"Not Now" is giving me some writer's block issues, so I did this little one shot to help my get my creative thoughts going again.

As usual, the characters aren't mine, but they are awesome.

You know, I've never really been able to figure Maura out. One moment, she's this naïve and confused person and the next moment she's spouting off facts about the mating ritual of some randomly obscure tribe in the African Rainforest. I heard Frost call her a "woman-child" one time when he was yakking with Korsak, but they stopped talking when they realized I was in the room.

I figured they were talking about me and Maura. They do that a lot. I don't know why. I mean, we're not even that interesting, you know?

Maura doesn't have a clue. It never strikes her funny when people abruptly stop talking when we walk into a room, but all my alarms go off. I mean, it's so obvious they're talking about us. But, when I tell Maura that later, she's always so confused. Then, she goes off google mouthing about human nature and speculation and how it's all so "inaccurate". Whatever. I know what I know, and I know they're rumors about us going around the precinct. I didn't make it to detective because of my winning personality.

I even know what the rumors are. They think we're dating. No one's told me that, but they don't have to. I can connect the dots. Normally, I'd just ignore them, and I know Maura doesn't even know they exist. So, it's no big deal. But, it's starting to get pretty bad, and I think we need to do something about it.

That's why I decided to go talk to her tonight. That's why I was knocking on her door at 11 at night with my overnight bag in one hand and Joe in the other. I knew it'd take forever to get her to understand the situation. I figured it'd be super late by the time it was all done. So, I'd just spend the night in the guest room. No big deal.

Things were going fine. I was trying to explain the rumors and why they were bad while Maura gave me a vacant expression and sipped her wine. It was about where I figured it would be. But, then, she threw me for a loop. I should have seen it coming. I mean, she does this kind of shit to me all the time, throwing a curveball at me at the last possible second.

"Jane," she says as she puts her favorite wine glass down, "Why don't you want them to think we're dating? Are you ashamed of me?"

What the hell? That wasn't what I said at all. What I said was it looks weird and people can get the wrong idea. I said we should set the record straight. I didn't say anything about being ashamed. I would never be ashamed of Maura Isles.

"What?" She actually made me choke on my beer. It took me a good minute to stop coughing. "No! No, of course not. I'm not ashamed of you, Maura. Why would you say that?"

In retrospect, I probably should have said something less… I don't know, just something else. But, I meant it, and I still do. So, maybe not.

"Then, why do I have to 'squash', as you say, any rumors? What does it matter what others think of our relationship? People will think and say what they will. I am accustomed to people treating me differently. It doesn't bother me anymore, Jane. If you're worried about my feelings, don't be. I can handle the ridicule. I have done so all of my life."

I know I probably sat there staring at her like an idiot for a few eternities because she cleared her throat before I snapped out of it. I had to shake my head to clear it. I just wasn't… it took me by surprise. I guess I don't give Maura enough credit for how strong she really is.

"Maura, I'm sorry. I didn't realize. If it doesn't bother you, then it doesn't bother me." Then, I put my beer down and reach over to put my hand on her arm. You know, I was trying to comfort her. But, she grabs my hand and pulls me to her.

Why I let her, I don't know. It's not really like me to be easily pushed around, but I'm starting to realize that Maura gets a lot of slack from me.

I was more surprised when she kissed. I was beyond surprised when I kissed her back.

It's tomorrow now. I spent the night, but not in the guest room. I like Maura's bed. It's soft, and it's warm. Well, it's warm because Maura is sleeping next to me. The night is kind of a blur, but I don't regret any of it. In fact, I'm pretty happy about it, which also surprises me.

Ma is going to have a fit. I don't know if it's going to be a good fit or a bad fit. Whatever kind of fit it is, it's going to involve being bugged about getting married. I can't win.

"Hi," she's awake. "You look lost in thought."

I love how it feels when she curls around me. I could get use to this.

"I was just thinking."

I love the feel of her lips on my skin.

"About what?"

"The rumors at the station."

"They aren't exactly rumors any longer, are they?"

She makes me laugh a lot. I always wonder if she means to. It's hard to tell. "Nope, they're not rumors at all now. Guess that means there's nothing to squash, huh?"

"I should hope not."

I love the way she moves.

"You hungry? Maybe we can go grab some breakfast before we go see Ma about that dress she bought for me the other day."

"I like that plan."

I love the way she smiles.

I guess, if I was really honest with myself… I'm not there yet. But, there are definitely a lot of things I love about Maura Isles. Sometimes that confuses me. But, today, I'm less confused, and I'm okay with that.