Jane‘s heart was in her throat as she watched the aftermath of the explosion on the screen. She should have been there. She should be there right now. Jane pushed through the doors, rushing to her desk with Maura close behind her. She reached for her jacket, thrown over the back of her chair, and as she moved to put her arm through one of the sleeves, she felt it again. The pain shot through her stomach and she hissed and gripped at the wound, grabbed the back of her chair for support.
“No,” Maura said behind her, her voice firm.
Jane ignored her, pulled herself back together and began shuffling around on her desk for the keys to her car. Had they pulled back in time? Jesus, what if someone was hurt?
“Jane,” Maura said, louder now. “No.”
Jane looked up then, her eyebrows raised. “No,” she repeated. Her mouth twitched on the verge of a smile. It wasn’t really a good time for Maura to be joking around.
“You’re not cleared for active duty,” Maura said. “You’re not fully recovered. We don’t know what is going on out there or what you’d be walking into. We should wait here.”
Jane raised the hand holding her jacket toward the screen, stared at Maura in disbelief. “Wait here,” she repeated. “Are you crazy?”
“Look at you,” Maura said. She gestured to Jane, still gripping her stomach.
“I’m fine,” Jane insisted.
Maura shook her head. “They want you safe, Jane.”
She could easily push past Maura. She had her car here. She knew the address of the house. But Maura was staring at her, arms folded firmly across her chest, shapely eyebrows raised. Maura was ready to fight her on this and Jane wasn‘t entirely sure she was up for that fight. She threw her keys back onto the desk and crossed the room again. She pushed through the doors and collapsed into a chair in front of the screen. She’d get there. She just needed a moment to think on how.
“What about you?” Jane asked as soon as she‘d come up with her next plan. “You need to be there.”
“That fire is burning too hot,” Maura said.
Jane looked up at the screen again. The house was ablaze. It was a lot of fire, even for an explosion that size. Forman had been prepared, and Maura was right, no one was getting into that house any time soon.
Jane sighed again and leaned back into her chair. So much for playing on Maura’s sense of duty, using it to get to the scene herself. Maura would want to be there to examine the body right away, Jane would promise to stay in the car. Of course, Maura would see through the lie, but it wouldn’t have mattered. She would have given in.
Jane’s hand was rubbing absently across her stomach as she stared at the screen. They watched in silence as the team waited, as the flames raged and sirens sounded in the distance. Eventually, remembering that Jane was watching, Frost appeared on the screen, assuring them that the team was safe and accounted for. Jane sighed with relief, then thanked him for the update.
“Stay safe,” she said.
“Yeah,” Frost promised. “We will.”
“Why didn’t you sleep with him?” Maura asked then.
“Frost?” Jane asked, her face twisted in horror. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with Frost. But he was like - he was like her third kid brother. Jesus, Maura. Gross.
“No,” Maura said, unphased by Jane’s reaction. “Casey.”
Jane shook her head, looked away, her laugh a puff of breath, silent.
“It would have helped,” Maura insisted.
“I did sleep with him,” Jane said. “We slept. In the same bed.”
“You know what I mean,” Maura pressed.
“I got naked,” Jane pointed out. “Somewhat. And he got off. I slept with him.”
“You didn’t have an orgasm,” Maura said.
No, Jane hadn’t had an orgasm. She’d stopped them. She’d pushed him away. Casey understood. He was a good guy. He thought that it was the pain, and it was, a little. They fooled around a bit and then, both exhausted from the job, they fell asleep.
“I can give myself an orgasm,” Jane reasoned. “I have.“ She leaned forward, her elbows resting on her knees. “Listen, I shot myself. It still hurts. It‘s not some psychosomatic whatever you said. It‘s a gunshot wound. Sex does not heal gunshot wounds.”
On the screen the fire department had arrived and were getting to work dousing the blaze. Maura glanced up at the scene and then shook her head and turned back to Jane. “It isn’t the same.”
“Masturbation,” Maura said. “It isn’t the same.”
She wasn’t going to let this go. Jane should have just let Maura believe that she and Casey had had sex. Maura would have thought her hypothesis wrong and dropped the entire thing.
“I don’t need to have sex,” Jane insisted. “I just need to get back to work. That’s what is going to heal me, not a fling with my old high school crush.”
“But why didn’t you?”
“Why didn’t I what?” Jane asked, her tone exasperated now.
“Have an orgasm,” Maura said. Jane was starting to feel like they are going in circles.
“Maura,” Jane warned. She stood and then she gasped and sat back down. When was she going to heal already? She didn’t have time for this. Not now.
“I’m taking you home,” Maura decided.
“What?” Jane asked. “No. I’m not going anywhere.” They needed her here. She needed to be here.
Maura shrugged and pulled out her phone. Who the hell was she calling? Frost? Korsak? Jane listened as Maura explained that Jane wasn’t feeling well (lies), that she was going to take her back and force her to get a few hours of sleep (yeah, right). Jane was glaring at Maura when she ended the call.
“Who the hell was that?” Jane asked. “Korsak?”
“He wants you to get some rest,” Maura confirmed. “Let’s go.”
“No way,” Jane said, but she let Maura gather her things and when Maura reached for her, taking her arm and pulling her up, Jane came easily. She let Maura lead her out to Maura’s car, sat down, swatted Maura’s hands away when Maura tried to buckle her in. Jane wasn’t an invalid.
They drove in silence through the dark streets of Boston. Finally, while stopped at a red light, Maura blurted, “I broke up with Byron.”
“Really,” Jane said, realizing a little too late that her tone didn‘t sound at all upset at this news. She frowned and reached out a hand, placed it on Maura‘s shoulder. “Why?”
Maura shrugged. “He was - he was a surgeon.”
Jane nodded though she didn’t know what exactly Maura meant by the statement. Jane couldn’t stand Byron. She new plenty of reasons that Maura should have wanted to break up with him.
The light turned green and Maura hit the gas again.
“So how are we feeling?” Jane asked, after a moment, mocking Byron’s bedside manner of speaking.
“We are feeling,” here Maura paused to think it over, make sure what she was about to say was really the truth. “We’re feeling all right about the situation.”
Jane nodded. “I’m sorry,” she said. It was late and the streets were empty. They were only a few blocks from Jane’s place now.
“No, you’re not,” Maura countered.
Jane looked up, turned toward Maura, surprised. “What? Of course, I am.”
“You never like any of the men I’m with,” Maura said, simply.
“That’s not true,” Jane said.
“Name one,” Maura countered.
Jane opened her mouth to respond, then shut it again when she realized she didn’t have a readily available answer and had to think about it. Maura waited patiently as she contemplated.
There was that guy that was really into charity organizations. That was nice, Jane supposed, or would have been if he hadn’t been the dullest man on the face of the planet. There was - Jane snapped her fingers. “The archaeologist,” she said. “What was his name? I liked him.”
“Fred,” Maura supplied as she shook her head. “You didn’t like him. You couldn’t stand the way that he held doors open for you.”
“Oh yeah,” Jane agreed. She shifted in her seat. “That and he was a condescending asshole.” The archaeologist was awful. He ruined Jane’s opinion of archaeologists. The Indiana Jones myth. Which, of course, Jane had known wasn’t accurate to begin with, but man, did Maura’s archaeologist ruin it.
Maura held up a hand, case made.
“No,” Jane said. She realized that it was starting to sound an awful lot like she was trying to convince herself. And failing. “No, I like the men you date. Sometimes I like them.”
Maura found a parking spot easily. Jane rushed and got out of the car before Maura could try to help her again. As she unlocked the door to her place, she turned back to Maura and said, “Maybe if you listed some of your exes.”
She just wasn’t remembering them. Byron had blocked out all of Maura’s past relationships in Jane’s mind. That was it.
Maura laughed. “It doesn’t matter, Jane. I understand.”
“You understand what?” Jane asked, tossing her keys on the counter and collapsing onto her couch with a groan.
“You’re protective,” Maura said. “You’ve never liked any of Frankie’s girlfriends either.”
“Ha,“ Jane said in triumph, pointing at Maura. “That’s definitely not true. I liked Bianca Florence. I set them up! It’s not my fault Frankie was too stupid to hold onto her.”
Maura went to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of wine. She held up the bottle and Jane pulled a face. Maura set it back down and retrieved a beer from the fridge.
“So it really is just my boyfriends then,” Maura concluded, coming to sit with Jane.
Jane shrugged, petulant, and took the beer that Maura handed to her. She poked at the label for a moment before she registered what it was exactly that Maura had given her. “You’re giving me a beer?”
“You seem like you could use it,” Maura shrugged.
Jane had been told no alcohol until she was fully recovered. Of course, she’d ignored this advice herself, but to have Maura going against Byron’s prescribed plan was surprising. Jane laughed. “You obviously didn’t like Byron that much either.”
Jane was still laughing as she took the first sip of her beer. Something in the movement pulled at the wound and she winced, her teeth hitting hard against the mouth of the glass bottle.
“It still hurts,” Maura guessed.
“Yes,” Jane hissed. “Moving from work to my living room isn’t going to stop it from hurting.”
Maura took a deep breath, but didn‘t say anything.
“What is it?” Jane asked. “You have that face.” It was the face that told Jane that Maura was about to spout off some kind of crazy science talk that was going to mean absolutely nothing to Jane at this moment. Jane would rather Maura just get it over with already. No reason to prolong Jane‘s boredom.
Maura set her glass of wine on the coffee table.
“Can I try something?” Maura asked.
Jane was instantly wary. “What?”
“I’m going to kiss you,” Maura said, matter of fact.
Jane laughed, surprised at Maura’s response. “Why?”
“It’ll help you,” Maura said. Her brow was knit. She was thoroughly confused as to why Jane was laughing at her.
“You’re serious,” Jane said.
“Okay,” Jane said, trying to stop her self, but still laughing, just a little. “Kissing you will help me how?”
Jane had inched away from Maura, was subconsciously pressing herself back into her end of the couch. Maura took this in, her mouth turned down into a frown.
“You don’t want to kiss me,” Maura concluded then. She pulled away a little, and Jane was surprised by how much it seemed to hurt her that Jane had turned it all into a joke.
“No, I don’t want to kiss you,” Jane agreed anyway, eyebrows raised as though this was most obvious.
“Why?” Maura asked. “I’m trying to help. Am I somehow repulsive to you?”
“You’re not repulsive,” Jane said immediately. “Maura, you’re beautiful. You know that.”
Maura picked up her wine, took a large gulp. Jane snorted a little, still stuck with the giggles. It was funny. Maura driving her home, giving her a beer and asking her to make out was really very funny.
“Oh,” Maura said. “Now even the way that I drink is funny and unappealing.”
“You aren’t unappealing!” Jane said, laughing even harder now. She sat up and reached for Maura.
Maura came easily, and Jane, who had intended to hug her best friend, to reassure her of her appeal, found herself going in for a kiss instead. It was quick. Friendly and easy, but most definitely a kiss. Jane was pulling away before she‘d really caught up to what she was doing. They stared at each other for a moment, stunned, and then Jane laughed again, turned her head and looked away.
“Sorry,” she said.
“Don’t apologize,” Maura responded immediately.
“Sorry,” Jane said again, this time apologizing for apologizing.
Jane picked up her phone, checked for missed calls. Nothing. The fire had been large. It would take some time before the building was safe enough for anyone to enter.
“Jane,” Maura said. She reached out to take the phone from Jane‘s hand and set it back on the table.
“Yeah?” Jane asked. She wiped her hands on the legs of her slacks and then turned her attention back to Maura.
“Kiss me again.”
“No,” Jane said immediately, shook her head.
“Kiss me again,” Maura insisted.
“This isn’t helping me,” Jane said, aware that her tone had just become a whine. “This is just making me more agitated.”
“I know,” Maura agreed. “It isn’t how I thought it would go.”
“What did you think?” Jane asked. “That I’d just let you kiss me, and then what? We sleep together just so that you can prove some crazy scientific para-something blah blah point?”
“Parasympathetic nerve,” Maura corrected. “It’s just sex. And if it’s going to help you to relax, if it helps you heal, then I think we should do it.”
Jane screwed up her face in disbelief at Maura‘s words. “You don’t think like normal people. You know that, right?”
“I‘m normal,” Maura countered, defensive.
“Sorry,” Jane said for a third time. “I know. I meant -”
“Will you just please kiss me again?” Maura asked. Her tone was clipped now. She was irritated and she held up a hand for Jane to stop talking. “If it’s awkward we’ll stop, all right? It’ll just be two friends sharing a friendly kiss.”
“There is nothing about this that isn’t awkward,” Jane muttered. Or friendly, judging by Maura‘s tone. The next step would be Maura yelling at her, which certainly wouldn‘t do anything to help Jane to heal. So Jane did the only thing left. She gave in and reached for Maura again. Maura shifted closer on Jane’s couch, reached up and slid a hand behind Jane’s neck, her fingers tangled in Jane’s hair.
Jane kissed her. Jane kissed her just once, but when Maura leaned in and kissed Jane a second time, Jane didn’t pull away. She didn’t knock Maura’s hand from her neck. She let Maura pull her in. Jane let Maura press her lips to Jane’s top lip, then her bottom. And after Maura kissed her four or five times Jane gave in again and began to kiss Maura back. It worked better, the movement of two mouths against each other, and she felt Maura shift. She opened her eyes and watched Maura’s skirt ride up a little as she slid closer.
“You see,” Maura said, pausing for breath. “It isn’t that awkward.”
“Yes, it is,” Jane countered. It was awkward, but it was also kind of nice. And the more they kissed, the nicer it became. Jane leaned in again. Their kisses were slow, simple, affectionate. Maura wasn‘t pushing anymore, and Jane wasn’t stopping.
And then Maura reached for the buttons on Jane’s shirt and Jane laughed again. This time Maura ignored her, leaned in and kissed Jane’s exposed collar bone.
“This is weird,” Jane admitted.
Maura sat back. “Do you want me to stop?”
“Do you want to stop?”
“No,” Maura said. “I’m enjoying this.”
Jane raised her eyebrows, and Maura shrugged, smiled.
“What?” Maura said. “I’d be lying if I said I’d never thought about it. You’re a beautiful woman, Jane. And we’re so close. It’s natural to wonder what it might - “
“Okay,” Jane said. “Stop talking.”
“Of course, if you’re uncomfortable -”
“I didn’t say that I wanted to stop,” Jane said. “I just said that it was weird. It’s good weird, okay?”
“Good weird,” Maura repeated. “What does that -”
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” Jane said. “Now we’re ruining it.”
“If it was a problem, you were right to speak up,” Maura said, her tone serious. “I don’t want to take advantage.”
“Oh, you’re taking advantage of me now?”
“I don’t know,” Maura said. “Am I?”
“Jesus,” Jane said. She picked up where Maura had left off, fumbling with the buttons on her shirt. After a moment Jane gave up and pulled the shirt over her head, tossing it to the floor. She pushed Maura back on the couch, and then moved over Maura until she was leaning over her, her hair a curtain around them as she leaned in to kiss Maura once more. This time when she pulled back, Maura was the one smiling.
“What?” Jane asked.
“Nothing,” Maura said. She reached up to push some of Jane‘s hair behind Jane‘s ear, but the smile was still there.
“No,” Jane pressed, smiling too now, though she was a little unsure. “What is it?”
“This is more like how I imagined it would go.”
Jane groaned when her cellphone began ringing. She turned and slapped around on the nightstand until she located it. Her voice sounded hoarse when she answered and she cleared her throat and started again.
“Sounds like you got some rest,” Korsak noted. She could hear people and engines in the background.
“Sounds like you didn’t,” Jane returned.
“We’re bringing in the body now,” Korsak said.
Jane sat up and ran a hand through her hair. “I’ll let Maura know. We‘ll be right there.”
She set down the phone and turned to where Maura was sleeping beside her, her hair tangled against Jane’s pillows. They hadn’t had sex. In the end, they’d laughed, and kissed some more, and had another glass of wine. And then they went to bed and the kissing began all over again.
They hadn’t had sex, but looking at Maura now, Jane remembered the way she’d felt last night once they’d moved past the initial stages of surprise and awkwardness. Jane remembered Maura’s mouth on hers, Maura’s hands, and she thought - well, they might. This thing that was happening between them might be worth exploring, expanding on. And if it was, and they did, then down the road -
Maura shifted beneath the blankets and Jane reached out to set a hand on her shoulder.
When Maura opened her eyes and smiled at Jane, Jane said, “They’re bringing him in.”
So much for morning romance.
They left the bed quickly after that, getting dressed and presentable. Maura had been staying at Jane’s periodically when Jane’s pain was at its worst. It worked out well now. She had a change of clothes.
On the sidewalk, Jane started toward the area where she usually parked her car before Maura reached for her arm and pulled her in the other direction. Right. Jane’s car wasn’t here.
They drove to the precinct in silence, arriving before the others had returned. Once there Jane reached for her seatbelt, but Maura reached out and set a hand on her arm.
“You haven’t flinched all morning,” Maura said. “Are you in pain?”
“Not yet,” Jane said, truthfully.
“You feel better,” Maura guessed.
“I‘ll feel better once we’ve had a look at the bastard who killed Abby Sherman,” Jane concluded.
“Yes,” Maura agreed. “But physically. You feel better physically this morning, don’t you?”
“I feel like I slept with my best friend,” Jane said, but she caught herself smiling a little as she said it.
“We didn’t have sex,” Maura pointed out.
“No,” Jane agreed. “But that was a pretty involved make out session.”
“True,” Maura smiled, then frowned. “Are you regretting -”
“No,” Jane said, quickly. “I don’t know.”
Maura nodded and then moved to get out of the car.
On the sidewalk Jane said, “It does feel a little like I’m suddenly dating two people.”
Maura paused. “You and Casey were serious?”
“I don’t know,” Jane admitted again.
Maura frowned, looked down at the sidewalk and then back up at Jane. “I didn’t mean to confuse things. It never has to happen again.”
Jane looked up now too. “What if I want it to happen again?”
“Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to confuse things a bit,” Jane added.
Maura was staring at her, eyebrows raised. Jane reached out and set a hand on Maura’s arm, just a brief touch before she let it fall away again, settling back at her side. She began walking toward the door and Maura followed, her heels clicking on the sidewalk as she rushed to catch up.
“I think we need to accept the evidence,” Maura said on the stairs. “It leads to only one obvious answer.”
“Oh,” Jane laughed. “And what is that?”
“I’m good for you.”
“We’ll see,” Jane said. “The day isn’t over yet.”
“Right,” Maura agreed. She reached out, set a warm hand on Jane‘s side. She was about to ask Jane to take a deep breath, but she caught Jane‘s eye roll and changed her mind. She removed her hand again and said, “I’ll check in with you later today. And don’t lie and tell me that you’re still in pain if you aren’t. I’ll know.”
“I’d never do that,” Jane said.
“Yes, you would,” Maura countered.
“You’re right,” Jane grinned. “I would.”
Jane watched Maura head downstairs to her lab and thought maybe Maura was right. Maybe she was good for Jane. Not - the psychosomatic wound thing was a load of bullshit - but maybe she was just good for Jane all around.
Maybe it was time to try confusing things between them a little.