A/N: I'm not going to post a lot here. Just please read and let me know what you think. I appreciate you reading and taking the time with me. The A/N at the end explains more of where this came from so I hope you will stick around and let me know your thoughts. Cheers!

"Jane!" Maura squealed as the unsuspecting wave overtook their walk, drenching the cuffs of rolled up linen khaki pants, barely missing the hem of her white cotton sundress. Practically dancing away from the sea foam and retreating tide, she pulled her love along with her to higher ground.

Even in the grey, pre-dawn light the medical examiner was beautiful; honey tinged curls blowing in the salty wind before falling flawlessly back into place. The pout at almost being splashed was of epic proportions and Jane couldn't pass up the opportunity to mock, draping her left arm across a bare shoulder, hands linked casually together. "You know, you won't melt, right? Like in the Wizard of Oz? That's just a made up story, Maur." The detective's voice took on a high nasally whine. "I'm meeellllting."

Doing her best to glare even as their walk resumed, Maura snuggled in closer with a bright smile, right arm snaking around a narrow waist as capable fingers fisted in the white, gauzy cotton of the detective's shirt. Taking a moment, the doctor reveled in the warmth radiating between them through the thin barriers of clothing, even with the slight chill breezing off the ocean. Scientifically, she knew that Jane's body temperature wasn't any higher than the average human… yet she always seemed to be SO incredibly warm and inviting. "You know I love you, don't you Jane?" The doctor was sure the wistful question probably seemed to come out of…what was it?... right field.

Brown eyes narrowed as Jane looked down, ducking a little in an attempt to breach the curtain of hair hiding Maura's face. She had expected a less than snarky retort but a retort nonetheless; not a declaration of adoration. A hint of uncertainty laced gravely words. "Um. Yes? Aaand I love you… too?"

Maura let the other woman stew until she couldn't contain her giggles any longer. Burying her face in Jane's shoulder, muffled words were almost lost. "Oh my… It's so surprising… you are so easy to play sometimes… It's just…" In an attempt to mimic the raspy voice of her partner, perfect brows pinched together and glossy lips pursed comically. "Aaaand I love you…tooo? Was that really a question Jane? Are you unsure of how you feel?"

Dark eyes rolled as she realized the doctor's words were true. She had been had… big time. Kicking up a healthy spray of ocean water that sprinkled them both, Jane didn't stop before she threw an unsuspecting Maura over her shoulder and marched a little deeper into the tide, salt water lapping at her knees. "How about I just throw you in, Doctor Isles?" Slapping a firm ass for good measure, "I think that it might make me feel better to see you all dripping wet…" All sorts of naughty images invaded the detectives' mind, voice dropping to a seductive husk. "Hmmm. That actually sounds kind of like a win/win at this point. Are you wearing a bra, babe?"

Maura kicked and squirmed, surprised by her current upside down view of the world, laughter choking her breath. Wheezing through tears, "No, I'm not and please don't! Don't! I love you! I love you so much and I'm sorry! For everything! Anything?" The last word was squeaked out in Hail Mary Pass fashion. Obviously when it came to ruining her clothes, Maura had no shame or pride. Grateful to see that they were headed back toward dry land, impatient fingers pinched the firm round of her detective's butt before being deposited onto squishy sand. Gasping for breath, free hands tangled immediately in dark curls as Maura captured smirking lips in a languid kiss, tongues brushing together slowly seeking purchase, exploring as if it were all new… again and again. Breaking away, eyes closed, the medical examiner's grin spread, words a hushed whisper as lids slowly opened to find amused molten brown. "I do love you, so much. More than I ever thought possible. And I just wanted to say it… before."

Well hell. Jane couldn't help the immediate lump that formed in her throat. Shaking her head, a ropy arm pulled Maura back in and their stroll resumed in comfortable silence; typically long strides shortened to accommodate the height difference. Never in her life had the detective met someone so unbelievably remarkable… quirky and sometimes frustrating to the point of hair pulling… insanely beautiful; inside and out… way more than just a genius, loyal and honest to an endearing fault. God, I love this woman. Placing a lingering kiss to Maura's temple, Jane's voice was hoarse with emotion. "I love you too, Maura… a hell of a lot more than I show you… or tell you for that matter and I'm sorry… I guess I'm still kind of new at this whole sharing emotions thing."

Right hand sneaking under light fabric to caress warm, taut skin, the fingers of Maura's left tugged at a strong jaw until stubborn brown eyes finally met her gaze. They managed to keep walking, the occasional wave hitting high on exposed calves causing an automatic sidestep change in course to higher ground before drifting back down into the surf. Hazel green flickered over angular plains before returning with a smile. "Jane." Eyes closed, grin widening with a tempered laugh and satisfied hum. "You show me every day how much you love me. How can you not know?" Facing forward and settling more fully against a lithe frame, Maura contemplated the best way to explain, the fingers of her left playing with one of the detective's shirt buttons. "You are extraordinarily protective of me, the way your hand finds its way to the small of my back when we are walking… Do you even realize that when we are crossing the street, you hold a shielding arm out in front of me until you decide that it is safe to cross?"

Jane scoffed out a laugh. "I do not do that… do I?" She honestly couldn't be sure.

Chuckling a little, Maura nodded. "Yes, you do… and I find it rather comforting…and sexy." Reaching up, soft lips met a dimpled chin for a brief kiss, knocking them both a little off balance in the process. "Hhmmm." A large database of knowledge was searched. "Are you aware that you also open doors for me and bring my coffee to me in the mornings exactly to my liking? Whether it is at the precinct or we have had a sleepover, you are typically the first to awaken and greet me with a smile and a steaming mug…" Poking the detective in the side to soften her next words, "… Even though you aren't exactly what's considered to be a morning person."

"Hey!" Jane chuckled and poked the doctor back. "I happen to be a very… um…" Brows furrowed before dark eyes rolled in resignation, squeezing Maura closer. "I'm just very… Okay. I'm… The thing is… the morning is my time to… Oh hell, fine. I'm not exactly Susie Sunshine when I get up… before my coffee. There. You happy?" Smiling into fragrant golden curls, the detective inhaled deeply; somewhere making a mental note that Maura smelled like Heaven. "Now," Humor laced through raspy words as a predatory grin spread, "Tell me more about these things I do."

Snuggling closer, Maura's hands joined forming a loop around the detective's waist. "Well… let me think. You are always so tender with me… you treat me differently than any other interpersonal interactions I have witnessed you in… even though I somehow missed it, there was evidence before we entered into an intimate relationship but now, even more so." Completely ignoring Jane's groan at the word 'intimate,' the doctor's smile grew. "Yes, you can be very snippy at times but… somehow; with me your rancor doesn't hold the same intention and your self-imposed boundaries of personal space do not seem to apply where I am concerned." Grin blooming full force, "Because you love me." The words weren't boastful, just a simple statement of truth and Jane couldn't deny the pull in her chest.

Stopping forward momentum again, she pulled Maura into a full bodied kiss, long arms wrapped low around the doctor's back as lips and tongue took what was needed, bending them forward with want, the kiss moving down across soft, sweet skin. "God, Maura…" Finally straightening with a sly smile, deep brown eyes darted to the horizon before flitting back to darkened hazel green. "If we don't keep moving, we won't make it to our place before sunrise." Jaw clenching and unclenching in a rare bout of indecision, it was the ever sensible Dr. Isles that made the choice for them.

Cool fingers threaded with their longer counterparts and gave a gentle tug. "Come on, this is our last morning here. We don't want to miss the sunrise." They had not missed the breaking of dawn once during their stay on the tiny island, discovering a secluded outcropping of rock that created a sort of hidden cove of private beach on their first day exploring. It seemed a certain detective had a penchant for waking early, given the slight time difference, and employed very talented hands and tongue to arouse her sleeping partner in more ways than one. Time well spent allowing more than enough to reach their destination.

Pulled out of her very pleasant reverie, Jane realized Maura was speaking. "Hhmm. I'm sorry, what?"

The medical examiner's smirk was all knowing as she took in the familiar flush across sculpted features. Tucking back into a lean side, Maura looked up to find warm brown eyes smirking back. "I asked did you always know that it was me. I mean, when did you know?" Perfect teeth chewed on a bottom lip with a frown. "I'm afraid that sounds a bit like I'm hunting for compliments."

The bark of laughter was immediate as was the tightening hold of their one sided embrace. "Maur, it's 'fishing for compliments' and no, I don't think you have the necessary guile to pull it off." Wait. Does that sound like an insult? Clearing her throat, Jane dropped a kiss on the crown of swirling golden curls. "Hhmmm. When did I know? Did I always know it was you?" Brow creased in concentration, they walked in silence for a while as the detective's mind sifted through the evidence. Bringing their joined hands up to lay a kiss across knuckles, Jane's voice was quiet and steady. "I think the correct answer to your question would be 'yes' and 'no' although I know you… and that won't be enough." A long finger swiped across the peppering of freckles on the doctor's cheek waiting for the expected reaction and she wasn't disappointed; chuckling at the appearance of a wrinkled forehead and pursed lips.

"You can't answer a question with two diverging assertions, Jane… I… don't understand." Maura's petulance was met with a swift kiss and a soft caress.

"Maur, just hear me out… please?" Apologetic smile in place, Jane continued, swallowing hard against a brave admission. "I… think in the beginning, I worked so hard to blend into the 'norm' and make things fit that didn't seem to want to… like going out with Jorge…" The shiver was involuntary and she refused to name names from there on out. "I just…" Her grin widened, fingers playing with a lock of pure silk. "I always showed up at your door… no matter what the situation, everything brought me back to you and I didn't really want to think beyond the unbelievable... comfort I felt in your presence… something that wasn't exactly easy for me to feel anywhere else… not even in my own home." Top teeth worrying a bottom lip was the detective's one and only tell. "I just… wouldn't let myself believe that you might feel the same." Squeezing laced fingers, a gravelly voice was much softer. "So has it always been you? Yes. Yes, it has. I just didn't know it at the time… that's where the 'no' comes in." Dark strands whirled with the wind, "I mean… damn, Maur. Looking back, yes, it was you from the beginning and I was too damn stupid and scared to admit it."

Maura could recognize a spiral into guilt from a mile away and took evasive measures, cocky grin sliding firmly into place. "Well, then it is a good thing for you my dear Detective that I made the first move." Mission accomplished. The righteous indignation radiating from a suddenly tense bicep was a definite indicator.

"What?" Jane cursed the sudden squeak in her voice. "I totally made the first move… I mean… really? You don't remember? Wow… that kind of hurts." Staring into hazel green, she knew she had been tricked again… but for the best. Hugging her love closer, the wind whipping their hair in a wild tangle, Jane pulled out of the embrace while keeping their fingers linked. "We need to run if we are going to make it in time. Come on. I'll race ya!" Digging deep into a full on sprint, she let go of Maura's hand, laughing heartily at prim protestations of unfairness being launched at her back. "Come on babe, don't be a wuss. Suck it up little legs!"

Little legs? I'll show her little legs. Maura poured all she had into the run; arms and legs pumping until they finally reached their destination, neck and neck. Leaning over to catch her breath, she was met with the most obnoxious smirk ever. Eyes rolling she straightened, hands on hips, "I suppose you won't consider that you took me by surprise and got a head start?" Manicured brow arched playfully as her gaze met sparkling brown. Waiting a beat to size her opponent up, "I didn't think so."

Jane just smiled and reached for the doctor's hand, fingers twining naturally in the process. "Sore loser doesn't look good on you, Maur." Retaliation was immediate in the form of a hard pinch to a tight tricep. "Ow, shit! That's gonna bruise." A faux scowl formed as the lanky detective plopped down onto the beach.

Maura chuckled as she daintily lowered herself between outstretched legs, using a knee for balance. "I've bruised you plenty and you have yet to complain. What were your words? Oh, yes. Suck it up, Detective. I could've done a lot worse, you know… I'm deceptively strong."

And oh so modest. Brown eyes rolled as scarred hands slid across soft cotton and Jane's chin glided back and forth along the gentle curve of Maura's neck and shoulder with a hum; the corners of her mouth quivering against a clenched jaw, fighting the smile that wanted out. As with every time the detective found herself fortunate enough to have Maura in her arms, a normally gravelly voice took on an extra scratch. "So I guess what you are saying is…" Warm lips teased a bare shoulder. "I should be thankful you didn't drop kick me in the sand and…mmm, you taste so good…" A persistent tongue left a moist trail, moving lazily from freckle to freckle. "…Leave my ass behind to watch the sunrise all alone?" Teeth nipped at the cord of muscle presented when the doctor's head lolled to the side.

Settling back more firmly into the embrace, Maura turned her head to place a light kiss to a strong jaw. "MMMmm, no. There is no place I'd rather be." A contented sigh escaped as long arms tightened their hold and warm lips ghosted across that one spot that never failed to elicit a moan.

Jane grinned at the resulting shiver and quirked a brow, a slight smirk working its way into raspy words as her lips traveled aimlessly across smooth skin. "No place else, huh?" Sucking hard, "Not even the bedroom?"

Maura rolled her eyes in exasperation, as quick fingers pinched taut flesh. Turning enough to be able catch mischievous brown, the doctor's gaze narrowed. "You are incorrigible, Jane Rizzoli. Don't you think of anything else?"

Scarred hands came up to cup Maura's jaw, the detective's voice thickening with sincerity. "Of course I think about other things, sweetie." Dropping a chaste kiss on a sparsely freckled nose, Jane pulled back. "I think about baseball…OWww!" Fending off swatting hands, the detective's chuckle was low and full of mirth as she found herself unceremoniously shoved onto her back into the cool sand. "Owww… and football…" Doing her best to catch swift jabs through her laughter, "Mmm, hockey, too. Ow, shit. Come on Maur…"

Lying atop a squirming and bucking body, Maura finally managed to pin tanned hands above them in the sand, breaths coming in gasps as giggles faded. Hovering nose to nose over Jane, she was momentarily silenced by the raw beauty. Dark curls fanned out underneath cheeks flushed from laughter, blinding smile and warm brown eyes that reflected every bit of love she herself felt. Regaining composure, the medical examiner leaned down and took grinning lips in a searing kiss, sighing into the immediate response offered up eagerly by her love. Finally breaking away, Maura winked and sat up bringing Jane with her. "You are very lucky that I have a particular fondness for your antics, Detective." Resettling into their former positions, back to front, fingers linked and rested comfortably across a toned abdomen. Respirations in sync, they awaited that singular moment when the first rippling of bright orange burst into view, creating thousands of sparkling shards across the water as it grew.

Nuzzling through fragrant golden brown curls, Jane's chin found its home in the crook of an elegant neck, cheeks brushing together softly, voice low. "You know…" The fingers of her left untangled from their hold and played with the wrinkled white cotton of Maura's dress while the others toyed within their loose grasp. "I think about you all the time, Maur… I mean, I always wonder what you are doing or how you are feeling; what you are thinking… even if I don't understand a word you're saying. And when I'm not with you and something good… or bad happens; then I wonder what you would think about it. You know? What your reaction would be if you were with me… I mean, hell, I spend way too much time in the gourmet cheese section of a grocery store I never used to shop in trying to remember the ones that taste like dirty old socks and the ones that go with that Silver Oak Cab you like so much." Punctuating words with a gentle kiss, the detective chuckled at the uncharacteristic gush of feelings. "Only for you would I say all of this… feel all of this." Throwing her hands up in surrender, Jane laughed, deep and throaty; full of life. "You've turned me into this enormous romantic sap and I will never live it down with the guys. I mean… my badass days are over..." Lips finding soft skin, a raspy voice lowered an octave. "I don't really care though if it means that I get to hold you like this." Sucking gently against a thrumming pulse, a persistent tongue made sure to soothe away the sting. "If I can kiss you like this…" Arms flexed protectively as a raspy voice lowered to a rumbly whisper, sincerity laced in every word. "If you are with me, Maura, I don't care about the rest. We'll figure it out together… like we always do… I just want you."

They sat for a moment, in a quiet embrace as pinks and purples lapped at the morning sky and a few early rising seagulls squawked overhead before moving on down the beach. Quietly overwhelmed by the stark beauty of the moment and their journey together, Maura's hands folded around Jane's and pulled lanky arms closer like a blanket. As the first bright yellows snaked onto the horizon; lids slid closed over hazel green and the doctor smiled. "God, Jane. You never fail to leave me speechless." A searching right hand broke free to gently massage the detective's thigh, with a laugh. "I'm sure you know that's a rarity." Grinning, Maura leaned back and kissed waiting lips, words growing wistful as she fought the persistent sting of tears. "You make me so happy…I never really expected to be this happy; so fulfilled." Feeling bold enough to make a sound declaration, a sculpted brow rose as she caught warm brown eyes again. "I think we should come here at least once a year. I like seeing you so carefree and able to leave the world behind and I love that I'm the one that gets to share this part of you."

Jane's resulting smile was radiant and Maura knew she never would forget the moment. Lips pressed together, she smiled into the kiss; every nerve ending in her body tingling at the contact as if it were the first time all over again. "I love you, Jane. So, so much… I always will."

BANG! Lids flew open at the sudden, unexpected pain… everything was white hot and the ringing in Maura's ears was deafening. Oh god, what's happening? Struggling to suck in oxygen, a leaden arm thrashed blindly in search of Jane as the sharp grip of panic threatened to smother a racing heart. The surrounding sounds were merging into a cacophony of clanging and frenzied, garbled voices before the wail of sirens leapt to the forefront. Pain! It seemed that all there was to feel was pain… no room for anything else… confusion was slowly winning the battle as the intoxicating desire to drift into darkness presented an attractive alternative. Jane? Was Jane hurt? Images of the detective covered in blood played on; blue t-shirt soaked crimson, hands stained red and face pale.

"Mass Gen be advised we have a GSW… pulse thready… Shit! We may need to restrain her."

"Like hell you will!"

It all ended with one long, shrill tone.

"Move away, Detective. Dammit NOW! CLEAR!"

The pain before was nothing like the jolt of lightening shooting through every nerve ending in the doctor's body. Maura felt like she was literally flying apart and couldn't get a firm hold to keep tethered to the ground. The screech of noise was unbearable and she only wanted it to stop so that she could think clearly. Jane. Oh god, Jane. It was still so hard to breathe… a pressing weight on her chest… overwhelming fatigue… just a moment's rest couldn't hurt… a few seconds maybe to... Long lashes fluttered shut again.

"I need a damn ETA! We don't have a lot of time here; she's bleeding out on me!"

A higher pitched whine and once again, "CLEAR!" With a loud gasp, Maura's body arced off the stretcher with a shudder. A sharp, rhythmic beat filled the space and the doctor realized in some remote corner of her mind that it was her own heartbeat. Each thought and movement was burdened by a clumsy weight… slow and painful. Confusion warred with agony. Still, the medical examiner fought to open her eyes. If she could see, she might be able to understand. She needed…

"Come on, Maura, please! Don't you leave me, dammit! You… you can do this. Please."

The tear stricken plea resonated somewhere deep inside and heavy lids flickered open to a too bright world. Jane.

"We've got her! Welcome back, Doctor Isles."

A/N: Okay. So there it is. I wrote something very similar before the end of season 1 because I always thought it would be Maura to get shot. While Silent Night was my first story to actually share, I wrote this ridiculously long and terrible full of holes story to pass the time. The thought of changing the dynamic of that finale has always hung with me though. PLEASE let me know your thoughts. I am anxious to hear from you guys! As always, thanks so much for reading! You guys are the best!