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Future of Promises

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Chapter 1- One thing never changed
Dr. Maura Isles stood in front of her full-length mirror and studied the reflection looking back at her. The pencil skirt, silk blouse, and jacket matched perfectly leaving nothing out of place as she continued to study herself with a measured eye. Not normally prone to being nervous, Maura did her best not to fidget as she ran her hands down the front of the skirt to smooth out the invisible wrinkles that were only visible to her. She couldn't help but note the small changes she saw reflected back at her as she remembered that eighteen-year-old girl whose eyes shined just a little brighter, whose curves weren't quite as curvy and whose hair was a lighter shade of blonde. With a sad smile Maura recalled her younger self and wondered if she would ever recapture the innocence she had lost almost fifteen years ago.
It had been almost fifteen years since Jane Rizzoli had walked away from the love they had shared so fiercely. It was a love that outshined anything Maura had ever experienced since even though she had tried her best to move on. When they had gone their separate ways to college, things had started out just as Maura had expected. Alternating weekend visits worked well for both of them, but slowly as the holidays and finals approached both found their time limited so the visits dwindled down to twice a month. Eventually things had slowed to a stop, leaving Maura both hurt and confused. Their relationship had changed, or better put, Jane had changed. And at the time Maura was hard pressed to understand why.
It had been so subtle on Jane's part that Maura wasn't quite sure if she were reading into things more than she should, but the mood swings and displaced anger just got worse with each visit and when they spent their last night together, Maura could feel that the end was inevitable. She closed her eyes as the memories of that last night hovered just out of reach. Fifteen years had added a romantic haze to what she now realized was simply an ending to one chapter in her life. But it had been one hell of chapter and she hadn't wanted it to end. She could still recall those last hours she had spent wrapped in Jane's arms as they made love. It had been slow and sweet, neither saying the words that would shatter the moment that they both knew was to become their last.
A shiver ran through Maura's body as she remembered the way that Jane had touched her that night. Jane's fingertips had moved reverently over Maura's skin in the most delicate of touches as if committing to memory every dip and curve. And then the tears came, some filled with anger, some filled with resolute sorrow. When the sun finally filtered into Maura's room painting them both with its warm caress, they made love one last time with desperate abandon neither wanting to let go. It wasn't until the door closed behind Jane that Maura felt the finality of the moment as she found herself alone for the first time since she Jane had walked into her life. Even though she had tried to desperately hang onto what was left of their love, it had come too late. Too much had been left unsaid and Jane's insecurities had grown too big for either of them to deal with. The way that Jane had walked away with an unfamiliar silence following in her wake is what had hurt Maura the most in the end. No words had been spoken between them and because of that, no promises had been broken. It was as if they hadn't shared the best parts of themselves with each other. The loss had all but shattered Maura's heart and her belief that love would prevail in a world filled with so many uncertainties.
The only certainty that Maura could always count on was Jane's mother, Angela who had maintained a relationship that transcended all others. Angela refused to walk away from Maura, she refused to leave her alone in the world even if her own daughter couldn't bring herself to see what she had given up. The older woman had always been adamant that Jane and Maura would find their way back to each other and as Maura stood before her full length mirror she couldn't stop the heavy sigh from escaping at the thought that Angela may have been right.
When she had been offered the job as Medical Examiner of the Common Wealth of Massachusetts, she struggled to decide if she was ready to face her past. She knew that she would have to work closely with the homicide department of the Boston Police and that would mean she would have to work with one Jane Rizzoli who was currently a detective for homicide. It had taken several dinners with Carly and Ryan and several lunches with both her mother and Angela to convince her that she should take the job. It had been something she had dreamed of doing since med-school, something she knew she couldn't pass up, so she took it.
Again, she smoothed down the front of her skirt as her mind wandered to another time three years earlier when she had gotten a phone call in the middle of the night from Angela. Jane had gone missing hunting down a lead on the serial killer Charles Hoyt and Angela had been beside herself with worry. When the word had finally come that Jane had been found almost ten hours later, Maura had rushed to be by Angela's side when they brought an unconscious Jane to the hospital. It had been the first time Maura had seen Jane in years and the memory of the once vibrant woman she remembered did not coincide with the frail body they had wheeled into the emergency room. She had been covered in so much blood, mostly from the wounds on her hands and the back of her head that Maura barely recognized her. It had been Maura's intention to remain long enough to make sure that Jane was okay and had the best medical care that could be provided to her, but three days later, Jane still hadn't woken up. Angela had begged Maura to stay thinking that maybe it would bring Jane out of the coma and Maura had reluctantly agreed. She knew that there had been studies that people in comas could hear loved one's voices so she had stayed each night reading from her favorite book, Jane Eyre. And then Jane woke up and Maura disappeared without a word. She had made Angela promise to never tell Jane she had been there. Angela begrudgingly complied even though it broke her heart to see Maura leave. That is how it had remained, a secret that neither had spoken of since.
Maura shivered at the thought of the wounds Jane had sustained to her hands. It had taken many painstaking months filled with physical therapy to put Jane back together, but with Maura's silent guidance Jane finally regained full function of her hands, or at least enough to handle her weapon and pass the physical requirements needed for her job. After a four-month absence, Jane returned to her position in homicide and that was when Maura quit asking Angela how Jane was doing.
It had seemed that even though Jane was unaware, Maura had never truly left, her presence just skirting the edges of Jane's existence. But that was all about to change as Maura took one last look at herself, finally satisfied with what she saw looking back at her. Fifteen years may have passed between them, but just the thought of seeing her again brought those butterflies to Maura's stomach just like the first time. With a frustrated huff, Maura gave herself a stern nod, willing herself to push whatever feelings were trying to take over deep down where she knew they would be safe. At least for the time being that is.
***

Jane shoved Frankie out of the way and took her shot. She watched as the ball bounced against the rim before dropping through the basket.
"Game point little brother…" She fist-pumped as she ran past him.
"It's not over yet…" He said bouncing the ball after her. He pivoted to his left then his right before ducking past her and the tangle of arms that tried to stop him from taking his shot. When he jumped, it took Jane by surprise. She hadn't expected the downward motion of his elbow just as she looked up to watch the ball drop through the net. She heard a crunch when his elbow came down hard on her nose and the basketball hoop got lost in the tears that poured from her now watering eyes.
"What the hell Frankie…, that's just bad form." Jane reached up to touch her nose only to bring her hand away covered with blood.
"Shit…sorry Jane…" Frankie grabbed the front of his t-shirt to stem the blood that was flowing down Jane's chin.
"Don't…" She slapped his hand away as she tilted her head back and pinched the bridge of her nose. As carefully as she could, without the luxury of her usual 20/20 vision, she lumbered her way towards the kitchen. Holding her head back, she attempted to prevent the free-flowing blood from marring her mother's squeaky clean floors but to no avail. When she found herself standing at the sink staring at the blood she had just washed from her hands swirl down the drain, she heard her mother sigh behind her. The sigh indicated that Angela had followed the blood droplets to find Jane standing at the sink.
"Sorry about the floor Ma." Jane mumbled through a mouth full of water as she continued to rinse the blood from her face.
"Why do you and your brother have to be so rough with each other?" Angela threw her hands up as she stood next to Jane. "Let me see that." Jane tilted her head back again to let Angela get a better look. "I can't tell if it's broken or not but if it is and heals like that, it'll stay that way…crooked."
"Come on Ma…its fine." Jane whined.
"Janie, sometimes I wonder about you…" Angela sighed as she stared in surprise at her thirty-three-year-old grown daughter who was doing a very good job at whining.
"Janie…your cell phone is ringing." Frankie called from the backdoor.
"Thanks..." Jane called back as she headed towards the living room to retrieve her phone. "Rizzoli…" She tried to mumble around the blood that had started dripping again. Again, she wiped at her nose, only smearing the blood across her cheek this time, but it had stopped dripping making it easier to talk into the phone. "Yeah, I'm on my way." Looking over her shoulder she saw Frankie with an expectant look on his face. "Don't even think about it. If you didn't get a call, they don't need you." She couldn't help but frown at him. She was more pissed off at herself at this point than him.
"Come on Jane. Can't I just tag along?" He asked as he followed her to her car.
"Look, you know the rules…you're a patrol officer." She opened the door of her car, but realized her hands were covered in the blood that was still flowing from her nose and stopped. "Hey, grab my suit and bag would ya?"
"I'll never learn if I don't get the chance." He complained as he grabbed her stuff.
"Look Frankie, just cuz you're my brother doesn't mean you can tag along on every homicide I'm assigned to. You've got to earn your way, just like I did." She tilted her head towards the front door indicating he should follow her. "Anyway, the new M.E. is going to be there and I hear she's a real Ice Queen. Best let me break the ice, so to speak." Jane gave him a little smirk.
"Yeah, whatever." He shrugged his shoulders as he followed her inside. He had also heard the rumors about the new M.E. being detail oriented and in most people's opinions, aloof.
"I'm gonna take a quick shower and wash this off." She held up her hands to show him the blood.
"Hey, I said I was sorry. I can't help it if you walked into my elbow." He gave her sheepish smile. "But you're gonna need some ice on it so it doesn't swell up. Is it broken?"
"Donknow, but I'll have Korsak take a look." Jane touched the now sore spot alongside her nose and grimaced as she shut the bathroom door.
"I don't know why you have to play so rough with each other." Angela pushed past Frankie who was still standing in the hall looking at the closed bathroom door. "And your cell phone is ringing."
"Yes!" He took off at a run to answer it.
Angela stood in the hallway and shook her head. Of all the days for Jane to get hit in the face it had to be this one. She couldn't stop herself from saying a small prayer that everything would work out. So many years had passed since she had seen Jane truly happy and she hoped with all her heart that this was to be a new beginning. But she also knew Maura's reluctance to put her faith in Jane again. Everything was about to change and Angela knew that by the end of the day she would have the answer to the long held question of whether Jane had ever stopped loving Maura. She couldn't stop the small smile from tugging at her lips because she already knew the answer that Jane was about to be faced with full force.
***

When Jane arrived at the scene, it was busy with the media fishing for details and too many detectives crowding around. As she made her way through the crowd with little effort, most people got out of her way, most except Detective Crowe who seemed to be chatting it up with the press. It was something she was used to seeing as she made her way over to a familiar figure standing with arms crossed, blocking the way for anyone without a badge.
"Hey, what've we got?" Jane asked as she pushed past the crowd of press that had gathered along the perimeter of the taped off scene. She gave an expectant look to the young female patrol officer that had been given the duty of holding the small, yet persistent group back.
"Um…two victims. Looks to be a murder-suicide." The young woman said under her breath. "What's the other guy look like?" The officer pointed to Jane's face which was slowing turning a nice shade of black and blue.
"Ha, ha…" Jane ran her hand through her hair to push it back into a pony tail before tying it back over her shoulder and then she adjusted her gun and shield on her hip. "'The new M.E. here yet?" She asked as she looked over her shoulder at the sound of a familiar voice chatting it up with the press loud enough to catch her attention.
"No, but Sergeant Korsak and Detective Frost are already inside." The patrol officer stepped aside expecting Jane to go past her but instead Jane turned to the person who seemed to be speaking liberally about things he shouldn't be, especially the new M.E. that none of them had met yet.
"Excuse me Detective Crowe, I think you have better things to do than gossip." Jane smirked at the look of surprise on the man's face as she stepped up behind him. She had heard his comment about the new M.E. and for some reason it bothered her even though she hadn't met the woman yet.
"Yeah, yeah…whatever Rizzoli. Nice look." Detective Crowe pushed past her much to the dismay of the people he had been confiding in.
"Do you have a comment Detective Rizzoli?" A tall blonde woman put a microphone in Jane's face expecting her say something.
"Did you get a haircut Amelia?" Jane winked before giving her trade mark smirk. "And you know darlin' I'm in no position to make a comment." The tall blonde blushed profusely and smiled back shyly. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some things I need to take care of."
As Jane made her way over the well-manicured lawn of the upper-middle class colonial house, something caused her to stop. She had heard several conversations floating around her, not listening to any one of them with much interest, but when she heard a familiar name carry to her she had to stop to listen. Cocking her head to the side in the direction the conversation was coming from, she listened intently for the name to be mentioned again. When it wasn't mentioned again, she was left wondering if she had heard it in the first place. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders before entering the house hoping that the new M.E. would be someone she could work with.
Moving past the walls of officers gathered in the small but well-appointed living room, Jane craned her neck to find Korsak and Frost bent over the body of a woman. With as much finesse as she could muster, Jane moved past everyone until she ran into Frankie. "So, got the call…huh?" She raised an eyebrow at him.
"Yeah. They needed some extra hands." He grinned at her.
"Fine, just stay outta my way." She gave him a gentle push as she continued to move towards Korsak and Frost.
"Damn Jane, nice nose job. Compliments of Frankie?" Barry Frost looked up at Jane and tried to stifle a laugh as he pointed to her nose.
"Yeah, playing basketball as usual." She tried to smirk back but the swelling was slowing making it impossible for her do much else but grimace. "I met with the backend of Frankie's elbow by accident."
"Looks broken…" Vince Korsak pushed himself up from the floor to get a better look. "You should probably go to the emergency room to get it set before you end up with a permanently crooked nose." He squinted at her as if it would make him see her better.
"Yeah, well, I'll consider it." Her eyes dropped to the body that lay at their feet. "Pretty cut and dry?" She asked.
"Seems like it but we'll have to wait for the new M.E. to call it." Korsak reached out to touch Jane's nose casing her to pull away.
"Hey…don't…" She pushed his hand away. "I'm fine."
"You know your mother would kill me if I didn't send you to the emergency room to get that thing set." He frowned at her. "Not to mention…it might mess up those devastatingly handsome features you got going for you."
"Whatever…if anything it'll make me look more badass." Jane shooed him away as she bent to examine the body.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Frost admonished when Jane reached out to touch one of the bodies.
"Well then it's a good thing you're not me." Jane started to say.
"It's just that I've heard that the new M.E. is on her way and she's as stickler for detail. I've heard some of the uniforms refer to her as the Queen of the Dead." Frost interrupted Jane.
A sudden surge of protectiveness for someone she hadn't met yet washed over Jane as she glared up at Frost from her crouched position. "Really Frost? You're starting to sound like that asshole Crowe."
"Hey, not cool." Frost gave her a hurt look.
"Okay, okay…" Jane backed away from the bodies but didn't stand up yet. "I guess we don't want to get off on the wrong foot with the new M.E."
"That's never stopped you before." Frost interjected drawing a stern look from Korsak that had them both looking away.
Jane rolled her eyes before focusing on the sight before her. It all seemed pretty cut and dry to her. Two bodies, one male and one female both dead from gunshot wounds or so it seemed upon first examination. She concentrated on the gun in the right hand of the male victim and surmised that he had shot the female before turning the gun on himself. Off in the distance, the sound of expensive heels echoing on the hardwood floors announced the arrival of someone new but Jane continued to concentrate on the crime scene. There was the slightest change in the room as a familiar presence moved closer to her and she didn't hear the barely audible whisper from Frost of 'Holy Shit' as everything in the room came to a stop. "Looks like a pretty cut and dry case of murder-suicide." She muttered as she continued to study the bodies.
"I'll be the judge of that Detective."
Jane swallowed hard, her throat suddenly dry at the sound of a voice so familiar to her that it was like her own heart speaking to her. Her eyes moved from the carnage on the floor to a pair expensive heels that held a pair of shapely legs. Moving up from the legs that looked more muscular than she remembered, she was met with the perfectly ironed pencil skirt, followed by a light green silk blouse that Jane knew was the same shade of green that she would find in the hazel eyes. Before she could look any further, a lump formed in her throat causing her to swallow again. When she did finally look up, she was met with the steely gaze of hazel-green that held nothing but professional curtesy and were the exact same shade of green as the blouse. It was in that moment that her heart broke all over again at the absence of the fire she had come to associate with the eyes that looked back at her with barely the hint of recognition.
"Dr. Isles…" Jane's voice cracked at the emotional strain that had taken over her.
"Detective Rizzoli…" Maura answered back with the restrain she was in danger of losing. It had been fifteen years since she had looked into the eyes of the only person who had ever loved her so completely and the only person who had left her heart shattered beyond repair. After fifteen years, one thing had never changed, Jane could still cause the butterflies to flutter in her stomach. With a heavy sigh, Maura realized there would be no turning back, not now, not ever.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2
Winds of Change…
Vince Korsak slipped his readers down to the end of his nose so he could get a better look at the two women before him. It hadn't surprised him when Jane didn't acknowledge the presence of the new M.E. as she moved across the hard wood floors, the sound of her heels announcing her arrival. What had surprised him was the way everything seemed to come to a stop as she brushed through the room without a word to anyone, her eyes firmly planted on the bent head of his best homicide detective. Everything became quiet except for the whispered curse that Frost said on an exhaled breath. He couldn't help but follow the movement of the young woman as she came to a stop in front of Jane and the slight tremor in her hands had him raising a curious eyebrow as he wondered where he had seen her before. And then she spoke and the soft timber of her voice caused Jane to freeze momentarily before slowly raising her eyes to meet with those of the woman who had captivated the entire room, himself included. When Jane finally found her voice, Vince wasn't sure exactly what he was a witness to so he cast a questioning look over to Frost who was watching with wide eyes and mouth agape.
The name Isles echoed through his mind as Korsak tried to remember why it sounded so familiar to him. It wasn't until Frost moved to stand next to him and Vince heard the name Maura whispered that it hit him in a rush. If memory served him right, Jane had lamented over the fact that Maura was the one that had gotten away…the one she couldn't seem to forget. He could see by the stiff set of Jane's body and the panicked look in her dark eyes that she was on the verge of bolting from the scene. In an effort to snap Jane out of it, he cleared his throat before he finally spoke.
"Um. Dr. Isles…I'm sergeant Korsak." He started to say but stopped when she turned to face him. He suddenly realized why she had looked so familiar and the soft plea in her eyes begged him not to acknowledge his recognition. She was the one who had made sure that Jane had had the best possible care while she was in the hospital. He had only caught a glimpse of her as Angela had cried on her shoulder, but for some reason her authority and knowledge of Jane's injuries had caused him to assume that she was a doctor at the hospital. They never spoke to each other during those times that they passed in the halls during that awful time but Vince knew it was because of her that Jane was able to return to work as quickly as she had. With a small smile, he nodded at Maura before casting a glance at Jane over her shoulder.
"Nice to meet you Sergeant Korsak." Maura gave him a grateful smile as she took the hand he offered.
"Please, call me Vince." He was immediately struck by her charm and poise as she shook his hand with just the right amount of pressure. 'Jane's in deep trouble…' He thought to himself.
"And please call me Maura." Maura said, confirming what he hadn't been completely sure of until that moment when he saw Jane wince at the name. "Barry…" She turned to Frost.
"Um, Dr. Isles…" Frost took her offered hand and tried to close his mouth but only succeeded in looking like a fish out of water as his mouth opened and closed a few more times. He watched as her eyes tracked around the room before coming to rest on Frankie. For just a moment he saw her resolve crack as a sad look passed across her face before she quickly schooled her expression to impassive again.
It had been years since Frost had seen Maura and Jane together. Once everyone had graduated and scattered to different schools, he didn't figure he would ever see any of them again but then two years ago he found himself partnered with Jane. It hadn't taken long for them to rekindle their friendship and it hadn't taken long for him to figure out what was off limits when it came to his new partner. The biggest 'off limits' topic was Maura and what had happened fifteen years ago to make Jane walk away from the best thing in her life. There had been a few drunken nights here and there where Jane would pine away after the lost love of her life but he could never get her to explain why she had ended things. Over the last two years he watched as Jane had moved through a string of perspective girlfriends and boyfriends, never sticking to anyone longer than two or three dates. It was a sore subject for her and as he stared into the warm, friendly hazel-green eyes from so long ago he realized why. Giving up Maura had been the biggest mistake Jane had ever made and he could see that she regretted it every day. The only thing he couldn't figure out was why she had done it in the first place. As he accepted the warmth of Maura's handshake he gave Jane a stern look that dared her to run. The look he gave her told Jane that he would tackle her himself if she did. "It's been a few years, but it's nice to see you again." He turned his attention back to Maura and the smile he had been so fond of.
"It has been a while." She gave his hand a gentle squeeze as she watched a myriad of emotions pass over his face. The memory of his soft smile and friendly brown eyes brought another smile to her face. She had always liked Barry and she was happy to see that he was the person who would be there to help keep Jane safe.
As Maura took in everything around her, she found her thoughts drifting as she moved from Korsak to Frost. With their introductions had come the recollections of days past and a life she had pushed so far behind her she told herself she barely remembered. But she did remember. She and Vince had passed each other every day when Jane was in the hospital and she had barely acknowledged him. The fact that he thought she was one of the medical staff helped her feel somewhat protected from the questioning look he had given her when she turned to introduce herself hoping he wouldn't say anything. Being the gentleman she knew him to be, he had seen the silent plea in her eyes and he acted as she hoped he would…like they had just met. But when she turned her attention to Barry, she felt her resolve almost crumble under his soft, curios gaze. She could feel Jane's eyes on her as she moved to shake Barry's hand and she wasn't sure if the sadness she saw in his eyes was a reflection of Jane or herself. The tingling she felt on the back of her neck caused her heart to beat faster and the panic to rise quickly and she suddenly felt like she had made a mistake taking the job as M.E. It was the gentle squeeze of her hand and the kind smile from Barry that brought her back and without words he indicated that it would be okay, that she would be okay.
The most painful thing Jane had ever experienced in her life was walking away from Maura, but seeing her again, standing in front of her was coming in at a close second. She had seen Korsak lower his glasses as he studied them, not quite sure what he was witnessing. When Frost stepped closer to him and said something under his breath, Jane knew the instant the pieces fell into place for both of them. She tried not to wince when she heard Maura introduce herself to Vince but the pain in her face was quickly blooming into a full grown massive headache. She watched through watering eyes as Maura moved to Frost, the pain almost unbearable when he gave her a stern look that spoke volumes. It wasn't until her eyes met Frankie's that she found herself angrily wiping away the tears of pain that had blurred her vision as the throbbing in her face caused her groan aloud.
"Damn Jane, I told you it was broken." Korsak made a move to touch her face but stopped when she held up her hand.
"I'm fine…" She tried to look away but not before Maura had seen her wiping at her watering eyes.
The reserved professional façade Maura had pasted on her face upon her arrival cracked when she saw how much pain Jane was in. Her expression softened as she turned her attention to what she assumed was an acute nasal fracture. "Look, you can either go to the emergency room or you can let me…" Maura's voice trailed off as she realized what she was proposing. It would mean physical contact and she wasn't sure she was ready for that.
Jane watched Maura's eyes widen when the implications of her suggestion hit her. For just a second she considered it but then she shook her head and tried to smile, unfortunately it caused her eyes to water more. "I'll have Korsak take me on our way back to the bullpen." She muttered around the swelling that seemed to be getting worse.
"Why?" Frankie stepped up, his arms crossed as he glared at Jane. "We both know Maura can set it for you. We've seen her do it before. Why waste a few hours in the emergency room if you don't have to." He couldn't stop himself from giving Maura a crooked grin when she agreed with him. He could see that Jane was royally pissed at him for the suggestion but he didn't care. The memory of seeing his sister at the lowest point in her life was still vivid in his mind. To this day Jane had never given him an explanation as to why she left Maura and it had hurt and angered him that she didn't trust him enough to confide in him then or now.
"I'm sure that Dr. Isles has more important things to do with her time than fix my broken nose…" Jane growled at her brother before turning an apologetic expression to Maura. She could tell that Maura didn't want to have to touch her just as much as she didn't want to be touched.
"Nonsense Detective, Officer Rizzoli is correct. It would be a waste of time for you to go to the emergency room when I can take care of it in a matter of seconds." Maura said, her professional tone returning.
Jane glared at Frankie, the beginnings of a pout marring her usually handsome features which were turning a lovely shade of purple, black, and blue. When Korsak and Frost moved to stand behind Maura, both with expectant looks on their faces, she finally shrugged her shoulders and conceded. "Whatever…" She sighed, resigned to the fact that she wouldn't win this battle no matter how much of a fit she pitched.
"Come stand here in front of me." Maura ordered with no tenderness in her voice. The tone surprised Jane as she stood frozen, unable to move to where Maura had indicated. "Fine…" Maura moved to stand in front of Jane. Her eyes looked everywhere but into Jane's as she studied the bruising and swelling. Taking a deep breath, she reached up and placed her hands on either side of Jane's face, her thumbs pressing against the sides of Jane's nose. "This may hurt a little." She tried not to smirk as she pressed gently at first but then with enough pressure to bring forth a soft crunch. Jane's howl of pain almost distracted her from the tingling sensation that spread through her body at the feeling of Jane's skin against hers. She was grateful when Jane suddenly jerked her head away breaking the contact.
"Mother fucker!" Jane howled in pain as she pulled away from Maura's touch. She wasn't sure if it was Maura setting the bones back into place or the feeling of Maura's hands on her that elicited the electric shock that shot through her body. Of course, if she had had time to process it, she would have realized that the pain ebbed quickly but the lightning bolt that singed her had come straight from Maura's skin against hers. "A little my ass!"
"You might want to put some ice on that Detective." Maura tried to look smug as she did her best to hide her trembling hands in her pockets. All the heat and electricity that had existed between them all those years ago was still there even though it was hidden behind walls that had taken years to painstakingly build. It had only taken one touch to threaten to topple the protective barriers that Maura had constructed around her heart. One touch and everything she had promised herself seemed to vanish from her mind as the butterflies returned to her stomach as the mere presence of Jane had her wondering why she was fighting so hard against fate.
"No shit." Jane frowned as she gingerly touched the side of her nose. "Tell it to me straight guys. Do I look like Rocky?" She turned imploring eyes to Korsak and Frost who only laughed in response. "Assholes…" She growled as she pushed past them mumbling a barely audible 'thanks' to Maura as she headed towards the door.
"Someone may want to drive for her." Maura felt a sudden surge of concern wash over her as she watched Jane's retreating back. She also couldn't stop herself from giving an apprising look as Jane stalked out of the room in her tailored suit.
"I'm on it." Frankie said as he grabbed Maura in a quick hug. "I'm glad you're back." He whispered into her ear.
All Maura could do was nod curtly when Frankie released her and darted after Jane. She had been too surprised by his actions to do much else. "Well, gentlemen, I suppose I should do what I came here to do." She gave Korsak and Frost a small smile as she waved her technicians in. "I'll let you know my findings as soon as I can."
Both men knew she was gently but effectively dismissing them. With the wave of his hand, Korsak acknowledged the dismissal as he closed his notebook before tucking it into the front pocket of his shirt.
"Things are about to get real exciting around here, aren't they?" Frost whispered to him as they left.
"You just said a mouthful." Korsak said as he took one last look over his shoulder at Maura who was bent over the bodies carefully studying them. "I don't think Jane stands a chance." Frost nodded in agreement as they left to meet Jane back at the bullpen.
Maura had watched as Jane walked away, the usual swagger she was used to seeing slightly marred by the pain from her once broken nose. It had taken everything in her not to show how much touching Jane had affected her as she did her best to appear impassive when she was anything but. When Jane disappeared from sight, Maura turned her attention to the job at hand and effectively albeit gently dismissed Korsak and Frost. All she could think about was how much she wanted to retreat to the safety of her labs so she wouldn't have to be faced with her past anymore. With a sigh, she waved her technicians in to gather evidence, take pictures and bag the bodies so she could do her job. It wasn't easy to dispel the tingling that continued to move up her arms from her hands so she shook them to lessen the effect it was having on her. It was with heavy resignation that she admitted to herself that Jane still made her tremble inside and out making her feel powerless but damn, it still felt good.
***

Jane opened her car door and threw herself into the driver's seat with a heavy sigh before slamming the door shut. She banged her hand down on the steering wheel because she couldn't stop her mind from wandering to the hazel-green eyes that seemed to penetrate her own, opening wounds she had thought long ago healed. But in an instant, those wounds had ripped open and now she felt as if she were bleeding to death all over again. Taking a few deep breaths, she started to relax a little when a loud knock on the window startled her.
"What the fuck Frankie…?" She rolled down the window to address him.
"You need to let me drive." He smirked at her. "Dr.'s orders…"
"Yeah, we'll see about that." She started to roll the window up but stopped when Frankie reached in and pulled the keys from the ignition. "Hey, give those back."
"Sorry sis, don't want you endangering yourself or anyone else out there on the streets of Boston." He wiggled the keys tauntingly in front of her face causing her to try to grab them back. The fact that her eyes were still watering made it difficult and with a huff she pushed the door open hitting Frankie. "Hey, watch it." He groused as he moved to take his place behind the wheel.
"Asshole…" She grumbled as she stalked past him to get in the passenger's seat.
He waited for her to get settled and fasten her seatbelt before turning to her with an expectant look on his face. "So, wanna talk about it?"
"No…" She couldn't stop herself from choking on the word. When he tried to read her expression, she turned her head so she could look out the window. Of course, it happened to be right at the moment that Maura was leaving with her techs and Jane couldn't stop herself from releasing a shuttering breath.
"Look, you're gonna haveta deal with this one way or another. Unless you ask for a transfer that is." He tried not to look smug this time.
"Fuck you Frankie…" She whispered as he eyes continued to watch Maura.
"You really need to do something about the foul mouth of yours, ya know." He reached over to touch her on the shoulder. "I'm just trying to let you know that I'm here for you."
"Ever since I walked away from her…I've been haunted by what could have been, and now, here today, I'm faced with the reality of what I gave up." Her voice was soft and sounded far away as she continued to watch Maura.
"It was your choice Jane." Frankie pressed hoping that Jane would finally explain what she wouldn't fifteen years ago.
"Was it Frankie?" Finally, she tore her eyes away from Maura and gave Frankie a sad smile.
"You've never told me otherwise." He held her gaze for a moment silently begging her to explain.
"Let's get out of here. Maura's right, I need some ice." She turned her head back to look out the window at the M.E. van just as it disappeared around the corner.
"Alright Jane, but one of these days…" He started to say.
"I will Frankie but she has right to know before anyone else." The sadness in her voice had Frankie clearing his throat nervously as he started the car and followed the van back to the police station. Neither said another word the rest of the way back, instead taking comfort in the knowledge that the truth would soon be revealed.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3- I wanna be your friend again…
Light streamed into the bullpen from the windows above Jane and Frosts desks weaving a crisscross pattern for Jane to pace in and out of. Her hair, now out of the ponytail, hung loosely around her shoulders in a mass of unruly curls. She pushed some stray locks behind her ear as she continued to pace back and forth much to the dismay of both Frost and Korsak who recognized the signs of the beginnings of a full-blown Rizzoli tantrum.
"What the hell is taking her so long?" She stopped only long enough to glare at Korsak who gave her a shrug in response. "It's been four hours and we still haven't heard anything." The pacing began again, this time the sound of her boots on the tiled floor echoed. It was long past five and the crowd of detectives that usually filled the spaces around the bullpen had thinned to almost none.
"Come on Jane, let the Doc do her job." Frost tried to placate his partner knowing that it was a futile attempt at best. He realized too late when she stopped her incessant pacing giving him a look that caused him to cringe.
"It's a cut and dry murder-suicide Frost. How much time does she need to put that down on paper so we can move on to more important things?" She growled at him. "I think she's just trying to piss me off."
"So what if she is?" Frankie stepped in front of Jane forcing her to look at him. He had just gotten off duty and changed when he decided to check on things. What he found was his sister stalking around the bullpen like a caged panther, one ready to strike at the first person to look at her funny.
"Well, then I would be sorry to have to say that it's mighty unprofessional if that's the case." Korsak chimed in. "But I don't believe that's the case." He practically ducked at the angry look that Jane shot his way. "Look, there was something funny about that murder scene. It almost seemed staged." he paused to raise his eyebrow questioningly at Jane. "You feel it too, don't you? That's what really has you so tied up, isn't it?"
Shoving her hands into her pockets, Jane looked down at her feet and shrugged. What Korsak said was true, she had felt the same thing as she continued to go over the scene in her mind as she waited for Maura's report. The thing that bothered her the most was that she had jumped to an unfounded conclusion in front of the new M.E. and it made her feel foolish.
"I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that when Dr. Isles finishes, she will have come to the same conclusion." Korsak sighed. "And here I thought we'd get a weekend off." His voice trailed off sadly.
"Whatever…" Jane grumbled as she threw herself down into her desk chair with an over dramatic flourish.
"Thank God!" Frost declared when Jane finally sat down. "You were making me dizzy with all of that pacing." He rolled his eyes at her when she frowned in response.
"Those are some pretty good lookin' black eyes you're sporting sis." Frankie leaned against her desk and looked down at her.
"No thanks to you, and today of all days…" Her voice trailed off as she reached up to touch a tender spot under her left eye.
"Did you put ice on it like Maura told you?" He asked as he reached over to place a finger under her chin so he could tilt her head back to get a better look at the damage he felt sorry to have been responsible for.
"Don't…" Jane jerked her head away from him. "And yes, I did." She leaned back further in her chair so she would be safely out of his reach.
"Hey…" Korsak said sternly in Jane's direction. "Whatever this is…" He said as he waved his hands in the air as he continued. "It needs to stop. You need to find some way to deal with the fact that you and Maura are or were…whatever you want to call it. I've been married and divorced four times and I don't act like an asshole every time I run into one of my ex's."
"You don't have to work with them." Jane huffed as she crossed her arms. "And I'm not acting like an asshole…" Her voice trailed off when three sets of eyes rolled in response to her declaration.
"I don't get it Jane. What's the big deal? She's the best M.E. in Boston and we're lucky to have her working with us. Can't you just swallow your pride and figure out a way to get over this? Who knows, maybe you'll even become friends again." Frost ventured to ask.
Jane couldn't stop herself from shuddering at the reality that it wasn't her pride that was causing her act this way, but the guilt she had carried within her over the last fifteen years. No one could know the weight she bared as a nineteen-year-old kid facing a decision that would change her life forever. A decision she resented having to make in the first place. With a dramatic sigh, she threw her head back and brought her fingers up to her temples to rub away the headache that was beginning to bloom.
"Jane, give it time." Frankie knelt down next to her chair. "There's a lot of history between you and Maura, and most of it unresolved." He tried to reassure her.
She couldn't look at him for fear that her emotions may overwhelm her so she just nodded as she rubbed her eyes in an attempt to push back the tears that threatened to fall. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself as she fought the overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss that had washed over her the moment she had laid on eyes on Maura earlier that day.
"I'm gonna head over to see Ma and Pop. Seems like there's something goin' on that she needs to talk to me about." He gave her knee a gentle pat. "Did she call you?"
"Yeah, but I had to let it go to voice mail." Jane leaned forward to pick up her cell phone that was blinking, indicating she had a message. "Keep me posted. We gotta hang around here until Maura finishes her report."
"'Kay, I'll call ya later." Frankie stood and smiled over at Frost. "Hit me up if you need a wingman this weekend…if you ever get outta here that is." He gave a quick wave as he turned to leave.
"See ya Frankie." Frost waved back as Frankie disappeared around the corner.
Before anyone could say anything else, the phone on Korsak's desk started to ring causing all eyes to fall on the offending object. Taking a deep breath, Korsak reached across the mess of papers that lay scattered around to answer the phone. "Korsak here…" He said into the receiver. "Uh-huh, alright, someone will be right down." As he said those last words, his eyes fell upon Jane who still appeared to be sulking. Hanging up the phone, he made a decision that would broker no arguments. "Jane, go down to the morgue and get the paperwork from Dr. Isles."
"What?" Jane shot out of her chair with a sudden burst of energy she didn't realize she had. "Send Frost…" She pointed to Frost who just smirked at her and shook his head.
"Nope…" Frost leaned back and crossed his arms as he glared at her. "You need to take one for the team. The sooner you get over this, the sooner we can all get back to normal."
"Are you serious?" She turned her attention to Korsak.
"As a heart attack." He too leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms, imitating Frost. "There's no better time than right now." The sad smile he gave her had Jane heaving a heavy sigh in resignation. "It's time to move past this Jane."
"Easy for you to say." She mumbled as she stalked away towards the elevators. "You owe me a beer." She shot over her shoulder as she stepped into the elevator before pressing the basement button.
Korsak leaned over so he could watch Jane leave. He couldn't help but smile at her last words as she disappeared into the elevator. "If this works, I'll buy you a six pack."
"There's a lot of history there Korsak." Frost gave the older man a concerned look. "I'd have never thought Jane would walk away from Maura the way she did. If you had seen them together then…" He paused as he thought back to the time he had spent with Jane and Maura when they were younger. "I don't know, something must've happened, I mean…something big, because it changed Jane."
Korsak studied the sad look on Frosts face as he contemplated what to say. He had known Jane almost her whole life and even though she was his best detective, something had always been missing. He hoped that that something had finally walked back into her life for good.
***

"Damn Korsak…" Jane grumbled as she stepped off the elevator in the basement. Even though the cinderblock hallway was dimly lit, she could see that the door to the autopsy lab was open and there was a light on. She couldn't help but wonder if Maura had been in there working this whole time. With each step she took, she could feel her legs getting heavier and heavier. For a brief moment, she thought about turning around and telling Korsak she wasn't going to do it but then the sound of soft humming carried to her. It was a sound she recognized and her stomach tightened with anxiety at the memory it evoked. Stopping halfway to her destination, she placed her hands on the wall and leaned, dropping her head as the image of her and Maura sitting under a tree having a picnic on a summer afternoon filled her mind. She could almost feel Maura running her fingers through her hair as they lay against each other allowing the sun to warm their skin, not a care in the world. Maura had been humming then, the same soft tune she was humming now at the end of the hall and the gentle melody reached into Jane causing her heart to ache with the innocence of a time long gone. Taking a deep breath, she did her best to swallow down all the hurt, anger, and guilt that threatened to overwhelm her. Instead, she allowed the sound of Maura's voice to lull her into a peaceful state of mind. She couldn't stop herself from marveling at the fact that only one person had ever been able to calm the tempest of emotions that Jane fought to control and that one person was waiting for her at the end of the hall. It was then that she realized what she needed to do if she ever hoped for Maura to forgive her…she needed to tell the truth.
With her new revelation at the forefront of her mind, Jane finished the journey down the hall to find herself standing in the doorway watching Maura as she worked. Black scrubs, a black cap, and black latex gloves rounded out Maura's ensemble, a far cry from the look of earlier that day. She was even wearing tennis shoes, having replaced her high heels for something more comfortable. The sight before her caused Jane to smile and a longing swept through her so strong that it almost took her breath away. She continued to watch Maura, whose head was bent as she tied off the last stitches of her 'Y' incision. So lost in her thoughts of observation, Jane didn't notice when Maura stiffened slightly and stopped humming.
"Detective Rizzoli…" Maura said without turning around. She didn't need to turn around to know that Jane was standing in the doorway, leaning her hip against the frame quietly watching.
"Maura please…" Jane's voice held a plea that caused Maura to grip the autopsy table and drop her shoulders in a defeated way. But it didn't last long and Jane watched in surprise as Maura stood tall and straight before turning around to face her.
"Don't! Don't you dare do this now Jane. I deserve better…" The anger in Maura's voice caused Jane to shrink back slightly. "We will talk, but not here…not now over the dead body of a stranger." Maura tried to soften her tone when she caught a glimpse of pain in Jane's eyes. For a fleeting moment, she wanted to reach out and touch the bruising that was beginning to form under Jane's eyes to sooth away the pain but just as quickly the moment passed. To steel her resolve, Maura pushed her feelings aside and reminded herself yet again why she had built a wall around her heart.
"Do you think maybe we could go get some coffee sometime and talk?" Jane tried a different approach.
"Um…no…I don't think so. At least not anytime soon." Maura had a sad expression on her face. It nearly broke Jane's heart when she saw Maura bite down on her lower lip which was a sure sign of her uncertainty. "I need to get used to this." She paused as her gaze dropped to her hands which she had begun to wring in an uncharacteristic way. "I need to get used to seeing you every day…working with you."
The explanation was weak at best, but Jane accepted it for what it was, an opportunity for Maura to process the changes they both were experiencing. "Okay, I can respect that but I hope we can get past this…maybe work on being friends again."
"I don't need friends Jane. I never have…" Maura's voice trailed off as she reached up to pull the cap off her head. Her long, honey blonde hair tumbled down around her shoulders in soft waves just the way that Jane had remember from so long ago. "I have the report right here." She said as she pulled off her latex gloves before reaching over to pick up the file.
Jane watched as Maura removed her gloves with a snap, dropping them on the table beside her as she reached for the file. Her eyes followed the movement of the hands she had come to know so well. As a shiver ran through her body, she spied something on the inside of Maura's left wrist that had her moving across the room in several quick strides. Catching Maura's hand before she could reach the file, Jane turned it over but didn't look down at it yet. As she stared into the hazel-green she had allowed herself to get lost in so many times before she saw something different that caused her to pull back slightly. There was no longer warmth or love looking back at her, just a cold professionalism that caused her chest to ache. It wasn't until she felt Maura trying to pull away from her that she realized how tightly she was holding on, but she didn't relinquish her hold just yet.
"Let me see." Jane pleaded softly as her eyes dropped to look at Maura's wrist. What she saw caused her to gasp and Maura to try to desperately pull away from her touch. "You kept your promise." She couldn't stop herself from running her fingers over the tattoo on Maura's wrist.
"I did." Maura sighed as she finally succeeded in pulling away from Jane. She watched with curiosity as Jane pulled her right sleeve up to reveal a brown leather cuff bracelet that was around her wrist and then she unsnapped it. Maura couldn't stop herself from touching the tattoo that was almost identical to her own. "You did too." Her voice was soft as she held up her wrist alongside Jane's to compare.
"I know I broke a lot of promises Maura but this one…I just couldn't." Jane tried to smile as she watched Maura trace the infinity symbol that matched her own. The only difference between the two symbols was that Maura's was intertwined with a heart and Jane's wasn't.
"I didn't think you would remember." Maura finally looked up into Jane's dark eyes.
"How could I forget?" We spent weeks arguing over what tattoo to pick before settling on this one. When?" Jane touched the permanent symbol again.
"After I graduated from Medical school, just like we agreed. You?" Maura suddenly pulled her arm away, not able to endure the feeling of Jane's fingers touching her anymore.
"The night I graduated from the Academy." Jane sighed when she realized they had met their threshold for the moment.
"I usually keep it covered." Maura tried to busy herself by picking up the file Jane had come to get.
"Yeah, me too but not because I don't want to remember." Jane felt she needed to explain.
"Here are the preliminary results from the autopsies." Maura quickly changed the subject as she thrust the file into Jane's hands.
"'Kay. What did you find?" The sudden change of subject caused Jane to retreat as she took a step away from Maura.
"Well, it is definitely a murder, not a suicide." Maura reached up to casually run her fingers through her hair to push it away from her face. The move did not go unnoticed by Jane who wished she was the one running her fingers through the silky locks she had once known so well.
"Care to explain?" Jane casually leaned against the autopsy table as she flipped through the file.
"The victim was left handed. Who ever staged the suicide didn't know that. The residue from the gun that he supposedly killed himself with was found on his right hand." Maura explained feeling more comfortable as the conversation shifted to work.
"How do you know he was left handed?" Jane asked as she raised a questioning eyebrow at Maura.
"Well, he has callouses on his left hand, he is wearing his watch on his right arm…" She gave Jane a small smirk before continuing. "And if that doesn't convince you, the golf clubs he supposedly used to bludgeon his wife with were left handed as well."
"So you're speculating." Jane mused aloud without looking up as she continued to study the file.
"I do not speculate detective." Maura bristled. "I spoke with his son and confirmed what I already knew."
"Back to detective, are we?" Jane looked up from the file, a crooked grin on her face. "Sorry…" She sighed when Maura frowned at her. "So we've got a double homicide to deal with?"
"Yes, it would appear so." Maura crossed her arms to put a barrier between her and the body heat that she could feel emanating from Jane.
"I guess I'd better rally the troops. We've got a long weekend ahead of us." Jane closed the file and slipped it under her arm.
"I'll be here if you need me. I plan on working through the weekend as well." Maura gave a slight shrug as Jane turned to leave but stopped and slowly turned back around to look at her.
"So does that mean there isn't anyone waiting for you at home?" It was a bold question but one that Jane needed answered.
"No there isn't." Maura shook her head. "There hasn't been for a long time. But I like it better that way."
"Maura I'm sorry…" Jane started to say but stopped when Maura held up her hand.
"Please don't. Not now." Maura followed Jane to the door. "Our time will come Jane, just not yet. I need some time to get used to this." She waved her hand between them to indicate what she was talking about.
"We'll be in the bullpen if you find anything else." Jane said as she turned towards the elevators.
"You'll be the first to know." Maura answered back as she headed in the opposite direction towards her office. It took everything in her not to look back because she knew Jane was expecting it. The conflict that raged within her heart was slowly tearing her apart and she needed space, time to think. The memory of Jane at nineteen was a far cry from the mature woman that she had become. Even though Jane's chiseled features gave her a more handsome appearance, it did not take away from her beauty and very feminine curves that stood out in her tailored suit. The suit had been the first thing that Maura noticed. Gone were the ripped jeans and t-shirts that Maura remembered, only to be replaced with a more refined, professional look. It was a look that only accentuated Jane's androgyny further, making her nearly impossible to resist. That small flutter in the pit of her stomach caused Maura to panic as she stepped into the safety of her office but as she reached up to close the door, she caught a glimpse of the small tattoo that matched the one on Jane's wrist. A sudden warmth spread throughout her body at the memory of the promise they made to each other all those years before. She couldn't stop herself from leaning out of the doorway to see if Jane was still in the hall. Her heart caught in her throat at the sight of the tall, lean woman standing in the elevator, hands clasped in front of her and head down as if in deep thought. Maura surmised that Jane was just as beautiful now as she had been fifteen years ago, maybe more so. As she continued to watch, Jane suddenly looked up meeting her eyes and gave her a small but sad smile. Maura did the only thing she could, she smiled back before retreating into the safety of her office once more.
Jane had hesitated before looking over her shoulder at Maura's retreating figure, hoping that she would look back one more time but when she didn't Jane tried not to feel the disappointment that settled in the pit of her stomach. It wasn't until she was standing in the elevator, waiting for the doors to close that she saw Maura peek her head out from her office and wave. The smile on her face was genuine, but cautious and it made Jane's heart soar at the possibilities of what the future held for them. When the doors closed, she thought about the tattoo Maura had on her wrist. The infinity symbol intertwined with a heart was the perfect design for Maura since she still held Jane's heart, even after all these years. Jane hoped that one day she would add the same heart to her own tattoo but she knew she would have to wait until Maura was willing to give it back. With a heavy sigh, Jane resigned herself to the fact that they had a long, hard road ahead of them but she knew it would be worth it in the end if she could just prove to Maura that she would never walk away from her again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4- Only One Choice
As Jane predicted, it had been a long but very productive weekend for them. Even though she, Korsak, and Frost had spent most of their time at the station with the occasional break for food or a cat nap, they had eventually caught their man or in this case men. Hours of interrogation had produced the confession they sought and the bonus had been arresting the victim's son who had hired his friend to commit the crime. Both men were now in the process of being booked. All that was left was the paper work and tying up loose ends so that the prosecutor's office had an open and shut case. Of course, help from the new M.E. had been instrumental in breaking the case open leading to the arrest of the two people responsible for the murder. Even though everyone was beyond tired, there was still too much left undone so to alleviate some of the tension that had settled over the three detectives they were engaging in the familiar friendly banter that had most people who didn't know them rolling their eyes.
So, it didn't surprise Maura when she spied all three detectives milling about the bullpen with slightly punch drunk looks on their faces from lack of sleep as she stood just out of their sight. For her, lack of sleep was an everyday occurrence. She had learned in her early years of medical school that she could function on little to no sleep if needed. And her first days as the new M.E. had been no different when she found herself still wearing the same black scrubs from Friday as she had paced around her office that Sunday morning. But the pacing had led her to the bullpen to finally seek out some sort of human contact since her self-imposed solitude had lasted throughout most of the weekend. Whatever communications she had been forced to take part in had been through the phone or emails and after forty-eight hours of being alone she decided she needed some company and the only people she knew well enough to seek out were Korsak, Frost, and of course Jane.
When Maura found herself standing in the hall outside of the bullpen her stomach fluttered at the sound of Jane laughing heartily. Something she hadn't felt in many years washed over her causing her to hesitate before turning around to return to the comfort of her office. Her musings had distracted her from the movement in the bullpen so she didn't notice when Korsak rounded the corner running right into her.
"Oh, sorry Doc…" Korsak reached out, putting his hands on her shoulders to steady them both.
"Um…no…I'm sorry." She paused when he gave her questioning look. "I don't mean to be lurking about in the hallway, it's just…" Again, she paused as she tried to find any other reason she would be standing out there other than the fact that she wasn't sure she was ready to face Jane so soon.
"Look…" Korsak started to say but stopped when Maura held up a hand.
"Please call me Maura." She smiled at him.
"Okay, um…look Maura, I know about…" He grew flustered as he tried to find the words to explain.
"You know about the history between Jane and myself?" She tried to hang onto her smile but it faltered slightly as she realized she had probably been the topic of many a conversation between Jane, Korsak, and Frost.
"Yes. Not the details but I think I know enough." He tried to smile at her but he couldn't hide his concerned expression. "Hey, we both know how Jane is…stubborn and temperamental…"
"On a good day." They both said at the same time causing them to laugh.
"How has she been since…?" Maura looked over his shoulder when she heard Jane's laughter carry to her again. She couldn't quell the longing that settled in the pit of stomach with each passing second she couldn't see Jane.
"She has her good days and her bad days." Korsak shrugged his shoulders. His mind drifted off to those early months that he thought Jane would never come out of her drunken stupor. Alcohol had been a quick but temporary fix for Jane but thank goodness it hadn't lasted long. Unfortunately for Jane's nonexistent social life she had replaced one addiction for another. Work became her life and even though Korsak knew Jane was better off when she had something to focus on, he often worried that she was missing out on living. "I'm hoping that the good days will outnumber the bad ones now…" He stopped just short of saying the words '…that you're here…'
But Maura had heard the soft plea in his voice as he gave her an expectant look. "Well…" She briefly hesitated before smiling at him. It wasn't necessary for her to finish her statement because they both knew what he meant. All she could do was nod at him as she looked down at her feet. Her normally confident demeanor had seemed to disappear and she couldn't help but wonder if it was ever going to return. "I guess I should get back to my lab." She sighed as she shoved her hands into her pockets to hide the nervous shaking. She had done what she had set out to accomplish when she left her office earlier and now she was ready to return to her solitude.
"Hey, I just made some coffee. It's not the best, but there's plenty if you'd like a cup." He grinned at her, proud of the fact that he had indeed made coffee by himself. "It's down the hall there…third door on the left."
"Um yes…coffee does sound good." Although she really didn't want any, she couldn't bring herself to disappoint him. "Thank you." She gave a slight bow of her head as she passed him, heading in the direction of the coffee.
Turning his attention to the laughter filtering through the doorway into the bullpen, Korsak wasn't surprised to find Jane and Frost goofing around to let off some steam. He smiled as Jane rolled past him in her chair on her way to toss a wadded-up piece of paper into the trash can that Frost was guarding to prevent Jane from doing just that.
"Game point…" Jane taunted as she pushed past Korsak towards Frost. "If I win, you buy the beers tonight."
"You haven't won yet." He smirked as he did his best to keep her from getting close to the trash can.
"Yet being the operative word my dear." She tossed the paper over his head and he watched in horror as it bounced off of the wall and landed cleanly in the can. "Now, you were saying?" She cocked her head towards the can and grinned. "I win…"
"Whatever…" He groused as he rolled back to his desk and his now ringing cell phone. "What?" He all but growled into his phone when he saw who was calling. "Yeah, she's right here." He glanced over at Jane. "She does…okay I'll let her know." The expression on his face turned serious. "Okay…um…Frankie, is everything alright?" By the time he hung up, Jane had turned her attention towards him and the now grim face he was making at her.
"What?" She impatiently waved her hands around as her phone starting ringing.
"You need to answer that Jane." Frost turned his attention back to his paper work.
"Yeah, what's up Frankie?" Jane sighed into the phone. "I've been busy…working…you know…work…trying to solve a murder." She huffed impatiently. "Okay, okay. What's going on that constituted your need to call me eight times today?" Listening quietly to what he had to say her mild irritation turned to full blown fury. "Are you fucking kidding me? I'll take care of it." With those final words she hung up and Korsak and Frost watched in shock as her cell phone sailed across the room before hitting the wall and smashing into dozens of little pieces.
"Um…trouble?" Korsak mumbled as he watched Jane jump from her chair and storm across the room without saying another word. When she disappeared out the door and around the corner he looked over at Frost who a sad look on his face. "Do you know what's going on?"
"I don't know the details, but I know enough." He frowned down at the paperwork on is desk. "I'm thinking I'll be doing this paperwork alone."
"I'll give her five minutes, but them I'm going to check on her." Korsak tried to reason but he knew it was a losing battle when he pushed away from his desk and stood. "To hell with it…" He grumbled as he looked over at Frost.
"I'll take care of it." Frost tilted his head towards the scattered pieces of what was once Jane's cell phone.
With a nod, Korsak picked up his jacket and slipped it on over his shoulders. "Wish me luck…" He whispered as he followed Jane out of the bullpen.
When he stepped into the hallway, he found her standing at the end by a window. Her arms were crossed as she leaned against the large frame and stared down at the street below. The calm façade that showed on her face was deceiving and Korsak knew enough about Jane to recognize it for what it was…all out defeat. As he approached her, she looked up and what he saw in her dark eyes almost took his breath away.
"Is it Angela? Is she okay?" His stomach turned into knots at the prospect that something might have happened to the Rizzoli matriarch.
"Nothing that I can't fix." She let out a terse breath while running her fingers through her hair.
"Jane, what is it? Is it Frank?" The question had Jane smirking before letting out a sarcastic laugh.
"You could say that." She turned her attention back to the window and the street below.
They stood there in silence as Korsak gave Jane her much needed space before she finally turned to him and spoke, her voice trembling from the emotion that threatened to take her down. "He's gambling again Vince." She blew out a long exhale.
Korsak reached out to put a hand on her shoulder to give her a reassuring squeeze. He knew some of what they had gone through years back with Frank and his gambling addiction. Many late nights were spent talking to Angela on the phone or in the twenty-four-hour coffee shop down the street from his small apartment. She had contemplated leaving him and had even given him an ultimatum at that point, one that he chose to ignore at first. It wasn't until he had heard the rumors that there was a contract out on Frank that things took a turn for the worse. His fear that Angela and the kids would be hurt as well caused him to beg Angela to move in with him. But then something happened, something he didn't understand at the time. Frank quite gambling and the threat disappeared giving them all the second chance they needed to start over again. With a heavy heart, he had watched Angela stand by Frank but deep down he knew that they would come to these cross roads again and this time he wouldn't let her slip away so easily. The only thing that nagged at the back of his mind was what Jane had meant when she said she would fix it.
"How bad is it?" Korsak asked as he felt the pain and sadness that radiated off Jane.
"Bad…" She shoved her hands into her pockets. "He borrowed over fifty grand from Gino Bardoni and when that ran out, he borrowed against the house." Shrugging her shoulders, she let out another heavy sigh.
"Not Gino. That's bad Jane, really bad." Korsak ran his fingers through his beard as he thought about what to say next.
"I know it's bad Vince but I know what I need to do to fix it." Jane leveled her gaze at him begging him silently not to ask her what she needed to do. "Can you handle things here while I do what I have to do?" She asked even though she already knew the answer.
"Yeah, go do whatever you need to but you better check in with me. I'll go check on your mother." He turned to leave but stopped and looked back over his shoulder. "She deserves better Jane. We both know that."
"I know Vince. I won't try to stop her this time." Jane let out another sigh as she pushed away from the window frame.
Korsak could only nod because words had failed him at the moment which was a rarity. When he turned to leave, Jane took the time alone to let out all the frustration and anger she had been holding inside. As the tears rolled down her cheeks, her heart was breaking for the sacrifice she had made that had somehow come back to haunt her. Taking a deep breath, she angrily wiped the wetness from her face with the back of her hands before turning towards the elevators. If she had been paying attention, she would have noticed the faint perfume she had come to associate with Maura lingering in the hall but her mind was focused on one thing and one thing only…finding Paddy Doyle.
The sight of Jane and Korsak standing at the end of the hall had caused Maura to freeze in her tracks as she stood at the other end holding her cup of mediocre coffee. It had been her intention to take the cup to her office and then dispose of it as quickly as possible but finding Jane and Korsak occupying the hall changed her plans. Quickly she slipped back around the corner and did her best to strain to hear what was being said. Even though her hearing was impeccable the distance between them made it difficult for Maura to do anything other than catch a few phrases. The one thing she could hear was the anguish in Jane's voice as she talked about her father. With her curiosity piqued, Maura leaned closer to the edge of the doorway and listened intently trying to catch what was being said. By the time Korsak had left Jane alone, Maura had surmised that there was something terribly amiss with Jane's parents, something that caused Jane an immeasurable amount of pain but when Maura saw the tears rolling down Jane's cheeks she had the sudden urge to run and offer her comfort. Her heart was breaking because she didn't know what was going on nor did she know what to do to help Jane so when Jane quickly wiped the tears away and disappeared into the waiting elevator, Maura stayed where she was until she knew for sure she that was alone to seek refuge in her empty office again.
***

Jane stood outside the door of the run-down pub she knew that Paddy used as his office and paced as she tried to decide what to do. It had been fifteen years since her last visit to the seedy bar but it still looked like the same run down establishment it had then. Running her fingers through her hair she continued to pace as the memory of that day continued to haunt her. When her pacing stopped, she leaned against the wall and slid down until she was sitting on the dirty sidewalk with her head in her hands. Letting out an exhausted sigh she thought back to the conversation that had changed her life all those years ago.
‘It had been a day that was seared in Jane's memory as one of the worst days of her life. Finding out that her father had gambled away the savings that he and Angela had saved up over the years stung enough without adding the fact that Frank had somehow borrowed enough from local gangsters to put him in a hole that only got deeper each day that he didn't pay it back. The day had finally come when a contract had been taken out against his life causing Jane to seek help from the only person she knew held any influence with the local thugs…and that was Paddy Doyle.
When she slipped into the dark, smoke filled bar looking for Paddy she wasn't surprised to find him waiting for her in a booth in the back. His hazel-green eyes, so like Maura's in color, watched as she strode across the room towards him, her false bravado leading the way. Jane suspected that he already knew why she was there but she also knew that he would make her ask for his help. She took the seat across from him when he nodded to indicate she should sit.
"Jane Rizzoli…" He blew out a breath as he placed his hands on the table.
"Paddy…" Jane mimicked his move as she spoke.
"What brings you to my place of business? It isn't Maura, is it?" A flash of concern flickered over his face at the thought that he may have missed something. Up until that point, it was the only show of emotion Jane had ever seen him express.
"Um…no…" She shifted uncomfortably as he continued to watch her with that steely gaze that made him such a good mobster. "My Pop…um…he's gotten himself into a bit of trouble." The words tumbled out of her mouth as she continued to stammer. "He's gambling.."
Holding up his hand to indicate she should stop talking, he glanced over her shoulder at one of his henchmen waving him over. Jane watched in fear and uncertainty as the large man with no neck leaned over so Paddy could whisper something in his ear. Her hands started to shake when the man looked over at her and smirked before nodding and leaving them alone again.
"To say a 'bit of trouble' is an understatement, don't you think?" He tried not to smirk at her. "But it will be taken care of." There was no explanation as to what he meant. "It won't be easy but I think I can convince my Southie friends to hold off on that contract."
Jane just looked at him, her mouth hanging open at how easy it was for him to change the fate of her father's life. She let out a shuttering sigh as she watched Paddy lean back in his seat and visibly relax for the first time since she had sat down.
"It will come at a price though." He watched her carefully to gage how far he could push her. There was only one thing he knew he wanted for certain but it was in his nature to test and push the boundaries. Today was no different.
"What? Anything…" Again, she started to stammer nervously.
"Before you agree to anything, you may want to hear me out first." He said as he nodded over towards the bartender silently telling the man what he wanted. He gave Jane a casual look before holding up two fingers to the bartender.
Jane frowned when two shot glasses were place in front of them on the table with a bottle of bourbon. Shaking her head, she leaned back away from the table to put some distance between her and the bottle.
"You're gonna need it, besides once we make the deal, I'll need your word and then we'll need to toast to seal it." He said as he poured the amber liquid into the glasses before sliding one of them closer to Jane.
"What do you want me to do?" Jane asked her voice filled with fear and indecision.
"First things first." Paddy brought his glass up to his mouth, tipped his head back and drank down the shot in one gulp. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he gave her a crooked grin. "Sorry, I just really needed that."
"Okay…" Jane looked at him then at the small shot glass in front of her.
"No worries Jane. You don't need to drink it…yet." He set his glass down and poured himself another drink. "So…junior college…huh? What do you plan to do when you graduate?"
The question took her by surprise but knowing what she knew about Paddy she couldn't help but feel suspicious by his line of questioning. "I'm going into the Academy but I'm sure you already know that." She couldn't help but sound slightly defiant.
"Yes I do." He gave her a slight scowl as he thought about what to say next. "It's my business to know these things Jane."
"Why am I your business? I don't understand." She let out a heavy sigh. The fact that she had kept his secret from Maura should afford her some semblance of anonymity but then again she was dating his daughter.
"Well, I could always use a good connection in the BPD. You could offer me your services for you fathers life…" He started to say.
"Wait…what? You want me to be your rat in the police department?" Her voice raised an octave as the implications of what he was suggesting hit her. "I can't do that. I could never do that. Besides, it would kill Maura if she found out." The words trailed off into a whisper.
"Is Maura more important to you than your father?" Paddy crossed his arms as he watched Jane fidget. It had been a shot in the dark for him to make that proposal but it wasn't what he was really seeking.
"How can you ask me that? I love Maura more than anything but…he's…he's my father. How could you make me choose?" The fear in Jane's voice had hit its peak as she started to panic.
"Because I can." He leaned over the table to level his gaze at her. "If you want to save your father, you have to give Maura up."
She could feel the tears building up behind her eyes as she struggled to comprehend what he was saying. It took everything in her not to cry in front of the cruelest person she had ever met in her life. "Why?" Her voice was barely a whisper. "I've done what you asked. I haven't told Maura about you." She meekly said.
"It will only be a matter of time before it slips and I can't have that Jane. It would be too dangerous for her if it did. My enemies would use it against me." He let out a sigh as the impact of what he was doing made him feel almost sorry for Jane.
"I wouldn't. I'd never put her in danger." Jane tried to promise.
"Look, I didn't want to have to bring this up but come on Jane, we both know she deserves more than the likes of a middle-class Southie copper. I can see it in your eyes." He was bolstered by the fact that she all but shrank away from him and the comment.
"Please…I love her…" She begged. "Don't make me do this…"
"I'll give you one week to end it. I know I made you promise not to break her heart but…" He gave her a thoughtful look. "It has to be done."
"Oh God, I feel sick…" Jane clutched at the table as her world began to tilt dangerously close to the edge.
"Here, it'll settle the nerves." Paddy moved the shot glass until it was at the edge of the table in front of Jane.
"What if I tell her anyway?" She asked, suddenly feeling bold.
"Then I will personally see to it that your father pays his debts with a pound of his own flesh." The cold, hard eyes peered over at her without any hint of sympathy.
"She's going to hate me." Jane muttered as she tried to gain some control over her emotions.
"Yes, she probably will." He watched as she ran her fingers over the rim of the shot glass finally smiling when she picked it up and drank it in one gulp. "Then it's a deal?"
"It's a deal." Jane slumped back into her chair defeat radiating off her in waves.
"Good, now just a few more details to iron out…" He started to say as he waved over one of his thugs again.
With a sadness she never knew she could feel, Jane looked up to find the only sincere smile she had seen since her arrival. The tall, dark haired man built like a mac truck smiled down at her and she could see that there was a vailed sympathy hidden deep within those seemingly emotionless eyes.
"Sean here will oversee the contract." Paddy gave the tall man a pat on the shoulder. "And I suggest you keep your end of the bargain. He may look at you with those soulful brown eyes filled with just a hint of compassion and sympathy now but cross me and he won't think twice about snapping your neck. Got it?"
Jane nodded mutely as her eyes drifted between Paddy and Sean not sure who to be more afraid of.
"Okay, it seems that your father borrowed twenty thousand." Paddy looked down at the piece of paper that Sean suddenly produced. "With interest and late fee's…" He stopped to write some figures down before looking up at Jane with a sad smile. "It seems that your father now owes Vinnie Nazzaro somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand."
"Shit…" Jane blew out a heavy breath as she ran a shaky hand through her hair.
"It’ll have to be paid." Paddy reasoned as he watched Jane. "I'll get Vinnie to drop it down to thirty-five and I'll pay it. But you'll pay me back." He gave her a stern look that brokered no arguments.
"How?" Jane could feel her fear beginning to paralyze her at the thought of owing this man a favor much less money.
"Oh, we'll work something out after you graduate, from the Academy of course." He gave her a small smirk.
"I told you I won't cross that line, even if Maura and I aren't together." Jane all but growled.
"Hummm, I admire you're conviction but I was thinking more like when you started receiving a pay check." He nodded at her.
Glancing up, she caught the small smile on Sean's face and suddenly felt her bravado coming back.
"So that's it, my father's life for Maura's?" She let out tense sigh.
"Yes and I think we should drink to that." He said as he poured them both another shot. He watched as she picked up the glass holding it high in a silent toast and with a nod they both tipped their glasses back and sealed the deal before she promptly lost her lunch at Sean's feet.’
As Jane sat on the sidewalk thinking back to that day, a shiver ran through her body causing her to visibly shake. The late afternoon sun filtered past the surrounding buildings painting her in an orange and yellow light giving her the impression that it should be warmer than it felt. She didn't realize she wasn't alone until the shadow of someone standing over her blocked out the light.
"Jane Rizzoli…" A familiar voice pulled her from her reverie. "The boss has been expecting you."
Letting out a heavy sigh, Jane looked up into soulful brown eyes that seemed to hold a touch of familiar sympathy behind their steel reserves. She had come to know those eyes over the last fifteen years and even went so far as to call the owner a friend but even she knew that friendship was a loose word when describing relationships with the people that worked for Paddy.
"Sean…" She took the hand he had offered to help pull her to her feet. Frowning down at the dirt and debris that had collected on her dark slacks, she brushed it away before looking back at Sean who was patiently waiting for her to finish. "Can he see me?"
"He always has time to see you." Sean gave her a crooked grin. "I'm just sorry it has to be about this."
"How long have you known?" She asked.
"Couple of months…" He shrugged his shoulders indifferently.
"Think you coulda given me a heads up? I may have been able to at least save the house for my Ma." Jane kicked at a rock as she slipped her hands which had become fists into her pockets. The move caused her jacket to open and her badge and gun to show.
"Sorry Jane but you know the rules. I gotta take those before you go in." He held out his hand for her place her badge and gun in.
"Yeah…yeah…" Jane handed him over her things before holding up her arms so he could check and make sure she wasn't hiding anything else.
"You know how it works around here. I'm not allowed to help…even a friend." He let out a heavy sigh when he was satisfied she wasn't hiding anything else under her jacket.
"Are we?" She raised a questioning eyebrow at him not sure she wanted to know the answer.
"Friends?" He seemed surprised by her question. "I'd like to think so. At least as much as two people on the different sides of the law can be. It's not like we can go out for beers after a long day at work and swap war stories." He shrugged his shoulders again in that indifferent way he had about him.
"I guess you're right. It's just I wish I coulda had some warning this time." She moved to follow him inside the building.
"If I coulda I woulda…" He said as he pushed the door open, holding it for her enter first. "But it is Gino we're talkin' about here. Even Paddy don't mess that man's business."
"That's what I'm afraid of." Jane stepped into the dimly lit bar, blinking a few times until her eyes had adjusted. "But I won't be making the same mistake this time Sean." She hesitated as she looked around the room. "Never again..." When her eyes met the hazel-green ones across the room, she raised her chin in a show of defiance and held her head up high knowing that there was only one choice left for her to make.

Chapter Text

One Choice
Chapter 5
It only took Jane a moment to find Paddy sitting at the same booth she had found him all those years ago. As she moved across the bar, her stride was confident and her long legs stretched out in front of her one after the other until she found herself standing before him. She took a deep breath and steadied herself for the encounter that was sure to leave her feeling empty, but in her heart, she knew he would not win this round because the only thing that mattered to her now was Maura. Of course, she needed to bargain for her mother and brother's safety but this time her father was on his own.
"Paddy…" She nodded at him as she stopped next to the table where he was sitting. She knew the routine. She knew she needed to wait to be invited to sit.
"Well if it isn't Detective Jane Rizzoli." He tilted his head towards the empty seat across from him indicating she should take a seat. He watched as she slowly but purposely sat down never taking her eyes from his, her gaze unwavering under his scrutiny.
"You know why I'm here." It was a cautious statement rather than a question.
"Yes, I suppose I do." His hazel-green eyes that looked so much like Maura's peered over at her.
For a brief second Jane thought she saw a flash of sympathy. "You know? She has your eyes…" Jane said absently.
"No, these…" He said as he pointed to his face. "These belong to a killer. Don't compare her to me. Never do that." His voice was strained and he bristled slightly at the thought.
"Yeah but sometimes…like now…I can see the resemblance." Jane sighed as she ran her fingers through her hair, pushing it back over her shoulder to establish some semblance of dominance over the conversation.
"I hear she's back and as the new medical examiner." His sudden change in subject let her know that he wouldn't be goaded so easily. He leaned back and regarded her as her expression changed. The air of smug confidence had disappeared only to be replaced with uncertainty. He realized that her love for Maura was still her biggest weakness and he couldn't surpass his arrogant grin.
"I figured you'd know." She couldn't stop the hurt from showing on her face before Paddy noticed. It caused her to frown at her inability to hide her vulnerability. At the mere mention of Maura, she had shown all her cards. She expected Paddy to try to exploit the weakness he sensed, she would if the tables were turned.
"It must be hard seeing her after all these years." He mused as he leaned forward to watch her carefully. "Fifteen years is a long time to hold a torch for someone who probably hates you. How does that make you feel?"
"Maura isn't the type of person to hate anyone, even me." She huffed angrily as she glared at him with a hard expression. "You know what I've been through Paddy, what I've given up for my family…why are you pushing me?"
"Maybe because I don't have anything to lose or maybe it's just because I can. It's in my nature to exploit weakness when I see it. That's why I'm sitting here across from you today. It's not because of my glowing personality or because I'm a smart business man." He glared back at her. The hazel in his eyes enveloped the green flecks and suddenly they didn't look so much like Maura's anymore. "I didn't force you to make the decision to give up Maura. You did that all on your own."
"Fuck you Paddy…" She hissed lowering her voice so as not to draw attention from his henchmen who tried to linger just out of earshot. "You made me choose between my father's life and the life I could've had with Maura."
"And you chose your father." He started to say but was interrupted when Jane slammed her hand down on the table causing everyone to stop and look at her.
She only spoke when Paddy gave a quick nod in Sean's direction letting him know everything was alright. "I made the only choice I could live with at the time. I gave up everything and for what? To find myself sitting across from you again begging for something I know won't come or at least if it does, it will be at the expense of someone else. I won't do it Paddy. I'm not that naïve kid anymore."
"No I guess you're not." He eyed her cautiously, somewhat surprised by her outburst. "Why are you here Jane if not to bargain for your father's life?"
"I need to know that my Ma and brothers won't be collateral damage. I need to know that they'll be safe." Her normally soft brown eyes had turned almost black as she dared him to do anything else but agree.
"What could you possibly have to offer in exchange for such a big favor?" The tone of his voice held the hint of a taunt.
"Nothing…" She said, her voice even as she tried to control her emotions.
"Then why would I do it?" He seemed shocked by her answer.
"Because I carry a gun and it's my job to put people like you away forever and if anything happens to them, you're the first person I'm gonna go after." Her dark eyes flashed angrily at him.
"Touché…" His smile was tight as he watched her. "It's nice having all of the power, isn't it?"
"This isn't about power. It's about what's right." She rubbed her hands together, allowing her fingers to trace the scars on the inside of her palms. It had become a nervous habit; one she couldn't quite seem to break.
"And when have I ever done what's right?" He questioned as he watched her rub the scars on her hands. It had been common knowledge that Jane had been to hell and back at the hands of a serial killer. He was slightly awed by her perseverance and it caused him to relent. "But I suppose we all have to start somewhere."
"I knew you'd see it my way." She did her best not to smirk but she couldn't help herself. She realized her mistake too late when Paddy's eyes narrowed and he stiffened in his seat.
"I'll not have you mocking me Jane Rizzoli." His voice was harsh when her addressed her. "Your mother is a good woman. She doesn't deserve to pay for your father's mistakes but I harbor no sentimentality for your family. It makes no difference to me either way."
"I understand that." She backtracked slightly at her faux pas. "I meant no disrespect." She could feel her cheeks grow warm with the embarrassment she was feeling at the sudden shift of the conversation.
"Be that as it may, I can't make any promises but I will do my best to ensure that your mother and brothers are left alone." He offered in concession.
"That's all I ask." Jane looked away from the intensity of his stare. She felt as if he were suddenly trying to read her mind.
"What will you tell Maura?" His hard eyes softened at the mention of his daughter.
"The truth. I can't keep this from her any longer. I won't." She crossed her arms and readied herself for another battle.
"Not even for your father's life?" He feigned concern but Jane knew it wasn't real.
"Not even for him. He made his choice." Jane leaned forward and looked him right in the eye's. "And I've made mine. My choice is Maura."
For a quiet moment, he studied her as she leaned forward to regard him with a somewhat passive expression to hide her nervousness. "Hmmm…we'll see."
"Yes we will, won't we." The tone in her voice was even as she struggled to contain the nervous feeling that was settling in the pit of her stomach. "I won't compromise my integrity. Not for you…not for him…" She started to say.
"But you would for Maura." The wicked gleam in his eyes caused a shiver to run down Jane's spine, mostly because she knew he spoke the truth.
She looked away from his careful examination, feeling as if she were under a microscope. It was true what he had said. She would do anything for Maura…anything to protect her. "What do you want from me Paddy?"
"I want to know that nothing will ever get in the way of protecting her. Not even your job." He watched her carefully, his expression somewhat guarded.
"You have my word that nothing will ever happen to her as long as I have a breath in my body. Nothing will get in the way of protecting her…not even you." The last words were spoken with pure conviction and had Paddy almost convinced, but not quite.
"You are aware that your father has already skipped town?" He asked moving the conversation along to something new. He would need to think about things before revisiting their previous subject.
"Yes, I'm aware of that." She frowned slightly at the thought of her father running. Up and leaving his family and everything behind seemed too easy and Jane wondered when things had changed.
"Again, I can't make any promises. But I'll try and make sure whatever happens…happens fast." He cleared his throat as the full impact of what he was saying hit Jane.
"I appreciate that." Her voice cracked with the emotion she was desperately trying to keep under control. "I need you to know that I won't stay away from Maura. She means too much to me." She pushed even though she recognized he had tried to change the subject.
"Still? Even after all this time…" It was a statement that held absolute truth.
"Yes. We promised each other forever and I intend on spending the rest of my life proving to her that I meant it. Even if I did get a little sidetracked." She gave him a pointed look as her fingers grazed the leather bracelet on her right wrist.
"Fair enough, but…" He started to say but she quickly interrupted.
"No. No more secrets Paddy. She has a right to know everything." Jane balled her hands into fists.
"It would be in your best interest to remember who you are talking to Jane." His mouth set into a grim line at her outburst. "We both know that there are people who will go after her to get to me, so I am going to ask you again Jane. How far are you willing to go to protect her?"
"I would give my life for hers without a moment's hesitation." Her words were soft and heartfelt and the look in her eyes told Paddy all he needed to know.
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that, but understand what I'm saying…she's my daughter and I won't hesitate to protect her no matter who gets in the way…even if it's you or your brothers in blue." He needed her to know he would stop at nothing to keep Maura safe.
"And as I said before. I will take you down if I must. She is all that matters to me now." She said in a low voice.
A tense silence settled over them before Paddy gave a sly grin. Perhaps he had underestimated Jane Rizzoli…or perhaps she had underestimated him…only time would tell.
***

Maura slipped into a seat at a table next to the window of 'La Petite Boulangerie' where the late afternoon sun filtered in. She let out a heavy, sad sigh as she sat bathed in the warmth of the amber light even though it felt good against her skin. Each day that went by without seeing Jane made her feel unbalanced especially since she had no idea what was happening or why Jane seemed to have disappeared. She recalled her last conversation with Vince and how sad he had looked as he told her he didn't know anything except that Jane needed to tend to some family matters. Her calls to Angela had gone unanswered which was why she now found herself sitting in the small neighborhood bakery. It was her last resort. She placed an elbow on the table, leaning a cheek against her hand as she fingered the small packets of sugar with the other hand. A frown appeared on her face as she continued to think until a familiar voice brought her out of her reverie.
"Hey, why do you look like you've lost your best friend?" Carly Rizzoli set a cup of coffee and a scone down in front of Maura before taking the seat across from her.
"Well, we both know that is a long story without a happy ending I might add." Maura wrapped her hands around the hot coffee mug, sighing at its warmth.
"It's never too late for happy endings Maura." Carly gave her that crooked grin that was so much like Janes it caused Maura's heart to ache.
"How's business?" Maura asked as she brought the mug up to her lips to take a tentative sip of the hot liquid.
"It's good, you know that." Carly's light blue eyes flashed in the sunlight as she tilted her head to study Maura for a minute. When Maura didn't speak, she reached over to put a hand on her arm. "What really brings you here Maura?"
"Maybe I just want to check on my investment." Maura looked away, unable to meet Carly's concerned gaze.
"You did that last month Maura. Nothing's changed…" Carly gave Maura's arm a gentle squeeze. "Do you want to try again?"
Maura just shook her head as she took a bite of her scone. "Ummm…this is good. Cranberry orange?"
With a slow, understanding nod, Carly watched Maura chew her scone before swallowing. "You aren't very good at diverting; you know?"
"I guess…" Maura sighed as she shrugged her shoulders.
"Is this about Jane?" Carly pressed.
Maura's only answer was a small nod as she continued to pick at her scone.
"Look Maura, I can't help if you don't talk to me." Carly gave a frustrated sigh.
"Sorry, I'm just not good at expressing myself." Maura tried to explain.
"Bullshit…" Carly huffed impatiently.
Maura's eyes grew wide with surprise at Carly's admonishment. It was true that from the moment she had entered the small bakery she had carried a forlorn expression on her face, one that she was trying to desperately hide behind. But to have Carly call her out so forthright was something she wasn't used to.
"You came to me Maura. I can't keep trying to pull things out of you if you aren't willing to talk about them in the first place? Help me out here…start talking." Carly lifted her own coffee to her lips and peered expectantly at Maura.
"Jane hasn't been at work for the past few days and I don't know why. Although I suspect it has something to do with Angela and Frank." Maura said as she looked out the window at the people moving along the busy street.
"What? I haven't heard anything." Carly frowned as she thought about her last conversation with her mother. Nothing had been said to indicate there was anything wrong. Except the fact that Jane had tried to call the night before, leaving a cryptic message about finally 'righting wrongs…'. She set her coffee down and crossed her arms as a shiver ran through her.
"We both know that Jane's job is her life and for her to take personal days…" Maura didn't seem to notice Carly's reaction as she sighed again.
"I guess you don't have to be around her every day to already know that." Carly said absently.
"Look, it's probably nothing…but…" Maura ran her fingers through her hair before tucking a few stray strands behind her ear. "I don't know. I've just got a bad feeling. It's not like me to go on feelings. I believe in facts…figures…"
"Well, it's a fact that something important has come up. Important enough for Jane to take time off work." Carly cocked a dark eyebrow at Maura.
"Yes, that much is true." Maura bit down on her bottom lip. It was a nervous habit she thought she had broken.
"Maura, why are you here?" Carly tilted her head to regard Maura as she fidgeted in her seat. When there was no answer, light blue eyes met hazel-green with understanding. "Maybe it wasn't such a good idea for you to have taken the M.E. job."
"Maybe, but it's too late for regrets." Maura let out a heavy breath. "This is harder than I thought it would be…" Her voice trailed off as she placed her chin in the palm of her hand and studied Carly's reaction to her words.
"What did you expect?" Carly challenged.
"I honestly don't know. But not this…" Maura wave her hands in frustration. "I still want her Carly. God help me…but I do. What am I going to do?" The puff of air that Maura exhaled caused her hair to flutter over her forehead before falling into her eyes.
"I suspected that you've never gotten over her." Carly reached across the table to push Maura's hair away from her eyes. It was a tender gesture between friends, one that brought the first genuine smile to Maura's lips. "Do you think you could forgive her?"
"I don't know." Maura answered honestly as she took Carly's hand in her own. She gave it a gentle squeeze before releasing it. "It broke me when she walked away. There's only been one person since her that I thought I could love."
"Ian…" Carly said the name with disdain. "He used you Maura. It was never about love." She stiffened slightly at the memory of the handsome and charming man she had met several years ago.
"You never liked him." Maura mused as she watched Carly's body language change. "Do you mind my asking why?"
"He never looked at you the way she did." Carly sighed as she allowed her body to relax. Ian was gone and he wasn't coming back, at least she hoped he wasn't.
"No one has ever looked at me like she did." Maura let out a wistful sigh. "Maybe I need to get out, go on a date…"
"Um, why don't you come over for dinner?" Carly said suddenly, interrupting Maura's train of though. "Ryan can set you up. We can double date." She was desperately trying to think of something to keep Maura from making what she thought was a mistake.
"Double date? You mean a blind date?" Maura seemed surprised by the invitation. "I'm not sure I'd like that very much."
"Look, April is a friend of Ryan's. She just started working for the DA's office a few months ago." Carly paused when Maura raised a suspicious eyebrow. "She's nice enough." It wasn't a lie, bit Carly knew her highbrow attitude and the smug air about her wouldn't appeal to Maura. "Come on, what have you got to lose?" But she knew that Maura had a lot to lose if she didn't give Jane another chance. She had always suspected that what happened fifteen years ago hadn't been Jane's choice.
"Well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt." Maura resolved herself to the fact that she needed to get out and be social. Pinning away for a lost love she couldn't get back wasn't healthy. She thought that perhaps she might find someone to help her forget, but deep down she knew she wouldn't. "Okay…when?"
"How about tomorrow night?" Carly said brightly as she pushed away from the table. She needed to call Ryan as soon as possible.
"Yeah, okay. That'll work." Maura's dark mood seemed to have lifted temporarily. "But if you hear anything…" She gave Carly a hopeful look as her voice trailed off.
"You'll be the first to know." Carly smiled as she bent down to give Maura a hug and quick kiss on the cheek. There was a lot that needed to be accomplished if she was to slow Maura down long enough to give Jane a second chance and one of the first things she needed to do was find Jane.

Chapter Text

No Hard Feelings…
Chapter 6
Jane stood outside the office door of Dr. Constance Isles and let out a heavy sigh in anticipation of what waited for her on the other side. In an effort to stall, she studied the name inscribed on the small, square name plate. It was written in a modest font with no embellishments or unnecessary flourishes. Just bold, black lettering that stated a simple elegance and it struck her as odd. If memory served her correctly, Constance was anything but simple...elegant maybe, but definitely not simple. Strength and vitality were the words that Jane had come to associate with the Isles matriarch, not simple and understated. As she stared at the name plate before her, she couldn't stop herself from shaking her head in amusement at her own thoughts.
"Well, if it isn't Jane Rizzoli…" A quiet, yet familiar voice spoke from behind Jane drawing her attention away from her careful study.
"Constance…" Jane's voice was low but held an unassuming authority as she turned around to find a stern but thoughtful look directed her way.
"I see that you are on time and for that I thank you." Constance gently pushed past Jane to open her office door.
Following Constance into the small but well-appointed office, Jane took in the abundance of book shelves filled to the brim with books. Along the opposite wall leaned several large unframed canvas' that Jane assumed belonged to Constance and directly in front of a picture window sat a mahogany desk. There was a sentimental feel about the room and again Jane was struck by how odd it seemed. Sentimental was another word that she would not use to describe Constance Isles and the thought caused her to smirk.
"I'm afraid you've caught me in a bit of a mess. I'll be heading to Paris next week." Constance nodded towards the large canvases. "And I'll be taking those with me."
Jane didn't respond for a moment as she continued to look around, taking in the family pictures that littered the large desk, another surprise. Her countenance had been hard and calculating when she entered the room but when her eyes fell upon several pictures of Maura at various ages ranging from childhood to more recent she couldn't help but soften her expression. Her eyes moved from the pictures to watch Constance make her way around the desk to take a seat in the high-backed chair with a gentle sigh. It was the small sigh that had her almost regretting what she was about to do. Finally, after several minutes of silence, Jane sat down across from Constance.
"Do you want to tell me what you are doing here Jane?" Constance let out a puff of air as she fidgeted around her desk nervously. It had been years since she had seen Jane and having her reappear after so much time did not bode well in Constance's mind.
"Um, I go by Detective Rizzoli now." Jane's jaw was clenched and her mouth set in a grim line. She wasn't sure why she had said what she had, but something inside of her wanted the older woman to know.
"Oh. Are you here in an official capacity?" Constance feigned alarm. She knew that Maura had taken the job as M.E. and that she and Jane were now working together on an almost daily basis. What she didn't know was why Jane was sitting in her office radiating nonchalance.
"No, not really." Jane shrugged her shoulders as she kept her gaze steady. The dark blue eyes that gazed back at her did not flinch under the scrutiny.
"Then, by all means Detective…please explain to me why you are…after all of these years…siting here in front of me with a somewhat smug attitude." Constance's eyes flickered with the seeds of anger directed towards the person who had hurt her daughter more than anyone she had known, herself included.
"I'm not here to be judged." The dangerously low tone of Jane's voice indicated her impatience.
"Then let's cut to the chase, shall we. What do you want?" Constance glared as Jane shifted her weight uncomfortably in her seat. It was the first sign that Jane felt nervous and it gave Constance the glimmer of authority she hoped to maintain during their conversation.
"I think you already know." Jane let out a heavy sigh and ran her fingers through her hair. Watching Constance puzzle through several scenarios, she saw the exact moment realization dawned on the older woman.
Taking a shaky breath, Constance blinked a few times in surprise as it occurred to her why Jane was there. That fleeting moment of authority disappeared as dread settled in the pit of her stomach like a brick. "Paddy…" The name fell from her lips in a quiet whisper as if she feared saying it out loud would bring him to her door.
"Look, I'm sorry if I've come across as smug but this isn't easy for me." Jane cleared her throat nervously. The ambush seemed to surprise Constance and the look of fear on her face deflated Jane's smug attitude instantly.
"Why do I have the feeling that what you are about to tell me isn't going to be easy for me either?" As Constance spoke, her complexion paled. Deep down she had a feeling that Jane was about to stir up a hornet's nest that she wasn't sure she was ready to deal with but she also knew that it had only been a matter of time before it would happen. It seemed as if that time had come sooner than she had expected or rather sooner than she was ready to accept.
Jane gave her an apologetic smile as she shifted again in her seat again. She could feel her gun and badge at her hip pressing into her side making her painfully aware that they would be of no help to her in this situation. It was all up to her. "I guess I should start from the beginning…" Her voice trembled slightly under the realization of what she was about to do. She had expected to have this conversation with Maura but she also knew that before anything could be said she would have to talk to Constance. Maura's mother had just as much to lose as Jane and even though she did not need anyone's permission, she still wanted to give Constance the chance to prepare for the aftermath. Even though nothing was going to change her mind, having Constance on her side wouldn't hurt. Crossing her left leg over her right, she placed her hands on her lap and allowed the fingertips of her right hand to graze the hard leather of her holster. For some reason, it comforted her to know it was there.
"Yes, I suppose the beginning is a good place to start." Constance took notice of the way that Jane's fingers moved to touch her gun. She recognized the move for what it was, a means of comfort. To her, it was a strange thing to find comfort in. All she could do was give Jane an expectant look as she waited for her speak again.
"My Pop has a problem with gambling…has for years." Jane started to say before her voice cracked slightly under the emotion she was trying desperately to control. "Um…sorry…this is harder that I thought it would be." She apologized when she saw shock register on Constance's face. "A few years ago he got in some trouble."
"How many years ago Jane?" Constance interrupted. She needed to hear Jane say the words even though she already knew the answer.
"Fifteen…" Jane dropped her eyes to her lap as her cheeks warmed with the shame she was feeling at having allowed Paddy to manipulate her all those years ago.
"I see." Constance said when she saw Jane hesitate. "Go on." She encouraged.
"I found out that there had been a contract taken out on him. He owed some really bad guys a lot of money and he wasn't making any attempt to pay them back." Jane reached up with her left hand to nervously rub the back of her neck. "I had to do something…so…" She paused as she brought her eyes back up to meet Constance's. "I went to the only person I thought could help. I went to Paddy."
"Why didn't you come to me? I would have helped…" Constance started to say. Her voice was soft and filled with sadness.
"I don't know. Pride maybe. I guess I wanted to do it on my own. I thought I could handle it, but I realized too late, I couldn't." Jane exhaled a long held breath. "Paddy agreed to pay my Pop's debt and get the contract cancelled. It took me seven years to pay that debt off but that wasn't the worst of it." She paused to give Constance a moment to conclude what she was reluctant to say out loud.
"He made you leave Maura." Constance guessed. It was the truth that she saw in Jane's eyes that brought a wave of sorrow crashing down over her. "He was afraid his secret would get out."
Jane gave a small nod as she looked back down at her lap not able to meet Constance's sad gaze. "I had to trade the life I could have had with Maura for my fathers." She laughed bitterly as she finally said the words. "I didn't have a choice…" When she finally looked back at Constance her eyes held a silent plea to understand.
"He is a cruel man Jane. I wish you would have come to me then." Constance sighed and then leaned over her desk so she was closer to Jane. "Is that why you've come to me today? Is your father in trouble again? Do you need my help?" The words came out in a rush.
"Yes my father is in trouble again and no one can help him now. He made his choice. He ran away leaving my Ma to fend for herself." Jane's expression hardened at the thought that her father had abandoned her mother, leaving her with nothing to hold onto except the remnants of a thirty-four-year marriage. Things had changed between her and her father when she gave up Maura. She had always suspected he knew why, but he never acknowledged it if he did. All he did was hold out hope that she would find the right 'man' and settle down. Even though he had accepted her relationship with Maura when they were in high school, Jane knew he believed it was just a phase. She had never looked at him the same way after that fateful meeting with Paddy that changed her life.
"I'm sorry Jane." Constance moved her hand to touch Jane but stopped suddenly. "But I still don't understand why you're here."
"I went to see Paddy today." If the admission surprised Constance she didn't show it. "I'm not that nineteen-year-old, scared kid anymore Constance." Jane continued as she watched for a reaction. "I'm going to tell Maura…everything…I'm going to tell her what I should have told her fifteen years ago."
Jane sat back in her chair and crossed her arms as she watched Constance digest what she had said. She knew it would take a few minutes for Constance to come to terms with what she had just said but nothing was going to change her mind.
"You are going to tell her that Paddy Doyle is her father?" Constance's voice was a faint whisper.
All Jane could do was nod because words seemed trivial at this point. She watched a myriad of emotions play across Constance's face ranging from fear to anger to resignation.
"She's going to be angry…" Constance bristled as she sat up straighter in her chair. "At both of us… I'm not sure I'm ready for that."
"I don't care what you're ready for. I need her to know the truth. I need her to know that I didn't just throw our love away on a whim. What we had meant something to me." Jane struggled to speak as her emotions overcame her. "It still does…" She choked out the last words.
"You still love her." It was a statement not a question.
"I've never stopped." Jane let out a heavy sigh as she pushed her hair over her shoulder and away from her face.
"Will you make me a promise, Jane?" Constance asked. She waited patiently for Jane to think about it and only continued when Jane nodded. "No matter how angry she gets when she finds out about Paddy, don't give up on her. Just be there for her. Be her punching bag, her shoulder to cry on…be her best friend until…" She paused as a slow smile came to her lips. "Until it's time to be more. Just promise me that you won't walk away from her again not matter what the cost."
"That's an easy promise to make Constance…I thought…maybe…" Jane let out a breath of relief. She had been ready for a fight because she thought that maybe Constance was going to ask her to leave Maura alone.
"You thought I was going to ask you to walk away again, didn't you?" Constance raised a questioning eyebrow.
"I kinda did." Jane sounded relieved. "You're taking this remarkably well." She eyed Constance suspiciously. "Why aren't you angry with me?"
"I guess I'm just tired." Constance let out a huff as her shoulders sagged under the weight of the prospect of what was to come. "I've kept this secret for thirty-three years. It's time she knew the truth."
"It is going to be tough Constance. Paddy has accepted the inevitable but he isn't happy about it." The seriousness in Jane's tone caused Constance to shiver.
"Don't mistake my acceptance for compliance Detective. I know he is a dangerous man and when you tell Maura it will present her with a whole new set of doors to choose from. I'm afraid for you both." Another shiver ran through Constance's body and this time Jane noticed.
"I won't let anything happen to her. I promise…" Jane lifted her chin in a show of strength and defiance.
"Now that's a promise we both know you can't make." Constance sadly shook her head. "But I believe you when you say it."
Jane took a deep breath before she started to push up from her chair only stopping when the phone rang and Constance waved her back into her seat.
"Wait. I'll only just be a moment." Constance directed Jane to sit back down before picking up the phone.
With a shrug of her shoulders, Jane sat back down prepared to wait until she was properly dismissed. It was only when she heard Constance's cheerful greeting that her eyebrows raised in surprise…Constance was talking to Maura.
"This is a pleasant surprise." Constance smiled into the receiver. "Really? How is the job coming along?" She listened quietly to the answer before asking another. "Any regrets?" Again she listened but this time she looked at Jane and gave her a weak smile. "No…no…I don't think so. I suppose you just need to give it some time." There was a touch of concern in the tone of her voice this time. "I'm sure she will explain everything when you see her…yes…I'm sure of it." The soft murmur of Maura's voice drifted from the phone just loud enough for Jane to hear. "Oh…a date…tonight…um…sure…you're right…it is time to get out and meet people…" She gave Jane an apologetic smile and decided she needed to end the conversation before Jane's head exploded. If the look on her face was any indication of what she was feeling, Constance could tell that Jane was doing her best to contain her anger. "Okay Honey. I'll see you before I leave…let's have dinner. I'm sure you'll have a lot to tell me by then…" This time she gave Jane a pointed look, hoping that Maura would still want to see her after her talk with Jane. "Bye…" Constance said before hanging the phone up and glancing at Jane who practically had steam coming from her ears.
"She has a date?" Jane fumed.
"What do you expect Jane? From what she told me you've all but disappeared the last few days without any word." Constance couldn't stop herself from sounding like she was chastising.
"She said she needed space, needed to process the idea of seeing me every day." Jane tried not to pout.
"Be that as it may, she is worried about you. She overheard you talking to Korsak about your family and she is worried." Constance emphasized that last word so it would have an impact on Jane and it did.
"I guess I didn't think about it, but in my defense, I didn't know she had overheard us." Jane tried to defend herself.
"I suggest you catch up with her so you can explain things." Constance said with a sad sigh knowing that things were about to change. She hoped it wouldn't affect her relationship with Maura and she hoped that Jane could garner Maura's forgiveness.
"A date? I can't believe she has a date." Jane grumbled as she started to stand.
"Jane…?" Constance's voice was soft yet firm. "Remember your promises." Even though she knew that Jane couldn't be held accountable for keeping them, Constance still needed Jane's affirmation that she would try.
With a curt nod Jane acknowledged what Constance had said as she moved towards the door. She stopped when Constance called out to her again. Without turning around, she tilted her head to indicate she was listening.
"Good luck, you've got your job cut out for you but I'm rooting for you Detective." It was meant to encourage but there was an undercurrent of sadness to the statement.
The only thing on Jane’s mind as she left was finding Maura and putting an end to her upcoming date.
***

As Jane sat behind the wheel of her car, it occurred to her that she had no idea where Maura lived. She quietly berated herself for not asking Constance when she had had the chance. The only thing she could do at this point was put in a call to Korsak and have him find out for her. Of course he would ask questions, but she didn't have much choice but suffer through his inquiries. She quietly contemplated the multitude of questions she would have to wade through and it occurred to her that Frost wouldn't put her through the same Spanish inquisition. With her mind made up, she pulled her cellphone from its case and hit the speed dial to link her to Frost.
"What's up?" Frost's smooth voice reached out to Jane. There was a calm way about him that always soothed her, it was one of the reasons they worked so well together. His ability to tame the tempest of emotions that boiled close to the surface reminded her of Maura and it brought a small smile to her face.
"Hey partner, I was wondering if you could do me a favor?" She tried to hide the desperate plea in her voice.
"Yeah? What ya need?" He asked. He had heard the slight tremor in her voice as she spoke and he knew he would do anything she asked.
"Could you get me Maura's address?" She asked.
If he was surprised by her request, there was no indication as he began typing into his computer. Jane waited patiently as she listened to the sound of his fingers moving over his keyboard. They were both quiet as he worked in silence trying to locate the information Jane had asked for. It only took a minute for him to find what he was looking for but instead of giving it to Jane right away, he took the opportunity to say what was on his mind.
"I've got it but before I give it to you…" He cleared his throat nervously as he tried to phrase in his mind what he was going to say. "Look Jane, um…you need to make things right between you two…even if it just means being friends." His voice cracked slightly as he finished.
"I didn't know I had called Dear Abby." Jane said not hiding the malice in her tone.
"Aw, come on Jane. She's been worried and so have I." He paused as he listened to her sigh. "We're more than just partners Jane. I'd like to think we're friends."
"Look Frost, I've got a few things I need to take care of. It's not that I don't appreciate the concern, it's just that I really need to handle this on my own." She tried to explain.
"I get it, really I do. Frankie told me about your dad and everything." Frost's voice lowered so no one but Jane could hear.
She couldn't help but feel irritated that Frankie had told Frost but she supposed it was for the best. No one knew about Paddy, except Constance now and soon Maura would know. She didn't feel the need to explain anymore and she couldn't keep the impatience from her voice when she spoke again. "Could I please just have Maura's address. I really need to talk to her. I'm trying to make things right Frost. I just need to do it my way."
"'Kay…" He gave up on trying to counsel Jane and gave her the address. "I guess I should wish you good luck, that is if you're about to do what I think you're going to do."
"Yeah? What would that be?" Jane asked as she jotted down the address in her small notebook.
"Well, I'd say that you are about to finally pull your head outta your ass and profess your undying love for her…or something like that." He chuckled at the attempt to lighten the mood.
"Yeah…or something like that." Jane couldn't stop herself from smiling into the phone. "Thanks partner…I owe you one."
"Ah…and don't forget it." Frost tried to sound stern but only succeeded in sounding jovial.
"I have a feeling you won't let me." She smirked as she hit the 'end' button on her phone. "And now…" She said out loud to herself as she started the ignition of the car with the twist of her wrist. "Off to find Maura." Putting the car in drive, she pulled away from the curb with the squeal of tires at her back. The urgency she felt in the pit of her stomach didn't help as she sped away from Constance on her way to a head-on collision with Maura's heart. She just hoped she wasn't too late.

Chapter Text

Destiny Rules
Chapter 7
Maura smiled at her reflection before a frown furrowed her brow marring the somewhat perfect picture in front of her. Something just wasn't right and she couldn't quiet place her finger on what it was. Her eyes swept up and over the image that looked back at her from the full-length mirror hoping that something would stand out. She could find no glaring discrepancies as she continued to quietly study herself, the frown turning to a pensive expression. Her intention when she had gotten dressed was to go with a simple, yet elegant look. Casual attire was not her forte but she liked what she saw reflected back at her. The way her pants were tailored accentuated her curves and the green silk blouse she was wearing brought out the green in her hazel eyes. Leaning closer to the mirror, she studied her eyes and realized what was missing. There was no glow of anticipation or gleam of excitement to indicate that she was happy to be going on a date.
The minute she had agreed to go on a date she knew it had been a mistake. She had almost called it off but realized it was too late when she found herself sitting alone at the table after Carly had quietly left her to her thoughts. And of course, those thoughts had been about Jane. She had been worried, uncertain, angry and sad all at once as she contemplated navigating the mine field of emotions that Jane evoked. On more than one occasion that afternoon, she had picked up the phone to call Carly to cancel but her stubborn streak made it impossible for her follow through.
As she was giving herself another once over, she paused when her eyes fell on her hands which were fidgeting at her sides. She knew that she needed facts to substantiate her feelings so she methodically went through each one in her mind. It was a fact that Jane hadn't checked in with anyone since she had left the precinct the day Maura had seen her and Korsak talking in the hall. It was also a fact that Maura hadn't been able to keep Jane out of her thoughts since that day three years ago when Jane had been brought into the hospital, broken and bleeding. She thought that she had finally gotten over the hurt of having her heart broken. She thought that she was ready to move on. So many thoughts came to her mind in that instant, but there was one she hadn't expected to have and that was the thought that she was still in love with Jane, even after all these years. The revelation caused her eyebrows to raise up in surprise as she dared the image staring back at her to agree. She could see the sad resignation in the depths of hazel and green that seemed to recognize what she wasn't prepared to acknowledge but she could also see a flicker of light beginning to grow behind the veil of sadness.
She watched as her once calm expression changed to one of indecision. Images of Jane and her own uncertainty caused her stomach to clench as she was left to wonder where the sudden case of nerves had come from. Tilting her head slightly, she marveled at the way the light in her eyes flickered at the mere thought of Jane. It was both exciting and frightening that Jane still had that effect on her. With a resigned nod to herself, she decided that going through with the date was her only choice. She would give this other woman a chance even though she knew in her heart that it wouldn't go further than this evening. At this point she thought she had nothing to lose and there was always the possibility of gaining a friend.
Smoothing down the front of her slacks, she watched as her hands moved over the creases liking what she saw. As an afterthought, she reached up to unbutton one more button on her blouse to reveal just the barest hint of cleavage. "Why not show off some of my best assets…?" She thought to herself with a smirk. Turning abruptly as if the reflection might somehow disagree, she grabbed her jacket off the bed. As she slipped her arms into the soft leather, she gave one last look over her shoulder at the mirror. She smiled at the imposing figure looking back at her and saw a faint glimmer of hopefulness giving her the feeling that no matter what, things were going to be alright.
***
Jane found herself sitting in her car again but this time it was in front of Maura's house. Drumming her fingers along the steering wheel with nervous energy, she studied the beautiful, yet modest two story craftsmen that Maura called home. A longing swept over her for what should have been hers as well and it settled in the pit of her stomach. The heavy, empty feeling of self-pity made her realize she hadn't eaten since she had grabbed a bagel and cup of coffee for breakfast. When her stomach let out a menacing growl, she huffed loudly in frustration knowing that if she didn't eat something soon, she wouldn't be able to focus on what she needed to tell Maura. As if a lightbulb went off over her head, the thought that she might be able to convince Maura to go out to dinner with her caused her to smile. Of course, it also occurred to her that if she could get Maura to agree, it would mean she wouldn't go out on her date. It seemed like a good enough plan, one that might even work with some luck. A little wine and a little food might loosen up the mood between them. Hopefully they would end up back at Maura's where they could talk.
"It'll work…" She said to her reflection in the rearview mirror. The dark eyes that looked back at her didn't seemed convinced that it was such a good idea. "It'll work." Her voice sounded more determined this time as she squinted at herself, challenging those dark eyes to disagree. "What?" She raised her eyebrows to disguise the uncertainty she was feeling.
Again, her stomach growled to draw her attention away from the strange one sided conversation she was having with herself. "Okay…okay…" She gave herself a quick pat to the middle before undoing her seatbelt. As she climbed out of the car, she took a deep breath to calm the nervousness she was feeling. For a moment, she bent forward and rested her hands on her knees as dizziness almost took her to the ground. After another deep breath, she stood tall and squared her shoulders. By the way she was standing, she had almost convinced herself that she wasn't scared half to death…almost but not quiet.
As her long legs carried her up the pathway towards Maura's front door, she took in the well-manicured yard with its perfectly symmetrical sections of green grass and flower beds on either side. She couldn't stop the smile from spreading across her lips as she compared the color of the green grass to the green flecks that she knew floated in the depths of Maura's hazel eyes. As she recalled the times that those green flecks had shimmered their brightest, her cheeks began to burn with a blush that was spreading over her face.
"Come on Rizzoli, snap outta it." She whispered to herself.
All too soon she found herself standing in front of the door and the urge to bolt almost overcame her. She paused for a moment to swallow down her pride and reach for some of the courage she knew she had buried deep within her. Her eyes went from the large, ornate door knocker to the small white button of the doorbell and she couldn't decide which one she should use. An unexpected wave of nervousness washed over her again and she suddenly felt like a sixteen-year-old kid about ask a someone out on a first date.
As she struggled to find her balance, a thought occurred to her. The fact that she had spent most of the day either sitting in her car or somewhere else made her realize that she probably looked a mess. With shaky hands, she smoothed out the wrinkles in her pants as best she could before she grabbed the collar of her oxford shirt, giving it a tug to straighten it out. She shifted her gun and badge further along her hip so they lay hidden under her jacket and buttoned the first button to close it. Finally, she combed her fingers through her long, dark hair pushing it over her shoulders in an attempt to tame the unruly curls that had gotten even more unruly as the day progressed. She had half a mind to put the mass of tangled locks into a pony tail but decided against it when she realized her rubber band was still in the car. Giving herself a quick shake, she squared her shoulders again hoping she would appear more confident than she felt when Maura opened the door. Before she could change her mind, she reached out to press the white button of the doorbell and stepped back to wait. And wait…and wait. When nothing happened, she scowled at the door as if she could somehow intimidate it into opening for her but again nothing happened. Shoving her hands deep into her pockets she turned to leave but couldn't resist giving one last menacing glance over her shoulder. It still didn't have the desired effect she was hoping for so she headed back to the car.
Slipping into the driver's seat, she caught a glimpse of the clock and realized how late it had gotten. Her shoulders sagged when it occurred to her that Maura must already have left for her date. "Damnit…" She leaned her head back against the head rest and let out a heavy sigh. "Damnit…damnit…" Her hand hit the steering wheel as her anger grabbed ahold of her. "How did I miss her?" She asked the emptiness around her. As she sat there brooding, her stomach again reminded her that she was hungry. "Fuck you…" She growled as she looked down at the offending sound. The thought that she could go home to her mother occurred to her because there was always an abundance of food wherever Angela was but she quickly dispelled that idea when she remembered that her mother was staying with her Aunt Sara. The fact that she would have to eat another fast food meal had her frowning as she considered what to do next but a sudden idea caused her to grin like a Cheshire cat. "Carly!" She said with excitement. "She'll feed me!" And with that settled, she started the car, threw it into drive and peeled away from Maura's house in search of a hot meal and possibly a shoulder to cry on.
***
Maura did her best to smile and nod in all the right places as she tried to listened to her date go on and on about herself. The Park Avenue lockjaw accent was grating on Maura's nerves, but she did her best not to betray what she was feeling. She sipped her wine as she silently critiqued the woman whose hands continued to move around in a flourish as she explained how wonderful a lawyer she was and why the DA's office had recruited her. Her shoulder length blonde hair was straight and in Maura's opinion lacked the luster and shine of a healthy person. She also thought that perhaps the all too pale skin was the sign of a workaholic, someone who didn't have time for outside activities and then she reminded herself that she also was a workaholic but she still somehow found time to get outside to let the sun touch her skin. She had the sudden urge to tell her date that a multivitamin might be a good idea but dispelled the urge with a heavy sigh. The odds were definitely stacking against April the more that Maura listened to her drone on about her ivy league education and what kind of car she drove. When Ryan set another bottle of wine down on the table, Maura looked up to find an apologetic smile directed her way before Ryan disappeared into the kitchen leaving her alone again to feign interest in the one-sided conversation.
"Hey…" Ryan slipped behind Carly who was standing at the stove adding the finishing touches to her sauce. "I still don't understand why you had me invite April. She is so not Maura's type." She wrapped her arms around Carly's waist, stood on her tippy toes, and placed her chin on broad shoulders to see what smelled so good.
"Hmm, that's what I'm hoping." Carly lifted the wooden spoon she had been using to stir the sauce and gave Ryan a taste.
"Oh…that is good." Ryan smacked her lips before giving Carly a quick kiss on the cheek. "But I still don't understand."
"Well…" Carly turned around in Ryan's arms and looked down at her. "I think that Jane is about to make the move we've all been hoping for."
"Really?" Ryan tilted her head in that cute way that caused Carly to smile. "What gives you that idea?" She brought her hands to rest on Carly's hips, lacing her fingers through the belt loops of the faded jeans she was wearing. The t-shirt and jeans look that Carly was sporting was one of Ryan's favorites and she couldn't stop herself from tracing the hem of the soft cotton shirt with her thumbs.
"She called me and left a somewhat cryptic message about 'righting wrongs' but I haven't been able to get a hold of her since. So, when Maura said she needed to get out and meet people…" Carly grinned wickedly as she watched Ryan's eyes widen in recognition. "I decided to sidetrack her just a little until Jane had a chance to do whatever it is she's going to do."
"I see…" Ryan gave Carly's side a gentle pinch. "Meddling has never been your style."
"Aw, come on. This has been hard on everyone. I just want to see them back together…ya know…like they should be. I think in their case, destiny rules." Carly tried to squirm away from Ryan's insistent teasing.
"Maybe it isn't for us to say whether they should be together or not." Ryan looked away from Carly's questioning gaze. "Look, Jane is Jane. I just don't want to see Maura get hurt again." She shrugged her shoulders.
"I know…" Carly wrapped her arms around Ryan and pulled her close. Resting her chin on top soft, silky blonde hair she let out a long, heavy sigh. "But I think this is it. Jane's last chance at redemption. I know there's something more to the story and I think that maybe Jane is finally ready to come clean."
"I hope so. I don't think I can continue to hide the fact that Maura is as much a part of our lives as Jane is…maybe even more so. She did help us realize our dreams by investing in the bakery." Ryan looked up, her green eyes twinkling with the flicker of hope. "But for now, I think I 'd better get out there and rescue Maura from her date. She looks so bored and April just keeps talking. At least Maura is a good sport." She gave Carly one last squeeze before releasing her from her hold and placing a quick kiss to her lips.
"Get at it then." Carly gave Ryan's backside a light slap when she turned around to leave.
"Oh, you'll pay for that." The threat lingered in the air as Ryan grinned over her shoulder before leaving Carly to finish making dinner.
"I have no doubt." Carly let out a breath as a shiver of anticipation ran up her spine. "But it'll have to wait. We've got work to do." She turned her attention back to her sauce and her mental scheming of getting Maura and Jane back together.
"And then she stepped on the ball! They had to call the whole thing off." April's pretentious voice carried throughout the room as Ryan slipped back in.
"Oh…Auntie Mame…I love that movie." Ryan reached across the table for her wine glass and smiled at both Maura and April.
"Excuse me? I was just telling Maura about a ping-pong tournament I was in during my college days." April seemed slightly affronted.
"Um…oh…it's…um…I guess maybe I heard that story somewhere before." Ryan mumbled around the rim of her glass as she took a healthy swig of her wine.
"It's one of my favorite movies too." Maura smiled at Ryan, her eyes twinkling with mischief.
"Don't tell me your opponent was Bunny Bicksford?" Ryan tried not to smirk.
"No, it was Regina Nesbitt." April said with uncertainty as she looked between Maura and Ryan not quite understanding.
Maura rolled her eyes as she took another sip of her wine and watched April flip her hair over her shoulder in a way that was reminiscent of those old seventies shampoo commercials. She was no expert on seventies television but the thought caused her to laugh anyway drawing a look of confusion from April. It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep herself from laughing hysterically when Ryan mimicked the move behind April. Maura realized that Ryan must have thought the same thing as they had both watched April toss her head from side to side.
"I think I'll go see if Carly needs any help." Maura jumped up from her seat. Ryan tried to grab her arm as she maneuvered past but Maura was too quick. Glancing over her shoulder she gave a sheepish grin to the look of desperation that appeared on Ryan's face at the thought of being left alone with April.
"I think you've got some explaining to do." Maura said as she stepped into the kitchen. She had concluded early in the evening that things weren't quiet as they appeared and when she saw Carly duck her head and drop her shoulders she knew she was right.
"Um…what?" Carly didn't turn around to look at Maura.
"I don't know in what twisted version of my life you thought that woman out there would be a good match for me but I smell a rat." Maura moved to lean against the kitchen counter. She slipped one hand into the pocket of her pants and swirled her red wine around the glass with the other. Leveling her gaze at Carly as she continued to swirl the ruby red liquid in her glass, she couldn't stop herself from smiling.
"You said that you wanted to meet new people." Carly chanced a glance at Maura. She was surprise to see that Maura had a relaxed smile on her face as she casually leaned against the counter.
"Ummmm…." She brought her glass up to her lips and took a slow sip, savoring the medley of flavors that danced around her mouth before swallowing. "I guess I did." Her smile returned as she watched Carly move with ease around the stove.
"Hey, no harm no foul." Carly shrugged her shoulders as she grabbed the pot of boiling pasta to pour into the strainer.
"Why do I get the feeling that there is more than meets the eye to this set up?" Maura sighed to hide her frustration. When Carly didn't answer, she took a deep breath before speaking again. "Please tell me this doesn't have anything to do with Jane."
"I haven't spoken to Jane in over a week Maura." Carly said. It wasn't a lie but she also didn't answer the question.
"Okay. I'll give you a little time to think on that one." Maura tried not to smirk at the guilty look on Carly's face.
"Look Maura, I really haven't talked to Jane. She has no idea we set you up on a blind date. She has no idea that we're still friends." Carly finally turned around to look at Maura. "I'm just really tired of keeping this from her. You are a big part of our lives and I don't like hiding that."
"I don't think you need to anymore." Maura could hear the sincerity in Carly's voice. "I'm back and I have a job that will keep me here for a while. There's no reason for us not to be friends. Jane will just have to deal with it."
"I know…I know…but ever since Jane's accident…" Carly hesitated and ran her fingers through her hair. It was a nervous habit that she shared with Jane and Maura forced herself not to reach out to comfort her. "We've been keeping this from her for the last three years. More so if you count all of the letters, phone calls, and correspondence over the last fifteen years. Having you invest in the business…you helped me realize my dream of owning my own bakery Maura and I can't share that wonder piece of information with her."
"I understand all of that. You and Ryan have always been there for me, it just seemed natural for me to be there for you when you needed me." Maura brought her wine glass up to mouth and took another sip. For a moment neither one of them spoke but Maura continued to watch Carly over the rim of her glass before swallowing and lowering the glass. "Can I tell you something?"
"You know you can." Carly said, her voice soft and encouraging.
"Ever since that day she was brought into the hospital…so helpless…so lost…I haven't been able to get her out of my mind." Maura took a shaky breath before continuing. "I think that is when I realized I might never get over her."
"Does that mean you can forgive her?" Carly ventured to ask, not sure she was ready to know the answer.
"I still can't answer that." Maura gave a sad smile. "I suppose it might be nice if I could talk to her but she seems to have disappeared." She couldn't stop the self-depreciating laugh from escaping.
"Give her time Maura. I have a feeling she is trying to work some things out before she asks for your forgiveness. I think there is more to the story than any of us realize." Carly reached out to pull Maura into a hug. "But when she does come to you…can you promise me that you will at least give her a chance?"
"I can't promise to forgive her but I will at least listen to her." Maura conceded as she allowed Carly to engulf her in a hug. She opened herself up to the rare moment of comfort Carly offered but all too quickly it was over.
"You wanna help me with these dishes?" Carly released Maura and tilted her head towards the counter where several platters waited to be served.
"I'd love to." Maura set her wine glass down to free up her hands to help.
"Here…" Carly handed Maura a plate filled with toasted French bread covered in melted cheese.
Maura waited until Carly had the other plates before following her out to the dining room. She couldn't help but smile at the tantalizing aroma that wafted over to her from the plates that Carly was carrying. If anything, she thought to herself, she was going to get a great meal out of this blind date fiasco. As they each set their plates down, she couldn't help but notice the look of relief that washed over Ryan's face at their greatly appreciated appearance. She gave Ryan a quick, knowing wink as she took her seat next to April.
Before they could settle down to their meal, the doorbell rang causing Ryan to raise a questioning eyebrow at Carly who had a look of uncertainty mixed with panic.
"Are we missing someone?" Ryan asked Carly, her voice laced with an undercurrent of accusation.
"Um…no." Carly's words were firm as she gave Ryan a stern look. It was true that she hadn't invited anyone else over and even though she had no idea who was standing outside their door, the sinking feeling in her stomach indicated that she might actually know exactly who it was. That little voice in the back of her mind screamed 'Holy Shit, Jane's here!"

Chapter Text

Save Me A Seat
Chapter 8
The second the doorbell rang, Carly's gut told her that she knew exactly who it was. When she rose from her chair to answer the door, all eyes feel upon her with curiosity and she did her best to school her expression into a neutral one. She could tell by Ryan's stiff posture that she wasn't the only one to think that it might be Jane so when their eyes met Carly could read all the unspoken words that Ryan was struggling to keep to herself. As quickly as she could, Carly moved around the table, heading towards the door. It should have surprised her to open the door to find Jane standing on the other side, but it didn't. What did surprise her however was Jane's casual smile and relaxed posture as she stood, leaning against the doorframe waiting for Carly to invite her in.
"Hey, what's for dinner? I'm starving." Jane grinned at her cousin before pushing away from the doorframe that had become a very convenient way to hold herself up.
"Um…" Carly struggled to find the words as she squared her shoulders to block Jane from pushing past her. Instead of being angry at the uninvited intrusion, her eyes widened at the sight before her. Jane had faint purplish smudges under her eyes marring the skin that usually had a healthy glow. There were fine lines at the edges of her eyes etched deep with the fatigue that radiated from her. "We've got company Jane."
"Oh…" Jane's grin turned into a dejected frown as she tried to peer over Carly's broad shoulders to see if she knew who was there. "I guess I shoulda called first." Her voice dropped in disappointment as she shifted from one foot to the other. The movement caused her to wobble slightly so she reached out to grab the doorframe again, doing her best to make it look casual.
"Yeah, well…how 'bout I make you a plate to go." Carly could see that Jane was disappointed and she wanted to try to alleviate some of the stress she could see suddenly fixed on Jane's once relaxed face. The fact that Jane's legs were wobbly hadn't escaped her notice either.
"Nah, don't worry. I'll just grab a burger or something." Jane shoved her hands into her pockets and shrugged her shoulders. She couldn't keep the disappointment from echoing in her voice as rocked back onto the balls of her feet. "Hey…" She tilted her chin towards the dining room. "Anyone I know?"
"No…" Carly's response was rather quick and sharp causing Jane to raise an eyebrow in curiosity. "Just someone that Ryan works with." She tried to calm the nervous tremor in her voice. The guilt was written all over her face and she knew that Jane was astute enough to notice but then she though that perhaps Jane wasn't at her best so maybe she wouldn't notice.
"Hmmmm…" Jane tilted her head to study Carly's face for any signs of strain. For some reason, she had a strange feeling that Carly was hiding something. When Carly smiled at her, she decided she would just have to let it go because she had other things she needed to concern herself with. "Guess I'll catch up with you later." She started to say as she turned to leave but something caused her to stop. The sound of laughter carried to her and her back stiffened at the familiarity of it. Slowly she turned around to see that Carly had a look on her face that was a mixture of fear and sorrow. Their eyes met as silence surrounded them and Jane strained to hear the sound again but when it didn't come she thought that maybe she had been hearing things. Just as she was about to give up, the sound came again. The light melodic laughter was as familiar to her as her own breath. Her eyes widened as she continued to look at Carly, seeing the answer in the depths of light blue that gazed at her apologetically.
"I'm sorry Jane…" Carly started to say but was interrupted when Jane made to push past her.
"Maura's here?" Jane's voice held a sense of urgency that Carly hadn't heard in a long time.
"Yes, she is." Carly planted her feet firmly on the ground so that Jane couldn't push past her easily. She needed to make sure that Jane was going to be reasonable.
"What the fuck Carly? Why is Maura here?" Jane leaned against the doorframe again, her breath coming in uneven bursts. Her depleted strength was beginning to show under the strain of the moment.
"If you'd answer your dame phone once in a while…you'd know." Carly huffed as anger took a hold of her. "I wanted to tell you." She crossed her arms essentially making more difficult for Jane to get past her. She could see that adrenaline was about the only thing keeping Jane on her feet at this point.
"You wanted to tell me what? That you set her up on date? Are you shitting me right now Carly?" Jane's voice shook with something that bordered along disbelief and resentment.
"Jane…" Carly sighed exasperated. "What do you want me to do?"
"Well, you can start by getting the hell outta my way." Jane gathered what little strength she had left and muscled her way past the imposing figure that had been blocking her entrance.
Jane rounded the corner and walked into the room with a smile on her face. The cozy scene that greeted her had her anger reaching the boiling point but she hid it well. Ryan, Maura and some blonde woman Jane did not recognize were sitting at the table, each with a glass of wine and plate of food. Her eyes went from Ryan to the blonde before coming to rest on the back of Maura's head. She had to blink back the black dots that started to dance around her vision as she felt the floor reaching up towards her. It only took a few deep breaths to steady herself as she continued to stare at Maura's back.
Maura felt the moment the atmosphere changed in the room. She knew someone was watching her and without looking she knew who it was. The tingling that started in the pit of her stomach had nothing to do with the two glasses of wine she had consumed or the fact that she was hungry. It was a presence she had come to recognize, one that had once set her world on fire. Swallowing back her nervousness, she finally allowed herself to look over her shoulder. She could see Jane's hard expression soften at her look of innocent surprise but quickly change back to that hard, protective countenance when her eyes went to April.
"Jane?" Maura tried to steady her voice. She had almost convinced herself that she might never see Jane again but there she stood in all her angry glory, nostrils flaring and eyes flashing as she looked around the room. The sight of Jane's barely contained fury caused Maura's stomach to flip flop because she knew the passion that lay just beneath the surface.
"Hey…" She tipped her chin in Maura's direction. She felt like her movements were clumsy and oafish but to everyone else they looked smooth and calculated. Her eyes drifted slowly to fall back on Maura and she felt her knees threaten to buckle under the hazel-green gaze that looked at her with concern.
Maura could sense the tension in Jane was coiled like a spring just waiting to burst. It had been years since she had seen Jane with her emotions so close to the surface but Maura could still remember how volatile she could be. In an effort to calm the tempest that threatened, Maura spoke again. "I've been worried Jane. You haven't been at work all this week. Is everything okay?" She reached out her hand to comfort but Jane just shook her head letting Maura know she wouldn't take solace in the offer. Maura couldn't hide the crest fallen look on her face as Carly caught her eye over Jane's shoulder giving her a sad smile.
"Yeah, you look real worried." Jane smirked as her eyes drifted from Maura to April where they stopped.
"That's not fair Jane…" Maura started to say but was cut off.
"Fair? What's fair about any of this?" Jane waved her hands around the room. Both Maura and Carly could sense that the statement pertained to something deeper than either one of them understood.
"Look, we're trying to have a nice dinner here Jane…just some friends…enjoying a nice evening…sharing in each other's company." Ryan sighed as she sank back in her chair giving April an apologetic smile.
"Yeah well, sorry to put a cramp in your style." Jane directed her unfounded anger at Ryan who just smiled sadly.
"I'm sorry too Jane. It really is just a couple of friends getting together though." Ryan's eyes flashed a warning to Carly who was standing behind Jane. She had been against this whole blind date set up since Carly had asked her to invite April. It had been painfully obvious since the moment the evening had begun that Maura's thoughts had been elsewhere and now Ryan realized where. Letting out a heavy sigh, she brought her wine glass up to mouth to take a sip before speaking again. "You are welcome to join us Jane." She could see that Jane was unsteady on her feet and she attributed it to lack of sleep and probably food as well.
"Oh, I wouldn't want to be a third wheel on your double date. Anyway, it doesn't look like you saved me a seat." Jane shook her head at Ryan's offer.
"This isn't a date Jane…not really." Maura started to say.
"Then tell that to her." Jane's eyes flashed with anger as she tilted her head towards April who had moved even closer to Maura.
"April, this is my cousin Jane Rizzoli. Jane this is April Birch." Carly slipped past Jane who continued to stand looking down at everyone.
"Jane Rizzoli…?" April looked surprised. "You mean Detective Jane Rizzoli with BPD homicide?"
Jane gave the slightest not, not caring if anyone saw or not. She didn't like what she saw in the body language of April as she leaned closer to Maura in a possessive way. She didn't look away from either, instead trying to silently convey the anger she was feeling.
"The same Jane Rizzoli that likes to bend the rules…making our jobs all that more difficult?" April made a face like she had just eaten something sour. Four sets of eyes filled with surprise fell on April as the tone of her voice indicated she was not at all pleased to meet Jane.
"Hey, wait a minute…" Ryan began to wave her hand in the air to get everyone's attention. The tension in the room had risen to an explosive level brought on by April's thoughtless words.
"You've said it yourself Ryan. You're always having to put out fires she's…" April nodded towards Jane as she spoke, a smirk settling on her face. "Setting…"
When Ryan looked at Jane, she could see the hurt and uncertainty flickering in the dark eyes that looked back at her. It broke her heart to see that look on Jane's face because it looked so much like Carly when she was experiencing the same emotions. "April…" Ryan said through gritted teeth. "Although Jane has at times practiced unconventional methods to get the bad guys, her conviction rate is astounding and I won't have you diminishing her stealer reputation. With that being said…yes, it can sometimes be difficult." She couldn't help but give Jane a small smile to let her know that she meant it with the best intentions. Relief flooded her senses when she saw Jane's crooked grin directed her way.
"Whatever. I don't get it…she's a mess…just look at her." April turned her attention to Jane's appearance. "She can't even bother to iron her clothes or comb her hair…"
"Hey Lady…" Jane started to say as she made a move to step closer to April. She wasn't sure what was happening to prevent her forward momentum when she felt herself going backwards, so she struggled harder to get to her target. It wasn't until she heard a voice in her ear that she realized Carly had grabbed her around the waist and was dragging her off towards the guest bedroom. "What the hell!" Jane continued to struggle as Carly continued to pull her away. "Let me the fuck go!" Jane's anger was at the boiling point as she continued to fight against Carly's hold. It was a feeble attempt on her part and Carly could feel what little strength Jane had draining fast. "Aw, come on Carly…" Jane's voice cracked as she felt herself being pushed into the guestroom and then down onto the bed as Carly turned to close the door.
"No, you need to cool off." Carly pushed her hair out her face as she turned back to look at Jane. Letting out an exasperated sigh, she dropped down onto the bed and wrapped her arm around Jane's shoulder. It wasn't until she felt Jane's head resting on her shoulder that she allowed herself to relax. "Now. Wanna talk about it?"
Maura wasn't at all sure what to think about what had just happened. Her opinion of April was all but non-existent and all she could think about was going to make sure that Jane was alright. She had to fight the urge to follow them and it wasn't until she felt Ryan's reassuring hand on her leg that she realized she had been poised to run. Shaking her head to dispel the thoughts and feeling that were threatening to overcome her, she took a shaky sip of her wine. Having been witness to Jane's wrath was one thing, but to see the passion in her eyes was enough to shake Maura's world. It all came rushing back…the feelings, the anger, the hurt…everything she had ever felt since the almost two years she had been with Jane toppled over her like a wave.
"Are you alright Maura?" Ryan quietly asked. She had watched as Maura grew paler and paler with each passing second.
"Um yeah. I think I should take April home though, give Jane a chance to cool off." Maura started to get up but stopped when April put her hand on her arm.
"What? Why…we haven't even had dinner yet. Why should we let her ruin our evening?" April sniped as she tugged Maura back down to her seat.
"I think Maura's right." Ryan gave April a pointed look to let her know there was to be no argument.
"Alright then…" April tossed her hair over her shoulder. The move reminded Maura April's earlier move and she couldn't stifle the giggle that escaped her lips.
Ryan raised a questioning eyebrow at Maura who couldn't seem to stop herself from laughing out loud. "Are you sure you're gonna be okay?" She couldn't help but ask.
"I am, thanks though." Maura wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes with the backs of her hands. Suddenly she turned very serious as she continued to wipe at her cheeks. The laughter was gone and the tears that had been brought on by humor had been replaced with tears of frustration. "You will take care of her, won't you?"
"Yes…I promise." Ryan reached out and gave Maura's arm a reassuring pat. "We'll have to do this again, minus the drama." She gave Maura a knowing wink and received a grateful smile in response.
"Yes. Just let me know so we can do this again." April chimed in as she slipped her arm through the crook of Maura's elbow.
All Ryan could do was roll her eyes as Maura tried to pull herself away from the arm that seemed to have latched itself to her. She watched as Maura maneuvered herself out of April's hands and eventually her reach as she headed towards the door without looking to see if April was following her.
"Let me know if you need anything from me." She said over her shoulder as she slipped her arms into her leather jacket. Deep down she hoped that Jane needed her but the logical and reasonable parts of her brain pushed that thought aside. She was on the verge of dangerous territory and already on shaky ground around Jane. She wasn't sure she could handle anything else at the moment. Her resolve had been all but shattered by the fragile state that Jane had arrived in.
"I will. Be careful…" Ryan pushed her wine glass away and stood to follow them towards the door. With a few quick hugs and pecks on the cheeks and a round of goodbyes, she shut the door and rested her forehead against the hard oak letting out a heavy sigh. With Maura and April gone, Ryan did the only thing she could think to do…she went to see if she could do anything to help Jane.
"Wanna tell me what's going on Jane?" Carly asked as she looked at Jane who was leaning against her shoulder.
"Not really." Jane mumbled.
"Well, you gonna haveta tell me something." Carly reached over to push some of Jane's hair away from her face so she could see her better. Again, she was struck by how tired Jane looked and she couldn't hide the concern in her voice. "When was the last time you slept…or ate?'
"Don't know." Jane sighed at Carly's comforting touch. "Why'd you have to do that Carly?"
"What Jane?" Carly asked as she moved away enough so she could look into Jane's dark eyes.
"Why'd you have to set Maura up on a date?" Jane's shoulders dropped as her body felt the defeat that was ringing in her ears.
"I really did try to call you Jane. Maura's been really worried about you. What's going on?" Carly's eyes searched Jane's as she tried to find the answer in the depths of brown that almost looked empty.
Jane took a shuttering breath as she tried to speak but the words wouldn't come, only tears to replace what she couldn't bring herself to say.
Wrapping both of her arms around Jane, Carly pulled her into a hug and rested her chin on the top of Jane's dark head. For what seemed like forever, they sat there like that, neither saying anything until there was a light knock at the door.
"Yeah?" Carly asked, her voice quiet and soft so as not to disrupt the comfortable quiet that had surrounded her and Jane.
"I just wanted to see if you needed anything?" Ryan pushed the door open just enough for her head to slip through.
"Thanks, but I think I got it." Carly gave her an appreciative smile as she continued to hold Jane.
Ryan watched as Carly comforted Jane and her heart all but melted at the tenderness that flowed from Carly. 'I love you…' She mouthed the words and Carly mouthed them back. With a heavy sigh, she gave a slight nod before closing the door.
"I have to talk to Maura." Jane let out a tired huff as she suddenly struggled to pull away from Carly's hold.
"Are you sure that is such a good idea. I mean after everything that's happened tonight?" Carly released Jane from their hug and tilted her head to regard her.
"Look, there are things I need to tell her. Things she has a right to know. I'm sorry but I just really can't talk about it to anyone but her." Jane used the palms of her hands to wipe away the tears that had slowed to a stop.
"Okay, but tell me…does this have anything to do with what happened fifteen years ago and what you're dealing with now?" Carly asked even though she thought she already knew the answer.
"I suppose it does." Jane gave a non-comital shrug. She had to look away from the intense blue eyes that tried to see the truth in her own.
"So that message you left yesterday about 'righting wrongs'…is that what you are going to do? Are you going to finally tell Maura what caused you to leave her?" The words lingered between them unanswered like a heavy fog before Jane gave the slightest nod, her eyes were watching her clasped hands as they rubbed the scars on her palms. "Okay, but you hurt Maura beyond measure. Don't expect some purging of your conscious to fix that. It's gonna take time and a lot of groveling on your part I suspect. But remember, no matter what happens at first, you're gonna need to let Maura process things, just don't give up on her because I think she still loves you."
Jane looked up in surprise at Carly's words, her face filled with awe. "I get it. You're not the first person to tell me that…but, you think…" Jane suddenly got a very dry mouth. "You think she still loves me?"
"I do, but I don't think she's ready to accept it yet." Carly put a hand on Jane's shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"I do, ya know…" Jane gave Carly a sheepish grin. "I still love her and I won't be making the same mistakes again."
"Are you okay to drive? You look dead on your feet." Carly asked as she watched Jane stand up on shaky legs.
"Yeah…yeah…I'm just gonna go out there and ask Maura if I can take her home so we can talk." Jane steadied herself as she reached down to help pull Carly to her feet. The move was more for her than it was for Carly who accepted the hand with a grateful smile before following Jane to the kitchen.
"Hey? Where'd they go?" Jane inquired as they came upon Ryan washing two empty wine glasses.
"Maura decided it was best to take April home. She thought you needed some time to cool off." Ryan said over her shoulder as she dried the glasses. Of course, she knew that Maura had no interest in April but she realized too late that Jane didn't.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Jane's voice rose over the running water. "What the hell. Can't I catch a break?" She threw her hands up in the air in defeat.
"Hey, if it's any consolation…Maura isn't the least bit interested in April. I kinda set them up cuz I knew that Maura wouldn't like her." Carly couldn't hide the hint of smugness from her tone.
"Yeah…?" Jane looked over at Carly who was leaning against the kitchen counter watching her with a small grin on her face.
"Yeah, get outta here. If you leave now you can catch her when she gets home." Carly waved Jane towards the door.
"Um…thanks…and I'm sorry about the way I acted." Jane's eyes met Ryan's as the apology was mostly meant for her.
Ryan gave her a guarded smile but accepted the apology for what it was worth. She could see that Jane was struggling with demons from the past that still haunted her and she hoped that there would eventually be some sort of closure for both her and Maura. It was time to move past the ghost of a relationship that never had the chance to grow. If they were lucky they would be find their way back to each other just like Carly had said earlier. 'They do belong together…I just hope they can forgive each other and start again.' Ryan thought to herself as she watched Jane leave.
"Why the pensive look?" Carly moved to wrap her arms around Ryan's waist.
"I just hope they figure things out. They are both hurting so much right now and the only way to change that is through forgiveness." Ryan snuggled against Carly's chest.
"I have a good feeling about this." Carly sighed as she ran her fingers through Ryan's shoulder length blonde hair. "Have I told you how much I love you?"
"Not today?" Ryan relaxed into the soft, gentle strokes of Carly's fingers running through her hair.
"Well…I do…"
"What say we skip dinner and go straight for the dessert?" Ryan pulled away from Carly's arms, taking her hand as she moved towards the doorway.
"Absolutely…" Carly grinned as she allowed Ryan to pull her away from the kitchen. With Ryan's hand in her own she had an overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be alright…for everyone.
***

"So, what's the deal with you and Rizzoli? I'd say you have some sort of history there or am I mistaken?" April ventured to ask even though Maura had stayed quiet from the moment they had gotten into the car.
Giving a sideway glance so she didn't take her eyes off the road for long, Maura couldn't help but feel a twinge of resentment at the intrusive question. She hadn't wanted to explain her past relationship with Jane to a virtual stranger, especially someone she was sure to come across at work. For almost a minute she didn't say anything as she thought about what to say. She decided that simple and to the point was the best way to deal with April. "Yes…and that's all I'm willing to say on that subject." The tone of her voice held a warning as she griped the steering wheel tighter.
"Sorry, I was just wondering. She seemed pretty upset to see you at Ryan and Carly's with me." April reached out to put her hand on Maura's thigh.
The bold move took Maura by surprise and as casually as she could, she reached down and removed the hand placing it gently back into April's lap with a quick pat before putting her hand back on the steering wheel.
"So is it safe to say that we aren't going to go beyond tonight?" April flexed her fingers as if she were shaking off the lingering effects of Maura's touch.
"Yes, you'd be safe in assuming that." Maura let out a heavy breath.
"Too bad. I'd like to get to know you better." April shrugged her shoulders. "But I'm not sure I can deal with a jealous ex." She paused to look at Maura. "That's it isn't it…she's an ex."
Maura gritted her teeth at the audacity of the question. She thought she had made it clear that she hadn't wanted to talk about it but April wasn't letting it go. Shaking her head to dispel the anger that was building within her chest she decided to stay silent until she had pulled up in front of April's condo.
Putting the car in park, Maura turned to April suddenly and studied her for a moment. She tried to smile but it was just too hard to pretend she had any feeling for the woman sitting next to her. "Look, think what you want but our date was going nowhere from the beginning. I'm sorry if I led you on, I was just trying to enjoy the rest of the evening and the good company. I hope you understand."
"Well, I guess this is it then." April opened her door but didn't get out right away. "It was nice meeting you Maura. If you ever change your mind…give me a call." With those final words, April climbed out of the car and shut the door leaving Maura alone to her thoughts…thoughts filled with one Detective Jane Rizzoli.

Chapter Text

Future of Promises
Chapter 9
It didn't take long for Jane to find herself sitting in front of Maura's house again. Her stomach churned with anxiety as she looked at the empty driveway wondering why Maura wasn't home yet. It had been nearly forty-five minutes since she had left Carly and Ryan's house and she had half expected to find Maura waiting for her. She couldn't help but wonder if maybe Carly had been wrong about April, perhaps Maura really did like her. Maybe they were having a night cap, sitting on Aprils couch getting cozy and familiar with each other. She shook her head to dispel the unwanted images from her mind just as headlights illuminated the driveway. For a moment Jane sat frozen as uncertainty washed over her. She wasn't sure if she would be able to follow through with her plan. The instinct to run was strong but when she saw Maura climb out of the front seat of her car and look over, tilting her head in a way that indicated she was regarding something with curiosity, she knew she had been caught.
Maura recognized the car parked along her curb as Jane's and even though it surprised her at first, she was also relieved to see that Jane was alright. As she got out of her car, she had expected to see Jane do the same but when there was no movement, Maura turned her attention Jane's direction. With careful but quick strides, she made her way across the driveway to where Jane was parked.
It only took a moment for Jane to finally make her move. Opening the door, she took a shaky step onto the asphalt, grabbing the door to steady herself. The move did not go unnoticed by Maura who had a worried expression on her face.
"Jane?" The tone of Maura's voice held more than one unspoken question.
"Hey…" Jane pushed her hair away from her face and let out a heavy sigh. "Sorry but I really needed to talk to you." She fidgeted, shifting her weight from one foot to the other in an uncharacteristically clumsy way.
"Um…okay…" Maura hesitated. She wasn't sure she was ready for what she believed would be a talk that would either bring them closer or drive them further apart. The sound of her keys jingling in her hands brought her attention back. "Would you like to come inside?"
"Yeah, I'd like that." Jane tried to smile but the fear etched on Maura's face caused her to falter. The realization that things were about to change between them hit her hard. She hoped with all her heart that Maura would forgive her and that they could move on to have a future together. "I'm sorry about what happened at Carly's." The apology was said on a shaky breath.
"I understand. I guess…" Maura gave a noncommittal shrug of her shoulders. She had been more confused by Jane's earlier behavior than angry.
"Look, I'll explain everything. I promise." Jane reached out to touch Maura's arm as they walked up the walkway towards the front door.
"You look tired Jane." Maura sighed as she glanced at Jane before using her key to unlock the door. She had seen the dark shadows under Jane's eyes at Carly's and now they were only enhanced by the lack of light as they stood next to each other.
"Yeah, I guess I am." Jane let out a breath of air causing her hair to float up before settling back down on her forehead. It had been a halfhearted attempt to get the hair out of her eyes but it hadn't worked so she reached up to push it behind an ear.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Maura asked as she pushed the door open and waited for Jane to enter.
"I don't have much of a choice." Jane gave a sheepish grin hoping to charm Maura with her roguish attitude. It had worked before and she hoped that it would work again.
"We always have a choice Jane." Maura turned to look at her, a serious yet sad expression on her face.
"Sometimes having a choice doesn't make it any easier." Jane looked away from the hazel-green eyes that regarded her with the same scrutiny that Paddy had earlier.
"But it is a choice." Maura pressed but only got a shrug as an answer. She watched with curiosity as Jane removed her badge and gun before holding them out to her.
"Do you have some place where I can put these?" Jane asked. "I just want it to be me tonight."
"Yes. There’s a curios cabinet by the front door where you can put them." Maura waved her hand towards the cabinet.
"Thanks…" Jane said over her shoulder as she placed the gun and badge in the top drawer.
"Here. Let me get your jacket." Maura moved to help Jane shrug out of it. They were quiet as Maura hung it up in the front hall closet. When she turned around she couldn't stop herself from apprising the figure before her. Jane was in the process of rolling up the long sleeves of her oxford shirt that was unbuttoned to reveal a dark tank top underneath. Maura could almost picture the muscular shoulders and toned arms that lay beneath the fabric but it was only a fleeting thought. "Would you like something to drink?"
"I'll have whatever you're having." Jane seemed distracted as she followed Maura towards the kitchen.
"Red wine okay?" Maura asked as she reached for a bottle of wine from the rack built between two cabinets.
"Yeah, sure." Jane tried to smile as she watched Maura struggle to reach up to pull down a bottle. "Need some help with that?" She moved so she could reach up above Maura to grab the bottle and in the process found herself pressed close to the smaller body in front of her. Quickly pulling the bottle free from its confines, Jane moved away to place it on the counter. "You have a bottle opener?" She asked as she twisted the bottle around in her hands to keep her mind from wandering to the feeling of Maura's body against hers.
"In the drawer to your left." Maura didn't turn around. She could feel her resolve withering with each passing second. She reminded herself that she was supposed to be mad at Jane but the familiarity and comfort of having her near was almost too much. To steady herself, she took a deep, shaky breath as she grabbed two wine glasses before turning around.
An uncomfortable silence settled around them as Jane dug through the drawer until she found what she was looking for. The only sound in the room was the shifting of kitchen utensils until that came to an end plunging them into silence again. Even though her hands were trembling slightly under the strain of the moment, Jane managed to pull the cork out of the bottle.
Maura had noticed the way that Jane's hands were shaking so she set the glasses down on the counter and placed a hand at the small of Jane's back. The move caused Jane to drop her head and shoulders giving her the look of defeat. "Jane…" Maura started to say but was interrupted when Jane stiffened.
"Please Maura. I have to do this." Jane placed her hands on the counter to give herself something to balance against.
"Okay, we can go into the living room where it's more comfortable." Maura poured the wine into the glasses and then picked on up to hand to Jane.
Bringing the glass up to her lips Jane took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet, woodsy aroma wafting up from the ruby red liquid. When she took her first sip, it burned as it slid down her throat causing her to cough.
"Still not much of wine drinker?" Maura tried not to smile as she watched Jane struggle to swallow.
"Um, not much. I guess I'm more of a beer drinker." Jane finally swallowed without coughing. She gave Maura a smile as if she had just accomplished the impossible.
Following Maura into the living room Jane could feel her legs wobbling just enough for her to sway slightly before reaching the couch. She watched as Maura sat, bringing her legs up under her while leaning back against one side. Setting her glass down on the coffee table, she sat on the opposite end of the couch. Again, an uncomfortable silence filled the air making it difficult for her to catch her breath.
"Why are you here Jane?" Maura finally asked. Her voice was so soft and quiet that Jane almost didn't hear her.
Taking a deep breath, Jane clasped her hands in her lap to stem the shaking. She couldn't stop herself from rubbing at the scars in her palms as her nerves reached the breaking point. When she saw that Maura watching her intently, she gave a self-depreciative chuckle as she stopped and clinched her hands into fists a few times to get the blood flowing. "Um…I…" She reached up to rub the back of her neck. "I…guess…I…"
"Just start from the beginning." Maura reached over to place her hand on Jane's arm. It was meant to comfort but when Jane flinched it caused Maura to frown. "It will be okay Jane…just tell me what you came here to tell me."
"Easier said than done." Jane said under her breath, hoping that Maura hadn't heard but she had.
"The longer you fidget and stall the more you will prolong the inevitable." Maura tried to reason.
"Okay…okay…let's see." Jane hesitated as she tried to gather her thoughts. "I want to tell you what happened. Why I ended things with you all of those years ago."
Taking a deep breath, Maura braced herself for whatever was going to come next. She had no idea what Jane was about to tell her but she hoped that she would be able to find it in heart to forgive because she truly wanted to.
"I should start by telling you that my Pop has a gambling problem. He has, for as long as I can remember but it didn't get out of control until about fifteen years ago." Jane glanced down at her hands as if they were the most interesting things in the world. She was afraid of what she might see if she looked into Maura's eyes so she kept her head down. Reaching over to pick up her wine glass, Jane drained it in one swallow, still not allowing herself to look at Maura. "Um, he got in with some really bad guys Maura. Borrowed money he could never pay back." She finally let herself look at Maura and saw confusion mixed with sorrow. "They took out a contract on his life…I had to choose…." Tears welled up in her eyes as she fought to push them back but it was too late. "It was the hardest thing I've ever done." Her words were coming fast and her breath even faster. Before she could say anything else Maura's arms wrapped around her and held her tight. She could feel her thoughts growing sluggish as the alcohol seeped into her brain. A mild tingling sensation started in her arms and legs, moving through her body in a wave as she buried her face against Maura's neck finding refuge against the warm skin. The tears continued to fall as she tried to make sense of what was happening to her but the security and familiarity of feeling Maura wrapped around her was causing her muddled thoughts to slow down. The last thing Jane remembered was the soft, soothing sound of Maura's voice whispering into her ear as she slipped away into a sound sleep.
As Maura held a sleeping Jane in her arms, she couldn't make sense of what Jane had tried to tell her. From what she had gathered by Jane's fragmented explanation, her father had a gambling addiction and it had gotten out of control. But from there, things started to fall apart as far as her understanding of what Jane's ramblings meant. When the tears started, it had surprised Maura because Jane very rarely allowed herself that outlet for her emotions. She hadn't even cried the day she told Maura it was over between them. It had been one of the things that hurt her the most, the lack of emotion that Jane seemed to have in that life changing moment fifteen years ago. Before she could think about what she was doing, she had moved across the couch and wrapped Jane up in her arms. The words kept coming but they still didn't make any sense to Maura. It was the feeling of Jane's warm tears against her neck that knocked down a piece of that wall she had built around her heart so long ago. As she rocked Jane and murmured soft words of encouragement and comfort she knew the moment Jane had drifted away into a deep sleep, something that Maura had no doubt Jane had not experienced in the last twenty-four hours. Carefully, she lowered Jane down onto the couch, bringing her legs up as she covered her with a light blanket. With a heavy sigh, she knew that the answers to her questions would have to wait for another day. She bent down to place a soft, chaste kiss on Jane's forehead before taking her glass of wine to the kitchen, leaving Jane alone to finally get the rest she needed.
As Maura sat alone at her kitchen counter drinking her glass of wine contemplating what had just happened with Jane, her doorbell rang pulling her from her thoughts. Glancing over at the clock on her stove, she was surprised to see that it was just after eleven. She furrowed her brow as she wondered who would be coming to her door this late at night. The only person she would have expected to show up in the late hours of the evening was already there, asleep on the couch. Getting up from her chair, she moved quickly towards the front door so the doorbell wouldn't ring again and wake Jane up. If she had been surprised by the ringing doorbell this late, she was even more surprised to find her mother standing on the other side of the door.
"Mother…?" Maura wasn't sure what to think by her mother's unannounced appearance.
"Is Jane here?" Constance asked as she leaned forward to give Maura a quick hug as she stepped through the doorway. She looked around to see if Jane was anywhere in sight but she didn't see her. "I have to talk to you." Her tone held an urgency that Maura wasn't familiar with.
"Jane is here but she fell asleep on the couch." Maura watched as her mother moved through the foyer towards the kitchen.
"Please tell me you have an open bottle of wine." Constance sighed gratefully when she saw Maura's glass and the bottle on the counter. "Thank the Gods." She said as she grabbed a glass and poured herself a hearty helping.
"Mother…do you realize what time it is?" Maura stared as her mother helped herself to a glass of wine. "What are you doing here and why did ask if Jane was here?"
Constance didn't say anything at first, she just watched Maura over the rim of her wine glass as she took a sip. After a full minute of silence, she finally cleared her throat nervously thinking that maybe she had made a mistake. It was Maura's wide eye's filled with uncertainty that pushed her into action. "Jane came to see me today."
Maura's eyebrows shot up in surprise at the admission. "Why would she do that?"
"Can we sit down?" Constance asked as she moved over to the dining room table. She waited for Maura to get her own glass of wine before joining her at the table.
"Okay. Now will you please explain why you're here?" Maura placed her elbows on the table and rested her chin in the palm of her hands.
"You look tired dear." Constance reached out to push a stray strand of hair away from Maura's face.
"And you are stalling." Maura grabbed her mother's hand and held it tight. "Please mother…"
"Okay…um…you're right. I guess I just need to start from the beginning." Constance could feel her courage returning to her as Maura's hand held her own. "I was an associate professor when he decided to walk into my class…of all the classes he could choose from…it had to be mine."
"Who?" Maura asked, her curiosity piqued.
"Your biological father." Constance paused as she swallowed hard.
"What?" A cold fear settled in the pit of Maura's stomach as Constance fought to continue.
"His name is Paddy Doyle." Constance started to say but stopped when Maura let go of her hand.
"The head of the Irish Mob?" Maura pulled back to put some distance between them. She knew that name and now she was suddenly feeling sick to her stomach. "You're telling me that my father is Paddy Doyle? Why? Why are you telling me this now?"
Constance looked away from Maura as she glanced over towards the living room where Jane was sleeping. The minute Jane had left her office she felt like a coward letting Jane have this conversation with Maura alone. She decided that she couldn't let Jane take all the responsibility that led them to this point in time. "She figured it out."
"What are you saying? That Jane knew?" Maura couldn't contain the hurt and surprise that started to flow from her like the tears that now rolled down her cheeks. "And she kept it from me? How long has she known?"
"Maura honey, please don't be angry with her. She didn't have a choice." Constance tied to explain.
"There is always a choice." Maura's voice was harsh and filled with barely contained anger.
"Not in this case Maura. Paddy is a cruel man." Constance sighed.
"Did he threaten her? Did he threaten her family?" Maura was suddenly afraid to hear the truth.
"I can answer that." Jane said from across the room. Her sleep addled brain was having trouble focusing on the scene before her. The sound of soft murmuring voices had woken her up and it had taken her a moment to realize who it was. At first she thought that Maura was talking to herself but then she heard the distinct sound of Constance's voice. When both voices sounded strained, Jane decided she needed to see what was going on. It was Constance's admission about Paddy being Maura's father that had her moving quickly across the room just in time to hear Maura's question.
"I would appreciate it if you would do just that." Maura turned around slowly to find Jane leaning in the doorway with her arms crossed. She recognized the defensive posture as a means of protection against the anger that laced her voice.
"You asked if he threatened me or my family and the answer is not directly. At least not at first." Jane had a serious expression on her face. Her dark eyes looked even darker with the rings underneath and her mouth was set in a grim line. "I told you about my Pop. When I found out that there was contract out for his life I went to the only person I thought could help." She hesitated long enough to give Maura the chance to jump in.
"Why would you go to him? You could have come to me or my mother. We would have helped." Maura waved her hands in the air.
"I guess maybe I was too proud to ask you for help. I thought I could handle it on my own." Jane looked down at her feet feeling the same shame she had that day she had met with Paddy.
"I don't understand. You could go to him but you couldn't come to me!" Maura's anger was reaching a breaking point as she slammed her hand down on the table surprising both Jane and Constance.
"I was just a stupid kid Maura. I was ashamed of my Pop. He gambled away everything he and my mother had saved and then some. If I hadn't already been questioning if I was good enough for you, that certainly gave me enough reason to think I never would be." Jane tried to explain, her voice cracking with emotion.
"So, what does all of this have to do with why you left me?" Maura pushed herself up from the table and turned to fully face Jane. She could have sworn that they had gotten over Jane's insecurities long ago but this admission made her realize that she had been very wrong.
"When I went to talk to Paddy, he gave me two choices." Jane looked away again. Having those hazel-green eyes looking at her, seeing straight into her soul was too much for her to handle.
"What did he do Jane?" Maura took a step closer. "Look at me…tell me…"
"He made me choose between my Pop's life and my life with you." Jane finally looked up to meet Maura's eyes.
"How? How could he have that much power over you? I just don't understand." Maura shook her head as if it would somehow make things clearer.
"Because of what I knew…that he was your father…" Jane started to say but stopped when Maura's tears started to fall in earnest.
"He was afraid you'd tell me." Maura took a deep breath to slow the tears. "You would have, right? You would have told me, eventually…" She didn't want to believe that Jane would have kept a secret like that from her.
The plea in the shaky voice had Jane taking several long strides to gather Maura up in her arms. "Yes…" Jane couldn't contain her tears any longer. Placing her hands on either side of Maura's face, she used her thumbs to try to brush away the wetness that had gathered on Maura's cheeks. "Yes, I would have told you. I hated not being able to tell you. It was killing me to keep it a secret. But you don't know him like I do Maura. He’s a dangerous man…"
Leaning into Jane's touch, Maura allowed herself a moment of reprieve before gently untangling herself from Jane's arms. "You should have come to me Jane." She let out a heavy sigh as the rational part of her brain took over. "When you walked away…it broke me…right here." Bringing a hand up to her heart, she pressed her palm against her chest. "I don't know if you can fix that."
"Please Maura. Please let me try." Jane placed her hands on top of Maura's.
"I don't know if I can." Maura reached up to place her palm against Jane's cheek. "What's changed Jane? What's brought you here to tell me after all these years?"
Jane closed her eyes as the warmth of Maura's hand seeped into her. "My Pop left Maura. He ran out on my mother…left her with nothing…not even a place to live. I went to see Paddy. I told him that I’ve washed my hands of it. I told him that he would never again manipulate me the way he did all those years ago. I told him I wouldn't give up on you." Jane opened her eyes to see that Maura was giving her a thoughtful look.
"But what if it's not what I want Jane. What then?" The question was like an arrow straight to Jane's heart. "You lied to me, broke my heart. I understand that you felt like you had no choice but as I've already told you…we always have a choice. You could have come to me and you didn't. Because of that…" Maura couldn't bring herself to finish as an image of the future they could have had flashed through her mind.
"I see that now, but I didn't then. By the time I realized what was happening, it was too late to walk away." Jane tried to explain.
"But not too late to walk away from me?" Maura asked as another arrow hit Jane's heart.
"Maura, I can't change what happened but I can promise you that I will never walk away from you again. I'm ready to give you all of the things I should have been able to then." Jane's tears began to flow again as she struggled to make Maura understand. "I still love you. I've never stopped. Please…please forgive me…let me love you again Maura…please."
"Oh my sweet, sweet Jane…" Maura whispered as she pulled Jane's quaking body against her own. "It's going to take some time but I just can't tell you yes yet. I don't know if I have it in me to let you love me again. It almost killed me to know what that felt like only to have it taken away."
"Please give me a chance." Jane pulled back just enough so she could look in Maura's eyes. "We can start slow. I just want be your friend again. I really miss you Maura." When she saw the small spark of interest in the depths of hazel-green she felt a glimmer of hope.
"I'd like that Jane. I've missed our friendship." Maura tried to smile but her heart was struggling to make itself be heard. Having Jane so close was beginning to muddle her thoughts and she needed to put some distance between them before she decided to give into Jane's pleas. She wanted nothing more than to love and be loved by Jane but the logical and reasonable part of her brain was doing a good job of giving her reasons not to. Working on their friendship was the only consolation she would allow herself, at least for now. She looked over her shoulder when she heard her mother clear her throat. The look on her mother's face said it all and Maura realized that it was a losing battle to try to fight her love for Jane but she was going to at least try, she had to. "We still have a lot to talk about." She knew there were things that she needed to tell Jane but she wasn't ready just yet. "You too…" She glanced back at her mother to let her know that she wasn't off the hook either.
"I promise things will be different this time." Jane couldn't stop herself from touching Maura on the cheek with the backs of her fingers.
"We have a future of promises ahead of us Jane. Let's just take it one day at a time." Maura sighed as Jane moved her fingers along her cheek. The feeling of Jane's skin against her own lingered even after Jane had moved her hand. She realized that her heart may have lost this battle but it wouldn't lose the war. No…she still loved Jane and it would only be a matter of time before she gave in. Forgiveness would come but it wouldn't come easy and it would come at a price, she just hoped that Jane would be as willing to pay it as she was.

Chapter Text

Morning Sun
Chapter 10
The early morning light outside Maura's kitchen window was soft and muted with ribbons of pink and orange as the sun peeked over the horizon. She stood at the kitchen sink watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee in hand, surrounded by a stillness that she had grown accustomed to. As she stood taking comfort in the quiet solace of her solitude, her attention shifted when something changed in the air that began to stir around her. It was a presence she hadn't felt in a long time. Without having to turn around, she knew the moment that Jane had entered the kitchen interrupting her isolation. She turned her attention to the warm cup of coffee she was holding in her hands, unable to bring herself to look at Jane, afraid that it might melt the anger she was feeling from the night before. When her mother had left them alone to talk, Maura couldn't find the energy to finish what they had started so she offered an exhausted Jane her guest room. Reluctantly Jane had accepted knowing that she was in no condition to drive. It hadn't take long for Maura's mood to change from surprise to anger as she thought more and more about what both Jane and her mother had confessed and even though she had secrets of her own, she couldn't help but feel betrayed. Betrayed that her mother had conspired to keep the identity of her biological father from her and that Jane had so readily agreed to go along with it. Looking down into the dark liquid in her cup she realized that she hadn't even taken the first sip and now it would be tepid at best so she tipped it over and watched as it swirled around the sink before disappearing down the drain.
Jane moved around the kitchen as quietly as she could so as not to disturb Maura who appeared to be lost in thought. Moving from one side to the other, she grabbed a mug and poured herself a cup of coffee. As casually as she could manage, she leaned against the counter opposite Maura and watched her thoughtfully. What she saw caused her stomach to flutter in that way it had all those years ago when they first started dating. Maura's beauty had always been breath taking, but the woman she had become was now filled with a strength and vitality that made Jane's chest ache with regret. She wasn't sure if she should say anything or not so she decided to just stay quiet and still until Maura initiated the conversation. For what seemed like an eternity, silence surrounded them but it wasn't uncomfortable just contemplative until finally Maura spoke.
"You know, this was one of the reasons I decided to buy this house." Maura mused as she stared out the window, her profile awash in the soft yellow that now illuminated the sky outside.
"What?" Jane asked quietly, still afraid that any sudden movements or sounds would cause Maura to disappear.
"This window…" Maura glanced over her shoulder to look at Jane. The sight of Jane leaning against the counter in her rumpled pants and tank top caused Maura to smile briefly before turning her attention back to the window. Jane's physique hadn't changed much from what Maura remembered. She was still lean and muscular but now there was a self-assuredness that she had lacked as a teenager.
"Why?" Jane had seen the small smile on Maura's lips when she looked at her and it emboldened her to take a step closer.
"The morning sun. I just love to stand here and watch the sun rise. It's always different." Maura let out a sigh when she felt the air stir as Jane moved closer. The movement cause her heart to beat faster and she couldn't decide if she wanted to run or stay to see what would happen.
"It's beautiful this morning." Jane took a step closer then hesitated before moving to stand behind Maura. "Almost as beautiful as you." She set her coffee cup down on the counter with her left hand as her right hand moved to Maura's hip. With a tentative touch, Jane slipped her arm around Maura's waist and pulled until their bodies were touching. "I've missed you so much Maura." The words carried on a whisper as Jane bent her head to bury her face in the silky soft strands of honey-blonde hair that fell along Maura's shoulders and down her back. Inhaling deeply, Jane was reminded of how Maura had always smelled. It was what she thought sunshine would smell like, warm and fresh. She couldn't stop herself from brushing Maura's hair away to expose the long expanse of skin along her neck. When she felt the body in her arms responding to her touch, she ran her fingertips up and over the newly exposed skin. In a bold move, she allowed her lips to trace the path laid out by her fingers and for a fleeting moment she thought that Maura might turn her head to kiss her back.
"Please…don't Jane." Maura's body betrayed her thoughts as she leaned back into the contact briefly before pulling away.
"I'm sorry Maur." Jane reluctantly pulled away realizing it was too early to hope for more.
"Don't you think I want this too?" Maura spun around so fast that it surprised Jane causing her to stumble back unbalanced. "Don't you think I want to forgive and forget? It's taking everything I have not to give in to you. Yes, I'm hurt Jane but most of all I'm angry!"
"I don't know what else to say." Jane instinctively reached out to grab ahold of Maura to steady herself. She looked down to see that Maura's hands had found their way into her own, holding her up but at arm's length. "I think I might just die if you don't forgive me. I don't know what I'll do if you can't find it in your heart to love me again." Jane's voice trailed off as she shook her head.
"Again?" Maura's voice was getting louder in exasperation. "Again? How can I love you again when I never stopped loving you in the first place!"
The admission took Jane by surprise but she couldn't stop herself from giving a crooked grin. In that one statement, she realized that she had a chance but she also knew that they had a long road ahead of them.
"Damn you…" Maura let go of Jane's hands and gave her a little push.
"What?" Jane held her hands up in surrender because she wasn't sure what she had done.
"That smile…those dimples…" Maura huffed as she crossed her arms and glared. "Why do you have to be so damn sexy."
"Guess it's just part of my irresistible charm." This time the smile turned into a full smirk.
"This doesn't change anything Jane." Maura dropped her gaze. "We still have a lot to talk about. Things that we need to say to each other." She paused as she looked back up into those dark eyes that couldn't hide the emotions that Jane tried so hard to bury. "Things that I need to say."
"I know but please, tell me that this is the beginning. That we have a chance." Jane couldn't stop herself from reaching out to push a strand of hair away from hazel-green eyes so she could see the promise hidden within their depths. And it was there, the flicker of hope that caused her heart to soar with the promise of more to come.
Maura had sensed that Jane was searching for something in her eyes when she brushed her hair away and she couldn't look away from the love she saw shinning back at her. In that moment she accepted what Jane had to offer but she wasn't ready for Jane to know just yet. "Can I ask you something?" She leaned back against the counter to put some distance between them.
"Of course." Jane said as she too leaned back against the counter across from Maura after retrieving her cup of coffee.
"What will happen to Angela? Where will she live?" Maura glanced over her shoulder out the window at her empty guest house.
"Um, I suppose she'll have to move in with either me or Frankie." Jane watched Maura over the rim of her cup with a curious glint in her eyes.
"I think she should move in with me." Maura started to say but held up a hand when Jane tried to protest. "I mean she should move into my guest house." She hitched her thumb over her shoulder at the small cottage outside her window. "It's empty and I wouldn't mind the company since my mother will be in Paris for the next six months."
"You do realize that if you invite one Rizzoli into you house…" Jane brought her cup down just enough to speak as she continued to watch Maura. "You'll get all of us. Are you ready for that?"
"Yes..." Maura gave her a challenging look. "And I am willing to accept that if it helps your mother." She said as an afterthought. Angela meant too much to her to allow her to remain homeless, aimlessly moving from one place to another. It was the least she could offer the woman who had become her surrogate mother other the years. A pang of guilt hit her as she realized that Jane still didn't know that she and Angela had remained close. She also knew it was something they would have to talk about eventually but that was another thing she wasn't ready for yet.
Jane watched as several different emotions passed over Maura's face. She couldn't help but wonder why Maura would want to do such a thing but at the same time she was grateful not to have her mother living under her own roof. "I'll talk to her…she's at her sisters right now." Jane set her cup down on the counter and let out heavy sigh. "I still can't believe he just left."
"Did he know about you and Paddy?" Maura asked even though she didn’t want to know the answer.
Jane ran her hand through her hair as she tried to think about what to say. "I think maybe he did." Her expression darkened. "Yeah. Things changed between us after that. But what really hurts the most is that I don't think he was ever sorry."
"Sorry about the gambling or what it did to us?" Maura bit down on her bottom lip as she waited for Jane to answer.
"Both…" Jane cleared her throat nervously. "I think that even though he acted like he was okay with it. Deep down he thought it was a phase…I mean us." She waved her hand between them to indicate what she was talking about.
"I'm sorry to hear that. I don't think your mother felt the same way." Maura looked away.
"No, she really loved you. It almost killed her when we broke up." Jane noticed the way that Maura stiffened and wondered why.
"You broke up with me." Maura's eyes flashed with anger as she turned to look back at Jane but it quickly subsided when she remembered her relationship with Angela. "Sorry, I don't want to argue anymore."
"Okay…um…" Jane hesitated as she rubbed the back of her neck in that nervous way that Maura had noticed lately. "Can I take you out to dinner tonight so we can talk…not argue, but…just talk."
Shaking her head, Maura tried to smile to take the sting out of the rejection. "I can't tonight, I am having dinner with my mother but how about Saturday. You can let me know what Angela says about moving into my guest house."
"Yeah, that'll work. I guess I should head home." Jane couldn't quiet contain the pout that appeared on her face as she looked at Maura.
"When will you be back at work?" Maura tried not to sound too interested.
"Probably in a day or two. Korsak's been on my back, but I have a few things left to take care of." It was obvious that Jane wasn't going to elaborate. "I'm really sorry about everything Maura. I didn't know you would be worried about me."
"Why would you say that? You all but disappeared without a word and you didn't think I would worry?" The hurt in her voice was thinly veiled as Maura tilted her head to regard Jane.
"I guess I was just trying to do what you asked me to do…" Jane started to say.
"Whatever would that be?" Maura crossed her arms in defiance. She wasn't sure what Jane was talking about but she surely didn't remember telling Jane she didn't want to see or talk to her.
"You asked me to give you space." Jane gave her a sheepish grin. "I guess I took that too literally, huh?"
"I suppose I did ask for space but I didn't expect you to just disappear." Maura frowned as she thought about what she had said. "Maybe I need to accept that this isn't just about me. I'm sorry for that."
"No worries Maur." Jane smiled and shoved her hands into her pockets. "I'm gonna head home to shower and change. I've got a meeting with Ryan this afternoon."
"Why? Is there something wrong with a case?" Maura's curiosity was piqued as she studied Jane's body language. It seemed as if the somewhat unsure and awkward teenager she remembered was back.
"Don'know. She wouldn't tell me, just said it was important." Jane shrugged her shoulders as she moved to stand in front of Maura. She couldn't stop herself from shifting from one foot to the other nervously as she tried to decide what to do next. In her heart, she knew what she wanted but she also didn't want to scare Maura away either. As she hesitated briefly, it gave Maura enough time to make the decision for them both. Jane watched wide eyed as Maura lifted onto her toes to place a quick kiss on her cheek.
"I'll see you in a day or two." Maura gave Jane's shoulder a quick pat as she walked past her.
"M'kay…" Jane mumbled. She couldn't help but bring her hand up to touch the spot that Maura had kissed. It may have been a friendly gesture but there was still the promise that it would lead to something more meaningful.
"I'll let you see yourself out. I've got to get ready for work." Maura said from the doorway. "And Jane…we still have a lot to talk about. Okay?"
"Yeah…I know…" Jane dropped her head in an almost bashful way. "I'll call you about dinner…'kay?"
"'Kay…" Maura couldn't stop herself from giving Jane an encouraging smile. Her heart lightened as she took the stairs one at a time thinking that it was time to rebuild the foundation of their friendship and perhaps they would find their way back into each other's hearts again.

 

***

"What's up Ryan?" Jane asked as she slumped down in the chair across from Ryan's desk. She watched as Ryan pulled her gray pinstriped jacket off before hanging it over the back of her chair.
"Jane…" Ryan acknowledged Jane with a slight nod as she rolled the cuffs of her shirt up and over her forearms. She watched Jane carefully as she nervously undid the top button at her collar to allow herself some breathing room. She wasn't entirely sure what she was looking for as she peered over the rims of her reading glasses before pulling them off her face to set them down on her desk. A phone call two days ago had changed everything between her and Jane but Jane didn't seem to have any idea. "I'm sorry if I seemed a little…" Ryan paused as she continued to watch Jane for any indication she knew what was happening but all she saw was curiosity. "I guess maybe I was a little short with you last night."
"Nah, I should have called first." Jane brought her right ankle up to rest on her left knee where she placed a hand palm down against the newly pressed slacks she had changed into that morning. She had been so happy to rid herself of the wrinkled mess she had slept in the night before. In fact, it had given her a renewed sense of purpose as she sat in Ryan's office wondering why she was there in the first place.
Jane's relaxed attitude only confused Ryan more. It appeared that Jane had no idea why she was sitting in her office. "Um…Jane…" She leaned forward as she continued to study Jane, hoping to see something, anything in the dark eyes that continued to peer at her innocently. Nervously, her fingers ran over the thick, black frames of her glasses as she tried to find a place to start. With a resigned sigh, she knew she just had to tackle the situation head on. "It has come to my attention that you've been meeting with Paddy Doyle. Would you like to explain?" The relaxed posture disappeared in an instant and Ryan couldn't help but frown. It meant that Jane now knew what she was talking about.
"I have not been meeting with Paddy." Jane bristled as she stiffened and gripped her knee tighter turning her knuckles white. She could almost feel all the color draining from her body at Ryan's question.
"I've heard differently." Ryan leaned back in her chair and peered over at Jane trying to read her expression. She had seen all the color drain from Jane's face so fast that she thought Jane might be sick.
"What exactly have you heard?" Jane leaned forward. Her dark eyes flashed with anger as she stared into Ryan's. She wasn't accustomed to being accused of 'what' she wasn't sure, but whatever it was, it was a foreign concept to her.
Ryan was quiet for a minute as she regarded Jane thoughtfully. Neither was willing to break eye contact as they summed each other up looking for a weakness to exploit. "It's been brought to my attention that you made a visit to an establishment that is a well know hang out for Paddy."
"Am I being followed?" Jane asked through clinched teeth. She was having a difficult time containing her anger and Ryan's somewhat passive expression was infuriating her.
"No, you’re not…but he is…" Ryan placed an elbow on the arm of her chair, bringing her hand up so she could rest her chin against the palm. She tapped her index finger against her lips as she quietly studied Jane. It was killing her that she had to have Jane in her office asking these questions but she needed to nip this before internal affairs took notice. The burning in the pit of her stomach indicated how serious it had become as she tried to maintain a relaxed countenance.
"What are you saying Ryan?" Jane leaned back and crossed her arms in a defensive gesture. In all the years that she and Ryan had worked together she could never had predicted herself in this predicament. The fact that she was even there indicated how serious the situation had become and the only reason she was getting a heads-up was because they were family.
"What I am saying is that Paddy Doyle is under investigation…a federal investigation. We are trying to build a RICO case against him and imagine my surprise when I found out that you paid him a visit the other day." Ryan let out a heavy breath of frustration. Her mouth set in a grim line as she waited for Jane to respond. This was one of the most difficult things she had ever done but she needed to get to the bottom of if before someone else did.
"Are you asking me if I'm on the take?" The hurt in Jane's voice almost suffocated her. It was one thing for people to think she was a loose cannon but for someone, especially someone she considered family to think she was crooked almost took her breath away.
Ryan took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling. Running her fingers through her hair she brought her hands behind her head and leaned back into them. "No. I know you better than that." She let out a heavy breath. "But people are asking Jane. I have to tell them something?"
"Tell them it's none of their damn business." Jane growled as the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach lessened just a little.
"You know I can't do that." Ryan said as she brought her hands back down to rest on the edge of her desk. "Tell me what you were doing there…please."
"This is bullshit Ryan." Jane shook her head and closed her eyes. "I didn't do anything wrong…at least nothing illegal." She let out a heavy breath.
"Please Jane. I need to know." It was more a plea than a request. Ryan knew that Jane would rather cut off her left arm than give up her integrity as a cop.
"Look, it…umm…" Jane clasped her hands together and began to rub her scars. "I…it…" She continued to stammer as she tried to figure out how to start. She was surprised when Ryan stood up and made her way around the desk until she was sitting in the chair next to her.
"Start at the beginning." Ryan reached out to take Jane's hands to stop her nervous fidgeting.
"It…ummm…it was about my Pop." Jane didn't pull away from Ryan as she felt the warmth of comfort surround her now cold and clammy hands. "Fifteen years ago my Pop borrowed some money he couldn't pay back, so I went to Paddy to ask him for help."
"You did what?" Ryan let go of Jane's hands so suddenly that it surprised them both.
"Yeah…yeah…I've already heard it. Bone head move. I know…." Jane shrugged her shoulders. "But I was a stupid kid who thought I could handle it. But guess what…I paid a huge price for that mistake." She shook her head again.
"I don't understand. You must have done something right. Frank is still alive." Ryan tried to reason as she did her best to wrap her mind around what Jane was telling her.
"Look Ryan, what I'm about to tell you can't leave this room, for both of our sakes and Maura's too." Jane implored as she looked into Ryan's eyes looking for any indication that she understood the full extent of what she was saying.
"Maura? What does Maura have to do with this?" Ryan was beginning to sound alarmed.
"Um, Paddy…he's…um…" Jane reached up to rub that back of her neck with a shaky hand. "He's…Maura's biological father." She said in a rush of words.
Ryan leaned back as if putting distance between them would somehow make Jane's last statement untrue. Her eyes widened as what Jane said sank in and all she could do was swallow the lump that had formed in her throat.
"No one knows about this except me, Constance, and Maura…and now you." Jane's voice held the hint of apology for having to include her in the ranks.
"This really complicates things." Ryan sighed.
"When I went to see Paddy all those years ago he made me chose between being with Maura or giving my Pop a second chance. He was afraid I would tell Maura about him, I suppose you can guess which road I took." Jane frowned to remain stoic.
"Yes, I suppose I can. So, you always knew about Paddy?" Ryan asked as she gave her a sad smile. "Carly always thought there was more to the story." She said as she recalled the many conversations they had had about Jane and Maura.
"Yeah…well, she'd be right then. And yes, I found out by accident before we graduated from high school and then he used it against me. I was a dumb ass kid who didn't know any better but that won't happen again…ever." Jane huffed in frustration. Even though it felt good to finally be talking about things, she was still having trouble processing her emotions.
"I guess Paddy has had his hand in meddling with both of our families at one time or another." The statement was somewhat cryptic causing Jane to raise a questioning eyebrow. "You aren't the first Rizzoli to think that Paddy is capable of making a fair deal." She said as she held up a hand to stave off Jane's questions. "I can't be the one to tell that story Jane but I can tell you the impact he's on my family." Taking a deep breath, she couldn't contain the sadness that swept over her as she remembered what had happened almost twenty-five years before. "My uncle…your lieutenant, had a family. A wife, a son, a daughter…" Ryan paused and looked away from Jane. "They died in a fire. A fire that was set by Paddy Doyle, although it was never proved it was him." Her voice was filled with anger as she turned back to look at Jane. "I'm not at liberty to go into details but just know this, he has tried to ruin the Cavanaugh's but he hasn't. We are still strong despite what he has done. It wasn't the first time and suspect it won't be the last time."
"What did you mean when you said I'm not the first Rizzoli." Jane couldn't bring herself to let the question that had been burning inside of her since Ryan had mentioned it go.
"It's Carly's story to tell." Ryan's eyes held a sadness Jane had never seen before. "But I still don't understand what you were doing there two days ago."
"Oh…" Jane was surprised by Ryan's sudden change in subject. "My Pop made the same mistake but this time I went to tell Paddy that I wash my hands of it all…and," She hesitated as she thought back to the night before and her conversation with Maura. "I also told him that I was going to tell Maura everything and I did."
"Really?" Ryan's sadness was replaced by curiosity. "And…?"
"And we've got a lot to talk about but I think that maybe I've got a chance to prove to her that she's all I want…all I've ever wanted." A small smile crept along Jane's lips.
"I'm glad to hear that you finally figured things out. But…" Ryan didn't want to be the bearer of bad news but they were still in a bind. "This will make her a target Jane."
"I know Ryan but I won't let anything happen to her…ever!" The conviction in Jane's voice had Ryan convinced but there were still things that needed to be discussed. "She's offered to allow my Ma to move into her guest house. I think I'll encourage that. It'll mean that I can spend more time over there…ya know…keep an eye out for her."
"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I'm afraid it's going to get worse before it gets better. Paddy knows that he's under surveillance. It won't take much to set him off." Ryan got up and went back to sit at her desk. "I'm going to have to think of something to keep the heat off you though…" She started to rummage around in her desk looking for something to write on. "Once I get this taken care of we'll meet again, maybe we can figure out some way to expose his weakness."
"Are we good here?" Jane waved her hand between them.
"Yeah…" Ryan didn't look up as she continued to riffle around in a drawer.
"'Kay, I'm gonna go see my Ma and try to convince her to move in with Maura." 'And find Carly… ' Jane thought that last statement to herself as she got up to leave.
"Good." Ryan smirked when she found what she was looking for. "Hey, wait…" She looked up to find that Jane was already standing in the doorway. "If you hurt her again, I'm gonna kick your ass." Her smirk widened into an evil grin. "And we both know I can do it." She threw a playful wink in Jane's direction to indicate she was kidding. "But really…" Her expression suddenly turned serious. "Don't let it happen again."
With a curt nod, Jane turned and disappeared as she shut the door behind her leaving Ryan alone in her office. Being surrounded by thoughts and ideas that she was going to have to eventually muddle through left Ryan with the beginnings of a headache. She was going to have to find a way to make all this new information work for them. She just hoped that no one would get hurt in the process because it would be far worse this time than just a broken heart.

Chapter Text

A Long Way to Go
Chapter 11
“So what happened after I left?” Constance peered over her wine glass at Maura with a mixture of curiosity and uncertainty.
“Nothing happened mother. I offered her the guest room.” Maura huffed impatiently as she ran her finger along the white linen tablecloth that covered their table. Her eyes went from her plate to the spot where her finger continued to move, making an infinite pattern. When she realized what she was doing she tugged at her sleeve where her tattoo lay at her wrist. A dull ache settled in her chest when she realized she already missed Jane.
“Really?” Constance sounded surprised. She watched as Maura fidgeted with her sleeve while her plate continued to stay untouched.
“What? Did you expect the last fifteen years to just disappear? The fact that you and Jane kept a very important piece of information from me about…” Maura stopped short of saying the name out loud. She realized that being in a public place meant that precautions had to be taken and that one particular name was not to be mentioned.
“I won’t make excuses Maura but I thought it was the best thing to do at the time. He wasn’t ready for you to know the truth and he can be very persuasive.” Constance leveled her gaze. She recalled the thinly veiled threats he had hurled at her every time she had the misfortune of meeting him face to face. Fortunately, it hadn’t been something she had had to endure frequently, in fact it had only happened three times after the adoption but she would never forget the sinister flicker that flashed behind the green in his eyes. It was the same green that was so much like Maura’s. She couldn’t contain the shiver that ran up her spine and down her arms causing the hand she was holding her wine glass in to shake ever so slightly. When she noticed that her fingers were trembling, she casually reached over with her other hand to steady herself. She glanced back at Maura to see if she had noticed and to her relief there was no indication that Maura had.
“I’m not sure if I’m ready to accept that yet.” Maura glanced back down at her untouched plate. Picking up her fork, she moved her food around, not really paying attention to what she was doing. “But I’m willing to try.” She let out a heavy sigh and set her fork back down. “I don’t have much of a choice. Whatever choice I may have had was taken away from me. That seems to be a running theme in my life.”
“I understand that you are angry, but what Jane did…I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same thing to protect you. In fact, I guess I did by not telling you in the first place.” Constance reached over to take Maura’s hand. The fact that Maura didn’t have an intimate understanding of who Paddy really was had caused her to evaluate whether she had done the right thing and the more she thought about it the more she realized that she had. And the only thing that gave Constance peace now that Maura knew everything was that Jane also knew and would stop at nothing to protect her daughter.
“Do you know who my biological mother is?” Maura looked up to find Constance slowly shaking her head. She thought she saw a flicker of hurt in those dark blue eyes that suddenly looked like storm clouds.
“No, he never told me.” She stiffened slightly and pulled her hand away.
Reaching across the table, Maura grabbed Constance’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I’m not looking to replace you. I was just wondering what happened to her.” She offered as an explanation. It hadn’t been her intention to hurt her mother with the question.
“I didn’t know anything about him back then…when he walked into my art class. He seemed like a nice young man and he was actually a very good artist.” Constance shrugged her shoulders as the memories came flooding back. “Your father and I had been trying to have a baby for so long. I didn’t question the miracle that landed in our laps. I guess I should have.” She frowned at the thought.
“You are my mother, no matter what happens from this day forward.” Maura tried to reason when she saw the sad resignation in Constance’s eyes. “Nothing will ever change that.”
“I appreciate that Maura.” Constance gave the hand within her own a squeeze before letting go. “And for what it’s worth, I am sorry. Although I don’t think I would have done anything differently except maybe with Jane. I can’t fathom what she went through with her father and to have so much taken away from her.” She ruminated over her thoughts of Jane and what she could have done differently.
Leaning back in her chair, Maura regarded Constance with a guarded smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “I won’t pretend to understand why you feel that way but then again I don’t know him the way that you and Jane do. And as far as Jane is concerned, she had other choices.”
“And I hope you never have to know him the way I do or heaven forbid the way that Jane does. He is not someone you ever want to know.” It was a statement meant to convince but there was an edge of fear to it. “And do you really believe she had any other choices? What would have happened if she had come to us about her father? Do you really think we would have been understanding…nonjudgmental…supportive?” Constance watched Maura carefully.
“I guess we’ll never know the answer to that question will we? And, I’m not planning on having anything to do with him.” Maura started to say but shook her head as thoughts of Jane came to her mind. “Although I wouldn’t mind giving him a piece of my mind about the way he interfered in my life.”
“He won’t see it that way. To him it was a means to an end. It was always his intention to have control from the beginning.” Constance stared over Maura’s shoulder at nothing in particular. Even though her dealings with Paddy had been infrequent and somewhat impersonal, she wanted nothing more to do with the man. However, his insistence to watch over Maura had never set well with her but even she realized the danger Maura would be in if anyone found out the truth. “Will you be able to forgive Jane? Is there hope for a future?”
Tapping her fingers against the table, Maura bit down on her bottom lip as she thought through her answer. Her heart had already decided but her head wasn’t ready to reconcile yet. “Yes…” She let out a frustrated sigh as she watched her fingers drumming alongside her plate. “I think that maybe there is a future for us but it will come at a price.”
“And what’s that Maura? Haven’t you both already paid enough?” Constance placed her elbow on the table and then her chin in the palm of her hand as she listened intently.
“Well…” Maura continued to chew on her bottom lip as she thought things through. “I don’t know what to say. I want to move on from this but I just can’t accept an ‘I’m sorry’. I need to know that she’s in this for the long haul. I couldn’t go through another heartbreak if she walked away again.”
“What is it you want from her?” Constance couldn’t stop herself from interrupting.
“For one, she has to stop making decisions for me.” Maura looked up to see that her mother was watching her with a curious look on her face. “What?” She asked feeling slightly indignant by the look her mother was giving her.
“Come on Maura, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. When are you going to tell her about your relationship with Angela…or Carly and Ryan…?” Constance frowned as she continued. “Or the role you played in her hospital stay and rehabilitation?”
“Look, I have a right to be angry…so let me be angry.” Maura’s eyes flashed in that way they did when she got angry. She knew that her mother was being fair by posing those questions that she herself had asked herself over and over again. The answers were out there somewhere but at the moment she couldn’t find any. Her only defense was anger because if she allowed reason to rule she would have to own up to the things she had kept hidden as well.
Constance watched as the usually soft hazel flecked with green turned hard just as Paddy’s did when he got angry and it caused another shiver to run up her spine but this time it was accompanied by a sadness she couldn’t explain. “You know, holding onto anger for things that happened in the past will only make it harder for you to love in the present.”
“Really?” Maura rolled her eyes at her mother impatiently. “It wasn’t your heart that got broken.”
“I understand that dear, but I really think that Jane has paid the same price as you, if not more so. With what is happening now…with her father…she chooses you, above all else…she chooses you. That has to count for something.” Constance picked up her wine glass and drained what was left of the red liquid. Never in a million years had she expected to find herself defending Jane, not after the animosity she had felt for the young woman who had broken her daughters heart so effectively all of those years ago.
Maura brought her hand up to pinch the bridge of her nose as the headache she had been keeping at bay began to bloom behind her eyes. She knew her mother was right but her stubborn streak was making it hard for her to admit it. “I have forgiven her. I forgave her the minute I saw her being wheeled into the hospital beaten and broken. I’m just not ready to put my heart on the line yet. It is going to take some time. I won’t risk losing her again.”
“You know there are no guarantees in life Maura. Don’t wait too long. You might miss your opportunity if you do. With her line of work…” Constance looked away, unable to finish what she was saying.
“I know that.” Maura’s voice was almost a whisper but there was a conviction behind it that brought Constance’s eyes back to meet hers. “And you’re right.” The words were exhaled on a frustrated huff. “I’ve suggested that Angela move in with me…into my guest house.” She changed the subject, not sure if she could continue the direction their conversation had taken without shedding a few tears.
“Okay, that sounds like a reasonable idea.” Constance leaned back and crossed her arms. The relationship that Maura shared with Angela had always nagged at her. “What does Jane say about that?” She tried to keep her voice even to hide the hint of jealousy she was feeling.
“She seems okay with it. Of course it means that she will be around a lot more…I’ll have to get used to that.” Maura raised a questioning eyebrow at Constance. She could see that her mother was fighting to keep her voice from betraying her thoughts.
“Um, no really…that sounds like a good idea.” The fact that Jane would be spending more time with Maura intrigued Constance and frankly it made her feel better about the Paddy situation. With Jane nearby, Constance realized that there would be someone to keep an eye on her. Her impending trip to Paris had her worried about leaving Maura but now it seemed as if she needn’t worry so much.
“Well, with you going to Paris…I thought it might be nice.” Maura shrugged her shoulders casually. Her mother’s slight bristling at the mention of Angela hadn’t gone unnoticed but she learned long ago that her mother quickly got over things.
“It would make me feel better to know that you won’t be alone. Especially now.” Constance started to say.
“Now that I know that my biological father is a homicidal maniac?” Maura tried to smile to lighten the severity of her statement. “Did dad know the truth?”
The question had come out of left field and Constance wasn’t sure how to answer it. Bill had known that there were questions surrounding the legality of Maura’s adoption but he never questioned it. It had been decided that the true identity of Maura’s father would remain unknown to everyone except Constance and Bill had seemed okay with that arrangement. “If you are asking me if your father knew, then…no…he never did, only I did.”
“I’m sorry you hard to carry that burden alone. It must have been nice when Jane found out…you know…not having to be the only one anymore.” Maura hadn’t meant for her words to sting but they did nonetheless.
“Are you implying that I was happy that Jane found out?” Constance stiffened. Her eyes dropped down to look at her now empty wine glass. “I would have liked it if I hadn’t known the truth about your father but I would have never wished for anyone else to know. Nothing good could have come from it.”
“I didn’t mean to imply that…” There was a silent apology hidden in the words. “It couldn’t have been easy for you. I understand that now. But to have someone else know the truth…” Maura hesitated. “I’m sorry.” She shook her head, unable to finish what she was about say.
“He never once asked to know the truth.” Constance sighed heavily. “And when he died, he died knowing in his heart that he was the only father you had ever known.”
“And that would have been the truth. He is the only father I have ever known and will ever know.” Maura said with a conviction that brought a small smile to Constance’s lips.
“Try not to be too hard on her though. She really does love you.” The smile was one of first to reach Constance’s eye since their evening had begun. “And please don’t wait too long. I’m not getting any younger. I’d like to at least be able to keep up with my grandchildren before it’s too late.”
The last statement brought a hearty blush to Maura’s cheeks accompanied by a shy smile. “Do you really see that for us?” She hadn’t allowed herself to see a future with Jane, yet.
“I absolutely do.” Constance beamed.
“You are sounding a lot like Angela.” Maura laughed. For the first time since they sat down to dinner, she was feeling light hearted and hopeful. She wanted nothing more than to allow the picture her mother was painting of her future to take shape in her heart and mind but her mind was still over ruling her heart. It would take time, but she had faith in what was in her heart and she knew it would eventually lead to wonderful things.

***
“Come on Ma! Why’re you being so stubborn about this?” Jane threw her hands up in frustration. She thought her mother would jump at the idea of moving in with Maura. The resistance was a surprise she hadn’t expected.
“I don’t understand Jane. You haven’t seen or spoken to Maura in what…” Angela ticked off the years on her fingers before giving up and waving her hands in the air. “Fifteen years….and now you want me to move in with her?” The glare she gave Jane was meant to wither but all Jane could do was roll her eyes.
“Really? I told you that we talked things over.” Jane huffed impatiently. The fact that her mother was arguing was beginning to get on her nerves. It should have been a lot easier to convince Angela and Jane’s impatience was at the boiling point.
“Is the idea of sharing a space with me so awful?” The hurt in Angela’s eyes rendered Jane momentarily speechless. “Well?” She crossed her arms as she continued to glare, waiting for an answer.
“No, I just thought that you might like to have your own space.” Jane gave a sheepish grin. “Maura has a guest house and she said you could stay there.” She eyed her mother cautiously as she prepared herself to reveal her last cards. “And you’d be there to keep her company while her mother is in Paris…and it’d give me a reason to be around, more.” The words came out on a rush of air as Jane did her best to convince Angela.
With arms crossed, Angela studied her daughter with a measured eye. The thought of sharing Jane’s apartment hadn’t been high on her list but it was better than sharing a place with Frankie. But this new idea had come to her on a wing and a prayer and she wasn’t sure why she was so reluctant to admit it, she just was. Her stubborn streak was a mile wide, but just as she was about to dig in her heels and not budge, Jane’s words sank in.
“Aw, come on Ma! Help me out here…” Jane pleaded.
“What do you mean you and Maura talked about things?” Angela asked as she brought her coffee cup up to her mouth in an attempt to keep herself from saying anything else. She had so many questions bouncing around in her head that it was all she could do not to let them flow from her mouth in a stream of conscious.
“Well…” Jane let out a heavy sigh as she too took a sip of coffee but for very different reasons. She had to be careful what she revealed to her mother. Of course she couldn’t tell her about Paddy which in turn would make it impossible for her to understand why Jane had walked away all those years ago, essentially breaking more than Maura’s heart in the process. “We cleared the air between us.” She hedged as she eyed Angela over the rim of her cup.
“Details…” Angela held the gaze in challenge.
“Um, we are working on forgiveness.” Jane threw her arms out as she bowed her head. It had been a half-hearted attempt to buy herself more time to come up with a good enough story.
“You mean she is working on forgiving you…” Angela set her cup down, the hard look on her face indicated she wasn’t buying what Jane was selling.
“Yeah Ma, I know I screwed up.” Jane dropped her shoulders in defeat and ran her fingers through her hair. “But I’m really trying here.” Her grin was crooked and her dimples deep as she did her best to charm her mother.
Angela’s expression softened as she watched Jane’s usual confidence fade. “Okay…so you are both trying to move on.”
“Ma, I think there may be a chance for us…a real chance at a new start.” The hopefulness that shone in Jane’s dark eyes caused Angela’s heart to lighten. “I still love her. I’ve never stopped.”
“Don’t you think I know that?” Angela sighed as she wrapped her hands around her coffee cup allowing the warmth to comfort her. “What I don’t know is why you walked away in the first place.” Her mouth set in a grim line as the hardened expression returned.
“I know that there’s nothing I can say to you that will ever excuse what I did.” Jane could feel her temper flaring under her mother’s scrutiny. “But you have to understand that sometimes there are things that I can’t tell you. Maura knows the reason and she is willing to forgive me. That’s all that matters.”
Angela watched as Jane clasped her hands in front of her on the table and unconsciously rubbed at the scars in her palms. She couldn’t help but wonder if Maura had told her the role she played in Jane’s recovery so she hedged a little further in an attempt to find out. “So is that all you talked about? What you did wrong.”
“Yes Ma!” Jane clenched her jaw as she tried to control the ire that was bubbling up into her chest. “I screwed up…I apologized…profusely I might add, and now Maura is willing to rebuild our friendship. I know we have a long way to go, but at least it’s a beginning.”
Giving a slight nod, Angela acknowledged what Jane had said. It was apparent that Maura had yet to confess her own secrets. “I suppose that is a start.” She tried to smile at Jane but she was feeling slightly sick at her stomach due to the secrets she herself was keeping from her daughter.
“Does that mean you’ll do it?” Jane let out an exhausted sigh. She hadn’t expected to have to fight her mother on this, she had actually thought that Angela would have jumped at the idea.
“Yes…” Angela conceded. The realization that she had no home hit her hard as the tears that she had tried to hold in stung her eyes and began to flow down her cheeks. The sob that came next shook her body causing Jane to jump up from her seat to engulf her in a hug.
“You’ll be alright Ma. We’ll get through this together.” Jane tried to console with a soft soothing voice.
“I know sweetheart.” Angela allowed Jane to hold her as the tears continued to fall.
They stayed like that until Angela could find no more tears to shed at the direction her life had taken. Giving Jane’s back a gentle pat, she reluctantly pulled away and gave Jane a genuine smile as she looked up at her. “So, when do I get some grandkids?”
The smirk was a surprise to both of them, but Jane was feeling bold as she looked down at her mother. “Well, I’m taking her to dinner Saturday.” It was the best answer Jane could offer at the moment and it caused Angela to laugh.
“I suppose that’s a start.” Angela said as her shoulders shook with laughter.
“Yeah Ma…it’s the start I’ve waited my whole life for.”

Chapter Text

Eventually
Chapter 12
Leaning back against the pillows on her bed, Jane felt just like she was back in high school again as she balanced her cell phone on her shoulder and ran her fingers through her hair to pull it back into a pony-tail. Her tattered sweat pants were at least ten years old and the t-shirt she was wearing was something she had kept since her teenaged years. And of course, there was that nervous flutter that started in the pit of her stomach and radiated throughout her body, making her just the slightest bit shaky. But it was all something she welcomed because it meant she was talking to Maura and Maura was the only person who had ever had that effect on her. The soft, melodious voice on the other end hadn't changed much either but there was something cautionary that lingered just around the edges.
"Um, so we're still on for Saturday, right?" Jane's voice caught with nervous energy causing her to clear her throat. Adjusting herself so she didn't have to balance the phone anymore, she reached up to hold it to her ear as she settled further into her pillows. The pillowcases were cool and it helped her overheated skin as she pressed herself against their softness.
"Yes, I suppose so." Maura's voice was soft and somewhat sleepy as she snuggled deeper into her oversized couch surrounded by the oversized pillows. She felt safe surround by the enormity of that soft barricade she had built around herself. She had been tired when she finally got home from work but she knew she hadn't wanted to miss this phone call from Jane. The first thing she had done was change into more comfortable clothing which consisted of a pair of satin boxer shorts and a matching top that she had been too tired to button all the way up. "I'm glad to hear that Angela agreed to move in. Was it difficult to convince her?"
No…maybe…just a little…" Jane struggled to belay the image of how adorable Maura was when she was sleepy. Many nights Jane had just watched Maura sleep in her arms and a longing to experience that again swept over her. She could imagine the sleep tousled hair, the squinty eyes that didn't have the energy to open all the way, and the feline way that Maura had of stretching her back. Fanning her suddenly flushed face, she tried to swallow the knot that had formed in her very dry throat. "She had a lot of questions, but I tried to be as honest as I could about us." The words came out on a slightly strangled cough.
"And what did you tell her?" Maura closed her eyes and conjured up a picture of what she thought Jane looked like at the moment. Sweat pants and an old t-shirt came to her mind along with a small smile. She had heard the barely contained strain in Jane's voice and she knew that Jane was probably imagining what she was wearing as well.
"I told her that we were working on forgiveness." Jane sighed heavily into the phone. "It was the best I could do, considering…" She hesitated.
"Well, I suppose that will work." Maura could hear the hesitation in Jane's voice. "What has you so worried?"
"I dunnknow…" Jane shrugged as she crossed her legs at the ankle and brought an arm around behind her pillow, propping herself up.
Maura could hear the shrug over the phone just as easily as she could envision Jane's nonchalant body language. "Let me guess. She thinks I'm the saint and you're the sinner?"
"I guess so…maybe. It's just hard for me to let her think that I callously hurt you, like I didn't care." Jane let out a huff of air as she placed her hand across her stomach. The nervous energy she was feeling had yet to dissipate so she began to drum her fingers along the soft cotton t-shirt she was wearing.
"I'm sorry it has to be this way Jane." Maura was sorry that Jane had to take the brunt of the raised eyebrows in question but there was nothing she could do. No one could know the truth about her biological father which meant that Jane would never be able to tell Angela the whole story. Guilt started to creep in around Maura as she thought about her own secrets that she had yet to reveal to Jane but she did her best to stow those away until she could further analyze them.
"It's not your fault Maur. If I hadn't been such a fucking screw up none of this would've happened."
The defeated tone in Jane's voice caused Maura to bristle and sit up straighter. "What happened was out of your control, you know that right?"
"No it wasn't, but thanks for saying so." Jane continued to drum her fingers. She could feel the nervousness being replaced by a slow burning anger at herself and Paddy, but most of all at her father.
"Yes it was." Maura sighed heavily. "Yes, you made mistakes. Yes, you could have done things differently. But it was your father who set you down that path, he should have known better. You were just a kid Jane." A thought suddenly came to her mind, something she hadn't thought of until that moment. "I'm sure you felt all alone then." She hesitated as she struggled to find the right words to express what she was feeling. "I…um…I don't want you to feel alone like that ever again. No matter what happens between us Jane, just know that you won't have to be alone again."
Jane could hear the stark truth in the words that Maura had struggled to say. She thought she could hear something unspoken, a hopefulness that Maura wasn't ready to admit out loud yet. "Thanks." She smiled into the phone at the certainty of what she felt in her heart which was that it was going to be alright…that they were going to be alright.
"Yeah, well…" Maura nervously cleared her throat, afraid that she had given too much away and that Jane had heard the unspoken promise in her voice. "Being friends again is a good place to start."
"Yes, being friends is a good place to start." Jane said but in her mind, she was thinking there were much better places to start but that would come with time. Again, her face flushed as thoughts of Maura and what they had recently shared came to her mind. She had been bold the other morning, crossing the invisible line that kept them at arm's length but she couldn't resist the urge to touch, to feel, to taste Maura's skin. She could sense that it wouldn't have taken much to push Maura over that edge that they both found themselves standing on but she also knew that the time wasn't right yet and to do so would jeopardize the fragile foundation they started to rebuild.
"I'm looking forward to getting to know you again." Maura settled back again against her couch as she let out a tired sigh.
"Look…um…do you have any questions for me, ya know about Paddy or anything?" Jane ventured to ask even though it was something she hadn't wanted to talk about. Her intentions were to get this over with so they could go forward and never revisit the subject again or at least not on their first date.
"I…ah…" Maura paused as a multitude of questions flowed through her mind ranging from one spectrum to the other but only one stood out catching her attention. "How did you know?"
"Well…" Jane took a deep breath as the memory of that day came back to her. It had been the day at the batting cages when Maura had taken her to task over who was better at hitting a baseball. The loss of that day still stung and it wasn't just the beating she had taken from Maura but that was the day she had lost faith in the role she thought she would play in Maura's life. The silent interchange between her and Paddy had said it all as she recalled looking in those hazel-green eyes and into the void of someone who no longer cared who got hurt along the way. "You have the same eyes." When she heard the sharp intake of breath on the other end of the phone she continued. "The same color I mean."
"How could you know that Jane? Genetics goes deeper than just the same eye color." Dr. Maura was back as she tried to reason away any similarity her and Paddy may share. She knew there had to be more to it than just eye color.
"Maur, I've spent hours…days…months…looking in your eyes memorizing every variation, every mood, every emotion you couldn't convey with words. When I saw him looking at you that day, there was an innocent longing to understand something just beyond his reach and I recognized it as something I'd seen in your eyes as well. Or maybe it was just a gut feeling." Jane let out a heavy sigh of regret at having to have this conversation.
"I don't understand what your intestines have to do with this." Maura couldn't disguise her impatience at trying to understand what Jane was saying. She had never truly understood what people meant by 'gut feeling' and it had always annoyed her when someone used that term to explain something unexplainable.
"Come on, it's just an expression but my gut has been right a lot of the time." Jane tried to reason. When her response was greeted by silence she started to get uncomfortable. "Hey…what's wrong?"
"Am I really like him?" Maura whispered, her voice soft and afraid.
"No! You’re nothing like him Maura!" Jane bolted up right from her reclined position as if would somehow emphasize her statement. It killed her to have to hear that uncertainty tinged with fear in Maura's voice.
"But you said we had the same eyes and its said that the eyes are the windows to the soul." Maura said softly.
"The only thing that you share with that man is the same color. Nothing more. Your eyes are beautifully expressive, filled with a curious innocence that causes those little flecks of green to shine. The only thing that shines in him is his anger Maura. The love you have for life glows deep within that hazel and it's filled with compassion and hope. I've never seen anything remotely similar in Paddy. The only thing I've seen is the cruel heart that keeps him at the head of Irish mob." Jane was almost breathless as she spoke.
"But DNA plays an important role in how a person is. Who they become…" Maura babbled on causing Jane's heart to ache.
"Listen Maura, I don't know who he was before. Maybe he was a different person before he gave himself over to a life of crime but you are nothing like him. Please don't think you are anything less than wonderful, beautiful…compassionate…" Jane started to babble herself.
"Thank you." Maura whispered into the phone. Her heart was lifted by Jane's words but there was still an undercurrent of unease she couldn't quite place.
"Anything else you want to ask me?" Jane gripped the cell phone tight in her hand hoping that there was nothing else.
"No, I don't want to talk about him anymore. I think we should just concentrate on the future." 'And our happily-ever-after…' Maura thought to herself.
"So, we still on for Saturday?" Jane settled back against her pillows, letting out a sigh.
"Yes, yes we are." Maura couldn't stop herself from smiling.
"I've really missed you." Jane's words were barely a whisper as the impact of what she had lost all those years ago washed over her.
"I don't think you'll have to miss me anymore Jane." Maura whispered back.
"Good, cause I donwanna…" Jane let out a long slow breath to mask the feelings that were beginning to overwhelm her.
"Yeah, I donwanna either." Maura mimicked Jane's incorrect usage of grammar with a small smile.
"'Kay, I'll see you Saturday then." Jane could tell that Maura was smiling so she smiled back.
"Not if I see you first." Maura laughed.
"Night…" Jane said as she hung up but she just couldn't stop herself from whispering the word 'beautiful' just as her finger pushed the end button on her phone.
Maura held her phone tight against her ear thinking that if she stayed still and quiet she might hear it again but with a sad, resigned sigh she convinced herself that she had just imagined it. When she finally realized that Jane had hung up she did the same but not before whispering 'Goodnight, my sweet Jane' into the receiver.
***

"What the fuck Frankie…" Jane bend over and grabbed her stomach where his elbow had made contact.
With the basketball balanced against his hip he looked down at her with a frown as he pushed his unruly dark hair away from his eyes. He was pissed and in no way taking it easy on her as they played some one on one basketball for the last time in the driveway of their childhood home. As Jane gasped to catch her breath, he felt no sympathy for what he had done. In fact, he had every intention of doing it again if she gave him the chance.
"What happened to the 'friendly' game of basketball you invited me to play?" She looked up at him before she pushed herself up using her shaky legs as leverage. When she was finally standing upright, the scowl that appeared on her face indicated that she wasn't about to let him do it again.
"I guess I'm not feeling very 'friendly'." He pushed past her as he lined up his shot.
"Care to clue me on what your problem is?" She used her shoulder to slow down his forward momentum causing him to stagger slightly.
"You're the detective, figure it out smart ass." He planted his feet, turned towards her, and threw the ball as hard he could at her middle.
She pushed the ball away with little effort, her reflexes sharper than ever. The ball bounced back in Frankie's direction landing at his feet as it rolled back and forth before stopping. "No, really Frankie…give me an idea about what has you so pissed off."
"He just left and you didn't even try to stop him Jane! Why didn't you try to stop him?" His voice was filled with the anger he was directing at her but Jane could hear the brittle edge of sadness ringing clear.
"Look, I'm sorry…" She started to say but stopped when he stepped closer to her, his posture was erect to intimidate. "I suggest you back the fuck off." She stood her ground. "Right the fuck now." Her eyes darkened with her own barely contained rage.
"Fuck you…" He pushed her knowing that the result would be her wrath but he didn't care anymore. He was mad at her for disappearing for the last four days without so much as a word, leaving him to deal with their father's abandonment alone. He knew that the anger he was directing at Jane was just spill over from the anger that Frank Sr. wasn't around to take. "You disappeared…just like he did."
The flash of fury subsided as Jane watched her brother go from trying to be the big man to turning into the vulnerable kid he used to be. "I didn't just disappear Frankie." Her voice was soft and filled with understanding. "I just had to take care of some things."
"Yeah, whatever. I've heard it before…things that you can't talk about. Really, fucking convenient for you Jane. But where the hell were you when Ma cried herself to sleep every night…out taking care of things? Well, I was here!" His anger was boiling over as he pushed her again. He knew he was prodding a sleeping bear but he didn't care.
"I'm sorry Frankie." She looked down feeling sadness overwhelm her as she realized what he was saying. While she was out playing the hero, he was home taking care of the collateral damage inflicted by their loser father.
"Well, sorry isn't good enough!" He growled as he kicked the basketball. He hadn't expected it to bounce off the pole and head straight for Jane.
Jane hadn't seen it coming. One minute she was standing; the next minute she was flat on her back, watching stars float lazily above her with the sound of Frankie's voice floating to her from somewhere off in the distance. In an instant, all the feelings she had carefully stowed away came flooding to the surface.
"Jane…hey Jane…you alright?" Frankie bend over his sister as she lay sprawled out on her back.
Slowly and with much effort, Jane blinked her eyes open. The first thing she noticed was the way the sun was streaming through the leaves in the branch that hung over the driveway. The dead leaves that continued to cling to what had once been their lifeline swayed back and forth as a gentle breeze blew past them. She could hear the rustle of those dried leaves that had given up and let go swirl around as they moved across the driveway towards the grass. A flash of memories scattered through her mind ranging from the Halloween that Angela hadn't let them go trick-or-treating because some guy kidnapped a kid a few blocks away to those times she hung off the roof to put Christmas lights up with their Pop. As she continued to stare up at that branch, tears began to pool in her eyes before leaking out and rolling down her cheeks. It was the memory of their brother Tommy falling off that same branch and breaking his arm that opened the flood gates.
"Jesus Jane, I'm sorry. Are you okay?" Frankie's voice was elevated to a panic as he dropped down to his knees next to Jane. Tears were not something that he was used to seeing from Jane and he couldn't help but think that maybe he had really hurt her. His face reddened with shame as he looked down at her.
"Tommy fell off that tree branch and broke his arm trying to hide from us. Do you remember?" She struggled to get her emotions under control.
"Yeah and remember how we took turns carrying him two blocks to Mrs. Anderson's house where Ma was playing bridge?" He dropped down beside her with a heavy sigh. "And I also remember having my first kiss out on the porch swing…our annual New Year’s Eve party and the family dinners every Sunday…" His voice trailed off as he glanced over his shoulder at the house that held so many memories from their childhood which now stood empty with a 'For Sale' sign posted out in front. "This is really hard Jane. I just thought it was a house…but…when will it stop hurting so much?"
"Eventually Frankie." Jane pushed herself up into a sitting position. Reaching up she touched the tender spot on her cheek where the ball had hit her. "I thought it would be easier too. Just imagine what Ma is feeling though."
"You don't haveta tell me Jane. I've been around the last few days." He shrugged his shoulders at the small dig that slipped out. "Sorry…" He gave her a sheepish grin before he noticed the red spot on her face. "Wow, that's gonna leave a bruise."
"Probably and I have a date with Maura tonight, seems fitting." She leaned back to let the sun warm her face as it slipped past the trees and branches that hung over them. The sting in her cheek only hurt more when she squinted so she brought her hand up to shade her eyes.
"What?" He sat up straighter and turned his full attention to her.
"What, what?" She gave him a casual glance knowing exactly what he wanted to know but not quite ready to relent. Even though he had been her biggest advocate after she broke up with Maura, she couldn't help but make him wait for her answer.
"This is news Jane. This is big news. How did it happen?" He rested his elbows on his knees and ran his fingers through is hair again.
"Well, we talked and decided to start fresh…and before you do…don't ask." She squared her shoulders and tilted her head so she could look at him. He had a look of concentration on his face as he tried to suppress the urge to ask the many questions that she knew were bouncing around in his mind. Because he knew her better than anyone she expected him to concede without a fight and that is just what he did.
"Wow, I'm happy for you. You two were always so good together." He grinned at her.
"Don't get ahead of the game big fella. We're gonna start with our friendship first." Jane couldn't help but shrug noncommittally as she reached out to give his shoulder a gentle push.
"Yeah, but you want more?" He ventured to ask even though he already knew the answer.
"Of course I want more." She said a little too quickly. "I mean, yeah. I'd like more, eventually." She closed her eyes and allowed the warmth of the sun to seep into her skin. The stinging in her cheek had slowly subsided only to be replaced by a numbness that indicated she would indeed sport a bruise by the end of the day. "In fact, I'm planning on marrying her someday." She opened one eye to peer over at him to see his reaction.
"I know..." He smiled at her. "What I don't know is why you left her in the first place, but…" He held up his hands to stop her from interrupting. "I know you not gonna tell me."
"You're right. I'm not gonna tell you." She glared at him through her one open eye but then her expression softened. It was difficult enough to have to keep this secret from their mother but now add pretty much everyone else in her life and she could already see the cracks starting to form.
Silence surrounded them as they both sat there contemplating what was to come before they were interrupted by the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. They both looked over to see that the realtor was getting out of her car.
"Hey Shelia. Thanks for letting us have this…" Jane stood up and smiled at the middle-aged woman.
"Yeah, no problem. I'm just sorry it had to come to this." Shelia moved around to stand in front of her car. "How's your mom handling things?"
"She's good. She's found a new place to live, a real nice place." Jane reached out to take the hand that was held out for her to shake. "Thanks for asking."
"I'm really glad to hear that." Shelia let out a heavy sigh as she reached over to shake Frankie's hand. "I'll leave you to it then" She said as she moved past them towards the house leaving them in an awkward silence.
"Thanks again." Jane called over her shoulder.
"Any time Jane." Shelia called back.
"This is really happening, isn't it?" Frankie picked up the basketball and glanced over at Jane.
"It is." Jane reached down to pick up her water bottle just as her cell phone started to ring. She looked at the caller ID and recognized Carly's number. "Hey, I gotta take this Frankie. Give me a minute will ya?" When he gave her a quick nod, she answered the phone to the familiar sound of her cousin's voice. "Hey Carly…" She said as she moved to stand next to her car so she had something to lean against. After a quick response on the other end of the phone Jane decided to get right to the point. "I need to talk to you. Yeah I know I'm talking to you right now." She let out a frustrated huff before continuing. "But I think it would be better to do this is in person…yeah…no, my Ma's alright…no…look, I just need to talk to you…please." Jane couldn't contain the impatience she was fighting. "'Kay…I'll see you Tuesday…um yeah it's okay if Ryan wants to come." She reached up and touched the spot under her eye that was now sore. "Yeah, see ya then. Bye." With those final words, she hung up the phone and turned her attention back to Frankie. He had a puzzled expression on his face as he watched her causing her to roll her eyes. "Just got some stuff to deal with and no it doesn't have anything to do with Pop, so don't ask."
"Whatever…" He shrugged his shoulders to give her the impression he didn't care even though he did.
"Look, I've gotta get ready for tonight and do something about this." She gingerly touched her cheek. "Wanna get together for a beer tomorrow afternoon and watch the game at 'The Robber'?"
"Sure, we can talk about movin' Ma into Maura's place." Frankie shoved the ball into his duffle bag as he spoke.
"Sounds like a plan and Frankie…" Jane said before climbing into her car.
"Yeah?" He looked up.
"We'll talk some more ya know, about things…if you want." Jane gave a heavy sigh.
"I'd like that Jane." He smiled over at her as he watched her slip into the front seat of her car on the way to what they both hoped would be the start to many more dates with Dr. Maura Isles.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Water cascaded down Jane's neck and across her shoulders as she attempted to wash away the dirt and grim from the last few days. Standing under the hot, steady stream with her hands placed out in front of her against the tiled wall, she let out a heavy sigh. She had been plagued by uncertainty since she and Frankie had parted ways and with that came an underlying sadness that weighed heavily on her mind. It had never occurred to her that while she was off playing the hero, Frankie had been left home to try and console their mother, alone.
Dropping her head down so her dark, wet hair fell around her face shielding her eyes from the water that now ran down to the end of her chin, she took a deep shuttering breath. With a morbid curiosity, she watched as soapy liquid pooled at her feet before disappearing down the drain in almost the same way that the life they had all come to know had suddenly disappeared.
Hot steam filled her lungs as she took another deep breath through her nose before exhaling loudly through her mouth. The sting in her chest was a welcome sensation because it meant she hadn't gone numb with the pain she felt in her heart. With a shaky hand, she pushed her hair back and allowed the water to hit her full in the face. She winced slightly when the bruise on her cheek ached. Her muscles had been sore and full of tension when she had stepped into the shower earlier but as the hot water continued to beat against her back and shoulders she could feel the stress beginning to ebb away. The raw emotions that had twisted in her stomach now gave way to relief that was accompanied by the pins and needles that were traveling up and down her arms. Even though her energy was depleted, she felt invigorated by the thought of seeing Maura again.
Tilting her head back one more time, she allowed the water to roll down into her eyes before reaching over to turn the faucet off. As she stood surround by steam, she inhaled deeply to clear her mind. Thoughts of Maura and the things they had shared years ago, floated through her mind. Images of the times they had shared their bodies, minds, and hearts flickered behind her closed eyes before landing on a moment she knew she would never forget.
*‘Jane had been particularly moody the day she had driven her truck up to visit Maura at BU. Her heart ached because she knew it would be her last visit. Her intention had been to end things quickly and return to her own dorm to wallow in her self-pity for the rest of the weekend…alone. But whatever Gods were looking down on her in that moment had other ideas and she wasn't quite sure if they had decided to curse or take pity on her. When she pulled up in front of Maura's dorm, her eyes fell on the radiant profile of the woman she knew she wasn't ready to let go of just yet.
Maura had been sitting at a picnic table unaware of Jane's presence, a book laid out open in front of her with the sun at her back. It had been late in the afternoon and there was just the slightest bit of chill in the air as the sun dipped down past several buildings casting long shadows that seemed to flank the picnic table but missing Maura where she was sitting.
Jane sat in her truck watching Maura, wishing she could stop time and stay there forever. The image before her was breathtaking causing tears to well up in her eyes. Blinking a few times to try and stop the flow that had already begun, she realized that Maura would eventually notice she was there and it would break the spell. Through watery eyes, she watched Maura tilt her head just enough to allow the sun light to touch her face, giving the illusion that she was glowing. Her eyes were closed and her chin was resting in the palm of her hand giving her a relaxed look, something that had been rare as of late.
As Jane continued to watch, she suddenly made a decision. She would not allow herself to be a source of pain for Maura, at least not that day because there would always be tomorrow. With a renewed sense of purpose, she wiped the tears from her damp cheeks and took a deep breath to slow down her rapidly beating heart. She would do her best to leave everything behind her for the next twenty-four hours as she set out to worship the woman she loved. And she did worship Maura the best way she knew how before the sun rose the next day forcing her to walk out of Maura's life and into her own personal hell.’*
When the air around her grew less heavy and the steam dissipated, Jane came back to the present. She pulled a towel from the hook outside the shower and wrapped it around her waist before grabbing a second towel to dry her hair. She squeezed long strands to get rid of the excess water before wrapping the towel around her head. When she was done, she looked at her blurred image in the fogged over mirror.
Even though the steam had mostly disappeared, a hot, wet humidity still clung to the air weighing her down with its intensity. She reached up with her left hand and wiped the mirror so she could see herself better and in so doing, she caught a glimpse of the scar on the back of her hand. Suddenly she felt apprehensive. What had happened to her at the hands of a mad man named Charles Hoyt haunted her every day and she had both the emotional and physical scars to prove it. Her eyes dropped down to the two scars over the top of her breasts before her gaze traveled down further to the ones on her stomach.
As she started at her refection and the reminders of those three days that remained etched into her skin, a shiver ran down her spin at the prospect of having to tell Maura what had happened to her. There had been so much more to her story than what the Boston Glove had reported, thanks to Korsak and Lieutenant Cavanaugh. But she still dreaded having to tell Maura the small details that no one else but a select few knew. The existence of several very precise and precariously placed scalpel cuts were the visible scars she bared, the scars that Maura would eventually see.
She reached up and touched one such reminder, running her index finger over the slightly raised white line that ran across the top of her right breast. She would never be able to forget the hoarse whisper in her ear that laid out a plan for her demise. "Death by a thousand cuts…" Charles Hoyt had promised as he ran his razor-sharp scalpel over her tender skin, tearing it open in a fiery trail of unbearable pain. But she did bare it without so much as a whimper or a tear to indicate how much he was hurting her. She knew she would die before giving him the satisfaction of seeing her as broken as she had felt. Eventually she stopped feeling the pain and her body slipped into shock by the blood loss from her impaled hands. It had been after about the fifteenth cut that she lost count as she drifted in and out of consciousness. The feeling of the cold steel blade skimming across the skin along her stomach had been the last thing she remembered before waking up in the hospital.
As she continued to unwillingly relive those days of horror, her finger moved to trace along another scar, this one slightly longer than the first. Each one had its own story to tell. Each one unique and she knew she was going to have explain them to Maura. Watching herself in the mirror, she couldn't help but wonder what Maura would think of her body now that it was war torn and weathered from her experiences. Would Maura still find her desirable? Would Maura still want her? Could Maura accept her, scars and all? She let out a heavy sigh and shook her head before a brooding mood could take over. The thought that Maura wouldn't be seeing her naked anytime soon relieved and saddened her at the same time. She both dreaded and looked forward to the day she could finally reveal her whole self to Maura.
Her eyes lingered on the thin white line between her breasts. Most of the cuts had been superficial, just breaking the skin enough to draw blood but the ones that had left visible scars ran deeper, just as Hoyt had intended them to. With a new resolve, she took another deep breath and willed the tears from coming. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction. "I won't let what you did to me haunt me for the rest of my life…" Her fingers ran along the final scar over her stomach. "I own these, not you…" The words hissed out through her gritted teeth.
Frowning at her refection and the direction her thoughts were taking, she refused to allow the memories of her ordeal at the hands of a mad man taint the evening she had planned with Maura. With a renewed sense of excitement, she made the decision to straighten her hair because she knew Maura couldn't resist running her fingers through it and she would take any advantage she could at this point. With a nod of her head, she gave her reflection a crooked smile as she set about getting ready.
When Jane stepped out of the bathroom, her hair was as dry and straight as it was going to get. The ends had resisted her attempts with the straightening iron leaving gentle curls that bounced around her shoulders each time she moved. It left her looking less fierce than usual, but she had to admit that she liked the way it softened the hard angles of her face.
Several pairs of jeans and shirts lay scattered across her bed and she was glad that she had called Maura earlier to tell her to dress casual. She picked up the faded denim 501's that were her favorite and then a white cotton oxford with a black tank top to wear underneath. With a nod of her head, she consented to what she had picked out and then set about to pick out what she was going to wear underneath. She started to rummage through her underwear drawer looking for her black push-up bra and panties that matched. Even though she knew there was a slim to no chance of Maura seeing what she was wearing underneath her clothes and that they matched, the fact that she knew gave her a slight boost in confidence. When everything was lined up, she slipped her tank top over her head before slipping her arms into the freshly ironed shirt and a surge of excitement rolled around in her stomach. She buttoned up, leaving three undone to allow the push up bra to do what it was intended to do, give a glimpse of her ample cleavage. If memory served her correctly, Maura was a breast woman so why not highlight one her best assets.
With a goofy grin on her face, Jane finished getting dressed as thoughts of the times she had caught Maura admiring her favorite body part flashed in her mind. Deep down inside, Jane knew that Maura would still find her body attractive and even though she knew nothing would happen yet, she couldn't help but want to give Maura a peek of what she hoped was to come.
***

It had been a long, boring afternoon trying to catch up on paper work and by the time four o'clock rolled around Maura was more than ready to go home. Having spent a Saturday afternoon in her office hadn't bothered Maura, what had bothered her were the thoughts of Jane and their impending date for that evening. She was both excited and a little afraid of what the night held for them. It had been one of the reasons she had decided to go to work in the first place. The idea of doing boring paperwork appealed more to her than the running commentary that played through her mind about why she needed to be particularly careful when it came to being alone with Jane.
She got through the day for the most part without having images of Jane chase her down. But if she were honest with herself, she'd realize the truth for what it was and that was that she couldn't stop herself from thinking of Jane, so she eventually quite trying.
It wasn't until she found herself standing in her closet trying to decide what she should wear that she realized she had somehow made it home without much thought as to how. She knew that she had driven herself, but what she didn't know was exactly when she had engaged her auto-pilot. It wasn't something she did often as she prided herself on living in the here and now but she just couldn't stop her thoughts from drifting.
As her muddled mind tried to make sense of her uncharacteristic lapse in concentration, her eyes continued to wander over the clothes hanging in her closet. She was thankful that Jane had called her earlier to tell her to dress casual because it made it much easier for her to decide. Reaching for her loose-fitting khaki Capri pants and a black silk shirt with gold embroidery along the collar she carried them to her bed. With that decision made, she pulled out her black Milano heels knowing they would surely give her the edge she would need over Jane if she were to get through the evening without losing herself to the charm she knew that she had never been able to resist. With a smug smile, she glanced over the ensemble with an approving nod before heading to the bathroom to take a shower.
When Maura finally reemerged from the bathroom, she was feeling more ready than she had been earlier. Her desire to forgive Jane and push past all of the hurt they had caused each other was her number one priority. She did however, realize that she would eventually have to explain what role she played in Jane's recovery as well as her continued relationships with Angela, Carly, and Ryan, but that would have to wait until the foundation of their friendship had been rebuilt.
As she slipped into her silk shirt, a shiver ran through her body as the memory of Jane's lips moving over her neck a few days ago suddenly grabbed a hold of her. She knew her weaknesses and so did Jane. She also knew it wouldn't have taken much to break the resolve of that false bravado she tried so hard to hide behind. Thank goodness Jane had had the sense to pull back before either of them made a mistake that would have set them back. Wrapping her arms around herself to ease her nerves she let out a heavy sigh. She had wanted so much more in that moment as she stood at the kitchen sink with Jane pressed against her that an overwhelming desire had almost dissolved her common sense. With another heavy sigh, she tried to push back the worry that she was about to engage in the same struggle that would surely present itself again on their date.
***

"Is this the same pizza parlor that Frankie used to work at when we first met?" Maura looked around at the familiar surroundings that seemed less familiar than she remembered.
"Um, yeah…but…" Jane gave a sheepish grin and shrug of her shoulders as she led Maura up to the door of the restaurant. "I forgot they changed it into a Mexican restaurant." She hesitated for a moment before stopping in the doorway and turning to Maura. "We can go somewhere else. I just thought it would be a nice start…ya know…reliving a good memory."
"No, this is fine. I love Mexican food and I'm a sucker for a good margarita on the rocks." Maura took one of Jane's hands giving it a reassuring squeeze.
"'Kay. I hear they have a pretty good margarita." Jane reached over to hold the door open for Maura. She couldn't stop herself from admiring the view as she followed Maura inside. The casual look had always looked good on Maura and Jane concluded that it was a rarity these days for Maura to dress down for comfort alone. A small grin graced her lips as she recalled the moment that Maura had opened her front door and they both stood mute at the others appearance. Jane had been right about leaving three buttons undone because Maura's eyes had drifted over her before her gaze finally came to rest on the ample cleavage that Jane made sure was visible.
"What's that smile for?" Maura tilted her head to the side in a way that indicated she was curious about something.
"Ummm, I'll tell you later…" Jane's voice was low and husky as she gently pushed past Maura to lead them to a booth in the back.
With a slight huff, Maura hesitated as she watched Jane walk away. The brief pause gave her a moment to take in the faded blue jeans that hung low on Jane's hips and the slight sway that caused her heart to race. The sway was something new, something that Maura had never seen before. It was a combination of a confident strut with the barest hint of femininity that indicated Jane was very comfortable with who she was. As Maura followed Jane to the booth, she marveled at how much each of them had changed over the years but one thing remained the same, there was still a magnetic attraction between them that caused the air to crackle and sizzle whenever they got close to each other.
"So, what'll you have?" Jane asked as she settled in the seat across from Maura. "To drink…?" She smiled when she saw that Maura wasn't quite sure what she was asking.
"Oh, I'll have a Texas gold margarita on the rocks please, no salt." Maura said as she lifted the menu up in a casual attempt to appear as if she was perusing her choices.
"I'll have a Tecate with a slice of lime." Jane looked up at the waitress who was writing their order down. "And I guess we'll need a minute to figure out what we want to eat…"
With a nod the waitress disappeared to get their drinks leaving them alone to look over the menus. The silence between them was comfortable as if they had done the same thing hundreds of times over before Maura finally set her menu down and smiled at Jane.
"I think it's really sweet that you brought me here, back to the place where it all began." Maura's voice had a wistful tone to it as she spoke. Placing her elbows on the table, she interlocked her fingers and rested her chin there.
"Yeah? Well most people don't usually use the word 'sweet' in relation to anything I do." Jane furrowed her brow as she continued to look over the menu.
"Yeah, well most people don't know you the way that I do." Maura laughed.
"And what is it that you know about me that most people don't?" Jane glanced up with a challenging glint in her eyes.
"That you're a true romantic…sometimes sentimental…and that there's this spot along your neck, just under your ear that makes you moan." A wicked grin spread over Maura's face before Jane held up her hands and interrupted her.
"Hey, hey…you're gonna ruin my reputation for being a hard ass." Jane waved her hands around as if to indicate that someone might hear. She could feel her cheeks growing warm at Maura's last statement and she couldn't help but wonder what type of game they had started to play because she wasn't sure she knew what the rules were or if she could follow them.
Before Jane could say anything else, the waitress came back with their drinks and took their dinner order. Again, a comfortable silence surrounded them as they each took a sip of their drink but neither was willing to break eye contact as they did so.
"Are you going to tell me what happened to cause that?" Maura indicated what she was talking about by tapping her cheek.
"What?" Jane asked before realizing what Maura was talking about. "Oh…this…" She said reaching up to run her fingers over the bruise that now marred her cheek under her eye. "Um, I got hit with a basketball." She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly.
"How did that happen?" Maura watched as Jane tipped her bottle back and took a long drink before looking at her again.
"Well, Frankie got a little overzealous and what can I say…my reflexes are a little rusty." She smirked at the memory.
"That surprises me Jane. It's not like you…" Maura started to say but stopped when she saw something in Jane's eyes that begged her not to question anymore.
"So, you remember the first time I brought you here?" Jane finally said after taking another long drink from her beer to change the subject.
Maura recognized the smoke screen for what it was as she settled back into her seat and used her straw to stir her drink before taking another sip. She was quiet for a moment as she contemplated what she would say next. "Yes, I do…. In fact I consider it our first date…or study date if you want to be precise."
"Yeah?" Jane relaxed against the plastic vinyl as she leaned an elbow on the table and tilted her beer back to take another drink. "I remember how surprised you were when you realized it was me under all of those pads and that helmet."
"It was a really nice surprise; in fact, it was the best." Maura grinned. "I thought I was going to be tutoring Frankie and the only reason I agreed was because I thought it might get me closer to you."
"R-e-a-l-l-y?" Jane drew the word out as she balanced her beer bottle between two fingers. "I only agreed to tutoring because I was told you'd be the one doing it."
"Why?" Maura asked.
"Well, because I wanted to meet you…get to know you, ya know." Jane's cheeks turned a light pink at the admission.
"I didn't even think you knew I existed." Maura gave a small frown as she recalled those early days when she spent every day alone.
"Oh, I knew you existed. The problem was trying to get your attention." Jane leaned back and studied Maura watching the subtle changes in her expression.
"I don't understand." Maura bit down on her bottom lip as she thought about what Jane had said.
"Okay. Let me spell it out for ya. There was this shy and quiet girl in my anatomy class. She used to come in, sit down, and look straight towards the front of the room without making eye contact with anyone." Jane started to say but changed tactics when she saw Maura furrow her brow. "Look, I used to get to class early every day and I never, ever did anything like before you came into the picture but there was just something about you."
"You mean you noticed me?" Maura sounded unsure.
"Hell yeah I noticed you. You were so cute the way you placed your folder on the right side of your desk and you text book on the left and you always laid out two black pens and one pencil at the top. Always the same way every day." Jane gave a light chuckle as she recalled watching Maura go through her ritual.
"Yes, well I just don't understand why people even use blue pens…it's just not right." Maura began to ramble.
"You remember that you used to sit by the window?" Jane began again, cutting Maura's rambling off. "And class started right about the time the sun would come in the windows. I used to watch as the color of your hair changed from that light, dirty blonde to a dirty blonde that glowed with copper highlights." She began to fidget with the label on her beer bottle and looked away for a second before turning her attention back to Maura. "I used to wonder what it would feel like to run my fingers through your hair. It confused the hell out of me ya know…the way I felt when I looked at you."
Maura watched as Jane fidgeted with the paper label on her bottle indicating she was nervous. When Jane finished, Maura reached across the table and took Jane's hand in her own as she smiled.
"And that…" Jane took a deep shaky breath. "That dimple in your left cheek that only appears when you truly smile and mean it." She reached over the table to run her finger across Maura's cheek. "In all the time that I watched you before I knew you, I never saw it…until that first day, when we came here."
Before Maura could respond, their food arrived and they became silent again, but this time it was a more contemplative silence. Even though no words were exchanged as they enjoyed their meals, they continued to steal glances at each other, sometimes followed by a somewhat shy smile.
"I'll never forget when you took off your helmet and smiled at me." Maura broke the silence as she set her fork down and looked at Jane who had a surprised expression on her face. "I thought it was going to be Frankie but it wasn't. It was you, giving me that dazzling, dimpled smile. It was you staring at me with those dark eyes that held a playful yet curious twinkle…I think…" She hesitated but only for a second. "I think I already told you this before but I know I fell in love with you that very moment."
"I don't understand how can you say that? You didn't even know me." Jane raised a questioning eyebrow.
"I don't know what to say except that my heart knew you. It was like I had found the missing half of my soul that day." Maura had a faraway look in her eyes as she spoke.
"The skating rink…" Jane smiled over at Maura.
"Excuse me?" Maura blinked in confusion.
"I knew that day at the skating rink when you fell on me. It just felt so right having you in my arms…the way our bodies fit together." Jane watched as the memory washed over Maura.
"Yeah, I wanted to kiss you." Maura said with a sigh.
"I'm not sure I was ready to accept that yet but the moment sure opened my eyes. I had been having feelings for you from the start and I didn't really understand them at first." Jane leveled her gaze at the hazel-green eyes she had come to love so long ago. "Thank you for being patient with me."
"There were a few times I wasn't sure you were going to come around but then you'd give me that look." Maura leaned back to allow the waitress to remove her plate.
"What look was that?" Jane's voice was low as she watched her empty plate disappear.
"The one that made me weak at the knees. It was like one minute you were filled with this unshakable confidence, almost cocky and then the next you would seem so vulnerable and afraid. It wasn't until the fear disappeared from your eyes that I realized we had a real chance. I know it was hard for you to come to terms with our attraction to each other but I knew you'd come around." Maura placed an elbow on the table and rested her cheek against the palm of her hand.
"I did come around…in more ways than one." Jane couldn't stop herself from smirking as she winked at Maura.
"No fair, you know what that does to me." Maura tried to sound perturbed.
"What? Still…?" Jane asked innocently even though she knew exactly what she was doing.
"Always…" Maura tilted her head to regard Jane. "What say we get out of here and finish this conversation at my house over a glass of wine?"
"I'd say lead the way." Jane grinned at the idea of being alone with Maura even though she had promised herself not to let things go too far, at least that is what she told herself as she paid the bill and followed Maura out the door.
The ride back to Maura's had been quiet but they had held hands, fingers intertwined like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together. Each woman was lost in thought about what was to come, both knowing that if they weren't careful they might cross the line that had been drawn as a precaution.
When they finally arrived, Maura went to the kitchen to get them glasses of wine leaving Jane to wander around her living room. It hadn't been her intention to snoop, but she couldn't help but touch and look at the relics of Maura's past…a past that hadn't included Jane. Her eyes wandered over African statues, shelves of books, and trinkets she couldn't quite identify until she saw the turntable and a shelf filled with vinyl records.
"Hmmm…." Jane moved to the shelf and ran her fingers over the spines of the records reading some of the names as she went. "The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Donna Summer, Prince…" Her fingers continued to move across the wall of vinyl until she found one very familiar to her. "Carole King…Tapestry…" She hummed softly to herself. Glancing over her shoulder to see if Maura was back yet she found she was still alone so she pulled the record from its resting place. Flipping it over, she read the names of the songs that she knew every word to. Carefully, she removed the record from its jacket and slipped the shiny vinyl out into her waiting hand. She gripped it by the edges and gently blew across the grooved surface to make sure there wasn't any dust. With slightly shaky hands, she set the record on the turn table and placed the needle over the song she wanted to hear. It was at that precise moment that Maura entered carrying two glasses of wine.
A familiar melody filled the room as the crisp notes of Carole King's piano filled the space between them. Turning around, Jane reached to take the glasses from Maura's hands before setting them down on the coffee table. "Dance with me." Her voice was soft as she took Maura's hands in her own and pulled until their bodies were touching.
Maura couldn't resist as arms slipped around her waist. Slowly they began to sway to the words that Jane sang along to.
Tonight, you're mine
Completely
You give your love so sweetly
Tonight, the light of love is in
Your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow
Jane's soft whisper against Maura's ear had her shivering in both fear and excitement. The gentle sway of their bodies followed along to the hypnotic melody and caused Maura to lay her head against Jane's shoulder. It was Maura's way of giving permission for Jane to take the lead as Jane continued to murmur words into her ear.
Is this a lasting treasure?
Or just a moments pleasure
Can I believe the magic of
Your sighs
Will you still love me tomorrow?
And then came the words that pierced Jane's heart as she remembered the last time they had made love, the day before she walked away. She stopped moving and it forced Maura to look up at her as the words washed over them both.
Tonight, with words unspoken
You'll say I'm the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the
Morning sun.
"I'm sorry I hurt you Maura." Jane's voice was slightly husky as the song continued to play in the background. Her fingers were trembling as she brushed Maura's hair away from her face, tucking it behind an ear. They held each other's gaze, both knowing the significance of the moment. It wasn't until Jane released Maura from her hold and turned around to turn the song off that the moment passed.
Maura watched as Jane removed the record before placing it back in its place on her shelf. The sudden shift in mood had confused her and she wondered what was bothering Jane. "I was enjoying that. Why did you stop?"
"I don't know…" Jane didn't turn around but she dropped her head in a defeated way. "I guess it just reminds me of that last night we spent together. I feel like such an ass." She pushed her hair away from her face and turned around. "I made love to you, knowing it would be the last time…and you…you didn't have any idea…we made promises to each other I knew we'd never be able to keep."
Maura could see the sadness in the dark eyes that shined with unshed tears causing her to step closer to Jane. "I liked being held in your arms just now." She reached up to run her fingers through long, dark hair and then she touched the bruise on Jane's cheek before her hand moved down to Jane's chest, covering her heart with her palm. "And that is all that matters. The here and now, not the past."
Jane looked down at Maura's hand pressed against the spot where her rapidly beating heart lay and she couldn't help but marvel at the warmth that radiated throughout her body brought on by that slight touch.
"But there's still so much we need to talk about, things that may change the direction we are heading." There was a sad undertone to Maura's voice as she thought about having to share her own secrets. She couldn't stop herself from running her finger down the scar she knew was hidden beneath Jane's shirt.
Grabbing Maura's hand before it could wander lower, Jane held it in her own, out away from her body. There had been something in the way that Maura's fingers had moved over the scar under her clothes that made her feel uneasy. It had almost been like Maura knew what she was doing, like she knew what Jane had hidden from mostly everyone but her mother and Korsak. "Are you setting us up to fail Maura?" Her voice cracked as she struggled to speak.
"No, no…that's not what I'm trying to do." Maura stammered, angry at herself for confusing Jane.
"Well that's what it sounds like." Jane's posture stiffened. "I don't understand. I've told you everything already. What could possibly change things?"
"Maybe there are things I need to tell you. Things that may not be easy for you to hear, things that may change the way you feel about me." Maura sighed when Jane released her hand allowing it to drop to her side. She had no idea where to start but she knew she needed to do something before their relationship could go any further.
"Nothing will change the way I feel about you Maura." Jane's expression softened when she saw the fear in the hazel-green eyes that couldn't quite meet her own. "Why don't you just start at the beginning…"
"Yes, I suppose I should." Maura bit down on her bottom lip as she tried to organize her thoughts but before she could say anything else, Jane's cell phone started ringing followed immediately by her own.
"Rizzoli…" "Isles…" They both said simultaneously.
"Yeah, be right there. Text me the address." Jane said before slipping her phone back into the holster at her hip. She watched as Maura listened to what was being said on the other end of her phone.
"Yes, I'm on my way." Maura looked up at Jane's curious expression. "Um…no, I'll ride with Detective Rizzoli, thank you." She said before ending her call. "Is that alright?"
"Of course it is." Jane stepped close to Maura and wrapped her arms around her and hugged tight. "We'll finish this later, okay?" She watched as Maura gave a mournful nod. "Look Maur, I promise, no matter what you tell me it won't change the way I feel about you. Please believe me when I say I'm in this for the long haul…no matter what."
Maura gave a weak smile as she thought that Jane shouldn't make a promise she might not be able to keep. Fear rolled around in her stomach as she sank into Jane's hug. She would need to tell Jane everything and she needed to do it soon because it was becoming too much for her to bare. Maura realized that it would either tear them apart or make them stronger. She hoped with all her heart that after everything was said and done Jane would understand and forgive her. As she snuggled closer to Jane the last stanza of the Carole King song came to her mind:
I'd like to know that your love
Is love I can be sure of
So, tell me now and I won't ask
Again
Will you still love me tomorrow?
And Maura couldn't stop herself wondering what the answer would be…would Jane still love her tomorrow or was it too late for them to start over again?

Chapter Text

See it Through
Chapter 14
It had been a long weekend after Jane and Maura had parted ways. Their separation had finally come to an end after almost three days with an arrest that Jane was confident would end in a conviction. Even though both her and Maura had spent most of the last three days at the station, their paths had rarely crossed. On the occasion that they did see each other, Jane was surprised at how much she had missed Maura and how much she dreaded the moment that they would have to part again. But there was one thing that had bothered her and it was that Maura sometimes seemed distracted and even at times distant, but Jane just chalked it up to the stress of the case.
As she sat at her desk with her mind wandering over past and present moments, she realized how much she wanted Maura's presence back in her life every day. Dropping her head down into her open hands, she closed her eyes and imagined those things she never dared to before and a small smile creased her lips as a life she never thought she'd be able to have flickered behind her closed eyes. An image of waking up beside Maura, tangled up in each other's arms as the sun streamed in through their bedroom window, in their home as they lay in their bed came to her mind. When the day dream progressed to the sound of little feet running down the hall and the melody of playful giggles, Jane suddenly looked up with surprise written all over her face. Kids…she was thinking about the day she would wake up to a small body wiggling its way between her and Maura seeking hugs, kisses, and early morning tickles. The realization hit her hard because up until that moment, she had never thought about having kids before and suddenly it was all she could think about. The picture of a little girl or boy with hair as dark as her own and eyes as green as Maura's popped into her head causing her to take a sharp intake of breath.
"Hey, you alright?" Frost asked, concern filling his dark eyes as he watched Jane over his desk.
"Um…yeah…" Jane stammered over her words because she was anything but okay. "Just tired I guess." She said to cover up the slight tremor in her voice. Blinking a few times, the images of the life she could have, the life she wanted to have with Maura flickered then disappeared as she focused her attention on Frost.
"Me toooooo…" He drew the last word out on a long sigh. "I've just got this last bit of paper work to finish and then I'm gonna go home and crash." His arms stretched out over his head as he yawned. "Did your mom get moved into Maura's place okay?"
"Yeah, thanks to Frankie, Carly, and Ryan. Thank goodness the place was already furnished and all they to do was get her personal stuff moved in." Jane couldn't stifle her own yawn. "She got all settled in yesterday. Spent her first official night there. Of course, Maura and I were here…so she was alone, but hopefully not for long."
"I felt really bad we weren't able to help but I guess we didn't have much choice in the matter." Frost shuffled some papers around his desk as he looked for his pen.
"No worries. There wasn’t much to it. Just a few boxes of…well…" Jane swallowed hard as she realized her mother wasn't left with much more than a few boxes of memories. "We did miss dinner though." She managed to say nonchalantly.
"Oh please tell me it wasn't her ravioli lasagna." Frost looked up to find Jane giving him an apologetic smile. "Damn…I love that stuff."
"Me too." Jane couldn't help but laugh at the way that Frost was frowning at the thought that he had missed his favorite Rizzoli meal.
"Umm…things seem to have gotten better between you and Maura since you got back." He glanced up from what he was writing to gage her reaction to the question.
"Well, I guess they are." Jane set her pen down and looked over at him. The question didn't anger her at all, in fact she was glad her had asked because she wanted to talk to somebody about it.
"Meaning?" He set his pen down as well giving her his full attention.
"Meaning…we're gonna give it a go. See what happens." Jane couldn't stop the smile from spreading across her face as she spoke. "I think we may have a real chance…a second chance at something great."
"Yeah?" Frost raised his eyebrows in surprise. "That's really good news Jane. I'm glad to see you guys worked things out." He couldn't stop himself from looking away as questions started to flow through is mind, questions he wouldn't dare ask yet.
"We still have a long way to go." She had noticed his expression change. "What is it? Why do you look like you want to ask me a question but are afraid too?"
"No…it's just…well…I guess I'm just surprised at how quickly you guys got over everything." He coughed nervously. "You really hurt her."
"Tell me something I don't know." Her voice lowered to that pitch she reserved for interrogating suspects. "I said we were working it through. I had a lot of explaining to do Frost. Things that only Maura and I know…will ever know. While I can't tell you why I did it, Maura knows and understands, that's all that matters to me."
"I get it, really I do. I just hope that whatever spooked you all those years ago doesn't rear its ugly head again and cause you to bolt, that's all I'm sayin'" He leveled his gaze at her, not flinching as she did her best to stare him down.
"If I do, I give you permission to shot me." Even though her tone was light, her expression was deadly serious. "I won't ever walk away from her again." The conviction in her voice was heavy and all Frost could do was nod in understanding.
"Then I wish you the best of luck Jane. Like Frankie said, she's good for you." He gave her a small smile as he picked up his pen again. "Now, I'm gonna finish up this work so I can get the hell outta here. I suggest you do the same."
"Already on it." Jane too turned her attention back to her paperwork just before her phone buzzed next to her. She picked it up and smiled at the message that lit up when she pushed the button. It was an invitation from Maura to have dinner at her place after they finished up their work.
"By the looks of that goofy grin, I'd wager to say that you just got a message from Maura." Frost didn't look up.
"Am I that transparent?" Jane asked as she typed her reply of 'yes' back.
Frost looked up from what he was doing and didn't say anything at first as he quietly studied her. When he was satisfied he had seen what he was looking for, he answered. "Absolutely…"
"Well then, so be it." Jane shrugged her shoulders as she turned back to the work on her desk. The need to finish had reached an urgency she wasn't used to experiencing and as she flipped through the last few pages, her heart lightened with the knowledge it wouldn't be long before she would be with Maura again. She also knew that there were things they needed to talk about, or rather things that Maura needed to tell he. Things that had Maura worried. Even though uncertainty hung over her, the one thing she knew for certain was that no matter what Maura told her, she would not run…at least she hoped she wouldn't.
***

Maura was finally home after a long weekend of work. She had taken two days to do the autopsy to be sure that Jane and the guys had the right person when they made their arrest and now it was over. When she left the station, she had been so tired that she hadn't changed out of her black scrubs but her fatigue was easing at the prospect of seeing Jane again.
As she made her way to her bedroom to change, her mind began to wander to what she would say to Jane…where she would start. She knew it was time to tell Jane everything, the only thing that mattered now was that they get a fresh start with no secrets or omissions of information. It was still easy for her to keep things from Jane because she wasn't lying about anything, she just wasn't telling her everything. The thing that worried her the most was whether Jane would see her relationships with Angela, Carly, and Ryan as a betrayal…she couldn't even fathom what Jane would think about her interference with the hospital and rehabilitation after Hoyt. There was one thing that Maura had kept from everyone and that was the fact that she had assisted on the surgery that had closed the wounds on Jane's chest and stomach. She had made sure that the doctors had used a new revolutionary form of stitching that would leave little to no scare tissue. The small plastic sutures closed like a zipper over the wound allowing it to heal without having to pierce the skin with needle and thread. Jane had been one of the first patients in Boston to receive them. Maura shivered at the memory of all the cuts along Jane's chest and stomach. She couldn't help but wonder how they had healed and the temptation to ask Jane the other night had almost caused her to slip so she was glad she was finally going to tell Jane.
Pulling her black shirt over her head, she tossed it across the room towards her hamper and it was closely followed by her pants. She needed a nice hot shower to wash the day…no, the last few days away. Her muscles were tight with tension and she hoped that a steady stream of hot water would help to loosen them. Unfortunately, she knew there was only one thing that would truly cause the tension to leave her body and that was talking to Jane.
It didn't take long before Maura found herself standing in her kitchen dressed in sweat pants and a t-shirt staring out her kitchen window at the bungalow Angela had just moved into. She's been home for at least an hour and had yet to see or speak to her new tenant. She contemplated going over so that there would be no chance of Angela interrupting her and Jane later. The longer she stared, the more she thought it would be a good idea, so she put her glass down and headed out the door.
Knocking softly on the door, she waited patiently for Angela to answer and wasn't at all surprised when the door flew open and she found herself pulled into a hug.
"Maura honey. You're finally home." Angela beamed. "Does that mean that Janie is home too? She hasn't been answering my phone calls."
"I think we left at about the same time. She probably went back to her place to get cleaned up…being at that station for a few days can leave its mark on you." Maura said as she pulled herself free from Angela's hug. "She's coming over for dinner. I'll let her know you wanted to talk to her."
"Dinner huh? Things going okay with you guys?" Angela pulled Maura into the small cottage.
"Yes, so far. But I think I'm going to have to tell her everything Angela. I just can't keep it from her, not when she's been so honest with me." Maura allowed herself to be led to the couch where she sat and looked up at Angela who had a grim expression on her face.
"Everything?" Angela asked as she sat across from Maura.
"Yes…everything." Maura sighed. "We need to start clean…no secrets…not anymore."
"Okay. I understand, but we both know how hot headed Jane can be. She may explode, but give her some time to process. She'll come around." Angela tried to reason.
"I do know how she is. That's what has me worried." Maura gave Angela a sad look.
"Hey…" Angela reached out and took Maura's hands in her own. "I know how my daughter is but I also know that she loves you very much Maura. Things won't be easy…not today…not tomorrow…maybe not ever but if you face it together, you'll be okay."
"You really think so?" Maura took a shaky breath.
"I do." Angela gave the hand's in hers a light squeeze before leaning over to give Maura a kiss on the forehead. "So, what do plan on making for dinner?" She asked to lighten the mood.
"Um, I was just going to order some take out." Maura shrugged her shoulders. She hadn't thought about cooking.
"Oh…no, no…that won't do. I'll whip up something and put it in the oven over there for you. All you’ve got to do is listen for the timer. I've got some stuff to make a nice salad too." Angela jumped up, excitement filling her voice.
"Well, I can help you, if you'd like the company…" Maura stood up as well.
"I'd love it." Angela grabbed Maura's hand and pulled her towards the kitchen. In that moment, she realized that she had made the right decision to accept Maura's offer to let her live there because she knew she would never feel alone again.
***

"Hey beautiful…" Jane said when Maura opened the front door. The smile that greeted her was genuine and full of something that Jane never thought she would see again…love.
The sight of Jane casually leaning against her door frame, blue jeans hanging low on her hips and a hoodie sweat shirt brought a smile to Maura's face but the flowers that Jane held in her hands brought the light to Maura's eyes. Jane looked relaxed and comfortable for the first time in days. And the use of an old endearment sent butterflies fluttering throughout her stomach as she was greeted with that devastatingly dimpled smile.
"I see we both decided to dress down tonight." Jane nodded at Maura's choice of sweat pants and t-shirt. "Um…here, these are for you." She suddenly thrust the small bouquet of wildflowers into Maura's hands feeling slightly foolish by the romantic gesture.
"Thank you Jane. They’re really beautiful." Maura said taking the flowers before smelling them. She smiled even though she could sense the unease coming from Jane. "Come on in. I'll just put them in a vase."
"Something smells good. Don't tell me you cooked?" Jane followed Maura into the kitchen, hands thrust deep into her pockets.
"Well, actually no. I didn't cook…at least not entirely. I had help from Angela." Maura said over her shoulder as she pulled a vase from the cabinet below her sink.
"Really? She's already made herself at home?" Jane said with a slight smirk on her face.
"She was just trying to be help. I made her promise to give us some privacy though." Maura dropped the flowers down into the glass vessel before filling it up with water.
"Privacy huh? What'd you have to do, promise her our first born?" Jane said before she could stop herself. Fear gripped at her stomach when she realized what she had said.
Maura took a deep breath and turned around. The look of abject terror on Jane's face indicated that she hadn't meant to say what she had out loud and Maura choose not to respond, giving Jane a reprieve. "She made some chicken parmigiana. It's got about another thirty minutes in the oven. I made a nice salad to go with it."
The fact that Maura hadn't acknowledged what she had let slip indicated to Jane how well Maura knew her. She was grateful that Maura had let it go, but deep down she had meant it. Shoving her hands down deeper into her pockets, she nodded as Maura recited the menu for the evening.
"Um, should we do this now…or after dinner?" Maura leaned against the counter and leveled her gaze at Jane.
"What?" Jane asked, her voice filled with confusion. She had no idea what Maura was asking because her mind had wandered to thoughts of how good Maura looked in sweat pants and t-shirts.
"Talk Jane. Should we talk now or after dinner?" Maura couldn't hide the small smirk as she watched Jane's eyes widen with realization. She too had been having thoughts about how good Jane looked and how much she just wanted to get past all this nervous energy that surrounded them both.
"Well you said that dinner would be ready in thirty, now probably twenty-five minutes. Is what you have to say to me going to take longer than that?" Jane inquired.
"Probably…" Maura bit down on her bottom lip as she tried to decide what to do.
"Look, let's just relax before dinner and then you can start while we eat." Jane tried to come up with a compromise.
"Okay, I suppose that works." Maura sighed. She had wanted to get it over as soon as possible but Jane was right, why get caught up in it and then stop to get dinner ready. "Would you like some wine?"
"Yeah, sure…whatever you got." Jane leaned against the counter opposite Maura and watched her intently. She could tell that Maura was anxious to get things out in the open, but for some reason she wasn't so sure she was ready to hear what Maura had to say. It wasn't because she thought that she would be angry by what was revealed, it was because deep down she knew that it was going to hurt.
They watched each other in silence before Maura turned around to open the cabinet that held her wine glasses. She stood on her toes and strained to reach the glasses on the top shelf all the while feeling Jane's eyes on her. "Um…do you think you could help?" Her voice was slightly breathless as she continued to reach.
Jane pushed away from the counter and took three long strides until she was standing directly behind Maura who didn't try to move away.
"Those on the top?" Maura pointed up and got a nod in response.
Leaning forward, Jane reached for the glasses, very much aware that her front was pressing firmly into Maura's back. A jolt of electricity shot through her body from her head to her toes, a familiar yet long forgotten feeling. When she brought both glasses down to hand to Maura, their fingers touched and their eyes locked in a moment of smoldering heat but it was quickly replaced by a shy smile as Maura took the glasses and set them down. The move broke their contact, both physical and emotional for the time being.
"Thank you…" Maura placed her hands on the counter for fear that she would give in to her need to touch Jane if she didn't.
Tilting her head to the side, Jane looked down into depths of hazel/green for a second too long before suddenly pulling away. It amazed her that one look in those eyes could render her speechless, in fact she was having a difficult time coming up with the words 'you're welcome' but after a second of internal struggle, she managed to squeak them out. The feelings of uncertainty laced with just a little bit of fear were making her feel unbalanced so she took a step back to put some distance between them. She watched as Maura poured red wine into the glasses and she suddenly let out a heavy sigh.
"I think that maybe I should stock the fridge with your favorite beer, seeing as wine isn't exactly your go-to choice." Maura glanced over at Jane with a small smile on her face. She could still feel the imprint of Jane's body against her own and it was playing havoc with her mind.
"I guess that would be nice but the wine is fine too." Jane said when Maura turned around to hand her the glass. Reaching out, she carefully took the glass from Maura without touching her this time. She moved back over to the counter to lean against it because after what had just transpired between them, it was about the only thing keeping her up on her feet.
For some reason, Maura couldn't meet Jane's eyes as she watched the red liquid swirl around in her glass. The tension between them was palpable and it reminded her of the days when they couldn't get enough of each other. She wondered it maybe it could be that way again. If the pull she was feeling at the moment was any indication, then she had her answer.
Jane silently watched the way that Maura was studying her wine and knew that she was trying to work something out in her brain, something big. Taking a chance, she broke the silence and cleared her throat before speaking. "What are you thinking about?"
"Oh…" Maura looked up surprised by Jane's question. The dark eyes that looked back at her held a multitude of questions. "Well…" She paused as she tried to put her thoughts into words.
"Were you thinking about us?" Jane pushed.
"Well, yes. I was just thinking that even though so much has happened, there is still something that I can't explain. A draw that I can't resist when it comes to you." Maura took a sip of wine.
"I know. I feel it too." Jane crossed her arms as she watched Maura sip at her wine.
"It's like, even after all of this time, after all of the hurt…" Maura held up her hand to stop Jane from interrupting. "I still want all of those things I wanted then." She sighed as she crossed her arms too, emulating Jane's posture. "There was a lot of hurt. It took some time to get over Jane…I won't lie, but in light of recent revelations…" Her words halted briefly as she swallowed another sip of wine.
"We've come a long way Maura. I just hope we can continue to do it together. I want all of those things we talked about in high school." Jane's dark eyes turned intense. "Everything…"
"I do too." Maura didn't look away from the intensity of Jane's stare.
Before either one of them could say anything else, the timer on the oven went off letting them know that dinner was ready. Maura moved over to the stove to turn it off, bending down to see if the chicken looked as Angela had described. Melted cheese bubbled around the edges, brown and gooey indicating that it was time to take it out.
"It looks perfect." Jane said over Maura's shoulder.
Maura jumped when she realized that Jane had moved to stand behind her without realizing it.
"Here, let me get this while you set the table." Jane gave Maura a gentle push towards the dining room. She could sense that Maura was nervous and anxious so she decided that maybe a few minutes alone would help.
"Yeah, okay. I'll grab the salad and bread." Maura moved away from the stove towards the refrigerator. It didn't take but a moment before she found herself setting the table for their dinner…a dinner she hoped wouldn't be their last together.
"So, you ready to get started?" Jane said as she took a bite of her food. There was no use in prolonging the inevitable so she though there was no time like the present.
"I suppose." Maura set her fork down as the light in her eyes darkened.
"Look Maura, no matter what you tell me…" Jane tried to reassure. "It won't change what I feel for you. I promise."
"Please don't make promises you can't keep." Maura sighed sadly as she gathered her thoughts and tried to decide where to start.
"I am telling you right here and now, I promise I won't run away." Jane reached across the table to take Maura's hand. "Now please, tell me so we can move past this."
"Okay. I guess I should start with Angela…" Maura said absently as she looked away from Jane.
"My Ma…what about her?" Jane's hand twitched slightly but didn't relinquish its hold on Maura's hand.
"When you broke up with me all those years ago…" Maura hesitated as she struggled to get the words out. "I kept in touch with Angela. We saw each other on a regular basis. Talked to each other on the phone…through letters when I was in Africa…" She rambled on.
"Hey, stop." Jane held her other hand up to slow Maura's ramblings down. "What you're trying to tell me is that you and my Ma continued to talk to each other after we stopped seeing each other?"
"Yes but it wasn't only Angela that I kept in contact with." Maura started to say but was interrupted when Jane spoke.
"Carly and Ryan…" Jane let out a sigh. "How could I have missed that?" She shook her head.
"We never talked about you Jane. I never pried into the life you had away from me. I just want you to know it wasn't about that." Maura tried to explain.
"So all these years…I've been feeling guilty for leaving you, thinking you had no one to turn to…and you turned to my family for the support you didn't get from me. I isolated myself from everyone…pushed people away in an effort to cope with my pain and you were the one they comforted. I guess it serves me right. No wonder I felt so alone." Jane let go of Maura's hand and pushed her hair away from her face in that nervous way she had.
"I'm sorry Jane." Maura let out a long heavy sigh. "I guess I should tell you that I'm partnered with Carly in her bakery as well…"
"Of course you are." Jane shrugged her shoulders as if the news was obvious. "Who else would have the money to back her?" She ran her fingers through her hair again. "Jesus, I'm such an idiot."
"No, Jane…please." Maura reached over to take Jane's hand in her own. "Please don't say that."
"I'm not gonna lie to you Maura. Hearing this…it hurts. I feel like such a dumbass." Jane looked away from Maura's sad expression. "There's more isn't there?" She looked back to find the same sad look on Maura's face. "I didn't just dream that you were at the hospital after Hoyt, did I?"
The pain in Jane's eyes took Maura's breath away. She nodded but didn't say anything as she let Jane process what she had already told her. Without thinking, she reached across the table to touch the scar above Jane's left eyebrow. It was the same scar that Jane had gotten on the football field when she had ended up in the hospital and the memory rushed over Maura like a wave, causing her to close her eyes. "I remember when you got this." She allowed her finger to trace the thick line that ran about a half an inch before disappearing into Jane's dark eyebrow. "I was so worried…your mother and I…we formed a sort of bond that night. I can't explain it…the love we had for you was something we had in common. It just carried over after we…" Her voice cracked slightly under the emotions she was trying to contain.
The feeling of Maura's fingers tracing over the scar on her forehead brought a torrent of feelings Jane wasn't used to dealing with. Since Maura had arrived back in her life, she had been dealing with emotions she hadn't felt in years. It was just the way it was between them. Maura awoke a part of Jane that had stayed dormant for years, a part that only Maura could stir. Reaching up, she took Maura's hand in her own and brought it down to place a quick kiss on the back. "You know everything, don't you?" Jane held Maura's hand tightly in her own.
Maura didn't answer with words, she just lowered their hands to the place where the most prominent scar was located on Jane's chest. "I've often wondered how they healed up." Her eyes dropped to where their hands were now resting in the space between Jane's breasts. "I was there when they sutured you up. I made sure they used the newest methods…that being the Zip Surgical closure application. With this type of application, the Zip attaches to the skin alongside the incision using a tenacious hydrocolloid adhesive." She couldn't stop herself from running her finger down the line she imagined was just under Jane's sweat shirt. "It also utilizes an adjustable "zip-tie" strap for wound tensioning and the doctor essentially twists the small plastic rods to close the wound without stitches or staples. It has the potential to distribute closing forces more evenly along the incision compared to staples and traditional sutures. Studies found that the wound closure using this method to be more uniform without being too tight which, reduces potential harm to the skin and results in less scaring. It is really quite amazing…" Her voice faltered slightly when Jane grabbed her hand again to hold it.
"No Maur, you're amazing." Jane's voice was barely above a whisper. "All those times I floated in and out of conscious I thought that I was dreaming when I saw you but I guess I wasn't. And I suppose you had something to do with these." She held up her other hand with the back facing Maura showing her most prominent scar.
"I made sure you had the best physical therapist." Maura sighed as she looked away from Jane's questioning eyes. "I knew how much your job meant to you. I didn't want that taken away."
"I think…" Jane took a deep breath before finishing. "I think I need to go home."
"Okay, I understand." Maura pulled her hand from Jane's and leaned back in her chair to put some distance between them. For some reason, she hadn't expected anything less.
"It's not for the reasons you think." Jane leaned forward. "It hurts to know that all these years you've been on the fringe of my life. So close, yet so far away but I'm not angry at you. Not really." She shook her head as she tried to process what she was feeling. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that all this time I thought you were alone but what I realize now is that it was me that was alone."
"You're not angry?" Maura seemed surprised.
"Maura, when I was in the hospital after Hoyt…it was the thought of you that kept me going. No…wait…" Jane looked down at their hands before threading her fingers with Maura's. "The last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital was thinking of you. It was the thought that I was going to find you again…Hoyt or Paddy be damned, that's what kept me from giving up. I refused to let myself die on that dirt floor when you were out there somewhere."
"I had no idea." Maura's voice was barely a whisper.
"When I opened my eyes and saw you looking over me, wearing your blue scrubs, I just thought I was imagining it but it's the image that kept me going…kept me pushing until I could walk out of that hospital the same person I was before everything was almost taken away from me. I won't let that happen again. I won't give you up. Not now, not ever." Jane gave the hand in hers a reassuring squeeze.
"Then why leave?" Maura couldn't stop herself from asking.
"Because I need some time to think about the things you've told me. I may not be mad, but I’m still hurt. Do you understand?" Jane implored.
"I suppose, maybe." Maura sighed as she let her fingers slip from Janes hold.
"Also, you don't know how hard it's been for me not to try to kiss you. To touch you like I used to just to see if the memory of your body is the way I remember it." Jane let out a sigh as she stood up from the table.
"I think I have an idea." Maura didn't stand.
"Then you also know it isn't the right time yet. We've both bared our hearts. There are no more secrets between us." Jane tilted her head to regard Maura for a moment before continuing. "Right?"
"No, no more secrets." Maura gave Jane a small smile.
"Good." Jane clapped her hands together before shoving them into her pockets. "I'm sorry to leave this mess for you to clean up, but I'm afraid that if I don't leave now…I won't leave at all."
"Would that be so bad?" Maura asked.
"We both know the answer to that." Jane tried not to smirk. Her body was more than ready to move on, but her heart and mind needed some time to catch up. Even though she knew without a doubt that she loved Maura and wanted to spend the rest of her life with her, she wasn't ready to rush into a physical relationship while they were still getting to know each other again.
"Yes, we do." Maura nodded. "So I suggest you get out of here before I ask you to stay."
Jane moved around the table before pulling Maura to her feet and into her arms. "If you did I'd say yes, so I'm gonna go now." She bent her head down so she could kiss Maura on the forehead. "But I promise, the next time you think about asking…ask, because the answer will be yes."
"Will I see you tomorrow?" Maura allowed herself to be wrapped in Jane's strong arms.
"I don't know. Korsak gave Frost and me the day off and I'm supposed to have lunch with Carly." Jane gave a shrug. "But I'll call you."
"Okay." Maura laid her head against Jane's shoulder taking comfort in the fact that Jane was holding her and hadn't gone running from the house earlier. "I'll hold you to that."
Giving Maura one last squeeze before letting go, Jane smiled down. "I'll talk to you tomorrow." She used two of her fingers under Maura's chin to tilt her head back so she could place a quick kiss on the lips she had been dying to feel against her own all night and then she pried herself away from Maura and left.
Maura stood and watched Jane leave and even though she was disappointed, she had a lighthearted feeling flowing through her. Jane hadn't been angered by what she had disclosed; in fact, she had taken the news rather well in Maura's opinion. Maybe they did have a chance after all.
As Jane slipped out the front door she ran right into her mother, knocking the box she was carrying out of her hand. "Oh shit…sorry Ma…"
"Janie, why are you leaving so early?" Angela asked as she bent down to pick up the box and its spilled contents.
"Um, I suppose you already know the answer to that." Jane took the box as Angela lifted it.
"Come over, we can talk." Angela gave Jane a gentle push towards her small cottage.
"I don't know Ma. I kinda want to be alone right now." Jane resisted Angela's gentle prodding.
"No, we have some things to talk about…come on." Angela wasn't going to take no for an answer and Jane knew it.
"Alright…alright…" Jane sighed and rolled her eyes as she allowed Angela to push her towards the small cottage in the back all the while thinking that the longer she stayed, the less of a chance she had of leaving and for some reason it didn't bother her like she thought it should. In fact, she was beginning to rethink her idea of staying away from Maura. Perhaps it was time to give up the restrain, give in to what they both wanted because she knew in her heart that no matter what, she was going to see this thing with Maura through to the end…she had to for both of their sake's.

Chapter Text

Time gone by
Chapter 15
Jane pushed the door open before stepping out of the way to allow a lady carrying a coffee and pastry to pass her on her way in to La Petite Boulangerie. She gave a pleasant smile in response to the quiet "thank-you" she received for her gallantry. As she stepped into Carly's small, yet busy bakery…and Maura's as well, she reminded herself, she looked around to see if Carly was waiting. When she didn't see anyone, she looked down at her watch and realized she was early. With a tired sigh, she looked around until she found a booth in the back, away from the hustle and bustle of the severing counter. Several long strides later, she sank back into the vinyl bench seat facing the entrance so that Carly or Ryan could her. Running her fingers through her hair, she took a deep breath as she pushed the unruly curls over her shoulders. She was tired and hadn't even bothered to put her hair up in a ponytail, opting to let it air dry resulting in a tangle of dark strands that hung in her face hiding the rings that marred her eyes like purple smudges. Resting her chin in the palm of her hand, her thoughts wandered to the conversation she had had with her mother the night before.
*"I still don't understand what's changed Jane. Why can't you tell me?" Angela did her best not to look or sound hurt. It was an unsuccessful attempt that Jane saw right through.
"Come on Ma. I told you already…there are just some things that I can't talk about. You know my job requires an element of secrecy." Jane let out a deep breath as she braced herself for yet another round of questioning from her mother. She followed Angela into the small living room and took a seat on the couch letting out a tired sigh as she leaned back and stretched out her long legs.
"So you're saying that what happened between you and Maura has something to do with your job?" Angela sat in the lounge chair across from Jane, her tone filled with irritation at having to pry information from Jane.
"There are things that I can't talk about and what happened between Maura and I is one of those things Ma. You're just gonna have to accept that." Jane gave an impatient sigh as she realized her mother was on the verge of digging in with the questioning.
"You know that I hear things in the neighborhood…rumors…" Angela reached out to take Jane's hand. "Please tell me it isn't true that there's a contract out on your father." When Jane looked away and could no longer meet Angela's eyes, she had her answer. It was the reason that tears were beginning to roll down her cheeks.
Taking a deep breath, Jane turned back to her mother and reached out to wipe the tears away. "He doesn't deserve you. He never did." Jane pulled her mother closer until their foreheads were touching. The move was meant to comfort, but also hide the fact that she was having difficulty controlling her own tears.
"Is there anything you can do?" Angela dared to ask, her voice barley a whisper.
Jane was quiet for a minute as she regarded Angela through her own watery eyes seeing only the innocent look in the light hazel that looked back filled with anguish. The question hurt but not as much as the answer she knew she had to give. Leaning back, she broke their brief contact and reached up to push her hair to the side in a nervous gesture, one that Angela recognized immediately.
"I trust you've done everything you can." Angela paused to take a shaky breath. "No matter what…he's still your father." Her shoulders dropped in defeat realizing what Jane didn't need to say.
"I've done everything I can Ma. It's outta my hands." Jane frowned as she thought about everything her father had put them through over the years.
"I know Jane. It's just that I don't want anything to happen to him." Angela tried to reason.
"I know you don't and neither do I, but he made his choice." Jane could feel her chest tighten with anxiety as she tried to explain.
Angela let go of Jane's hand and using her fingers, she pushed an unruly strand of hair away from dark eyes so like Franks that she couldn't stop her hands from shaking. "I know you won't tell me, but I have a feeling this is all tied up in some kind of messy package…everything with you and Maura…you and your father…"
"Please Ma, don't ask me for something I can't give you." Jane had a sad look on her face.
"Okay." Angela sighed heavily, deciding it was best to move on. "How are things with you and Maura? She told you everything?"
"Yeah, she did and I won't lie and say that it doesn't hurt." Jane could see the regret in Angela's eyes before she looked away.
"I'm sorry Jane. I just couldn't walk away the way that you did." Angela said, not realizing how much her words hurt Jane.
"I know Ma." Jane gave a noncommittal shrug of her shoulders.
"And I won't lie and say that I'm not surprised by her ability to forgive so readily, because frankly I am." Angela leaned back to get a better look at Jane.
"I get that but what happened between me and Maura…and the fact that she forgives me is all that matters. I'll do anything to ensure her safety." Jane started to say but stopped when she realized too late that she had already said too much.
Angela knew the second that Jane had crossed that invisible line she had laid out earlier, but she decided not to push the issue. "I knew there was more to the story." She gave Jane a weak smile. "But for now I'll leave it at that and wait until you can tell me the whole story." Reaching up she gave Jane's cheek a gentle pat.
"And I promise that someday I will tell you." Jane's expression turned serious. "I'm glad she was here for you…ya know…after the Hoyt."
"I don't think I would have survived if she hadn't been." Angela looked down at Jane's hands…the same hands that now bared the scars of those three days that had felt like an eternity to them all.
"I almost didn't…" Jane began to rub at the scars in the palms of her hands in that nervous way. "I never told you but I woke up and saw Maura but I thought it was just a dream. It was that image of her…looking over me with that smile…it's what kept me going."
"I'm sorry that we didn't tell you Jane, but Maura thought that you didn't want to have anything to do with her…after…you broke up." Angela placed her hands on top of Jane's to stop her fidgeting.
"Well, she knows the truth now Ma." Jane gave a sheepish grin as she stilled her hands. "And I think it's time to move past all of this."
"I'm proud of you Jane. I thought for sure some of my Irish temper would show but you've handled yourself well." Angela gave the hands under hers a gentle squeeze.
"I've got too much to lose this time. I won't make the same mistakes again." Jane allowed herself to take the comfort her mother was offering before pushing herself up off the sofa. "And now…I'm physically and emotionally exhausted so I think I'll go home."
"You're not going to stay with Maura?" Angela stood as well.
"Nah. We've decided it would be best to take things slow, ya know…get to know each other again." Jane shrugged her shoulders.
"Okay, I suppose it's for the best. A lot has changed. You're both different people now." Angela followed Jane towards the door. "You want me to check on her before I go to bed?"
Jane let out a long slow breath and shook her head. "Um, I think I'll look in on her before I go. I just want to emphasize that I'm not mad at her."
"She keeps the spare key in the pot by the back door." Angela said as she leaned against her own open door and watched Jane make her way across the small court yard that separated the two dwellings.
With a quick glance over her shoulder and a somewhat confident smile, Jane reached into the pot that Angela had indicated and unlocked the back door before slipping the key back into its spot. She gave her mother one last smile before closing the door. *
Jane let out a heavy sigh as the image of Maura sound asleep on the couch in the living room came to her mind. She had moved quietly around the room to find a small blanket before draping it over Maura's sleeping form and leaving. When she got home, she was keyed up with anxiety and anger…so much so that she couldn't go to sleep. Instead, she slipped into her workout clothes and wrapped her hands before taking on her punching bag. The anxiety that washed over her was because of her mother and father and the anger that over ruled it was all for Paddy Doyle. And with each punch, she felt just a little bit better until she had physically exhausted herself. She finally headed to bed just before the early morning hours crept in and the world around her woke up to a new day.
"Hey, you look spent." Ryan said as she slipped into the seat across from Jane. Her normally easy going attitude held an element of concern as she regarded the dark circles under Jane's eyes.
"Yeah, well I didn't get much sleep last night." Jane tried to shrug the concern off nonchalantly.
"What happened?" Ryan tilted her head in that way that indicated she was trying to figure out what wasn't being said.
"Look, I wanted to wait until Carly got here, that way I don't have to tell it twice." Jane pushed her hair away from her face as a cup of coffee was placed in front of her.
"Well I guess you can start then." Carly said gruffly after giving Jane her coffee. She moved around to sit next to Ryan, giving her a quick kiss to the cheek before turning her attention to Jane with an expectant look on her face.
"Alright…" Jane took a deep breath, inhaling the intoxicating aroma of her coffee. "Um, thanks by the way."
"You looked like you needed it." Carly leaned her elbow on the table followed by her chin in the palm of her hand as she studied Jane carefully. "What happened?"
"Maura and I had a long talk last night…and well…she told me everything." Jane brought her cup up to her lips, taking a sip as she peered over the rim at both Carly and Ryan's surprised expressions.
Ryan blinked a few times as what Jane said registered in her mind and Carly shifted nervously next to her as she sat up straighter. Both women were speechless and even though they knew that the time would come, neither knew what to say.
"Everything?" Ryan finally found her voice as she reached over to take Carly's hand in anticipation of Jane's temper.
"Come on. I'm here, aren't I?" Jane huffed, irritation coloring her voice at the show of a united front against her. "I'm not mad…really…" She held her hands up in mock surrender.
"Okay." Carly let out relieved sigh. "So you know that she's half owner of the bakery?"
"Yes and that you've all stayed in contact with each other and my Ma…and how she was at the hospital after Hoyt…" Jane rambled on as Ryan and Carly glanced at each other. "And I'm not mad…hurt maybe, but not mad…at least not at Maura." She gave Ryan a knowing look and got a quick nod in return.
"So then you two are alright?" Carly asked not knowing that Ryan already knew the answer.
"Umm..huh…" Jane took another sip of her coffee.
"Then why do you look so whipped?" Carly reached across the table and lowered the cup from Jane's mouth to push for an answer.
"I guess I was just a little frustrated last night. Took it out on the bag." Jane leveled her gaze at Carly before shifting her eyes to Ryan. "You can probably understand why." Her eyes spoke volumes as she continued to look at Ryan as she spoke.
"You know you can call me anytime you need to spare." Carly leaned back in the booth and seemed to visibly relax.
"Well, I was in the mood to hit something that wouldn't hit back." Jane shrugged her shoulders. "Guess time just got away from me. I've had about four hours sleep in the last…" She glanced down at her watch as a question came to her mind. "What day is it?"
"Tuesday…" Carly and Ryan said at the same time.
"Wow, four hours in the last thirty-six." Jane rolled her eyes as if it suddenly hit her why she was so tired.
"You and Maura?" Carly asked.
"We're okay." Jane gave a small smile. "Really." She emphasized with a bigger smile.
"'Kay. So, what's with the meeting?" Carly leaned forward again when she felt Ryan fidget next to her.
Jane looked away from Carly as the weight of what she was about to ask felt heavy in her chest. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes before opening them again to focus on the sky-blue eyes that watched her with a mixture of curiosity and concern.
"Come on Jane. What's going on?" Carly was suddenly feeling anxious.
"I need to ask you about something Carly." Jane set her cup down and began to rub the palm of her right hand as her nerves began to get the better of her. "Um…about…Paddy Doyle…"
The mention of that name had Carly stiffening instantly. Her eyes widened with surprise as a dull ringing in her ears made it difficult for her to think. She could feel the walls closing in on her as her world tilted slightly and the sudden feeling of nausea almost overwhelmed her. It wasn't until she felt Ryan's hand rubbing gentle circles on her back that the world started to right itself again.
"Why? Why would you ask me about him?" Carly whispered as she brought her gaze back to Jane. There was a silent plea deep in the light blue that looked back at Jane that begged her not to ask again.
"I'm sorry Carly…but…" Jane continued to fidget under Carly's anguished stare. "I got myself into a little trouble with him." She started to say but was interrupted when a hand came down hard on the table.
"There is no such thing as a little trouble where that man is concerned." Carly growled, her eye's flashing in a way that indicated how quickly her fear had turned to anger. "You told her." She turned to Ryan, her voice laced with an accusatory tone.
"No Carly, she didn't tell me anything other than you have a history with him. She never told me what that was." Jane tried to soothe Carly's rising anger.
Ryan just looked down at the table, afraid to say anything for fear that she would say the wrong thing. It saddened her that Carly would have to relive this part of her past that was so painful, but Jane needed to know exactly what kind of man she was dealing with. Frankly she wasn't at all sure they could keep the fact that he was Maura's father from Carly, but they had to try…for her own safety as well as Maura's.
"Look, don't be mad at Ryan. I'm the one who screwed up, not her." Jane's temper was starting to match Carly's now.
"Jesus Jane, please tell me you didn't go to him about your Pop…please…" The urgency in Carly's voice had Jane looking away for a moment before looking back. She didn't need to say anything because the answer was written in her dark eyes causing Carly to shake her head in a sad way.
"I didn't have a choice Carly. They were going to kill him." Jane's shoulders dropped in the same way that her head did as she admitted the truth. Bringing her hands up to her face, she pushed her hair away from her eyes before letting out a long, heavy sigh of frustration. Her eyes fell upon Ryan who silently conveyed that they needed to keep the secret between them. "That was years ago…before, but now he's got another contract out on him and there's nothing I can do about it."
Carly looked at Jane and then Ryan trying to puzzle out the silent communication going on between them. She had seen the looks and she recognized that there was something they weren't telling her. "You're building a case against him…aren't you?" She turned fearful eyes to Ryan, imploring her to disagree. When she was met with silence from both women, the tears started to leak from her eyes in a very uncharacteristic way. "You know what kind of man he is Ryan…he'll get off…he always does and then he'll go after you…again." She almost choked on the last word as she stood and abruptly left the table.
"Whoa…" Jane's voice was shaky as she watched Carly storm off towards her office.
"It was never proven than he had anything to do with my accident." Ryan's voice was soft as her hands gripped the table turning her knuckles white.
"But you know he did." It wasn't a question because Jane could see the answer in Ryan's eye's when she finally looked at her. "We need to tell her Ryan." Jane sighed in resignation. The fewer people that knew the truth about Paddy and Maura, the safer everyone would be but it was apparent they would have to tell Carly.
All Ryan could do was nod her head, but the sadness in her eyes was almost unbearable for Jane to handle. "I didn't want to involve her. He's hurt her so much already." Ryan shook her head as she started to slide out of the booth. "We'd better get in there and explain things before she starts imaging the worse although at this point I don't know what that could be."
"'Kay, why don't I give you a minute alone with her before I come in. It'll give me a chance to call Maura. I think she should have a say in this as well. It is about her." Jane sighed as she pulled her cell phone from its case clipped at her belt. Even though she thought that Maura should know, what she wanted was to hear Maura's voice to help ease her own tension. She watched as Ryan walked away, pushing the speed dial for Maura and couldn't help but smile when it was answered after the second ring.
"Jane…" Maura's voice was quiet and slightly out of breath when she answered the phone.
"Hey beautiful…" Jane sighed at the sound of Maura's voice. "Did I interrupt something?"
"Oh no. I was just taking the stairs down to my office." Maura stopped at the bottom of the stairwell to lean against the railing. "I just had to drop off a few files so I figured it would be beneficial to get some exercise. I haven't had much time for anything physical in a while."
"Tell me about it." Jane tried not to laugh. "It's been going on three years for me." She tried to joke but it was the truth. "Um, I've got something to ask you." Her voice dropped slightly as she tried to quickly change the subject.
"Okay." Maura decided not to press Jane. "What do you need to ask me?"
"Damn, I don't feel comfortable talking about this on the phone…" Jane hesitated. "I'm with Carly and Ryan…"
"What's going on? Is something wrong?" Maura sounded concerned.
"Well, that's just it. I don't know." Jane glanced around to make sure that no one was listening. "It has to do with Paddy."
"What?" Maura sounded surprised. "Look, maybe we should just get together tonight at my place to talk about things. I don't feel comfortable talking about that 'subject' on the phone." Maura tried to reason.
"Yeah, that would probably be best." Jane glanced over her shoulder to see Ryan returning with a grim look on her face. "How about I get there a little early so I can fill you in."
"Okay. Let's say around six and you can tell Carly and Ryan to come around seven." Maura answered.
"Sound's good. I'll talk to you later." Jane paused for a split second before saying what was on her mind. "I miss you." Her voice was quiet and she wasn't sure that Maura had heard.
"I do too." Maura spoke after a few seconds of silence. "Bye."
"Bye." Jane sighed again before hanging up to look at Ryan's very somber expression. "What's up?"
"She won't talk to me." Ryan shrugged her shoulders. "I haven't seen her this mad in…" She hesitated and shrugged her shoulders. "In ever."
"Maura want's us all to come over so we can explain everything. It’ll make it much easier on everyone, and we won't have anybody listening in." Jane nodded towards the busy bakery. "I'll go talk to Carly and let her know."
"Um…okay…" Ryan took a deep, shaky breath as she tried to quell the rising tears that threatened to fall. "Would you tell her…" She hesitated briefly before making a decision. "Tell her I'll see her tonight." Her voice was firm as she tramped down any emotion that tried to show.
Jane cocked her head to the side as she regarded Ryan. It had surprised her how quickly the other woman went from looking as if she might cry to the stoic assistant DA she had seen in court many times. She nodded before turning around to head to Carly's office, hopeful that she would be allowed in but if not she knew where the extra key was. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Ryan slipping out the door with that sad look back on her face and it weighted heavily on her mind to have to be the reason for it. But she also knew that the DA had been building a case against Doyle long before she had gotten involved. It pained her to know that it was something that Ryan had kept from Carly even though it was for a good reason. When she found herself standing outside Carly's office door, she quietly knocked several times and got no answer. "I guess I gotta go to the key." She murmured as she lifted onto her toes and pulled the key from its hiding spot above the door. 'I just hope enough time has gone by for her to be able to talk about it.' The thought traveled through Jane's mind as she slipped the key into the door. With a deep breath and the turn of her wrist, she heard the soft click of the lock as it came undone. "Well, here goes nothing…" She sighed as she pushed the door open and hoped that she would be able to convince Carly to meet at Maura's later.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16
Can’t go Back
It had taken some convincing to get Carly to agree to meet at Maura’s house, but she finally relented when she saw how tired Jane was. The dark, purplish rings under the brown eyes that usually held a vibrant light had made it an easy decision but a slow simmering anger was still present. Jane had seen the darkening of the light blue that indicated Carly was only placating her request and had no intention of discussing what they had talked about earlier. Her anger for Ryan however was at an all-time high and even though Jane did everything she could to smooth over the turbulent storm brewing behind Carly’s eyes, she wasn’t sure if she had done enough. She hoped that once they all explained what they needed to know about Paddy, Carly would understand that none of them had a choice.
It was only after promising that she would go home a take a nap that Jane was finally released from Carly’s intense stare allowing her to slip away to the solitude of her car. With a heavy sigh she dropped down into the driver’s side of her car. She set the brown paper bag that had been shoved into her hands as she left into the passenger’s seat next to her. Her aviators hung from the visor and she reached up to grab them to shield her eyes from the glare of the sun. It was a mundane task she had done a million times but for some reason in that moment it took almost all of her energy to accomplish. She adjusted the glasses and glanced at herself in the rearview mirror, shaking her head at the image reflected back at her. Tired and hungry were not a good look on her, they never had been.
The brown paper bag that sat next to her, unobvious in its simplicity, piqued her curiosity. She reached over the seat, grabbing it to set in her lap so she could see what it was that Carly had graced her with. As she opened it and peered inside, a grin spread across her face. A neatly wrapped bagel with strawberry cream cheese oozing from the sides greeted her. When the smell of the freshly baked treat accompanied by the sweet aroma of berries and cream hit her it caused her stomach to growl, echoing throughout the car. The sound was enhanced by the fact that she was alone and she couldn’t stifle the giggle that erupted from the same place the growl came from.
Carefully, Jane shifted the bagel to find a bottle of water nestled alongside and it warmed her heart that even though her cousin was mad at her, she was still looking out for her. But the feeling dissipated almost instantly when she remembered the sad look on Ryan’s face as she had left…empty handed. Reaching into the bag, she pulled out the bagel and set it on the dash board above the steering wheel before pulling out the water. With a quick twist she removed the cap and took a long drink. She hadn’t realized how thirsty she was until the cool liquid hit her very dry throat soothing it with each swallow. Without looking down, she dropped the bottle into the drink holder between the seats and reached for the bagel. With careful precision, she began the process of unwrapping her lunch with the hopes of keeping the cream cheese from dropping onto her pants. It didn’t take much finesse, but she succeeded.
She placed the bagel in her mouth to take a bite and as she did, she realized that she needed to text Ryan to let her know that Carly had agreed to meet at Maura’s. Her next move did take some finesse as she bit down on the food to keep it from falling into her lap and reached for the phone that was clipped to the belt on her hip. When her fingers didn’t find it right away, she looked down and essentially drove the whipped cream cheese up her nose in the process. It wasn’t until she had the phone in her hand that she reached up to wipe away the smeared delicacy from her face with a napkin. With the bagel still clamped between her teeth, she set about texting Ryan before hitting the send button so she could finally eat.
With her last bite, she wadded up the paper and napkins before shoving them back into the bag. With a heavy sigh, she leaned her head back against the head rest and a silent ‘thankyou’ to Carly. She had a sated feeling that was warming her from the inside out and it made her feel slightly sluggish as she rested her hands on the steering wheel. Unable to stifle the yawn that seemed to come from her toes, she stretched her arms up and over her head as far as she could…which wasn’t very far at all. The sudden overwhelming urge to close her eyes set in as she contemplated going home and taking a nap. For some reason the idea of driving all the way home only to have to turn around and head back out to Maura’s discouraged her. She was already halfway between her apartment and Maura’s house so it seemed like a waste to go back and forth. The contemplating was making her even more tired when it hit her that she knew where Maura kept her key. And with that revelation came the idea that she could just go to Maura’s and take a nap while she waited for everyone to get there. Of course she could also just go to her mother’s, but she’d rather wake up to find Maura home.
As she sat back and planned her afternoon, her attention was focused on what she would do next…not on the person standing at her window on the verge of knocking on the glass. When the tapping finally broke through her sleep addled brain, she jumped with a start hitting the horn with the palm of her hand. Realizing who was trying to get her attention had her rolling down the window with her best scowl in response.
“Hey Janie. Sorry…didn’t mean to sneak up on you like that.” Giovanni placed his hand on the top of the door jamb so he could lean in to see her better.
“Jesus Gio. You tryin’ to give me a heart attack?” She frowned up at him.
“Nah. Carly sent me over to tell you to get your skinny ass in gear. Somethin’ about a nap.” He smiled down at her. The slight breeze that ruffled his hair caused her to notice that he was growing it out since the last time she had seen him.
“What’s with the hippie doo?” She asked as she reached up to touch the light brown hair that almost reached his shoulders.
“Aw, come on…don’t touch the hair.” He pulled back so she couldn’t reach. “It’s the style now.”
“Really?” She couldn’t suppress a grin at his answer.
“What? Chicks love it. Gives ‘em somthin’ to hang on to when I…you know…” He wiggled his eyebrows.
“You are a dog Gio.” Jane rolled her tired eyes at him.
“Hey, you of all people should understand.” He gave her a wicked grin as he reached out to tug on her long dark hair to emphasize what her was talking about. “See, somethin’ to wrap your fingers around.”
“I’m not arguing with your logic.” She said as she jerked her head away from him. “But come on. Really?”
“Why’d Carly send me out here to tell you to go get some rest?” He leaned further into her window, a concerned look on his face.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night.” She huffed like she did when she was little and had been caught doing something she shouldn’t be.
“Rumor has it that you’re distracted by the new Medical Examiner.” He winked at her knowingly.
“Does everyone know she’s back?” Jane couldn’t stop herself from pouting.
“Well…yeah. You how it is in this neighborhood.” He seemed surprised. “It’s pretty big news though. Means one of the biggest players is out of the game.”
“Hey, I’ve never been a player Gio.” She frowned again as she thought about her past failed relationships.
“Whatever…” He tapped on the top of the door as he pushed himself away. “I’m just messin’ with ya…ya know that right?”
“Most of the time, yeah.” She finally smiled at him, this time it was genuine.
“For what it’s worth, I’m glad she’s back.” Gio shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “This mean you get another chance?”
“Something like that.” Her smile widened as she thought about the fact that she was indeed getting another chance.
“I hope it works out for ya.” He turned to leave but stopped and looked over his shoulder. “Like I’ve always said…you guys look hot together.”
“Fuck you Gio.” Jane laughed.
“You shot down that dream years ago Rizzoli.” He quipped back. “And hey, get some rest. You look like shit…and…don’t be a stranger.”
As she watched him saunter off back towards the bakery she couldn’t help but laugh again at the banter between the two of them. Over the years they had stayed friends and even though they hadn’t seen much of each other recently it was nice to know that things hadn’t changed between them. They could still joke and razz each other while keeping their friendship intact.
“Alright.” Jane let out a heavy exhale as she pushed the key into the ignition. “Guess I’d better get some sleep if I expect to be of any help tonight.” With those last words, she started the car and headed towards Maura’s and the soft couch she knew she would find there.

***
The late afternoon sun had dipped down leaving Maura’s backyard shaded making it all the more difficult for Jane to maneuver. It had taken several minutes for her eyes to adjust to the once bright light that assaulted her in the driveway to the sudden dim light as she slipped past the gate around the back of the house. When she found the clay pot by the backdoor, she fumbled around the edges until she found what she was looking for. She couldn’t stop herself from smiling as she tossed the key up and caught it in a light hearted gesture of giddiness. Only after she had opened the door did she slip the key back into its hiding place.
The first thing she noticed was the quiet. It wasn’t an unnerving quiet but a calm stillness that resonated deep within her as she looked around taking in the well-appointed den she found herself standing in. As she looked around, her eyes immediately fell upon the brown leather sofa she had found Maura curled up on the night before. With a sigh she headed straight for the sanctuary she knew she would find in the soft leather and the light blanket that lay draped over the back. She sat down and kicked off her boots before sinking back into the depths of comfort that awaited her. With her head resting against a plush throw pillow, she reached over to grab the blanket before draping it over herself. The movement stirred up a light, sweet fragrance causing Jane to inhale deeply in order to identify the newness mixed with faint traces of the past. Gone was the fragrant smell of strawberries only to be replaced with vanilla and the gentle touch of something spicy, something Jane couldn’t quiet identify. She had always thought that Maura smelled like sunshine and spring but as she closed her eyes and let the new smells rush over her she realized that she liked this better. It reminded her of the way Maura’s lips tasted after a glass of her favorite red wine, aged and more mature. With another deep breath, she relaxed and finally drifted off to sleep.

***
When Maura opened her front door and stepped into her foyer, she immediately knew she wasn’t alone in the house. Her first thought was that maybe Angela was there, but as she moved around a strange sensation washed over her. From the moment she met Jane there had always been a bond between them, a sixth sense so to speak. She could always sense the presence of the one who held her heart and as she stood alone in her hallway, she revealed in that familiar tingle because it meant that nothing had changed.
She set her medical bag by the front door where she always kept it just in case she had to leave in a hurry and then moved to the closet to hang her jacket up. For some reason she wasn’t in a hurry and for some reason she already knew why.
As she made her way towards the den, she stopped in the doorway and smiled at the sight before her. The quiet stillness that permeated the house surround her and a sleeping Jane causing her to stand still and watch intently. She could feel the draw the moment she saw the splay of dark hair and relaxed features on the figure that lay across her couch and if she were being honest she had felt it as soon as she closed her door and realized she wasn’t alone. Only one person had ever affected her that way and her fingers itched to touch the soft skin she knew she would find along that chiseled cheek.
Quietly, she slipped out of her heels and padded across the room on tip toes so as not to cause a disturbance. She wanted to observe the sleeping beauty in an unguarded moment, something few had the privilege of sharing in. Another smile crossed her lips when she saw that Jane had curled herself up under the blanket she had found herself under the night before. For what seemed like an eternity, she watched the rise and fall of Jane’s chest. An overwhelming feeling of gratitude washed over her as she thought about how differently things could have ended for Jane where Hoyt was involved. And then a wave of sadness crested as she realized that this…coming home to Jane every night should have been their future together. It was then that she gave in to her need and reached out to run the backs of her fingers along Jane’s cheek. The skin beneath hers was as soft as she remembered and she let out a sigh at the memories it evoked.
“Ummmm…hey beautiful.” Jane blinked her eyes open and stretched her legs out. “What time is it?”
“It’s after five.” Maura continued to allow her fingers to graze until her thumb moved over Jane’s slightly parted lips.
“What are you doing Maur?” Jane reached up grabbing the wandering hand when she realized what Maura was doing.
“Remembering.” Maura leaned in to place a gentle kiss to the corner of Jane’s mouth.
“Jesus Maura.” Jane couldn’t stop herself from trying to capture the retreating mouth with her own again to deepen the connection. But when Maura continued to pull away, she reached out and slipped her hand around the back of Maura’s neck to stop her. “Please…don’t…”
Maura stopped and gazed into the soft brown eyes that held a plea for something she wasn’t sure she was ready to give. Even though her body wanted nothing more than to take things further, her head was admonishing her for even starting to think she could. With a heavy sigh, she allowed Jane to pull her closer until their foreheads were touching and their lips were only a breath apart. But even then, Jane didn’t cross the invisible line that had been drawn. “This is what it could have been like every day, coming home to you.” The words were barely a whisper as a single tear rolled down Maura’s cheek.
“I know sweetheart.” Jane gave a weak smile as her own tears began to threaten. “But we still have a chance. The dream isn’t dead yet. It’s just changed a little.” She tried to reason.
Maura let out a shaky breath as she nodded. “Different can be good.” She tried to smile back.
Jane’s weak smile suddenly turned serious as she stared into the hazel-green eyes filled with tears, tears that mirrored her own. “I won’t make the same mistakes Maur. I promise. You are all that matters to me. You’re all that’s ever mattered to me. No one is going to keep me from you…not now…not ever again.”
“I believe you.” Maura closed her eyes against the intense look that Jane was giving her. “At least my heart does anyway…”
“It’s gonna take some time but we’ll make it through this.” Jane closed the distance and placed a soft, gentle but quick kiss to Maura’s lips. “We have too…I don’t think I could survive another fifteen years without you.” She tried to laugh but ended up clearing her throat instead. They were quiet for a moment before Jane spoke again. “You know; I remember things too.”
“Yeah?” Maura shivered as Jane’s fingers moved over the back of her neck and in to her hair.
“I remember you reading to me when I was in the hospital…before I woke up.” Jane couldn’t stop the sheepish grin from spreading across her lips. “You read ‘Jane Eyre’ to me.”
The only thing Maura could do was nod in response because her words wouldn’t come. The memory of those nights, alone in the hospital room with Jane haunted her but at the same time she held them close because she thought it would be the last time she would ever see Jane. As fate would have it wasn’t and she was grateful for that.
“You never finished, so when I got back home…I went out and bought the book so I could finish it.” Jane wrapped her other arm around Maura’s back so she could pull her close in a hug. “I can see why it’s your favorite.”
“How did you know it was me?” Maura sank into the comfort and security of the warm embrace she never thought she’d feel again.
“Well, actually I didn’t…at least not until last night. I just remember hearing the words and then when I woke up I had the sudden urge to read it.” Jane gave a gentle shrug of her shoulders. Pushing Maura back just enough so they could look at each other, she smiled. “See, sometimes I can be quite a good detective.” She laughed and the levity of the statement caused Maura to laugh too.
The laughter was replaced by silence, a comfortable silence that had always been easy between them. When Maura moved back into Jane’s arms, they both sighed gratefully at the contact and the need that still seemed to exist between them. As the seconds turned to minutes, Maura laid her head against Jane’s strong shoulder and knew that just as Jane Eyre had found her home in Mr. Rochester, she had found hers in Jane.

***
“So, let’s talk.” Maura handed Jane a beer as she sat down on the couch.
“When did you have time to buy me beer?” Jane inquired as she watched Maura make herself comfortable on the couch next to her. She couldn’t help but smile at casual way that Maura had leaned back and brought her legs up, tucking one leg under herself and bending the other so she could rest her arm on her knee.
“I asked Angela to pick some up for me today, seeing as you are not the biggest fan of wine.” Maura held her glass up to indicate what she was talking about before resting her arm back on the faded blue jeans she had changed into.
“Thanks. I do like the wine though.” Jane couldn’t hide the smile as she thought about the way it tasted on Maura’s lips. “I like this look you’ve got going for ya.” She reached out to run her finger along the soft, worn-out denim.
“Yeah?” Maura tilted her head as she watched Jane run her fingers along her leg before stopping at her knee where her hand was resting. “I like it too.”
“Don’t get me wrong. You always look…well…incredible but there’s just something about this casual look that…” Jane paused and shivered slightly.
“I know, me too.” Maura understood what Jane hadn’t said.
“I’ve really missed you Maur.” Jane sighed as she let her fingers graze Maura’s before tipping her beer bottle back to take a sip. When Maura didn’t pull her hand away from Jane’s touch it gave Jane the confidence she had been lacking recently. “A lot may have changed over the years, but one thing hasn’t…you are still incredibly sexy.”
“Well, as much as I would love to sit here and listen to you sweet talk me I think we need to talk about Carly and Ryan.” Maura gave a small smile to indicate that the subject wasn’t closed, just postponed.
“I suppose so.” Jane took another sip of her beer. The tension that had been building between her and Maura over the last few weeks was causing a strain that both of them could feel. “I haven’t told you about my meeting with Ryan yet so I guess I should start there.”
“Yes, that would be a good place to begin.” Maura studied Jane’s features, watching as her expression turned from contemplative to serious.
“Ryan thought I was on the take.” Jane started to say but was interrupted when Maura stiffened and interjected.
“What? That’s absurd…” The sudden outburst of anger was uncharacteristic for Maura who was usually very much in control of her emotions.
“Thanks, I appreciate that.” Jane reached out to run the backs of her fingers along Maura’s cheek before pushing a strand of hair behind her ear. “And that is what I told Ryan but it seems that Paddy has been under surveillance and my impromptu meeting with him recently put me in the limelight.”
“Oh Jane, I’m sorry.” Maura leaned into Jane’s touch but she couldn’t hide the sudden worry that flickered in her eyes.
“I had to tell her Maura. Everything…about Paddy, you…and me.” Jane gave a slight shrug as she moved her hand away from Maura’s face before bringing it to rest on her own knee. Her fingers still tingled from the warmth of the skin she had just touched.
“I understand, but why is Paddy under surveillance?” Maura asked even though she already knew the answer. There was only one reason the District Attorney’s office would be watching someone.
“They are trying to build a case against him…trying to get him off the streets.” Jane sighed as she turned her attention to the label on the beer bottle that she was in the process of peeling off. “Trying to keep him from hurting anyone else…ya know.”
“I do.” Maura nodded as she took a sip of her wine to give herself a moment to think of what she wanted to say. As she studied Jane, who wouldn’t look at her, it occurred to her what she hadn’t said yet. “They want you to help?”
The question should have taken her by surprise but Jane knew that it wouldn’t take long for Maura to put two and two together. Without looking up, she gave a nod as she continued to focus on her beer bottle and the label that was now stuck to her fingers.
“I’m not surprised.” Maura let out a heavy sigh. “It seems logical that they would. I understand why Ryan is involved but what does this have to with Carly?”
Finally, Jane looked up, an apologetic smile on her face. “I guess I’m not the first Rizzoli to get involved with Paddy…”
“What are you saying Jane?” Maura wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“Carly and Paddy have a history.” Jane stuck the label back on her bottle and smoothed it down before continuing. “I don’t know what it is yet though. All I know is that it runs deep Maura. Deep enough that he may have been involved in trying to hurt Ryan.”
Maura looked away as she processed what Jane had told her. She bit down on her lip and furrowed her brow as the implications of what Jane was saying sank in. A wave of nausea rolled through her stomach at the thought that she shared the same DNA with someone who could hurt another person. And that person wasn’t just another someone but he was her father.
The deep look of concentration on Maura’s face gave her thoughts away causing Jane to reach out and touch the cheek that was now wet with tears. “I know what you’re thinking and like I told you before…you’re nothing like him.”
“We can’t deny our biological make-up Jane.” Maura closed her eyes as her tears continued to fall.
“Fuck biology Maura! What matters is this…” Jane moved her hand down to cover the place where Maura’s heart lay. “You are nothing like him.”
Reaching up to place her hand over Jane’s, Maura gave a gentle squeeze and opened her eyes. “Thank you, my sweet Jane.”
“Look, I know this is asking a lot from you but we need to tell Carly everything. I think she may be able to help us figure out how to take him down…for good.” Jane moved close enough to Maura, breaking their contact but only long enough for her to wrap her arm around Maura’s shoulder.
“I just hate that we have to do it.” Maura snuggled against the warmth and comfort that Jane was offering.
“Yeah…well…” Jane started to say before Maura’s words registered in her brain. “What we are you referring too?”
“You don’t think I’m going to let you go up against a known mob boss…who happens to be my biological father alone, do you?” Maura pulled back so she could give Jane a stern look.
“Oh, hell no. That is not going to happen.” Jane’s voice raised an octave as the implications of what Maura was suggesting sank in. “You will not now, or ever have anything to do with that man.”
The conviction in Jane’s voice was strong enough to give Maura pause but only briefly. The reprieve gave her enough time to come up with another approach, one she knew would be fool proof and would broker no arguments from Jane. With a heavy sigh, she sank back into Jane’s arms as she plotted her next move.
“I can smell the smoke Maur. What are you planning in that big brain of yours?” Jane looked down at the smaller body that was nestled against her own. When Maura didn’t answer, Jane let out a heavy breath. “I’m not going to like it, am I?” She sighed as she rested her chin on the top of Maura’s head.
“No…probably not.” Maura knew that if she pleaded her case to Ryan, she would get what she wanted. There was no way to go back and change the past but she could certainly help today. The most logical way to get to Paddy would be to use someone close to him…and who could be closer than his own daughter. No, Jane wasn’t going to like this, but if it got Paddy off the streets and behind bars where he belonged than Maura would do her part. She just hoped that she wouldn’t come to regret the part she played especially if it got Jane hurt. When she heard the light knock on the front door, she knew what she had to do and she said a silent prayer it was the right thing for both her and Jane.

Chapter Text

Take me Home
Chapter 17
“If you think I’m gonna let Maura get anywhere near that man…than you’re crazy.” Jane glared at Ryan across the dining room table.
“It’s not a bad idea Jane…not really.” Ryan tried to reason, looking down at her hands as she fidgeted with her glass of wine.
“Not a bad idea? Are you fucking kidding me?” Jane’s temper was about to over flow.
“I’m right here Jane.” Maura reached over to touch Jane on the arm to get her attention. “I think I can be of some assistance in this situation, so why wouldn’t I try?”
“Because I won’t stand for it.” Jane clenched her jaw as she tried to grapple with the idea that had been presented by Ryan. “There is no way you are going to have anything to do with him.”
“He’s my father…” Maura hesitated. “My biological father. It wouldn’t seem strange for me to want to know something about him.” She tightened her grip on Jane’s arm to command her attention. “I could get close to him.”
“There is no fucking way we are using you for bait.” Jane ground out through gritted teeth. “No matter what either of you say…it isn’t going to happen.”
“So, you’re making decisions for me already…again?” Maura tried to sound calm when she was anything but. “I’m a grown woman. I can decide for myself what I will or will not do.”
Jane ducked her head at the tone of Maura’s voice. She recognized the barely contained anger for what it was and she suddenly felt overwhelmed. “But Maura…” There were a thousand reasons why she should fight this but only one reason not to. She watched Maura’s mouth set in a grim line as the stubborn streak Jane knew so well was beginning to show and all the while Ryan sat silent. “Look, I’m sorry. I just don’t want to see you get hurt.” It was a valid objection but one she knew would not be accepted.
“But it’s okay for you to take that chance?” Maura leveled her gaze at Jane, even and temperate.
“I’m a trained police officer. I know how to protect myself.” Jane shrugged her shoulders as she felt her argument fading in the fiery hazel and green that flashed at her daring her to continue the dispute.
“Look, it may not even come to that.” Ryan interrupted causing both Jane and Maura to look at her as if they had just noticed her for the first time. “We have someone on the inside, that’s all I can tell you but Maura’s right…if it comes to it…she is our best option.”
“So what do we need Carly for?” Jane chose to ignore Ryan’s last comment. She wasn’t ready to relent yet.
“Well, she knows things. Things that no one else knows. Her dealings with Paddy are deep and intricate…the insight could be invaluable if we have to turn to Maura that is…” The words trailed off as Ryan hesitated to finish her sentence.
“I can’t believe you’re going with this idea.” Jane shook her head as she pushed herself up from the table. “I know what kind of man Paddy is. He’s ruined the last fifteen years of my life. I won’t let him ruin the next fifteen.” There was a desperation to Jane’s voice that had both Ryan and Maura looking away in contemplative silence. “But mark my words, this is on you Ryan if anything goes wrong.”
“Jane please…” Maura called to her retreating back as she headed towards the kitchen.
“Like I said, it may not come to this. But if it does…” Ryan stopped and let out a heavy breath. “I just think Jane needs to hear what Carly went through. She’s a good cop but sometimes she forgets she’s not bullet proof.”
“We both know all too well how true that statement is.” Maura’s expression turned sad as she looked back at Ryan. “But I’ll do my part if it keeps her safe from Paddy and herself.”
“Let’s just get through this evening. I don’t want you to worry about it. It will take weeks to process what we already know and what we don’t.” Ryan ran her fingers along the crooked wood grain embedded in the table. “I’m just glad you and Jane have been able to get past everything.”
“I’m not so sure.” Maura shook her head as Jane appeared in the doorway with a beer in her hand and her heart lightened at the lopsided grin that was being offered as a symbol of peace.
“I’m sorry Maur, it’s just the thought of something happening to you makes me crazy.” Jane nervously twisted the bottle between her fingers. “But you’re right. There will be a time when your path will cross with Paddy’s and I don’t think there’s anything I can do to stop it. Maybe having me and Ryan in the wings would be a good idea.”
“I’m glad you see it that way Jane.” Maura gave a grateful smile. “But like Ryan said…maybe it won’t come to that.”
“Nah, I’m afraid he’s gonna want to meet you eventually. I think it’s inevitable.” Jane looked down at her feet as the realization that she couldn’t stop it hit her hard.
“What if it’s not what I want?” Maura tried to sound defiant.
“That’s just it Maura, when it comes to Paddy you don’t get a choice.” Ryan let out heavy sigh as she gave Jane an apologetic smile.
“I know. That’s what I’m afraid of.” Jane said as she pushed herself away from the doorframe she had been leaning against for support. It was about the only thing holding her up at the moment so when the knock came from the front door it took everything she had to move on shaky legs across the room to answer it.
“That’ll be Carly…” Ryan said without looking up at Jane as she walked by.
“She still isn’t talking to you?” Maura asked causing Ryan to shake her head in answer.
As Jane made her way towards the front door, she couldn’t help but feel a slight twinge of guilt at having been the cause of all of this strife. She stopped to take a deep breath before opening the door to find a very somber Carly on the other side.
“Hey…” Carly said as she pushed past Jane rather abruptly. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Carly, wait…” Jane called to her to get her to stop. “This isn’t Ryan fault. I mean, not really.” She shifted her weight nervously from one foot to the other when Carly stopped to look at her. “Come on. We’ll explain everything.”
Carly watched as Jane walked past her, waving her along as she went. Her stomach had been in knots all day over what had transpired earlier and her anger towards Ryan was based mostly out of fear. She had hoped to never have to talk about her dealings with Paddy Doyle ever again but it seemed as if she needed to open old wounds one more time and she wasn’t entirely sure why or if she could.
Looking up at the approaching figures, Maura watched as Jane and Carly moved towards the kitchen without saying a word to either her or Ryan or each other for that matter. She noticed Ryan’s stiff posture slacken in defeat when the two women passed through the dining room without acknowledging their presence and it broke her heart. “Everything’ll be alright Ryan.” She tried to reassure but her words didn’t even sound genuine to her own ears.
“I just hate to have to open old wounds. It’s taken so long for us to heal.” Ryan pushed her hair away from her face. “I’m thinking of getting it cut short again.” She said nonchalantly as she changed the subject.
“Yeah? I think it would look good.” Marua tried to smile but even that seemed hollow. It wasn’t until Carly and Jane came back each with drinks in their hands that Maura realized the extent of Carly’s anger. Instead of sitting next to Ryan, she pulled out a chair on the other side of the table and sat without saying a word.
“Alright…” Jane set her beer bottle down on the table with a loud thump. “Enough of this shit.” She glared over at Carly. “You need to get over this. We need your help and I’m gonna tell you why. In fact, I’m gonna tell you everything.” She glanced over at Maura for her silent support which she got in the form of a soft smile and gentle nod.
Carly looked over at Jane before shifting her eyes to meet Ryan’s. The pain and sadness she saw reflected back at her almost took her breath away causing her to look away. All of a sudden she was feeling guilty for having not heard either Jane or Ryan out earlier.
“I asked you to come here to Maura’s because this involves her too.” Jane pulled her chair out and sat down with a huff.
“What could Maura possibly have to do with Paddy Doyle?” Carly wasn’t sure she was ready to hear what Jane was about to tell her.
“Well…that’s a long story…so I guess I’d better start at the beginning.” Jane ran her fingers through her hair pushing it over her shoulders. It was going to be a long evening for them all and she took a long drink of her beer before starting at the beginning.

***
“Wow, that isn’t what I was expecting to hear.” Carly looked from Jane to Maura and then finally to Ryan. “Your father, huh?” Silence descended upon them as what Jane had told her sank in. Maura’s only response was to nod her head. When her eyes fell upon Ryan’s, her expression softened. “He mentioned he had a daughter once but he never elaborated and I never asked him to.”
“He’s the reason I gave up being with Maura.” Jane looked down at the table as she began to rub her scars.
“Yes, well…he does have a way of being persuasive.” Carly watched as Jane fidgeted. “I’m sorry you had to go through that. Maybe if I had talked to you before…none of this would have happened.”
“That’s a load of crap Carly. How could you have known I’d go to him?” Jane looked at Carly and noted the darkening behind the light blue that gazed back at her.
“I noticed.” Carly hesitated before continuing. “I wasn’t sure what it was, but I noticed.”
“Still, you didn’t know he was Maura’s father and that he would use it against me.” Jane just shrugged as if that would put the argument to rest.
“I know that he’ll take away what you love the most.” Carly looked over at Ryan, a silent plea for forgiveness in her eyes.
“You know we could never prove it Carly.” Ryan sighed as she pushed her hair away from her face again.
“He told me what he was going to do Ryan and I didn’t do anything to stop him.” Carly’s voice was low and filled with emotion. “It’s my fault you ended up in that ditch with a broken leg…left for dead.”
“It’s no more your fault that that happened than its Jane’s fault that her father did what he did.” Maura leveled her gaze at the two Rizzoli women who had matching remorseful expressions.
“Still, I should have tried to stop him.” Carly looked away.
“And then maybe you’d have ended up in that ditch…dead.” Jane mumbled. “I know what kind of man he is. I just didn’t know it then.”
“So, what do you want from me?” Carly placed her hands on the table and spread her fingers out as she tried to take a deep breath to quell the anxiety that pumped through her veins.
“Will you please tell Maura and I about your time with him. It might help us get the upper hand.” Jane started to say but was interrupted when Carly let out an impatient huff.
“There is no such thing as getting the upper hand with that man.” Carly’s expression hardened as she remembered her time with him. “But I’ll tell you what I can. One thing you need to understand though. No matter who you are or how close you think you are to him, he is ruthless when he wants something, especially if he thinks you’re standing in his way.”
“I think we all know that except for maybe Maura.” Jane tilted her head as an idea came to her. “She’s doing her best to convince Ryan to let her help but I think it’s a mistake.”
Carly silently regarded Maura for a moment as she thought about what Jane was saying and what it would mean. “It won’t matter to him that you’re his daughter. The fact that his blood runs through your veins won’t mean a thing Maura. His own father…your grandfather, threatened to have you killed if he ever found out who you were.”
The words caused Maura to furrow her brow as she thought about what Carly was saying. “Did he ever say anything about my biological mother?”
The question had Carly taking a deep breath. With a heavy heart she realized that she would have to tell Maura the truth. “I’m sorry Maura, but I heard him say that she died in child birth but I don’t think he believed that.”
“Are you saying that she was murdered?” Maura’s voice raised an octave as the implications of Carly’s words hit her hard.
“I can’t say either way. He never talked about it, just that one time and even then I just overheard it.” Carly’s expression turned sad. “I’m sorry Maura.”
Swallowing the lump that had suddenly formed in her throat, Maura gave a slight nod. She wasn’t sure what she was feeling at the moment but she certainly hadn’t expected to find out that her mother had died all of those years ago.
“Look, I’ll do what I can to help.” Carly stood up abruptly. She picked up her beer and walked over to Ryan. Bending down, she placed a light kiss at the corner of the mouth that was turned down in a small frown. “I don’t like it but I understand why you’re doing this.” The words were whispered into Ryan’s ear. “I’m gonna get some air.” She said as she ran her fingers through the blonde hair that was sticking out in all directions to smooth it down. It was her way of letting Ryan know they were okay. Three sets of eyes watched as Carly headed towards the back porch without another word.
“She gonna be alright?” Jane asked when the back door closed leaving them alone.
“I think so.” Ryan gave a half smile as she ran her fingers through her hair where Carly had just touched.
“Yeah…well, I’m gonna go out and make sure.” Jane jumped up. She looked over at Maura who had a pensive look on her face and tried to smile in an encouraging way but she had the feeling that Maura wasn’t really seeing her.
“I think I’m going to have another glass of wine.” Ryan glanced over her shoulder as she watched Jane leave as well. She wasn’t sure what she could say to Maura so she decided to give her some time alone to process what Carly had told her so she headed towards the kitchen to get open another bottle of wine.

***
“So…” Jane leaned against a patio chair next to where Carly was sitting. “Wanna talk about it?” She asked before taking a seat.
“Not particularly.” Carly shrugged her shoulders as she pulled at the label on her beer bottle.
“You know I do the same thing.” Jane said holding her hand up to show the label that was stuck to her fingers.
“Yeah?” Carly said, not really looking at Jane.
“Come on. Talk to me.” Jane pushed.
“I just really hate that I had to be the one to tell Maura about her biological mother.” Carly continued to pull on the paper label, peeling it away from the slick bottle. “I never, in a thousand years, would have predicted this.”
“Me neither.” Jane reached over to take away the bottle that was monopolizing Carly’s attention. “Look at me. Tell me what happened between you and Paddy.” She urged.
Crossing her arms, Carly finally turned her attention back to Jane. “I can’t do that now Jane.” She let out a tired sigh. “I’m sorry…”
“Look, I get it. But if it comes to it, will you tell me what I need to know to keep Maura safe?” Jane asked as she set both of their beers down on the patio table.
For what seemed like an eternity, Carly didn’t say anything or move. They sat in silence for so long that the motion sensor light on Maura’s porch turned off leaving them awash in shadows and slivers of light that escaped through the slates on Maura’s blinds. When Carly finally did speak, her voice was quiet and even, causing Jane to almost miss the first words.
“Yes, but when it comes to Paddy Doyle there are no guarantees as you already know.” Carly had a sad look on her face. “I thought I’d never have to think about that man again for the rest of my life. I should have known my past would come back to haunt me.”
“Help me understand.” Jane leaned further back in her chair to give Carly some space to think. When Carly didn’t answer right away Jane couldn’t stop the next words from escaping her mouth. “You didn’t kill anybody, did you?” It wasn’t meant to be a serious question but the continued silence caused her stomach to roil with nausea. “Jesus Carly…please tell me you didn’t…”
“No, but I would have it he’d asked me too.” Carly reached up to rub her suddenly tired eyes. “I was in deep Jane…really, really deep.”
“Why?” The question came out before Jane could think of anything else to say.
“Why?” Carly seemed surprised by the inquiry. She furrowed her brow as she tried to come up with a reason but when nothing came to mind she just shrugged her shoulders.
“Bullshit…” Jane scoffed harshly in an attempt to push Carly into answering.
“Because I didn’t care.” Carly looked away from the dark eye’s that were gazing at her intently filled with concern and the barest hint of anger. “Live or die Jane…I just didn’t care.”
“What are you talking about?” The anger that had been lingering around the edges came full force as Jane leaned forward.
“Look, I didn’t have a supportive family when I started to question myself. I didn’t understand. There was no one for me to turn to, but for some reason Paddy took a liking to me. We never talked about it, but he knew I liked girls. It was like he accepted me in a way I never thought my own family could.”
“Yeah, well you never gave anyone the chance too.” Jane frowned as the truth of Carly’s words rang in her ears.
“Are you telling me that my parents would have accepted their fifteen-year-old lesbian daughter with open arms. Hell, at the first sign of trouble, they shipped my ass off to Paris to live with Aunt Sophie but that shit backfired on them…didn’t it.” Carly gave a self-depreciative laugh.
“But they love Ryan.” Jane tried to reason.
“Now…they love her now. But we both know it wouldn’t have been that way back then.” Carly looked down at her hands wishing she was still holding her beer bottle. “Look, I’m not trying to paint a picture of dear old Paddy as a mentor or father figure but there was a time when I would have done anything he asked of me. I’m not proud of that Jane.”
Jane clenched her jaw a few times as she tried to contain her anger and the biting words that were on the tip of her tongue but she knew Carly was right. Deep down she knew that it wouldn’t have gone over well and the truth pained her.
“How did it happen Carly? How did you get in over your head?” Jane couldn’t help but ask. She had always thought of Carly as a strong person, someone who wasn’t easily influenced.
“I don’t know. How did it happen to you?” The question was point blank and it caused Jane to blink a few times before she could formulate an answer.
“I trusted him, I guess.” Jane said with a sigh.
“So did I but the difference between our situations is that he trusted me in return.” The admission was a painful one but one that Carly had to make to move on. “I could’ve had it all Jane…if I’d wanted it.”
“But you do. You have it all right now with Ryan and the bakery. Don’t you see?” Jane shook her head as she thought about what could have happened to her cousin.
“Your absolutely right.” Carly said with sudden vigor. “And here I am sitting outside while my everything is in there thinking I’m mad at her.”
“You guys gonna be okay?” Jane asked timidly.
“Yeah. I’ve got some groveling to do. I won’t pretend that it doesn’t bother me that the D.A.’s office is putting Ryan in the middle of this but it’s her job and I have to find some way to support her.” Carly hesitated as she glanced over at Jane. “And you…”
“I appreciate that, but hey…like Ryan said, maybe it won’t come to that. Maybe we can all just move past this and Maura will never have to know what kind of man Paddy is.” Jane said hopefully.
“Hold on to that ideal.” Carly gave Jane a pat on the back before picking up the two now empty beer bottles. “Please tell me you’ve got more of these.”
“In the fridge. Grab me one too…would ya?” Jane said over her shoulder as Carly slipped back into the house through the sliding glass doors leaving her alone to think about their conversation.
***
Carly slipped into the kitchen by way of the sliding doors, bypassing the dining room where Ryan and Maura sat quietly in conversation. She moved over to the sink in order to rinse out the bottles for recycling and stood quietly contemplating what her and Jane had talked about. Her eyes wandered over to the darkened cottage that Angela now occupied and she said a silent prayer that her Aunt wasn’t home at the moment. If she were home, they probably wouldn’t have been able to speak as candidly as they had outside. As she stood in the silence with her attention on what lay outside the window she was facing, she realized the minute Ryan had entered.
“Please don’t be mad at me anymore.” Ryan placed her hands on the broad shoulders in front of her before resting her forehead between Carly’s shoulder blades.
“I’m not mad at you, just the situation.” Carly let out a heavy sigh when she felt Ryan’s touch. “I hate that it has to involve Jane and Maura…and especially you.”
“I know you do Love, but it’s my job. It’s what I signed up for…putting the bad guys away where they can’t hurt people anymore.” Ryan’s hands wandered down Carly’s arms before coming to rest on top of strong hands. Threading their fingers together, she wrapped her arms around a trim waist and pressed herself further against Carly’s slightly rigid body.
“He destroys everything he touches Ryan. I should know; I still carry the emotional scars to prove it.” The words were exhaled on a shaky breath as Carly gave the hands in hers a gentle squeeze.
“And I have the physical ones.” Ryan indicated the scars on her leg without having to say it.
“We’re a pair, aren’t we?” Carly spun around in the circle of Ryan’s arms and rested her chin on top of the blonde head that was now burrowed against her neck. When she felt the nod, she let out another long sign. “I’m sorry that I shut you out earlier. It’s just that when I realized what you were going to do…it tore open those wounds I thought had healed. I should have known we couldn’t get away from him. I’ll do what you need me to do but I just can’t bring myself to talk about it with Jane and Maura. Not right now.”
“Things have changed. The stakes are higher now that we know he’s Maura’s biological father.” Ryan’s voice was slightly muffled causing Carly to pull back so she could look down at her.
“Don’t you think I know that? The stakes have always been too higher for me. I’m not willing to sacrifice you or anyone I love to get him off the streets. You know that, don’t you?” There was an unspoken plea in the light blue eyes that darkened slightly.
“I do and I won’t ask you to.” Ryan watched the blue of Carly’s eyes darken slightly with the fear of what she might be asked to do. “I’m doing all that I can to keep everyone off the radar, especially Jane. I didn’t tell you that they thought she was on the take.”
“Bullshit!” The anger that laced Carly’s voice had Ryan cringing. “She’d never do that.”
“I know but I had to bring her in on it before IA got involved. That’s why I had to involve her Carly. I didn’t want to. I didn’t have a choice.” The sadness in Ryan’s voice permeated her words.
“I get it. I’m just sorry it came to this. That man has ruined more lives than I can count.” Carly pulled Ryan close to her again, hugging her tight.
“Well for what it’s worth, he didn’t ruin our lives. He may have tried, but we made it Carly. Despite his best efforts.” Ryan let out a sigh as she reveled in the comfort and safety of the strong arms that surrounded her.
“And what about Jane and Maura?” Carly asked.
“I think they’ll be okay.” Ryan answered.
“Do you really?” There was the barest hint of doubt in the question Carly posed.
“I do.” Ryan looked up at the pensive expression on Carly’s face. She could see that Carly was struggling to believe. “I really do Love. I think we’re all gonna be okay. I have to because it’s all I’ve got to hold on to right now.”
“Ryan…?” Carly let out a tired sigh.
“Yeah?”
“Take me home?”
“Absolutely.” Ryan said as she smiled up at the crooked grin looking back at her.

***

As Jane sat, surrounded by the stillness and silence she was learning to take comfort in, the motion sensor light turned off again leaving her in the dark. A shiver ran through her as a gentle breeze blew past, kicking up the dry leaves that littered Maura’s backyard. She still didn’t know much about Carly and Paddy’s history but she had a better understanding as to why her cousin was reluctant to talk about it. It would eventually come to light, of that she was sure. She just hoped that she would be able to handle Carly’s truth even though it was the truth she feared the most.
Her contemplative silence was interrupted when the sound of the sliding door carried to her and the light came on indicating that she was no longer alone. At first she thought it was Carly returning with her beer but when she felt strong arms wrap around her neck from behind in a hug, she let out a contented sigh.
“Hey.” Maura wrapped her arms around Jane and whispered in her ear.
“Hey yourself.” Jane reached up to pat the arms that had her surrounded in a protective hold.
“You alright out here?” Maura inquired as she moved around to look at Jane.
“I think I should be asking you that.” Jane grabbed Maura by the waist when she moved around in front of her, pulling her down into her lap.
“I’m okay.” Maura allowed herself to be pulled down into Jane’s lap. The move gave her the liberty to snuggle her head against Jane’s shoulder. “A little shocked maybe, but okay.”
“I’m sorry. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.” Jane rested her chin on the top of Maura’s head.
“It’s not your fault Jane. It’s not Carly’s either. None of this is any of our faults.” Maura sighed as she sank deeper into Jane’s protective arms.
“I just wish you hadn’t had to find out about your biological mother the way you did.” Jane frowned as she held Maura tighter.
Maura could feel Jane frown as she spoke and it caused her to pull back so she could see Jane’s face. The dark brown eyes looked down at her with a sadness that Maura could feel deep inside, were filled with unshed tears for Maura’s loss.
“It’s hard for me to mourn someone I never knew…but still…” Maura’s voice trailed off as she struggled to find the words.
“You know I won’t let anything happen to you.” Jane’s voice held an urgency that bordered on fear.
“I know that you’ll do your best to protect me Jane and don’t think I wouldn’t do the same for you.” Maura reached up to push a strand of hair away from Jane’s face, tucking it behind an ear. “The good thing is that we don’t have to face any of this alone…never again. Promise me that.”
“I do Maur. No more going it alone.” Jane turned her cheek into Maura’s touch. “Is everything okay in there?” She tipped her chin towards the house.
“I think so. They went home.” Maura sighed. “Ryan told me to tell you she’d call you in a few days.”
“M’kay…” Jane leaned her head back and closed her eyes. The feeling of holding Maura in her arms caused her heart to beat faster and it made her feel light headed.
“Jane?” Maura placed a palm on either side of Jane’s face forcing her to look at her.
Jane blinked a few times before her eyes could focus on Maura’s soft smile, a smile that brightened everything around her. “Yeah?”
“Will you stay with me tonight?” The soft smile turned shy as Maura diverted her eyes, afraid the answer would be no.
“Absolutely.” Jane pulled Maura closer and tightened her hold. She knew that it didn’t matter how their evening ended…just as long as they ended it in each other’s arms. It was the only absolute truth that Jane knew and one she decided she would hold onto tightly, almost as tightly as she was holding Maura.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18
Never let me go
The smell of coffee lured Jane from a deep sleep, but she wasn’t ready to open her eyes yet as she stretched her arms over her head. She could feel the weight of Maura sitting next to her reclined body on the bed in the guest room. Taking a deep breath, she allowed the aroma of French vanilla to fill her senses and for a moment she wasn’t sure if it was Maura or the coffee she was smelling. She didn’t open her eyes until she felt the feather light touch of the Maura’s fingers along her cheek causing her to smile.
“Mornin’…” Jane yawned as she stretched again.
“Good morning yourself.” Maura smiled down at sleepy dark eyes that finally blinked open. “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course…you know you can.” Jane pushed herself up onto her elbows before running a hand through a tangle of messy curls that hung haphazardly around her shoulders.
“Why did you come in here to sleep?” Maura had a concerned expression on her face with the barest hint of hurt.
“Well…” Jane said as she reached out grab Maura up in her arms and pull her down to lay back on the bed with her. “I really loved watching you fall asleep in my arms last night…but that’s just it. I couldn’t stop watching you and I was sooooo tired that I decided the only way I’d get some sleep is if I came in here.” She pulled Maura against her chest allowing her to snuggle under her chin.
“Are you saying that I’m a distraction?” Maura asked as she breathed a sigh of relief.
“Absolutely.” Jane tightened her hold on the smaller body that lay atop her own. “I wanted to lay there and watch you all night…” She hesitated before continuing. “Among other things.”
“Ummm…other things…” Maura murmured as she ran her fingers along a bare bicep. “I like it when you wear your tank tops. It really shows off these…” Her fingers continued to skim along Jane’s warm skin causing them both to shiver.
“Yeah?” Jane flexed her arm causing the muscle to stand out against Maura’s touch.
“Yeah…” Maura couldn’t stop herself from chuckling. “It was nice last night.”
“It was.” The words came out on a long exhale as Jane tried to concentrate on what Maura was saying and not what she was doing.
“I’ve missed falling asleep in your arms…but I mostly miss waking up with you. You’ve always made me feel loved and protected.” Maura snuggled closer against Jane.
Jane was quiet for a moment as she contemplated Maura’s words. When they had gone to bed together the night before, she knew they wouldn’t cross the line that they both seemed to have drawn since they agreed to try again. However, it didn’t mean it wasn’t something she wanted, in fact she wanted it desperately and it was taking all of her will power not to run her hands up under Maura’s t-shirt to feel the warm skin underneath.
The silence wasn’t uncomfortable but it was introspective on Jane’s part giving Maura a moment to consider her own thoughts and at the moment they were filled with visions of what lay beneath the gray tank top. Pushing herself up so she could hover above Jane, Maura looked down at the pensive expression. She noticed that Jane now had a crease between her eyes, one she assumed came from late nights at work, lack of sleep, and too much worry. As she continued to study the features she had committed to memory years ago, she was surprised to see that Jane’s eye’s appeared darker than she remembered. Even though there was a softness around the edges as they gazed back at her, Maura recognized a hardness barely hidden within the amber flecks that swam lazily around the dark brown. She could still see love shining out at her, but there was a vail of caution as well. It broke her heart to know the reason why Jane hide behind that tough exterior she projected onto everyone she came into contact with, everyone except Maura.
As they continued to gaze into each other’s eyes, Jane could sense that Maura was trying to find something familiar, something that resembled the Jane she fell in love with. In an attempt to give Maura what she wanted, Jane softened her expression and tried to hide the pain that she carried with her every day since Hoyt and to her surprise it wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be. Looking into Maura’s hazel eyes that highlighted the specks of green gave her the courage to push her pain away. A slow lazy smile creased her lips as cocked her head to side in a questioning way.
“You know…we’ve both changed a lot over the years.” Maura finally broke the silence.
“I guess.” Jane took a deep breath and held it as the many ways she had changed came to her mind. On a heavy exhale she couldn’t stop herself from asking the question that had haunted her since Maura had come back in to her life. “Is it too much?”
“Oh, no…not at all.” Maura reached up to run her fingers through Jane’s sleep tangled hair before allowing her fingers to trail down to rest in the dimple of Jane’s chin. “Change can be good.” She said as she placed her hand on Jane’s chest and then rested her chin on the back so she could continue to look at Jane.
“A lot has happened over the years…,” Jane turned her head away and took another deep breath. She knew what they were on the verge of doing and she wasn’t sure she was ready for it.
Again silence fell over them and Maura could sense the reason why, so she reached down with one hand to take Jane’s. Bringing it up so she could study the long, slender fingers, she placed a light kiss where Jane’s scar lay. The move caused Jane to turn her head back to look at Maura.
“This is who I am now Maura…,” Jane’s voice shook with the emotion she was desperately trying to control. “These scars I carry…they are a constant reminder.”
“They don’t define you Jane.” Maura leaned forward and placed a soft kiss to the corner of Jane’s mouth.
“I don’t know…” Jane shook her head. “Sometimes I don’t know what defines me anymore…is it my job, my family, Hoyt…?”
Maura looked down into the darkest brown she had ever seen as Jane’s eyes seemed to conjure up a storm of emotions threatening to break through her barely contained control. Jane’s dark eyebrows were turned down with worry and it made that crease between her eyes all the more pronounced. “Oh, my sweet Jane…the only thing that defines you is this.” Maura said as she patted Jane’s chest where her heart was.
With those words Jane could no longer contain the tears that started to run down her cheeks causing her to look away from the love she could see in Maura’s eyes. “I’m different Maura…,” She stared to say pausing to take a shaky breath. “My body…it’s not the same. I’m covered in scars…you might not like what you see. You might not find me attractive anymore.” The words were spoken to someplace over Maura’s shoulder because Jane still couldn’t look her in the eyes, afraid of what she might see if she did.
“I know about the scars Jane. I was there at the hospital from the moment they brought you in until you opened your eyes. I know what lies under here…” Maura said as she reached down to run her finger along the hem of Jane’s tank top. The move caused Jane to tense drawing a confused look from Maura.
“I haven’t been with anyone since it happened…” Jane grabbed Maura’s hand before it could creep up under the material that separated them. “What I mean is that no one has ever seen them.” She looked down at her chest and stomach indicating what she was talking about.
“I’ve seen them…” Maura stopped her advance. “I was in the operating room…” She started to say but Jane cut her off.
“I know…but that was then. This is different.” Jane struggled to say. She wasn’t sure why she was getting upset. It was Maura she was with, the only person in the world she ever thought would understand but as the prospect of sharing that part of herself loomed, her fears came to the surface. “They aren’t pretty Maura…”
The rapid beating of Jane’s heart against the hand that Maura had resting on her chest caused Maura to pause. She could see the fear of rejection in Jane’s eyes and the beginnings of what she recognized as a panic attack.
“You are and have always been beautiful to me…and it goes well beyond this…” Maura sighed as she waved her hand over Jane’s body. “But I won’t push you. I know that when you’re ready, you’ll share this with me and no matter what you think now…it won’t change anything.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Jane reached up and angrily wiped the tears from her cheeks.
“Stop…please.” Maura couldn’t hide the plea from her voice. With shaky hands, she placed a palm on either side of Jane’s face. “What happened to you was traumatic. Please don’t ever apologize for telling me what you’re feeling.” Leaning forward, she rested her forehead against Jane’s and closed her eyes as her own emotions came to the surface. “I thought I’d lost you…” The words were spoken on a whisper. “I don’t ever want to feel that way again.”
“What if I’m broken Maura? What if I can’t get past this?” Jane closed her eyes as well. This sudden fear was causing her to question if she could ever fully give herself to Maura. It was all becoming too real for her. The prospect of a physical relationship was one she had hoped for, one she had dreamed of ever since Maura had come back, but in an instant it was replaced with anxiety and uncertainty.
“You’re not broken Jane…a little fractured maybe…but not broken, of that I can assure you.” Maura moved to lay beside Jane. “And we will get through this together. Please promise me one thing though…”
“Anything.” Jane said quickly.
“Please promise me that you won’t shut me out. Don’t be afraid to talk to me…tell me what you’re feeling…please.” Maura implored as she wrapped her arms around Jane’s trembling body.
“I will…” Jane let out a sigh when Maura gathered her in a hug. “I thought I was ready…I really did. I want you so much Maura…but…” She hesitated and took a deep breath as she buried her face against Maura’s neck.
“I know honey…it’s okay. We’ll take it one day at a time…” Maura tightened her hold. “How about we take a little nap now.”
“I’d like that…” Jane’s trembling ceased as she relaxed in Maura’s arms. “As long as you stay here with me.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” Maura let out a heavy sigh as emotional fatigue began to overcome her but she wouldn’t allow herself to relax until she felt the slow even breaths coming from Jane indicating that she had fallen asleep. When Maura did finally allow herself to give in, her last thoughts were of how vulnerable Jane had been and how she would do anything to protect Jane. And as those last thoughts traveled through her mind before sleep overcame her, she knew she’d never let go again.

Chapter Text

Open Hands
Chapter 19
Maura stood at the kitchen sink watching the early morning sun creep into her backyard as she prepared to make coffee. The water was running as she held a carafe under the spigot but her attention was elsewhere. She couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across her face as the memory of waking up wrapped in Jane’s arms came to her mind.
*The feeling of Jane pressing against her pulled Maura from her sleep but she didn’t open her eyes right away. Instead, she lay there feeling the weight of Jane’s arm as it wrapped around her waist, enjoying a feeling she never thought she’d feel again. She could feel small puffs of air against her neck as Jane’s breathing continued at a slow, steady pace indicating she was still asleep. For a few moments longer, Maura stayed silent and still until she could no longer stand not seeing Jane next to her. Opening her eyes, she found Jane lying on her side. Her face was nestled against Maura’s shoulder and her dark hair was spread out over the pillow they were sharing. The sight brought a smile to Maura’s lips as a warm sensation spread over her body starting where Jane’s hand was touching bare skin. With mild curiosity, Maura noticed that her camisole had crept up over her stomach giving Jane a place to rest her hand. The feeling of a warm palm pressing against her side sent a tingling sensation along the exposed skin and she couldn’t stop the shiver that traveled up her spine. As carefully as she could, she lifted herself up just enough to notice that Jane’s tank top had also moved up to reveal the abdominal muscles that Maura knew she’d find beneath. As her eyes traveled over the newly bared skin that her fingers itched to touch, she caught her first glimpse of the scars that Jane had been afraid to reveal to her earlier. The thin white lines stood out against the olive colored skin and the need to touch almost overwhelmed her. Taking a deep breath and moving as carefully and quietly as she could, she reached over with a shaky hand to run her index finger over the slightly raised skin. Deep down, she knew that her touch would rouse Jane from her sleep but she couldn’t stop herself. She needed to feel, needed to know that Jane was alright. Her eyes widened in wonder at the first brush of skin against skin. Even though the scar was light and thin, it was pronounced enough for Maura to trace with the tip of her finger. The move did rouse Jane who opened her eyes and blinked a few times in confusion but Maura didn’t stop her exploration as her finger moved a little higher to skim along the hem of Jane’s tank top.
“What’re you doin’?” Jane’s voice was thick with sleep as she looked down to see Maura’s hand touching her.
“I’m sorry…” Maura pulled her hand away from the soft, silky skin that had beckoned to her earlier.
“No…s’alright.” Jane reached for Maura’s hand to stop its retreat. Bringing it back to where she had found it when she woke up, she gave a somewhat groggy smile. “I like having you touch me.”
“I shouldn’t have done it without your permission.” Maura shook her head but didn’t resist Jane as her hand was placed back where it had been earlier.
“No Maur…it’s okay. Really…” Jane sighed when she felt Maura’s skin make contact with her own. “I want you to see…I want to share…” She lifted her tank top up higher, allowing the hem to rest just below her breasts. “This is who I am now…” Her hand found Maura’s again and she pressed her open palm against the back of Maura’s in an effort to guide her over the places she had kept hidden.
“These…” Maura rolled over and pushed Jane onto her back. “Are not who you are…” She hovered over Jane looking into dark eyes filled with something she never thought she’d see…shame.
“I shouldn’t have let him do this to me…it was my fault.” Jane started to say but was stopped when Maura kissed her with an urgency she’d never felt before. At first it was hard and demanding and Jane realized that Maura was just trying to shut her up. When she gave up trying to talk, the kiss turned slow and tender as their lips, then their tongues brushed together. The sensation almost sent Jane over the edge and it caused her to push Maura away so she could reign in the out of control feelings she was struggling to understand.
“Too much?” Maura had sensed the change in the body beneath hers and even though she wanted nothing more than to finish what she started, she also knew that Jane needed to go slow.
“Um…maybe…just a little.” Jane gave her a sheepish grin as she tried to catch her breath. “But I like where it’s headed.”
“Can I see?” Maura tilted her head towards Jane’s stomach where their hands were still connected.
“Yes…I want you to.” Jane let out a shaky breath, not at all sure she was ready.
“Are you sure?” Maura had sensed that Jane was trying but also still uncertain.
“Yes…” Jane’s voice didn’t tremble this time.
Carefully, Maura moved to straddle Jane’s hips so she could look down at her stomach. Her eyes swept over the skin that was now exposed to her and then she glanced up asking Jane for permission to touch her again. When Jane nodded, Maura moved her hands to rest on either side of Jane’s stomach. She flexed her fingers along Jane’s sides and placed her thumbs closer to the center where she began to gently brush them back and forth.
“You’re strong and beautiful Jane. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.” Maura looked down to watch her hands move over the taut muscles of Jane’s abs. “Do you know what I see when I look at these…?” Her fingers moved until she was tracing along another scar, this time just below Jane’s left breast. Dragging her attention away from what her hands were doing, she glanced up for an answer. Jane’s breath had become slightly labored and Maura could tell that Jane was concentrating on the feeling of hands moving over her skin so she asked again. “Jane…do you know what I see?” When Jane finally looked up at her, their eyes locked and Maura thought she may have seen fear hidden in the uncertainty as Jane just shook her head because she was unable to find her voice. “I see someone who fought her way back…someone who wouldn’t give up…someone who lived to see another day...” Maura leaned forward and placed a long slow kiss on Jane’s slightly parted lips. “I see a survivor Jane…”
“Jesus Maur…I don’t know much longer I can survive this…” Jane let out a long slow breath.
“I promise that if you tell me to stop…I will.” Maura moved away from Jane’s mouth but didn’t move her hands. Slowly and with purpose, she shifted until her body was halfway down Jane’s. Glancing up, she could see that Jane was watching her with a deep look of concentration on her face, wondering what Maura was going to do next. With a small smile, Maura leaned forward again and placed a tender kiss to the raised line that started somewhere under Jane’s tank top between her breasts and stopped just above her belly button. The kiss was light as Maura skimmed her lips along the slightly raised scar tissue before moving to another one, and then another one. The muscles in Jane’s stomach started to twitch and shake under Maura’s gentle ministrations and she couldn’t suppress the moan that came from somewhere deep within her chest.
Oh, God Maura…it feels so good…but…” Jane hesitated and turned her head to avoid looking at Maura.
“But it’s too much too soon.” Maura pressed her lips just a little harder than before against Jane’s soft, yet muscular stomach before pulling back so she could look at Jane. “Hey…look at me…please.” She pleaded when she saw that Jane wouldn’t look at her. It wasn’t until Jane finally brought her gaze back to look at Maura that she saw the tears Jane was struggling so hard to hold back. “Oh, Jane…what’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry…I want this so much…but I just can’t yet.” Jane let out a shaky breath as tears started to roll down her cheeks. “I feel like I’m letting you down.”
“Oh, my sweet, sweet Jane...” Maura moved up Jane’s body until they were face to face. “We have plenty of time to get to know each other again…I’m not going anywhere.” She tried to reassure. “But thank you for this…” Her hands moved over Jane’s stomach again and the warm skin. “Thank you for sharing these with me…” Fingers traced along the several scars that she could see.
“There are more…” Jane said with a resigned sigh.
“I know…I was there when they stitched you up. I memorized each and every one of them.” Maura looked into Jane’s eyes doing her best to convey her understanding before glancing down at her hands as they moved over Jane’s body. “When the time comes though…I plan to map out every dip and curve of your body, refresh my memory if you will, no matter how long it takes.” With those final words, she brought her gaze back up to find that Jane’s eyes had turned to a soft suede indicating she was relaxed and happy.*

Movement from somewhere behind caught Maura’s attention, drawing her thoughts back to the present.
“What’re you thinking about?” Jane slipped her arms around Maura’s waist and rested her chin on the shoulder in front of her.
“Just remembering how nice it was to wake up in your arms this morning.” Maura sighed contently as she turned her attention to the carafe she had been trying to fill with water. When she finished, she turned around, dislodging Jane’s hold on her. She lifted up on to her tippy toes and gave Jane a quick kiss as consolation. Jane raised a questioning eyebrow and Maura held up the carafe indicating what she was trying to do. With an understanding nod, Jane stepped away to allow Maura to continue making the coffee she was especially in need of.
“It was nice, wasn’t it?” Jane said as she moved to stand next to Maura and the coffee maker. She placed her palms on either side of her hips and hoisted herself up so she could sit on the counter. Watching Maura with a crooked grin, she waited patiently until she was finished before grabbing and pulling Maura to stand between her legs.
Maura let out a squeak of surprise when she felt Jane grab her and pull her to stand between two long legs that were now dangling over the counter. She allowed herself to be moved until she was pressed against Jane giving her the opportunity to put her arms around Jane’s waist. Nestling her check against Jane’s chest, she inhaled the light scent of lavender and vanilla and smiled. She could hear the strong, steady heart beat beneath her ear and she said a small prayer of thanks because she knew more than anyone that things could have ended differently. The unwelcomed thoughts caused her to breathe in deeply before exhaling a shaky breath.
The shaky breath that Maura let out got Jane’s attention but she wasn’t ready to relinquish her hold on the smaller body wrapped around her own. She rested her chin on top of Maura’s head and closed her eyes. “Wanna talk about it?” Her voice was soft and quiet so as not to disturb the moment or startle Maura who seemed to be deep in thought. Before Maura could answer, there was a light tapping at the back door startling them both. When Jane opened her eyes, she could see her mother standing outside, peering in through the window on the door with a sheepish and somewhat apologetic smile on her face. “Will you tell me later what’s got you so worried?” Jane reached down to tilt Maura’s face up so they could look at each other.
Biting down on her bottom lip, Maura nodded reluctantly before taking another deep breath.
“Guess one of us better let my Ma in…” Jane jumped off of the counter and placed a quick kiss to the corner of Maura’s mouth.
“I’ll start breakfast…” Maura smiled at Jane reassuring her that everything was okay.
“You know once you invite her in…you’ll never get rid of her.” Jane couldn’t help but smirk as she headed over towards the door. “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely…” Maura gave Jane a quick wink before turning her attention to making them something to eat.
***

 

Angela watched Jane over the rim of her coffee cup and couldn’t suppress her smile at the pout on Jane’s face.
“But I don’ wanna go to work today…” Jane whined as Maura moved around the kitchen before coming to stand over Jane who was sitting at the kitchen table drinking her coffee.
Running her fingers through dark, unruly locks, Maura couldn’t help but think that Jane’s grouchy disposition was made all the more adorable by her sulky expression. She bent down to place a quick kiss to Jane’s cheek and then whispered in her ear. “I think maybe you should pack an overnight bag so you don’t have to go home to change next time.”
Jane nodded her agreement with enthusiasm as she took a sip of her coffee. Her eye’s followed Maura as she walked away from the table towards the kitchen again. As Maura disappeared from her view, her eyes came to rest on light, hazel twinkling playfully at her. She couldn’t stop herself from grimacing at the smirk on her mother’s face before setting her cup down to face the interrogation she was sure was coming.
“So…” Angela continued to look over at Jane, a sly grin on her face. “You spent the night.” It was a statement, not a question.
Jane gritted her teeth, causing her mouth to turn into a grim line as she flexed her jaw muscles. Looking down at her coffee and the dark liquid that reflected the grim expression she was wearing, she took a deep breath and nodded.
“Why am I not surprised?” Angela pressed even though she sensed that Jane wasn’t in the mood to talk about it. The invitation to breakfast was something that she hadn’t expected but when Jane answered the back door in her tank top and a pair of way too short pajama bottoms she had been struck speechless.
“Look Ma…not that it’s any of your business, but I slept in the guest room.” Jane was suddenly feeling defensive but she wasn’t sure why.
“Jane…you and Maura are grown women, you don’t need to explain anything to me.” Angela continued to watch Jane, her eyes alight with something between playfulness and curiosity.
“Then why do I feel like I’m being examined under a microscope?” Jane brought her gaze back to her mother’s and did her best to stare back without blinking. “You have this uncanny way of looking at me…like you are trying to read my mind. It’s unnerving…” She looked away again as the weight of Angela’s stare pressed down on her.
“I’m sorry, that’s not my intention.” Angela let out a heavy sigh as she set her cup down. “Look, I’m glad to see you two trying again. God knows I’ve missed having Maura around but are you ready for this? Can you give her everything she deserves?”
“Jesus Ma…you act like I’m some sort of heartless bitch.” Jane’s ire piqued as she shifted uncomfortably in her chair. “I’m positive…nothing will ever come between Maura and me again.” She said before realizing that she had just clued her mother into something she shouldn’t have.
“So…something did come between you…” Angela mulled the many scenarios over in her head as she reached over to put her hand on Jane’s arm. “Listen…I won’t ask, I promise. I just want you to be happy…both of you.”
At first Jane’s temper flared but the feeling of Maura standing behind her brought an instant calm. The light touch of Maura’s hand on her shoulder exacted a peaceful sensation that washed over her in waves.
“I know you want us to be happy Angela and that is what we are working on…together.” Maura’s voice was resolute and her smile genuine.
“Don’t mind me, I’m just being a mother hen. I just want you both to make sure you aren’t rushing into anything…that’s all.” Angela watched as Maura moved around to sit next to Jane. She noticed the familiar ease that settled over them both when they were close to each other. Silently she rejoiced at what she knew was the beginning of something wonderful, something they both deserved.
“We get it Ma…but trust me…we haven’t been rushing nearly as much as I’d like us to be.” Jane gave Maura an apologetic smile. Her mind turned to the conversation they had had earlier that morning, the one that centered around her fears and insecurities.
“Trust me when I say this, we have plenty of time…” Maura took Jane’s hand in her own, interlacing their fingers. “Plenty of time to get to know each other again.”
“See, that’s all I’ve been trying to say.” Angela let out a frustrated huff. “You’ve got plenty of time…take things slow…” She waved her hands in the air, only stopping when she saw both Jane and Maura watching her with mild amusement. “Well, all I was trying to say was that you have your whole lives to get reacquainted.”
“As much as I hate to change the subject…” Maura let out a heavy breath. “We really need to get to work.”
“But I don’wanna go to work today.” Jane huffed, the pout returning to her face.
Maura glanced over at Angela who was doing her best to keep a straight face but when she saw the cracks in the façade, neither one of them could contain their laughter.
“What?” Jane groused as she watched both woman roil with laughter.
“Nothing dear…” Angela stood up as she wiped her watering eyes. “I’ll leave you to it.” She said as she patted Jane on the shoulder on her way towards the back door. “Good luck Maura…she used to pull the same stunt when she was in the second grade, pout and all.” She said over her shoulder as she closed the door behind her and her heart lifted at the idea that Jane was finally finding some peace in her life.

 

***
The afternoon was dragging along in an agonizing way as Jane sat back in her chair with a frustrated huff. Running her fingers through her hair, she threw her pen down on the desk before crossing her arms in a show of defiance.
“Hey…what’s up?” Korsak asked from where he was sitting at his own desk. He had a concerned look on his face as he peered at her over the rims of his glasses.
“Nothin’…,” She sighed as she picked her pen up again. “Just bored I guess.”
“Well, paper work’s part of the process…you know that.” He turned his attention back to his own work but not before giving her a stern look that spoke volumes.
“Whatever…” She couldn’t stop herself from glaring his direction, daring him to say something else.
“She’s just missing Maura.” Frost spoke up and then ducked when Jane tossed her pen at him. “What?” He asked innocently. “It’s true.”
“I thought you’d be excited about the interdepartmental softball tournament.” Korsak glanced up from what he was doing.
“Maura and I can’t be on the same team.” Jane let out a puff of air and crossed her arms again.
The move surprised Korsak who was used to Jane’s usually stoic demeanor. “Are you pouting?” He asked as he pulled his glasses off so he could see her better.
“No…” Jane tried not to sound petulant.
“Yes…you are…you are actually pouting.” He dropped his glasses and started to laugh. “I’ll be damned…Jane Rizzoli is pouting.”
Jane continued to glare over at Korsak, her dark eyes flashing with her barely contained anger. “It’s just that I wish Maura and I could play on the same team.” She tried to reason.
“You know she has her own department. I’m sure it won’t be long before she’s warming the bench cheering for you…what with her team consisting of a bunch of…” He paused to think about what to say and only continued when he had the right words. “A bunch of non-athletic types.”
“I wouldn’t count Maura out just yet…” Frost piped up and grinned over at Jane. “I heard that she whipped your butt at the batting cages once.”
“Well, it’s been a few years.” Jane glanced over at him but she couldn’t suppress her smile at the memory his words evoked. Maura had indeed whip her butt and in the process had shown her how to improve her batting stance giving her an advantage during her last year on the high school baseball team. “But I don’t think I have anything to worry about.”
“Care to make a friendly wager?” Maura asked from the doorway of the bullpen. She stood with her arms crossed and a raised eyebrow as she smirked over at Jane who had a sheepish expression on her face.
“Um…what do you have in mind?” Jane tried not to sound surprised at Maura’s proposition.
“Well, perhaps we should come up with something everyone can join in on.” Maura’s eye’s twinkled playfully at Jane before she turned her attention to Frost. “Any ideas?”
“How ‘bout the losing team has to streak naked through the lobby?” He asked but quickly recanted when he caught Jane’s withering glare. “Wait…I’ve got it.” He held up his finger as if he had just had a huge revelation. “Karaoke…”
“Karaoke?” Korsak, Jane, and Maura all said simultaneously.
“Yeah…losers have to sing whatever the winners pick. There’s this great Karaoke place Frankie and I go to sometimes. They’ve got a bar and good food. It’d be fun.” Frost shrugged his shoulders.
“I’m game if you are?” Maura tilted her head towards Jane who conceded with a nod.
“So what you’re proposing is that whoever wins gets to pick the songs that the losers will have to sing.” Korsak asked as he picked up his glasses again and began to chew on the frame as he contemplated.
“Yep…” Frost grinned as he came to realize that his idea was actually being taken seriously.
“Deal…” Jane slapped her hands together before rising from her desk. “I suggest you brush up on your Madonna Dr. Isles.” She gave a saucy wink as she walked over to where Maura was standing. “Now...let’s get outta here and get some lunch.” Grabbing Maura’s hand on the way out of the bullpen, she pulled her along until they were standing in front of the elevator doors.
“As you wish…” Maura said as she gave the hand in her own a gentle squeeze. Glancing over at the self-assured grin on Jane’s face, she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe she did need to brush up on her Madonna.

Chapter Text

Another Day
“Come on Frankie…just do like I told ya.” Jane let out an irritated huff as she peered in-between the chain-link that surrounded the batting cage where Frankie was standing. He dropped down into his batting stance and the helmet he was wearing gleamed as it reflected the late afternoon sun. She squinted at the bright reflection even though she was wearing her sunglasses. The smell of french-fries hung heavily in the air, distracting her and causing her stomach to growl at the thought of the burger and cold beer Frankie had promised her after they were finished. She watched as he swung hard, hitting the ball just along the edge of the bat and she couldn’t help but frown as it sailed off into foul territory. “If you’d just listen to me…” She reached up to lace her fingers through the metal barrier.
“Leave me alone. You’re left handed…it just doesn’t feel right for me to hold my elbow like you said.” He tried to scowl at her over his shoulder before the next pitch came his way. “Anyways…this is softball, not baseball. The physics are different.”
A loud click echoed, signaling the release of the next ball followed by a clang as it hit the chain link behind Frankie when he missed yet again. The impact was hard enough to sting Jane’s hand and in an effort to look casual she let go and slipped her hand into the pocket of her jeans.
“No…they aren’t.” She crossed her arms to show him how impatient she was getting. “If you’d just try my suggestion it might surprise you.”
With a roll of the eyes, he raised his elbow up and dropped his stance just a little more trying to accommodate his sister’s overzealous suggestions. “Alright, alright…” He blew out a long breath. “Like this?”
“Kinda…” She sighed as the last pitch sailed past him because he was too busy paying attention to what she was saying.
“Come on!” He rested the bat on his shoulder as he turned around to glare at her. “If you’d just leave me alone, I’d get it on my own.” He glared over at her, his face red from embarrassment.
“I’m just trying to give you the pointers that Maura gave me a few years back. It really helped with my batting average.” She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at him.
“At baseball…need I remind you again that this is softball.” He rolled his eyes back at her in that exaggerated way that made her laugh. “Hey…” He paused and tilted his head towards her. “Why you wanna give me an advantage anyways? We aren’t even on the same team.”
“Your team plays Maura’s team first and it would be in my best interest if you won, essentially knocking her off of the roster.” She couldn’t help but give him a smile laced with the guilt she was feeling. It wasn’t the idea of losing to Maura that had her worried, but the bet they had made. There wasn’t enough alcohol in the world to get her to stand up and sing in front of her coworkers. Her cheeks warmed with a blush as her thoughts drifted to why Maura had suggested she brush up on her Madonna. It would be a fate worse than death to try to get through the song she knew Maura had in mind.
“Why would you want that?” He turned his full attention to her as she came around to stand next to him.
“Let’s just say I don’t want to lose a bet.” She moved around to stand behind him as she tried to bring her focus back to what she wanted to show him. “You need to drop your shoulder a little…like this.” He allowed her to push his shoulder down just slightly. “Yeah…that works.”
Just as Jane was trying to guide Frankie on what to do next, someone to his right called out his name to get his attention causing him to turn suddenly and quicker than he had intended. His unexpected movement took Jane by surprise as she too turned to her right but instead of seeing who was calling Frankie’s name, she found herself smacking right into the end of the bat that had been resting on his shoulder.
“Jesus Christ Frankie…” Jane yelped as the hard wood split her lip open causing blood to pour down her chin and onto shirt.
“Aw shit Jane…I’m sorry.” He said as he swung around, the bat slipping from his hands and falling on Jane’s foot causing her to jump up and down. If she hadn’t been bleeding so much it might appear comical but Frankie could see that it was anything but. He bunched up his t-shirt and tried to hold it against her mouth in an effort to help.
“Really Frankie…?” She mumbled around her now swelling lip as she hopped on one foot and slapped his hand away.
“Let me see.” He leaned forward and squinted so he could see better. With the shake of his head he frowned at her. “I think I got you pretty good. Looks like you’ll need some stitches. I better take you to the emergency room.” Placing his hands on her shoulders, he turned her around and started to push her towards the exit of the batting cage.
“Nah…” Jane’s words were garbled through the material of her own shirt that she had brought up to catch the dripping blood. “Take me to Maura.”
“Maura? What if you need stitches?” Frankie seemed surprised by Jane’s request.
“She’ll take care of it…” Jane shrugged her shoulders in an attempt to get him to let her loose.
Dropping his hands to his side, he gave her a nod and followed her to the car. There was no use in trying to argue with Jane on a good day let alone when there was blood involved so Frankie pulled the keys from his pocket cursing himself as the disappointment that a cold beer was far from the immediate future at this point.
***
It took thirty minutes to get to the station and in that time, Jane’s lip continued to bleed. The ice in the paper towel that Frankie had insisted on getting before they left the batting cages had melted into a soggy mess, one that she still held against her mouth. Crimson blots colored the wad as water dripped down her arm and all over the front of her t-shirt. As they made their way through the lobby, several people stopped to watch them pass by.
“Hey Rizzoli…what’s the other guy look like?” A tall, muscular guy in a uniform asked her.
“He’s gonna look a lot like you if you don’t mind your own business…” She growled at him. Her words caused him to stop, but then he thought better of it and shook his head as he continued to walk away.
All Frankie could do was roll his eyes at her as they approached the elevator door. He couldn’t help but notice the looks directed their way…some were curious, some were cautious and some had an element of humor causing him to cringe at the thought of the rumor mill that would surely be grinding away by the time they made it to Maura’s office.
When the elevator doors opened, they both stepped in without saying a word to each other. Jane watched as Frankie shoved his hands into his jeans before leaning against the rail. He wouldn’t look at her, instead he looked down at his feet. As the doors closed, the low hum of the elevator descending surrounded them. The silence became uncomfortable causing Jane to finally clear her throat.
“Hey, what’s got you so down? I’m the one bleeding all over the place over here.” She finally spoke.
“I’m sorry about what happened.” He let out a heavy sigh as he shrugged his shoulders. His eyes were still on his feet because he just couldn’t bring himself to look at Jane. Her front was spattered in red spots, standing out against the white of her t-shirt and the sight made him feel slightly sick at his stomach.
“It was an accident.” Jane mumbled around the wet paper towel. “But I get it…it was Amy Thomas trying to get your attention.”
“Yeah, well…I should’ve been paying more attention to what I was doing.” He finally looked up. He could see by the way Jane’s eyes were crinkled up around the edges that she was trying to smile. His heart lightened at the sight before him. “Sorry…”
“It’s okay…” She reached over to give him a light push as the doors opened and they stepped into the hallway.
As they made their way towards Maura’s office, they continued to get curious glances as people passed them. Some looked like they might say something but Jane’s withering glare in response was enough to discourage any urge someone might have to ask what had happened. When they finally got to Maura’s office, it was empty so Jane tromped across the room and dropped down on the soft leather couch she had always admired. It was as soft as she thought it would be so she sank back further into its comfort.
“She’s probably in her lab or in one of the autopsy rooms. Will you go see?” Jane’s voice was filled with fatigue. She pulled her baseball hat off, leaned her head back, and continued to hold the wadded up paper towels against her mouth.
“Yeah, yeah…just wait here.” He said as he rushed out to go find Maura. After their talk in the elevator, he felt better and even held a glimmer of hope that they could still end the day with a cold beer.
It didn’t take him long to find Maura wandering around her lab with several assistants flanking her on either side. She was wearing her lab coat with black scrubs underneath and it was then that Frankie was reminded that Maura was not only the medical examiner, but she was also a doctor. With her white lab coat, she definitely looked the part.
Standing in the doorway with an anxious look on his face he waited until she looked up. When she finally did, he hadn’t expected the smile she gave to take his breath away but it did.
“Hi Frankie, what can I do for you?” She asked before noticing the drops of blood on his baseball shirt. He was wearing one of those white shirts with the half sleeves that were red. Maura noticed that for some reason the red had spread to the front of Frankie’s shirt in droplets that didn’t look like they belonged. Her eyes swept over him before she recognized what she was seeing. With a raised, questioning eyebrow, she crossed her arms and waited for him to answer.
All Frankie could do was stare at her dumbfounded as he attempted to catch his breath. He had always thought that Maura was beautiful and today was no different. But today there had been something different in the smile, something he hadn’t seen in a while. She radiated an energy, a happiness that he knew was there because of Jane.
“Frankie…? Is something wrong? Where’s Jane?” Maura asked when Frankie continued to stare at her, words failing him. All he could do was nod as she moved across her lab with lightening quick speed to stand in front of him. “Where is she?”
“Your office…” He croaked around a dry mouth. The look on Maura’s face had turned from radiance to abject terror and he realized too late what she must have thought. In an attempt to reassure her that Jane was alright he turned to follow her but found that she had already disappeared halfway down the hall. “Shit…, Jane’s gonna kill me.” The words came out on a heavy exhale as he decided it would be best to take his time getting to Maura’s office.
***
Dozens of scenarios passed through Maura’s mind as she made her way down the hall towards her office. By the time she reached her destination the only thing she could think about was the blood that dotted Frankie’s shirt and what it might possibly mean. Panic caused her to stop and hesitate. Was she ready for what she might find waiting for her? Would she ever be ready when it came to Jane? Clinching her fists a few times in an attempt to get the circulation back, she took a deep breath before stepping through the door. To her surprise and relief, she saw Jane with her head leaning back against the couch with her eyes closed. In her hands was a wadded up paper towel, colored crimson with what Maura recognized as blood and suddenly her feet felt like lead. For some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to take another step.
Jane felt Maura’s presence before opening her eyes and a small smile creased her lips causing her to wince slightly. When she did finally open her eyes, she found Maura standing across the room, her eyes wide with worry. They didn’t say anything but Jane could see the questions that were left unspoken so she reached out her hand beckoning Maura to step closer. When there was no movement, she realized it wasn’t just worry, but fear she saw gazing back at her.
“Maur?” Jane said, her voice slightly muffled by the wadded up paper towel she held against her mouth. She had noticed that Maura stood stiff, back rigid as if she may bolt from the room at any minute.
Blinking a few times, it took a several seconds for Jane’s voice to reach Maura. The sight of Jane holding a blood soaked rag to her face caused her stomach to roil with nausea. The last time she had seen blood coming from Jane was when they had wheeled her into the emergency room after Hoyt. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat before closing her eyes hoping to find the will to be brave. Reaching deep down, she finally took a step closer and closed the distance that seemed to have grown as wide as the Grand Canyon.
“Come’ere beautiful…” Jane’s words were slightly garbled. She could see that Maura was struggling with something but at this point, she wasn’t sure what it was. Watching Maura move across the room towards her gave her the feeling that everything was going to be okay, that Maura would make it all alright.
Taking Jane’s hand, Maura tried to smile but only succeeded in giving her a lopsided grin. “Has it been bleeding this whole time?” She asked as she reached over to place two fingers under Jane’s chin to tilt her head back so she could see the cut better. A slight nod of the head confirmed what she already suspected causing her to let out a heavy sigh as she dropped down to kneel in front of Jane. “Here…let me get a better look at that.” Her fingers slipped through long, dark hair pushing it behind an ear before moving lightly over Jane’s cheek.
Jane tried to remain as still as possible as Maura moved her fingers over her cheeks, turning her head from one side then to the other. “Is it bad?” She mumbled as she tried to gauge Maura’s facial expressions. Unfortunately, Maura was a trained professional and schooled her features to reveal nothing of what she may be thinking.
“Well, the cut has gone through the vermillion boarder…,” Maura squinted as she studied Jane’s mouth. It was about a quarter of an inch to half an inch long and she knew that it would need stitches. She let out a heavy sigh, thankful that it wasn’t worse.
“What?” Jane moved to pull away so she could see Maura better. “Isn’t that some kinda pasta?” Her dark eyes lit up as she tried to make a joke
“It’s the cosmetic line that marks the border of the lips on the face and the pasta you are referring to is vermicelli.” Maura ran her thumb along the uninjured side of Jane’s mouth to indicate what she was talking about. She couldn’t stop herself from laughing lightly at Jane’s joke. “You need stitches. Why didn’t you have Frankie take you to the emergency room?” The question changed the mood to a more serious subject.
“I wanted to see you first.” Jane dropped her gaze as she felt her cheeks color with embarrassment. For some reason she was suddenly feeling silly for insisting that Frankie take her to Maura instead of the ER. She had had enough of hospitals and emergency rooms to last her a lifetime, so at the time it seemed like a good idea to seek out Maura’s help. Now she wasn’t so sure as she watched Maura’s lips turn into a small frown. She looked away, afraid of seeing the disappointment she was sure would follow.
“Well…I suppose I could administer the stitches myself.” Maura mused aloud, unaware that Jane was slowly pulling away. “Hey, what’s wrong?” She asked when their eyes finally met.
“I guess I should have let Frankie take me, but I didn’t think it would be a big deal. I thought getting to you would make me feel better.” Jane leaned forward and placed her forehead on Maura’s shoulder. She was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. The need to be close to Maura was almost unbearable but she couldn’t help but feel as if she had somehow disappointed her.
“Does it?” Maura asked as she ran her fingers through long, dark strands of hair that fell in a tangle around Jane’s shoulders. She had been itching to feel those silky tresses since the moment she had entered the room. The way that Jane was wearing it at the moment was one of her favorite looks…slightly disheveled and hanging loosely around her broad shoulders.
“Uh-huh…” Jane said with a sigh. “Can you really patch me up yourself?” She pulled back to find that Maura was smiling at her. Relief fluttered in the pit of her stomach.
“Yes…I had a rotation with a plastic surgeon but I don’t think patches will work this time.” The smile on Maura’s face was wide as she continued to run her fingers through Jane’s hair, pushing it behind an ear so she could get a better look the dark brown eyes that watched her with a mixture of curiosity and relief. “I suppose it’s a good thing you didn’t go to an ER…the doctor on call probably would have given you stitches that would leave a scar.”
“What’s one more scar…just add it to the one’s I’ve already got.” Jane let out a heavy breath, her voice laced with self-loathing.
“My stitches won’t leave a scar.” Maura couldn’t stop herself from allowing her fingertips to trace the faint scar above Jane’s eyebrow, the one she got while playing football in high school. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’ll get my medical bag. It should have everything I need. I even think I might have the lidocaine to numb you up.”
“Either that or a shot of tequila.” Jane tried to smirk but winced instead. Her eyes followed Maura as she moved across the room, taking in the well-appointed office. It was decorated with knick-knacks from places that Maura had visited and Jane made a mental note to ask her about her trips to Africa. She watched as Maura bend down behind her desk before coming up with an antique black medical bag. Her eyes widened when she realized it was the very same bag she had painstakingly restored all those years ago as a gift for their first Christmas together. “You still have it?” She marveled, her eyes glued to the worn but well taken care of black leather and shiny brass buckles.
“Of course I do.” There was a hint of sadness in Maura’s smile as she made her way back to where Jane was sitting. Setting the bag down next to her, she reached up again to cup Jane’s chin so she could get a better look at the cut. “I think that twelve stitches should do the trick. If you’d have gone to the ER, they probably would have put in six.”
“So, you really know what you’re doin’ here…right?” Jane couldn’t hide the uncertainty from her voice. She trusted Maura with everything she was, but the sight of Maura wielding a needle caused the muscles in her stomach to tighten with anxiety.
“Yes…” Maura couldn’t stop herself from giving a slight smirk. “You trust me don’t you?”
“With my life and my heart…” Jane said in a whisper without hesitation as the knot of anxiety disappeared.
The softly spoken words took Maura by surprise and for a brief moment she didn’t know what to say but when her eyes met Jane’s, the soft brown looking back at her was filled with unwavering trust. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a small bottle and began to fill the syringe. “This may sting a little.” She said as she tapped the plastic syringe with the lidocaine before administering it.
“I think I can handle a small…ouch…son of a bitch that hurt.” Jane stiffened. “Holy shit…”
“Language Jane…” Maura couldn’t help but smile. “Alright, we’ll give it a minute to numb you up before I start the stitches.” Leaning forward she placed a gentle kiss to Jane’s cheek as a consolation.
“Yeah, yeah…” Jane rolled her eyes. “Thank goodness you have such a good bedside manner.”
“You haven’t seen anything yet.” Maura winked and smirked again as she gave Jane’s cheek a light pat.
“Well then, maybe I should get hurt more often.” The words came out of Jane’s mouth before she could rethink them. She realized too late the impact they had had on Maura when she saw the once radiant smile disappear only to be replaced by a frown.
“I wish you wouldn’t say things like that.” Maura whispered and looked away. Her hands moved over her medical bag in an effort to distract herself but she could feel Jane’s intense stare.
“I’m sorry.” Jane reached up and cupped Maura’s cheek in the palm of her hand. “Look at me…please.”
Maura hesitated briefly before finally lifting her eyes to look into Janes. “I need to flush your cut with saline before I start the stitches.” Her voice cracked slightly under the weight of emotion she was trying to push aside.
“Maur…we need to talk.” Jane tried not to flinch as Maura rinsed her cut. “Please…stop for minute and talk to me.” She tried to pull away in an effort to force Maura to stop.
“I don’t think I can…,” Maura let out a heavy sigh. “I’m just…,” Again she hesitated and bit her lip to stop it from trembling. “I can’t do this right now. I need to concentrate on this.” She reached into her medical bag and pulled out her suturing kit.
Grabbing Maura’s hands within her own, Jane brought them up in an attempt to place a light kiss against the soft skin she knew she’d find, but instead of warmth she felt a slight tingling sensation against her lips. “Um…I can’t feel anything in my lips.” She said as she quirked up one corner of her mouth in an effort to grin.
“Look, I need some time to sort through my thoughts…and feelings.” Maura gave Jane’s hands a gentle squeeze before pulling them away so she could continue preparing for the task at hand.
“Okay, but this isn’t over.” A heavy sighed escaped from Jane as she settled back to allow Maura to continue. “This will only work if we talk about the things that are bothering us.”
“I know and I promise that we’ll talk…soon, but for now I need to concentrate. Okay?” Maura’s voice held the hint of a plea as she continued to busy herself.
With a slight nod of her head, Jane conceded. She had noticed the sudden change that had come over Maura at her thoughtless comment. Her gut told her that Maura was having trouble with the dangerous aspect of her job but she couldn’t be sure until they talked about it. Pushing the unsettling thoughts aside, she did her best to relax as Maura began to stitch her up.
***
Frost stepped off the elevator and headed down the hall towards Maura’s office. As he rounded a corner he stopped at the sight of Frankie leaning against the wall outside of an open door running his fingers through his dark hair while shaking his head.
“Hey, what’s going on?” Frost moved to stand next to Frankie. “Where’s Jane?”
“She’s in there with Maura.” Frankie put his hand out to stop Frost from going further.
“There’s a rumor going around that she got her ass kicked by a rookie…,” Frost glanced down at Frankie’s hand on his chest like he couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. “Tell me it isn’t true.”
“What do you think?” Frankie dropped his hand before shoving both hands into the pockets of his jeans. “I hit her with my bat…” He started to say.
“You what?” Frost turned to face Frankie who had a sheepish grin on his face. “And you’re not dead?” He couldn’t hide the surprise in his voice.
“Nah…look…it was an accident.” Frankie let out a heavy sigh. He only continued when Frost raised a questioning eyebrow silently asking for an explanation. “We went to the batting cages to practice. She was trying to show me a few things…” He dropped his shoulders with another heavy sigh. “While she was in the batting cage with me, that rookie from the traffic division, Amy called over to me and I turned around hitting Jane in the mouth with the end of the bat.”
“Ummm…Amy…,” Frost said the name with a hint of reverence. He and Frankie had both shown interest in the young woman but she had yet to return that interest.
“I split her lip open…,” Frankie had the decency to look sorry as he shuffled from one foot to the other.
“Bad?” Frost frowned as he leaned a shoulder against the wall next to Frankie.
“Yeah…I think so.” Frankie gave a sideways glance towards the open door to Maura’s office.
“Why didn’t you go to the ER?”
“She wanted me to bring her to Maura.” Frankie shrugged his shoulders as if that was all the explanation that was needed.
“Oh…so why are standing out here?” Frost asked.
“They’re talking…ya know. I didn’t think I should interrupt.” Frankie’s expression changed to worry as he dropped his eyes to look at his feet. He had been standing outside Maura’s office listening to them talk. He didn’t have the heart to interrupt, nor did he want to.
“So you figured you’d just eavesdrop instead.” Frost said with a laugh in an effort to lighten the suddenly serious mood.
“Look…when we got here Maura wasn’t in her office so I went and found her in her lab.” Frankie finally brought his eyes back up to look at Frost. “When she asked where Jane was…I told her that she was hurt.” His eyes darkened with the memory of how upset Maura had been. “Man, Frost…I don’t ever want to cause that kind of pain again. I know it wasn’t really a big deal…but Maura didn’t know that. I watched her easy going smile instantly change to panic as she took off for her office. She didn’t look back to see if I was following. I feel like an idiot for causing her to worry like that.”
“It’s not your fault.” Frost placed his hand on Frankie’s shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze.
“I know our job has an element of danger to it but after what happened to Jane…” Frankie’s voice cracked slightly under the weight of emotion he was feeling. “It’s something I think about every day. I can only imagine what must have gone through Maura’s mind.”
“What happened with Hoyt isn’t something that happens every day Frankie. If they stand any chance at being together, Maura is going to have to come to terms with the reality of Jane’s job…a job that means everything to her.”
“Maura knows Jane better than anyone, sometimes I think even better than our Ma. She knows what the job means to her but I can’t help but think that things are changing…that Jane is changing.” Frankie said. “And didn’t you used to date someone in the FBI…?”
“I did…Malia,” Frost shoved his hands into his pockets as he shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t handle it very well at first though. I was always worried about her…drove her crazy. When I finally came to terms with things…they sent her to San Diego and we both know how hard it is to have a long distance relationship.”
“Yep…,” Frankie let out a huff at the memory of his only long distance relationship. He and Cindy were still friends though; he was even a godfather to one of her son’s. “The one that got away.” He couldn’t stop the self-depreciating chuckle from escaping his lips.
“You and me both.” Frost laughed lightly. “So…what’s going on in there?” He tilted his head towards the door to indicate what he was talking about.
“Maura’s stitching Jane up. Good thing too, I heard Maura say something about having a plastic surgery rotation in med-school so she could patch Jane up without leaving any scars.” Relief filled Frankie’s voice as he realized he had indeed done the right thing by bringing Jane to Maura.
“Well, what say we get upstairs and squash the rumors before Jane gets wind of them and squashes you.” Frost bumped his shoulder against Frankie’s.
“Yeah, that would probably be a good idea.” Frankie turned to follow Frost down the hallway. If he didn’t know better, he’d just chalk the day’s experiences up to being just another day, but he still worried about both Maura and his sister for two completely different reasons.
***
“I think that’ll do.” Maura leaned back slightly so she could admire her handy work. The twelve stitches were small and barely noticeable except for the fact that they were blue. She couldn’t stop herself from placing a quick, but delicate kiss to the corner of Jane’s mouth.
“I’d say it was all worth it if I can have more of that later.” Jane tried to smirk but was only capable of giving a lopsided grin. “Hey…,” she hesitated briefly, reaching up to gingerly touch her mouth. “My lip feels huge.”
“It’s just the effects of the anesthetic, it will go away in a while.” Maura said as she gathered up her things before placing them back into her medical bag.
“It feels really weird…like when I go to the dentist except just my lips are numb.” Jane continued to marvel at the strange feeling in her lips. “Is it noticeable?”
“Once the swelling goes down, it won’t be. I put in twelve stitches but they are really small. I’m sorry that I didn’t have the one’s that dissolve but there isn’t much need for them around here. I also think it’s a good idea to get a tetanus shot.” Maura gave a small shrug as she clasped the bag closed. Turning her attention back to Jane, she noticed how tired Jane looked all of a sudden. “Hey, why don’t you lay back and take a little rest?”
“Ummm…maybe.” Jane glanced longingly over her shoulder at one of the throw pillows on Maura’s couch. It looked really soft and she couldn’t help but wonder if felt as soft as it looked.
“Come on….” Maura reached over and plumped up the pillow before gently shoving Jane back into a reclined position.
“Ya know, if you wanted me on my back…all ya had to do was ask.” Jane chuckled as she allowed Maura to lay her back.
“Oh, ha ha.” Maura gave her a stern look. “Rest now…we can stop by your place and pack you an over-night bag to take to my house…maybe even stop for a burger and beer, although I don’t think you’ll be in the mood for a burger…soup would be good.” She started to ramble.
“Alright, alright…but only if you stay in here with me.” Jane gave a slight pout, poking her bottom lip out. It felt strange, causing her to move her fingers over her lip again.
“Quit touching it or it will get infected.” Maura gently pushed Jane’s hand away as she stood up.
“It just feels so weird.” Jane couldn’t stop herself from rolling her eyes. The action brought another stern look to Maura’s face, but this time she was kidding.
“Close your eyes…I’ll just be at my desk finishing up some paperwork and then we can get out of here.” Maura bent over and placed a kiss to Jane’s forehead.
“Um’kay…,” Jane settled back against the soft leather couch and closed her eyes. “Just a short nap.”
A smile formed on Maura’s lips as she watched Jane get comfortable. She was thankful that Jane was alright, but a knot began to form in the pit of her stomach at the idea that one of these days she might be faced with something much worse than a handful of stitches from a cut lip.

Chapter Text

Some Things Never Change
“Hold still and quit squirming.” Maura said with a huff as she removed the last of the stitches from Jane’s lip.
“I can’t help it. It tickles…” Jane shifted her weight under Maura’s gentle ministrations.
Maura raised an eyebrow at Jane’s answer as she leaned back to get a better look at her handy work. The scarring was minimal with just the barest hint of a white line she was sure would eventually fade with time. “Well, if you’re good…I’ll give you a lollipop.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a red sucker.
“Oooh…red, my favorite.” Jane clapped her hands together like a little kid bringing a smile to Maura’s face.
“You. Are. Adorable.” Maura punctuated each word as she leaned forward and placed a quick kiss to the corner of Jane’s mouth.
“I’d rather have some more of this…” Jane wrapped her arms around Maura and pulled her closer so she could kiss her back. As her lips moved over Maura’s in a slow and unhurried kiss, she ran her hand up and over the curve of an ear before slipping into the soft silky hair at the base of Maura’s neck. The fingers that had found refuge in the gentle curls moved to graze along the outside of a flushed cheek and then down to the slope of a shoulder before intertwining their fingers. Bringing their intertwined hands up to her lips, Jane placed a lingering kiss there. “I. Adore. You.” She emphasized each word with a flutter of butterfly kisses along Maura’s jaw before ending with her mouth hovering over slightly parted lips.
“Have I told you how much I love it when you wear a tank top?” Maura barely whispered as her fingers skimmed along the black ribbed material that covered Jane’s torso.
“Ummmm, maybe once or twice.” Jane’s words came out on a shaky breath. The feeling of Maura’s hands moving over her tank top held a possessiveness she hadn’t known she liked until that moment. She liked the feeling of belonging to Maura and she liked the way that Maura let her know who she belonged to even more. “I’ve missed being able to kiss you…”
“Me too,” Maura sighed and even though she knew it was coming, she was still surprised when Jane’s dark eyes dropped down to look at her lips. When their mouths came together, it was tender and sweet, filled with so much promise it almost brought tears to her eyes. She pulled back just enough to take a breath, their lips never losing contact. And when Maura went back for more, her lips parted so she could run her tongue along a full bottom lip asking permission for something more. So caught up in the moment, neither of them heard the light knock at the door. It wasn’t until Angela’s tentative voice carried to them that Maura realized they were no longer alone. Hesitantly, she started to pull back, but this time when they parted, it was slow as if neither was willing to let the other go. And as her nose skimmed across Jane’s, a tilt of the head led them back to each other and the kiss.
“Jane? Maura?” Angela called out again. She was doing her best to abide by the boundaries that had been set, knowing that she shouldn’t just walk into Maura’s house even though it was the middle of the afternoon. “You have about ten seconds before I open this door…”
“You insisted she know where the key was hidden.” Jane mumbled breathlessly against Maura’s lips.
“I can find a new hiding place.” Maura sighed as she pulled away but not before running her fingers through Jane’s thick, dark wavy hair. “Anyway…as inconvenient as it seems, it is a welcome interruption. We have to be at the ballpark in an hour.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to just sit this one out?” Jane closed her eyes and tilted her head into Maura’s touch.
“What? And miss seeing you sing Karaoke?” Maura quirked an eyebrow at her in question.
“Hmmm…we’ll see about that…” Jane started to say but was interrupted as Angela swung the door open and popped her head inside.
“Ready or not…here I come.” Angela said in a sing song voice as she stepped into the room, trying to look everywhere but at Jane and Maura.
“Hey Ma.” Jane said, her voice laced with mild irritation and frustration.
“Is she being a good patient?” Angela turned her attention to Maura.
“Absolutely…she’s even got the red sucker to prove it.” Maura tilted her head towards Jane who was holding up her sucker to show Angela.
“Oh, red…your favorite.” Angela bent forward to get a better look at Jane’s lip. “Wow Maura…you did a great job. I can hardly see a scar.” She didn’t see Jane’s eyes darken but Maura did. “Did you ever consider becoming a plastic surgeon?”
“No…not really.” Maura caught Jane’s gaze and gave her a reassuring smile. She knew how sensitive Jane was about her scars, the ones she kept hidden. Her heart lightened when Jane smiled back.
“Well…you should have.” Angela said matter-o-fact. “I’m not one for all of that cosmetic stuff but you could have really helped a lot of people.”
“She still helps a lot of people Ma.” Jane tried not huff but she was unsuccessful drawing a raised eyebrow from her mother.
“I didn’t mean to imply that she doesn’t already help people.” Angela’s voice was quiet.
“I know you didn’t Ma…sorry. I haven’t been sleeping well lately and I’m cranky.” Jane couldn’t help but give Maura a small smirk over Angela’s shoulder. She had spent a few sleepless nights lying next to Maura, unable to find her courage to move past the snuggling stage. Not only that, but her stitches had itched and pulled at the most inopportune moments leaving her feeling frustrated because they couldn’t even kiss. But that had all changed when Maura removed the thin, blue thread and the memory of it caused her cheeks to color.
Angela didn’t say anything, she only nodded when she noticed Jane’s cheeks turn a light pink. She wasn’t accustomed to seeing her daughter blush but she knew if anyone could cause it, it was Maura. “Don’t you have to be at the baseball field soon?” Her inquiry seemed genuine but it was a welcomed change in subject.
“Yeah…supposed to be there in about an hour.” Jane pushed herself up off of the couch and stretched her arms over her head.
“I heard a rumor that there is a friendly bet on the game.” Angela moved closer to Maura. “Something about the losing team singing Karaoke.” She tilted her head to regard Jane as she watched her fidget.
“That is correct Angela and I do believe that it will be Jane gracing us all with her dynamic stage presence.” Maura tried not to smile, but the look on Jane’s face caused her to laugh.
“That ain’t gonna happen.” Jane groused as she rolled her eyes in an exaggerated way. “If anyone is gonna be gracing us…it’s you Dr. Isles.”
“Ummmm…Dr. Isles huh...that’s how we’re gonna play it…Detective Rizzoli.” Maura lifted her chin and tried to sound defiant. The tone of her voice had Jane backtracking but the playful twinkle in her eyes let everyone know she was kidding.
“I guess we’ll see after today…” Jane let her voice trail off as she thought about the fact that her department was playing Maura’s in just a few short hours. She couldn’t help but scowl at the memory of Maura’s team beating Frankie’s team the weekend before. It was down to four teams now and it was do or die. If she lost today, she’d have to turn in her badge due to embarrassment. How would anyone respect her if she was forced to strut around and sing in front of them? It was something she didn’t want to find out.
“Well, seeing as I love you both…I can’t pick sides, although it would be nice to see you loosen up a bit Jane.” Angela gave a slight nod towards Jane.
“Whatever Ma…I’m gonna get ready.” Jane huffed as she moved past her mom towards the stairs. Glancing over her shoulder she caught Maura’s eye and silently asked if she was going to join her but Maura gave a slight frown indicating she couldn’t. With a shrug of the shoulders, Jane continued up the stairs and out of sight.
“She can be a sore loser sometimes.” Angela said with a sigh.
“I have a feeling that no one is going to be losing in the end.” Maura said rather cryptically. The comment brought a slight blush to Angela’s cheeks at the implication of what Maura may have meant.
“Um…how are things going…ya know, with you two?” Angela cleared her throat nervously as she asked the question.
“Things are moving along…slowly…but in the right direction.” Maura couldn’t help but cross her arms in a protective gesture.
“Good…I’ve been worried about her. She hasn’t been the same since…,” Angela hesitated before grounding out the last word. “Hoyt.”
“We both know she went through a very traumatic experience. It takes time to get over something like that.” Maura’s voice shook slightly. For some reason she felt she needed to defend Jane and she wasn’t sure why because Angela wasn’t implying anything they both didn’t already know.
“Look sweetheart,” Angela reached out to place a comforting hand on Maura’s arm. “I think…, no…I know that you’re good for each other. You always have been. I’m just glad to see Jane smile again…I’m just happy to have my daughter back…you know.”
“I am afraid you give me too much credit Angela.” Maura tried to push the compliment aside. “Jane is a strong woman…the strongest I’ve ever know.”
“Be that as it may…she’s stronger with you by her side.” Angela couldn’t stop herself from pulling Maura into a hug. “I’ve known in my heart, since the day I saw her look at you with so much love that I thought it would break my heart that you two were destined to be together. I’m just glad you’ve found your way back to each other.”
“Me too.” Maura whispered as she allowed Angela to hug her.

***
Jane knew the moment she heard the crack of the bat against the ball that it was a homerun. Looking up at the sky, she watched it soar towards the chain link fence that was meant to be a barrier but nothing was going to stop it from sailing over. She pushed her hat back and wiped her forehead with the back of her hand as she dropped her mitt on the ground kicking up the dust at her feet. It tasted dry and made her wish she was enjoying a cold beer instead standing under the late afternoon sun feeling hot and drained. Her eyes followed the hitter as she rounded first base making her way towards second and closer to where Jane was standing with her hands on her hips. She wanted to be mad but as Maura got closer to her with that smile on her face, the one that made her weak at the knees, her heart swelled with pride. They had been beat fair and square by Maura’s homerun and even though Jane was nervous about their bet, she felt a calm peacefulness overcome her as Maura reached out to her silently mouthing the words ‘I love you’ as she ran towards third base. No, there would be no anger at the end of this game. Instead Jane would remember the little things, like the way Maura ran to her, almost toppling them both over in her excitement when it was over or the way Maura smelled like sweet, freshly cut grass or a smile that was almost as bright as the sun that had shone down on them that afternoon. It would be these things that Jane would cling to when the inevitable darkness that sometimes clouded her thoughts tried to claim her in the middle of night. But with any luck, tonight would not be one of those nights.
As Jane held Maura close and held her tightly, she didn’t want to let go as she inhaled the sweet intoxicating scent that was a mixture of light sweat, dirt, and grass. It was everything she had remembered from their days in high school. The love, warmth, and desire were still there and it caused a slight flutter of anticipation in the pit of her stomach. A tremor moved through her body with a force that caused her to shake slightly.
“I can’t believe we won.” Maura said breathlessly as she settled in Jane’s arms. Everything about this moment felt like home to her but she hesitated and pulled back when she felt Jane shiver. “Are you mad?” She mistook Jane’s shaky legs for anger.
“I’m so proud of you.” Jane looked down into Maura’s hazel/green eyes that were wide with wonder and a touch of uncertainty. Bending forward, she placed a quick kiss to Maura’s forehead but the move caused the bills of their hats to bump against each other knocking Maura’s hat off. Letting go, Jane leaned over to pick it up only to pull back up to find Detective Martinez from Vice standing next to her with a smug smile on his face. She blew out an exasperated sigh and waited for him to stick his foot in his mouth.
“So, beat by a bunch of geeks.” He groused as he placed his hands on his hips and gave Jane the once over before glancing over at Maura.
“What of it Martinez.” Jane said through clenched teeth. She didn’t like the way his eyes lingered over her body but she especially didn’t like the way he was leering at Maura. It didn’t help that they had a history between them, one she would gladly forget but it seemed to embolden him whenever they came across each other. Thank goodness it wasn’t often. She could see Korsak looking over Martinez’s shoulder silently asking if she needed his back up. A quick nod had him pulling Frost away from Frankie to stand closer in case they were needed.
“Detective Martinez.” Maura gave him a curt nod, her irritation evident at his interruption. Relief washed over her when she saw Korsak, Frost, and Frankie move to stand behind Martinez at a safe enough distance not to be noticed but close enough to step in if they needed to. The move emboldened Maura who curled her lip up into a sneer as she eyed the short, stocky detective.
“Congratulations Dr. Isles.” He tried to give her his best smile but faltered slightly when she didn’t smile back. “But I’m afraid you’re gonna have to play against the ‘big boys’ next time…and…,” he hesitated as he gave Jane a sideways look. “We won’t be push overs.”
“What are you implying Martinez?” Jane straightened up to her full height which was a good four inches taller than him. She began to twist Maura’s hat in her hands causing him to shrink back slightly as her shadow towered over him but then he squared his shoulders and tried to appear taller than his 5’7” stature would allow.
“Oh, nothing Rizzoli…except you let your girlfriend here beat you and you and I both know that you never get beat.” He sneered at her, thinking that he had hit the nail on the head.
“They won fair and square asshole.” Jane took a step closer to him causing Maura to step closer to her, essentially putting herself between Jane and Martinez.
“Yeah…whatever.” He dismissed her as he turned to leave. He knew he was no match for Jane, especially when she had her backup which he had noticed when he turned to leave.
“Hey…care to make a wager on the game?” Maura’s words surprised everyone, including herself and it caused Martinez to stop and turn back around.
His dark eyebrows knit together as he contemplated her offer. He could tell by the stunned look on Jane’s face that she hadn’t expected Maura to make such a proposal. “Yeah, okay…whatcha got in mind?”
“Well…if we beat you then Vice has to pay for the first round of drinks at the Dirty Robber…for everyone.” Maura said sounding rather proud of herself for coming up with an idea.
“And when we beat you? What then?” He asked.
“Then my team will buy the first round.” Maura answered quickly.
“Okay…but as long as you throw in a date…you and me.” Martinez waved his hand between him and Maura.
“Okay…and as long as we’re throwing in extras…,” Maura leaned close to him so she didn’t have to speak loud. “Don’t let me catch you looking at Jane like you did earlier…ever again.” Maura’s pleasant smile tightened as she looked him in the eye daring him to deny it.
“Deal…” He held out his hand for her to shake. “I hope you like Italian…oh wait, what am I talking about…of course you do.” His words were punctuated by a wink before giving Jane a last once over. Tossing a flippant wave over his shoulder, he left.
As they watched Martinez walk away, Jane held her breath until she knew they were alone again. With a roll of her eyes, she turned to Maura with an expectant look on her face. “So genius…how are you gonna pull that one off?” She could see Korsak, Frost, and Frankie visibly relax as Martinez walked away.
“I have no intention of going on a date with that Neanderthal…so, it is my intention to win and we both know that once I set my mind to something…I always win.” Maura quirked her mouth into a half smile showing off that one dimple in her left cheek.
“Yeah, well you’d better win. I’d hate to have to knee cap Martinez so he won’t be able to take you out on that date.” Jane pursed her lips together as she thought about it.
“Do you doubt my capabilities?” Maura took a step closer and smiled up at Jane.
“Absolutely not.” Jane’s tone was serious but her eyes held a playful twinkle as she placed Maura’s hat on her head and yanked it down over her eyes with a swift tug. “But I bet I can still outrun ya…” She said as she took off toward the car. “Last one to the car is a rotten egg.”
Maura pushed her hat back away from her eyes and grinned as she watched Jane run. It was moments like these that she held dear, the moments when Jane was carefree and happy. The moments she couldn’t see the toll that Hoyt had taken on her behind her dark eyes. With a chuckle, she ran after Jane at a slow jog knowing she would eventually catch up and knowing that Jane would always be waiting for her at the end of the finish line.

Chapter Text

Smile at you
The day of the last game came quicker than Jane had anticipated causing anxiety to accompany her as she sat on the sidelines watching Maura and her team warm up. It was a scene she was familiar with but this time she was on the other side of the fence as a spectator. Her memory floated back to those days she played baseball in high school and all of the times she had glanced over her shoulder towards the bleachers to find Maura smiling at her reassuringly. Without fail, Maura had been her own private cheering section giving her the fortitude to go out there on the field every time and play her heart out.
Today it was her turn to give back and it made her heart swell with pride when Maura glanced over at her and smiled. Smiling back, she stretched her denim clad legs out in front of her and leaned back giving her a relaxed appearance. When Maura turned her attention back to the field, Jane tilted her head back to look up at the sky. White fluffy clouds dotted the skyline against a brilliant blue background giving the barest hint of a storm brewing off in the distance. The sight gave her pause as she pushed her aviator sunglasses up higher on her nose and studied the distant threat of rain. A light breeze blew past her ruffling her unbuttoned Red Sox jersey, pushing it open to reveal the navy blue tank top underneath. As she continued to look up at the sky, she felt someone slip into the seat next to her and she tilted her head just enough to regard the smiling face that greeted her.
“S’up?” Jane turned her attention back to the cloudy sky.
“Not much. Thought I’d drop by to see how things are going.” Carly stretched out her longs legs and leaned back mimicking Jane. “Besides, Aunt Angela invited me to come have a sausage dog.”
“Yeah?” Jane let out a heavy sigh as glanced longingly out towards the ball field where Maura was.
“Yeah…,” Carly followed Jane’s line of sight and let out a chuckle. “Hard being on the other side of the fence…isn’t it?”
“I suppose.” Jane glanced over to look at Carly again. She couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that they looked more like sisters than cousins. Perhaps it was the blue jeans, Red Sox ball cap, and converse high tops paired with the dark hair and lean statue that made them look so much alike but whatever it was Jane couldn’t help but smile.
“What’s the goofy grin for?” Carly sat up straighter wondering what Jane thought was so funny.
“Nothing…it’s just that sometimes I forget how much we look alike…except for these….,” Jane slid her sunglasses down just enough to reveal her dark brown eyes.
The words brought a smile to Carly’s face as she gave a quick nod in return. “Ya know I love ya like a sister…,” she gave Jane’s shoulder a little bump with her own.
“The sentiment’s the same here.” Jane bumped back.
“So with that being said…,” Carly hesitated for a moment as she looked out towards Maura who was waving at her. She gave a wave back. “I’ve got something to tell you.”
“Is everything okay?” Jane sat up straight and turned her full attention to Carly having heard the serious tone in her voice. “Is Ryan alright? You guys aren’t breaking up are you?” Her stomach dropped at the memory of their last meeting.
“On the contrary…,” Carly reached over and took Jane’s hand in her own and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “I’m pregnant.”
Jane blinked a few times as the words and their implications sank in and her mouth dropped open as she struggled to find the words that seemed to be evading her at that moment. Her eyes glanced down from Carly’s light blue to her stomach then back up as if she didn’t quite understand what was being said to her.
“Jane…,” Carly ginned. “Ryan and I are finally going to start a family.”
“What? How could this happen? I mean I know how it happens…,” Jane started to ramble on and wave her hand in the air.
“In-vitro at a sperm bank…that’s how it happened.” Carly couldn’t help but laugh at Jane’s reaction. “Look, we’ve thought long and hard about this and yes before you ask, we looked into adoption but that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for us.” Her shoulders sagged under the heavy truth.
“Wow…just…wow.” Jane let out a heavy breath she hadn’t known she had been holding. “That’s really great Carly. I’m so happy for you guys.” She leaned over to wrap her arms around Carly before pulling back quickly and looking down again. “I…um…don’t want to hurt you or the baby or anything.”
“Hugging me won’t hurt anything even when I’m out to here.” Carly held her hands out in front of her to indicate how big she would get. “But “I’m only twelve weeks now.”
“A little over two and a half months…I’m at a loss. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Jane frowned slightly.
“We’ve had a rough go of it Jane.” Carly pulled her hat off and ran her fingers through her long dark hair before putting it back on and tugging low over her eyes in an effort to hide the tears that shimmered beneath the light blue. “We started trying a little over a year ago. At first it was Ryan, but it never took. The doctor thought that maybe it was the stress of her job so we decided that I’d give it a try.”
“How long did it take you?” Jane’s heart felt heavy with sadness as she thought of how heartbroken Ryan must have been.
“Well…,” Carly leaned back and placed her hand on the space just above her hips and spread her fingers out as if cradling something unseen. “They say the third time is the charm…and I guess it is.”
“I never knew you wanted to have kids.” Jane’s eyes glanced back over at Maura as a longing she had never felt before washed over her. She hadn’t known until Maura had come back into her life that she wanted the same thing.
“We always thought it would be Ryan that would get pregnant. I just never really thought it was something that I wanted to do but…,” Carly hesitated as she followed Jane’s eyes finding Maura looking back at them with a smile. “I’m doing it because I love Ryan…the fact that I can give her this…something she’s dreamed about her whole life, it’s a small sacrifice on my part.” Tilting her head, she regarded the wistful expression on Jane’s face. “You’d do the same thing for Maura if she asked you to.”
“I would…,” Jane said with a smile. “If you’d have asked me six months ago, I would have said ‘hell no’. But you’re right, today…I wouldn’t even think twice about it.”
“Is that something you want?” Carly asked as she settled back against the bleachers and relaxed.
“It is…I’ve been thinking about it more lately, but I think we need to get to know each other again before we start planning a family together.” Jane let out a heavy sigh.
“But you are planning a future together.” Carly said as she lifted her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun so she could watch Angela make her way in their direction.
“Who else knows?” Jane asked as she too watched her mother walk towards them.
“Our Mom’s…Bella and Mia, and you and Maura.” Carly said the last name without thinking, causing Jane to give her strange look.
“Maura? You told Maura before you told me?” Jane couldn’t contain the hurt in her voice as she furrowed her dark brows.
“Maura is the one who referred us to the sperm bank and one of the best fertility doctors in Boston Jane. She practically knew before we did…she is a doctor ya know.” Carly tried to defend herself.
“So what you’re saying is that my Ma doesn’t know yet?” Jane gave a sly grin as her mother approached carrying a box filled with hamburgers, hotdogs, french-fries and sodas. “Guess what Ma?” She called out to her mother as she jumped up to grab the box. “Carly and Ryan are pregnant…”
The look on Angela’s face was priceless as she tried to process what Jane had just told her. Her eyes grew wide with surprise before she launched herself towards Carly almost knocking them both over with a forceful hug.
“Oh my goodness! Tell me all about it!” Angela pulled a now standing Carly back down to sit next to her. “Here give me that…,” She reached up and took the box of food from Jane before frowning at the contents. Greasy burgers, hotdogs, and fries seemed to mock her at the moment not to mention the two cans of beer alongside the sodas. “This won’t do…you need something healthy…not this crap.” Shaking her head, she shoved the box back in Jane’s direction. “Here…”
“It’s fine Angela…I don’t think a burger will hurt but I’ll pass on the beer.” Carly looked up at Jane who was still sporting an evil grin. “Do you have some bottled water instead?”
“Absolutely…Jane go get Carly a bottle of water.” Angela gave Jane a dismissive wave as she turned her attention back to Carly. “So…tell me…”
Jane couldn’t wipe the scowl from her face as she realized that she had just been dismissed. “Well, at least I can drink one of these.” She said to no one in particular as she reached in for one of the ice cold beers. As she popped the top open, it hissed and foamed over the sides before she brought it up to take a long drink as she drifted away from the conversation she had instigated between her mother and Carly.
Frankie caught her eye as he waved her over to where he and Frost were standing as they watched Vice take the field for practice. As she got closer, she could see that both of them were focused on a few young women tossing the ball back and forth.
“Put your tongues back in your mouth’s you perv’s.” She handed him the box of food that her mother had sent away. “Here.”
“Thanks…I think.” Frankie glanced over towards the direction Jane had come from. “Hey…is that Carly?”
“Yeah…but Ma’s bending her ear at the moment.” Jane couldn’t help but smirk.
“So, do you think Maura’s team is gonna win this one?” Frost asked as he reached into the box Frankie was now holding taking out a hotdog and the other beer.
“Hey…who said you get the beer?” Frankie groused as he turned to set the box down on the bench next to him, taking a burger for himself.
“You snooze; you lose big boy.” Frost grinned as he popped the top and took a drink.
“You suck…” Frankie sighed as he grabbed a coke.
“Why don’t you just go get one…they’re right over there in that cooler.” Jane huffed as she watched her brother pout.
“Then I’d miss that…” He tilted his head in the direction of the two girls they had been watching.
“Jesus Frankie…you’re such a dog.” Jane gave him a little shove.
“Hey it’s not just me…your partner over there has us set up on a double date at the Dirty Robber after the game.” He jabbed a finger in Frosts direction.
“Whatever man…” Jane shook her head. “Guess you don’t mind shaking that money maker on a first date.”
“Hey…if you’re referring to our lost bet and Karaoke…then no I don’t mind at all. I’m thinking a little Prince might break the ice.” Frost held his beer up in mock toast. “Just because you’re a chicken shit and don’t want to have a little fun…”
“I am not chicken shit…I just want to keep my dignity. Besides, you don’t get to pick the song.” Jane glanced over towards Maura who was gathering her equipment and heading their way.
“What makes you think that Maura will embarrass you?” Frankie asked as he swallowed a bit of his burger, raising an eyebrow in question.
“Let’s just say I owe her one…” Jane gave a pained look as she remembered Maura telling her to brush up on her Madonna. She knew that Maura didn’t want to embarrass her but it was inevitable if she had to get in front of people and sing. But she also knew it was a bet made fair and square, one that she had lost.
“Hey, can I have drink?” Maura asked as she stepped up beside Jane, dropping her bag at her feet with a tired sigh.
“Uh-huh…,” Jane handed her can of beer over and smiled when Maura made a face at the first taste.
“I still don’t understand how you can drink this stuff.” Maura handed the can back.
“Well, in my defense…this isn’t my usual choice. But it is beer and it is cold.” Jane couldn’t stop from laughing at Maura’s scrunched up face as the bitter taste lingered.
“You know I’m not a fan of soda, but if there’s one left I’ll take it.” Maura looked over at Frankie who pulled out a can and handed it to her.
“You guys looked good out there. Are you ready?” Frost asked before taking the last bite of his hotdog. Wading up the tinfoil it had come in, he tossed it over into the box sitting on the bench before giving Maura an expectant look.
Maura was quiet for a minute as she watched the action on the field trying to gage the competition. Then a smile spread across her face as she turned her attention to Frost. “I have no doubt that we are ready and will win.”
Jane couldn’t stop herself from rolling her eyes at Maura’s remark. She wasn’t as sure as Maura was because she knew how competitive Vice was. They were tough and not afraid to play dirty. That is what bothered Jane the most. Maura was a rule follower and so were her teammates.
“Hey boys…wanna make plans for our meet up tonight?” One of the girls from Vice called over to get Frankie and Frost’s attention.
“Yeah, yeah…,” Frankie called back as he dropped his trash into the box. “For what it’s worth Maura…I hope you win. Someone needs to shut Martinez’s mouth once and for all.” He said as he turned around to follow Frost.
“Is there something I should know about you and Martinez?” Maura cautiously eyed Jane.
Ducking her head in an effort to buy herself some time, Jane caught a glimpse of her mother and Carly still engaged in conversation and she decided to change the subject as delicately as she could. “You didn’t tell me you knew about Carly and Ryan.” The words came out harsher than she had intended. So much for delicate she thought to herself as she cringed at her accusatory tone.
“Well, I didn’t know…not for sure. I had a feeling that last time we saw them.” Maura tried not to sound hurt at the hint of accusation and anger in Jane’s voice.
“Um…sorry. I’m not mad…just a little hurt. I didn’t even know it was something they were thinking of doing. Why didn’t you tell me?” Jane glanced down as she looked down at her feet.
“We haven’t been together for very long Jane…we haven’t really had a chance to talk about things other than us.” Maura tried to defend herself.
“I know. I guess it makes sense.” Jane pushed aside her hurt and reached out to pull Maura into a hug. “I just feel so disconnected to everything…everyone.”
“You’re not…disconnected Jane.” Maura slipped her hands inside Jane’s open Red Sox jersey around to her back. Resting her check against Jane chest, she snuggled close.
“Not anymore.” Jane rested her chin on top Maura’s head and let out a long, heavy sigh. As she stood there with Maura in her arms, her eyes wandered the field finally finding the one person she didn’t want to think about, Martinez.

 

***
“Play Ball!” The home plate umpire shouted to signal the beginning of the game.
“I meant to ask you where Ryan was?” Jane settled down next to Carly again, long after her mother had left.
“She said she’d be here as soon as she finished at work. Should be anytime now.” Carly bristled slightly at Jane’s arrival.
“Come on…you’re not mad at me, are you?” Jane tried not to grin as she spoke.
“Maybe…,” Carly gave her a sideways glance and tried to glare. “Just a little.”
“Sorry, but I knew she’d be excited.” Jane tried to explain. “Besides…it keeps her off of my back for a while.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that. She wants me to give her the name of the fertility clinic we went to…ya know so you and Maura can start planning.” Carly couldn’t suppress the grin that spread across her face. “I saw you got some quiet time with Maura.”
“Yeah, but she kept asking about Martinez. I think she knows that something happened between us.” Jane shrugged her shoulders.
“Did you tell her?” Carly asked.
“It would only distract her.” Jane tried to reason.
“Or give her a good reason to watch her back. He doesn’t play fair. You learned that the hard way.” Carly glanced towards the field as the first batter took his place at home plate.
“I know, I know. But what good would it do to tell her about Wendy?” Jane let out a heavy sigh.
“It’s okay that you had relationships before she came back into your life. She had relationships as well. I just have a feeling that he’s gonna take his frustrations out on her since he can’t take them out on you.” Carly nodded towards the short, stocky man at first base.
“I get it…but I can’t blame him…not really. We went out a few times and it didn’t take…can’t say the same thing about his sister though. But I get it…she’s his sister and it was a mistake…what can I say.” Jane tried to brush off Carly’s comments even though she had worried about the same thing.
“Maybe try by saying that you’re sorry.” Carly declared.
“What? Sorry that he thought we were dating when it was his sister I was interested in the whole time.” Jane could feel her anger flare. “I thought I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in him that way. We had fun hanging out together ya know…he just took it the wrong way. It’s not my fault.”
“And you’d be right to feel that way, but try to see it from his perspective. You and him were friends before…then you and Wendy started dating and then you broke up, but then you stopped hanging out with him.” Carly did her best to explain.
“Okay…I can see what you mean but our break-up was mutual.” Jane took a deep breath when she heard the crack of the bat echo around them. Looking up she saw the first hit of the game make their way to second base.
“I know that, but when you broke up with Wendy…you also broke up with him.” Carly turned to regard Jane thoughtfully. “I guess that’s why he’s so angry at you. There was no resolution for him.”
“I suppose it was just easier to stop hanging out with him. Things got pretty awkward from then on out.” Jane shook her head.
“It doesn’t help that he has feelings for you as well.” Carly decided to say what she was really thinking.
“I know and for that I’m sorry.”
“Then tell him…,” Carly spoke softly as if soothing a wounded animal.
“Yeah…you’re right. I’ll do it after the game.” Jane resigned herself. “But he’d better not do anything to piss me off before then…and he’ll be going out with Maura over my dead body if they win this game.”
“I believe you.” Carly chuckled even though she hoped that he wouldn’t do anything stupid as well. “Hey, I think someone is trying to get your attention.” She pointed towards the dugout where Maura stood patiently waiting her turn at bat.
Jane’s expression softened at Maura’s anxious smile. She gave a wave and got a small one in return. Throwing all caution to the wind, she mouthed I love you in Maura’s direction only to get the same response in return.
“So…what are you hoping for? A boy or a girl?” Jane turned her attention back to Carly, bringing a smile to both of their faces.
“I’m gonna be cliché here and say either…as long as it’s healthy.” Carly’s smile grew to fill her face when Ryan appeared.
“Hey love…,” Ryan dropped down next to Carly, giving her a quick kiss on an offered cheek. “How are you feeling? You need anything?”
“I’m good…just glad you made it.” Carly leaned a little closer and laid her head on Ryan’s shoulder.
“You tired?” Ryan reached over to run her fingers along Carly’s jaw to trace up the outline of her ear.
“A little I suppose.” Carly sat up straight at the crack of a bat against a ball. The sound caused everyone to stop and look.
“That’s my girl.” Jane said proudly as she puffed her chest out. As she watched Maura make her way around the bases towards home plate she couldn’t suppress her smile. Maura’s team had two points on the board and it was only the first inning.
“Hey Jane.” Ryan leaned over to see Jane better. “Things going well?” There was a cautious undertone to her voice as she spoke.
“Yep…so far so good.” Jane peered over at Ryan giving her a look that spoke volumes. They hadn’t spoken much since their last meeting at Maura’s house and Jane hoped than nothing would come of it but deep down she knew better.
“Glad to hear it. I’m guessing that Carly told you the news?” Ryan reached over to take Carly’s hand in her own. It was both possessive and protective.
“She did. Congratulations.” Jane’s turned her attention back to Maura who was making her way to their dugout amidst pats on the back and high fives.
“Thanks…,” Ryan hesitated before reaching over to take Jane’s hand in her own, giving a squeeze. “It means a lot to have both you and Maura around for this.”
Jane took a shaky breath as she gave a squeeze back. She had heard the unspoken message in the words and it caused her to give a shy glance in Ryan’s direction.
“So I hear we are in for some entertainment tonight.” Ryan let go of Jane’s hand and placed it back on Carly’s.
“Damn…don’t remind me.” Jane ducked her head at the thought that pretty much everyone she knew was going to be there to watch her humiliate herself.
“What’s the big deal? So you gotta sing in front of some people.” Ryan shrugged the idea off.
“Does that mean that you’ll sing too?” Carly’s voice sounded hopeful.
For a moment Ryan was silent as the breeze picked up and blew her bangs away from her eyes but when she looked at Carly, there was a playful twinkle in the depths of green that shimmered.
“Absolutely…I already have the song picked out.” Ryan leaned over and placed a quick kiss to Carly’s cheek.
“You guys are giving me cavities here with all of this sweetness.” Jane pushed herself up from her seat. “I need a beer. Anyone need anything?”
“I’ll have a beer since you’re offering.” Ryan grinned up at Jane. “In fact, I think I’ll come with you…,” she stood to follow Jane. “Can I bring you back anything?” She looked down at Carly who had a pensive look on her face.
“Just some water please.” Carly said with a sigh. She knew exactly why Ryan wanted to go with Jane. It wasn’t that they were going to talk that scared Carly, but it was what they were going to talk about that had her feeling sick to her stomach. Ryan was still working the Doyle case and even though there had been no developments since Jane and Maura had agreed to join forces with the DA if needed, Carly hoped beyond hope that it was something that would never come to fruition.
The worried expression that appeared on Carly’s face did not go unnoticed by Jane as she and Ryan started to walk away and it made her feel ill at ease. Now that Carly was pregnant, she didn’t want anything to happen that might risk that. She knew that Ryan had the same habits that she had when it came to work. Once an idea set in, she was loath to let it go and this was no different. The desire to see Paddy Doyle put behind bars was something they both wanted but she wasn’t sure she was willing to pay the price at this point in her life but one look at Ryan’s contemplative expression told her that maybe Ryan hadn’t come to the same conclusion yet.
“I gather we need to talk.” Jane finally broke the uncomfortable silence that had followed them away from Carly.
“I just wanted to let you know what’s going on. There hasn’t been much movement on Doyle’s part. I think he might suspect something but I can’t be sure.” Ryan shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans. “I don’t think we’ll have much to go on. The DA is giving us until after the first of the year to get something…anything to bring an indictment.”
“Okay…so we wait him out. Make him think that we’ve pulled back the investigation. Give him enough room to hang himself.” Jane said with a confidence she didn’t feel.
“Or us if we’re not careful.” Ryan gave a sarcastic chuckle.
“That won’t happen. We’ve got each other’s backs here…,” Jane tried to reason.
“I do…you know that, right?” Ryan stopped walking, causing Jane to as well.
“Yes…I do. I’ve never thought differently.” Jane reached over and placed her arm over Ryan’s shoulder. It felt awkward at first because Ryan was so much shorter but then Ryan reached her arm around Jane’s lower back making them fit better together. “But listen here shorty, you better not do anything to get Carly hurt…or yourself for that matter.”
“I hear you loud and clear stretch…loud and clear.” Ryan tried to smile but for some reason she couldn’t quite bring herself to.
***

Maura had spent most of the afternoon being away from Jane and it caused a subtle ache to settle in her chest. It didn’t help that Martinez kept glaring at her in a menacing way. This strange behavior from someone she hardly knew caused her to conclude that there was something more between him and Jane than Jane was willing to admit. The fact that Jane had changed the subject so quickly when she asked had Maura feeling a little despondent but she knew better than to dwell.
As she dropped down on the bench in the dugout after her homerun, a small smile creased her lips as she thought about having been right about Carly. It had been a tough journey for Carly and Ryan, one that Maura had been a part of every step of the way and it made her heart swell with love at the thought that things were finally falling into place for two of her favorite people. She was glad that she had glanced over just in time to see Ryan arrive and catch Jane’s attention drawing an ‘I love you’ from those perfect lips that she loved so much. The declaration seemed to give her the strength and focus to hit the homerun that put them on the score board first. Of course it had brought a string of swear words from Martinez’s mouth as Maura rounded first base. The things he said had unnerved her and she was glad to be back in the dugout away from him.
When it was their turn to take the field, Maura moved quickly to her position at right field and slapped her fist into her mitt a few times as she had seen Jane do so many times all of those years ago. There was just something about the feeling of rawhide leather against her knuckles that made her skin tingle with excitement and anticipation. Of course it could also be the thought of what she intended to do to Jane later that evening when they were finally alone.
With the game progressing at a slow pace, her mind wandered to what she had planned for the evening until she noticed Jane stand and stretch before wandering towards the concession stand with Ryan following close behind her. Their body language indicated that they were discussing something that made them both uncomfortable. Maura knew that there was only one subject that could cause both Jane and Ryan to look unsure of themselves and that was Paddy Doyle. An involuntary shiver ran up her spine as she thought about what might happen in the days to come. She was so lost in thought that she didn’t realize that it was their turn at bat until someone called out to her.
“Dr. Isles…that’s the third out.”
Maura blinked a few times at the bright sun that had dropped lower in the sky and marveled at the fact that becoming lost in thought was becoming an annoying habit lately.
“Yeah…I’m right behind you.” Maura called out as she trotted off the field. She let out a heavy sigh when she made it to the dugout and sat down on the bench.
“Hey beautiful…,” A familiar voice spoke from behind her causing Maura to grin.
“Hey yourself…,” Maura turned around to find Jane standing on the other side of the chain link fence separating them.
“Nice hitting...” Jane laced her fingers through the metal barrier and gave them a little wiggle.
“Yeah? I think they call that a homerun.” Maura reached up to intertwine her fingers with Jane’s.
“Well, if you play your cards right Dr. Isles…that won’t be your only homerun today.” Jane gave a wicked grin and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
Biting down on her bottom lip, Maura could feel her cheeks grow warm with the blush that was moving across her face. Her stomach fluttered at the idea that she wasn’t the only one having thoughts about what would be happening at the end of the day.
“Are you ready to sing for me?” Maura licked her suddenly dry lips causing Jane’s eyes to drop down to look at her mouth before looking back up into hazel/green sparkling with playfulness.
“Maybe…do you have a song in mind?” Jane mimicked Maura and licked her lips as well but it wasn’t because her lips were dry.
“I might…,” Maura grinned at Jane. “But you’re going to have to wait and see.” She teased.
“I see how it’s gonna be…a little pain, followed by a lot of pleasure, I hope.” Jane gave a quick wink knowing exactly what it did to Maura.
All Maura could do was shake her head at Jane’ s attempt at being coy. “You think you’re the one in control here…don’t you?” She raised an eyebrow and dared Jane to agree.
“Um…,” Jane faltered slightly at the look on Maura’s face.
“I guess we’ll just have to see how the dust settles.” Maura gave a saucy wink back. “But if I was inclined to make a bet…I wouldn’t bet against me.” She gave Jane’s fingers a gentle squeeze. “Now if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got a game to win.”
“Damn…she’s gonna be the death of me.” Jane said under her breath as she watched Maura walk away.
“Yeah, but what a way to go.” Korsak appeared next to her.
“Glad to see you could make it.” Jane tilted her head to the side to see him better.
“I told you I’d be here to cheer Maura on and…,” he nodded in Martinez’s direction. “And watch your back.”
“Thanks…I hate that it’s come to this with him. We used to be pretty good friends.” Jane glanced over towards first base.
“Well, some guys don’t take too kindly to having their sisters heart broken by a friend.” Korsak said.
“Hey, you know it was mutual. We were just going in different directions.” Jane angrily shoved her hands into her pockets. “Anyway…it worked out better in the long run for her. She met Lisa and the rest is history.”
“I know that…but he’s her brother. He doesn’t see it that way…not to mention he’s been carrying a torch for you since the academy.” Korsak backtracked a little. “Didn’t you two try to date?”
“Look…we were just friends hanging out. He thought it was more but I did my best to make it clear that I was interested in Wendy…I can’t help it that he wanted something I wasn’t willing to give him.” Jane looked over again at the subject of their conversation. When he glared at her, she glared back. “I guess I insulted his manhood or something.”
“Yeah, or something.” Korsak let out a laugh. “Don’t sweat it…he’s an asshole…always been one, always will be one.”
“You’re right on that count. He keeps giving Maura dirty looks, I don’t like it…not to mention I haven’t really told her about what happened.” Jane gave a sheepish grin.
“Whoaw…not a good start my friend.” Korsak gave her a hearty slap on the back.
“Tell me something I don’t know. I just didn’t want to distract her from winning this game. I definitely don’t want her to have to go on a date with him.” Jane tried to explain as she felt herself being propelled forward by the force of his hit.
“I think you may be too late for that.” He said as he turned his attention towards the field and the beginnings of a commotion.
“What the hell?” Jane pulled her sunglasses down and squinted to see better. “That fucking asshole…,” She growled as she took off at a run towards the lower end of the fence. With the agility of a gymnast, she easily vaulted over, landing on her feet with a heavy thud and continued to run.
Maura hadn’t seen it coming as she ran towards first base as fast as she could, all of her attention on reaching the bag before the ball did. So when Martinez stuck his leg out, she didn’t notice until she found herself face down in the dirt on the other side of the bag. Rolling over onto her back, she felt a sting and ache in her left knee and looked down to see that it was red with blood. She looked up to find Martinez sneering down at her, his hands on his hips with no intention of offering her a helping hand.
“Oops, better watch where you’re going…,” He chided.
Something out of the corner of Maura’s eye caught her attention, something moving fast directly towards Martinez. It happened so quickly that she didn’t have time to register what was happening much less warn him, but within the blink of an eye he was lying on the ground next to her with a very angry Jane standing over him.
“How’s it feel being knocked on your ass when you don’t see it coming you cheating son of a bitch.” Jane’s voice was tight with tension as she leaned down and grabbed him by the front of his t-shirt. “Get up…,” She pulled him up to stand in front of her.
The look of surprise on his face spoke volumes as he struggled to say something, anything back at her but all he could do was stare at her with his mouth open.
“I should kick your fucking ass…right here, right now, but I’m not gonna.” She pulled him closer to her before continuing. “What happened between us…stays between us. You got that? If you ever do anything to hurt her again…” Her dark eyes flashed with the anger she was barely containing.
“Bitch…” He said when he finally found his voice.
“You got that right.” She curled her lip in a sneer. “But I’m angry and that makes me a dangerous bitch. You got that asshole?”
Korsak, Frankie, and Frost came up behind Martinez, just out of his field of vision but he could sense their presence when Jane glanced over his shoulder and gave a slight nod.
“Listen…you owe Dr. Isles an apology. She did nothing to deserve this. If you want, we can go out for a beer sometime and talk this over.” Jane glanced down to see that Maura hadn’t moved from where she was sitting on the ground cradling her skinned knee. “It’s over Martinez…”
Swallowing around the lump that had formed in his throat, he also glanced down and saw the wide, innocent eye’s looking back up a him. He dropped his chin to his chest as shame rushed over him at what he had done.
“If you let me go, I’ll apologize to Dr. Isles…as I should.” He looked Jane in the eye to show his sincerity.
With a little shove, Jane let go as she readied herself for anything. It was in her nature to be ready for the cheap shot but luckily Martinez turned to Maura and reached down in an effort to help pull her to her feet.
“I’m sorry Dr. Isles…it won’t happen again.” He waited for her take his hand.
Maura looked from Martinez to Jane and only accepted his help when Jane gave a slight nod.
“Apology accepted, but I need to bandage this cut before I run the risk of infection.” She pushed past him and limped away.
“Is this over?” Jane tried to control the urge to run after Maura as she turned again to face Martinez.
“Yeah…for now. I’ll take you on that beer and talk…you owe me at least that much.” He bent down to pick up his mitt.
“I won’t argue with you there.” Jane called over her shoulder as she took off after Maura.
“Glad that was resolved.” Frankie crossed his arms as he glared at Martinez.
“And if you ever hurt Dr. Isles again…” Frost started to say.
“Then we’ll all kick your ass.” Korsak interjected with a curt nod before turning his back on the slightly stunned man. Frankie and Frost nodded in agreement as they followed Korsak off of the field.

***

“So…what is it about you and sports?” Maura looked up from her seated position on the dugout bench when Jane entered the enclosure.
“What do mean?” Jane sat down across from Maura, taking the first aid kit that was handed to her from one of Maura’s teammates.
“I don’t know…it just seems to be the stage for way too much testosterone and conflict.” Maura shrugged her shoulders. “Remember the trouble we encountered in high school?”
“Yes…” Jane leaned forward and blew gently on the skinned knee in front of her. The move caused Maura to shiver.
“Are you going to tell me what happened between you two that would elicit such a response from him?” Maura tried to concentrate on her words and not Jane’s warm breath that spread over her like a soothing balsam.
“Okay…” Jane said as pulled an alcohol pad from its wrapper. “This might sting just a little.”
“A little?” Maura scrunched her face up as the cold pad touched her tender skin. The sting came on strong but quickly subsided as Jane gently wiped at the raw skin.
“I dated Martinez’s sister for a while.” Jane blew over Maura’s knee again causing her to flinch. “Sorry…,” she tried not to smile. “My Ma used to do that when we were kids…I remembered it used to help.”
“It didn’t hurt, not really.” Maura sighed because it wasn’t pain she was feeling but a warm rush moving over her. “Was it serious?”
“Was what serious?” Jane continued to concentrate on cleaning Maura’s wound before pulling out a large band aide.
“Your relationship with Martinez’s sister…,” Maura bit down on her lip as she anticipated the answer.
“Serious enough I suppose. When we broke up…it was mutual, but I guess Martinez didn’t see it that way.” Jane pulled the adhesive tabs off of the band aide before carefully pressing it against Maura’s knee.
“Is that all?” Maura could sense that Jane wasn’t being entirely truthful.
“I guess he kinda had a thing for me in the beginning and it didn’t do much for his manhood when I choose his sister over to date over him.” Jane tried to dismiss her statement with the wave of her hand.
“I suppose you’re right about that.” Maura glanced over towards where Martinez paced back and forth waiting for her to take her place at first base. “So why does her look at you like he’s seen you naked?”
“Um…,” Jane hesitated as her face turned a bright red. “He kinda did.”
“Excuse me?” Maura suddenly sat up straighter.
“Look, he walked in on me and Wendy once. I guess he got an eyeful.” Jane shrugged her shoulders as if to dismiss the memory.
“I suppose that could happen to anyone…,” Maura mused as she looked away for a second. “See, that wasn’t so hard…was it?” She looked back at Jane with and expectant look on her face.
“What? Patching you up?” Jane raised an eyebrow in uncertainty.
“Telling me what you’ve been avoiding all day.” Maura reached out to cup Jane’s cheek in the palm of her hand. “I don’t need you to protect me Jane. I just need you to love me.”
“I’m sorry. I just didn’t want to distract you from the game. I can’t bear the thought of you going out with him. I might have to kill him before that happens.” Jane tried to explain herself.
“No worries my sweet Jane. As they say…I’ve got this game in the sack.” Maura smiled proudly at her use of slang.
Jane didn’t have the heart to correct Maura’s misuse of the phrase so she just tilted her face into the soft palm that still rested against her cheek.
“I don’t have a lollipop for you but I do have something almost as good.” Jane grinned at Maura who looked at her with curiosity.
“What would that be?” Maura asked.
“This…,” Jane said as she leaned forward and placed a tender kiss to Maura’s bandaged knee. “See, almost as good as a lollipop.”
“You’re such a goofball, but I’ll take that over those high-fructose balls on a stick anytime.” Maura laughed. “Now…if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got a game to win.” She stood up and squared her shoulders before heading back out onto the field where everyone was waiting.
Jane just grinned as she watched Maura walk away from her knowing that she meant it when she said she would win so when Maura’s team won by ten points, she wasn’t at all surprised.

Chapter Text

As You Wish
It had already been a long day and Jane had no doubt that it was about to be followed by an even longer night. She shifted uncomfortably next to Frost and ran her hand through her hair as an impatient huff escaped from her lips catching his attention.
“What’s got you so wound up?” He glanced at her before turning his attention back to the assembled group of BPD’s finest.
“I’m not looking forward to having to perform in front of this…,” she held her hand out to indicate she was talking about the small crowd that seemed to be getting bigger with each passing moment.
“You sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that you asked me to pick you up at your place and not Maura’s.” He turned his full attention to her and raised an eyebrow.
“Whatever…,” she mumbled as she ran her fingers through her hair again. Looking away was her only defense because he was right. Maura had dropped her off at her apartment even though she had done everything she could think of to lure Maura into staying home and skipping their evening at the Dirty Robber. Nothing had worked and now she felt like she was being punished by having to sit and wait for Maura to make her arrival, which she had yet to do.
“Couldn’t convince her to stay in tonight?” Frost tried not to smirk.
“Nope.” It was all Jane could think to say as she frowned.
“Hey…look…Frankie just got here and he has our dates in tow.” Frost jumped up and gave Jane a quick slap on the back. “I’ll see ya on the flip side Rizzoli.”
“Asshole…,” Jane muttered under her breath.
“Did you just call me an asshole?” He turned back to her, a surprised look on his face.
She hesitated as she tried to think of a comeback but when nothing came to her she smiled and winked. “Yes…but it was said with love.”
“Bullshit…but I’ll let it slid since you’re out of sorts.” He grinned before leaving her to her thoughts.
Leaning back in her chair, her eyes scanned the room looking for familiar faces in the sea of strangers. She could feel her palms sweating so she rubbed them on her jeans before rubbing them together as she was prone to do when she got nervous. Her mind drifted back to those moments in Maura’s car before she was dismissed. She couldn’t help but feel a little put out about it. No matter what she did or said, Maura’s mind had been made up and it was apparent that Maura’s intention was to put as much space between them with the hope of not giving in.
Jane shifted again, leaning forward and placing her elbows on her knees before resting her chin in the palms of her hands. Again her eyes moved around the room in search of a familiar face, finally settling on Martinez. She watched him for a minute before making the decision that she would buy him that beer she owed him.
It only took few a few moments to grab two beers and stride across the room to were Martinez stood talking to several people from Vice. It also only took a few moments for those people to scatter when they saw Jane approaching.
“Here…,” she handed him the bottle of beer and gave him a sheepish grin.
“Um…thanks…,” he took the drink from her, an expectant look on his face.
“Here’s to mending fences.” She clinked her bottle against his before tipping it back and taking a long drink to give her the courage to continue. He didn’t say anything as he continued to stare at her expectantly. “You’re not gonna make this easy on me are you?”
“Not a chance. It’s not every day that Jane Rizzoli admits she’s wrong.” He finally lifted his beer up to his mouth to take a drink. It didn’t hide the smirk her was giving her.
“Look, what you did today with Maura was a dick move. Agreed?” Jane tilted her head as she waited for him to concede.
Swallowing his beer, he nodded his agreement. “And I apologized for that.” He looked sincerely sorry for what he had done. “I shouldn’t have dragged her into something that should have stayed between us.”
“Okay…good start.” She nodded sagely as she tried to think of what to say next.
“This is where you tell me that you are sorry for being an asshole to my sister.” He gave her a stern look waiting for her to disagree.
“What happened between us was mutual Martinez. We both know that, so I make no apologies for my part in something I cannot take sole responsibility for.” She paused giving him the chance to try to interject. Raising her hand to stop him from saying anything she continued. “But as far as you and I are concerned…I have no excuses. And for that I am sorry.”
“We used to be good friends…what happened?” His voice was soft but with an edge of regret.
“I was an arrogant asshole who shit all over a friend…,” she shrugged her shoulders. When he didn’t disagree she laughed. “I guess I just didn’t know what to do to fix what we had when Wendy and I broke up. It didn’t help that…um…,” her face colored slightly as she thought about his feelings for her. “You know…you liked me…liked me.”
“Yeah well, have you seen yourself? You are one hot detective…but I guess you’re right. You did make it clear that you weren’t interested in me that way. I just wish I could have let it go before I did…and for that I am sorry.” He gave her slight nod. “I suppose I found it hard to believe that a knock out like you could be into women…,” The words got caught in his throat as his attention was captured by someone coming in the front door.
“That’s a pretty narrow minded thing to say man…,” Jane said as she looked to see what had shut him up. When her eyes met hazel/green all of the breath left her body as if she were suddenly in a vacuum.
“Damn Rizzoli…I get it now.” Martinez spoke with a reverence Jane hadn’t heard before. “She is absolutely stunning.”
“And very taken…,” Jane’s eyes widened as she looked Maura up and down. “Um…we good here?” She turned her attention to him for the briefest of moments.
“Uh-huh…for the most part.” He said without looking at her as he watched Maura make her way their direction. “I’m gonna go get some ice water.” He said giving Jane’s shoulder a light bump as he passed her.
All Jane could do was nod as he left her standing alone in the middle of the room on the verge of self-combustion. The heat that raced along her skin was a welcome feeling because it was something she hadn’t felt since Hoyt. In a moment of clarity, she knew without a doubt that she was ready to give Maura anything she wanted.
As Maura got closer, Jane couldn’t help but notice the sun kissed glow of her skin and it reminded her of their time together in high school. She grew slightly dizzy at the memory of the freckles that dotted Maura’s shoulders and chest, and the many nights she had spent tracing a path with her lips from one to the other. She knew that they would be darker against the tan skin that taunted her with each step Maura took towards her. Taking a deep breath to push oxygen to her brain before she fainted, she smiled at how carefree Maura looked in her light green sundress dotted with lavender flowers. The dress came to the tops of her knees showing off a healthy amount of skin wrapped around shapely calves. The slight v at the front dipped down just enough to show the barest hint of ample cleavage causing Jane’s mouth to drop open. She knew what wonders lie beneath the thin fabric that was being held up by two spaghetti straps revealing bare shoulders. But it was the radiant, carefree smile that made Jane weak at the knees.
“Close your mouth sweetheart or you’ll attract flies.” Maura whispered as she moved closer, pressing herself against Jane’s tall, lean figure seeking a hug.
“Um…you look…,” Jane wrapped her arms around Maura’s waist and pulled her close as she struggled to speak. “You look breath taking.”
“Well detective…if you play your cards right, I just might be willing to administer CPR if needed.” Maura ran her hands along the lapels of Jane’s jacket. It was something she had wanted to do from the moment she had seen Jane from across the room. She needed to know if the shiny material felt as soft and slick as it looked. It did.
“Why Dr. Isles…are you flirting with me?” Jane tried to smirk playfully but the feeling of Maura’s hands moving over the front of her jacket was distracting her.
“Absolutely detective.” Maura’s fingers moved to caress the silky material of Jane’s white shirt. Her hands moved over several buttons disregarding the temptation to undo a few so she could get a better view but then she sobered because she knew why Jane hadn’t left them undone. “I really like the way you look.”
“Are you sure we can’t just get out of here…go back to your place and get to know each other…again?” Jane gave Maura’s waist a light squeeze before letting go. She could see her mother making her way their direction with a huge grin on her face. “You didn’t tell me you were bringing my mother.”
“I didn’t have much of a choice. She was waiting by my car when I got ready to leave.” Maura gave an apologetic pout.
“Well, I guess if I’m gonna make a fool out of myself…best to make it a family affair.” Jane dropped her shoulders in defeat.
“It’ll be fine…I promise.” Maura lifted up on to her tippy toes to place a quick kiss to the corner of Jane’s mouth. “Now…if you’ll excuse me…I need to go speak to the guy in charge of the Karaoke machine.” She gave Jane’s side a light pinch as she quickly moved past her before Jane could stop her.
“I’m in so much trouble…,” Jane sighed as she watched Maura disappear in the steadily growing crowd.

***
“I don’t know what’s worse, waiting or getting it over with?” Jane took a sip of her second beer.
“I’m saving the best for last.” Maura leaned closer to Jane in an attempt to calm her. “Look, Carly and Ryan are here.”
“Great, more witnesses to my demise.” Jane huffed.
“So, ready for a fun night?” Carly asked cheerfully as she dropped down next to Jane.
“Not even a little bit.” Jane pushed her long dark hair over her shoulder and glared at Carly who had the beginnings of a smirk on her face.
“Well, for what it’s worth, I love karaoke.” Ryan settled next to Maura. “Did you pick all of the songs?” her question was directed at Maura.
“Well, I did have a hand in most of them but I am solely responsible for choosing Jane’s song.” Maura tried not to make eye contact with Jane. “And I have requested her song be last.”
“Interesting…,” Ryan glanced over at Jane taking note of her nervous fidgeting. “Well, do you mind if I join in on the fun?”
“Of course not.” Maura grinned.
“Cool…I’ve got a song in mind.” Ryan couldn’t help but smile back at Maura.
“Whatever.” Jane grumbled as Carly laughed.
“It’s not that bad Jane.” Carly tried to reason. She stopped talking when all Jane did was glare at her. “So, who’s first?” Her words were directed at Maura.
“I think our first victims are just about to take the stage.” Maura reached over to take Jane’s hand in an effort to reassure her.
A hush fell over the small crowd as the DJ made an announcement for Frost and Frankie to come up on stage. With a vibrant energy that always seemed to surround Frost, he jumped up and accepted the cheers and accolades being offered. Frankie on the other hand looked confused.
“I’m not in Homicide…what gives?” Frankie asked as he passed Maura.
“I’m afraid it’s guilt by association.” Maura gave him a small smile. “Anyway…Frost needs a partner. It’s a duet.”
Frankie continued to look confused but decided it was best to be a good sport as he joined Frost on stage. Before he had a chance to look at the screen, Frost handed him a microphone with a smirk. It wasn’t until the first stains of music filtered through the speakers that Frankie realized what song it was and it was too late for him to do anything but listen as Frost’s voice sang out the first lines to ‘Islands in the Stream’.
“Baby when I met you there was peace unknown…I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb…I was soft inside, there was something going on…” Frost’s sang.
Before Frankie could even register what was happening, he saw the word ‘both’ next to the lyrics and he joined in following Frost’s lead.
“You do something to me that I can’t explain…Hold me closer and I feel no pain…Every beat of my heart…we got something going on…” The sang together.
All they could do was be good sports at this point but it didn’t stop Frankie from giving Maua a look of warning. Their dates clapped along and seemed to be enjoying themselves so it bolstered both of them to play it up. By the time the song was over everyone was on their feet, cheering and clapping. Frankie and Frost took their bows and headed back to their seats but not before passing Jane and Maura.
“Paybacks are a bitch Dr. Isles…,” Frost leaned down and whispered into Maura’s ear with a wicked grin.
The look of surprise on Maura’s face had everyone laughing, including Jane who couldn’t help but feel just a little sorry for her.
“Um…should I be worried?” Maura turned to Jane, eyes wide with worry.
“Yes.” Jane nodded with determination.
“Nah…they’re just yanking your chain.” Carly leaned over to reassure Maura that everything would be alright.
“If anything, you made their dates like them even more.” Ryan tilted her head towards Frost and Frankie who looked like they were getting cozy with the two women that had been cheering them on.
Maura let out a sigh of relief but then felt anxiety rush over her when she herd Korsak’s name announced making him next. She glanced over at Jane nervously because she had no idea what song her colleges had picked but by the snickers coming from their table it was bound to be something she didn’t know.
“You have no idea what song they picked for Vince, do you?” Jane couldn’t stop herself from laughing.
“Well, I did give them free reign over some of the choices.” Maura looked worried. Her anxiety only heightened when she saw the look of confusion cross Korsak’s face just before the song started.
“You can’t touch this…you can’t touch this…” Korsak’s voice was slightly monotone and off beat as the song kicked in. His eyes were wide as he did his best to keep up as the lyrics moved quickly over the screen but it was a losing battle.
“Oh, my God!” Jane clapped her hands together. “I can’t believe they picked ‘You can’t touch this’ by MC Hammer.”
“Hey…that’s my jam!” Frost jumped up and headed towards the stage to bail Korsak out of trouble. Korsak gave him a grateful look when he stood next to him and sang along to the bouncing ball. Together they sang and as an added bonus Frost seemed to have the dance moves down bringing the group to their feet again with chants of ‘Go Frost…Go Frost…’ echoing throughout the bar.
When the song finally ended, a red faced Korsak handed the microphone back to the DJ and took a bow with Frost. He was glad it was over with and even though he had never heard the song before, he couldn’t help but smile. It had been embarrassing, but fun and that was what it was all about…good fun. As he stepped off of the stage, he caught Angela’s eye and saw that she was grinning at him. He gave her shy smile in return. For some reason he suddenly felt ten feet tall.
As the evening progressed, one by one the homicide department took turns singing. Some were heartfelt, some not so much but everyone seemed to be having fun and in the end, that is what counted. There was only one person left to sing and before Maura could say anything, Ryan asked if she could have a go at it. The move caused Jane to let out a sigh of relief even though she was only prolonging the agony.
Ryan stood, straightened the collar of her oxford shirt, and gave a crooked smile in Carly’s direction. With a quick wink, she moved away from them and took her place on the makeshift stage. She leaned over to talk to the DJ who gave her a nod as he set about cuing up the music.
A nervous energy emanated from Carly causing Jane to reach over and place a reassuring hand on her knee at precisely the same moment that Maura did. The gave each other a knowing smile and intertwined their fingers as they turned their attention to Ryan.
Within seconds, the familiar melody coming from a keyboard had Jane grinning wide as she gave Carly a shoulder bump and then Ryan’s soft, somewhat nervous voice filled the room with the first line of Hall and Oates ‘You make my dreams come true’.
“What I want…you’ve got, and it might be hard to handle. But like the flame that burns the candle. The candle burns the flame. What I’ve got…full stock of thoughts and dreams that scatter. You pull them all together. And how I can’t explain, oh yeah…well, well you, you make my dreams come true…”
As the song continued, the words came with a conviction that almost brought tears to Jane’s eyes in light of the news of Carly’s pregnancy. She could see the love and devotion that they held for each other shining through their eyes and smiles and she almost felt jealous. The feeling of Maura’s hand on her bouncing knee brought her attention back and she let out a heavy sigh filled with anxiety.
“You know if you are this worried about getting up there, I won’t force you.” Maura leaned over to whisper in Jane’s ear.
The bouncing of Jane’s leg subsided as she realized that Maura was giving her an out, but she knew she had to go ahead with it.
“I appreciate that…and that is why I love you.” Jane responded as some of the tension that had her wound up eased. “But I think I need to follow through. Everyone else has.”
“And that is why I love you…you never give up.” Maura moved her hand to Jane’s and interlaced their fingers.
“Carly and Ryan look really happy…” Jane mused as she watched Ryan sing her heart out to the love of her life.
“I think they are. It really is wonderful that they are adding to their family. I myself am looking forward it…,” Maura hesitated when she realized she may have said too much. “Someday that is.” She finished quickly so that she wouldn’t instill panic in Jane.
Jane tilted her head and gave Maura a crooked grin. She could see that Maura thought she had said too much and all she wanted to do was ease Maura’s nervousness. “Me too. Maybe we can practice with Carly and Ryan’s little bundle of joy…ya know get all of the mistakes out of the way so our kid will be perfect.”
Maura didn’t say anything, instead she raised an eyebrow in interest at Jane’s comment. It thrilled her that Jane hadn’t panicked and it lightened her heart to hear Jane’s response.
Before Jane was ready, Ryan was making her way back towards them with a huge grin on her face as she fell into Carly’s open arms. They held each other close for a moment before Ryan glanced over at Jane, giving her a quick wink to bolster her courage. “Your turn stud…”
A nervous cough escaped from Jane as a shiver moved through her body. It will be over soon… she thought to herself as she stood.
“If it makes you feel better, I’ll sing a song after you.” Maura stopped Jane’s forward progression because their fingers were still intertwined. Jane gave her a weak smile and a little nod to acknowledge what she had said.
Shouts of encouragement filled the small backroom where they had all convened as Jane moved through the crowd towards the stage. Her heart was beating so hard she could hear it echoing through her ears with each thud louder than the last. When she reached her destination, she hesitantly took the microphone from the DJ and looked down at her feet.
“Just let me know when you’re ready…,” he said with a small smile.
Taking a deep breath, Jane looked up and zeroed in on Maura who was grinning at her reassuringly. She let out her breath in one long, slow exhale before glancing over at the DJ. With a quick nod of her head she consented and accepted that it was too late to turn back.
The sound of a synthesizer filled the air and Jane knew in an instant what song Maura had picked. True to her word, Maura had picked a Madonna song but this one wasn’t the one that would have made Jane turn bright red in embarrassment. No, this song was fun and upbeat causing Jane to smile at Maura as her anxiety drained away. As the music continued its introduction, Jane gave Maura a wink before striking a pose that had everyone cheering. And then the words came across the screen and Jane began to sing in that low timber that sent chills up and down Maura’s spine.
“You’ve got style…that’s what all the girls say…Satin sheets…and luxuries so fine…” Jane’s voice carried around the room as she held the microphone out in front of her. “All your suits are custom made in London…I’ve got something that you’ll really like…” Her eye’s never left Maura as she continued on to the chorus feeling a little more confident with each passing second. “Gonna dress you up in my love…all over, all over…Gonna dress you up in my love…all over your body…” Suddenly she felt herself moving like she had seen Madonna doing in the video she had seen more times than she could count when she was a kid. Swinging her arms and moving her hips, she actually felt as if she were channeling the eighties version of the queen of pop. As the next verse approached, her movements became more fluid and the small crowd cheered her on. “Feel the silky touch of my caresses…They will keep you looking so brand new…Let me cover you in velvet kisses…I’ll create a look that’s made for you.”
Maura watched in awe as Jane strutted across the small stage looking as if it were the most natural thing in the world for her to be doing. A familiar flutter moved through her stomach up into her chest as Jane smiled down at her showing off those dimples she loved so much. Her eyes never strayed away from the dark brown that held her in a smoldering gaze that had her wishing they were somewhere else. She was happy when she saw that Jane’s anxiety had disappeared the second she recognized the song but they both knew what Jane had expected and the thought of that night, Jane’s eighteen birthday caused a rush of heat to color Maura’s cheeks. As Jane continued to sing, Maura thought she may have seen a flicker of recognition in the eye’s that held her own, almost as if Jane knew what she had been thinking and by the smirk that was directed her way, she had no doubt that Jane knew where her mind had traveled to.
The color of Maura’s cheeks gave her thoughts away and it only emboldened Jane as she continued to sing and move around with a confidence she hadn’t known she had. She couldn’t help but give Maura a sexy smirk that let Maura know that her thoughts had betrayed her. And just as quickly as it had started, it was over leaving Jane feeling elated and energized. Everyone jumped up and clapped, showing their appreciation for Jane’s participation. With a huge grin, she took a bow before jumping down off of the stage and trotting over to Maura.
“See, that wasn’t so bad was it?” Maura whispered into Jane’s ear when she found herself engulfed in a hug.
“How about we go home so I can cover you with velvet kisses…?” Jane nuzzled Maura’s neck, just under her ear.
“Ummmm…sounds good to me, but it’s my turn.” Maura tilted her head towards the stage before reluctantly pulling away from Jane’s arms.
As Maura made her way towards the DJ and away from the safety of Jane’s arms, she could feel the curiosity hanging heavily in the air as all eyes turned towards her. Her stomach fluttered as a nervous energy propelled her further and she couldn’t help but rethink her decision to join in on the fun of the evening. She had become painfully aware of what people thought of her with each passing day she worked for the BPD. Co-workers eyed her with caution, weary that she had no sense of humor or that she was too stiff and snobbish. The hope that her participation in the softball tournament would change the unpopular opinion of her seemed distant at the moment only adding to her anxiety. Her decision to take the stage was an effort to establish a more favorable opinion, at least that is what she had told herself in the beginning. Her thought was that if she acted like everyone else, it would solidify a place for her in the department as being just like everyone else. But the closer she got to her destination, the more she questioned herself and if she was making the right choice. A quick glance over her shoulder eased the tension that had suddenly taken root in her stomach. She wasn’t sure if it was the dimpled smile, the sexy wink, or the silent ‘I love you’ Jane mouthed her way but whatever it was, a wave of confidence washed over her. Perhaps it had been all three.
Jane watched with trepidation as Maura leaned close to the young man in charge of playing the music. A little too close for her comfort but she knew it was an innocent gesture on Maura’s part. Her heart skipped a beat when Maura gave her a pointed look before turning her attention to the screen in front of her. Jane immediately recognized the soft sounds of the Ellie Goulding song “Love me like you do”. A slow smile spread across her lips as she listened to the words.
“You’re the light, you’re the night…You’re the color of my blood…You’re the cure, you’re the pain…You’re the only thing I wanna touch…Never knew that it could mean so much, so much…” Maura’s voice was soft but strong as she sang. Her eyes moved around the room, not quite meeting Jane’s but she didn’t want to make it obvious who she was singing about. “You’re the fear, I don’t care…Cause I’ve never been so high…Follow me to the dark…Let me take you past our satellites…You can see the world you brought to life, to life…”
Sitting on the edge of her seat, Jane watched Maura as she looked around at everyone but her and her heart broke just a little when she realized why. It was Maura’s way of giving Jane the privacy she held so dear but Jane didn’t want that, she wanted everyone to know how much Maura meant to her. When Maura’s eyes finally came back to capture her own, she gave a nod and a smile to let Maura know it was safe. Her acceptance and openness was rewarded when Maura looked right at her and delivered the next lines of the song.
The smile directed her way set Maura at ease, giving her the confidence to look directly into Jane’s eyes as she sang the chorus. “So love me like you do, la-la-love me like you do…Love me like you do, la-la-love me like you…touch me like you do, ta-ta-touch me like you…what are you waiting for?” She couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow in challenge as she watched Jane fidget slightly in her seat.
The feeling of her heart racing caused Jane to fidget in her chair as she listened to and watched Maura. She wanted nothing more than to pull Maura away from the stage and out the door towards home but she was also mesmerized by the slight sway of Maura’s hips so much so that she missed the next few lines of the song. The feeling of an elbow to her ribs brought her back to the moment. Glancing to her right, she saw Carly grinning at her before giving a slight nod towards Maura who was now moving in their direction. Time stood still as she watched Maura move through the crowd that seemed to instinctively part to let her pass. She could hear the music in the background but Maura had stopped singing and was now standing in front of her. Looking up, Jane felt the bottom drop out from beneath her by the look in hazel/green eyes before Maura leaned close and whispered in her ear.
“Take me home…,” Maura’s voice was slightly breathless as she spoke. “Now…”
Taking the hand that was outstretched before her, Jane grinned and answered with the only words that came to her mind. “As you wish…”

Chapter Text

This Moment
We all have moments in our lives that we want to commit to memory. Moments we can go back to. Moments where our clarity has no uncertainty about going forward and no reservations about what tomorrow holds. For Jane, this was one of those moments. Perhaps it was the way the light from the car dashboard painted Maura in its soft iridescent glow or the slight curve of a knowing smile that played across perfect lips. Or maybe it was the comfortable silence that enveloped them like a warm, inviting, and familiar blanket. It could have been any number of reasons that gave Jane cause to memorize this moment but there was only one that she knew with absolute certainty she would come back to everyday for the rest of her life. The realization that this was the beginning to her happily ever after and she never wanted to forget it.
The silence between them was palpable and Maura could sense the depth of Jane’s thoughts by how still Jane had become sitting next to her on the familiar route home. She chanced a glance to see if perhaps Jane had fallen asleep and was surprised to find that Jane was studying her with a pensive expression. The thought to ask what she was thinking quickly disappeared when a strong hand with slender fingers moved over the center console to rest on Maura’s leg just below the hem of her sundress. The move caused her to take a sharp intake of breath as warmth radiated from Jane into her. With a subtle movement, Maura shifted herself just enough to allow Jane’s hand to slide to the inside of her thigh.
It didn’t take much movement on Maura’s part to give Jane permission to move her hand. Neither said a word as Jane’s fingers danced along silky skin just below the hem of Maura’s dress. With a feather like touch, Jane skimmed along the inside of Maura’s thigh feeling the muscles twitch slightly under her gentle ministrations. It was enough to set them both on fire but Jane wasn’t ready to cross the line just yet. She was enjoying the tease far too much to give in this early in the evening.
Maura gripped the steering wheel tightly, causing her knuckles to turn white under the strain. The continued silence lent another layer to their foreplay and she couldn’t bring herself to break the spell they both seemed to be under. The feeling of Jane’s fingers moving across her skin sent tremors throughout her body and she had to resist the urge to grab the hand that continued to torment her and place it where she needed it most. Steeling her reserves, Maura vowed to let Jane set the pace.
The closer they got to Maura’s, the more frequently the street lights bathed them in intermittent light followed by shadow. It had a dizzying effect on Jane or perhaps it was the feeling of Maura’s skin against her fingertips as her hand moved with the lightest of touches along the inside of a strong thigh. With each brush of her fingers, she moved the hem of Maura’s dress higher and higher until she thought she might not be able to stop. Taking a deep breath, she centered herself and found the resolve to slow down and enjoy every second leading up to the moment when she could no longer wait. And by her own estimations it wouldn’t be long but she knew that it would have to wait until they got home. She refused to have their first time together happen in the front seat of the car. It was her intention to spend all night reacquainting herself with the body she had once worshiped so many years ago.
“What’s going through your mind right now?” Maura’s voice was quiet as the silence between them was finally broken.
“Um…,” Jane paused briefly to look out the window before slowly turning back to Maura. “I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve missed you…especially this.” Her fingers trailed just a little higher than before causing Maura to shiver.
It wasn’t the feeling of Jane’s hand moving along her skin that sent a shiver up her spine but the knowledge that Jane was referring to moments like this. Moments where neither of them needed to speak to communicate a thousand words to each other or how their simple silence could express the feelings that had no words. It was moments like this that she had never been able to find with anyone else.
“Is this what you want?” Maura finally reached down and placed her hand on top of Jane’s.
“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more in my life…,” Jane turned her hand in Maura’s so they could interlace their fingers. “I’m trying very hard to be patient.”
“I can tell.” Maura lifted their hands up to place a kiss on the back of Jane’s. “We’ll be home in a few minutes. I just want you to know that we’ll take things slow…as slow as you need.”
“Slow is good.” Jane’s mouth twitched up into a sly grin. “I plan on spending all night reacquainting myself with every inch of your body…every dip, every curve…”
“Hmmm…I’m probably a little curvier than you remember.” Maura sighed heavily at the thought that her body wasn’t as young, tight, or thin as it had been in high school.
“You are more beautiful now than you’ve ever been.” Jane could sense the direction of Maura’s thoughts. “We’ve both been through changes Maur. I’m looking forward to discovering new and exciting things about you.” She gave Maura’s hand a gentle squeeze.
“That’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while…,” Maura squeezed back before releasing Jane’s hand so she could use both to turn into the driveway. When she put the car in park, she didn’t turn it off right away but instead looked at Jane who had a small frown on her face. The sudden change in expression had her reaching out to run the backs of her fingers along Jane’s cheek. “Did I say something to upset you?” She asked in a soft whisper.
Shaking her head, Jane couldn’t find the words she needed to express herself. Maura’s touch grounded her but also made her light-headed. It was the sad look on Maura’s face that finally brought the words to Jane’s mouth.
“No, you didn’t say anything to upset me. It’s just…,” Jane hesitated as Maura’s fingers continued to stroke her cheek. “I’m sorry I let my fears and insecurities keep you at arm’s length. I must have been crazy to think you’d be anything less than you are in this moment.” Reaching over, she turned the car off, pulled the keys from the ignition and dangled them in front of Maura. “Shall we?” She shook the keys lightly, causing them to jingle. A smile was her reward as Maura took the keys and nodded her understanding.
Their comfortable silence returned but the undercurrent of desire crackled like a live wire as they climbed out of the car. Jane watched as Maura came around from the driver’s side, crossing over in front of her and the need to feel their bodies touching was so intense that she couldn’t stop herself from reaching out to grab an arm before pulling Maura against her. Turning, she pinned the body in her arms against the door of the car and pressed her tall, lean frame against Maura. She placed her palms on either side of Maura’s shoulders and tilted her head back letting out the breath she felt like she had been holding since Maura had come back into her life.
Finding herself wrapped up in Jane’s arms had surprised Maura, but not as much as the feeling of being pressed against the car door. Even through the haze of desire, it was a moment of clarity for her, it was in fact the moment she realized that Jane was ready. The feeling of Jane pressed against her took her breath away and she watched in awe as Jane leaned her head back exposing her long neck. Nothing needed to be said between them. Maura knew by the slight tremor that traveled along Jane’s body that it was becoming harder and harder to maintain control.
“I know you want this as much I do…,” Maura leaned forward and placed her lips at the hollow of Jane’s throat before trailing her tongue along a slender neck prompting Jane to look down at her giving her easier access to her mouth. “But it would do neither of us any good for Angela to pull up and find that we couldn’t wait until we got inside…,” she said as her mouth skimmed over Jane’s lips.
The light contact of Maura’s mouth on her own caused Jane to moan. The way that Maura’s tongue had moved along her neck before finding her mouth caused Jane’s knees to go weak. She gave a slight nod of acknowledgement before resting her forehead against Maura’s. It was more of an effort to keep herself standing than any sort of grand gesture.
“I don’t know if I can move…,” Jane said with a sigh. “It’s all I can do to keep standing…”
Maura wrapped her arms around Jane’s waist and rested her head against Jane’s chest. “Take a deep breath.” She said, not at all sure she could do the same.
“Speaking of getting inside…,” Jane pulled back and raised a questioning eyebrow at Maura.
“I’ve taken the hidden key and put it away so there is no chance of our being interrupted tonight.” Maura answered the question that Jane didn’t need to ask.
“Then I think it’s time we moved along, don’t you?” Jane shifted her weight just enough to allow Maura to move away from the car but instead of letting go, she wrapped her arms around Maura’s waist from behind and rested her chin on the shoulder in front of her.
“You’re not going to make this easy, are you?” Maura laughed as she placed her hands over the ones that were holding her close.
“Nope…,” Jane said as she nuzzled at the crook of Maura’s neck.
Even though it was only a one-word answer, the feeling of Jane’s hot breath against Maura’s skin caused her to drop the keys. She bent down only when Jane reluctantly let her go giving her the reprieve she needed to refocus and of course retrieve the dropped keys. Taking a few steps towards the door she was already missing having Jane’s hands on her. She couldn’t move fast enough to get inside the front door where her needs and desires would finally be sated.
Jane hesitated but only for a second as she watched Maura pick up the keys and move away from her with the mission of opening the front door as quickly as possible. She couldn’t help but smile as a surge of confidence washed over her, something she hadn’t felt in a long time. Her fears dissolved and were replaced with anticipation. The realization that she never needed to be afraid again when it came to their relationship caused a thrill to race along her skin, the same skin that needed to be touched by Maura or she feared she might just spontaneously combust.
As Jane approached the object of her desire or perhaps in that moment, torture, she noticed that Maura’s hands were shaking as she tried to place the key in the lock so she reached over in an attempt to help steady her. The move only caused Maura to shake more as she struggled to do something she had done hundreds of times before.
“Here, let me help.” Jane took the key, placed it in the lock and opened the door. Neither of them moved right away causing Jane to run her hands up Maura’s arms until they rested on her shoulders. “Are you alright?” She whispered.
“No, not really.” Maura let out a shuttering breath.
“What it is Maura? Tell me…,” Jane’s hands stayed where they were, but her body kept its distance.
“It’s just…,” Maura hesitated before leaning back against Jane. “I’ve been thinking about this for so long that I’m not sure where to start.”
“How about we start at the beginning.” Jane gently guided Maura in the door and into the foyer. “Would you like a drink? A glass of wine maybe?” She moved past Maura towards the kitchen not waiting for an answer.
“Yes, there’s a bottle of Pinot sitting on the counter. I’ll have a glass of that if you don’t mind.” Maura moved towards the living room. All of a sudden she was feeling very much unlike herself, anxious and shy.
“Go wait for me in there…,” Jane tilted her head towards the living room. “I’ll be right back.” The confidence she had felt earlier was still there. She could tell that Maura was struggling with things at the moment but she wasn’t sure why. It was very uncharacteristic for Maura to be anything but in complete control of her emotions. For some reason it bolstered Jane.
Maura sat on the edge of the couch and waited. Being alone got her to thinking and without realizing it she was analyzing her feelings. She knew that she wanted to be with Jane, she had thought of little else since they had come back into each other’s lives. But there was just the smallest seed of doubt trying to take root. Her mind drifted to their time together in high school and a small smile creased her lips. There was no doubt that they had been compatible physically. In fact, their physical relationship had been the best she had ever had, before or since. As she continued to ponder, she realized that there was no room for doubt any more when it came to her and Jane. They had been to hell and back…together and separately. No, it was time to let go of whatever reservations niggled at the back of her mind. This was to be their beginning, their fresh start and Maura’s stomach tightened in anticipation. The only thing that mattered to her now was being here with Jane.
“Can I ask you what’s put that smile on your face?” Jane asked as she handed Maura her glass of wine. In her other hand she carried one of her favorite beers. It had been a nice surprise to find it waiting for her in Maura’s refrigerator.
“You can ask, but I think I’ll keep it to myself for a while.” Maura gave a sly grin in response as she took a sip of her wine. She sighed at the warm, spicy liquid as it passed her lips and danced along her tongue before she swallowed it.
“That good, huh?” Jane arched an eyebrow as she took a seat on the coffee table across from Maura.
“You have no idea.” Maura couldn’t stop the insinuation from tainting her words.
“Oh, I think I’ve got an idea.” Jane winked as she took a drink of her beer.
“You’ve still got it my dear…,” Maura set her wine glass down and leaned close to Jane so their faces were almost touching but not quite.
Jane tilted her head as she studied the hazel-green eyes that gazed into her own. She could smell the wine on Maura’s breath, spicy with hints of black cherry and it was all she could do to stop herself from finding out if Maura’s lips tasted the way she knew they would.
“What? You doubted me?” Jane tried to make light of the situation even though she was on the verge of finally taking what she wanted.
“Never…,” Maura sighed as she grabbed her wine glass and reluctantly pulled back. She was enjoying this, the anticipation leading up to that moment she knew she would never forget.
“Yeah?” Jane smirked as she tipped her beer bottle back to take another drink. After she swallowed the amber liquid, she quietly studied Maura as if she were trying to decide what she was going to say next. With a quick nod of her head, the words finally came as if she had suddenly made a difficult decision. “Maura? Would you do something for me?”
Taking a deep breath, Maura steadied herself before answering. “Anything…,” she said easily and the confidence that had eluded her earlier returned.
“Would you dance with me?” Jane asked as she set her beer bottle down on the table next to her. Her eyes were bright with uncertainty as she started to fidget nervously.
“I would love to.” Maura reached over and grabbed Jane’s hands to still them. She felt a ripple of relief wash over her because this is what she wanted, to take things slow, giving Jane the time she needed.
“Um…I’ve got this song I wanted to share with you…,” Jane pulled out her cell phone and connected to the Bluetooth speaker that sat on the shelf next to the TV. With a few swipes, she queued up the song and hit pause. “I know I’m not good with words or expressing myself sometimes but this…,” she held up her phone to indicate what she was talking about. “This song kinda sums it up for me.”
Maura smiled at Jane to reassure her that she understood. Jane had always used music as a bridge between them, using it as a way to communicate things she couldn’t quite bring herself to say or perhaps she just wasn’t able to. She could tell by the look of concentration on Jane’s face that she would need to listen to the words carefully because there would be something profound in their message.
“Okay…,” Jane stood up and reached down to take Maura’s hand in her own, pulling her up to stand with her. She pushed the play button, set her phone down on the table, and then ran her fingers through her hair as the beginning riff of the song filled the room.
The music was slow and sexy with an unhurried rhythm that traveled along Maura’s skin just as Jane’s fingers had earlier. She almost got lost in the sound that surround her until she felt Jane’s hands on her hips. Strong hands guided her until their bodies were pressed together as a slow and steady sway moved them across the room. The feeling of Jane’s hand’s holding her close, the heat radiating from their bodies, and the rapid beating of her heart were almost too much for her but then the first words from the song reached her.
If you want this…
If you want this…
If you want this…you’re gonna have to ask
(Nicely please)
Yeah, if you want this
You’re gonna have to ask
You’re gonna have to ask
Jane’s lips moved against Maura’s ear as the words left her mouth in a whispered breath. Their bodies continued to move together as her left arm wrapped around Maura’s back, pulling her closer. With her right hand, Jane reached up to push long, honey-blonde hair away from Maura’s neck so she could continue to sing the words against Maura’s soft skin.
Whatever you want
I’ll give it to you
I’ll give it to you slowly
Till you’re begging me to hold you
Yeah, whatever you want
Whatever you want
But you’re gonna have to ask
The feeling of Jane’s mouth moving over her exposed neck caused Maura’s legs to shake, making her grateful she was being held. The words that licked at her skin burned to her very core and she wasn’t sure where the singers voice started and Jane’s ended. And as if everything leading up to this moment hadn’t already left her feeling weak, it was nothing compared to what was to follow as Jane’s mouth continued to dance along her jaw.
Your mouth waters
Stretched out on my bed
Your fingers are trembling
And your heart is heavy and red
Jane murmured against the flushed skin at Maura’s throat before reaching up to tangle her fingers in Maura’s thick hair.
And your head is bent back
With a gentle tug, Jane pulled Maura’s head back and leaned forward, dipping Maura back in her arms.
And your back is arched
The hand that had been at Maura’s back moved lower.
My hand is under there
Holding you up
With a quick jerk, Jane pulled Maura back up pressing their bodies together again. She lifted Maura’s hands up over her head and interlaced their fingers before bringing both of their hands down to rest on her own swaying hips.
I’ll hold you up
And drive you all night
I’ll hold you up
And drive you baby until you feel the daylight
I’ll hold you up
And I’ll drive you all night
Again, Jane brought their joined hands up above their heads and leaned close to Maura until their faces were so close she could smell the faint aroma of dark cherries on Maura’s lips. All the while she continued to move with rhythm of the song.
That’s right
That’s right
Jane skimmed her lips over Maura’s as she brought their hands down but this time she held them behind Maura’s back. She couldn’t help but smile at the way that Maura was moving against her as if the song had become a part of her. Pulling back just enough to see the dazed look on Maura’s face, she continued to mouth the words.
In the kitchen
Jane said with a sexy smirk that had them nodding at each other.
In the shower
A raised eyebrow was followed by a shake of the head as they both agreed it wasn’t their favorite.
And in the back seat of my car
This time a grin was the answer.
I’ll hold you up
In your office
Preferably during business hours
Cause you know how I like it when there’s people around
The question in Jane’s eyes was met with a shy smile from Maura.
And I know how you like it
Yeah, I know how you like it
I know how you like when I tease
You for hours
This time Jane brought their joined hands up and around her neck before letting go and pulled Maura close again. Slowly and with purpose, she ran her hands down Maura’s back until she found the hem of Maura’s dress. Taking the material between her fingers, she bunched it up and moved her hands higher. Slowly, she continued to move against Maura’s body as the chorus played. She brushed her mouth across Maura’s cheek until their lips met and their tongues began the same slow dance as their bodies. The memory of Maura’s kiss was nothing compared to the one in this moment. The velvety softness of Maura’s tongue against hers. The warmth of Maura’s mouth. The spicy taste of wine on Maura’s lips. All of these things were enough to bring Jane to her knees but as the song continued, she suddenly pulled away from the heated kiss and turned Maura around in her arms so her front was against Maura’s back.
Oh and how this has just begun
Yeah, this has just begun
Because we haven’t even gotten started
I haven’t even
I haven’t even tied you up yet
I haven’t even turned you over
Jane buried her face in the crook of Maura’s neck and lightly ran her teeth along Maura’s tender skin. She could feel Maura trembling in her arms now as her hands moved from her waist lower to her hips as she continued to whisper the words in her ear.
This is where I want to live
Right here between your hips
Where all the love you hold and hide exists
It’s were it lives
Right here between your hips
This is where I want to live
It’s where all the love you give exists
And as the song continued to play in the back ground, it got lost in the haze that encompassed them both as Jane’s hands moved up and under the front of Maura’s dress.
“Tell me what you want Maura.” Jane’s voice was hoarse and breathless.
Reaching her right arm up to encircle Jane’s neck, Maura pulled down until Jane’s mouth hovered just above hers. “You…,” she whispered. “I just want you.”
“Hmmm…,” Jane kissed Maura deeply before running her tongue along Maura’s bottom lip. “I think that can be arranged.” With a gentle twirl, Jane turned Maura around in her arms, reached down, and lifted Maura’s legs up off the ground.
Maura wrapped her legs around Jane’s waist, enjoying the strong arms holding her up. “Thank you for sharing that with me.” She said as the song came to an end followed by the sounds of their heavy breathing.
“I know I’m not good at sharing my feelings…,” Jane hesitated slightly. “But music has always been a form of expression for me. I hope it helped…,” she said as she started to move towards the staircase.
“I love how you seem to pick just the right song for us.” Maura relaxed in Jane’s arms as she felt them moving. “Now, please…take me upstairs and make me feel all of those things you whispered in my ear because we haven’t even gotten started yet.”

***
The room was dark when they entered prompting Maura to untangle herself from Jane’s arms. She moved across the room to turn on a lamp that sat on the bedside table, bathing them both in a soft, warm glow. Silence surrounded them again as they regarded at each other wondering what would come next. But Jane had the answer as she took several long strides until her body was almost touching Maura’s.
Jane’s sudden movement took Maura by surprise, causing her breath to catch in her chest. She could feel the intensity of Jane’s presence and it made her afraid to look up into the brown eyes she knew would be smoldering. A shiver ran through her body when she felt Jane’s fingers touch her chin, tilting her face up to look at her. And those dark eyes did not disappoint her. But nothing could prepare her for the feeling of Jane’s fingers as they slowly trailed down her throat before pushing her hair away from her neck.
Jane had surprised herself by her sudden move towards Maura. A need she hadn’t felt in a long time took over and she couldn’t help herself from reaching out and touching. It amused her that Maura seemed suddenly shy and unable to look at her, so she used two fingers to tilt Maura’s face up so she could look her in the eyes. She wasn’t disappointed to find that Maura’s hazel-green eyes burned with the same desire that Jane knew was reflected in her own eyes. And then her fingers moved ever so slowly down to the hollow of Maura’s throat, moving with a purpose. Their eyes stayed locked in a steady gaze that neither was willing to break as Jane’s hand moved to brush silky stands of hair over Maura’s shoulder, exposing an expanse of creamy, white skin along a slender neck. Dropping her gaze, Jane concentrated on the spot at the crook of Maura’s neck just below an ear where her fingers had come to rest. She then danced her fingers along Maura’s skin until her hand moved behind Maura’s head, letting her thumb stay in that spot she had been concentrating on. And then finally, she leaned in and pressed her lips to the spot her thumb had continued to caress before skimming her mouth up and over the outline of Maura’s ear, only pulling away when she felt Maura turn toward her. It was the permission she had been waiting for, the permission to taste the lips she had been craving since their kiss downstairs. And taste she did, soft and sweet, drinking in all that was being offered to her.
When Jane’s mouth found hers, Maura reached up to frame Jane’s face and deepened the kiss. It was the first brush of Jane’s tongue against her own that caused her to moan.
The vibration of Maua’s moan traveled through Jane and settled in her chest. She leaned in and pulled Maura against her at the same time as her hands moved to the back of Maura’s thighs, coming to rest against the satin like material of the dress she was beginning to bunch up with her fingers. Slowly and with one sole purpose in mind, she lifted the dress up and over Maura’s head in one graceful movement before going back for more, taking Maura’s lips in a fierce kiss that expressed all of the love she was feeling.
The distraction of cool air against her heated skin caused Maura to pull back from Jane as a sudden shyness overcame her. She could feel Jane’s eyes sweep across her body, bringing memories and the realization that her body was different then that eighteen-year-old that Jane probably remembered. This thought was the catalyst for a wave of uncertainty that crashed over Maura causing her to cross her arms over her chest.
Jane watched as several emotions passed over Maura’s face ranging from desire and wistfulness before settling on uncertainty The uncertainty in Maura’s eyes was something Jane wasn’t used to seeing and it surprised her. It wasn’t until Maura crossed her arms over her chest that she realized what was happening.
“Maura honey, please…,” Jane’s voice trembled with her plea.
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Maura could barely bring herself to shake her head. The sudden feeling of uncertainty made her feel foolish and she didn’t understand what was happening to her.
“I’ve never been shy around you before. I don’t understand why I would feel this way now.” Maura let out a shaky breath as she kept her eyes away from Jane’s questioning ones.
“Would this help?” Jane asked as she started to unbutton her shirt with unsteady hands.
The sight of Jane unbuttoning her shirt in an attempt to reveal herself caused Maura to reach out to stop her. “Let me…,” her voice was light and breathless as she took over.
“I know we’ve changed a lot over the years but there’s one thing that hasn’t…,” Jane took Maura’s hands in her own when she released the last button of her shirt. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on in my life.”
The shy smile returned as Maura slipped her hands from Jane’s and pushed the open shirt off of strong shoulders. The body before her was exactly the same as she remembered. And as her fingers traced over the well-defined muscles of Jane’s stomach causing them to twitch she finally glanced up to see that Jane was studying her with an intense look of concertation.
There was a serious look on Jane’s face as she watched one of Maura’s fingers ran along a thin, slightly raised scar but it didn’t scare it like it had before. This was it, the moment she had waited for, the moment of her surrender.
“I’m sorry this happened to you.” Maura whispered as her eyes and her finger continued to move over the slightly raised scar tissue that marred the otherwise perfect skin.
“I’m not.” Jane’s voice was strong and steady and when Maura looked up in surprise, she gave a crooked grin before continuing. “It’s what brought you back to me and because of that…I’ve made my peace with what happened.”
“Oh, my sweet Jane.” Maura leaned forward and placed her lips against the scar just above Jane’s right breast and placed a soft kiss there. “I admire your strength and perseverance…I always have.”
“I’m not afraid anymore Maura…,” Jane ran her hands up Maura’s arms, over her shoulders, and down her back only stopping when she came to the clasp of Maura’s bra. “And you shouldn’t be either.” She undid the bra and then slid her fingers under the satin straps before sliding them down Maura’s arms.
“I’ve never been self-conscious around you before but I don’t have the same body I did when I was eighteen. It amazes me that you have the same musculature you did back then. I don’t think you’ve gained a pound and if you have it was muscle and not fat. I’m sure you’ll notice that I’ve gained a few pounds but really, who can fight it when the odds are against you. I mean I try to work out, run, and do yoga but sometimes you just can’t win. It’s just the way it is when your metabolism slows down and you know…hormones play a role as well…,” Maura rambled on prompting Jane to place a finger against her lips to silence her.
“Have I told you how much I love your Google mouth?” Jane leaned forward and placed a soft, gentle kiss to Maura’s mouth as her finger wandered over the soft skin of Maura’s throat. “And for the record, I love every single dip…,” she said as her finger continued to trail lower. “And every single curve your body has to offer…,” her voice lowered to a husky whisper as her finger continued to move running along the edge of a full breast with the lightest of touches causing Maura to shiver.
As Jane continued to lightly tease, Maura realized how close the pleasure was to pain as she trembled with desire but ached for Jane to touch her more intimately. But even though the pleasure bordered on pain, she didn’t try to rush Jane. Instead, Maura stood still and allowed Jane to continue to explore at her own pace until she felt the first brush of fingertips across an already hardened nipple drawing a moan from both of them.
“I need you to lay on the bed…,” Jane’s voice was a hushed whisper in Maura’s ear as she guided them closer to the bed.
“Not until you take these off.” Maura yanked at Jane’s jeans, undoing the button fly before reaching to pull Jane’s sports bra over her head. She let out a sigh of relief when Jane dipped her against the bed, gently laying her back with strong arms. It was those same strong arms that held Jane up so she could hover over Maura and look her in the eyes as a sexy smirk played across her lips.
“It’s been a while…I hope I haven’t lost my touch.” Jane’s eyes twinkled playfully as she continued to hover just high enough so that their bodies didn’t touch.
“Why don’t you touch me and find out?” Maura smirked back.
“You’d like that now, wouldn’t you Dr. Isles…,” Jane teased as her eyes swept over the body beneath her.
“I suggest you shut up and kiss me detective…,” Maura reached up, wrapped her arms around Jane’s neck, and pulled her down into a kiss.
The kiss was slow and unhurried as Maura’s mouth found Jane’s. The soft brush of a tongue seeking her own had Maura arching up so she could feel Jane’s body against hers. And when that delicious moment of skin against skin finally arrived, it was all Maura could do to savor it before Jane was moving away again so they were laying alongside each other.
Laying side by side, they stared into each other’s eyes, seeking the confirmation that this was something they both wanted. A wisp of honey-blonde hair fell across Maura’s forehead as Jane continued to watch for any indication that she should stop, but the only thing she saw was honesty looking back at her, begging her to continue. And when Jane finally accepted her fate, her lips parted on an exhale of breath that moved over Maura’s soft skin causing goose bumps. Bringing her hand up to rest in the hallow of Maura’s throat, her thumb traced along a bottom lip before her mouth replaced fingers that trailed down Maura’s neck and across her chest as their lips met again.
“God Maura…,” Jane pulled away from their kiss to allow her lips to skim across Maura’s cheek towards her ear. “This body...,” She gently pushed Maura to her back and moved so she could lower herself again so they were touching. “And the anticipation of what it has to offer makes me realize that I’ve been starving all of these years without you.”
“Take what you need…please…,” Maura closed her eyes and tilted her head towards Jane’s mouth as it moved over her ear. It wasn’t enough that Jane’s lips were traveling along her skin, but her tongue left a wet trail of heat in its wake drawing a low moan from deep within Maura.
Jane’s hot breath blew against overly sensitive skin and she whispered words of love and promises of things to come as she dipped her head to skim her lips over Maura’s jaw and down her throat. She allowed her tongue to sketch indelible lines, tracing a path towards her final destination just above Maura’s right breast. The feeling of fingers running through her hair, guiding her to where Maura needed her most caused her to slow her decent. With her mouth just barely touching the soft skin beneath her, she raised her dark eyes so she could see Maura’s reaction. When their eyes met, the hunger and desire she saw looking back at her spurred her to continue until her lips brushed against an erect nipple. Fingers tightened their grip in her hair just before her tongue replaced her lips.
A warm sensation started in the pit of Maura’s stomach and radiated out in waves traveling throughout her body and over her skin. It was almost too much too soon but she couldn’t stop it if she wanted to. Her eyelids fluttered as she held Jane against her, encouraging her to continue her gentle ministrations.
“I love how soft your skin is…,” Jane purred against the curve of Maura’s breast.
“I love how soft your lips are on my skin…,” Maura’s voice was breathless as she pressed herself further into Jane. Closing her eyes, she was in awe at the feeling of Jane’s hair floating along her skin before she brushed it away and opened her eyes so she could watch Jane continue her exploration from one breast to the other. Her breath came fast and heavy as her eyes followed Jane’s every move. A flick of her tongue followed by a slow, exaggerated lick brought a gasp from Maura just before Jane captured her with her lips and sucked into her mouth.
Jane could feel eyes on her as she moved across the valley between Maura’s breasts to settle her lips against the one she had previously neglected. The sound of Maura’s breathless moan sent a tremor throughout her body. A sense of wonderment settled over her as she marveled at the power she still had, the power to give Maura what she wanted and what she needed. And she had every intention of fulfilling the promises she had whispered against Maura’s skin as she ducked her head lower allowing her hair to slide over the smooth skin of Maura’s stomach as her journey over dips and curves continued. Maura’s body was exactly as she had remembered, soft, supple, and so very responsive to her touch.
The slow and steady decent of Jane’s lips as they moved further down her body had Maura holding her breath in anticipation. She knew where she needed Jane the most but the deliberate path of Jane’s mouth conjured up memories of times before and her fingers tightened their grip in the tangle of Jane’s hair.
“Maur…honey, your gonna have to loosen the grip if you want me to continue.” Jane paused just above Maura’s belly button and peered up at her. She smiled against the soft skin she found there when she felt Maura’s fingers loosen but not let go. “You do want me to continue…don’t you?” A sexy smirk played across her lips as she placed open mouthed kisses along Maura’s stomach.
“Oh God, yes…yes…please Jane…,” Maura panted as she threw her head back against a pillow and looked to the ceiling as if she might find some sort of reprieve from the onslaught of sensations that raced along her skin.
“Then look at me darlin’…I need to see those beautiful eyes watching my every move.” Jane moved her mouth to hover just above the elastic of Maura’s lacey underwear. She waited there until Maura looked down at her, giving her full attention to what was to come next. Moving her mouth over to Maura’s left hip, she placed a kiss there before moving to the right hip to do the same and then with a sexy smirk she hooked a finger on either side of the lacey material before sliding it down the legs she was settling between. “This is where I want to live…,” she murmured against the soft skin on the inside of Maura’s thigh. “Right here between your hips…it’s where all the love you give exists…,” the last lines of the song she had shared with Maura earlier traveled over heated skin as Jane lifted Maura’s legs to her shoulders and moved toward the center of her universe.
Maura’s vision dimmed at the first touch of Jane’s tongue and the urgency to feel more caused her to thrust upwards seeking the contact she so desperately needed. All her senses narrowed to the sensation of Jane’s mouth on her as if nothing else existed before this moment and nothing else would exist after it. She could feel strong hands holding her in place as Jane’s tongue moved over her, flicking until she thought she might go mad. And as she struggled to feel more, she began to move her hips setting the rhythm for Jane to follow. It was a rhythm that came from deep within her, set by the rapid beating of her heart and the memory of how Jane set her soul on fire. Then, a delicious vibration began in her thighs and with a final rush, traveled upward with an increasing intensity that shook her to her core. She closed her eyes, threw her head back, and called out Jane’s name as the universe rained down on her in a shower of stars filled with the brightest of colors and light as her body stiffened and held its place against Jane.
The awe of watching Maura coming undone in her arms hadn’t diminished over the years nor the power it had on her own body. The ripple that started against her lips as she brought Maura to the brink and then over radiated throughout her in waves, washing away years of regret. It was the purest form of absolution for her battered soul and she never wanted to be without Maura. Come what may, she would never have to face anything alone again.
When the world finally came back to Maura and her heart rate slowed giving her the chance to catch her breath again and she ran her fingers through Jane’s long, tangle of dark hair. She hadn’t been sure she would ever come back from the feeling of floating away like an untethered balloon but the weight of Jane’s body moving up her own grounded her. Her body felt paralyzed by the pleasurable aftershocks that continued to move over her overly sensitive skin and she marveled at how quickly her body had given in.
“You wreck me…you know that?” Maura let out a tired sigh.
“Really?” Jane let out her own sigh as she settled against Maura.
“You’re the only one that can do that to me. The only one who can reduce me to a puddle of mush with the lightest of touches.” Maura placed her hand against Jane’s cheek and used her thumb to rub along a full bottom lip. “When I’m with you…nothing else seems to exist. The only thing I can think about is where you’re going to touch me next and the anticipation carries its own level of pleasure. I’ve never had that with anyone else.”
“So, what you’re saying is that I haven’t lost my touch…,” Jane’s face relaxed into an easy smile as the backs of her fingers began a lazy trail along the outside of Maura’s breast.
“Not even a little…,” Maura rolled over on top of Jane. She leaned in and kissed the lips beneath hers slowly as her fingers brushed away the hair at Jane’s temple. Pulling back, she gazed down and gasped at the love she saw reflected back at her through dark, brown eyes. “I feel as if I’ve waited a lifetime for this moment.”
“You don’t have to wait anymore Maura, I’m right here and we have a lifetime of being together ahead of us.” Jane ran her hands down Maura’s back, bringing them to rest on hips that moved to straddle her.
“Tell me what you want.” Maura began to move slowly against the body beneath hers.
“I want to be the breath you take just before you whisper my name as you come undone in my arms.” Jane’s hands moved along Maura’s thighs to hold her in place. Pushing herself up into a seated position so she was face to face with Maura, her lips moved to whisper in an ear. “Do you remember the first time we made love?”
All Maura could do was nod against the hot breath in her ear. She closed her eyes as she recalled that night so many years ago.
“Do you remember how you took me? How you owned that moment…possessed my soul with the love we shared?” Jane’s voice was becoming breathless as Maura continued to move against her. “I want that…I want the memory of your body…the memory of the love we have for each other imprinted on my heart until the day I die. You’re all I want…you’re all I’ve ever wanted or will ever want.”
“For someone who claims they aren’t good with words…you sure wax poetic.” Maura gave Jane a gentle push so she would lay back.
“I can’t help it when I have you to inspire me.” Jane gave a crooked grin as she laid back and watched Maura with interest.
Maura rested her hands, palm down on Jane’s stomach and marveled at the way the sculpted muscles twitched under her exploring fingers. She could feel Jane’s breathing coming faster as her hands moved higher until her thumbs brushed the underside of each breast. Her eyes stayed locked on Jane’s as she waited for any indication she should stop but when Jane’s eyelids fluttered shut she couldn’t suppress a small, rather triumphant grin. The skin under her fingertips was soft and supple as she watched Jane’s reaction with interest. As her touch moved higher, Jane’s hands moved back down to her hips giving her the leverage she needed to move against Maura. The pace was set at a slow and steady grind as Maura brushed a thumb over one nipple and then the other.
Jane took a deep breath and then let it out in a long hiss as she arched into Maura’s touch. She could feel the heat building up deep inside of her and she knew it would just be a matter of time before it would burn Maura’s skin.
Leaning forward so her body was laying atop Jane’s, Maura placed light, open mouthed kisses along a dimpled cheek and then moving to slightly parted lips. She began a slow exploration with her tongue of the mouth beneath her own before skimming her lips down along Jane’s jaw to the hollow of her throat. As her mouth continued its decent, her right hand slipped past the only barrier left between them. Fingers dipped beneath satin material until Maura felt all the confirmation she needed to press further.
The feeling of Maura’s hand moving down her stomach in an exploration that would surely end where she needed her most caused Jane to gasp. And when those fingers finally found what they sought, the heat that raced along her skin carried Maura’s name to her lips in a whispered plea.
“Maura…,” Jane whispered on an exhale of breath.
“I’m here Jane…,” Maura answered back as her mouth lowered to worship one breast and then the other. With practiced patience, she tasted and tantalized the skin beneath her lips as her fingers continued to stroke and tease.
“Please…,” Jane’s voice broke on her one-word plea. Her fingers grasp at Maura’s neck and shoulders, trying to guide her to where she needed her. She let out a sigh of relief when Maura started to move lower.
Maura smiled against Jane’s heated skin as she moved along the curve of a breast before running her tongue along the sculpted muscles of Jane’s stomach. She lifted her hands and hooked her fingers in the waistband at Jane’s hips to remove the last barrier between them. The move drew a sigh from Jane before Maura continued her silent prayer against the trembling skin beneath her mouth.
The slow decent of Maura’s mouth was enough to drive Jane crazy but the anticipation of what was to come was the sweetest anguish she had ever experienced. She let out a soft sigh when she felt satin material sliding down her legs, finally freeing her from its confines and leaving her open to Maura’s exploration. It wasn’t until Maura’s tongue found her that she closed her eyes and wondered if she could survive the onslaught of sensation that crashed over her like a wave threatening to carry her away. It was in that moment that time stood still and everything but the love they shared ceased to exist as Jane slipped under the current and was carried away by the surge of pleasure that Maura offered to her…over and over again.
“I love you…I love you…,” the words tumbled from Jane’s lips as her body gave in. She could feel the rippling current of Maura’s adoration sweeping along her skin as she accepted all of the out pouring of love that Maura had to offer.
“I love you too.” Maura allowed herself to be pulled up to lay alongside Jane. Gazing into Jane’s dark, brown eyes she could see everything she needed to see as she placed her lips to Jane’s with the promise of tomorrow. “You are my beginning, middle, and end…and we haven’t even gotten started yet.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 25
I’ve got you…
It was still dark outside when Jane’s eyes fluttered open as she swam up from one of the deepest sleeps she’d had in years. Her eyes focused on the sliver of white that was cast from the street lights outside and she marveled at the way the pale light illuminated Maura’s alabaster skin. Her fingers itched to touch the bare back and shoulders exposed to her but she curbed her temptation so as not to wake Maura. As she continued to quietly study, she became conscious of the weight of the body that rested upon her own and it was a welcome distraction. Her eyes continued to travel over the visible curves of Maura’s hips and a shiver ran through her. The feeling of Maura draped over her, warmed her skin wherever it touched Maura’s. A lazy smile graced her lips as she recalled their night together and the realization that they lay naked in each other’s arms did little to suppress her need to touch. After a moment of quiet contemplation, she realized that it was too much to resist, so she skimmed the tips of her fingers along Maura’s back eliciting a deep sigh from the object of her affection.
“I’ve been waiting for you to touch me…,” Maura’s warm breath ghosted past Jane’s collar bone where her head was nestled.
“Hmmm, have you now?” Jane’s fingers moved higher to dance along Maura’s bare shoulders. “How long have you been awake?”
“Don-know…,” Maura mumbled against the hollow of Jane’s throat. “Not long.” She placed a gentle kiss against the soft skin under her lips.
“Not fair.” Jane groaned as Maura’s mouth moved up her neck and along her jaw. “You have me at a disadvantage. I’m pinned under you and can’t touch you in all of the places I want to touch you.” She tried to prop herself up so she had a better vantage point of Maura and what she was doing but Maura had other ideas.
“No pouting.” Maura pushed Jane back so she was laying down again. “And I like you right where I have you.” She moved to straddle Jane’s hips and lifted up to hover her lips just a few inches from Jane’s.
“Jesus Maur, are you trying to kill me?” Jane placed her hands on Maura’s hips before moving them up either side only stopping when her fingers brushed the undersides of Maura’s breasts. She let out a contented sigh as she slid her palms around to cup each breast causing Maura to shiver but instead of keeping her hands there, Jane suddenly withdrew.
Maura sat up straighter as Jane’s hands began to explore, tilting her head back and closing her eyes when she felt Jane touch her breasts. But when the warmth of Jane’s hand’s was suddenly replaced by the cool night air, she opened her eyes to find that Jane’s once open hands were now clenched fists.
“What’s wrong sweetheart?” Maura looked down at Jane’s furrowed brow with concern.
Jane bit down on her bottom lip and turned her head to the side in an effort to hide her uncertainty. Her hands were still clinched into tight fists, her nails biting into the tender flesh of her palms except where her scar tissue was. The slightly raised scars felt rough under her fingers and she started to feel self-conscious again. She knew how the coarse bumps felt against her own skin and she couldn’t help but think that Maura would dislike it as much as she did.
“I’m sorry. I know my hands aren’t the softest…,” The uncertainty was heavy in Jane’s voice as she continued to look away from Maura’s questioning gaze.
“Jane? Look at me please.” Maura touched Jane’s chin to get her to turn her head. She waited patiently until dark, brown eyes finally looked her way. “I’ve told you many times before how much I love your hands.” Reaching down, she took one of Jane’s hands in her own and gave it a gentle squeeze so the tight fist would open. She traced a finger along the palm of Jane’s open hand before bringing it up to her lips to place a gentle kiss over the scar tissue that marred the otherwise perfect skin. “So strong…,” her words were whispered against Jane’s palm. “So soft…,” she moved her mouth to skim along the back of Jane’s fingers. “If you ever doubt how much I love the feeling of your hands on my body, all you have to do is touch me and you’ll never question it again.”
Jane watched in wonder as Maura moved to join their hands together, intertwining their fingers before bringing their hands to rest over her heart. Maura pressed Jane’s hand, palm down, against the space just above her left breast.
“Can you feel that?” Maura asked as she continued to hold Jane’s hand against her heart. “Just the thought of your hands touching me makes my heart race. And as for that little spot of scar tissue…,” She moved Jane’s hand down to cover her breast. “I like the contrast between the soft and the rough, especially when you tease me with the lightest of touches.”
A slow, lazy smile curved Jane’s lips as she skimmed her open palm over the warm skin under her hand, barely touching an already hardened nipple. She could feel Maura trembling as she continued to caress a path from one breast to the other. It was time to let go of her insecurities. Maura had shown her nothing but love and understanding since day one.
“So, let me get this straight…,” Jane gave a sexy smirk as she brought her other hand up. “You like this?” She brushed her open palms over Maura’s breasts allowing the rough scar tissue to make contact with each nipple.
“Yessss…,” Maura hissed through clenched teeth, closing her eyes and tilting her head back. “I like it very much.” The words came out on an exhaled breath as she arched her back, pushing herself into Jane’s open hands for better contact.
“Hey, open your eyes beautiful. I want you to watch what I do next.” Jane’s voice was low and husky as her hands moved lower over Maura’s stomach.
Maura’s eyes flew open when she felt Jane’s hands move lower and she looked down just in time to watch Jane’s left hand slide between her legs. The feeling of fingers slipping into her caused her to gasp and she grabbed Jane’s wrist to hold her hand where she needed her most. Her other hand grasped Jane’s shoulder for support as she continued to straddle the narrow hips beneath her.
“I love this…holding you in the palm of my hand.” Jane continued to move her fingers but pushed the palm of her hand into Maura’s center causing them both to moan. Maura’s need filled Jane’s hand and painted her stomach as they began to slowly grind against each other. When their movements became quicker, Jane knew it wouldn’t be long before Maura tumbled over the edge. She watched as Maura’s pale skin blossomed into a light pink flush that traveled up her chest, neck and face.
Their eyes held in an intense standoff while Maura struggled to catch her breath, but she refused to give in to her impending climax just yet. It was too soon and she wanted to hold out as long as she could to savor every second, every touch, every ripple of pleasure that fluttered deep within her just waiting to be released.
“I know you want it Maur, I can feel how close you are.” Jane pushed herself up from her reclined position so they were face to face. Her hand and fingers continued to move, alternating between soft strokes and strong thrusts. “I’ve got you, you can let go…,” she slowed her movements before continuing. When Maura didn’t respond right away, Jane slowed down even more. “Maura…come for me…,” She whispered in a hoarse voice.
“Jane...,” Maura cried out as her body finally pushed past the limit. She threw her head back and squeezed her eyes shut as she rode the wave of intense pleasure that carried her away. Wrapping her arms around Jane’s shoulders, she allowed the aftershocks to travel through her and over her skin as every muscle in her body tensed and then began to relax.
“Hey…I’ve got you.” Jane sighed against the warm skin of Maura’s neck. She waited patiently for Maura to stop trembling in her arms and only pulled back to look at her when she felt Maura’s breath slow to an even, steady rhythm. “I’ll always be here to catch you; you know that right?”
All Maura had the energy to do was nod. All she wanted to do was snuggle up against Jane and go to sleep.
Jane pulled Maura against her as she laid back, her arms tightly around Maura’s body. She could feel Maura nestling against her in an attempt to find a comfortable position as fatigue began to overcome them both. “I love you.” The words were murmured against the top of Maura’s head where Jane placed a kiss. She could feel Maura smile against her neck just before she fell asleep.

***

The sound of someone pounding on the front door drifted up to Maura’s bedroom rousing Jane from her sleep. She could feel Maura stirring as well as the pounding continued without any signs of stopping. Letting out a heavy sigh, she pushed herself up onto her elbows causing Maura to sit up next to her.
“Who is knocking at the door at,” Maura glanced over at the clock on her bedside table. “At 7:23 in the morning?” She lifted her hands above her head as she yawned and stretched out her sore muscles at the same time.
“I’ll give you one guess.” Jane grumbled as she pushed her fingers through her tangle of long, dark hair.
“Angela…?” Maura tilted her head, a thoughtful expression on her face. “You are absolutely stunning.” She reached over to push a strand of hair behind Jane’s ear before trailing her fingers along Jane’s cheek and then down her neck.
“You’d better not start something you can’t finish Dr. Isles.” Jane shot a sexy smirk at Maura. The continued sound of someone knocking on the door caused her to roll her eyes.
“I don’t suppose she’ll just give up and leave, will she?” Maura asked.
“Um…nope.” Jane wrapped an arm around Maura’s shoulder and pulled her close. “How about you get in the shower while I send her on her way and then I’ll be right up to join you.” She punctuated her last statement with a long, slow kiss.
“I suggest you make it quick detective or I may have to finish this without you…,” Maura gave her own version a sexy smirk that highlighted that dimple in her left cheek.
“Give me five minutes.” Jane jumped up from the bed and grabbed her jeans from the floor. With one swift movement, she pulled them on and buttoned them up before slipping her arms into the now wrinkled oxford shirt she had been wearing the night before. “I’ll be right back.” She called over her shoulder as she buttoned the shirt up halfway on her way out the door.
“I’ll be waiting…,” Maura called back as she disappeared into the master bathroom.
Jane took the stairs two at a time on her way to the front door in an effort to get rid of her mother quickly and as efficiently as possible. As she approached the direction from which the continued pounding came, with no signs of letting up at all, it never occurred to her that it would be anyone other than her mother on the other side.
“Alright, alright…keep you pants on!” Jane shouted towards the closed door with an assured confidence in her voice. But when she pulled the door handle to open the door, all of the confidence seeped from her in one long exhale of breath as Paddy Doyle brushed past her without even waiting for an invitation to come in.
“I need to see Maura…,” His voice was gruff and unyielding as Jane turned around to face him once she had closed the door.
“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” Jane hissed through clinched teeth as her temper simmered close to the surface. It was taking all of her self-control not to push Paddy out the front door on to the street where he belonged. The only thing that kept her from doing just that was his haggard appearance, hollow expression, and her morbid curiosity to know the source of his discomfort. “You have no right to be here.” She took a step closer in an effort to intimidate with the extra inch she had over him in height.
“This isn’t a social visit.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket in an attempt to control his own temper. “I need to talk to Maura.”
“So you said.” Jane bristled at the idea of Paddy getting anywhere near Maura. “You know I can’t let you…won’t let you near her.” The conviction in the words surprised even her.
“This isn’t about me.” Paddy reached up and rubbed his forehead before running his fingers through his hair.
Jane watched as he fidgeted nervously and it was then that she noticed his red rimmed eyes and the dark circles. In an instant her mind switched into detective mode.
“What’s happened Paddy? What’s brought here?” Jane’s voice turned serious and her temper subsided as she continued to study him.
“He’s dead Jane.!” Paddy grabbed the front of Jane’s shirt, pulling until their faces were inches apart. “My son’s dead!”
Jane fought her first instinct, which was to pull away from Paddy’s grasp. Her hesitation only prolonged when she saw his eyes, eyes so like Maura’s, fill with tears. She placed her hand on his and gave a gentle squeeze causing him to let go.
“I’m sorry Paddy…really I am.” She shook her head. Sadness overcame her at the memory of the young man she had seen on her many encounters with Paddy through the years. The most memorable thing about him was his smile and the dimple in his left cheek that matched Maura’s. “But I just don’t understand why you’re here…,”
For a moment all they could do was look at each other in silence as Paddy tried to think of the words to explain while Jane tried to hide her impatience.
“I need Maura’s help.” He finally spoke. It may not have been the answer Jane wanted to hear but in that moment a silent understanding passed between them.
“And what makes you think that I’d be willing to help you?” Maura’s voice surprised both Jane and Paddy from their silent conversation. She had heard a man’s voice as she made her way downstairs to find Jane but did not recognize it until she stepped into the entryway where she found the unwelcomed visitor.
“Um, Maura…honey, I thought you were in the shower.” Jane moved closer to Maura in a protective stance that didn’t go unnoticed by Paddy who raised an eyebrow as he watched.
“Clearly I am not.” Maura’s voice was tight with strain as her eyes pinned Paddy to where he stood, daring him to move closer. She could feel Jane shifting her weight next to her, but she refused to take her eyes off of the man who had so menacingly meddled in her life.
“Clearly…,” Jane said before coughing nervously. She could feel the tension radiating off of Maura and knew not to push the issue.
“Maura…,” Paddy looked down at his feet briefly before looking her in the eyes. “I’m sorry we have to meet for the first time under these circumstances.”
“And what circumstances would lead you to believe that you are welcome in my home?” The coolness in her voice sent a shiver through the room. She could see the concerned expression on Jane’s face but her anger at finding Paddy Doyle standing in her entryway was too much for her to bare. “Why don’t you go take a shower Jane. I think Paddy and I have some things to talk about.” Putting a hand on Jane’s arm, she leaned over and gave her a quick yet dismissive kiss on the cheek.
“Um…over my dead body. I won’t leave you alone with…” Jane waved her hands in Paddy’s direction. “Him!” She made a face at him.
“While I appreciate your concern Jane, I can handle this.” Maura gave Jane a look that brokered no argument.
“You don’t know him like I do.” Jane ignored Maura’s silent warning as she did her best to plead her case. She looked to Paddy for his agreement but when she got none in return, she rolled her eyes and let out a frustrated huff.
“Please trust me. I know what I’m doing.” Maura’s expression softened when she saw the panic building up in Jane’s dark eyes.
“Fine.” Jane frowned. Turning to go up the stairs, her bare feet padding along the hardwood floors, she stopped and glanced over her shoulder. “You have five minutes.”
Maura couldn’t stop herself from smiling at Jane’s retreating back but then she schooled her features and looked at Paddy. Slipping her hands into the front pocket of Jane’s BPD sweatshirt she was wearing, she gave him an expectant raise of her eyebrow.
“I’m glad you have her to watch your back.” Paddy said quietly.
“Don’t underestimate me. I can take care of myself.” Her voice held contempt as she glared at him. “But no thanks to you, I don’t have to anymore.”
Paddy swallowed hard and shook his head knowing exactly what Maura was referring to. Any other time he wouldn’t care but today was different. He was different and he needed Maura to know that.
“Would you like to go into the kitchen to talk? I’ll make some coffee.” Maura said, moving towards the kitchen without waiting for him to answer.
Paddy silently followed Maura into her kitchen. He wasn’t sure where to start so he kept quiet under her not-so-subtle scrutiny.
Moving around her kitchen, Maura started her coffee maker before turning around to face Paddy. She tilted her head in the direction of the chair at the breakfast bar as she grabbed two cups that were sitting on the counter. When he sat down and gave her an expectant look she turned back to the coffee maker.
“Cream? Sugar?” She asked without turning around.
“Cream, please.” He watched her with veiled curiosity.
Maura gave a curt nod as she poured two cups of coffee before sliding one across the counter towards him.
“The cream is right there.” She tipped her chin towards the small container in front of him. Patiently, she waited for him to finish before beginning her questions. “So…why are you here?” Her hands were shaking slightly as she brought her cup to her lips to sip at the hot liquid.
“I need your help.” He brought his own cup up and looked at her over the rim waiting for her next question.
“What makes you think that I could or would help you?” Her eyebrow rose again in question as she lowered her cup, this time with a steady hand.
“I have…um…had a son.” He set his cup down, no longer wanting to drink it.
“Had?” Maura asked, her once hard gaze softening slightly.
“I need you,” he hesitated briefly before continuing. “I need you and Jane to take over the investigation of his murder. I need someone I can trust to look after him.”
Maura looked over Paddy’s shoulder as Jane entered, true to her word, exactly five minutes after she had left. She could see the questions and the concern reflected back as Jane moved across the room to stand next to her. The feeling of Jane’s hand against the small of her back was a comfort she hadn’t expected and it filled her with warmth. She leaned into the touch as she thought about what Paddy had said.
“You know we can’t do that Paddy.” Jane reluctantly turned her attention away from Maura.
“You can and you will.” Paddy’s eyes flashed with the anger Jane had come to associate with the man in front of her. “This is about family.”
“DNA doesn’t make us family.” Maura said with a sigh as she pushed her hair away from her face. “But,” she hesitated and leaned further into Jane seeking her unwavering support. “What was his name?”
“Colin,” Paddy’s expression softened as he said the name. “He was only twenty-two years old,” his voice trailed off before he coughed against the knot that had formed in his throat.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what I could do to help you.” Maura said sadly.
“Look, I’m sorry Paddy, really truly sorry for your loss but you can’t just show up here at Maura’s expecting us to hand over intel so you can plan your revenge.” Jane wrapper an arm around Maura’s waist to try to still the trembling she could feel.
“If you give me this one thing,” he looked at Jane and clenched his teeth against the anger he was feeling. His eyes hardened as he stared at her willing her to agree. “I’ll turn myself in…after I finish what needs to be finished.” The unspoken message was clear and he knew that Jane would understand.
“I don’t understand why no one has called us about this yet.” Maura began to muse as she tried to figure out why the department hadn’t called her in for an autopsy.
“That would be because I still have him.” Paddy looked down at his hands which had turned into fists at the memory of what had happened the night before. “But I will hand his body over to you and only you Maura.”
Jane could feel Maura stiffen against her as they both tried to process what Paddy had said.
“Tell us what happened Paddy. You know it will be next to impossible for us to find any viable evidence since there is no crime scene.” Jane tried to reason as questions flooded her mind.
“They threw his body out of a moving car, right in front of my door.” Paddy’s breathing became heavy as he tried to control himself. “Shot in the back of the head, execution style,” his feelings betrayed him and his voice faltered.
“Bring him in and I’ll do the autopsy.” Maura’s voice was strong and almost devoid of feeling.
“Maura, you don’t have to do that.” Jane tried to reason. “We can let someone else do it.”
“No,” Maura let out a heavy sigh. “I should be the one. It’s my job.”
“But you shouldn’t have to do this.” Jane was beginning to panic as she saw the resignation in Maura’s eyes.
“I’ll give you what I can but I won’t make any promises.” Maura reached up to rub her forehead just as Paddy had done earlier.
“We can’t do that Maura.” Jane dropped her hold on Maura’s waist. “This goes against everything we work for. You know that.”
Maura took a heavy breath as she thought about what to say next. She glanced at Paddy who had a hopeful expression on his face and then to Jane who looked like she had just lost her best friend. She knew she couldn’t help him the way he wanted her to, nor would she but she had to do something.
“I won’t give him anything I wouldn’t give to the press.” Maura said as she looked him square in the eyes. “I just might give it to him before I make it public.”
“Jesus Maur, you’re walking a fine line here.” Jane leaned against the counter and glared at Paddy. “And you!” Her voice raised an octave. “I can’t believe you’d ask her do an autopsy on her own brother. What kind of person does that?” She began to shake as anger overcame her.
“I’ve never asked for anyone’s help before but I can’t sit idle on this.” Paddy gave Jane a sympathetic look. “I have an idea who did this but I just need the smoking gun and I trust you to find it.”
“I won’t be a party to this, but I won’t stop you either.” Jane had a pained expression on her face as she turned to Maura.
“He had just been accepted to BU.” Paddy’s voice sounded faraway and wistful. “He was going to study physical therapy. He really loved sports and wanted to do something with that,” his voice faded as he looked at Maura. “I should have told you about him. He begged me to let him meet you.”
Maura took a deep breath and looked away trying to steel herself from the sadness that was beginning to wash over her. “I’m sure you were proud of him.” She said in a quiet voice.
“I have always been proud of both of you.” He turned his attention back to Jane. “I don’t blame you for hating me Jane. I haven’t given you much of a reason to feel otherwise but please think about what I’m asking.”
“I don’t need to think about it Paddy. I won’t cross that line.” Jane dropped her eyes from his intense gaze.
“And I won’t ask you to.” Maura’s voice shook slightly as she took Jane’s hand in her own. “I know this is about family for you Paddy but Jane is the only family I will ever need.” She gave the hand in her own a gently squeeze. She smiled when she felt Jane squeeze back.
“Keep her safe Jane.” He tapped the counter with his knuckles before standing up to leave. “And I will be in touch.” His eyes went back to Maura as he gave her a quick nod.
As Paddy left them standing in the kitchen, they were silent until they heard the front door open and close. Jane went to double check that he was really gone and left Maura alone to ponder what had happened. When she was sure that Paddy was gone, she returned to the kitchen to find Maura with her head down, quietly sobbing into to her hands.
“Oh honey,” Jane moved across the room to gather Maura in her arms. “I’ve got you.” She pulled Maura close and held her until her body stopped shaking and her tears subsided. “You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do to help. I just can’t let him know.” Her hands moved up and down Maura’s back in an attempt to soothe.
“I know, I know.” Maura pulled back and took a deep breath to gain some control over her emotions. “I don’t usually get emotional. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
Jane looked surprised as she held Maura at arm’s length to study her. “Really?” She rolled her eyes in an exaggerated way and shook her head. “Are you kidding me now? Your biological father…the one who gave you away to strangers when you were a baby…a well-known mob boss…just walked into your home and told you that you have a brother who has been murdered and he wants you to do the autopsy.”
“I suppose it is a lot to take in before breakfast.” Maura tried to smile but her heart was heavy and it just didn’t feel right.
“You want me to make breakfast before we deal with this?” Jane pulled Maura back into her arms and waited patiently for her answer but before she could, the cell phone tucked in her back pocket began to ring. Pulling it out she looked at the caller ID and frowned. “It’s Ryan. Looks like the shit’s about to hit the fan.” She chanced a look at Maura who had pulled away so she could answer the phone. The frown that matched her own was all the confirmation she needed that their day was about to get even more complicated than it already was.
Maura watched as Jane answered the phone and let out a heavy sigh at the thought of what was coming their way. She knew it wouldn’t be easy but what she didn’t realize was that this was only the tip of the iceberg for them and as they did their best to navigate the perils that lay ahead, neither of them could know the dangers that lurked just below the surface.

Chapter Text

There is no ‘I’ in Team
Perhaps it was the paper airplane that sailed past her, narrowly missing her head. Or maybe it was the sound of Korsak clearing his throat as he stood next to her desk looking down with a concerned expression on his face. But something finally snapped Jane from her contemplation. Whatever it was caused her to rub her eyes with the palms of her hands before running her fingers through her hair, pushing it away from her face. She blinked a few times and then turned her attention to the man standing above her giving her that fatherly look she had come to expect when he was worried about her.
“What?” Jane asked, her voice hoarse from fatigue. She hadn’t meant to sound annoyed so she cleared her throat to try and hide the slip.
“I know this was supposed to be your day off with Maura,” Korsak leaned a hip against Jane’s desk and crossed his arms. “But you’ve been a million miles away since you got here. What gives?”
“Just tired I guess.” She looked back down at her desk and sighed. Tired wasn’t the word to describe what she was feeling but it was the easiest answer and the one that would receive the least amount of resistance.
“You and Maura didn’t have a fight, did you?” He asked hesitantly.
“Come on Korsak. They’re in their honeymoon phase. Probably up late…ya know.” Frost wiggled his eyebrows suggestively in Jane’s direction. When Jane didn’t respond, he glanced up at Korsak looking for help.
Jane hadn’t heard Frost’s comment because her mind was on Maura and the fact that she was downstairs, alone, doing an autopsy on a brother she didn’t know about until this morning. A morning that should have been spent in bed in each other’s arms but was instead interrupted by Paddy Doyle.
“Huh?” Jane’s eyes went to the elevator as it dinged indicating that someone was getting off. She hoped that it would be Maura and for the tenth time that morning, it wasn’t. When she realized it wasn’t who she wanted it to be, she turned to look at Frost with an expectant expression on her face.
“Look, why don’t you just go down there? You know you want to.” Frost pointed to the elevator. “You’re certainly not helping us up here anyways. Maybe you can find something to help Maura out with.”
Jane tried to focus on what Frost was saying to her, but all she heard was ‘help Maura out’. She frowned as she thought about Maura’s request to be left alone to do the autopsy. It wasn’t something she had wanted to do, but Jane knew well enough to let Maura have her space, at least for a little while.
“How long have I been here?” She suddenly sat up in her chair as she looked from Frost to Korsak.
“I don’t know, maybe two hours…give or take.” Korsak looked down at his watch.
“I think I’ve given her enough time.” Jane mumbled as she stood up and grabbed her navy blue blazer. Slipping her arms into it, she buttoned the top button before pulling her long hair free from being trapped by the collar, allowing it to cascade down her shoulders. “I’m gonna go check on Maura.” She said as she left both Korsak and Frost to watch after her with confused looks on their faces.
“What do you think that was all about?” Frost continued to watch Jane as she rocked back on her heels waiting for the elevator.
“I don’t know, but whenever Jane gets distracted like that, it doesn’t bode well for any of us.” Korsak shook his head as he watched Jane step into the elevator then disappear behind closing doors.
“I’m pretty sure it has something to do with Paddy Doyle.” Frost looked up at Korsak for confirmation. “Do you think so?”
“Maybe.” Korsak pursed his lips as he contemplated Frost’s question.
He knew that Jane had a history with Doyle, in fact it seemed as if the whole Rizzoli family had some type of contact with the Irish mob boss in one way or another. But what he didn’t know was how deeply involved Jane was or what it had to do with Maura at this point. He was surprised to find Jane there and that Maura was already doing the autopsy on Doyle’s son instead of Dr. Pike. The fact that they had given up a much needed day off together, something that didn’t happen often wasn’t what concerned him but the reason why did. He knew this would become a high profile case just because it was closely related to Paddy Doyle which would warrant Jane and Maura’s involvement in some way but he hadn’t expected it to be so soon.
“Hey, earth to Korsak…,” Frost said waving his hands in the air. “What’s going on? You’re zoning out like Jane. Is there something in the water? Wait…did you make the coffee again?” He attempted to lighten the somber mood that had settled over them as he sniffed cautiously at his coffee mug.
“No, and no I didn’t make the coffee today.” Korsak glanced down at his watch again before pushing away from Jane’s desk.
“I can’t believe you still wear one of those antiques.” Frost nodded towards the old, gold watch on Korsak’s wrist.
“What…this?” Korsak asked as he held his arm out to show off his time piece.
“Yeah, that old thing.” Frost rolled his eyes as he took a sip of coffee before wrinkling his nose. “You sure you didn’t make the coffee? It tastes like old gym socks.”
“No I didn’t make it and instead of being so concerned with who made it, I’d be more concerned that you know what old gym socks taste like. And what’s wrong with my watch?” Korsak gave Frost an irritated look as he shook his wrist causing the watch to wiggle back and forth.
“It’s so yesterday…,” Frost started to say but was interrupted when Korsak waved his hands in the air.
“How the hell am I supposed to know what time it is if I don’t wear a watch?” Korsak had an expectant look on his face as he waited for an answer.
“This…,” Frost held up his cellphone, pushing the side button to illuminate the time.
“Oh, you and your stupid technology. What are you gonna do when the battery runs out?” Korsak huffed impatiently. “This will run for years.” He held up his hand to emphasize what her was referring to.
“Alright, alright…I can see I’m not going to teach an old dog new tricks.” Frost started to laugh but glanced down quickly to see how much battery he had on his phone, hoping that Korsak wouldn’t notice.
“My tricks work just fine.” Korsak shook his head as he walked over to his own desk. “And I’m not old.”
“You keep telling yourself that old timer.” Frost tried to sound encouraging even though his voice held a teasing edge to it.
“Don’t push it kid. I still out-weigh you by almost a hundred pounds. I can take you down any time I want.” Korsak pushed some papers around his desk in a show of impatience even though he enjoyed the banter between them. Frost kept him on his toes.
“Humpf…I’d like to see that.” Frost huffed giving Korsak an indignant look. “You’d have to catch me first.”
“I’ve got a gun. I’ll just shoot you in the knee cap to slow you down so I can catch you.” Korsak said seriously without looking up.
“Um…what…you…?” Frost stammered before he noticed Korsak’s sly grin. “Touché old man, touché.”
“Let’s get this paperwork started before Jane gets back. Maybe it will snap her out of her funk. You know how much she hates paperwork.” Korsak looked back at Frost, a serious expression on his face.
“I hear ya…” Frost gave a knowing nod in agreement. He did know how much Jane hated paperwork and maybe this little bit of effort on his and Korsak’s part would help to bring Jane back to them.

***
Jane pushed the button for the basement where Maura’s offices were located and ruminated on her early morning phone call with Ryan. It still amazed her how quickly Ryan found out about Paddy’s visit but the one thing she hadn’t been prepared for was Ryan’s anger.
*“Are you trying to ruin your career?” Ryan asked, her voice just slightly raised.
“Look, I’m at Maura’s house and he came here. I did not invite him or ask him to come.” Jane turned away from Maura’s curious gaze.
“What was he doing there?” Ryan’s voice was quiet but the demand for an answer was clear in her tone.
“His son was murdered last night.” Jane’s voice dropped to the same level as Ryan’s.
“What?” Ryan almost shouted.
“He want’s Maura to do the autopsy and feed him information.” Jane gave Maura an apologetic smile as she continued to speak. “He still has the body but will only release it to Maura.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Ryan wasn’t able to contain her anger any more. “You’re both going to lose your jobs!” She all but shouted.
“You’ve got to buy us some time Ryan. He said he would turn himself in after…,” Jane didn’t finish what she was going to say, instead she allowed the implication to hang in the air.
“You’ve gone crazy, the both of you.” Ryan let out a heavy breath. “We need to talk and we need a plan as soon as possible. Dinner tonight at our place.” It wasn’t a question but an order.
“Okay, but tell me what to do here. Do I let Maura do the autopsy? Paddy said he only wanted her to do it, but Jesus Ryan…it’s her brother.” Jane was trying to hide the panic she was feeling.
“What does Maura want to do?” Ryan asked, her voice almost a whisper again.
“You know Maura. She says she’s fine to do it, but I just don’t know.” Jane glanced over at Maura who was looking out the window at Angela who was making her way across the yard. “Shit, shit…my Ma is on the way over.”
“Trust that Maura knows what she’s doing. I’ll make the arrangements on our end to get the body to Maura. We really need to talk Jane. The sooner the better. I’ll give the DA some excuse about why Paddy will only trust Maura but we need a plan like yesterday. IA is gonna be all over this if we don’t nip it in the bud.” Ryan was speaking quickly as if she didn’t have much time. “Hang on…,” she said and Jane could hear her muffled voice on the other end. “Look, I’ve gotta go. Carly’s pissed that my phone woke her up at the crack of dawn and now I have to go to work. I’ll see you tonight at around seven.” Ryan didn’t wait for Jane to confirm before she hung up.*
It had been a quick phone call and for that Jane was grateful. She told Maura about it on the drive into work and it made the somber mood that much more somber before they arrived at the BPD. And true to her word, Ryan had taken the reins and made sure that everything was taken care of before they got there. The only thing she hadn’t anticipated was Maura’s request to do the autopsy alone and leaving Maura had been one of the hardest things she had ever done. Leaving Maura to her own accord by her own request didn’t sit well with Jane but she did as Maura had asked and now it was time to check to see if she was okay.

***
Maura looked down at the white cloth that covered the body of Paddy’s son, the body of the brother she had never known about until that morning. From the moment she entered the autopsy room, she had done her best to detach herself because it was something she was good at. But not this time. Everything had been fine when she gave Jane a quick kiss at the elevators before they went their separate ways. She had seen the worry and concern in the dark, brown eyes she had come to love and she did her best to reassure Jane that everything was going to be fine. And even though she could tell that Jane didn’t believe her, at least Jane was willing to give her the space she felt she needed to do her job. A job she thought she could do because she had done it so many times before on strangers, acquaintances, and even friends. It had never been an issue until that moment when she made the first cut of the y-incision and a wave of nausea threatened to take her legs out from beneath her. She couldn’t bring herself to look down into his face because it was too familiar to her. This stranger she had never met had her high cheek bones and narrow nose and even though his hair was darker than hers, they shared the same shade of copper highlights.
“I’m sorry we never had the chance to meet.” Her voice echoed in the large autopsy room. Setting her scalpel down, she placed her hands on the edge of the table for support as she hung her head. A heavy sadness overcame her because there would never be another chance. “I thought I could do this.” She spoke again to the emptiness that surrounded her. “But I don’t think I can.”
Finally, she looked up and over at the serene, somewhat peaceful face. It had only been two hours since she and Jane had parted ways and she was still feeling the loss she had felt as the elevator doors closed, leaving her alone. In that two hours she had retrieved the bullet and prepared it for the lab, but that was all she had managed to do.
Pulling the sheet up and over his face, she turned her back to the autopsy table, leaned back and slid down until she was sitting on the floor. She wrapped her arms around her legs, rested her cheek against her knees, and then let the tears fall. She didn’t care who found her, just as long as someone did because she didn’t have the energy to pick herself up off of the floor.
Maura had no idea how long she sat on the floor with her eyes closed, overcome with physical and emotional exhaustion but she somehow sensed the minute Jane entered the room. Letting out a heavy sigh, she opened her eyes and saw Jane standing in the doorway. The fear she saw on Jane’s face broke her heart but she still couldn’t bring herself to move from where she was. She closed her eyes again as a shiver ran through her body, leaving her trembling.
As Jane stood in the doorway, her feet were frozen to the spot. She was unsure of what to do. Seeing Maura broken and defeated caused a pain in her chest but when their eyes met, the pain she saw looking back at her almost took her breath away. It wasn’t until Maura closed her eyes again and shivered that Jane found the will to finally move across the room.
Kneeling down in front of Maura, Jane reached out and wrapped her arms around Maura’s trembling body and held her close.
“I shouldn’t have left you to do this alone.” Jane murmured against Maura’s neck. “I’m so sorry,” She could feel Maura shaking her head, but no words would come at the moment so Jane just continued to hold her.
It may have only been minutes or perhaps hours had passed before Maura finally found her voice and spoke. “I can’t do this Jane. I thought I could, but I can’t.” She pulled back just enough to look at Jane.
“Oh sweetheart, you don’t have to.” Jane pushed some stray strands of hair away from Maura’s face before kissing her on the forehead. “We’ll get Pike in here to finish.”
“I don’t understand this,” Maura said as she pushed away from Jane. Her sudden movement was slightly frantic and took Jane by surprise. “I just don’t understand.” She began to shake her head back and forth.
“What? What don’t you understand?” Jane asked as she placed her hands on Maura’s shoulders to hold her still.
“I have no right to mourn the loss of someone I’ve never met before.” Maura looked away from Jane as the tears started to flow again.
“What are you trying to say Maura?” Jane cupped Maura’s cheek with her left hand and wiped the tears away with her thumb.
“I feel this loss Jane. I feel it right here.” Maura put a hand on her chest over her heart. “How is that possible. How can I feel this much pain over a stranger?”
“Oh honey, just because you didn’t know him doesn’t mean you can’t feel the pain of losing him.” Jane pulled Maura close again. “He was your brother and even though you never met him, you had a connection.”
“What connection could I possible have had to him?” Maura asked as she remembered his face and how his features were similar to hers.
“Well, you had the same father.” Jane tried to reason even though she wasn’t sure she could really put into words what she was trying to convey to Maura. “And the same smile,”
“You knew about him didn’t you?” Maura asked even though she already knew the answer.
“Um…yeah.” Jane started to pull away from Maura as guilt started to settle in her chest.
“No, don’t…,” Maura pulled Jane back so she could lay her head on a broad shoulder. “I’m not mad. I’m sure you thought there would be time to tell me.”
“I was being selfish Maura. I knew if I told you, you’d want to meet him and that would expose you to Paddy’s world. I didn’t want that to happen but no matter how much I tried to protect you…it happened anyway.” Jane sighed heavily at her own truth.
“What can you tell me about him?” Maura asked as she snuggled closer to Jane.
“I didn’t know him that well…or at all really. I’d see him occasionally when I went to deal with Paddy, but we never spoke.” Jane said as she ran her fingers through Maura’s hair, pushing it away from her face. “But he did have a dimple right here…,” she let her fingers trail down Maura’s cheek to the spot where hers was. “And when he smiled it appeared just like yours does.”
Maura brought her hand up to cover Jane’s, pressing it against her cheek and closed her eyes as she tried to imagine what it would look like to see his smile.
“Now that I think about it, he always seemed to be smiling.” Jane cupped Maura’s face again and tilted her head up so they look at each other. “I heard he was a smart kid too, but not smart enough to get out of the family business I guess.” She frowned. “You know, sometimes when I would see him, it would make my heart ache for you and because of that it made me hate Paddy even more.”
“I want to help him.” Maura lifted her chin higher in an almost defiant way. When Jane gave her a confused look, she continued. “I want to help Paddy find who did this.”
“I understand that Maura, but we need to be careful. If you are caught talking to him or seen with him there will be questions. Not to mention the people that did this might see you as some sort of collateral in whatever fight they have with Paddy.” Jane’s voice cracked slightly at the strain she was feeling.
“I’ll be careful.” Maura nodded resolutely as she looked Jane in the eyes, daring her to disagree with her.
“We need a plan and we need Ryan.” Jane’s mind was already formulating a way they could help.
“I can’t ask you to do this Jane. There’s too much at risk…,” Maura started to say but was quickly interrupted.
“There is no ‘I’ when it comes to this or anything else from here on out. It is ‘we’ and it always will be.” Jane’s temper started to stir. “You won’t do this alone and you won’t put yourself in danger, not as long I’m still breathing.” She gave Maura a stern look, this time it was her turn to dare the other to argue.
Maura was quiet for a moment before she looked away from Jane’s intense stare. She knew there was no way she could go it alone but she also knew she would do whatever she had to in order to keep Jane safe. At the moment, the best thing she could do was agree with Jane until the time came not to. She tried to smile as she gave a weak nod and was glad when Jane pulled her into a hug again.
“We’ll figure this out, together. Deal?” Jane whispered against the top of Maura’s head where her chin came to rest.
“Deal.” Maura’s voice was quiet as she allowed Jane to comfort her.
They stayed like that, holding each other until Jane finally spoke, breaking the spell of contemplative silence that had surrounded them. “I think we need to get Pike to finish up in here.”
“Okay.” Maura allowed Jane to pull her to her feet. “Here…,” she said as she handed Jane a small glass bottle. “I got the bullet out so ballistics could test it. Hopefully we can find a gun to match it and figure out who is responsible.”
Jane glanced over her shoulder and noticed that Maura had pulled the white sheet over the body, covering up the work she had started. She shouldn’t have been surprised that Maura had done the most important part of the autopsy. Retrieving the bullet would surly give them a direction for their investigation.
“Let’s drop this off with Susie and head home. We’ve got a long evening ahead of us and I don’t know about you but I could use a nap before we meet with Ryan.” Jane took the bottle from Maura with one hand and ran her fingers through her hair with the other.
“I won’t argue with that logic.” Maura sighed as she followed Jane out the door. “But I don’t want Susie to give anyone but me the results. I need some time to think about what I’m going to do.”
“There you go again with the ‘I’…,” Jane gave a frustrated huff and shook her head.
“I’m sorry. We need time to decide what to do. Okay?” Maura rolled her eyes as she gently pushed past Jane in the direction of Susie’s office.
“Hey…did you just roll your eyes at me?” Jane stopped and watched as Maura walked away from her. When all she got in response was Maura throwing her hands up in the air all she could do was shake her head and follow. “I’d say someone really needs a nap.” She called out as she did her best to catch up. ‘This day can’t be over with soon enough,’ she thought to herself but she knew there was still so much more to come, she just hoped she had the energy to get through it.

Chapter Text

Toothpaste and a Peacock
The sound of Maura’s fingers drumming across the brown manila folder in front of her on Ryan and Carly’s kitchen table seemed louder in the silence that filled the room. Her eye’s moved from Ryan to Jane to the folder then back to Ryan several times before she finally spoke. “What is this?” Her voice was soft and somewhat hoarse from the fatigue that seemed to follow her even after the afternoon nap she had taken earlier. She watched Ryan fidget uncomfortably as Jane’s nervous energy was evident in her bouncing leg.
“I just want you to understand what we’re dealing with Maura. I understand if you feel some sort of…,” Ryan hesitated as she tried to find the right word. She knew that Maura had to feel something, it was only natural to try to protect family. “Loyalty…,”
“I don’t feel any loyalty Ryan. I just want to make sure the person who did this is found and brought to justice. It’s my job.” Maura bristled under the scrutiny she felt she was under. She could feel Jane’s leg as it continued to bounce next to her and she reached under the table to place a comforting hand there. It was something she knew would help calm Jane down. Not only that, but the contact would help ground her as well. The scrutiny she felt she was under was making her feel light headed and slightly dizzy. It was uncomfortable being on the other side of the table as if she were being interrogated.
“I’m sorry, maybe loyalty wasn’t the right word to use.” Ryan shook her head causing her blonde hair to fall into her eyes masking the concerned look on her face. She was grateful that Carly had to work late but it was only a small consolation for even having to have this conversation with Maura and Jane. Biting her lip, she glanced over at Jane who was nervously running her fingers through her hair. The look of abject terror was one that Jane couldn’t hide and Ryan tried to give her a reassuring smile before turning her attention back to Maura.
There seemed to be some sort of power play going on between Maura and Ryan causing Jane to shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Maura was quiet for a minute as Jane looked from her to Ryan trying her best to support both of them. Jane had been worried about how involved Maura indicated she wanted to be in the investigation as well as with Paddy. But she couldn’t blame her either. On the other hand, she knew that Ryan was just trying to make sure that Maura understood what kind of people she was dealing with, not to mention she was also trying to save their careers.
“Why don’t you look at the file Maura. It might give you a better picture of what we’re dealing with.” Jane finally spoke, emphasizing the word ‘we’ so Maura harbored no ideas that she was alone.
With the slightest of nods, Maura finally turned her attention to the folder in front of her. With trembling fingers she flipped it open to reveal a picture of a young man in his early twenties. He had the same smile, cheek bones, and nose as her and seeing this brought a wave of sadness. There were several pictures and she fanned them out so she could look at them. One of them was a picture of Colin at a young age, about seven or eight. His hair was the same light, honey color hers had been but his had darkened over time whereas hers had stayed the same with the help of an expensive salon. He looked like a young Paddy, except the eyes. Paddy shared the same hazel and green as Maura but Colin’s were a deep, dark brown, almost the same color as Janes.
“You alright Maur?” Jane wrapped an arm around her and pulled her close. “I know this isn’t easy…you don’t have to do this.” She had seen the look of concentration on Maura’s face change to sadness and her heart broke for something she knew she couldn’t fix.
“No, I need to do this.” Maura allowed herself to be pulled into Jane’s warmth and comfort. She could feel Ryan’s eyes on her as she continued to study the file. With a sigh, she pushed the pictures aside and stared down at the stack of arrest records he had accumulated in his short life. It stemmed from extortion to assault and it was then that she realized what Ryan was trying to do. Looking up, she leveled Ryan with the same scrutinizing gaze that was directed at her from across the table. “I hope you don’t think I have some sort of romantic notion about all of this.” She gently pulled away from Jane’s arms as she leaned forward to let Ryan know she wasn’t going to be intimidated.
“I know you well enough to know that you wouldn’t.” Ryan said even though her voice cracked with uncertainty. “But I’m worried that you feel obligated, you are family after all.” Maura’s stiff posture and unnerving glare caused a sense of resentment to settle in the pit of Ryan’s stomach. She hated that she had to be one to bring this all up and she hated having to question Maura’s loyalties even more.
“Jane is my family…,” Maura responded quickly. “And you and Carly and all of the Rizzoli’s.” Her voice cracked with emotion. As hard as this was for her, she knew it had to be equally hard for Ryan. But she wanted everyone to know that she would never compromise what was important to her. Paddy would not take anything away from her ever again, she was sure of that.
Ryan had the decency to looked embarrassed as she looked away from Maura’s imploring expression. When her cell phone started to ring, she looked down and couldn’t stop the small smile from gracing her lips. “It’s Carly…I’ll be right back.” She said as she stood up and turned to leave the room. “Hey Love, how are you feeling?” Her voice carried to Jane and Maura who sat and watched as she left them alone.
“You okay?” Jane asked as she slipped her hand into Maura’s. After she had been gently forced to relinquish her hold on Maura earlier, she felt an emptiness settle around her. She wanted nothing more than for this night to end so they could go home, slip into bed together and into each other’s arms.
“Yeah…,” Maura did her best to give a reassuring smile but she knew it wasn’t very convincing when Jane frowned. “Really…I’m okay.”
“We have to work this out with Ryan. You know that, right?” Jane’s frown turned to a serious expression. She could see that Maura was trying to work out something in her mind, something to make everything alright for everyone involved.
“I do.” Maura sighed as she ran her fingers through her hair, pushing it over her shoulder. “And I will do my best.”
“I know you will, but try to remember…she’s on our side.” Jane reached up to run the backs of her fingers over the soft curve of Maura’s cheek. “Can we please come to a compromise so we can go home. I just want to hold you.” She couldn’t hide the longing in her voice any longer. It had been the only thing she had thought about since the moment they had left home.
Maura took a deep breath before slowly exhaling. She knew they had to come up with a plan and at this point she was ready to agree with anything just so she could go home. It had been a long day with more questions than answers but she was so ready for it to be over. Her head ached and so did her heart but just one look from Jane set her at ease. The love she saw in those dark eyes washed over her and soothed her like a cool balm.
“I’ll agree to whatever Ryan wants.” Maura’s voice sounded confident but she was having trouble feeling it.
“Did I hear you say that you’d agree to my plan?” Ryan slipped back into the room almost as quietly as she had slipped out.
“Carly okay?” Jane asked, her voice laced with concern.
“Yeah, just tired. I don’t like that she’s working these late hours…,” Ryan frowned and shook her head. “I keep telling her she needs to hire another manager so she doesn’t have to work twelve hour days…especially now with the baby on the way.”
“It’s still pretty early in the pregnancy, but you’re right. She needs to rest and twelve hours on her feet six days a week isn’t good.” Maura switched to doctor mode quickly. She tried to soften her expression when she saw Ryan grimace at her statement.
“Um…you need another manager?” Jane tilted her head to regard Ryan, a mischievous smile on her face. A great idea was forming in the back of her mind.
“It’s something we’ve talked about. Why? You got an idea you’d like to share with us?” Ryan sat back and crossed her arms as she watched Jane’s grin widen.
“I’ve got the perfect person…,” Jane started to say, but was interrupted by Maura who figured out exactly where her mind was going.
“Angela!” Maura said clapping her hands together, feeling elated that something was finally being accomplished.
“Oh my God…why didn’t I think of that. Do you think she’d do it?” Ryan sat up as excitement filled her voice.
“I have no doubt that she would jump at the chance. It will allow her to do what she loves…cook and keep an eye on Carly.” Jane smirked in a satisfied way. “And it will keep her out of our hair.” She glanced over at Maura and gave her that sexy wink that almost always made Maura blush.
“Okay, I like where this is going. Kill two birds with one stone…so to speak.” Ryan looked from Jane to Maura with a determined expression. “I have an idea, but I need some time to flesh it out. Promise me that you won’t have any contact with Paddy. AI is already watching Jane and it’s only a matter of time before they start watching you.” She pointed at Maura.
“But I told him I would let him know when I find out something.” Maura sounded alarmed by Ryan’s request. It wasn’t in her nature to go back on her word.
“Have you found anything yet?” Ryan raised an inquiring eyebrow even though she already knew the answer.
“Well, no.” Maura sounded defeated.
“Good, then you have no reason to talk to him.” Ryan tried to reason. “Look I’m only asking for a few days. I need to put together a small team of people I trust. I think we should bring Korsak in on this too. What do you think Jane?”
Jane blinked a few times as she thought about involving her mentor and one of her most trusted friends. As she nodded, she couldn’t help but ask the question that came to her mind next. “What about Frost?”
“No, I don’t think so. Vince has the knowledge and understanding that can only come from his experience with Paddy. I can’t say the same about Barry.” Ryan paused at the frown on Jane’s face. “Don’t get me wrong Jane. It’s not because I don’t trust him. The fewer people that know about this the better.” When Jane continued to frown, she tried another approach. “How about we keep him as our ace in the hole if we need him. His knowledge about computers and programing could be useful, but only as a last effort. Agreed?” It was a consolation, the best she could offer at the moment and it seemed to be enough for Jane who gave her a lopsided grin.
“Okay…,” Jane nodded her consent. “Thanks.”
“Give me 48 hours to pull everything together.” Ryan switched to planning mode as she started to write things down on her note pad. “I’ll let you know when and where our next meeting will be and you can bring Vince with you. I’ll run the Angela idea past Carly and hopefully that will be one less thing I’ll have to worry about.” She looked up and gave Jane a grateful smile. “In the meantime…do not let Paddy Doyle into your house again. Understood?”
“I didn’t let him in Ryan.” Jane rolled her eyes. “He pushed his way in…by the time I realized what was happening…it was too late.”
“Don’t give him the chance to do it again.” Ryan gave her a severe look before turning her attention to Maura. “And you…please let me do my job. I want to keep you both safe and put some bad guys away in the process. I can’t do that if you don’t cooperate.”
“I understand.” Maura dropped her gaze in a noncommittal way. She wouldn’t seek out Paddy, but she wouldn’t turn him away if he came to her. But Ryan didn’t need to know that and neither did Jane.
“Maura…?” Ryan said and waited for Maura to look up again. “I know this has been hard on you and I appreciate that you are trusting me, but please…trust me.”
Maura closed her eyes and nodded. For the first time since this ordeal had started, she felt a glimmer of hope. It would be difficult but she knew she had to give over some of the control if anything was to be accomplished and Ryan was the only person next to Jane she could trust.
For the moment, Maura’s response was enough for Ryan. She could tell that Maura was holding back and she could see how difficult it was for her to let some of her measured control go. For that, Ryan was grateful. She could also see that Maura wasn’t being completely truthful but she decided it would be best to wait and see how things played out. Depict was something she was familiar with as her fingers brushed against the file under her note pad, the one with the pictures she wasn’t ready to share with Maura. The pictures of Maura’s three-year-old niece.
“We’ll see you soon.” Jane said quickly as she pulled Maura from her seat and towards the door before Ryan could find something else they needed to discuss. When Maura didn’t resist, she didn’t wait for Ryan to dismiss them as they headed out the door. With a sigh of relief, Jane closed the door behind them and thanked the Gods that the day was finally over.
***
Standing at the bathroom sink with toothbrush in hand, Jane watched Maura’s reflection in the mirror as she went through her nightly ritual of getting ready for bed. It was a mundane task she had seen before but for some reason in that moment it seemed significant. Her heart started to beat rapidly at the thought of spending every day sharing moments like these for the rest of their lives. She had never wanted anything more in her life. Lifting the toothbrush up to brush her teeth, her eyes stayed glued on Maura as she washed her face. As she continued to watch Maura, she smiled and held the brush between her teeth allowing toothpaste to dribble out of the corner of her mouth.
“’Ou’re butiful…,” Jane mumbled around the toothpaste and toothbrush in her mouth.
Maura stopped what she was doing and gazed back at Jane’s reflection giving her a small smile in response before reaching for her moisturizer.
“’Arry eee…,” Jane said the words before she had time to think about what she was doing.
Stopping mid-reach, Maura’s eyes locked on Jane’s as she realized what Jane had just asked her. “Did you just ask me to marry you?” Her expression was almost as surprised as Janes.
Jane blinked a few times as if she didn’t know what to say and then nodded as toothpaste continued to dribble from her mouth and down her chin.
“Are you kidding me?” Maura turned to Jane, putting her hand on her hip and cocking her head to the side. Even though she looked slightly put out, there was a playful gleam in her eyes.
“Umm…,” Jane held up a finger to indicate that Maura should wait. Cupping her hand, she gathered some water and rinsed her mouth out before spitting what was left of the toothpaste into the sink. “Let me try that again.” She said as she turned to Maura and slipped her arms around her, pulling her close. “Marry me?” Her voice cracked ever so slightly with the nervous tension she was suddenly feeling.
Maura looked up into Jane’s eyes and saw everything she had ever wanted looking back at her. Her surprised expression softened into a smile as she cupped Jane’s cheek and used her thumb to wipe away the left over toothpaste.
“Shit…I didn’t know I still had toothpaste on me.” Jane reached up to help wipe away the mess she had missed.
“My sweet, sweet Jane…,” Maura chuckled. “Always the hopeless romantic.”
“Aw Maur…,” Jane turned her attention back the woman in her arms. “I’ve waited a lifetime for you to come back to me. I don’t want to wait anymore. Marry me so we can start our life together. I want this…you and me getting ready for bed every night…side by side…waking up together. I don’t want to lose another minute to indecision.”
“And I want all of the same things as well.” Maura lifted up on to her toes to place a kiss to the corner of Jane’s mouth. “But we’re going to have to rethink the story we tell our kids about your proposal because I refuse to share this one with them.” She gave Jane a quick squeeze before letting her go and moving away from her towards the bedroom.
“Hey…,” Jane called out over her shoulder towards Maura’s retreating back. “Is that a yes?”
“Why don’t you come here and find out?” Maura didn’t turn around as she answered but the playfulness of her words was evident in the tone of her voice.
“Hot damn!” Jane clapped her hands together as she spun around and scooped Maura up into her arms. The sudden move caused Maura to squeal and squirm against Jane’s hold. “Oh no you don’t.” Jane laughed as she held tighter. “I’ve got you now and I’m never letting go.”
“Promise?” Maura stopped moving and turned serious.
“Cross my heart and hope to die…,” Jane set Maura down and made a cross over her heart as she spoke.
“Not on my watch.” Maura took Jane’s hand in her own, brought it to her lips and placed a kiss against the small patch of raised scare tissue along the back. They looked into each other’s eyes as the seriousness of the moment settled over them. There was always a real fear of loss that haunted them both, a fear that almost intruded upon them every minute of every day but Maura knew there were no guarantees in life. “You’re my forever and I intend on keeping it that way.” She said with a smile as she pulled Jane towards the bed. “Now, let’s celebrate.”
***

Jane sat at the kitchen table, her chin resting on the back of her hand watching the white puffs of steam swirl off the top of her coffee. Her eyes followed the path of each line that hovered over her cup as a feeling of dread settled in her stomach with each passing minute. As each white cloud disappeared, she felt like she wanted to do the same. “Ma…?” She said to her mother’s back.
“Hmmm?” Angela pushed some scrambled eggs around in the frying pan she was concentrating on. She didn’t turn around as she continued to focus on making breakfast and at the moment, Jane’s tone didn’t warrant any concern.
“Um…Ma…I think I did something stupid.” Jane mumbled around several sips of coffee.
“What?” Angela decided to look over her shoulder to let Jane know she was listening. When she caught a glimpse of the pained expression on Jane’s face and the way her shoulders were sagging she turned around. “What did you do Janie?” Her tone was accusatory causing Jane to wince.
“I…um…asked Maura to marry me.” Jane said in a rush before burying her face in her hands.
Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Angela abandoned her scrambled eggs to give her full attention to her daughter. “And you regret doing that?” She tried to keep her voice steady and even as she eyed Jane with fear and uncertainty.
“No, no…it’s just the way I did it. She’s deserves so much more than me proposing with a mouth full of toothpaste over the bathroom sink.
“What?!” Angela threw her hands up in the air as she came to stand next to Jane.
All Jane could do was shrug as she settled her chin on the back of her hand again. She had expected her mother’s surprise but what she hadn’t expected was her wrath.
“Are you kidding me?!” Angela’s voice became shrill with her anger. “I…can’t…believe…you…did…that!” Her words were punctuated with slaps to Jane’s arms and shoulders. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“I’m sorry…it’s just last night we were getting ready for bed…and she was so beautiful. I just blurted out what I was thinking.” Jane tried to defend herself from her mother’s halfhearted slaps.
“There was supposed to be flowers, candles, champagne…and maybe a peacock…” Angela started to rant as she paced the kitchen.
“A peacock?! Really Ma?” Jane threw her hands up in the air and rolled her eyes.
“Okay…maybe not a peacock but come on! Please tell me you didn’t have toothpaste dripping out of the corner of your mouth.” Angela mimicked Jane’s moves, giving an extra exaggerated roll of her eyes.
“Um…,” Jane looked down at the table with a sheepish grin on her face.
“Oh my God…Jane. Really?” Angela threw her head back and looked up at the ceiling. “Maura deserves flowers, candles, you down on one knee…” Her babbling was starting to become incoherent.
“I know Ma! I know.” Jane raised her voice just enough to get her mother to stop. “It’s just last night…I don’t know what came over me. I don’t want to wait anymore…,”
“Okay…okay.” Angela seemed to calm down as her eggs started to smoke behind her. “Oh, no…,” she turned her attention to the pan that held the remnants of the breakfast she was making. Moving quickly, she dumped them into the sink and rinsed out the pan. She had a look of concentration on her face as she gazed out the window over the sink. “Did you give her a ring yet?”
“No Ma. I told you…I just blurted it out. I didn’t plan it.” Jane huffed impatiently as she watched her mother.
“I can work with this.” Angela turned to Jane with a gleam in her eyes. “I’ve got Grandma Norah’s ring. I think you should give it Maura.”
“Grandma Norah’s ring? Really?” Jane pushed herself up from her slouching position against the table.
“Yes. She always wanted you to have it.” Angela turned around and smiled when she saw Jane perk up.
“Do you think she would be okay with me giving it to Maura?” Jane suddenly seemed small and timid.
“Well, she wanted nothing more than for you to find a good Irish gentleman to marry…I don’t think she’ll mind in the least that you found a gentlewoman instead. As long as she’s Irish.” Angela’s eye’s twinkled playfully.
“How can I fix this?” Jane suddenly seemed interested in what her mother had to say.
“Just leave that up to me…,” Angela walked over to Jane and placed a quick kiss to her cheek before heading out the door towards her small cottage to make plans. The first thing she needed to do was call Constance. “Love you sweetheart…,” She called over her shoulder as idea’s and plans sifted through her mind faster than she could keep up and thoughts of their breakfast together disappeared.
Jane watched with her mouth hanging open as her mother disappeared from the kitchen leaving her alone to work out what had just happened. At first she didn’t see what the big deal was. All she knew was that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Maura but did it really matter how she asked her? Their night together spent making love until the early morning hours had left them both exhausted and as she watched Maura sleep in her arms, her chest tightened with anticipation. After a few hours of sleep herself, she finally slipped out of bed to find her mother making breakfast. She hadn’t remembered putting the key back in its hiding place just outside the back door but she was grateful to find coffee waiting for her. As her sleep addled brain started to realize what she had done the night before, dread settled in the pit of her stomach. She had wanted to ask Maura to marry her the moment Maura forgave her for walking out all those years ago and in her mind it had gone differently. Like her mother, she had envisioned flowers, candles, and champagne…not toothpaste over a bathroom sink. Her eyes drifted to the backdoor, now closed and she could imagine all of the plans her mother was making. A small smile crept along her lips as she realized that just maybe her mother would fix this and make it everything Maura deserved.
“Hey…I thought I smelled eggs.” Maura appeared by Jane’s side, giving her a quick kiss to the cheek as she looked around hopefully. Her eyes were still sleepy and her hair was mussed but she looked more rested than she had in days.
“Um…yeah. My Ma started to make us some breakfast, she but had to leave all of a sudden…,” Jane gave a sheepish grin as Maura poked out her bottom lip in the beginnings of a pout. “How about I take you out to breakfast.” She jumped up and pulled Maura into her arms.
“Okay, but I get to pick the place.” Maura melted against Jane’s embrace. It was her favorite place to be, in Jane’s arms and she had never felt more loved in her life.
“Not that rabbit food place. I want bacon.” Jane snuggled close to Maura, reveling in the feeling of their bodies touching.
“You need to watch your cholesterol. I won’t contribute to your delinquency.” Maura started to pout again causing Jane to laugh.
“Alright but I’m not eating that tofu shit you tried to convince me was sausage. I have my limits…,” Jane rubbed her nose against Maura’s before placing a quick kiss there.
“I love you.” Maura looked at Jane with an awed expression on her face. “And I can’t wait to marry you.”
“I love you too beautiful.” Jane smiled shyly as a blush blossomed over her cheeks. She couldn’t wait either but she was going to do her best to give Maura the fairytale proposal she deserved.
The doorbell interrupted their intimate moment, pulling them both away from their thoughts.
“Are we expecting anyone?” Maura asked, a surprised expression on her face?
“Nope…I’ll see who it is.” Jane switched into defensive mode as she headed towards the front door. She reached into the cabinet where she had placed her service revolver the night before and pulled it from the holster. With quick reflexes that came with the job, she checked to make sure there was bullet in the chamber and flipped off the safety before placing her finger on the trigger. “Who is it?” She peered out the peep hole and saw a teenaged boy holding an arrangement of flowers.
“Flower delivery for Dr. Maura Isles.” The young man’s voice cracked, indicating he was in his early teens.
Jane quickly flipped the safety on, holstered her gun and then set it on the table by the door close enough so she could still reach it if needed. Hesitantly, she opened the door and took the vase.
“Sign here.” The boy shoved a clipboard at her, indicating she should sign her name on the line that had been highlighted.
“Yeah, yeah…,” Jane took his pen and scribbled her name before shutting the door in his face. By his look of surprise, she knew he had probably been expecting a tip but she didn’t have time for that. “Um…Maur…,” she called out, making her way towards the kitchen holding the vase as if it might break in her hands or better yet, blow up. “You got flowers.”
“Really? Did you…,” Maura started to ask at the precise moment the flowers started to ring.
“Shit…,” Jane set the flowers down and dug the cellphone out of the middle. “I should’ve known.” She rolled her eyes at Maura’s surprised expression. With the flip of her wrist, she opened the phone and took a deep breath before bringing it to her ear. “Paddy, fancy finding you in the middle of a bouquet…,” her voice was low and husky as she did her best to hide her anger. “He wants to talk to you.” She held the phone out for Maura.
Maura gave her an understanding nod before taking the phone. When their eyes met, Jane knew that Maura understood all of the things she wished she could tell her but hadn’t had the chance to. Relief flooded her when Maura pulled her close so she could listen to the conversation as well.
“Paddy…,” Maura’s voice was cold and detached even though her fingers were digging into the tender skin of Jane’s forearm. She would never let him know how afraid and uncertain she was. No…she had nothing to be afraid of as long as Jane was by her side. Whatever came their way, they’d handle it together. They had to…they had a wedding to plan.

Chapter Text

Conversations

“I’m sorry…,” Jane shook her head in an attempt to stop the tears that were beginning to well up at the corners of her eyes. She crossed her arms and stared at the scattered remnants of the cellphone they had found in the bouquet of flowers with a sad expression on her face. The shattered plastic case lay on the floor along the wall. She had grabbed it and thrown it against the wall the second Maura had hung up. The force of her anger was evident in what remained scattered on the floor in front of them. It had surprised them both but now she just felt ashamed that she had scared Maura.
“No…no, it’s alright.” Maura tried to turn her surprised expression into concern. It had more than startled her when Jane grabbed the phone from her hand and threw it against the wall, rendering it useless. She hadn’t expected it, nor had she expected the wave of fear that caused her to visibly shiver. Although Jane’s temper was legendary with her peers and family, it was something Maura rarely experienced.
“If we get caught with that…,” Jane didn’t have to finish for Maura to know what she was insinuating.
“I know. I understand.” Maura tried to make her words ring true but she didn’t really understand. She understood that Jane was angry about the entire situation and lend that to her history with Paddy it would stand to reason that anger was the first thing she would turn to. But the ferocity Maura had witnessed was something she had only experienced once or twice in their earlier years together. It was just such a foreign thing for her see, that she wasn’t sure how to react.
“He can’t just expect you drop everything, risk everything just because he says so.” Jane pushed the hair that had been hanging in her face away as she tried to catch her breath. Her anger had left her breathing heavily causing the walls to start closing in on her. “I need some air…,” she shook her head as she moved to front door.
“Where are you going?” Maura asked, her voice filled with concern and fear at the thought of Jane leaving. Now this she understood. It was Jane’s first instinct when she got overwhelmed and Maura refused to let her run.
“I…,” Jane hesitated. “I don’t know…nowhere…just outside.” She spoke in quick bursts as her breath quickened. “I just need some fresh air.” The need to run away was almost overwhelming but then one look into those hazel-green eyes filled with concern gave her a reason to pause.
“Then let’s go for a walk. We can walk to the corner and eat at that little place we’ve been meaning to try.” Maura’s voice trembled as she reached out and grabbed Jane’s arm to stop her from leaving. She could feel Jane relax under her touch and the tension that had her poised to bolt suddenly melted away.
The warmth of Maura’s hand on her arm caused Jane to stop. She closed her eyes and let out a heavy sigh. The anger that had been coursing through her just a moment ago was slowly abating. When she opened her eyes and looked at Maura, she was met with eye’s filled with fear and her heart sank knowing she had been the one to put it there.
“I’m sorry…,” Jane wrapped her hand around Maura’s and pulled her into a hug. “I just…I don’t want him to hurt you or us anymore.” She buried her face against Maura’s neck seeking the solace she knew she would find.
“I know Jane.” Maura ran her hand’s up and down Jane’s back in a soothing way as she leaned her cheek against the top of Jane’s head. “Please…can we go get something to eat.”
“Yeah, anything you want.” Jane pulled back and looked at Maura, content to see that the fear had been replaced by relief.
“I think maybe we should get dressed first.” Maura sighed when she realized that Jane wasn’t going to leave.
“I suppose we should.” Jane looked down at her old t-shirt and boxer shorts and gave Maura a lopsided grin. “I’m sorry I scared you.” She draped her arms over Maura’s shoulders and rested her chin on top of a honey-blonde head. Her breathing had finally become slow and even making her feel more relaxed.
“I think I get it now, Jane.” Maura rested her hands on narrow hips and leaned into Jane’s body. She placed her forehead against the hollow of Jane’s throat. Jane was a passionate person who rarely hide her emotions, something Maura needed to work on. The ability to feel so freely was one of the things she loved about Jane.
“Yeah?” Jane shivered when she felt a puff of warm air ghost across her collar bone.
“Yeah and I promise not to do anything without you. I can’t do this alone and not matter how much I want to protect you…I have trust you. And Ryan.” Maura took a deep breath before slowly exhaling. She hoped her last statement would help put some of Jane’s fears at ease.
“Let’s make that promise to protect each other. Okay?” Jane’s hands moved to the back of Maura’s neck where her fingers found refuge in the soft, silky hair that hung down past Maura’s shoulders. She took a deep breath when her hands touched Maura’s warm skin and then exhaled slowly as her fingertips lingered.
“I promise if you do…,” Maura snuggled closer to Jane’s warmth seeking her touch.
“I promise too…,” Jane’s body shook as she chuckled causing Maura to look up to see what was so funny. “We seem to be making a lot of promises to each other lately.” She said when Maura gave her a raised eyebrow in question.
“Well, as long as we don’t break them.” Maura smiled up at Jane, getting a smile in return. And she hoped with all of her heart that not a single one of their promises to each other would ever be broken again.
***
The hustle and bustle of the small café became white noise to Jane as her mind wandered. The feelings of anger from earlier were returning as she silently contemplated the situation they found themselves in with Paddy at the center. She was irritated at herself for letting her temper get the best of her but most of all she was sorry for scaring Maura. She was also disappointed in herself for more reasons than she could count at the moment. Her sudden impromptu proposal to Maura was still eating away at her and just as she had done the night before, she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. “I’m sorry…,” she sighed as she dropped her head into her hands. With more effort than she thought she was capable of, she pushed her hair away from her face, lifted her head, and gave Maura a sad look.
“You’ve already apologized Jane. No need to refry it.” Maura’s mouth twitched into a half smile.
“Rehash Maur, not refry. And I’m not talking about this morning, although I should be apologizing again for that as well.” Jane sat up straight and glanced around to see if anyone else was paying attention to their conversation. When she was satisfied that no one was listening, she dropped her gaze and frowned. Suddenly the scars on the backs of her hands caught her attention as she stared down at them with more interest than was necessary. “I’m sorry about my unorthodox proposal last night…over the bathroom sink. I shouldn’t have done it with toothpaste dripping out of the side of my mouth. Not very romantic…,”
Maura shook her head and her smile widened as she reached out to take one of Jane’s hands in an effort to get her to look up again. “Don’t be silly. We both know it was only a matter of time before the subject came up. You just got to it a little sooner than I expected. But you were absolutely adorable standing there in your tank top and cotton boxers…and yes even the toothpaste dribble was adorable.”
“Yeah, well you deserve something out of a story book, ya know…roses, champagne…stuff like that.” Jane shrugged her shoulders as her eyes found Maura’s again. “I messed it up.”
“Don’t say that. You didn’t mess anything up. But, just make sure you give me the story book wedding I’ve been dreaming of since that first time you told me you loved me.” Maura gave Jane’s hand a little squeeze. “Really, it’s alright.” She said when Jane’s eyes left hers again.
“I’ve always dreamed of getting married at home plate in Fenway Park.” Jane gave Maura a bashful smile. “But something tells me your dream might be a little different.”
Maura took a deep breath, let go of the hand she had been holding and sat back, all the while keeping her eyes on Jane. “Well, you’re right. That isn’t quite my dream wedding scenario, but it doesn’t mean we can’t compromise. After all, some dreams do come true…,” she gave Jane another wide smile.
“They already have. I get to wake up every morning with you in my arms.” Jane smiled back. “Is it too early to order lunch?” She quickly changed the subject causing Maura to quirk an eyebrow at her. “What? I feel like a cheeseburger.”
“Well, far be it for me to keep you and your dreams of a cheeseburger from coming true.” Maura smirked and laughed. “But order a salad instead of fries.”
“Ah Maur…I don’t wanna.” Jane whined. “How ‘bout I have a salad with dinner. Besides, potatoes are a vegetable.” She tried to reason.
“Yeah, deep fat fried vegetables…,” Maura scowled at Jane to let her know she wasn’t happy, but then she relented with another smile. “But I suppose if you have a salad tonight, I can get on board with that.”
“Great...,” Jane’s spirits lifted, but in the back of her mind she was already planning on how to get out of it.
Maura regarded Jane with a wary eye. She could see the wheels spinning behind those dark, brown eyes that tried to look innocent. “You’d better rethink that plan I can see you’re making…if you don’t…salad isn’t the only thing you won’t be eating tonight.”
“Oh my God Maura!” Jane’s face turned bright red at Maura’s comment. “I can’t believe you just said that.” Her eyes grew round and her mouth dropped open in surprise.
“I’m just stating a fact my dear.” Maura reached across the table to touch the dimple in Jane’s chin. “So don’t test me. And you’re even more adorable when you blush.”
“Enough with the adorable, you’re gonna ruin my street cred.” Jane let out an impatient huff.
“Cred?” Maura looked confused.
“Credentials Maur….” Jane couldn’t stop herself from rolling her eyes. “I’m supposed to be a big, badass detective here.” Her hands flew around as if she were juggling some invisible entity.
“No, you’re my big, badass detective and I don’t want to share you with anyone.” Maura waved the server over so they could order. She didn’t look at Jane as she ordered them two cheeseburgers with fries. When she did look back at Jane, she laughed at the raised eyebrow and the silent admonishment. “When in Rome.”
Maura’s response caused Jane to laugh as well. The early morning trauma they had experienced at the hands of Paddy was becoming a distant memory as their playful banter returned. Jane said a silent prayer that the worst of their day was behind them as her mind wandered to thoughts of her mother and the plans she had set out to make that morning. She couldn’t suppress the small smile or the hint of mystery that lit up her dark eyes. No, the worst of the day was definitely behind them, it had to be because they had so many wonderful things to plan for.
***
“Angela, this is a surprise. Is everything alright with Maura?” Constance’s voice held a tinge of concern as she spoke into the receiver of her phone.
“Oh, yes…Maura’s fine.” Angela said quickly.
“And Jane?” Constance tried not to let the panic she felt when she heard Angela’s voice over the phone take over.
“Everyone’s fine. I’m sorry that I gave you a fright. I guess we should try to keep in touch more often if you think every time I call it’s an emergency.” Angela tried not to sound frustrated.
“I suppose so. It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten together. I guess we’ll have to make more of an effort now, all things considered.” Constance let out sigh of relief.
“Yeah, about that…,” Angela cleared her throat as she spoke.
The sudden hesitancy in Angela’s voice caused Constance to think that perhaps something else was wrong. She leaned back on the soft leather couch she was curled up on in her small flat in Paris. It was late in the evening and she had just been about to get ready for bed when the phone rang. Reaching over to the side table, she grabbed her wine and took a sip, readying herself for what she thought would be the news that Jane and Maura had called it quits…again.
Angela was silent for a moment as she stared out her living room window into Maura’s kitchen window. She could see Maura standing at the sink but her eyes were cast down as she busied herself with something Angela couldn’t see. A grin spread across her face when she saw Jane slip up behind Maura, wrap her arms around her, and bury her face against the crook of Maura’s neck. A light blush spread over her cheeks at the sight and the feeling that she was somehow intruding on an intimate moment caused her to look away. It wasn’t until she heard Constance’s voice calling to her that she realized she was still on the phone.
“Angela? Are you still there?” Constance called out to Angela, worried that their call had been dropped.
“I’m here Constance.” Angela moved away from the window and out of sight of Jane and Maura.
“So, are you going to tell me why you called?” The words came out slightly clipped causing Constance to backtrack and soften her voice. “Or am I going to have to guess?”
“Well, it would seem as if my daughter decided to propose to your daughter last night.” Angela couldn’t stop herself from sounding slightly irritated.
“And this displeases you, why?” Constance could hear the irritation in Angela’s words and she couldn’t help but smile as she thought about the many possible reasons why.
“She did it without a plan.” Angela stated as if Constance should already know how Jane was.
“Alright, what happened?” Constance took another sip of her wine and settled back further into the couch as she prepared herself for what she imagined was going to be a long conversation.
“I don’t know where to start.” Angela let out a heavy breath as she leaned against the kitchen counter where she had ventured in search of a cup of coffee. Again she hesitated as she added cream and sugar to her drink.
“How about starting at the beginning.” Constance waited patiently because she could hear Angela moving around what she presumed was the kitchen making herself a drink.
Angela took a sip of her coffee and then let out a heavy sigh as the warm liquid soothed her frazzled nerves. “She prosed over the bathroom sink while they were going through their nightly routine. And toothpaste was involved.” The whole idea was cringe worthy to her and she made no effort of hiding her dismay from Constance.
“Well, Jane can sometimes be a little…impulsive at times.” Constance said thoughtfully. “She has a way of saying what she thinks, whenever she thinks it. It’s one of her most endearing qualities…or at least I think so.”
“Are you kidding me? That mouth of hers has almost given me a heart attack on several occasions.” Angela shook her head. She wasn’t buying what Constance was selling and she wouldn’t let Jane get away with it this time. “Maura deserves more than that. She deserves flowers, romance…champagne.”
“I don’t think it really matters much to Maura just so long as her and Jane have a future together. But I suppose you’re right.” Constance swirled her wine around in her glass and watched the dark red liquid slide down the sides. She knew Maura wasn’t much on pomp and circumstance, but still, she expected more from Jane.
“Damn right I’m right.” Angela huffed again in that way she had when she trying to make a point.
“So…for lack of a better word…what do you ‘propose’ we do?” Constance couldn’t stop the light chuckle from escaping her lips.
“Well, Jane didn’t give Maura a ring.” Angela set her coffee cup down and rested her elbows on the kitchen bar before setting her chin in the palm of one hand.
“Of course she didn’t…she didn’t think that far ahead.” Constance reached over to grab a light blanket to drape over her feet as she spoke.
“I have my mother’s ring. It was something she wanted Jane to have…,” Angela started to say but was interrupted when Constance broke in.
“Oh, I have my mother’s ring as well. She always wanted Maura to have it.” The excitement was evident in Constance’s voice.
“I like where this is going.” Angela glanced over to the window that gave her a view of Maura’s kitchen window. No one was standing there anymore. “I think it’s time we made this official before something else gets in the way.”
“I agree. I’ll be home in three weeks, how about we get together for lunch or dinner and brainstorm.” Constance sounded confident as the beginnings of a plan stirred in the back of her mind. “I think I may have a few ideas.”
“Good, then it’s a date.” Angela pushed herself up from the counter feeling excitement and anticipation bubbling up inside of her. “Um…,” she hesitated, trying to decide if she should ask the question on the tip of her tongue. “Do you think we can a peacock?”
“A peacock? What on earth for?” Constance’s voice rose in confusion.
“I’ll fill you in it when I see you in a few weeks.” Angela laughed before saying goodbye and hanging up the phone. She took another deep breath, ran her fingers through her hair, and pulled out some paper and a pen. “Now…let’s get planning.”

***
“I wish all of our day’s off together could be like this.” Jane snuggled closer to Maura as they lay on the couch watching old movies entangled in each other’s arms. They had spent most of the day wandering around the park or looking at some of the smaller boutique shops near Maura’s house. It had been cool start to the day but with the sun shining all afternoon, it had warmed up nicely. There had even been a surprise visit to the yogurt shop where Jane filled her cup with all kinds of goodies that had Maura raising an eyebrow at. The unfortunate early morning events that had left them both feeling wary were now far from their thoughts.
“Ummm…,” Maura relaxed into the comfort of Jane’s arms. “Me too.” She sighed as she sank back further into the warmth she had come to crave. A warmth she knew she could never live without again.
“What do ya wanna do for dinner?” Jane skimmed her nose over Maura’s ear before placing a gentle kiss to that spot behind it, the one that caused Maura’s breath to catch.
“Well…,” Maura shivered against the feeling of warm lips as they brushed along her neck. “We could order in or I could cook that ravioli casserole Angela put in the freezer for us.”
“I vote for the casserole, with cheesy bread.” Jane sighed at Maura’s shiver. “Besides, I like being in the kitchen with you…it makes me feel like I’m home.”
Twisting around in Jane’s arms so they were facing each other, Maura looked up into soft brown eyes, eyes that usually held the key to Jane’s emotions. Jane had a relaxed look on her face and the flicker of contentment shone from the brown that looked back at Maura. “You are, you know…,” Her own eyes were filled uncertainty as she waited for Jane to answer.
“What?” Jane asked, her voice filled with confusion at the concern she could see in Maura’s eyes.
“Home. You’re home…here, with me.” Maura sounded more sure of herself this time.
“Am I?” Jane tilted her head to regard Maura. In her heart she knew it was true but for some reason the fact that she still had her own apartment and occasionally left to go spend time there made her feel slightly unsure. And the fact that they hadn’t had this conversation before now wasn’t intentional but now it felt like the elephant in the room.
“Um…I guess I should just do this right here and right now.” Maura pushed herself up on her elbows and heaved a heavy sigh. “I was just waiting for the right time, but as they say, there’s no time like the present…,” she began to babble.
“What Maur? What are you trying to say?” Jane watched as Maura fidgeted. Hope fluttered in her chest at the prospect of what Maura was about to ask her.
“I really wanted to do this a different way. It’s just I don’t really see a need for you to have your own apartment when you spend almost all of your time here.” Maura’s voice faltered slightly as she continued to speak. “I mean…you should…you should just move in here…with me.” Her voice came quick with shorts bursts of breath.
“Are you asking me to move in with you Dr. Isles?” Jane slipped her fingers in Maura’s hair.
“I think that is precisely what I am asking Detective Rizzoli.” Maura relaxed at Jane’s familiar teasing. “We can rent a U-Haul and move whatever you want to bring and put the rest in storage.”
Jane burst out laughing at Maura’s comment causing Maura to respond with a frown and push herself up and further away from Jane. “I don’t see what’s so funny.” Her tone held a tinge of anger as she moved away from Jane’s arms.
“I’m sorry Maur, but you just gave an example of a U-Haul lesbian.” Jane was laughing harder but had the decency to look contrite.
“What are you talking about?” Maura was having a hard time containing her anger as Jane continued to laugh.
“There’s a joke that lesbians hire a U-Haul after the first date and move in together.” Jane wiped at the tears that had collected at the corners of her eyes. “When you said we should rent a U-Haul…,” she took a deep breath and tried to stop herself from laughing again.
“I still don’t understand. We’ve been back together for a few weeks. And I don’t see where that holds any relevance to our case.” Maura huffed as she pushed herself off of Jane and glowered down at the reclined figure on her couch.
“It doesn’t, it’s just that when you said it…,” Jane tried to explain as best she could. “I just thought it was funny.”
“Well, does that mean you want to move in or not.” Maura crossed her arms. The glory of the moment had passed only to be replaced by an impatience she wasn’t familiar with.
“Of course…,” Jane reached out, grabbed Maura around the waist, and pulled her back down onto the couch. “I would love to move in with you…but are you sure you can handle two Rizzoli women in your space?”
Maura let out a relived sigh as she let Jane pull her down into her arms. “I think I can manage.” She buried her face against Jane’s neck.
“Okay, then I guess it’s settled.” Jane rested her chin on top of honey-blonde locks as her hands rubbed up and down Maura’s back.
“We can look for another place after we get married if you want.” Maura nestled against Jane’s chest and wrapped her arms around a trim waist.
“Why would I want to do that?” Jane pulled back so she could look down at Maura.
“I just thought you might want a place that we both picked out…, something that can be ours.” Maura glance up.
“I love it here. I wouldn’t change a thing…except maybe we could turn one of the spare rooms into a game room.” Jane laid her head back against one of the couch pillows.
“But then we won’t have a guest room since I’m using the other one as my office.” Maura mused feeling relaxed as Jane’s hand’s continued to move up and down her back.
“Why would we need a guest room? My ma has an extra room if we need it, thanks to you.” Jane closed her eyes.
“But what about a nursery?” Maura asked.
Jane was quiet for a minute before opening her eyes. She had thought about starting a family with Maura, but she wasn’t sure that would be any time soon. “How about we cross the bridge when we come to it? I’d kinda like to have you all to myself for a while.” She sighed against the weight of Maura’s body on her own. When Maura didn’t say anything, she tilted her head so she could look down. “Don’t get me wrong…I want to have a family with you. I’d just like to wait a while…ya know. I want to enjoy it just being us as a family before we start adding to it.”
“Okay, just as long as you let me know when you’re ready to cross that bridge.” Maura said just as her stomach growled.
“I think maybe it’s time we made dinner.” Jane laughed. “It’s usually my stomach that reminds us. It must be all of that rabbit food you’ve been eating.”
“Don’t think you’ve gotten out of having a salad with dinner.” Maura started to sit up.
“What?” Jane batted her eyelashes innocently. “I wouldn’t think of it.”
“Damn right you wouldn’t think of it.” Maura grumbled as she climbed off of the couch and the most comfortable cushion in the world, Jane.
“Hey…did Dr. Isles just swear?” Jane laughed as she watched Maura move towards the kitchen, immediately feeling the loss of not having her near.
“Perhaps you’ve become a bit of a bad influence on me.” Maura giggled as she moved across the room to get away from Jane.
“Yeah, well how about I show you how bad of an influence I can be.” Jane dashed to the kitchen doorway, blocking Maura from entering. Again Maura’s stomach announced its impatience and Jane started to laugh. “Alright, alright…we’ll save it for dessert.”
“Promises, promises.” Maura teased as she attempted to slip past Jane into the kitchen but was stopped when Jane wrapped her arms around her. “This isn’t going to get you out of having that salad.”
“I have no intention of trying to get out it.” Jane’s hands slipped to Maura’s hips. “But I get to make the cheesy bread.” She released her hold and bolted towards the refrigerator to grab the many bags of cheese she knew Maura would try to take away from her. Glancing over her shoulder, she could see Maura both frowning and pouting and the sight caused her to laugh again. “Come on, the sooner we start, the sooner we’ll eat. I can hear that beast growling from here.”
Maura placed her hand on her stomach which seemed to have a mind of its own as it continued to announce its displeasure at her lack of attention. But before she could follow Jane into the kitchen, her cell phone started to ring.
“Who is it?” Jane called out. When she didn’t get an answer right away, she glanced towards the dining room. “Leave it for later.”
The cell phone danced and chirped on the dining room table before Maura picked it up and saw it was Suzie Chang from the lab. She knew she had to answer it. “It’s Suzie, Jane. I have to answer it.” She hit the green button on the screen and walked towards her office. “Dr. Isles…,” her voice cracked slightly because she knew that Suzie had found something important enough to call her at home.
As Maura left to take the call, Jane moved around the kitchen with a sense of renewed hope welling up inside of her. Maura had asked her to move in and they would soon get married, essentially starting the life they should have started years ago. She looked in the freezer and pulled out the casserole her mother had put there. A smile came to her face when she realized this was just the beginning of many nights together making dinner in their kitchen. And with her Ma’s help, they would eat well even if Maura insisted on making her eat a salad. She turned the oven to the right temperature and as she waited for it to preheat, she set about getting the cheesy bread ready. When she entered the kitchen, she had spied a loaf of French bread that would be perfect. With knife in hand, she began to split the bread lengthwise and smeared lots of butter across the surface. After the butter came handfuls of cheese. Shredded cheddar, provolone, and mozzarella were piled high over the buttered bread, and then Jane couldn’t resist adding a quick sprinkle of parmesan as well. All of this work was followed by a smirk because she knew that Maura was going to complain about how much cheese she had used but to her it would balance out the green stuff she going to be forced to eat. As she worked, she began to hum a tune. It was a happy tune, something she had heard on the radio recently but couldn’t remember the name of. Her movements were fluid and she seemed to be at ease for the first time in quite a few days, but then she heard Maura clear her throat from behind. Expecting to find Maura with a smile on her face, she turned around only to find that Maura looked sick at her stomach. All the color had drained from Maura’s face. Her complexion had the paler of paste and Jane suddenly lost her appetite.
“Maur…?” Jane took a tentative step towards Maura who was still gripping her cell phone in her hand, her knuckles as white as her face. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something. What’s wrong?”
“Um…,” Maura cleared her throat nervously before continuing. “Suzie found a match for the bullet I pulled from Colin.”
“Yeah?” Jane took another step closer, this time her hands were reaching out to touch Maura.
“It belongs to a service revolver registered to someone in the BPD.” Maura’s gaze fell as she looked down at Jane’s hands.
“So we’re dealing with a bad cop then?” Jane finally closed the distance between them but when Maura wouldn’t look at her she reached out, placed two fingers under Maura’s chin, and tilted her face up so she could look her in the eyes. “We’ll find the person the gun is registered to and figure this thing out.”
“Jane…,” Maura took a deep breath as tears welled up in her eyes. “The gun was registered to you.”

Chapter Text

Wine Tasting

A carafe of hot coffee sat on the table between Korsak, Jane, and Maura giving them each something to look at as silence permeated the air around them. After a few minutes, Korsak took a deep breath, picked up his cup, and took a long drink before setting it back down. His eyes swept over both women as he tried to digest all that they had told him. It wasn’t easy to hear and he frowned at the fact that he hadn’t seen it coming, especially with Jane. As he continued to look at them, he noticed the anxious looks on their faces and decided it was time to put an end to the awkward silence that had taken control.
“It all sounds like a bad soap opera from the seventies.” He let out a heavy breath as he brought his coffee cup back up to his lips. He hesitated, holding the rim of the cup against his bottom lip and spoke again. “And I mean that with the utmost respect.”
“This is serious Vince.” Jane watched him carefully.
“Oh, I know it is.” His eyes flashed with the hint of anger as he watched her as well.
“Do you?” Jane’s mouth set in a grim line as she tried to contain her anger at his blasé attitude.
“It seems as if I’m probably the only one who does.” His anger was evident as his expression hardened and his dark eyes grew even darker.
“What’re you saying?” This time it was Maura who spoke with a soft voice as if she was afraid of interrupting the impending argument between Jane and Vince.
“What I’m saying is, that this one here…,” he waved his hand in Jane’s direction to indicate who he was talking about as if they needed clarification. “Made a deal with the devil instead of coming to me for help.”
“Holy shit Vince…I was just a kid. I hardly knew you then.” Jane jumped in to defend herself.
“I’ve known your family since before you came into this world kicking and screaming like a banshee. Try again.” He crossed his arms and glared at her.
“I don’t know what to say.” Jane shook her head. “I didn’t know you Vince. I didn’t know I had options. I did what I thought was right to save my Pop.”
“How’s that working out for you?” Even as the words left his mouth he knew he had gone too far.
“You know what…fuck you Vince.” Jane pushed herself up from the table and pointed at him. When she tried to leave, Maura grabbed her hand and gently tugged until she sat back down. Her chest was heaving as she tried to catch her breath.
“We’re on the same side here.” Maura tried to plead. “Please…,”
“I’m sorry Doc, but you’re not off the hook either.” Vince took a deep breath as he spoke but his expression softened. “By agreeing to talk to Paddy during an ongoing investigation could be construed as obstruction but since you’ve got the Assistant DA on your side…,”
“Look I know this is a shit show, and I’ve had a front row seat for years but I’m asking…,” Jane paused and grabbed Maura’s hand which was now resting on her arm. “We’re asking for your help.”
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t help.” Vince’s shoulders drooped in a sulk. “But I don’t have to like it.” He sat up straight again. “And what’s this about your service revolver being stolen when you were a rookie? You’re lucky to still have a job. The department doesn’t take too kindly to its officers losing their guns.”
“Yeah, I know.” Jane said with a sheepish expression on her face. “I’m just lucky I wasn’t the only at the time. You remember that rash of robberies in my old neighborhood. I learned the hard way that having a gun safe doesn’t help if you don’t bolt it to the floor.”
“I suppose that’s a hard lesson to learn.” Vince’s lips twitched into a small smile. “And I’m sorry Doc. It can’t be easy to find out the most hated man in Boston is your Dad.”
“I had a Dad and Paddy wasn’t him.” Maura stiffened at the comment.
“Understood.” He gave her a nod of acknowledgement. “But, I’m sorry all the same.”
“Thank you.” Maura looked away from his sad gaze. She didn’t want, nor did she need his pity.
Jane could feel Maura stiffen next to her and she gave the hand in hers a light squeeze. It had been a rough twenty-four hours since the phone call from Suzie that had changed everything. Maura never thought for one minute that Jane had been responsible for killing Colin but this new bit of evidence added another dimension to the already complicated layers of their case. It had taken Maura hours to reassure Jane that she harbored no resentment and as they had held each other later that night, Maura continued to whisper those reassurances in Jane’s ear to lessen the trembling that shook both of their bodies.
“I don’t know if this thing with my gun is a coincidence or if it was on purpose…,” Jane bit down on her bottom lip as she tried to puzzle through her thoughts. “Maybe it has something to do with my Pop.”
“It all depends on who’s responsible for pulling the trigger or who ordered it.” Vince put his elbows on the table and rested his chin in the palm of his hand. He was quiet for a minute as he closed his eyes before letting out a heavy sign. “Look, this old man is tired. I need some sleep before I can try to make some sense of all of this.” When he opened his eyes, fatigue clouded them. “Tell Ryan I’m in.” He pushed up from the table and looked down at Jane and Maura, a small smile tugging at his lips. “So, um…this…it’s a thing.” His smile widened as he waved his hand between the two women.
“Will that be a problem?” Maura asked in that clipped doctor tone she sometimes had.
“It would only be a problem if you had continued to dance around the fact that you two belong together.” He gave a quick wink as he turned to leave. “I’m happy for you…both.” He tossed over his shoulder as he headed for the front door. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow Jane. Goodnight Doc and thanks for the coffee.” And with that he closed the door.
“Well,” Jane said as she leaned her elbows on the table. She dropped her head into her hands before taking a deep breath as she pushed her hair away from her face. “That went as good as expected.”
“Did it? What did you expect?” Maura asked as she watched Jane fidget.
“I don’t know.” Jane shrugged her shoulders. “I guess I didn’t expect him to take it personally, ya know…that I didn’t go to him all those years ago.”
“Why wouldn’t he?” Maura seemed surprised by Jane’s comment. When Jane didn’t have an answer she reached over and placed her palm against a warm cheek, curling her fingers around the back of Jane’s neck. “He loves you. I think you’re the daughter he always wanted.”
It was a truth that Jane knew deep in her heart but she didn’t want to bring herself to think about it because it just opened another can of worms she wasn’t ready to deal with. She gave Maura a small smile and shrug as she leaned into the touch against her cheek. “I wish I didn’t have to keep it from Frost though. It just doesn’t feel right.”
“I know, but like Ryan said…we’ll save him for a rainy day. We both know the less people involved, the better.” Maura tried to reason as her thumb traced along Jane’s bottom lip. She was quiet for a minute as she looked into Jane’s eyes and suddenly she felt tired. “Can we put this away until tomorrow?” Her eyes stayed locked onto Janes as she leaned forward to hover her lips just inches away from Janes. When Jane nodded, Maura’s face relaxed into a wide smile. “Good, because I really want to kiss you right now.”
“Far be it from me to stop you.” Jane said as she continued to look into Maura’s eyes but before either of them could move, Jane’s cell phone rang causing them both to jump in surprise. “It’s my Mom…,” she let out a frustrated huff.
“Well, you’d better answer it before she comes knocking on the door.” Maura leaned her forehead against Jane’s as they both looked down at the phone that continued to ring. “I’d hate to have her ruin my plans for you…,” She said with a sexy smile.
“Ummmm, we can’t have that now can we…,” Jane leaned forward and kissed the tip of Maura’s nose before scooping the phone up and answering it. “Hello Ma…,”
“I’ll be in the kitchen getting dinner ready.” Maura said as she stood up. She gave Jane’s shoulder a light pat as she left her to deflect what was surely going to be an attempt at a self-invite to dinner by Angela.
“Yeah, Ma…,” Jane grinned as she looked over her shoulder at Maura. “No Ma...,” She couldn’t stop herself from chuckling at the exaggerated way that Maura was swaying her hips. “No, I’m not laughing at you…,” The exasperation in her voice was almost as dramatic as her eye roll but she still had a smile on her face at the thought of joining Maura in the kitchen.

***

A bottle of red wine sat on the kitchen counter next to Maura’s full glass as she did her best to busy herself while waiting for Jane to finish on the phone. Her mind was on overdrive with all of the things that had happened over the last few days and keeping her hands busy was about the only thing that helped. She had put the dishes away, wiped the counters down, and was in the process of trying to decide what to have for dinner when it hit her. “Take out…,” she let out a heavy sigh as she leaned against the counter next to her wine. Reaching over, she wrapped her fingers around the glass, picked it up, and brought it to her lips taking a long drink as she thought over the events of the last twenty-four hours. Yes, things were fine between her and Jane but she worried about the constant reassurances Jane seemed to need that she wasn’t mad about the gun incident. That’s what she was calling it whenever she thought about it, ‘the gun incident.’ Her biggest worry was not Jane, though…on the contrary she trusted Jane with every fiber of her being. Her biggest worry was telling Paddy about it because she knew she was going to have to eventually. When she had called Ryan after talking to Susie it was apparent that the news added more complications than any of them had anticipated. On the surface it appeared that someone was trying to frame Jane, but the question was why. And if it did have something to do with Jane, who was responsible and why would Colin be the victim?
As the questions continued to fill Maura’s mind in rapid succession, she looked down at the glass in her hand and gave it a little swirl. She watched as the red liquid slowly slid down the sides of the glass with a small smile on her face.
“Nice legs…,” Jane said from across the room.
“You’ve been paying attention to me.” Maura seemed surprised to find Jane in the same room, but even more surprised by her comment.
“I always listen to you.” Jane didn’t move from her spot as she watched Maura continue to swirl the wine in her glass.
Holding up her glass, Maura smiled as she looked at the red liquid that continued to move around in a circle before slowly sliding down the sides again. The soft light that filled the kitchen caused the wine to sparkle a ruby red and Maura was glad she had made the choice to replace the old florescent light that had been there before she moved in. She brought the glass back down and smiled shyly at Jane. “The viscosity of this one gives it some great legs. Probably with a little more alcohol content as well.” Another twirl was followed by them both watching the wine again. “It doesn’t particularly mean it’s a better quality than others, but it definitely has body.”
“That’s very interesting.” Jane had a curious smile on her face as she stepped closer to Maura. “But I wasn’t talking about the wine.” She gave a quick wink that had Maura’s cheeks going pink. Positioning herself in front of Maura, she put her hands on full hips before sliding those same hands down Maura’s thighs. “This is the body…,” her hands caught the hem of Maura’s skirt before slipping under the silky material. “I’m interested in at the moment.” Her fingers skimmed along the warm skin of Maura’s legs and they both smiled at the shiver that ran through Maura’s body and into Jane’s.
The sensation of Jane’s hands moving along her legs caused Maura to become unsteady on her feet so she grabbed Jane’s shoulders for support. Fingertips left a trail of heat that scorched the tender skin along the inside of her thighs and held the promise of things to come. She couldn’t help but gasp when Jane lifted one of her legs, wrapping it around narrow hips, but it was the feeling of Jane pressing her against the counter that caused her to let out a low moan. Her head tilted back exposing her neck and she closed her eyes as the flutter that had started in her stomach spread over her like a wave of warmth.
“Ummm…,” Jane pressed herself further into Maura’s body and dropped her lips to the long, slender neck that was now exposed to her. As her lips moved along to the hollow of Maura’s throat, she smiled against the softness her mouth trailed along when she heard another moan. She used one hand on the back of the thigh that was wrapped around her hips to hold their bodies closer as she continued to press Maura against the counter.
“Wine tasting can be a very tactile sensation…,” Maura said breathlessly as Jane’s lips traveled along her jaw.
“Really?” Jane murmured. “Tell me more.” Her voice was husky and low as she moved up to kiss that spot below Maura’s ear that caused her body to shiver again.
“Well…,” Maura sighed as she tried to concentrate. “Usually after you open the bottle, you smell it…,” her voice trailed off as Jane inhaled deeply and smiled.
“I smell hints of strawberry from that fancy shampoo you use.” Jane skimmed her nose along Maura’s cheek and took another deep breath. “Now I smell spiced cherry with a touch of oak.”
“That’s because I just took a drink of my wine.” Maura tried to explain but her brain was beginning to short circuit. “The color is almost as important as the smell.” She said quickly as her cheeks colored.
“I really like this deep shade of red you’re sporting right now.” Jane chuckled lightly at the blush on Maura’s face. “What’s next?”
“T…t…taste…,” Maura stuttered slightly before Jane’s lips found hers.
The kiss was slow and sensual as Jane’s mouth moved over Maura’s in an attempt to drink in the taste of the wine that still lingered. It wasn’t an intense flavor or overpowering in anyway, but Jane could still detect the spiced cherry and oak when her tongue grazed along Maura’s. The feeling of velvety softness, accompanied by the sweet, heady flavor of the wine caused Jane to moan. “I love the way you taste Maura…,” Jane pulled away so her mouth was hovering over Maura’s. “Your lips…,” her tongue traced Maura’s bottom lip before she skimmed along Maura’s chin and down her neck. “Your skin…,” she whispered as she placed open mouthed kisses at the hollow of Maura’s throat. “I need to see more.” The hand that was holding Maura’s leg up let go and moved to undo the buttons of her shirt.
As each button was undone reveling more and more skin to Jane’s hungry gaze, Maura shifted her weight and dropped her leg back to the ground. She moved her hands from the broad shoulders in front of her around to the back of Jane’s neck allowing her fingers to slip through long dark hair. Looking down to watch Jane’s hands push open her shirt to reveal the black, lacey bra she was wearing caused the muscles in her stomach to twitch. She let out a soft sigh, tilted her head back, and closed her eyes as Jane’s fingers mapped out the soft curves beneath them. The feeling of Jane’s hot mouth moving along her collarbone to the valley between her breasts caused her to gasp. Jane didn’t undo her bra but kissed the exposed skin just above the material that kept her mouth from touching more skin. She was almost breathless as Jane continued down her body, kissing her way to her belly button where her tongue dipped then slowly circled causing another gasp to escape Maura’s lips. When she realized what Jane’s intention was her eyes flew open and she looked down to see Jane kneeling in front of her, kissing the skin just above her skirt. Heat rushed through her body at the anticipation of what was to come and she continued to run her fingers through Jane’s hair in an attempt to anchor herself so her shaking legs didn’t give out on her.
Jane sensed that Maura was unsteady on her feet so she reached up and took the hands that were buried in her hair and interlaced their fingers together. She held tight as she guided Maura’s hands back to the counter before she spoke. “I’m gonna need you to hold on tight…,” she said letting go of Maura’s hands as she pressed them against the edge of the counter. It wasn’t until she was sure Maura was steady that she returned to her silent worship of the skin beneath her lips but this time her hands moved to the hem of Maura’s skirt. As her mouth continued to trace a pattern along dips and curves, her hands moved higher until her fingers hooked the waistband of Maura’s panties before sliding them down her legs. She carefully lifted one foot and then the other to free the black, lace that matched the bra. Glancing up, she raised an eyebrow at the sexy smirk on Maura’s face. “I thought you saved these for special occasions?” She smirked back as she slipped the lacey material into the back pocket of her jeans. When Maura didn’t answer, she glanced up again to find a serious expression looking back at her. There was a deep look of concentration on Maura’s face, one that indicated she was ready for Jane’s next move. Without breaking eye contact, she moved her hands back to the hem of Maura’s skirt before bunching it up and pushing it higher. When the material reached the tops of Maura’s hips, Jane had to look. She had to see how ready Maura was, how much she was needed right where she was at that moment. Leaning forward, she allowed her lips to skim the inside of Maura’s left thigh before moving to the other and smiled when she heard Maura let out a shaky breath while she lingered at the soft skin just below the apex of Maura’s legs.
“The funny thing about teasing...,” Maura hissed through clenched teeth. “Is that it usually comes back to you tenfold.”
“You think I’m teasing you?” Jane inquired as her mouth continued its torturous exploration of the inside of Maura’s thigh. “I haven’t even started yet.” She said as she gently skimmed her teeth along tender skin before using her tongue to soothe the trail of fire she had paved. Her fingers moved down along one of Maura’s legs to her ankle and then she lifted it over her shoulder. Looking up at Maura, she was greeted with a surprised expression. “Just make sure you keep a tight hold that counter there.” She nodded towards the hands that now had a white knuckle hold on the counter. Lifting her hand, she placed it on the outside of Maura’s leg and turned her face to the inside of a trembling thigh where her lips continued their journey along soft, milky, white skin. But she still didn’t move higher to the place she knew Maura wanted, needed her most. She felt powerful and in control, and it was intoxicating. ‘Who needs wine when I’ve got Maura…,’ she thought to herself.
With her hands firmly planted along the edge of the counter top, Maura closed her eyes in an effort to enhance the sensation of Jane moving along her skin alternating between lips, teeth, and tongue. The blaze of a slow growing fire was beginning at the pit of her stomach as the relentless teasing continued but she wouldn’t have it any other way. The anticipation was almost as sensual as the climax in her book so even though her body was impatient for more, her mind was enjoying the slow pace that Jane had set. But when she felt the whisper of warm breath brush against where she needed Jane the most, her body betrayed her and her hips jerked towards the source of the pleasure that continued to tease her.
“Patience Dr. Isles…,” Jane whispered against Maura’s exposed thigh as she moved in closer. She could feel the muscles in Maura’s stomach quivering under her hand with the anticipation of what was to come next. When Maura let out a frustrated groan, Jane knew it was time to stop teasing. Lifting her eyes, she peered up at Maura through dark lashes just before she lowered her head and leaned in for her first taste. The swipe of her tongue caused them both to moan.
“Oh God…,” Maura’s voice faltered as she griped the counter top harder. Her whole body surged forward in an effort for more contact but Jane had mercy on her and pressed harder seeking a deeper connection. She couldn’t stop herself from reaching down with one hand to thread her fingers in Jane’s dark hair as soft, measured strokes set the pace that her hips tried to match. Slow and steady was the name of the game Jane was playing and it caused Maura’s breathing to quicken. Looking down, she could see dark eyes peering up at her and it was almost her undoing. Her mouth dropped open and her eyelids fluttered when Jane’s tongue pressed harder and moved faster brining her closer to the edge. The fingers that were tangled in Jane’s dark hair tightened their grip as Maura’s body took over. Lifting her other arm, she covered her eyes with the back of her hand and struggled to catch her breath. Her skin was flushed with the heat that was racing along her skin by what Jane was doing to her. The need to feel more, to take all that Jane was offering pushed Maura to her breaking point as she began to rock back and forth…faster and faster until everything around her began to disappear except for the feeling of Jane’s mouth moving against her. The sensation of something building deep within her, something that needed to be released, started at the tip of Jane’s tongue and spread throughout her body like a wild fire scorching everything in its path. The hand that had been covering her eyes flew out over the counter knocking the empty bottle of wine over…or was if full…Maura didn’t care, all she cared about was the pleasure that was lifting her up, high above the precipice she was about to fall into. “Oh my God, Jane…,” her voice was quivering.
Hearing Maura’s voice, saying her name with the reverence of a whispered prayer almost distracted Jane-almost. She could feel Maura’s body as it moved against her, seeking that final release because it was so close. Having this much control made Jane dizzy with power but nothing could compare to the response Maura’s body had to her touch. Now that was power, knowing she was responsible for this pleasure that flowed between them like an electrical current. The fact that Maura was giving herself without restraint was the most beautiful thing Jane had ever experienced in her life. So, she closed her eyes and held that image in her mind as she set out to bring Maura over that brink.
The culmination was coming and Maura tried desperately to hold onto the pleasure that surged over her like a tidal wave because she wasn’t willing to let go yet. This connection was too deep to release, too intimate for her to give up at the moment but her body was too willing to take the plunge. She could feel Jane shift to bring her closer and she gasped as she finally gave in, doing her best to seek the gratification she knew was just on the other side. The moment had come for her to let go and she accepted it without question, without reservation as she pushed herself further. Her fingers held tight as they tangled in long, dark hair as she held Jane against her. And then, in the blink of an eye it happened. The flood gates opened causing Maura to arch her back and stiffen as wave upon wave rolled over her taking her breath away. She closed her eyes and watched the shattered remains of bright, white light rain down on her, showering her with a warmth that spread through her like nothing she had ever experienced before as she called out Jane’s name over and over again.
Jane knew the moment that Maura had let go. She could feel the tremors beginning in the legs that were wrapped around her. Thighs clamped tightly around her head as Maura pressed for more and she almost winced at the firm grip of fingers in her hair but she didn’t stop. She couldn’t stop. Maura was almost there. And then there it was, that unguarded moment she had been waiting for where Maura lay bare and open before her eyes. Without hesitation, Jane took it all…every shiver, every tremor, and every wave of pleasure that moved over Maura’s body as she arched her back and stiffened as she came undone. But it wasn’t enough for Jane as she greedily took what she could, drinking in all that Maura had to offer. It wasn’t until she felt Maura’s fingers loosen in her hair and her body shake that she slowly pulled away. She had a satisfied smirk on her face when she looked up at Maura who was still trying to catch her breath.
“You are so fucking beautiful when you give yourself over to me like that.” Jane pulled herself up to stand in front of Maura. Wrapping an arm around Maura’s waist, she held tight to steady the shaking body leaning into her.
Maura slipped her arms around Jane’s middle and buried her face against the hollow of Jane’s throat as she struggled to catch her breath. Words had once again failed her as the trembling in her body continued. A slow moving tingling sensation followed by warmth was spreading over her finally bringing the shaking under control, but she still felt weak and unsteady. She could feel Jane’s chin resting on top of her head as she snuggled closer.
“You okay?” Jane murmured against the top of Maura’s head, concern lacing the question. She smiled when she felt Maura nod. “That good, huh?” Again Maura answered with a nod as Jane continued to hold her.
For what felt like an eternity, they stood in each other’s arms silently enjoying the afterglow of the moment before Maura finally pulled away far enough to look up. “How do you do that?” She asked, her eyes brimming with emotion.
“Um…you want me to draw you a diagram?” Jane tried to joke but turned serious when she saw the way Maura was looking at her.
“You make me feel things…things no one has ever made me feel. You know how to touch me, how to kiss me…how to shatter my control. Because of you, I’m a quivering mass…almost unable to stand on my own two feet.” Maura reached up to brush a stray hair away from Jane’s face.
“It’s just sex Maur…,” Jane tried to reason but as she said the words, even she knew they weren’t true.
“No, not with you…never with you.” Maura ran the backs of her fingers along Jane’s cheeks before bringing her finger to rest at the dimple in Jane’s chin. “I don’t know if I can explain it but there’s this connection between us. It’s like for one brief moment in time we merge and become one. What we share goes beyond the physical pleasure…which is off the charts I might add.”
“I know…I feel it too.” Jane caught Maura’s hand before she could move and brought it up to her lips to place a kiss on the back of each finger. “And, like a fine wine…we only get better together as time goes by.” She winked as she reached over the counter to pick up Maura’s wine glass. Bringing it up to her lips, she took a sip and smiled. “Ummm…tastes good, but you taste better.”
“You have no shame.” Maura laughed as she leaned in to kiss Jane’s slightly parted lips. She smiled against the feeling of Jane’s tongue as it brushed against her own, the same tongue that had given her so much pleasure before and that flutter of arousal started to grow deep within her again, seeking an escape. But just as suddenly as it had started, it disappeared with the ringing of the doorbell. “Really?” A scowl creased her forehead and she frowned. “I was my turn…,”
“We can just pretend we aren’t home and sneak upstairs.” Jane pressed herself against Maura again and nuzzled at the slender neck that lay exposed to her as Maura tilted her head back. The haze of the moment had them both forgetting the doorbell as Maura’s hands slipped up and under Jane’s t-shirt to explore the warm skin and taught abdominal muscles underneath. “Ummmm…that feels good.” Jane murmured into Maura’s ear where her lips had moved but before anything else could be said or done, the doorbell rang three more times in rapid succession followed by an impatient pounding.
“Come on Janie…I know your home. I just talked to Ma and she said you were.” Frankie’s voice hit them both like a bucket of cold ice water. “My TV broke and the Sox are playing. Come on…let me in. I brought beer.” He begged from the front porch.
“You let him in and I’ll go take a shower.” Maura rested her forehead against Jane’s chin as she tried to steady her breathing.
“What about dinner?” Jane took a deep breath as she tried to catch her breath.
“Order a pizza and don’t forget to get me one with mushrooms.” Maura started to pull away from Jane but stopped and gave her small smile. “Oh, and this isn’t over. I’ve got plans for you later. I owe you for all of that slow teasing from earlier.”
“I’m looking forward to it.” Jane gave a sexy smirk and placed a quick kiss to Maura’s cheek as they went in opposite directions.
“Janie…come on! It’s already the second inning…let me in!” Frankie shouted again.
“Alright, alright. Keep your pants on.” Jane shouted back. She stopped by the small guest bathroom in the foyer for a quick check in the mirror and to wash off any evidence of what she and Maura had been doing before they were interrupted. When she finished washing up, she quickly ran her fingers through her hair and smirked at her reflection.
“J-a-n-i-e…,” Frankie exaggerated each letter as he continued to beg for Jane’s attention.
“For fucks sack Frankie!” Jane strolled to the door, pulled it open, and frowned at him.
He had a guilty look on his face as he held up a twelve pack of Blue Moon. “I brought your favorite beer.”
“Gimme that…,” she tried to keep the frown on her face but cracked under his pitiful, puppy dog eyes that gazed at her. “Come on.” She tilted her head towards the living room and the big screen TV Maura had mounted on the wall. “Let’s order some pizza’s.”
“Have I told you that you’re my favorite sister?” He smiled at her as he stepped inside the foyer and shut the door behind him.
“I’m your only sister.” Jane smirked and turned around to lead the way.
“Um…are those yours?” Frankie stopped and pointed to the black lace that was hanging out of the back pocket of Jane’s jeans.
Instinctively, Jane reached back, pulled Maura’s panties out of her pocket, and looked at the black lace material in her hand. Her laughter took Frankie by surprise and his face reddened when Jane shook her head indicating they weren’t hers.
“Did I…um, interrupt something?” He stammered as he watched her put them back in her pocket.
“If you had shown up five minutes earlier I would have to say yes…but as luck would have it…,” she said with a wink and a smile before pausing. “Well, luck didn’t have anything to do with it.”
“I really don’t need to hear this.” Frankie rolled his eyes as he pushed past Jane in an attempt to get away from the conversation.
“Hey, you asked. I was merely answering your question.” Jane lifted the box of beer bottles to rest on top of one of her shoulders as she followed Frankie. “Oh, and thanks for the beer.”
“Your welcome. I figured the only thing Maura would have to drink was wine and I know how much you love wine.” The sarcasm was obvious as he glanced over his shoulder with a grin.
“Well, I don’t know…it’s starting to grow on me.” Jane chuckled at her own private joke as she licked her lips, tasting the lingering traces of red wine and something uniquely Maura. “But you’re right, some things do taste better than wine. I can definitely attest to that.”

Chapter Text

Unspoken Truths
The late afternoon sun draped itself across the table where Jane and Frost sat sharing a plate of blueberry scones at ‘La Petite Boulangerie.’ Their good-natured ribbing had driven Carly back to the kitchen with the promise to return when they were ready to ‘act like adults.’ Unfortunately, there wasn’t much promise of that happening as they continued to toss pieces of uneaten scone attempting to make it into the other’s mouths. When a blueberry bounced off Jane’s cheek and rolled across the floor stopping in front of a stern looking customer who gave them a look that had them both ducking their heads in embarrassment.
“Sorry…,” Jane mumbled as the rather staunch lady walked passed them, promptly depositing the blueberry on the plate in the middle of their table. She couldn’t help but laugh at the dramatic eye roll from Frost as the woman walked away with a scowl on her face.
“I guess that’s my cue to leave.” Frost said as he reached for the last scone. “But not before I have one more of these.”
“Hey, you’re gonna ruin your appetite.” Jane pushed the plate away and frowned at him.
“Well, that’s not the appetite I aim to satisfy tonight.” He wiggled his eyebrows and he smirked at her.
Jane shook her head and let out an irritated sigh. “TMI man.” She pushed her hair over her shoulder before placing an elbow on the table and resting her chin in the palm of her hand.
“I just don’t want you to worry about me.” Crumbs dropped onto the table as he put the last bite in his mouth and smiled.
Jane gave a thoughtful nod as she glanced out the window at the storm clouds that had gathered in the distance. The sun that had once painted its warmth across the table was gone, only to be replaced by a gray shadow and a chill. She shivered at the bleak thought that it was an omen of things to come, or perhaps she was just missing Maura.
“What’s with that look?” Frost raised his eyebrows in question.
“Nothing…,” She brought her attention back to him and tried to smile.
“I’m not buying it and you’re usually a pretty good salesman.” His expression turned serious, indicating he was ready to listen. “Did something happen between you and Maura?”
“No, no…it’s nothing like that.” The question had her sitting up straighter but then her shoulders slumped again as the weight of something unknown settled over her. “I don’t know what’s bothering me. Really…,” she pressed when he gave her a skeptical look.
“Well, you know I’m here if you need to talk.” He eyed her suspiciously for any evidence that she was trying to hide something. But when he saw nothing but sincerity, tinged by a little uncertainty, he finally nodded.
“I appreciate it. Thanks…,” she tried to smile but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. In her heart, she knew why she was feeling down but it wasn’t something she could talk to him about, at least not yet. This thing with Paddy was beginning to take a toll on both her and Maura but it was something she couldn’t share with Frost.
“Okay then. You good?” He gave her another raised eyebrow as he moved to stand up.
“Yeah, I’m good.” She looked up at him as he stood to leave. “Have fun tonight.”
“I plan on it.” His smile widened and he gave her a saucy wink. “I’ll see ya tomorrow.” He tossed over his shoulder.
“Tomorrow...,” she sighed as she watched him leave. Turning her attention back to the window, she could see him jogging across the street. When he reached his car, he gave her another wave before getting in and driving off. With a heavy sigh, she watched as his tail lights disappeared in the distance making her feel suddenly very alone. Just as the feeling of loneliness swept over her, her phone buzzed causing the table to vibrate. She looked down to see an incoming text message from Maura and the lonely feeling evaporated just as quickly as the steam that had once billowed from her now lukewarm coffee. With a few clicks and swipes, the message appeared and what she read brought a smile to her face.
“I miss you…pick me up in an hour and don’t forget the butter cookies Carly made.” The words were punctuated with a heart and kissy face emoji and Jane chuckled as she quickly typed a reply of a thumbs up followed by a cluster of hearts.
“You’re such a romantic.” Carly quietly slipped behind Jane, reading the text message as she leaned down and placed her chin on Jane’s shoulder to see better.
“Yeah, well…you know how us Rizzoli’s are.” Jane chuckled as she set her phone back down on the table and watched Carly move around to sit across from her.
“I’d ask, but I can see that you guys liked the scones.” Carly grinned at Jane. “Oh, before either one of us forgets...here’s the box of butter cookies I promised Maura.” She set a light green bakery box tied with a pretty pink bow down on the table in front of Jane.
“Ummmm, thanks. I don’t think she’d forgive me if I forgot these.” Jane reached across the table and pulled the box closer to her before setting her phone on top so she wouldn’t forget.
“So, not that it isn’t nice to see you or anything…but…um...,” Carly hesitated before finishing. “Did Aunt Angela send you here to check up on me?”
“Damn, I’ve blown my cover.” Jane tried to smile but the fact that her presence had instigated some sort of ulterior motive just meant she wasn’t spending enough time with her cousin as she should be.
“You can tell her I’m fine and that I’ve been taking care of myself. And I’ve been taking my prenatal vitamins too.” Carly gave Jane a wary look. “She’s worse than my own Ma.”
“I know and I’m sorry. Ever since Pop took off; she’s been missing something. She’s excited for you…,” Jane started to say but then let out a heavy sigh. “It’s been hard for her.”
“I know and I’m really happy to have her here to help me.” Carly gave Jane a grateful smile.
“She’s looking forward to working here. It’ll be good for her. Hopefully it will keep her mind off the other stuff like Pop, Tommy…,”
“Speaking of Tommy, how’s it going? Any word on when he gets out?” The question caused Jane to frown and shake her head in response. “Well, at least he’s been dry since he got arrested.”
“So far.” Jane shrugged her shoulders. “I guess we’ll see what happens in six to eight months.”
“I guess so.” Carly didn’t know what else to say.
For a minute, they sat in companionable silence until Jane finally cleared her throat and spoke. “Um, how’s Ryan?” She asked.
“Pretty stressed I suppose.” Carly turned her gaze to the window and the darkening sky. “She’s been under a lot of pressure. All of you…,” she didn’t finish because they both knew what she was talking about.
“I know.” Jane ran her fingers through her hair and sighed heavily. “I hate this.”
“Me too, but it isn’t just about him ya know.” Carly paused when Jane gave her a questioning look. “It’s about Maura too.” She clarified.
“It is, isn’t it?” Jane glanced down at her phone and the box of cookies. She waited quietly for Carly to look away from the window and when she did, there was a wistful smile on her face. “What are you thinking about?”
“Hmmm…?” Carly blinked a few times before rubbing her tired eyes. “Oh, I was just thinking about how much fun it’s going to be to plan your wedding.”
“My Ma told ya, huh?” Jane had a crooked grin on her face. “About that…,” she started to say then stopped when Carly held up her hand.
“I didn’t tell you how Ryan proposed, did I?” Carly leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. A small smile played at her lips as she recalled that night five years ago.
“No…,” Jane watched as Carly settled back revealing the small baby bump that was just beginning to show. The sight caused a pang of longing to well up in her and she grinned back as she waited for Carly to tell her.
“Well, it started out like any normal date night for us. Ryan had worked and as usual she was in a rush to get home and change. I’d made a reservation at this new place that had a two-week waiting list, but I knew the owner and got us a table on short notice. It was just a few days before Ryan’s birthday and I’d been wanting to do something special but with her schedule being what it is…I thought it would be best to take advantage of our one night out. So, when she got home, she rushed into the bathroom to shower and get ready. There wasn’t anything unusual about that except that she decided to use the guest bathroom. I was ready before she was so I poured myself a glass of wine to wait for her while she finished. And I waited…and waited until I finally decided to check on her.” Carly stopped and took a deep breath as she tried not to laugh at the memory of what happened next. “You can imagine my surprise when I heard her swearing up a storm on the other side of the locked door. I could also hear water, like a lot of water, more than the faucet running kind of water. She didn’t answer when I called out to her so I grabbed that little key thingy and opened the door. Do you know what I found?” She raised an eyebrow at Jane and waited until Jane shook her head. “I’ll tell you what I found. I found Ryan standing in the middle of the bathroom in her underwear, soaking wet and fighting with the bathroom sink pipes as water shot out at all directions from the place where the pipes should have been.”
“What? She took the sink apart?” Jane tried to imagine how that must have looked and the image caused her to laugh.
“Yep, she took the sink apart. Apparently, she had dropped something down the drain and decided to take the pipes apart to get to it.” Carly leaned forward, set her elbows on the table, and placed her chin in her hand. She had a wistful smile on her face. “I was so mad at her. We were already late for our reservation. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t wait until we got home to tear the bathroom apart. But then she held out her hand, balled up in a fist before opening it to reveal a beautiful ring in her palm. There she stood, drenched from head to toe and hair sticking out in all directions, holding an engagement ring up for me to see. It was then that I realized why it had been so important for her to get it out of the sink drain before we went to dinner.”
“She was going to propose.” Jane let out a heavy breath.
“That’s right. I guess she’d been practicing in the mirror and somehow dropped it down the drain.” Carly looked down at her hand and the ring that she was wearing on her left hand. “She panicked and instead of asking, she simply shoved the ring at me and waited for me to say something.”
“Wow, what’d you do?” Suddenly Jane didn’t feel so bad about her own botched proposal.
“Well, I’ll tell ya…,” Carly paused to let out long, slow sigh. “The first thing I did was go up under the sink to turn the water off because by this time I was soaking wet as well. After that…well, let’s just say we didn’t make it to dinner. So, as you can see, sometimes things don’t always go exactly the way we want them to go but in the end…,” she gave Jane a wink and a slightly smug smile. “Things always work out.”
“Thanks Carly.” Jane reached across the table and took Carly’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I just can’t help but think that I messed up my one chance to make this special for Maura. At least Ryan had a ring to give you.”
“And, from what I understand…you do to. You just got it a little later. If you could do it over again, how would you do it differently?” Carly asked as she pulled the box of cookies towards her. When Jane gave her a questioning look, she just shrugged her shoulders and grinned. “Sorry, but I need one or…maybe three of these.”
Jane couldn’t help but laugh. “I guess the cravings have started.” She watched as Carly lifted the lid and pulled out a few of the freshly baked butter cookies meant for Maura.
“I suppose, but I’m just hungry.” Carly mumbled around a mouthful of crumbs. “So?”
“What?” Jane had been distracted and had already forgotten the question.
“If you could do it again…” Carly repeated her question.
“I don’t know.” Jane ran her fingers through her hair and looked out the window and grimaced when she saw the rain approaching. Her mind wandered to the many intimate moments she and Maura had shared in high school and a small smile played along her lips.
“What’s that smile for?” Carly pushed the box back towards Jane. “Here, take these before I eat them all.”
Jane moved the box to sit in front of her and placed a hand on it protectively. “I can’t have that, now can I.” She smirked as she thought about Maura’s wrath at coming home empty handed.
“Well?” Carly pointed at Jane to get her attention. “Why the sly smile?”
“Oh, um…I was just remembering some of the things Maura and I did in high school.” Jane mused as she ran her fingers along the string that was tied in a neat bow at the top of the cookie box. “We had some good times…some really good times.” There was a mischievous glint in her dark eyes that caused Carly to laugh.
“I’m sure there were.” Carly tried not to roll her eyes.
“Did I ever tell you about the time we went to the Ritz?” Jane leaned back in her chair and tilted her head in question.
“I seem to recall that you did it around your birthday.” Carly scratched her forehead as she tried to remember.
“Good memory. It was my eighteenth birthday to be exact.” Jane bit down on her bottom lip as she remembered that night. She could feel the heat rising in her cheeks causing her to suddenly lean forward, place her elbows on the table and then rest her chin in her hands. “Maura got us a suite and…,” she cleared her throat.
“And you don’t need to elaborate. I saw you the day after. Remember?” Carly laughed.
“Yeah, well. I think that maybe I’d like to do something like that, ya know.” Jane shrugged her shoulders as the beginnings of a plan started to form in her mind.
“Get a suite at the Ritz?” Carly asked.
“Uh-huh.” Jane sat up straighter as her confidence started to return. “Make a whole night of it. Have a nice dinner. I don’t know, maybe go out dancing or something.”
“That sounds nice Jane.” Carly watched with curiosity as Jane’s demeanor changed. “But don’t forget that both of your moms want to help. I’ve already had to rein in Angela when she started talking about peacocks.”
“Okay…,” Jane chewed on her bottom lip again. “Maybe we can work together on this.” She drummed her fingers against the table as she thought about it. “Do you think if I let them plan the evening leading up to the suite, that would be enough?”
“I suppose we can work with that.” Carly said as a sly smile moved over her lips. “But you know they are going to want to there for that.”
Jane frowned at Carly’s smile and what she had said. She had intended for the evening to be one where her and Maura were alone. “I’m not sure I want that.” It was something she wasn’t willing to share.
“Think about it Jane. If you want to go dancing and they want to come along…,” Carly rubbed her hands together as if she had just come up with an evil plan. “You’ll have to go to a gay bar and I would pay full price to see that.”
“Are you kidding? Angela Rizzoli at a gay bar…,” Jane laughed then leveled her gaze at Carly as the idea sank in.
“We could make a night of it. Me, Ryan, your Ma, Constance...all of us out for a night on the town. Even invite my Ma, Bella, and Mia.” Carly sounded hopeful. “Of course we would leave you alone at the Ritz…,” she said quickly when she saw the skeptical look she was getting.
“This is turning out to be a bit of a circus if you ask me.” Jane dropped her shoulders in anticipation of defeat.
“Come on Jane. Please…Ryan and I could certainly use a night out and it would so much fun.” Carly clasped her hands together in a show of begging. “I’ll even bake the ring into a cake if you want.”
“That won’t be necessary. With my luck, Maura would choke on it.” Jane laughed. “I guess a night out wouldn’t be such a bad idea, but I need to run it by Maura first.” She let out a heavy breath at the realization she had just been talked into something she wasn’t sure she was ready for. “Why do I get the impression this is turning out to be more like a bachelor party than a surprise re-proposal?”
“It’ll be fun, I promise.” Carly said before suddenly turning serious. “It will be good for us to get out and celebrate something.”
“What are you talking about? We’ve got a baby shower to plan too.” Jane pointed to Carly’s stomach. “Are you gonna do one of those sex-reveal parties?”
“I don’t know. I’m not sure we are going to find out or not.” Carly frowned as she rubbed her eyes again. “Ryan hasn’t been around much…what with work and all.”
“She says the same thing about you.” Jane let out a heavy sigh.
“I know. We’ve both been pretty busy, but once Angela starts…it’ll be different.” Carly gave a slight shrug.
“You look tired. Why don’t you go home?” Jane asked even though she knew the answer.
“I will, but I’ve got to finish up here.” Carly said as she pushed herself up from her chair.
“Please Carly, don’t stay too late. Promise me.” Jane couldn’t disguise the worry in her voice.
“I promise. Just a couple more hours. I’d like to get home in time to have dinner with Ryan.” Carly had a wistful expression on her face. “We good here? You gonna tell your Ma that I’m fine?”
“Yeah, but if I call and find out you didn’t make it home for dinner…I can’t be responsible for what my Ma might do.” Jane gave a small, sly smile at the light threat.
“I will Jane. Ryan and I need some time together.” Carly leaned down and gave Jane a quick kiss to her cheek. “Give Maura my love and don’t you dare forget the cookies.” She tapped the top of the cookie box with her fingers.
“I wouldn’t dream of it. She’d probably make me sleep on the couch if I did.” Jane laughed as she gathered her things to leave. “I’ll see you later Cuz. Please take care of yourself and that little bun in the oven there.” Jane called out as Carly disappeared behind the counter. She glanced over her shoulder to see Carly giving her a thumbs-up before turning her attention to a case filled with pastries.
As Jane headed towards the door, she couldn’t help but feel that there had been an underlying sadness radiating off Carly. She knew that Ryan had been burning the candle at both ends with her normal case load, but it had gotten worse with the addition of the Paddy case. The stress of work and a baby on the way would be tough on anyone and Ryan was no exception. But they were all struggling with so much more at the hands of Paddy Doyle and as Jane left Carly’s bakery she couldn’t help but feel the heat of resentment burning in her chest. She wanted it to be over so they could all go back to the lives they had before without his looming presence that seemed to poison everything it touched. With a heavy sigh, she pushed the door open, stepped outside, and ran right into Giovanni.
“Whoa…Janie. What’s up?” Gio grabbed Jane by the arm to steady them both as they collided.
“Hey Gio, not much.” Jane allowed him to stop her and move them away from the entrance to the bakery.
“You doin’ good?” He asked as he casually leaned against the wall next to them.
“Yeah, we’re doin’ good. How ‘bout you?” She looked up at him noticing the mischievous grin and then she realized what she had said.
“We, as in you and Maura?” His smile widened as he watched her fidget.
“You got me Gio. Yeah, me and Maura.” She shook her head and rolled her eyes.
“Finally. It’s about time.” He laughed as he slapped her on the back.
“I know.” She said with a shrug of her shoulders.
“Well, after the last time we talked I wasn’t sure it was going to happen but I’m really glad it did.” This time he grabbed her and pulled her into a hug. “You deserve this Jane. You both do.”
“Thanks Gio. How ‘bout you? Any one special in your life?” The hug was brief but it was enough for her realize that he was truly happy for them and almost crush the cookies she was holding.
“You know me…,” he wiggled his eyebrows. “There’s always someone special.”
“Aw, come on man…,” Jane gave him a gentle but playful push. “Any prospects?”
“I been seeing this girl for a few months but ya know, we’re just havin’ fun.” His cheeks colored as he looked down and kicked at the concrete under his feet.
“I know you Gio and no girl has ever made you blush like that.” She pointed to his pink cheeks. “What gives?”
“Alright, alright.” He held up his hands in surrender. “I do kinda like this one…like really, really like her.” It was the only concession he was willing to give her.
“That’s good.” She smiled up at him. “Does she feel the same?”
“I think so.” He ducked his head shyly. “Hey, you hear about Doyle’s son?” The sudden change in subject caused Jane’s eyes to widen.
“Um…yeah. Why?” She asked as she pulled back a little to put some distance between them as if that would somehow protect her from his impending questions.
“You workin’ it?” He shoved his hands in his pockets and leaned closer to keep their conversation between just them.
“Nah…,” she shook her head, feeling her cheeks grow warm as she lied.
“That’s some crazy shit though, huh?” He continued, completely oblivious to her discomfort. “It’s got the neighborhood rumor mill going hard.”
“Really?” Jane’s interest was suddenly piqued. “What kinda rumors?”
“Well, that Paddy’s kid was in a relationship with one of his rival gangs. Like some sort of Romeo and Juliet shit.” He ran his fingers through his shaggy hair, pushing it off his forehead causing it to stick up in all directions.
“Hummm…what else? You know who the rival gang is?” She tried to ask casually even though her mind was coming up with questions so fast she wasn’t sure she could remember them all.
“Truth be told…no. But there is speculation it has something to do with Dimitri’s group. He had a daughter about Paddy’s kids age, so I’m kinda thinking it may be more true than not.”
“The Russian mob? Are you fucking kidding me Gio?” Her voice rose an octave higher than usual.
“What? I said they were just rumors.” He tried to defend himself.
“Sorry…,” she let out a heavy sigh as her mind went over several new scenarios. “You said that Dimitri had a daughter. What did you mean by that?”
“Yeah, you remember last year when that girl got killed in that really bad car accident. The news said it was a drunk driving accident.” Gio sighed sadly.
“Shit, yeah. I remember that one. It was a one car accident. She wrapped her car around a telephone pole.” Jane pushed her hair away from her face as another memory about that case came to her. “Didn’t she have a baby in the backseat?”
“She did. I think that’s why I remember it so well. She got killed but the baby was unharmed. Thank goodness for car seats.”
Suddenly Jane’s legs felt wobbly as she started to put things together in her mind. It was rumored that Colin and this girl had been having a relationship and then there was a baby. A wave of nausea washed over her as Gio filled in the gaps.
“So the rumor is that the baby was Paddy’s grandkid.” Gio watched as all the color drained from Jane’s face. “Hey, what’s up? You feeling alright?”
“Um, no…I’m not.” Jane pushed away from the wall she was leaning against. The sudden moved caught Gio by surprise causing him to jump back to allow her space to move.
“What’s wrong Jane. Did I say something wrong?” His voice was filled with concern as he watched her push past him.
“No Gio. I’ve just got to go talk to Maura.” She tried to give him a smile over her shoulder as she headed toward her car, leaving him standing outside the bakery with a bewildered look on his face. “Really, it’s okay Gio. I just remembered something about a case Maura and I are working on. I really need to talk to her.” She was relieved when he gave her an understanding smile. “We need to get togehter sometime…dinner maybe.”
“Yeah, that’d be great.” He waved at her as she started to climb in her car. “Give Maura my best.”
“Yep…,” Jane gave him a quick nod as she climbed in the driver’s seat and started her car. Setting the box of cookies down in the passenger seat beside her, she grabbed her cell phone and typed a quick text to Maura before she sped off to the BPD.

***
Maura looked down at her phone when it chimed announcing an incoming text. A smile swept across her face when she saw it was from Jane, but as she read the short message that seemed to be all business, she couldn’t help but frown. ‘On my way…we need to talk’ it read and as she reread it, there seemed to be an unspoken urgency in the words that held none of their usual playful banter. It wasn’t like Jane to so curt and it caused Maura to worry.
Looking around the autopsy room, she tried to decide if she had left anything undone as she pulled the black latex gloves off her hands before dropping them in the waste basket by the table she had been working at. A quick survey convinced her that she had cleaned up and put everything away except for the paperwork that needed her attention before she was finished. She grabbed the clip board that had been precariously balanced on the edge of the table with the intention of finishing in her office but as she turned to leave, the sound of someone clearing their throat caused her to freeze.
“Maura…,” Paddy’s voice seemed to echo in the small autopsy room causing Maura to shiver.
Turning to face Paddy, Maura lifted her chin to show him that she wasn’t afraid. “Paddy.” She said with an air of authority. He was on her turf now and she wanted him to know that. “Isn’t it a little…,” she paused as she tried to find just the right word. “Presumptuous of you to show up here?”
“This is one of the last places people would expect me to be so it makes it one of the safest places to meet.” He didn’t move as he spoke.
“I suppose there’s some truth in that.” She sighed heavily as she tucked her clipboard under her arm.
“Do you have anything new to discuss with me?” His eyes flashed dangerously as he asked the question. It was as if he was testing her and she knew why.
“If you already know, then why the pretense? Just ask me.” She gave him a hard look to rival the one he was giving her.
“Is it true that the gun used to kill Colin was registered to Jane?” He asked, his mouth setting in a grim line anticipating the answer.
“Yes, it’s true.” Maura said with a finality that caused him to hesitate because he hadn’t expected her to answer truthfully.
“Then she needs to watch her back.” He crossed his arms and glared at Maura.
“The gun that was used was stolen from Jane fifteen years ago when she was still a rookie. It was reported then and now…,” She paused briefly to gage his reaction. “it has turned up in a murder investigation. There is no proof that Jane had anything to do with this and that means she is not considered to be a suspect by you or anyone else.”
He watched for any indication she was lying and only gave a curt nod when he was satisfied she was telling the truth.
“I want you to know we are working on this night and day. I want justice just as much as you do.” Maura let out a frustrated huff.
“Why?” Paddy asked, his face softening for the first time.
“Because no matter what, he was my brother. He deserved better than having you for a father.” Maura’s voice held an unspoken accusation.
“I suppose you’re right. At least I did right by you.” His shoulders dropped in defeat.
“Don’t mistake this for sympathy. I don’t feel sorry for you. You gave me away to strangers when I was a baby. It worked out and I was lucky to have been brought up wanting for nothing, but still, you gave me away.” There was a hard edge to Maura’s words as she glared back at Paddy.
“Did you have a good life Maura?”
The question took Maura by surprise, causing her to blink a few times as she considered her answer. “It was enough.” She said with a sad sigh.
He looked away from her trying to shield the guilt in his eyes before turning back to face her. “I won’t go after Jane…not yet. But you better find out something before she becomes the scape goat.” His voice took on that clipped tone he was known for. Turning towards the delivery bay doors, he stopped and looked over his shoulder at her. “And Maura…,” he paused to make sure she was listening. “Don’t try to keep things from me. I always find out.”
“Hey, come on back Paddy…,” Jane’s voice called out from the doorway surprising Maura who hadn’t realized she was standing there watching them. “Come on now.” She moved to stand next to Maura, crossing her arms in a defiant way. “You were saying something about keeping things from you. But you know, it goes both ways. I mean really, why wouldn’t it. We both know you’ve got your own secrets.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Paddy turned around to face Jane and her anger.
“Oh, I’m sure you do.” Jane rolled her eyes. “Think real hard.” When he didn’t say anything, Jane decided it was time to force him to play his hand. “You tell her or I will.” She pointed at him to emphasize how serious she was.
For almost a minute Paddy didn’t say anything as he tried to figure out how much Jane knew and how much she was bluffing. The look in her dark eyes brokered no argument and it was then that he realized she knew everything and that he would have to tell Maura. This had been his last bit of leverage and now it was about to be gone.
Jane had seen the realization in Paddy’s eyes and she watched with interest as several emotions passed over his face as he tried to decide what to do. She could also feel the uncertainty radiating off Maura who stood next to her with an impassive expression on her face. But Jane knew Maura well enough to know that she was anything but calm
Maura watched the exchange go on between Paddy and Jane making her feel like the odd man out. It was a feeling she didn’t like but she trusted Jane to make sure she knew exactly what she needed to know.
“Tell her Paddy…,” Maura could hear Jane’s voice as it echoed in the small space just as Paddy’s had earlier and the effects were starting to make Maura feel dizzy. She glanced between the two of them wondering what would come next.
“Maura, you have a niece…,” Paddy’s words came out in a quiet whisper and Maura almost didn’t hear them. In fact, she wasn’t sure she had heard what he said. Turning to Jane for confirmation, she was met with a sad expression and a single nod before realization caved in on her bringing her world down around her in one fell swoop.

Chapter Text

Storm Fronts
Funny how time seems to slip away from us with no recourse, going unnoticed by most as it disappears like sand through your fingers. But today, Maura noticed. From the moment that Paddy left her and Jane alone to the moment she found herself sitting in Jane’s car gazing out the window at the world whizzing past her in a blur, she noticed. It was all a haze mixed with emotions ranging from anger to fear to an overwhelming sadness she couldn’t explain. The feeling of Jane’s hand on her thigh was the only thing that kept her tethered to solid ground. Warmth seeped into her body from the point of their contact but it did little to soothe her aching heart. The worst part wasn’t learning the truth; it was how much more she still had to learn. Even after talking with Paddy, Maura realized that she had only been shown the tip the iceberg. She was angry at Paddy for having kept something as important as this from her which lent to the fear that she would never know everything there was to know. Her sadness was reserved strictly for the child who was left to bounce from foster home to foster home, never knowing where she came from. Not knowing where one came from was a burden that Maura understood all too well. It was that thought that caused her to shiver and reminded her that time continued to march onward. But she wanted nothing more than to turn the clock back. If only she could go back to a time before she knew the truth, to before Paddy had changed everything…to before. But that was impossible now and her chest tightened with new knowledge and new choices she would surly have to make. She could feel Jane fidgeting next to her with concern and fear but she didn’t have the energy to reassure her that things were okay because she wasn’t sure they would be.
“Wanna talk about it?” Jane’s voice was tight with nervousness as she continued to watch the road in front of her. She didn’t have to look at Maura to know what was going on. The pain rolled off Maura in waves, leaving Jane breathless with anxiety.
“I don’t think I can.” Maura continued to gaze out the window. Her head ached with unanswered questions. Questions she couldn’t ask herself or Jane for that matter.
“I want you to know that I’m here for you, whenever you’re ready.” Jane gave Maura’s knee a gentle squeeze before returning her hand to the steering wheel. She had known Maura long enough to know when to push and when not to. This was one of those times not to.
“I know.” Maura’s eyes scanned the horizon where dark clouds had started to gather. “I think there’s a storm front moving in.” She let out a heavy breath before turning her head. The effort it took to do just that caused tears to well up in her eyes.
Glancing over, Jane noticed the tears before they started to stream down Maura’s cheeks. She reached over and cupped Maura’s face, using her thumb to wipe away the wetness that had pooled at the corners of sad hazel-green eyes. “Why the tears?” Her voice was soft and her touch gentle.
Maura blinked a few times as words failed her and the tears began to slowly roll down her face even though Jane tried to wipe them away. With what little energy she had left, she turned her head back towards the window and the approaching storm. She could hear Jane sigh when she moved out of reach but for some reason she didn’t want any comfort. Her only aim was to wallow in the sadness that was sweeping over her making her feel alone.
When silence returned to hang over them with its crushing weight, Jane decided not to push for answers just yet. It wasn’t Maura’s lack of words that worried her but the lack of emotion that had followed, at least up until that moment. Her eyes scanned the horizon ahead of them and she squinted when the sun burst through the gathering clouds ahead. Maura was right, there was a storm on the way and even though Jane knew it had been a literal statement there was an unspoken metaphor hidden between the lines. But as the sun’s rays reached out past the darkness that tried to consume it, Jane realized that no matter how dark it got, the light would always return. This thought brought a small smile to her face as she turned the car into Maura’s driveway. “We’re home.” She put the car in park and reached over again to touch Maura on the cheek. Relief washed over her when Maura covered the back of her hand with an open palm, giving a squeeze.
“Home…,” Maura whispered and closed her eyes. Another wave of emotion threatened to wash over her causing her to take a deep breath. The need to push her feelings down almost overwhelmed her but with a careful control, something she had mastered over the years, she regained her composure.
With a measured eye, Jane looked over at Maura and could see that precise moment she stilled everything inside of her. It was the unknown emotions she could see Maura grappling with that had her worried now. Nothing had been said about the information that Paddy had shared with them. She had no idea what Maura was thinking and worse, she had no idea what Maura was feeling. That sudden feeling of optimism she had felt earlier was slowly starting to fade with each passing minute. “You know we need to talk about this.” She tried again to get Maura to open-up.
“I know…and we will. Just not right now.” Maura reached for the door handle just as Jane’s cell phone rang. She watched as Jane fumbled around trying to silence it and look to see who was calling at the same time.
As Jane juggled her ringing phone in her left hand, she glanced down to see that it was Ryan calling. It was a call she needed to take. “I need to answer this.” She gave an apologetic smile to Maura who only nodded as she pushed the door open and stepped out of the car.
“I’ll leave you to it.” Maura bent down so she could look at Jane who was still sitting in the driver’s seat. “I’m going to take a shower and then order dinner. I’ll see you inside…,” her voice trailed off as she walked away without looking back.
With a heavy sigh, Jane hit the accept button on her phone and brought it up to her ear with a shaky hand. “Please tell me you didn’t know.” Her voice was flat and lifeless as she waited for an answer. When none came, she closed her eyes and leaned her head back. “Ryan…,” she said through gritted teeth.
“She’s in protective custody Jane. I didn’t have a choice.” Ryan sounded tired.
“You always have a choice. We’re family…how could you keep something like this from us?” Jane’s voice softened because she understood all too well how things worked in situations like this.
“I don’t even know where she is.” Ryan’s voice faltered. “I wanted to tell you.”
Jane could hear the sincerity in Ryan’s voice. “Can we see her?” Even though she already knew the answer to the question, she had to ask anyways.
“You know I can’t do that.” There was an unspoken anguish in Ryan’s words. “Please don’t…,” her voice trailed off to try to stem the flow of emotion.
“I know, but I had to try.” Jane reached up to pinch the bridge of her nose to hold off the headache that was threatening. “You could have told us though.”
“How did you find out?” Ryan placed an elbow on her desk and leaned her forehead into the palm of her hand before pushing her unruly blonde hair away from her eyes.
“I heard through the neighborhood rumor mill via Giovanni at just about the same time that Paddy was meeting with Maura.” Jane’s shoulders sagged slightly under the thought of Paddy.
“Damn Jane. I’m sorry.” Ryan said as she sat up straighter in her chair. “I can’t take you to see her but I do have some pictures.” She hesitated as she reached for the file that had been sitting on the edge of her desk for weeks. When Jane didn’t answer right away, she let out a heavy breath. “It’s the best I can do right now.”
“Okay. When can I get them?” Jane conceded that even though she wasn’t happy, she understood.
“How about I drop them off later this evening?” Ryan tried to sound hopeful even though she was starting to feel the strain of everything they had been through. Her job was beginning to take over every aspect of her life, including the time she should be spending with Carly. “Jane…?” She paused before taking a shaky breath.
“Yeah?” Jane could hear the change in Ryan’s voice and her heart broke just a little for everything that was happening to them both.
“We need to finish this…soon. I don’t know how much more I can take.” The heavy emotion was evident in Ryan’s halting speech.
“I know Ryan.” Jane tried to sound understanding. “We’ll find a way…,” her voice caught before she could finish.
“I’ll see you in a few hours.” Ryan leaned back in her chair and looked towards the window at the darkening sky. “I’ll try to beat the storm.”
“I hope you do.” Jane looked up at the sky. “I really hope you do.” She let out another heavy sigh as she realized how true her words were. She hoped they would all beat the storm that was headed their way, both literally and figuratively.
When she hung up the phone, she sat in the car contemplating her next move. Maura needed space, that much was true. But how much space was up for debate. She could put the keys back in the ignition and go to her place or she could go inside and hope for the best. It wasn’t a hard decision for her make as she pocketed the keys and climbed out of the car. With one last look at the sky, she let out a frustrated huff and took several long strides towards the door and what she hoped was the right choice.
***
It had been a quiet evening, even quieter than their drive home earlier but Jane didn’t feel like it was a bad thing. On the contrary, it seemed contemplative on Maura’s part and that in and of itself was a good thing. Jane had taken the initiative and ordered dinner while Maura was in the shower but as she watched the way that Maura was moving her food around and not eating anything, she wondered if maybe she should have waited.
Maura could feel the heavy weight of Jane’s stare as dark brown eyes watched her every move with concern. She fidgeted with the food on her plate because she wasn’t really hungry, but she also didn’t want to disappoint Jane’s attempt at being thoughtful. Lifting her chop-sticks up, she dropped some chicken and broccoli in her mouth and tried to smile as she chewed. “Who called earlier?”
“Um…Ryan.” Jane said around a mouthful of fried rice. She watched with a raised eyebrow as Maura swallowed hard, choking slightly on her food.
“Really?” Maura coughed to clear her throat. She didn’t have to ask why, so she didn’t. Instead she waited for Jane to elaborate, setting her chopsticks down to give her full attention.
“I don’t know how you eat with those things.” Jane said pointing her fork at the two wooden sticks Maura had set down.
Letting out a heavy sigh, Maura shook her head before resting her chin in the palm of her hand. “Are you going to make me ask?”
“You’re the one who said you didn’t want to talk about it.” Jane countered with a frustrated huff as she also set her fork down. Clearly they weren’t going to finish eating.
Maura looked away from Jane’s questioning eyes and pushed down the raw emotion that was threatening to come forward. She wouldn’t, couldn’t allow herself to feel anything…not yet. If she did, there would be questions and she wasn’t ready to hear the answers. “What did she tell you Jane?” She finally relented and asked.
“We can’t see her because she’s in protective custody.” Jane watched for any change in Maura’s facial expression. Anything that would give away what she was feeling.
“So she’s not in the foster system?” Maura let out the smallest breath of relief. It was enough of a change that Jane noticed.
“No, she’s not in the foster system…yet.” Jane said, doing her best to will Maura to ask the unspoken question that had haunted them both since they left the morgue.
“Yet…,” Maura whispered and frowned as the word slipped past her lips. She dropped her gaze from Jane’s as if she already had the answer to the question she was afraid to ask.
The sudden change from relief to defeat caused Jane to backtrack when she realized what Maura had thought. Reaching across the table, she took Maura’s hand in her own and gave it a gentle squeeze. She hoped the move would get Maura to look at her, but when it didn’t, she changed her approach. “Maura…,” she started to say but was interrupted by the doorbell. “Damn…I forgot Ryan was coming over.”
“Why is Ryan here?” Maura had a fearful look in her eyes as she quickly pulled her hand away from Jane’s. The one thing that had always made her feel safe and secure now made her feel trapped and uncertain.
“She’s bringing over the file she has…,” Jane hesitated when Maura moved her hand. “…with pictures.”
“I don’t want to see any pictures.” Maura jumped up from the table, panic written all over her face.
“What are you talking about? I thought you’d at least want to see what she looks like if we can’t actually go see her…,” Jane’s voice was filled with confusion. She didn’t understand why Maura was acting this way or why she was pulling away both physically and emotionally.
“No…,” Maura shook her head. “I can’t do this now. I can’t think about what it all means…,” her voice trailed off as she continued to shake her head.
Before Jane could say anything else, the doorbell rang again drawing her attention away from Maura as she headed up the stairs. “Shit…,” she mumbled as she ran her fingers through her hair. The fact that she had completely lost control over the situation did not escape her but she couldn’t help but wonder when it had happened.
As Jane pulled the door open, the sight of a very tired Ryan caused her to pause before she stepped back to allow room to pass. The wrinkled jacket and open collared shirt indicated that it had been a rough and long day. Giving a sympathetic smile was the only consolation she could offer.
“Hey…,” Ryan moved past Jane to stand in the foyer. She tucked the folder under her arm and slipped her hands in her pockets causing her shoulders to sag slightly.
“You look like shit.” Jane couldn’t stop herself from saying what she was thinking. “Um…sorry…,” she gave a quick shrug of her shoulders as she tilted her head towards the kitchen indicating that Ryan should follow her.
“Yeah, well you don’t look so good yourself.” Ryan let out an irritated huff as she watched Jane walk ahead of her. The ripped jeans and t-shirt should have given the sense of a casual appearance but instead it just made Jane look unkempt.
“This can’t be over soon enough for me…for us all.” Jane took a seat at the table in front of her half-eaten plate of food. She was too hungry to let it go to waste. “Want some?”
“Nah…, Carly’s waiting on me.” Ryan held up the folder before dropping it on the table next to Jane. “He’s agreed to turn states evidence in exchange for our agreement to give Maura full custody of the child.”
Jane looked up, her mouth dropping open mid-bite. “What’s the catch?” She tried to swallow but suddenly her food tasted like a mouthful of sand.
“Well…,” Ryan said as she ran a finger along the edge of the table. “It’s complicated.”
“It’s always complicated where he’s concerned.” Jane set her fork down and pushed her plate away, her appetite gone.
“It’s all here in the file. I wanted you to read it over before we agree to it.” Ryan finally sat down across from Jane. Placing her elbows on the table, she dropped her head in her hands before raking her fingers down her face with a heavy sigh. “I need you both to agree.” Her expression turned serious before she spoke again. “He wants you to legally adopt her Jane…both of you.”
“That goes without saying.” Jane reached out to touch the file that now sat in-between them. “Maura and I are in this together. No matter what.”
“Take some time to read it over before you make a decision.” Ryan’s gaze dropped to watch as Jane’s fingers continued to trace along the edges of the folder.
“Ummm…, okay.” Jane continued to run her fingers over the manila folder but didn’t open it.
“Where’s Maura?” Ryan looked around as if Maura would suddenly appear and ask her the same questions Jane had earlier.
“She’s upstairs.” Jane ducked her head as she looked away from questioning eyes.
“Is everything okay?” Ryan pushed, not sure she wanted to know.
“No, it’s not.” Jane pushed her hair away from her eyes as she began to fidget nervously.
“Care to elaborate?” Ryan’s question was laced with concern.
“Do I really need to?” Jane sighed as she started to close the takeout containers. When Ryan stayed in her seat and gave an expectant look, Jane rolled her eyes dramatically. “Maura won’t talk to me and she’s shut herself off emotionally. I’ve never seen her like this before.”
“She hasn’t said anything?” Ryan tilted her head as she tried to understand what this news meant.
“Not about this.” Jane dropped her head into her hands before running her fingers through her hair, pushing it away from her face again. “I don’t know what to do.”
“Do you think she’s afraid?” Ryan continued to pry.
“Of course she’s afraid. Paddy has a way of doing that to people, but this…it’s different.” Jane shook her head as she tried to find a reason for Maura’s behavior.
“That’s why she isn’t down here, isn’t it?” Ryan looked over her shoulder as if checking to make sure they were still alone.
“She said she couldn’t talk about it yet.” Jane reached for the folder and pulled it closer to her. But she still didn’t open it.
Ryan watched as Jane moved the file, running her fingers over it with trepidation. “She’s afraid you don’t want her.” Her voice reverberated through the room even though she had barely whispered.
“Of course I want her. How could she ever think differently?” Jane’s eyes widened at Ryan’s statement.
“I’m not talking about Maura…,” Ryan let out a sigh as the words lingered long enough for Jane to absorb.
Looking away, Jane bit down on her lip as she contemplated what Ryan had said. She knew they weren’t talking about Maura, what she didn’t know was why she had denied it at first. There again was that question. The question that begged to be answered. But Jane wasn’t sure she could answer it. She looked back at Ryan who had a sad look on her face and she realized she had given away too much in that moment and she wanted to take it back.
“I guess she’s just afraid you don’t want the same things anymore.” Ryan said as she stood. “Have a look at the file and then go talk to her. Let me know what you decide.” She reached over and gave Jane’s shoulder a gentle squeeze before turning to leave. “I’ll talk to you later.” It was the last thing she said before she left Jane alone.
Jane placed her hand over the file and gave a quick nod as Ryan left. She let out a long breath of air when she heard the front door open and close. Dropping her eyes to the beige folder, she watched as she flipped it open to the first page with a picture paper clipped to the inside. She could feel the tears sting her eyes when she recognized the smile and the honey-blonde hair that looked so much like Maura’s except for the curls. As she studied the picture further, she noticed dark brown eyes…almost as dark as her own and a small smile creased her lips. For some reason, she could almost see herself in the child that gazed back at her from the glossy picture and suddenly everything became clear. She didn’t need to see anything else to know Maura had nothing to be afraid of, of that Jane was sure because in the end, they both wanted the same thing.
***
Maura curled up on her bed with arms wrapped around her legs and her chin resting on her knees. She heard the front door open and close, signaling Ryan’s arrival but that just caused her to burrow down deeper against her pillows and self-imposed solitude. Closing her eyes, she wondered why she was acting this way. Why was she so afraid to talk to Jane? And most importantly, why was she trying bury her feelings? The one thing she loved about being with Jane was that they were both open and honest with each other. It had been a hard lesson to learn but one they had both agreed to abide by after their reconciliation. So why was she sitting up in her room trying to hide her feelings from Jane?
The soft murmurs of conversation floated up to her giving her the sudden urge to find out what was being said, but she stayed rooted to her spot because she knew what was being said and she wasn’t ready to think about it yet. Instead, she thought back to the conversation she had had with Paddy…the one that had changed her life. She squeezed her eyes shut as his words echoed through her mind repeatedly. “You have a three-year-old niece. Her name is Valley…,” the phrase continued to play on and endless loop.
Valley…, she had a niece named Valley. It had been such a shock to find out that she hadn’t had time to process all the information and then before she knew it, she had shut down emotionally as a way of self-preservation. She had shut out her own feeling and worst of all, she had shut out Jane. But as she sat there in her room all alone, a flood of emotions overcame her causing her to gasp for air as she tried to fight off the tears. Her heart ached for the child who had lost both of her parents at such a young age. She ached for the life that would be forever changed and the uncertainty that change brought with it.
Something deep within her broke, bringing forth a torrent of tears she could no longer control and as she lay back finally giving herself over to the moment, she knew there was only one thing that could fix that broken part of her. She knew what she had to do. She just hoped that Jane would feel the same because if she had to make a choice, Jane just might lose.
***
A flash of light, followed by the distant sound of thunder rumbling off in the distance woke Jane from a sound sleep. Stretching, she reached over to the spot where Maura lay, only to find the space cold and empty. She sat up and looked around the dark room just as another flash of light confirmed what she already suspected-she was alone. A few seconds of silence passed before it was interrupted by another roll of thunder, but this time the windows rattled and it caused Jane to shiver. Climbing out of bed, Jane moved around the room with a comfortable ease even though it was dark. She slipped past the door and down the hall towards the stairs in search of the one person who could set her heart at ease.
She hadn’t spoken to Maura since Ryan had arrived because when she headed up to bed, Maura was already asleep. Upon slipping under the covers, she wrapped her arms around Maura and held her close, hoping to offer some sort of comfort. She thought she had succeeded when Maura snuggled against her, but waking up to find their bed empty told a different story.
As she made her way down the stairs, another flash of light momentarily lite up the darkness. No lights were on anywhere in the living room, kitchen, or dining room. The lack of light piqued her curiosity as she looked around for Maura, wondering where she may have gone. A sudden rush of panic gripped her heart as the thought that Maura may have left but then she caught movement out of the corner of her eye across the room. Squinting in the dim light, Jane tried to make out Maura’s form sitting on the couch with her legs tucked up under her and her chin resting on the arm.
“Maura?” Jane called out tentatively, but didn’t approach.
Maura was quiet for a moment as she contemplated what she wanted to say. Having woken up to find herself wrapped in Jane’s arms had at first been a comfort, but as the approaching storm made its presence known, she suddenly felt the need to be alone. And that is how it had been until Jane called out intruding on her solitude, but now it was a welcome intrusion.
“I’m here…,” Maura’s voice was quiet and soft. Another flash of lightening illuminated the room and she could see that Jane was moving closer to where she sat. The following thunder was almost instant and loud enough to shake the house.
“What’re you doin’ down here in the dark alone?” Jane moved across the room quickly when the house rattled and dropped down on the couch next to Maura.
“I just needed some time to think.” Maura set the folder down in her lap. She leaned into Jane and rested her head on a broad shoulder. “I think I’m ready to talk now.”
Wrapping an arm around Maura’s shoulder, Jane snuggled closer and rested her chin on top of a honey-blonde head. She took a deep breath to help prepare herself for what she knew was to be a serious conversation. “Where do you wanna start?”
“Here, I suppose…,” Maura let out a heavy breath as she picked up the file. “Did you read it?”
“Yes, I did.” Jane’s voice was hesitant as she glanced over towards the window watching the rain that had finally started to fall.
“And?” Maura pulled away just enough to look up at Jane.
“And…,” Jane pulled Maura against her again. She needed to feel Maura’s warmth flowing through her before she could continue. “I think you should do it.” The words tumbled out quickly as fear and uncertainty took over.
“You would be okay with that?” Maura wrapped her arms around Jane’s middle and buried her face against the warm skin her cheek lay against. “You wouldn’t leave?” She squeezed her eyes shut hoping the answer was no.
“Is this why you’ve been so quiet?” Jane let out a heavy sigh. “You thought I wouldn’t want the same thing as you and that I’d leave?”
Maura didn’t say anything, instead she nodded her head ever so slightly as she burrowed deeper into Jane’s warmth.
“Hey…,” Jane pulled away and used two fingers under Maura’s chin to tilt her head back so they were now looking in each other ‘s eyes. “I won’t ever leave you again Maura. You must know by now, nothing will ever change that.”
“You said that you wanted to start a family with me, but that you weren’t ready yet…,” Maura started to say until tears filled her eyes and she looked away, clearing her throat.
“I know I said that, but things change.” Jane cupped Maura’s cheek and forced her to look back. “Tell me what you want Maura and I’ll make it happen…we’ll make it happen.” Maura dropped her gaze briefly as she tried to find the right words before lifting her eyes up to Jane’s again. This time there was a resolve shining through so strong that Jane could feel it in her heart. She gave a small smile and ran her fingers through Maura’s hair, pushing it away from her face so she could see her better. “Please. Tell me.”
“I want her Jane. I want to bring her home…to our home.” Maura said on a heavy exhale as she tilted her cheek towards Jane’s hand that continued to stroke her hair.
“Then I want that too.” Jane leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss to Maura’s forehead. “She has your smile and hair color.”
“And eyes as dark as yours.” Maura reached up to run her fingers along Jane’s cheek.
For a moment, they were both silent as they contemplated their future together but then Jane shifted slightly, just enough to distance herself from Maura. “Why do you think he did it?”
“I don’t know. Maybe to right a lifetime of wrongs?” Maura shrugged her shoulders.
“It just seems so unlike him.” Jane let out a heavy sigh just as another flash of light filled the room. The thunder came seconds later, rumbling in the distance for what seemed like forever. “He’s giving up everything to make sure you get her. When Ryan told me, I didn’t believe it…but after seeing this…,” Jane ran her fingers over the folder Maura had dropped in her lap. “Agreeing to turn over the evidence needed to put him jail but only if the state agrees to giving you sole custody.”
“It’s evidence that will put more people away than just him.” Maura let out a heavy breath. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Paddy’s decision but being grateful was at the forefront.
“All of this is going to take some time.” Jane sat back and opened her arms in invitation. When she felt Maura move closer, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “But we’ve weathered worse storms than this…,”
“Yes we have.” Maura said matter-o-fact. “I think we should get married first…you know…before we bring her home with us.”
“Yeah?” Jane couldn’t help but smile at the thought of being married to Maura. “Speaking of that...do you think we could have a do over on the whole proposal thing? Maybe make a night of it…stay in the city…go out dancing…,” She started to ramble on.
“Even though I loved the way you proposed…yes, we can do all those things that you want.” Maura leaned up and placed a long, lingering kiss to Jane’s lips.
Jane accepted the kiss without abandon as she ran her fingers through Maura’s hair again, pulling her closer. “Um…,” she pulled back and hesitated for a moment before continuing. “Let me get this straight then…we are going to become moms to a three-year old and Paddy is going to go to jail where he can’t hurt anyone else. And he has agreed to stay away from us and not interfere in our lives ever again.”
“Yes.” Maura punctuated the word with another kiss, but this one didn’t linger. “And it seems as if we have a wedding to plan.” And this time her smile reached her eyes, causing them to crinkle around the edges in that way that sent waves of warmth along Jane’s skin.
“Well then, I think we should make the most of our alone time before it becomes limited.” Jane wrapped her arms around Maura, pulling her down with her as she lay back on the couch.
In the distance, the faint flash of lightening gave the night sky a brief reprieve from its darkness before it was followed with the far-off sound of thunder indicating the storm was already passing. And as Jane held Maura tightly in her arms, she couldn’t help but hope it was the beginning of the end of a battle they would never have to start.

Chapter Text

Chapter 32
A Night Out
The sound of a Harley Davidson rounding the corner and coming to a stop in Maura’s driveway jolted Jane from the couch and out the front door. She was greeted by the sight of Frankie sitting astride a 1996 heritage soft tail as he pulled off a helmet with a wide grin on his face.
“Damn Bro…that looks incredible.” Jane did a slow walk around the bike to admire it. “The paint job is stellar and the graphics…,” she took a closer step but didn’t touch it yet.
“Ya think?” Frankie set his helmet on the seat behind him before twisting back around to face Jane.
“Yeah. The gray pin striping looks good against the chrome. And I like that you picked the blue undertones.” Jane finally reached out to lightly touch the Harley logo.
“Well, I just got her back so I’m counting on you to take excellent care of her.” Frankie took a moment to make sure the kickstand was secure before swinging his leg around to dismount it.
“Like it was my own.” Jane rubbed her hands together in anticipation.
“The only reason I’m letting you borrow this is because you helped me rebuild it and you’re letting me borrow the Mercedes.” He mimicked Jane by rubbing his hands together and grinned wickedly. “Although I don’t know why you got rid of your Harley. It was beautiful.”
“I guess after Hoyt…I didn’t think I’d be able to grip the handlebars well enough to ever ride again.” Jane turned serious as she flexed her hands a few times.
Frankie didn’t say anything, instead he just nodded his understanding. It was a subject best left alone, so, he did just that. Pushing his dark hair away from his eyes, he could see that it was the right choice when Jane smiled at him gratefully. “Don’t keep her out too late.” He tossed her the keys.
“Yeah, yeah…,” She caught the keys and pocketed them before tossing him the keys to the Mercedes. “What’re your plans tonight?”
“I got a date with the rookie in traffic.” He threw his shoulders back and puffed out his chest in a show of cockiness. It failed and he deflated when Jane laughed.
“You mean the meter maid?” She laughed.
“Hey, even you said she’s cute.” He tried to defend himself.
“Cute is one thing, but I have a feeling she uses that to hide a broader spectrum.” She cautioned. The rumor around the office was that she never stayed with one guy long enough to establish a relationship.
“Look, I get it. I’ve heard the rumors too, but we talked the other day and hit it off so I thought I’d give it a go. She seems fun and I like her.” He tried not to sound angry but the frown and furrowed brow didn’t help.
“All I’m saying is be careful.” Jane held her hands up in surrender. “And no sex in Maura’s car.”
“Well the same goes for you.” Frankie smirked at Jane’s surprised expression. “Yeah…I heard that rumor too.” He wiggled his eyebrows at her causing her face to color a light pink.
“Now whatever did you say to make your sister blush like that?” Maura appeared in the front doorway.
Jane tried to roll her eyes but stopped when she got a good look at Maura and her jaw dropped open. Swallowing hard, her eyes swept over the leather clad figure in front of her. The motorcycle boots with chrome buckles reflecting the late afternoon sun glinted brightly at her causing her eyes to roam up over the dark blue denim of the jeans Maura was wearing. As her eyes continued to move up, she was greeted with a black leather jacket with reflective stripes running along Maura’s arms and across her chest but it was the matte black helmet that she was holding under her arm that surprised Jane the most.
“You have your own helmet?” Jane asked as more questions came to her mind.
“I do.” Maura nodded.
“Um…why?” Jane asked, her curiosity piqued.
“One generally owns a helmet when they own a motorcycle.” Maura said casually, knowing the admission would surprise Jane.
“You own a motorcycle?” Jane’s voice cracked at her surprise.
“I did.” Maura tilted her head to regard the flustered look on Jane’s face.
“And you rode it?” Jane’s interrogation continued.
“Umm hmmm…,” Maura grinned at Jane’s look of disbelief.
“How…? You, you…um… know how to ride?” Jane wasn’t sure what to ask as she fumbled for a coherent question.
“Yes Jane.” Maura smiled sweetly as she stepped off the front porch, moving closer to Jane and Frankie. She gave Frankie a nod in greeting as she stopped in front of Jane. “I am a licensed driver and at one time was the proud owner of a 1200 Roaster Harley Davidson. I used to ride it to the hospital where I did my residency. It wasn’t as big as this one, but I liked it.”
“I bet you did.” Jane couldn’t stop herself from smirking.
“And just because of that smirk, I’m going to ask you to hand over the keys.” Maura held out her hand and smirked back when Jane’s mouth dropped open again at her request.
“What?” Both Jane and Frankie said simultaneously.
“You heard me. Give me the keys.” Maura directed her answer at Jane before glancing over at Frankie. “I want to drive.”
“Well, you can’t.” Jane shook her head.
“I most certainly can.” Maura glared at Jane defiantly.
“Um…are you sure you can handle a bike this size?” Frankie asked, his face slightly pale at the thought of handing his keys over to Maura.
“Absolutely.” Maura turned to Frankie with an air of confidence he couldn’t deny. She understood his reservations, but she was an experienced rider and wouldn’t risk danger to her or Jane if she thought she couldn’t handle it.
“Okay. Jane, give her the keys.” Frankie could see that Maura was both capable and confident.
“No.” Jane backed away shaking her head.
“You don’t trust me?” Maura furrowed her brow as she tried to understand Jane’s behavior.
“Oh, I trust you completely.” Jane continued to back up and shake her head, her eyes going from Maura to the bike.
“Oh my God…you don’t want to ride bitch.” Frankie bent over, grabbing his stomach as he laughed uncontrollably.
“Shut the fuck up Frankie.” Jane growled at her brother.
“What do you mean ‘ride bitch’?” Maura cocked her head to the side as if it might help her understand what was happening between brother and sister.
“It means I’m not now, or ever going to ride on the back of a bike.” Jane squared her shoulders and took a defensive stance.
“I don’t understand Jane. What’s the big deal?” Maura frowned as her bottom lip poked out in the beginnings of a pout.
“Oh, no…that’s not gonna work.” Jane waved her hands around and shook her head as if it might protect her from the one thing that could get her to do anything Maura wanted.
“So what you’re telling me is that you won’t ride with me because it may make you look…,” Maura struggled to find the right word. “Too girlie?” She rolled her eyes. “You expect me to do it but you won’t? That doesn’t seem very fair, now does it?”
“Come on Maur, it’s not like that.” Jane tried to defend herself. She had no idea how the tables had turned, but they had and now she was losing ground.
“It certainly sounds that way.” Maura gave Jane a sad look.
“Yeah Jane, it kinda sounds like you expect Maura to do something you wouldn’t.” Frankie interjected.
“Shut up Frankie.” Jane pointed at him and frowned.
“Hey, it’s my bike and if I say give the keys to Maura…,” he decided to throw his weight around by not giving Jane much of a choice. “Then give her the damn keys.”
Jane glared at her brother as she dug deep in the pocket of her jeans before producing the keys and giving them to Maura. Her shoulders dropped in defeat but it didn’t stop her from getting in the last word with Frankie. “Paybacks are a bitch little bro.”
“Yeah, well at least I won’t be riding bitch.” He smirked at her, getting the rise he had expected when Jane’s face turned red.
“I don’t understand what the big deal is. I just want to feel your arms around me and your body pressed against mine. What’ so wrong with that? Maura let out a heavy sigh as she looked between Jane and Frankie who had the decency to looked embarrassed.
“You’re right Maur, it’s not a big deal. I’m sorry.” Jane tried to sound sincere but the sight of Frankie silently mouthing ‘You’re full of shit’ behind Maura caused her scowl.
“Honestly Jane, I just wanted to have a nice evening with you.” Maura sounded sad again.
“Really, it’s alright. As I said before, I trust you completely. I look forward to riding with you.” Jane looked over at Frankie and dared him to argue. But this time, he just smiled and tossed the Mercedes keys up in the air, catching them before putting then in his pocket.
“Enjoy your evening ladies.” He called over his shoulder as he headed to Maura’s car. “And hey Jane…,” he waited for her to acknowledge him and continued when she gave him a nod. “Remember what I said…no sex on my bike.”
“The same goes for you too.” Jane gave him a pointed look as he turned to walk away. “And hey Frankie…,” He stopped to hear what she had to say. “Fuck off.” She laughed as he rolled his eyes at her.
“Only if I get lucky.” He quipped back and waved her off as he opened the car door and disappeared inside.
“Is that possible?” Maura asked as she blinked in confusion.
“What? Frankie having sex on a first date?” Jane turned her attention back to Maura.
“Um…no. I was referring to sex on a motorcycle.” Maura looked from Jane to the bike and then back to Jane as if trying to formulate some idea in her head.
“Oh, yeah.” Jane grinned at Maura and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. Their banter had quickly gone from argumentative to playful and for that Jane was thankful. The light pink color rising in Maura’s cheeks indicated that she was imagining things she had never imagined before and it caused Jane to chuckle. Maybe riding on the back, holding Maura close to her wouldn’t be so bad after all.
If the thought of wrapping her arms around Maura wasn’t enough to get Jane’s blood pumping, the sight of Maura straddling Frankie’s Harley was. Leaning back slightly in the black leather seat, Maura set her helmet on her head and threaded the strap through the two silver hoops before cinching it tightly across her chin and snapping it in place. She gave her head a shake to make sure it was on tight enough and then glanced over her shoulder with a grin. Placing her hands on the handle bars, she turned the wheel to the right to give her the leverage she needed to lift the bike from its kickstand with ease. And to Jane’s amazement, Maura made it look easy.
“Come on darlin’…,” Maura squared her shoulders and flexed her hands to get a feel for the bike. “We’re burnin’ daylight.”
“You never cease to amaze me.” Jane laughed as she put her helmet on and strapped it in place. She couldn’t help but take one last look at Maura, allowing her eyes to wander over the boots, worn jeans, and black leather jacket before coming to rest on the profile of the woman she loved with all her heart. Jane could see a slight curve to Maura’s lips and could imagine the confident smile she knew was there. She waited until Maura lifted the kickstand up, now fully balancing the heavy bike like a pro and it was then she realized she had nothing to worry about. Maura was completely capable and the only thing Jane needed to worry about was her reputation as a badass as she climbed on the back of the bike behind Maura. When she settled herself back against the seat, she placed her hands along Maura’s hips and waited.
The feeling of Jane settling in behind her caused Maura’s stomach to flutter. She couldn’t help but smile at the idea that there was still an element of excitement and anticipation every time Jane touched her. It did her proud to prove that she knew what she was doing and that they could mix things up sometimes, especially when things were fast becoming domestic between them.
“Ready?” Maura asked as she lifted the silver dial to place the key in to switch it in the on position.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Jane tried to relax and loosened her grip on Maura’s hips.
“Hold on.” Maura placed her hand back on the handle and flipped a switch with her thumb causing the bike to roar to life with a deep guttural grow that vibrated through her. Twisting the throttle a few times, she revved the engine causing the fronts of Jane’s thighs to press tighter against the back of hers as Jane tensed behind her in anticipation. With her foot, she popped the bike in gear, hit the throttle again and off they went.
***
While waiting for their food to arrive, Jane couldn’t stop herself from drumming her fingers along the table as she contemplated the ride there. To her surprise, she had enjoyed it but she wasn’t ready to admit it to Maura yet. She took a sip of her beer without taking her eyes off Maura, tipping the bottle back a to allow the amber liquid to slide past her lips and then she smiled and set it down.
“What’s that smile for?” Maura asked as she stirred her margarita with a straw.
“Don’know…,” Jane gave a sheepish grin and shrugged her shoulders.
“You’re surprised I can drive the bike, aren’t you?” Maura couldn’t stop herself from sounding slightly petulant as she took a long drink.
“Not surprised, just pleasantly…amazed.” Jane struggled to find any other word to describe what she was feeling. “You pretty much amaze me daily.” Her voice took a light tone as she spoke.
“I do, do I?” Maura raised an eyebrow and placed her hand on her helmet sitting in the empty seat next to her.
Jane watched as Maura’s fingers traced over the etched decals that scrolled along the surface of her matte black helmet. There was a familiarity to the way Maura’s fingers brushed along the design that suddenly had Jane wondering when and how Maura had started riding a motorcycle.
“Tell me, when did you start riding?” Jane’s eyes traveled back to Maura’s. There was a thinly veiled sadness swimming deep in the green flecks that seemed more prominent as they stared at each other.
“Well…,” Maura said as she sat back in her seat and crossed her arms exhibiting a slightly defensive posture. Tilting her head to regard Jane thoughtfully, she took a moment to remember that summer after Jane had left her. It had been a rough time to say the least, but it had also been liberating in some strange way. “That first summer…after you left…,” she hesitated when she saw Jane’s cheek’s turn a light pink with the flush of guilt. “I…um…, just decided to step out of my comfort zone a little.”
“You mean a lot.” Jane chuckled lightly.
“Okay…I admit it. I stepped way out of my comfort zone. I was missing you so much that I didn’t go out with the few friends I had made while at BU. All I did was go to class, study, and sleep everyday…and then repeat it the next.” Maura turned away from Jane to look out over the restaurant with a wistful expression and then she turned back with a playful twinkle in her eyes. “I decided to get some fresh air one warm spring afternoon after class and that’s when I saw it…,” She gave a wicked little smile at the memory. “It was a fully restored 1947 Indian Chief motorcycle and I fell in love at first sight. It was cherry red, with black and chrome inlays. Absolutely beautiful.”
“I’ll bet.” Jane gave an appreciative nod and waited for Maura to continue.
“I sat outside at the same time every day for two weeks on the off chance I might catch another glimpse and when I finally did see it again, the driver stopped and parked in front of my dorm. I wouldn’t consider myself a shy or easily intimidated person but the sight of the rider, clad in leather from head to toe scared me a little, but in a good way. Imagine my surprise when that leather clad rider took their helmet off to reveal long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes that were immediately covered with aviator sun glasses. I thought I might faint when she waved me over to her as she propped the bike up on its kickstand and swung a leg over the seat so she could face me.”
“Really?” Jane tried to hide her surprise and something else she wasn’t willing to admit, jealousy. “Did you date her after me?” She couldn’t stop herself from going straight to the punchline.
A slow, sexy smirk crept along Maura’s lips as she realized Jane was trying to hide her jealousy. “Wellllll…,” she drew the word out at a torturously slow pace but decided to put Jane out her misery when she let out a frustrated huff. “She was and is still very straight.”
Jane did her best not to look relieved but it was futile when Maura frowned at her. “Yeah, I know you moved on but for some reason the thought of you being a bikers old-lady just kinda hits me in the ego.”
“I did move on Jane and I would have gladly moved on with Stevie if she had been interested.” Maura could feel the sting of her words as they hit Jane. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so bitter…but…,”
“I get it. You were bitter and you had every right to be.” Jane interrupted.
“It was Stevie who told me about the class and suggested I take it and learn how to ride one myself.” Maura continued with the story. “So I did and that summer I bought an Indian Chief.”
“Wow…,” Jane sounded impressed. “That’s pretty…awesome Maur.”
“It was. And it definitely was a chick magnet.” Maura grinned and wiggled her eyebrows as she took another sip of her drink. “But I’m sure you already know that.”
Jane had the decency to look embarrassed as she tilted her head back to take the last swallow from her beer bottle. “I thought you said you had a Harley.”
“I did. I took a break for a few years after I sold the Indian. As I said earlier, while I was doing my residency, I bought the Harley. I didn’t live too far away from the hospital so I rode it quite often, especially in the spring and fall.”
“Again…all I can say is wow.” Jane pushed her empty bottle away and politely waved the waiter away when he asked if she wanted another.
“Why does it surprise you so much Jane?” Maura asked with a slight frown. She was having a hard time understanding why Jane seemed so surprised.
“I don’t know.” Jane shrugged her shoulders. She sat back to allow the waiter to place her plate in front of her when their food arrived but didn’t touch anything as she turned her full attention back to Maura. “I shouldn’t be. There isn’t anything you can’t do.”
“Then why did it bother you so much to ride on the back?” Maura touched her fork, but didn’t pick it up as she waited for Jane to answer.
Jane was quiet for a minute as she tried to figure out exactly what it was that had bothered her so much. “I suppose it was just my ego at first.”
“Okay…then what is it now?” Maura wasn’t going to relent until she had an answer.
“What can I say…I’m the badass detective and you’re the smarty pants doctor. I don’t want to lose my street cred and I would definitely lose it if anyone saw me riding bitch.” Jane laughed to let Maura know she was okay with it.
“What about my street cred?” Maura quirked the corner of her mouth up in a halfhearted smirk.
“Point taken.” Jane nodded definitively as she picked up one of her taco’s.
“I will however, concede to allow you to drive us home since I’ve had this…,” Maura lifted her margarita glass up. “And you’ve stopped at one beer.”
“As you wish.” Jane smiled before letting out a silent breath of relief that she would get to drive home. Perhaps they would take a slight detour to prolong the evening and make some new memories of their own together.
***
The evening air was cool as they rode along the quiet country road, but occasionally, they would hit a pocket of colder air causing Maura to shiver. The evenings still held the threat of frost but the occasional whiff of freshly blooming flowers reminded Maura that it was still spring and warmer temperatures were just around the corner. Settling closer to Jane, she pressed herself fully against the warm body in front of her and wrapped her arms around Jane’s middle. She wondered where they were going as she took in their surroundings hoping that each turn would bring them closer to their destination. The smell of freshly cut grass, blooming flowers, and even exhaust mixed with asphalt had her mind wandering and her eyes scanning the darkness that surrounded them for some indication of where they were going. It hadn’t surprised her when Jane suggested they go on a ride before heading home. She could see that Jane was itching to drive and prolonging the evening seemed like the best way to do that but she was starting to feel tired as the margarita she drank settled in her stomach.
Slowing as they came around a corner, Maura could feel Jane down shift until they came to a standstill with Jane balancing the bike between her legs. When Jane gave a quick tilt of her head, Maura knew it was time to get off so she carefully and rather stiffly climbed down, pulling her helmet off when her feet hit solid ground. Giving her arms and legs a quick shake, she watched Jane flip the kickstand out and prop the bike on it before climbing off as well. Her movements indicated she was as sore and stiff as Maura was causing her laugh at the thought that they were getting old.
“What’s with the laugh and silly grin?” Jane asked as she unstrapped her helmet and pulled it off. Her usual unruly curls were especially unruly, sticking up in all directions giving her the appearance that she had just gotten out of bed.
Maura couldn’t help but reach out and run her fingers through the dark tangle of hair to smooth it down. “I was just thinking that we’re getting old.”
“Hey, speak for yourself.” Jane allowed Maura to push her hair away from her face before grabbing her hand and placing a kiss along the back of it.
“Don’t try to deny it. I saw how slowly you climbed off the bike.” Maura laughed as the feeling of Jane’s lips skimmed over the skin on the back of her hand. The light touch tickled and she couldn’t stop the giggle that erupted from her mouth. “Hey…where are we?”
“You don’t recognize the park I brought you to when we were in high school?” Jane opened her arms to indicate what she was talking about.
Maura squinted and did her best to see in the dark with just the moonlight to illuminate the area. Suddenly the memory hit her and she laughed again. “I do now and I remember us getting rained on.” She watched as Jane pulled a blanket out of one of the leather saddle bags on either side of the bike.
“I thought we’d sit under the stars and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.” Jane held up a thermos and the a blanket.
“But didn’t we get run off by the police last time?” Maura couldn’t stifle the worry in her voice even though she was surprised by Jane’s idea.
“Well…that won’t happen now.” Jane squared her shoulders to make herself look bigger. “I’m the police now.” She flexed the bicep of her left arm and grinned. “I’m the muscle in these parts.”
“But it’s after hours Jane. Is it safe for us to be here?” Maura sounded concerned.
“It’s fine…,” Jane tried to reassure. “Really.” She said when Maura gave her a skeptical look. “Come on. I’ve got the perfect spot where we can lay the blanket out to see the stars.”
Maura hesitated but only briefly as she followed Jane to a small clearing of grass not far from the bike. She watched as Jane spread the blanket out, smoothing it along the edges to make room for them both before waving Maura over to her.
“Come’ere.” Jane dropped down on the blanket and moved to the side to make room for Maura.
“Are you sure it’s okay for us to be here?” Maura asked cautiously as she hesitantly sat down next to Jane.
“Absolutely.” Jane said as she pulled Maura back against her so they both fell back on the soft grass, covered by the fleece blanket.
“You said something about hot chocolate.” Maura snuggled against Jane’s shoulder, enjoying the feeling of their bodies touching.
“That I did.” Jane twisted off the top and then the cap to pour a cup full of the dark, chocolate liquid into the top so they could share. “I made it with that Mexican chocolate you like so much.”
Maura took the improvised cup from Jane and sipped on the warm drink and smiled as she smacked her lips in response to the rich, chocolatey taste. “Yummy. You did good.”
“I did?” Jane grinned as she took the cup and drank some as well. “It does taste good, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, it does.” Maura relaxed against Jane as they leaned back together to lay side by side. “This is nice.”
“It is, isn’t it.” Jane set the thermos and cup to the side of the blanket on the ground next to them before bringing her right arm behind her head so she had something to lay on. “I guess we won’t have many more nights like this once…,” she hesitated, but only briefly. “Once we become parents.”
“I beg to differ.” Maura propped herself up on an elbow so she could look down at Jane. “We have two grandmothers who are chomping at the bit to get their hands on our little girl.” She said the words so nonchalantly that she almost didn’t notice the change in Jane, but she did.
“Our…little…girl…,” Jane said the words slowly as if she were testing them out on herself.
“Does that bother you?” Maura was beginning to feel a cold panic grip her heart.
“No…it’s just…,” Jane reached up to run her fingers along Maura’s cheek. “I can’t believe we’re going to have a family. Hearing you say ‘our little girl’ makes it sound so real.”
“It is real.” Maura closed her eyes against the warm caress of Jane’s fingers along her skin. “Are you ready for this?”
“Not even close.” Jane said without hesitation but backtracked when she saw the panic in Maura’s face. “What I mean is…is anyone ever really ready for something like this?”
“Maybe…maybe not.” Maura mused as she realized that perhaps she wasn’t as ready as she thought either.
“I’m not having second thoughts Maur, so don’t worry.” Jane shifted her weight so she could put her left arm under Maura’ shoulder. “I’m just a little scared is all.”
“And you don’t think I am?” Maura tried not to bristle at Jane’s comment.
“I guess I’ve never thought you were afraid of much.” Jane rolled to her side and wrapped her right arm around Maura’s waist. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you scared.”
“I suppose I’ve just gotten good at hiding it.” Maura allowed Jane to wrap her in her arms but she continued to stare up at the night sky.
“Well I guess maybe we’re skipping a few steps with this one, aren’t we?” Jane didn’t want to broach the subject of Maura’s fears just yet.
“What do you mean?” Maura gave in to the feeling of Jane’s body wrapped around hers and snuggled closer.
“She’s three years old. No late-night feeding, sleepless night, dirty diapers…,” Jane ticked off her list as she held up a finger for each reason.
“But I want all of those with you.” Maura pulled back so she could look down at Jane. “I want late-night feedings, sleepless nights, and dirty diapers and more…with you by my side.”
“Really?” Jane pulled Maura closer, resting her chin on Maura’s head. “I wasn’t sure you’d still want that.”
Maura took a deep breath before exhaling slowly. “I want it all with you Jane. Just because we are getting a head start doesn’t change a thing.”
“So…um, who’s gonna carry it?” Jane hesitated as her voice caught in her throat.
“I think that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get to it.” Maura could tell that Jane was nervous about the direction of the conversation. “But I won’t lie and the idea of you carrying our baby doesn’t intrigue me.”
“If that’s what I have’ta do, I’ll do it.” Jane let out a heavy sigh. “I’m not saying I want to, but I will.”
“You’d be beautiful pregnant.” Maura took Jane’s hand and intertwined their fingers.
“And so would you.” Jane closed her eyes as she imagined a pregnant Maura, carrying their child. She smiled at the image in her mind and let out a contented sigh.
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to flip a coin when the time comes.” Maura tried not giggle, but it came out anyways. Her body shock with the laughter she couldn’t contain.
“Ummm…I’m game if you are.” There was lightness in Jane’s voice that indicated she was joking, but there was something serious underneath the casual tone.
Silence fell like a heavy blanket as they both contemplated what their future might look like together. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence as they lay in each other‘s arms under the night sky filled with stars. The air was cool around them and a light breeze picked up bringing with it the sweet scent of honeysuckle that tickled at Maura’s nose. Before she could say anything, the darkness lite up with intermittent dots of little fluorescent lights in the form of fireflies.
“Oh Jane look, fireflies.” Maura clapped her hands together, pulling Jane’s hand along since their fingers were still intertwined. “Did you know that they are neither flies nor bugs. They are actually beetles.” Her breath quickened with her excitement.
“Really…and all this time I just thought they were bugs whose butts lite up.” Jane chuckled.
“Fireflies are truly remarkable. They are bioluminescent organisms that produce light through chemiluminescence…a chemical reaction that depends on an enzyme called luciferase.”
“Sounds kinda nefarious to me…lucier…ase…,” Jane’s eyes followed a firefly as it flew directly over them.
“Really Jane?” Maura tried not to sound annoyed. “Lucis is Latin for ‘meaning light’ and ferre means ‘to carry.’ Fireflies literally bring light.”
“Yeah and they use that light to attract mates. I know all of that.” Jane reached out and cupped her hands over the firefly she had been so intently watching. Bringing her hands down, she peeked inside to see the bright, yellow fluorescent light. The feeling of the small bug landing and then walking along the palm of her hand tickled, reminding her of a time when her and Frankie would collect them and put them in jars. “Kinda looks like a glow stick.” She opened her hands and let the firefly go.
“You’re right, they use the light to communicate with each other. The males flash a specific pattern to let the females know they are interested and then the females flash to let them know where they are located.” Maura smiled as she watched the flashes continue.
“Sounds like a singles bar to me.” Jane laughed.
“There is one species of fireflies called Photinus Carolinus that synchronize their flashes. Just imagine looking out over the Great Smoky Mountains and seeing thousands of them lighting up at the same time.” Maura marveled aloud at that thought.
“Amazing…almost as amazing as you.” Jane continued to watch the light show taking place all around them. “How about we put that on our bucket list.”
“I would love that.” Maura closed her eyes and imagined what it might look like.
“Well, as much fun as this is…I think we should head back. It’s getting late and I think I promised to show you a few new moves on that thing.” Jane sat up and tilted her head towards the bike.
“As much as I am open to new experiences with you Jane, I’m not at all sure how that is going to work.” Maura sat up as well and tried not to roll her eyes at what Jane was implying.
“I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.” Jane wiggled her eyebrows and grinned wickedly, pulling Maura to her feet as she stood. “What say we go home and make some new memories?”
“I’d say lead the way darlin’.” Maura grinned, watching Jane fold their blanket before slipping it in one of the saddle bags on the back of the bike. She was still skeptical about the logistics of Jane’s idea but she was willing to try. She was always willing to try when it came to Jane.

Chapter Text

Playing Catch Up
“Um…that went a lot different than I remember.” Jane stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself. Her long, dark hair was a massive tangle as she tried to comb her fingers through it but to no avail, it continued to fall around her shoulders in a wet mess. “I think I’m getting too old to have sex on a Harley.”
“Here…,” Maura, leaning against the bathroom sink handed Jane a small spray bottle. “This should help.” She grabbed a handful of dark tangles and gingerly ran a comb through the ends. “And as for the sex on a bike…it was a good effort, I’ll give you that.”
“Thanks.” Jane gave a bashful smile as she allowed Maura to comb her wet hair. “But you didn’t give me much a chance to prove myself Miss Handsy.”
“No?” Maura tried to sound surprised. “Well, you surely made up for it in the stairwell.”
“Hmmmm…I did, didn’t I?” Jane looked proud of herself as she leaned forward and placed a quick kiss to the corner of Maura’s mouth as she passed her to stand in front of the sink.
Maura moved around so she could continue to comb the hair that fell down Jane’s back in long even strokes, wiping the water away from the comb with each pass. As she continued to draw the comb through dark strands, her mind wandered causing a sly smile to crease her lips.
“I know that smile…,” Jane raised an eyebrow as she watched Maura’s reflection over her shoulder.
“You do, do you?” Maura took a step closer, closing the distance between her front and Jane’s back. “I was just reminiscing about the last time I had you in this position. Do you remember?”
“Yeah?” Jane placed her hands on the bathroom counter in front of her. “I know I said was getting old, but it was only an hour ago.”
“How ‘bout a reenactment?” Maura reached up, placing her hands along Jane’s shoulders before delicately running her fingertips down exposed arms.
Closing her eyes and tilting her head back, Jane welcomed the warm lips that pressed against the side of her neck as she moaned. She let out a shaky breath when Maura’s hands began to wander over, around, and then inside the towel she had wrapped around her. When those soft, warm hands found bare skin, Jane twirled around and put her arms around Maura, pinning her against a partially covered body. “You are wearing entirely too many clothes for my liking. Why is that?” She bent her head to take Maura’s mouth in a soft, yet meaningful kiss only to be interrupted by the doorbell. The smile she felt against her lips caused her stop and pull back a little. “Oh, yeah…,” she rolled her eyes dramatically. “That’s why.” Hitching her thumb towards the door, she indicated what she was talking about.
“My mother is punctual if nothing else.” Maura laughed and kissed the bottom lip that was poked out in an adorable pout causing Jane to soften her expression and smile.
“Are you ready for this?” Jane turned serious. Her eyes searched Maura’s for any indication she was unsure.
“Yes my love…,” Maura placed an open palm on Jane’s cheek and gave it a gentle pat. “I know this might be difficult for her at first but I think the prospect of having a granddaughter might make up for everything else.”
“Okay, but we’ve only got an hour before I told my Ma to come over which really only gives us forty-five minutes at best, but probably only thirty if I’m being realistic.” Jane couldn’t help but let out a dramatic sigh.
“It’ll be fine.” Maura smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. She was worried about having to tell her mother about Paddy and everything leading up to the discovery of Valley and their impending adoption. But she knew her mother would understand and support her no matter what. It was just the idea of opening old wounds that left her feeling sad and apprehensive.
“They’re going to be excited.” Jane could see the slight apprehension in Maura’s eyes and wanted nothing more than to make it go away.
“You finish getting dressed and I’ll go down and let her in before she goes around back in search of the spare key.” Maura wrapped her arms around Jane and pulled her into one last hug before leaving to let her mother in. Her body tingled where it had touched Jane’s and she knew that Jane had done her best to pour every bit of love and support into that hug and it made her smile. “Don’t take too long.”
“I’ll be right down.” Jane glanced out the door to watch as Maura left. “Hey, we should probably get a new hiding place for the key if everyone knows where it is. It kind of defeats the purpose of hiding it.” She called out to Maura’s back and she could imagine the eye roll she was getting in response. “All I’m saying is that if we’re gonna hide the key, we should hide the key.” Her muttered words went unheard as Maura closed the bedroom door behind her but Jane could hear her laughing. At least she could make her laugh before they walked out of the frying pan and into the fire. “Alrighty then, let’s get this show on the road.” She said to her reflection and got nothing but a smirk in return.
***
“Here, let me help with that.” Maura took the bag of bagels her mother had brought. She had a strained smile that didn’t go unnoticed.
“Why do I feel like I’m about to get some bad news?” Constance handed the bag over and raised a questioning eyebrow as she watched Maura. “Did something happen between you and Jane?” She was almost afraid to ask.
“No, we’re just fine.” Maura finally smiled a smile that reached her eyes, but just as quickly as it had appeared, it faded.
“But…?” Constance let out a heavy sigh. She knew Maura well enough to recognize that she had something to say, something she wasn’t happy about.
“But, yes…there is something we have to talk about and I’m afraid it isn’t a happy subject.” Maura led the way to the kitchen where a freshly brewed carafe of coffee waited for them. She was silent as she grabbed a plate from the cabinet and placed the bagels on it with the variety of cream cheeses that were packed in small containers. “Ummm…honey walnut, my favorite.”
“Of course and I brought Jane’s favorite, fresh strawberry.” Constance took the plate of bagels Maura handed her over to the toaster. “Should I toast them all?” She asked.
“Sure, that’ll be fine.” Maura could feel her cheeks grow warm at the thought of why Jane loved fresh strawberries so much and she couldn’t help but lick her lips to taste the strawberry lip gloss.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Constance had noticed the flush of Maura’s cheeks and assumed that she was coming down with something.
“I’m fine.” Maura smiled warmly. “Really.” She said with more conviction when her mother eyed her suspiciously.
“Are we waiting on Jane?” Constance pried a bagel apart and slipped it into the toaster, her attention on the task at hand. She was careful to make sure they didn’t burn. No one liked a burned bagel.
“Wait no more!” Jane bounced into the room, her wet hair pulled into a pony tail that swung back and forth in that deliberate way Maura loved so much. “Yummy, bagels.” She rubbed her hands together in anticipation. “Oooh…and strawberry cream cheese.”
Popping the first bagel up from the toaster, Constance smiled at Jane’s exuberance. “Of course, it’s your favorite.” She said as she slipped the second bagel into the toaster. “And you may as well call me Mom. I understand we have a wedding to plan.”
Jane, who was in the process of running her index finger through the cream cheese to steal a taste stopped mid swipe, a look of surprise on her face. “Um…yeah…I guess my Ma told you before we could.” She glanced over at Maura to see if she was mad but let out a sigh of relief when she got a soft smile in return.
“As a matter of fact, I did talk to your mother. She mentioned something about peacocks if I remember correctly.” Constance gave a quick wink as she grabbed the second bagel and then put the third one in.
Giving a dramatic eyeroll, Jane held her hands up in surrender. “Her and those damn peacocks.” She shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.
“She’s just excited Jane.” Maura laughed as she walked past Jane, whose finger was still topped with the cream cheese. Leaning forward, she wrapped her lips around that finger and licked the sweet treat causing Jane to shiver at the contact. “Ummm, fresh.” She smiled wickedly at Jane who was glaring at her with a mixture of annoyance and desire.
“Hey, that was mine.” Jane groused but couldn’t stop herself from smiling.
“What’s yours is mine…right?” Maura set the tray with the coffee and cups on the table and sent a grin over her shoulder at Jane.
“I don’t think that applies to strawberry cream cheese.” Jane frowned as she looked at her finger, now devoid of all traces of the cream cheese.
“It most certainly does apply to strawberry cream cheese.” Constance poked her finger Jane’s way and tried to look serious.
“Aw, come on Constance.” Jane tried to plead her case. “She’s got her own.” She pointed at the honey walnut.
Jane, please…call me Mom.” Constance’s expression softened making it apparent that it was an important request.
“Yeah…okay…um…Mom.” Jane ducked her head in that bashful way when something made her somewhat uncomfortable.
“You don’t have to, if it makes you uncomfortable.” Constance could sense Jane’s hesitancy.
“No, no. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable. It’ll just take some time to get used to, that’s all.” Jane watched as Constance carried the plate of toasted bagels to the table. She hadn’t lied, not really. It didn’t make her uncomfortable, it was just different and it would take some getting used to.
“Okay, baby steps I suppose.” Constance said as she sat down and grabbed her ‘everything’ bagel and started to smear her blueberry cream cheese across it.
Both Jane and Maura glanced at each other with surprised expressions. Constance’s use of the word ‘baby’ had them both giggling as they took their seats.
“What’s so funny?” Constance eyed them both over the top of her bagel as she took a bite.
“Nothing mom.” Jane smiled, her dimples on full display. It was the smile that usually disarmed anyone it was directed at and Constance was no different as she shrugged her shoulders and forgot what they were talking about as she attacked her breakfast with gusto.
Jane scrunched her face up in disgust as she pulled her plain bagel away from the pile that held a cinnamon raisin bagel…Maura’s favorite. Her brows furrowed as she picked one of the sticky raisins that had stuck to her bagel and flicked it towards Maura. “I don’t know how you can eat those…those…wrinkled little boogers.”
“Hey…,” Maura swatted the raisin away. “They are dried grapes Jane. Not, as you so eloquently put it…little boogers.”
“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that. Whatever you gotta do to get yourself to eat those things without gagging.” Jane made a retching sound and pretended to gag herself.
Constance watched her daughter and soon to be daughter-in-law with a pleasant smile on her face. She knew that even though there was a playful banter taking place at the table, there was the lingering anticipation of something serious hanging in the air. It would arrive soon enough, but for now she was just going to enjoy the moment.
As they finished eating, a contemplative silence settled over the table indicating that the mood had taken a serious turn. Jane kept looking from the clock to the back door back to the clock as she ate the last bite of her bagel. Maura hadn’t looked up from her coffee cup as she sipped at the now tepid liquid waiting for just the right moment to begin. And Constance sat patiently, waiting for someone to tell her what neither of them seemed to want to.
“Mother…,” Maura cleared her throat against the uncertainty that had lodged itself there.
“Finally.” Constance let out sigh of relief.
“I know this will be difficult for you to hear but I’ve met with Paddy Doyle.” The rush of words surprised both her and Constance. All Jane could do was wince as Constance’s surprise turned to fear.
“You’ve what?” Constance’s voice shook with the tremor of fear written all over her face.
“It wasn’t by my choice.” Maura tried to defend herself and ease her mother’s uncertainty.
“Look Con…um…I mean mom…, we are involved in a situation that we can only give you a limited amount of information about. The D.A. is building a case against him and we can’t go into detail about that. Just know that before too long, he will long gone…put away where he can’t ever hurt Maura.”
Constance clenched her jaw and nodded as she listened, giving Jane permission to continue.
“Something happened a few weeks ago, something that got Maura involved professionally and unfortunately personally.” Jane shook her head sadly.
“He had a son…,” Maura’s voice was soft as she spoke. “I had a half-brother named Colin.”
A frown appeared on Constance’s face as she listened and then thought about what was said. “Had?” Her question was both astute and cautionary.
“Yes, had.” Maura let out a heavy sigh. “He was murdered and I was the M.E. assigned to the case.”
“More like forced in to it.” Jane huffed.
“You had to perform an autopsy on your own brother?” Constance’s eyes grew wide at the thought.
“Yes.” Maura’s head dropped as she swallowed hard. After a moment, she looked back up at her mother with a sad expression. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
“I would imagine so.” Constance reached out to take Maura’s hand in comfort. “And what about you? You just let her do it?” She directed her misguided anger at Jane.
“We both know Maura won’t let anyone tell her what or what not to do.” Jane understood the anger but it still made her bristle. “I wasn’t happy about it, but she made her decision. I supported it even though I didn’t want to.”
Constance nodded thoughtfully in agreement. She knew that Jane spoke the truth even if she didn’t want to hear it. “I suppose you’re right.”
“I’m right here.” Maura sounded irritated. “I did what I thought was right.” She tried to defend her decision.
Both Jane and Constance had the decency to look embarrassed. For a moment, they were all quiet as each got lost in their own thoughts and then Jane cleared her throat finally breaking the silence and bringing the attention around to her.
“Um…there’s more.” Jane looked over at Maura wanting to give her the encouragement she needed to tell her mother about the baby.
“Okay…, first let me ask one question.” Constance held her hands up to stop the conversation. “Does being involved with the autopsy of Paddy’s son put you in danger?”
Maura bit down on her bottom lip as she tried to think of the right words to explain. The easy answer would be ‘no’ but that wouldn’t be true and her mother would see right through that. Glancing at Jane, she saw a sad, expectant smile and realized she had to be honest. With a heavy sigh, she nodded her head in a resigned way and got the reaction from her mother she had expected.
“I see.” Constance steeled herself and schooled her emotions. Her dark blue eyes turned even darker as she tried to comprehend what Maura was saying.
“I’ve got this covered...,” Jane started to interject but stopped when Constance held up a finger indicating that she should stop talking. With wide eyes, Jane looked from Constance to Maura, then back to Constance.
“Don’t.” Constance spoke with a conviction she reserved for moments like these. Moments where she needed to get her point across without any argument. “Until you have your own children, you could never understand what this feels like to me. I was given a gift when Maura came into my life but the price I’ve had to pay by living in fear that he would come back and take her away is real and substantial. Don’t insult me by saying that you’ll make everything alright. As long as that man walks the earth, there will never be peace for any of us.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make light of this situation but I will never let him hurt her again.” Jane’s dark eye’s flashed with her own conviction. “I do understand your fear and that is why we’re working to put him away forever.”
Maura held up her hand to stop Jane from continuing before reaching across the table to touch her mother’s arm. “Mother, we’ve already said too much. Please just trust that we will make the right decisions. But there is one more thing we need to tell you…,” she paused when she heard the light knocking at the back door and looked up to see Angela with her face pressed against the backdoor window.
“Perfect timing.” Jane jumped up then turned to Constance and gave her a serious look. “What we’ve told you so has to stay between us. I am sure that you will have some more questions once we tell you the rest but please wait until my Ma isn’t around. She doesn’t know about Paddy…at all.”
“I understand.” Constance gave a slight nod of understanding. She wasn’t sure what they were about to tell her and Angela but she knew whatever it was, it was going to change their lives.
***
“You’re what?” Angela looked at Jane, her eyes wide with surprise.
“We’re adopting.” Jane reached across the table to take Maura’s hand in her own. “We’re adopting a little girl.” Her eyes moved from Maura to Constance who had a guarded look on her face. The sound of her mother’s squeal of excitement brought her dark brown eyes around the table to land on light hazel. She almost couldn’t see the light hazel as her mother’s smile was so wide it caused her eyes to become mere slits.
“A girl!” Angela clapped her hands together. “I’m gonna be a grandmother!” She reached across the table to grab Jane and pull her into hug. “We’re gonna be grandmothers!” Letting go of Jane, she threw arms around a surprised Constance.
“Yes, so it would seem.” Constance mumbled around Angela’s hug. Even though she did her best to seem excited, she knew the answer to the question she couldn’t ask and it caused her heart to sink just at the implications.
“When?” Angela finally let go, drawing a relieved sigh from Constance as oxygen finally filled her lungs again. The exuberance that spilled from Angela caused both Jane and Maura to share a private, unspoken moment between them.
“Soon Ma.” Jane kept her smile easy and relaxed. “But Maura wants us to get married first.”
“Oh, but of course.” Angela seemed to be thinking of something as she nodded and looked away. “We should probably get to planning than, shouldn’t we.”
“Yes, I suppose so.” Jane gave the hand she was still holding in her own a gentle squeeze.
“But we need to celebrate!” Angela jumped up from the table. “Champagne…,” she headed towards the backdoor and her small cottage.
“Ma, wait.” Jane jumped up to follow. “Maura’s got plenty of champagne…,” giving an apologetic smile to Maura and Constance she headed out the door.
“Well, at least she didn’t ask for any peacocks.” Constance couldn’t stop herself from laughing.
Maura nodded but didn’t laugh. She had been watching her mother the whole time trying to gage how she was taking the news and she had yet to come up with a definitive answer. Even though Constance appeared stoic and unemotional, there was an easy countenance about her that had Maura confused.
When Maura didn’t laugh at her joke, Constance let out a heavy sigh. “I know what you’re thinking.” She waved her hand at Maura.
“I’m thinking ‘why doesn’t she ask me’, because I know you want to.” Maura ran her fingers through her hair as the tingle from Jane’s touch still lingered on her skin in a comforting way.
“Okay then…,” Constance hesitated, but only briefly. “She belongs to him.” It was a statement, not a question.
“No, she belonged to Colin…he was her father. And now she will belong to Jane and I.” Maura was prepared to defend her decision.
“She’s his granddaughter then.” Another statement, but this time followed by a frown as Constance came to understand.
“No, she will be your granddaughter.” Maura’s voice was strong and left no room for argument.
“He taints everything he touches Maura. This will be no different. No matter what he tells you, no matter what he promises…he will always be there, hovering…waiting to pounce…waiting to take her away.” Constance said in a continuous stream of words with barely a breath.
“Let me ask you something…,” Maura paused and waited for her mother to acknowledge. When she got a nod and a raised eyebrow in response, she continued. “If you knew then what you know now, would you still have taken me?”
“Of course.” Constance said without hesitation, her eyes wide with her certainty. “You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“Then you understand why I have to do this.” Maura watched as understanding dawned on her mother’s face. “All I’m asking is that you support my decision and know that I didn’t make it lightly. And that you be the best grandmother in the world.” Maura smiled this time, a full, genuine smile.
Constance was quiet for a moment as she thought about what Maura had said. She did trust Maura and knew that Maura never did anything without thinking it through. But this was different. This involved the one person she feared the most…Paddy Doyle. The smile on Maura’s face caught her off guard and melted away all the fears and reservations she had had in an instant. “Okay, but I may have some competition. Angela can bake cookies…,” she rolled her eyes in an exacerbated way.
“Be that as it may…,” Maura reached over to place her hand on the back of her mothers. “You’ve got a lot to offer too.”
“Yes, I suppose I do.” Constance smiled at Maura. “I promise that I’ll try to do my best.”
“Thank you mother. That’s all I ask.” Maura gave her mother’s hand a gentle squeeze. “I think at this point…all any of us can do is try our best. Do you want to know her name?” She waited for Constance to nod and continued when she did. “Her name is Valley. She looks a lot like I did at that age, except for her eyes. Dark brown and full of wonder. It’s funny because she looks like a mixture of me and Jane. I can’t wait to meet her.” Maura had a wistful smile on her face as spoke.
“I can’t wait to meet her too and you’re going to make a wonderful mother.” Constance grinned at her daughter.
“And you…,” Maura leaned over to place a kiss on her mother’s cheek. “Will make a wonderful grandmother.”
“Yes, well, if worse comes to worse…I’ll be the grandmother with the coolest car.” Constance chuckled as she thought about her convertible.
“Um, yeah…about that. You may have to invest in a sedan.” Maura coughed nervously as she broached the subject of her mother’s car.
“Oh that’s funny.” Constance laughed but stopped when Maura didn’t. Raising an eyebrow, she glared at Maura. “I may have to reconsider this grandmother thing.” Maura’s look of surprise caused Constance to laugh. “Okay…maybe I can get a sedan too.”
With a sigh of relief, Maura laughed too. Her heart soared with the prospect of this new chapter in their lives. But they still had to put one thing behind them…Paddy Doyle.
***

“Ma…wait, Maura’s got champagne.” Jane tried to catch up with Angela. “Ma!?” She called out to try to stop the quickly moving woman before she disappeared.
Angela didn’t stop until she was standing in the doorway of her cottage with a grin on her face that indicated she had a plan and was about to burst.
“Come on Ma. What’s going on?” Jane stepped into the entryway and rolled her eyes dramatically when she saw how giddy her mother was.
“I know Maura has champagne. How do you think I got mine?” Angela glanced outside to make sure no one had followed them before closing the door. “I just thought that Maura and Constance may need a moment alone.”
“Um…that was really thoughtful of you Ma.” Jane tilted to regard her mother in a new light. Angela wasn’t the best at reading situations and in most cases she did or said something inappropriate to embarrass Jane, but this time she had read the situation perfectly. “Okay, so what now?”
“Well, tell me everything about my new granddaughter.” Angela beamed as she rushed to the kitchen. “Ooohh…I think I’ll make mimosa’s.” She busied herself in the kitchen.
“Mimosa’s, huh? Okay…I can get on board with that idea.” Jane followed her mother and smiled when she was handed a bottle of champagne. “You weren’t kidding when you said you got this from Maura. You do know it’s a two-hundred-dollar bottle of champagne?” She glanced up from the process of uncorking it to find her mother as white as a sheet.
“Two-hundred-dollars?” Angela stammered as her eyes widened. “Maybe we shouldn’t mix it with orange juice.” She looked at the generic carton of OJ she was holding.
“Nah…it’ll be fine.” Jane waved her hand to dismiss her mother’s sudden worry. “Just for the record, Maura’s got two cases of this stuff.”
Angela was quiet for a moment as she tried to decide what to do. “Um…how many bottles are in a case?” She asked.
“Nine…,” Jane slipped the foil cover off the cork and started to untwist the wire holding it in place.
“Nine? That’s…,” Angela paused as she counted on her fingers. “That’s $1800 a case!”
“Yeah, I know Ma. But something like that doesn’t bother Maura. You know where she comes from.” Jane winced as she pushed the cork with her thumb and then ducked when it went flying across the room, narrowly missing the vase filled with flowers sitting on the counter. “Whew…that was close.” Jane chuckled.
“Are you sure we should mix that stuff with this cheap orange juice?” Angela move to the cabinet to grab some glasses.
“I for one love mimosa’s, so yes, let’s do it.” Jane carried the bottle over to a little table by the window overlooking Maura’s small, but well-manicured yard.
“Okay, okay…,” Angela moved to sit across from Jane and poured some of the juice into each champagne flute. She watched as Jane topped off each glass with the bubbly liquid and smiled as it fizzed. “So…now, tell me about my granddaughter.” Taking a sip of her drink, she scrunched her nose at the effervescence that tickled her.
“Well…,” Jane started to say. “She’s three years old and her name is Valley.” A smile filled her face as she remembered the pictures of the little girl that would soon be theirs.
“Wow, a three-year-old.” Angela grinned. “You and Maura are gonna have your hands full aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question.
“I suppose so.” Jane gave a sheepish grin. “I just hope I’m ready for this.” She looked away as a small frown appeared.
“Of course you are. You’re going to make a wonderful mother Janie.” Angela reached over take Jane’s hand in her own.
For a moment, neither said anything. They just sipped at their drinks and mulled over their own thoughts before Jane finally broke the silence. “These are good.” She smacked her lips as she downed the last drops. “Another?”
“Why not?” Angela finished hers as well.
“I won’t lie and say I’m not a little nervous but I’m kinda excited too.” Jane waited for Angela to pour the orange juice before topping off their glasses again. “It’s gonna be cool having a toddler around. I presume she can walk and talk by now.” She waited for her mother’s nod to confirm her suspicions. “So we can get right into the fun stuff.”
“Yes, that’s true.” Angela smiled at Jane’s enthusiasm, then she frowned slightly as a thought came to mind. “Um, Jane…can ask you a question?”
“Sure Ma.” Jane wondered what the frown was for.
“How can you adopt when Carly and Ryan couldn’t find an adoption agency willing to give them a baby because…,” Angela hesitated. “Well, because their lesbians.”
“It’s complicated Ma.” Jane shook her head as she realized how much harder this was going to be to explain. “Ryan is helping us though.”
“I still don’t understand. Please tell me you didn’t buy this baby on the black market or anything?” Angela looked horrified at the prospect that Jane would even consider such a thing.
“No Ma.” Jane let out a heavy sigh. “I promise.” She held her hands up in surrender when Angela continued to look skeptical. “Look, one of these days I’ll sit you down and tell you everything. But I just can’t right now. Please know that what we’re doing is perfectly legal.” When Angela raised that one eyebrow at her, Jane laughed heartily. “Really Ma, there is nothing nefarious going on.”
“Okay. I guess you wouldn’t lie to your mother.” Angela seemed to accept Jane’s answer. “So when do I get to meet this little bundle of joy?”
Jane frowned at the question. “I’m not sure yet Ma.” Her shoulders dropped slightly as she realized the gravity of the situation that kept them apart.
“Well can I see pictures?” Angela huffed impatiently. How was she expected to wait an undisclosed amount of time to meet her new granddaughter?
“Yeah, we can show you when we go back to the main house.” Jane smiled again as she recalled that little button nose and smile that looked so much like Maura’s. “She’s beautiful.”
“I’m sure she is.” Angela smiled at the wistful expression on Jane’s face. An expression she only saw when Jane talked about Maura. “Wow…these are really good.” She held up her empty glass. “How ‘bout one more before we go back?”
“I’m in.” Jane laughed as they fixed another drink. “A lot is gonna change around here. I’m gonna need your help Ma.” She turned serious.
“I’ll be here every step of the way Janie.” Angela gave the hand she was still holding in her own a gentle squeeze. “Now, not to change the subject…but what about this wedding we need to plan?”
“The wedding…,” Jane let out a heavy sigh and rolled her eyes. It was one thing to think about becoming a wife and mother…it was another thing to be doing it.
***
“Hey beautiful, everything okay?” Jane leaned down to place a kiss to Maura’s cheek and whisper in her ear.
Placing an open palm on Jane’s cheek, Maura smiled and nodded. “Yes, I think everything is going to A-Okay.” She pulled Jane back to place a kiss on her lips.
“Ummm…, good.” Jane hummed into the kiss as it deepened but was surprised when Maura pulled away suddenly and gave her a funny look. “What?”
“Have you been drinking?” Maura raised an eyebrow in question.
Angela and Constance, both started to laugh causing Jane to turn around and glare at her mother. “What’er you laughing at Ma? It was your idea.” Jane put her hand on her hip in a show of defiance.
“You have!” Maura pointed at Jane and then at Angela who only laughed harder. “Didn’t you leave here to go get a bottle of champagne?”
“We did.” Jane gave her a serious look but couldn’t stop herself from giggling.
“We got it alright.” Angela bent forward and grabbed her stomach as she continued to laugh.
“Did you drink the whole thing?” Maura asked, not believing they had but her eyes widened when both Jane and Angela abruptly stopped laughing and tried to look innocent. “Oh my God, you did!”
“Maybe…,” Jane crossed her arms and grinned, daring Maura to chastise her.
“I’d say we’ve got some catching up to do.” Constance shook her head at the goofy grins on Jane and Angela’s faces. “Do you have any champagne Maura?”
“Of course, but I’m not about to mix my Jacques Selosse Exquise Demi Sec with orange juice.” Maura rolled her eyes as if everyone should know what a sacrilege that would be. “Hey…where did you get champagne?” She eyed Jane suspiciously then turned to Angela when Jane ratted her out with a pointing finger. “You…did…not…mix…my champagne with orange juice, did you?” Her hands flew up in the air before running through her hair in a desperate plea for the right answer. But when she only got a shrug of the shoulders, she let out a heavy sigh. “Please tell me it was freshly squeezed orange juice at least.” When Angela looked away with a guilty expression on her face, Maura raked her fingers down her face in exasperation. “I don’t know what to say. I just don’t know what to say.” She looked at her mother for some support, but all she got was a goofy grin to match Jane and Angela’s. “You’re kidding me, right?”
“I have an idea.” Constance stood up and pulled a giggling Angela to her feet. “I know we just had a bagel, but let’s go have brunch. I know the neatest café not too far from here that has the most divine Bloody Mary’s.”
“OOhh…I’m in!” Jane raised her hand and jumped up and down.
“Are you sure you should be mixing mimosa’s and Bloody Mary’s?” Maura asked with a touch of concern in her voice.
“Nope. I’m not sure about anything these day…but that’s what makes it so much fun.” Jane grabbed Maura by the arm and pulled her close. “What do ya say Maur? Wanna have some fun?” She wiggled her eyebrows and grinned a wicked grin.
“Come on you two.” Constance waved them towards the door. “You’ll have plenty of time for that later.” She said before stopping and laughing again. “Or maybe not.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jane perked up and looked at Constance over Maura’s shoulder.
“You’ll find out soon enough.” Angela laughed as well.
“Hey…,” Jane was starting to get annoyed. “What aren’t they telling me?” She looked down at Maura who was grinning up at her. “What?”
“Nothing my sweet Jane.” Maura kissed her index finger and placed it in the dimple of Jane’s chin. “They’re only teasing you.” Turning to her mother and soon to be mother in-law she gave them a glare.
“Alright, alright…,” Constance held her hands up in surrender.
Jane scrunched her face in an angry expression as she watched her mother and Constance head for the door. “Those two are trouble when they get together.” She couldn’t help but scowl and then it was followed by a pout.
“Don’t you worry about them. They’re going to be busy little grandmother’s before too long.” Maura lifted on her toes so she could kiss the poked-out lip. “Now let’s go have some fun. I’ve got some catching up to do.”

Chapter Text

Changes all around
34
Jane pivoted from her right foot to her left foot to avoid Frost’s advance only to come into contact with Frankie’s shoulder. Dipping down, she shuffled to her left and tossed the basketball to Ryan with a graceful flick of the wrist. When the ball landed safely in Ryan’s hands, Jane maneuvered herself around Frankie to block him, figuring that Frost was a lesser threat because of his lack of height. But to her surprise, he moved quickly to catch up with Ryan, but not quick enough. Jane smirked when Ryan banked the shot off the backboard and scored the winning point.
“We win!” Jane threw her arms up over her head and gloated.
“Haven’t you ever heard of winning graciously?” Frost frowned at his partner, giving her shoulder a shove.
“No way.” Jane shoved him back and grinned. “Nice shot though, Ryan.”
“Thanks for setting up for it.” Ryan came up alongside Frost and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. “You my friend are a worthy advisory. Nice game.”
“Now that is how you win graciously.” Frost followed Ryan’s lead and wrapped his arm around her waist. “Whatcha got in the cooler?”
“Carley made some sub sandwiches and I added some PBR to wash them down with.” Ryan grinned and nodded towards the cooler.
“You’re my favorite cousin-in-law.” Frankie rubbed his hands together as he headed towards the food and beer. “PBR, huh? I thought Blue Moon was the official lesbian beer.”
“Ha, that’s cause it’s my favorite.” Jane gave Ryan a sideways glance. “Ryan here is a bit of a butch so she drinks PBR.” She gave a cheeky grin.
“Hey, who you callin’ butch?” Ryan’s retort caused them all to laugh. She laughed as she ran her fingers through her newly cut, shorter blonde hair. “I guess maybe I am a little, but I promise you that I’m soft in all the places that count.”
“Well, you definitely look better in a tank top than he does.” Frost pointed at Frankie. “Not to mention all that…buffness you’ve got goin’ on there.” He reached out and gave one of her biceps a squeeze.
“I like to keep in shape.” Ryan groused as she took a beer from Jane. “We all can’t be marshmallows.” She tilted her head towards Frankie to indicate who she was talking about.
“Ha, ha…he is a bit of a marshmallow, isn’t he?” Jane laughed as she twisted the cap off her beer before taking a long drink. “Ummmm, I admit there’s nothing like a really cold PBR when you’re hot and sweaty.”
“I’ve been working out, ya know.” Frankie frowned and touched his soft middle. “We all can’t be She-Hulks or twigs.” He flipped his hand towards Ryan and then Jane.
“Hey, who you callin’ a twig? I can still beat your ass.” Jane made to grab him by the neck in a head lock but he moved away.
“Watch the beer…,” He slipped past her, holding his beer out in front of him to prevent it from spilling.
“Priorities, priorities…,” Frost laughed. Taking the beer Jane handed to him, he jumped on top of the picnic table to sit and put his feet on the bench.
“What kinda sandwiches did Carly make?” Frankie asked as he rooted around in the ice chest looking for the food.
“Donknow….” Ryan took a sip of her beer before wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “I’m just glad she remembered to put them in the cooler.” She laughed when three sets of inquiring eyes feel on her in question. “This whole being pregnant thing has affected her brain.”
“What are you talking about?” Frankie tossed a saran wrapped sandwich to Frost and then Jane.
“She’s just been in a bit of a fog lately. Forgetful…moody…emotional…,” Ryan ticked off each one on her fingers as she went.
“Um…is it true that pregnant women are more…, um…,” Frost hesitated.
“Are you asking me if my wife is horny?” Ryan lifted an eyebrow and tilted her head to regard Frost with a look of interest. When he looked away from her to concentrate on opening his sandwich she had her answer. “That’s a mighty personal question officer.”
“Well, counselor…care to elaborate?” Jane’s curiosity was piqued as she imagined what it might be like if Maura ever got pregnant.
“Actually, no…you’ll have to find out for yourself.” Ryan gave a saucy, exaggerated wink.
“You and Maura thinking of getting pregnant?” Frankie asked around a mouthful of ham and swiss on a freshly backed croissant.
“It’s something we’ve thought about but not any time soon.” Jane ducked her head, embarrassed by the question.
“Got any donors in mind?” Frankie continued to pry, disregarding the uncomfortable look on his sister’s face.
“No Frankie…we haven’t gotten that far yet. I think the wedding should come first.” Jane frowned and shook her head.
“What? People have kids all the time before they get married.” Frankie said nonchalantly.
“Well, I’d be willing.” Frost said without thinking as he shoved his own sandwich in his mouth. The statement caused all three to choke on their food.
“Um…well…,” Jane coughed and sputtered as she tried to catch her breath. “Thanks…but I don’t think that’s an option for us.”
“Why?” Frost frowned as he watched Jane carefully.
“Because we work together. I don’t think sharing a child together as well would make for a good relationship in that situation.” Jane tried to defend her choice with a shrug of her shoulders. “No offense to you…,”
“Hmmm…I guess I can see that but we’d make cute kids if we did.” Frost went back to his beer, the subject quickly forgotten.
“I’m sure of that.” Jane rolled her eyes and glanced at Ryan for help.
“So, this wedding…any details yet?” Ryan changed the subject and smiled at Jane knowingly.
“Actually…no.” Jane let out a dejected breath as she thought about the fact that they had yet to make any decisions.
Whatcha want?” Frankie asked as he dug into the cooler for another beer. “Anyone want another?” He asked as he held up the bottle. All three raised their hands and he handed them out before turning to Jane expectantly waiting for an answer.
“You know I’d like to get married in Fenway Park standing at Homeplate but I don’t think that’s what Maura wants.” Jane sighed sadly.
“What does Maura want?” Frost asked.
“I donknow…something classy I’m sure.” Jane tilted her bottle back and peered at them from over the rim. They had been so busy talking about the impending adoption and the situation with Paddy that the wedding plans had taken a back seat. She had yet to tell anyone but her mother and Constance about it, having sworn them both to secrecy until they knew for sure when things would be finalized. “We’ve been kinda busy with other things.” Her eyes fell on Ryan and they shared a knowing smile.
“Hey, what about the bachelorette party?” Frankie chimed in with an excited gleam in his eyes.
“Yeah, we get to make plans for that, don’t we?” Frost chimed as Frankie’s excitement spread.
With a dramatic eye roll, Jane let out a heavy sigh. “I haven’t really thought about it.” She couldn’t imagine what they could come up with that would met with Maura’s approval.
“Wait a minute…, I thought we were going dancing.” Ryan frowned as she remembered the conversation she and Carly had had and how excited Carly was.
“We talked about it.” Jane smiled.
“Well, can we get in on that?” Frankie asked, unaware of the silent communication going on between Jane and Ryan.
“Dancing, huh?” Frost had noticed the interaction Frankie hadn’t. “What aren’t you telling us?” He raised an eyebrow in question.
“We are going to a gay bar.” Ryan took a swig of beer and waited for their response.
“I can handle that.” Frost kept his eyes on Jane as he spoke. “That is if you can.”
“What?” Jane seemed surprised by his question. “I’d love for you to go. But you may have to dance with Frankie here to keep the menfolk away from you. You are mighty cute…,”
“You know my mom is a lesbian.” Frost challenged Jane.
The beer that Jane was drinking dribbled past her lips and down her chin in a very undignified way causing Frost to laugh. “Nope…,” she wiped at the wet mess with the bottom of her t-shirt.
“I guess you do now.” He smiled at her. “So a gay bar won’t bother me in the least, as long as Frankie saves me a dance.”
“You think I won’t?” Frankie wiggled his eyebrows and grinned playfully.
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, now won’t we…,” Frost wadded up his sandwich wrapper and threw it at Frankie.
“Missed me…,” Frankie ducked out of the way. “How about we play a game of HORSE to see who gets to lead.”
“You’re on!” Frost jumped up from the picnic table and chased after Frankie.
“Wow, they wear me out.” Ryan dropped down on the bench and let out a heavy sigh.
“Tell me about it. I’m around them all the time.” Jane joined Ryan on the bench.
They sat in silence for a moment before Jane nervously ran her fingers through her hair in the same way as Carly giving Ryan an indication that their conversation was about to turn serious. With an expectant look on her face, Ryan waited for Jane to find the words.
“I’m scared Ryan.” Jane finally found her voice, her voice cracking slightly.
“Yeah? Me too.” Ryan pushed her bangs away from her eyes before resting her forehead in the palm of her hand. “I’d be worried if you weren’t.”
“How can I be responsible for another…little…human being?” Jane dropped her head into both hands.
“Because you can.” Ryan reached over and placed a comforting hand on Jane’s shoulder. “You and Maura are going to be great parents, of that I have no doubt.”
“Ya think?” Jane took the comfort being offered but frowned when she saw Ryan shaking her head.
“No, I don’t think…I know.” Ryan smiled widely causing Jane to let out the breath she was holding in relief.
“You and Carly are going to be amazing moms.” Jane grinned.
“I know Carly will.” Ryan had a sad look on her face as she looked away wistfully.
“Ryan…, you are going to be great.” It was Jane’s turn to comfort and reassure.
“Ya know, its funny how alike we are.” Ryan gave Jane’s shoulder a gentle squeeze before letting go.
“We are gonna have so much fun teaching our kids about the Red Sox…taking them to their first game…,” This time Jane looked away with a wistful look on her face but it was quickly replaced with a serious expression. “How are things going? Anything new?”
“Nah, just ironing out some of the details. I have a sneaking suspicion that Paddy is trying to delay us…but I’m not sure why yet.” Ryan furrowed her brow as she thought about their last meeting. It hadn’t been as productive as she had wanted but it was still a move forward.
Jane chewed on her inner cheek as she mulled things over. She had a feeling that Paddy was waiting until Colin’s killer had been identified and dealt with, but it wasn’t something she had shared with Ryan. The feeling of Ryan’s intent gaze caused her to clear her throat and push the thoughts away.
“We told my Ma and Constance, but I’m not ready to tell anyone else, ya know, just in case.” Jane glanced over to see Ryan nodding her understanding.
“I think that’s best.” Ryan looked over her shoulder at Frost and Korsak. “They’re gonna make great uncles.”
“Yeah, I know and I can’t wait to tell them.” Jane grinned at the thought of sharing their big news with those closest to her and Maura. “So…,” she hesitated briefly and fidgeted nervously.
“To answer your question…yes. Carly can’t get enough of me.” Ryan anticipated what Jane wanted to ask and raised her eyebrows up and down in a suggestive way causing them both to laugh.
“Good to know.” Jane tipped her bottle towards Ryan in a silent toast before taking a drink. Perhaps being pregnant wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. Now all they had to do was decide who would get the privilege of carrying their child for nine months.
***
“I’m glad you called. You can never be too careful with things like this.” Maura undid the blood pressure cuff from Carly’s arm. The Velcro made a tearing sound in the silence that followed as she rolled it up and placed it in her medical bag, the same medical bag that Jane had given her their first Christmas together. She kept her stethoscope draped around her neck, feeling the cool metal end resting against her skin. It reminded her that she was indeed still a medical doctor…not just a coroner.
“Thanks for coming over so quick.” Carly rubbed her arm trying to regain the feeling from the pressure of the cuff. As the feeling returned, the numbness was replaced with the sensation of pins and needles until those too subsided. “I didn’t want to call Ryan over a slight dizzy spell. She hasn’t had a chance to get out of the house or office and just enjoy a day away in so long. Plus, I don’t want to worry her…unless...,” She gave Maura an expectant look.
“Well, your blood pressure is a little elevated but nothing on the high side. I do think you should go see Dr. Schmitt just to be safe. Preeclampsia isn’t something to mess with.” Maura watched as Carly fidgeted nervously. She looked so much like Jane and shared many of the same mannerisms that sometimes she had to remind herself they weren’t the same person. Sky blue eyes widened in question causing Maura realize she wasn’t being clear. “I’m not saying you have preeclampsia. A dizzy spell can be brought on by many things…low blood sugar, fatigue, low blood pressure, hunger…” She ticked them off one at a time. “Although we can probably rule out the low blood pressure.”
“What is preeclampsia? Should I be concerned?” Carly asked, her voice laced with concern.
“Not yet, I don’t think. But it can be serious if not dealt with correctly.” Maura shrugged her shoulders. Her gut instincts told her that Carly didn’t have it but she wanted to be on the safe side. “Alex can give you a simple urine test to see if your proteins are too high. If they are, then we can go from there.”
“And if they’re not?” Carly watched Maura to see if she was keeping anything from her but all she saw was devote honesty looking back at her.
“Then we chalk it up you not eating properly, I suppose.” Maura tried to smile. “Either way, we’ll keep a close eye on you with regular blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, and things like that…,”
“With so many things that can go wrong…it’s a wonder anyone has babies.” Carly let out a frustrated huff. “I guess I should tell Ryan.”
“Yes, but let me emphasize…there is no proof that this is anything more than low blood sugar or fatigue. I know you’ve been working hard and I think it’s time you take a step back and let Angela take over.” Maura watched as Carly bit her bottom lip in concentration. “You’re in the third trimester Carly. It’s time to take a break. You’re going to need it.”
“Okay.” Carly sighed as she pushed her long dark hair over a shoulder. “I’m kinda scared Maura. What if something goes wrong?”
“It’s only natural to be scared. I’d be worried if you weren’t.” Maura reached up to fidget with her stethoscope. “But I have no doubt that everything will be alright.”
“I guess I’m being silly.” Carly went to stand but sat back down when Maura gave her an expectant look. “What?” She asked with a confused look.
“You need to sit for a while.” Maura tried not to admonish. “I want to take your blood pressure again but I want you to rest before I do.”
“Alright, alright.” Carly waved her hands in the air impatiently. “I was just gonna get some cookies and coffee.”
“Decaf, I hope…,” Maura raised a questioning eyebrow.
“Of course.” Carly rolled her eyes dramatically.
“Well, in that case, I’ll get them.” Maura rubbed her hands together like an excited kid as she jumped up to find the plate of cookies and coffee on a tray.
“Thanks Maura. I really appreciate you coming.” Carly was quiet for a moment as she had a thought. “Um…can you deliver the baby?”
“I would love to Carly, but I only did one rotation in obstetrics during my residency.” Maura returned with the tray with a sad smile on her face.
“Then can you at least be in the delivery room?” Carly tried not to pout in the same way Jane did that melted Maura’s heart.
“Talk to Ryan and if you both want me there then I’ll be there.” Maura set the tray down before pulling the stethoscope from around her neck. “Here…let’s give it another go.” She reached in her bag and pulled her blood pressure cuff out and affixed it to Carly’s arm. “Just try to relax…,” The cuff filled with air as she pumped the small bulb in her hand and listened intently to the stethoscope she had placed at the inside of Carly’s elbow.
“Well?” Carly asked anxiously as Maura pulled the ear pieces from her ears and undid the cuff.
“124/86…much better.” Maura smiled as she rolled everything up and slipped it back into her bag. “I’m going to text Jane and ask her to stop and get you one of those digital pressure cuffs on their way back home. I want you to take it every hour or so until you go see Dr. Schmitt tomorrow. Record each one and hopefully we can rule out anything serious.”
“Okay Doc.” Carly tried not to smirk. “How ‘bout you guys stay for dinner?”
“I think I can be talked into that.” Maura grinned as she pulled her phone out to send Jane a text. ‘Stop at the drug store and buy a digital blood pressure cuff on your way to bring Ryan home.’ She tapped out the message quickly before grabbing one of Carly’s butter cookies she loved so much. When her phone buzzed indicating an incoming message, she looked down to read it, holding the cookie between her teeth.
‘Everything alright with Carly?’ Jane asked.
‘Yes…so far. Just playing it safe.’ Maura typed back.
‘K…c u soon.’ Jane answered.
‘Oh, and we’ve been invited to dinner.’ Maura smiled at the heart and kissy face emoji. ‘And I love you.’ This time Jane’s message was a string of hearts, smiley faces, and kisses and it made Maura laugh.
“That’s a mighty big smile on your face, Maura.” Carly smirked as she took a bite of cookie and winked in a knowing way.
“You know Jane…always and forever a true romantic.” Maura chuckled and took a bite of her cookie as she turned the phone around so Carly could see the emoji’s. When she got an eyeroll in response, she laughed harder causing her to almost choke on the sweet, buttery crumbs that hit the back of her throat.
“Alright…, we’ll have none of that.” Carly reached over to give Maura a light pat on the back. “Now, how ‘bout we go for a walk?”
“Sounds like a plan. You’re not dizzy anymore, are you?” Maura inquired as she shoved the rest of her cookie in her mouth.
“Nope, but I’m feeling a little stiff from sitting so long.” Carly stood up and stretched her arms over her head.
“Then let’s stretch those long legs of yours.” Maura mimicked Carly with a smile. “After you…,” she said as she followed Carly out the door.

***
The sound of the front door opening and slamming shut woke Carly from her nap on the couch and brought a curious Maura from the kitchen. But it was the sound of Ryan’s voice filled with fear and anxiety that caused Carly to sit up and push her hair away from her face.
“Carly? Carly…are you okay? Is the baby okay?” Ryan’s worried eyes went from Carly to Maura who was now standing next to the couch wiping her hands on a dish towel.
“I’m fine. We’re fine.” Carly tried to soothe Ryan’s fears away. When Ryan dropped down to kneel in front of her, Carly reached out to run her fingers through the short, blonde hair. It almost took her breath away when Ryan wrapped two arms around her waist and pulled her into a hug. “I’m okay, really…,”
Maura gave a reassuring smile and nod of her head when Ryan looked to her for confirmation, tears leaking from her relieved eyes.
“I was so worried. When Jane said…,” Ryan murmured against Carly’s chest where her cheek now rested. “I thought…,” she closed her eyes as tears continued to roll down her cheeks.
“Oh, baby…everything is going to okay. Maura, tell her I’m okay…,” Carly looked up with pleading eyes silently asking Maura to agree.
“As far as I can tell…,” Maura hesitated when Jane came flying through the door, huffing and puffing, carrying a bag with her. “Um, Ryan…everything indicates that this was an isolated incident and there is nothing to worry about.” Her eye’s met Jane’s across the room and she could see the worry there in the dark brown that gazed back at her. “You’ll see Dr. Schmitt tomorrow just to be sure, but it is of my medical opinion that Carly just needs to rest.” She watched as Jane set the bag down on the table as she moved across the room to stand next to her with the raise of a questioning eyebrow.
When Ryan didn’t look up or acknowledge what Maura had said, instead opting to keep her face buried against the warm skin of Carly’s throat, Maura grabbed Jane by the arm and pulled her towards the kitchen. With a last glance over her shoulder, she could see the two women holding onto each other in an effort to comfort and soothe away the fears that still lingered. The fierce and intense love that radiated off them caused her to smile.
“What’s going on? Is Carly okay?” Jane’s voice was a hushed whisper so as not to disturb the scene playing out in the living room.
“I think so. She called me this afternoon when she got dizzy, which of course was the right thing to do.” Maura moved to stand next to the oven where she was getting ready to put the ravioli lasagna she and Carly had made earlier.
“And?” Jane waved her hands in the air, indicating that Maura should talk faster.
“And, I’m sure Alex will agree.” Maura let out a heavy sigh as she slipped the glass dish into the oven before moving to the sink to wash her hands. It hadn’t surprised her when Jane stepped up behind her, wrapping arms around her waist.
Resting her chin on Maura’s shoulder, Jane held her close and closed her eyes. “Are you sure?” She said in a whisper.
“No, I’m not. But my gut tells me everything will be alright.” Maura placed her hands on top of Janes.
“Your gut, huh?” Jane laughed lightly. “I didn’t think you listened to your intestines.”
“I have to Jane.” Maura turned around in Jane’s arms so they were facing each other. “I have to believe that everything will be okay. I don’t think I can accept any other outcome.”
“I know.” Jane pushed some of Maura’s hair away from her eyes. “I believe in your gut too.” Her statement was followed by a crooked grin. “But boy was Ryan pissed that no one told her.”
“I figured she would be, but Carly didn’t want to bother her on her one day off.” Maura tilted her face in the direction Jane had moved her hair. “I would have called if I thought something was wrong. You know that, right?” Her eyes widened in worry as she waited for Jane to respond.
Jane gave a nod of her head and leaned forward to place a kiss to Maura’s forehead. They were interrupted by Carly before they could get any further with their conversation.
“Everything okay?” Jane looked over at her cousin with concern in her eyes.
Carly let out an exasperated sigh and rolled her eyes. “Don’t you start…,” she held up her hand to indicate that Jane should stop.
“Hey, don’t go getting all cranky on me.” Jane did her own eye roll and it rivaled Carly’s earlier one.
“Sorry.” Carly pushed her hair away from her light, blue eyes and tried to smile.
“How’s Ryan?” Maura asked as she leaned against the sink. “We can leave you alone if you need it.”
“No, no…she’s taking a shower. I think she’ll be okay once she washes away all the sweat and grim of the day.” Carly waved her hand dismissively. “Smells good. Looks like you’ve got everything under control in here.”
“See, I told you I could handle it.” Maura smiled. “I think it’s time you started to let other people help you along Carly. Angela is more than capable of taking over for you at the bakery.”
“I know, you’re right. It’s just hard to give up that control.” Carly let out a heavy breath causing her bangs to flutter up over her eyebrows.
“Well, there’s no time like the present.” Jane glanced at Maura and got an approving smile in return. “Are you sure you want us to stay?”
“Yes. I think we could all use the distraction.” Carly slipped an arm around Jane’s waist and pulled her close. “But thanks for asking.”
“You got any red wine?” Jane allowed herself to be pulled close to her cousin and did her best to offer a comforting presence.
“You know I do.” Carly gave Jane’s hip a gentle squeeze before letting go to find a bottle that would please Maura’s refined palate and Jane’s not so refined one.
“I hope that’s wine you’re seeking out.” Ryan slipped into the kitchen, wearing clean sweats and her wet hair slicked back. “And you…,” she pointed at Maura. “Next time…call me not matter what.”
Maura gave a quick nod of agreement. It hadn’t sat well with her when she found Carly alone, especially when Carly request she not notify Ryan but she wouldn’t let that happen again. “I promise.” She held up a hand in solemn oath.
Green eyes locked with hazel as Ryan gaged how truthful she thought Maura was being and only smiled when she saw nothing but honesty looking back at her. “What’s for dinner?” She took a deep breath.
“Your favorite, ravioli lasagna.” Carly held up a bottle of red wine triumphantly. “Maura helped me make it.”
“Yes, well…I mostly supervised.” Maura’s face flushed with her embarrassment.
“Don’t be so modest Maura.” Carly grinned as she handed Ryan the bottle of wine. “And I really wish I could have a glass.” She couldn’t help but pout.
“It won’t be long now.” Jane pulled several glasses out of a cabinet.
“It may be longer if Carly breast feeds.” Maura handed Ryan the bottle opener.
“Yeah, well I haven’t made that decision yet.” Carly gave a pained look.
“No worries my love.” Ryan wrapped an arm around Carly’s waist and pulled her close. “I told you I’d support you not matter what you decided.”
Jane could see Maura’s mind slipping into scientific mode so she grabbed the wine bottle and opener from Ryan. Before Maura could say anything, she had the bottle open and three glasses poured, handing one to Maura, essential changing the subject.
“Can I still go out dancing with you guys?” Carly asked Maura with a hopeful look in her eyes.
“I don’t see why not, as long as Dr. Schmitt agrees.” Maura took a sip of wine and closed her eyes to savor the sweet and spicy liquid.
“I don’t know if I like the idea of taking you to a crowded club. People could bump into you…,” Ryan worried her lower lip but relented when she saw the disappointment in Carly’s eyes. “But then again, Jane carries a gun so maybe she can make sure we have a safe perimeter around us.”
“Oh, Frankie and Frost have somehow invited themselves to join us.” Jane rolled her eyes at the thought of going to a gay bar with her brother and partner.
“Do they know we’re going to a gay bar?” Maura asked as she sipped at her wine again. It had a surprisingly pleasant taste with a not so dry finish.
“Yep…and did you know Frost’s mom is a lesbian?” Jane sniffed at her wine before taking a drink.
“Yes, I did.” Maura seemed surprised that Jane didn’t know.
“What the hell? How come I didn’t know?” Jane shook her head when she saw the shoulder shrugs in response indicating that she was indeed the only one who hadn’t known.
“Want some lemonade?” Ryan gave Carly another squeeze before letting her go.
“Yeah, I’d like that.” Carly gave Ryan’s cheek a quick peck. “I’m gonna go call Angela and see if she can take over starting this week. Maura’s right, I need to slow down.”
“Speaking of Angela…,” Maura turned to Jane and smiled. “She is expecting you to meet her at lunch tomorrow at the bakery.”
“What? Why?” Jane deflated at the thought of having to give up her free afternoon with Maura.
“I don’t know Jane, but she said it was important.” Maura gave Jane a stern look. She furrowed her brow slightly as she thought for a minute. “Hmmm, I think they may be up to something.”
“They?” Jane raised an eyebrow.
“Our mothers.” Maura tilted her head to regard Jane for a moment before she spoke again. “My mother wants me to meet her for lunch tomorrow as well.”
“Boy am I glad Carly and I are already married.” Ryan leaned a hip against the counter next to Maura.
“Hey, you’re not out of the woods just yet.” Jane pointed at a surprised Ryan.
“What?” Ryan held her hands up in question.
“Baby shower!” Maura squealed in excitement. “We get to plan a baby shower!”
Jane’s smug smile confirmed that what Maura had said was right. “So when are we gonna know the sex of the baby?”
“In two weeks.” Ryan ran her finger around the rim of the wine glass she was holding. Her wistful expression caused Jane and Maura to look at each other in a knowing way. “But we haven’t decided yet if we want to know.”
“Niece or nephew…makes no difference to us.” Jane shrugged her shoulders.
“It might make it easier to buy things beforehand if you know.” Maura tried to reason.
“Only if you believe in that gender conformity crap.” Jane smirked. “I don’t think pink has to be for a girl and blue for a boy, besides I hate pink.”
“Yes Jane, we all know your adversity to pink but I agree. Color shouldn’t be assigned to gender.” Maura tried not to smirk back at Jane but was unsuccessful.
“I’m more partial to greens and yellows myself.” Ryan couldn’t help but smile at Maura and Jane’s playful banter.
“Well, let me know when you’re ready to finish up the nursery.” Jane puffed her chest out to show she had something to offer.
“I just have to paint and put the crib together.” Ryan couldn’t hide the trepidation from her voice. “But Carly can’t be here because of the fumes.”
“We can solve that easily.” Maura said with the wave of her hand. “Jane can stay the night here with you and help you finish up and Carly can stay at my house with me.”
“Um…, okay. I guess that will work.” Ryan seemed surprised at how simple that was to solve. It had worried her, which is why she had put it off. But now they could finish things up for good. “So when’s this big night of dinner and dancing going to take place?”
“I think I should wait until my meet up with my Ma tomorrow to make any decisions. I have a feeling things will start to move pretty quickly with her and Constance at the helm.” Jane looked down into the dark red liquid in her glass. She had a feeling that the two women had something up their sleeves, something that would soon be revealed. “Yep, those two are trouble with a capitol ‘T’” Jane rolled her eyes causing both Maura and Ryan to laugh.
“You can say that again.” Carly slipped into the room and took her lemonade from Ryan. “And I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild ride, fun…but wild.” She gave Jane a knowing wink before turning her attention to the oven. “I think dinners about ready. Shall we?”
The murmurs of agreement confirmed that everyone was ready to eat. But were they ready for the big changes that were about to take place? As Maura’s eyes met Jane’s from across the room, she was sure that they were ready to move forward together and she couldn’t wait to see what their future held.

Chapter Text

Decisions, Decisions
“Okay Ma, you’ve got me here. Care to explain what’s going on?” Jane fidgeted in her seat across from Angela. They sat in Carly’s bakery surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the late afternoon crowd and Jane could thing of ten other places she rather be then where she was at that moment.
“Do I have to have a reason to want to spend time with my daughter?” Angela frowned at Jane and crossed her arms in defiance.
“Well…,” Jane hesitated briefly. “Yeah.” She gave a quick nod as she watched people coming and going past their small table by the window.
“Alright, I do have a reason but just to be clear. I don’t have to have a reason to want to spend time with you.” Angela conceded but still frowned.
“Okay then, out with it.” Jane huffed impatiently. “I gave up my afternoon with Maura to be here.”
“You know it wouldn’t kill you to spend an afternoon apart.” Angela huffed in the same impatient way that Jane had.
“It just might.” Jane scowled at the thought.
“Alright, alright. I’ll cut to the chase.” Angela said waving her hands around. “Here.” She held her hand out with a ring for Jane to take.
“What is it?” Jane took the delicate ring from her mother. Holding it up, she smiled at the way the diamonds and emeralds shimmered in the late afternoon sun that leaked through the window, bathing them in its light and warmth.
“It’s Maura’s grandmothers ring. I thought we could use it design a new setting. Constance explained to me that Maura can’t wear jewelry on her fingers due to her job but we both think that a simple wide band with an inlay of the stones wouldn’t get in the way.”
Jane contemplated what her mother had said. She hadn’t thought about Maura wearing or not wearing a ring. It was true that Maura couldn’t wear anything that might snag or get caught on things as she worked and she couldn’t help but smile at her mother’s thoughtfulness. “Okay…um…,” she twirled the ring around with her fingers and studied it. “Yeah, that’s a good idea. I think I may have the same dilemma though.”
“We figured that so Constance has your Nona’s ring. She and Maura will do the same thing.” Angela smiled a confidant smile.
“But shouldn’t I give Maura Nona’s ring?” Jane looked up from the ring to see Angela smiling at her.
“Maybe…traditionally…but…no. We both thought it would be nice to redesign each ring but for you keep the one that came from your grandmothers. Doesn’t Nona’s ring mean something to you?” Angela tilted her head to regard Jane with a curious expression.
“Of course it does.” Jane sat up straighter.
“I am sure just as much as Maura’s does to her so we thought this idea would be something you could each be a part of. You can surprise Maura and she can surprise you with something new made from something old.” Angela’s grin filled her face and Jane couldn’t help but grin back.
“Okay, I can get on board with that.” Jane slipped the ring on her pinky and admired it again. “I suppose your right about a different setting but this is beautiful.” She couldn’t help but equate the shimmering green to the same green that shimmered in Maura’s eyes, especially when she was happy.
“I’ve made you an appointment with a jeweler that Constance recommends. He will be doing both rings so you don’t overlap with your ideas.” Angela looked proud of herself for having thought of everything. “I will only make one suggestion though. White gold.”
Raising an eyebrow, Jane gave Angela a skeptical look. “Only one suggestion? Is that a promise?”
“Don’t be so insolent.” Angela threw a wadded-up napkin at Jane, laughing when it bounced off her elbow and into her cup of water. “I guess you aren’t the only Rizzoli with basketball skills.”
“Touché…,” Jane laughed as she pulled the wet mess from her cup. “Ew…,” she dropped it down on the table and looked back at Angela. “Okay, I’ll concede. I agree with you on the white gold thing. When’s the appointment?”
Angela looked over shoulder at the clock hanging behind the counter. “In thirty minutes. Here’s the address. Take Frost…, he had good taste.”
“Are you insinuating that I don’t have good taste?” Jane sounded affronted.
“No my dear, not insinuating…just stating a fact.” Angela stood up from the table and gave Jane’s cheek a pat. “Take Frost.” And with those last words, she turned to leave Jane mumbling under breath at the table to get back to work behind the counter before the after-work rush started.
“I do not have bad taste!” Jane growled at Angela’s back and growled again when she got a flip of the hand in response.
“Who says you have bad taste?” Frost slipped into Angela’s empty seat across from Jane.
“What the fuck man? What are you doing here?” Jane waved her hands in the air carefully, mindful of the ring that was still on her pinky finger.
“Angela called and said she needed my help at the bakery…so…here I am.” He leaned forward in a gallant mock bow. “So?” He looked over his shoulder to see if Angela was close by.
“Apparently, I am the one who needs help.” Jane stood up and handed him the card with the address of the jeweler on it. “Come on…program that into the GPS. We’ve got an appointment to design a wedding ring.”
Looking up with a puzzled expression, Frost took the card and then grinned when Jane told him where and what they were going to do. “Oh yeah…,” he clapped his hands together. “This is gonna be fun.”
“Hey…,” Jane stopped him from standing up by putting her index finger into his chest. “This is Maura’s grandmother’s ring. No funny business.” She said and let him see the ring.
“Wow…that’s beautiful. The green matches her eyes.” He said without thinking. His words got a raised eyebrow from Jane as she waited for him to continue. “Um…okay…let me get that address in my phone so we can get going. Wouldn’t want to be late.” Standing up, he clicked away on his cellphone but then stopped at the door and looked over his shoulder at Jane who was standing at the table with her hands on her hips. “And you have great taste by the way…, look at Maura.” He grinned and dashed out the door.
“You are so dead.” She growled as she followed him out the door but in the back of her mind she was thinking the same thing.
***
“Okay, so I have an idea.” Maura bounced around in her seat across from Constance like she did when she was a little girl and it brought a raised eyebrow in response.
“Well?” Constance asked.
“Oh, yes…I want to get married at Fenway Park at Homeplate.” The excitement in Maura’s voice rang true as she smiled at her mother.
“Now that is something I would never have expected.” Constance leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “Is that something you want or something Jane wants?” She couldn’t help but ask the question even though she already knew the answer.
“Of course, it’s what Jane wants.” Maura’s smile didn’t falter. “And I want to give her the perfect day. One she can remember forever.”
“What about what you want Maura?” Constance couldn’t help but tilt her head to regard Maura with a confused look on her face.
“Above all else…,” Maura reached across the table to place a reassuring hand on Constance’s. “I want to make Jane happy. It’s the wedding she’s dreamt of since she was a little girl.”
“I understand that, but what about you? You had dreams of your wedding day too.” Constance placed her other hand on top of Maura’s and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“Look, I’ve thought this through. I think there’s a way we can both get what we want.” Maura grinned before continuing. “We will get married at Fenway Park and then go to the harbor to have an elegant reception…black tie of course.” She looked triumphant.
“Yes, I suppose that is a compromise we can all live with.” Constance nodded as she began to make plans in the back of her mind. “Oh, I almost forgot. I have something for you.” She turned Maura’s hand around to open her palm where she carefully set a ring.
“What is this?” Maura looked down at the beautiful antique ring she was now holding.
“That my dear, is Jane’s Nona’s ring.” Constance said with a smile.
“I’m not sure I understand.” Turning the ring around with her fingers a few times, Maura looked up to find Constance still smiling. “Shouldn’t Jane give this to me?”
“Traditionally, yes.” Constance gave an affirmative nod. “But Angela and I thought it would be better for you each to have the ring handed down to you. So, with that being said, Jane has your grandmother’s ring.”
“But Jane won’t be able to wear something this delicate. She’s left handed…,” Maura mused aloud as she continued to look at the ring in her hand.
“And that is why I have made you an appointment with Jacques to design something more functional using the stones in this ring.” Constance tapped the ring with her finger. “It has some strong bones to build off of. I think with his help you can come up with something unique and more…Jane.” She couldn’t help but grin mischievously this time.
Maura looked down at the ring and studied the small sapphires surrounded by a cluster of diamonds. She agreed that there was potential hidden in the modest setting but as she continued to study the family heirloom, she bit down on her bottom lip before looking up at Constance with a worried expression.
“Oh, my dear, you needn’t worry.” Constance could see the uncertainty in Maura’s eyes. “It will be beautiful. And Jacques will help you. He is helping Jane so he will have an idea of what you both are doing and will guide you to something that will complement Jane’s design.”
“Oh, okay.” Maura let out a small sigh of relief even though her uncertainty wasn’t completely quelled.
“How about some cheesecake?” Constance waved the server over to their table. She didn’t wait for Maura to answer as she ordered then turned back with an expectant look on her face.
“Cheesecake would be good.” Maura smiled as she closed her hand, wrapping her fingers around the small ring. A warm feeling flowed through her at the thought of holding the symbol of their love in the palm of her hand. For a moment, she thought the tears that tickled at the corners of her eyes would fall but then she smiled as a flutter of anticipation rose in her chest. “Will you help me make the Fenway Park thing happen?”
“I will.” Constance said without hesitation. “On one condition…,” she waited until Maura gave her an expectant look. “You let me help you plan the reception as well.”
“I can live with that.” Maura had no intention of turning her mother’s help down. “But please promise me there won’t be any peacocks.”
“Done.” Constance nodded just before their slice of cheesecake was placed on the table between them. “Bon appetite, my dear.” She took a fork and handed the other to Maura.
“Bon appetite, mother…and thank you.” Maura slipped the ring into her purse before taking the fork and her first bite. “I think this is going to be fun.” She grinned and gave a quick wink. They had a lot to plan for. The wedding and bringing Valley home were among the top of the list but Maura couldn’t wait to begin this journey with Jane, starting with the day they would pledge forever to each other.

***
“This is harder than I thought it would be.” Jane pushed her hair away from her face as she looked down at a book filled with ring designs.
“I like this one.” Frost tapped an image with his finger to indicate which one he was talking about.
“I do too, but I really want to get this right.” Jane let out a huff of breath and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
“I’m sure whatever you pick, Maura will love.” Frost tried not to sound impatient.
“Look, I’m about to dismantle her grandmother’s ring…forgive me if I want it to be perfect.” This time the irritation was evident in Jane’s voice.
“You don’t have to dismantle it.” Jacques, who had been patiently watching Jane move from one page to the next, said. “I can keep the setting almost the same and inlay the stones in a wider band.” He pulled out a piece of paper and began to sketch his idea.
Jane watched as the jeweler’s pencil moved over the paper and she marveled at the end result. “Wow, that is beautiful.” Her eyes widened with wonder.
“See how simple, yet elegant this is.” He pointed to his drawing with the tip of his pencil. “We can add some embellishments here…,” his hand moved quickly as he add an example of fine lines etched along the edge. “And here.” Looking up at Jane he waited for her to agree or disagree.
“Yes…,” Jane’s eyes traced the thin scripty lines and smiled. It was exactly what she wanted but hadn’t been able to convey. “Can you do it in white gold?” She asked hesitantly.
“Of course…,” He smiled at her.
“And can I engrave something inside?” Her voice cracked slightly at the emotion she was struggling to control.
“I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.” He dropped his gaze back to his sketch to allow her a moment to gather her thoughts. When he felt she was ready, he slipped the paper towards her and handed her the pencil. “Here, just write what you want on this.”
“Um, okay.” Jane’s brow furrowed as she tried to think of exactly what she wanted to say. Glancing over at Frost, she raised a questioning eyebrow which got a shrug of the shoulders in response. As she stood looking down at the original ring next to the idea of the new one and idea came to her and a sly smile slide across her face.
“Care to share?” Frost noticed the invisible light bulb above Jane’s head.
“Nope.” She bent her head to write the words that had come to her. Folding the paper, she slid it across the counter to Jacques and winked at him. Before she could say anything else, a phone in her jacket pocket started to ring. “What the hell?” She reached in to find a cell phone she had never seen before but it was very similar to the one that Maura had found when Paddy called her. With a nervous glance over her shoulder she could see the curious look on Frost’s face as she gave him an apologetic smile. “I’ve gotta take this.” She moved away from the counter towards the front door. “If this is who I think it is then you’ve got some fucking nerve.” Her breath came quick from her hasty exit.
“Jane.” Paddy’s voice made her cringe. “We need to talk.”
“Where and when?” She let out a frustrated huff as she pinched the bridge of her nose. Closing her eyes, she leaned against the brick wall outside the entrance and waited for Paddy to answer.
“Sally’s bar and grill. Just go in like you’re going to have dinner and wait.” Paddy hesitated but only briefly. “Bring your partner…the young one.”
“I don’t have time for these games. And I won’t involve Frost.” Her voice held more confidence than she was feeling but she wasn’t going to relent.
“We need him.” Paddy pushed, his voice stern and unyielding. “Be there in thirty minutes.” And with those final words he hung up leaving her staring at the cell phone with a frown.
“Hey, what’s up partner?” Frost appeared alongside Jane, surprising her. Fumbling the phone, it dropped from her hands and shattered on the ground at their feet. “Shit…sorry.” He bent to help her pick up the pieces and studied them with a shrewd eye. “What are you doing with a burn phone?” The question came with a hesitancy that was followed by a look that asked ‘do I want to know?’
“We’ve got to go, but I’ll fill you in on the way.” Jane tossed the pieces of the broken cell phone in the trash and grabbed Frost by the elbow guiding him towards her car.
“I’m not going to like this, am I?” He let her lead him away from the jeweler’s shop.
“Probably not.” She let out a heavy sigh as they approached the car. “Just give me a sec…, I’ve gotta call Korsak and tell him where we’re going…um…just in case.”
When she looked away, not able to meet his eyes it sent a wave of warning down his spine. With a nod of understanding, he climbed into the car and watched her pace back and forth talking on her cell phone. It was obvious something was going on, something he hadn’t be privy to but that was all about to change.
He could feel the charge of energy the moment she opened the door and slipped into the driver’s seat. The seriousness of the situation weighed heavily in the space between them and he turned to her with an expectant look on his face, waiting for her to begin.
“You ready for this?” She asked him. Her expression was grim as she ran nervous fingers through her hair. When he didn’t answer, but continued to stare at her with that expectant look on his face, she let out a heavy breath, started the car, and shifted into drive. “Hang on my friend, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
***
The look on Frosts face said everything he hadn’t and Jane could feel his anger radiating off him. As they sat across from each other in Sally’s, he had yet to make eye contact with her as they waited to hear word from Paddy. The silence that had followed them from the car weighed heavily on Jane, so heavy that she had to swallow the lump that had formed in her throat. She had prepared herself for his anger, but not the hurt that followed.
“How long have we been friends?” His voice cracked slightly when he found his voice and broke the silence.
“Um…a long time.” Jane couldn’t bring herself to look at him, instead looking around the restaurant for any sign of Paddy.
“What’s that mean to you?” Frost tapped his fingers along the edge of the table.
“It means a lot.” She finally looked up to see the stern look on his face.
“No, I don’t think it does.” He shook his head as he continued to tap his fingers, his eyes still focused on something across the room.
“Frost, please…,” Jane started to say but was interrupted when someone set two menus on the table. “Could you give us a minute.” She looked up at the server and frowned.
“I think you should read the specials.” The server nodded towards the unopened menu.
“Yeah, we’ll do that.” Jane said and gave a resolute nod when it dawned on her what the server was really saying. Glancing at Frost, she could see that his jaw was clinched as he waited for her to tell him what was coming next. Opening the menu, she saw the small piece of paper with one word written across it. “Basement.” She closed the menu and looked up at the serve to indicate her understanding.
Without saying anything, Frost stood up but hesitated as Jane followed. Reaching over to grab her arm, he leaned close so only she could hear. “I’m only doing this for Maura.” He hissed out through his still clenched teeth.
Jane winced from the pressure of his fingers on her arm, but not because it hurt but because of what he had said. She knew she had broken the cardinal rule between partners and had kept something important from him but this wasn’t her rodeo, so it hadn’t been her call. Hopefully when the dust cleared they’d all still be standing.
“I understand.” She said with a dejected shrug of her shoulders causing him to tilt his head and study her with a sad expression. “But for what’s it worth, I didn’t have a choice.”
“You of all people should know that we always have a choice.” He let go of her arm and moved past her without looking back.
With a heavy sigh, she watched as he walked away leaving her standing at the table alone. Her heart ached for Maura and the reassurances she knew would fall from those perfect lips. From the moment she had started to tell him, his silence had spoken volumes and it left her feeling uncertain and dejected. “I did what I had to do.” She said under her breath as she followed him away from the table not really expecting him to hear or understand.
It only took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dimly lit hall as she stepped off the staircase to find an open door at the end. As she stepped up to the door and peered in, she was surprised by what she saw. Although it was dark, it wasn’t damp or musty smelling like she expected a basement to be. On the contrary, it seemed warm and welcoming like someone’s living room.
“After you.” Frost stood aside and waved his hand towards the door allowing Jane to pass.
When she stepped into the room, she found Paddy waiting at a large table alone. He looked up at her when she moved closer, a hard expression on his face. His gaze moved from her, then to Frost, and then back to her with an approving nod. “I need you to crack this phone and tell me what’s on it.” He slid the phone across the table towards Frost who gave him a look of surprise.
“I don’t take orders from you.” Frost cleared his throat as he stayed behind Jane. He couldn’t help but bristle when she picked up the phone and handed it to him without a word.
“I have a laptop set up over there with everything you should need.” Paddy gave a dismissive wave of his hand in the direction he wanted Frost to go.
Frost looked at Jane, waiting for her to respond…to defend him, to tell Paddy to fuck off…anything but look broken by what was happening. Suddenly his anger for Jane drained and was redirected at Paddy with a vengeance. Giving a curt nod of understanding, he left Jane to deal with the man who seemed to be holding all the power at the moment.
Turning his attention to Jane, Paddy pointed at a chair across from him indicating she should sit. She did without saying anything. “I think I may have something.” He leaned forward, placing his elbows on the table and leaning his chin against an open hand.
“And what might that be?” Jane leaned back and crossed her arms to put some distance between them.
“Let me ask you something Detective. Don’t you wonder why I didn’t just have you killed when I found out it was your gun involved in my son’s murder?” His eyes darkened as he watched her intently.
“Because I didn’t pull the trigger.” She said defiantly.
“That’s irrelevant. It was your gun.” He pinned her down with his hard stare.
“Then why Paddy. Why didn’t you just put me out of my misery?” She lowered her voice to a growl of indignation.
“Because I was the one who had your gun stolen in the first place.” He leaned back in his chair to give her a moment to think about what he said.
“I should have known.” She blew out a heavy breath. “You wanted to have something to hold over me if you ever needed my help.” When he didn’t answer, she knew she was right. “So, that means someone in your organization was involved. Any idea who?”
He was quiet for a minute as he watched her carefully. Placing his hands on the table to try to control the anger that flared in his chest, he let out a low breath. “Sean.” He growled out through clenched teeth.
The surprise was evident on Jane’s face as her eyes widened and she reached up to rub her forehead and the impending headache. “Fuck…,” she let out a shaky breath. “Are you sure?”
“I don’t make mistakes.” He glanced over at Frost before looking back at Jane. “It’s all he left when he disappeared.”
“Do you think there’s anything useful on it?” Her mind began to process this new information as her detective mode kicked in.
“I’m hoping he can find something.” Paddy sighed in frustration.
“Why would Sean do this?” Jane frowned at the thought of the gentle giant who always greeted her when she had business with Paddy. “He seemed loyal…,” her voice faltered.
“Everyone has their price Jane.” Paddy said with a sad resignation.
“And whose fault is that? It’s because people like you are willing to pay that price.” She couldn’t hide her anger as she glared at him.
“I won’t argue with you, but this time the price was too high, even for me.” He watched her carefully. “The only thing I ever did right in this life was give Maura the chance at a normal life…away from this. I want the same chance for my granddaughter.”
“What do you need from me?” Jane eyed him cautiously.
“Well, we can start with the phone. Hopefully there’ll be something I can use to find Sean.” He didn’t even try to hide the sadness in his voice this time.
“And what will you do when you find Sean?” Her voice halted hesitantly because she already knew the answer.
He watched her fidget under his hard gaze, knowing that they both knew the answer to that question. “Then…,” he looked away from her intense dark eyes. “I’ll deliver states evidence to Ryan.” His eyes found hers again and he dared her to question what came next. “And then I’ll disappear.”
“Forever?” Jane didn’t even try to argue. She knew that Ryan was expecting Paddy to turn himself over to the authorities when this came to an end. It was obvious he had other ideas and she had no intention of bringing that up and it was apparent that no matter where he ended up, he would never truly be gone.
Before Paddy could answer Jane’s question, Frost dropped the phone down on the table between them with a resounding thud. “I was only able to get the last number called.” He leaned a hip against Jane’s chair and looked down at her. “It’s an international number…Ireland.” A small triumphant grin tugged at his lips at the surprised look on Paddy’s face.
“Jesus Paddy, who’d you piss off?” Jane looked up to find Frost’s expression soften.
“The number please.” Paddy didn’t acknowledge Jane’s question.
Frost waited for Jane’s approval before dropping a piece of paper in front of Paddy. “Now, if that’s all…I think I could use a beer.” His eyes found Jane’s again and tried to reassure her that they were okay. “How ‘bout you Jane?”
“Don’t test me young man. You do know who you’re dealing with here, don’t you?” Paddy tilted his head to the side to regard Frost and his boldness.
Leaning across the table, Frost eyed Paddy with disdain. “You don’t scare me old man. When you have her as a partner…,” he hitched his thumb in Jane’s direction. “Nothing scares you.”
For a moment, a heavy silence surrounded them and then Paddy laughed. The sound of laughter surprised both Jane and Frost who reached for his gun but stopped when he realized what was happening.
“You’ve got balls…I’ll give ya that.” Paddy barked out in laughter but then turned serious. “I’ll be in touch with you.” His eyes found Janes again as he pushed up from the table to stand.
Jane stood as well, pushing her long dark hair over her shoulder. She could feel Frosts relaxed body next to hers and it set her at ease. Looking around the room, her curiosity got the better of her and she decided to ask the question that had been bothering her since they had arrived. “What’s the deal here? Why the basement?” She held out her hands to indicate what she was talking about.
“Well,” Paddy paused as he too looked around with a fond expression on his face. “I know that you have a tail…as do I. So, for all they know, you entered Sally’s Bar and Grill for dinner and I entered La Cantina Mexicanos and our paths didn’t cross.” When Jane gave him a confused look, he continued. “We’ve been using this place to meet for years. Only the owners know the two restaurants connect…well, and a few of us in the organization too.” He gave a shrug of his shoulders.
“So, what you’re saying is that this is a super-secret mob hang out?” Frost seemed intrigued.
“I wouldn’t go so far to say it was a hang out, but yes…it is super-secret.” Paddy gave Frost a pointed look that had him taking a step back. “And I expect it will stay super-secret.” This time he glanced at Jane who gave a nod of understanding.
“I get it.” Jane fidgeted nervously under his gaze. It wasn’t enough that she had been summoned yet again by Paddy but now he was expecting her to keep his secrets as well. Perhaps she shouldn’t have asked.
“Good.” Paddy said as he headed across the room towards a door Jane hadn’t noticed earlier. Stopping half-way there, he turned to her with a frown and only paused briefly before speaking again. “And promise me that you’ll protect them.”
“With my life.” Jane didn’t hesitate as she answered with finality. Her words caused Frost to give her a strange look but he didn’t say anything.
As they watched Paddy disappear behind the door, they turned to look at each other, each with questions of their own. Jane shoved her hands in her pockets and shrugged her shoulders.
“I guess I own you an apology.” She had a sheepish grin on her face.
“No apology necessary, but the truth would be a good start.” He shrugged his shoulders in the same way that Jane had.
“Okay…but it’ll take some time.” Jane moved towards the door. “How about that beer?”
“Yeah, but you’re buying and none of that light shit.” He stepped aside to let her pass in front of him.
“I always do.” She laughed even though she wasn’t feeling very jovial. All she could think about was getting home to Maura and the comfort and understanding she knew she would find in Maura’s arms.

Chapter Text

What if
Stepping through the front door, Maura stumbled and tripped over Jane’s boots scattered in the dimly lit entryway. “Shit…” she muttered under her breath. When her eyes finally adjusted to the light filtering in from the living room, she pushed herself from the floor and picked up the items that had tumbled from her purse when she fell. Her id badge reflected what little light reached her, gleaming harshly against the pale skin of her fingers causing her to grip it tightly before shoving it in the pocket of her jacket.
Irritation nagged at her as she stepped in the living room to find Jane curled up on the couch in sweat pants and a tank top, her dark hair spread about in all directions over the pillow tucked under head. With a huff, she moved to the kitchen in search of something to eat and was stopped short by the scene laid out on the kitchen table.
Plates, napkins, and silverware set up for two greeted her, flanked by two taper candles just waiting to be lit. Her irritation quickly vanished and was replaced by guilt at the realization that Jane had tried to make a romantic dinner for them. It had been her call to stay late even though there was no need. Her inability to let someone else step in and help had kept her away from home more than she liked these days. The awareness that she would need to talk to Susie Chang about taking a more active role in the day to day tasks of the lab caused her to sigh heavily.
“Hey beautiful.” Jane slipped her arms around Maura’s waist and pulled her close. “Dinner’s in the oven.” She pushed honey blonde hair away to expose Maura’s neck and placed a soft kiss along the skin she found there.
“Um…” Maura hummed at the feeling of Jane pressed against her and the feeling of soft lips dancing along her neck. “Do I have time for a shower?” She placed a hand atop the one’s resting on her stomach.
“Yeah...” Jane nuzzled closer to crook of Maura’s neck, lightly scraping her teeth along the sensitive flesh before kissing the tender spot. “You want company?” Her words were breathless and filled with hopefulness.
“I just really want to wash this day off.” Maura gently pulled away from Jane’s hold drawing a frown in response. “I smell like death…” her voice trailed off. Tears of frustration stung her eyes as she tried to keep them from falling.
Jane nodded her acceptance, but her expression changed to concern. Reaching out, she cupped Maura’s cheek and ran her fingers along the curve of Maura’s jaw. She smiled when Maura tilted her head towards the gentle touch that was meant to comfort and support. “You alright?”
“Yeah…” Maura leaned forward and pressed her forehead against Jane’s, taking all that was being offered. “I’m just tired.”
“Okay, you still want dinner?” Jane pulled back and placed a quick kiss to Maura’s forehead.
“Yes, I’m hungry. I don’t remember the last time I ate.” Maura had a faraway look on her face. “Also, could you open a bottle of the red…” she asked as she moved towards the stairs without looking back.
Jane watched as Maura walked away, shoulders sagging under the weight of the world. It had been a tough week with three separate murder cases to keep them all busy but Maura had been given the brunt of the workload and it was beginning to show. Not only did they have their regular cases to deal with, but Paddy was still lurking in the shadows waiting to make his move. She almost regretted telling Maura about their last meeting but she knew she had no choice. With Paddy’s silence, the waiting game had become almost unbearable and the cracks were starting to show…especially for Maura.
Moving to the kitchen, Jane snatched up her cell phone as she walked past the couch and punched Frost on her speed dial. It only rang twice before he answered in a gruff voice.
“S’up?” His voice was thick with sleep even though he tried to sound awake.
“I see we had the same idea.” Jane said as she flipped the oven light on to check the lasagna.
“Yeah, well…it’s been a busy week.” He grumbled as he pushed himself up off the couch he had fallen asleep on.
“What, no hot date tonight?” She inquired as she leaned against the counter to watch the last few minutes’ tick off the timer.
“It’s a late date.” He couldn’t hide the fact that he was smirking, Jane could hear it in his voice.
“Same girl or different?” Jane glanced over her shoulder at Maura’s wine cabinet with the intention of picking a bottle of red.
“Different…” he chuckled at his partner’s intuitiveness. “I met her at the coffee shop by the station.”
“Oh, you’re talking about the tall, leggy brunette…aren’t you?” Jane balanced her phone between her shoulder and chin as she reached up to grab a bottle of what she hoped was the right red wine.
“Maybe…” this time he laughed heartily. “Don’t let Maura hear you talk like that.”
“She’s upstairs taking a shower.” The pout was evident in Jane’s tone and it piqued Frost’s curiosity.
“What’s wrong?” He let out a tired sigh as he settled back against his couch. Even a two-hour nap hadn’t touched the fatigue left over from their long week.
“She’s tired, s’all.” Her voice faltered slightly.
“She works too hard.” Frost thought back to the last time he had seen Maura. Dark rings had marred the usually porcelain skin under her eyes and her smile had seemed strained when she spoke to him.
“It’s all this uncertainty.” Jane let out a heavy breath as she struggled with the fancy, electronic wine opener Maura insisted on using. “Any news on that phone number you took from Sean’s phone?”
“I’m still working on it. It’s an international number so…” he started to say but was interrupted.
“You can do this, right?” Jane sounded irritated but it was mostly because of the wine opener that wasn’t cooperating.
“You know I can.” Frost sounded cold and indifferent this time. “It’ll just take some time.”
“Look, I’m sorry.” Jane let out a grunt when the cork finally twisted free of the bottle. “It’s just that I don’t know how much longer we can do this. There’s just too much at stake.”
“I get it and that’s why I didn’t give Paddy both numbers. I figured it would give us the upper hand.” Frost closed his eyes at the memory of pocketing the extra number he had found in Sean’s phone.
“You’re right. I’m glad you had the foresight to do what you did.” Jane brought the bottle up to her nose to smell the spicy, woodsy aroma and it made her mouth water. Not because she wanted to drink it but because she could just imagine what it would taste like when she kissed Maura’s lips later.
“You trust me, right?” It was a question he already knew the answer to, but for some reason he needed to hear it.
“With my life.” Jane said without hesitation.
“Then leave me to it. I’ll figure it out. I promise.” His declaration was spoken with a confidence that brokered no argument.
“I know, I know…” she let out a tired sigh. “It’s just the waiting that’s hard.”
He was quiet for a moment as he thought about everything that had happened since Maura had come back in their lives. There had been a lot of changes…some good and some not so good but he wouldn’t change it for the world. The Jane he had come to know and love was finally back and it was all due to Maura. “Um…” he hesitated as he bit down on his lip trying to decide if he should continue. “I know someone at the FBI that I can call. Maybe she can help.” He knew what he had to do and he also knew there would be no turning back once the questions started.
“Really?” Jane had heard the hesitation in his voice. She’d known him long enough to know when he was hiding something. “She?”
“That’s a story for another time, Jane. Maybe after a few beers. Now, I’ve got a date to get ready for.” He said.
“Got it. And Frost…” she waited for his impatient exhale of breath and then continued. “Thanks.”
“Any time partner.” He smiled into the receiver. “See ya later.”
“Not if I see you first.” Jane laughed before hanging up. She knew he was doing everything he could but she just needed to hear it from him. The stress of everything hanging over them had been like a bucket of cold water dousing any fire that had grown between her and Maura as of late but she was determined to relight that flame and she would start with lighting the candles for their romantic dinner.

***
Warm water cascaded over Maura, rinsing away the residue of the day she was ready to put behind her. Leaning one hand against the shower wall, she dropped her head to watch the soap swirl around her feet before disappearing down the drain and with it the stress and tension melted away. But the tears came anyway even though she had fought to keep them back. She didn’t know where they came from or why she needed to shed them but relief followed. The hurt in Jane’s eyes when she said she needed to be alone had almost caused her to relent and invite Jane to join her but she was glad she hadn’t. It was this time alone that would bring her the peace she would need to face Jane at dinner.
With a heavy sigh, Maura allowed herself the moment of reprieve she needed to find the energy to push along even though her heart was heavy with uncertainty. It wasn’t uncertainty about her and Jane, no that was solid. It was uncertainty about what their next step with Paddy would be. After Jane told her about their meeting and the revelation that someone in Paddy’s organization had been responsible for Colin’s death, she’d had a sinking feeling about what would come next. The fact that Frost was now involved worried her, but at the same time she was glad not to harbor any more secrets. His expertise would be a benefit to them she knew, but she also worried about what price Frost would pay for the knowledge he had been made privy to.
As the tears continued to fall, she rubbed at her eyes, feeling the sting of soap and shampoo. She had been under too much stress lately and so had everyone else in her life. A nice dinner and glass of wine would do wonders for her mental state and a night in Jane’s arms would do wonders for the rest of her body. A small smile formed at the corners of her mouth as she recalled the effort Jane had made to make their evening together a romantic one and she was grateful. They had spent enough time over the past few weeks letting the weight of the world weight down on them and now it was time to put that all behind them and they would start with dinner.
Rinsing the soap from her body, Maura marveled at how quickly the thought of Jane eased the tension that had stayed with her all day. With a renewed vigor, she turned off the water and stood still as steam billowed up and around her. When she finally stepped from the shower, all the worries that had followed her home drained away. Catching a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror, she noticed that the dark rings that had marred the pale skin under her eyes had faded a bit. The lingering stench of death that had once followed her and had grown stronger with each new autopsy she performed began to fade and brought up the question of whether she wanted to continue. There were upsides to her job, one being spending her days with Jane but the effects of dealing with death daily was beginning to take its toll…a toll she wasn’t sure she was willing to pay anymore. Looking at her reflection, a small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as a plan began to form in the back of her mind, a plan that just might work out if she could convince herself and Jane that it was for the best.
With a new sense of hope, she glanced over her shoulder at the silk robe hanging on the back of the bathroom door and a flutter of anticipation started in the pit of her stomach, spreading along her skin like wild fire. Jane loved that robe, especially when she wore nothing underneath. With a wicked grin, she slipped the silky material over her damp skin causing it to cling to her curves giving just a hint of what or what didn’t lay beneath. It was time for her to reconnect with Jane…to hold her…to love her in that way that left them both breathless. Yes, the weight of the world had taken enough from them…but it wouldn’t tonight because tonight would belong to them and only them.

***
Jane balanced a glass of wine in each hand as she followed the soft sound of music coming from the living room. As she rounded the corner, she almost dropped the glasses of wine at the sight before her. Maura stood in the middle of the room, wearing a silk robe that did little to conceal what was beneath, swaying back and forth to the rhythm of Sade. Looking over her shoulder, she beckoned Jane to her with the crook of her finger.
“Fuck…me…” Jane let out a heavy exhale as her hands began to tremble.
“That is exactly what I intent to do.” Maura waved towards the coffee table indicating that Jane should set the glasses of wine down.
“Jesus Maur…I thought you were tired.” Jane’s wobbly legs carried her away from where she set the wine down. The closer she got, the more she regretted not drinking the whole glass in one gulp.
“What’s on the menu tonight?” Maura reached out and placed her hands on narrow hips, pulling Jane closer to her as she continued to move to the soft strains of Sade’s ‘Cherish the Day.’
“Um…besides you?” Jane allowed her body to be pulled closer to Maura’s. Gathering the silky material of Maura’s robe in her hands, she bunched it up between her fingers and squeezed. “I love seeing you in this robe.” In the background, Sade’s voice filled the space between them with the first lines of the song.
‘You’re ruling the way that I move and I breath your air…’
Maura pressed her body against Janes, running her hands down the front of her tank top until her fingers found the hem and dipped beneath to touch warm skin. “I’ve missed this…” she traced along Jane’s stomach causing the muscles to twitch beneath her fingertips.
“You’ve been working too hard.” Jane was breathless as Maura continued to touch her.
“And that is why I want to ‘cherish the day’…” Maura said the words at the same time as Sade. “I want to cherish every day I spend with you.” She skimmed her lips across Jane’s cheek until her mouth rested against an ear. “I need a drink…” she slipped from Jane’s arms to pick up her glass of wine.
With a small frown, Jane watched as Maura took a drink already missing the feeling of holding their bodies together. “You’re going to make me work for this, aren’t you?” She let out a heavy sigh and tossed her hair over her shoulder to show she was up to the challenge.
“Maybe…just a little.” Maura took a sip of the red wine as she peered over the rim, giving a wink in response. Bending over in an exaggerated way, she set the glass down on the table giving Jane a glimpse of what lay beneath her silk robe. A sexy grin spread across her face when she heard the sharp intake of breath coming from behind her, followed by Jane’s hands on her hips pulling their bodies together. With a wiggle of her hips, she spun around to face Jane with a flourish. “You made the right choice with the red,” she ran her tongue along her bottom lip eliciting the desired response from Jane in the form of a low, deep throated growl. “Want to taste?” She leaned close, hovering over lips that twitched to touch hers. When their mouths finally came together, Jane moaned at the taste of red wine as Maura’s tongue found hers in a slow, sweet dance that moved in time with their bodies and the music.
As the music continued to play, Maura began to sway in a teasing way against the body pressed against hers. Pulling back and reluctantly breaking their kiss, she could see the brown of Jane’s eyes darken to the color of deep, rich chocolate. It was a shade she knew well and it brought a smile to her face as she ran the backs of her fingers along Jane’s cheek and over soft lips. “Move with me,” she dropped her hands to cover Jane’s resting on her hips, forcing their bodies closer together.
“You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?” Jane’s voice was breathless as she allowed Maura to move against her. “But if this is the way I’m gonna go, I wouldn’t change a thing.” She did her best to concentrate on Maura’s lead as heat raced along her skin where they touched.
Without saying a word, Maura moved her hands to undo the belt of her robe, revealing more skin to Jane’s widening eyes. The look of hunger in Jane’s eyes as they moved up and over the delicate flesh being exposed caused Maura’s cheeks to flush. “When you look at me like that…I feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.” Her voice faltered under the emotion she was struggling to control.
“That’s because you are the most beautiful woman in the world.” Jane met Maura’s gaze and held it steady as she moved her hands to push the robe open, unveiling even more to her hungry eyes. “I feel like it’s been a lifetime since I’ve touched you like this.” Her fingers grazed the soft, supple skin along Maura’s stomach causing the muscles to twitch and dance.
“A few weeks is hardly a lifetime but I do understand the sentiment.” Maura’s eyes dropped down to watch Jane’s hands, marveling at the tenderness of the feather light touch moving over her body. Reaching for the hem of Jane’s tank top, she tugged and pulled until it found a place on the floor at their feet.
In the background, the music came to an end and the room was plunged into silence except for the sound of their heavy breathing as hands continued to caress and explore. With a sudden, swift movement, Jane twisted Maura around in her arms until they were front to back. “A few weeks may as well be a lifetime with a body like this.” She reached around and cupped Maura’s breasts with both hands as her mouth found a slender neck to nibble on. Nipples hardened under her touch as she rolled each one between a finger and thumb drawing a low moan from deep within Maura’s chest. “So…fucking…beautiful…” she whispered against Maura’s shoulder where her chin came to rest as she continued to gently tug and circle the puckered flesh beneath her fingertips.
“Ummmm…” Maura arched into Jane’s touch, pushing herself further into the hands that knew her so well. She could feel the heat radiating off Jane’s upper body into hers where their naked skin touched but she wanted more. When she felt hot breath against her ear, she couldn’t stop herself from shivering as heat shot throughout her body warming her all over. “Jane…” her breath was coming quick and her voice was low and husky. “This…is…what you do to me…” she took Jane’s hand and guided it lower to where she needed it most.
When Jane’s hand found its destination, she began to slowly stroke through the wetness she found as Maura’s need coated her fingers. When she slipped inside, she could feel Maura’s legs begin to shake, making them both unsteady. Slowly, she withdrew her fingers and skimmed up Maura’s stomach leaving a slick trail in her wake as an idea came to her.
At Jane’s withdrawal, an ache replaced the pleasure that had raced along Maura’s skin. Before she could protest, the feeling of an arm wrapping around her waist, steadying her shaky legs made her sigh into the safety that surround her. It was the feeling of Jane’s hot breath as she whispered in her ear that made her grateful for the arms that held her with a firm grip.
“Don’t move, I’ve got an idea…” Jane’s voice was low and soft against Maura’s ear before she released her and moved to the couch to gather several throws and pillows. Spreading them around the floor at Maura’s feet, she smiled when she saw Maura realize what she was doing.
“You’re going to have to lose the pants detective if you want this to go any further.” Maura couldn’t stop herself from laughing as she watched Jane wiggle out of her sweat pants and give her an expectant look.
“Better?” Jane asked as she grabbed Maura by the hand and pulled her down on top of the impromptu bed on the floor. “Do you remember that time we had a picnic in your room?” She settled back against the pile of cushions with Maura in her arms.
“I do. You brought me chicken noodle soup.” Maura lay with her back to Jane’s chest and the rest of her body between long legs.
“We should have picnics inside more often.” Jane ran her hands up and down Maura’s thighs before pushing them apart. “Nice reclined butterfly pose.” Her fingers danced along the curve of Maura’s hips before slipping beneath the robe.
“You’ve been following my yoga routine…” Maura let out soft moan when Jane’s hand parted the silky material of her robe and slid inside to caress her.
“I’ve been known to pay attention from time to time, especially when you wear those yoga pants that leave little to the imagination.” With the lightest of touches, her fingertips skimmed over Maura’s breasts and stomach before coming to linger at her belly button. “This is my favorite place to be…” her left hand drifted lower and her right hand shifted higher to cradle the underside of a breast. “Right here between your legs…” The words were barely a whisper as they trailed along Maura’s skin in the same gentle way as her hands sending sparks of pleasure throughout both of their bodies.
With the roll of her hips, Maura couldn’t stop herself from seeking more contact with the slender fingers that brushed against the inside of her thigh, teasing her. “Show me…” came her breathless reply.
They both moaned as Jane’s hand glided across the inside of one thigh to the other, taking her time to reach that place she craved so much. The anticipation was almost as good as the prize itself or at least that’s what Jane tried to tell herself, that is until she finally buried her fingers in Maura’s warmth. The feeling of a need and desire so strong that it now surrounded her almost tipped Jane over the edge. It was the sound of Maura’s shaky breath that brought her back to the moment.
The trembling that started at the touch of Jane’s hand radiated throughout Maura’s body causing her to move with the slow, steady brush of fingertips exploring…searching for that one spot that held the answer to all of Maura’s prayers. Waves of pleasure rolled along her skin and carried her to the point of no return. She no longer had control over the moment and willingly gave herself over.
Jane smiled against the skin of Maura’s neck where her lips rested. The stiffening of the body in her arms as her hands continued to explore indicated Maura was close, but Jane wasn’t ready to relinquish her control just yet. Her soft strokes moved lower until she was surrounded again, wrapped within Maura’s velvety walls. The palm of her hand continued to rub with each quickening thrust bringing Maura to brink.
Grabbing Jane’s hand with her own, Maura held her tight as she moved her hips against each thrust, seeking her release. Her legs clamped shut, trapping their hands as arousal blossomed and spread out, searching for somewhere to settle. Nothing could slow the ferocity of the climax that rocked through her, shaking her to the core and taking her breath away.
That second before Maura fell over the edge was always Jane’s favorite and this time was no different. She watched in wonder as a light pink flush traveled over Maura’s skin, up and over her breasts before settling along a slender neck. The grip on her hand was strong, almost painful even, but she wouldn’t relent, not now…not ever. It took all her strength to hold on as Maura bucked against her, chasing down that ultimate ending, the one that would leave them both breathless and exhausted. And then it happened, driving them towards that destination where for the briefest moment in time, only they existed.
“I love watching you come, but I think this is my favorite part…” Jane whispered against Maura’s neck.
“Ummm…” Maura tried to speak but words failed her. She was still holding Jane’s fingers inside of her not wanting to let go just yet.
“I love being surrounded by you. And the way you hold me inside…vibrating all around me…” Jane let out a shaky breath when she felt Maura’s body relax against her.
“I really needed that.” Maura said when her voice finally returned.
“Anytime…I’m always happy to oblige.” Jane chuckled as she gave Maura’s breast a gentle squeeze before running her thumb over an erect nipple.
“Oh, no you don’t. It’s my turn.” Maura wiggled her hips as she twisted around in Jane’s arms so they were face to face. “Matching bra and panties?” Her eyes roved over Jane’s body, taking in the black bra and panties. She smiled when she noticed the lace. “And lace? Did you have plans to seduce me tonight?” Her fingers ran over the lace at the top of Jane’s bra.
“Maybe…” Jane sighed as Maura settled between her legs, placing pressure where she needed it most.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see these…” Maura ran her fingers along the waist band of the black panties as she continued. “Until now. But I like this…a lot.” She continued to trace a finger along the skin just above the elastic causing Jane to laugh. “You…are…stunning.”
The words caused Jane to blush and try to wave off the compliment but Maura was having none of that.
“Smoking hot comes to mind.” Maura moved up to place several kisses along the tops of Jane’s breasts, still enclosed in black lace. “But as much as I love this surprise…let’s see what’s underneath.” Her mouth traced over the faint white line of a scar causing Jane to shiver. Even though they had come a long way, Jane was still self-conscious about the way she looked. For Maura, the scars didn’t exist because she no longer saw them when she looked at Jane.
Reaching around, Maura undid the clasp of the black, lace bra freeing Jane’s breasts to her hungry eyes. With a wicked smile, she pushed herself up to hover over Jane so their nipples could brush against each other’s. She leaned up so their mouths were barely touching and moved her body against Jane’s before pressing her lips to Jane’s in a long, slow kiss. When she felt the soft, velvety touch of a tongue slip past her lips to mingle with her own, she couldn’t suppress a moan. The feeling of Jane’s hands at her hips, fingers digging into her skin as they ground against each other was almost enough to fast track them to the end. ‘But what would be the fun in that?’ she thought to herself as she reluctantly pulled away from Jane’s mouth.
“Maura, please…” Jane’s protest sounded more like a plea. “I’m so close…”
“I’m not ready for this to end just yet.” Maura whispered along the skin of Jane’s neck, moving to the hollow of her throat before sliding her body further down and running her tongue through the valley between Jane’s breasts.
“Ummm, that feels so good.” Jane’s ran her fingers through honey-blonde hair, holding Maura against her. Her breath hitched when she felt the warmth of Maura’s mouth surround her and then a gentle nibble sent shock waves of pleasure through her.
Running her tongue from one soft, subtle breast to the other caused a ripple of anticipation to grow along Maura’s skin where it touched Jane’s. She skimmed slightly parted lips along a soft curve before taking an erect nipple in her mouth. The low moan that rumbled through Jane’s chest caused her to giggle but it didn’t stop her tongue from continuing its exploration.
With a sense of purpose, Maura roamed further down Jane’s body in search of more. She kissed her way along ticklish ribs and across the muscles of a tight stomach before coming to rest at Jane’s belly button. Hooking her index fingers at each side of the waist band of Jane’s black lace panties, she pulled until the last barrier separating them was gone.
Jane watched Maura move down her body with a look of concentration, lifting her hips up to allow the lacy material to be pulled off. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes as she braced herself for that first touch but when it didn’t come, she looked down to find Maura gazing at her with a sexy smirk. Reaching down, she ran her fingers through Maura’s hair, tucking a few