A/N: I have no idea where this came from...But it was there, in my head. So I took a break (an unnecessarily long one) from my "first" story to write it. I wasn't sure if I should turn this into a full story or if maybe it should be like a 3 or 4 chapter series. Let me know! please. I need someone to organize my scattered brain, and I am not the one capable of doing it.

"I can't do it," Maura said.

Even as the words came out, calmly and surely, it surprised her just how serious she really was. All this time, all this effort, and she really and truly could not make herself go through with it. She wrung her hands nervously in her lap, torn between giving in to defeat and fighting to the bitter end. Her breaths increased in speed as the reality slowly settled in.

"Dr. Isles!" her therapist said with a shocked laugh. "You've known for a while that residency was required before you could become a medical examiner."

Maura was trying desperately to breathe deep, to slow her heart rate, but nothing worked. The less she breathed the less oxygen she got, and the less oxygen she got, the faster the room spun.

"I cant…I-I just—"

"Look at me," the doctor said firmly, taking Maura's hands and holding them still. The firm grasp seemed to bring her back; she took a deep breath and looked sadly at Dr. Krauss.

"I don't get to fulfill my dream…" she whispered pathetically, her eyes beginning to water.

"Dr. Isles, don't say that! You knew this was coming, you're ready. It's what you hired me for," Dr. Krauss said with a smile. "You don't need me to tell you how much better you handle people. You know you're getting better—"

"But you can't be there in the office with me! The only real contact I've ever had with people was when you were sitting right next to me!"

She pulled her hands out from under the therapists, covering her face with them and sinking back into the couch.

"God, I'm so pathetic!" she whimpered, dragging her hands away from her eyes to look Dr. Krauss in the eye. "Just tell me I'm pathetic so I can go find another job."

"Oh, no," Dr. Krauss said with a dry laugh. "It'll be a cold day in hell before I tell you to quit."

"Dante Alighieri described the ninth circle of hell as winter-like with lakes of frozen blood—"

"My point," Dr Krauss cut in sternly, "is that you'll do fine. Did they say where you'll be working?"

Maura made an annoyed face, but nodded.

"Pediatric facility. It's some local office…not at the hospital."

"That's good! Less people to deal with. Children generally are very open to new doctors," the therapist tried, genuine reassurance in her tone.

But Maura didn't answer. She was staring at nothing in particular, deep in horrifying speculation as to what the next three years of her life would be like. Screaming children, angry parents, bossy specialists, bitchy nurses. Oh God…Oh…Good God

"Dr. Isles?"

The honey blonde jolted back to reality, only to see Dr. Krauss staring at her with concern. Maura gave the woman a forlorn smile, sadness clouding her usually shining hazel eyes.

"Please," Dr. Krauss nearly begged, leaning forward in her chair. "Please, Maura. Don't just lay down and die. Look at you! You're young—"

Maura laughed dryly.

"You are! Not many people graduate medical school at 25!"

"That doesn't mean much."

"You're young. You're beautiful," the therapist continued, ignoring Maura completely, "And most importantly, you're smart. You're independent, and for God sake, Dr. Isles, you're strong. So stop your whining and go to work tomorrow. Walk in there like you own the place, and so help me God, if I don't see your happy, bubbly, overly-excited ass back on that couch in one month, you won't hear the last of it."

Maura gave a small smile of appreciation, before grabbing her purse and standing up.

"Until next time," Maura said curtly.

She walked slowly to the door, resting her hand lightly on the doorknob. She let her head hang for a moment as she took a deep breath and collected herself. Just do it, Maura. Coward. She yanked the door open, keeping her eyes on her feet as she rushed through the crowded waiting room and to the elevators. There was a small group of people waiting for the elevator, and without pause, Maura scurried past them and down the stairs. Her heels echoed nosily in the stairwell as she slowed her pace, her heart rate returning back to normal as she relished the solitude.

Maura's heart was about to give out as she sat at her new desk. She had done what Dr. Krauss had said, and it worked plenty fine. She came in, dressed in her usual professional chic way, told the receptionist who she was in a confident voice and she was led to a back room. The receptionist had introduced her to the three nurses (their names Maura had already forgotten) and the only other doctor. He had given her a warm and reassuring smile, taken her hand firmly and led her to her desk.

"Don't worry," he had said. "I'll only give you annual checkup patients for now."

And then he was gone. And she was left to her thoughts, but not alone. She was stuck in a room with gossipy nurses who never seemed to shut up.

The rest of the day dragged on. Maura tried her best to be sociable, but she usually ended up saying something stupid, insulting, or…saying nothing at all. She found herself rushing through tests and pushing patients out the door. Granted, it wasn't horrible. No confrontations. No especially angry looks. But it wasn't exactly Maura's dream job. When Maura returned to her desk from her latest patient, she breathed a sigh of relief to see only one file remained in her 'In' box. Light at the end of the tunnel, Maura. Then it's one day under your belt.

Maura opened the exam room door, but stopped in her tracks at what she saw. A woman about her age was playing with a little girl, a game Maura's brain could only remember as being called patty-cake. It was obviously more complex, but…it stunned the doctor.

"Give us a minute," the woman said, without taking her eyes of her rapidly moving hands. The longer the two played, the faster their hands went, the more repetitions they tried. At one point, they were going fast enough that Maura couldn't even concentrate on their hands anymore. She instead chose to observe the people. The mother had raven-colored locks that fell in tangled curls to her chest. Every time she grinned at the girl across from her, the most adorable dimples appeared and softened her otherwise very angular face. Her attire was composed of a grey tank top, naturally ripped and worn jeans, and a pair of combat boots. Every piece of clothing enhanced the woman's already well defined muscles. Her shoulders, arms, abs…Stop it, Maura. Don't drool over her for God sake.

The girl across from her seemed the opposite. Her skin was just as bronzed as the woman, but her appearance seemed completely different. Her hair was a lighter shade of brown, but it was mostly just waves, not curls. Her eyes were a deep green, unmistakably different from hazel. She had a pink bow in her hair; it matched the dress that was thrown between them, but even the simple paper gown didn't take away from the young girl's natural beauty.

Maura's time to observe ended suddenly, when the girl's hand missed the woman's and hit her in the arm. They both erupted in joyous laughter, the woman scooping up the girl and setting her into her lap.

"Daniela Rizzoli?" Maura asked as calmly as she could, hoping neither of them caught the waver in her voice.

Instead of answering, the girl snuggled deeper into the woman's lap, giving Maura an unsure smile before burying her face in her mother's arm.

"Yes, and I'm Jane," the woman said curtly, removing her arm and forcing the girl to look at Maura. "I'm sorry. She's got some weird fear of doctors."

Maura searched the little girl's face and saw…a genuine fear. Something about this girl…this woman. They made her want to help. She smiled an understanding smile at the girl, and after closing the door, she walked over. She crouched down so she was at eye level with the girl, and without breaking eye contact, she quietly said, "Don't worry. I'm scared of children."

It took a couple moments for the words to register in Daniela's ears, but after they did, she gave Maura a small, but still present, smile.

"That's silly," she giggled, unconsciously moving the slightest bit from her mother's arms and toward Maura.

"No it's not," Maura countered teasingly.

"Yes it is!" Daniela said with a smile. "We're not scary."

"I'll tell you why if you tell me why."

The girl bit her lip, thinking, then she nodded quickly, the most adorable grin creeping onto her face.

"I'm scared of you because I'm scared that you're going to be scared of me."


"Do you think I like being scary?"

The girl shook her head 'no,' understanding flooding her eyes.

"I just want to help you, sweetie. But I don't want you to be scared! I want you to be as comfortable with me as you are with your mother—"

"Whoa, whoa there, Doc. I'm not her mother."


"Dani's my niece. She's just too much of a coward to come with her cowardly mother, ain't ya?" she asked Dani teasingly, tickling the girl's side and making her giggle.

"And her father?"

"My idiot kid brother got himself thrown in jail. I'm all she's got to protect her from the big bad, needle wielding, doctors," she laughed, amused by the situation as she pulled the girl in closer to her, as if shielding her from Maura.

"Auntie Jane!" Dani protested, wriggling free from Jane's grip and sitting down in the seat next to her.

"Oh so now you're embarrassed to be seen with me. I told you this day would come."

The two grinned at each other. Maura couldn't help but smile too.

"Go on," Jane laughed, gently shoving Dani toward Maura.

The girl clambered up onto the table and Maura did all the tests as quick as she could. She knew from experience that a fear was a fear. The quicker the painful part, the better you felt when it was over, because you'd overcome something.

"Gonna get what I want, want you on your knees."

Jane jumped up at the noise coming from somewhere on her person. Her face flushed a deep shade of red; it could've been from anger or embarrassment, but Maura couldn't tell. Probably both. Jane gave a nervous laugh as she searched, rather frantically, for the phone.

"Give it up, baby, don't you, don't you make a scene."

She swore under her breath, digging through her purse until she found it, the song got louder as she pulled it from the bag.

"Touch me, I wanna feel it on my body, put your hands on me."

Her fingers fumbled with the phone, her clear anxiety overtaking the most simple of motor functions. Finally, she was able to hit send and answer the phone.

The sensuality of the song was not lost on Maura, but she figured that giving the woman an amused smirk would probably land her in the emergency room. So instead of that option, Maura chose to begin Dani 's online report, but listening closely to Jane's conversation none the less.

"Rizzoli," she barked angrily into the phone. "Frankie! I'm gonna kill you, you stupid son of a—"

She caught herself, glancing nervously at Dani. She started to pace as she thought more about what happened, working very diligently to not look at Maura.

"You just don't do that to people!" she said, aggravated. She paused, silently fuming as she listened. "It doesn't make me OCD just because I don't want people touching my phone! Listen, Frankie. I'm in a doctor's office. A children's doctor's office—"

Laughter erupted from the other end of the call, so loud Maura could hear it from her spot across the room.

"It's not funny! Don't do it again…What? I told you I'd be late, Frankie. I got Dani."

"Hi Uncle Frankie!" Dani yelled from her spot on the exam table.

"Well, it can't be that important," Jane mumbled bitterly, biting at one of her nails as she continued to listen and pace. "Okay, okay. I'm coming. Ma's house is on the way; Dani can stay there."

She hung up, even though Maura could tell the other person was still speaking.

"Are we done?" Jane asked as nicely as she could, but the anger had remained in her tone.

Maura mustered a sweet smile, standing up politely.

"Yes, of course. She's the picture of health. Here's hoping you're not back 'til next year," she said with a smile.

"Great," Jane said, an unenthusiastic coldness seeping into her voice.

Maura turned to go, her heart sinking slightly at the less than friendly behavior.

"Hey, wait—"

The doctor looked back carefully. She saw that Jane had stood up, and was looking at her with guilty and apologetic eyes. Maura's knees nearly buckled as she noticed for the first time how kind Jane's eyes were. When she smiled, it was like her eyes had melted into chocolate.

"Sorry. Totally uncalled-for. Thank you, Dr. Isles."

She smiled warmly and extended her hand. Maura smiled back and took the hand as firmly as she felt necessary. Jane's rough hand gripped back, sure but not aggressive. Maura was about to let go when she saw something. Her brow furrowed and, using the hand she was now holding, pulled the woman closer.

"Are you okay?" she asked, genuinely concerned.

"What?" Jane asked, giving a confused face.

She followed the doctor's gaze to her shoulder, which was covered in a huge black and blue bruise. She grinned at the memory, and when she saw Maura looking at her, totally mortified, her grin widened.

"Went shooting with the guys. The rule's simple: keep up or go home. What I lack in body padding, I make up for in accuracy," she stated simply, clearly proud of the mark.

Maura couldn't help it. She reached over with her left hand and skated her fingers over the bruise. It was a nasty mark on an otherwise perfect woman, and for some reason, Maura…liked it. Jane shuddered and stepped back, just out of the doctor's reach.

"I'm sorry," Maura said quietly, seemingly genuine. After a pause, though, she added, "But your ringtone told me to," a powerful kind of almighty knowing in her voice.

Maura could barely hold back the smirk she felt bubbling up as the woman's jaw dropped and a blush started creeping up her chest. Without another word, Maura slipped away and closed the door. As soon as she heard the door click, Maura leaned against it for support. She let out a shaky breath and let her eyes closed. Did she just...seductively joke? Her heart fluttered slightly, a scarlet color flooding her cheeks.

Jane was glad for two things. The first was that Maura had clearly mistaken her shudder to be from pain instead of pleasure. Thank God. She didn't think she could've explained it, otherwise. What would she have said? 'Sorry, you're so hot I can't believe you just touched me.' Yeah. That would've gone down well. The other was that the doctor had…teased her. She had made a sexy joke that both taunted Jane and addressed an issue most would've dropped. She held her own; something Jane hadn't expected.

"Auntie Jane? Can we go?"

Jolting back to reality, Jane managed to close her still open mouth. She shook her head as if that would help clear it and rubbed her temples.

"Don't you need to get dressed—"

Jane looked down to see the girl already was.

"That was quick."

"No it wasn't. You were staring after Dr. Isles for…" she trailed off, tilting her head sideways to read the phone in Jane's hand. "For seven minutes."

"What?" Jane exclaimed, checking the time on her phone. "Crap," she mumbled, tearing out the door so fast, it was as if a cartoon dust cloud appeared behind her. After a confused pause, Dani ran after her aunt.

Maura grinned as Jane sprinted past her desk, swearing like a sailor. A little blur of pink followed, and Maura just couldn't help herself. She got up and walked to the window, peering out into the street. Sure enough, there was the Italian woman, yelling furiously at the man towing her car. She was waving her arms, pointing accusing fingers, and much more. Maura felt tired just looking at Jane expending so much energy for nothing, but then she saw Dani. The little girl snuck in the back seat of the car, completely unnoticed by the man, due to the other woman screaming in his face. Maura grinned. It's like they've done this before. And as quick as Dani had disappeared, she was back, a bright orange vest in hand. Maura saw the two lock eyes, before Jane gave a disgusted wave to the guy, turning and storming away.

"Atta girl," Jane laughed proudly, holding her hand out to Dani, who gave an enthusiastic high-five before giving her aunt the vest. "Now all we need is a car…" she muttered to herself, biting her lip as she thought.