Maura ran her fingers through her hair thoughtfully as she waited for the elevator to begin its ascent. She was alone save for her thoughts, but they had been enough to keep Maura company for the entirety of the day. Now, they seemed to be closing in.

Still, she put a small smile on her face when the door opened and she stepped toward homicide's squad room. Immediately, she was greeted with nods, as well as a smile or two and a 'hello.' Maura knew a calm, pleasant expression afforded her more of these pleasantries than usual. There were no whispers behind her back; there were no murmurs of the name that she had come to quietly endure without embracing. But she wasn't carrying a folder, wasn't wearing her lab coat, and there was nothing grim about her brisk walk.

Maura wondered if it was obvious that she was there to see Jane. When she changed back from her scrubs to the dress she wore in that morning, she took as much care as usual not to wrinkle it—that was simply a given for her routine. But she had refreshed her makeup and run a brush through her hair before dabbing her perfume just behind her knees, knowing that would refresh the scent without it being obvious. And Jane would find it later—she hoped.

When she saw Maura approaching, Jane smiled brightly. It was different than a friendly smile; Maura knew that immediately. Frost probably saw it...perhaps Korsak did as well...but the others... There were little touches, looks. They held hands at dinner; they walked arm in arm when shopping, at the symphony. Those things were all part of Maura's world, but this was Jane's. And while she was happy—almost blissfully happy—Maura wanted what was between them to be as complete as it could. She had been hesitating, and she told herself that it was all right considering what happened the last time she'd brought it up.

But she was also not the type of woman to continue to put things off. Winter was showing a chance of disappearing into spring, and she and Jane had moved past the terrors of the case that pulled them back together. They had moved past fears that pushed them apart, but Maura needed to know that it wasn't superficial.

"Ready to call it a day?" she asked. She was fully prepared to go to the bar with Jane, to share a beer or two over food that was too greasy, too heavy, and finally to return to Jane's apartment. Maura wanted her to be in her comfort zone.

Jane's smile didn't fade, though she could feel several sets of eyes look up from their paperwork to actively eavesdrop on her reply. "I think so." She ran her fingers through her casually tangled hair, voice dropping just a little, "You look nice, did you have something in mind?"

"Nothing special," Maura replied. Her smile persisted even though her mood dropped every so slightly at the way Jane lowered her voice. She knew it was habit, it was self preservation. Just as she wouldn't tell Jane how absolutely enticing she looked running her fingers through her hair there in the squad room, Jane wouldn't tell her she looked nice and ask what their plans were. But somehow, the two did not seem proportionate. "I thought we could have something to eat at the bar and go back to your place," she finished, voice equally as low out of respect to Jane. It was not a proposition she ever offered herself, as the pub was generally Jane's suggestion...a suggestion they both knew Maura tolerated.

Jane raised an eyebrow at the suggestion, then shrugged, mostly to push away any lingering doubts, "Sure, actually the guys are going for a few beers tonight…maybe they'll catch up." That she was more than amenable to the second half of Maura's offer went unspoken.

"Great." Maura's smile brightened genuinely and she did not try to hide it as she stepped away from the brunette's desk. There were little habits that neither of them would ever be able to break. Jane wouldn't let her vulnerabilities show to the other detectives she worked with, and Maura wasn't asking her to. But she needed to know that those things were not still casting shadows over what they had.

The bar was crowded as usual for a Friday, but Jane had still found an open booth waiting. Maura had contained herself even, not commenting on the health risks associated with fried food when Jane ordered the onion rings, and soon they were laughing, letting go of the week. Jane sat back, still chuckling as she finished the anecdote, "And by the time Frost realized we'd changed the files on him, he was already halfway out the door! I thought Korsak was gonna have a coronary right there from laughing."

As Maura leaned forward, hand wrapped around her almost empty beer bottle, she smiled softly, chuckling. "You two are too hard on him...he's incredibly capable, you know... He's even getting past his issues with corpses." She shifted as several of Jane's colleagues along with a few other people began to filter into the bar. "I think," she said, turning her attention back to Jane as she plucked the last onion ring from her basket and examined it before taking a bite to go with the last of her beer, "I'm finished here..." She knew she needn't go on.

"What? No seconds?" Jane teased, and waived for the check. Maura moved to pay, but Jane slapped her fingers away lightly, "No way. This place I can actually afford." She smiled, and stood a few moments later.

The bar was gathering a crowd as it got later, and the last minutes of the Celtics game was drawing most of the attention. So much so, that Frost nearly spilled his drink all over her in an effort to back toward a table without looking away. "Oh, shit, sorry Jane!" He steadied himself, and only then glanced over at Maura, "Hey, Doc..." He saw their coats in hand, "You guys leaving already?" Jane caught the implication in his tone, but it wasn't accusing, and she just smiled and reached for Maura's hand. It still felt strange, but not forced, "Yeah, I think we are." Her fingers tightened a little around Maura's, and she laughed. "They'll never pull this game back in ten minutes anyway."

At the deliberateness of the touch, Maura felt her stomach tighten into a pleasant knot. This wasn't the symphony or a new restaurant that Maura had picked. This was one of Jane's homes away from home, these were the people they worked with every day, the people that Jane shared a great deal of her time with. And this was the first time that she had so publicly acknowledged that Maura's part in that was more than simply 'work.' It was subtle, but it was so meaningful that Maura was moved nearly to speechlessness.

"You sure you can't stay for a drink?" Frost was asking. "I hear Korsak's got the next round, and I'm going to take advantage of that." Maura flashed a smile as Korsak turned their way and she shook her head as she tightened her grip on Jane's hand.

"Maybe next time."

Jane nodded, shoving Frost playfully on the shoulder, "Yeah, I think we're out, but tell Korsak you can have mine." A few smiles and passing greetings later, and they were stepping into the brisk night air. Jane was almost surprised at how easy it had been, and tried to pretend the guys weren't talking about them already. Somehow though, she didn't really care. "So," she said smiling at Maura, "Can I take you home?"

Even as she said it, a slight flush crept across Maura's cheeks. It was not that she was embarrassed or hesitant; it was merely that she did not have to speak in hushed tones so no one else might hear the wrong word or two. "If it's home with you." She ran her thumb over the back of Jane's hand and she couldn't help but breaking into a broad, almost absurd smile.

Though she was feeling the same pleasant anticipation, Jane cut the moment with a laugh as she started toward her apartment. "Well I sure hope it's not with anyone else."

Maura laughed along with her, and they were still laughing, she realized, as they walked up the stairs to Jane's apartment and Maura explained how the steps seemed more laborious because they were built before there were standards for floor levels and not placed in intervals of seven. As she went on, it seemed to be becoming a treatise, and even Maura could not help but laugh at herself with Jane. She wondered when she had become so comfortable with Jane's habit of not taking her completely seriously. It felt good; it also felt good to walk into Jane's apartment hand in hand, to be greeted by Jo as if she had not seen Maura there earlier that day. As Jane closed the door, Maura saw the candles she had put out and laughed lightly. "I was supposed to make you wait outside."

Jane glanced around the apartment, at the additions so obviously not there when she had left for work in the morning. There were flowers, candles, champagne flutes that definitely weren't hers, and she could imagine what else there might be chilling in the fridge. It all looked so charmingly out of place that she couldn't help but smile. The gesture was something she'd hardly have thought of to do herself, and that fact alone was what made Maura's effort seem all the more thoughtful. Still, she had no idea what the appropriate response was to such a moment, so Jane defaulted to closing the door, and gathering Maura in her arms. She leaned down and kissed her, then laughed quietly. "You didn't have to go to all this trouble to get me into bed, you know."

"I know." Maura leaned back in Jane's arms as she surveyed the room again. She enjoyed little romantic touches, even if they were unnecessary, but now this seemed comically excessive. "I was worried..." she softly, biting her bottom lip as her eyes found Jane's again.

Jane cocked her head to the side, and quietly took Maura's chin in her fingers, "What about?"

"I thought..." Maura took in a deep breath, comforted by the certainty of Jane's touch. She saw her own reflection in the brunette's dark eyes and realized how uncertain she looked when she knew she no longer needed to be uncertain. "I wanted to talk, and I did all of this because I was worried...oh, Jane..." She laughed, half in delight as she drew Jane into a tighter embrace. "It doesn't matter. I was afraid of the chance that you might leave me again, but now I know..."

She started, still confused, "What? I why would you be thinking that.." Realization came a moment later, "Oh. Oh...Maura, it's okay, I...I shouldn't have done that then, and I won't do it now." Her tone was steady and sure out of habit, though she now knew it was true. Jane smiled and kissed Maura's forehead. "And thank you for all this, I'm looking forward to finding out what you have planned for those glasses over there." She wasn't sure how much patience she had for much of anything that didn't involve going to bed, but when Maura had a plan, Jane had learned it was best to let her carry it out.

"Well..." Maura looked toward the fridge. She'd taken her lunch to bring everything over even though she'd bought it all the night before. Each step had been carefully planned, even her anticipation of Jane's reactions, one way or the other. But now, it all felt gratuitous. She had Jane's firm body against hers, and she had the assurances that she found she had so desperately and surprisingly wanted for a while. "I think the champagne will be perfect," she murmured before kissing Jane deeply, "for mimosas in the morning...and we can have the caviar with eggs..."

When the kiss broke, Jane moaned, only just registering as Maura started backing toward the bedroom, "Mmmn...you sure?" She could tell Maura was changing her plans, but Jane was fast losing the ability to protest.

There was absolutely no hesitation before Maura nodded. She barely blinked when, upon pulling Jane on top of her onto the bed they scattered a row of unlit tealights. "Very sure," she breathed between heavy kisses as she pushed Jane's jacket off and her hands under the brunette's shirt.

Jane's voice dropped to a near growl, and her breath hitched at Maura's fingers tracing eagerly at her skin, "Good." She could hear the candles scattering and only really caught sight of the roses by the side of the bed as she sat up to help Maura tug off her shirt. Her skin flushed, and she reached for Maura's clothes, needing desperately to feel their skin together.

If she said she hadn't planned to be wearing a dress that was so easily removed in one tug, Maura would be lying. She knew, though, that the thought she put into such things was only apparent to Jane in a cursory way. Without letting Jane undo her own pants, Maura pulled her down and into another kiss. "Your strap on is in the drawer of the bedside table," she whispered, nipping hard at Jane's earlobe. It had been another touch meant to make Jane feel in control, but now it was simply what Maura craved and what she knew Jane wouldn't turn down.

Pausing for only a moment to wonder at Maura's foresight, Jane wasn't about to let the wonderful urgency of the mood change. Maura's dress was discarded, along with her panties and bra, on the floor, and Jane smiled as she reached for the drawer. If there was something more enticing than taking Maura, it was Maura asking to be taken. A quick moment later, and Jane was kissing back up the blonde's perfect skin, parting her legs and settling between them. She let out a moan under her breath as Maura's back arched when she pushed into her the first time.

"Yes," Maura gasped at the first. But she let words become moans, each more urgent than the last as Jane pushed into her with deliberateness that would not afford hesitation. She pressed her fingertips into Jane's hips and kissed her hair, breathing in its scent, as Jane kissed and nipped at her collarbones, her breasts. Their bodies become deliciously drenched in sweat, and Maura let one of her hands fall between them, nimble fingers catching and circling her own clit until she shuddered with her orgasm.

"Yes..." Jane mirrored Maura's moans and held her tightly for a few long moments. They were both shaking lightly- Maura from the last waves of pleasure, and Jane from the exertion. The silence was filled only by their slowing breath, and Jane ran her fingers through Maura's silky hair.

"Jane," Maura whispered, a smile on her lips. She kissed her cheek softly, but that kiss led to others, trailing down Jane's jaw. There was no urgency when Maura shifted, gently prodding Jane until she rolled onto her back, and for a moment, Maura simply lay at her side looking down, captured by her unassuming beauty. But she knew Jane was not as content as she, and she quickly moved to take off the harness, slipping to her knees between Jane's legs. "Mm," she intoned as she ran her hands up Jane's thighs, stopping just as her fingers brushed the coarse curls between them.

"God..." Jane's voice trailed off into a moan, and soon she felt Maura's warm breath on her skin, and her tongue soon followed. It wasn't long before the touch was more intense, and she twisted the sheets in her fingers desperately as Maura pushed her towards the edge.

Maura didn't dare break the contact for a moment. She knew Jane; she knew the subtleties of her body, and she pushed her fingers slowly into her and curled them back, she knew it would only be another moment. And as she felt Jane tense and release, shuddering in her climax, she savored her taste while she pushed her through it.

Jane released her hold on the sheets and tangled her fingers in Maura's hair, drawing her up into a long kiss. She breathed deeply, wrapping her long arms around Maura's slender but soft body. The room was still pleasantly spinning around her, and Jane broke the kiss, "I love you..." The words focused her at once, but she didn't want to take them back.

As she closed her eyes, Maura let her breath fall into rhythm with the sound of Jane's heartbeat, and she found every comfort in that, in Jane's warmth, just as she found comfort in the absolute surety of the way Jane spoke the words more than the words themselves. "I love you too," she whispered, finally able to reconcile herself to the component of that that was not biological, that was not immediate and easy for her to categorize.