DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Takes place shortly after Don't Hate The Player, Season 2, Episode 5. Thanks to the amazing Debbie for the beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To darandkerry[at]yahoo.com

The Rainbow Connection
By Ann


Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me. ~~ Kermit the Frog

It was going on three o'clock in the afternoon and the lunch crowd at one of Boston's more popular delis had finally trickled down to just a handful of patrons scattered at a couple of tables and one in particular sitting alone in a booth. Angela Rizzoli leaned back against the smooth wood of the old-style bench and sipped her tea, her focus alternating between the entrance and her watch. She'd purposely delayed her arrival at the deli when Jane had called around 11:30, her daughter's first attempt to beg off having lunch with her mother. Angela had been armed and ready, citing her own excuse for needing to postpone their lunch date to a later time of the day. She'd assured Jane that she had no problem with a late lunch and had quickly hung up; although, she'd had no idea it would turn into a mid-afternoon meal. Focusing her full attention on her latest strategy to point her daughter toward 'the light', Angela barely heard the faint sound of the bell above the door announcing that her lunch date had finally arrived.

"What did you need to see me about this time?" Jane asked tiredly and with equal doses of gloom and doom as she slid into the seat across from her mother. She looked up into hazel eyes that looked less than happy with her greeting; a look, in fact, that was eerily similar to the one she'd gotten when she'd ditched her first grade classes to go with her friend Joan and Joan's dad to watch the afternoon Sox/Yankees playoff game in 1978. Damn Yankees had won and had then added salt to her wound by winning the World Series, too. The memory vanished as quickly as it had appeared, and she scurried to make a lame attempt at an apology, hoping it would placate her mother long enough for them to order; she hadn't realized how hungry she was until she'd caught a whiff of fresh bread baking. "Sorry, I'm late, Ma; I got hung up at the station," Jane said, repeating the same words she'd used the last dozen or so times she'd left her mother sitting alone in some restaurant.

"So, now I need a reason to have lunch with my daughter?" Angela shot back, reflexively falling into old habits. "Can't we just sit down together and have a nice meal?" she said in a biting tone, assuring herself that it was necessary to appear as normal as possible not to alert Jane to her ulterior motives. Jane was a detective, after all, and, besides, Angela wasn't very good at censoring her sharp retorts. No Italian mother worth her salt would be.

"Sorry, Ma," Jane said, her stomach rumbling loudly as she reached for a menu. She could sacrifice a little lecture time with her mother if it meant she got a filling meal out of it. "So, anything new?" she asked, figuring that Angela would launch into the latest goings-on and keep Jane from having to participate in the conversation, other than an occasional 'uh huh' and well-timed nodding. If her calculations were correct, the check would arrive before she'd have to say anything of real substance.

Grinning, Angela jumped at the chance to beat around the bush but made a concerted effort to keep to a bush that was along her intended path. "Carla Talucchi's daughter is getting married to a doctor. They met at a medical convention in Las Vegas."

"Must've been one helluva lap dance," Jane mumbled sarcastically. Suzanne Talucchi – a.k.a. Sugar Buns – had also used her private dancing expertise to snare her first two husbands during, unsurprisingly, a dental convention and a lawyer convention, respectively. Jane wondered what color wedding dress the exotic dancer would wear this time, off-white or off-off-white. Red seemed much more appropriate.

"Yeah, well, at least she's able to recognize what she wants and then goes after it," Angela replied, tongue-in-cheek. Her daughter had well-above average intelligence and also had what Frankie Junior referred to as a second sense when it came to figuring out puzzles. It was just too bad the only puzzles Jane seemed capable of solving revolved around murder.

Jane pulled her attention from her menu and a photo of a scrumptious-looking meatball sub that was predominately featured on an insert promoting the deli's specials. "What's that supposed to mean?" she asked defensively, her back practically bowing like a cat preparing to pounce on an unsuspecting prey.

"Just that she's able to spot what's right in front of her face," Angela returned, having long abandoned her own menu. She'd already changed her mind twice and was determined to keep to the deli's special of the day.

"I imagine it's more that her husbands-to-be are able to spot what's in front of their's," Jane said cheekily, figuring the tassels attached to Suzanne's DDs would be hard to miss. "And Joey Grant was not my type, just so you know," she tossed in just in case Angela had plans to attempt another set up. Jane was certain her mother was still smarting from the disastrous date she'd orchestrated between Jane and her former boss/classmate.

Angela groaned quietly at the mention of her failed set up attempt, and she wondered if she should have set up an eye appointment for both her and her daughter instead of a date for Jane. She'd been so wrapped up in the dream of Jane and Joe getting together that she, too, had missed the obvious, but unlike Jane, Angela had finally figured out the perfect match for her daughter. "Let's just order," she said in a defeated tone. She needed to regroup and stick to her current plan to show Jane the light, while appearing as if she had nothing to do with what she'd come up with to enlighten her daughter to what, Angela now perceived, was obvious.

Maura Isles was definitely 'the one' for Jane.

"Hey, Rizzoli, what kept you so long?" Korsak asked as he looked up from a file he'd been studying most of the day; he just had to be missing something. Tyler Malcolm, a suspect in their latest murder investigation, couldn't possibly be so squeaky clean. "Couldn't get away from Angela?" he teased, knowing how controlling Jane's mother could be when it came to her children. "Next time, why don't you let me substitute for you? I wouldn't mind having lunch with her."

A life-size picture of Korsak and her mother sitting all cozy in a booth and laughing at something corny Korsak had said popped into Jane's head and stayed there. "Ew, Korsak, no!" She couldn't stop the full-body shiver that raced from her head to her toe.

Korsak chuckled as he watched his former partner trudge toward her desk and plop down in her chair. As expected, she covered her face with her hands and groaned. "What's that?" Korsak asked, gesturing to a new bracelet on Jane's wrist.

"What's what?" Jane asked as she pried her hands away from her face. Raking her fingers through her hair, she swiveled her chair toward Korsak.

"That," Korsak said, grinning slyly and pointing toward the colorful new bracelet; he'd seen several of those bracelets at the bar where Jane had gone undercover to catch a killer. Finally!, he thought to himself.

Jane tugged the elastic away from her skin and twirled the bracelet around her wrist. "Ma gave it to me. Said it's in support of some women's club," she replied with a shrug. She smiled as she smoothed her fingers over the rainbow-colored band. It really was pretty.

Frost glanced up from his computer search and zeroed in on the bracelet. He bit back a laugh. "Must be a really good cause," he piped up. His face split into a grin. About damned time, he thought.

"What's a good cause?" Maura asked, overhearing Frost's words when she'd stepped unnoticed into the room. "I'd like to contribute, too," she offered with a smile.

"Ma's giving out bracelets for her latest cause," Jane said, holding out her arm to showcase her new jewelry. "She didn't ask for a donation, but I'm betting she'll take anything you'd give her." Jane smiled sweetly. Maybe if Maura gave a big enough donation, Angela would channel her energies to making more money and stay off Jane's back, for a while, anyway.

"Just let me know the name of the organization and I'll be happy to make out a check," Maura said cheerily. She loved donating to worthy causes. Crossing over to Jane's desk, she leaned against the solid surface and looked down at her friend. "I'm about to perform the Allen autopsy and you had indicated that you'd like to observe."

"Oh yeah," Jane said as she rolled her chair back and pushed to her feet. "I'd almost forgotten; lunch with Ma kind of killed all my brain cells."

Maura frowned. "That would be physiologically impossible." She gestured up and down Jane's long frame. "You're still very much alive."

"Well, Timothy Allen isn't, so why don't we go and see when and why his brain cells have all died?" Jane answered, her tone dripping with sarcasm. She was more interested in the when than the why. Exact time of death might poke holes in Malcom's alibi.

"He's already on the table," Maura informed her friend. She'd been about to slip on her autopsy gown when she'd remembered that Jane had requested to view the procedure.

Jane pointed toward the door. "Lead the way then, Dr. Isles." She stepped closer and pressed her hand in the small of Maura's back when the other woman turned to walk away. Frost and Korsak broke out in a smile. Jane did that all the time.

"Don't forget about dinner tonight," Maura said as the pair started toward the door.

"Like I'm going to pass up Ma's chicken parmesan," Jane muttered softly. She slowed her steps and reached for the door handle.

"Oh, and be sure to bring your pajamas. I picked up several bottles of Italian Sangiovese to complement the meal."

Jane smiled widely at the thought of good food and good wine and pulled open the door. She nodded at her brother and guided Maura toward the elevator.

Frankie watched the two smiling women as they waited for the elevator to arrive. Jane leaned in close and whispered something into Maura's ear. The elevator doors opened and closed on shared laughter. Those two are blind, he thought as he headed for Frost and Korsak.

"Hey," he said to the detectives but frowned at seeing the two men shaking their heads sadly. "Something wrong?" He glanced back toward the door. Jane seemed perfectly fine, more than fine actually.

"Maura asked Jane to sleep over," Korsak informed the youngest Rizzoli.

"Thank God," Frankie said in relief. He'd begun to wonder if he was going to have to draw a picture for his sister.

"No, Frankie, an actual sleepover," Korsak clarified. "An honest to God, real-live wearing pajamas and just sleep, sleepover."

Frankie lowered his head and blew out an exasperated breath. Would they never catch on?

"That's odd," Maura said as she lifted the sheet from Timothy Allen's body. "There's freezer burn on his toes." The last time that had happened… Maura's gaze shot to the victim's neck and she visibly relaxed at seeing smooth, unmarred skin surrounding the neck and throat of the deceased.

"Freezer burn?" Jane asked interestedly. She moved closer to the end of the table and was totally unaware of Maura's initial fears at discovering the strange phenomenon. "It was 83 degrees and sunny when Allen was pushed from the roof of that parking garage. Is the thermostat in the morgue drawers on the fritz?"

"Not to my knowledge," Maura answered as she picked up a scalpel and inserted it into the skin at the top of the victim's right shoulder. Cutting diagonally to the sternum, she repeated the process on the left side and then cut vertically down the center of the body. She worked her hand inside the chest cavity and gripped a heart that was ice cold and frozen solid. Maura went perfectly still. Jane was going to freak.

"What is it?" Jane asked when she got a good look at Maura's expression. It was the one Maura put on whenever she had news she didn't want to convey.

"Um, his heart is frozen, and I imagine the rest of his organs are, too," Maura said with reluctance. She watched Jane's eyes grow huge.

"Hoyt?" Jane whispered, just saying his name sending shivers up and down her spine. "You don't think…"

"No, Jane," Maura said emphatically. One hand wrist-deep inside of Allen's body and the other clenching a scalpel, she eased closer to Jane until their sides were touching. "Look at his neck." She waited until dark eyes settled on Allen's unblemished skin. "Hoyt would never change M.O. He'd want to be sure that you suspected him right away. It's not him."

Jane swallowed hard and nodded. Maura was right. Hoyt would want her to know, want her to suffer. She took a deep cleansing breath and concentrated on the body. "So, someone had Allen in cold storage? Can you do that eyeball thing to tell exact time of death?" Tyler Malcolm may have just had his alibi blown out of the water.

"The freezing process could skew the results," Maura explained, grateful that Jane had moved past Hoyt so quickly. She kept herself glued – literally – to Jane's side just in case.

"Do the test, Maura" Jane directed her friend. "Let me worry about its validity." If the resulting window of time was right, Jane might be able to trick Malcolm, maybe even get a confession.

"I can't give you false results," Maura said, completely serious. Statistics were easily enough to manipulate as it was.

"Do you know for certain that they'd be false?"

"Well, no, but the statistical probability…"

"Maura," Jane whispered as she eased an arm around her friend's shoulder. "I'll make sure to explain that the test may be erroneous." She could barely keep a straight face. Validity and now erroneous? She was starting to sound just like Maura.

"You promise?" Maura asked. She angled her hand and twisted gently until it was free of the body. "You'll give the plus/minus margin of error?"

"Yes. Yes, I will," Jane promised with a straight face, although she made sure not to include exactly when she'd give Malcolm the information. "You have my word." She hugged Maura to her side and smiled sweetly at her friend.

Maura held Jane's gaze for several long seconds before giving in. "All right; just give me a few minutes to assemble the necessary items."

Jane stepped back and watched Maura rip off her bloody gloves and head for a series of drawers on the other side of the room. A smile spread across her face. She was going to charge Tyler Malcolm for the murder of Timothy Allen by the end of the day.

"I can't believe Malcolm confessed," Maura said as she slipped her key into the door of her home. She'd narrowed down time of death to between 3 to 5 days before Allen was pushed over the edge of the top level of a five floor parking garage, and somehow Jane had gotten him to confirm the exact day of the murder.

"He was seen arguing with Allen three days ago at the same building where Allen was pushed," Jane replied, sounding more sad than elated at getting the confession. When Tyler Malcom's alibi for the day of the murder – the day Jane had read directly from an autopsy file, merely omitting the 'to 5 days' part – he'd broken down and cried; he hadn't meant to shove Timothy Allen so hard when the other man had shown up at his house, demanding more money to keep quiet about seeing Tyler Malcolm kissing another man in the stairwell of the building where they'd both worked. Allen had hit the corner of the fireplace hearth, instantly killing him, and Malcolm had panicked and stuffed the blackmailer into a freezer in his garage until he could figure out what to do. Jane actually felt sorry for the man.

"What the…" Jane said, shifting her overnight bag from her side to her back, as she caught a glimpse of the inside of Maura's house. There were red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet streamers and balloons everywhere. It looked like a rainbow had thrown up in Maura's den. Angela had struck again. "I'm so sorry, Maura."

Maura stared at a giant rainbow that hung over her television. "Wow," was all she could muster. When she'd talked to Angela on the phone earlier, she'd had no idea the older woman was planning something like this.

"So, how much did you promise to give her for her cause?" Jane asked, looking around the room in awe; who knew there were so many different colors in a rainbow? The amount Maura had pledged to donate had to have been astronomical.

"Nothing, yet," Maura replied as she kept her gaze on the huge rainbow. "She said she didn't have all the necessary paperwork." She stared at the center stripe of bright green. "She just asked if she could use my house tomorrow to host a small group to discuss fundraising. She was so excited, Jane. I just couldn't say no."

"Hey, there you are," Tommy said, rounding the corner to the den. He smiled and gestured to the roomful of decorations. "Mom did a good job, huh?"

Jane glanced around the room again. Some of the decorations were quite high. "I bet she had some help," she accused her brother.

"Yeah, well, you try to tell her no," Tommy defended himself. "Took me an hour to hang that damn rainbow over the TV."

"Tommy!" Angela called out from the hallway. Turning the corner, she spied her daughter and Maura. "Oh hi, Jane," she said, slipping her purse strap over her shoulder. Jane just stared at the colorfully striped bag. What was it with Angela and rainbows?

"Going somewhere?" she asked. She wasn't a detective for nothing.

"I'm taking Ma to the movies," Tommy piped in as he stepped next to his mother and put his arm around her shoulder. "A double feature, too," he added with a grin. He'd really missed going to the movies when he'd been locked up and had jumped at the chance when his mother had made the suggestion. "It's on your side of town, Jane, so we're going to stay over at your apartment tonight, if that's okay?"

Jane looked back and forth between her mother and brother. They both seemed so happy, a little too happy in her estimation. "Sure," she answered cautiously. They had to be up to something. "But what about dinner?"

"We had some earlier. There's plenty enough for the two of you, though," Angela said with a quick glance at her watch. "Oh, look at the time. We'd better hurry if we're going to make that first show."

Tommy chuckled lightly and started for the door, pulling Angela along with him. His mother stopped just before the two stepped outside. "Wait, I almost forgot. This is for you, Jane," she said hurriedly and thrust a pamphlet toward her daughter.

Jane frowned slightly but crossed over to her mother. She took the offering and looked down at the colorful brochure and the brightly colored rainbow that was etched across its top. She never heard the closing of the door.

"LGBT?" she read, her voice rising slightly in question.

"Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender," Maura supplied helpfully.

"I know what it is Maura, but why…" Jane started but bit down on her next words when her brain finally kicked into gear. She looked down at her bracelet and then the decorations. The pamphlet slipped out of her hand and two small cards peeked out from the top of the brochure. Maura leaned over and scooped them from the floor.

"Membership cards," she said as she zeroed in on the names. Her head jerked up and she pinned Jane with a look of surprise. "With our names on them."

"What?" Jane asked, her voice sounding almost panicked. She reached for the cards and stared down at the names on each: Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. She looked back at Maura with a shocked expression.

The two women continued to stare at each other until Jane finally spoke, daring to go to a place she'd dreamed of when half-asleep. "Um, Maura do you remember when I asked you if you wanted to sleep with me?"

"Yes," Maura answered in a hushed tone.

"Do you?" Jane asked hopefully.

Maura licked her lips nervously. "Do you?" she returned with the same amount of hopefulness.

Jane clutched the strap of her overnight bag tightly. She really, really hoped she wouldn't need the pajamas that were tucked inside. "Maybe we should have dinner and talk about it?" she suggested with a light shrug.

Maura smiled. "I think that's a good idea. Why don't you put your bag in my room, and I'll get the salad and chicken parmesan?" She was just able to keep from grinning like a fool as she turned and walked toward the kitchen. What she'd always wished for and had desperately needed had been right in front of her all along.

Jane hesitated for only a moment before heading toward the hallway, only this time she turned left instead of her usual right. As if by magic, the decision seemed to have already been made. She did grin like a fool.

After all this time, and with a little help from Angela, she'd found it: the rainbow connection.

The End

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