DISCLAIMER: The usual not mine, just playing with them spiel.

A/N: I'm back! (After an unforgivable amount of time.) I'd like to start off by apologizing to everyone for abandoning this story with no notice. Life happened. I'd also like to thank everyone that has read, favourited, followed, and commented on this story. You're all amazing!

This isn't a long chapter, but I really wanted to get it updated, so here she is!

I know you're all anxious to get reading so I won't go on any longer. Enjoy!

As she haphazardly tosses her belongings into her suitcase, she wonders what this suite is going to look like. The first image that comes to mind is ridiculous. She pictures a tacky heart- shaped bed, covered in red silk, the ceiling a collection of mirrors. She snorts at the thought and shakes her head. No, that's not likely, Patty seems like she has better taste than that.

Maybe a large bed, plush and inviting, thick with warm quilts and colourful pillows. That sounds wonderful, she thinks, but instantly scolds herself. She's here to solve a case. Her goal is to catch Red John; end of story. She's not here to enjoy the luxuries of a cozy bed and breakfast, and she's most certainly not here to push the boundaries of her relationship with Jane.

She presses her fingers to her temples in a futile attempt to ward off an imminent migraine. Push. Right. She's fairly certain that after last night's events, they've sped right past pushing and delved full into the realm of driving off cliffs.

She cares for him, far more than she ought to. And he drives her insane. The off the wall, pull your hair out, talk to yourself kind of insane, and god help her she likes it. She likes him. She likes his blue eyes and those ridiculously perfect blonde curls. She likes that stupid smug grin and those childish smiles that somehow have the ability to make her agree to almost anything. She likes that he pushes her buttons and boundaries and makes her think about everything in a different light. She likes that despite every facade and all the arrogant bravado, he lets her in just a little bit, lets her see the pieces, lets her hold onto them and try to fit them back together. She likes him; likes, because using any other word is far too dangerous at this point and she's into self-preservation.

She doesn't notice when he enters her room, leaning casually in the doorway that leads to his room. She doesn't notice that he's watching her as she fiddles with a pair of socks, deep in thought and miles away.

He steps into the room quietly and moves to stand behind her, "Quite the internal monologue you've got going there Lisbon, care to share with the class?" He smiles as she startles and turns to face him. He watches her closely, watches as the uncertainty and vulnerability quickly slip away, easily replaced by a slight frown.

"What's wrong, Jane? Having trouble reading me?" She jokes, trying to slip her own mask back into place.

Oh he read her just fine. He noticed the slightest hint of a smile hidden behind a mountain of doubt. Both of which he suspects are due largely to his behaviour the night before.

He's not sure exactly why he did what he did. You wanted to make sure she was alive, part of his brain offers. Yes, because clearly finger banging her while you dry humped your way to an orgasm was the best way to accomplish that, the other half of his brain retorts, crudely.

He sighs and decides that apparently he isn't quite ready to have this conversation yet either.

Instead, he just moves to zip up her suit case and decides that for the time being it's safer to stick to flippant comments. He knows how to deal with an irritated Lisbon. That he can do.

"C'mon Lisbon, let's go check out this honeymoon suite that Patty has for us!"

She drives along the freshly ploughed road and watches as each gust of wind tosses powdery snow into her path, only to sweep it away seconds later. It's there, and then it's gone, for the most part anyway. Lingering traces remain: traces that though at first are nearly indiscernible, soon build and suddenly the only evidence that a plough passed through are the asphalt stained snow banks that line the road.

In some strange way it reminds her of Jane.

The slate is wiped clean, there's no evidence that he's anything less than perfectly fine. He jokes and smiles, tossing witty banter and infuriating remarks her way. But the pain builds. The loss adds up. And she can see it. It isn't obvious. He puts on a good show. But it's there in the little things. It's there in the way that he can't stand silence. It eats at him, she thinks: leaves him alone with his thoughts in a very dark place.

She's also notices that he watches her. She has no idea what's going through his head but she can feel his eyes following her: at times analyzing her, but mostly just quick glances. Maybe he's just making sure that she's still there.

She watches him too, watches the smile slowly fade. She watches the guilt and bone-deep weariness seep back in. Water in the fractures of his facade, eroding slowly until it splits and she can see him for what he really is: broken. There's no other way to put it.

She sighs as she pulls into a parking spot at the bed and breakfast.

Jane hasn't spoken a word the entire drive and as soon as she shifts into park, he's pulling on his toque and heading straight for the front door.

The man drives her insane. She never knows what to expect from him. He's all over the place. Entirely unpredictable.

She unbuckles her seatbelt, and as she grabs both of their bags from the back, she wishes that he wasn't such a mystery.

She's sure of very little when it comes to Jane, but she knows that giving up on him isn't an option. Not anymore. She's in this, whatever this is, and she's going to see it through.

A/N: Hopefully my writing hasn't deteriorated too much over the years. I haven't written anything other than essays and research reports in a very very long time.

I'd like to apologize yet again for my unacceptably long absence. And thank you again, so very much to everyone who has followed this story.

I'll be away for the weekend, but look for an update sometime next week!