DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Debbie for the quick beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To darandkerry[at]yahoo.com

A Bunny Tale
By Ann


"What exactly would you like me to do, Jane?" Maura asked skeptically as she stared down at the victim stretched out across the length of her autopsy table.

"Fix it!" Jane said more forcefully than she'd intended. She shot a quick glance over her shoulder to make sure they were still alone and then gentled her voice. "I've got to sneak it back to Ma's before she discovers it's missing."

Maura looked at Jane in disbelief. "How in the world do you expect to get this," she pointed at the flat as a pancake, furry white object that lay motionless on the cold steel, "back to your parents without anyone seeing you?" She didn't bother asking how Jane had snuck the six foot eight – counting its ears and extended rear paws - furry rabbit into autopsy in the first place.

"Let me worry about that," Jane replied as she walked over toward Maura's desk and grabbed a black trash bag. With a slight grunt, she slung the bag onto the table near the rabbit's back paws. "We need to get the stuffing back inside and then sew him up again. He's the main attraction at the church Easter egg hunt tomorrow." What she really meant was that Maura could sew him back up. When it came to a needle and thread, Jane was all thumbs.

Maura fingered a large rip in the bunny's side and then took in two other rather large tears on its knees. "How did this happen?"

"How should I know?" Jane answered defensively. "I just backed over the thing." She paused and added more quietly, "Twice." She'd almost died when she'd climbed out of her car and found Harvey the Rabbit strewn across her parents' driveway. The stuffed rabbit had been in her family for as long as Jane could remember.

"I'm not sure I can fix him, Jane," Maura said as she glanced over at the half-filled garbage bag. "And I don't think there's enough stuffing in that bag, either. Are you sure you got it all?"

"Maura, there were Harvey guts all over the place. I picked up as much as I could," Jane replied impatiently. They were running out of time… and fast. "Can't you just use some cotton balls or something to make up for the missing bits?"

"Cotton balls?" Maura's eyebrows shot to her hairline. "Do you know how many cotton balls it would take to stuff that rabbit?"

"Harvey," Jane corrected. He really was like part of the family and Jane had killed him. This was bad; this was very bad. "C'mon, Maura, use that brilliant mind of yours. There has to be something we can do. Ma's going to be expecting Harvey to be riding beside her to the church this afternoon."

Maura studied the stuffing-less rabbit. It really was a lost cause. "Um, Jane? What exactly does Harvey do at the Easter egg hunt?"

Jane ran a finger along the soft fur of Harvey's torn knee. "He sits in the middle of the field on a bale of hay and watches the kids hunt eggs." She smiled in memory of Harvey watching a seven year old Jane find the golden egg. She'd been so excited that she'd run over and hugged the rabbit as if he'd been real.

"Is that all?" Maura asked, wondering if Harvey would even be missed once the egg hunting got underway.

"No," Jane said, sounding almost put out that Maura would think so lowly of Harvey. "You can't have an Easter egg hunt without a rabbit and, besides, the child with the most eggs and the one with the golden egg have their picture taken with him. It's a tradition."

"Ah," Maura said as she turned her mind to the problem. She could only think of one solution. She looked at Jane and smiled.

"You are one smart lady, Angela Rizzoli," Maura complimented Jane's mother as she watched several children race toward a large oak tree and a blue egg that sat at its base.

"I know," Angela returned with a wide grin. "But I couldn't have done it without your help," she said appreciatively. "Jane would never have agreed if it had been me that had asked."

Maura nodded her head in agreement and glanced around the field, her gaze finally settling on a tall, white fluffy rabbit sitting on a bale of hay. She grinned. "What did happen to poor Harvey?"

Angela sighed sadly. "I drug him across the field early yesterday morning and then remembered that I'd forgotten his Easter basket. I just laid him on the ground and hurried back to the car. I'd forgotten that Sammy was getting the lawn ready for the hunt."

"Oh no," Maura said in understanding. That would explain the rips in Harvey's fur.

"Yeah, I heard the lawnmower start and began to wave frantically at Sammy. He thought I was just being friendly, and he lifted a hand to wave back; he never saw the rabbit and nicked its side. Then he realized what he'd done and panicked. He flipped the mower around – it's one of those fancy ones that go around in circles – and he cut through Harvey's knees, too. Poor Harvey never stood a chance."

"And neither did Jane," Maura said, intending to do everything in her power to always stay on Angela's good side.

"No, she really didn't," Angela returned with a laugh. "You should have seen her expression when she ran over Harvey. I wish I'd had a camera." Angela's grin split her face from ear-to-ear in memory of yesterday's events. She'd called her daughter and asked Jane to pick up and drop off her cleaning. She'd said that she was too busy running errands to get ready for the hunt and wouldn't be done before Antonio's closed. When Jane had gone to the front door, Angela had snuck out of the garage and lay what was left of Harvey behind Jane's car. She'd just managed to lower the garage door when Jane had exited the house and headed toward her car. Angela had had a bird's eye view from the kitchen.

"Well, Jane does make a good rabbit," Maura said proudly. Jane had only balked once when they'd gone costume shopping. Maura had had no idea that she'd led her friend into one of 'those' shops, but she did make a mental note to go back when she had more time to browse.

"She really does," Angela agreed just as proudly. "With Frank Senior down in his back and Frankie Junior in bed with a cold and fever, Jane was my only hope. I'd have done it myself, but I'm in charge of the food booth." She looked down at her watch. "Oh, speaking of which, I need to head over there. Would you excuse me for a bit?"

"Sure," Maura said with a smile. "I'm just going to watch the kids for a while longer."

"Okay, but be sure to come by before you leave. I'll make you a doggie bag." Angela stepped forward and gave Maura a hug. "See you at Easter dinner and thanks again, Maura," she whispered into the younger woman's ear and, with a quick peck on Maura's cheek, Angela turned and hurried across the yard. "Hey, Harvey!" she yelled and waved at the bored looking rabbit.

Maura chuckled and looked over just as Harvey the Rabbit pushed to her feet; Jane never saw the rambunctious little boy running headlong into her side. The collision knocked the bunny on her ass and Maura drew in a deep breath.

A large white head whipped around and pinned the young boy with a stare – a big ol' goofy-looking expression plastered permanently on its face - and Maura was thankful the boy couldn't see the look that was being directed at him from inside the furry head. She held her breath as the staring match continued, the little boy looking as if he might burst into tears any moment until a big furry paw extended in his direction. He stared down at it and smiled before slipping his small hand into an oversized pink palm. Together, the boy and the rabbit crossed the yard and headed toward a small grove of trees where a seven year old girl had found a golden egg years earlier.

Maura looked on with a smile. Jane really was just a softie at heart, and Maura began to make plans to reward her lover later with a much more adult version of winning the grand prize.

The End

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