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.
FEEDBACK: To procrastinatingsith[at]gmail.com
SPOILERS: Gone Daddy Gone
Road to Hell, Paved With, etc.
Maura Isles was aware of her attraction to Jane Rizzoli. She was a scientist after all, trained to observe. It would have been nearly impossible for her not to notice Jane's fine bone structure, the symmetrical nature of her features, the long dark hair that flowed down her back, or the quickness of her mind. So she had noticed; she had taken in every detail of Jane that she could capture. And then somewhere along the way they had become friends. That Maura hadn't expected. She wasn't one to make friends; acquaintances, yes; lovers, certainly; but friends, rarely.
Jane had surprised Maura even more with the depth of the friendship that she had offered, so casually and freely given that Maura had no idea what to do with it, handling it like the rawest intern just handed the cold un-beating heart from their very first autopsy. But Jane had never seemed to care about that either, and Maura loved her for it.
Maura Isle did not lie. Not to herself. Not to others. But occasionally, when it was very important, when she could not bring herself to be so very brave, there were certain things that she simply did not mention. Loving Jane was one of those things.
It wasn't that Maura was ashamed of her feelings for Jane, even less so because Jane was a woman. Attraction was attraction as far as Maura was concerned, and while she would readily admit that she was most often drawn to the finer specimens of the male of the species, she would sometimes find herself eyeing the line of woman's femur or the way muscle stretched taunt and graceful across her humerus. There was no denying that Jane was a particularly fine specimen of the female form. Maura had seen her in enough various states of dress over the years that they had known each other to be sure of that.
Of course, none of that means that Maura has to act on that attraction. Or her feelings. Because she hasn't, not in all the years she and Jane have known each other. There have been moments, definitely. Moments that felt stretched in time, perfect endless eternities where Maura floated, contemplated and decided not to close the minuscule, breathless distance between the two of them and brush her lips against Jane's.
Every time there's a different, but clearly identifiable reason. The first was simply that Maura hadn't had a chance to brush her teeth since lunch. It had been a wonderful meal, but the garlic in the bread simply a little too overwhelming. The last time, with Jane's arms all around her, rubbing her back, it's because Maura is Paddy Doyle's daughter. No matter how many times Jane reassures her brilliantly, beautifully and with every ounce of sincerity that Maura is nothing like the man who fathered her, Maura knows that being daughter of Boston's most famous mob boss and murderer will always been between them. Jane can't help who she is any more than Maura can.
And Jane is a woman who stands for the rule of law, justice. She's only broken those rules once and Maura was the one that she broke them for. Jane likes to pretend that she's a scoundrel, uncouth and occasionally foul-mouthed, definitely not a lady, but for all that bluster, the law is what Jane holds dear. It is the compass that guides her. For Maura she not only broke those rules, but trampled over them as she rushed past, all to protect Maura. If he wants it, Paddy Doyle already has his hold on Jane, and it's all Maura's fault. It was for her safety, her life, that Jane sacrificed her unimpeachable record. Maura hates herself for that too.
So she keeps ignoring what's right in front of her, ignoring the feelings that she has for Jane, the way that she simply wanted to sink into Jane's arms when Jane had come to free her and Tommy.
Her father is an astute man. In his line of work there was no other way he could have survived to the age he is now. Maura had known that about him before she had ever met him. Now Maura knows him even better. She knows that he killed a man because Jane gave him a picture, the man that had killed her half-brother and would have killed her, had he been given a chance. Maura knows that he didn't kill a woman named MJ Black because it is against his supposed code of honor. It is also apparent that Paddy Doyle believes he loves her. Maura isn't certain that he's capable of it, but that's neither here nor there, because it's Jane that he tells to take care of her.
Her father knows that Jane loves her, that's evident. And just like that Maura knows that she has given her father a second terrifying hold on Jane. She wants to cry, to run, to get as far away from Jane as she can, because she knows that if she doesn't, some day her father will come calling for Jane. He will use all the knowledge he's gained - through her - about Jane and make her do whatever he needs. It's his nature to be a user and he can't change that.
But Maura can't bring herself to leave. Just like she can't stop herself from flirting with Tommy or fighting the attraction she feels for him. Unlike with Jane, it's just attraction, but there are so many things about him that draw her to him. That Rizzoli swagger, the quick flash of his smile, so like his older sister's, his sharp wit and the lean lines of his body. His is more compact than Jane's lithe form, but the similarities are stamped all over him. Tommy sees her and sees her attraction to him. Unlike Jane he doesn't question, just accepts at face value what he sees - that Maura wants him. Jane...honestly, Maura isn't quite certain what Jane sees. It's just part of her awkward Jane charm. For a woman who is so quick and intuitive about very nearly everything it's amazing how awkward and oblivious she can be to things like passionate, romantic love. Even with the men in her life.
Knowing Jane the way that she does, Maura suspects that is more due to lack of interest on Jane's part. The guidelines that Jane has set for loving a man, having a relationship with one, are so convoluted and contradictory that they make a relationship impossible before it's even had a chance to fail or succeed on its own merits. Logically that would indicate that Jane didn't want it to succeed in the first place.
Relying on logic where Jane and her actions are concerned is a mistake that Maura recognized quite some time ago, however. Relying on her heart seems equally flawed though, because all her heart screams is to go to Jane and tell her how she really feels.
The thought of the awkward look on Jane's face, the way her shoulders would hunch in and she would suddenly have no idea what to do with her hands or her words was enough to stop Maura in her tracks. Or rather freeze the words that were on the tip of her tongue. Maura was enjoying Jane's arm curled around her shoulders as it lay across the back of the couch far too much to spur Jane into springing up and away from her.
Tommy had suggested watching a little bit of television to unwind at the end of the day. It wasn't Maura's preferred method of relaxation. In fact, she hadn't even owned a television until Jane had become a frequent visitor, but the thought of spending the night alone in her room was another that Maura couldn't bear, not that night. Not when she would have been able to hear the bright, liquid, vivacious sound of Rizzoli laughter rolling up the stairs. For once in her life, Maura allowed herself to be unable to resist.
So now Tommy was seated at one end of the couch, slouching down into it, his arm draped over the armrest, remote in hand. Like his opposite, a matching set of Rizzoli book ends, Jane sat at the other end. It had simply felt more natural to sit a little closer to Jane than to Tommy. Then a little later, when Maura had relaxed enough to slip off her shoes and tuck her legs up beneath her, it had shifted her center of gravity until she was leaning a little more toward Jane. After that it was only a matter of Jane having somewhere to place her arm. Sprawling as naturally as Tommy did the back of the couch had apparently been Jane's only option. Letting her fingers fall onto Maura's shoulder had been a brief gesture of comfort after a very long few days. It was what best friends did.
It had been Maura who had leaned into Jane's hand. Then ten, or perhaps fifteen, minutes later Jane had leaned forward to get her beer off the coffee table. Her arm had slipped forward to fully encircle Maura's shoulder. There was nothing unnatural about it. It would have been more noticeable if Jane had tried to disentangle herself from Maura with the way that Maura had leaned into her side.
What was very noticeable was the that Tommy kept sneaking glances at them with his peripheral vision. Or what Maura assumed Tommy thought was his peripheral vision. Because he wasn't being subtle and every time his head turned to look at them, it caught Maura's eye in turn. Internally Maura sighed. It seemed as if Tommy had also discovered what her father knew as well - she loved Jane. The only other option was that she had suddenly developed a severe case of unsightly facial hair and Maura knew that wasn't the case. Things like that didn't just happen; there had to be a logical, scientific reason.
Tommy darted another glance over at them. This time Maura met his gaze solidly and smiled at him. Tommy swallowed hard and Maura followed his gaze as his eyes jerked over toward Jane.
"I, uh, guess I should call it a night. Get to bed." He let out a chuckle that sounded forced even to Maura's ears. "Those dogs don't walk themselves."
Jane perked up, her attention swinging from the television to Tommy with immediate intensity. "Since when do you care about things like going to bed at a decent hour?"
Tommy glared and folded his arms over his chest, looking for all the world like Jane when someone had questioned her famed intuition, or intestinal certitude as Maura preferred to think of it. "Since I became a respectable citizen. When are you gonna stop busting my balls for every damn thing? Including the things I haven't done."
"Hey!" Jane protested, raising her free hand emphatically. "Don't talk that way in front of Maura."
"What are you Ma now?" Tommy shot back just as quickly.
"Children," Maura stepped in coolly. She was used to Jane and Frankie's wrangling. Tommy and Jane were a different entity. They both ran more hot tempered with each other than anyone else. It was a fascinating case study in sibling dynamics. They really were far too much alike. Even as much as Frankie idolized his big sister, he didn't come close. For all their differences, Tommy and Jane operated on the same emotional, intuitive wave length. Only over the years their wires had somehow gotten crossed and they were only able to communicate in fits and starts, the message getting distorted and jumbled as it crossed from one to the other, and misunderstood by both. Even when it was obvious for anyone else to see that all they were saying to one another was I love you.
"See what you did?" Jane muttered.
Maura pretended not to hear her, even though that was ridiculous. Her hearing was perfectly fine, superior even, and Jane was seated right next to her. Maura looked away to stifle her smile. It twitched at the corner of her lips as she saw the the one fingered gesture that Tommy shot Jane when he thought Maura couldn't see him.
"I didn't do nothing," Tommy muttered back. "And there you go, blaming me again."
Jane opened her mouth, but before Jane could say anything else, Maura clamped her hand over Jane's mouth. Her diversion worked immediately, drawing Jane's focus as Jane shot her a withering stare. Maura considered it worth it as she got to stare into Jane's dark brown eyes. Then she yelped as Jane licked the palm of her hand.
Maura yanked it back away from Jane's mouth as Tommy departed, his laughter following him out into the night.
"That was uncalled for," Maura stated firmly.
"So was putting your hand over my mouth," Jane shot back, her voice rising.
Maura loved that, the passion that Jane put into things, the way that she could get so indignant over the smallest thing. Jane cared, deeply and without pretense, and Maura loved it.
Maura shrugged and told the truth. "I just wanted a little peace and quiet, some time to ourselves."
Jane nodded, growing serious. She fidgeted and looked down at the hand in her lap, then back up at Maura. "You wanna tell me about today? Last night. Patching up dear old dad at gunpoint."
"Of course, Jane. I'll have to file a report in the morning. Though what I'll say..." It would be a challenge even for someone of Maura's superior intellect to come up with a way to explain Paddy Doyle's visit to her residence without mentioning that she was his daughter.
"Not what I meant," Jane said with a slight roll of her eyes. "I meant how you felt."
"I..." Maura faltered. She had been more angry than frightened throughout the whole ordeal. That troubled her. She was a brave woman in many respects, but she wasn't foolhardy. Two men with guns breaking into her house and demanding that she save one of their lives at gunpoint should have terrified her. That she had been more angry than frightened indicated that on some emotional level, she trusted that Paddy Doyle wouldn't harm her, presumed that he loved her. That was a sickening thought.
Jane gave her shoulder a squeeze. "You want another beer first? Some wine?"
"I...yes." Maura said decisively and grabbed Jane's bottle from the coffee table, bringing it to her lips and taking a long, deep drink. It was still disgusting but it was always what she imagined Jane's lips tasting like.
"Okay, okay," Jane said, gently drawing Maura's hand down and taking the bottle away from her. "Easy there, Tiger. You're not supposed to down it like a shot."
"I know that, Jane." Maura let out a deep breath. "I had a very bad day."
"Yeah," Jane agreed. "You were incredible, Maura. Tommy said so."
"And you trust his assessment?"
"I know you," Jane said pointedly.
"Do you?" Maura questioned.
Jane sighed. "Maura, if this is about your father, we've been over this a hundred times. You're nothing like that man. Nothing at all. You're kind and caring. Incredibly smart. And you've dedicated your life to a job that not many people could ever handle."
"We both deal with the dead," Maura pointed out.
"It's not the same and you know it."
"I suppose not." Maura didn't seem convinced. "Or perhaps it is. But that wasn't what I was referring to, Jane."
"Then, what, Maura? What could be so bad that you can't tell me, your BFF?" Jane says it like a joke, but Maura doesn't smile.
"It's not a bad thing, just unknown. Well, I don't view it as a negative, but perhaps your opinion will differ. There's no way of knowing really, no matter how well you think you know someone there are always variables..." Maura waved her hands through the air, unable to contain the nervous energy that had suddenly ceased her.
Jane grabbed her hands, pressed them together and holding them there between their bodies. "Just tell me, Maura."
"I'm in love with you."
And for the first time, Maura Isles didn't find a reason not to say it, the truth spilling over her lips. It felt wonderful, magnificent and terrifying. Her hands shook beneath Jane's firm grip; Jane didn't let go.
Then she did; Jane took a step back, raising a hand to press it to her forehead.
"I...you, what, Maura?"
"I'm in love with you, Jane." If it was possible - and Maura wasn't sure that it was - saying it the second time felt better.
Jane sank down onto the couch and put her head between her knees. Her hair fell down around her face, obscuring it from view. A second later she raised it again to look at Maura. "It's not true, you know. All that crap you hear around the station. From perps." She let out a bitter chuckle. "Cops. I'm not gay. There's nothing wrong with it," she added quickly. "But I just don't. I don't." She emphasized it again, her eyes pleading for Maura's understanding.
For long moments Maura searched Jane's eyes, searching for the truth. Then Maura nodded. "Of course. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have presumed. Assumed. Ascertained data based upon false information. I should never have said anything." Maura felt mortified, words tumbling out of her mouth in her embarrassment. All she wanted to do was flee. She would, just as soon as her legs would work again.
Maura jerked as Jane's hands came down on her shoulders, holding her firmly. She had been so caught up in her racing thoughts, she had missed Jane's motion.
"Relax? You want me to relax, Jane? I just told my best friend I was in love with her and she doesn't return my feelings. I think, if ever there was a moment to be upset, this is it. Don't you?"
"Maybe," Jane said with eerie calm. "If that was true."
"And what part of that is incorrect, Jane?" Maura demanded. "Am I not your best friend?" It seemed fitting with the way her day was going.
"Don't be crazy," Jane said and Maura wanted to make a very ungraceful, unladylike sound of irritation. "Of course you're my best friend. It's just I'm not not in love with you."
Maura blinked and tilted her head, considering what Jane had said. "You should never use double negatives, Jane."
"Maura!" Jane growled, her grip on Maura's shoulders tightening a little before she quickly eased her grip. "Missing the point!"
"But if you would just speak more clearly then-"
Jane grabbed Maura, letting go of her shoulders and catching Maura's face in her hands, and kissed, her lips pressing hard against Maura's. Hard enough to leave Maura breathless as her hands clutched at Jane's back, her fingers digging in to the soft material of Jane's shirt. Jane tongue was suddenly plunging into her mouth and Maura couldn't help her response to it. She melted against Jane, drawing her closer, kissing her deeper, letting Jane's kiss take over her senses until after several long moments, a thousand eternities, Jane drew away.
"Do you get it now?"
Maura considered for a moment. "No." Before Jane could move, Maura put two fingers over her lips. She tried very hard not to think about how they felt under her lips, slightly swollen and damp. "You said that you 'didn't'. I assumed that meant that you weren't gay and couldn't return my feelings. Then you kissed me. It was very confusing."
Jane looked exasperated. It was an expression that she frequently turned on Maura. Still and as ever the affection that mingled with it was equally obvious.
"I'm not gay, Maura. Or I don't think I ever have been. I never looked a woman the way that I looked - look - at you. But there it is. I look at you, and I see you." Jane fingered a lock of Maura's reddish-blonde hair. "You're so beautiful, sometimes I don't even think you can be real, but there you are. And I want you. I want you, Maura. Not Dr. Isles. Not some male version of you. But you, my best friend. I wasn't sure at first, because you were my best friend, you know? But I always wanted more when I was around you, to be a little closer to you. And that's not...I've had best friends, Maur. Plenty. This isn't that."
"So what are you saying, Jane?"
"That, maybe, I think I love you too."
"We should get some sleep."
"That's it?" Jane's eyebrows shot up. "We should get some sleep? That's all you've got? After I confess-"
"Will you sleep with me?"
Jane looked stunned. "I...we just...um, don't you think this is a little fast?"
Maura let out a quick laugh. Jane didn't see what was so funny. "I mean that in the literal sense, Jane," Maura said, a smile tugging at her lips. "It's nothing we haven't done before."
"But we hadn't said," Jane gestured between them. "You know, before."
"I do," Maura agreed. "But, Jane, I'm very tired and all I can think about right now is getting some rest. I'd very much like to be able to sleep tonight with your arms around me, knowing that no one will be able to come into my room uninvited and that you'll be there when I wake. It would mean very much to me."
Jane studied her for a long moment and then shook her head, a bemused smile taking over her face as well. "Yeah, it would mean a lot to me too. C'mon," Jane said, offering her hand to Maura and leading her toward the stairs once Maura had taken it.
"Hey, Maur," Jane called over her shoulder as she headed up the stairs, looking back at Maura as she trailed after Jane. "Does sleeping with you mean I get to kiss you like that again?"
And Maura Isles laughed because only Jane would get cause and effect so hopelessly mixed up and yet make it sound so wonderfully appealing. It was just one more reason why Maura loved Jane and now she no longer had to hide it.
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