Title: Color

Author: cardiogod

Rating: PG

Word Count: About 2100

Characters/pairing: Maura, Maura/Jane

Spoilers: Through the season 1 finale.

Summary: "There is clarity in death."

Disclaimer: Jane and Maura belong to Tess Gerritsen and the people at TNT. I own nothing and make no profit from their use.

Author's Note: Many thanks to 0penhearts for giving me a shove in (what I hope is) the right direction when I was stuck. You rock, girl.

There is clarity in death.

This is something that she has learned throughout her years in medicine, in pathology, and it comforts her.

Death is constant, predictable, natural.

When a man lies on her table, she knows him. She can see the way he lived in his skin, his hair, his bones, his blood. It does not matter if, in life, he was a CEO or a crack dealer because, in death, they all look the same.

It is a world of black and white, a world where the dead speak and the living are irrelevant. A world free of mess and hassle and full of precision.

There is clarity. Peace.

She never understood society's fear of an inevitable biological event.

And then Jane got shot.

She thinks that, in some abstract way, her life can be divided into two parts. Before Jane got shot, and after.

Not literally, of course. Literally, time is a fixed construct divided into minutes and seconds, not into specific events, but she has learned to take liberties with language to express an otherwise inexpressible feeling.

When Jane got shot, Maura understood why people feared death. It wasn't at all about the dead or dying individual and entirely about the people said individual would be leaving behind. In this case, her.

She has nightmares now. She never used to have them Before.

In her nightmares, Frankie dies. She would have expected the image of Jane's death to be more traumatic and to be featured in the subconscious exploitation of her fears (and it is, sometimes, but mostly it's Frankie), and when the first nightmare comes, she is surprised.

After much thought, she comes to the conclusion that she dreams of Frankie's death because it is what would be most painful to Jane. She remembers her face in the morgue after he got shot, panicked and afraid, begging Maura to do something, to save him. She had never seen Jane that way, so unraveled and so anxious And that, she thinks, is why her nightmares are the way they are.

She fears more for her friends' pain than for her own potential loss.

This is not something she really understands.

She thinks that this is, perhaps, an indicator of just how much Jane means to her.

She's never had a friend mean as much to her as Jane does.

She finds the idea of being close to someone comforting.

Jane is alive, thankfully.

(Although she says that death would have been preferable to desk-duty, her current assignment while she is in recovery.)

Frankie is also alive, and much more grateful to have been given paperwork assignments than his sister is.

Jane spends most of her days in the morgue. She misses real live dead bodies, she says, which makes absolutely no sense because all of the bodies in the morgue are quite dead, but Maura doesn't correct her. If she spent all of her time correcting Jane, she would have very little time left for actual work.

Having Jane there sometimes makes the work easier, and sometimes makes it more difficult. For a while after the shooting, when Jane was still confined to the hospital bed but out of the Intensive Care Unit and Maura had to go back to work, she had had difficulty performing the autopsies assigned to her.

Each one reminded her a bit of Jane in some way ("similar zygomatic structure," "irises are slightly lighter, but not by much," "his musculature is well developed, perhaps he played field hockey"), and it was very easy for her to drift into the realm of "what if?"

Maura had never been a "what if?" person before.

What if Jane had died? What if it had been Jane lying on her autopsy table? What if it had been her chest mutilated by a Y-incision or her organs removed and weighed and catalogued?

It would have been so easy.

A matter of inches, even.

And what really bothered Maura was that, when she asked herself these "what if?" questions, she could never come up with an answer.

She simply could not imagine a world without Jane, and the idea of her (biologically inevitable) death became both laughable and something to be feared.

Sometimes, though, Jane's presence in the morgue made her job easier because she would laugh and joke and tease, her liveliness in stark contrast with whoever lay dead on Maura's table. It would remind her that Jane is alive and she would appreciate that instead of fearing the alternative.

She thinks a lot these days about her feelings.

She has never been a feelings person; they are quite outside the realm of science – unpredictable, illogical, and enmeshed in the gray area between black and white – and she has never really known what to do with them.

But then Hoyt came back and she discovered her biological father and Jane almost died and all she could do was feel.

It's distracting, all of this feeling.

She spends a lot of time thinking about her family.

Her father was a murderer. He took lives for a living.

When she was young, she used to imagine what her biological family might be like. Perhaps her mother was young and unmarried and would be shunned socially if she had tried to raise a child. Perhaps her biological parents were financially insecure and incapable of providing for a child's considerable needs. Perhaps her mother was a widow and had given her up because she wanted her to have a mother and a father. Maybe her parents were young and in college and needed to give her up in order to pursue their own careers and their own lives.

She wondered what they looked like.

Did she have her father's eyes and her mother's smile?

Had either of them needed corrective eyewear?

Was there a sibling somewhere who resembled her? Who had hands like hers or a nose like hers or some other identifying feature?

She thought about who they might have been, who they might have become in the years since her birth.

Maybe her father was an artist or a writer. Maybe he wrote novels.

Maybe her mother was a doctor, like her.

Maybe her father was an auto mechanic, someone who worked with his hands.

Maybe her mother baked a legendary apple pie while her father tinkered on the piano and her sibling played quarterback on his college football team.

Maybe they loved music and art, or sports and science.

It never occurred to her that her father might like stabbing people through the heart with ice picks.

Jane says that it doesn't mean anything, that it's just biology.

But she is a scientist. Biology means something to her.

DNA, genetics, proteins and alleles. They are all significant. They are not disposable things, forgettable things, things that don't matter.

She comes from a family of criminals. A murderous father, an identity-thief brother.

Not exactly the family she had envisioned.

She thought that finding her family would have provided her with a feeling of belonging, one that she can't find in the rest of her life. But knowing who they are, knowing the things they had done, she feels more alienated.

She is sad, not because she lost something – she didn't know her brother and she didn't want to know her father – but because she never had it to begin with. It's the loss of an idea more than the loss of the thing itself.

She feels it keenly.

So when Frankie Rizzoli laid on her table, only a week after her own brother had lain there, cold and dead, she was very aware of what was at stake.

She is not a trauma doctor, not by any means. She did a rotation in med school just like everyone else, but she was never very good at it. Hesitant. Careful. Precise. All of the things that made her excellent in the morgue made her ineffective in the ER.

Later, the Rizzolis would herald her has Frankie's savior. They would praise her quick thinking and quick action and they would say that she saved his life. She accepts their thanks because it is honest and it is valid; had she not been there to wield the scalpel, to diagnose, to treat, Frankie would not have made it out of the morgue.

But she knows that the most important person in that room that day was Jane. Because without her, Maura would not have had the courage to try.

She wonders what would have happened if she had been given an opportunity to save her own brother. If he had lain on her table, warm and breathing, would she have been able to do it?

She isn't sure that she wants the answer to those questions.

She almost suspects that she had been able to help Frankie because she understood what his loss would mean to Jane because she had, in a sense, experienced it herself.

And if that is true, if Frankie was alive because her brother was dead, then she is not sad for her own personal loss. She would not trade the one for the other.

She doesn't know what it means, that she values Frankie's life over her own family's, but she's pretty sure it has something to do with Jane.

In all of her exploration and discovery of feelings, she has discovered that no one makes her feel more than Jane does.

Jane, her best friend.

Jane, her work associate.

Jane, the one person in her life who has, throughout the course of their friendship, remained constant.

Until she shot herself and almost died.

Maura thinks that part of her may never forgive Jane for that, for coming so close to abandoning her completely. It's selfish to think that way, she knows that, but she also knows that she is the one who would be most affected by Jane's death.

She is the one who doesn't have anyone else, who wouldn't have had another person to lean on in her mourning, who wouldn't have had someone to talk to about it, or someone with whom she could drown her grief in alcohol.

Jane is that person, the person she turns to when bad things happen.

She had come so close to losing that person. So close.

But she is alive. This is something Maura reminds herself of often.

She has done a lot of thinking since Jane got shot.

She loves Jane, certainly. But whether it is a platonic love or a romantic love, she has yet to determine. She has always made an effort to remain open minded, and she is well-versed in many theories regarding human sexuality – Kinsey, Klein, Butler, and any number of others. While she has always considered herself heterosexual, she understands, on some level, that the intricacies of sexual identity defy fixed labels.

After Jane got shot and the intensity of Maura's feelings flooded her, she began to consider the possibility.

She notices the way she smiles, the ease of her laugh, the warmth of her skin when they touch. It isn't as though she didn't notice Jane's appearance before, but it feels heightened somehow, like a switch has been flicked, illuminating something that she hadn't seen before Bobby Marino's bullet.

When she was a little girl, she and her mother would sit in bed and watch The Wizard of Oz every Christmas. It was their thing, their special time together. In the space of those two hours, Maura lost herself in the movie, in her mother, and in the feeling that she wasn't quite alone, the feeling of family.

Her favorite part was when Dorothy's house lands and she opens the door of her sepia-colored world and sees the brilliant blues and greens and pinks and yellows of Oz. She used to wonder what it would be like to suddenly see the world differently, to see it change in an instant.

She doesn't wonder anymore. She knows.

The shooting changed her.

What scared her before – living people, relationships – does not incite fear.

What used to give her peace – the dead – now unsettles her.

She longed for family, for people who would know her, connect with her, love her. She thinks she may have found that, a lack of blood-ties notwithstanding.

Maybe biology matters less than she thought it did.

Maybe family can be chosen.

Her thoughts are interrupted when Jane half-struts, half-hobbles into her office.

"Come on, Maura, stop checking out shoes online or whatever you're doing in there. Ma's gonna have my head if we're late again. Gnocchi night is serious business in the Rizzoli family."

Maura grins and rises from her chair.

She looks at Jane and she thinks that this must be what it's like to finally, finally see a world full of color.