Jane pinched the bridge of her nose and moved her hands to run up the sides of her cheeks to massage her temples in efforts to seize another eye spasm. This case had taken turn after turn after turn and now upon receiving legal privilege to go through the victim's bank records she might as well have been in one of those marble mazes TJ was always playing where there was no real start or no real beginning, all that mattered was how you tilted it and when you got bored.
"…. Super market…online subscription…Petland…" She began mumbling as she scrolled through with just the right amount of attention needed to catch something suspicious. This one was a twenty two year old college girl found near the highway and once seeming fairly simple to solve with the right amount of time and leg work had turned into a two month investigation and every judge in town was away on some sort of legal conference that she had been waiting three whole days to get access to this bank account. The bureaucracy of it all infuriated her, but what pressed deeper under the detectives skin right now was that she hadn't found a damn thing since to help make the bank records search even fruitful. She had been shooting fish in a bucket and been missing every time. It happened sometimes, but not to her.
She blamed Maura really.
The Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had taken a trip with her mother Constance to see some special opening of some special art with paperclips, at least that's what Jane gathered when the ME came to her almost bursting with excitement a week ago. That was of course before this case grew ice cold and before Jane helped her pack, and before the night where she stayed over to drop the other woman off at the airport, and before Maura took her hand at the terminal and kissed her gently before going onto the security line and waving as if it happened every day,
It most certainly didn't happen every day.
But it had happened before, once. Jane reached for her now cold cup of coffee from Boston Joe's on her desk as she recalled the night at the Dirty Robber a month ago, they had been celebrating a win, she couldn't remember which and whether that had something to do with the homicide rate in Boston or the honey blonde's effect on her train of thought Jane wasn't ready to debate. She and Maura had got into a drinking game over how many times Korsak would tell a particular story that night that started with "In the good ol' days" and it led to them inevitably drinking a little more than usual and stumbling out of the bar holding on to one another and giggling like school girls.
It had been in thanks for walking her home. Maura explained after she pressed a small and gently kiss on the taller woman's lips before retreating into her home and leaving the detective surprised and blushing uncontrollably on her way home. She was embarrassed at her drunken thoughts of Maura's soft lips that tasted like the red wine she had been drinking. She had never thought it at all would change things between them; it had been done in a way that was so utterly Maura that Jane hadn't seen it out of place at all.
But she had thought about it though.
Way more than she would admit and if she were being honest with herself she were glad for the space away from the corky woman. That was until the airport a week ago, where she did it again, quite soberly too.
Jane couldn't really think about anything else, and as her case grew colder and the hours passed until her best friend's flight returned she was left feeling just a bit emotionally overwhelmed, that was of course before Frankie called two hours ago saying their father was due in town in two days to go over his estate planning, whatever that meant.
Korsak paused as he entered the office dressed casually in jeans and a blue sweater. He sighed heavily in disappointment at the tall woman bent over looking at her computer screen too preoccupied to notice him even walk in. "Do I have to pull rank for you to go home? It's Saturday night Rizzoli!"
At the sound of his voice Jane hopped up in her chair and grinned sheepishly. "I'm not here."
Korsak put the bag of assorted mini donuts down on his desk. "Why? I gave you the weekend off. Don't you have to pick up Maura tomorrow morning?" He crossed his arms.
Jane rolled her eyes. "I don't know why you are talking to yourself. I'm not here." She paused and gave him a once over. "Wait a minute why are you here? I thought by not being here on a Saturday night I could not run into everyone else because they wouldn't be here either."
Korsak shifted under the detective's intense gaze and then finally shrugged as he made his way around to sit at his desk. With a stubby finger he punched the bottom to turn on his desktop computer and then crossed his arms. Jane was still studying him. "I like to get my best work done in quiet."
"With a big ol' bag of powdered donuts? Yeah right. Gimmie one." She snapped out of her seat and lunged for the paper bag. Korsak watched her grab hold of a donut as if it were the first food she had seen all day, something he didn't really doubt and as Jane got powdered sugar all over herself and the front half of his desk he smiled. Though he continued to push the date back he knew he'd have to retire sooner rather than later, but he would miss the day to day with Jane Rizzoli immensely. Jane caught his fatherly eye and began to chew slower. "The wife know you're here eating donuts?" She wiped off her hands in the sides of her jeans and then realized that she had only spread the powder more.
Korsak watched her attempt to clean off all effected surfaces before responding. "No, well…about the donuts."
Jane reached into a bag wot grab another one with a smile in thanks and sat back down at her desk. "Well I'm not here. Your secret's safe with me."
"I ran into Frankie on the way in?"
Jane raised an eyebrow. "Ah c'mon, he's here too?" Korsak nodded and Jane looked back to her screen. "Well if he's here Nina is here. I need someone to help me with all of this." She brushed off her screen of transactions with a dismissive grunt before reaching for her cold coffee again.
"You should listen to me sometimes. I know what I'm doing." He pressed lightly.
Jane looked over her shoulder. "Not one stitch of evidence, Korsak, it's been months and nothing. One day she's starting a new semester, the next she's naked dead on the freeway… it doesn't make sense."
"You need to come at it with a fresh mind."
"I need to solve it."
He jiggeled the mouse on his desk to open a few files of his own before looking over at Jane, she was clad in comfortable jeans sneakers and a simple red v-neck but her posture just read burnt out. If he were going to retire he had to know that he was leaving his detectives in the best shape possible. Something was bothering her on a grander scale and he was sure it had something to do with everyone seemingly moving forward and her being stuck in case after case. She had turned down the full time FBI position for good reason, one he was sure she'd never admit to him, and they still wanted to court her as a guest lecturer but that accomplishment wouldn't matter if she didn't learn how to appreciate what free time she did get. "If you don't get up in an hour and eat a real dinner I'm suspending you."
Jane looked up from her screen and thought better of her playful retort. "You sound like Maura." She grumbled instead as she brought her attention back to the screen.
"How's she enjoying the city of lights anyway?" Korsak asked as he settled on a document that needed his revision for the Commissioner before reaching into the bag of donuts and pulling out another donut.
Jane shuffled some papers around on her desk distractedly. "Old buildings lights, art, wine, smelly cheese, I don't think she'll come back honestly."
Korsak chuckled to himself. "I'd like to travel more. Kiki is talking about taking a trip to Thailand, can you believe it? Me, in Thailand."
Jane smiled a little to herself. "Yeah, no donuts there though,"
"Well it's a new experience which I hear retirement is all about." They talked back and forth for a little as they worked before falling into a comfortable silence.
Jane finally knew there was nothing more she could pull from the victim's financials. Hell at twenty two she barely had a savings account herself. With a sigh she looked down at her scribbled notes. It wasn't a complete waste of time, but she couldn't follow up on any of these small leads until Monday morning. The Boston native tossed back the rest of her coffee and checked the time. Thai food and a ball game sounded like a good way to spend the night. Maura's flight came in at nine the next morning and with airport traffic she would need to be out the door by seven. Jane shuffled all the papers on her desk into the top drawer and then holstered her weapon. "Monday morning I think we'll need to call in that highway gate attendant officer for another go."
Korsak looked up. "You like him for it?"
She pulled her jacket on. 'I like him for knowing something. It doesn't add up how he was on his shift and saw nothing until the motorist did. Our victim had a parking ticket a few days prior that she paid off, maybe that's how our unsub found his victim?"
"Well then you certainly are in trouble."
Jane chuckled and waved goodbye before slipping into the elevator hoping to be able to leave without having to communicate with anyone else. Before the detective knew it she was waking up on her couch with a jolt. "Shit!" she cursed in response to the half empty beer bottle that slipped off of her coffee table in the movement and toppled to the floor. "Oh for the love of—" Her cell phone had fallen with it and was miraculously still ringing in the small but steady growing puddle of IPA. Jane quickly reached for it as she tried to adjust the take out container of chicken pad see ew on her lap. "Rizzoli."
There was a pause. "Jane?"
Jane took a handful of small napkins that came with her take out and tossed onto the puddle of beer after picking up the bottle. "Maura, hey."
There was a small chuckle on the other end. "What just happened?"
Jane looked around her immediately surrounding to try and find something to sop the rest of the spilt beer with, it had alreay started to bleed into her beige rug. "I just dropped a bottle…"
"Well you sound rather far away."
"I dropped my phone too…" She tossed an old shirt onto the ground and sighed when she realized she would in fact have to get up to clean it properly. It was times like this especially that she missed Jo Friday, that dog would eat anything. "I didn't screw it up right?" She got up. "Your flight is in tomorrow morning right?"
Maura sat back down on her hotel bed. "Oh no, tomorrow, you're correct. I'm glad that you'll be driving. I may need help with my luggage again. I bought new case that is wonderful—"
Jane was rifling through her linen closet. "Wait a new suitcase? Maura you left with four."
"This one is exquisite, wait until you see it, Jane."
The detective chuckled to herself. "I hope exquisite isn't heavy."
Maura remained amused. "Did you receive my post card? I sent one two days ago." She kicked her bare feet up and regarded the polish, maybe after a nice soak she would re-do them. She wanted to catch Jane before she went to sleep though. The trip with her mother had been just what they needed, and the art and food was simply to die for, but she was reminded of Jane often, and the experiment she had started with herself to embrace change had been on her mind.
Jane was padding gently at the beer stained rug with one hand while the other held her phone. "This case has been preoccupying me, sorry I haven't checked the mail today. I bet it's there."
"Oh." She sounded disappointed.
Jane bit the inside of her lip when she realized the beer had come out as much as it could. "It's just off that there is no evidence, y'know?"
Mura nodded. "I understand your frustration. Kent emailed me a few reports that were troubling him and it just doesn't seem real, but we have been very thorough I assure you."
"Maur, c'mon. Is it possible for you not to be thorough?"
"It's not in my nature but anything is possible."
She sat back on her couch and regarded the muted baseball game. The line was quiet a moment. "Sox are losing…."
"Oh are they playing those Aquatics?"
Jane furrowed a brow. "You mean the Marlins?"
Maura chuckled. "Oh, right yes them."
"No Miami is out this year. We are playing the Nationals."
"Ah yes, Washington DC."
"When will you bring me to another game?"
Jane put her socked feet on the coffee table and reclined. "When you learn the team names and don't embarrass me by wearing a brand new baseball cap every time."
"How am I to know what color scheme I'm going to wear and if that opposing team matches?"
Jane sighed but smiled at her honest question. "Maura that's the thing, the only color you need to match with is red."
"Sometimes it's so loud."
"That's the only team you are allowed to support." She reached for the new beer she grabbed on the way back from her linen closet and took a sip. "Did you donate those other team hats to charity like you said you would?"
"I don't understand team sport fans." She got up from her hotel bed and began gathering the new lathers she had purchased that day for her bath. "The mindset resembles that of a cult follower. Unyielding to see reason…"
"Not an answer, Dr. Isles."
"I did I'll have you know."
"Alright see? Progress."
"I had a lot of fun the last time."
Jane was half paying attention now. "The last time we went to a game?—Really? His foot touched the plate!"
Maura started running the water. "Yes, it was nice." They had gone on a clear Saturday months ago before the off season and a couple of times the year before with Frankie. This time was nice though, it wasn't like television baseball Jane who had the attention span of a four year old. Ballpark baseball Jane went through all the rules, and was eager to make sure Maura was having a good time and always, always bought her a hotdog, even after she insisted on telling her about what nitrates could do to one's system.
Jane's eyes darted at the innings left and then the score. She took another sip of her beer; maybe they could make a comeback after all. When the hell did the Nationals get so good anyway? "Alright Maura then we will go again."
"Just the two of us?" She opened a lavender silk bath bomb and placed it into the warm claw foot tub before removing her robe.
Maura settled herself among the lavender and made a small noise of pleasure. She was excited to get back to Boston but also was going to miss the constant pampering here in Paris. She rested her head back on a warm folded towel and sighed. "Alright then it's a date."
Something about the word date brought Jane back to attention. She rubbed at her chin briefly before sitting back into her couch. "Like a date date?" It wasn't what she intended to say but it was what fumbled out. She could hear Maura chuckle.
"As in a date on the calendar, Jane. Unless you prefer to ask me out on what you call a date date, that would save me a lot of anxiety."
Maura colored a little at the cheeks. "Well you did not kiss me back at the airport."
Jane could be watching professional wrestling now for all she knew. Leave it to Maura to bring this up now. "I-you-um-it's, Maura." She put a hand through her long black mane and looked back to the darkened spot on the rug where she had spilt beer. "I thought that was a French thing."
Maura shrugged gently in the tub, her cheeks were full and red but her tone remained normal. "It was."
Jane shook her head. "So… Then what does that mean?"
She switched the phone to her other hand. "It's an expression of love and affection, Jane. Both of which I have for you and socially here in France it's completely acceptable."
"We were in Boston both times."
"You remember then?" She sounded surprised. The next morning after tending to her hangover she visited Bass at the zoo and told him all about it. She was sure she looked crazy, but she wanted to share what giving into her impulses had yielded, and how it both confused and liberated her. She was sure Jane wouldn't remember.
Jane's cheeks began to flush. "Yeah…"
"Well that makes you not kissing me back worse then doesn't it?"
Jane shook her head. "How? We're best friends…I feel the same way about you but you just don't go around kissing your friends Maura."
"If it's because I'm a woman—"
"I don't kiss Korsak."
"Well that's different; he's your direct report, Jane."
"I don't kiss any of the guys in the bowling league."
The medical examiner wrinkled her nose in amusement. "I would hope not, they're grotesque."
"But they're my friends."
Maura thought about it logistically. "I admit that since the Robber I've wanted to see what it would be like again. Didn't you like it?" She asked curiously. She had kissed women before, no one like Jane though, at least she realized just then that she didn't need an excuse to kiss any of those young women in college, but with Jane she had created one right? If only to tease the detective, but did it stem from sort of internal fear? Maura Isles felt perfectly comfortable with the idea of kissing her best friend, but the idea of kissing Jane as a romantic partner began to worry her. She couldn't tell where one intention stopped and the other started.
"I mean…. Yeah I liked it…" Jane was tired and really wasn't sure what they were talking about now. "If I had known this was what you were doing I would have— You know I'm not—Is this some kind of test?" She finally settled on.
The pathologist laughed and pushed about some suds in her bath as if to mentally wipe her spiraling thoughts clean. "No, Jane I simply wanted to do it, and in the spirit of my new meditation practices that I was telling you about I want to give in to positive feelings. You make me feel positive."
"So you're gonna do it again?
"Well don't I have a say in this?"
"You don't want me to?"
"I mean…no, it's confusing."
"What's confusing about it?"
"Well…" She was up and pacing slowly about her living room. "If you're just doing it to feel good and not because you mean it—"
"Of course I mean it, Jane."
"God, Maura just—it's not that literal."
She shook her head. The bath bomb creating light purple hurricane patterns in the water in front of her was at its end. "Romantically you mean."
"Yes. I mean we've been through a lot together and…I do feel things for you as my best friend, um, but, don't you think it's just a little odd?" How could she approach something so intimate so nonchalantly.
"The first time I did."
"Not the other day at the airport?"
"No, Jane that felt perfectly natural." She shrugged almost shyly. "I was going to miss you, I have missed you. Is it that strange of an expression?"
She plopped back on her couch. "No but… it would mean things." She played with the draw string of her navy blue BPD sweat pants. "It would mean something different right… about you, about me?"
Jane groaned softy. "So are you going to start kissing my mom too?"
"Maura." She could hear the woman laughing. "I hope you know you're giving my an ulcer with all this kissing talk."
Maura was still chuckling. "Okay, so how about we let it be until you come to a meditation class with me, you'll see what I mean by embracing changes and giving in to positive feelings. Please Jane."
"You haven't even been back and you are asking me to go to some meditation thing with you already?"
"It will be good for you."
"Did you forget what happened the last time we tried to do something like this?"
"No one told you to put on some woman's shoes."
Jane smirked. "I'll tell you what, you help me solve this case in forty eight hours and I will go with you to this meditation thing."
Maura seemed to like the challenge and had agreed before claiming to begin to prune and needing to attend to other things before meeting up with her mother again. They said goodnight and Jane sat on her sofa reflecting on the pure ridiculousness of the conversation. If she really allowed herself to think about it though something had been gradually changing between them for a little while now and her thoughts surrounding the medical examiner had been manipulative to say the least. Jane found herself confused by her jealously, or muted by her own acts of chivalry. It only became more apparent when she turned down the FBI position that everyone was sure she was going to take or as of most recently when Maura would respond to her using a different script. Saying little things or doing things that led Jane to believe she could feel the change too and was offering to carry a weight Jane could not.
Jane reached for her beer and un-muted the tv. She didn't like the idea of Maura carrying extra on her behalf, and she most certainly didn't like the idea of the Washington Nationals becoming a force this season. With a tip of her bottle she polished off the beer and flipped through the stations until she found Animal Planet. A documentary on tortoises. "Of course" Jane smiled softly a she watched Bass as a baby wondering about looking for food and shelter for thirty minutes before falling back to sleep.
AN: Just a little something I started on my sick day off from work today. What do you guys think?