|What Matters Most
Author: colormetheworld PM
Sequel to "Just Give Me a Reason" Not necessary to read that to read this, but definitely give it a read if you like this. Jane and Maura are married, have twins, are still as kickass as ever. Picks up around 3x02. Seasons 1-2 covered in first Fic. Rated T generally, but some chapters are M. Thanks for reading!Rated: Fiction T - English - M. Isles & J. Rizzoli - Chapters: 51 - Words: 176,289 - Reviews: 1,782 - Favs: 332 - Follows: 441 - Updated: 02-22-13 - Published: 11-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8715925
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
For once in her life, Jane follows doctor's orders.
He tells her to rest, and to keep herself as stress free as possible. Maybe it's something about the way that the worry lines between Maura's eyebrows deepen when she hears the Doctor tell them Jane has to stay low key. Maybe it's the way that she holds tight to Jane's hand, like she's already bracing herself for the argument they're going to have about it.
"If I do deskwork half days, and then…have the kids the rest of the day, would that be okay, Doc?" Jane can feel Maura's stunned eyes on her face. She smirks a little.
"That should be fine. No running after criminals. Not for a little bit alright, Detective."
Jane squeezes Maura's hand, nodding at her Attending, "Yeah, alright."
Beside her, Maura makes a noise that could be an angry sigh, but could also be tears. Jane looks around quickly to see that it is the latter.
"Hey," she tips her chair so that she can kiss the side of Maura's head, "Hey! What is it? I said I wouldn't run around after criminals, Maur."
"I know. I know," Maura swats angrily at the wetness in her eyes. "You just…You are such…an enigma. I will never understand you."
Jane gives her wife the kind of smile that she knows makes the doctor a little weak in the knees. "I know. I like to keep you guessing."
Maura collects herself enough to roll her eyes.
And true to her word, Jane does desk work in the morning, and spends the afternoons with their children, following them as they run through the park, or taking them by subway to the MFA.
Usually, it's Maura who spends the most time with them, and they revel in Jane's uninterrupted attention, and Jane seems genuinely surprised and pleased at how much they want to be around her.
But the best part, for Maura anyway, comes at five or six at night, when she gets home from the morgue and pushes through the door of her house. When Jo Friday barks, signaling her arrival, and four pairs of feet thunder down the hallway, and eight arms wrestle over who gets to hug her the hardest.
"Guess what I did today?"
"I got you this at the museee. I got you a post card. Look!"
Affection. A bid for her undivided attention. The first one to get home, or having never left, It is usually Maura who would have to stand in the kitchen and watch this display from the other end, as her children crowded around a usually tired and careworn detective.
Now, when she can finally get close enough, Jane kisses Maura's cheek before bending down to pick Noah up so he doesn't get knocked over by his older siblings. She smiles at the look on Maura's face, like she can read what she's thinking."It's nice," she says quietly, her grin broadening as Maura looks at her with wide eyes, "This sort of switch. I'm not saying I want to be at a desk forever…but this is nice." She face she makes is almost wistful. "Your expression, every night, when they come around the corner…" She shrugs, "It's nice."
Maura watches her wander off after their kids, and wonders for the first time if her wife was experiencing the same pangs of inadequacy. She watches Jane toss Noah into the air before putting him in his booster for dinner, and the way she looks at him when he giggles...
The weight of Maura's love for her family renders her speechless.
Korsak calls during dinner with big news. Dodging a swat from Maura for answering her phone at the table, Jane nearly spits her spinach across the table.
"Chief of police?"
Maura's eyes widen. "Speaker!" she says excitedly to Jane, "put it on speaker."
Jane presses the button, and Korsak's gruff voice fills the dining room. "Acting," he says, "Just acting while they figure out what to do with Cavenaugh...am I on speaker?"
Maura chuckles, "Say hi to Detective Korsak," she says to her children. "tell him congratulations."
"Hi Uncle Vince!" Sofia calls, Isabelle echoing behind her.
"Congrats!" Levi calls. "You are in charge now? Of everything?"
"Acting," Korsak says again, his voice betraying his excitement "Just acting."
"Still," Jane says, face shining, "Korsak, that's wonderful. I told you brass would recognize you."
"Anyway, that's not the whole reason I'm calling, Jane."
There is a silence, in which all six Rizzoli-Isles stare at the phone.
"Well?" Maura laughs, "Spit it out, Vince!"
"I'm promoting Silas. She's gonna move to the drug unit. Run lead over there."
"That's great," Jane says, shrugging at Maura, "Not sure why you're telling us…but she's way overdue. She shouldn't just be a footman."
More silence, and Jane shakes her head, bewildered, "So will that be all…sir?" She says teasingly.
Korsak laughs, "You watch yourself Rizzoli. Show a little respect or I might change my mind about also promoting your brother."
Jane's eyes are as round as saucers. "W-w-what?"
"I'm making Frankie Detective."
Jane whoops, leaping out of her chair, almost knocking her plate over. Isabelle and Levi are up right after her, whooping even if they are not quite sure why. "Korsak!" Jane cries, spreading her arms out to catch Isabelle as she jumps from her chair.
"Jane!" Maura is half scolding half laughing, "For heaven's sake. The example you set!"
But Jane is too busy dancing around with Bella, "Korsak, sir, you won't regret this. You won't."
"I know I won't, Jane…Do you want to tell him?"
Jane whoops again. Maura sees Sofia roll her eyes. "Thank you, Kor-sir. Thank you."
Korsak laughs, "I could get used to this sir thing." He disconnects and Jane looks at Maura, ebullient.
In his chair at the end of the table, Noah has been wiggling with excitement. Looking between his mothers, he raises his tiny little arms in the air, imitating Jane from the only other time he's seen her this excited.
"Touchdown!" He says excitedly.
Everybody laughs, and Jane moves to kiss his blonde head.
"I could not have said it better myself."
Maura is sitting on the bench at the end of their bed, trying to wrestle a squirming Noah into a bowtie when Levi appears in the doorway. "Hey sweetheart," she says beckoning him across the threshold. He comes slowly, looking apprehensive. Maura frowns, setting Noah down. "Go find Mama," she says to the toddler, and he scoots out of the room, turning down the hall to the twins room, calling for Jane.
"Come here, honey pie," she says, patting the bench, and Levi comes to sit next to her. "What's up?"
He bites his lip, hesitating, and Maura contemplates calling Jane. "Honey?"
"Are you mad at me, Mom?"
Maura, caught off guard, can only shake her head vigorously for a moment, trying to find her words. "No!" she says finally, vehemently. "No! Lee, why would you think that?"
Levi looks a little relieved, but not totally reassured. "I dunnah," she almost smiles at how he sounds like Tommy. "I dunnah, 'cause you say night to me quick like. And...when I ask you to play video games you always tell me to ask Ma, and I don't like craft time as much as Fia does, but you never do guess who with me anymore?" he ends like this is a question, all in a rush. Maura frowns, trying to think of the last time he'd asked her something.
Mom! Come play cowboys and indians with me?
Native Americans. Ask your ma, Lee, I've gotta look a this for a moment.
Maura shakes her head, looking down into hopeful blue eyes. "Oh, Levi, I'm so sorry...I...I've been so...preoccupied-" Levi makes a face and Maura smiles a little, "That means that I've had so many things on my mind."
"It's like a tornado in there?"
Maura raises her eyebrows, "Yes. Yes, it is, sometimes."
"Dr. Myers says sometimes, if it feels like that, to breathe and find the root of the problem."
Maura stares at this little boy, almost eight. Wiser than she'd imagined. "Your therapist is right...Is that why you came to talk to me?"
Levi looks a little apprehensive, then he nods, "I'm scared that something bad will happen. Ma is wearing her uniform. Last time...it meant the killer was coming after her."
Maura marvels at the growing brains ability to make and keep connections. She scoots closer to Levi. "No...I mean, yes, your right...those were the sequence of events, but Leah didn't come after your mother because of her uniform...What's happening tonight is just Uncle Frankie getting a medal, remember?"
Levi nods, fidgeting "What if it's like last time?" he looks at her.
"I know these last couple months have been pretty scary, huh?" she wraps an arm around him, happy when he leans into her embrace. "But you don't have to worry. Nothing bad is going to happen to Mama, okay? We're gonna go to a party for Uncle Frankie, and then-"
But he has turned to her, and his face is horrified, his blue eyes full of tears. She cuts her sentence short abruptly, "Sweetheart, what is it?"
"What about you, Mom? Is something bad going to happen to you?" He reaches out and grasps her wrist. The cast has been off for three days, and her skin is still pale and delicate. He holds on tight. "Mom? Are you going?"
Maura pulls him into a hug, "No! No, sweetheart, I'm sorry. Nothing's going to happen to me either, alright? Everyone's going to be safe and fine."
He looks down at his hand, still tight around her wrist. "If you go...who's gonna protect us?" Like he hasn't heard her.
Maura shakes her head, confused by the wording of her son's question. "What do you mean, Lee?" He looks up at her, like no explanation is necessary. "Fia says that you and Mama are like her and Iz." He looks at her, and Maura must still look confused, because he sighs, "for each other," he clarifies. "You are for Mama and Mama is for you. If you go, we'll all be empty. I'll be empty, like when I woke up and you were gone." His eyes fill up with tears again. "Mommy? Are you going away?"
She takes his face in her hands, wiping his tears with the pads of her thumbs, and he leans into her, wrapping his arms around her waist and holding on. "Mommy," he says again, and she leans down to kiss his head, feeling her own tears start to roll down her cheeks.
"Hey, Little man," she says softly, "Hey, I'm not going. I'm not going anywhere. I love you." She kisses his head again. Jane walks by with Sofia, and the little girl's tiny gasp makes Jane look around.
Her eyes widen as she takes in the scene in front of her, but when she looks questioningly at Maura, the doctor smiles through her tears.
Jane nods almost imperceptibly and pulls Sofia on, and Maura redoubles her grip on her son, rocking them gently. He sniffles and she tilts his head back to look her in the eyes. She'd commented to Jane once, watching them all play in the yard, that Levi looked like the child they might have had if they could have a child together. Light eyes and freckles with dark hair and long limbs.
Jane had half smiled. "It's like they were meant for us, Maura," she'd said, almost guiltily. "That's morbid and awful, but I feel it anyways."
Maura kisses Levi's forehead. Meant for us. For both of them. Levi doesn't need just Jane.
"You're my son," she whispers, and the relief and happiness that wash over Levi's face make a new round of tears come to her eyes. "I love you unconditionally. Forever."
He hugs her again, harder, already starting to cheer up.
"Double it," he says into her shoulder. "Double it, Mom."
The Hall where Frankie and Jennifer Silas are being honored is nice, and as the Rizzoli-Isles enter the dining room, they see Angela wave them over to her table.
"Elbows," Jane corrects Sofia as she sits down with Noah in her lap. "Hey, Ma. Sorry were late. Family full of women," she shoots a look at Maura, who blushes a little and shrugs.
"I was not about to go to your brother's celebratory dinner looking like a bum, Jane. You had it easy, all you had to do was put your uniform on." She rubs absently at Levi's shoulder as she speaks. Isabelle kicks Sofia under the table.
"Knock it off, you two or I will-" But Jane's threat is cut off as the lights dim, and pictures begin to flash up on a giant projected screen.
It's Frankie and Jennifer on their first day at the Academy. Frankie and Frost in BPD t-shirts with basketballs under their arms.
"Where's Frost?" Jane mutters, and Maura looks around.
"There!" She points, and Jane spins to see Frost and Alissa at a table a few yards away. He has his arm around her.
Catching their eye, he winks. Jane gives him the thumbs up. Maura chuckles.
"Oooh, their babies are going to be so attractive."
Jane snorts loudly, "You are certifiably insane and borderline racist," she hisses, "Watch the pictures."
Finally, from the side, Frankie steps up to the podium. The pictures stop.
Frankie looks behind him at the projector, frozen on the picture from the Globe. It shows Frost, Jane, Maura and Frankie, side by side, smiling at the camera. The headline that ran with this picture had said, A Family of Heroes; Officer to be Honored at Ceremony.
He looks back out at the crowd, at the table where the Rizzoli-Isles sit, Maura with Noah in her lap.
"The media…doesn't get things right all the time," he glances at Jane. "Or ever," he adds, like an afterthought, and a low, rolling laugh sweeps through the crowd. "They throw the word hero out like it's something amazing. They report on the living, like there weren't any dead." He looks out over the faces of fellow officers, "We know different. We know that for someone to become a hero, there has to be somebody whose life was cut short. And maybe they were threatening a school, or a family. Maybe they had an automatic weapon and they gunned down a mother and a father in cold blood." Frankie looks over to where Officer Monica Leighton's parents are sitting, her mother already with tears in her eyes. "Maybe, when you were pulling civilians to safety…one of your own was dying." His voice catches, and he looks back to his sister, and Maura watches as Jane tries to show him with a look what his words mean. How proud and happy and impressed she is with him. He smiles. "But the media got one thing right…in the God-awful media frenzy that has surrounded the past events. The events that are the reason I'm getting this award." He takes a breath. "The media got something right, and that is the family part.
"Sure, they said it because my older sister is the most decorated detective in the Boston Homicide unit, and my sister-in-law is such a good medical examiner that she'll know if you think about committing murder in her jurisdiction," this gets another, fuller laugh. Maura feels Jane's hand on the back of her neck, massaging gently.
"But I read it to mean all of us. When one of us is in danger, we are all in danger. When one of us falls," He takes off his hat, and the room is a silent wave of officers reaching up to do the same. "We all fall. My sister's been on the force since I was in high school, and the lessons she brought home to me, came from you." Frankie gestures around the hall, "They came from here."
He looks down to finger the medal on his chest, "I'm a detective now, but my morals have not changed." He looks out over the faces and his expression is solemn and earnest. Jane thinks her heart is going to burst. "God help me, I love BPD with my heart and soul...And if you think I'd make a good detective?" There is a cheer. Frankie grins, and as he steps aside from the podium to salute them, they stand up. All of them, cheering.
But no one in the hall is cheering or clapping louder than Jane. Maura watches her, her own smile wide and happy, proud that she can call these people hers.
Jane brings to fingers to her mouth and whistles. When Frankie looks at her she holds up hands. Still cheering.
Frankie looks at her, then at Maura. He touches his index finger to his heart.
Maura whistles too.
The air is warm and nice as everyone files out of the Hall. Maura slips her arm through Jane's, pinching her elbow on the way. "I do love you in your uniform," she whispers, as Isabelle and Levi streak past them onto the lawn. "Be careful!" she calls, "Do not get grass stains on any articles of clothing you two. I mean it."
Angela comes up beside them, Noah asleep on her shoulder, "Are you sure there's no way that Isabelle is Jane's?" she says quietly, and they all watch as Isabelle jumps, her arms wrapping around the lowest limb of the tree that stands in the center of the lawn.
"Isabelle!" Maura's voice is warning, and the little girl drops to the ground guiltily. "Maybe we should test them." Maura murmurs.
Jane chuckles, "Who cares," she says as she lifts Noah gently from her mom's arms, "Thanks, Ma."
"It was wonderful, wasn't it? Frankie looked so handsome up there. His speech was so moving. He's such a good speaker, Janie. Much better than you at your awards dinner," She frowns, "you were so gruff."
Jane rolls her eyes, and Maura nods, chuckling. Angela beams at them, "And did you see? That reporter came too. I saw Frankie help her into his car before he left."
Jane grins, "Well good for him," she says, "and look!" She nudges Maura, pointing to where Barry Frost is helping Alissa into his car. "Our boys are growing up."
Angela looks excited, "I wonder how long till the girls have more cousins to play with…You could run a background on her, Janie…Just to see if she's-"
"Nope. I'm cutting you off right there," Jane says quickly, "Now I see why Tommy knocked a girl up in secret and Maura disappeared. You're too nosy Ma!"
Maura waits for the sting of guilt and anger that always comes whenever anyone mentions her absence, but something about the way Jane says it, something about the way she shifts the baby on her shoulder so she can wrap an arm protectively around Maura's middle…
The sting never comes.
"She's right," Maura says slowly, and both Rizzoli women turn to look at her, "Switzerland seemed to be just the right amount of distance to keep you out of my business."
For a moment, she thinks she's said the wrong thing. Jane's mouth drops open and Angela's face goes completely blank with shock. She is about to open her mouth and apologize profusely, when Jane bursts into laughter. She tries to keep it in, so as not to wake the little boy on her shoulder, but that just means that it bursts from her with greater force.
"Oh…my…God," Jane wheezes, putting her hand on Maura's shoulder to keep herself from falling over. "Oh my God, Maur!" Noah wakes up with a grumpy little sigh, looking at his mother with a disgruntled expression.
Jane is still laughing. "She got you," Jane points at Angela, who is trying to look scandalized while holding in a smile. "She got you, so good!"
Jane looks at Maura, and the doctor knows that Jane understands more about this situation than she's letting on. Noah lets out a sleepy little whine, and reaches for Maura.
"Soft mommy," he says as he settles down against Maura's shoulder. "Good mommy."
Maura chuckles, reminded suddenly of the first little boy Jane ever really held, and how he had said the same thing, almost seven years ago. She knows that Jane still checks up on Lukas, and they still get a Christmas card from The Brodys every year. She thinks of the hundred dollars that Jane sends Laia every year on her birthday, and the photocopies of report cards from BCU that still hang on the bulletin board in Jane's attic sanctuary.
"Mama's soft on the inside," She says and Jane grins and kisses her briefly, before running after her children and scooping a shrieking Sofia off her feet. "Where it counts."
Angela shakes her head as Jane and Isabelle sneak a look back at them, and then Jane lifts the little girl into the tree.
"Really, Maura," she says, "You should test…just to see."
Maura grins, watching Jane turn to Sofia, whose arms are outstretched. Levi has run around the trunk and is scrambling up on his own.
They are all her children. Maura shakes her head, "Honestly. I couldn't care less.
"We should go away." Maura's eyes flutter shut as Jane's lips play over her jaw.
"We should take the kids on vacation. When was the last time we had an actual vacation?"
The kisses stop, and Maura knows Jane is thinking. "What like…just you and me and the kids?"
Maura slides her arms around Jane's waist, nodding. "We should go somewhere…"
"Warm," Jane says, pressing closer to Maura, making her sigh. "We should go someplace with palm trees.
Maura shrugs, "Both," she whispers, and Jane shudders against her. Maura chuckles, "Detective, is this conversation arousing you in some way?"
"Thinking of you in a bikini?" Jane bites at Maura's neck. "Yes."
Maura giggles, "Take your vacation time. I'll take mine…we'll go, All of us. Next week or the week after." She slides her hands into Jane's hair. "Say yes."
Jane kisses up to Maura's ear, so that her answer comes with a deliciously warm gust of air. "Of course," she breathes. Maura moans a little, her fingers pulling at Jane's shoulders.
"God," She rolls her eyes at herself, "How is it possible that you continue to make me feel this way? There is overwhelming evidence that supports the theory that monogamy makes sex less interesting as the years,"
"Did you just call me uninteresting?" Jane presses her knee in between Maura's leg.
"N-no," Maura gasps, her hips flexing involuntarily. "I-I-I was just…" but she is unable to remember what she was just…
Jane is about to pull Maura's shirt up over her head when the sound of feet in the hall makes her sit up.
"You know," she says, rolling off her wife and fixing her own shirt quickly, "It is really lucky our children have the stealth of a herd of elephants."
Maura chuckles, sitting up as the door creaks open. There is Sofia, behind her, Isabelle and Levi, hand holding tightly to Noah, who looks still asleep.
"Ah, the whole gang," Jane says, patting the bed. Four little bodies scramble up quickly. "Do they make a king king size bed?" Jane asks moving out of the way of Isabelle's teddy bear. "No, Iz, one teddy bear. Mr. Cute or Wiggly. Not both." Isabelle contemplates, and Mr. Cute gets exiled from the island.
"We could look into a custom size bed, I'm sure," Maura says moving one of Noah's feet.
"Don't encourage them," Jane chuckles, as everyone settles down. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"Could not sleep," Sofia says simply, reaching to play with Maura's necklace.
Jane looks at Maura, who nods, understanding. "Nuggets," she says authoritatively, and three heads turn to look at her. Noah is already almost asleep. "What would you think if Mommy and Mama took you all on a vacation?"
three sets of eyes light up. "Really?" Isabelle finds her voice first. "On a plane?"
"Yes!" Jane says, "On a plane."
"OH MOMMY!" Sofia squeals, snuggling against Maura, "when when when?"
"Can we go camping?"
"I want to go to the ocean!"
"beets?" Noah's sleepy voice drifts up from Jane's chest.
Maura laughs, "We're not quite sure where, yet, but next week. We leave at the end of next week." She looks at Jane, who nods, grinning.
"The beach!" Isabelle says, "The ocean again!"
"The mountains," Levi says, "I read about trails in school."
Sofia looks pensive, "Somewhere where we can see the whole sky. No city!"
Jane shakes her head, still smiling. "We don't have to decide right now. Tomorrow we can make a list of all the things we want to do, and then pick the best."
Maura smiles, watching her children contemplate this.
"What about you Ma?" Levi asks, "What's most important to you? What matters most?"
Maura looks at Jane, watching her survey all of her children, and then turn to look at Maura. She doesn't have to say how much she loves her. She doesn't have to say anything. Maura has never believed it has fully and deeply as she does right now.
"You know what?" Jane says, pulling Isabelle closer, "If they have a hotel bed that fits us all?" She reaches for Maura's hand.
"Then that is all I need."
You beautiful wonderful delicious people. Here we are! Just an epilogue left. I...I have no words for the gratitude and love and hugs and...just...you guys, especially those with me since JGMAR...especially those already signed up for the third installment...I...I can't. I do not write for a living, but you guys have given me the courage to try. to start...
I CANNOT SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH TIMES.
I hope that this chapter is flufftastic enough for you. If it's not...don't worry...the epilogue will give you the diabetes. lol.
i love you i love you. all of you. each one. i would literally line you up and hug you all long enough for it to be awkward. And when we all came down with the flu from the germ sharing, i would make vats of chicken soup and dish them out three times daily. THATS HOW MUCH THANK YOU I FEEL. :)
So I hope you enjoy the epilogue when it comes.
and as always. for like 100 chapters now.