Especially for Farmor - you madam, are a sweetheart. And to travelbug, YAY, excitement is a huge compliment, thank you! And Feltknickers - aw, possum, ALL OF THE ICECREAM FOR YOU xxx

And to everyone that reviewed. This fickie biz is hard sometimes, so thank you for being involved and stuff...it makes this feel like more of a collaboration, or a conversation, or something. Y'know...something shared. [YES I AM A GAY, WHY DO YOU ASK?] Anyway I really appreciate it, you guys, thank you.

x


Jane ran. Her feet pounded the pavement, the shock reverberating all the way up her spine. She knew she should lighten and lengthen her stride and let her clenched fists relax, but each angry slam of her sneaker felt satisfying. She ran alone, without music, only the racing of her thoughts spurring her on.

Today - in complete contradiction to the marathon training plan set out on the precise excel spreadsheet that Maura had given her - Jane had no end goal, no amount of miles or minutes or hours to achieve. She wasn't even wearing a watch. She had no destination, nothing to run for, or to. Today she was running harder and further than ever before, somehow convinced that if she was only faster and stronger she could finally escape herself.

She slammed down a side street aiming for the grasslands next the the Charles, knowing Maura would kill her if she wrecked her knees before race day. If there was one thing that cut through the red fog in her brain, it was the clear conviction that she did not want to let Maura down. Not again.

She hit the river path, head down, running blind. Maura, her brain repeated on loop. Do not fail her. Try harder, be stronger. Her chest burned. Maura had promised her that after a certain pain threshold, the endorphin pay out would be worth it. She just had to push through the burn and then the pain would take care of itself. She only hoped the same rule held for the rest of her life, because at this point the pain was threatening to overwhelm her.

It had caused her pain to empathise so strongly with the grieving widow who'd found and won the beautiful love of her life and then so abruptly lost her, only to find the woman was a weak, selfish killer. It had made her ache with confusion when Maura had suddenly started to flirt with her again - in that devastatingly effective way that only Maura could - while simultaneously trying to push her away onto yet another man. Just the image of Maura's teasing eyes roving all over Jane's body at dinner while Brock was the one kissing and caressing her beautiful friend made the ache turn into a stab. To finally gather up the courage, albeit covertly, to broach the idea that maybe being a lesbian was really what she wanted, only to have it neatly deflected, stung more than she'd cared to admit. And lying awake for hours rigid with fright with what she was about to do, only to have Maura push her away with anger when Jane finally tried to tell her, carefully, anxiously, how she felt in the dark of the night? Well that lacerated her.

Jane angrily swiped at her eyes as she ran, hating herself for not being smart enough to work this one out. There were so many conflicting signals. What did Maura really want? The last week had been agonising in its confusion. One minute Maura was gazing at Jane with those incredible bedroom eyes of hers, and the next she was explaining all the reasons Jane should date a ridiculously wet male nurse. The flirty vibe between them had sharply increased all of a sudden until Jane was a mass of thrilled and terrified nerves, only when she'd tentatively tried to follow through on those veiled hints and promises, Maura had shot her down.

Then the very next night while they were undercover at Merch, Maura had turned around and aimed at her with every ounce of seduction she had - in her sparkling eyes, her parted lips, her golden skin, her sex-softened voice against Jane's earlobe, her breasts in her face - and Jane had died for her over and over again. But Maura continued on, making her point quite clear by allowing all the other women in the bar to ogle her openly, tease and flirt with her and even place their hands on her body while Jane could not.

She didn't know what had come over her, only that confusion and despair had slammed smack bang into lust and jealousy and when the last suspect had been interviewed and the wire had come off, Jane had caught sight of Maura disappearing out the door behind the bar. She'd followed her, planning to confront her, have it all out, finally, and try not to scream when she asked what do you WANT from me?!

Only when she found she was finally alone with Maura in the dark, temporary privacy of the alleyway, and the doctor had looked up at her, a flash of surprise appearing in her eyes, as well as a slight apprehension now the act was all over, something snapped in Jane. She didn't want the act to drop, not yet. Why couldn't she have the same chance all those other women had? Just getting to be an anonymous woman, in a lesbian bar, faced with a beautiful, flirtatious waitress? No complicated friendship, no history, no murderers to catch, just getting to let go and be normal for a minute?

She couldn't believe it when Maura had played along, and it was mere seconds before they were pressed together up against the brick wall. Her body in that ridiculous outfit made Jane feel simultaneously insane and more focussed than she'd ever been in her entire life. Finally there was no ambiguity, no Brock or Jorge, no barriers of friendship or professionalism between them, only one hot waitress and one very determined lesbian, with nothing but blazing want between them. She had her hands on Maura's skin, on her breasts, her fingers capturing her nipple, then between Maura's legs, stroking only fabric but knowing how she'd feel if she pressed it aside…so so soft, god - Jane had watched her, never stopped watching her - she knew how wet Maura must be after this whole night of fucking foreplay. Maura's eyes kept fluttering closed and then opening again, desire and shock battling across her features, her chest heaving, her body open and vulnerable. God, Jane was going to have her, right there, up against the wall. She could barely wait to really feel her.

But then Maura trembled, and the question of whether it was desire or fear jolted Jane out of her lusty haze, just long enough to make her breath catch. This wasn't some anonymous encounter, this was Maura. Suddenly Jane didn't want another no-strings fuck with her, she wanted it all. Or, more accurately, for the first time ever, she wanted to be capable of wanting it all. She wanted to be worthy of it, to heal, to become stronger until she was someone who could stand up and be more than that, be Maura's partner. Maura deserved that.

But did she want it...? Maura's eyes had fluttered open again and Jane could read nothing there but lust. It would be so Maura to think she could cure the tension in their relationship with sex. She was so successful at divorcing sex from love, seeing it as purely a fun quirk of biology, a simple physiological function that humans were programmed to fulfil. A cold cure, for god's sake. Jane had managed not to collapse and cry into her friend's bare shoulder, garnering her last reserves of energy to play out the role she'd started, growling out a tough line and fleeing.

Now she collapsed on a park bench, gazing out at the grey water, pain gnawing between her shoulder blades as her legs trembled, trying to regain her breath. She'd been so sure in that moment that while the desire was obviously mutual, what they wanted to do with it was completely at odds. She loved Maura, ergo, she couldn't just sleep with her. Maura loved her back, she knew that, but she'd happily sleep with Jane for pragmatic reasons. It wouldn't mean anything more than exactly what it was - sex with your best friend. The very idea of being nothing more than a recreational activity to Maura made Jane want to die.

It hadn't been until the following day in the lab, when Maura had been less than pleased at Jane's clever entrapment of her suspect via the means of kissing, that Jane had started to doubt her understanding of Maura's motives. Instead of smirking back at Jane the way she'd imagined, Maura looked downright devastated. The sharp tone of her voice, an octave higher than normal had reminded her of Maura's angry rejection that night in her bed. At the time Jane had been so tense and flustered, all she'd heard was the part where Maura had said no. Now the words came back clearer and she realised maybe Maura hadn't said no at all. The tone had been upset, but the words had simply stated, not like this. Not unsure like this, not half-assed like this. No maybes, no what-ifs. Jane's heart had started yammering in her throat. If she was right, if Maura too, wanted more…god, she could barely breathe. She needed to put this right, but then Frost had called her back to work and the moment had escaped her.

And now, the friendly vibe was back. Maura didn't flirt with her anymore, not really. They were simply friends, with just the mildest hint of spice, so covered with layers of platonic cautiousness she was almost convinced that it was gone. Jane had been hurt by that too, but now as the promised endorphins flooded her system, she realised that it was for the best. If she was going to change and grow and face her demons and heal herself, to become a whole new kind of person - the kind who could confidently sweep Maura Isles off her feet - well that was going to take time. About a thousand years should do it. And in the meantime, Jane was going to stop acting like a lust-crazed asshole. She'd seen the bruising on Maura's wrist from where she'd caught her, before pinning her aggressively up against the wall. She was lucky the doctor was even speaking to her. She absolutely did not want to misuse her friend like that, ever again. Good god, she needed to wipe it from her memory, the vision of Maura's rapid breathing and tilted throat bared to her, right after she'd hit the wall. Jane couldn't stop shaking her head. She needed to prove to Maura once and for all, that despite her fuck-ups, she loved her and respected her above all others. She was her best friend. Running a marathon for her was only the beginning.