Dear Maura,

It's a bit ridiculous to be writing this out. Things change once they've been scribed to paper. We generally call it reality. It's now that this is going to feel real, because this is real. How I feel about you...is real. I don't even really know where to start. I could go through and tell you how beautiful you are or how it makes me feel when I see you smile. I could give you the story of how I fell in love with you and that it started the moment we first really connected beyond being coworkers. I could sit here and describe to you how all of your personality traits drive me crazy in every way possible. That makes this about me.

You are incredible. You strive daily for perfection, yet you never realize you attain it through your flaws. Your ensemble is crafted daily to turn heads, even when you don't see them or you think they aren't looking and you feel that no one could notice one little Chief Medical Examiner. You are seen by so many. I see you. I see you when you force yourself to look stoic when you hear some rookie whisper, "That's the Queen of the Dead, right?" I see your courage when you face pieces of your past and present that would terrify most. I see your compassion for every corpse that enters your lab.

I am a witness to the Maura Isles behind the mask. The one who giggles when she knows she's won a ridiculous argument with me. And wholeheartedly laughs when it visibly infuriates me. You are the only voice of reason that breaks through every wall I've ever built. The one who supports and lifts up all of those around you. You are encouraging, understanding, and compassionate. You make me want to compromise and relent with you, when it's in my nature to fight to the death. You do that because there is something about you that is special. I may not have the exact word for it, because I am not a walking dictionary. I know you do. You don't see it in yourself, so you don't know what word I want to use here. Stop trying to think about that, I'm trying to write a serious love letter here. I want to help you see yourself. I want to see the day that that word hits you right between the eyes. You'll call me one day and just...say it. You'll finally be seeing what I see.

I am so in love with you. Which kills me. You are the only thing in my life that doesn't seem complicated. Feeling like this makes me feel like I'm the one who'll be complicating us. I can't see in this darkness that I'm in. I struggle with myself going back and forth. Should I tell you? Most of the time the answer is unequivocally no. We are great friends and having you in my life is so much more than I ever could have hoped for. If I actually admitted this out loud? You'll still go out on your dates and come home wanting to call me like you always do to tell me about it. You'll start questioning it. You'll tell yourself that you care more about my feelings and don't want to feel badly for rubbing it in my face. Slowly, I wouldn't be the first person that you wanted to share things with anymore. You'd pull away from our friendship. I'd start getting offended that I'm the one always wanting to tell you about my life.

I start to think what that would look like if our friendship changed like that. I know that I wouldn't be able to deal with that. Losing you would be more than devastating. I've lived through a horribly devastating experience. I thought it was bad enough when I almost lost the use of my hands. Nothing could compare to the night that I almost watched that monster touch you. Nothing in my life would ever motivate me more than to fight against losing you. I couldn't kill my own personal boogeyman when my own life was in the balance, but when your life was...I finished him for good. You always give me that extra push of strength and courage whether you realize it or not.

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm writing this down to tell you about this. I can't keep this in any longer. I need to be able to just say, I love you, Maura.

Jane stopped writing, dropped the pen, and wiped her left hand down her face. She sat back from the kitchen island in her condo and stared at the paper. "This is the dumbest idea I've ever had!" She reached out and grabbed the paper and crumbled it and threw it across the kitchen towards the trash can. It hit the rim and bounced on to the floor. Jo Friday ran over amongst the paper carnage and sniffed the newest addition. Unimpressed, she trotted back over to the couch. After circling, her still warm spot on the cushion, she plopped down with a sigh. Jane looked over. "Really? You're that disappointed in me eh?"

She reached over and grabbed another piece of paper. She took a deep breath and put pen to paper.

Maur,

I am in love with you. Telling you this is going to ruin everything. But I dream about you almost every night. We have the best life together when I'm sleeping. I just want that chance in reality. I know that the chances that we could actually work out as a couple is slim. Neither of us know what a successful relationship looks like. Who wants to lose your best friend just because you want to be the one that she kisses and smiles for?

What if...what if it was beyond amazing? What if we tried a romantic relationship and it was the one thing we've both been missing our entire lives? What if we were actually happy, together forever? I can only guess you've never thought about what it would be like to be with me. What if you did? What would that look like to you?

You're an emotional person who regulates herself through logic and science. I admire that about you. I love that about you. There is so much I love about you. Everything really. I may just be in love and looking at you through rose colored glasses. But somehow in your case, I doubt it. If I had never seen a darker side of you, I would probably actually agree with that statement. I've seen your flaws and you annoy me sometimes. You infuriate me at other times. And even in the middle of being angry with you or fighting with you because I shot your biological father. I wanted nothing more than to just apologize for it. My actions aren't exactly the best thing to see. You scare me quite frankly. It scares me that I am so willing to trust you or forgive you or to see past your flaws or that I love you because you have them. I mean...who loves someone because they use too many words or that they take over a conversation with overly analytical explanations for simple facts? I have to argue with you over blood at a goddamned crime scene. I just have to stomp my foot in frustration sometimes. Or you take too long telling me the victim may have been strangled or not when I could visibly see that she was.

But then, when I'm sitting in a courtroom and giving my testimony. I realize that you were right. You're always right. Confirmation of those things is important in the moment because it helps us focus on the correct circumstances to find the suspect. It's important when I'm being grilled by a defense attorney who asks was I sure it was blood? Maybe it was something else? And I get to say, "No, the lab confirmed my suspicions that it was, in fact, blood." Even at work, you complete me and make me a better Detective. You do that in our friendship too. I can't run from you. No matter how much I want to.

"Fuck! Just remind her of work, nice." Jane grabbed the paper and crumpled it again and threw it. Jo didn't even bother moving from her spot on the couch. Jane put her head into her hands. "Ok, Rizzoli. Let's do this. Poetry class wasn't so bad, right?" She swiped at a new sheet of paper.

I long to be the candle in your darkness

The one to hold you up in praise

To show my love for you, the Goddess

Since my entire being feels ablaze

When I first looked into your eyes

I was lost in your

"Oh my God! No. This is the worst idea I've ever had." Jane stood up and walked into her bedroom. She turned on some music and started to take off her work clothes. She walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower. After a few moments, she stuck her hand in the running water and then stepped in. A song came on and Jane started singing along rather loudly.

There was a knock at the door. On the other side of it Maura Isles stood. She knocked again louder as she heard music coming from inside Jane's apartment. After waiting for a few moments, she opened her purse and fished out Jane's extra key. The lock turned easily and Jo Friday barked and ran to her as she stepped inside. "Hey there Jo!" she said cheerily. She took of her shoes and put her purse on the table near the door. "Jane?" She heard the shower running and Jane singing along to the music.

She walked toward the kitchen to open the bottle of wine still in her hand. She set the bottle on the island and saw a paper sitting there. She picked it up to read as she walked. She stopped suddenly as she kicked the group of papers on the floor "Does she not know how to throw this away?" She bent down and picked up a few and tossed them in the can. There was something in one that was opened that caught her eye. Dear Maura. Feeling as though she were a child suddenly caught, she stood up and looked around quickly and realized Jane was still in the shower. She started to smooth the crinkled paper, telling herself it was alright since it was clearly intended for her.

Dear Maura,

I'm having such a difficult time with this decision. How to tell you, when to tell you, and what will you do once you know the truth. This will change our friendship.

The rest of the page was blank. Maura suddenly felt sick to her stomach. Jane was keeping something from her. She drew in a long breath and let it out slowly. Her mind began to race what could Jane possibly be keeping from her. She looked down at the paper on the island. She read it and confusion crossed her features. Looking back down at the ground, she picked up a few more balls of paper and started to unwrap them. She laid them on the counter and began to read them. A tear streaked down her cheek. She heard the shower stop running. She quickly wiped away at her face and crumbled the papers back up and threw them in the garbage. She found the wine bottle opener and quickly popped the cork.

Grabbing her glass she quickly headed for the couch when she heard the music shut off. As she settled into her place against the cushion she heard Jane walk into the kitchen and gasp. "Hello, Jane! I hope you don't mind that I let myself in." She looked over and Jane was transfixed to the floor near the garbage can with her mouth agape. "I also cleaned up your mess." She took a sip of wine. Jane slowly looked over at her. She forced a smile.

"What if I wanted those to stay there?"

"You really do need to practice your waste basketball more or you'll lose in the next bracket. I've seen Korsak has improved his game since last week." Jane's posture straightened and her head cocked slightly.

"Well..." she paused to think about her next words. "This one is a bit higher than the usual basket that we use." She rolled her eyes slightly, realizing how ridiculous she sounded. "You are early."

"I was prompt." Jane looked at the clock. She realized she spent far too much time trying to write a letter to give to Maura tonight.

"Oh. I guess I just lost track of time in the shower."

"Well, come sit so we can talk." Jane turned and opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of beer. After popping the cap, she walked in and sat on the couch. She felt like something was weird with Maura.

"Ok, so what movie do you wanna watch?" Maura looked on the coffee table and saw three blu rays laid out. She rolled her eyes at the options.

"Seriously? What would make you think I would want to watch Snakes on a Plane?"

Jane grinned and shrugged her shoulders. "I also got The Notebook. I know you enjoy a good love story every now and again." Maura narrowed her eyes. "At least I didn't get The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

"You know that it's impossible for him to reverse his age like that. Although, there is a very rare disease, Lipodystrophy, in which the body is in a rapid degenerative state of fat and skin cells which gives the appearance of a normally young person to look much older." Jane was smiling at her, with an eyebrow raised. Maura paused. "You said that on purpose."

"I just enjoy the show." Jane ran her hand through her wet hair and leaned forward and picked up one of the movies. Maura watched her intently as she struggled with her own inner monologue. Jane was writing her love letters. The initial shock was starting to subside and a plan was formulating. Without much thought, she reached out and ran her fingers along Jane's hair. Jane looked over at her confused, "Worried that I'll catch a cold?"

Abort. The only word flashing in her mind as she quickly pulled her hand back. "Actually Jane, colds are caused by viruses. You need to be exposed to the cold virus in order to get sick. More than 200 different viruses can cause colds, but the biggest culprit is the rhinovirus. I was more concerned that it would dry and not lay down the way you want it to for work tomorrow."

Jane rolled her eyes and stood up. "Well, if you think you can tame this beast, be my guest." She turned on her heel and walked toward the bedroom. Maura sat still for a moment. With a gleam in her eye she said to herself, "Oh Jane, you have no idea." With a smirk, she headed toward the bathroom.

As Jane pulled out her hair dryer, Maura retrieved a small spray bottle from her Chanel purse. "What's that?" Jane asked nervously.

Maura smiled gently and replied, "It is an anti-frizz shine spray. It will help tame the beast." She added a sexy wink for good measure. Jane's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Do you have a diffuser?"

Jane's face registered confusion for a moment. "Oh you mean the thingy you can attach to the end of the hair dryer? Yeah, I think it's in the bottom left drawer." True to her word, the diffuser was in the aforementioned drawer. Maura attached it to the hair dryer and began sectioning Jane's hair and spraying it lightly with the shine spray. "Wow, that smells amazing. No wonder your hair smells so good every day." Jane blurted out before considering how it sounded. Dimples appeared on Maura's beautiful face as she began drying Jane's hair. Jane quickly relaxed with the repetitive motion of Maura's fingers massaging her scalp and the warm air.

Finally, Maura shut off the hair dryer and admired her work while looking at Jane's relaxed face in the mirror. A faint smile appeared as Maura leaned forward, grazing Jane's right shoulder with her hair. "All done," Maura whispered seductively in Jane's ear. Her soft lips gently brushed Jane's earlobe evoking an involuntary shiver from Jane. Her eyes opened and she smiled shyly at Maura.

"Thanks. You were right; it looks so much better." Jane looked at Maura in the mirror and their eyes met. Jane felt as if the air was suddenly charged. "Maybe I should have you here styling my hair every morning before work." She mentally kicked herself for allowing a second slip in less than ten minutes. Maura's smile had turned downright provocative and Jane could feel the heat rising up her neck. Jane awkwardly stood up and turned around to face Maura in the small bathroom. Their eyes met for a long pause and neither blinked. Maura was sure that this would be the moment that they finally revealed their feelings that had been pent up for so many years to each other. As the moments passed, her confidence started to waiver. She let out a small sigh and turned to head back to the living room. She felt a gentle yet firm pull on her arm and before she knew what was happening, Jane's lips were on hers in a soft, tentative kiss.

Maura felt as if everything was melting away and Jane was the only thing that mattered. She reached up and wrapped her hand around the back of Jane's head as she deepened the kiss. She felt a swipe against her bottom lip and eagerly accepted. Jane grabbed Maura's hips and pulled her into her as she felt her own tongue slide against hers. Maura moaned and Jane slowly pulled back. They stood there looking at each other. "My bathroom wasn't where I imagined kissing you for the first time." Maura smile and leaned up and kissed her again.

"Oh really? Where did you imagine kissing me for the first time, Jane?"

"Um, actually I've imagined it so many times in different ways. I don't even know."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"How do you tell your best friend that you're in love with her?"

"I think you just did." Jane tilted her head and looked up considering for a moment.

"Ok, that was not how I imagined telling you that either."

"Reality is often not like our imagined ideals, Jane."

"No, but I didn't plan to feel like this. I was scared."

"How do you feel now?"

"Terrified."

"Would you feel better if I told you that I love you too?"

Jane smiled, "a little, maybe."

"Jane, I've been in love with you for years. You know I don't believe in love at first sight, but I've definitely loved you since the night you brought me flowers and we shared a glass of wine in the morgue."

"Seriously?"

"I thought it was pretty obvious the effect you had on me that night. I even called you gorgeous."

"You were the only one that I wanted to be with that night. I didn't think that you could ever feel like this for me. I've been so wrapped up in my own fear of losing you. I couldn't even see past my own feelings. I've loved you from the moment you first walked onto my crime scene. You argued with me over me not letting you do your job because I was asking too many questions."

"Well, you were." Maura smiled again and stepped closer to Jane.

Jane cupped Maura's cheeks and lightly kissed her. "I was nervous and couldn't shut up because I'd never seen someone so incredibly beautiful in my life." She leaned in and kissed her again. She pushed her fingers into Maura's soft hair and lightly scratched up the back of her head. Maura shivered and enjoyed the taste and smell of Jane. She felt herself being pushed backwards and she took a step. Jane moved with her and continued to push and direct her out of the bathroom into Jane's bedroom. Before she realized it, the back of Maura's knees hit the bed.

Jane pulled back and wrapped her hands around her waist and swung her around as she, herself sat on the bed. Maura smiled as she felt Jane's hands slide down to her ass. She leaned down and kissed her. Then, Maura straddled her and ran her finger along brunette locks. Jane looked up at her in wonder.

"As much as I want to just jump into this with you right now, I would really like to take you out."

Maura cocked her head and leaned in to kiss her. She pulled back and smiled. "Ok." She stepped back off the bed and shimmied her shoulders and walked out of the room.

"Wait!" Jane called. There was no answer and she rolled her eyes, "I'm dressed for going out." Suddenly, Maura was standing in the bedroom door. Jane's mouth dropped open and she felt as though she was flooded.

"Neither am I." She said coyly. She started walking towards the bed where Jane was. Jane watched as she saw Maura's body on display. "We've been out together before, Detective. We've been dating for years. I figured you just needed a little more convincing." She raked her fingers on Jane's face, whose mouth was still agape.

"Good point." She replied as she grabbed her and pulled her onto the bed, kissing her wherever her lips could reach. Maura's giggles turned into moans. The night was unexpected, yet full of exploration and excitement.