It wasn’t really the cold weather that made them ache like this.
Besides, cold weather made it easy to hide the pain. There were gloves. There were jackets that were too long with sleeves that fell past her fingers. There were hands shoved in pockets, and rubbing them together to keep them warm, but really to dull the pain. The cold weather made it easier to pass it off as a lingering stiffness in the fingers, easier to hide how much they ached.
No, it wasn’t the cold. Or at least, not now.
It was this wretched humidity that had fallen over Boston like a blanket made of cotton balls. No breeze, no rain, no relief from this claustrophobic heat, and it was driving Jane mad.
Her hands ached.
She had kept it quiet at the start, blaming her poor dexterity on over-exertion, or lack of sleep due to the God-awful weather, or even a boxing mishap. She had worn her standard polyester-blend T-shirts for four days before surrendering to the unrelenting heat, and opting for the lighter cotton shirts Maura had somehow snuck into her closet.
In a vain attempt to keep the heat out, Jane had battened down the hatches, shutting her blinds and windows in the hopes that a dark apartment would also mean a cool apartment. Stubbornly refusing to admit she may have lost the battle on that front, she had made a habit of dressing in her darkened room before leaving for work. The T-shirts had been easy: how hard can it be to pull a top over your head? The shirts proved to be more difficult.
"Jane! What happened to your shirt?" Maura exclaimed as Jane pushed open the doors to the morgue. The first button had been done up properly, but the rest were sporadically buttoned like an amateur art project. Jane stood in front of the doors, arms hanging limp by her sides as Maura approached her.
"Got dressed in the dark." she muttered, neglecting to mention that once she had spotted her reflection, she had stopped to rebutton her shirt. However, her hands were so sensitive from doing the job the first time, she couldn’t put two fingers together without a piercing pain shooting through her palms.
Maura reached for the unbuttoned cuffs first, but her fingers brushed against Jane’s hands, and though the brunette tried to hold it back, Maura still heard a tiny whimper of pain. She paused, watching Jane’s face, before focusing on the mismatched mess at the front of the shirt. She unbuttoned them all before starting from the top, making sure not to let her gaze linger too long on the bare skin usually hidden by the detective’s uniform tank-top.
Jane shivered slightly, though she found herself hard-pressed to blame it on the refreshingly cold temperature in the morgue. She watched Maura nimbly do what had taken her 15 minutes to accomplish this morning, and felt her shoulders sag in exhaustion. She wanted to say thank you, but it didn’t quite sum up what she wanted to tell her best friend.
When I am broken, you are there to be what I am lacking. You fill the gaps when I need you the most. You don’t belittle me. You don’t pity me. With you, I feel whole.
I love you for that. For all of it.
I love you.
Instead she stays quiet, watching Maura.