"Sorry I'm late, Ma."
Detective Jane Rizzoli entered her apartment quickly, slamming the door behind her. Her keys, she flung to their familiar dish by her door; her coat to the couch.
"Hi Janie," her mother greeted her in kind.
Jane looked up to her mother and inhaled letting the fumes of her mother's familiar cooking fill her with a sense of home. She so rarely these days took the time to eat a complete meal. The demands of her job required her to eat in a flash; digesting almost instantly as she went, never sure when the next stomach lurching victim would require a gut of steal.
Jane looked at the vegetables in front of her mother and grabbed a short stick of celery. Her brow furrowed.
"Wait, Ma? What's all this?"
Her mother continued to chop not looking up at her daughter's bewilderment.
"They're vegetables, Jane."
"Yes. I can see that." Jane continued walking around behind her mother to reach into the fridge, pulling out a cold beer. "It looks like you're making Nonna's soup."
"But you only make that when we're sick."
Jane sighed. "Ma?" Her frustration mounted. "I thought we were having cannelloni."
"We are," and off her daughter's silence, Angela Rizzoli sighed and looked up. "It's for your friend; the doctor."
Jane took a sip of her beer and watched as her mother went back to dicing the carrots in front of her. "For Maura? Why?"
Angela looked up again, pointing her knife toward her daughter's bedroom door. "She went to lie down; said she wasn't feeling the greatest."
"I thought you knew."
Jane took another swig of her beer and placed the bottle on the countertop. Turning from her mother, she headed toward her bedroom.
Jane entered the room, slowly pushing back the door, letting soft light flood in. The light met her bed, and Maura Isles who was lying in the middle of the bed, curled into a ball.
"Hey," she said groggily, attempting to find her voice. "You're home."
Jane placed her suit jacket at the foot of the bed and walked around to sit down.
"My mother's in there making my Nonna's special soup. You not feeling well?"
"I told her not to." Maura sighed and stretched her legs. "I'm fine. I just needed to lie down."
Jane reached forward and placed the back of her hand to Maura's forehead; instantly, concern flashed across her face.
"Maura, you're not fine; you're burning up."
"Am I?" Maura placed her own hand to her head and turned onto her back. "I do feel a little warm."
"A little warm? You're boiling!"
"I'm fine." Maura could not prevent the shiver that came over her suddenly, causing her to turn on her side and draw her legs to her chest again. She looked up at Jane slowly.
"No, Maura." Jane shook her head. "You're not." She reached down and pulled up the corner of her bedding. "Get under the covers. I'll get you something for your fever."
Jane furrowed her brow and waited. "What is it with doctors? They always make the worst patients."
"I'm a medical examiner Jane, not a family physician."
"So what?" Jane gasped. "If you were a corpse, you'd know what you needed."
"Yes," Maura said, nodding matter-of-factly. "That's exactly what I mean."
Jane was losing her patience. "Just get under the covers, Maura. Now."
Maura obliged tucking her feet under the sheets Jane offered; sliding lower, letting Jane cover her with the thick duvet.
"Now stay here; undercover."
Jane returned within a few minutes carrying a bottle of Advil and a glass of water.
"You really don't have to go through all this trouble." Maura said sitting up accepting the glass Jane presented to her.
"Maura," Jane sighed. "Just take the pill."
Maura obliged, swallowing and returned the glass to Jane. Another shiver came over her, this time causing her lip to quiver; the aftershock to trace across her shoulders.
"Get under," Jane commanded and pulled back the sheets again, waiting for Maura to scoot under them.
She lifted herself onto the bed climbing over Maura to rest beside her, ignoring the confused look from her friend. Jane sidled up to Maura and placed a hand under her friend's shoulders turning her into arms.
"Jane," Maura said nervously. "This is too much."
Jane could feel the heat emanating from Maura's body; the fire that burned from her forehead onto Jane's shoulder where Maura's head now rested.
"Shh." Jane soothed, tightening her hold on Maura. Her hands stroked firmly against Maura's back as she attempted to calm her. Maura trembled.
"I'll be fine."
Jane heard the choke in Maura's voice and looked down at her friend to watch a single tear escape her. Maura shifted her head on Jane's shoulder and attempted to conceal it.
Jane brushed Maura's long hair from the base of her neck, running her fingers through her curls.
"You don't feel good, do you Maur?"
She felt the shake in Maura's head, the resounding "No" that escaped her. Jane looked down to see more tears streaming down her face.
"It's just a fever, sweetie," Jane cooed. "You'll be all right."
Jane felt Maura's forehead again; the heat lingered across her brow.
"I feel like shit, Jane." She sniffed.
"When did this come on?"
"A few hours ago."
"And you came here?"
"I don't have anyone else."
Jane sighed and pulled Maura tighter into her arms.
"And you'll always have me, Maur." She ran her fingers through her hair again, watched as Maura closed her eyes. Her breathing softened, the shivering passed.