What Friends Are For, Part 1 of 3

Pairing: None, really, though it skirts right up to the edge of Jane/Maura.

Spoilers: Up through "I'm Your Boogie Man"

Warnings: Some talk of Hoyt and what he did.

Disclaimer: The only thing that's mine is the plot, such as it is.

Notes: The look on Jane's face after she kissed Dean just kind of...grabbed onto me and wouldn't let go until I wrote this. I read that look as desperately wanting something – not necessarily Dean – but convinced she couldn't or shouldn't have it. Also, thanks to everyone for their kind reviews of my previous story.

She'd already rung the bell when she realized where she was; she had no conscious memory of deciding to come here, but here she was. Then she glanced at her watch and saw, to her shock, that it was nearly eleven o'clock. Had she been driving around that long?

She ran a hand through her hair, then hunched in her jacket and stuffed her hands in its pockets. With a disgusted breath, she turned to leave, hoping against hope her friend would sleep through the doorbell.

Her luck, of course, wasn't that good.

When the door opened in front of her, she opened her mouth to apologize but found the words frozen in her throat; she shrugged helplessly, then finally muttered, "Sorry it's so late. I didn't realize."

Maura brushed off her concern and waved her inside. "What about your date?"

She ducked her head and shrugged again. "I let him break me."

"Agent Dean?"


It was the way the way she said it – quiet, weary, defeated, the way she had sounded when handling the flare she'd found outside her apartment – that made Maura worry. "Jane…."

"Korsak said…I'd only break if I chose to." She shook her head. "Well, I did. I let him get in my damn head and I let him break me."

She sat down on the couch and wrapped her arms around herself. Maura watched her for a moment and then said, "I'll go move your car into the garage."

Jane looked up at that and frowned.

"Just in case."

She smiled just a bit as she handed over the keys. "Startin' to think like a cop."

A few moments later, the slightly acerbic "your leftovers will spoil" drew a reluctant grin, but she remained pensively silent until Maura returned from the kitchen.

"So," she said as she sat on the coffee table facing her friend, "about your date?"

Jane's gaze remained fixed on the floor at her feet for a long moment until, finally, she met Maura's eyes. "My date? I couldn't. I can't."

"Why not?"

She buried her face in her hands, then sighed and stared at the floor. "He'd want to take care of me. I can't even take care of myself. Of Frankie."

Maura edged closer, the way she might have if she sensed Bass was about to burrow into his shell. She tilted her head and regarded her friend seriously for a few moments, weighing her options and trying to puzzle out the real meaning of the statement.

Her eyes caught motion just at the bottom of her field of vision, and she realized that Jane was almost frantically rubbing her palms.

"What's so wrong with that?" she asked. A moment later, she noticed with dismay that Jane had actually rubbed the scar tissue raw. "Why not let him take care of you?"

"Because then I should have his back too. It's like I told Korsak," she said, "how can I have someone's back if I don't even have my own?"

"That's physiologically impossible."

Jane groaned.

"No, really, I – " She paused. Jane's voice was hoarse; she was teetering on the edge and they both knew it. She reached out and took Jane's hands to stop her from hurting herself any further. "You let me guard yours the other night."

"Yeah, after you hypnotized me."

"You agreed before that, and I didn't 'hypnotize' you."

It was close to two in the morning. She supposed she should feel tired, but the adrenaline still surging through her veins had left her wide awake – though it was, of course, not Jo Friday's fault that she ran in her sleep and had nearly resulted in Maura adding an extra peephole to Jane's door.

Frost had claimed to be on his way an hour ago, after stopping at the office for more paperwork, but she supposed she shouldn't begrudge him a shower or a coffee or – most likely, an unintentional nap – first.

She could hear Jane's restless motion in her room and knew that her friend had yet to really fall asleep, but there was little she could do without abandoning her self-imposed guard post on the couch.

She jumped when she heard the two soft knocks; she stood, feeling the unfamiliar weight of Jane's gun in her right hand as she approached the door and looked through the peephole with butterflies in her stomach.

Though she took her responsibility very seriously, she had to wonder….

Could she do it?

Could she shoot someone?

Could she take a life?

"It's me, Doc," Frost said.

"Thank goodness," she sighed as she opened the door and carefully handed him Jane's gun.

He frowned as he took it.

"I know it's against the rules, but she wouldn't even try to sleep unless I promised to stand watch." He winced, and she shrugged without elaborating. "I'm going to go check on her, now that you've got that. The file's on the coffee table."

She stood in the hallway for a moment, conflicted. If she just opened the door, she'd probably terrify Jane, who would object to the characterization, of course – but the pulse point at her neck wouldn't lie.

If she called out and Jane was asleep, she'd wake her up – which was the last thing her exhausted friend needed.

If –

"Is that Frost?"

If Jane was still awake, she'd have heard everything.

Of course.

She eased the door open and went to sit on the bed. "Yes."


The dark circles she'd noticed the morning before were now like hollows dug into her cheekbones. She rested a hand on Jane's knee and squeezed reassuringly. "You should try to get to sleep."

"I've been trying. I can't," Jane huffed in frustration.

"Close your eyes."

"Maura – "

"Come on." She watched as Jane reluctantly complied. "Take a deep breath. Breathe in for four seconds, hold it for five, exhale for six."

Jane's eyes cracked open again. "Maura…." Her exasperation, however, faded into a yawn and then a sigh. "Okay."

They went through a few cycles of deep breathing, Maura unobtrusively watching the pulse point at her neck. When the frantic beats finally slowed a little, she said, "Think about the safest place you've ever been."

Jane peeked at her once more and shifted in bed, but the restless movement of her hands slowed and her voice was softer as she said, "Okay."

"All your friends are there with you. They're standing in a circle around you. They're working together. They're building a wall. The wall will keep you safe."

Jane took a deep breath as she eased into true sleep before she could say anything more.

"It was a guided meditation, to help you relax. But…I did have your back. It wasn't so bad, was it?"

Jane's lips twitched despite herself. "Hearing you tell off Korsak and Frost was worth it."

"They woke you up?" She frowned. "I'm sorry."

"No, that's…." She sighed. "You don't understand, do you?"

Maura shook her head. "I'm sorry."

"No, I…I'm glad you don't. No one should. I became a cop so no one would." She ran her hands through her hair. "So I guess better me, if someone's gonna be…."

She fingered the scars on her palms, then began worrying the tips of her fingers. "It would be okay for someone to take care of me if I could take care of them. I can't even take care of myself. I can't even – I can't even face the thought of going home tonight."

Maura stared at her for a long moment. "I've got some great bath salts."

She frowned. "Huh?"

"Go take a bath; relax. I'll make some hot chocolate."

After a long pause, she heaved a sigh. "Okay. Thanks." She stood, then glanced back at her friend. "And thanks for letting me freak out."

"What are friends for?"

Jane's charmed little smile, so unlike her usual wry grin, reassured her that it had been the appropriate response.