Heads up, if you want angst, homicide, twists, or a plot, turn back! This is just going to be Rizzles fluff/smut :)
(Optional prologue: see my story When The Dust Cleared, which breaks up Jane/Casey. If you don't care, just know this is set after season 3 and he's safely out of the picture.)
** Thanks to fanonproject, this story is now also available as a downloadable eBook! mediafire dot com/?syn641qsh5ci5df
Jane yawned, flipping through the channels aimlessly.
An inconsiderately timed murder had dragged them from their beds at barely four in the morning, and kept them at work until ten. Even though they were tired, both always needed time to wind down, and as usual they ended up on Maura's couch watching nothing in particular on TV.
"How is there seriously an entire channel just for weather?" Jane wondered.
"Weather's certainly important enough to merit its own channel."
"But how can you stretch out a forecast to 24 hours? 'Breaking news: still cloudy! Exclusive footage!'"
"I don't think that's exactly what they do." Maura reached for the remote. "Here."
"You pass things without even giving them a chance."
She stopped on the next station which was a Spanish infomercial, and brought a finger to her lip thoughtfully. "Okay, here's one, shall we make a list of its pros and cons?"
"Give it to me," Maura grabbed.
Jane let her have it, and rested her eyes with a faint smile while the channel search went on without her.
Maura soon stopped because she saw something she liked - not a TV show, but Jane. Slouched on the sofa, dozing without a thought, black socks crossed on the coffee table like this was her own home. And as far as Maura was concerned, it was. It sometimes seemed silly that they even had separate residences, considering the way they were always together. She had become such a part of her life.
On day one, she'd been immediately aware of her physical attraction to the tall, dark detective with the sharp features and husky voice. She had strength, attitude, confidence in herself, and that was sexy because it was well-founded - she was the best at what she did. Even though it wasn't her norm, attraction to a woman didn't really phase Maura. She even flirted a little, open to wherever it might go, but it had gone nowhere.
Then she started to get to know her, and it got complicated.
For years she'd been Dr. Isles even off the clock, keeping up an icily regal façade which few approached and none could pierce; Jane somehow barged right through it without even noticing, shaking her up and thawing her out. Here was somebody who lacked the culture and poise and education and IQ she prized so highly, and yet was smart in ways she could never be, thrived on a wavelength she could barely even detect. Somebody who was strong and brave and funny and just cool - all things she wouldn't even know how to try to be. She found herself looking up to Jane rather than down on her like she first expected to, admiring and respecting her even when she didn't totally understand her. The woman had plenty of defense mechanisms to work around, but underneath them, she proved to be an incredibly loyal and caring friend.
It seemed impossible that Maura had endured so many years without Jane. She already knew what it felt like to be respected professionally, lusted after, loved maybe in the most formal sense - but this was the first time she'd ever felt liked, just for being herself. Jane made her feel worth liking, worth protecting and including. It hadn't been long before she tossed common attraction over her shoulder and fell totally in love with the best friend she'd ever had.
Sometimes when they looked at each other right in the eye, she could swear Jane knew the truth. She could almost swear she saw a glimmer of the same feelings looking back, too. But if she made a move and turned out to be wrong... well, Jane could blow up if you said 'good morning,' so there was no telling how harshly she might react to this.
It was late; Jane was probably going to get up and leave as soon as she opened her eyes. Maura didn't want her to go. She wished she lived here. It felt so right and so safe to have her in the house. Of course Maura was perfectly independent, but Jane was still her rock, even though she never told her so.
A loud gunshot rang out, bursting the quiet of the living room. Automatically Jane's arm began to raise toward Maura for the half-second before she realized the shot had come from something on TV.
Reluctant eyes darted to Maura's to see if she'd caught it. She had.
"You're so protective." Maura smirked.
"..uh-huh," Jane answered, face flattening, not sure whether she was being commended or teased.
"It's nice." Maura scooted a little closer to lean back on the couch, and reflected with a fond expression. She loved when Jane was protective towards her - not just in dangerous situations, but in little everyday chivalrous gestures. No one was better at it. She wondered if she even did it consciously. "I bet it feels nice to be like that."
Jane repressed the smile tugging at her mouth while she tried to decide how to respond. She also repressed her instinct to make a joke, electing to simply answer for once. Almost sheepishly, she shrugged and nodded. She'd never want to admit how much it had to do with Maura specifically. How much she was a junkie for that noble swell in her chest - the one that came from looking out for her in any possible situation, from opening doors to stepping in front of bullets. She looked for any excuse to do it.
"I don't really have anybody to do that for," Maura pondered.
"You do sometimes."
She knew Jane just didn't feel like saying whatever she was thinking.
"Why do you hate it when anybody protects you?" Maura asked curiously. "I don't get it."
"I want to know I can take care of myself. Lemme just- ok, I have this memory... I was at the playground and me and this kid were fighting over... I dunno, a ball or whatever, so he pushed me or something and I was about to paste him one, and th-"
"Paste him one what?"
"... I was gonna hit him. So out of nowhere comes my Ma, gets me under the arms, airlifts me out of there, My baaaby!" she imitated Angela's voice. "I mean, do you know what that does to your playground cred?" She earned a laugh from Maura. "I always had to take care of stuff myself before somebody beat me to it, otherwise, ugh."
"I took care of most things too... but because I knew nobody was coming to do it for me." Since Maura was so intelligent from an early age, her parents had regarded her almost like she was a tiny little adult who could already fend for herself. They didn't step in to assist or defend her nearly as much as other parents. But just because she could get along without it, didn't mean she didn't miss it. "They gave me space to be independent, so I learned how to be independent... I guess I perpetuated the cycle. Maybe if I had let them know..."
Jane's smile faded. Maura didn't talk about her childhood that often, but when she did, it was always some unintentionally heartbreaking little nugget that made Jane want to scoop her up and squeeze her, if only that weren't so far out of her character. She settled for a sympathetic smile.
It was things like this that made Jane want to protect her all the more. She didn't consider Maura in need of care or protection, but she should have it if she wanted it. It just seemed like such an injustice that the most lovable person she'd ever met could really be without a loving, doting family, without a lover to treat her like a queen, without an army of friends to support her through anything. She deserved all of that, and Jane wanted so badly to provide as much of it as she could.
Their eyes stuck, each knowing they were both trying figure out what the other was thinking, and uncomfortably aware of the increasing length. This happened all the time. Jane hoped Maura considered it sort of a game of chicken. God, those eyes though.
Jane had reached an odd stage of half-acceptance about her feelings for Maura - she knew they were strong, to the point of being something she tried not to think about. It was no use anyway - Maura clearly liked men, and even if she did like women, she'd go for some kind of duchess-physicist or something, not a blue-collar slob like Jane. But perhaps above that, she didn't want to consider herself as anything but straight. If she let the topic take root in her mind, her day would be just a series of minor identity crises. Some days it worked well; others not. Today wasn't one of the best.
Too long. Stop now.
"I'll take that back." She snatched the remote and busied herself with flipping through the channels some more. After a minute she lingered on a History channel reenactment of a crowd buzzing around a guillotine.
"You're interested in the French Revolution?" Maura asked, preparing to be impressed.
"Oh, totally, it's my favorite revolution," Jane answered sarcastically. "This guy's gonna get his head cut off..."
The scene went to an artistic angle on the blade dropping out of frame, showing nothing else.
"Weeeak," she booed at the screen. "C'mon, how hard is it to get a dummy head and some ketchup?"
"These historical reenactments are always rife with inaccuracies," Maura shook her head.
"What, one of the peasants wearing a bluetooth or something?"
"Wouldn't you rather know things are being represented accurately, so you can learn?"
"Why do I need TV to do that when I have you?" Jane answered, lowering the volume a little. "Go."
"Let's hear a fact."
"Oh! Okay… well, did you know that despite the popular belief, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin did not actually invent the guillotine?" she pointed at the screen.
"I did not know that."
"It was designed by a French surgeon named Antoine Louis, and as a matter of fact, Dr. Guillotin himself opposed the death penalty altogether."
"Yes. He was merely a member of the committee that proposed the reformation of capital punishment to the National-"
"Okay, good. A+, thank you."
"You never want to hear the entire story," Maura sighed, folding her legs up on the couch.
"…And he lived happily ever after until he got his head chopped off," Jane motioned. "The end."
"No, that part's a misconception also," she covered a yawn. She was sleepy; it would feel so nice to just lower her head to Jane's shoulder. She tested tentatively with half her weight, then when no move was made to push her away, came to rest and closed her eyes comfortably. "He died of natural causes."
Jane's eyes were wide, but she reasoned that there was nothing necessarily weird about this, save that it was a first. Her chuckle at Maura's endearing weirdness came after a few seconds' delay, but by that time, she'd forgotten what they were talking about.
Her lips curled in a private smile, honored that Maura deemed her a safe place to lay her head. But then she was burdened to find herself breathing manually, muscles tensed, worrying whether her heart was beating too fast and if Maura could feel it. Wondering whether it would be weird to put an arm around her, or cold not to. She pried it out from behind Maura, hovered for a few moments deciding how to place it, and slowly and awkwardly lowered it along her side.
Out of view, Maura smirked secretly at her flustered responses.
It was late and Jane had been just about to get off her butt and go home. And take her little dog, too. Her eyes located the furball sleeping quietly across the room. She'd brought her over a few days ago - considering the unusually long hours at work lately, it seemed kinder to leave Jo Friday where Angela could take care of her, instead of cooped up alone in the apartment. Everything Rizzoli just seemed to accumulate at Maura's house.
Jane kept expecting Maura to lift her head and start rambling about French parliament or something, but she didn't. Was she intending to fall asleep here, or…?
Resting her head back on the cushion, Jane let her cheek lean a little against Maura's hair. The scent of her shampoo caught her attention. Probably some kind of Le Foo-Foo salon crap with a bloated price tag. It smelled so good though, like... well, like Maura. She wasn't smelling it. She just… smelled it. How did it just instantly make her feel good?
Olfactory memory, Maura's mind could have answered at the same moment. She already had a perfect physiological understanding of the way her brain wired the faintest hint of Jane's scent directly to intense feelings of happiness and longing. Breathing that warm lavender musk directly from her collarbone, she could almost swear she felt slightly intoxicated. The heat of Jane's body, her hair and her pulse and her chest rising and falling, were all exciting and soothing at the same time. She could fall asleep here.
Confusion took a backseat as Jane accepted that this was honestly really pleasant. And totally innocent. Why wouldn't it be? Her eyes caught the flashing end credits of a show she didn't remember starting. Turning the TV off seemed too final; wincing not to move a muscle under Maura, she lowered the volume to near silence instead.
Her eyes were so tired and scratchy. But she liked to watch how the screen's flickering light illuminated Maura's hair.
In the darkness there was no way to tell the time, but she sensed it was much later. The TV was off.
She tried to blink the sleep from her eyes, feeling Maura's hair stir slightly against her neck, and then lost contact. She was disappointed, but only for a moment, as Maura came back to rest against her cheek instead - but oh, hey, that was not hair, that was her face... um... Probably Maura was asleep and just trying to get situated, unaware she was trying to use Jane's face as a pillow. She kept still, not wanting to disturb her.
Silence rang in her ears until she felt lips purse against her skin. Slightly, but definitely. Oh... kay. Maura had kissed her cheek. Instead of racking her brain to figure out why, the only thing Jane could do was let her eyes close, wishing she would do it some more. She felt hazy, unable to wake up, like she wasn't completely controlling herself. Could she be dreaming? She had caught herself dreaming a few times in the past. Now that she thought of it, something was weird about the feeling of the air...
Jane found herself moving, her relaxed lips barely trailing across a warm cheek, pausing there, and returning a silent kiss. Then she smiled against Maura's face. It actually felt so nice to be this close to her, and to show some affection which her personality didn't always allow. She just hoped they didn't have to talk about this.
Another kiss graced her own cheek. As her head turned, their lips grazed. Maura slipped Jane's bottom lip between hers, letting them close so softly that Jane could barely feel them. It was not even a kiss, at first, more like they were just feeling each other - but it didn't take much for it become a kiss, one so light and slow and sleepy that Jane felt like she was floating. It wasn't the fact that they kissed, but the sense of total comfort, that made Jane know for sure that she was dreaming. It didn't even feel weird or wrong at all, just... kind of... nice.
Jane's nose slid to Maura's cheekbone, nuzzling softly up into her hairline. She felt free to indulge an urge she had practically every time she looked at Maura - simply to press a chaste kiss to her temple, before resting hers comfortably against it.
Something jolted Jane's head forward, making her eyes snap open and her body lurch, disoriented. One leg slid away and pulled the rest of her down with it, thudding in a heap on the floor with one arm still flailing in vain to catch herself.
"Pffffwhat-" she squinted in confusion at the carpet in front of her face, blindingly illuminated by a ray of sunlight. "Ow- the hell?"
"Jane! I'm sorry," warm laughter broke an apology into staccato notes. "Are you okay?"
"What just happened," she croaked, struggling into a sitting position between Maura's couch and coffee table, swiping hair out of her face and scowling at the brightness of the room.
"You were sleeping on my stomach, and you moved your head and it tickled and I started laughing and you got startled," Maura laughed some more until her face settled into an amused smile. The sounds of morning traffic murmured outside.
The fondness in her eyes made Jane recall the night - the dream - and she tried not to let any reaction register on her face. And, wow, how long had Maura let her sleep on her stomach? She wished she'd been aware of it.
"What time is it?"
Jane blinked at her watch. "Half past seven."
"Would you like the shower first?" Maura asked, stretching her neck.
"You go, I'll… make us some breakfast."
Maura made an impressed face before rising to disappear from the room.
The notes of her voice hummed through the wall as she said good morning to Bass. Jane's smile rested in one hand, elbow on the couch, practically able to see Maura with X-ray vision as she (almost certainly) bent to pet him politely and adorably on the shell.
"Ookay," she groaned, hoisting herself up onto her feet. She clicked on the TV for company and ambled to the refrigerator to see what she'd gotten herself into. Honestly, she hadn't offered to cook out of generosity. It wasn't that Maura's cooking was bad. Objectively, it was excellent. But Jane didn't like excellent cooking. Doing the cooking herself was one way to avoid being presented with another dainty, garnished plate of what-the-hell. There must be some normal ingredients around here.
She pulled a carton of eggs from the top shelf. The brown kind, not surprisingly. She wondered what the difference was, besides the vague notion that brown eggs were fancier. Organic or... free-range or something. Maybe the chickens listened to Beethoven.
Jane surveyed the rest of the fridge with growing displeasure - found some kind of cheese, smelled it, and put it right back. She took the only items that didn't confuse or disgust her, an onion and a bell pepper. They were probably free-range, too.
She could faintly hear the hiss of the shower through the wall, and it made her smile.
Jane glanced sideways, watching the way Maura cut a little square of omelet with surgical precision, forked it, placed it neatly between her teeth. Pondering the little femininities that infused every gesture. How is she like that? Why am I not like that? I'm a friggin' girl, too.
Maura had emerged from her bedroom having achieved perfection as usual, in a V-neck dress that just hinted at cleavage. Maura could surely rattle off the designer, all worldly sources of the fabric and dyes, and the history of cultural influences that led to its existence. Jane would describe it as 'blue'. For reasons she didn't feel like defining, she stopped herself from complimenting it.
"I was gonna feed Bass some breakfast too, but I have no idea what that would be," she said, pulling Maura's attention away from the weather forecast.
"Hibiscus leaves," she answered, sipping her glass of orange juice. "But that's all right; he probably wouldn't eat until tomorrow, anyway."
"Ah." She removed her eyes from the dress and tried to find something to make conversation about. "So is it gonna rain?"
"They just said there's a thirty percent chance today."
"Yeah, but, is it? You always seem to know better."
"I don't have the data to make a more educated prediction than she just did," she gestured toward the weather girl on TV. "Are you taking an interest in meteorology?"
After verifying that this wasn't an attempt at a joke, Jane gave a small smile and replied, "No."
There was a quiet beat which felt naked in the absence of the expected sarcastic jab.
Jane couldn't help but regard Maura a little differently right now, as if they had… done whatever that was… together, and ought to behave a little more softly with her. Well, she was still sort of justified - a little of it had been real, anyway.
She caught Maura's gaze and it made her uneasy, giving a very specific feeling that her thoughts were somehow being plainly read. She reassigned her eyes back to the TV news.
Jo Friday trotted into the kitchen, providing a welcome distraction.
"Hi!" Maura leaned down out of sight to pet her. Jane wondered why she didn't really have a dog voice, and yet she kind of had a turtle voice. Tortoise voice.
"Probably wants more food," Jane guessed. "She likes the eats here better."
Maura had bought a huge bag of dog food to keep in her pantry for when Jo was over. Of course that, too, was some kind of deluxe brand that was probably nicer than any food Jane ever bought for herself, in fact she didn't recall even seeing that label at the store. It didn't taste bad, either.
"Maybe it's time to go outside?" Maura asked, mimicking the curious tilt of Jo's head.
Chugging her orange juice, Jane hurried to wrap up the meal so they could go.
"Jane, I…" Maura stood and looked down to her plate, a tiny smile fleeting across her face. A long pause. "Thank you for breakfast."
Scrounging for a last bite, Jane failed to register for a moment the peck of lips above her ear as Maura passed out of sight. She stopped in mid-chew, slowly lowering her fork.
"Come on, buddy," she heard behind her, followed by little paws skittering on the floor.
Jane's eyes darted around the room, chest tightening.
Maura stepped back after putting Jo's leash on. "Are you alright?"
"Hm? Yes? Why?" Following Maura's eyes downward, she found her own left hand resting in egg the middle of her plate. She wiped it off without comment and rose, clapping brightly at Jo, "Alright, ya ready?!"
Still glancing sideways at her, Maura turned and complied with Jo's pulling towards the door.