Title: Song for Marcella

Rating: T for now; may become M later

Pairing: Jane/Maura

Spoilers: Some references from all S1 and S2 episodes up to and including, "My Own Worst Enemy." The story is AU from there.

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. If I did, they'd be married and hanging out on Showtime ;)


Prologue

If you can stand by me like yesterday,
I´ll find the strength to carry on,
So let your spirit shine along the way,
And our day will surely come.

-From 'Song for Marcella,' by Bik McFarlane


Maura weaved slightly leaning against Jane's arm as they exited the Dirty Robber. Maura's glazed eyes and wobbly countenance told Jane all she needed to know. Maura Isles was drunk. Jane and Maura walked arm and arm in silence as they made their way to Jane's Crown Vic. Jane escorted Maura to the passenger's side of the car, and Maura slumped a little indelicately against the door as Jane unlocked it.

It wasn't like the good doctor to drink to excess, Jane thought, but then again there had been many things in recent history that weren't like the good doctor. Lying, deflecting, evading, keeping secrets…

"Oompf. I don't feel so good. How many whiskeys did I drink?" Maura said as she gracelessly tried to lower herself into the seat, tugging at her restrictive Valentino pencil skirt like it was a latex glove she was trying to remove.

"I think the final count was four. You can blame Korsak for that." Jane smirked as she walked around to the driver's side and eased her way into the driver's seat. "That's his official remedy for the heartbroken. One part pain, four parts Jameson's." They hadn't officially discussed Ian again after his abrupt departure a few days ago, but Jane knew as sure as she knew her own name, Maura was hurting and not handling it well.

"You know, " Maura mused resting heavily against the seatbelt, "Ian… loves whiskey. " Jane glanced over at her briefly, her eyes rolling as they shifted back to the road. Oh here it comes, Jane thought. Maura continued, "Hard liquor was hard to come by in Ethiopia but when he'd get it, we'd thoroughly enjoy it together drinking into the wee hours. He would read poetry to me in an Irish brogue, and then we'd fall into be- "

"-Uh yeah, um, sounds fucking fantastic…" Jane interrupted in a grumble, gripping the steering wheel a little tighter.

"What was that?" Maura asked.

"I said, he sounds like Captain Fantastic." Jane retorted sarcastically.

Maura turned her head in Jane's direction and knitted her eyebrows like she was trying to puzzle something out before returning to look out the window. Her face transformed itself in quick succession; wistful, sad, and then to more than a little green around the gills.

"Hey, roll down the window there, Boozy McGee. It'll help." Jane quipped with a little humor to her tone, hoping to bring a little lightness back into the moment.

"I haaaate your windows, Jane. " Maura whined. "They're so….blowy."

"Blowy? Did you make that up yourself? You must be wasted if the great Googlemouth is making up words like 'Blowy.'"

Maura scowled at Jane.

"Sorry, Maur, but we can't all have solar powered ventilation fans." Jane said in a slightly singsong mocking tone. "Besides. Cold air, is cold air, right? Isn't that what you're always telling me?"

Maura sighed, and leaned her head against the half rolled down window, fixing her gaze outside. She remained quiet as Jane drove them to Maura's house, the lights and rhythm of the car lulling Maura into a light, drunken slumber.

Jane pulled into the driveway of Maura's house, cut the engine, and nudged Maura's knee. "Time to wake up, sleeping beauty."

"Unnngh…" Maura groaned, "I wanna stay right here." Maura continued to doze, her head resting on the back of the seat rest.

"Nope. Not gonna happen," Jane said as she made her way around to the passenger side door. "You'll freeze to death, plus I just got the upholstery cleaned." She opened the door, unbuckled Maura's seat belt, and stood up looking down at the ME.

Maura lolled her head around, opening her eyes and finally focusing on Jane's face just staring at her blankly.

"C'mon, let's go." Jane said, moving to grab Maura's elbow.

"Nuh, uh." Maura grumbled, clumsily evading Jane's grasp on her elbow.

Jane eased back up, placed her hands on her hips, and glared at Maura. "Maura, we can do this easy way or the hard way."

Something in Maura's brain sparked at that comment, and she popped her eyes open, lifted her head, looked up at Jane and shook her head slowly back and forth in a disapproving way. Their eyes caught each other in a duel, Maura retreating quickly knowing when Jane had her beat.

"Fine." Maura said after a moment, climbing her way out of the car; staggering somewhat, and frowning at Jane. "And I don't need your help."

Amused, Jane followed Maura up the steps to her door, walking behind her, lest she lose balance and end up ass over tea kettle in her flower fountain. They made their way to the door, and Maura fumbled around her Louis Vitton for her keys. Pulling them out, she instantly dropped them.

"Hmpf." She says, "My hand-eye coordination seems to be a bit compromised."

A thousand snarky remarks sat on Jane's tongue unsaid. She just couldn't get over the current state of her best friend. Drunk, clumsy, and brooding- three words that Jane definitely never associated with Dr. Maura Isles. Captain Fan-fucking-tastic had done a real number on her and Maura was completely out of sorts. Jane was not pleased. She was tired, her toe still hurt, and there was another feeling simmering below she wasn't quite ready to name. Ever since Ian's departure, Jane couldn't stop herself from being hyperaware of Maura's moods. Of all the swinging states Maura expressed, Jane knew one thing was for certain. Her friend was devastated, and it left Jane feeling confused, angry, and resentful. Still, a giggle found its way out of Jane's mouth when Maura finally got her key in the lock, muffling a distinct "Shit" as she dropped said keys again, this time in her entry way. Make that four words Jane never associated with Maura, Jane thought. This was going to be one for the record books.

"C'mon. Let's get you to bed." Jane said, as they wandered though the living room. Jane led Maura to her bedroom by the elbow, Maura trying in vain to steer out of Jane's reach and amble toward the kitchen. "Water, Jane. I need some water," she whined, as Jane corralled her back.

"You think?" Jane mused. "Let's get you to your room, and then get water. I'll even put it in a hi-ball glass. Thanks to Ma, I know exactly where they are." Jane smirked, as she grabbed said glass. Maura pouted but let Jane guide her down the hall to her room. Jane added, "You probably drank seven hi-balls worth of liquor tonight. You're gonna be hurtin' tomorrow."

"You know," Maura began as she flopped down to sit on the side of the bed, "It's a common misconception that alcohol is the true cause of the hangover. Jane tried to hide her amusement at a slightly slurring Maura Isles and let her continue. "The ethanol in an alcoholic beverage is actually converted to acetaldehyde by the enzyme alcohol dehydro- dehyd—err… dehydrogenase," Maura continued to ramble as she stood up and proceeded to remove her heels, skirt, blouse, and stockings and unceremoniously pushed them into Jane's arms.

"It is converted from acetaldehyde to acetic acid by the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which is different." She continued, as she sat back down on the bed in her camisole and underwear, and looked up at Jane.

"And acetaldehyde is between 10 and 30 times more toxic than alcohol itself." She trailed off while Jane hung up her clothes and moved toward the bathroom to fill the hi-ball she'd gotten in the kitchen with water.

"Okay, Drunkapedia. If that's your fancy way of saying you get dehydrated and feel like shit, I got that." She set the glass on the bedside table and stood back up to look down at Maura.

Maura was staring blankly at a point behind Jane, looking tired, defeated, and more exhausted than Jane could ever remember seeing her.

"Maur," said Jane. No response.

"Maura, hey. Ya still with me?" Jane asked as she squatted down in front of Maura's knees and moved her eyes to within Maura's line of sight.

Maura slowly moved her eyes to lock on to Jane's, and sighed.

"I told you he was the love of my life, Jane. But I guess I don't even really know what that means. He wasn't even in the same hemisphere with me for longer than a few weeks at a time," she whispered. Jane's expression softened at Maura's tone, as a glassy sheen coated Maura's hazel eyes. It sent a dagger straight to Jane's heart, and her expression softened even more. She visibly ached for the other woman. Captain Fuckface… What a Jackass, Jane thought.

Jane moved her hands to cup Maura's knees and remained quiet, waiting for the ME to continue.

"I probably would've married him. He was the first person I let in, Jane, and he…" Maura huffed out a breath, tucked a curl behind her ear, and dropped her chin to her chest. "God, what's wrong with me?" Maura said, exasperated, she accented her point with waving hands. "I'm such a fool. "

"Maura-" Jane interjected.

"No." Maura interrupted, "First Garret turns out to be a murderer, and now Ian is a drug runner. Are…are all my exes going to turn out to have a criminal record?"

"God, I hope not," Jane mumbled out of the side of her mouth.

Maura stopped, and huffed out a breath. "And if they do, what does that say about me?" Maura looked pleadingly to Jane, a pained, confused look on her face. Jane wilted at her expression.

"Hey, oh, eh. You listen to me, " Jane's voice dropped an octave, serious and sweet. "You are an amazing, beautiful, smart, and funny woman, Maura Isles." Maura looked up into Jane's face again, Maura's lower lip quivered into a slight smile. Jane continued, "Garret was a devious prick. And Captain Fu… um… Fantastic, is a douchebag. Neither of them ever deserved you."

Maura laughed at that, moving her hands to rest on top of Jane's. Their eyes remained fixed on each other, and Maura felt a warmth bloom in her chest. After a few beats Maura starting talking.

"Jane I… I want to apologize."

"For what, Maura? Don't be silly. You don't owe me anything."

"No, I do. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for… for being weird. I've…I've never had a friendship like yours before, and I've been just so used to dealing with things….things like Ian….alone. I guess I never thought about how it might affect anyone else. How it might affect you. That maybe… that maybe it could hurt you, too."

"Maura it's okay—"

"No Jane, I need to say this. Your friendship- it's the most important relationship in my life. I don't want to hurt you. Ever. It means so much that you have trust in me." Maura stopped for moment, shaking her head slightly, to clear it or gain composure, Jane wasn't sure. When Maura looked up again her eyes were bright and shining. "Being your friend…it gives me strength. It gives me strength to get through this. With you…" She paused, smiling a fractured smile at Jane, "…I know I will."

Jane let the words settle around her heart like a balm she didn't even know she needed. Maura's detachment from her had stung and it cut deep. With Maura's confession, Jane could feel some of the pieces of hurt fall away, and be soothed by the unconditional care and affection she always held close for this woman, no matter what happened between them.

"Well, you got me Maura. It's gonna take more than a drug running Captain Asshat subjecting me to torture-by-toe, to make me to jump ship. You're… you're family." Jane said.

Maura's fractured smile became a radiant grin and she replied, "So, we're okay?"

"Yeah, we're okay. We're more than okay." Jane said quietly, her voice ragged and deep.

"Thank you," she replied. She moved her hand to cup Jane's jaw, and lightly rubbed her thumb back and forth,

"Anytime. " Jane said, a slight hitch to her voice, as she moved her hand to cover Maura's resting on her jaw. "I'm warning you though. If the next ex turns out to be a former Goldman-Sachs CEO, you're on your own. " Maura laughed, as Jane winked at her and squeezed the hand still on her cheek, then moved both hands together to join her other hand which placed something in Maura's palm.

"Here. You're gonna need these."

Maura looked down into her palm, to see four small, round brown tabs of ibuprofen. She laughed again and took the pills, chasing them down with some of the water Jane had gotten for her. She eased herself back under the covers, laying her head gingerly on her pillow, as Jane stood up never breaking eye contact with her.

"Sleep well. I'll have a nice large cappuccino waiting for you in the morgue bright and early." Jane said.

Maura smiled, and nodded her head, drowsily. "Oh! Jane!" Maura's voice perked up.

"Yes?" Jane drawled.

"Skim milk." Maura said emphatically. Or as emphatically as a three-sheets-to-the-wind, almost passed out ME could manage.

"How could I forget, your highness." Jane cracked a smile at Maura, as she readied to turn and go.

"'Night, Jane." Maura said to Jane's retreating back. "Oh wait! One more thing." Maura managed to utter.

"What is it now?" Jane said as she turned around, feigning annoyance. Maura's eyes caught her in their snare, something in them pinning Jane to the floor.

"I… I love you, Jane." Maura offered quietly. "Thank you for being my family, too."

Jane's breath momentarily hitched in her lungs, and her stomach dropped like an anvil to her feet. Maura's gaze was so open, vulnerable, and aching; bleeding out to Jane in its raw intensity. The very last vestiges of jealousy, betrayal and child-like petulance that still clung to Jane were instantly leeched out of her that moment she beheld the most important person in her life, giving her the gift of rare emotional honesty. Something that was way too scarce as of late, and drunk or not, Maura had let the carefully guarded wall to her feelings be exposed not once but twice tonight. Jane couldn't help but be moved.

"Love you too, Maura." She exhaled on a breath, as she walked back over to the bedside, bent down and kissed Maura on the forehead. "Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite."

"Oh my sheets are completely sanitary. I assure you, there are no insects in here." Maura replied, on the edge of sleep.

"It's an expression, Maur." Jane said as she turned to go. "A, what do you call it, colloquialism?" She continued toward the door, pausing one last time in the doorway to turn around and look at Maura as she turned off the light.

"Good night," Jane whispered, and she stood for moment, transfixed by the peaceful, softened face of a sleeping Maura Isles, her mouth curved in what almost looked like a smile.

Jane turned to go, but heard the sheets rustle and turned back just in time to just hear Maura murmur,

"Goodnight, Captain Janetastic."


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