This for our continuing series. Googlemouth and I are having a blast writing these stories out. This one follows after "A Little Better". We do have plans to continue this series.

The characters are not ours. They belong to the very talented Tess and the powers that be over at Turner (aka TNT).

Reviews make us happy and keep us writing. ;-)

The first few hours back, the homicide department had given Jane grief for being out because of one hot dog. Korsak had gone so far as to point out that half of the perps in lockup at that very moment would have paid a small ransom to be thathot dog. However, the humor was short-lived. Within hours of returning to work, Jane and Frost were on a case.

A young woman had been found by the dog park Jane and Maura often frequented with Joe. She had been brutally beaten before being shot at point blank range. Jane, Frost, and Korsak had been running leads since that Monday morning. None of the detectives had taken much of a break. Korsak had gone home only to take care of his animals. Joe was with Jane's parents.

Running on what sleep they could catch at their desks and not much closer to ending the case, Tuesday night hit them all hard as a second body was discovered near the park with the same MO. They had a serial killer on their hands, and everyone's lives were about to become nothing but eating, drinking, and sleeping the case until it was closed.

Jane had barely had time to eat. But, she found her downtime, what little she had, drifted to thoughts of Maura, whom she hadn't seen outside of an autopsy in days.

This bites. I'm tired. I'm hungry, and I just want to see Maura. When the hell are we going to get a break on this damned case?With a huff, Jane threw her pen down on her desk and gave a disgruntled grunt.

"Easy, Rizzoli, breaking your favorite pen isn't going to get us any closer to cracking this case," Korsak called from his desk, which was scattered with paperwork and photos.

"It might. You don't know." It could be a magic pen with a genie inside or something. The lanky detective stood to pace. "Man, what are we missing here, Korsak? I mean, someone had to see something, right? It was out in the open at a park. How could no one see anything? Maura and I go there all the time, and, no matter what time it is, there's always someone out there." She chewed at the corner of her thumbnail. I let Maura go there alone when I was sick. That's not happening again.

"Hey, Jane, if you and Dr. Isles go there all the time, that means you're regulars, right?" Frost sat up straighter in his chair, eyes suddenly bright with an idea.

"Yeah, I guess. Why?" She shrugged at him.

"Well, that means that, if you two went back to the park, you'd be able to recognize someone who didn't belong there. I mean, it's like taking your kid to the playground, right? Don't you dog owner people talk to each other?" He gave her a 'well duh' look.

"Well, sometimes, but... you know, maybe," she snapped her fingers as she thought about it, Good, a reason to see Maura. Thank God. "You might be on to something, Frost. I bet Maura pays attention to the people who are there on a regular basis when we're out there with Joe. There's no way we've talked to them all, but it may be something. Maybe she has some names? She's good with names. Damn, why didn't I think of that before?" She darted toward the elevators, turning to walk quickly backwards as she pointed to her partner. "Good work, Frost."

Maura Isles was in the zone. Her two autopsies had been complication free, the results easily predictable from the outset, though she had not guessed, assumed, or even estimated anything whatsoever about them. The sewing up had been done by a very junior medical examiner, whom she had guided through the procedure; he was coming along nicely, a very mindful and conscientious young man. He would go far in the field one day. Even her reports went swiftly.

She was just typing up the last one as Jane burst through the doors of the morgue in a rush, nearly knocking over the intern on the way. "Sorry," she muttered as she made a beeline for the doctor. "Maura," she rushed toward the honey blonde, "Maura, I think you can help with the case."

"Moment," Maura cautioned as she typed the last phrase and quickly clicked 'Save'. Her expression was serious, posture erect. She was the picture of businesslike professionalism. Then she stood, pushed in her chair, turned around, and favored the homicide detective with a smile of dazzling warmth, pars orbitalis orbiting and orbicularis oculi rotating like crazy. Just as swiftly, she tamped it down and returned to her customary 'lab face' to ask, "What can I do for you, Detective?"

For the briefest of moments, Jane stood stunned. Must. Not. Kiss. The medical examiner. "I... um... the case. You can help with the case." Right... case... can't believe we haven't so much as waved at each other in three days. God, I'd kill to be about to just... case, Rizzoli. Case first. M.E. later. "Um... so, Frost had the idea, but it's a good one." She smirked, giving the doctor a wink. "We're regulars at the dog park, right? That means we talk to the other regulars, so that means we know names. Well, it means you know names because you know I never pay attention when you're talking to people." With a roll of her eyes, she waved her hand to stop the 'I told you so' comments before they could come. "Anyway, can you think of any names of regulars that might have been in the park about the time of the murders? The killer struck around the same time both times, and we go to the park all hours of the day and night." Please, please, please remember something. Face pleading, the detective gave a little stomp of her foot, "Tell me you can think of a name we haven't thought of yet."

Maura listened carefully, focused with a particularly stern intensity, the way a drunk driver focuses on the cop who's pulled him over, or a teenager focuses on the mother who has interrupted their private 'studying time' to offer a snack. "Yes. Yes, there's Mr. Roberts and his Dachshund, Kiyomi Smith and the twin toddlers that she nannies, and I believe Sheila Troxclaire walks her mastiff terrier and her Doberman-poodle blend during those hours regularly as well. The others vary their times with their schedules, but those three are there, rain or shine."

"I knew you'd know!" Grabbing the doctor by the shoulders, Jane caught herself just before leaning down. What did I just say? Must. Not. Kiss. The ME. "I owe you one, Maur."

Maura swayed inward, then looked panicked as what she thought was happening... didn't.

Intense brown eyes held hazel for a longer time than was really appropriate before Jane dropped her hands to her sides, a blush creeping up her neck. "I... I should go tell the others so we can talk to these people." Her stomach growled, and she looked down at it as if it had offered a string of profanities. Can't eat now, just got leads. "Um, sorry. Anyway, I'll let you know what we come up. Thank you again, Maura." She turned on her heels to go.

"Jane, wait!" And now what would she say? Kiss me before you go? I want to see you tonight? I dreamed of kissing your fingertips, and woke up sad that it wasn't real? "If you get the chance, stop by. I'll make you dinner."

The detective abruptly stopped, back straightening slightly as she turned back around. Thank you, Maura. "Maybe later tonight? I'll text you and see if you're still up?" She could feel the blush but couldn't stop it. What am I 16 again? What is up with that? "You know, Joe's been missing Bass..."

Maura smiled. "Bring her," she suggested, voice warmer than the simple words suggested, "Don't bother texting. I want to see you. Wake me up." It was a good thing no one else was in the morgue at the moment to see the way she lit up from within, just by this much contact.

"Yeah, me, too," the blush deepened. Yup, 16 all over again. All I need to do now is trip over something, stutter, and spill my drink on her lap. That should bring me back up to when I had a crush on Chris Greene. "I'll… see you later." Grinning sheepishly and tucking her hands awkwardly into her pockets, she turned around and headed out.