Title: Denial

Fandom: Rizzoli & Isles

Pairing: Jane/Maura

Spoilers: Will eventually contain spoilers for most of Season 1

Disclaimer: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network. I wish they weren't, but oh well.

Rating: MA +

AN: For slickchick87, who encouraged me to venture outside Alex/Olivia land (Law & Order: SVU) and visit Jane/Maura land! I have now extended this one-shot, with plans on turning it in to a full story.




Chapter One: Lies

Maura had a strategy when it came to Jane Rizzoli: lie and deny.

Constantly swinging between empathetic and socially inept, Maura could read people like a book in one moment and overlook the most obvious social cues in the next. Nevertheless, she was talented at burying her feelings, locking them away to forget about or deal with later.

My attraction to her is completely physical. We have sex because that is what humans do - bonding with the social group for companionship.She purposely did not consider the fact that she had no desire to "bond" with Frost, Korsak, or anyone else in her work environment's "social group".

She had been with men before, and it was... standard. She had been with one woman before Jane, and that had also been... standard. A small degree of bisexuality is a healthy variation, a normal reference point on the Kinsey scale, she told herself.

But Jane was anything but standard.

She is a beautiful woman, Maura reminded herself when the doubts began to creep up on her, threatening to break down the barriers she had so carefully erected and swallow her whole, sending her spiraling into the unknown. Many people who see and interact with her are probably attracted her.

They rarely talked about it. There were no declarations of love, no illusions of a relationship. In fact, they only incriminating dialogue they had shared in the last few days was a brisk "you left your shirt at my house" from Jane to Maura, since the doctor had borrowed one of hers.

The blonde closed her eyes, remembering the swift jerk and tug of Jane's hands as they had ripped her blouse open, not even bothering to remove her the lacy cups of her bra before enveloping her nipple in the warm, wet heat of her mouth...

"Maura? Hello, Maura?"

Maura blinked. "Jane." Ah, yes. Jane. Sometimes, Maura wished she knew what went on in Jane's head while they were talking. Was she having forbidden, erotic thoughts about her? Was she just thinking about her day at work? What did she think about their arrangement? That was dangerous territory, and Maura cut off that trail of thought with an abrupt blink of her eyes.

"I'm heading out early. For once, the lovely citizens of Boston have decided to take a break from killing each other. You want a ride? If you're finishing up, that is."

Maura was not ready to finish up, but she considered leaving some work for tomorrow just for an excuse to ride with Jane. The phrase 'want a ride' usually meant that she would be riding Jane's shapely, dexterous hand instead of just sitting shotgun in her car. It also usually entailed spending the night.

You are not attached to her, Maura...

And just to prove it, she said, "no thanks, I have more work to do. Then I'll go home and keep Bass and the television company with a glass of wine."

Now Jane knew that something was up. Maura could see it in her eyes. Television? That's the best you could come up with? You're supposed to be intelligent. What is the purpose of having all those degrees plastered on your wall if you can't even navigate through a conversation properly...

"Maura? ... Maura?"

Realizing that she had gotten lost in her own head again, Maura sighed. "Sorry, Jane. I don't know where my head is today." Another lie. She knew exactly where her head was - or, more precisely, where she wanted it to be: pressed between her friend's long, smooth thighs, tasting her -

"If you're sure," Jane said hesitantly, her instincts telling her that there was more to Maura's distracted state than she was letting on.

"I'm sure."

Stung by the rejection, Jane turned away, feigning nonchalance as she checked the time on her cell phone. "Well, I'm heading home, then. Joe is probably dying for a run."

Shoving down her want and denying her need, Maura returned to cleaning up her workspace. Really, it was surprising how much disinfecting needs to be done around this place...

A click sounded from somewhere near the door. Is that the lock...?

Before she could successfully redirect her thoughts, a shadow blocked out the searing fluorescent lighting that hummed over her head. Her eyes widening slightly, pupils dilating - it's from the lack of light, not arousal caused by her close proximity, Maura almost convinced herself - she looked up into the familiar face of her coworker, friend, and sometimes-lover.

What is she to me, really?

And then Jane was kissing her, and for the first time in her life, Maura's brain was empty of all analytical questions. She was content to simply feel instead of examine. Jane's mouth was so coaxing and warm and forceful against hers, and before she knew what was happening her hands were braced against the table and her eyes were closed, lips parting to allow the kiss to deepen...

"Not here," Jane murmured, her kisses wandering to the corner of Maura's lips, ghosting over her cheeks and chin. "It's... disrespectful?"

"What are you talking about?" Maura asked, gasping as a hand gripped her knee, warmth searing through the hose beneath her skirt. It embarrassed her, how easily she had succumbed to Jane's advances while she was supposed to be a professional.

"Sex and autopsies shouldn't happen in the same room."

"We are not having sex while I'm at work," she said, but even she didn't believe herself, and she was sure that Jane didn't, either.

Jane ignored her, tracing a thumb over the inside of the blonde's wrist, stroking the skin there and feeling Maura's pulse jump. "Your office has a lock, right?" Not waiting for Maura to answer, the detective urged the medical examiner to follow her with a gentle tug, her other hand pausing to caress Maura's waist. The touch burned even through the fabric of her blouse. No one else's touches had ever made her weak in the knees, stole her breath, made her heart pound...

"Jane, no," she protested, but she found herself being led out of the room and toward what she referred to as "her other office", the place where she dealt with the dead's paperwork instead of their corpses and consulted with her colleagues. But her job was the last thing on Maura Isles' mind at the moment. In fact, she wasn't thinking anything at all except this is a terrible idea and why do I have to want her so much?

In the hallway, Jane removed her hands from Maura's wrist and waist and started for her office a few doors away, not even bothering to look back over her shoulder to make sure the blonde was following. She knows I will, Maura lamented, she knows that I'm completely under her spell, bewitched...

Before she could talk herself out of waxing poetical like the two-dimensional heroine of a romance novel, Jane was urging her through the familiar door of her office and pinning her against the wall, not touching, but keeping her in place entirely with the force of her eyes.

Just one kiss and she's seduced me again...

Even though Jane was leading this dance, Maura was tired of waiting. Her struggles had been half-hearted at best, and since she knew she was going to lose herself anyway, she might as well enjoy it sooner rather than later. "Kiss me." A demand rather than a request, the words came out a little needier than she would have liked, but at least her voice didn't break.

Wasting little time, Jane braced herself with her palms on either side of Maura's head, leaning closer, her lips hovering centimeters away from the blonde's, close enough to feel Maura's quick breaths. "I thought you had work to finish up tonight..."

"Don't tease."

And then Jane was all over her, fingers tangling in Maura's hair, lips crashing down on hers, a knee pressing up between her legs, lifting the hem of her skirt. She let out a short, strangled sob that caught and broke somewhere in her throat, the sound muffled by Jane's demanding mouth as it tortured hers. And the want, the need, burned brighter than a star and threatened to consume her.

Maura was fortunate that she had chosen thigh-highs today, but did not spare them more than a moment's thought as one of Jane's hands, which had released her hair to begin conquering the soft skin of her inner thigh, crept high enough to cup between her legs. So much heat. And then her other hand un-looped the buttons of her blouse, squeezing under the wire of her bra to palm an excited breast, and the back of Maura's skull cracked against the door as her head fell back and her hips surged forward. She did not even register the pain.

Her own hands did not remain idle, clawing up and down Jane's back, fisting the material of her jacket, finally gripping her ass through her pants and squeezing as the brunette's fingers finally, finally found her. She lost her balance and collapsed, and only the press of Jane's torso and the door behind her prevented her from melting into a puddle on the floor.

Tugging aside the slick scrap of her underwear, Jane's fingers danced over her, teasing, exciting her wet flesh until it was swollen and coated in slickness, splashing dizzying splotches of color across her vision. For a moment, they were too distracted to keep kissing, simply breathing into each other's lips and savoring the moment when Jane finally thrust inside of her, stretching the quivering ring of muscle with a delightful burn that Maura had quickly learned to appreciate.

"Oh God..."

"Just Jane."

"Stop talking. Keep going." Maura emphasized her point with another squeeze of her hands, causing Jane to gasp and her fingers to nudge further inside of her, scraping against a ridged place along her inner walls that made her hips jerk unintentionally. Jane felt the reaction and rubbed again, slowly, deliberately, and Maura's insides dissolved.

"You always shiver when I stroke you there." The sound of Jane's low purr against the shell of her ear made Maura's heart trip. She whimpered as the pad of Jane's thumb swiped over the sensitive bundle of nerves above, stroking the stiffening point through its protective hood, making the muscles in her thighs twitch. "And there..."

This time, Maura did not bother telling Jane to be quiet. She was too busy gasping for breath, gliding against curling fingers, sparks of pleasure skittering along her skin with each roll of her hips.

And then Jane's teeth tugged on the lobe of her ear, drawling a warm trail along her jaw and down her throat before fulfilling the teasing promise with a bite at the soft, tender place where her neck ran into her shoulder, soothing warm, salty skin with her tongue.

It was enough.

The first orgasm with Jane - there were almost always more than one - was usually quick. Sometimes, Maura managed to keep her reactions controlled, simply signaling her pleasure with a soft shiver of her inner walls and a hitch of her breath, but this one demanded a full vocal release, and the medical examiner cried out so loudly that a deep, fulfilling burn, not unlike the one between her legs, lit up the sides of her throat.

Before the world stopped spinning, she felt more tension coil in her abdomen, making her close her eyes and bite down on her lower lip. But Jane stopped the movement of her hand, and Maura almost cried. Recognizing the signal for what it was, she reluctantly opened her eyes.

It was, perhaps, their only disagreement when it came to sex. Jane always wanted to see Maura's eyes, her face, when she came, even when she was using her mouth. Maura would have much preferred to keep them closed. It made her feel less exposed that way, less intimate... which was ridiculous, she told herself, since what they were doing was already pretty intimate anyway... but Jane usually won because she had a bad habit of showing her displeasure by stopping abruptly.

Once she could see Maura's eyes, Jane started moving again, grinding down with the heel of her hand and throwing the blonde over the edge a second time. Seconds stretched for what seemed like hours as both women stared at each other, lost for words.

Gently, the brunette started to remove her hand only to feel one of Maura's pull away from the small of her back and stop her. Maura's fingers closed over hers, keeping her in place. "No, don't. Leave them in. Just for a minute..."

And even a minute later, Maura felt loss and regret when Jane tried to reclaim her hand again, successfully this time. It took her a minute to find her footing (the Prada shoes did not help, but she was grateful that she had not selected her even taller pair of Jimmy Choos).

"So, are you still going home late tonight?"

"No," Maura tried to say, but the words caught in her throat, forming a tight ball. She swallowed it down. "No," she repeated. "I'm going home with you."

Tomorrow, the game of lies and denial would probably begin again. Tomorrow, she would go back to pretending that Jane was nothing more than a friend, that the two of them did not spend more of their off hours together than not, that Jane did not make her feel things she had never experienced before. But tomorrow was a night away, and for now, her defenses had been breached and the lies and denial could wait.

But lately. Lately, it was getting harder and harder to pretend. One day soon, everything was going to come crashing down around her head. Maura wasn't sure if that day would result in her destruction, her rebirth, or both. And then the taste of Jane's mouth made her lips part and her palms ache and her heart overflow with warmth, and the blissful numbness made her forget.


Chapter Two: Secrets

"Maura, you will not believe what I found at Frankie's bachelor pad the other day," Jane Rizzoli said, shifting forward in her chair to lean closer to the blonde medical examiner over top of her desk. Maura Isles rolled her eyes. Sometimes, the detectives she worked with gossiped like a bunch of high school teenagers. Despite her nonverbal cues of disinterest, Jane continued. "'The Complete Guide to Sex'... I mean, seriously? Shouldn't he know how to do it right by now? He told me he bought it for the pictures, but he was embarrassed. Then he tried to beat me up."

"Frankie always tries to beat you up."

"Yeah, but this was 'I'm trying to change the subject and distract you' beating me up, not 'you're my big sister so I have to give you a rough time' beating me up."

Maura shifted her weight to one hip, despite the negative impact she knew it would have on the lower portion of her spinal chord. "There's a difference?"

"Of course there's a difference!"

"Why are you so concerned about your brother's reading habits anyway? They have no impact on you that I can see."

Jane looked at her like she was crazy. "It's stupid. You can't learn how to have sex by reading a book..."

"Reading is an excellent educational tool," Maura argued, enjoying the way that the pulse beating in Jane's throat sped up as she prepared to dive into an argument. The brunette frowned.

"You're crazy, Maura. Some things you just have to learn by jumping in with both feet. I mean, you can't learn surgery just by reading a book..."

"You need to read books before you practice surgery," the medical examiner pointed out. "Of course, some hands-on instruction is required afterwards, but you start by reading books and studying diagrams."

The pout that Jane gave her as she leaned back in her chair, propping both feet up on her desk and revealing the soles of her sensible work shoes, was absolutely adorable, and briefly, Maura remembered what it was like to nibble on the curve of that full lower lip...

"-but surgery is complicated. Sex isn't complicated, and the other person isn't going to die if you don't do it right-"

Blinking to refocus her attention, Maura tried to listen to what Jane was saying. "I think the annals of literature and film would disagree with you, Jane. Sex is very complicated."

"Emotionally complicated, not physically complicated."

"Then why do so many people write in to sex columnists saying their husbands are bad at it?"

"Oh, come on, like you read sex columns, Maura. I bet the only thing you've ever read besides scientific articles, classic literature, and your trashy horror novels is a fashion magazine."

"Many of which include sex articles," Maura added. "But you'd be wrong."

She knew that would get the detective's attention. Jane hated being wrong, and Maura loved agitating her. It made her look delicious. "Oh yeah? Just what do you curl up in bed with, Dr. Isles?" Jane taunted, removing her feet from the desk and replacing them with her elbows, leaning forward to get in Maura's space. Instead of being physically intimidating, the closeness made Maura's heart stutter.

"Wouldn't you like to know," she quipped.

"Don't tell me you've read a book on sexual technique... actually, I'll bet you have. You love studying everything to death." It was true. When she was seven years old, a precocious Maura had declared to anyone that would listen how she was someday going to 'learn everything about everything'. Although she had a more realistic perspective nowadays, her childhood goal had not changed that much.

Maura gave her a small smile. "Yes and no," she said, lowering her eyes slightly to add to the air of mystery she was trying to project. "Let's just say I've never read an instruction manual..." And then the medical examiner prepared to make her dramatic exit, content that her objective of flirting with Jane until she was too annoyed to take it anymore was successfully completed. She knew she would probably end up paying for it later that night at her house or Jane's apartment, but she had no regrets.

Before she could walk off with the last word, Maura was surprised to feel warm fingers clasp her wrist. Jane had left her chair and stood up to stop her from leaving. The unexpected touch made her eyes widen and her throat swallow nervously. Slowly, she turned back around to face Jane. "Yes?"

"You didn't honestly think I was going to let you leave like that, did you?" It was a statement, not a question. Maura did not try to answer her. She was too busy staring into Jane's dark eyes. The detective did not remove her hand from Maura's wrist. "What do you read in your spare time, Maur?"

The shortening of her first name, which she would have found irritating if it had come from anyone else, was endearing when Jane said it. It was the breaking point. "Do you really want to know?"

"I asked, didn't I? Now you just have to answer." Jane's thumb swiped against the center of Maura's palm. For someone who has never read a book about the subject, Maura thought, Jane seems very knowledgeable about flirting techniques. The blonde was slightly jealous because she had to work very hard to read, interpret, and deliver social cues properly, but since the attention was directed at her for the moment, she supposed she shouldn't complain.

Forcing herself to keep eye contact even as heat and color rose in both of her cheeks, Maura pulled her lips into what she hoped was a seductive smile. Inside, her stomach was erupting with butterflies. The idea of being attracted to a woman was not foreign to her, she had accepted her bisexuality years ago, but the idea of being intensely attracted to Jane Rizzoli specifically was frightening for reasons she did not fully understand.

What was it that Jane says about jumping in with both feet?

"Why don't you follow me to my desk and find out?" she teased.

Jane's nostrils flared, her eyebrows lowering dangerously as she fixed Maura with a searing look. "I think I will."

Realizing that Jane was completely serious, Maura turned on her heels and walked as fast as good manners would allow, not wanting to draw attention to herself. Frost and Korsak were off hiding somewhere, probably trying to avoid paperwork. There were no urgent homicides to take care of today, and they were supposed to be taking care of the bureaucratic part of their jobs. Even though she liked them, Maura was grateful for their absence. If she was going to show Jane an example of her reading material, she didn't want any unexpected interruptions. We really should stop engaging in inappropriate behavior in my office, she mused, knowing that they would never really be able to call off their afternoon trysts.

At first, Jane had been reluctant, even fretting when they were on opposite sides of the same room. "What if they realize something is going on?" she had worried aloud to Maura on several different occasions, convinced that their colleagues would be able tell that their relationship had finally crossed over into the sexual realm. Maura had reassured her that no one would be able to tell just by looking, and gradually, Jane had become more and more daring, even initiating sex during working hours. When Maura quipped that the city was essentially paying Jane to fuck her, Jane responded that for all the hours she put in, the horrible things she had to witness, and the low pay, she deserved some extra perks. It was one of the only times Maura ever heard Jane complain about her job or brag about herself. Usually, the job and her role as a police officer defined her...

Maura smiled at that thought. The book she had hidden away in her desk would certainly get Jane's attention.

All too aware of the figure following her down the hall to her office, she listened to the crisp click of her heels (Dolce and Gabanna today - she had worn her Prada heels yesterday and they had rubbed too much along the heel) on the linoleum tiles. They matched the fast, uneven staccato rhythm of her heartbeat.

The short trip seemed to take no time at all. Anticipation, Maura knew, often affected the human perception of time, but the waiting, the expectation, the eagerness... that was something she had never read about in any study. There was only one form of writing that had even come close to describing it: an example of which she was about to share with her lover.

Lovers, she thought, glancing at the tall, striking woman beside her out of the corner of her eye. We are lovers, aren't we? They were not lovers the classical sense. There had been no moonlit confessions, no promises of forever. In fact, they did everything possible to avoid the subject of love. But they were intimate. Very intimate, Maura corrected herself. She wanted to hold Jane's hand, but knew that any touches between them in the open hallway might arouse suspicion.

Steeling herself, she deliberately kept her eyes off of Jane as she opened the door and hurried inside, her detective close on her heels.

"So," Jane said, standing with feet apart and one hand on her hip in a confident, cocky pose, "you gonna show me this book you've been talking about?"

Maura blushed. Despite their earlier banter, she was a little unsure of herself. Revealing her secret habit would be like peeling back another layer, revealing more of herself... perhaps more of herself than she was comfortable with. On the other hand, never let it be said that Maura Isles was a coward. She had committed to this when she told Jane about the contents of her desk. Now she had to go through with it. Adopting her most professional, clinical expression, Maura opened one of the bottom drawers behind her desk and lifted out several heavy stacks of files. "I keep it underneath some other paperwork. You know that Korsak likes to do some good-natured snooping."

Jane decided not to point out that Maura's office was almost always locked unless she was in it. "That's not paperwork, that's a mountain! And trust me, I know about his snooping habit. My desk is right out in the open next to his."

After finishing with the files, Maura reached deep into the drawer and pulled out a small, well-loved paperback. Her already-present blush became a deeper, rosy color as she offered it to Jane, who glanced at the title and snorted. "The Loving Arms of the Law? Jeez, what a terrible title."

Maura shrugged sheepishly in agreement as Jane began thumbing through the book. "Well, I chose it with a certain someone in mind. I thought you would appreciate it as a satire if nothing else."

The book fell open to a few frequently visited passages, and Jane started to revise her unfavorable opinion. "A little sappy for my taste, but..." A tongue peeked out to wet dry lips as she continued to read. "Hmm."

After a full minute of silence, Maura began to grow uncomfortable. "Jane?" she asked, enjoying the flush that was beginning to creep up the homicide detective's throat. "Are you going to say anything else?"

Jane coughed, trying to cover up the pause. "Um, I had no idea you read this kind of stuff, Maura," she said. One look at the blonde medical examiner told her that this was not just part of a sexual joke - Maura was revealing a deeply hidden facet of her personality, something beyond the clinical, socially awkward 'Queen of the Dead' who felt more comfortable with corpses than most living people. She accepted the situation for what it was - a small gift, a peek inside of Maura's fascinating brain instead of the sexually charged seduction she had been expecting. Not that she was immune to the effect of the book or her lover's hungry gaze.

After acknowledging what had been shared, Jane began to feel a little nervous and pulled back, retreating to what they knew and were already comfortable with. "I like this part," she whispered, layering her voice with sex as she stalked over to the fair-haired doctor like a lean, predatory cat. Putting herself in Maura's personal space, trying to unbalance her, she pointed out a passage that had caught her eye.

"The detective purred, letting the nipple she was tending to slide from her lips with a soft 'pop' as her hand crept further down her lover's abdomen..." Maura's voice broke, and she could not continue reading the rest of the page. "Hmm," she said, pressing a soft, open-mouthed kiss to the curve of Jane's slender neck. Her tongue darted out to tease the sensitive flesh, causing the tall brunette to hiss. "Maybe we should reenact part of this book."


Chapter Three: Habits

Maura Isles could not tell a lie. At least, that was what most people thought. She knew what they said about her behind her back. 'If she tries to fib, she has these freaky spaz attacks...' Despite her quirky and slightly off-putting personality, most of them respected her. Still, it was human nature to gossip.

The truth was that Maura could not tell an outright lie, but that did not stop her from denying the truth. These partial lies had to be carefully constructed - with the truth buried so deep under mountains of scientific facts or statistical data that it was impossible to remember. It took her a lot of time, energy, and effort to create a perfect denial, but she was capable of doing it. Lately, she had perfected the art.

Today's denial was: I study Jane's habits because she is interesting and I am a natural observer.

The truth was: I observe Jane's habits because I have feelings for her and want to please her.

She was watching Jane as she walked briskly towards the coffeemaker, her brown eyes tired and strained, running her fingers through mussed but luxurious dark hair, Maura felt her stomach tie itself into slippery knots. She felt a little like Jane Goodall studying the primates, except her subject was much more attractive. For a moment, it even made her forget about her poor tortoise's condition. Unfortunately, Bass was refusing to eat and seemed to be moving even slower than usual. Although he was not an average house pet, Maura was very attached to him, and she was concerned that he might be ill.

Putting Bass out of her mind for the moment, Maura immersed herself in the familiar sight of Jane going about her day. She knew what Jane would probably do next: sigh, reach for a cup to pour her coffee in, and stare at the clock on the wall instead of checking her watch or her cell phone. Jane always looked at that clock. It was a comforting part of her work environment on days when she was not out on the streets fighting crime like some kind of real-life superhero.

Feeling more than a little awkward just standing there, and afraid that she would be caught staring, Maura decided to interrupt Jane's thoughts before the detective noticed her. Making enough noise so that she did not startle Jane, she approached her friend and rested a hand on her shoulder. The detective flinched and Maura pulled away.

That was another of Jane's traits that she had picked up during her observations. She hated to be touched unless she was the one initiating the touching. Sometimes, her hot-and-cold, touch-me-don't-touch-me games exasperated Maura, but she knew that Jane, unlike Maura, was uncomfortable with her sexuality. Perhaps it was because she had been classified as a lesbian ever since her early teens, despite having visible relationships with men (mostly to please her mother and contradict the lesbian rumors). Jane vehemently disliked all kinds of stereotypes. The fact that she had sex with women on a regular basis - or, at least, had sex with Maura on a regular basis - did not seem to make her any more comfortable with the label.

"Hello, Jane," she said, trying to reestablish a connection at a safer distance. Jane was more receptive the second time, and allowed Maura to join her at the coffee station.


The medical examiner sighed, reaching in to her purse for some money to put in the 'Weekend Coffee Fund: Don't Be A Jerk' jar. "What a Sunday."

Jane shook her head, touching Maura's hand to stop her from placing a bill in the can. The medical examiner felt a spark. Sometimes, when she and Jane were in the same room together, it was difficult to remember that there were other people nearby. The woman's presence was just so magnetizing... "Nonono... $20 is - uh - overkill. You're only a jerk if you don't leave anything here."

Maura began preparing her own drink as detective took a deep draft from her cup, choking in disgust. "God, when was that made, November? He wants a cup of coffee, there's none upstairs..." Maura pressed her lips together, hiding a smile as Jane picked up the can of salt. "The guy's a wreck."

Wreck. That distracted Maura for a moment as she remembered her latest patient - one who, fortunately, wasn't dead yet. However, if Bass did not improve by the end of the day, she would have to schedule an appointment with his veterinarian. "I've tried everything..." she mouthed to herself, "strawberries, fennel, bok choi..."

Jane gave her a strange look. "Are we in the same conversation?"

"Sorry." Maura shook her head to clear it. "I - I was talking about Bass." But I was thinking about you, Jane.

"Ah, obsessing over your turtle again."

"Tortoise," she protested. Jane knew perfectly well that Bass was a tortoise and only called him a turtle to annoy her. Looking down, Maura realized that Jane was pouring salt into the cup she was preparing for Bobby, the partner of the dead undercover officer at the scene that they had worked earlier in the morning. "He likes salt in his coffee?"

Jane groaned, staring down at the shaker in her hand, pausing, and rolling her eyes to the ceiling. "Dammit!" During the entire exchange, Maura prepared her coffee automatically, focusing most of her concentration on the expressions that crossed Jane's face. It was a face Maura liked, very symmetrical and well-shaped, but right now, it was tight with concern. Something was bothering her, and she doubted it was the case that they were working on, although that was probably a contributing factor.

"You know, when people lock their keys in their car or sprain their ankle, it usually indicates that something significant is bothering them," she probed, hoping to give Jane an opening to discuss her feelings. 'Come on,' she thought, wanting very badly to reach out and smooth out the worry line that creased Jane's forehead. You give me access to your body... why don't you try giving me access to your feelings for once? I just want to help...

But those words remained unspoken.

Jane shrugged it off. "A cop was murdered."

"Yeah, but that's not why you're salting your coffee."

The detective took a deep breath. "It's my brother, Tommy..."

Maura nodded in understanding, pleased that Jane was willing to discuss what she was thinking and feeling, at least for the moment. Although she was not the best at interpreting social situations, Maura knew that this was important to Jane. She hoped that she wouldn't make a mistake and drive her lover - friend - whatever they were...farther away. "I always wondered about him."

"Well, Frankie and I became cops, and Tommy went to prison for hitting a priest in a crosswalk."

"Oh." Oh. There was nothing else to say, really.

"It was his third strike while driving under the influence."

Although she had no siblings, Maura could imagine the pain that Tommy's decisions had caused the Rizzoli family. "Your poor parents..."

Jane's eyes narrowed, her body movements growing larger as old, deep wounds were reopened and her simmering anger surfaced. "You know, and they keep saying, if the priest that he hit has forgiven him, then why can't we... but you know, this isn't about forgiveness. You know, Tommy is really troubled, and the more he denies it, the more he screws up."


That was a concept that Dr. Maura Isles was intimately familiar with. For a moment, she felt a brief connection to Tommy through Jane, although she was unsure of her feelings at the moment. There were too many for her to sort through. "You really care about him," she said, hoping - deeply hoping - that Jane might speak about her with such caring someday, although not with the same disappointment and pain.

Maybe. Maybe someday.

A minute later, as elevator doors separated the two women, Maura leaned her head back against the wall and sighed, enjoying the warmth that flowed through the cardboard coffee cup and over the skin of her palms. The worries and cares of her life were still present, of course, but she could set them aside for just a moment. Jane had trusted her. Talked about her feelings. Her fears. Made herself vulnerable.

Even though Maura had made sure to offer herself as a confidant and friend before they parted ways, but she doubted that Jane would take her up on it. The detective was probably grateful to have a difficult, important case to distract her and Bobby Marino to interview upstairs. She was afraid. Afraid that Jane would try and retreat from the moment they had shared and go back to shutting her out

The medical examiner had no idea that today would change everything.


That evening, Maura sat in a loud, brightly lit, and crowded hospital waiting room, wondering what the hell had happened.

Everything was a blur. Memories came and went in a jumble of confusing flashes, and her overworked brain could hardly make sense of all the incoming data.

Lights out. Trying to comfort Bass...


Pressing the tube into Frankie's discolored chest...

The barrel of a gun...


Marino's teeth and narrow eyes...

Outside in the harsh sunlight, Jane with that same gun pointed up into her throat...

Shots. Screaming. Her, but she was not the only one. Everyone was shouting and running... more shots...

Jane. Jane, falling.

Maura had to suppress a wave of nausea. They would not let her in to see Jane yet. She was still in surgery, they said. Critical condition, they said. Everything had happened so fast, Maura still had trouble believing that her best friend, her lover, her... Jane was something. Jane was her Something. She could admit it now, in the face of death.

Maybe she wasn't so good at lying after all. The truth always had a way of resurfacing.

She had pestered the nurses, doctors, anyone she could find for details whether they were responsible for Jane or not. She had tried to use her clout as a medical examiner to convince them to give her the real story, but they just kept talking about internal bleeding and using general terms and guesswork that made Maura want to tear her hair out by the roots. Of Jane was bleeding internally, she had shot herself! She wanted to know the points of entry and exit, which organs might have been damaged, whether any toxic bodily fluids had escaped, whether there was any damage to her cranial area, how much blood she had lost, whether Jane loved her or not, whether Jane had thought about how she would feel before pulling that trigger, whether Jane knew that Maura loved her-

Oh no.

Love? That couldn't be true, could it?

Maura Isles was a creature of logic and science. She was not swayed by human emotions - emotions that were, according to biology, simply the release of chemicals into the synapses between dendrites. But what she felt for Jane certainly did not remind her of chemicals or dendrites. It was something spiritual, something beyond the physical realm, bordering on sacred. For the first time in her life, Maura wondered if there was something more to being human than just neurology and instinct. Maybe love existed after all.

What a cruel joke for Fate to play on her, then. Jane was probably dying just when she was ready to start living outside of the tiny box she folded herself in to.

A large presence moved beside her, and Maura looked to her left. Korsak was staring at her with an empathetic expression on his face. No, sympathetic, Maura corrected herself. Empathy requires deep understanding rooted in personal experience. He cannot understand this. Jane was Korsak's friend and former partner, but at this moment, the medical examiner selfishly decided that no one else had ever loved Jane as dearly as she did. She knew that her thoughts were ridiculous, but she was past caring.

"Here," he said, handing her a cup of tea. "They didn't have raspberry, but they had green tea."

"Thank you." Although it was not the doctor's preferred flavor, a deviation from her routine, Maura was grateful. Maybe Korsak understood more than she thought he did. "I just..."


Those were the only words needed between them. Whatever Korsak knew or thought he knew was insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It paled in comparison to Jane, who was fighting for her life, who might have already bled out or stopped breathing... Oh God, would I even sense it? Would I even know when it happened? A part of Maura was certain that she would. If Jane's body gave up, she was positive that her own body would respond. She would literally feel her heart break.

Broken Heart Syndrome. Not recognized as medical fact by scientists and doctors.

In the past few hours, Maura's own opinion had been reversed through personal experience. The heavy weight in her chest, the pain, could not be anything else.

Tears burned behind her eyes. Suddenly, she wished that Bass was with her to offer comfort. However, the scene was blocked off and no one was allowed access. She hoped that he was all right. Worrying about Bass only made her worry more about Jane instead of distracting her, and Maura began twisting her hands, lacing and unlacing her fingers, wishing that everything that had happened today would just fade away like the nightmare it was.

Everything had gone so horribly wrong, and there was nothing that she could do but sit back and wait.


Chapter Four: Mistakes

Maura remembered.

As happy as some of those memories were, they felt like a curse. Rolling forward like a silent movie, a series of images, all of Jane, swept through her in a tide. Jane preparing coffee. Jane shoving Korsak. Jane wrinkling her nose at Maura's "dead fridge".

Jane playing with Jo Friday. Jane bantering with her over 'reddish stains'. Jane rubbing the scars on the back of her hands.

Jane naked. Jane making love to her... if it could even be called that.

Usually, the medical examiner treated mistakes scientifically. Errors could be corrected. It was a normal part of the experimental process. But this was one mistake that could not be fixed. Jane was irreplaceable. There was no way to change the past.

Her cell phone rang, interrupting her thoughts. Robotically, she answered with a short, clipped "Dr. Isles."

"Maura, good, I got through to you," came Barry Frost's familiar voice. "How is Jane holding up?"

"Not much news so far," Maura said. "She's out of surgery, but she isn't receiving visitors yet. They've stopped some of the bleeding, but her organs are severely damaged." Maura was too depressed to take pride in her succinct answer. Normally, giving such unspecific descriptions was hard for her.

"Well, I have some good news for you," Frost said. "I'm on my way to the hospital, but the crime scene released Bass, so I took him back to your apartment."

Maura was so relieved that she did not even mind the intrusion into her personal space. "There is a number for his veterinarian on -"

"The refrigerator, I saw it. I'm sorry about taking him home without asking first, but I knew you were busy at the hospital, and under the circumstances..."

The medical examiner sighed. "It's fine, Barry. Thank you... is he all right?"

"He's fine," the detective said, trying to reassure her. "He even stuck his head out of his shell for me. I'm no Korsak, but I figure that's a good sign."

That drew a brief smile from the distraught doctor. "Are you coming to the hospital later?" Maura asked. She had a feeling that the administrators were going to end visiting hours soon. As a doctor, she knew that Jane needed undisturbed rest. However, all of her instincts were urging her to stay. Even though she was not at Jane's side, waiting for her outside was the closest alternative.

"Yeah, I'm hoping-"

"Doctor Isles?" Maura's head snapped up and her fingers tightened reflexively around the body of her mobile phone.

"Excuse me, Barry," she said, "the doctor..."

"Text me what he says," Barry asked. "I'll let you go."

Hanging up without a goodbye, Maura ended the call and looked up at the older woman standing before her in a white coat. "Hello, Dr...." she searched for the woman's nameplate. "Dr. Astor. May I ask how you know my name?"

"The attending told me." Maura stood, taking the woman's offered hand. "Also, I've read one or two of your articles. I understand that you're here for Detective Rizzoli?"

"Jane, yes. Is she all right?"

"We have her in a controlled coma at the moment. We had to repair several ruptured organs, but fortunately we were able to flush out most of the toxins in their system before they were able to spread. She is out of surgery and going in to recovery. I wasn't her original surgeon, but I took over the operation once the emergency staff stabilized her. I am also responsible for her follow-up care from now on."

"Realistically, what are her chances?" Statistics. Usually, Maura could handle statistics. However, when they concerned Jane Rizzoli's life, numbers suddenly seemed a lot less safe.

"I can't say with any certainty. She lost a lot of blood and there is still the risk that she might develop an infection. What she needs is time."

Despite all the advances in medicine over the centuries, time was still the body's greatest healer. But for Maura, it felt as though time was running out. "Would you like to see her?"

Maura nodded.

A few minutes later, she found herself alone in Jane's room, observing the heart monitors, the IV running into her arm, and the emergency breathing tube. As she identified each piece of equipment attached to Jane, the fact that her friend was alive still seemed foreign to her. The chair next to her was empty. On the way through the hospital's stark hallways, Doctor Astor had informed Maura that Angela and Frank Rizzoli, Jane's parents, had already been allowed to see her for a few moments before going to check on Frankie.

Although she had not interacted with Jane's family yet, they had heard all about how Maura had released the blood filling up their son's lungs. She suspected that they were allowing her to see Jane out of gratitude, but whatever the reason, the medical examiner didn't care. She was just grateful.

"Jane," she whispered, staring down at the unmoving face. Her features were unnaturally pale, from blood loss, Maura suspected, and reminded her of a frozen marble statue. "Oh, Jane, I've made so many mistakes..."

Mistakes. Regrets. Jane was staring death in the face, and Maura was terrified that there might never be a chance to put things right.

Not telling Jane that she meant something - everything... was her greatest mistake. Even though Maura was not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, she prayed to whoever might be listening. The machine standing by Jane's bedside continued to beep and hum, but Maura did not hear them.

At first, she prayed that she would have the chance to apologize for her mistakes. "No, that's selfish," she decided. "My guilt doesn't matter. This is about Jane."

And so she just prayed that Jane would be all right, whatever that meant. As long as there was life, there was hope.


One Week Later:

Slowly, Jane began to improve. She was able to breathe on her own. Her color improved. There were a few frightening hours when the doctors thought she had developed an infection, but the antibiotics they gave her brought it down before any lasting damage was caused.

On the third day, Jane opened her eyes. She did not speak, but she gave Maura, who was there, a dry-lipped smile. To the medical examiner, it was the most beautiful sight in the world.

Maura's worries did not disappear after Jane came back from the darkness. In fact, they seemed to multiply. Even though her detective was recovering steadily - that was how Maura thought of Jane now, as her detective - the nightmares often made her forget all of the progress.

When Jane was hungry, Maura fed her. When Jane was frustrated at her immobility and her mother's frantic hovering, Maura whispered soothing words. When Jane was tired, Maura stroked her hair until she drifted into an uneasy sleep. The medical examiner got very little sleep of her own. The nightmares prevented that.

Unfortunately, this smothering care was starting to grate on Jane's nerves. "Maur, I'm fine," Jane protested as the doctor tried to spoon some inedible-looking green jell-o into her mouth with a white plastic spoon. "I can do it myself." Trying to prove her point, Jane waved her left hand around. "I shot myself in the gut, not in my shoulder."

Maura flinched. "Don't remind me," she said, her tone sharper than she had intended. A chastened Jane then allowed Maura to feed her the jell-o, trying not to shudder at the taste.

"Sorry for snapping at you," said Jane. "It's just that you remind me of my Ma. She's been driving me crazy." Strangely, they were alone at the moment. Mrs. Rizzoli had gone to find some food in the dismal hospital cafeteria. "I have no idea how you got her out of here. She's like an overprotective lioness or... or something."

"A Maiasaura watching over her clutch of eggs," Maura suggested with a small but genuine smile. Like most children, Maura had gone through a 'dinosaur phase' while growing up. Unlike most children, however, she had memorized dinosaur taxonomy, habitats, diets, and skeletal structures, not simply their names.

"A Mayan Sore? What is that, a dinosaur?"

Maura knew that the detective was actually a lot smarter than she let on. Sometimes Jane dumbed herself down to fit in better with her brothers in blue. It had annoyed Maura at first, but the medical examiner had learned to accept it.

"Maiasaura," Maura repeated. "Maiasaura peeblesorum. Its name means Caring Mother Lizard. Most scientists now believe they were warm-blooded." Maura deliberately ignored the heat crawling beneath her own skin as Jane's dark eyes stared into hers, listening intently. "They lived in large colonies like seabirds. Their young ones were unable to walk at first, so their mothers fed them and protected them from various tyrannosaurids that inhabited the same area."

"Like T-Rex?" Jane asked eagerly, obviously preferring that dinosaur to the demure, duck-billed Maiasaura.

"No, Jane. The Tyrannosaurus Rex lived a few million years later. However, the Maiasaura did have to watch out for Daspletosaurus..."

"Okay, I think that's enough dinos for one day," Jane said, giving Maura's hand a gentle pat. Noticing the dark circles beneath her eyes, she resisted the temptation to reach up and brush Maura's cheek. For a moment, something hung between them, a tenuous thread, a connection that they could not describe in words. Neither of them spoke. Instead, they simply looked at each other, evaluating.

"Jane, Frankie says..." Two heads, one blonde and one brunette, immediately snapped up to look at the door to Jane's private hospital room. Angela Rizzoli was entering the room with the handle of her large, clunky purse draped over one forearm. "Oh, hello, Maura. Still sitting with Janie?"

"Ma," Jane protested, frowning at the nickname like a child being forced to eat an unpleasant vegetable.

"Oh hush," said the older woman, bustling forward and tossing her coat onto an empty visitor's chair. "You'll always be my Janie." So saying, Angela Rizzoli began fussing with her daughter's slightly mussed hair, plumping the sides of her pillow with both hands to make it more comfortable.

"Maiasaura," Maura whispered low beside Jane's other ear. That made the detective actually giggle, and Angela glanced at her suspiciously.


"Nothing," both girls chimed in at the same time, sharing a secret look of pleasure and amusement. Secretly, it warmed Angela's heart to see her daughter interacting with a close female friend. Most of her childhood companions had been boys, and only her brother Frankie had been a real confidant. My Janie has always been different, she thought, but maybe Maura is the perfect friend for her.

"What were you saying about Frankie, Ma?"

Angela collected her thoughts. "The doctor says Frankie is doing good. His lungs are healing up nice thanks to our hero here." She put a gentle, motherly arm around Maura's shoulder. The medical examiner blushed.

"Jane was the one who gave me the courage to do something," Maura said truthfully. "She insisted."

"Demanded," Jane coughed, her voice a little hoarse from tiredness. Maura noticed, smoothing back Jane's hair much like Angela had done moments before. Instead of protesting, Jane leaned in to the touch, too tired to worry what her mother might think about the intimate gesture between them

That's funny, Maura thought. Usually, Jane shied away from public displays of affection. She wondered just where she and Jane stood after the shooting, but was too frightened to ask just in case the answer wasn't the one she wanted. Jane needed support and stability right now, not stressful questions that Maura herself did not know the answers to.

"Well, he's doing great."

"Good. That's really good, Ma." With that, Jane closed her eyes. "Sorry," she said. "I'm just... so tired."

"It's fine, Jane," Maura insisted, sharing a look with Jane's mother. "You can rest for a little while." With that permission, the detective drifted off.

"She's out," Angela Rizzoli said, looking down at Jane's sleeping form.

"She looks peaceful. It doesn't seem as though she's feeling too much pain. Her body just needs time to recover from the internal damage." Maura wanted to reach down and touch Jane's face, trace her dark eyebrows and the warm skin of her forehead, but resisted the temptation. Not while Angela's in the room, she told herself.

As she studied Jane, Maura noticed that Angela was studying her. Unused to being the one under observation, she held perfectly still, trying not to alarm the older woman. Surely Angela could not hear her thoughts. There was no need to panic.

"Jane has been so happy lately, Maura," she started, choosing her words carefully. "Before - before..." Jane's mother could not bring herself to say 'the shooting'. She was still unable to deal with what had happened. "She talks about you all the time." Maura could tell that Angela wanted to say something else, but was finding it difficult.

"I'm not sure I know what you mean-"

"You've been good for her, Dr. Isles, and I never really got the chance to thank you for saving my son's life."

"Jane saved his life-"

Angela sighed. "Jane..." Maura knew what she meant. Like Angela, Maura had never been sure how to handle Jane. She was unpredictable, a changing variable that could never be plugged in with the same result.

There was no use denying it anymore. She was falling in love, had already fallen in love, with Jane Rizzoli. Unfortunately, her analytical mind had not presented her with any possible solutions to the problem. She was reluctant to confess these feelings to Jane.

But what did she really understand about love, anyway? She felt love, or some form of it, for her adoptive family despite their stiff, formal relationship. She felt love for Bass. However, romantic love was a new experience for her. In the past, she had believed it to be a myth, something perpetuated by the DeBeers and Hollywood industry in order to make money. Now, faced with the real thing, she felt helpless and confused. She could only struggle forward and hope that the worst of her mistakes were behind her.


Chapter Five: Restlessness

Jane Rizzoli hated being confined to her bed and a wheelchair. Honestly, she would rather face down an armed man - been there, done that, she thought dryly - than spend the next few weeks off her feet. Between her mother, father, Frankie, Korsak, and Frost, she wore herself out trying to convince everyone else that she was fine, really, and no, they didn't need to come over, and for God's sake, please don't bring any more food!

The truth was that Jane wasn't fine. Not fine at all. She was sore all over, she was still confined to the hospital room's long term care wing except for her occasional excursions down the hall, she was developing a tolerance for Vicodin that made her pain get worse instead of better, and Maura was the only one who seemed to understand how frustrated she was.

God, Maura. The medical examiner had been a true godsend. She had not chastised Jane for risking her life. She had not fussed over her as though she were a helpless child. Instead, she had been Jane's rock, silent and firm, lending strength and support whenever she was needed and backing away when Jane wanted to be alone. Maura seemed to sense the shifts in Jane's moods before the detective even realized it herself, and she responded to them instinctively.

That was why Jane allowed Maura to look after her without too much complaint... because, simply put, Maura "got it". She understood.

'Speaking of which...' Jane thought, letting the words inside her head evaporate as the medical examiner walked into her hospital room. She was lovely as ever, loose blonde curls bouncing about her shoulders and green eyes sparkling as she took in the sight of her favorite person. The fingers of one hand were wrapped around a cardboard mug and the other hand was holding something that looked like a cat carrier. Jane looked at it in confusion.

"Here, Jane..." The detective's name rolled off of Maura's tongue like an endearment, and the detective felt her heart stutter at the sound. "I've brought you some tea from the cafeteria."

"I don't want tea," Jane muttered, pretending to sulk. In reality, what she wanted was for Maura to smother her with pity. She needed it. "I want these stupid bandages to come off, I want to go home, and I want to be able to walk!"

"Your torso sustained too much damage," Maura chastised her. Fortunately, she avoided using medical terms around the ever-grumpy Jane. She had learned her lesson after a tirade from the brunette during the first week. "Here, why don't I help you out of bed and wheel you over by the window?"

"Okay," Jane sighed, giving in and allowing Maura to help support some of her weight as they maneuvered her into the chair beside her bed. She had insisted on getting the old-fashioned kind, one that she could wheel around with her arms instead of a motorized controller. She wanted to use what few parts of her body she could. Fortunately, her lower abdomen had sustained the most damage, and she used her arms, shoulders, and back to control the chair, so movement didn't put too much stress on her injuries. It made her tired and a little sore, but it hadn't torn open any of the healing wounds beneath her bandages.

Maura was one of the only people she allowed to push the wheelchair, and even then, she only accepted the help when she was in a good mood or enduring more pain than usual. Jane took the tea, letting it warm her hands, and allowed Maura to maneuver her chair into the sunlight by the window.

"What's in that thing?" Jane asked, her attention turning to the carrier. If she wasn't mistaken, there was something wiggling around inside it.

"I brought you a visitor," Maura said cheerfully, opening the door and letting out a chipper looking Jo Friday, who instantly bounded over to Jane and hopped up into her lap. Jane let out a small grunt of pain, but she was too happy about the surprise visit to care. She instantly noticed when the dog began tugging on the small green booties attached to her feet. She was also wearing what looked like a miniature vest and headcap to cover her ears. Jane hurried to take them off before Jo Friday got too uncomfortable.

"Maura! How did you do this?"

Maura glanced nervously to the left. "Well..."

"This is against the Hospital rules, isn't it?"

"I might have bribed a few nurses, and your doctor might be a colleague of mine from medical school that owes me a favor... and I might have made a donation to the hospital in your name to appease the board... I also could have pushed through some paperwork to make Jo Friday a licensed Therapy Dog... Hypothetically speaking."

Jane's brow furrowed. "Maura... I told you not to spend any more money on me!" But she couldn't help smiling as she scratched her dog's head. They had already gotten into a horrendous argument about the private room Jane was now recovering in. Maura had insisted on paying for one, while Jane asserted that she would only take what her job's health insurance covered. Of course, Maura won. Jane might be stubborn as a mule, but Maura always won in the end.

"What if she infects somebody with her dog germs?"

"She won't. All patients that are at risk for infection are kept in an isolated ward. Therapy Dogs come to this part of the hospital once a week to visit the children and elderly patients anyway."

"You mean my fellow inmates," Jane interrupted.

"Don't be facetious, Jane. I also sanitized my hands before departing with Jo in the carrier. I will do the same before I leave, just in case I come in to contact with anyone else in the hospital... I even put Jo in little scrubs. Aren't they cute?"

Jane sighed and looked down at the items of clothing she had pulled off of Jo Friday. Dog-sized scrubs? Really... Only Maura Isles would come up with something like that. "Well, you're not allowed to bring her back, but since she's here, she might as well keep me company for a few hours." Jo Friday barked in agreement, wagging her tail. Maura walked up behind Jane's wheelchair to join them.

"Here, drink a sip of your tea and then close your eyes for a little while," the doctor purred, massaging a knot from Jane's tense shoulders. Something about Maura's touch, Maura's soothing, rich voice comforted Jane. She allowed her heart rate to slow down and her breathing to even out, enjoying the warm hands that continued to rub her back as she leaned forwards.

Slowly, Jane felt her mind drifting off as rays of sunlight warmed her face. "Mmmm. That feels so good, Maura..."

"Your voice sounds tired," said Maura, taking the tea away and setting it on the windowsill. "Try and sleep for a little while."

"Maybe..." Jane murmured, keeping her eyes closed.

Slowly, Maura came around to the front of the wheelchair, careful not to startle the very relaxed detective. She leaned down, watching the muscles of Jane's face smooth over as she started to fall asleep. A breath away from Jane's lips, she paused. Then, bending forward, she pressed a soft kiss to Jane's open mouth.

Her friend and sometimes-lover didn't notice. She was already unconscious.

Maura backed away, careful not to make any noise. The sound of sharp little nails scratching on the floor drew her attention away from Jane, and the medical examiner looked up to see Joe Friday watching her curiously. The little mutt's ears were perked, as though she was asking a question in her silent dog language.

"It was nothing, Joe," said Maura. "Or should it be Jo?" Maura knew that both names sounded the same when spoken, but in her mind, they were spelled differently. "You're a bitch, and the female spelling of the name would be Jo, but you're named after a male detective, so perhaps it should be Joe... I'm not sure. I should ask Jane when she wakes up."

Jane, as though objecting to Maura's conversation with the dog while she slept, began to snore. Maura rolled her eyes.

Jo (or Joe?) Friday shifted on her Mistress's lap and curled up into a tight little ball. The detective didn't stir. "That's a good girl," Maura said, scratching Jo's head and then stroking Jane's hair. "Make sure she's comfortable. Her mother's coming over later, and God knows she won't get any rest then..."

Maura was grateful that she had managed to get the day off from work. Fortunately, she had built up so many sick days and vacation days over the years, that taking half-days or even entire weekends off to look after Jane was possible. However, Maura had to admit that she missed working in the morgue on a regular schedule. Her assistants were highly capable - she had selected them herself, after all - but it just wasn't the same when someone else was doing your work.

"Jane will be more mobile in another week," Maura said to herself as she sat down on Jane's bed. "I guess both of us are feeling restless."

Feeling more secure in her solitude, the medical examiner thought back on the kiss she had given Jane. It was the first remotely sexual display of affection she had allowed herself to share with the detective. And did it even count? Jane was asleep, after all. Since she had come to the realization that she was in love with Jane, Maura had continued mulling over the subject, but she had not come to any conclusions. Admitting her feelings was the first step. But what was she supposed to do now? Jane was a completely unpredictable variable in this equation, and Maura hated equations that didn't line up perfectly.


"Ugh, why can't I open this damn thing?" Jane sighed, staring out of her window. Although her room was air conditioned, the evening weather outside was so beautiful that almost everyone had their windows open... everyone but her. Her window didn't open. Aside from the television, watching people come and go through the hospital parking lot was Jane's only entertainment while Maura was gone.

Jo Friday, who was still sitting on Jane's lap, her tail thumping happily against the brunette's thigh, leaned forward precariously, almost tumbling onto the floor as she strained to catch a glimpse of the outside world. "Easy, girl. Maura already took you for a walk today." Jane felt a little guilty that Maura had been relegated to dog walking and poop bagging duty, but she was obviously in no condition to take Jo Friday.

"And just what kinda trouble are you two gettin' into?" a familiar voice came from behind Jane's chair, startling her.

"Ma, how did you get in here?" Inwardly, Jane cursed herself for not hearing her mother's intrusion into the room. She supposed her finely tuned detective senses weren't back at one hundred percent yet. She would have to find a way to work on that.

"Maura told me to stop by, Janie."

Jo Friday jumped down from Jane's lap and trotted over to Angela Rizzoli, wagging her tail and panting happily at her feet. Angela gave the dog a few pats on the head.

"Traitor," Jane muttered. It was bad enough that Jo had to be affectionate with her mother when she was clearly intruding on Jane's privacy, but she hadn't even stayed to help defend Jane against her tormentor. "Some guard dog you are."

"Don't blame Jo. She knows what's good for you. And so does Maura. Have you been listening to her?" Angela fussed, pulling Jane away from the window. The detective gave it one last longing glance, wishing she could turn into a bird - one with fully functional wings - and fly out of her cage.

Jane sighed. "Yes, Ma..."

Ignoring her daughter's strained, irritated voice, Angela Rizzoli grabbed the arms of Jane's wheelchair without asking and pushed her over to the bed. "Here, why don't you rest and watch some television while I get you a plate from the hospital cafeteria."

"Maura brought me something earlier..." Jane said. Of course, she had eaten very little of the meal, but she didn't mention that fact to her mother.

Angela snorted, rolling her eyes. "Hospital food. Hmph. When you get out of here, I'll cook for you until you're up and moving again."

Jane decided not to comment. She wasn't hungry at all, and she definitely didn't want Angela Rizzoli coming over to feed her every night - or, worse, forcing her to stay with them until she was fully recovered - but she also wasn't in the mood to argue. She figured that her best option would be to pretend to eat the food and slip it to Jo Friday. Hopefully, people food didn't have negative effects on dogs.

'Maura would know,' she thought, feeling rather depressed that the medical examiner was at work for the evening. They would need to have a long, serious talk about her decision to call Angela in. "I'm not a complete invalid," Jane mumbled under her breath.

Perhaps sensing Jane's anxiety, Jo Friday hopped back into the detective's lap. "So, this is a pretty swanky room they've got you in. Penthouse floor and everything! I'm surprised they let you keep your dog up here."

"I tried to talk Maura out of it... she didn't need to-"

"Nonsense. That girl is so wonderful... first saving Frankie, then making sure my other baby is in the best part of the hospital-"

"- Jo isn't supposed to be up here," Jane added. "In fact, I want you to take her home with you when you leave." Jo whimpered at the sound of her name, and Jane gave her a sympathetic scratch behind the ears. "Sorry, girl. I don't want you bothering old Mrs. Heissmann next door. I think her husband's allergic to dogs."

"You got to meet the other people on the floor?"

Jane shrugged. "This is a recovery wing. I see them out and about with their walkers when I go out for PT." Unfortunately, she couldn't even walk with the aid of crutches or some other form of support.

"Well, that's nice. It's like a little apartment complex! Everyone visiting..."

"Not exactly," Jane mumbled.

"Well, I'm glad Maura put you here. You told her thank you, right, Janie? And I'll have to invite her over for dinner..." At first, Angela had been just as reluctant as Jane to accept Maura's monetary assistance, but when Maura pulled the 'I Only Want What's Best For Jane' card, she folded. Now, she couldn't speak highly enough of the medical examiner. "You know, she's a very nice girl... You couldn't do much better."

Jane's pupils dilated and her jaw dropped. "Ma! How did - what are you... when? I mean... did Maura - what?"

"I'm a mother, not an idiot," said Jane's mother. "I see the way she looks at you. It's not what I imagined for you, but Maura is a Saint, and I can't think of anyone more perfect for my daughter."

"It's not like that," Jane insisted. "Maura and I - it's complicated..."

"And what's so complicated about it?" Angela pressed forward, her Boston accent becoming more prominent. "That girl adores you. All you have to do is get over yourself and tell her you feel the same way."

"Who says I do?" Jane snapped, growing more irritable by the second.

"Fine, don't listen to your mother... I'm going to get you some food from the cafeteria. Then, I'm gonna watch you eat it."

Jane groaned and began banging the back of her head into her pillow. "Ugh. I'm not gonna survive one more week of this." Jo Friday barked.



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