A/N: Well, here it is. The final chapter. This is the end of "Loss". I am so very grateful for all of your reviews and wonderful comments. Who would have thought that when I started this story immediately after 2x15, this is what it would have turned into? I have only ever had one other story cross 300 reviews before and that was one of my Harry Potter multi chapters. A fandom I am going to return to after this story is finished to work out an idea that has been plaguing me for most of this story and that begs to be written. You have all been very loyal, patient and honest and I appreciate it a great deal. I hope this story eased some of the pain after having seen 2x15 and maybe added something to it too. And if someone does know Janet Tamaro or her crew, feel free to send a link to my work because to be honest, I'd be delighted to join their writing team. Thank you all for reading. Thank you all for reviewing and thank you all for loving Jane & Maura the same way I do.
I know you through and through;
There's no need to hide
I want to show you love
That is deep and high and wide
~Jill Phillips – I Am
There's no turning back
Since I let myself fall in love with you
~Rosie Thomas – I Let Myself Fall
Maura Isles' house
She woke up when the firs rays of morning sunshine fell through the half open curtains and cherished her face. Slowly Jane Rizzoli's eyes fluttered open and she needed a few seconds to remember where she was. She lay under the soft, fluffy bedcovers and became slowly aware of the body that lay beside her. Her dark eyes opened fully and she looked at the woman asleep by her side. Maura lay on her stomach, with one hand across her pillow and one underneath it. Strands of honey coloured hair covered the sides of her face. It seemed to glow in the early morning sunlight. Jane couldn't do anything else but watch her. Maura looked beautiful in the gloom of light and she looked so peaceful and so adorable as she slept. With a shock she realised this was what she would see every morning from now on. If she wanted to. If she was ready.
Last night she had told Maura she loved her. It was true. She did. She was in love with her. And Maura was in love with her. Any genius could do the maths on that one. They were in love with each other. Normally that would be the base for a perfect relationship. But Jane knew there was no such thing as perfect and as she lay staring at the woman she had kissed the previous night she wondered how things were going to change. She had always been too afraid of losing her friendship with Maura if she told her how she really felt. But then their friendship was destroyed and they found each other as two different people who, up until moments before the kiss, perhaps wouldn't have been considered each other friends at all. Should she still be scared to lose something that had already been destroyed, only to be replaced by their true feelings?
"It is rude to stare," Maura muttered unexpectedly and Jane's lips curled up into a smile.
"If you weren't so damn beautiful I wouldn't have to stare."
Sleepy hazel green eyes opened and Jane took in the breath taking sight that was Maura Isles waking up from her dreams. She propped herself up on her elbow, supporting her head with her hand and looked at the medical examiner as Maura slowly rolled onto her side and stretched out. She reminded Jane a little of a cat as she did so.
"Did you sleep OK?" Maura asked once she had finished stretching. Her eyes searched Jane's face, looking for signs of tiredness. She smiled when she realised she could find none. Jane looked brighter than she had ever done and Maura was briefly mesmerized by how the taller woman's eyes seemed to glow in the early morning light that fell into the room. She could not remember ever having seen something so beautiful.
"Yes," Jane answered softly. It was no lie. She had slept through the night, without the usual nightmares and the unexpected waking up without knowing what had awoken her. She felt rested and relaxed. It had been a long time since the night had been her friend instead of her enemy. "Like a baby. It's been a long time since I slept that well, actually."
A silence fell between them and they just stared at each other, looking for words to say. In their minds they were both taken back to the previous night. After their first kiss there had been a second, and a third. After five Jane has lost count. They had changed into their pyjamas and had climbed into bed. Maura had searched for her hand and Jane had moved closer, allowing the smaller woman to fall asleep on her chest. Hearing Maura breathe was what had eventually sent her to sleep. During their night their bodies had moved apart and now they were both left to wonder where to start this new day.
Maura shyly averted her eyes and a blush spread across her cheeks. "I really enjoyed last night."
Jane sighed in relief and moved closer and took Maura's hand into her own. The feeling of Maura's skin against her own immediately eased some of the initial panic she had felt. "Thank God for that."
Their bodies almost seamlessly rediscovered the position from the night before, with Maura's head on Jane's chest and her arm draped loosely around her waist. Jane's arm slipped around Maura's body and let the soft locks of her hair run through her fingers. Her other hand lay across Maura's arm, drawing small circles on her skin. As they lay like this Jane gently placed a kiss on Maura's hair.
"So what does this mean?" Maura asked after a few more moments of silence had passed and they both were slightly drunk on the feeling of being in each other's arms again. She looked up at Jane. "I mean, what does this mean for us?"
"Really Maura?" the dark haired detective smirked. It came as no real surprise that Maura wanted to talk about it. It was what she did. It came with being a scientist. In fact, it came with just being Maura. Jane looked down at the woman resting against her chest. "You really have to go and try and analyse this? Can't you just lie here and…" She paused, searching for the right word to describe the position they were in. "Enjoy?"
"But Jane, it will good to know what this means for our relationship status. And I would like to know what to call you when I speak to others about you," the smaller woman argued and Jane's fingers almost instantly stopped drawing on Maura's arm.
"Well, do I call you my girlfriend or my partner or my significant other or…."
"I get it!" Jane interrupted Maura. Suddenly the panic was back. It was there, right there, in her chest. It grabbed hold of her heart and started strangling. She couldn't put her finger on it but it was sheer unadulterated fear. Maura speaking out the words girlfriend and partner ignited something inside of Jane. Something that really pointed out how things had changed. How they had changed. And how the world around them would see them from now on. Her muscles tensed up and Maura lifted up her head. Questioning eyes searched for Jane's.
"What's wrong?" The medical examiner cocked her head. "Jane?"
"It's just…" Jane began but she couldn't quite figure out what it was she was trying to say. "It is so definite. So final." Dark eyes met Maura's. "You know? Like everything has changed."
"But everything has changed, Jane," Maura said rather matter of fact. At any other moment it could have been funny but right now it was just another reminder that they both looked at the situation differently. There was a hint of nervousness in Maura's voice as she continued to stare at the other woman. "Don't you want them to change?"
"I do. Really, I do," Jane said and she quickly pulled Maura closer to her. It felt reassuring to have her this close while a day or two ago they had been worlds apart. "It is just that… I think I need some time to get used to this. To all of this. We have been friends for years, Maur. And then one day all of that was gone and I didn't think I'd ever get it back. And here we are. You and me. But we're not just friends anymore."
Jane felt something ease inside her chest as that one word sank in. Yes, they were lovers. And the longer she thought about it and the further she looked back, the more she realised they had always been lovers. They had just never understood it. They had just never seen what they really were. All those stupid jokes Frost and Korsak made about them arguing like a married couple and how you could never find Jane without finding Maura too. They were all true. And with a little smile Jane leant back in the pillows of Maura's bed and her fingers once again entangled in the soft strands of hair. Maura snuggled a little deeper into Jane's chest.
"Yes" Jane whispered. "We're lovers."
"Can I kiss you?" Maura asked after a few moments of blissful comfort and silence.
Jane cocked an eyebrow. "I do hope you are going to stop asking for permission soon. I happen to like spontaneous kisses."
Maura's lips captured hers almost without warning. Jane had no idea how the medical examiner had managed to climb on top of her but Maura now straddled her, one leg on either side of her stomach. Soft hands ran through untameable black curls and cherished that soft spot in the back of her neck, drawing a moan from the detective's lips. Instinctively Jane parted her lips and found Maura's tongue eager to meet her own. She sucked down on the smaller woman's bottom lip rather possessively and when she felt Maura smile into their kiss, Jane smiled too. Her hands slipped up Maura's back and encountered soft strands of hair. Maura leant in further, closing whatever small distance had been left between them. She shifted her body and gently pressed Jane's legs apart with her knee and found a more comfortable position on top of the taller woman. When she felt Jane's hands reach for the hem of her pyjama shirt they broke apart.
"Are you sure about this?" Maura whispered. As she stared down into Jane's dark eyes she realised she needn't ask that question. What she saw reflecting back at her was all the love Jane held for her.
"Yes," Jane answered and brushed a strand of hair out of Maura's eyes and tucked it behind her ear. A simple touch with such a deeper meaning. Her fingertips brushed against the other woman's cheek. "We're lovers, remember? We have started over. We are different people now. Friends who moved on and found a different road to take in life. I am willing to see where it leads."
Maura smiled and leant back in. Her lips were a mere inch from Jane's. The detective's breath was warm against her glowing skin. "Have it your way."
"I always do," Jane answered teasingly and began pulling the shirt over Maura's head. "Please tell me there's a lock on your bedroom door…"
"Finally!" Angela exclaimed when Jane and Maura walked into the kitchen later that morning. Their hair was still wet from the shower they had earlier. Together. Dressed in comfortable jeans and a simple long sleeved shirt Jane slumped down on the couch. Maura, wearing a similar outfit but with a more expensive price tag, continued into the kitchen and poured her and Jane two glasses of orange juice. Angela curiously eyed the two women up. There were things only a mother could know.
"I thought you two were never going to come out of that room!" she said when Maura joined Jane on the couch. Jane looked over her shoulder.
"We thought about it," she answered with a playful twinkle in her eyes. It was no word of a lie. "Did Tommy catch his flight?"
"He should be in Seattle by now. He said he'd call once he'd made it to his apartment" Angela said and she sighed. "Can you believe he's got a real job now? My little boy is making a new start."
Jane snorted and smirked when Maura shot her a look. "Yeah, who would have thought."
"Frankie called. Said something about the guy who broke your nose having killed that Sinclair girl?" Angela said and frowned. "How many times do I have to tell you to be careful out there, Janie?"
"Yeah yeah," Jane waved her mother's complaints off and rested her head on Maura's shoulder. She felt relieved to hear that the Sinclair case had come to an end. She'd rather done it herself but she knew Frost and Korsak had worked hard whilst she had been trying to sort out her personal mess. Clearly the case had changed overnight. She looked around when she realised someone was missing. "Where's Constance?"
"She went for a walk. Took Jo Friday with her," Angela said and leant against the kitchen counter. Seeing Jane's head rest on the other woman's shoulder brought a smile to her face. It looked like the little help she and Constance had offered had paid out. "I see you two have sorted out your issues."
"Yes, we did," Maura said as she glanced at Angela. "In fact…"
"Maura," Jane interrupted her and the medical examiner fell silent. She wasn't sure whether she wanted to tell her mother right now. Even though they weren't hiding it, she quite liked the idea of just being able to share it with Maura for now. She wasn't afraid of what her mother would say. Not with their family. But to just be able to enjoy it with Maura before Angela would drag out the bridal magazines and fire questions about grandchildren at them seemed more appealing right now.
"I wasn't born yesterday, you know," Angela said sharply. "I know you two are together."
"What? Ma?" Jane leapt to her feet and stared at her mother. Beside her Maura reached up to take the detective's arms. Soft fingers closed around Jane's wrist. "How do you…."
Angela just smiled. "A mother knows, Jane. There could be no other reason why you were so hurt when Maura…" She changed her words. "When things changed. And Constance told me what you told her." Angela's eyes darted to Maura. "And Maura told me how she felt too. Things were never much of a secret, Jane. The only person who thought it was a secret was you."
Jane smiled sheepishly and sank back down on the couch next to Maura. Angela walked into the living area and took a seat next to the other two women. Jane looked at her mother. "Thanks Ma."
"You're welcome, babe," Angela said and she reached out to hug her daughter. Jane willingly let her. When they parted Angela just looked at Maura and smiled. "You know, I'd given up but it looks like I might be getting grandchildren after all!"
"Ma!" Jane said warningly though she couldn't quite hide the amusement in her voice. She gave her mother the almost perfect Rizzoli glare. The one Angela had given her children so many times while they were growing up. "If I ever hear you as much as breathe the words turkey baster, I swear to God I'll have Korsak and Frost investigate your murder!"
Angela just laughed, kissed her daughter's cheek and stood up. In passing she let her hand briefly rest on Maura's shoulder. Then she walked back to the kitchen and continued preparing the marinade for the chicken that was on the menu for that night. Jane and Maura sat on the sofa, with Maura now resting her head against Jane's chest and the detective's arm draped around her back. The sound of little paws on the wooden floor told Angela that Constance and Jo Friday had returned. The little dog raced into the living room and launched herself onto Jane's lap. The two women fussed over the pooch and Angela looked up in time to see Constance walk into the kitchen.
"Will you look at that," Constance smiled when she saw Maura with Jane and looked at Angela. She and Angela watched the two women and Constance's eyes reflected the affection she felt for both Maura and Jane. She leant against the kitchen counter, her arms comfortable folded across her chest. The smile on her face grew wider when she watched Jane kiss Maura's hair. "Took them long enough, didn't it?"
Angela smiled. "They figured it out. Sometimes it really takes the realisation you can lose it all to understand that some things are always worth fighting for."
Jane looked at Maura lazily resting against her chest. They had a long way to go if they were to ever really come to terms what had happened over the last few days but she couldn't think of a better way to start than with Maura at her side. She had been her best friend and now she was her lover. She didn't care about any other title Maura would give it in the near future. They were together in this. There would be moments where they'd have to face what had once driven them apart. Jane had no doubt that Paddy Doyle would resurface in their lives sooner rather than later. And with him the memories would come back to. She didn't fear that moment. In fact, she almost looked forward to it because she knew it would strengthen them as a couple. They would deal with things as they came.