Rizzoli & Isles – I certainly don't own them. I give a lot of credit to the people that do and thank them for letting me mess about with them for a bit. The story and any original characters that might crop up belong to my addled little brain.
Written for an ongoing prompt fest I'm filling over on tumblr. mac-tire-dubh's prompt reveal at the bottom:)
Many thanks to CharlietheCAG, chapstick beta babe who says this is supposed to be a two shot.
"Officer McCarthy?" When the young man at the front desk didn't look up, Maura waited until she reached the counter before trying again. "Good evening Officer McCarthy, I'm expecting a consultant from MIT tonight and I needed…"
This time the officer looked up and his expression went from mild embarrassment to shock as he cut her words off. "Dr. Isles!" Papers went flying from his desk while his hands fumbled over keys.
The chaos only drew her attention. She passed this desk daily. She rarely paid attention to the cache of video monitors tucked off to the right but a familiar voice, tinny but distinctive, made her look.
It was Jane. Maura squinted slightly. Jane and Frankie.
The picture quality was lacking but she could see the concern on Jane's face while she spoke to her brother. "Frankie, is it possible that a high-stress situation has intensified a…crush?"
She leaned over the desk to hear Jane better. Frankie's response was lost under Officer McCarthy's stabbing fingers but when his drink knocked over he jumped to avoid the liquid and she heard Jane again. "…you know she's practically family. And you work together."
Frankie seemed to get irritated. Maura could tell by the way he rolled his shoulders as if he could push Jane back. "So?"
Jane was easy to read. She could see it the set to her shoulders, the way she reached out to touch Frankie, the downcast eyes. This was an intensely private emotion she was sharing because she loved her brother. "So you shouldn't mess around with people you work with."
Officer McCarthy tried to hide his pounding heart as his fingers finally managed to strike the volume off button on the video bank. He cursed his fair skinned heritage, knowing his ears were hot and the color on his neck noticeable. It was a constant problem.
"Damn it!" Maura tried to reach over the desk. "Turn the sound back on right now."
"We're not supposed to have it on." One look at her face made him turn rapidly back to the keys but it was too late. She watched Frankie step off the elevator on the screen.
Maura finally looked away from the monitor. Officer McCarthy's ruddy cheeks were an interesting mottled color. She could see sweat darkening his shirt under his arms. "An overactive sympathetic nervous system is nothing to have anxiety over Officer."
She was walking away before he could even think to reply.
Alone in her office Maura skimmed her report on Chef Holden's autopsy for the last time. With a final click she saved the report in the system and sat back in her chair. It was late enough that the bustle of the crime lab had slowed. The morgue night shift would start soon.
Jane's parting words to Frankie scrolled through her mind. "So you shouldn't mess around with people you work with."
She knew by Jane's body positioning and Frankie's somatic response that Jane was trying to share something she felt she had learned through painful experience and wanted to shield her brother from the results.
Jane was protective.
A pointed gun, a hurled insult. It didn't matter the method. If it had the power to hurt someone she loved she'd put herself in the line of fire.
However this time it came down to Jane protecting her brother or her best friend. The line of fire was hazy and undefined.
For both of them.
Maura stared at the tribal masks on her wall. If she was honest, there was fact in Jane's statement. Becoming involved with people you worked with often had unforeseen ramifications. She only had to consider Ian's requests for illegal supplies. His place as a romantic partner pushed her limits and made her redefine what was right and wrong even at the risk of her career.
But she and Jane often held opposite interpretations of a fact. For her it was more a logistical question of where boundaries needed to be placed, even if you had to renegotiate them over time.
For Jane, who ran on instinct versus data, it was less logistical and more the emotional consequence that she focused on.
Jane's relationship with Rafael Martinez certainly created emotional barriers that Maura had encountered but never understood until she heard Jane's history with him. Partners by design had a unique emotional bond and a great deal of trust. For someone with Jane's nature having both broken would be deeply violating.
Gabriel Dean had resulted in their own estrangement and Jane had to suffer through an IA investigation. Joey Grant had pushed into Jane's life as her boss first and potential boyfriend next, only to leave at the first chance to move up in his career.
Casey had left her with a ring and a choice. It was either force him to sacrifice himself or she had to give up her family and career in Boston to follow him.
In almost every case the relationships threatened the core drivers Jane naturally sacrificed her own needs for. Her family and her career.
So what happened if all three would be threatened at the same time by one person? Self, family and career.
She knew by the scar on her leg. Why hadn't she seen it before?
The question was, now what could she do?
Susie's voice stopped her reflection. "Dr. Isles, I uploaded the chemical structure of the dichlorvos into the system so you could complete your report."
Maura nodded her head slightly. "I saw, thank you." For a minute she wanted to ask Susie's advice but there were limits to even close relationships in the workplace. This was the type of question usually reserved for Jane. But who did she ask when the question was about Jane? Certainly not Angela.
Susie was still waiting expectantly by the door. "If you could sign off as Chief on Pickerson's results from the State Police case we'll be able to finish that up tomorrow."
Maura offered her a small smile. "I will before I leave. Have a good night Susie."
Susie seemed to hesitate, hand gripping the entryway but she smiled back. "Good night Dr. Isles."
It was as she was placing her electronic signature on the State Police report that Maura realized she had her answer.
Maura pulled her coat closed against the cool night air as she left the BPD. In the end the decision wasn't as difficult as she had been expecting. That alone made her comfortable with her choice.
Maybe it was easier than she had anticipated because from the time she realized the full scope of the situation, Frankie had kissed her and Jane had finally ended it with Casey on her own. Maybe it was because the minute Jane needed someone she had called her.
What she hadn't anticipated tonight was Jane lounging against her Prius. It didn't take a genius IQ to see the coiled tension in the crossed legs and arms.
The tap of a familiar white envelope against an elbow sounded loud to her ears.
Maura stopped walking. "Where did you get that?"
Jane shrugged but she didn't move. "Couldn't have come from too many places, so I'm going to guess that you already know."
Her pulse was increasing. The sympathetic nervous system. Maura licked dry lips. "I don't like guessing."
Jane pushed away from the car. "I don't like finding out from my boss that my best friend was resigning her position."
There was a way Jane walked when she decided to command a situation that seemed to cause an increase in her body temperature. Maura let go of her coat and welcomed the cool air against her.
Jane stopped to study Maura. She had been angry, but Maura wasn't acting defiant or exposed. In fact her expression wavered and flitted while her breathing seemed to be increasing. Maura was nervous.
Narrowing her eyes Jane held up the envelope. "Why?"
"Can we not do this here?" Maura watched a group of officers leave the building and move through the lot.
"Why can't we do this here?" Jane frantically searched through her mind, trying to figure out what she had missed with Maura over the past few weeks. "What are you hiding?"
Maura took a deep breath in and out. The situation wasn't ideal but here they were. "I'm not hiding anything. I overheard you tell Frankie that he shouldn't mess around with people he worked with."
For a moment Maura was afraid Jane was going to blow up. But the rage passed as the eyes grew wide and dark. They gleamed wet in the low light as Jane's arms dropped to her side, the envelope dangling from her fingers.
"That was what this was about?" Jane cleared her throat at the sound of the scratchy words. "You wanted to date my brother so badly you choose to give up your job?" Jane swallowed. "How awful do you think I am? I'd never make you choose between your job and a relationship. I know how hard you had to work to get where you are. You're Chief, Maura. You're a woman and you're the Chief Medical Examiner."
They both waited, staring at each other until a detective from Robbery finished parking his car and walked away.
Jane stared at his back as he walked out of the lot. "You have my blessing and support to date Frankie. Don't give up your job. You love what you do."
Maura waited but Jane was staring at the detective while he disappeared around the building. "Jane." Tired eyes dragged to hers. "I didn't quit my job for Frankie."
She moved close enough to reach out and pull the paper from Jane's hand. "I quit my job for you."
Jane didn't notice the ambulance roaring up the street or the fresh group of rookies making their way in for the night shift. "What?"
Maura gripped the envelope tightly. "I choose you."
Jane could feel sweat forming on her palms. She stared at Maura.
Maura resisted the need to reach out and grab Jane for balance. This was part was harder than she had expected. It was as if she was walking towards a cliff with her eyes closed.
"The last time I handed in a resignation letter it was to protect you and I don't think either of us realized it at the time. We were so angry at each other after the warehouse fire, but even then, thinking I hated you, I still chose you."
Jane wasn't responding and Maura rushed on. "I realized that everyone else always made you choose somehow between your career and the relationship. You trusted them and then they used your relationship with them in a way that could ruin your career or take it away from you. But when it came to their own career you were their second choice. Casey was even a threat to your family."
Maura couldn't look at Jane anymore. She stared at the contrast of her cigarette heels to Jane's black boots. "I spend a lot of time thinking and analyzing. After I heard what you said to Frankie I realized something. You always make me feel loved and protected. You have no problem sacrificing yourself to protect someone you love. It's who you are."
It was Jane's fingers finding and holding the tips of hers that let her continue. "I thought that perhaps you were doing this for me. You protect my job and my place in your family by sacrificing yourself. By giving up something you want."
Maura curled her fingers around Jane's and she looked back up. "But my job is not my career. There are other places in Boston I could work. And my place in your family has always been by your side."
She took the final step to Jane. "So for me there is no contest between my job, being part of your family or you. You win. My presumption may be wrong, but if it's not, I thought you needed to know."
Jane swallowed and tentatively tugged at Maura's hand, surprised at how easy it was to have her up against her. "Did Dr. Isles just guess?"
Maura stepped in closer and dropped her head onto Jane's shoulder.
"It was a good guess." Jane wrapped her arms around Maura. It didn't matter that she was in the BPD parking lot and there were curious looks from a couple of Vice detectives on their way back into the station. "Please don't quit your job. If you really love me you'll avoid sticking me with Popov or Pike."
"Okay." The fact that she was crying didn't surprise her. An overactive sympathetic nervous system was nothing to be embarrassed about. Maura buried her face into Jane's neck and wrapped her arms around her back.
Jane shivered. "Wanna go home and get something to eat?" She looked around the empty parking lot before pressing a kiss into Maura's hair.
"I have some seitan and quinoa leftover from last night." Maura lifted her head and loosened her arms.
"Wheat gluten and chenopods." Jane shook her head as they stepped apart. "No and no." She pulled out her phone. "How about, I have the pizza delivery number on my favorites."
"No meat grease on my half." Maura headed to her car and held up her keys.
Nodding Jane grabbed them and unlocked the Prius "As long as you keep your fungus off mine."
Settling into the passenger seat Maura waited until Jane had buckled in. "It would appear we have an understanding."
Jane started the car before reaching out and taking Maura's hand in hers.
"Yes we do."
Ever since the exchange Jane had with Frankie in the elevator (about not messing with the people you work with), I imagine what Maura would do if she overheard that and realized this was the reason holding Jane back from making a move. I'm sure Maura would make a point to show Jane the error of her ways (in the best possible way, of course) so Jane would know its OK for them to be together!