DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli and Isles are owned by Tess Gerritsen and Janet Tamaro and TNT. I'm altering their realities for fun, not profit, as I own nothing and have the credit report to prove it. I Don't Want Anything to Change is copyright Maia Sharp, Liz Rose, and Stephanie Chapman, and is also used without permission or profit. I love Bonnie Raitt, and she and Lyle Lovett did this together on Crossroads and it's been stuck in my filter.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Maura reached without looking and turned off the alarm, then returned her hand to Jane's side. They hadn't talked much, but that was fine, since what preceded this silence was welcome.
"Guess we have to get up," Jane said without conviction, her hand sliding up and down Maura's torso.
"We still have a few minutes," Maura answered. She didn't want to move from Jane's loose hold, and leaned closer to nuzzle her neck.
"Mmmmm, you keep that up and we'll never get to work."
"That would be bad," Maura murmured.
"Very bad," Jane agreed while pulling her closer.
"Very, very bad," Maura confirmed on her way to Jane's lips. They kissed briefly before Maura rolled away and sat up. On her way to the bathroom, she asked, "Would you make coffee while I shower?"
"Sure." Jane didn't move until Maura was out of sight. Then she got up and retrieved her pajamas.
In the kitchen, she started the coffee and took care of their animals while she waited for it to brew. When it finished, she fixed a cup for each of them and took it to the bedroom. She heard the whine of the hair dryer and went into the bathroom to take her shower.
Frost looked up when Jane entered the homicide bullpen, and grinned at her strut. "Gotcha swagger back, I see."
Jane stopped in front of his desk. "What did I tell you about that?" she mock-threatened him in return.
He smirked back. "Doc's gonna have that little oomph in her walk, too."
"Don't you have a case to pay attention to?"
"Nope." Frost leaned back in his chair.
Jane rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath while she walked around her desk. "Where's Korsak?" she asked while putting down her coffee.
"Dunno. Not my turn to watch him. Keeping track of you is a full-time thing."
"So's paperwork." Jane grabbed a stack of folders, wheeled to Frost's desk, and dumped them. "Have fun."
"You want the rest of them?"
Frost shook his head and rolled his eyes, and Jane returned to her desk. She went through her inbox without paying too much attention, her mind still half on the unexpected pleasure of lost sleep. For the first time since their fight, Jane believed they could repair their relationship. It wouldn't be easy, but few worthwhile things were. 'Maura is,' she thought, and spent a few more moments daydreaming before sequestering her personal life.
The week dragged. Boston's citizens seemed to be taking time off from killing each other, apart from a few gang-related incidents. Jane wasn't sure what to think of it, the stretch of days in the office without interruption. Maura was busy on cases that weren't Jane's, and that was weird, too, because Maura told her about them.
The second counseling session was no less awkward or panic-inducing than the first. As she had before, Jane fidgeted in the car and in the waiting room, steadfastly ignoring Maura's warning looks.
"Anything you want to discuss this week?" their therapist opened.
Jane shook her head. She'd had all day alone at her desk to worry about what might come up this week, and snuck a glance at Maura, momentarily relieved to see her head move from side to side.
"Last week, I got the impression that your personal and professional lives are sometimes hard to separate."
"We work together," Jane shrugged. "I try not to bring stuff with me when I walk out of the station, but sometimes you can't help it."
"Your jobs are quite stressful."
"So?" Jane challenged, while Maura agreed, "They are."
"When you're together all the time, it can make it harder to separate your work lives from your personal lives."
"We're not together all the time. We don't live together," Maura explained.
'Aw, crap,' Jane thought. 'Now we're gonna have the money talk.'
"We haven't discussed it," Maura said. "Although I have thought about it a great deal."
Jane turned to look at her.
"I'm not sure Jane will be comfortable in my home."
"I love your house, Maura. Joe loves your house."
"We could look for a place together."
"No, Maur, it's not like that," Jane protested. "I don't care where we live. You grew up there, you're comfortable there."
"When I ask for input, you don't offer any suggestions."
Jane took a slow, deep breath. "I don't care what the house looks like. It doesn't matter what color the walls are. I only care that you're there."
"Then you'll move in?"
"This." Jane waved her hand between them. "Until this is fixed, or better, or whatever, I don't think it's a good idea."
"What do you think is a good idea?" Maura asked in an exasperated tone.
"What we're doing. Working on it. On us. I know I'm fucked up, Maur, and it's not fair to you if I can't give you what you deserve."
"Why do you think you know what I deserve?"
"Because you deserve the best of everything. And I'm not it."
"You don't get to decide that on your own. You don't get to make that decision without even asking me."
"You won't make it."
Maura didn't answer that.
"See?" Jane said softly. "You love me, and you won't call me on my crap."
"I call you out all the time."
Jane shook her head. "No, you don't. You let it ride until you can't any more."
"I do, don't I?" Maura asked after several silent seconds.
"Yeah, you do. Most of the time, it's fine. We work it out. But the big stuff." Jane paused while she searched for a way to put it that Maura would understand. "You just let it stay under your skin like an abscess. And ew, I don't believe I just made that analogy."
"Maura?" Lisa prompted.
"You make it hard to talk about things, Jane."
"Because we don't need to talk about them."
"I need to talk about them. When you. When. That day, you." Maura stopped. "You were completely reckless, Jane. I almost lost you." Maura struggled to keep her hands still and her voice even.
"But you didn't."
"I'm here," Jane said calmly. "I promise I'll try to come up with a better plan if it happens again."
"I don't want to worry that it might happen again," Maura admitted.
"I don't know how." Maura looked at her knees, and her voice was small.
Jane hesitated for half a second before putting her arm around Maura. She nearly forgot that they had a witness before deciding she didn't care. "Maura," she coaxed, hating the look on the other woman's face. "You didn't worry before."
"What did you do then?" Lisa asked, keeping her voice low.
Maura blinked, then briefly closed her eyes. "I distracted myself with other things. But now they remind me, too." Maura leaned into Jane. "Not as much as they did at first, but I can still see everything, and hear everything, and sometimes I smell cordite in the morgue although I know it isn't physically possible."
"Why didn't you tell me this?" Jane asked.
"I was so worried about you. You needed to focus on getting better."
"You should've told me," Jane answered patiently.
"When? You never gave me any kind of opening. You weren't the only one there, Jane."
"I know that." Jane looked at her knees but didn't move her arm.
Maura continued to lean against her, and looked at her hands, fidgeting in her lap. Jane was being logical and calm and Maura wanted for a moment to shriek at her, to let out everything she held back.
"I'm sorry, Maura," Jane said softly.
"It's not just you, Jane. It hasn't been for a while, and I need you to act like it."
"I don't mean to sound angry."
"You're entitled." Jane squeezed Maura.
"Why is she entitled?" Lisa asked.
"Oh, uh, she just is."
"Why?" Lisa persisted, drawing Maura's attention.
"She just is," Jane repeated.
"Jane," Maura cautioned.
Jane removed her arm from around Maura and ran her hand through her hair. "I put Maura through a lot."
"No," Jane replied indignantly. "Shit just seems to happen around me."
"Because you dive into it head first," Maura said.
"It must affect you, too."
"Yeah, but I have the city shrink for that."
"That's a lot of talking, Jane," Lisa observed
"You'd think," Jane answered.
"You don't strike me as someone who talks just to hear her voice."
Jane shrugged, and ignored both the comment and the return of Maura's curiosity. She was familiar with silence as an interview gambit, and wasn't going to bite on this attempt. She did discuss some things with the department shrink, and wanted them to stay in his office. What Maura said concerned her, and took her back to their fight. She told Jane the same thing that night, that Maura felt she couldn't bring up the subject on her own, and turned to Maura with her own question. "Why do I have to bring it up? Why can't you tell me what you're thinking or how you're feeling?"
"I'm not accustomed to speaking about my feelings."
"You talk about any and everything else."
"Deflection," Maura explained.
"That's a good policy if you wanna be the Bruins' goalie. Otherwise not so much."
"I can't read your mind."
"And I am no good at subtle."
"I know," Maura repeated, but smiled this time. "You are very good at subtle."
"Deflection," Jane pointed out. "Just tell me. Whatever it is."
Maura was quiet, trying to order her thoughts. Most of the past year was a jumble to her. She was just beginning to return to her routine, to not see shadows everywhere.
~ ~ ~ flashback ~ ~ ~
The first week she returned to work, Maura went in early, through the ambulance bay, unable to face the sidewalk, the new glass and new security measures, everything that happened. The autopsy bay was difficult enough. Memories streamed around her while Maura calmed herself with the ritual of cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing.
Her hands stopped shaking after an hour, but Maura didn't notice. She tried to let the physical act of cleaning and restoring order to her workspace work psychically. She boned up on post-traumatic stress after meeting Jane, and understood intellectually what instinct pushed her to do. Her leave was up, and Jane was recovering, and even Angela pushed her to go back.
It was so hard to leave her for a moment, even though Maura was now certain Jane would recover completely. The terror that gripped her from the moment she realized what Jane was going to do was still present. It receded, but gnawed at her. She knew what a near thing it was, Jane's survival, and Maura wanted to bask in it.
"Doc," Frost called as he pushed through the double doors.
Maura looked up. "Good morning, Barry."
"You're supposed to be upstairs."
"Why would I be upstairs? There are no meetings scheduled."
"Uh, just come with me, all right."
"I should change." Maura looked down at her scrubs.
Barry Frost grinned at her sartorial discomfort. "No time," he insisted, and entered the morgue. "When did you come in, anyway?"
"Early," Maura answered vaguely, and tried to resist Frost's insistent pull. "Barry, what's going on?"
"You're one of us, so there's a welcome back party," he sighed.
"You must let me change," Maura insisted.
"Nope, it'll be good for them to see you like this." He got Maura into the hallway, and that made it easier. In the elevator, he held out his hands. "Gloves."
Maura removed them silently and handed them to him. "How's my hair?"
"You look fine," he reassured her as the door slid open.
Her surprise was genuine when the door opened and the entire homicide division cheered her. There was cake and a series of brief conversations, each officer making a point of speaking to her until only Korsak and Frost were left, Maura seated between their desks, Jane's in her peripheral vision.
"You came in through the back, didn't you?" Korsak asked.
He nodded. Frost swallowed hard. That had been another in a series of difficult firsts, walking up the steps, past the spot where Jane landed, trying not to look. He scanned the rooftops, a new habit, before entering the hastily replaced door, passing the crew installing metal detectors after he'd been vetted by a young patrolman stationed just inside the door.
"You need to face it," Korsak told her.
"I know." Maura stood. "I need to get back to work. Thank you."
"You're welcome, but it wasn't my idea."
"Crowe." Frost grinned at her. "D'you believe it? He said you saved two cops in one day, even if they were Rizzolis."
"He's right," Korsak added.
"Don't let him hear you say that," Maura answered absently, and quickly left, averting her eyes from Jane's untouched desk.
Not even the routine of preparing the morgue to work could distract her. Maura went to her office, where a whole other set of memories overtook her. Hiding under her desk until Jane came. Knowing she would. Not expecting anything beyond that, and certainly not improvised surgery, or being witness to a murder, and nearly a victim herself. Jane putting herself between them and Marino.
After that, there were only snapshots standing out from the haze of disbelief. Things happened that she wasn't entirely prepared for. Angela and Frank Rizzoli's acceptance that she waited with them, stoic, for the hours it took surgeons to tell them that both siblings were resting comfortably and would survive. Maura remembered her own astonishment when she first saw Jane and bypassed her chart in favor of touching her, unconsciously counting the pulse in Jane's throat while kissing her forehead. In her relief, Maura couldn't hide how she felt, and it seemed from the lack of reaction around her that she didn't need to.
Frankie was awake first, and Maura's relief was matched by Frankie's. "You saved my life. Anything you want. Anything, it's yours."
"I want you to live a long and happy life," Maura answered, surprised when their handshake turned into a hug.
After, he asked, "How's Janey? Nobody will tell me anything."
"Is she gonna be ok?"
"As far as I can tell," Maura answered truthfully.
Frankie wasn't certain whether her brevity was a good thing.
"You'd tell me, right?"
"I would. Your sister shows improvement every day. She is recovering from a serious injury, as are you," Maura said pointedly, "which requires rest and time to heal properly."
"I got it," Frankie answered, with the blinding smile that all of the Rizzolis had.
"Good. So I'll leave you to it."
Frankie held on for a few seconds longer, forcing Maura to look at him again. "I mean it, Maura. Anything. All you gotta do is ask."
She nodded and pulled away before he could see her start to cry, and stopped in a bathroom on her way back to Jane's room to recover her equilibrium.
That was by no means the first time that the Rizzoli family overwhelmed her. At first, Jane alone overwhelmed Maura, who didn't entirely understand what was happening between them. She was for a long time uneasy about their seeming acceptance of her, quirks and all. Over time, her suspicion faded. Jane loved her family and her family loved her; Jane loved Maura, so her family, once they were satisfied that Maura was "good people," loved Maura, too. It was no gradual process; each member of Jane's family assessed her, and nodded approval.
"What if they don't like me?" Maura asked again while parking in front of Jane's parents' home.
"I've never done anything like this before."
"First time for everything," Jane smiled broadly. "It'll be fine, I promise," she added with a wink.
Maura had to smile back.
"Ma!" Jane yelled as they entered the house.
Maura followed Jane through the small house, trying to catch details as they moved, and watched Jane greet her mother. "Hey, Ma." Jane kissed Angela's cheek.
"Hi, Janey. Who's your friend?"
"Ma, this is Dr. Maura Isles. Maura, this is my Ma, Angela Rizzoli."
"So nice to meet you."
"What kind of doctor?"
"She's the medical examiner, Ma. What're we having?"
"Do you need any help, Mrs. Rizzoli?"
"Jane's friends usually call me Ma, sweetie. And no, I don't need help, although it's nice of you to offer, unlike the hooligan I raised."
"Ma, don't start. We'll set the table."
"You don't need help setting the table."
Jane smirked at her. "You wanna bet the china on that?"
"I'm happy to help," Maura chimed in. "Whatever you need."
"Thank you, dear," Angela answered.
Dinner was a swirl of multiple conversations, with Jane giving her the occasional prompt to join. They left as soon as they finished eating, and Angela complained about it while Jane said goodbye.
In the car, Jane smiled at her while they buckled in. "You survived."
"So you won't be nervous next time."
"I'll probably be nervous for a while," Maura admitted. "That's a lot to take in."
"They grow on you," Jane answered. "Like fungus, but in a nice way. Usually."
Maura laughed, and headed back toward town.
She doubted, given their history, that it would be the last. For people who wore so much on the surface, all of the Rizzolis were, as Maura once described Jane, "deceptively complex." The thing that puzzled Maura most of all was their immediate and wholehearted acceptance of her. It was not anything in her pantheon of experience. She was accustomed to being left behind first by her parents, later by classmates as she surpassed them to become the youngest by far in both high school and college, by people who professed to be friends but actually drifted into then out of her life but Jane was solid. Dependable. Sincere. Loyal. Maura once, completely by accident, overheard Jane dressing down a pair of uniformed officers who said something uncomplimentary about her.
"Don't 'yes ma'am' me, you jerks. Maura Isles is the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Massachusetts. She worked her ass off to get there. You show her, and her office some respect, or I will personally make certain you never, ever get off traffic detail. Am I clear?"
There was no answer, and a moment later, Maura heard a thud that sounded suspiciously like a body hitting the wall.
"I said," Jane growled, "do you understand?"
"Yes, ma'am," the uniforms answered in unison.
"Get outta here."
Maura waited a few seconds more, and was glad she did.
"Whatever you're thinkin' about me," Jane called after them, "I all ready heard worse."
When Maura saw her, Jane was rubbing her forehead. "Feeling all right?" Maura asked.
Jane dropped her hand and smiled. "Yeah, just a little headache."
"Have you eaten?"
"I'll buy you lunch."
"I'd like that."
"I heard you," Maura told her while they waited for their orders.
"You heard me what?"
"Talking to those officers."
"I do. You should, too."
"What did they say?"
Jane shook her head.
"I've heard it all."
"Queen of the Dead."
"I suppose I am, in a way."
"It's not right," Jane insisted.
"It's fine," Maura answered, and squeezed Jane's forearm. "Thank you for standing up for me."
"It's what friends do," Jane answered, shrugging off Maura's thanks, but the smile, one Maura was coming to believe Jane displayed only to her, said so much more.
~ ~ ~ end flashback ~ ~ ~
"I want," Maura began slowly, "to feel safe again. To not worry that you won't return. I want to believe you."
"But," Jane prompted.
"I don't," Maura said sadly. "I don't believe that you won't leave."
"I'm here, aren't I?"
Jane tilted her head to one side for a few seconds why worked out what Maura asked. "I love you," she answered matter of factly. "Where else would I be?"
Maura accepted the tissue that appeared in her field of vision.
"I'm not goin' anywhere. I promise. I'm not gonna leave." Jane lowered her head, trying to catch Maura's eye. "You're stuck with me and my crazy family and my annoying dog and all of Boston Homicide. You're one of us. I'm not ever gonna let anything happen to you, and we're, none of us is gonna do that you."
"You can't say that."
"I did, and I'll keep sayin' it until you believe me."
"Maura," Lisa prompted after Maura had her emotions back in check, "why won't you accept that?"
"All my life," Maura answered evenly, "everyone who professed to feel affection for me left me to fend for myself. People I wanted to stay close remained at a distance. Later, it seemed that people didn't want me as much as they wanted something from me, and once they got it, they left, too. I have no reason to believe this is any different."
"Jesus, Maura, really? Really?" Jane challenged her.
"Yes, really. What am I supposed to think, Jane, when you immediately return to the same behaviors that brought us here?"
"I don't even know where to start," Jane sighed tiredly. "All I can say is, I'm here. I'm here and I'm not goin' anywhere."
"We'll see," Maura answered.
To Be Continued
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