i doubt anyone was waiting with baited breath for this but i apologise anyway, i kind of went to america and left this to sit alone in the dark but now it's done and we can all move on. i'm also sorry if the idea of original characters grosses you out in fanfiction but if it makes you feel better spencer isn't really original, she's just lizzy caplan and idk about you guys but my imagination is happy with that.


Archimedes said he would move the Earth, but Maura just wanted to turn back the clock.

x

Everything is... fine. But that's the problem; she has never felt like her and Jane have just been fine about things before. Jane's opinions are too strong and her relationships with people are too close to her heart for her to ever just hover in the middle of a feeling. Something is wrong.

But Maura wants to lose Jane much less than she wants to get out of this rut of fine, so she stays quiet. They pretend. Jane loses herself in the Bueller case, relentless on her quest for leads, witnesses, the light at the end of the tunnel, and Maura just stands behind her and waits for whatever this is to pass, trying to mend the fractures on her heart. She wants, for a while, just to manipulate the fabric of time and undo all the things she said after the memorial; stop herself from confessing the fears that had sprung up so suddenly.

Regret consumes completely, though, and Maura doesn't let herself be pulled under.

x

x

x

x

A month goes by, and fine becomes normal. It's like they've taken a step back, downgraded simply to colleagues who go out for drinks with other colleagues after work, and Maura suddenly finds the hard, rigid lines of Frost pressed against her in a booth at the Robber rather than Jane. And Frost smiles warmly and behaves like a gentleman but Jane is on the other side of that booth with a hand around the neck of her beer instead of the fabric of Maura's sleeve and none of it feels the same.

x

x

x

x

Then one day, she meets a woman.

It happens only because of an altercation at her local coffee shop: the girl steps in to defend Maura's honour when a guy thinks because he owns a five thousand dollar suit he deserves to jump the line, and afterwards turns to her, matter-of-fact, and hands her her coffee as though it's the spoils of war.

"I'm sorry," she says like she's apologising for the entire human race, "I hate it when people are like that."

Maura smiles, a little enchanted by the woman's wide, hard eyes as they roam over her face. "Oh, no, I... I'm used to it. Thank you," she says, automatically thinking of Jane and her predatory inclinations in the same situation.

"You're used to people spilling their coffee everywhere to help prove a point about assholes?" she asks, and barely pauses before sticking out her hand and fixing Maura with a lopsided smirk. "I'm Spencer."

Taking it, Maura smiles her own, slightly flustered grin and remembers Spencer's empty coffee cup. "Dr. Maura Isles. Can I buy you another coffee? It seems like the least I can do."

"Oh, no," Spencer says casually, waving her off and checking her watch. "I actually have to get back to work..." she trails off and rests a finger on her lip, something ticking over in her head as she looks at Maura. "But if you want you can buy me dinner."

As soon as she says it, Maura understands the opportunity presented.

She usually says no when other women ask her out, a habit formed not long after taking the medical examiner position a few years ago, and it's about Jane and it isn't; her thoughts always flit to the detective when, flattered, she turns an offer down, but it is just simpler to say no, most of the time.

Naturally, Maura dates everyone and always has, but the more experience she gains the more she understands that men are uncomplicated for her and women are not – men are easy to get rid of, but women always tend to reel her in, and she hasn't been able to handle the commitment.

But it is as much about Jane as it isn't – the way everything lately is about Jane and it isn't, and she finds herself wanting to say yes to the beautiful girl in front of her much more than she wants to say no, this time. Something about it feels slightly petty in the back of her mind, but she brushes it off and nods. "Why not."

Spencer smiles, pulls a business card out of her blazer between two slender fingers and gives it to Maura. "Call me," she says, her voice low and charismatic. "I get off at five."

Her word choice seems deliberate, judging by her grin as she slips past Maura on her way out the door, and the medical examiner actually feels something twinge low in her gut when she sees it. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, saying yes is starting to look absolutely like the right idea.

x

x

x

x

Spencer meets her outside a burger joint on Mass Ave with two takeout bags already in hand, her car keys jingling in the other and a familiar smile on her face when she sees Maura step out of the taxi.

"You ready to do this?"

"I thought I was meant to be buying you dinner," Maura says as Spencer leads her to her car.

"Yeah well, that was a better line than 'you can come meet me at Four Burgers and I'll spend less money on you than you probably do on like, coffee in a single day'," she deadpans, and Maura realises how much she underestimated this girl and just how much Spencer has completely figured out her. When she opens the car door for Maura to get in, her mind flashes again to Jane and her old school chivalry when it comes to her – feeling a slight pang that she usually associates with guilt in the wake of it.

Shaking it off, she gets in the car and feels paper crunch under her heel as Spencer hops in the other side.

"I'd say it's not always like this in here but... it is. I never get round to cleaning it," she says, frowning at the dust lining her dashboard.

"How old are you?" Maura asks suddenly, estimating a ballpark figure but wanting to know for sure. Spencer had seemed older in the coffee shop, her blazer filling out her shoulders, and with her hair swept up in a bun her face looked more angular, regal. But now, sitting in the murky dark of an untidy car, her dark hair wavy around her shoulders, her white t-shirt loose on her slight frame, she could be straight out of college.

"My mother always said 'you're as old as you feel'," Spencer quips, voice monotonous but comforting. "But she was an alcoholic and I feel eighty-five so I don't know what that says about either of us."

Maura chuckles – however old or young she might be, Spencer makes her feel at ease, unpressured, and it refreshes her that she doesn't seem to have any expectations. Maura likes that, and reminds herself that she shouldn't be here looking for anything either. Spencer isn't a replacement, she's a remedy.

"I'm twenty-seven," she says momentarily, and her low tone sounds almost sheepish. "But I like you." The car splutters into life, and Spencer pats the steering wheel like that doesn't happen too often.

After a beat, Maura thinks: I like you too.

x

They eat burgers on the roof of an apartment building after Spencer leads her up the fire escape and very vaguely answers I know someone who lives here when Maura asks.

It's peaceful sitting on the edge of the city rather than within, and being perched on top of a picnic bench with a pretty girl makes Maura feel younger, like she's back in college and far from home. For once Jane is fleeting in her mind, all of her focus on Spencer and the unconcerned casualness she embodies, her voice gruff and her laugh warm against Maura's skin.

The thwick of a lighter startles her in the middle of deconstructing a documentary about Iceland she watched last week, and Spencer looks at her with a joint held between her teeth. "Please don't tell me you hate weed," she winces, flame hovering close to her mouth, "It'd kind of suck for me if you turned out to be a square."

"Actually studies have shown there are benefits to marijuana smoking, and it has its advantages as a depressant," Maura says, and watches, distracted, as Spencer chews on her lip to bite back a smile. "Besides, I haven't done it in years."

Spencer grins, and lights up.

x

High, everything zeroes in on this one moment atop a rickety table in the middle of the night, and it all just seems like fate is the only reason she's here.

Spencer feels close, her heat prickling against Maura's skin, the practiced movement of her arm stubbing out the joint strangely comforting near her. She watches Maura's mouth more than her eyes, her gaze a strange mixture of spaced and intense, and Maura feels emboldened by it.

She's talking about the properties of herbs and their uses in medicine dating back to ancient Chinese civilisations when Spencer interrupts her with a kiss, fingertips cool on her jaw. Her mouth is hot, slippery and skilled and Maura melts into it with a smile, her hand skimming around to grip at Spencer's elbow. Alight with something she hasn't felt in a long time, her tongue brushes over Spencer's teeth and she feels slender fingers thread through her hair.

Letting out a hum against her lips, Spencer pulls away, her hand sliding up the inside of Maura's thigh. "You know how I said I know someone who lives here? It's kinda me, I live here."

Maura gets the implication, and leans into the press of fingers against her skin, places a kiss on Spencer's expecting smirk. "Lead the way."

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Jane Rizzoli doesn't get close to people for a lot of reasons, but chief among them is the way it feels when things go wrong.

Arguably, Maura is closer to her than anyone ever has been, and she knows things about Maura that Maura barely even understands herself. Jane knows Maura finds it hard to deal with strangers when she's not there. She knows Maura is aware of more than what her colleagues give her credit for. She knows Maura is afraid that some fragment of wickedness resides in her, like a dormant trace of the evil that flows through her father's veins is just lying in wait before it strikes. All these things she knows, and yet she can't bring herself to think about what that means.

Jane remembers the way she says things like I'm protective (possessive). She knows slights on Maura warrant a little more aggression than she'd usually exert were it anyone else. She has stockpiled these memories and facts unwittingly, like the day would eventually come where she would have to lay them all out and examine the roads that led her to one significant point.

Because see, she remembers a day in Maura's house a month ago when she uttered the word wife and it felt like it cut down to the bone.

It's not even like it's wrong, not only did Maura have reason to be upset but it's the closest description to their relationship Jane has come across. She might go to work with Maura, but she also comes home to her more often than not – to her house full of light, a spurred tortoise, her own mother. They are so entwined in each other's lives that Jane can't really remember a time when they weren't. She can't imagine her life without Maura in it.

But things have gone wrong, and with that feeling in her gut she doesn't know if she can fix them.

x

x

x

x

She's surprised, one day, to see Maura's number come up on her phone after work. Not expecting any labs, she answers with a hesitant "Maura?"

"Hi, Jane," her voice crackles out. "Your mother called into my office just now and said you wanted some help finding a dress for the BPD get together on Friday night?"

Jane immediately rolls her eyes. "Don't you mean my mother called and said she wanted me to have some help finding me a dress for Friday night?"

"But she sa—oh, right, of course. I should have guessed."

Silence settles over the line, heavy and awkward, and Jane scratches a mark into her desk with a nail. The simple fact that they no longer know how to have a conversation is a stark indication of how bad things have gotten, and she sighs with the weight of it. "Listen, Maura; Ma's right, I don't have a dress and I really could use your help finding one if you're not busy."

She hears Maura's smile in her reply. "I'd love to, Jane. Let me just finish here and I'll come pick you up."

x

Maura walks a few steps ahead of her in the clothing store an hour later, all her attention focused on the task at hand, and Jane finds herself actually looking at her for the first time in weeks. Ever since the memorial she's felt like Maura's been off-limits, like lingering will be misconstrued as something else, like Maura will think she's judging her for what she said in her living room those weeks before. But it's hard to not have her around the same way she's gotten used to; Maura used to distract her from constant thoughts of killers, exasperate her with a steady barrage of facts and science. Maura used to make her feel safe.

Now she just feels like she's on a sinking ship without a lifeboat.

"What about this one?" Maura asks, and Jane notes the smile on her face before even registering the dress. She has no idea what it's about, of course, no clue that Maura is idly smiling at the memory of leaving Spencer's apartment that morning – trying to find her underwear in the bed before Spencer kissed her with the kind of languid carelessness that made her toes curl.

She shrugs. "You know better than me." Her own smile starts to spread unconsciously when Maura nods, folding the dress over her arm as she starts onto the next rack. Strangely buoyant from the split-second change in the status quo, Jane skips her fingers over the fabric of a dress next to her and follows a little closer behind Maura, clearing her throat. "So are you going to this thing on Friday?"

"I did get an invite, yes," Maura replies airily. "I guess I should really find a dress too."

"Isn't this a little below your price range?" Jane asks, feeling herself slipping back into a familiar skin with practised ease.

Maura turns from studying a dress to narrow her eyes, her mouth still turned up in the corners. "It's a cop party, don't you always tell me Nordstrom has no business being there?"

Jane bites down on a smile. "That definitely doesn't sound like something I'd say."

x

Maura sends her into the fitting room with three dresses and takes herself into the one right next door, emerging not even a minute later to wait for her opinion while Jane struggles to even undo the zipper of the dress still sitting on the hanger.

"Are you all right, Jane?"

Debating whether to let her in or not, Jane finally wrestles the dress over her head and settles it around herself, huffing out a frustrated breath. "Okay. I think I'm fine."

She opens the door to find Maura chewing on the edge of her thumb, but she smiles when she sees Jane and Jane can't help but light up at it. Suddenly their problems seem a little less significant, easily pushed to the back of her mind because Maura is looking at her like they've never been anything more than the kind of friends who smile at each other in dress store fitting rooms.

"Does it look okay?"

Maura nods. "It's a bold print but it works for you, and it's very fashionable right now."

"Yeah, because I'm sure that's what Frost and Korsak are gonna be discussing when I turn up in it," she grumbles, very aware of Maura's continued gaze and trying to distract from it.

The medical examiner steps forward, straightens out the seam at her hip. "Wear your hair down with it," she says quietly, and flips a few errant curls forward over Jane's shoulder. "You'll look a little more feral."

Jane's stomach drops, completely incapable of processing what Maura just said, and she feels her face flush red. "That's um... that's what I was going for," she says huskily, not entirely sure where this is going. "Some of those traffic cops tend to get pretty handsy after a few beers so at least we can walk in together and it might ward them off you a little."

Stepping back, Maura looks momentarily confused. "Well, yes I suppose you could come with us," she says, and Jane doesn't understand.

"What, are Frankie and Frost and Korsak coming too?"

"Everyone?" Maura replies, her brow furrowing. "I mean, I guess that's fine, I might just have to rent a limo for the evening."

Not sure they're having entirely the same conversation but not wanting to potentially ruin the one they are managing to have, Jane tries to change the subject. Maura's own dress is olive green, the colour setting her skin aglow, and Jane wants to reach out and touch what's been left exposed by the v of her neckline. "Are you trying to impress someone with this?" she asks, and is surprised to see Maura get a little flustered. For a fleeting second, she wonders about her motives behind this whole expedition.

"Well... yes, actually."

She doesn't elaborate anymore than that, simply slips back into her fitting room and shuts the door, leaving Jane to wonder what exactly she's meant to make of the admission.

x

x

x

x

The next morning at work Jane heads straight for the cafe, setting two paper cups down and filling them with coffee.

"Oh, Jane!" her mother says at her distinctly unnecessary decibel level, "I saw your dress before I left this morning, I'm so glad you took my advice! It's beautiful!"

Breezing right past the fact that her mother didn't actually give her any advice on the dress at all, Jane kisses Angela on the cheek and feigns a smile. "I'm sure all of Homicide will be talking about it for weeks!" she says, and the sarcasm has her mother's eyes rolling.

Then she narrows her eyes, crosses her arms in a way that reminds her alarmingly of when she was little and Angela knew she'd been playing baseball instead of doing homework in the library after school.

"What?" she asks nervously, defiantly.

"Something's different with you."

"Nope everything's exactly the same. Do you have any more two percent milk?"

"It's Maura, isn't it!" Angela screeches. "You two are friends again and that coffee is for her!"

Jane can't really help the smile that tugs at the corners of her mouth as she shakes her head, "We never... weren't friends, Ma."

But Angela is a mother who knows her eldest child better than she thinks she does, and she simply puts a hand on her arm. "I'm glad everything is working out again between you two." She watches Jane take a sip of coffee. "I really think Spencer has been good for her."

Suddenly the liquid is too bitter in Jane's mouth, the taste twisting her stomach into burning knots. Everything goes hot and cold and she brings herself to ask, "Who?"

"She didn't tell you about Spencer?" Angela backs up a step, looking confused. "But I thought that's why you'd worked things out..."

Jane absently picks up the coffees in front of her and mumbles out that she has to go, and finds herself walking into Maura's office to see the medical examiner finishing up a phone conversation. As she hangs up she sees Jane and smiles, her gaze zeroing in on the coffee.

"Oh, Jane, you didn't have to do that, I was just about to come up!"

"I—what, oh, coffee. Right." She sets them down on the cabinet next to her and folds her arms.

"Are you all right?" Maura asks, "You look... preoccupied."

Jane ignores her. "Who was that on the phone? Spencer?"

Maura smiles a little. "I knew I shouldn't have told Angela about that, she would love everyone to know." But then she notices that Jane isn't smiling, and her face falls. "I didn't think it was a big deal, you and I haven't been talking as much, and—"

"You didn't think it was a big deal to tell me you were actually dating someone? Like as in multiple dates?" Jane doesn't really even know what she's angry about, but she can feel everything boiling up inside her at the casualness of Maura's replies, especially after the moments they'd had in the dress store not twenty-four hours before.

"Spencer and I are just having fun, Jane, she's very receptive to the needs I have right now."

Jane feels a weird clutching in her chest. "You're dating a woman?"

"Yes, I am. I didn't... think you'd have a problem with that, it's not like it's a secret that—"

"That's—no, that's not the point, it's..." she trails off. She doesn't know what the point is because she doesn't even know what she's saying. Silence seems to echo off the pale walls surrounding Maura's office, and the only thing she can hear with any clarity is the thumping of her heart against her eardrums. Standing in the middle of a room with Maura waiting for her next outburst is not the place to try and decipher the feelings behind the churning in her gut, but she tries desperately to think of something anyway, anything to make her understand how not okay she is.

She comes up empty.

Maura suddenly looks cold, her shoulders squaring. "If you don't have anything to tell me, Jane, I'd like it if you could go. I have work to do."

Without a comeback, without anything but the thunder of her blood in her ears, Jane simply turns and leaves.

x

x

x

x

She'd given up on a personal trainer years ago, finding transferring to homicide worked just as well as one, but after she leaves Maura's office she heads straight for the gym two floors above and makes a beeline for the treadmill. Thinking a run is as good as anything to get rid of the tension gripping like a vice all over her body she barely even notices the cop doing leg stretches in front of her under she almost runs into her.

"Oh, Christ, sorry Knapler," Jane apologises, and when the patrol cop straightens up, waving her off, Jane gets an idea. She knows Knapler, she used to work in the same sector as Frankie, and she also knows that she's strong, spends more time at the gym than any other female cop she can think of. "Hey, I don't suppose you're looking for a sparring partner?"

With another person to occupy her thoughts, Jane finds herself settling even as she feels sweat soaking into the fabric of her top. Briefly, as Knapler gets her pinned and she can feel the other cop's knee pressing into the top of her thigh, she wonders whether she'd feel better if she found another woman to sleep with too, just to get even. But she quickly banishes the thought. Guilt is something she feels like the weight of the world, lately. Guilt that she wasn't the one that got shot, guilt that she can't confess to Maura what they both know is going on; she doesn't want to add another item to the list.

She thanks Knapler when she can no longer breathe, can no longer feel anything but the ache in her muscles and the damp stick of material at her back, and lets the hot spray of water from the shower beat down on her shoulders before going back to work.

x

x

x

x

She doesn't see Maura, and her hands start to ache: a dull throb settling into the knots in each palm. (The next day, it rains.)

x

x

x

x

Friday comes too fast and not fast enough, and when she walks into the Robber in the dress that serves as a constricting reminder of what she's messed up lately, she just wants it to be over.

From what she can see, Maura and her date haven't arrived yet, so she heads for Frankie and Frost at the far end of the bar and immediately orders two beers.

"What, you going to drink them at the same time?" Frankie asks when he sees the bartender hand them over.

Jane shrugs. "Maybe. Why don't you mind your own business?"

x

Maura arrives within ten minutes, and through the crowd Jane sees exactly why she's been on multiple dates with Spencer. She's beautiful in an intriguing way, her smile wide as Maura introduces her to Susie, and Jane watches as her eyes flick constantly to Maura's face like she genuinely appreciates who she is. That's something Jane has always noticed about the guys she's seen Maura with – they're well aware of how attractive she is, but it's always in the way where they're glad it reflects well on them; Spencer just seems bewitched by her. Jane almost likes her in that moment, and then her gaze drops to where she can see Spencer's fingers entwined with Maura's and suddenly she feels a little less like wanting to understand why she's here.

"Whoa, that's Maura's girlfriend?" Frost says incredulously, and Jane feels him shift for a better view.

"Jesus, has Ma got a blog dedicated to this or something?!" She smacks Frankie on the side of his head, "I assume him knowing is your fault."

"Ow, geez it's not like it's a secret! They're here together, aren't they?"

Jane just scowls, looking around the room to see how easy it would be to just set herself on fire.

"Oh but that's the problem, isn't it?" Frost pipes up. He grins at Frankie. "Maura's got some girl with doe eyes for her and you don't know what to do about it."

"Shut up Frost."

"Oh man you're right, you're so right," Frankie interjects, his mouth mostly filled with a bite of spring roll, "Her girlfriend's here with someone like way hotter than her and now she's jealous." He nods like he's just solved a world crisis, chomping solemnly and not even looking at his sister.

"Why aren't you like this when Maura dates guys?" Frost asks, legitimately curious.

"Because Maura doesn't... date guys!" Jane fumes in a low voice. "Maura kicks out guys when her bed isn't made or her living room isn't spotless or when she thinks they want anything more than a casual relationship. Maura likes to keep guys' numbers but she only ever wants to call them, not the other way around."

Frost and Frankie look a little taken aback at her outburst, but then Frankie shoves another spring roll in his mouth and shoves Jane in the shoulder. "So I guess you're admitting it then?"

"I'm not admitting anything, I'm just stating facts," she retorts, not wanting to give her brother the satisfaction of being right. Then her voice drops, and she can't help a little sincerity creeping into the gravel in her throat. "What if Maura doesn't care that Spencer sees her unmade bed?"

"Judging by the way they're looking at each other I don't think she would have been concentrating on the bed," Frost says, and this time Frankie shoves him in the shoulder.

"Low blow, dude."

"Can you two both just shut up?" She can see Maura and Spencer making their way over, and downs the rest of her beer in preparation. Taking a deep breath, she doesn't even let Maura greet them before she's taken hold of her arm and started hauling her through the crowd with a muttered I need to talk to you.

She brings Maura outside, stands them under a streetlamp just out of sight of the bar, and she feels her heart flutter against her ribs, bird in a cage. She doesn't really know what to do now, just that something has to be done, something has to be said so she can try to fix this. But she's terrified. She's terrified Maura will turn her down because she's already found someone she can commit to, someone she doesn't have to wait around for and hope feels the same way.

She's terrified that if she kisses Maura she'll never stop.

"What do you want, Jane?" she asks, and Jane can tell she thinks this is a waste of time. She suddenly feels stupid in the dress, in the blazer and boots she managed to pick out herself, feels mismatched and awkward in comparison to Maura and her perfectly put-together self. Nervously, she swipes her hair over one shoulder and picks over it to find the flyaways, staring at the ground.

"I want—to... um. Spencer seems great." She pauses. "Young."

Maura huffs out a sigh and shifts on her heels. "Yes, she is. Is that what you forcefully dragged me out here to tell me?"

Jane is suddenly overtaken by panic, like Maura's wrapping up their conversation ready to never speak to her again. "Maura, don't go back inside. I want... to talk about us. Us."

That one word makes it a little easier, and Maura crosses her arms, softens just a fraction.

There's a beat. "It's just weird seeing you with... someone."

"Why, because it's not you?" she asks, straight to the point, and Jane feels the sting of the venom in her question. Venom she deserves because Maura knows her and knows what this is about and doesn't need to wait for Jane to finally get past the bullshit and arrive at her point.

She sucks in a breath, feels it fill her lungs and whoosh out again, squeezes her eyes shut. "Yes," she admits in a tiny voice. "Yes."

Maura's actually surprised at this, expecting Jane to brush it off and make up some more excuses. But Jane steps closer and swallows, "It was weird because I wanted—because I want it to be me."

The quiet after that seems to stretch for minutes, foggy with the thrum she can feel all through her body.

And then slowly, Maura smiles in the way Jane always remembers her smiling, wide with teeth and the dimple in her cheek and her eyes shining with unbridled delight. Jane can't help but mirror it exactly, awash in wild relief that Maura doesn't hate her, that she's not disappearing back inside to a woman who probably deserves her much more than Jane, that she's standing in front of her with a look she wasn't sure she'd ever see.

Still feeling like she needs to keep talking, she steps even closer and bites the inside of her lip. "I'm sorry for being a jerk and making everything weird and not listening to you after the memorial, and I'm sorry about the other day and that I'm doing this now and—"

But Maura grabs her hands, holds them to her chest and shakes her head. "It's okay. It's okay." Her smile sticks.

With nothing left to do Jane leans forward, their faces close, and she can feel Maura breathe in shakily. She feels the exhale against her lips, and she almost closes the gap before Maura gently pulls away.

"I really owe Spencer a better break-up than this," she says quietly. "She really is a nice girl." She drops Jane's hands, steps back, finds some distance. She can breathe.

"I mean you could ask her for a threesome but I don't know if she'd be into that," Jane quips, and she thinks she's joking when she says it, just wants to add some levity, but suddenly Maura's smirking like she's not and she doesn't know how to feel about that.

She has an inkling that's going to start happening a little more often now.

"Can I come to your apartment later?" she asks, and Jane feels something catch fire at the promise contained behind those words. She nods, just once.

x

x

x

x

The knock at her door a few hours later simultaneously startles and excites her so much that her heart feels like it might burst out of her throat, and she wipes her palms on her shirt as she stands on trembling legs.

When she opens it she sees the dark burn of Maura's eyes and not much else before her mouth is on her like a storm. Her lips are potent, insistent, and her hands are everywhere, hot and impetuous and pushing Jane backwards until she hits the wall. She kisses Maura back so hard she can feel teeth, feel the last month of pent-up tension empty out in the air between their mouths and feel the wet drag of Maura's lip beneath her tongue.

She can't remember ever wanting someone more in her entire life.

Maura plants her hands on Jane's chest, her mouth still close, and says quietly, "I'm serious about doing this." Jane understands the insinuation.

In response, she carefully steps Maura back with her hands around her shoulders, then deftly pulls her own shirt over her head before kissing her again with all the fervour she can muster.

x

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x

Give me one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the Earth.