A/N: As my Firefly muse has sadly deserted me for the moment (apologies to all those patiently waiting for a new instalment of A New Life or Chaos Theory), I thought I would pen a quick one-shot for my latest obsession - The Mentalist. Thank you, Universe, for creating Simon Baker... :) Sadly for me, I do not own him or anything else connected with the show.

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It takes Jane a few seconds to work out what is different about Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon on this fine summer morning. His gaze is first drawn to her eyes, as it usually is. He often finds himself staring into them as if hypnotized, drawn to the misty green, charmed by the circle of darker green that surrounds each iris, framed by the sooty lashes that need no assistance from mascara. Her hair too is appealing, so often ruthlessly tamed into a no-nonsense style, but always with that hint of rebellious wave surfacing at the slightest hint of humidity in the air. Sometimes he wants to brush his hand through the ends, just to watch it curl around his fingers.

But, today, it is another aspect of Teresa Lisbon's appearance that has captured his attention – her lips.

He tips his head to one side and studies them avidly. She had a meeting first thing with Minelli and the Attorney General. He already knew this, as he knows most of what goes on in her life, at least as it pertains to the CBI. Her home life is rather more of a frustrating mystery to him, but he tries to resist prying too hard in case she clams up even more. He can only assume that this meeting is the reason behind her unaccustomed use of cosmetics. She has applied a thin coating of dark red gloss, slicked across her plump, pouting lips, and Jane finds himself unable to tear his gaze away as she nibbles at it absent-mindedly while working on the computer.

He wonders what it would taste like and, for just a moment, imagines bending down to press his own lips against hers, the tip of his tongue tracing the line of her bottom lip, savouring the sweet flavour. Cherry, he decides absently. She would taste of cherries. He doesn't realise his eyes have glazed over in absorbed fascination until he hears her voice.

"Hey, Earth to Jane. You still in there?"

He straightens up in one swift movement and raises his eyes to meet hers. She looks bemused – just one of the many looks that he finds adorable on her. He beams at her and watches 'bemused' change to 'warily charmed, but suspicious', another personal favourite.

"I was thinking of cherries," he says slowly, a mischievous glint in his eyes.


"Yes, cherries."

"Care to venture a reason, or are you just going through a fruit phase?"

"No particular reason," he says with a shrug, unable to stop his gaze from wandering briefly to that glistening temptation. "I just find myself with an unaccountable craving for cherries."

"Oh, really?"

"It must be this lovely summer weather we're having."

"It's California, Jane. It's always like this."

"Well, perhaps I just have a new-found appreciation for my surroundings," he says, knowing he's aggravating her as usual, and delighting in it as he always does.

"Well, can you go appreciate somewhere else? You're driving me nuts staring into space and smiling like that. It's creepy."

"Certainly, my dear Lisbon," he says, rising to his feet and heading out of the office. As he passes her, he pauses as if remembering something. "Oh, by the way, you're looking particularly lovely today. Positively… ripe." He saunters away, leaving her to contemplate his true meaning.

"Ripe? What the hell is that supposed to mean?" He can picture her looking down at herself and trying to work out if his words were a compliment or an insult. "Damn it, Jane, get back here!"

He chuckles happily as her yells follow him down the corridor. Sometimes, life surprises him with moments of sweetness.