A/N this is another thing that started off as being poached from a Jeeves/Wooster fic I wrote many many moons ago while listening to entirely too much Death Cab for Cutie, but then it took a left turn in Albuquerque, and while you can still see the original fic in it, it's not really the same at all, outside of being a very loose songfic. Kinda. Sorta. I had no plans on even canabilizing the original like I had with so many others until the wonderful Domini Porter (seriously - hit the back button and go read Tartarus now, and thank me later) put Jane on a motorcycle, and well, Jane on a motorcycle writes itself. Definitely follows Crosswords and Coffee and all those related fics, but you don't need to read them to understand this.
She sighed, running a hand through her now salt-and-pepper streaked hair, wondering when she'd become so damn old. She stared at the crossword in front of her, squinting to make out the clues, hating the fact that she knew she needed reading glasses and steadfastly refusing to admit that to anyone. She was still Jane Rizzoli, fearless cop, she was not some old washed up has-been who spent more of her time on youtube than working, like Korsak had been when he was her age, and getting ready to retire.
And she frowned slightly at the thought. Granted, Korsak had been old, but it still stung when people she was close to passed. And while eighty was impressive for someone of his stature, it'd still been rough for her. She shook her head, trying to convince herself that the decidedly unhappy feeling that had settled on her was entirely over the realization that she had approached, conquered, and was starting to head off onto the other end of middle-aged. It was just hormones, or lack thereof, and she tried to remember what it was that Maura had described what she was going through in so many scientific words.
She sighed again, setting the paper down after managing to fill in only a handful of words – oleo, agora, goose, the things that popped up in every damn crossword ever, and hadn't been able to think straight to get the rest of them. Her eyes fell on an ad tucked into a corner and she smiled slightly to herself, jotting the address down on the palm of her hand with her pen, and grabbing her coat before heading out the door.
When she got home some four hours later, Maura was there, waiting for her. After a chaste welcome-home kiss, she could see the questions in her wife's eyes as she tugged the woman back through the house to the garage. She said nothing, waiting for her other half to speak first. "Jane, sweetie, was is that?" She grinned proudly at her wife as she wrapped one hand in Maura's, slowly tugging her towards the item in question.
"This," She said, running one hand appreciatively over leather, "Is a 1968 Triumph Bonneville. Precision tuned, and garage kept, the previous owner had kept it as a collectors item, and granted – it is, but oh my god, Maura, it turns on a dime, and it's perfectly balanced and -" She couldn't hide the sheer glee she had over the item.
"You've ridden it?"
"How else did it get here?" Her face fell slightly at the disapproving glance she got from her wife for her sarcastic response.
"Did you really think this was a wise investment?" The frown deepened, even though she knew that they had enough money that she never had to actually check the bank balance – and she very rarely did, letting Maura handle all that pesky accounting and bill paying and bullshit – she still knew that while the tens of thousands she had paid for the bike would certainly not break them – even if it was just her own salary supporting them, and not any of Maura's money, or Maura's salary, it wouldn't have broken them – the vehicle was still an investment, and they'd always planned their futures together.
"Of course it is." She countered. "Come on-" She frowned as Maura crossed two slender arms around two surprisingly still perky breasts – and she was absolutely amazed at the way her wife seemed to grow more beautiful as the years went by -, which deepened when she caught sight of their reflections in the chrome of the tailpipe.
When had they become so old? When had they become grownups? When had all this happened? Somewhere along the way, the world had changed and took them with it. Somewhere along the way the house had been loud and lively and wonderful, with Tony, and then with Gina when they decided that adopting a little girl was just what they needed to balance out a twelve year old. And now Tony was about to graduate from BC, and Gina was just starting at Emerson, and the house suddenly felt quiet for the first time in two decades, and to be honest, she hated it. She understood it, now, her mother's desire for grandchildren to make her feel younger – because now that Tony and Gina were out of the house, she felt as old as she knew she looked.
There were faint lines around her eyes, where they crinkled when she laughed, and a matching set on Maura's face. Maura had always been better at dyeing the grey away, but she could still see the odd strand here and there, the roots threatening to come in silver rather than gold. She – she'd just given up after the first few strands of grey had come in, knowing that her hair was far too dark to hide it, and actually sort of liking the look. It made her look distinguished, or at least she liked to think so, and she knew Maura didn't mind it.
She held the helmet out towards her wife in a tentative gesture, frowning at Maura's pout. "No." She looked up at Maura with her best puppy-dog eyes, knowing that they had gotten the other woman to cave more often than they hadn't.
"It's perfectly safe, I promise."
"Actually motorcycles are responsible for more emergency room visits than-" She tried to silence her wife's spewing of facts and trivia with a kiss. Maura however, backed away a step, which just caused her frown to deepen even further, which she was sure wasn't helping the lines that were staring to form from the edges of her nose down to her chin.
"Please? For me?" She held out the helmet again, wanting Maura to experience just how freeing it had been.
"Does it mean that much to you?" She nodded. There was a long moment where she could tell that great brain was carefully weighing the options before a hand tentatively grasped the helmet, putting it on. She grinned, hopping back on the bike, holding out a hand so that Maura could climb on behind her. She felt two strong arms settle around her waist, and she slowly kicked the bike into gear, listening to it rumble beneath her.
She'd learned how to ride in the academy, something that they taught all cops just in case they were ever forced on bike patrol, and she'd almost forgotten how to do it until she'd gone down to the little dealership and found something that she loved almost as much as her family. Almost. And now, now she was taking the turns out of the driveway slowly and gently, not wanting to scare Maura off before they'd even had a chance to properly enjoy the thrill that riding a precision motorbike such as this could produce.
She'd spent most of the last four hours simply driving around, calling in to work, saying she wouldn't be in today. She'd sort of become a figurehead more than someone who was required to work. Besides, most of her work these days was just paperwork, and that would still be there tomorrow. She complained, sometimes, that at least Maura still had interesting work to do, and spent more of her time downstairs, watching her wife complete autopsies while she worked on controlling the chaos that was Homicide, not liking the whole being-in-charge thing.
She sure as hell wouldn't give it up, wouldn't change anything she had been through for the world, especially not if it meant giving up her family. She loved Maura more than anything in the world, short of her children. She loved being able to come home and feel like she was home. But at the same time, over the years, she'd changed, and she wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Maura wasn't the woman she married, and she didn't mind that, because she was still Maura, but there were times, like when she had been riding around Boston earlier, when she wondered if the changed Maura didn't love the changed Jane.
And she had changed. She'd calmed, quieted over the years. Where she had once been Calamity Jane the Untameable she'd grown up and some how just became Jane, a wife, a mother, willing to cook and clean and drive their daughter to soccer practice and wake up every morning to the same cup of coffee and nearly the exact same crossword puzzle and enjoy it. There were time the passion, the fire still came out – when each of their children had brought around their dates for prom – and she'd pushed each teenager nearly to their breaking points, just to make sure that her babies were in the best hands possible. When Candi had come back shortly before Tony's high school graduation, suddenly wanting to be a part of Tommy's life again, and have the family that the stripper had so readily left behind.
That passion and fire came out when she cheered on her son from the front row as she watched him succeed at D1 football, even if BC was complete crap and really should have been in the CAA instead of the ACC, she still never missed a game, and she'd been told by Frost and Frankie that her enthusiasm had gotten her on ESPN more than once. The passion and the fire had come out when she watched her daughter break her collarbone playing rugby – cheering the injury as a first war wound, rather than do what Maura had done and dote and doll and play doctor.
That was why she loved her wife. Maura was always there to balance her out. When she wanted to retreat into dry sarcasm and defenses to hide just how broken she was, Maura was there to be human, feeling. And when Maura tried to hide behind google-speak, go all cyborg, she was there to translate, put a human edge on the words being spewed forth. They complimented each other, worked well together.
She couldn't help the slow smile that spread as she felt hands leave her waist, and she chanced a glance behind her to where Maura had her arms outstretched as though ready to take flight. It was one of the most entrancing things she had seen, and if it wasn't for the knowledge that she was going sixty miles an hour on a motorcycle, she could have watched the expression on her wife's face forever. The easy, joyful smile that made the other woman look like she was twenty again, youthful, and still discovering the world, and being amazed at the sheer simplicity of life. It was, quite possibly, the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
Somewhere, she knew that this was having a completely stereotypically dykey mid-life crisis. That straight women did not rapidly approach their sixth decade on this earth and decide to buy motorcycles, but she had long ago stopped caring about what other people thought. It had been a cause of arguments early on in their relationship, where she had had trepidations about how they defined themselves, and Maura had no problems with what they were. But now, almost twenty years later, she didn't care how stereotypical she was, or how different she was, all that she cared about was that Maura was there with her.
It didn't mean that it was always roses. There were times – weeks even – where she woke up on the couch or in the guest house, both of them too proud to ever admit that they had been wrong, until the longing and the need overwhelmed them and they came to their senses and realized that no matter what it was they were fighting about, they hated the time they spent apart even more. And it was times like this when she talked Maura into riding a motorcycle, or when Maura talked her into eating frogs legs, that she was glad for what they had between them.
This was love. It was nothing less, nothing more, it simply was. And she was sure it was the only thing that kept her going, a sustaining nutrient where she knew if she would ever have to go without would cause her to wither and wilt. She sighed as the wind whipped up around them, the December sun never being present long enough, and pointed them back towards the direction of the house. When they'd finally come to a halt, she snaked her arms around Maura, reversing the position they were just in. "I told you it was great."
"I may have jumped to conclusions." Jane smirked.
"You? You of all people, miss never guesses about anything, jumped to a conclusion about something?" She accepted the playful poke in the ribs. They stood there for a long moment, just enjoying the thingness of everything. "I love you."
"I love you more." She buried her nose in honey blonde locks, ignoring the few flecks of grey that lay therein.
"Did you ever expect us becoming one of those couples?" She asked, sitting down sidesaddle on the bike, pulling Maura onto her lap.
"One of what couples?"
"Y'know, those couples. The sort that die at a hundred years old within hours of each other. The sort that are still madly in love with each other even though we're really close to retirement age." She grinned as her wife leaned in to kiss her.
"No, I didn't. But I certainly don't mind it." She grinned, letting one hand drift slightly lower from where she had it resting on a hip.
"Neither do I. When did you first know you loved me?" She asked, curious, surprisingly having never asked in all of the two decades they had spent together.
"The first time you asked me what a six letter word for an opera by Massenet was."
"Was that the morning the pipes froze in the guest house?" She could feel the nod against her shoulder.
"It was the first time you kissed me." She quirked an eyebrow, not remembering the kissing until much later in the day, on their way home. "At breakfast. You kissed me like this-" And Maura laid a gentle peck against her lips "-and thanked me for cooking." She couldn't help the grin.
"See, this is why I get all emotional at crime scenes. My brain is like, ten steps behind where it should be. My heart though – it knows better." She held Maura close, kissing her soundly.
"How about you?"
"It was when Frankie called us an old married couple. I just kinda thought that it was something that I wouldn't mind, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew I never wanted to lose you." She sighed, a faint smile on her lips at the memory of the day. "I never thought I'd fall in love, y'know. Even though it wasn't really falling so much as – having it sneak up and ambush me." She loved the answering smile she got in return, and they sat there, the damp chill of approaching snow settling upon them.
"We should probably go inside."
"Probably." There was a long moment before either of them moved, heading up the single stair from garage to house, hating the way her knee was starting to ache every time she had to go up stairs, hating the way that her body was betraying her in ways she knew were natural, but that she didn't want to deal with. She yawned, another one of those odd hatreds she'd picked up, hating the way that she had, at some odd point in time, began keeping a respectable schedule, and started going to bed at normal hours, when there wasn't a case to solve.
Later that night, when they were curled on their separate sides of the bed, she found herself thinking, which was always a dangerous thing. Thinking about how when they'd first fallen into this whole romance thing they'd slept skin to skin clinging to each other like there was nothing else in the world, like a buoy in the ocean, keeping each other afloat. And now, now they were content to sleep on their own sides of the bed, no longer needing the physical contact. The emotional bond had tightened, and the physical one had lessened, and now they were content to sleep back to back, simply taking comfort in the others presence.
And as she could feel the breathing behind her slowly even as Maura slipped into a gentle slumber, she found herself contemplating just how much things had changed over the years, and wondered if this would ever have to end. If Maura would grow bored of her now that her hair made her look like the bride of Frankenstein, and the crows feet could no longer be hidden with makeup, and her body seemed to come up with a new ache or pain to complain about every single day, now that she didn't have the easy camaraderie of the rest of the division – now that she was in charge of them, the rest of Homicide wasn't quite as chummy anymore. Now that her own family had sort of faded into the background – Frankie had his own wife, his own family, and Tommy had a business running chartered fishing trips in the gulf. Sure, they still saw each other, having massive family dinners during the holidays, but on the whole, mostly everyone had faded out. Korsak, her mother, who nearly hit the centenarian mark before fading out, hell, her own children had faded out, moving on to the bright world of college, and the future.
She frowned at the thought, wondering if Maura was going to be just another thing to fade out of her life, like seemingly everyone else had. And just when that tight feeling started to descend upon her throat she could feel the bed shift next to her, as her wife rolled over, never waking, just shifting, leaving a perfect spot for Jane to roll into her, wrapping her arm comfortably around a still trim waist, letting her head nestle in that perfect spot in Maura's shoulder where she'd long ago learned it fit perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle.
And it was in that moment that she realized that even though she still bore the name of Jane Rizzoli, the woman she had become hardly resembled the woman that she was. But all the same, Maura had been there for her. Through Hoyt – multiple times. Through Doyle. Through her little freakouts about the wedding. Through all the drama of raising two children. Through this silly little mid life crisis she was going through. Maura had been by her side in some way or another through everything that had happened in the past three decades, and she knew that was never going to change. She gave a contented smile, snuggling even closer, and letting her own sleep take her.