Author's Note: Thank you to all that have reviewed, I will do my best to keep these chapters as frequent as possible. Thank you so much for reading and enjoy! -Kara

Chapter Three

Maura

The week had dragged by with sixteen hour work days due to a high profile case that demanded all expedited results. Today, though only being Thursday, would be the start of her weekend. Every lab tech that clocked more than sixty hours in the past four days was granted three days off to recuperate, which at this point she desperately needed. At the moment, Maura took the time to refresh her inbox to see if the results for the current lab were in yet so she could present it to the Chief Medical Examiner who would then assess and bring upstairs to the detectives working the case. With no updates, she turned back around just in time to catch Joey making his way toward her.

His recent behavior had Maura in a tailspin. He had been a relatively charming guy to begin with - treated her with respect, understood her job. She didn't once think for a second he was a bigot until the notion crossed her mind the evening of the reunion. Maura was not known for picking up on social cues and therefore gave the assumption maybe there were earlier signs and she just did not understand well enough. All of that aside, she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"Detective Grant, what can I help you with today?"

He rests his back against the counter across from Maura, scrutinizing her. "Hey babe, just looking for the results on the Cooper case."

The blonde removes her safety glasses and tucks them in the pocket of her white lab coat. Just when she considered giving him the benefit of the doubt. A bad taste develops in her mouth with his use of the term babe. They had not even discussed becoming exclusive and had only been on a total of four actual dates. "We have not received them back yet. However, even if I had, you already know that protocol dictates I bring them directly to Dr. Pike before anyone else."

The officer shot up ramrod straight in an effort to try and assert his presence in front of the technicians. "Ya know Maura, I could take this right up the flagpole and tell everyone you're withholding and sittin' on very important information. Wouldn't look too good for you with the governor, would it?"

Though the threat was empty and misplaced, the notion of the detective even bringing this up more than perturbed Maura. She would have to deal with this outside of lab hours. He left with a sneer in the direction of all the white coats in the office and rode the elevator back upstairs.

Maura had almost mistaken the chime from her phone as the email notification concerning the information she and everyone else seemed to be waiting for. She suddenly remembered asking Jane this morning if she was free to meet up for a drink this evening. This must be her reply she thought as she eagerly swiped through her phone.

Yes, consider me free every day. I can meet you at the Dirty Robber around 7pm? Make sure you're hungry, I don't want to gorge myself on a burger all alone.

Quickly, Maura sent her response: I will see you then, but I will be ordering a salad.

Then you at least have to try a beer… ?

I make no such promises.

She felt like Jane would have laughed in response to that and put her phone away. Just as she slid the device back in her pocket, Detective Grant wiggles his way back into the lab.

"Maura," he grabbed the criminologists's attention. "I wanted to apologize. I really am sorry," his words appeared to be genuine. "I really didn't mean to come down here and act like a jerk to you and everyone else." He made a grand motion to the rest of the room, "I'm sorry everyone. I got a lot of heat coming down from the brass and a lot of eyes on me, on this never ending case, and I am pushing and shoving in all the wrong directions. I know we're all tired and losing sleep and working super long hours. Thank you for your hard work…" He trailed off, unsure of where to go from here.

The doctor semi-forced a smile once everyone else in the lab seemed to have gone back to their business.. "I am happy to move beyond this. I will deliver the results as soon as I have them."

He nodded in acceptance and started to head back to the bullpen with the rest of the eager detectives before spinning on his heel. "Maybe I just need to blow off some steam tonight. You have any plans? I'd love to take you out after work if that would be all right?"

"Sorry Joey, I do have plans with Jane already. We are going out for a drink since today will be the end of my work week as I have already logged sixty three hours this week. Perhaps next weekend?"

The Boston detective squared his shoulders and attempted to put on his authoritative presence once again. "Rizzoli, huh?"

"Is that a problem?" Though she didn't usually guess, he made it pretty clear he was unhappy with this evening's events.

"Guess we'll see." And with that, he left the lab once and for all.

Since she was able to head out moments earlier than anticipated, Susie Chang, a fellow criminologist Maura had been cordial with, accompanied her down the street to the bar. She was setting out to wait for her girlfriend who was a first responder with a shift ending in the next hour or so and they decided to spend the few minutes in an off-the-record conversation about the demanding behaviour of the detectives as of lately. Though she didn't really have any work friends, apart from, she supposed, Joey, Susie was quickly becoming a person she looked forward to speaking to each day. She was incredibly intelligent, great at her job, and displayed remarkable consistency. Her colleague knew about her plans to meet up with a friend and once Jane walked through the door, Susie let out a breathy and exaggerated, "Wowww."

Maura's attention zipped to the front just in time to see Jane enter dressed in dark jeans, black boots, and a black deep v-neck t-shirt exposing both a little bit of cleavage and the long lean muscles in her arms and torso. Her tall frame, chiseled features, and sun kissed, glowing olive skin tone made her look like a Greek goddess.

"Oh, that's Jane!" Maura exclaimed as she waved a hand above the crowd and the brunette made her way over there.

"That's Jane?" Susie sounded incredulous.

"Yes, why?"

"Nothing… she's… Damn."

Maura flashed her eyes back in the direction of her colleague. "What do you mean?"
"Are you blind, Dr. Isles?"

"No, I am not blind, why would you…"

"Good to know," a husky voice crackled the air around her previous conversation and caused the usually poised woman to fall into a stutter.

"I, uh, hello, Jane! This is Susie Chang, another forensic specialist in the lab."

"Hi Susie, nice to meet you. Would you like to join Maura and I for dinner?"

The younger woman that worked with the stunning blonde politely declined making dramatic mention of how she would have loved to be a fly on the wall for their conversation but was waiting on her girlfriend to arrive.

Maura had found her response odd but led her and Jane to a booth and put their orders in right away. The doctor only let herself reprimand the Italian a little because she did not order any vegetables. Jand had argued there would be plenty of veggies on the burger which elicited a smile from the blonde.

Once the food was brought to the table, they dove into conversation.

"Any particularly difficult cases this week?"
Maura placed the back of her hand to mouth and swallowed her bite before answering. "Yes, one rather tragic murder dealing with the daughter of a policition and all of the high profile people and protocols that come into place once something that like happens. This week has been a bit more stressful than some. I hate to complain."

"Oh please, Maura, you're way too polite to complain. I am sure this week was hell and you're taking it better than anyone else."

She wanted to beam a smile in the brunette's direction but instead asked a question of her own. "What is one of the least favorite secure details you have been contracted to do?"

"That's an easy one. My team had been contracted to work exterior security for a presidential visit and everyone but me got a piece of the action when a riot began to break out, but I was stuck inside holding the hair back of a very pregnant senator's wife who made a mess all over my uniform." Jane laughed and looked away as if searching for another memory. "Oh, there was also one time when I had first started out where I was hired to basically be a babysitter for three days for an eighteen year old daughter of a celebrity, who will remain nameless, while they went on some book tour. It was really demeaning at first - I am trained in hand-to-hand combat and can disassemble a handgun in under a minute."

The two had completed their meals and drinks, still deep into conversation comparing horror stories while on the job. Maura had plenty to discuss when talking about Dr. Pike and his strange fixations and odd tendencies.

"I am going to go grab another round for us. What kind of beer were you

drinking, Jane?"

"Just the Sam Adams they have on tap."

The blonde nodded in response and headed up to the mahogany bar to place their order. She couldn't remember ever having this much fun with a friend or acquaintance before. It was so easy and effortless with Jane. Just as she spun around with the beverages in her hand, Joey Grant was approaching her from the opposite end of the pub. She smiled brightly in his direction before it dropped as quickly as it was there.

"Thought you had plans, Maura?" Joey snapped.

"I do, Jane is right over there," both of her hands being full, she used her chin to point in the direction.

Joey huffed. "Good, I'd like to say hello." The doctor did not register the sarcasm dripping from the mouth of the detective.

She made her way back to the table and set the drinks down.

"What's up Rizzoli?" Joey's voice barked as soon as he was within range.

"Hey Joey," Jane tried not to roll her eyes with disappointment.

"You trying to steal my girl Frog Face?" The security guard slid from the booth and stood tall to mirror the presence of her nemesis. Joey continued to run his mouth at the woman who was very practiced in the art of patience. "She doesn't swing your way Rizzoli, so leave her the hell alone."

Maura stepped in between the two, "Joey, I think you should go. You're clearly angry right now and starting to make a scene. Let's go outside and discuss this." She lightly placed a hand on his wild and extended arm and he shook it off with fervor, smacking the blonde's arm in the process with an audible noise.

Jane swiftly stood in front of Maura, placing her hands palms up in the air to her former classmate who was quickly losing his temper. "C'mon Joey, would you prefer to talk out front," her voice was barely a whisper, almost as if to protect his image.

He turns around and heads in the direction of the front door before quickly spinning back around and connecting a fist with Jane's jaw. Maura had the best view of the strike and took a mental note of how Jane appeared to have basically prepared her body to accept the blow before twisting the detective's around his back with a tight press and laying the top half of his body on a table in the middle of the restaurant for all to see.

As smooth as the action of protection was, Jane looked up to who she assumed were other officers and asked if someone was able to take care of him so she could check in with Maura. She makes an apology to the room and leads the blonde outside.

"You okay, did he hurt you at all?

"Me? Jane no, are you all right?" She placed the pads of her fingers on Jane's face to inspect the damaged. At Jane's audible wince, Maura jerked her hand away. "Does it hurt?" The brunette shook her head no. Nothing seemed broken, but there was quite a bit of swelling. "Let me go back in and grab some ice from the bar."

"No, no Maura, I will be fine. I think it's best if neither of us head back in there right now."

"Jane, it's rather swollen, icing it would be ideal in this state." Maura grabbed her keys from the bottom of her purse. "I live not ten minutes away and have something that will help with the swelling and bruising there."

"It's really no big deal, Maur…"

"Nonsense." She tried not to swoon at the nickname Jane had just given to her and led them down the street to where her car was parked in front of the police department headquarters. "Like I said, I live not more than ten minutes away from here. We'll have that bruising down in no time."