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Creature of Habit

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Maura Isles is a creature of habit.

Certain tasks get done on certain days, and when that schedule gets interrupted, it’s irksome to Maura.

Sundays are always dinner with the Rizzolis, which means she spends most Saturdays cleaning her home in anticipation of the following day. She used to leave this to her cleaning woman, but after she put her wool suit in the laundry a few years ago, she decided to take on the tasks she deemed the most important herself.

The cleaning woman still comes twice a week, but Maura does the cleaning in anticipation of Sunday dinner and she does the laundry.

Secretly, Maura loves to do the laundry.

Jane stays over at Maura’s house at least once a week. Some weeks it’s more than that, but at a minimum, Jane sleeps at Maura’s house once a week. It’s usually on Sundays after they’ve all had dinner. Jane keeps an old pair of Boston Police Department Athletics sweats at Maura’s house to sleep in, and Maura has taken to washing those sweats for Jane on Mondays.

“Just toss them in the hamper in my bedroom,” Maura told Jane one Monday morning as they were getting ready to leave for work. “I have to do laundry tonight anyway.”

Maura remembered Jane’s shrug and stared after Jane as she walked the sweats upstairs to Maura’s bedroom.

Maura did wash her clothes that night, and since Jane wasn’t there, she slept in the newly laundered sweats. She washed them again the following Saturday morning, as she was getting the house ready for the Rizzolis the next day.

She liked how close wearing those pajamas made her feel to Jane. She liked the idea of having something of Jane’s wrapped around her, keeping her warm, making her feel safe and secure. She wondered if Jane would find it weird that Maura did that. Maura didn’t really think about it too much. It created all sorts of implications that she didn’t really want to deal with.

The following Monday night, Maura put on the newly-laundered sweats and wore them to bed again. She washed them again the following Saturday, in anticipation of Jane wearing them to bed the following night. And so it went. The weeks turned into months, and soon the months would turn into a year. Jane hadn’t noticed the extra wear the sweats were getting, likely because they were already pretty worn out to begin with.

One Monday night they got a call to a crime scene in the middle of the night. Maura reluctantly took off Jane’s sweats and dressed in her usual haute couture to go to the crime scene. She tossed the sweats into the hamper in her bedroom, and didn’t think about them for the rest of the week. The week had been especially tiresome, and Maura completely forgot to do the laundry on Saturday like she had been doing. That meant that Jane's BPD Athletics t-shirt and sweatpants remained unlaundered.

Sunday night rolled back around and Maura could hear Jane in the guest bedroom, opening the drawers in the armoire.

“Hey Maur, did you ever get the chance to wash my pajamas?” She asked.

Maura stuck her head into the guest room. “Sorry, what? I didn’t hear you.”

“My sweatpants and t-shirt that I normally wear. They’re not in any of the drawers in here. I was wondering if you ever got the chance to wash them after I wore them on Sunday night?”

Maura froze up. She couldn’t lie to Jane and say that she never did the laundry. But she couldn’t tell Jane she had worn her pajamas to bed.

“Maur?” Jane asked, watching Maura’s face pale. “Hey, hey, are you all right?”

“I, um,” Maura had to stop. Her heart rate was skyrocketing and she was having a hard time regulating her breathing.

She had to tell Jane the truth. But what if that meant Jane found it weird, and she stopped staying over?

“Maur?” Jane asked, genuinely concerned. “Hey, honey, what’s the matter? You’re not all right.”

Maura decided to just say that the sweats weren’t clean.

“I haven’t had the chance to wash them.” That wasn’t an untruth. She hadn’t had a chance to wash them since she’d worn them.

“Really? Didn’t you tell me you did the laundry on Monday night while we were at lunch on Tuesday?” Jane asked.

“I-” Maura tried to come up with something, but being physically incapable of lying, she just went vasovagal instead, and started to collapse. Jane caught her and brought her gently down to the floor, ready to do CPR. She started by checking for Maura’s pulse. She found one, and was surprised at how fast it was racing. She leaned her face forward, over Maura’s nose and mouth, to check for signs of respiration. Maura was still breathing. Jane pushed away the thought of giving Maura mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

“Maura?” Jane asked loudly, shaking Maura’s shoulder. “Come on Maura if you don’t wake up right now, I’m calling an ambulance.” Jane shook Maura once more, and Maura opened her eyes. “Oh my god, Maura, you scared the shit out of me! Are you all right? What happened?” Jane demanded.

“Uh, I went vasovagal.” Maura mumbled, still dizzy, and still trying to regulate her breathing.

“Why? Honey, what is the matter?” Jane hadn’t really moved her face away from Maura’s after she checked her for breathing, and it was adding to just how flustered Maura was getting.

“Jane. I-” She hesitated. “You’re going to think this is really weird."

"This is really weird! Since when do you faint like that? You only faint when you- wait, were you going to lie to me?" Jane asked.

"I was trying not to. I just didn't want to tell you. I'm sure you're going to find this strange. I wore your pajamas on Monday night. Actually, I wear them every Monday night. And when we were called out Monday night, I took them off and forgot to wash them again. It was such a busy week, I never got to do the second load of laundry on Saturday like I usually do. I'm sorry Jane."

"You wear my pajamas on Monday nights. Why?" Jane's question held no anger. She seemed more intrigued than anything else.

Maura was blushing furiously. She was glad she was still flat on the floor, because if she had been standing she probably would have fainted again out of sheer embarrassment. "I like to wear them." She mumbled.

"Why do you like to wear them?" Jane asked, aware of how close she was to Maura and how, technically she was pinning Maura to the floor.

"Because I miss you when you're not here, and because I like having you close to me." Maura whispered.

Jane beamed at Maura. "Close to you? Like I am now?"

"Yes." Maura squeaked.

"I have a secret too, Maura."

"You do?"

"Yes." Jane said. "I like being close to you, too."

"Like we are now?" Maura asked.

"Yes." Jane whispered.

"Why do you like to be close to me, like we are now?" Maura asked. To Maura it felt like time had stood still. She felt her body warming under Jane, and she hoped that Jane would stay above her like that forever.

Now it was Jane's turn to blush. She understood why Maura had such a difficult time answering Jane's questions earlier. Jane was capable of lying without fainting, but she would never lie to Maura. Instead she decided to just push ahead with the truth. Sort of. "Because I have a crush on you, Maur."

"You do?"

"I do. Do you think, maybe, that you might have a crush on me, too?" Jane asked.

"I definitely don't have a crush on you." Maura watched how Jane became instantly crestfallen, so she hurried on with her thoughts. "I stopped having a crush on you years ago. Now I'm just madly in love with you."

Maura loved the way Jane's eyes lit up. "Really?"

"Really." Maura's conviction was evident in her single word response.

"Because I haven't had a crush on you for years either. I fell in love with you a long time ago."

Maura smiled up at Jane before she reached up with her hand and pushed Jane's hair back, over her ear. Then she traced down Jane's jaw, and brought her fingers to Jane's lips. They were so soft, and not for the first time she wondered what it would be like to kiss them.

Jane must have wondered the same thing about Maura, because she closed the gap between them and kissed her gently. When she pulled away, Maura beamed up at her.

"You know, I have other pajamas you could wear." Maura said.

"Or you could just take me to bed and neither of us could wear any pajamas." Jane replied.

"Oh, I like that idea." Maura said as she sat up, and Jane helped her to stand up.

Once Maura was standing, Jane wrapped her arms around her and kissed her again, a little more forcefully this time. When they separated, Jane said "Next time, don't be so afraid to tell me anything, even if you think it's weird."

"Okay." Maura said with a smile, and took Jane's hand. "Shall we go to bed?"

"Yes, please."

Maura led her out of the room and across the hall into her bedroom, where she discovered that it was even nicer to have Jane on her than it was to have Jane's clothes on her.