DISCLAIMER: All things Rizzoli and Isles belong to Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro, and other entities. I'm altering their realities for fun, not profit, as I own nothing and have the credit report to prove it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To mf.vinson[at]gmail.com
Best Gift Ever
'God damn it' streamed through Detective Jane Rizzoli's mind as she tried to think of a way out of this.
The son of a bitch who had Maura was at least as large as both of them combined. There was no backup around. They weren't working. When Jane learned that Maura never celebrated Christmas, she became her mother's daughter, although she tried not to think too much about it.
The end result was that both of their homes were clean and decorated. After doing a little research to make certain what adhesive wouldn't hurt him, Jane glued a wreath of ornaments around Bass' shell. When Maura was finished being upset over the decoration of her tortoise, she had to admit it was cute, and now giggled every time she heard one of the tiny bells in Bass' decorations.
They'd intended to go to midnight mass, but got sidetracked on the way and were running late. As a result, they had to park three blocks away. They were supposed to be inside, performing their aerobic duty with every other sinner who showed up for the two big holidays each year, but Maura heard something, and where Maura led, Jane followed.
The knife that snicked open just in front of Maura's throat looked huge. Jane slowly began to reach for her weapon, and Indiana Jones flashed through her mind, interrupting the terror rising from the base of Jane's spine. She didn't want anyone to wind up hurt, especially Maura, but if he was any more aggressive, he was going to learn why it was a bad idea to bring a knife to a gunfight.
Maura kept her eyes on Jane, trusting her to keep them both safe, and went limp when she saw Jane's slight nod.
He wasn't expecting that. Maura's dead weight pulled at him, and he chose to let her go rather than fall himself. When he looked up, Jane had her weapon trained on him.
"Drop the knife," she ordered in a low voice.
He looked at her, debating, and took a step to run.
Maura's hand darted out and grabbed his ankle, and he faceplanted on the cold bricks. Jane was on him in seconds, and left him cuffed on the ground while she made certain Maura was uninjured.
The church carillon began, and relief made them both smile.
"Merry Christmas, Maura."
"Merry Christmas, Jane." Mara pushed up a little and kissed Jane's cheek.
They enjoyed the closeness for a few seconds more, and Maura kissed Jane's other cheek before letting go. She bobbed her head toward her attacker, who wisely hadn't moved.
Jane pulled him up and patted him down quickly. "It's your lucky day, sport," she told him as she got her handcuff key. She released him, and when she replaced the key, in her pocket, pulled out some cash. She didn't have much, since they planned to go to church and back to Maura's, but she offered it to him. "I'm not gonna lock you up because I don't wanna do the paperwork," she told him. "Don't make me sorry."
He looked at her for several seconds before accepting the money from her. A moment later, a second hand offered more bills. "Thank you," he said hoarsely to both of them.
"Merry Christmas," Jane answered. "When I turn around, you better be gone."
He didn't need to be told twice, and disappeared into the shadows as the bells finished.
"You all right?" Jane asked Maura.
"I'm fine. My coat needs to go to the cleaner."
"You still wanna go?"
"All right." Jane nodded, and put her arm around Maura. She got them moving along the sidewalk again, and they entered the church. It was crowded, but Jane saw a place on the right four rows from the back, and they made their way to those seats.
Maura stood and sat when Jane prompted her, and took in everything around her. When she was finished looking around, she looked at Jane.
She had no doubt earlier that Jane wouldn't allow her to be injured. After Patrick Doyle kidnapped her, Jane gave Maura extensive self-defense lessons. They reviewed them monthly, spending two hours in the gym with Maura beating the hell out of Jane and Jane allowing it.
More and more, Maura found Jane at the center of her thoughts, and she was certain that a third of those thoughts would be considered completely inappropriate. The others were mostly happy, memories of the time they spent together. As Maura reflected, she realized that for months, she and Jane spent all of their free time together. They wandered in and out of each other's homes, ran the other's errands, and ate together almost every night. More nights than not, they shared a bed, silent acknowledgment by both that the other's presence eased seemingly endless nightmares. Maura smiled at Jane and put her hand over Jane's, neatly folded in her lap.
Jane glanced at Maura, and smiled back. She squeezed Maura's fingers in acknowledgment, and held them because she wanted to. Maura was insanely smart and strong for her size, and probably could have gotten out of that mess by herself. If it weren't for her own insistence that Maura celebrate Christmas, she wouldn't have been there at all. Jane was glad she was, though.
Barely a month ago, Jane went through her own Thanksgiving ritual. While she drank her morning coffee, she counted her blessings, using a new page in the notebook she kept for that purpose since she was old enough to write. At the top of the list this year was Maura, for more reasons than Jane could think of and one she didn't want to admit. The list was longer this year than the year before. Since Hoyt, Jane was more cautious about some things, and less about others, and sometimes wondered whether those were the right choices.
She wondered now, in church of all places, what kissing Maura would be like. When she didn't get hit by lightning, Jane relaxed and considered it at length, rising, kneeling, and sitting by rote. She glanced at Maura from time to time, and sometimes caught her thoughtful gaze. Others, she saw Maura looking around, taking everything in. Jane could hear her now: "Anthropologically fascinating but rationally groundless."
The service finally ended, and they joined the throng leaving the church. Maura leaned into Jane during the walk to her car, and Jane put her arm around her, but remained alert, especially after what happened earlier. They didn't talk much on the way home, or while preparing for bed.
When they were tucked in, a careful distance between them, hands clasped atop the comforter, Maura asked, "Why did you let him go?"
"It's Christmas," Jane shrugged. "Peace on earth and all that shi-stuff." She turned her head toward Maura. "How much did you give him?"
"All I had was a hundred dollars."
'Probably find him dead in the morning,' Jane thought, but kept it to herself. "Hope it makes it to his kids," she said quietly.
Maura rolled onto her side and smiled triumphantly at Jane. "I knew it! You're a big marshmallow."
Jane launched a tickle attack. "Take it back," she demanded.
"No," Maura giggled, and launched her counterattack. When she was victorious, Maura held both of Jane's hands over her head with one and threatened a renewed attack with the other.
"Uncle," Jane said weakly, grinning stupidly. All thoughts of sleep were gone, driven away by the delicious heat of Maura's body and the patches of skin that touched where rumpled sleepwear was pushed away.
Maura's kiss was completely unexpected but welcome, and Jane's hands were soon free to roam beneath Maura's silk pajama top.
"Are you my present?" Jane asked softly when Maura broke the kiss and sat up.
Maura looked a little stunned and very pleased at the turn of events. "Only if you're mine," she answered, her hand going automatically to cup Jane's face.
"Best present ever," Jane answered, and began unbuttoning Maura's top.
Maura pulled Jane up so she could remove her shirt. Her fingers trembled over Jane's scar, and the mood shifted.
"Hey, no, Maura, I'm all right. I promise."
"It was so close."
"I promised I wouldn't leave you. I keep my promises."
Maura looked at her, seeing all that she could have lost, but didn't. Jane's expression was all earnest concern, although she, like Maura, was undeniably aroused. "I know you do. It's part of why I love you," Maura answered, and kissed Jane again. The new scars 'Why must she acquire them in multiples?' marked another battle won.
"There's a list?"
"Of course." Maura smiled and took a mental snapshot of Jane, topless, flushed with the promise of sex, hair hopelessly tangled. Laughing because she got Maura's joke. "Merry Christmas, Jane."
"Merry Christmas, Maura," she answered, and returned to what she was doing.
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