A/N: This a set of shorts "between the eps" of season 2. Helped me to give S2 some context. Please – enjoy and review! Rating: M for language and sexual situations.
The JOB: FIVE CONVERSATIONS
Summary: Jane and Maura try to build a relationship around the demands on the lives of a cop and a coroner.
"God, this job just kills every relationship."
-Det. Jane Rizzoli
Maura woke, and the bed was empty. It was pitch-dark and she felt a moment of alarm as she patted the other side of the bed and found no Jane. It was a dream. She could feel sadness begin in her, a tiny, distant wail that threatened to become a deafening scream. The tears had begun when she heard movement in the room, and a form lay down in the bed beside her.
"Maura? Did I wake you?"
"You weren't here. I was a little scared."
"I just had to hit the john. I'm back, sweetie."
"Can I cuddle with you? What time is it?"
"It's just after 4:30. C'mere. Go back to sleep. " Maura laid her head on Jane's shoulder, and Jane's arm snaked around her. As she was drifting off, a thought occurred to her. "You called me sweetie."
She felt, rather than heard, Jane's laugh. "Damn. I guess I did. Please don't…"
"I'll never tell."
Maura made omelettes for breakfast. Creamy, cheesy, with a hint of fines herbes. And bacon and big glasses of orange juice, and coffee. Jane zeroed in on the coffee, but then was transported by the flavor of the omelette. "You can cook for me anytime. This is amazing!"
Maura simpered a little at the compliment, allowed a bit of pride to show. "Thank you. I hope I can cook for you a lot more."
They said nothing for quite a while, while their eyes conversed about all the implications of what Maura had said. Jane fiddled with her fork, chasing bits of omelette and bacon around her plate. "Maura, we need to get serious for a minute here."
"Jane, I took last night very seriously."
"So did I – but that's not the problem. Look, as far as I'm concerned, what happened last night means we're a couple. I love you, Maura, maybe for a while I have. So – we get up, have breakfast. Read the paper, walk the dog, feed the tur…tortoise."
"That's right. I'm looking forward to that."
And then I'd get a call."
"That happens all the time."
"And I'd go."
"And you'd worry."
"Well…I'm not sure…Maura, I love you so much – but I'm not sure I'm ready to have someone worry about me all the time. I'm not sure I'm ready for that responsib…"
Mura's face changed in an instant, from quiet contentment to something approaching ferocity.
"You just shut it, Jane Rizzoli!"
Maura leaned across the island so that she was almost nose to nose with Jane. Her face was pink. "Now you listen to me. I love you. I intend to do so for a very long time. And if you think I won't worry about you and the job, you can either get yourself another lover or get yourself another job! It is a lover's privilege, it is her right, to worry about her partner. You do a dangerous job. I know that. I know that if you leave the house without me I may never see you alive again. When you go out to serve a warrant, or do a canvas, or chase some perp down an alley, I'm going to be here, or at my office, with my phone in my hand waiting for your call. And I'm not going to feel good about it. But I will never say a word. Not until the job is done and maybe not even then. I will never expect you to play it safe because of me. Never. But don't you think every cop, every firefighter, doesn't have someone who worries about them? Why should you be free of that burden? It comes with the job. It comes with loving someone. Being a cop isn't for sissies. Neither is being in love."
Maura paused for breath, and shot Jane a "look-what-you-made-me-do" glare from past her disheveled locks. Jane tried to interject.
"Maura, sweetie, I didn't…"
"Wait! I'm not done. And don't you sweetie me, not until you get this! You forget that on a lot of those calls, I will be there, too. And I put myself at risk. There are hundreds of bad guys out there that I've testified against, that my work helped to lock up. I'm at risk all the time. You'd better worry about me, or I'll wonder if you mean what you say. I don't mind if you worry. I want you to. And I will worry. Because I love you."
Jane was flabbergasted. She couldn't speak for several minutes. Finally she asked, "Are you done?"
Maura pushed her hair away from her face, breathed deeply. "Yes. End of sermon."
Jane said, almost in a whisper, "You're absolutely right. I'll try to remember that."
Maura said with energy, "You'd better." Her face relaxed and she said, in her normal tone, "Would you help me do the dishes, please?"
Jane said "Sure." But her brain was racing.
Lesson number one, she thought. Don't play games with Dr. Maura Isles.
II. Not Safe for Work
Maura and Jane came back from the market in the afternoon, with a load of fresh produce and meat. As they were unpacking and storing, Maura stopped with a roll of goat cheese in her hand.
"I owe you an explanation."
Jane, in a sulky mood, just grunted. Maura put the goat cheese down and gave Jane a hug from behind. "Jane, that wasn't about you. I just think we need to be very careful."
"Maura, you just shook me off! I took you hand as we were walking and you just pulled away like I had cooties. "
"I know and I'm sorry. But there's a reason I did that. You sound like you're back in junior high."
"Look, Maura, I finally get my head organized, I'm comfortable with who I am, I'm in love with the most beautiful woman there is, and you want me to hide it? You won't even touch me in public? What is this?"
Maura put her hands on Jane's shoulders, turned her so they faced each other.
Maura put her arms around Jane's waist again, but this time rested her head against Jane's breast. "Darling Jane. I would be happy to let the whole world know what we have. I would stand on the steps of the statehouse and shout it out to the tourists. I would buy ads on TV. I would pay for billboards on every expressway – 'Maura Isles loves Jane Rizzoli', in red letters ten feet high, and a picture of us in the hottest kiss we could manage. I'd…" Jane was smiling, trying to stifle a laugh, trying to keep her mad on, with poor success. "I am proud of you, proud to be your lover, and not at all ashamed of who we are. But we can't.
"I have this recurring nightmare – daymare? – anyway, it's bad – That you and I work together to make a very tight case against some creep. I'm on the stand, laying out my evidence under direct, orderly and clearly, as I always do, and I can see the jury is being convinced. You're about to testify about the nature of the crime and to interpret my evidence. The state has it tacked down…"
"Do you mean 'nailed'?"
"Um…yes. Nailed. And then the defense comes up for his cross, and the first thing he asks is 'What is your relationship with Det. Rizzoli?' and I answer "We're colleagues.' Which is true. And then he asks 'Is it true that you are close friends with Det. Rizzoli?' and of course I have to answer yes. We are. And then he asks, ' Isn't it true that you have an intimate sexual relationship with Det. Rizzoli?' And of course the prosecutor objects, but the judge overrules, and I have to answer. I have to tell the truth. And the defense lawyer asks how my evidence can be trusted, how can we know that I didn't manipulate my findings to favor your case because we're lovers. And all the evidence I've collected gets thrown out on grounds of bias and the guy goes free. That would be a mess, and you and I might not have jobs afterwards."
Jane was thoughtful, holding her lower lip between her fingers. "Do you really think it could be that bad?"
"You've had a lot of time in court. We both know that juries are funny things. Even if our relationship wasn't admissible, the jury would be affected by having it mentioned. "
Jane had forgotten her little tantrum. "I see your point. Just because same-sex marriage is legal here, doesn't mean that people like gay couples any better."
"Yes. It's prejudice that would be an issue, not the law."
"So…what are we going to do about this?"
"Keep it a secret."
"I suppose. If anyone gossips, that's it. Both of us lose our professional credibility."
"Yeah. Not even family?"
"I would say no. Just keep it between us."
"Yeeaahh…especially at work."
"Especially at work."
Jane puffed out her cheeks. "Whew. This is going to be a challenge."
Maura flowed up against Jane, kissed her throat, then kissed Jane's lips thoroughly and warmly. She put her head against Jane's chest.
"There are always," she said, "ways to make it easier."
III. When I Fell in Love
"Whoooaah…that was sooooo good."
"Yes…ah…I have to get my breath back. Oh…Oh…there. That's better. You have a very gentle touch, Jane. Gentle but aggressive."
"Isn't that a contr…Oh, never mind." Jane rolled on her back, and Maura tucked herself into the crook of Jane's shoulder. They were contentedly silent for a time.
"Maura? Hon, are you awake?"
"Mmmhh. Sort of."
"Maura, do you mind if we talk about Hoyt for a minute?"
Mrmph…H…for heaven's sake why?"
"You asked me a question yesterday and I gave you a smart-ass answer. I just thought of what I should have said. But I have to talk about Hoyt to do it."
"Maybe you don't. Let me guess." Maura sat up in the bed, and was totally unconscious that she was naked. Under those circumstances Jane found it hard to concentrate, so she just said, "you hate guessing." Then she'd just let Maura talk.
"This isn't really a guess. It's a conclusion based on evidence."
"Okay. Let's hear it."
"Now, I don't remember this very well. Hoyt had you down and was cutting you, and I know I was screaming" – Maura shuddered – "and then I felt as if I had been kicked in the head."
"That was the taser."
"I know. I had burns from it. After that I don't remember much very clearly. But I do know – I'm certain – that you yelled something like "Don't hurt her". I remember a lot of noise, and a lot of commotion and gunfire, and the next thing I remember is sitting up with Frost supporting me, and Korsak was holding you and Hoyt was on the floor with a scalpel in his heart. Am I right?"
"That's the way I remember most of it. There's a lot that's still not clear in my head."
"But you defended me. Me. You fought like an animal to protect me. Is that what you mean?"
"Well… I don't quite remember that part, but…yeah."
"And that's when you discovered you were in love with me. And that's the question I asked you yesterday that you dodged."
"Very clever, Dr. Isles."
"Elementary, my dear Jane." Maura tried to bow, thought better of it when she remembered she was naked and in lotus on the bed.
"That's true, and I'm sorry about that – yesterday, I mean. I was being a jerk. You kind of surprised me with the question, because I hadn't thought about it. It was something that was never going to happen, so I just tried not to think about it. But here's the thing, Maura…"
"What, Jane? Are you all right?"
"Yeah…I shouldn't think about this. It makes me want to be sick. But…it's the truth. When Hoyt had me down, was choking me, cutting me…I was terrified. I'd never been so terrified. But…I was…tired. I felt this sort of lazy warmth take over my body, and I just wanted to give up. Just to be over. Not to have to worry about Hoyt ever again. To just let him kill me and get it over with.
"And then I heard you scream, and beg him not to hurt you, and everything changed.
"I couldn't let him hurt you. I couldn't let him humiliate you. It didn't matter what it cost me. I didn't think any of this. It's just what I remember taking over in my guts. And the next thing I knew I had my hands around a scalpel and it was buried in Hoyt's chest and I knew you were safe from him. He couldn't hurt you ever again. And that was what mattered."
During this whole statement, Maura's face became more and more distressed, until she had her mouth covered with her hands and tears were flowing from her eyes. When Jane was done she said simply "Oh, love. You never told me this."
"It was over. I didn't want to remember. All I wanted to take from it was that I loved you and I would do anything – anything – to keep you safe. Loving you was…energizing, it gave me a reason to keep moving, living. And then I realized that it was hopeless, that you were just out of my league, that a woman like you could never love anyone like me."
"What do you mean, a woman like me…"
"Well…just look at you. My god. And that brain of yours…I love how you know stuff, how you figure things out. I could never…"
"Jane…how many times do I have to scold you about this?"
"None, I hope."
"You are gorgeous. You are smart. You are the best cop in Boston. You have such a fantastic sense of justice, of what's right. And you never let rules stand in the way of helping people. You should never run yourself down."
"I don't know…I'm just…"
Jane looked at Maura with an expression of what Maura could only – with some embarrassment – call adoration. I have to be very careful, she thought. I could hurt her very badly, because she really would do anything for me. And I can be very selfish at times.
Maura put her hand on Jane's cheek. "And that's when I knew you loved me. Really knew."
Jane's face was like a little girl who'd just been given a treat, and Maura knew she'd said the right thing. Exactly the right thing.
IV. Oh, Daddy
Jane Rizzoli slammed the front door, threw her papers on the coffee table, sat down on the couch with her face in her hands. She felt like crying, but refused to let that happen. This was, after, partly a professional matter and however much it might touch her personal life, she had to be professional about it.
Be professional about it.
She could tell Maura wasn't home yet. She could always tell when Maura was in the house, even if she was in another room when Jane came in. It wasn't anything obvious; Maura parked her car in the garage, closed the garage door, and always left her bag and purse on the love seat in her little den. Maura was very much a creature of domestic habit.
No, it was something more subtle; maybe it was her aroma, the way she left that feminine scent, sweet yet musky, behind her as she walked through a room. Or maybe something else. Jane always knew when Maura was nearby.
And that was a bad thing. Right now.
Maura came in through the garage, came toward Jane with smile on her face. It didn't matter what her day had been like; she always smiled when she saw Jane at home. A smile, a hug, and a kiss. Always. Jane stood, took Maura in her arms, and kissed her.
Goddammit, I am going to miss this.
Kissing Maura broke down barriers, and she started to tear up. Maura, sensitive to all of Jane's moods, backed away, and said, "Crying? Why are you crying?"
"I'm not. Not really."
"Those are tears, Jane. Lachrymal gland activity." She handed Jane a tissue from the box on the table.
Jane wiped her eyes. "Nothing gets past you, does it."
"Sarcasm. Someday I'll understand why you use it so much. What's the matter? Sit with me. Talk to me."
They sat on the couch, Maura holding Jane's hands. Jane squirmed loose to pick up the papers she had tossed on the table. "These came around today. We've been getting a lot of heat from the FBI about Paddy."
"Paddy Doyle? My biological father?"
"That's him. The FBI has moved him up to number one on the fugitives list. Apparently they think getting him is a top priority. Since they want the murder charges to stick, homicide is involved."
"Are you involved?"
She put the papers in Maura's hand. "Here. Read this."
Maura looked at the pages, became alarmed. "Jane, you shouldn't be showing this to me."
"I know. Restricted security. But you have to know."
"Maximum effort from local law enforcement to facilitate the apprehension of Patrick Doyle…investigative personnel from the following departments are to be assigned to Special Task Forces…"
"Read the other one."
"Duties of Special Task Force personnel…"
"Look at item three."
"'…ongoing surveillance of all known associates and relatives of subject person are to be coordinated between Bureau investigators and investigators from local and regional law enforc…' Jane! What's going on here?"
"Just what it says. Anyone having anything to do with Doyle is going to be watched. 'Associates and relatives. I wonder who they could mean by that. 'Relatives'. Who could that be…let me think…"
"Jane, this is no time for sarcasm."
"I'm sorry. But this is worse than you think. You will be watched. And I'll be working with the watchers."
"Is this even legal?"
"I'm not sure. It sure smells unconstitutional. But it's my orders, and until it's tested in court, I have to go with it. I'm a cop. And you're a target."
"But no one knows that Paddy Doyle is my father. Just you, and Det. Frost and Det. Korsak."
"They'll find out. Your records have already been hacked into once. And the FBI doesn't even have to do this covertly. They can just subpoena everything in your office. They'll find it."
"You're very distraught, Jane. Here." Maura put her arms around Jane and pulled her close. After a moment of resistance, Jane gave in and let her lover hold her. It made the rest a little easier. A little.
"Maura, there's more."
"So tell me."
"You won't like it."
"You do things I don't like every day. I still love you, you know."
Jane smiled a tiny smile, and snuggled closer to Maura. "I know. I love you, too. This is…awful."
"We'll get through it."
"This new Governor got elected on a tough-on-crime campaign. That's okay, I voted for him because of it. But he needs a high-profile case to prove he means it. Paddy Doyle is high-profile, for a mob boss. Everybody in Southie knows his name. Hell, half the state knows about Paddy Doyle."
"So this is political."
"Oh, it's more than that. Maura, Paddy should be in jail. There's admissible evidence for five murders, suspicion of ten more, and he controls mob operations all over that add up to about ten to fifty million dollars a year. Busting Paddy would make a big dent in the Irish mob."
Maura tightened her hold on Jane. "Jane, I've always said that. Father or no, he should be convicted. Why is this a problem? You're trying to catch a bad guy. The fact that I'm biologically related to him means nothing. Like you said, he's the sperm donor. That's all."
"He is looking out for you."
"I know. I Don't know how to feel about that. Grateful, in one way. But I also wish he'd get out of my life and stay out." Maura kissed the top of Jane's hair. "I already have someone who I know will look out for me."
Jane tugged at Maura's arm. "Let me up, baby.'
Jane's eyes were dark, her mouth tight and thin. She took Maura's hands. "Maura…Maura, Cavanaugh ordered me to serve on the Special Task Force. Me and Korsak."
Maura was shocked. "You? Why you? Can't you say no?"
"No. It's a duty assignment and the only way I could refuse it would be to show cause. What should I have done? Told Cavanaugh that I was sleeping with Paddy Doyle's daughter? Oh, yeah, that'd really go over big!" Jane was almost shouting.
Maura's voice dropped to a growl. "Well then why you?"
"Dammit, Maura, lemme get this out! Cavanaugh thinks I know more about Doyle than the other detectives. I don't know why. Maybe because we worked that docks case. But I really don't know. I'm stuck with it, okay? There's nothing I can do about it!"
"Well, there better be!" They were both on their feet, face to face, almost nose to nose. Jane seized Maura by the shoulders and shook her slightly.
Jane yelled, "Maura, will you listen to me!"
Maura squirmed from Jane's grasp and turned her back. "So you're going to work in a Task Force that's going to investigate me – have me followed, photographed, hack my computers, examine my bank accounts, record what I watch on TV – that's your job now, isn't it? Isn't it?"
Jane stood, rooted, desolate. Quietly, she said. "Yes, it is. Part of it, anyway. Maura, sweetie, this isn't how I wanted this to go."
Maura turned and she was crying. "How did you want it to go?"
"I've been working on this for a while, and as we get closer and closer to Doyle I get more and more tense, more and more afraid. What happens if Doyle shows up here again? Do I arrest him? Call for backup? What if he runs? What if he tries to shoot me? Maura, any one of us could put Doyle down. And every night I'm in bed next to you, loving you. And the idea of what is happening in my job, what I could be doing to you, is making me crazy. It's all in a muddle. I can't separate it any more.
"We need to…take a break. I just can't live here, live with you, sleep in your bed, and pursue your father and you as parties in the biggest criminal case I've ever seen. I just don't have the stamina for it. I need some distance between you and Paddy Doyle and me."
Ever so softly, Maura asked "What kind of break?"
"Ma's living in my old apartment. I can move back there with her. We can still be colleagues, and I'll try to keep you in the loop as much as I can. I said to you once, 'friends tell each other'. I'll try to do that. But I can't be your lover. Not now. It's all too much."
"Oh god, Jane…" Maura's hand went to her mouth, and the tears ran down her cheeks.
"My only other choice is quit being a cop, and I'm not ready for that."
"So…are you leaving me?"
"Not forever. Just until I can get out of this business with Doyle. I'll come back. And we can get together again."
Maura folded her arms across her chest. "I hope you do. I hope we can. But you know how fragile things can be when there's that much distance."
"Maura, I don't want…"
Coldly, Maura said "You'd better start collecting your things."
"I don't have to leave tonight."
Maura was as cold as a granite statue. "No. But first thing in the morning."
"I'll go pack. Jesus, I hate it when you get like this!"
"Like what? Like the way I feel when you're about to desert me? When your job becomes more important than me? How do you expect me to be?"
"I thought…Maura, you do the same kind of work. I thought you'd understand."
"Maybe I do. But what I don't understand is why."
"I thought I explained that. I thought…Oh, fuck it! You're acting like every wife of every cop who had to be away from home because of the job! You just don't get it!"
"Damn you, Jane! It's not just the job! You're all hung up on Paddy Doyle being my father. It's like you can't touch me because I have his genes! You're treating me like I'm…contaminated, or something…and you're going to harass me and spy on me because of it. You're going to reject me because of it. It's not fair! It's…not…fair."
"No Maura, it isn't fair. It's not fucking fair at all."
They stood there in silence for what seemed forever, each one wanting to shatter the wall between them, but neither dared take the chance.
"God, Maura, this hurts," whispered Jane.
"I know. Me, too."
"We can be together tonight." Jane's tone was one of apology.
But the bed that night was too large, and they did not find each other; Jane and Maura slept together, alone.
And Jane was gone when Maura awoke.
Strangely (to her mind), she did not cry.
She wasn't ready for that yet.
V. It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time
Frost and Korsak had gone to set up the wire, and Jane was pulling all the scattered fire records back together. She and Maura were alone in the room; the tension between them, diminished in the presence of others, was only amplified by their aloneness. Jane never would have thought she could feel more alone and lonely when Maura was in the room than when she was by herself.
She tried to break the ice. "What made you think of this?"
"It's logical. I'm the target. Now that Craig Hill is dead, who else would they try for? I'm the logical bait. I just have to hope my backup is on the bat."
"'on the ball', Maura". Jane tried to hide her affectionate smile.
"I know I have trouble with idioms. Thank you for correcting me." Her tone was chilly, almost bitter. She wasn't looking at Jane, but staring off into space, as if she had her own personal universe right in front of her eyes.
Jane wanted to yell, scream, throw things, grab Maura and either shake some sense into her or just have her, right here on the table. After being apart for more than three months – a situation that Jane herself had initiated – Jane was a nervous wreck. Living in her old, cramped apartment with her mother was a constant irritation. Not having Maura in her bed was like doing without food, or water, or sunshine. And the Task Force was no nearer to arresting Paddy Doyle than they were six months ago, even though (unbeknownst to everyone but Jane) he was back in Boston. The man was as elusive as fog.
This wasn't good for Maura, either. Jane could see she had lost weight – she wasn't eating. She had dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep, and tended to doze off in her office over paper work. Jane, on the other hand, had put on about five pounds; between her mother's starchy Italian cooking and her compulsive consumption of junk food (which she was sure was a substitute for sex), she was on her way to being "roly-poly" again. Or so she felt. For Jane's lanky frame, five pounds seemed to her like obesity.
All in all, this business of living apart while she was dragooned into the hunt for Maura's father was turning out to be a bad idea.
As a matter of fact, it sucked.
Working homicide cases at the same time was also taking its toll. Jane was just plain overworked, but she refused to ask Cavanaugh to lighten her duties. If everyone else could take it, she could. When this is over I'm taking one hell of a vacation. Somewhere warm. With Maura? I wish.
She looked at Maura, who seemed a million miles away. She felt such a painful longing that she couldn't help herself.
"Maura, this sucks."
"I think it's a good plan."
"Not the sting operation. I mean us."
"This was your idea, Jane."
"I know, and I regret it. I was wrong. I miss you something awful. Maybe we could try again, get back together."
"Jane, you are like a six-year old who wants to ride the roller coaster and then gets scared and doesn't want to and then changes her mind. I'm not an amusement park ride that you can buy a ticket to and then decide it's not what you wanted. When you said you wanted to leave, you hurt me, I mean it really, physically hurt, a hot rock in my abdomen. And it's hurt every day and every night since then."
"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
"I know you are. So am I. But what's changed? Paddy is still on the loose. You're still tasked with finding him. Would it be any better for us to be together – share a house, a bed, a life – than it was before? Why is it different now, Jane?"
"It isn't. Except for one thing. I'm one of these people who learns things the hard way. I know now that I cannot keep myself together without you. And I know that I need to be there for you. I failed you, Maura. I let you down. I was an idiot. I have no idea why you should want me to, but I want to come back. Nothing, not my work, or Paddy Doyle, or anything, is more important to me than loving you. Damn, I wish I had some way to convince you of that. I've been a real asshole. I'm sorry."
Maura reached out and touched the hand that Jane had strategically left on the table for Maura to grasp had she desired. Maura folded Jane's hand in hers, and studied Jane's face. She knew she had a hard time interpreting emotions, but there was genuine agony in Jane's expression, and it didn't take computer analysis to see it.
"I believe you. And I miss you. I just don't want to be hurt again. Not like that."
"I won't. I'll tell Cavanaugh to take his Task Force and shove it up his ass if I have to. He'll probably fire me. I'll figure that out. But I won't hurt you again."
"Let's get this undercover over with. Then you can move back. I'm getting kind of excited about this. I've never done UC before."
"Real cops don't say that. Just in the movies."
"Well, I'm not a real cop."
"Maura, you know how dangerous this is? You're trying to flush out someone who tried to kill you. Whoever they are they still want you dead. He'll try to kill you if he finds you in that warehouse. And we don't know who it is or how he'll come at you."
"I know, Jane. But you'll be there. And Frost, and Korsak'll be listening on the wire. I'm not worried. I'm eager to get it started."
"Well…all right. I wish there was some other way. But I'm telling you, I will personally wire you up tomorrow, and no arguments. I don't want that wire to go bad at just the wrong time. And no deviations. Play it just like we planned it."
"So, the day after tomorrow, I'll move back."
"Yes. I want that. It's a big bed when one person sleeps alone in it."
Jane looked around the room, then leaned close to Maura. "Kiss for luck?"
Maura smiled. "Sure. Even though there is no such thing."
Jane mumbled against Maura's lips, "believe what you want."