Author: Googlemouth PM
Maura never played a single drinking game in college. She never anticipated the consequences of playing one, either. Co-written with AdmHawthorne.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - M. Isles & J. Rizzoli - Chapters: 8 - Words: 14,043 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 86 - Follows: 32 - Published: 02-14-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6744843
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It had been a long two weeks for Boston's homicide detectives. None of their cases were particularly difficult, but there were a lot of them, and all had been time-consuming. Ironically, the cases that had taken the most time and energy were a suicide and two accidental deaths, which had both looked like murder at first blush. One of the accidental deaths had taken place when a would-be murderer's plans had backfired on herself. There had also been several court appearances by various members of the squad, consulting on other cases, and so on. By the time everyone had filed their paperwork and took time to breathe, it was three o'clock on Friday afternoon. By general consensus, the detectives and even several of the uniformed officers knocked off early, agreeing to meet up later at the Dirty Robber to have a few drinks and decompress.
Just before leaving the precinct, Detective Jane Rizzoli had stopped off at the morgue on the pretense of dropping off some questions that "the guys" (the entire homicide unit) had had on the details of a recently filed autopsy report. In actuality, the questions could have waited, or been sent by email, but she had been so busy for the last week that she hadn't even laid eyes on her best friend for two days, and thought maybe Dr. Maura Isles might like to join the guys in that drink. "Do you know, I think I will," Maura decided impulsively, and packed up to leave her chilly sanctum for the evening.
That was why, contrary to all custom, Maura found herself not at home alone, or with a date, or with Jane alone, but surrounded by cops at their favorite hangout, The Dirty Robber. She listened more than spoke, leeching some of their conviviality as they laughed, joked, and stood rounds for one another. Sometimes she even joined in, though whenever she added to a joke in progress, there would be an awkward pause before the jocularity resumed. She didn't mind much; at least they didn't directly mock her for her lack of understanding of idioms anymore.
Not with Vince, Barry, Frankie, and Jane around, anyway. Jane had been her first friend and defender within the Boston Police Department, and eventually Barry and Vince had figuratively linked arms with Jane. Maura was touched at how the four of them had adopted her as sort of a mascot, very much like the ones that team sports often supported: she didn't fit in, not really, yet they were willing to buckler her against greater numbers until the others either accepted her or learned to fake it convincingly.
Maura's heart warmed as she listened to her inner monologue superimposed over the conversation of the others. What would communicate to them her appreciation at being included? Aha, she thought, eying everyone's bottles, tumblers, and steins. "Another round? I think it's my turn." She stood up and made for the bar to order one more of everything at the table.
"You don't have to do that," one of the unis (all right, he wasn't wearing his uniform anymore now that he was off duty, but he was still a uni to her) tried to tell her, causing her cheerful smile to falter a bit.
"But isn't it customary? I thought that everyone within a group setting was expected to contribute equally." Maura's eyes sought out help from her quartet of supporters, her squadron, her team. Frankie, sharing the Rizzoli family talent for insight, leapt in to say that of course she was part of the group, and yes, it was her turn. "Hey, maybe some tequila this time? I haven't had a shot in a while." Maura favored the younger Rizzoli with a brilliant, grateful smile and restrained herself from skipping to the bar.
By the time she returned, Barry and some of the others were talking about their days in college or the academy. "Remember waking up on Monday morning, having no idea where you were or how to get to class from there?" Raucous laughter. "Remember the walk of shame?" Everyone seemed to know what that was, and enjoy their memories; Maura smiled, clueless but enjoying the fact that they all seemed so happy. The waiter set down the tray of two pitchers of different types of beer, a bottle of tequila, and all the trimmings for as many shots as could possibly be done out of that bottle.
"I remember writing all my assigned papers at the beginning of term," Barry boasted, "so that I'd have all my weekends free. And you better believe I used 'em, too." Knowing nods, winks, more laughter with a bit of a raunchy undertone. At least Maura could guess what that was about, though she elected not to dwell overly much on the notion. This family of "brothers in blue" was second only to the Rizzoli clan, she decided, in terms of being her crowd. As odd-man-out as she was, she still loved the company of those who dedicated their lives to maintaining the laws of society. They worked so hard, for so little pay or thanks, just to try and keep their city safe, and to see that when people hurt one another, there were consequences. Most of the time, they didn't even seem to realize how noble they were, unless defending their fellow officers from detractors. They just took it for granted that any one of them put on a uniform and immediately became a better man or woman, striving to stick to better behavioral standards than those of the public they served. Knights, Maura realized, they were knights charged with the task of maintaining society's higher ideals so that people had someone to trust. No wonder they all seemed so wounded whenever a cop proved dirty, broke the code and tarnished the badges of all the rest of them.
"Oh man," Vince was saying as Maura slid back into her seat beside Jane and dialed back into the conversation, "in my day, strip poker was as adventurous as we got. Just taking something off, no touching anybody." His portly form shook with laughter as he added, "Then again, in my day, there weren't any girls at the academy anyway, so all I did with strip poker was hear about it from other guys. You're sayin' once the girls got in...?" He glanced around at the younger men at the table, some of whom just looked envious as others smirked. "What about you, Jane? What was it like when you got in?"
Jane snorted as she lined up shot glasses. "Not as exciting as you want it to be, Korsak." She gave a cheeky grin to the crowd as everyone chuckled. "Mostly, we figured out ways to sneak out so we could go to the other side." Most of the people around the table laughed, there were a few winks, and Frankie tried to hide his embarrassment at what his sister had just admitted out loud.
Although she chuckled lightly, Jane could tell that Maura was completely lost on what she was implying. "Hey, Maur, you were a sorority girl, right? You wore those foil bikinis and stuff. You can't tell me you never snuck out of your place to have a little bit of fun." She poured the shots and started passing out slices of lime. "The boys here can't have all the good stories."
With that, Jane licked her hand, poured some salt, and took the tequila shot. "God, this is the good stuff." She blinked as her eyes teared a little.
"Can't handle it, Rizzoli?" Korsak deadpanned as he took his shot. He didn't have quite as pronounced a reaction to the tequila, but his voice was still hoarse as he complimented Maura's choice of brand. "Patron Silver. Nice, Doc. You always did know quality."
"Hey, shut up Korsak." Jane spat back, then waited for Maura to confirm her guess.
Maura became rapidly flustered as almost a dozen sets of eyes swiveled towards her, most of them widening at the mention of foil bikinis. "I, n-n-no, I didn't wear a foil bikini. The ABC party was the night before my freshman year midterm. Besides, I was the designated driver until I turned twenty-one, which meant that I stayed home until the girls called for a ride. I just... heard about it later." She peered off into the distance, focused on a memory that made her wistful. She knew they'd hear that in her voice, but she still offered that exclusion up like a jewel on a velvet pillow, "It did sound like a lot of fun, though. All those creative outfits, and the games..."
Frankie leaned forward, disbelief writ huge on his expressive face. "Seriously, Doc, you never went to frat parties? Come on, you had to go to some, right?"
Maura started to shake her head, then remembered abruptly, "Wait, yes I did. Whenever my sorority was hosting, I attended, of course. And of course, I went to some parties after football games in high school. They had to invite me; I was a cheerleader." The socially awkward woman glanced around, and was rewarded with the expected looks of astonishment. "My guidance counselor said it would look good on college applications to participate in some sort of team sport."
"Oh my god, how did I not know you were a cheerleader?" Jane's eyes ran around the table to land on Frost, who was clearly picturing it. With a quick movement, she leaned forward and gave him a quick thwack on the back of the head. "No. Bad Rookie Detective. Maura is off limits from that kind of perving, okay?"
"No, Jane, I don't mind. The uniforms were very attractive," Maura began, but was quickly drowned out by a louder voice teasing Frost and one or two others, followed by denials.
"Hey, that was uncalled for, Rizzoli," Frost ran a hand gently over his head.
"Yeah, come on Janie, give the guy a break." Korsak threw back another shot of tequila. That drew his total up to three. "You have to admit, Dr. Isles probably looked great in a cheerleader uniform." There was much agreement among the men standing around the table.
Maura pressed a hand to her heart, looking actually touched by all that leering commentary. "Thank you, Vince. I did try to look my best; and the uniforms were designed to draw attention and admiration. I enjoyed wearing them. Being part of a team, working hard together and supporting others. It was like my sorority, in a way. Almost like having friends."
Jane rolled her eyes. "First of all, don't call me Janie. Second of all, whatever. So," she turned back to the doctor. "You were a cheerleader, but you never partied. You were a sorority girl, but you never went to hang with the frat boys. Man, Maura, what did you do in school, besides study? I mean, come on, you did have one or two people you hung out with, right? Even Frankie and I played drinking games when were younger." She grinned. "Hey, Frankie, remember that time we played 'I Never' and you got so plastered you drunk dialed Ma?" She started laughing.
"Played what?" Maura asked, but again was vocally overpowered by the assembled male voices trying to top one another in their claims concerning various drinking games, including the one Jane had mentioned.
"Yeah, but only because Ma recorded the whole thing. Still don't know how she got ahold of that recording equipment." Frankie shot his sister a suspicious look.
"Playing 'I Never' will get you in trouble every time," one of the unis mentioned, but didn't look the least bit as if he had minded his bouts with such trouble. A few of the guys started knocking fists to shoulders as they shared, if not actual memories, then at least the sense of commonly understood experiences.
"What is that?" Maura asked again, doing a very creditable job of concealing her frustration as a cacophony of male voices proclaimed confidently that everyone knew that game. One did mention that in his hometown it had been called 'Never Have I Ever', but that was all the explanation forthcoming.
In a mocking and imitation drunken voice, Jane began, "Ma... Ma... isss me." She began faux sobbing. "I love you, Ma."
"Shut up!" Frankie threw a used lime slice in his sister's direction.
Maura's hand shot into the air to catch the lime right before it hit Jane in the face, better than in a movie. In the abrupt silence that followed, and before anyone could start whooping, she smiled and asked, "What is I Never?" At that point, the silence was no longer impressed. It was shocked. "Seriously?" someone muttered, and someone else mentioned the F word. Freak. Followed by Maura's nickname, Doctor Death. Maura's lips pursed; she was about to take offense, and there would probably be some lengthy speech about it, too.
Jane gave a few warning glares and punched the uniformed officer in the arm that had mutter the word freak. The silence resumed. With a gentleness in her voice and the same warning in her eyes, she began to explain. "It's a drinking game. Everyone involved takes turns making statements that start 'I Never'. If you're playing, and you have done whatever it is, then you take a shot."
Frankie followed Jane's lead. "Yeah, playing it is a good way of finding out things about people. Like, I found out that Janie once ate an entire Philly cheesesteak sandwich in less than a minute flat."
"No way." Frost chimed in, glancing around at the faces of the other men as he did so, trying to get them to follow. "How did you not choke to death?"
Maura looked impressed, and said as much. "Wow, Jane. That is very... Wow."
"Always knew you had a big mouth, Rizzoli." Korsak eyed the rest of his fellow cops as he took a jab at his former partner.
"You know what? I had a 20 riding on that bet." Jane put a protective arm around the back of Maura's chair as she shifted her weight. "No way I was going to lose a 20 to Crowe."
"Best damn 20 bucks I ever spent!" Crowe shouted from somewhere at the back of the crowd. "Never knew you didn't have a gag reflex, Rizzoli."
Once Maura understood the fact that there was innuendo at play, the corners of her eyes crinkled upward. She didn't dare smile, for a few seconds at least, but quite soon a giggle burst softly through her determined throat clearing.
"What can I say, Crowe," Jane's eyes began to sparkle with mischief, "Your sandwich was too small, I guess." She gave a shrug as she took a sip of her beer. "It's all good. Mine was bigger anyway."
A few of the officers chuckled and there was catcalling. "I still say you cheated!" Crowe said as he walked away from the group, grumbling.
"You know, Dr. Isles, maybe you should play it some time? I bet you'd be fun to play with, 'I Never', I mean." Frost winked.
"Okay," Maura replied, still well amused at the notion of Jane swallowing an entire sandwich in one bite, and apparently quite prepared to take up the game on the spot.
"What did I just say, Frost?" Jane kicked him under the table.
Maura's hand snuck towards Jane, not quite far enough under the table to be invisible to the other cops and detectives, but at least visible enough to be clearly on the other woman's arm rather than somewhere ambiguous. "But it sounds like fun, Jane. A good way to get to know people better. You're among friends. Don't you think it would be okay?"
"You know what I think?" Jane made a motion to stand up. "I think it's getting late."
"Spoil sport!" Her little brother made a face at her.
"What? I'm not stopping you from playing, Frankie. Besides, Korsak is about to pass out." She reached over, grabbing the keys from her former partner. "Maura, would you mind following me in my car while I take Vince home?"
Puzzlement and disappointment stole across Maura's face as she said softly, not quite in a whining tone but not far from it either, "But it's only eight-thirty." Then she sighed, good sense winning out over fun, as it had all through high school, college, and medical school. "No, you're right. I'll follow you. Let's go."