Maura looked up from her reading when she heard a set of keys jingling near the entrance of her front door. Before she had a moment to rest her espresso down Jane's voice could be heard greeting the home in an elderly English accent

"Isles Estate, where even the caviar gets caviar." She goofed before stepping into the living room and noticing Maura sitting at the island already dressed for work. "Oh." She smirked. "Hey."

"Good Morning." Maura smiled. "You seem surprised to see me in my own home."

"Well hate to break it to you but usually when you say it's going to take you five minutes to get ready, I don't actually believe you." Jane jingled her car keys in her hand as she made her way over into the kitchen. She was wearing a black suit today and a deep plum colored button-down shirt that brought out the richness of her eyes, and the shine of her gold badge at her hip.

"You look nice."

Jane looked down to what she was wearing and shrugged. "Yeah?"

Maura nodded. "Yes, striking, that color suits you."

Jane motioned to Maura almost shyly. The ME was wearing a black dress with whispered floral silhouettes or silver and green of what looked to be an expensive material. "Well you look like you always look." Maura raised a brow teasingly and Jane smiled and rested her car keys down on the island beside Maura's expresso. "If I'm striking then you're stunning."

Maura rolled her eyes but felt her cheeks flush ever so slightly. Jane could really turn on the charm when she wanted to, but her eyes held no jest this time around, just warmth. "Thank you."

Jane went about helping herself to a mug of coffee before coming back over to where Maura was seated to sit beside her at the island. While in the motion of sitting she leaned over and pressed a kiss on the side of the ME's cheek before wrapping her hands around her mug and settling. Maura rested her hand on Jane's left thigh while she went back to her reading. She liked how firm the muscle in this particular spot felt, but primarily it was meant to signal that she wanted to just read the last line of the article. it was so clear that Jane had something to say that was serious enough for her to disregard her normal habit of impatience.

Jane took a sip of her coffee and stole a glance at the ME's pale hand on her thigh. Thankfully the distraction of their inevitable conversation existed, or Jane would have a real hard time thinking clearly.

A moment passed with them situated like that; Maura soaking in information innocently while Jane drank her coffee and tried not to blush.

Finally, Maura sighed at the reading material before letting Jane's thigh go in order to reach for her espresso. "Interesting."

Jane was afraid to ask. "Something about Mammals?"

Maura tossed her a soft look from over her tiny cup. "Yes." She answered before taking a sip. "A legal opinion piece from a colleague of mine, the potentially damaging effect of a second privately run autopsy."

Jane nodded and took a sip of he own coffee. "Taxpayers pay you, it's all public right?"

Maura motioned toward the article. "Though we are housed in the same building by all legal reasoning the medical examiner'ss office is not a branch of law enforcement." She became animated at a thought. " There is already an irreversible amount of damage done to the body during the first autopsy but more pointedly when I perform a forensic autopsy on someone we suspect might have died of asphyxia for example, I will frequently keep the entire neck block, the windpipe, blood vessels, and surrounding organs and structures of the throat in a stock jar in the morgue, as evidence. I may even save large sections of the heart and brain for specialized testing. These materials would not be available to a private-practice pathologist hired to perform a second autopsy."

Sometimes she forgot what it really took for Maura to do her work. "Maura you have brains in jars down there?"

The ME blinked. "Yes." They stared at each other. "I return them." Jane arched a brow.

"You return them…?"

"Did you have something on your mind?"

Jane let herself be pulled from the conundrum that was Maura's evidence locker and be brought back to her real reason for coming by so early. "Uh, yeah." She shifted in her seat some. "I told you how we caught Macon and the other two unsub at the freight warehouse last night, right?" Maura nodded remembering the late phone call. "I didn't tell you really how all that went down, and before we go in today and you hear about it from someone else I wanted to tell you… y'know, what happened."

Maura was slow to rest her espresso cup down and turn some in her seat to face Jane. "Okay."

Jane looked at her coffee before looking up at the ME. "You won't freak out?" Maura shook her head no and Jane took a deep breath. "Alright, so Frankie and I take this north entrance to the building and right away we get into a chase with Macon, we're on the second floor at this point and he… Got the drop on us around the corner." Maura waited. "He…" She pressed a finger to her chest where the inflamed skin had settled down some under her button down. "I got into a bit of trouble." Maura's brows knitted in confusion and then immediate concern.

"Are you injured?" She leaned in some and gently brushed Jane's hand away.

"I'm fine, it caught my vest."

The blonde looked up at her quickly. "Jane you were shot?" Her voice rose an octave. "Is that what you are trying to tell me?"

Jane winced. "Yes?"

"How? Where?"

"—You said you wouldn't freak out." The detective tried to remind her but Maura was already standing up and walking into the kitchen. "Maura." Jane stood and sighed.

"I am not freaking out." She motioned to the distance she had created between them. "I just… Need a moment."

Jane nodded and watched the woman across from her with suspect like intensity for exactly seven seconds. "Are you—"

"—Did you seek medical attention?"

"For almost getting shot—"

"-You were not almost shot, Jane. You were, someone shot you—"

"—Okay." Jane put her hands up and Maura looked away. The Boston native closed her palms remember the scars there for the first time in a week or so. They were likely not helping her cause. "Alright, the EMT looked at me, I feel fine." She tried again.

The doctor faced her fully. "The force and projectile velocity of a bullet toward a standard Kevlar vest can cause a plethora of internal injury regardless of its caliber, Jane. You need a computed tomography scan." She raised a brow at her. "But you're fine right?" Maura crossed her arms "Great."

Jane crossed the invisible line drawn by the ME as she entered the kitchen. "Mau—"

"Jane." She shook her head as a flurry of emotions acted roughly against her need to control and analyze them. "Why didn't you tell me this last night?"

Jane ran a hand through her hair. "Maura you were half asleep, I didn't want to worry you, we got the bad guys that's all you needed to know—"

"—You do not get to decide what information I get and don't get." She uncrossed her arms.

"There is no get and don't get Maura I'm telling you now what happened."

"After the fact, when it is most convenient and comfortable for you."

Jane shook her head. "Nothing about this conversation is convenient or comfortable for me."

"Why would that be?" The ME challenged. "Have you considered the possibility that it might be because after years of knowing me my response has always been consistent? Follow the proper channels to get treated. Why is this such a difficult concept?"

Jane didn't know what it was (later introspection would bring about the theory that she was in fact her father's daughter) but she suddenly felt the need to push back. A need to defend herself. She was trying to do the right thing here. "You're overreacting." She crossed her arms. "I'm a cop Maura, sometimes that means stepping in front of danger."

"Don't." Maura shook her head. "Do not placate your sense of obligation as if I have no understanding of what you do, it's insulting."

"Oh really?"

"Yes, really."

Silence.

"Alright, I'm sorry." Jane exhaled largely as the room seemed to gain oxygen at the apology. "What do you want me to do?" She let her arms fall to her sides when Maura sighed and shook her head as if examining something that couldn't be fixed. "I'll take whatever test you want me to."

"That is not the point, Jane."

"So what is?"

"You would not have spared any detail before… us." It was true and they both knew it. "You would have boasted." She almost rolled her eyes.

"We can't pretend that things are exactly the same between us, Maur."

"So that means communicate less? Hide potentially life threatening news?"

Jane shook her head quickly. "No, no I'm not saying that."

"So what are you attempting to communicate?"

"I'm saying that that… I didn't know how to tell you. Okay? That I knew you were already worried anyway and I didn't want to make it worse if it meant you could sleep in."

"The sentiment is not lost, Jane but it bares little weight to our reality." Their voices had softened.

Jane took in a big breath at the truth. They lived more dangerous lives than the average person did, and sure, a small part of her (the cop in her no doubt) felt Maura was overreacting to this news, but a larger part of her, the majority of her, knew the ME was right. The time of day or night, nor if the ME was awake or not never stopped her from gushing about a good old fashion show down. So why now? Was she really concerned about the ME or was she more concerned about not knowing just how much Maura could take of her work now that they were here before leaving like the rest of them? Maybe it also was a little bit of Jane wanting to be reliable, a place of comfort for Maura, and not a constant stressor…

"Maura I will get any test you want me to." She tried again softer now. She took a step closer to the shorter woman.

Maura just shook her head. She had already forgiven Jane a minutes ago, but she struggled with how to proceed herself. It wasn't as simple as going to get the CT scan, she needed Jane to know that she thought they made a great team, but only because of how they shared. Now to learn that there was something new holding the detective back worried her. "I am glad you were not seriously injured." She nodded.

Jane frowned. "Yeah, me too."

"I am—"

Just then the back door to the kitchen opened revealing a smiling Angela. "Morning!" She almost immediately became aware of how tense the room felt and looked between the two curiously and then sternly. "Are you two fighting?"

"No." Maura responded surely. She offered Angela a small smile before reaching for her keys and her cell phone on the island.

Jane exhaled and watched her gather her things. "Maura."

"I'll see you at work, Jane." The ME promised before motioning toward the refrigerator. "I wasn't sure if you had eaten so I made you a parfait."

Jane watched her leave before turning to her mother who had her arms crossed to her chest and was giving her "that" look. Jane groaned before shaking her head at her silently denying any explanation to what she had just walked in on.

"What happened?" Angela finally asked anyway as Jane passed her to open the refrigerator and pull out the small mason jar of layered yogurt, granola, and berries.

"Nothin'" Jane got a spoon and sat where Maura had previously been sitting on the island. She opened the glass jar and began to eat a few spoonful of the layered treat. "Ma, looking at me like that isn't going to make me say anything, that doesn't work anymore." Angela came over to the island and maintained the stare to which Jane arched a brow. "Ma."

"Fix it."

"Why does everyone always think I did something?" Jane couldn't help herself. She felt suddenly overwhelmed with her mother, with the parfait, with the whole damn thing. "Maura's not perfect." Although try as she might she couldn't come up with any evidence to support her claim.

Satisfied with the mini outburst Angela went to pour herself a cup of coffee before turning back to her daughter. "No one is, honey, but you girls are best friends, that means fixing it. Life is way too short."

##

"I'm thinking I'd go next y'know?"

Jane nodded. "Mhm."

"Ma says it's this Tuesday coming…" Frankie tilted his head some. "Janie…."

Jane pulled her chin from her knuckle and looked up from her computer screen. "Yeah, this Tuesday coming." Frankie was perched on her desk having a conversation with her, from what she could gather it was something about a day next week and he looked a little unsure of himself. "It'll be fine." She nodded once.

Frankie gave her an odd look before deciding that maybe he ought to cut her some slack. They had finally managed to get a measly six hours sleep against the forty-eight awake they had running average this week and it wasn't exactly the calmest work environment right now. Outside six news vans had been camped out since dawn waiting for any morsel of information they could slap a cheesy catch line to and pump into the news circuit by five o'clock tonight. Given the high-profile nature of the arrest and suspicions over their general presence The FBI had agreed to a press conference to discuss the case and their standing within it. Cavanagh had asked them to all be in attendance which meant the regular deadline for paperwork related to a homicide had been moved up tenfold. Everyone in the department was running around in a frenzy to meet the deadline so that afterwards they could leave early and start their weekends.

Jane was in the process of staring down her Firearm Discharge paperwork in her employee web portal when Frankie came over and started talking at her. She never remembered the questionnaire being this detailed, anyway it was hard to focus given the hustle and bustle and a certain medical examiner conveniently not coming up to the living all day.

"I was talking to Tommy and he said he'd go after me, so it's fair."

Their father, he was talking about their father. Jane shifted in her rolling chair to better face him. "That's a good idea?"

"We can't ask him not to, besides, Ma will be there so I'm sure she'll keep them both in check." He looked around the room. "One other thing."

Jane raised a brow at how secretive he was now being. "You're pregnant?"

Frankie made a face. "No, c'mon. Nina's gotta make an honest man out of me first."

"Barf."

"I was gonna ask if maybe you could pick Ma up tonight. She asked me earlier but I didn't know something I had planned would come through." He reached into the inside of his blazer and handed her a brochure.

Jane looked around them for who she had no idea, but Frankie seemed to appreciate the gesture. "It's a … midnight hot air balloon ride?" She looked up at her brother who looked very proud of himself.

"Nina knows a lot about stars and stuff, and I thought it'd be nice. Her birthday is coming up so."

Jane smiled at him. "Who knew the kid who ate all that glue would grow up to be a romantic."

"Shut up." Frankie reached forward to take the brochure back but Jane yanked it away twice. "Jane." He gritted.

"Wha? I'm just looking at it."

"Give it back before she walks in here." He lunged forward and Jane leapt out of her seat. "I could punch you y'know."

"I'm just…" She chuckled amongst the struggle. "Looking at it—If you ruin my suit—"

"—Just let go!"

"Detectives."

Jane and Frankie stopped mid wrestle when a familiar voice interrupted them.

Jane shoved her brother off her back. "Maura." She stood upright and adjusted her shirt. "W-What are you doing here?"

Frankie glanced at the tiny stutter. "She works here, Janie." He snatched the brochure out of his sister's hands and cleared his throat professionally as he took all the triumph in the room to fold it back up and slip it into his jacket pocket. "Hey, Maura."

Maura smiled politely at them. Sometimes Cailin sent her memes she didn't understand. It was the closest thing she had in terms of understanding why Jane and Frankie where always roughhousing. "Sargent Detective Korsak requested the comparative analysis on the soil sampling brought in by CSU this morning." She motioned to the folder in her hands with the ME's seal on it. "Is he present?" She looked around the busy office.

"He's with Cavanagh going over some stuff for the press conference." Jane explained.

"I see. Will you see to it he receives it?"

Jane nodded and took the folder from her before flipping it open. "What's it say? We have a match?"

Maura nodded. "All four samples found under the initial victims nails all derived from this particularly unique mixture of alkane based compounds."

Jane decided now wasn't the best time to point out that a simple yes or no response was all they needed. "Nice." She read the first few sentences of the report and then closed the manilla folder. "Thanks." Maura dipped her head in a nod. "You busy?" Jane added after a moment of thought.

"Right now?"

"Yeah." She handed Frankie the folder. "I owe you a coffee anyway." She shrugged.

Maura thought about it, but then found there wasn't really too much to think about. She was certain this was their first disagreement as a… unit and as much as she considered her point most valid she found she was all too ready to put it past them. "Okay."

Jane smiled. "Alright." She turned to her brother who was studying the contents of the folder. "If anyone is looking for me I'm downstairs."

He tossed her a distracted thumbs up. "You got it."

As they fell into step beside one another in the hall Maura glanced over at Jane and Jane looked back at her.

"I got CT scan on my break." Jane shared as she stuffed her hands into her suit pockets.

Maura was genuinely surprised. "Did you receive the results?"

"Not for another two hours I guess. Since it was a little last minute they said they'd call me." Maura nodded at the information as they came to a stop at the elevators. "So how's your day going?" The detective asked as they entered the lift. Jane cast a mini scold at the detective in the Special Victims Unit who heroically stalled the closing of the door so three other officers and himself could get on.

"You heading to the game next week?" One asked.

"Nah, wife's got me at the house cleaning out the garage, something about spring cleaning. You know that shit happens every year?" Another responded.

"Hey Rizzoli, heard you just missed getting decapitated out there, nice shot."

Jane nodded coolly. "You could shoot like me too if you spent half as much time at the range as you do at the doughnut shop, McGill. " She jabbed playfully causing the entire elevator to erupt into laughter. Well save for Maura, who had only seen Detective McGill eat a doughnut once.

Eventually the elevator hit the ground floor and it emptied into the precinct lobby. Jane waited for Maura to fall into step beside her before they oriented toward the café.

'It is impossible for most common bullet calibers to decapitate someone." The doctor pointe d out as they got on line to order their coffee.

Jane looked at her and pulled her hands out of her pockets. "I know, Maura."

"So, you are receiving social accolades for your near misfortune?"

Jane motioned toward the elevator behind them. "That's just cop talk for them wishing me well."

"Hm." Maura nodded to herself. She was sure by now she had understood all of the "cop talk" but clearly social pleasantries between acquaintances had to be fleshed out a little more.

"So you never told me." Jane tried again.

"What is that?"

"How your day is going?"

Maura looked up at her and Jane raised a brow softly. "Well." She began. "I have been a tad distracted today if you can imagine." Jane agreed that she could in fact envision it. "I have a friend; whose best friend has this truly remarkable ability to land herself into harms way."

They moved up in line some. "A friend?"

Maura nodded. "Would you prefer I use your name?"

Jane nodded to herself when a lab tech that worked for Maura squeezed past them to head toward the exit but not before stopping to greet them. "So… This friend, her best friend is always getting into trouble?"

Their eyes met. "She operates very physically with the world. My friend and I have agreed that this is just simply who she is, and though somewhat worrisome it is harmless in comparison to the good that results from it."

Jane nodded. "So, what had you distracted today? I mean did your friend say something?" She tucked some of hair behind her ear impatiently. Maura did not seem upset, she did not seem happy, she did not seem sad. She did not seem at all in fact. At times Jane wondered how she became a detective at all, the blonde was so damn hard to read.

They moved up another position in line. "Something very small is beginning to change and from what she has shared she is not sure how to express a dislike for it without being misunderstood."

Jane nodded to herself. "Well, maybe your friend's friend—"

"Janice."

Jane quirked a brow. "Janice?"

Maura nodded seriously. "Yes."

Jane rolled her eyes. "Okay, well maybe Janice just wants to make sure she's being a good… friend."

"Janice has always been a good friend." They moved up another position. "I believe it would be in her best interest to ask Mariella specifically what she sees in changing before trying to fix it, don't you agree?"

Jane just looked at her. "Janice and Mariella, Maura? Really?"

Maura tried not to smile. "We're next, what are you going to order?"

"You ask me this every time, and every time my answer is the same, coffee, black."

"Next!" Stanley yelled.

Jane sighed at the man organizing and reorganizing the granola bars stationed at the cash register. "Hey Stanley." He actually smiled at Maura before turning back to her and scowling. "Jeez."

"Rizzoli, Whatdya want?"

"A little hospitality goes a long way, Stanley." Jane crossed her arms.

"Yeah? So does a little respect. You'd think your mother would return one of my calls? I'm up to my neck in orders here!"

Jane uncrossed her arms. "You weren't exactly boss of the year, what makes you think she's gonna come back?"

"She needs the money." He answered simply and for whatever reason that didn't sit well with Jane.

"Just get my coffee, please?" She and Maura exchanged looks.

"He's more irritable than usual today." Maura agreed when the older man's back was turned.

Jane rolled her eyes. "Probably the granola bars." She motioned to the new multicolored packaging.

Maura examined them before nodding. "Yes, I can see where that could be stressful. How exactly does one organize such an elaborate color scheme?" Maura began googling about color theory and ocular recognition as they got their coffees and added their sugars or milks and as they found a table tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the afternoon rush.

"—Aside from tertiary colors that is. Which are made by mixing equal parts of one primary color and one secondary color—"

Jane cleared her throat softly causing the ME to blink before catching herself and taking a sip of her late. "So…" The detective started. She wiped the table between them free of invisible debris as she thought about what she wanted to say. "…What do you think is changing… Specifically?"

Maura put her cup down and they stared at each other for a silent moment. "You don't tell your mother of your injuries. Why?"

"Cause she'd lose her mind." Jane answered without thought. "I don't want her worrying."

"The danger is still the same whether you tell her or not though, correct?"

Jane needed. "Yeah, it is."

"Have you ever held anything back from me?" Their eyes met.

Jane shook her head no. "You're like my free walk-in clinic." She smirked softly and Maura did as well because it was true. A hang nail, a broken toe, an upset stomach. Jane hated going to doctors, save for Maura. She'd even reset her nose once or twice.

"Last night was an abnormality, Jane." Maura explained. "Your intention to tell me did not derive from seeking to share, comfort, or medical care as it usually is. It was driven by us working in the same building, by me finding out from someone else."

Jane sighed softly and looked at her best friend. "Maybe I don't want you to lose your mind either." It was barely audible.

Maura's features softened. "Chiari malformation aside, it's highly unlikely for that to happen, Jane."

"Yeah but Ma is Ma, she's always going to be. You're…We're.."

"Changing?"

"Yes." Jane rubbed at her chin a little. She felt herself blush and she for the life of her didn't know why. "You're not my mother, that's clear, but you're… My…Maura." They smiled at each other. "I don't want this to be too much." She looked down at her hands.

Maura sat back in her seat some and examined the woman across from her. Jane wore this adorable look of embarrassment mixed with a little admiration. "Jane, I have been doing this for the seven years that we have been friends. At varying degrees, yes, but It is not too much." She briefly touched her wrist. "I promise you."

Jane bit her lip softly as she nodded. "So every time I get a broken nail I should call?"

"No." The ME laughed. "We would be in communication far too often for my liking."

"Hey."

"I just ask that you examine the motive behind holding things from me."

She nodded. "I can do that."

"and Jane?"

"Yeah?"

"Getting shot should never make the list."

"Yes ma'am." She wanted to kiss her, like really badly, but it was a good thing she didn't because well they were in public, and also because not three minutes into another conversation did Agent Davies show up with a cup of coffee in his hand and a black padfolio under his arm.

"Hey Rizzoli. Doctor Isles."

The two women had been laughing at something when they were interrupted and Maura was glad for the habit of covering her mouth when she laughed because it was sure to hide her unexpected scowl from being presented with an image that she didn't care much for; Cameron Davies. She shrugged off the emotion as uncouth and smiled politely at him anyway.

"Agent Davies, Good Day."

"It is." Cameron nodded proudly. "I'm sure Jane already told you about last night, hell of a shot."

Maura looked at Jane. "Yes, she has."

"What's up, Davies?" Jane asked noticing how he was looking very determined.

"I was just grabbing a coffee before heading into the last interrogation, wanna come?"

"Who is it?"

"That cute bartender, the one you were flirting with."

Jane's coffee went down the wrong way and she coughed on air loudly. "What?" She glanced at Maura who was looking at her with a slightly raised brow. "Who?" She looked back to Davies.

"Hasn't had a decent conversation in months?" He reminded as he shook his head in amusement. "I'm messing with you, Rizzoli. C'mon, she thinks I'm a mute anyway, I can use your help. She agreed to do an official statement last minute, it'll help us lock in O'Doul's charges."

"Well this seems rather time sensitive." Maura commented. "You should definitely go and have that conversation, Jane." The ME teased as she began to stand.

"Sorry to break up your coffee date." Davies nodded politely.

"That's quite alright, I need to return to my lab." Maura turned toward Jane. "Enjoy."

Jane rolled her eyes trying not to smile too much. "Maura." She called. The ME paused and turned slightly on her heel. "I'll call you later."

"Don't."

They smiled at each other though.

Davies grinned a little at the exchange. "Did I say too much?" Maura probably knew exactly who Mr. Top Cop Maybe he was nearby? Davies glanced around.

Jane was too busy watching the ME leave. "Huh?" She asked when she finally remembered his presence.

Davies tilted his head. "Doctor Isles?"

Jane seemed to have snapped back into her own reality as she turned to pick up her coffee cup from the table. "What?" He furrowed a brow at the other woman and Jane arched one at him. "What?" She asked again.

No Jane had specifically said he was a police officer, Right? Someone in law enforcement, and a he. Davies shook his head at himself. It was wrong of him to assume otherwise right? Two women could harbor close emotional relationships without it having to orient to something romantic. He felt a little ashamed of himself for letting the idea play out in his mind for the second it did. "How long you guys been buds? You and Doctor Isles?"

Jane didn't see how this was relevant to anything but she shrugged. If it got him to stop looking at her weirdly then she'd bite. "A while, she's my best friend."

"That must be nice working together. My best friend lives in Michigan."

"You have friends, Davies?"

Cameron chuckled. "Sometimes friends with benefits." He winked and Jane rolled her eyes.

##

The next time Maura and Jane saw one another was late that evening after the press conference. Everyone with a badge or closely related to one had agreed to drinks and were headed toward the Dirty Robber in celebration of a job well done. The bad guys were in custody, and the ground where Macon's freight building was located had been approved for ground inspection and K-9's scheduled for the very next morning. Jane was feeling pretty good about the work that they all accomplished, and she wouldn't admit it out loud but the gaggle of FBI agents that had taken over their unit had pulled through in a pinch and she would be somewhat disappointed to see them leave.

"So where are the jars of brains, Doctor Frankenstein?" Jane asked her best friend when she found her leaned over a microscope in her lab around five thirty.

"In the refrigerated safe near my office." Maura answered without even looking up from her work. She had heard Jane's boots in the hall.

Jane looked around. The lab was completely empty. "And the people that work here?" She hadn't seen the place this cleared out since the break in.

Maura adjusted something on the microscope as she continued to examine the sample before her. "I gave them the evening off."

"Hm." Jane nodded to herself before walking over to a tech's station and sitting down on the table. She leaned her hands on either side of her legs and watched Maura obsess over something microscopic for a full minute. "You want to get dinner with me?" Maura finally looked up from her work, a cute impression from the microscope surrounded her eye making Jane wonder how long she had been staring at the thing. "Dailey's?"

"Tonight?"

Jane let up a chuckle. "Yeah I mean, do you have plans?"

"No." Maura smiled. "That would be lovely."

They smiled at each other. "Okay."

"I thought for certain you would have wanted to go to The Dirty Robber." Maura explained ahs she went back to her work.

Jane nodded to herself and swung her feet some. "I have to pick up Ma later so eventually yeah. Tommy's working and Frankie's taking Nina on a midnight hot air balloon ride…"

"That sounds romantic."

Jane considered this. "Yeah, but Dailey's has nachos." Maura made an amused noise quietly which made the Detective smile. "What did Bio Mom want yesterday?"

"We were catching up, nothing in particular."

"Did she mention MEND?"

"Only briefly. I believe she is taking care not to push me, but also I doubt she takes no for an answer often." Maura removed the slide carefully from under the microscope and replaced it with another.

"Go figure."

"Jane."

"Yeah yeah I know I know."

Maura smiled to herself. "When will your caution of her cease?"

Jane shrugged and kicked her feet out some more. "Never." Some time passed in comfortable silence as the two worked in silence. Maura was a hair away from deciphering what made this particular piece of metal digestible, and Jane working to figure out what a truly romantic gestures for the ME would look like. Surely it was not a midnight hot air balloon ride, that was too lame. Maura would like something nerdy…. Like a book fair or something. It was only her stomach wincing in emptiness that brought her attention back to the present. "Maura."

"Five more minutes."

"Woman—"

"Please?"

Jane hopped from the table and neared the door. "The things I do for you."

"Gather your belongings, I'll be ready when you are. Just... five more minutes."

##

Jane plopped herself down on Maura's bed and yawned heavily. "It wasn't bad, y'know?" She stretched her legs out and then propped herself up on her elbow to regard her best friend emerging from the master bathroom clad in simple cloth shorts and a tank top. Maura was rubbing her hands together to lather the last bit of moisturizer between them. "I mean maybe less fruit juice… less spices." Maura sat on the bed and affectionately rubbed the last bit of moisturizer down Jane's face much to the detective's dismay. "Maura, c'mon." She pushed at her hands.

"If it had any less Jane than it would not have been a cocktail." She hid her smile watching Jane mimic a cat who had just been sprayed with water. "It won't burn you."

"It smells like old lady." Jane made a face.

"Oh does it?"

"Yeah, just like that cocktail you made me pay eighteen dollars for."

Maura pretended to sigh. "I suppose you would have been happy with beer?"

Certain she had removed the last bit of lotion off of her person Jane rolled onto her stomach and agreed. "Or wine."

"Really?"

"Yeah, I like the one we got in New York."

Maura made mental note of this. "I was thinking to open a few bottles up for Sunday." Jane nodded. "So." Maura began formally as she scooted back against her headboard and let a leg hang over the side while the other she tucked under her. It was clear that they were tired, neither was really ready to fall asleep just yet though. Dinner at Dailey's had been nice, lighthearted, if it weren't for the occasional flirt or some rather interesting silence Maura could have sworn it was like nothing had changed, and she appreciated that. Jane wanted to pay so she let her, and when they left to pick Angela up from her shift Maura continued to test her theory regarding affection by letting her hand rest innocently on the Detective's right leg when she came to red lights, and removed it when the light turned green. Once they picked up Angela the trio got into serious conversation about Frank, it was nice to have it finally with both women present, and though Jane went quiet for a while after that she seemed to perk up at the mention of ice cream for dessert. Angela retired about twenty minutes ago, and Jane had just come over after showering across the hall and changing.

Knowing that they were alone, truly alone, made every moment seem slowed by time itself. Which logically speaking the ME knew was false, but who was she to challenge her own experience? She was increasingly loving these moments alone with Jane. There was just something about the way she felt free to look at her that made Maura feel elevated internal temperatures and unnecessarily coy. Jane blushed quite a bit too, which she found incredibly endearing.

Jane looked up at her curiously. "Sooo?"

Maura blinked, unaware that she had drifted off into thought until Jane poked her leg.

"I wasn't aware that flirting with witnesses to gain information was common practice for homicide detectives."

Jane's grin grew slowly. "C'mon."

Maura's chuckle was warm. "All this time and all I had to do was witness a murder?"

"I never thought you'd be the jealous type."

"How could you not?" Maura retorted quickly, all dimples.

Jane's cheeks grew rosy with amusement as she picked herself up from her position just enough to lean in closer to the blonde. "Maybe I can reassure you." She rasped close to her ear causing Maura's whole body to take notice at their proximity and aloneness once again. "I kinda think you were planning on me saying that though." There was something so deliciously devious about Maura's stare right then. Guilty. "A trap?" Their faces were inches apart.

"A calculated device." Maura corrected lowly.

"Hm." Jane expressed, although it resembled hunger pains more than thought.

The moment mounted with their silence before Maura gave in and touched her face by tracing her fingers along her jaw before cupping it and staring into her smoky eyes. "Kiss me."

Their lips met in a slow and wet kiss that immediately requisitioned all other thoughts. Jane exhaled through her nose and readjusted herself so that she was in front of the ME fully on the bed. Kissing Maura felt like driving a race car. An activity that she grew quite fond of after racing school but seldom got the chance to do because of life's interferences.

Steer, brake, accelerate, but never do more than one at a time…

If she didn't stick to some sort of discipline, then the swill of senses dumped as hormones in her body would drown her like speed to an inexperienced driver. Maura kissed with such life, it was hard not to want to go just ten over the limit but when Maura's head hit the pillow and Jane fell on top of her it was only in her nature to see if she could perfect fifteen.

Maura moaned at the weight of Jane's body pressed against her and for a moment their pace was lost to the new sensation. She was grateful for Jane taking a second to pant against her when the need for oxygen eventually became great.

"Maura." Jane exhaled into her neck after she caught her breath, a need growing in her that with every second of the ME's breasts pressed against her grew harder and harder to control.

Maura understood immediately and ran her hands down Jane's shoulders before reaching her left hand and running it along the expanse of her side before reaching her chest just above her heart. Jane picked herself up to look down at her when she felt just how fast it was racing. Their eyes met in the dim room and just like that a little bit of that sweetness that had been consumed by lust returned. Without breaking eye contact Maura abandoned Jane's hand and waited as Jane put two and two together. The detective let her left hand creep up Maura's diaphragm and let the pad of her thumb trace along the thinnest to near invisible scars of Hoyt's scalpel, then to her pulse then back to her heart, and then finally her left breast. Both women immediately closed their eyes and made a sigh in joint agreement that this was in fact the most amazing feeling ever as Jane's thumb brushed against her nipple above the thin material of her tank. Twice was all it took for Maura to wrap her arms around her shoulders, a third for Jane to press her pelvic bone down against her. Their lips met again as they continued to make out, yet now with the added benefit of wondering hands, and though that was as far as they went that night Jane could not hide her grin the next morning if she tried. It was actually a little problematic, especially when Angela came over announcing that Tommy was dropping TJ off any minute now.

"What?" Jane asked Maura innocently in response to the very stern look she gave her behind her mother's back.

"You are going to get us into trouble—" She hissed.

"Doing what? What am I doing?" Jane whispered back.

"Stop staring at my breasts."

Jane could feel her face turn a bright red. "What are you even talking about, Maura?" She protested loudly.

Maura gave her a look. "Jane."

She scraped her chair up from the island and grabbed her bowl of cereal and coffee mug. "When you figure out what you think you saw I'll be in the living room watching baseball maybe ready to receive your apology. Maybe."

Maura couldn't help but laugh. She loved her, if it were anywhere near as obvious as Jane had been, then they were already in deep trouble. "Use a coaster."

"Leave me alone, Maura."

Angela sighed at the commotion as she stopped the blender she had been running. She thought it might be fun to make smoothies with her grandson this morning. Too bad it couldn't fully drown out their bickering, or playing? She hardly knew anymore. "I don't understand you two, always with the back and forth." Maura smiled as she came over to help her. "Jane gets it from her father, always something smart to say. I'm surprised at you though Maura."

Maura smiled and looked over her shoulder at Jane on the couch. "She is irritating in a special way."

Angela huffed as she made quick work of a fresh mango. "You can say that again."

"Ma, I am literally sitting right here!" Jane called.

"Are you using a coaster?!" Angela rang right back.

Jane rolled her eyes; she always used a coaster because she was dragged furniture shopping with Maura when she bought it and was still suffering from sticker shock. A few moments later Jane smiled to herself when she felt someone sitting next to her with a book. "Careful." She warned without needing to turn and look at her. Maura got comfortable beside her as she brought a throw over their laps. "Don't want anyone seeing you covering my knees." She mumbled for only the blonde to hear.

Maura grinned. "I am here to apologize."

"Bullshit."