A/N - This is the fic that started my whole Rizzles binge. Enjoy.
"Hey, Maur, did Gilbert and Sullivan ever write about a princess?" She didn't take her eyes off the paper, nibbling on the end of her pencil, in that perfect spot right below the metal bit that held the eraser in place, leaving a perfect ring of dental impressions as she slowly rotated the pencil.
"Yes, Ida." Maura didn't even look up from the vegetables she was chopping, preparing omlettes. It was amazingly how easily they'd fallen into this. Neither was quite sure what it was. It simply was. Neither of them pressed the issue, content with whatever it was they had. Somewhere along the way, Jane's apartment had been simply somewhere for her mail to go to, a storage space with a television. She'd even let her cable subscription lapse when it came time to renew it.
Somewhere along the way, she'd found that dinner and a movie, and staying over after having one too many glasses of wine had become a nightly thing, and she didn't even need the booze as an excuse. It just became a part of her routine. Go home, walk Jo, check the mail, go to Maura's. Then Jo had come over permanently, and two food dishes stood side by side in the kitchen. At some point in time, she'd even given up on the guest bed – the spare bedroom was really just more of a place for her to store her clothes than it was an actual living space. It was just more – comfortable to sleep in Maura's bed.
"How about a six-letter opera by Massey-something, about Greek myth?" A plate was slid in front of her as Maura leaned over her shoulder to peek at the crossword puzzle. Of course, the easy, obvious clues were filled in. Wire under What a Police Informant might wear
"Ariane" Jane smiled slightly, filling in the appropriate letters, turning her head to give a distracted peck to Maura's lips.
"Thanks babe." She absentmindedly grabbed her fork, cutting off a bite of the omelet with the side of it without really looking at her plate. Maura paused for a second, the action going unnoticed by the detective as she filled in To Err under "_ is human" She watched Jane for a long moment as long, nimble fingers filled Winona into Actress Ryder in Jane's tidy, yet scrawling, hand. It was legible, but messy, narrow, yet curvacious, jagged and soft all at once. Just like the hand that wrote it. It was everything Jane.
The kiss had been a surprise, a new development, but yet one that felt entirely natural. It was, after all, not unheard of for two people as close as she and Jane were to share such chaste kisses and symbols of affection. After all, Jane had moved in to her house, for all intents and purposes, and she'd found herself moving much of her errata into Jane's old apartment. The place, the last time she had been in there, resembled a warehouse far more than it resembled someone's living space. They shared a bed, the only nights where she found herself sleeping alone were ones where the detective was working on a case where the bodies had already been autopsied, processed, and sent to their respective funeral homes.
And she found that she didn't sleep as easily these days when the other half of her bed was empty. No, she corrected herself silently, sitting down at her own place at the table, when Jane's not there. They'd both had relationships since their change in living arraignments, but nothing had worked out for either of them. There was always some reason that things never seemed to progress past the third date. Jane muttered some excuse about none of them being Casey, and Maura found little things that made each man she'd been with wholly unsuitable mates. And even when she had woken next to one of them, she didn't feel as comfortable as she did when she woke up next to Jane.
"Five letters, Gathering place in Athens." she paused, collecting up their plates. Unsurprisingly, Jane has finished her omelet in what had seemed like one giant bite, even though Maura knew better. She leaned over a shoulder, looking at the letters already filled in. "Agora." She proclaimed, catching a familiar, but initially unplaceable scent. "You've been using my shampoo."
"Yeah. Smells good." She smiled slightly to herself, looking over the other clues in the puzzle. Somewhere along the way, her life had veered slightly from where she had imagined it going, and she found herself not minding in the least. So she wasn't married, wasn't globetrotting, in fact she'd hadn't left Boston in almost a year.
"You want to go on vacation?" She asked, more pondering aloud than actually asking a question. "And I think you've got fifty-across wrong."
"No it's not."
"Well, considering that fifty down is Alai-" Jane swore, realizing that Maura was right and flipped the pencil over, slowly erasing the words.
"Vacation?" She questioned looking up at where Maura was still leaning over her shoulder. "Where?"
"I don't know. I haven't thought that far in advance."
"Well tell me when you figure it out so I can make sure that there's someone to babysit Korsak and Frost." She paused, attempting to ponder out a clue before realizing that her gut instinct was correct and Goose was in fact One taking a gander. Getting away from the frigid Boston winter would certainly be nice. All thoughts of sunbathing and mojitos were interrupted, however, by the front door opening, and her mother barging in.
"Good morning ladies!" Angela Rizzoli was far too chipper for six in the morning.
"Ma, what the fuck are you doing here so early?"
"Language, Jane." Both of the blondes recited in unison, pausing to laugh at the moment.
"Actually, I don't think this is much of a laughing matter. Maura, honey, I think the pipes to the guest house froze. There's no hot water. Or cold water either. Tommy's on his way, but I figured you wanted to know."
"Oh no. Is there any flooding?"
"Not that I noticed. Think the only problem is, this sort of thing takes a day or two to fix. Can I borrow your shower?" Maura simply nodded, while Jane sighed.
"Ma, you can shower at the apartment, and if you need to stay there, you can."
"What, and kill myself over all that junk? I swear, ever since you moved in here Janie, you've let that place fall apart. I don't understand why you won't just let Frankie sublet it." There was a tense moment as the sudden realization of exactly what things had become hit her, but it passed just as suddenly as it came.
"Only if he's willing to clean it." She mutters, returning back to fill in Steaks under Porterhouses, for one.
"Angela, you are more than welcome to stay in the spare bedroom here until Tommy can fix the pipes to the guest house."
"Thank you Maura." She doesn't even need to look up from where she's giving Doonesbury a pencil goatee and moustache, pondering the rest of the clues to feel her mother's sharp stare, though she's not quite sure what its for. She didn't even know her mother had known she'd sort of moved in. She hadn't known she'd moved in. She'd always thought of it as just – an extended sleepover. A sleepover that was going on six months. "At least one of you girls knows how to treat a poor old lady right."
"Ma, you're not old." She knows its just what her mother wants to hear to stop Angela from pestering her while working on the crossword. Especially not when she was thisclose to having finished the New York Times one. There were, she supposed, upsides to spending most of her free time with the walking Wikipedia.
"Well I'm certainly feeling that way with no little grandchildren around to make me feel younger." It's only Maura's calming hand on her shoulder that prevents her from throwing her pencil at the retreating form of her mother.
"Why does she always have to do that?" It's muttered under her breath, but she can feel Maura's slight smile at her exasperation.
"It's natural for mothers to want to see their children happy. Your mother simply believes that a family and children are the path to happiness."
"You'd think she'd start pestering Tommy or something. He's the one with the girlfriend." She choked over the word. Candi wasn't exactly what she would call a great, stable influence on her fuckup little brother, but Tommy was, apparently head over heels for the stripper. No, exotic dancer. And Candi, to her credit, seemed to love him back.
Maura said noting, choosing instead to start rinsing the dishes from their breakfast, not wanting to point out the way that Angela had looked at her as well as Jane when she mentioned grandchildren. There was a certain something about it that made Maura think that the Rizzoli matron subconsciously viewed her and Jane as a couple. She had to admit, the similarities to what she and Jane had and a traditional married couple were quite striking. They shared a bed, and most breakfasts and dinners together. They had found a sort of harmony between them as to which one would cook dinner on which night, without ever having to discuss it. They understood each other – how the other one thought, what they other one was thinking without either ever having to speak. And, she mused, she felt as though she and Jane complimented each other. There was something about her best friend that brought out a certain side of her that she hadn't thought she'd had, and she knew she did the same for Jane – she'd been told as much.
"Hey you know any of the rest of these? Don't worry about those, you cooked, I'll get the dishes." There was a distracted tone to the way she spoke, the crossword puzzle far more pressing at this moment than any household chore. Maura dried her hands on the towel hung there, making her way back to where she'd been standing moments before, head resting on Jane's shoulder as she contemplated the remaining clues.
"Really, Jane, I'm surprised you haven't figured out seven down." Her eyes traveled to the clue, and she scowled, realizing that she'd skipped straight past it, filling in the ust to complete the rest of the seventh deadly sin.
"What's that supposed to mean?" She asked teasingly as she filled in another word.
"I thought that good catholic upbrining would have taught you about the mortal sins, especially lust." There was something running beneath the friendly commentary as they worked together on the puzzle. Jane was vaguely aware of an arm wrapped comfortably around her waist, of Maura's warm breath against her ear, and thought of how cozy it was. There was something more to it, but she wasn't quite sure what it was. More than just the playful banter that they usually exchanged, something deeper.
"Well, it taught me that Elvis' mother couldn't spell" as she filled in the answer to The King's middle name.
"And 34 down would be G-spot." Maura pointed to the last empty spot in the puzzle, a handful of unsolved words in the middle, trailing a finger along the empty boxes. There was a certain thingness in the way that she said it, that surprised both of them. But Jane dutifully filled it in, along with the words that crossed it, now much more easier to puzzle out. Maura slowly pulled away, now that the crossword puzzle was completed, busying herself with the remainders of the morning routine. Ensuring that both Jo and Bass had fresh food and water, that everything else was just so, so that they wouldn't have to worry about anything more than getting dressed and ready for the day.
Jane found herself staring at the op ed column on the reverse of the crossword puzzle, attempting to read someone's complaint about politics in America and failing to let any of it sink in. There was the distinct feeling that she was missing something. It was her least favorite feeling, as though all of the pieces were there, but she couldn't quite make them fit. The gears in her mind were turning over and over again, and she couldn't help as though there were teeth missing in the gears – not quite fitting together right, like she was thisclose to making a breakthrough, and she couldn't figure out what it was, or even what it was about. It would be one thing if there was a case she'd been working on, but it'd been a slow week for deaths in Boston, the most she'd been called out for was an obvious suicide that only had her out at the scene as protocol. Then the feeling of not quite putting it all together would at least have had a source. But this? She couldn't place why she was feeling like she did.
She sighed, stretching as she started on the dishes, staring out into the yard. Jo was out there barking at something, romping around in the thin coat of snow on the ground, and seemingly having the time of her life. The little dog was just so happy here with a yard where she could roam free without having to worry about the confines of a leash, and Jane had to admit she was happy here too. It was nice, to wake up next to someone rather than wake up alone. She liked waking up next to Maura, it felt right. She'd loved Casey, she'd cared for Dean, but even as much as she loved Casey, it wasn't the same waking up next to him. The dynamics were different – and while she was sure she would have gotten used to waking up next to him, she couldn't help but think that they would never have filled into this sort of easy morning routine that she had.
She groaned as she realized that she'd become downright domesticated. Standing here doing the dishes,watching her dog play in the yard, feeling like she was home. .Calamity Jane the Untamable had become a domesticated little housecat, willing to do the dishes, and eat things where she wasn't quite sure what was in them, just because she was told they would be good. The one thing that she never thought she would be, she was. And she was strangely all right with that. She was surprisingly willing to put up with all of Maura's quirks, willing to share a domicile with a goddamned tortoise. To know what the difference between a turtle and a tortoise was.
She stuck the now-clean dishes in the drying rack, opening up the back door so that Jo could come back inside. Scritching the little terrier behind the ears before heading into the bedroom, she paused, eying the way that Maura had laid out everything for the morning. There were two outfits, laying side by side, and part of her wanted to be upset that Maura had picked something out for her, and part of her was glad that she doesn't have to decide it. Once upon a time, she would have hated having her outfits picked out for her, but by now, it's become almost second nature. Besides, Maura's the one with the fashion sense, it's reasonable to defer to her.
She heard the shower start in the guest bathroom and relaxed back against the headboard in the master bed, flipping through the rest of the front page of the Times while waiting for one shower to open up. It's partway through the headline under the fold that her mother walked out of the shower, talking to her as though it's the most natural thing in the world.
"Janey, honey, when are you going to put a r-" She cut her mother off mid-sentence with a toss of a t-shirt at the older woman. She couldn't have cared less about any woman who was exposing parts that she hadn't wanted to see since she was nineteen months old was saying.
"Ma, I don't care if you're telling me the world is about to end, I'm not going to listen to it until you put some damn clothes on." She got a scowl in response, but Angela quickly retreated back to the bathroom to change, reemerging in a slightly-too-tight tee shirt, and what Jane was fairly sure were her basketball shorts. It took her a moment to realize that when her mother had come over, that she hadn't exactly been carrying anything. Her frown deepend as her phone buzzed, reflecting a message from her little brother telling her to open up the damned guest house so that he could fix the pipe. She didn't think to put on a coat for such a short walk, and she regretted it the second she opened the door.
It felt like the hundred yard walk was the better part of an hour with the wind whipping up, and she cut off any comment Tommy wanted to make about her lack of outerwear with a sharp glare. She opened the front door for him, frowning at the way that Tommy marched to the sink, turned the water on, and got nothing. Opening up the under sink cabinet, he found it to be dry, and traced the water line to where it seemed to run sideways, behind the small pantry, and towards the bedroom. She groaned as she could feel the floor starting to dampen. "I'm gonna have to knock the wall down." She shook her head, retreating away from the scene. "What, you don't want to join in on the Rizzoli family business?" She shot Tommy a look, turning towards the door.
"You better do it right, Tommy. I'll be checking! If we have to call someone to fix your fuckup, that's coming out of your pocket. I better not see any duct tape on there."
"Relax, sis. If there's one thing a Rizzoli can do, it's fix a leaky pipe." She shot one last furtive glance at where the water was beginning to discolor the wall. She gave her brother one last glare, not liking the smirk he was wearing.
"What's that look for?"
"Nothing." There was something entirely too—happy about the smirk her brother was giving her, and she had the distinct feeling that there was money up on something. What it was, she couldn't quite discern, but she had a good feeling that by the end of the day, she'd be getting her own cut of it. She'd yet to bet the target of a bet where she didn't manage to talk her way into at least a decent chunk of the payout.
She jogged back to the house, trying to figure out just what had Tommy smirking so badly. She'd meant what she said about making him pay for any failed repairs. Even though she knew they could afford a real plumber, it was just the idea of having to have something done twice. She grudgingly put up with Maura's tut-tutting about how she was likely to catch frostbite if she did something like that again when it was in the single digits out, put up with the way that her hands had been snatched, and rubbed and checked for any signs of discoloration, and headed to the shower herself, smiling to herself as she realized that she had been using Maura's shampoo, and she liked it. When she'd catch the faint whiff her hair running after a suspect, or just when she ran her hand through it, as she pondered paperwork, it made her feel calm. Content.
And there was a small part of her that was downright afraid of that. Of the very idea of feeling calm and content with another person. But this was Maura. It wasn't like she was dating Maura. They were just best friends. She sighed, as she replayed her conversation with Tommy. Somewhere along the way, the guest house that her mother lived in had become their guest house. She was sure that she'd heard Maura describe the place as having a 'Mother-in-law-suite' at some point in time. Somewhere she'd started thinking in terms of what they could do. Somewhere, she had multiplied into a duo, and she now thought of everything in terms of both her and Maura. Somewhere, they'd fallen into this sort of pseudo-relationship thing and the worst part was that she didn't want it to change.
It was only Maura's pounding on the door, reminding her that they were cutting it close with rush hour traffic if they wanted to be able to stop for good coffee on the way in to work that cut her out of her reverie. She swore under her breath, rinsing the conditioner out of her hair and wrapping herself in a nice, fluffy towel as she stepped out of the shower, getting dressed in an outfit that she was sure hadn't been part of her wardrobe before, but she really didn't care. If Maura had decided to expand her wardrobe, and it looked halfway decent, she was fine with that.
Quickly brushing her hair, teeth, and making sure she looked at least presentable, she headed out towards the garage, where Maura was already waiting, applying the last bits of her makeup with a practiced ease, leaning against the passenger door of their car. She wondered, briefly, why Maura hadn't gotten in, but a quick check of her cell phone and just how low they were running on time erased any thoughts of anything but getting in the car and going.
It was amazing how quickly she'd gotten used to driving Maura's Prius. She'd never wanted to drive the car, but now that she found herself doing it more often than not, she had grown to love the little car. It was, actually, better than her own, and not only in gas milage. It simply made sense to take the Prius in to work. And considering that she was never particularly fond of being of the passenger seat for anyone's driving – even Maura – they'd fallen into the easy routine of Jane driving them into work every day in the little Toyota.
After their usual stop by the Cappuchino Cabin on the way to work – the baristas there knowing their usual order and having it ready for them, so it was a simple pop in, pay, and pop back out again, they slid into the station with a mere two minutes to spare – just enough time for Maura to head down to the morgue. "Have a good day." She found herself saying, and found herself leaning in and placing her lips lightly against Maura's cheek before she even realized it.