A/N: Spoilers for up to Season three, episode two.
"JANE!" Jane heard Maura's pitiful wail and groaned. She'd stayed at Maura's place because she hadn't wanted to leave Maura or her mom alone after the day they'd had. Well, that was what she told them at least. In truth, it was Jane who didn't want to be alone. She was starting to seriously regret that decision when she heard Maura call her again.
She got up from the couch half-dead and stumbled into the coffee table. It was too dark to be walking around. And she was definitely too tired. She cursed and continued to Maura's room. It was dark, but there was enough light from the moon through Maura's window for Jane to see Maura sitting on her bed. "What is it, Isles?" She demanded, sleepy, but in no way was her voice weak.
"I need to go to the bathroom." Maura said in a weak voice.
"And?" Jane asked, oblivious.
"I tried to walk, but I think I busted a stitch." She said weakly, and just then Jane heard the pain in her voice.
"Oh, Maura!" Jane hurried to her side and managed not to trip over anything. She put a hand on her friend's shoulder, feeling incredibly guilty all of a sudden. "Are you okay? Do you need to go to the hospital?"
"The only place I need to go is my toilet!" Maura said rather shortly.
Jane huffed. "Fine. Take my arm."
Maura stood on one leg and leaned into Jane. Jane hooked her arm underneath Maura's. They simultaneously realized this might be harder than they thought. Before, they'd had two people to help her get around. Now, only Jane was there. They struggled forward a few steps, but when Jane heard Maura's third gasp of pain she stopped suddenly. "Screw this." Jane grunted. "We don't need two guys." Before Maura understood what was happening, Jane had bent over and secured an arm under her knees, lifting her up without notice.
Maura let out a slight scream. Jane grinned at her in the dark. "This seems hardly necessary," she said breathlessly, although she wasn't the one holding someone in her arms.
"Relax, what are friends for?" Jane said easily, although it was strange using the word again after their fight. She'd really thought she'd lost the good doctor forever. It was bizarre being on good terms with her again. Good, but bizarre. Jane was careful to navigate Maura's bedroom so that Maura's injured leg was never in danger of getting bumped or jostled. When they finally got to Maura's private bathroom, Jane commanded her to turn on the light.
They both winced at the sudden light as she obeyed. Jane set her down gingerly. Maura stood in the doorway, facing her. "Thank you," she said, still breathless.
Jane paused, unsure and insecure all of a sudden. She tried to cover it up with bravado. "Do I need to come in there with you?" She said with a sarcastic smile.
Maura rolled her eyes, but she was smiling as she gently shut the door. Jane waited outside for her to finish. She watched the thin sliver of light from beneath the bathroom door, thinking as it flickered with Maura's movements.
When Maura finished, in no time at all, it seemed, she stood in the doorway of her bathroom with her arms outstretched to Jane. Jane smirked. If the girl knew one thing, it was entitlement. She picked up her friend all the same. It was a little harder because Maura had tensed, expecting it, and it was always easy to transport someone who was limp.
She made quick work of the walk to her bed, but before she set Maura down, Maura pressed a gentle, quick kiss to her lips. "Really, thank you." She said.
"Maura—" Jane didn't know what she wanted to say. She was wondering if the kiss was just a millisecond longer than it should have been. She was wondering if the kiss itself should have happened at all. Jane sure as hell didn't kiss all her friends on the mouth, peck or otherwise. Then again, Maura was of a different class altogether than Jane. One only had to look at her mother to see that. They were all European and such, they could probably make out and it wouldn't mean anything more than a simple hello. Not to mention Maura's probably on all kinds of pain killers right now. She probably didn't even realize she'd done it. That was it, Jane decided. Jane realized Maura was staring at her expectantly and she still had no idea what to say. The light from the bathroom mirror was still on and Jane could see Maura perfectly. "Um, are you sure you shouldn't go to the hospital?"
Maura laughed and Jane laid her down on her bed. Maura snuggled into the pillows while she reassured her friend. "No, it was only one stitch, and I can always fix it at work tomorrow."
Jane started to leave, appeased, but stopped. "Wait, you can't go back to work so soon!"
"Says who?" Maura demanded.
"Me!" Jane all but stuttered.
"Well, I'm going." She said stubbornly, her eyes closing in preparation for sleep as if the matter were already settled.
Jane looked grim. "So help me, Maura Isles, I will hide your crutches."
Maura's eyes snapped open. She looked at Jane dangerously. "You wouldn't."
"I would." Jane defended. She sat down on Maura's bed. "Really, Maura—"
"I just want to get back to work. Back to normal, back to us." She put her hand on Jane's thigh.
Jane sighed. She didn't know what to say to that. How do you argue with something that you want, too? But Jane had a strange feeling it would never be quite what it was between them. Already, it felt different. She straightened up from the bed and turned to leave for the second time but Maura's voice stopped her.
"Please…" She said, her voice quiet and weak like it had been when Jane had first entered her room. "Could you stay with me? I keep thinking about it."
"Sure," Jane said, surprised. She walked over to the other side of the bed and laid down. They both went on their sides so that they were facing each other. "What do you think about?"
She heard Maura sigh. "The accident. Being stuck. Limping through the woods. The cut, the pain. Those men carrying me and tying us up. Being stuck again." Jane heard another sigh and felt the vibrations in the bed when she shivered. There certainly wasn't a shortage of things that went wrong. Jane realized, not for the first time, that sometimes it was harder for her friend to just accept these things like she could. She hadn't had as much practice.
"Well," Jane said, her voice uneven, "I'm not going anywhere." And she didn't. They left the light on from the bathroom as a sort of nightlight. Jane didn't sleep much as she watched Maura fall soundly asleep. She was making sure there were no nightmares, ready to shake her friend awake at a moment's notice. But it turned out, there was no need. The rest of the night was peaceful.
The next day at work Jane spotted Maura in line for coffee. She'd left so early she hadn't even been in bed when Jane woke up. Before she walked over to her friend she took a moment to assess her. Her arms were wrapped awkwardly around her crutches, her doctor's coat hanging just as ungracefully. But she was still wearing her signature drop-dead, classy short skirt and sharp blouse. Jane had to stifle a little irritation when she realized Maura had somehow managed to make even the bulky bandages around her lower leg look cute.
She sidled up to Isles just as she finished giving her order to her mom. "Need help?" She asked, ever-so-sweetly. Maura did look a little more flustered than usual, which was understandable.
Maura took one look at Rizzoli's faux-innocent smile and scowled. "I'm managing fine, thank you. These aren't that hard to work." She said, nodding to her crutches.
"Even with coffee?" Jane whispered good-naturedly as her mother set down Maura's drink in front of her.
Maura seemed surprise, but soon her face set in determination. "I'll make do." She took a sip and then took a firm hold of it between her teeth, limping off with it still in her mouth.
How Jane wished she had a camera at that moment. Her usually perfect-looking bestie looked ridiculous. Jane rushed to catch up with her—damn that girl can move when she wants to, even crippled! She plucked the coffee from Maura's mouth and took a sip. "I can carry it for you." Maura gave a lingering look at her mouth. Jane wondered vaguely if it was some sort of germ or sharing problem.
Maura struggled to the service elevator to the basement, which usually only the carts with the dead bodies used. "Man, this place should really be more cripple-friendly." She joked.
"I'm not a cripple," Isles said pleasantly. "That would imply a long-term disability, which we thankfully averted." Jane smiled and took another sip of her drink when she wasn't looking. She could taste Maura's lip balm. Something citrusy. She decided she liked it.
When she walked alongside Maura into her office and set her coffee on her desk, Maura turned to look at her expectantly. Jane stared back. For a second, it was a contest. "Thank you for your help, but you can leave now. I have work."
Jane turned stiffly, mimicking Maura's prissy words as she walked away. She hurried to Frost to see what they'd be working today. Her small trip to Maura's lab had made her almost late. Jane wasn't the type to arrive overly early. Ever.
"You and Isles seemed pretty friendly this morning." Frost said to her in way of greeting.
"Yeah, we had a sleepover and a near-death experience and what do you know?"
"Ooh, were hair-braiding and pillow fights involved?" He asked lecherously.
"Not at the sleepover." He laughed at her dry reply. "What have we got?"
"Body arrived late last night. It's already in the morgue. We caught the boyfriend fleeing the scene with the murder weapon, now all we need is for Maura to get that bullet out and ballistics to do their thing just for confirmation. It's pretty open and close." He was all business.
"You can go question the guy, see if you can't get a confession. I'll go bother Maura to hurry up." Jane said as she stalked away.
Jane found Maura already prepping the body, her gloves just about to go on. She had some obnoxious opera or something playing in the background. Someone needed to shoot the poor fella to put him out of his misery he was wailing so pitifully. Jane snuck up on Dr. Isles and breathed lightly on her shoulder.
Maura shrieked and spun around, her scalpel catching Jane just at her throat. Jane stilled and her eyebrows shot up. "Maura?"
Maura was pale, and breathing heavy. "You scared me." Her knife pressed into Jane's skin, but not enough to draw blood.
"Well, you are currently scarring me." Jane said, referring to the fact that Maura still had a knife against her.
Maura moved closer, carefully keeping control of her scalpel. Finally, her body playfully close, Maura smiled devilishly. "Fair's fair. You cut me." She teased.
But there was something serious in her eyes that had Jane swallowing, the sharpness still against her throat dangerously. "I didn't want to hurt you, Maura." Jane whispered. She did feel guilty about what she'd had to do.
Maura withdrew suddenly. "Jane, I'm grateful. You know that right? I'd still be in the hospital if it weren't for you. Actually, I might even be dead. You saved me. Somehow I'll pay you back." She regarded the detective seriously.
"You can do that by getting that bullet out. If ballistics can match it, it'll be open and shut." Jane said, trying to lighten the tension.
True to her trade, Isles plucked the bullet from the body in no time. She handed Jane the evidence in a bag. Jane took it and hurried off. "Let me know the results!" She called after Jane weakly.
Not thirty minutes later, Jane was all smiles and back in Maura's office. "Clean match. Good work doctor."
Maura smiled faintly, but she wasn't really all that even interested in the case. She wasn't even sure what the girl's name had been, which bothered her a little, but she couldn't seem to stop thinking about a different girl. One who was very much alive. And smiling in her office. "Look, I was thinking, how about I buy you dinner tonight?" Maura asked Jane shyly. "To properly thank you for being my hero and all." She added nervously.
"Sure," Jane said, still smiley from their easy victory. "See you after work?"
Maura nodded and smiled, her expression indecipherable.
The food had been delicious, and the conversation was pretty good, too. Considering they were both concentrating much harder than they usually did. They talked easily—as old friends—but both were listening intently, searching for hidden meanings. Searching for that something else, that something more.
Jane was laughing at something Maura said, she wasn't really sure why. She hadn't meant it to be funny, but they found humor in different things. Maura accepted this. They were just finishing, and for the first time Jane hadn't put up much of a fuss over the check. "I told you, it's a thank-you." Even after that Jane had wanted to argue, but Maura stopped her with the next line of conversation. "Jane—I-I want us to be friends."
"We are." Jane said instantly. She'd just come to the realization that she was imagining the tension between them. They were just friends, she'd finally managed to convince herself. They had avoided anything that would suggest otherwise the whole evening. Jane had been trying to blame the slight difference in their interactions on the almost dying.
"But it feels…weird." Maura said, not sure which words to use.
"I know, it's just the fact we almost lost each other. And our fight, that was…" Jane trailed off. Bad, she finished in her head.
"I feel like…well, it's like you said. We went from intense fighting to intense situations and I'm not sure I remember how it was before." Maura said, wanting to hit herself. How was she supposed to say this? "Well, anyway, I'm not sure I want it back. How it was before."
Jane stared at her, stunned. Was she saying she didn't want to be friends anymore? "It was the death thing?" She asked, finding it difficult to string together words. Nothing had ever felt so bad before. Not even getting shot in the stomach.
"No!" Maura said. "No, it wasn't the death, it was you. You and how you saved me. I was a bitch, and without you I would have died and I'm not doing this right am I? But I don't see how I can let it be like before. I just don't think I can erase my feelings." Maura was looking at Jane and her face was so serious.
Jane wasn't sure how much more of this she could sit through, but she needed to know why. "You're mad at me because I saved you?" She asked.
"No, not mad! I knew this would be awkward, but…Jane, I feel like something's there that wasn't there before."
"Alright, Maura, could you stop quoting Disney and just tell me what's going on?" So Maura wasn't mad?
"I feel like there's, for lack of a better word, a connection between us. I want to explore it further." Maura drained the last of her wine.
Jane felt her mouth open and close like a fish. She was finding this all hard to comprehend. "Let's get out of here." She said, getting up and heading for the exit. Maura followed her worriedly, not sure how Jane was taking this news.
The night was moist, and the air smelled like rain. Jane turned to Maura. "Me, too." She said nervously, a little fidgety. "Me, too." She said, a little more strong.
Without warning, Jane moved close and pressed her body flush against Maura's. Her lips found her citrus ones and moved lightly across them. They were so soft and plump and absolutely wonderful. Jane pulled back to see Maura's face. Her lips were parted just a little and in a smile that would tempt an angel. Her eyes were closed and her face was upturned, expectant, waiting for more. In some corner of her mind, Jane was sure that it amused her, to see Maura's go-to expression. But at the moment, all Jane thought about was tangling her hand in Maura's silky light hair and taking her lips more firmly. Their bodies were pressed so close, Jane could feel Maura's chest in a way that might have felt awkward had they been merely friends embracing. But they weren't. Not friends, anyway. They were something more. And knowing that, pressing so close together, and feeling Maura against her, that wasn't awkward. It felt good.
A/N: As always, let me know if you find any mistakes, I'll fix 'em right away! :)