A/N: This is just a one-shot I've been toying with for awhile, and I figured I'd better post it before it kept getting longer. These guys aren't mine, unfortunately, I'm just borrowing them.
Thanks in advance for reading-I'd love to hear what you thought!
It's one of those mornings where her brain insists on snapping awake precisely at get-up-for-work-and-don't-you-dare-hit-sleep-again o'clock even though she has the day off (and even though there hadn't been much sleeping the night before). Jane doesn't mind the awake-ness, really. It lets her luxuriate in where she is—which isn't so much a location as it is satin sheets and shared warmth and an elbow sticking into her side as a beautifully simple reminder of how quickly and easily everything has changed.
What she does mind is the fact that morning-Jane is a generally a creature better left on autopilot and not trifled with—who rises like an ogre at the last possible second to lurch into the kitchen for a shot of caffeine before any other part of the morning routine can be attempted. And while her tired and comfortable limbs are fighting it with every dead-weight trick in the book, that primitive part of her brain has other plans it refuses to forget.
She tries to tamp the thought back, but that last whining eeeeee only drags on and gets louder, and she's a bit too afraid of the she-Hulk she might become if the request is denied.
Fine. Coffee it is then.
Quickly. And then back to building on all the intricate puzzle pieces that have only just shifted into place to form this and them and soft, tickling touches underneath sheets. They must have started with a thousand small movements she can't remember. The most recent ones burn bright, almost not out of the ordinary at all except for the subtleties—not mentioned or ignored after they happened, just allowed to exist for what they were.
What she remembers (and never wants to forget) seems to sit so neatly and vividly in a list that she can practically see the bullet-points and lined paper:
* Wednesday mid-morning: A hand at the small of her back, lingering, and it almost felt like the fingertips were tracing letters there (she spent the rest of the day wishing she'd asked what they were).
*Wednesday evening: The hand just there again, and even if she couldn't understand the letters, she thought she knew the question—and she had let herself lean into it (it was the only answer).
*Thursday: An excited and unexpected kiss on the cheek in greeting that almost hit between the marks (and the one later—a goodnight—that definitely did).
*Friday night, 10:00: Picking up Jo Friday was only a pretence, and Maura had answered the door with a confession folded into humour (and sealed with some sort of silky, barely-there top and a smile that really wasn't playing fair at all): I'm beginning to think you really are attracted to me.
*10:01: (After all, she'd needed time to breathe and swallow and reach for a silk-covered hip and squeeze gently so there could be no misinterpretation). I'm beginning to think that I am.
*10:02: Well, there's no fucking way in hell she would ever forget 10:02.
And then there was 10:49 and 11:23 and 12:32. Arbitrary numbers that might as well stand for any time at all, but she likes the concreteness and permanence of them.
It's all so new and shiny and delicate as blown glass that to move might break it. Jane stretches, cautiously, feather-light fingertips just feeling that rise-and-fall of breathing next to her. Maybe she'll wait here awhile longer.
Dammit. Okay then.
Jane lifts herself slowly out of bed, catching her groan and careful to stay as quiet as possible in the darkened room. Maybe she'll even give that new-fangled and overly-complicated monster of a coffee maker a try instead of digging her jar of instant out of its hiding place. Maura's convinced that stuff is some sort of nectar of the gods, and she's always so chipper in the morning that there might really be something to it.
Grabbing her phone, Jane somehow manages to scrounge up a pair of yoga pants (that are a bit too short) and fish yesterday's tank top off the hallway floor, clumsily dressing on her way into the kitchen. Yes, she's going to kick that espresso machine's ass this morning (and it's not at all a bad sign that she manages to put her head through her shirt's armhole and spends a few seconds thrashing around like a fish out of water—and almost falling flat onto Bass).
She gives the turtle (tortoise) an awkward pat on the shell for their almost-encounter (and another as an afterthought for the whole turtle thing). This will be the best damn coffee Maura's ever tasted.
It's on the tail end of that thought that she sees them. And the sight stops her dead in her tracks.
There they are. Sitting neatly on a plate in the middle of the counter. All innocent.
And yet they reek of pure, baked evil.
She feels the skin prickle at the back of her neck, knows she's being ridiculous—knows also that all thoughts of coffee and quiet are out the window.
'Maura! … Maura!' The anxiety slowly rises in her voice, and yet she manages to say the next sentence with as much gravity as if she were cataloguing evidence at a crime scene. 'These muffins were not here last night!'
Now. If that doesn't depict all kinds of sirens-blazing seriousness, she doesn't know what will. She expects an immediate response—one that involves worry and running and everything short of phoning in backup. What she gets is pretty much as far in the other direction as possible.
Jo Friday, the little traitor, hadn't bothered to move when Jane had padded into the kitchen, but at the sight of Maura, the little fluffball makes a beeline, positively shaking with an energy surely only possessed by tiny dogs trying to get someone's attention. It's not like Jane can really blame the little dog—Jo obviously has good taste in women (and wasn't afraid to show it long before Jane got her act together in that department).
Maura's barely clothed, adorably dishevelled and still-sleepy, trying to keep hold of her phone in one hand while simultaneously doing up the buttons on her shirt. The dog collides with her shins (with nothing but shirttails covering lacy underwear, her legs seem to go on forever), and she bends with a soft, 'Hello there,' patting Jo Friday's head. The little monster seems placated with that and trots off in the opposite direction.
At least Jane assumes that's the sequence of events; her eyes refuse to change their line of sight.
'Did you say something about muffins?' Maura asks, much too casually.
What? Oh. Right.
'Yes!' Jane gestures wildly towards the offending baked goods (she would like them bagged for evidence and taken down to the station immediately—or at the very least, thrown away). 'These.'
'Ooh, yum!' Maura looks positively delighted, obviously does not grasp the severity of the situation.
'No. Not yum.' She pushes the plate into the centre of the island with a single finger, trying to put as much distance between her and it as possible. 'My mother brought these.'
'Well, that was nice of her.'
'Maura. If my mother brought these, then my mother was here. In this house. While we were—'
'Asleep, Jane.' Maura brushes against her (and Jane starts at the contact before realising she no longer has to, instead pressing into it). She slides her phone across the counter until it clinks with Jane's. 'These are fresh. Bought this morning. And by then we would have been well asleep.'
The words and the logic make sense, but there's still that niggling spark of doubt pricking at the base of her spine. (Would we have, though? I mean, there was late at night. And then later at night. And that eventually bled over into early in the morning, because 10:02 and 12:30-what-again? and was there a 3:47 in there somewhere?). And suddenly the sensation explodes into an idea—a ludicrous, of-course-not, next-to-impossible idea, that obviously cannot be dismissed.
Not first thing in the morning. Not before coffee. Not when the stakes are so high.
'What if they're…' Jane lowers her voice, glancing around even though no one's there. When she finally works up to saying it, each word is emphasised, quietly, almost its own sentence. '…sex muffins?'
Maura laughs, stifling it the moment she sees the look on Jane's face. She frowns, an overcompensation—no doubt hoping the motion alone will force seriousness into the rest of her, but there's still a gleam in her eye. She clears her throat, and at least gets a tone something like medical examiner instructing an intern, 'And which definition of sex muffin are we using in this instance?'
Jane rolls her eyes. One time she points Maura to Urban Dictionary to explain some joke made between Frost and one of the lab techs, and Jane could never again automatically assume that anything would go over Maura's head. She knows the doctor is placating her, even thinks this is all amusing—it's written all over her face, mouth quirking up in the corners (a mouth which, Jane is quickly remembering, she no longer needs to talk herself out of wanting to kiss) —but still she continues.
'No, just…what if she… came in here and heard us….'
'Oh.' It's that way Maura has of breathing that one syllable—deep thought mixed with reassurance—she's already dismissed the suggestion, though her rationale…. 'Despite a proclivity for a certain obscenity, you weren't very vocal.'
'Maura!' Jane exclaims with a playful shove—old habits die hard (and it's always been halfway an excuse just to touch her). 'You know what I mean.'
(And it still holds, if she takes a second to think back—and her pulse quickens automatically—that she wasn't exactly silent either.)
But of course Maura's all reasoning and logic—nothing is a crisis until proven (and a reddish-brown stain is just that until the lab says otherwise). 'Well, does your mother usually bring you muffins after you've had sexual relations?'
'That's not a thing!' Jane yelps, pulling her mouth into a grimace. 'And don't call it that!'
It? She feels like a twelve-year-old. But still. Sexual relations are something a caught-out politician claims not to have with that woman. Definitely not an image she wants associated with… Maura's stomach, smooth and toned, her own fingertips trailing up and down and up again, not getting enough. Soft sighs turning insistent.
'You'd prefer intercourse?'
Another face. 'No.'
That one's school health class in which abstinence is the only answer, an awkward talk with an over-sharing mother trying to use proper terms, not…
At this, Jane positively balks. 'Jesus. Seriously?'
Yes, seriously. Almost always seriously. To Maura, this is just vocabulary that fits the situation—words and their matching definitions.
'Fine. I can be colloquial. What would you prefer I call what we did last night, Jane?' An eyebrow raises, and when Maura continues, drawing nearer—very aware now of what she's doing, her voice soft and smooth as honey—Jane knows she's in trouble. 'Doing it? Making love? Fucking?'
Maura's tongue wraps around that last word so that it seems like the actual act—a to-die-for blend of frenzied and fluid perfection. There's not a word for last night—or there are seventeen (thirty-five, a million), and only when they're all rolled together do they even stand half a chance at holding as a description. How else could she find something that would speak to the hard-and-soft smoothness, the gasps and the grasping, the soft Greek and Latin and God knows what other words Maura would whisper (and cry out) without realising. The perfection and ease and completeness in the way they fit and were and are together.
Sex is just a word. Love is another. And they may as well be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious for all the good they seem to be doing at the moment.
'Jane?' The tone and raised eyebrows indicate it's not the first time Maura's said it. 'Don't you think there's a slight chance you're overreacting?'
'They're just muffins, Jane. There's nothing sexy about them.'
Maura has a point. They suddenly look suspiciously like bran muffins. Or something where raisins would masquerade as chocolate chips—but that would be the most evil thing about them. Decidedly unsexy, at any rate. And just muffins after all.
Now that the Great Muffin Crisis is over, she can focus on other things. A hand on Maura's hip without any pretence—and she can let it travel upward. She has the sudden, shaking feeling that it's Friday, that this moment will be cut short so they can get ready for work and pretend to be… whatever they were yesterday but are no longer.
Realisation only dawns (with a grin) when fingers skate over familiar wrinkles and buttons, the coffee stain from the long day before which had made an appearance well after she should have had her last cup. Friday is purple. Or occasionally blue, but hardly straying further down the spectrum.
'You're wearing my shirt.'
'You took my pants,' Maura counters, with a shrug.
A flimsy excuse—they're at Maura's house, she has shelves and hangers full of clothes—and Maura must realise it. She's on her toes (figuratively, literally) before Jane can point out the holes in her logic, her arms warm and comfortable as she links them around Jane's neck, pecking her quickly on the lips and finishing with a smile.
Jane feels like the Cheshire Cat, her grin wide and uncontrollable. 'Good morning.'
Maura's mouth is already open to reply when Jane presses hers to it, so she takes full advantage, darting her tongue against Maura's and coaxing out a soft sigh. She lets herself linger—they've been dancing around these good mornings for years now, there's no need to rush—until she can feel the shorter woman press against her, both relaxed and keyed up all at once.
Maura laughs the word softly, almost a hum, giving it an entirely new, indescribable meaning—something like if summer and chocolate and singing could be spun into a single syllable and served up in greeting. She pulls Jane's mouth back to hers, inching her cold fingertips slowly under Jane's tank top, tantalisingly near to where she wants them most. Jane tries to make quick work of those pesky shirt buttons—the mosquitoes of clothing—that stand between her and Maura's skin, but the last one slips through her fingers, and she has to pull back to conquer it.
'You shouldn't have bothered with the buttons,' Jane grumbles, annoyed at the loss of contact. 'Or the shirt.'
'I'll keep that in mind for next time.'
Success (both with the buttons and Maura's statement). And Jane revels in it by pulling her prize to her with the open shirt flaps, only a few quick manoeuvres needed so that her hands are on Maura's bare skin, thumbs brushing over nipples. Maura rises onto her toes to press her lips to the corner of Jane's mouth, and Jane swears she can almost hear the achingly low voice from last night that had named bones and muscles and blood vessels as Maura's tongue traced over them (sometime between 10:02 and sleep, Jane had decided that she loves anatomy).
It's when Maura's contented sigh breezes over her cheek that Jane is suddenly very aware of just how easy it is with this woman next to her (on top of her, inside her). How everything and nothing has changed all at the same time. Just as Rizzoli and Isles turned Jane and Maura, and that twists just enough into we and us (and wanting and please and now) and ours.
A fraction of an inch—then a whole one—then two. And there's too much space between them, much too quickly.
Maura's darting away, leaning as far back as the island counter will let her. Jane's immediate response is to try to follow, then frown at the loss of contact—but her detective's intuition sparks at just the right moment, and she scrambles to pull down her own shirt and jump protectively in front of Maura—who would be more or less decent if she didn't suddenly seem like 85% bare (beautiful, toned—so strong as they scissor against her) legs. It's too late to do anything about that now.
The bang was the door.
The quick clicking, Jo Friday's paws on the hard floor.
An absolute fucking horror film—complete with the shower curtain and the knife and the Psycho music. The muffin panic on steroids. The last possible thing Jane wants to hear, see, or acknowledge at this moment.
'Don't let me interrupt!'
It doesn't even occur to Jane that she technically doesn't live here. All she can think is that they're going to have to move. Or change the locks. Or set up some sort of juvenile system involving socks on door handles, because there's no way in hell her mother could ever be trusted to bother knocking.
'I just want to grab some of that tea and then the two of you can get back to… whatever you were doing.'
'Ma, we're just—'
'Don't try that on me, Jane. I wasn't born yesterday.' Angela breezes past them to start digging through the cabinet, pausing long enough to give her daughter a sharp look. 'And it's not that cold in here.'
'Jeez, Ma!' Jane can't fold her arms across her chest fast enough—but the damage is done already.
'Wearing a bra more often would hide that and help you stay nice and perky.'
'Nice and perky? For the love of—'
'Actually,' Maura pipes up, 'wearing a bra does little to prevent the stretching of the ligaments—'
A hand to Maura's (bare) thigh stops her, and Jane knows she'll never be able to keep her voice low enough to stop her mother from hearing. 'Please don't talk to my mother about my breasts.'
Maura rests her chin on Jane's shoulder in acknowledgment. How she manages to keep her tone conversational is a miracle (or just Maura). 'Thank you for the muffins, Angela.'
'Just trying out that new bakery on the corner when I took Jo for a walk. You missed a button, dear.'
'You have everything you need?' Jane asks quickly, more statement than question, before her mother can reach over and fix Maura's buttons herself.
'Oh. Yeah.' Angela grabs a box from the cabinet (which Jane is pretty sure isn't even tea) and waves it around. 'Thanks.'
'So now you can leave.'
Angela sighs theatrically. 'Haven't I raised a lovely daughter?'
'Yes.' Maura answers immediately, not catching the sarcasm, and Jane feels a hand squeeze her elbow—the instant calming effect this simple gesture has is like magic.
The corners of Angela's mouth are quivering, begging to burst forth with a million pointed and prying questions and exclamations. Jane doesn't want to think about what might have been seen or heard or even simply implied by this encounter, and if it weren't for the half-naked woman pressed against her, she would feel very much like a nine-year-old again—slack-jawed and stupidly still holding the baseball bat while the boys scatter and her mother shouts through the shattered window. She knows she isn't going to get away without giving her mother some sort of information—and it'd better be plausible.
Which is why Angela's next move—to simply grin and retreat back outside—is even more surprising. But Jane gladly takes it. 'Finally.'
Her shoulders sag in relief, and she leans back automatically, wanting to feel more of Maura against her. There's a kiss to her shoulder, just below her ear, her jaw, and slowly the air shifts back to smooth and new and sparkling—to something much more like warm sheets in the morning and the press of an elbow and 10:02.
So of course, her mother's voice is in her head again—and not figuratively. 'And Janie?' Angela's face peers through the once again open door. 'Maura's a classy lady. Take her out somewhere nice. Show her off a bit. Girls like that.'
Well. There's not much point pretending anymore. (And really, was there ever?)
'I'm a girl, Ma. I think I know what girls like.'
'I can definitely back up that theory,' Maura murmurs in her ear, and Jane feels the colour rise in her cheeks.
'I'm just saying. A little effort never hurt anybody. A nice dinner. Some flowers.'
'I'll call in a favour—get you in tonight at Bacco's. I've known the owner for—'
'Alright, alright! I can tell when I'm not wanted.'
'Really? Sure takes you long enough.'
With a final dark look, Angela leaves, the door shutting firmly behind her. Jane just resists the temptation to run over and lock it.
'Oh my God, that woman.'
Maura's arms are around her waist almost immediately. 'I think it's sweet.'
When Jane turns, her eyes nearly bug out of her head at the sight of Maura's shirt flapping open. 'Did you do that while my mother was in the room?!'
'No, Jane. She was out of my line of sight by then. And you were blocking me.'
'You're crazy. You know that, right?'
'It would probably help your cause if you could look me in the eye while saying that.' Maura laughs, tilting Jane's chin up with a single finger and kissing her softly. Having been caught not-so-subtly admiring the doctor's assets, Jane figures she may as well continue, and runs a thumb lightly over Maura's nipple, loving the way she can feel the other woman's breath catch, her whole body part of the reaction.
A swift buzzing cuts through the air—followed closely by a second— and Jane groans, reaching to check her phone. Please don't be a murder, please don't be a murder, please don't be a—
And suddenly, she wishes it is.
'Reservation at 8. Wear something NICE!,' she reads, rolling her eyes. 'With one, two, three, four, five exclamation points. What is that supposed to mean?'
It's a question with an obvious answer, but is much easier to handle than the ones that spring out something like: Did my mother really just fix us up on our first date?
Maura's smiling at her phone, which seems an absurd reaction to all of this, but then she's snuggling up to Jane's side again. 'Mine just says, About time.'