It was the buzzing of her phone on the nightstand that pulled Maura from her slumber, her girlfriend's arms tightening around her as she reached to answer it. She opened her eyes enough to know it was just past four in the morning before pressing the phone to her ear. "Dr. Isles."
"Rise and shine." Agent Booth's voice had far too much energy for the hour. "We've got a fleshy one."
"So Dr. Brennan isn't working this one."
"Not right now. She said she'll meet you at the lab. I'll send you the address."
As he hung up, Jane wrapped her arms tighter around the blonde, burying her face in the back of her neck. "Mmmm, I don't miss those calls."
With an airy chuckle, Maura covered Jane’s hands with her own, taking some time to relish the moment. “Thankfully I don’t get as many now.” Dr. Saroyan’s return meant Maura was only on-call three days a week. Pushing Jane’s hands away, Maura crawled out of bed and into their ensuite. Once there she took a second to wake up, splashing water in her face and then putting on enough make-up to look human (as Jane would have said). Putting on the outfit she’d hung up the night before, she decided to pull her hair back. When she deemed her appearance acceptable, she left the bathroom and walked back over to the bed. Jane had rolled over onto her back, her eyes fighting to stay open. Leaning down, Maura pressed a kiss to her lips, her thumb running down the side of the brunette’s cheek. “I’m sorry I can’t run with you this morning.”
Jane chuckled, the sound low with early-morning hoarseness. “I don’t care about the run. I want you to come back to bed.” She pulled at Maura's arm, pulling her closer, making her have to use her other arm to make sure she didn't crush her girlfriend below.
"Jane, I have to go. But I'm sure Brady would love to take my place." The pooch stirred on his bed at the mention of his name.
"Brady can't take your place. He licks my elbow and headbutts me." Despite this fact, she tapped on the bed, inviting the dog up to lie beside her. Brady took the time to prove it, licking her arm in a random spot and plopping down in the space Maura had occupied. Giggling, Jane pulled Maura down for one last lingering kiss, her smile just visible in the darkness. "Drive safe. Love you."
"I love you, Jane." She let her fingers linger with Jane's for as long as she could before separating. Downstairs she grabbed her medical bag and the freshly washed Jeffersonian jumpsuit and headed out to her car in the garage.
In the nine months they had been dating, Maura was quite content with the life they were building for themselves. They found an amazing three-bedroom home on the outskirts of the city, one with a two-car garage and a decent sized backyard. With the help of a decorator, it had been painted to make it feel like home for both of them. And a few months ago, they had rescued Brady, a pup that was not a labradoodle like his paperwork said, that Jane had stumbled upon on a Facebook rescue page. "Look Maur! His name is Brady, it's like he belongs with us!" Given that Jane had mentioned only a few days earlier that she missed having a dog around, Maura had been thrilled to bring him home as a surprise that night. Once Dr. Saroyan had returned and Maura was able to split her time, she really felt as if she had the best of both worlds.
The crime scene was by a lake, a high volume of trees providing some cover. Agent Booth was waiting for her by the other parked cars. He waved in greeting, turning to walk into the trees. “Sometimes I wish that people would discover these bodies later in the day.”
Maura chuckled, following behind him. “I’m in agreement. I could have used an extra two hours of sleep.”
“I’ll take all the sleep I can get. I’ve got a toddler who seems to be allergic to sleep.”
“If it helps, there are no known cases of an allergy to sleep.” He turned to look at her as she spoke, his face stoic. “But, some allergies can cause sleep disturbances. Have you taken him to see an allergist?”
Shaking his head, he pulled ahead of her. “You sound so much like Bones sometimes.” Interpreting it as a compliment, Maura smiled as she walked up to the scene.
There wasn’t much she could determine at the scene. Other than approximate age and gender, she hadn’t narrowed down an ID much at all. His hands had been detached and his face was bloated from the water. After taking vitals and a multitude of samples for Dr. Hodgins to analyze later, she released the scene and headed for the lab.
On the platform, Dr. Hodgins zoomed around collecting even more samples while Angela took pictures of the bloated face for her computer programs. Maura and Dr. Hodgins went back and forth discussing their observations, narrowing the time of death window. And when they had all they needed, the body was released to Maura for autopsy.
Traditionally when Maura was done with a body, it went to Dr. Brennan and her interns, who would clean it and lay out the bones. Today, Angela asked her to come into her office before she was done. Dr. Brennan was there as well, examining the photos Angela had taken. With a hand on the small of Maura’s back, Angela brought her closer to the computer screen. “I’m trying to get an ID.” Picking up a controller, she walked through a program that reversed the bloating, leaving a distorted face. “Any way you two could help would be great.”
Looking at photos, Dr. Brennan tried to adjust it for slight differences in bone structure. Slowly, the face became more clear and defined. “His hair is red, and he had sideburns,” Maura added, watching as the photo became more clear. “And given the amount of adipocere, he was likely overweight, that’s not just bloating from the water.”
“So make his face fuller?”
“Yes, that would be my suggestion.”
Angela nodded, making the adjustments and then starting to run it through facial recognition. "We'll use dental records to confirm once I have a name."
"And I will be releasing the body to you within the hour, Dr. Brennan." Maura turned to face the brunette.
With a sigh, she looked down at her watch. "It will probably take the new interns all night to clean the bones."
"So are we still coming to your place for the game tonight?" Angela raised her eyebrows in question, a soft smile on her lips.
"Yes. Booth has been looking forward to this." Dr. Brennan had turned herself away from Maura, sliding her hands into her pockets as she addressed her friend. "Are you still bringing Michael Vincent? Christine has been somewhat anxious to see him."
Before Angela could answer, Maura interrupted, earning a strange look from the Doctor as she turned to face her. "Wait, what game is on tonight?" She thought back to her interactions with Jane, who was always talking about some baseball series coming up.
"The All-star game. Are you a baseball fan, Maura?" The younger brunette smiled warmly, helping Maura feel at ease.
"Not me. But Jane loves baseball. I thought I was missing an important rivalry game or something."
Angela began bumping Dr. Brennan's shoulder with her own, her eyebrows raising as she thrust her chin forward in Maura's direction. "Ange, why are you hitting me?" The Doctor looked at her friend with confusion, despite her eye roll and more obvious hints.
"I was thinking, maybe you should invite Maura and Jane to join us tonight?"
Her brows furrowed, Br. Brennan continued to speak with her friend. "Any time we host a game it's always open to everyone at the Jeffersonian. I didn't think I needed to invite her."
"Sweetie, have you told people that it's open to everyone?"
"I thought it was implied." She turned then, directing her icy blue eyes to Maura. "You and your partner are welcome to come to my house to watch the sports game with Booth. I'll send you the address." She began walking out of the room. "I'll begin preparing the bone room."
As she left, Maura let out air she hadn't realized she was holding. Angela offered her a sympathetic smile. The younger woman reminded Maura a little of Jane, mainly in the way that she could relate to almost everyone. "I still can't tell where I stand with her."
"Oh, she likes you. It would be worse if she didn't." The woman laughed. "And I didn't think it could get worse until I saw it with my own eyes. No, Brennan thinks your work is competent. She just needs a push when it comes to social interactions."
"I can understand that." For years, Jane had been the one to help her, by inviting her out with others who would have otherwise ignored her, or telling her what was or was not appropriate to say. "So she's fine with us coming?"
"Definitely. She would have been more blunt if she didn't want you there."
"And should we bring anything?"
This made her pause. "I'll check with Booth and let you know."
Maura nodded. "Well thank you. For the push and for the reassurance."
"Of course. We'll see you tonight." Angela shot her one last friendly smile before returning to her work, weeding through the pictures that were partial matches. As Maura left Angela’s office, she shot a text to Jane, letting her know they could have plans tonight. After releasing the body to Dr. Brennan, Maura sent emails with her findings to all involved in the investigation. Checking her watch, she decided to grab something quick to eat on the way to the clinic.
After all their work was completed for the day, Jane met her in the car in a striped Red Sox tee, holding a shopping bag. “I got two types of chips, and six types of dip.”
“Isn’t that overkill?”
“Well, I would have made bacon-wrapped tater tots, but I didn’t have much planning time!” It made her laugh, how serious Jane got about game day food, and despite the somewhat serious look on her face, Jane laughed along with her. “This was not the first impression I wanted to make!”
“Angela said we didn’t need to bring anything!”
“There is no such thing as too many snacks, babe.” She punctuated this by pulling a baseball cap from an unknown location and placing it backwards on her head.
Maura watched her with mirth. “I’m sorry. I’ll plan better next time.”
Jane answered with a nod. “You better!” She then let out a chuckle through her nose, her face breaking into a wide grin when Maura reached over to whack her shoulder.
They pulled into the driveway of the address listed, Jane letting out a whistle as they looked at the gorgeous house in front of them. Once out of the car, Maura laced her fingers with Jane’s and pulled her toward the front door.
It was Angela who greeted them at the door, her smile wide as she invited them in. “You made it!” She pulled them in, closing the door behind them before thrusting a hand out to Jane. “I’m Angie. I’ve heard so much about you!”
“Angela! Yes, Maura told me you’ve helped her feel welcome.” She held up the shopping bags. “I brought chips and dip.”
Booth’s voice from across the room made them turn. “Hey! Did you get those scoop ones?”
“Do you think I’m some sort of amateur? Of course I got the scoop ones.”
Jane’s response made him grin, and he beckoned her over with his hand. “You can put those right here.” As she approached, he held out a hand. “Booth.”
“Rizzoli.” She answered, shaking his hand before putting the bag of superior chips on the table. Booth told her to help herself to a beer in the fridge before sitting down next to a boy that Maura didn’t recognize.
As Jane started to make her way back over to Maura, Angela intercepted her, taking the time to point out the people in the room so Jane would know their names. She then led her to the couch, where she sat down and started discussing lineups with Booth. It shouldn’t have been surprising. Jane had an easier time talking to new people, and as of this moment, she had Maura’s coworkers charmed. As the game started, Maura made her way toward the other person in the room she was most familiar with. With a wave, she greeted her old colleague. “Cam.” She gestured toward the boy standing next to her, who had to be about nine. “Is this one of your sons?”
"Yes! This is Jordan." The boy offered a shy smile as she said his name. "Jordan, this is Dr. Isles."
"Maura. My friends call me Maura." Jordan grinned once more before shrinking back further into the wall, avoiding Maura's gaze. "Do you like baseball, Jordan?"
"Not really." He glanced at Cam. "I like spending time with all the smart people."
This made Maura laugh. "I see. Do you want to go into medicine?"
Meeting her eye, the boy shook his head. "I wanna be an engineer." As he spoke, Maura watched his grin grow wider and his shoulders settle, making him appear larger.
"So you must like your math and science classes?"
As Maura chatted with Jordan and Cam, she watched a young blonde girl appear from a bedroom, settling against Agent Booth's legs. She watched Jane with inquisitive eyes. Soon, the girl started talking to Jane, who took her attention away from the game and gave it fully to the child. After a few minutes, the girl was leading Jane away by hand, pulling her to a room at the back of the house. Maura watched her disappear, pointing and raising her eyebrows at Cam, hoping she would answer the questions she hadn't asked. "That's Christine, Booth and Brennan's little girl. She and Michael Vincent are working on puzzles in her room. She's probably just showing off." Dr. Brennan followed them, watching their interactions from the door. Maura took the opportunity to eat some of the food that was on the table, filling a plate with vegetables from the platter.
Jane surprised her about ten minutes later, lanky arms grabbing her from behind. "Whatcha got there?" She asked before stealing a bell pepper from Maura's plate.
"The same food I grab at any game day event. Are you surprised?"
"Yes. Can't you tell? I'm wearing my surprised face." She looked at her with a blank stare until Maura chuckled, then pressed a chaste kiss to her dimple. "I'm gonna go watch the game now that I saw the super-secret puzzle."
"You do that. I'll come join you in a minute."
"Okay." She kissed Maura's cheek once more and stole a cherry tomato before taking her space back on the couch.
Dr. Brennan joined Maura at the table, filling a plate that looked similar to her own. She gestured to where Jane was sitting. "Your partner seems to be fitting in well."
Maura nodded. "Yes, she reminds me a bit of Angela. A good judge of character."
"And she's good with children."
"Jane's nephew, TJ, is about Christine's age. I think she misses him."
"It's possible." The Doctor thought for a minute, her head tilting to the side. "Are you two going to have children?"
The question made her pause, her mind flashing to the baby Jane had lost, and Maura's frozen eggs back in Boston. It was a subject she had avoided bringing up. "I'm not sure."
Her uncertainty seemed to confuse her colleague, her mouth drifting to one side as she took in Maura's face. "Well, do you want children?"
"Yes." She answered quickly, without much thought, her mind again drifting to her frozen eggs.
This question was harder to answer. Jane had lost a baby that she hadn't planned for, but one she was looking forward to raising. Since then, the topic of their future children hadn't really come up. "I'm not sure."
The awkward energy between them was palpable, and Maura could almost see Dr. Brennan trying to figure out how to respond. If Maura was going to pull from prior experience, her response would be blunt and lack tact. Luckily, as per usual, Jane came to her rescue. "Babe! Come here!" Maura rushed to her, glad to be away from the uncomfortable situation. Jane patted the small sliver of couch next to her. "Sit with me." But Maura gave in to the brunette's request, sinking so she was sitting both on the armrest and her girlfriend's lap. Jane put a beer in her hand. "You're my good luck charm."
Beside them, Maura heard Agent Booth snort. "Mine's Christine, but she only likes hockey."
"Sucks to be you!" Jane laughs, pulling Maura close. Any other day, Maura would have delighted in the contact. But the conversation with Dr. Brennan had her mind otherwise occupied.
Maura wasn't sure who won the game, just that Jane was happy. As they said their goodbyes and gathered their things, she listened to Jane trash talk Agent Booth, and compliment him and Dr. Brennan on their home. "Maur, your book needs to rake in some serious dough, because I think we need an upgrade." She joked as they walked to the car, and Maura answered with a half-hearted chuckle. Whether Jane noticed or not was unclear. In the car, Jane started talking as soon as they pulled out of the driveway. "I'm glad I finally got to meet some of your work friends. Angela is as sweet as you describe her, Booth seems pretty cool, and Dr. Brennan is nice, although a little socially awkward. And..."
"Do you want children?" The question was out of her mouth before she could stop it, and the silence was deafening. Glancing over, Maura could see Jane studying her, her eyebrows knotted together.
"Okay, so I can usually figure out what's going on when you blurt things out like that, but this time I'm lost." She reached over to place a hand on Maura's thigh, a gesture that was usually calming. "What's your train of thought?"
Maura tried to quiet her thoughts to figure out where to begin. "Dr. Brennan told me you were good with children. Then she asked me if we were going to have any. And all at once, I realized that we haven't talked about it. We haven't talked about whether or not you want kids since you lost your baby, Jane. Part of that was me not wanting to push you, but now I'm starting to wonder whether I should have. If you tell me you don't want children, what will that mean for the future of our relationship? Can I be happy living a life without kids? I mean, of course, I understand women can be happy and fulfilled without children, but..."
"Wait, wait, wait." Jane's voice made her stop the rambling, and she noticed her heart rate had increased. "What I'm hearing is that someone asked you a personal question, and now you're worried because we haven't talked about our future."
Taking a second, Maura answered in the affirmative. "I think that about sums it up."
"So, do you want to have this conversation now?"
"I think that if we don't, I won't be able to stop thinking about the worst-case scenario."
"Which would be?"
Maura swallowed. "Us going our separate ways."
Jane shook her head, crossing her arms over her chest. "Nope. I'm not okay with that."
This was reassuring to hear, and Maura breathed a tad easier. "That's why I say ‘worst-case scenario,’ Jane."
"Is not having kids a deal-breaker for you?"
It was a position she hadn't thought about much. Their lives were fulfilling, and would remain fulfilling without children. But there was a part of her that thought it would be a wonderful adventure to be a parent. "I don't think so. I would rather have a life with you and no children, than a life without you because I decided to pursue motherhood."
Jane was quiet on the other side of the car, so Maura gave her some time to gather her thoughts. "Kids and a family are tough subjects for me to talk about because I didn't allow myself to even think about them as a possibility. With the hours I was working in Boston, I would have been absent a lot from their lives. I remember waking up one night, when I was pregnant, freaking out about who would take care of the kid while I was working, or how I would afford anything if I couldn't pull the overtime I was pulling. One of the things on my pro list about this job was that I would have more time for a family."
"So you want a family?"
"I mean, yeah. But how feasible is it?"
"It depends on how you would want to do that. There are still opportunities for us to have biological children at our age, but the risks are higher, and we are racing against time. Adoption and foster care are also options, as is surrogacy."
When Maura glanced to her side again, she could see a soft smile stretching across Jane's face, her dimples just visible. "You've been thinking about this for a while, huh?"
"I'd be lying if I said the thought hadn't crossed my mind."
Jane's hand returned to Maura's thigh. "I'm sorry I wasn't open with you about this sooner." She rubbed her hand in soothing patterns, the contact making Maura's anxiety levels decrease. "Babe, You moved here to be close to me. You adopted Brady because I said I missed having a dog. I knew you were in this for the long haul. I'm sorry you weren't sure that I was with you."
"You are with me?" Her voice sounded small, and she was afraid to look to her side. She stared ahead as she opened their garage door.
Jane's voice was loud in the enclosed space. "Abso-fuckin-lutely!" It made Maura laugh, the tension leaving her body. "I couldn't leave you. Not when we were attacked by an insane yogi, and not now."
Maura breathed as she turned off her car. Squeezing Jane's hand, she offered her girlfriend a wide smile. "I'm so relieved."
"Come here." Jane's thumb traced lines on her cheek, sending shivers down her spine. "I love you, Maura Dorthea Isles. To infinity and beyond."
Maura felt her eyebrows knotting together. "Jane, there is nothing beyond infinity, it goes on..."
"Oh, shut up and let me be cute!" She leaned forward, their lips touching, the kiss soft at first, then slowly deepening. Maura heard Jane moan, the sound traveling down her spine, and she reached up to cup Jane's cheek.
When they parted for air, she rested her forehead against the brunette's, locking eyes with her. "I love you too, Jane."