Disclaimer: Nope, not mine, no way, no how.

On the footpath outside Maura's, Jane pushes back her hair, surprised at its softness. Everything about her feels hard tonight, with cracks of fragility running through the hard parts that warn her that the usual fare of mindless TV and beer isn't going to do it.

Her job gives her the privilege of making the world work, of calling out the evil that thinks it can walk with impunity and giving peace and solace where she can – and fighting tooth and nail with the full force of the law behind her when she can't. She doesn't believe she is a hero – she's bewildered by the term, bewildered that everyone just doesn't do what's right.

She puts so much of herself into her work, takes the wins but suffers the losses. She maintains; that's what a cop does – that's what a Rizzoli does.

Staring up at her friend's house, barely registering that her nails are making half-moons on the skin of her hands, she sends a quick text. The overwhelming sense of relief she feels when the light in Maura's room flicks on is tempered by the thought that here she is, again.

She's come to realise that she needs Maura in a way that she doesn't understand but knows is essential. On nights like tonight, after a case that has pushed her mentally and physically she is the only thing that keeps her from fracturing further. She is the only person that can put her back together so the cracks barely show.

Some nights Jane will show up and it'll be three in the morning and she won't have slept and she knows, heading to the door, she's going to wake her up. She always hesitates for the briefest of moments, weighing her need, weighing the possibility that tonight Maura won't be there. She always knocks anyway, knowing that she somehow has managed to need this woman with a fierceness that soothes and terrifies her all at the same time.

It's a constant surprise that she isn't alone in this need; Maura is mostly alone in the world and suffices for herself just fine. It always seems to Jane that Maura's strength and intelligence and resilience outweigh her own - until its Maura's turn to break and she knows that they balance each other out in the things that make them strong – and in their weaknesses.

They don't acknowledge it; this connection, this thing between them that is theirs alone. It concerns Jane, lately, that they don't acknowledge it.

She rakes her hair back again. Maura did mutter something about touchstones a couple of weeks ago when she'd had too much wine. Jane had looked it up, and firmly decided that drunk Googlespeak wasn't the best thing to go off. She'd considered getting Maura drunk again so she could explain. Had considered that maybe she wanted Maura to be stone cold sober when she did get around to explaining.

Maura opens the door to Jane, and she watches the concern and affection chase each other across Maura's features before she opens the door wider.

"Come in."

That's all she needs, and the tightness and the fear and the panic start to fade, replaced by warmth and hope, tinged with something darker that lingers in the back of Maura's gaze as well.

Once inside they appraise each other in the dimly lit living room.

"You need to sleep." Maura states.

She doesn't disagree, just shrugs, embarrassed by her inability to cope, waiting for Maura to read her mind so she doesn't have to say it out loud. "Yeah." Her voice is rough and she winces, knowing Maura will read into that, too.

Maura gaze travels along the lines of her face, down the contours of her body, then back up. "The guest room isn't made up so you'll have to bunk in with me, okay?"

She follows Maura, the craving just to stand beside the calm strength of her friend, to allow some of that strength to fortify her own lessening now that she's actually here.

Maura's pajamas make a smooth, silky sound as she gets into bed, and as she slides in beside her Jane wishes that she was like that; effortless poise – almost inexhaustible grace.

Maura switches off the light and Jane sinks into soft pillows, staring into the darkness where her friend is lying, trying to pinpoint the places along her body where Maura's warmth seeps into hers.

"You have no rough edges, Maur. You know that?"

There's no response for a moment, and then the covers shift and Maura turns, moving so that they are face to face. She waits, then jumps nervously as Maura grasps her bare shoulder, runs a hand smoothly over an old battle scar. Traces a slow line over her elbow, where countless slides along pavement and gravel and rough terrain have left the skin much like the ground it has been subjected to – uneven, unattractive. She swears she can feel each one of Maura's fingers as they move down to her wrist, leaving goosebumps in their wake. Maura takes her hand, moves her thumb lightly over Jane's pulse point, over the gauges left by barbed wire and handcuffs and cable ties. Maura shifts and Jane feels the tickle of Maura's hair on her neck and everything, everything in her body goes taut and expectant.

Then she feels a pair of lips on the scars in the middle of her hand, a squeeze, and then Maura shifts away again, while she tries desperately to remember how to breathe.

"Rough edges are a funny thing, Jane. I would say that you have just enough."

She smiles, reaches out a slow hand, just barely touching Maura's body as has become her habit on these nights that they don't talk about but have become part of their lexicon just the same. Jane closes her eyes, just weary enough, just welcomed enough, to sleep.

A/N: Just a thing I had in my head. Have a lovely week, all. Yay, I'm glad Rizzoli and Isles is back!