sometimes they stay still

this is set after jane shoots paddy doyle, approximately three weeks after. there will be flashbacks explaining how and why maura is in this situation.

this is possibly very triggering for those of you in ed recovery. i wouldn't want to impact on your health so seriously, don't read this.

i'm going with maura being 5'6- so a healthy weight for her would be 120lbs. right now, she's 105. not worryingly gaunt, but definitely skinnier than most.

chapter one


your hand ghosts down your side and you feel your fingers judder as they skim your ribs

one-two-three-four on the other side, sliding your finger down the gaps, up on the bone, down again

you roll on your back, feeling the ridges of your spine press painfully into the mattress and you smile.

when you look down, you can see a curve. a sharp, peaked hipbone on each side, like mountains, like towers keeping watch over the valley that is your stomach

it is beautiful to you and it is perfect to you and it is yours, all yours, like nothing has ever been before.

waking up in the mornings is hard. much harder than it used to be. it seems surreal to you now that you used to get up and do yoga and smile and laugh and talk to jane

you haven't smiled in weeks.

the lethargy is a side effect of the weight loss, as you full well know. light hits your closed eyelids and turns your world a funny shade of liver-pink, and there's a tiredness in your bones again that whispers to you and calls to you and tells you how much better it would be to stay in bed and let the world come to you

but you push past it push through it like you used to and manage not to pass out as you swing yourself upright. you count that as an achievement now.

breakfast? breakfast is the same as it has always been, a bowl of cereal and a slice of toast. you take pleasure from the smell of the butter, the creaminess of the milk, the doughy inside of the bread, all the way up until the plate is empty and the realisation of what you just did sinks in





like it does every day. what's that saying- the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? well, that puts you firmly in the category of 'crazy'. every day you eat with the vague hope that today will be different and today you will be happy and today you can block the visions of the numbers on the scale whizzing up and round like a roulette wheel

but today is always a tomorrow and it's off to the bathroom you go.

vomiting is the least graceful part about this. the weight loss is clean simple elegant and how you wish you were one of those people who could have the will to banish food entirely and leave their insides clean and tiny and pink

but you're not

and besides, they'd notice if you stopped eating. at least, that's what you tell yourself when you're all alone in your kitchen at 10pm on a thursday night and there's no one around and there's a treadmill upstairs away from the food and you haven't eaten all day

but there's also peanut butter and jam and soft white bread and all the comfort food you never had and you eateateat and no-one's been round to see you in weeks

and you indulge, gorge yourself on fats and carbs and sugars and it's so good give me MORE and if they could see you now, queen of the dead, always poised, unruffled- if only they could see you frantically throwing food into your mouth and chewing and swallowing so fast you can't even taste it but it's there and that's what's important it's there.

and however hard you try not to analyse that thought, that night when you slump over the toilet after a violent purge, you think that food might never leave, but it can't pull your hair back from your face and make red sox references and hug you until you stop crying

it feels so good when you walk into the precinct and scan the lobby, mentally calculating body mass index and shoe size and muscle/fat ratios and however you check it, you're always the winner. and you see them do it too, see them bug their eyes at your legs- 'look at dr. isles!' 'jesus, she looked great about ten pounds ago but look at her legs, she's a stick insect!' which everyone knows is just woman-speak for 'i wish i could be you'- at least, that's what you tell yourself

your body feels right and for the first time in ages you feel happy in your own skin

but you forget that it's only been three weeks for them. they haven't seen you, they weren't there every day as you stepped on the scale and the burning in your throat and the pressure near your heart magically melts away because it's working and you're getting thinner

just as you step into the lift, you see jane. you lock eyes for a moment, and then her eyebrows raise slightly as she flicks her eyes down to your legs. and as the doors close, there's a flicker of triumph in your eyes that you don't even bother trying to hide.

it's sweet how your lab techs worry about your new look. and it's fun to confuse them- you've accepted every offer of a coffee and you've eaten all the donuts they brought for you and you want to laugh as they hover at the door, waiting for you to bin the bag of sugar-glittery fried dough- but you don't, and you see their looks of badly disguised relief as you bite.

you send a little thank you prayer to the god of architecture because you have a bathroom in your office with a near silent flush and you can hide food in your desk and get an intern to do a bagel run and get a burrito at lunch and it's going to be amazing-

but in the middle of your excitement you see a head of dark curls in the hallway outside your office and you freeze- but she turns and it's not jane and you're fine and you're safe breathe maura-

but you're not hungry any more.