New Traditions, Part 1 of 1
Pairing: Well, none, really, but Jane and Maura will get there eventually (just not in this story)
Spoilers: This is a post-ep for "Born to Run." Therefore, there are spoilers through...well, "Born to Run."
Disclaimer: The only thing that's mine is the plot, such as it is.
Note: I wasn't expecting to be posting anything quite so soon...I was working on a different story entirely, but stopped to rip my R&I DVDs (which I wouldn't have to do if iTunes provided closed captions for more than a token few of their downloads, but that's a rant for another day) and when "Born to Run" came up, I got caught on how upset Jane looks when Maura calls her fearless. This gave me no rest until I wrote it.
After the marathon, Jane had been only too happy to leave her car with Frankie – his building had assigned parking, which hers didn't. The city was stuffed to the gills, and she knew that by the time she found a parking place, she might as well have run another marathon.
Maura had offered to drive her home, but the post-marathon traffic was horrific, even by Boston standards, and Jane had been only too happy to take her up on her next suggestion: a night in her guest room instead.
When she woke up the next morning, she lay in bed for a long while, just staring at the ceiling and feeling the muscles aching all over her body. She wondered idly if Frankie had even made it home yet and very belatedly sent a mental 'thank you' to Maura for her foresight in choosing a home well away from the chaos.
When she finally convinced herself to move, she let out a strangled yelp. "Holy crap, what the hell was I thinking?"
She staggered out of bed towards the bathroom, stumbling around Bass, who poked his head out of his shell and stared at her disapprovingly. "I know, I know. I'm sleeping in your room again." He withdrew his head, then thought better of it and poked it out again to glare at her. "Don't go blaming me," she said to the tortoise, who failed to look impressed. "It's all her fault, you know. 'Run the marathon with me, Jane,'" she said in a high-pitched, mocking singsong. "'It'll be fun, Jane.'"
She frowned at the shower. "'Runners' high, Jane.'" Then she turned on her good heel and veered towards the stairs. "'Comparable to orgasm, Jane.'"
She looked from the guest room to the stairs and back again, debating.
Was the one worth the other?
She thought about it for a while, listening to Bass lumber his way into the kitchen where, no doubt, Maura had thought to leave gourmet lettuce or something waiting around for him, even at close to midnight – after running a marathon and solving a double homicide, no less.
For someone who'd once claimed – incorrectly, in Jane's opinion, having watched her during the Rizzoli family Fourth of July block party – to be completely 'unsure of how to interact with children,' she sure was damn good at lavishing the attention on her less-than-grateful pet.
Finally, she dragged her hand through her hair and muttered, "Damn it." She continued to grumble under her breath as she grabbed the handrail and took a cautious step up. "She got me into this. Least she can do is let me soak in her damn tub." She gritted her teeth and hobbled up the stairs.
"You owe me so big for this," she announced as she shouldered her way into Maura's bedroom. She, as usual, was already up, about, and cheerfully brushing her hair. Jane, never a morning person even under the best of circumstances, gaped. "How the hell can you look like that at six in the morning the day after you ran a marathon?"
Maura tossed a rolled-eye look over her shoulder, but simply pointed to the bathroom.
"Serve you right if I took all the hot water."
Maura just smiled and shook her head.
A few moments later, Jane poked her head out of the bathroom. "You already took a shower? How long have you been up? Did you even sleep?"
"Of course I did."
"'Of course I did,'" Jane said mockingly, shutting the door firmly behind her. Maura just shook her head again and continued brushing her hair.
"Oh, crap!" Jane barked as she scraped the blister on her heel across the tub's drain.
There was a knock on the door almost immediately. Of course. "Jane, are you all right?"
She growled, swiping at the tears that had sprung to her eyes, trying to balance on one foot on the tub's slippery surface. "Oh, I'm fine. I'm naked and bleeding and stuck in your damn tub because I can't afford to replace your bathmat!"
There was a pause, and then, as Jane had halfway expected, the bathroom door edged open.
"Hey!" she yelped anyway, though without any real rancor. "What the hell? Did you not hear the 'naked' part?"
She made the mistake of resting her foot, just briefly, on the floor of the tub, but when the soapy remnant of her bath touched the open blister, she hissed and jerked her foot back up into the air.
"I see naked bodies everyday," Maura said calmly, handing over a robe. "And you don't appear to be bleeding. You did, however, pop your blister."
"Yeah, but none of them are alive to feel embarrassed about it!" She paused. "Seriously, there's no blood? It feels like there should be blood."
"There's no blood."
"Fine. Whatever. Still naked."
She sighed. "I didn't look, Jane, if that makes you feel better. And as for my bathmat…really, that's trivial."
Jane tied the robe and glanced at her suspiciously. "Don't ever say that to Ma. I bled on hers once and was grounded for a month."
"You're not bleeding."
Maura shook her head and tugged her by the elbow until she begrudgingly climbed out of the tub, grunting as her now-open blister touched the floor. "Damn it, that hurts," she muttered.
"Didn't you break in those shoes like I told you to?"
Jane frowned. "C'mon, Maura, I'm in pain here. You really gonna lecture me?"
"No, I suppose that can wait until later," she said, gathering some first aid supplies from her medicine cabinet.
"Well, gee, that's swell of you," Jane muttered, leaning heavily on her friend as they walked towards the toilet.
Maura paused in the act of kneeling in front of her, cotton balls and cleanser in one hand and antiseptic cream in the other, to look up with just a tiny smirk. "Is that sarcasm?"
Jane snorted. "I think so. Is this gonna get messy?"
She glanced at the gaping blister, still glistening from the fluid that had gushed out when Jane scraped it across the drain. It was at least the size of a quarter. "I'll need to cover this with antiseptic of some sort, but I'll be sure to bandage it properly. It shouldn't be too messy."
Jane opened her mouth to point out that she had again been being sarcastic, but rolled her eyes and let it go. Silence fell, mostly because she was busy pretending there weren't tears of pain in her eyes.
Finally, as Maura carefully taped a double layer of gauze over her blister, she muttered, "Hey, Maura?"
"I'm not fearless." She winced as soon as she said it. Where the hell had that come from?
"I know." Maura glanced up. "I could see by your facial expression that it hurt you when I said that. I'm sorry." Her brow furrowed in belated worry. "I hope you know I didn't mean to…but I don't understand why."
Jane shrugged. "I didn't either until just now."
"Wait here," Maura said, having finished wrapping her dressing with a few additional layers of gauze wound around Jane's foot and ankle, to ensure it would stay. She came back a few seconds later with a pair of winter-thick socks and knelt again in front of her before gently easing one sock over the blister and dressing.
She looked up at Jane earnestly. "Why did it hurt you?"
Jane sighed. "'Cause…because you know better. 'Cause out of everyone on the planet, you're the one person who ever gets to see me scared in the first place, okay?"
"Oh," Maura murmured. "You felt like I was dismissing that honor by…oh. Oh, Jane, that's not what I meant at all."
"No!" Maura vehemently shook her head. "It was more sarcasm, apparently delivered very badly." A contrite look took over her face, and she squeezed Jane's arm. "I'm sorry."
Jane shook her head gruffly. "S'okay."
Maura looked at her searchingly, a tiny hint of panic in her eyes. "Are you sure? I really didn't mean to – "
Though she was no genius, and no expert on facial muscles, Jane was a detective. She could see the thoughts rampaging through Maura's head just by looking at her – not the least of which was Is this the gaffe that makes her give up on me? For someone seemingly so together, she had learned, Maura had big gaping holes of insecurity.
And, occasionally, Jane blundered right into one.
She shook her head again, this time seriously, leaning forward slightly to catch her eye. "It's okay, Maura. I get it. It's okay." She looked down at her bandaged foot. "Thanks."
Maura nodded, but her cheerful mood seemed all but gone. She held out a hand to help Jane up and led her to the bed. "Wait here. I'll go get your clothes and shoes."
Jane watched her go. "Damn it," she whispered. When Maura came back and deposited her clothes on the bed, Jane reached out to grab her wrist before she could leave. "Hey," she said. "Can we just forget that yesterday even happened?"
Maura sniffed, her eyes suspiciously shiny. "Your foot'll make that hard."
Despite herself, she sighed loudly, then scrubbed her face with both hands. "Oh my God, Maura, I didn't mean literally. I just meant – look, I know I hurt your feelings yesterday. You hurt mine. I didn't mean to. You didn't mean to. Can we just…start over today? Please?"
A long pause. Jane tried to pretend she wasn't holding her breath.
She closed her eyes in relief when Maura began to smile. "I have a…post-marathon ritual. I drive up to this little café in New Hampshire and have a Spanish omelet. Would you like to come?"
"You go all the way to New Hampshire for an omelet? I make awesome omelets."
Jane grinned. "Wanna start a new tradition instead? I'll make us omelets, and then we'll drive up to Vermont and go to the Ben and Jerry's factory."
"A new tradition?" Maura's eyes lit up. "Does this mean you'll run the marathon with me again next year?"
Let her down gently was what she thought. What she said, caught by the bright, hopeful look in her eyes, was "Yeah, sure, why not?" What the hell, Rizzoli? Her inner good sense – along with most of the muscles in her body – howled in protest. She ignored it, focused instead on Maura's delighted smile. "Now, what about Ben and Jerry's?"
"Ice cream? You want to drive to Vermont to have ice cream?"
Jane chuckled. "Okay, I deserved that. But they have an ice cream shop there, and you can take a tour. They have this huge sundae you can eat – I saw it on the Travel Channel." She shrugged. "We burned a lot of calories yesterday. Might as well make it up on something completely decadent and pointless, you know?"
Maura's eyes began to twinkle. "All right. I'll have to drive, though."
"Do you really want to drive with that heel?"
Jane spent a wistful moment thinking about the few other times Maura had allowed her to drive her car before she reluctantly admitted, "All right…good point. Now…gimme me a minute to change."
Maura nodded, heading into the master bathroom to finish her hair and put on her makeup. When she came back, fashion-spread perfect, Jane just shook her head. She felt like death warmed over, and Maura looked like she'd done nothing more strenuous yesterday than a walk in the park.
"Wanna help me down the stairs so I can make breakfast?"
Halfway down, Maura paused to glance at her. "Jane?"
"If you can cook omelets, why do you persist in eating that horrible sugary cereal? You know it has no nutritional value to speak of."
Jane rolled her eyes again. "One, I like it. Two, you know I'm not a morning person. And three – you like it too, so, you know…stones, glass houses…."
"What do glass houses have to do with anything?"
Jane made a sound that was half laugh and half groan.
"Jane? Who would want to live in a glass house?"
She shook her head as she limped into the kitchen.
Jane grinned. It was gonna be a good day.
For folks who may not be familiar with the saying, it's "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."