This is Treasure... by DarknessDescends
FeatureSummary: In an alternate universe Season 5, Jenny and Shane try to hide their relationship from their friends. In theory it shouldn't be that hard, but they have a friend named Alice...
This is Treasure

Categories: The L Word, Shenny Characters: Alice Pieszecki, Bette Porter, Jenny Schecter, Jodi Lerner, Max Sweeney, Shane McCutcheon, Shay McCutcheon, Sounder II, Tasha Williams, Tina Kennard
Genres: comedy, drama, friendship, romance, what if...
Spoilers up through: TLW Season 5
Warnings: angst, strong language
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 13 Completed: No Word count: 52896 Read: 58287 Published: April 24, 2008 Updated: June 10, 2009
Story Notes:
The story takes place a few months after Season 4 and it's supposed to be my version of Season 5. Therefore some things that happened in Season 5 will also happen in this story, but it will play out differently. (So spoiler-alert for those of you who haven't watched season 5 yet!)
Disclaimer: The L Word belongs to Showtime. I'm just borrowing the characters for a while. Ayumi Hamasaki's lyrics belong to her, and the translations were made by Masa, Wataru and myself. No copyright infringement is intended.
This one is for MT.

1. Chapter 1 - poker face by DarknessDescends

2. Chapter 2 - If you're not there, there's nothing by DarknessDescends

3. Chapter 3 - My all by DarknessDescends

4. Chapter 4 - No way to say by DarknessDescends

5. Chapter 5 - Daybreak by DarknessDescends

6. Chapter 6 - part of Me by DarknessDescends

7. Chapter 7 - Pieces of a broken dream by DarknessDescends

8. Chapter 8 - Close to you by DarknessDescends

9. Chapter 9 - My precious treasure by DarknessDescends

10. Chapter 10 - Liar by DarknessDescends

11. Chapter 11 - Immature by DarknessDescends

12. Chapter 12 - SCAR ~ Part I by DarknessDescends

13. Chapter 13 - SCAR ~ Part II by DarknessDescends

Chapter 1 - poker face by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Shane has coffee with Alice at The Planet and she tries to mess with Shane's plans for the day.
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - poker face
Lyrics


“What’s taking so long?” Waiting for a refill, Shane glanced around the café as The Planet’s staff crisscrossed through the room, carrying tables, chairs, sound equipment and what not. “What are they doing anyway?”

“Wow, you’re really out of the loop these days, aren’t ya?” Alice snickered and finished what was left of her coffee. “Kit’s having this really cool girls-only party tonight, do you mean you’re not even coming? You have to!”

“I can’t, I already have plans,” Shane replied without even looking at her friend. She felt bad about not being able to be there for Alice who hadn’t taken the recent break up with her girlfriend Tasha very well, but she just couldn’t do what Alice wanted her to. She had something special planned for tonight.

“I knew it!” Alice sat up straight in her chair and her eyes shone, eager to figure out whatever juicy details Shane was keeping from her. “I totally knew you were seeing someone! There’s no way you wouldn’t be, it’s been ages since you and Paige broke up. Now spill it!”

Shane shot Alice an annoyed glance and shook her head. “I have stuff to do at the house.”

“Yeah right. As if you’d stay at home for a reason like that on a Friday night. You’re up to something.”

“I’m not. The house is a mess and someone needs to do something about it or it’s just gonna stay that way.” Shane smiled mischievously, knowing that there was no way Alice would never agree to what she was about to suggest. “If you don’t believe me, you can always help me out.”

“Hah… Thanks for the offer, but I think I’ll pass.” She paused for a moment to think, and then lit up. “I can always ask Jenny if she wants to come with me tonight.”

“No no no no!”

“What? Why?” Alice stared confused at Shane who was shaking her head furiously. “Why not?"

“Nuh-uh. You’re not calling Jenny, she’s helping me tonight and you’re not gonna talk her out of that.”

“Whoa, when did you guys become so boring?” Stretching out her arms, Alice let out a deep sigh. “You’re worse than Bette and Tina were and you’re not even a couple.”

“Well, what are you gonna do about it?” Shane asked with her brows furrowed, trying to repress a chuckle. “Come up with another intervention questionnaire? ‘Cause I don’t think I’d be up for that. Jesus Christ, Alice, just ask Papi or Helena or Tina or whoever.”

“Hola, chicas!”

“Speak of the devils,” Alice replied as Papi walked up to them with Helena in tow. “We were just talking about you two. Hi!”

“Aight, you guys are coming here tonight?” Papi replied looking from Alice to Shane and back again as she pulled out a chair and joined them. “Kit’s workin’ her butt off to make sure it’s the party of the year, you don’t wanna sit this one out!”

“I wouldn’t, but this one’s gonna,” Alice said with a nod in Shane’s direction. “She’s planning on staying home to clean the house and be boring with Jenny.”

“Well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!” Papi shrugged. “Ain’t that right, Vanilla?”

Papi still hadn’t gotten tired of the nickname she’d given Shane several months back when they first got to know each other, and Shane was just about to reply in the same manner when her phone started ringing. She took it out of her pocket and saw Jenny’s name on the display.

“Excuse me,” she mumbled and got up to answer it. “Hey, Jen! -- Yeah, I’m at The Planet with Alice, Helena and Papi. -- Do you know when you’ll be home tonight? -- Okay, I’ll see you back at the house.”

She lowered her voice and turned away from the others before she said the last few words.

“Yeah, I love you too. Bye…”
Chapter 2 - If you're not there, there's nothing by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
NOTE - This takes place two months before Chapter 1! Jenny is home again and Shane ditches Alice to hang out with her.
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - TO BE
Chapter 2


Two months earlier

“No, I can’t, Al. I’m sorry...” Shane leaned her back against the refrigerator in the kitchen she shared with Jenny and Max as she listened to Alice’s voice on the phone. Her gossip-loving friend was trying to talk her into going out with her. “What?” She frowned, trying to hear Alice over her roommates talking next to her.

“Why?” Alice repeated crankily. “I thought you said before you weren’t doing anything.”

“Well, Jenny’s home,” Shane replied and couldn’t keep from smiling. She glanced over at her best friend and chuckled at the thought that Jenny’s purple dress made her look like a grape. “She just…” she began, but Alice interrupted her.

“Couldn’t she just have stayed on that raft?”

“Oh, Jesus Christ, Al!” Shane raised her voice, fed up with Alice constantly badmouthing Jenny. “No, really, drop it. I’m so tired of hearing this, you’re really not one to talk…” She covered her eyes with her hand in frustration and let out a deep sigh when Alice started yapping on the other end. “You’re not!” she went on when Alice finally shut up. “You can’t go off on Jenny just ‘cause she wrote that book when you’ve done the exact same thing for years.”

Jenny shot Shane an amused glance and Shane rolled her eyes in response and sat down by the table. “Yes, you have,” she interrupted Alice when she claimed she’d never done anything like that. “You told each…”

“I didn’t…” Alice tried to interrupt, but Shane went on.

“…Each and every one of your listeners everything about us, and you didn’t even change our names. And no one ever said anything about that, so will you please just give her a break?”

The line went silent and for a second Shane thought Alice had hung up on her. “All right, all right,” she then sighed. “I’ll be nice. Happy now?”

“Yup,” Shane chirped, but silently she wondered how long Alice’s involuntary attitude change was going to last. Probably only until the next time she and Jenny found themselves in the same room with each other.

“Well, have fun then,” Alice said a little too enthusiastically for it to seem sincere. “Tell Jenny I said hi.”

“All right, I will,” Shane replied and another deep sigh escaped her lips when she finally ended the call.

“Was that Alice?” Jenny asked with a smirk even though she damn well knew it had been. Max waved goodbye to them and hurried out through the back door on his way out on a date with Grace and Jenny sat down on top of the kitchen table, next to Shane.

“She said ‘hi’,” Shane told her and hoped she wouldn’t have to have the same conversation all over again, but with Jenny this time.

Jenny nodded and looked down at her hands for a moment, swinging her legs back and forth under the table and trying not to smile. “Oh, I bet she did.”

“Jenny, come on,” Shane begged her, “can’t you at least try to…” She paused as she almost said ‘kiss and make up’ and immediately it got stuck in her head, the image of Jenny and Al making out at Here! a few months earlier. She shrugged, trying to shake off the uncomfortable feeling it had given her. “Can’t you at least try to get along? It’s getting old and I don’t want my friends to fight all the time.”

“I’m not fighting with anyone,” Jenny stated matter-of-factly with an innocent smile. She wasn’t – everyone else was fighting with her, but she couldn’t really say she cared. They could all think what they wanted to think, because really, they were going to anyway.

“I know that,” Shane sighed, taking one of Jenny’s small hands in her own. “But you’re kinda encouraging Alice, Bette and Tina. We all used to be friends, and I’d very much like for us to go back to that. Please…”

Jenny nodded again with a big grin this time. “Okay, I promise that I will stop making it easier for them to hate me.” Judging by the frown on Shane’s face, she obviously wasn’t amused, so Jenny went on. “Oh, come on, Shane, lighten up. Give me a hug!”

Those last few words seemed to wipe the worries away from Shane’s face and she smiled brightly at Jenny as she picked her up off the floor and spun her around. “I really missed you. So fucking much.”

“I missed you too!” Jenny giggled. “I wish you could have been there with me.”

Shane put Jenny down again and went to the fridge to get them a couple of Dos Equis’. “Tell me all about it, I wanna know what you’ve been up to!” With the beers in one hand and one of Jenny’s hands in the other, she headed towards the living room couch where they both sat down to talk.

“I’ll tell you everything,” Jenny said as she moved closer to Shane. “But I just need to say something first.”

“What?” Shane opened the bottles and handed one of them to Jenny who just put it down on the table and looked at her.

“Shane, I’m really sorry.”

Shane’s face fell in an instant and she looked concerned at her friend. “Why are you sorry? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” Jenny replied, taking Shane’s beer out of her hand and placing it too on the table before straddling her lap. “I talked to Max when you were on the phone and he told me that you didn’t take it that well when I just kinda disappeared. And I’m so sorry I did that to you.”

“What did he tell you?” Shane asked, her voice strained and she swallowed hard. She had never minded that Jenny touched her, but having Jenny in her lap like that, so close, was too much. Especially now…

Jenny shook her head and shrugged. “He just said that, nothing else. But I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

“Jenny…” Shane interrupted and Jenny looked questioningly into her eyes, not knowing what to expect.

“Yes?” Her fingers played with Shane’s new silver necklace that she’d given her earlier that night. The cross pendant reminded her of the tattoo on Shane’s left wrist and she’d bought it while she was away, partly because she wanted to bring a gift home with her, and partly because she needed something with her that felt like Shane somehow.

“He’s right,” Shane said quietly, embarrassed when she remembered how she’d been acting while Jenny was gone. How the night after she disappeared, she’d gone into Jenny’s room and sat down on her bed, crying and wondering if Jenny was even alive. Sounder had jumped up into her lap and licked her face, as if he was trying to tell her that everything would be okay. She hadn’t been able to stop until Max had found her there, but there was no point in telling Jenny about it, it would only hurt her more. Shane just decided to go with Max’s version. “Before you called, I was a mess.”

“I called as soon as I got off the raft, as soon as I found a phone! My phone got wet and wouldn’t work anymore.”

Shane smiled a little, but the pain she remembered was still much too visible in her eyes. “I know that,” she said and rubbed the back of her neck, “and I don’t want you to feel bad about it. I’m glad you called me. But that night…” She paused, took a deep breath and sighed. “That night, you told me you’d just been fired from your own movie. And somehow it reminded me of what happened the last time you left…” She didn’t want to say anything else about it, but she knew Jenny understood what she meant. That morning in the bathroom, two years ago… “I didn’t wanna leave you there, because I was so scared that I would go back to look for you, and you’d be gone. Then all of a sudden you were, and I couldn’t find you. You left, and when you did that… You took with you every little part of me that mattered.”

“Shane…” Jenny felt like the worst cunt in the universe for what she’d done. ‘Even worse than Tina,’ she thought. But there was nothing she could say or do to make up for having left the most precious person in her world, without as much as a word. She looked at Shane who sat in front of her looking heartbroken, and she tried to figure out how it was even possible to love someone as much as she loved her.

“If you’re not there, Jen…” Shane continued, “there’s nothing.” She swallowed and looked into her best friend’s eyes. Women, sex or kisses never made her nervous. But having Jenny in her lap and telling her that she couldn’t be without her, that scared the crap out of her. The fear of losing the best friend she’d ever had in her whole life, the fear of being rejected by the person who meant the most to her, made her heart start hammering furiously in her chest. For the first time, sitting in front of Jenny in silence was torture to her. ‘Please, just say something, anything.’

Jenny saw the frightened look on her face and gently placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, using the other to brush the hair away from her face. Their lips were painfully close but didn’t touch. Instead, Jenny looked deeply into Shane’s eyes and they both smiled in silent agreement before they let their lips met for the first time in the four years they’d known each other.

As the kiss deepened she could feel Shane’s hands on her hips, drawing her closer, but much to Jenny’s dismay, she soon let go of her. Instead she cradled Jenny’s face in her hands and gently brushed away tears Jenny didn’t even know she had cried, and when she opened her eyes, she saw Shane’s looking back at her, filled with concern.

“They’re happy tears,” Jenny giggled and smiled brightly back at her. Still, in Shane’s eyes some of the worry she’d seen there before seemed to have returned. “Shane, I’m not going anywhere.”

“Good,” Shane said softly and Jenny saw something peaceful in her eyes that she couldn’t remember ever seeing before. It was adorable, and contagious too.

Shane wrapped her arm around Jenny, picked her up and caused her to squeal happily when she carried her in the direction of her bedroom. For a moment Jenny looked as if she thought Shane was about to drop her and she smiled and reassured her. “It’s okay, Jenny, I got you.”

Jenny just smiled playfully back up at her. “Yes, you definitely got me.”

Lyrics
Chapter 3 - My all by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Jenny and Shane celebrate their anniversary.
Jenny parked her car outside the house, got out and headed towards the front door with Sounder’s leash in one hand, handbag and a bottle of red wine in the other. It felt like it had been ages since last time she had some time off, and now that she did, she had to spend the evening cleaning the house. But she’d promised Shane she’d help her and she couldn’t let her do it all by herself. She did enough already as it was.

As she put her hand on the door handle she wondered if Shane remembered that tonight was their anniversary. If she didn’t, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but Jenny thought it would be cute to celebrate the day they had finally come to their senses about how they really felt about each other.

Sounder barked and jumped around at her feet, happy to finally be home again, so she opened the door to let him in. “Come here, Sounder!” She dropped his leash and her bag and closed the door, looking up to see him running over to Shane who sat on the couch looking gorgeous as ever, dressed in a blue shirt and a pair of black jeans. When she was finally able to take her eyes off her girlfriend, she realized that there was absolutely nothing that needed to be done in their home. The house was already spotless, the table was set in the dining room and candles had been lit all over the place.

“Oh my God!” she gasped with her hand over her mouth. “Shane, you did all this? But… I was gonna help you!”

Shane had gotten up and walked over to her, wrapping her arms around her waist and giving her a long lingering kiss. “I know you were,” she said and smiled a little. “But it wasn’t that bad. I’d much rather spend time with you doing something other than cleaning. And I thought it would be nice if we could have tonight to ourselves, now that I already got you to rush home from work to help and everything.”

“I got wine,” Jenny suddenly smiled back, holding up the bottle in her hand, and Shane chuckled at her girlfriend’s randomness.

“I can see that. You’re sneaky.”

Jenny tilted her head down when she felt her cheeks flushing. She’d only brought up the topic of wine hoping to get some kind of hint of whether or not Shane remembered their anniversary. Even if people didn’t think so, she always had a reason for her random outbursts. “Shane, do you know what…”

“…Day it is?” Shane finished her sentence.

“Of course you do.” She felt silly for even doubting it, but Shane was always doing things for her – for them; she didn’t need a particular reason for it.

“I do,” Shane nodded and gently placed her hand under Jenny’s chin, tilting it back up so she could look at her. She looked impossibly cute with her cheeks all red. “And I know it means a lot to you.”

Jenny’s face fell before she could stop herself. “It doesn’t to you?”

“Of course it does,” Shane assured her, brushing some strands of dark hair from her face. “But I’d celebrate every day with you if I could, but… We both know we’re too damn busy for that, so once a month will have to do.”

“You make it sound like I’m never home,” Jenny giggled and Shane frowned back at her.

“Well, I think that was you in bed with me this morning.”

“Fuck you,” she replied, gently pushing Shane in the direction of the couch. It made Sounder start barking by their feet and Shane told him to quiet down while Jenny took the opportunity to put the bottle down on the table.

Shane leered at her. “Wasn’t that what you did?”

“I can do it again.”

Shane chuckled as Jenny pushed her back down on the couch and straddled her. “You’re gonna try to top me again?”

“It doesn’t look like I have to try very hard,” Jenny giggled back at her and used both of her hands to brush Shane’s messy hair out of her face so she could look into her eyes. Shane ran her hands up Jenny’s thighs, stopping on her hips to pull her closer.

“Come here,” she said huskily, Jenny’s lips crashing against hers, and she felt hands slipping under the hem of her shirt. Then they both froze when a loud growling sound suddenly came from Jenny’s stomach.

“Shit, you’re hungry. I totally forgot about dinner,” Shane chuckled and smiled up at Jenny whose cheeks once again turned bright red.

“It’s okay,” Jenny said giggling, covering her face with her hands. “We can just get takeout or something later.”

“No, no, I mean…” Shane grabbed the back of the couch, pulling herself up so she could steal one more kiss from Jenny before taking her hand and dragging her with her towards the kitchen. “Come with me.”

“You made dinner already?” Jenny gasped wide-eyed when she took a closer look at the kitchen table. “When did you have time to breathe?”

“Jen, it’s just a salad. It’s too damn hot outside for everything else I could think of.” She raked her hand through her hair and let out a deep sigh. ‘It’s too fucking hot inside now too.’

Jenny stood watching with her heart hammering in her chest as Shane walked over to the backdoor and opened it while explaining to Sounder in a baby voice that he wasn’t allowed to run outside.

“But this is great,” Jenny said, trying to calm down a little and get the thought of Shane’s skin against her own out of her head. There would be plenty of time for such activities later. She hoped. “I still don’t get how you had time to do all this.”

“No, stay,” Shane told Sounder when he tried to get past her and out on the back porch. When he didn’t listen to her, she picked him up and held him instead. “I just went back here as soon as we got off the phone,” she said looking up at her girlfriend. “Really, Jenny, it’s not a big deal.”

“But you have work too.” Jenny buried her fingers in Sounder’s fur and he barked excitedly at her, trying to get out of Shane’s arms. Shane let him back down on the floor and told him again to stay inside.

“We both work too much,” Jenny sighed. “I miss being with you.”

“I miss you too. You know that.”

Jenny sat down by the table thinking maybe dinner wasn’t such a bad idea after all. They would need it later anyway if they were going to do all the things she had in mind. “I think you should come and work with me,” she said before she started chewing on a tomato slice.

“You know I’d love that,” Shane replied almost apologetically, “but I have WAX. I can’t just leave.” As much as she loved her job, it was a nice dream though, getting to spend every day with Jenny.

“I know, but think about it, it would be great!” Jenny giggled and wished she would be able to convince her, even if she knew it wasn’t going to happen.

“It’s not like I’d ever get to see you. We’d both be busy.” Shane smiled back at her and seconds later she felt Jenny’s foot rubbing against her leg. As if it wasn’t hard enough already to not think about how she could be fucking her right now. It wasn’t like Shane to choose food over sex, but she knew how hard Jenny worked and if they were going to stay up most of the night like she had a feeling they would, she was going to need it. No matter how much it tortured her right now.

“But we could fuck in my trailer between takes!” Jenny exclaimed and burst out laughing when Shane looked like she accidentally swallowed her fork.

“Oooh…” Shane said with a smirk when she finally managed to compose herself. “Here I was thinking you wanted me to do hair, not you.”

Jenny giggled impishly. “And I thought you could do both.”

“I thought I already did.”

Jenny bit her lip and looked down at her plate. Talking or even thinking about sex was the last thing she should do when she was supposed to be eating her damn dinner. Not that there was anything wrong with it, Shane was a good cook when she bothered to try. Sighing, she decided to change the subject, if only for a while. “Are you working this weekend?”

Shane nodded and swallowed, then shook her head a little. “On Sunday I’m going to the gym with Al and Tina…”

“Oh!” Jenny said excitedly, bouncing a little in her chair. “Can I come?”

“I thought you were busy,” Shane smiled, amused by Jenny’s antics.

“I have a meeting and some scenes I have to work on,” Jenny nodded while chewing. “But it’s not gonna take the whole weekend.”

“But then… maybe I should cancel and we can have our own workout session here.”

“Maybe.” Why did they have to keep torturing themselves like this? Jenny looked at the table, it had all those candles all over it, so that was a no-go. “What about tomorrow?” she asked.

“I have to be at WAX, we’re taking inventory.”

“I thought you weren’t going to do that until next month?” Jenny asked, brows furrowing. “You need any help?”

“Chase caught one of the new guys stealing stuff and he fired him,” Shane said frowning, “but we don’t know how much is missing yet. So… well, Alice is helping out. You can come over if you’re not too busy.”

“Yay! I can bring coffee and my undying enthusiasm.”

Shane smiled brightly back at her. “I’d love that.”

“You know what?” Jenny suddenly said, putting down her fork and pushing away the plate with her half eaten meal. Shane watched her as she got up from her chair and walked around the table, pulling her top over her head and throwing it on the floor. “I’ve been a good girl and I ate my dinner. Can we please fuck now?”

* * *


Jenny sleepily opened her eyes and glanced over at the alarm clock by the side of the bed. 3:27 AM. She blinked a few times and realized Shane wasn’t there next to her. She was certain she had been when she fell asleep and that couldn’t be too long ago.

She was completely exhausted after all they’d been up to. What started as kitchen-floor-sex soon turned into bed-sex, after that they’d decided to take advantage of the fact that Bette was at The Planet like everyone else and went to ‘swim’ in her pool. And after that, of course, they had to take a shower after which they ended up in bed again.

She stayed in bed for a few minutes thinking Shane could have just gone to the bathroom, but when she didn’t come back, Jenny started worrying and got up to look for her. She tiptoed out into the hallway and when she heard voices coming from the living room, she yawned and headed over there.

Jenny found the TV on and scanned the room looking for her girlfriend. She didn’t see her anywhere so she walked over to the TV to turn it off. When she turned around to go and look for her on the back porch she saw her sprawled out on the couch with her face half buried in one of the pillows. One hand was on the floor, still holding on to the magazine she’d been reading and her glasses were almost falling off her nose.

Smiling and almost wishing she’d had her camera, Jenny kneeled down next to her and tried to remove the glasses as gently as possible without much success. Shane stirred in her sleep and opened her eyes, blinking confusedly back up at Jenny.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you. You looked like you were going to drop your glasses.”

“Oh…okay,” Shane mumbled and sat up, rubbing her eyes with one hand. Jenny joined her on the couch, placing a soft kiss on her cheek after putting the glasses down on the table.

“You couldn’t sleep?”

Shane shook her head, wrapping her arm around Jenny and pulling her closer. “I just… I have a really bad feeling about something and I don’t know what it is. It’s probably nothing.”

“Are you sure?” Jenny asked and smiled reassuringly when Shane nodded. “Come back to bed with me?”

“Yeah.” Shane nodded again and when they got up from the couch Jenny thought she might fall asleep standing up. They took a few steps in the direction of Shane’s bedroom but didn’t get far before they heard the doorbell ringing. “What the…?” Shane frowned at Jenny. “What time is it?”

“It was 3:30 when I got up,” Jenny said, dumbfounded. “You think Bette locked herself out?”

“Fuck if I know.” Shane rubbed her eyes again and got to the door with a few big steps. She opened it and stared in front of her expecting to see her neighbor but instead she saw nothing. Until she tilted her head down a bit.

“…Shay?”
Chapter 4 - No way to say by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Shane and Jenny take care of their unexpected guest.
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - No way to say
Shane stared in shock at her little brother who stood in front of her holding a big backpack and looking like he was about to fall asleep right on their doorstep. “What happened?” she asked and bent down to wrap her arms around him. “How did you get here?”

“I took the bus,” he replied quietly, dropped his bag and hugged her back. “Dad left again.”

“You…” Shane started and stepped back to look him in the eyes, her own wide open like she couldn’t believe what he’d just told her. “You took the bus all the way from Oregon in the middle of the night all by yourself?”

Shay looked down at his sneakers and mumbled so quietly Shane could barely hear him. “He just left one night. Some lady came over and they left and he never came back. I didn’t know where else to go.”

“Shay, if you’d called me I would have come to get you.” Shane took a deep breath, glancing back at Jenny for a moment and giving her a look of desperation. She couldn’t believe her father. It was one thing what he’d done to her, first when she was a kid, and then all over again when she’d gotten to know him as an adult. But doing it to Shay? She’d thought he meant at least something to him, even if she didn’t.

“You came to the right place,” she said to him, her voice breaking, and she wrapped an arm around him again. “Let’s get you inside. You want some hot chocolate?”

Shay shook his head. “Can I just sleep?”

“You can have my room,” Jenny offered and smiled at him, but she didn’t think he could see it. “I’ll just go and put some clean sheets in the bed.”

“I didn’t mean to wake you up,” Shay mumbled when Jenny disappeared into the hallway and he shrugged uncomfortably when Shane tried to brush some hair away from his eyes. She probably thought he needed a haircut. He hadn’t gotten one since last time she cut it, but he liked that he could hide behind it. He didn’t want people to be able to see how much he hurt inside.

Shane felt tears welling up in her eyes and tried to hold them back. Her crying wouldn’t make anything better for him, but looking at him standing there was like watching herself when she was his age. She never in a million years wanted him to have to go through that.

“You didn’t wake us up,” she smiled encouragingly. “Are you sure you don’t want anything?” When he just shook his head, she went on. “Okay. We can try to figure out all this in the morning. Don’t worry about it. You can stay here for as long as you like.”

Shane picked up his backpack, pulling the strap over her shoulder and when she looked back at him he grabbed her hand. She smiled again, hoping he hadn’t seen her tears.

“He’s drunk all the time,” Shay said out of nowhere just as Jenny came back into the living room to announce that his bed was made, but instead she just stood there watching them.

“I’m so sorry,” Shane replied softly, trying hard not to show how her emotions were boiling inside of her, and squeezed his hand gently. “Do you—do you want you talk about it now or do you want to wait until after you’ve gotten some sleep?”

“Sleep.”

She nodded and both women followed him to his new room and made sure he got settled there all right. Shane promised once again that they would try to sort it out in the morning, but before she stopped talking, her brother seemed to have fallen asleep.

“Come,” Jenny whispered from the hallway and pulled Shane with her back to their room. “I took the toys out,” she said and Shane stared dumbfounded at her.

“Toys? What toys?”

“My toys.” She nodded at a bag on the floor by her side of the bed. “I didn’t think it would be such a good idea to leave them in there for him to find if he starts digging around in my drawers.”

“Oh,” Shane sighed and shook her head. No, she didn’t want her ten-year-old brother anywhere near Jenny’s sex toys. “I’m sorry, I just—I can’t think right now.”

Jenny wrapped her arms around her and just held her close for a while, hoping it would make her feel at least a little bit better. “It’s okay, Shane. He’ll be okay.”

“I don’t know.” Shane gently slipped out of Jenny’s embrace and sat down on the bed with her elbows on her knees and rested her head in her hands. “I can’t believe he did this again. How the fuck could he just leave him like that?” She took a few deep breaths trying to calm down and then felt Jenny’s hand gently stroking her back. “God only knows how he’s been treating him the last few months.”

Jenny sat quietly for a moment, trying to find the best way of asking Shane the question that seemed to hover above them. “Maybe this time you should try to get cust…”

“You know I can’t do that!” Shane exclaimed but it came out much harsher than she’d intended and she looked apologetically at her girlfriend. “I’m sorry.”

“Shane, he abandoned him.” Jenny kneeled down on the floor in front of her and looked into her eyes. “He just left his ten-year-old son alone in his house and took off with some random woman. And Shay said he drinks a lot.”

Shane looked away for a moment, sighing. “And since when am I any better?”

“Stop that.” Jenny placed her hand softly on her cheek and made her look at her again. “Shane, you’re nothing like him. Okay? You’re not. I know you’re so convinced you are and I don’t understand why, but you would never do anything to hurt Shay, or anyone else for that matter. You’re the most loving and caring person I’ve ever met.”

“Thank you,” Shane replied, but from the look in her eyes Jenny could tell she doubted every word she’d just said.

“I mean that,” she assured her. “And they have to see it.”

“Even if you’re right, what if they don’t? What if I start something up that ends with Shay going where I did? Even living with Gabriel has to be better than that. I couldn’t live with it, knowing I did that to him.”

“Listen, I can’t make the decision for you, but you’ve got to give yourself more credit. You’re so amazingly good at taking care of Shay, there’s no one in the world that could do it better. And he loves you.”

“I love him too, but… Jesus, I don’t know!” Exasperated, she sat up straight and raked her hands through her hair. “I just don’t know what the fuck I’m gonna do.”

“Maybe right now you should come back to bed with me?” Jenny suggested. Shane was clearly exhausted, the dark circles under her eyes spoke for themselves. “Everything might not seem as hard to figure out if we just get some rest first. We both have work tomorrow as well and it’s already 4 AM. Please, Shane, he’s fine here. He’s already asleep and he’s not going anywhere.”

“Okay,” Shane nodded and stood up with her hands reached out to help Jenny up off the floor. “Come here,” she said when Jenny was back on her feet, and Shane wrapped her arms around her.

“It’ll be okay, Shane. We’ll figure it out tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Shane replied, placing a soft kiss on Jenny’s forehead. “I love you so fucking much.”

“I love you too,” Jenny said with a small smile and tugged the sleeve of Shane’s t-shirt. “Now, please come to bed with me. It’s late and I need my beauty sleep.”

“Says the only woman I know who can stay up and write for days and still look gorgeous.”

“Aw, flattery won’t get you anywhere this time, but thank you.” Giggling, Jenny took her hand and led her back to her side of the bed. When they were both finally back between the sheets in the bed Shane built when she first moved in with Jenny, Jenny looked concerned into Shane’s green eyes. “Do you think you’ll be able to sleep?”

Shane wrapped an arm around her and kissed her goodnight. “Yeah, don’t worry about it. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.”

Jenny soon fell asleep with her head against Shane’s shoulder, but Shane just lay there watching her, unable to shut her worries out.


Chapter 4
Chapter 5 - Daybreak by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Jenny visits Shane at WAX and tries to help her solve some of her problems.
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - Daybreak
“Shane?”

Shane groaned into her pillow, mumbling something Jenny thought sounded like “five more minutes” – what she usually said when she tried to wake her up. She smiled. It was never easy to get her to wake up when she was deeply asleep and this morning was no exception. Jenny could of course do it her own little way, but that involved techniques that were in no way appropriate when there was a ten-year-old in the room.

“Shane? You said that five minutes ago. Come on, wake up.” She sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked her hand over her girlfriend’s messy hair, placing the cup of coffee she’d gotten for her on the Harry Potter book she’d already removed from the bed and placed on the nightstand. “You didn’t get much sleep, did you?”

Shane registered that someone was talking to her and out of habit she assumed it was Jenny, but her eyelids felt so heavy and she was convinced someone glued her eyes shut while she slept. “What?” she mumbled, rolling over on her back. She raised one hand to her face and attempted to rub the sleep out of her eyes when she heard another voice in the room.

“Shane, we’re gonna be late if you don’t get up soon.”

Strange. That voice sounded so much like Shay’s. It was probably Max, but where were they going? She couldn’t remember that they had somewhere they needed to be. “I had such a weird dream,” she groaned and reached out her arm to wrap it around Jenny’s waist. “Shay was here. I miss him.”

“But I’m still here,” the voice replied and in an instant Shane’s eyes opened wide in spite of the imaginary glue in them.

“Shay!” she exclaimed and sat right up in the bed, almost knocking Jenny out of it as she did so. Her shocked stare was soon replaced by a surprised, but still sleepy smile. “I thought…”

“Yeah, we know,” Jenny giggled and handed her coffee to her. “Drink that and wake up so we can go to The Planet. Alice called, she wanted us to go there and have lunch. Everyone’s going and they’ll probably find it weird if Shay and I show up without you. Especially since I already took the liberty of telling her you were coming.”

Shane blinked a couple of times and took a sip of her coffee. “But I have to take a…”

“Shower?” Jenny finished her sentence for her. “We did that right before we went to bed, remember?” Telling from the mischievous grin that soon spread on Shane’s lips, she obviously did. “All you have to do is drink your coffee, get up and get dressed. Then we can go.” She turned towards the door and saw that Shay had already left the room. “Shane, if you’re anywhere near as fast at getting out of bed and putting your clothes on as you are at doing the opposite, it shouldn’t have to take that long.”

“But I like our bed,” Shane whined, “I like it even more when you’re in it.” She tugged at the hem of Jenny’s sweater. “Preferably without clothes on.”

* * *


“Shaney-Shane!” Alice yelled as Shane walked into The Planet half an hour later. Everyone else in their group of friends was already seated at the table, waiting for Jenny, and Shane who seemed to sleepwalk over to them. “If that’s how tired one gets from cleaning your house, Shane, I’m glad I didn’t agree to help out.”

“Shut up, Al,” Shane muttered in response but couldn’t hold back a chuckle when she saw the dumbfounded look on Alice’s face when she noticed Shay was with them.

“Hey, Shay!” she said surprised and it was followed by welcome greetings from Helena, Tina, Max, Tom and Bette, and a wave from Jodi who smiled at them from across the table.

“How did you get here?” Alice continued and immediately received a glare from Shane that she interpreted as a request to not ask too many questions. Her first intention was to ignore it but decided not to when she saw the concerned looks between Jenny and Shane.

Shay shrugged. “I just thought I’d come and visit for a while.”

“You guys should sit,” Tina said in an attempt to relieve the tension, glancing around the table and noticing there were only two chairs left. “I can get…” she started but Jenny interrupted her.

“It’s okay, I can sit with Shane.” She gently pushed her girlfriend down on the closest empty chair and sat down on her lap, looking back at Tina with a contented smile spreading on her lips. It wasn’t exactly the first time she’d done that, but the questioning look on Tina’s face was priceless and reminded Jenny again of how much she enjoyed keeping their relationship a secret.

“Well, as long as she doesn’t mind,” Tina smiled with a chuckle.

“I don’t mind, I’m used to it,” Shane replied and wrapped her arms around Jenny’s waist. She noticed Jodi was smiling at her and tried to sign to her in spite of Jenny kind of being in the way, but she managed to ask how Jodi was doing and explained to her that Shay had come by the house the night before. She figured she got it somewhat right when Jodi laughed and replied that she was getting good at it.

Kit stopped by the table to take their orders, and to squeal happily when she realized Shay had returned. Shane smiled a little behind Jenny’s shoulder when she saw the slightly worried look on her brother’s face. There was most likely no one at the table who doubted that she was going to try to feed him just like the last time he’d been there, and like she’d tried to do to Shane when she first got to know her.

“Hey, Shane?” Max said all of a sudden, and she looked up at him questioningly. “I’m sorry I didn’t help you guys last night, seems like you had to work pretty hard.”

“It wasn’t your mess,” she replied, even though an explanation was hardly necessary. She could tell from his teasing smile and the tone of his voice that he already knew what they’d been doing all night. “Besides, you’re hardly ever at the house anyway these days,” she added and cast a glance in Tom’s direction. “Hey… what are you looking at?” she said to Jenny when she realized she was smiling at her.

“I was just thinking about last night. ‘Cleaning’ wasn’t as boring as I thought it’d be.”

Alice let out a deep sigh from across the table and rolled her eyes. “Oh really? If you had such a blast, you can swing by and clean my place any time you want.”

Jenny bit her lip when she saw how Max fought to repress a chuckle, he was surely imagining how Alice would lose it completely if she were to come home one day to find out they’d been ‘cleaning’ all over her apartment.

“Speaking of helping out, Al,” Shane said, “you’re still coming to WAX today?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll come over some time in the afternoon. Just don’t boss me around too much, okay?”

Shane shook her head and smiled, looking over at her brother who just received a plate full of food from Kit. “Don’t worry. I’m going over there with Shay after lunch and Chase is probably there already so we can get started. We’re just grateful for any help we can get. And this one right here,” she paused and nudged at Jenny, “promised she’s gonna bring coffee.”

“And I will!” Jenny assured her and bounced a little in Shane’s lap. “I just have to go to a meeting first.” She rolled her eyes and looked over in Tina’s direction. “Is it going to take long, Tina?”

“Probably not that long,” she shrugged and stopped for a second as she noticed Shane leaning her head forward to bury it in the nape of Jenny’s neck. Her arms tightened a little around her waist and she smelled her hair, a sleepy smile forming on her lips. ‘Those two are definitely up to something,’ Tina thought and shook her head, trying to remember what they were talking about. “Aaron just said he wanted us to go over some scenes and decide on a few changes, and that’s what he wanted you to work on. That’s all I know.”

* * *


Jenny and Tina sat in the boardroom at the production office, across the table from Tina’s boss Aaron. Jenny didn’t really consider him her boss; if she needed one, she could fill that position herself. And here they were, listening to him yelling about wanting more sex in the movie. That was an interesting topic of choice for an emergency meeting on a Saturday.

“I want more of it!” he exclaimed. “You two are the ones who told me lesbians are always sleeping with their friends, so let’s see it! See them hook up!” He leaned back in his chair and put his feet on the table, picking up his pink copy of the script for Jenny’s movie. “For example… Page 31, scene 43. I think we’re missing an opportunity here. I think Bev and this make-up artist should totally hook up.”

“That would never happen!” Tina and Jenny replied in unison, glared at Aaron and then turned to glare some more at each other before Jenny turned away and rolled her eyes.

“Shane would never fuck Bette,” she said, disgusted, and played with a lock of her hair.

“Shaun and Bev, Jenny,” Tina sighed. “Shaun and Bev.”

Jenny turned to the blonde and smiled sweetly. “That’s what I said.”

“Will you just think about it?” Aaron prodded. “Just because it didn’t happen in real life it doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the movie. This is Hollywood, we can do whatever the fuck we want.”

“You seem to forget that Bev and Nina are together,” Tina said and tried hard to not get up, reach her arms across the table and wring his neck, even if Jenny could be equally annoying and happened to sit next to her.

Aaron shrugged. “She cheats with the plumber!”

“I like the idea of Bev as the serial cheater,” Jenny nodded in agreement.

Tina, however, did not agree. “No, it doesn’t make sense! It undermines the significance of her affair with the plumber.”

“Now, this might be crazy,” Aaron said, “but what about Nina and Shaun?”

“No!” Jenny exclaimed, her eyes open wide, as she stood up from her chair and bent forward to glare at him. “No! Nobody ever wants to see Tina having sex! Ever! No one will ever go to the film!”

“It’s not about what people wanna see…” Tina started, not even bothering to try to correct her this time, but Jenny interrupted her by picking up her script, rolling into a tube and hitting the table with it to get attention.

“You’re…” she said and pointed from Tina to Aaron. “You’re trying to ruin my movie! I’m the writer here, you two are… not. Okay?” When the others just stared dumbfounded back at her, she decided to continue. “What about Bev and Helen?”

“Now, that I like, that’s hot,” Aaron nodded.

“Jenny, that would never happen,” Tina said, letting out a big sigh. “They’re too much alike.”

“Okay, but they’re not having a relationship, Tina. They’re just fucking.”

“I don’t buy it.”

Jenny sat back down on her chair and crossed her arms over her chest. “Well, no one cares what you buy, okay?”

* * *


Half an hour after Shane and her brother had arrived at WAX, Shane walked out of the store with her phone in her hand, trying to decide on the right thing to do. She knew she had to call her father. He probably wouldn’t even answer the phone if what Shay said was true and he’d left the house earlier that week, but she still had to do it. She had no right not to, it didn’t matter how angry it made her that he could treat his own son that way and still have the nerve to call himself his father.

Another thing that worried her was that she had no way of knowing for sure what had really happened. She didn’t think Shay would ever purposely lie to her, but she still felt she needed to know what was going on. What if Gabriel hadn’t actually left? If he hadn’t, he was probably looking for him now, and he most likely already knew where he’d run off to. Still, if that was the case, she was surprised he hadn’t called her already.

She hoped that Shay had been honest with her, and that he hadn’t felt like he had to lie to get her to take him in and not just send him home, but at the same time, she hoped for the contrary. Just running away from home would be better than to have to go through what he just told her he had. No matter what was going on, she knew that something truly awful had happened to her brother; that much was obvious from just looking into his eyes.

Trying to clear her head a little, she looked over at him where he was skateboarding in the half pipe, and absentmindedly lit a cigarette. Exhaling a puff of smoke, she let her thoughts drift back to the conversation she’d had with Jenny the night before. Of course Shane wanted Shay to stay with them. There was nothing else in the whole world that she wanted more. But even if it was a beautiful dream, she was convinced it could never happen. They would never give Shay to someone with a past like hers, they’d never let her take care of him. Gabriel would always come first, no matter how many times he left him. And if they decided he wasn’t good enough as a father, they’d put Shay in foster care, and he’d have to go through the same thing as she had, or even worse. She couldn’t stand the thought of it.

“If you’re not busy, can’t you come and hang out for a while?”

Startled, she looked at Shay who seemed to have come from nowhere and was now standing right in front of her, holding his skateboard and looking at her expectantly. “Uh, yeah, sure,” she nodded and looked down on her cigarette that had almost burned all the way to the filter. “Just let me grab my board and I’ll be right there, okay?”

Shay’s interruption was a welcome break from all her thoughts, and she put out her cigarette and went back inside for a moment to get her skateboard. She knew she’d left it behind the counter the day before, but when she went to get it, it wasn’t there. “Weird,” she mumbled, glancing around inside the store, but she couldn’t see it anywhere. She would have asked Chase if he’d seen it if he hadn’t just left to pick up his boyfriend, but instead she decided to just borrow one of the others. She grabbed a helmet too, not exactly because she thought her head was worth protecting, but more because she didn’t feel like she could keep forcing her brother to use one if she didn’t as well.

With the helmet in one hand and the skateboard in the other, she walked back to her brother and watched him for a moment, wondering if this was the right time for her to try to talk to him about what had happened. But when she saw how happy he seemed now, she didn’t have the heart to bring it up.

* * *


Jenny parked her car outside of WAX and got out, still frustrated after her meeting with Tina and Aaron. It was her movie, she wrote the story, not them, and she knew what was best for it. She was going to have to spend the afternoon writing a scene that she didn’t even want in the film, but she supposed it could have been worse. Having Bev and Helen fuck each other was better than being forced to write about Nina and Shaun. Shaun was, after all, meant to be with someone else, and Nina was just… urgh.

She’d been walking towards the store lost in her own thoughts and hadn’t even noticed Shane and Shay were out in the half pipe, and she didn’t until she heard an imminent sound that made her look up at them.

“Ow!” Shane chuckled where she lay sprawled out on the ground, and Jenny hurried over to Shay who was standing next to her, looking down on her.

“Are you okay?” Jenny exclaimed and tried to figure out what had happened.

Shane nodded and sat up straight, trying to brush some dust off her clothes. “Yeah, I’m all right.”

“See?” Shay said patronizingly, with is arms crossed over his chest. “That’s why you’re supposed to wear a helmet.”

“I know that, Shay, that’s why I’m wearing one!” Shane sighed and Jenny reached out her hand to help her get back up on her feet. “This skateboarding thing is risky business.”

Her brother shook his head slowly and continued. “And that’s why old people shouldn’t do it.”

Shane’s jaw dropped. “Who are you calling old? I’m 29 and I’ve been doing this since before you were even born!”

Shay looked at her, seeming to try hard not to laugh. “Are you sure?”

“Oh God.” Jenny covered her face with her hands and looked at them through the gaps between her fingers. She’d just been standing there, watching and listening as they threw these little insults at each other, and she just didn’t know what to say.

“What?” they said in unison and turned to look at her instead.

“It’s just…” she shrugged, “sometimes it’s just so obvious that the two of you are related.”

Shane and Shay smiled at each other and she took off her helmet, raking her hand through her hair that seemed even messier than usual. “Hey, go back to doing that thing you’re so good at, I gotta go talk to Jenny for a bit.”

“Okay, just don’t fall and hurt yourself,” he quipped and got back up on his board.

“Smartass,” Shane mumbled, but she still couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. They walked over to the wall, and when they reached it she put her board and helmet down on the ground and leaned against the wall, stretching out her arms.

“Did you—did you fall on purpose?” Jenny asked, smiling softly as she slipped her arms around Shane’s waist. “Did you fake it just to teach him to wear a helmet?”

“What?” Shane shot her an amused smile. “Fake it? I would never do that. When I fall, I fall for real.” She bit her lip, looking a little embarrassed at her girlfriend. “I guess, I just saw that you were here and I forgot what I was doing.”

“Oh!” Jenny exclaimed and bit her lip for a moment until she couldn’t hold her smile back any longer. “I’m sorry that you fell for me!”

Shane grinned back at her. “I’m not.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Hmm…” Shane licked her lips thoughtfully, her gaze locking with Jenny’s. “You can always kiss me and make it better.”

Jenny didn’t hold back one second too long; thanks to her high heeled shoes she didn’t have any problems reaching up to let her lips brush softly against Shane’s before giving her what she’d asked for.

Shane gave in to her as much as she dared to when her brother might be watching them, but Jenny soon broke away from her and stomped on the ground in frustration.

“You know, Tina is fucking driving…” she exclaimed, but Shane cupped her hand over her mouth and nodded in Shay’s direction.

“Jen…”

Jenny looked from Shane to Shay and then back again, frowning apologetically. “I’m sorry! I forget.”

“Look,” Shane replied with a small smile as she recalled the first time she’d had to do what she just did. “As long as you don’t try to teach him to say that Tina Kennard is a fucking cunt. What did she do anyway?”

“She’s just…” Jenny shrugged. “She’s being Tina!”

“Jenny, come on. Be nice.”

“But she’s trying to ruin my movie. I have to write a scene about Helena and Bette having sex.”

Shane raised her hand to rub at her nose and Jenny still held her close enough to feel her shaking. She looked questioningly into her eyes and noticed they were full of glittering tears.

“You can’t be serious!” Shane suddenly burst out laughing. It wasn’t so much the idea that seemed funny to her, but that fact that every time Jenny mixed up the characters’ names when she was talking about her movie – something that seemed to happen more and more often lately – it just cracked her up and she couldn’t help it. Jenny never even seemed to notice she was doing it.

“Well…” Jenny shrugged. “That was actually my idea. Tina wanted something way worse. She wanted Nina to sleep with Shaun!”

“But that could be hot,” Shane smiled impishly and Jenny rolled her eyes at her before giving her shoulder a playful nudge.

“Sometimes you’re so full of shit.”

“I, uh…” Shane said quietly, her inner struggle from earlier popping back up in her head. She knew she needed Jenny’s help if she was ever going to be able to decide what to do about it all. “Can I talk to you about something?”

Jenny nodded, so she tried to find the right words to explain what was torturing her so much. “I have to call Gabriel, even if he doesn’t answer the phone. I tried before you got here but I couldn’t make myself do it. I mean, I don’t want to do it, but it’s going to reflect badly on me if I try to keep Shay here when I have no right to. No matter what Gabe’s done to him.” Her thoughts were a mess and she wasn’t sure if what she was saying made any sense at all, but Jenny had a way of understanding her most of the time, even if she didn’t herself.

“Well, we can sort that out right away,” Jenny said and took the phone out of her bag, then dug her other hand into the pocket of Shane’s jeans and pulled up hers. “It doesn’t have to be that complicated.”

“Wait, Jen.” Shane swallowed and looked from the cell phones in Jenny’s hands to the determined expression on her face as she pressed the small buttons. “What are you doing?”

“Shhh…” Holding her own phone to her ear, Jenny placed her index finger over her lips as she listened. Shane’s face seemed to grow paler for every second that passed as Jenny waited for someone to pick up on the other end. When no one did, she ended the call and handed Shane’s phone back to her. “No one home. Just like Shay said.”

Shane covered her face with her hand, rubbing her nose and then reaching up to pull it through her hair while she shook her head slowly. “Jenny, I swear to God, one of these days you’re gonna give me a heart attack.” She let out a deep breath and wrapped her arms around Jenny, pulling her close and burying her face in her long dark hair. “But thank you. I don’t think I would have ever been able to do that no matter how hard I tried.”

“It’s okay.” Jenny stroked her hand over her back, sorry that she’d freaked her out so badly when all she wanted to do was help her get it over with. “Even if he sees that I called, he’s not going to know it’s me, that number isn’t listed.”

“What would you have done if he’d picked it up?” Shane asked quietly into Jenny’s ear.

“Just said something random in French, I guess. He doesn’t speak French, does he?”

A dry chuckle escaped Shane’s lips and she shook her head slowly. “I doubt it. Jesus Christ.”

Jenny loosened her arms around Shane’s neck and moved her hands to her shoulders, gently pushing her back so she could see her face again. She still seemed a bit freaked out and Jenny made a mental note to start actually warning Shane before she executed one of her whimsical plans. “You’re really that afraid of him?” she asked softly, brushing away some hair from Shane’s eyes.

“I’m afraid of what he can do to Shay, and I don’t…” Her voice trailed off, and she looked into Jenny’s eyes as if she was hoping she’d be able to read her mind so she wouldn’t have to say the words out loud. “I don’t want to give him a chance to hurt him again.”

“You could get a lawyer.”

“We talked about this last night. And I can’t afford that.”

“I can afford it,” Jenny stated matter-of-factly and she wished Shane wouldn’t argue with her even though she knew her well enough to know she would.

Shane just shook her head even if she couldn’t help but smiling a little. “That’s your money, Jen, not mine.”

“But I’m going to make lots of it working on the movie,” Jenny continued stubbornly, “and it’s not as if I’m poor as it is. Look, Shane, we’re in a relationship now, and we’re supposed to share things. If the roles were reversed you would be saying the exact same thing, and you know it. And this is important, it’s not like you’d be asking me for money so you could go and buy five tons of bubble wrap. He’s your brother and he means everything to you.” She paused for a moment to take a deep breath. “Please, if you want to do this, don’t let money be an issue. Shay’s what matters, and he’s happy here.”

“He would be the happiest if he could live with his parents. If they could actually take care of him.”

“But they can’t. And you’re so good with him. You’re his sister and his friend and his parent, all at the same time, and I don’t even know how you manage to do that, but even I can see that’s just what he needs. He needs someone who’ll love him and be there for him always, no matter what happens, and that’s exactly what you do.” Jenny paused as she saw a tear fall from Shane’s glittering eyes, and she raised her hand to wipe it away. She didn’t mean to make her cry, but her tears were even more proof that she was right about what she was saying. “I think he could have such a great life with you. With us. And he really does love you. Even if he thinks you should stay away from the half pipe.”

Shane smiled in spite of the tears that trailed down on her cheeks. Turning her head a little to glance over at the half pipe, she saw that Shay was still there practicing, and he didn’t seem to pay much attention at all to what they were up to. After she’d assured herself that her brother was fine she turned back to Jenny, pulled her close and kissed her forehead. “He likes you too, you know,” she said softly.

“He just thinks I’m weird!” Jenny giggled.

“Maybe he does but…” She paused for a moment for no other reason than just wanting to look at her for a moment. Even if she tried for the rest of her life, she couldn’t imagine that she would ever be able to think of a single thing about her that she didn’t love more than life itself. Every time she thought her world was falling apart, Jenny seemed to have her own little ways of gluing it back together in one piece again. “You’re the cute kind of weird,” she continued, “and I love you for that.”

“I love you too. And I know that this is your decision to make, and I’m not going to try to talk you into doing anything you don’t want to do, okay? I just want you to know that I’ll support you in every way that I possibly can, no matter what you decide.”

“I have to talk to Shay about it. I know he’s a kid, but I can’t make a decision that’ll have such a huge effect on his life without hearing what he has to say about it first.” She bit her lip as bits and pieces of memories from her own childhood flashed before her eyes for just a moment. “No one ever asked me how I felt about anything, and even if they had, I doubt they would have cared about what I had to say. I don’t wanna do that to him, it’s his life. And there are just no guarantees that they’ll even let him stay with us, you know that. I don’t know if I can take that risk. I don’t… I don’t think I have the right to.”

“Shane, there’s no one, no one, I promise, that would be better for him than you. I know we can make them see that. All they have to do is look at the two of you together.”

“Thank you,” Shane said sincerely, hoping with all her heart that Jenny would be right.

Jenny glanced at her watch and reluctantly let go of Shane. “You think you’ll be okay? Or do you need me to stay a while?”

“I’ll be fine, I should probably get back to work.”

“Okay, ‘cause I need to get back to the house and work on that stupid scene, and I thought I’d start taking the rest of my things out of my old room so Shay can feel more like it’s actually his. And I know it looks a bit girly right now but maybe later we can do…”

“Jenny, you’re serious about letting him have your room?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Jenny frowned. “I have barely used it for two months, it’s just there and it has my things in it, but I’d rather stay with you. It feels like that’s how it should be. And it’s only fair that he should have a place that he can call his own and a door that he can close when he needs to.”

“I agree,” Shane said, brows furrowed. “But I thought I should be the one to give up my room, not the other way around. He’s my brother, you shouldn’t have to do that.”

Jenny smiled and shook her head a little. “I don’t mind. I just want him to be happy.”

“You’re a star, Jen, you know that?”
End Notes:
"Remember that even when you feel
crushed by the weight of the world
there's someone out there who loves you

Things aren't random
Maybe everything is inevitable"


- "Daybreak" by Ayumi Hamasaki
Translation by Wataru
Chapter 6 - part of Me by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
"Things aren't random - Maybe everything is inevitable"
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - part of Me
“We’re gonna have to keep going with this tomorrow, aren’t we?”

Shane glanced across the store and frowned at the mess they’d made. Boxes and bags of pretty much everything they had in the shop were now on the floor being sorted and counted by Shane herself, Chase, their employees and Alice who volunteered to help.

“Looks like it,” Chase sighed and scribbled down some numbers on a piece of paper.

“That means we’re not going to the gym tomorrow, doesn’t it?” Alice asked from behind the counter where she was sorting through a bunch of spray-paint cans. “On a second thought, maybe we should ask Tina to come over here instead, some of these things are pretty heavy. It’ll be an even better workout just hanging out here.”

Shane laughed and carried a box of hairspray bottles over to her and nodded at her to take them. “There’s some more you can count,” she said. “You know, I really don’t want you to feel like you have to come here tomorrow, you don’t even work here but I appreciate it a lot that you’re helping out. And I somehow doubt Tina’d be up for it, but you could always ask.” She added the last part with a lopsided grin and turned to walk back over to Chase.

“That guy has fucking issues, man.” Chase told her as she helped him open one of the boxes. “He said he was gonna kill me.”

Shane froze and just stared at him, trying to figure out if he was messing with her or not. “For firing him?” she asked. She hadn’t seen much of the new guy Chase had hired because she didn’t work with him, and he hadn’t been around for long since Chase caught him pretty quickly.

“Yup.”

“Jesus Christ.” Shane raked a hand through her hair and glanced over at Alice to see if she’d heard what he’d just said, but it didn’t seem like it. “You called the cops though, right?”

Chase shook his head slowly, looking up at her. “I’m going to when I know how much is missing. I don’t think he’s to blame for everything, but still.”

“Well,” Shane chuckled, “not that it matters much, but I think that asshole stole my board.”

“Should I write that down too?”

They grinned impishly at each other for a moment, and Shane shook her head. “Hey, Al!” she hollered over her shoulder at Alice who still stood behind the counter with a puzzled expression on her face. She seemed to have no idea whatsoever what she was doing there and she probably needed a break. “I’m going out for a smoke, you wanna come with?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” she groaned in response and hurried around the counter to join her. “This is so fucking boring! Remind me to never ever even think of owning a store, will you?”

Shane let a quiet chuckle escape her lips as they headed outside and a proud smile soon spread on her face when she saw Shay showing off his skills in the half pipe to no one in particular. He probably hadn’t seen them yet, and Shane thought if possible, he did even better when he thought no one was watching.

“You really missed him, didn’t you?” Alice said quietly when she saw the look on her friend’s face. Shane had seemed a lot happier than usual lately, but that look, right now, was more than just happy. It was as though her life was somehow complete.

Shane nodded slowly, not taking her eyes off her brother, and she gave him an encouraging nod and smile when he finally noticed her. “Yeah, I just hope this time he’s here to stay.”

Alice half expected her to go on, and when she didn’t, she decided to bring up the topic she’d been dying to talk to her about the whole day. “I wanted to tell you something,” she said and bit her bottom lip.

“Yeah?” Shane replied, placed a cigarette between her lips and lit it. “You want one?”

“Sure, why not?” She took one from the pack in Shane’s hand and borrowed her lighter. “Thanks. You’re such a bad influence.”

“Right,” she chuckled. As far as she was concerned, Alice was an adult capable of making her own decisions. “So, what’s up?”

“Well, last night when I was at The Planet, when you were too busy to go with me, I ran into Tasha.”

“You did?” Shane asked, bracing herself for what was to come. “Is that—is that a good or a bad thing?”

“It’s good!” Her voice turned squeakier than usual, like it did when she was either happy or upset, and her lips formed a shy smile. “She told me she hoped she’d see me there. So we talked for a while and it turns out she… she quit.”

Shane raised an eyebrow at her and blew out a cloud of smoke. “What?”

“The whole army thing. She gave it all up.”

“But that was why you broke up in the first place, because she couldn’t be with you if…”

“Exactly!” Alice exclaimed. “But she decided that what we had was more important than that and she wants us to try again. So we’re going to give it another shot.”

“That’s great,” Shane said and shot a smile at her friend, but it soon turned into a frown. “So how come she didn’t have lunch with us today? Why were you even there?” She tilted her head to the side and peered at her in a way that made Alice feel like an idiot. “Why are you here?” she continued. “Shouldn’t you be…”

“We’re taking things slow this time, Shane, so no. We didn’t spend all night fucking each other’s brains out, even if I wanted to. You know how she is, but it’s good. I think we can make it work.”

“And this happened last night.”

“Yeah, I just said that,” Alice sighed.

“Just checking, ‘cause now it’s like, what?” Shane picked up her cell phone to look at the clock. “Almost 7 pm.” She put the phone back in her pocket and placed her hand on Alice’s forehead, looking at her concernedly. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Alice frowned at her, taking her cigarette out of her mouth. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Well, because…” Shane chuckled and shot an amused smile her way. “It happened last night and we met for lunch. And you’ve been here for a while and you still didn’t tell me this until now.”

“Fuck you, “Alice muttered and it only made her friend laugh harder.

“Maybe you’re cured!” Shane grinned, taking a drag off her cigarette. Maybe if Alice had stopped gossiping, which she somehow doubted, she would leave her and Jenny alone for a while. Touch wood.

“So, what’s this thing going on with you and Jenny?”

Shane looked up at her, her brows furrowing. So much for that thought, she shouldn’t even be surprised at this point. “What about us?”

“Oh, come on,” Alice replied and wiggled her eyebrows at her. “You seem like you’re pretty close these days.”

“We’re close. You know that.” Shane frowned and rubbed at her nose. “We’ve always been close. It’s Jenny, come on.”

Luckily enough for Shane, Chase’s voice called out from inside the store. “Shane?” he yelled. “Can you come over here for a sec?”

“How convenient,” Alice muttered and rolled her eyes.

Shane stubbed out her cigarette; not knowing then that it was going to end up being her last. She went back inside with Alice in tow, to see what Chase was yelling about. He was standing by the counter, leafing through a binder. “What’s going on?” she asked him and looked down at the pages as he turned them.

“I’ve been looking through all of them today and I can’t find the lists that I need,” he replied. “Did you guys take any of them?”

“Um, nope,” Shane shrugged. “We wrote everything down on paper and I figured I’d put it in there when we were done. It’s not back there?” she asked, nodding toward the office in the back.

“I looked, but I could have missed it. In fact, I think we’re missing a whole binder and without it we’re pretty screwed. Give me a hand?”

“Sure,” Shane agreed and gestured for Alice to come with them. Before she followed Chase to look for the missing binder, she shot a glance at the half pipe, making sure Shay was still there. On their way toward the back of the store, Chase gathered the others and soon all five of them were in the office, looking questioningly at him while he explained what the problem was.

Shane sat down on the desk and placed her lighter and her pack of cigarettes on it. She already knew what Chase was going to say, so she let her thoughts wander away to a much more interesting topic called Jenny. If it was already 7 pm, she would probably show up soon. Shane closed her eyes, feeling Jenny’s warm skin against her own; their hours together the night before still fresh in her memory. If she could only be back in bed with her, even if it was just to sleep…

“Seriously, Shane,” Alice sighed and kicked at Shane’s right foot. She laughed when her friend opened her eyes, looking like one big question mark. “Jenny needs to get over here right this second with that coffee or you’re gonna sleepwalk through the rest of this.”

“We have coffee here, you know,” Shane mumbled crankily. “It’s just that it tastes better when Jenny makes it.”

Chase caught their attention when he raised his voice a little and raked a hand through his hair. “Are you guys sure you didn’t take it?”

“Dude,” came from one of the guys whose name was Eric. “I haven’t touched a single one of them.”

“Right,” Shane said and got up; she needed to move around for a bit or she was really going to fall asleep. “If no one touched it, it’s gotta be in here somewhere, so if you really need it we should just look through all of them until we find the right one. Right?” Unless that idiot stole that too, she added in her head.

The others agreed and they finally stopped talking and started doing something about the problem instead. Shane was beginning to think she’d really had enough, all she wanted to do was get the hell out of there and go home. Looking for a lost binder was not exactly her job or her idea of fun. If she could at least go back out there and count some bottles of shampoo, even that would be an improvement.

Just as she was about to tell Chase she was going back out into the shop to keep working on what she’d been doing before and to check on Shay, something caught her attention. A smell that in no way belonged in a skateboard shop.

“Do you smell that?” she asked Alice who stood next to her. Alice shook her head at first, but when Shane saw her eyes widening, she knew she wasn’t imagining it. “Fuck!” she exclaimed and tried to peer through the keyhole to see just how bad the news really was. She could see flames but they weren’t close enough yet, so she assumed it would be safe to open the door.

“The place is on fire, we gotta get out of here!” she yelled and dared to push the door open, slipping out into the store while covering her face with her arm. She looked back to make sure the others were following, even though she heard them uttering various profanities when they saw the flames and the billowing clouds of smoke.

The fire seemed like it had only just started and it wasn’t yet as bad as she’d imagined, but she had a feeling it would be soon. She kept close to the floor as she tried to usher her friends past her and on the fastest way back outside, and she silently thanked God that Shay hadn’t been inside with them. Unless… A frightening thought occurred to her when she got closer to the doors. If Shay had been outside and he’d seen the place catching fire, would he have stayed outside, or tried to get help? Or would he have gone inside to try to help them himself?

Her fears made her quicken her pace until she finally reached the half pipe where she’d seen her brother what couldn’t be more than fifteen minutes ago. Now all she could find was his skateboard and helmet. “Shay!” she shouted, her heart starting to hammer in her chest as she looked around in every possible direction, searching for a sign of where he might be. She picked up the skateboard she’d given him earlier that day and walked closer to the burning building. “SHAY!” she yelled again on the top of her lungs and when she heard his voice shouting back at her from inside the skateboard shop, her whole world seemed to crumble and fall. It didn’t matter why he was there. All she wanted was to get him out.

With Shay’s board in her hand, Shane turned around and ran over to Alice who was standing behind the fence waiting for her. “Take this,” she said and handed her the skateboard while digging in her pocket with her other hand. She pulled out her cell phone, putting it in Alice’s hand and her friend just stared at her.

“What?”

“And then you call 911 and get help and…” Shane continued and put the hood of her jacket over her head. It might help her keep her face covered.

Alice put her hand on her arm and stared at her in horror. “Shane, what the fuck are you doing?”

“I’m getting him out of there.”

“Are you insane?!” Alice yelled right in her face. “You’re not going back in there!”

“I don’t fucking have time for this, Alice!” Shane shouted back, her green eyes turning a darker hazel shade as she glared at her friend. “Get help and then call Jenny and tell her to not come here whatever the fuck she does. Lie if you have to, but I don’t want her anywhere near this place, tell her to stay home!”

“Shane!” Alice retorted and grabbed her arm, holding it in a firm grip and hoping she would be strong enough to hold her friend back.

Shane pulled her arm, trying to get loose. “Fucking let go of me!” she hissed through gritted teeth.

Chills ran down Alice’s spine when she saw the furious look on Shane’s face and she immediately loosened her hold on her. “What the fuck…” she mumbled as Shane headed back toward the fire.

Chase put his cell phone back in his pocket after calling 911 while he walked over to the blonde. “Al, she would never have listened to you. She’d probably have decked you if you hadn’t let her go and you know she wouldn’t have let us go with her either. He’s her brother, keeping him safe is all she cares about.”

“Well, she’s going to get herself killed,” she murmured and hoped she would be wrong. She suddenly remembered what Shane had asked her to do and flipped through the phone book in Shane’s phone until she found Jenny’s number. She didn’t have a chance to press the “Call” button before she heard the sound of something hitting the ground followed by a familiar voice behind her.

“Oh my God,” Jenny said quietly, and Alice turned around to see her standing there, her mouth covered with her hand. Her bag lay on its side by her feet. “Oh my God,” she repeated. “What happened? Where’s… SHANE!”

When Jenny saw Shane disappearing behind the flames, she tried follow, but Alice put her arms around her and swore to herself that she was not going to let go this time, no matter how much Jenny kicked and screamed. She tried to explain to her what had happened, that Shay was inside and that they’d called for help that would be there soon, but Jenny wouldn’t hear any of it.

Warm tears welled up in Jenny’s eyes as she stared at the flames, and she silently wondered if she would ever see her best friend, lover, and soulmate again.
End Notes:
"I sometimes wonder if we lived
Sharing one life long before we were born
Because I feel your heart so close to me now
Though our bodies are apart

Always, always I hear your voice
Calling my name
Please don't cry any more
I know what you are feeling

Because we desire the same happiness
We keep the same wound in our hearts

Again and again I shout
Not to forget you at any time
Please don't cry any more
I won't leave you alone

I'll protect you forever
I'll think of you
Even if time may change everything
I'll think of you

I sometimes wonder if we will live
Sharing one life if we are born again"


- "part of Me" by Ayumi Hamasaki
Translation by Masa
Chapter 7 - Pieces of a broken dream by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Shane goes to look for Shay.
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - Moments
Chapter 7


The heat was unbearable. Holding her breath and with smoke stinging in her eyes, Shane tried to find her way through the flames inside the burning building that only minutes ago had been her workplace. She figured in another thirty minutes, all of it would be gone.

Shay was somewhere inside, and she had to find him before that happened. She’d heard his voice over the noise from the fire but it was impossible for her to tell exactly where he was. “Shay!” she yelled again and began to cough as she drew smoke back down into her lungs, but that didn’t stop her when she got no reply. “Shay? Where are you?” Tears welled up in her eyes, both from the irritating smoke and from fear of losing her brother.

“Shane!” She suddenly heard his voice coming from somewhere outside the bathroom and when she looked over there, she saw him sitting on the floor, covering his face with a t-shirt.

‘Good boy,’ she thought and her lips formed a relieved smile in spite of everything. “Stay where you are!” she yelled, covering her own face with her right arm again and tried to find the closest and safest way to get to him. The skin on her face was stinging and almost felt like it had caught fire but there was nothing she could do to keep the heat from getting to her other than trying to stay as low as possible. All she knew was that she needed to get Shay out of there fast before it was too late for both of them.

Shane hurried forward between racks of burning clothing; she didn’t have much of a choice, there was no other way to get across the room. She saw him more clearly now, even if the smoke was getting thicker, and he seemed unharmed. As she stopped for just a moment to determine what direction to take through the smoke and flames, she opened her mouth to shout to him again, but no sound came out and instead she began to cough more violently than before.

She tried to ignore the heat in her throat and lungs as she fought hard to take a breath - just one, that was all she could allow herself - and she stumbled through the smoke in Shay’s direction. When she reached him she resisted the urge to just wrap her arms around him, hold him, and never let him go. Getting him out of there was more important for the time being.

“Are you okay?” she asked him and when he nodded she continued, pausing between every few words to cough. The irritating feeling in her throat would not go away, but she could worry about that later. “Close your eyes and keep your face covered. And if I tell you to run, you run. Don’t look back.”

Shay nodded again and she picked him up, heading back out toward the flames to try to find the safest way out. It was difficult for her to carry him and she couldn’t imagine that he’d be that heavy all of a sudden, especially not since he seemed to have lost weight the last few months, so there had to be something wrong with her. Her whole body felt so heavy and everything around her was starting to look blurry. Still, she refused to put him down. She wanted him to keep covering his face and he couldn’t do that if she let him go.

As they got closer to the exit, Shane felt her arms starting to go numb, and as much as she hated herself for it, she had to put her brother down or she would drop him. She slowed her pace and everything seemed as if it was happening in slow motion. She eased him down on the floor and when he removed the t-shirt from his face and looked questioningly into her eyes, she yelled at him to run just like she’d said she would.

She followed as closely behind him as she could but even though she allowed herself to breathe more often as they got closer to the doors, it was becoming harder and harder for her to do it. Every time she took a breath, it felt like it had no oxygen in it, and it probably didn’t. The smoke wasn’t as thick when they got out of the store, but it was still enough to cause problems for her.

She had nearly reached the half-pipe when she heard a strange noise somewhere behind her and it was almost immediately followed by a searing pain in her left arm. It made her lose her balance and before she had time to react, the ground seemed to disappear beneath her feet only to come crashing towards her and the world around her faded to black.

* * *


When Shay reached the group standing a safe distance from the store, Alice put her arms protectively around him to make sure he didn’t turn around and head back toward the fire and his sister who had just risked her life to get him out of there. A while after Shane left to go and find him, Jenny had calmed down enough for Alice to dare to let go of her, but now Jenny and Chase were on their way back toward the burning shop and all the running back and forth, and the situation in itself, was making Alice sick with worry. She watched them as they ran and hoped they’d soon be back and have Shane with them. Unharmed.

They’d seen both of them emerge from the smoke and flames, first Shay and then Shane, and they’d watched in shock as she suddenly fell and disappeared behind the half-pipe without getting back up again.

Jenny was the first to reach Shane and she found her lying motionless, face down on the ground. Chase soon caught up with her and shook his head when Jenny tried to help him move her.

“It’s okay, I got her.” He’d rolled her over on her back and into his arms, and soon they were hurrying back to the others, away from the spreading fire.

“Oh my god,” Jenny exclaimed after they stopped a while after passing through the fence and Chase put her unconscious girlfriend down on the ground again. She stared at the big crimson spots that covered the left side of Shane’s grey hoodie. “Is that blood?” she asked him and tried to swallow the lump in her throat, not sure that she really wanted him to answer her.

He took a look at them and shook his head. “I’m pretty sure it’s paint.”

“Paint?” Alice asked confusedly and tried to get a look at it. Shay slipped out of her embrace, the skateboard Shane had given him earlier that day held tightly to his chest as he sat down next to his sister, looking completely heartbroken.

“Yeah,” Chase nodded, “could have come from one of the spray-paint cans. But it’s not blood.“

Alice remembered the paint cans that she and Shane had been sorting through on the counter but she had no idea how any of it could have ended up on Shane’s clothes when she’d gone to get Shay.

Jenny joined Shay by Shane’s side and eased her into her arms, desperate to bring her back to life. She wasn’t dead, but seeing her like that, pale under the layer of soot from the fire, barely breathing, made Jenny fear that maybe she wasn’t that far from it. “Shane, please, wake up…”

The skin on the right side of Shane’s face was bleeding a little, so were her right hand and both of her knees, Jenny noticed. Shane’s ripped jeans were even more torn now and Jenny caught herself staring at the small bloodstains on them. She had just grazed her skin when she fell and it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but Shane’s blood was supposed to be inside her, not where Jenny could see it.

“Please, Shane, please open your eyes,” Jenny pleaded, gently stroking her hand over Shane’s uninjured cheek and ignoring the tears that had begun to trickle down her own. It scared her more than words could say that life could suddenly change so drastically. Only a few hours ago, they’d been right there at WAX, so happy even in spite of the things Shane was going through at the moment. Would she ever see Shane smiling again? Hear her laugh? Feel her… “Please, Shane…” she said again, an involuntarily sigh escaping from her lips.

“Five more minutes…”

The words were barely audible but they caused Jenny to let out something that was both a giggle and a sob at once and she smiled at Shane in relief. “Shane, it’s not morning. But you do need to wake up.” Chase and the others couldn’t help but chuckle a little at her either, but they soon stepped back to give them some space.

Shane began to cough and tried to use her left hand to push her back up straight, wincing at the burning pain that shot through her upper arm. The memories of what had just happened were flashing before her eyes and her heart began to pound harder and harder in her chest when she remembered why she’d gone back inside in the first place.

“Where’s Shay?” she asked hoarsely before the next coughing attack hit her.

“He’s right here,” Jenny replied, placing a soft kiss on her forehead and pointing at Shay who sat right next to her, on her other side.

“He okay?” Shane asked while she turned around to look at him and she let out a deep sigh of relief when she saw that he was really there. She attempted to put her right arm around him but the pain in her hand seemed to want to remind her that it might not be the best idea right now. It bothered her that she couldn’t remember why it hurt, some parts of what had happened still appeared to be missing from her memory.

Shay put his hand on her back instead and nodded slowly. “I’m okay.” He couldn’t shake the feeling that it was somehow his fault that his sister was hurt. If he hadn’t been inside, she wouldn’t have had to come and get him, and none of this would have happened.

“Yeah, he’s fine. It’s you we’re worried about.” Jenny resisted giving in to the sudden impulse to ask her why on earth she’d done what she did. She didn’t need to. She already knew and she was also fairly certain that even if she’d done it because Shay was the most important person in her life, she would have done the exact same thing if it had been her or Alice who’d been trapped in the fire. That was just who she was. Always putting everyone else before herself.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Shay began to cough and Shane turned to look at her for a moment, panic written all over her face. Jenny realized Shane hadn’t looked at her with her eyes fully opened since she woke up, and that was why she hadn’t noticed how red they were until now. She blamed it on the smoke, but everything, everything was just so completely wrong. None of it was supposed to happen, and yet it had, and she didn’t know what to do about it.

A moment later Shay stopped coughing again but Shane didn’t calm down. He seemed to notice that, and he looked at her intently, his expression deadly serious as he inspected the wound on her face with a slow nod. “See, Shane,” he said, “I told you, you should have worn a helmet.”

Jenny and Shane, being the only ones there who understood what he meant, just stared at him for a moment and then burst out laughing. Jenny realized that it felt both strange and amazingly relieving to be able to do that again, laughing together at something silly like that. At least until it triggered Shane’s cough again and Jenny tried to give Shay a smile that would tell him that while she knew he meant well, he probably shouldn’t make her laugh right now.

Shane moaned quietly and Jenny moved closer, wrapping her arms around her thin frame and holding her as tightly as she dared to. Shane just curled into a ball to rest her head on her knees. Holding her that close scared Jenny; it wasn’t until then that she heard the raspy noise when Shane tried to breathe. Tears started filling her eyes again. For a while she had thought Shane was safe, or as close to safe as she could be after what happened, but now she wasn’t sure anymore.

“They need an ambulance,” Jenny suddenly said to the others. She’d completely forgotten about everything but Shane and Shay, including their friends and the need for help. “Has anyone called 911?”

“Yeah,” Alice said, speaking up for the first time since Shane woke up. “Chase did right when you showed up, Jenny. They should be here any minute, you just need…”

‘Any minute’ wasn’t anywhere near good enough for Jenny. People she loved were hurt and they needed help now, not ‘any minute’. “What do I need, Alice?” she retorted, unable to stop herself from lashing out at her friend. “You know what I fucking need? I need someone to help her, she could be dying and you’re just standing there.”

Alice didn’t say anything. The whole situation reminded her all too much of when she lost Dana. She understood how Jenny felt and she couldn’t blame her. Watching Jenny sitting there on the ground with a barely conscious Shane in her arms had eerie similarities to how she and Dana had been the last few days of her life. It hurt in a way, that Jenny seemed to forget that Shane was her friend too, but as she thought about it, she realized that it wasn’t quite the same. Shane was to Jenny what Dana had been to her. They weren’t just friends like she and Shane were, somehow, there was more to it than that. What exactly that meant, she couldn’t quite comprehend at that moment; she had more important things to think about when she realized Jenny was yelling.

“You have to breathe, Shane! Please, I need you to keep breathing!”

“I am,” Shane coughed and Jenny looked panicked up at Alice who realized Shane must have stopped for a while for Jenny to react like that.

While she stood there, watching her friends and listening while Shane asked Jenny again where Shay was and if he was okay even though he was still sitting right next to her, Alice started to hear the sirens approaching and just as she was about to mention it, Jenny reacted too.

Alice walked over to talk to Chase for a while so they could both stay out of the way when the others got help and she found him staring at what used to be his skateboard shop that now looked more like a huge bonfire. The fire-fighters were already working on putting it out, but Alice doubted there’d be anything left of it in the morning.

“Is she okay?” he asked her and she shrugged hopelessly in response.

“I honestly can’t tell at this point. But it’s Shane, she’ll get through it.” She remembered something she’d meant to ask earlier, but it had slipped her mind with all that had happened. “I thought you had a smoke detector,” she said questioningly.

“We did,” Chase nodded slowly, his features not changing one bit as he answered her. “We had more than one.”

She raised an eyebrow and glanced confusedly back at him. “I never heard anything.”

“No one did,” he replied. “They never went off.”

“Oh.” Alice had a feeling somewhere in the back of her head that she should know what that meant, but she just had too many things on her mind to see it clearly. She didn’t have to ask about it, Chase’s boyfriend pointed it out to her before she had a chance to open her mouth.

“We think someone disabled them before they started the fire.”

“And they meant for all of us to die in it,” Chase continued. “They took something they knew we’d need so we’d have to go and look for it, and then they started all of this. And there’s only one person I can think of that would want to do that, and that would have a reason to.”

“That guy you fired?” Alice asked quietly.

Chase nodded. “Nick, yeah. I’m pretty sure it was him. It had to be someone who knew where everything was, and who had a chance to find out we’d be here tonight. I’m such a fucking idiot for not doing something about it when he threatened me, but I didn’t think that little shit actually meant it.”

Alice stayed and talked to them a while longer until she noticed that Jenny, Shane and Shay had been helped into an ambulance and she excused herself to go and talk to them before they left for the hospital.

A paramedic was trying to put an oxygen mask on Shane who sat up on a stretcher, and he wasn’t having much luck with it. Even though she looked like she was about to fall asleep at any moment, she kept shaking her head and telling him to leave her alone until he finally agreed to Jenny’s request to let her do it instead. She kissed Shane’s uninjured cheek and whispered something into her ear that Alice couldn’t hear, and a few seconds later Shane was wearing the mask after all.

Alice stood there, watching them in silence, and for the first time since the fire started, a small smile spread on her lips.
Chapter 8 - Close to you by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
"The more you pretend to be strong, I see your weakness"
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - kiss o' kill
Jenny paced impatiently around the waiting area at the ER; she’d circled the room for so long by now that she’d lost count of how many times she’d done it. She’d thought it impossible, but the tears were finally starting to dry on her reddened cheeks.

“Jenny…” Alice’s voice said softly from behind her and she stopped when she felt her hand touching her arm. “Maybe you should just sit down for a while and try to relax a little bit.”

She shook her head, biting her bottom lip as her eyes started to tear up again. “I can’t relax,” she whispered. “Not until I know that she’s okay. She has to be okay.” She nodded to herself and didn’t try to stop Alice when she gently wrapped her arms around her.

“She’ll be fine. She’s gone through a lot in the past and she survived that. Shane’s not going to let this take her down.”

Jenny opened her mouth to say something, but for once in her life she was all out of words. She heard what her friend was saying, but none of it seemed to hold any meaning to her. Alice was no doctor; there was no way she could know. The things she said were hopes and wishes, and Jenny needed fact and truth. She had to see for herself that Shane was all right and until she did there was no way she was going to calm down. Alice hadn’t been there with her in the ambulance as they drove to the hospital. She hadn’t seen how Shane got worse…

Alice cleared her throat and stepped back to look at her. “I don’t know if you heard it, but I talked to Helena and asked her to call the others and tell them what happened. They’re probably on their way already and they’ll be here soon.”

“Okay,” Jenny responded with a slow indifferent nod and she didn’t know for sure how long they stood there like that, but soon she heard familiar voices coming down the hall toward them. Jenny turned to see Helena walking over to them, followed by Max, Tom, Tina, Bette, Jodi and Kit with little Angelica in her arms.

“Phyllis keeps calling me and she’s driving me crazy! Crazy!” Bette gestured with her arms all over the place as she signed to Jodi and spoke loudly enough for the entire hospital to hear her. “She never should have left Joyce, she’s impossible to…”

“Bette,” Tina interrupted her, stopping to stand right in front of her and nodding just slightly in Jenny and Alice’s direction. “I don’t think this is what’s important right now. There’s lots of time for you to tell us about Phyllis. Later. If it matters that much to you.”

“It’s not about whether it matters to me or not, Tina,” Bette continued, not getting her point at all. “I shouldn’t be here right now, I have so much work to do and…”

Tina shook her head while Jodi just stood by Bette’s side, peering from one to the other. Bette had stopped signing and she couldn’t tell what was said between them only from reading their lips.

“If you have so much to do, maybe you shouldn’t be here,” Tina shrugged and turned her back on her ex to go and say hello to her friends. She gave Jenny a warm hug, deciding that their differences from that afternoon didn’t really matter after all.

Helena sat down next to Kit and Angelica on one of the couches and looked concernedly at Alice who hadn’t moved from Jenny’s side. “So, what happened? You didn’t tell me that much on the phone.”

“Well,” Alice started and the others moved to sit down too. “We were at WAX; Shane, Shay and Chase, and some of the guys. And we went to the back to look for something, and all of a sudden Shane told me the place was on fire.”

“Oh my God,” Tina said quietly and Alice decided to go on before anyone else decided to interrupt. She had to struggle hard enough to get the words out already, but she didn’t want to put that on Jenny. Besides, Jenny hadn’t even been there from the start anyway.

“We didn’t have any problems getting out, it was just that Shane couldn’t find Shay once we did. And I don’t know if she heard or saw him, but she realized he was still inside and went to get him out.” She paused for a moment, rubbing the back of her neck. She was exhausted and it was hard to remember what she was supposed to tell them when everything seemed to have started to melt together in her head. “And Chase and the guys are still there, they had to talk to the cops so they could get the guy who did it. They thought it was someone who used to work there.”

“Are they going to be okay? Shane and Shay?” Jodi was speaking and she directed the question at Jenny who had stood silent since they arrived.

She shrugged hopelessly and shook her head. “We don’t know, we… haven’t heard anything yet. Shay seemed okay on the way over here, but Shane…” Jenny closed her eyes as she remembered how Shane had passed out in the ambulance right before they reached the hospital, and she hadn’t seen her awake since then. She cleared her throat and tried to go on. “Um… I don’t think either one of them got burned, but Shane fell and hit her head and her knees and her hand and… She was coughing a lot, she must have inhaled some smoke…”

“Inhaled some smoke? That can’t be such a big deal considering all the smoke she inhales on a daily basis. I thought it was something serious.”

No one laughed, and Bette chuckled uneasily when she realized her attempt to be funny had backfired completely. Instead an uncomfortable silence spread through the group.

Jenny was the first to speak, and when she did her voice was barely more than a whisper even though inside there was nothing she wanted more than to scream at her neighbor. She just didn’t have the energy to. “I guess you don’t know, Bette, that smoke inhalation is the most common cause of death in fires. And it’s not something to laugh at.” A tear trickled down her cheek and she felt Alice’s hand on her back, rubbing it comfortingly.

Tom had translated the conversation for Jodi, and when she turned to her girlfriend the expression on her face was one neither of them had seen her show before. She was hurt and offended, and when she spoke, her voice was filled with disgust. “She’s right,” Jodi said out loud, shaking her head as Bette began to sign at her in frustration. “And Shane’s your friend.” The signing kept going between the two of them until Jodi seemed to have had enough and turned away from Bette, ignoring her completely and giving Jenny a warm smile instead.

Jenny did her best to smile back, then slipped out of Alice’s embrace and moved to sit down next to Kit – still with a sleepy Angelica in her lap – who hugged her and quietly explained that Angelica had followed them because Tina didn’t think there was much of a point in trying to find a babysitter on such short notice and that they’d only be able to stay for a while. Jenny didn’t know how to respond to that, so she just sat in silence while she saw her friends’ lips beginning to move again. It felt like she had somehow lost her ears or the ability to hear, and she wondered if that was how it felt for Jodi every single day. None of their words reached her, and she realized she didn’t even care. The numbness that had started to take her over made her question if she was ever going to care again.

Time passed but she seemed to have lost her sense of it, and she couldn’t be bothered to look at the clock on the wall across the room. If she were to do it only to discover that only five or ten minutes had passed since they arrived at the hospital, it would make her feel so much worse than she already did. The only thing she wanted was for someone to come and tell her Shane and her brother were okay. ‘Maybe I’m making things worse than they are?’ she thought and hoped with all her heart that she’d turn out to be right.

“Hey, Jenny?”

Alice had kneeled down in front of her and looked into her distant eyes, trying to get her attention. After a moment Jenny’s gaze met hers and acknowledged her presence, and Jenny shrugged uneasily, wondering how long she’d been sitting there.

“Look, I’m gonna go and call Chase and ask him what’s going on over there. I just thought I should let you know. Okay? Are you gonna be all right?”

Jenny nodded and Alice got up, giving her a quick hug before she walked over to the phone again.

“What’s with all the sad faces?”

At first Jenny thought she was imagining it, then she followed the impulse to turn her head around and saw Shane standing right behind the couch she sat on, resting one hand on Shay’s shoulder and holding the back of her neck with the other.

“Oh my God!” she squealed happily, her tears coming back for the millionth time that night. She hadn’t expected them to just walk out to them, she’d thought for sure the next time she saw them at least Shane would be in a hospital bed. It seemed like that was more what she needed though, her eyes were still red and she looked completely exhausted. At least now the wound on her cheek didn’t look as bad after they’d cleaned the blood off of it, and her right hand that lay limply on Shay’s shoulder had a bandage on it. Shay himself looked close to normal, and he still held his skateboard in a tight grip, making Jenny wonder if he’d had it with him in the exam room as well.

Jenny jumped out of the couch and ran up to her, wrapping her arms around her and holding her as tightly as she dared to. She felt Shane relaxing into her embrace, placing her good hand on her back and stroking it gently as she leaned her head against hers. Shane coughed over her shoulder, and while the others were probably relieved that she seemed to be somewhat all right, no one said anything and instead let them have their moment in private.

“Are you guys okay?” Jenny asked quietly and realized the second arm that wrapped around her just then wasn’t Shane’s at all. It could only be Shay’s and that made her tear up even worse. She moved her left arm from where it rested on Shane’s back and slipped it around him, hugging them both at once.

“They said Shay’s gonna be just fine,” Shane said hoarsely as she stepped back and smiled a little, but the way she said it didn’t do much to comfort Jenny at all.

“I’m glad he’s okay,” Jenny replied, stroking her hand over his back. “But what about you? Are you gonna be okay? Because the last time I saw you, you passed out in the ambulance.”

“Passed out?” Shane asked, her brows furrowing in confusion. “According to what they told me I fell asleep on the way over here but that’s it. I didn’t faint or anything. I was probably just exhausted ‘cause I still am. And I think I’m getting a headache. Look, I just wanna go home, take a shower and go to bed. Can we, please?”

Jenny was sceptical. She loved Shane, but she knew she would do anything to get out of the hospital; even trying to keep the truth from her if she thought it was necessary. She wouldn’t lie, she just wouldn’t tell her all the facts. “Shane, did they say it was okay for you to leave, or are you saying it?”

Shane never got a chance to reply, because Alice had just gotten off the phone and discovered they were there, so she ran over to them and pushed Jenny away a little so she could hug Shane and Shay. That made the rest of their friends get up and do the same, and Jenny found herself closed off from her for a while, but she didn’t mind. It was nice to see how genuinely happy they all were that they seemed okay, even Bette. Jenny realized that for some reason she hadn’t expected that after what she’d said earlier.

“Hey, do you guys need a ride home?” Alice asked. “I still have your bag in my car, Jenny.”

“Oh,” she said quietly when she remembered how she’d just left it outside of WAX and she thanked her for taking it with her.

They accepted the offer and everyone let the three of them leave quietly with Alice, understanding that Shane wasn’t up for any kind of small talk after what had happened that night. Alice managed to stay quiet all the way to her car, but then she decided it was time to tell her what she’d found out when she talked to Shane’s business partner.

“So, I called Chase and he said they caught him!” she exclaimed excitedly.

“Caught who?” Shane coughed, sitting in the backseat half asleep with Jenny’s arm around her. “Mick?” She hadn’t given it much thought up until that point, but in her mind, there was no other suspect than their former employee.

Alice frowned at her in the rear-view mirror. “I thought Chase said his name was Nick? The guy he fired… before the fire.” She giggled at her own bad joke and Shane smiled just a little.

“I barely even met him, Alice, I couldn’t bother to remember his name. You mean he did it?”

“Yup,” Alice nodded. “At least that’s what Chase said, and he told me about that before we left as well. But isn’t that great news?”

“What, that he burned down my store?” Shane asked dryly. “I would have preferred if he hadn’t.” She paused when she realized how cranky she sounded. “Look, Al, I’m sorry, but I’m just having a hard time looking at the bright side of life right now.”

“Don’t worry about it,” she replied and they all stayed silent for the rest of the drive to their house. After Alice pulled over to let them out, she got out of the car and gave Shane another hug. “Make sure you take care of yourself, okay? I’ll stop by tomorrow and check on you. And don’t argue with me on this.”

“Okay, I won’t.” Shane took a deep breath and let go of her friend, trying to smile at her without much success. “Thanks for the ride and everything.”

As Alice got back into her car and drove off, Jenny came back outside with Sounder in his leash and she told Shane she was taking him for a quick walk. After giving her a kiss on her cheek, Jenny hurried off and Shane went inside to look for her brother. She found him in the living room, still with his skateboard in his arms, a look of complete hopelessness clouding his young features and making him look older than his age.

Seeing him like that scared the hell out of her. Everything that had happened that night must have been at least ten times harder for him than it had been for her, and she just didn’t know what she could do to help him deal with it when she could barely stand on her own legs.

“Hey,” she said softly, trying not to startle him. “How are you holding up?”

He didn’t say anything, he just nodded and all of a sudden he wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly. “I thought you were gonna die,” he said so quietly she could barely hear him.

She slipped out of his embrace and sat down on the floor in front of him; she needed to rest her legs for a while, and when she did, he sat down too. She looked concernedly into his eyes, so similar to her own, that were quickly filling with tears. “Shay,” she said and shook her head, “I’m not gonna die.”

“You looked like you were,” he replied, his voice strained from trying hard to hold back a sob. “I don’t want you to go away too.”

Shane put her arms around him again, it felt like someone had put a knife through her heart and turned it around, and she had a feeling she’d done that herself somehow. Seeing him in so much pain hurt a thousand times more than her injuries from the fire ever could. “I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I just want you to be okay. But if you’re not, I want you to know that you can talk to me about it, it’s okay. I’m not gonna leave you, ever. You hear that?” She said the last words without fully realizing the decision she had finally made and she sat back to try to look at him through the tears that were welling up in her own eyes.

Shay nodded and for a moment she thought she’d gotten through to him. Until he opened his mouth to speak again. “If I hadn’t gone in there, you wouldn’t have been hurt.”

She began to realize what was really torturing him, but just as she was about to say something, she started coughing again and she hated herself for it even though she couldn’t help it. It was going to make it even harder to explain things to him and make him believe her. “Shay, none of this was your fault. You didn’t do that on purpose. And there’s no way I was just going to leave you in there. Don’t you know how much you mean to me?”

“I’m sorry,” he sobbed quietly.

“You have nothing to be sorry for. Nothing. You didn’t put the place on fire, some guy who used to work for us did. It wasn’t your fault, and we’re both okay. Don’t blame yourself for this, you have no reason to. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“Good,” she said, hoping he actually believed her this time, and she held him close until the door suddenly opened behind her and Jenny walked in with her dog.

“Hey you guys,” she said in a baby voice, not having switched back to her normal one yet after spending time with Sounder. “Why are you on the floor?”

Shane let go of her brother and smiled at him, trying to see if he really was okay after all, and when she decided that he seemed calmer now, they helped each other up. “No reason,” she said to Jenny before turning back to Shay.

“You wanna go to bed or do you wanna take a shower first? Or do you want anything?”

“Can I take a shower?” he asked, wrinkling his nose. “I kinda smell. You do too.”

“Yeah, I can imagine,” Shane chuckled. “Okay, you go first, and then we’ll get some sleep. I think I could sleep for a decade after tonight.” She let out a deep sigh, pulling Jenny close to hug her as Shay wandered off to the bathroom.

They stood there in silence, just holding each other for a while until Jenny remembered that she had to give Sounder something to eat, and Shane walked out on the back porch and sat down on the steps.

“Do you want some coffee?” Jenny said from the door after a while, holding up the thermos she’d prepared before she went to WAX and that she’d just retrieved from her bag. “I completely forgot about this.”

“Thanks, but I don’t think I should drink anything that’s gonna keep me up longer than necessary. I’m tired as hell and I need to actually sleep for once.” Sounder ran around happily playing by her feet, and after smiling at Jenny she offered him her undivided attention.

Jenny went back to the kitchen to clean up the thermos instead and when she was done she went back outside and sat down next to Shane, gently placing her hand on her shoulder.

“Shane, can we talk?” Shane turned her head to face her and nodded, and Jenny went on, all her concern slowly becoming visible in her eyes. “You weren’t supposed to leave the hospital, were you?”

Shane rubbed her eyes with the heel of her left uninjured hand and then shook her head slowly. “They didn’t think I should, no. They wanted me to stay for observation, but I… I couldn’t do that. I know this probably sounds dumb, but after everything that happened, I just wanted to be somewhere that… that I can feel safe.” She lifted her head to let her eyes meet Jenny’s and saw her biting her bottom lip. “I just wanted to go home. And you know the other reason, so…”

Her voice trailed off and Jenny wrapped her arm around her back, letting her head come to rest on her shoulder. “I know,” she said quietly. “I’m just worried that you’re not getting the help you probably need. You did not seem okay at all at WAX.”

“It’s really not that bad.” She knew she probably didn’t sound too convincing, especially not as she began to cough again at the end of her sentence, but at least she meant what she said. “I’ll be fine. They told me that… I was lucky. For someone who did what I did, I got away easily. And if for some reason it gets worse, I can just go back there.”

Jenny turned to look at her for a moment and she moved her hand a little so she could play with a lock of Shane’s hair. “Can you promise me that you will do that if you need to?”

“Yeah, I will. And they said we should take it easy and rest for a few days, and we’re gonna do that. I promise.”

“Thank you.” A sigh of relief escaped Jenny’s lips. She could finally relax at least a little; she knew that Shane wouldn’t break her promise to her. She might whine about it for a while, but in the end she’d keep her word.

Shane sighed too, using her good hand to try to pull Jenny closer without much success. She let go, placing her hand on her lap instead and Jenny glanced concernedly at her, but before she had a chance to say anything, Shane spoke. “I could really use a cigarette right now.”

“You probably shouldn’t…”

“No, I have to quit,” Shane said with a quiet chuckle. “They said that if I don’t after what happened, it might make things worse. But it’s okay, I was thinking about doing that already so now I just have to actually do it.”

Jenny smiled a little as she saw Shane raising her hand to let her fingertips play thoughtfully with her lips like she did sometimes when she wanted to smoke really badly. She lifted her own hand and took Shane’s left in her right one, lacing their fingers together and softly kissing the top of her hand before she let them down in her lap.

“You know what?” she then asked, stroking a few strands of hair away from Shane’s face.

“What?”

“If you have to quit, then I’m gonna quit.”

“You are?” Shane said, somewhat amused by Jenny’s sudden decision. “Jen, you don’t have to do that because of me. Unless that’s what you want.”

“I know, but I want to. It wouldn’t feel right if I kept doing it when you can’t. So I’m quitting! We can do this, don’t you think?”

“Yeah,” Shane said quietly. While she appreciated it, she somehow suspected that quitting on her own would be much easier than quitting with Jenny. Because Jenny without her cigarettes? She could just not see that ending well as far as her moods were concerned. It would be a good thing for her if she did quit though; Shane wanted her to be healthy and she’d give her all the support she could possibly need.

From inside the house, she could make out the faint sound of the bathroom door opening and she got up, out of habit trying to dust off her jeans that couldn’t possibly be any dirtier.

“Do you need help?” Jenny pointed at her right hand that she had the bandage on. “We could put a plastic bag over it while you shower, that way you don’t have to take it off.”

Shane raised an eyebrow as she looked at her; it took her a moment to clear her thoughts enough to realize what Jenny meant. “Yeah, yeah, okay. We can do that.”

“Okay.” Jenny left Shane standing by the backdoor and went to get a bag and some tape. When she found it, she came back to get her and Sounder, who Shane was trying to persuade to come back inside. “Sounder,” Jenny said in a baby voice, “come to mommy!” He immediately turned from where he was running around on the porch and ran over to her, licking her outstretched hand.

Shane shook her head and closed the door. “He doesn’t listen to a word I say.”

“Sure he does. He’s just a bit playful tonight because he was alone for so long. Aren’t you, Sounder? Aren’t you?”

Shane coughed a little and put her arm around Jenny’s waist as they left the kitchen and walked through the hallway on their way to the bathroom. She peeked into Jenny’s old room and saw that Shay was already in bed and seemed to be asleep. He was probably as exhausted as she was, and she decided she could talk to him some more in the morning.

“Is he okay?” Jenny whispered when she closed the door and Shane nodded a little.

“I hope so.”

“Come.” Taking Shane’s hand, Jenny nodded towards the bathroom door on the opposite side of the hallway. “We should hurry up so we can get you to bed. You look like you could use some rest.”

Shane followed her and once they were both inside, she closed the door behind them and used her uninjured hand to pull down the zipper on her hoodie. It took her a while to get it off as she tried to be as careful as possible so she wouldn’t do anything to make her hand or arm hurt more than they already did. Once she slipped out of it, she dropped it on the floor, not caring enough at the moment to hang it up somewhere, and she heard Jenny gasping next to her as she did so.

After taking off her own sweater, Jenny found herself staring at the big dark-blue mark that seemed to cover half of Shane’s left upper arm and she placed her hand over her mouth as she realized how much it must hurt. “Shane…” she whispered, horrified, and bit down hard on her lip. “How did that…? What…”

“I don’t know.” Shane tried to pull up the short sleeve of her white t-shirt to get a better look at the bruise. “I didn’t even see it until now. I just felt that it hurt a little before but I didn’t think it was such a big deal.”

“It looks like a big deal to me.” Jenny swallowed, taking a closer look. “And it looks like it would probably hurt more than just ‘a little’.”

Shane shook her head at her as she fiddled with the button on her jeans. “It’s fine, it’s not the end of the world. It’ll heal.” Just as Jenny reached out to help her get her pants off, she managed to unbutton them and slipped out of them, kicking them off on the floor.

It made Jenny worry even more when she saw the wounds and bruises on her knees, but she decided to leave it alone. At first she thought that it couldn’t be worse than a kid falling off his bike after all, because on their own, Shane’s injuries didn’t seem that bad. But when Jenny saw them all at once after Shane had finally managed to take all her clothes off, it started to really scare her. Even the Band-Aid on her arm where she guessed they’d drawn blood unnerved her a little. But she didn’t say anything; she just smiled encouragingly and helped her get into the shower.

“Wait, we forgot this,” Jenny suddenly said as she remembered the plastic bag she meant to cover Shane’s bandages with, and Shane turned around on the spot where she stood in the bathtub so that Jenny could help her put it on.

“This feels stupid,” she mumbled once Jenny was done putting tape around her arm and she frowned discontentedly at it while Jenny put the tape and scissors away and then came to join her in the shower.

“You didn’t think it was when you made Shay do it,” Jenny reminded her and gave her a quick kiss.

“That was different.”

Jenny was about to ask how exactly that was any different, but she decided not to. There was no point in arguing with her about something so insignificant, especially not now. At least now she had that thing on her hand anyway and Jenny reached past her to turn the shower on. She motioned for Shane to back away a little as she did so, wanting to make sure the water wasn’t too hot for her with the wounds she had all over her body.

“Do you think this is okay?” she asked, and when Shane nodded after letting the water touch her left hand, she traded places with her and picked up one of the bottles of shower gel.

Shane leaned her forehead and elbows against the bathroom wall, covering her face with her left hand to stop the drops of warm water that drizzled down on her tender skin from getting in her eyes and mixing with the tears than had begun to trickle down her cheeks. Seconds later she let go, curling her fingers into a fist and slamming it into the white tiles above her head.

Startled, Jenny realized Shane’s whole body was shaking and there was no time for any second thoughts. She hurried to her side, slipped her arms around her waist and tried to hold on to her without hurting her, only a moment before Shane’s legs collapsed beneath her. With tears welling up in her own eyes, Jenny did her best to steadily lower her down in the bathtub while Shane’s sobs grew more and more violent.

“I could have gotten him killed,” she cried, her voice getting higher for each word, and that alone sent chills down Jenny’s spine. She wasn’t used to her sounding like that, and even though she’d seen her cry a few times in all the time she’d known her, she’d never seen her fall apart like that.

“Shane…” she said as softly as she could in an attempt to calm her down, but she was without success. With her eyes shut, Shane pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead and shook her head, the water from the shower washing over her like warm rain. Jenny reached out her hand to turn it off; Shane’s eyes were irritated enough without the water getting in them.

“He could have died in there!” Shane’s eyes met Jenny’s for a moment before she started sobbing so hard that she began to cough again.

It hurt to look at her, both mentally and physically. Her pain was so apparent by just being in her close proximity that Jenny could feel it coursing through her own veins. It made her shudder, and though she knew it might be because she’d just turned the water off, it seemed far more likely to her that all the desperation in Shane’s eyes was what really caused it.

She wrapped her arms around her and seconds later she could feel Shane hugging her back as if she was holding on to her for dear life.

“I could have lost him, Jen…” Her voice was barely more than a whisper now, and Jenny gently stroked her back, trying to fight back her own tears. It was hard for her to not give in and start sobbing too, but she knew that if she did she would only make things worse for Shane; it would give her yet another thing to worry about.

“But you didn’t,” she managed to whisper into her ear, her fingers buried in the wet hair in Shane’s neck. “Shane, he’s fine. He’s asleep and he’s gonna be okay.”

Shane tried to shake her head again but couldn’t when Jenny pressed her cheek against hers. “He shouldn’t even have been there,” she sobbed, “he wouldn’t have been if—if I hadn’t taken him with me. It’s all fucked up now, they’re never—they’re never gonna let him stay with us after what I did… Last time he broke his arm, this time he got trapped in a fire. What’s it gonna be next time? I thought I could do this, but I can’t!”

“But you can!” Jenny exclaimed and pulled back to look into her eyes that were still red from the smoke. “Shane, you saved his life, don’t you see that? You risked your own life and you got him out and he’s safe now. And what did Gabriel do? He took off and left him in the house all alone, don’t you see how much better for Shay you are? If you try to get custody of him, then that’s what they’re gonna see. This is more proof than anything of how great his life would be if he got to stay with you. You love him more than you love yourself and you’d do anything for him, and that’s more than his parents can say.”

She didn’t reply. She just sat still in front of Jenny for a while, blinking until she finally closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against Jenny’s.

“I just want you to be okay,” Jenny said quietly with tears in her eyes, her face crumpling up as she spoke. “I’m so scared that you’re not okay.”

Shane sniffled, placing her left hand on Jenny’s cheek – she hadn’t hit the wall with it hard enough to hurt herself – and not knowing what to do with her plastic-wrapped right one, she let it rest on her shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

“No, Shane, don’t be sorry.” Jenny wiped at her face with her hand, angry with herself for breaking down when she’d promised herself she wouldn’t for Shane’s sake. “Just take care of yourself. And be honest with me; don’t try to act like you’re fine if you’re not. I just want you to be safe ‘cause I can’t stand the thought of losing you.”

“You’re not gonna lose me.”

Jenny’s face crumpled up again and she tried to cover it with her hand as her eyes filled with tears once again. “I thought I would tonight. I saw you just… disappearing. And I was so scared that you wouldn’t come back out of there. I wanted to go after you and stop you, but Alice wouldn’t let me, and I didn’t understand what was happening. And my head kept trying to paint this like, picture of my life without you… and there was just nothing there.”

They slipped their arms around each other once more and Shane kept whispering apologies into Jenny’s ear while Jenny told her she had nothing to be sorry for. They sat like that until Shane leaned back against the side of the bathtub, just staring at her hands for a while before she spoke. “He…uh…” she began, her voice hoarse, and she shrugged hopelessly. “He meant for… Shay just went to the bathroom. And he must have waited until he was inside before… before he…”

Unable to finish her sentence Shane began to cry again, but Jenny knew exactly what she meant to say. Nick had deliberately tried to kill her brother along with the rest of them, but as horrible as it was, that realisation might mean that Shane could put at least a little less of the blame on herself. Jenny doubted that she’d ever stop completely, no matter how many times she told her it wasn’t her fault, but that didn’t mean she was going to stop trying to convince her.

“Shane,” she said, her voice quivering as she shook her head. “Shay’s safe now. Thanks to you. And that fucking worthless piece of shit that did this to you is behind bars and I doubt they’re going to let him out any time soon. And Shay, he has us. We’ll make sure he’s fine. I won’t let him be anything less than that, I promise.”

Shane chuckled with her eyes full of tears and held her close until they both calmed down, and while it had hurt to see Shane fall to pieces like she just had, Jenny was glad that she had finally been able to let out everything she had probably tried to hold inside the whole night.

“We should get cleaned up and then we can go to bed,” Jenny suggested and Shane nodded, seeming too tired to say anything more. They helped each other up and Jenny turned the shower back on, helping Shane wash away the evidence of what had happened that night until all that was left to remind them were the wounds and bruises on her pale skin.

They got ready to go to bed and wrapped up in towels, they headed into the bedroom; their clothes still in a pile on the bathroom floor. Jenny had decided she could clean that up in the morning, but for now, all she wanted was to make sure Shane got some rest.

She handed Shane her pajamas that consisted of a pair of black sweatpants and a washed-out grey t-shirt that she imagined had probably been black too at some point, and she watched as she put them on while she got dressed herself. Jenny still hadn’t gotten used to the bruise on her arm, and she hoped that didn’t hurt as much as it looked like it did.

“You don’t think we should do something about your knees?” she asked her suddenly and Shane shook her head in response.

“I think it’ll heal faster if I just leave it alone. And it’s not even that bad. The bruises make it look worse than it is.”

“Okay,” she replied, letting her have her way. They both got into bed and Jenny got settled just fine, but Shane kept moving around between the sheets, a frown beginning to crease her forehead. “Shane, what’s wrong?” Jenny asked, propping herself up on her elbow. “Oh…” she mumbled seconds later; Shane didn’t need to explain, she understood now.

Shane usually slept on her stomach with her head buried in her pillow, but now that she had hurt her knees, it was probably not the best idea. She couldn’t lie on her right side because of the wound on her face, and on her left side she had the bruise on her arm. Sleeping on her back was just out of the question because she hated that – unless she had Jenny half on top of her, and that wasn’t a very good idea at the moment either.

She sleepily turned her face towards Jenny, looking completely miserable and Jenny crawled over to her and kissed her. “Come here, we’ll figure this out.” She gently eased her over on her right side, facing her, and arranged her pillow so that she could lie like that hopefully without her face hurting. Then she took her injured hand and moved it up in front of her face so she wouldn’t hurt it by accident. “Is that okay?”

“Thank you,” Shane mumbled back, her eyes barely open. She blinked repeatedly, fighting off the sleep as she tried to keep talking. “The only… good thing about this is that… that I don’t have to… don’t have to work tomorrow. We can sleep really… late.”

Jenny smiled as she watched Shane drift off to sleep and she lay there in front of her, just looking at her, until she suddenly started to cough again. Startled, Jenny sat up in bed and half expected Shane to wake up, but she just lay there with her eyes closed like nothing had happened. If her problems from earlier that night were any indication, this was probably not the last time it would happen, so Jenny got up and moved to lie down behind Shane on her side of the bed instead.

She slipped under the duvet and snuggled up close behind her, wanting to wrap her arms around her like she always did, but not daring to. Being this close to her, she could hear that her breathing didn’t sound like it should, and she was scared that if she held her the wrong way it might make it harder for her to breathe. Wanting to stay on the safe side, she gently placed her hand on her hip instead and buried her face between her shoulder blades.

A few hours earlier she never would have thought that she would be going to bed that night with Shane in her arms, but still there they were. Jenny had no words to describe the relief she felt; even if WAX was gone, Shane and Shay were both alive and that was all that mattered. In spite of that, she was still unable to relax completely, and she lay awake the rest of the night, watching Shane as she slept, and listening to make sure she kept breathing.

This is Treasure ~ Chapter 8 ~ Close to you
Chapter 9 - My precious treasure by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
The morning after...
Soundtrack: Ayumi Hamasaki - JEWEL
It had been a long night. Propped up on her elbow, Jenny turned her head to look at the alarm clock on Shane’s nightstand; it was only 8:29 am but it felt like it should be later. She’d been lying there next to her ever since she’d fallen asleep, not daring to close her eyes for fear that something would have happened to Shane by the time she opened them again.

From the sound of it, it had become easier for Shane to breathe as the hours passed and Jenny had been able to relax at least a little. Now she lay on Jenny’s side of the bed with Jenny’s arm around her, her mouth half open as she took one shallow breath after another, but she seemed more peaceful now than she had before.

Jenny moved her hand from around Shane’s waist, as gently as possible to not wake her up, and couldn’t resist the temptation of letting her fingers play with a lock of hair on her neck. She loved how, when they showered before going to bed and she didn’t bother to do anything with it, Shane’s hair would get so soft, and curly like a doll’s. It seemed to fit her sweet and gentle personality better than anything else, and when she lay asleep like that she looked so vulnerable that all Jenny wanted was to protect her from the world around them. Like she hadn’t been able to in the fire.

It hurt her too much to even think about it now. Shane was always there to keep her safe, but when she was the one who needed help, where had she been? She made a silent promise to herself, that she would do everything she could to make sure Shane and her brother were okay, no matter what. That meant leaving her for a little while to make some coffee, without it there was no way she’d be able to keep her eyes open for much longer.

She leaned forward and dared to place a soft kiss on Shane’s cheek. She didn’t wake up; she just hummed contentedly and let out a deep sleepy sigh. A relieved smile formed on Jenny’s lips and she slipped out of bed, tiptoeing out of the room and closing the door quietly behind her. When she reached the dining room, Sounder jumped down from the couch where he’d been asleep and ran over to her, circled her a couple times and then continued over to the back door and waited for her to let him out.

“I guess you slept well,” Jenny yawned and padded across the kitchen to open the door. “I wish I had some of your energy right now.” She’d barely turned the doorknob before he managed to slip outside and she left it open so he could stay out there while she put some food in his bowl and made some coffee.

Just as she pressed the button on the coffee machine, her gaze fell on her pack of cigarettes that lay on the counter where she’d left it before she’d gone over to see Shane at WAX. Without thinking, she reached for it and the lighter next to it, and walked outside to sit down on the back porch. She lit one and took a long drag, she needed to smoke so badly after the night she’d had, and it didn’t really matter that…

She froze. She’d made a promise. She’d promised Shane that she was going to… That wasn’t even the worst part. In her mind she replayed the night that’d just passed, hearing each and every one of Shane’s coughs all over again, seeing and feeling how she struggled to breathe. Suddenly overcome with disgust, she flinched and put out the cigarette, staring at it as a trail of smoke slowly rose from it.

‘How could I…? When it’s what nearly killed her…’ She swallowed and shook her head, having no idea how she could ever betray Shane and break a promise like that. Would she ever forgive her? Of course. Of course she would, and it made the pain sting even worse.

Filled with shame and with her heart pounding in her chest, she got up and took the ashtray with her. They wouldn’t be using that anymore. Back in the kitchen, she placed it on the counter and took a deep breath, tossing the rest of her cigarettes in the trashcan. It felt good, final somehow. When she’d promised Shane she’d quit too, she’d done it because she didn’t want to keep doing something if Shane couldn’t do it anymore. But now it meant so much more than that.

With a resolute frown she began to clean the ashtray she’d taken from the porch, and did the same with the one on the kitchen table. It didn’t make that awful feeling disappear, but it was a start. After letting Sounder back inside, she headed over to the bathroom to clean herself up before she would go back to the bedroom and check on Shane again. It wasn’t about wanting to hide from her what she’d just done, but what good would it do Shane if she had to smell the smoke on her?

She was in the middle of brushing her teeth when she caught a glimpse of Shane’s hoodie lying on the floor and picked it up, staring at the red paint on the left sleeve. It suddenly hit her, and she couldn’t believe she hadn’t put two and two together before. She hadn’t paid much attention when the others were talking just after they got Shane back out of WAX and that was probably why she didn’t realize until now that the spots on the hoodie matched the bruise on Shane’s arm. ‘No wonder she fell,’ Jenny thought, and a chill ran down her spine.

When she had rinsed her mouth and washed her face she went to put all the dirty clothes they’d left on the floor the night before in the laundry room, then she crossed the hall to make sure Shane was okay. She opened the door and glanced over at the bed where Shane was sleeping peacefully, having rolled over on her stomach and buried half of her face in her pillow like always. Jenny decided she would let her sleep for as long as she needed to. If she had coffee – oh, the coffee! – she could stay up for a while longer and watch over her.

She closed the door with a small smile on her lips and was about to go back to the kitchen when Shay emerged from his room. He looked exhausted, like he hadn’t slept a minute more than she had all night.

“Where’s Shane?” he asked worriedly, skipping all the small talk and jumping right to the reason he’d left his room.

“She’s still asleep,” Jenny replied, her voice low so she wouldn’t wake her, though she doubted there was any risk she would. Shane seemed to be as deeply asleep as any other morning. “How are you feeling?”

“Is she gonna be okay?” he continued as if he hadn’t even heard her question.

She tried to give him a reassuring smile when she saw him fidgeting with the hem of his t-shirt, but telling from the nervous look on his face, it didn’t do much to comfort him. “Yeah, I’m sure she’ll be…” was all she got to say before he cut her off.

“She was crying,” he said and shifted uneasily. “When you were in the bathroom last night. I heard her.”

Jenny opened her mouth to speak but closed it again without saying anything; she didn’t know how to respond to that. She had to admit to herself that Shay made her a little nervous sometimes. It wasn’t his fault, she just wasn’t used to being around kids and she didn’t know how she was supposed to talk or act around him. For Shane it was different; everything seemed to come so naturally to her, but then again, she was his sister after all.

She had no idea how she was supposed to explain to him everything that had happened after he’d gone to bed the night before, but she didn’t think trying to keep the truth from him was the right thing to do. Jenny didn’t know how much he had heard, but there was no point in lying. Shane would have been honest with him, she was sure.

“Oh, you know…” she started but paused to glance down the hallway at the door to Shane’s room. “Come, we can talk in the kitchen, and I can make us some breakfast. Do you want pancakes?”

Shay nodded and followed her to the kitchen where he sat down by the table while she started taking out everything she would need to prepare their meal. She needed something to do if she was going to talk to him about what Shane had gone through; she needed an excuse to turn away if she would have to. If the tears started to fall like they had then. She felt a sting when she thought about the things Shane had said to her in the shower and she saw the scene playing over and over again in her head, feeling her pain as if it had been her own.

“Did it hurt?” he said behind her and brought her out of her reverie. “Is that why she was crying?”

“Shay…” she replied, slowly turning around to look at him. He just sat there looking back at her, as if he was bracing himself, fearing the worst. In some way, he reminded her so much of Shane when he did that. “Yes, she’s in some pain,” she continued uncomfortably. “But she’s going to be okay. She’s gonna be fine, she just needs to rest and she’ll get through it. You don’t have to worry about her.” She grabbed a mug from the cupboard and poured herself some coffee. ‘I do that enough for the both of us.’

He didn’t say anything and the rest of her explanation had to wait until she could find the right words. ‘You’re a writer,’ she thought to herself, ‘it shouldn’t have to be this hard.’ With her coffee cup in her hand she walked over to the table and sat down in front of him, taking a sip of the hot liquid. “Shay,” she said again but felt more confident this time. “She was crying because… What happened was hard for all of us, but I think it was harder for her than anyone else. She was really scared, because she loves you so much, and she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to you. But she had to let those feelings out so she could feel better again afterwards. And that’s okay.” She smiled at him and was relieved to see him smiling back at her, if only a little. “We all need that sometimes, you know? And there’s nothing wrong about it. And if you need to talk about anything at all, you have Shane, and you have me too. You mean so much to both of us.”

“Okay,” he said, and she relaxed when he seemed to have calmed down a bit, even if when she thought about it, her words had come out sounding more like they were meant for a five year old. She would have to work on that.

Jenny got up and started making the pancakes she’d promised him. It took a bit longer than expected as she hadn’t done much cooking at all lately and strangely enough felt a little lost in her own kitchen. When they were done and Shay was eating his breakfast in front of the TV while watching cartoons, she left the kitchen without bothering to clean anything up. It had been more than half an hour since she last checked on Shane and she didn’t want to wait another second.

She reached the door and opened it quietly, peeking inside at her girlfriend who lay there asleep exactly the same way as when she’d left her earlier. Shane’s face was turned away from her so she crossed the room and went to lie down next to her on Shane’s side of the bed again.

Shane had her left arm under the pillow and her right, bandaged hand right in front of her face, almost making it look like she was about to stick her thumb in her mouth. Jenny fought hard to keep herself from giggling, she was just always so adorable in her sleep. The last couple of months since they started sleeping in the same bed, watching her like that in the mornings before she woke up had become one of her favourite things in life.

She felt so safe in Shane’s—no, their bedroom—it didn’t even feel anything at all like the room she’d shared with Tim so many years ago. Now that she thought about it, somehow, ever since Shane moved in with her all the traces of Tim had slowly and thoroughly been washed away and been replaced by feelings of security, being loved, and finally belonging somewhere. She had given her the fresh start she’d so desperately needed and while they kept changing, they changed together and she knew that no matter what happened, they’d always have each other.

Even if Shane wasn’t doing that great at the moment, she would get better. Jenny had to keep telling herself that because she couldn’t stand the thought of the opposite. She seemed a little better already though. The wounds on her cheek looked like they would heal pretty soon, and they probably wouldn’t leave any scars. It felt strange to look at them. They didn’t do anything to spoil her beauty; instead they seemed to enhance it. “You are so beautiful,” Jenny whispered, thinking that if anything, they acted like an open window to her soul and made all her kindness and the sacrifice she’d made for Shay shine through. “I love you so much.”

Shane hummed sleepily and slipped her arm around Jenny to pull her closer while she struggled to open her eyes. “Good morning,” she mumbled and peered at her with her right eye while the other remained closed, and she smiled into the kiss Jenny gave her seconds later. “Did you sleep well?”

“Not exactly,” Jenny started, but when she saw the concerned frown that formed on Shane’s forehead she quickly added, “but it’s okay. I’ll try to get some rest later. And I’m sorry if I woke you up.”

“You didn’t wake me up,” she replied hoarsely, letting go of Jenny so she could use both of her arms to push herself up and roll over on her back. “Don’t worry about it.”

Jenny smiled a little when Shane raised her hand again to brush a few strands of hair away from her face and let it linger there for a while. Shane’s hand was so warm on her cheek and she began to worry that she might have a fever. “How are you feeling?” she asked softly, placing her own hand on top of Shane’s.

“Uh…” Shane sighed and closed her eyes as she relaxed onto her pillow, and she remained silent for so long that Jenny started to wonder if she had fallen asleep again before she finally replied. “Like someone just beat the crap out of me,” she said with a dry chuckle. “Or maybe more like I’ve been run over by a steamroller.”

“Are you serious?”

“No, it’s not that bad.” She tried to smile a little when she saw the worried look on Jenny’s face and regretted having said those things in the first place. “I think it just seems worse than it is now because I couldn’t feel any of it when I was asleep.” She paused to clear her throat and tried to make the irritating feeling go away, but without much success. “Look, Jen, I’m just exhausted and it hurts a little, but it’s not gonna kill me. I’m more worried about you now, you need to get some rest.”

Ignoring Shane’s comment, Jenny moved her hand to gently place it on Shane’s forehead and shook her head worriedly when she removed it a while later. “You’re burning up. I’m getting the thermometer, we should probably get you back to the hospital if…”

“Nononono! Jenny!” Shane reached out for her as she moved to get out of the bed, and when she felt Shane’s hand touching her own, she turned around so Shane could see the look on her face and how much it all freaked her out.

“Shane, you didn’t…” she said quietly, shaking her head. “You didn’t see yourself last night. We’ve been over this already. You promised me that you would go back if it got worse. And it wasn’t you who stayed up all night just to make sure you didn’t stop breathing.” She hadn’t said the last part to lay a guilt trip on her but telling from the look on Shane’s face, that was obviously the effect it had had. “I’m sorry…”

“No, I’m sorry,” Shane replied and tugged gently at Jenny’s hand that she still held on to. “Come here. I’m sorry.” Jenny sat back down and let her wrap her arms around her and she buried her face in her shoulder. “I know I promised,” Shane went on, slowly stroking Jenny’s back with her uninjured hand. “And I meant it. But I’m all right. You trust me, don’t you?” She could feel Jenny’s head nodding against her shoulder and heard her sighing. “I’m not lying to you. I couldn’t have been in there for more than a few minutes, and if something was seriously wrong with me I would tell you. You know that.”

“I know.” Jenny nodded and sat back so she could look into her eyes. “They look less irritated today,” she said and Shane looked puzzled back at her. “Oh, your eyes, I mean.”

“Do you know if Shay’s up yet? What time is it anyway?”

Jenny glanced over her shoulder at the alarm clock. “It’s only about 9:30. And yeah, he’s up, he’s having breakfast and watching TV. He’s worried about you too.”

“I have to talk to him, I never really got a chance to yesterday,” Shane sighed and tried to rub the sleep out of her eyes but Jenny just shook her head at her.

“No, Shane, he’s fine for now. What you have to do, is make sure you take care of yourself first, then you can worry about everything and everyone else. Okay? Shay wasn’t injured last night, you were. Please just get that into your head. He’s not on his own, he has me too.”

Shane looked apologetically back at her and stroked her hand down Jenny’s arm before she replied. “I didn’t mean it that way.”

“I know. Hey, do you want some coffee? And pancakes? I made some for Shay but I didn’t have breakfast myself yet, I can bring some in here if you want and we can have breakfast in bed.”

“I think I…” She turned away when she started coughing and when she looked back at Jenny she gave her a look that silently begged her not to start lecturing her again. “I think right now I just wanna try to sleep some more if that’s okay.” Jenny nodded in agreement and Shane smiled a little when she continued. “But first I wanna check on Shay. Don’t argue with me.”

“It’s okay, I won’t,” Jenny giggled and left to clean up in the kitchen while Shane went to the bathroom.

She hadn’t been lying to Jenny, she really didn’t feel all that bad. Sure, she was sore all over, all she wanted to do was sleep and no matter how hard she tried, she didn’t seem to be able to catch her breath. Plus, she couldn’t even smoke, though for some odd reason, she didn’t really feel like doing it. But at least she was alive.

‘Stop feeling sorry for yourself,’ she thought as she peered at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. She looked horrible. It wasn’t just the wounds on the right side of her face, she now had a big bruise there to match. They’d heal though, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. ‘It could have been a hell of a lot worse.’

Shane turned the faucet on and splashed some water on her face, then left the room with her toothbrush in her mouth. After picking something up in her room, she headed towards the living room, assuming Shay was still there.

* * *


A few hours later, Jenny had just come through the hallway and into the living room after checking on Shane again when the doorbell rang. She crossed the room to open the door and found Alice there with a sheepish look on her face.

“Hey, I didn’t mean to just come barging in after what happened, but I just wanted to check on you guys and see if you’re okay. I told Shane last night that I would, so… I didn’t wake you up, did I?”

“No…” Jenny replied puzzled. “It’s almost noon, why would…?” She followed Alice’s gaze and realized what she meant. She was still wearing her pajamas. “Oh.” She covered her face with her hands and stared horrified at her friend. “Oh my god, I took Sounder out for a walk wearing this!”

“It’s okay,” Alice giggled, “I’ve done worse.”

Alice was invited to come inside and she entered the house finding Shay sitting curled up on the couch while looking intently at something he held in his hands. “Hey, Shay. What’s that you got there?” she asked and tried to take a look at it.

When he didn’t say anything since he was obviously too focused on the game he was playing, Jenny replied in his stead. “You know, it’s like… one of those Game Boy things?”

“Nintendo DS,” he finally announced, without taking his eyes off of it.

“Oh, yeah. Well, Shane got it a while back but she doesn’t use it much,” Jenny told Alice when she followed her into the kitchen. “She thought he could use the distraction, especially since she can’t hang out with him much now.”

“Speaking of Shane, how is she?”

“She’s sleeping,” Jenny replied, rubbing her eye as she sat down in front of Alice by the table.

“You look like you could use some of that yourself.”

Jenny’s fingers found her cell phone that lay on the table and she absentmindedly began to play with it. “Yeah, I didn’t get much last night. I kept checking to make sure she was breathing.”

“Are you sure it’s not too much for you?” Alice began, frowning slightly. “Maybe it was too soon for her to come home.”

Shaking her head determinedly, Jenny let go of her phone and leaned back in her chair with her lips pursed. “I don’t think I can make her go back. It’s too hard for her, she can’t handle it. Shane hasn’t been able to stand hospitals ever since…” She suddenly paused when she realized who she was talking to.

“…Dana died,” Alice finished her sentence and they both sat in silence for a moment until she went on. “Well, I mean, I understand how she feels. But that doesn’t change the fact that she might actually need to be there.”

“I know.” Jenny relaxed a little when it didn’t seem like she’d upset her. She hadn’t meant to, she just wanted to be honest. Dana’s death had left scars on all of them, but probably the most on Shane and Alice. “But she promised she’d go if she got worse, I just can’t stop worrying.” She shifted uncomfortably, not wanting to ask for any favours, but knowing she didn’t have much of a choice at this point. “Alice, are you busy today?”

“I would have been,” Alice shrugged, “but since the gym thing got cancelled and WAX burned right down to the ground, I guess I’m not doing anything special after all. Why, do you need anything?”

“I just thought, maybe you could look after Shane and Shay for a couple of hours so I can sleep for a while? You wouldn’t have to do much, Shay keeps himself occupied with that game and Shane’s mostly asleep but…”

Alice interrupted her with a chuckle and smiled reassuringly at her. “It’s fine, I can do that. I mean, how hard can it be?”

“Thank you so much, you have no idea!” Jenny let out a sigh of relief, got up, grabbed something from the table and told Shay Alice would be hanging out with him for a while, then brought the blonde with her to the room she – unbeknownst to Alice – shared with Shane. “Check this out!” she exclaimed when she opened the door and saw that Shane was awake. “I got you a babysitter so I can sleep for a while.”

Propped up on her elbows, Shane cocked an eyebrow as Jenny entered the room with an annoyingly cheerful Alice in tow.

“You look like shit, you know that, Shane?” Alice announced as soon as she spotted her and then went to sit down in the chair by the window, picking up a magazine off the floor beside it.

“Gee, thanks, that’s so sweet of you,” Shane muttered. “Nice to see you too.” She froze when she noticed that Jenny was holding a thermometer right in front of her face, and she held up her hand, gently pushing her arm away. “Jenny, you’re not putting that thing in my mouth!”

“Why…”

“You can just forget…”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because I don’t wanna choke on it if I start coughing again, that’s why.”

“You should just stick it up her ass and get it over with,” Alice quipped from the other end of the room, looking amused at them from behind her magazine.

“That’s really funny, Alice,” Shane said dryly, but her voice softened as she turned to Jenny again. She would have thought they’d had that discussion enough for one morning, but apparently Jenny didn’t think so. “Please, just relax a little,” she pleaded. “You’re being way too overprotective, even if I do have a fever, that’s normal. It happens.”

Jenny sat back on her knees next to Shane and pouted. “I’m not overprotective, I’m just protective. I don’t want you to be sick.”

“But I’m not sick!” she sighed, twining a lock of Jenny’s hair around her fingers without even noticing she was doing it. “You worry too much, it’s gonna make your hair go grey. And while I think you’d look adorable, you’re too young for that.”

Alice had been following their exchange with an impish grin for a while until she finally found the right moment to interrupt them. “You should totally get Jenny one of those nurse uniforms,” she suggested. “What do you think about that, Shane?”

Shane needed a moment to get the image out of her head before she could even begin to think of a reply. “I think someone in this room definitely needs to get laid, and for once it’s not me.” She smirked and Jenny giggled where she sat next to her, while Alice just glared.

“Listen, Alice,” Jenny began, “can you promise that if anything happens to either one of them, anything at all, you’ll wake me up right away?” Alice nodded and she gave her grateful smile, not seeing how Shane rolled her eyes. “Thank you. An hour or two should be enough.”

With that said, Jenny flipped over on the bed and curled up between the sheets, leaving the startled Alice staring at her over the magazine she’d pretended to read. She lowered it down on her lap and her jaw dropped while she tried to process what she’d just seen.

“She’s…” Alice started and glanced at Shane with a puzzled expression.

“What?”

“She’s gonna sleep in your bed?” she hissed, pointing at Jenny who already seemed to be asleep. “Shane?”

Shane rolled her eyes and then raised her left hand to rub them. Why this had to be such a big deal to Alice at this point was beyond her. “Yes, she is,” she sighed.

“So, what, you guys share a bed now? And that’s just…?”

“Look, Al, she gave Shay her room. Where else is she supposed to go? I’m fine with her sleeping here so I don’t see why you should have any problems with it.”

“I don’t!” Alice replied, having a hard time keeping her voice down. “I just don’t get how it makes any kind of sense, if either one of you brings someone home, are you just gonna have a three-way or…”

“Please. Alice.” Shane began to cough, covering her mouth with one hand and holding the other up in her friend’s direction to keep her from saying anything else. “It’s not your problem. Just leave it alone. Can you?”

She pursed her lips, sitting quietly and seeming to contemplate what Shane had just said. “Fine,” she finally agreed. “It’s none of my business.” She soon forgot their almost-argument and picked up her magazine again, declaring she was going to read Shane her horoscope. “What’s your sign?”

“I’m a Gemini, you know that.” Shane peered at the magazine cover and let out a deep sigh. “Alice, that thing is like six months old.”

Not caring, Alice cleared her throat and began to read aloud. “You did something completely irresponsible but heroic last night and now you feel like crap so you’ve started sleeping with your best friend…”

“You’re so full of shit.”

Alice squinted at the page in front of her, biting her bottom lip. “I should read mine. Cancer, Cancer, Cancer…”

“It’s right next to mine,” Shane chuckled quietly after deciding it was best to just humour her.

“Take good care of your friends, and you will definitely get laid tonight. If you’re dating a hot former soldier, text her ASAP.” Alice immediately took the phone out of her pocket and Shane struggled to not laugh out loud at the sight.

“Listen, I have to get some sleep,” she said softly, glancing over at Jenny who lay still next to her, breathing slowly, apparently not disturbed by their conversation. A small smile formed on Shane’s lips and she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of her, in fact, she was so focused on her girlfriend that she didn’t even notice Alice was talking to her.

“Earth to Shane. You’ll have to lie down if you’re gonna do that. Jesus.”

Alice watched as Shane finally managed to get settled in her bed and she turned the sound off on her phone and began to type a text message for Tasha. Her horoscopes had been jokes of course to try to cheer Shane up a bit, but she still thought she should go for it. She’d talked to her briefly when she came home the night before just to let her know what had happened, but if she was going to stay at Shane and Jenny’s house for the next few hours, it might be nice to have some other company than just Shay and his Game Boy thingy. As she typed she suddenly heard a strange sound coming from the bed and soon realized it was Jenny snoring. Feeling sorry for Shane if that was what she’d have to listen to every single night from now on until they figured out what to do with their living situation, she finally pressed the ‘send’ button and looked up at them. Whatever she’d expected to see, it was not this.

Everything Shane had been trying to tell her the last couple of days about how she was not sleeping with Jenny and how there was nothing going on between them seemed to just evaporate from Alice’s mind. How could they even think they would be able to keep this from her? It was right… there.

Shane had, in spite of her injuries, somehow managed to roll over to Jenny’s side of the bed, and now they both lay there with their arms around each other, sound asleep. As hard as it was for her to understand, Shane didn’t seem to hear Jenny’s snores at all. It was almost as if she had gotten used to them. But Shay had only been staying at the house for two days and it made her question how long they’d really been sharing Shane’s bedroom. She had to be right. They’d been lying this whole time. ‘I knew it!’

With the phone still in her hand and a cunning smile on her lips, she was struck by a thought. She quickly opened the camera function and pressed the button to start filming. With this on video, Shane’s explanation would definitely be interesting to hear, and she bit her lip to keep herself from laughing at her own brilliant idea. They weren’t really doing anything, but it was still going to be hard for Shane to talk herself out of this one.
End Notes:
"Breathing calmly, I looked at you
Who had fallen asleep, so exhausted
The sweet, unprotected profile
That no one in the world but me knows

If you come across deep sorrow
I wish you will share it with me
I'll do anything for that smile
My precious treasure"


- "JEWEL" by Ayumi Hamasaki
Translation by Masa
Chapter 10 - Liar by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Alice hangs out with Shay, and Shane and Jenny discuss some important changes in their relationship.
No matter how exciting she might have found it at first, it didn’t take long before Alice had had enough of watching her friends sleeping with their arms around each other and she put the magazine down on the floor and left the room to check on Shane’s little brother. She was tempted to ask him about her theories concerning Shane and Jenny, but she knew Shane would kill her if she dragged him into it so she decided not to.

She found him in the living room where he was still sitting on the couch and playing his game. He turned around when he heard her and this time he put it down and looked at her with a concerned frown. “Is she okay?”

Assuming he meant Shane, she nodded and smiled a little. “Yeah, she seems like she’s feeling better. She’s asleep now though.” She was interrupted by a loud growl coming from her stomach and he gave her an amused look.

“I think there are some pancakes left in the fridge if you’re hungry,” he told her, and she thanked him, giggling to herself as she walked into the kitchen to check. She’d only put her fingers around the handle when she heard a thud behind her and the back door suddenly opened and Max peeked into the kitchen with Tom and Jodi behind him.

“Hey, how is she?” he asked her quietly before giving Shay a smile and a nod. This made Alice wonder if from now on, everyone she talked to was going to begin the conversation with a similar phrase. It wouldn’t surprise her, but it was understandable. Putting that thought aside, she greeted the other two.

“She’s fine, they’re both sleeping,” she repeated, “so I’m hanging out with Shay for a while. And he’s fine too, he’s playing games. What’s going on with you guys?”

“We’re going to pick up some stuff for Jodi in a bit,” Max explained and glanced around the kitchen as if he was looking for something. “And we thought we’d pick up their cars at WAX because they probably have other things on their minds right now, and sooner or later they’re gonna need them. Have you seen their car keys anywhere?”

Now she understood what he was looking for, and she was sure she’d just seen them somewhere.

“They’re on Jenny’s desk,” Shay called from the couch without even turning to look at them; the game had his full attention again.

Alice went over to the desk in the dining room to grab them, walked back to the door and handed them to Max, and after casting a glance in the direction of Bette’s house she turned to Jodi. “Is Bette—is Bette coming with you?” she asked softly, wondering whether or not this was really such a good topic to bring up right now.

“No, she’s not,” Jodi replied flatly and raised an eyebrow. If Max and Tom’s silence had been any indication, Alice should have known to just drop it, but letting things go when they weren’t any of her business had never been one of Alice’s strengths.

“You haven’t talked about what happened?” she went on, her voice a little shrill, though Jodi couldn’t hear it. If she saw the annoyed expression on the deaf woman’s face when she found out from her interpreter what Alice had just said, she didn’t care too much about it. “Look,” Alice continued, “I talked to Bette this morning and she’s really sorry about what she said. It didn’t come out the way she meant it to, she was just really stressed out and was trying to…”

Jodi held up her hand in front of her and began to sign as she replied. “Why are you telling me this?” she asked out loud and then let Tom take over, nodding slightly in Shay’s direction. She couldn’t tell how loud her voice was and she didn’t want the boy to hear her words.

“Jodi says,” he began quietly and watched as she signed her message for the blonde. “You should be saying that to Shane. She’s the one she attacked, and not me. And…”

“She doesn’t know,” Alice interrupted and they both stopped and waited for what she had to say. “I doubt Jenny told her. I’m just telling you what Bette said to me.”

“If Bette has anything she wants to tell me,” Tom said for Jodi, “she can say it to me. This is something between me and her and I would appreciate if you could respect that and stay out of it.”

An awkward silence followed until Max made a move towards the back door and explained to Alice that they should get going. “Thanks for looking after them,” he said with a small smile, “I’ll be back here as soon as I can though.”

“Okay,” she replied quietly and when Max had said goodbye to Shay and had taken off through the door, she went to the fridge and grabbed a pancake that she took with her to the living room. After that encounter with Jodi, she felt even hungrier than before; she’d never imagined that just mentioning what happened the other night would piss her off that bad and that led her to believe that the problems Jodi and Bette had were worse than just a slip of Bette’s tongue. She froze just as she finished the thought, maybe that’s what the problem was! Bette could be cheating again!

She was just about to sit down next to Shay when there was a knock on the door and she spun around on the spot and headed over there instead to open it, finding Tasha there. “Hi, I’m glad you came over!” she grinned but when the other woman just greeted her back and waved a little at Shay, but didn’t lean in to kiss her, she sighed dejectedly. Sometimes she wished Tasha didn’t have to be so old-fashioned and that she hadn’t insisted on taking things slow, but maybe it was for the best, at least now when Shay was watching them from across the room.

“How is she?” Tasha asked worriedly. “You didn’t really tell me that much last night,” she continued and Alice told her what was going on without going into too much detail; she could do that later. It was nice that she’d come over though, not that Shay wasn’t fun, but they didn’t really have that much in common and she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do with him. Just as she thought about that, she had an idea.

“Hey, Shay?” she said and paused until he looked up from the game. “Shane still has her Xbox, doesn’t she?”

He nodded. “Yeah, at least I think so.”

“Do you know where it is?”

“Probably in her room, that’s where it used to be when she didn’t use it.” He shrugged and returned to the game, but a plan had formed in Alice’s head. Maybe playing together for a while could make the kid let go a little and make him relax a bit, because now he just seemed to be building walls around himself, something she assumed he learned from his sister – or maybe it was genetic. And maybe it could have that effect on Tasha too, as long as they didn’t play a war game.

“Come,” she said, taking Tasha’s hand and suddenly she felt like a schoolgirl as she dragged her with her in the direction of Shane’s bedroom. Tasha laughed at her but when they stopped outside her room and Alice put her hand on the doorknob, she took a step back and shook her head.

“Alice, I’m not going into her room,” she said, determined. “Especially not when they’re sleeping. I don’t know them that well.”

It started to bug Alice a little bit that Tasha still hadn’t reacted on the fact that they were both sleeping in the same room – even in the same bed – but she didn’t mention it. “Yeah, well, I have to go in there to check on them either way,” she said instead and pulled the door open to slip into the room. Her friends lay there the way she’d left them, still close together with their arms around each other, and she looked around the room trying to figure out where Shane might have put the game. When she didn’t see it lying around anywhere, she cleared her throat, not too subtly.

“Shane,” she said in a loud whisper. “Shane!”

At first Shane didn’t react, but she kept repeating her name until she opened one eye and glared sleepily at her from behind Jenny’s shoulder.

“Alice, what?” she moaned quietly, propping herself up on her elbow as carefully as possible so she wouldn’t wake Jenny. Her expression suddenly changed into a worried frown and her voice was softer when she continued. “Is Shay okay?”

“No, he’s not okay,” Alice said and paused for a few seconds just to let her friend panic for a little bit, “because he wants to play on your Xbox and I don’t know where it is.” She regretted the bad joke in an instant when she saw the terrified look on her friend’s face.

“Fuck you,” Shane muttered and let out a deep sigh when she sank back down onto her bed. “It’s in the closet somewhere, I don’t know. Take it and get out of here. And don’t ever joke about things like that again.” Her voice became muffled when she buried her face in Jenny’s pillow again. “It’s not funny.”

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled and slapped herself internally. ‘Start using your fucking brain, Pieszecki,’ she berated herself and turned around to begin searching through Shane’s things. Since she’d helped Shane move into that room three years ago Shane had always kept it neat and organized, but now for some reason her closet was a mess. She didn’t even know her friend owned that much clothing but that mystery soon got its explanation when Alice began to dig through the pile of clothes at the bottom. Unless Shane had suddenly started wearing dresses, skirts, blouses and high heels – she cringed at the thought – which was a perfectly reasonable thing to keep to herself, she now had all the proof she needed. Jenny hadn’t just moved into her room the other day, a mess like this one would have had to take longer than that to create.

Underneath it all she finally found the console as well as the games and was just about to take them with her and leave the room when she spotted an open bag with some strangely colorful content. Leaning forward just a little, she nearly swallowed her tongue when she realized one of the things was nothing other than a pink dildo. Shane would never buy a pink dildo, of that she was sure. Afraid she might get caught snooping around, she resisted the urge to check out the rest of what was in the bag and instead she took the Xbox and left the room, grinning like an idiot because of the discoveries she’d made. The whole thing made her feel like Nancy Drew and she’d lie if she said she wasn’t enjoying it.

Tasha wasn’t waiting for her in the hallway but she found her in the living room, talking and laughing with Shay.

“Great, you found it!” Shay grinned and for the first time since Alice came over he actually turned off the DS.

“What took you so long?” Tasha asked her and put her arm around her shoulder, a gesture that made Alice all warm and fuzzy inside. “You had to dig it out of the backyard or something?”

“Almost,” Alice sighed, resisting the urge to tell her about what she’d found out and instead she held up one of the games. “Now, who wants to race me?”

* ~ * ~ *


“Are you awake?” Jenny asked, her voice soft and quiet as she tried to look into Shane’s half open eyes.

“Yeah,” she grunted, rolling over on her back and lifting her left uninjured hand to rub her nose. “Thanks to Alice. Did you hear when she came in?” She slipped her right arm under Jenny’s back, carefully so she didn’t hurt her hand, and rested her head on her shoulder, taking a deep breath.

“Yeah, I heard.” In fact, Jenny had both heard and seen what Alice had said and done, but none of that mattered. She was too comfortable in Shane’s arms to care about anything else, and with the night that they’d had, they both deserved to just relax together for a while. Pleased with that decision, she snuggled closer to her girlfriend. “Did you sleep okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, but you know what?” Shane said softly and tilted her head to the side so she could kiss her. “I always sleep really, really well when I have you with me.”

“I know,” Jenny giggled, “I’ve noticed. It’s practically impossible to wake you up in the morning.” She paused, raised her hand to touch Shane’s cheek and let her fingers trace slowly along her jaw line. “And you always had me.”

“Not like this,” she smiled, brushing some of Jenny’s hair away from her face and looking into her eyes. “I love you,” she whispered, placing a kiss on her temple before burying her face in her hair. “You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I do,” she said softly. “I love you too. And I’m glad you can sleep better now, I used to worry about you.”

“Oh really, Jenny?” Shane grinned and chuckled quietly. “You’re the one who keeps me up all night all the time, you’re not one to talk.”

“Well, yeah, but it’s for a good cause.” They had both nearly closed their eyes but their lips had no problems finding each other and Jenny mumbled into the kiss. “And I’ve never heard you complaining.”

* ~ * ~ *


“You’re even worse at this than you were when you drove us home last night,” Shay informed Alice and managed to distract her badly enough to make her pull a left turn when the road itself turned right. “Thank god you’re not driving a real car!”

“Fu…” Alice exclaimed but managed to stop herself in time before she uttered all the words on her tongue. At least Shane wasn’t there to hear her; she was finding it quite difficult to keep from cursing when Shay kept kicking her ass every single game. “I’ll have you know I’m perfectly capable as a driver,” she told him and she barely finished her sentence before he sped by her again.

“Are you sure?” he chuckled and put his controller down. It took a while before Alice realized that he did that because he’d just finished the race three laps ahead of her.

“I want a rematch,” she muttered and turned to Tasha who sat next to her, grinning. “Can you go and check on Shane so I can teach him how to drive?” she begged and then lowered her voice, muttering menacingly. “My pride is at stake here.”

“Sure,” Tasha said and got up, albeit reluctantly. She wasn’t too fond of the idea of walking into someone’s bedroom unannounced. It made her uncomfortable, especially since she barely knew them, hadn’t seen them for weeks, and they had no idea she was in their house to begin with. “You just want me to…”

Alice waved nonchalantly with her left hand, already focusing on the settings for the next race. “Just make sure she’s alive.”

Even if Alice herself didn’t, Tasha noticed how Shay suddenly reacted to her words and his expression changed from excited to worried in an instant. “I’m sure she’s fine,” she smiled at him and it seemed to calm him down at least a little. Alice and her big mouth, couldn’t she at least for once just stop to think before saying something? Especially in front of a kid who almost lost his sister the night before. She loved Alice, but sometimes she could be a bit much.

Ever since the night a few days ago when the two of them had decided to try to give their relationship another chance and let things get a fresh start, Alice’s behaviour had gotten stranger and stranger for each passing day, and while the fire and everything that had happened the previous night probably had a lot to do with it, Tasha still wasn’t sure. Was anything going to change between them this time? Or was she just deluding herself into believing that it could?

She was well aware that in order to make it work they’d both have to make sacrifices – she’d already made one of the biggest she ever could. The question was whether or not Alice would be able to, or even want to do the same.

She soon reached Shane’s door and this time she thought she could hear quiet voices talking on the other side and something that sounded like a moan, but after hesitating for a moment she still pushed the door open slowly, just to make sure it wasn’t just one of them talking in their sleep. At first she didn’t see anything, she just heard Jenny’s voice.

“Shane, I don’t think I wanna fuck you when you’re like this. I mean, I’m scared I’ll hurt you.”

“You’re not gonna hurt me,” Shane said quietly begging her. “It’s not like I’m a porcelain doll or anything.”

Tasha froze when she heard their words and saw them both between the sheets, Jenny straddling Shane with their lips not even an inch apart. Whatever she’d expected to see when she opened the door, it was not this. When Alice had told her about her suspicions about her two friends, she’d disregarded it as another of Alice’s little ideas, but she had to admit that she’d actually been right for once.

She carefully backed away and closed the door to the sound of their kissing and made a silent agreement with herself to not tell Alice about any of it. She hardly needed any more fuel for that fire, and she definitely wasn’t gonna give it to her. If they wanted to keep their relationship to themselves, they should have the right to. As she leaned her back against the doorframe and let out a deep sigh, guilt came washing over her for having seen them like that, but it wasn’t like she’d meant to. And hey, at least Shane seemed to be feeling a bit better.

She just found it strange that they hadn’t seen or even heard her, but she supposed they only had eyes for each other or something like that. Shaking her head slowly and letting out a quiet chuckle, Tasha headed back to the living room where Shay was once again beating Alice in the racing game. She was surprised the blonde hadn’t given up yet, but she knew how stubborn she could be once she set her mind on something. It didn’t even occur to her that Alice might be faking it to let him win. Considering her real life driving skills it made more sense to assume the opposite.

“Hey,” Alice greeted her once she realized she was back in the room. “How was she?”

Tasha coughed a little and tried not to let her smile get too wide when she replied. “From what I saw, she seemed to be feeling pretty… good.”

* ~ * ~ *


“I know that,” Jenny said dejectedly and sat back, still with one leg on each side of both of Shane’s while her head painted her a picture of her girlfriend as a porcelain doll with a frilly dress and long curly hair. That was an image she could have done without, but it seemed to do the trick. “But you’re not breathing normally, and it worries me. So you have to get well soon, because it’s going to be torture for me not being able to touch you.”

Shane took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as she struggled a bit to push herself up into a sitting position. Ignoring the pain in her hand to prove her point, she slipped her arms around Jenny’s waist again. “Jen, you can still touch me,” she said softly.

“Not where I want to,” she pouted, trying hard to keep her hands on Shane’s hips and not let them wander to the places she had in mind. She looked up and realized Shane was looking at her like a little puppy.

“Look, we can be careful,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be…” She grabbed Jenny and rocked her gently back and forth for a few seconds to demonstrate and Jenny would have laughed out loud if she hadn’t found it all so serious. Shane’s injuries weren’t a joke to her and she didn’t understand why she herself didn’t take them more seriously. The fact that Shane liked sex wasn’t exactly a secret, but her health had to be more important, right?

Reaching behind her back, Jenny took Shane’s hands and pulled them back in front of her and placed them in her lap. “Come on, Shane,” she said with a small smile while lacing their fingers together. “That might work in theory, but you know what we’re like when we’re actually doing that. Things usually tend to get a little…”

“But that’s what I’m saying, it doesn’t have to be like that.” Shane let out a deep sigh and looked down at their hands for a moment. “I know what this is about,” she said quietly. “You don’t like being with me anymore.”

Jenny’s heart sank for a moment as she heard her words, until Shane looked back up at her and she saw the cheeky grin on her face. “You’re so full of shit,” she mumbled.

“I don’t—I don’t really get this though,” Shane said and her tone was more serious now. “You mean you’re saying you’re not gonna have sex with me at all until I’m better?” ‘Because that might take a while,’ she added in her thoughts, not too fond of the idea.

“I don’t think you should be fucking anyone,” Jenny clarified.

“You’re the only one I wanna fuck,” Shane sighed, moving her hand to Jenny’s elbow and gently caressing the skin on her upper arm with her thumb. “And it seems like you wanna fuck me too, so I’m not really getting why you’re making this into such a big deal.”

“Because I’m worried about you, I thought I made that clear already.” Starting to get frustrated, Jenny began to shift around on Shane’s lap until she finally decided to get off of her and sit down next to her instead. “It’s like you’ve already made up your mind that you’re fine and you haven’t even tried to listen to what your body says.”

‘Oh, I hear what it says,’ Shane thought uneasily and swallowed. ‘Kinda hard not to when it won’t stop screaming.’ No matter what she said to her, she didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. It was frustrating as hell, all she wanted to do was to touch her and show her how much she loved her and she wasn’t allowed to, just because Jenny had some idea that she was too fragile. “Well, I’m listening right now,” she stated matter-of-factly with a shrug, “and it’s telling me it wants to put your body down on the bed and have sex with it for the rest of the day until we both fall asleep, tired and happy. How’s that?”

“That’s…” Jenny started, but she had no idea what to say to that. Shane on the other hand was just getting started.

“And even if this one is a bit out of it right now,” she started, holding up her right hand that still had the bandage on, “my left one works just fine. And you know what else? When you fuck someone your body releases endorphins and they make you happy, and they make you feel better.” She tilted her head back a little, peering at her, and tapped her index finger repeatedly against her lips. “Sex is not the enemy.”

Jenny silently began to wonder if it were statements like that one that had earned Shane her Yoda nickname, but decided it wasn’t the right time to bring that up. “Sure, they might make you feel better,” she said instead. “But they won’t magically make your injuries disappear. Shane, listen to me. Your doctors even told you last night that you need to rest. So please, please just do that and get better.”

“Fine,” she sighed and leaned back down against Jenny’s pillow; now that she no longer had her on top of her, she figured she might as well. As she did so, something occurred to her and she shot Jenny a cunning smile. “If we can’t have sex,” she said and sounded quite pleased with herself, “then I need something else to make up for it.”

“What?” Jenny asked simply, lying down next to her. “Name it.” From the surprised look on Shane’s face she could tell she hadn’t even considered that she might agree to it, but she felt bad for her and trusted her enough to know that whatever Shane came up with, it couldn’t be that bad.

“You agree, just like that?” Shane shot her an amused glance, catching a wisp of Jenny’s hair with her fingers and playing with it while her expression turned more and more thoughtful. “I don’t have anything specific in mind though.”

“Well, then just tell me when you come up with something,” she said softly, pulled the sheets back over them and moved closer to Shane, careful not to hurt her hand, and they both just lay there with their eyes closed until Shane spoke up.

“Alice knows about us,” she sighed.

“She does not. If she did, she wouldn’t have been able to keep her mouth shut.”

“No, see,” Shane said, her brows furrowed, and propped herself up on her elbow. “That’s the thing. She doesn’t. She can’t stop talking about it, it’s like… She even made up my horoscope and said all Geminis are sleeping with their best friends.”

They both chuckled a little at this but Jenny found it a bit hard to take their gossip loving friend’s antics seriously. “She’s just making things up because she doesn’t have anything better to do. It’s nothing.”

“No, I’m telling you!” Shane said, her eyes widening, and she suddenly covered her eyes with her hand and groaned. “Oh fuck. I hope she doesn’t make a podcast about it or anything.” Jenny rolled her eyes and smiled at her, but the whole thing was making Shane more and more uneasy. “Jenny, look, I am so sick of trying to hide this. There’s nothing wrong about us being together, we shouldn’t have to lie.”

“But don’t you like having this? That it’s just us?” Jenny let out a weary sigh. Didn’t Shane have any idea how much she treasured what they had and the fact that they could keep it in their own little world where no one else could touch it? “This is ours, it has nothing to do with anyone else.”

“We can still have that.”

“No, we can’t,” she said quietly and Shane took a deep breath, slowly blowing the air out of her cheeks.

“Yes, Jen. They don’t get to define who we are and what we have.” Frowning, she reached out her hand and placed it on Jenny’s shoulder, slowly caressing her arm through the thin fabric of her t-shirt. “What is this? You need to keep our relationship a secret or it’s not exciting enough for you?” She couldn’t possibly imagine that that was it, but she couldn’t help that she was beginning to wonder. Ever since day one Jenny had wanted to keep everything from their friends and she hadn’t had any problems with it at first, but it was getting to the point where she felt like it was enough.

“It has nothing to do with that!” Jenny assured her, a little panicked by the mere thought that Shane would think that about her. “I just don’t think we owe them anything, we deserve some privacy. Whether we’re fucking or not is none of their business.”

Shane shrugged. “Well, we’re not doing that now, so we have that problem out of the way,” she said and Jenny just stared back at her. “Look,” she went on, “I’m sorry, it’s just that we’re not a couple of teenagers who haven’t dared to come out of the closet yet, it makes no sense for us to hide this from people. I do get what you’re saying, but the thing is…” Her voice faded and she took Jenny’s hand in her own, placing a soft kiss in her palm when Jenny tried to touch her cheek. “The thing is; I wanna be able to hold you and kiss you even if our friends happen to be watching. I hate it when we’re hanging out with them and I see Alice and Tasha, Jodi and Bette, or Max and Tom together and we’re not allowed to act the way they do. I don’t wanna have to hide that I’m in love with you and I don’t wanna be a liar.”

“How long have you felt this way?” Jenny’s voice was barely more than a whisper; the guilt made her feel like someone was holding her heart in their hand and squeezing it with all their might. If she’d known that Shane was that uncomfortable she would never have insisted that they lie about whether or not they were more than just friends. The thing was though, that she knew that Shane had always had problems telling people her opinions about things, especially if she thought she might hurt someone or risk losing something that was important to her in the process. It had gotten better the last two months even if the whole time Jenny had known her, she’d always tried to make her feel like she had the right to say what she wanted to say about whatever was on her mind. Maybe now she was really starting to get somewhere.

“I don’t know, for a while.” Shane appeared just as downhearted as Jenny had felt when she made that revelation and they both moved closer to each other without even realizing it. “I know I should have said something, I don’t know why I didn’t. I guess I was okay with it at first, but with everything that’s happened the last few days, I just don’t know anymore. It’s not just that I don’t wanna lie, but Shay’s here now and even if I haven’t exactly talked to him about it, I’m pretty sure he knows there’s something going on between us. And I’m not gonna make him lie to people just so we can keep doing this. It’s not what I wanna teach him. It’s not right. Can’t we just… I don’t know, not do it like this? Please?”

“How do you wanna do things then?”

“I just wanna stop lying!” she sighed, raking her left hand through her messy hair. “That’s what I hate so damn much about this. Because if we’d walk out into the kitchen right this second, and I’d wanna kiss you, I’d like to be able to do that even if Alice is looking right at us. I just want to be with you and not give a shit about all that other stuff. We don’t have to yell it out to the whole world, but just… not lie about it.”

Jenny nodded slowly and her voice was soft when she replied. “Okay.” She shifted closer to Shane and kissed her to seal her promise. This was the closest thing to a fight that they’d ever had since they went from being best friends to girlfriends – not that they’d ever had a habit of arguing – and she was glad that that was as bad as it got. As long as they listened to, respected, understood, and loved each other, she was sure they’d make it through whatever problem that came their way in the future as well.

“Yeah?” Shane asked and raised an eyebrow at Jenny who nodded again, and Shane let out another sigh, this time one of relief. “Can this be my thing?” she suggested suddenly. “Like we were talking about?”

It took a few seconds for Jenny to realize she meant the thing she’d promised she’d let her have instead of sex while she recovered from her injuries. “Yeah, if you want it to be,” she said and put her head down on the pillow, right in front of Shane’s. “But this is something important. It’s something we would have had to talk about sooner or later either way.” She paused for a moment to think, but when she went on she grinned cheekily. “Don’t waste your ‘Jenny in a bottle’ on something you already have.”

“’Jenny in a bottle’?” Shane said amused. “You and your puns. Does that mean I’ll have to rub something to get what I want? Because I could be into that.”

“Shane, you’re hopeless!” Jenny sighed and rolled her eyes at her, then leaned closer again to place a quick kiss by the corner of her mouth. “Is it not possible for you to think about anything but sex today?”

“Not when you’re with me in our bed and you won’t fuck me, no,” she said and felt a bit bad when Jenny gave her a look that begged for her forgiveness, because she really hadn’t meant it that way. “Seriously, Jenny, I can live without sex for a few days,” she went on but as she said the words a slightly panicky feeling swept over her and she shook her head to try to will it away. “Anyway…” Rubbing the bridge of her nose, she tried to remember what they’d been talking about before just so she’d be able to change the subject. “If it’s okay, then from now on if someone asks me about us, I won’t lie. I’ll just tell them it’s none of their business, because I agree with you that… it’s not.”

Jenny tilted her head up a little when Shane paused in the middle of her sentence, and looked at her with concern. She hadn’t realized it until now, but Shane’s voice had gotten more and more hoarse while they were talking and now she looked like she was in pain. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she mumbled, then swallowed and cleared her throat. “It’s just my throat. I think I might have been talking too much today.”

“Oh, fuck, I’m sorry!” Jenny exclaimed, sitting straight up and covering her mouth with her hands. “I didn’t think about that. Fuck.” She’d been so focused on trying to make sure Shane didn’t get hurt that she’d completely forgotten about all the smoke Shane had inhaled the night before and that talking probably wasn’t the best thing for her to do right now. “You know what though? I have a notepad right here somewhere, you can write instead of talking…” Before Shane had a chance to say anything, she’d climbed over her, out of the bed and was shuffling through the items on her bedside table and Shane couldn’t help but laugh at her.

“Jenny, it’s fine, calm down,” she said, and rolled over and grabbed her hand. “I just think I need to get something to drink, and I should probably eat something too.” Jenny nodded and seemed to calm down a little and they both smiled. “It’s at times like this that it’s a shame you don’t know sign language.”

Jenny sighed and sat down on the floor next to her, pulling her hair back. Shane had learned so much so fast simply by hanging out with Jodi, but she just wasn’t a fast learner when it came to things like that. “Yeah, I know. I only know one thing, besides the one for ‘fuck you’” she said and smiled brightly when Shane rolled her fingers on her left hand into a fist – since her right one was hurt – sticking out her thumb and pinky and touched her chest with her thumb. She then crossed her arms over her chest, holding her fists to her shoulders before pointing at Jenny while she smiled back at her.

“I love you too, Shane,” she grinned, giving her a quick kiss before getting back up again and sitting down next to her on the bed. “You’re so fucking cute. Like when you made a salad for dinner and opened the back door just because it was so damn hot, and still you’d lit candles all over the place.”

“Ah, fuck,” Shane sighed, the night of their two month anniversary still fresh in her memory. “Be nice to me, I couldn’t help it. I had other things on my mind that night.”

“If it’s any consolation, I did too.”

“You did?” she grinned.

“Oh yes,” Jenny giggled and changed the subject, wishing she too could think about something other than sex for a while. “Hey, you said you were thirsty and that you wanted something to eat. I can’t remember if I told you, but I made some pancakes before, and unless Alice ate them all there should still be a whole bunch of them in the fridge. If you want I can get you some and you can have lunch in bed.”

She thoughtfully tapped her fingers on her bottom lip – something that made Jenny wonder if she craved a cigarette – and she seemed to consider the offer. “I think you even offered to bring me some before too, but I might have dreamt that,” she chuckled after a moment and Jenny helped her sit when she saw her trying to get up. “That sounds nice, but I think I need to get out of this bed for a while. And I really wanna check on Shay, spending too much time with Al when she’s like this can’t be good,” she joked. “Thanks though.”

“It’s okay, we can just eat in the kitchen and you can keep an eye on him and make sure that Alice doesn’t teach him any bad words.” She said the last words smirking since she knew how obsessive Shane could be about making sure people watched their language around him and she began to change out of her pajamas.

“She better not,” she groaned and suddenly she was in a hurry to get up. Jenny tried to help her and she let her, even though the stubborn voice in her head tried to tell her she could do it on her own. Better to be safe than sorry since the pain was still there, she figured, and with Jenny’s arm protectively around her she left her room and headed toward the kitchen.

“Do you want pancakes?” Jenny asked. “Or something else? I can make…”

“It’s fine, Jen, anything is fine. I can just make a sandwich or something.”

“No, it’s not a problem,” she insisted, “you can hang out with Shay for a while and I’ll take care of it. It’s not a big deal.”

“Thank you.” Shane stopped in the hallway right before they reached the dining room and wrapped her other arm around her, and she felt Jenny relaxing into her embrace. “For everything you…” she started but forgot what she was about to say when she began to cough violently again and turned her face away. “It’s okay,” she said before Jenny had a chance to open her mouth when she felt her hand on her back. “Come on, I just wanna get this over with and get back to bed.”

Jenny mumbled something unintelligible in agreement, trying to swallow the lump in her throat. If only she could stop worrying, but how could she when Shane had gone from being eager to get out of bed one minute to wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep the next? She gently rubbed her hand over Shane’s back and hoped she really was just overreacting again. Once she’d decided she really was okay for now, she let go of her and went to prepare her meal.

Shane walked over to the living room where the others were still playing and said hi to Tasha, a bit surprised to see her there but at the same time a little relieved since she figured Alice was probably more likely to behave with her around.

When he heard her voice, Shay turned his head in her direction and he seemed as happy to see her as she was to see him and she stopped behind the couch and gently placed her hands on his shoulders. She didn’t have to look at the TV to try to figure out who was in the lead, it was obvious enough from Alice’s annoyed groans and sighs that it wasn’t her. “You’re great at this,” she told him and he looked up at her for just a second with a big grin on his face.

“Hey, Shane,” he said once he turned back to face the TV again. “Guess who’s the worst driver ever?”

“Yeah, I know.” Shane nudged Alice’s shoulder with her elbow. “She gave me a ride, I’ve been there.”

“At least I’m a whole lot better than you’ll ever be,” Alice retorted and turned around to glare at Shane but froze and nearly dropped her controller when she saw her arm. Her jaw dropped and she pointed at the bruise on Shane’s upper arm, her eyes wide as saucers. “Holy shit!” she exclaimed and Shane instantly let go of her brother’s shoulder, placing her hand over Alice’s mouth instead and she glared angrily at her while she nodded in Shay’s direction.

Alice rolled her eyes at her and pulled her head back so she could talk again. “That’s what the spray can did to you?”

“Spray can?” Shane frowned.

“Yeah, we thought some exploding spray paint can hit you or something, because you had red paint all over your left side when we found you.”

“Oh.” She couldn’t believe she hadn’t even noticed that, but then again, she’d had other things on her mind.

“I’m surprised it didn’t take your arm off,” Alice went on and Shane rolled her eyes while Tasha kicked her leg, and when she glared at her she mouthed ‘You’re scaring him!’ nodding at Shay. Now that she got it pointed out to her, even Alice could see how he looked nervously at Shane’s bruise until Shane casually crossed her arms, covering it with her right hand.

Taking a quick look at the TV, Shane chuckled and shook her head, grinning at her. “Al, he just beat you again.” At that, Alice turned her attention back to the game like she’d expected her to and she kissed the top of Shay’s head before joining Jenny in the kitchen. She took a water bottle from the fridge and nearly emptied it, realizing she must have been thirstier than she thought, then spotted her cell phone on the counter and grabbed it.

“Jenny,” she said quietly, “I’m gonna go outside for a bit and try calling him again.” She didn’t need to explain, Jenny knew she was talking about her father and she just nodded.

Shane braced herself for what was to come and went out on the back porch calling Gabriel McCutcheon’s home phone. She stood nervously fidgeting for a while, listening to the beeping on the other end until it became clear to her that he wasn’t going to pick up today either. Sighing, knowing she’d at least tried and that she couldn’t do more than that, she returned to the kitchen and instantly received a hug from Jenny.

“I’m really proud of you for doing that. I know how hard it is for you.”

“Yeah,” Shane mumbled absentmindedly, glancing over at Shay who was still playing and laughing with their friends, and she hoped with all her heart that it wouldn’t have to come to an end. If their father took him away again, it would break her, and she didn’t know if even Jenny would be able to put the pieces back together a second time.

Jenny kissed her cheek, a naughty smile forming on her lips when she cast a glance in the direction of the living room. “You should eat now though. You said you wanted to get it over with.”

After a minute or two, Shane was sitting down by the table in front of a plate so full of pancakes that she didn’t know what Jenny was thinking. She’d be lucky if she could get half of it down. Squeezing her eyes shut and pinching the bridge of her nose right between them, she soon felt Jenny’s hand stroking her arm and she offered her some painkillers that she gratefully accepted. Her headache hadn’t come out of nowhere, it had slowly come creeping up on her and she’d tried to ignore it until she just couldn’t anymore. Jenny was probably right after all, what she really needed right now was to just take it easy for once until she felt better, but it wasn’t that simple now that Shay was staying with them. She didn’t want him to feel abandoned by yet another member of his family.

Just as Shane had decided she was done with her pancakes, the doorbell rang and Alice jumped up and got out of the couch. “That’s probably Max, Tom and Jodi,” she explained to Shane and Jenny, “they went to get your cars back from WAX.”

“Oh,” Shane replied, frowning. “But Max wouldn’t ring the doorbell, Al, he lives here.”

Alice grimaced back at her friend while Jenny headed for the door and opened it, looking confused at the man and woman who waited out on their front porch.

“Hi, we’re sorry to bother you,” the man said, and introduced himself and his partner, and they showed Jenny their badges. ”I’m Officer Watkins and this is Officer Rodriguez and we’re with the LAPD. We’re looking for a…” He stopped for a moment and looked down at the notepad in his hand. “Shane McCutcheon. Is he…”

“I’m Shane,” she cut him off from across the room and when Jenny saw her coming over to join her by the door, Jenny began to worry that she wouldn’t make it all the way over there. So when she did, she slipped her arms around her waist and held her steady in case she’d lose her balance.

“What’s going on?” Shane asked even though she was sure she knew why they were there.

“We've got a few questions about the fire last night if that's all right,” he said, looking from Shane to Jenny.

Shane nodded slightly, still feeling like her head was about to explode. “Okay,” she said and Jenny invited them to come inside. “I don't know what I can tell you though,” she went on. “I thought you talked to Chase, I don't know more about what happened than he does.”

“We're just trying to get all the details,” the woman explained but Shane cut her off before she could say anything else.

“And I thought you already got the guy who did it?”

“Yeah, we've got him in custody, but if you could give us anything, anything that you saw or heard when...”

“Look,” Shane said and Jenny could tell she was starting to lose her temper, something that didn't happen often. “Sure, I went in there. I went to get my brother and if I saw anything or heard anything but him, I honestly didn't care and I don’t remember that now. I just wanted to find him and get him out of there, and I'm sorry but I don't have anything else to say.”

“What about your brother?” The man looked at his notes again. “Shay?”

“He didn't see anything,” she growled, “I've already talked to him about that and he said he doesn't know anything.”

“But...”

“Shay?” She turned around and looked at him, her eyes and voice softer when she spoke. “Can you go to your room for a while?” That was all she had to say and he was up and out of the couch in an instant and on his way out of the living room. He pretty much always listened to her and she made a mental note to remind him of how thankful she was for that. “He was in a fire and he was fucking freaked out about that,” she continued when she heard the door to his room close, and for a second Jenny wondered if she'd asked him to leave just so she could stop holding back all the curse words she probably had ready on her tongue for the two cops.

Shane was well aware that they were only trying to help, and she too wanted Nick to remain locked away, but she didn’t want the cops around if it meant putting even more stress on her brother. “If he says he doesn't know, he doesn't. He's not a liar, and I'm not gonna have the two of you push him and freak him out even more, he's only ten fucking years old.”

Jenny began to worry because talking to a couple of police officers that way was probably not the best thing Shane could do, but she soon got other things to worry about when Shane trembled in her arms and her legs nearly gave way under her. She only now noticed the tiny beads of sweat on her forehead and she was just about to ask someone for help when Tasha showed up by her side, taking one of Shane's arms and pulling it over her shoulders.

“What happened?” she worriedly asked Jenny who just looked at her with panic in her eyes.

“I don't know,” she replied and tried to get a look at Shane's face. The way they stood holding her didn't make it easy for her. “Shane? What's wrong?”

“Nothing.”

Her voice was so quiet Jenny could barely hear her and there was no point just standing around there. “We should get her back to bed,” she told Tasha and glared at the cops who hadn't done anything when Shane nearly collapsed onto the floor. Some help they were. Alice must have seen how she almost said something to them about it, because when they were about to help Shane out of there, she started telling them both about how she'd been at WAX the other night and explained what she had or hadn't seen, and Jenny was grateful for the help.

When they got to the hallway, Tasha stopped and took over, lifting Shane up in both of her arms and that way they reached her room a lot faster than they would have otherwise. It scared Jenny that there were no protests from Shane, because she'd expected there to be at least some.

“Do you think we should call an ambulance?” Tasha asked after gently putting her down on her bed.

Jenny shook her head and shrugged. “I don't know. Shane?”

“My head is killing me,” she moaned quietly and opened one eye just slightly, looking back up at Jenny you immediately sat down next to her. “And you're not taking me to the hospital just because I have a migraine. Just... I don't know. Can you please turn off the light?”

“Yeah, of course,” Jenny said but it was Tasha who flicked the light switch. “Do you feel sick?”

“No.”

Tasha nodded towards the door and when Jenny gave her a small grateful smile she left the room again. When the door closed, Shane cleared her throat and suddenly tried to push herself up, but Jenny gently put her hand on her shoulder and made sure she stayed down.

“I should...” Shane started, “I should check on Shay, he doesn't know what's going on...” Her voice trailed off and she took a few deep breaths, covering her eyes with her hand.

“I'll talk to him. It's fine, Shane.”

They sat in silence for a while until Shane let her hand down and Jenny sat the tears in her eyes. “Do you think they're gonna take him away?” Shane whispered.

“What? The cops? Why would they do that?”

“Because he doesn't live here,” she said quietly and Jenny took her hand. “I have no right to keep him here and I almost got him killed.”

“That's not true and we both know it. You can talk to him as much as you want later, but right now you just need to feel better. Are you sure you shouldn't go to...” She’d known by the time she started on that sentence that she wouldn’t get to finish it.

“I'm not going to the hospital,” Shane argued with a stubborn frown, or maybe, Jenny figured, it was just the pain that caused it. “At least not for this. But if it's still bad tomorrow, I promise I'll go. Okay?”

“Okay. I'll leave you alone so you can rest.” Jenny smiled a little when she felt Shane squeezing her hand and slowly got up, tucking her in and kissing her forehead before she left the room to look for the others. A few moments later she found Alice, Tasha and Shay in the living room and the police officers were nowhere to be seen.

“Yeah, they left,” Alice explained when she saw the questioning look on Jenny's face. “I told them everything I knew and they seemed happy with that.”

Jenny looked from Alice to Tasha and back again with a suspicious frown. “You didn't make things up just to get them to leave, did you?” she asked slightly worried.

“No, she actually told them the truth,” Tasha grinned, “but she has this way of making the most boring and insignificant things sound interesting,” and Alice beamed.

“Are they coming back?” Jenny asked.

“I don’t know, but I doubt it,” Alice said with a shrug. “It seemed like they got what they wanted, at least for now. I think if they’re going to, they’ll probably wait until she’s feeling better.”

Shay moved closer to Jenny, and she saw him shooting concerned glances in the direction of Shane's bedroom. “Is she okay?” he asked.

“She has a migraine,” she told him, placing her hand on his shoulder. “But she'll be fine. She's just gonna stay in bed until it gets better.”

The concern on his face changed to confusion. “What's a migraine?”

It hadn't occurred to her until then that maybe most ten-year-old boys hadn't ever had one and she played with a lock of her hair as she tried to figure out what to say. “Well...” she said after a while, “it's like a headache, but sometimes before you get it you see all these flashy colors before your eyes.” He looked questioningly at her gesturing as she tried to explain it to him. “And sometimes you get sick, but it's nothing dangerous. It'll go away after a while.”

“Okay,” he said. “Can I go back to bed?”

Jenny hadn’t realized until then how exhausted he looked and she nodded, feeling a pinch of guilt. She’d known he hadn’t been able to sleep much and she should have paid more attention. “Yeah, of course you can,” she said softly. “I’ll wake you up before dinner if you’re still asleep by then. Just let me know if there’s anything you need.”

He smiled a little and said he would, then walked off to his room and Jenny turned to the other two.

“Shane’s going to the hospital tomorrow,” she told them and added, when she saw Alice was about to say something: “I’m making her go.”

Tasha nodded in agreement. “I think that’s a good decision.”

“Hey,” Alice said after considering that bit of information for a while. “I can take her there. I mean, if you have anything you have to do or just want to sleep for a while. It wouldn’t be a problem.”

“Unless she refuses to get in the car with you after today,” Tasha chuckled and Alice pretended to slap her.

“Thank you,” Jenny said sincerely after she’d managed to stop giggling at her. They were just starting to get somewhere with the movie and she had a ton of work to do, so she appreciated any help she could get. Not that she didn’t care about Shane, but she had to be honest with herself; she was the only one with a job at the moment and they now had a kid in the house too. She couldn’t take any risks. “Yeah, that’d be great. I don’t think she should be driving so… She’s already a little better though, she’s not coughing as much as she did this morning and she doesn’t sound too bad when she’s breathing. But I just wanna be on the safe side, you know?”

“Yeah. I’ll call you later about that then,” Alice said and took a step towards the door but stopped to give Jenny a concerned look. “Are you gonna be okay? Do you need us to stay for a while longer or come back later or anything?”

“No, no, that’s fine. I’m sure Max is gonna come home soon anyway so if I need help I’ll just ask him. But I think they’ll be okay. Thanks for coming over, both of you.”

“Take care of yourself too,” Tasha said with a soft smile. “Don’t forget that.”

“I won’t,” Jenny promised and they left through the front door.

Tasha barely had time to close the door behind them before Alice opened her mouth to tell her about all the things she’d been keeping to herself for the last couple of hours.

“I was right!” she exclaimed and almost bounced off the front porch on the way to their cars. “They are sleeping together.”

“I know, you told me that,” Tasha replied and let out a deep sigh. She wasn’t getting into this again with her, she already knew a whole lot more than Alice did and she just didn’t want to discuss it or even think about it, it made her uncomfortable. There was a word called privacy and right now she just wished someone would explain the meaning of it to Alice.

“No, I don’t mean that,” Alice went on, “they don’t just sleep, there really is something going on between them.” She stopped in front of the other woman and held up her phone. “I have proof. I filmed them together.”

“You what?!” Tasha yelled, staring at her. She had to be kidding; there was no way she could have done something like that. She’d felt bad enough herself for just accidentally walking in on them, and Alice was telling her she’d filmed them?

“Jeez, stop yelling.” Alice raised her other hand to her ear and frowned. “Yeah, I filmed them when they were asleep, they were holding each other and I’m gonna show that clip to Shane tomorrow and make her explain what’s going on, because that wasn’t all. Her closet is packed with Jenny’s stuff so there’s definitely something fishy going on here.”

Tasha just stood there staring at her for a moment, not knowing what to believe. She knew Alice loved to find out every single detail about everyone she knew, but this was getting out of hand. “So what if they sleep in the same bed, Alice?” she said and lowered her voice so Jenny wouldn’t hear her from inside the house. “You know that Jenny gave up her room so that Shay would have someplace to stay, you’re the one who told me. And so what if they hold each other while they’re asleep? Can you even imagine what they went through last night? Jenny could have lost her best friend in that fire. Shane could have died. I think it’s perfectly understandable if they wanna hold each other, and if they do, it really is none of your business. I think you should delete that thing right now.”

“Fine, I’ll delete it!” Alice exclaimed, “but I thought it would be fun, and they’re my friends and I just wanted to mess…”

“Right, Alice, they’re your friends,” Tasha sighed, shaking her head in frustration. “And the last 24 hours they’ve gone through hell. There’s no need for you to make it worse and I know you think this is hilarious but I doubt they will. Just leave them alone.”

Alice looked down and stood there in silence for a while, and when she looked up at her again, Tasha saw tears in her eyes. “Do you think this is easy for me?” she asked quietly. “I almost lost my best friend for the second time last night, and I just don’t know how I’m supposed to deal with that. So excuse me if I’m just trying to find something to distract myself because I really don’t wanna think about that right now, and I doubt they do either.”

Tasha’s face fell at her words and she didn’t know what to say or do anymore. She knew about Dana and that her death had messed Alice up pretty bad, but even if she was upset about that, she couldn’t make that into a valid excuse for what she was doing now. The line had to be drawn somewhere. A big part of her wanted nothing more than to just put her arms around her and hold her, but the other part knew that if she wanted things to get done right, she had to take care of that first.

“Alice, delete that video,” she said sternly, but the look she gave her was soft and supportive. “Please. I get that you’re hurting and you’re worried, but don’t make them a part of that. Just delete the damn thing.”

“Fine,” Alice sighed, wiping the tears from her eyes as she walked up to her while opening the folder with the video files in it. “See?” she said and held up her phone in front of Tasha, clicking the delete button. “It’s gone now.”

“Okay. Good.”

Tasha put her arms around her and held her close, and a small smile of relief spread on Alice’s lips. She’d deleted the file all right, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. She’d made two clips after all.
Chapter 11 - Immature by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Alice takes Shane to the hospital, and she's in for one rough ride.
“Thanks, Al,” Shane said the following morning as she sat down on one of the couches in the living room to put her shoes on, “but you really don’t have to give me a ride.”

“No, actually, I do,” Alice replied, playing absentmindedly with her car keys.

They were about to go to the hospital where Helena had managed to get her an appointment in spite of the short notice. All that had happened while Shane was asleep and once she’d woken up and Jenny told her what their friends had arranged for her, she had agreed to go after all. She did feel a little better, but it couldn’t hurt to get it done now instead of waiting until she was taking Shay there for a check-up later that week.

“Why’s that?”

“Jenny told me to,” she stated matter-of-factly and gave her friend an innocent smile.

“Jenny told you to?” Shane echoed and frowned back at her, snorted and then rolled her eyes. “Of all the things she’s ever said to you,” she began and sighed since the two of them weren’t exactly known for getting along well, even if it was getting better lately. “Did you have to choose to listen to this one?” Fine, Jenny could be a bit overprotective, but did she have to inspire her friends to treat her the same way? Especially Alice who would love to do it for no other reason than to piss her off. “I have my own car, and I’ve got a license too, you know.”

“I know you do,” Alice said, and mumbled, “though that never ceases to amaze me.” She grinned impishly when she saw that Shane hadn’t heard her, and went on. “But she doesn’t want you to drive until we know for sure you didn’t break anything in that pretty little head of yours when you fell.”

Before Alice even knew what happened, she stumbled backwards when Shane threw a pillow right at her face. “Fuck you,” Shane muttered, finally done with her shoes, and she stood up with her keys in one hand and her phone in the other. “With your driving skills I’ll probably end up in the ER again instead.”

“You were a lot more fun when you still smoked,” she retorted and pretended to rub the side of her face in pain.

Shane rolled her eyes at her and pushed her phone down in the pocket on her jeans. “Well, I don’t have a choice when it comes to that, now do I?” Quitting seemed to be easier than she’d imagined it would be, probably because she’d felt so sick and had been too exhausted to even think about it, but there were moments when she really wished she could just sit back and light one. Someone had told her at some point that the first three days were the worst and once you got through them, it wouldn’t be as bad anymore. It had only been a day and a half though, so maybe in a couple of days it would get better.

“It’s a good thing that you’re quitting though.” Alice walked out through the front door with a cranky Shane in tow and waited on the porch while she locked the door. “I doubt you’d ever have done it if they hadn’t forced you. Hey, where’s Jenny and Shay?” Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t until now that she realized they weren’t home.

“Jenny took him with her to go shopping before she goes to work,” Shane explained and her voice softened. “He didn’t have a whole lot with him so she decided she was gonna get him some new clothes and some stuff to keep him busy.”

Alice opened the door to the driver’s side and got in, waiting for Shane to follow. “He’s going shopping with her?” she chuckled. “Hah. That kid is gonna end up so spoiled.”

“Don’t I know it,” she sighed with a small smile on her lips, well aware of how Jenny loved to spend money now that she had lots of it. Shane had asked her to let her pay for it but Jenny had insisted on doing it so she let her.

She didn’t mind her going on her occasional shopping sprees though – after worrying about rent for years before she finally started getting paid for all her hard work, she’d earned it – or her getting Shay the stuff she knew Jenny would get him because he deserved every little thing. And it would probably be good for both of them to hang out without her around so they could have a chance to get to know each other better.

Once Alice had started the car and they took off down the street, she dug her phone out of her pocket, clicked a couple of times and then handed it over to Shane. “You should take a look at this,” she said cryptically. “And then tell me what you think.”

“Okay?” Shane replied, raising an eyebrow in confusion. She pressed play on the video clip, then sighed when she saw what it was and let the hand holding the phone down in her lap. “Okay, that’s…” she started, nodding slowly with her lips pursed and turned to her friend. “Me and Jenny. Why—why did you film this?”

“Because you’re sleeping with your arms around each other, that’s why!” she exclaimed and snatched the phone out of Shane’s hand, a little disappointed that that was the only reaction she got from her. “Are you gonna try to explain that?”

“Explain what?” Shane rubbed the bridge of her nose, wishing she’d taken her own car after all. She’d joked about Alice making a podcast about it the other day, but she’d never imagined she would do something like this. “You… you fucking filmed us in our sleep. I mean… What—what is that? Alice, she’s my best friend and we’ve been living together for three years. You seriously think that was the first time that’s ever happened? I shouldn’t have to explain a damn thing. Even if there is something between me and Jenny, it’s none of your fucking business and you need to accept that. And delete that damn thing.”

“Bite my head off!” Alice muttered but then turned to Shane again, giving her a knowing look. “You just admitted it anyway.” She then turned her eyes back on the road, smiling contentedly to herself.

“I didn’t admit anything.” Shane grabbed the hair in the back of her neck with her left hand in frustration, staring out through the windshield at nothing in particular. ‘It’s like talking to a fucking brick wall,’ she thought and decided to try another approach. “Look, you have your own life, try focusing on that for a change. I’m pretty sure Tasha would appreciate it.”

“She keeps saying that,” she replied with a hopeless sigh and Shane’s tense muscles relaxed a little when her diversion tactic seemed to be successful, at least for now. “She thinks I spend too much of my time gossiping about things that have nothing to do with me, yada, yada, yada.”

“That doesn’t really surprise me. To be honest.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Alice turned her head to stare at her friend, causing the Mini to rock from one side to the other for a moment, but she didn’t seem to take any notice of it.

Shane grabbed the hand bar on the door on her side and held on for dear life when the car nearly slammed into a BMW that passed them in the lane to their right. “Keep your eyes on the road, please!” she sighed. “Jesus Christ! Either that or let me drive.”

Alice just rolled her eyes, but this time she didn’t turn her head. “Nothing happened, all right? Just calm down. You were saying?”

“I was saying…” Shane started, letting out a deep sigh as she tried to calm down enough to remember what they’d been talking about. “I meant that when Tasha left the army, she gave up her old life and her whole career. And she did that so she could be with you, right? Or am I not getting this?”

“Yeah, she did.”

“Right, so if she has to make this huge sacrifice for you, don’t you think you could make some smaller changes if she asks you to? You can’t get into a relationship with someone and then expect the other person to do a one-eighty while your life remains the same as it’s always been. It just doesn’t work that way.” Shane had learned that lesson the hard way. In all committed relationships she’d been in, even if most of them had been pretty short, she’d always felt like she had to be someone other than who she really was. She’d never blamed anyone else for that, no one could have made her feel that way unless she let them, and she had. But in the end it had never worked out and she doubted it would for Tasha and Alice.

“Thanks for that, Yoda,” Alice muttered. “Since when are you the expert on relationships anyway?

Shane just shrugged, but her thoughts immediately wandered off to Jenny. She’d never once tried to turn her into someone else, instead what she did was encourage her to be herself and for once she actually dared to believe that that was someone worth being loved. There was no point in being bitter because of the mistakes she’d made in the past, she was just happy that they finally had each other and even if she’d been afraid at first that she’d fuck things up between them like she always seemed to when she tried to be with someone, there was no doubt in her mind that they’d make things work.

As if she’d read her mind, Alice brought her out of her reverie and answered the question for her. “Since you got into one with Jenny. I knew it.”

“It doesn’t ever fucking stop, does it?” Shane mumbled.

“Not really, no,” Alice said, grinning when she remembered another thing she had yet to bring up. “Because then there’s the whole thing about Jenny’s clothes in your closet, or maybe I should say the ‘big mess’ formerly known as your closet. There is no way it got like that in two days.”

“What the…” Shane started and Alice paused to smirk at her, which made Shane point out through the windshield again in frustration. “Watch where you’re going. I’m serious.”

And then there’s Jenny’s sex toys,” Alice continued in an innocent voice as if she hadn’t heard her. “You having fun playing around with those?”

Tilting her head just slightly to the side, Shane squinted at her with clenched jaws; things were starting to get way out of hand. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly through her nose, worried that if she didn’t manage to calm herself down she might say something she’d regret later. “So let me get this straight,” she said in a strained tone. “When you were gonna get that game for Shay, you used that as an excuse to fucking go through my stuff? What the fuck is this?”

“Just tell me the truth already!” she demanded, letting go of the steering wheel for just a second, gesturing as she spoke, but it was enough to make Shane roll her eyes and cross her arms over her chest. “It’s not like I don’t already know.”

“I’m not telling you a thing, okay? Just drop it already, or is that too hard for you?” She tried, but she couldn’t even be that mad at her because she knew Alice was right. She was the one keeping secrets, but even if she and Jenny had made a deal to stop lying, that didn’t mean Shane was going to tell the one person who would have half of West Hollywood informed in less than five minutes. She couldn’t deny that it was getting extremely frustrating though, having to repeat the same thing over and over and having Alice either pretending she didn’t hear her, or just putting words in her mouth.

“So what, you found Jenny’s stuff in my closet?” Shane continued. “Maybe you didn’t stop to consider this, but Jenny’s responsible enough to not leave things like that lying around in the room that my little brother is staying in.” She hadn’t even realized Jenny had put them there, but she figured with everything that had been going on since Shay came to stay with them, she probably hadn’t had time to figure out where to place them. “I’m so terribly sorry that you had to find them by accident,” she added with a sarcastic sneer.

Much to her dismay, Alice didn’t seem that affected by her words at all. “Well,” she said with a small shrug, “you two can try to hide it all you want, but I’m sorry to break it to ya Shane; you’re not doing it very well.”

“Did you—you didn’t ask Shay about any of this, did you?” Shane suddenly asked, and when Alice looked her way for a moment, she did look a little pale to her.

“No, I did not ask him anything. At least not about that. Relax, you don’t look like you’re feeling that well.”

“I wonder why,” Shane muttered and Alice turned to look at her again. She definitely looked paler than usual and Alice forgot about their current topic for a while.

“Are you okay?” she asked worriedly, not even considering that the problem might be her constant questioning or her reckless driving.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just… do we have to keep talking about this? I just don’t see it getting anywhere.”

“Okay, okay, fine. We’re almost there anyway.”

It didn’t take them that long to reach the hospital after that and once Alice had found them a parking space not too far from the door, she turned off the engine and got out only to realize that Shane hadn’t moved an inch. She sighed and walked over to the passenger’s side and opened the door, receiving a sceptical frown from her friend. “You really don’t wanna go in there, do you?” she asked and Shane shook her head, looking like a little kid afraid to go to the dentist.

“I really don’t.”

“Shane…” Alice began softly and leaned against the car. After her conversation with Jenny the day before she thought she had some idea of what the problem was. “It wasn’t easy for me either. I mean, what happened to Dana.”

“I know that, Alice, I…” Her voice trailed off and she looked down on her hands that lay folded on her lap.

“But I know that if she was here with us,” Alice continued as if Shane hadn’t said anything, “she’d pull you out of that seat and drag you in there whether you liked it or not because you need to do this.” Shane just sat there in silence, so she smiled a little and went on. “And I also think she would be really proud of you.”

“For freaking out about going to the doctor?” Shane asked, frowning in confusion at her, and Alice wondered if she was even listening.

“No, smartass,” she chuckled. “For running into a burning building to save your brother. It was probably the stupidest thing you ever could have done, but I don’t know anyone else who’s done something as brave and selfless as that. I know I couldn’t have.” She looked away, embarrassed as she remembered her own actions that night and how the only somewhat useful thing she’d managed to do was to keep Jenny from running after Shane. “I was just standing there like an idiot.”

“Alice…”

“It’s the truth,” Alice cut her off with a shrug and shot her a sad smile before she changed the subject again. “But well, yeah. Someone who could do what you did that night should be able to walk into a hospital. Or do you need me to put it on fire first?”

Shane smiled back at her and though she tried not to, she couldn’t help but letting out a quiet chuckle. “That’s not even funny,” she scolded her.

“It worked though,” she grinned and leaned in to grab Shane’s uninjured hand, tugging it to make her get out of the car. “Come on, it’ll be fine. Helena said she’d make sure they’re good to you.”

Shane reluctantly got out of her seat after taking a look in the mirror to make sure that her hair still hid the wound and bruise that still covered a big part of the right side of her face. It looked better now than the day before, but it wasn’t something she wanted to show off to people if she could avoid it. “That’s not what I’m worried about,” she mumbled and closed the door behind her. "It just makes me uncomfortable."

“I know, but come on.” Alice gently placed her hand on her back, determined to get her inside even if it meant she’d have to push her there. “Maybe she arranged for some hot nurse to take care of you in there,” she grinned but then slapped her forehead. “No, wait, that’ll make Jenny jealous.”

“Jesus Christ, Al. Drop it.”
Chapter 12 - SCAR ~ Part I by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Shane isn't the only one who has an unpleasant morning.
The last few hours Jenny had gone from one store to the next, dragging Shay along with her and for each one they left, they had one more packed shopping bag to carry. They had bought so much new clothing, books and games that Jenny was a little concerned about what Shane would say about it. Before they left the house she’d worried that Shay might get bored after five minutes of shopping with her, but he seemed happy even if he was a bit quiet, and now they were finally at their last stop; the grocery store.

“If you see anything you want, just put it in there, I don’t think we have that much at home right now anyway,” she said, pointing at the shopping cart, and that was pretty much the same strategy she’d used all morning. It worked well though, Shay wasn’t the least bit greedy about anything and in most cases she’d ended up asking him if he wanted this or that before he finally told her. Still it saddened her to see that someone so young could seem so much more mature than she felt herself at times, and once again she caught herself wondering if Shane had been like him when she was his age. She’d never had anything served to her on a silver platter, she’d been used to fighting for everything she had for so long Jenny couldn’t even imagine what it must have been like. Shane never said much about that part of her life, and her brother didn’t seem to be much of a talker either, so that was yet another thing they had in common.

“Hey!” she suddenly exclaimed when she saw him wandering off down one of the aisles. “Stay where I can see you,” she said and then smiled softly at him. “You know that Shane will kill me if I manage to lose you somewhere.”

Smiling back at her, he then walked away, returning a few moments later with some pasta before he took off again. Jenny walked slowly, pushing the cart in front of her over to the produce section. If she was going to be completely honest with herself, she and Shane didn’t eat anywhere near enough vegetables; aside from the salad that Shane had made a few days ago – the one they conveniently enough forgot to eat when they had better things to do – they had mostly been surviving on takeout. That was going to have to change now that Shay was staying with them. They knew how to cook, that wasn’t the problem, but when they were both busy with work and finally got some time alone together, there were other things they’d rather be doing…

Jenny sighed quietly, raised her hand to grab a lettuce. Why she’d had to go and make that agreement with Shane to not have sex for a while was beyond her. She knew it was the right thing to do, or at least she thought it was, but it was hard. By now more than 48 hours had passed since last time, and that was a long time for them. She wondered if it was easier, or even harder, for Shane. She’d spent most of her time sleeping, but it was Shane, after all. Maybe if she didn’t bring any bad news home with her from the hospital – she didn’t even want to consider the possibility of the opposite – they could do something about that soon.

After finishing that thought and with a hopeful smile on her lips, she reached out for an apple, looking up startled when she bumped her hand into someone else’s. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologized, giggling a little; she felt like she was in a daze.

“No, I…” the other woman started as they both turned to face each other. “Jenny?”

“Oh my god!” Jenny exclaimed, staring at the dark-haired beauty in front of her. ‘Oh my god. Oh my…’ she thought, feeling a panic she couldn’t even explain to herself. She hadn’t seen her for such a long time, over a year, and she’d never have imagined she would suddenly bump into her at a grocery store of all places. In fact, since she had seemed to have disappeared completely from WeHo, Jenny hadn’t given that much thought to the possibility of meeting her own ex or Shane’s former fiancé again. “Hi! Hi, Carmen.”

“Hi, how…” Carmen started and shook her head slowly and giggled, apparently equally surprised to see her. They both looked each other up and down and giggled some more. “How are you?”

“I’m, uh…” Jenny began quietly as all the time that had passed and the events that had taken place since Shane left Carmen at the altar flashed by before her eyes, and she wished they hadn’t because something about it all definitely made her uncomfortable. She immediately felt bad for thinking it, but Carmen wasn’t a part of any of that, and she didn’t want her to be. That was probably why it felt so weird seeing her now, like getting sucked into a portal where past came to present and you couldn’t know for sure what it meant. “I’m good,” she managed after a while. “You? Where have you been?”

“I just came home two days ago,” she replied with a deep sigh and smiled wearily. “I got offered this job in New York after I got back from Canada and I took it. I’ve been over there ever since but I missed my family so…” She shrugged and giggled again. “I came back home for a while,” she said and it seemed strange to Jenny that after all this time and after what went down in Whistler, the other woman still felt comfortable enough with her to talk to her as if they were still close friends. It was almost as if nothing had changed at all. And if things were still the same… A chill ran down her spine and she didn’t dare to finish the thought, barely listening as Carmen went on to tell her that she’d been out clubbing all night and had run into an old friend that offered to give her a ride home.

“What about you?” Carmen asked and Jenny pushed her thoughts away. “I saw that you got your book published! Congratulations.” She smiled brightly at her and Jenny forced a smile too, trying to will that uncomfortable feeling away.

“Thank you, I…” Jenny began by was interrupted by Shay who suddenly showed up behind her with some DVDs in his hand, looking shyly at her.

“Can we get these?” he asked.

“Yeah, just put them in there,” she said softly and smiled to herself when he put them on top of everything else in the cart.

“Now, who’s this young man?”

They both looked up and Shay glanced questioningly at Jenny who stood with her mouth half open as if Carmen’s question startled her somehow, and it had. It was as though two worlds were colliding in front of her, and it was something she didn’t think she was ready for.

“I’m Shay,” he said finally and turned to Jenny, not caring particularly about the woman she was talking to. “I thought maybe when Shane gets home, we could watch them.”

“I think that’s a great idea.”

Shay grinned and took off again, leaving Jenny with Carmen whose face was significantly paler than before. “Shay?” she asked quietly. “Is he…?”

“Yes,” Jenny said simply, looking after him as he walked away and then turned back to her old friend. “He’s Shane’s brother. He lives with us now.” She could feel a smile forming on her lips as she told her; she’d never imagined she would care about any kid as much as she cared for him. They’d had a bad start when she first got to know him, but she hoped that some day, hopefully some time soon, he’d see that she wasn’t in the same bad place now that she’d been back then.

“He lives with you?” Carmen asked, frowning in disbelief.

“Well, he’s staying with us. He did that for a few months before and he came back last week.”

“Oh, I…” she started and stood seeming to quietly contemplate this and Jenny wondered if that was what it looked like when it sank in for her that Shane had actually changed since last time they saw each other. “I never even saw him before,” Carmen continued and glanced over at him again, looking as if she didn’t believe what she was seeing. “He looks so much like her.”

“I know. They act alike too, it’s strange.” Jenny thought back on the hours before the fire had started, how she’d spent a few way too short moments with the two McCutcheons before she had to go back home to work. Seeing them together that way, it was almost impossible to believe that the two of them hadn’t grown up in the same house. Shay also seemed to have a way of making his sister turn at least ten years younger in an instant when they were hanging out together, and it was adorable to see her like that. When she did the math in her head she realized that Shane was old enough to be his mom, something that strangely enough hadn’t occurred to her before. Shane seemed too young to be someone’s parent. Right?

“How is she now?”

Once again Carmen’s voice managed to pull her out of her reverie and she blinked as she tried to remember the question she’d just been asked. After a few seconds it came back to her and she nodded hesitatingly, trying to force the right answer out from the midst of all her distracted thoughts. “Right now?” She saw no reason to lie to her, chances were she’d already heard about what happened. “She could be better, but she’s okay. WAX burned down… two days ago…”

“I heard something about that,” she replied softly. “But I don’t know any details.”

“Shane was inside when it happened.” She had to pause and take a deep breath as the scene replayed in front of her eyes, and she shut them, trying to push the images away like she’d had to do so many times already. “And she—she managed to get out but she had to go back in because she found out Shay was there.”

“Oh my god.”

Jenny went on to give her not the full story of what had happened that night, but most of the important details and assured her that they were all okay now, leaving out the bit about Shane having to go back to the hospital that same morning. The line had to be drawn somewhere. If she were to be completely honest with herself, she wasn’t sure why they were still having that conversation. In all honesty, they hadn’t been the closest of friends before Carmen left LA, but for some reason she felt obliged to treat her as though they were. As if she felt guilty for stealing something from her and pretending she knew nothing about it. And there, out of the blue after they’d been talking for a while, came the hushed question she’d least expected.

“Is she seeing anyone?”

Jenny froze for a moment, wondering if she’d heard her right, but judging from the curious but slightly embarrassed look on Carmen’s face, she figured she’d asked exactly that. “Shane? Yes, she is.”

“How long have they been…?” Carmen shifted uncomfortably and an alarm set off in the back of Jenny’s mind. Why was she asking her that? How was that any of her business anymore?

“For a few months,” she managed to say, feeling her heart rate increasing and a lump forming in her throat. Any other situation like this she would have gotten her defences up in a second, but not this time. If Carmen was getting at what she suspected she was, she knew there was nothing she could say or do about it. Aside from when she stood outside of WAX, watching Shane as she ran inside, she couldn’t remember a time when she’d felt so hopeless.

“Do you know if it’s serious?” the other woman continued quietly, but Jenny could see the glimmer of hope in her eyes and her heart sank further.

“Yes,” she sighed, crossing her arms over her chest without thinking about it. “Why, Carmen?”

”I just…” She smiled a little, shyly, and shrugged. “Sometimes I think I made a mistake when I never talked to her about what happened. Like I think that maybe we could have talked about stuff, you know? We could have worked things out if I’d just called her back and given her a chance.”

“Oh.” Her face flushed and she felt the sting of tears threatening to well up in her eyes. So she’d been right after all. It could be even worse than she’d feared and she needed to get out of there if she wanted a chance to keep it together. She tried to turn away as casually as possible to look for Shay, but couldn’t see him and was about to use that as an excuse to walk away from the conversation when Carmen continued.

“So you still live with her?”

“Yeah, we still live together.” She sniffled quietly and covered her eyes with one of her hands, pretending to play with her hair so Carmen wouldn’t get a chance to see the teardrops glittering on their way down her cheek.

Carmen stood quietly in front of her for a moment, trying to look into her eyes. When that proved impossible she peered at her with her head tilted slightly to the side. “You’re not… You two aren’t…?” she started and her eyes slowly widened when Jenny didn’t respond. “Oh my god, I’m sorry, I had no idea.”

The awkward silence that was triggered by that question didn’t last very long before someone came up behind Jenny, walked by her, turned around and jokingly put her arm around Carmen’s shoulders. “What’s up, ladies?” she grinned, chewing some gum with her mouth open and not seeming to care whether or not she’d interrupted a conversation.

“Hi, Papi,” Jenny said with a small smile, grateful for the distraction and not too surprised to see that she was apparently the friend that was driving Carmen home. A second later she spotted Shay again and decided it was her cue to leave, so she said goodbye to the two women, anxious to get away before further drama ensued.

As she walked away from them, she wiped another tear from her cheek, feeling like an idiot for letting Carmen’s words get to her the way they had, but she couldn’t help it.

What she had with Shane now was the first real relationship she’d ever had with a woman and she wanted it to be her last. It was also the very thing Shane had been supposed to share with Carmen. They were living together, sleeping together, and chances were, they might be raising a child together, and thinking about it made her remember something Carmen had said the day they’d all gone to pick out her wedding dress. She said she felt like she was trying to marry the most unattainable person on earth and the memory made Jenny swallow and bite down hard on her lip.

Was she trying to do the same thing? Who was she to think she had a better chance at it than Carmen had? She’d never doubted Shane before but a nagging little thought in the back of her head told her that maybe she should have and with what had just happened, she couldn’t help that she felt threatened.

She’d always used to think Shane and Carmen were meant to be together and now before Jenny knew what hit her, she was back in their world again.
End Notes:
"The reason I couldn't even say 'goodbye' properly was that I got the feeling that I'd see you again. Or..."
Ayumi Hamasaki - SCAR
Chapter 13 - SCAR ~ Part II by DarknessDescends
Author's Notes:
Shane and Shay finally talk.
“Hey. Where’s Jenny?” Shane asked when she walked in through the front door a few hours after Alice had picked her up, relieved to finally be home again. She found Shay lying on the couch watching cartoons, Max sitting in the armchair next to him, and the room itself didn’t quite look like it should since the furniture for some reason had been rearranged. They both looked up as she entered the room.

“She went over to the production office once she dropped Shay off here,” Max told her and got up, trying to look into her eyes as if he wanted make sure she was okay, but she turned to her brother instead.

“Did you get anything good?”

“Yeah, lots,” he grinned and Shane smirked to herself, sitting down next to him when he made room for her.

“I figured,” she said. “That sounds like Jenny, all right.”

Max walked around the couch, letting his hands rest on the back of it and tilted his head to the right when he tried to look at her again. “How did it go for you?” he asked. “I mean at—at the hospital.”

“They said I’m gonna be fine,” Shane replied and pursed her lips, feeling like she’d done nothing but repeat that phrase in some form the last two days. “And yeah, I’m telling the truth,” she added when she saw the skeptical look Max gave her. “I just have to rest, it’s the same thing as last time I was there.” When she finished the sentence the two guys exchanged mischievous glances and she turned her head from one to the other in confusion. “What?”

“Well, now you can do that,” Max said, “because we moved some stuff around a bit so you and Shay can take a couch each and then just lie here all day and watch the DVDs Jenny got for him.”

“Do you wanna do that?” Shay asked, smiling hopefully at her.

“Yeah, sure. That’d be great, it’s just what I feel like doing right now.” She really couldn’t think of too many better ways to spend the rest of the day after the morning she’d had. All she wanted to do was to just lie down and not do a single thing unless she absolutely had to, especially not think about the past weekend’s events, and maybe she’d wake up tomorrow to a slightly better day. Though there was one thing she still had to do and she’d been putting it off for too long already. She needed to have a serious talk with Shay, and she dreaded doing it.

“All right, then I’m gonna get back to work,” Max announced. “We had some minor database issues this morning so I just gotta figure out what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again, you know?” He said it while grinning mischievously at Shane, knowing how little sense, if any, his job made to her.

“Right,” she nodded back at him, but after a moment she shook her head and laughed. If possible, her brain felt even more fried now than it had before he’d said that. “Gotcha. As long as you know what you’re doing.” He grinned at her and then walked to the back door, leaving her alone with Shay and the conversation she’d been trying to avoid ever since he’d shown up at her doorstep.

“Shay,” she said softly, looking nervously at him where he sat in front of her on the couch. “Before we watch those movies, there’s some stuff I think we should talk about.”

“Okay.”

It seemed to make him uncomfortable and that didn’t exactly do wonders for her courage. “Yeah, you know I… I hate to bring all this up again, but we have to talk about what happened before you came here. We should have done that sooner, but you know how things got in the way. But we… We can’t just sweep it under the rug no matter how much we might want to.”

“I know that,” he sighed hopelessly, “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”

“Well, to start with,” Shane began, wishing there was some way she could avoid the question, but she knew she had to ask him. “Have you had any contact with your mom lately? Do you know where she is?”

Shay avoided looking at her and instead picked up one of the DVDs Jenny had bought for him and pretended to read the text on the back cover. “Not exactly,” he mumbled. “Dad said we were gonna go and see her.”

“Yeah, you told me that on the phone.” After a moment the meaning of what he’d just told her began to sink in. “Wait, you mean he never took you?”

“No. Shane, I miss her.”

She almost thought he was about to start crying as he said it, and it would have been understandable. She knew so well what it was like to be in his place, he was only a year older than she had been when her own mom had given her up and it still hurt when she thought about it. For him the wounds were still fresh and that had to be so much worse.

“I know you do, I’m sorry,” she said softly, fighting back the tears that were threatening to well up in her eyes. It was beyond her how his father couldn’t comprehend or even bring himself to try to care about how important it was for Shay to see Carla, if only for a moment. “Look, I can’t promise anything, but we can ask Max and maybe he can help us find her.” Shay nodded slowly a couple of times and she cautiously continued. “And what about your dad?”

Shay tilted his head up, looking at her in confusion before he replied; sounding slightly offended but there was still a hint of curiosity in his voice. “He’s your dad too.”

Her brother’s words hit her like a slap in the face; he was right of course, but it hadn’t occurred to her up until that point how she distanced herself from Gabriel McCutcheon now and only ever thought of him as Shay’s father. “I know he is,” she said quietly, lifting her hand to thoughtfully rub the bridge of her nose with her thumb and index finger. “I’m just not used to that. Sometimes I guess I just forget.”

Shay swallowed, looking into her eyes, his own filled with sadness. “Because he left you too.”

She nodded slowly. “Shay, he’s still your dad. And I don’t want to bash him for what he did to you, but I can’t defend him either. He had no right to leave you there.”

“It’s not like it was the first time.”

“What?” Shane could feel her heart beating faster and she took a deep breath when he continued.

“When he left for work he could be gone for days at a time,” he explained and while his voice was calm, he shifted the DVDs nervously while he talked. “I always used to be with mom when he did that, but then when she left he made me stay with some people he knew from work and I hated that.” He paused and took a deep breath, looking at her as if he expected to get yelled at for what he was about to say. “So I ran away.”

“Shay, I’m so sorry.”

“And after that they didn’t want me to stay there anymore because it was too much trouble, so he just let me stay home. But that was better anyway.” He shrugged, letting out a deep, hopeless sigh. “But this time was different, because I knew it had nothing to do with work, he just didn’t want…”

“Come here,” Shane said softly when his voice trailed off, wrapping her arms around him in a warm hug as the tears finally began to trickle down her cheeks. “You should have called me. I wish you would have just called me and I’d have come to get you in a second.” She should have known something like that would happen after Shay went back to Oregon and now she berated herself for not having just asked him more in depth about it instead of expecting him to tell her what was going on. On a second thought, his father could have been listening every time they were on the phone…

“Yeah, I know,” Shay mumbled and hugged her tightly, relieved to have finally been able to tell her what had really happened. “I wish I could stay here and never go back there again.”

Wiping the tears off her right cheek, she let go and sat back to look at him, not sure if he’d really said what she thought he had. “Are you—are you sure about that?” she stuttered.

“You don’t leave me all the time, and I like it here,” he replied, looking at her pleadingly.

“I was going to talk to you about that, because I know that that’s a pretty difficult decision to make, but if you really want to stay with us, then we can try to make that happen.” She was a bit shocked to hear herself say it, but she knew she’d already made up her mind when she talked to Jenny about it. Jenny believed they could make it work and knowing that she could finally push aside her doubts in herself and her fear of failing him, but in the end it all came down to what he wanted. “But I wouldn’t do that if… if that’s not what you want me to do.”

“You want me to stay here?”

“Yeah, I—I do. There’s nothing I want more in the whole world. We’ll figure something out. You don’t have to decide anything right now, you can think about it for a while.”

“Okay,” he said simply, smiling back at her and seemingly content with her response.

“And I need to call the school and tell them you’re here,” Shane reminded herself once she managed to clear her head a bit from the conversation they’d just had. “How soon do you think you’ll be ready to go back there?”

“Tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow?” Shane echoed, her brows furrowing. She hadn’t expected him to be in such a rush to back there, but it was a good thing. “Okay, well, I’ll call them later and see what they say. How’s that?” Shay nodded slowly. “Are you…?”

“Nervous? No. Do you think Jared will be there?”

“I don’t see why he wouldn’t be. He and Paige still live here as far as I know, and I know he missed you a lot when you left.”

“You don’t talk to them anymore, do you?” he asked, frowning slightly.

“No, I don’t. But we can call them too if you want.” Shane paused when she realized there was still something they hadn’t really discussed. “You know I’m with Jenny now, right?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“And you’re okay with that?”

Shay shrugged. “Yeah, I like her. She’s just a little…”

“Weird?” Shane suggested with a smirk.

“Yeah,” he chuckled and Shane soon joined him.

“Yeah, she is,” she said, smiling happily, “but she’s a really sweet and great person, and she loves you too, you know.” Her brother nodded and she went on. “Shay, you and Jared can still be friends even if I’m not going out with Paige anymore.”

“I know that,” he sighed and rolled her eyes at her.

“Smartass.”

When the dreaded talk was over with they both went to the kitchen and made some sandwiches for lunch and when they’d finished them Shane decided to call the school Shay had attended the last time he stayed with them. This time there were no problems with him going there and he was welcome to start the next day like he wanted to. Now that they’d taken care of that they could spend the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing.

“What do you wanna watch?” Shane asked, squinting at the stack of DVDs on the table. She couldn’t read any of the titles without her glasses, but it really didn’t matter which ones he’d gotten. She just wanted to spend some time with him again, it had been way too long since they had just hung out and done nothing together, because the afternoon at WAX a few days ago didn’t count as far as she was concerned.

Shay shrugged and picked them up, shuffling through the cases and stopping every now and then to look at the covers. “I don’t know, we got lots of them,” he said, flipped over one of them and skimmed through the back cover. “What about this one?” he asked and held up a Harry Potter movie.

‘The Order of the Phoenix’?”

“It’s the fifth one,” Shay went on, not noticing the way his sister had lit up at the suggestion. “But I can tell you what happened in the other ones if you want.”

“You don’t have to do that,” she smiled and stretched her long legs out on the couch. “I just finished reading that last night.”

“You read Harry Potter?” he asked skeptically, put the DVD case down on the table and just stared at her for a moment as if to see if she was kidding.

She chuckled when she saw the way he looked at her and shrugged a little. “Well, you were the one who told me they were good! Stop laughing at me!” He didn’t listen to her so she grabbed the pillow behind her head and threw it at him, but not as hard as she had the same morning when Alice had annoyed the crap out of her. “What, I’m too old?” she said and started laughing too. “I happen to like them, what can I say? I read the first one after you left because I missed you, and I thought it was good so I just kept going.”

“You never told me that.”

It was adorable how he looked offended and almost betrayed because she’d neglected to share such an important fact with him. “I told you now! We should totally watch that though.”

Shay agreed and put the disc in the DVD player and turned the TV on. Shane put her pillow back on the couch and made herself comfortable, relieved that she had finally managed to talk to her brother about all the things she’d had on her mind lately. Things finally seemed to be going her way, and she barely made it to the menu screen before she closed her eyes and drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

* ~ * ~ *


“I’m not exactly done rewriting those scenes just yet,” Jenny explained a few minutes after walking into Tina’s office at the production headquarters. After the fire the scenes she was supposed to be working on had completely slipped her mind. “This weekend was…”

“Jenny, I know, it’s fine,” Tina cut her off before she even had a chance to start making excuses for anything. “After what happened I don’t think anyone’s expecting you to be done already, you’ve had other things on your mind. It’s okay.” She smiled at her from behind her desk, relieved that the two of them seemed to be getting along at least a little better now than the week before. She had to admit though, that all the unnecessary arguments they’d had in the past weren’t too easily forgotten and she had a strong feeling they hadn’t seen the last of them.

“There’s still time,” she went on, “it’s not like we’re gonna start shooting today. Really, don’t stress yourself out because of that, Aaron just wants things to get done the moment he thinks of them, it’s not that big a deal, okay? You should focus on Shane and Shay for now. It’s fine.”

“Thank you,” Jenny nodded slowly and decided to jump to the reason of why she’d come in there in the first place. “Speaking of Shane…” she started and kept her voice as innocent as possible as she looked at her executive from under her long dark bangs. “She doesn’t have a job anymore; do you think we can get her one? Please?” On a normal day she wouldn’t have begged Tina for anything, but this was for Shane and it was important, important enough for Jenny to crawl in the dust at Tina’s feet if that’s what it took. At least for a few seconds.

“Here? Well, it’s Shane so I’m sure we can work something out. I don’t know why that wouldn’t be poss—”

“I want her on the movie,” Jenny interrupted her, not seeming to have even realized she said something, and she was slowly pacing back and forth in front of Tina’s desk with a thoughtful frown on her face. “I mean, she can’t really go to work right now but she’ll be back on her feet before we start shooting. She’s really great at what she does.”

“I know she is, Jenny,” Tina said, grinning at how Jenny felt the need to point that fact out to her. As she pondered this, memories from two days earlier flashed before her; Shane with Jenny on her lap, smelling her hair, and how Jenny freaked out when it was suggested that Shaun – Shane’s character – would fuck Bev or Nina in the movie. It hadn’t seemed like just a coincidence to her and she was now becoming sure it wasn’t. “Are you—are you sleeping with her?”

Jenny immediately froze and turned to stare at her in disbelief. “What?”

“Oh, come on, Jenny,” she grinned, leaned forward with her elbows propped up on the desk and gestured with her hands as she went on. “You guys are practically inseparable, you’re desperate to get her a job here…”

“Because she doesn’t have one!” Jenny exclaimed and stomped one high-heel clad foot into the floor, then spun around, grabbing her long hair and pulling it in frustration. Tina never listened to her, never, no matter what she said, and she already knew what questions would follow.

“And,” Tina continued, seemingly taking no notice of Jenny’s antics in the middle of the room, and she casually shuffled a few pages of Jenny’s script. “In the rewrite, you had Jessie and Shaun end up together. It’s not like it’s a secret that they’re supposed to be you – and Shane.”

“Tina, I know I’ve told you this before, but I suppose it slipped your mind.” She struggled hard to keep her new found calm; why her former neighbor and current co-worker thought this concerned her in any way was beyond her. They weren’t friends, even if they hung out with the same people or if they got along some days; after the way Tina had treated her and how she’d betrayed her before Jenny regained control of her own movie wasn’t something she’d be forgetting any time soon. “For the last time, ‘Lez Girls’ is fiction!”

The other woman just shrugged and it pissed her off even worse. “Sure, that’s what we tell everyone, Jenny,” she said casually, “but you and I both know that those characters are based on us.”

“Even if they are, I really don’t see what all this business has to do with me and Shane.”

“Nothing!” Tina exclaimed, unable to hold back a giggle. She found the whole conversation absolutely ridiculous and couldn’t understand why it was so important for Jenny to try to keep it a secret when it was obvious to anyone who saw them together. “The movie has nothing to do with it, I’m just curious.”

“Good.” Jenny glared at her and pulled the strap of her bag up on her shoulder and stuck her nose up at her. “Because even if I am fucking her, I’m sure as hell not gonna tell you.”

After saying that, she suddenly spat out her Nicorette that landed right in the middle of Tina’s desk, then turned on the spot and stomped out of the room, yelling her assistant’s name on the top of her lungs. “ADELE!”

Tina sighed deeply, leaning back in her chair and shook her head with a small smile on her lips. As it turned out, fighting with Jenny could be fun at times after all. At least when she was winning.

* ~ * ~ *


“How is she?” Jenny asked Shay in a whisper, a moment after she’d come home that night and was greeted by Sounder who circled her feet. She quietly walked up to the couch where Shane was sleeping under a blanket, with her face buried in one of the pillows as usual.

Shay picked up the remote and paused the movie he was watching before he answered her in a hushed voice. “She said, that they said, that she’s gonna be fine, and that she was telling the truth.”

“She better be. How long has she been asleep?” She leaned closer to Shane to listen to her breathing and decided it actually sounded a lot better than the previous morning. She seemed to be getting better after all, and Jenny stood back up, letting out a sigh of relief.

“For about three movies, I think,” he said, shrugging.

Jenny looked up at him and giggled quietly, not knowing whether she’d heard him right. “What?”

“Well,” he began to explain, “she fell asleep like ten minutes after we started watching Harry Potter, so I just let her sleep. She looked tired.”

She still did, Jenny thought when she looked back down at her again, and she figured it was best not to wake her up until dinner was ready. “Yeah, she probably needs it,” she agreed. “What do you want for dinner? Is pasta okay?”

“Yeah.”

Jenny walked into the kitchen, pleasantly surprised to see Shay following her to help out, and together they soon finished making dinner for all four of them, after she’d sent Shay out to the studio to ask Max if he wanted some too. They’d done their best to stay as quiet as possible so they wouldn’t wake Shane, even if Jenny realized it was probably a bit unnecessary. From experience she knew it would take a lot more than that to wake her up.

Now that the table was set, she went to sit down on the couch by Shane’s side and gently stroked her hand over her back. “Hey, sleepy head,” she said softly, smiling as she looked at the small part of her face that wasn’t currently hidden in the pillow. The one visible eye squeezed shut until she sleepily raised her hand to rub it and she turned around to peer at her.

“Oh,” she mumbled and struggled to open her eyes. “Hey. Where’s Shay? What time is it?” Jenny moved her hand to Shane’s cheek, then somehow managed to get it tangled up in her hair and they both laughed as she tried to get it out. “I know it’s a mess,” Shane grinned.

“To answer those questions, Shay went outside to get Max so we could have dinner, and it’s almost 6 pm. Are you okay?” She looked concerned at her as Shane suddenly frowned and almost looked sick.

“Yeah, I’m just…” Shane mumbled and then looked up at her, laughing. “Fucking shit. I had the most… insane dream.”

That was not at all what Jenny had expected to hear, but she managed to relax a little. At least she seemed to be okay. “You did?”

“Yeah, shit.” Shane covered her face with her hands and shook her head slowly as she let them down on her chest. “Hugo Boss called and wanted me to model again. And then I… uh…” She paused and glanced up at Jenny, looking as if she didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry. “I guess I agreed to do it because I went there and they made me wear a freakin’ bunny suit. It was horrible, and I could just see myself…” Her voice trailed off as Jenny started laughing at her.

Jenny suddenly stood up and bent forward, covering her mouth with her right hand in an unsuccessful attempt to stop giggling. After a while she managed to calm down enough to bite her lip and just grin at Shane with the image still stuck in her mind. “Oh my god,” she said in between giggles, “that’s almost hot.”

“What?”

Shane frowned while Jenny kept laughing at the image in her head of Shane as a playboy bunny, with the ears, high heels, and a big white bunnytail covering her practically nonexistent ass. It took a few seconds before the reason why she was having so much fun finally got through to Shane and caused her eyes to widen while she furiously shook her head.

“Jenny, NO. Not that kind. Jesus.”

“What?” Jenny almost managed to stop, pressing her lips together for a while, for Shane’s sake, but a giggle here and there still managed to come out of her mouth. “Shane, I’m sorry.”

Looking more defeated than ever, she rubbed the bridge of her nose and let out an exasperated sigh. “Think Easter bunny. Basket full of eggs and everything.”

“I’d still fuck you,” Jenny grinned while the images were replaced with what Shane had just described to her, and without really reflecting much on what she was doing, she danced around a little at the spot.

Pulling her hands through her messy hair, Shane smiled at Jenny’s crazies and allowed herself to relax a little. “Jesus Christ, I never realized you were this kinky,” she mumbled while she tried to rub the sleep out of her right eye with the heel of her hand before her girlfriend’s infectious laughter made her start too.

When Jenny finally managed to stop laughing she pressed her lips against Shane’s to make her stop. She sat down next to her on the couch after almost sitting down on her lap out of pure habit but changed her mind last minute. Shane looked a bit disappointed by this and lifted Jenny’s legs up to place at least those on top of her own, and put her arm around her waist.

“Shane,” Jenny suddenly said and Shane looked up, wondering why she suddenly seemed so serious.

“What?”

“I don’t know if you’re interested or not,” she started, “but speaking of work… I got you a job.”

“You did? On the movie?” Shane lit up and smiled back at her, lifting her hand to brush a few strands of hair out of Jenny’s face but ended up slipping her fingers around all of it to pull it over her shoulder to get it out of the way.

Her unmasked enthusiasm forced a giggle out of Jenny and she nodded, trying to suppress her excitement at least until she got her to agree. “Yup,” she smiled shyly. “Do you wanna come and work with me?”

“I’d love that, thank you,” Shane said and Jenny leaned in for another kiss, hoping there’d be time for more before Shay came back inside. She needed that more than ever with the day she’d had. “I’ll definitely come and work with you, but I don’t think we’ll get much done if we go on like this,” Shane mumbled into her mouth and this teased another giggle out of Jenny, but suddenly, and for no reason apparent to Shane, she sat back and frowned at her.

“But Tina really pisses me off!” she exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting at her. “I don’t know what to do with her.”

Hopelessly sighing and rolling her eyes when Tina once again managed to interrupt one of their make out sessions, Shane leaned against the back of couch and took one of Jenny’s hands in both of her own, gently stroking it with her thumb. “What did she do now?”

“She keeps asking about us,” Jenny complained. “She’s annoying and I don’t like it.”

“I seriously doubt she’s worse than Alice,” Shane sighed jokingly, once again reminded of her not so easily forgotten hell ride with her friend that morning. She couldn’t in a million years imagine Tina doing something as insane as what Alice had done when she filmed them, but it probably seemed like it to Jenny and that was what counted as far as she was concerned.

“No, she is!” Jenny went on, her eyes widening and she was finding it hard to sit still. “Shane, I’m serious, she has that… that neck thing!”

Shane just stared back at her, dumbfounded with her brows furrowed. “Neck thing? What the hell are you talking about?”

“You haven’t seen that?”

“Apparently not.” Jenny seemed both shocked and somewhat disappointed, but Shane really had no idea what she meant.

“When she gets pissed off, or annoyed or angry…” Jenny began to explain, “she does this thing, like… with her neck.” She grimaced, tilted her head slightly to the side and pointed at her neck and it was hard for Shane not to laugh at the whole thing. Her neck muscles tensed and her eyes grew wider as she went on. “And it looks like she’s gonna lose her mind or…”

“Jenny…” Shane chuckled, biting her bottom lip, struggling to not burst out laughing right into her face. Jenny looked insane, but she was quite sure that was the point of it all.

“I’m serious!” Jenny exclaimed and gave her right bicep a soft slap. “It looks like this!” she went on and proceeded to show her once again. “And her voice gets really strained, and her jaw too, I think…” When she added this to the demonstration Shane couldn’t hold back anymore and laughed so hard that they both fell off the couch and ended up on the floor, Jenny squealing when she landed on top of her.

“You’ve never noticed that,” Jenny pouted once they managed to calm down just a little, but neither one of them made any attempt to get up. Shane was still grinning so for once Jenny didn’t worry about her possibly being hurt.

“I haven’t,” Shane said, slowly shaking her head where lay she next to the couch. “I probably will now though, now that you pointed it out to me. It’s gonna be like in that, what was it? ‘How I Met Your Mother’?”

Jenny shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“That episode of some show that we watched, the one where they kept pointing out every little annoying habit everyone had. Well, that’s great Jenny, I’m not gonna be able to look at her again after this.” She started laughing again when she tried to picture Tina making the face Jenny had just showed her, but instead she kept seeing Jenny’s face on Tina’s body and that made it all a million times worse.

“I can show you some time when she does it,” Jenny offered.

“I don’t doubt that you can!” Shane managed to say while she was still laughing at her and she realized that she couldn’t even remember the last time she’d seen Tina pissed off, annoyed or angry. Those moods were probably reserved for people she didn’t get along with too well, like, lets say, Jenny. So at least that made sense, that she’d need her girlfriend there with her if she wanted to witness this incredible phenomenon, not that she really cared for that too much. “Jen, I love you, I really do, but sometimes you’re crazy.”

“Shut up, you love that too.”

“It’s my favorite thing.”
End Notes:
"The day that I first saw tears
I couldn't do anything
I just gripped your hand

Tired from crying, about to fall asleep
you turned to me and whispered
"I'm sorry," and smiled a little

That's what you were like...."

Ayumi Hamasaki - SCAR
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