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.
Jane pushed through the door at precisely 8 a.m., still wearing sunglasses.
Frost grinned at her, and that couldn't possibly be good. "You're famous."
"If I'm famous, why isn't there coffee on my desk?"
"Because your girlfriend is a few steps behind you this morning. And don't take your hangover out on Frost. It's not his fault you drank so much last night."
Jane, hungover and caffeine deprived, needed several seconds to process everything the M.E. said. Korsak was biting his lip, and Frost was still grinning, and Maura was her girlfriend. Pleasant as it was for Jane to hear, two things that didn't compute came to her attention. 'That's why I'm a detective,' she thought smugly. First, whenever Korsak and Frost, or any of the men they worked around, thought about Maura being Jane's girlfriend, they got an identical expression on their faces, and this wasn't it. Second, by the end of the work day, everyone would have confirmation of longstanding suspicions, and money would exchange hands. She took her coffee. "Thank you."
"I read the paper this morning. She was not mentioned."
"You think too small, Dr. Isles," Frost answered.
Jane, after only two sips, caught on ahead of Maura. "Oh no," she groaned. There wasn't enough aspirin in Massachusetts to ease her headache. She lowered her glasses and glowered at Frost. "If anyone followed us outside, his personal safety is on the line."
"But you were incredible!" Korsak said, his smile finally showing. "It's you singing. Nothing more. Except almost a million hits since it went up this morning. I didn't know you could sing."
"I can't. Who videoed me and how did it get online? That's a complete invasion of my privacy." She meant to sound angry, but needed a lot more caffeine to pull it off.
"I used my phone to record you," Maura admitted. "But I didn't send it anywhere, and it's been with me."
"You were so beautiful, but it's only for me. I've had my phone the whole time."
"Ok." She sipped coffee again, glad Maura got a large, and turned to Frost. "So where did it come from?"
"I'm working on it," Frost answered.
"What's the problem, Janie?"
"Fucked-up, bored, serial killer sits around thinking up new ways to kill me."
"It was all cops there last night. And maybe you should take a personal day or somethin' if you're just gonna be bitchy."
Jane gave Korsak the death glare. Frost became extremely interested in his computer. Maura watched the interaction, fascinated by what was happening. Korsak looked back, his features intentionally blank.
"Maybe I should," Jane grumbled, and turned back to Maura. "Let's play hooky."
"I never did that."
"Today's the day to start," she smiled.
Maura smiled back. "Educate me, Detective."
"Get a room, you two," Korsak said. "I'll tell the Lieutenant," he called after Jane flipped him off while herding Maura toward the door. He had a feeling that Maura didn't have to ask anyone to take time off unless it was more than a week.
"That's why I hate karaoke," Jane said while they walked down the stairs.
"Because it made you an Internet sensation?"
"Yes. I don't like all that attention for a stupid reason."
"Do you even believe there's a good reason to give you attention?" Maura asked with exasperation. "You did something amazing. It's far better than someone catching you shooting someone."
"Don't go there," Jane threatened.
"I'm just saying." Maura clicked a button on her remote and their doors unlocked. Once they were in, Maura asked, "So what does playing hooky entail?"
"First," Jane replied, "you start the car and drive it away. To the right when you leave the parking lot."
Maura couldn't remember ever being in this part of Boston before, but Jane took her into an old, dark bar. She knew they were near the water by the increased number of seagulls and the occasional far-off slap of water as they walked. Maura wished she changed her shoes, but managed to keep up with Jane's slower than normal pace.
Jane sat at a table while Maura looked askance at their surroundings.
"Just sit down. I've been here dozens of times. It's perfectly safe as long as you stay out of the bathroom."
"Oh, that's encouraging," Maura answered, but pulled the chair nearest Jane out enough to slide into it.
A voice from the bar area asked what they needed, and Jane ordered two bloody marys and two big breakfasts, and returned to bitching. "You know Frankie's gonna show it to Ma."
"Jane, you can't do anything about it. And here's some advice from your socially maladapted friend: When people say something nice, just say thank you. It saves time and aggravation on both sides."
"Where'd you learn that lesson?"
"Graduate school. The first time. It made the second time much, much easier."
"Huh." Alcohol. Thank God. "Keep these coming."
"Both virgin next time, please," Maura added.
"Are you tryin' to kill me?"
"Exactly the opposite. Oh, this is nice."
"Uh huh. Goes great with breakfast."
"That's wonderful, but I can't imagine how getting drunk first thing in the morning"
"We're not, and we won't be. Just go with it, all right?" Jane removed the sunglasses and rubbed her temples. "Got any aspirin in there?"
"I bet you were a Girl Scout."
"No, I was not." Maura handed a small foil packet to Jane.
When she still didn't have it open by the time Maura finished with her bag, she took it back and tore it open. She dropped the tablets into Jane's waiting palm. "Do you often have trouble with that?"
"Sometimes." Meaning all the time, but she was trying to improve her mood. What could they do to play hooky from work? None of the places she went as a teenager were suitable, even if they still existed. "What museum haven't you been to?" Jane put her sunglasses back. Even the dim light in the bar was too much for her bare eyes.
"I haven't really been anywhere."
"No, the only places I've been are because of work or you."
"This is great," Jane grinned. "Hide in plain sight."
"Did I miss something?"
"Nope. We're gonna join the tourists, and you can see Olde Boston."
"Sure. The whole thing's pretty amazing, actually. A buncha guys drinkin' in the corner bar decided they weren't going to take any more shit from a greedy bastard, and it turned out that everybody else was tired of it, too, and too scared to be the first to speak up, and after many long, boring afternoons in history class, here we are."
"You do actually know more than that, don't you?"
"Yes," Jane answered indignantly.
"I'm never sure whether you're kidding."
"I'll keep that in mind." As if she didn't all ready know. Like it wasn't one of the things that put them in this situation. She rubbed her temples again.
"What we talked about last night," Maura began.
Jane put up her hand. "Not now, ok?"
"Is that, not now, I have a hangover, or not now, we'll get to it eventually."
"All right." Maura said. She sat and admired Jane, not quite dozing behind her shades, and both of them jumped when the first plate was slapped on the table.
Three more followed, and Maura stared, estimating the calories and how many miles she'd have to run to work them off.
Jane had no such reservations. She dug in immediately, paused to add salt and pepper, and yelled, "Ketchup!" over her shoulder.
Maura ducked involuntarily when she saw the bottle in the air, and stared again after Jane reached up and caught it without looking. "How did you do that?"
"Practice." A glob of ketchup was propelled onto her plate, and two more smacks brought out enough. Jane turned the bottle upright and offered it to Maura.
"No, thank you."
Jane put it down and went back to eating. She realized Maura wasn't, and stopped, a full fork between the plate and her mouth. "Something wrong?"
"Oh, no. I'm sure it's delicious."
"Then eat some," Jane urged.
To please Jane, Maura tasted her eggs. It was all over. Soon, her plates were nearly empty. Her mouth wanted more, but there was nowhere for it to go. Jane, slouched back in her chair with the last of her bloody mary, looked at Maura over her sunglasses. "Ready to be a tourist?"
"I don't think I can move," Maura groaned.
Jane laughed and emptied her glass. She stood up, pulled a wad of cash from her pocket and dropped bills on the table. "C'mon," she grinned, and pulled at Maura's arm.
They spent the day walking through the oldest part of town after Maura changed into a pair of flats she kept in the car. The cobbles were uneven, and the heels Maura favored would result in a broken ankle, or more, should she stumble. Not that Jane would allow that to happen. She was right there with Maura all day, for the first time in what felt like forever. Jane silenced her phone without looking when it rang and waited patiently while Maura asked questions. She even managed to answer a few.
At five o'clock buildings closed and the flood of people diminished. Things were suddenly awkward. "It's gnocchi night, you wanna come?" Jane asked.
"I'd love to," Maura smiled. She missed Angela's cooking, and the warmth and affection in the household, even when voices were raised. "We should get some wine."
"You know Ma's gonna blow a gasket when she finds out how much you pay for that wine."
"She won't find out unless you tell her." She fell in step with Jane.
"I'm not tellin' her anything."
Something in Jane's tone sucked the warmth from around them.
"No, I suppose you aren't." Maura paused, not wanting to ask. Her need to know overrode common sense. "Is this a way to avoid talking?"
"No." Jane stopped, and grabbed Maura's shoulder, and turned her so they were face to face. "I want you to come to family dinner all the time."
"Today. And tomorrow you'll want something different."
"I won't. It's just dinner, ok, not some big conspiracy."
Maura wanted to believe her, and studied her expression, seeking the physical tells of deception. They weren't there. "All right." Maura turned and headed for the car, and after a few steps heard Jane hurrying to catch up.
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