Set right after 3x02

Characters aren't mine. They belong to Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers, and other assorted important people. I gain nothing from writing these stories but the fun of doing it. Please don't sue me.

Jane loved running.

It was one of the little secrets she kept to herself. Yes, she denied it every chance she had. It was true that she'd told everyone more than once how much she hated to run. In truth, there was likely not a single person that worked even remotely close to her or a family member who knew her at all that didn't know how much Jane hated to run.

But Jane loved to run.

There is nothing like the feel of your muscles working to move you through the world as your mind clears to nothing more than concentrating on the rhythm your body sets and the end goal of your final destination that is freeing. It's relaxing in its own way. With your body in constant motion and your mind focused, it's your own little moment of Zen. It's uniquely peaceful, which is why Jane loved to run.

However, to admit that she had such a bonding-with-nature, be-one-with-yourself, transcendental moment when running would be to show a weakness that Jane simply could not afford to show. It would mean admitting there were times she needed to step away from a world that was overwhelming and more stressful than she could handle. Admitting she couldn't handle any aspect of her life was unacceptable. She was Detective Jane Clementine Rizzoli (damn her mother for that middle name), the youngest and most decorated detective in Boston Homicide. She didn't run from anything, proverbially or otherwise.

It wasn't that Jane was liar. That was never it when she denied that she liked to run. It was more that running was that little piece of herself that was all for her. It was her time to be alone with herself and not have to think about anything else outside of that all-encompassing rhythm that only comes with constant, confident, physical movement of self. She didn't want to share that, either. In fact, she wanted to share that even less than the fact she sometimes needed a break from her life.

It was too personal. That's why she lied about it.

It's the same reason she lied about wearing dresses. She actually liked dressing up, being a bit more feminine. But, in her line of work and with two brothers to add to it, acting "girly" only meant it was harder to gain and keep respect. She hated that she couldn't be more feminine and still be a badass, but she had learned early in life the two did not mix in her world, which is why she told everyone she hated to wear dresses and skirts. It was easier than explaining that what she really hated was having to fight up hill to keep the respect the men around her had without them thinking of her as the woman she actually was. Admitting she liked to feel like a woman from time-to-time would be viewed as a weakness, and she couldn't have that. It was too personal to admit to and be mocked for, so she lied about it.

That is the same reason she lied about children, or, rather, she avoided the topic by redirecting the subject whenever it came up. With her last boyfriend, she'd said it was too soon to talk about a family. That had satisfied him for a few months, but, when he started to push because he wanted to talk about a life beyond Friday night dates and Saturday morning hangovers, her job suddenly took up all of her time. It only took a few weeks for him to get the picture, and he left. Her mother was furious, but Jane was relieved. Her mother was angry because Jane didn't want a family, to settle down, to have someone to take care of her. Jane was relieved because she no longer had the pressure of having to lie to someone about her want for children. Children made you weak. They were a kink in the chain, a dent in the armor. Bad guys who found out you had a family used it against you. She'd seen it happen before with other cops. She couldn't handle the thought her own children might be put into that kind of danger because of what their mother did for a living. Besides the danger to the children, she would be pregnant at work, which would be a reminder that she was a woman and not just one of the guys. She couldn't afford to make them think differently of her; it would be a weakness, and it would only make life more difficult. So, when someone pushed her about children, she avoided the topic. She lied by way of not saying anything at all.

There were just too many things about her that were too personal to admit aloud. Each thing was one more item that could be used against her to make her seem weak, to pull the hard won respect of her fellow officers away from her. She had worked for far too long to gain that respect, and, in her mind, it was better to lie about the personal things than to admit something that could and would be used against her.

She was no fool. She had lines, and she didn't cross those lines. They kept her safe, kept her image intact. She needed those lines. They defined her, who she was, and what she was.

Then, Maura Isles walked into her life, and those lines began to blur.

She slowly found herself doing all the things she said she hated doing, though she enjoyed every minute of it. From Saturday evenings at the Symphony, where she could legitimately dress up without getting called out on it, to Thursday night Yoga classes, which she liked despite her protests that boxing would be more fun, she slowly found herself falling into the person she was when no one was looking. She liked that person, and it scared her a little.

When she walked into Maura's morgue in a little black dress and heels without caring that any of the guys might see her, she realized that at some point she'd stopped caring if they thought of her as one of the guys so long as they recognized she was still a badass. She found, much to her satisfaction, they gave only light teasing whenever she walked onto a crime scene in a dress, but that died on their lips because she was confident in her job and that portion of herself. Being a touch feminine outside of work, or even during, couldn't be held against her if she took the same amount of pride and confidence in it as she did whenever she clipped her badge on. She had learned that from Maura, and she was secretly grateful for the lesson.

When her expartner's daughter was kidnapped and she found her and returned her, Jane found herself admitting aloud that she had at least thought about having children. Maura's light tease asking her if not having children would really keep Jane safe had hit the detective deeper than her friend had likely meant for it to. She had told Maura no at the time, but it had taken her a few weeks to realize that the answer wasn't just no, but no with emphasis. Being a mother, having children, was a part of who Jane wanted to be, and she realized after that brief, playful conversation with Maura that it didn't matter if she admitted her desire to have a family to anyone or not. She did want to have family, and, after that resolution came to her, she started to wonder if maybe it was time to start really looking for the father of her children, which is where Dean and Casey started to play into her life. With Maura around to remind her of the importance of family and how paramount it was to have two parents that both equally loved their child, Jane's mind had started to look for someone she could trust to love their child as much as they loved her.

Jane was a family oriented woman, and having that as a part of her didn't make her weak. Watching her mother stand up to her father's disrespectfulness to their family reminded her that being a mother made you stronger. It made you a fighter. It wasn't something to be ashamed to want to be. It was something that, if it's something you truly want, you should take pride in. Slowly, Jane was starting to warm to the idea of having a child of her own, and she was slowly caring less and less if that meant being seen of as a woman. Being a woman didn't make you weak. Your attitude and actions made you weak.

Regardless of her physical condition, Jane Rizzoli was not weak.

There were other things Jane was slowly coming to terms with about herself, but they all hit a wall when she shot Paddy Doyle and her best friend, the woman who had been by her side as she went through this time of self-discovery, was no longer there. For all of Jane's bravado, all of her shows of strength, losing Maura had made her weak. Her anger towards the other woman made her vulnerable. Her anguish at hurting Maura's feelings gave her the kinks in her armor she so tried to avoid. Her pain at the words Maura hurled at her dented her armor. The person, the woman, who had strengthened Jane was now the one bringing her down, and she felt it. Through her anger, her hurt, her resentment, Jane felt the one thing she didn't want to ever feel about another person, but especially another woman.

Jane was weak because Maura wasn't there.

It was a chilling moment of realization for her as she sat in the battered car with a semi-delusion Maura beside her and highly polluted water coming in to cover the car and drown them both. Maura said to tell Angela that they were friends again, and Jane had to laugh at the absurdity of the moment. Mocking Maura, herself, and her life, she talked into the air to a make-believe Angela as her mind said, "Save her. You need her. She makes you stronger."

Providence had stepped in, and now she sat on Maura's sofa next to her best friend. They were quiet, taking in the peacefulness of Maura's home now that other Rizzolis had left for the evening. Both deeply lost in their thoughts, it was Maura who finally broke the silence.

She looked over and watched Jane for a moment before tilting her head and asking quietly, "What are you thinking about?"

"I love running," Jane replied, eyes slowly turning to meet the other woman's. "I really, honestly love running. I always have."

With raised eyebrows and a chuckle in her voice, Maura asked, "That's what you're thinking about? After everything we've been through over the past few weeks, and today, you're thinking about how much you love to run? Interesting. You seem to really be contemplating it." She tilted her head. "Why is it so important that you love to run?"

"Because I tell everyone I hate to do it." Jane's brows furrowed. "Why aren't you surprised that I actually love to run? I give you hell all the time whenever you ask me to go running with you."

"Micro expressions." Maura reached a hand out and traced over a few muscles on Jane's face. "Your words say you hate it, but your face and eyes tell me that's not true. Besides," her hand dropped back to her lap, "you wouldn't do it if you didn't actually want to. I'm no fool, Jane. I know I could never force you to do something you didn't want to do or weren't ready to do yet."

The detective gave a thoughtful hum. "Micro expressions," she said, mostly to herself. "What else do you know I lie about?" She turned on the sofa to face the doctor, pulling on leg under her and letting the other rest on the floor, careful not to jostle the wounded leg of her friend.

"Jane, is that really important?" The guarded way the question was asked just made the detective all the more curious, and the look she gave the doctor gave no room for question that this topic wasn't going to be dropped until all answers were had. "Well, I know that, when you say you don't want children, there's an untruth there. Your expressions indicate that some portion of that denial is a lie." Maura frowned, narrowing her eyes. "Do you want children?"

Without hesitation, Jane answered. "Yes. I do want children, but I'm looking for the right person to have them with. I always thought Ma and Pop's relationship was a little unbalanced, like Ma wanted us more than Pop did. I want to make sure that my partner loves our children as much as they love me." The words were out of her mouth, and, having said them, she was surprised that she didn't feel vulnerable about it. Instead, she found herself anxious to know what Maura thought of it. "What about you? We never talk about it. Do you want children?"

"I think so, yes." Maura nodded slowly, careful not to say something that would cause Jane to suddenly shut down from this surprising amount of openness she was showing. "I agree with you. I would want a partner who loved our children as much as I. An unwanted child is a tragedy in the making. I wouldn't want to bring a child into the world if they weren't wanted." She frowned, lowering her eyes to the sofa between them. "It's a horrible feeling to know you're loved but not always wanted."

"Hey," Jane reached out to place a hand on Maura's shoulder, "you're wanted, Maura."

The honey brunette looked up, a sad smile on her face. "That's a matter for debate."

"No, it's not. If no one else in the world would want you, I want you. You're stuck with me now," Jane gave the shoulder under her hand a gentle squeeze. "You know all of my deep, dark secrets, like the fact I actually like to run."

"And you like to wear dresses," Maura teased back, her eyes showing a little mirth behind the pain of her childhood. "I can tell you really enjoy dressing up when the occasion calls for it."

"Just don't tell anyone. I have a reputation to uphold, and Ma would go into convulsions if she realized she could get me in more dresses if she pushed me enough." They laughed, the mood growing lighter again before Jane's face fell back into a more serious expression. "I really have missed you."

"I really did miss you, too." Maura reached up to place her hand on Jane's. "There's more to that thought, isn't there?"

The dark haired brunette grimaced. "Micro expressions?"

Maura nodded. "But you don't have to tell me. I just want you to know that I know there's more."

"No, I… no, it's fine. I…" Jane pulled back, leaning her back against the arm rest and pulling her hands into her lap. "Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but," she glanced around the room, a thumb running over a scarred hand, "you make me a stronger person. Like, you know," she glanced up to see Maura staring at her intently. She fidgeted, trying to explain herself. "You… you're like… um… you balance me out." She winced. "That sounds wrong. I mean, you're the one person in my life that helps me see that all the stuff I think makes me weak only makes me weak if I let it. You're like my par… um," she rushed the ending, continuing to wince, "You're my best friend, Maura."

Maura let out a small sigh. "We've been through so much, Jane," she replied in a smooth, quiet tone. "It seems as though we court dangerous situations, and, time and again, we survive." She glanced down to her leg and then to the location of the torso wound on Jane. "The odds will not always be in our favor, but I feel there's only so much an individual can process in any given day before they hit a certain level of emotional overload." She closed her eyes, clearly thinking over something. After a time, she opened them again. They were soft; her expression sad as she finally made eye contact again. "You're my best friend, too. Life without you is far more difficult than I would have imagined. I told Angela recently that I'm not very good with emotions, that I'm accustomed to being alone. I'm quickly learning that isn't true anymore." She reached out, taking one of Jane's hands, and pulling it into the space between them on the sofa. "I'm accustomed to being with you. The argument can be made that you make me stronger, too."

Jane's eyes fell to their entwined hands. "Are we ready for where this is going?"

Maura shrugged. "Likely not, but would we ever be?"

"No, probably not." Jane sighed. "Would you love them as much as you love me?"

"Yes, and I would want them as much as you want them." Giving the hand in hers a squeeze to reassure, Maura again tilted her head in thought. "Nothing has to immediately change. We've been through a great deal in a small amount of time. Some processing is in order, but, if we decide to move forward, I want you to know that I'm open to it."

"I know, but I don't think there's going to be time for us to process. I mean, our lives come at us pretty quickly. Maybe we should just take a leap of faith?" Jane shifted, clearly uncertain.

Maura nodded slowly, really thinking over the situation. "We just made up."

"Yeah, and it's too bad we aren't already dating," Jane said, a mischievous smile starting to play in her eyes.

Confused, Maura asked, "Why is that?"

"The makeup sex would be great," the detective shot back, a blush rushing forward despite herself.

The honey brunette laughed, and it was the first warm laughter Jane had heard from her in almost a month. "Hmmm, you're probably right, but I'm sure we'll get the chance to find out again." Maura's smiled lifted the mood even more. "But I don't think you can speak of makeup sex when you haven't even kissed the girl yet. Is this your idea of foreplay, Jane? Because, if it is, I may have to introduce to you a few instructional videos…"

"Don't you dare," Jane's face flashed between horrified and amused. "I can do foreplay! I just… don't think that's a great idea right now. We both need baths, you're on painkillers, and we probably should get some sleep. I'm being practical here. You've got to appreciate that."

"Okay," Maura leaned toward Jane as much as her position would allow, "Those are all very valid points." She was pushing the boundary to see how far the new lines were drawn. "In that case, how about a kiss and you help me into the bathroom so I can bathe while you use the guest shower?"

"I," deer caught in headlights looked less frightened than did Jane Rizzoli at that moment. But, true to her nature, she looked the fear in the eye and conquered it. Leaning forward, she grinned before placing a kiss on the other woman's waiting lips. One kiss turned into two, which turned into several, and a breathless moment later they pulled away to reacquaint themselves with the outside world. "Wow."


They both stared ahead, slowly blinking as they tried to calm down.

"So… I'm going to carry you to the bathroom, okay?" Jane stood bending over for the intention. Maura only nodded and wrapped her arms around the detective's neck, giving a small squeal as she was scooped into the other woman's arms. "God, Maura, I know you eat, but you feel like you weigh nothing."

"Thank you," the smaller woman said as she placed her head on Jane's shoulder, nuzzling into the slender neck before her. "And thank you for staying tonight."

"None needed," Jane said as she stepped into the master bedroom, careful of the bedframe as she walked to the master bath. "I wouldn't leave you."

Maura nodded, smiling. "Even while I take a bath?"

"Stop trying to seduce me while we're both covered in gross," Jane growled, though she smiled. Setting Maura on the chair at the vanity, she rolled her eyes and motioned to the exit. "I'll be back in a few. You good?"

"Yes," the smaller woman nodded, body relaxed. "I finally think I'll be fine. You?"

"Yeah," Jane gave a shy smile, "me, too."

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