A/N: My God, so it's been forever and a day since I've updated, hasn't it? Lots of real life stuff has happened, but you don't want to hear all that. It took me a little while to feel my way back into the story and the characters' voices, so please forgive me if they're a little staid in this chapter. I'll do my best to get things back on track quickly.
Lisbon sighed happily as she wrung water out of her hair and stepped out of the shower. After a crappy day of chasing down dead end leads, nothing was as satisfying as a scalding hot shower. In her more fanciful moments, she could almost picture watching her impatience and annoyance wash down the drain with the shampoo and soap. Wiping a hand through the steam on the mirror, she set to all the boring little preparations women the world over had.
Comb hair and pin it up in a bun so it wouldn't drip down her back as it dried. Brush teeth. Moisturize face and neck. File down the nail she'd cracked back at the crime scene. Slather lotion on the dry skin on her shins- she'd always had dry legs. In a spurt of vanity, she pulled the tweezers out of her toiletries kit and tidied up her eyebrows. No one had to know that Teresa Lisbon was prone to bushy eyebrows.
The knock at the door shook her out of the pleasantly empty state of mind as she cleaned up. "Coming!"
Van Pelt stood outside the door still covered in the fine layer of dust that seemed to coat anyone that spent any length of time out at the ravine, her bright hair dulled by the grime. "Got something, boss."
Lisbon waved her in impatiently. It figured they'd get a break the second she went back to the hotel for a shower. "Something on the killer, or a hit on the kid?"
"The kid." A slow smile bloomed on Van Pelt's tired face. "We got a tip off the Amber Alert. A woman called in twenty minutes ago- she saw a boy matching the description with a man in his mid to late thirties at a gas station near Big Sur. Kid was sleeping in the back of a late model Nissan Maxima." When Lisbon opened her mouth, Van Pelt just nodded. "Yes, I notified Minelli. Cho's getting the guys together. I've got the cars all set downstairs. Local PD are executing a close-in sweep and have the car location narrowed down to a six block radius."
Throwing modesty to the wayside, Lisbon dropped her towel and began to dress hurriedly even as she fired questions at Van Pelt. By the time she was yanking on her socks, the younger agent was handing her her shoes. "Thanks," Lisbon huffed, yanking them on. Snatching her weapon, badge and phone, she ran for the door, Van Pelt hot on her heels. They had a child to find.
"This… was a good day," Rigsby sighed as he stretched languorously, leaning back in the only chair in Lisbon's room.
Lisbon had to agree. The team had assembled in her room for the conference call with Minelli despite, or perhaps because of, how late it was. The hotel room was about the same size as the local police station, and a far sight more comfortable at midnight. After hours of searching, coordinating and mediating territorial pissing contests, they were able to tell Minelli some good news- they had found the boy, unharmed, though he'd been pretty heavily sedated with sleeping pills. The only downside was that when the search net in Big Sur had finally located and isolated the vehicle identified from the Amber Alert, the car was parked on a residential street, the boy still asleep in the back. The driver had been nowhere to be found.
Another dead end in a series of frustrating leads that failed to pan out.
Still, getting the boy back unharmed had been huge; the senator was at the hospital with him now, waiting for the boy to wake up from his drug-induced slumber. Until the doctors had run their tests on the kid and Forensics had run their tests on the car, there was nothing new for the team to do. Tomorrow they'd start fresh.
Snapping her snazzy new leather portfolio closed, Van Pelt leaned forward from her perch on the end of the bureau and plucked a room service menu from the sheaf of papers on the small table in Lisbon's room. "Anyone hungry? Room service is only open for another half hour."
"Starved," Rigsby replied, leaning back in the chair to give her an upside down grin.
Cho rolled his eyes, stifling a yawn. Shocking. Rigsby hungry. Who'd have thought? Still, he was kind of hungry himself. Six-hour manhunts tend to do that. "How about we head down to the bar and grab sandwiches?" he proposed, thinking it'd be quicker and much cheaper than the always-overpriced room service. "They're open until one."
Stretching until her neck cracked with a satisfying pop, Lisbon pulled out her wallet and tucked a twenty into Van Pelt's hand. "Have a round on me," she said with a tired smile. "You guys deserve a cold beer tonight. You did good."
"Well," Cho corrected with a hint of a smile. He enjoyed poking at his boss on the rare occasions she let her normally-impeccable grammar skills slip. He was almost positive she'd been an English major at one point in college.
Leveling a mock glare at him, Lisbon opened her mouth to reply when a jaw-busting yawn snuck up on her. "I'm going to bed," she said instead. "It's way past my bedtime. You guys clear out, go grab some food and a couple of beers. Relax and sleep well- I'll meet you all in the lobby at eight o'clock tomorrow morning."
The group stood with assorted grumbles, scraping together various papers, badges, weapons and cell phones, the ever-present detritus of law enforcement.
It wasn't until Lisbon plopped down on the end of one bed to unlace her shoes that she realized Jane wasn't getting up with everyone else. "Jane," she prompted loudly, motioning at Rigsby to wake the consultant up.
The largest of her agents gave her pleading eyes more suited to a child than a man. "But, boss, he's sleeping."
"Yes, Rigsby, I gathered," she shot back dryly. "Which would be why I'm telling you to wake him up. If he's that tired, he can go sleep in his own bed."
Both Cho and Rigsby fixed her with disbelieving stares. "Seriously?" Cho responded, one eyebrow cocked high in his amazement at her complete incomprehension. "Boss, meet Patrick Jane, our consultant. Apparently you've never seen him before."
Lisbon pinned him with a withering frown. "Oh, ha ha, Cho. I know he sleeps like crap, but he can wake up, walk a few doors down and crawl right into his own bed. It won't take more than three minutes." When both men continued to try to beg with their eyes, she threw up her hands defensively. "No way. Nuh uh. It's not going to happen, guys. He can't stay in my room!" she huffed, pinning the two agents with an exasperated stare.
"Oh come on, Lisbon," Rigsby sighed. "He's asleep already. Do you have any idea how hard it is to sleep in the same room as Jane when he's tossing, turning, talking and generally driving you insane because you're trying to sleep when he can't?"
She grimaced. "No, and I don't want to find out." Actually, she'd never thought about it like that, but having to share a room with a chronic insomniac every time they had a case out of town must really suck. God knows how much more annoying Jane must be at three a.m. than in daylight. Suddenly, she had a pang of guilt for all the interrupted sleep Cho and Rigsby must have suffered over the last couple of years.
Rigsby dropped to his knees, hands clasped, and gave her his very best beseeching face. "Please."
"Hard part's over, Lisbon," Cho added. "He's already asleep, and there are two beds, so it's not like you have to share with him or anything." Shooting a look at Rigsby, he pulled out his wallet. "Twenty bucks."
"Forty," Rigsby amended, whipping out his own wallet as Van Pelt looked on in amusement.
Lisbon stared at her team in astonishment. "You're willing to pay me forty bucks to let Jane sleep on my extra bed tonight?" My God, she thought, they must really hate sharing a room with him. "Forty bucks for just this one night?"
"That about sums it up," Cho agreed, daring to hope at the look in Lisbon's eyes.
"Fine," she ceded, shaking her head in amazement. Ignoring the exuberant high five her male agents exchanged, she returned to unlacing her shoes. "But the two of you are taking off his shoes and getting the covers over him," she warned with a small smile. Forty bucks just to let Jane stay where he was currently dead to the world for another five or six hours. It didn't sound like a bad deal at all, and if there was a tiny little twinge about taking money from her subordinates, well, Lisbon was determined to ignore it. After all, Jane was usually a big enough pain in her ass for her to understand exactly why someone would fork over money to avoid him.
Surprisingly, they managed to get his shoes and socks off without Jane batting so much as an eyelash, and efficiently slid the covers from beneath him with little more effort. The man appeared completely oblivious and, if Lisbon didn't know better, she'd say he was faking it. Jane was normally a light sleeper on the rare occasions he truly fell asleep at work, but he had fallen asleep often enough in the last five-plus years for her to know the sound of his breathing when he was out for the count and-
My God, has it really been that long? Lisbon asked herself as she slid the security chain across the door after the team left. Jane had been with her for almost six years. Wow. She shook her head even as she gathered her nightclothes and slipped into the bathroom to change. And to think the other CBI divisions had started a betting pool about how long the wacked out consultant with the creepy insight and smarmy arrogance would last when Minelli had announced he was reassigning Jane to her team. Too bad there hadn't been a caveat for twenty bucks for each week she'd exceeded the anticipated 'freak out' date. She'd have a fistful of cash by now.
Imagining what she'd have done with all of that money, Lisbon puttered around for a few minutes, cleaning up and shuffling together files before sliding between the cool sheets of her bed. Bending a soft smile on the tousle-headed lump in the other bed, she reached up and extinguished the lamp next to her bed. "Goodnight," she said softly, settling down for a much-needed night of peaceful sleep.
Jane awoke slowly, savoring the feel of warm blankets around his body and cool air on his face. It might have been a by-product of his Midwestern beginnings, but he had always enjoyed the dichotomy of a warm body and fresh air on his face. With a satisfied sigh, he rolled over and stretched- it wasn't often he slept so well without the aid of prescription drugs or liquor, and the fact that he'd done so in his suit was even more unusual. The fact that he hadn't dreamt at all was almost unheard of.
Idly pulling out his shirt to scratch at his belly, Jane threw off the covers and stumbled to his feet, quickly shedding his vest and belt before tripping sleepily towards the bathroom. It wasn't until he'd come out and was unbuttoning his shirt that he realized he'd been sleeping in a bed and not on the horribly lumpy sofa he'd occupied the last several nights.
A quick peek at the occupant of the other bed filled him in. He'd fallen asleep in Lisbon's room, and everyone had just left him there. Surprising, really, that she had allowed it, but Jane wasn't about to rock the boat. After a brief debate, he decided to leave his button-down shirt on, but take off the pants. After all, he reasoned, sliding back into the still-warm bed, no reason to be uncomfortable. It was only Lisbon, and he didn't think she'd mind what she couldn't see.
He glanced at the bedside clock. Two-thirty. Well, at least he'd gotten a couple of decent hours of sleep. He'd stay in bed, try to be quiet, maybe relax into an easy doze if he could. He didn't fancy waking Lisbon with his tossing and turning- the woman was likely to try to strangle him with her bare hands. The thought brought a fond smile to his face, and he rolled over onto his side to study his roommate for the night. She was on her side, facing his bed, snoring away happily. Jane grinned. She really did snore like a truck driver.
Lisbon awoke with a start. Something had disturbed her sleep- ah, just Van Pelt shifting in her bed, making the springs squeak. She snuggled back down under the covers, relishing the thought of a few more hours of sleep.
Both eyes sprang back open. Van Pelt had paid for her own room, and the person tossing around on the other bed was neither a redhead nor a female.
Warily, almost expecting a trick, Lisbon raised her head. "Jane?" she called softly in the dark room. The noise stopped abruptly.
Lisbon's husky, sleepy voice slid across his senses, waking Jane at once. "Yes," he replied, his own voice sounding different, lower.
"Can't sleep?" she asked, pulling herself upright and rubbing a hand across a cheekbone.
He smiled when she yawned loudly. "Go back to sleep." A quick glance at the clock told him it would be a few more hours before the sun rose. "I'm just trying to get comfortable."
Fumbling around in the dark, Lisbon finally found her water bottle on the bedstand and took a long pull. "If you want to get up, that's fine." She did her best to swallow another yawn, ignoring Jane's chuckle. Apparently, she hadn't done a very good job. "We can get up for the morning."
"No, no. Really, Lisbon, I'm fine. Sleepy even. Just go back to bed." Astonishingly enough, he was tired. At this rate, he was likely to get more sleep in this one night than he normally did over the course of a work week.
"'K," she mumbled, sliding back down into her blankets, eyes drooping instantaneously.
A few minutes passed before she awoke with a start, hearing him turn over in his bed once again. "For God's sake, Jane," she muttered. "Turn on the light and read a book, or grab my laptop and surf the web. Turn on the TV if you have to, but if you flip over one more time, I'm going to duck tape you to the damn bed."
"Kinky," he shot back, smiling lazily at her muffled laugh.
Several more minutes of dead silence passed before Lisbon sighed noisily and turned towards the other bed, eyeing the lump of covers just visible in the hazy pre-dawn light filtering in from the window she'd left open for air. "Go on, Jane, say something. We both know you're probably just bursting with the urge to talk."
He laced his fingers across his belly and stared at the ceiling in the barely lightening darkness. "Have you ever wondered why the idiot who designed the CBI building decided to make all of the offices glass-enclosed, rather than giving them walls? It defeats the purpose of private offices in the first place. Then to put blinds on them instead is just compounding the stupidity and the gross waste of funds, if you ask me."
Lisbon had often wondered the same herself. "If you look at it like that, yeah. I think I have the best of both worlds, though."
She grinned suddenly in the dark. "Well, for one, I can watch you guys from my office and make sure you're behaving without having to actually listen to the nonsense you usually spout. And on top of that, I can slam my office door in your face and still glare at you right through it if you really piss me off. Ask Rigsby sometime about when I wrote him up his rookie year. I almost made him cry just by scowling at him through that door."
Wriggling closer to the bed's edge nearest her, Jane rolled his eyes. Bah. He could reduce Rigsby to tears in forty-five seconds, if he truly applied himself. Besides- leave it to Lisbon to think of the positives of a privacy-free office in terms of how much or little he could interact with her. "Yes, let's hear it for your little glass cube. Hooray for you. You've reached the pinnacle of career achievement."
Why had she agreed to let him stay in here again for a measly forty dollars? "Some people would say they hope you choke on all that sarcasm," Lisbon replied, thinking wistfully of the sleep she could be having. She rubbed her feet together- she'd kicked her fuzzy socks off at some point during the night, and now her cold toes were annoying her. She hated having cold feet while she slept.
Jane sniffed disdainfully. "Meh. The perpetually unnamed others. They can jump off a perpetually unnamed cliff for all I care." He started when a pillow flew over and hit him squarely in the face. "Hey!"
"You know, Jane, I'm very surprised you've never been seriously assaulted."
"Says who?" he rejoined with a dazzling grin, tossing the pillow gently back to her bed. "You've only known me in my staid adulthood. You should have seen me as a brash teenager. I've engaged in a fight or two in my day."
With another yawn, Lisbon tucked the pillow beneath her head again. If they were already awake, maybe she should just get Jane up and head down to the gym for that workout she'd promised him for cheating on his diet. She wondered briefly if the gym downstairs was open yet, and it took a minute for his previous statement to sink in. "Pissed a couple of people off, have you? Imagine my shock." Grumpily punching a hand into the pillow until it conformed to the shape she wanted, Lisbon added, "You'd think getting the stuffing knocked out of you a few times would have sent a message to that so-called brilliant brain of yours."
Fluffing his own pillow, Jane wriggled farther under the covers, enjoying the warm cocoon and the easy banter. It was like a strange adult interpretation of a sleepover. "Speaking of sarcasm…" He let the statement trail off, waiting until her sleepy laughter devolved into a comfortable, easy silence. "Oh, the stories I could tell you, Lisbon."
Stealing one hand out from beneath her warm pile of blankets, Lisbon waved an imperious hand. "Come on, Jane, don't hold back now. What else are we going to do at four o'clock in the morning?" Imagining the wicked look that was surely on his face after realizing how wrong that last comment must have sounded, she warned, "Don't even go there. I will be forced to get up, walk down the hall, fill a bucket at the ice machine, come back, and dump it on you, and I really don't want to have to do all that."
"Please," he scoffed. "Like I would make immature sexual jokes to my boss. I have a little more class than that, Lisbon." Hearing what sounded suspiciously like a snort issue from her bed, he flipped onto his back and clasped his hands behind his head. "Three weeks before my twenty-first birthday, I was in Miami, Florida-"
"As opposed to…" she interrupted.
Rolling towards her again, Jane grinned. "Oh, there are lots of Miamis out there, Lisbon. There's Miami, Ohio, Miami, Arizona, Miami, Indiana, a Miami right here in California, even."
She flopped over onto her stomach and pillowed her head on her arms, entirely unselfconscious about teasing Jane while wearing nothing but a flimsy tee shirt, a too-short pair of shorts and a headful of crazy, unbrushed hair. After all, it was dark. He couldn't see anything. "You are a fountain of useless knowledge, you know that?"
"Well, it's not useless if you're travelling," he shot back with an indignant twitch of the lips. "And you never want to play against me in Trivial Pursuit. All this so-called useless knowledge will allow me to demolish you with barely any effort at all."
"I'll bear that in mind," she drawled, waving a lazy hand at him. "So, you were in Miami, of the Florida variety, for your twenty-first birthday, and…"
By the time he finished the rather brief but thoroughly entertaining story, she was beginning to snore softly. Jane grinned to himself in the dark and thought drowsily that her snoring, in fact, wasn't so much irritating as it was soothing. Rhythmical, like ocean waves slapping at the shore. It was the last thought he had before drifting back to sleep himself, a small smile tugging at his mouth.
Reviews, as always, are love. And to be entirely honest, I write fics that are getting good responses more quickly than I do ones that stall out. What can I say? I'm your average fickle review whore writer. :)