Maura nodded professionally at her laptop. "Hemoglobin bound to oxygen absorbs blue-green light, which means that it reflects red-orange light into our eyes, appearing red. That's why blood turns bright red when oxygen binds to its iron. Without oxygen connected, blood is a darker red color. That is evident in the crime scene photos attached."
On the small computer screen Agent Davies sat at what appeared to be a glass cubical desk with Doctor Friedman (the nation's leading Hematologist) sitting directly beside him in a crisp white lab coat.
"Doctor Isles is simplifying the process for you." Friedman joked as Davies clicked around off screen to pull up an attached crime scene photo. "It really depends on the victim's blood alcohol saturation as well." It was well meaning, he seemed just as inconvenienced as Maura to be going through this again when it was all in the report. Still, he ushered Davies on in a way friendly colleagues did while this "quick" video call was now coming on to an hour long.
"This is similar to that Baldwin case we had out of Jacksonville…" Davies rubbed his chin before looking at Friedman "Do we have that to send to Dr. Isles?" Friedman nodded and Davies looked back to the computer screen. "We had a case where there were similar inconsistencies in blood splatter and general patency, can you take a look?"
Maura nodded graciously. She respected Erik Friedman, and they had collaborated professionally before. If it were his case she'd be happy to help. "Perhaps we can organize a more efficient way to store the data." She offered.
Davies nodded quickly. "Totally. These calls are way better, right?"
Maura took a slow and steady breath. "The latent report was on file." She edged. Dr. Friedman nodded in agreement.
"It is possible Cammy, that Dr. Isles has better things to do than wait for you to find your thumb drive." He chuckled noting Maura's usual professional warmth and exuberance voided since the beginning of the impromptu meeting. She was not fond of Cameron Davies, which was interesting but most certainly irrelevant to his involvement here.
Cameron chuckled softly and shook his head at himself. "Sometimes I think we're back in Boston and I can just pick up the phone or stop by." He offered in a way of apology. "I'm sorry if this has taken too long." He motioned to himself. "What's the medical term for tunnel vision?" He asked Maura.
"I work in a police headquarters; I am surrounded by those suffering from peripheral vision loss." She decided to be nice. "It's quite alright Agent Davies." She paused. "Perhaps we should continue looking into these trace similarities via email correspondence." Jane had orgasmed with him; she had told her this after they hooked up… Maura picked up her pen on her desk absently to distract herself. Jane had also orgasmed with her… sort of. It wasn't the same, could it be the same?
Davies nodded. "We'd have to get you in on our servers for all of that, my CO would prefer approving a call log." He looked to Friedman. "That work for you when you're in Seattle?"
"What about you Dr. Isles?" He asked. "We can carve out some time to get on a call."
"That works for me. I would prefer a days' notice to properly prepare as well." She added for good measure. There was a comfortable nature he always assumed with her that needed to be adjusted. Jane hadn't gotten too deep into detail about her time in Virginia, but she was sure the two spent time together, and despite her best logical efforts to separate her personal feelings about it with their professional collaborative relationship she was realizing that the feeling did not really change no matter the lens in which she focused on it with. He assumed this comfort only because of his sexual relationship with Jane, and now that that did not exist for him anymore neither did the reasoning for her to excuse his lack of professional preparedness. "I will continue to attach my observational notes as well." She had assisted heavily in Jane's orgasm, and that counted because Jane wanted her to do it again.
After the call Maura was whisked away into a lab matter only to return to a missed call from Tommy Rizzoli and a text message from Jane. The text was asking how the meeting went and to that Maura smiled a little before searching for Tommy's number and bringing her cell phone to her ear. She would respond to Jane later.
"Maura, hey!" Tommy chirped.
"Hello Tommy. I see I missed your call, is everything okay?"
"Uh, yeah. Called Jane earlier but she didn't answer." The ambient noise from traffic soon quieted as if Tommy was in a vehicle and had rolled up the window. "Listen I know it's kind of last minute, but you think you or Janie wouldn't mind watchin' TJ tomorrow night till around eight? Lydia is working a double and the only meeting I can go to that day is at seven because of all these new rich dudes I've been driving around…"
"Oh." Maura mentally scanned her schedule on Wednesday. She was to get back to Hope about MEND but that really did not require an in person visit, did it? "I would love to have him over."
He sounded relived. "Geez Maura you're really doing me a solid."
"Absolutely, you have to know how much I adore TJ." Maura paused a moment. Angela had mentioned briefly that Tommy was going to more alcoholics anonymous meetings since Frank had been back in town, but she wondered who he felt safe to talk to outside of that. She'd never admit it to Jane allowed but sometimes she felt Frankie and Jane's bond in work isolated Tommy. "How are you and Lydia?" He would share more if Lydia was mentioned she noticed.
"We're alright…" There was an uncharacteristic pause on his end. "Been kinda hard with all this stuff with the old man."
"That is completely understandable."
"We're supposed to be helping Ma but the meetings have been helping me y'know?"
Maura nodded. "Support systems are important for healing."
Maura waited for him to say more if he felt compelled to but the silence between them said enough. "When will you drop TJ off? Should I pick him up?" She could leave work a little early and take him to the library if that were the case.
"No no, I'll drop him off around six?"
"Hey, I owe you one."
"Only a rematch." They hung up and Maura got pulled away again to assist with more lab work and then Fionna Murphy's autopsy report was finished, and Kent was dropping it on her desk for review. As she made herself an early afternoon coffee and settled behind her desk, she wondered briefly about Tommy again. At the most recent Sunday dinner he had said something that caught her attention, something that felt off to her but she was not even sure it were worth mentioning to Jane, especially now that it sounded like he had things under control. Still, it was enough for her to take pause again in this moment, which gave Maura all the proof that she needed to eventually communicate the observation to Jane like she had tried to rearlier.
Jane looked down at her cell phone as she got out of her unmarked at a nearby gas station. It was a text from Maura telling her that the autopsy was complete, and that preliminary toxicology report would be ready in an hour, but she could dictate her findings now if Jane needed it to help move the case along.
"I'm getting a water." Korsak tossed over his shoulder toward the mini mart connected to the gas station. "Forgot how hot this jacket could be."
Jane chuckled at him taking off the large grey suit jacket and chucking it unceremoniously into the backseat of her car. "Grab me one?" Korsak gave her the thumbs up as he passed the gas pumps across from her. Jane went around to the side of her car and began the process of pulling gas as she brought her cell phone to her ear and kept it in place with her shoulder.
It rang twice before Maura answered.
Jane smiled a little. "Hey, anything?"
"Yes, one moment."
"Maura when I call for information, I expect it the second you pick up the phone you know?" There was a small huff of amusement on the other line as she imagined Maura making her way back to her office to retrieve the autopsy.
"If I moved any faster today I fear I'd have molecular stability issues."
She was so lame. "And I don't want that."
"Neither do I."
Jane shook her head as she watched the price to fill her tank rise on the digital screen at the pump. "Hey so you hear from Tash today?"
Maura entered her office and left the door open as she went to sit behind her desk. "No, has she called you?"
"No, I was just thinking about her earlier. It's—"
A large truck had just zoomed by muffling the last of Jane's words. "Where are you?" Maura wondered.
"Gas station. We were able to pull a last known that is registered to who we think might be a boyfriend or a roommate—Forty bucks!" She squinted at the screen.
"Did you know Massachusetts charges drivers the most for gas, with the effective tax rate as of January 2015 set at sixty eight cents per gallon?"
Jane sighed softy. She missed her, was that crazy? "Why do you know this, Maura?"
"I utilize gasoline."
"In your little matchbox wind-up car?"
"It is called a parallel hybrid, Jane."
Maura pulled out the folder she was looking for and opened it. "These findings are only initial; I am reexamining the body myself in an hour. Kent and I have both agreed however that this will be ruled a suspicious death."
Jane nodded to herself. "Not a homicide."
"I will not preform the post-mortem examination without more information."
Jane removed the gas nozzle from the tank ad put it back onto the gas pump. "What do you need from us?"
"I would like to know if Ms. Murphy had a history of drug use."
"Sounds pretty specific, Maura."
Maura picked up one of the images Kent had taken of Fiona Murphy's right leg. "There is evidence of old puncture wounds along the femoral venous sinus of the right leg."
"None on the left arm?" Jane opened the driver's side door and leaned against its frame and scanned the area out of habit.
"There is some tissue damage but it's inconclusive."
"So she was a professional." Jane thought as she sat behind the wheel.
"Unfortunately." Maura agreed. "Socioeconomic status, fear of religious shame, age of first drug usage and duration of intravenous usage can all be associated with higher likelihood of using injection sites other than the arm."
"Yeah…" She thought for a moment more. "Anything on that depigmentation?"
"Nothing as of yet. I have ordered the necessary lipid serum tests to be certain."
"Toxicology come back?"
"Preliminary only at this point."
"Let me guess, negative for opioids?"
"Caffeine was the only marker to come back."
"So she was getting clean, clean enough to not have anything come back on the prelims…"
"We have a hair follicle test underway. That should provide a ninety-day history."
"When does that come back?"
"I should have it tomorrow morning." Jane was quiet, likely in thought. Maura looked back at the report. "Manner of death we have ruled suspicious given the lack metabolic data we have currently. Immediate cause of death however is asphyxia."
"She choked on her own vomit?"
"Well… Yes. It is called a pulmonary aspiration." Jane didn't say anything so she continued. "the inhalation of vomit into the lungs directly blocks the flow of oxygen. Unless interventions are made to clear the air passages, a person can literally choke to death on their own emesis."
"I wanna speak to that manager again." She decided. He made it a point to mention his responsibilities which she initially found odd. Making the schedule was one of them. Why was Fiona Murphy working an evening shift alone?
"There is one more thing."
Maura sighed quietly. "She was pregnant, Jane."
Jane exhaled. "How far along?" She could hear Maura shuffling papers.
"Approximately six weeks."
"Hell of a motive to get clean."
"Yes. Perhaps." She wanted to ask if Jane was alright all of a sudden but felt maybe that was inappropriate. Losing her unborn child was and likely would always be a sensitivity and she wanted to be supportive, but she knew Jane liked to simply operate though emotional things like this, so for now, on her first day back she'd let her. "I'll keep you updated as we receive information."
"Thanks, Maur." There was a pause. "You okay? How'd that meeting go?" She never responded to her text which either meant she was busy or locked up for threatening a federal agent.
The pathologist took a large breath in and smiled when Jane chuckled. "It was inefficient."
"Yes, but I put my foot down." She nodded proudly.
Jane raised a brow just as proudly "You did?"
"You told him to get lost?"
"In so many words."
"How many words?"
"Less than three hundred certainly."
Jane smiled. "I'm sad to have missed it, I like when you're mean."
"I was not mean, Jane. I was professional." She shook her head. "What an unpleasant thing to say."
Jane smirked. "Sorry." She wasn't.
"You are not." They laughed a little and it was only when Jane said she'd better go that Maura remembered something. "We're watching TJ tomorrow evening."
Jane buckled her seatbelt as she watched Korsak walking back over to the car. "Alright."
"Tommy called and said he needed to go to a sobriety meeting."
Jane shrugged, quality time with her nephew was always welcome. "Let's order a pie."
"I wanted to talk to you about Tommy actually."
"He didn't try to kiss you again, did he?"
Maura rolled her eyes. "No."
Korsak got into the passenger seat beside her and grinned when he pulled out a small pack of powdered doughnuts and waved them about. Jane gave him a scandalized look. "Is it something we can talk about later?" She turned toward her window after having failed to swipe the bag away from him.
"Yes, it's probably nothing."
She watched her partner buckle his seatbelt and get white powdered sugar everywhere in the process. "Well I still wanna hear it, even if it's nothing."
Maura smiled. "Tonight?"
"I'm headed to the Robber after work, meet me there?"
Jane glanced at Vince who was happily munching on a doughnut and waiting for her to start the car. She cleared her throat a little and could feel a small blush begin at the base of her neck. Why? She had no clue. She and Maura usually communicated all day and simply hung up when there was nothing left to say, but she felt like she wanted to say something sweet and comforting so the ME didn't feel all this pressure to finish her dubiously slow scientific process. They felt confident they were going in the right direction and though she'd prefer to have all the science on her side like three hours ago, she understood there was a process and Maura was doing her best. Subconsciously though she realized this was not normal behavior for her to express around others, and a Detectives sole job was to observe behavior. Vince was a damn good detective too. Still, she wanted Maura to feel supported, it was enough she had to sit in a meeting all morning with Davies feeling the way that she did about him.
"Um.." She began. "So have a good day."
Maura furrowed a brow. "Are you not returning to BPD?"
"I am yeah. Just, y'know have a good day."
"Okay…." There was a long pause on the line until Maura's tone changed subtly as well, like tempered honey. "Be careful, Jane."
Jane smiled. "I will." She drew out before hanging up.
"Have a good day?" Korsak asked teasingly as Jane stretched to put her cell phone back onto her hip.
"What?" Jane glared at him. "You're not even supposed to be eating those."
"I don't know what you're talking about." He nodded as he popped another mini doughnut into his mouth and chewed happily. "What did Maura find?" He chuckled a little as Jane was finally able to snatch the bag away and pop a doughnut into her own mouth.
It wasn't lost on her that she didn't have to explain who she was talking to. Who else would she be talking to anyway? "Ex junkie just trying to get on the right path, she was pregnant..."
Vince shook his head sadly. "Cause of death?"
"It always is whenever toxicology is involved." He nodded.
"Maura was saying the immediate manner of death was asphyxia, she choked on her own vomit."
"We're not going to get that confirmation till the end of the week." He was wondering if the security camera footage being processed as they spoke would confirm this.
Jane dusted her fingers off on her pants but then frowned at the powder it left. "I know."
"Still working the poisoning hunch?"
She wordlessly thanked Vince for the handkerchief he handed her. "Whoever wanted her dead knew she'd be alone and also knew she was a user."
"Guy I knew coming up in the ranks used to say all the time, if you want to get away with murder kill a junkie."
Jane shook her head. It wasn't untrue. The second many officers learned that victim had a drug history they chucked the case out and moved on. She would be lying if she said her inexperience as a young cop didn't lend to this cultural way of thinking. It was actually the pathologist in her best friend that made her begin to take greater pause. The choices a person made shouldn't change the way she did her job, it didn't change how meticulous Maura was with her science. "Bet he also blamed assaults on short skirts." She handed him the cloth back.
"He didn't last long." Korsak reassured.
"I get the waiting thing." Jane reasoned as she started the car's engine and checked her GPS. "You wanna waste your life away hang out in the morgue while Maura investigates a suspicious toxicology case." She chuckled a little but then fell silent in thought. "Still, someone loved her, maybe depended on her. That kinda thing takes urgency, y'know?"
Vince nodded firmly. "I do." He watched Jane drive a moment. "Do you think the pregnancy had anything to do with her murder?"
Jane shook her head. "Hard to say, Maura only said she was six weeks. That's not far enough to have to say anything unless you want to. Who'd she tell?"
"A best friend, a boyfriend…"
"As far as I'm concerned her entire house is open to us now."
"Too many motives"
"Too many motives." Jane agreed.
Jane thought about that for a long time as she drove. Fiona Murphy lived about forty-five minutes away from where her body was found in a below middle-class blue collar city suburb. When the buildings began to space, and the air crisped more Jane looked over at her partner. Korsak was looking pretty satisfied with himself for polishing off the bag of mini doughnuts but also wore a thoughtful gaze. "You think Cavanaugh would pull us off calls together?" He looked over at her. "If he found out?" She looked back to the road. It wasn't exactly what she had been thinking about this entire time, and an adolescent in her she hadn't remembered felt the urge to tell him so, but she fought it.
"I'm not sure." He responded honestly. "Are you worried he will?"
Jane shrugged. "We're a good team." She glanced at him.
He chuckled at her in a fatherly way, all knowing. "You're not the only two on the field, Rizzoli."
Jane rolled her eyes. "I know that."
He couldn't stop smiling though. "Feels like it, huh?"
Jane looked over at him again and could not help but smile as well. It did, it really did. "Yeah a little." She shrugged shyly. "Maura's… Maura." She nodded as she focused on the road. That's all she had to say about that and Vince was happy to leave it there for now. When they got to thirty-three Fulmine street Jane noted with mild concern the number of cars in the drive of the rundown rancher. "Think now is a good time?" She asked her partner as she counted four vehicles.
"I think we may have actually gotten lucky."
Jane nodded and pulled her unmarked along the curb. "Plates?" She asked as she searched her jacket pocket for a pen. When she glanced at Korsak he was already jotting them down on his detective's pad.
"Let's see if any of these come back to our vic."
"We'd have authority to seize it then." She finished his thought and reached for her radio. It was a bit of a stretch, in her pocket lint on scene the crew uncovered a bus pass, why would she leave her car behind after working a late shift? "Victor Eight Two Five." She spoke into it before waiting for a response. A familiar voice called the number back to her moments later. Jane cracked a small grin. "Kennedy how much did they pay you to cover the boards today?" She asked breaking protocol for just a moment to tease her long-time operations attendant.
"Not nearly enough." The voice deadpanned and Vince and Jane shared a small amused look. "Go for Eight Two Five."
"Nine Eight Seven and I are 10-23 at a victim's last known. There are a few cars here we think one belonged to her and we need a 10-28 on a few plates, you got a second?"
"Victors Eight Two Five and Nine Eighty Seven what's your 20?" Jane grinned at her professional way of ribbing her for not logging it before they left before repeating her location. "Go for the plates?" They found that none of the cars belonged to Murphy but did get names of those who did own the car. Two them shared the same last name as their victim.
"I love when she's dispatch." Jane nodded as she put her radio down.
"She's one of the good ones."
"None of them are Murphys…" Jane watched the house. "What kind of family gathering do you have on a Tuesday afternoon?" She asked her partner.
"Only one way to find out."
Maura smiled at Nina's offering. "You may be a life saver."
She smiled proudly at her intuition and general amazingness. "Hey, I have actually saved a few lives."
Maura wrapped her hands around the paper cup of matcha green tea from the squad breakroom's new café bistro coffee maker. It had been a particularly busy day and though she would have preferred something decaffeinated this early in the evening she hardly even had time to hydrate appropriately. "I will get next time." Maura motioned down the hall in the morgue she had been heading to when Nina stepped off the elevator with two cups. "I was just heading to my office, care to take a seat?" Nina appeared to suddenly look a little sheepish. "Or, perhaps you needed something?" Maura teased gently.
Nina shrugged guiltily. "Jane usually does this bit."
Maura nodded and turned fully to face her. "You'd like an update?"
"You hear anything back from toxicology yet? Jane and Korsak are on their way back with Fiona Murphy's roommate and a few friends in tow for interviews, they all seemed to be cooperating, but it may be a long night and we were hoping to have some leverage."
Maura nodded in understanding. "Unfortunately, the labs I requested have not come back yet however Fiona Murphy's hair follicle test revealed she had no drug usage detectable in the past sixty days."
"Aren't those tests supposed to run ninety days?"
Maura wrinkled a brow of impress. "Yes, I have the report on my desk."
Nina nodded slowly as the two wordlessly agreed to head in that direction. "So she was using again?"
"It would be impossible to say from the results I read as this test does not specify drug usage but the appearance of trace chemicals in a system. However, I have been able to note a pattern in increased anticoagulants."
"I have a theory." She paused and looked mildly distressed. Nina chuckled.
"It's okay I won't tell anyone."
"Well." Maura thought as they entered her office. "It would be unprofessional of me to suggest something like that."
Nina smiled. "Well we're just drinking tea right?" She sat down on the seafoam sofa as Maura took off her lab coat and got comfortable in the cream-colored armchair across from her. "What are anticoagulants?"
"They are commonly used to treat and prevent blood clots that may occur in your blood vessels." She took the lid off her tea to help it cool faster.
Nina furrowed a brow. "In the preliminary autopsy by Dr. Drake there was no mention of a history of stroke or blood problems."
"Precisely. We still need confirmation from her primary care physician, but there was no evidence to suggest such a medical history." She left out the part of cracking her skull to check.
"Okay so what else are they used for?" The analyst moved forward in thought.
"Historically, heavy metals such as arsenic were first used to control rodent populations, but the most common rodenticide used in the twenty-first century are anticoagulants."
"Rat poisoning?" Maura didn't say anything and Nina began to catch on. "Okay so if someone were to want her dead dead—"
"As opposed to partial death? I'm unfamiliar."
Nina chuckled. "It's like a saying." Maura didn't understand but nodded anyway. "So I'm saying that someone could periodically put small doses of poisoning say in her coffee or something and she'd never know."
"Especially since symptoms of nausea and fatigue are also linked with early stages of pregnancy."
Nina nodded slowly again before suddenly shooting up out of her seat. "I gotta go."
Maura stood quickly. "Oh."
"Yeah this was helpful!" She waved. "I think we might have missed something."
Maura nodded. "Yes." Nina was already gone. "You're welcome." She shook her head.
Frankie eyed his sister snagging another look at her watch. If he hadn't grown up with her, seen her impatiently waiting for Tommy to emerge for the bathroom. Or watched her come back into the kitchen to check the time on the big oval clock over their mother's kitchen sink, mitt on, brow set with disappointment at their father's lateness, if he hadn't seen all of that he would simply believe she was checking the time and not awaiting something. Jane moved so effortlessly back to what she was doing that the motion though completely irregular for her seemed part of the task.
They were seated at the meeting table off the corner in their office going through old boxes of files relating to similar poisoning and drugging's in the last five years. It was a wide net; one he was surprised Korsak had cast them to manage but just as Jane simply nodded in some secret understanding he decided to not question it. There was hardly anything new to learn though from what they read; chaos and jealousy, territory conflict, the ever popular jilted lover...
Jane looked up from what she was doing when she heard her brother sigh for a third time. "Frankie." She drew his name out in playful yet serious tone. As contradictory as peanut butter and jelly yet similarly just as harmonious. "You got somewhere to be?" She asked while continuing to read a report open in front of her.
Frankie huffed at the silent acknowledgement of his observations. Her humor he believed was wasted on dad jokes. The real wit of it all lie in the observation.
"Ma saw the suit I picked out, said it was colorful." He kept his eye on his work.
"What color is it?" She did the same.
"Well how's it cut?"
Jane picked up her head from a file and he did the same. "How's it cut?"
Frankie looked around the bullpen as if to pull the suit along and show her. When he found he couldn't he shrugged. "Like a suit." Jane narrowed her eyes at him to try and understand as if he had in fact shown her just now. "Maura said it was in fashion."
Jane snorted and went back to her reading. "Maura wears feathers, Frankie."
This was true. "Damn…"
"Nina see it?"
"She said I could wear whatever I wanted."
Jane didn't like being pulled so quickly from reading a case file to chatting, it broke her focus, but Frankie had been sighing all evening and she found whenever they spoke about Nina he lit up a little and she wasn't sure why but she liked being able to recognize that in him. A little break wouldn't hurt, these files weren't going anywhere.
"Knowing Holiday, she probably means it." Jane rubbed her chin. "What'd she say about the bullet proof ring?"
"Said it was stupid but cool." Jane shrugged. "She ordered one for herself."
"Go with the suit. Ma still thinks wearing curlers is a thing." She went back to looking at her case file again.
Frankie nodded. "You wanna be my best man?" Jane looked up. "Best woman…" He corrected and shrugged. "You wanna stand up there with me?"
Jane smiled softly. "Yeah alright."
"You gotta get a suit."
Jane made a face. "Why?"
"Cause… Nina's wearing a suit." Jane chuckled. "She got pissed with dress shopping. Suits are cheaper."
Jane snorted again. "Alright." She shook her head. "I'll get a suit." She was going to go back to her reading when she saw Frankie waiting, a little smile on his face. "She gonna wear one of those little hats?"
He nodded broadly. "She loves 'em."
"Not exactly traditional." Jane teased in an old woman's voice. Her Italian accent thick with regret. Their grandmother.
"I get to marry my best friend." He beamed and Jane couldn't help but match his excitement. "I sometimes think about how that wouldn't be possible back then y'know?"
"Yeah." Jane did know.
"So she can show up naked if she wants." He shrugged. "I'll wear feathers too."
Jane laughed and then just smiled. "I'm gonna dance so hard at the wedding."
"Yeah see, no one wants to see that." He laughed.
"What!?" How did Frankie get to show up in feathers and Nina in her birthday suit and she couldn't dance?
"Janie all you know how to do is the robot."
She grinned. He wasn't wrong. "I'm graceful."
"Yeah yeah, like a bullet."
They chuckled on for a moment more before Frankie's mood shifted and Jane shifted with him.
"You gonna invite him?" She could read the hesitation to bring it up on his face, the tenseness in his features, the way his shoulders rolled. She wondered then how unfortunate it was to be Francesco Rizzoli Junior. looking exactly like him, down to his set jaw and dark eyes. She loved him more for it though it held no real weight or consequence. Poor kid.
"Nina says it's up to me."
Jane nodded and leaned on her elbow. "Hm."
"Part of me always imagined him there, y'know just cause." Jane nodded. "Now though…" He shrugged. "I kinda feel selfish not wanting to see my dying father on my wedding day."
"Doesn't matter what day it is, he's still dying." She wanted to make him smile again. "Metabolically speaking we're all dying really."
Frankie let out an unexpected chortle. He shook his head free of thoughts of his father because somehow, he knew Jane would only encourage him the way Nina had. He had to decide on his own. "You sound like Maura."
Jane nodded. "She says some real morbid stuff sometimes…. But it helps."
"Yeah, it does." He thought then to what Nina had been drilling into his head all week. "All the more reason to live y'know?" Jane raised a brow. "Well since we're all dying. Gotta make it good."
Jane nodded. "More Sox games, less worrying."
"More time with Nina away from work." He nodded defining his own idea of living before waiting. Jane didn't say anything, but he could tell she was thinking pretty steadily on a thought. He was going to say something else when she spoke cutting him off.
"This will be here tomorrow; we haven't even touched 2018."
"Yeah" He agreed easily. They both got up and gathered their coats without further debate. Frankie walked her to her car and they shared a small laugh about something benign. Jane had wished they were going to get a beer then like they often did, watch a ballgame, eat a burger. It wasn't until she sat alone in her unmarked that she really could feel the longing surface within her. She had done a good job keeping it in check today, better than she thought she could. The case certainly helped keep her there, that and the busy office, the sounds, the smells. She was so happy to be back, it drummed in her stomach all day. Now though as she pulled out her cell phone and noticed the time she sighed at herself, and the rhythm of business slowed in its vibrations leaving her feeling unnecessarily lonely.
Jane hit the call button and put the phone on speaker as she buckled up. The dial tone stilled, and Maura's voice came across the line as calm and quiet as ever.
"I'm leaving now." Jane smiled, because she couldn't help it. Yes, she was late to leave, but they both knew that would happen. If Maura were truly bothered by it she would have known by now, from a quick coffee break she gathered the ME was having a bit of a day herself, and was probably all too pleased to find herself alone with nothing to account for.
"Do you mind stopping?"
"I have to now, in apology." She could hear the other woman hum with amusement. "What do you need?"
"George needs greens."
Jane drummed her fingers against her steering wheel to focus her mind. What was open right now that had organics? "Ummm, I can go to Vermont Avenue?"
"In the other direction?"
"It's the only thing open, Maura." She thought. "I don't mind."
"You're very sweet, thank you."
She smiled. "Anything for George Herman."
"He has captured your heart." Maura yawned softly. "Mine too, Jane."
Jane pulled out of her parking spot as she thought, noticing for the first time how a mist of rain had blanketed the city in a glaze ripe with earthiness that reminded her of the woods. She rolled down her window some to feel it's coolness on her cheek. "Yeah… What about for you? You need anything?" She felt Maura pause on the other line. "You'd tell me if you were sleeping right?" She half joked. It was only eight at night, but they had had an early start.
Jane smiled a little as she adjusted herself in her seat. Maura was waiting up. "I'll be there soon." She ran a hand through her hair.
Maura chuckled softly at the two of them. ""Will you stay over?" She felt she should ask just then.
"You want me to?"
"You haven't been home properly since you returned."
Jane nodded to herself. "We haven't really gotten much chance to talk since then either."
Maura's smile widened. "You have only been home a full day, Jane."
Jane nodded. "Yeah but there's a lot going on, right?" and just as Maura knew she would be late to leave Jane knew Maura held a curiosity about her, she liked to know what she thought, how she was feeling, where her intensions were. It's what made her a great person really, an authentic friend, and now she was learning a patient lover.
Maura sat up from her lounged position on her couch and nodded more thoughtfully. "I didn't want to assume you needed to process together." Jane had completely closed the door on talking about her father, an action Maura read as a boundary. An unhealthy one, but one that she supposed in the current she could respect. "Was I incorrect?"
Jane stopped at a red light and adjusted her cell phone on her lap. "I didn't want that to be what we talked about all the time." She paused. "Pop I mean." Another beat. "Me moving to Virginia at least part time. I dunno Maur all that stuff was getting… heavy." She recalled then the feeling she had sleeping alone in a hotel room away from everyone she loved, even her father. It was where the real weight had settled on her chest. "I just wanted to be us y'know."
"I understand. The new us."
"Yeah." Jane smiled. "Our thing."
"I want you to." Stay over.
"Me too, Maur." Jane blushed, it was hard not to hear her smile over the other end of the phone. "You think Ma will say something?"
Maura exhaled softly as she thought rationally about it. "It is possible."
The tone she said it with reminded Jane that they were getting quite close to have waited a month since needing to revisit the conversation of publishing. Korsak already knew now. Somehow she thought that would make it easier but it hadn't. Jane knew it made Maura uncomfortable to hold something like this to herself… especially from Angela. Still, what could she really say? The agreed to wait, for what Jane wasn't sure, but she would because there hadn't been a second she was able to walk through the conversation with her mother she knew she'd soon need to have without catastrophizing it. Maura deserved more though…
"She probably half expects me to be there every morning anyway." Jane shrugged off a little too obtusely.
"I haven't the slightest clue of what to say, if she asks." The line was quiet, Jane hadn't either. "I also feel a little ridiculous having to consider it in general."
"I know." She bit the inside of her mouth and then sighed again. "We can just say I'm having nightmares again."
Jane groaned gently against her own frustration as she drove. "I know you don't want to lie but we can't exactly tell her it's because I don't really wanna sleep without you."
Maura's frown wrinkled into goo at the confession. "I beg your pardon?"
Jane rolled her eyes at herself. "Well…" She took a second to mind a turn she was making into the organic grocery shopping center lot on Vermont Avenue. "I… it's just, I don't really like it."
"You are sleeping though." This was such an odd thing to say to someone, it didn't stop her from imagining herself wrapping her arms protectively around the other woman's sides when she slept though.
Jane's features were dark with blush now. "Maura."
"I do not understand what you mean." She did.
"If given the option of sleeping with you and not I'd pick sleeping with you."
"Perhaps we can explain it to Angela that way."
Jane chuckled. "Jesus."
Maura stood from the couch and made her way into her kitchen to put on some tea. "I am fine with our agreement." She redirected smoothly.
Jane searched for a parking spot and when she found one shifted her car into park and brought her cell phone to hear ear finally. "You sure?" She asked softer as she unbuckled her seatbelt and sat back in her seat.
Jane didn't believe her, and it ate at her the entire shopping trip and even as she showered and changed into her pajamas. Maura was sitting in her Wensa meditating when the detective found her. The ME popped an eye open when she heard the familiar tread and tried not to smile when she noticed Jane sitting down diagonal to her with her back against the bench and her hands clasped. She watched her gingerly let George Herman out from her palm and onto the ground before her and watched his confusion fondly. Something was on her mind, Maura could tell from her kiss when she got in, it was distracted, nothing like the lingering one she left her with this morning or greeted her with last night once they were alone.
Maura centered her mind again and meditated for another ten minutes before joining her best friend in leaning her back to the bench so their shoulders were touching. They looked at George and then each other.
"Maybe we should tell Constance first." Jane offered cutely as if handing her a small toy racecar unsure of what Maura would think of it. "So you have someone to talk to about it in case my old man steals the show again." Maura's surprise was evident and for a moment they just sat there looking at one another. Jane could tell she did okay when the corners of the ME's eyes winced brightly, and her lip tucked into a small smile.
"I would like that, Jane."
"Yeah?" Cause it terrified her a little.
Maura nodded and leaned her shoulder into Jane's affectionally as they gazed at each other. Jane smiled and responded in kind before stealing a small kiss and then going back to watching George Herman waddle around.
There was a point in time, neither were sure when exactly, when the conversation between them picked back up again, their voices remained hushed though as if not to disturb the other or the sleeping home.
"—I don't think it's for me, but these things are already moving ahead... The paperwork and stuff." Jane shared quietly.
"When will you be away next?"
"Few weeks from now." She glanced at the woman beside her. "When's the wedding again?"
"Not for two months." Maura eased.
"Oh." Jane went back to watching George, he had become fascinated with the blue plaid on her pajama bottoms. "So I'll let them know then…" She'd need to give Davies a call to talk to him about how these things worked, though she decided right now was too lovely of a moment to bring him into it. "Frankie asked me to be his best man."
Maura smiled to herself. "Nina told me he would."
Jane looked at her. "You knew?"
"I knew you would agree as well." Jane nodded as she looked back to George. "Are you happy?"
The detective nodded easily. "I can't wait for it." She could barely help her smile at the thought. "Frankie falls hard, I never doubted he'd get married." She looked at Maura again. "I'm just glad it's, Holiday." All the other women Frankie seemed to be attracted to never really met her standards for him. She respected Nina more than she genuinely thought she would, not only that but she had come into their lives at a time when coming to work was hard with missing Frost and brought with her this brightness, it was hard not to notice her. It was hard not to want to be noticed by her. Also, she always wanted a sister who could wield a dessert eagle with the swag this woman could. They'd work on the whole Cubs thing in due time.
"They are… odd together, in an idyllic way." Maura mused.
Jane laughed lightly at that. "Yeah…. I have to get a suit." Maura always perked at the mention of shopping. Now was no different. "And a haircut." She added in efforts to tame the look on the other woman's face that said she could be ready in ten minutes.
Jane snorted. "What do you mean please?"
Maura smirked without looking at her. George was now rotating in efforts to get re-oriented. She wondered if the plaid confused him. "I pull your hair out of my hair, Jane. Off of my clothes."
"Psh, well you better get use to that." They looked at each other. "This magical thing isn't going anywhere." She made a show of tossing her ponytail behind her and Maura laughed.
"A trim." She half begged half punctuated.
Jane rolled her eyes. "Yeah yeah I know."
"I was considering bringing Kent as my plus one." Jane looked at her sharply. "Wow." Goofed with fatigue Maura pressed a hand to Jane's chin.
Jane let up a small laugh at this. "I wish the world knew how full of shit you are." She put her arm around her shoulders.
Maura shrugged. "No one would believe you."
Jane huffed defiantly as she smiled down at George who was slowly approaching them. "I don't care if you go with Kent."
"No." Jane looked at her. "Cause you're part of the family so you have to come with us anyway." Maura raised an eyebrow. "You have to leave with us too."
"Is that so?"
The taller of the two shrugged. "Never bothered you before."
Maura smiled because she had been right, and it hadn't. "Will you at least dance with me?" Most jest had left her voice then.
Jane tried not to smile too much as she glanced at her. It was impossible not to want to though. "Yeah, Maura. I'll dance with you." Maura watched her try and hide her blush and then settled against her shoulder again. She couldn't be more content in that moment if she had an equal number of protons and electrons.
"I support whatever decision you make on Virginia." The ME said finally. "You do know that right?"
Jane nodded. "Yeah…I know, Maura." She stole a glance at her shoulder where Maura rested. "Hey, What'd you want to talk to me about today? Tommy?"
Maura let her breath thin as she thought of the best way to speak on something that held such importance, yet she was so unsure about.
"I am worried about Tommy, Jane." They looked at one another as Maura let Jane's arm fall from around her shoulder as she adjusted her posture. Jane's embrace was warm, welcome, she couldn't focus against her like that.
"Yeah?" Her detective's eye recalled her mother saying the same thing just the night before. She had brushed it off then. Was she missing something? "What happened?"
Maura scooted herself up against the bench to adjust her posture. "Nothing happened per se." Jane waited, "He seemed… uncomfortable at dinner on Sunday."
Maura shook her head. Jane wanted facts, she had none. "As if he needed to be elsewhere. We hardly spoke."
Jane processed this. Usually they were all buddy buddy on Sundays. Tommy often offered to help cook, occasionally they would play chess. She would be lying if she didn't feel a pang of jealousy in the past over it, they just seemed to connect on some alternative plain. Now though Jane was happy Tommy could finally relate to one of them though she had no clue how he did it with a Doctor of Forensic Pathology and Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when he had never picked up a book past high school.
If Maura was worried about him, there was likely something to be worried about. She would refuse to believe it if she told her, but Jane had come to learn Maura's instincts were sometimes way more Intune than her own. Especially when it came to her family, her occasional blind spot.
"He avoided you?" She needed clarification. Maura thought about her choice in words and then nodded. "He leave early?" Another nod. "Lydia leave with him?"
"When he called to ask if we would watch TJ he said he needed to go to a sobriety meeting."
"That's not uncommon for him, it's good that he goes." She pushed gently. Maura wasn't outright saying what was on her mind and she needed her to.
"He has never done so over having time with TJ though."
Jane frowned. There it was. "You think he might be drinking again?"
Maura shook her head. "I cannot know that."
"But do you think it?"
"I am concerned." Jane sighed heavily a sadness reaching her eyes that Maura could not bare to see spread. "Perhaps I am wrong."
Jane looked at her. "He said he wanted to go see Pop again." She let the word fall between them. "Again."
"When did he say that?"
"When he picked me up from the airport."
"You mentioned Frankie would drive your mother next—"
"—Yeah but with me out of town he would have been swamped, Tommy wouldn't want Ma to go alone." She thought of the scans her father had gotten and his appointment tomorrow.
"I do not believe he went with her and then had a drink with his father in the hospital, Jane."
"Yeah but after dropping Ma off? What then?" Maura looked unsure and Jane knew her features were intense, she couldn't help it. "I was supposed to do it. Drive Ma."
Maura frowned "Jane you are not responsible for everyone's actions."
Jane looked back to her tortoise who had now waddled up to her other hand hanging on her lap. It was much too high for him to climb up but he looked at her expectantly. "I know that, Maura." She helped him onto her palm. The two women looked at each other in silent disagreement before Maura looked away.
"You're losing focus." Maura said simply before looking back at the detective. Jane nodded once. "It is impossible to wish time back, unproductive."
Jane regarded George as if to check his temperament against her own before moving to stand and to put him back in his tank on the second floor. Maura listened to her footsteps climb the stairs and waited for them to move down them again before moving to sit properly on the bench. Jane hovered in the doorway of the Wensa and then came in to finally sit beside her.
"Thank you for telling me."
The pathologist reached out and touched her knee. "I hope that I am wrong."
"The neurobiological mechanisms of addiction can be rather complex." She paused as not to overwhelm herself with the science of it all. "I suppose feeling supported would help best."
Jane nodded. "Let him know that we're here for him."
"He will drop TJ off tomorrow around six, will you be out by then?"
Jane nodded easily. "Yeah. I can be."
"Okay. Perhaps we can check in. See what he needs."
"He needs to stay far away from our old man."
Maura sighed. "It would not change a thing."
Jane looked at her hands. "… I know."
They talked about the best way to approach Tommy then, and though Jane felt a mixture of upset and worry over the stressors in her brother's life that would cause him to relapse (or at least toe the line) she felt better for having Maura to strategize with. She recalled Vince's comment about them not being the only two on the same team, and it made her chuckle a little to herself. No one else was staying up with her after a long Tuesday strategizing how to help her family. If they were all on the same team, Maura was most certainly MVP.
The blonde raised a brow at her laughter; she had moved to the floor again to stretch and was now seated cross legged in front of Jane with her hands propped behind her. She didn't think neuroplasticity was technically humorous, but then again Jane had a way of looking at things.
"At some point we gotta go to bed." Jane commented motioning to the two of them. If they let themselves, they could talk till dawn, it had happened too many times before.
Maura grew amused as well before deciding she was right and putting out her hand. Jane stood and helped her up. "We needed to adjust." They stood close.
"You haven't even told me what happened with you and Bio Mom." Maura groaned softly and Jane smirked as she loosely put her hands around her torso.
"Another day." Her hands rested against the front of Jane's shoulders. "I haven't decided fully."
"No?" she asked genuinely surprised.
Maura chuckled. It was just the kind of expression that would lead to another long conversation the day had no more hours to accommodate. "Jane."
Jane pulled her a little closer. "You trying to get Tash in there?" Maura's hands crept up to rest over her shoulders now.
"Hope will most certainly require something off of my end if that is the case. I read on the MEND website that applications for doctoral interns had closed two weeks ago."
"You're considering it."
Maura sighed but let herself be pulled a little closer, the corners of her mouth pressing into a smile despite herself. "I am considering it."
"Hm." They swayed a little. "Neither sound ideal."
"Dr. Zue responded regarding Tasha, he's willing to accept her this summer but she will have a lot of time on her hands in between terms."
"Good." Jane raised a brow at the shorter woman pointedly. "Let her be a kid."
"Perhaps she can work at The Dirty Robber instead."
Jane made a face. "No."
Maura let her arms fully lace around Jane's neck. "How exactly is it your decision?"
Jane chuckled and finally pulled her close against her so their front halves were completely touching. "She's not working at the Robber, Maura."
"She is curious about general practice; MEND is a world-renowned humanitarian organization that would lend to her curiosities while simultaneously adding leverage to her resume which will in turn afford her more opportunities in the future." Jane rolled her eyes and Maura smiled. "Wouldn't it be nice for Tasha to have more opportunities?"
"Yeah, but working at MEND?"
"Where would you prefer, she spend the beginning of summer?"
"Hanging out with her friends—"
"Boyfriends?" Jane gave her a look and Maura pressed a reassuring hand on her cheek while trying not to laugh.
"Fine, I'm not getting involved." The detective decided. Maura appeared trumpet. "I'm also not bailing either of you out when RICO hits." Maura was about to rebuttal when Jane leaned in and pressed a small kiss on her mouth. "No, leave me out of it."
"No decision has been made." Maura smiled.
"By Tasha." Jane finished with an instructional nod. Maura hesitated to speak but then nodded back far too quickly to really agree. it made Jane laugh.
"I just worry that she isn't challenged enough. She's brilliant Jane." Maura added as they climbed the stairs to finally retire for the night.
Jane exhaled. "How many challenges is she supposed to have in life, Maur? She stresses out going to the OBGYN, she's gonna work in a doctor's office now?"
"I understand your concerns and your point of view, but academia is unforgiving now, she needs every advantage. With the appropriate mental support system this could also be a wonderful growth opportunity. She cannot practice medicine without being in some facility, clinically or otherwise." The ME watched as Jane stopped to say goodnight to George Herman on the landing. She rested a hand on Jane's shoulder before pushing the door to her bedroom open and going about her skin care ritual for the night in the connected master bath. When she returned to her room Jane was laying on her back above the covers looking at the ceiling. "You are a very long person." Maura commented to herself as she gently nudged the other woman in her side to move over.
Jane lifted herself up as they got under the covers. "Alright, just don't be pushy about it. Tash looks up to you."
"I am not pushy."
"You just pushed me right now, Maura." Jane chuckled.
She laughed too. "You were literally in my way, the two instances are not correlated at all, Jane."
"Mhm." Jane reached an arm over the ME's stomach under the covers as she made herself comfortable. Maura stretched to turn off the lamp at her head and then turned into the warmth that was sleeping with Jane. She exhaled lightly at the feeling and curled herself inward, so they were facing one another. Jane watched her adoringly, yet with a stern brow. She knew if she didn't agree with her she would not go to sleep.
"Yes, at the end of the day it is what she decides to do." The doctor announced just above a whisper.
"We can only guide her."
"We can only guide her."
Jane leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss on the other woman's cheek. "Mm." She hummed as she smashed her face into her pillow afterwards. "Can I go to sleep now?" Her eyes were already closed.
Maura chuckled warmly as she made one final adjustment to her sleeping posture before closing her own eyes. "Yes."
The detective took in a deep breath and fully relaxed into the silk bedding. It was amazing how soft Maura's bed was, how soft Maura was… "Hey." She mumbled moments later as she was brought into a deep relaxation brought on by the promise of sleep.
"Mhm?" Maura sounded distant now too, even though her head lay right beside her own.
Jane sighed softly. "We can finally make it to the series with you on the team."
Maura smiled. Somehow, she knew what it meant. "Go to sleep."
Jane got pulled back into the direction of wakefulness. "Hm?"
Maura kissed her. "Go to sleep."
AN: Thank you for all the lovely little PMs this summer. I have to say it has been a busy one. Anyway it's been a while, I had to reread what I wrote to continue writing if that makes sense lol All caught up now and looking forward to your thoughts!