathing heavily as the weight leaves her.

Angela looks like she’s been slapped. She looks at Jane, not Maura but Jane, for an explanation.

Jane sighs. “She’s been through a lot, Ma. She needs her space.”

“Of course.” Angela sinks into the chair beside Jane with a strange look on her face. “I’m sorry, Maura.”

“It’s okay.” It’s not okay. Maura frowns. Why did she say that? She glances around, looking for something, anything to change the subject. She can’t stand looking at Angela’s kicked puppy face. “How is everyone else? Do they know everything?”

Jane nods. “Korsak wanted to come but I told him you’d probably want space. Frankie and Nina, too.” She rubs her hands together. “But I can call them back and can tell them to come, if you want?”

“No. Thank you.” Maura frowns. She doesn’t know why it’s taken so long to notice, but there’s someone missing from her revolving door of visitors. “Is my mother here? Does she know what happened?”

“Yes,” Angela jumps in. “The first day you were… I called Hope right away.”

“No!” The exclamation falls out of Maura’s mouth before she can stop it, making all three of them jump. “Not Hope. My mother.” She raises an eyebrow.

Angela shifts in her seat. “I didn’t have her number.”

Maura looks at Jane, eyebrow arching even higher. “You had my phone.”

Jane stares at her hands in her lap. “I… I didn’t know you’d want me to. You guys haven’t really talked in a while.” Her fingers fidget with one another as she speaks.

“I think this is a rather extenuating circumstance, don’t you?”

Jane gnaws at the inside of her cheek and keeps playing with her fingers. She doesn’t look Maura in the eye. “I’m sorry. Do you want me to call her now?”

“Yes! Tell her to get on the first plane.” Maura stops herself before she can say she should have been here weeks ago. Maura and her mother have had their issues, of course, but after everything, all she wants is her mom.

“Okay.” Jane stands up. “Ma, come on. Let’s let Maura rest.” She’s being surprisingly good-natured about all the barbs Maura’s been throwing, and for a second Maura wishes she wasn’t. It’s hard to justify being angry at someone who just bows their head and takes it.

Finally, the Rizzolis leave the room and Maura is in blissful, peaceful quiet. She didn’t think she’d want quiet after being deprived of company for so long, but she finds she can suddenly breathe again, the muscles in her chest slowly unknitting themselves one by one. She presses the button for the nurse, and Ann is there within a minute, clipboard in hand.

“Something wrong?” Ann asks.

Maura smiles. “Actually, I was wondering if I could put in a request to not have any visitors while I’m here.”

Ann nods and writes it down on her clipboard. “Of course. Just want some peace and quiet, huh?”

“Exactly.” Maura leans forward slightly. “With one exception. Constance Isles. She should be here by tomorrow.”

“Your mom?”

Maura nods. “Thank you, Ann.”

“No problem. Get some rest now; I’ll be back to bring you dinner, okay?”

After Ann leaves, Maura sighs and lies back in her bed. Maybe she should feel guilty. She knows everyone’s been so worried about her. They just want to see her and make sure she’s all right. But she’s finding it hard to care when she’s surrounded by soft pillows and nothing but the sounds of machines letting her know she’s alive. She falls asleep listening to her own heartbeat, finally, for the first time in weeks, in peace.