Rizzoli & Isles – I certainly don't own them. I give a lot of credit to the people that do and thank them for letting me mess about with them for a bit.
I think I've decided to write some one shots after the season episodes if people seem to enjoy them. I was going to add to the original Afterthought but each episode might not be complimentary and I'd hate to annoy anyone who favorited the other story.
I think my objectives will be to keep the characters as close as to where they are in the show cannon (well... to the best of my ability). A fun challenge of sorts to weave in a bit more rizzles than we're seeing in the regular season, but nothing too beyond the show. At least for now, post season all bets are off ;-)
Any regular readers know my warnings with the editing... this is redbox for now.
Holding back the window shade, Jane watched the red tail lights from Maura's car disappear down the street. At Jo's contented sneeze she turned around and watched her dog roll around the couch on her back, paws clawing at the air. Her kitchen faucet was dripping again, the droplets hitting the dishes Maura had placed into the sink before she left.
Walking over to the couch Jane sat down, picked up her wine glass and drained the last bit. The Burgundy was dry and sharp. Maura had been right when she promised it would complement canned frosting better than boxed Shiraz. Absently, she opened the box of graham crackers and reached inside for another one. Chewing, she grimaced and spit it out into a napkin. It was still just as stale.
Maura had bit into the first one and made one of her faces. The one that Jane knew she was trying to cover up that she didn't approve of whatever it was she was chewing, but damn it, she was going to soldier through for Jane. It had made her laugh and god help her, she had needed to laugh. She'd teased Maura about her sensitive palate, dramatically reaching in for one herself. She had dragged the graham cracker under her nose, spewing nonsense about vintage and refined finish. It was the type of display that would guarantee an exasperated Maura headshake before she tried to level Jane with her best haughty stare.
Only this time, amid a long suffering sigh and the predicted head shaking, Maura had plucked the cracker out of her hand broke off a quarter of it and pushed it into Jane's mouth. Her fingers had remained pressed against Jane's lips and her voice was firm when she told her to just chew.
Between the tone of Maura's voice and the rock solid stare, Jane didn't even try to pretend that it tasted like anything other than the soggy cardboard replica that it was. Swallowing, she had fidgeted against the press of Maura's fingers and the challenge radiating from her eyes. She held the stare as long as she could before finally she had to rip her head to the side. Jane found her wine glass and rapidly chugged down half of it. The rest of the graham cracker she'd tossed to a delighted Jo who trotted, tail held aloft, into the kitchen with her prize.
Maura had waited for her to finish drinking and they'd looked at each other for a minute before they both just started laughing. It had felt so fucking good to just be sitting there, together, finally sharing a moment where the only real concern was something as trivial as stale graham crackers from the corner market. Breathless and giggling like she was 16 again, glancing over and over at Maura, who was looking right back, it had felt wild and crazy. Judging from the expression on Maura's face, she had felt the same way.
Pushing her finger into the leftover frosting and sucking on it, Jane tried to remember if this had been the first night since Maura's leg injury that they had just sat around in Jane's apartment without work between them. Bringing another frosting laden finger up to her lips, she realized that it probably was.
It wasn't a change Jane was sure she liked.
It was almost as if everything was different all at once too. She knew she must have changed, but Maura felt like a stranger at times. She still couldn't believe that Maura had let the zombie talk her into tagging. And then to top it off, not even the embarrassment of getting caught had held her back from having that weirdo over to her house. That type of shit wasn't even safe, but damn it, Jane didn't even know about it until it was all over. What were the options after the fact? Cause another huge argument? Or put on a fake smile and dig around for information. Detective work at its finest.
Jane wasn't even sure how to ask her outright either. Lately she could barely get her to talk unless she was sobbing over her fucked up love life with Casey. Casey seemed to be a safe topic. One that Maura would always talk about. Support her through. How their friendship had been reduced to this was beyond her and it kind of sucked.
When Jane pared it down it came to a glaring, somewhat hurtful, point. A stranger, off a morgue table, could get more out of Maura than her best friend. That asshole got her to break the law and apparently pose nude while he sculpted her bare-assed. It had sounded like bad porno. In fact she was pretty sure her brothers had crap like that stashed in the backyard shed growing up, but whatever. She'd asked and Maura had answered. If the answer bothered her, that was her own fault.
Jane poured the last of the wine into her glass.
In a way it pissed her off a little. She had tried a million little things to get Maura to loosen up just a bit. Hell, she would have taken having Maura just walk out the door without her make-up, one time, without having an emotional meltdown. But apparently that shit was too much to ask for unless you were some stiff she brought back to life.
Jane wished she knew when it would go back to the way it was. Hell she wasn't even sure exactly what had shifted that she needed to push back into place. That day after they'd come back from the hospital, battered and bruised, but finally able to say the word sorry and finally able to admit they'd missed each other, Jane was certain that they had come away stronger.
Yet here she was sitting on the couch by 9pm with just Jo. First Casey had given her the "it's not you, it's me" speech and then Maura had just left. Sure it might have been after some wine, after some laughter and even a little frosting tossed it but the second everything started to feel right side up, Maura had stood up and said it was time for her to go home.
It was the tone she'd used too. Definitive and precise, there wasn't a hint of hesitation or even a question that she might stay. Not entirely unlike Casey telling her to go.
It would have been more depressing if Maura hadn't looked up at her from the bottom of the front steps. It was too shadowed to make out her exact expression but she'd turned away quickly, almost like she was embarrassed to be caught looking back at the apartment before she hurried across the street to her car. It wasn't much but it was enough for Jane to know that some part of Maura hadn't wanted to go.
But she did leave and Casey did tell her he wasn't interested. What the fuck was so wrong with her?
Jane pulled Jo into her lap and ran her fingernails lightly through the wheat colored fur. "Jo, I love you, but you're not exactly substitution for a human right now." Jo just stood up on her thighs, gave an all over body shake, jumped off the couch and crawled under the coffee table to drag out her favorite rawhide chew.
Tufts of blond fur wiggled over dark eyes as Jo looked at her before trotting over to sprawl out by the fireplace. She wrapped both front paws around her prize and chewed with vigor, meeting Jane's stare with a slow thump of her tail against the tile hearth. Frowning, Jane growled at her "Fine, be that way, but don't think I'm letting you hog the bed tonight, you're totally sharing at least a full half of it."
The only answer was hollow noise of hard teeth against rawhide.
Reaching over to her end table to grab her television remote, Jane spotted her mobile phone. Listening to the drip of the kitchen faucet and the low noise of an ambulance rumbling through the Boston streets, she debated calling Maura for a moment just to fill the silence left by her leaving. Picking up the phone she stared at her muted reflection in the dark touch screen.
Now that she was home she wished she had just stayed. Maura dropped her bag and her mail on the desk and wandered into the laundry to check on Bass. He fixed a dark eye on her when she squatted to check the humidity and temperature levels. His water was fresh and from the amount of food left over, Angela must have fed him tonight. She drew her finger over the ridges and lines of his shell, enjoying the smooth hard texture.
Standing back up, she debated a moment about which direction to head in. It was like this lately, moments of indecision over the mundane trivial things that she used to keep in meticulous order. Home, Bass, change for bed, try to be asleep by 10:30pm for at least a healthy eight hours of rest. But again tonight her thoughts were a jumbled mess of options. It was incommunicable and isolating.
Except perhaps to Jane, Jane didn't demand that she make sense. She never had. Yet, tonight she had just abruptly left the one person who usually understood her and she did it without a clear reason as to why or at least not a reason that she could articulate.
So here she was, at home where her refrigerator compressor was the loudest noise in the space, regretting a decision she wasn't even conscious of making until she had stepped outside. She had looked up, wanting to just turn around and go back inside when she noticed Jane staring at her from the window. The light from Jane's apartment had kept Maura from seeing her expression but she imagined it might still have the furrows of confusion etched into her forehead that had developed when she said she was leaving.
It wasn't as if Maura could explain it herself and that, ultimately, was what made her get into her car and go home.
Remnants of well established habits propelled her into her bedroom and she changed from work. Her dress still hung exactly in place with the others of similar seasonal cut and color. Her shoes still found their way back into the correct box, label out and were shelved according to material and style. Her closet was the same picture of precision it had been before the day Doyle walked into her morgue, before the shooting at the warehouse and before that day in the woods.
Catalysts that left their mark on her, changed her, but hadn't altered everything.
Carelessly naked, eschewing the robe carefully stored on the back of her closet door Maura went into the bathroom, feeling the quiet stir of air along her bare skin and inventoried her body's familiar lines and curves. Inventoried the changes.
The scar on her neck was only visible if she leaned close to her mirror and sought it out. Enough time had passed to fade it fully, but it was there none the less.
The scar on her calf was new, the pigmentation still a dull red. It was diminishing, but for now it was still fresh enough to notice with a glance. Maura reached for her bottle of vitamin E oil and dutifully massaged it in. Letting it absorb while she brushed her teeth, glad to finally get rid of the odd combination of expensive wine and processed frosting.
Tonight had felt good, too good. If she hadn't watched Jane come out of that building crying over Casey it would have been just like so many of their nights. But tonight Jane had come out with tears and Jane didn't cry. That was the part that kept flashing through her thoughts. It was like her calf with the scar. It was a permanent change of sorts that kept replaying in her mind while she sat in the familiar background of a night at Jane's.
Earlier, when they had finally managed to stop giggling over the graham cracker, Jane had got up, went into the kitchen and came back with two teaspoons in hand. Holding one out she'd gestured for Maura to take it "Okay so we don't need stinkin' graham crackers to get a little wild up in here."
Maura took the spoon with a frown. Her suspicions confirmed as Jane pried open the plastic top and ripped off the seal, scraping up a serving. "Jane I'm not going to eat frosting out of the can with a spoon."
Jane was bouncing her full spoon lightly up and down. "Live a little. I know I'm no zombie-boy- wonder but every American woman needs to eat frosting out of a can. With or without graham crackers."
Wrinkling her nose, Maura shook her head. "Jane, his name is Dennis and I'm the one that actually suggested this." She pointed to the frosting with the spoon. "Ergo this is not my first canned frosting experience and I think it's safe to say I've met my lifetime quota." She held up her wine glass. "I'm good with this, but don't let me keep you."
"Maura, I'm not calling the zombie, Dennis. The guy was on your morgue table. Actually on the table. In a body bag! It creeps me out that you did whatever with him. It's like some sort of weird necrophilia thing. I can't even think about it." Jane had visibly shuddered and stared at her for a moment before looking away and studying her spoon.
Maura hadn't known how to respond, so she didn't. She hadn't even realized Dennis had bothered Jane. She thought Jane had been too focused on Casey's return to even care. Lately, relationships, dating or lack thereof were the only types of conversations they seemed to easily engage in. When Jane shut that avenue off, even for a moment, it left a wake of silence between them.
Looking back on that moment now, Maura wished she had managed to say something, maybe to ask what it was about Dennis that bothered Jane. Beyond the supposed rising from the dead, what honestly bothered Jane about him. She wondered if Jane would even answer.
Maura sighed. Or forget Dennis. She could have used that moment to ask about what exactly Casey had said to her. But she hadn't and the lack of words stood out in stark contrast against their history.
Jane had seemed to recover first, waiving her spoon under Maura's nose. "Come on Dr. Isles. Where is your sense of kinship? I can't sit here and eat it by myself. It breaks the girlfriend code of honor. This is something you do together. Ice cream is for the tissues all over the floor, sobbing alone, curled up on the couch moments. This is canned frosting. It's like raw cookie dough. It's a shared experience."
Jane had turned with that pleading look that Maura loved, all dark eyes and dimpled charm. Jane had blushed and Maura knew she had been caught staring but when Jane softened up and looked at her like that Maura couldn't help it. Frankly she was rather certain Jane was well aware of her power too.
It hadn't helped that it was also side of Jane that lately she rarely got to see. She still missed this Jane, so much.
Which was probably why she failed to notice any telltale sign of the Rizzoli playful side rising. Because the pinch to her side caught Maura completely off guard and she couldn't help the squeal or the gasp.
By the time her mind had caught up to her body, a triumphant Jane was looming slightly over her, holding a spoon firmly in Maura's mouth. She barely had time to register the taste of metal combined with sugary sweetness before the rush of adrenaline flooding her senses and her eyes focused on Jane's face just inches away.
The flash of intensity was over almost as soon as it started when Jane had flopped backwards chuckling. She had deftly pulled the clean spoon from Maura's grasp and helped herself to her own scoop frosting entirely pleased with herself.
Giving up, Maura had reached for another bit of frosting and they had bantered back and forth, the easy warmth and companionship suffusing over the current tension until Maura had turned her head to say something to Jane. It had been the tear smudged streak of eyeliner at the corner of Jane's face that brought Maura back to why they were sitting there and she cleared her throat, gently asking about Casey. She was here to be Jane's friend and support. Jane had shrugged and they'd talked, analyzing his words together, until she had decided to come home. A choice she wasn't conscious of making until she was placing her dishes in the sink and her purse over her shoulder.
Now that she was home and undressed she regretted the decision even more. She stared at her face in the mirror. It was lonely here tonight.
Putting her toothbrush away she grabbed the small pot of scar ointment and rubbed it over her calf. The scar was a neat line and by next year she would have to hunt for it. The surgeon had done an excellent job.
At her last appointment when he'd carefully removed her stitches he'd offered a recommendation for a plastic surgeon. She'd typed the name carefully into her phone but in the end she decided to keep the mark. She found it helpful to be able to look down and see something permanently changed on the outside.
It was grounding in a fundamental way when lately she felt completely chaotic on the inside.
In less than a year she had the very foundation of her sense of self challenged. She wasn't sure which part to reconcile first or how to do it. Her adoptive parents? Her biological parents? Discover her mother? Who gave her smile? Her interests? What was nature? What was nurture?
Could family be defined beyond blood? Jane had seemed so quick to pull away at first before it was apparent their friendship was not something either was going to be able to live without. Angela had been forced to leave. What was ultimately important in defining the boundaries of love?
All she could do was remember that it was okay. She was going to be okay. She had handled everything to this moment and she would continue to handle it.
Her mobile started ringing and she ran from the bathroom to answer it.
Maura looked at the sleeping body beside her. This was a change from their previous arrangement and tonight in particular it wasn't welcome. Glancing at the bedside clock, she was surprised to see it was just shy of 11:30pm. The night was still so young. She was exhausted but she couldn't sleep. Especially not now and not here when her space was not her own.
Lying there, thinking over the entire night on a repetitive cycle Maura watched the clock hit 11:30. Rolling over it seemed like for just a moment her jumbled thoughts aligned. The clarity forced her to sit up against her headboard in the dark, her knees drawn up to her chest to think it through.
She'd been so focused on the fact that Jane had been crying tonight over Casey. Maybe even a little jealous of it and that was disturbing her. Jealousy could mean so many things and when it came to Jane Maura wasn't sure why or even if she had the right to feel that way. But it was the second that she finally admitted she was also a little angry at Jane for crying over Casey tonight when her reactions tonight started to make sense. She was angry that Jane was crying over Casey's rejection, when all she had done after the warehouse shooting, when Maura had sent her away, was fight with her.
Not cry, but fight.
And that was the point she had missed. Jane had cried over Casey's rejection, but she'd battled violently against Maura's. Fought long and hard until they'd somehow ended up back as friends. It wasn't definitive but it was pivotal and right now Maura was too exhausted to delve into it anymore.
She watched the clock creep closer and closer to midnight.
The witching hour.
Deep breathing came regularly from the other side of her bed. Moonlight glowed through the blinds and the air in the room felt stale and close. Maura slipped off the bed carefully and made her way to the guestroom ensuite.
20 minutes later she placed a note on the bedside table and another by the coffee maker in the kitchen before stopping to collect her purse off the desk. The Prius was almost silent leaving the drive as she made her way through the narrow streets of Beacon Hill.
She had to park down the street and each step closer to Jane's she wondered why she was even here or what she was going to say when Jane opened the door. Reaching Jane's brownstone she looked up and saw the glow of the living room light through the shade. Her assumption was correct that Jane would still be up.
Maura used her key to open the lobby door up and stood in the entry, hesitating. She considered leaving before she settled on sending a text.
She wasn't surprised, but she still felt a wave of relief when her phone buzzed in her hand a minute later.
Jane stood holding the door open with Jo in her arms, watching Maura walk down the hall. She took in the casual ballet flats and jeans. Partially dried hair was pulled haphazardly back, slightly messy, but still artful. Maura hesitated in front of her, her leather overnight back weighing down a shoulder. Jane felt her eyebrows rise. Maura's face was devoid of cosmetics but she let the sarcastic quip die on her tongue as she looked beyond the bare skin to the solemn expression and pensive eyes.
Instead she put a wriggling, frantic, Jo down and reached out to tug Maura's overnight bag from her. "Fair warning, I drank the rest of that wine so we're down to beer."
Maura stood up from greeting Jo and slipped past her to the couch. She seemed to fold into herself against the arm. "Don't worry; I'm done for the night." She reached down to pull her shoes off before tucking her legs up.
Jane stared at Maura for a minute before she went into the bedroom and dropped Maura's bag at the foot of the bed. She flicked her eyes around the room making sure it was picked up. Maura's text hadn't indicated if she was staying. Just that she was in the lobby and wanted to know if Jane was awake. But her overnight bag and her position on the couch said it all.
Leaving the bedroom, she detoured through the kitchen and filled two glasses with ice water. Making her way back over to Maura she placed a glass down in front of her and gestured to the TV. "Kimmel okay? I'm not sure I want to watch anything heavier."
Maura looked up at Jane, reading the questions on her face and appreciated the fact that Jane seemed willing to just leave the words unspoken. "He can be funny. Good choice." She reached down and scooped Jo into her lap.
Jane settled at the other end of the couch and picked up her water, sipping at it. Feeling Maura's eyes on her she turned to face her.
Maura was idly worrying the Jo's ears with her hand while openly appraising Jane. She could see the confusion building. She cleared her throat. "Thank you Jane."
Jane didn't think she meant the glass of water but she held up her own glass anyhow. "Not a problem."
Biting her lip in frustration, Maura couldn't tell if Jane understood what she was thanking her for. It was late and she was tired. If she was honest she was too tired herself to understand why she was here, but she was grateful Jane seemed to not mind that she was. At home she had been restless and now she wasn't. She had just wanted to rest and now it felt like she could. Perhaps that was answer enough for the moment.
Jane wished she knew what was going on with Maura. She kept waiting for her to explain. Maybe not why she had left earlier but at least a clue as to what she was doing back here. She caught Maura's eyes for a moment and waited while the silence stretched between them for a heartbeat before Maura looked away.
Maura turned her attention back to the television. Kimmel was running some random segment involving garden statues and a bowling ball. Jane started laughing at something on the screen just as a garden gnome broke in two. She turned her head to watch Jane's profile, admiring the way her entire face seemed to curl up as her laughter grew.
Jane felt the weight of Maura's eyes again and she squirmed a bit before turned to face her, surprised by the serious expression. This had to stop. She reached across the space to grab Maura's wrist lightly. "God, what did I do to earn that expression? Please tell me I didn't just spit all over, or snort or something?"
Maura felt the smile creep over her face. "No, not at all." She pulled her wrist out of Jane's grasp as she stood up, placing Jo down on in her spot and stretched. "I'll be right back" She reached down and tapped Jane's toes on the coffee table.
Relieved at the open affection on Maura's face, Jane moved her feet to the floor and watched Maura disappear into her bedroom. A few commercials later, Maura stood in front of her, dressed in a pair of silk pajamas that seemed to swallow her whole. Jane's eyes traveled up until she could meet Maura's gaze and hold it, quietly and steadily. Maura tilted her head and seemed to be making up her mind about something. She flashed Jane a shy smile.
Maura sat down next to Jane and picked up her arm so she could slide under it and tucked herself against Jane's side. She could feel the tension in the body next to her. "Jo stole my seat." She gave a contented sigh.
Jane felt Maura's sigh roll through her and her own body relaxed. "She weighs less than 30 pounds. My guess is you could take her in a fight." She rubbed silk of Maura's shirt under her thumb to take any sting out of the words.
Feeling the gentle rubbing and knowing Jane was okay with where she was Maura leaned a little closer and let herself fully relax, propping her feet up on the table next to Jane's. "Yes, but that wouldn't change the fact that you would still be over here."
"I suppose that is a fact." Jane tapped the arm under her hand. "Are you okay? Nothing happened that I need to know about, did it?"
Maura shook her head. "I just couldn't get comfortable at home."
Jane snorted. "Over 2800sq ft of luxury Beacon Hill living and you had to come to my crappy little apartment to get comfortable?"
Maura nodded. "At least for tonight that seems to be the case. And stop it please. Your apartment isn't crappy. It's comfortable and it's you."
Chuckling, Jane picked up the remote. "I'm not sure how to take that statement but I'm glad I didn't scare you away. I was blubbering like a teenager earlier."
Maura glanced up briefly. "You did the same for me with Ian." She turned her attention back to the television. "Thank you for letting me in at midnight without thinking I was crazy."
"Oh I think you're crazy. I just happen to like crazy." Jane deftly caught Maura's wrist when she reached out to slap Jane's thigh and smiled. "Not nice Dr. Isles." She looked over at Maura and enjoyed the gentle connection in her hazel eyes. "But seriously, you never have to wonder if you're welcome here. You should know that by now, okay?" Jane noticed Kimmel was over and flipped the station to ESPN.
Maura ducked her head, pulling her eyes away but she patted Jane's knee. "Okay." She looked at the clock before looking up at Jane. "Lifetime runs a second playing of Dance Moms right now."
Surprised, Jane looked at her. "You can't be serious? Dance Moms, really?" Jane glanced down and groaned. Maura looking up at her hopefully. Jane just shook her head and flipped the station. "I must really like you."
"That's good because I really like you too."Maura yawned and pulled her feet off the coffee table, turning on her side to curl into Jane, tucking her hands between them.
Jane felt the chill of Maura's hands through her t-shirt as they both yawned in unison. She glanced over at the hall leading to her bedroom and down at Maura again.
She tugged the blanket off the back of the couch and draped it over them, pulling Maura closer until she covered them both. Maura slid an arm across her stomach and gently squeezed in thanks.
Jane reached over and turned off the lamp. The television flickered across the room and she lowered the volume before putting down the remote.
Maura seemed content where she was and her weight was warm and comforting.
Jane could hear the water dripping in the kitchen sink and Jo was snoring at the end of the couch. Outside there was the distant blaring of an ambulance.
Under her arm, Maura's breathing was becoming regular and even. Jane felt her own breathing deepen and she finally closed her eyes in the quiet peace.
A/N - this isn't in place of Synergy to anybody wondering. Just a way to keep myself entertained.