Maura watched as the white flakes swirled in the air, never seeming to settle. The scene before her was not serene; it was not the cold and still New Years Eve scene with which she had grown up. The curtain in her hand was thick--synthetic and cheap. And that was truly what brought her back from those lonely c***dhood days where her world inside was just as lonely and still as the snow covered gardens behind her home.
"It's getting worse," she said quietly before turning back to room, to Jane picking at the equally cheap bedspread. They had spent two days at a ghastly scene in Maine only to find that it was not related to their case. A killer was still loose in Boston, and they were stuck in the loneliest roadside motel that Maura thought she had ever seen. "I'm sorry, Jane."
Jane groaned and slumped back on the bed. It was a single room, but the only one available for miles-- the small town had its share of stranded weekend skiers, hunters, and whatever other attraction might drag someone this far north, taking the few places available. She scrubbed her face with her hands, trying to quell the rising cabin fever- thinking for the first time she might understand what that truly meant. If it wasn't for Maura's company, Jane was sure she'd go crazy. "Of course it is. I knew we should have given in yesterday." It was only a speech though, they both knew Jane was never one to admit a lead was cold until it had been chased to the bitter end.
"Frost and Korsak know. They'll keep working on it." Maura wasn't sure if they would find a new lead. They had wasted so much time on this. The holiday only registered as an inconvenience for others. She would be taking down her decorations...if she had had time to put them up that year.
"Yeah, they'll work on it all right." Jane stared at the ceiling, grimacing at the water stains likely from the last spring’s thaw. "They'll work on it right up 'till they run off to the bar with everyone else."
"Did you have plans?" They hadn't discussed it. They hadn't talked much. Any fleeting contact, any fledgling emotions had gotten swept away in their work of late. Maura sat gingerly beside her on the bed and looked at her hands.
"Beyond a few rounds, a terrible rendition of Auld Lang Syne, and eventually stumbling home?" Jane rolled her eyes, "Not really." There were other ways she might have wanted to spend it if she had the confidence to ask, but the case, life, and what realities she f***ed herself to believe, got in the way. "You?"
"No." Maura looked up suddenly, her eyes wide and sincere. "I hadn't thought about it. I...was planning on going over the toxicology reports and my findings on the second body. After this trip I..." she sighed softly and finally facade on Jane, "I thought we'd be closer to an answer."
"Me too, me too." Jane sighed, and quietly put a hand on Maura's. It was an impulsive gesture--but for some reason, Jane paused longer than she meant to. When Maura finally pulled her hand away, she wondered if she had become so unused to human contact that the mere heat of Jane's skin was enough to startle her. She stood, pushing her hair back as she looked around almost too frantically for her hat. "I think there was a vending machine two doors down."
Jane let out a breath as she watched Maura pace, wishing just for once she knew what was really going on inside the other woman's head. "Yeah I think you're right." Jane reached for the remote to the ancient television across the room, "I guess I should see if we've even got contact with the outside world up here."
Maura held the hat in her hands, fingers tracing over the cable knitting. "I couldn't get any reception earlier, and the snow has only gotten worse. She licked her lips lightly as she glanced up to the crack where the curtains didn't quite close. Outside was merely a blur of white still. "I'm sorry. If I hadn't insisted on confirming the other set of remains here…"
Seeing Maura's pensive expression, Jane softened her features, waving off the other woman's tone, "No, don't do that. We both got caught up." She flipped on the television, only slightly surprised it was in color. A few channels later and the picture of throngs of people filling Times Square resolved itself.
There were so many people on the screen, but what Maura realized is that she hadn't been aware of just how late it was getting. She pulled the hat over her head, down over her ears, and out of habit, she began fastidiously arranging her hair underneath it. Jane seemed content there, sitting cross legged in front of it like a girl, but before she could let herself smile at that, Maura ducked out into the blinding cold. When she returned she was shivering. "I'm not sure what I got," she admitted, dumping the snacks onto the bed before pulling two sodas out of her pockets. Even under her gloves, her fingers were stiff.
Jane couldn't help but chuckle quietly at the display. She shifted over, and patted the bed next to her as Maura pulled off her gloves. "Thanks, looks like the best New Year's Eve dinner I've had since...at least last year." Jane turned down the volume on the TV, and took the offered soda.
Maura wrinkled her nose as she sat, pulling the hat off of her head. She smoothed her disarrayed hair as she looked over the selection. "Peanuts…protein at least…and…the rest seems to be an assortment of trans-fat and cholesterol." In the small room, she could feel the warmth of Jane's body next to her, and this time she didn't shy away. Maura picked at the peanut bag and asked herself what exactly she was afraid of. But now, they couldn't think about the case. There was nothing they could do from there, being cut off as they were. So every half formed moment began to play in her mind, including a stolen moment of closeness and too hasty kiss. Neither had spoken about that since.
"At times like this, I'm a big fan of trans-fat and cholesterol." According to New York City, it was half past eleven already. Jane had worked halfway through a small bag of knock-off brand cheetos before she focused on the situation again. Maura was close, and there was a tension that needed to be broken. "So, do you have a resolution this year? Or...do you even believe in them?" Somehow, Maura didn't seem like the type to buy into such things.
"Many cultures have rituals for new beginning coinciding with yearly or seasonal changes," Maura said automatically. She hesitated before looking at Jane, meeting her dark eyes suddenly. "I don't usually think about them," she added quietly. "Do you?"
"Usually nothing more meaningful than 'Rizzoli get to the gym, and stop eating so much fried cheese." To emphasize the point, Jane finished the bag of snacks. She shrugged, and leaned over to steal a few peanuts. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a hint of a smile on Maura's features, and it made something in her quicken. The clock on the television was counting down the last twenty minutes of the year.
Jane sighed, growing more serious. "My mother said it best though I think. She'd say 'if you look back at the year behind you, and it doesn't make you want to cry-either out of sadness or joy- you've wasted it."
Maura looked down, eyes resting on Jane's hands. She was not usually given to those kinds of sentiments, not easily anyway. But even she was not immune to the time of year. "Have you wasted it?" she asked quietly. Maura didn't dare looked up lest she catch a glimpse of everything she had been missing. She could not think of anything that year or in years past that would bring tears to her eyes.
Jane's voice was soft- softer than she usually let it grow. "I...I never do." At Maura's question though, something shifted in Jane, and she moved closer to Maura, her arm awkwardly reaching to wrap around her. Maybe it was the confession, maybe the snow still falling outside making the night seem unreal, but Jane just hoped none of it would need a real explanation in the morning. It would, at least, be an entirely different year. Jane found herself holding a breath as the clock started the ten minute countdown.
If Maura had been fighting with her self control, it slipped away so quickly that she didn't realize she'd lost it at all. She leaned into Jane, feeling the steady rhythm of her heartbeat, finding it almost as jarring as she found it comforting. "When we never talked about it, I thought you were content to leave it at that." Jane had rushed away, almost surly in her haste. Maura has buried herself in work. And she felt like a fool then. She felt like a fool still, but she realized that now was the only time she could say the quiet words, now as numbers ran backwards on the screen.
It took Jane a long moment to reply, and she ran her fingers over Maura's arm while she tried to calm her racing mind. She felt like a teenager, and those memories were far from nostalgic. Still, she knew she wasn't one- and she owed it to them both to make the admission. "I was scared Maura. I...I haven't wanted something so much in a long time." It felt precarious- letting those words hang in the thick air, especially as she worked hard to hide from vulnerability.
"Jane…" Maura caught the brunette's hand and ran her thumb over the palm, feeling the knotted scar there. "You weren't the only one who was scared." The countdown blurred in the edge of her vision, but Maura felt as if time had slowed between them.
Jane's face was hot and she paused, hearing only her pulse in her ears. Before she knew what she was doing, Jane pulled Maura the rest of the way in and kissed her. It wasn't as frantic, as fleeting as the last time, and she only slightly surprised when Maura kissed her back.
This time the warmth, the quiet passion didn't startle Maura, and she pressed closer, wrapping her arms around Jane. No longer gripped with hesitation, she ran her fingers through Jane's dark hair, remembering how she had longed to do it before. And when the kiss broke, she did not pull away. She rested her forehead on Jane's and murmured the brunette's name, forcing it out of her aching throat. Her eyes filled with quiet tears of relief.
Jane silently reached up and brushed Maura's tears away with her thumbs. She didn't need to ask whether Maura's tears were of sadness or joy- she had her own to mirror them. In the background she could just catch the cheers of the revelers ringing in the New Year, along with the strains of familiar music in the air as they collectively swept out the past and welcomed in the new. "Happy New Year Maura," Jane whispered.
Maura broke into a quiet laugh for what seemed like the first time in weeks. All fell away, and she let herself be content in that as the snow continued to fall outside, all things beyond their control. "Happy New Year, Jane," she said, casting her eyes down as her cheeks flushed slightly. "Happy New Year."