There were a few things Jane Rizzoli was absolutely certain on.
-The Red Sox are better than the Yankees.
-Her Mother will always meddle.
-Bad guys will eventually slip up.
-Maura Isles is always dressed impeccably.
The shock of seeing her best friend dressed in a pair of un-pressed black slacks and a simple red polo with dress boots that looked like they came from the local discount store and were horribly scuffed nearly threw the normally calm and collected detective into a tailspin. As she stood in the doorway of the medical examiner's office, her brain tried desperately to reconcile what she was seeing – Dr. Maura Isles dressed casually and a little frumpy with hair pulled back in a clip and no makeup on – with what she knew should actually be happening because that is just the way things were – Dr. Maura Isles dressed in something high dollar, fashionable, and with her hair and makeup perfectly done.
It was too much; she stepped quietly out of the doorway and turned to walk out to gather her thoughts. It was a unfortunate timing for one of the lab technicians to be making a break for the morgue exit. Jane spotted her like a lioness spotting prey and went after the little tech with a fierce determination.
"Hey, Stacy, you got a sec?" Jane stepped into the main area of the morgue and quickly blocked the technician's only way out.
The small brunette was instantly nervous as she tried to not make eye contact for too long. "Of course, Detective Rizzoli. What can I do for you?"
"Do you know what's up with Maura?"
"I-I don't know what you mean, Detective," Stacy's eyes suddenly found the floor very interesting. "Dr. Isles has been nothing but her usual, faultless, professional self today." She began to nervously play with her engagement ring.
"Not buying it." The much taller brunette crossed her arms. "Maura looks like, well, me, and I know she talks to you, so, before I go in there and say or do something stupid, can you please just tell me what's up?"
"Detective, I don't think…"
"Look, Jane," the smaller brunette finally gave up, looking Jane directly in the eyes. "It's really not my place to tell you Maura's business, and I promised her that I'd remain professional so long as we were all working. Don't ask me to break my friend's confidence like that. I mean, what would you do if you were in my place?"
"Run." Jane gave an amused snort.
"I was trying, but you're blocking my way out."
"Okay, can you at least give me a hint? Maura looks awful. I've never seen her so… unfashionable. I'd ask her myself, but we… had a disagreement last night, and I'm thinking she's still mad at me."
"Yeah, I heard about that." At Jane's raised eyebrow, Stacy winced. "Not details. Maura just said that you two had a disagreement over a mutual acquaintance."
"Oh." With a sigh, the technician ran a shaky hand across the back of her neck. "I-I don't think I want to… to know details. You two are… complicated. I mean," again the small brunette winced, "y-you have a complicated relationship… friendship. You and Maura have a complicated friendship."
"I don't think I like what you're implying." The detective narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms as she did so.
"I'm not implying anything. I'm just saying that maybe what you were fighting about isn't what you were actually fighting about. Look, all I know is that, when Maura came in today, it looked like she'd been crying all night, which is not really something Maura does. I mean, she's just not the type, and you see how she's dressed. She looks like someone told her that they shot her puppy or took her one true love away or something. I really don't know, and she didn't want to talk about it. But," Stacy stood a little straighter, eyes getting a hardness to them as she went on, "I'm willing to bet this all has something to do with whatever you told her or did to her last night."
"I did to her? Now wait a minute, what makes you think that I…"
"Because the guys are the ones who normally say or do something stupid. I'm out of here. I'm going to be late for a meeting if I don't go. Whatever you did to Maura, go fix it on your own, Detective." With that slam, the little brunette pushed passed the detective and out of the morgue.
"Maura, you got a minute?" Jane stepped softly into the medical examiner's office and gently closed the door behind her.
"What can I do for you, Detective?" The formal address was given with a cold inflection and hard eyes. Maura Isles was clearly still upset.
The detective grimaced. "I'm sorry."
"Come again?" Maura shook her head, blinking rapidly as her normally quick and always working mind came to a grinding halt. "You what?"
"I said I'm sorry." Apology written across her features, Jane stepped further into the office. "I was a jerk last night, and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. That was uncalled for." She continued to slowly walk across the room to Maura's desk. "I know you have a thing for Gabe, too, and I shouldn't have come barging into your home accusing you of things that I have no right to even question you on. You two are grown adults – and, in theory, so am I – and you guys should be able to do whatever you want." She shrugged. "I'm sorry." With the final apology, she stopped just to the side of the desk and waited.
"Gabriel and I haven't done anything, Jane. I was more upset you felt the need to tell me that you and he were thinking of," Maura's voice cracked, "Well, I'm sure you two will make a lovely couple. I just wish you'd simply told me as opposed to saying… what you said."
"Yeah, about that," again the detective grimaced. "We… we aren't and we haven't. I sort of just let you think that because I was pissed and… and I am so sorry, Maura."
"I'm going to be angry at you for some time, Jane. You put my character into question. You questioned my integrity. You insinuated I had no care or feelings regarding our friendship. You told me," the doctor's voice waivered, cracking again. "Y-you told me you thought I didn't care about you. How could you say that, Jane? After everything we've done for each other? You would destroy our relationship for a man we've both just met?"
"I'm a screw up." With a heavy sigh, Jane leaned against the desk, one arm wrapped around her waist, the other pinching the bridge of her nose. "I'd say something else, but you'd chastise me for my language." She glanced up to see if the small joke had any affect. Maura was staring at her, face blank. "I… I don't know what to say to make this better. I messed up, and I'm sorry. I know you better than that, Maura, and I don't know what I was thinking. I saw you two out on what looked like a date, and I freaked out. You were on date, and I just snapped. I'm sorry. I really am."
"I was on a date?" Maura tilted her head to the side, eyes narrowing.
"Yeah, that's what I said. You and Gabe were on a date. Well, you were on what looked like a date."
"No, Jane, you said I was on a date." The honey-blonde rose from her chair to stand in front of the lanky detective. "How long," her voice was quiet but firm. "are we going to keep doing this, Jane?"
"Keeping doing what?" Jane dropped her hands, placing them behind her on the desk.
"Fighting each time one of us going on a date. We do it every time, without fail. It is one of the few things I have become absolutely certain on. Jane, do you know why we continue this cycle?"
"Because I'm the guy, and guys are the ones who normally say or do something or stupid?" Jane gave a weak smile.
"There is a list of reasons why that statement is incorrect, but, for the sake of brevity, let me just say that you're right in a metaphorical sense." Maura sighed. "I can't keep doing this. It's starting to affect me in ways that I cannot control. I mean, just look at me, Jane." She held her arms out, glancing down at herself. "I look like, well, just look."
"You look normal."
Maura gave the brunette a hard look. "I didn't sleep well last night. I can't concentrate today. This cannot go on. I need you to decide with finality what you are going to do and, once you decide, I need you to stick with it. I don't handle emotions well, and you seem to be one of the few people who can upset the normal calm resolve I have over them." The smaller woman crossed her arms, body language screaming sad resignation.
"I don't know," at the sad yet angry look in Maura's eyes, Jane stopped talking for a moment. "Okay… okay, you're right, and I'm… going to stop apologizing now." She sighed. "Maura, I… come on." She grabbed the doctor's hand.
"What… where are you taking me? Jane, this is not what I asked for." The doctor protested from the moment Jane took her hand and dragged her from her office until they were in the parking lot. "Where are we going?"
"Your place. Get in the car." Jane already had the passenger's door open.
"I will not. You can't just change the subject. Jane, I need an answer. How dare you think that you can…"
"Maura, get in the car." Despite the threat in her voice, Jane's eyes were pleading. "Please?"
Once safely in Maura's house, Jane again took Maura's hand and walked her into the master bedroom. Without a word, Jane sat Maura down on her bed and then stepped into the large walk-in closet. A brief time later, she stepped out holding a teal dress with black accents and matching shoes. "This is my favorite dress on you. Every single time you wear it, I have problems remembering my own name. It's one of those things I'm absolutely certain on. If you come in wearing this little number, I'm done for the day." She hung the dress on the back of the closet door and carefully setting the shoes on the floor. "Did you know that?"
"I had my suspicions." Maura's voice was guarded as she tried to understand. "Jane, what are you hoping to accomplish? What are we doing here?"
"Because this," she motioned at the doctor, "isn't you. This is how you are because we've both been acting stupid, and I think it's time we fixed it…all of it." Jane held her hand out, silently asking Maura to stand.
"What, exactly, are we fixing?" Maura took the offered hand, sliding from her bed to stand in front of the detective. "What is it you see as broken?"
"Our relationship, and I'm sorry because I'm pretty sure that's mostly my fault for being a chickenshit. You want me to pick a direction and go with it, right?" Maura nodded. "Okay, so I'm picking, and I'm picking you. Gabe can go to hell."
"I-I don't… what?" Maura's confusion won out over her anger. "You pick me? Jane, I don't understand. I was asking you to pick if you were going to remain my friend if Gabreil and I…"
"I know what you were asking, Maura. You want me to decide if I'm going to be a royal bitch every time you or I date someone or if I'm going to be cool with it instead of switching between the two. I get it. But, do you? A friend said what you and I fight about might not be what we actually fight about. Well, I think I know why we're fighting when we fight after dates."
"Are you guessing?" Maura's breathing was becoming more shallow, eyes widening slightly.
"No, I know how much you hate that. I know why I do it. Well, I know now why I do it. I just need to know," Jane stepped closer, hand still holding Maura's, "if you're willing to help me do something about it."
"How would I do that?" The honey blonde's voice was small.
"Say yes." Jane's free hand captured Maura's.
"Jane, how can I say yes when I don't know what the question is about?" Hazel eyes flickered across the detective's face.
"Please, Maura? Just say yes." With a gentle tug, Jane pulled Maura closer.
Maura let out a surprised gasp. "Yes."
"Thank you." With uncertain movements, Jane bent down to capture Maura's lips in a gentle kiss.
"You pick fights with me because you're jealous?" Maura asked between soft kisses.
"Yup." Jane answered as she wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist. "Do I have to be jealous anymore?"
"Are you asking me to date you?"
"I'm asking you if you're up for admitting we've been dating for a while now."
"Jane, the definition of a date," Maura was cut off by another kiss. The doctor made small, mewling noises in the back of her neck as it ended. "Yes, I'm willing."
"It won't be easy, and I'll probably screw up a lot. The boys at the station will give us hell. Ma's going to demand a wedding date within days of finding out. Are you up for all of that?" Jane searched Maura's face, looking for signs of hesitation or fear.
"I am willing to try," Maura sighed, leaning her forehead against Jane's shoulder. "Just like that, we're dating?"
"Just like that." A Rizzoli smirk graced the detective's features.
"Without so much as a discussion of the repercussions or," Maura pulled back, out of Jane's arms, to sit on the edge of the bed, "the fact that we've been avoiding our mutual attraction for some time?"
"Do we really need to talk about it?" Jane crossed her arms.
"No, I suppose not. Though we probably should discuss how and/or when we'll tell people. I would hope not until after we're absolutely certain that a more intimate relationship between us will work. I've never heard you talk about dating women before, so I think it would be prudent to keep this quiet until we know you really do want to date women."
"I don't want to date women. I want to date a women – you. But, I see your point, and we can roll with it. Now," With a quick movement, Jane turned to pick the dress from the back of the door, and hold it up to the doctor, "are you going to get changed or am I going to have to strip you?"
"I didn't realize you were so fast, Jane." Maura smirked, eyes crinkling a little around the sides.
"Only for you, Maura." Jane gave the dress a shake. "Well?"
"I'll need to shower again. My hair's been pulled back too long to really do anything with it without at least washing it again."
"Okay, so you go shower and get dressed, and I'll go make dinner reservations and put in for the day off for both of us tomorrow." Smirk firmly planted on her face, Jane handed the dress to the surprised doctor.
"My shower time may take longer than normal," Maura said, mouth suddenly dry.
"I figured. Better get to it, then." Jane winked as she headed for the bedroom door. "I'm going to take off early from work, too." She called out over her shoulder. "I'll need time to shower, pack an overnight bag, and take Jo to Ma's." She stopped in the doorway and turned around. "Unless you want me to go home tonight?"
"No." Maura's voice was steady, eyes piercing.
"Didn't think so. Have a good shower, Maura." With a chuckle, Jane left the room.