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.
"Hey, Ma." Jane entered the kitchen and kissed her mother's cheek. "Smells good."
"We played hooky from work today," Maura reported from the doorway.
Angela put down the spoon and circled the table to hug her. "Maura! Jane didn't say you were coming."
"I brought wine."
"Thank you. Jane, get the corkscrew. Did you say you played hooky?"
"Yes. It was," Maura paused, "enlightening."
"She didn't take you to the gun range did she?"
"No, though that's an excellent idea."
"Not gonna happen," Jane answered. "You have all those shiny, sharp things to play with." She struggled with the corkscrew.
Maura heard her tone, and got up. She took the bottle from Jane. "Why do you insist on doing that?"
Jane tried to take it back. "I can open a bottle of wine."
Maura glared at her. Angela was surprised to see that it cowed Jane, even if it was only a little, and went back to the stove so she could watch without seeming to stare.
Jane let go of the bottle and started getting glasses. She lined them up on the counter while Maura uncorked the bottle. She put it down and worked the cork free of the screw, then poured three glasses. Jane left the room.
Maura stayed in the kitchen for several minutes, chatting with Angela, before going in search of Jane. She found her on the front stoop, silently rubbing her scars. "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings."
"I can open a bottle of wine, Maura."
"I know you can, but it hurts you."
"I don't want anything to hurt you."
Jane bit her tongue. All day, they had these moments when they were almost normal again, like before. It didn't keep her from thinking of inappropriate answers: "Like you?" or "What difference does it make?" or "What the fuck do you care?"
"Please come in."
"I'm waitin' for Pop."
"Can I wait with you?"
Jane shook her head. She still needed a little distance from Maura, time to let her temper cool and her emotions settle before she said something to make things worse.
Maura stood and watched her for a few seconds more, hoping Jane would change her mind.
She didn't. "I'll come in when Pop gets home."
Maura knew a dismissal when she heard it. She was familiar with the tone and the casual promise of later that probably wouldn't come. She went back into the kitchen and pitched in to help Angela with dinner.
Frank Rizzoli was surprised when he pulled into his driveway. He couldn't remember the last time he came home from work to find his only daughter waiting on the step. It used to be fights with her brothers or mother that sent her there.
"Janie, did you argue with your mother again?" he asked while slowly sitting beside her.
"Nah, Ma's happy with me for the moment."
"So why are you out here? And isn't that Maura's car?"
"Yeah," Jane sighed, and started working her hands, the exercises second nature by now.
"Did you have a fight with Maura?"
"I can't help if you won't tell me what's wrong." He put his arm around her, surprised again when she leaned into him and sighed. "It'll work out," he said encouragingly, and squeezed her.
They sat for a few minutes, until Frankie arrived, and they all went inside.
It was a quieter than usual family dinner. Jane was subdued, and none of her brother's jabs roused her. Maura noted the worried look that Angela gave to Frank, and his hand waving away her concerns.
They left early, with leftovers, as usual, and were quiet in the car, despite Maura's efforts. She pulled into a parking spot in front of Jane's building and put the car in park, but didn't turn it off. "May I come in?"
"Yeah, you know you're welcome any time."
Jane reached into the back seat and got their leftovers before getting out of the car. She waited for Maura before heading up the walk. Maura followed her to the kitchen. She watched Jane put the leftovers in the refrigerator, get a beer, and use the wall-mounted opener. Jane pulled a wineglass down and gestured toward the rack on the counter. "Help yourself," she said, and pulled open a drawer to get the corkscrew. She put it in front of the bottles.
"I didn't intend to upset you."
"No, you just made me look like a child in front of my mother."
"I'm sure she didn't interpret it that way."
Jane rolled her eyes and swigged her beer.
"Why is this so hard?" Maura asked. She slipped off the stool and approached Jane, who held out her arm to stop her from getting too close, a physical manifestation of her behavior over the past hours. "Was it always hard?" she asked.
"Yeah, it was." They talked for hours about things that made little difference in the scheme of things, or about the case they were working, but never about anything important, not in detail. Sometimes Jane would let something slip, or Maura would mention something from her life, and they were on the same page. They didn't think to go deeper. It didn't seem necessary, and there were things that neither of them wanted to share. Ever.
"It didn't seem that way."
"I think I should go."
"That's up to you."
Jane's bed. Sunshine. Rumpled sheets, clothes on the floor where they landed. Maura stopped herself and looked up at Jane. "Do you want me to stay?"
"I want you to feel like you don't have to ask."
Better than yes, if she meant it, but Maura, adept as she was at decoding micro-expressions, couldn't tell. It was another sign to her that something basic wasn't working between them. She read Jane easily after a few months, but Jane's poker face was impressive and sometimes stymied her. This wasn't Jane's poker face, but something new that didn't match any frame of reference.
"Maura?" After almost two minutes, she pulled Maura from her internal digression.
"Will you stay?"
A direct request was something different, and Maura couldn't turn it down. "Yes."
"Can we move to the couch, then?"
"Certainly," Maura answered, and turned toward the counter, relieved, because Jane didn't decide that what happened earlier was enough reason to renege on her promise to talk.
Jane got another beer from the refrigerator and went out to sit in her corner of the couch. She turned on the television, but kept the volume low while she went through the channels. Maura got a beer from the refrigerator and picked up the empty wineglass on her way to join her.
Jane turned off the television when Maura arrived. "I had fun today."
"I did, too. I wasn't certain what to expect."
"Well, now you've played hooky. Next time, you can figure out what to do."
"That seems fair."
They sat for a few minutes in uncomfortable silence. It was new and awkward and could only get worse.
"Dinner was good."
"Ma was happy to see you."
"I'm always happy to see them, Jane."
"Makes one of us."
Jane looked at her for a few seconds. Maura couldn't just say bullshit when she was calling someone, usually Jane, on it. "I love 'em, but they get on my nerves sometimes."
"Is that how you feel about me?"
Jane bought time by drinking some beer. She was acutely aware that Maura was watching her. Examining her, actually. Sometimes it was a bitch to have a girlfriend who could tell when she lied. "It's not the same, Maura."
"Why can't you just tell me how you feel?"
"Why can't you?" Jane countered. They hadn't broken up, but it felt that way sometimes.
It was Maura's turn to stall. Adept as she was at spotting lies, she couldn't tell them herself. Recent improvement at manipulating words into something that wasn't completely truthful wasn't going to get her out of this. This was why they needed a mediator. Maura felt Jane become impatient and made her hands into a T. "Timeout."
"You can't call timeout."
"We need to." Maura lowered her hands.
"What? Why?" The pitch of Jane's voice rose as panic set in. "I said I'd go with you. What else do you want?"
"Not from us. Just from the conversation. I don't want to fight."
"I don't want to fight, either."
"So I should go."
"I don't want you to." Jane wanted a complete night's sleep, something she had a greater chance of having if Maura stayed. She'd been running on a sleep deficit since that night.
Maura studied Jane again. She looked more tired than usual, dark rings obvious under her eyes. She fiddled with her hands more today than she had in ages. There was danger in staying, almost as much as in going. Either way, she would spend the bulk of the night reviewing the day. She could get a t-shirt, too, one that still smelled like Jane, that made it easier to fall asleep when she was alone. Maura realized she was overthinking everything when she heard Jane.
Jane's voice was quiet, her tone a little desperate. "I'll stay," Maura answered immediately.
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