|The Mating Behaviour of Dr Maura Isles
Author: TheFutilitarian PM
Rizzoli/Isles. Like more than BFFs, y'all. Honestly, the title pretty much sums it up - Maura's POV on well...just quite how to...woo.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - M. Isles & J. Rizzoli - Words: 4,876 - Reviews: 71 - Favs: 175 - Follows: 24 - Published: 08-05-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6208840
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. That should have wide enough scope that I can't get into any trouble. Except from my mother... for not owning enough.
A/N: This idea came into my head .004 seconds after Maura used the words 'mating behaviour' but it took more than a week to write because I actually had to google things. I hate googling things. I've probably had to do more research for this than any other fic. I also hate nature things. I am now more intimately acquainted with nature than I have EVER wanted to be.
Damn you, show.
Last, but NEVER least - thanks to my fantastic beta law_nerd, who whilst not having watched the show, still tries to keep my rampant 'Britishness' and ignorance in check.
Maybe even today.
There are two types of people in this life…
…a typically massive misconception but in today's MacIpodTwitter world most people don't care to look beyond the obvious. That infuriates Maura Isles more than people interfering with her crime scene, more than poor grammar in emails from her bosses, more than… well, more than Jane Rizzoli.
Which is where the 'two types' comment comes from: they are on a standard 'the butler did it with a candlestick in the dining room' case; Jane's words, not Maura's – there are so many assumptions in that one phrase that it's better to leave it alone rather than spend an hour discussing it. Lecturing, if you ever ask Jane about what actually transpires between them.
As the grieving 25-year-old widow dries her non-existent tears with her left hand while typing out instructions to her stockbroker on her Blackberry with the other, Jane gestures to Korsak, "Fifty bucks says she remarries within two months."
"I don't gamble anymore, Rizzoli." Vince Korsak turns away with an expression of disgust; eyes the blonde up and down, slowly turns back. "Make it a hundred and my money's on three."
"I am going to enjoy spending your money, Korsak. I mean look at her. She is never going to last three months. She isn't the type."
"There's a type?" Maura chooses the moment to chime in.
"I'll tell you as soon as you give me a cause of death."
Maura rolls her eyes, "Blunt trauma to the back of the head. As you can see by the size of the laceration here and here, the third blow was the one that was fatal. This is as straightforward as they come. You barely need me here, given all the evidence." She throws a pointed glance towards the heavy blood-splattered silver object currently being bagged.
"Right," Jane's face splits into a charming ear-to-ear grin, "I just want to hear you say it."
"Aww, Maura, come on."
"Won't tell you her type," Rizzoli gestures with her thumb towards the widow sitting in the room behind them. "Put up or shut up."
"I am not here to make assumptions based on the totally circumstantial…"
"Are you watching this, Maura?" Jane pivots on her heels, "Because this is me walking away. See you back at the homestead."
"Okay, fine," Maura huffs in exasperation. "The butler did it." It ends up coming out a little louder than she planned. "There, are you happy now?"
Several chuckles break out amongst the cops scattered across the scene and one fresh-faced rookie breaks off, reaching his hand into a pocket and depositing a bunch of bills into Rizzoli's outstretched hand. "Damn it, Rizzoli. You didn't tell me you knew her, that ain't playing fair."
"Lesson one, rookie: never make any rash decisions unless you are 100% certain of the lay of the land." Jane slugs him on the shoulder sportingly before he trudges away to the sound of ribbing from his fellow cops.
"Jane, we are standing over a corpse, for God's sake."
"Oh, I am sorry, Maura. I forgot that you prefer flirting. Dinner, Mr. Coulter?" Jane cups a hand to her ear as she bends down slightly to lean over the corpse. "Uhuh. Uhuh." Swinging upright again, she shrugs, "Crushed again. He says I am not his type, however, if you are willing to consider plastic surgery…"
"Unbelievable," Maura snaps the gloves off testily. She will most definitely not laugh. She really won't. No matter how much the smile tugs at her lips. "Well?" With a flourish and an accompanying mock glare she waves her hand towards Mrs. Coulter.
"Well what?" Jane is still grinning, "Oh right, her, yes. Well, Maura, there are two types of people in this life: runners and walkers. Now, Mrs. Amber Coulter over there, she's a runner. She's already measured the distance to her next target, probably tying her shoelaces as we speak."
"And the walkers?"
"Well, walkers are people like me, Maura. We are fine meandering wherever the path will take us and if we reach a destination at some point, then great. Meanwhile… we just enjoy the sights."
"I enjoy the sights."
"Remind me how many dates you've been on this month?"
"Four. Why?" Maura peers at Jane defensively; sees the twinkle in her eyes, the quickly suppressed smirk. "I am not a runner, Jane."
"Didn't say you were."
"You didn't have to say it; I can tell you are thinking it!"
"Now you can read my mind, Isles? What happened to 'I don't understand you'."
"I don't understand, you. And your hypothesis is… preposterous… and insulting!"
"My God, you really hate it when I am right, don't you? Oh wait," Jane snaps her fingers, "I've got it… are you sulking because there's something that Maura Isles didn't know?"
"I am leaving now," Maura stalks away before retracing her steps just as quickly, "And for the record I couldn't know that because it's a crock of… well, you know exactly what. Oh, and if I am a runner then how come I am still single?" She pokes her finger into Rizzoli's chest for emphasis.
Rizzoli shrugs and folds her arms, Korsak suppresses a snort. "Well, Doc, you know how some runners compete in the Olympics, right? While others…"
Maura shoots them both a look that positively screams this is why I prefer dead people, "Not another word."
The comment festers and eats away at her for weeks, no matter how she tries to let it go. It springs to mind as Jane Rizzoli stands in her morgue wearing the Little Black Dress, holding a glass of wine and ranting about the disastrous dinner date with Lt. Grant her mother has just set her up on.
"Why are you laughing? Do I look stupid?"
The urge to get her own back for the runner thing is pretty strong but Maura sees the not so subtle vulnerability in Jane's eyes and doesn't have the heart to hurt her. "You really don't know? You are gorgeous, my friend."
"Then why are you laughing?" Jane gestures while… well, pretty much doing exactly that.
Maura opens her mouth to reply and stops. Why is she laughing? Analysis is instant – she's nervous and she's trying to hide it. Why is she nervous? Because Jane Rizzoli is absolutely gorgeous, no question about it… in every sense of the word.
Which means in that sense.
Sometimes her self-awareness is both a blessing and a curse.
"Okay, then tell my mother that. She thinks I'm some sort of pity project." Jane takes another long swig of her wine.
"She just loves you. That's all."
The same way I love you? Oh, that really needs to be tucked away for later. Definitely past time to switch topics. "Want some cheese?" She moves to take the little plastic box out of its usual place.
"No. Eww, no. Not out of the 'dead' fridge, no." Jane looks positively disgusted while looking positively adorable. "If she loves me so much, why does she hand me off to that creep?"
It's times like these Maura really hates Jane's one-track mind. "I don't believe you think he is a creep." Maura is fairly certain that's the truth, equally as certain that suddenly… she really doesn't want it to be.
"Well, I do. I've known him since I was five. You know he used to lisp?"
"So?" Maura laughs. Damn it, Jane, I used to lisp.
"So! You get rid of guys if they have receding gums!"
"That's true," Maura loses her smile.
"That is true," Jane confirms with a nod of her head.
Maura's brow creases in thought. Why is it that while she finds them exasperating, ultimately she doesn't mind Jane's faults in the same way that she does with all her dates? "But you are always complaining that guys you date don't understand or like your job, and he respects you."
I'd never stand between you and what you love.
"Stop," Jane gives her the warning look, the one that absolutely positively says back off.
Of course, this is all the encouragement that Maura needs. "You think he's this political animal but it's just that it comes out of him, like when he's around you, he wants to impress you." Oh God. "It's mating behaviour." Oh dear God: the late night visits, the unnecessarily long-winded explanations, the carefully-picked-out-each-morning outfits… that's exactly how I act around you. "I think it's sweet." Defensive much, Maura?
"I think you are insane. I am off to solve a murder…" Jane puts down her glass and walks as far as the morgue door.
Their earlier conversation about their fears springs to mind, as much as Maura's protective instincts rise up; funny how those are only ever present around Jane, "Night light on or off?"
"On. I can't wait till we solve this one."
Maura winces in sympathy and watches Jane walk off before she turns around and takes another sip of wine. So, I am a runner and you are a walker, huh, Jane Rizzoli… well, well… I think it's time to put that to the test.
"The most notable characteristic of bowerbirds is their extraordinarily complex courtship and mating behaviour, where males build a bower to attract mates."
"Are we interfering with your social life, Maura?" Jane pointedly glares at the cell phone in Maura's hand as they are walking off another crime scene.
"No. I thought even those guilty as charged were allowed a phone call."
"One," Rizzoli holds a finger up for emphasis. "That's your fifth call today."
"Are you counting, Detective?"
"I am when it's on my time!" Jane huffs.
"If you must know, I am getting several items delivered."
"They bring by shoes now?"
"Funny, Jane." Maura slaps her lightly on the arm and lets her hand linger a little longer than it should. "Actually they do. But no, if you must know I am getting some things for the house… you know, like a new sixty inch, flat-screen TV."
"They do? Wait… you are? But Maura, you don't even watch TV. Oh sorry, you don't watch anything other than those highly fascinating nature documentaries on the mating habits of the North African centipede." Jane's voice drips with good-humoured sarcasm.
Maura does her best to suppress it but she's fairly certain her face turns at least a maroon shade of red. "Firstly, centipedes are fascinating subjects. Did you know that the bite of some of the larger species can be hazardous to humans and induce anaphylactic shock? And secondly, I thought I would study up on baseball. On a screen that size, it's almost like you are at Fenway Park. Speaking of which…"
"You don't watch baseball, I watch baseball!"
"Do you have proprietary rights on baseball watching? Is there a franchise?"
"Well, no." Jane folds her arms defensively. "But it's just…"
"Are you worried I'll be better at baseball watching, Jane?" It takes everything to hold the serious expression, including biting the inside of her cheek.
A put out Detective Rizzoli is a sight to behold. "NO!" Jane looks like she is on the verge of stamping her foot. "It's just…" Something flashes through her eyes, something serious – hurt.
"Well, it's my thing, you know. And you," Jane shrugs and the same vulnerability descends over her that Maura sees when Jane tries hard to make the world believe that she's a tough cop that lets nothing phase her. "I mean… you could've asked. You could've come to me. We watch the games together: Dad, Frankie and I. You know that, Maura, but you've never said one thing about joining us. And now you're off buying TVs and planning some sort of… you know what?" Jane unfolds her arms and it's as though a blank mask falls over her face, "Never mind, enjoy."
"So you aren't free tomorrow night then?"
"Yes. Well, I mean, no. It's gnocchi night, you know that, and…"
"Actually, cannelloni, and when your mother saw my kitchen yesterday she let out this little squeal that made me worry about her ever leaving again."
"You invited my family?" The put upon look of suffering doesn't hide the softening of Jane's gaze.
"Well, I mentioned the TV to your brother earlier in the week and he got this look, like a puppy that's just found a new favourite toy, and you know how I have trouble saying 'no' to a Rizzoli."
The same identical look settles over Jane's face before she catches herself. "You've never had trouble saying 'no' to me." The pout returns.
"Oh, really, Jane… well, then, that's exactly what you can bring tomorrow night – a list of every time that Maura Isles has said 'no' to Jane Rizzoli."
What, all of twice?
"It's going to be a long list, Maura. I don't know where I am going to find the time."
"Well," Maura pats Jane on the arm with a wry smile, "if you want baseball and cannelloni tomorrow, I guess you'd better try."
"To gain the attention of a female, the male flamingo performs ritualized stretching and preening, and often runs with its neck straight out and its bill pointed to the sky."
"What are you doing?" The hoarse, guttural quality to Jane's voice makes Maura hide a smile.
"Stretching," she snaps back up from having touched her toes.
"Since when do you," Jane clears her throat, "stretch in the morgue at," checking her watch, she frowns, "seven o'clock at night, wearing," she waves in Maura's general direction while pointedly looking anywhere but at her, "that?"
"Stretching is very important, Jane. Especially in women our age… before any… exercise."
"Oh bull! Exactly what kind of exercise are you planning to do in that?" Yet again, Jane studiously avoids looking into Maura's eyes but her eyes quickly flick over Maura's chest.
Then helplessly they seem to glance up and down her practically see-through, almost not-there, red dress just as quickly… before Jane swallows.
Yes, two weeks salary right down the drain, so totally and utterly worth every cent.
"Well, detective," Maura smiles flirtatiously as she saunters forward towards Jane, "it must've been a while if I have to tell you exactly what a woman does when…"
"Stop," Jane holds up a hand. "I know what you are doing… I mean, I know what exercise… Damn it, woman, but it's a baseball night tonight!"
"Well, I'm sure that there'll be some balls…"
"Okay, no. Just no, Maura… what… gross. This isn't you… all of this… none of this is you." She uses her hand to indicate Maura's dress, her carefully yet carelessly tousled hair, the unusually sultry make-up.
"You don't think it looks good?" Maura gives Jane her best innocent gee golly gosh look.
"No! Of course it does, you look great… smokin', even." She pauses for just a second and says with utter sincerity and not a hint of guile, "Whoever he is, he's a really lucky guy."
Maura melts. Despite the occasional gruffness, surliness, deflective humour and just her general self, Jane Rizzoli has the ability to always say one thing… often just one a week, but that's enough… that simply, well, makes Maura Isles feel like a million bucks.
She decides to push it just a little, "Is this your way of saying you're attracted to me?"
Jane's rising blush indicates she well remembers having said the exact same thing during the Hoyt case. Unlike Maura's simple smile back then, Jane chooses to stammer a response, "Um, what, no…"
"So I don't look attractive?"
Jane takes on the trapped look of a hunted rabbit that knows the game is up, "No. Didn't I just say that…well," she glances at her watch in desperation, "look at the time. Murders aren't solving themselves and I am sure there's somewhere else that you need to be…"
"Indeed. Don't wait up…" Shoulders back, head held high and upwards so that it emphasise her cleavage, Maura strides towards the door…
…and slams right into the wheel of the nearest examination table.
"New look impeding your vision, Doc?" Jane's back on even keel, sarcasm returning with a vengeance.
"No, I am fine," Maura replies with as much dignity as possible when her gait is now a limp and not a sexy wiggle of the hips as practiced.
Stupid nature programme.
What does David Attenborough know about anything?
God damn it.
"In primate societies, grooming is the underlying fabric of it all. It's a sign of friendship and family, and it's also something that can be exchanged for sexual services."
"Jesus, Maura, you are going to kill yourself walking in those heels."
"What, these… wear them every week." Dismissive and nonchalant trumps the truth any day of the week and sure enough Jane frowns, looking puzzled, but lets the statement go. Of course, the five inch heels are new, of course they're absolutely killing Maura, but she'd rather die before she lets Jane know. "You like?" she questions casually.
Jane glances down to check them out. "Yeah, they're pretty." Catching herself, she hastily adds, "nice… pretty nice."
"You know I think I have a pair of…"
"Stop right there, Maura. Ask my mother what'll happen if you finish that sentence but let me tell you now… it won't be pretty or nice, and it will definitely not be pretty nice."
"Don't you have a date tomorrow?"
Jane looks uncomfortable and mumbles, "Yeah, maybe."
"Don't you want to look nice?"
"Oh God. Ma?" Jane steps closer and lifts Maura's hair, "Ma, you in there?" At the exaggerated eye roll that greets her action, Jane steps back and grins, "You, my friend, have been spending too much time in the company of my mother. Don't think I don't see you on baseball night… in the kitchen with her… whispering and plotting away… I am surprised she hasn't tried to set you up with anyone yet."
"Jane, your mother is lovely. And she would never do that."
Not if she knew where my interests lie.
That admission makes her feel a little guilty. What if the Rizzolis don't approve?
"Uhuh, yeah, that's what she told me. Right before I came home for dinner and it was just another family memory to tuck away: just me… and Lt Grant."
"Well, he's out of the picture for the foreseeable future but there's plenty of… others out there." Maura checks to see if the ambiguity or the pause registers at all.
"Oh yay," Jane cheers sarcastically, her flat tone conveying anything but enthusiasm.
"So you and I, my house, tonight – a little pampering, a little girl talk, a little…" Involuntary her hand rises and brushes the heavy weight of Jane's hair back off her face. It's as silky as it looks and for just a second her thumb brushes it hypnotically. At least it seems hypnotic because Jane sighs a little, relaxes and closes her eyes.
All too quickly the buzzing of the cell phone breaks the magic of the moment, and Jane grabs for the offending item with irritation, "Maura, touch a hair on my head tonight and you are a dead woman." Turning away, she grouses into the cell, "Rizzoli… WHAT?" Several 'Uhuh's later she pockets it and says, "Look, I gotta go, okay? But about tonight…"
Sensing her opportunity slipping away, Maura brings out the big guns: softens her stance, adds a little tremble to her lower lip, a hint of mournful desperation to her eyes, "We've never done anything like that, come on, it'll be fun. Please?"
Jane looks torn, "Maura, I don't… you know I hate…" Her phone buzzes again. Grumbling, she storms out, throwing over her shoulder, "Okay, sure, fine. I'll see you tonight."
"You were right, Maura, this is nice." Jane sinks a little deeper into the plush couch and blows out a peaceful sigh, her face relaxed under the aloe vera mask. "Sorry I ever doubted you." Her hand leisurely stretches to retrieve her half full glass of wine. "Hey Bass, here, boy," she calls out to the lump currently residing on the living room carpet. Predictably, he doesn't move. Grinning, she twists her head to look at Maura, "You've turned me into your turtle."
"Is there really a difference?"
"Well, actually, huge. But for once, I am not going to tell you. See for yourself…" Flicking on the TV, she brings up the first of the nature programmes she's methodically picked out just for this occasion.
"No, Maura, do we have to?" Jane's eyes are full of begging. For once Maura resists, telling herself this is for her own good.
"I really think you'll like this one." Her tone is bright and perky.
"I really think I won't." Jane's is grumbling and resigned.
"How about some cheese?" Maura rises and walks into the kitchen.
"Has it ever resided inside, or within, the vicinity of the 'dead' fridge? And remember, Isles, I know how bad you are at lying…"
And you know everything, don't you, Maura inwardly smirks, outwardly all innocence, "Of course not."
"Bring it on," Jane calls out as, a split second later suddenly sounding panicked, "Uh, Maura… what are… wait, what is that… is he… oh my God!"
Suppressing a smile, she watches Jane stick her head round the door, "Ah, I am not sure if you've watched this documentary but do you know what… I mean… are you aware that there are turtles… larger than life turtles… in high definition… having sex right now… on your screen?"
"Tortoises, Jane," Maura sighs in exasperation. Really, how hard is it to tell the difference?
"Oh, tortoises, right…" Jane snaps her fingers, "got ya. Well, then, that's totally okay..."
"Maura, what's going on?"
Three documentaries, two bottles of wine and a block of cheese later and Jane sits up a little less gracefully than she might have done a couple of hours ago.
"What are you talking about?"
"Everything." Jane looks painfully earnest, more sober than she's got a right to look after the volume of alcohol she's drunk tonight. "This new stuff, the dress, the shoes… and don't tell me the shoes aren't new, Maura, I am a cop for God's sake… it's my job to notice this stuff. And now this… the makeover, the girly stuff," she sighs. "Oh and please, please tell me why I've had to watch three hours…THREE hours of animals having sex in front of me."
"Not exactly in front of you."
"As good as, Maura… and don't do that, the deflecting thing, don't change the subject."
"I just thought it would be nice to do something a little different. Didn't you… enjoy the documentaries?"
"Maura, three hours…" Jane counts them out on her fingers, "one, two, three… of animals… mating. What exactly is there to enjoy?"
For the first time since she's started this experiment, Maura feels a tiny prickle of fear that this isn't going to work. "People like this stuff."
"Yeah, weird people… serial killers, Maura. Serial killers watch animals humping on TV. Others… normal people… not so much."
Anger lances through Maura, "I like watching this stuff."
"Yeah, well, that's just you. You are –"
"What? What exactly am I, Jane?" Dozens of school yard taunts resound in her head as an uncomfortable silence reigns between them. "Yeah," Maura says with resignation, "that's exactly what I thought." The feeling rushing through her is painful – disappointment. The one person she thought would – did…
She rises and grabs the empty glasses, takes them into the kitchen.
"Maura," Jane follows her, "look I didn't meant it like that. That was a stupid thing to say, I am sorry."
"Well, it's not the first time, is it?" Maura says bitterly.
Jane looks guilty, "Okay, I know. Sometimes I open my mouth before I think but you know that I don't actually think you're… weird. I mean, you are weird, but not - not in a bad way! In like a really good…"
At the continued silence, Jane's voice peters out, "Okay, I get it. I'll… let me grab my stuff."
Maura automatically reaches for more wine, sees the small amount left, shrugs and swigs it directly from the bottle. Maybe it's the alcohol, maybe the anger, maybe simply her, but she's doesn't shy away from being direct about this either. When Jane comes back, she explains, "You know what, Jane...women become aroused by a wider variety of sexual imagery than men. That happens to include pictures of animals mating. That's why we were watching the documentary. Did you know that? Have you ever tried reading anything besides the cartoons and baseball scores?"
"Okay, that was totally below the belt but I deserved it. Tell you what, we are gonna call this one a draw. But Maura, why the hell would you want me to be arou…?" The transformation is so visibly obvious that it would be funny if Maura wasn't involved, if she wasn't the subject, because it really is just like watching a light bulb instantly turn on over Jane's head as she pieces it together. "Oh… oh… you wanted to…" She runs her hand through her hair nervously, "I mean…. You wanted us… like the…" Her hand flutters in the direction of the living room.
Maura strolls over to the front door, swings it open and waves outside with her empty bottle, "Well, Jane, if I did… not anymore."
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The next morning, Maura kicks herself all the way to work. Korsak is right, Jane is right… and last night proved their point perfectly – she is a runner, she's just not very... God, she just plain sucks. Checking her cell, she sees the three missed calls – Jane, Jane, oh and Jane. How the hell is she going to face her across the table this morning?
Praying that there are no new murders today, she sheds her coat and her bag. Walking over to the desk, she sees a haphazardly scattered pile of paperwork. Wait, her paperwork is never this messy. Frowning, she goes to tidy it, almost immediately spotting the offending sheet of paper on top, groaning out loud. Of course, she was in such a hurry to set last night's events in motion that she forgot to take the stupid list. She doesn't need to check it, she's well aware of her failings, but as a reminder of things to never try again, she takes a rueful glance… then does a double take. Underneath the several precisely written, mostly scored out, names of species, there is a hurried line of text – a scrawl that she's incredibly familiar with – you know that homosapiens just ask?
She exhales with a smile, permits a tiny shudder of relief, looks lower and sees the even smaller – 7pm. Running track. Tonight. Judging by your lofty expectations, I'm going to need to limber up.
If anyone were ever to ask, she'd outright deny it, but she dances a twirling jig across the room.
There are two types of people in this life…
…the notion is ridiculous.
But if it's not… at least she is Jane Rizzoli's type.