DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network. Lyrical content from Florence + The Machine's Kiss With A Fist.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know NOTHING about any of this sparring stuff, most of it is leftovers from my boss describing his latest classes...
FEEDBACK: To i_think_youre_wonderful[at]hotmail.com
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Kiss With A Fist
Is Better Than None

By wildwildwood


"Come on-" Rizzoli said, tossing a sweaty shirt towards Dr. Maura Isles who sat gazing at her computer, oddly quiet after their final case, "Let's get outta here". Wordlessly, Maura tossed the shirt back at Jane and returned to her computer. "Maura - it sucks. It's hard and it's not fair and we're going to get the asshole who did this to her. But you can't hold it in-"

"I can't just forget what he did to her Jane. I have seen hundreds of dead bodies - but that? What he did to her was just..." Maura looked up at Jane, loss and confusion evident in her eyes.

"It was - and that feeling you have," She poked the other woman sharply in the chest "Is what we've all felt Maura, so I'm telling you for your own sake, shut up, grab your gym clothes and meet me in the basement."

Jane Rizzoli stood in the middle of the basement of the police station, feeling the cool damp air spread across her exposed arms and legs which were sticking out from her workout shorts and her t-shirt. She placed her hands on her hips and surveyed the almost empty gym. A couple of Narcs joking on the mats, and Korsak off in the corner beating on a punching bag jane supposed that the case was taking it's toll on the veteran cop as well. He nodded slightly in her direction and continued his work out. There was an unspoken understanding down here - it was like confession, or a bar - whatever you were feeling, you worked it out here - no judgments. It was a sacred space.

Maura eventually joined her, trotting out on the floor, clad in her $120 yoga pants. Something about that irked Rizzoli, as unfair as it was. She knew it was the pressure of the case, but still... It seems there was a lot that unsettled Jane when it came to Maura lately. She hadn't done anything new, or unusual, just the opposite. But there was a definite sense of ... something.

"What are we doing here Jane?" The lighter haired woman asked, glancing about the room.

"Same thing he's doing." She nodded towards Korsak. "You deal with it now Maura or you deal with it later. I've seen plenty of good cops choose to deal with it later and I haven't seen it work out so well. So, mats or the boxing ring?"

"I'm not a cop, Jane. I don't need to deal with it."

"You're right. You're not a cop. At least we expect it, we sign up for it. And when it gets to be too much, we got each other's backs. You're not a cop. You didn't sign up for this. Not in the same way we did. You don't get to take him down when we find him. And you don't have anyone watching your back."

"Yes I do. I have you." The doctor responded softly, smiling at the cop before her, reaching out a hand and placing it on her arm. "Thank you. But I don't need this. I can -"

"Mats or ring, Isles. Don't make me choose..."

Maura's eyes darted, she really didn't need this, an intense session or two of yoga and she'd have eased herself out of this, releasing the negative energy and rage she held within her - but glancing at the look of determination in her friend's eyes she realized that perhaps this wasn't just for her. Just because the brash woman was used to seeing it didn't make it any easier. Maura examined her options: The ring had gloves and padding; the mats meant hand to hand - if this was a form or release for Jane as well as herself, a little physical skin-on-skin contact could be cathartic. "Mats." She decided.

They made their way to the far wall which was lined with mats on the walls along with the floor and where they half-heartedly limbered up.

"Now what?" Maura asked, swinging her arms about like a bored schoolgirl. "Now we see what all those years of yoga and Boarding School taught you." Jane responded, reaching out with a light, quick jab which Maura easily deflected, using the distraction to wrap her leg around her companions and knocking her down onto the mat, pinning her down with a lightly placed knee. "Seven years of jujitsu; three of Krav Maga." The smaller woman explained as she pressed herself down onto her opponent and smiled sweetly.

"Ballet & fencing my ass." Jane muttered.

"You asked sports. Those were sports. Self-defense is a skill; an art." Maura explained as she removed herself from the other woman's body and offered her a helping hand. Jane swatted it away and pushed herself back up into a standing position and shook herself free.

"Looks like I can put away the kid gloves, hunh Doc?" She joked, but a challenge was clearly being issued.

"For the time being, Rizzoli, that's a fair assumption."


You hit me once
I hit you back
You gave a kick
I gave a slap


Jane indicated she was ready, motioning Maura to come at her. The smaller woman approached her tentatively, throwing out an easy hit which Jane deflected and returned, landed one lightly on Maura's chest. "That's all you got?" She teased, launching another light attack by swinging her long, lean leg up towards the auburn woman's head. The doctor smiled slightly as she wrapped her arm around the outstretched leg and held it in place, forcing the brunette back to the mats. Everything she needed to know about Jane's fighting style was becoming apparent. Fast and confident - but her speed and sense of security left her vulnerable and exposed. Maura could've assumed Jane would fight as she lived, but assumptions in cases like this were often dangerous. Besides, she thought as she drove the heel of her hand down to the mat, just past Jane's widened eyes, she didn't like to guess. She smiled down at Jane, oddly enjoying having the upper hand for once. It was thrilling for Isles to know that she had surprised the other woman, perhaps earning a little bit of her respect.


My black eye casts no shadow
Your red eye sees no pain
Your slaps don't stick
Your kicks don't hit


Jane didn't like the glint in Isles' auburn eyes. There was something cocky about it, self-satisfied, as if she had Jane right where she wanted and that there was no way out. There was ALWAYS a way out. You just had to find it. Swiftly Jane swung her right leg along the mat and knocked Maura in a solid heap on her ass, giving her a chance to get up. Jane offered a hand out to the the doctor but was rebuffed.  So Maura had pride... Jane thought, filing that tidbit away. She was learning all sorts of new things about her friend today.

Maura rose and shook her limbs out as the two women circled each other before Maura finally stepped forward and threw a punch. They sparred lightly, each woman taking enjoyment out of the sticky sound of flesh hitting flesh. Jane couldn't help but notice that look in Isles' eyes - a spark of something she had never seen before.  Confidence. Maura was rarely confidant when it came to other people, but from slight smile and the determined look in her eye, it was quite evident to Jane that seemed to think she could beat Jane. Jane suddenly rushed the smaller woman and tackled her to the mats. Maura instinctively crossed her arms at the wrists and grabbed the back of Jane's t-shirt and pulled her close "Hi!" She said, smiling while pulling harder and harder, using the cotton collar to to cut off Jane's air supply.

Maura was having fun. Jane was right, she thought as she rolled out from under Rizzoli's lean body, this was a good way of working out her aggression and anger from their case.  She liked being able to be active with the cop - and she liked that she was able to keep up. More than that, she liked being able to surprise Rizzoli with her own abilities. Just because she wore heels and Chanel No. 5 while she worked didn't mean that she wasn't just as capable as Rizzoli was of knocking someone flat on their ass and breaking their nose. It just meant she smelt better. She dropped Jane's shirt collar when Jane began to cough and sputter, struggling for air. Maura rolled out and bounced back to her feet as Jane fell to the mats then rolled onto her back, sucking in lungfuls of air.


Blood sticks and
Sweat drips


"You ok?" Maura asked Jane, watching as the brunette tried to catch her breath. Jane didn't speak, she just lay there, waited for her heart rate to drop back down. "Jane?" Maura asked, clearly concerned. She dropped to her knees beside the other woman and placed her hand on Jane's pulse. In a flash Jane threw her hand up and wrapped it up in Isles' ponytail. Using the honey coloured hair and the woman it was attached to as leverage, she pulled herself up onto her knees, pressing her body against Maura's. Her other hand had grabbed the doctor's outstretched one and twisted it behind her back. "I'm better now." Jane responded into the other woman's ear as she held her in that position. "Your problem Maura," Jane began, tightening her grip on the other woman's hair, pulling her head back further and causing a slight whimper of pain, "Is that you can't think outside the box. Everything you do can be expected. Anticipated. You need to -"


Broke your jaw once before
Spilt your blood upon the floor
You broke my leg in return
Sit back and watch the bed burn


With that, Maura yanked her head forward and down and then back again, quickly connecting with a sickening thwack into Jane's. The brunette let go of her grasp on Maura, freeing the doctor to turn on her knee towards Jane, her right arm coming up and delivering a solid, painful punch to the cop's face. Isles crawled backwards, as far as she could from Jane, staying in a protective stance on her knees, her eyes darting side to side, waiting for the cop's next move. Up until that final painful tug on her hair, Maura thought they were sparring - but there was something else in the way Jane begun to respond, an unexpected sense of hostility and aggression.

Jane shook her head wiped the sweat off her face with a back of her hand as she watched Maura who had an almost feral look in her eyes. She didn't notice a smear of blood on the back of her hand or the pain from her split lip. All she saw at this point was Maura. With an unexpected speed, Jane launched herself towards the doctor who instinctively deflected the body of the much taller woman by flipping her over her shoulder and onto her back. "Perhaps we should stop Jane," Maura spoke, "Before either of us get hurt."

"Yeah," Jane agreed as she wrapped her legs around Maura's waist and rolled over with the doctor so that she was now pinning the lighter haired woman beneath her body. A moment passed, both of them deadlocked Was Maura always so - before Jane could finish that thought, Isles rolled them over again, their legs still intertwined.


"Maura." Jane responded, flipping their positions once more before unlocking their legs and pressing her body against the softer one beneath her. They spent a moment or two like this, each one catching their breath, no where to turn or look except for each other's eyes. Each completely aware of each and every inch of space their bodies now shared. Something hung in the few inches between them.  Something new and familiar at the same time, something neither woman could place. Jane began to lower her head towards the other woman's unsure of what was going on -

A loud and raucous group of police trainees burst into the gym in their standard issues shorts and tees. Like a shot, Jane flew off of Maura and stood up. "Hey Rizzoli!" A voice called out from the crowd. The trainees parted to reveal Mickey Montoya, one of the cops from Vice and a regular liaison for the trainees. "Just givin' the kids a tour. Oh, hey Doctor Isles!" He pointed out as Maura dragged herself up off the floor. "This is Doctor Isles -"

From the sea of trainees someone asked loudly "Doctor Death?"

"Doctor Isles." Mickey corrected, blushing slightly. "She's an M.E." Maura ducked her head and quickly made her way towards the gym, ready to wash the sweat off of her. "Hey Rizz," Mickey asked, "Can you give us a quick shpeel about why..." Jane didn't hear what he said, all she saw was a dejected Maura making her way off to the locker rooms. "Rizz?" He asked again.

"Oh, yeah." Jane returned her eyes to the half-bored rookies before her, "Hey, I'm Rizzoli - I'm with Homicide. Mickey here's full of it, but he's right. As beat cops you guys are going to be carrying"...


A kiss in the kiss is good for some
A kiss with a fist is better than none


Maura eased herself under the hot water of the showers and let the water beat onto her muscles. The locker rooms here were not luxurious, but the water felt glorious. She tilted her head back and rubbed her scalp - it was still sore from the yanking Jane had given it earlier. She wasn't sure what had happened. One moment they were lightly tapping and the next, it became real. The pain of punches, the thrill of the hits connecting, the aggression and excitement. It was exciting, carnal even. It was also confusing. She turned the knob and shut off the water, wrapping her towel around her and heading back to her locker. She didn't know what had caused Jane to become that aggressive. She didn't know why she liked when it happened and she certainly didn't know what it was that was going to happen before the rookie class arrived. Wait, she corrected herself as she quickly dressed, she did. At least she thought she did. It seemed as if Jane was going to kiss her. The way she was looking down at her lips, the way she was lowering her head. Maura knew that look, that feeling and had filed it away in her catalogue of human emotions.

Maura toweled off her hair and sighed as she stared at herself in the mirror, this is why she hated working out mid-day. What was she going to do with her hair all wet and stringy for the rest of the day? She began to play with a french twist when the door opened and she watched the reflection of Jane Rizzoli walk into the room. "Hey," Jane spoke, heading to her locker, "Sorry for the Death thing."

"Don't be - I've heard worse. From you." She smirked as she turned around and watched Jane ease herself out of her shirt.

"I'm changing here Maura!" Jane exclaimed, turning back towards her locker, suddenly modest, realizing she was being watched.

"You wear less clothes in yoga." Isles responded as she walked towards the other woman. "Turn around."

"What? Why?"

"Because I hit you hard. A few times."

"Don't sound too proud of yourself there Doc." Jane snorted.

"They were good hits. Why shouldn't I be proud?" Maura asked, "Turn around."

The taller woman reluctantly turned around and found herself under the scrutinizing gaze of Dr. Isles.

"So..." Maura began, tilting Jane's head this way & that, "Maybe we should talk about what happened.  Back there."

"Nothing happened. We were scrapping."

"Really, because for a moment it seemed that -"

"Ouch!" Jane winced in pain as the other woman gingerly touched her cheek where her punch landed.

"Ice that. Follow my finger." Isles instructed, holding up her index finger and moving it side to side, making sure Jane's eyes were able to focus on it. "That's not what I'm talking about."

"The Doctor Death thing? They're young. They'll learn."

"No, but it is significantly better than the Queen of the Dead." Maura responded. She placed a finger beneath Jane's nose and lifted, noticing no sign of pain she continued, "I meant what happened before they walked in."

"You mean when I kicked your ass?" Jane laughed, clearly uncomfortable with the close proximity of the doctor. She tried to squirm - "Don't squirm." Isles ordered. Jane tried to step back - the cold metal of the lockers pressing into her flesh. "No. I mean when it looked like you were going to kiss me." She cast a clinical eye towards Jane's bleeding lip -

"What?!" Jane sputtered out, "Did I yank your hair too hard?"

"It just seem-" Maura took a step back, realizing she was crowding the other woman who had the look of a trapped animal in her eyes.

"Nothing happened." There was a sense of resoluteness in her voice that was so strong and so definite that Maura was forced to re-think the exchange.  "Oh. Ok." She responded, her face clearly reflecting the sense of confusion she felt. In a way she was relieved - she didn't know what would've happened should they not have been interrupted and if Jane did in fact kiss her. Her entire friendship with Jane would've been compromised, breeched by a single physical act - she had a hard enough time understanding and interacting with Jane on a social level, throwing a physical relationship on top would be impossible. On the other hand, there was a definite sense of disappointment at being set straight.  She now understood how the proverbial sail felt once the wind was let out of it. What could be better than starting a relationship with someone who knew her faults and ticks and habits and didn't care?

"Can I go shower now?" Jane asked, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the next, her voice pulling Maura out of her own headspace.  "Yes.  Sorry.  Your lip is swelling -" She saw Rizzoli roll her eyes at the obviousness of the statement, "You'll probably want to stick to soft foods for the next couple of days, let your coffee cool so you don't aggravate it." Maura turned away to her locker and finished throwing her gym clothes into her bag.  "I didn't think I hit you so hard.  I'm sorry." She turned around, but Jane had already run off to the showers, leaving her talking to herself. 

Jane waited under the pouring water, holding her breath as she listened to Maura's locker clang shut and her heels click out.  Only until she could hear nothing but the silence of the locker room did she breathe, releasing slowly.  She closed her eyes and prayed that when she opened them again nothing would've changed and that she'd be the same person who walked into the locker room 45 minutes ago, the person who didn't think of Maura Isles as anything but a slightly daft, yet sweet anomaly.  She opened her eyes and knew instantly her prayers went unanswered when she realized her own fingers were tracing her lips, the very same path Maura's own fingers had deftly traveled.


The End

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