It was cold, but Maura was dreading just how much colder she knew it would get. Still, she supposed that her home might seem warm, welcoming to someone who didn't pull into the drive every night. And even to her it sometimes seemed that way—a warm, comforting place to which she devoted at least some of her time, in which she actually lived when she could. But it was still strange to hang Rizzoli's coat beside hers. And as she walked into the kitchen, Maura was thankful that she hadn't had to pull out boots made for real weather just yet. Jane followed her, but Maura was silent as she scanned for what they might drink. Neither had felt like being in public after the latest scene—this one worse than the ones that had come before—but it had been unspoken that neither felt like being alone.

"I'm afraid I don't have any beer," she said quietly.

Her voice rang in her ears. They had been quiet for most of the drive, and it had seeped into Maura. She often realized how much time she spent in silence. She did not often realize how numb she felt after nights like this one.

"Oh...no, don't worry." Jane didn't feel much like drinking anyway, just taking solace in the companionship and the warmth of Maura's home. "I'll just have whatever you are." Her hands were starting to tingle as the chill drained from them, the near constant pain finally fading. She slid quietly onto one of the chairs at the kitchen table, watching Maura move around the polished kitchen.

She couldn't remember when she'd bought the milk. It was behind several take out containers, and Maura was surprised but pleased to find that it was good. As she poured it into mugs and heated them in the microwave she could feel Jane's eyes on her. She could see them without needing to look. It took nothing to call to mind Jane's face, her wild hair. But Maura tried to dismiss that ease in reminding herself that she saw Jane often enough across her autopsy table. And she'd seen even more of her lately, with this case. Still, there were so many details, so many twists and turns with their work in the past weeks that it was difficult to fathom how she could so easily remember the smallest details of Jane's face.

Maura put her palms on the counter, spreading her fingers only to curl them and pull away as the microwave clanged. She took out a tin of hot chocolate—something gourmet, a gift that she couldn't remember being given at the moment—and stirred it into the mugs before adding the butterscotch schnapps. "An indulgence," she said as she put the mug in front of Jane and remained standing, looking down at her. She allowed herself so few when in company.

"Thank you." Jane gratefully wrapped her long fingers around the mug and raised it to take a tentative sip, sighing under her breath as the warm liquid passed her lips. She was starting to feel human again, and the feeling was almost surprising after the day she'd had—they'd had. She set the cup back down and looked up at Maura, who had not moved away, or taken the empty seat next to her.

There was a tension, no—expectancy—but Jane hadn't the clarity to sort through it. "Are you alright?" Jane couldn't ignore her nature, even in the safety of Maura's home. They had seen horrors together. She knew her own inner turmoil at that, and the way she did not allow it to show. Jane wondered if Maura dealt the same way- if her unflinching stare, her steady hands were that way only by force of will. The wind picked up outside, and a branch rustled lightly against the kitchen window.

"Of course." The response was automatic. Maura didn't even think through what she really was. She had to be all right for these things, so she made herself all right. She wondered when she'd lost the ability to turn that off when it was no longer strictly necessary. She wondered if it really wasn't with Rizzoli. But she looked down, meeting Jane's eyes, her lips parting in a breath that she realize was meant to steel herself against the moment, whatever the moment was shaping itself to be. The air seemed thicker, the coming winter further away. She put her hand on the back of Jane's chair, resting it there, her mug untouched in her other.

Jane's eyes followed the line of Maura's arm, from her slender wrist now inches from her own shoulder up to the her eyes. She'd always found something about Maura vaguely unsettling, but now, Jane couldn't turn her eyes away from her gaze. There was a look, a need, she hadn't seen so clearly before, and it made her pulse jump.

Jane tried to push it away, to dismiss the moment as the culmination of a day filled with so much pain, implicit terror, but another tension was suddenly crackling in the air. Maura wasn't moving away from it, and neither was she. "Maura...I..." She trailed off, unable to break the silence with anything worth saying. Jane wasn't sure what there was to be said. The known territory between them suddenly became unfamiliar. They had shared the intimate details of the lives of others, but now Jane found herself close to blushing at just how intimate this moment felt.

Maura didn't say anything—couldn't; her breath was caught in her throat. But it was better that way. There were so many things about the moment she could question, analyze...so many things that she could coldly rationalize away. But she was caught and knew that the balance depended upon her, knew that what she needed, she always chose to take when she needed it the most. She bent, and when her lips touched Jane's, the warmth made her realize just how cold she had been.

What she did not know was how Jane would react, and she realized as much when her mind caught up to her body. It didn't happen often—any slip in her control—but Maura didn't pull back, didn't backtrack despite her sudden fears.

It was enough to surprise even Jane, though she had to wonder if a part of her knew they had been moving slowly, tentatively, toward this moment since they'd met. If the want she suddenly felt had always been there, if she had ever felt it before. Jane couldn't be sure she had, or had ever wanted to, but she was returning the kiss, feeling every subtlety of Maura's lips as she did. Jane wasn't aware of moving, but the next thing the brunette knew she was on her feet, and her hands were reaching for Maura's hair. The other woman was soft and felt nearly fragile under her touch. Jane's heart continued to quicken as foreign, but not unwelcome, sensations started to overwhelm her.

Jane paused then, pulling away to catch her breath and looked into Maura's eyes, stare probing, reading. She wanted to say so many things but hadn't lost herself completely, "Are you sure?" was the best she could do. She wasn't, not completely, but she saw her own desire reflected in Maura's eyes.

Don't ask questions, Maura thought. But it's what they did; it was ingrained in both of them. She felt her body quickening under Jane's touch, under the intensity of her gaze. And if Jane was unsure, she wanted to put that to rest. She needed to put that to rest. Maura slipped out of her shoes, changing the height difference between them. But even looking up at Jane, it was easy to kiss her and kiss her firmly as her answer.

Jane was nearly taken aback at Maura's force. It wasn't that she was unaware of the other woman's passion—that much was clear. It was something else- a desperation for the moment that Maura was showing, and Jane could feel herself pushed back toward the counter. She didn't resist and returned the kiss, opening her mouth under Maura's. She could hear herself moan. The sound was almost foreign. It wasn't of frustration, or the blind need that she had come to associate with intimate moments before- but of relief at the welcome contact and a slow-building desire. Maura's hair was silky still even with the late hour, and she ran her fingers through it like she finally realized she'd secretly been wanting to for ages. The gathering storm swirled around the house, but the air inside was calm, tempered.

"Jane..." Maura moaned the name as she pressed her body against Jane's soaking in her warmth...feeling. She had craved the hard, taut edges of men's bodies before, but she had imagined the softness of women. Jane was both firm and slender, soft and completely real under her touch. Jane's warmth, the slow, volatile fire that she housed drew Maura as she hastily untucked Jane's rumpled shirt and pushed her hands underneath it. She wanted that fire, wanted to draw it out somehow...slowly, to let it build to a rupture between them, to acknowledge that perhaps it had been building for some time. She didn't close her eyes. She wanted to see every moment.

As she felt Maura's fingers trace up her stomach and over her ribs, Jane caught her breath. The last tinges of cold hadn't left them, and she felt their progress even more acutely. She caught the Maura's intense stare again, then dipped her head to press her lips to Maura's soft neck, feeling a pulse racing there like her own. "Yes..." She muttered against skin as if giving herself permission, as if reassuring herself this was real.

Yes... Maura's thoughts were anything but clear under the dizzying warmth of Jane's skin. She wanted more, needed more. And she was insistent, her lips on what skin she could find, her hands pressing, pushing Jane down to the cold floor. She could smell her shampoo. She could smell sweat and leather and fabric softener... And she moaned, hurrying her efforts. Jane was so caught up in the passion of the moment that it wasn't until she found herself stretched out on the floor that she took a breath. Maura's lips were moving down her neck to the buttons of her shirt, and her hands seemed to be everywhere. The touch was demanding, needy and almost frantic.

Something in the realization stopped Jane and she caught Maura's hands by her wrists, pausing their movement. She felt Maura tense, but Jane didn't push her away. She wanted this, God, she wanted it, but Maura was one of the few people on Earth she cared enough about to pause. And she needed to pause, for herself. Jane didn't want this to be about force or competition. That was what she had with Dean, and the few others along the way—pursuit and conquest.

This was something else. She didn't compete with Maura; they weren't adversaries. They were, she guessed, discovering this together, giving into the strange pull between them when Jane had thought they had so little in common. Just maybe that was why she cared what happened next, and how. "No." Her voice was quieter than she expected, "No...not like this." She could see Maura's face start to fall and kissed her again, softly, trying to assure her she didn't intend to push her away.

Maura's face flushed brighter, redder. She could feel the blood tingling in her cheeks, hear it rushing her ears as they too heated from...what? Anger, embarrassment, confusion. She wasn't sure, and she blinked down at Jane, lying there underneath her, her hair tangled and wild. She fought back the desire to stand, to straighten herself and ignore the mistake, to push away the embarrassment. Maura felt frozen again—somewhere between her own want and what she was actually doing because of it. "Then how?" she found herself asking, breathlessly, suddenly aware of that her own inadequacies with this, with what had been building between them, might soon become all too glaring.

She looked down at Jane—Jane Rizzoli, who usually wore her intent on her face, in her tense muscles. But Maura found herself frantically searching for some answer in Jane's eyes that she couldn't quite find. Is this a mistake? Are you a mistake? And if so, was Jane a mistake that she would be regretting not going through with?

Jane saw the confusion, and tried to keep her own in check, to focus on what she knew, what she hoped, they both needed. She released Maura's wrists, and brushed her fingers over her cheek, kissing her again. "I want to take you to bed." Her own voice sounded alien for a moment. Had she not already been beneath Maura, the other woman admitting her own desire, there was no way Jane could have said the words. But now that they were past her lips she had no desire to take them back. She refused to second-guess herself even though she was so perilously close with this. The scent of Maura's perfume, the feel of her hair, the femininity of her body against Jane's was a strange and disconcerting draw.

The words seemed to hit Maura squarely in the chest, and she caught a jagged breath. Again, before she realized it, she was moving, away this time, offering her hand to Jane; she wouldn't make Jane say it twice, even with her own insecurities. The linens on her bed were crisp, clean. They wrinkled only from her dreams, from her sleepless nights. But she was leading Jane to the bedroom, her heart beating wildly with every step, her desire growing painful—so painful that she could not deny the pleasure, that she was looking forward, admittedly almost blindly, to what was about to happen.

Jane followed willingly, glancing around the room and trying to remember to breathe. It wasn't the first time she had been there, not even the first time she'd been in Maura's bedroom, but it felt new as the air was now charged. She watched Maura cross the room to turn on a bedside light for lack of knowing what else to do, and Jane found herself stepping back to close the door with a slightly shaking hand. There was no reason for it, the house was locked, but still she wanted to shut out the world and each wall she could put up felt better.

She turned back, nearly falling over Maura who had moved behind her, and she paused only slightly before her hands took over, working open the buttons of Maura's shirt one by one. The act was strangely easy, and her mind put up less and less resistance at the thought. Maura's skin was perfect, pale and well cared for. And as the shirt fell to the floor, Jane knew that all barriers were about to drop. She trembled in anticipation; she trembled in apprehension as she asked, "Are you still sure?" It was the last time she could ask, could imagine stopping.

"More now," Maura answered. This time it wasn't too quick, and she did not need to pause long to consider. What else could her answer be? She could no longer call this blind haste; she would have nothing to blame save herself in the morning. But she was pressing into Jane's hands even as she said it, and she was returning her hands underneath Jane's shirt, pulling it up and off until she could feel Jane's warmth against her own skin. Maura closed her eyes then, taking comfort in the closeness, relishing the fact that she could relish it, that it had not happened so quickly as to already be a memory.

Jane nodded slightly, pushing Maura back toward the bed. She stepped on the heels of her shoes, trying to pull them off without having to break their contact. Succeeding, she paused as Maura's legs met with the edge of the mattress, looking into her eyes for a moment before pressing her gently down and moving to cover her with her own body. It took her a moment to relax, Maura feeling so delicate in comparison with her other lovers that she was hesitant, more aware. Still, as she felt Maura's skin under hers it felt right, comforting and almost surprisingly erotic. And Maura, she realized, was pulling her closer, encouraging the contact, the touch. She looked down into her probing eyes, and Jane realized the force of just what Maura wanted. She ran her fingers up Maura's stomach, shivering herself when she saw goosebumps rise on creamy skin.

She hadn't expected to know what to do, but found her hands moving to undress Maura with almost practiced efficiency. Maybe it was the times she'd secretly imagined it—times that had taken her by surprise, that she had been reluctant to admit—or maybe it was just a moment of rare clarity, but the garments fell away and revealed the rest of Maura's body. Finally Jane pressed down against her, kissing her again. She hadn't expected the desire, the spark she felt now.

This... Maura thought she knew what she needed, what she wanted. But it hadn't been the cold floor; still the harshness of other nights gripped her memory as she tried to find herself in this, in her bedroom with Jane Rizzoli, breathing in the scents she had only caught slight tastes of before. She drug her fingers through Jane's thick hair and moaned, luxuriating in it, tangling it as she wrapped her legs around the brunette. "Yes..."

In the past Jane hadn't seen the allure, thinking that it was the differences that led to the sudden attraction she'd felt before. She balked at other women, even though she would not readily admit that either. Here, though, she felt no hint of the jealousy she had bore Maura for her quiet elegance, her pristine appearance. This was far from familiar, and without depriving herself further she ducked to take one of Maura's already hard nipples in her mouth, moaning as if she could feel her own actions transmitted to herself.

"Oh..." Maura gasped, eyes flying open, gaze unfocused. It was like the first time...the uncertainly, the little thrill going down through her core. And the touch was electric, different and somehow the same, and Maura realized she was craving this—the newness and the familiarity. How many times has she rolled her own nipples beneath her fingertips, eyes closed as she imagined the feel of moist lips, the dart of a tongue? Maura knew she had never felt that as acutely. It was as if Jane was forcing her focus, even though each movement was slow, careful in the deliberateness of uncertainty.

She gasped as Jane moved to her other nipple, and she fumbled, fingers clumsy as she pressed her hand down Jane's back and tried to unhook her bra. "More," she gasped, "I want to feel more...of you..." Even with her own fingers, her mind so often wandered to Jane, to what had to be under that baggy blazer, that harsh and unyielding attitude. And now, Maura wouldn't settle for seeing anything less.

"Yeah..." Jane wanted it too, and reached to unbutton her own slacks, shifting as Maura tugged them down and kicked them off onto the floor along with her panties. It wasn't graceful, but neither woman cared, and Jane shuddered when their skin touched fully for the first time. Maura was every bit as soft and delicate as she had imagined through the barriers of her own clothing, but she knew now not to underestimate her, even in this.

A whimper—fear, anticipation—escaped Maura's lips and she pulled Jane into another kiss. This one was not full of raw force, just simply need...need and want. She let her hands move of their own will, it seemed, as she simply touched Jane, reveling in the feel of the rippling muscles in her back, the soft curve of her hips. Jane was more feminine than she could have imagined the stalwart cop, ever hiding behind her uniform, to be.

Instinctively, she pressed one of her thighs between Jane's legs, feeling the stiff, unruly curls there, feeling Jane's lips part, opening, slick and wet against Maura's skin. Maura shuddered, knowing she was just as wet. They both needed, and so many times they denied themselves; that much Maura knew, they had in common.

"Ohh…" Jane's eyes closed at the contact, and she gasped, not able to stop herself from pressing back against Maura. She wanted to feel Maura, couldn't wait much longer, but she hesitated, wondering if the differences would be so acute, if she could make Maura feel just the way she was felling. And she wondered if that would be enough for Maura. Jane wouldn't let herself really shy away, though, even as she squirmed against Maura's smooth thigh. She slid her fingers slid down over Maura's stomach, pausing as she tangled them in Maura's short, auburn flecked curls. Jane could fee Maura's heat already, but she glanced back at her, needing to make sure one more time, to make sure Maura wanted it as much as she herself did.

"Please..." Maura gasped, pressing her hands to Jane's hips, splaying her fingers over the brunette's damp skin. "Jane, please..." She pressed her lips to Jane's shoulder, tasting the salt of her skin, marking it and showing that though she begged, she also took what she wanted. She wanted this.

"God..." Jane nearly whimpered and didn't wait longer. Maura was wet and warm, and she shuddered as she dragged her fingers tentatively over her, then with more confidence when she heard Maura moan. It was like noting she'd experienced before, and she pushed away doubts, finally pressing her fingers slowly inside. Her own moan was sudden, emerging from her throat as she closed her eyes, Maura's body closing around her fingers. She thought it would be the same, that she would feel in Maura what she felt of herself. But Maura was entirely different in ways Jane couldn't even begin to find the words to explain.

Maura arched and gasped, fingers grasping for Jane's skin, pulling her closer. She opened her eyes and closed them again against her shiftless focus, and the sensation only felt stronger. She was full and wanting, and it was different. It was good...it was...she moaned and tried to stop looking for the right words, the most precise words in her own thoughts.

And instead, she moved her hand down Jane's body, mirroring the brunette's movements, gasping when she pressed her fingers into her. Even feeling Jane's body close around her fingers sent a jolt through her. This was what she had craved without realizing she craved it, and as she began to thrust into Jane, matching the brunette's own thrusts into her, Maura's thirst for Jane only grew. She kissed her, fumbling to keep her hair out of the way, to keep the contact as close as possibly without letting entropy completely take hold.

The touch was almost unexpected, as focused as Jane had been on how Maura felt, and her breath caught. "Maura..." she moaned, pulling out of the kiss, gasping for breath. She both wanted more and wasn't sure she could control herself much longer; it was a state so familiar brought on by something so wholly knew that Jane could have almost laughed. But she glimpsed Maura's flushed and glistening face, saw her chest heaving, and she found her focus crumbling as she felt Maura push another finger into her. She fought to keep touching Maura with the same insistence even as she began to tremble. It had been years since she had been brought so close so quickly, and she was sure it showed in her expression.

Instead of speaking, Maura simply moaned softly. She tried to circle Jane's clit with her thumb, tried to concentrate on a steady rhythm, but she couldn't any longer. She simply pressed forward, filling Jane, keeping her clit under her thumb as she stroked it clumsily. Finally, she pulled the brunette close with her other arm and arched forward, gasping sharply as her body began to shudder with her climax. She took it and took pleasure in it, arching still, urging Jane to draw it out.

The realization even more so than the touch was enough to push Jane over the edge, and she shuddered, nearly yelling out, unable and unwilling to stop herself. Yet she somehow found the coordination, the drive to push Maura until she was still. And Jane collapsed, moving without thinking to wrap her arms around Maura. Jane couldn't speak and pressed her face to Maura's neck again, counting her pulse, her life.

As their bodies cooled and Maura's head began to clear, she felt a different sort of heat, a slight blush creeping across her cheeks and down her chest. They had crossed a line, a wall that she thought impenetrable. But she could not deny her desire not to go back, even if it meant no attachment other than this. She breathed in the scent of Jane's hair as she kissed it lightly and pulled a blanket over their tangled legs and up to their chests. Outside the storm had relented, and she simply let the silence fall again, more comfortably this time.