Thank you so much for sticking with me. You might notice I changed the spelling of Cailin's name because apparently that's how you spell it. I'm not going to go back and fix the spelling in the last two chapters though because 1. that would mean having to re-upload and 2. I personally like my way of spelling it better. ;) Anyway, here's the latest. Enjoy.

Maura sat on the edge of Cailin's hospital bed with a concerned expression on her face. She leaned over and waited for Cailin to come to.

Cailin's eyes slowly opened and she took a deep breath.

"Mom," Cailin asked no louder than a whisper.

"No, it's Maura," Maura nervously answered.

"What's wrong with me?"

"Well," Maura slowly started to explain. "You're experiencing all the symptoms of kidney failure. The doctors are about to prep you for surgery so you can receive a donor kidney."

"I thought there was a list or something," Cailin hazily inquired.

"You didn't need to be put on the list. They found a match for you."

"My mom?"

"There were...complications preventing her from being a viable donor."

"Then...who's kidney am I getting?"

Maura took a deep breath and sighed.


"What? No. That's not fair to you."

"Please. I want to do this. I have to do this."

"And...what did my mom have to say about this?"

"She doesn't like the idea, but I convinced her it was the only way to restore your health."

"Why are you doing this," she finally asked.

"I-I... my friend Jane."

"She told you to do this?"

"No, no" she shook her head. "If there's one thing I've learned from Jane, it's that family protects one another and they're always there for each other."

"You hardly know me. Why would you feel that way?"

" are my family."

"What do you mean?"

Maura stared at Cailin for a moment and said nothing.

"It's a long, complicated story. The important thing is that...I'm not going to leave you."

Outside the hospital room door, Hope stood in shock. Frozen in disbelief, she tried her hardest not to yell or cry or barge in on their moment. She could only use her fleeting strength to turn and run.

She fast walked toward the exit and ran into Jane in the hall.

"Whoa,"Jane said as she caught Hope and held her at arms length.

Jane attempted to make eye contact with her, but Hope only looked at the ground as tears began to fall down her face.

"What's the matter," Jane asked with concern.

Hope shook her head.

"It makes sense...but it doesn't make sense. How could she...?"

Jane quizzically stared at Hope and slightly shook her head.

"You," Hope looked directly at Jane. "You're her best friend. You must have known."

"Know? What are you..."

Jane tailed off as she put the pieces together.

"How long have you known she was my daughter," Hope almost frantically asked.

"Wha- Did she tell you?"

"No, she didn't have to."

"Oh, no," Jane looked as though she was about to cry out of sympathy. "Hope-

"Paddy told me she died. All these years and my baby was out there."

"She didn't know how to tell you," Jane tried to defend Maura.

"And now? Now both of my daughters are at risk for leaving me. I can't...I can't handle this," Hope's eyes widened as she tried to compose herself.

She took a moment to sniffle before she continued to make a bee line for the stairs.

Jane watched Hope push open the door to the stairs and wipe away a tear before it could fall.

Jane closed her eyes and slowly spun around on her heels. She faced the room and hesitantly entered as she opened her eyes.

I stared at Maura as she sat beside Cailin. I looked her over as she briefly smiled at Cailin and patted her hand.

"I've got to go talk to the doctor myself and get ready to give you a kidney," Maura said as she removed herself from the bed.

"I'm in no position to argue about the kidney," Cailin started. "So...when I get home, we need to talk about this family thing."

"Okay," Maura nodded.

She turned her back on Cailin and noticed me in the doorway.

"Hey," I tried to keep my voice steady. "How're you feeling?"

I ran a hand down her arm as she walked in the hallway.

"Good. A little nervous. I mean, I've never done this sort of thing before. Do you think I can do this? There are so many things that can go wrong in surgery and then there's the chance that Cailin's body will reject my kidney regardless of the match-"

"Maur- Stop. Everything will work out. Just breathe, okay?"

I rubbed her shoulder for a second or two before she took a deep breath and nodded.

She walked into me and wrapped her hands around my back.

I followed her lead and hugged her. We stood in each others' embrace for a few moments before she broke away and faintly smiled at me.

"Thank you," she said.

I smiled back, practically glowing.

"I'd better find the doctor."

"Okay," I softly started. "I'll be here when you get out." Her smile widened as she stared me for a moment.

"Okay," she quietly said before she turned and headed down the hall.

I wanted to tell her about Hope, but Maura seemed set on giving up her kidney for her sister so I didn't want her to hesitate.

I watched her walk away and thought about things I probably shouldn't have thought about. Like, What if she didn't make it out of the surgery? What if I don't get to see her smile anymore? What if I lose my best friend?

Thinking like that never did anyone any good.

I sighed and headed to the waiting room. When I got there, a few others sat with worried expressions while some flipped through magazines or slept.

The walls were baron and white. They didn't calm my nerves and the sheer sight of the forest green cushions on the chairs raised my anxiety level to a threat-zone red.

I took one look around the room as I rubbed the scarred backs of my hands and frowned. I couldn't leave Maura, but I didn't want her to go through with the surgery because she was right. Plenty of things could go wrong and I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to know my best friend would be there to grow old with me.

I wanted to know my best friend would comfort me in the middle of the night if I was scared or sad or lonely. I wanted to know my best friend would say, "I love you" until it made me smile when I felt insecure. I wanted to know that I could always wake up to Maura on Sunday morning and bask in the warm glow of her beauty.

Wait, I thought. Do best friends think like that about each other?

I didn't know what had come over me in that moment, but the fear of losing her brought out feelings I never knew I had. Instead of trying to figure out those new feelings of mine, though, I focused on the task at hand: supporting Maura no matter what the circumstance.

So I sat somewhat patiently in the waiting room as I jiggled my leg up and down and bit my nails. Then a memory blazed across my brain from the back of my mind to the front.

Maura liked rules. She liked to be proper and always acted like a lady. That day was different, however.

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles sat on top the kitchen counter, her ass firmly planted against the decorative marble. I couldn't believe it when I first saw it, but within a matter of seconds, I got used to the idea of seeing her do things like that more often.

Her hair was down. Her curls gracefully fell across her shoulders and rested gently on her breasts. Her honey blonde hair appeared as soft and delicate as a feather, but I then I guess it always looked that way.

Her legs were crossed at her ankles and she smiled in a way that accented her cute dimples. Her palms were flat against the edge of the counter and she watched me attempt to make us dinner.

"I'm not very good at this," I laughed as I awkwardly held a pan over the stove.

The pan was in mid-air and I made sure to stand a safe distance away from it in case the grease decided to jump up and burn me.

Unlike Maura, my hair was in a messy bun that I usually reserved for running and I wore a loose fitting charcoal gray T-shirt. And while Maura flaunted her spectacular legs in a particularly tight dress, I went with a rolled-out-of-bed look with a pair of black mesh shorts that reached my knees.

The night before had been a rough one. Maura had asked me to stay over, but when I asked why, she wouldn't give me an answer. I stayed without a reason anyway and made myself comfortable in the guest room.

That is until I woke up to a loud scream that caused me to sit up with panic and reach for my gun.

When I opened the nightstand drawer, I was surprised to find my gun wasn't there. Then I remembered where I was.

"Maura," I had called out to her as I threw off the bed sheets.

I raced down the hall and rushed into her bedroom without a single weapon.

I turned on the light to find her staring at the wall with wide eyes as she panted and tightly clutched her sheets.

"What is it? What's wrong," I quickly asked.

She gulped and shook her head.


I started to lose the strength, the firmness, in my voice. The longer I looked her over, I felt less and less like a detective and more like a worried friend.

"I was a really bad dream. I couldn't...I can't..."

She trailed off as she continued to stare scared at the wall across the room.

"It's okay," I cooed as I rubbed her arm. "Like you said, it was a bad dream, all right? Nothing to get worked up about. It's not real."

She took a deep breath and blinked before she turned to face me.

She looked up and we locked eyes.

"It felt real," she confessed.

"Well, it wasn't. Trust me," I smiled to help ease her into a lighter mood.

I looked over at the unoccupied side of the bed, the side I preferred to sleep on with or without another person in bed with me. It felt right so I crawled across the bed and sat beside her for a while.

I rubbed her back as she started to relax. A few deep breaths and she almost looked like her normal self.

"I'm gonna stay in the room with you, okay?"

She looked straight at me and nodded.

"Okay," she softly spoke.

"Just lay down and think about useless facts," I suggested as I laid down by example.

She slowly followed my lead and laid down like I'd said.

"Now tell me something you find fascinating so I can show off to Frost and Korsak that I'm smarter than them in the morning," I smiled.

Maura smiled back as she turned her head to face me.

"Or we could tell each other three things we like about the other."

"Oh, daring. I like it," I teased.

She chuckled.

"You go first," I said.

"Okay. Um, even though I don't approve of your manners, I like that you're bossy."

"I'm not sure I should take that as a compliment."

"Well, it is so accept it," she said with a large smile.

"Ooh, look who's bossy now. Careful, your whip is showing."

She laughed.

"That's one. What's next," I said after a moment.

"Hmm. You're very persuasive."

"That's a fact, Maura. That doesn't mean you like that about me."

"I wouldn't have stated the obvious unless I'm simply responding to one of your requests."

"Fine. What's the third one?"

"I like that you're protective. And the way you protect people. It's...intriguing."

"Really," I asked in my disbelieving tone.

"What," she lightly laughed.


"Most people that say they're protective are only willing to go so far. You would take bullets for people, you would sit by someone's side until they could relax again. You would do a lot of things that most people wouldn't to make sure others feel secure."

"Stalker alert."

She softly gasped before she reached over and pinched my arm.

"Ow. ...That. Hurt."

"Your turn."

"Okay," I said as I reached over and pinched her bicep.

"Hey," she squealed.

"You said it was my turn."

"You know that's not what I meant."

"Okay, well, the first thing is that I like your useless facts."

"But you always make fun of me whenever I mention them. That's why you call them useless," she frowned.

I smiled wide enough to show off my own dimples.

"Yes, but I secretly love it when you start blabbering on and on about what you know, even if it's irrelevant for you to say."

She beamed.

"Second, I hate it when you cry."

She frowned and opened her mouth to say something, but I stopped her before she had the chance.

"But you look beautiful even when you're broken."

She looked puzzled.

"Do I really look broken when I cry? A person can't look broken. It's physically impossible for a human being to actually be broken as well."

I rolled my eyes.

"I just told you you look beautiful and you're telling me about physical impossibilities? Most women would just say 'thank you' and smile."

Her lips parted out of slight confusion.

"The third thing I like about you, but I definitely don't think is the last, is your smile. There's this lightness to it that makes me think everything's gonna work out in the end."

She stared at me without a single smile or even a word ready to roll off her tongue. After a few seconds, she partially smiled and rolled onto her side, her back to me.

My eyes wandered across the curve lines her position displayed exceedingly well. The corners of my lips curled only a little bit to reveal the smallest but clearest smile and I rolled onto my side as well.

I pulled myself toward the center of the bed and draped my left arm over her hip.

"Jane, what are you doing," she nonchalantly asked.

"Keeping the nightmares away. I protect people in intriguing ways, remember?"

There was a moment of silence, but it didn't feel awkward to me.

"Thank you," was the last thing I heard before I drifted into the best sleep of my life at that point.

The following day consisted of work and even though I loved work, I surprising loved cuddling with Maura more. That's why it took me all my strength to push through the case that day so I could spend more quality time with my best friend.

And that's how I ended up making dinner. It was the only good reason I could think of to get myself into her house again.

"Jane, you know you didn't need a reason to come over after work," Maura explained as she continued to sit on the counter top as though she'd read my mind.

"Uh, what are you talking about?"

"You don't cook and yet, you're in my kitchen trying to make food."

"If you know I don't cook, then why am I in your kitchen trying to make food?"

She smiled.

"I wanted company."

"Are you coming on to me, Dr. Isles," I jokingly asked as I set the pan on the stove.

"Of course not," she playfully laughed. "Now hurry up with my food."

We laughed together until the food burned, but that didn't matter. We both knew we were either getting take out or Maura would have to work her culinary magic, even before I heated up the stove.

It was only a week ago I'd kept the nightmares away. It was only a week ago that I'd laughed with my best friend, unsuspecting of the worry that would soon follow.

If something were to ever happen to her, I wouldn't know what to do. The only thing I could think of would be to hate myself for all the things left unsaid.

Please make it through, Maura.

Thanks for reading. You know what to do! Write me a review and make my day :)