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Breakable

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The conference was useful, but after a week, Maura was glad to return home. When she and Jane saw each other, they began smiling, the time and distance between them forgotten. They hugged hello, and Jane got Maura's luggage from the carousel and pulled the bags through the concourse. With one hand on Maura's back, she guided her to the car, parked illegally, but one of the benefits of being a cop. While Maura got in the passenger seat, Jane put her bags in the trunk.

The snow that started at mid-morning was beginning to stick. "Be glad you got here when you did. Weather Channel says it's gonna be bad."

"Why don't we stop by your place so you can get Joe and some clothes? I have a fireplace in case the power goes out."

"I never saw any wood."

"There's a cord of seasoned wood in the back."

"What's a? Never mind. Sounds like a plan."

Jane was still smiling, Maura noticed. So was she, at the sight of her best friend concentrating on the traffic, bobbing her head slightly to the music. Maura was definitely happy to be home, but the lyrics from the radio caught her attention.

Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts?
Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts.
So it's fairly simple to cut right through the mess,
And to stop the muscle that makes us confess.

In a moment, everything changed. Maura closed her eyes and saw Jane bleeding on the sidewalk. Training took over then, even as her own heart screamed in panic.

Jane, her attention divided between the road and Maura, didn't understand what she said. "Maur?"

Maura couldn't answer. She didn't realize she'd done anything to get Jane's attention.

"You all right?"

And we are so fragile,
And our cracking bones make noise,

The second time Maura didn't answer, Jane glanced at her. Maura was turned toward the window. Jane tried one more time. "Maura."

This time, she pulled onto the shoulder, put the car in park, and turned on the flashers. She touched Maura's shoulder. "Hey."

And we are just,
Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys.

Maura whirled into her, clutching Jane's coat to bring her closer.

"Shhh, shhh. It's all right," Jane comforted, even though she was confused. When she felt Maura's tears on her neck, she redoubled her efforts to soothe her. "I'm here, Maura. Everything's all right."

You fasten my seatbelt because it is the law.
In your two ton death trap I finally saw.
A piece of love in your face that bathed me in regret.
Then you drove me to places I'll never forget.

Maura's continuing tears said otherwise, and Jane did her best to offer comfort. This was not at all what she expected for Maura's homecoming. Her things were all ready at Maura's, and Jane made lasagna, which was in the oven. The refrigerator was stocked, new movies waited, and they had the entire snowy weekend off. Jane was looking forward to it. She missed Maura like crazy from the minute she waved after gathering her things from the security checkpoint. It recently dawned on Jane that she loved Maura in a happily ever after kind of way, and Maura's weeping wasn't supposed to be part of that.

It wasn't stopping, though.

And we are so fragile,

"I almost lost you," Maura choked.

And our cracking bones make noise,

"No, I'm here, Maur. I promise I'm not goin' anywhere."

And we are just,

"You promise?"

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys.

"I promise," Jane reassured, and kissed Maura's head.

Maura slowly stopped crying, and tried to pull away.

And we are so fragile,
And our cracking bones make noise,

Jane wouldn't let her until Maura looked at her. Jane couldn't help her smile's slight return. Maura's face and eyes were red, her cheeks wet with tears She was beautiful, and Jane would do just about anything to make sure Maura didn't cry in the future. She owed Maura everything. Maura saved Frankie twice in the morgue, and kept Jane alive until the EMTs arrived. She got into the ambulance with Jane, her training allowing her to stay where she could remain in contact with Jane and out of the paramedics' way. Maura's was the last familiar face she saw before they drugged her into unconsciousness, the first when she returned. It was that way with few exceptions every night and day since.

And we are just,
Breakable, breakable, breakable girls-

Jane heard the words to the final chorus, and finally realized what triggered Maura's crying fit. Yeah, she was breakable, but Jane firmly believed that anything that didn't kill her made her stronger, because otherwise, what was the point?

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls-

"Sorry," Maura mumbled and blotted her face with a tissue.

"Don't apologize. We all right?"

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys.

Maura looked at Jane's face for a second before her eyes fell to Jane's hand on her coat sleeve, and the scar there that became a little less prominent every day. 'Breakable but mendable,' she reminded herself. "We are."

-30-