This is a one shot from my "New Experiences" universe. I'll probably do a few more... sort of snap shots of Maura and Jane's life. I like this universe, but I don't want to do another long series on it. So, you'll probably get one shots here and there.
This one is set after "Snap Shots: Growing"
As always, the characters aren't mine. I get nothing from this but the satisfaction of writing a fun story about two of my fav characters.
I would love reviews on this. Thank you for taking time to read this!
"Jane, something's wrong with Alessa." Maura sat down on the sofa next to her wife, settling with her hands in her lap.
"Is she hurt? What's wrong?" The brunette quickly turned off the tv, giving her undivided attention to the doctor.
I'm so glad so did that. "No, not physically, but she's been more quiet than usual, and, last night, I overheard a conversation between her and one of her classmates that makes me think there's trouble at school. Jane," Maura turned to face the detective, "I think she's being bullied at school because of us."
"Damn, I was hoping this wouldn't happen so soon." With a sigh, Jane reached out to take one of Maura's hands in her own. "We knew it was going to be hard for our family, but Allie's strong. She's tough, my little ME. She'll make it."
"I don't like seeing her hurt because of us. If the children are mocking her like this right now, perhaps we should consider home schooling or hiring a private tutor?" I don't want her to feel as I did growing up. That pain… she doesn't deserve those kinds of feelings.
"No, we're not pulling her out of school. That would just teach her to run from her problems, and our daughter is not going to be a coward, Maura." Jane frowned. "I'll pick her up from school today."
"Are you sure?" What is she up to?
"Yeah, I'll tell Frost to cover for me. Besides, it's been a while since I made an appearance at the school. It can't hurt for me to pick her up for a change." Jane gave her best Rizzoli grin. "Besides, you know how cool she thinks it is when her Ma comes to school packing heat. Third graders think that kind of thing is awesome."
"Oh, Jane, really?" Maura chuckled. "Okay, I trust you to take care of this. I wish I could better help, but, when I was a child, I was never able to…" The blonde trailed off, voice cracking with emotion.
"I know." Jane leaned forward to place a reassuring kiss on her wife's trembling lips. "We'll keep her safe, Maura. I promise."
"I know. Thank you." Maura pulled in a shaking breath. "I love you."
"I love you, too. We better get going; our lunch break is almost over."
A swagger in her step, Jane stepped out of her car and headed to the front of the school. She smirked as she felt the wind push her blazer back to expose both her badge and gun. Not bothering to button the front, she simply let it blow back as she passed the teachers on duty.
Making her way inside just a few moments before the bell rang, she stopped in at the front desk.
"Excuse me," she addressed the office staff, "would it be possible for me to walk down to Mrs. McCall's room? I wanted to be there to get my daughter and speak with the teacher."
"Let me check the preapproved list. What's your daughter's name?" The small, portly woman behind the counter asked with a sweet smile.
"Alessa Rizzoli. I'm Detective Jane Rizzoli." She flashed her ID for the woman.
"Okay, yes, you're on the list. I'll need you to sign in and wear a visitor's pass."
Jane leaned on the wall across from the classroom door as she waited for the bell to ring. She could hear the students behind the door laughing and talking, and she was delighted to hear the unmistakable laugh of her daughter ring out. When the bell rang, Jane pushed off the wall and stood in front of the door as it opened to let the 3rd graders out. Alessa was at the head of the line.
"Ma!" She practically squealed as she took a running jump into Jane's arms.
"Whoa, hey there, little one." Jane hugged her back before putting her down. "We'll go in just a couple, okay? I want to talk to your teacher."
"Okay," the little girl's smile was bright. "Wait! Can you say hi to everyone?"
"Sure," Jane's smiled matched her daughters as she allowed herself to be pulled. Alessa tended to direct Jane as Maura did, by pushing or pulling her in whatever direction she wanted her to go at the time.
"Mandy, Dave, Jen… look! Ma came to pick me up!" Alessa was practically dancing with her excitement.
Jane gave a gentle smile before greeting the parents of the three children. "Jane Rizzoli." She offered her hand.
"Karen Rogers, Mandy's mother."
"Adel Castro, David's mother."
"Fiona Davis, Jennifer's mother."
"Nice to meet you," Jane squatted down to be eye level with the children. "And nice to see you three again; last time I saw you was on Safety Day at the start of school. You kids staying out of trouble?" All three children nodded yes, eyes wide with a mix of fear, awe, and excitement. "Good thing." Jane looked up to the mothers. "I came in to talk to their class the first week of school about not talking to strangers and all that good stuff. You know, can't ever be too careful."
The mothers nodded in agreement. Each held looks of guarded welcome and curiosity as they watched the scene unfold.
"Detective Rizzoli, did you bring your gun?" Dave smiled, his little eyes wide.
"I'm on duty, so, yeah, I have it, but that's not a toy. I use it to catch bad guys. Got it?"
"Yeah, okay, but can we see it?" The little boy countered.
"David Castro!" Adel shot a hand out and gave her son a little push on the shoulder.
"Sorry, Momma." He gave Jane an apologetic look.
"Mrs. Rizzoli, you're a police officer?" Karen asked from where she stood, a protective hand on her daughter's shoulder.
Looking up, Jane gave her best reassuring smile. "I'm a senior detective on the Boston homicide unit."
"Oh? I thought you were a medical examiner?" Fiona asked, obviously confused.
"Nope, I'm not that smart," Jane said, standing up again. "My wife is the doctor. I'm just the cop."
"Your… wife?" Fiona's voice was flat.
"Ma, maybe we should go? Didn't you say you wanted to talk to Mrs. McCall?" Alessa tugged at Jane's arm, eyes pleading to not start a conflict.
"In a moment, little one." Jane gently pulled her arm away and set her hand protectively against the little girl's shoulders pulling her against the detective's leg. "Yeah, my wife, Maura Rizzoli. She's the chief medical examiner for the Boston PD. She normally picks Allie up, so you're probably used to see her. She looks a lot like Allie." Jane looked down to wink at her daughter, "But, Maura's hair is a lot lighter."
"Oh, I see. We're still learning all of the parents. Third week of school, you know how it goes." Adel gave Jane a warm smile. "Maura and I talk when we're waiting for the children. It's nice to finally put a face with a name."
"Thanks," Jane returned the smile.
"Oh, you're that couple." Fiona said, pulling her daughter closer to her. "I didn't realize your child was in Jen's class this year."
"That couple?" The detective's voice held a note of warning, her eyes turning darker with unspoken threat.
"Yes, the… um … the Boston PD couple, of course," Fiona began to fidget. "Well, it was nice meeting you, Detective. Jen and I should go so we can start dinner for her father." Hurriedly, Fiona pulled her daughter along to make a hasty retreat.
"Huh," Jane ran her tongue over the back of her teeth as she watched the woman retreat.
"Ma, that was awesome," Alessa whispered against Jane's pant leg.
"You'll have to excuse Fiona," Karen said, interrupting the awkward moment. "She's an idiot." The women chuckled. "Fortunately, her husband, Stan, is not. You should meet him. I think the two of you would get along really well."
"Yeah, what does Stan do?"
"He's a lawyer." Karen winked.
"Oh, well, that explains the plastic," Jane countered as she looked down at her chest with a suggestive expression. Another round of chuckles erupted. "I'm glad I got to meet you ladies, but I really do need to chat with Mrs. McCall. You ever need anything, you give me a call, okay?"
"Detective, what can I do for you?" Judy McCall asked as she set down her board easer.
"I wanted to talk to you about some things that might be going on and," Jane squatted down to speak with Alessa, "Hey, Allie, why don't you run over to your desk and work on your homework while I talk to your teacher, okay? I bet your Mom would love it if you had some of it done before dinner."
"Okay," the little girl leaned over, kissed Jane on the cheek, and then walked to her desk to pull out her homework.
"She's a good girl," Judy said with genuine warmth in her voice. "She's very bright."
"She's a genius." Jane stated matter-of-factly as she stood back up.
"Well, she's certainly intelligent." The teacher's smile faltered slightly.
"Yeah, but she's a certified genius. Her IQ is over 130." Jane crossed her arms, quirking her head to the side. "I'm not one of those parents, Mrs. McCall."
"Oh, I didn't mean to insinuate that you were. I just… I didn't realize that was the case. That would explain why she's so quick to catch on. If you don't mind me asking, why isn't she in a specialized school?"
"Maura and I do have her in a few things, but we wanted her to have as normal a life as she could, all things considered." Jane's face fell into cop mode. "Which brings me back to why I'm here."
"The teasing?" Judy nodded sympathetically. "I try to teach tolerance in my classroom, Detective. You should know that. But, students learn their hatred from their parents, and children are cruel. When I catch them teasing Alessa for who her parents are, I do call them out on it. A few of the girls have been given detention, in fact. But, there's only so much I can do. Calling parents, detention, being sent to the principal's office… they're only so effective when the parents of these children are encouraging their intolerance." She sighed, her face suddenly looking much older. "Every year, I try to teach more than the basics, but it's often an uphill battle, and your Alessa doesn't like conflict. She'll simply take it rather than cause a scene."
"She's a lot like Maura in that way." Jane ran a hand over her face. "I want to teach my daughter to not be afraid to stand up for herself or her family, but I don't want her to end up like me." She frowned. "I was suspended in the 5th grade for a couple of days after I beat a couple of boys up for punching my kid brother." She rolled her eyes. "Ma grounded me for three weeks for that one."
"Yes, I'd rather not have a fist fight in my class, but I would be very busy elsewhere or very busy doing something else if Alessa would happen to tell any off any of the ones giving her a hard time right now." Judy winked. "Sometimes, playground rules are a lot more effective than anything we could do in a more… official setting."
"I get what you're saying." Jane offered her hand. "Thanks."
"Allie, you at a stopping place?" Jane called out as she walked over to her daughter's desk.
"Sure, Ma. I can finish at home." Quickly packing her things up, Alessa stood, looking up at her mother. "Piggyback ride?"
"Only because I like you." Both with the classic Rizzoli smirk on their faces, Jane swooped to scoop her daughter up and place the girl on her back. "Ready?"
"Yeah," Alessa giggled, "You're so tall, Ma. I bet I can see our house from up here! When I grow up, can I be just like you?"
"When you grow up," Jane said as she gave a nod to the teacher on their way out, "you can be whoever you want to be."
After making certain her daughter was securely strapped into the back seat, Jane slid into the driver's seat and started the car. "So, how do you like your new class? It's been about month. Everything going okay?" She tried for nonchalant.
"They tease me. It's okay, Ma. I just ignore them. My friends like me." Alessa clutched her backpack to her chest.
"You always were a smart one," Jane grumbled.
"I'm a genius."
"Yeah, I know." With a roll of her eyes, she turned on her signal for a left turn. "Allie, sometimes it's okay to say something when someone is making fun of you. There's a difference between standing up for yourself and your family and causing a scene."
"But, Mom says I shouldn't get into trouble." The little girl frowned. "I don't want to be a bad girl."
"If you get into trouble for the right reasons, you won't be." The words were out of Jane's mouth before she could stop them. She made a mental note to warn Maura about this conversation when they made it home.
"What are the right reasons?" Alessa was slowly unclutching her pack as she tilted her head, much as Maura did when she was really concentrating on a topic.
"Little one, you know you shouldn't push people around just to get your way. That makes you a bully, like those kids giving you a hard time in your class. But, when you stand up for yourself and your family because people are saying bad things about them that aren't true, then you're not a bully, and that's okay." Jane chewed at her bottom lip, hopeful her genius child could catch on to what she was saying.
"So," Alessa started, her hazel eyes narrowing in thought, "When Chad or Amy start saying bad things about you or me or Mom, then I should say something back?"
"What should I say?"
"Use that big brain of yours and give them all the reasons why they're wrong." Jane rolled her eyes, having an 'ah-ha' moment of why Maura has a googlemouth. "But, if that doesn't work, you tell them why they're just as weird as you are, and then walk away."
"Ma, are we weird?" Alessa tilted her head to the other side, her dark curls falling over her face.
"No, Allie, we're a perfectly normal family, and anyone who tells you something else is wrong. We're a family. Your mom and I love you more than anything else in the world, and that's all that matters." Jane glanced into her rearview mirror to look at her child. "There is nothing weird about loving someone."
"Okay," the little girl smiled brightly. "When we get home, can we attack the gummy bear village?"
Jane chuckled, "After dinner, okay?"
"Chop this, please," Maura handed Jane a knife and a head of lettuce.
"I'm happy to see you, too." Jane took both and set them down to wash her hands. "Allie is upstairs working on her homework."
"I figured as much. How did it go?" Maura began chopping carrots for the salad.
"The teacher's nice. Met a few moms. One of them is stupid."
"Fiona." Maura intoned the statement absentmindedly.
"Yeah." Jane started on the lettuce.
"And the issue?"
"I talked to Mrs. McCall. She said she's been doing what she can, but Allie is kind of acting like a doormat, not that that's what the teacher said. But, that's the gist of it. So, Allie and I had a talk in the car." The brunette glanced nervously at her wife.
"Oh?" Maura raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, I explained that there was a difference between being a bully and standing up for family, and, if she got in trouble because she was standing up for family," Jane winced, "then she wouldn't get in trouble with us." She braced herself.
"Good." The doctor leaned over to kiss Jane on the cheek.
"Good?... good? Oh my God, Maura, I thought you were about to gripe me out for telling our daughter it was okay to fight." She blew out a sigh of relief.
"You didn't. You told her it was okay to stand up for what's right and that she doesn't have to feel like it's okay to be everyone's punching bag, figuratively or physically. I wish someone had told me that when I was younger. I approve." Maura pulled the salad bowl out of the cabinet.
"Oh, thank God."
"Really, you worry too much." Maura placed her hand over Jane's, stilling them and encouraging the brunette to set the knife down. "You know I trust you to protect us," she said as she turned the detective around. "I love you, my wonderful detective."
"I love you too, my little ME." Jane wrapped her arms around her wife, pulling her in for a deep kiss.
"Jane," Maura gently shook the brunette, trying to wake her, "Jane, sweetie, wake up."
"Maura?" The detective slowly sat up, looking at the clock. "It's 2:30 in the morning, what's wrong? Did you hear a noise? Is Allie sick?"
"No, she's not sick. She's crying." Maura frowned, wringing her hands together. "Jane, I don't know what to do. I know why she's crying, and I think… I think I sympathize too much with her. Being as smart as she is and then having the odd parents that she does… I just… I don't know what do to help her, and I don't like seeing her this miserable."
"What happened while I was gone? I knew I shouldn't have gone to that conference," Jane sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed.
"One of the children in her class started teasing her again, and, like last time, she stood up to them. Mrs. McCall said it was effective for a bit, but, then, the bully came back with friends. There wasn't a physical scuffle of any kind, but it hurt Allie a lot. One of them was someone she thought of as a friend."
"Jennifer Davis?" With a grunt, Jane reached down to pull her sleep pants on.
"Yes." Maura frowned deeply. "What do we do?"
"I'll go talk to her." The brunette leaned over to kiss her wife. "You can come, too." She smiled gently.
In her room, Alessa was trying to muffle her tears but she couldn't seem to stop herself from crying. She was surprised to hear the knock on her door, and then upset that she'd bothered her parents, which made her cry harder. "I'm sorry," she sobbed, "I didn't mean to be so loud."
"Hey," the detective walked over to her daughter's bed and squatted down beside it as Maura watched from the doorway. "What's wrong, little one?" Her tone was quiet, soothing, and gentle as she talked to their child. "Why are you crying? Everything will be okay." She glanced behind her to give the blonde a gentle smile. "It'll be fine, okay?"
"No it won't! How can it be okay when my friends are siding with them?" Alessa sat up, launching herself into her mother's protective embrace. "She was my friend, Ma."
"No, she wasn't. Friends stand up for friends." Jane sighed, kissing the top of her daughter's head. "You did the right thing. She did the wrong thing. You just have to look at it as something to learn from. If someone says they are your friend, but then they say bad things about you or your family, then they aren't your friend, and they're not worth your time."
"I really liked her." Alessa pulled back, looking her mother in the eyes, hazel to brown. "She likes to run. Sometimes, during recess, we'd race each other."
"Who won?" The corner of Jane's mouth turned up slightly.
"Jane," Maura quietly rebuked from somewhere behind them.
"I did almost always." Alessa stated matter of factly. She gave a weak smile, "I like to run."
"You always have," Jane chuckled, thinking back on it. "You don't worry about Jennifer Davis. You have other friends, and we can find people for you to run with. Maybe, one of these days, we'll run a marathon together?"
"Promise?" Her daughter's eyes perfectly mimicked the excitement and absolute trust of her wife's.
"Yeah, I promise. Now, everything's going to be okay, but you have to let us all sleep right now. Your mom and I have to go to work tomorrow, and you have to go to school, okay?"
"Okay," Alessa climbed out of Jane's lap and back into bed. "I love you." Her eyes swung to Maura. "Hug?"
Maura walked quietly into the room and bent over to hug her daughter and lay a kiss on her forehead. "Good night, Alessa. Sleep well."
"Good night, Mom, Ma."
Walking out of their daughter's room, Maura gave a soft chuckle.
"What?" Jane asked, annoyed.
"Some things never change," Maura wrapped an arm through her wife's.
"What do you mean?"
"You've had that talk with her before." The doctor smiled, remembering. "I love that you're consistent, stable. You ground us, Jane."
"I try," the detective said before leaning over to make a move to swoop her wife up in her arms.
"Oh no, I'm not falling for that tonight, "Maura teased, stepping out of the way before taking off. "First one to the bedroom gets to pick the position!" She laughed as she sped away to their bedroom.
Thank you for reading, and, as always, I appreciate your reviews.