"Go to bed, Ma. Really. We're fine." Jane waved her sheaf of file folders in the approximate direction of Maura's bedroom and looked pointedly at her watch, which was creeping well past 11 pm. "She's conked out in there, and I have to get these reports finished."
Angela sighed and showed no signs of budging from Maura's kitchen, where she had washed every dish and wiped down every surface three times. "She's like a daughter to me, Jane, and I just hate seeing both of you so worn out. And her with that leg-at least Maura's smart enough to sleep it off. You sure you don't want me to make some more tea? Not that panda stuff, I promise."
"There's this wonderful relaxing blend Maura has, knock you right out. After the day you've had, chasing that crazy cult guy all over the countryside..." Angela shivered in sympathy and patted her daughter's shoulder.
"Ma! I'll be fine. I don't need sleep, I need to fill out this damn paperwork so we can get those bastards."
Jane gently but firmly steered her mother out the door and shut the door firmly behind her. She sank into a chair and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Being chased by crazy cultists," she muttered under her breath.
The plaintive voice from Maura's room was so quiet that Jane wouldn't have heard it at all if she had been as involved in her case notes as she'd wanted her mother to believe. She dropped the initial write-up of the damage to Frost's car on top of the scattered papers on the living room table and pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes. "Yeah?"
"I can't sleep." Maura sounded exhausted. Jane pried herself out of the living room chair, wincing at the stiffness of her own muscles, and followed Maura's voice.
"I keep running today over and over in my head. We could have died out there in the woods. What if they'd caught up with us sooner?" Maura was half sitting up in the middle of her bed, shifting restlessly under the downy covers, obviously in some discomfort despite the heavy dose of painkillers from the ER. Her always-perfect blonde hair was in disarray and she still looked pale as a ghost. Blood loss, Jane thought. "I thought I'd lose my leg. If you hadn't made the incisions when you did-"
"Shhh." Jane was by her side in an instant, easing down onto the bed and gently stroking Maura's arms. "It's all right. It's all right. You're safe now. We're home. Shhh."
Maura pressed her face into Jane's shoulder. She was warm, not quite feverish, and her cheeks were damp. She looked up at Jane from the corner of her eye. "Were you scared?"
Jane swallowed and pulled Maura into the crook of her arm. "Yeah. Yeah I was." In the back of her mind, where all the worst emotions went until a case was over, she'd been terrified. The fear had crept closer and closer to the surface that this might be the time they might not make it, and the last real conversation she'd ever have with Maura would be their endless stupid bickering on the long drive out from Boston. She stroked Maura's hair. "Yeah, that-that was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, cutting your leg open."
"But you did it. 'Cause I needed you." Maura curled into Jane's embrace. Her fingers played with the hem of Jane's Boston PD t-shirt, clutching and releasing as if she needed the tactile reassurance that Jane wouldn't leave her.
"It was all you, babe. You knew what to do." Cops were supposed to be the calm protectors, not the ones freaking out. Maura had rattled off scientifically precise directions for the emergency first aid as if it weren't her own body she wanted Jane to slice into. Jane suppressed a shudder and tightened her grip around Maura's shoulders.
There was a long pause, while Maura let her tired body relax into Jane's arms. "Jane?"
"Mm-hmm?" The warmth from Maura's smaller frame was soaking into hers, and Jane felt like she might possibly be able to relax for the first time since this had all begun.
"Will you hold me?" In the dark, Jane couldn't see Maura's expression, but her voice wavered just a little and cut straight to Jane's heart. She wanted to keep this woman safe and never let her be hurt again.
She kissed the top of Maura's head with a fond, bittersweet smile. "Sure." Screw vehicle incident reports, anyway. Let Korzak do it. Or Frost. Frankie. Somebody without an armful of soft, warm, vulnerable Maura Isles.
Blankets rustled as Maura slid down under the covers and Jane crawled into bed behind her. "Leg okay?"
"Mostly. Can't take the next dose for another two hours, anyway." Maura rolled to one side, propping the bandaged leg up on the other, and Jane spooned up behind her. Maura reached for her hand and drew it around her waist. Warm. Safe. Alive.
Jane closed her eyes and saw the EMTs loading Maura onto an ambulance stretcher again, and tried hard not to let her thoughts jump back to the darkening forest and her own helplessness as Maura passed out in her arms from pain. Or the rushing inevitability of thousands of gallons of cold toxic water roaring down out of the reservoir to wash them away. Maura and her Morse code had saved them again.
Maura's sleepy voice stirred her out of bleak thoughts. "I like it when you hold me. I liked waking up in your lap."
"Any time, sweetie." The endearment was instinctive, and Jane bit her lip. Maura didn't seem to notice, just snuggled back into her arms. Jane blew straggly bits of Maura's hair out of her nose and nuzzled Maura's shoulder. She smelled like that fancy all-natural soap she kept in the shower, the organic cranberry-lavender-whatever that cost three times what regular soap did.
Drowsy Maura Isles was a little repetitive, but it felt so good to hear her saying Jane's name without any anger or sarcasm. "What?"
"We should do this more."
Jane huffed a laugh into Maura's neck. "What, get lost in the woods and get chased by yoga thugs with guns?"
"I doubt Sensei Matta's henchmen had anything to do with the yoga." Maura sounded ready for one of her pedantic speeches, but she spoiled it with a huge yawn. "I meant snuggle. You're all warm. I like it."
"You're on drugs, Dr. Isles. Go to sleep." Friends could cuddle like this, right? They did it all the time. It was just that Jane didn't want to let Maura go, ever, and Maura's shirt had ridden up on her stomach and Jane wasn't moving her hand away from the little bit of soft, warm skin.
"Yes, Jane Clementine Rizzoli."
Jane pinched her.
"Ow!" Maura rolled onto her back and glared up at Jane. Even in the dark, it was definitely a glare. "You did not just-"
Leaning up on one elbow, Jane smirked down at her. "I'm so not snuggling anyone who calls me that."
She didn't sound sorry at all, and Jane grinned. "Mmm, better. You going to behave now and get some sleep, Dr. Isles?"
Instead of answering, Maura pushed herself up slightly and kissed her, quick and soft. One small warm hand clung to Jane's upper arm for balance, and Maura's fingers pressed hot against her skin where the t-shirt sleeve ended. Then she fell back against the bed, panting slightly.
"Oh." Jane felt flushed, dizzy. She blinked, but Maura was still there, lying flat on her back, pressed up against Jane's side. Jane's hand was still flat against the soft fabric of Maura's pants at her hip. "...Really?"
"Yeah. Why do you think I keep telling people you're gay?"
"Hah." There was only one answer to that, so Jane leaned over and kissed her back. Maura grabbed her face with both hands and pulled her down. It started out fast and assertive and ended up slow and lazy and gentle. Every time Jane started to pull away Maura would lick or nibble just the right way and she'd want to make the kiss last just another second longer. She found herself lying flush against Maura's curves, with the sudden urge to pin her to the mattress and kiss a whole lot of other places. She rolled a little to the side, and-
"Ow, Jane..." Maura's hands were pushing at her chest urgently.
"Fuck. Your leg. God, I'm sorry, Maura." Jane scrambled backwards, feeling like an idiot. "You okay?"
Maura grabbed her arm. "Just-hang on. Just a second." She took several deep breaths, moved her leg a little, and let go of her vice-grip on Jane's arm. "Come over here and kiss me again. But I think you'd better wait to ravish me until the morning. I want to see what I'm doing and the lights are way too far away for me right now. And," when Jane started to speak, "I don't want you moving either." She tugged on Jane's t-shirt to make her point.
Jane went. She kissed Maura again, deciding she really needed to keep doing that-like, every day for a long time, probably-and snuggled up behind her again. "Wait, ravish you? Really?"
"Mmm." Maura caught Jane's hand and folded it against her stomach. "Dashing detective seduces injured, innocent civilian into torrid lesbian affair. Handcuffs optional." Her voice was going soft and sleepy again, the last words slurring slightly.
"Damn right I'm dashing." She squeezed the arm wrapped around Maura's waist.
Her partner wiggled so her butt was pressed back against Jane's thighs. "Go to sleep, Jane."
"Yes ma'am." Jane muffled her smirk in Maura's hair, but she couldn't stop smiling. She sighed, and snuggled down into the covers. She listened to Maura's breathing slow and even out, and finally, when she was sure Maura was asleep, let herself yawn and shut her own eyes.
She didn't dream, except of ridiculously cute pandas drinking tea.