DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By D.S.


Just an aneuryism, she confirmed. Suspicious death, unsuspicious cause.

As Maura had observed before, the detectives reacted to the news with mixed emotions. Weren't they glad that someone hadn't been victimized? a confused Maura had once asked her friend.

"Well, yeah, of course," Jane had responded. "But, you know, it's like you get up for the big game, and then the other team forfeits."

Maura actually didn't know (no one had ever forfeited one of her fencing matches), but she had nodded as if she did.

At the present moment, she had other concerns. There had been none of the usual banter this morning, just an awkward silence from Jane as Korsak and Frost poked at each other. Maura desperately wanted to talk about it, but, as she often experienced, she couldn't figure out how to broach the subject. Jane wanted to talk, too, Maura suspected; she hadn't said anything, but she hadn't left with the others.

Best to just come out with it, Maura decided, before Jane dropped her gown on the counter and bolted. Turning to place her scalpel in the sterilizer, she said quietly, "I didn't mean to upset you."

Jane glanced at the open doorway, verifying that her colleagues were well on their way back to the squad room.

"You didn't upset me," she replied.

"Well, obviously I did," Maura pointed out, "because you stopped . . . doing what you were doing." And at the worst possible moment.

It was irrefutable logic, which the detective acknowledged by not claiming otherwise. Instead, she stepped closer and looked again toward the entrance, which was rather unnecessary since no one could possibly hear them.

"Look, I told you. I've never done it before," Jane said. "I can do better. I can read an article or something, or…"

Surprised, Maura said, "You were doing wonderfully." A memory surfaced of reaching down to run her fingers through Jane's lovely hair, arching her back as Jane attended to her. "Quite wonderfully, in fact." Quite, quite wonderfully.

"Maura, you don't tell someone not to feel inadequate right in the middle of . . ." She gestured vaguely with her hand. ". . . you know, unless they're being inadequate."

"That's not true," Maura insisted. "You were concerned that you might not be good at it. I was trying to reassure you."

"I never said I wouldn't be good at it," Jane said defensively.

"No, but you were concerned," Maura replied. "It was obvious from your demeanor. And since you were good at it, I thought you'd want to know."

Jane stared at her, then finally held out a palm. "Okay, Maura, this is what you get when you diagnose people."

"Yes," Maura realized. "Discomfort."

"Call it that, whatever."

"No, I mean literally. I was . . . very close . . . when you got out of bed," Maura said. And, in the rush of slipping on a robe and trying to catch Jane before the front door slammed, she hadn't thought to finish the job herself.

Jane's expression softened. "Oh, yeah?" She stepped closer and said with a smirk, "You were ready for the big game?"

"And you forfeited," Maura confirmed.

"And how about now?"

"I'm at work now."

Jane took another step toward her. "We could still play . . . ."

She pondered Jane's meaning. Any time she was this close to Jane and they weren't in the middle of a crisis, her body tended to take notice. It wouldn't take long…

"I do owe you one," Jane continued. Gently urging the medical examiner behind the screen, she eased a hand beneath Maura's skirt...

The End

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