I don't own these characters.

10: Choices

Jane and Maura were lounging on the doctor's sofa. It was their first sleepover since Maura forgave Jane and Jane forgave herself. They were determined to move on with their lives. They decided that things might not go back to normal, but that was only because their lives were not normal. Things happened and they accepted those things in due time and then moved on – moved on together. Everything would be fine as long as they stayed together.

They had two unexpected guests for their sleepover – their mothers. Jane had suggested the sleepover at her house, but Maura was not comfortable with the idea of leaving Constance alone all night. Besides, she was trying to get back into Angela's good graces, much to Jane's annoyance.

Beyond having Angela at the sleepover, Maura had offered her the guesthouse again since Angela had not found an apartment since moving out. At first, Angela was defiant, even though Jane made it a point to show her mother that she and Maura was friends again. She wanted her mother to accept Maura and Maura's offer because she knew it would help Maura feel better. Plus, she knew her mother would never find a quality apartment with her salary. She would never be able to stand knowing her mother lived in some roach-infested, hole-in-the-wall place like Tommy did. Angela only relented when Jane pointed that out.

"So, what're we watching?" Angela asked curiously.

"No, no, no. Don't try to subtly change what was already agreed on. We're watching the game," Jane declared, throwing a mini-glare her mother's way.

"What? You're the only one that wants to see any game," Angela argued.

"Doesn't matter. We already agreed," Jane stated, folding her arms across her chest as if that made matters final.

Constance leaned over to her daughter. "Are they always like this, darling?" she asked curiously.

"Yes, this is normal for them," Maura answered with a content smile.

Constance nodded and watched the other mother and daughter. Jane and Angela argued a little bit more before Maura stopped it by casually mentioning a need for popcorn. Constance agreed and that got Angela moving, getting up to make popcorn. Jane sighed in relief and smiled at Maura.

"Thanks," the detective said.

"You wouldn't have to go through that if you just told her about the actual movie we agreed on rather playing around about watching the game," Maura scolded her.

Jane scoffed. "Where's the fun in that?"

Maura rolled her eyes. "Sometimes, I just don't understand you."

"Well, we're of like minds there," Jane teased.

The doctor glared at her and then to make a show of how much better their relationship was, she hit Jane with a throw pillow. Jane guffawed as the blow landed and she looked at Maura with wide eyes. The medical examiner was not surprised when Jane grabbed a pillow to retaliate.

"Jane, don't you dare," Angela scolded her as she returned with the popcorn.

"What? She hit me first," Jane argued, motioning to Maura with her "weapon."

"What are you, five? Stop acting like a kid," Angela retorted, going as far as popping her daughter in the arm.

"Ow! This is just like when I was a kid and you'd always pop me when Frankie or Tommy were the ones that started it!" the detective complained. She then smiled at Maura, who smiled back. Their ingenious, "evil" plan was working. Angela would probably be back to totally loving Maura by the end of the night.

Once everyone was comfortable on the sofa, Jane reluctantly started the movie. It was not the type of film that she would watch on her own; it was a complete chick-flick, romantic comedy. There were limits on what Maura would subject their mothers to, and the latest Saw movie was not mother-friendly. Honestly, it was not Maura-friendly either. Jane doubted there was a person on Earth that overanalyzed a horror movie like her best friend. But, then again, she was the same with slasher movies and they shared that trait to the point that no one would watch such films with them.

Everything was fine and quiet. There was some girl-talk about the guys in the movie. Jane was mostly silent on the matter because she was nodding off, and she had no desire to hear whom her mother thought was cute. Maura knew that Jane was bored to tears and rubbed her elbow in support. The touch caused Jane to open her eyes and she noticed Maura smiling her. She smiled back, but then her expression changed as she caught movement by the window out the corner of her eye.

"Jane?" Maura said because of the troubled look on her friend's face.

"I need to go see something," Jane replied as she stood up. She grabbed her gun from the desk drawer that she secured it in earlier and went to the wall by the window.

"Jane, what's going on?" Angela asked, watching her daughter scan the outside from just out of view of the window.

"Nothing," Jane answered, shaking her head. "I thought I saw something, but it doesn't look like anything's out there."

"It was probably just a trick of the light from the television," Constance offered.

"Yeah, probably," Jane concurred, but stayed at the window for a moment longer. She returned to her seat, but kept her gun with her.

"Jane, put that away. You're acting so paranoid," Angela reprimanded the detective.

There was a smart-aleck response right on the tip of Jane's tongue. They could see it dancing in her eyes. She went as far as opening her mouth, but then closed it when she thought better of it. She could see both mothers getting a little hysterical if she sarcastically replied, "yeah, because nobody has ever broken into Maura's house before or threatened to kill us!" Maura probably would not see the humor in that either.

Instead, Jane just put the gun away and went back to nodding off through the movie. Every now and then, she would glance around out of the windows or though the house. She listened for suspicious noises, just staying alert for any sign that they were not alone.

They made it through movie without Jane having to turn her gun on herself. They chatted for a while before their mothers decided that it was time for bed as far as they were concerned. Maura helped Constance, who was out of her wheelchair, but still adjusting to walking. Jane saw her mother to the guesthouse because she was "paranoid," as Angela so sweetly put it.

"Ma, can't you just be thankful that I care enough to be paranoid for you," Jane commented.

Angela did not say anything about that, but she hugged Jane as a goodnight. Jane returned to the house and found Maura in the living room. She was not surprised to see that Maura was not alone. Paddy Doyle was there, too.

"I thought I smelled something bad," Jane practically growled.

Doyle actually chuckled. "Clever, detective. Good to see you and Maura have gotten yourselves together," he replied, glancing between the pair of women.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Maura demanded, glaring at the mob enforcer. Right now, no one would guess that she had been ready to lose her best friend for this man.

"Come on, Maura, by now you know I keep up with you," he replied and then turned to Jane. "And I keep up with those that protect you."

"Yeah? Why don't you keep up from a distance? You're good at that, right?" Jane huffed and she was tempted to go to Maura's side, just in case she needed to protect the doctor. Unfortunately, she did know her place when it came to Maura and Doyle.

Doyle exhaled loudly, almost as if he was growling, but not quite. "Watch it, detective. I respect you, but I won't let you talk to me any way you want."

"And I won't let you breeze through Maura's life, bringing all nonsense and chaos. Not to mention, I owe you for threatening my brother," Jane declared. She would not bow to him or back down just because he was a mob boss or even because he was Maura's sperm donor. He might have Maura in knots, but if he hurt her family or her best friend, she would shoot him again if necessary. She did not say that out loud just because she was not sure how Maura would react to it.

He snorted, as if he did not believe her. Of course, she was sure that he respected her because she had shot him, among other reasons. Too bad the feeling was far from mutual. She could never respect a man that abandoned a child and put her in danger just by being her sperm donor, especially when that child grew up into her best friend.

"You don't want to challenge me, detective," Doyle stated with a serious glint in his cold eyes and a miracle happened.

Maura rushed to Jane's side, stood by her, and glared at Doyle. Jane could not believe it. Maura, the same Maura that had hated her like the worst human being on Earth for shooting Doyle was now standing by her as she basically barked at the mob enforcer. They seriously had overcome her actions and now she felt stronger because of it. She felt like they were stronger, their bond was stronger.

"You can't threaten my best friend in my house. What do you even want? Don't you have some place to run away to? Some place far away from me? Somewhere where you can avoid responsibility, but still allows you to act like you care?" Maura actually snapped.

Jane had to look down at her, to make sure she was the same Maura. Her best friend seemed so sure of herself now, sure of her emotions in regards to Doyle. It was odd, but fortifying. Jane had to resist the urge to puff out her chest.

"I do care," he insisted with a growl.

"While you may care, you don't care enough. You didn't care enough to leave behind the mob to raise me or take care of me or even introduce yourself to me before the brother I didn't know I had ended up on my table," Maura hissed, more than likely to keep herself from yelling. It would be quite awkward for Constance or, worse, Angela showed up.

Doyle blinked and then his brow wrinkled as he squinted at Maura. Jane felt as stunned as he looked by the medical examiner's outrage. It was nice to see Maura remembered what he had done, but she hoped it lasted beyond the now.

"Maura …" Doyle said as if he planned to apologize.

"No, I don't want to hear you tell me how you care and how you were at all these important events. You were present, but you weren't there and you chose not to be there," Maura stated.

"I would've put you in danger," he argued.

"Because you chose your mob life over a family," she retorted.

"It's not that easy –"

"No, it's much easier leaving behind two kids and offering them little to no guidance. It's easier to watch them struggle through life at a distance and somehow that makes up for the reason they don't know you exist. It's easier to let them walk a path that you're already walked and that you know leads to destruction. It's so much easier to let your children meet in death than it would have been for you to ever try to leave mob," Maura practically spat each word at him.

"It's also easier for you to keep coming around it put Maura in more danger. Not just with your mook enemies, but the Feds since they're looking for you. They tend to get pissed off when you kill one of their own," Jane added in. It was clear that Maura had not thought of that as she gaped the moment Jane brought it up.

"Oh, my god. We could both go jail," Maura mumbled, putting her hand over her mouth in fear.

"So, you want me to leave?" Doyle demanded.

"Yes," Maura said as bluntly as possible. "After you tell me who my mother is."

Doyle did not seem stunned by the request. Maura had asked many times before only for him to blow her off or ignore the question. Jane doubted Maura expected an answer, but it was worth a shot.

Doyle sighed. "Maura, Constance is the only mother you should worry about. She's your mother for all intents and purposes. You should be proud to here her."

"I am," Maura stated.

"Then don't ask me questions I can't answer." Doyle then moved as if he were going to leave, but changed his mind. He focused on Jane and smiled a bit as he touched his abdomen. "Good shot," he told her as if that were a compliment. "Take care of my daughter, detective." It was a clear order and he oddly patted her on the shoulder as he left.

Maura glared at him on his way out while Jane just wanted to make sure he was gone. Jane watched until Doyle disappeared into a car that faded off into the night. The detective actually breathed a sigh of relief while Maura seemed as tense as ever.

"How about I make us some tea?" Jane suggested as she put her hand on the small of Maura's back. Maura could only nod in response and allowed Jane to lead her to a place to sit. Jane started on the tea while Maura seemed to gather her thoughts.

-8-8-8-8-

Maura and Jane were sharing her bed. Jane was supposed to take the couch since Constance was in the guest room, but Maura wanted some company and she wanted to lie down. She ended up lying halfway on Jane somehow. The presence and warmth set her at ease, which she sorely needed after Doyle just showing up yet again. She hated how easily he sneaked up on her, but Jane's arm around her shoulders helped soothe that right out of her.

"Ready to talk about it?" Jane asked in a low tone.

"Think so. I just don't know where to start," Maura replied with a sigh.

"Take your time."

Maura nodded. "I didn't know what I would feel when I saw him. He was gone and it was easy to idealize him in my head, which made it that much easier to demonize you. But, seeing him reminded me that he was not the father I romanticized in my head. I knew that logically, intellectually, but emotionally that had not taken hold."

"Uh-huh. So, what now?"

"Honestly, I'm not sure. Yes, I said all of that to him and it was true, but he is my father. I'm not sure how to categorize him now. But, seeing him was more them enough to remind me that he's not some angelic father figure. Still, you were wrong for shooting him in front of me," Maura said.

Jane nodded, but conceded with a sigh. "I know. I apologized."

"That you did, which is more than he's done when he's done something wrong. He won't even admit to leaving me being wrong. He won't admit that he was wrong for having another child after me, even though he had already abandoned one child. Who does that?" Maura huffed.

"Well, it's not hard to leave the mob and stay alive," Jane pointed out. She frowned. "Not that I'm defending him or anything. It's just hard to get out of the mob and not get killed and get to keep stuff that you want."

"I know, but it's not unheard of or impossible. I feel like we weren't enough for him to try. He obviously enjoys his … work. He's not looking to leave that behind, for anything," the doctor stated.

"You might be right about that," Jane said cautiously.

"You know, you're like the opposite of him. He's only there when it's convenient for him, but you're always there, especially when it's not convenient. You make time for me and I'm grateful for that. I'm sorry for the way I treated you."

Jane shook her head. "Let's not even think about it anymore. We're over it, right?"

"If by over if you mean that we're moved past it, then yes we are."

"And are you better?"

"I am."

"Then I might want to go to the couch before I end up sleeping here. My mother's already a little suspicious of me since I'm a tomboy and she's doubly suspicious of how close we are, so I don't want to chance falling asleep here. I'll never hear the end of it," Jane commented.

Maura's brow wrinkled. "Suspicious? Why? What have we done?"

Jane just smiled and kissed the top of the doctor's head. She then rubbed Maura's arm, silently assuring her that Angela's "suspicions" were not something serious. Despite her words, Jane did not move, which Maura was thankful for. Maura felt grounded and reassured. It was like everything had finally been placed back in order for her.

"Jane, I love you," Maura said, just in case Jane did not know. She could understand if the detective did not know considering her behavior.

"I know, Maura. I love you, too," Jane replied.

"I know."

They were silent after that. Maura continued to enjoy the closeness between them. Before long, Jane was sleep. Maura thought it was fitting for Jane to fall asleep first, showing the trust Maura feared she lost in her emotional turmoil. But, it seemed that things were generally back to normal. She could not ask for more.

She was aware that "normal" did not mean that all was forgotten. She could only hope that they did not find themselves somehow repeating their mistakes from the situation. She also hoped that she could get her emotions under control when if came to Doyle. Even if he was her biological father, he was not worth losing her best friend over. Nothing was worth losing Jane over.

"I'm never going to let you go," Maura vowed quietly, squeezing Jane just a little as if to cement the promise.

With that on her mind, Maura drifted into a peaceful sleep. She was not sure when, but she thought that she heard the door open. Opening one eye, Maura saw the blurry image of their mothers at the door. Her eye shut of its own accord, but she heard the door shut. She fell back asleep in no time, cuddling into Jane's still form.

The end.

-8-8-8-8-

The status quo is back in place. I hope everyone that read this story enjoyed it. I also hope that I can play around with these characters again sometime in the future. For now, I have to return to my padded cell.