Second Thoughts, Part 1 of 1

Pairing: Well, now that season 2 has started and "The More Things Change" is officially AU, we're back to "Jane/Maura in the sense that they'll get there someday...just not in this story"

Spoilers: This is a post-ep for "We Don't Need Another Hero," so, naturally, there are spoilers up to that episode

Warnings: None, really, that I can think of. Well, when the middle part exploded into my brain fully formed in the car today (glad I didn't post this yesterday), I might have looked a little weird trying not to cry, but that's about it.

Disclaimer: The only thing that's mine is the plot, such as it is.

Note: I worked really hard to convince myself I wasn't going to watch the season 2 opener and immediately write a post-ep bit for it, because it's important to me that my stories feel as though they could seamlessly fit into canon, and I would much rather see more of the season first. At least, that's what my rational brain said. What the rest of me said, when Maura's matter-of-fact reason for having Angela use her guest house was "She's your family," was "OMG WRITE THIS NOW." Ahem. So, this may be less polished than some of my other stuff, but I'm actually rather fond of it...so, I figured, might as well share it.


Jane watched Maura out of the corner of her eye, still snickering and occasionally adding a light singsong hum just for effect, which was earning her mostly playful glares in return. She wasn't entirely convinced her friend wasn't going to poke her after all, but at least she could be reasonably sure it wouldn't hurt.

Much.

It felt good to be messing around with her best friend.

It felt good to feel good.

It felt great to have caught Maura guessing, and it felt freaking awesome to know she had ammunition to use against her for probably years to come.

The thought put a big smile on her face, straining muscles that weren't quite used to such a thing anymore, and she let her mind drift until the elevator dinged and she frowned as she followed Maura into morgue.

"Wait, wait, wait. Back the U-Haul up."

Maura paused in the act of turning off her laptop. "What…U-Haul?" Her eyes darted around the morgue as if she actually expected to see one somewhere.

The thought would've made Jane smile if she hadn't been so caught up in solving her newest mystery. "Because she's my family? You're letting my mother live with you because she's my family?"

Maura frowned, closing her laptop and going into her office to grab her purse. Ever precise, she said, "She's not living with me. She's living in my guest house."

"Right, because that makes all the difference." Jane rubbed her face. "And how did I end up with a friend who has a guest house, anyway?" She swallowed, forcing herself to refocus her thoughts. "She's my family, Maura…not yours."

As soon as she said it – as soon as it was out of her mouth, in fact – she was kicking herself. Damn it, Rizzoli, get your head screwed on straight. She heard the sniff and panicked. "No, wait, wait, wait, don't…."

You are such an idiot, Rizzoli. She crossed the room and walked right up to Maura, putting a hand on her now-slumped shoulder. "I didn't mean it like that sounded," she said quietly. "I just meant…you know my mom…she's crazy. You shouldn't have to put up with her."

No response.

She quickly evaluated her options. She could go for serious, but that took longer, and there was always the possibility of tears. She could go for annoying and tease her way out of it, but there was always the chance that she would really offend Maura, and she didn't quite feel mentally up to treading that line.

Which left silly, so she made a mock-terrified face that Maura would be able to see through, even if she was too tired and stressed to do that facial muscle thing and stage-whispered, "Please don't poke me?"

She breathed a sigh of relief when Maura smiled and giggled reluctantly.

She waited until Maura had gathered all her things, then followed her back to the elevator. "Okay, look, you're my family because you're my best friend. Not my mother's."

She reached out to open the door to the parking building, reveling in the fact that it didn't hurt to do it, until her brain caught up with her mouth and the next logical thought stopped her cold. "Oh man…please tell me you're not my mother's best friend."

"Not that I'm aware of."

"Not that I'm…God, Maura." She desperately held onto her composure; she'd just gotten Maura to smile again – she wasn't about to wreck that already. "I'm so out of practice at the whole 'talking to Maura' thing," she muttered under her breath.

Maura heard her anyway. "That could be because you haven't been letting me past your front door, most of the times I've come to visit. Or returning most of my phone calls. Or most of my text messages. Or any of my emails."

Jane blew a breath out from between her teeth, mustering her apologies, only to roll her eyes when she noticed the twinkle in Maura's eyes and the slight grin she was trying to suppress.

"Byron didn't seem to have difficulty understanding me."

"Really?" Jane harrumphed. "You bring him up now?"

"Just as a point of comparison."

"Okay, look, we'll get back to the jerky boyfriend thing later, but – but…." Her thoughts completely veering to the side, she stopped and spluttered, "Oh, my God, were you flirting with him while I was half dead?"

Maura looked affronted. "No! Jane, I would never…."

Jane narrowed her eyes. "You know, you never told me how you hooked up with him. Meet him at some secret doctor country…club…or something?"

"You weren't 'half dead.' Byron asked me out one day when I came to vi…when you were…." Maura stumbled to a halt.

"Was I unconscious at the time?"

She winced. "Yes."

"Were you in my room when Doctor Royal We asked you out the first time?"

Maura sighed. "Yes. And, believe me, the experience only served to remind me of why I don't date surgeons. Ones that talk, at any rate."

Jane narrowed her eyes in what was – mostly – a mock glare. "Sox tickets," she said flatly.

"What?"

She shrugged. "You owe me Sox tickets. You flirted over my unconscious, gunshot, half dead body – with Doctor Jerky Royal We, of all people! – so the least you could do is…."

Jane looked down at the envelope Maura had pulled out of her purse and pressed into her hands, her bright smile completely at odds with the conversation they were now having.

"What is that?"

"Season tickets to the Red Sox."

Jane blinked several times in rapid succession, shaking her head firmly to clear what she assumed had to be a hallucination. "Holy cr…what…where…how…why?"

"You missed 'when.'"

"What?"

She shrugged. "You covered the basic questions, but you missed 'when.'"

Jane's mouth opened and shut a few times. She tried to pretend the envelope in her hand wasn't shaking. "Are you…gonna…answer any of them?"

"I bought these for your birthday last month, but you were…." She sighed. "You weren't…." A shrug. "Now seems like a good time."

"You're tryin' to distract me."

"Maybe a little."

"How…season tickets to the Sox are…impossible to…." She glanced at Maura's slightly sheepish expression – the one she only wore when something pointed out the vastly different worlds in which they had both been raised. "Do I wanna know what strings you pulled to get these?"

"You're a hero, Jane. To all of Boston. I know the right people, yes, but they were happy to do it for you."

Jane frowned. "I am not a hero, Maura. Would you quit with that already?"

"The people of Boston think you're a hero."

"Screw the people of Boston! They weren't there. They just bought into the damn media hype about the whole thing."

Maura tilted her head, her eyes shining with complete sincerity. "Well, then, as someone who was there, I can conclusively state that there is at least one person in Boston with first-hand knowledge of what happened that day who thinks you are a hero."

"Yeah, well, Frankie can suck it too," Jane grumbled, ignoring – or trying to, at any rate – the disappointment in Maura's eyes. "Besides, if anything, you're the hero. You're the only one who saved lives that day."

Maura shook her head implacably. "By doing things I wouldn't have had the courage to do if you hadn't been there with me."

At Jane's frustrated sigh, Maura stepped closer, right up to toe the edge of her friend's bubble of personal space. "You're the one who stood between me and Frankie, guarding us with your own body, when Marino shot the other drug dealer. Remember? It happened so fast – you can't have consciously thought about it."

"I didn't," she admitted. "Fat lot of good my hand would have done if Marino had tried to shoot you in the back, though."

"Jane," Maura said, gentle but implacable, "it's not the effect – it's what the action says about you. That your first thought is always of others."

"That's a trained thing, though. They teach us that."

Maura shook her head. "They may teach that that's the appropriate course of action, or even that it's your duty as a police officer, but Jane – you reacted instinctively. You didn't act out of training – you put yourself between Frankie and myself and danger because of who you are. Because you're a hero."

"I am not a hero, damn it!"

"You're the one," Maura continued firmly, "who made sure Marino didn't take me. Don't make the mistake of thinking I missed that, either. You made sure he took you – someone who had at least a chance of stopping him." She took another step forward, inside Jane's personal space just enough to lay a hand on Jane's arm, which was practically vibrating with tension. "And you're the one who ended it."

She took another step forward, quiet and earnest but unshakable in her belief. "You are a hero, Jane Rizzoli. You might not believe it when anyone else tells you that, but you know I can't lie."

Jane sniffed, choked up despite herself. "Damn it, Maura."

She pressed her lips together, censoring herself, then shook her head and said what was on her mind anyway. "You're my hero, at least, Jane, and there's nothing you could say that could dissuade me from that."

Jane shook her head, reaching up to try and surreptitiously wipe her eyes, and resumed their walk across the parking building before something else registered. Her voice was a touch strained, still, when she frowned and said, "Wait…these?"

"There are two. I thought you might like to take your father or Frankie." She grinned mischievously. "Or, you know, a date."

"I have two season tickets to the Sox?"

"Yes."

"I have two season tickets to the Sox?"

Maura smiled. "Yes."

"I have two season tickets to the Sox?"

"You can say it with as many different verbal emphases as you like…it won't keep it from being true."

Jane stared at the envelope in her hand in something of a daze. "I have two season tickets to the Sox." It took a bit for her head to clear, but when it did, she blurted, "God, Maura, thank you. It's – it's too much, but thank you."

Maura smiled as she returned Jane's enthusiastic hug before glancing up at her. "Am I forgiven?"

"For flirting over my unconscious body, for dating a jerk, or for calling me a hero?"

"For either of the first two. I won't apologize for the last."

Jane let her sweat it out for a few moments before she said, "Yeah. Just…don't ever flirt with Jerky Royal We surgeons over my unconscious body again, okay?"

"Okay," Maura agreed amiably. "Though, what about flirting over your conscious body…?" She trailed off into laughter when Jane rolled her eyes and groaned dramatically.

Jane leaned against her car, allowing the chuckles to die down. Maura had been right, of course. Hiding in her apartment had just made her more miserable. She needed this – joking around with her friends as though nothing had happened.

"Meet you at the Robber?" Maura was saying. "Or…would you rather go home?"

Jane grinned. "Nah, I'll meet you there. She opened the door of her new unmarked car as Maura unlocked her brand new Prius – when had she gotten that? The thing already had plates, for crying out loud. "See you in a few."

She let Maura pull out ahead of her, still kicking herself for pushing everyone away so effectively. Her best friend had gotten a car and a boyfriend; her parents' marriage had broken up and they'd lost their home; the entire Boston Police Department, it seemed, had been remodeled; and, to top it all off, Maura had bought that utterly ridiculous thing that she dared to call a chair.

She flexed her hands on the steering wheel, wincing as a jolt of pain flared up from her palms. "Oh, great," she muttered, staring at them, then sighed. "Wish that was psychosomatic."

She found Maura sitting in their usual booth. She slid into her side of the table and continued their conversation as if it had never stopped. "Now. About my mom."

A server approached. "Good to see you back, Detective. Your usual?"

Jane glanced up. "Sure."

"No."

Jane sighed and rolled her eyes. "I want beer, Maura. We're at the Dirty Robber. I have beer at the Dirty Robber."

"No."

"But – "

"No."

It was worse than arguing with her mother. With Maura, who meant exactly what she said, there was no wiggle room, no room for persuasion.

That didn't stop a girl from trying, though. "Maura…."

A beat, as the server shifted nervously from foot to foot.

"Non-alcoholic beer," Maura finally said. "That's the best I can offer you. And you shouldn't even have that."

"But – but – but – fine," Jane huffed, giving all the impression of having stomped her foot without actually having done so. "Non-alcoholic for me. Her usual. My tab."

The implied now go away was obvious, and the server nodded, jotted the order down on her pad, and fled.

"You know Doctor Jerky Royal We isn't gonna sign off on me, just 'cause you dumped him, right?"

Maura smirked. "I believe I have sufficiently convinced him of the error of his ways."

Jane's eyes widened. With Maura, there was really no telling what that meant. "What did you do?"

"I may have…vigorously…" Maura began to giggle. "…pushed his briefcase towards…" Jane snorted; she had a fairly good idea where this was going. "…sensitive…parts of his…" They both dissolved into laughter. "…an-anatomy," Maura finally gasped. "Though the island in my kitchen is a bit too tall for it to have been completely effective."

When she could finally breathe, and the implications – beyond the fact that she dearly, dearly wished she could have seen that – registered, Jane gaped. The guy was her doctor – the doctor who could keep her on desk duty until the next Ice Age. "Oh my God, you didn't. Maura!" she whined. "I'm never getting back on active duty now."

"I'll go with you to the appointment, if you like. I could help convince him."

"Right, 'cause that wouldn't be awkward."

The server, a distant relative of Murray's whose name Jane was sure she had known once upon a time, set their drinks down on the table. "Anything to eat tonight?"

"Cheese fries."

"Jane…."

She sighed. "And a salad. Oil and vinegar. Plates to split both."

"You got it," the server said, hightailing it away again.

"Okay, look, I get that we're friends, Maura, but that doesn't mean you gotta take on the whole crazy Rizzoli family drama thing."

"Of course it does."

Jane opened her mouth to answer, thought better of it, and censored herself to a simple "…why, exactly?"

"Because you're part of my family," Maura said, completely sincere as only she could be. "And that means your family is part of my family."

Jane took one sip of her non-alcoholic beer, nearly spit it back into the bottle, then forced a bland look onto her face as she swallowed it.

The silence lengthened until Jane finally tilted her head and asked, "Why are you doing this? Really?"

She saw just a flicker of…something…in Maura's eyes before she looked down and away. The professional demeanor with which she'd repeatedly evaluated Jane's incisions, recovery, and, as time progressed, her scar tissue, cracked.

Her voice was tired; Jane had to force herself to wrap her hands around her bottle of swill that dared to call itself beer and to keep her silence as she allowed Maura to gather the strength to answer her question.

Finally, she said, "Your parents…went through a great deal of trouble to ensure that the hospital treated me like family. They…hired a notary, in fact, to satisfy the legal requirements so that I-I could be involved in your care."

"That's…great, but you were already on my emergency contact list."

Maura was shaking her head before she even finished speaking. "That's not the same. That just means they call me, so that I can no-notify your next of kin or whoever's legally responsible to make decisions about…what should be done if you…." She shook her head firmly, clearly forcing those thoughts aside. "It doesn't mean they're authorized to tell me anything."

"Wait. What?"

"HIPAA," Maura said, as though that explained everything.

To her, it probably did.

"Hip – huh?"

Maura's eyes widened. "The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996."

"Oh. That Hip…thing," Jane said dubiously.

"It greatly limited what information medical personnel are allowed to share with others." She paused, then her jaw dropped. "Jane. Don't you read your insurance forms?"

"No," she scoffed.

Maura stared at her as though she had just admitted to killing small puppies on a daily basis. "But Jane – "

"Who reads their insu…you read your insurance forms."

"Of course I do."

"Anyway," Jane said firmly. "I thought – once I listed you as…."

"It's all right; it's fixed now, unless you'd like to change it."

She rubbed her eyes. "Of course I don't want to change it, Maura…I thought you were on the special list anyway, remember?"

"I just meant – your parents treated me like family in every way. It's my privilege to be able to do the same."

Jane frowned, rubbing her palms together in that old nervous habit of hers.

"What's really bothering you?" Maura asked.

It took a few long, long moments and, before she spoke, Jane glanced furtively around to make sure no one was nearby to overhear. "It's just – where am I gonna go hide now?"

"You've been doing a very good job of hiding at home."

"So not what I meant." She poked at a ding in the table with her thumbnail for nearly a minute before she looked up and said in a voice barely louder than a whisper, "I go to you – to your place – when things get…look, when I have to hide from…everything, I go to your place. You know that."

Sometimes she was surprised she could still sleep in Maura's guest room at all – that she hadn't mentally connected it with the nightmares that usually drove her there.

"Now what do I do?" she finally added plaintively.

"Your mother's staying in my guesthouse, not my guest room. I don't see how she would even know you came over."

Jane raised her eyebrows. "And when she hears Jo in the backyard? Or sees my car in the driveway?" Her hands flailed vaguely in the air. "Comes over to borrow a cup of sugar?"

"So call me, Jane. I'll come to your apartment any time you need me to. You know that."

"And…you're gonna explain to my mother that you disappeared in the middle of the night so you could come to my place and sit up all night holding my hand so I can sleep?"

"Not if you don't want me to."

"Maura!"

As squeals of outrage went, it was a relatively quiet one, but it did attract a few curious glances.

Maura waited until they subsided before she said, quietly but firmly, "What I do in my personal life – not to mention what you do in yours – is my own business, and yours."

Jane sighed.

"And, again, your mother is staying in my guest house. I'm sure she'll respect both of our boundaries."

Jane carefully set her bottle of beer down before it became too tempting to pour its contents down Maura's oh-so-immaculate dress just to see if it was possible to get a rise out of the damn woman at all.

She folded her hands on the table and forced herself to speak calmly. "You have met her, right? Shorter than me, dirty blond, raspy voice? Walked on the…almost morning after…with the key I'd given her just for emergencies, just so she could clean my apartment and make me breakfast?"

Maura winced as the implications finally sunk in. "Oh."

"Yeah. Oh."

The server reappeared and set their food down with a wary look at both of them. "Here you go. Anything else?"

Maura, who had gone very pale, glanced at Jane. "More wine, please," she said, regardless of the nearly full glass in front of her. Jane snickered. "And a banana split." She watched the waitress go and added under her breath, "Maybe a time machine…."