One shot - wrote it on my own. I own nothing. It all belongs to Tess, Janet, TNT, and other assorted people much more important than me. Fair Warning: I proof read nothing.
"Angela, do you have a moment?" Maura stepped into her kitchen and began helping with the dishes. Jane sat in the living room, as had become her normal routine, completely engrossed in the highlights from the past week's games.
"Of course, Maura. What's going on?" Angela stepped to the side to give room at the sink so Maura could rinse and dry.
"I wanted to thank you for everything you've done this past week. With Mother in town, I'm afraid I've been a little more tense than normal, and I may have…"
"Don't worry about it. Family forgives family when we're a little on the cranky or forgettable side."
Jane's voice thundered through the open space, clearly angry about something. The two women at the sink turned, looked at the brunette on the sofa, smiled at each other, and then turned back to the dishes.
"Thank you," the doctor said quietly, eyes downcast to the dish she was drying. "That means a great deal to me, that you would bring me into your heart as you have."
"Maura, you've done so much for me, for all of us. You're Jane's best friend. The boys adore you, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for everything you've done for me since… well, you know. The least I can do is take a little heat from you when you're stressed. Besides, you never hurt my feelings. You've been nothing but gracious. I don't know what you're worried about." Angela handed the last dish to Maura , pulled the plug, and started her after dishwashing routine of spraying down the sink and cleaning out the washcloth.
"I just… my mother's visit has made me realize how very involved you are in our lives, in my life, and I don't think I've told you how much I truly value and appreciate your presence there."
"Oh, come on!" Jane's voice rattled them both, and Maura had to catch herself to stop from dropping the dish in her hand. "How could you miss that? It was right there! Right there!"
"Hey, do you mind? You're going to wake the dead!" Angela shouted over her daughter, who grumbled an apology and went back to watching the game highlights. "Maura," the elder Rizzoli's voice was quieter and softer as she turned her attention back to the woman next to her. "Thank you," the tears fell, "that's very sweet of you to say."
Maura sniffled, smiling brightly. "It's the truth." She blotted at her eyes and gave a little chuckle. "She'll make fun of us if she catches us in here crying."
"Yeah, well, it wouldn't be the first time," Angela gave a hard sidelong glance to her daughter, "or the last! That's just how she is. You know, it's how she shows she cares, and, Maura," she reached a hand out to place it gently on the other woman's arm, "she cares a lot about you."
"I know she does. I'm grateful for that as well." Maura gave the hand on her arm a gentle pat before stepping back to put away the last dish. "It's getting late. Perhaps we should get her around to go home?"
"Maybe, but she's pretty into whatever sports thing she's watching. Guess she could stay here?" Angela dropped the washcloth in the bucket of bleach water kept under the sink.
"But where would she sleep? You and Tommy are in the guest house, and my guestroom is being used for storage right now."
"You two share a bed when you spend the night at Jane's don't you?" The question was too innocent, and Maura had spent enough time with Angela to recognize there was more to the question than the innocence implied.
"Well, yes, but the couch is not the best place to try to sleep. We tired that arrangement the first two times I spent the night, but it was clear that sleeping there was not a good idea. But, it is late…"
"Hey, Maura, you got any more beer stashed away in your fridge?" Jane turned to look over the back of the sofa. There was a commercial flickering across the screen. "Just finished mine."
"Jane, that's 4 this hour," Maura scolded.
"Yeah, and it's about to be five. You got another one or what?"
Angela chuckled. "Are you sheets clean?"
Maura sighed, resigned to her fate. "Yes, fortunately." With a roll of her eyes, she pulled two beers from the fridge and popped the tops.
"I'm off to bed. You two don't stay up too late!" Angela kissed Maura on the cheek and Jane on the top of the head as she passed by on her way out.
"Good night, Angela." Maura sat down on the sofa, handing a beer to Jane before taking a sip of her own.
"Hey, thanks. You and Ma have a good talk?"
"What do you mean?" The doctor kept her eyes on the beer bottle.
"Just because I'm watching ESPN doesn't mean I can't hear you two. Hey," a long, scarred hand rested over Maura's own, more delicate hands, "She's right, you're family now. I told you to run, and you didn't, so you're stuck with us." She smirked, giving a little wink. "Your mother will come around."
Maura gave a heavy sigh. "She is who she is, Jane."
"Yeah… listen, why don't we do something nice for Ma? How about we take her out to the Robber tomorrow night? Just the three of us?"
"I would like that." The doctor's voice was small, fragile.
Taking Maura's bottle from her hands and setting both on the coffee table, Jane leaned back pulling Maura in against her and wrapping a protective arm around the smaller woman's shoulders. The detective frowned deeply into the caramel brunette hair now bobbing just below her chin. "Good. Don't worry about anything. I'll take care of it."
"Okay, Jane, I trust you." With a quiet sigh, Maura settled against her friend, soaking in the strength and support there. "She's leaving for France tomorrow anyway, and then things will go back to normal."
"There's nothing normal about our lives, Maura."
Maura gave a hum of agreement before they both chuckled and settled in to watch the rest of the game highlights.
Thank you for reading. Yes, this could be considered a Prequel to "The Meeting". I always appreciate your reviews.