-What happens when SpaceAnJL gets hold of a cliché...-



Love Will Tear Us Apart


Late in the evening, a small town at the corner of no and where, and a pretty gingerbread confection of a guest-house. Ardelia Crewe is stifling a genteel yawn, when the door opens. The couple who enter don't look like hikers. Dark-haired little woman looking up at a very good-looking man, who is smiling down at her as he ushers her in, gentle hand in the small of her back. Ardelia likes to see manners in a man.

"...run out of small talk, anyway."

"Oh, shut up." But she can't keep the edges of a smile hidden, as she glances up at him. She turns to Ardelia. "Good evening, ma'am. I don't suppose you have any rooms left?"

"Well, yes." Ardelia doesn't need to check. They have four rooms. And three of them are full. " You're in luck. We have the one. It's only a twin, mind."

Oh no. Nonono. Bits of Lisbon's mind yell at her. It would be safer to sleep in the car than in a room with this man. It would be safer to make him sleep in the car. Or the next town.

Jane manages a weary grin at her palpable panic.

"Much as I adore you, woman, we've been on the road for six hours and I'm too tired to do anything but try and sleep."

He does look a bit crumpled. It has been a long day for both of them. They are both adults. Maybe he'll behave like a rational...

No, he won't. Damn.

But. It's late. She's tired. She has a gun.

"Fine. We'll take it." She reaches for the registration card.

It is official. The Universe hates her. She is stuck in a town so small, that if it had one horse, the locals probably ate it. And she has to share a room with the devil. Twin room. It's a small mercy.


The clerk takes the card, pushes it over to Jane, blinks up at him with short-sighted good nature.

"And you must be Mr Lisbon?"

Lisbon looks like she's going to stroke out right there and then.

Jane signs the card with a flourish and his most charming grin, scoops up the key and heads up the stairs.

She pulls back the flailing remnants of her sanity, and starts after him.


"This is a conservative small town, my dear. No sense in upsetting anybody." He plays his trump card. "She saw my ring. And I didn't feel like explaining."

"Oh." Guilty blush. "Of course not."

"Well, she would just think you were my mistress."

He always manages to do this to her. When he'd kissed that...Dr Miller, and she'd teased him, he'd looked so solemn and hurt, that she'd tried to be nice to him. And he'd played her. Made her feel in the wrong – then given her that sweet and sunny smile. Yes, that one.


(married to him. She looks like she's married to him. aargh.)

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

Lisbon, cleaning her teeth with brisk irritation, is grateful for the enveloping warmth of her night-wear, shapeless old Varsity top and track pants, though she has a brief pang of regret that they are so unattractive.

(…. she didn't just think that)

Doesn't even want to meet her own horrified gaze in the mirror. She is not going to scurry out of the bathroom, she is going to walk out calmly. She's shared emergency quarters before.

(but not with him)

Her ertswhile roomie smirks at her from his bed. The one nearest the door, naturally, so she has to walk the whole width of the room to her own bed. Oh god. Patrick Jane in pale blue pj's looks almost sweet. Why is she being punished this way?

(that isn't sweet. that is trouble. remember? calm, professional relationship only. however delicious he looks...crapcrapcrap)

Resolutely, she turns her back, and closes her eyes.

"Pillowfight?" says a voice in her ear. She nearly falls out of her bed.

"Dammit, Jane." Shoves him the chest, and laughs despite herself. "Go to sleep."

He grins, climbs back into his own bed.

"Just think, Lisbon, our first night..."

One baleful eye regards him.

"If you go around saying we slept together..."

"I wouldn't dare impugn your professional reputation." Besides, he knows that half the department think that they already are. (So does she.) Lisbon huffs, snaps out the light.

Lying there, arms behind his head, he stares into the dark, and smiles.

Mr. Lisbon.

Patrick Lisbon. It works.

Imagine Patrick Lisbon. He's a...lawyer. No, he decides, he doesn't want to get paid to lie for a living again. He's a...bank clerk. No, boring. Professional gambler? Or they could move out to the coast, have a house by the beach, and then he could be a...surf instructor. He grins.

They. Lisbon in a wetsuit, laughing at him. The grin freezes, and he wants to jack-knife off the bed, try and run from the thought. But his traitor mind has already betrayed him. He takes a deep breath.

Patrick Jane cannot have those things. He does not deserve a house and a family and anything good. He destroys the people who love him, those people that he loves.

That is all the picture on the back of his eyelids can ever be. A bittersweet delusion. He has no future that can ever include a curvy little woman looking up at him with a sceptical half-smile and unwilling trust in her eyes. He has no right to think these things, to betray his vow to the past for an ephemeral fantasy. And still memory taunts him – each look, each touch, each one a barb of hope that she could see him as more than the damaged soul he knows himself to be. He embraces the pain, lets the images come, in all their beautiful, brutal clarity.

And somewhere in the middle of the sweet shame of it, he drifts off into sleep...

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

He jolts up from a world of nightmare into darkness.

"Jane! Jane...Patrick. It's just a dream. Let it go."

He's embarrassed. She's matter-of-fact, though her words are at odds with the gentle hand that soothes him back to the pillows.

Hammer of his heart under her fingertips, and she can see the wide dark pools of his eyes. She reaches to turn on the light, and he catches her wrist.

"No...I'm fine now. Thank you." He doesn't sound fine, but he is definitely awake.

She becomes suddenly and shockingly aware of being so close to him. Her hand on his chest, his hand on her wrist. Forever caught in this endless bloody dance of desire and denial.

She doesn't want to see his tears. And he must never see hers. That would be unforgivable. All she can do is to step away, and climb back into a bed that suddenly feels too small and cold.

The loss of her touch. Slowly, reluctantly, he lets her slide from his grasp. Wipes his eyes with a hard anger. Dammit, stupid fool. He should never have subjected her to this. He's ashamed that she has seen him this way. He half-wishes she had pretended sleep, ignorance. But that isn't Lisbon's way. When he's hurting, she seeks to help him. If she ignored his pain, she wouldn't be his Lisbon.

There will be no more sleep now. He stares into the darkness, listening to her soft breathing, as she slips away from him again.

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

"Wakey-wakey, Lisbon."

She has an adorable little snort when she wakes up. He files that away for future reference.

Patrick Jane has brought her breakfast in bed. This is wrong on so many levels that she can't even begin to process it.

He's looking impossibly cheerful for this time in the morning, washed and shaved and gleaming, all crisp white shirt and artful curls. His best sexy smile, the one that makes her nervous, as he lays the tray across her knees. She squints crossly at him.

"What? It's too early to have you being handsome at me. It's indecent."

(she said that out loud? ohcrap.)

That smile widens, and she covers her confusion by burying her nose in her coffee cup. He's a little too tidy and perfect this morning, she realizes. As the caffeine fires her neurons, she understands – he needs to regain the upper hand after last night. Well, she's just handed him a prize.

He watches her blush. There is no denying it. Teresa Lisbon, roused from sleep, all bed hair and dazed eyes, does not look like a fierce law enforcement professional. In fact, he is extremely glad that he has the armour of his suit and self-possession back in place. Last night, he'd been a breath away from pulling her down, seeking comfort. He could have done it, he knows. Had felt her pulse, the catch in her breath.

But - he's grown to respect this tiny, tough, beautiful woman. She deserves so much more than his lust and his need. She will try and fix him, with everything she has, and he can't let her. He needs the pain, a goad to his spirit, punishment for his failings, his conceit.

He doesn't want her pity, and he mustn't have her love.

So he sits on the end of her bed, and steals her toast.

Bloody, bloody man. With his bloody smile and his bloody curls and his bloody eyes. He's committing sexual harassment just sitting there. She should shoot him. No jury would convict.

(waking to the sound of that ragged anguish)

For one instant, their eyes meet, and that arrogant smirk falters. She narrows her eyes at him.

"If you ever bring that up, I shall deny having said it."

"I can't take you seriously when you have butter on your chin." He reaches out a deft thumb.

Whoops. Soft delicate curve of her lower lip beneath his touch, startled fawn eyes. Oh, so very wrong.

(ohnonono. damn him.)

He jumps to his feet, and she grabs the tray in startled reflex.

"I think you're beautiful." He says casually. A wicked gleam. "Even in those truly awful clothes."

Escapes before she can find something to throw at him. Or before he does something irredeemable.

She puts her face in her hands, moans softly. Truly, no jury would convict.

(butterfly light, that contact, and yet the world tips...)

He's sitting in the lobby with a paper when she comes down to the desk. She takes a minute to look at him. He is handsome, dammit. It's part of his stock in trade. She also knows that she is far more comfortable with him being brash and aggravating. She can keep the charming flirt at arm's length. The more pieces of himself that he shares, willingly or not, the harder it becomes to keep him there.

She sighs, sets her shoulders, and pulls out her phone. Time to return to the real world.

He looks up, and there is a complex twist of regret in him, fast and gone. Lisbon, her own professional mask back in place. He sees the job settle about her as she listens, folds the phone away.

"We have a case. Some hikers found a body in Crocket State Memorial Park. Rigsby is already en route – he'll meet us there."