A very special thanks to insertsongreference (you can find her on tumblr) for her suggestion of this writing prompt. This story's basic plot line was all her idea, and it was a fantastic one! I feel really lucky she made the suggestion. Thank you for that, ma'am.
Just so you know, I'm going to post this story as I go.
As usual, the characters aren't mine. They belong to Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers, and other assorted important people. I gain nothing from writing these stories but the fun of doing it. Please don't sue me.
It wasn't that Jane didn't want to admit she knew about the rumors. It was more she didn't think they were worth acknowledging. The way she saw it, it was a no win situation. If she said something to anyone about it, everyone would say she was protesting too much, which would make it seem like she was exactly what all the rumors accused of her being. If she said nothing, then, like claiming the 5th on the stand, she was guilty by way of saying naught to deny the accusations.
The rumors flying around the station were the very definition of the saying, "Damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
In her defense, the rumors had nothing to do with her work ethic. There wasn't a person on the force that would question her dedication to her job, nor would anyone say she wasn't one of the top detectives Boston PD had ever had the luck to employ. In the grand scheme of things, the rumors affect her job not at all, but, on a smaller scale, it was taxing to know people were discussing her private affairs whenever they thought she wouldn't know they were doing so.
The last thing Jane Rizzoli liked to be was the center of attention for anything, which is why she decided the first year she and Maura Isles worked together that it was best to ignore the whispers and knowing looks and, instead, focus on catching the bad guys and avoiding early morning yoga sessions.
She thought she was doing a decent job of keeping her life in balance until it all transitioned from what she affectionately called 'cop life drama' to what she disdainfully called 'Let's Play, 'How Much More Can Janie Take'. It seemed like her life went from the normal grind of what a person might expect a detective to have to deal with to a constant barrage of the worst possible scenarios she could ever hope to never want to see happen.
She could mentally make a checklist of the events she wished had never happened, and she did so often as she asked herself where her life had turned into a soap opera or, at the very least, where it had turned weird. Without a doubt, it all started going south when she found Hoyt had an apprentice that turned out to be exmilitary, and she was captured by the escaped lunatic and his new protégé. From there, she could run an ever increasing checklist of events through her mind's mental checklist:
A retired detective becomes the new Boston Strangler and nearly kills Maura
She is forced to shoot a college RA turned pimp who murdered one of his residents turned hooker
Maura's exboyfriend surfaces only to be found as the murderer who took down his own brother
Another apprentice shows up in the guise of a woman interested in her brother, and Frankie has to kill her to protect them both from being killed
Maura finds out her sperm donor is none other than Paddy Doyle, infamous mob boss, who then kidnaps her, which scares the living shit out of Jane
Dirty cop Marino takes her hostage to escape after killing half the people in her precinct, and she has to shoot through herself to take him down, causing her months of rehabilitation, hours of therapy, and a new scar to match the rest
Her father leaves her mother for a younger woman and files for divorce while she's recovering from her self inflicted gunshot wound
The daughter of her former partner from Narcotics is kidnapped, and, upon finding the kidnapper, Jane is forced to kill him when he attacks with an axe
Paddy Doyle shows up at Maura's door demanding medical treatment while someone stirs up the mob, which scares Jane as she realizes her best friend is in danger and arrives at Maura's house to find both the doctor and her youngest brother safely tied up inside
Hoyt has cancer, demands to talk to Jane to confess, tricks them all, has a new apprentice, and nearly kills both Jane and Maura but Jane gets the upper hand and kills Hoyt
To protect Frost, Jane shoots Paddy Doyle after he shoots FBI Agent and sometimes love interest Gabriel Dean, which causes a huge rift between her and Maura
Her father shows up out of the blue wanting an annulment vouched for by the Catholic church, thus effectively making her and her siblings bastards in the eyes of God and hurting her mother even more
She finds herself trapped in a car being flooded with water with a delusion Maura beside her, who is in the physical state she's in because of a car crash which lead to Jane cutting into the doctor's leg with a piece of broke cell phone screen to prevent Maura from losing her leg
Jane finds out her sometimes love interest Casey is back from Afghanistan and is physical disabled due to an IED, and she's hurt that he wouldn't trust her enough to let her be there for him
One of her childhood friends is murdered by his brothers to prevent him from breaking up the boy band they're all in and preventing additional money growth
She is kidnapped by a man she knew when she was younger and only through a bakery. He knocks her out, undresses her, redresses her, ties her to a bed in a room that looks exactly like her bedroom but with manipulated pictures of him and her plastered on the walls, and treats her like they've been married for years. She only gets out because she finds the camera he keeps trained on her and prays that Frost has found a way of cracking in to see her and figure out where she is
Maura is nearly killed by a man she had earlier saved and was clearly smitten with. It is a stroke of luck, some quick talking from Jane, and a lot of internal prayer that prevents him from taking Maura with him on his multi-story journey down an open elevator shaft to his death
The list went on. These were only the major things her mind would always insert whenever she mentally started creating the list, which was normally at night when she couldn't sleep. It was better than the alternative, which was thinking about the rumors about her floating around the station. The fact she would rather think about the horrible, terrifying, and mentally and emotionally scarring events in her life than consider what the rumor mill said about her and Maura was enough to make her steadfastly ignore the fact she was ignoring the fact she was avoiding what everyone seemed to think was crystal clear to all but the two people they was gossiping about like old church ladies on a Wednesday afternoon.
That is to say, Jane preferred to mentally rundown her soap opera of a life than face the possibility she and Maura might have something more going on than an extremely close friendship. Sure it was true Maura had opened her home up to the entire Rizzoli clan, allowing Jane's mother to live in her guest house. It was also true the two women often went to each other in times where they needed emotional support and someone to trust enough to fall asleep crying in their arms. Yes, Jane might possibly be accused of being over protective of Maura, and the detective didn't care for any of the men Maura had dated. Conversely, Maura rarely encouraged Jane to do much more than have a little fun with the men she chose to date. However, none of that meant there was more to their relationship than a very strong, protective, loving, and close friendship. It just meant they had each other's back.
At least, that's what Jane told herself on those sleepless nights before pushing thoughts of Maura from her mind lest they drift to something uncomfortable and replacing those thoughts with her mental checklist of things that gave her nightmares. The things that gave her nightmares grounded her to her reality. They reminded her of why Maura couldn't harbor the feelings the rumor mill said she did because Jane's life was too dangerous and too complicated to allow someone as gentle and caring as Maura to be any more involved than what she already was.
If Jane was honest with herself about it all, which she rarely allowed herself to be, she would admit Maura's life was just as complicated and just as dangerous but in different ways. She would remind herself that Maura was tough as well as gentle and strong as well as caring. What's more, their lives were already intertwined almost beyond the point of being able to cleanly separate, but those were thoughts she didn't allow to surface for long before she grounded herself with reminders of why those thoughts were ridiculous to have in the first place.
Even if she held deep feelings for Maura, it wasn't likely Maura returned them in kind. There was also the fact Maura was a woman, her best friend, and way out of her league. The rumor mill was wrong. There was nothing going on between Jane and her best friend because there couldn't be. If there was one thing Jane was positive about regarding herself and the Universe, it was that the Universe never allowed her to have a happy ending and being with Maura would be a happy ending. Therefore, it couldn't happen, and Jane had convinced herself she needed to focus on what little victories her unhappy endings gave her.