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Story Notes:
The L Word: In this story I'm ignoring all interrogation tapes, both from the episodes and from showtime.com. The story starts a few months after episode 6x08 and may contain spoilers for all seasons of the show.

Three Rivers: This is supposed to be an AU story that starts about a year after Miranda started working at Three Rivers. At the time that I started working on this (July 2009) and until I finished the first 3 chapters plus outlined the following 10, no episodes of Three Rivers had actually aired. Because of that there's a risk that the characters may be more or less OOC (out of character), at least in parts of the story. You've been warned, so I'd appreciate if you don't comment just to tell me I got them all wrong. Consider this a Shane story with original characters in it if that makes you feel better. It should be said that there are also some parts of the 3R characters' personalities I'm not too fond of on the show, and I will do things to change them in this story, in one way or another.

Disclaimer: I don't own The L Word, Three Rivers or any of their characters or settings. No money is made from this work and no copyright infringement is intended.
She saw Alice coming into the room, waving her hands, and all she could hear was her stuttering one word. “Jenny.” She didn’t need her to say more than that before she knew something was terribly wrong, and she rose from her seat, feeling as if the world had stopped moving around her. Seeing her friends hurrying towards the door, they all appeared to be walking in slow motion. She took a deep breath and hurried past them. Once she got out into Bette and Tina’s backyard, it didn’t take more than a second before she saw what Alice had tried to tell them about. Her own girlfriend. Face down, in her neighbors’ pool.

Without stopping for a moment to think, she dove into the lukewarm water, but when her face reached the surface she was standing in a bedroom next to a bunk bed. In front of her on the floor sat a small girl that a second later turned to glance up at her, and she looked back into a face that looked so much like her own when she was ten years old. A face that had tears trickling from its hazel eyes and a small wound on its right cheek. Her gaze swept over the rest of the girl’s body and saw that the thin fabric of her worn out jeans had been torn at the knees and she could see the grazed skin underneath through the holes.

Swallowing, she sat down next to her and tried to look into her eyes without the girl looking away. She saw that her bottom lip was trembling and gently wrapped her arms around her. “What happened?” she asked as softly as she could though her heart began to pound harder in her chest. She already had a feeling she knew.

“Nothing happened,” the girl said stubbornly in a Texas accent just like her own, shaking her head and pulling out of the hug. She picked at her jeans and changed the subject. “These are ruined.”

“You can have mine,” she offered and decided to try again. “Something happened, I know…”

“Just leave me alone!”

“I’m not gonna leave you alone until you tell me who did that to you!”

The girl pulled up her legs in front of her and crossed her arms around them, looking away. “I fell.” She buried her face behind her knees.

“I know when you’re lying, just tell me who did it!” She was getting tired of playing that same old game every time something happened. Taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself down, she sat there and waited for the girl to talk. After a while she heard the muffled sound of her mumbling.

“Jason.”

“Jason?” She wasn’t even surprised. The son in the house they’d been staying at for the past week had seemed to hate them since the moment they came through the door. His sister wasn’t much better.

“He got mad at me and pushed me on the sidewalk,” she explained quietly.

“All right.” She got back up on her feet, angrily forming her hands into tight fists. “Stay here.”

“No, Shane, leave it alone!”

The girl got up and followed her out of their room, down the hallway and into the kitchen where two other kids their age, a girl and a boy, just came in through the back door. She didn’t waste a moment on second thoughts, just stormed through the room, up to the boy that was at least six inches taller than she was, and about twice as wide. Before he had a chance to say anything or even try to protect himself, she smashed her tiny fist right into his face, growling at him through gritted teeth as drops of blood fell from his nose and onto the kitchen floor. “If you ever go near her again I’ll fucking kill you.”

She saw a woman hurrying past her and over to Jason who was covering his bleeding nose with both hands, crying while he called her the worst names he could think of. She turned around and saw that the girl was standing behind her, on a safe distance from all the others, and she was crying too, shaking her head slowly. She opened her mouth to say something to her, anything, but before she got the words out she a sharp felt pain in her right upper arm; a strong hand now had a tight hold around it.

“You’re getting out of my house! Right now, do you hear me?”

He pushed the back door open again and she screamed when he lifted her by the arm and carried her outside. After a few steps he stopped to throw her down on the grass in the backyard. When her back hit the ground it felt like all the air got sucked right out of her lungs, and she gasped for breath as he stood there, watching her.

“I’m gonna go inside and call the agency and you’re just gonna stay where you are until they come and get you.” He shook his head in disgust. “You’re a sick kid. I get why your own parents couldn’t stand you.”


Shane felt something wet touching her face and after a moment of catching her breath from the nightmare she’d just had, she reached for the switch on the lamp by her bed. It took a moment for her eyes to get used to the light and then she saw Sounder standing next to her on her bed, wagging his furry little tail happily.

“Hey…” she mumbled sleepily, lifting one of her hands to scratch his head while she rubbed her eyes and wiped the sweat off her forehead with the other. “Thanks for waking me up.” The last few months he’d been sleeping in his bed on the floor by her door and it wasn’t the first time he’d woken her up in one way or another when she’d been having a bad dream.

It hadn’t been the exact same dream that he woke her from every time she was able to sleep, but it was similar, and they were becoming harder and harder to tell apart. She was starting to lose her sense of which parts were real and not, if any at all. Most of the dream sequences had started to fade from her waken conscience, but one single snapshot remained etched into her retinas. The image of the young girl looking at her, shaking her head with tears in her eyes.

Trying to shrug it off, she looked at the alarm clock on her bedside table; it was almost 3 AM, and she sat up in bed, smiling a little at her dog. “You wanna go for a walk?” she asked him, and yapping in response, he jumped out of the bed to chase his own tail a few times by the door to her room.

“Okay, okay,” she mumbled, “just let me get dressed.”

Putting on a pair of sweat pants and a hoodie didn’t take her long and she followed the Pomeranian through the hallway, swallowing uneasily as she passed the door to what used to be Jenny’s room, but was now Max’s. She couldn’t explain, least of all to herself, why she’d stayed in Jenny’s house for so long after her death. She’d meant to move out but she just never seemed to be able to make herself do something about it. She kept referring to their house as Jenny’s, even though Jenny had left it to her along with everything else she owned, including her dog that now stood waiting for her by the front door.

She searched for his leash in the darkness of the living room while he circled her feet in excitement. “Shhh, don’t wake the others,” she said quietly when she found it, then put it on and took him outside after she grabbed her cigarettes and lighter.

Lighting one, she took a long drag and exhaled into the cool night air. They walked by what used to be Bette and Tina’s house, and like so many times before, she thought about how drastically everything had changed in just the last few months. She’d lost Jenny, and along with her, everything else she’d used to care about, it seemed. Bette, Tina and Angelica had moved to New York like they’d planned to, she barely spoke to them or the rest of her old friends anymore. She never called Alice, and after a while Alice stopped trying to talk to her too. She avoided The Planet like the plague for fear of having to deal with any of it. Max was the only one she still had any contact with since they still lived together.

It wasn’t just the world around her that had changed, she had too. Some days she’d go to work, get through the day in spite of feeling like a zombie, buy more smokes and then head home to take Sounder out for a walk before going to bed. Some days she wouldn’t even get out of bed, the pain she felt just wouldn’t let her. It had all started after Jenny died, along with the dreams and the pain not even she could understand. She’d started seeing a psychologist but only ended up going there three, maybe four times before it became clear to her that the problem wouldn’t be solved by talking, and definitely not with any type of drugs, legal or not. She was just going to have to figure it out on her own, but two weeks ago all of it had come rushing over her again, as if she’d just lost her best friend once more, and after that day it had gotten to the point where she could barely get up in the morning at all anymore.

She knew her recurring dreams had something to do with it, but parts of them were constantly changing and after she woke up from them, the last thing she wanted was to dig back into the images and flashes of memories that tortured her. At first she’d dismissed them and labelled them as nothing more than her mind’s own way of trying to deal with Jenny’s death, but now that she dared to think about it and consider it, she knew with certainty that some of the pain hadn’t even been hers to start with. Something just as bad as what she’d experienced, or maybe even worse, was happening to someone else, and she hadn’t even tried to do anything to stop it.

The last dream had been different. It had been the first time she’d seen her face in one, and now it was obvious that it wasn’t all about Shane herself or what happened to Jenny. It had to have meant something. She tried to swallow the lump that was forming in her throat when she for the first time began to fully realize what it meant, what she’d struggled so hard to suppress even though her mind had constantly tried to remind her.

After quickly putting out her cigarette, she began to run back towards the house with Sounder happily skipping along by her side. They didn’t slow down, and not until Shane put her hand on the door handle did she remember that they were meant to be quiet. Hushing at Sounder who had just began to bark happily, she opened the door carefully and let him in.

“Hey,” she heard a voice whispering from across the room and in the dim light she could see her roommate walking around with his daughter Irene cradled in his arms. “Couldn’t sleep?”

She shook her head. “I didn’t mean to wake you,” she said quietly so she wouldn’t wake the little girl too in case she’d fallen asleep again.

“You didn’t,” Max assured her with a small smile. “She did, but it’s okay.”

“Okay.” Shane bent down to take off Sounder’s leash again and when she looked back at Max she saw him eyeing her with concern.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She hesitated for a moment before she said anything. “Do you think, later maybe, that you could help me with something?”

“Yeah, sure. What?”

Shane sighed and headed over to the dining room to sit down on one of the chairs. “Do you… do you remember three years ago, when I asked you to…”

“Miranda,” he said softly and when she titled her head up to face him, looking a little surprised, he smiled a little, reassuringly. “Yeah, I remember.”

Three years earlier after both losing Dana and finding out what a computer genius Max really was, she’d asked him to help her find her. She hadn’t expected him to find much, but he was the only hope she had left. Every attempt she’d made through the years and been unsuccessful, but apparently her new roommate knew what he was doing. A few weeks later, before she was going to see her father for the first time since she was little, she stopped by to see her too. It hadn’t turned out at all like the way she’d hoped it would and they hadn’t spoken even once since she left.

“I need to find her. She might have changed her phone number, or her name or gotten a new job or a new place… I don’t know, I just have to see her, I have to talk to her. I can’t explain it better than that.” She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, pulling her fingers through her hair.

“No, I get it. She’s your sister. It shouldn’t be that hard to find her, I mean, this time we at least have somewhere to start from. I’ll just put Irene back in her crib first.”

“I didn’t mean we had to do it right now,” she said, slightly shocked, but followed him as he slowly walked towards his room, careful not to wake the baby as he did so. She stopped by the door and waited for him to but the baby back to bed and get his laptop. She never went inside Jenny’s old room anymore.

“It’s fine, I won’t be able to get back to sleep for a while anyway,” he told her, heading back to the dining room with Shane following him around like a little puppy. She didn’t seem to know what to do with herself. Once he’d put the computer down on the table he turned it on, smiling a little. “We’ll see what we can find, okay?”

“Thanks, Max,” she replied and gratefully patted his right shoulder as he sat down by the table. She wondered if he had any idea how thankful she really was that he’d decided to help her. If he hadn’t, she’d had to try to do it on her own, which wasn’t only hard for her because she hadn’t done anything like it before, but because the only computer she owned was Jenny’s laptop. Jenny had left that too for her, but she hadn’t used it or even touched it since she died. Knowing the amount of time her girlfriend had spent in front of it, pouring her heart and soul into it, made it impossible for her to even go near it. She could still sometimes swear she heard her typing on it in the middle of the night, or in the day, even if she was home alone. It just hurt too damn much. For now Max was keeping it for her, tucked away deep inside Jenny’s old closet.

While Max pressed the keys and looked things up for her she sat next to him, nervously playing with her ring and hoping that whatever he’d end up finding, it wouldn’t mean her wake up call had come too late. She wouldn’t have felt the way she did lately if everything had been okay. They’d always been that way, even when they were kids; if one of them was in trouble, the other one just knew somehow. It hadn’t changed when they got older, even though they didn’t talk anymore and lived so far apart.

“There,” she suddenly heard him say and looked up as he wrote something down on a piece of paper. “There’s her address, phone number, workplace, everything.” He held out the note for her to take while he shut the lid of the laptop with his other hand.

Swallowing, she took it and read it a few times, as if she was expecting to sense something just from doing that, but there was nothing. “Thanks, Max…” she said quietly, hoping that feeling, or lack of one, didn’t mean anything. She still lived in Pittsburgh. With a sad sigh she remembered the last and only time she’d been there. Her sister had seemed to be everything except happy to see her, and she’d never figured out what she’d done to make her react that way. But it didn’t matter now if Miranda never wanted to see her again. She just wanted to know that she was okay.

After thanking her roommate once again she took a bottle of water from the fridge and headed back to bed. Sounder was already asleep in his and she set the bottle down on the nightstand, glancing thoughtfully at the TV across the room. The remotes for it as well as the DVD player lay on the other side of the bed and she sat down, reaching out her arm to grab them. It was the same every time she tried to go to sleep. Something inside her told her that it probably wasn’t the best thing she could possibly do for her own sanity, but it was the only thing she had left. One little part of what used to be.

She pulled her comforter all the way up to her face and let her head down on the pillow before she turned the TV on and pressed play on what had only been a test video they’d recorded before Jenny started working on her video project for Bette and Tina before they moved, but to her it had been her only comfort since the night she lost her.

“No, Shane, that’s the wrong button.”

“Like hell it is.”


Laughter and giggles followed every sentence that was said in the video. She knew all the words they’d said by heart now. They were sitting out on the back porch, the sun was shining, and they were happy, in spite of everything that had happened with Niki shortly before that.

“No, it’s that…”

“Jen, I know what I’m doing! It’s on now.”

“Okay.”


She’d only turned it on like so many nights before because she needed to hear her voice. And see her smile. That beautiful, beautiful smile. Jenny waved at the camera.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say! Hey, Shane. Shane?”

“What?”

“May I have the camera?”

“It’s mine, you gave it to me! Hey, I just made you turn red, this is fun.”

“Shane…”

“Where’s Sounder? He should be in this too.”

“Sounder! Come here. Yeah, come here. Good doggie.”

“Okay, you can have it. But you have to say ‘please’.”

“Please, Shane. May I please borrow the camera, please?”

“Maybe. If you kiss me I’ll consider it.”


Shane looked away from the screen as the camera, moving from her hands to Jenny’s, caught brief glimpses of them kissing. She’d seen it before, she didn’t have to see it again. She didn’t think she could handle it if she did. Every night when she watched it she stopped looking after Jenny took over the camera. She let the video keep playing so she could listen to her voice, but after Jenny began filming, she only aimed the camera at Shane. What she’d caught on film wasn’t even the same person as the one who now lay in bed watching it. She was happy and looked healthy, nothing like the pale woman with seemingly permanent bags under her eyes that she saw in the mirror whenever she dared to look into it.

“Shane?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”


Tears were already streaming down her cheeks and at the last few words she let out a loud sob. Rolling over on her stomach, she buried her face in her pillow and cried herself to sleep like so many nights before, hoping that tomorrow things would finally begin to change.

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