Disclaimer: Santa didn't get me rizzles for Christmas, they still belong to someone else :(


Light

It's been a long day. So long that Jane can barely remember waking up this morning and heading to work. So long and dark and chaotic that she can barely remember half of what happened. Her memories are mere flashes of anguish, panic and guilt all mixed up in a dark haze.

For the first time in what feels like hours, she breathes in deep and closes her eyes for a moment, trying to ground herself. She's gotten home and done the shower-fridge-beer-couch routine on autopilot, such simple actions that her brain has barely registered them. A comfortable numbness is slowly taking over her body, snuggled in a warm blanket on her sofa. But even as she feels the alcohol begin to calm her whirring brain, she knows something essential is missing. A different kind of warmth. A warmth that provides light. A warmth that provides life.

The answer comes as a soft knock on her door, followed by a click and the door swinging open. For a moment she gazes at Maura like she's a mirage, a mere figment of her imagination. But then the other woman steps inside, shuts the door and faces her friend.

"You really should lock your door."

Jane doesn't respond, they both know they've had this conversation a thousand times. Instead she lets her eyes wander along Maura, and somehow it still astounds her how simply beautiful this woman is. She could spend hours listing the little perfections that made up Maura Isles, and still never quite grasp how they all blended into such a beautiful creature.

When she realizes how long she's left Maura to stand there, and how intently two hazel eyes are examining her, she reaches out a hand towards the woman. She's too tired to get up, and she can only guess that Maura is feeling exactly the same way.

"C'mere."

Maura's eyes never leave Jane's as she treads across the room, and Jane feels like she may drown in the depth of emotion in those hazel eyes. She recognizes exhaustion, sorrow, even a bit of fear, and a whole myriad of feelings that are impossible to label. It's like the emotions themselves are struggling to take shape.

When Maura's hand reaches Jane's, she tugs the blonde gently into her arms. Their bodies press together, warmth radiating into the hollowness that nothing else can fill. Maura is sitting half in her lap, and she can feel the smaller woman's body shake as she takes in a shuddering breath. She runs her hand slowly along Maura's spine and waits.

"I feel so selfish."

Jane holds Maura closer, but holds her tongue.

"I kept thinking. They were all in serious danger, and all I could-"

Maura's body shakes harder and Jane can feel warm tears running down against her neck. She holds Maura closer, her gentle touch unchanging. After a moment, the sobs fade away and Maura finds her voice again.

"I kept thinking it could've been you. I kept – I kept thinking how glad I am it wasn't you."

Maura lifts her head, and the look on her face leaves Jane speechless. She brushes away the last of Maura's tears, trying to find words that have completely escaped her. She wants to reassure Maura, to tell her there's nothing wrong with having those thoughts. That she knows exactly what it's like to have those thoughts.

She almost sees it happening before it does, the change in Maura's eyes and the way her breath hitches slightly before she leans towards Jane. There's barely an inch between their lips, and Jane can hear the question echoing in the room as her brain tries to process the way Maura's warm breath tickles her lower lip. She can feel her own raging heartbeat with every fiber of her body, and when she hears Maura's faint sigh over the pounding in her ears, she's gone.

The tiny movement that she makes, pressing their lips together seems like the scariest, but at the same time most natural thing she's ever done. Maura's lips are soft against hers, their mouths tentatively exploring the other's. The kiss only lasts a few seconds, or so it feels, and when Jane pulls back she barely has the courage to meet Maura's eyes.

But when their eyes meet, instead of questions and insecurity, Jane finds certainty. Maura looks at her the way she's always looked at her – loving, trusting, open. Jane smiles softly, running a finger down Maura's cheek, feeling the muscles move as they form into a smile of their own.

"Later," she hums, leaning back on the couch and pulling Maura on top of her.

Maura's body melts into Jane's, and she lets out a sigh as she entwines their limbs, her face nuzzled into the crook of Jane's neck.

"Later."