I, personally, am having an angst filled day, so I thought I put some of the angst down on paper, so to speak.

Character's aren't mine. I'll give them back, I promise.

Her hands hurt. They hurt all the time, but today they hurt more than usual. She never complained about it. There was no need. The pain was simply something that was, and there was really nothing anyone could do about it.

Physical therapy helped when her hands became shaky again, but it didn't dull the pain. It was a constant in her life, like the scars… like the job, her family, Maura…

Her hands hurt more today than yesterday because yesterday she agreed to start yoga classes with Maura. She knew it was a bad idea, but she just couldn't tell the woman no, and Maura was dead set against her going back to more "brutal" activities such as baseball and basketball.

Those activities also made her hands hurt, but it was a different kind of pain. Holding a bat doesn't take as long as holding the downward facing dog position. Putting extended pressure on her hands like that made the pain so much more intense. She knew it would.

She went anyway.

Her hands shake today as she tries to write or hold her coffee cup. She can't stop it, and she hates herself for that. It's a sign of weakness, and she doesn't like being weak. She's not a weak person, and she refuses to let anyone think otherwise.

It's that mindset that kept her from going down to the morgue today. She knew Maura would see through her clenched jaw and hardened eyes. Maura would be able to tell that her hands hurt, and her bad attitude wasn't simply because she was who she was.

It was the pain talking.

Maura would know.

When she finally made it home, she walked the dog and started preparing a salad for dinner. Maura's influence again. She used to just order pizza on days like this, but she just didn't eat that type of food much anymore. But, the shaking and pain in her hands made it difficult to hold the knife to cut the vegetables. After a few minutes of trying, she cursed it all, left it where it was, and walked out of the kitchen with a beer in her shaking hand to sit in front of the television and zone out for a while.

The knock on the door was unwelcome.

The face she saw when she opened it was not.

"Maura, what are you doing here? It's 9:30 at night." She asks, concern in her voice.

"I hadn't seen you all day, and I thought you'd like some company for dinner. Have you eaten yet?" She watches the smaller woman worm her way into her apartment. She closes the door and forces the flinching she wants to do from her face as her palm knocks against the knob.

"No." She suddenly wants Maura to leave. The blonde shouldn't be here right now.

"I see you already started!" Unmoving, she stands by the door watching Maura make her way to the salad, reach for the items, and realize they're warm to the touch. "Jane, how long has this been sitting out here."

"I don't know. A little while, maybe?" She shrugs and moves back to the sofa. She keeps her arms crossed, her hands wrapped around her sides.

"Jane?" She does flinch at the concern in the other woman's voice. "Why haven't you eaten yet?"

"Changed my mind. I'm not that hungry anyway." She sets her jaw and scowls. She doesn't want to talk about this right now. She doesn't want to talk about it at all.

She doesn't bother to turn her head or move her hands from her sides. She is rigid. The pain is throbbing, and she just wants to shut the world away. "Your hands hurt, don't they?" Maura is standing in front of her, blocking the television.

"No. You're blocking the game." She's gruff. She doesn't care.

She does care that Maura is now sitting next to her. "Let me see them."

"No. Maura, I'm fine." She leans away from the concerned woman. She doesn't want this attention. She doesn't need it. She doesn't deserve it.

"Let me see them!" She tries to keep her hands where they are, but Maura's hands are demanding and, in this moment with this pain, they're stronger than hers. She gives in because she can't put up a fight to keep her hands away from prying eyes. "Your hands are shaking. How much pain?"

"It'll go away." She doesn't turn to look at Maura. She keeps her head forward, eyes on the television.

"Why didn't you tell me? I would have come over sooner. I can help."

"Don't need it. I'm good."

"Jane… please."

She snaps. Why won't people leave her alone? If she wanted sympathy, she'd go to a shrink. She stands, turning to face the doctor. She's angry, and she doesn't bother to hide the anger and frustration on her face or in her eyes.

"What? What do you want from me, Maura? They hurt, okay? They always hurt. That's just how it is. There's nothing I can do about. There's nothing anyone can do about it. It just is. Some days are better than others. Today was a bad day. They hurt. Is that what you want me to say? There. I said it."

She's stunned when Maura doesn't cry or become upset in the least. She's stunned because Maura reaches for one of her hands again, gently taking it in her own.

"You don't have to be alone to deal with this." Her anger subsides as Maura begins to massage the hand she's holding. "I don't understand why you insist on being such a… what did Korsak call it? A 'lone wolf'?"

She sits down on the sofa again; her eyes are trained on watching Maura's hands gently work the tension from hers.

"If I think about it, then I can't stop thinking about it." She hates the nightmares. They come so frequently when she's alone. The pain is a constant reminder. She can never stop thinking about him. She hates herself for that, too. It's yet another sign of weakness.

"What can I do to help?" She watches Maura gently take her other hand and begin to work the pain away.

"Nothing. I don't expect anyone to…"

"I'm asking because I care about you, Jane, not because I feel sorry for you. There's no pity here." Her hands hurt less. But, she doesn't hurt less.

"Then what? Why would you bother?" She's surprised at her own voice. It's soft and unsure. Weakness, but, with Maura, she realizes she doesn't feel so worried about showing her moments of weakness.

"Because I love you. Because I care about you. Because I think you're a very brave, very stubborn person who deserves a lot more than she allows herself." Maura releases her hand. "Better?"

"Yeah." She opens and closes her hands. They still hurt, but it's the normal, everyday pain. "Thanks."

"I'm going to order a pizza, okay?" She smiles. Maura doesn't normally like pizza. "You seem like you could use some comfort food. Pepperoni okay?"

"Yeah, that'd be good." Maura knows her too well. Sometimes, she worries about that. The fact that this strange, quirky woman gets her better than her family or any of the other people in her life makes her wonder… sometimes. Tonight, she finds she's happy that Maura gets her. "Are you staying?"

"My bag is by the door." She sees it now. She debates asking the question, but she has to know.

"You knew before you came over?"

"I suspected. When you didn't come down to the morgue at all today, which is very unlike you, I asked Vince about your overall behavior today before I left work this evening. I'll spare you exactly what he said, but, suffice it to say, I had little doubt you were in pain. I know how you feel about pain medication, so I thought I'd come over and check on you." She gives the doctor a weak smile of thanks. "The last time you were like this, you didn't sleep well until you spent the night at my house. I thought, perhaps, I'd help circumvent the process of you being sleep deprived for several days on end. You've very unpleasant when you've not been sleeping well."

She never told Maura the reason why she couldn't sleep well at night. She never told Maura why she began to sleep better. Maura had figured it all out on her own. She wanted to feel irritated, but she could only feel relieved. "Thank you."

"The pizza should be in here in about 20 minutes. Why don't you go change? I can't believe you're still in your work clothes. Honestly, Jane…"

"I'm going." She smiles brightly. She stops at the entrance to her bedroom. "The guys will probably thank you tomorrow, too, you know?"

"No thanks needed. All I did was pull the thorn out." She watches the blonde for a moment trying to understand the reference.


"Yes, thorn, metaphorically speaking, of course. Like the mouse that pulled the thorn from the paw of the lion, I simply relieved what was giving you pain. It's very unsettling to see a strong willed creature in pain." She laughs at the doctor. Of course Maura would make a random reference.

"So, you think I'm a lion, huh?" She can feel herself smirking.

"More accurately, lioness. I thought I sent you off to change?"

"Okay, okay, I'm going." She walks into her bedroom with a smile on her face.

Her hands hurt. They hurt all the time, but today she hurts a little bit less.