DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Something to read from the R&I universe. Thanks to Pandora007 for her help and for being my all. And thank you, readers, for reading. Where would we, the pickers and pounders of keyboards be without you?
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By The Raven
When had she become so insensitive to this?
Detective Jane Rizzoli considered this question as she watched her friend and colleague, Doctor Maura Isles perform some part of an autopsy. In theory she should be totally unnerved and disgusted by watching a human body being dismembered like a cow carcass at a meat processing plant.
Of course what Maura was doing was not butchery, not by a long short. Still though, Jane speculated that she should be at least mildly revolted by the gruesome scene. Instead, she found herself fascinated by her friend and how she was working. Sometimes while she watched Maura, she could not help but wonder just what was going on in the other woman's head.
How did that seeming innocent and naive exterior contain so much actual, abstract and hard won knowledge? Maura was frighteningly intelligent but at the same time she seemed like a child, at least to Jane. Sometimes anyway. Jane of course knew that Maura was not a child, far from it and the blonde doctor was also not naive, either.
Maura just seemed that way at times.
From the outside the two of them really seemed like the most unlikely of friends, but for Jane it had never seemed or been unlikely. She and Maura just clicked and now as time went by, they grew closer and closer.
The other woman was like the sister that Jane never had and the best friend that she had never dared dream of having. But there was also something else about Maura that had been significant especially in the last few months for Jane. She was smart enough to know what it was, but not brave enough to articulate it or face it.
Jane had begun to realise that Maura was everything that she had ever wanted in another person, pretty much. And not just platonically speaking either.
This revelation had been the cause of many fantasies, much angst, and endless nights where Jane had laid awake staring at an invisible point in her bedroom ceiling. The question was what was she going to do about it?
"Here we can see how the screwdriver was impaled into his ear." Maura was talking now and Jane forced herself to focus.
Whatever else was going on, there was still work to do.
Glancing down, she saw Maura peel back a piece of the victim's scalp and point at something that Jane did not really see but she made an effort to pay attention anyway.
"It was a Robertson screwdriver." Maura continued. "A what?" Jane interrupted, sure that Maura was making things up now, a Robertson screwdriver?
"It had a square tip." Maura said, as if this explained everything.
"I'm not even going to ask how you know these things." Jane murmured, glancing down at the victim.
There was a good chance that one of his mechanic buddies had done this to him them. A screwdriver to the ear seemed a bit odd, but it was murder and murder is what Jane and Maura studied, albeit in their own separate ways that is.
Just then the sound of Maura's cell phone ringing interrupted whatever Jane was thinking about. "Would you answer that for me?" Maura asked, holding up her bloody gloves and flashing Jane a smile that made her weak at the knees for reasons that Jane was still mostly in denial about.
"Sure." Jane said, snatching up the device and answering it. "Maura's telephone." Ignoring the giggle that Maura gave her, Jane focused her attention on the phone.
"Um. Is Maura there?" A decidedly feminine voice asked.
Jane did not recognise it and somehow for some reason she instantly disliked it as well. "Who is calling?" Jane's cop brain demanded as she glanced at the phone and committed the caller's number to memory.
"This is Susan. She'll know who I am. Can you tell her that I will call her later, I need to get her address." The woman on the phone said.
The question was why? Why did this woman want Maura's address? "She'll know the reason?" Jane fished, suddenly needing to know why this woman was going to be going to Maura's home.
"Oh yeah. We have a date." The woman said brightly and Jane hated the person behind the voice immediately.
It was becoming hard to keep her face neutral and in a moment Maura was going to notice so Jane decided she'd get rid of Susan and deal with her later. "Okay, I'll tell her." Jane finally said tightly and did not wait for the woman to acknowledge her before hanging up with a vicious stab to the end call button on the phone.
"Who was that?" Maura asked before Jane could collect her thoughts properly.
"Someone who said they would call you back when you were free." Jane managed to answer vaguely as she put the phone down hatefully.
She needed to get out of here, her face was giving too much away. "I've got to go. You let me know when you have some more results." Jane said to Maura and did not really give her a chance to reply before she was gone.
Maura was going on a date and Jane could feel the intensity of jealousy rise up in her that was making her feel like she was going to throw up.
This was not the sort of emotion one had about a friend. Not hardly. No matter what sort of denial Jane might be in about how she felt about Maura, there was no denying this feeling right now.
Feeling sicker than she had ever felt at any autopsy, Jane made her back to her desk and sat down heavily. She better get it together and put on a poker face though, as in just a few seconds, someone was going to notice her distress and there was no shutting up cops when they got curious about something, especially not one of their own.
Detective Vince Korsak considered himself to be mostly a modern day man. He might have been older, might be set in is ways and like his oysters fried, versus as lumps of snot sitting in a half-shell, but he did not think of himself as a moron, especially when it came to women.
Of course his exes might have something else to say about it, but a man could grow, right?
So, when Jane Rizzoli came into the office and sat down at his desk, Korsak just knew intuitively that the brunette detective had somehow had a fight with their resident Chief Medical Examiner.
Korsak just knew these things.
He was not a moron after all.
This time though, unlike other times when Korsak had observed the two women at odds with each other, it looked like Jane was ready to throw up, throw a fit, or throw her computer out the window.
It looked bad.
He wondered if he should do something about it.
Detective Rizzoli was a determined, private woman. He had been her partner for a while and in that time he had learned a few things about her. One was that she did not take well to being handled with kid-gloves.
Still, she looked deeply upset and the way she was hammering away at her computer made Korsak glad that he was on her side. He would not want to be on the wrong side of this woman. Or of Doctor Isles for that matter.
Hell hath no fury, and all that. So said a wise man called Bill back in the days of yore.
This was what was going on when Detective Barry Frost walked into the squad room. Korsak was at his desk, looking like he had a bad case of gas and Jane was at her desk looking like she wanted to commit murder.
Not good at all.
It had taken him a while, but Frost now really believed that he had developed a connection with his partner and he admired her deeply. Not only was she some fine kind of tall drink of cool water, but mainly, she was a damn good cop and Barry simply liked her.
So what the hell was going on then?
"What's with her?" Barry murmured to Korsak as soon as he was within range.
"I dunno. She came in a few minutes ago and I am almost afraid to look at her. I might turn to stone if she looks this way." Korsak murmured in response as he fiddled with his pen and wished that the cup of coffee on his desk was magically warm and fresh and tasty, that would be good.
"Here." Barry said, taking pity on Korsak and handing him a cup of fresh coffee.
He had been intending to bring it to Jane, but he was now thinking that approaching her might be a bad idea.
The woman looked positively unhinged, actually.
While the two detectives watched Jane, the woman in question abruptly stood up and grabbed her coat, before she powered down her machine and marched to the door, yanking a radio from the wall mounted charger as she did.
"I'm out on personal time. I have a radio in case something comes up." Jane said, barely glancing at the two men before she swept out of the room and let the door slam behind her.
"Damn. What the hell is going on with her?" Korsak mused aloud.
"I have no idea." Barry replied, moving over to his desk and powering on his terminal. "Lemme check and see what she was looking at." He added as he began to hack into Jane's profile.
Something was bothering his partner and he intended to find out just what it was. Korsak for his part came to look over Frost's shoulder and while he did not understand how the younger man was doing what he was doing, he respected the other man's talent.
Not that he'd ever tell Jane's partner as much. He might have been a modern day man and not a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, but there were limits to what he was prepared to do even in the name of office harmony.
"Who is this?" Barry asked, pointing at the screen.
There was a DMV photo of a woman called Susan Mary Smythe on it. The woman had dark hair and blue eyes and looked pleasant and harmless enough. The page included all of the woman's particulars and she was squeaky clean at that. She was a vet. Why was Jane looking up a vet? Was something wrong with Joe Friday?
"I have no idea, but whoever this is, I think Jane is pissed at her and you know what? I would not want to be this woman, not only because I would have to pee sitting down, but because damn, I would not want Jane pissed at me." Korsak said mildly as he turned away and went back to sit at his desk to think.
He was a modern day man, for sure, but in this case he had to concede that he did not understand women at all.
Leaving voicemail for Jane was an odd experience. Maura rarely had cause to do it, usually Jane always took her calls, but this time it seemed that Jane was not answering. Weird.
Slightly discontent at not being able to exchange a few words with who she considered to be her best friend, Maura stretched out her body and started to pack up to leave. She had a date to get ready for and this date was actually coming to her house, which was unusual.
The ringing of her phone distracted her from her thoughts and Maura blindly answered. "Hi, it's Susan." The voice on the other end said and Maura batted aside the thought that she would have rather it was Jane on the line. "Hi there. Not calling to cancel I hope." Maura said pleasantly into the phone, though in all honesty Maura was not sure that she would be all that disappointed if Susan did cancel.
"Not on your life. I have got to meet Bass. I am just calling to tell you I will be about half an hour late. I had some stuff delay me at work and I still have to see a woman with a dog before I can get out of here, but should not be too long." Susan enthused and Maura felt herself drawn into the moon despite her rather forlorn seeming mood.
"Well, you check out the woman and her dog and we'll see each other soon." Maura said as she packed up her stuff and got ready to leave.
"Oh wait, I need your address. I told the person who answered your phone earlier this, but anyway, I realised that I don't have it." Susan extrapolated over the phone and Maura became very still.
Jane had answered her phone when Susan had called. Maura was not sure how she felt about that but it was too late now. Hopefully Jane would be okay with it though from their work together Maura knew that Jane was cool with Sapphic love and its many forms.
Still, it was one thing to be cool with it, and an entirely different thing to have a close friend who was into it and then deal with it.
That could explain why Jane was not answering her phone. The brunette detective had to have been by the squad room before leaving, maybe someone there knew what was going on, Maura would stop by and check but she really did need to be getting home.
Susan, with her wish to meet Bass and some sort of dinner for two needed to be arranged and time was running out; Maura would need to hurry and she would need to break a few speed limits as well, to say the least.
With that thought in mind, Maura made her way to the squad room and found it empty when she arrived. No one was there. Now that was unusual to say the least. Turning around, Maura saw that three radios were missing from the rack and the desks typically occupied by Frost, Jane and Korsak were showing signs of having been vacated some time ago.
Hopefully nothing major was going on. Maura paused to recheck her voicemail and pager before she left the room and hurried to her car. As it was she was really cutting it short and while Susan may be a vet who was used to out of hours schedules and unusual time keeping, it would not do to be late on their first date.
As she drove though, Maura found herself completely distracted by thoughts of Jane. She wondered where the brunette was and is she was okay, and more importantly, what was she doing that did not allow her to take Maura's call.
Or was she avoiding Maura. Hopefully not. That would be truly awful indeed.
Why was she doing this?
It was borderline stalking. Plus Joe Friday did not need to go to the vet. She had her shots, her chip and had been checked over. Jane kept the dog free of parasites and took care of the small canine. She loved Joe Friday, actually.
Thankfully her supposed dog allergy had not actually been real.
But here she was, taking her dog to the vet when the dog did not need it and she was doing it simply because she had to know what Susan Smythe was like, the woman that Maura was inviting to her house for a date. Jane had to know and she did not really know why, either.
Except that she did. She was jealous. She was desperate and she did not know what else to do except this. Thankfully Joe was happy to sit on the chair beside her and to rest a tiny dog chin on her knee. If nothing else, Jane would get an extra confirmation that her dog was fine and well...
Was she seriously trying to justify her behaviour?
"Joe Friday." A voice called. The voice from Maura's phone.
Jane stood up and Joe jumped to the floor with a wagging tail.
Once in the examination room, Joe immediately and obediently jumped up onto the table and sat down. "She's a darling. What breed is she?" The vet asked. "Doctor Susan Smythe." The woman said and extended her hand.
Reflexively extending her own hand, Jane was suddenly reminded as to why she was here. She had actually managed to forget for a moment. "A mutt. We're just here for a checkup." Jane murmured and watched as Susan Smythe examined her dog.
"Jane Rizzoli." Jane murmured as an afterthought, deciding to omit the part about being a detective.
Like any good vet, Susan was focusing on the animal and not Jane and gave Jane ample opportunity to examine Susan. The other woman was about the same height as Maura, but dark haired and she had very blue eyes from the brief glance that Jane had seen aside from the DMV photo earlier.
"Well, everything looks fine. Are you thinking of becoming a regular patient?" Susan asked and Jane considered her options.
She did not have a regular vet for Joe Friday, but she was unsure if she could bring herself to come to this woman regularly. "Can you recommend someone a little closer to where I live?" Jane finally allowed, deciding that her ire at this woman was misplaced and that her dog did matter.
More than her feelings.
"Sure. I will have the receptionist give you a card." Susan said and gave Joe Friday a rubdown that had the whole dog quivering with joy. Traitor, Jane's mind supplied as she watched the scene before her.
This woman may very well end up in Maura's bed by the end of the night. Jane felt bile rise in her throat at the thought and began to realise that coming here had been a huge mistake. When would she learn a little more impulse control?
Doctor Susan Mary Smythe was a fine vet and would make a great match for Maura. So why did this make Jane feel sick to her stomach? It was an unbearable thought and one which she could not abide.
What was she going to do?
Quickly, Jane took care of her bill, grabbed the business card she was offered and only paused for long enough to let Joe pee before they were on the road again. Driving blindly, Jane headed towards water, she needed to think and Joe deserved to play in the grass after having been subjected to Jane's fits of jealous madness.
Without thinking, Jane found herself driving in the direction of Maura's house. When she realised what she was doing Jane decided that enough was enough. She needed to find someplace to pull over and think. It's not like she could show up at Maura's doorstep and demand that she cancel the date.
She had no justification and could barely quantify the reasons she had for wanting to do that.
This was madness.
What a disaster.
Maura Isles was not an amused person right now.
The evening had started out nicely. Susan had come to and admired Bass and they had drinks, did small talk and eventually settled down to eat when it had all apparently begun. However, it was only as Susan was leaving that Maura had realised exactly what had happened and now she was at odds as to what exactly to do about it?
"Your mind and your heart are not here, Maura. All you've done this evening is be the perfect hostess and date, except you keep talking about this coworker of yours and you should see the light sparkle in your eyes as you speak. She is who you want to be with, not me." With those words Susan had gotten up and made a departure that was expedient and efficient.
Now Maura was left with nothing but Bass, some leftovers and a lot to think about.
Was it true?
Was Jane who she really wanted to be with?
Had she only talked about Jane all evening?
Had her constant checking of her phone been to see if she had any work related messages, or was it because she was desperate for a message from Jane?
She needed more wine.
She needed Jane.
But Jane was not taking her calls.
Where the hell was Jane anyway? Maura had not heard hide nor hair of the other woman since they had been at work and Jane had left so abruptly.
The sound of the doorbell broke through Maura's concentration.
What on earth?
Was Susan back?
Moving to her door, Maura glanced through the peephole and then quite literally took a step back.
Jane Rizzoli was on the other side of the door.
Maura opened the door and there stood Jane, with Joe Friday at her feet. Jane looked like hell and Maura felt a wave of concern wash over her.
"Jane." Maura said by way of greeting.
"Are you alone?" Jane blurted the question out and the wounded sound in the tone tore at Maura's heartstrings.
"Yes. My date just left after pointing out to me that I was not really focusing on her as I should be. Come in." Maura replied and waved both woman and dog into the house.
Jane automatically bent down to release Joe from her leash as Maura moved to the kitchen to find a bowl to give the dog water out of. It was not only necessary but it would also give them both time to compose themselves. Whatever was going on was obviously really affecting Jane and they needed to talk about it, but how?
"Maura." Jane eventually said when Maura took too long to find the dog a bowl.
Startled, Maura turned to find Jane standing directly behind her.
"Jane, what's wrong?" Maura saw the tortured look in Jane's eyes and on her face. What on earth was going on?
"Maura." Jane repeated and took a deep breath. "I have just spent the last few hours doing things that I do not understand. I took Joe to see your date today because I had to know who she was, what she was." Jane said in a rush and Maura felt her mouth drop open.
"No, let me finish." Jane implored when Maura was about to say something.
It was obviously important to her so Maura just nodded. "I looked her up in the database and I think Joe is more tired tonight than she has been in a while as we walked everywhere as I thought and thought and wondered what the hell was going on with me." Jane continued as Maura noted the dog did indeed look quite tired.
"What is going on?" Jane asked, as if Maura knew.
"This is not how friends are. Why should I care who you are out on a date with as long as it is not a homicidal maniac?" Jane's voice was getting louder and Maura sensed that her friend was in real distress.
Going on instinct, Maura grabbed Jane and pulled her close and wrapped her arms around the brunette. There was a moment of stillness where Jane did not react but then Maura felt arms go around her and it was bliss. It was perfect. Jane in her arms was perfect.
"I don't know, Jane. But I have the same problem. I just spent the past few hours talking about you to my date and I could not stand it when you did not answer my calls today." Maura whispered into the delicate shell of Jane's ear.
The reaction that she got was instant. Jane squeezed her and then pulled them apart and lifted Maura's chin with a long, elegant finger. "Look at me." Jane ordered gently. Maura could not help but obey.
Looking into deep, soulful and dark eyes, Maura felt relief and heat and hunger and confusion. What on earth was this and for how long had it been going on? Maura was pretty sure that she had never been so confused in her life. There was just something about Jane Rizzoli that had this effect on her.
So now what?
Jane Rizzoli was not afraid of many things, but one of the things that she was afraid of was right now.
There was no turning back from this moment.
Something had changed between Maura and her today and that something was at a head now. Jane had to act, either she would run, or she would stay. Both actions came with consequences that Jane could not guess at.
Maura was looking at her like she knew the answer to both of their questions and they were so close together and Maura smelled so good and Jane's resolve and frustration and fear and the anger and passions of the day were all melting together in her mind and in her body and without thinking Jane leaned in and brushed her lips against Maura's.
And time stood still.
Oh my God.
She felt dizzy and they had barely touched. Jane was still recovering her equilibrium when Maura seemed to decide to do something and before Jane could react she was being pulled into a kiss that she instantly knew that she never wanted to escape from. Maura was so soft and she smelled so good and those lips were so delicious and Jane had never kissed such softness before.
They were moving, away from the kitchen and in short order, Jane felt herself pressed against a hard wall as Maura pushed her advantage. Whatever had been stewing had suddenly been let free and now that it was free it was like a bottle of champagne, it was exploding all over the place and there was no forcing the cork back into the bottle.
Arousal burned in Jane and she pulled Maura closer, wanting to feel all of her, wanting to eliminate all space that separated them, now.
Long moments passed and Jane felt herself being shattered and then rebuilt by Maura's lips and body and by the feelings that were rushing through her body and her soul and her heart. It was too much, and it would never be enough.
They pulled apart, gasping for air and leaning against each other.
Jane swallowed hard. "Well, I guess that answers that question." She whispered, pulling Maura into a tight embrace and closing her eyes.
They needed to calm down. Nothing could happen tonight, not unless they wanted a huge headache in the morning and well, no one wanted that. However, Jane did not want to leave, not now and not ever.
"We should sleep." Jane whispered.
They could talk later, tomorrow. Right now Jane just wanted to hold Maura and just be with her. They could work out the details later.
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