I don't own these characters. TNT … or somebody like that does. Oh, but I do own Ariela and Alistair.
This story takes place after episode 3.10 with Dennis, but doesn't really follow any episodes after that.
A Friend Indeed
1: Pick up
Doctor Maura Isles found herself with nothing to do on her lunch hour. Yes, she could eat lunch, but she preferred doing that with Detective Jane Rizzoli and her best friend was not available at the moment. So, Maura was left to her own devices and she had no desire to eat anything for some reason. She was rather bored since she was done with her work, including mountains of paperwork that she had put off. There were no bodies on her table, so anything hands-on was out. She tried some online shoe shopping, but the ennui remained.
She did not want her mind to be idle because that led to dark places. She had been trying to forget her most recent brush with death and heartache by a psychopath that she refused to name, even in her mind, but the memories would sneak up on her when all was still and quiet. A tremble in her stomach told her that the emotions were already trying to ambush her. Taking a deep breath, she was able to push the quiver down briefly.
"This might require hands on experience." The good doctor pulled away from her desk. She grabbed her purse while checking the time. She still had forty minutes for lunch, so she should be able to do some kind of shopping in that time, especially since there was a shopping center close by. "I can go buy that book my father recommended."
Book shopping did not compare to the thrill of shoe shopping, but Doctor Isles would never say that aloud because she knew that Jane endlessly her about it. Book shopping was still an adventure in its own right and it would definitely keep her occupied. She just had to steer clear of a certain bookstore because he had been in it once. She might find some real treasures and be able to share a gem or two with Jane. Of course, Jane would be gruff, pretending not to care, but Maura knew it was an act. She had purchased books for Jane in the past and discovered them under the detective's bed, worn, dog-eared, and clearly loved as far as books went, even though Jane acted as if she never read them.
The bookstore was hardly a bustling hive of activity, which saddened Maura. What's to become of the world when books are obsolete? While she was aware that people continued to read, she still felt like the paper-printed word empowered the masses because not everyone could afford an e-reader or tablet. But, it does give the people that own those things access to more information than ever before. Does it somehow balance out?
Shaking away her musings, the doctor scanned the shelves for the book she wanted. She found a few nuggets of knowledge before she made it to the appropriate section. She spotted the piece while she was several feet away and noticed that the one she saw was the last of it's kind. She grabbed for it as soon as it was within arm's reach. Only, she was not the only one that reached for it.
Another hand landed right on top of her own – a notably masculine hand. It was surprisingly soft and well-groomed with clean, buffed nails. Her eyes wandered up the arm to see who the hand belonged to. Wide, surprised cerulean eyes greeted her, along with an angular, smiling face. She would not be surprised if her hazel eyes were just as wide.
"Oh," Maura said, not sure why the noise escaped her, though. Not the most elegant thing I've ever uttered.
"Hello," he said, his voice was smooth as the silk his well-cut, navy blue suit was made of.
They stared at each other for a moment, neither letting go of the book. Maura laughed at a bit, hoping it was not as awkward as it sounded to her. He smiled more at her, so she assumed things were fine.
"Interested in the culture of the ancient Aztec, I see," he commented, slightly amused as his eyes seemed to sparkle. She knew there was a scientific explanation for her perception, but she could not for the life of her remember what it was.
"Well, yes. My father recommended this book," she explained, staring into those azure pools, but subconsciously keeping a grip on the book. She would not give it up without a fight because her father had been the one to tell her to look into it. She hoped that thought helped her keep her wits about her, too. She refused to go to pieces over a guy again, especially one she did not know anything about. "I suppose you're also interested in the ancient Aztecs."
He nodded. "My friend recommended it to me. He told me that the city planning and architecture detail would grab me. Why did your father recommend it for you?" He used his hand to brush back a rebellious sandy blond lock from his smooth face.
"Probably because of the ritualistic human sacrifices," she replied before she realized what she was saying. She laughed a little, too, and then immediately wondered if that seemed creepy. She could not tell by his slightly stunned expression, but he chuckled and saved her from being mortified at having said that aloud.
"Either you or your father is a very interesting person." He did not sound at all bothered by what she said.
"I think we both are."
He smiled. "Well, I'd never stand between a shared love of culture with a father and daughter." Her face lit up as he seemed ready to surrender the book, but he would not go gentle into that good night, much to her delight, as much as she loathed to admit that even in her own mind. "But, in exchange for the book, would you do me the honor of going to dinner with me tonight?" he requested with boyish, hopeful smile.
Maura hoped the smile on her face was not as large as it felt. She wanted to "play it cool," as Jane would say. Nothing sent the wrong message like over-enthusiasm. But, he's so cute! Clearly, she had forgotten that she was supposed to have her guard up, but his gentle manner put her very much at ease, which had not happened in a few months when men were involved.
"Well, since you've proven that chivalry isn't dead and you've allotted me this connection to my father, I suppose I could manage one dinner with you tonight," she teased. She did not have any plans with Jane and figured that she would have just stayed in anyway. She figured it would be good to do something normal, too. It should help her.
She could have sworn that he jumped a little at her response, which made her smile. Again, his cerulean eyes seemed to twinkle. He practically preened in front of her, which was adorable, but it only lasted a second. Almost instantly, he was totally serious again, and quite dapper.
"I've been quite rude to you. I haven't introduced myself to you yet while already inviting you out. How awful of me. I'm Alistair Burns. You are?" he asked with a charming smile.
Her eyes lit up. "I'm Doctor Maura Isles."
He drew his mouth down and nodded, showing that he was impressed. "A doctor? I get the feeling I shouldn't make a joke about you making my heart race or having you check my pulse. You've probably heard them all."
Maura felt her face go hot as she thought about the last pulse that she checked. Her heart raced for a moment and her chest hurt briefly. Shaking that dreadful memory away, she refocused on Alistair and laughed, again hoping that it did not sound awkward. He smiled again, so she guessed that everything was all right. Her body settled down and she took a low, calming breath.
"Let me give you my card and you can call me to finalize the details for dinner," Alistair proposed.
"Oh, yes, and let me give my number in case something comes up," Maura replied. As they exchanged information, she thought about how she could not wait to tell Jane how productive her trip to the bookstore had proven to be. I'm sure she'll be happy to see that I'm getting back on the proverbial horse.
Detective Jane Rizzoli stomped up the stairs of the busy building. She sighed as she dodged several people while moving down the hall like a shark on a mission. She just wanted to get this meeting out of the way. She came to the office of the new assistant district attorney that would be working with the homicide division. She was not looking forward to it considering what they had gone through with their last ADA.
She found the office that she was looking for after going through a sea of people and a row of doors that all looked the same. It did not have a nameplate on it yet, unlike the other offices in the building. She knocked on the door, but there was no answer, which caused a frown to settle on her face.
"This is bullshit. Who the hell arranges a meeting and doesn't show up in their own fucking office?" Jane grumbled and then she heard a mumbled voice inside. She leaned in closer to the door to see if she was going crazy. Thankfully, her insanity had not stepped up a notch and she was not having auditory hallucinations.
Knocking louder, Jane waited for permission to enter that did not come. A growl escaped her as what little patience that she possessed abandoned her. At least she did not kick the door in when she opened it. She smiled to herself. Maura would be proud. She stepped into the small office to see a woman sitting at the desk with her head down and a hand on her forehead. It looked like she was speaking on a cell phone.
"Madre dios!" she groaned and ran her hand through straight ebony hair that was cascading down her back. Glancing up, her dark brown eyes went wide when she noticed Jane. She grimaced, which made Jane feel a little better.
"Should I come back after you're done with your little phone call?" Jane huffed, folding her arms across her chest and glaring at the rather unprofessional attorney.
"If you could just kill me right now, it'd be a huge favor," she replied as she ended her phone call without even bidding the person on the other end any sort of a farewell. Sighing, she ran her hand through her hair again.
"I don't think killing a government employee this close to the courthouse is a good idea, though I am tempted," Jane remarked.
She frowned. "Just when I thought the person with the gun would be the solution to all my problems. Just as well I suppose, since I'd hate to ruin this suit."
The odd sense of humor earned an unexpected chuckle from Jane. "Good because I don't think anybody would buy it if I said I shot the newest ADA by request."
"Well, you could always plant drugs on me to make it seem like a good kill," she quipped, drawing another laugh from the detective. "Please, Detective Rizzoli, have a seat." She motioned to the chair in front of her.
Jane eased down. "So, Assistant District Attorney Ariela Ortiz, what do you go by?"
"Ariela is fine." The new ADA waved the question off. "I like to think we can be professional on a first name basis. It worked in California, anyway."
"A world away from Boston," Jane said.
"So I'm learning. Now, let's talk about this case, so I don't come across as an asshole my first case in and I don't blow all of your hard work to pieces."
"I'm on board with that."
Ariela laughed and nodded. They got down to business, covering everything that Jane felt Ariela needed to know about the case. It would Ariela's first case as Jane knew. Ariela did not look so young that she should be trying her first case, but the way her phone kept going off, Jane would not be surprised if the ADA was a teenager. She was professional enough to not answer at least.
"I hope you put your phone on vibrate in court. I don't know how they do it in California, but judges get annoyed here if a lawyer's phone keeps going off," Jane commented.
"Don't worry. I won't be this popular by this time tomorrow," Ariela remarked with a light laugh. She rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"Oh, no? Then why so popular today?" Jane could not help the question. Being a detective made her naturally nosy. The noisiness had to be genetics considering who her mother was.
"I have tickets to the game tonight and everybody and their mother wants to go with me. I don't even know half of these people or how they got my number. The other half are people who I wouldn't take to the center of the fucking Earth if I had tickets."
"The game?" Jane echoed and then she glanced around the room. She noticed a Kobe Bryant bobble-head doll on the bookshelf. "You're a Lakers' fan?" she asked incredulously.
Ariela laughed. "Yeah, I know, I'm a horrible monster."
"Yeah, you are! How dare you be a Lakers fan in Celtics territory!" the detective joked with mock outrage.
Ariela hung her head in shame. "I know. I'm just a poor surfer girl who doesn't know any better. I'm also from LA. I'm a Lakers and Clippers fan."
"Both?" With the expression on Jane's face, she might as well have said that she sold drugs to children and then ate them.
The lawyer threw her hands up as if surrendering. "It was a matter of self-presentation because my mother's side of the family roots for the Clippers and mi padre is a Lakers fan. All Hell would break loose if you cheered for the wrong one. Spanish curse words flying, kids hiding under table snickering or crying depending on who's winning, and tacos everywhere," Ariela joked, her eyes shining as she laughed at her description.
"Sounds like my nonna's house when the Red Sox and Pilgrims played each other. My uncles would have kill each other with meatballs over baseball if my nonna wasn't around," Jane chuckled. "They only seemed to know Italian when they were cursing each other out."
"In my house, they only knew English when cursing each other out. Well, some of them anyway. Us kids used to get a kick out of it because we'd back talk in English and wouldn't get popped for it because nobody knew what we were saying."
Jane's brow wrinkled as something hit her. "How the hell did you get tickets to that game anyway? I know guys ready to kill their own mothers and still can't get seats."
Ariela shook her head again and put her hand on her forehead. "Hence my phone being blown up and everybody giving me a headache. As for how, my bitch of an ex-girlfriend. They were supposed to be a 'welcome to Boston' gift and ended up being a 'fuck you, I'm not giving these back, you cheating bitch' gift."
"Girlfriend?" Jane echoed and very nearly uttered the stupidest thing possible, which was that Ariela did not look like a lesbian. But, of course, she had met plenty of lesbians when she was undercover, so she thankfully kept that in.
Ariela shrugged. "I think of her more along the lines of daughter of Satan right now. I probably should get a priest to bless anything she touched, now that I think about it. I moved out here to start a life with her only to find la perra was banging anyone with a vagina and our so-called friends are lying to me to cover it up. So, I'm going to enjoy this game no matter how much she whines about getting the tickets back or how much our friends try to act like I have 'fucking idiot' written across my forehead. They're out of their fucking minds if they really think I'd ever take one of them to this game. Fuck her and them and the little space of Hell they call their own."
Jane almost cheered. "That's the spirit. Enjoy the game just to spite her, even though the Celtics are going to kick the Lakers asses."
"Whaaaaat?" Ariela purposely dragged the word as her eyes went wide. "Does Boston air just make you all crazy?"
Jane smiled. "Funny, I was gonna say the same thing about all of that smog in LA. The Celtics have seventeen championships under their belts."
Ariela snorted. "Only one more than the Lakers and what have the Celtics won recently beyond headaches?" She seemed finished, but the way her forehead scrunched up and her eyes squinted, it was almost like she got an idea. "You seem like you like basketball. You want to come with me?"
The detective blinked. "To the game?"
"Yeah, to the game. You're clearly a basketball fan and I don't have any friends in Boston yet. Plus, with any luck, we'll be working together for a while, so might as well get to know each other."
Jane tried hard not to grimace, but she failed miserably. "This is a huge game. I'm sure you know at least one person you could take."
Ariela shook her head. "I don't know anybody worth taking. She got the friends in the divorce, mostly because I didn't want those assholes." She paused for a moment. "This isn't because of the gay thing, is it?"
The fact that it was just blurted out caused Jane to balk. "No! I know gay people." She groaned and put her head in her hands as soon as that clichéd piece of crap left her mouth. "For my next stupid line, I'll tell you that some of my best friends are gay."
Thankfully, Ariela laughed. "To be honest, I've heard the rumors about you and your work-wife."
It was Jane's turn to snort. "Those rumors were going around before I had a work-wife, but are totally untrue. I'm very much hetero as much as the ass-hats at my job don't want to believe it. Oh, by the way, the work-wife is Doctor Maura Isles. You'll meet her soon enough."
"Yeah, she's on my list right after I talk to your partner. Now, back to this business of the game. Look, we both know being a lesbian while a wiser lifestyle decision, it isn't contagious and I'm friendless. You know you wanna see this game," Ariela taunted her. "Center court, one tier up from being on the floor."
Jane groaned. "You don't play fair."
The smile on her golden-brown face was downright devilish. "I don't want to go by myself and I think you'd be fun to hang out with. It's not a date or anything. You'd be doing me a favor."
The detective let loose another snort. "Oh, please."
"It's very true, but I guess you don't want to see the Celtics get their asses kicked by the Lakers." Ariela shrugged.
"You're practically making me beg and we both know you wanna go. Just give in because we both also know you'll regret this if you let this chance pass you by."
Jane groaned while throwing her head back. "This is why none of my friends are lawyers."
Ariela laughed. "Meet you outside at 7:30."
It's a good thing I didn't have any plans with Maura. I might've resented the hell out of her for a while if I missed this chance. Jane shrugged and laughed.
"I'm glad you're on our side, Counselor. I hope you're this much of a hound in the courtroom," Jane remarked.
The attorney scoffed. "I'm worse there. But, you'll thank me for this."
Jane chuckled because she did not doubt that. They exchanged cell phone numbers just in case and agreed on where they would meet up outside of T. D. Garden.
"Nice doing business to you, Jane," Ariela joked as the detective opened the door to leave.
"Consider this the first and last time you take advantage of me," Jane retorted.
"We're just getting started. The Celtics still play the Clippers this year In Boston. I can't go alone."
"You do remember I have a gun, right?" Jane teased with a good-natured grin. "I also know a ton of ways to get away murder."
Ariela laughed. "I'll just have to haunt you then and point out every time the Lakers kick the Celtics asses." Jane rolled her eyes and had to leave as Ariela's next appointment arrived.
"So, how was your meeting with the new ADA?" Maura asked as Jane paced in her office. She noted that Jane rarely sat down in her office anymore after deeming her furniture uncomfortable. For once, she considered that Jane was not complaining for the sake of complaining.
"I liked her after I got over the fact that she was on the phone when I showed up. She has a weird sense of humor, but she was on top of the case. You'd think she was the original ADA on the case and she shared a lot more of what she planned to do in court than most other prosecutors I've worked with. She invited me to the Celtics game tonight," Jane replied.
Maura kept a straight face, even though Jane's answer was all over the place. "Are you going to go?"
Jane shrugged. "Yeah, might as well get to know her since she seems petty determined to stick around with us."
The doctor smiled. "You seem confident about her."
"Maybe because she just moved to Boston, so I doubt she's in the pocket of any drug dealers and probably won't kill my witnesses. Or so I hope, anyway." Jane chuckled.
"One would think it statistically impossible that someone who has sworn to uphold the law would work with a drug dealer and murder a witness right after you had an ADA that did the same."
Jane laughed even more. "Only you would look at it that way. I wonder what the numbers are for something like that." She put her finger to her chin briefly and then she threw her hands out. "No, no, no! Don't tell me!"
Maura laughed at Jane's immature behavior. She decided to spare Jane, just this once, mostly because she wanted to tell Jane about her trip to the bookstore. She also had to show Jane the books she purchased for the detective.
"So, what have you been up to since I had to leave?" Jane asked curiously. "Didn't get bored without me, did ya?" A teasing smile settled on her face, but slightly begging expression appeared in her dark brown eyes.
Maura felt her face light up. Just what I was waiting for! "I went to the bookstore and got so many books!"
Jane gave her an amused half-smirk; a look that said Maura was behaving cutely. The doctor never really knew how to react to that look, especially since she was certain that Jane did not know she was doing it. So, Maura did what she always did when this happened – continued on with what she was saying with only a slight pause.
"So, I bought you some books," Maura said, which caused Jane to whine as expected. She liked to pretend that she did not read, but Maura knew better. Jane enjoyed curling up with a book and Jo Friday on a rainy day. "I also met a man." That earned her an even bigger groan.
"Who's this clown?"
"Jane!" Maura scolded her. I know she's acting this way just because of him, but I hope she doesn't really feel that way about every man I meet. I just want everything to go back to normal. I want her to see that I'm all right.
The brunette sucked her teeth. "Sorry." She forced a clearly fake smile onto her face. "Who is he?"
Maura smiled despite Jane's attitude. "Alistair Burns."
"Oh, god! He's Mr. Burns!" Jane groaned more.
Maura was certain that she was missing something, but pressed on. "Yes, he is Mr. Burns. He was very sweet and charming. We reached for and grabbed the same book. He released it and proposed dinner. I'm going out with him tonight." She gave an impish smile.
The detective sighed and the sound cut into Maura. She knew the sound was because Jane was actually afraid for her. Maura was trying to put the bad times behind her, but Jane remembered and held on. It made Jane wary and suspicions of any man that came around Maura now.
"Tonight? You know I could come with you. Double date," Jane offered.
Maura's face scrunched up. "You don't have a date and you agreed to go to that game with the new ADA. Go enjoy your game. I'll be fine. Alistair is all right. Look …" She googled him for Jane, even though she had done that when she got back from the bookstore.
Jane moved to look at the computer monitor. Maura brought up a page that showed Alistair's charitable works with a non-profit organization. Jane read silently, nodding to herself.
"Make sure you go somewhere crowded and don't be alone with him," Jane ordered.
Maura frowned. "I'll be fine. You just enjoy your game."
Jane frowned, too. "I will, but you call me if you need help."
"You don't need to constantly watch me. I'll be fine."
"Humor me, Maura. Call me if anything happens or if you need me, okay? I don't care what it might be, but if you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable or anything, I want you to call me. I don't want anything to happen to you."
Jane's words and the fact that she put her strong hand on Maura's shoulder, touched the doctor enough for her to nod. Jane breathed a sigh of relief and Maura smiled up at her while patting the loving hand on her shoulder. Something seemed to roll around insider of her. She had felt it before, but was never able to identify it. It continued to elude her.
Next time: Maura's date and Jane's game.
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