The dull boom and the corresponding beep jerked Jane Rizzoli out of her cat nap. She shook herself, hand trembling as she reached for a pen and quickly logged the latest entry for their records. "Damnit," she muttered, scrubbing her face with her empty hand and glancing around to be sure no one had noticed her sleeping. She had only shut her eyes for a second—unable to keep them open any longer.
One sip of her coffee, and she was promptly spitting back into the mug. Cold. Yeah, she'd definitely been out quite a few minutes this time.
Another beep from the screen before her, and she scowled and picked up a nearby receiver to call in the latest two alerts. Being able to pinpoint any shots fired within the city was a major plus, but when every illegal firework in the city triggered it… well, then it was just annoying. Frustrating. Exhausting. She had been out in the city all day with Frost yesterday, tracking down location after location.
Each place was the same—some neighborhood kids setting off fireworks, no doubt bought out of state. No one ever knew anything. They had managed a few arrests from fireworks, but no homicides. Part of her was thankful, the other part was irritated.
"Jane?" The sudden voice and accompanying hand on her shoulder nearly had her levitating off her seat.
Dropping a curse and rubbing at her face again, she straightened. "What, Maura? You scared the crap outta me!"
Dr. Isles wasn't stupid, and she saw the exhaustion for what it was. "Sorry… I assumed you heard those two alerts. I didn't know if you were awake, yet." A small hand squeezed her shoulder tentatively. She stepped around the detective and leaned against her friend's desk. Her brows lifted, expectant.
"Yeah, I called 'em in," Jane replied, pen tapping at the entries into the log. "Probably more kids. Remind me why we've made fireworks a national pass time?"
Now that was an interesting question, Maura mused. "Well, I suppose because of their resemblance to the famous 'rockets red glare,' line from the national anthem, which is interesting, since our national anthem wasn't even written about the American Revolution. It was actually an amateur poem called 'The Defense of Fort M'Henry' written during the War of 1812."
Two dark eyes rolled upward, and Jane leaned forward to rest her chin on her hand in a look of long-suffering. "Maur?"
The medical examiner was far from finished. Her head tilted slightly, eyes focused somewhere in the middle distance. "Come to think of it, fireworks aren't even American. They date do the Chinese somewhere in the 6th century—"
"Maura?" came the pained question. By the time Maura looked down, Jane was standing and stretching her long limbs. The boom caught them by surprise, but Jane reacted first, dropping to the floor, her arm grabbing her friend and pulling her down with her.
They landed in a painful tangle, Jane's head banging on the side of the desk, long limbs splayed in an attempt to soft their blow. Her hand went instinctively to her head, and she muttered an embarrassed apology as her face flamed.
Maura knelt close, peering into the detective's dark eyes. She fumbled in her pocked for a pen light and flashed it directly into the dark orbs.
"I'm okay," Jane protested, blinking and fighting off the still dazed feeling.
An arm slid under her shoulders, guiding her to sit. "Yes, you are. Thankfully you didn't give yourself a concussion. It's the fireworks, isn't it. It sounds like that gun shot."
Jane nodded, lips pursing then tightening into a straight line. It was a look Maura knew all too well. The last time she had seen that look was in the middle of the police station when that traitor had taken her friend hostage. It was haunting fear. "Did you talk to the psychologist about it?"
She shrugged. "I told her loud noises were freaking me out. She said it was normal. Nobody thought about what it meant this close to the 4th of July. You know, Tommy used to fire up M-80's and drop a coffee can on top."
Maura's brow wrinkled in confusion. "He protested coffee? Was it because coffee is an import? Or was it some deviation on the Boston Tea Party?"
It got a short laugh from Jane. Maura offered a hand, silently pleased when Jane took it, and she was able to pull Jane to her feet.
Jane sank back into the desk chair. "No… No, an empty coffee can. You turn it upside down and put it over the lit M-80. When the firework explodes, it sends the can up into the air. Frankie and I stuck to bottle rockets, which was good 'cause Ma nearly skinned Tommy alive one day when he got a second degree burn from an M-80. We never thought about some cracked vet freaking from the noise."
Sometimes, Maura reflected, it was the things that Jane didn't say that spoke volumes. Her hand wrapped around her friend's wrist and gave a gentle squeeze. "You're not cracked. It's a normal thing." At the skeptical look tossed her way, she backtracked. "Okay, not normal, but not unheard of. Talk to the doctor a little more, it's standard procedure to spend some time in counseling after a shooting, much less one where you were taken hostage. Who's to say what's normal, anyway, when you went through something like that."
Jane summoned up a small smile of thanks. "Yeah… my only problem is that Ma thinks I'm coming to the annual Rizzoli Independence Day barbecue, but I don't know who's more freaked out by the fireworks—me or Jo Friday."
"Well, then, I guess it's time for a compromise."
Dark eyes narrowed. "Compromise? You've met, Ma, right? I mean, Angela Rizzoli. We're talking about the same woman?"
The blonde nodded. "Yes, the Rizzoli family will be my guests tomorrow night at my favorite suite overlooking Boston. You have a bird's eye view of all of the city's pyrotechnic shows, air conditioning, a sound-proof room, plus no fight to get out after the Boston Pop's show. We have a full kitchen, and your father can barbecue on the 10th floor patio and bring it up to the suite."
A terse shake of her head. "That really sounds nice, Maura. I mean, it really does, but no way Ma will go for it—"
The medical examiner slid a credit-card size piece of plastic. "It's already done. She agreed to it yesterday, and I've already paid for the suite starting this afternoon and through Tuesday morning. It has a guest room waiting for you, and they have given me special permission to bring along a canine friend." Maura shifted slightly, almost certain that Jane was tired enough to know a good deal when she saw it.
Yes, sometimes Jane did protest on principle. But she knew the detective was, above all else, brilliant. Perhaps it had been a little underhanded, but she had single handedly erased all need for conflict within the Rizzoli's. A night or two in the suite—quiet and far away from even street noise—would give Jane time to rest up and be ready for the chaos of a Rizzoli meal. Just agree already. You need ity, she silently urged. "Let me have your back… please?"
With a short breath and sigh, she nodded. "Okay." She endured the quick hug, one arm wrapping around her friend to hug back. "Really, thanks… You're right, I need it."
Maura pulled back slightly. "Did I say that? I don't remember saying that."
A wry smile, and Jane shook her head slightly. "Sometimes, the things you don't say are the things that speak the loudest."