A/N: So...this was hard to write. I really wanted to strike the right chord without ruining the characters as I established them, and I hope I succeeded somewhat in that vein. That's why it took me a bit longer to get this one out/why I had time to start that alternate version, haha. Anyway, this will be the last chapter.


Fueled by equal parts pain, desire, love, and whiskey, Maura pulled Jane down into a fierce kiss. The move had been involuntary, startling even Maura, who was not accustomed to letting her body act before her brain caught up. But quickly enough she couldn't be bothered to think about how exactly they had reached this point—all that mattered was that they had. She had stood up off her chair, maneuvering herself to better clutch at Jane's tall, lean body and bring it closer to her own, delirious with the pleasure of at last feeling the warm wetness of Jane's mouth against hers. She was cognizant of nothing but the pure gratification of Jane moaning against her lips, finally truly responding with the passion Maura had long suspected of simmering just beneath the detective's reserved surface.

Jane had to admit that of the many times she had fantasized about kissing Maura, it hadn't been like this. She had imagined it would be soft, gentle, curious; nothing like the animalistic fervor Maura had just initiated. But Jane certainly wasn't complaining: on the contrary, she had just turned Maura around, boosting her to sit on the counter as Jane gripped the back of her neck to kiss her more deeply. One hand wandered to Maura's ass, pushing against it to add in Maura's endeavor for more contact. Positioned as she was, Maura had to settle for attempting to satiate the inferno between her legs by grinding against Jane's clothed abdomen, which wasn't quite enough. With a cry of aroused frustration, Maura clenched her hands into fists and threw her arms around Jane's neck, breathing heavily.

"Please," she choked out between dry sobs. "Please!"

"Please what?" Jane asked, far from teasing her but honestly needing Maura to be more specific.

"Take me," Maura said between deep breaths. She pressed her lips against Jane's once more, and both of them felt another surge of desire. "Let me stay."

"Are you sure?" Jane whispered, trying to catch her breath.

But Maura didn't give her the chance: "Oh God, I've never been more sure of anything." Clumsily grabbing two fistfuls of Jane's shirt, Maura pulled her in for another searing kiss, desperate for as much contact as possible.

Maura had not planned on doing anything like this at all when she'd asked to come to Jane's apartment that night. Somewhere vaguely in the back of her mind she thought they'd have a discussion about how their feelings for each other might complicate their friendship and the events of the last few weeks. At most she had allowed herself to envision possibly kissing Jane goodnight, but nothing like this. The instinct to latch onto Jane and kiss her so savagely had just descended upon Maura as if out of nowhere. She could no more bring herself to ignore the prompting than she could have willed her heart to stop beating.

For Jane's part, this was almost an out-of-body experience. She couldn't believe this was actually happening, that Maura Isles was kissing her in Jane's kitchen, as heartily as though several lives hung in the balance. Maura's actions were far more intoxicating than the whiskey, and Jane got the feeling that they would hurt (physically) more afterwards, too—in addition to the sharp nails that threatened to tear through the thin shirt Jane was wearing, Maura hadn't removed her heeled shoes, and the sharp tips dug into the small of Jane's back.

"Take this off," Maura whispered urgently, tugging at the hem of Jane's shirt.

It didn't occur to Jane for a moment to disobey, but she found herself wishing Maura would take her top off as well. She felt she was in no position to make requests for her own pleasure, and was half-expecting Maura to back off at any given second. But backing off was the last thing on Maura's mind once Jane had quickly removed her shirt: barely sparing a glance for the breasts that were still confined by an athletic bra, Maura yanked Jane closer again for another kiss. She let out a soft moan at the feel of Jane's strong, bare back underneath her fingers, but quickly shifted one hand up to the back of Jane's head, bringing her impossibly closer. With a growing sense of impatience, Maura teased Jane's mouth open by sucking lightly on her lower lip. She could feel a shiver pass through Jane and transfer into her when their tongues made contact a second later, and Maura nearly collapsed onto the detective.

Still perched on the kitchen counter, Maura wrapped her legs firmly around Jane's waist and broke off their kiss. She knew exactly what it was she wanted to say, but made the mistake of trying to gauge Jane's emotions first. Jane's eyes were dark and dilated with desire, her cheeks uncharacteristically flushed. The doctor delighted in her ability to feel Jane's muscles tensing at the mere feeling of Maura's fingers tracing her back before digging her nails in a bit harder.

All in all, the sensations were too much to take, and Maura could only choke out two words: "Bedroom. Now."

This was one time Jane was grateful for a small apartment, because Maura's tone definitely leant itself to implying that she wanted to be carried. A pure adrenaline rush allowed Jane to tighten her grip on Maura and pick her up off the counter, continuing to kiss her as she stumbled to the bedroom. Normally this might not have been so difficult, but the rapidity with which it was all happening had rendered Jane's legs temporarily weak, barely capable of supporting herself, let alone another person. But she managed to keep it together in enough time to get them both to her dark bedroom and deposit Maura on the bed.

Before Jane had a chance to get on top of the covers with her, Maura leaned forward and placed her hands on Jane's hips, kissing her stomach. Jane felt a shudder sweep through her from head to toe, yet as thrilling as it felt to have Maura's lips scale her abdomen, Jane found reason fighting its way back into her mind. They were going way too far way too fast, and Maura's sudden passion was alarming.

We should stop, Jane thought, trying to fight the fire that was spreading mercilessly through her body at the feeling of Maura's mouth on her skin. We should stop. We should stop! The words were practically screaming inside her head, but Jane bit her lip to keep them from coming out—that had to be why she was biting her lip, because it certainly wasn't helping to stifle the short moans that came rumbling from the back of her throat. A small gasp escaped her when she felt Maura's fingers deftly undoing the first buckle of her jeans.

"Wait," Jane breathed, getting on her knees. She needed to be at Maura's level, to look her in the eye, to make sure this was what they both really wanted.

But Maura misread Jane's tone and expression. "Oh of course, I'm being selfish," she said, and in one swift movement she had pulled her shirt up over her head, and anything else Jane had planned on saying got stuck in her throat at the sight. Indeed, she felt as though all of her breath had been extracted from her with the strength of a knock-out punch. Maura's body was a peerless example of anatomical perfection, and Jane couldn't keep her mouth from dropping slightly as her eyes roved from top to bottom: Maura's silver pendant now hung between two deliciously formed breasts, encased in a thin, flesh-colored bra that did little to hide just as how aroused she was; the slender slope of her stomach curved as she bent over slightly to take off her shoes, and Jane was both afraid of and excited by what she correctly guessed the doctor's next move would be. Maura stood up and without the slightest hint of hesitancy or embarrassment, removed her slacks. She nimbly stepped out of them, and smirking at the look of awe on her friend's face, reached down and interlaced her fingers with Jane's, pulling her to her feet.

Jane found herself pulled into another voracious, open-mouthed kiss, and she became acutely aware of every particle of her being. She wasn't sure how to explain it (although maybe it was because she was now able to feel so much more of Maura's skin), but it was as if she could feel the effects of this kiss all over her body. It frightened her that she felt so out of control, that she couldn't keep one hand from drifting to Maura's barely-covered ass and the other from sliding up and down the smooth skin of her back. Her brain felt as though it was shutting down with each of Maura's calculated movements, driving her tongue into Jane's mouth and tucking one leg around hers.

In this position, she turned them around and pushed Jane onto her back on the bed. On her elbows she moved further back to allow Maura the room to join her, and she thought—she knew—she had never seen anything sexier than Maura Isles wearing nothing but a bra and what appeared to be essentially a lace thong, crawling towards her on her hands and knees. The next thing Jane knew, she was practically slammed against the headboard of the bed, with one of Maura's thighs working to spread hers apart.

Still wearing her jeans, Jane couldn't properly tell exactly how wet Maura was; she could only imagine as Maura's whimpers and moans got louder and less far apart. It was actually Jane's denim that was threatening to drive Maura over the edge, creating a delirious friction as she frantically rubbed herself against the rough fabric. More than anything she wanted Jane to touch her, really touch her, but was wary of asking for it. Jane could not repress the animalistic panting which was currently the only way she could get oxygen to her lungs, beyond turned on at the feeling of Maura working herself against her.

But something bothered her. It felt hypocritical to be even be thinking it, seeing as she herself was digging her nails into the soft skin of Maura's gyrating hips, but she couldn't help being concerned by Maura's fervor. Objectively speaking, there was nothing wrong with the carnal atmosphere Maura had created, but there was that word again—objectively. As a person with sexual needs and wants, Jane knew that what was currently happening topped any fantasy she could have ever dreamed up. But as someone who had carefully imagined this scenario to be much gentler and loving for the first time, she knew it really did need to stop. The main reason for this was that she got the feeling Maura was using her. Yes she believed that Maura loved her, but this, right now, was not love. It was anger. It was desperation. Jane wouldn't be surprised if Maura's nails had drawn blood at this point, and she could definitely feel some oncoming bruises. Maybe Maura was just rough in bed, but Jane was unable to escape the suspicion that Maura, in her fragile and emotional state, was just taking everything out on Jane.

She had to wait for Maura to give her a break, and it came several moments (or minutes; who knew?) later, when Maura began leaving a trail of hard kisses down her neck.

"Maura?" she said in a partially-rattling gasp.

The way Jane said her name was the only thing that could have given Maura pause. She was already incredibly aroused, but there it was again, her name in that inherently sensual voice, only now it had the added sexiness of the fact that Jane was out of breath—breath Maura had taken from her. It was this that got her to look up into Jane's eyes, and she was instantly able to read the fear that was there.

"Don't be afraid," she whispered, brushing a thick strand of hair away from Jane's sweaty forehead.

It would be so easy to just nod and start kissing her again, to hook her fingers around that lace waistband and pull down, to unclasp Maura's bra and suck on what it barely concealed. So easy, and furthermore, it was what they both wanted. But one of the most important lessons Jane had learned in her line of work was that the right thing to do and the easy thing to do were rarely the same thing, and hard though it was, she had never regretted putting the right thing first.

Confused by what had stalled the action so suddenly, Maura shifted her position so that she was fully straddling Jane, her knees on either side of the detective's hips. "What is it?" she asked softly, tracing her hands up to rest on Jane's neck. She frowned slightly at the lack of reaction these movements had received. "Don't you want me?"

"I want you so badly," Jane whispered, answering quickly so as not to leave Maura in doubt of her ultimate intentions. She curled her fingers tightly in Maura's hair, resting her other hand at the small of Maura's back and leaning forward, so that their foreheads touched. "But not like this."

"Like what?" Maura asked.

Jane tightened her jaw as she felt herself coming down from the aphrodisiacal high Maura had built her up to. "I need to know …I need to know what you're thinking, Maura. What you're feeling."

"Well just a moment ago, I was feeling exceptionally close to an orgasm," was Maura's blunt reply.

Jane had to laugh at that, and the small sound of mirth allowed her to relax slightly, even if Maura's response had been entirely honest. But she could see that Maura, while not upset, was not amused, either.

"Are you afraid?" Maura asked seriously.

Yes. I'm afraid of how this might change our friendship. I'm afraid of how to proceed from here. I'm terrified that we'll do this and you'll regret it, or that I won't be good enough for you.

After a very pregnant pause, Jane said, "I'm… worried, mostly."

"About what?"

"You."

"What do you mean?"

Jane never would have guessed that the mere act of conversing could change the atmosphere of the bedroom so fast and so strongly. They were barely clothed, and Maura was sitting in a position that definitely leant itself to the eventual consummation of the feelings they had both been repressing for so long. Yet all of a sudden, it had become much less difficult for Jane to keep her mind off of sex. It was as if they were safely back in the kitchen or the living room, about to embark on what was sure to be another awkward conversation. But Jane needed to have this out.

"How you feel about me," Jane elaborated. "You're still upset with me."

Maura sighed shortly. "Jane, I don't want to talk about this anymore."

"I have to talk about it," Jane whispered, urgently but not angrily. "Please, Maura. Please tell me this isn't just—angry sex."

She felt stupid and immature saying the two words out loud, and if it hadn't been so dark in the room, she'd have worried about a blush creeping up on her cheeks. Maura raised an eyebrow and frowned, surprised at Jane's word choice. But as she quickly wrapped her head around it, the realization hit her that if she were totally honest with herself, Jane had totally called it. Her emotions were so confusingly mixed that Maura could feel a headache coming on: she truly wanted Jane, she truly loved her. However, despite everything she had said about her revelatory conversation with her parents, Maura still felt proud and yes, a bit angry towards Jane.

"Do you love me?" Jane asked nervously.

"I've told you I do," Maura said in a tone of light exasperation that made Jane feel a bit stupid for asking.

"Do you forgive me?" She watched Maura's face closely for any clues, as the doctor remained silent. "Please, Maura, tell me. Say something."

Maura inhaled deeply, and her calm tone of voice belied the tears that were stinging her eyes. "I feel so foolish," she whispered, backing off of Jane. Jane immediately sat up with worry, but calmed down slightly when Maura simply lay next to her, making no move to get up or leave. "I'm so sorry."

"Don't. Don't be sorry."

Suddenly aware and slightly ashamed of her nakedness, Maura reached for the covers and pulled them up to her stomach, staring at the ceiling. "I don't know what came over me." She snorted a laugh. "Well, no, I know exactly what came over me. You are an incredible specimen, Jane."

"Uh…thanks," Jane muttered, never any good and receiving compliments.

"I've just been so—lost, so confused, so hurt lately," Maura said in a quiet voice. "I hate that I've made you feel so torn up. I hate that I didn't forgive you sooner, and that I made you feel guilty for ridding the world of a murderer."

Jane felt pang of remorse as she watched a tear slide sideways down Maura's cheek, onto a rumpled pillow. "Maura, I—"

"I really hate it," Maura cut in. "I hate that I made you feel as if you betrayed me."

"But I did."

Maura closed her eyes and shook her head. "No, Jane. I already told you. See, this is what happens when I let emotions rule me. My loyalties get misplaced, and I hurt the people that I love the most." She blinked and turned to face Jane, reaching for one of the detective's hands. Kissing the scarred palm, she caught Jane's own teary-eyed gaze and said, "I forgive you." She leaned over and captured Jane's lips in a brief kiss, repeating, "I forgive you."

Though it didn't make much sense, the impact of those words somehow boosted Jane's heart even more than the long-awaited feeling of Maura's skin against hers.

"Do you forgive yourself?" Maura asked somberly.

Jane gulped slightly, unable to meet Maura's gaze. "Well, I… I can only give myself the slightest bit of—comfort, I guess you could say—by knowing that I didn't mean for him t-to… die. I just can't—I mean, I'm still really struggling to forgive myself for hurting you so bad."

"Badly."

Jane caught Maura's eye, and saw the glint of a joke there. They both chuckled softly, hesitantly, again as if worried that this was not an appropriate time to be amused. But Jane sobered up quickly enough: "It almost makes me feel worse knowing that you can forgive me for it, when I still hate myself for hurting you at all."

"Because you love me."

"God, Maura, so much."

"I know. Isn't that enough?" When she got no response and saw Jane's quivering lips, Maura said, "All right I'm going to say one more thing, and I want it to be the last time we say his name—or at least the last time for a long while, okay? What was Patrick Doyle's last instruction to you?"

Still paranoid, as if anxious that this might be a trick question, Jane steeled herself and said, "To protect you."

Maura squeezed her hand. "Exactly. And that's what you've done, and more. So much more. Jane, I've always loved you. You were the family I never really had but always wanted. And now, I am so prepared for that love to go further. I can't even put into words how important you are to me, and how impossible it is for me to envision a happy future without you."

Jane choked slightly, tears still resolutely falling. It was still so hard to believe Maura was saying these things to her; it felt too good to be true. "I just want to be worthy of you, Maura."

"What makes you think you aren't?"

"What I did."

"What you did wounded me, yes, and it's going to take a while for that ache to heal. But it's already begun. Your motivations have been validated by Detective Frost and Agent Dean. My motivations have been demolished by my parents' explanations and answers. I know myself and I trust myself well enough to know now that it would be indescribably stupid to run away." Jane remained silent except for her sniffling, and Maura moved closer, eliminating entirely any of the space that had remained between them. "Stop selling yourself short, Jane. I love you."

Jane buried her face in the crook between Maura's chin and shoulder, profoundly grateful that Maura wasn't pushing her away, but instead putting an arm around her. She would never be able to hear it enough, that she was loved by this woman. Improbably and impossibly, Maura loved her.

"Stay here with me," Jane quietly pleaded a few moments later.

Maura kissed the top of her head, threading her fingers through Jane's unruly curls. "Of course."

It took a while for both of them to calm down completely, for Jane's shuddering crying to come to a stop and for Maura's slightly-labored breathing to go back to normal. There were many more words that remained unspoken between them, but they could wait. Everything could wait now, because both of them felt sure that they were in each other's lives forever. Ultimately Jane shifted her leg so it rested over Maura's waist, but that was as close as they got to restarting the actions that had gotten them to the bedroom in the first place. There would be time—months, years, decades—for that in the future. Now, it was more than enough to fall asleep in each other's arms, to feel forgiven, but most importantly, loved.


A/N: Thanks for reading, everyone! I've been so overwhelmed by the positive response to this story, and I really appreciate all the feedback. (Please review- they mean so much, really). I hope to update my other stories soon...until then, later days! (Or, check out my profile for a link to my youtube channel. I am a devoted creator of Rizzles music videos, and editing comes to me much more naturally than writing.)