DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network. I wish they weren't, but oh well.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For slickchick87, who encouraged me to venture outside Alex/Olivia land (Law & Order: SVU) and visit Jane/Maura land! This started out as a oneshot, but ended up becoming a story despite several pauses with the updates. Some inspiration was taken from the Hitchcock film 'Rear Window'.
SPOILERS: For Season 1, AU compared with Season 2.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To raedmagdon[at]yahoo.com

By Rae D. Magdon


Lie and Deny:

Maura had a strategy when it came to Jane Rizzoli: lie and deny.

Constantly swinging between empathetic and socially inept, Maura could read people like a book in one moment and overlook the most obvious social cues in the next. Nevertheless, she was talented at burying her feelings, locking them away to forget about or deal with later.

'My attraction to her is completely physical. We have sex because that is what humans do – bonding with the social group for companionship.' That was the first lie that Maura told to herself whenever she began to question her strange relationship with Jane. She purposely did not consider the fact that she had no desire to "bond" with Frost, Korsak, or anyone else in her work environment's "social group".

She had been with men before, and it was... standard. She had been with one woman before Jane, and that had also been... standard. 'A small degree of bisexuality is a healthy variation, a normal reference point on the Kinsey scale,' she told herself. Another lie.

But Jane was anything but standard.

'She is a beautiful woman,' Maura reminded herself when the doubts began to creep up on her, threatening to break down the barriers she had so carefully erected and swallow her whole, sending her spiraling into the unknown. 'Many people who see and interact with her are probably attracted to her.'

They rarely talked about it. There were no declarations of love, no illusions of a relationship. In fact, they only incriminating dialogue they had shared in the last few days was a brisk "you left your shirt at my house" from Jane to Maura, since the doctor had borrowed one of hers.

The honey blonde closed her eyes, remembering the swift jerk and tug of Jane's hands as they had ripped her blouse open, not even bothering to remove the lacy cups of her bra before enveloping her nipple in the warm, wet heat of her mouth...

"Maura? Hello, Maura?"

Maura blinked. "Jane."

Sometimes, Maura wished she knew what went on in Jane's head while they were talking normally. Was her friend also having forbidden, erotic thoughts about her? Was she just thinking about her day at work? What did she make of their arrangement? Her thoughts were venturing into dangerous territory, and Maura cut off them off with an abrupt blink of her eyes. "What may I do for you?"

"I'm heading out early. For once, the lovely citizens of Boston have decided to take a break from killing each other. You want a ride? If you're finishing up, that is."

Maura was not ready to finish up, but she considered leaving some work for tomorrow just for an excuse to ride with Jane. The phrase 'want a ride' usually meant that she would be riding Jane's shapely, dexterous hand instead of just sitting shotgun in her car. It also usually entailed spending the night.

'You are not attached to her, Maura...'

And just to prove it, she said, "no thank you, I have more work to do. Then I'll go home and keep Bass and the television company with a glass of wine."

Now Jane knew that something was up. Maura could see it in her eyes. 'Television? That's the best you could come up with? You're supposed to be intelligent. What is the purpose of having all those degrees plastered on your wall if you can't even navigate through a conversation properly...'

"Maura? ... Maura?"

Realizing that she had gotten lost in her own head again, Maura sighed. "Sorry, Jane. I don't know where my mind is today." Another lie. She would lose count if she wasn't careful. Maura knew exactly where her head was – or, more precisely, where she wanted it to be: pressed between her friend's long, smooth thighs, tasting her…

"If you're sure," Jane said hesitantly, her instincts telling her that there was more to Maura's distracted state than she was letting on.

"I'm sure."

Stung by the rejection, Jane turned away, feigning nonchalance as she checked the time on her cell phone. "Well, I'm heading home, then. Joe is probably dying for a run."

Shoving down her want and denying her need, Maura returned to cleaning up her workspace. A click sounded from somewhere near the door. Was that the lock?

Before she could successfully redirect her thoughts, a shadow blocked out the searing fluorescent lighting that hummed over her head. Her eyes widening slightly, pupils dilating – 'it's from the lack of light, not arousal caused by her close proximity,' Maura almost convinced herself – she looked up into the familiar face of her coworker, friend, and sometimes-lover.

And then Jane was kissing her, leaving Maura's brain empty of all analytical questions. She was content to simply feel. Jane's mouth was coaxing and warm and forceful against hers, and before she knew what was happening, Maura's hands were braced against the table and her eyes were closed, lips parting to allow the kiss to deepen.

"Not here," Jane murmured, her kisses wandering to the corner of Maura's lips, ghosting over her cheeks and chin. "It's... disrespectful?"

"What are you talking about?" Maura asked, gasping as a hand gripped her knee, warmth searing through the hose beneath her skirt. It embarrassed her how easily she had succumbed to Jane's advances. She was supposed to be a professional.

"Sex and autopsies shouldn't happen in the same room."

"We are not having sex while I'm at work," Maura said, but even she didn't believe herself, and she was sure that Jane didn't, either. "There are windows here..."

Jane ignored her, tracing a thumb over the inside of the medical examiner's wrist, stroking the skin there and feeling Maura's pulse jump. "Your office has a lock, right? And shutters for the windows." Not waiting for Maura to answer, the detective urged the doctor to follow her with a gentle tug, her other hand pausing to caress Maura's waist. The touch burned even through the fabric of her blouse. No one else's touches had ever made her weak in the knees, stole her breath, made her heart pound...

"Jane, no," she protested, but she found herself being led out of the room and toward what she referred to as "her other office", the place where she dealt with the dead's paperwork instead of their corpses and consulted with her colleagues. But her job was the last thing on Maura Isles' mind at the moment. In fact, she wasn't thinking anything at all except 'this is a terrible idea' and 'why do I have to want her so much?'

In the hallway, Jane removed her hands from Maura's wrist and waist and started for her office, not even bothering to look back over her shoulder to make sure the other woman was following. 'She knows I will,' Maura lamented. 'She knows that I'm completely under her spell. Bewitched…'

Before she could even chastise herself for waxing poetical like the two-dimensional heroine of a romance novel, Jane was urging her through the familiar door of her office and pinning her against the wall, not touching with her hands, but keeping her in place entirely with the force of her eyes. Even though Jane was leading this dance, Maura was tired of waiting. Her struggles had been half-hearted at best, and since she knew she was going to lose herself anyway, she might as well enjoy bliss sooner rather than later. "Kiss me." A demand rather than a request, the words came out needier than she would have liked, but at least her voice didn't break.

Wasting no time, Jane braced herself with her palms on either side of Maura's head, leaning closer, her lips hovering centimeters away from the blonde's, close enough to feel Maura's quick breaths. "So, I've successfully changed your mind about your evening plans?"

"Don't tease."

And then Jane was all over her, fingers tangling in Maura's hair, lips crashing down on hers, a knee pressing up between her legs, lifting the hem of her skirt. The medical examiner let out a short, strangled sob that caught and broke somewhere in her throat, the sound muffled by Jane's demanding mouth as it tortured hers. And the want, the need, burned brighter than a star and threatened to consume her.

Maura was fortunate that she had chosen thigh-highs today, but did not spare them more than a moment's thought as one of Jane's hands, which had released her hair to begin conquering the soft skin of her inner thigh, crept high enough to cup between her legs. Her other hand un-looped the buttons of Maura's blouse, squeezing under the wire of her bra to palm an excited breast, and the back of the doctor's skull cracked against the door as her head fell back and her hips surged forward. She did not even register the pain.

Her own hands did not remain idle, clawing up and down Jane's back, fisting the material of her jacket, then gripping her ass through her pants and squeezing as the brunette's fingers finally, finally found her. She lost her balance and collapsed, and only the press of Jane's torso and the door behind her prevented her from melting into a puddle on the floor.

Tugging aside the slick scrap of her underwear, Jane's fingers danced over her, teasing, exciting her wet flesh until it was swollen and coated in slickness, splashing dizzying splotches of color across her vision. For a moment, they were too distracted to keep kissing, simply breathing into each other's lips and savoring the moment when Jane finally thrust inside of her, stretching the quivering ring of muscle with a delightful burn that Maura had quickly learned to appreciate.

"Oh God..."

"Just Jane."

"Stop talking. Keep going." Maura emphasized her point with another squeeze of her hands, causing Jane to gasp and her fingers to nudge further inside of her, scraping against a ridged place along her inner walls that made her hips jerk unintentionally. Jane felt the reaction and rubbed again, slowly, deliberately, and Maura's insides dissolved.

"You always shiver when I stroke you there." The sound of Jane's low purr against the shell of her ear made Maura's heart trip. She whimpered as the pad of Jane's thumb swiped over the sensitive bundle of nerves above, stroking the stiffening point through its protective hood, making the muscles in her thighs twitch. "And there..."

This time, Maura did not bother telling Jane to be quiet. She was too busy gasping for breath, gliding against curling fingers, sparks of pleasure skittering along her skin with each roll of her hips.

And then Jane's teeth tugged on the lobe of her ear, drawling a warm trail along her jaw and down her throat before fulfilling the teasing promise with a bite at the soft, tender place where her neck ran into her shoulder, soothing warm, salty skin with her tongue.

It was enough.

The first orgasm with Jane – there were almost always more than one – was usually quick. Sometimes, Maura managed to keep her reactions controlled, simply signaling her pleasure with a soft shiver of her inner walls and a hitch of her breath, but this one demanded a full vocal release, and the medical examiner cried out so loudly that a deep, fulfilling burn, not unlike the one between her legs, lit up the sides of her throat.

Before the world stopped spinning, she felt more tension coil in her abdomen, making her close her eyes and bite down on her lower lip. But Jane stopped the movement of her hand, and Maura almost cried. Recognizing the signal for what it was, she reluctantly opened her eyes. It was, perhaps, their only disagreement when it came to sex. Jane always wanted to see Maura's eyes, her face, when she came. Maura would have much preferred to keep them closed. It made her feel less exposed that way, less intimate... which was ridiculous, she told herself, since what they were doing was already pretty intimate anyway... but Jane usually won because she had a bad habit of showing her displeasure by stopping abruptly.

Once she could see Maura's eyes, Jane started moving again, grinding down with the heel of her hand and throwing her lover over the edge a second time. Seconds stretched for what seemed like hours as both women stared at each other, lost for words. Gently, Jane started to remove her hand only to feel one of Maura's pull away from the small of her back and stop her. Maura's fingers closed over hers, keeping her in place. "No, don't. Leave them in. Just for a minute..."

And even a minute later, Maura felt loss and regret when Jane tried to reclaim her hand again, successfully this time. It took her a minute to find her footing (the Prada shoes did not help, but she was grateful that she had not selected her even taller pair of Jimmy Choos).

"So, are you still going home late tonight?"

"No," Maura tried to say, but the words caught in her throat, forming a tight ball. She swallowed it down. "No," she repeated. "I'm going home with you."

Tomorrow, the game of lies and denial would probably begin again. Tomorrow, she would go back to pretending that Jane was nothing more than a friend, that the two of them did not spend more of their off hours together than not, that Jane did not make her feel things she had never experienced before. But tomorrow was a night away, and for now, her defenses had been breached and the lies and denial could wait.

But lately. Lately, it was getting harder and harder to pretend. One day soon, everything was going to come crashing down around her head. Maura wasn't sure if that day would result in her destruction, her rebirth, or both. And then the taste of Jane's mouth made her lips part and her palms ache and her heart overflow with warmth, and the blissful numbness made her forget.


Reading Material:

"Maura, you will not believe what I found at Frankie's bachelor pad the other day," Jane Rizzoli said, shifting forward in her chair to lean closer to the blonde medical examiner over top of her desk. Maura Isles rolled her eyes. Sometimes, the detectives she worked with gossiped like a bunch of high school teenagers. Despite her nonverbal cues of disinterest, Jane continued. "'The Complete Guide to Sex'. I mean, seriously? Shouldn't he know how to do it right by now? He told me he bought it for the pictures, but he was embarrassed. Then he tried to beat me up."

"Frankie always tries to beat you up."

"Yeah, but this was 'I'm trying to change the subject and distract you' beating me up, not 'you're my big sister so I have to give you a rough time' beating me up."

Maura shifted her weight to one hip, despite the negative impact she knew it would have on the lower portion of her spinal chord. "There's a difference?"

"Of course there's a difference!"

"Why are you so concerned about your brother's reading habits anyway? They have no impact on you that I can see."

Jane looked at her like she was crazy. "It's stupid. You can't learn how to have sex by reading a book..."

"Reading is an excellent educational tool," Maura argued, enjoying the way that the pulse beating in Jane's throat sped up as she prepared to dive into an argument. The brunette frowned.

"You're crazy, Maura. Some things you just have to learn by jumping in with both feet. I mean, you can't learn surgery just by reading a book..."

"You need to read books before you practice surgery," the medical examiner pointed out. "Of course, some hands-on instruction is required afterwards, but you start by reading books and studying diagrams."

The pout that Jane gave her as she leaned back in her chair, propping both feet up on her desk and revealing the soles of her sensible work shoes, was absolutely adorable, and briefly, Maura remembered what it was like to nibble on the curve of that full lower lip...

"- but surgery is complicated. Sex isn't complicated, and the other person isn't going to die if you don't do it right -"

Blinking to refocus her attention, Maura tried to listen to what Jane was saying. "I think the annals of literature and film would disagree with you, Jane. Sex is very complicated."

"Emotionally complicated, not physically complicated."

"Then why do so many people write in to sex columnists saying their husbands are bad at it?"

"Oh, come on, like you read sex columns, Maura. I bet the only thing you've ever read besides scientific articles, classic literature, and your trashy horror novels is a fashion magazine."

"Many of which include sex articles," Maura added. "But you'd be wrong."

She knew that would get the detective's attention. Jane hated being wrong, and Maura loved agitating her. It made her look delicious. "Oh, yeah? Just what do you curl up in bed with, Dr. Isles?" Jane taunted, removing her feet from the desk and replacing them with her elbows, leaning forward to get in Maura's space. Instead of being physically intimidating, the closeness made Maura's heart stutter.

"Wouldn't you like to know," she quipped.

"Don't tell me you've read a book on sexual technique. Actually, I'll bet you have. You love studying everything to death." It was true. When she was seven years old, a precocious Maura had declared to anyone that would listen how she was someday going to 'learn everything about everything'. Although she had a more realistic perspective nowadays, her childhood goal had not changed that much.

Maura gave her a small smile. "Yes and no," she said, lowering her eyes slightly to add to the air of mystery she was trying to project. "Let's just say I've never read an instruction manual..." And then the medical examiner prepared to make her dramatic exit, content that her objective of flirting with Jane until she was too annoyed to take it anymore was successfully completed. She knew she would probably end up paying for it later that night at her house or Jane's apartment, but she had no regrets.

Before she could walk off with the last word, Maura was surprised to feel warm fingers clasp her wrist. Jane had left her chair and stood up to stop her from leaving. The unexpected touch made her eyes widen and her throat swallow nervously. Slowly, she turned back around to face Jane. "Yes?"

"You didn't honestly think I was going to let you leave like that, did you?" It was a statement, not a question. Maura did not try to answer her. She was too busy staring into Jane's dark eyes. The detective did not remove her hand from Maura's wrist. "What do you read in your spare time, Maur?"

The shortening of her first name, which she would have found irritating if it had come from anyone else, was endearing when Jane said it. It was the breaking point. "Do you really want to know?"

"I asked, didn't I? Now you just have to answer." Jane's thumb swiped against the center of Maura's palm. 'For someone who has never read a book about the subject,' Maura thought, 'Jane seems very knowledgeable about flirting techniques.' The blonde was slightly jealous because she had to work very hard to read, interpret, and deliver social cues properly, but since Jane's attention was directed at her for the moment, she supposed she shouldn't complain.

Forcing herself to keep eye contact even as heat and color rose in both of her cheeks, Maura pulled her lips into what she hoped was a seductive smile. Inside, her stomach was erupting with butterflies. The idea of being attracted to a woman was not foreign to her, she had accepted her bisexuality years ago, but the idea of being intensely attracted to Jane Rizzoli specifically was frightening for reasons she did not fully understand. 'What was it that Jane says about jumping in with both feet?'

"Why don't you follow me to my desk and find out?" she teased.

Jane's nostrils flared, her eyebrows lowering dangerously as she fixed Maura with a searing look. "I think I will."

Realizing that Jane was completely serious, Maura turned on her heels and walked as fast as good manners would allow, not wanting to draw attention to herself. Frost and Korsak were off hiding somewhere, probably trying to avoid paperwork. There were no urgent homicides to take care of today, and they were supposed to be taking care of the bureaucratic part of their jobs. Even though she liked them, Maura was grateful for their absence. If she was going to show Jane an example of her reading material, she didn't want any unexpected interruptions. 'We really should stop engaging in inappropriate behavior in my office,' she mused, knowing that they would never really be able to call off their afternoon trysts.

In the beginning, Jane had been reluctant to even acknowledge Maura's existence after the dust settled from their first encounter. She even fretted when they were on opposite sides of the same room. "What if they realize something is going on?" she had worried aloud to Maura on several different occasions, convinced that their colleagues would be able tell that their relationship had finally crossed over into the sexual realm with a single glance. Maura had reassured her that no one would be able to tell just by looking, and gradually, Jane had become more and more daring, even pushing Maura's boundaries by initiating sex during working hours. When Maura quipped that the city was essentially paying Jane to fuck her, Jane responded that for all the hours she put in, the horrible things she had to witness, and the low pay, she deserved some extra perks. It was one of the only times Maura ever heard Jane complain about her job or brag about herself. Usually, the job and her role as a police officer defined her. Maura smiled at that thought. The book she had hidden away in her desk would certainly get Jane's attention, then.

All too aware of the figure following her down the hall to her office, she listened to the crisp click of her heels (Dolce and Gabanna today – she had worn her Prada heels yesterday and they had rubbed too much along the heel) on the linoleum tiles. They matched the fast, uneven staccato rhythm of her heartbeat.

The short trip seemed to take no time at all. Anticipation, Maura knew, often affected the human perception of time, but the waiting, the expectation, the eagerness... that was something she had never read about in any study. There was only one form of writing that had even come close to describing it: an example of which she was about to share with her lover.

'Lovers,' she thought, glancing at the tall, striking woman beside her out of the corner of her eye. 'We are lovers, aren't we?' They were not lovers the classical sense. There had been no moonlit confessions, no promises of forever. In fact, they did everything possible to avoid the subject of love. But they were intimate. 'Very intimate,' Maura corrected herself. She wanted to hold Jane's hand, but knew that any touches between them in the open hallway might arouse suspicion.

Steeling herself, she deliberately kept her eyes off of Jane as she opened the door and hurried inside, her detective close on her heels.

"So," Jane said, standing with feet apart and one hand on her hip in a confident, cocky pose, "you gonna show me this book you've been talking about?"

Maura blushed. Despite their earlier banter, she was a little unsure of herself. Revealing her secret habit would be like peeling back another layer, revealing more of herself, perhaps more of herself than she was comfortable with. On the other hand, she would never let it be said that Maura Isles was a coward. She had committed to this when she told Jane about the contents of her desk. Now she had to go through with it.

Adopting her most professional, clinical expression, Maura opened one of the bottom drawers behind her desk and lifted out several heavy stacks of files. "I keep it underneath some other paperwork. You know that Korsak likes to do some good-natured snooping."

Jane decided not to point out that Maura's office was almost always locked unless she was in it. "That's not paperwork, that's a mountain! And trust me, I know about his snooping habit. My desk is right out in the open next to his."

After finishing with the files, Maura reached deep into the drawer and pulled out a small, well-loved paperback. Her already-present blush became a deeper, rosy color as she offered it to Jane, who glanced at the title and snorted. "'The Loving Arms of the Law?' Jeez, what a terrible title."

Maura shrugged sheepishly in agreement as Jane began thumbing through the book. "Well, I chose it with a certain someone in mind. I thought you would appreciate it as a satire if nothing else."

The book fell open to a few frequently visited passages, and Jane started to revise her unfavorable opinion. "A little sappy for my taste, but..." A tongue peeked out to wet dry lips as she continued to read. "Hmm."

After a full minute of silence, Maura began to grow uncomfortable. "Jane?" she asked, enjoying the flush that was beginning to creep up the homicide detective's throat. "Are you going to say anything else?"

Jane coughed, trying to cover up the pause. "Um, I had no idea you read this kind of stuff, Maura," she said. One look at the medical examiner told her that this was not just part of a sexual joke. Maura was revealing a deeply hidden facet of her personality, something beyond the clinical, socially awkward 'Queen of the Dead' who felt more comfortable with corpses than most living people. She accepted the situation for what it was, a small gift, a peek inside of Maura's fascinating brain instead of the sexually charged seduction she had been expecting. Not that she was immune to the effect of the book or her lover's hungry gaze.

After acknowledging what had been shared, Jane began to feel a little nervous and pulled back, retreating to what they knew and were already comfortable with. "I like this part," she whispered, layering her voice with sex as she stalked over to the fair-haired doctor like a lean, predatory cat. Putting herself in Maura's personal space, trying to unbalance her, she pointed out a passage that had caught her eye.

"The detective purred, letting the nipple she was tending to slide from her lips with a soft 'pop' as her hand crept further down her lover's abdomen..." Maura's voice broke, and she could not continue reading the rest of the page. "Hmm," she said, pressing a soft, open-mouthed kiss to the curve of Jane's slender neck. Her tongue darted out to tease the sensitive flesh, causing the tall brunette to hiss. "Maybe we should reenact part of this book."



Today's denial was: 'I study Jane's habits because she is interesting and I am a natural observer.'

The truth was: 'I observe Jane's habits because I have feelings for her and want to please her.'

Maura was watching Jane as she walked briskly towards the coffeemaker, her brown eyes tired and strained, running her fingers through mussed but luxurious dark hair, Maura felt her stomach tie itself into slippery knots. She felt a little like Jane Goodall studying the primates, except her subject was much more attractive. For a moment, it even made her forget about her poor tortoise's condition. Unfortunately, Bass was refusing to eat and seemed to be moving even slower than usual. Although he was not an average house pet, Maura was very attached to him, and she was concerned that he might be ill.

Putting Bass out of her mind for the moment, Maura immersed herself in the familiar sight of Jane going about her day. She knew what Jane would probably do next: sigh, reach for a cup to pour her coffee in, and stare at the clock on the wall instead of checking her watch or her cell phone. Jane always looked at that clock. It was a comforting part of her work environment on days when she was not out on the streets fighting crime like some kind of real-life superhero. Afraid that she would be caught staring, Maura decided to interrupt Jane's thoughts before the detective noticed her. Making enough noise so that she did not startle Jane, she approached her friend and rested a hand on her shoulder. The detective flinched and Maura pulled away.

That was another of Jane's traits that she had noticed during her observations. She hated to be touched unless she was the one initiating the touching. Sometimes, her hot-and-cold, touch-me-don't-touch-me games exasperated Maura, but she knew that Jane was uncomfortable with her sexuality. Perhaps it was because she had been classified as a lesbian ever since her early teens, despite having visible relationships with men. Jane vehemently disliked all kinds of stereotypes. The fact that she had sex with women on a regular basis – or, at least, had sex with Maura on a regular basis – did not seem to make her any more comfortable with the label.

"Hello, Jane," she said, trying to reestablish a connection at a safer distance. Jane was more receptive the second time, and allowed Maura to join her at the coffee station.


The medical examiner sighed, reaching in to her purse for some money to put in the 'Weekend Coffee Fund: Don't Be A Jerk' jar. "What a Sunday."

Jane shook her head, touching Maura's hand to stop her from placing a bill in the can. The medical examiner felt a spark. Sometimes, when she and Jane were in the same room together, it was difficult to remember that there were other people nearby. The woman's presence was just so magnetizing...

 "Nonono... $20 is – uh – overkill. You're only a jerk if you don't leave anything here."

Maura began preparing her own drink as detective took a deep draft from her cup, choking in disgust. "God, when was that made, November? He wants a cup of coffee, there's none upstairs..." Maura pressed her lips together, hiding a smile as Jane picked up the can of salt. "The guy's a wreck.

That distracted Maura for a moment as she remembered her latest patient – one who, fortunately, wasn't dead yet. However, if Bass did not improve by the end of the day, she would have to schedule an appointment with his veterinarian. "I've tried everything..." she mouthed to herself, "strawberries, fennel, bok choi..."

Jane gave her a strange look. "Are we in the same conversation?"

"Sorry." Maura shook her head to clear it. "I – I was talking about Bass." 'But I was thinking about you, Jane.'

"Ah, obsessing over your turtle again."

"Tortoise," she protested. Jane knew perfectly well that Bass was a tortoise and only called him a turtle to annoy her. Looking down, Maura realized that Jane was pouring salt into the cup she was preparing for Bobby, the partner of the dead undercover officer at the scene that they had worked earlier in the morning. "He likes salt in his coffee?"

Jane groaned, staring down at the shaker in her hand, pausing, and rolling her eyes to the ceiling. "Dammit!" During the entire exchange, Maura prepared her coffee automatically, focusing most of her concentration on the expressions that crossed Jane's face. It was a face Maura liked, very symmetrical and well-shaped, but right now, it was tight with concern. Something was bothering her, and she doubted it was the case that they were working on, although that was probably a contributing factor.

"You know, when people lock their keys in their car or sprain their ankle, it usually indicates that something significant is bothering them," she probed, hoping to give Jane an opening to discuss her feelings. 'Come on,' she thought, wanting very badly to reach out and smooth out the worry line that creased Jane's forehead. 'You give me access to your body... why don't you try giving me access to your feelings for once? I just want to help...'

But those words remained unspoken.

Jane shrugged it off. "A cop was murdered."

"Yeah, but that's not why you're salting your coffee."

The detective took a deep breath. "It's my brother, Tommy..."

Maura nodded in understanding, pleased that Jane was willing to discuss what she was thinking and feeling, at least for the moment. Although she was not the best at interpreting social situations, Maura knew that this was important to Jane. She hoped that she wouldn't make a mistake and drive her lover – friend – whatever they were...farther away. "I always wondered about him."

"Well, Frankie and I became cops, and Tommy went to prison for hitting a priest in a crosswalk."

"Oh." Oh. There was nothing else to say, really.

"It was his third strike while driving under the influence."

Although she had no siblings, Maura could imagine the pain that Tommy's decisions had caused the Rizzoli family. "Your poor parents..."

Jane's eyes narrowed, her body movements growing larger as old, deep wounds were reopened and her simmering anger surfaced. "You know, and they keep saying, if the priest that he hit has forgiven him, then why can't we... but you know, this isn't about forgiveness. Tommy is really troubled, and the more he denies it, the more he screws up."


That was a concept that Dr. Maura Isles was intimately familiar with. For a moment, she felt a brief connection to Tommy through Jane, although she was unsure of her feelings at the moment. There were too many for her to sort through. "You really care about him," she said, hoping – deeply hoping – that Jane might speak about her with such caring someday, although not with the same disappointment and pain.

'Maybe. Maybe someday.'

A minute later, as elevator doors separated the two women, Maura leaned her head back against the wall and sighed, enjoying the warmth that flowed through the cardboard coffee cup and over the skin of her palms. The worries and cares of her life were still present, of course, but she could set them aside for just a moment. Jane had trusted her. Talked about her feelings. Her fears. Made herself vulnerable.

Even though Maura had made sure to offer herself as a confidant and friend before they parted ways, but she doubted that Jane would take her up on it. The detective was probably grateful to have a difficult, important case to distract her and Bobby Marino to interview upstairs. She was afraid. Afraid that Jane would try and retreat from the moment they had shared and go back to shutting her out

The medical examiner had no idea that today would change everything.


That evening, Maura sat in a loud, brightly lit, and crowded hospital waiting room, wondering what the hell had happened.

Everything was a blur. Memories came and went in a jumble of confusing flashes, and her overworked brain could hardly make sense of all the incoming data.

Lights out. Trying to comfort Bass...


Pressing the tube into Frankie's discolored chest...

The barrel of a gun...


Marino's teeth and narrow eyes...

Outside in the harsh sunlight, Jane with that same gun pointed up into her throat...

Shots. Screaming. Her, but she was not the only one. Everyone was shouting and running... more shots...

Jane. Jane, falling.

Maura had to suppress a wave of nausea. They would not let her in to see Jane yet. She was still in surgery, they said. Critical condition, they said. Everything had happened so fast, Maura still had trouble believing that her best friend, her lover, her... Jane was something. Jane was her something. She could admit it now, in the face of death.

Maybe she wasn't so good at lying after all. The truth always had a way of resurfacing.

She had pestered the nurses, doctors, anyone she could find for details whether they were responsible for Jane or not. She had tried to use her clout as a medical examiner to convince them to give her the real story, but they just kept talking about internal bleeding and using general terms and guesswork that made Maura want to tear her hair out by the roots. Of course Jane was bleeding internally, she had shot herself! She wanted to know the points of entry and exit, which organs might have been damaged, whether any toxic bodily fluids had escaped, whether there was any damage to her cranial area, how much blood she had lost, whether Jane loved her or not, whether Jane had thought about how she would feel before pulling that trigger, whether Jane knew that Maura loved her –

'Oh no.'

Love? That couldn't be true, could it?

Maura Isles was a creature of logic. She was not swayed by human emotions – emotions that were, according to biology, simply the release of chemicals into the synapses between dendrites. But what she felt for Jane certainly did not remind her of chemicals or dendrites. It was something spiritual, something beyond the physical realm. For the first time in her life, Maura wondered if there was something more to being human than just neurology and instinct. Maybe love existed after all.

What a cruel joke for Fate to play on her, then. Jane was probably dying just when she was ready to start living outside of the tiny box she folded herself in to.

A large presence moved beside her, and Maura looked to her left. Korsak was staring at her with an empathetic expression on his face. 'No, sympathetic,' Maura corrected herself. 'Empathy requires deep understanding rooted in personal experience. He cannot understand this.' Jane was Korsak's friend and former partner, but at this moment, the medical examiner selfishly decided that no one else had ever loved Jane as dearly as she did. She knew that her thoughts were ridiculous, but she was past caring.

"Here," he said, handing her a cup of tea. "They didn't have raspberry, but they had green tea."

"Thank you." Although it was not the doctor's preferred flavor, a deviation from her routine, Maura was grateful. Maybe Korsak understood more than she thought he did. "I just..."


Those were the only words needed between them. Whatever Korsak knew or thought he knew was insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It paled in comparison to Jane, who was fighting for her life, who might have already bled out or stopped breathing... 'Oh God, would I even sense it? Would I even know when it happened?' A part of Maura was certain that she would. If Jane's body gave up, she was positive that her own body would respond. She would literally feel her heart break.

'Broken Heart Syndrome. Not recognized as medical fact by scientists and doctors.'

In the past few hours, Maura's own opinion had been reversed through personal experience. The heavy weight in her chest, the pain, could not be anything else.

Tears burned behind her eyes. Suddenly, she wished that Bass was with her to offer comfort. However, the scene was blocked off and no one was allowed access. She hoped that he was all right. Worrying about Bass only made her worry more about Jane instead of distracting her, and Maura began twisting her hands, lacing and unlacing her fingers, wishing that everything that had happened today would just fade away like the nightmare it was.

Everything had gone so horribly wrong, and there was nothing that she could do but sit back and wait.



Maura was remembering.

Unfortunately, even the happy memories felt like a curse when she remembered that Jane might be taken away from her at any moment. Rolling forward like a silent movie, a series of images, all of Jane, swept through her in a great wave. Jane preparing coffee. Jane shoving Korsak. Jane wrinkling her nose at Maura's "dead fridge".

Jane playing with Jo Friday. Jane bantering with her over 'reddish stains'. Jane rubbing the scars on the back of her hands.

Jane naked. Jane making love to her... if it could even be called that.

Usually, the medical examiner treated mistakes scientifically. Errors could be corrected. It was a normal part of the experimental process. But this was one mistake that could not be fixed. Jane was irreplaceable. There was no way to change the past.

Her cell phone rang, interrupting her thoughts. Robotically, she answered with a short, clipped "Dr. Isles."

"Maura, good, I got through to you," came Barry Frost's familiar voice. "How is Jane holding up?"

"Not much news so far," Maura said. "She's out of surgery, but she isn't receiving visitors yet. They've stopped some of the bleeding, but her organs are severely damaged." Maura was too depressed to take pride in her succinct answer. Normally, giving such unspecific descriptions was hard for her.

"Well, I have some good news for you," Frost said. "I'm on my way to the hospital, but the crime scene released Bass, so I took him back to your apartment."

Maura was so relieved that she did not even mind the intrusion into her personal space. "The number for his veterinarian is on –"

"The refrigerator, I saw it. I'm sorry about taking him home without asking first, but I knew you were busy at the hospital, and under the circumstances..."

The medical examiner sighed. "It's fine, Barry. Thank you... is he all right?"

"He's fine," the detective said, trying to reassure her. "He even stuck his head out of his shell for me. I'm no Korsak, but I figure that's a good sign."

That drew a brief smile from the distraught doctor. "Are you coming to the hospital later?" Maura asked. She had a feeling that the administrators were going to end visiting hours soon. As a doctor, she knew that Jane needed undisturbed rest. However, all of her instincts were urging her to stay. Even though she was not at Jane's side, waiting for her outside was the closest alternative.

"Yeah, I'm hoping –"

"Doctor Isles?" Maura's head snapped up and her fingers tightened reflexively around the body of her mobile phone.

"Excuse me, Barry," she said, "the doctor..."

"Text me what he says," Barry asked. "I'll let you go."

Hanging up without a goodbye, Maura ended the call and looked up at the older woman standing before her in a white coat. "Hello, Dr..." she searched for the woman's nameplate. "Dr. Astor. May I ask how you know my name?"

"The attending told me." Maura stood, taking the woman's offered hand. "Also, I've read one or two of your articles. I understand that you're here for Detective Rizzoli?"

"Jane, yes. Is she all right?"

"We have her in a controlled coma at the moment. We had to repair several ruptured organs, but fortunately we were able to flush out most of the toxins in her system before they were able to spread. She is out of surgery and going in to recovery. I wasn't her original surgeon, but I took over the operation once the emergency staff stabilized her. I am also responsible for her follow-up care from now on."

"Realistically, what are her chances?" Usually, Maura could handle statistics, but when they concerned Jane Rizzoli's life, numbers suddenly seemed a lot less safe.

"I can't say with any certainty. She lost a lot of blood and there is still the risk that she might develop an infection. What she needs is time." Despite all the advances in medicine over the centuries, time was still the body's greatest healer. But for Maura, it felt as though time was running out. "Would you like to see her?"

Maura nodded, and Doctor Astor led her through the stark white hallways, which smelled a little too strongly of disinfectant. Normally, hospitals and morgues did not bother the medical examiner, since she spent a large amount of time in them, but this was an entirely different situation. "Don't be alarmed when you see her," said Astor as she stopped in front of a partially open door. "Her parents were very upset, but they could only stay a few moments. They wanted to see their son as well before the hospital closed."

"Do they know I'm here?" Maura asked, wondering for the first time how Doctor Astor had known to find her in the waiting room.

"They do, and they're very grateful to you. Angela made it very clear that you are to be updated like a member of Jane's immediate family." Maura suspected that Angela was allowing her to see Jane and speak with her doctor out of gratitude for saving Frankie's life, but whatever the reason, she was extremely thankful.

A few moments later, Maura found herself alone in Jane's room, observing the heart monitors, the IV running into her arm, and the emergency breathing tube. As she identified each piece of equipment attached to Jane, the fact that her friend was alive still seemed foreign to her. The chair next to her was empty.

"Jane," she whispered, staring down at the unmoving face. Her features were unnaturally pale – 'from blood loss,' Maura suspected - and reminded her of a frozen marble statue. "Oh, Jane, I've made so many mistakes..."

Mistakes. Regrets. Jane was staring death in the face, and Maura was terrified that there might never be a chance to put things right.

Neglecting to tell Jane that she meant something, everything, was her greatest mistake. Even though Maura was not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, she prayed to whoever might be listening. The machines standing by Jane's bedside continued to beep and hum, but Maura did not hear them.

At first, she prayed that she would have the chance to apologize for her mistakes. 'No, that's selfish,' she decided. 'My guilt doesn't matter. This is about Jane.'

And so she just prayed that Jane would be all right, whatever that meant. As long as there was life, there was hope.


One Week Later

Slowly, far slower than Maura would have liked, Jane began to improve. She regained the ability to breathe on her own. Her color got better. There were a few frightening hours when the doctors thought she had developed an infection, but the antibiotics they gave her brought it under control before any lasting damage occurred. On the third day, Jane opened her eyes. She did not speak, but she gave Maura a dry-lipped smile. To the medical examiner, it was the most beautiful sight in the world.

Maura's worries did not disappear after Jane came back from the darkness. In fact, they seemed to multiply. Even though her detective was recovering steadily – that was how Maura thought of Jane now, as her detective – the nightmares often made her forget all of the progress. When Jane was frustrated at her immobility and her mother's frantic hovering, Maura whispered soothing words. When Jane was tired, Maura stroked her hair until she drifted into an uneasy sleep. Unfortunately, the smothering care was starting to grate on Jane's nerves.

"Maur, I'm fine," Jane protested as the medical examiner tried to spoon some inedible-looking green jell-o into her mouth. She had finally been given permission to try semi-solid foods again, and the detective wanted to reclaim some independence by feeding herself. "I can handle it. See?" Trying to prove her point, Jane waved her left hand around. "I shot myself in the gut, not my shoulder."

Maura flinched. "Don't remind me," she said, more sharply than she had intended. It had the desired effect, however. Newly chastened, Jane allowed Maura to feed her the jell-o, shuddering at the unpleasant taste.

"Sorry for snapping at you. It's just that you remind me of my Ma. She's been driving me crazy with all her hovering." Strangely, they were alone at the moment. Mrs. Rizzoli had gone to find some food in the dismal hospital cafeteria. "I have no idea how you got her out of here. She's like an overprotective lioness or... or something."

"A Maiasaura watching over her clutch of eggs," Maura suggested with a small smile. Like most children, Maura had gone through a 'dinosaur phase' while growing up. Unlike most children, however, she had memorized dinosaur taxonomy, habitats, diets, and skeletal structures, not simply their names.

"A Mayan Sore? What is that, a dinosaur?"

Maura knew that the detective was actually a lot smarter than she let on. Sometimes Jane dumbed herself down to fit in better with her brothers in blue. It had annoyed Maura at first, but the medical examiner eventually learned to accept it.

"Maiasaura," Maura repeated. "Maiasaura peeblesorum. Its name means Caring Mother Lizard. Most scientists now believe they were warm-blooded." Maura deliberately ignored the heat crawling beneath her own skin as Jane's dark eyes stared into hers, listening intently. "They lived in large colonies like seabirds. Their young ones were unable to walk at first, so their mothers fed them and protected them from various tyrannosaurids that inhabited the same area."

"Like T-Rex?" Jane asked eagerly, obviously preferring that dinosaur to the demure, duck-billed Maiasaura.

"No, Jane. Tyrannosaurus Rex lived a few million years later. However, the Maiasaura did have to watch out for Daspletosaurus..."

"Okay, I think that's enough dinos for one day," Jane said, giving Maura's hand a gentle pat.

Noticing the dark circles beneath the doctor's eyes, she resisted the temptation to reach up and brush Maura's cheek. For a moment, something hung between them, a tenuous thread, a connection that they could not describe in words. Neither of them spoke. Instead, they simply looked at each other, evaluating.

"Jane, Frankie says..." Two heads, one blonde and one brunette, immediately snapped up to look at the door to Jane's private hospital room. Angela Rizzoli was entering the room with the handle of her large, clunky purse draped over one forearm. "Oh, hello, Maura. Still sitting with Janie?"

"Ma," Jane protested, frowning at the nickname like a child being forced to eat an unpleasant vegetable.

'Or jell-o,' Maura thought wryly.

"Hush," said the older woman, bustling forward and tossing her coat onto an empty visitor's chair. "You'll always be my Janie." So saying, Angela Rizzoli began fussing with her daughter's slightly mussed hair, plumping the sides of her pillow with both hands to make it more comfortable.

"Maiasaura," Maura whispered low beside Jane's other ear. That made the detective laugh, and Angela glanced at her suspiciously.


"Nothing. What were you saying about Frankie, Ma?"

Angela collected her thoughts. "The doctor says Frankie is doing good. His lungs are healing up nice thanks to our hero here." She put a gentle, motherly arm around Maura's shoulder, and the medical examiner blushed.

"Jane was the one who gave me the courage to do something," Maura said truthfully. "She was very persistent."

"I hollered at you until you couldn't take it anymore," Jane coughed, her voice a little hoarse from tiredness. Maura noticed, and began smoothing back the detective's hair, much like Angela had done moments before. Instead of protesting, Jane leaned in to the touch, too tired to worry what her mother might think of the intimate gesture.

'That's funny,' Maura thought. 'Usually, Jane shies away from public displays of affection, especially with me.' That got Maura wondering about where their relationship stood. Even though she desperately wanted to know, she was hesitant to bring up the subject, afraid that Jane wouldn't be able to give her the answer she wanted. Jane needed support and stability right now, not stressful questions or ultimatums.

"Well, Frankie is alert and doing great now."

"Good. That's really good, Ma," Jane tried to say through a yawn, closing her eyes. "Sorry," she said. "I'm just... so tired."

"It's fine," Maura insisted, sharing a look with Jane's mother. "You can rest for a little while." With that permission, the detective drifted off.

"She's out," Angela Rizzoli said a minute later, looking down at Jane's sleeping form.

"She looks peaceful. It doesn't seem as though she's in too much pain. Her body just needs time to recover from the internal damage." Maura wanted to reach down and touch Jane's face, trace her dark eyebrows and the warm skin of her forehead, but resisted the temptation. 'Not while Angela's in the room,' she told herself.

As she studied Jane, Maura noticed that Angela was studying her. Unused to being the one under observation, she held perfectly still, trying not to alarm the older woman. Surely Angela could not hear her thoughts. There was no need to panic.

"Jane has been so happy lately, Maura," she started, choosing her words carefully. "Before – before..." Jane's mother could not bring herself to say 'the shooting'. She was still having difficulty with what had happened. "She talked about you all the time. You've been good for her, and I never really got the chance to thank you for saving my son's life."

"Jane saved his life –"

Angela sighed. "Jane..." Maura knew what she meant. Like Angela, Maura had never been sure how to handle Jane. She was unpredictable, a changing variable that could never be plugged in with the same result. There was no use denying it anymore. She was falling in love. Had already fallen in love. Unfortunately, her analytical mind had not presented her with any possible solutions to the problem so far. What did she understand about love, anyway? She felt love for her adoptive family despite the somewhat stiff, formal tone their relationship had taken after what Jane referred to as 'The Garrett Incident'. She felt love for Bass. She even felt a friendship type of love for Frost and Korsak. Romantic love, however, was an entirely new experience for her. In the past, she had believed it to be a myth, something perpetuated by DeBeers and Hollywood in order to make money. Now, faced with the real thing, she felt helpless and confused. She could only struggle forward and hope that the worst of her mistakes were behind her.



Jane Rizzoli hated being confined to her bed and a wheelchair. Honestly, she would rather face down an armed man – 'been there, done that,' she thought dryly – than spend the next few weeks off her feet. Between her mother, father, Frankie, Korsak, and Frost, she wore herself out trying to convince everyone else that she was fine, really, and no, they didn't need to come over, and for God's sake, please don't bring any more food!

The truth was that Jane wasn't fine. Not fine at all. She was sore all over, she was still confined to the hospital room's long term care wing except for her occasional excursions down the hall, she was developing a tolerance for Vicodin that made her pain get worse instead of better, and Maura was the only one who seemed to understand how frustrated she was.

God, Maura. The medical examiner had been a true godsend. She had not chastised Jane for risking her life. She had not fussed over her as though she were a helpless child. Instead, she had been Jane's rock, silent and firm, lending strength and support whenever she was needed and backing away when Jane wanted to be alone. Maura seemed to sense the shifts in Jane's moods before the detective even realized it herself, and she responded to them instinctively.

That was why Jane allowed Maura to look after her without too much complaint... because, simply put, Maura "got it". She understood.

'Speaking of which...' Jane thought, letting the words inside her head evaporate as the medical examiner walked into her hospital room. She was lovely as ever, loose blonde curls bouncing about her shoulders and green eyes sparkling as she took in the sight of her favorite person. The fingers of one hand were wrapped around a cardboard mug and the other hand was holding something that looked like a cat carrier. Jane looked at it in confusion.

"Here, Jane..." The detective's name rolled off of Maura's tongue like an endearment, and the detective felt her heart stutter at the sound. "I've brought you some tea from the cafeteria."

"I don't want tea," Jane muttered, pretending to sulk. In reality, what she wanted was for Maura to smother her with pity. She needed it. "I want these stupid bandages to come off, I want to go home, and I want to be able to walk!"

"Your torso sustained too much damage," Maura chastised her. Fortunately, she avoided using medical terms around the ever-grumpy Jane. She had learned her lesson after a tirade from the brunette during the first week. "Here, why don't I help you out of bed and wheel you over by the window?"

"Okay," Jane sighed, giving in and allowing Maura to help support some of her weight as they maneuvered her into the chair beside her bed. She had insisted on getting the old-fashioned kind, one that she could wheel around with her arms instead of a motorized controller. She wanted to use what few parts of her body she could. Fortunately, her lower abdomen had sustained the most damage, and she used her arms, shoulders, and back to control the chair, so movement didn't put too much stress on her injuries. It made her tired and a little sore, but it hadn't torn open any of the healing wounds beneath her bandages.

Maura was one of the only people she allowed to push the wheelchair, and even then, she only accepted the help when she was in a good mood or enduring more pain than usual. Jane took the tea, letting it warm her hands, and allowed Maura to maneuver her chair into the sunlight by the window.

"What's in that thing?" Jane asked, her attention turning to the carrier. If she wasn't mistaken, there was something wiggling around inside it.

"I brought you a visitor," Maura said cheerfully, opening the door and letting out a chipper looking Jo Friday, who instantly bounded over to Jane and hopped up into her lap. Jane let out a small grunt of pain, but she was too happy about the surprise visit to care. She instantly noticed when the dog began tugging on the small green booties attached to her feet. She was also wearing what looked like a miniature vest and headcap to cover her ears. Jane hurried to take them off before Jo Friday got too uncomfortable.

"Maura! How did you do this?"

Maura glanced nervously to the left. "Well..."

"This is against the Hospital rules, isn't it?"

"I might have bribed a few nurses, and your doctor might be a colleague of mine from medical school that owes me a favor... and I might have made a donation to the hospital in your name to appease the board... I also could have pushed through some paperwork to make Jo Friday a licensed Therapy Dog... Hypothetically speaking."

Jane's brow furrowed. "Maura... I told you not to spend any more money on me!" But she couldn't help smiling as she scratched her dog's head. They had already gotten into a horrendous argument about the private room Jane was now recovering in. Maura had insisted on paying for one, while Jane asserted that she would only take what her job's health insurance covered. Of course, Maura won. Jane might be stubborn as a mule, but Maura always won in the end.

"What if she infects somebody with her dog germs?"

"She won't. All patients that are at risk for infection are kept in an isolated ward. Therapy Dogs come to this part of the hospital once a week to visit the children and elderly patients anyway."

"You mean my fellow inmates," Jane interrupted.

"Don't be facetious, Jane. I also sanitized my hands before departing with Jo in the carrier. I will do the same before I leave, just in case I come in to contact with anyone else in the hospital... I even put Jo in little scrubs. Aren't they cute?"

Jane sighed and looked down at the items of clothing she had pulled off of Jo Friday. Dog-sized scrubs? Really... Only Maura Isles would come up with something like that. "Well, you're not allowed to bring her back, but since she's here, she might as well keep me company for a few hours." Jo Friday barked in agreement, wagging her tail. Maura walked up behind Jane's wheelchair to join them.

"Here, drink a sip of your tea and then close your eyes for a little while," the doctor purred, massaging a knot from Jane's tense shoulders. Something about Maura's touch, Maura's soothing, rich voice comforted Jane. She allowed her heart rate to slow down and her breathing to even out, enjoying the warm hands that continued to rub her back as she leaned forwards.

Slowly, Jane felt her mind drifting off as rays of sunlight warmed her face. "Mmmm. That feels so good, Maura..."

"Your voice sounds tired," said Maura, taking the tea away and setting it on the windowsill. "Try and sleep for a little while."

"Maybe..." Jane murmured, keeping her eyes closed.

Slowly, Maura came around to the front of the wheelchair, careful not to startle the very relaxed detective. She leaned down, watching the muscles of Jane's face smooth over as she started to fall asleep. A breath away from Jane's lips, she paused. Then, bending forward, she pressed a soft kiss to Jane's open mouth.

Her friend and sometimes-lover didn't notice. She was already unconscious.

Maura backed away, careful not to make any noise. The sound of sharp little nails scratching on the floor drew her attention away from Jane, and the medical examiner looked up to see Joe Friday watching her curiously. The little mutt's ears were perked, as though she was asking a question in her silent dog language.

"It was nothing, Joe," said Maura. "Or should it be Jo?" Maura knew that both names sounded the same when spoken, but in her mind, they were spelled differently. "You're a bitch, and the female spelling of the name would be Jo, but you're named after a male detective, so perhaps it should be Joe... I'm not sure. I should ask Jane when she wakes up."

Jane, as though objecting to Maura's conversation with the dog while she slept, began to snore. Maura rolled her eyes. Jo (or Joe?) Friday shifted on her Mistress's lap and curled up into a tight little ball. The detective didn't stir. "That's a good girl," Maura said, scratching Jo's head and then stroking Jane's hair. "Make sure she's comfortable. Her mother's coming over later, and God knows she won't get any rest then..."

Maura was grateful that she had managed to get the day off from work. Fortunately, she had built up so many sick days and vacation days over the years, that taking half-days or even entire weekends off to look after Jane was possible. However, Maura had to admit that she missed working in the morgue on a regular schedule. Her assistants were highly capable – she had selected them herself, after all – but it just wasn't the same when someone else was doing your work.

"Jane will be more mobile in another week," Maura said to herself as she sat down on Jane's bed. "I guess both of us are feeling restless."

Feeling more secure in her solitude, the medical examiner thought back on the kiss she had given Jane. It was the first remotely sexual display of affection she had allowed herself to share with the detective. And did it even count? Jane was asleep, after all. Since she had come to the realization that she was in love with Jane, Maura had continued mulling over the subject, but she had not come to any conclusions. Admitting her feelings was the first step. But what was she supposed to do now? Jane was a completely unpredictable variable in this equation, and Maura hated equations that didn't line up perfectly.


"Ugh, why can't I open this damn thing?" Jane sighed, staring out of her window. Although her room was air conditioned, the evening weather outside was so beautiful that almost everyone had their windows open... everyone but her. Her window didn't open. Aside from the television, watching people come and go through the hospital parking lot was Jane's only entertainment while Maura was gone.

Jo Friday, who was still sitting on Jane's lap, her tail thumping happily against the brunette's thigh, leaned forward precariously, almost tumbling onto the floor as she strained to catch a glimpse of the outside world. "Easy, girl. Maura already took you for a walk today." Jane felt a little guilty that Maura had been relegated to dog walking and poop bagging duty, but she was obviously in no condition to take Jo Friday.

"And just what kinda trouble are you two gettin' into?" a familiar voice came from behind Jane's chair, startling her.

"Ma, how did you get in here?" Inwardly, Jane cursed herself for not hearing her mother's intrusion into the room. She supposed her finely tuned detective senses weren't back at one hundred percent yet. She would have to find a way to work on that.

"Maura told me to stop by, Janie."

Jo Friday jumped down from Jane's lap and trotted over to Angela Rizzoli, wagging her tail and panting happily at her feet. Angela gave the dog a few pats on the head.

"Traitor," Jane muttered. It was bad enough that Jo had to be affectionate with her mother when she was clearly intruding on Jane's privacy, but she hadn't even stayed to help defend Jane against her tormentor. "Some guard dog you are."

"Don't blame Jo. She knows what's good for you. And so does Maura. Have you been listening to her?" Angela fussed, pulling Jane away from the window. The detective gave it one last longing glance, wishing she could turn into a bird – one with fully functional wings – and fly out of her cage.

Jane sighed. "Yes, Ma..."

Ignoring her daughter's strained, irritated voice, Angela Rizzoli grabbed the arms of Jane's wheelchair without asking and pushed her over to the bed. "Here, why don't you rest and watch some television while I get you a plate from the hospital cafeteria."

"Maura brought me something earlier," Jane said. Of course, she had eaten very little of the meal, but she didn't mention that fact to her mother.

Angela snorted, rolling her eyes. "Hospital food. Hmph. When you get out of here, I'll cook for you until you're up and moving again."

Jane decided not to comment. She wasn't hungry at all, and she definitely didn't want Angela Rizzoli coming over to feed her every night – or, worse, forcing her to stay with them until she was fully recovered – but she also wasn't in the mood to argue. She figured that her best option would be to pretend to eat the food and slip it to Jo Friday. Hopefully, people food didn't have negative effects on dogs.

'Maura would know,' she thought, feeling rather depressed that the medical examiner was at work for the evening. They would need to have a long, serious talk about her decision to call Angela in. "I'm not a complete invalid," Jane mumbled under her breath.

Perhaps sensing Jane's anxiety, Jo Friday hopped back into the detective's lap. "So, this is a pretty swanky room they've got you in. Penthouse floor and everything! I'm surprised they let you keep your dog up here."

"I tried to talk Maura out of it... she didn't need to -"

"Nonsense. That girl is so wonderful... first saving Frankie, then making sure my other baby is in the best part of the hospital -"

"- Jo isn't supposed to be up here," Jane added. "In fact, I want you to take her home with you when you leave." Jo whimpered at the sound of her name, and Jane gave her a sympathetic scratch behind the ears. "Sorry, girl. I don't want you bothering old Mrs. Heissmann next door. I think her husband's allergic to dogs."

"You got to meet the other people on the floor?"

Jane shrugged. "This is a recovery wing. I see them out and about with their walkers when I go out for PT." Unfortunately, she couldn't even walk with the aid of crutches or some other form of support.

"Well, that's nice. It's like a little apartment complex! Everyone visiting..."

"Not exactly," Jane mumbled.

"Well, I'm glad Maura put you here. You told her thank you, right, Janie? And I'll have to invite her over for dinner..." At first, Angela had been just as reluctant as Jane to accept Maura's monetary assistance, but when Maura pulled the 'I Only Want What's Best For Jane' card, she folded. Now, she couldn't speak highly enough of the medical examiner. "You know, she's a very nice girl... You couldn't do much better."

Jane's pupils dilated and her jaw dropped. "Ma! How did – what are you... when? I mean... did Maura – what?"

"I'm a mother, not an idiot," said Jane's mother. "I see the way she looks at you. It's not what I imagined for you, but Maura is a Saint, and I can't think of anyone more perfect for my daughter."

"It's not like that," Jane insisted. "Maura and I – it's complicated..."

"And what's so complicated about it?" Angela pressed forward, her Boston accent becoming more prominent. "That girl adores you. All you have to do is get over yourself and tell her you feel the same way."

"Who says I do?" Jane snapped, growing more irritable by the second.

"Fine, don't listen to your mother... I'm going to get you some food from the cafeteria. Then, I'm gonna watch you eat it."

Jane groaned and began banging the back of her head into her pillow. "Ugh. I'm not gonna survive one more week of this." Jo Friday barked.



"Hey, Maura, are you coming to see me later?" Jane asked, sitting by the window in the 'community visiting area' as she spoke into her cell phone. The section of the hospital that Maura had paid for her to stay in was really ritzy. It was definitely more expensive than she could afford and far fancier than she wanted, but she didn't have the heart to tell Maura no. Besides, there were some perks... she was really enjoying her private recovery room.

"Once I finish up this au – I mean, yes, in a little while," Maura answered from the other end. The medical examiner avoided talking about work around Jane even though the stubborn detective liked to hound her for details. She knew that Jane missed being busy with work, and the subject usually made her feel depressed.

Unfortunately, she didn't correct her sentence quickly enough. "You're talking on the phone while doing an autopsy?" the brunette squawked, sitting a little straighter in her wheelchair and causing several people just entering the room to glance at her in surprise and curiosity.

Jane could almost hear Maura roll her eyes. "Of course not, that would be unsanitary, distracting, and counterproductive. You called while I was transcribing my autopsy notes from my tape recorder to my computer."

"Don't you have assistants to do that sort of thing?"

"I've already been overworking my assistants lately," said Maura. Jane frowned, feeling a little guilty for usurping so much of Maura's time. She knew that her... friend? Maura was more than a friend... but definitely not a girlfriend. Jane wasn't ready to go there. Yet. Well, whatever Maura was, Jane knew that she had a very busy and important job – one that the detective had been keeping her away from too much over the past few weeks.

"You know, you can visit me tomorrow instead," the detective offered. She was sincere, but unable to keep a note of sadness from her voice. Jane was feeling lower by the second. First she was stuck in this stupid wheelchair, and now she was becoming a burden on everybody she cared about...

"Of course I'll come visit you tonight, Jane. In fact, I'm finishing up right now."

Even though she hated herself for being so needy, Jane was pleased to hear that Maura was coming to see her. "Thank you... I hate being a prisoner in this damn place." The brunette glanced over at Mr. Heissman, an older gentleman who visited the hospital on most weekdays to spend time with his wife. He was speaking to one of the nurses on duty with a peculiar expression on his face.

Maura's sigh redirected her attention back to her conversation. "It isn't so bad. You need to stay at the hospital to rest and recuperate."

"I know," Jane grumbled. "That doesn't mean I have to like it." Suddenly remembering that Maura was the one financing her stay, she hurried to add, "I mean, this private wing is really nice... I'm glad to be staying here. It's just not home."

"And I'm sure your lack of mobility is particularly frustrating."

Jane decided not to respond to that comment. Instead, she continued to watch Mr. Heissman as he sank into an available chair. The nurse, one that Jane recognized from the day shift, put a hand on his shoulder.

They were a good distance away, but between the inflection in their speech and Jane's ability to lip-read, she put together pieces of the conversation.

" – so sorry for your..."

"The doctors said she – it's such a ..."

" – not sure how... died –"

Jane's eyebrows raised as she tried to fit together the broken phrases. Suddenly, she remembered that Maura was still on the other end of the line. "... and you should be able to try crutches in a week or so," she was saying, trying to pass some of the cheeriness in her voice on to Jane.

Even though talking to Maura was one of her favorite things to do, especially recently, Jane's curiosity had gotten the better of her. "That's good. Listen, Maura, I'll let you go finish up the rest of your paperwork. Then you can be done faster... See you later, right?"

Maura said something in acknowledgement, but Jane wasn't really paying attention. When she heard the medical examiner say 'talk to you later', Jane mumbled a quick goodbye and hung up the phone.

"I can't believe she's gone..." Mr. Heissman's voice became clearer now that the phone conversation wasn't distracting her. Jane had never been very good at keeping up with two conversations at once.

"It's just so strange. The other nurses and I were all so pleased with how much progress she was making."

Jane began searching her memory for all the information she knew about Mrs. Heissman. She was currently staying – or was it 'had been staying' now? – in the room across the hall and one door down from Jane. From what she could recall, her first name was Rose, she was in her early sixties, and she was finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Thinking back, Jane remembered the last time she had seen Rose Heissman. The older woman had been using a walker, but moving on her own, and her hair was beginning to grow back. She had smiled at Jane as the detective was being wheeled past for physical therapy and, as usual, greeted her with a cheerful 'Hello, dear.'

On the other side of the room, Jane could still hear Mr. Heissman speaking. "Do they know if she was in any pain? The doctors haven't been able to tell me much. She was doing well when I left yesterday."

The nurse sighed. "I wasn't on duty, but from what I've heard, she was complaining of chest pains. You would have to talk to Susie if you want to know more."

Jane recognized the name. Susie was the short, plump morning shift nurse that came to check on her around breakfast time.

"Will there be some sort of – I don't know... test? To see what happened?"

"I'm not sure."

"The doctors haven't explained things very well..."

Seeing her opening, the detective began wheeling herself over to the two people. "Excuse me, Mr. Heissman," she interrupted as politely as possible. "You might not remember me, but–"

The sad gentleman's eyes narrowed a little as he studied Jane's face, and then brightened with recognition. "Jane? Jane... something. I'm sorry, young lady, I can't remember your last name... In fact, I'm not sure if Rose ever mentioned it." Jane felt strange after being called 'young lady', but decided to let it slide. "My wife told me you were moving in down the hall. Aren't you some kind of policewoman?"

Jane offered him a small smile. "Yes sir, I'm a detective with the BPD. I didn't mean to eavesdrop on you," she lied, "but I overheard part of your conversation. I'm very sorry about your wife."

"It's... certainly a shock," he said, frowning.

"Of course," Jane murmured sympathetically. "I wouldn't have bothered you, except that my good friend is a medical examiner. Since your wife passed away very suddenly, maybe she could help answer some of your questions if your doctors weren't much help." Silently, the detective prayed that Maura wouldn't be angry with her for volunteering her assistance with such a 'speculative' assignment. The ME usually preferred cold, hard facts along with cold, hard bodies, and unless she had access to both, she was generally reluctant to draw conclusions. Still, at the very least, she might be willing to translate some of the 'doctor language' that Mr. Heissman had been unable to understand.

Mr. Heissman looked up. "Really?" he asked, looking hopeful in a tired sort of way. "Rose's death was just so sudden, and her attending physician only confused me more. The way he explained it didn't make sense to me."

"Yes. I just spoke to her on the phone, and she's coming over to visit me in a little while. If you want to hang around here for about thirty minutes, she could try to clear up some of the confusion."


"Jane, I'm really not sure about this," Maura whispered. "I hardly know anything about this particular patient. There's no way I can determine her cause of death or explain it to her husband."

The detective, who had been expecting Maura's reluctant attitude, was prepared to argue her case. "Listen, just talk to the guy for me, will you? His wife died suddenly and he only wants some answers."

"That's the problem," Maura muttered. "He wants answers, and I don't have any. It would be unprofessional, not to mention inaccurate of me to make conjectures about his wife's medical problems."

Jane sighed. "Maur, his wife's already dead. What harm could it do? Just listen to what he has to say and explain some of those big medical words you people use."

The ME raised her eyebrows and crossed her arms over her breasts. Jane tried valiantly not to look down. "You people?" she repeated.

Realizing that she was losing ground, Jane stared up at Maura from her wheelchair and gave her a pout. Inwardly, she grimaced at using such an underhanded tactic. If Korsak or Frost saw her using a puppy face on Maura, they would never let her live it down...

But then Maura smiled, and Jane knew that she would get her way. "Thanks," she said, not even waiting for the medical examiner to agree with her out loud. "I owe you one."

"I'll talk to him, but I can't make any promises other than that. Medical problems can be very complex and unique to each patient..."

Sensing that Maura was about to go on a tangent, Jane briefly touched the medical examiner's hand, causing both of them to jerk with surprise as a strange spark shot between them. The blonde doctor blinked, surprised that the contact had summoned such a strong reaction. Then again, Jane's touch had always been 'electric' to her...

"Excuse me." A masculine voice interrupted the strange moment hanging between them, and both women turned. "Are you Dr. Maura Isles?"

"I am." Automatically, Maura extended her hand. "You must be Mr. Heissman. I'm sorry about your wife. Jane told me that she had a very pleasant disposition." Although the words were somewhat clinical, the feeling behind them impressed Jane. Obviously, Maura's condolences were heartfelt even though she had not known the deceased.

"Thank you," said Mr. Heissman, equally touched. "Everything's still settling in. The worst part is that her doctors can't seem to tell me what went wrong."

Maura nodded thoughtfully. "Sometimes it can be difficult to tell. The only way to know for sure is to do a full autopsy. That's what my job is, actually."

Mr. Heissman looked disappointed. "I asked about that. Dr. Ferrell – that's the breast cancer specialist – he told me that it would cost several hundred dollars. I can afford it, if you think it's a good idea –"

Instantly, Maura's expression changed from sympathetic to annoyed. "Legally, they should have told you that you have the right to request a free autopsy. It might not necessarily be done at this hospital, but it's still federal law."

"How much do you charge?"

Mr. Heissman seemed slightly uncomfortable asking, but Jane couldn't really blame him. She knew that if she were trying to settle Maura's affairs after the doctor passed away, she would be just as bewildered and confused... – wait, where had that thought come from? Why on earth would she be the one managing Maura's affairs? 'Slow down, Jane,' the detective thought silently. 'You're getting way too far ahead of yourself.'

"I work for the police department, so nothing. I do autopsies on people that have died in unusual circumstances."

"Rose did die in unusual circumstances. She had breast cancer, but they said she was complaining of chest pains and throwing up before she died."

"What stage of breast cancer?" Maura asked, pressing for more details. Jane noticed that she avoided using Rose's name, keeping the questions purely clinical.

"She was diagnosed in stage II and moved to stage III. The cancer had spread to her upper lymph nodes... but the chemotherapy was working. Dr. Ferrell said that, hopefully, they had caught it before it spread to her other organs."

"So there wasn't any further metastasis yet?"

As Mr. Heissman shook his head, Maura noticed his pale complexion and became concerned. "Why don't we sit down in the chairs over there?" she said. "Jane can pull up beside us. All right?"

"Yes, thank you," he said, relieved for the short break.

Jane tried not to be too disappointed that she couldn't walk over and sit in a chair like her companions. "Metastasis is when cancer goes into the rest of the body, right?" Jane asked for clarification. Maura nodded. "So she was getting better?"

"That's what we thought."

The medical examiner sighed, shifting in her seat to face the tired looking man. "Mr. Heissman, vomiting and pain are normal symptoms of cancer and also side effects of the drugs used to treat it, but sudden onset like you've described sounds like an overdose of multiple chemotheraputic agents. Of course, without access to the body, medical history, or toxicology reports, I can only speculate. "

Both Jane and Mr. Heissman stared at Maura. "You think she ODed on her medicine?" the detective asked, sounding surprised.


"Why do you think that?"

"The mention of abnormal chest pain could mean that her heart was strained by an overdose. Again, this is just a rudimentary guess. You shouldn't assume anything until the body has been examined."

"Isn't the hospital supposed to make sure things like that don't happen?"

"Yes," Maura said again. "In this case, Mr. Heissman, I would recommend a full autopsy and lab report. If your wife's toxicology results are abnormal, you'll have your answer."



"Dr. Isles, I'm afraid I can't release any of that information to you. I'm sure you understand –"

Inside of her room, Jane shifted on the mattress and tilted her head, tucking a lock of dark hair behind her ear and listening intently to the argument happening on the other side of the door. She was supposed to be asleep, which was probably why Maura had decided to question the night shift nurse in the hallway, but the constant soreness that radiated out from the bullet wound in her abdomen kept her from drifting off. She wasn't allowed to use a morphine drip anymore, but Jane preferred the pain. She had seen too many other cops become reliant on painkillers after being injured on the job.

"I simply want to know where the bodies are sent to be autopsied if a person dies under unusual circumstances here," Maura continued. "Surely that information isn't protected by federal and state privacy laws."

The nurse's answer was too low for Jane to make out, but she was almost sure she caught the word "lawsuit" in there somewhere. A familiar, exasperated sigh followed, and Jane could picture Maura tapping the toe of her shoe impatiently.

"Mr. Heissman is the one who wanted me to ask in the first place! Apparently – and I can't imagine why – he is under the impression that a fellow doctor's request for information might carry more weight with the decidedly unhelpful staff.."

Jane smiled when Maura continued after a brief pause, obviously not pleased with whatever the nurse had said. "Well, no wonder you don't advertise where you send your bodies! Dr. White couldn't find his own ass with both hands, let alone identify a cause of death, and I'm sure his students are hardly any better."

Maura's atypical outburst made Jane laugh, but she regretted it when violent streaks of red exploded behind her eyes. Letting out a muffled groan of pain, she tried to ignore the sharp, stabbing sensation in her gut. Unfortunately, Maura heard her from outside the door and abandoned her tirade, hurrying back into the room.

"You're supposed to be asleep!" she scolded, bending over to check on her friend, her brow creased with worry.

Jane tried to bat Maura away with a few weak swings of her hand. "Stop that. I'm fine. Why were you swearing? You don't swear."

Maura sighed. "Well, I certainly won't attempt to do so again any time in the near future if this is the standard result..." she muttered, pushing past Jane's arms and lifting her shirt to check on her bandage, not thinking twice about Jane's modesty. Jane, however, was not so oblivious, and she tried to pull her shirt back down, at least for the sake of the bewildered nurse who was standing in the open doorway. The bandages stopped just beneath her breasts, and she didn't want to give the poor woman, plus anyone else who happened to be strolling through the hallway in the middle of the night, a free show.

"Maur, stop that," she said, managing to preserve some of her dignity while the ME fussed over her. "Who is this Dr. White guy who can't find his ass with both hands?"

Maura sighed. "I use the term Doctor loosely in reference to him. He is a professor at the University, and while Boston sports some of the greatest Academic minds in the United States, his is not one of them. I had the displeasure of sharing my second year residency with him. The man is a complete moron. I'll do poor Rose Heissman's autopsy myself just to prevent him or one of his students from making a butchery of it."

"Is that even allowed?" Jane asked.

"I'll make it allowed." Ignoring the fact that her sentence wasn't grammatically correct – she was two for two today on unusual sentences – Maura turned around to send the attending nurse away with a pointed glare. Wisely, the cowed woman shut the door behind her, leaving the two women in relative privacy.

An uncomfortable silence stretched between them, setting the doctor and the detective on edge as they studied each other. Maura was the first to speak, but she did so reluctantly. "Please don't think that I'm arguing the merits of looking into Rose Heissman's cause of death, but Jane, have you given any thought to your motivations?"

Jane gave the medical examiner a curious look. "My motivations? I never asked you to do anything but talk to her husband. You're the one that's going all body snatcher on the hospital." The way that Jane's dark eyebrows moved as she spoke made Maura's stomach twist itself into slippery, uncomfortable knots.

"I knew you wanted me to look in to it. I know you, Jane. I know how you think. You didn't have to ask."

The detective took an almost defensive posture, not sure she liked what Maura was implying. "You're exaggerating. I'm not that easy to read..."

"You are to me." There was no smug pride in Maura's admission. Like most of her statements, it was simply a fact. "I can tell you want to find out what happened to her. What I would like to know is why."

Jane shrugged, even though the motion stretched the bands of muscle across her stomach and made her feel a little sore. "I'm bored. Let's just leave it at that. It'll be weeks before I can get back to work, and I have to see a shrink, re-qualify with my weapon, all that crap. I know finding out how she died is your line of work, not mine, but putting the wheels in motion gives me something to do. God, time just crawls by in this place... and Ma never gives me a moment's peace..."

Although she could tell that Jane was being truthful, Maura suspected there was more that her friend wasn't saying. "So that's it? This is just a distraction for you? There's nothing else on your mind?"

"Yeah." But the blonde didn't miss the slightly startled look in Jane's eyes. Suddenly, it didn't feel like they were talking about Rose's death anymore.

"Well, I've been rather preoccupied lately. In fact, I have a confession to make."

Still a little nervous, Jane tried to tilt the conversation in a more humorous direction. She was too tired and sore for serious discussions. "As long as you aren't going to confess your undying love for Korsak or force me to move back in with my parents once I break out of this joint, I think we'll be okay."

Maura gave Jane a reassuring smile and instinctively placed a hand on her arm. "Actually, I wanted to talk about..." 'Us.' Maura couldn't quite bring herself to define 'them' as an 'us', at least not out loud. Even though she felt ready for that step, she didn't want to pressure Jane in any way. "Over the past few days – no, before that... Recently, I've come to certain realizations about myself..."

Jane sat up straighter against the headboard, making use of the stack of pillows behind her head. She tried not to look as uncomfortable as she felt. For some reason, Maura's touch seemed unbearably warm on the bare skin of her arm. The contact almost burned, but it wasn't unpleasant.

"–I think I'm developing strong feelings for you." Maura barreled on, determined to get the rest of her impromptu speech over with before Jane could stop her. "I don't know how to classify them, since this is a new experience for me, but I felt that, as your friend, I needed to be honest with you."

"What do you mean, feelings?" Jane asked, almost choking on the words. Her mouth suddenly went dry, and she struggled to speak. "Maura, we're friends... good friends... I mean, I know we've, but – do you really want to screw that up?"

Instead of deterring her, Jane's hesitance only emboldened Maura. Obviously, Jane knew what she was getting at, and she didn't seem surprised, just very unsure, testing each step before she took it so that she wouldn't start sinking. That meant there was a chance – a slim chance – that her feelings might be reciprocated. "Nothing's going to change right now. You need to focus on getting better. I just thought you should know."

Instantly, Jane felt a little of her panic subside. A thin layer of sweat spread itself over her palms, and she hurriedly wiped them on her bedsheets, trying not to look as nervous as she felt. Somehow, she had known this conversation would happen between them one day... but she had always tried not to think about it.

"Jane..." The familiar sound of her name on Maura's lips was soothing somehow, and the detective relaxed. She looked up into soft, concerned green eyes. "Jane, you look exhausted. Get some sleep."

"If I had a quarter for every time someone told me that, I'd be richer than Donald Trump," Jane muttered, deciding to fall back on ill humor in order to avoid thinking about all of the things Maura had said.

"We've been friends for a long time now. You know I only tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear it."

The detective sighed. "Especially when I don't want to hear it." To soften the words, she placed her hand on top of Maura's, giving the medical examiner's hand a friendly squeeze. For just a moment, their eyes met as a brief connection passed between them before both women looked away with identical sheepish expressions.


"Ma, what did you mean the other day about me and Maura?" Jane asked her mother the next morning as the determined Angela Rizzoli attempted to replace Jane's damp hospital sheets with colorful ones from home. The detective suspected that her mother was deliberately disobeying hospital policies by doing so, but she didn't have it in her to argue or protest. She simply sat in her wheelchair and watched, content to let Angela have her way for the moment.

"Oh, so now you want to talk?" Angela said, pausing in her task to fold her arms over her chest and give her daughter a smug look. "I thought all you've been doin' lately is complaining about me."

For a moment, Jane wondered if Maura had ratted on her, but dismissed the thought immediately. Her mother just knew. "You know I love you, Ma. I just don't like being babied."

Tucking the sheets under the mattress in a perfect corner, Angela walked over to Jane's wheelchair and threaded her fingers through her daughter's hair, massaging her scalp and rubbing the back of her neck. "I know, but you'll always be my baby, Janie."

Jane realized that she would have to give in a little, at least for now, if she wanted any useful advice from her mother. "I know," she said, permitting the attention. "So, what did you mean?"

"I told you. That girl's in love with you, and in my opinion, you couldn't do much better." Angela sighed. "But since when do daughters ever want the people their mothers approve of?"

"You approve of Maura?" she asked. Even though the topic was uncomfortable for her, Jane couldn't help being curious. "I mean, we're Catholic..."

"My Maura's a good girl," Angela said, referring to the absent doctor almost like a family member. For some strange reason, it felt right to Jane. "The Pope probably wouldn't approve, but since when is it his business? God saved both of my children, and Maura helped... All I want is for you to be happy and healthy."

"I'm working on the healthy part," Jane said, stretching her arms and doing a few twists to show her mother the results of her PT exercises. Angela seemed pleased with Jane's range of motion, but she shepherded her daughter into the freshly dressed bed anyway and forced her to lie down.

"So isn't it about time to do a little work on the happiness part?"

"I am happy," Jane said, but she knew that she wasn't. Even prior to the shooting, she hadn't been truly happy. Before, she had just assumed it was a rough patch, the kind of tough few months everyone went through at some point, but now, she wondered if there wasn't more to it. Maybe the lingering dissatisfaction that had been plaguing her had something to do with Maura.

'Why do all of my thoughts seem to come back to Maura?' Jane wondered to herself. 'Maura... Maura...'

"Jane!" Her mother's voice jolted Jane out of her entranced state. "Your cell phone?" Now that her mind was focused, she could hear the familiar 'Dun Dun DuDun' that signaled a call from the very woman she had been thinking about. Maura's voice floated in her ears. 'You should really change it to Dies Irae, Jane. The melody is so much more melodic...'

Reaching for the phone, Jane held her breath as she waited to hear Maura's voice. "Hello?"

"Hi there. You'll be pleased to know that my connections have paid off and I can solve your little mystery for you. I'm going to perform Mrs. Heissman's autopsy, with her husband's permission of course. At least I'll have some news to entertain you with tonight when I visit."

"I'm always entertained when you visit," Jane blurted out before realizing how that sounded. Angela winked at her and she let out a frustrated groan.

Recognizing that Jane was irritated rather than in pain, Maura wasn't too concerned. "What's bothering you now?"

"How do you do that, Maur? It's creepy... And nothing's bothering me. "

"Are you sure?"

"You're worse than my mother. I'll see you tonight. Does Rose's husband know you're going to do the autopsy? He was really worried about it yesterday. It might put his mind at ease."

"Yes, I've already spoken with him. It will mostly be standard procedure, and my assistants have been doing a good job lately helping me get through my regular caseload, so I should be able to take her out of the freezer in a day or so."

Jane shuddered. Although her up-close and personal experiences with the dead had increased in recent years thanks to Maura, the thought of human bodies being stored in a freezer still gave her goosebumps. "Eurgh, Maura, that's gross."

The light sound of Maura's laughter put a smile back on her face. "Why do you think I said it? Anyway, I have obtained her medical records, and by all accounts, she was doing much better. Her cancer was responding very effectively to the treatment. Whatever happened to this poor woman, it wasn't the disease that killed her."

"Yeah?" Jane said, feeling slightly guilty for being excited over someone else's death. Of course she didn't like to think of anyone being hurt or killed, but finding the solutions to problems, especially problems that involved dead people... well, that was what she and Maura did best.

"Yes, Jane, not 'yeah'."

"Fine, fine, 'yes'..." Angela nodded her approval at the side of the conversation that she could hear, and then gestured that she was going to leave the room for a little while. Probably to find more food to torture her with, Jane thought glumly. "I'll see you tonight," she said, waving goodbye to her mother as she simultaneously ended her conversation with Maura.



Maura Isles enjoyed solving puzzles. Puzzles only had one right answer, one correct sequence, and she liked using the process of elimination to discover it. Currently, she was labeling the chart of her latest puzzle – Rose Heissman.

It was late evening, and the first two shifts of the day had already departed. The almost otherworldly third shift cops, the ones who patrolled through the early morning, were out doing their jobs. Maura made her own work schedule, and performing an autopsy close to midnight didn't bother her. Fears and superstitions were borne from ignorance, and there was no room for ignorance in her life. Maura Isles' universe was constructed entirely of facts. And facts would lead her to the answer to this particular puzzle: the cause of death.

"Head—Central Nervous system: the brain weighs..." [A crackle as the microphone shifts, then a pause] "1,310 grams, within normal limits."

Maura dutifully typed out the weight of the brain, letting the recording of her voice continue to run as she prepared her report. The glow of her computer screen gave the glass walls of the morgue an eerie sheen, but she ignored it.

"Skeletal system: Significantly decreased bone density–"

Even though she was dead, Rose Heissman's expression had seemed strangely peaceful to Maura while she worked. During the external examination, the doctor had noticed her sunken cheeks, the brittleness of her bones as they poked through thin layers of skin. Maura did not work with many cancer patients. Most of her bodies were clear homicides or bloody accidents – brutal, but quick. Seeing the way that the cancer, radiation, and chemotherapy had ravaged the old woman's body was depressing in a different sort of way.

"The lungs weigh: right, 353 grams, left..."

Maura turned off the recording. She normally liked taking dictation, but tonight, her mind was filled with thoughts of Jane.


She hadn't spoken with the detective since their awkward conversation the day before. Maura had called in the morning and offered to spend a few hours visiting, but Jane had told her not to bother, claiming she had physical therapy scheduled. The blonde knew that was a lie, but she couldn't get a handle on Jane's motives. Was the detective embarrassed by Maura's confession, or was she just tired of everyone hovering over her? Maura knew how much Jane valued her space and her independence.

"I can't finish this until I get the toxicology report back anyway," Maura said to herself, saving her work so far and shutting down her computer. Trying to get anything else done tonight was hopeless. The techs in the lab would take a while to send her the results.

Raising her arms above her head and leaning forward, Maura let out a sigh of relief as she stretched the soreness out of her shoulders. She normally had excellent posture, but working long hours into the night took a toll on the healthiest of physical specimens. A fleeting thought of what a fine specimen her friend Jane Rizzoli was made the medical examiner pause, and then chastise herself as she lowered her arms.

Perhaps confessing that she felt something 'more' for Jane had not been a wise decision. At least she had not attempted to define 'more'. That might have gotten her into even deeper trouble.

The buzz of Maura's phone against her hip interrupted her silent analysis. "Isles," came the crisp, automatic response as she answered the call.

"Maura, it's Jane. Can you get over here right now?"

The medical examiner frowned even though Jane couldn't see her. "Where, the hospital?"

"Yeah, could you – sir, you need to calm down. No, I'm just – sir, I... Maura, I need you..."

If only Jane had said those words to her in a different context, it would have made Maura's night. But it sounded like the detective needed to her help. That hypothesis was confirmed when Maura heard muffled voices in the background and what sounded like the scuffing of boots across a tile floor. Then, Jane's voice again – "Oh good, security. Listen, if you don't calm down, they're going to haul your ass out of here."

Maura's eyes widened and she instantly grabbed for her purse, leaving the computer and the rest of her belongings where they were. "Security? Jane, what's going on?"

"Sorry, Maur, I have to go..." was all the detective managed to say before she hung up the phone.

There was no question in Maura's mind. If Jane needed her, she would come right away, even without a full explanation.

The drive to the hospital seemed to take longer than usual despite the lack of traffic on the roads. Even in a city as busy as Boston, most people were sound asleep at this time of night. Maura clutched the steering wheel hard enough to drain the blood from her knuckles. She knew that Jane was capable of taking care of herself, and it hadn't sounded like her friend was in immediate danger, but Maura's mind kept returning to the shooting.

'There was so much blood...'

Clinging to the rational hope that Jane wouldn't have hung up if she was in physical trouble, Maura parked the car near the emergency entrance in the back, ignoring the blaring, large-lettered signs that told her the area was off limits. If Jane did need her help, she wasn't taking any chances.

Pulling out her cell phone again, Maura quickly checked for messages and missed alerts. Jane hadn't tried to call her a second time. Deciding to take that as a good sign, the medical examiner scrolled through her contact list, hitting a number that she had used several times in the past few weeks. She was lucky that Gerald Forbes owed her a favor – she had helped him pass his Boards with flying colors several years ago.

"Gerry? Yes, this is Maura," she confirmed when a sleepy voice answered. "No, just stay on the line. I need you to say 'open sesame' for me so that I can get into the hospital after hours..."

After explaining herself to two EMTs, the irritated night receptionist, the RN on duty, and a Fellow who blanched at the word 'lawsuit', Maura was finally able to gain access to the upper floors. There was muttering about 'visiting hours' and 'completely unnecessary panics', but Maura ignored the cross-looking nurse that finally let her through.

To her surprise – and the nurse's, she could tell – there was already quite a crowd assembled in the hallway. A trio of security guards fingered their belts, reaching for something Maura couldn't see, but assumed was some sort of stick or taser. Were hospital security guards even allowed to carry weapons?

And then she saw the source of the commotion. Jane, always one for finding new ways to get in trouble, had used the bulk of her wheelchair to back an angry looking young man against a door, positioning herself directly between him and the frightened looking floor nurses and a night janitor who had stopped at the other end of the hall to watch.

"Let me talk to someone in charge!" The young man pushed forward, moving past Jane's chair and clenching his fists.

"Sir, you need to leave," one of the security guards said, stepping forward. "This area is restricted."

"Find me someone who can explain what happened to my mother! I just got off the plane from New York, and nobody knows where her body is or how she died..." The man continued ranting, completely ignoring the presence of the security guards.

Typical to her nature, Jane interrupted, putting herself right in the middle of the confrontation. "I understand that you want to know what's going on with your mother. Have you talked to your father at all, Mr. Heissman?"

"Weaver," the man corrected. "My last name is Weaver. He's my stepfather."

Jane raised her eyebrows, making a mental note of the new information. "Your mother's body is at the Boston Police Department. I promise, we're going to figure out what happened to her, but you need to calm down." Noticing her new audience, Jane motioned for Maura to join her. "This is Dr. Maura Isles. She's doing the autopsy -"

As soon as he heard those words, Weaver's interest was immediately piqued. "No one's giving me any answers. She was doing better, and now..."

An expression of grief played across his face, and Maura couldn't help empathizing with his loss. She stepped forward. "I promise that your mother is in good hands." She extended an arm in greeting, and then reached into her purse to fish for one of her business cards. "Her autopsy is complete, and all of her bloodwork has been sent to our lab. Hopefully, we'll have some answers for you soon. Normally, those results are kept confidential, but considering the unusual circumstances, I would be willing to discuss some of the details with you..." she paused, glancing at the security guards who were still hovering around them, "... tomorrow morning. Here's my contact information. Call me, and we'll set up an appointment."

She didn't mention the numerous favors she had called in to get Rose on her table. A sweet, angelic smile had convinced the Chief to let her tap BPD resources, and a touch of blackmail (she had witnessed a certain lab specialist in a compromising position with a colleague at last year's New Years gathering) had gotten her name bumped up on the waiting list. Although she was extremely satisfied with her career as it was, Maura would have made an excellent businesswoman.

"Okay." Still burning off his residual anger, Mr. Weaver shoved Maura's card into his pocket a little too roughly, but he seemed satisfied with the compromise.

"All right, people, clear out," the detective said, waving her hands and trying to look as official as possible from her wheelchair. Surprisingly, everyone obeyed, even Weaver, who finally allowed the burly security guards to escort him off the floor, although he did snatch one last glance over his shoulder before leaving the hallway. The nurses and janitor were quick to leave since the commotion was over, and Jane and Maura suddenly found themselves alone.

The medical examiner reached out to push Jane's wheelchair, but pulled her hands back before making contact, realizing that Jane would probably resent the help. "How did he even get up here? The RN looked at me like I had requested the secret formula to Coca-Cola when I asked to come upstairs," Maura asked, opening the door to Jane's hospital room and letting the detective wheel herself through.

Jane shrugged, stopping next to her bed and attempting to lift herself onto the mattress. "Well, you didn't have security come chase you down," she pointed out. Reluctantly, she accepted Maura's nonverbal offer to help. "Ugh, I hate this. It feels like I can't do anything anymore because the rest of my body is all connected to my torso."

Maura opened her mouth to begin explaining how the abdominal muscles and lower back helped regulate balance and posture, but stopped as she looked down into Jane's familiar brown eyes. They were creased at the corners in discomfort, and she was obviously irritated at her limited mobility, but somehow, Jane still looked beautiful to her.

'Beautiful. I have always thought of Jane as powerful, confident, maybe even sexy, but beautiful?'

"Jane, why did you ask me to come here tonight?" Maura asked impulsively, almost blurting out the question. "Mr. Weaver seemed frustrated, but it didn't seem like anything you couldn't handle." Jane had faced down serial killers and convicted felons before. Surely one pushy relative couldn't be too much trouble.

"Because we're a team. I know this isn't a real case, but... you're my back-up, Maur."

Coming from anyone else, it would have been a casual statement, but knowing Jane like she did, Maura knew that it meant so much more. The doctor was suddenly acutely aware of the fact that Jane was in her nightgown, definitely lacking a bra, and even with slightly messy bandaging and even messier dark hair, she looked absolutely stunning. Maura couldn't decide whether to step back or pull closer...

'Jane, if you had any idea...'

But Jane did seem to have an idea. She was a detective, after all, and she gave Maura a pointed look when the medical examiner's eyes drifted down the length of her body. Reaching a silent decision, Jane patted the mattress beside her. "Come here."

The normally verbose Dr. Isles obeyed without a word, perching on the edge of the bed. She almost jumped when Jane's arm moved to wrap around the curve of her waist. "You don't have to sit so far away..."

"Jane, I really don't want to make you uncomfortable. I know what I said yesterday -"

"I've been thinking about that," Jane said in a low voice, never breaking eye contact. Maura felt hypnotized. How could Jane just look at her like that and make her train of thought completely disappear? "I'm thinking that... maybe you shouldn't think so much..."

And miraculously, Jane leaned up, and Maura found herself dipping down to meet her, pausing inches away from her lover's face and holding her breath. She still felt the detective's arm, warm and secure, around her waist, and her heart was hammering double-time against the wall of her chest. She held completely still, waiting for Jane to close the final distance.

With a tilt of her chin, Jane caused their lips to brush, and Maura felt the familiar spark shoot up her spine, the welcome heat blooming in her abdomen, causing her face to flush and goosebumps to spread rapidly along her arms.

They pulled apart for a single heartbeat before their mouths met again. And again. And somehow, Maura found herself with eyes closed, tucked tight against Jane's side, their thighs pressed together and their lips dancing in a deep, hungry kiss that was everything Maura wanted, but also everything that she was terrified of.



"Jane," Maura whispered, almost choking over the detective's name. "What are we... are you sure you..." She groped for words, but nothing came to her. There were only Jane's lips, Jane's hands holding her waist. Bliss.

"Don't talk so much," Jane whispered. "Don't think so much." Their mouths met again in a fierce dance, tongues stroking, hands wandering. When Jane's fingertips crept beneath the hem of Maura's blouse, skating over bare skin, they left trails of fire in their wake.

Memories floated up through the haze of arousal, leaving Maura almost as breathless as the kiss. Jane pinning her against the door, taking her... A warm, wet mouth folding around the excited tip of her breast... Kneeling between lean thighs, dipping her head, grazing her tongue through slick heat...

Jane held Maura closer, tangling her fingers in silky blonde hair as the medical examiner tucked her face against an offered shoulder. "Maur..."

The sound of Jane murmuring her name only drove her need higher, and she caught the detective's lower lip between her teeth, tugging sharply before using her tongue to soothe the sting. Jane tried to move beneath Maura, giving her more room on the bed, but the shift in weight caused the ache in her abdomen to flare sharply, and she grunted in pain.

"Oh no..." Maura pulled back immediately, almost losing her balance. "I could have hurt you!" She hadn't even remembered that Jane was injured. She chewed on the corner of her mouth, her glazed eyes clearing and filling with guilt instead.

Jane frowned, shaking her head and trying to pull Maura back on top of her. "Don't care."


"Maur. Just keep kissing me... keep kissing me..." Jane leaned forward, touching her nose to Maura's, breathing lightly against her cheek. "Kissing can't hurt, right?"

"I –I don't know..."

The detective gave a deep, throaty chuckle, using the strength left in her upper body to coax Maura to straddle her waist. It hurt, but she tried to hide the grimace of pain that crossed her face. "The brilliant Doctor Isles doesn't know the answer?" Jane let her hands trail along Maura's upper thighs, toying with the hem of her skirt, which fell to just above her knees. She was delighted to notice that the medical examiner was wearing stockings. "Maybe we should conduct some tests."

For a moment, Maura came back to herself. She shook her head. "I want you, Jane... I do. But your body isn't ready," she said regrettably. She dipped her chin to place a kiss on Jane's forehead. "Now stop that," she murmured, placing her hands over Jane's to try and stop the detective from stroking her legs. Despite her words, Maura's hips pressed down against Jane's, and she could tell that her panties were probably already ruined.

Seeing her chance, Jane let her right hand slide higher underneath Maura's skirt, taking encouragement from Maura's quickened breathing and the subtle rocking motion of her pelvis. Right now, she didn't care about the confusing state of their relationship, that she was still injured, or that they were in a hospital room. She needed to feel Maura. All of her.

Her fingers skimmed over the garters that held up Maura's stockings, smiling at the softness of the material. "Just how much did these cost, I wonder?" she mused, deciding that a slow, seductive touch was just what she needed in order to persuade the medical examiner.

When Maura didn't resist, Jane's touch became even more daring, and she cupped her hand directly between Maura's legs, her eyes widening at the heat and the obvious wetness she could feel through the soft material. "Nothing's wrong with my fingers, right?" Jane purred, but when Maura's hips bore down on her hand, it put a slight strain on her torso, and she couldn't hide a small grunt of pain.

"No," Maura decided, immediately swinging her leg over and away from Jane, avoiding the all-too-tempting touch. "It's too risky..."

"We'll be careful."

There were only two ways to end this battle of wills, Maura realized. One would be to give in. To surrender herself to the things that she and Jane both wanted, to disobey all of her instincts except one and ignore all the possible repercussions. The other was to walk out the door. And as much as she wanted to, she couldn't find the strength to climb off of the small, cramped hospital bed that she and Jane had managed to squeeze on.

"If we... have sex..." She settled on 'sex', since 'intercourse' sounded far too medical even for her, and 'making love' was too much of an emotional gamble. "You have to promise to do exactly what I say, Jane Rizzoli."

Jane smiled. "Does that mean you want to be on top?" she whispered, beginning to unbutton Maura's blouse from the bottom up. If the doctor wasn't going to straddle her anymore, she could at least get working on her clothes. Maura slapped her hands away lightly.

"I mean it, Jane. Exactly what I say."


So it was decided. And once Maura committed herself to a course of action, she always followed through.

Reaching beneath her own skirt this time, she unclipped her left stocking and, turning to make sure Jane could watch, began rolling it down over her knee. The detective's eyes widened, aroused but also slightly surprised by the sight. She had assumed that they would keep their clothes on, just in case one of the nurses felt the need to check on Jane or investigate a 'suspicious noise'.

Once the stocking was pulled down to her ankle, Maura removed it and straightened the bunched material, tucking her knees beneath her as she shifted her weight on the bed beside Jane. Taking one of the brunette's hands in hers, she began tracing the outline of her fingers, exploring the texture of her palm and the lines that creased its center. Jane attempted to take Maura's hand in hers, bringing her knuckles up for a kiss, but the ME resisted. She pulled Jane's hand up to the head of the bed, threading the stocking through one of the white bars on the side and looping it around the detective's wrist. That got a surprised snort from Jane, but no verbal response.

"I don't trust you to keep your hands to yourself," Maura clarified. "You get carried away."

"I still have one hand free," Jane pointed out, turning slightly onto her side so that she could cup one of Maura's breasts through her partially-unbuttoned blouse. She was about to slip beneath the underwire of her bra, which Jane knew was completely unnecessary, when Maura stopped her.

"I still have another stocking." Shifting down on the bed so that Jane couldn't quite reach, she removed her right stocking in the same manner as the first, holding it up when she was done and reaching for Jane's other wrist. "You promised to do exactly what I said. This is just a... reminder."

Having delivered her orders, Maura finally climbed down off of the mattress, not even noticing the cold tile under her bare feet. Her body felt like it was on fire. The sight of Jane's arms restrained to either side of the bed, even by something as flimsy and easily tearable as a stocking, was strangely appealing. She would examine her motivations later. Jane's dark eyes bored into her, somewhere between demanding and pleading for Maura to come close enough to touch again.

"Hold completely still," Maura warned as she approached the foot of the bed, standing level with Jane's knees. Seeing the frustration in her lover's eyes, she tried her best to add a little humor to the situation. "Why don't I check on your bandages, then, Detective Rizzoli?"

If it were possible, Jane's eyes grew even wider, even darker as Maura lifted the hem of her gown. Thankfully, it was a nicer one that had been purchased for her instead of the paper hospital variety. "Fuck, Maura..." For some reason, that simple action was almost as arousing as a physical caress. Jane felt her desire double and her inner walls twitch as Maura hooked her fingers in the elastic of Jane's underwear, pulling them down to her knees and urging her to spread her thighs as much as the restriction would allow.

Maura almost swallowed her tongue as she looked down. Even in the unflattering fluorescent lighting, with the middle of her torso wrapped in bandages, what she could see of Jane's naked body was absolutely stunning. She trailed her fingertips along the soft, tanned skin of Jane's inner thigh, drawing a trail of hearts using the edge of her nail and making her lover shiver. Jane arched the small of her back, offering herself. "Maura..."

"Don't move, and be quiet."

The medical examiner wasted no time, dipping her fingers into the wetness pooled between Jane's legs, using her other hand to hold the taller woman's lower body absolutely still. Not being able to thrust up, to take the teasing fingers inside of her, was absolutely maddening, and a sob broke in Jane's throat. She wasn't too proud to beg. "Please!" She reached down to try and direct Maura's touch, which was playing through her folds at a torturously slow pace, but remembered too late that her hands were fastened to the bars on the side of the bed. "Dammit!"

"You need to learn how to take instruction better," Maura chastised, emphasizing her point by hooking her fingers just inside of Jane's entrance.

Unable to speak loudly, unable to use her hands, and unable to move unless she wanted Maura to stop what she was doing, Jane's only way of dealing with the building pressure was to chew furiously on her lower lip and concentrate on her breathing. But Maura was making it exceedingly difficult, and Jane knew that there was no way she would last. Maura's hand was playing her expertly, and she knew that the blonde was doing it on purpose. She knew how to draw Jane's release out, and she knew how to send it crashing down around her head. Right now, she was obviously not going to stretch it out, however much Jane might have wanted her to.

"God, Maur..."

Since Jane's plea came out as a breathy whisper instead of a shout, Maura didn't object to it. She shot Jane a meaningful look as she sped up the pace of her thrusts, crossing her index and middle fingers as she twisted them forcefully inside of her partially immobilized lover.

It was all too much for the poor detective. The threat of getting caught, the smooth texture of the stockings wrapped around her wrists, and the furious motion of Maura's hand between her legs. "Jesus. I'm gonna... aaah..."

Feeling the tips of Maura's fingers push against the rough spot inside of her that always made her melt was too much. Jane's release was quiet, but shattering. It left her gasping and staring up at Maura with a dazed expression on her face, wondering what had happened to the truck that had obviously just run her over...

"There, Jane, that's it." Maura stopped the motion of her hand, keeping her fingers inside as her other hand caressed Jane's cheek, sweeping over the detective's lower lip with the pad of her thumb. She smiled when Jane bit down before the imprint of her teeth with a kiss. "Are you experiencing any pain?"

"No, Doctor Isles," Jane said, trying to roll her eyes, but unable to sound annoyed after such a powerful orgasm. She exhaled, relishing the feeling of Maura inside of her, lying next to her, and hoping that they could risk a few more minutes in this position. "That... was not what I expected," she panted, unable to resist returning Maura's seductive smile. "But..."

"But?" Maura gave her embedded fingers another shove, coaxing a few more aftershocks from her bound bedpartner.

"But I'm definitely not complaining."



'I can't believe I did that...'

At 9:00 the following morning, Maura still couldn't fully process the frantic, forbidden experience that she and Jane had shared just a few hours before. Unfortunately, most of their encounters were frantic and forbidden.

'I can't believe Jane let me do that.'

Perhaps it was partially because of their eclectic work schedules, but Maura suspected that there was more behind their tendency to rush, to consume each other in flames until nothing remained but ashes. Maybe they didn't want to bring deeply buried emotions to the surface and jeopardize their fragile relationship.

'She made herself so vulnerable to me...'

Maura shook her head and sighed. "What am I doing here?" she asked aloud. The Medical Examiner was not referring to her early-morning presence in the morgue, but it was easier to phrase her question as 'what am I doing here' instead of 'what on earth are Jane and I getting ourselves in to...'

Unfortunately, Maura had a feeling that she knew exactly what they were getting themselves in to. According to her research, it was called a 'relationship'. The only problem was Jane. She wasn't sure if the detective was ready for labels, or any kind of relationship beyond what they already had. Maura knew that Jane was fond of her. More than fond of her. They were friends. But did her friend have any romantic feelings for her aside from sexual attraction?

Maura had never been good at working through these sorts of problems. In fact, she went out of her way to avoid them. This time, she did not need to search for a work-related distraction, because one presented itself right on cue.

"Dr. Isles?"

Maura looked up. She had a memory for voices as well as faces, another of her quirks, and she immediately recognized Rose Heissmann's son. "Good morning, Mr. Weaver. I assume someone upstairs directed you to my morgue, since there is no other way you could have gotten past the detectives and patrol officers upstairs."

The young man reached into his pocket and pulled out a small white square. "I showed them your card."

Maura decided to have a talk with the boys upstairs later. Although she was actually grateful for the brief respite from her own thoughts, that didn't mean she wanted strangers tramping through her morgue on a regular basis. She gave her card out frequently, and it wasn't an all-access visitor's pass by any means.

"Very good," she said anyway, putting the problem aside for later. Maura was very skilled at putting problems aside for later. "How may I help you?"

Looking much less angry than the night before, Mr. Weaver seemed almost contrite as he shifted his weight from loafer to loafer. His hair was neatly groomed and he had no facial hair to speak of. "I apologize if I behaved... inappropriately last night. I was very upset, and no one seemed to be able to give me any answers."

"Understandable." Maura dismissed the apology. "First thing's first, your..." she paused, remembering that Mrs. Heissman's husband was not Weaver's father, "your mother's husband is officially on record as our contact for her remains. This might be an awkward subject, but do you have any plans to challenge that in court?"

"I didn't know I could," said the young man. "But no. I'm sure I'll help with the funeral arrangements, but I have no problem with that. I just wanted to be certain that she was... taken care of. You understand."

Maura was about to state that she did not understand, since her own mother was still alive, but thought better of it. Sometimes her literal nature rubbed people the wrong way. "Of course."

"Do you know how she died?"

The medical examiner did not mind the abruptness of the question. "I'm afraid that I can't give you a straightforward answer," Maura said, putting on her most convincing disappointed face. "I will say that her death was unexpected and sudden, and most likely not directly related to her recent battle with cancer. There were no signs of trauma to her body, so I suspect the answer will come from the lab in a few days."

"You think she had some kind of infection? Or something poisonous got in her system?"

Maura's eyebrows rose slightly, lips parting. "It is possible that your mother received too much medication, or medications. Sometimes the danger lies in the combination..." She decided not to delve further into the subject. "Anyway, as soon as I find out anything pertinent that I am authorized to share with you, I promise to let you know. You have my card and my work phone..."

To be honest, Maura was slightly confused about why Mr. Weaver had dropped by in person. Most of this information could have been delivered through a phone call. However, she chalked it up to normal grief and concern after the death of a loved one and the fact that he didn't live in the area.

"I'm planning on staying for a few weeks," Mr. Weaver said, "just to make sure everything is settled. I want to find out what happened to my mother, and make sure she died of natural causes."

Maura nodded sympathetically even though she already suspected that Rose had definitely not died of natural causes. She wasn't going to make her next move until she was absolutely sure – the lab results would answer her questions. "All right. I promise to stay in touch." Making sure that he was comfortable with having her in his space, she carefully approached him and put a small hand on his upper right arm. "I'm very sorry about your mother. My friend Jane tells me that she was a very strong and cheerful person despite her illness." The medical examiner wasn't always the best "people person", but she wasn't terrible at faking it, either. She really did feel sorry for Mr. Weaver.

"Thank you. My first name is Jim, if you'd like to use it." As far as Maura could tell, Jim wasn't trying to flirt with her, and so she didn't object.

"All right. I need to get back to work, but I would highly recommend the deli across the street. I don't always trust meat in places like that, but Frank's has some excellent lunch sandwiches... that is, unless you aren't omnivorous and prefer a vegetarian diet."

Jim Weaver nodded his thanks. "Uh, yeah, I'm not a vegetarian. I'll give it a look. I definitely need something to eat. Thank you again."

"You're most welcome."

Maura wasn't sure whether to be relieved or disappointed when her guest departed, leaving her alone in the morgue. She almost wished one of her assistants were there to bother her. She could use the distraction. She stood in silence for a moment, wondering exactly what she and Jane were heading towards, and hoping the fast pace of... whatever it was... wouldn't end in a collision.

Automatically, Maura started drawing up a mental contract with herself. The passionate, risky sex she and Jane had engaged in the night before couldn't happen again. They would just have to return to their regular friends-with-benefits routine or cease and desist completely, she decided.

'Rule one. I will not have sexual intercourse with Jane in places where we might be discovered. Rule two...'

Maura paused. Unfortunately, the thought of discovery aroused her even more than simply remembering the encounter, and even though she was glad that no one had walked in on them, she had to admit that it heightened the sense of excitement. Perhaps she was a closeted exhibitionist... but she would deal with that later. Like so many other things that swirled around in Maura's giant brain, it would just have to be put off for another, more convenient time.

'Rule two. I will not confess my feelings to Jane because it might scare her away.'

The medical examiner deliberately ignored the fact that she had already let a few things slip. She would have to keep the rest of her cards close to her chest.

'Rule three. I will not do anything to endanger Jane's physical or mental health while she is recovering.'

That was the only rule that Maura thought she would have an easy time following. She didn't want to do anything to jeopardize her friend's healing process.

'Rule four. I will resume my yoga practice in order to perfect the art of meditation and clearing my mind of all... distractions.'

Distractions – Jane, licking her – long, dexterous fingers clutching at her thighs, spreading her knees –

"Ugh," Maura said, walking over to the desk that held the autopsy room computer and banging her head on it repeatedly. "Rule four needs to begin immediately."

With a sigh, she decided that she might as well get most of her boring paperwork out of the way. If she was going to be distracted, it was better to be distracted over paperwork than a corpse. She didn't want to miss a single detail during the autopsies she had lined up for later in the afternoon.

Maura collected her things and headed for her office, smiling at the thought of the new red chair that was waiting for her there. Jane would throw an absolute fit when she saw it - 'Have to stop thinking about Jane.'

Digging through her purse to find her keys, Maura finally found what she was looking for and pull them out, inserting them into the lock and entering the dark room for the first time that day. To her surprise, a red light was blinking on her work phone, indicating that she had a message.

"Already?" she asked herself aloud, setting down her things and striding over to her desk to see who had tried to call.

The medical examiner pressed one for Voicemail, then speaker. "Dr. Isles? This is Teddy from the lab." Maura smiled at the familiar, slightly high-pitched voice of the lab technician. He was still very young, in his mid-twenties, and had a bit of a crush on her. Despite her guilty conscience, she had occasionally used that to get her results processed slightly faster. "I processed the samples you gave me for Rose Heissman. Apparently she was on several medications, but one level was several hundred times over the recommended dosage limit, an SERM called Raloxifene, marketed as Evista."

Although Maura wasn't a surgeon, she knew enough about cancer to recognize the acronym. SERMs were Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators, hormone therapy drugs used to slow or prevent the growth of breast tumors.

"But aside from the sky high dosage, here's the weird thing... she's also on another SERM called Tamoxifen. I'm no surgeon, but I don't know why they would prescribe both. Just something to look in to. I'll fax you the full report later in the day."

The message ended. That was all Maura needed to hear. Obviously, someone had given too much medication to Rose, causing her untimely death. Now, she just needed to find out who, why, and how.


You And Me:

Jane's eyelids fluttered as a familiar shadow stretched over her, blocking the dim red light of the sunset as it filtered in through the open window. As the detective's sleep-blurred vision began to clear, she saw a beautiful face hovering a few inches above her own. For once, she didn't mind being woken up by a visitor.

Slowly, Maura Isles leaned closer, pausing for just a moment before taking the plunge and pressing her lips against Jane's. For one brief second, all of the discomfort and frustration melted away from Jane's body. Maura tasted like warmth and lipgloss and something sweet, a taste Jane was used to and had learned to enjoy. The seated woman let out a soft groan when her sometimes-lover pulled back an inch, just enough to give Jane room to breathe.

"How is your exit wound doing?" Maura murmured a breath away from Jane's lips.

"Hurts a little."

"And your stomach?"

"That hurts too," Jane mumbled, not protesting as Maura leaned in to nuzzle her cheek. Despite the clinical mask she wore on the job and the cold perceptions some of her coworkers had of her, Maura could be a very tender and emotional woman.

"And your love life?"

The detective smiled softly. "Could be better." Maura took the joke for what it was and gave Jane another brief kiss before turning on the light beside her bed. The sunlight would be gone in another few minutes. "Nice dress," Jane said, allowing herself the luxury of admiring Maura from the top of her head to her fancy wedged shoes.

"You like it?" The medical examiner stepped back and did a brief turn-around to give her friend a full view of the knee-length, summery dress. "This is the first time I've worn it. Wearing cheerful clothes tends to boost my mood." So did visiting Jane, but Maura decided not to mention that.

"I do. A little fancy for a hospital, though. You know that I think you look just as sexy and sophisticated in scrubs."

Maura took the compliment in stride and stroked the side of Jane's face. "How alliterative. I just came by to say hello. I spent all morning in the autopsy room."

"Did you meet with Mr. Weaver?" Jane asked. "God, that guy nearly gave me a heart attack."

The medical examiner nodded. "As a matter of fact, I did. He seemed satisfied with the limited information I was able to give him, at least for the moment."

"Have you heard back from the lab about Rose?"

Maura debated whether or not to say anything, but eventually decided that the bored detective needed to get her thrills somehow. She deliberately tried not to think about the 'thrills' she had given Jane the previous night. "Yes. I believe she overdosed on some medications she was taking, but don't tell anyone I actually came to a conclusion before officially releasing the results of the autopsy."

"Don't worry, your secret's safe with me." Maura stepped closer to the bed, reaching behind Jane to adjust her pillows. For once, the detective allowed Maura to mother her without too much protest, although she did give a small, frustrated eye roll. "Tell me more about the autopsy."

"Well, she had several times the recommended dosage of Raloxifene in her system. It's a drug that influences your hormones in order to slow or prevent the growth of breast tumors."

"So you think the Hospital messed up?" Jane propped herself up on the pillow that Maura had adjusted, feeling surprisingly comfortable, if a little anxious.

"Maybe," Maura said, "but you know how much I hate drawing conclusions too soon. Raloxifene is the kind of drug they would prescribe to someone with breast cancer, but hospitals measure out the doses they give their patients very carefully." Jane seemed unconvinced. "Everyone makes mistakes, even doctors and nurses," she insisted.

"What other explanation is there? Aside from somebody trying to kill her deliberately..." The brunette paused. Something... something about this whole situation wasn't right. Her detective instincts had never led her wrong before. "You know, that would be a really sneaky way to get rid of somebody," she said, voicing her brainwave aloud. "Say you think your wife, or your mother, I guess, is dying. You're waiting on your inheritance, right? Then she starts to get better. If you greased the wheels a bit and got your hands on some of the same stuff they use to treat cancer... make it look like an accident..."

Maura felt a pulse of sympathy for Jane. Her poor friend was obviously under a lot of stress if she was coming up with wild ideas like that. "Well, it would make a great story, Jane, but I think you're letting your imagination run away with you. Killing your wife or mother in the hospital is even more farfetched than a doctor or nurse giving their patient the wrong dosage."

But the more she thought about it, the more Jane's strange little theory seemed to whisper at the back of her brain. There were two separate SERMs in Rose's toxicology report, and they weren't a pair that was often prescribed together. The levels of Raloxifene in her system were several hundred times over the usual dosage. Doctors and nurses measured things incorrectly once in a while, but how often did they miscalculate by that much?

Besides, the behavior of Rose's son had been very peculiar, and he had been so insistent on receiving the results of her autopsy as soon as possible, even going so far as to threaten Jane.

"Think about it, Maur," said the detective. "Something feels fishy to me. I swear I'm not just watching too much TV on bedrest."

Although she still had her doubts, Maura had to admit that Jane had a point. This entire situation was definitely unusual. Besides, even if Jane was wrong, it couldn't hurt to investigate further.

"Maybe I can smuggle your laptop in here." Jane's doctor didn't want her hunched over a computer doing work while she was supposed to be recovering, but Maura knew Jane would find some way around her restrictions with her help or without. It was much easier to just give in. "I have a feeling you'll need to do a little research."

Jane gave Maura a grateful smile. Although she wasn't ready to subscribe to Jane's theory yet – and the detective fully admitted that it was a crazy-sounding theory – her friend was willing to back her play. Maura was always reliable that way. Kind, helpful, funny, sweet... well, not always sweet, but she could be when she felt like it. She could also be a pain in the ass.

"I've been doing some thinking, Maura..."

The medical examiner perched delicately on the side of Jane's bed. She began massaging the detective's shoulders, loosening the knots behind the wings of her shoulder blades. "That's good. About what?"

"About..." Jane didn't feel comfortable enough to use the word 'us', even though it had a lot of bearing on what she wanted to say. "You said the other day that you have strong feelings for me, and you don't know what they mean."

Maura nodded her head, and then realized that Jane couldn't see behind her. "I do. I hope that doesn't make you uncomfortable. The last thing I want to do is add any stress to your recovery."

"Well..." Jane had been tossing her mother's advice over and over in her mind. As much as she hated to admit it, Angela Rizzoli was right about most things. Besides, for some reason, having her ma pester her about a girlfriend seemed much less annoying than having her ma pester her about a boyfriend/future son-in-law. She wasn't ready for the girlfriend step, not nearly, but she didn't want Maura's cards to sit on the table all by themselves. She had to play her hand eventually. "My feelings for you are changing too. I don't know what that means yet, and it's kind of uncomfortable... oooh, right there. That feels really good," she groaned as Maura's thumbs dug in to a particularly sensitive knot.

"My room mate in college said I had magic hands," Maura informed her.

"I know. So, we can keep the status quo right now? I don't want to stop being your friend, and I don't want to stop the benefits part either. But maybe we can agree to revisit this discussion a little later? After we've had some time to think."

The medical examiner smiled and continued rolling the pads of her thumbs over the knot behind Jane's shoulder blade. "Of course, Jane. I thought we already agreed to that."

"Yeah. I guess I wanted you to know that your feelings, whatever they are, don't upset me. They might even be a good thing. We'll see."

Maura had sporadic bouts of social awkwardness, but she was also very smart, and she was very in-tune with Jane's emotions. This was a huge step for her friend, and Maura accepted it for what it was – Jane's first tentative overtures towards the idea of a relationship. "Does it bother you?" she asked on impulse as she considered the fallout that both of them would have to deal with if they ever did formalize their relationship.

"Does what bother me?" Jane asked. She leaned her head back, groaning with pleasure as Maura's small but strong hands worked along her neck and began rubbing her scalp. "Umm, that feels amazing."

"Being with a woman sexually." Maura was careful to avoid the term 'lesbian'. She had learned the hard way that Jane had very negative reactions to that word. She wasn't homophobic by any means, but hated being labeled. As far as Maura knew, no one in Jane's social circle was aware that she had ever been with a woman.

Jane thought about it for a moment, and then decided to answer honestly. "Yeah, it does. First of all, I grew up learning it was wrong. I have no idea why my Ma seems to be all gung-ho about wanting me to date you."

Maura laughed. "You don't give your mother enough credit, Jane." She pressed a kiss to the top of the detective's head.

"Then there's the whole butch cop thing. Lots of people, especially ones that don't take the time to get to know me, just assume I am. I don't like that. What do they know about me? If they ever found out that we were sleeping together, or that I was sleeping with any woman, it would just confirm all the awful things everyone has said about me since grade school... I'm a person, you know? I don't want one little word to erase the rest of me."

"I think I understand. If I came out, I would be the fashionable medical examiner who just happened to be bisexual. If you did... you would be the lesbian cop. It would come before everything else when people looked at you."

"Exactly." Jane sighed. "To be honest, I don't know what I am. Definitely not straight, though. I thought I might be bisexual, or maybe just attracted to you, but lately..." the brunette's voice trailed off. The thought was too dangerous to finish, even in her mind. "Can we talk about something else? This is heavy stuff."

Maura stopped her massage of Jane's scalp and let the detective recline against her. She was touched by how comfortable her friend seemed to be with touching her, being near her, especially during such an awkward conversation. A few weeks ago, Jane would have been too nervous to let Maura hold her like this. "Let's say your theory about the murder is right, and I'm not saying it is," she added cautiously. "How would we go about proving it?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know?" Maura teased. "You're supposed to be the detective."

Jane rolled her eyes. "I'm a detective on bedrest."

"You're still the best detective I know." Jane was too good at concealing her emotions to let a blush show on her face, but she did feel a little warm at the compliment.

"Can you get Rose Heissman's medical charts?"

"Already done. That's why the appearance of Raloxifene in her bloodwork was so strange. It wasn't listed."

"Then there was definitely a mistake. We're going to have to figure out where that medicine came from. That should lead us to our killer, and if I'm right, it's Mr. Heissman or Mr. Weaver. My money's on Weaver."

Maura still wasn't sure, but she decided that letting Jane pursue her little off-the-clock "murder" wouldn't do any harm... unless someone else found out about it. "Jane, I don't think you should mention this to anyone else just yet," the medical examiner said. "Wait until you have more than a series of coincidences."

"Right. Once I get my first lead, then I'll say something to Korsak and Frost. For now, it's just you and me."

'You and me.' Maura liked the sound of that.



Maura had been reluctant to leave Jane, but she could see the wheels turning in the detective's brain, her brow furrowed in distant concentration, and she decided it would be best to pursue her own line of thinking outside of the brunette's presence. She prided herself on her ability to think logically under pressure, but unfortunately, she was finding time and time again that her most lauded quality was severely distorted around Jane. If she was truly going to help her friend - lover - whatever Jane was... sort out this mystery, she needed time to think. Alone. She thought again of Rule Number Four, and decided to meditate first thing in the morning.

Two hours later, Maura was not contemplating the case, nor was she meditating. She was, however, in somewhat of a trance, but her thoughts lay with a certain recovering detective and the way her fingers had felt massaging her scalp earlier. While she pictured Jane's hands, her own were not idle, and she found them wandering to places on her body that she hadn't intended to touch. Eventually, Maura decided that she might as well ease some of her tension. But if she was going to satisfy herself, she would do it properly so that she could continue forward with a clear head.

'Masturbation is a perfectly normal, healthy expression of human sexuality,' Maura said, but the words in her head were far from convincing. Sighing, she got to her feet and wandered into the bathroom, opening the mirror cabinet and pulling out some bath oils. She hoped the small indulgence would melt away some of her stress, at least for a little while. After all the trouble Jane had gotten in to lately, Maura definitely needed it.

Choosing vanilla for her scent, the medical examiner began to run her bath, trying to steer her thoughts away from all of the problems that seemed to be piling up around her. She couldn't stop herself from thinking of Jane, though, and eventually accepted the fact that she would not be able to banish the detective from her mind. At least images of the gorgeous brunette would be helpful for the rest of that night's plans. Maura quickly stripped out of the tank top and yoga pants she had been wearing, lowering herself into the bath tub even though it wasn't entirely full. The heat was too tempting to resist.

The medical examiner sighed as she settled into the tub, the heat of the water searing her skin, but she endured it with a pleasurable hiss. She let her toes graze the faucet, turning down its heat just a bit, but leaned her head back against the edge of the tub as the water slowly heightened its volume, edging just under her breasts, then slowly covering her nipples.

She inhaled the scent of the oils, which tickled her nose. She couldn't pretend that she had chosen vanilla naturally. Rather, the simple fragrance reminded her of Jane. Not the hospital clothed, spongy slippers Jane, but the woman who consistently pleased her senses with an aura of unqualified sweetness, something simple and honest. She sighed, turning the faucet completely off now, letting her hands float beside her body, as if she wasn't quite sure of the path they were yet to take.

She thought about Jane, who was probably asleep in her bed by now, knocked out by the dosage of pain medications the nurses continued to bestow upon her just to ensure she got an adequate night's sleep. Did she think about Maura before drifting off into a listless sleep? Did the detective ever touch herself while thinking about her?

'Stop,' Maura commanded herself. If she wanted to sexually please her own body, then she could do it without help. Instead, she tried to concentrate on her own hands, which strayed closer towards her breasts, grazing her own nipples just slightly. She wondered what Jane thought when her fingers toyed with the same hardened points... 'Stop it,' she told herself again, letting her hand move down between her legs, only far enough to let her fingers put pressure onto her most sensitive bud, which, she was almost afraid to acknowledge, was swollen with an unmet need. 'Jane...'

An angry buzz jarred her from her thoughts, and she jumped, water splashing over the edge of the tub. Thankfully, it didn't hit her cell phone, which was continuing its excited dance from the tiled floor. Maura quickly picked it up, and with a quick look down at the name flashing across the screen, almost wished she hadn't.

"Jane, shouldn't you be resting?"

"Maur, I can't do anything but rest."

That wasn't necessarily true. Maura's mind flashed quickly back to the scene in the hospital room where she had coaxed the taller woman to orgasm with her fingers, and blinked hard, shaking the image from her mind.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to take a bath."

"What do you mean, 'trying'? Is it proving difficult for you?"

She heard the laughter in the detective's tone, and could almost picture the snarky grin that curled her lip as she spoke. She flinched as she felt her free hand drift down her stomach, and glanced down at it, as if surprised by its path. "No," she replied, her voice huskier than usual. It feels great, actually."

"That's nice," the voice said after a short pause. Maura thought she detected a hitch in the brunette's breath. "So, are you sure taking a bath is all you're doing right now?"

Maura gasped in surprise and embarrassment, shocked that Jane had figured out what she was doing so quickly. "I, um - how did you..." she stammered, completely unsure how to respond. For a moment, she worried that Jane might tease her, maybe use a joke to gloss over any awkwardness, but instead, the detective took them down a completely different path, one that Maura hadn't been brave enough to consider, even in her head.

"Exactly how involved were you before I interrupted?" Jane purred, sounding as if she genuinely wanted to know. It was obviously an invitation and not just a question. Although Maura didn't consider herself inexperienced when it came to sex - quite the opposite, in fact - neither phone sex nor masturbation had ever interested her before, and so she had never brought up trying either one with previous partners. But for some reason, when it came to Jane, everything interested her.

Maura took a deep breath and made a decision that she knew she might regret later. She had intended for this 'thing' with Jane, whatever it was, to slow down, at least until the detective recovered and was strong enough and clear-headed enough to analyze her feelings, but it seemed like her body wanted to charge full speed ahead without her mind's consent. Her hand cupped back between her legs, and she turned the phone on speaker, setting it on the edge of the tub and praying that it wouldn't fall in.

"Not as far as I would have liked," Maura said, finally answering Jane's question. If the detective noticed she had been put on speaker, she didn't say anything, but the nonverbal gesture communicated a lot nonetheless. Maura had stepped through the door that Jane opened. "Would you like a... more detailed description? If nothing else, maybe it will save you from boredom."

"I would," the brunette said in a low voice. "So, Dr. Isles, just how intimately were you touching yourself before I called?"

Describing what she had been doing to Jane wasn't as difficult as Maura had expected. "My right hand was between my legs, with my fingers brushing in light circles over the tip of my clit." It had taken some trial and error for the two of them to learn what kind of speech was acceptable in the bedroom - Maura had a tendency to go anatomical if she wasn't thinking about it, although that habit was rapidly disappearing, and Jane usually didn't know what to say at all. In a much softer voice, Maura confessed, "and I might have been thinking about you." Once the words escaped from her mouth, the medical examiner realized just how intimate it sounded, and she tried to backpedal. "I was thinking about how you seduced me at the hospital."

Jane didn't let that last step backwards discourage her. She knew what Maura had meant, but decided not to tease her about it. "Were you inside of yourself?" she asked, wanting to encourage Maura to continue instead of making her feel uncomfortable. The sound of the blonde's voice, low and laced with arousal, was having a noticeable effect on her own body.

"Not yet..." Maura breathed as her hand cupped between her legs again, returning to the position she had just described to Jane. "Do you want me to be?"

"No," Jane said, and for a split second Maura's fingers froze against her center. "Not just yet. I want you to take things slowly."

Maura let out a breath that she hadn't realized she had been holding. Slow hadn't been her intention when she first began, but the sound of the detective's voice could certainly convince her to draw things out. Realizing that her silence might not have registered appropriately, she quickly spoke. "Okay," she said tentatively. "We'll take things slow... together." She cocked her head, remembering the way she had taken great pains to ensure the detective hadn't worsened her injuries the last time they were together, and for a moment she slipped back into her medical mentality. "Jane, maybe we shouldn't -"

"Shut up, Maura," the brunette cut in, before the other woman's brain got in the way of her libido. "I want you to touch your breast with your left hand."

Maura's hand moved immediately towards her chest, obediently following the detective's instructions. Her skin was slick and smooth above the waterline, her nipple already hardened from her previous touch, and she felt her breath hitch as she let her hand knead it softly, imagining Jane's fingers on her. "My nipples are hard for you," she said, at this point not caring how intimate her wording sounded. She just wanted Jane to coax her further into pleasure. Briefly, she allowed herself to imagine what Jane would look like if she was touching herself, too - was she touching herself? Maura desperately hoped so, but was too shy to ask.

"Pinch it for me," came the response, and Maura arched into her own touch. "Roll it between your thumb and forefinger, and imagine my teeth grazing across it."

Several miles away, Jane listened into the phone for any telltale signs of Maura's response, but all she could hear was the soft sounds of water as the blonde's fingers followed her commands. What Jane wanted to hear was a moan, but she knew that would come with time. The medical examiner was always quiet in the beginning, but she warmed up quickly. For her part, she was having trouble keeping her own body still as she lay in her hospital bed, and for the millionth time she cursed her injury as her hands found their way underneath her gown. "Maura, tell me how you feel," she said, wanting to hear the medical examiner's voice.

The challenge of explaining the pleasure that she felt coursing through her body like a jolt of electricity proved difficult, even for Maura's academic mind. Her vocabulary had seemingly fled, and the only thing left was a prolonged moan as she felt the ache increase between her legs. The moan made its way through the connection, and Jane smiled at the sound that she had been waiting to hear. "Maura," she said again, her voice gentle but firm, "I want you to put two fingers inside yourself. But do it slowly... and let me hear you."

Maura let out a soft, high-pitched whimper as she obeyed Jane's instructions, abandoning the hard point that begged for her attention and positioning two fingers at her entrance. Moving carefully so that she wouldn't cause any painful friction underneath the water, Maura lifted her hips and slid inside of herself, curling her fingertips forward to stimulate her sensitive, ridged inner walls. "Oh God, you feel - so good..." the medical examiner panted as she continued working her fingers deeper. She didn't even notice that she had said 'you feel' instead of 'it feels'. Jane, however, did notice, and the detective felt a fresh flood of wetness coat her own hand as she listened.

"I love being inside of you," the brunette said in a low purr. Like Maura, she was finding it hard to form words as her own fingers worked between her legs, the tips swirling around her entrance and drawing up to roll over her clit.

Forgetting her earlier shyness, Maura asked the one question that had persisted despite the intense pleasure she was bringing herself. "Jane... Jane - are you -?" Something in her needed reassurance that Jane wanted her as well, that she wasn't in this alone.

"Mmm... yes, I'm touching myself too, sweetie... I'm doing exactly what I asked you to do." Maura knew that Jane had let the endearment slip on accident, and even though it was probably just bedroom talk, it warmed her heart anyway and ratcheted her arousal even higher.

"I wish you were here," Maura sobbed, her words slurring together in a series of quick breaths as her thumb settled back into place above her entrance, rubbing in furious circles. "I want this to be you, Jane... I need -"

"It is me," Jane said, shocked at just how desperate her usually collected friend sounded. "I feel you, Maur..."

Maura abandoned herself to the fantasy, grinding down onto her fingers and pushing in just a little too far, curling her fingers sharply like she imagined Jane would do. "Oh, Jane - please..."

The detective was in tandem with her lover, her own breaths becoming shorter as she imagined the feel of Maura's snug walls around her fingers. "Yes," she said, "come for me." She let her fingers delve deeper inside her own core, and curled them slightly. "Come with me."

The words were all Maura needed to hear, and she let go, her moan echoing into the phone as she felt her muscles clutch tight at her fingers, pulling them even deeper. Her hips bucked, and water splashed over the edge of the tub as her foot wrenched forward with a squeak. She felt a wave of contentment coupled with another pulse of desire as Jane's satisfied groans sounded from the speaker of her phone.

Jane's own orgasm coursed through her body, and she forgot the pain of her injuries for a moment as all of her nerve endings seem to concentrate solely at the small bud at her center. Maura's name slipped easily from her lips as she hit her high, and she wished she was cradling the medical examiner in her arms rather than simply listening to her.

The sound of the detective uttering her name made Maura grind the heel of her hand hard against her clit, and drew another small, but just as satisfying orgasm from her now depleted body. Her deeps groans of satisfaction trailed off into soft, pleased sighs as her body stilled, and she angled her ear towards her phone, hoping her splashes in the heat of the moment hadn't rendered her technology useless.

"Maur?" Jane asked, removing her fingers and picking up her phone.

Maura kept her hands inside herself, a request that Jane had fulfilled many times for her after she climaxed, and she let out a pleasured sigh. "Yes, Jane..." Her body hadn't felt this relaxed in awhile, and she simply wanted the brunette's voice to float over her.

"How you doing over there?"

Maura smiled, letting her fingers slide out of her center. "Never been better," she said, letting her head rest against the back of the tub.

Jane got the sentiment of the statement, but she still felt her brow furrow. "I would hope that me being physically present would make it a little better."

The feigned petulance pulled a chuckle from Maura's lips. "You make everything better, Jane Rizzoli."



"So, why did you call me in the first place?" Maura asked as she made herself comfortable on the edge of her bed, hair wrapped in a towel since she didn't want to annoy Jane with the sound of a blow dryer. A few quiet minutes had passed since their shared intimate moment, and even though there were a few pauses, the silences weren't uncomfortable. Neither one of them wanted to hang up. Maura had made the soft confession that Jane was her first phone sex partner, which the detective had been surprisingly pleased to learn.

"Oh, I forgot... you distracted me."

Maura's eyebrows rose several inches and she made a face even though she knew that Jane couldn't see it. "I distracted you?"

"Well," Jane said, "I tried to call you to ask you something important, but you started talking about how you were taking a bath... That made me picture you naked, and -"

"And one thing led to another. I see. Now, what was this important something you wanted to ask?"

Jane paused for a moment to search her memory. "Oh! I remember. I was thinking we should find out which nurse was on duty the night Rose died."

It was as if the detective had flipped a switch in her, and instantly the medical examiner slid back into her usual, deliberate way of thinking. "That's a good idea," she responded. "And shouldn't be too difficult. Aren't you familiar with most of the nurses on that floor by now?"

Jane couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Are you kidding? I feel like I'll owe half of these women a Christmas card next year, I know so much about them." She fumbled the hospital sheets with her fingers, and imagined Maura in her own bed, nestled between her soft, bazillion thread count linens. "I'll talk to Susie tomorrow. I think that's who last saw Mrs. Heissman alive."

"Jane, just be careful." Although in her experience, nurses were much more people-friendly than medical examiners, Maura wasn't sure Susie or whoever she was would take kindly to any accusatory questioning. Of course, she didn't have to reiterate any of this to Jane. The detective clearly knew how to do her job.

"I also think it's worth poking around and seeing exactly who had access to that particular medication," Jane continued, her brain sufficiently back in work mode. "Didn't you say that Raloxifene wasn't listed in her chart?"

Maura stifled a quick yawn and darted a glance over to the clock on her bedside table. If she didn't end this conversation soon, her sleep patterns would be off-kilter. She always liked to allow some time before bed to rid her mind of the day's work, otherwise she would never have a restful sleep. "No, it wasn't. Unless, of course, something is missing from the paperwork. The hospital hasn't converted over to EMR."


"Electronic medical records."

"So all the records kept here are on paper?"


"Wait, you mean to tell me that despite all the technology that these doctors used to save my life, they record everything with paper and pen?"


Jane was shocked. "I guess that means we'll have to resort to old-fashioned snooping. First, though, I'll start with the nurses. See if I can dig up any useful info from them."

This time, Maura didn't mask her worry. "Jane, I know you're restless over there, but just don't be reckless, okay?" She had no desire to relive the agony that she'd felt when the detective had been injured.

"I'm not being reckless. The more I think about it, the more likely it seems that Rose's death wasn't just an accident. Someone needs to find out what happened to her, and I don't think anyone else will listen. If that means sweet talking a few nurses and maybe sneaking a peek at the medical records, then so be it."

"What about Korsak? I know we were going to keep these theories to ourselves, but maybe it's time to bring him up to speed." Maura couldn't deny that Jane was probably on to something here, but whether or not Rose had been murdered was irrelevant. Her first priority was to keep Jane safe and out of harm's way while she recovered. She hoped that Korsak would be able to talk some sense into his former partner even if she couldn't.

"Okay," Jane agreed, and Maura breathed an inward sigh of relief. Korsak had no room for wild theories or guesswork on the job, even if they turned out to be true. He was a good detective, but not overly imaginative. With any luck, he would be able to talk her out of stealing medical records or whatever other crazy stunts Jane might try and pull. She couldn't resist one last attempt at deterring the detective, however.

"Just don't do anything drastic without me, okay? It's not that I don't think you're capable," Maura hastened to add, "I'm fully aware of your talents and abilities, so you have nothing to prove to me. I'm just... concerned."

Instead of being angry, Jane's voice sounded almost smug over the telephone. "Concerned? The workaholic cyborg Dr. Isles is concerned about little old me?"

From anyone else, the comments would have stung, but Maura knew they weren't coming from a hurtful place. "You of all people should know that I'm far from a cyborg, Jane. I have a fully functional human heart." 'As you've seen more times than I can count,' she added in her thoughts. 'Especially recently...'

Jane's mind seemed to follow along the same track. "I know, Maur. It's sweet that you're worried about me. But I just have to do this... I can't explain."

"I understand." And she did understand. Jane's emotions were illogical, but Maura was so familiar with how the detective's brain worked that she had no trouble grasping why Jane felt the way she did. For perhaps the first time, something that wasn't logical made sense to Maura, and she realized that her connection with Jane must have grown especially strong for that to happen.

"Why I don't I let you get some rest?" Jane asked.

The question was enough to pull Maura out of her worry for a moment. "You're the one that needs to be resting."

"I do nothing but rest, Maur, we've been over this."

Maura leaned back into her pillows, pulling her own sheets over legs and nestled into her bed, curling the phone under her ear. "But you need the kind of sleep that matters. Stages III and IV, also known as delta sleep, due to the production of delta waves inside the brain."

"I though REM was the most important stage?" The talk about sleep tugged a yawn from Jane.

"It's important, too. Like deep sleep, it results in increased production of proteins. It helps stimulate learning." She could hear the creeping drowsiness in the detective's voice, more than likely caused by the pain medications. At least those would help her get some rest, even if her own brain didn't.

"Ah," Jane responded. "Maybe enough REM sleep, and I'll figure this whole thing about Mrs. Heissman out, huh?"

Maura sighed. "That's not exactly what I was hoping you'd do with that information, Jane."

The brunette smiled into the quietness of her hospital room. Sometimes she loved toying with the overly serious medical examiner, just to prove that she could. She moaned out another yawn. "Get some deep sleep, Maura. I promise you I won't do anything drastic." She thought about quipping out a "Not yet," but decided against it, knowing the hell that the younger blonde had gone through after the shooting. "Thanks for the... talk," she said with a smile.

Maura slipped a small smile into the phone, grateful that Jane couldn't see the way her face lit up at the comment. "Anytime. Night, Jane."

"Night, Maur."

Neither hung up right away, but lingered on the line, each appreciating their silent, reassuring connection for a few seconds longer.


Unfortunately, Jane did not make it much farther than simply drifting off, before she was awakened a pain below her rib cage. She shifted, attempting to find some comfort, and realized that she was covered in a slight sheen of sweat. An accidental moan escaped her lips as she felt another throb shoot through her. Shit, she thought, tapping the nurse call button. She hoped the pain was just a blip on the radar, and that she wouldn't have to explain to a doctor that she'd ripped something open while experiencing an orgasm. Her head rested on the back of her pillow as she took a breath, and then tried sitting up, but the pain seemed to wrench deep in her belly.

"Damn it," she whispered. She did not want any setbacks. The door opened and a familiar nurse popped her head in, not bothering to flip the bright, florescent overhead lights, but instead switching on a smaller bulb over Jane's bed.

"Hey there, Jane, want to tell me what's going on?" the redheaded nurse asked. Jane wondered how nurses always managed to sound so docilely caring. She could certainly never pull it off.

"Hey, Sarah," she said, by now familiar with just about every nurse on the floor. "I just woke up with a little pain, that's all," she said, once again leaning forward.

The woman quickly put out a steadying hand, and pushed Jane gently backwards. "Where's the pain? Do you mind showing me?"

Jane shook her head, pulling up her loose-fitting shirt and displaying her bandaged stomach. She tried to peer over Sarah's hands as they lifted up the gauze, exploring the wound underneath. "Seems to be fine on the surface," she said. "No signs of infection. Can you breathe in and out for me?" Jane followed instructions, and was a little relieved when the pain did not increase. "Did someone come in to see you earlier?" Sarah asked curiously. "We've switched you over to oral dosages for your pain medication, right?"

Jane nodded. "Normally Susie is the one who checks on me, but not in the past few hours." If she had, the detective definitely would have had some questions for her. She knew she was one of the last nurses to see Mrs. Heissman alive.

Sarah cocked her head. "Hmm. Well, I can get you something for the pain." She glanced back over at Jane's injury. "After all, that should be causing you just a little discomfort."

Jane couldn't argue with her there. She glanced over at the Sarah curiously. "Is Susie not working now? This is her normal shift, right?"

The nurse thought about it for a moment. "This is her normal shift, yes, but left early today and requested some time off."

"That's rather sudden," Jane said. And then, just so that her questions wouldn't arouse any suspicions, she added, "you just get used to a routine here. It's strange when something happens to change it."

Sarah gave her patient a slight smile. "I get the feeling you aren't a big fan of boring routines, Detective Rizzoli. Hang tight and I'll get you some more of the good stuff." When the nurse left the room, Jane began examining her own injury, wanting to get a feel for how functional her body was. Although she had managed an orgasm over the phone with Maura easily enough earlier that evening, the effort had exhausted her and she felt soreness buried deep inside of her gut. It wasn't the uncomfortable heat and burn of infection, but a constant ache. Maybe Maura was right and it was too soon to make demands on her body. People didn't shoot themselves through the abdomen and walk it off the next day.

A minute later, Sarah returned with some pills and a small Dixie cup with water. Jane blinked, shaking off a moment of sleepiness, and extended her hands. "Thanks. So, the nurses give all the patients their medication yourselves, right?" When Sarah gave her a confused look, Jane tried to explain herself in a way that wouldn't seem strange. "I mean, the Hospital wouldn't let you leave me a bottle of pills so I could take one if my stomach started to hurt?"

"Nope, sorry. We've got very strict policies. I don't know of any hospitals that let patients handle their own medication. Have you been in a lot of pain?"

"No," Jane said, hastening to reassure the nurse before she got the wrong idea. "I just hate to bother you." Sarah didn't seem totally convinced by the brunette's hasty explanation, but didn't comment on it, either. "I guess you don't want anyone overdosing." When she realized that Sarah was still staring at her, Jane remembered that she was still holding the pills in her hand. Under the nurse's watchful eye, she swallowed them with a shudder. Taking pills had never been her favorite thing to do by any means.

"Those should start to kick in soon," Sarah said once Jane finished taking her medicine. "They might make you tired, but that's probably a good thing. Whoever you were on the phone with kept you up past your bedtime."

For a moment, Jane felt a sharp stab of panic. "Phone? How did you know?" she asked a little too quickly, disappointed by the strain in her voice.

Sarah glanced at the small table beside Jane's hospital bed, where the cell phone rested, and then back at the detective. "Um, because it's right next to you?"

Jane had to stifle a sigh of relief. "Right," she replied quickly, with a not to herself not to press her luck again anytime soon. There would be ample opportunity after her recovery to continue her tryst with Maura, although she knew whatever it was they were doing was becoming way more than a few simple rendezvous at the medical examiner's apartment.

"Get some rest, Detective. I'll be right around the corner if you need me." Sarah gave her a warm smile and quick, comforting pat against the hospital sheets before turning back towards the door, closing it lightly behind her.

She wasn't sure why the nurse who had last seen Mrs. Heissman alive had abruptly requested time off, but she planned on finding out soon enough. 'Or rather,' she thought with sigh as a fading pain still resounded in her gut, 'Maura will find out.'



Maura wound her way through the hospital wing that she had now become so familiar with over the past few weeks. Despite her background, she was never overly comfortable in hospitals. They were always so bustling, filled to capacity with trauma, or pain, or pending death. She wouldn't necessarily say this to anyone but Bass, but she preferred the quietness of the morgue, where her main goal was clear: to provide solace through logic and investigation. That was her way of making a difference. As she continued through a set of double doors and down the hallway towards Jane's room, she quickly noticed that the nurses around her darted smiles at her as she walked, as if recognizing someone they knew. Had she really become that familiar around these sterile walls?

"Afternoon, Dr. Isles," greeted a tall blonde at the nurse's station. "Angela just went to grab herself some lunch, but she'll be back up in Jane's room in a moment. She'll be glad to see you. Jane, too, of course."

Maura halted her gait for a moment, standing awkwardly in front of the nurse's station, unsure as to why she was receiving such familial treatment. Not that she didn't appreciate it, but the nurse's comments weren't exactly helping her deal with her own emotional issues towards Jane. She shook the thoughts from her head as the nurse gave her a concerned look, and quickly gave her an assuring nod. "Great," she replied. "Hospitals tend to stoke the brain's need for additional connection and comfort." She cringed at her flaccid explanation, which fell flat even to her own ears, and hurriedly continued down the hallway.

Without looking very closely or paying attention, she passed a young man in the hallway who seemed to be a bit frazzled as a nurse looked down at a chart. "Sorry, Mr. Weaver, but she hasn't been in."

Maura's ears perked up at the name and she cocked her head towards him as she deliberately slowed her pace, hoping to hear a little more of the conversation without seeming suspicious. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse to buy her some time, and flicked the screen on, her stomach giving a little tug of joy as she saw Jane's name flash upon the screen with a test message.

'Weaver is here.'

Clearly the detective wasn't resting, but Maura reserved her chastisement for later, pausing in front of a door and diverting her attention to her phone.

"I just wanted a chance to speak with her," he said, his voice cracking. "She was the last person to see my mother alive."

Something in his voice made Maura look up from her phone. She did indeed recognize Jim Weaver. He had no major distinguishing characteristics, but she had a good memory for faces, and the cranial structure of each human was unique. His shoulders didn't have the look of the grieving. Instead they were strong underneath his unwrinkled suit jacket, and his hands were latched on to his hips.

"Do you know where I might be able to find her?" he asked.

"I'm sorry, but I can't give that information to you. But you're more than welcome to leave her a message at the nurse's station and I'll give it to her as soon as she returns."

Weaver seemed about to respond, but then he noticed Maura standing a few yards away, trying not to draw too much attention to herself. He recognized her and called out even as she turned away, making the medical examiner curse inwardly.

Hoping the sound of their voices wouldn't attract Jane's attention, Maura turned back to him, giving him what she hoped was a surprised and questioning smile. "Mr. Weaver - Jim - how are you?"

"Fine," he said, his eyes darting back to the nurse, as if waiting for her to make herself useful someplace else. She seemed to get the message, and shrugged, turning and walking back down the hallway.

Maura turned her expression back up to the man, studying the crease in his brow and the tension across his chest. He seemed to be suffering from stress, and although his mother's death could certainly account for that, his response seemed "off" to her. She furrowed her own brow, not content with her lack of a more logical and scientific explanation. "Are you looking for someone?" she asked, pretending that she hadn't heard his exchange with the nurse.

He hesitated, his response dying on parted lips as he glanced up the hallway. "I don't know," he said, his posture changing suddenly, slumping forward. He pressed a hand up against the wall to steady himself, but the gaze that he turned towards her still held that same look that she couldn't quite place. All she knew was that her skin was getting clammier the longer she stood near him. Jane's conspiracy theories had clearly transferred over to her. She shook the feeling off as Weaver continued speaking.

"I'm at my wits end, Dr. Isles. I just need some closure. I want to know what happened to her. If it was some kind of medical error - I just need to know." He kicked his foot lightly into the wall, punctuating his words. "I won't take this lying down. Not like my stepfather."

That piqued her attention. "Your stepfather is the one that requested the autopsy." She had merely stated a fact, but he seemed irritated by her comment.

"Right. If there's a medical error anywhere near this, he wants to find it. The guy just wants to get his hands on a settlement. He doesn't care about my mother."

Maura was in no position to impede on family dynamics, as she mostly never understood them herself; they usually superseded all normally functioning logical parameters. "Mr. Weaver - Jim - maybe its best if you let an outside authority handle this. A lawyer, rather than trying to investigate the hospital and its staff yourself."

He chuckled, the sound jarring against the sterile walls. "Oh, Dr. Isles. If it were only that simple." He peered down at her, his eyes becoming serious. "Greed never is." He turned, leaving her alone and walked back down the hallway, his dress shoes echoing against the tile floor. Maura released a breath that she hadn't realized she'd been holding, and backed her way towards Jane's room.

The detective was sitting up in bed as much as she could without straining her abdominal muscles, which wasn't very much, and she beamed as she glimpsed Maura in the doorway. "Shut the door," she urged as the blonde stepped inside, but Jane's eyes quickly noticed something odd in the way the medical examiner carried herself. Normally, Maura's posture was straight and narrow, almost rigid with the rationality that ran through her veins. Now, though, her shoulders had shifted, her brow furrowed, as if deep in unpleasant thoughts. "Maur?" she asked,"what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost... Or at least some type of paranormal phenomenon that you actually believe in."

Jane's words were playful, but her expression wasn't. Maura quickly leaned away from the door and walked over to her, placing a quick kiss on the detective's hairline. The gesture seemed to bring her out of her own head, and she smiled.

"Was that you I heard talking to Weaver?" Jane asked, unable to hide her curiosity.

Maura nodded. "He was grilling one of the nurses, but he saw me." She glanced back at Jane, and fumbled with the edge of her blanket as she worked through the conversation once more in her head. "He's not very fond of his stepfather."

"Doesn't seem like it. What did he want?"

"Answers," Maura said simply. "He wanted to find the nurse that last saw his mother."

"Right. Susie. I wanted to find her, too."

Maura nodded. She didn't make it a point to keep up with the names of the nurses, but instead categorized them in her head by height, hair color, and general disposition. 'I suppose love hasn't changed me as much as I thought,' Maura acknowledged. That didn't mean she was any less frightened of the strong feelings that Jane stirred in her, but it was nice to know that she wouldn't lose all of herself during this journey. She had never been in love before, but so far, it was suiting her, Jane's near-death experience and this bizzare hospital mystery aside. She just hoped that Jane was starting to feel the same way. Maura didn't want to be in this by herself.

"That's one of the first things on our list, then," Jane continued, too excited with planning her strategy to notice that Maura had checked out. "I don't think it's a coincidence that Susie was one of the last people to see Rose alive and suddenly doesn't show up for work."

The medical examiner sighed. "Jane, I believe your theories have some merit, I really do, but I'm not sure you're the one who should be looking in to this."

Maura's blunt statement stung, and Jane's excitement was quickly replaced by anger. Her brow wrinkled and she fixed her lover with a hurt, angry glare. "What do you mean?" she asked, her voice dropping an octave as she instinctively curled her body a few inches away from Maura.

"I mean... I mean, I'm sorry. I want to help you. I just - I worry. Your body has already been through so much, and even though you're recovering, I'm afraid something else will go wrong."

Reassured that Maura was simply concerned about her and didn't doubt her ability to handle her own problems, Jane's body language became much friendlier. She patted the space on the bed beside her, urging Maura to sit down. "Come here," she said, opening her arms. Glad that Jane wasn't angry at her, the doctor snuggled up next to her lover on the mattress, not caring that it was slightly uncomfortable. She wrapped one arm behind Jane's shoulders and gave her a soft but lingering kiss, pleased when the detective draped an arm over her waist.

"Why does a girl have to argue with you in order to be invited into such a comfortable spot?" Maura asked, tucking herself more securely against Jane's side. If any of the nurses came in and spotted them, well, that would be too bad for them. She let her fingers trail lightly up and down the outside of Jane's arm, enjoying the warmth of her skin.

"If she's beautiful enough, she doesn't have to start arguments," Jane murmured against Maura's lips, giving her another kiss. "She just has to be."

Maura felt a little guilty for putting Jane on the defensive just moments after she walked into the room, but she was very content in her current position. She stroked the side of her lover's face. "I just wanted you to pay attention to me."

"I'm paying attention to you now. I'm not exactly on the other side of the room." Maura felt butterflies when she realized what that meant. Normally, aside from their risky sexual encounters in semi-public places (her office and the hospital, to name two), Jane remained wary of public displays of affection. She was afraid that someone would catch her and tell everyone at work, confirming all of the rumors she had worked so hard to rise above. Now, the detective seemed completely relaxed with Maura snuggled against her.

'It almost feels like we're in a proper relationship...'

"What I don't understand is... why a nurse would leave suddenly after one of her patients dies. Is someone threatening her? Does she know too much?"

Maura felt her heart sink as she realized that Jane's thoughts had wandered to a completely different place than hers. The brief moment of love and connectedness she had felt was a product of wishful thinking. "Are you still on about that, detective, even with a beautiful woman in your arms?" Maura asked, unable to hide the disappointment in her voice.

The knock that suddenly sounded at the door nearly startled the medical examiner out of her precarious perch on the bed, and only the detective's lighting quick fingers prevented her from falling to the floor. They both uttered quick, distracted "come in" as Maura stood, combing a hand over her hair, as if the mere physical action would calm her nerves. 'So maybe this doesn't exactly feel proper,' she thought as Korsak poked his head tentatively inside the door.

The gray-haired detective smiled as he glimpsed the two of them, clearly fooled by the platonic rouse they created, with Maura moving toward the opposite side of the room. "Rizzoli," he said, waltzing over to her. "How you feeling?"

"You bring me some work, Korsak?" the brunette asked, raising a hopeful eyebrow.

"The most work I'd even think about bringing you right now would be a crossword puzzle."

Jane rolled her eyes. "Don't bother. I just toss it over to Isles and let her do it." She gave Maura a grin, and the medical examiner readily returned it, despite the tease.

Korsak placed his hands in the pockets of his suit trousers, glancing down at her with an eye that held the consistent concern that Jane had come to expect in them. "I just wanted to check in on you and see how you were. I know it can't be easy being here."

Jane glanced over at Maura, as if gauging her disposition. "Actually, I may have something to keep me occupied." The medical examiners eyes widened, but the brunette gave her a pointed glance. After all, Maura was the one who suggested she share her theories with someone. It might as well be with Korsak.

The older detective glanced questionably between the two women, but he never tried to understand the looks that they shared. Instead, he simply asked, "what are you talking about, Rizzoli?"

Jane inhaled, leaning up as much as she could. She didn't particularly like having to look up at her old partner, as if begging for some favor. "Do you mind sitting down?" she asked.

He darted another glance between Maura and Jane, and this time the medical examiner caught something like suspicion in his gaze. As he moved towards the chair next to Jane's bed, Maura nervously pulled up another chair directly beside him, causing him to glance curiously over at her. "You ladies want to tell me why you're acting as shifty as a couple of perps?"

"Last week a woman died," Jane began.

"That's not exactly surprising," Korsak cut in, gesturing towards the sterile walls around him.

Jane gave him a glare, and continued. "Her husband, however, thought her death was suspicious. The woman, Mrs. Rose Heissman, was recovering from breast cancer, but suddenly went into heart failure one night last week."

Korsak sighed, but said nothing further. Instead he chanced a look at the medical examiner next to him, but she was intentionally avoiding his gaze, instead focusing intently on a blank spot on Jane's bed.

"The hospital wasn't exactly being helpful, so I asked Maura to step in."

Korsak's stiff jaw fell open in surprise. "You did what?"

"I asked her to do an autopsy."

Two pairs of eyes landed on Maura, and she felt her face redden as glanced over at Korsak's dumbfounded expression. "You did an autopsy on this woman?" he asked. "Work not keeping you busy enough, Dr. Isles, or do you constantly pick up pro bono work from random people?"

"It's not 'random people,'" she said. "It's Jane. Besides, I didn't want Dr. White or his charges touching that body if there was any possibility..." Her voice trailed off as she realized that Korsak had not been explicitly introduced to their theory yet. "If there was any possibility of foul play," she added after glancing at Jane for confirmation.

"Foul play? What kind of foul play? Some kind of medical mistake?"

"Possibly," said Jane. "We were thinking more along the lines of, well, murder. Wait, don't say anything yet," the detective pre-emptively cut off her former partner's protests of disbelief. "Everything we've uncovered so far has been suspicious. Rose's cancer was going in to remission, and she suddenly dies from what looks like an overdose of, what was it again?"

"Raloxifene. Marketed as Evista. It's an SERM, and one that wasn't even prescribed for her in the first place -"

"She had a dangerously high dose of a cancer drug that wasn't supposed to be there. The weirdest part is that one of the nurses hasn't been in to work since. She was the last person to see Rose alive."

Korsak looked anything but convinced. "There could be a hundred other possible explanations for those things. Murder is the least likely. Besides, who would kill somebody in a hospital that's already sick?"

"Someone smart," Jane insisted, frustrated that Korsak wasn't buying in to her theory. "Someone who knows that the least likely place to look for a murder victim is in a place where people die every day."

"What are we, characters in a movie? This is real life, Jane. Besides, you don't have any suspects, no motive..."

"What about her son? He's been sticking his nose into everything for the past several days, sniffing around for more information on what happened. And I'm sure Rose has a will. If she was staying in a private room up here, that means she's probably got some money to spare. The only reason I was moved in to this section of the hospital was because Maura paid for it behind my back."

Korsak frowned and stood up from his chair, walking around behind it and holding the back with his hands. He gave Jane a single sharp, disbelieving shake of his head. "I don't buy it. This kind of thing just doesn't happen. It's too bizarre."

"Maybe you're just not imaginative enough."

"And you're too imaginative," Korsak shot back. "Have you been getting any headaches lately?"

That statement made Jane see red, but before she could say anything, Maura leapt to her defense. Very few things made the medical examiner angry, and she had to admit that she hadn't believed Jane's theory at first herself, but seeing Korsak - someone that Jane trusted and respected - dismiss her lover's ideas so readily infuriated her. "I don't know what you're trying to imply about Jane, but I think Rose was murdered as well. She isn't making this up."

The words left her lips before she could ascertain the consequences, but she didn't care. She felt Jane's eyes on her, and she desperately wanted to look over at the brunette, to feel some sort of connection, but she kept her focus on Korsak. His doubt was beginning to grate on her nerves. "I have my own suspicions as well. Medical errors rarely happen on this scale, and when they do, hospitals are quick to pinpoint the problem. There's a lot of money to be made with a case like this, and someone ought to act like they care enough about Mrs. Heissman to find out the true nature of her death."

"That's where I come in," Jane quipped, raising her hand.

Korsak rolled his eyes. "Please, Rizzoli, you're bored out of your mind. Out of your mind," he repeated, emphasizing his true thoughts for her benefit. He turned his gaze back to Maura. "Dr. Isles, I advise you to keep your professional wits about you. I expected a more rational response."

Maura bit her lower lip. She was, of course, less than rational when it came to Jane Rizzoli, but something about Weaver's haste to vilify his stepfather itched at her nerves. Luckily, another sound at the door prevented her from having to continue this train wreck of a conversation.

"Jesus, traffic was ridiculous. You'd think people would be at work right now," Angela said, pummeling inside the room and heaving a large, black purse higher onto her shoulder. She looked up, halting at the sight of Korsak and Maura. "I rest my case," she said with a shake of her head. She set the bag down on a small table, the structure quaking under the heft of her accessory.

"Afternoon, Mrs. Rizzoli," Korsak said with a gracious, overdone smile.

Angela nodded over at him. "You're not here bothering my daughter, I hope."

Korsak shook his head. "Of course not. I just came to check in on her, like Dr. Isles here."

Angela smiled sweetly at the medical examiner. "Maura is always welcome here," she said as she heaved a somewhat smaller bag out of her purse which was emblazoned with 'Casa Razdora'. "The food here is simply unsuitable," she said, taking out a container of soup. "I brought you some real Italian cooking." She glanced over at Korsak. "You done here? You want to let my daughter eat in peace?"

Korsak took the hint. "I've got to get back to work," he said. "And I expect you," he said, narrowing his eyes at Jane, "to lay off the work." He turned, glancing at Maura. "And I expect you to stick to the work you're paid to do. I'll be checking in again before the week's out," he said, giving one more look back to Jane. "Take it easy," he said with an assuring nod before letting the door close behind him.



"So, what did he have up his ass?"

Hearing such an obscenity from a middle-aged, Catholic mother of three nearly made Maura burst out into awkward, sputtering laughter. However, she managed to hold back her amusement. Although her interests and speech patterns were a little 'abnormal', as her parents so often reminded her, Maura had learned how to restrain herself somewhat growing up.

"Korsak didn't believe me when I told him that the woman across the hall was murdered," Jane said flatly, clearly still upset by her ex-partner's lack of faith. Maura could tell that Korsak had hurt her feelings more than she wanted to admit.

Angela Rizzoli's eyebrows almost rose past her hairline. "Murder? Here? What do you mean?"

"I mean what I said," Jane said, unable to keep from sulking a little. For all of her other good qualities, Jane did have a tendency to pout once in a while, especially when she was told not to do something she wanted to do. "Maura and I think Rose Heissman was murdered. She's the sweet old lady that lived across the hall. My money's on her creepy son, but we don't have any proof except that Maura found a major overdose of weird cancer medicine -"

"- SERMs, Jane, and the one I found was Raloxifene -"

"Anyway," the detective continued, ignoring Maura's overtalk, "someone gave her an overdose of some really powerful drugs. They weren't listed on the medical records that Maura got for her either."

"My copy of her medical records might not be complete or up to date," the medical examiner admitted. "It might be worth it to check."

Angela still seemed stunned. "You think a woman was murdered?" she repeated, unable to form any other words.

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Ma, that's what I just said!"

The older woman frowned and shook her head disapprovingly. "Jane Rizzoli, you may be a grown woman, but you will not talk to your mother like that."

"Don't be upset, Angela," Maura said, trying to smooth things over. "Jane is just upset because Korsak didn't believe her."

Instead of calming Angela down, that seemed to make her angrier. "Why wouldn't he believe her? My Janie is a homicide detective. If anyone knows about murder, it's her. So, you think this woman's son did it? Why?"

Jane shrugged. "Who knows? Money in her will, a personal grudge..."

"Jim Weaver implied earlier that his father might have given Rose an overdose in order to fake a hospital lawsuit... That's the victim's son," Maura added for Angela's benefit.

Angela thought for a moment. "Well, how are you gonna find out who killed her?"

Maura glanced at Jane to monitor her response, more than certain that the brunette had spent most of her waking hours thinking about just that question. A flicker of uncertainty crossed the detective's face, pulling a look of concern from the medical examiner, as it wasn't something that normally appeared there. Hesitantly, she tried to fill the silence. "Well, first, we're going to figure out what happened to the nurse that last saw Mrs. Heissman alive."

Jane nodded slowly, the thoughts beginning to whirl back to normal inside her head. "We've got to figure out if she was terminated, or if she's simply taking a leave of absence. Either way, it seems curious that she just disappeared."

Angela's eyes were uncharacteristically stoic for a moment. "It can't be easy, losing someone, even if it's a patient." Jane felt her stomach drop at the comment, a feeling of helplessness and guilt rising in her gut, and she was pretty sure that it didn't have anything to do with her injury. Not physically, at least.

"Ma," she began, but her mother put a hand up to silence her.

"Doesn't matter." She glanced over at Maura. "So, I'm guessing you'll be the one doing the leg work on this? Seeing as how you're the one with the ability to use your legs." She smirked at her own wit, but Jane simply rolled her eyes.

Maura did neither. Instead, her expression was earnest as she spoke. "I'll do whatever I can to help, but Jane, please promise me that you'll let me handle this in my own way." She wasn't sure exactly what was swelling up inside her, but she felt wetness behind her eyes and she averted her gaze, willing it away. She had long been of the school of thought that there was no true connection between the limbic system and the lacrimal apparatus, but her relationship with Jane was changing that belief. "I just don't need you to -" her voice wouldn't cooperate, as if her throat were cutting her off.

"Hey, Ma, do you mind getting me some of that pudding dessert from downstairs?" the detective asked, taking note of the strong emotions Maura was attempting to hide.

Angela chanced a sympathetic look towards the medical examiner. "Nice try, Jane, but next time, just tell me the two of you need a moment, all right? I may be your mother, but I'm not stupid." She nodded towards the bag of food on the table. "There's soup in there for your, dear." With that, she shut the door behind her, leaving Jane and Maura alone.

"Maura?" Jane asked, raising her eyebrows. "What's going on for you over there?"

'What is going on over here?' Maura didn't raise her head right away, but she felt a sudden urge to sit again, and she slumped back into the chair that she had left earlier, and pressed her head against the cool sheets of the bed.

"Hey," Jane said, wincing slightly as she leaned forward. "We're not doing anything stupid. It's just a simple investigation." She touched the blonde's shoulder, comforted by the fact that even though Maura was upset, the medical examiner still seemed to melt into her touch. "Maura..."

"I seem to be having a neurological response to stress," she mumbled into the sheets. The detective's hand was comforting as it kneaded her shoulder, but it was that very strength that frightened her. "Aren't you scared?" she whispered softly.

Jane knew the medical examiner had to be exhausted. She hadn't been sleeping very well herself, but she had gotten pretty good at skimming over her feelings by focusing on the next project at hand. She had thought Maura adopted the same technique, but only used more brain cells, but it seemed like the blonde had bottled something up over the past few weeks, and it was only now spilling out of her. The eyes that turned back up at her were shiny.

"I said, aren't you scared?"

"Of what, Maur?" Jane whispered, although the quickening of her pulse indicated that she knew exactly what the smaller woman meant.

"I'm not a psychologist, Jane, so don't make me act like one." Although her words were harsh, her tone wasn't.

Jane relinquished her hold on Maura's shoulder. "Of course. I've cheated death one too many times." She smiled, but it was a haphazard attempt. "But I did what I had to do with Hoyt, and I did what I had to do to save Frankie that day in the morgue. I knew what I was doing."

Maura trailed a finger along the detective's arm, and Jane felt her own goose flesh rise underneath the touch. "I know," the doctor replied sadly, "that's what scares me. And I'm afraid that you'll never stop doing it. Lucky streaks don't last. Ask any casino owner."

Her comment hung in the air, and Jane suddenly needed to touch her girlfriend - friend - whatever the hell they were - and she pulled Maura closer, cupping the honey blonde's chin in her hands. She wanted to press her lips firmly against the ones that parted just in front of her, but she knew she owed Maura more than that.

"Maura, I promise nothing will happen to me."

Instead of having the intended effect and soothing Maura's fears, Jane's reassurance only made her even more upset. "You can't promise that. I don't like being lied to." Even though her eyes were burning, Maura didn't pull away from Jane's touch, continuing to let the detective cradle her face and stare into her eyes. Even when she was hurting, she couldn't seem to turn away from any scrap of intimacy Jane gave her. Even though the brunette had been extra affectionate since her hospitalization, Maura found herself wanting even more.

"We'll be careful."

"Careful isn't good enough! I lov -" This time, Maura did pull away, clapping her hands over her mouth. Her eyes widened in panic, the tears she had been holding back suddenly forgotten. "I need to leave," she said in a rush, getting up and almost stumbling backwards as she tried to regain her footing. "I need time." Truthfully, Maura wasn't the one who needed time. She was just afraid of Jane's reaction to her unintentional confession.

'How could you have been so stupid?' she berated herself inwardly, unable to look at Jane's face. She didn't want to know what the detective was thinking. 'Jane doesn't want this, isn't ready for this... You're going to lose her.'

"Maura..." Jane tried to reach out even though her lover had backed several feet away, but the doctor ignored her, fumbling with her purse and hurrying towards the safety of the hallway.

"Not now, Jane. I can't -" But what Maura really meant was, 'you can't'.

Because it didn't matter whether Jane got herself into another sticky situation and died the next day. Maura couldn't stifle her feelings. All she could do was try and keep from pressuring Jane. She couldn't bear the thought of losing her friend a second time, and although it seemed foolish, imagining a life without Jane because of rejection hurt almost as much as the thought of her death.

"Maura, wait!" Even though she desperately wanted to flee the room, something in Jane's voice stopped Maura dead in her tracks. Slowly, she turned around, hoping that her legs wouldn't fall out from under her and send her spilling onto the floor. She swallowed, trying to work moisture into her dry throat, but no words came to her. "When will I see you again?"

"Not for a long time," Maura said, her voice shaking as she took one last look at the detective in the hospital bed, trying to commit her to memory just in case... just in case... she wasn't sure. "At least, not until tomorrow night." Cursing her weakness, the medical examiner finally made her escape, too afraid to look back a second time.


When Angela returned several minutes later, she was surprised to find her daughter alone in her room, looking confused and a little depressed. "Where did Maura go? I thought you two needed a moment," she said, peeking out into the hall to see whether her daughter's lover was waiting outside.

"She left," Jane said flatly.

"What did you do? She's too good for you."

Trying not to be shocked at her mother's statements and her easy acceptance of their - did it qualify as a relationship? - Jane couldn't help feeling defensive as well. It seemed like she had been forced to defend herself against all kinds of people tonight. First Korsak, then her mother, and even Maura. It was exhausting. "I didn't do anything," she insisted. "Maura was upset because she thinks I have a death wish or something."

"Sometimes I think the same thing."


"Well, I do... What did you say to make her leave?"

"I didn't do anything," Jane repeated. "She just blurted out that she loved me and left." Briefly, the detective wondered whether it was a good idea to share this with her occasionally nosy and judgmental mother, but she had no one else to ask for advice.

"Still your fault," Angela insisted, seemingly shocked by how thick her daughter was being. For the life of her, Jane still couldn't figure out what she had done. "She told you she loves you, but what have you done for her?" The detective forgot the argument she had been about to make and froze, unable to do anything but listen. "You get yourself shot, and while you're supposed to be recovering, you try and get involved in more danger. You don't tell her you love her back, and you don't show it, either."

"How do you know that? I never said I loved her."

"I'm your mother. Of course I know. You're so stubborn you wouldn't tell her you love her at gunpoint. In fact, you didn't."

Jane scowled. "I was trying to save Frankie's life at the time. Why do you think I shot myself, because I wanted workman's comp?"

"Before or after that would have been fine. It still might not be too late. When you see her tomorrow, tell her she's not alone in this. I bet you'll get a much better response out of her."



Just because Maura didn't feel like prolonging her torture by being in the same room with Jane didn't mean that she wasn't going to stop by the detective's apartment to feed Jo Friday. The poor dog wasn't involved in the tangled mess that was their relationship. Maura knew that Angela wouldn't have a problem walking and feeding a few times a day, but she took joy in taking care of the little dog. Part of it was because Jo belonged to Jane, and Maura would do anything for Jane, even now, but part of it was just that Jo was adorable. Maura was not usually a dog person. The drool from a Mastiff or a Bulldog usually made her step back several paces in order to avoid getting sprayed. Jo, although far from neat and tidy herself, was the exception.

Not surprisingly, Jo Friday was happy to see her when she unlocked the front door, her tail wagging as if powered by a motor and her claws clacking across the floors. Maura couldn't help but grin down at her as she attached her leash to her collar. "I wish Jane were this excited to see me," she said with a sigh. "Come on, let's get you outside." Jo took her time exploring the stairway leading outside, as if she had never seen it before. Maura was always in awe of the way that dogs occupied themselves with such wonder and curiosity. Bass certainly didn't possess any of that, at least not about the world around him. Maura liked to imagine that Bass was always in his head, much like herself.

"Do you think I'm being too hard on your owner?" Maura asked down at Jo, who perked her head up briefly before examining a flower bed near the street as the two continued their walk, her musings to the unwitting creature at her feet quite comforting. "I don't think so. I'm merely communicating what's fluctuating in my brain, but Jane, she's not communicating anything at all." She paused as Jo sniffed a hydrant. "Do you think that's because she's not feeling something, or because she is feeling something?"

As she completed her question, an older women walked by, eyeing her oddly, and darting a glance down at the clearly silent dog. Maura flushed, indignantly setting her jaw. "The Cairn Terrier is a well known therapeutic breed," she insisted, meeting the woman's judgmental gaze. Technically, Jo was probably a mix, since she had been found as a stray by Korsak, but Maura had done her research and was convinced that the tiny dog had plenty of Cairn in her blood.

"Get a therapist," the woman muttered, shaking her head as she passed by them.

Maura looked down at Jo, giving the dog a conspiratorial eye roll. "Are you done here?" she asked. "Can we continue this one-sided conversation back indoors?" She lead the terrier further down the street, successfully confining her dialogue in her mind. 'New rule: work more, think about Jane Rizzoli less.' As the sun continued to set, she and Jo made their way back up to the detective's apartment, where Maura took a seat on the couch flipping off her Diane von Furstenberg heels.

"Louboutin heels are definitely more apt for dog walking," she said, and Jo cocked her head, eyeing the discarded shoes. "Don't even think about it," Maura warned, wagging her finger. "I'm just taking a breather and I'll be on my way."

Jo hopped onto the couch, her paws padding softly over to the medical examiner, and settling against her torso, resting her furry head on her stomach. Maura let out a faint smile, and ran her hands along the furry neck, scruffing Jo gently behind her ears. "Don't get comfortable," she said with a yawn. "I am not your permanent resting place for the evening."


A scuffling in the background roused her first, and Maura opened her eyes slowly into the dark. She moved her hand towards the lamp on her bedside table, but she met only air, and she lunged upwards, disoriented by her surroundings for a brief moment before her brain registered the familiar sight of Jane's living room furniture. 'I fell asleep?' She couldn't remember the last time she had napped. Normally, she avoided naps because they disrupted her sleep cycle.

The rustling sounded again, coming from the back hallway. "Jo Friday, what are you getting into back there?" She stood on still sleepy legs, making sure that her heels were still untouched on the floor, and ambled towards whatever had caught the dog's attention.

"What are you doing back here, snooping? You're just like your mother," she sighed as she rounded the corner into Jane's bedroom. Jo Friday's head was pressed as far underneath the bed as it could get, her back legs splayed as she tried to wriggle her body further, with little luck. The dog didn't bother looking up at Maura as she knelt down beside her, pressing her torso against the floor and glancing briefly into the dark void. Who knew what was hiding under there? Whatever it was, it seemed important enough to Jo, and so she took a chance and slipped her hand into the vacuum, noting the dog's anticipation increased with a timely wag of its tail.

She felt only air, until her fingers brushed over what felt like a small box, and she pulled it out, blowing a thin layer of dust off its top. "Is this what you wanted?" she asked, perplexed. It was about the size of a shoebox, something normally kept to store mementos, but Jo ignored it, her attention still directed toward the bed. Maura sighed, and slipped her hand back under, this time cringing as her fingers brushed the rough, jagged edge of something. She pulled it out, revealing a half-chewed rawhide bone, Jo snatching it quickly from her fingers and padding out of the room. "Jane should teach you better manners, Jo Friday," she said as she brushed off her hands.

Her eyes fell once more to the box and she let her fingers brush its lid lightly, wondering what was inside, and if its contents would somehow help her get inside the woman that had so far been successful at keeping her an arm's length away. Emotionally, at least. She shook her head, pushing the box a few inches away. 'No. I will not rummage through Jane's things.' She wasn't so far gone to dip that low, fishing around the detective's personal belongings to try and find the key to her heart. She would let Jane open up to her in her own time.

A bulb flashed in the back of her mind, and Maura could practically feel the gamma rays increasing in the right side of her neocortex. Solving the mystery of Rose's murder would require a lot more than simply seeking out the night nurse and fishing through medical records. If she wanted to find something, she would have to go right to the source. Chances are, Jim Weaver wouldn't kill his own mother without leaving some evidence behind, but she was almost certain that evidence wouldn't be found at the hospital. She would have to go straight to Weaver's home.

'Am I really considering breaking and entering just to help Jane?' Jane, who wasn't helping matters at all by intruding on her every thought and refusing to communicate? Yes, Maura suddenly realized. She was, and she would.

Thus resolved, the medical examiner picked up the dusty box sitting on her lap and started to put it back underneath the bed. But she had always been investigative by nature, and she hesitated. Whatever relationship she had with Jane was already complicated. Opening one box in her house probably wouldn't make things worse. She lifted the lid, and when its shadow pulled back to reveal what was inside, Maura gasped.

Photographs. Dozens of photographs.

"Why would anyone keep photos in a shoebox?" Maura wondered, her brow furrowing as she took out the first stack and began flipping through them. Most were properly developed, but a few were just print-outs. She was surprised to notice that she recognized nearly every face in them. They were all of Jane's family. Her mother, her father, Frankie, and another young man that could only be Tommy before his incarceration. There was an old woman that she suspected to be an elderly grandmother or aunt, a few young cousins, but there was no doubt that the children were all Rizzolis. They had the distinctive southern Italian look, and most of them shared Jane's dark eyes.

Maura pulled out the next stack of photos, and her jaw dropped in a very un-ladylike fashion as she stared down at herself.

Maura, sitting on a park bench. Standing outside the sushi restaurant she liked. Posing with Bass as he wandered aimlessly through the grass.

It was surprising to see that Jane kept photographs in the first place. She didn't seem the type. And in a shoebox under the bed, of all places? But the fact that she was included in this shoebox of memories, with her own pile to boot, was strangely touching.

Both of them this time, after a BPD softball game, their hair looking slightly worse for wear from the wind. Maura and Jo Friday in Jane's living room. How had Jane even taken that picture without her noticing?

On the surface, Jane seemed like the kind of person who was familiar enough with technology to keep her photos on a computer. However, computers weren't always the safest method of storage, and if Jane had any one instinct that overrode all the others, it was to protect the people she cared about. Now that she thought about it, the fact that Jane kept treasured photographs of loved ones in a box underneath the bed said a lot about her less than forthcoming personality.

Suddenly, Maura got it. Jane wasn't deliberately trying to hold back her feelings out of callousness, or even fear of getting hurt. She wanted to protect Maura. She remained reserved in order to give Maura a chance to keep her heart in-tact. And that meant...

That meant her earlier comment about Jane's habit of seeking out danger must have cut to the core. Jane knew that she had a dangerous job, but even if she wasn't working for the BPD, she probably would find some other way to get in trouble, just like she was doing now. And Jane knew that it would kill Maura to lose her.

Maura knew that she had to talk to Jane about this if she ever wanted a chance with the detective, but she was still overwhelmed by the sudden, deep insight into her lover's psyche. She knew that she couldn't face Jane again just yet. But first there was a mystery to be solved, and she had a decision to make. Well, it wasn't much of a decision. Maura had already made her choice. She was going to do everything possible to find out what had happened to Rose Heissman, not only because the poor woman deserved justice, but also because it was important to Jane... and Maura had never been able to resist Jane.

Her course of action decided, the medical examiner carefully put all of the photographs back in the box and placed them back under the bed. She stood, brushing the place where her knees had pressed the material of her skirt into the carpet, and headed back into the front room. She had an address to find.


Jane wheeled herself through the brightly lit hallway of the hospital, back and forth, her main source of exercise while she was confined to her chair. 'God, I would love a run right about now.' Despite her restlessness, she gave friendly nods towards the nurses that passed by her, now on a first name basis with all of them.

"Rizzoli, you keep going back and forth down this hallway, you're going to wear tire marks into the floor," called one of the male nurses.

"Even in this chair, Harris, I could run circles around Paul Pierce," she called, referring to the many disagreements she and the nurse had over the current Celtics roster.

She continued her way down the hallway, stopping briefly at the nurse's station. She'd never considered herself much of a people person, but being confined to a room for so long had turned her into the most sociable person on the hallway. She was starting to feel like her mother.

"Detective, how are you feeling today?" asked Sarah, who looked as if she had just come in for her shift. "Besides 'bored'," she said, preempting Jane's response.

"I'm really ready to go home," Jane said.

"Well, I certainly do want you back on your feet," Sarah replied. "But frankly, we're going to miss you around here. You and your mother. She's very sweet."

Jane raised an eyebrow. She'd never met an Italian that she referred to as 'sweet', especially not her mother. Overbearing and suffocating, yes. "Are you talking about Angela Rizzoli?" she asked.

Sarah laughed. "On her way out yesterday she asked if there was any way she could get our home addresses. She wants to send us all a quick thank you for taking care of you."

A red flag went off in Jane's brain, but Sarah continued. "Of course, I can't give that information out, but it was a nice thought."

The detective gave a slow nod, but immediately turned back towards the opposite end of the hallway. "She is something," she responded, giving the nurse a wave before wheeling back to her room, this time with a new vigor powering her arms.

She closed her door behind her and immediately picked up her phone, pressing it to her ear. It continued to ring, and she cursed lightly as her mother's voicemail picked up. "Ma," she said harshly. "I don't know what you're up to, but you need to call me. Now."

She tossed her phone on the bed and looked up at the clock on the wall. Just barely past eleven. Whatever her mother had up her sleeve, she had a whole day to do it. Jane would merely have to what she did best in her current state: wait.



Hours later, and after a few more laps through the hallway, followed by another dose of pain medication and a fitful nap, Jane still hadn't heard from her mother. Or Maura. The first was mildly worrisome, but the second was a bit more distressing. She was beginning to understand just how badly she had messed up. Jane kept thinking about what her mother had said: 'You don't tell her you love her back, and you don't show it, either...'

The words haunted her because they were absolutely true. Maura had been nothing but supportive during her recovery, even when her requests leaned towards the bizarre as she began to untangle the knot that was Rose's mysterious death. Maura had been at her bedside almost every night. She had even started to delegate some of the busywork to her assistants at the morgue, something that Jane knew was extremely difficult for her, and only expressed doubt when she was concerned for Jane's safety, without putting down her theories or her abilities.

She had not tried to pressure Jane into a more serious relationship until the 'I love you' slip-up, but at the same time, she had come forward honestly about her deepening feelings. Maura had done everything right, but what had Jane done in return? Nothing, unless she counted their frantic encounter in her hospital bed or phone sex... and wasn't that almost like taking advantage of her friend? She knew Maura was in love with her, and she had gotten physical with her anyway, even when she was unsure of her own feelings. Her mother had been right. Maura was too good for her.

Jane suddenly realized that she wasn't 'unsure of her feelings'. She was in love with Maura, too. It was surprisingly easy to admit in her head. Then what was holding her back? Maybe she was afraid of putting Maura in danger. She did tend to attract it like a magnet. The last thing she wanted was for Maura to get hurt because of her - physically or emotionally. She hadn't done a good job of that so far, if the abrupt way that the ME had left earlier was any indication. Now that she thought about it, making the blonde do the legwork on her unofficial murder investigation probably wasn't helping the 'keep Maura safe' goal, either.

A knock sounded at her door, and when she heard the door knob turn before she could answer, Jane knew it had to be her mother. Sure enough, Angela's head popped in, her eyes even bouncier than usual and her cheeks flushed.

"Hey sweetie."

"Ma, where the hell have you been? I've called you three times."

"Language, Jane."

The detective crossed her arms over her chest. "Ma."

Angela pulled up a chair and took a seat, crossing and uncrossing her legs before rising from it and opting instead to pace back and forth in front of the bed. "You won't guess where I've been."

Jane raised an eyebrow. "Did you go to Maura's?" she asked with a groan. "Ma, I want to be the one to talk to her."

Angela waved her thoughts away. "Of course I didn't. I'm not fighting your love battles for you, Jane, I wouldn't have the first clue how to do that with a woman." She stopped at the foot of the bed, pressing her hands into the sheets. "I just came from Susie Thatcher's home."

"What?" Jane knew the name, had seen it on her checkup notes up until the nurse had disappeared. "Nurse Susie?"

"Yes. Do you know she's actually a doctor? Well, not a doctor doctor yet, but she's getting her PhD in nursing?" Angela cocked her head. "I imagine that will be quite confusing. "Dr. Nurse Susie Thatcher."

"Ma," Jane said, frustration edging her tone. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Language, Jane."

"Tell me you didn't go fishing around on this case."

Angela scoffed. "I'd hardly call it a case. It's merely a hunch, and you're lucky that Maura and I love you so much, otherwise we'd have called you crazy." She took a seat in the chair that she had abdicated a moment earlier and leaned into Jane. "Or, at least I thought it was a hunch. Up until I paid a visit to Susie Thatcher."

Jane rubbed her temples to try and alleviate her rapidly-developing headache. How was it that a hunch that she had nursed by herself had now taken off to involve two of the very people she loved most? "How in the hell did you even know where she lived? I don't believe hospital staff would just give you that information."

"Well, of course not, Jane, it's against HIPAA laws. At least, that's what the seasoned HR woman told me yesterday when I asked. Her new assistant in, though, hasn't quite had time to brush up on the particulars. All it took was a little Italian persuasion."

Jane raised an eyebrow. "You bribed her?"

"Can I just get to the exciting part?" Angela asked.

Jane shrugged. "By all means."

"Well," Angela leaned further into the detective, as if sharing a particularly juicy piece of gossip. "Susie Thatcher was that poor woman Mrs. Heissman's night nurse the week prior to her death." She shook her head sadly. "She was real shaken up about it. You'd be surprised how attached these nurses get to patients. The doctors, on the other hand -"

"Ma. Get back on track."

"Right. So anyway, one night Mrs. Heissman's son came in rather late, and he started asking a bunch of questions about his mother's drug regimen. Keep in my mind the boy had hardly visited the poor woman up until then." Her eyes flashed up to the detective. "Jane Rizzoli, if I'm ever in the hospital and you don't come visit me -"


"Right. He was asking a bunch of questions about dosage, which drugs the hospital had available, how they decided which one was right for his mother, all kinds of things. Susie didn't know what to make of it, but she answered them as best she could."

"Where was Mr. Heissman?"

"I'm getting there. Turns out, Susie had never seen Weaver and his stepfather visit at the same time, but two nights before she died, she saw them leave the floor together. They were talking about some kind of wrongful death lawsuit, but when they noticed her nearby, they got really quiet..."

"Wait, why was she telling you all of this?" Jane asked, frowning at her mother. "In fact, why didn't she tell the police?"

Angela rolled her eyes. "She didn't think anyone would believe her. You of all people should be able to understand that. You're a detective and you couldn't get your own partner to believe you."

That hurt, and Jane's scowl deepened. "So, what made her decide to trust you? If we're right and Heissman and Weaver had something to do with Rose's death, she could be in danger."

"I told her my daughter was a detective, and that you thought Rose's death wasn't an accident, too."

The brunette groaned in frustration and let her head fall backwards, hitting the pillow behind her. "Ma, do you know what the word 'subtle' means? You can't just go around telling everyone that I am going to magically fix all of their problems with the police. How am I supposed to help? You just said my own partner didn't believe me..."

"Then go find some evidence instead of making hunches and force them believe you."

Jane sighed. "All right. Tell me exactly what Susie overheard. It could be important.


Maura couldn't help glancing around nervously as she walked back down the suburban street that she had driven up ten minutes before. Although she wasn't experienced with covert operations, she knew enough not to park her fancy car right outside the house she was about to break into. As she approached her target, she double-checked the address to make sure she was in the right place. It was bad enough breaking into a suspected murderer's house without involving the neighbors.

'Oh well,' she thought. 'If I don't come out of this alive, at least whoever takes my computer will find some interesting phrases in my Google history.' The medical examiner doubted that an address search followed by 'how to break in to a house' and 'Massachusetts burglary laws' were common search queries. According to Section 18 of Massachusetts burglary code, she could be imprisoned for up to ten years. Of course, she doubted that her penalty would be that severe, but it wasn't pleasant to think about, either. She also didn't want to think about how the sentencing judge would laugh at her when she explained exactly what she was breaking and entering to find...

'That doesn't matter,' she told herself as she paused at the sidewalk outside of the house, 'because you're not going to get caught.' She didn't notice any security signs in the front yard, and knowing the neighborhood, didn't suspect Weaver had any hefty alarms in his home. Trying not to look suspicious, Maura decided that her first step would be to find out if anyone was home. The garage door was closed, so she couldn't see if any cars were parked inside, but that wasn't a foolproof method anyway. The easiest thing would be to simply ring the doorbell. If Weaver or somebody else answered, she would make up a story about being lost or needing to use a phone because her car broke down.

She stood on the stoop after ringing the bell, hoping she looked casual enough to any nosy neighbors that might be spying out of their windows. She looked both houses on either side of Weavers before circling, attempting to gauge the status of the homes on the opposite side of the street. Although there were a couple of lights on in the windows, there didn't seem to be much going on around her. 'It is a Saturday night. Most people are out with their significant others on actual dates, not breaking into houses for them.' She listened intently, craning her ear towards the door, but she heard nothing. No tell tale scuttle of paws, no barking, no sign of anything that could throw a wrench into her plans.

She didn't waste too much time on the front stoop, and walked back down the walkway, as if heading back to the street, feigning normality before she suddenly veered left, edging her way down a small path that ran along the edge of the house. She crept onto a small patio, and let out a sigh of relief at the sight of a sliding door. She pulled out the tiny screwdriver that she had found in her trunk, which seemed too small to do anything useful, at least up until now. She slid it into the lock on the door, using her her cell phone for light, and jimmied it slightly, listening for any sign that her methods were having an effect on its internal movements. After watching a couple of videos on Youtube, she figured that dismantling a lock should be no harder than disassembling human organs. Sure enough, she heard a slight click, and she bit back a yelp of satisfaction.

She slid the door open quietly before slipping inside, pausing in the threshold to make sure the house was silent around her. She didn't hear the beeping of an alarm, which calmed her immensely, and the faint light above the stove illuminated the space enough for her to be sure that she was alone. Despite her luck so far, she felt a slight sweat break out on her brow, which was odd considering that hands, feet, and armpits were the parts of the body with the most sweat glands. 'Focus.'

But focus on what? She had absolutely no plan other than sifting around Weaver's apartment and hoping that she came across something incriminating. Which shouldn't be hard, if he truly was a murderer. She shook that notion from her mind. It didn't help her nervous sweats to remember that she very well could be breaking and entering into a very dangerous man's personal space. She remembered his temper from their first meeting in the hallway.

She moved along a hallway, foregoing the kitchen for another more promising room. Soon, she happened upon a small office, complete with a mahogany desk that seemed to swallow the small Mac computer that sat atop it. She moved behind the mammoth piece of furniture, her hand reaching to open the device when a loud ringing permeated the air.

Her her heart dropped into her stomach as she jumped away from the desk, beginning to crouch, but the ringing kept coming, uninterrupted, from her own pocket. She fumbled for her phone, berating herself for forgetting to turn it on silent, and winced when she saw the name on the screen.

"Jane, this is kind of a bad time," she said, steadying herself on the desk.

"I don't care, Maur, I have something to tell you."

"Jane, this really isn't a good time," Maura responded.

"Why are you whispering?"

Truth be told, Maura wasn't sure why she was whispering. She was clearly alone in the house, at least for now. "I'm at Weaver's home looking for evidence, so if you don't mind -"

"You're what?" Jane barked in surprise, nearly dropping the phone. Maura flinched at the loud noise. "Listen to me, you have to get out of there, fast... Ma did some digging, and apparently Nurse Susie has been missing from work because she overheard Heissman and Weaver talking about staging a wrongful death lawsuit."

This time, it was Maura's turn to be shocked. "What? Why didn't she go to the police?"

"That's what I wanted to know," Jane muttered, but dismissed that thought from her mind to focus on Maura. "It doesn't matter now. Just get out of there before someone catches you. Do you even realize what kind of trouble you could get in?"

"A maximum of ten years in prison and a minimum fine of five hundred dollars," the medical examiner shot back without thinking.

Jane groaned with frustration. "I was wrong, okay, Maur? It was a mistake for me to ask for your help in this. I want to find out what happened, but not by breaking in to a potential murderer's house! At least tell me where the hell you are."

"4004 Crestwood Drive." Weaver's address slipped quickly from her lips, confident that no matter how opposed Jane was to her plan, there was no way the detective could rush out of her hospital bed to stop her.

"Maura, please just listen to me for once in your goddamn life and leave before you get hurt..."

She opened her mouth to protest Jane's continued ramblings, but the sound of the garage door opening and silenced her. "Jane, be quiet! I think someone's coming." The detective had plenty more to say, but she closed her mouth tight and clenched her jaw to keep from speaking as she listened to Maura's uneven, heavy breathing through the phone. Meanwhile, the doctor glanced around wildly for a hiding place. Not certain how much time she had to pick one, she lowered herself to the floor crouched beneath the large computer desk, tucking her legs in and making herself as small as possible. "Stay on the line with me. Just don't... say... anything..." Maura whispered urgently.

A few moments later, the side door leading in from the garage opened and shut, and Maura could hear footsteps inside the house. As the sound drew closer, Maura could hear a male voice speaking to what sounded like a second person. 'Weaver. It's got to be Weaver.'

"You took care of the problem?" She listened for a response, but didn't hear one. "Okay, good. That nurse knew too much." It took everything Maura had to stifle her exclamation of surprise. Hoping her cell phone wouldn't beep, she turned the phone on speaker and held it up as high as she dared. If she was lucky, Jane might be able to hear some of this.

"Wait, she said what? Who was asking questions?"

When there was no response for a second time, Maura had a brainwave. Weaver was talking to someone on the phone just like she had been. It had to be Heissman. Everything was starting to come together, and

"That detective? She's still in the hospital, isn't she? That's another loose end to clear up."

Maura felt her blood turn to ice. 'Another loose end? Jane... they're going to hurt Jane...'

Even as that terrifying thought nearly stopped her heart, she heard the unmistakable sound of Weaver coming closer to the study. His footsteps grew louder, and so did his voice. "You're already there? That's convenient. Go ahead and take care of it."

Frantically, Maura started trying to come up with a plan. The first thing she needed to do was get out of the house before Weaver saw her, and then she had to warn Jane and the police to the coming danger. But how was she supposed to do that? She would gladly put her safety at risk if it meant protecting Jane, but no one would ever know what was going to happen unless she escaped unharmed. She looked down at the phone in her hand, and was horrified to see that the connection had ended. Either Jane had hung up on her, or something had already happened...

She held her breath as she heard Weaver's footsteps head towards the kitchen, the sound of a glass clinking and the refrigerator opening signaling that he would hopefully be occupied for a few minutes, at least long enough for her to creep towards the front door. She stuck her phone back in her pocket, and slid out from underneath the desk, focusing all of her attention on the sounds coming from the kitchen. She just had to make it to the front door.

One last clink of a dish, and the sounds from the other room silenced momentarily as she crept out into the dimly lit hallway, her escape just a few yards in front of her. She stepped lightly, thankful for the rug underneath her feet, which effectively muffled the sound of her heels. She had to call Jane back, or call Angela, Korsak, someone.

Just as she reached the open foyer, the door a mere few feet ahead of her, she saw a figure round the corner to her left, and the scene around her began to blur. She launched herself forward, fingers scraping the handle of the door, but Weaver matched her speed, and his fingers wrapped around her upper arm like a vice, spinning her back to face him.

"Dr. Isles," he said, his eyes narrowing. "Do you want to tell me what you're doing in my house?"

She tried to shrug her arm out of his grasp, but cringed as he simply held on tighter. "I most certainly do," she said, trying to make her voice level. "I wanted to warn you," she continued, unsure of her own trajectory, but allowing her adrenaline to take over. "Your stepfather - he's putting together a case against you - he's accusing you of your mother's murder."

Her lie bought her a little time as Weaver tossed back his head, laughter emanating from deep in his belly. "Nice try, Dr. Isles." He placed another hand on her arm, and forced her back down the hallway, her own struggles against him proving ineffective at stopping him. "Next time, I suggest you and Detective Rizzoli stay out of extracurricular police work."

She found herself back in the kitchen, her eyes leaving his and fluttering around for a weapon, anything that she could use to get some leverage. Every minute wasted in Weaver's home was another minute that put Jane closer to danger. Both of their struggles suddenly ceased at the sound of the doorbell, which rang throughout the house.

"Boston Police Department, open up!" came a voice from the front stoop, followed by a pounding knock on the door. "We've had reports of a disturbance."

Maura's mind reeled. Had a neighbor seen her enter the house? She would happily hand herself over to the police if it meant she could get Jane some help. She wrenched her arm away from Weaver, but he dragged her towards the front door. "If only your Detective could have been so lucky," he whispered, the words making her blood run cold.

He let his grip on her arm relax as he opened the door, a graceful smile on his lips as he faced the two policemen on his stoop. "Officers, I'm glad you're here. I would like to press full charges against this woman for breaking and entering into my home."



Jane wished she could tell Maura not to worry, that she would send help, but she was afraid any sound of her voice through the phone's speaker would blow the doctor's seemingly fragile cover. 'What the hell was she thinking? Breaking and entering?'

Her first instinct was to jump out of bed, her thoughts only of Maura. 'I have to get to her.' A stabbing pain in her side, however, reminded her of her confined state, and she slammed her head into the pillow, a frustrated growl leaving her throat. Her fingers fumbled over the keypad of her phone, and she held her breath until her call finally went through.

"9-1-1, what is your emergency?"

"Dispatch? Detective Jane Rizzoli..." It took Jane a moment to remember her badge number because images of Maura with a broken, bloody face, her slender body lying still on the floor somewhere, kept flashing before her eyes. "We've got a 10-29 at... at..." Jane panicked as she tried to search her memory for Weaver's address. Maura had told her...Maura, lying motionless on the carpet... Maura's face, broken and bleeding..."4004 Crestwood Drive. I'm not at the scene, but I heard the assault take place over the phone, and believe the victim is in immediate physical danger." It was a little long and rambling for a dispatch call, but Jane couldn't concentrate.

"Sending over a squad car and an ambulance." Jane couldn't help being relieved that she hadn't had to mention the ambulance. They might sound like cyborgs sometime, but the dispatch operators knew how to do their job.

Once the car and ambulance were on route, the next call Jane made was to Korsak. He may not have believed her earlier, but he had to support her now, if only for Maura's sake. "Korsak!" she shouted as soon as he picked up, not even waiting for him to speak, "Maura's at Weaver's house and I think he's going to kill her."

"Wait, slow down. What -?"

"I called dispatch, but you need to send someone over there! If they have to take Maura in to custody to protect her from him, have them do it."

To her immense relief, Korsak didn't demand any further explanation or berate her. He simply said, "I'll take care of it," and hung up the phone without a goodbye. For some reason, his abruptness comforted Jane, because she knew he would do everything he could to get someone there in time. Jane suspected Korsak wasn't doing this just for her benefit, but she was grateful that her ex-partner still had her back. Despite her occasional awkward moments, Maura's coworkers were very fond of her.

Once the urgent conversations were over, all Jane could do was stare helplessly at her cell phone and wait for someone to call her back with an update. Suddenly, she understood that she was getting a taste of what Maura must have felt in the emergency waiting room after she had been shot. According to her mother, the medical examiner had spent the entire night in an uncomfortable hospital chair waiting to hear whether she was going to live or not.

If Maura got out of this alive, Jane decided, she was going to kill her, and then probably tell her that she loved her. The least she could do after Maura had (stupidly) risked her life to try and find evidence for her was be honest about her feelings. They had been through too much together now to worry about danger or hurt feelings. Love didn't stop for those things.

Jane glanced at her cell phone again, willing it to ring, but her impatience was rewarded only with silence. She tried to take comfort in the fact that no news was better than bad news, but her mind was still racing with all of the possible things that might have gone wrong. What if she was already dead, and the police hadn't gotten there in time? What if Weaver was hurting Maura right now, and there was nothing she could do about it? The questions made her eyes sting, but she rubbed a fist over them and sat up, her fingers darting towards the nurse call button. There was no way she would lay back idly while Maura was in danger.

A soft but unexpected sound came from somewhere to her right, and she pulled her fingers back from the button, turning onto her side, ignoring the pain in her abdomen as she looked at the figure standing in her doorway. For a moment, she could only see a silhouette framed by the fluorescent lighting of the hallway. As he turned the light finally illuminated the side of the intruder's face, reflecting briefly off of his glasses.



Maura still felt Weaver's hand on her arm, but she shrugged violently away from him, taking a step towards the waiting police officers. One of them eyed her carefully, but the other spoke first. "Mr. Weaver, if you don't mind, I'll take your statement while my colleague here takes care of the little lady." Maura rolled her eyes, but she didn't have the time to deal with the uni's chauvinism, not while Jane was in danger. She went willingly towards the second officer as Weaver led the first into his home, giving her a smug smile. As soon as he was out of earshot, Maura turned towards the second officer, eyeing the name on his uniform.

"Officer Harper," she said quickly, her words stumbling from her lips, "I'm not a criminal - I'm Chief Medical Examiner of -"

"I know who you are."

"You do?" she asked, somewhat bewildered. She shook her head. "That's beside the point. Detective Jane Rizzoli -"

"I know. She called this in, said to bring you to the station."

"No, we have to get to Mass. General right away! I heard that man - Mr. Weaver - I heard him talking to someone while I was inside. Jane - Detective Rizzoli - is in danger."

A faint siren echoed around them, its piercing whine growing louder as a black squad car pummeled its way down the street, barely coming to a full stop before the driver ambled out of it. "Dr. Isles," Korsak said. His face was flushed, but there was a twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Maura rushed towards him, placing a set of trembling hands on his chest, the pitch of her voice rising with her own fear. "We have to go. Jane's in danger."

Korsak looked towards the house, but Maura shook her head. "Weaver's inside, but his stepfather -" she didn't have time to finish her thought before Korsak was once again heading toward his vehicle, his tone serious as he directed his words towards the officer.

"Take Dr. Isles down to the precinct," he directed.

Maura shook her head. "No, no, I'm coming with you," she said, running towards the passenger's side of Korsak's car. The gray-haired detective looked down at her, unconvinced, but he knew any time wasted trying to convince the adamant doctor to stay put would only harm Jane. He looked back at the officer. "Send backup to Massachusetts General Hospital. Now."

Maura watched out of the passenger window as the lone police officer followed the command, speaking quickly into the walkie talkie clip on his shoulder. Her hands twisted nervously in her lap, her heart beating wildly, as she closed her eyes and prayed that someone would get to Jane in time.


"Didn't anyone ever tell you to keep your nose out of other people's business?"

There was a long, eerie pause. Jane couldn't find any words. She tried to reach for the call button, but her arm wouldn't move. She was completely frozen. Although he was more than two decades older than Jane, Heissman had a stocky, heavy-set build, and she was still confined to her hospital bed. Her only chance would be to stall him until she could alert a nurse or someone noticed what was happening.

"All you needed to do was ask your friend to find the cause of death. You dropped her right in my lap after Rose died."

The detective didn't speak. Seconds ticked by in the dark

"Say something."

"You won't get away with this," Jane croaked, her body finally obeying the commands firing from her brain. "They know what you've done. The police are on their way now." She didn't know that for sure, but it couldn't hurt to bluff.

"That doesn't matter. It's already too late for you."


"Can't you drive any faster?" Maura pleaded, willing Korsak's foot to press harder on to the gas.

"Not if I don't want a bunch of injured citizens following us to the hospital," he replied, keeping his attention on the road as he slowed down to pass through another red light. "Isles, you want to tell me what's going on?"

"I heard Weaver on the phone with someone. They knew Jane was investigating Mrs. Heissman's death, and I heard him say 'to take care of her'." She hung her head, wishing she could do something more than just merely sit idly by while Jane's life hung in the balance. "I can't do this again," she said, rocking forward in her seat, her eyes suddenly wet.

Korsak didn't have to chance a look at the medical examiner to know how incredibly worried she was about the detective. He'd seen that worry etch new lines into her face the night of the shooting, and how they had only grown deeper as Jane's condition worsened. "Maura, everything will be fine," he said, his voice as soothing as his deep tenor would allow it to be. "Backup is en route, and we'll be there in less than a minute. Just hang with me, okay?"

He heard her mumble, he flashed a quick glance towards her, and saw her hunched forward in her seat, her knuckles white on the dashboard. He had trouble deciphering her words, but upon understanding them, he felt his foot floor the gas.

"Please be okay," she repeated over and over, a mantra that permeated his own thoughts.


Jane's hand moved back towards the call button, but Heissman was on her in a flash, placing one hand over her mouth and pressing on her injured stomach with the other, causing her to grunt in muffled pain and curl into a tight ball. She couldn't do anything to fight him off, barely able to ride out the pain. Ugly streaks of orange and red flashed behind her eyes.

He removed his hand from her abdomen and flipped on the television with the remote that sat near Jane's bed, turning it up to the loudest possible volume before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small syringe. Jane's eyes widened, and she struggled against him, flailing her arms out to him, but the pain in her side was overwhelming. She screamed into his palm, which was like a vice over her mouth, but the television drowned out her pleas. Jane only managed to scream out one muffled word.



Korsak squealed up to the entrance of the hospital, the squad car barely coming to a halt before Maura bolted out of the vehicle and almost lost one of her shoes in an all-out sprint to the double doors.

"Maura!" he called, checking the parking lot for backup, which didn't seem like it had arrived yet. "Wait!" She disappeared into the hospital, leaving Korsak to wonder how the hell she managed to run so fast in heels that high.

The medical examiner didn't register the detective's calls, the hospital's white interior merely a tunneled flash in front of her as she retraced the path she had made many times before to Jane's room. She forewent the elevator, opting for the stairs, which were closest to her, her feet complimenting the thumping beat of her heart as she made her way up the first three flights.


Even as her body started to give out and the syringe moved closer to her throat, Jane fought off Heissman as best she could, ignoring the pain in her abdomen as she tried to get her feet and nails to connect with any vulnerable spot. She managed to wedge one knee in between their struggling bodies, still gasping for air as she pushed forward, jabbing her assailant in the kidney. He grunted in pain, but didn't let up, and it was all she could do to keep his hands and the needle away from her throat.

All at once, Jane felt a sudden sense vertigo and fell backwards, shouting in pain as her shoulder hit the floor. Heissman had pushed her upper body off of the bed during the struggle, and for a moment, the syringe wasn't near her neck. Fighting dizziness and intense pain, she brought up the heel of her hand, aiming for her attacker's nose.

The blow connected slightly off-center, but it was enough to push Heissman back. Jane's free hand scrambled beside her, searching for the TV remote, her cell phone, a section of the monitoring machines next to her bed - anything that could be used as a weapon. She grasped only air, and tried kicking out with her feet, but to no avail.


Maura heard her name being called by several perplexed nurses as she ran full speed down the hallway, her chest heaving. 'Please don't let me be too late.' Her brain would only allow her to call out one word in explanation: "Jane!"

She heard a commotion behind her, puzzled voices, but she continued running, hurtling herself towards Jane's room. Although the fear of what she might find behind the closed door sent an ache through her chest, she swung it open, the detective's name once again falling from her lips. "Jane."

She didn't bother to register the full scene in front of her, all she processed was Jane's pained moans coming from the floor beside her bed and the syringe that she was desperately trying to keep at bay. Her unannounced entry had clearly startled Heissman, who looked quickly behind him, but she charged forward, throwing her entire body weight into him. Her breath was knocked out her with the force of her blow, and she sailed forward with him, her eyes on the syringe, which fell from his fingers and slid across the tiled floor.

Jane squinted in pain as she tried to calm her own breathing, which was only making the pain in her stomach worse, but she kept an eye fixed on the gamble of limbs that were scrambling in front of her. "Maura - ?" she choked out, trying to raise herself onto a pair of worthless legs as she watched the tiny medical examiner scramble to her knees.

Heissman didn't look as if he was attempting to fight her, but Maura's fist connected with his jaw in one swift, impressive movement that left even Jane impressed. "Maura?" she said again, but the blonde's attention seemed solely focused on the criminal beneath her. Her fist raised again, this time connecting with Heissman's nose, and Jane saw the fury that shook the doctor's shoulders.

She leaned forward, flinching, but her fingers brushed the silk of the blonde's shirt. "Maura. I think you got him," she wheezed.

The subtle touch seemed to bring the smaller woman out of her fit of rage, her shoulders slumping as she turned towards the brunette, leaving Heissman in a daze on the floor, a small stream of blood inching from his nose. She looked at Jane with a new horror, noticing the detective's pale face and labored breathing.

"Jane," she said, moving towards her, locking onto the dark brown eyes before immediately letting her gaze assess any damage that Heissman had done.

"I'm all right," the brunette insisted, preempting her question. "He didn't get me."

Heavy footsteps sounded from the hallway, followed by Korsak's flushed face as he rushed into the room, followed by two more uniformed officers. "Maura, what - Oh my God, Jane..." The older detective wasted no time kneeling on the floor beside his partner. Like Maura, his immediate response was to check and see if she was all right. Unlike Maura's touches, which Jane was tolerating out of love, she batted Korsak's hands away despite being incredibly glad to see him.

"Stop it, Korsak, I'm fine."

The unis, not quite sure what to do with themselves, went over to examine Heissman. His nose was bleeding profusely, and his face would be bruised for the next several weeks from Maura's blows. He tried to speak, probably to tell the officers to get away, but they hauled him up. "We'll take him to get cleaned up, you go ahead and bag that syringe," one of them said to Korsak, who almost felt like he was intruding as he waited while Maura insisted on checking Jane's vitals.

"My heart is working. I'm breathing fine. I just need painkillers for my damn stomach," Jane protested, instantly regretting the sharpness of her words when she saw the frown on Maura's face. The medical examiner's brow was creased with worry lines and there was pain in her eyes. She gave the honey blonde a small smile and reached out to hold her hand. "Maur, you saved my life. Thank you." There was so much more she wanted to say, but now was not the time, not while Korsak was still present.

"We're going to have to block this room off. It's a crime scene now," he said to the unis as they headed out the door with their surprisingly submissive prisoner in tow. "Once you deal with him, get a nurse up here to find a new room for Jane."

"That shouldn't be a problem," Jane said, noticing the rather large crowd of hospital personnel who were gathered in the hallway to watch Heissman being taken away.

Maura didn't bother looking towards the threshold, as she was more than certain the ruckus the past few minutes had caused on the floor. "Let's get her back into the chair," she said to Korsak.

"Hey, 'she's' sitting right here," Jane said, moving to raise herself up from the floor, but hissing at stab of pain that shot through her stomach.

One of the nurses moved into action, wheeling the chair over from the corner and helping Maura ease the detective into it. "Why don't we move you down to the end of the hallway?" she suggested. "There's a free room, and I want you out of this circus as soon as possible."

Jane sighed. "Thanks, Sarah." She looked up at Korsak. "Think you can handle it from here?" she asked. "Or at least until I get some meds in me?"

Korsak nodded. "I'm pretty sure I can."

The nurse wheeled Jane towards the doorway, where most of the observers had dispersed, pretending to read charts or engage in conversation, but still gazing at them out of the corners of their eyes. Maura stepped aside, suddenly unclear of her role. Jane looked back over her shoulder, giving her a comforting smile, but a look that she was otherwise unable to read.

Korsak noticed her uncertainty. "Isles, you see a dead body in here?" he asked with a quirk of his eyebrow.

"No," she said immediately, but still gazing around her as if a corpse might have slipped into the room without her noticing.

"Then there's no reason for you to be here. Go be with Jane," he replied with a wave of his hand and a small smile.

Maura didn't need to be told twice.



"Well, Jane, at least Korsak, the hospital staff, and the entire BPD know you were right now," Maura said with a false sort of cheerfulness as she entered Jane's new room. "I only wish you hadn't needed to risk your life in order to achieve the desirable result."

The detective sighed, but gave Maura a satisfied, almost tender smile as the medical examiner approached the side of her bed. "Yeah, me too. Maura, I'm really sorry. I hope you know that this time, I didn't mean to put myself in danger."

Maura returned the smile, but hers was tinged with worry and sadness. "I know. I just have to accept that you will probably be in trouble more often than not for the rest of your life."

Hearing Maura talk about the rest of her life reminded Jane of something, something important, the private promise she had made to herself when she was staring death in the face - both Maura's and her own. "C'mere, Maur," she said, holding out one arm and patting the empty space beside her on the mattress. "Abdominal trauma isn't contagious."

"Thank goodness for that." The blonde took her usual place next to Jane, and after a few mild protests, allowed the detective help her lie down. With Jane's encouragement, she tucked her head against her lover's shoulder, although she was careful not to cause any more discomfort.

"I can't believe we're alone..." Jane said, glancing towards the door of her new hospital room to make sure that they weren't being watched.

"It won't last," Maura said wistfully.

"No. But since we might not get more than another minute or two to ourselves..." She shifted onto her side as best she could with her newly agitated injury and cupped Maura's soft cheek. "Hey," she said when she saw tears in her eyes, "don't be upset."

"I almost lost you..."

Jane's thumb swept across Maura's cheekbone even though there were no tears to wipe away yet. "When you were in Weaver's house, I was terrified that you wouldn't come out alive. And I thought about all the shit I've made you put up with, especially over the past several months. So I guess I owe you something... something I've been meaning to say for a while."

Maura just continued staring at Jane, giving her the chance to continue, surprised and confused and maybe even a little hopeful.

"So, here goes. I love you."

It wasn't the romantic confession Maura had secretly dreamed about. Jane hadn't taken her out on a picnic or to an opera, or even a nice dinner. They weren't basking in the afterglow of amazing sex. Jane's face was going to be a riot of black, blue, yellow, and green in a few hours, and Maura knew she probably felt terrible. Policemen and nurses were running around in pandemonium outside their little two-person haven. They had both almost died, more than once in Jane's case. But somehow, the moment was perfect anyway. It was better than her dreams. It was real.

"Jane -" she began, but the brunette cut her off with a shake of her head.

"This wasn't exactly how I wanted to tell you," the detective said, almost apologetically. "I should have told you awhile ago, before all of this." She gestured towards her injuries. "I've loved you for a long time, Maur."

"Sex can complicate things, mainly by triggering the part of the brain responsible for assigning emotion." The words that came out of Maura's mouth weren't exactly what she had planned, but they at least brought a smile to Jane's face.

"Is that so?" the detective asked, pulling Maura closer to her. "I think it's worth it," she whispered, taking the blonde's lips with her own. Maura let herself sink into the kiss as much as she could without hurting the woman next to her. She recalled the last time she had confessed her feelings to Jane, and the way she had cut off her words, ashamed of the pressure behind them. She felt a sudden urge to say those same words now.

"Jane, I love you, too."

"I would guess that you do, after that stunt you pulled at Weaver's apartment," the detective said, her eyes turning a darker shade of brown. "What the hell were you thinking, Maur?"

"I'm not sure," the doctor replied, laying her head back on Jane's shoulder. "I do know that whatever I was thinking, I'm pretty sure it originated in the frontal lobe." She glanced up, her hair tickling the brunette's chin. "That's where impulse occurs in the brain."

Jane pecked a kiss onto the honey brown locks. "Why don't you save your impulses for the bedroom?"


"Although they did come in handy tonight. I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't overheard Weaver and Heissman's plan."

Maura felt the detective shudder ever so slightly underneath her, and she wrapped her free hand around her shoulders. "I don't want to think about that," she said softly. "I don't want to think about anything right now."

Jane raised her eyebrows in surprise. She had never known Maura not to be thinking a million different things at any given time. "I don't think I've ever heard -"

"Shut up, Jane."

They both let out a small giggle as they continued to lie in the small room, sheltering themselves off from the footsteps, the voices, and the questions that were sure to come their way any moment. For now, though, it was just the two of them.


Several Weeks Later:

"Hey there, girl! Are you happy to see me, huh? Who's a happy puppy?"

Maura smiled as Jane cooed and fussed over Jo Friday, who had bounded in to the living room as soon as she heard her owner opening the front door. Maura had brought the little terrier in for a few more visits during the rest of Jane's hospital stay, since she technically still had her therapy dog license, but she could tell that both dog and human were glad to be reunited on a more permanent basis.

"Ew, Jo, you smell all froofy. Has Maura been taking you to the groomer too much again?"

"She likes it," Maura said in her defense, continuing to smile as she carried Jane's bags into the apartment. Jane had insisted on hauling them up the stairs herself, claiming that she was full recovered now, but she was too distracted with the small, hyper dog dancing around her feet to deal with her luggage.

"No, she doesn't like it. She likes the treats you slip her afterwards. You'd better be careful, or she'll get fat."

The medical examiner frowned. "I researched those treats very carefully to find the healthiest ones, and I make sure to account for them in her daily caloric intake."

Jane resisted the temptation to groan, but she had to admit that it was kind of cute. "Well, I'm sure Jo appreciates having you to look out for her. I know I did... thanks for helping me with that while I was stuck in that godawful place."

"They treated you very well at the hospital -"

"- Aside from almost dying there. Twice -"

"And whose fault was that?" Once the bags were out of the way, Maura joined Jane in kneeling next to the excited dog and petting her head. "You're welcome, by the way. It was a good opportunity for me and Jo Friday to bond. By the way, I've always wondered whether it's Jo, because she's female, or Joe because she is named for a male detective."

"Joe with an 'e', of course," Jane said, standing up and taking over the task of moving her clothes back to the bedroom. "She's not a girly dog, are you, Joe? You're tough and scrappy. Yes you are!" The terrier rolled onto her back and displayed her belly, causing the detective to roll her eyes. "Yeah, you just keep doing that."

Maura privately decided that she would continue to spell Jo's name however she wished, since it all sounded the same when spoken anyway, but her thoughts on semantics were interrupted when she followed Jane into the bedroom and saw the brunette taking off her clothes. "Jane?" she squeaked, her eyes widening as she tried to decide whether or not to avert her gaze. Logically, she knew there was no need for her to be shy, not when she and Jane had already been physically intimate, but she had insisted on putting a stop to their sexual activities until her lover was out of the hospital. Since she still felt guilty about ignoring Maura's feelings and putting them both in danger, Jane had only complained about being hard up every other day instead of every couple of hours.

Jane gave her a smile over her shoulder as she pulled her shirt off, revealing a simple black bra. "I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to a shower in my own bathroom."

"Oh, of course," Maura said quickly, covering her own disappointment by lurching into action, gathering Jane's discarded shirt from the floor and heading towards the bathroom. She didn't get far, as the brunette's hand reached out for her.

"I also can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to showering with you," Jane whispered, her fingers already working the buttons on Maura's blouse. The doctor leaned her forehead into Jane's, appreciating the strong hands that moved quickly over her chest, brushing the wings of her shirt away from her shoulders.

"I already showered this morning," she said, honesty slipping from her lips despite her dreamy expression, but her hands slid around Jane's back, her fingers deftly working the clasp of the detective's bra.

Jane smiled into Maura's neck. She had no intention of showering, at least not yet. Her main goal in stripping off her clothes had been to get the doctor to do the same, and she knew Maura wouldn't initiate, not until she was certain Jane's injuries were fully healed. She had never felt better, however, as her hands brushed the smaller woman's bare back, her blouse finally fluttering toward the floor.

She let her lips nip the smooth neck, inhaling the scent of lavender that she had desperately come to miss during her stay at the sterile, antiseptic hospital. She craved more of Maura's taste, and suckled the sensitive skin. "I've missed you," she breathed, letting her lips trace the prominent collarbone.

Maura had imagined a moment much like this one over the past several nights, and had even touched herself to climax while visualizing Jane's lithe body on top of her own. The lips caressing her skin now took her breath away, and she had trouble forming a verbal response to Jane's comment. Her physical response, however, demonstrated clear approval, as she felt her nipples hardening under the fabric of her bra.

"Now your turn," Jane purred, her hand repeating the sliding motion that Maura had used on her and unhooking the medical examiner's bra. Both of them backed away from each other for just a moment, letting the garments slide from their arms and taking in the view.

"That gunshot wound is healing nicely," Maura said, her eyes trailing down to examine the scar tissue on Jane's abdomen.

"If you're still thinking about that, I haven't done a good enough job of distracting you," the detective growled. She gripped the blonde's hips and pulled her close, enjoying the sensation of bare flesh meeting bare flesh, loving the shared warmth. Maura melted in her arms, and she knew the medical examiner was experiencing the same delicious sensations.

She sighed, her hips pushing subtly forward as Jane's hands moved to undo her pants. "Jane... Are you sure we should be doing this?" she asked, her last attempt at holding back.

"More than sure," she purred, reaching her hands inside the tight confines of Maura's designer jeans and cupping a hand between her legs. "And I see I'm not the only one who needs it." Jane had to work to keep her fingers outside of the damp fabric that barricaded her from Maura's slick folds, as she wanted nothing more than to plunge inside her, craving the woman's warm tightness around her.

The firm gesture between her legs weakened Maura's knees, and she wrapped her hands around the detective's neck, pulling the parted lips towards her and plunging her tongue inside. She felt her own nipples brush against the brunette's as she pressed her torso into the taller woman, softening against her.

Jane moaned into the kiss, her hand feeling suddenly constricted by the tight denim fabric of Maura's jeans. They probably cost more than a month's rent, but the detective was ready to rip them off if it meant she could gain more access to the wetness that she now felt seeping through the doctor's panties. She broke the kiss, eliciting a whimper from Maura, who tried to hang on by nibbling at Jane's lower lip, but the brunette was more than determined, tugging the pants from her hips. "I want to see you," she said, as Maura's hands gripped her own, helping her guide the jeans down her legs, where they pooled at her feet before she stepped out of them.

Jane let her fingers trail up the inside of the doctor's thighs and move higher, up towards the perfectly round breasts that she had thought about for so much while languishing away the hours away from her girlfriend. 'Girlfriend?' Her gaze traveled upwards from the perfect, honey-tinged skin to the green eyes that looked back at her with something much more than lust. 'How the hell did I get this lucky?'

Maura didn't give her time to contemplate her question, and the detective felt capable fingers pushing her sweats down her legs, rushing to repeat the same action with the briefs that still hugged her waist. She stepped out of the pile of clothes, now fully intent on stripping the smaller woman of the one barrier that stood against her. She pressed Maura firmly down towards the bed, forcing her to lay back, and rewarding her with a trail of kisses from her neck, down over the stomach that rippled under her tongue, and towards the silk patch of fabric between her legs.

She wasted no time in pulling the underwear off and tossing it aside, retracing its path with her tongue. Maura's hands entwined in her hair, which spilled across her stomach. "Jane, I want you on top of me," she whispered, a tinge of desperation in her voice.

The detective had been planning to use her mouth, but she knew how much Maura enjoyed feeling her full weight, and she couldn't resist her lover's plaintive request. "This better?" she asked once she had situated herself on top of the still very aroused medical examiner. Maura's response was to grind herself down hard against the thigh positioned between her legs. The friction made her whimper, and Jane let out a moan of her own as she felt wetness paint itself over the muscle above her knee.

"Jane, I - can't... wait - please, touch me..."

Even though Maura was obviously more than ready for intimate attention, Jane wanted to make this last. The two of them had already experienced plenty of hot sex in the past, but Jane instinctively knew that this time was different. It meant something. "I am touching you," she whispered against Maura's throat, placing soft, warm kisses in a line across her collarbone. "Here..." she scratched her nails along the medical examiner's inner thigh, "and here..." She let her teeth sink into Maura's neck and hold there for several heartbeats.

"No," Maura sobbed, rolling her hips against Jane's thigh and trying to find her hand.

"Where do you want me to touch you, then?"

The blonde groaned in frustration and arousal. "You're not a doctor, but I'm sure you can figure it out!" she said through clenched teeth, hissing and bucking again as Jane bit the place where her neck ran in to her shoulder. The detective had always been something of a biter when she got the opportunity, but she really seemed to be enjoying the act this time. Maura wasn't complaining - she liked it when Jane became slightly possessive. Besides, the sting, pressure, and then the warmth of a soothing tongue were an arousing series of sensations.

"How about here?" Jane teased as one of her hands crept up Maura's abdomen, pausing to stroke her stomach before cupping an inviting breast.

"Closer... what is this, a game of hot or cold?"

Jane laughed, propping herself up on her elbows a little to stare down into her lover's beautiful face. Even frustrated and annoyed - especially frustrated and annoyed due to arousal - she was absolutely stunning. "Maybe you just need to learn some patience."

Maura arched her back into the touch against her breast. "Don't you think we've been patient enough over the past few weeks?" she asked, reaching a thumb out to stroke a hardened nipple, coaxing it to even greater stiffness.

This time it was Jane's turn to moan into the gesture as Maura increased the pressure between her thumb and forefinger. The medical examiner's hands were exquisitely dexterous, and never more so than when they fluttered over the detective's body, knowing exactly where to tease, where to torment, and where to offer release. Jane gripped both of Maura's hands and pressed them gently against the comforter, wasting no time in moving her mouth over one of the doctor's rigid nipples. "I'm trying to reward you for your patience," she said. "If you'll just let me."

A quick intake of breath was her only response, coupled with the sharp arching of Maura's back as she captured the sensitive bud between her teeth. Showing some attention to the opposite breast, she let her hands roam over the smooth body beneath her, the dips and crevices that she had come to know so well over the past few months. Once a hand slipped between the blonde's legs, feeling the wetness that pooled there, Jane moved her tongue downwards, wanting to taste her lover immediately.

Maura tipped her head to the side, letting out a small whimper that seemed to hold both desire and frustration. Jane usually slipped inside her almost immediately, making her first orgasm quick and satisfying, before languishing over her body and taking her time with the next one. And the next one. This time, however, the detective seemed intent on prolonging Maura's pleasure, as if she didn't want this particular experience to end. Jane had been more than forthcoming with her emotions over the past week, letting Maura know her true feelings and her wish to be something more than friends, but it was this slow, gentle touch that seemed to ingrate the sentiment between the two of them. As Jane nibbled against her inner thighs, Maura was more than happy to let her explore for as long as she wanted to.

Jane could feel the heat radiating from Maura's core, and she inched her tongue closer against her slippery folds, prying her thighs open just a little wider so as to expose her fully to her mouth as she breathed against her. "God, Maura," she said, almost in awe. "You're beautiful."

The doctor's voice was weak with anticipation, but her words were firm nonetheless. "Jane, please stop talking," she whispered, her chest heaving. She raised her head, hazel eyes peering down at the head between her legs. "But thank you."

Deciding that she had teased Maura enough for one evening, Jane lowered her head and ran her tongue through the blonde's folds, moaning low in the back of her throat at the taste. She had not done this for Maura often in the past, usually because they were pressed for time, but when she did get the opportunity, both of them thoroughly enjoyed it. The subtle shifting of Maura's hips against her mouth, asking for more without words, only made Jane more determined to keep things slow. When Maura's hand curled in her hair, gripping the back of her head, the detective refused to let her lover take back control.

Maura shuddered and practically melted into the mattress when Jane's lips finally wrapped around her clitoris, pulling at the small bead and lashing it with her tongue. She felt herself rising quickly, but before she could get too close to the edge, Jane moved away again, making Maura sob with unfulfilled need. "Jane..." she pleaded, trying to guide her lover's mouth back up. The detective refused to budge. Instead, she let her tongue sweep lower, circling Maura's entrance and pushing just slightly inside. It felt so wonderful that Maura almost forgot what she had been trying to get Jane to continue doing in the first place.

Jane wanted to use her words to reassure Maura, to let her lover know just how much she cared, but since her mouth was busy, she used her actions instead. Gently, she let her hand run up one of Maura's toned thighs, rubbing teasingly behind her knee and making the medical examiner twitch and giggle. Her brief laughter at the ticklish sensation was followed by a deep moan as Jane sucked her in again and positioned two fingers at her opening, probing forwards ever so slightly, but not fully penetrating.

It was just the touch Maura had been waiting for, and she pushed her hips down onto the probing fingers, her muscles practically pulling them inside her. "Please, Jane."

The detective glanced up as Maura's hips writhed over her hand. The light eyes were closed, her lower lip trembling with an unmet need, and Jane suddenly wanted to capture the blonde's mouth with her own. She left a blazing trail with her tongue as she quickly made her way back up the body beneath her, still keeping her fingers just inside Maura's heated core. "Look at me," she murmured, and the doctor's eyes opened, their gazes locking for a moment before Jane seized the parted lips in a devouring kiss while also thrusting her fingers inside of Maura, now fully possessing her.

The blonde didn't try to hold back the moan that ripped from someplace deep inside her, and she curled one leg around the detective's waist, pulling her closer. Jane took advantage of the way Maura tipped her head back, running her tongue along the hollow of her neck and nursing the skin that she had pleasurably bruised earlier. Her fingers delved further, curling slightly, and the doctor arched into her. The combination of Jane's lips against her neck and the relentless movement inside of her made stars explode behind Maura's eyes. She clutched Jane's shoulders and tried to pull the detective even closer with her knee. She tried capturing the detective's lips with her own, desperately wanting to seal their connection even further, but she was only allowed a small nibble as Jane pulled back, locking eyes with her.

"Jane..." Maura panted, knowing that she was close, so incredibly close, and hoping that her lover could hear the desperation in her voice, "Jane, kiss me..." Both of them knew that what Maura really meant was, 'kiss me and let me come', but the medical examiner was too distracted for semantics.

The muscles tightening around her fingers let Jane know that her strokes were having their desired effect, and the rise and fall of Maura's hips signalled the blonde's closeness to the edge. The detective brushed her lips against the doctor's ear, unsure of whether her voice carried over the moans and escalating breaths of her lover. "I love you," she whispered, before seizing Maura's mouth, finally completing her tacit request from a moment earlier.

Maura felt both her body and her brain tense with pleasure as the detective's words coupled with the curled touch against her inner walls, and she was thankful that Jane's mouth on hers meant that she didn't need to respond with anything other than an utterly physical response. Her moan seemed to rise from someplace deep inside her, and fire radiated within her from the points where Jane touched her, spreading quickly throughout her body. Even when her orgasms subsided, the detective coaxed her through several pleasurable aftershocks, their tongues still dancing against one another as shudders coursed through Maura's torso.

Jane slipped her fingers out of their comforting resting place and ran them over the smooth skin of Maura's stomach. "I have been waiting for almost two weeks to do that," she said with a smile.

"Two hundred and fifty-two hours," Maura replied, the numbers slipping easily from her lips.

Jane leaned up on her elbows, raising an eyebrow. "How does your brain still do that right after an orgasm? Shouldn't you need time to recover or something?"

Maura chuckled, raising herself onto her elbows and gently flipped their positions, taking care to avoid any contact with Jane's still sensitive stomach. "This is why sex with women is so much better," she said, a wicked gleam in her eye. "No need for a refractory period."

Jane saw the hesitation in the light eyes. "That means -" Maura began, but Jane pulled her down on top of her.

"I can guess what it means," she said, closing the space between them with a kiss.

The End

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