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 slapped the alarm and wondered again how Maura talked her into running the annual marathon with her. Maybe next year, the citizenry would help them finish in a reasonable amount of time by refraining from killing each other on the course. In the meantime, unless they were working, Saturday was for training.
Jane rolled out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. Four aspirin and two glasses of water later, she washed her face, pulled her hair back, and returned to the bedroom to change. She was tying her sneakers when Maura let herself in.
"Please tell me you have coffee," Jane said.
"Of course not. I have water."
"I'm going to die," Jane groaned softly.
Maura gave her no sympathy. "I told you to stop drinking."
"I told you to stop drinking," Jane muttered in irritated imitation.
"You'll feel better once the endorphins kick in."
"You say that every week."
"Because I'm right. The sooner we go, the sooner they'll kick in."
As usual, Maura was right, and after six hours of jogging through Boston, Jane was tired and sore, but cheerful. Maura left her at the entrance to Jane's building. "Come over after you're cleaned up. I made dinner."
"Want me to bring anything?"
"I don't think so, but if I do, I'll call."
"Ok. See you soon."
Maura jogged off, and Jane went inside.
Three hours later, Jane knocked on Maura's door, and presented her with flowers when she opened the door.
"They're beautiful. Thank you." Maura moved out of the way, and once Jane was inside, closed and locked the door. She punched in the alarm code, then turned and smiled at Jane again. "Have a seat. I'll be right there."
Jane went into the living room. Two glasses of red wine sat on the coffee table, and Jane picked the one furthest from the bottle. Maura came in with the flowers in a vase and set them on the coffee table.
She sat on the couch. "Thank you again."
"Do you like the wine?"
"Good. It goes very well with our meal."
"It smells great."
"Thank you. I think you'll like it."
"You're coming tomorrow, right?"
"Good. I'll pick you up."
"Thank you." Maura got up again. "I need to check on things."
"I'll be right here unless you want some help," Jane answered. They were fine when they separated at Jane's, and now they were those other people again, the ones who were afraid to say the wrong thing, so said nothing. She wondered what her mother would have to say tomorrow. She emptied her glass and refilled it, then sat back in the couch.
It was one of the things she liked about Maura's house; no matter how something looked, form followed function. The furniture was comfortable, the books arranged by subject and author, the kitchen set up so the cook could move easily from refrigerator to counter to stove to sink.
Maura returned. "Another half hour," she said.
"You greatly improved your time today."
"Indeed. I think we should try running the course once a month."
"The whole thing?"
"All right," Jane said doubtfully. After a second, she added, "How did you talk me into this again?"
"I merely asked."
"Is that why our colleagues cough 'whipped' whenever I ask something and you agree?"
"Part of it," Jane sighed. They weren't teasing her now, and instead alternated between suggestions on how to fix things and sympathetic looks. The only reason she hadn't punched out the last three guys who suggested flowers and a romantic dinner was that they were trying to be nice. Nice wasn't usually part of her working relationships; she was one of the guys, took all their crap and gave as good as she got, didn't complain, and did her share of the scut work.
"What's the rest?"
"They like to give me a hard time."
"But they like you, don't they?"
"Most of 'em. It's just something the guys do." Jane, who grew up with brothers and ran around with them and their friends while she grew up, understood how men communicated.
"A bonding ritual?"
"Is that why you don't respond verbally?"
"Yeah, 'cause they'll keep it up if they think it gets to you."
"If I knew that, Maura, I wouldn't be a cop."
"I suppose not. What would you do if you could do anything?"
Jane shrugged. She hadn't thought about it since deciding she wouldn't bury her family in debt to get a college education, and hadn't thought about it seriously before then.
"You must have wanted to be something other than a police officer."
Jane shook her head. "Not really."
Maura didn't voice what she was thinking. What if Jane were injured in a way that she could no longer do her job? What would she do? Maura didn't want to start another argument, and she knew venturing into 'what if' would light Jane's fuse. Jane was very much of the moment; sometimes the way she ran hot and cold kept Maura flustered. "I considered law and astrophysics and theoretical mathematics, but biology always fascinated me."
"You would have been awesome at any of them."
"I'm glad you picked what you did. Otherwise, I probably never would have met you."
"True. And I feel the same."
Jane's smile was relieved.
Maura popped up again. "I need to check everything once more. You should move to the table."
Jane followed her, and went right where Maura went left. The table was immaculately set for them, with linen and more matching plates, glasses, and cutlery than Jane owned. Maura was doing something nice for her. She was trying, too, just like Jane was, to hold on to what brought them together. Jane thought she was doing a pretty good job. Whatever dinner was smelled delicious. An intricate brass trivet waited for the container Maura brought in. She left the serving mitts and went back to the kitchen for her wine and the serving spoon.
It was something French that was the best beef stew Jane ever tasted. The wine, as Maura said, went perfectly with the meal. "This is amazing," Jane groaned happily, too busy eating to maintain conversation.
Maura smiled, recognizing the compliment. She decided against correcting Jane's manners. "Thank you." It was perfect. "If you like, I can do chicken next week."
"That sounds good," Jane smiled. Anything that glued them together was good right now. Even jogging, which she never liked and was growing to hate. Running for hours for no good reason, and Maura made her keep up so Jane couldn't even spend the time admiring Maura's form. More than once, Maura delivered a history lecture while they ran. It was incredibly annoying that Maura could keep a decent speed and hold a conversation, and also cute that she earnestly shared yet another piece of information Jane would have dumped right after the final exam that required it.
When they finished, Maura put the pot in the refrigerator and opened another bottle of wine while Jane carried dishes to the sink. They went back to the couch, Maura sitting in the middle, Jane at the end nearest the door.
"Dinner was delicious. Thank you again."
"It's my pleasure," Maura purred.
Jane wondered whether Maura remembered how much that affected her. What she wanted to say, what she would have said before, she was afraid to voice.
Maura moved down the couch to sit beside her and put her hand on Jane's thigh.
She wanted this. They both wanted it. Jane saw the room they were in wrecked by her hands. It was why Maura had it redone. She liked the change. The reason for it was still between them. Maura used words, and Jane hit and threw things rather than Maura. She still had trouble believing that Maura could make her so angry, and at the same time knew that no one else ever would be the object of her passions. When Maura said her name, Jane turned.
Maura kissed her, holding Jane's head in strong hands. Desire and habit had Jane returning it before she could think of any of the reasons it was a bad idea. Kissing Maura was like nothing else. All the kisses of her past were pale imitations of this. Jane thought for a second about what it could lead to, and made herself stop.
"I miss you so much. Will you stay with me tonight?" Maura's voice was low, nearly inaudible.
"No," was the safe answer, the one that was acceptable until they aired their issues before a stranger, but what Jane said was, "Yes."
Her answer calmed Maura, who knew better than anyone Jane's propensity to leave when uncertain. Maura pulled Jane's head to her shoulder and put her arms around her while kissing her crown. Maura wanted to listen to her libido's urging, but was fairly certain Jane would bolt. Stepping back was the right thing, and Jane's arms going around her was the proof.
It felt good. It always felt good, and that was part of the problem, that they were distracted from the task at hand by the incredible chemistry between them. Maura remembered the first time Jane breached her personal space to touch her affectionately. She was so shocked, literally and figuratively, by the charge that ran through her from Jane's fingers that she immediately unleashed a Google-Wikipedia-Wolfram Alpha torrent that lasted until Jane closed her eyes and covered her ears.
Maura kissed Jane's head again and looked around the room. For a moment, she saw the ghost of another night, and blinked it away. Jane had yet to comment on the room, although Maura, angry as she was at the time, kept Jane in mind when she had it redone. She was almost certain that she reached an acceptable balance in their tastes. "Do you like the room?"
Jane tore away and sat up stiffly. She looked at Maura, gauging the intent behind the question. "It's nice."
"Do you like it?"
The repetition made Jane extremely nervous. She looked around the room, trying to see past her memories and emotions. "I don't know what I'm supposed to say," she finally answered.
Maura looked at her for a few seconds while she tried to work out the meaning of Jane's reply. "I just want your opinion," Maura said.
Jane looked around the room again, and for a moment saw books splayed everywhere and overturned furniture. In the next, she saw the room clearly, every concession Maura made to her tastes spotlighted. "I like it."
Jane nodded and got up from the couch. There had been too much touching in the past minutes, and she needed a moment to nail her libido back into a box.
"I'm thinking about redoing the rest of the house."
Jane, carefully not looking at all the new things in the room as she moved, knew she should say something, and finally forced out, "Yeah?"
"Perhaps we can discuss it?"
"Uh, sure. Just, you know, later."
That silence fell between them again, so unlike the quiet they used to share. Maura watched Jane move slowly through the room, hands in her pockets, shoulders hunched, head down. It was obvious Jane was no longer interested in being there, but Maura wasn't going to let her leave, not after she promised to stay. Being apart was not going to do anything to repair the rift between them, even if it was the easier thing to do.
Maura got up and went to Jane. She put her arm through Jane's. "Let's just go to bed."
Jane nodded and looked around again, then at Maura. "I'm so sorry."
"I am, too, but." Maura stopped, repeated, "let's just go to bed." She was tired from running, and more tired from hours on the emotional rollercoaster, and if they started again tonight, what was left could well go up in flames. She tugged Jane's arm lightly, just enough to get her moving toward the bedroom.
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