Notes: **WARNING** This chapter contains content related to sexual assault. I wanted to put this warning here in the event that such content is too sensitive or objectionable for some readers. I do not consider the scene to be particularly graphic, but I felt a "heads up" was warranted.

CH 17: A Coward's Revenge

Mid-December was already proving to be brutal, several inches of snow, frigid temperatures and day after day of grey skies was already getting on Jane's nerves.

"I think we should both transfer somewhere warmer…California, Florida perhaps," she mused wrapping an arm around Maura's shoulder as they hoofed it the last couple of blocks to the Robber.

"But then you'd miss out on your white Christmas you say you love so much," Maura countered.

"No, Ma would still expect us to come back for Christmas."

Maura looked over at Jane with a beaming smile on her face.


"Whenever you talk about traditional family functions, you always say 'us' now."

Jane returned the smile and snuck in a quick kiss to Maura's temple, "Speaking of Christmas, we need to decide how we're going to divvy that up. We always do a big Christmas Eve meal at Ma and Pop's and then go to Midnight Mass, I know you're not really religious Maur, but it's sort of tradition if you don't mind sitting through it. I was actually thinking we could invite your parents over for Christmas Eve dinner and do the first meeting then. There's always a big family gathering on Christmas Day, but we could do something just with your parents then instead."

"I have no problem going to Mass with your family Jane. Actually Christmas will be less of a juggling act than Thanksgiving; my parents always go to my Aunt's place in the Hamptons for Christmas so I don't think they'll be available but I'll ask them anyway."

Jane cocked her head and looked Maura, "So…you don't go with them?"

"No of course not, you know I always volunteer to work over the Christmas holiday," Maura responded nonchalantly.

"Then, when do you like…do the presents thing and what not?" There was an air of sadness in Jane's voice as she said it.

"Usually around New Year's, my mom typically throws a big New Year's Eve Party, I suspect we'll be invited to that…What's wrong?"

Jane pulled Maura closer, "It just never occurred to me that when you worked on Christmas you still didn't have some little family thing you slipped away to. I never thought you spent it alone. You…didn't volunteer to work this year did you?"

Maura smiled, reaching up to place a gloved hand over Jane's hand on her shoulder, "Not this year."

The Robber was finally in sight.

"Why do I have a feeling you're only coming to the AWO meeting to make sure Officer Blue Eyes doesn't put the moves on me?"

"Don't be silly," Maura laughed, "I trust you completely."

"Oh I know you trust me, I just don't think you trust her, what if I get hammered and Michelle Davis takes advantage of me and throws me on the bar in a fit of passion," Jane almost couldn't get it out with a straight face.

"Well…" Maura pondered momentarily, "…in that case you should remember that I'm quite accomplished with cutting instruments and I might know a thing or two about getting rid of a body."

Jane swallowed hard, "Mine…or hers?"

Maura looked slyly at Jane, "Wouldn't you like to know."

Cpt. Franklin's first project for the new AWO was to send female officers to local high school job fairs in addition to the local colleges and universities with criminal justice programs in order to establish some contacts. Straightforward enough, Jane thought, as long as she didn't have to do the high school tour.

Of course the best part of these informal planning meetings at the Robber in Jane's mind was the hanging around to drink afterwards. There was much cheering as the first pitchers arrived at the tables and Gretchen began to regale the crowd with her latest perp-chasing exploit.

"Aww, hell, there goes the neighborhood," Deena Walters remarked, cutting her eyes in the direction of the door through which several members of the Dive Team were walking.

"Gah, I fucking hate those assholes," Gretchen added. "Jane is it true those douchebags got DQ'd against your bowling team?"

Jane took a long drag off her beer, "Yeah, they were giving me and Maura shit, turns out Cottrell who runs the league has two moms, threw their asses out. It was awesome."

"Perhaps I'll bring it up with the Brass that we may need to institute some further sensitivity training on gender and sexuality issues," Cpt. Franklin added slyly.

"Long overdue, if you ask me," Gretchen said raising her glass in the Captain's direction.

"No doubt," Franklin said as she clinked her glass to Gretchen's.

The beer continued to flow and before long Friday evening at the Robber was packed as usual. The ladies were rowdy, the Dive Team and their cohort were rowdy but each steered clear of the other, most likely due to the rank effect of Captain Cherise Franklin hanging around Jane surmised after Franklin had detailed her numerous 'matters of disagreement' as she had called them with Sgt. Wilcox.

"Pardon me ladies, I need to run to the restroom." Maura slipped out of the booth.

That a few minutes later Officer Lloyd Kearns from the Dive Team made his way back to the restrooms went completely unnoticed.

Maura emerged from the stall to find Kearns leaning against the locked door, arms folded across his chest and a disgustingly smug look on his face. Her heart started to race as she glanced around the tiny restroom for anything she could grab; there was nothing of consequence. Kearns stalked towards her and Maura's only recourse was to retreat back into the stall, slamming the door and locking it. Her whole body began to shake as she told herself to scream but no sound came out.

Kearns came flying under the stall, grabbing Maura by the ankles as he yanked her off her feet; she fell hard to the tile floor a searing pain shooting through her shoulder as she felt the force of the impact pop the joint.

"NOOO!" She finally managed to shriek as Kearns dragged her across the floor and out of the stall. Dislocated, her right arm was functionally useless she reached and clawed at Kearn's throat with her left trying to keep him at bay simultaneously kicking at him. The punch he landed across her face stunned her and took her breath away. The sound of her blouse ripping brought her back to reality and she began struggling again.

"Fucking dyke, I'm gonna show you what a real man is." He grabbed her left arm and pinned it down with one hand as his other snaked up her skirt in search of her underwear.

"HELP!" Maura screamed at the top of her lungs.

Jane looked at her watch, "How long's Maura been in the damn bathroom?" Something didn't feel right. She glanced towards where the Dive Team had taken up at the bar, "Hey, did anyone see Kearns leave?"

Jane was already getting out of the booth before anyone answered.

"Shit, I'm behind you Rizzo," Gretchen said as she practically knocked a beer pitcher laden Michelle Davis to the ground. Sarah Donahue and Deena Walters weren't far behind.

Jane got to the bathroom door but it was locked, "MAURA!" she called out as she banged on the door.

Maura was sobbing uncontrollably, summoning every ounce of strength she had to fight Kearns off, his rough and repulsive hands clawing at her thigh and hip as he tried to tear her underwear off. His belt was already undone and Maura glanced down to see him exposed which sent her into a further panic, her strength was fading, the pain in her shoulder almost unbearable, she wasn't sure how much longer she could fend him off. JANE! WHERE'S JANE!

"Move!" Gretchen grabbed Jane by the shoulder and tossed her like a limp ragdoll from the door before sending her foot into the flimsy wooden barrier. The lock ripped from the frame sending wood shards flying like shrapnel as the door flew open with a deafening bang.

Gretchen full body tackled Kearns practically pile driving his head into the locked stall door. She had come from duty and was still in uniform; her cuffs were on him before the ringing in his ears stopped.

Jane grabbed Maura frantically pulling her into a desperate embrace as she cried out in pain and attempted to grab and steady her arm to prevent the dislocated joint from being jarred further. Maura was out of breath, gasping for air and trembling uncontrollably.

"Someone give me a damn jacket or something!" Jane screamed, clutching Maura's naked chest to her own. Deena quickly shed her blazer and wrapped it around Maura, adding her own soothing strokes to Maura's back.

"Robinson, get that scumbag to your car," Cpt. Franklin ordered.

Deena worked sex crimes and knew what needed to be done, "Gretchen," she called out, "bring your camera back with you."

Cpt. Franklin had the bar cleared, except for the female officers and Sgt. Wilcox of the Dive Team who was ordered to stay. Jane sat in the bathroom floor holding her girlfriend while the chaos unfolded around them, "Shh baby," she soothed, kissing Maura's head.

Deena placed one hand on the back of Maura's head and one on Jane's back, "I know you don't wanna do this right now, but you need to let me take some pictures of the injuries." Maura squeezed her eyes tightly shut as the camera flashed repeatedly. "Got it," Deena said softly as Jane pulled Maura back into her arms.

"What?" Jane asked picking up the look of concern on Deena's face.

"I have to ask…" Deena took a deep breath and placed a tentative hand on Maura's back, gently rubbing up and down, intended equally to ease her own nerves as to comfort the doctor, "Maura…did he…"

"No…" Maura cut her off and shuddered, "no, he didn't."

"Bus is here," Gretchen said poking her head in the bathroom, "Korsak, Frost, Cavanaugh and Jane, Frankie's here too."

"I don't want to go in the ambulance," Maura whispered into Jane's neck.

The noise of a scuffle outside sent Gretchen, Deena and Cpt. Franklin streaking for the door. After a few minutes Frankie peeked in, "Janie?" he asked tentatively.

"Maur, is it ok if Frankie comes in?" Jane felt an affirmative nod against her neck, "Come on in Frankie."

Frankie unfolded the emergency blanket he kept in his squad car and knelt down wrapping it around Maura. He placed his hand on his sister's back for support; he doubted anyone had comforted Jane.

"What's going on out there?" Jane asked.

"They were moving Kearns to the transport car and Korsak came out of nowhere and knocked him flat the fuck out…"

"Vince?" Maura questioned, surprised as she looked up at Frankie, who nodded. Maura allowed a slight smile to creep onto her face, "Remind me to thank him."

Jane brushed Maura's disheveled hair from her face, "I always knew you had a mean streak," she said with a smile leaning forward to kiss Maura on the forehead.

Frankie popped up and retrieved a wet paper towel, "Hold on Maura, Jane missed some of the blood." He dabbed lightly at the last dried remnants of blood from Maura's nose that had streaked across her upper lip and cheek.

With Maura sitting up mostly on her own, Jane pulled the blanket the rest of the way around her, "She doesn't want to ride in the ambulance, can you help me get her to your car and take us to the hospital?" Jane looked at her little brother who was already moving to scoop Maura up. "It's her right shoulder Frankie, so, move to the other side."

"Maura, just tell me if I'm hurting you," Frankie hooked one arm under Maura's legs and the other around her back and lifted her up.

Maura winced and whimpered softly into Frankie's neck as he carried her out of the Robber.

"Jane, really, it's my shoulder that's injured not my legs. Frankie doesn't need to carry me up the stairs."

Maura's protests fell on deaf ears as Frankie once again gently scooped Maura up in his arms and began the long ascent to his sister's apartment. Once inside the door he set her down and watched as Jane led Maura back to the bedroom. Maura began to unbutton Deena Walters' blazer, which she had worn home from the hospital.

"I got blood on it."

Jane slid the sling over Maura's head and then helped her pull the good arm out of the sleeve first and then carefully worked it off her right arm, "I'm sure Deena has others. Or I'll take you shopping and you can pick her out a replacement."

"You're volunteering to take me shopping? I guess I should get assaulted more often," Maura knew it was a feeble attempt at stress reducing humor even as she said it.

"That's not funny Maura." Jane paused and cupped her face, stroking her cheek, "I…" she paused again trying to push down the tears, shaking her head "…nevermind. Just, don't ever joke about that." Maura nodded reaching up to wipe the solitary tear that had managed to slide down Jane's flushed cheek.

Maura gingerly put her right arm through the tank top opening Jane presented and then let Jane do the rest of the work getting it on. She stood so that Jane could unzip her skirt, which dropped to the floor revealing her underwear which had held on by a mere thread. Red scratches marred her hip and thigh, some of the deeper ones having already started to scab. Jane let her fingers linger momentarily over the marks before sliding the tattered panties down and letting Maura step into a fresh pair. Once she had pulled them up she again let her fingers trace over the scratches before placing an apologetic kiss on them.

Maura sat back down on the bed, "A few minutes longer and…"

Jane was fighting the tears trying to stay strong for Maura who was eerily stoic, "Don't say it." Jane pulled Maura into a tender embrace, stroking her hair, "I'm sorry," she whispered.

Maura sniffled, digging the fingers of her good arm into Jane's back, "It's not your fault, and it could have been much worse if you hadn't sensed something was wrong."

Jane pulled back and wiped at the fresh moisture that had started to trickle down Maura's tear weary face, "Is there anything you need?"

Maura shook her head, "Just you to hold me so I can fall asleep."

Jane leaned in and placed a delicate kiss on her lips, "Let me see Frankie out and I'll be right back."

Jane padded into the living room to find Frankie's uniform shed and draped across the back of the chair, he was wrapped in a throw blanket and sprawled out on the sofa with Joe Friday, the tv on but volume practically inaudible.

"Frankie, you don't have to…"

"I'm staying Janie."

"Really, it's not like…"

"Staying Janie, go to sleep."

Jane walked to the hall closet, grabbed an extra blanket and a pillow and chucked it to her baby brother on the couch.

"Thanks Frankie."

"Night sis."

**Postscript**: I wrote this chapter and I've pondered for days whether or not I really wanted to go there and leave it as is and post it. But, I decided that violence of this nature is sadly a part of the world we live in; that, there really are people out there like Lloyd Kearns and that that type of ignorance and hatred is a story that needs to be told. As I've already started the next chapter I think that going ahead with the assault though I did make the decision to have it interrupted before rape gets the point across about the existence of this kind of violence and also provides an opportunity for some new emotional exploration between the characters as created and interpreted by me. On that note, I hope you my faithful readers are still with me as I know this kind of topic can be extremely difficult.