DISCLAIMER: All things Rizzoli and Isles belong to Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro, and other entities. I'm altering their realities for fun, not profit, as I own nothing and have the credit report to prove it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To mf.vinson[at]gmail.com

By sailor80


We've been sitting here long enough for my mind to wander off on tangents, such as the equation I ran across today while searching for something else. Wolfram-Alpha had the advantage of computers to calculate the number of known stars per capita, with an estimate of 10.3 trillion.

Tonight, I'm supposed to be enjoying those stars, although I am positive I cannot see 10.3 trillion. Nor can I estimate the number observable on a cooling spring evening in a large city, even without cloud cover. The company is wonderful, but I am beginning to chill, and the stars, dead as they are, will be here another time. I understand them, but they do not fascinate me like people, alive or dead.

I slide closer to her, hoping that she'll take the hint. Her arm goes around me, my head to her shoulder. "Tired?" she murmurs, her voice rumbling through my hair.

"Cold," I answer.

"Can't have that." She's on her feet, pulling me up and close, into her coat, which she wraps around me.

The warmth of her lean body is my daily miracle. It still stops me sometimes, how close she was to a place on my worktable. I've wondered whether demanding she stay with me made the difference. I know her eyes were on mine until the morphine finally shut them.

When she woke, I was asleep, bent onto the mattress. I sat up because she was frantically squeezing my hand. She couldn't talk because of the ventilator, but I told her she was all right, and I was there, and all she had to do was get better and come back to me. She squeezed my hand once then, and her eyes closed again. Every time she woke up, I was there. Korsak took our pets, and I stayed beside her bed, holding her hand, reading, sometimes aloud.

When she was strong enough, I told her how I feel.

"I know," she said, and kissed me.

Tonight is an anniversary in lives too full of them. Many of the ones we mark are not happy. Tonight's, however, is. It is the first anniversary of her proposal. For me, she is a complete romantic. The moon was full, she was on one knee in front of this bench, holding my hands in hers.

"You deserve someone better, Maura, but I am what I am. I love you, and I always have your back, just like you always have mine. Will you marry me?"

Within the month, her mother's wedding extravaganza planning drove us to the courthouse, where a judge we both like and respect performed the service, with his law clerk and secretary as witnesses. After, we took a week off work. There are many places I would like to show Jane, but we spent that week at my house with all the phones turned off.

"Home?" she murmurs.

"Yes." Our home, chosen together. A house with a fenced yard in a safe neighborhood. The yard is solely Joe Friday's for now. I want a family of my own, one of our making, with dark-eyed, stubborn, brilliant children to drive us crazy.

Home is a short walk and I push her to our bedroom. We picked out a new bed together, and built the room around it. For all she says she doesn't notice or care about her surroundings, Jane had suggestions. I incorporated as many as possible. Her eye is excellent.

In bed, she covers me and pulls the blanket over us. My hand drifts to the uneven knot of scar tissue on her back.

"Stay with me," I order her.

"Forever," she answers, and kisses me.

The End

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