Authors Note: Here it is. Last chapter folks. I realize this story was a bit cavity inducing, but hopefully it came off as a balanced and realistic family rather than...not. Again, I do not own these characters. One of these days.
Jane collapsed on the couch, resting her head in her wife's lap. Maura dropped her book on the coffee table, delicately running her fingers through the familiar unruly locks splayed over her.
"I can't believe today actually happened."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Maura gently questioned as she smoothed the frown lines from Jane's forehead; her demeanor calm, the only sign of distress that of her trembling hand.
Noticing the tremor, Jane captured the small wrist hovering above her, placing a small kiss on the delicate skin. "How are you holding up?"
The small woman let out a shaky sigh. "Pretty well, all things considered." Maura bit her lip. "It's certainly not every day that your wife and child are involved in an rogue arrest."
"You're a saint, you know that? How you manage to handle this all is just…the amount of emotional baggage I create is..." the detective paused looking up to meet a stern glare.
"Stop. You were doing you job, both as a detective and as a mother. I wouldn't change a thing about our life." As if to reinforce her point, the Medical Examiner bent forward to press an insistent kiss upon Jane's lips. Sighing sadly, she continued, "Sometimes we forget how mortal we all are." Maura bent forward again, this time offering a gentler, lingering kiss.
She pulled back slightly, staring into deep brown eyes. "I'd just appreciate, in the future, if you continue to insist upon these types of family outings, that I be included. As an individual with medical training, it would do wonders for my peace of mind if I was around to render the appropriate medical response."
Jane grinned. "Of course, dear."
The taller woman sat up, tucking a long leg underneath her, allowing her knee to jut out into her wife's lap. "Maur…Does Marino cross your mind every time I'm out in the field?"
Maura froze at her side. "Why do you ask?"
"Watching Liv…it felt like that day. You know she responds to situations exactly like you. You both have a knack for shattering my heart into a million pieces."
Maura picked at her nail. "We've always alluded to this conversation, but we've never actually had it, have we?"
"No, we haven't. But I think we should have it now. Since, you know, we've been avoiding it for the better part of 13 years."
Resigned, the detective's wife placed a hand on the knee resting in her lap. "Yes, whenever you're out there, I do think of...that day. I know you're careful…" Maura paused, dropping her head into her hands, her next words muffled. "I trust you implicitly. Yet, I constantly worry about you. If it's not the fear of the unknown that exhausts me, it's my contradictory emotions."
Jane watched as Maura swallowed hard, her gaze somewhere far off. "I'm so hopelessly in love with you Jane. The fact that I have to sit idly by as the worst of human kind tries to take you away from me it's…sometimes it's more than I can bear. I don't…." the woman broke off as tears streaked down her face.
"Oh honey…" The detective rested her forehead against her wife's temple; hand resting atop the one Maura had resting on her cheek, the other cradling the smaller woman's head.
The medical examiner found her voice again. "I would never ask you to give up your job. I'm not asking you to give up your job. But some days, I'm not strong enough for this. I'm not strong enough for what you and Livie need from me."
Jane pulled back, but kept an arm around Maura's drooping shoulders. "Did I ever tell you that I almost stepped down from the force after the Marino fiasco? "
If Maura was shocked, she didn't show it. "It's certainly understandable, what you, we, went through was extremely traumatic and…"
Jane shook her head. "No. It had nothing to do with any of that."
The medical examiner tilted her head to the side in question.
"It was you. I didn't want to put you through that again."
The brunette rested her free hand atop the one on her knee. "Wait. Hear me out."
Maura nodded her head in acquiescence.
"I wasn't afraid for myself, I was afraid for you. The first time I went to make an arrest after I was cleared for full duty and found you curled up under your desk when I came back? I hated myself. Like, actually hated myself."
Jane pinched the bridge of her nose, pushing aside the painful memory. "Even then, with snot running down your face and your body convulsing with nerves, you told me I was a stronger, wiser, better detective because of what we went through. You believed that no matter what, I'd come out on top. You stayed strong by my side even when it killed you to do so, and you've been doing so ever since."
The detective smiled softly as she thumbed away falling tears from her wife's face. "I knew I needed to prove to you that I was the person you saw me as. It's your unwavering faith in me that keeps me on my game. You have to believe that I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure I never put you in a position like that again. I told you babe, I'll always come home."
The smaller woman curled up into a ball. "How can you say I'm strong when I can't even give our daughter advice on accepting the realities of your job! I let her down today, Jane. And now I'm let- letting you down."
"Are you kidding? That girl loves you to death. She may run to me when she needs protecting, but you're the one she needs when she's upset and simply needs her Momma." The detective's heart broke as Maura wept at her side. "Maur, the only thing we need is for you to be you. You don't always have to have the answers to everything. You don't always have to pretend my job doesn't bother you. In fact, I'd be worried if it didn't bother you." Jane cooed, reaching over to tilt Maura's chin up, placing a tender kiss on her lips.
Maura let out a small sob as she fell into the kiss. Pulling the distressed woman into her lap, Jane whispering soothingly in her ear. "It's okay to be scared. But you need to talk to me about these things when it gets to be too much. No more pretending it's something we don't think about every damn time I tag a perp."
The medical examiner simply nodded, bawling against Jane's shoulder as she gasped for breath. Jane cried as well, partly in relief that her wife was no longer shouldering the immense responsibility she had self-imposed upon herself.
Eventually, Maura nuzzled Jane's shoulder, drying her tears on a now damp heather gray t-shirt. "This is ridiculous. You're the one who got shot at, yet I'm the one sitting here unable to compose myself."
"Well, you always did have a backwards sense of fear. Big Irish mobster shackles you up in a random van? No big deal. I get a paper cut and you break out the suture kit."
Maura smiled in response, cupping Jane's cheeks to lean in for another kiss.
Jane brushed a strand of hair behind the now significantly calmer woman perched in her lap. "I'm so fucking exhausted. I'm fine. Olivia's fine. You're fine. That's all I need to know for tonight. Bed time?"
The Medical Examiner climbed off the detective's lap, holding out a hand to pull the woman up. "Of course. Big spoon or little spoon?"
"Neither. We've got 100 pounds of leggy teen hoggin' up the middle of our bed."
Maura clapped giddily. "Oh good, she's a much more pleasant sleeping companion than you are."
Jane stared in jest. "Unbelievable! I'll just sleep on the couch then. Wouldn't want to crowd the party."
Maura snaked her arms around the detective's waist. "There's always room for you."
"That's what I thought." Jane chuckled as they made their way to the bedroom.
As the women slipped into their respective sides of the bed, Olivia's hand flopped on top of Jane's face, patting heavily. "Ooof. Christ, kid that's my face."
"Just checking" came the muffled reply as Olivia threw a leg across Maura, tucking her head in the crook of the pathologist's neck.
Jane sat up, looking incredulously over at Maura. "What was that you said about her being a better sleeping companion?"
Maura affectionately kissed the top of the teen's head. "Leave my baby alone".
"Yeah Ma, leave her baby alone" Olivia parroted, the words thick with sleep.
Leaning across her daughter, Jane kissed Maura goodnight, before dropping another kiss to the teen's head. As Jane snuggled into the bed, she slung her arm across her daughter and her wife, sighing contentedly as Maura's hand sought out her own to interlace their fingers.
Her life may lean towards crazy, Jane thought as she slipped closer to the edge of sleep, but moments like this? Yeah, moments like this made it all worth it.
Author's Note 2:
I struggled here. A lot. But I firmly believe Maura and Jane wouldn't have directly discussed the impact the Marino shooting had on the fears each woman may have accumulated as a result of that day: that is, as the show stands right now. I could see it being very in character for them to gloss over it, trying to put it in the past and only fleetingly talking about it (a la Hoyt) but always having it in the back of their minds; the fact that they both know what the other is thinking, but never actually vocalizing their acute understanding of the other. Though I could be completely wrong, in which case, that sucks. Because even in my own imagined Rizzoli & Isles universe, I try to keep it as close to the characters as possible.
Anyway, that's my long ramble to essentially say, thanks for reading!