I want you all to know that I had serious help with writing Maura here from a person who would prefer to remain anonymous. Though I'd love to give them direct credit, I'm following their wishes here. So, about half of this isn't mine. I'm still learning the Maura character, but I think I'm getting closer thanks to help from my silent partner. I'll update this more later. It was quite a lot to lay down right now. Normally, my installments are only 1,200 words long. This one is over 3K!

Please review me on this one. I'm struggling, and it would be really helpful for me.

The characters aren't mine. If they were, they'd be married by now...


Jane walked into the morgue with a folder in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. With a determined gait, she made her way to Dr. Isle's desk. Her crisp steps alerted the other woman to a possible confrontation; it was clearly Jane's angry walk. As Jane stopped in front of Maura's desk, the blonde winced slightly as she continued to look at her computer screen. She wasn't sure what the issue was, but it was clear from Jane's posture that the detective was not happy.

"Maura," the brunette angrily tossed the folder in her hand on the desk in front of the doctor. "What the hell is this? How can you turn me in to the Brass for pulling my gun on that kid? He was about to attack you. What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to wait until he actually hurt you?"

Maura finally looked away from her screen. She tried for her best pleasant face despite being startled by Jane's abruptness. "Of course not, but legally, whenever an officer of the law is obligated to draw a weapon, this constitutes a drawn weapon incident report. Hence the name," She gave Jane her best reassuring smile. "The man was about to attack me, and, because that was the case, you were without fault. Therefore, me reporting your actions," she paused in midsentence and tilted her head as she gave a quick side thought, "Which you should have done yourself, Jane." She frowned slightly. "The report could not cause you any harm. Following the rules is its own defense in this instance. I believe your anger is misdirected toward me."

"Maura," Jane let out a grunt of frustration. "I can't believe you sometimes. I'm the detective. You know, I'm the cop here. You don't have to tell me about rules and regulations. I enforce the law. I get it, okay?" She ran a hand over her face. "But, this kid was desperate, and he was hungry. I didn't file a report because I didn't arrest him, and I didn't arrest him because that's not what he needed. What he needed was food in his stomach and a warm place to sleep. That's why I took him to the shelter." The brunette threw her arms up in the air in frustration. "You were there. How could you not… sometimes rules have to bent, Maura. Jail wasn't what that kid needed. How can you not get that?"

Maura's face fell, and Jane could see tears start in her eyes. She ground her teeth. A crying Maura was not what she had in mind when she started her trip down to the morgue. "Oh," the doctor's response felt small to Jane, like a child who had gotten in trouble and was now trying to not make it worse. "I… Jane, I thought you had arrested him. He needed to be arrested. Please don't be upset for me saying so," the detective stood still, glaring at the blonde as the smaller woman rushed through her thoughts. Her eyes followed the other woman's movements as Maura stood up to place a hand on Jane's arm. But, at the last minute, the doctor pulled back as if afraid Jane might do something to her hand. Jane wasn't sure she wouldn't. "He can leave a shelter any time he wants and be back on the street. He would be hungry, cold, and even more desperate than before. But, if he's in jail, that young man would be indoors in a warm, relatively safe place all night long, and he'll receive dinner and breakfast. It's not ideal, I know, but at least he would be inside with warmth, food, and medical attention." She glanced down at her hands. "Did you see those sores on his hand, Jane? He needs a doctor. Juvenile detention requires a medical examination and care within the first twenty-four hours. However, shelters don't have enough doctors or nurses to go around." She sighed. "Jane, please don't be angry with me."

Jane paced a small path in front of the medical examiner's desk as she tried to reign in some of her anger. "I'm not angry at you, Maura. I'm angry at the situation. Jails are too crowded already, and most of the kids that get put in there come out worse than before they went in. They fall in with the wrong crowd that teaches them everything they shouldn't be doing. Jails don't really rehabilitate. Jails just make them better at being bad. It's like college for bad guys." She signed heavily as she paced. "Jails just keep the bad guys from getting to the public, and they don't even do that completely. I mean, look at what Hoyt's been able to do from jail." She stopped pacing and looked over at the blonde. "I know the people that run that shelter. When I went off while you were yacking with that gardening guy, I went to talk to one of them to see about getting that kid a job." The detective put a hand on her hip as she pinched the bridge of her nose. "Geeze, Maura, don't you think I understand how the world works? I wasn't born with a silver spoon. I know what it's like to grow up on the streets."

Jane watched as Maura tried to stop her lower lip from quivering. She could tell she had just said something that had hurt the doctor's feelings, but she wasn't sure if it was the issue with the gun report or her last statement. She hadn't meant for that to come out the way it had. But, she was still mad at Maura, and she didn't really want to apologize for it yet. She stood by the desk, looking down at the blonde who was trying so hard not to cry, and she just needed to know why this other woman was about to spring a leak. As she watched, Maura's face went from quivering mess to something else. She couldn't put her finger on it, but she was pretty sure Maura was coming to some sort of resolution in her head. The brunette narrowed her eyes at the doctor. "Why are you looking at me like that?" She took a step closer. "Maura? Talk to me."

Despite herself, the tears came, and the doctor didn't bother try to keep them from coming anymore. She closed her eyes as she tried to answer the request. "Because, what I did may have hurt the boy more than help him, and I didn't even have the sense to realize it," she replied with a sniffle. She grabbed a tissue and futilely dabbed at the tears. "I didn't think through the consequences of my actions. I was thinking of myself and my assailant, and of following rules I understand. I wasn't thinking of someone who needed my help."

"Don't cry," Jane rushed to her friend's side. She could feel the panic in her chest at the sight of the tears falling down Maura's face. "I'm sorry. I was being a jerk. I didn't really mean it. I understand why you did it." She placed a reassuring hand on the doctor's shoulder as she knelt down to be eye level with the seated woman. "Hey, it'll be okay. I got my ass chewed, but the kid's not in jail. The Brass said he's better off where I put him anyway. They just weren't happy that a formal report from the chief medical examiner hit their desk about something one of their senior detectives hadn't reported." Jane gave Maura's shoulder a light squeeze before pulling her hand back to let it rest lightly on the blonde's knee. "He's working in the soup kitchen downtown today. I managed to get someone out to take care of his hand last night, and I got him an interview at a grocery store tomorrow. He'll be okay." She lowered her head to meet the doctor's eyes. After taking a moment to watch the woman in front of her, she tilted her head to the side in consideration. "Maura, what aren't you telling me?"

The medical examiner cringed as her best friend backpedalled. She looked down at her hands as she began her list. "I am in a state of metabolic distress characterized by mild nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety, tremulousness, elevated heart rate, mild perspiration, light tachycardia..."

"Maura, enough with the google talk." Jane gave a contrite snort. "Why do you always do that?" She shook her head and handed the blonde another tissue. "Can't you just tell me what's going on in that genus head of yours instead of giving me a list of stuff I can't even spell let alone know what all of it is?" She rolled her eyes. "Something else is bothering you besides me being a jerk, isn't it? Look, if it's about the kid, he'll be fine, and the Brass didn't even write me up. They said it wasn't worth the paperwork. So, everything's going to be fine. I was just angry because I felt like you went behind my back." Jane stood up to lean against Maura's desk. "I should have known better by now. You never do anything without a reason." She blew out a stream of air. "Even if that reason is kind of jacked up."

Maura sniffled again. "I don't like it when you're upset with me."

Jane let out a small groan. "I already told you I'm not angry with you. Like I said, I was pissed about the situation. You know how much I hate getting called in with the Brass. It's like going to the principal's office." The detective reached down to pick up the folder she'd thrown down earlier. "You probably have no idea what that's like. I bet you were perfect in school." She chuckled. "Teacher's pet." With a quick motion, she opened the folder and flipped through a few pages. "You know, I didn't even come down here to talk to you about that. That was something that happened on the way. I don't know why I even brought it up." She looked down into the face of her still sniffling friend. "I hate it when you cry." She set the opened folder down on the desk. "I came down here to ask you about these." Jane pointed to a picture of black Jimmy Choo high-heeled shoes. "I should have let the other go." She shrugged. "It doesn't matter anyway."

The doctor went from upset to puzzled. "No," she tentatively agreed with Jane, "I was never punished in school." She furrowed her brow in confusion. "You're… not mad at me?" At the brunette's look of irritation, she moved on. "What about the shoes, Jane?"

"No, Maura, I'm not mad at you. Well, not anymore anyway," the detective frowned as she looked down at the picture. "I was thinking about getting that pair of shoes." Jane gave a quick glance up at the bewildered woman next to her. "You know, to go with that black dress Ma bought me? You remember it, right?" Jane shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "There's this formal thing coming up for the precinct that I have to go to, and I have to wear something nice. I figured the dress would work, but the last time I wore it you told me my shoes were," she looked up for a moment as she tried to remember Maura's exact words, "You said I was 'improperly coordinated' or something like that. So, I thought I'd get new shoes." She squirmed a little in her chair. "What do you think?"

Maura hesitated a moment as she reached out to pick up the folder. She gazed at the picture for a moment. Jane was certain there was look of longing on her friend's face as she watched the ME trace a finger along the line of the arch and heel of the shoe. Maura signed. "Beautiful arch. Three and a half inch heel, not too high. A pointed toe, not a problem for you since your feet are so delicate and narrow. Low toe cleavage, very fine. Hmm…" She tilted her head to the side and turned to glance down at Jane's lower legs. "Lift up your pant legs, Jane. I want to look at your calves, and stand on your toes. Those flats, while practical, don't show what you'll look like in a good heel."

"Are you serious?" Jane's eyes grew wide. "I just wanted to know what you thought about the shoes, Maura. You've seen me in heels before." She watched the unflinching look on the doctor's face. With an over exaggerated sigh, the detective stood up, pulling up the legs of her pants as she turned away from the watching blonde. "I can't' believe I'm doing this." She stood up on her toes. "If any of the guys walk in, we're testing out theories on something having to do with a case, and you'd better not be checking out my ass while you're back there."

The blonde smiled brightly. "Actually, you do want me to check out your… rear end. Heels have not only the effect of placing extra pressure on the toes and the balls of the feet. They also exaggerate the arch, focus and restrict ankle movement, tighten the lower calf, accentuate the musculature in the upper calf, and have similarly striking effects all the way up the back of the thigh and gluteus maximus. The ideal heel, in fact, showcases the derriere even more than the leg. Turn, please? Just a little more to your left." She flipped her fingers in a little circle in the air, to show Jane how far to go. "Also, lower your heels a little. You're standing directly on tiptoe, which is unrealistic. A three and a half inch heel wouldn't have nearly that much influence. Once you're at the right height, your lower back shouldn't be carrying nearly as much stress as it is right now."

"Great," Jane grumbled as she made the slow turn. "All I need is for someone to walk in here while my best friend is checking out my ass." She tried her best to adjust her height as Maura had instructed. "How long do I have to stand like this?" She tried her best not to squirm, but the position was uncomfortable, and she was nervous someone would walk in on them. "Come on, Maura. I can't stand like this all day. I have things to do."

"Why are you so impatient with people who notice your body?" Maura asked as she continued to assess Jane. "Oh, all right, you can go back down now. I've seen what I need in order to judge fairly. Not only would those shoes look appropriate with that dress, but they would look absolutely stunning on you, and do all the right things for you. In fact, if I were you, I'd shave my legs that day." She gave Jane a grin.

Jane plopped down in the chair by Maura's desk. "I'm a cop, not a... a fashion model. I'm not here for some teenage boy to drool over. I'm here to bust his ass if he does something stupid." She ran a hand through her hair. "You know, on second thought, this was a dumb idea. Besides, Ma would have a fit if she knew I'd spent that much on a pair of shoes." Jane quickly grabbed the folder and stood up. "Thanks anyway, Maura. I think I'll just wear a suit." She turned to head toward the elevators.

Maura swiftly grabbed Jane's wrist, keeping her from leaving. "Jane, wait. Don't go. Please, sit and talk to me." She motioned for them both to sit. Once they were settled, she took Jane's hands in her own and looked the other woman in the eye. "You're one of Boston's best detectives. You're bright and accomplished, knowledgeable, tenacious. There's nothing left for you to prove, is there? Everyone knows that you're a cop. Don't you, just once in a while, want to be a woman, too?" She paused, realizing how what she just said might have sounded. "I don't mean necessarily the kind of woman who's frilly and soft like me. Nor, I suppose, the kind of woman who creates warmth and family even when people don't always appreciate it, like your mother. But don't you sometimes want to be the kind of woman you are, and not always the kind of cop you are?" She leaned slightly forward, toward the detective. "Jane, I know I can't really speak from a lot of experience when it comes to human interaction, but I honestly believe that you're missing out on an entire avenue of life that you'd do well to explore. I don't like knowing that you're not having something so vital, so necessary, in your life."

Jane pulled away from Maura and stood up. "Maura, you don't understand. It's not that easy. It's not that black and white. Being a cop... being a female cop means having to constantly prove myself. There's no downtime. The guys, they have it easy. They get in one or two good arrests, and everyone thinks they're great. But, I have to keep getting good arrests. I have to keep showing I can hold my own. Otherwise, they start asking if my hormones or whatever are getting in the way. It's not fair. It's not accurate. It's just the way it is. As a woman, I have to constantly prove myself just to keep up." She shook her head as if to clear it. "It doesn't matter how good I am, it'll never be good enough if they start seeing me as just another chick." She tossed the folder in the trashcan by Maura's desk. "I stopped worrying about the kind of woman I am when I decided I wanted to be a good cop." In an almost unconscious move, Jane rested her thumbs over the top of her belt. "Cop first, woman somewhere else down the line. That's just how it is."

Maura narrowed her eyes at Jane. "You can't really think so little of yourself, my friend. Will you stop making arrests if you wear a dress to a social event? Do you think that wearing a pair of strappy sandals will stop you from being able to make deductions? Jane, I do understand that some people's minds will completely shut down at the sight of you in certain attire, but your mind will still work. No matter what you're wearing, you will still be one of the best homicide detectives that this city has ever been honored to have on its team."

"I think the clothes make the man." Jane grunted at Maura's look. She was clearly about to correct the brunette. "Okay, in this case the woman, and the last thing I want to do is remind the guys that I'm a girl. Trust me, Maura, it'll... it'll just be bad, okay?" She frowned as she again pushed her hair from her face. "It's not about how good I am. It's about how good they think I am, and, whether you like it or not, a lot of that is based on how I look. If I dressed like you every day, no one would take me seriously. You can do it because you're not a cop. Being on the force means having to give up certain things. One of those things is strappy heels." Jane gave a slight shrug. "Can we just forget the whole thing? It's getting late. Why don't we go grab a bite to eat or something?"

"You came downstairs to ask me about fashion," Maura slowly began. "When I gave you my opinion about the shoes, you rejected my advice." Again, she paused. "Something I said caused you to resist. What was it, Jane? Did I say something wrong? Have I made you afraid? Did I make you angry again?" The doctor stood and reached for her friend. "Whatever it was, I'm sorry. You have nothing to be afraid of, and I'm sorry if I've angered you again."

Jane crossed her arms over her stomach and glanced down at the floor. "Rollie Pollie Rizzoli."

"Oh, sweetie, no," Maura breathed, "You are not… look at me, Jane. You are not Rollie Pollie Rizzoli. Do you want to know how the rest of us see you? The ones who aren't you, who don't live in your head with you? No, don't argue, because I'm going to tell you anyway." She took a moment to make certain Jane was listening to her. You are intelligent enough to have been accepted to BCU without spending a fortune on extra tutors to help you. You're a good enough detective to be the first woman that Boston took a chance on, which means that unlike most women, who only have to be twice as good as a man to get recognition, you were probably worth any four other detectives in Homicide. You are so caring that you took in a stray dog, even though you have a mild allergy to her, just because your former partner asked you to give Joe Friday a home. And as if all that weren't enough, I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are gorgeous." Maura kept her eyes on Jane as she reached toward the mirror on her desk. "Even someone who doesn't know all of those other wonderful things about you would be drawn to you, Jane. Look at yourself. Really look. Try to see what everyone else already knows. You're so much more than a pretty face... but you are a pretty face, and a very... exquisite body, too. Not that you're just something for a teenager to drool over, but I'm certain that they, or anyone else, would produce excess saliva. Trust me, I know." She set the mirror aside. "Jane, you're the person that designers hope will wear their clothes. You're..." Maura fell silent. The entire vocabulary of Doctor Maura Isles, walking google, was not enough to describe Jane Rizzoli.