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 slept deeply, and Jane was glad that she could. She was still pondering Maura's words, and her own reactions. Maura's ability to hone in on the things that upset her most was unsettling. More disturbing was how quickly Jane became angry. That, she knew, was all on her. This time, at least, Maura stopped when asked.
Jane turned her head to look at Maura, sleeping on her back with their clasped hands between them, and wondered again why Maura wanted to continue their relationship. She didn't have the nerve to ask that question aloud yet, and returned to watching the ceiling.
She tried to think about something else, but the things that came to mind wouldn't let her sleep, either. Jane deliberately redirected her train of thought to her open cases until she drifted to sleep. She wasn't out long before the nightmares she hoped to avoid began.
Jane's fitful movements disturbed Maura, who came fully awake when Jane sat up. She sat up, too, reaching across with her free hand to pull Jane into a hug. "Shhh, it's all right, you're safe," she said softly.
"I hate this," Jane said vehemently.
"I know," Maura soothed. She freed her hand to pull Jane closer.
Jane turned into her and returned the embrace, following when Maura lay down. She allowed Maura to calm her back to sleep. Maura stayed awake for a while, until she was sure that Jane was completely out.
Maura had her own questions and doubts, and the answers always came back to the woman in her arms, and the emotions that trumped logic. She understood the biochemistry that caused them, but they overwhelmed her nonetheless, and she missed the balance established early in their friendship, long before it began to change.
Her moment of realization occurred on a night much like this one, after dinner and a movie and a few drinks on the sofa. It was obvious that Jane was staying, since she brought a bag and Joe Friday, as well as takeout. Maura woke when Jane started to whimper, and held her hand while verbally comforting her. To Maura's surprise, Jane rolled toward her, and sprawled across her. After a few seconds, Maura heard and felt Jane sigh into her shoulder, and shivered.
While Jane's breaths ebbed and flowed across her skin, Maura recognized the growing feeling as arousal. She freed her hand from Jane's and slid it under her. Jane shifted, making it easier for Maura to ease her closer. While Jane slept, Maura replayed the past months, seeing clearly for the first time where their time together could be headed, and questions flooded her mind, and the answers made her nervous. It wasn't the idea of a lesbian relationship that made her uneasy, but the thought that Jane might back away.
"S'matter?" Jane asked sleepily.
"Nothing," Maura soothed. She rubbed Jane's back.
"K." Jane snuggled even closer, something Maura hadn't realized was possible.
Like she had that night, Maura cleared her mind and breathed in tandem with Jane until she was asleep.
It didn't last long. They were both restless, and the evening's poking and prodding at some of their most sensitive spots left them both uneasy, even in sleep. The second time Jane woke, Maura was in the midst of her own nightmares.
"S'all right," she soothed. "I gotcha."
"Go back to sleep."
"I don't want to sleep."
"Me either. Coffee?" Jane suggested.
"I'd rather just stay like this."
"Ok," Maura echoed. Her thoughts bounced around but kept returning to a sunny afternoon.
"What are you thinking about?"
"I want, I need to understand."
"Everything, I know," Jane said with a small chuckle, hoping to divert Maura's train of thought. "Remember when we met?"
"Of course I remember."
~ ~ ~ flashback ~ ~ ~
Detective Barry Frost was visibly nervous. Jane Rizzoli was a legend in Boston PD, although whether the story was positive or negative depended on who was telling it. They'd hardly introduced themselves when they caught their first case.
She flashed her badge at the uniformed officer on guard and ducked under the yellow tape. She walked up to the body, rolling her eyes. A new partner AND a new M.E. in one day. What were the odds? 'Maybe I should play the lottery,' she mused, and asked, "What'cha got for me, Doc?"
"Get out of my homicide scene."
"My homicide scene," Jane corrected her.
Maura Isles took in the woman in front of her as she rose. The gold shield confirmed she was a detective. The compression gloves and scar at her throat gave away the rest of her identity. "Detective Rizzoli, back away from the body. If you want to be here, you must at least put on shoe covers."
"Who the hell are you?" This woman couldn't possibly be the medical examiner. She was dressed in something obviously expensive and heels so high a hooker would think twice before wearing them.
"Maura Isles, Chief Medical Examiner. Please do as I ask. Walking in here like that, you further contaminated our crime scene." Maura did her best to enlist the detective's assistance instead of giving orders that she would, at the very least, argue.
Jane, uncertain how she'd been so easily outflanked, took half a dozen steps back before she turned around. Frost waited at the yellow tape with shoe covers for her. He had his on all ready, and waited to follow her back to the body.
"What'cha got for me, Doc?" Jane asked again while Frost stood and looked anywhere except at the body.
"Caucasian male, mid-twenties, killed somewhere else and brought here."
"Cause of death?"
"Unknown until the autopsy and labs are complete."
"Anything else you can tell me?"
"No." Maura stood again. "I do not speculate or conjecture. The facts will speak for themselves." She gestured for her staff to remove the body and carefully removed her gloves. "I will deliver my results as soon as I can, Detectives."
Maura was on the computer when Jane sauntered into her lab shortly after 11 a.m. the next day. "Can I help you, Detective Rizzoli?"
"I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, Dr. Isles."
"No, I don't believe we did. Although if you enter a crime scene without appropriate protection again, I will be cross."
"Do you have any idea how much crap I all ready have to carry around?"
"You sound as if you intend to enlighten me."
"You know what, screw this. We arrested the guy who did it last night. You need to be quicker if you want to be any help."
Maura stood up. "I wasn't trying to make you angry," she said with obvious confusion.
"And yet you did." Jane intended to leave, but something on Maura's face made her stay.
"It wasn't my intent. I apologize."
"As a gesture of goodwill, may I buy you lunch?"
"Is this a bribe?"
Maura hoped she was reading Jane correctly, and that her question wasn't serious. "More a, 'yay, you caught the bad guy,' thing," Maura assured her.
"I'll take that."
"Are you ready to go now?"
Jane shrugged. "Why not?"
"Excellent." Maura retrieved her purse from her desk and for the first time, Jane got a look at her outfit.
"Did you mug a model to get that?"
"Sorry, I didn't mean to say that out loud. Uh, you look very nice. I think I'd break my ankle in those heels, though."
"You'd be surprised." Maura gestured toward the door. "Shall we?"
Lunch lasted almost two hours. Maura was nervous and spouted facts about everything, which Jane surprisingly took in stride. Maura didn't seem to be showing off, so she was able to accept the behavior for a while. When she had enough, she held up her hand. "Stop, Maura. Just stop. I cannot absorb any more new information today."
"There is no limit to"
"There is, there really is, and I've exceeded it. I get it, you're brilliant, you know about everything. From now on, I'll just ask you instead of Google."
"I don't know everything. I'm sorry. I'm nervous. I want to impress you."
"You want to impress me." Jane repeated skeptically.
"You're famous. You have the highest clearance rate in the department. You are definitely the alpha, and it is in my interests to curry favor with you." Maura paused and frowned. "I don't mean that like it sounds. I want you to like me."
"I do." She did. It was a little confusing. They were unlike each other, and Maura was different than everyone she'd ever met. Strike that: It was a lot confusing. Maybe the M.E. just liked to slum it, although the way she dressed threw serious doubt on that theory.
"So we understand each other?" Maura asked hopefully.
"We understand each other," Jane repeated with a smile. "After work, we can toast our new found friendship properly. Right now, I have to go back and make sure Frost didn't screw up the paperwork."
"Your language is, um, salty."
"Yes, it is." Jane smirked at Maura.
"We're going to work on that," Maura said, and signed the receipt.
Drinks in no way mitigated Maura's continuing nervousness around Jane. She did try to control her need to interject random bits of extrapolation into conversation.
"Are you always like this with people?"
"You need to relax."
"Live people are complicated."
"No, we're really not. We all spend our lives scrambling around to get what we need and maybe some of what we want. None of it's any of our business unless somebody takes a shortcut."
"You don't believe in shortcuts?"
"Only during high-speed pursuit. Anyway, we all need the same things. Food. Water. Shelter. Companionship."
"I have Bass."
"Who is Bass?"
"My African tortoise. I've had him since he was the size of a silver dollar."
"How big is he now?"
"Quite large, but not full grown."
"I'm not sure a turtle counts as a companion. I meant a dog or a lover."
"Bass is a tortoise. There are distinct differences." Maura made herself stop. "You like dogs?"
"I like my dog. Wait. How did we get here?"
"We drove. If you mean conversationally," Maura shrugged, "it was all quite organic. A new experience for me."
"Didn't you have any friends?"
"Jeez." Jane counted herself lucky. She was still friends with all the guys from her neighborhood. Several of them were cops. Except for one who went to college, and one who went to prison, the rest had blue-collar jobs and most of them still lived nearby. She ran into them in the park during her summer off, meeting their families, who looked at her with pride and a bit of awe. She should be doing that, trying to keep track of children in the park. Her mother certainly wanted her to do it, but Jane couldn't stand it. She needed activity and to exercise her mind. Being stuck at home with screaming kids sounded worse than a prison sentence to her.
Besides, no one struck her fancy. Jane was beginning to wonder about herself, and found no answers in her forays into casual sex. Maybe all of that went into work, and if so, she could live with the trade.
"Would you like another drink?"
"No thanks, Maura, I think I better head home."
"I can offer dinner. You won't have to cook, or do dishes," Maura said with a pointed look at Jane's hands, which she unconsciously and uncomfortably flexed into a variety of positions Maura recognized as attempts to stretch.
Jane weighed the offer. Nothing waited at home, except beer and some new blue stuff somebody gave her to try on her hands. She could call Marissa and ask her to take care of Joe Friday. "Sure. Impress me some more."
Maura smiled. "I'll certainly try. Do you want to follow?"
"Pull into the garage beside me when we get there."
Jane was not expecting to end up where she did. Maura's house was in a neighborhood that not even the Chief of Police could afford. As instructed, she pulled into the garage, and the cop in her waited in the car until the garage door was fully down, although Maura stood impatiently at the door to the house.
"Look out for Bass," Maura cautioned after she turned off the alarm and turned on a light.
The kitchen was something out of a magazine. Her mother would think she died and went to heaven if she ever got a kitchen like this. Maura removed her heels. "Feel free to look around."
Jane took her at her word. She checked each window and door and gave the fucking huge turtle a wide berth before returning to the kitchen. A glass of wine sat on the counter for her, and Maura had three things going on the stove.
"Your home is beautiful."
"Thank you. I grew up here."
"And ran your parents off?" Jane arched one eyebrow.
"No. They died, and the job opened up, and it just seemed like a good idea to come home."
"You didn't know." Maura returned her attention to the stove. "I didn't ask whether you have food allergies."
"Excellent. I think you'll like the wine."
"I like beer."
"I'll have some next time."
"What makes you think there'll be a next time?"
"Let's eat before you answer that."
Maura lived up to her challenge. Jane pushed the plate away. It was the most she'd eaten except at her mother's, and every bite was delicious. The wine was good, too, and Jane felt a warm, satisfied glow. "Consider me impressed. Any time you want to cook, call me."
"I need to. Hey, wanna come to dinner at my parents' tomorrow night?" Her mother would be thrilled that Jane had a friend, a female friend who dressed like a fashion model and was a doctor to boot.
"I'm not certain that's appropriate."
"You want to be friends, right?"
"Yes," Maura answered definitively.
"Then you're gonna meet my crazy family anyway. Might as well do it now and get it over with."
"You make it sound so appealing."
"My mother is as good a cook as you are."
That piqued Maura's curiosity. "I'll go."
"Don't say I didn't warn you," Jane smirked. She yawned unexpectedly. "I should go."
"I don't think you should drive."
"I'm fine," Jane insisted.
Maura got up. She came back within a minute with a portable Breathalyzer. Jane looked at her with disbelief.
"I have your keys," Maura informed her, "and you don't get them back unless you are at least 25 percent below the legal limit."
Jane mentally counted the number of drinks she had. It was going to be close. She rolled her eyes and blew into the machine.
A few seconds after it beeped, Maura turned the readout panel to Jane. 0.07. "My guest bedroom is quite comfortable."
"I'm a terrible guest," Jane warned her.
"You are not safe to drive."
"Coffee," Jane suggested.
"Will just make you slightly more alert but no less impaired. I'll wake you in the morning." Maura moved behind her and pushed.
Jane relented. She warned Maura. Maybe a new place would help, although none of the hotels she could afford did any good. Maura reached around her and opened a door, pushed Jane a little more, and flipped the light switch.
"Your bathroom is through there," Maura pointed. "I think you'll find what you need, but if you don't, my room is across the hall. Good night, Jane."
"'Night, Maura," Jane answered distractedly. "What just happened?" she whispered to herself, and closed the door.
She sat on the bed to remove her shoes, and took off her gloves and stuffed them in her pockets before removing her pants. She threw them across the foot of the bed. Jane decided to turn off the light before getting into bed. She checked every room, including this one, earlier, and knew it was safe.
Jane turned down the covers, turned off the light, and got into bed. Maura was, again, as good as her word. The bed was amazingly comfortable, with soft sheets smelling faintly of lavender. Falling asleep was never the problem, and wasn't tonight.
But it was like any other night. Except this time, Maura grasped her hands firmly and reassured Jane that she was safe. There was no one in the house but them. The alarm was set, and included the perimeter of the yard. "You're safe. I promise," Maura reiterated.
Jane didn't understand how Maura could make that promise, and understood even less why she accepted it so readily.
"It's still quite early. I have a sleep aid if you'd like."
"Makes it worse when I can't wake up."
"I'm very sorry that happened to you. May I look at your hands?"
The surgeon and her nurses saw her hands. Her hand therapist saw her hands. No one else saw them.
"I'm not. I know they hurt and I can help," Maura said, somehow avoiding all the extra things she wanted to say. "I'm a doctor," she added.
"Oh, well, that makes it ok."
Maura focused on Jane's left hand, nearer to her.
"That was sarcasm, Maura."
"I recognize that," Maura held on until Jane stopped pulling away, then continued her examination, visualizing the damage she encountered before attempting to put even a small part of it right. She started with the base of Jane's thumb.
Jane sat flummoxed again. Maura's intentions were good, and what she was doing somehow turned off the worst of the screaming and didn't feel at all like the way any medical professionals Jane saw did. This opened a cascade of feeling, as if some gate opened and returned to her the most delicate sense of touch. It was exquisite, and it was a bit arousing, and that was totally the wrong reaction.
Maura pulled her far more sensitive right hand over. She examined it the same way, deft, strong fingers allowing her to see what was underneath. On this hand, she worked on Jane's wrist, stroking both thumbs repeatedly in the same direction for several minutes before turning Jane's hand over. She did the same thing, but with less pressure.
Jane wasn't certain why her body reacted to Maura this way. She was sleepy now, and her hands didn't hurt. "This is fucking amazing!" she told Maura with muted enthusiasm.
"Language," Maura chided.
"You have got to meet my hand therapist." Jane insisted.
"Go to sleep." Maura continued to stroke the top of Jane's right wrist, careful to stay away from the knot of scar tissue in the center of her hand. Nerve regeneration made those areas more sensitive. The body's ability to repair what it could and work around what it couldn't always amazed Maura. Any body that died slowly bore the evidence of attempts at self-correction.
She continued until she was certain Jane was asleep, but when she tried to withdraw her hand, Jane caught it.
"I thought you were asleep," Maura whispered.
"Almos'," Jane replied sleepily. "Stay."
"All right. I'm going to walk around the bed."
Maura slid into bed, but not too close. She reached out, her hand in motion until it found Jane's. "Sleep," she directed in her most professional tone.
~ ~ ~ end flashback ~ ~ ~
"What have you learned since then?"
"Quite a bit."
"So wait a little longer and you'll learn more."
Maura smiled. It was so like Jane to counsel patience when she had little of her own. She recognized Jane's desire to move their conversation away from anything heavy and voluntarily changed the topic. "What color would you like in the bathroom?"
"What's wrong with the color it is now?"
"Nothing. As I told you before, I am considering redecorating, and want your opinion."
"I don't care what color the walls are, or what kind of carpet you buy."
"I want you to be comfortable here."
"As long as you're here, I'm fine." Jane raised her hand and cupped Maura's cheek while pushing up on her elbow. "You know that, right?"
"Yes." Maura smiled and pushed Jane's unruly hair away from her face.
Jane leaned down and kissed Maura, who immediately put both arms around Jane and pulled her down. This time, neither allowed herself to think about what they were doing, and it wasn't long before Maura's nightgown hung haphazardly off the foot of the bed and Jane's tank shirt and sleep pants were in the floor on opposite sides of the bed.
There was a moment when both feared everything would go off the rails again, but Maura tenderly kissed the still sensitive weal near the bottom of Jane's ribcage and continued to the next patch of skin. Jane's hands, which had stopped for a moment, returned to caressing Maura.
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