"What do you mean you've never done this before?!" Jane shouted over the pop music blaring through the arcade. This wing of the bowling alley, along with all its other parts, had no lights but the sporadic neon strobes pulsating against the floor and walls. She sipped on the cocktail Maura had made her order, just so the other woman wouldn't be drinking alone, and winced when she got only the taste of sugary syrup.
Cosmic bowling had been Frankie's idea, a way to wind down after a particularly stressful work week, but Maura had been the one to latch onto the plan with the most fervor. Which perplexed the detective, because her friend had led her away from all that bowling and toward the crappy arcade with cheap plastic prizes and 1990s shooting games. A few teenagers loitered around the place, assumedly still in an awkward too-cool-for-bowling stage of life, a phase Jane would readily admit that she went through.
Maura, apparently, had gone through none of this, though. "Jane, while you were galavanting around Boston's arcades, winning prizes from claw machines nigh and far, I was nowhere near the states," the doctor said with a chuckle that rattled in Jane's chest, they were so close. "So please, humor me." The smell of stale popcorn and spilled soda that had long dried did little to mask the chanel perfume wafting its way through the brunette's nostrils and into her lubricated capillaries.
"Well, we're here now, right? Pop a quarter in and take a crack, Dr. Isles," Jane cleared her throat, and moved so that Maura could face the machine herself. "See if you can beat my old record of three stuffed animals in a row." She looked to their reflection in the glass, the stark white of the fluorescent inside painting them in full contrast against the dark backdrop of the room. She admitted in the furthest depths of herself that she liked the view of herself behind Maura, close enough to smell the shampoo that lingered in her hair.
"You're not going to show me first? No trial run from the Master?" Maura asked with a curled eyebrow, looking not behind her to Jane, but at the taller woman's reflection.
"Nah, this is more of a feel it type of thing, Maura. You just gotta go for it," Jane replied, shaking her head and letting a laugh crinkle her face. The top 40 playlist buzzed in her ear and the smoky makeup on Maura's face caused her to chug the rest of her drink, hoping what little vodka was in it would numb her nerves a little. She nodded her head towards the clunky machine full of stuffed teddy bears and gave its side a tap for good measure.
"Ok then, let's do it!" the medical examiner yipped with a clap of her hands. she reached into her clutch for a quarter, put it in, and then grasped the joystick - Jane's chest ballooned on the inhale with affection. Maura's look of concentration, a look she had seen countless times in the throes of case or during a challenge in the autopsy suite, was too adorable NOT to swoon at.
The doctor maneuvered the claw with surgical precision. She inched it towards her target, a blue bear with the Red Sox logo emblazoned on his chest, and lurched back when she felt she needed more composure, more control. Finally, after what seemed like minutes, she grasped it, and inched it again, this time toward the prize door. Home free in 3… 2…. 1…. "Dammit!" she cursed when the bear fell just short of its destination.
"It's ok, Maur. No one does it on their first try," Jane offered, still too amused to push any heart behind her encouragement. Maura even scowled at her giggle. "What? Go ahead, do it again."
Maura did. Seven times. Almost an hour had passed, and Nina had sent her several where are you kids? texts. The woman needed no encouragement to assume about the relationship between the two of them, and yet here they were, serving it to her on a silver platter. "It's so infuriating, but I can't stop!"
"Is it cause you've never failed at anything before?" Jane snarked. Maura bit her lip to hide a smirk and elbowed the woman still close behind her in the ribs. "Ow!"
"Teach me, Jane," Maura whined, turning to face her friend, who rolled her eyes. The doctor placed her drink on the game, and rubbed her hands over Jane's leather jacket, from shoulder to chest and back again.
"Didn't I say this was a learn on your own game?" Jane asked, a coy smile hiding some of the perspiration that gathered at her temples.
"Well yes, but clearly that's not working for me," the shorter woman laughed again, and caught Jane's gaze in her own, despite the darkness around them. The clatter of bowling pins rattling into the collector caused a rhythmic lull in their conversation, punctuating each statement.
"Maybe you're just not cut out for the claw, Maura, not everyone is," the detective shrugged, her nonchalance in juxtaposition with her tense trapezii muscles. Maura later swore she would have noticed if she hadn't had that third drink.
"But you are! And I want to see you do it, at least," she pleaded.
"Meh. I'm rusty. I haven't done this in at least five years," Jane offered, and she was ready to walk away, until Maura begged one last time, a pout in her flushed face.
There was a beat or two of silence, when the song had switched and the pins were all being changed, and then she acquiesced. "Alright," Jane answered softly, in a tone that only could be heard because of that silence, and then, when she rummaged her jeans for a quarter, the bowling alley roared to life again. She resisted the urge from her nervous system to set her hands to shaking, and she breathed in and out with a roll of the neck before grasping the joystick and watching the game light up.
She moved easily enough toward the Red Sox bear that had eluded her friend for so long, and it traveled quickly along its intended trajectory. Maura turned her attention from the prize to Jane's hands, intent on studying the technique and sure that the bear would be theirs in a few moments.
Then it dropped.
"Shit," said Jane clucking her tongue and turning. "Told ya, I'm rusty." she sighed, pushed her palm through her wild hair, and leaned her head against the glass behind her.
Maura had stood beside her, however, had watched her fingers as they manipulated the controls. She saw that at the last millisecond, the one that required a minute flick of the stick in the direction of the hole, Jane's hand could not complete the task. Most likely from reduced range of movement.
Most likely from the scalpel that had been driven into its palm over five years ago and that had caused intense nerve damage, some of it lasting. It was a range of movement the detective would never get back. "Hey."
Jane opened her eyes and looked toward the source of the voice, only to see the medical examiner nearly flush against her. "Uh, hey yourself…" she managed.
"I'm sorry," Maura began, and when Jane moved to talk over her, she held a finger to those Italian lips. "I didn't realize."
"Hey, I didn't exactly explain, either. My hands are just a little fucked up is all. And they will be for, well, forever. I don't really miss doin' this goofy stuff," the brunette said. She nodded her head toward the claw. " I am sorry I couldn't get you that bear though, real shame."
Maura shook her head both in humor and to keep a sudden crying jag at bay. "You want to know something?"
"What?" asked Jane.
"Your hands are never 'fucked up' when they're on me," Maura stated. When Jane's eyes shot open and she swallowed what looked like a brick in her throat, the other woman elaborated. "You're right. You'll always have a motion impediment, however slight it may be. But your hands are not impaired when they usher me through a crowded room, or when they embrace me after heartbreak, or when they shield me from slipping on the ice…. or when they touch me simply because you like to touch. The message is always clear, always masterful, and always welcome."
The hands in question flexed in indecision.
"That means that you should put them on me now," Maura looked down to her hips, and when scarred palms splayed themselves there, she looked back up into her friend's face.
"Lips too?" Jane asked with a devilish smirk.
"Lips too," Maura confirmed.
"This the booze talkin'?" before she obliged, however, the master interrogator had one last question.
"If it is, make sure you do it again in the morning," her suspect offered, and with that, the deal was sealed, the point proven - some people just weren't cut out for the claw. And that was more than ok.
Original author's note: I'm depositing all of my one shots here in one place. Think of my other stories as albums, and this as my mixtape. Something fun without the burden of a continuing plot.
As Maura had expected, Dr. Moore's lecture on the Khmu people of Thailand stayed with her long after she and her father left their seats at the BCU amphitheater. She thought about it as she drove the route back home, about his portrait of the phonology of their contrasting dialects, the broad strokes that brought them together, and the minute shades that differentiated them.
His discussion felt familiar to her daughter's ears: immersion as a way of understanding and assimilation as a way of describing. The Khmu tribes were a diverse population and that reflected in their language variation. Eastern speakers played with voicing in their phonemic distinction, something that had drawn her away from it because of its similarity to English. It had been too easy, like the contrast between craze and graze. She could relate to it, she could feel it on the tip of her tongue and in the language center of brain, and she wanted something so much farther away than the mother tongue of her father. Her father, the linguist trapped in the shell of anthropologist. He always gravitated toward the whimsicality and music of words, while those traits confounded Maura, and she resisted linguistics as soft science, one she failed to fully grasp in light of her need for equations, absolutes, and clean mathematics.
However, she faked an affinity for the Western variations. For the reliance on the tone and its hills and valleys to make sense of words, it was something the likes of which she had never heard. Her fourteen year old self relished its contrarian position to Arthur Isles and his love for the Eastern, but when she locked herself away, when she left home for school, she discarded language study as nothing more than a sometimes necessity, a grammar to learn to talk to others, to communicate what she needed to others. Linguistics was foreign: from developmental to historical to semantics, it as a discipline represented the antithesis of comfort for her. For someone so good with language itself, she almost laughed at her aversion to its study.
After the requisite gushing over register, syntax, and code-switching, Dr. Moore transitioned into a conversation that had left her raw enough to shrink from the passing streetlights, lest their sallow beams expose the more vulnerable parts of her. He spoke of sociolinguistics as a Western science, not in that no other cultures study dialectology, but in that the study of the intersection of language and social status in industrialized societies was so lacking in these contexts. At the moment, sitting next to Arthur, she felt painfully out of place. Both of them seemed to not belong, he for his objectification of many of the cultures he studied, fitting Dr. Moore's indicting profile perfectly, her for her systematic rejection of an intimate relationship with sociolinguistics.
In more than a few ways, it leveled her with her father, the emotionlessness of it all.
As much as she would like to forget, he was her upbringing. His standard English and erudite pretension was just as much hers, at the end of the day. When she pulled up to her driveway, these revelations accosted her - she looked down to her expensive attire and then up to the light on in the guest house, and she decided to find comfort in the one place she was able since she joined the Medical Examiner's office. The decision itself filled her with melancholy, tempered with a little bit of comfort - if she was indeed her father's daughter, then nothing was more opposite than the Rizzoli that she might find on the other end of that door. Still, it was go to Angela, or face the dark, empty main house.
It took little self-convincing for her to pull out her key to the guest house and turn it in the lock. The light turned out not to be the one in the kitchen, but the one further down the hall, toward the back bedroom that Angela had converted to an office. She liked to read there, to unwind after her day, and Maura found her in it often.
However, on this evening, she heard the matriarch speaking, as though to someone else. Exhaustion colored her pitch and tempered her loudness. Maura stayed just out of sight to allow her some privacy for what seemed to be a frustrating affair. A trying family phone call, perhaps? "I dunno. Your aunt is pretty resolute. She said she just… she just can't deal with Uncle Johnny anymore, or his family. I mean, it's sad, but who couldn't see it comin'? I Guarnaschelli avianu sempri dinari ma nun era na famigghia filici." she fired off in what the doctor assumed to a rapid and rich Italian-American, and she filed the new information about Angela away in her mind for possible use later. It was not a surprising skill, given her heritage and upbringing.
"Disgrazzia prividuta menu si senti, Ma," that voice, the one that spoke those words, however, was entirely unexpected. She would never mistake its melody, its body, its hoarse vowels - it was Jane. Her Jane, her Boston through-and-through, rough and tumble, sworn-to-uphold Jane, her best friend and her most intimate human connection. How then, had she missed the whole other language living inside of her? The thought caused her to stumble forward, purse still in hand, face flushed from embarrassment. "like you always said. If she did see it comin' - Maura?"
"H… hi," Dr. Isles managed, with her gaze never leaving her feet. "The talk got out late but I saw the light in the window…"
"Yeah, yeah, course," said Jane. The switch to English left Maura reeling, wondering if she had imagined those foreign sounds just moments before. Her friend pulled the chair next to her out from the table in the center of the room and patted it.
Angela grabbed their two tea cups from the table and patted the two women on the shoulders, a molecular tiredness evident in her gait. "You two stay, talk. I don't think I could keep my eyes open another minute," she said, and then shuffled out of the room.
"So, I'm gonna guess, by the fact that you're here in the guest house, that it didn't go well," Jane started. She leaned with her elbows on the table littered with various bills and other statements, still in her work clothes. Even her gun and badge remained.
"It… it was fine. Um," Maura said as she shook her head to gather herself and stave off the wave of attraction building in her gut, "why didn't you tell me?" Retroflex sounds, back vowels, so many alveolar consonants, so many new things her mouth can do.
"'Bout Aunt Teresa's divorce? You wanna know all that?" Jane asked with a chuckle. "Well, I guess it started with-"
"No," Maura cut her off. She scooted her chair to face her best friend, grabbing each side of her Italian head. She stroked her thumbs under eye sockets, and her fingers scratched lightly at the hairline of the detective's temples.
"No?" asked Jane, eyes closed, pleasure spelled across her features.
"Your dialect. Why don't I know about it?" She suddenly lamented all the years spent with Khmu when she could have been learning this obscure thing of a communication system, could have been learning something that brought her closer to Jane.
"Oh. I dunno. I guess sometimes I even forget. Ma only speaks Italian when she's stressed out about something, and it's usually family drama. Family on her side, that is," the detective said easily, as though the single sexiest thing about her was no big deal and not some clandestine thing that made it even sexier.
Suddenly developmental linguistics was the brightest future Maura could imagine: devoting her life to studying infant language learning in her own Sicilian-speaking, curly-headed Rizzoli child. "I wasn't asking about her; I was talking about you."
"I'm not that great at speaking it, Maura," Jane answered simply and with a heavy exhale. Her friend continued the touches to her face. "I just understand it. I'm slow to get things out. My grand…" she trailed off when she felt Maura's breath on her nose, "… my nanna taught it to me when I was young and Ma just insisted I keep as much of it as possible."
God bless Angela Rizzoli with infinite health and wealth for that decision. God bless my future children with whatever it was that trickled forth from Jane's kissable lips. "I told you tonight that I would be so alone if it weren't for you. You are my family."
"Yeah," said Jane, who resisted nodding in fear of ruining the moment.
It paid off, because Maura kissed her. She kissed her in the way a lock slides into place or the way one inhales after finishing a sprint. Intensely satisfying beyond just the physical action. The doctor tasted wine and her lips tangled seamlessly with Jane's bottom one. They leaned into one another, and when Jane slid her tongue into the mouth on hers, she tasted salt.
She pulled back; tears spotted Maura's face. "Hey, oh hey," she whispered in a gruff register. "What's wrong? That bastard say somethin' to you?" The words were threatening, but the tone was soft.
Maura shook her head. "I want it to be like that. Forever."
"With you," she clarified. "I don't want another family. I don't want anyone else. I'm tired of trying to live up to what I think he would be proud of. I want to live up to what I think you would be proud of."
"Hey," Jane assured her, "you already are. I was proud of you the moment we became friends. You don't need to do something you think I want for that to happen. I want you because you're you. Not my ideal version of you. And in case you haven't noticed, the Rizzolis ain't goin' anywhere," she gestured to the cluttered room where her mother did all her bills.
"I…" Maura gulped, steadying herself, normalizing her voice. "I know. Forgive me for my outburst," she started, and Jane shook her head as if to ward of the apology. "but my God, that Sicilian…" They both chuckled. "I wasn't expecting it, to say the least."
"You like, huh?" asked Jane with a waggle of her eyebrows and a shit-eating grin.
Maura peppered the side of her mouth with short, loud kisses. "I do. I don't want to pressure you, but I heard it, and immediately knew that I want my children to know it. I want you to be the one to teach them."
Jane smiled smiled so wide that her eyes began to close. "You've got it bad."
Maura rolled her eyes. "Up until you said that, I was going to say I'd prefer it if they were your children, too. Now I'm just going to keep my mouth shut."
The detective turned serious for a moment, then she stood. Maura rose with her. Jane took the doctor in her arms, one hand draped on her shoulder, the other on the lowest part of the small of her back. Maura could smell coffee, bar peanuts, and sweat on Jane's neck, and it primed her for what was about to come.
"Semu propriu cca. We ain't goin' anywhere, alright? I ain't goin' anywhere. 'Cept back to the main house with you," Jane whispered into her friend's hair. "It's late and I'm beat, but there's no way I'm sleeping on that cot."
Maura reveled in the flame Jane's tongue incited. The intimacy left her shaken - only a very select few had heard this before. It left her vulnerable, but bold. "You're coming with me upstairs."
Jane's eyes widened before she simpered. "If you're ok with that. But at least let me have a decent night's sleep before we start talkin' about those kids of mine."
Original author's note: This is a one-shot sort of near and dear to my heart. Also, just a little tidbit: Italian-Americans, especially those whose families have been in the US for a long time, often call their language Italian, even though it is usually Sicilian or Neapolitan or something of the like. So though Jane calls this language variation Italian, it is not representative of the standard Italian one would hear in Italy today. There are a whole host of reasons why, and if you want to talk about them, hit me up!
Chapter 3: Opening Day
Jane had already taken her hacks at the batting cage this week. She unleashed hell on Fenway Wood Bats' facility late Tuesday night. It had cages outdoors; it was cheap - at least for her; she knew the owner and paid a flat 40 bucks a month for unlimited swings.
Usually, she took a methodical approach, starting with her feet planted and her bat level through the zone, sending balls to the opposite field. She would practice her inside out swing, lay down bunts, go up the middle, always saving the home run swings for last - a reward for her hard work.
On Tuesday, all of her cuts were vicious. She had swung wild, hard; her helmet had spun and sputtered near her feet on more than one occasion. She had given new imagery to the phrase "swing out of your shoes," not that she missed more than those few balls. Marty DiGiovanni, owner and ball boy extraordinaire, had only whistled as he rubbed the stubble on top of his head. His Red Sox hat had made a similar whoosh of disbelief as it bellowed like a flag in his meaty hand, until he had walked away from the diamond and left her to her obviously very personal business.
It was Tuesday night, right after work, and Jane had driven straight to Fenway Wood Bats. It would not have taken a genius to guess her problem, though Korsak and her brother were no slouches, and their guesses were correct: it certainly had something to do with the madman that had taken up a peculiar, deadly obsession with one Detective Jane. Would she admit out loud that he made her feel so impotent that she would do anything to feel powerful again? She hadn't seriously competed in softball since junior college, the games between Homicide and the other departments of the BPD basically akin to a beer league, but she knew what lurked beneath - a devastating home run swing just begging to be let out. She sometimes obliged it, always in controlled sessions and in small spurts. It, however, always sounded so compelling, and Tuesday, she had let it take over, had let it talk her into Fenway on a cold, late March night, wearing nothing on her extremities but cleats, athletic shorts and a Spring Training sweatshirt.
Maura wore the same sweatshirt now, in the same complex, but deep in its bowels, where there were two, older batting cages under the bright, artificial lights. Jane had waved at Marty on the way in, this time during a sunny Saturday mid afternoon and if he wondered what she was doing here for another day this week, or if she was going to destroy the inside of his facility this time, he didn't show it. Characteristically, the lips behind his bushy mustache said nothing, and this allowed her to watch Maura Isles for a few moments, Maura who was unaware of her presence.
The way she swung the bat, fluid, light, all in the hips, categorically contrasted Jane's way. Jane used her legs as grounders - they hot-wired the electricity from her planted feet up through her hips and to her arms until the contact crackled in the air and the ball screamed as it whizzed past the pitching machine. Maura bounced on the balls of her feet now, her short yoga pants and one-of-a-kind cross trainers all about the fluidity of water than the spark of metal on leather. Her stance was wide, her crouch was long and lithe, and the way she twisted her grip against the bat twice before she swung was all a part of a well-oiled machine. When her bat made contact, no less sure than Jane's, it popped with grace - it was the ding of the ball hitting the sweet spot, without Jane's grumbling power, with her own streamlined potency.
In short, Jane adhered to the masculine sports form, beating athleticism into submission through discipline. She took pride in that. But Maura, Maura took pride in departing from it, using her femininity to prove herself just as strong.
"Lookin' good, Maura," Jane called out, and Maura turned her head abruptly to the sound. The detective nodded to the machine with a soft smile, the one that accentuated the lines around her lips. "Follow through is perfect."
Maura demonstrated it again, her arms moving long through the zone as she made contact. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," said Jane. She leaned her front up against the chain link fence between them, threading her fingers in it above her head and stretching. "How's the sweatshirt fit?"
Maura blushed red against her pale skin, her auburn ponytail swishing with her effort to make her swing seem unaffected by the question. The result was a weak foul ball. "Well. It's comfortable."
Jane chuckled. "I'm glad. I leave it at your place?"
"On the couch, yes," said Maura. She sighed and shook out her shoulders, hopping a bit before getting back into her stance.
Jane noted the absence of feral grunts with each hack, reminded herself that there was more than one way to do it. "Mmm."
"How'd you find me?"
"Frankie blabbed. Well, to be fair, he was sitting in the living room with Ma when I got home from my half day, and I sort of grouched it out of him."
"You… you do that often," Maura paused to hit.
"I do," ceded Jane. She watched Maura for several long moments, her hitter's eye scanning her. "What're you doin' here, Maura?"
This made her stop, hold the barrel of the bat in her hands. "Blowing off some steam, Jane."
"You don't take batting practice to blow off steam. You do yoga, you drink tea… you…"
"Meditate?" Maura offered helpfully.
"Yeah. You don't beat the living shit out of softballs," Jane said. Her boot kicked at the fence and she watched it give before making eye contact with her friend.
"To be fair, I don't think that's what I'm doing."
"You're right. But you mind tell me what is going on?"
"Fine," breathed Maura. "This… this makes me feel close to you. I wanted to feel close to you. So I came here, to hit, instead of do yoga, drink tea, or meditate." She sighed a fortifying sigh, and then moved to stand as close to Jane as she could with the metal between them.
Jane scoffed. "I'm with you at the house every night, Maura."
Maura shook her head. "No. you've been watching me. Conducting surveillance. I need you with me."
Jane's brow contorted in equal parts culpability and exhaustion. "I can't stop. You know that. I can't give this guy one inch of leeway."
"Jane? Jane, look at me," Maura pleaded. She turned off the machine, and wrapped her fingers over Jane's, reaching high to find them.
Jane obliged with a wave moisture over her eyes.
"You are not giving him any leeway. You don't have to shut me out to keep him out."
Jane sniffed loudly. "I can't… I can't lose you, Maura. I can't lose you." The statement was sure, of course, but whispered, despite the fact that they were alone. "I can't lose Ma, either, but you? I would-" She didn't get to finish her statement, because Maura's tired lips found her tired lips and they were moving together, through a hole in the fence.
"You have to stop saying that you can't do this. Because you can. I know that you can. I know that there's a place in your head that you go," said Maura, her breath cool against the wetness on Jane's lips. "You disappear sometimes. But you don't have to. Not with me."
Finally, Jane smiled - it was tentative, small, but it showed up nonetheless. "We've never kissed before."
"I say all that and that's your response?"
"Excuse me if it was a little shocking."
"Shocking? You didn't like it?" Maura raised her brow.
"No! No," Jane backtracked, shrugging in her blazer. "I liked it. I wanted it. And I know that you believe in me. I feel it. I just don't know another way to do this, Maura. I'm a cop. Surveillance is what I do. It's what I do best."
"Better than tackling? Or interrogating?" asked Maura. Her simper belied her disbelief.
Jane growled. "Funny." Her eyes followed Maura's body from foot to forehead.
Maura basked in the feeling. She grasped at Jane's sides, and nodded towards the entrance to the cage. With her now so close, they embraced, innocently at first. When Jane kissed Maura again, their hands roamed until they broke apart again. "I can think of a way for you to make me feel safe."
Jane blushed at Maura's wiggling eyebrows. "Oh?" she recovered, "does it involve you, me, and the master bedroom you refuse to let me monitor?"
At that, the tension cleared, at least a little. "Maybe," Maura chuckled, and then a beat passed, and her features turned soft, intimate. "The way you protect me has always been so personal, Jane. Keep it personal."
"Hey, you headed to the body on Hyde Street?" Jane's voiced boomed into the BPD lobby when she saw Maura marching from the elevator to the heavy glass of the front doors.
"Hi," Maura greeted back, still a firm believer in manners despite her friendship with the most boisterous, least-mannered detective in homicide. "No. There was a shootout at a meth lab near the bay today. Martinez has recruited me. I guess they found a body that seems unrelated to that shoot out."
"Ugh, welcome to summer in Boston, huh?" Jane grumbled. She stood close behind Maura as the Chief Medical Examiner exited the building.
Maura felt the angular push of a department-issued firearm just above her behind and nearly swooned. "I will admit that… that tension does seem to run higher when it's hot, yes," was what she managed when they stepped out onto the sidewalk. She couldn't help but settle her gaze on the offending weapon slung on Jane's left hip.
"Who's gonna meet you there? Frankie?" Jane asked, completely unaware and fumbling in her blazer pockets for her Ray-Bans.
"Yes, and Kent should be at your scene already," Maura answered, and shook her head as she watched her friend struggle, half-blinded by the oppressive sun. She braced her left hand on Jane's right side, and used her right to pluck the sunglasses from her belt, just behind that pistol. She waved them in the air and waggled her eyebrows, and Jane blushed.
"What would I do without ya?" the detective wondered aloud with a chuckle on her breath, taking the frames and placing them on her face.
"I can't answer that," Maura replied simply.
"Let's not find out, alright?" said Jane as she set out toward her car with a wave, "Be safe."
"You too, Jane," Maura called out, watching the other woman drive away before climbing into her own car.
"This ever get less disgusting?" Jane asked of her sergeant before crinkling her nose in disgust. A body, bloated with time and decay, had started to near-cook in the heat of the hoarded home. No air conditioning, no running water.
"The hoard or the gassy dead people?" Korsak chuckled, and his overall cheery step seemed to indicate that if it didn't get less disgusting with time, one at least became impervious to it. "You been in the department ten years, it ain't like you're a newbie."
"Yeah, yeah," Jane waved off his comment with her gloved hand. She looked for the Scottish assistant medical examiner, and saw him conversing with a CSRU member just out of ear shot. "What'd Drake say?"
"Looks like the guy was blown away by a .38 special. Time of death around 4 or 5 days ago; heat accelerated decomposition," he said, looking over his notes. "Pretty basic breaking and entering; there's a busted lock and signs of a struggle. My guess is whoever came here looking' to rob the place thought it was abandoned, got surprised by Mr. Robles here, and there was a tussle."
"Damn, the city goes crazy in August, huh? Blowing' people's heads off for a B and E," Jane commented with a little cynicism in her hoarse voice. She prowled the scene, taking in stacks of mildewed newspapers, broken pottery, what must have been ten years worth of the old guy's trash. That a clear path existed from the front door to the bedroom, where they found him, surprised her. Was it the worst hoard she'd seen since joining the force? By no means, but they were rare enough that the smell of it and the deco burned against her lungs. The ring of her phone was a welcome excuse to take a step outside. She held it up to her boss, he waved her on, and she stepped out the front door to answer. It was Frankie.
"Hey, little brother, what's up?" She answered, shrugging off her blazer, feeling the stick as the satin inside slithered off of her arms.
"Hey Janie," her brother began on the other line, and there was a tremor in his voice. The smile on her face slipped into something wilder, graver. "listen, I don't want you to get upset but something happened out here."
Immediately Maura's face flashed through her mind. "What?" she growled.
"Guys in the drug unit didn't clear the house, I guess, and while Maura was lookin' at the body in question, some druggie busted out of the cellar and tackled her to the ground."
"What the fuck?!" Jane shouted, grabbing her keys and sprinting toward her car. "What do you mean they didn't clear the house?! That's their fucking job! Text me your address, god dammit!" she held the phone to her ear as she gunned the engine to life.
"It's fine, Janie. She's ok. Banged up, but ok. Don't go crazy alright? We're on Sumner," Frankie attempted to reason, but still gave up their location knowing good god damn well that Jane was going to get it - either from him or someone else.
Jane hung up without a response and threw the car into drive.
"Maura?! Maura!" Jane screamed, and the jagged slam of her cruiser door shook most of the officers clumped around the dilapidated residence. She couldn't care less when she finally spotted the medical examiner seated, very conscious and alive, on the back of a medical response vehicle.
"Jane?" Maura said as her eyebrow curled at the sight of her best friend barreling toward her. She winced as the EMT finished bandaging the abrasion on her neck. "Why aren't you out in Revere?"
The detective's body coiled, and her mouth snarled. Her gaze focused squarely on the reddish-purple swelling around Maura's left eye. She stared the EMT away from them, sat next to the medical examiner, and entered her personal space. They shared a compound of breaths, Jane's livid and Maura's a combination of aroused and exhausted. "You alright?" the question came out as little more than a puff of volatile air.
Maura placed scratched hands on Jane's shoulders. "I'm fine. He caught me off guard, is all. I was on the ground before I even realized what was happening," she explained. She felt the energy building under her fingertips, rippling under Jane's skin. "Hey. Jane? Jane, I'm ok. I am ok." she repeated, eyes latching onto her friend's in one last desperate attempt to calm her.
No such luck could be had.
"He here?" Jane asked, standing.
"I'm sorry?" the brusqueness, the abruptness of the motion, caught Maura off guard.
"He here? Or they take him to the station?"
"He's here, Jane. They got him cuffed at detained in one of the bedrooms until Maura's done in the ambulance. He's pretty messed up. They're gonna take him to the hospital, I guess," Frankie's voice cut in from behind them. Jane spun on her heels and bored into him with a glare.
"Where were you?" She asked, eerily quiet. "Huh? Where was your ass when she was gettin' pummeled by a drug addict?"
Frankie gulped. "I was across the property, Janie, c'mon. Doing my job." he reasoned.
She heard none of it. "Wrong answer. Make yourself scarce for a while, do yourself a favor." She marched past him and jogged up onto the porch steps when she felt him grab for her.
"Jane, don't! Don't do it!"
Detective Jane Rizzoli ignored her brother's calls and shoved through the open front door, where Martinez and some others conversed in a huddle. She stomped past them, down a hall, and stopped when she saw a uniformed officer standing watch over a closed bedroom door.
"Detective," he greeted, tipping his hat to her.
She cocked her shoulders back, adjusted the holster on her belt. "Reynolds. This the one? He in there?" She asked, calmly enough, despite her bared teeth and curled upper lip.
"Yeah. Real knucklehead. EMT's in there lookin' him over now," Reynolds answered. He was no fool - he knew exactly what Jane sought. He stepped further away from the door.
"Good," she said. She hiked her leg up and back, and kicked a heeled boot straight through the frail wood.
With a cacophonous schwack!, the door flew into the wall and hummed with energy. The EMT bandaging the meth addict nearly shit his pants when Jane appeared on the other side of the obliterated door. The meth addict's eyes exploded at the sight of the destroyer of the door coming straight for him. He attempted to crawl behind an old bookshelf.
Jane's foot caught his face instead. "You in a good enough frame of mind to run now, motherfucker?" She asked in a grunt. The emergency med tech rose to try and come between them, but she shot him a feral look. "Get the fuck out of this room. I'm interrogating this suspect."
Needless to say, he ran out. The suspect attempted to follow, but Jane grabbed his collar and used his momentum to thrust him into the wall.
"Jane! Jane what the hell are you doin'?" Frankie had apparently run into the house when he heard the commotion, but couldn't wrap his arms around his sister until she had pulled the man up and head butted him. He fell to the floor, seemingly unconscious.
"You try and touch her again, and I promise this motherfucker won't be here to stop me from beating the shit out of you," she spit at the limp body on the floor, and she struggled as her brother dragged her out of the room. Frankie rolled his eyes, and shook his head severely as Martinez attempted an approach.
"Listen to me," said Maura. She had been speaking for the last two minutes as she assembled sutures and antiseptic, but Jane had looked everywhere but her face. Jane sat on a stool near Maura's work desk in the autopsy suite, and Dr. Isles pulled up next to her with a look of admonishment.
"I know what you're gonna say," Jane mumbled, trying to visualize the gash on her forehead.
"Oh? And what am I going to say, Detective?" Maura smirked. She pulled an alcohol wipe from its package and dabbed at her friend's heinous amalgam of clotted blood and ruptured skin.
Jane fought a wince. "You're gonna say that I shouldn't have done what I did. That I should have taken the help from the EMT and gotten stitched at the scene and blah, blah, blah I don't need to be headbutting suspects."
"See, what they say about assumptions is true," Maura commented, blowing on the area. It wasn't necessarily sanitary thing to do, but she knew it comforted Jane. God knew she had plenty of stitch-ups to learn how her friend did and did not like to be nurtured. "It's selfish, but I'm glad you did it. You know how I feel about you going rogue for me," she winked. Jane turned pink. "What I was going to say was that I wish you would be more careful with yourself. Just because you're protecting me by busting people's heads in doesn't mean you need to bust your own."
"Yeah, you're right," Jane grumbled.
"I'm sorry, say that again?" Maura said cheekily, and her friend growled. "Just kidding. Hold still."
"You want to go get a drink after this?" detective Rizzoli asked. She would have hung her head if she needn't hold it up for Maura to stitch.
"Like at The Robber?"
"Nah. Like somewhere quiet where we don't know people who will point and laugh at my forehead all night."
"That sounds… great, actually. And then we can go home, where I can… repay you for your chivalry," Maura teased.
"Very funny, Maura. Very funny." Jane shot back as she rolled her eyes, but there was nowhere to hide her dilated pupils and quickened breath.
Original author's note: Because I love when Jane is a knucklehead for Maura.
Jane looked so dark on the evening of November the 2nd.
The sun had long set, and the air's chill caused her to tug her jacket tighter against her body, hands fisted deep in pockets. The sound of her oxford shoes against the dirt below was the lovechild of a crunch and a hiss, no doubt because of the way she stood straddling the line between grass and tree. She spread her legs wide and she kept her hands close to her pelvis; a telltale sign of her comfort, the ease of her movement in this particular space. It was a sign of the physical dominance the made her handsome, her dominance combined with the way starlight filtered through the leaves above her head and glinted against her skin.
The light did not, however, illuminate her. Rather, it thrust shadows upon her, caught just enough of the reflection in her brown eyes to be haunting - the angles of her face jutted out against the hood created by her wavy, wild hair that fell past her shoulders. She smirked a smirk that said she owned this part of the night, that she owned this land and everything around it, stretching out for miles.
Maura, holding a giant orange that served as the superlative pop of color to her mild salmon sweater, nearly choked with the desire to have all her lightness swallowed up in the Jane standing inches away, who had just handed her the citrus she now cradled in both palms. She wanted to scream, she wanted to sob, she wanted to shout her needs from the height of the tree that towered above them, but she didn't think that her shaky legs could support her if she tried to climb. So, she settled for speaking. Whispering. "Say it again," she breathed, a request so light and soft in her feminine voice.
It commanded Jane's masculine energy with ease. "un murticeddu," she replied, smirking.
"And what does it mean?" Maura asked, looking to the orange in her hand, and then up to Jane's full, wet lips.
"Means a present, for U iornu di morti," said Jane. Maura had no response; she was too busy watching the foreign vowels tumble out of Jane's mouth and writhe into the air. She gulped when they hit her ears and turned them red, even when the breeze blew cold against her hair. "But, uh, I don't know, is that cheesy? I haven't done this in awhile, Actually, I've never given anyone a murticeddu. They've only been given to me."
Maura held her finger against those lips she had been watching. Raptly. "I'm sorry. I was caught off guard by it," she said, and just as Jane took the darkness of the evening into her and made it her own, Maura took the light. Pockets of candle flame and torches flickered from people still visiting graveyards and tombstones in the town below the hill they occupied, little pulses of paint against ink, little accents of color for Maura's aura, her spiritual ensemble. They complemented her bright smile and the fairness of her green irises.
A smile and eyes that Jane knew more than saw in the orchard, the two of them alone at night and far from any light source. "It's not a bottle of perfume, or a fancy bag, but-"
Maura dropped one hand from the fruit and stepped closer, blades of grass tickling her ankles and giving her a nervous shiver. She put that hand on Jane's heart to steady herself. "It makes me feel close to you. Close to your family," she said with a nod toward a distant main house, barely visible from the dirt rode several yards away. Jane curled her lips in affirmation, knocked her forehead against Maura's and closed her eyes. Maura felt something heavy searching out her something light, and she wanted it on top of her, all over her.
Jane spread her arms, welcoming Maura in, wrapping them together with her hands still in her pockets. After a few minutes of listening to nothing but the sound of insects and the occasional shuffle of their feet, she spoke. "Not anything like Boston in November, is it?" Maura shook her head against the chest at her cheek.
Indeed, Sicily was nothing like Boston in November. The days were cool, but still Mediterranean. The nights were cold, but never frigid. "Nothing at all. I'm glad we came."
The Marconi family, Jane's maternal relatives, owned the ground that they stood on now - it had been nearly a decade since Jane had traveled with her mother and brothers to her uncle's winter home on the citrus farm, and Maura was an unquestioned, inevitable guest for her first vacation back to their homeland. This was because Maura was the unquestioned, inevitable guest knocking around all the chambers of her heart - and her family must have recognized it with the way they drew her in, tangoed with her in intimacy, fought for her attention and gifted her with loyalty.
The orange had been a last minute thought during the holiday that secretly was Jane's favorite - something she picked from the branches above them on the late night stroll that had become their routine on this trip to the island. "I'm glad too. Perfect timing. I really like the day of the dead."
"Really? Why is that? We never celebrate it stateside," asked Maura, letting herself be embraced by the rattle of words in Jane's midsection.
"Well, first it was because we got gifts," Jane said through a smile, and Maura pinched her good naturedly. "Ow! I'd like to point out you got a gift, too, you know," she said of the orange in Maura's coat pocket before moving on, "And more recently, as an adult, it makes me feel close to my grandparents. To Frost."
Maura remembered the celebration the Marconis and Rizzolis had introduced her to earlier that day. Jane had marched into the church like sin and trouble in her leather jacket and rolled-cuff trousers, but no one recited the mass for the dead as fervently as her. They had held hands when the eucharist was over and it made Maura feel a rush of guilt and invincibility that resembled floating between two worlds - briefly she wondered if Jane was taking her somewhere, a plane she hadn't visited before. "I enjoyed today. I think I felt what you're describing; when we touch I feel what you're feeling. I see what you're seeing, even if I don't necessarily-"
She was stopped by Jane nuzzling her forehead with her nose. It was insistent enough that Maura looked up, surprised when their lips touched and Jane kissed her like she needed to take the rest of Maura's life from her. "Spusa cu me."
Maura's pupils ballooned and darkened, her eyes grew glossy like she had taken some of Jane instead. "What did you just say?"
Jane was only a few millimeters away; her blush caught flame in the air they shared and spread to Maura's face. She faltered, her raspy voice a shaky wave in the moonlight. "Maybe this is the wrong time to ask, the wrong place. I didn't plan-"
"Say it again," Maura whispered, desperate, shaking her head to all of Jane's insecurity.
"What?" Jane threw out on an exhale.
"Say it again," reiterated Maura. "I know what you're asking. Ask me again. I'll say yes."
In a few beats, dark Jane returned with a wicked grin, and got down on one knee in the Sicilian dirt.
Original Author's Note: As an October baby, sometimes I long for the falltime. This ficlet was born out of that and a prompt on tumblr - "things you said under the stars and in the grass."
Chapter 6: Untitled Christmas One Shot
This is a Christmas Eve snippet that was originally posted on Tumblr on 12/23/21. This and subsequent chapters will be mostly, if not all, from Tumblr the past couple of months. I wanted to have one place to compile them, and Lesser Works seemed like the perfect place.
Constance Isles steps into the nondescript car waiting for her outside her Back Bay condo. She wears a burberry coat, and a couture Chanel skirt-suit in the classic bouclé, black with a smattering of white like constellations. Her black heels clack against the footstep of the SUV as she hugs her handbag close to her side. She smiles at the man who helps her in, her driver, and pulls her phone out to disrupt the sudden darkness of the backseat.
It is Christmas Eve - her screen reads just after six pm, but the sun set an hour ago and the windows of the Escalade are tinted. The driver enters, brushing snowflakes off of his own coat, repeating the address she’s given him back to her: 55 Pickney Street? He asks.
“Yes,” Constance confirms, still staring at her iPhone as she does. It’s a picture of herself and Maura, wrapped in an embrace in front of Constance’s parents’ villa in Nice last summer, smiles broad and eyes bright in the sun. It is such a contrast to the cold New England evening she endures now, and yet it reminds her of why: Maura.
As they pull away from the curb and enter city traffic, crawling because of the weather, Constance replays their conversation from two days prior in her mind.
“Mom,” Maura answered the phone with an airy giggle, one definitely not meant for Constance, or at least, not caused by her. “How are you?”
“I’m well, Darling,” Constance replied, catching some of Maura’s mirth and releasing a little laugh of her own. “You sound happy.”
“Oh, um, Angela and I were just, well, we’ve got a long few days ahead. We’re making pie dough and Jane’s just gotten flour all over me. I promise I wasn’t laughing at you,” said Maura, and when the giggles died, propriety replaced them.
Constance frowned at that. Had it always been this way between them? Is this what a call from her inspired in her daughter? Obedience? Nothing more, nothing… stronger? “I thought no such thing. I’m glad you’re finding time to enjoy yourself during such a busy time. That’s actually what I’m calling about, my love.”
“Oh?” Maura answered with curiosity and maybe some nervousness. Constance heard the shuffling of feet, and realized that suddenly, the voices in the background she hadn’t really registered were now gone.
“Your father and I are actually in town, and we would love it if you spend Christmas with us. We’re starting on Christmas Eve at your Uncle’s party,” Constance said as if she were revealing the most precious of surprises.
And maybe, in years past, it would have been. But on this phone call, Maura took a long pause, and Constance heard the choke of disappointment in her voice. “I… oh, I’m so happy you’re here,” she started, “but La Vigilia is in two days, and there is so much to do between now and then. How long are you staying?”
Constance had not expected the strongest ‘no’ she’d heard from Maura in, well, ever. She also did not expect the Italian. “Uh, well,” she stuttered, “We plan to be here just a day or two after Christmas. Will you have time then? To see us?”
Maura sucked a steadying breath in. “I should, yes. We open gifts Christmas morning, but you and Dad are more than welcome to come to dinner. If you don’t have plans, that is.”
“Oh Maura, we do. A Christmas dinner of our own. I have to go, I have a meeting with the gallery in an hour, but please let’s discuss this more in-depth later?” Constance pleaded.
“Of course,” Maura replied. Constance pursed her refined lips at the relieved little sigh on the other line. Then Maura’s voice was distant. “Jane! Don’t take out the cod! Bye, Mother.”
“Goodbye, Maura, I love you,” Constance, spurred on by a small dose of the greenest emotion, said it first, for what was probably the first time in their relationship.
“Love you too!” Maura replied, and then the line clicked.
So, Constance sits in her ride now, on her way to Maura’s home on said holiday, to fight for her daughter. After her accident, their relationship had entered a holding pattern, much like the one they were mired in before it. But now, she remembers what Jane had said to her those couple years before, when they first met: Maura needs to be chased. She’s done the chasing, of everyone, for so long, Jane had said on the phone when Constance had planned to leave Boston without seeing Maura again, that she needs us to pursue her now. Got it? Love on her instead of making her run after you around the world.
Constance chased, that first evening, and was awed by what she found, sitting across from Maura and Angela in that booth in The Dirty Robber. But somehow, America became a site of trauma, the memories of her hospital stay strong whenever she even thinks about visiting. So, she had thrown herself into her work again, as soon as she was able, all over Europe. And her relationship with Maura, as sweet as it had started to become, suffered.
She inches along Beacon Street with hopes to rectify that and get her daughter back. She wants to spend as much time repatriating Maura into their family, into their lives, as she can with the years that she and Arthur have left. And she will stand on Maura’s doorstep, begging if she has to, to steal Maura away for a few hours before midnight.
Luckily, her home is less than a few miles away from Maura’s, and even with the traffic and the snow, it takes less than thirty minutes to arrive. “This is the place,” she says to the driver as he stops just outside the courtyard. He puts the car in park and moves to open his door, but she waves him off. “No no,” she says, “I can get off myself. I hope to be just a moment. And when I return, I should have someone with me.”
“Yes, Dr. Isles,” he replies, and turns the heat up, resettling in his seat.
She exits onto the brick sidewalk of Pinckney Street, careful not to step in any cracks that would mean her downfall. Her repaired hip barks in the cold, but she ignores it with some of her European stoicism and presses forward into Maura’s gates.
A man slams into her on her way, under the string of edison lights hanging above their heads. “Oh my god, I’m sorry!” He shrieks, just as he catches her in his strong, young arms. She puts her hands on his well-developed chest muscles before she realizes what she’s doing, just as she looks up into his gleaming blue eyes. He pants with surprise and terror subsiding, his breath warping and writhing around them in the air. “You alright, lady?”
Constance barks with relieved laughter. “I am, thanks to you,” she jokes. “Are you my daughter’s…?”
The man furrows his brow until it shoots up with epiphany. “Your daughter…? Oh, you’re Maura’s ma!” he says. “No, I’m not her boyfriend. But are you here to see her? You can get a ride with me; I’m parked just around the corner and I’m on my way.”
“I’m sorry? Does she no longer live here?” Constance removes herself from his safe embrace carefully and smoothes her suit in a way reminiscent of Maura.
“What? She does. She’s just at the party,” he replies. “Sorry. I’m uh, I’m Tommy. Rizzoli. Janie’s brother. She and Maura’re at my cousin Maria’s house, for La Vigilia. Like I said, I can take you there if ya want.”
“Oh, I’ve, I don’t think I-”
“Ah, c’mon,” Tommy interrupts her, shrugging his Carhartt jacket closer to his built frame. “I just got off work, so you won’t be the only one walkin’ in late. Look, my Ma forgot the cannoli, so we won’t even be emptyhanded.” He holds an insulated bag with two huge tupperwares inside and shows it to her.
“Oh, alright, let me tell my driver,” Constance throws caution to the wind yet again and turns in the direction of her SUV.
“Ah, fuck that,” Tommy says. Then he covers his mouth. “Uh, sorry. I mean, forget that. You’re comin’ with me. C’mon. Family doesn’t show up in a limo, Mrs. Isles.”
“Dr. Isles,” she corrects him in humorous retribution for his curse. “And, why not?”
“That’s more like it,” he tells her, handing her the cannoli and fishing his keys out of his dark jean pockets. “We’ll be there in no time.”
“See? One piece,” Tommy gestures to the small single family home just outside the city center with both arms spread wide. Constance walks with one dainty hand over her stomach, amazed to have made it alive with Tommy’s snow driving mostly at speed limit levels. She is dignified, and will not spill the contents of her afternoon tea on the salted pavement of this driveway, but her body tries to convince her to.
Christmas lights glisten in reds, greens, whites, oranges, blues and pinks all along the roof, and a nativity scene sits on the front porch as they walk up. The snow is still light, falling gracefully instead of flurrying in a rush to the ground, but it has started to stick. Constance can smell fish throughout the whole neighborhood, as well as the warmth of tomato, onion, and garlic: instantly she is transported to the summer of her twenty-eighth year, when she spent it all in Calabria - drinking wine, eating pasta, and romancing Arthur. She longs for pasta now almost as much as she longs for Maura. “Thank you for the ride, Tommy,” she says, finally remembering her manners, and remembering that this brash, handsome young man is the key to getting what she wants.
“No problem, Dr. Isles,” says Tommy. He holds out his arm so that she can take it and avoid face-planting because of her heels. “I see where Maura gets her sense of style.”
“Oh, do you?” she asks to make conversation. He takes the bag of dessert from her, too, and she laces the fingers of both of her hands in the crook of his elbow.
“Sure. You look like a million bucks. Normally, Maura’s all dressed to the nines, too,” says Tommy. He leads her up the five steps to Maria’s front door, decorated with an abundant, red-ribboned wreath. The smell gets stronger, and tastier. And now, there are loud voices accompanying it, separated by huge booms of periodic laughter.
“Normally, hmm?” Constance turns her head when he rings the doorbell, with a disbelieving smile. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen my daughter not ‘dressed to the nines.’”
“Just you wait,” Tommy says as the door swings open.
A woman, with her braids done up into a bun on her head and with a shock of glossy red lipstick on her dark, plump lips, smiles radiantly at them when she sees them. She holds a glass of wine in her hand and uses her other to pull her oversized black cardigan closer to her middle. “Tommy! What are you doin’ standin’ out in the cold; it’s freezin’! Come in!” She waves him inside, and then holds her hand out for Constance.
“Thanks, Nina,” Tommy says, making sure to shut the front door behind them in the entryway. “This is uh, Dr. Isles. Maura’s mom. I ran into her on my way out the door.”
“Wow, what an honor,” Nina says, holding out her hand to shake. “You know, I’m somewhat of an art geek. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Isles. I am super looking forward to your opening at the Whitmore. I’m Nina. Frankie Rizzoli’s girlfriend.”
“Well, thank you,” Constance returns the shake, and her shoulders loosen at being greeted by someone who knows her for her work. It always helps to take the edge off. She glances up the staircase next to them, dark except for the light of one bedroom close to the railing, and then back to Nina.
Nina catches it because Nina catches everything. “Did you want to put your bag down? The spare room’s upstairs,” she asks. “Your mother’s frantic about those cannoli, boy,” she turns to Tommy before waiting for an answer. “You betta go to that kitchen now.”
“Got it,” Tommy replies, and then he is off. Off toward the source of that delicious odor, and toward the din of a familial gathering.
Now in the home, Constance smells Italian food, but she also picks out notes of pine, alcohol, and nicotine, but lingering, like someone wandered outside for a smoke and then came back into the shelter. She rocks on her heels to give herself some time to center and think, and the hardwood beneath them groans. It is worn, like an old family home should be. “I, actually… I’m just here to see Maura. I was hoping to steal her away to attend a function at her uncle’s home. Could you point me in her direction?”
Nina’s face drops from admiration to confusion. Her mouth opens up, and her brows drop, but she is gracious, so she agrees. “Uh, ok, of course. She’s in the dining room. There’s a pretty raucous game of cards happenin’ right now, so I’ll announce you from afar. She didn’t mention anything about another party…”
“Oh, my visit is all very spur of the moment. I don’t think she actually planned-”
“Scopa!” Constance rounds the corner with Nina and is silenced by the image before her.
Well, the image and her daughter yelling Scopa into the hazy atmosphere of the dining room of Maria’s home while vintage Christmas tunes play in the background.
Constance sees a renaissance painting: it is the only way she can relate to the scene before her. Colors, softened by the yellow light of the Italian chandelier above, explode before her eyes, and sound ceases because it would only impede her study. She has found Maura, at the antique dining room table covered in plastic atop a deep red table cloth, with placemats cleared for a set of cards. She sits sideways in the lap of one Jane Rizzoli, one arm around those broad Italian shoulders for balance as she laughs loudly at a man across from them. Two men, actually, who must be related because their lips frown in the same shape and their hair holds the same glossy black tint. Maura’s face, however, her lips, are open and they expose her pretty teeth in the biggest smile Constance has ever seen on her daughter.
And now, she sees what Tommy meant at the door: Maura wears jeans and a comfortable gray, cable-knit sweater with a collar that cradles her neck in warmth. She was wearing boots, because a pair sit next to her, next to Jane’s feet on the floor, but Maura’s feet kick up triumphantly in only socks. Jane holds both Maura’s waist and another hand of cards, and she smirks wickedly at the pain of the two men on the other side.
Suddenly, sound resumes, and Constance has control of all her senses again.
“Ah come on, you cheated!” one man says, crossing his arms.
“Just because you can’t count, Danny!” Jane taunts loudly; her deep voice fits the occasion perfectly because it carries over the TV where four men watch basketball, and the open half-wall to the kitchen where about fifteen others gather around snacks and beer bottles.
“C’mon c’mon let’s get back to the game! It’s just one point,” the other man says. He’s a bit younger than Jane, but oh, he looks just like her, Constance realizes now that she looks directly between the two of them.
“Frankie’s right; we’re gonna beat you by even more than that, let’s go,” says Jane, who deals out three cards to each player again.
“Maura?” Nina calls out over the party toward the table, delivering on her promise to not get too close.
Constance becomes aware of just how much she stands out here, and how much Maura does not. She clutches her bag tightly in front of her midsection and licks her lips. She thinks about making her excuses and running out the door. But Tommy brought her and…
“Oh my god, Mom?” Maura says that in such a shocked, child-like voice as she scrambles off of Jane that Constance stays rooted to her spot. Oh how she missed that sound.
“Hello, my love,” she says, holding her arms open when Maura approaches. Out of the corner of her eye, Constance watches Jane straighten up in her chair like the mother superior has just entered the room. Maura returns the embrace with both caution and erudition. They kiss each other on the cheek twice, but then Constance laughs and pulls Maura close. “Oh, don’t we look ridiculous in this home full of loving, passionate people. And, well, look at you! You’re one of them!” She says, pushing Maura back by the shoulders after she kisses the tip of her nose, just so that she can scrutinize her fully.
Maura blushes with both the affection and the sentiment. “I, um,” she starts. Jane shoots up out of her chair, wiping her hands on her jeans and then stuffing them in her hoodie pocket. “Well,” Maura begins again when she feels Jane behind her, “I guess I am, yes.”
Jane holds her hand out. “Hey, Dr. Isles. Sorry to uh, sorry I was gettin’ fresh with your daughter in front of, well, everybody,” she says, chuckling at the end because hell, what did she care if all the Rizzolis and their significant others saw her canoodling with Maura at the table: they all knew.
Constance guffaws. Maura blanches. “This is your home, not mine,” Constance assures her. “But why didn’t I know about this?”
“Think she wanted to see if it was gonna work out before she bothered you,” Jane says with a smirk. Maura slams her knuckles backwards into Jane’s gut. “Ow!”
“Stop,” Maura demands through a throaty giggle. “She’s kidding. I just… well, we’ve both been busy.” It’s true, and it’s also an indictment. A deserved one, Constance knows.
“We have, haven’t we?” she says in contrition.
“What are you doing here?” Maura asks what she’s wanted to know since she saw her mother. “I thought you had Uncle Edward’s party.”
“I did, but I was looking for you at your home and a strapping young man named Tommy gave me a ride. I had this silly notion that I was going to swoop in here and convince you to come with me,” Constance admits. “That I would give you a speech about how much time we’ve lost, and how badly I want you to be part of our family again. But I’m going to leave you here, and let you enjoy the rest of your evening, because it seems that you’ve found your own. Call me?”
Jane steps in. “Hey, stay. We got plenty of food and plenty of booze,” she looks around, and Constance looks with her, at all the cozy furniture and expressive Sicilian eyes now all on them. Finally, they find Angela Rizzoli, who smiles warmly back at them. “And Ma makes a mean cannoli. That you and Tommy rescued, apparently.”
“Oh, I couldn’t, your father’s…” waiting for me? Probably not. Knowing Arthur, with the delay, he found his own way and is already bored to tears listening to his Brahmin family regale each other with tales of the past. Something that both he and Constance hate. Is that what she is saying no to Jane, to Maura, for? “You know what?” she says, caution abandoned for a third time, as has been the theme all evening, “all right. I’ll stay.”
“Yeah?” asks Maura.
“Yeah?” Jane echoes. “We go till midnight, ya know,” she warns playfully.
“I know. I have spent several Christmases in Italy, Jane,” Constance teases back.
Jane, a little drunk, throws up her hands. “Excuse me,” she groans. Then, she smiles that dark and dangerous smile, the one full of charm. Constance sees why Maura fell for it. “What’re ya drinkin’?”
“Something red, full-bodied. Italian if you have it,” Constance says.
Nina holds her glass up. “Oh we got it all right,” she says. “C’mon, Jane, we’re on wine duty.”
Jane winks at Maura, and then follows Nina into the kitchen.
Constance and Maura are alone. Well, alone as you can be in a house full of Sicilians on La Vigilia. “Dinner’s almost ready,” says Maura. She puts her hands in her back pockets and smiles hopefully.
Constance wants to hold her again, but she refrains. “Well then, I’ll call your father right away. That’s his favorite part of the evening.”
Maura looks down, and laughs bashfully. “Always has been.”
“Maura?” Constance asks.
“Merry Christmas. I’m glad we’ll get to spend it together. With family,” Constance says.
Maura nods against the tears in her eyes. “Merry Christmas,” she says. She paws at her eyelashes, embarrassed to have let a few of those tears fall, and then she gestures to the foyer. “Better get Dad over here,” she says. “He’ll be upset if he misses the baccalà.”
“Maura!” Both women turn when Jane’s voice thunders from the kitchen. “Where’s the other bottle you brought?! We’re through the first one!”
Maura shakes her head, looking at her mother as if asking permission.
Constance, with no reservations and no conditions, gives it to her. “Go. Save them. I’ll be here when you get back.” She watches Maura practically skip to the kitchen and join the fray of people. She wonders how she could have been so stupid to break such a loving heart, and counts herself lucky that Jane Rizzoli, and her entire family, stepped in to put it back together.
Chapter 7: Slippers - No New Friends Universe
In January, I did an otp challenge on Tumblr where I reblogged a list of prompts. I had people request which prompt and which universe from my fics they would like me to write in. Each chapter title has the prompt and the fic universe in which it's set.
Maura lets the breeze wafting over the Waterfront caress her face - the car had been uncomfortably warm on the short drive from her father’s bar to here, and the cool wind calms her nervous system. She engages the lock and shrugs her purse over her shoulder, finally feeling her heart slow and her lungs expand.
The salt in the air reduces her queasiness, too, when she takes it in. With her hand on her barely growing belly, she closes her eyes to savor the return to stasis. Madonna mia, she thinks, lunch was almost lost. She takes one look back at the Mercedes parked in the middle of this open warehouse, and decides she’s going to follow that salt all the way out to the dock if it makes her feel this good.
She’s got family business to attend to, as well, some that she told her father she would personally check on. “Hey, you two,” she calls out when she sees Jane and Frankie. They’re busy, Jane just finishing up tying Patrick Ryan to a pole, while Frankie positions his feet into two hastily-fashioned wooden boxes.
Jane looks up first, always first, and smirks, eyes alive with love and some other dangerous thing Maura is still learning. But Frankie, he bursts into action, rising to his full height and putting his arms out when he sees her. “There she is!” he shouts, full of affection like the man they’ve gagged isn’t whimpering uncontrollably next to him. “Mother of the year, mother of the decade, mother of the century!” he exclaims when he walks to her, taking her face in his big hands and kissing her cheek with gusto. “Muah!” he says as he does.
“Hi, brother,” she says kindly, kissing his cheek back and smiling at him. He is twenty-three, and starting to look like a man with his slicked, styled hair and his shirts and ties. She likes him.
Jane rolls her eyes, tying the last bit of rope tight enough to elicit a scream from Mr. Ryan. “I think he’s more excited for her to get here than me,” she says. She nods to Maura’s midsection.
“He better not be,” Maura warns playfully when she approaches. She surveys their… associate like a work of art, or a high-quality cut of meat, circling him. “Just married with a baby on the way? There better be no one in Boston more excited than you.”
Jane gives the surly game up. She blushes. “You got me,” she says. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the county more excited than me. You sure we gotta wait nine months?”
“If we want to make sure she has a beating heart and ten fingers and toes, yes,” Maura teases. “She’ll be here soon enough. Keep that enthusiasm when you’re going on night three of no sleep.”
Jane chuckles. “I’ll try.” Maura returns her attention specifically to Mr. Ryan’s Gucci loafers, and Jane follows her gaze. “Motherfucker had the audacity to put on our people’s fashion, you believe that? After he tried to off one of us.” Specifically, Tom DiVincenzo. It was a silly plot devised by a rogue Irish crew, and as a show of goodwill, Paddy Doyle had offered his docks as Patrick Ryans’s dump site, free of charge. At Maura’s suggestion, of course.
“I’m more surprised that concrete slippers are an actual thing,” Maura says, touching one wooden box with her toe while Frankie fills the other one with fast-setting concrete. She steps aside when he finishes and moves to her box.
“Cement shoes, babe,” Jane corrects with a small laugh. “We call ‘em cement shoes. And we figured we’d go old school here. You like?”
Maura raises her eyebrows and smirks. “Vintage.”
“Inspired, yeah? We’re makin’ things real literal, since that’s what the Irish seem to understand,” Jane insults Patrick to his sweating, tear-stained face. “No offense, Maura.”
“None taken, my love,” Maura stares at him, too. “This was stupid of you. You deserve to sink,” she tells him. He shrieks, probably some appeal to the Irishness in her. She ignores him.
“And there!” Frankie says once he’s finished. “Give it twenty minutes and you’ll be swimmin’ with the fishes, Mr. Ryan.” He pushes Jane’s shoulder, proud of his contribution to their mob-lingo parody.
“Alright, alright,” Jane says, brushing him off despite her own humor. She points her thumb to Maura behind her. “Let’s make it twenty on the dot because I’ve got to get these two to an ultrasound appointment.”
Chapter 8: Diamond Ring - Coronita Heights Universe
Jane was wiping her hands of plaster dust in the very gutted upstairs bathroom of her new home when she heard the glass shatter. She smirked, got up off her shaky knees - well, just one shaky knee, really, since the other hadn’t been surgically repaired - and tossed the wadded shop towel in the wastebasket by her work area. “You alright?” she called down in the most perfunctory way she could, given that she knew exactly why Maura, who just returned home from her third trip to Lowe’s that afternoon, would be dropping something.
Maura did not answer, so Jane got up. She pulled her faded California Angels tee, splattered with spackling and PVC dust, over her head, wiping the sweat off of her face with it. Christ, it was hot - mid-July in Anaheim Hills with no A/C? She forgot how brutal Southern California summers could be when you had no functioning air.
And, given that this new house, a huge one still in need of some remodel, also needed an entirely new unit, the two of them had boiled in the heat while they worked. In fact, that heat had caused a tiff between them early this morning, when they were still in Maura’s bed and Jane had woken up particularly cranky about having to drive across town to the new place and cook alive. Maura had been much too literal and told Jane she certainly wouldn’t be cooked, and Jane had stormed off to the shower without another word.
She had left without another word, too, with her truck loaded full of plumbing supplies and tile, intent on working on the master bathroom, alone. But then, about an hour and a half later, right around nine-thirty when things started to sizzle in Orange County, Maura showed up upstairs, silently lugging a huge floor fan into said bathroom and turning it on Jane so that she could be at least a little cooler while she worked. Before Jane could say thanks, or I was an ass, Maura had left, back down the stairs and out the door to do her own part.
That was when Jane had decided enough was enough.
So, now she trotted down to the main floor, which was actually hardwood that she had sanded just a few days prior, and waited, shrugging her shirt back over her head. Maura stood in what would soon be the finished living room, her back to Jane, and stared at the mantle that Frankie helped to install on his last day off before facing the Angels. At her feet was a shattered, small light fixture for the guest bathroom that she’d been admiring in its catalog for weeks. It looked both vintage and modern - well, it had before it had broken into a million pieces.
Jane smirked again. “You’re back,” she said, tightening her ponytail just a bit.
Maura didn’t turn. She pointed to the shadow box with a signed aluminum bat inside. “Is that a diamond ring?” She asked, her voice shaky, sounding angry.
Oh yeah, and there was a ring box on top of that shadow box. “It’s Jonny’s game bat from the final. All the guys signed it. Me too,” Jane plays dumb. “Thought it would look good over the fireplace.”
Maura had no patience. “With a diamond ring on top of it?”
Jane kneeled, because at any moment, Maura would probably turn around. “Yeah, with a diamond ring on top of it,” she said. It was the one that had been burning a hole in her pocket for two weeks, just after they bought the house. She had transferred it to a lock box in the Ranger, hoping it would be more out of sight, out of mind there, but to no avail. One argument and she wanted to marry Maura all over again. “Hey, Maura,” she gruffed quietly.
“Yes?” Maura asked the fireplace.
“Turn around, would ya?” Jane laughed once.
Maura spun quickly, as if realizing that Jane’s voice was coming from about four feet high instead of its usual almost-six. When she saw Jane, her good knee on the floor and her hair streaked with lines of white from her work upstairs, she dropped the rest of the bags she was carrying, which luckily contained no more breakables. “You-” she started.
“Me,” Jane teased her, but only because she herself was feeling particularly nervous now. “I uh, I wanna apologize for bein’ an asshole this mornin’. We lost a big game to Oakland last night and then I remembered I was gonna have to bake in this heat all day and I… it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have taken that out on you.”
“Ok,” Maura replied. She resisted the urge to bounce on her feet in impatience, and the urge to mourn that for one of the most important moments of their lives they were both in jeans and worn-in tops, so she hurried Jane along with her words. The magic of it would sweep over her again if only Jane kept talking.
“Ok? Ok. Well, uh, listen. I hadn’t really planned to do this today, but I bought that thing a couple weeks ago and I don’t think I can wait anymore. So… you need to know that I’ve never been as in love with anyone as I am with you. I’m like… goofy in love with you,” Jane paused, and Maura laughed a gross, snotty, crying laugh. It made Jane’s smile wider. “Which, normally I hate. But… with you… I can’t imagine being with anyone else anymore. Actually, imagining it makes me sick to my stomach. I wanna be with you forever, and if you marry me, that would be better than any title, any trophy I could win.”
“I…” Maura began again, face scrunched as she tried not to cry even more.
“Need time to think about it?” Jane asked her. Her face was crestfallen, but she nodded. “I understand-”
“No!” Maura shouted, but she revised when Jane’s disappointment shifted into agony. She ran to Jane and bent down to kiss the face she now held in her hands. “No, not… I wasn’t saying no. Yes, yes of course I will marry you. I was going to say that I don’t know how to say yes enthusiastically enough,” she explained between the smacks of their lips together.
Jane, infused with life again, rose and picked Maura up with her. She kissed back with passion, adding tongue and grips against Maura’s ass without shame. “Yeah? Yeah, you will?”
“I will,” Maura confirmed, and then, she was overcome with emotion. Jane held her up so that her head was just a bit higher, and her tears dripped onto Jane’s cheeks, too. She gripped Jane’s shoulders tight and let herself sob just a few times in the safe cavern of Jane’s neck. She wrapped her legs around Jane’s trim waist and consented to being held before she tried to pull herself back together. After just a few moments of stillness, of staying that way and letting the most intense parts of the emotional wave pass her by, she whined. “Ugh,” she pouted with disgust. “Daddy, I just dropped the perfect light fixture. Do you know how many weeks they’re going to be on backorder? That was the last one in a radius of a hundred miles.”
Jane guffawed into the empty room, the waves of it looping and loud when they hit the air. She kissed Maura once more, turning her head so that their lips could meet in a saltysweet union, and then set her down. “Don’t worry about it; that was my fault. I’ll drive two hundred miles to get you one if I have to.” They both walked up to the broken glass to survey the damage. Unsalvageable. “Well, shit. Don’t you wanna look at the pretty jewelry instead?”
Maura perked up instantly, the mess forgotten as she hopped over it to get to the mantle. She picked up the ring box, and admired the cut of the three diamonds in the center, the band trimmed with smaller ones on either side. “You have been paying attention,” she told Jane, pleased. “How much was this?” She slid it on, unable to wait to see it on her finger any longer.
“None of your damn business,” Jane replied, coming up next to her. “But thank the Colorado Rockies. That was the last of my signing bonus, courtesy of a little equity in the home I just sold.”
“Hmm, should I marry them instead? Trevor Story is quite-”
“Don’t! Don’t even say it, or I will take that right back and go to tomorrow’s game alone,” Jane grouched as she attempted to swipe the ring back, but Maura moved her arm out of the way and ran a few steps to the right.
“No, no! You gave it to me; it’s mine now,” she taunted.
Jane had gone to chase, but suddenly stopped short. She grinned. “I’m yours now,” she clarified.
Maura softened, and returned to Jane’s embrace. “Think of it as your call-up,” she said with hooded eyes and a suggestive lick of her lips.
Jane countered with a dark gaze of her own. “This is gonna be even better than playin’ in The Show. Think your ass’ll fit on the kitchen counter?”
Maura yipped when she was lifted off of her feet again, giggled when she was thrown over a shoulder and carried into the aforementioned, half-complete kitchen. “I know you won’t let me fall. Just… be careful. The granite is brand new.”
“I’ll replace that, too,” Jane growled, setting Maura down and pulling her t-shirt off.
The house was going to be perfect.
The phone rings exactly when Jane expects it to. She dries her hands and exits the bathroom, walking leisurely, tiredly, even though she’s pretty sure she knows who it is. She checks the caller ID just to make sure, but of course it says Maura Isles. “Hey,” she drawls. She drops backwards onto her freshly made bed in her sweaty workout clothes, even though she knows Maura would definitely not approve. “Dinner already over?”
“Dr. Wharton is insufferable,” says Maura. “I left as quickly as I could. Which is sad because Mister Jiu’s is quite possibly my favorite restaurant in all of San Francisco.”
Jane plays a wandering tune over the skin of her exposed belly, fingers up to the band of her sports bra, and then down to the waistline of her shorts. Her musculature is popping, thanks to the core busting workout hell Nina and Frankie just put her through. She licks her lips when the slide of her fingertips through sweat reminds her of the slide of her fingertips between Maura’s legs. “Well damn,” she says, “sounds like the worst consult ever. How’s the rest of it though?”
“Rest of what?” Maura says distractedly. She sighs long and loud, as though she has just laid down. There’s a shuffle and Jane thinks she hears a sip.
“You drinkin’?” she can’t help but ask.
“One glass,” Maura admits. “It relaxes me.”
“It makes you want me,” Jane asserts, hand slipping underneath her shorts when she pictures Maura drinking with nothing on but a diamond pendant and a flush. “You wearin’ clothes?” she wants to confirm.
“No,” answers Maura. “I imagine you are. I imagine you are just returning from your late night at the gym. It is eleven after all, over there.”
“Some,” Jane gruffs. “Start with how ya feelin’,” she goads. “Tell me what ya feelin’.” Recently after they had committed to a relationship, the emotional work prescribed to them by Dr. Wright had taken on a decidedly erotic tone. What Jane used to dread, she now anticipates. Savors.
Maura knows, so she chooses her next words very wisely. “Well, today, I felt lonely. Empty. Wanting. Now, how are you going to help me fix that?”
Jane groans, and begins to shove her shorts to the floor.
some of these will be very short, as you can see.
Chapter 10: You're Up Early - Primogeniture Universe
Maura sets her medical bag and her purse down on the seat in the foyer of her colonial home, in a very uncharacteristic huff. Her heels go there, too, their red bottoms facing each other when she relinquishes them to the cushion below. She pads barefoot to the dimly lit kitchen, the soft yellow calling her like a lighthouse calls to a weather-tattered boat.
When she enters, she sees Jane. Rather, she sees the back of Jane’s head, and the front of Chiarina’s, as Jane faces their eleven month old baby in her high chair. Maura checks the clock over the small table, the one for quick meals, as opposed to the dining table that seats twelve in the next room. 3:30AM. “You’re up early,” she says with more breath than voice.
Jane startles, which causes her to drop a fork onto her plate and gasp. “Jesus,” she says when Maura touches her shoulder. This makes Chiarina laugh. Then, when Jane feels the familiar weight of fingers, of a wedding ring, she sighs. “More like up late,” she admits. “It’s been a fussy baby kinda night.”
Maura smiles when she brings a chair from the other side of the table so that she can sit right behind Jane and rub tense shoulders. There is pasta in front of both mother and daughter, Jane’s a deep, rich mixture of gold and red, noodle and sauce, Rina’s brilliant yellow with just a little butter. “That looks good,” says Maura. Jane whimpers when she encounters a particularly knotted area and rubs.
“She was hungry,” says Jane, “but she didn’t really want more milk. So, I figured, I was already up, and she likes the shit outta spaghetti.”
“You do, too,” Maura whispers against the back of Jane’s head, which she kisses soundly.
“I do, too,” Jane agrees. “And there’s some more on the stove if you’re hungry,” she points in the general direction of it. “How was the body?”
“It was… gruesome. I’ll discuss it with you when we get her back to bed, hmm?” Maura rises with one last touch to Jane’s neck and inspects the contents in the pot: they smell divine. She serves herself a small bowl, needing the comfort that only carbs and her family can bring.
There had been blood. Everywhere. And there had been children, just in the next room. That had hurt her heart more than she imagined it could. She shakes her head, reminds herself of the pact she has just made, and that her child sits here, with them, unharmed.
“You ok?” Jane asks, half-watching Chiarina go to town on her spaghetti and half-watching Maura sit across from them.
“I’ll be just fine,” Maura says. She takes that perfect first bite, closes her eyes, and sighs in contentment. “As much as I enjoy the finer things my parents raised me with,” she starts around a bite of food, the way Jane has taught her it’s ok to do, “I must say I’m really enjoying being Italian, too.”
And when she says Italian, they know she means it Jane’s way: Sicilian, salt-of-the-earth, regular-ass immigrant people. They’ve both given each other their cultures, in their own ways, and Maura inhabits this one with pleasure.
Jane smiles. “The pasta is a nice perk. So is the princess over here.”
“The princess,” Maura agrees. “Who is up very early.”
“Way too early,” says Jane, and then the three of them return to their meal.
Chapter 11: Honey - Pyrite Universe
Frankie squeezed the hands in each of his own as he walked along the brick sidewalk of his sister’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. On one side, Elena skipped happily, puffing wide clouds of breath into the air and then jumping into them as they rounded the corner to her home. On the other, Nina leaned in close to him, both for warmth and to smell his cologne.
He looked to Nina once, just to smile, before he returned his attention to his niece. “What’d ya think of the first half of your birthday present, E? What was your favorite part of the movie?”
They’d gone to see the most recent Pixar offering, and Elena had appeared enthralled by the colors, the sounds, the story. To all of their surprise, then, she answered: “the popcorn. I didn’t know it was possible to eat that much,” just before a big burp.
Nina let out a bark of laughter when Frankie said: “What?! The popcorn was your favorite part?”
“You are your mamma’s child,” Nina, still regulating her breathing, told Elena. “You’re your Uncle Frankie’s baby, too. Just like ‘em, the both of ‘em.” She pulled her coat closer to her midsection.
“At least I say excuse me!” Frankie bellowed into the evening, just as they made their way to Maura and Jane’s gate. Elena yelped with guilty laughter as he scooped her up and made his way to the back door. There was a strange, occasional thump on the other side when Nina fished in his front pocket for his keys, but he dismissed it as a water pipe, or maybe some moving furniture.
Until, that is, Nina pushed through into the main room and the sugary, sumptuous beat of 90s R&B accosted them, coming from a very obviously wide-open door upstairs and comingled with breathy moans. Luckily, those moans timed almost perfectly with Mariah’s soulful and it’s just like honey, when your love comes over me, and that’s how Frankie’d explain them if asked.
He didn’t even want to think about the piano, because then he thought about Jane’s fingers playing the piano, and then Jane’s fingers… “Agh!” he shrieked, just in time to usher a very scandalized and smiling Nina out of the house, with Elena still against his chest. “You know what? I totally forgot! Nanna’s got a birthday surprise for ya, too!” he said, much too loudly to sound normal, and then he released her. “Go! Go see!”
Elena, none the wiser, leapt into action and burst through the guesthouse door, leaving Frankie and Nina to stand in the courtyard. Frankie winced when he turned to Nina.
“Honey? Honey?!” was all that Nina could think to say, grin still cheek-to-cheek. She let out a shocked little half-gasp, half-giggle.
“Can you believe them?!” Frankie whispered through gritted teeth, though he was trying not to laugh too. He checked his watch. “We’re not that early.”
“I’m more upset I ended up with the Rizzoli with the least flavor!” Nina teased him. With each second that passed, they settled, thankful for the very awkward bullet they dodged. “If it were up to you, we’d bump and grind to Metallica. You think Jane would share the playlist?”
“Stop!” Frankie said, finally releasing that chuckle. “That’s my sister we just heard… having intercourse up there!”
“Intercourse? What on earth do I find attractive about you?” Nina replied with faux distaste. When Frankie’s face fell for a moment, just a split second, she shook her head. “Hey, that was a sweet thing you just did for Elena. Walkin’ in on your parents is… ew, even if they just got back together. She has a protector in you.”
Frankie blushed for an entirely different reason. “Thanks,” he responded, holding his hand out for her to take again. She did. “I better go in there and tell Ma she needs to come up with a surprise real quick.”
“Agreed,” said Nina, just before kissing his cheek. “You think their present to her is gonna be a baby brother or sister?”
Frankie laughed again. “If that was how it worked she’d have like ten brothers and sisters.”
“I guess so,” Nina replied. “But… I’m just sayin’ that I’m gonna need you to get on Jane’s level with the sex music. She’s gotta say ‘now what we gon’ do right here is we gon’ smooth it out’ when they’re in the thick of it right? All deep and raspy like Puffy?” Immediately, she made herself cackle, throaty and booming and joyful just outside of Angela’s home.
Frankie dropped her hand and marched away. “And that’s it. I’m leavin’ your ass out here in the cold.”
Nina, still in the throes of her giggle fit, followed him anyway. “You love me!”
Chapter 12: New Paint - Primogeniture Universe
“Maura!” the shout comes from Chiarina’s room upstairs, but the voice is definitely Jane’s. Maura, elbow deep in suds and water, rushes toward the main hall without bothering to dry her hands, and the bun on top of her head bounces as she races up the stairs and toward her daughter’s room. “Maura!” her name rings out again.
“I’m coming!” She replies from a few yards away, because Jane is so loud and running without a bra on hurts and she is slightly terrified of what she might find.
She bumps into Jane’s back when she turns into Chiarina’s room, Jane who is frozen just past the doorway and holding onto eighteen month-old Chiarina by the hand. Maura’s first instinct is to lay eyes on their daughter, who appears… unharmed, but absolutely tattooed by marker ink. Her gaze travels to the floor, scattered with papers, which is where it seemed the drawing began, because there is also a mutilated cardboard box that used to house all the markers now uncapped, dry, and spent on the floor. Apparently, the art supplies were not as out of reach she and Jane thought, because here they are, and Chiarina’s once-sterling walls are….
Well. Scribbles abound. Tight, curling loops, large sweeping, lazy circles, hurried zig zags, attempts that resemble letter-like shapes, all in a disastrous explosion of rainbow against the canvas of white. The parents stare for what seems like hours. “New paint?” Maura finally says, is all she can think to say.
Jane puffs out a shocked little laugh. “New paint,” she agrees.
Chapter 13: You're Up Early and Secret - Pyrite
Jane and Maura left the precinct together, much to Frankie and Korsak’s surprise. SolCorp was three weeks ago - they hadn’t so much as spoken to one another since Jane had moved her things into her new apartment, about a seven minute walk from headquarters.
So, Jane knew how it looked. It looked like reconciliation. And maybe, in a small way, it was: Maura had spoken to her at her desk one day, as if she had resisted but was ultimately overcome by some sinister, foul force in the way she had spit out I need to see your apartment, if I’ll be sending Elena there.
At least, Jane had thought as she sat, flabbergasted and silent, Maura was speaking.
So, they planned on a date. The date arrived, and instead of following Jane, Maura suggested that Jane get in the car, and leave the unmarked where it belonged - at BPD. She could walk to work in the morning. Jane would have agreed to anything to spend time with Maura, so of course she agreed to that.
She sat quiet on the short ride to her new home, wanting so badly to speak but knowing that Maura would not want to hear it. Jane had never said less in her life. Perhaps it was a lesson Maura longed to impart, along with the many others that she sent Jane’s way in the recent weeks.
“It’s on the third floor,” Jane said when they parked. Maura didn’t reply, she just followed when Jane unlocked the front door and then led them to the stairs. The hardwood creaked with its age, though it had been maintained well. The halls were clean, and Maura recognized Jane’s old welcome mat instantly when they approached apartment 21. The anagram of 12, Jane’s condo number, a symbol of all the reversals in their life.
Jane held the door open, and the scent of Sicilian lemon accosted Maura with its familiarity. Jane locked the deadbolt behind them, and sighed. “Pretty plain,” she explained. The short front hall led to the kitchen on the right, and a small dining room on the left. Both were clean, but unadorned. Jane had taken her small table out of storage, the antique one with four chairs, and the size of it fit the loneliness of the moment. A Rizzoli should never have owned a table so miniscule.
A Rizzoli should never have taken her child into a firefight.
“Things are clean,” Maura said instead of crying. She held her purse in front of her hips by the straps as she looked around. The living room beyond the kitchen contained Jane’s old couch, the one gifted to her by Maura for her birthday, and a flatscreen. Case files littered the coffee table, and a large wooden door led no doubt to a balcony. “Well kept.”
“I don’t really spend much time here,” Jane joked.
Maura snapped her head up, and Jane saw the tears in her eyes. “Bedrooms? Where would she sleep?”
Jane ran her teeth over her bottom lip and sniffled loudly. “Over here,” she said, short so as not to risk crying, nodding to the hallway to their right. She walked over to it, and again, Maura followed. She flipped a switch and a light fixture bathed them in a soft, secretive sort of light - enough to see and be seen, but also enough to obscure bumps and bruises. “Hers would be this first door.” She opened it, and there were already basic pieces of children’s furniture on the floor. A bed, a dresser, a rocking chair, a bookshelf. Red Sox paraphernalia, much of it from Jane’s old place, decorated the walls.
Nostalgia cleaved them both, the last time they had both been in the presence of the wall art and the signed baseballs when they were engaged and packing it all up. It broke Jane first. She hung her head and sobbed. “Jane…” Maura admonished, both to hurt and to guard her own heart against the sight.
“I don’t wanna do this,” Jane croaked.
“Don’t want to do what? Show me the apartment?” Maura pressed, inching forward slowly, barely resisting the urge to touch.
Jane looked up, fat tears rolling down her cheeks. “Live here! Be apart! Not be married to you!” she shouted, quieting at the end when she registered that it was her own voice booming in the space around them.
Maura flinched. “We’re still married.” It sounded hollow to both of them.
“Not really,” Jane said, suddenly crying no longer. With a sniff and wipe of her face, her outburst ceased. “Not in the way that counts.”
“On paper counts,” Maura returned. Despite the jab, she continued to let Jane draw her in. Felt helpless to stop it.
Jane closed the minute distance left. She breathed and it fluttered against Maura’s lips. “I’d tear up the certificate if it meant I got to hold you again,” she said, just before they kissed.
Lips on lips, tongue against tongue, body to body. Maura whimpered. She put her wrists to Jane’s chest, but abandoned that pretense when Jane’s arms wrapped around her.
While their family and friends outside of these walls wondered whether they would ever find their way to civility again, she dragged Jane by the lapels to the master bedroom.
4:45 AM. “You’re up early,” Jane said when she entered the kitchen, rubbing away the sleep in her eyes. She wore nothing but a t-shirt and her underwear, her hair sticking out in several directions.
Maura sat at the dining table, putting her shoes back on her feet. Her eye makeup was smudged and her hair just as wild as Jane’s. “Your mother offered to watch Elena unprompted. I don’t want to take advantage of her time.”
“Ok,” Jane replied, too tired to fight, too unwilling to break the spell they had cast over one another in her bed the evening before. She still tasted Maura on her tongue, on her upper lip. “Want some coffee for the road?” She shuffled over to the counter and turned the coffee pot on.
Maura was pretty sure Jane had swiped it from BPD. She stood up and sighed. “Jane, we shouldn’t-“
“Shh,” Jane quieted her. She walked back over to Maura and kissed her softly. “Too early. Too early to fight. Coffee or no?”
“No,” Maura allowed one more sweet press of lips before she put her fingertips on Jane’s handsome jawline. “This has to be our secret.”
Jane’s head dropped. “That we had sex?”
“Yes,” Maura answered. “It won’t happen again. And it will just complicate people’s already confused perception of us. We aren’t back together. We aren’t going to get back together.”
“I’m not givin’ up,” Jane said sternly.
As it had constantly over the past few weeks, Maura’s anger burgeoned. “You already gave up, when you decided to do what you did,” she spat, gathering her things in a whirlwind and stomping toward the door. “This place is adequate. When I decide I’m ready to let you see her, she will be allowed to stay. With a chaperone. Not alone.”
“What do you mean when you’re ready?!” Jane called out to Maura’s retreating form, “I thought that’s what this was all about! Because you were ready! Maura!” But, Maura slammed the door shut just as Jane called her name.
Chapter 14: The Safest Place Is In Your Arms - Pyrite Universe
“Hey ballgame, go down into the basement and get me the straight pipe wrench, would ya?” Jane, having just started to work on the leaky kitchen sink Maura begged her to fix, tapped her chin, perplexed as to why the flow seemed so low, and had for several hours. Maura had complained about a low-pressure shower very early that morning as she got ready for a Saturday at work, and when she kissed Jane goodbye, she made Jane promise to investigate. Jane mumbled something affirmative and then rolled back over.
Now, with both her plumber and detective hat on after a cup of coffee, she was intrigued. Motivated to get to the bottom of the issue. So, she had finished up her breakfast, put her bowl in the sink, and resolved to find the leak. She heard Elena’s seven year-old feet traipse down the stairs to the basement, and then, “Ah! Ma!”
Jane bolted toward the scream, bloodcurdling with the pure terror it contained. As soon as she got to the basement itself, she realized why Elena did it.
Elena’s head was barely above three and a half feet of standing water. “It was dark and I just fell in!” she shrieked as soon as she saw Jane, who plunged in after her. “I didn’t see the water!”
Jane, nearly six feet tall, scooped Elena up and stood easily, the water just above her waist. “Hey, hey, it’s ok. You alright?” she asked, pushing wet strands of wild black hair from Elena’s face.
Elena, shivering a little, for springtime rain water was still quite cold during April in Boston, nodded vigorously. “I’m ok,” she told her mother.
“Good,” said Jane. “I guess this explains the shitty water pressure.” Something floated by, and Jane jumped. Probably just an object, a tool or a toy, but she held Elena closer to her. “You don’t have to be scared, I got you,” she said, her deep, raspy voice quiet and just a tiny bit shaky.
Elena wrapped her arms around Jane’s shoulders. “I’m not scared anymore,” she said.
Jane turned her head so that she could touch her brow to Elena’s. “No? I’d be pretty petrified.”
“No,” Elena confirmed. “Mommy says the safest place to be is in your arms, so what do I have to worry about?” she said, as though it were a fact of science and not the loveliest thing Jane had ever heard.
Jane blushed. “Yeah? When’d she say that?” she asked indulgently, backing them out of the water slowly so that they could climb the stairs without slipping.
“When you were fighting,” Elena continued. “She said that the only time we really had to worry was when you let us go. That’s when bad things happened.”
Jane only put Elena down once she was sure the basement door was secured. She looked down at their soaked clothes, and then at Elena’s sincere eyes, behind those chunky glasses. “Well, I don’t plan on lettin’ either of you go again,” Jane replied seriously. “And speakin’ of Mommy, I gotta let her know about the basement as soon as we get showered and changed. This is beyond my capabilities as a part-time plumber. Time to call in the big guns.”
“Who’s the big guns?” Elena asked, letting Jane lead her by the hand upstairs.
“Uncle Tommy,” Jane answered. “Now let’s get this grime off.”
Chapter 15: I Love You but That's a Terrible Idea - Primogeniture Universe
Jane sits in a saucer sled, dressed for the snow that has pelted Boston all night and into the early morning, with baby Chiarina, nearly two years old, between her legs. They sit at the top of the hill behind their Newton home, stark with freshly fallen white.
Maura has been looking for them for minutes. She didn’t initially think of checking the backyard, because who in their right mind would be outside in this cold?
Jane. The answer is Jane, right mind or not.
At least Chiarina looks adorable in a snowsuit and cap affixed over her tiny ears. “Mommy! Come!” Chiarina shouts as soon as she sees Maura walk out onto the porch and wraps her jacket tightly around herself when she enters the biting cold.
“Yeah, babe! If you carry her, we’ll fit!” Jane yells.
Maura pictures it, and her mind runs through all the ways that would go terribly, terribly awry. “I love you, but this is a terrible idea!” she yells back.
Jane pauses for a moment, as if she considers Maura’s appeal to reason, but then, she and the baby careen down the hill, full of screams and laughter until they land in a disoriented heap just feet from the porch itself.
Maura doesn’t have the heart to say I told you so to Jane, who grips her ribs in pain from shielding Chiarina from most of the impact, and only looks down disapprovingly. She can’t help the smile that comes, however, when Chiarina cackles with toddler glee. She knows that laugh, the one Jane barks out whenever she’s done something particularly daring, or particularly stupid.
Oh, Maura’s hands will be full forever.
Chapter 16: Snowball Fight - Pyrite Universe
“Assume your positions!” Tommy Rizzoli shouted into the frigid air at his family home, the one where he, Frankie, and Jane grew up, the one where the three of them had had countless snowball fights just like this one.
Maura and Jane had been back together for all of three weeks, and Jane had just moved back in, when they received the call that their father had finally lost the home to the bank, just before Christmastime. So, mired in the sadness and the complex feelings of all the people around him while they gathered in Jane and Maura’s living area to discuss the news, he piped up and suggested this: one last all-out snow war, complete with rival Rizzoli factions.
The rest of the adults had scoffed at first, but the idea so enthused the children that eventually everyone agreed. There were two teams: Tommy, Elena, Maura, and Angela; and Jane, Frankie, TJ, and Nina. They had built barricades and trenches after the first heavy snowfall of the season, and now, they crouched in their designated areas.
When he blew the whistle around his neck, chaos ensued.
TJ and Elena popped up first, with wild shrieks and wide throws in each other’s directions as they circled each other in the clearing of the front yard.
Haphazard snowballs flew, buzzing by Elena’s ear much faster than she was able to throw them. “Ma!” she yelled, giggling and anxious, out of reflex, looking for someone to save her.
“Uh uh, kid, you picked Mom’s team,” Jane sprung up as soon as she heard it, and landed a hit right to her daughter’s chest - a kill shot.
TJ hooted in victory and Elena laughed again, this time on the ground in shock. Jane, intent on capitalizing on the point as much as possible, darted across the clearing just as a snowball pelted her in the arm. Hard. “Ow, what the hell?!” she turned in that direction, only to see Maura, running after her, scooping more snow as she went.
Before Jane could course correct, another shot hit her right across the cheek. “Jesus!” she yelled, and it was enough of an opening for a third shot to fly into her mouth. “A’right, a’right you got me!” Jane fell on her ass in a discombobulated heap of limbs as she yielded, but Maura still marched on, still threw, and she looked pissed. Not competitive, not exhilarated, pissed.
She pounced on Jane, pinning her to the ground. Snow rained down, and Jane continued to struggle, throwing back as much as she could. “Pick on someone your own size!” Maura asserted, out of breath and all pink with effort.
Jane wanted to snatch Maura’s hands to stop the assault, but the childish retort made her laugh and her gut hurt. And just like that, her mirth was contagious. Maura chuckled and lowered her arms of her own accord, eyes piercing and smile wicked when she looked down into Jane’s red, snow-covered face. Jane flipped them then, so that she straddled Maura. Everyone had stopped to watch, to see if they needed to step in, but Jane ignored them all. “We ok?” she asked quietly, grinning to let Maura know there were no hard feelings.
Maura paused to regulate her breathing. She had been so angry, and now that anger had dissipated, nowhere to be found. There was only Jane, changed Jane, the Jane who checked in on her and kept her close. “We’re ok,” Maura said finally. “I…”
“Got a little mad,” Jane said. “That’s ok. Used to happen to me all the time. We got a lot goin’ on, yeah? And clearly this was a good idea. Lets us all get some of that anger out in a safe way.”
“Dr. Harley has worked wonders on you,” Maura said. “Now let me up.”
Jane, just before she rose, kissed Maura’s icy nose. “Maybe she can work wonders on you, too.” Then, she stood, holding out her hand. “Maybe you should call her.”
Maura hopped up, brushing snow away from her pants. Changed Jane made excellent points. “Maybe I should. Jane?”
“Next time, let’s be on the same team,” Maura said. She slipped her hand in her back pocket as they walked back toward their concerned family.
“You kiddin’? With that arm, I’m never not bein’ on your team again.”
Chapter 17: Cafe on a Snowy Day - 15 Blade Universe
This will make more sense if you read the 15 Blade Snippets first.
“Mikey!” Dr. Jane Rizzoli, chief of trauma surgery at Boston Medical Center, burst into Maruccio’s with snow sticking in her black curly hair. She hurried into the warmth of the shop because she had foregone gloves and her fingers felt like they would snap off if she didn’t get indoors, quick. “Gimme a- turkey on wheat…” She had started to demand her usual, but she stopped, blinked rapidly when she realized that Maura sat at one of the three tables with two sandwiches already in front of her. The other two were empty, and Mikey was nowhere to be found. At 3 PM. “Hey…”
“Hi,” Maura responded sweetly. “Come sit, please.”
Jane obeyed with a deliberate and slow walk forward. “I thought you had a procedure. And where’s uh… where’s Mikey? It’s practically lunch time.”
“Well, I had to reschedule, and Mikey let me borrow the shop for a little while,” Maura said when she handed Jane a footlong sub, knowing she’d need the other half for dinner later. “I got you the Italian with a side of pesto. How you like it.”
Jane blushed. If she could eat without consequences for her genetic shortcomings, namely blood pressure and cholesterol problems, it was the sandwich she would have ordered every time she came. Mikey’s masterpiece. “We celebratin’ somethin’?” she asked.
Maura took a paper, folded in half and stapled at the top, and placed it in front of Jane. Jane stared quizzically at Maura before running her finger through the closure so she could unfold it. As she did, something dropped out and clattered to the worn vinyl tabletop.
Jane recognized it immediately as a pregnancy test. Her face morphed from confusion to disbelief, to stoic. Rather than ask for confirmation, she studied the paper, the bloodwork, in her hand to give her the answer.
hCG - Present.
“You’re pregnant,” Jane croaked, looking back up with tears streaking down her cheeks.
Maura was not crying, but her eyes shone with moisture. “I rescheduled my patient’s surgery because I wasn’t feeling well this morning. I took a test, and it was inconclusive. So, I went down to Obstetrics. Dr. Somasundaran was quite happy, as you can imagine.” She beamed when Jane chuckled through a sob.
“Not-not as happy as me, Dr. Isles,” Jane teased. “This is the best reason I’ve ever had for eating a classic Italian.”
Maura threw her head back in genuine, pretty laughter. “Selfishly, I’m glad I was the cause.”
“We’re gonna be parents,” Jane breathed out, “Christ. We’re gonna be parents.”
“We are,” said Maura. “So you better eat up, because that’s the last bit of cold cuts I’m going to let you have for… nine months? At least.”
“Solidarity, huh?” Jane asked, reaching out her hand.
Maura took it, and squeezed. “Exactly. If I can’t; you can’t. Now, let’s brainstorm how to tell your mother.”
Chapter 18: New Paint and Slippery - Trigonometry Universe
“Oh, Jane…” Maura breathed hot puffs of air into the crown of Jane’s hair, and behind her, her hand smacked against the newly installed mirror of the master bathroom in this dump of a house Tommy and Lydia had bought together. Of course, being the big sister that she was, and the soon-to-be aunt she would never admit she couldn’t wait to be, Jane had volunteered her services right away.
Now, though, she had Maura on the just finished vanity across from the bare bones of the shower she still needed to run a hot water line to. Maura had her t-shirt on, but only just barely, exposing the black lace bra that Jane sucked on now. When Jane moved up to the skin just above the cup on her left breast and bit down, Maura cried out loudly.
Maura also had her work jeans around her ankles, designer but a few seasons old, along with her bra’s matching panties, the work boots Jane had forced her to buy the only thing keeping them on.
“Shhh,” Jane hushed Maura through a laugh as she rose back up to her mouth. They kissed wetly, tongues lapping as much of one another as they could before each time their lips met again.
Maura was far too anxious to begin the process all over again to care about her volume. She slid her own hand to guide Jane’s, the one between her legs and inside of her. The feel of Jane’s knuckles knocking against her fingertips, each time more moist than the last, was possibly more erotic than the actual friction against her walls. “Tommy went to get more paint - hurry and we won’t have a problem. Or spectators.” She entwined their fingers together, weaving them and adding her own assistance.
They both moaned.
“Slippery as fuck,” Jane whined into their next kiss, this one nastier than all the last in the way she made sure to time each lick against the back of Maura’s teeth with an upward thrust. “So good.”
Maura used her free hand to push the small of Jane’s back close to her, to push Jane herself as close as they could possibly be. “I love-”
“Agh fuck!” a shout interrupted them from downstairs, followed by a thunderous whump on the unfinished floor below.
Jane pulled back, nearly tripping on the pile of PEX tubing behind her, eyes wide. “What the hell was that?!”
Maura yanked her shirt back over her head and leapt off the counter so she could hop her jeans back over her hips. “It sounded like Tommy; he could be hurt,” she said just before she ran out the door and down the still-carpeted steps, straight out of 1985. She gripped the grimy white railing to jump the last couple stairs, something she would have never done in a non-emergency situation.
Jane caught up, and with her longer legs, they happened upon a prone Tommy at the same time, covered in splatters of gray paint, a line of it across his face and through his sandy brown hair. “Hey oh - the hell happened here?!” Jane barked at her brother, distraught enough that she almost ran her sex hand through the hair on top her head. She thought better of it and balled her fists instead.
Tommy spit remnants of paint out of his mouth. “I went to get new paint and I come back to this tray in the middle of the goddamn floor!”
Maura covered her mouth to keep from laughing too loudly now that she knew he wasn’t injured.
Jane was less amused. “Well, who was paintin’ down here, brother? Hmm? Only one of us coulda left it, and it wasn’t me and Maura.”
Tommy, sore and embarrassed, got up and used the dry part of his t-shirt to wipe his face. “Yeah because you were upstairs layin’ pipe,” he teased darkly, glaring, huffing as he did so.
Maura stepped between them before Jane could return with something truly foul and start the fight of the century. “Ok, ok. Stop. It was an accident, and it’s easy to clean up since there is tarp everywhere. Relax, you two.”
“How am I the one trainin’ to be a plumber and you get to do all the plumbin’ work?” Tommy asked, a little more easygoing now. His eyes twinkled when he spared a quick glance his sister’s way.
“Because I’m better at it,” Jane shot right back, neither of them talking about crimping or running water lines. “Now let’s get somethin’ to eat. I’m starvin’.”
Maura rolled her eyes and left them to make the lunch call, The Robber already on her phone’s speed dial.
Chapter 19: I Love You but That's a Terrible Idea - Boston Kama Sutra Universe
Jane sighed into the crook of Maura’s neck as she held her from behind, the darkness of their bedroom so inviting, calling her to sleep. However, they were mid-conversation, and she was supposed to speak next. “Yeah, I but I’m not sure I understand how two people can start out in love and then end up doin’ such terrible things to each other,” she continued.
Maura hummed, both in thought and in pleasure at the feeling of Jane’s fingertips tracing lines on her sternum, at the feeling of a thumb caressing the underside of her breast mindlessly. “It wouldn’t be the first time,” she said. She burrowed further into the covers, backing up until Jane’s naked front pressed against every inch of her naked back. “Ok, so did you think about the next thing on your list? Tell me what you came up with.”
“I don’t know if I want to,” said Jane. She squeezed Maura petulantly.
“Jane!” Maura chastened.
“The first thing on your list was to do something from my list! That doesn’t count!” Jane countered.
“Of course it counts,” Maura replied, turning around. She took Jane’s jaw in her hand, and kissed her lips. “All we’ve been doing for three months is caring for Elio,” she explained, giving their new son’s name a rich Italian accent, effortless and natural, “I wanted to do this so that we don’t lose ourselves, our identities. There are still things we want to accomplish in life. And all that I want to do, I want to do with you.”
Jane smirked into their next kiss. “Who knew bucket lists could be so romantic,” she teased. “I mean, I guess it could be kinda fun to do stuff from each other’s lists.”
“Mmm, really?” Maura asked, actually quite surprised at that answer.
“No! I don’t wanna go to Paris Fashion Week!”
“Well, I can’t believe you wanted to do Navy Seal training!” Maura shot back, pulling her head away so that Jane could see all of her incredulity.
Jane chuckled lowly. “Oh yeah, I think that’d be fun. And there’s this place in San Diego that puts civilians through hell week.”
“I do not,” Maura said. “And hell is something I’m trying to avoid, even if it is in San Diego.”
“Running of the bulls in Pamplona?” Jane suggested next.
“A romantic adventure in Spain, yes. Being chased by angry bulls? No. I love you, but that’s a terrible idea. I would like Elio to keep both of his parents.”
“Agh,” balked Jane.
“The museum of antiquities in Leiden?” Maura offered.
“I am not spendin’ my vacation in some dust-filled… oh! Zip-lining in Costa Rica!”
Maura scrunched her face. “No,” she said, and they seemed to be at an impasse, even in each other’s arms. That is, until epiphany struck. “I have an idea. Something neither of us have done and could be appealing to both of us.”
“I’m listenin’,” Jane growled, voice deepening every time she got close to sleep.
Maura pressed her lips softly against a sharp cheekbone - one, two, three times. “An archeological dig in Egypt. I am fascinated by ancient cultures and you love adventure,” she whispered, doing her part to lull Jane.
Jane’s breathing paused. “Do I get to wear the Indiana Jones hat?” She kept her eyes closed as she asked.
“We both do,” Maura said happily.
“A couples costume. Cute,” Jane joked. “I’m in.”
“Really? Yes!” Maura cheered.
“Yeah, yeah,” Jane started, rolling over so that she could land on top of Maura, somehow suddenly invigorated. She kissed from Maura’s warm ear to her neck, smooching loudly when she got there. “Now gimme some of that pretty-”
An infant’s wail cut through the moment, a moment Maura was most definitely going to perpetuate. She had opened her legs to accommodate Jane, just before they were interrupted. “It’s my turn,” she said.
“Stay here,” said Jane. “I got him. You pushed him out, you deserve a few extra nights of rest.”
Maura watched Jane rise from the bed, put a robe on, and head down the hall. The least she could do was be ready when Jane returned, for love and for adventure, whatever that adventure might be.
Chapter 20: The Safest Place Is in Your Arms - No New Friends Universe
“Ma, is it true?” Cristina Rizzoli steps into Maura’s office, the room right next to her own, late Tuesday evening. Jane drinks there, a glass of Irish whiskey in her right hand as she watches the fire in front of her crackle.
Jane looks up, startled. Her daughter stands in the doorway, cast in shadow because of the distance of the hall light and the dimness of the fire. “Hey, baby. What’s that?” she asks. She runs her left hand through her hair and sighs, still in the fitted slacks and pinstriped white button up of the day.
Cristina approaches, and when she does, Jane can see the unshed tears in her eyes. “Is it true? Is Mikey Talucci’s dad dead?”
Jane contemplates what exactly she should say. “Yeah, T. They found him in his car. Looked like a suicide, had a gun in his hand and everything.”
“Jane- oh,” Maura has just returned from the kitchen with her own glass of wine, and nearly bumped into their daughter.
Cristina doesn’t acknowledge her mother behind her, only goes to Jane in the chair. She crawls into Jane’s lap, burrows as far as her long legs will allow, piles herself so that she can put her arms around Jane’s shoulders and breathe in the scent of her hair.
Maura says nothing, only takes her place in the chair next to Jane’s and waits, ready to support however she’s needed.
“I know you did what you had to do,” Cristina says, letting those tears fall now. “I know he was going to kill you.”
“He was,” Jane says. “He was going to try, anyway. Your mom made sure he didn’t.” She will elaborate no further.
“I don’t blame… I’m not mad,” Cristina tells her, leaning back so she can put her hand in Maura’s, and Maura takes it, kisses it. “I just want you to be safe. You have to stay safe,” she cries.
Maura tamps down on her lips, too, so that she doesn’t cry, but Jane knows exactly what to do. She moves so that Cristina wraps around her again, and squeezes her tightly. “The safest place I can be is in your arms, kid. If you, and Mommy, and brother love me, nothin’ else can touch me. Promise.”
Chapter 21: I Noticed - Primogeniture Universe
Some discussion of neurodiversity, ADHD, and speech sound disorders below. Also some internalized ableism, albeit light.
Jane exits the district office for Newton Public Schools on a drab March morning, pushing out of the rusting green door and past the red-orange brick to the parking lot. Maura has already left, in a huff with Chiarina in tow after a hushed argument with Jane just outside the conference room provided for their meeting. This has left Jane to depart the Special Education department on the third floor all on her own. She had thanked the specialists for their time and their thorough assessments, just like Maura did, and then bowed out as quickly as possible.
It isn’t that Maura was rude, in fact, being rude isn’t in Maura’s nature. At least, not to strangers. Rather, Jane usually bears the brunt of it, when Maura is sure that her Brahmin veneer won’t be tarnished and she can lay into her wife as quickly and as privately as possible. And this time, Jane can’t really blame Maura, considering it’s her Rizzoli genes that have got three-year old Chiarina leaving the consonants off the ends of some words, putting the t sound where her k should go, and chattering so fast sometimes syllables get thrown by the wayside for the sake of saying what she needs to say now. Not to mention her flags become fads, her ideal pet is a dod, and every night, she climbs up high so she can leap onto the nearest soft surface. Sometimes she misses - ok, a lot of times she misses - and the thuds, the whooshes, and the schwacks petrify Maura, all while Jane barely registers it for how normal it all seems to her: the unfinished meals, half-done puzzles, the wild array of toys strewn about the bedroom.
So, Maura had, quite un-rudely, complimented the pathologist’s findings, asked what the next steps were, and waited for the response with an uncharacteristic bounce in her knee, one so novel that even Chiarina, buried in the toy box left out to occupy her while the adults talked, froze when she took notice. Then, once they were dismissed with a phone number to set up services through the local school with the pathologist there, Maura had all but dragged Jane and Chiarina out, fidgeting like she’d die if she spent another minute with those very nice, very professional people.
So, Jane did what Jane does. “It’s not that bad, Maura,” she had said, instead of waiting for Maura to start. “She’ll get some speech and she’ll pull it together; she’s just like me when I was a kid,” then, she had paused and grimaced. “Actually, just like Tommy, too. Maybe you should be worried.”
The joke was the opposite of what Maura needed. Maura had glared and took Jane by the lapel, Chiarina by the hand, to the nearest dark corner by the restroom. “You think this is funny? You think it’s a laughing matter that this is happening to us? And that it’s your family’s fault?”
“I-” Jane had opened her mouth, but Maura silenced it.
“I’m taking her to your mother’s so I can get back to my autopsy. I’ll see you at home,” she had said.
That’s the image that Jane carries with her when she finally drops into the unmarked and starts up the engine. Again, she doesn’t blame Maura. Tried to warn her, maybe, a couple of times when Maura had been enchanted by the idea of giving Jane an heir and Jane was left having to explain that this is what having a Rizzoli heir meant. Funny, smart, dangerous, impulsive chaos. Frankie was the outlier, but she and Tommy? Chiarina could be their carbon copy.
Thus, before she returns to the precinct, Jane decides she has time to stop by the flower shop by the house. It’s the least she could do.
The morgue is quiet; even the classical music that Maura usually plays in the background is shut off today. Jane had gotten held up by a disturbance call related to their open double homicide, so it’s nearly two pm when she finally enters through the double door with a bouquet of many colored roses, already in a vase. Maura works, with her goggles and her face shield on so that she can bend close to the open chest cavity and inspect a nick on a rib. Jane sets the flowers carefully on the adjacent table. She makes sure the ping of glass against metal is soft, but loud enough to get Maura’s attention.
It works, and Maura looks up, startled. When she sees the flowers, she scrunches her face to keep herself from crying.
Jane takes this as a sign that she should probably speak first. “Sorry you yet again got saddled with Rizzoli family drama,” she says. “And sorry that our kid’s diff-”
Maura cuts her off for the second time that day. “Stop. Stop. I should be apologizing to you. I… I panicked. I got scared for her and then I lashed out.”
Jane smirks, puts her hands behind her back. “I noticed,” she replies with affection.
“I just… I went down the rabbit hole, Jane. When that nice woman was talking, and she was naming back to me all the patterns she saw in Rina’s speech, naming all the difficulties she has, putting on paper what I already knew, all I could think about was comorbidity of language impairment, reading problems, sensory integration issues, with ADHD. I started reciting studies to myself, thinking back to all the things she does and I…”
“Panicked. Like you said. I realize it probably wasn’t helpful when I said she was exactly like Tommy,” Jane approaches slowly. When Maura doesn’t turn away, she puts her hand out. Maura takes it. “But truth is, she’s not. Language was an issue with Tommy. He talked late, he had problems with remembering things and with word order and stuff. You been in a room with Rina lately? That girl has too much word order. She uses longer sentences than you.”
Maura chuckles once to herself, allowing one last tear to fall before she sniffles her life back together. “She does, that’s true.”
“So don’t catastrophize, babe,” says Jane. “In that meeting, no one said language disorder. No one said ADHD. Don’t push somethin’ on her that hasn’t been put out there. If we find that stuff out down the road, we deal with it then.”
Maura looks up at Jane, her unruly black curls with just a smattering of gray at her temples, her expressive eyes that follow Maura’s every movement and memorize everything about her. She decides not to belabor the point, to name all the ways that Tommy and Jane are alike, how bashing in a cafeteria window with your foot when you’re seven, or half-scrawled notes and unfinished projects around the house point to an intelligent, disorganized, adaptive, different brain just like their daughter’s. Kind of like Maura’s. She’ll save that for another day. “Ok. But you have to keep me in check.” That, Jane is very good at.
“You start to fall, I’ll pull you back,” Jane says, knowing Maura wants to say more, but also knowing not to push it. “I always got you. I always got that kid, too. Even though I know today was just the first of a hundred meetings at the school, if she’s anything like me.”
“She’s everything like you,” Maura replies, making her way into Jane’s arms, and this time she means it with affection, and not hostility. “And that’s all I wanted.”
Chapter 22: I Think You're Beautiful - Primogeniture Universe
It is July, it is humid, and it is late. Chiarina has finally gone to sleep, after a particularly raucous evening, which culminated in a bath time brawl of cataclysmic proportions with Maura. Maura lies out here now, on the porch, on her back, looking up at the ceiling fan from the outdoor rug. Its pattern is geometric, its color blue, and it matches her jeans and the polish on her toes. There are dark splotches on her clothes from where sudsy water splashed all over her as she wrestled to get Chiarina clean, and her hair falls out of her hastily done up bun.
Jane is careful not to lay on it when she lowers herself to be shoulder to shoulder with Maura. She’s still in her work clothes, and feeling a little guilty for showing up at the tail end of the battle, getting to be Rina’s savior with snuggles and a bedtime story. She kicks her boots off, and when she stretches out, the body heat against her from their feet all the way to their heads speeds up her heartbeat. Even now. She turns, her lips level with Maura’s temple due to her height, and kisses there. Long, loud, slow.
“She said I was an ugly, mean mommy who never lets her do anything fun,” Maura whispers, and Jane can tell she’s trying not to cry.
Jane is trying not to laugh. “Well, for what it’s worth, I think you’re beautiful,” she says. “Even when you make us eat vegetables and go to bed at a reasonable hour.”
“You have to think that,” Maura retorts. She’s residually grumpy, and she hmphs when she turns on her side to burrow into Jane’s one-armed embrace.
“Maybe,” Jane says lowly, the ghost of a chuckle buzzing against her chest, and therefore against Maura’s cheek. After a few moments of silence, she clears her throat. “Needed a time out, huh?”
“I failed at being a gentle parent today,” Maura admits.
“If it were me, I woulda been a pissed-off parent,” Jane says. “So she could consider herself lucky it was you.” More silence, Maura shifting to get comfortable, Jane shifting to pull her closer. “She loves you, you know. She fights with you for the same reason I do. She knows you’re not gonna run away.”
Maura sighs. Jane knows it’s because she’s right. “She could at least do it with less water,” Maura pouts. “This is designer.”
Jane laughs when they both look down to the sleeveless blouse, ruined and clinging to her upper body. “Selfishly, I’m glad she added the water this time around. An inspired touch.”
Maura can’t help laughing this time, too, but then she bites her lower lip and punches Jane’s side with gusto.
“Ow!” Jane yelped. “I was complimenting your tits! Why are you hittin’ me?”
Maura nuzzles closer in feigned innocence. “You won’t run away,” she huffs as they settle.
Jane accepts the truth of this. Accepts that sometimes days are hard and parenting doesn’t come with the rulebooks that Maura often covets. All things considered, rules or not, Maura is doing this mom thing better than Jane thought possible. She sighs, too, and watches the fan blades above chop the damp Boston air. “Wanna go fuck?” she finally asks. Parenting doesn’t come with a lot of time to wine and dine, either. She wants.
“Yes,” Maura says, and already she is rising to her feet, leaving without waiting for Jane to follow, knowing she will. She wants, too. If for no other reason than to get out of her wet clothes.
Chapter 23: Just Because - Pyrite Universe
Jane sat at her desk, early Tuesday morning, before her brother arrived with Nina, and even before Korsak rolled in at his usual 7:30 sharp.
She had slept there.
She smacked her lips and swore she could still taste Maura’s sex, her wet, even though she kept a full toiletry set and two changes of clothes in the locker room. When she rubbed her eyes to banish the sleep, militant and unyielding though it was, she saw Maura in front of her - specifically the part of her that Jane had buried her face in the night before. I want your mouth on me, Maura had said, and just remembering the phrase now conjured in Jane’s mind bare, pink skin, swollen openings, and the tug of desire around her tongue when she dipped it inside.
She and Maura had sex.
For the first time in eight fucking months. Since they had angrily partaken of one another in the bed of Jane’s new apartment at the beginning of everything. And therein was the issue: when Maura told her to go home the night prior, Jane simply couldn’t. She couldn’t concede that the apartment was her home. So, she returned to the only home besides her old house that she had: BPD. The cots were lumpy and the pillows were shit, but at least she felt like she belonged. Safe.
She wondered if they would forget like they promised to forget the first time, if their life would now simply be broken daytimes occasionally punctuated by lovemaking when they could no longer resist one another and they were sure no one was watching. In fact, her mind was so focused on what it all meant that she hadn’t heard the clack of designer heels making their way to her on the homicide linoleum. First, she registered the soft thud of a full, large cup of coffee from Boston Joe’s in front of her, and then… legs.
Legs that were as designer as those god damn heels. Soft, tan, lotioned, just the right amount of squeeze and soothe whenever they wrapped around Jane’s waist…
Jane snapped her head up before she drooled onto the floor. Looking at Maura’s stunning face, accentuated by a knowing smirk, didn’t help much. “What’s this for?” she barked, trying to be as nonchalant as possible, grabbing at the coffee she craved and popping the top off so she could inhale its aroma. Fuck it was good. Fuck Maura looked good. She needed to get a grip.
“Just because,” said Maura, with another smile. “Come inside when you drop off Elena tonight? You can work on the bathroom.”
Jane gulped. Her heart raced and it had nothing to do with coffee she wasn’t drinking yet. “Yup, you got it,” she said, and when Maura turned to walk toward the elevators, she scribbled on a post-it: bring more clothes. And a pillow.
Chapter 24: Close Your Eyes and Open Your Hands - Call Me When He Sleeps Universe
Jane prays, literally prays that all her shit won’t be on the front doorstep when she walks up, and that Maura’s mood will be good enough to at least let her sleep on the couch, and not the bench in the courtyard outside Angela’s guesthouse.
Maura has been back from her San Francisco trip for three whole days, and in some sort of divine retribution for Jane knows-not-what, the murderer in her most recent case decided to do nothing on the first night of their stakeout, nor the second. So Jane has not been by the house on any of those three days, not to eat, not to sleep, not to shower. All that’s been done at the precinct and even she’d be pissed if someone stood her up for three days after a whole week away.
She unlocks the door with a grimace, ready for the lashing, when she spots Maura in front of the oven, mitts still on. “You’re home!” Maura says brightly.
Jane is confused. “H-hey, yeah,” she sputters. “You ok?”
Maura is confused now, too. “Yes…” she draws it out. “Why wouldn’t I be?” she looks down to her clothes to make sure they’re all in place.
“I uh… I wasn’t around for three whole days. We haven’t seen each other for ten,” Jane explains. She’s got one eye screwed shut like at any moment the atmosphere will change and the wrath will come.
“I know…” Maura is just as cautious, pulling off her oven mitts and stepping toward Jane around the island. “And that would make me not ok? I mean, I’m sad that it’s taken this long but it’s the nature of our work, Jane.” She says, the epitome of logic, just before her face falls and the wall she’s built around her desperation crumbles. “Can I kiss you?”
“Y-yeah,” Jane says, but she leans in before she can give Maura a chance to register her answer. After a hot few seconds, she pulls back and licks her lips. “You’re really not mad?”
Maura leans forwards and nips Jane’s lower lip, liking the feel of how it bounces between her teeth. “Did you take any unnecessary risks?”
Jane follows when Maura leaves and kisses again. “No,” she answers.
“Did you call Dr. Wright?” Maura asks, undoing the first couple of buttons on her blouse.
“Yeah,” Jane, too caught up in the taste of Maura, closes her eyes and licks the perfume on her neck.
“Did you call me every night?” Maura presses. This one they both know the answer to.
“Yeah,” Jane whispers assertively. “I did.”
Maura pulls away. “Then close your eyes. Hold out your hands.”
Jane scoffs. “What?”
Jane reluctantly obeys. She breathes deeply to tell her heart and her sex to slow the fuck down, but she can hear the ocean in her ears when she cups her hands in front of her. There’s a rustling, there’s a quiet pop, and then there’s silence.
Then, finally, something warm, soft, and textured falls into her grip. She opens her eyes immediately. “Tell me now, if you think I’m mad,” says Maura, whose shirt is open and whose lacy, blue bra is in Jane’s grip.
Jane stares only at where that bra used to be. “Turn dinner off. I’ll order you a pizza later.”
Chapter 25: I Like Your Laugh - No New Friends Universe
Jane is away, for at least a little longer, down in New Jersey. She is brokering a deal between the family there and the DiVincenzos, regarding shipments for Bodega owners and setting up the operation so that the Bostonians get a much larger piece of the pie. She is gone because Tom and Mario trust her, and Maura knows this, but Cristina isn’t much older than four months and she and Jane have been inseparable during most, if not all of those months.
The consolation for missing her wife, however, is the gut busting, tear-inducing, bubble chuckle that Cristina is giving Maura now, her first, all because she had puffed her cheeks out at the baby and then blown raspberries against her tiny, tiny belly. Maura is crying with mirth, too: each infant giggle funnier, more adorable than the last, all gummy and innocent and loud.
Maura stops just enough so that they can both regain their breath in their Prince Street home, waiting for Jane to walk through the door. “I like your laugh,” Maura tells their daughter. “I have a feeling Mamma is really going to like it, too.”
Chapter 26: Can I Hold Your Hand - Boston Kama Sutra Universe
This takes place between chapters 8 and 9 of BKS.
Jane rolled up to Maura’s guesthouse at eleven pm on a Friday night, clearly already having been asleep. She wore faded gray sweatpants, a hoodie with a hole on the shoulder, and some expensive Nike shoes, and fit right in with her two brothers as they hovered in the courtyard.
Maura, of course, set herself apart from the Rizzolis around her in her long, black silk robe and slippers. She folded her arms over her chest, keeping warmth close to her body as the late summer breeze blew through her street, rubbing her lips together in self-soothing. Not eight hours before, she was riding Jane in her bed, naked and sweating and full of revenge. Now, they shared only tired glances in place of greetings, and Maura couldn’t hide her nervousness.
Tommy and Frankie fiddled with the doorknob, which had clearly been tampered with. They knelt in the doorway, manipulating the knob and cursing every so often, while Angela, who had just gotten home - suspiciously later than usual - put her purse in the kitchenette and was explaining to them exactly how she found the door.
Jane took that opportunity to slide up to Maura unnoticed by the others. She stood close, painfully close, her front up against the back of Maura’s right shoulder while Maura watched the boys. “‘S goin’ on, babe?” asked Jane, semi-slurred and raspy, still unsure what the frantic call from her mother to get down here immediately had been about.
Maura wondered if Jane should even have driven over that sleepy. Probably not. She chose not to admonish Jane for calling her babe simply because of exhaustion. “Your mother came home, and found the guesthouse door tampered with.”
Jane stiffened, but not for the reason Maura thought. “You ok? They get into the main house?”
As always, Jane cut through to the meat of the issue, the crux of Maura’s emotionality, and nurtured it. “Shaken up. I’m still cleaning things up in there, for god’s sake,” she said, pointing toward the living room of her home.
Jane nodded. She leaned forward so that Maura could have plausible deniability about leaning back. Then, she chanced more intimacy, knowing Maura would need it, and also that she would never seek it out. “Can I hold ya hand?” she asked in a lazy, deep Bostonian, sweetening the deal.
Maura froze, said nothing, but dropped her right hand to her side. Jane took it with her own and dropped her head to Maura’s shoulder, kissing the fabric there quietly. Once, twice, thrice. “She find anything inside?” she asked after she had finished, forehead still resting on Maura.
Maura stared ahead, acting as lookout lest anyone spot her vulnerability. “I don’t think so. She’s pretty rattled, Jane.”
“I’m not sayin’ the two are related,” Angela said out into the courtyard while looking at her sons, as if summoned by Maura’s comment. “But my sources tell me your father’s in town.”
Jane sighed, then stood up straight. “I better check things out,” she said. She slipped her fingers from Maura’s slowly, reluctantly, until they simply dropped apart, “and find out if my Pop is also a petty thief.”
Maura smiled at the joke, but it didn’t reach her eyes. She folded her arms again, and followed Jane into the guesthouse.
Chapter 27: I'll Help You Study - Pyrite Universe
Waves crashed outside the open slider of Jane and Maura’s Cape Cod vacation rental, beckoning them either for a clothes-optional swim, or a seaside sexcapade in the very bed they now inhabited.
The only problem?
Jane had three binders spread out over the duvet, and she chewed on a highlighter as she read the last sentence on her current page for the third time. Unfortunately, Maura had suggested the getaway so that Jane could study apart from the chaos of their house, with Elena still on the tail end of summer vacation and the Rizzoli family using it as a home base for literally any occasion. Not for a true vacation.
“If I have to read the word geo-fencing one more fuckin’ time…” Jane grumbled to herself, gripping the open covers of her binder until her knuckles ran white.
“Hey, hey, hey, relax,” Maura coaxed, watching frustration and confusion compound one another in real time. She sighed, but crawled on her hands and knees over to Jane anyway and rubbed tense shoulders. “It’s late. Take a break with me and pick it back up in the morning.”
“I gotta get this done,” Jane argued. “We spent the whole first day in bed and now I’m payin’ for it by havin’ to cram. Kinda defeats the purpose of us comin’ here.”
“You regret it?” Maura dared Jane to say yes.
Jane looked up at Maura in her flowy white swimwear cover and her bikini under that, unable to take that dare. “No. I don’t ever regret… that. I just… you know how hard this whole thing is for me. I mean, the learning isn’t hard, but the playing school part?”
“You learn things very quickly,” Maura stated, continuing to rub. She relished when Jane leaned back. “You get bored of schooling. But this is all information you have to memorize for your certification.”
“Yeah,” Jane answered. “Remind me to kill Frankie for convincing me I needed a certificate in digital policing.”
“He was right to suggest it. More and more, smartphones are becoming a part of most, if not all, crimes,” said Maura. “You love him. You’re just tired and frustrated because you’re not being challenged by the material.”
“I guess,” said Jane.
“You know what? This whole week, you’ve been trying to do this all by yourself. I’m here. I’ll help you study. I can read the rest of things in that other binder and then summarize it for you.”
Jane leaned her head back until it landed on Maura’s chest. “You would do that for me?”
“Promise me you’ll put that away for a few hours and I’ll do anything you ask,” Maura teased. When Jane pursed her lips, Maura pouted. “Please? You haven’t touched me since Wednesday.”
Jane made a show of shutting her work and exhaling. “Yeah yeah, Einstein. Bring it over here.”
Maura yipped, clapping with excitement, and then they both cleared the bed together.
Chapter 28: It's Not that Heavy; I'm Stronger than I Look - No New Friends Universe
Jane despises the wound in her shoulder, though it actually looks pretty good considering the gaping hole it had been before Maura sewed it up. It’s just… she can’t do anything. She stares down the box of books at her feet, the one she told Maura she’d move out of the office the night before she’d been shot. And now, just the thought of the weight, the intellectual exercise of mapping out the route she would take from here to the basement, exhausts her.
That’s when Cicciu enters. “Hey Ma,” he says. “Mom sent me up here to tell you… you’re uh, you’re not gonna try to pick that up, are you?” He stops, and points at the offending box.
Jane blushes. “Well kid, define pick up,” she replies sheepishly. She kicks at it with her boot, dressed for work though Maura won’t let her out of the house for so much as a store run.
“Uh uh, I got it,” he says, and before she can protest, he bends and has it over his shoulder. “Basement?” he grunts.
“Hey oh, careful, Cicciu,” Jane darts towards him.
He just moves away. “It’s not that heavy,” he says, though his forehead starts to sweat, “I’m stronger than I look. Basement?” He repeats.
“Y-yeah,” stutters Jane. “Basement.” She wants to kiss him, all over his teenaged face, but settles for following him down the stairs and to the basement, telling herself that she’ll catch him, or the box, if it goes toppling over.
Chapter 29: Back to You
This is a stand-alone snippet and not part of any of my previous fic universes.
The August evening, late, oppressive, muggy, creeps into Maura’s skin not by heat but by emotion. She is in a cabin in Western Massachusetts, and it is air conditioned, but she cannot help but tug at the robe around her neck as if it chokes her - it plunges down her middle, but the way it presses against the back of her neck feels like the pillory.
She is getting married. Tomorrow.
She is getting married to Jack tomorrow. And she chalks all these tumultuous feelings up to the humidity and nervousness, because truly, the venue is beautiful. She had splurged for a forest wedding, and spent even more to hold it on this compound, where each group of guests would have their own cabin, while she and Jack would have separate ones to themselves - for decorum and tradition, of course. She does not want to be seen before the wedding. By him, a niggling part of her brain tells her, she doesn’t really want to be seen at all.
She had accepted his proposal several months ago out of spite, really. To rouse passion in Jane, to shake her out of her complacency and perhaps lead her right into Maura’s bed. Jane, instead, had retreated. Far, far into work, into sport, into anything that had nothing to do with Maura.
And so, the spectacular plan had backfired. At least, Maura mused as she looked at herself in the mirror, full face still on, hair still styled in its usual straight waves, she would be getting a husband out of it.
Jane isn’t even here.
Maura stifles that thought because it makes her want to cry, and she had spent the last few weeks learning not to do so at every thought of Jane somewhere else. When the doorbell of the cabin sounds throughout the rooms, she thanks it, because it gives her another reason not to shed any tears. She cinches her robe tighter around herself, expecting to either have to let in an emotional Angela or send away a lustful Jack, and wanting neither of them to see more of her skin than absolutely necessary.
When she opens the door, that niggling part of her brain wishes she had torn the robe off. “Jane,” she breathes out, the name more the biological function of an exhale, the necessary conclusion of breath, than a word. It has transformed beyond simple semantics and now forms Maura’s marrow. She resents how much it feels like oxygen when she says it.
Jane is indeed standing there, in slacks and a baby blue button up shirt, still tucked in from the day’s work. She holds two glasses in one hand, and a bottle of vodka in the other, holding them up. “Hey, you,” she says, smoky and hot. She is three feet away, but the words singe the skin on Maura’s throat, like Jane is already kissing it, already putting hands on her waist, up her back, though Jane has never touched her before. It is the way greetings from Jane have always felt to Maura. Perfunctory hellos performed like sex.
She hates it, and she hates that it draws her in. “Hi,” she says quietly, the tears back. She refuses to let them fall, though. She has some dignity.
“Can I come in for a drink?” Jane asks, raising her tired eyebrows.
Maura wants to disappear into the hairline that they approach. She is frazzled. “Y-you’re… you’re here,” is all she can think to say.
“Yeah, I am. I need to talk to you, Maura,” says Jane. “And I understand if you want to do it with me standin’ outside, but we’ll have more privacy in there.”
Maura looks to where Jane spots the sofa, small and cozy just to the side of the kitchenette. They would be so close, and she cannot resist the prospect. Perhaps there isn’t as much dignity as she once thought. “Ok,” she assents.
Jane nods, humble but victorious, and then steps in. Maura closes the door behind her, checking the outside for eavesdroppers or onlookers one time, and then they both sit on the couch. Jane pours a shot worth of alcohol in each glass. “I know you hate vodka, but it’s the good stuff, at least,” she explains, holding her own up to the light. It is dim, just lamplight on either side, but the clear liquid still catches it. “This is how I think of you, you know,” she says, just before she downs it all in one go, pulling her lips back to grimace at the smooth burn all the way down.
“In a cabin with liquor?” Maura asks, confused. She sips hers, and yes she hates it. Yes, it is still good.
“Like a shot,” Jane says. “Even when I take you in small doses it’s still a shock to the system,” she looks up.
Maura freezes. It is an admission she did not expect. It sounds a lot like desire. She crosses her legs under her, turning sideways on the couch, because she is not wearing underwear and somehow Jane would be able to tell how wet she is becoming. “I… I’m not sure I…”
Jane pours herself another drink, but doesn’t take it. “I haven’t seen you in weeks, not really. One look at you now and I feel like I’m gonna jump outta my skin. And I know… I know this is a shitty thing to do, the night before your wedding.”
“Jane…” oxygen again.
“No, no. Lemme get this out, ok? Before I lose the nerve,” says Jane. With the second shot down, she shakes her head from the burn and hisses. “Shit. Ok. I’ve just… I think we’ve been overthinking this. The whole time we’ve been around each other, we’ve been too much in our own heads, especially me. And I hate it, because what’s the point in hiding? I like to act. I have to act. So, this is me actin’. I know, know that I’ll regret it if I didn’t say that this, you and me, could be so much better than what it is right now.”
“Anything is better than what this is right now,” Maura uses sarcasm to cut and to defend, because none of this seems real. Jane, confessing but not confessing, doesn’t seem real. “We don’t talk. You left.”
“I know,” Jane doesn’t fight, doesn’t blow up or try to deflect the blame, which scares Maura even more. Jane sounds like an adult in love and that is the most terrifying thing. “And that’s on me. You told me you were gettin’ married to Jack and I fucked up. I… let myself get too afraid of fighting for you, so I decided to throw a pity party for myself instead.”
“You want to fight for me?” Maura asks.
She sees the confusion and the horror on Jane’s face, flashing for only the smallest of seconds. “Y-yeah. Unless that’s not what you-”
Oh no, no, no. Maura must course correct before the train flies completely off the tracks. “Do you know why I insisted that Jack and I have separate cabins?”
Jane gulps. “Uh, it’s traditional?”
Maura shrugs. “Because I think of you every time I sleep next to him. And I imagine you holding me and… it makes me feel like a liar. I wanted one last night where I could feel you, want you, unbothered. Because I…” here come the tears, fat and full and streaking, “I’ll never get that chance again, after tomorrow.”
Jane doesn’t cry, but only just barely. Maura watches her suck her teeth and snarl, her tell that she’s holding it together by a thread. “You didn’t say,” she croaks.
Maura cries and rages. “Because every time I tried to get close to you, you’d run in the opposite direction! You did it again! Even when I said yes to him to get you to come to me!”
Jane’s head snaps up. “What?”
“This was supposed to spur you into the action you’re always talking about,” Maura says bitterly. “What an asinine plan.”
Jane puts her glass down and takes Maura’s, setting it aside. “Don’t do it,” she says, bold, feral in the pose that she enters: one leg planted on the ground, one ready to strike on the couch cushion, her arm against the back of it and her face inches from Maura’s.
She smells like vodka and lavender. “Ok,” Maura says. She can barely think of words when Jane is in her nostrils.
“Ok?” Jane asks, to be sure. “I love you. Ok?”
“Ok,” Maura says. She doesn’t wait to be claimed, but does the claiming when she pulls Jane on top of her. She takes to her back, moaning when all of Jane’s weight lands on her front, and Jane is kissing her just like she fantasized about. Jane even puts those long fingers on Maura’s side like Maura envisions when she touches herself. Except, the robe she has on is too slippery and she knows those fingertips would spark wildfire in her if they could just touch her skin.
She is frantic when they kiss, tongues darting against one another, lips sucking and pressing and smacking. She is loath to move her hands from Jane’s face, that handsome, handsome face, but she needs to open her robe. She tugs at the knot until it is loose, and then shoves the sides of it away. “Touch me,” she orders.
Maura moans into the cabin air and her body sings when Jane’s hands roam over breasts, down her back, between her legs. She pulls Jane’s shirt out of its tuck and gets to work on its buttons, because everything that is undone between them builds back up into something better in the end.
Her heart will unravel, dress down, be laid bare, and then in the morning, just like the clothes that will trail haphazardly to the bed, will signify something new.
Because Jane found her way back.
Chapter 30: The Triumph of Religion
I am updating this story with more snippets from the internet after a long hiatus! It starts with a Valentine's Day thing I wrote, and will include more OTP prompt responses as I periodically upload.
It is Valentine’s Day, and Maura paces her kitchen floor.
It is eight pm and Maura has never paced on Valentine’s Day before, has never cared enough about the holiday to notice its passing beyond the perfunctory dozens of roses and boxes of chocolates that men would send to her. But now…
Now she stares at the roses and the pound of assorted truffles she purchased from Beacon Hill Chocolatiers, just a few blocks away from her home, and shakes her head: had she been foolish? Mistaken?
Had she merely assumed that she would see Jane after work? The evening prior had gone so well that she anticipated today with glee, both for the chance to do the buying for once, and to finally start whatever bubbled between them. But, with the hours dragging on and not so much as a text from Jane, she begins to doubt.
She smoothes her black dress, the one with the deep cut at the neckline that showcases her breasts, and thinks. Replays every moment for the exact derailment, the exact misunderstanding that has landed her here.
“I was so sick it felt like I was swallowin’ razor blades,” Jane continued her story about the worst case of strep throat she’d ever had, all on the night before she was supposed to lose her virginity to Gianni Primavera. She, still in work clothes and with her boots on her feet, chugged some beer. “So I guess God was lookin’ out for me because Gianni ended up with three kids by the time he was 20.”
Maura put her hand to her chest as her laughter died down. She burrowed her feet further under the blanket across her lap, and sipped her wine before she spoke again. “Well, did you know that there was actually a study performed on the effects of stomach acid on razor blades? After being in simulated gastric juice for about fifteen hours, the double-edged blades could be broken by a snare.”
Jane looked down at the brown bottle in her lap as she scraped the label off with her nail. “You could be your very own library, you know that?” she asked, just before looking up and holding Maura’s eyes with her own.
Maura saw waves of brown beneath wetness, and she sensed the vulnerability there, even though Jane’s hair was still wild, untameable, and her shoulders still cocked back, unruly. She suddenly grew warm in her pajamas despite the mid-February snow outside. “I used to love going to the library when I was a child. I could spend hours there.”
“BPL in Copley Square?” Jane asked, inching closer, putting her beer on a coaster.
Maura turned her body to accept the gentle invasion. “Yes. When we were in town, of course. My parents always had lots of engagements, in addition to their teaching jobs, when we were in Boston. That left me a lot of free time unsupervised. I lost my card when I moved to France and never renewed it, but I loved my days there.”
“I’d take my bike straight to the library after school,” Jane replied, “The two and a half miles, and stay until closin’. Books were like…”
“My only friends,” Maura finished. Jane merely nodded. “Or, at least, the most constant ones. I longed to read everything there.”
Jane sighed, her breath rickety with emotion. Her brows knitted together and her mouth frowned. “What if uh, what if we were both there, for hours, and we had no idea?”
“It’s entirely plausible,” Maura answered honestly. She put her wine glass down, too, and reached for Jane’s face. Jane was close enough that Maura could put palms to her cheeks and pull her close. “Why do you look sad?”
“‘Cause I am,” Jane said. “What about all that wasted time?”
“Wasted time? What do you mean?” Maura asked quietly, suspecting she already knew.
“We just… we’re always ships passin’ each other in the night,” responded Jane, still in Maura’s hands. She inhaled the perfume on one wrist. “I don’t wanna do that anymore.”
Maura nodded, and let Jane kiss that wrist, slowly, all the way up to her elbow before leaning up and into her lips. The kiss tasted like hops and the gum Jane no doubt chewed on the drive over. The kiss also tasted like everything that belonged in Maura’s life: safety, affection, and wet, wet sexuality. She groaned into it when she got to that part. The part where Jane’s tongue slid around her own, flat and heavy against it. “You really, really don’t want to do that anymore,” she teased when Jane pulled away, even though her body begged her to pull Jane close again.
“Told ya,” Jane whispered into Maura’s mouth. Then she looked at her watch and sighed. “It’s late, Maura.”
“So? Stay here,” Maura reasoned, hands now on Jane’s shoulders, then to her lapels. She tugged and Jane granted her one more kiss.
“That’s not really how I… listen. Today is the 13th. Tomorrow is-”
“Valentine’s Day,” Maura realized aloud.
“Yeah. And I’ll see you, alright? We’ll see each other tomorrow,” Jane said, rather cryptically.
Maura’s heart thumped and sputtered with the implications. “Well, of course we will. Tomorrow’s Wednesday and we have-”
“Shh,” Jane silenced Maura with a finger to the plump lips hers had just been pressing against.
Maura kissed that finger to remind Jane of what she was about to give up for chivalry. “Tomorrow then,” Maura revised.
“Tomorrow,” Jane echoed. “Now come walk me out?”
Maura did eventually, though they spent twenty minutes exploring each other with her back against the front door.
And, just when she decides to gather her gifts and find Jane herself, the doorbell rings. She opens it, about to tell whoever it is that she has no time and they’ll have to return later, but then, she sees Jane.
Jane is smiling and pursing her lips at the things in Maura’s hand. “A few hours without a call and you already found another date, huh? Can’t say I blame you. You’re, well, you, and I shop off the rack.”
Maura blushes. “These are for you, actually. I was so convinced that you were going to take me on a date tonight that I wanted to be prepared. It was my fault for assuming.”
“You gotta give yourself more credit. What do ya think I’m here for?” Jane says. “But I’ll take those. I’m more of a sucker for the traditional stuff than you are, I know.” She sniffs the bouquet offered to her and then exhales with pleasure.
“We are going on a date?” Maura says, giving over the chocolates next. “Together? Now?”
“Together and now,” Jane confirms, staring impressively at the fancy candy. “Grab your purse.”
Maura trots over to the kitchen island and takes her bag. “Where are we going?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Jane teases. “It’s a five minute drive, so keep your panties on.”
Maura locks up for the both of them and chuckles. “Don’t think it’s so easy to get them off,” she retorts, shrugging her coat on. They walk to Jane’s unmarked, illegally parked, and of course, the door is opened for her. It is much too cold for walkers this late in the evening, and the street lamps shine attractively on the piles of snow on the sidewalk. They are alone and the night is picturesque. Maura wonders if she has just lied about the ease of removal of her underwear when she stares at Jane in the driver’s seat, from her angular face eclipsed in shadow to the vascularity in the hand that put the car into drive.
Expert fingers steer them from Commonwealth Avenue all the way to a very familiar building.
The Boston Public Library.
“Jane,” Maura breathes out, a hand reaching for Jane’s as they park right outside.
“Maura,” Jane jokes. Then, she grows serious. “I listen, you know.”
“You do. It’s why I enjoy talking to you so much. I know you’re always listening,” Maura says. Though she has no idea what they are about to do, this is the best Valentine’s Day she’s ever had.
Jane steps out of the driver’s side and slams her door, and Maura waits for her door to open. Jane leans in. “Everything you’ve got to say is the smartest thing I’ve ever heard,” she says. “It would be stupid of me not to hang on every word.”
“Help me out,” Maura orders so that she does not cry. Jane holds out her hand and pulls Maura into the night.
Maura falls into Jane, palms against her chest, on purpose. “Now can you tell me what we’re doing?”
“First we gotta visit Julia. She’s on overtime at the circulation desk for me,” Jane says. She entwines Maura’s fingers with her own, and leads her to the front entrance, just under the bust of Athena.
“Free for all,” Maura says, just as they pass under that phrase.
“She always reminds me of ‘The Raven’,” Jane comments. She pushes through an iron and glass door, and then they enter the lobby, with its vaulted, mosaic ceilings, and its marble floors. Just to their left, a woman in business attire and glasses waves.
“The bust of Pallas,” Maura says, pleased. “You did spend a lot of time here.”
“Lotta people don’t know that Poe was a masshole, in a way,” Jane replies, in her very Jane way. The one that sees Maura for all that she is, but doesn’t change to copy her. Simply knows her and promises to remain the same for her. “Hey, Julia. This is Doctor Isles.”
“Hi, Jane,” Julia says, with kind eyes for Jane and a professional smile for Maura. “Doctor Isles, I hear that we need to get you a new library card.”
Maura snaps her head to Jane, who only winks. “You didn’t.”
“Sure did,” Jane says. “But like I said, Julia’s doin’ this as a favor after hours, so let’s make it quick.”
“I’m happy to do it,” Julia cuts in. “Jane investigated my cousin’s murder a few years ago,” she explains. “I owe her a lot.”
“You don’t owe me anything, but I appreciate this,” Jane responds. “Show her your license, yeah?” she asks Maura.
Maura takes her driver’s license out with a shaky grip. Her voice is wet when she says, “here you go, Julia.”
“Thank you,” Julia replies with a smirk when she glances between the two of them. “This will only take a couple of minutes.”
Jane places a hand on the small of Maura’s back, realizes that their coats are on in the heated air, and then she peels Maura’s away from her shoulders.
True to her word, Julia returns from a printer with a brand new Boston Public Library card with Maura’s name on it. “You’re all set.”
“Th-thank you,” Maura sputtered as she put it away.
“You’re welcome. Now, enjoy your stay. Robbie’s here for an hour if you have any questions,” Julia replies with both hospitality and a gentle reminder about their time constraints.
“Our stay?” Maura turns, confused again.
Jane shrugs. “My real deal is with Robbie, the night security guard. He’s letting us poke around for an hour because I’m helpin’ him study for the entrance exam at the academy.”
Maura tugs Jane’s hand, the one not holding their coats, in immediate need for some privacy. “Let’s take the stairs,” she says.
Jane chuckles, but obeys. “The lions it is,” she quips as they stand in between each side of the staircase, a marble lion to their left and their right.
“Did you know that originally the sculptor didn’t have time to polish them? But the Civil War volunteers to whom they were dedicated actually liked them better that way, so they have stayed unpolished all this time,” Maura says when she holds Jane’s arm close to her.
Jane looks down to see her upper arm graze Maura’s chest, and she gulps. “No, I didn’t. See, they should just replace the brick and mortar with you.”
“But then we wouldn’t get to come here together,” Maura responds. “On a date.”
Jane smiles. “True.”
“Should we go to the abbey room first?” asks Maura, memories flooding her.
“Let’s do it on our way back down. I thought we could start at the Sargent Gallery,” Jane answers.
Maura nods, and says no more. Jane leads them up the stairs to a smaller, walled-in staircase, completely dark save for two mounted lamps. They emerge from the top step into an ornate hall adorned with Sargent’s greatest work: The Triumph of Religion.
Neither had seen it this way before, only by dim lamplight, with all doors closed and locked. The figures, once light and dark in concert with one another, now all seemed sinister, especially the pietá at the close end of the murals. Mary, with Jesus between her feet, and now, with Jane looking up at them.
Maura looks from the painting to Jane, in strokes of black, flesh red, and yellow, just like the figures depicted above them. She leans forward, unable to resist kissing Jane’s cheek, thinking only of wanting to taste her since she cannot taste the art above them.
“This is my favorite,” Jane says instead of turning and kissing back.
Of course it is, Maura thinks. It is about sacrifice and sadness and family and all the things that make a Rizzoli a Rizzoli.
The truly miraculous thing is, however, that it is Maura’s favorite, too. Always has been. “How did you know I would come up here, just to stare at this work?”
“Because I used to, too,” says Jane, and then she does turn. “And I think, after our conversation last night, I realized that we are so much more the same than we are different.”
Maura shifts from one heel to another when she holds Jane’s hands in her own between their bodies. “This has been…” she pauses as she searches for the right words, “sublime. In the darkest way possible. A lot like you. But I think we really should finish up soon.”
Jane raises her left eyebrow. “You’re not enjoying yourself?”
“On the contrary,” Maura replies, stepping close enough for their lips to brush. “But apparently I underestimated you, because I very much want you to take my panties off. As soon as possible.”
Jane avoids choking only just barely. “You lasted all of twenty minutes,” she teases instead. “But yeah? You wanna give ‘em to me?” She closes her eyes, crosses her hands behind her back, intent on wowing Maura with just her tongue, which she does. Maura whimpers, and then she moans, and her body is writhing with what Jane thinks is stifled pleasure. But, when Jane opens her eyes, she realizes the actual reason Maura had slow-danced across from her.
Maura places a tiny, sheer, black lace thong in the pocket of Jane’s navy blue blazer. “You already have them,” she smirks, smug and flushed, and watches Jane melt from the inside out.
They can always return in the daytime.
Chapter 31: Wet Kisses after Finding Refuge from the Rain - NNF Universe
“I can’t believe you busted his eye open!” Jane shouts through the torrential downpour as she and Maura dash through the North End, trying to make their way back to Jane’s fourth-floor one-bedroom apartment.
Maura looks back, laughing while she lets the rain wash the blood of Ned Langone’s eye orbit from her knuckles. She isn’t daring enough to turn completely, to run backwards, but she doesn’t have to contemplate it for very long. “He had it coming! He wasn’t going to pay!” She says, when Jane catches up to her and takes her by the arms to the awning over the window of Bova’s bakery.
There, under the colors of the Italian flag and in front of the last of the ciabatta from the morning bake, Jane takes Maura close to her, one hand drumming fingers against her throat, the other low on her Givenchy blouse, just before its tuck in her skirt. “I woulda got it,” Jane breathes, right into Maura’s surprise-parted lips. “All of thirteen hundred of it. Eventually,” she says, quiet enough that Maura has to strain to hear her over the patter above them.
She does, though. “This way, you didn’t have to get your hands dirty,” Maura says, a manicured fingertip tracing the corner of Jane’s smirking lips.
“Because you did,” Jane furrows her brow, twenty-six years old and still unsure of how much she should let Maura into the business.
But Maura follows her anyway, gives her advice anyway, uses her medical expertise to knock around wise guys anyway. “Don’t you think it’s better this way?” Maura asks, “when we share the load?”
Jane, instead of answering, leans all the way in, kissing Maura by pulling her face close. She begins with her usual fervor, lips sliding into recklessness because of the rain drops stuck on them. It goads her into softness, as does Maura’s arm around her shoulders, Maura’s fingers on her neck, Maura’s body against hers. Instead of the dominance she often imposed, this kiss, this deluge of kisses, required a give-and-take between the two of them: an equal share of the sucking, the rowing, the tongue dancing.
And yes, Jane thinks it’s better this way.
Chapter 32: Kissing in a Stairwell - 15 Blade Universe
“Look at you,” Jane said when she slipped away from the operating room to the stairwell just behind her office. She had received a particularly desperate text when she scrubbed out of her colon resection, and raced right on over to the double doors. She had pushed through them seconds ago, all to encounter Maura on the first step, lower lip between her teeth and hand on her growing belly.
“Why, when I can look at you?” Maura said when Jane slinked up to her, now just a couple inches shorter. Maura ran her hand over the top of Jane’s head, black hair soft against her thumb. “I needed to look at you.”
“Just look, huh?” Jane goaded, voice all reedy and deep because she was craning her neck to find Maura’s eyes. She brought her hands up to Maura’s belly, too, covering the fingers that were not combing through her temples, rubbing her ear between them.
“Kiss me, first,” Maura replied, tugging that ear back so that Jane bent back even further. She closed the distance, smashing their mouths into one another, a kiss full of teeth and desire. “Then, touch. Preferably inside, preferably against this concrete wall.”
Jane looked over to where Maura had nodded, and then climbed that first step.
Chapter 33: Desperate Whines of Surrender when They Know They are Done for - BKS Universe
This occurs within the context of BKS chapter 8.
Maura’s confrontation with her alternative timeline - the one where she died at birth away from the arms of her mother - rattled her right into the passenger seat of Jane Rizzoli’s unmarked and to her own front door. Jane had sped down the highway from the cemetery to here, driven by Maura’s declaration that she would be on top of Jane as soon as they arrived.
Only, now, the two of them stood in the courtyard, both yearning for the second tryst between them, but paralyzed by the implication. This would not be spontaneous, this would not be unprompted, this would not be a mistake.
This would be a wide-eyed descent into Maura’s sheets.
Jane stood there, just outside the door in the courtyard, hands crossed in front of her khakis and awaiting Maura’s candor from before. “We uh, we doin’ this?” she said, breezy and full of Boston.
“Yes,” replied Maura, stepping close. She rubbed her hands over the scratchy sides of that Evidence Management polo shirt, and immediately scrunched her nose despite her nerves. “We have to in order to get you out of these.”
Jane looked down at her outfit and swallowed thickly. “Maura,” she croaked, her voice breaking as Maura touched her.
Maura raised a brow in question, and Jane answered it by kissing her. Maura crumbled into that hard body, made both wet and weak by the premonition, and Jane’s tongue against the back of her front teeth drew from her a whimper so desperate it surprised even her. “Oh,” it rounded into a word when Jane broke them apart, just far enough to still share hurried breaths.
“We’re fucked,” Jane whined, eyes screwed shut with the admission.
Maura nuzzled her nose against Jane’s just before she said, “then let’s at least have some fun with it.”
Chapter 34: kissing to prove there’s no chemistry, even though it’s a lie, the kiss proving it - Trigonometry Universe
A reworking of Trigonometry chapter 5.
“You’re very sweet,” Maura said to Jane just as Tommy left, her hand trailing southward from Jane’s chin, ending reverently against the skin over Jane’s heart. “Even though you give each other a hard time, it’s obvious that you love him very much.”
Jane blushed. “Yeah well. I gotta do everything I can to make sure he stays on the straight and narrow. If that means pipin’ a few houses or fixin’ a few sinks, I will. The more he can spread his name around as a reliable plumber, the less I eventually have to worry about him.”
“He looks up to you. It’s clear that he appreciates you, what you do for him,” Maura said, and then she was walking toward the kitchen.
Jane followed, putting a tox file on the island counter. “Yeah well, he needs to appreciate you. What the hell was that? Leavin’ your warm bed for what - his crappy Southie apartment?” Maura raised an eyebrow. It showed confusion, but was also an invitation to explain. “How does he not know that you like to spend time? To talk, to snuggle, all that?”
Maura’s features were soft for Jane again, and she moved closer. “And I suppose you know all that because you know all there is to know about me,” she said admonishingly, but she liked that idea. The idea of Jane knowing her. Jane was on a roll, gesticulating, and Maura tracked each movement with longing.
“No, I don’t. But I know enough to know that I never wanna stop learning about you. You’re just my friend, and I wanna spend as much time knowing you as I possibly can. And that’s what you deserve in a man.”
Maura laughed. “Why? When I have that in you? I like those things from you. I don’t need them from Tommy. We keep trying to tell you that we’re just having fun.”
Jane pushed a palm flat against the counter and put her other thumb through the front of her belt. She and Maura were inches apart. Maura looked up in challenge, even if her bare feet made her almost six inches shorter than Jane in boots. “I don’t think you can sleep with someone and just have fun. I don’t think it can just stay fun.”
“Want me to prove it to you?” Maura countered, craning her neck for Jane to breathe in the sweet combination of perfume and sweat there.
“Prove what?” Jane lowered her gaze enough to fall right into the opening of Maura’s robe.
Maura took advantage and stood on her tiptoes, smirking when her breasts bounced just once in the reflection of those brown irises. She dragged her teeth against Jane’s chin, before pressing her lips on it. “That we can initiate something physical and it mean absolutely nothing. There’s not anything between us, right?”
“Right,” Jane whispered. “Yeah.”
“Then let me,” said Maura. Her hands moved to Jane’s arms, and she squeezed. “Let me show you.”
Jane nodded, unable to initiate, and unable to pull away. But, when Maura leaned in, kissed her softly, she found her gumption. It thundered right to her fingertips, which shot from the counter to Maura’s ass. She gripped until she held Maura above the kitchen tile.
Maura wrapped arms and legs around Jane while they made out, trying to lean her way onto the countertop so that Jane would deposit her there. Suddenly, the thought of kissing anyone but Jane stirred bile in her belly, and that was something physical that meant absolutely everything, right?
Jane pulled away once her lungs screamed for air, sensing the shift in Maura’s thinking through the shift in the way that Maura nipped at her tongue. “Nuh uh. Nothin’ between us, my ass,” she growled, heaving her shoulders once to make sure Maura was safe and secure. “I’m takin’ you upstairs.”
Maura yelped, hoping that Jane would capitalize on how wet all this nothing made her.
Chapter 35: placing hands under the other’s shirt, making them gasp at their cold hands - NNF Universe
Jane arrives home late, well past 1AM on a blustery, snowy January evening, significantly richer than she had left. She shrugs the duffel higher onto her shoulder as she unlocks her front door, which takes several tries because she’s bouncing from foot to foot to banish the cold, just until she can get her fucking key turned. Her fingers, entirely because of her stubborn decision to forego gloves on the walk from the Range Rover to the house, shake in rebellion, so it takes a while. But finally, finally, she gets in.
She wants to whoop in victory, but she remembers that her wife and children sleep upstairs, and she has the business of hiding this payment to get to. At least, that is, until she can send it to Frost. She bounds up the stairs to Maura’s study, pushes aside one of the bookshelves made to look like a built-in, and removes a slat in the wall where she stuffs the bag.
The heated air up here feels heavenly against her frozen, aching limbs, and she puts everything back in its place so she can sneak across the hall to her bedroom. The hall lamp is on, and when she opens the door, it floods a thin strip of the entire left side of the bedroom with lowlight.
Maura stirs, turns on her side toward the light because even in her sleep, she knows that it’s Jane who has disturbed her slumber. “Delgado paid, I’m assuming,” she grumbles, very un-Maura like, as she cuddles a pillow from Jane’s side.
Jane begins the ordeal of peeling off all of her layers. “Sure did,” she said. “180K in full. I’m gonna sleep there in a minute, ya know.”
Maura shrugs with her eyes closed and Jane’s heart does a little tarantella. Just a beat or two, though, because then she’s in nothing but her boxer briefs and shit, it’s cold again. “I’m warming it up for you,” Maura says.
Jane dives under the covers, shoves her hands onto the silky smooth, positively infernal skin of Maura’s belly under her nightgown. “I’d rather you warm me up,” she whines.
“Jane!” Maura shrieks, high pitched and distraught. When she tries to pull away, Jane wraps those arms around her and pulls her close so that she can feel her frigid nose, too, just before they kiss.
“No, no. This is marriage, kid. The good, the bad, and the fuckin’ freezin’. I just made you a fortune; lemme defrost,” Jane argues, laughing while Maura struggles until she starts to laugh, too. If the noise wakes the children, neither of them notice. Neither of them care.
Chapter 36: Almost Kissing before Turning Away from Each Other
This is mostly canon compliant and not in a previously established fic universe.
Jane slurps tepid instant coffee at Maura’s counter, slumping over two plain white mugs and trying to keep her face from falling into them. She’s the type of tired that has hurled her from disinhibited to clumsy. She has all these desires - to drink hot coffee, to get started on some pancakes, to run upstairs and change out of her mother’s gaudy pink-and-white striped pajamas. She even has the reduced impulse control for a little whisky in that coffee, for extra syrup on those pancakes.
The problem is the moving. The brew in her cup would have properly steamed if she hadn’t spent two extra minutes at the microwave staring dazedly into the distance. She’d be dressed for work if her brain and her feet didn’t seem to be speaking two different languages. In fact, she’s so tired, she isn’t even sure her brain is on. So, she continues the only motor plan that appears to be working: lift forearm, open lips, pour, swallow, repeat.
Quite unexpectedly, however (that is, if her mind had the capacity for expectations, which it does not), a new pattern downloads when Maura comes down the stairs in a silk nightgown, floral and billowy and soft and short. Like if it were three inches shorter, Jane would see… lift eyebrows, open lips, stare, swallow, swallow, repeat.
“Is one of those for me?” Maura asks tiredly, her hand on her hip, her hair bouncing as she walks toward Jane. She doesn’t wait for a reply before reaching for the second mug on the island.
Jane, like a computer booting up, quickly finds the power to stand up straight. She yanks the coffee back towards her so violently that some of it sloshes on the granite. Maura startles, looks at Jane’s ever-expressive face for an answer. “Don’t drink that,” Jane says, raspy and authoritative. Maura opens her lips, too, but Jane speaks before anything else comes out. “Tastes like shit.”
“OK… why are there two-” Maura begins, perfect brows quirked in a perfect question, perfect breasts on perfect, tasteful display.
It’s really only the second one that Jane notices. The caffeine appears to be working because now she’s stalking the three feet to Maura and her impulse is driving her, it no longer shackled by exhaustion, at least for now. “I’ll get you some Boston Joe’s after we…” Jane trails off when their fronts touch and their foreheads press together. Well, she has done most of the pressing, while Maura is just looking up for what the hell is going on. Jane watches Maura realize when Maura’s gaze reaches Jane’s - all black. She watches Maura consent with a lick of her lips, with a tiny thrust of her hips when Jane fingers the hem of that sinfully short nightgown.
“After we what?” asks Maura, full of questions this morning, this one the most rhetorical. Her hands go to Jane’s broad chest, five fingertips on each collar bone. Jane ignores in favor of winding her index finger in the fabric, and looking down so she can watch herself tug it up, up, up… “don’t,” Maura warns, migrating one hand to wrap around Jane’s, to hold it in place. “Unless you’re ok with the point of no return. I’m not wearing-”
“Underwear?” Jane groans quietly, almost like a whisper. “Course not. You never are. Fuck, were you wearing this last night? Where was I last night?”
Maura chuckles warmly, lets the hand go. She takes a sharp breath when that hand continues its ascent and they both look down to what Jane has exposed. “The baby,” Maura murmurs, because Jane is distracted by the view, and yes, she knows the view is great - she has an immaculate grooming routine after all - but their lips are close enough to almost touch. She wants them to actually touch. Even if Jane tastes like instant coffee. “You were taking care of the baby. I’ll forgive you for being a little distracted, so was I. Jane? Kiss-”
“I think I wanna make one right now,” Jane interrupts and ignores yet again. Although, Maura must concede for a second time, there is the view. The view that has probably made that confession come out of Jane’s mouth. The view and the disinhibition. Maura feels the disinhibition, too, because for a split second, her body tells her to let her. Let Jane do it. And poof, if Jane could do it and the lack of control ruled the day as it seems to be doing, Maura’d be pregnant.
The rest of the living room is quiet when she laces fingers with Jane’s - it causes Jane to unwind from the silk and the hem to drop back into place. All the better, though, because her next action will be sexier with a little bit of privacy. She slides their tangled hands right between her legs, ready to guide Jane inside just behind the curtain of her garment, with only one prerequisite. “Kiss first,” she says into Jane’s parted mouth.
Jane is about to oblige, about to seal their union both above and below with the most exciting motor plan of the day, when the back door swings open.
“How do people have more than one of these?!” Tommy, her brother and the father of the baby she just spent all night caring for, whispers harshly when he brings the baby into the room in a carseat. He is oblivious to Jane and Maura’s closeness.
Which plays in Jane’s favor, because she has suddenly lost all strength again, no longer privy to bursts of energy and initiative. She merely drops her hands to her sides and sighs, the kiss left for another time.
Maura shakes her head, giving Jane that pursed-lips sort of smirk just before she pulls away to fuss over Tommy Jr. But, not before she tugs on the bottom of Jane’s sleepshirt - a message that says we’re not finished yet.
Chapter 37: Kiss on the Neck/Kiss on the Back - BLS Universe
This takes place directly after the end of the Best Laid Schemes chapter 15.
Maura, straddling Jane’s back when the entire city around them slept, catalogued all the scars, freckles, and lines of bone with her fingers. She did it only by the light of the moon pouring through her bedroom window, delighting in the newness of Jane’s nakedness and its proximity to hers.
The relationship between their bodies changed, and Alice had changed it.
Jane slumbered below her, exhausted by the climax of their confrontation with Alice not two hours prior, and then by her confession of love, and then by their lovemaking. Maura felt exhausted,too, but also so exhilarated by everything that she was unable to sleep. So, she arched her back so that she could bend down low, and kiss Jane’s neck, right where she had rubbed her to sleep, at the junction of spine and shoulder. Jane sighed contentedly without waking, and Maura surmised that she might actually be unconscious for hours, maybe days, given how little she’d rested since Alice had targeted them.
That allowed Maura to be free with her affection. She kissed each vertebral notch in succession as she moved downard, dragging her hands in time with her body’s descent.
“I been talkin’ to the FBI,” Jane growled into the air.
It startled Maura into stopping, lips full and puckered in the middle of Jane’s back. “What?”
“About joining the Boston field office,” said Jane. Her voice rumbled into the dead air of Maura’s room. Then, she turned her head so she could at least try and see Maura. “Come up here so I can tell you all about how I’m changing jobs for you,” she continued, her smile open and teasing.
Maura heeded the demand.
Chapter 38: Kiss on the Neck/Kiss on the Back - NNF Universe
“You got a second?” Jane asks when she enters their bedroom after midnight, still in one of her nicer Armani suits, black and tailored to accentuate her long, dangerous legs. She’s talking to Maura, who stands in front of the mirror in a dress that complements her: Armani, black, three-quarter sleeved with a keyhole at her chest.
Maura admires both herself and Jane in the reflection, dragging her palms down her hips to the front of her dress. “For you? I have several,” she teases softly. She cocks her head to study the shoes she’d chosen to go with the ensemble, strappy four inch heels that do wonders for her calves.
Jane steps forward, places her hands on Maura’s shoulders, still taller in her own boots by an inch or so. She leans in to smell the coconut in Maura’s designer shampoo. “I have to go,” she says, whispers, really, like she regrets having to push it out of her mouth.
Maura scrunches her face. “Now?”
“No,” Jane assures her, moving her hands until she presses her thumbs into the knot always in Maura’s neck. Maura groans, and rolls her head back. “Probably tomorrow night. I have to go to Italy.”
Maura’s head snaps back and her eyes blow open. She stares at Jane in the mirror, who stares back. “Italia? Picchì? Sicilia?”
“Mmm,” Jane confirms, with a distinctly Italian grunt. “A meeting. With Mariu. A retreat, really. He wants me to bring him information on how things have been going here, regarding the businesses in which he has a vested interest. It’ll be a couple weeks.”
Maura loves when Jane speaks in the circumlocutions that their profession requires. She loves the discretion tumbling out into the air and then onto her skin, like Jane wrapping her in a layer of protection with nothing but language.
But, the semantics bely the pragmatics of it. The pragmatics are soft, a comfort like they always have been, Jane talking like a politician when she is actually a made man. The semantics, however, are frightening because Jane is now the made man in their city. The boss. And her being gone means… “You need me.”
“I need you,” Jane croaks, “To be in charge while I’m gone.”
Maura blanches because she is nervous, and then she sweats because she is excited. She doesn’t show it when she finds Jane’s eyes again. Jane gives a pointed stare before she presses her lips to the baby-soft hairs on Maura’s neck. Then, Jane tugs on the zipper of her dress, and kisses as she follows its descent, leaving puckers of moisture all along Maura’s spine, until it is exposed to the light and she is on her knees in front of it, hands on the rounds of Maura’s backside as she licks the dip on the small of her back. “Yes, my love,” Maura croaks back, because of the affection she receives and the power she receives along with it.
Jane is on her knees, supplicating with her tongue, and Maura stands tall. “I’ll brief ya in the mornin’,” Jane grumbles against pale skin.
Maura feels the words more than she hears them. When Jane’s hands come around to rest on her hips, then her thighs, she rubs the tops of them, loving the hard bone of knuckle against the soft muscle of her palm. “Hmm,” she agrees. “Tonight, we have business to attend to.”
Chapter 39: "I Almost Lost You" Kiss - CMWHS Universe
Maura pushes through the throngs of people gathered around the commotion outside one of the bars on Landsdowne Street in the softening sun of a summer evening, just a block from where they had been called in for a body.
Jane had been inappropriately happy. If we wrap this up quick, we can be done by the third inning and stay for the rest of the game, she had said when Maura found her outside and told her. She was patching part of the roof of the guesthouse as a Saturday project and she’d gotten the call seconds after, taking her phone from the clip on her hip, smiling even wider when dispatch relayed the message.
All of that made Maura inappropriately happy, as well. Baseball doesn’t titilate her like it does Jane, but the child-like enjoyment with which Jane watches the game satisfies something deep within Maura’s soul. They went, and she had just finished processing the body when Jane had spotted a suspicious person lurking around the scene and nodded to Frankie.
They had chased her together, and Jane just happened, apparently, to be the one on the left when she turned and waved a knife indiscriminantly, with intent to injure.
So, as Korsak said, still on the call with Frankie when he turned to Maura, Jane had taken one right to the side. Maura had dropped everything and started running.
Fuck, Maura thinks as more onlookers spawn with every inch of progress she makes. “Jane! Frankie!” she shouts, hoping that they will both emerge unharmed and that it is just a case of mistaken identity meant to give her heartburn.
“Maura!” Frankie does call back, and he immediately clears some of the crowd with his booming voice. “Step back! Let the doctor in!”
Luckily, medics had been nearby, as they always are for MLB games, and uniforms are taking the suspect away in handcuffs when Maura finally spots Jane in a gurney. The knife is sticking out of her, in a less dangerous place than Maura had imagined only seconds prior to now. Not mistaken identity, but better than the worst case scenario.
Still, Maura surges forward and throws herself around Jane, kissing her, pulling at Jane’s lips with her lips and trying to suck all the flavor of Jane into herself that she can. She cries without sound when Jane kisses back, weakly but with tongue to tell Maura that she’s alright and she’s into it. Finally, they break, and Maura drops her head to Jane’s shoulder. “You kept it in,” she breathes in relief.
Jane looks down to the blade in her side. “Agh. Yeah. Don’t say I never listened to ya,” she pants, clearly in pain. “Hey, baby?”
“Yeah?” Maura responds, still not ready to look Jane in the face, so she closes her eyes when she kisses her again.
“Are you mad?” Jane winces.
“No,” Maura answers honestly. “You took Frankie. But I am scared. That looks like it hurts.”
“It hurts like a bitch,” says Jane, and they both chuckle. Then Jane groans. “Don’t make me laugh. I’m ok. I think I’m gonna be ok.”
Maura shudders and then finally opens her eyes to find Jane’s. “You’re going to be ok,” she says to convince the both of them. She’s grateful for the EMTs that are giving them this moment undisturbed. “I’ll ride with you to make sure.”
Jane tossed a glance in the EMTs’ direction. “They gonna let you?”
“I’m the Chief Medical Examiner,” Maura huffed. “They will if they want to keep their jobs.”
Jane smirked as she pushed herself up higher on the bed with her knuckles. “Ok. Maura?”
“Yes,” Maura answers again, nodding for the professionals to come in and begin moving Jane.
“Pull the game up on my phone? I’m sad I’m gonna miss it.”
Maura laughs, throaty and wet with tears when she climbs up into the waiting ambulance with Jane. “Of course,” she says.
Chapter 40: Angry Kiss - NNF Universe
“You did what?!” Maura shouts in the middle of stirring a giant pot of red sauce. She turns so quickly that the wooden spoon clatters to the spoonrest on the stove and splatters droplets on Jane’s face.
Jane flinches, then darts her tongue out to taste. Clearly, Maura is madder than she thought she would be, but damn the sauce is tasty. She wonders if she’ll be allowed to have any, or if her dinner will be cold cereal. Or even worse, if she’ll have to drive out to her mother’s to eat. “I sold the Nantucket house?” she says like a question this time.
“And, why, pray tell, would you do that, especially without consulting me first?!” Maura asks through gritted teeth, pulling the towel off of her shoulder and rubbing it with violence over Jane’s face, until she’s satisifed that it’s clean.
Jane spits out towel fibers and sniffs loudly. “We haven’t been there in years! We were payin’ more to the management place than we were gettin’ in rent!”
“You know I loved that property,” Maura points a finger right into Jane’s shoulder. Jane took it dutifully. “You know my parents loved that property,” she is back to deadly quiet, because the children are just in the other room watching Netflix.
“Would you rather me have sold the P-Town house? Huh? You’re always sayin’ it’s your one week a year to feel gay!” Jane shoots back, her whisper loud enough to be comical.
Maura flushes. “It is! The other fifty-one we practically live in 1923! Everything’s omertà and murder! Which believe me, I enjoy as much as the next person. But Nantucket-”
Jane interrupts her to make a tangential point. “We’re gay married, Maura. You should feel gay all the weeks in the year! You should feel gay everytime we have sex! Which, by the way, is a lot-”
Maura interrupts right back because she can never leave a slight unreturned. “Ugh. I loved that house, and you knew I loved that house, and you sold it anyway!” she shouts, now back to regular shouting volume.
“T’s goin’ off to college, to Harvard of all places, and we need liquid capital, Maura!” Jane argues back, her nose brushing Maura’s. “I kept the place we go more often - the tuition isn’t just gonna pay for itself!”
“No it’s not, but of course it couldn’t come from the Fenway condo!” Maura bites, and it leaves a mark with the way Jane stares at her. “No, because that’s your favorite propert-”
Jane envelops her like a shadow, taller, raining down on and around her. Suddenly, Maura is engulfed, and Jane’s hands latch painfully onto her shoulders, her back, while Jane’s lips latch onto hers. Just to make sure she doesn’t lose the upper hand, Maura kisses back, adding teeth and dragging them across Jane’s lower lip, pulling it toward her. That sends Jane’s fingers to Maura’s ass, gripping it, lifting it until Maura sits on the kitchen table and opens her legs for Jane to stand between. They kiss like they hate one another, seeking to fuse into one just so they don’t have to look at each other anymore.
Maura’s off-the-shoulder sweater flies over her head to some corner behind them and that’s when she regains a modicum of awareness. “Stop, stop,” she demands. “Dinner. And the kids are watching tv.”
Jane yanks Maura up until there are legs around her waist and she is carrying her toward the stairs. “So? I’ll turn off the stove. And we’ll take this to the room. We need to hash this out like adults.”
Maura knows exactly what Jane means and she pulls her into another bruising kiss, a prelude to the wrestling match they are about to have between their sheets.
The conversation is far from over.
Chapter 41: Jealous Kiss - NNF Universe
This takes place in the past in the NNF Universe.
Maura, a month from marrying Jane, is attending her first Rizzoli Christmas party at Angela’s home just outside the city. The house is quaint and quiet, a lot like the one she grew up in, but it smells like tomato sauce and good company when she walks up to the porch with Jane’s hand in hers. The lights catch the snow in Jane’s dark hair, and Maura takes some solace in that.
Jane leans in, a good four inches taller when they’re both wearing flat shoes, and kisses the side of Maura’s head. “They don’t bite,” she says. “Well, most of ‘em don’t. Carlo barks, but his ma is the one you have to look out for. She’s a real piece of-”
“Janie!” Frankie greets her when he opens the door with his arms wide open and a beer in his right hand. “You made it! And you brought ya better half,” he says when he sees Maura. He pushes the screen door out of the way and Maura breaks her hold on Jane to hug him.
Jane narrows her gaze at him. “You bring your worse half?”
Frankie has one arm wrapped around Maura when he kisses the side of her head, but then he rolls his eyes. “Be nice,” he tells his sister. “And no, Theresa’s at her mother’s.”
“Good,” says Jane, “now let me in. It’s freezin’ out here.”
“Yeah,” Frankie tells her as he lets Maura go. “Do me a favor, huh? Me ‘n’ Alex are deep into a discussion about that time you kicked through a window at St. Joseph’s. She’s comin’ to your defense, of course,” he pauses to bat his eyes, which Maura catches. When he picks up again, she glares at Jane. “But I’m gonna need you to set the record straight.”
“If she’s on my side, why would I do that?” Jane muses through a smirk, taking Maura’s coat from her shoulders and then placing it next to hers on the coat rack right by the door. “She come alone?”
Frankie locks the front door and takes a sip of his beer. “Yeah,” he answers. “Johnny Valle’s a real asshole. Luckily she dumped him.”
“A Christmas miracle,” Jane jokes. “She’s way too good for his ass anyway.”
Maura watches their exchange with distaste and with interest. She fiddles with the Chanel earring on her left ear, then rubs her hands together for some warmth, her engagement ring knicking her skin as she does so, and then she forces a smile. “Who are we talking about?”
The siblings are roused as if they were miles away. “Uh, Alessandra, one of our childhood friends,” Jane answers. “I’d try to describe her, but I bet she’s in the kitchen. You could just meet her. C’mon.”
“You’ll love her, Maura,” says Frankie, in that way that people do without possibly being able to tell for sure. “She’s somethin’ else.”
Maura’s annoyance rises, and she very much doubts she’ll like anything about this woman. It’s confirmed when they enter the kitchen and she sees Alex for the first time, with her long, beautiful brown hair, her beautiful hourglass figure in a beautiful dress, and her beautiful smile that ascends into something celestial when it encounters Jane.
“Jane Rizzoli, as I live and breathe,” says Alex. There is definite sensuality in the way she opens her arms, like she longs to open other parts of her to Jane.
And Jane opens her arms, too, wide, until she catches a glimpse of Maura’s rapidly glowering features, and then she lowers them a bit. “Hey, Alex,” Jane replies, and the hug she gives is perfunctory, quick and with a lot of back-patting. “What’s it been? A whole year?”
“Graduate school in New York may not have been my best choice, I admit,” says Alex, with a inquisitive eyebrow reaching for her hairline. “Especially since it keeps me from you guys most of the year. Who is this?” she asks, turning to Maura.
Maura makes sure to snatch Jane’s hand back as soon as it’s available. “This is uh, Maura. Maura Doyle. My fiancée,” Jane answers with no small amount of pride.
“Nice to meet you,” Maura says, and she doesn’t hold out her hand. When Alex’s face falls from desire to what looks like despondence, Maura almost feels bad for what she does next. She tugs on Jane until Jane turns to face her, and then she steps into Jane’s space. With her free hand, she pulls Jane close by the back of her head, and kisses her until she moans into Maura’s mouth. The kiss is supple, lips and tongue only, and Jane immediately reciprocates despite tongue being entirely inappropriate for the moment, the audience. When Maura feels Jane’s hand gripping her hip, threatening to move lower, she knows she’s made her statement. “I’m going to go find your mother, alright? Find me if you need me.”
Jane stands there, dumbfounded, rooted to her spot, watching Maura retreat under the fluorescents of the dated kitchen. “O-ok,” she stutters. “Actually, Maura-” she interrupts herself, turning to Alex. “Gimme a minute? Or two.”
Alex nods, but Jane doesn’t see it when she trots after Maura, following wherever she might lead.
Chapter 42: "We Can Never Be Together" Kiss - Primogeniture Universe
Jane grips the armrests of the chair in her and Maura’s bedroom, catching a guttural moan, keeping it in her throat as best she can. It is late - well, late in parenting time - ten pm, and her work slacks are around her ankles. Maura’s head is between her legs, licking right through the wettest parts of her. Jane, with power she cannot determine the source of, forces herself to look down, and she is rewarded with the image of Maura on her knees. The image of the crown of Maura’s head bobbing while she works. “Fuck…” Jane whispers quietly, because all of it looks like art and feels like magic. It has been so long and…
“Mommy!” comes the cry from down the hall, no doubt Chiarina rousing herself from a nightmare. She’s been battling them for weeks now, and Maura says it’s because of her growth spurt and her developing brain.
Jane jerks up and Maura jumps away from her. Rina’s door is ten feet from their own; they have literal seconds. Maura is clothed, and so all she does is heave a shuddering, frustrated sigh and wipe her mouth with the back of her hand. Jane, however, must rise and yank up her pants. She does so with a little dance as the buckle jingles a tune in her hurry, and she zips up her fly just as their distraught daughter bursts into the room.
“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” asks Maura, with a tinge of disappointment too nuanced for a child to catch.
“Shh shh shh, c’mere,” Jane whisper chuckles three days later, in the register that always drives Maura hot. Maura is trying to wriggle away from her now, but she is also laughing and looking back like she wants to be caught. Jane finally traps her after they take a turn around the rug in the middle of the bedroom, pulling her in by the wrist. Their bodies draw close, with Jane wrapping arms around Maura’s smaller frame. “If we’re quiet and quick, I can make ya cry,” says Jane, smiling into the kiss Maura gives her on their way to the floor. The soft thud of Maura’s head hitting the rug sends pleasure bolts right to Jane’s hips, and they thrust forward of their own accord.
“We have to finish yard work,” Maura faux protests, even as she begins to writhe against Jane, who landed very fortuitously on top of her. “I came up here to use the restroom and you pounced on me like a lion.”
“You been livin’ in this house the past month? I have to take my chances where I can get ‘em,” Jane argues. “A napping toddler and some discretion means we can play. Don’t you wanna play? Don’t you want me to touch on that pretty pussy? I haven’t-”
Maura unzips her own housework shorts and shoves them hastily away, interrupting Jane in the process. “I want you to touch it,” she begs over the rest of Jane’s monologue, “I need you to touch it.”
Jane obliges by sticking two of her own fingers in her mouth and sucking on them once or twice, until they feel wet enough to her, and then swiping them through Maura’s already wet-enough sex. “Oh, baby,” whines Jane when she presses up and Maura takes her in with gusto, squeezing around Jane to show her how appreciative she is.
Just when Maura spreads her knees, however, they both hear the patter of feet on the stairs, followed by the shattering of glass and a surprised shriek. “Are you fucking kidding me,” Jane says, unlike a question because she already knows the answer. She is not being kidded.
Maura is up before her, and pulling herself into some semblance of decency before she runs out to make sure Rina is not bleeding out somewhere downstairs.
It is Sunday morning and they are up early, a whole hour earlier than three-and-a-half year old Chiarina usually rises. Maura looks up at herself in the mirror just after she spits excess toothpaste into the sink. Then, she splashes some water on her face, wondering where Jane has gone, if she is already downstairs making coffee, or if she decided to go back to sleep when Maura got up to pee.
She gets her answer when she pats her eyes dry, and it comes in the form of something hard, at attention and poking into her backside. Then there is the sensation of Jane’s arms snaking around her middle. She gasps when she reaches behind her, rewarded with a handful of what is about to be inside her through the material of Jane’s pajama pants. She turns instantly in Jane’s embrace, and they kiss so passionately, so wetly, with so many whimpers and moans they might as well be naked.
When she grabs fistfuls of Jane’s oversized sleep t-shirt, Maura is painfully reminded that they are not. “Why did you come in here, with that on, wearing clothes?” She whines.
Jane lifts her to sit up on the counter of the double vanity. “‘Cause,” she starts around a smattering of short kisses to interrupt the breath-stealing, tongues-down-throats variety they had just begun, “what if I suit up in the bed and hop right on out, only to have a kid starin’ right at me? It’s happened before, just not with this thing on. I’d like to keep it that way.”
Maura pulls the black tee over Jane’s head, groaning when she then palms a newly-uncovered breast in each hand. Nipples contract, harden, and she’s reminded of what waits for her. She starts to kick at the waistband of Jane’s pajama pants, to no avail.
Jane does it, pulling them down just enough to expose the toy strapped to her hips, and while she does, Maura tugs on the sash of her robe until the knot unravels. The sides flutter open, just like her legs, and then Jane is in.
Choirs sing, angels fly overhead, the sky opens up to bathe her in ecstasy like sunlight - Jane is in, and fucking. Fucking quickly. “Oh my god,” says Maura, hands stuck to Jane’s broad, strong shoulder blades in prayer that as they bounce, there will be nothing to interrupt them.
The toy that Jane has chosen must be the one that fits inside her, too, because she latches onto Maura’s chin with her teeth in an attempt to stifle her moans while they move together. “It’s a fuckin’ miracle,” Jane curses between panting, when she can summon enough breath to talk, only just barely.
Maura is not so judicious with her sounds of pleasure, however. She cannot respond because she is too busy crying out in their en suite. The feminine echoes against its walls combine with slick, soaking symphony her body plays for Jane, and the concert sounds like heaven to their ears. She begins to lose herself, to lean back and accept Jane’s onslaught because Jane clearly knows exactly what to do, when she thinks she hears it.
She shakes her head, deciding that she is both paranoid and conditioned to expect disaster when she and Jane make love lately. Or rather, attempt to make love. She chalks it up to imagination until she hears it again: the faint creaking of door hinges. She is loath to stop Jane’s pump, because christ is it a good one, but then they both pause.
A sleepy voice, clearly concerned, and far off. Like in the doorway of their bedroom. “Mommy, are you ok? Mommy?”
Maura’s pupils focus, and when she can see again, she is looking at Jane, who is looking at her with pursed lips. There is a moment of serenity, just before Maura’s visage cracks and she knocks her head back hard enough against the mirror to hurt. She doesn’t care. “We can never be together,” she cries, putting her hand over her eyes so that the tears don’t fall.
Jane’s lips, as if to agree, touch hers softly, with contrition and with a very acute sense of loss, just before she pulls out. She takes her pants from around her thighs back up to her waist. She shrugs her shirt on and folds Maura’s robe around her middle. “Check on her? I’ll uh,” she pauses and gestures to the protrusion at her hips, “take care of this.”
Maura looks, and to her it represents all that she cannot have. “Fine,” she says petulantly. “But she is spending the night at your mother’s. And if she asks for pancakes, I’m giving her oatmeal.”
Jane barks a laugh loud enough to send their daughter running in its direction. “Shit,” she says, moving out of the way of Maura’s open hand on the back of her head just in time. “I’m sorry, I am. And you know I’m just as frustrated. But she’s just a kid, babe. Who has no idea she’s the reason her parents haven’t fucked in weeks.”
Maura knows Jane’s right, but she still turns up her nose when she walks out. Everyone will be having oatmeal this morning, if she has anything to say about it.
Chapter 43: Jealous Kiss - BKS Universe
This takes place within the context of BKS chapter 27.
Maura trotted down the stairs about twenty minutes after Jane, and to her surprise, Rafael Martinez already sat at one of the stools of her island. She paused at the bottom of the stairs, affording herself the opportunity to watch him without being watched.
He rubbed a hand over his rough beard, less trimmed now that it was past eleven pm. His hands turned his cell phone on the counter over and over again, strong fingers manipulating glass and plastic in what must have been a calming, regulating rhythm. He was dressed a lot like Jane: blue BPD t-shirt, gray sweatpants.
He watched Jane now, standing tall at the coffee pot, pulling three mugs down and waiting for the drip to finish. He watched her roll her shoulders to get the soreness out of them, he watched her run a hand through her unruly black hair, he watched her tap fingertips on the granite as she contemplated what type of creamer to give him.
Maura had to give him credit: not once did his gaze travel to the tight little curve of Jane’s ass, or settle at her trim waist. No, his eyes stayed where her soul was: her trunk, her arms, her head. And when Maura saw that, she knew what she had to do, because she knew that in some way, whether he realized it or not, Rafael Martinez was still in love with Jane Rizzoli.
That just wouldn’t do, because she was in love with Jane Rizzoli. And she needed him to know. She needed him to know that she was irrevocably, irrationally, deeply, possessively in love with Jane. So, she rounded the corner into the main hall, and then padded into the kitchen. Her hair was braided and her purple silk pajamas appeared unassuming enough, and she waved to him. “Good evening, Rafael,” she said on her way to Jane, who gave her one smile and then returned her focus to the task at hand. “I want to thank you for doing this. I know you don’t have to.”
Rafael monitored each of her movements and smiled, too. Like Jane. “Not a problem, Dr. Isles,” he said, much more interested in the hand Maura rubbed between Jane’s shoulders than their pleasantries.
Maura heated up under the gaze, and she showed him that she owned Jane when just a few light scratches at the nape of Jane’s neck made her turn from the coffee again. “Hey,” Jane muttered, still a little flushed from their activities not an hour before.
Maura dragged that hand down to the middle of Jane’s chest, stepped up on her tiptoes, and delivered the most supple of kisses. Jane’s arm wrapped around her instantly, pulling her close. Jane’s tongue unrolled heavily against her lips and she granted it access. They kissed for several moments, all under intense scrutiny from Rafael, until Maura pulled away softly. “And thank you,” Maura said once Jane looked at her, “for arranging this.”
Chapter 44: "I Almost Lost You" Kiss
The hospital smells like antiseptic and sadness. Maura isn’t sure how she knows what sadness smells like, or if she could explain it when asked. It’s not measurable, not empirical, the stench of depression that overwhelms any hospital hallway, but she has completed enough rotations to know it as soon as it invades her nostrils.
She, as of this moment, is too frayed to feel sadness. With Chiarina’s hand in hers, with Chiarina’s tiny feet toddling behind, trying desperately to keep up with Maura’s determined pace, Maura feels only the dual pangs of purpose and distress. They make their way from the reception desk of the ward, where Maura had barked a name and orders to the nurse, all the way down the hall to a double room with just a single occupant and a name on the placard next to the doorway: J. Rizzoli.
Maura immediately hates the exhilaration she feels, hating how her brain rewards her with accomplishment for completing the task. When she enters, however, it all melts away - the frustration, the anger, the worry.
When she looks to Angela and Frankie on the far side of the bed, in front of the window, checking their faces for loss and seeing none, she feels relief. She does not have the heart to look at Jane just yet, not until Chiarina slips from her distracted grasp.
“Mamma!” the girl shouts on her way to the hospital bed, bolting away from Maura and into Jane’s arms.
It is then, when Jane smiles tiredly at their baby, hiding a wince when Rina burrows into her tender side, that the sadness becomes Maura’s. When Jane, alive - battered, but alive - kisses Rina’s head, Maura locks eyes with her.
And suddenly, standing there isn’t enough. The fear that Jane might be dead, when faced with the fact that Jane is not dead, no longer shackles her feet to the floor. She hiccups, aware of the tears streaming down her cheeks for the first time, when she shuffles over to Jane. “I’m ok,” is the first thing that Jane says to her. “Got me pretty good right here, but I had my vest on. No internal bleed-”
Maura cuts Jane off with two hands on either side of her face, and a kiss. Maura shudders into it, careful of Chiarina, who wriggles between the bodies of her mothers, encasing her in warmth. “You’re ok,” Maura says when she pulls away, swiping her tongue where Jane’s had just been. She doesn’t know yet, but she doesn’t ask it like a question because she doesn’t want to hear no.
Jane wouldn’t give it to her anyway. “I’m ok,” she says. She closes her tired eyes when Maura runs her hand over the top of her head. “A little bruised, a broken rib, but I’m ok.”
Maura tells herself she will catalogue all the injuries later. When Jane can rest in their own home, in their own bed. For now, the only way the sadness ebbs is if her lips are on Jane’s. So, she kisses her again.
Chapter 45: Jealous Kiss - Pyrite Universe
Magic Kingdom vibrated with the chaos of fabricated happiness: the smells of sugar, fried food, and sweat from the throngs of people under the Florida summer sun created some weird spell on the people gathered around. Add in Disney characters pumped into the veins of all these kids from the time they could open their eyes and you got a bunch of adults convincing themselves they didn’t mind the crowds and the money they lost, all so that the children would have a good time. Make your day long enough, however, and even the children became blubbering, moody, sticky messes.
At least, that was how Jane saw things on day three of their five day family extravaganza to Disney World. She’d been once, when she was in high school, and it had been fun, if not a little boring. There weren’t nearly as many people then, or as many things to do. For example, there were not highly-coveted spots for daytime parades down main street - people may have caught a glimpse of some of the characters and dancers as they marched on to their next activity, but no one pushed or grabbed their way through other guests to make sure their baby had the best view of whatever-the-fuck monstrosity was wheeling its way throughout the park.
Like now. Maura and Angela had somehow commandered one of the best seats in the house so that Elena could see everything - no doubt because of some spatial geometry done on Maura’s part - but other people shoved around each other while a horse-drawn buggy pulled even more paying customers down the street. One of those people, a middle-aged woman in a hurry to catch up to her party, elbowed a young mom hard enough to knock her umbrella stroller off balance, all with a toddler in it. The older woman didn’t even look back though she must have known what she’d done, must have felt the force of the hit, must have heard the child’s shriek as the stroller wobbled.
“Christ,” Jane cursed, having had enough. She hopped over the VIP style rope sectioning off the front row guests, the area Maura had managed to score, and sprinted over to the mini-commotion within the larger constellation of mayhem. Her eyes stayed locked on that mother and her baby, because the horses were coming.
It only took her three or four steps, and just as she arrived, the stroller teetered too far to right itself again. Jane caught it, of course, and with her left hand pulled the woman out of the way, just as the buggy approached. Rough, but safe. Firm, but with care. “Sorry,” she said, quiet enough that only the woman heard her, “but the horses were comin’ up fast.”
The woman looked up, because Jane was a good five inches taller than her, shocked. But, when she saw Jane, all wild hair and aviator sunglasses, one of the few parents not dressed head to toe in some kind of Disney paraphernalia, she blushed. She was petite, with straight brown hair, green eyes, dressed in leggings and some kind of princess t-shirt like a white mom at a Disney park should be. Jane was satisfied with her good deed for the day, whether or not the woman responded, as it increasingly looked like she wouldn’t, and was about to walk away when the woman pulled at her wrist. “No wait! Thank you, so much, for what you just did,” she finally said, her voice moist and girly. She couldn’t have been older than 35. “It’s a madhouse out here.”
“Guess that’s what we get for comin’ in summer,” Jane said, stopping simply because she was stopped.
“I guess so,” the woman said. She pulled her daughter, light-haired and red-faced, out of the stroller so she could comfort her. “Are you here by yourself?” it was a bold question because of what it didn’t ask outright, because of what it insinuated. Because of how the woman looked right at the drawstring of Jane’s running shorts when she said it. Because of how, if any passerbys asked, she angled to get out of the sun, but really to get closer to Jane.
Jane smirked so that she didn’t chuckle. I still got it. “No. My wife, my mother, and my crazy nine year old are right over there. Tell you what, though. I bet there’s room by us if you wanna squeeze in. Maura scored a primo-”
“Vanessa!” a gangly, auburn-haired man in a Star Wars tee, waved his long arm in their direction. He wore a frown and some RayBans when he approached them. “Mom found us a place! Let’s go!”
His voice called for hurry, and also for Jane’s exit. Vanessa took one look at him and sighed, her eyes watering over when she looked at Jane again. “I should go. Enjoy the rest of your day,” said Jane gallantly. She nodded her head.
Vanessa let her hand trail away from Jane’s forearm slowly and mustered a fake, wide smile. “You too,” she said, and then kept that smile for her husband.
Jane jogged back over to Maura and Elena, who held Angela’s hand and chatted with her about her favorite ride of the day. Maura, however, stared daggers through Jane. “What?” Jane asked when she climbed over the rope. A few people grumbled at her. “What?! Huh? This is my family!” she said, and all the women who had been brave enough to complain looked away, not ready for the smoke. “You good?” Jane said, turning to Maura once she had intimidated half the cluster of people around them.
Maura turned her nose up. “I’m fine,” she said, her tone detached and airy, an old Isles vestige. She hadn’t expected that the motion would expose her neck, or rather, that Jane would take advantage of it and kiss away some of the sweat there.
It was quick, over in an instant, but when Jane pulled back, she saw Maura struggle with wanting to turn for more before turning away and taking out her phone. Jane frowned. “You sure?”
“Of course,” Maura said, scrolling. “Is that woman alright?”
“Think so,” Jane said, studying Maura, looking for clues that she did something wrong. On the other hand, it was hotter than hell and they had been walking since eight that morning. Elena had a sugar fit after the muffin Maura had allowed at breakfast, and the grumpiness had only burned off an hour ago, so all of that could be causing Maura’s disconnectedness now. Hell, Jane was ready to call off the rest of the day just to get a shower and some goddamn sleep. “Some asshole knocked her and her kid over. This place is a-”
“Shh,” Maura said harshly. She nodded in the direction of their daughter, with her grandmother and in a much happier mood. Frankie and Nina stood not too far away, Nina with the baby wrapped against her chest, so Jane decided yeah, she should probably tone it down and suck it up.
“I’ll be better once this damn parade is over,” Jane said with a genuine smile for her wife as she stood behind her to make more room. It wasn’t returned, but Maura did take Jane’s hand and place it on her belly, leaving there with express nonverbal instructions not to remove it.
Jane huffed, scanning the coming crowd, and stroked her thumb over t-shirt fabric dutifully.
It was true, what Jane had said: after the parade, moods had lifted, especially with the family ice cream break they’d taken right after. Maura had stayed pleasant, but curiously distant, though Jane assumed it was because the first half of the day had drained her.
They repeated the process for the fireworks show, but at least that was after dark, and they didn’t have the sun to contend with in addition to all the other people. All in all, however, the day had been about five hours longer than Jane would’ve liked, so when they returned the the resort, she escaped to the balcony of Frankie and Nina’s room and shared an unwinding beer with her brother. It had been short, a half hour or so, and the conversation wasn’t deep, but she felt relaxed when she ambled down the hall past her mother’s door to her family’s own.
The whoosh of conditioned air that hit her when she scanned her magic band and pushed the door open felt good against her clammy skin. She needed a shower and a good night’s sleep. When she checked her watch, it read 10:45 pm. She passed the small hall at the front of the suite and peeked into the main room, where the couch pulled out into a small bed, but Elena wasn’t in it. Not surprising, given that she spent the night before in Angela’s room, excited by the prospect of a sleepover with her Nanna and comforted by the door that joined the two rooms.
Jane said a silent prayer of thanks when she clicked off the lamp near the unfolded bed. A night without Elena meant a higher chance of quality sleep. So, now completely in the dark, she followed the ray of lowlight under the closed door of the suite’s main bedroom. Maura hadn’t fallen asleep; Jane only hoped that she was finished with the shower. “Babe?” she called when she swung the door open, but then she froze, the rest of the question caught in her throat.
Maura, indeed awake, reclined in the middle of the bed, completely naked and on top of the covers. She folded her arms behind her immaculately styled hair, somehow untouched from the mammoth day they had, and planted one foot on the comforter so that she could let her knee fall just to the side, exposing the paradise between her legs. She smiled when Jane whined. “Hi,” she said, as though she were fully clothed and talking about the weather. “How was your brother?”
“Don’t talk to me about Frankie,” Jane said, unable to tear her eyes away from the bare skin between Maura’s thighs. She hurried over to the bed and hustled Maura under the covers.
Maura laughed. “There’s a bag on the side of the bed. I packed two: the one that vib-”
Jane dove to that side and tried disrobing and unzipping. “Say no more,” she said, somehow getting naked and adjusting straps at the same time. She shuffled her way back to Maura until she could settle on top of her. “You pack this in your carry-on?”
Maura blushed. “Absolutely not,” she said. “Don’t talk to me about air travel.”
“Yes ma’am,” Jane assented, and then looked down until she could guide the toy already inside her to Maura’s entrance. She reached down, slipped in, and they both gasped. Jane slammed her palms onto the mattress on either side of Maura’s head to ground herself. “Fuck,” she groaned, because Maura was already wet enough for them to hit the ground running. She picked up the pace, driving her hips with control and speed, until Maura pressed on her chest.
“Slow,” Maura said, her whisper heady and full, “slow down. Go deeper instead.”
Jane knew she was being had. She knew that Maura asked for long, strong, and deep because that was the rhythm that drove Jane wild. That was the one that made her come fast. And when Maura paired hip movements of her own, undulating in a mirror of Jane, when she used all that yoga to squeeze on the toy inside of her so Jane had to push harder, so Jane got a stronger push back in her own body, Jane always came in record time. But, Jane obeyed anyway, even when she felt the first gulping waves of resistance from Maura. Even when it became clear that Maura wanted to own her.
Maura wanted to crack her open. Maura held onto her, wrapping her legs around Jane’s waist so that Jane would bottom out inside, wrapping her arms up under Jane’s so she could claw at Jane’s back. It all spelled out Jane’s weakness: I love you, I need you, I want you here. There’s no one else but the two of us. “Oh, god,” she moaned into Jane’s ear, over and over, higher and higher, because Jane wasn’t the only one who liked low, slow, and in love the best. No, their marriage worked because this type of sex suited them both. “Oh, Jane,” she said, distorted by the tongue she laved at the sensitive spot on Jane’s neck.
Jane made Maura come first, with a fingertip rubbing over her clit a few times, the shockwaves it created pushing up and into Jane until she unraveled entirely in Maura’s embrace. Maura pulled her in for a searing kiss that felt just as salacious as their union below. “Hnngh,” Jane groaned into it, pulling her tongue away only when she finally opened her eyes. “Shit.”
Maura hummed with the satisfaction buzzing throughout her body, and with appreciation for the boneless weight of Jane on top of her. “Did that feel good?” she asked, voice returning to its usual warmth, its usual affection for Jane. “To come inside me?”
Jane moaned again, because she was still sensitive and Maura thrusted up one time. She threaded her arms under Maura, between her back and the mattress, and hugged her tight. “‘S the best feeling there is,” she slurred as she nuzzled into Maura’s neck, “Especially after I almost never got to do it again. I think about it all the time.”
Maura bit her lip to tamp down on the happy squeal that threatened to escape when Jane held onto her. “Mmm,” she said, pleased, but measured. Content, but in control. “Were you thinking about me today?”
Jane nodded into Maura’s shoulder. “All day,” she admitted. She refrained from all day, every day. Needed to retain a little agency.
“And you weren’t thinking about the beautiful woman with the runaway stroller?” Maura asked, syrupy sweet. “What it would be like for her to hold you while you made her come? Like I hold you?”
Jane jerked her head up to object, but then she saw the dark anger in Maura’s eyes, the jealousy there, mixed with the predation that had sucked her orgasm out of her seconds ago. That’s it, she mused: right here, right now, Maura looked like a predator. Jane froze, for the second time that night, like prey. “Uh uh,” she shook her head slowly. “I forgot about her.”
Maura dragged a finger up Jane’s sweat-covered side before she used it to tap her own chin in thought. “You weren’t attracted to her?”
It sounded suspiciously like an interrogation, something Jane knew better than just about anyone. She didn’t think she’d like being on the receiving end, ever, but with Maura as the detective, she was entranced. She pulled the left side of her mouth up in an intrigued, handsome little grin. “No,” she said. Transparent. Obedient.
“Because she was definitely attracted to you,” said Maura. Her thumbs both migrated to Jane’s face, rubbing on the dark spots under her eyes. “All the signs were there. And she stared at your triceps an inappropriately long amount of time. She was annoyed when her husband showed up.”
Jane wanted to say you saw all that? But she didn’t. “I don’t even remember what she looked like,” she said instead. And it was true. So much had transpired between the parade and this moment in the bed, that she had practically forgotten.
Maura studied Jane using her hands as much as her eyes, touching Jane’s back, her shoulder, those triceps, her face. She touched Jane’s still-wet lower lip. “Good. You’re no-one’s but mine, Jane.”
Jane nodded slowly. “Yes, ma’am,” she said again. “I know that. I don’t wanna be anyone else’s.”
Maura checked Jane’s face some more, just to make extra sure, and then her entire countenance changed. She smiled, shimmied her shoulders, and became her usual, bubbly self again. “I know,” she said. She kissed the left side of Jane’s jaw softly, lips shifting from jealous possession to a request. “Thank you, baby. That was good. But I need the shower now.”
Jane, shell-shocked, pulled out and fell to the side wordlessly, eyes never leaving Maura. “You didn’t bathe when I was gone?” she asked dumbly, untangling herself from leather and stuffing it back in the bag until it could be washed.
Maura shrugged. “I was meditating,” she said, back turned to Jane when she walked into the hotel en suite to start the water.
Jane scoffed, eyebrows plunged down in confusion, and rolled onto her belly. She shook her head when she propped herself up on her elbows. “Babe?” she called over the din of the overhead fan, the shower, and Maura flushing the toilet.
“Yeah?” Maura called back as she organized her shower products on the counter.
“Were you- is that why you were layin’ on the bed all open when I walked in? You thought I was into that soccer mom?”
Maura reappeared in the doorway. “Well, as I said, that soccer mom was definitely into you. I needed to know if you felt the same, and to remind you that, well… that you belong to me.”
Jane collapsed onto the bed, smashing her face into the pillow where Maura just laid. She’d been totally and completely had. And she didn’t mind one bit. “Sure do. Hey, can we share that? I’m gross but I don’t think I can stay awake much longer.”
“Hop in,” Maura said kindly, back to her toiletries, back to her usual intimacy with Jane.
Jane winced when she got up, an old baseball injury barking in her knee when she rose. She passed Maura on the way to the shower, but not before she could kiss Maura’s shoulder and whisper in her ear. “I’d hope you know by now that I have better taste than that,” she said, and they both laughed when she disappeared behind the steamy glass door.
Chapter 46: Miscommunication - NNF Universe
This takes place pretty immediately after the end of No New Friends.
Maura gets out of the passenger side of Domenico’s SUV, and sighs with the distinct desire to drive her own car again. Both Jane and Domenico have implored her, multiple times, to see their side, given the recent turmoil in the Patriarca family, specifically the power vacuum left by Carlo Talucci’s… absence.
So, Maura had assented to a chaperoned date night this evening, her unease within the confines of her home usurping her fear that something would happen to Jane if they went out. Jane, in a meeting with the other remaining captains, will meet her separately, and Maura whines internally that that is also not the most romantic way to begin the night.
She cinches her coat tighter to her waist in the crisp November evening, indulging in the smell of the wet streets of the North End, streets she hasn’t patrolled for two weeks. Domenico exits the driver’s side and waits for her to walk in front of the car, nodding to her: he will not walk with her, but a few steps behind, because he will not compromise her authority. He, of course, like the Italian gentleman that he is, will open the door for her, but then will resume his place.
Maura looks both ways before crossing Prince Street, then waits in front of Santucci’s, a place she and Jane attend when they want a darker, cozier atmosphere. Many a heated makeout session have occurred in the red carpeted, dimly-lit hallway on the way to the restrooms here, and Maura hopes, against hope, that they might be left on a long enough leash to experience another one.
Domenico opens the door, Maura walks through, and she freezes. Mikey Talucci sits at a table with two other Talucci muscle men. A table that faces the door. Someone who works here has informed him that she and Jane would be here.
Maura sees murder in his eyes as soon as they glance at her. Luckily, she stands in the front of the restaurant, among three young children and their mother, while their father puts their name in with the hostess. So, Maura glances at Domenico, who unfolds his arms, and takes a new defensive stance in front of her. He nods. Without Jane here, he is the only one who will protect her.
But, Maura pulls out her phone, counting on the fact that those Talucci men will not take a shot obscured by children. She sits next to that young mother, and smiles cordially. She dials.
“I know, I know. But I’m on Prince now, just like a minute,” Jane greets without greeting after the third ring. “Things went well.”
There is no time to avoid what is about to happen. The men stand up. Maura has to guard the eventual heir to the family those men once swore to uphold. “Listen, it’s ok. I… I miscommunicated anyway. Let’s meet at Pisa,” she says.
“You’ve been wanting Santucci’s for weeks,” Jane argues. “What do you mean meet at Pisa?”
“It’s what I want, my love,” Maura says, the nervousness creeping into her voice, spilling out of her lips as her hands tremble. “Will you just meet me there, please?” You cannot see this. I will not let you witness this, she thinks.
Jane is silent for too many beats. “Ok, babe. I can meet you there. See you soon?”
Maura crosses her legs. The woman next to her gets up to move when she sees the Talucci guards march toward them. “I hope so,” she tells Jane. “I love you. I love you so, so much.”
She hangs up before Jane can reply, and ducks as soon as she hears the first shot. Domenico takes down one, and the pistol in her purse weighs her down as she eyes the entrance. Four steps away.
Jane’s Maserati screeches to a halt in the middle of the street just as the glass door shatters, four steps away. Maura’s only hope is that Jane’s legs are longer than hers.
Chapter 47: As You Wish and Surprise Visitor - Primogeniture Universe
Maura bounds up the staircase toward the rare silent bonding time between Jane and Chiarina upstairs. She can barely contain her own happiness, and the fact that the two most important, loudest people in her life are passing the evening engrossed in something together - that has shut them right up - only bolsters her.
The calm ambience is rare, and she partakes, though she herself is anything but calm. She comes to them from the downstairs bathroom all nerves. She wrings her hands as she leans her shoulder against the threshold of Chiarina’s door, a jumbled up mix of signals that include jumpy, sated, and in love.
Jane lays on her side on the carpet, supported by her own elbow while she lounges next to three-year old Chiarina. Chiarina stares at the half-built ship in a bottle lego set, with pieces organized by number and section around her seated body. “Model, mamma,” she asks, with a pout of concentration on her rosy lips. Those are two words she can pronounce, the Ms easy on her lips.
“As you wish, baby,” Jane says with some affectionate snark. She picks up the iPad just in front of her belly and swipes through a model of the completed set, pinching and fanning until she reaches the exact spot that Chiarina is building. Chiarina huffs, spotting her error, and Jane anticipates her need of the Lego removal tool without any words exchanged between them. She passes it to her.
Maura smiles - Chiarina should not be able to do this at her age. But, with Jane’s help, and Jane’s inherited fine motor giftedness, she excels. And, unlike most things in her young life, she treats each set with such care. Jane enjoys them so much that she puts them in her office when Chiarina finishes them, and every so often they go to the office to admire them like their very own Lego museum.
It is a shared hyperfixation between them, and to Maura, it is an absolute pleasure to watch their brains work in tandem. “It’s coming along so nicely,” she compliments, cheeks still spread. The happiness begins to hurt as it overfills her heart.
Jane looks up, startled. “Hey, you,” she says, catching that contagious grin.
“Hi, Rizzolis,” Maura replies, with extra softness in her voice as she looks at their daughter.
Chiarina picks up the vocal cue and looks to her mother. “Hi, Mommy,” she says kindly, but distractedly. Just as soon as she greets Maura, she returns her attention to the clear plastic pieces by her bare feet. Maura doesn’t mind, pushes off the wall to make her way over, careful to avoid any piles of pieces when she leans down to press her lips to the side of Chiarina’s head.
Jane notices the extra love in it, the way that Maura pulls Chiarina’s shoulder into their embrace. Chiarina huffs, but returns the hug with her free hand. “She’s in the zone,” Jane says. “You ok?”
Maura looks only at Jane now. “Can I speak to you outside for a moment?” She replies, reaching over their construction to run fingers along Jane’s jaw. Her thumb caresses a full lower lip.
“Y-yeah,” Jane says, rising. “Rina, give me a second, huh? I’ll be right back.”
“Ok, but you can’t keep her forever,” Chiarina says to Maura without looking up.
Maura chuckles lightly. “I know, my love. I won’t. Only a minute or two, I promise,” she responds. She follows Jane out into the hall.
When Jane turns, she stuffs her hands in her hoodie pocket. “What’s up?”
Maura pulls the door nearly shut, and then pulls Jane close by the shoulders of her sweatshirt. She kisses her soundly, both with the intimacy of marriage and the tongue-spark of desire. “A surprise visitor,” she teases when she pulls away, with one last nip to Jane’s lips.
“A what?” asks Jane, confused. Maura reaches into her own hoodie’s pocket and pulls out a stick. A stick that Jane has seen before. At least, one very much like it. She blushes, and then she snatches it, staring at the results in the middle of it. “It worked?! They’re in there?!” she whispers.
The whisper is so loud, however, that Maura is sure that Chiarina has heard. She laughs again, and puts her finger on Jane’s mouth. “Would you be quiet?! I want to come up with a way to tell her, together.”
Jane vibrates with stifled energy. “Got it. But I really, really wanna shout right now. Or jump up and down. Or cuss.”
“You can do none of those,” Maura says. She yelps when Jane wraps her in a bone-crushing embrace.
“I love you so much,” Jane confesses into Maura’s hair. “So, so much. Fuck. Do we really want another one?”
“We better, because they’re here now whether we do or not,” Maura said, looking up. “Now, are you ready to go in there and pretend I just talked to you about the grocery list, or do you need a minute?”
Chapter 48: Huddling together for Warmth and Stutter
“Where’s Mom?” asked Elena when she saw a flutter of movement toward the front of the line. She sat in a foldable chair that she’d inhabited since about 3PM, when her Uncle Frankie had driven her over straight after school and waited with her until Jane could leave work at 5 and take over.
Now, at 9:00, with the sun down and the March chill setting in, she was hyperattentive to any sign that might mean she could see Dragonalia: The Lightning Drake sooner than the midnight show time. Jane shoved her aching hands deeper into the pockets of her pea coat and scoffed. “You still got about two hours before they let you in, kid,” she said. “And Mom’s on her way. She had a big report to finish up and then she had to call the governor. She’ll be here.”
Elena only shrugged and returned her eight-year old focus back to the game on her tablet. Jane shook her head. The nerdy, nerdy things she would do for her kid apparently included waiting in line in the early spring cold to watch some dragon trainer movie. If Maura were there, she would most definitely object, but that would be because this was their thing. The latest fantasy franchise cash cow started as a book series (as they all do, don’t they?), one that Maura and Elena devoured together. Maura had read the first two to their daughter when she was much younger, but now the third was out and Elena had read it entirely on her own. They had regular book club meetings every Friday to discuss plot points and progress, and Jane, despite her general disinterest, now smiled at the memories.
Plus, she had to admit that the special effects in the first movie were pretty cool. If they were the same in this sequel, she supposed she had a fighting chance to stay awake this time.
“Jane! Elena!” Jane turned when she heard her name, and saw Maura hustling toward them from the shopping center across from the theater.
She waved and then pulled up the rope. A man grumbled at her. “Give it a rest,” she barked, “that’s my wife. And her mom.” She pointed to Elena, making sure to turn her hip just enough for her badge to be visible under her coat. He looked away. “C’mere,” she said to Maura, beckoning for her to walk under.
“My phone call took so long,” Maura lamented, “I was afraid I wasn’t going to get out of there on time.”
Jane then noticed that Maura only had her cashmere cardigan on, and not her jacket. “Where’s ya coat?” she asked, hovering close.
Maura, seen and therefore compelled to be honest, let her teeth chatter. “I left it on my chair. And by the time I realized I didn’t have it, I was halfway here.”
Jane rolled her eyes. “Here,” she said, taking hers off.
“Jane, no!” Maura contested with her hands out. She put her purse by Elena’s feet and then rose back up to press against Jane’s insistence.
“I’m not even cold, c’mon,” Jane scoffed for the second time that night. “And we all know that you’re perpetually cold. So please, take it. You’d be doin’ me a favor.”
“Just take the coat, Maura,” Jane said. She moved to stand behind Maura so she could hold the coat out.
Maura reluctantly stepped into it. “You tell me immediately if you get too cold,” she ordered.
“Yeah, yeah,” Jane folded her arms cooly in front of her. “So the call was a mess?”
Maura looked around for eavesdroppers and thought very hard about what she should say next. “I wouldn’t say mess. Just… he likes to talk. And he’s a very smart man, who likes to go over every inch of my reports.”
“I guess because he was a doctor, huh?” asked Jane. She felt the cool air on a breeze creeping through her thin button up shirt, so she rocked back and forth on her heels. “Makes sense.”
“I suppose so,” Maura went on. “And I didn’t have the heart to rush him because my excuse was ‘my eight year old is waiting for me to watch a blockbuster movie with her tonight.’ Cute, but not exactly a reason to rush the executive, you know?”
“If he has kids then he would have known exactly what y-you were talkin b-bout,” Jane stuttered, thrusting her hands into her slacks’ pockets now.
Maura eyed her suspiciously, one fancy eyebrow curled. “And how was work? Were you able to get off relatively on time?”
“Ri-hmm. Right at five,” said Jane. She kept her teeth in check. She looked longingly at Maura, warm in her jacket, and Elena, even warmer with a blanket from home draped over her lap. Jane just sniffled.
“That’s good. I’m sorry I was so late,” said Maura. Jane suppressed a shiver and Maura smiled. “Jane?”
“Yeah?” Jane croaked.
“Come here,” Maura said, opening the coat wide enough for the both of them. “We can share.”
“Jesus,” Jane breathed a sigh of relief and fell into Maura’s arms. “I didn’t last ten minutes.”
Maura chuckled when Jane’s warm breath tickled her neck. Strong arms squeezed her waist and she squeezed back until Jane was almost completely covered by the sides of the coat. “You didn’t last five,” she said. “Think we can stand like this for two hours?”
“I hope not,” Elena chimed in from her seat.
“Oh hey, who asked you??” Jane turned her head on Maura’s shoulder to glare at Elena. “You have a blanket and a jacket. And you’re wearin’ a sweater under that!”
“Uncle Frankie said to come prepared!” retorted Elena.
“Yeah, well, that’s because it ain’t his first nerd-show rodeo,” Jane grumbled.
Both Maura and Elena chastised her in unison, and Jane wondered if she should just call it a night and drive home so they could experience the night unfettered. But then, Elena got up, shook out the blanket, and put it on her shoulders while she wrapped her arms around her parents’ hips. “Here,” she huffed. “We can huddle together for warmth.”
Chapter 49: Handmade - Pyrite
Elena stood in the basement watching Maura at the pottery wheel, astounded by the concentration on her face. The only thing Elena put that much effort into was baseball: watching it, studying it, playing it. But her mother put that much effort into everything, whether it be an autopsy, or a research design, or dinner.
Elena took a moment to look around at the pieces that were beginning to fill shelves, ornate creations of clay that started as Jane’s way of finding Maura a hobby. And, as with most things in Maura’s mind, the imperfections as she started drove her into obsession. It all looked professional quality now. So, as with most things in Elena’s mind, she pondered it until a question bled out. She dragged a chair to sit across from her mother and smiled. The wheel stopped. “Hi,” she said.
Maura smirked, guarded because Elena at twelve meant never knowing whether teasing was just around the corner, even from a greeting. Jane all over again. “Hi, you,” she said back. “I haven’t seen you since this morning. I would ask for a hug but my hands are full of-”
“Please don’t,” Elena grimaced at the thought of wet hands on her back. “We can hug later.”
Preteen Elena was also fickle about affection. Maura looked down at her emerging creation and her smile turned small. “I’m going to hold you to that.”
“Ma really knocked it out of the park with this birthday present, huh? You seem to really like it,” Elena said. She looked at the work in progress, too.
“She did,” Maura said. “Though I wonder sometimes if it was just to get me out of her hair.”
Elena stared at her mother for a moment, her mother stared back, and then they both laughed. “I think if she knew how much time you would spend down here alone instead of with her, she would have never bought it.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Maura said. “How was practice?”
“Other than early on a Saturday?” Elena lamented, “fine I guess. Ma’s showering upstairs because she ran us into the ground.”
“Even the coach got sweaty. Sounds productive,” said Maura.
Elena nodded, was quiet for a while. “So… out of all the things you’ve made, which one is your favorite?”
“You mean out of these pieces?” Maura took a look around, as well.
“Well, sure, but I meant anything you’ve ever made. Discoveries, medical equipment, pottery…” Elena goaded.
Maura sat back in her chair and let out a thinking sigh. “Hmm. Well I don’t think it would be a discovery, or medical equipment,” she said. “But I would say it’s handmade. Well, that’s not the right word either. It’s organic.”
Elena squinted. “It’s organic?” She wondered if her mother created some hybrid of plant or algae. She wouldn’t put it past her.
“It’s you,” Maura said. She smirked again when Elena flushed scarlet. “My favorite thing that I have ever made is you.”
Chapter 50: Why Me? - NNF Universe
This is a continuation of Miscommunication.
Jane’s boots pound on the wet asphalt loud enough to be heard over the din of gunfire in Santucci’s. She sprints between cars and over crunching glass, pumping a shotgun in her left hand. Maura does not know where Jane got the kevlar over her chest (she guesses Nina), nor why Jane has miraculously appeared here, at the site of her death, despite her valiant attempts to keep Jane away.
Is she dead? No. She wills her brain to regain its sense of time - it can’t be more than a few seconds - twenty maybe - since she started her crawl to the exit. Which means a minute since she hung up with Jane. Perhaps two. Less than three.
Before she can cry out for Jane, however, Jane lines the Benelli pump action to her shoulder and fires. Just as deafening as the shot is the clatter of the shell to the ground, because the shot blew one Talucci guard clear over the bar in the center of the restaurant, resulting in silence. The other, on the ground and aiming for Maura, shakes when Jane walks over to him. By the time he regains enough resolve to start shooting, he misses because he is aiming up at her, and she puts her boot on his neck. When she shoves the barrel of her shotgun into his mouth, she yanks the pistol out of his hand. “That’s my fucking wife,” she grits, sending the barrel down slowly so that he is fully aware he will choke even if she doesn’t pull the trigger. He groans, tears streaming down his face and back into his jet black hair. “Nothing more needs to be said.”
The shot itself is muffled by the buckshot’s journey through all manner of cerebral tissue. All his thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears splatter onto the legs of the stools behind him. Jane spits some of it out of her mouth. “Maura!” she barks, not turning, not ready to face the possibility that Maura is injured.
Maura stands, and looks around. The place is chaos embodied. Glass, gray matter, and splintered wood litter the floor. She is careful to step around the worst of it. As her heartbeat settles, she wonders how the owners got everyone out in time. She surmises that Mikey gave them a signal. “I’m here,” she says when she finally reaches Jane.
And speaking of Mikey, Domenico muscles him in, hands tied with rope and with soaked pants. Maura takes a kerchief out of her purse and hands it to Jane, who wipes her face before she scowls. “Where were you?”
Domenico throws Mikey to his knees. “Caught him trying to sneak out back when you came,” he says. “Pissed himself when he saw me comin’ after him.”
Jane holds up the kerchief then shakes her head. “I’m not even gonna pretend that’s salvageable,” she tells Maura. Then she looks at her fully for the first time. “Are you alright?”
“I’m… fine,” Maura says. Jane, still with the shotgun in her left hand, gets close. Their lips touch. “Really, Jane. I’m ok.” She doesn’t touch Jane’s hair, because there’s blood in it. She settles for placing her fingertips in the dip of her clavicle, and they kiss.
Jane nearly falters. Maura feels it when Jane leans in, how Jane is about to lose her balance with the weight of her relief, combined with all the grief she thought she would have to feel. “That’s good,” Jane breathes out finally. Then she turns to the teenager on her knees in front of her. “But you know what? It’s the thought that counts. Especially when you pull a trigger.”
“Why me?” Mikey laments. “Why my dad?” he is sobbing, wailing even, and snot dribbles out of one of his nostrils.
Jane only snarls. He attempted to take her wife’s life. She wonders if he has been inside her daughter. Both thoughts incense her. “Why you? Why your dad? Because your dad tried to have me killed for more money. And you tried to murder Maura. You woulda tried to murder me too, if I were here. In fact, that was your plan. You play the game, you better be prepared to lose.” She pushes his shoulder back with her boot, and then lines her shotgun up with his head. For at least ten seconds she is silent, studying him as he quivers and groans. She gives him credit: he is not begging. “Domenico?” she finally says.
“Yeah, boss?” he answers.
“Take him to his grandmother’s,” says Jane. “She’s gonna cook us dinner, because we got some things to talk about.”
Chapter 51: Rings - NNF Universe
Jane, her heels kicked off in the doorway and her suit jacket over the back of a chair, walks to the table with an open wine bottle in her left hand. When she goes to pour it, the small chandelier catches her wedding band and she pauses. The gold is soft, and something she never thought she’d see on herself.
“We match,” comes Maura’s voice from the chair across from her. She, still in her wedding dress, has her arms crossed and is looking up at Jane with a smile that might split her face. She holds up her hand and wiggles her fingers, her diamond doing more with the light than Jane’s ring could ever hope to.
Jane, still standing, finally pours. “We do, that’s true,” she replies. “I was gonna say that I never thought I’d see my Ma so happy at a gay wedding, but I don’t think I ever thought I’d be getting gay married, so… you know.” Then she heaves herself into her seat. It is one am, and the wedding festivities ended an hour ago. She and Maura take their first sip out of plastic cups, ones she found in their cabin’s cupboards, and she pulls her lips back from the luxurious taste.
“What are you thinking about, hmm?” Maura asks, reaching out for Jane’s hand. Jane gives it to her.
“I’m thinkin’ about how I can finagle this New York bodega deal into my first job over five mil,” Jane admits.
Maura drinks, and nods. “I’m glad you said that.”
“Yeah, because that’s what I’m thinking about, too,” Maura answers. “And I want you to take me with you to your next sit down. I think I could be useful in negotiations. Specifically regarding setting interest.”
Jane laughs. “I think you’d be useful, too. More than useful. But if I let you take too much work on, the DiVincenzos might just ditch me for you.”
“Maybe that’s plan,” Maura teases with a wink. Jane laughs again. “Remember the rings?” Maura says more seriously. “That means we do everything together now.”
“Usually it means ‘for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,’” Jane says quietly, wiggling her fingers between Maura’s just to let Maura know she’s there.
Maura squeezes back. “I think for us it means ‘in money and in power,’ in some sort of way.”
Jane narrows her gaze, smirks. “Do you love me? At least a little bit?”
“I love you more than I can say,” Maura answers like it’s obvious, because perhaps it is.
“Usually that also means that married people spend their first night together in bed. Not plotting to finesse one of the biggest crime syndicates in the country,” Jane says.
“Who says we can’t do both?” Maura asks. There is a beat of silence, and then she leaps out of her chair with one last glance Jane’s way. She darts through the living area and down the hall for the main bedroom, with Jane chasing all the way, peals of laughter echoing behind them.
Chapter 52: Babysitting - Primogeniture Universe
Jane trudges through the door of her home early Saturday morning - the stakeout she and Frost had undertaken the evening before proved fruitful, and an arrest was made. However, not before Jane had had to sprint after their suspect and tackle all 260 pounds of him to the ground, bruising her shoulder in the process.
She feels especially bad about her absence the entire night, not because Maura and Chiarina were alone, but because Maura was alone with both Chiarina and TJ. Tommy and Lydia are taking a quick, twenty-four hour staycation for some peace and quiet, and Jane and Maura had both volunteered to take him in hopes that one day, they might watch theirs. One needs a diverse portfolio of possible babysitters with a rambunctious child like Chiarina, thinks Jane.
In fact, Jane hears Chiarina’s voice as soon as she locks the deadbolt. “Mamma!!!” she hollers from the kitchen, though Jane hears no stampede coming her way.
“What?!” Jane’s favorite thing is to answer Chiarina as if she were an adult with whom Jane were annoyed. She arrives through the hallway and the dining room to the kitchen soon enough, however, and smiles at what she sees.
Maura, poor, sweet Maura, stands at the stove. On either side of her about three feet from each end of that stove is a kid. To her right, most likely so she can use her dominant hand to avert any catastrophe, is Chiarina in her standing stool, using a nylon knife to cut through strawberries. To her left, is quiet, pensive TJ, plopping blueberries into batter one at a time. Maura, because of Chiarina’s unique needs and abilities, has been trying less restriction and more freedom, which in this case means putting a (pretty safe) knife in their wild child’s hands.
Jane approaches by announcing herself. “Behind,” she jokes, because Maura does this constantly, as if they are two professional chefs preparing meals for a restaurant, and not a picky three year old - and today, an easy going four year old, too. She places an open hand on Maura’s backside, and leans in to give their daughter a kiss in greeting. “Hey, you,” she says, into the shampoo-scented heaven of Rina’s hair. “It’s nice to see you helpin’ your mother around here. Since you don’t pay rent.”
“Jane!” Maura admonishes, though the joke does get a genuine burst of laughter from her. She turns to kiss Jane behind her, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Jane kisses with tongue and longing, communicating with her entire mouth that she has missed Maura, but winces all the same. “Youch,” she says when she pulls away.
Maura presses again, lightly. “What happened?”
“Just landed on it wrong, is all,” says Jane. “Promise you can look at it later.” Then she moves to TJ. “My favorite nephew!” she shouts, just before gathering him up in a bear hug and smooching his cheek loudly six times.
“Ah! I’m your only nephew!” he says in his high, Tommy-esque voice. He squirms, but eventually settles into her arms.
She is loath to let him go, but she does, because she finally looks into the pan. She sees two small, perfectly rabbit-shaped pancakes, each awaiting their blueberry eyes from TJ. She bites her lower lip. It trembles anyway. “Bunny pancakes, huh?”
Maura is distracted when she answers. “They insisted,” she says, plating one for each kid next to some turkey bacon and two very small cups of syrup. “Sit them down? I’ve got a stack of regular pancakes with your name on it, I just need them to start eating.”
Jane shakes her head to clear the emotion. “Sure thing. But uh, you know what? Can you make mine bunny-shaped, too?”
Maura chuckles because she thinks Jane is joking again. When she turns to stare into Jane’s eyes, just a few inches away because Jane still hovers close behind, she sees only sincerity and a little vulnerability. “Yes,” she says. “I can.”
Jane brightens up. “See? Knew I married you for a reason,” she says, helping Rina out of her stool.
Maura rolls her eyes. “Well please make sure the reason has a napkin and takes her allergy pill.”
“Yes ma’am,” Jane heaves one child over her bruised shoulder, then the other, heavier one over her healthy shoulder, and carries them as they giggle through the hall and to the table.
Chapter 53: Things You Said When I Was Crying
Jane cries at the precinct once every three years, she would say. Actually, that’s probably how often she cries in general, so apparently she is a work-crier. It’s just… today, she visited Tommy’s interrogation at the hands of agent Anna Farrell, the stunning ex-fiance of her partner who wants her brother to rot in jail for a robbery Tommy says he didn’t commit. So now, she cries.
She cries in the third floor locker room, which rarely gets used because homicide detectives like to go to the gym early and they almost never go undercover. So, she’s alone on the floor, by design, until the swinging door opens. She hears heels, and since she’s the only woman in the department, she has a pretty good idea of who it is.
She swipes at her eyes in a furious attempt to erase all evidence of her tears. Maura clearly sees it anyway, because she clicks her tongue and her own eyes gloss over when she lowers herself to the tile to sit next to Jane.
“You sure you wanna do that? Sure it’s not too germy?” Jane snarks.
Maura knocks her head against the wall and straightens her legs out so that they align with Jane’s. They do not reach as far. “I’m sorry I lied to you about Tommy,” she says.
Jane can’t help it; a new stream of tears starts to fall. “You didn’t lie. You said fucking nothing,” she asserts.
“For me that is lying,” Maura says. “You know that. It’s the only way I can lie. I hurt you.”
Jane doesn’t respond to that. She pulls her knees up and plants her boots on the tile. “My brother is probably gonna go away for life.” She resists the sob that threatens to tear from her throat and spill into the clammy air of the locker room.
Maura hears it anyway. And she hears what Jane doesn’t say. “I’m sorry for almost kissing him.”
“After I told you-”
“I know,” Maura assures Jane. She knows. “It was a mistake. But I stopped because it would have been me leading him on, letting him think that he’s the one I want.”
“He’s not?” Jane asks with trepidation.
“No, he’s not,” Maura confirms. “You-”
Jane’s phone cuts through their heavy atmosphere and she pulls it to her face immediately. “Rizzoli,” she answers, holding her finger up to Maura. “Shit, really? Ok. I’ll be right there.” Then she stands and decides that she has cried enough for one day. She doesn’t wait for Maura to stand with her. “I gotta go. Korsak’s got somethin’ for me.”
Maura is alone, and when Jane gathers herself to hide her sob session from the outside world, she stuffs all guilt and concern down where it can’t interfere with her work.
She’s got a brother to save.
Chapter 54: Things You Said Through Your Teeth
Maura pokes her head into the main bedroom of the fixer-upper in Dorchester that belongs to her only sister. Hope had bought it for Cailin as an investment, a house that she could pay rent on while she attended undergrad and medical school, and that would become her own once she graduates. To start one’s life with property is truly a privilege indeed, Maura had told Cailin when Cailin complained about the work that had to be done on it. Maura thought not of herself, who had started her life owning several homes, all because of the prosperity of her mother and father, but of Jane, who fought and clawed to finally own her own condo at the age of 35 after her childhood home had been lost to her father’s financial woes.
In fact, it is Jane whom Maura looks at now, in a Tyvek suit and with a painting respirator over her face. She wears goggles and nitrile gloves alike, and holds a commercial paint spray gun. She turns when she hears Maura approaching, crunching plastic tarp under her flats as she weaves around covered furniture in the middle of the room to get to Jane.
Jane puts down the gun on the nearest surface and pushes her goggles up. “Hey,” she says, and it’s all distorted by the mask. “You takin’ off?”
“We’re going to go look at light fixtures for this room and the guest room,” Maura explains. “And I came in here to kiss you goodbye, but…”
Jane chuckles. “Sorry, I just suited up,” she explains. Maura knows, too, the hassle it would take to remove the respirator for one kiss goodbye, only to have to go through the ordeal of refitting it properly.
“No no, it’s alright,” Maura assures Jane. “Come here.”
Jane obeys, and Maura pulls her head down until she can move the goggles and place a kiss on Jane’s already sweaty brow. “Thanks,” says Jane, and Maura can see the blush even on the limited visible real estate of her cheeks.
“No problem,” replies Maura. “You were able to get the sprayer,” she says, pointing to the tool. “That will save a lot of time.”
“Oh yeah, Tommy came through. I guess he’s gonna come by and help me when he gets off his shift, which is good because we wasted an hour at breakfast and I wanna get most of the rooms up here done today,” explains Jane.
Maura shakes her head. “I think she was at a party last night. Getting her up was… a chore,” she says. Jane laughs again. “Has she thanked you yet? For doing all this for free, for her?”
“No, and she doesn’t have to. I’m doin’ it for you, not for her,” Jane answers. “And cut her some slack, would ya? I remember bein’ the sleepy teenager when a Rizzoli handyman came a-knockin’ on my bedroom door at seven am with donuts and a laundry list of chores.”
“Slack is being cut,” Maura says. She puts her hands up in her own defense. “I for one am shocked that Hope left the continent just a week after dumping all of this in her lap, but what do I know?”
“Yeah that was kinda fucked up. I mean, what does she know about owning a home?”
“Or fixing it up?” Maura counters. Jane agrees by shrugging. “Oh well. I promised I’d help her get it ready, at least for her to live in comfortably, before the school year starts. And I appreciate your support on that because it’s saving her a lot of money.”
“I also know what it’s like to be twenty and broke,” says Jane. “So it’s not a problem. Gotta take the helping hands where you can get ‘em.”
Maura is moving to leave and Cailin is calling from downstairs that she is finally ready, so Jane hugs her quickly from the side. “Try not to overheat. It’s supposed to be ninety-two today and we haven’t got the air installed yet,” calls Maura on her way out after returning the hug.
“No promises,” Jane snarks, pulling her goggles over her eyes and plugging in her gun.
“If you’re good, I’ll return with food!” Maura yells from halfway down the stairwell, and Jane grins under the heavy plastic of her respirator. She can’t promise that either. She turns the nozzle, and blasts the first wall with Cailin’s chosen shade of blue.
Maura and Cailin arrive much later than she had expected, closer to two pm than the noon she’d originally texted Jane. Maura is jittery, nervous, because she’d gotten Jane’s exact order, but now she wonders if she should have picked something up for Tommy at the sub shop since he would be off work in a half hour and then on his way. To make matters worse, Jane hadn’t replied when Maura asked about it, so she’d refrained from purchasing him anything, and now the guilt begins to wear on her.
Cailin is bubbly and full of positive energy when she carries the light fixtures they’d purchased at the hardware store to the front door, balancing the boxes on her knee as she fishes her key out of her bag and turns it in the lock. “Oh my god, it’s hot,” she groans when she walks in with Maura carrying food not far behind, “and I’m starving.”
Maura decides to leave the front door open to get a breeze going through the lower level of the house, and she can only imagine how ugly it is upstairs. Still, she is annoyed that Jane has said nothing to her in the last six hours. “Jane!” she calls out sharply, vaguely in the direction of the stairs. “Come eat!”
She hears rustling, and then what sounds like the thud of boots hitting the hardwood. “Comin’!” Jane yells back, no longer airy and warbled. She must have removed her mask. There is trotting down the steps when Maura turns around, back to the kitchen counter to put sandwiches on paper plates they’d brought for dinner a few nights before.
She organizes food, napkins, utensils, and peppercinis in a flurry, while Cailin clears the flimsy dining table she brought from her college apartment so that there’s at least enough room to wolf down a sub before continuing to work.
“Oh my god,” Cailin says under her breath, and Maura looks up, because her voice, quiet as it is, sounds shocked. She sees her sister’s face first, which is red and splotchy; her mouth is open.
This causes her to whip around where the mouth of the stairs empties into the dining area. Jane has emerged, that’s for sure: she’s got the top half of her Tyvek scrunched low around her waist, revealing from top to bottom her hastily pulled-back ponytail, an black Nike sports bra, a torso slathered in sweat from clavicle to defined abdominals, all the way to a black elastic waistband that spells out pro-fit under her navel just above a crumple of white.
Maura catalogs all the symptoms of a vasovagal incident while Jane brushes past her for the mini fridge they put on the counter. She pulls out a beer, and apparently Cailin can take no more, either. “I’m uh… I forgot something in the car; I’ll be back,” she says, and backtracks all the way out of the house.
“She ok?” Jane asks, turning to Maura, slamming her bottle against the lip of the countertop just right to get the cap off. It clatters to the floor, and Maura immediately goes to her knees.
She picks it up, rising slowly to make sure she gets as much of the musk and paint scent as she can before placing it on the counter and completely coincidentally stops inches from Jane’s face.
Then Jane sees it. She smirks. “Right now? I smell. I look like I just jumped in the deep end of a community pool.” She slinks closer anyway, erasing the miniscule distance between them and pulling Maura close. She nips at Maura’s neck, from behind her ear to her shoulder, slowly.
Maura hisses, sucking air up through clenched teeth. “Especially now,” she groans when Jane’s bites turn to kisses. She wraps her arms around Jane’s shoulders, but they slip in the perspiration there. That drives her crazier. "When you’re sweaty and full of paint that got there from helping out my family. Did you have to… look like this in front of her though? Now she’ll know exactly what we’re up to.”
“Well, there’s not exactly a private-”
“Ssh,” Maura says, with a finger to her lips. “Where there’s a will there’s a way. Hurry, before she comes back.”
Jane looks around for a moment, and then kisses Maura for thought. “Bathroom?” she whispers into Maura’s mouth.
“That’ll do,” Maura says, and lets herself be led to the nonfunctioning half-bath of the first floor, just off the kitchen.
Chapter 55: Things You Said at 1AM
Maura, quite drunk herself, somehow ends up struggling with Jane’s Nike shoelaces. Jane is flat on her back on their bed, possibly snoring, but possibly just breathing very heavily as well. Maura finally gets the left shoe off, and then moves to the right, sitting on the end lounge and facing Jane’s feet. She focuses her eyes as best she can in the dark, looking at Jane’s face, seeing mostly an upturned chin and an elongated neck. Her wandering, inebriated mind takes her to her bedside clock, which reads 1:00 AM.
She kisses the white of Jane’s crew socks, which still smell like the lavender lotion Jane lathers all over herself when she gets out of the shower. She kisses up the outer side of Jane’s dark jeans, licking the small strip of exposed skin when she gets to Jane’s waist. Instead of taking the affection further, however, she pivots to unbuttoning Jane’s Red Sox jersey. “Probably don’t have the energy for all that,” Jane says, sleepy eyes closed.
“Hmm, me either,” Maura agrees. How she has the wherewithal to help Jane undress now is lost on her. “Did we win?”
“7-6,” Jane answers, sighing softly when she shrugs out of her jersey just enough to drop it to the floor. “A celebratory beer turned into ten over at Cask ‘n’ Flagon. Frankie passed out on Ma’s couch. Lightweight.” she giggles at that, words slurred but mind sharp. She pauses, long enough for Maura to both think she is asleep and undo the clasp of her pants, and then she clears her throat. “Did they like me?”
In fact, Maura and Jane are drunk for completely different reasons. Maura has hosted an engagement dinner for one of her med school friends that turned into a long-needed, wine-fueled dish fest that she hadn’t enjoyed since their days in molecular pathology class. Jane had come home from the Sox game right in the middle of it, and joined them on the couch, gracing them with her extravagant wasted storytelling. “Well, as you saw when you walked in, we were all pleasantly drunk, and I had shared maybe a few too many details about your… bedroom prowess before you got there, so that might have colored their opinion - but they were quite taken by you. Quite taken,” she answers, high not only from the lack of inhibition but also the reminder that she has friends. That her friends love who she’s with, and that she really should see them more often. She collapses next to Jane, fully clothed and on top of the covers.
“Still got it,” Jane snarks, smiling on her back, just before she passes out for the night.
Chapter 56: Things You Said that Made Me Feel Like Shit
“When you said my Pop met his fiance at a massage parlor,” Jane answers Maura’s question, as they rock on Maura’s porch swing as August bleeds into September, bringing some of her heat with her when the sun sets.
Maura has her feet crossed as Jane swings them gently, the vestibular input of the motion calming something deep and primal in her. The jagged edge of her old words threatens to disrupt all that calm. “I… I’m sorry,” she says. She means it. “Out of that whole week-long fight, that’s what hurt you the most?”
“Well, the pizza parlor bit right before probably hurt more, but the idea’s the same,” Jane tells her. She nurses a beer.
“That was wrong of me. You know I… your culture means a lot to me. It’s basically mine now,” Maura replies quietly. She wiggles her toes as her heels sit abandoned next to her.
“It is yours now,” Jane says like an admonition. “Made me feel like shit then, though. Like I wasn’t worth loving because of my low station.”
“That’s how I meant it, but I didn’t mean it, if that makes sense,” Maura says, knowing it doesn’t. Just as her hands start to fidget, Jane deepens the arc of their swing. Like she knows exactly what Maura needs.
“To me it does. I hurt you so you wanted to hurt me,” Jane responds.
“Yeah. Yeah you did. And sometimes I’m too good at that, at fighting back,” Maura tells her. “But it’s because I love you and it…”
“Felt like I picked everyone over you,” Jane says, turning finally. Her eyes are glossy with old pain rather than fresh tears. “That was wrong of me. You’re the only thing that matters to me.”
Maura nods with nothing left to say and leans her head back. Jane brings the swing back to an easy rock, and Maura squeezes her hand.
Chapter 57: Things You Said After You Kissed Me
Jane sucks air in through her nostrils as she kisses Maura, hard, spent, eyes closed and with no tongue. The body under hers, Maura’s body, squirms with overstimulation, because every inch of them touches and she just came and Jane’s lips press against hers like they’re trying to pull even more from her.
“You gonna be there when I open my eyes?” Jane asks, smiling when she knocks their foreheads together, dropping her legs to the satin sheets under Maura’s, reveling in the swish against her skin. She falls completely then, accepting the full body embrace waiting for her, sinking into Maura and therefore into relaxation.
“I’ll be here even if you don’t,” Maura tells her, arms wrapped around her shoulders, lips now against her ear. “Promise.”
Chapter 58: Untitled Snippet
It is late when Jane walks along the narrow intersection of Prince and Salem Streets, watching Maura navigate a slice of Sicilian Pizza from Parziale’s. It’s summer, so they close at 11, and the two of them managed to get there just in time, right when Tina was wiping down the counter and stowing away the pastries.
Maura is four months pregnant and has insisted upon taking up semi-permanent residence in Jane’s condo because of its proximity to all the Italian food nearby, food that can’t be found in Beacon Hill. Before the reciprocal IVF, before the engagement, they lived in Maura’s home. And they still sort of do. Sometimes.
But after the successful implantation? Maura wants pan pizza. She wants cannuli, she wants sfugghiadel’, she wants biscotti. She wants ciabatta, she wants focaccia, she wants these lemon bars that Tina makes with the blessing of her father, not necessarily Italian but made with lemons imported from back home. Back home, says Maura every time she regales the dessert to their friends and family, when she means the Southern Italian coast and not, well, any of her homes.
Jane doesn’t mind. Jane actually doesn’t even bat an eye at it, because it feels like home when Maura claims hers. So, because Maura is eating, she watches for cross traffic for them, the distinct feeling of casa in her heart when people slam their car doors at their final stops of the day, when one of the few remaining elders in the neighborhood shouts at a wayward animal in the old language as he shuts his window three floors up.
With all this night time bustle and her own comfort as she strides in sweats and a hoodie back toward the condo, she misses the way Maura has started to look at her. She misses that Maura as finished her pizza. She misses that Maura has been tugging at her hand until their fingers lace together.
She is bamboozled when Maura tugs her into the little alleyway between the Old North Church and its gift shop, pleased when Maura kisses her with an infusion of lip gloss and Sicilian tomato. She forgets where they are, how late it is, how dangerous it can be for two women to walk Boston’s streets in the dark. Instead, her body remembers what to do, how to grab the softest parts of Maura, how to tap her fingers along the waist of Maura’s exercise leggings until…
Until they’re slapped away.
“Let me,” Maura whispers, a fog rolling against Jane’s open mouth. “Focus on me.”
Jane scoffs. She tries again, but then curses when Maura’s hand slips into the waistband of her sweats, past her underwear, into a slick heat that took only moments to burgeon. “Fuck,” she gulps, when Maura releases her lips and bites her chin, giving fast and powerful circles below, intent on finishing their rendezvous as quickly as possible. “I am trying to focus… on getting us back. But I can’t say that it doesn’t feel good. Keep going, please.”
“I don’t intend to stop,” Maura assures her. Jane resumes their kiss, so that no passersby are immediately alerted to their public sex by the sounds coming out of her mouth.
“Why are you doin’ this, hmm?” Jane finally moans when they break again.
Maura smiles against the bridge of Jane’s nose when Jane dips her head to take deep breaths. “Because we’re home. Because you’re taking me home.”
Chapter 59: An Untitled Exercise
Maura exits the tiny bar with Jane just behind her, Jane who holds the door for her while she stands on slightly less-stable feet and is sobered by the crisp fall time air. Maura, in her all Ferragamo everything, finds the perfection in her outfit, in the North End establishment she’s just had too much wine in, the Italian following her to the curb.
Jane stumbles, but in that way where it could just as easily be attributed to her swagger as to her beers. Her fists ball up in the pockets of her leather jacket, a staple in her autumn wardrobe when she peels off her no-nonsense suits from the workday.
Maura likes this.
She likes when Jane looks like Jane, though Jane looks like Jane when she’s got a gun on her hip and an oxford hugging her torso. That torso. It’s… hard to explain why she likes Jane this way. With her tight jeans and her flat heeled boots and her smirk. With her black t-shirt tucked into that dark denim. Her civilian belt is bare and just as enticing as the one she clips all her tools to.
Jane entices her now. She implores Maura to stay put with her march forward, stalking with that thrilling sort of benevolence that takes all the fear out of being Jane’s prey. Maura only anticipates. Maura only desires.
She smells hops when Jane gets close enough, when Jane stands under the lamplight and plunges them into the sallow shine together. Jane initiates their first romantic encounter - because Maura has always known there would be a first - by coming up so that their noses touch.
Maura’s holding her purse on one elbow, but her free hand goes to the collar of Jane’s tee. Rubs the stitching there. Stitching has always given her the sensory satisfaction she seeks when her heartbeat thrums forward into overdrive. An added bonus is that every few rubs, her thumb grazes Jane’s hot, hot skin.
She wants to kiss, leans her lips forward, but Jane pulls back. All while keeping their foreheads connected - a talent, to be sure. “Hmmph,” Maura whines when she tries again, and doesn’t get her way.
Jane snickers. “Lemme,” she says, in that low voice, the rumbling kind that tickles against Maura’s abdominal wall and slips like water into her pelvis.
How can she refuse? She need only know the request. “Let you what?”
“Lemme make ya bed shake,” Jane asks like telling. “Lemme do more than just kiss you.”
Jane is drunk and Maura is flying. She blushes. “I think it’ll be better if we shake it together,” she tells Jane. “But yes.”
She tastes hops just before their lips tangle together.
Chapter 60: for years I have yearned for you, in secrecy and silence
These next few snippets come from a tumblr challenge I did last weekend from a post with romantic confession dialogue prompts.
The letter, found on the victim’s desk that evening just under his heavy, lifeless head, stirred Maura. That much Jane could see, even while she read it aloud.
“‘Dearest Emily,’” it began, somehow richer and more full of melancholy in Jane’s deep voice, “‘I am here because you are not. I am dead because you are alive, and in the arms of someone else. I promised myself that I would never tell you because those arms spark such beauty in you; happiness gives your smile such light. And more than I wish it were me illuminating you, I want you to be happy. But I cannot pretend I don’t wish it - me and you, somehow. For years I have yearned for you, in secrecy and in silence. I cannot take it anymore. I cannot continue to watch that happiness grow now that I’m certain of it. And so, with that certainty, I say goodbye. Love, Ethan.’” Jane cleared her throat just to break up the gravity of the apparent suicide note, because Ethan himself - his driver’s license said so - laid with a hole in the side of his head that bled so finally around his papers. “Kinda dramatic, don’t you think?”
Maura, standing on the other side of Jane, the one with the entrance wound, was doing the thing with her lips, the pursing and then the rubbing as if smoothing at lipstick, that always told the story of her sadness. Jane frowned when she caught it, her lips turning down in a sister motion. “Maybe,” Maura said. She looked up at Jane then, and the tears fell in fat rivulets. They were unguarded and Jane thought of them impulsively as funeral tears - quite fitting given they were both dressed in black. “But a lie nonetheless. Well, perhaps not the contents of the letter, but the idea that he set it here.”
“Maura? What’s goin’ on?” Jane replied instead of following Maura’s line of thought. She leaned in and put spidery fingers on Maura’s elbow, gripping when she was sure that the other detectives and scientists at the scene were engaged elsewhere. They were supposed to be engaged elsewhere as well, a fundraiser actually. It was why Jane wore her good suit and the billowy silk shirt underneath. It was why Maura had that smokey eye, now ruined, and the black dress that accentuated every curve of her flesh. “Is it the dinner? We might still make it if we…” Jane’s kind lie trailed off when she checked her watch in the dim candlelight at the desk.
The fundraiser was for some cause Jane knew little about, Maura’s attendance a favor to a member of the medical board who thought her presence would drive up guests and signed checks. But Jane hardly needed to be asked to go along. Declining would have meant that Maura would give her plus one to someone else, to a man, possibly. Declining would have meant stewing in jealousy in the North End while Maura danced with a date downtown. Declining would also have meant refusing an opportunity to pursue the delicious lightning that clapped between them any time they shared a room the past few months. Their friendship had sizzled from the moment they meant, but now it singed, leaving the cracked and smoking roots of it exposed to the air, leaving Jane’s heart to beat wildly whenever she stood this close to her best friend. She mourned the chance as deeply as anyone in her position would, but the tears? The agony?
“This letter was placed here after he presumably shot himself,” Maura ignored the questions. “Which as you know,” she paused to sniff loudly, “means he did not place it here. See the lack of staining on or around-”
“Maura,” Jane used her authoritative register to make her point, to interrupt the compartmentalizing already occurring in Maura’s brain. She turned her right hand palm up, knocking a purple-covered knuckle on the back of Maura’s left to accentuate it. “What.”
And in response, Maura stood upright, slowly and with more measure than Jane expected after the broken coping mechanism, right before she stripped the nitrile gloves from her fingers with a snap. Those fingers found the notch of Jane’s sternum, one tip on the beauty mark just to the left of her breast. “I know him,” Maura said.
“This guy?” Jane asked, her voice rising with fear and eyes flying open with regret. “Maura I’m so-”
But Maura shook her head. “I am him, if he wrote it. For years I have yearned for you, in secrecy and in silence,” she quoted Ethan’s letter from memory, only having to have heard it once.
Jane closed her eyes to concentrate on the decadent pressure against her chest - Maura was firm and decided. Maura was also still crying. “Hey,” said Jane with a gruff, though she still gained her footing. Maura’s cryptic admission made her woozy, set her long legs to swaying. She widened her hips to stabilize herself. “What’s goin’ on with you, huh?”
“I don’t want to be him. I don’t want this to be me,” Maura went on. When Jane opened her eyes, she saw Maura had stepped close, still looking up into Jane’s face despite the heels. Jane looked down, and oh how they fit together. “I don’t want my confession to you to be a deathbed one.”
It wais said aloud and Jane faltered. Luckily, she faltered forward, and Maura assumed it was the start of a kiss instead of a swoon, so Maura caught her with arms wrapped around Jane’s shoulders. Their lips met because Maura joined them, but they moved together because Jane opened hers. She tasted Maura on her tongue when she lapped up the wetness of a mouth not her own, and she groaned when she gripped hips grinding into hers. They kissed, unconcerned with their colleagues milling about and with the corpse just in front of them.
They broke only when Jane pushed Maura away. Maura whimpered. Jane laughed, rich and true, especially when she saw Maura’s dancing eyes, and her smile all wrapped up in disappointment, a pretty sort of paradox. She crossed her arms when Maura tried to step into their embrace again. “Happiness gives your smile such light, y’know?” She teased, eyes closed again, crinkled with mirth, teeth exposed.
Maura rolled her eyes and fished another pair of gloves out of her bag. “You’re insufferable,” she grumbled, but she felt the light in that dark room. Her light.
Chapter 61: please... say something
Maura curses herself for being moved by it all. The soft glow of reds, blues, greens, yellows on her mantle, the shine of the star on top of her tree, the smell of gingerbread coming from her oven.
It’s not her first time, celebrating Christmas like this. Well, sort of. She’d spent one holiday season with the Fairfields, who were as rich as her but liked to Americanize their parties. However, it had been cold, and now that she looked back upon it, full of the dysfunction that would ultimately lead to the murder of the eldest brother.
It had been so devoid of the warmth she feels now.
Now, the ornaments are not congruent in shape as they had been back then, but rather mismatched as they catch the lights against premium noble fir, childhood crafts and themed ones climbing all nine feet up towards her ceiling. Somehow, their age and their sloppy ceramic work make them so much more valuable than the ones the Fairfields had no doubt spent thousands on. The addition of candy canes and envelopes with blocked and hasty Rizzoli-scrawl on the branches - all three of them have such terrible handwriting - give the night, the past few nights, such a glimmer of intimacy that blows away the regalia of the Brahmin home she once frequented.
Now, Maura drinks wine while she waits for the pieces of their gingerbread house to finish baking, and Jane stands across from her at the kitchen island with a beer at her lips. And Maura blames the atmosphere (and perhaps the alcohol, even though it’s her first drink of the evening) for what she’s just said. I’m so in love with you, she blurted, right as Jane had finished a particularly endearing story about getting caught playing with the whole fish Angela planned to cook for their Christmas Eve feast when she was seven. Jane stares at Maura, bottle not tipped, eyes open and brows curled.
And Maura gulps. Long, agonizing seconds go by. “Please… say something,” she begs, unable to stomach the quiet any longer.
Jane sets her beer down, and spreads her wingspan against the granite, gripping it with her large hands when she finally smirks. “You got any mistletoe in here?” she asks as she looks around theatrically, and Maura hiccups in giddy relief. “I’m better at showin’ than sayin’.”
Chapter 62: A combination prompt
Prompts were: "after everything you've done, I still love you. With all I am," and "I cannot stand you and yet I also cannot stand to be away from you."
“Let me,” Maura stands with her ankles crossed and her fingers rubbing against one another as she contemplates the subject on the other side of the two-way mirror. “Let me talk to her.”
Vince Korsak, looking rumpled in his brown off-the-rack suit next to her, shakes his head. “Bad idea.” He pretends to not see the black circles under her eyes, how out of place they are amongst her Versace skirt and jacket. He gives her that courtesy at least. “It’s not really-”
“You did it for me, when I was arrested,” Maura counters, interrupts him. Her voice quivers with anger, but he’s been around the block enough times to deduce that it’s not an anger directed at him. “Do it for her.”
Vince stares up at the clock mounted on the wall behind them, and then at the woman they both see across the way, fidgeting in the cuffs chained to the table. “Five minutes. And I’m cuttin’ the cameras.”
“Do what you must,” Maura says, though she’s already on her way out one door and through another - the one leading to Interrogation Room 2. She bursts in with that anger, but sits across from Jane with all her usual grace.
Jane is straining with her hands cuffed and on the table. Jane sniffs, loud and rickety. Maura winces, because it must be painful to do with a broken nose and a purpling bruise around her left eye.
Maura sighs, and takes her chair around the table to Jane’s side. Jane reeks of whiskey and it intermingles with her sweat, a unique smell that, even after years, spikes Maura’s pulse. Maura reaches out without warning and sets the broken nose in front of her.
“Ow!” Jane shouts, and she shakes her cuffs with stifled power. She cannot even touch where it smarts. Maura leans forward and kisses the spot she thinks the injury would be the sorest. “Surprised you’re even willing to be in the same room as me.”
“After everything you’ve done, I still love you. With all that I am,” Maura says to Jane. It sounds threatening, it turns sour with hurt and rage.
Jane hangs her head and when she lifts it back up, she stares ahead -wild, vindicated, proud. “I don’t regret it. He wanted to kill you and your dad told me about it, and I made him suffer. He put a bomb in your mail so I cut off his hand. He talked all that shit about you to the board so I cut out his tongue.”
Maura shudders. She’d been called to the body of the man the O’Rourke clan had sent to murder her, and… Jane is not exaggerating for emphasis. The right hand had been missing. The tongue had laid next to his lifeless head, carelessly discarded. An apt punishment for the psychological torture he had attempted with his meddling in her career before his planned execution of her.
Before the confirmation by Korsak and by Frankie, Maura had never thought Jane capable of such violence. But when confronted with it in hindsight, Maura realizes that this has always been Jane. It had just never been Jane with her. And it reminds Maura so much of the cruelty of her biological father that it turns her stomach. She covers her mouth to stave off the nausea. “I cannot believe you did this,” current Maura’s lie is past Maura’s unshakeable truth, so she does not get hives. “It disgusts me that you did this.”
“Thought you loved me,” Jane grumbles quietly when faced with Maura’s rebuke.
“I love you. I cannot stand you and yet… I also cannot stand to be away from you,” Maura’s knees cross, and her hands clasp in her lap when she leans back. Her disgust is strong. It seems however, when she blushes before she utters this next part, that her love is stronger. Her need is stronger. She cannot decide if she hates that fact. “So let me get in touch with my mother. You cannot go down for this. I will not spend the rest of our lives without you because you decided that murder would be a good idea. We’ll need the best lawyer we can find.”
Jane softens. She reaches her leg out, taps Maura’s bare calf with her boot, strokes it softly. “Don’t hate me forever, ok? Because I’d rather go away for life if you’re gonna hate me forever.”
Maura stands, and then points to the clock. “Time’s up, Jane,” she asserts. She crosses the floor to the door, but thinks better of exiting without another word. “Not forever,” she says, clipped and refined while she hangs on the threshold. “But for a while. At least the trial.”
Chapter 63: Another combination prompt
Prompts were: "I feel your absence in everything I do alone, in every place I go without you," and "I cannot bear to be apart from you anymore"
Jane stands with her hands on her hips, slick with sweat, staring at the last few of her boxes to be unpacked. The walls - stark white, feel foreign to her, and her body vibrates with the desire to escape the way they start to close in. Ironically, it’s the nothingness that makes the place feel so heavy, the lack of memories and abundance of fresh starts.
So, she shakes her head. Her ponytail swishes, the bottom of it brushing the skin of her exposed back. It’s summer - mid-July, and because she hasn’t had time to figure out the swamp cooler in her bedroom window, she’s in just a sports bra and some running shorts. Short ones.
She sighs, touching her damp forearm to her damp forehead - Paris had been so mild - when the doorbell rings. Who the hell even knows she’s here already? She’s been in DC all of two weeks, most of it spent in a hotel while she waited for her paperwork on this place to clear. She braces herself for a salesman, or a nosey neighbor, something equally annoying.
She does not expect Maura Isles. “H-hey,” Jane stutters. She steps aside immediately, old habit, without even knowing why Maura’s here. Why Maura’s at her door.
Maura comes in anyway. “Hi,” she says, and Jane senses the nerves in it. It causes her to catalog all the physical signs - Maura’s tense shoulders, her shifty eyes, her spinning ring.
“You good? I thought you were supposed to be in Paris another month,” Jane says, closing the door despite her confusion. She stares at the couch in her living area that is still wrapped in plastic. “Lemme uh, lemme get that,” she hurries, her keys jangling in her hand when they’d just been on the counter, and she cuts through the wrap so they have a place to sit. “There.”
“I actually… I changed my plans. I’m just back from Italy,” Maura explains. Jane comes back from the kitchen with two bottles of water, gloriously cold. Maura takes hers, and holds it between her once-fidgeting hands. Jane remembers how she hated that she did that. How it reminded her of Paddy Doyle.
Jane sits now, shocked that the woman she’d just talked to yesterday morning was in an entirely different country and neglected to say, is in her DC apartment now. “Italy?”
“Italy,” Maura confirms. “Paris was just so… full of ghosts,” she says quietly.
Jane chuckles. “And Italy wasn’t? I’d think the Italian ones’d be worse.”
Maura shakes her head slowly, as though two weeks was long enough to forget how sarcastic and full of life Jane could be. “I suppose it was,” she tells Jane. Then she looks up like she’s trying not to cry, and Jane feels like an ass.
She leans in, taking one of Maura’s hands in her own larger, surer one. “So… what’s up? Why Italy? Why the secrecy? Why the crying, kid?” The last question is soft and Bostonian. Jane means it to wrap around Maura the way her arms would be too stifling to do.
Maura cries now, because apparently it does wrap around her. “I couldn’t stand to be away another minute,” she laments. Jane looks around because the tears are many, but all she’s got is a roll of paper towels on the coffee table. She grabs it anyway, ripping one off and handing it to Maura, who blinks at it with disdain.
“I know,” says Jane. “But it’s the only paper product I got except for toilet paper. Just take it.”
“Toilet paper would be better,” says Maura, and they both laugh. It releases some of the tension in the air, even if Jane is just as confused.
“I’d have to get up and go to the bedroom to get it,” Jane tells her. “Sure you want me to do that?”
Faced with the prospect, Maura reaches forward and grabs Jane by both hands. “No,” she whines, in a way that makes Jane want to hold her again. “I don’t.”
“So… Italy. Not France. And not a month,” Jane goads. For the first time, she realizes that Maura is in her flight clothes - comfortable leggings, a light windbreaker for Europe and for the flight, though it is useless to her now in the American humidity. Probably uncomfortable. Maura is tired. Maura is preoccupied, maybe even hurting, to allow herself to be seen in public this way.
“The south of Italy. Calabria, Napoli,” Maura says in an effortless Italian accent. “But I had to come home.”
“I don’t know if you know, but Boston is home,” Jane replies. “This sure as hell ain’t Boston.”
“You are home,” Maura says sternly. “You left and I… broke without you. I couldn’t look at all the places we’d been together in Paris. The cafes, the museums, the football stadiums.”
“That was soccer, not football,” Jane interrupts impulsively.
Maura glares. “The rest of the world would disagree.”
“Good thing I don’t live there then.”
“So, I thought, what if I went to Italy? Your ancestral homeland - the mezzogiorno. I know it’s irrational, but I thought it would make me feel close to you. It didn’t work. You know why?” Maura asked, passionate again.
Jane, rapt with attention, leans in closer. “Why?”
“I feel your absence everywhere I go alone, in every place I go without you. Surrounded by people, I… miss you. You’re the only one that counts. And I can’t do the rest of the month, Jane. I cannot bear to be apart from you anymore,” Maura’s confession ends in a sob that cannot be suffocated any longer. It swims its way to the top of her throat and writhes into the empty air of the place. It chills the sweat along Jane’s spine, making her clammy. “I can’t be so far from home anymore.”
Jane cannot speak for a long while. The cry rattles her into silence, is a noise that shuts her up. It’s less its pitch, its frequency, and more the love inside it, the love from which she can no longer run, now that it’s out. Now that it’s been said. “All this way and neither of us are home,” she croaks finally.
Maura blinks at her. Sniffles loudly. “W-what?”
“I… made a mistake,” Jane says, hanging her head. “A few of ‘em, actually. First one was takin’ this job. Second one was leavin’ you. I think I just…I got scared, Maura,” she whispers. “And if you weren’t gonna say it first… I couldn’t. And I had to go. Just to get away from myself. But then it started to really happen, and you were going to Europe and I suddenly needed you a little longer. But now that I’m here, I…”
“Boston is where you belong,” Maura supplies kindly.
Jane nods, her own face crumbles, and then Maura takes Jane into her, head against her chest. It is that quickly that the tables turn and Jane claws at her back while she resists the tears dripping slowly onto Maura’s jacket. They come anyway, of course. “I fucked up,” Jane breathes her own confession. It turns quiet when it hits the soft skin over Maura’s heart. “I fucked it all the way up.”
“Me too,” Maura tells her. “But can’t it be fixed? Can’t we fix it? There’s nothing we can’t do, together.”
“Together,” Jane repeats, pulling away slowly with her realization.
Maura looks down until Jane is far enough to be taller than her again, sitting up straight. “What? What’s wrong?”
“We get to be together,” Jane says. “Like together together.”
Maura looks past Jane’s shoulder to the open bedroom door where a mattress lies on the floor, pillows and blankets strewn about. “Not on that we don’t,” she jokes, just for some relief, some distraction, the kind Jane had given her moments before.
“Maura,” Jane growls, warns.
“I’m kidding,” Maura holds up her hands, smirking when Jane gives up her seriousness for a little grin, too. “But I’d like to be together together. That’s why I’m here.”
“Got my badge yesterday,” Jane says, suddenly invigorated. She wipes at her eyes and then bolts up to get said badge from her tiny dining table. “Let’s see if I can’t break this lease.”
Maura laughs robustly this time, hand on her heart when Jane leaves her for the leasing office downstairs. Never has a door slamming shut sounded so good. So much like the start of something new.
Chapter 64: it hurts me, just how much I ache for you
Maura looks around her immaculate living space from behind her kitchen island, how clean and well-decorated and empty it is. The dining room table, with capacity for eight to ten, looms with its openness, mocking her one with its other nine seats. Her sofa, too long for just her, stands unmoving in the living room, facing the unlit fireplace. It’s why she eats a reheated plate of ziti at her counter, because the empty house would feel even more so if she chooses to sit in either space.
This morning, very very early in the morning, it hadn’t been empty, however. Jane had stayed late the night before, fallen asleep on the guest bed despite her insistence that she really had to go home - she needed to be at Tommy’s worksite at six this morning. Maura had heard the front door open and close at about five, and then open and close again, just before the shower head burst to life across the hall from her.
Jane had insisted on returning home, but also brought an overnight bag, then. Strange. Maura had smiled and hugged her pillow closer; Jane was full of these conundrums lately. They used to bother Maura, used to buzz in her brain right up against the space where she most needs logic and order. Last night, though, Maura had accepted it because she had no choice; Jane would defy categorization, defy sense, however much and however long she wanted to. So, Maura had, instead of fighting it, burrowed further under the covers and chose simply to anticipate the affection that came her way whenever Jane left the house early. When it was starting to get cold outside and the heater kicked on in the wee hours of the morning, when Maura hid in the safety of her bed and slept, when Jane needed to be somewhere before the sun came up, she would enter the main bedroom and gather up Maura’s body by the shoulders, kissing her temple goodbye. Maura often wondered why, when it had started - because it had started happening so early on - what Jane thought when she did it. But all that wondering took a backseat to the smell of lavender perfume that surrounded her, to the warmth of Jane’s naturally hot body temperature, to the simplicity of the tenderness that touched her somewhere deeper than just the skin of her arms and chest.
But this morning, it never came. Maura had only heard the door open and close a third time, and then silence. She thought it strange, but reasoned that perhaps Jane had been in a hurry, had overslept and needed to shave any seconds off her morning that she could. But now, chewing on the intensely fatty carb explosion Angela had just dropped off, she realizes her folly in assuming such rationality on Jane’s part. Jane hasn’t responded to any of Maura’s texts, and usually, they text a lot. Everyday. Jane could be busy, especially since when she helps Tommy on plumbing jobs, she has to spend much of those days walking Tommy through the finer points of pipe work, guiding him as well as accomplishing her own tasks.
So, tired of the ignoring, one of her major triggers, Maura stomps over to the refrigerator with purpose. She pulls out a six pack of Peroni and one of the tupperwares of ziti she’d just put away, leaving them on the counter while she heads to the pantry for a reusable bag big enough to fit it all. She packs it all up, along with some napkins and utensils, stops at the coat rack for her fall coat, and takes her keys from the front table.
The home in Dorchester that Maura parks in front of is illuminated by hanging temporary lighting, and the front door is open. There are various tools at the bottom of the steps, and Maura can see that the place is gutted when she looks through the windows inside. She pulls her bag from the passenger seat and engages the lock on her vehicle before shoving the fob in the pocket of her jeans. Her ankle boots announce her presence long before she knocks on the wide open door, and it causes Jane to stand from her place in front of what will eventually be the kitchen sink. “Hi,” Maura greets, not giving the chance for Jane to look at her, and then choose to ignore her presence.
“Hey,” Jane says. “You’re far from home.” Immediately Maura picks up the hints of exhaustion, more mental than physical.Though, she must say, Jane looks very physically tired, too. There’s a drying sweat stain on the back of her Rizzoli and Sons t-shirt, turning the navy color black, and the knee pads over her worn jeans are dirty from all-day use. So are Jane’s work boots, Red Wings, a gift from Maura several years ago when they both agreed to help Tommy grow his business any way they could. Of course, Jane is the only one of the two of them qualified to help when it comes to laying pipe, installing gas line. So, Maura had provided funds and very expensive workwear. It stirs something bubbling and wet within her when she sees her gift getting good use, broken-in with work.
Maura reins herself back in, banishes her musings on Jane’s physicality, returns to the reason she came in the first place. “I brought the two of you dinner,” she tells Jane in order to at least partially explain her presence. She takes out the tupperware and realizes that in her hurry she forgot that she wouldn’t have a way to heat it. She doesn’t tell Jane because admitting it would derail the conversation she intends to have while Tommy is conveniently elsewhere - from the sounds above them, he’s shuffling around upstairs. “And beer, too, though that’s obviously not for Tommy.”
“Obviously,” Jane says with a handsome little upturn of her lips. She crosses her arms. Dares Maura to keep going.
Maura’s tired, too. So she does. “Is there a reason you’ve been ignoring me all day? Did I do something? Or is it just one of your moods?”
Jane scoffs, her eyes narrowed in offense. “Moods? I was busy, if you couldn’t tell,” she says, gesturing to the entirety of the first floor around them. And Maura has to admit, it does look a lot better than the first time she’d been here. More complete.
“You didn’t say goodbye,” Maura steps closer. She pulls a bottle from her bag and uses the trick Jane taught her - removes the cap by busting it at just the right angle against the old countertop so that it opens. She hands it to Jane, who takes it despite Maura’s obvious displeasure. “And you’re telling me you didn’t have one minute to check your phone? That you didn’t scroll it like you always do when you took a lunch break?”
Jane blushes at having been caught. “I’m tired,” she starts. Maura knows that much, so she tries again. “I… I needed a break.”
Maura’s face softens and she lowers her defensive stance. “Well, why didn’t you just say?”
Jane sighs. She shrugs and takes a pull from her beer. “Part of a break means not talkin’,” she grumbles petulantly.
“That makes no sense,” Maura points out. “How am I supposed to know you need a break and leave you alone if you don’t tell me?”
Faced with her own irrationality Jane slams the bottle down on the counter. “Because once I start talkin’ to you for the day I don’t have the discipline to stop, ok?! If I said bye like I usually do then you’ve got me by the nose for the whole rest of the day. And I needed to fucking think.”
Maura’s usual response to being cussed at is anger. Indignance. But this time, she smiles. Because she thinks she has an idea of what Jane is - very clumsily, by the way - trying to say. But she needs to know for sure. “You need to think and you can’t if you tell me you’re leaving?”
“No,” Jane says quietly. “Because then I’ve lost all my resolve.”
Maura actually chuckles. Jane retreating into herself like a tortoise is, well, it’s cute. “Resolve for what?”
“To think about us logically! I mean why the hell am I goin’ into your room in the morning and kissin’ you goodbye, huh? Why am I stayin’ over even when I know my life would be a lot easier if I got ready for this job at my place?” Jane asks aloud, more of herself than of Maura, Maura thinks.
“I suppose only you can answer that,” Maura says. She can’t help the humor in her tone. She gets closer, grabs Jane’s beer, hands it back. Jane looks like she needs it.
Jane does take a hearty gulp. “I know. And I can’t answer it if I’ve got a Maura-fog in my brain all day. I… shit. It just hurts me. How much I ache for you all the time.”
Maura has to consciously restrict herself from the aww that threatens to spill out of her mouth. It would send proud Jane running. So she just clicks her tongue and takes proud Jane into her arms, pressing the back of proud Jane’s head until it hits her shoulder and Jane’s resistance collapses into a returned embrace. “That’s what ache implies - hurt.”
“Ha. Ha,” Jane murmurs into Maura’s coat. She burrows deeper despite herself. “But what does it mean?”
“I think it means you’re in love with me,” Maura chances the truth, even though it is bold. “I’m sorry I didn’t see it before.”
Suddenly Jane sounds very small, but she is trusting: she drops her arms to her sides and leans her entire weight into Maura’s body, letting Maura hold her and hold her up. “Is that… is it ok?”
“More than ok. I’m actually very happy about it,” Maura says kindly. She is unused to being Jane’s stability, but she finds she quite likes it. She likes bundling up all that height and keeping it close, even if Jane is sweaty and dusty and smells like cut pipe.
Just then, as Jane is about to respond, there are happy steps all the way down the staircase that jump to the bottom floor, entirely unaware of their conversation. “Thought I heard someone come in!” Tommy starts. He is behind them, and he recognizes their embrace just after he speaks. “Uh oh, everything ok? Someone die?” he asks, attentive in his own way.
Jane only lifts her head up and rolls her eyes. Emboldened by Maura’s approval, she stands up straight and takes her place as protector again, pulling Maura close by the hip. “Go away,” she commands her brother.
Tommy sputters. “But-”
“Go. Away.” Jane reiterates.
“A’right, a’right,” Tommy says, and Maura can picture him throwing his hands up. She laughs when she hears him retreat.
“You were very poetic just now,” Maura tells Jane, looking up when she returns the hug.
Jane blushes again. “Don’t get used to it.”
“Something tells me I should get used to it,” Maura counters. She kisses Jane’s chin, pleased by the putty-like consistency Jane assumes against her when she does. “And you need to call your brother back in here so you can eat.”
“Nah,” Jane teases, breaking their embrace to turn towards the food. “He can wait.”
Chapter 65: I was made to love you
“Jesus Christ,” Jane huffs when her back hits the sheets and her panting slows enough to allow her to speak. A sheen of perspiration covers her body, mostly exposed to the air except for the tiny bit of thousand-thread count over her pelvis. It’s like a mockery of modesty, hiding her still-pulsing sex as if her breasts, her heaving ribcage, her tight abdomen aren’t just as salacious in Maura’s bed. “Is it always gonna be this good?” she asks, staring up at the ceiling fan instead of Maura, even though it’s doing nothing to cool her.
Maura loves that she can hear the smile in Jane’s voice even when she can’t see it. “That’s what the data set appears to be bearing out, yes,” she answers, even if she’s sure that the question is rhetorical. She misses the deep pressure of Jane’s body on top of hers already, so she rolls onto her side and into the crook of Jane’s arm. She knows they’re going to last forever when Jane wraps her up tight without her having to ask.
“Tell me somethin’ about us that you can’t get from the data,” Jane says. Maura feels the words against her cheek as they start in Jane’s lungs and buzz around up her trachea. “Somethin’ you can feel. Not somethin’ you can measure.”
Maura thinks for a moment, her mind emerging from the haze of orgasm slowly. “Hmm,” she says to buy herself some time. “I… it sounds impossible,” she begins.
Jane interrupts. “That’s the point.”
Maura pokes her, but Jane only draws her further in. And that’s how she knows what she is about to say is the truth. “I was made to love you,” she tells Jane. “I don’t even know how to explain it, but I feel as though my express purpose in life is to love you. To love you and to do science.”
Jane, clearly moved, rolls on top of her again, smothering her with kisses. Never has Maura so delighted in something so irrational before.
Chapter 66: Please. Please just listen to me
“I love you,” Maura says when Jane continues to arrange logs in the fireplace just so. Maura had only needed to say off-handedly once this afternoon that it was getting chilly enough for a fire, and here Jane is, reading the wood moisture meter as she goes along. Here Jane is, being marriage material. Maura cannot resist.
Unfortunately, however, Jane is not really paying attention. “Love you too,” says Jane, eyes only for her current project. “Do me a favor and pull some more logs in from out back? I split a bunch just now but wasn’t sure how much would fit.”
Maura fights the urge to feel rejected, because she has a brain like this. She knows that Jane isn’t rebuking her affections, Jane just can’t hear her over all the dopamine she’s getting from a task well done. “Jane, I said I love you.”
“You know what? I’ll go with you,” Jane stands, wiping her hands on her slacks still on from work. “I gotta put the ax away anyway.”
“Please,” Maura grows desperate despite her understanding. “Please just listen to me. I said that I love you. I’m in love with you.”
Jane finally looks at her. “I know,” she says. “I said I love you too.”
Maura gapes. “You…?”
“Now you gonna help me out there or not?” Jane asks, and finally gives Maura a tell. It’s a tiny smirk, the ghost of a wink, then a featherlight kiss to the cheek.
“Coming,” Maura says to Jane’s back, just before she scurries to catch up.