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Nocturne

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When she pulled her arms through the sleeves, the dress slid over Maura's head easily and settled around her hips as she ran her palms down the front, smoothing the fabric into place. It wasn't like changing at home, where she could see her full reflection in the mirror, but slipping into the dress was as familiar as the complex flavors of her favorite tea. She knew exactly how and where it hugged her form; she knew how the warm red color stood out against her skin and matched the delicate piping of her shoes. It was her favorite; it was what she went to when she was anticipating her night, when she was excited, and if she had to admit it, when she was nervous. And as she slipped into her shoes, she hoped that Jane would find it equally as attractive, as well as a little bit distracting.

Maura had plans. She ran her fingers through her hair before switching her earrings and folding the clothes she had worn to work. When she stepped out of her office, the building was mostly empty. She knew where Jane would be, and she knew the brunette would not be expecting her looking quite like this.

She wanted to go out—to really go out together. It didn't matter to Maura who was taking whom. The thrill was the same either way, and she knew Jane would just have time to run back to her place and change, just enough time not to be able to talk herself into an excuse before the dinner reservation. It was not long before her heels were clicking in the hallway outside of the squad room, and as she walked, she checked her phone, making sure she remembered correctly when she could be at Will Call. Berlioz… not her first choice, but she was happy enough to go. And because of her charitable donations to the symphony, the tickets were waiting and their seats were very good. Instead of worrying what Jane would think, how Jane would respond, instead of focusing on how Jane had responded to such glimpses of this world before, she busied herself with those small details.

She could see Jane through the glass as she opened the door, and Maura did not need to be able to see her face to know the expression. There, hunched over a file, her eyebrows would be knit together in concentration, perhaps frustration as well. But she smiled to herself knowing that when Jane realized she was there, that expression would change, if only for a moment.

"I brought you a copy of the autopsy report," Maura said quietly, "that you can look over in the morning."

Jane looked up at the sound of her voice, and she was poised to begin speaking. But she was always tense, always ready for some sort of movement, and Maura found it extremely gratifying when the brunette took a moment to lean back and simply appreciate her.

"Thanks." Jane looked as if she was grasping for the right words as she took the folder. "Is it 'change your clothes during work' day, or was there something in my coffee this morning that made that outfit look…entirely different?"

Maura glanced around the room, aware that Jane might not appreciate anyone overhearing her answer. Such little precautions had become so routine, but they stood out to her now in the small knot they caused in her stomach, at the cluster of thoughts centering around them that she wanted to ignore. "A date, Jane. I want to go on…a real date." They went out often enough—a drink after work or lunch or a late dinner at the bar—but it was never with so much purpose. And Maura wanted to enjoy a night that was planned specifically as something for them. "You've just got time to change before dinner, and we can't be late or else I won't be able to pick up our symphony tickets." She smiled brightly as she waited for Jane to process that. But she did not want to wait for too long.

"What?" Jane said it a little too loudly, dropping the file back onto her desk, "I, now?" She whispered hurriedly, glancing around, eyes landing back on Maura. Now? Tonight? Changed? Thoughts were going through her head, some of them excuses. Jane wanted nothing more than to spend the evening with Maura, and though she didn't know what was happening half the time, she could think of little else lately. Still, she didn't know if she could manage such a formal date. What would she wear? What if she embarrassed herself terribly?

"Now..." Maura's smile softened with an unspoken please. She stepped back, heels clicking softly as she felt eyes turning their way. Maura had grown used to the feeling of gazes falling on her, and she had also grown adept at ignoring them, at pretending they were not there. The dead gazed at nothing. But today, she was conscious of Jane's frenzied look--conscious and determined not to let it worry her. "Come on...I'll help you..."

Jane tried not to notice she was sweating lightly as Maura pulled into her reserved parking space—parking space?—that apparently came with her tickets. The blonde nodded at the attendant who greeted her by name, tossing a polite "Enjoy your evening" as they made their way upstairs. Maura seemed to relax as they threaded through the crowd. The blonde's hand found hers, and Jane blushed. She wasn't likely to see anyone she knew here—but Maura certainly was, and something about that made Jane's heart skip for a moment. The lights flickered, and Jane found Maura leading them to their seats as the stage lights came up, and the house lights dimmed. Even with little experience, Jane could tell the seats were good—very good. She couldn't help but look around their section, wondering just who else made it a habit to come here on a Thursday and wondering even more at the empty seats that some wealthy people had chosen to leave empty in favor of whatever was on their television that night. The first strains of music began, and Jane finally started to relax, even as she felt Maura's fingers play gently over her arm.

As the night wore on, Maura found herself more captivated by Jane than the sounds that filled her ears. It had not been long before she twined her fingers with Jane's, and their hands had been growing steadily warm throughout. There was a moment during the overture to Béatrice et Bénédict where Maura caught her leaning forward, and she felt a small thrill of delight run through her as she squeezed Jane's hand. But as the lights came up and the familiar rustle of intermission started, a small sense of doubt began to creep over her. The evening had been quick, the food simple but rich and their arrival at Symphony Hall perfectly timed. In not giving Jane much time to think, Maura had not given herself time to give over to worries that were well grounded...just as grounded as Jane's misgivings and fears. She held Jane's elbow lightly as they made their way through the auditorium, smiling and nodding to the people she knew, giving a brief hello where it was necessary, but somehow, once they had their champagne, she managed to find a small, almost private space. Her cheeks were flushed. "They've saved Symphonie Fantastique for the end...it's...one of the most important works of the Romantic period," she said with an almost breathless but matter of fact tone, wondering just what Jane was thinking as she fingered the stem of her glass. "And the final movement—it's called the Dream of a Witches' Sabbath..." A self-conscious smile spread across her face. "It incorporates the Dies Irae in the most breathtaking..." Maura sighed, lost in facts and memories and the rush of anticipation. She looked down for a moment, hoping that when she met Jane's eyes again, she wouldn't find disdain there.

A brief silence fell between them as a smile started to grow across Jane's face. Finally, she chuckled quietly, not sure whether it was the surreal feeling of the night or the half-empty glass in her hand that started it. "Maura, I have no idea what you just said." Her tone was light, and she took another sip, thoroughly enjoying the flavor, "but unless there's any actual witches in it—I'm looking forward to it." And she was, an almost surprising amount.

"Oh! Witches...I..." Maura let herself laugh with delight that Jane wasn't about to storm away, and if she really admitted it, she was also relieved to find that Jane wasn't planning on pushing through the crowd for another glass or two. There was something about the moment that threatened to overwhelm, almost to the point where Maura knew she could become uncomfortable when surrounded by so many bodies. She took Jane's hand and quickly leaned in for a soft kiss. They were beginning to come together in ways that were deeper than she had imagined. "We should go back in."

At that moment, Jane was glad for the dimming of the lights to cover her flushed cheeks. She hadn't been ready for such a public display, but was quietly amazed at how good it felt that Maura seemed to make that move so easily. Her mind was still reeling as the music began again.

When they were finally in the night air again, Maura was gesturing, the beat of the fugue still in her mind. She was smiling as she talked, recalling facts, explaining the story of each movement, how human and captivating it was. And Jane was laughing, not specifically at her, Maura thought. When they reached the car, she took a deep breath, and her eyes fell on Jane—Jane there smiling in a dress that she still did not look entirely comfortable wearing. But that was part of the absolutely unmistakable charm of it. Maura could have kissed her right there, but she let her usual reserve fall back over her. Jane had enjoyed herself, and things that Maura had not allowed herself to dread happening had not indeed happened. But there was still the rest of the evening, and it was not fair to keep pulling Jane away from her own thoughts. "We could go back to my place for a drink," she said quietly, following it with an almost shy smile.

"I'd like that." Jane didn't take time to think about it for once, she just knew she wasn't ready for the night to end there.

So many things about the night were familiar, but from the very moment she put on the dress, the prospect of sharing them with Jane had transformed them all. And now, Maura began to settle into the drive, realizing just how many times lately she had made it with Jane, how different it seemed not to be alone. She smiled softly to herself, glancing at Jane as the streetlights they passed played over her face. She pulled into her drive silently, and they walked into the house the same way. But this time, Maura found herself seeking Jane's hand again. She had been raised to be reserved, but even the small gesture on an empty street was full of meaning. "I think there's a few leftover beers in the fridge from the last time..." She took Jane's coat, hanging it beside her own.

"Oh, okay." Jane smiled, but just pulled Maura a little closer as she slipped out of her own shoes. "But do they go with what I'm wearing?" She couldn't help glancing over Maura's form so close to her. The tension had been building again, and Jane wasn't sure she needed the pretext of a drink, possibly for the first time.

"Jane..." Maura said her name as if she were tasting it. She could see the look in the brunette's eyes, and the way Jane so quickly, so easily settled into the promise of the evening's close. There was no shifting, no blushing. Each of these facts began to quickly add up in Maura's mind, and she became breathless. She, who planned, who looked for realism had not planned beyond Jane's self-consciousness. But they were in her entryway again, as they had been before, and she felt almost frozen in the brunette's arms.

Despite the many surprises of the night, Jane found the rest of life start to fade, and she leaned in to kiss Maura. Her lips then moved down the other woman's skin, over her cheek to her neck. Long fingers brushed back blonde hair, and Jane breathed more contentedly. The unknown and its attendant fear was finally giving in, and Jane didn't need to seek permission. That feeling alone was amazing. She pulled away enough to take Maura's hands, and put them around her waist. She smiled, "Thank you for a wonderful night Maura, really."

"I wasn't sure what you would think," Maura admitted, pressing her palms to the small of Jane's back. Jane's dark eyes were alive and sincere, and Maura could see desire growing in them as it began to pulse through Jane's body. She pressed her into another kiss--soft but not wholly assured. She wasn't sure what Jane would think of the night, and now she knew Jane had enjoyed it. But she was still not sure what Jane would think of her need for nights like that.

Jane smiled again, and started slowly walking backward, pulling Maura with her as they moved toward the stairs. "Well, I'll admit it wasn't my usual night, but I liked being there with you."

"Good..." A bright but small smile came to Maura's face as she let Jane guide her. They slowly made their way up the stairs, never breaking the contact, trying not to look away from each other's eyes. "I'm glad...I'm so glad." And the relief in her voice was genuine. After various tensions between them, they could still share this, and it had been easy. It was all growing so easy.

By the time they reached the bedroom, Jane was starting to tug at Maura's dress, fingers reaching the zipper at the back. She kissed the blonde's neck again, pulling her closer. "God, Maura..."

Moments like these haunted Maura's dreams, crept into her straying thoughts, and she took great pleasure in remembering them, in looking forward to them. She was close to giving over to Jane as she stretched, lengthening her neck. The dress fell away. How many times had it fallen to the floor this way or been wrinkled under someone's touch? She did not take the time to count or to remember. This memory would replace those. And that was what stopped her. She stroked Jane's hair before touching her warm cheek as she pulled away just enough to look into her eyes. "This is what I want...us. I want...you, Jane." Even when she had realized it, she had not realized the true extent. But she wanted all of Jane--not just stolen moments, not just the hours that could be spared.

Jane paused, standing still as her eyes locked with Maura's. She could still feel her heard pounding in her chest, and her fingers froze in Maura's hair. She tried to work through the statement, it's value. "Us?"

"Us..." Maura took a deep breath to calm and sort through her thoughts. She could feel the ripple of momentary panic through Jane's stilled hands. "Dinners and dates and taking your hand without wondering if it's the wrong time or place. I..." What did she want? She had wanted only the passion, the hurried nights, the slow mornings. She wanted to limit those things to Jane only, and she had not minded the preludes to them, but Maura realized she did not want those things to simply be preludes. "Jane, do you see...?"

Jane swallowed and leaned back. Maura's tone was suddenly so sincere, and she wasn't ready for it. "Maura...I..." Jane didn't know how to finish the sentence. I want all those things too...but... there were so many images that Jane hadn't come to terms with. Part of her was still convinced that this...she...would be a passing interest for Maura, and she was just lucky enough to be the object of that interest for a while. Still another part was denying it altogether. And now, here she was stumbling over how not to ruin things as usual.

"Jane..." Maura tried not to let her voice fall. She could hear the unspoken 'but' in Jane's tone, but worse than that, Maura could see, could feel the way the brunette's demeanor changed. It shouldn't have surprised her so much. Her own thoughts were strong and immediate, and for once, she had not taken the time to think them through, to let them simmer while she contemplated how Jane might respond. The night had been almost magical enough to make her think there would be no difference in their thinking. She found that she was still, her lips unmoving.

Because she had never been careful to consider things before, it seemed twice as hard, twice as painstaking with Maura, and even Jane knew the silence had gone too long, that the tension was becoming ominous. But she had no words; she had nothing but a growing sense of helplessness and a lump in her throat. And faced with that, she reached for Maura, fingers meeting silky, pristine hair as she pulled the blonde forward and into a fierce kiss.

They were tumbling back onto the bed, but it was Jane's mind that was reeling while her body seemed to neatly settle underneath Maura's. She heard one thump and then another but only vaguely registered it as Maura's shoes falling to the floor. Her hands were working independent of her thoughts, fueled by Maura's kisses, by the way all conversation seemed to be lost to her moans. She felt the soft skin of Maura's hip and the cool silk of her panties give way, slide off under her fingers even as she thought, knew, that this was not the "us' Maura was talking about.

But Maura wasn't stopping. She squirmed, letting the panties slip down her legs and off as she pushed Jane's dress up. It was easier to give over to her instinct, and she told herself that it was perhaps more human than focusing on whether or not she had made a mistake in what she said, in what she wanted. There were more immediate wants, and as she pushed Jane's panties aside, moaning as she found the brunette wet and pulsing when she pushed her fingers into her, Maura sought to drive the pauses, the doubts away from Jane.

She wasn't sure if this was what Jane needed as reassurance, as currency for an agreement that Maura now so desperately wanted to be more concrete, but she pushed away, and she pressed her lips to Jane's neck, tasting her salty skin and scraping her teeth over her pulse as if asking why she balked, why her first instinct was to run away. She demanded it as she pressed another finger inside of her, and she demanded her own pleasure too, shifting to straddle Jane's thigh and moaning that the contact was not nearly enough, not yet.

For a moment, Maura looked into Jane's eyes, and Jane moaned. She had seen laughter in that gaze, and she had seen desire and even confusion. But she had never seen Maura so intent, so demanding. Her body arched under the ferocity of the touch, giving answers that she did not have, that she didn't know if she could find, and she grasped at Maura's smooth back as if it would tell her why a simple word could loom so ominously that it left her hesitating between her desires and her insecurities.

"Jane," Maura was moaning, and Jane pressed her thigh hard against her. She held Maura's hips there, clinging to her as much as pushing her down, and she gasped when she felt the heel of the blonde's hand pressing into her clit in time with the thrusts against her thigh, into her body. "Jane…" Even her name was a demand timed perfectly with the delicious pain of each of Maura's thrusts, and Jane gave over to that, to the feeling, letting it fill the spaces that she could not fill with answers or rational though. She twisted under Maura, overwhelmed and clawing as her climax forced her body rigid with utter delight. Her own moans were distant to the sound of blood rushing in her ears, but soon that all became silence. She began too aware of the heat of Maura next to her, of her own panting breaths. She was shifting, moving, her vision clouded, and her thoughts too sluggish.

"I…" Her dress fell awkwardly around her legs again as she stood too quickly. "There's…court…in the morning. I should…" Jane couldn't look at Maura yet; she smoothed the dress, conscious of the feel of the fabric against her scars. "You know how it can be early on the stand..."

Maura was quiet, her own pulsing need still filling her, still fighting for control of her every thought. It was too difficult to will herself not to move, to lie naked and cooling as she watched Jane finally raise her eyes. She nodded, her lips thin. Silence still hung between them as if it had not been broken, and Maura knew it hadn't. Slowly, she sat, watching Jane's receding form, listening to her pad down the stairs. Her eyes settled on her crumpled dress lying on the floor--so much promise. Jane would put her shoes on as she called a cab. As it drove away, she would twist her hands in her lap, and Maura would listen until she couldn't hear the engine anymore.

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