a/n guess what I was doing when this was inspired? Three guesses, first two don't count. Enjoy this incredibly sweet and fluffy thing.
"Jane, what exactly am I looking for?"
"Tent pegs. They should be somewhere in the hall closet." Maura sighed, bracing herself to root through the mess of the hall closet, the catch-all for all of Jane's junk, everything that the detective had collected over the time she'd been living in the small apartment.
She tugged through a dozen umbrellas, various coats, scarves and gloves all tangled together into some gordian knot of fabric, and found herself pulling on a single strand of pink yarn. Acrylic, by the feel of it. Certainly cheap. She gave another tug and found a half started something – what looked like a baby blanket, with a crochet hook skewered through it into the skein of yarn below. It was half tangled into everything else, and more exploration unearthed a pink hat, and another – this time mostly completed -blue blanket, all speared through with cheap crochet hooks. None of them were perfect. Her discerning eye could make out more stitches where the hook seemed to splice through the yarn rather than go between the loops of it, missed stitches that got added back in three rows later.
She was vaguely aware of Jane sneaking up on her, and she turned her head, holding up one of the skeins with a questioning eyebrow, enjoying Jane's blush. Of all the things that Maura could have found, it would have been that. The one girly thing that she had hidden in her closet. She shifted back and forth on the balls of her feet, unsure of what to say. It felt more violating than if Maura had gone rooting through her nightstand and discovered her collection of adult entertainment. At least sex toys were something that most sexually active women owned.
Six skeins of yarn with various levels of completed little hats and little blankets, however were decidedly not normal. She considered bolting out the door, but this was her own home. Granted, she had been the one to tell Maura to go rooting through the hall closet in preparation for their camping trip, but in her defence, it'd been a while since she'd needed to do something as completely mindless as work on one of the the halfdozen unfinished pieces. She'd honestly forgotten about the collection of half finished pieces that she'd stuck in the closet, to pull out when she needed them. She'd been a bit more focused on the fact that she'd talked Maura into going camping now, in the perfect interstitial time between seasons – when it was cool enough to not be oppressively hot and make for good hiking, and not too cold to spend the weekend outside.
She could feel Maura's questioning gaze and found that words didn't want to come. "Occupational therapy. After – y'know." Her left thumb instinctively rubbed into her right palm, digging into the scar there. "Dexterity and grip strength and stuff." She tried to remember just what the therapist had said when he had shoved the first skein of yarn and first oversized crochet hook at her saying that it was a good way to regain full use of her hands after they'd been split open, nerves damaged, ligaments, tendons and muscles sliced.
It had felt a little odd learning how to crochet from a man – trying to do everything he did as a mirror image, until she'd figured it out, and was able to duck the hook in and out of the existing yarn and around the yarn on the skein with a certain ease. And she'd found it to be calming and soothing. It was something to do at four in the morning when she had woken from another nightmare, and it was too close to when she had to go to work to calm her nerves with a drink, too early to go for a run, and she couldn't do much of anything but sit there and think. And counting stitches as she worked first one way than the other, listening to the overnight hour of SportsCenter repeat for the the third time, it was soothing. "The uh – the hospital collects things like that for sick kids."
When she found out about the program – well, overheard, really, as she had been hiding in Wal-Mart attempting desperately to not be seen buying yarn, listening to two ninety year old women talk about the program, and how much they had contributed – it had at least given her some sort of end goal to focus on, something to do to make her feel at least productive and helpful when the nightmares came. "That's a beautiful color." Maura held up a half-finished hat in a pale green, and she nodded in agreement. She'd hated the basic pinks and blues, that every child would receive from everything else. Sure, there was one skein in each color – after all, it was what the hospital expected, but the majority of the lopsided blankets she produced were in greens and golds and reds.
"Yeah." She admitted, shifting back and forth, uncomfortable about this. Uncomfortable that she'd been found doing something so traditionally feminine – not just feminine, but house-wifey. It was one thing to occasionally be caught out wearing a skirt and heels, one thing to wear makeup, one thing to go out and enjoy dancing and drinks with a man. It was another to do something so traditionally house-wifey. She was uncomfortable that she found it so soothing and relaxing – the one thing that could calm her from her frightened mind outside of Maura's closeness. Uncomfortable that she was sharing something so private about herself - even if this was Maura, who knew everything about her.
"I've got quite a lot in my closet that this would match with." She blinked, confused, attempting to figure out what Maura was getting at, her knuckles starting to ache from just how strongly she was gripping her hand, how far her thumb was digging into her scar. "Make me a scarf?" Maura finally asked, caving at Jane's utterly confused look.
"Huh? You want me to make you something?"
"Well, yes. I think it's adorable that you're so concerned about this hobby of yours."
"It's not a hobby." She stared at the ground, not wanting to explain things to Maura. It wasn't a hobby. It was something that kept the wolves that howled at her door at bay, calmed her when nothing else could, where it was just her, counting the stitches, letting the repetitive motion soothe her into a trance.
"I don't think any less of you just because you knit."
"Crochet." She corrected automatically. It seems like it makes all the difference in the world – crochet at least sounds a little less girly, and she hated the look on Maura's face, that adorable little smirk that she couldn't ever say no to. "Fine, you want a scarf?" She finally asked, and watched Maura nod in response. "I'll make you one. Just fine those damned tent pegs and lets go."
The camping went well – and Jane had almost forgotten all about the request Maura had made until she wakes up one night, sweating, shaking, gasping for breath, palms aching and fingers stiff. She blinked a few times, trying to will away the tears and sick feeling in her stomach. Just a nightmare, she repeated over and over in her mind, trying to remind herself that everything was fine, before giving up and getting up, pulling her gun out of her nightstand and bringing it with her, letting it rest on the coffee table as she sits down on the couch, turning on ESPN.
She rummaged through the hall closet, finding the pale green that Maura had liked so much. Smiling slightly to herself, she pulled it out, poaching a crochet hook from one of the other half-finished projects. Pausing for a moment after starting a slipknot, She worked the yarn easily around the hook, starting a shortish chain counting to fifteen, and adding one more to end the row, turning and wrapping the yarn around the hook again, counting as she pulled the yarn through the loops, easily working into a rhythm, focusing only on the counting, and vaguely aware of the postseason baseball trades that they were talking about as SportsCenter restarted again.
She hadn't even noticed when light began to start streaking through the blinds, she was so focused on what she was doing. It was only the alarm going off in her bedroom that finally startled her out of her reverie, and she ended the row she was working on, getting up to turn off the alarm. She measured the scarf against herself, wondering just how much she had gotten done, shocked to see that it hung somewhere near her waist after a single loop around her neck. Given Maura's slighter build, it would be the perfect length.
Feeling oddly accomplished for seven in the morning, she stepped in the shower, getting ready for the day. She grabbed the scarf off the couch as she headed for the door, slowed down momentarily by the fact that she hadn't quite remembered to detatch the scarf from the rest of the skein. Hunting down a pair of scissors, and finally settling for a steak knife, cutting the garment free and tying a knot at the end of it. She's glad that Maura's not in the morgue when she gets to work, and instead just leaves it folded sloppily, on her chair.
Maura, for her part, smiles when she gets to work and sees it sitting there, no note, no sign of it actualy being a gift. But she knows better. She knows Jane well enough to know that it had been hard enough for Jane to actually do something like that for her. The acrylic is scratchy around her neck, and the sides wobble where stitches got missed and added back in three rows later, the tension is uneven, and she wouldn't have been caught dead wearing it otherwise, but this is something that Jane did for her, and for the rest of the winter, she's hardly seen out and about without it – even when it doesn't match her outfit.