"I don't understand why we had to go to the library," Jane muttered.
Frost smiled and shook his head. "Books don't bite, Jane," he whispered. "Maybe a paper cut if you're really reading hard."
"I know books don't bite, asshole," Jane grumbled. "But I don't know why we couldn't just do this at the precinct."
"Because they're waxing the floor of the conference room and the library was right down the street."
"What I'm saying is I don't know why we had to have this stupid meeting at all."
"Team building is essential for maintaining the harmony of the department as a whole," Frost said.
"Did you memorize the whole email?"
"I'm pretty good with retention."
"Well, why don't you go retain us some coffee?"
Frost grinned, nodded, headed off toward the makeshift coffee station set up behind the newspaper carousels.
"No drinks in the library, Miss," a familiar voice suddenly murmured from behind her.
Jane whipped around. "Maura? What are you doing at the Detectives and Patrol: Building Bridges To Tomorrow Waste Of Time Jagoff Seminar?"
"I'm not actually here for that," she replied. "I came to do some research, I'm helping a colleague in Cambridge with a particularly confounding cause of death."
"You couldn't just Google it?"
"Much as you may believe the internet is magic, Jane, there are some instances in which hands-on exploration is infinitely preferable, especially when concerning medical journals that haven't been uploaded yet."
"Well, you look the part," Jane said before she could stop herself. Maura was wearing an exquisitely tailored gray herringbone dress, her hair pinned in a loose knot at the nape of her neck. Not to mention the idea of hands-on exploration.
No. Bad Jane.
"You know, I thought about becoming a librarian," Maura said.
Jane took herself aside for half a second, issuing a second stern no to her brain.
"Why didn't you?"
"Because dead bodies are so . . . interesting."
"But libraries are fascinating too."
"Yeah, full of dead . . . trees."
"Jane," Maura sighed. "I'm starting to think you have no respect for knowledge."
"I have plenty of respect for knowledge!" Jane cried, forgetting for a moment she was in a library.
"Shh!" the stern-looking woman at the circulation desk hissed.
"Sorry," she mumbled, shrugging. "That's what I don't like. Old ladies shushing me."
"So if I had become a librarian and shushed you, you wouldn't have liked it?"
"I mean . . . well . . . it's different."
"Is it?" Maura raised an eyebrow. She put her hand on her hip, crossing her legs at the ankle, the dress highlighting her curves so blatantly Jane didn't catch herself staring until Maura cleared her throat.
"Yeah," she said, trying desperately to stifle her blush.
No. Bad Jane.
"You're not . . . old."
"Well, thank you," Maura said. "Is that all?" She crossed her arms, and Jane could've sworn she was doing it to deliberately accentuate her breasts.
"Yeah, that's . . . all," Jane managed to choke out.
"No sugar, sorry," Frost thrust a cup at her.
"Took you long enough," she muttered.
"I think I have some sugar," Maura said brightly.
"Of course you do," Jane muttered, rolling her eyes.
"In case anyone nearby goes into diabetic shock," Maura explained.
"Very conscientious, Doctor," Frost said.
"Thank you, Detective Frost!" Maura grinned brilliantly and disappeared around the periodicals.
"You know," he said, a mischievous glint in his eye, "Dr. Isles would make a pretty hot librarian."
"Shut up," Jane replied. "Just shut up."
"I mean, if that's what you're into. And I don't mean you-you, just . . . one. If that's what one is into."
"I can promise you one's fist is about to be into one's junk if one doesn't shut the hell up."
"Shhhh!" the circulation librarian hissed again.
"Yeah, shhh," Jane whispered. "She means you, keep it down."
"Uh, I'm pretty sure she meant you."
Jane tried to fold her arms before realizing she was still holding her coffee cup. "Where did Maura put her damn purse, the moon?"
"Language, Detective," Frost chided.
"Language, Detective," Jane mimicked. "This sucks."
"Can I give you a little sugar?"
Jane jumped. Coffee sloshed onto her hand. "Ow!"
"I am going to shush her into next Tuesday," Jane grumbled.
"There are times it's important to maintain a certain standard of behavior, Jane," Maura said, pouring sugar into Jane's coffee. Jane groaned and tipped her head back, sighing at the ceiling before catching a glimpse of Maura bending slightly, her toes cocked slightly inward, emphasizing the perfect slope of her—
No. Bad Jane.
"Uh—what?" Jane tipped back forward, sloshing more coffee onto her hand. "Ow! Damn it!"
"Shhhh," the librarian hissed, pointing her finger at Jane.
"You're going get us kicked out," Frost warned.
"Good, no lecture about rainbow connections for us," she said. "Maybe we can go, I don't know, solve some murders or something."
"Jane," Maura sighed, "sometimes the group dynamic is more valuable than the individual desire."
"Yeah, well, my individual desire is to—" she stopped again, since Maura had turned away and was reaching up to pull what Jane was certain was an extraordinarily boring volume of medical literature off a high shelf. The vent at the back of her skirt had been pulled up an intensely distracting distance.
"Is to . . . what?" Frost asked, smirking.
"Is to beat you to death with your own hands," she muttered. "God, get me out of this, someone, please."
"Jane," Maura said sweetly, her voice low, "have you ever wanted to learn how to use a microfiche reader?"
"Yeah, ever since I was a kid," Jane replied.
"We're gonna need a bucket to hold all that sarcasm," Frost interjected.
"Nobody asked you."
"Well," Maura said, her voice oddly deliberate, "they have a particularly well-preserved one in the records room."
"Uhh . . . neat? Jane shrugged.
Maura sighed faintly. "You've already signed in to this seminar, correct?"
"And I don't think I'd be overstepping any boundaries if I said it was unlikely you were to take anything of value from it."
"What do you mean? I can't wait to be infected with team spirit."
"I think the word you're looking for is 'infused.'"
"I know what I said."
"Yeah," Frost cut in, "but I don't think you know what she's saying."
Jane looked blankly back and forth at each of them.
"Microfiche, Jane," Frost said slowly. "In the records room."
"Yeah," Jane replied, echoing Frost's tone. "Neat."
Maura and Frost exchanged a look that Jane didn't quite understand.
"I think you might find it more interesting than you'd believe," Maura said.
"Maura!" Jane cried suddenly, quickly making an apologetic gesture at the apoplectic librarian. "Are you breaking me out of Togetherness Time?"
Maura and Frost exchanged another look.
"I'd just go with her, Jane," Frost said. "You could stand to learn a thing or two about libraries."
Maura smiled, the little smile that always made Jane a little anxious. She picked up a a pencil from one of the nearby reading desks and tucked it behind her ear. "Right this way, Detective," she whispered.
"Okey-dokey," Jane said, shooting Frost a look half-quizzical and half-frantic. He smirked again and sipped his coffee.
Have fun, he mouthed as Maura walked primly out of the meeting area, the dress hugging her body, her hair tucked at her neck, the metal band of the pencil flashing in the low fluorescent light as she picked her steps so carefully Jane would've sworn she was sashaying away on purpose.
What are you doing, she mouthed back. Frost frowned, pointing toward the still-deserted podium. Jane made the third-most desperate face of her life, but Frost stared resolutely forward.
Jane glanced heavenward and swallowed what was left of her coffee.
"This better be one fascinating machine," she muttered.
She followed Maura down a maze of hallways, turning down corridors until she knew she was lost.
Don't stare at her ass. Bad Jane.
She couldn't help it, though. Maura was doing it on purpose, Jane was pretty sure.
Why do they put these rooms so far away, Jane wondered as they passed what she was fairly certain was the gateway to Narnia.
Finally, Maura stopped in front of a dull gray metal door.
"Don't judge a book by its cover," Maura said over her shoulder.
"Library humor, nice."
"Oh, was that a joke?" Maura pushed the door open, revealing a dimly-lit room lined with low counters, a hulking machine every few feet.
"Yeah, a real good one, Maura."
"Was it? Really?"
"Sort of?" Jane shrugged. "It's dark in here."
"Microfiche is difficult to view in a bright space," Maura said, flipping on a nearby machine. It whirred to life with a low groan, not unlike the one Jane found herself uttering as Maura bent down to adjust the luminosity of the monitor.
"It's cool, I guess," she said after a moment. "I mean, hey, microfiche, right? Are we gonna look at some old Life magazines?"
"I just wanted enough light to see you," Maura murmured, brushing past her to shut the door with a click that made Jane's heart lodge itself firmly in her throat.
"Isn't there . . . like . . . a light switch for that?"
"I didn't want you to get nervous," Maura said softly, turning to face her.
"Why would I . . . get nervous?" Jane asked nervously as Maura took a step toward her.
"Shhh," she said.
"Okay," Jane whispered.
"Would you really have been upset if I was a librarian and I shushed you?" Maura asked, her voice so low Jane had to work to hear her over the dull roar of the microfiche machine.
"No," Jane replied, so quietly she wasn't sure for a moment she'd said anything at all.
"Good," Maura murmured, standing so close to her Jane could feel the heat of her body.
"Uh, Maura?" Jane said, once she'd worked enough saliva back into her mouth to make sounds.
"What are you . . . doing?"
Maura was pulling the pencil from behind her ear. Then she was sucking gently on the point, staring at Jane.
"Aren't you afraid of—of lead poisoning or something?"
"Oh Jane," Maura sighed, "pencil cores have always been comprised of graphite, since they were first developed by the Romans. Lead is a definite misnomer."
"Consider me informed about pencils," Jane breathed.
"You can learn about all this and more at your local library," Maura said softly, standing so close to Jane that Jane could feel Maura's breath on her neck.
"You really would've been a hot librarian," Jane said before she could stop herself. Again.
"You think so?" Maura's voice was low, sultry, but she couldn't keep her delight completely at bay.
"Frost said it," Jane said quickly. "First, I mean."
"That was awfully sweet of him," Maura smiled.
"So why didn't you invite him to see the microfiche machine?"
"Because we talked it over and we agreed it would probably interest you more," Maura said, her tone deceptively placid.
"You . . . talked it over?"
"How come I don't get a say in it?"
"Because excessive talking is frowned upon in libraries," Maura replied, leaning in and capturing Jane's mouth with her own. Jane thought about fighting it for a split-second, but then Maura's tongue was flicking against her lips and she realized allowing what was happening to happen was better than trying to stop it, especially considering the alternative would be brainstorming ten ideas for increasing communication between departments.
Especially considering Maura's tongue is in your mouth.
Jane's hands started to move of their own accord, circling Maura's waist, one of them tentatively following the zipper of the dress Jane would forever after designate her favorite down the curve of Maura's perfect—
But . . . yes?
The way Maura was murmuring softly against her lips made her pretty sure "yes" was the right answer.
"Maura," she whispered.
"We're not going to, like . . . get busted, are we?"
"Jane," Maura said, "this isn't my first round-up."
"Rodeo," Jane replied automatically, before—
"When I said I considered becoming a librarian, I mean that I took a few courses and worked as a library intern for two years while I was working on my undergraduate at BCU. In the summers very little happens on college campuses, and one has to learn how to . . . pass the time."
"So you . . . passed the time by having sex in the records room?"
"Not exactly," Maura said, her hands moving to the buttons on Jane's shirt. Jane shivered as Maura's fingers brushed against her bare skin.
"So . . . what, then? Also Frost was right, you would make an extremely hot librarian."
"Flattering, but a little cliché, don't you think?"
"Whatever," Jane groaned as Maura slipped her hands under Jane's shirt, pulling Jane close to her. "'Hot librarian' is one of those things everybody agrees on."
"I suppose you may be right," Maura whispered, her lips pressed against Jane's neck, her collarbone, the slope of her chest.
"I still want to know what you mean by 'not exactly,'" Jane gasped as Maura's hands slid down her waist, teasing at the band of her trousers.
"It was the rare book room, usually," Maura said, licking lightly at the swell of Jane's breast. "Very isolated. Not as good as this one, though."
"Why not?" Jane gasped again as Maura's fingers deftly slipped her trouser buttons free, her body pressing Jane's against the door.
"Rare book rooms don't have machines in them, generally." Maura's mouth drifted across Jane's exposed flesh, periodically stopping so her tongue could flick over Jane's skin.
"Yeah, I imagine that's a real . . . drag . . . for those books," Jane mumbled, her breath ragged.
"No machines means they're very quiet, Jane," Maura murmured. "Not much to muffle any . . . excessive noise."
Jane made an excessive noise as Maura's hand discovered the heat that had been been building since—
You know, since we met
-since Jane had seen Maura posing in her tight gray dress not much earlier in the meeting space.
"Maura!" she gasped.
"Shhhh," Maura whispered. "A little respect, Jane, please."