I've loved the stars and I've loved her and I'm sorry universe, but you do not compare.

she has galaxies inside her, s.b

Maura falls asleep halfway through the flight.

Though the seats are comfortable and wide in first class, somehow she still manages to seek out Jane in her sleep, her cheek cushioned against her shoulder. Jane reaches out to tuck Maura's hair behind her ears, smiling softly at her. She had run herself ragged changing her itinerary for the both of them, despite Jane's insistence that she's more than happy to lounge around and drink wine and fancy cheese all day while Maura writes. It seems that now the lack of sleep has caught up with her.

Jane looks out of the window, watching the way the sky is turning pink around them, the land beneath them endlessly. This is different to the flight to Washington she'd been expecting, that she had anticipated. Leaving for the FBI now would've been the right time – with Maura leaving, Korsak retired, and Frankie holding down the fort…

Jane looks back down at Maura and smiles. No. Leaving the real world behind for Maura, if only for a little while, is right. She's still not quite sure how she's gonna cope without seeing her every day.

She pillows her cheek against the top of Maura's head and closes her eyes.

An air hostess wakes them just before they're about to land in Charles de Gaulle, urging them to put on their seatbelts. Maura blinks slowly, stretching her arms above her head as she pulls away from Jane's shoulder.

"I can't believe I fell asleep. The jet lag is going to insufferable," Maura comments, yawning behind her hand.

Jane rubs the sleep away from her eyes. "You'll get used to it."

"I suppose," Maura murmurs, before leaning across Jane to look out of the window, at all of the lights of the city below them. "Oh, it's beautiful, isn't it?"

Jane studies the light in her eyes, the round of her cheeks as she smiles.

"Yeah. Really pretty."

In the cab from the airport to the apartment Maura is renting for the month, Jane stares at the city around them as Maura makes small talk in French with the driver. It's already nighttime, but the sidewalks are still lined with crowds; tourists wandering the area and couples walking hand in hand. As much as Paris had sounded amazing, and beautiful, the main reason she had accompanied Maura is because, well, she just needs a little more time with her, no matter the location. Now, though, she thinks she might be able to appreciate the beauty of both.

The building they stay in is a little old, like the majority of the city. Maura leads her five floors up a squeaky, winding staircase, which even leaves Jane a little out of breath.

"You couldn't have stayed in a hotel?"

"A hotel would've been too luxurious. If I had the same conditions as I would back in Boston, that wouldn't have been particularly inspirational, would it?"

"Would've saved me a broken back," Jane mutters, and when Maura narrows her eyes at her she gives her a sheepish grin.

The apartment Maura leads her into is fancy, though she probably should've expected that. Jane eyes the furniture warily, aware that it probably costs more than her annual salary. Maura breezes in carefree however, taking inventory, she says, and Jane wanders the apartment, inspecting the bookshelves, the art hanging on the walls, before she discovers the balcony. Pushes open the large French doors to find a little set of table and chairs to sit in while observing the small street below them. Jane pauses for a moment to take a deep breath in, smiling at the feel of the wind against her cheeks, through her hair.

"You're going to love it here."

Jane doesn't turn. Maura joins her at the balcony, hands curling around the rails.

"Yeah. I think so too."

"Thank you for coming with me, Jane."

Jane sneaks a peek at her from the corner of her eye. "Well, technically, you paid for my flight, so it should be me thanking you."

Maura shakes her head. "You know I didn't mean it like that."

"Yeah," Jane says softly and, before she can rethink her move, she lets her hand rest over Maura's. "I know what you meant."

Although they're both wired due to jetlag, they decide against going out on their first evening. Instead they order pizza and Jane lounges around in her sweatpants and BPD shirt while Maura fusses over which bottle of wine they should have with their food.

"2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape or 2012 Saffredi?"

Jane sets her slice of pizza down, sighing melodramatically. "You're telling me there's no 1398 château de bleh?"

"Jane," Maura tries to say reproachfully, but a smile tugs at the edges of her lips. "Be serious."

"I'm eating an eight dollar pizza, Maur, whichever one you pick is gonna be too fancy."

Maura purses her lips. "You're probably right."

Still, she places one bottle back in favour of the other, pouring out the undoubtedly ridiculously expensive wine into glasses for them. She settles on the couch with Jane after, Jane's feet in her lap, as she passes her the wine and daintily begins eating her own slice of pizza. Jane almost chokes on her wine.

"What?" Maura asks.

"You always eat pizza like it's offended you."

Maura's nose wrinkles. "I do?"

"Yeah, I half expect you to start cutting it up with a knife and fork any moment now."

Maura shrugs before taking another small bite of her slice, using a napkin to dab at the grease it leaves on her lips. Jane's eyes go wide as her jaw drops.

"Maura, tell me you don't – "

"I was raised to use a knife and fork," she defends. "All foods, even pizza and burgers, though we rarely ever – "

"Even burgers," Jane repeats incredulously. "Maura, they're hand foods! Look, this is how you really eat a pizza."

Jane grabs a fresh slice and folds it in half, like a sandwich, even as Maura protests about the grease stains it will leave on her hands and holds her wine glass at the stem, perfectly poised as always. It only takes her three bites to get through the whole thing, and where most people would look disgusted, Maura simply laughs, eyes bright.

Maura, of course, had not anticipated another person joining her. The apartment is one bedroom but, of course, in typical Maura fashion, the bedroom is luxurious and complete with a queen size bed. Some part of her wants to ask how on earth this place fits into the rest of the narrow, compact maze of Paris, but after a few glasses of wine and a ton of pizza she's too tired for a lesson on French architecture. Instead she runs the tips of her fingers over the silk sheets as Maura moves away to brush her teeth. The sounds of drunken tourists outside filter in through the open windows, followed by the occasional car horn. Jane lays horizontally across the bed, pleasantly warm from the wine and the atmosphere. The company.


Jane looks up to find Maura raising an eyebrow, nudging her shoulder with her knee until she moves over to her side of the bed. Maura slides beneath the sheets with her, a hand reaching out to tug at the bottom of Jane's BPD shirt.

"Are you going to miss it?"

It is probably the first time she has been asked this since she signed up for the FBI job. All other questions have been about the FBI, how exciting it will be, how she'll be in less danger, how will she cope living so far away from her family. The thought of living in another place – full of grey suits and politicians – instead of Boston does, admittedly, feel dull. It's missing what she loves about Boston.

"Yeah," she admits on a whisper. "A hell of a lot."

Maura's hand moves to clasp hers, their hands laying on the mattress between them. Jane thinks about Maura's words. I'll love you and I'll never forget you. How relieving they were to hear. How nothing else has ever sounded so beautiful to her ears.

"The precinct was moving on without me, though," she continues. Maura frowns. "First Frost and… then Susie. And with Korsak moving on – it felt like it was past my time there, you know? The only constant there was you."

In the dark, she sees a smile tug at Maura's lips.

"I'll always be here. With you."

"I know."

She finds these words are true.

Their first day of playing tourists is disorganised at best.

Maura, of course, has seen all of the landmarks already. She's cultured enough to know her way around the main tourist areas of the city, and a few of the quieter, more artistic arrondissements. Jane's completely blown away by the fact there's more to see in the city than a ridiculous amount of cheese, wine, and a tower that's a hell of a lot taller than it seems in the postcards. Instead of choosing anything in particular to do, they simply explore the streets, observing the people and stopping in a café by the Notre Dame. While they're there, Maura teaches Jane the three most important words she needs to know in French: Bière, Vin, et Café.

"It's warmer than I thought it'd be," she says while pushing her sunglasses back into her hair. At the table beside them, a British tourist applies sun lotion to her arms. "Is it always like this?"

Maura shrugs. "The temperature does tend to cool a little around this time of year. Summer seems to be lingering this time."

Jane hums as she takes a swig of her coffee.

"So, any inspiration strike you yet?"

Maura sips her tea. "A little. Not enough to improve, I think. This has definitely helped, though I imagine it'll get better over time."

"Maybe this place'll turn out to be like New York, full of crazies to really help you write better characters."

Maura smiles wryly. "Paris is a little different to New York. But you might get lucky and find entertainment."

As the waiter serves them their lunch – Jane had been relieved to find that snails and frog's legs weren't, in fact, an average meal offered on typical menus – tourists flock around the entrance to the Notre Dame. Maura looks around curiously as Jane takes a huge bite into her panini, groaning at the taste.

"God, I was starving," she mutters, taking another bite instantly.

"Look, Jane," Maura says, nodding towards the crowd, who all seem to be taking pictures on their phones.

Jane takes a moment to focus on something other than her food, looking up to see two women in wedding dresses accompanied by a professional photographer, posing for photos in front of the landmark. If any passers by give them a strange look, they don't bat an eyelid, continue holding each other and smiling for the camera blissfully. Her focus trails away from them and back to Maura, whose eyes are shining in the sunlight, cheeks full and round as she smiles.

She resists the urge to reach forward and let her fingers drift through her hair, cup the jaw that holds the evidence of her smile.

Jane has always been good at observing. It's part of what makes her such a good cop.

There is nothing – not in any country – better than observing Maura Isles.

When her ma calls to check up on the two of them after a week has passed, she feels a sudden ache in her chest that won't go away, heavy and difficult to dislodge. But Maura sits beside her on the couch, light perfume drifting over her, and it eases a little as Maura enthuses about the recent edits she's been making to her novel after inspiration had struck her after they'd spent a little more time walking around the city and discovering new areas; especially those a little more tourist lighter, where Maura could note the way people hold themselves when they don't think they're being watched.

Jane, surprisingly, finds that she has a lot to tell her Ma about too. She has grown fond of the city, of its narrow streets; the old and a little weathered architecture; the cluttered restaurants that have their elbows knock together; the cobbled roads and fresh fruit markets; the constant buzz of different languages and cultures around them both.

Of course, falling asleep and waking beside Maura every day adds to the experience.

"Maur, there's no way this many types of cheese exist."

Jane stares, bug-eyed, through the glass at the dozens – no, hundreds – no, thousands – of types of cheese. Maura laughs, her hand slipping into the crook of Jane's elbow as an elderly couple push past them while beelining for the fish counter.

"I can assure you, Jane, they're very much real."

Another couple somehow picks from the outrageous selection, thanking the server in French before moving away. Jane studies the cheeses again. Too many of them have names she has no idea how to pronounce, a couple of them too blue to possibly be healthy to eat – in fact, she doesn't think she recognises any of them.

"Let's just go find simpler snacks," Maura says, tugging on Jane's arm a little.

"No way. We're in France, Maura. A wine night without cheese? Probably considered treason," Jane says, but then a little lower. "How about you just order, because I have no idea what the difference is between all these is anyways."

Maura laughs softly before leaning forwards and ordering, in perfect French, their cheese for the evening. Jane leans against the glass, observing the people wandering around the rest of the market, eyeing the strange foods in their carts. She catches one man staring at Maura from the corner of his eye, his gaze travelling from her profile down to her legs. Instinctively, she finds herself moving closer to Maura, automatically thinking mine.

If Maura notices it, she doesn't say anything, and soon enough they're on their way back to the apartment with a ridiculous amount of cheese, wine and bread. The alcohol makes the skin of Maura's cheeks flush, her affection towards Jane a little easier, and Jane doesn't think about the irrational jealousy she had experienced again.

"Let's go somewhere."

Maura makes some sort of noise – possibly a hum – with a red pen caught between her lips as she searches through the papers of her manuscript. She makes no other sign that she heard Jane. Jane sighs, rising to her feet from the couch and heading over to the table to tap her fingers against Maura's temples.

"Earth to Maura? Anybody in there?"

Maura laughs gently, removing the pen from her lips and placing it and the paper back down on the table.

"I'm sorry, Jane. What did you say?"

Jane drops down onto the chair beside her. "Let's go somewhere. I've been watching you edit for the past three days. You keep repeating the word syntax."

"I do?"

"Yeah. Before that it was interrogatives."

Maura blushes slightly. "Sorry, Jane, I know I've been a little boring lately – "

"Nah, you came here to write. I was the one who kinda hijacked your plan," Jane shrugs. "How about we go do something ridiculously touristy today? We've been here for two weeks and I don't think we've really spent much time at any major landmarks. I mean, I know you've been here tons of times and it's probably boring for you by now, but Ma'll probably kill me if I don't take at least one picture with the Eiffel Tower."

"It wouldn't be boring. Not with you."

The pause between her sentences makes Jane clasp her palms together, feeling her scars press against one another.

I'll love you and I'll never forget you.

Maura leans into her side during the elevator trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It's a little crowded – and takes them far higher than she had been expecting – so she decides it's a safe idea to rest her cheek against the top of Maura's head while they wait.

It's as windy as Maura had warned her it'd be at the top. She follows the rest of the crowd up a small set of stairs before they're out on the platform, the view at their disposal.


Maura smiles up at her. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"

Jane heads over to the chain-link fence, fingers curling around the metal. The city stretches out endlessly below them, the people walking the streets more like ants than anything else.

"I can see my house from here," she jokes, earning a soft huff of laughter from Maura.

For all of her bravery in making the decision to leave her life in Boston behind for the FBI in DC, she's never travelled far before. In fact, their trip to Paris is the first time her passport has been used for anything other than a form of ID. She spends at least twenty minutes going to each side of the tower, memorising the layout of the city, the way the buildings look from so high up, the way the fountains of the Place du Trocadéro light up as the sun begins to set.

"We can go there one day if you want," Maura tells her softly. "The tower puts on a light show of sorts in the evenings."

Jane leans against the corner of the fence, laughing a little.

"You know, this is really different to Boston – in a good way. Less murder and assholes jaywalking is always a good thing, I guess," she says, and Maura's eyes crease around the edges, soft and warm. "We should've done this years ago. When we had more time."

Maura sighs, hands slipping into her coat pockets. "There's no use wishing away the time we have now for time we'll never get back."

"I'm gonna miss you, Maura," she admits, quiet.

"Me too, Jane."

"I mean – I mean more than a – "

"I know."

Jane glances down at Maura. She'd opted against high heels this evening, favouring a pair of ballet pumps in case Jane suddenly had an aneurysm and decided she wanted to walk up the majority tower, so there's a little more difference to their height now. Maura's adorable because of it. Wonderful. Always is.

Her eyes meet Jane's, and before Jane can register what she's doing – she kisses her.

Jane lets out a stuttered sigh, her whole body melting against Maura's and wrapping her arms around her. Finally. Finally. The kiss is chaste, but warm, and when Maura's hand raises to cup her cheek Jane finds herself pulling away to catch her breath. Absolutely speechless.

"What happens in Paris…" Maura whispers, tucking her body into Jane's side.

Jane smiles, watching over the city.

"Happens elsewhere."

She feels Maura press her smile against the skin of her neck. So she leans down to press another kiss against those lips, because she can. Because Maura lets her. Lets her slip her hands beneath her coat and blouse to settle her hands on the skin of lower back; pleasant and warm as Jane deepens the kiss.

Jane finds herself smiling when Maura pushes up on her toes to give as good as she gets. Of course this is how they begin. Standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower, caught up in the romantic cliché of the city.