Title: One Day, Six Ways
Fandom: Rizzoli & Isles, Jane/Maura
Rated: PG-13 (yes, PG-13! The end might tickle an R, but it's pretty tame generally speaking)
Notes:A deviation from my norm, this was a challenge I gave myself for both length (keeping each segment generally equal and generally short) and content; you can judge for yourself how successful I was! Also, thank you to a fellow Bananigan for the 'brain food' inspiration.
For those that continue, thanks for reading even though it's not M/NC-17! ;)
One Day, Six Ways
When Maura first awoke, she really wasn't sure why. It was still dark out and the house seemed quiet. She glanced at the clock. It was the middle of the night. So why was she awake?
Then she heard it. A small sound. Not quite a cry, but more like a whimper. She lifted her head again and turned it to the right. And even in the low glow from the bedside clock, she could see Jane's forehead was marred by a frown. The detective's eyes remained closed as another small, pleading sound came from her mouth and as her body jerked slightly under the blankets.
Maura rolled onto her side, facing the detective. She reached under the covers and found one of Jane's hands, taking hold of it in both of her own. "Jane," she whispered.
The hand Maura was holding tightened but Jane's leg kicked and a soft, plaintive, "No," issued from Jane's lips.
Maura returned Jane's firm grip comfortingly and rubbed her thumb over the back of the detective's hand, "Jane," she whispered again, "It's just me. It's Maura. It's me, Maura."
"Please..." a small sob.
Maura wasn't sure whom the plea was directed towards – her or someone in the images playing in Jane's mind – so the doctor just continued, with a soothing touch and soothing voice, "I'm right here, honey. You're okay. You're safe. I've got you."
Thankfully, these nightmares were fewer and farther between these days, but they obviously hadn't disappeared entirely. And fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, Maura had learned over time and from previous experience how best to deal with them when they did reoccur. She had learned to fight her instinct to wake Jane immediately, as being awakened suddenly didn't allow the nightmare holding Jane hostage to dissipate as quickly as sleep did, and the resulting experience wasn't pleasant for either of them. So she had learned that the best way to handle these times, these nightmares, was with a quiet, calm, reassuring voice, and a tender comforting touch; to try either to gently bring Jane out of it, or gently shoo the dream away.
So she just kept at it, continuing to hold Jane's hand, repeating some of her earlier assurances, "You're at home, Jane. You're alright, sweetie, you're okay."
And it was beginning to work.
"Maura..." There was less desperation and fear in the detective's voice, and the agitation in her body seemed to be dying down. Her legs and ceased moving furtively and the grip of her hand had lessened.
"That's right, Jane, it's Maura. You're going to be fine."
Jane's face slowly, finally released its tension, the frown slowly, finally disappeared.
Maura continued to rub the detective's skin with her thumb and just watched and listen to Jane breathe, making sure that whatever had had Jane in its grip was fully gone. And it appeared to be. For it wasn't long, 30 seconds, maybe 60, that Jane released Maura's hand and shifted position on the bed, rolling over onto her side, facing away from the doctor.
When Jane had settled into her new position, Maura edged up behind her, spooning the taller woman's body as best she could, wrapping her arm around the detective and once again taking her hand.
The doctor was rewarded with Jane instinctively pulling her hand closer to her body as the detective snuggled back into Maura's warm body. And Maura was sure she heard a mumbled "Maur..." just as Jane's body went completely lax and Jane's breathing evened completely out.
Maura didn't know if Jane had even woken up. And she didn't know if Jane would remember any of this the next morning. And that was okay.
She was just glad she could be there to help Jane through it.
Just like every other morning, Maura didn't hit the snooze button when the alarm went off, choosing instead to stretch and quietly meditate as Jane caught a few more minutes of sleep. But now, with that morning ritual complete and the alarm about ready to go off again, the doctor was up off the bed, shedding clothes, and heading towards the bathroom for a shower.
And that's when it hit her. And something akin to panic began filling her. Oh, no.
Remain calm, she told herself, just breathe. It... it will be okay. But even as she tried to assure herself, she felt her stomach start to churn and felt the self-recriminations in her head: how could she let this happen?
Now, yes, on some level, she knew she was over reacting and over reacting by a LOT. But on another level... this was serious! I mean, she wasn't at all sure how she could get through the day.
You see, it was her hair conditioner.
She ran out yesterday.
And somehow neglected to buy a new bottle before today.
Remain calm, she reminded herself again. Yes, yesterday had been horrible enough, having been able to squeeze out only half what she normally used, she had felt random strands of hair flying all over the place throughout the day and it was just more itchy on her neck than normal and it just didn't shine like usual! It was distracting, it was more than distracting! And today it would be worse, oh, oh dear.
She opened the shower curtain, contemplating different ways to compensate...and saw a bottle of her conditioner on the shelf. She frowned in confusion. She was sure she had thrown away the empty bottle yesterday. She reached out and picked it up. It was full. Her frown only deepened.
Just then Jane wandered in groggily (the detective tended not to wake up very quickly) and padded over to Maura to give the doctor a light kiss, "Morning," she croaked out.
Upon seeing Jane, the events of last night came back to her and she momentarily set aside her own immediate trauma. "Good morning," she replied lightly. Then, trying to keep her voice non-committal, she asked, "Did you sleep well?" It was an innocent question, pretty standard in fact. But, it opened the door in case Jane wanted to talk.
And Maura thought there was a brief hesitation, but maybe not, before Jane answered, "Slept great."
Maura accepted the answer with a nod. Part of her wanted to inquire further, but she stopped herself figuring that if Jane didn't remember, perhaps it was best not to bring it up, and if Jane did remember and didn't want to talk about it, then Maura wasn't going to make her.
But with that decision made, her mind went back to the bottle in her hand and she literally jumped as if startled when she saw it again, "Oh!"
Jane, who had turned to towards the sink and started squeezing out paste on her toothbrush, eyed the doctor in the mirror.
Maura held the bottle up for Jane to see, "Do you know where this came from?" she asked.
The detective, still looking at Maura in the mirror, shrugged and wet her toothbrush, "Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention it," she replied. "Frost and I happened to go by a salon yesterday. I picked that up."
The frown returned to Maura's forehead, "How did you know I needed it?"
Jane seemed to finally wake up a little, but only a little, as she replied not reproachfully, but just straightforwardly, "How could I not? You fretted about your hair all day yesterday."
"I did not..." Maura began to protest but then silenced herself. Because maybe she did 'fret'. And maybe her fretting was unwarranted on some level; maybe she shouldn't have been as bothered by the situation as she was. But, in the end, that didn't really matter. What mattered was that she was bothered by it and what mattered more was that Jane knew she was bothered by it and accepted it.
So Jane had made sure Maura wouldn't have to 'fret' today.
Maura looked down at the bottle again. Yep, it was her conditioner. Not just the brand but the kind Maura used. Jane had paid attention enough to know that, and cared enough to be willing to walk into a salon and spend the small fortune Maura knew it cost to get a bottle.
And after all that, the detective didn't ask for credit, didn't draw attention to it. She just put it in the shower for Maura.
A warm feeling filled the doctor and she just smiled and leaned in to give Jane a kiss on the cheek, "Thank you," was all she said.
Jane shrugged but also smiled.
The morgue doors sprang open with a shove from Jane who then swaggered in, shirt tucked in, sleeves rolled up, badge on hip, gun in holster. All cop, all business, all... Maura tried to resist the word but it was just there and there was no avoiding it: butch. Jane was all butch and wonderfully so.
"What've you got for me?" Jane interrupted Maura's small revelry and the doctor snapped her focus back to why she had asked Jane to come down here in the first place.
"Something that I think will interest you greatly," Maura answered Jane's question as she motioned the detective over to the body. "Remember when I said this morning that there was something bothering me about some of the wounds on the victim I examined yesterday?"
"Yeah, I think you might have mentioned it in between the fawning over your hair conditioner."
"I did not..." Maura's raised voice halted and she looked around. "I did not fawn over my hair conditioner," she completed her thought more quietly while glaring at Jane.
Jane just smirked, happy to have gotten a rise out of the doctor, though it really was too easy sometimes.
"Anyway, as I was saying," Maura once again turned her attention back to the matter at hand, "there were a couple of wounds, particularly on the victim's forearm that were slightly incongruent with low velocity shrapnel damage. It's not that they couldn't have been caused by low velocity shrapnel, it's just that several aspects didn't quite fit the normal pattern of such damage. For instance, there should have been more bruising around the wound. And they should have been generally superficial and yet they went all the way to the bone. Again, it's possible..."
"Do I need to be here for this dissertation?"
Maura gave Jane another pointed look but got the point and moved on, "So I did a second examination. And look what I found..." Maura pointed to a spot on the victim's arm where she had pulled back the skin and muscle to reveal a tract of white bone.
Jane looked where Maura had indicated then just raised her eyebrows questioningly.
"Do you see this series of small marks?"
"Yes...?" Jane responded. For, yes, she did see something, but it was small and it just looked like, well, it looked like bone to her.
However, Maura was more than happy to help explain. "These marks, small indentations actually, could have been some sort of natural fossa along the diaphysis of the ulna, of course..."
"Oh, of course," Jane interjected dryly.
"...But they appeared too orderly. I knew at the very least I need to take a closer look," Maura ignored Jane's interruption, on a roll now and clearly getting excited as she went over to the computer screen nearby, "So I enlarged an image of that section of the bone and also inverted the surface such that the indentations appear instead as small bumps and... well you can see for yourself." She once again just pointed, this time at the computer monitor.
Jane looked at the screen, finally getting more interested. "Is that, like, I don't know, Morse code?"
Maura's face lit up, "Not quite, but close! It's Braille."
Jane looked at Maura, "Braille? Like for the blind?"
"The very same," Maura nodded.
Jane looked back at the image. "And I don't suppose you read Braille, do you?"
"I'm not efficient but I am capable," Maura replied reasonably.
"Of course you are. Why do I even ask?" Jane half muttered to herself.
But Maura didn't respond to what both of them knew was Jane's light-hearted ribbing. Instead, the doctor had gotten serious as she delivered her next statement, "It's doesn't really 'spell' anything. It's just a series of letters. The letters A, B, C."
Jane instantly got serious, as well, "'A, B, C'? As in the Alphabet Killer?"
"Jane you know there's no way I can know that."
Jane tried not to roll her eyes, "But you're sure it's A, B, C?"
Maura didn't like to be pinned down when there were so many variables, "Jane I can't..."
"Maura," Jane took a step closer to the doctor, "Is the most reasonable interpretation of these markings that they were not caused by natural causes, that they were not caused by low velocity shrapnel, and that they appear to be human made and in the shape of the Braille letters A, B, and C?"
Maura looked Jane square in the eye, "Yes. That is the most reasonable interpretation of these markings."
Any other detective, and Maura would have jumped right to that punch line and not explained everything that led up to it. Any because of that, any other detective would have thought she was reaching and probably dismissed her. But Jane, despite her façade of annoyance always, always gave her the leeway to explain herself. And Jane always understood the conclusions that were arrived at.
And Jane trusted her implicitly.
"Good enough for me," Jane replied.
Maura's heels announced her approach even before she entered the squad room. She knew Jane was truly absorbed in her current task when the detective didn't even look up as she walked in the door. And Maura wasn't surprised. After the revelation in the morgue there was much to do. Old cases, old bodies, evidence and autopsy photos and M.O.s and signatures and connections and reports and VICAP and alerts and witness statements and crime scenes... the grim task of looking for any other bodies that might be linked to the Alphabet Killer now that they knew he might vary the way he signed his work.
Jane's desk, along with Korsak's and Frost's was covered in files and papers and photos and Maura wasn't quite sure where to set down the tote bag containing the cargo she had brought. She didn't want to disturb whatever system Jane had going on so she decided on not moving anything. But she did speak up, "You look busy."
Jane's head snapped up, startled, "Oh, hey, Maur," she smiled; the doctor being the only person in the world right now that could draw such an expression from her. "Yeah, we are," she replied.
Maura nodded, "Have you eaten?"
Jane looked at her watch and winced, "Does coffee with non-dairy creamer count?"
Maura gave Jane a scolding look, "Jane, while caffeine can stimulate the brain and body in the short term, it isn't fuel, which as you know, both the brain and body require to function in the long term."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll grab something out of the vending machine, no time to go out and grab something right now," Jane waved her hand.
It was Maura's turn to smile, "Actually," the doctor held up the tote bag she had with her, "there's no need, I brought something to you. I think you call it 'brain food'."
Jane's immediate thoughts were that while she wanted to be thankful, she knew that what she considered brain food and what 'Dr. Isles' considered brain food were two completely different things and she couldn't help the dread that filled her "I don't want to be ungrateful, Maura, but you're not going to feed me tofu squares with whole wheat noodles and alpha sprouts are you?"
Maura sighed long-sufferingly and took on her best 'lecturing' tone, "As we've discussed, Jane, both the brain and body work most efficiently with lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Thus, what you described would, in fact, be ideal."
Out of the corner of her eye, Jane could see Korsak laughing at her and she just groaned.
"However," Maura continued undeterred, "I have learned that 'brain food' doesn't just have a physiological aspect to it, but a psychological one, as well. So I brought you..." Maura pulled out a paper bag that had been inside her tote bag, "this."
Jane's eyes widened and her mouth instantly watered.
"You brought her Bobby's Burgers?" Korsak wasn't laughing any more. He was jealous.
Maura smiled at the older male detective and pulled out another bag containing another burger and fries for him and then one for Frost, as well, "Enough for everyone," she said.
While the two men dove into their lunches, not realizing until just now how hungry they were until that moment, Maura turned back to Jane.
Jane popped a fry into her mouth. "You really know a way to a girl's heart," Jane said sincerely but with a smile, and quietly so only Maura could hear.
Maura smiled back and reached down, discreetly taking Jane's hand for just a moment before letting go. She then took a deep breath in and out before looking around the obvious mounds of work still facing Jane and asking, "We were going to go to yoga tonight. We still on?"
Jane also looked around at the stacks on her desk before looking back at the doctor, "I'll be stuck here all day, I'm sure, but I'll meet you there, okay?"
Maura nodded, but replied, "I'll understand if you can't."
Maura had heard barely a peep from Jane all day, so when the door opened and the detective ducked into the yoga studio, Maura was both surprised and pleased, "Jane!" she called and waved the detective over to the spot she had saved for her, just in case.
Jane scurried over, checking her watch and breathing a sigh of relief that she wasn't late. However she had no time to waste as she was only barelynot late. "Hey," she threw the greeting at Maura as she tore her mat out of its bag and unrolled it, getting a couple of annoyed looks from those in the immediate vicinity. "Found at least two other cases," Jane said in an excited whisper as she took off her shirt to reveal her sports bra. And her abs. "And two more I need you to look at," Jane continued, this time while removing her sweatpants, the detective oblivious, as always, to her own physique.
"Of course," Maura replied, knowing exactly what Jane was referring to, and trying not to be distracted.
Jane did a super quick stretch and shaking out of her muscles, "I'll fill you in over dinner but it's a big break," Jane let her eyes linger on the doctor's, letting Maura know that Jane knew this break was Maura's doing. Maura smiled. It was exciting. Big cases were always exciting. Getting breaks in them even more so.
Jane looked away and rolled her head and neck, still trying to quickly loosen up, however, she realized Maura was still looking at her, and the detective became a little self-conscious, "What?" she asked.
"Oh," Maura shook her head and finally looked away herself before glancing back, "I guess with all of this going on I didn't expect you to be here tonight." Maura's voice betrayed nothing. Probably because on a conscious level Maura didn't fully realize or understand why she didn't expect Jane to be here.
But Jane did fully realize and understand. Though she wouldn't ever bring it up to Maura, not directly at least, Jane realized and understood that Maura's life was littered with a long line of people who let her down one way or another.
And she wasn't going to be one of those people.
Even on the little things.
So Jane replied simply. "Hey," she tempered her next straightforward words with a crooked smile, "I said I'd be here. So I'm here."
Again, Maura couldn't quite understand the tears that threatened to moisten her eyes. So she just returned Jane's smile.
Jane didn't want Maura thinking too much or reading too much into Jane's response and what it meant about either of them, so she plowed on, "Besides, we'll have to take our findings to the taskforce tomorrow. And after that, things will get crazy fast. So I figured I better do something 'relaxing' now while I still have a moment," she made air quotes with her fingers around the word 'relaxing'.
Maura happily moved on from the previous confusingly emotional moment and happily ignored Jane's subsequent sarcasm. "Yoga can be quite relaxing," she agreed.
The instructor called the class to get started as soft music began to play. But Maura wasn't done, leaning over a little towards Jane so she could lower her voice, "But after dinner," she whispered, "perhaps we can think of something else to do that you might find 'relaxing'."
Jane's head whipped around to Maura, who had turned back to the front of the class with a peaceful expression on her face as she bowed with a quiet Namaste.
Jane heard the instructor clear his throat and her head whipped back forward to find him staring at her. She dutifully pressed her hands together and gave a short bow. But she knew that over the next hour she'd be concentrating more on the woman next to her than on her breathing.
Maura hovered above Jane like she so often did when they made love. One of Jane's hands rested on the pillow by her head, the other reached up to tangle in Maura's hair. Jane's legs were spread and Maura's fingers caressed at her apex while Maura's eyes bore into Jane's soul.
They had both thought it would be more playful tonight. More smiles and romping and mutuality.
But for a variety of reasons, maybe stemming back to last night, maybe due to what they discovered today, maybe fear of what tomorrow would bring, it just wasn't.
And that was okay, too.
For this was clearly what Jane wanted tonight. Clearly what she needed.
And again, that was okay.
Because Maura knew that out there, at their jobs, in the world, Jane let Maura be who Maura was. Jane accepted her, and more, loved her for it. But in here, in this apartment, in this bed, this is where Maura let Jane be who Jane was.
Here Jane didn't have to be the hero so many people saw her as. She didn't have to strong like so many expected of her. She didn't have to be tougher and thicker skinned and 10 times better than everyone else because of her gender. She didn't have to be the protective big sister to two younger brothers, didn't have to be the vigilant partner and mentor to a more junior detective, didn't have to be the often annoyed but still good daughter to a sometimes needy mother, didn't have to be 'that detective the serial killer kidnapped once...'" No. She didn't have to be any of that in here. In here she didn't have anything to prove or have to be anything she didn't want to be. In here she could just be herself. She could just be Jane. She could just be.
And whatever that might be, Maura accepted her, and more, loved her for it.
So Jane could feel exhilarated and proud and excited and tough and dominant if she wanted.
But she could also feel contemplative and weary and tired and scared. She could want comfort. She could want someone to tell her it will be okay. She could want someone to take care of her. She could want someone to give her pleasure. She could be needy.
She spread her legs a little further, inviting Maura's fingers in deep, asking with her body for Maura to take her. Yes, it was clear this was what she wanted tonight.
Few words were spoken as Maura's fingers moved further and faster through and over moisture-slickened folds of skin, Jane's caught breath and whimpered requests for more the only sounds in the room.
When Maura had pushed Jane's body and mind to the tipping point, the doctor lowered herself enough to give Jane a kiss. Jane cried out softly into Maura's mouth as the doctor felt the detective's hand tighten in her hair and the detective's body shake beneath her.
When it was over, Maura rolled onto her side next to Jane, both women sharing a pillow, Maura's hands lightly caressing Jane's stomach. The silence stretched for several minutes. It was final broken when Jane said quietly into the darkness of the room, "I had a nightmare last night."
Ah. So Jane did remember, after all.
Maura didn't respond immediately, letting the statement stand on its own for another minute before quietly replying, "I know."
Jane, likewise, took a moment before responding with a raspy whisper, "I know you know. Thank you." For wanting to push. For not pushing.
Jane turned her face towards Maura and the two women looked at each other. Maura then raised just enough to place a tender kiss on Jane's lips. "I love you," the doctor whispered in reply. It was a 'you're welcome' and a 'you don't have to thank me' and so, so much more all rolled in to three tiny words.
Jane smiled gratefully and then rolled onto her side away from Maura, curling and snuggling back, allowing the doctor to once again spoon up behind her, taking Maura's hand in hers, holding it close, much like the night before, as they both drifted off.
Tomorrow would be another day. Tomorrow night another night. But for this night at least, 1:22 came and went just like the rest of the night: with both women sleeping soundly, throughout.