Jane blows in through the double glass doors of BP headquarters. She drops the hand that is containing wild curls a second too soon. The wind smacks her in the jaw, splashing her mane across her face so that when she does finally make it inside, it's a nice little combination. Cher meet Amazon.

The security guard smirks. It's a stupid cocky smirk.

Jane attempts to untangle her hair from her eyelashes.

She cares nothing about Officer Man the Door and chooses instead to frantically swipe at her vision. Try to get some clarity, pinching strands of hair between forefinger and thumb to detach them from her lips. That's when she hears it. She whips to her right to find pretty Maura perched on a stool inside the cafe, coffee in one hand, the other pressed over her mouth in attempts to cover the giggling.

Jane smirks. It's not cocky or stupid. Shrug comes next. She settles her appearance once more before making her way towards her morning routine. It's full of hot coffee, yummy scones, Maura grins, and the other woman's incredibly shiny hair.

Jane, well Jane saw that it was good.

She says as much with a firm nod to punctuate the certainty of the statement. Maura just raises an eyebrow. It's a wicked arch that appears over her steaming cup of coffee. The wind must have slapped some nice into Jane because the next thing she knows she is tossing Maura a bone. Maura will tell her regardless if she asks. So Jane might as well get the free points that are just sitting there on the table between the two.

"So how was your date with Keith last night?"

The eyes across from her fall. Dramatically. A frantic shake of the head indicates to Jane that Maura is pretending she doesn't want to talk about it.

"Maura. What did you do?" Jane can't help but grin, the tease in her voice fierce. Jane does however restrains herself from clapping her hands and bouncing in her chair because Maura going on bad dates is one of Jane's most favorite things. Not that Maura feeling like crap is a good thing. That's not it. But if girl insists on dating then Jane insists on being an asshole.

Maura huffs, flops her head down on top of her arms across the table's surface. Jane is now distracted by this new view and it's full of all that bouncy shiny Maura hair. She wants to touch it. But just because Jane is okay with being an asshole at times doesn't mean she is unaware of when asshole turns pervy. So she folds her own hands and places them in her own lap.

Besides, she doesn't have to say anything. Maura will talk.

And then she does.

"He was so nice at first. He laughed at all my jokes." Maura pauses here to give Jane a moment to comment. Maura's head is still buried in her arms so when Jane's moment comes and goes without Jane using it, she lifts her head to find brown eyes.

And Jane doesn't want to disappoint so she reaches into her back pocket to pull out The Friend Card. She slaps it on the table.

( It's a figurative card this Friend Card. It's not tangible or laminated. And since Jane refuses to carry a purse, her pockets are always a little full what with wallet, phone, keys, old movie stubs, and random straw trash. There isn't exactly any room for an actual Friend Card but the illusion of it can go a long way. )

"What a keeper." Jane looks down at the card played. Friend suddenly looks a lot like Jealous Lover.


Maura scowls. "He took me out to dinner. Commented on my dress. Bought a lovely bottle of wine for the table."

Jane wants to mention that any buffoon could do these things.

But she bites her tongue since more often than not when she and Maura go to dinner, Maura ends up paying. Jane also tends not to comment on Maura's appearance. Jane is, well, scared that if she opens her mouth to tell Maura she looks really pretty in that dress that something entirely else will come out.

Your breasts are distractingly fantastic.

Your ass is insanely tight.

Can I sniff your panties, please?

So Jane never comments. Jane also drinks beer. So basically Jane is that buffoon.

"So what went wrong? Was he a bad lay?" She asks.

Maura throws her hands up. "No! We didn't even get that far."

Jane tries not to cackle in glee.

Maura continues. "Whenever we got close to engaging in physical contact, he got, well. Overly close."

Maura brings her hands together to demonstrate the closeness and drops her volume when she whispers the words. The sound of her palms coming together sounds unusually harsh.

Jane's eyes blink in surprise.

She suddenly wants to sucker punch Handsy Boy here.

"He grabbed you?" Jane asks. "Did he touch you when you asked him not to? What did he do exactly Maura?" Jane growls it out, rising out of her chair, Doberman Pinscher about to take form.

"Oh, settle down Jane. That is not at all what I meant. Haven't you ever kissed someone and it felt like they were trying to kiss through you? And not in a good way." She shakes her finger to demonstrate how not good the kissing was. Then she continues. "It's like entire body asphyxia. It's as if he thought there was more of me, you know, behind me. I had to tell him that this- was all there was."

Maura motions to her body with her hands, Jane's cadence on her lips. She pulls it off superbly. "You know what I mean?" She finishes.

Jane just stares because no, no she has not felt like someone thought there was more of her, behind her, or whatever. She flips through her brain to all the men she has kissed. The list is very short.

"Well it's not so pleasant." Maura points at Jane, shakes her head and goes back to drinking her coffee.

Jane takes in Maura's easy posture, her carefree sipping. She concludes Maura was not inappropriately groped or taken advantage of. She simmers down.

"So he was a smother."

Maura swallows her brew. "Smother is a verb, Jane. As in- to smother someone."

Jane rolls her eyes. "So he was a smother- er?"

Maura blinks. "No, I do not believe that is a word."


"Fine! He was a smother- er."

Jane nods approval, thinks about reaching over and kissing the corner of Maura's mouth, soothing out the wince she still has on. But instead-

"Jane, there you are! Did you hear?" Frost's voice swoops in, Korsak close behind.

"Hey Doc." Frost and Maura nod hello while Korsak peels off to stare at something in the pastry box.

"Hear what?"

"Wednesday night. DCU. Maynard." Frost raises his eyebrows in excitement.

"Oh no they don't!" Jane slaps the breakfast table with her palm, smile wide. "Those little boys want to get whipped again?"

"Frost, did you tell her?" Korsak comes bounding over and sets a plate of sugary donuts on the table.

"I told her." Frost answers, then turns back to his partner. "So you're in right?"

"Hell yes I'm in! Hey Korsak," Jane starts, slaps the older sergeant on the gut, upsetting his hand as he reaches for one of the donuts. Vince pauses, hand outstretched and about to call Jane out on monitoring his diet. She shakes her head, not at all where she was going, and then continues. "Remember that time, my first time fighting with Homicide, and Brett Landon had me fuckin treed. Out you came! Gun blazing and just unloaded the entire clip into him and that swarmy little partner of his."

Korsak laughs. Laughs at how green Janie once was, climbing trees and shit.

Frost looks on with glee. "Korsak saved you?"

"Shut up" Jane hits Frost's shoulder with her fist.

Jane is about to launch more into the last time Homicide went up again DCU. She's about to share with Maura how she and Frost cleaned out half their team within the first thirty minutes. That's when she sees Maura's horrified eyes.

Jane flips through the last few comments made and effortlessly puts Maura's filter on, realizing the talk sounded a little too much like murder.

"Paintball Maur."

Maura only widens her eyes a bit.

"It's a game. Played in an outdoor field with paintball guns that shoot balls of paint."

Maura contemplates that for a moment.

"At each other?" She asks.

She gets three head nods.

There's a beat and there's a pause. Then-

"Doesn't that stain?"

Korsak and Frost lose it, puffs of powdered sugar escaping from lips. Jane ducks her head so not to join in too enthusiastically. She gets her own lips under control.

"Yeah, it stains. But it's too much fun to care."

"Hm," Maura contemplates. "I see."

Maura decides to stay silent while the three detectives fill her in on the long-standing tradition of kicking Drug Control's ass.

This is what she learns.

The outdoor field is in Maynard.

The premise of the game is that in which one team attempts to capture the flag that is guarded by the opposing team without being shot and sent to Jail.

Paintball Jail, according to Jane, is a bitch of a place to be. As far as Maura can make out, Paintball Jail is just a designated portion of grass on the field.

Pretty much anything goes although shooting a paint ball at someone's face is generally frowned upon. Protective eye-ware is worn.

Maura keeps waiting for there to be more. For there to be some major concept that she's missing.

Frankie however interrupts her thought process when he rushes in, face red with anticipation, begging to be on Homicide's team.

Jane slaps him on the back and tells him of course they were gonna ask him. Apparently DCU and Homicide are allowed to ask patrol cops to play so that each team has an even amount of players.

Korsak shakes Frankie's hand.

Frankie shakes Barry's hand.

Throughout it Jane slaps three sets of shoulders.

It's classic male bonding behavior. Slapping. Chest puffing. Recalling past victories. At one point Jane even bangs her closed fist against her clavicle. It's all very cave man like.

Maura swears if she added some authentic garb of sorts, maybe a ritual headdress or chain-mail shirt, that the four of them could be a tribe of vikings about to go claim their spoils.

The spoil in this game, however, is a ratty old flag.

That and bragging rights. It's the first thing about any of this that Maura gets. It's the first portion of this whole concept that makes any bit of sense. Bragging rights. Oh.

Maura gets bragging rights.

"Hey you wanna grab lunch Maur?" Jane swings around the corner of the morgue, slapping her thighs. There's been a shortage of bodies the last few days.

Maura snaps her eyes from computer to Jane, chin still resting in her hands, elbows propped on her desk. "Yes. Yes, please." Maura is just as bored as Jane.

( Not that Maura needs a dead body to have work to do. She can do just about anything in this unit! She analyzes samples! Compares DNA! Runs the crime lab! Profiles suspects! It's a plush job. But today there are no cases and today there are no assistants to explain things to. Maura's braincells are dulling. )

"Where do you want to go?" Jane flips through some of Maura's discarded files but stops snooping when Maura scowls at her. She mumbles an apology.

"You pick." Maura shrugs off her ruse of a lab coat. A lab coat that hasn't seen a Y-incision for the last two days. "Maybe somewhere quite so that you can start teaching me everything I need to know. I already wrote some questions down." Maura tucks a notebook into her purse before walking around her desk and heading towards the door.

"Wait, what? Teach you what?"

Jane follows the doctor out of the office. Maura flipping the lights off as they leave. "You only briefly described the general premise of paintball, Jane. I found some information online but I'll need more instruction that pertains to how this specific game, between Homicide and DCU, is played. I want to be an asset to our team."

Jane's fingers freeze over the elevator button. She turns to look at Maura who is smoothing down the front of her cardigan.

This is one of those moments, Jane tells herself. Be careful with your words.

She filters her voice with a carefree non-suspecting tone. "You want to play paintball with us?"

Maura notices Jane's pointer finger still hovering above the up button. She slips her own finger in front of the detective's and calls the elevator.

She smiles at her shoes. Jane is trying to be good. "Of course. I am part of the Homicide Unit, aren't I?"

"Of course you are." Jane rushes with her words now. "You know how important you are in all our cases, right?" Jane's fingers find Maura's elbow, play with the hem of her sweater sleeve. "I know you don't get enough credit. That's not fair."

"Says the female detective." Maura smiles again as Jane's fingers find her lower back and guide her onto the waiting elevator.

Jane laughs, nods her head. "Yeah, says the female detective."

Beat. Pause.

"So paintball?" Maura continues to grin. She thinks she is shocking Jane. She thinks Jane's hesitation is strictly because she's surprised. Pleasantly surprised.

"Yeah. Ah, paintball." Jane's teeth find thumbnail. "Maura look, the game with DCU can be a little..."

Maura snaps her face from forward to side.

"A little what, Jane?" Fists find hips.

"Nothing! It's just, you know." Jane runs her hands through her hair, willing the elevator to hurry. She chances a look at the smaller woman. That eyebrow is arched again.

"Maura, it's a little rough, okay? It's physical. Dirty. Not like yoga. And not really a place where you can strut around in four inch stilettos."

The elevator dings and then opens. Jane hops out.


She cringes.

When she turns around Maura is staring her down from inside the elevator. It's one long moment. Maura's eyes are fire. Jane's are Bambi wide. The detective's body prepares to protect itself for when Maura loses her shit.

And the doc does move first. One hand, one finger, straight out. She punches the button that will return her to autopsy without breaking eye contact. Jane's eyes watch the doors close a second too long before she launches herself at them.

"Maura! I'm..." She body slams the metal too late. She punches at the call button, hitting it over and over. "Come on. Come on!"

No go.

"Dammit!" Jane takes off towards the stairs and practically flies down them. She arrives breathless and just in time to see Maura's back as it disappears into her lab.

"Maura, stop! Let me explain."

More nothing.

Jane stops herself, thinks about what her plan of attack is. She comes up empty. But Maura is Jane's best friend. Of all people Maura knows how Jane says things she doesn't mean. Except Jane did mean what she said. But she's sure she can find a nicer way of explaining to Maura how Maura doesn't really want to play paintball anyways.

(Here's some more proof of Jane's propensity of turning into an asshole.)

Jane nods. Yes. That's good. Maura doesn't really want to play paintball!

She makes her way down the hall when she hears a sound that she rarely hears. It takes her a moment to place what it is. And then she realizes.

The automatic doors that close autopsy off and are impossible to open from Jane's side are being called into action. Jane watches with wide eyes, not believing. But the doors continue, locking firmly into place. The Infectious Autopsy sign lights up like a fucking mother blaze. Jane hears the ventilation system shut off.

She gasps, whole body leaning back and away from Maura's over kill of a reaction.


"Are you kidding me? Maura! Stop this, right now!" Jane bangs her fist against the door, craning her neck from side to side to see if she can catch a glimpse of the pissed off pathologist through the window.

And then she appears, right in front of Jane, the thick panel of glass between the two. Her arms are crossed tightly over her chest.

"Really?" Jane hollers it at the other woman, gesturing with her hands at the entire situation. "This is ridiculous!"

Maura doesn't move, doesn't open her mouth, doesn't shift.

Jane faces off with her.

The circumstances are different. They always are. But the tension, the stubbornness that radiates from both women is exactly as it always is.

Jane huffs, paces a few steps to her left, keeping Maura in her line of vision. Then a few paces to her right. For a woman that didn't actually want to play paintball, Maura is making quite the fuss.

But then Jane remembers that was her own interpretation of it all. Maybe, maybe Maura actually does want to play. And it's ridiculous, Maura playing. Maura running around in the dark with a paintball gun and shooting 200 pound DCU officers is ridiculous. Maura's soft and perfect skin getting welted up because some asshole shot too close is sorta horrifying.

Beat. Pause.

Screw it! Jane is not Maura's mother. Maura is a big girl.

"Fine!" Jane throws her hands up some more. "You can play!"

And then that eyebrow raises yet again.

"Okay! I'll teach you everything you need to know." Jane is shouting it, making sure the words penetrate the glass.

Maura is a statue.

Jane knows what she wants. Knows it and doesn't want to give it. But what is she gonna do? Leave the hall and what? Go sit upstairs until Cavanaugh notices autopsy has been called into lock-down. Explain how she hurt Maura's feelings and the lady got PO-ed.

Jane gives Maura one more glare, grits her teeth and gets on with it.

"I'm sorry." Jane barely says it loud enough for her own ears to hear. She clears her throat. "I'm sorry, okay. You are a huge toughy, I don't know what I was thinking." Jane tosses her head, jerks her chin. Apologizing is hard enough, apologizing without sarcasm is impossible.

"I want you to play Maura. I want to teach you!"

She stops. She knows that is enough.

Maura stays still one moment longer before nodding her head, her happy smile creeping back onto her face. She disappears for a beat and then suddenly autopsy converts itself back to normal.

Jane folds her arms over her chest and waits for the doors to open. When they do Maura appears and crosses the threshold, her lips brushing against Jane's cheek.

"Thank you Jane. That is very sweet of you." Jane does a double take when Doctor Maura Isles actually pulls away from Jane and then winks at her.

Kidding me?

( Props must be given to Maura at this point. Girl has been practicing her subtle wink for weeks now. )


"Hm?" Jane is still processing. Processing everything. Fucking rooted to her spot.

"Lunch?" And this time it's Maura's turn to guide Jane towards the elevator.