Based on a post by TwitterJane: "Mandatory lecture on office safety rules today. Spent the last 30mins carefully hanging paperclips in Maura's hair...She hasn't noticed."
Jane was getting used to the smell. When she'd first stepped into the bathroom stall 15 minutes earlier, her nose had wrinkled at the usual scent of a public bathroom. The bathroom upstairs near the bullpen would've been the best choice for comfort, but the worst choice strategically.
See, Jane wasn't hanging out in a smelly bathroom for no good reason; she was doing her damndest to avoid the upcoming lecture on office safety rules that was due to start in five minutes time. She'd contemplated leaving the building, but it had proved to be an impossible task.
Carol Madigan was running the lecture, the very same rigid, by-the-books woman who had hunted Jane down for Sensitivity Training a few months ago. She was like a bloodhound. She'd stationed newbie officers at every exit – including emergency exits – under the guise of wanting to ensure that everyone was made aware of the mandatory convergence.
But Jane knew the real reason: Carol wanted to be sure that one 'Detective Jane Rizzoli' could not leave the building. It was for that same reason that Carol had only announced the meeting 35 minutes in advance; she was familiar with Jane's sick-day routine.
Jane had spent a good ten minutes darting around the building and between floors looking for an escape. One unguarded stairwell was all she needed, but Carol was thorough. Being a slow day, Jane hadn't a single case to work on, so using a case as an excuse to not attend was a no-go from the start.
Finally, Jane had ventured back to her desk. She'd compiled and printed a make-shift 'Out of Order' sign on her computer, shoving it inside her jacket. When she'd decided that the visitor's bathroom out in the lobby was her best bet, she'd chosen a stall, stuck her sign on the door and locked herself in.
The detective shifted uncomfortably atop the toilet, feeling the onset of pins and needles in one leg. She was sitting on the lidded seat with her legs crossed, not wanting anyone to notice her feet peeking out from beneath the door. She checked her watch – three minutes to go.
Letting out a sigh, she decided that only once she could be absolutely positive that the meeting was well underway could she stand and stretch. She drummed the fingers of one hand against the opposite arm absently, wishing she'd brought her phone instead of leaving it in her desk. A game of Mah-jong was beginning to sound very appealing.
Jane's breath hitched when she heard the door to the bathroom swing open. Stiletto heels clacked along the tiled floor, coming to rest in front of Jane's stall. The pair of bright red Manolo Blahniks pointing towards her could only belong to one person at the BPD; Dr. Maura Isles.
It appeared that the M.E. had been sent to search for her. Jane brought a hand up and pressed it against her nose and mouth as quietly as she could. She willed herself not to expel any air as she listened to the rustle of Maura's clothing on the other side of the door. She imagined the blonde would be leaning in close, head tilted slightly, straining to hear the slightest noise. Jane didn't move a muscle.
After a moment of silence, Jane heard Maura sigh. The red shoes moved away, and the bathroom door creaked as it swung open. Jane waited until she heard the door shut firmly before she released the breath she'd been holding. Close call.
Then she heard that stern warning tone she was so familiar with.
She scrunched up her face and pulled at her hair, but knew the ruse was up. Very slowly she uncurled her legs, one of them almost giving way beneath her as the feeling returned to her squashed nerves. She took her time unlocking the stall, wanting to waste as much time as possible.
She stepped out to see the M.E. standing by the bathroom door, arms crossed over her chest, a hint of amusement playing at her lips as she caught sight of Jane's childish pout.
"Come on, we're going to be late."
Jane looked like a petulant child as she mirrored Maura, crossing her lanky arms over her chest. "I don't care!"
"Jane!" Maura frowned, moving her hands to her hips. "Would you rather I get Ms. Madigan in here? She was furious when she asked around and no one had seen you for a whole 20 minutes. I offered to look for you and promised that you would be at the lecture. But, if this is how you want to play it, I can bring her here to deal with you."
Maura raised an eyebrow in question and Jane's expression softened as she realised that Maura had been looking out for her. Still, she wasn't going down without a fight. She slumped her shoulders, crinkled her forehead and put on her best whining voice.
"But Mauraaaaa! I don't want tooooo!"
Maura's hands dropped from her hips and she rolled her eyes in exasperation, a habit that revealed just how much of her time was spent with the stubborn, Italian detective.
She reached out and grabbed Jane firmly by the forearm, willing to drag her out if it was necessary. "Come on."
Jane's pout and bad mood remained as Maura dragged her up to the bullpen by the arm. Korsak and Frost were waiting for them, an identical smirk on each of their faces to the one Jane had received from Bill at front desk as Maura had marched her out of the bathroom.
Jane's glare was enough to cause Frost to clear his throat and look away, but Korsak wasn't as easily deterred.
"Overpowered by a woman, Rizzoli?"
"Shut up, Vince!"
Korsak merely chuckled as he turned to face Frankie who had come looking for them.
"Come on, guys, you're running late, Madigan's gonna blow a gasket."
Korsak held out a hand. "Pay up, Rizzoli junior."
Only then did Frankie take in the sight of his tough sister being held in place by the petite medical examiner. His jaw dropped.
Korsak chuckled again, louder this time. "I told you not to underestimate her! Pay up."
Frankie sighed as he retrieved his wallet and handed Korsak a fifty. The seasoned detective slapped the younger officer on the back good-naturedly.
"Don't sweat it, you'll learn."
Catching sight of Carol standing at the front of the room, Jane watched the other woman's scowl turn into a satisfied smirk as the detective entered the room trailing behind Maura. One of Carol's lackeys was waiting at the entrance and, at Carol's nod, closed the double doors, standing guard in front of them. Jane sighed.
Maura, Frost, Korsak and Frankie chose the free seats at the very back-left of the room. Jane, hoping to maybe catch a nap, grabbed the last seat beside Maura at the end of the row and moved it back behind her colleagues, creating her own row of one. None of the other detectives so much as batted an eyelash.
As the lecture got underway, Jane tuned out and studied her surroundings. Maura hadn't let Jane retrieve her phone from her desk draw, but the brunette had managed to snag a pack of coloured paperclips off of Frost's desk when Maura wasn't looking. She didn't know how she could use them to alleviate her intense boredom, but she'd find a way.
As she drew the little box from her pocket, she looked around for a bright idea. The first thing that came to mind was simply to link all the paperclips together and then maybe try to hook them onto a piece of furniture, but Jane knew that would never last her the entire 45 minute lecture. No, she needed something better. Something more entertaining that would require more skill.
She looked up as Maura shifted a little in her seat. The M.E.'s perfect ringlets bounced enticingly, a hypnotising motion. Jane smirked.
Sliding her chair over so that she was better positioned behind her friend, she opened the box and pulled out the first paperclip. Bending one end open a little, Jane leant forward and chose an easy mark, hooking the paperclip carefully onto one of Maura's curls. Maura didn't notice a thing.
Seven carefully placed paperclips later, Jane was startled by a cough. She'd been so immersed in what she was doing, she'd all but forgotten where she was. Looking around, she was relieved to note that she hadn't been discovered.
Frost, sitting immediately to Maura's right, was riveted by some silly game on his phone. Korsak had fallen asleep, arms folded across his chest, mouth hanging open slightly. Frankie, wanting so badly to make detective, was the only person in the room other than Maura who was sitting with perfect posture, eyes focused on Madigan at the front of the room.
Jane remembered the lackey at the door and turned to find, to her amusement, that he was drifting in and out of consciousness, leaning heavily against the door for support. Turning back to Maura to view her handiwork, she decided she wanted to up the stakes.
Joining two paperclips together, she found a thick lock of hair to support the extra weight and delicately hooked the paperclips on. She released it as slowly as she could, holding her breath as she waited to see if Maura would notice...But the M.E. was completely oblivious.
Thirty minutes later, Jane felt that her work was complete. She didn't think she could safely attach anymore paperclips to the dark blonde hair in front of her without being discovered. With a little more than ten minutes left of the lecture – with five minutes factored in for closing notes and possible questions – the detective took to counting just how many paperclips she'd managed to use.
She counted 51 in total: thirteen singles, eight doubles, six triples and one set of four joined paperclips that she'd painstakingly spent a whole five minutes trying to carefully place so that Maura wouldn't feel the weight.
Jane grinned proudly at her efforts just as Madigan concluded her lecture and everyone began to rise from their seats. Frost leant over to rouse Korsak from his slumber before turning to Jane and Maura.
The M.E. had turned to speak to Jane and Frost had a clear view of the colourful, makeshift hair accessories. Noting Jane's struggle with the dimpled grin that threatened to break free as her eyes caught his, Frost let out a snort before he could stop himself.
Maura turned around, a look of confusion settling on her face as Frost buried the laughter bubbling up in his chest.
"What is it?"
Frost blurted out the first thought that came to mind. "Korsak drools in his sleep."
At the sound of his name, Korsak turned from his conversation with Frankie and quickly took stock of the situation. He managed not to chuckle, instead shaking his head with a smile and heading for the door, Frankie close behind. Frost didn't hesitate to follow and Jane walked quickly to catch up, knowing that she'd break out in laughter if she was forced to walk behind Maura.
Dr Isles, none the wiser, headed for her lab.
Jane stretched her arms above her head as she pushed her chair back from her desk, then glanced at her watch, noting the time. Without any active cases to work on, Jane, Frost and Korsak had been forced to spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on all their loose paper work.
At three minutes to five, Jane was content with the pile of completed paperwork stacked to one side and decided to call it a night. She stood, took her jacket from the back of her chair and headed for the elevators, intending to share dinner with Maura.
Maura's back was turned to Jane and the M.E. made no effort to face the detective when she heard her name being called. Jane was confused as she stood behind Maura and repeated the blonde's name.
Still ignoring Jane, Maura headed for the sink to wash her hands. Jane's eyes were focused on Maura's lively ringlets and comprehension suddenly dawned on her. Over the course of the day, Jane had completely forgotten about her earlier antics; Maura was mad. Possibly really mad.
Jane sighed and approached her friend, reaching out to place a hand on her shoulder.
"Maura, I'm sorry."
Dr. Isles still refused to turn around and her voice was quiet when she spoke.
"You let me walk all the way down here like that. I kept wondering why everyone seemed to be laughing. When I walked by the forensics lab, Amy came out and asked me why I had paperclips in my hair." Maura finally turned to face the detective. "Jane, I was mortified!"
Jane felt horrible when she saw the tears in Maura's eyes. She couldn't believe she hadn't stopped to consider Maura's sensitivity to teasing. Maura had become accustomed to Jane's usual jokes, but the detective knew that Maura hated being laughed at; she'd been teased much too often in her life, both by classmates as a child and by colleagues as an adult.
"Maura," Jane's eyes softened and she spoke as quietly as Maura had. "I'm really, really sorry. That was stupid of me, I didn't stop to think."
Maura shrugged Jane's hand off her shoulder and continued to move about her lab, clearing away the day's clutter. Jane ran a hand through her hair as her eyes followed Maura's movements, and she thought about how she could begin to make it up to the hurt woman.
"Okay, come have dinner with me at The Robber. You can order whatever you want, my shout, and I'll drink wine instead of beer, and I'll buy you a bottle of wine afterwards to take home with you."
Maura made no indication that she'd heard anything Jane had said; she was going to have to do better than that. Much better.
"Alright, how about dinner at The Robber, a bottle of wine, and we can discuss how you're gonna get me back for this one. Anything you want."
Still no reply. Jane thought for a moment and remembered the shopping spree Maura had dragged her out on the previous week...She smiled. That ought to do it.
Jane approached Maura once more as she pitched her idea to the M.E. "Remember that dress we saw last week? The pink one, with the ruffles...?" Jane left the statement open, knowing Maura would catch on eventually. She couldn't believe she was even suggesting such a thing, but Maura's friendship was well worth it.
Maura's hands stilled as Jane's meaning sunk in and she dropped a bundle of clean autopsy tools onto the bench in front of her. Jane's grin grew wider, even though she knew she was going to regret this moment forever. That thought was lost, though, when Maura turned to grin somewhat evilly at the detective.
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