Disclaimer: I don't own Rizzoli and Isles.
The second time she sees a mouse in her house, Maura makes two phone calls. The first is to an exterminator, demanding a thorough extermination of all non-human or non-tortoise life in the apartment. The second is to Jane, and goes pretty much the way she expects.
"Hey! What's up?"
"I have mice."
"…In your lab?"
"Not lab mice, Jane. Pests. In my house. I'm having the exterminator in, but Bass and I need somewhere to stay for a week while the house is fumigated."
There's barely a pause before Jane says, "Stay at my place."
"Are you sure?"
"You might regret it after a night on the couch, but sure. You're welcome any time, Maura. You know that."
Maura does know that. She's never had a friend like Jane before, someone she never, ever has to doubt.
It's a matter of hours to pack her bags—all six of them—and load them and Bass into the car. She calls Jane again when she's close and the detective meets her at the curb to help unload, looking faintly horrified by the amount of luggage.
They lug everything up to Jane's apartment. Joe Friday greets them on each trip with a yap and some excited sniffing of Maura's feet. On the last trip, in which the two of them carefully carry Bass upstairs—left to his own devices, it would take the tortoise about three days to climb that far—Joe Friday goes crazy, dancing around Bass as if expecting him to attack at any moment.
Jane's already cleared out half her closet (though, knowing Jane, that half might have been empty already), and together they hang Maura's clothes, Jane exclaiming over every other blouse. ("Would you really wear this, Maura? Really?" "Yes, Jane.")
It's a Sunday, so they head to the liquor store to get a couple of bottles of what Maura considers acceptable wine. Jane makes pasta and refuses the wine in favor of a Budweiser. By this point, Bass has claimed the center of the living room as his favorite spot and Joe Friday has taken up residence in a distant corner, glaring suspiciously at the intruder.
After dinner they watch a couple of episodes of Bones, Maura sitting primly on the couch and Jane slouched beside her, her feet on the coffee table and elbow nestled comfortably against Maura's side. They decide to call it a night when Jane can't keep her eyes open any longer. She fetches sheets and a comforter from the closet and they make up the couch into a cozy nest.
They brush their teeth side by side in the bathroom, Maura precise and controlled with an electric toothbrush and Jane haphazard and quick. There's a moment of confusion about who gets to spit first, after which Jane gracefully cedes the sink to Maura.
After they've finished their ablutions, Maura climbs onto the couch and pulls the blankets over herself, wincing when a lump in the cushion digs into her spine.
"Well," Jane says, standing in the tiny hallway between the living room and her bedroom. "Good night."
Maura gives her a sleepy smile. "Good night, Jane."
Jane flips a switch on the wall and the lights go out.
Maura wakes to pain. It originates somewhere in the center of her back and radiates up to her neck, a back ache the likes of which she's never known.
Grunting, she rolls off the couch, landing in a heap of blankets on the cold floor. She struggles out of the tangle and onto her knees to glower at the couch, which seems not at all cowed by the ferocity in her eyes.
A glance at the clock tells her that it's nearly 3 a.m. The thought of spending the rest of the night on that torture device is too much to bear, so she slips her feet into her slippers and pads into Jane's bedroom.
Jane sleeps in a sprawl, her arms and legs flung every which way. She snores faintly. The sight is strangely endearing. After a moment's consideration—not hesitation, because there's no need to hesitate; this is Jane, after all—Maura toes off her slippers and wedges herself into a small empty space on the bed, careful not to wake the sleeping detective. She falls back asleep almost immediately.
This time she doesn't wake until the alarm goes off at seven. She wakes gradually, to the pleasant discovery that she now has a full half of the bed to herself. Well, mostly. Jane's arm is slung low across her stomach. Maura doesn't mind. It's Jane, after all.
Maura doesn't get out of bed right away, too comfortable to move. She isn't sure at first whether Jane is awake, since she didn't so much as twitch when the alarm went off and her entire face is currently buried beneath a pillow. After a few minutes Jane's hand flexes, her fingers brushing against Maura's bare midriff. Her hand freezes in surprise, then relaxes.
Jane chuckles, the sound muffled by the pillow. "I warned you about the couch."
"You didn't warn me enough," Maura points out in mock annoyance.
Jane chuckles again, then groans. "I don't want to go to work."
Maura drags herself out of bed, giving Jane's hand a tug. "Come on, time to get up."
Jane pulls her hand away and uses it to press the pillow harder over her face. "Don't wanna."
Maura can't help but grin at her friend's antics. "I'll make you an omelet," she offers.
A long hesitation. Then Jane slowly worms her way out from under the pillow. Her hair is tousled around her head, her smile impossibly enticing. "You drive a hard bargain, Dr. Isles."
So Maura makes them both omelets and slices a strawberry salad for Bass. By 7:45, Jane has had two cups of coffee and no longer looks as if she wants to shoot every clock in sight. Fifteen minutes later they're in Jane's car on their way to the police station.
They don't part ways until they reach the lobby. Jane has paperwork to do upstairs, and downstairs the morgue is waiting for Maura.
They pause outside Maura's elevator.
"This was…nice," Jane says, her brow furrowed in puzzlement.
"Yes," Maura agrees. "It really was."
She's not sure why, exactly, but Jane's words stick in her head all day, slowing down her work and distracting her at the oddest moments. Because Jane was right: last night and this morning were nice. Very nice. The kind of experience she would be glad to repeat, despite the pain in her back and the mice in her apartment.
She's never felt as comfortable with anyone—friend or lover—as she does with Jane.
She's kidding herself. It's not just comfort that she feels around Jane. It's…warmth. Pleasure. Love.
The thought is so unusual that it makes her pause in the middle of a routine autopsy. She puts down the scalpel with an unsteady hand, her heat rate increasing in panic.
No. She can't be in love, not with Jane. Not because Jane's a woman—Maura's always been open-minded, and she's been attracted to women nearly as often as she's been attracted to men. Not because Jane is straight—despite her protestations, Maura's seen Jane discreetly ogle more than one woman, perhaps unconsciously. No, she can't be in love with Jane because Jane is her best friend. The best friend she's ever had. And if Maura falls in love with Jane, it won't be the kind of love she can get over with nothing more than a broken heart and some emotional scarring. If Maura falls in love with Jane, it'll be forever.
Around noon, Jane pops down to the morgue, carrying a paper bag with two sandwiches, a bottle of water, and a Coke from the gourmet deli that's two blocks further from the station than the Subway that Jane prefers.
That seals it. It's love.
It's still love when Jane comes down at three to drag Maura to coffee. It's still love when Jane comes down at six to tell Maura it's time to leave. And it's most definitely still love when, come ten o'clock, Jane doesn't make up the couch, just leads the way into her bedroom and says, "You want the left side or the right?"
Having come to the realization that she is in love with Jane (and, in hindsight, that she has been for months), Maura becomes increasingly awkward around the detective. Somehow gestures that seemed innocent before—relaxing companionably on the couch, sleeping on the same bed—now have an air of expectation to them.
Maura prides herself on being controlled. Centered. And yet Jane has the ability to knock her off-balance with nothing but a smile.
On Wednesday, the exterminator calls to tell Maura that he's ascertained that there weren't more than one or two mice in the house and he should be finished a few days earlier than expected. Maura doesn't tell Jane.
It's a good reminder, though, that she hasn't actually moved in with Jane. That after the week is up she'll be going back to her house, which suddenly seems empty and cold compared to Jane's apartment. That as much as they may have been acting like a married couple for the past few days, they aren't.
The thought, at first simply uncomfortable, is simply unacceptable by Thursday, and unbearable by Friday. Maura is a woman who has always been accustomed to knowing what she wants and finding ways to get it. She wants Jane more than she has ever wanted anything before, and so there is no obstacle she will allow to stand in her way—not even Jane herself.
She begins to plot, with great care, the seduction of Jane Rizzoli.
It starts with dinner on Friday evening. The restaurant is a fancy one that Jane would never choose, but whose menu Maura thoroughly vets ahead of time to make sure that it has plenty of dishes the detective can enjoy. Jane seems surprised by Maura's invitation but accepts without much hesitation.
Dinner goes better than Maura dared to hope. Jane wears that little black dress her mother once forced her to buy and looks absolutely incredible in it. They spend most of the meal talking about the case Jane has just solved, which suits Maura just fine—though she is gratified when Jane breaks off mid-sentence to say, "God, this paella is amazing."
After dinner, they head back to Jane's place, where Maura proceeds to give Jane a neck massage while they watch Law and Order. Maura's hands are very strong and dexterous and she uses them to good effect until Jane's eyes flutter closed and she lets out a low moan of pleasure. Maura finishes the massage before pouring them each a glass of wine, and for once Jane doesn't protest that she would prefer beer.
Maura isn't exactly sure how it happens, but somehow by the end of the evening Jane is curled up beside her with her head on Maura's shoulder. The smell of her practical shampoo is entirely distracting, and it takes all of Maura's will power not to stroke Jane's hair.
When Jane's eyes fall shut again and her breathing deepens, indicating that she's fallen asleep, even will power isn't enough.
Maura puts the TV on mute and begins to gently comb her fingers through Jane's hair, worrying out a few tangles but mostly just enjoying the feel of it against her skin.
Asleep or awake, Jane is the most beautiful woman Maura knows.
Eventually she shakes Jane lightly by the shoulder. "Bed, Jane," she says.
She steers the half-asleep detective to the bathroom, where they perform their night's ablutions side by side. Maura lets Jane spit first. Afterward they go to Jane's bedroom.
"Well," Maura says as they slide onto their respective sides of the bed. "Good night." She always used to sleep on her back, but now she lies on her side facing Jane.
Jane mirrors her. She's more awake now, and a smile plays along her lips. "Good night," she says.
Maura is hyper aware of her proximity to Jane. It feels as if her body is sparking with electricity, as if she might never sleep again. It's a struggle to force her eyes shut, to try to control her breathing.
"Maura," Jane says, her voice nearly a drawl. "Aren't you going to kiss me?"
Maura's eyes snap open to find that Jane has shifted a little closer. Their faces are maybe nine inches apart. "What?"
Jane shrugs. "I've been waiting for you to do it all evening."
Stunned, Maura fumbles for a reply. "I can't kiss you now," she says, vaguely aware that she sounds ridiculous. "I have tomorrow all planned out. I'm going to kiss you tomorrow."
Jane's eyes gleam with amusement. "You're really going to make me wait until tomorrow when I want you to kiss me tonight?" She reaches out to touch Maura lightly on the cheek.
Maura can feel herself faltering. "But I had a plan," she protests, pressing her cheek against Jane's hand.
"A plan for what?" Jane says, scooting closer. "My seduction?"
Maura carefully places her hand on Jane's hip. "Yes."
"Maura," Jane says, "you seduced me the first night you were here, the minute you climbed into bed with me."
There's no response Maura can think of except to lean forward and press her lips to Jane's. It's a tentative kiss at first—for all of Jane's bravado, Maura is well aware that this is the first time the detective has kissed another woman—with just their lips moving against each other. Then Jane sighs and moves closer still and the kiss deepens of its own accord. It deepens until Maura's hands are tangled in Jane's hair. It deepens until Jane, groaning, slings her leg over Maura's hip to bring their bodies even closer together. It deepens until Maura thinks that she will never breathe again, that all she will ever need to survive is this, the taste and feel and beauty of Jane Rizzoli.
It's a dizzying, wonderful thought.