Disclaimer: If I were in charge, we'd have 52 episodes a year. At least.
Author's Note: I must suck at one-shots, because there were so many requests to keep going after Habit! This is based on the spoilers about Lisbon getting a boyfriend and the adoration for Jealous Jane that pervades Twitter.
It had been sixteen days, twenty-two hours, and thirty-seven minutes since the first time he'd kissed Lisbon. Twelve days, one hour, and fourteen minutes since their first date had ended in another searing, tantalizing kiss that he'd briefly fantasized would end with sex in the front seat of his car.
And seven days, ten hours, and twenty-two minutes since he'd realized she was still seeing Marcus Pike. After all, as she'd said when he brought it up, they weren't exclusive. And Marcus liked sports and shooting things and those little cocktail weenies drenched in barbecue sauce and probably all the other things Jane detested.
As much as Jane would love taking Lisbon to the opera or a symphony performance, he was concerned she might interpret that as him wanting to change her or a sign that they had no hobbies in common. Instead, he did his best to come up with fun casual things to do together—even if it was just taking a walk through a scenic area of whatever town they were in during a case. But really, he knew, what she liked best was relaxing at home.
He had never minded hanging out in her space, so he went along with it, introducing variety by buying board games for two that they could have fun with, despite how corny it seemed, and cooking for her. She got a kick out of testing his skill with her favorite dishes, and he was happy to oblige her. It was fun, delicious, and demonstrated his fitness as a mate. If she moved in with Marcus they'd probably live off takeout. Jane would keep her well-fed and healthy.
He hated this sense of competition. Obviously she felt something for the other agent, or she would have dismissed him immediately after Jane declared himself. He'd taken things too slowly, and now the situation was out of hand.
He would rather have his fingernails torn out than admit it, but he'd always expected that when he opened his arms, Lisbon would throw herself into them and never look back. Instead, she welcomed his touch and enjoyed kissing him, but apparently enjoyed kissing Marcus too. It annoyed Jane that with all his knowledge of her and skill (though admittedly rusty) at seduction, he couldn't win this contest hands down. It should never have been a contest in the first place, he felt.
Lisbon, always an honest soul, had let Marcus know he wasn't the only man in her life, with the predictable result that he was trying harder than ever to impress her. He was no doubt desperate to sleep with her, too, which Jane knew hadn't happened. The air around Lisbon practically shimmered with sexual energy these days as she tried to figure out what she wanted. It was obvious, at least to him, that she didn't intend to add sex into the equation until she'd made her choice.
In the old days, if she'd been trying to choose between two eligible suitors, he would have advised her to sleep with both to see if that would rule one out. Not everyone was sexually compatible, after all. And she was so intense and particular that her standards in the bedroom had to be high.
But he couldn't face the idea of her sleeping with Marcus. If she decided to use sex as a determining factor, he had to make sure he got the first audition. And then he'd damn well make sure it was the last, too. He could do that. He'd had over a decade to ponder exactly how to blow her mind in bed, after all. He couldn't wait to get his chance.
But it probably wasn't tonight. She'd been out late on her Friday night date with Marcus, and now she was slumping on the couch yawning as another car exploded on the TV screen. She liked action flicks, so that's what they were watching. Jane had a momentary vision of Angela's expression if she could see him now.
He felt bad sometimes that he was willing to change for Lisbon when he'd refused to change for his wife. But he'd learned his lesson. And Lisbon wasn't going to put up with him making the rules. He had to work at it if he wanted her. And he most assuredly did.
She'd consented to his arm around her shoulders and had leaned her head against his upper arm, and unless he was greatly mistaken, she was in imminent danger of falling asleep. He enjoyed being close to her, but watching her sleep wasn't what he'd planned for tonight.
Lisbon claimed to want honesty from him, though she tended to react with incredulity when he shared truths that to him were blindingly obvious. He wouldn't let that stop him, though.
"It's not the Blake Association who's after us," he said.
Lisbon tensed, then pulled herself upright to stare at him. "I thought you were just saying that to convince Abbott you don't need to show him the list you haven't got."
"Meh. Grace will crack it, now that she has an incentive to. But think, Lisbon: why now? Why not take us out immediately after?"
"To make everyone believe the FBI got them all. Besides, if they started killing us off, you'd never have come back, and maybe they didn't know where you were, or couldn't get to you."
Jane held her gaze. "Lisbon, the first moment—the very first moment—I had an inkling you were in danger, I'd've been on a plane for the States. Arrest warrant or no. Besides, if the FBI could find me, so could any remaining Blake Association members."
"Well, who do you think it is, then? We checked out Volker; it's not him."
"And you're one hundred percent sure he couldn't have covered his tracks completely?" Jane challenged.
Lisbon folded her arms and grumbled, "I'm never a hundred percent sure of anything."
"Not even that I love you?" He was only partly teasing.
She eyed him askance. "No. Especially not that."
He frowned. "Besides time and my persistence, what proof do you need?"
"I don't know." She sighed a little.
He picked up her hand and began playing with her fingers to steel himself for the real topic he wanted to discuss. "I want us to be exclusive."
She hesitated before saying, "I know."
"But you're not ready to give up Marcus."
"He's a great guy, Jane. He treats me really well."
"And I don't?"
"Don't make this into a competition."
"But it is, Lisbon. And the rest of my life is riding on it."
She pulled her hand away from his. "I wish you wouldn't look at it that way."
He raised his eyebrows. "What other way could I possibly look at it? You're the desirable peahen, and Marcus and I are the two peacocks fanning our tails and trying to get your attention. No, forget that. Peacocks don't mate for life. Swans. You're the—"
"Stop with the animal metaphors, Jane," she said irritably. "We're people."
"People with the same biological imperatives as swans or peacocks or cheetahs," he pointed out. "The difference being that we need to be mentally and emotionally compatible in addition to physically compatible. Obviously you think Marcus has potential in those areas."
"Yes. We seem to be very compatible," she said, the barest hint of defiance shading her tone.
"But see, that's just potential. I'm a known quantity. I'm the safe bet here, Lisbon."
She snorted. "You're the safe bet. Right. Because dependability is your middle name."
"When it comes to the big things, yes, it is. I spent ten years ensuring your safety in whatever ways I could. I helped you keep your job when Bertram wanted to get rid of you. I helped you with Volker after you asked me to, and I would have sooner except that I respected your desire to take him down on your own." He paused, frowning. "You know what? I'm dependable in the little things too. I always have a snack to share when you've forgotten to eat. When I see you have a headache, I bring you coffee because the caffeine helps. I'd love nothing better than to feed you and pamper you for the rest of my life, Lisbon. I just don't understand what I'm not bringing to the table that Marcus does."
"Stability, for one."
"Stability? He's an FBI agent. He's moved three times in five years, working on various task forces. Austin's just another temporary base for him," Jane said.
"How do you know that? So help me, Jane, if you got Wiley to hack into personnel files—"
"I just kept my ear to the ground, Lisbon. I learned everything I needed to know the old-fashioned way."
She settled back down, but muttered, "At least he's not going to disappear on me for six months. Or two years."
"Neither am I, since both times were related to my pursuit of Red John, and that's over."
"Not if this is the Blake Association."
"Yes, I do. And I have a pretty good track record about these things." He looked at her for a moment, noting the exact configuration of the lines around her mouth and eyes. He was reading fear, which wasn't an unreasonable reaction to being stalked by unknown parties. But this looked more personal than professional. "Do you really think I'll run off again? Why would I? I have everything I want right here."
"For now. How am I supposed to know what might make you decide to do anything? If this is the Blake Association—"
"—maybe you'll take it into your head that you have to disappear because you think they won't kill me if you're not here to be bothered by it."
"No. If I go, I'm taking you with me. Otherwise I'm staying," he said firmly. "Look. I'm not saying you don't have reason to be cautious. I just don't want you to decide in Marcus' favor because of things I did in situations that won't come up again."
She didn't respond, but she laid her head on his shoulder again. He curled his arm around her, sighing a little.
"If I do decide to stay with Marcus," she said softly, "what will you do? Can we still work together? Be friends?"
Jane grimaced. He'd never given that any thought, sure he would win her eventually. But she wanted to know, so he needed to answer. The problem was, he couldn't imagine he'd handle it well. He hated to lose.
"I might need some time," he admitted. "I can't guarantee I wouldn't be bitter and sullen at first. But we're a winning team, Lisbon. I don't want to work without you, and I'm never walking away from you again. So yes, we could still work together, and we'll always be friends. But I give you fair warning: Marcus had better be damn secure in your relationship, because I'm not going to suddenly stand two paces away from you or stop bringing you coffee or flirting with you on stakeouts." Or touching her or doing his best to seduce her, for that matter. He'd never admit defeat to Marcus. He'd just bide his time and wait for his next opportunity with her.
"Hm." She glanced up at him. "In other words, you're not going to respect my decision."
"I will respect your decision. I will simply live in hope that you will change your mind," he replied. "Judging from past observation, I believe that whatever your decision now, Marcus will end up being one more man just passing through our lives."
"You don't know that. I really like him. He might be it for me."
Jane reminded himself that she deserved to torture him a little, after all the suffering he'd caused her. "Yes, possibly," he said calmly. "But the odds are in my favor."
Wait. Maybe that was the wrong tactic. Maybe she needed to see him uncertain and worried, like she had been during the whole Lorelei debacle, if this was payback. Not consciously, of course, because Lisbon wasn't petty. But subconsciously, maybe she needed to see him suffer to believe he was serious.
"Of course," he continued, "any gambler has to be prepared to lose. It's just not something I've been able to think about much. It's too painful."
"Painful?" She slanted a skeptical look at him.
"Excruciating," he confirmed. "While you were out with him last night, I went for a long walk to try to keep my mind occupied. But all I could think about was: what if you decided to sleep with him? I thought about several ways to interrupt your date, and then how I could get him alone and off guard to hypnotize him into impotence."
"Jane! Don't you dare!"
"I didn't. And I won't. I'm going to win you fair and square."
"And I'm supposed to be impressed by your restraint?"
"My restraint is solely due to my respect for your choices," he pointed out. "You know me, Lisbon. When have I ever let scruples stop me from doing something to reach my goal before?" He wondered if she truly understood the restraint he was showing.
"Huh." She sounded skeptical, but her lack of an argument was a sign he was getting through.
"But enough about Marcus. I'd so much rather talk about you. How is it you get more beautiful every year? You were attractive when we met, but you're stunning now. You got so much more gorgeous while I was gone that you took my breath away when I saw you again."
"Right. Age is my friend," she scoffed.
"It is. If someone came up with an anti-aging serum, I'd do my best to talk you out of it. You have acquired the kind of sultriness that only a mature woman confident in her appeal can have. And your quiet life in Cannon River gave you a depth you never had time for in Sacramento. Being at peace with yourself is very appealing. You always intrigued me, but now you fascinate me. I could stare at you all night."
"Oh, that wouldn't be creepy at all," she joked, but the pause beforehand told him she was touched.
He would not be deterred. "I look forward to watching you grow more beautiful and serene over the next decade."
"Right. Because grey hairs and crows feet are sexy as hell."
"On you, they will be."
"And it'll be so attractive when my boobs and my ass start to sag."
Jane chuckled. "That sweet ass of yours is staying right where it is as long as you insist on torturing yourself with those morning runs. And your breasts will be delightful whatever their altitude. By then I'll be aged enough to want to confine our lovemaking to horizontal surfaces anyway."
"Not doing such a great job of selling yourself there, old man." She grinned at him.
"Alas, there's no hiding the fact that I am slightly past my prime," he sighed, smiling at her. "If you're in the market for a young stud, I'll have to resign myself to wandering lonely toward the grave with a broken heart."
"Aw. Poor baby." She leaned up to plant a kiss on his chin. "I'm not seeing any grey in this beard."
"I pluck them out."
She grinned again. "Really?"
"No. I'm merely blessed with good genes. As are you, my dear." He bent to press his lips to hers.
As usual, their kisses heated quickly. Lisbon was every inch the firecracker he'd always thought she would be. Of course it helped that he'd started out with a fair bit of knowledge about her body, as well as exactly what to whisper in her ear.
The problem was that she always put a stop to things just as they were getting interesting. He'd think she was a tease if he didn't know she truly was torn between him and Marcus, no matter how incredible he found that. And he knew she was just as sexually frustrated as he was—possibly more so, since she was probably doing a similar dance with Marcus. The thought made him violently jealous.
"Why are you holding me so tight?" she murmured as she pulled her mouth away from his. She moved it to his ear for some delightful nibbling, so he didn't protest.
"I can't have you running away, now, can I?" he replied, not loosening his hold. He knew his prim and proper little firecracker wanted things a little rough, though she'd die before admitting it. And probably no guy she'd been with since becoming a cop would dare to go there. Except him, of course. Following up on his theory, he moved one hand to her breast and gave it a squeeze, kneading it until he felt the nipple straining against his palm. Then he gave it a firm pinch.
Lisbon gave a gasp of surprise, arching into his hand. He hid his smile against her neck, giving her a little love bite far enough back that her hair would hide it. He wouldn't mind marking her for Marcus to see, but she would.
"You're frisky tonight," she panted in his ear as she repositioned herself, ending up nearly in his lap. He put his hands on her hips and encouraged her to straddle him.
She did, but she pulled back to look at him, her passion-glazed eyes seeming huge under her furrowed brows. "We're not having sex tonight," she told him.
"I know that," he replied, holding her gaze. "Because once we do, there will be no seeing other men nonsense. If I found out you went from my bed to his, I wouldn't be responsible for my actions."
"Since we're in my house," she retorted, "it wouldn't be your bed."
He slipped a blouse button through its hole, then another, so he could bow his head and sprinkle kisses on the tops of her breasts. She rose on her knees to improve the angle, moaning and wriggling with pleasure, and a light bulb went off in his head. If he could relieve some of her frustration, she could think more clearly. And it could only be to his credit that he'd been the one to give her what she desperately needed. She was running so hot that it wouldn't take much. And he'd dearly love to see her beautiful face lit with ecstasy.
As he slid his tongue under the edge of her bra, she began undulating against him, and when he suckled her through the fabric, she let out a keening moan that hit him right in the groin. As her breath quickened, he moved his hands to her waist, pressing her down against him as he returned to kissing her mouth.
Her hands dove into his hair, tugging and releasing. He smiled at the confirmation that she liked to play rough, the pain merely a twinge against the other sensations flooding his body.
Oh, yes, she was getting there. He pulled her blouse aside and nipped at her tender flesh, not hard enough to break the skin but enough to draw a hoarse cry from her. He used his hands at her waist to lift her again, taking her nipple gently between his teeth, teasing her. She ran her hands along his biceps before sliding them to his back, nails digging through his shirt.
His own hips started to buck involuntarily as her breath came in harsh gasps above his head. Then he slid an arm fully around her, freeing a hand to slip between her legs and press down on the seam of her jeans. She cried out, and he bit down on her nipple, smiling.
Lisbon exploded in his arms, head thrown back as a short scream escaped her. Jane straightened so he could watch her, one hand still working between her denim-clad legs until she reached down to stop him, then sank down to sprawl bonelessly on him. She hid her face against his shoulder while he petted her hair and rubbed her back, trying to convey how much he cherished her.
"You're so beautiful when you come," he whispered in her ear, sliding her limp body off his lap and settling her against his side. He needed to get himself under control quickly or there was going to be an impressive mess. He tried to focus on the progressively more ridiculous explosions occurring on the a TV screen.
After a moment, Lisbon slapped half-heartedly at his shoulder. "I told you no sex tonight."
"What sex? We're both still fully clothed," he pointed out.
"Uh huh. And what would you call that if I did it with Marcus?"
As if Marcus knew enough about her to pull it off, he thought scornfully. "I'd call it the last great moment of his life before he began to believe he was a duck. No, a platypus. Yes. Marcus the platypus."
Lisbon snorted, lifting her head to peer curiously at him. Her flushed cheeks and dark eyes nearly did him in, and he swallowed hard. "You think all this caveman talk is going to impress me?"
Yes, he thought. But he kept that to himself. "I'm not trying to impress you. I'm just telling you what would happen. Of course, I know you'd kick my ass and make me undo it. But at least I'd get to tease you about your deviant desire for platypus sex."
She made a face at him. "Not if you know what's good for you. And speaking of desire..." She glanced down at the impressive tent he'd pitched in his suit pants.
"No, no. This is your night, Lisb—aaah!" He yelped as she took a firm hold of his dick, squeezing mercilessly. He was reduced to incoherent monosyllables. "Gah. Uh. I can't—"
He came in his pants, something he hadn't done since he was a teenager. He was pretty sure he'd yelled her name, but his ears were ringing too much to tell. He collapsed against the back of the couch, gasping for breath.
"Fair is fair," Lisbon said, sounding pleased with herself.
"Yeah. Well." He gulped down a breath and said, "This is going to be fun to explain to the dry cleaner."
Lisbon began to giggle. It was such an unexpectedly girlish noise coming from her that he opened his eyes to look.
How was it possible for a woman to be this sexy, he wondered. She should be classified as a controlled substance, with her rosy cheeks and her dimples and those gorgeous green eyes almost swallowed by her dilated pupils.
"You could just buy a new suit," she suggested when she could speak.
"But I liked this one," he said mournfully.
"Yeah, me too. Tell you what, I'll take it to the dry cleaners," she offered. "But I refuse to wash your underwear. Want me to get your bag from your car?"
"In a minute." The stickiness was unpleasant, yes, but he was in no way ready to let go of her.
She lay against him, letting him cuddle her and rubbing her cheek against his shirt. He felt overwhelmed by love for her, and he buried his face in her hair and whispered, "Don't leave me, Lisbon. Please."
She slid her arm around his waist. "I'm not going anywhere."
"But you might. To him. I couldn't stand it. Please don't." He managed to stop babbling before he could say something like, "You're my last chance at happiness."
She sighed. "Jane, it's not like I'm your only option, you know."
She was cute when she was in denial. As if jealous Lisbon wouldn't turn anyone he dated into a platypus given the opportunity and means. "But you are. It's you or no one, Lisbon. You've told me repeatedly that we're not exclusive, but you don't see me asking other women out, do you?"
"Maybe you should." But her voice said differently, despite her best effort.
"I don't want to. It's you I want to spend the next forty or fifty years with. Anybody else is just a waste of time."
"But you could change your mind."
"Obsessive, remember? Overly attached to my habits and routines? Drank out of the same teacup for ten years? Is any of this sounding familiar?"
She gave a huff of laughter. "Yeah, okay."
"Look," he said gently. "I'm not asking you to marry me tomorrow. We'll go slow if you need to go slow. But the jealousy is killing me. Let me set Marcus up with Leila in Human Resources so we can all find our happy ending."
"Leila? Who's Leila?" Lisbon sat up and pinned him with her glare.
"A lovely and romantically minded lady who will be far better off with good, solid Marcus than trying to save me from my gloomy Lisbon-less existence."
"Is she the dark-haired one who keeps making you re-sign forms because they got lost?" she demanded.
"Oh, I think she knows exactly what happened to them," he smiled.
"That is so unprofessional. She shouldn't be messing with your file just to come drool over you." Lisbon sat up, looking annoyed.
"I agree. But my stint in Venezuela gave me a deep empathy for the lonely hearted."
Lisbon made a skeptical noise that wasn't quite a grunt. "I'll have a talk with her."
"No need. Just let me introduce her to Marcus. She's drawn to damaged men because she doesn't believe anyone else would ever be interested in her. A nice man like him will do her a world of good, possibly even save her from a lifetime of heartbreak."
"If being with a damaged man leads to a lifetime of heartbreak, what does that say about my future with you?" she asked.
"But I'm healing. You're helping me do that. And I will never, never break your heart again. I promise you that." He sealed it with a kiss.
She sighed as they parted, then gave him the "I'm giving in, I just don't know it yet" look he loved. "Safe bet, huh?"
"Safe as houses," he replied soberly.
"You won't break my heart?"
"I will do my utmost to avoid it."
"And you won't try to take over my life?"
"Mm. I promise to stop when you point out I'm doing it. How's that?"
"Good enough, I guess." She looked uncertain, and he knew he should let her wrestle with this in private. Now that he was sure of the outcome, he could get some sleep and plan out his big seduction after Marcus was told he had finished second.
"I'd better be going," he said. "Call me tomorrow?"
"We can have lunch after Mass if you want," she offered.
Ah. She needed to pray on this. He smiled at her fondly. "I do want. Thank you, my dear, for a...thrilling evening."
She gave him a slightly crooked smile. "It didn't exactly go as I planned."
"Me neither. But I'm happy with the way it turned out." He got to his feet, shimmying his hips a little to relieve the discomfort of his wet boxers.
She walked him to the door, then rose on tiptoe to press her lips to his. "Drive safe. Text me when you get home."
"All right. Sleep well, my love."
"You too." She looked panicked for a second as she hunted for a safe endearment, then relaxed as she abandoned the idea. He smiled at her as he went out the door.
He could wait for endearments. He could wait for consummation. The important thing was that he no longer had to be jealous.
To be continued (You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?)