Jane was high for the entire night.
The drug was Maura and the side effects were many.
Nuzzles that started and stalled as they both meandered between the lines of consciousness. The contagious hum of giggles stuck in molasses. One constantly-recurring surplus kiss that needed to be deposited somewhere, anywhere, as softly as possible, but right now.
She was perfectly content to be a junkie.
It was still dark when Maura tired of trying to play footsie with a pair of boots and gathered wits enough to finish undressing her, with willing but very sluggish cooperation.
Right now, she only wanted to snuggle into Jane's chest and tangle their arms and legs, to float in the haze some more, wearing nothing but each other.
To run her fingers in any direction and never hit cloth.
To move any part of her body and feel the matching part against it.
As the hours progressed, favor gradually fell to one certain part. Until the half of her that was awake was so aching with need that Jane could feel it with every tiny, lazy shift.
Jane rearranged nothing except the location of one hand, not even lifting her head from her pillow. Slowly and sleepily, she brought Maura the release that was just beyond her own delirious reach. This time it was brief, simple, quiet.
She thought it'd be impossible to love Maura even more. The shudder and single, sweet little helpless sigh against her chest proved her wrong. Her smile spread against silky hair.
The sky was just beginning to consider dawn.
Maura didn't mean to fall fully asleep. But that haze was so serene and she was so feeble...
Kisses on top of her head assured her it was okay to give in.
They continued even after she had.
Maura's hand slid out, touching the faintly warm space next to her in sheets that smelled like Jane. Sitting up in the full morning light of the bedroom, she could hear the TV on quietly in the living room and noises that probably involved cooking.
She did a double-take at the clock's display of 9:06.
The reasons for her extreme oversleep rushed back. For a moment she almost worried she'd dreamed it all - but there was no better explanation for her nudity, or the clothes strewn on the floor.
She must not have literally slept for the majority of the night, yet somehow, she felt as restored as if she'd had a long and sound slumber.
After a very quick shower, she borrowed some of Jane's clothes.
She found her tousled lover standing at the stove in pajama bottoms and her BPD shirt - the only person Maura knew who'd go to bed in clothes and then change into sleepwear when she got up. A box of pancake mix sat on the counter.
"Jaaane, you're making me pancakes."
"Hey." Jane turned and smiled, pecking her lips. "Morning."
"Good morning," Maura said with an almost sheepish look. "I think this is the latest I've ever slept."
"I won't tell anybody," Jane promised in her raspy morning voice, somehow managing to make an eyeroll look affectionate. "I was gonna wake you up, but.. I couldn't."
That warm, perfect body had looked so peaceful and at home half-concealed in her bedsheets. If she had turned back to look at her one more time, she probably would have forgotten breakfast and crawled right back in with her. But they'd forgotten dinner last night, too, and Jane would feel like a pretty lousy host if she let Maura starve to death.
Normally Jane grumbled about having to get out of bed at all, much less conjure up a meal more elaborate than cereal. But she'd been planning on this since dawn, with a bizarre excitement for the prospect of having breakfast ready for Maura when she woke up, just to make her smile.
"I was gonna bring you these in bed, but then I decided you'd probably have some kinda seizure at the idea of getting crumbs in the sheets."
Maura took a second to let go of the neurological inaccuracy, and smile as if to say, you know me well. She crossed the room, releasing a refreshed yawn, to widen the curtains and peek outside. Puddles lingered on the street below, but the sky was mostly blue.
Jane smirked sideways, watching Maura inhabit her clothes - a white tank top and ratty gray sweats that were a few inches too long on her. She pinched the fabric on each leg so the bottoms didn't drag under her heels, lifting them exactly the same way she would some long, elegant gown. And had Jane ever seen her in a tank top before? She liked it.
"You look good in my clothes. Almost as good as in none." Maura laughed but before she could respond, Jane turned back with a suspicious squint to add, "You wearin' my underwear?"
She paused. "I hope that's alright?"
Jane leveled a look at her. "I think we've reached the underwear threshold now, yes."
"Good. I'll admit I was curious to try, ah... 'boy-shorts'."
Jane snorted at the way it was so foreign to Maura that she'd stopped just short of making finger quotation marks. "How are they?"
She shifted in place slightly, obviously undecided. "...Interesting."
"I'm gonna need to see that at some point, y'know."
"You shall." Maura came back over and saw the plate of finished pancakes, not one of which was remotely circular. She studied them until it dawned on her that their strange blobby shapes must be intentional. Starry eyes rose to Jane's as both hands covered a grin.
"Jane, are you making me bunny pancakes?"
"N- well," she turned, looking down at the plate with disappointment. Just a little too much milk... she'd been thinking about throwing them out and starting over. "They were 'sposta be turtles, but... didn't really come out too-"
"JAAANE." Whatever Maura giggled as she hugged Jane around the neck was completely unintelligible.
Jane wrapped her with one arm, continuing to tend hopelessly-misshapen puddles of batter with the spatula behind her back. She smiled to herself, waiting until Maura regained enough composure to kiss her softly and whisper, "Tortoises."
After breakfast, Jane was paying more attention to Maura curled up at her side than The Rockford Files.
Normally, Maura would be inquiring about every little trick and strategy and Jane would be painstakingly explaining each one. But neither was truly following the plot this time. It was just a pleasantly familiar background murmur while they enjoyed resting together some more.
Jane knew she ought to address last night, but the right words didn't seem to exist. It seemed too daunting; she could never explain all the things she was thinking.
She went a different way.
"Thought maybe you were gonna moan in French," she said, sipping her drink as nonchalantly as possible, but nearly dribbling it all over her shirt when Maura started to laugh, and she did too.
Maura came close to her ear to deposit a kiss and purr, "Je t'adore de tout mon coeur."
"Juh... bluh blove you, too."
"I know." She smiled into Jane's eyes for a moment. "I've had people tell me they loved me before. And I believed it before. I mean, they said it, and I took their word for it. But no one's ever shown me like that. I've never felt it before... and I didn't really know that until last night. It's the best thing I've ever felt."
She watched Jane intently soak up every word, nod and grow a heartfelt smile, like it was the best thing she could have heard. Like it was exactly what she'd wanted to say.
"Nothing's ever made me that happy. I don't know how to be that happy. That was the best night of my life, Maur."
Maura did not have to sort through many memories to decide it was hers, too.
"Want to try for 'best weekend'?" she asked with a kiss.
Jane nodded brightly.
"What do you want to do?"
"I wanna barricade us in here all weekend and never answer the phone and be lazy and order giant pepperoni pizza and watch movies annnd... whatever else we feel like."
"Jane." The tone was nagging, sounding as if her plans were about to be shut down in favor of picnics and spa treatments and art galleries.
"We're not doing that?"
"No." She laid her head back against Jane's shoulder. "You know I like mushrooms on my pizza."
It was unlike Jane to be a minute late for her daily coffee, especially on a Monday.
After waiting around the cafe a little while longer, Maura filled a cup and fixed it the way Jane liked - if she was bogged down with work and stuck at her desk, she'd probably appreciate having it brought to her.
But she didn't even have to enter the bullpen to see that Jane wasn't inside. And she must not be out on business, because her partner was working quietly at his desk. Where was she?
Maura took the elevator back down to her office, wanting to rule out the last obvious place Jane might be before she'd text her to ask.
Just inside the doorway she stopped in her tracks, catching sight of the glass vase on her desk with a whole bouquet of a dozen perfect red roses. Her mouth opened in an amazed smile. How does she always manage this? I've been away for less than 10 minutes...
She circled around her desk to sit down and begin to admire them properly, only then noticing her elusive detective smiling from her couch. She hadn't even seen her when she walked right past.
"Oh! Jane, they're beautiful," she beamed. "Thank you."
Once again there were notes on each stem, and she began to read them.
"Because you're patient... Because you're beaut-"
"Nono you don't hafta uh-uh," Jane interrupted, squirming to her feet. Listening to someone read what she'd written to them was worse than fingernails on a chalkboard.
She came over and bent to gave her a small kiss on the lips, the first time ever at work. Maura couldn't help but glance towards the open blinds. Although their decision not to show affection at work was a mutual agreement, Jane was always much more adamant.
"Aren't you afraid someone will see?"
"No," Jane answered, taking a deep breath and pointing a thumb at her roses. "This is me asking if you'll be my, um. Girlfriend."
"I haven't been your girlfriend?" Maura teased. She'd considered Jane hers for a long time, and she knew the feeling was mutual, even if they both skirted around being the first to actually use the word.
Jane smiled, biting her lip. "I mean... officially. You're something to brag about, Maur, not something to hide. It's been long enough and I don't want you to feel like I'm not proud to be with you. And I'm tired of keepin' the best thing about my life a secret. So whenev- if you're ever - ready to tell anybody about us... I'll be proud for 'em to know."
"Jane," Maura grinned from ear to ear, standing and kissing her properly - just as Susie strode in. They froze.
"Dr. Isles, we're ready to run comparisuhhh." she trailed off, making a U-turn out of the room without raising her eyes from her manila folder. "Never mind."
"Senior Criminalist Chang must have very poor peripheral vision," Maura puzzled, arms still wrapped around Jane's shoulders.
"She already knows." Jane rolled her eyes. "Caught me in here a couple weeks ago. She's like ninja silent." Her best threatening glare had apparently been enough to convince Susie to keep her mouth shut. "Think it would be inappropriate to try to get her to wear a necklace or something with a little bell on it?"
"You mean a cat collar?" Maura blinked.
Jane snapped her fingers, "Yes!"
"Quite inappropriate. But as I was saying - yes, Jane, I would be thrilled to be your girlfriend," she declared with sparkling eyes.
Jane hadn't doubted she'd accept, but still felt a certain weight lift.
"Actually," she continued, "as far back as the mid-19th century, that word originally referred simply to a woman's female friend, without any romantic implication. So really, I have been your girlfriend all along, in one way or the other."
Jane smirked. "You didn't switch ways, though." Maura watched her produce one more rose from inside her blazer - a yellow one - and hand it to her. There was a tag on it, too, but she already knew what it would say. "I want you to be my 19th century girlfriend, too."
She clamped shut another smile. "You're adorable, Jane."
"Ain't I?" she answered, momentarily sporting the cockiest face she could muster.
"I suppose your family should be the first to know." Despite the urge to shout from the rooftops, it wouldn't be right for Angela or Frankie to be the last to find out. And they would probably be the trickiest to break the news to.
Jane nodded. "I was thinkin' maybe we could have a Sunday dinner to tell 'em. I mean, we always do anyway, but maybe we could say you and I are gonna cook instead of Ma, so it's like our thing... what do you think?"
"That would be nice. I'll start thinking about the perfect thing for us to make."
"Oh. Kay." Jane twitched at a vision of herself helping make some scary, complicated recipe in a food-splattered kitchen. "Alright, I gotta get back to work." Since the coast was clear, she gave Maura one more quick peck. "See ya later."
Maura watched her leave, and looked over her roses again, letting her eyes alight on each petal like a butterfly.
Her heart fluttered. Someday soon she'd stand before the family she loved like her own, in hopes of being accepted into it even further, in a way she fantasized that she already was. It would probably go well... or it could go terribly. There were no guarantees. But it was worth the risk just to stand at Jane's side while she told her family that she loved her. Just to be there to back her up with all her heart. Just to be there for her afterwards, no matter whether it was to celebrate or to dry tears.
Oh. She'd forgotten to give her the coffee.
She sighed. A dozen red roses from Jane Rizzoli... she never thought she'd see the day.
Although, the yellow one technically brought it to 13.
Jane had done her homework about the colors, but maybe she didn't know that roses had meaning by number as well. A single rose was a simple I love you, and a dozen was the go-to classic of the same message - Maura wasn't aware of the significance of 13, but surely it meant something less romantic.
Curious, she opened her laptop to run a search. She wasn't truly going to nitpick - she'd just like to have her facts straight, in case it was something funny that she could tease Jane about later.
Of course, she'd act like she'd known all along. Jane seemed to think she knew everything off the top of her head, and although there was only the occasional exception, she liked to keep it that way. Just to see Jane try to disguise awe with annoyance.
A few clicks later, her eyes closed as she sank into her chair to giggle. Maybe Jane had done her research after all.
With one more deep breath of its scent, Maura tucked her 13th rose into the center of the bouquet.
Meaning of roses by number
1 Rose - Love/appreciation
2 Roses - Mutual feelings
3 Roses - I love you
7 Roses - I'm infatuated with you
9 Roses - We'll be together
10 Roses - You are perfect
11 Roses - You are my treasured one
12 Roses - Be mine/declaration of love
13 Roses - Friends forever
15 Roses - I'm sorry
20 Roses - I'm sincere towards you
Thank you so much everyone who followed, reviewed, encouraged and befriended me during this story. You've made it 37195 times more enjoyable than I expected when I started out, and I definitely want to write more. In the meantime, if I don't know you already, you should totally come be my friend on tumblr at thepriceismeg. Cheers! :)