Disclaimer: I own nothing, of course.
The moon casts a pale, ghastly glow on everything—just enough so Jane can make out the profile of Maura's face. The chilly October wind picks up, causing the remaining leaves to rustle loudly and the tree branches to pop intermittently. Even Jane can't deny that she's a little spooked—though she refuses to show it. "Why the hell are we even out here?"
"Because you said you wanted to—"
"I know what I said, Maura!" Jane snaps, pulling her coat closer around her body as she starts to shiver. "Don't be so literal."
"Sorry," Maura nearly whispers, wounded by Jane's words. She drops back half a step so she's no longer immediately at Jane's side as they walk.
"Oh, c'mon," Jane says, stopping as she turns to face her, "don't do that."
Her head tilts in innocence. "Don't do what?"
"Pout. I like it when you're literal," Jane reassures, watching Maura's eyebrow quirk in disbelief. "Just not when we're lost in the middle of the woods, alright?"
There's a loud snap immediately to their left and Jane protectively reaches out to put her arm in front of Maura. "What was that?"
"It could be an animal," Maura suggests, inching closer to Jane as she tries to look around. But it's too dark and all she can see are the outlines of trees in the vicinity.
"Yeah, and it could be a serial killer," Jane retorts in a stage whisper, reaching for her gun but only then does she remember it's not there.
Jane silently berates herself and Maura reaches out to fist her hands in thick material of Jane's coat. "Or it may just be an animal. There's no need to—" The snapping noise is louder, closer and she presses her front to Jane's back as tightly as she can, her heart pounding. "Or perhaps it's a murderer."
"Don't agree with me!"
Maura tilts her head as they start inching forward—still clinging tightly to Jane's back. "Normally you want me to agree with you."
"Not if it means we could die," Jane replies, shaking her head as she starts in the direction she thinks they came from earlier.
Maura stays behind Jane, following blindly. This is definitely not the right direction, but even when she's a little scared, she knows better than to agitate Jane's already horrible mood by speaking up and correcting her.
Until Jane gives up and asks for help, anyway.
The wind picks up and she shivers involuntarily against Jane's back. Without thinking, she wraps her arms around the other woman to shove her hands in Jane's warm coat pockets.
Jane immediately stiffens, and Maura gives a small shrug without pulling away. "I'm cold."
"I told you to wear a warmer coat," Jane says, stuffing her hands in the pockets, too, to give Maura's cold fingers a gentle squeeze as she tries to heat them up.
Maura squeezes back, relishing the warmth and comfort and rightness of Jane's hands in her own. "But this is Chanel," Maura says, pressing her forehead between Jane's shoulder blades as they walk to block the night air, "And it matches my shoes."
"You and your shoes," Jane half laughs, half sighs as she shakes her head.
"There's nothing wro—"
"Here," Jane interrupts as they come to a thick tree, "Just sit down for a minute to get out of the wind."
She extracts her hands from Jane's pockets and frowns. "But my pants—"
"Maura," Jane groans, flopping down on the ground with her back pressing to the tree, "You can sit on my lap for all I care. Just get down here."
Only letting out a small pout—really, only a small one—she moves to sit on the ground next to Jane. At least it's dry so maybe her pants won't be ruined, and it is warmer. Despite that, though, she still reaches out and takes Jane's hand in her own—her thumb lightly tracing over the scar on Jane's hand.
She loves how she's the only one that's allowed to do this, loves how normal it feels to be doing this. And she knows that Jane draws comfort in it, too, by the way Jane's face always relaxes, the way she exhales a small breath in satisfaction.
They sit in silence for few long moments—just looking through the dark and content with each other—before Jane turns her face, her mouth so close to Maura's cheek that her warm breath hits her skin, causing a slight, delightful shiver up Maura's spine. "Maura?"
She takes a shaky breath. This could finally be it; it could finally be what she's been wanting— Jane finally strapping on her best pair of balls and finally breaking this weird limbo they're in. So maybe, just maybe they can finally be more together—be everything together. "Yes, Jane?"
Jane pauses, her hand slightly tightening on Maura's. "If I don't make it out of here, I want you to know something."
Yes, yes this is finally it! Despite how hard her heart is beating in her chest, Maura manages to hide her smile. "Okay."
She hears, rather than sees, Jane lick her lips and her own part—just waiting for Jane to say the words.
"Jo doesn't like Pedigree, so only feed her Kibble," Jane says with a smile blossoming across her face.
Maura rolls her eyes and tries not to be disappointed. So typically Jane.
"Those would really be your last words if you were about to die?"
Jane's smile fades as she hears the slight quiver of Maura's voice. "Nah. Probably not."
"What would they be?"
"I don't know," Jane shrugs, turning her face away and looking back out through the dark. "Hopefully I would die quick so I wouldn't have time to plan a damn speech."
"Jane," she lightly chastises, "Be serious!"
"I am. Would you want to be there waiting to die or just get it over with?"
Maura pauses to think—her mind immediately going to all the ways she's determined how people had died; how long it would take—before inching a little nearer to Jane's side. "I suppose I'd rather die quickly…but I would still like a few moments to say what I needed to say."
Jane notes the gravity in her voice. "You've apparently thought about this."
"Somewhat," Maura shrugs, smiling as Jane pulls her closer, "We do have very dangerous jobs."
Jane laughs. "Maura, you're a medical examiner! That's not dangerous."
"I'm a medical examiner that perpetually dates criminals and gets attacked by serial killers," she retorts, eyebrow quirking. "And I've also been held at gun point by a retired cop."
"Well now that you put it that way…" Jane mumbles, trying to force the images of a nearly-dying Maura back to the corner of her mind she normally keeps them shoved in.
"Would you be there?"
Jane shakes her head, clearing her thoughts as she looks back to Maura. "Would I be where?"
She tilts her head. "If I was dying, would you be there?"
"If you wanted me to be there," Jane says, the conviction clear in her voice. "Then, yeah. I'd be there. Just like I'm always there for you."
Squeezing Jane's hand in recognition, she gives a small smile. "Then I'd want you to know how much you meant to me. That's the last thing I would like to say."
"Really? You'd waste your last breath on me?" Jane asks, beyond skeptical.
"Of course I would."
It feels like her chest clenches at the way it sounds like Jane doesn't think she's worth that. And Jane is definitely worth that last breath and so much more to her.
"Because you're my best friend. You're the first person who's ever really cared about me and showed me what it means to be part of a family," she says, her voice soft and clear—trying to convey every single thing that she feels for the woman beside her. "You mean an incredible amount to me, Jane. I'd want to make sure you always remembered that."
Jane looks away towards the ground, her cheeks growing pink from more than just the cold. "You mean that much to me too, Maura."
Maura's breath catches. This is the moment she's been waiting for—and she knows it without a shadow of a doubt. "Jane…"
Jane sighs, nervously glancing to Maura and then away again. "I'm scared."
Her head tilts, brow knitting. "Of what?"
"Ruining this. Us," Jane says, slightly holding up their linked hands. "You're the only person who's stuck with me through my shitty moods and nosey family. I don't want to drive you away," she quietly admits.
"Did I reduce the famous Doctor Isles to guessing?" Jane grins in an attempt to deflect.
"No," Maura says, refusing to let her off the hook so easily. "It's not a guess. I know you'll never drive me away."
"How can you possibly know something like that, Maura? I'm—"
"I care about you too much," she interrupts, "Losing you…I'm not sure if I would fully recover. I would certainly never be the same if you were no longer in my life."
Jane scans over Maura's face to see if she means it—knowing that she does since Maura can't lie, but needing to double check—before seeing that Maura wholeheartedly does. It terrifies her.
But it's what she's wanted for so long—what they've both wanted for so long.
She's not running from this.
"If I were about to die, I'd want—" she starts and pauses in an attempt to quell her nervousness as she looks directly at Maura to show how much she means this too, "I'd want to tell you how beautiful I think you are…I'd want you to know how much I love you."
The air feels like it's literally weighing down upon them and Maura only takes mere seconds to recover from those words she's waited years to hear. She slowly leans in closer to the pink, soft lips she's often thought about and glances up to eyes once they're within inches apart.
And although it's dark, the openness and love she sees in Jane's eyes nearly steals her breath away.
She doesn't wait one more precious moment before leaning in completely. Their lips meet and it's tentative, slow. Experimental.
But it's so perfectly right that she can't believe either of them had stupidly waited so long to finally get this happiness they had both desperately wanted. Needed.
The cold wind rustles the leaves and Maura slowly pulls back, her beaming smile matching Jane's exactly.
"I love you too," she says, her heart beating quickly in her chest once again—only this time, it's for a very good reason. "Now come on, I know the way back to camp," Maura states, using Jane's shoulder to push herself up and holding out her hand to help Jane stand. "And there's a very warm sleeping bag waiting for us."
She doesn't even have to mention how small that sleeping bag is, but Jane is already thinking of how closely they are going to be lying all night—without being able to anything else since their tent is less than five feet away from her mother's own.
"Wait," Jane says after her brain stops thinking of being nestled so close to Maura. "You knew how to get back this whole time?"
"Yes," Maura says with her sly, cute half-grin. "But you didn't ask for my help, so I didn't offer it."
"You still could've said something!" Jane exclaims, eyebrows shooting up.
Maura leans up on her toes, lightly kissing Jane once more. "But aren't you glad I didn't?"
Jane is definitely glad she didn't.
I found this saved as a draft on my computer and figured I would just finish and post it. Reviews are fabulous if you have the time! Thanks for reading (: