DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A Little Knowledge
Maura Isles prefers the company of the dead.
The dead don't lie. They don't mock. They give direct, honest answers to every question the Boston Medical Examiner asks.
The dead don't make her spend endless hours dissecting her feelings, or leave her recalling every interaction.
That job is reserved for Jane Rizzoli.
The Boston Police Detective has kept Maura spinning like a battle top since their first meeting.
Maura still isn't certain what to think of Jane, who has many attributes Maura wishes she possessed. A lifetime of hurtful names and the knowledge that she doesn't fit in has made Maura wary of the living.
Jane makes her forget that.
Maura meets Jane for lunch. Has drinks with her after work. They work at all hours, because homicide seems to occur most under cover of darkness. Stay at Jane's place because it's closer, or has Jane stay over. They both recover something missed in their childhoods, giggling in the dark in one bed.
Secrets start between them, things that only they share. Maura buys entirely too many things to keep Jo Friday entertained when she comes along with Jane. Jane stops at the market to buy fruit for Bass and a bottle of wine for Maura. There's a rack on her kitchen counter now, nearly full of wines that cost more than $25, her previous limit per bottle, because Maura likes them.
And Jane likes Maura.
After a night undercover in a lesbian bar, with Maura's cleavage Jane's brain shorted out for a few ticks every time Maura came toward her table, leading with corseted breasts they laid in Jane's bed and wondered aloud who they date if they liked women. A question with one answer on both sides ("You," but they are too afraid to say it). Maura, when Jane says she would be the guy, flashes for a moment on them in this bed, naked, with her wearing a strap-on and fucking Jane with everything she has.
'Oh,' her brain says, and Maura wonders why she didn't understand until now.
It makes her more cautious, and Jane is perplexed by what she did wrong. She doesn't want to ask, but if this goes on much longer, she will. She gives Maura more slack than anyone, more than she allows her baby brother or her ex-partner. Far more than she ever allows herself, rubbing absently at the scars on her hands.
Charles Hoyt is an evil bastard, and his torment of Jane is more than Maura can bear. She hates the look in Jane's eye, the way Jane turns into herself, that Jane is afraid enough to let Maura stand watch at her door with Jane's weapon.
Being the Queen of the Dead has advantages, few as they are. The patrol officers let her into the interview room unaccompanied. Hoyt wears more shackles than Maura has seen outside the movies.
"You're just like me," he says.
She reflects on that. In some ways, it may be true. But there is one difference: Maura would never willingly hurt Jane. She drives the used scalpel through his hand, pins it to the table. She's a coroner, and blood doesn't bother her, and she's doubly happy because in addition to hurting him, she's dumped into his bloodstream at least two infectious diseases that won't manifest for months.
Like all bullies, he can't bear pain, and screams. The door opens, and after they holster their guns, the officers smile grim thanks at Maura. They can't touch Hoyt, although every cop wants a piece of him. Vince Korsak has been expelled from the station. No one dares to try to put Jane out.
It's Jane who takes Maura from that interrogation room to another, who sits silently near her, knees touching, while Maura gives her statement to the uniform sent for that purpose.
Afterward, they stop at Jane's to pick up Jo Friday, and go to Maura's house because it has a security system. Jane clears the house and Maura arms the system, and Jo Friday runs circles around Bass. Maura gives Jane a beer and the remote control and goes to the kitchen to start dinner.
Jane joins her after a while, the TV volume turned up loud enough to hear the play by play, and sits on a stool to stay out of the way. She keeps Maura's glass filled, and she drinks steadily.
When the food's ready, they sit on the floor at the coffee table, touching, watching the rest of the Red Sox game. Jane turns Jo Friday into the backyard, fenced by Maura as soon as Jane picked up the ball of scruffy fur, and stands by the door, holding her gun and looking into shadows. Jo Friday does her business, takes a quick spin around the yard, and returns to Jane.
Even with the windows covered and the alarm on and a patrol car coming by every few minutes, Jane is jumpy. It takes Maura a while to calm her again, and by that time, the wine and meal have her so sleepy that she drifts into unconsciousness.
Jane doesn't think she'll be able to sleep, but that's ok. Jo Friday is at her feet, and she can look at Maura, admire her, without internal catcalls about her choice. Maura is beautiful. Funny without realizing it. Smart, and a little overbearing with the bits of information she collects, and she makes Jane work to keep up, but that's ok because Maura works just as hard at understanding people. Maura is the first person Jane has ever felt safe enough with to just be, and Jane understands what has been missing from her life for so long.
It's over the next night, and Jane stays with Maura again because her bedroom smells like cordite and blood. Jane dreams to Maura, it sounds like remembering about Hoyt, and it takes so much to wake her from it.
Maura's glad she did, though, when Jane sits up, recognizes her, and kisses her.
Maura's had sex with women and men. She's been kissed many times, but never with such thorough urgency, and she doesn't want to slow down, and she certainly doesn't want to stop, but she does both, keeping Jane close, knowing that she'll do anything ANYTHING to keep her safe, to make her happy, to help her heal.
All Jane does is whisper her name. When Maura feels all the emotion behind it, her resolve is broken. She brings her hands to Jane's face, holds it, stares into the dark eyes, and slowly, meticulously, and with carnal intent, kisses her. Rolls her over, strips both of them.
Begins a complete inventory of Jane Rizzoli. Anatomy 101, refresher course. Skin, muscle, tendon, bone. Scars. Jane has more than she should, and those are the ones she can identify. On her neck and hands from Hoyt. The lump of a healed fracture in one clavicle. Thin white lines from old injuries that required stitches. The occasional knot of muscle that needs extensive work, something she'll return to, because there is something more important to do right now.
Jane screams into her mouth while her body flails, and falls back, panting, and Maura doesn't stop. Even after Jane clamps onto her wrist, Maura keeps moving her fingers, but she slows, except for one burst that makes Jane let go of her wrist and bow up off the bed.
She lies beside Jane, touching her, waiting to see what will happen next.
It surprises Maura, even though she knows it shouldn't, how tender Jane is with her.
And she is relieved in the morning that things aren't awkward. Jane pulls her into the shower, and the water is cold before they even think about bathing. They call work, take the rest of the week off.
Maura packs a bag. They go to Jane's, and she packs one, too, and they leave the dog with Jane's mother on the way out of town. Cell phones turned off. Someone else can take the next case, and the one after that, and the one after that, too.
Jane knows that Maura has money, but it's driven home again at the end of their ride. What Maura calls a beach house is a mansion. They bring in groceries and walk on the beach. A private beach, and there is no one in sight, and no way for anyone to sneak up on them.
For five days, they sleep and eat and make love and listen to baseball and Top 40, and every time Maura starts off on a tangent, Jane kisses her.
When they return to Boston, everything is the same, but different. Korsak corners her first, checking the autopsy suite for witnesses before approaching Maura at her desk. "Doc," he says, and drops into a chair.
"The results won't be back until tomorrow, Vince."
"I'm not here about the results."
"Oh?" Maura looks at him.
"You're good for her."
"I try to be."
"I know she acts all tough and strong, but it's an act. You know that, right?"
"Don't hurt her."
Maura nods. He is the first of several to give her the same warning. The person she expects it from doesn't say anything like it.
Angela invites Maura for Sunday dinner after Frankie tells her what's going on. Invites Maura to arrive just when they get home from church. Frank and Frankie drop on the couch with beers to watch the Red Sox. Angela puts Maura to work in the kitchen, and when Jane shows up, Maura has been slicing and chopping for nearly an hour.
Jane stands in the kitchen doorway and watches, her eyes going from her mother to her lover and back again.
"Did you bring the bread?" Angela Rizzoli asks without looking.
"When Maura finishes that, show her how to make garlic bread."
Maura looks at Jane and smiles. It gets a little bigger when she sees the confusion on Jane's face. She hands the last of the herbs off to Angela, and when she turns back, Jane is beside her, putting two huge loaves of bread on the counter.
Jane mashes roasted garlic into butter while Maura minces the last leaves of fresh basil, which Jane adds to the garlic butter. She slathers it onto the bread, grates fresh cheese onto it.
"Just because you're gay doesn't mean you get out giving me grandchildren."
"Ma! Damn it." Jane drops the cheese and moves to the sink with the grater and her shredded fingertips.
"What? I have to find out what's going on with you from your brother."
Jane turns on the cold water and sticks her hand in the flow, rinsing away blood and cheese. Maura is there, one hand at her waist, the other pulling Jane's hand from the water so she can examine it. "Do you have any peroxide?"
"In the medicine cabinet. Let Dr. Isles fix you up, Jane."
"Maura," she corrects Angela, who looks amused.
"I'm going to kill Frankie," Jane mutters as they walk up the hall.
"Don't you want your parents to know about us?"
"When I tell them." Jane points at the mirror. "Behind there."
Maura holds Jane's hand over the sink. After she rinses it with peroxide, she applies antibiotic cream and bandages. "Do you want children?"
"I don't know, Maura, I guess."
"You'll be a wonderful mother."
Jane snorts. Maura smiles and kisses her cheek. They'll talk about this again later.
When they come out of the bathroom, everyone is in the living room. There's only one chair, and Jane sits in it and pulls Maura into her lap, which leaves Maura unexpectedly blushing despite the look on Angela's face that shows she left them one chair on purpose.
Time passes, and their unease leaves. Maura shifts on Jane's lap and rests her cheek on Jane's head, and Jane slides her hand under Maura's shirt to touch the small of her back. They don't notice the smiles on the faces of the other Rizzolis.
This moment, Maura realizes, is perfect. She belongs here, in this town, in this house, in this woman's lap. In the light. With living people. With Jane. She puts her hand on top of Jane's, high enough on her inner thigh that there is no doubt about their relationship, and turns her head just enough to kiss the wild, dark hair.
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