A/N: Alright, here it is guys. Post-ep to 2.03, set in the same universe as Mutual Liberation, my post-ep to 2.09. Established Jane/Lisbon. Lisbon almost got arrested for murder, and Jane tries to help her through it, even if she doesn't want him to. Mildly angsty, but I'm not sure if it's angsty enough to actually be considered angst, if that makes any sense.

I don't own anything.

To hold, but maybe not to keep

Theresa Lisbon walked out of her office at the end of a long day. Her office. It was still hers. Sure she'd be the subject of a lot of gossip over the next few weeks, but since she'd just been framed for murder that was inevitable. At least this way they'd be gossiping about her innocence, and possibly her acting skills. She wasn't actually even all that upset. Not right now at least. Because she had her life back. She was Agent Teresa Lisbon again. And she was, well, she would be, okay.

The relief around her office was palpable. She'd caught all of her team wandering by her desk, finding excuses to drop by, checking that she was still there. There were vague stories floating around the bullpen of suspects and corrupt medical professionals being accidentally shoved roughly into walls, desks, car doors. Rigsby had even gleefully informed her that it looked like Dr. Carmen was getting a black eye and Cho complemented her right hook. Van Pelt was thrilled her boss was innocent; she'd heard Rigsby tell Jane that he'd known there was no way the boss was a killer. And Cho, well Cho was always just solidly there. It was one of his better qualities. Yes, her agents were happy she was back.

As was her consultant she supposed. But, well, her consultant was complicated.

Speak of the devil, Jane was still around she realized with a grin. She could tell by the faint light in the bullpen. He'd stayed, long after everyone else had left.

"You're still here," she told him, strolling back into her team's workspace.

Jane sat up and looked at her. Really looked at her. "So're you," he replied with an enigmatic smile, not breaking eye contact. Lisbon was still around, and she always would be, if he had anything to say about it.

Lisbon read the double meaning in his eyes. And even though he didn't say anything else, he didn't have to. He'd been the one to stick by her. And so she made a decision. "I'm going home," she told him quietly.

Jane's smile widened slightly, "Okay," he replied just as quietly, still without breaking eye contact. And she knew she wouldn't be spending her evening alone.

Lisbon puttered around her apartment, idly tidying it up a bit. Not that it would matter of course; Jane had seen it messy already. Jane had seen her apartment. She wasn't sure how she felt about that yet. And he was going to see it again. It all felt a bit strange. She hadn't expected that the first time he saw her apartment (if he had ever got to that point at all) would be to help her out of a murder charge. And now he was coming over.

They'd been sleeping together for over a month now, but always at more neutral locations. The odd random hotel room in the city or out on a case (though that was much rarer. Hotel walls weren't exactly known for their thickness). Then they'd graduated to Jane's hotel room. Although, to be honest, that wasn't actually much better. The room was as impersonal as physically possible given that the man lived there most of the time.

And now he was coming here. And she still wasn't quite sure how she felt about it.

She knew she didn't want to be alone, but other than that...

For one, she wasn't exactly sure what they were doing. Yes, they were sleeping together, but it wasn't exactly a relationship. There were no quiet candlelit dinners, no strolls in the park, no holding hands, no pet names. It also wasn't straight up comfort sex either. I mean, let's face it here, if that was all Jane wanted, with his abilities there were quite literally hundreds of other potential candidates, none of whom would bring with them the potential complications of sleeping with the boss. And it wasn't just about a warm body for her either. She might not have Jane's... skills, but she was far from repulsive. If all she'd been looking for was human contact there would have been easier ways of going about it.

Which meant this was something more.

Hell, maybe it was a relationship of sorts. Or as much of a relationship as either of them were capable of. After all, Jane seemed to be fond of her. Teased her, played games with her (literal and mental), enjoyed her company outside of the bedroom. And loathe as she was to admit it, she was fond of him as well, even if most of the time he was a giant thorn in her side.

He was the closest thing she had to a personal life, and one of the few things she had outside of work (okay, semi-outside of work). She grinned when she remembered faltering over Dr. Carmen's question about what she did for fun. She would have loved to see the pompous windbag's face if she'd answered 'sleep with my consultant.' Maybe it'd have even given him a heart attack on the spot, which would have served him right.

Irritating as he often was, surprisingly Jane had been there for her. Which had shocked her (and Jane had seemed almost surprised at that shock). But it was true, Jane had... well, Jane had been with her every step of the way. He'd been there when Bosco first questioned her, even though it was clear that Bosco and Minelli didn't want him. But for all that her boss had been unimpressed; she'd been relieved when Jane had stepped in the room. Comforted, strange as it sounded. She remembered when she'd faltered under Bosco's simple questions that he'd immediately backed up her flimsy story without hesitation. Then he'd gotten her out of the building, demanded to know why she was lying, and offered to help her find the truth when he realized she couldn't remember what the truth might be. Find the truth by hypnotizing her of course, but find it nonetheless. She hadn't wanted him in her head for obvious reasons, but he became her last hope, the only thing she could cling to. She hadn't wanted his comfort then. Still, he'd tried to give it anyways, something that still struck her as odd. After all, he rarely seemed concerned about how his actions might affect her. And in the end Jane had figured things out anyways. Found a way to clear her name.

Even though she usually fought him tooth and nail, this time she'd gone along with his crazy plan, revelled in it almost. She'd followed the rules all her life and they'd gotten her into this mess. Maybe bending them a little would get her out. And it had. Jane and his schemes had saved her.

He was starting to make it a habit.

She wasn't sure how she felt about that either.

After all, what sort of idiot started relying on Patrick Jane?

Oh God, did she want to rely on Patrick Jane? That absolutely was not a good idea. Even if she did mean something to him, he'd made it perfectly clear what meant most. Damn that man. But he had been the one she'd trusted, had been the one she'd relied on. It'd been all him, not Bosco. Even though she knew Bosco cared about her, knew he respected her. But when he'd implied she might be guilty, it had just hurt. And Jane hadn't done that. Not once.

As if on cue she heard a knock at her door. Shaking her head to clear it Lisbon walked briskly over to answer it, finding a grinning Patrick Jane leaning in her doorway.

"Teresa," he whispered as he walked in past her, intentionally brushing up against her, grinning to himself when her breathing stuttered briefly. "Have you eaten? I brought Chinese."

"You know very well I haven't," Lisbon told him indulgently. "You've been watching me all day."

"I haven't been the only one," Jane pointed out. He had been watching her. She'd been so upset, ever since she'd recognized the dead body.

"No," Lisbon agreed wryly, "I imagine I'll be feeding the CBI gossip mill for months now."

"Oh don't even try that tone of voice with me woman, I know you enjoyed your little act as much as I did, maybe more," Jane admonished. "I saw the grin you shot the Doc when he realized you'd been playing him all along and he'd fallen for it. Pleased and proud, as you had every right to be."

She grinned remembering it, "Well that was a little fun," she admitted. "And he deserved it."

"Absolutely," Jane told her agreeably. "And I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. Although come to think of it, I may have enjoyed myself even more. Really Lisbon, I had no idea where such an accomplished actress, especially given your usual complete and utter inability to lie. Not to mention, well, your wardrobe alone was certainly worth the price of admission. I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed that that old sports jersey hasn't put in an encore," he told her as he let his eyes drift over her professional pantsuit.

Lisbon felt her temperature rise, before she swatted at him. "Food first," she told him.

"Food you didn't even know I was bringing," Jane muttered under his breath. But he complied, and soon the pair was eating in companionable silence, both lost in thought.

Jane couldn't quite believe he was where he was, in Lisbon's apartment. By invitation, for the third time that day. It was certainly a first for him, for them.

They had started post-Hardy. The details were unimportant. He'd needed something, well, something tangible after what had happened that day. And she'd been there, like she always was, reminding him (somewhat against his will) that he was still alive.

And today she needed something tangible (somewhat against her will he was sure). And he desperately wanted that something to be him. Needed it to be him, though the idea troubled him a little. After all, he wasn't exactly sure what she was to him, and even worse, he wasn't sure what he was to her.

Lisbon interrupted his thoughts, "How long do you think he was drugging me?" she asked him. That was one thing she couldn't get out of her head. Just how long had her judgement been compromised? How long had she been operating in a drug-induced stupor?

Jane shrugged casually, feigned a disinterest he didn't feel. He'd been wondering about that too. Was his presence in her personal life just the result of some drug-induced haze? To his delight he'd discovered it was unlikely; during the first few weeks of their time together she wasn't being drugged, although he supposed it could have been contributing factor to the perseverance of the relationship over the last few.

"Not as long as you'd been seeing him," he answered her. "We won't know for sure until the results of the tests on your hair come back, but based on when the good Doc was contacted and when he was initially paid, I figure a couple of weeks. Three at the outside, but two to two and half's more likely," he told her. And told himself that meant the drugs started almost four weeks after Hardy.

"Huh," Lisbon said. "You'd have thought I'd have noticed."

"Don't." Jane told her sharply.

"Don't what?" she asked, honestly unsure of what he was objecting to.

"Don't act like you should have known. There was no way you could have. I didn't even realize. I mean, sure, a couple of times your actions were strange, but nothing concrete," he told her. And there hadn't been. God she must have phenomenal control over herself to have been able pull that off. But of course she had phenomenal control. Earlier that day he'd seen her go from appearing crazy to the point of suicide to completely rational in two seconds flat. Still, he should have noticed a difference. Well, he had actually, a little. After all, she'd let him strap a dead body to a chair and use it as bait. He'd been suspicious then, suspicious and worried. But he'd shrugged it off, told himself that her leniency towards him was just her guilt talking (he couldn't bring himself to hope that it was because of what was between them).

He should have known. Known that even she couldn't possibly be that much of a martyr. Should have probed harder. And now he felt like he'd let her down. He should have been the one to look out for her. And he hadn't been. Not initially. If he'd been more observant they might have caught this thing before her name had been dragged through the mud.

Lisbon sighed, "Jane, there was no way you could have known. You're not infallible."

"Neither are you. And I should have been watching more closely," he argued.

But Lisbon bristled a bit at that, "I think I'd prefer if you didn't. I'm not a goldfish in a damn bowl for you to watch all day."

"No," Jane murmured under his breath. "Wouldn't want anyone to get too close now would we?" Not even him. Because she didn't trust him. Hadn't even wanted to let him hypnotize her to save her life. He knew she'd only caved in because she'd been desperate. And some comfort that had been. It'd terrified her that she couldn't remember. Then she'd been even more terrified that he'd seen her break down. She'd thought he'd use it, tell her team, embarrass her maybe. How could she think that? How could she think that he'd expose her so cruely? When he knew what the job meant to her. Good Lord, what did Lisbon think she was to him? Did she think she was just convenient? She wasn't. He wasn't sure exactly what they were, but he knew that.

And he knew he couldn't lose her. He'd almost lost her twice now in as many months, both times to murder. In the first case she'd been an intended target, in the second a potential killer. She was the one solid thing in his life, and it had almost killed Jane to see her faltering. So to everyone's surprise (including his own), he'd stepped up. Tried to offer comfort, tried to be strong for her (though she hadn't really let him). But that didn't matter. He was going to be there for her whether she liked it or not. No one would take down Teresa Lisbon on his watch.

The second he'd heard about the print on the gun, known that a murder charge was a possibility he'd started going over all possible scenarios in his head, possible solutions. Started planning ways to get her out of it, to clear her name. Turns out he and Bosco had that in common.

But then his Lisbon inspired that kind of devotion.

His Lisbon? Where had that come from? She was hardly his Lisbon.

Or was she?

Did he want her to be his Lisbon? Could she be his Lisbon? It certainly wasn't wise...

Rigsby's blind faith in her innocence had been touching, and, as it turned out, justified. Jane almost felt ashamed of his own doubts. He should have known, should have known she'd never kill a man in cold blood, no matter what the circumstances. Even if the good Doc had been trying to justify his actions with all of that nonsense about pedophiles never recovering, about saving the next child, Jane knew that Lisbon would never be able to do that. He should have had more faith in her. But blind faith? Like Rigsby's? He could probably do that, let her be his sanity. She wouldn't let him down he was sure. But did she deserve it? Was it fair to let her shoulder that burden?


So he had to doubt.

But that didn't mean that he couldn't also comfort.

But even after her horrendous emotional roller coaster of a week she was back to her calm and collected self. She'd boxed everything away, all of the doubting and the accusations and the lack of trust. She was acting like nothing had happened. That it was just a typical week for her.

All's well that ends well for the good Agent Lisbon.

Except he'd seen her face earlier. Heard the pain in her voice. And he knew it wasn't that simple. And he didn't want an easy dinner of silly conversation. He wanted to make sure she was okay.

It was Lisbon herself who interrupted his mealtime musings. "Alright Jane, out with it," she said suddenly.

He decided to play dumb, "Out with what?"

She rolled her eyes at him. "Whatever's got you brooding over your Chinese food," she told him bluntly.

"Ironic isn't it?" Jane asked deciding to indirectly answer her question. "Of the two of us, if anyone should be brooding it's you, yet here you are, seemingly happy as a clam when earlier today you looked like you were on the edge of a nervous breakdown."

"That was an act," she told him sharply. "And your idea if you'll recall, for Dr. Carmen's benefit."

"Ah, but was it all an act Agent Lisbon?" he asked her just as sharply. "Some of that anger, that fear seemed awfully real, even if you turned it off once you got your confession." He saw her face darken and kept going, perversely pleased. "And besides, you forget, I saw you after you failed that polygraph, after you were hypnotized. I saw you when you couldn't remember what had happened. You were terrified."

"I'd been accused of murder!" she exclaimed, trying to keep her composure. "Framed as it turns out."

"Oh, I'm not saying you didn't have a good reason. You did. Actually, that's my point. You had every right to be angry, and scared. And now you honestly expect me to believe that you can just turn all that off because your name was cleared? That all of that just goes away?" He was treading a fine line he knew, but he found it irritating when she just shut down like this.

"Of course not," Lisbon shot back somewhat angrily. "But unlike some people it doesn't mean that I need to act out like a three year old. Self-control is generally considered to be a good thing."

"Ah yes, the legendary Saint Teresa, cool as a cucumber," he replied, the nickname rolling off his tongue with just a hint of mockery. "Tell me, how do you reconcile that woman to the one who earlier today threw a chair through her office window?"

"First of all why are you calling me that?" she asked, getting really irritated now. She'd always hated that nickname. She was no saint, never had been. "Second of all the chair was for effect and you know it. Hell, you suggested it. And it was fun. I admit it. Besides, there's a difference between being in control of your emotions and breaking the odd little rule."

"Of course there is," Jane told her, infuriatingly calmly. "Though I'm still surprised Saint Teresa let you do it. And let's say I accept your explanation about the chair, what about the woman who pretended to drown herself in alcohol and pills to ease the pain? Something that probably brought up some painful memories. At least I'd assume it did. Or has Saint Teresa transcended all that?"

"Stop calling me that. Now." Lisbon hissed out, making it sound as much like an order as possible while blinking back angry tears.

"Certainly Agent Lisbon," Jane agreed immediately.

Lisbon took a calming breath and counted to ten. "I've always hated that stupid nickname," she told him. "And what on earth is wrong with you?"

"Nothing Agent Lisbon. After all, I thought we'd decided that there was nothing to be upset about. I mean, sure, you were accused of murder and even some of your closest colleagues believed you could be guilty. But never fear, because in the end you cleared yourself with some help from yours truly, so all in all, a good day Agent."

It hadn't been a good day. She knew that. She'd just wanted, wanted... after she'd trapped Dr. Carmen he'd made her smile... when they'd been joking together... and he'd never treated her like a criminal, not once... she'd just wanted... been foolishly pleased he'd approved of her performance... but now he was... She'd just wanted to feel like part of something and he was taunting her. Still, he was the only one...

"Seriously, why are you doing this?" she asked again.

"Bottling up your emotions isn't healthy Agent Lisbon," Jane added, pleased that he seemed to be getting through to her.

"Oh that's rich, coming from the man who wears a mask every damn minute of every damn day." Lisbon wasn't sure what he thought he was doing, but she wasn't going to give him what he wanted. She'd had a crappy day and Jane could take his stupid agenda and shove it.

"I'm not wearing a mask right now," Jane admitted truthfully.

"Sure you're not." Lisbon muttered under her breath. And maybe he wasn't, but she still had no idea what he was thinking. "What makes you think I am?" she asked more loudly.

"You've had what might be one of the worst weeks of your life and you're not talking to me," Jane told her. "You're not dealing with it. You're just trying to shove it under the carpet and ignore it. It's not healthy. I'm worried." Why couldn't she see that? He wondered.

Lisbon was flabbergasted. "Did it ever occur to you that I don't want to talk about it right now? That I want to push it aside while I try and figure out what I want to do about it? That maybe I just wanted to feel relatively normal after the hellish week I've been having? That I invited you hear because I wanted company? Your company. Something I'm not so sure I want anymore by the way." She sighed and took a deep breath. "Never mind, Jane can we just drop it?"

Drop it? Fluttered across Jane's brain in shock. "Why aren't you mad at me? You should be furious with me. I was an ass."

Despite her annoyance and exhaustion she smirked, "You almost always are." Then she sighed, "Jane I don't have the energy for this right now. Can't we just talk about something else? I just want to feel like things aren't going to fall to pieces in the next few hours."

"Talking about things wouldn't make them fall to pieces," Jane tried softly.

"No, but that doesn't mean we need to do it either," she replied just as quietly.

"Lisbon..." he started, a bit sorry now for what he'd done.


Then it hit him. "You don't trust me. You think if I see you angry see you break I'll think less of you, or use it against you."

"I have no idea what you'd do if the fancy strikes you," she said with a smile. "Remember that time you painted the flagpole bright blue for no good reason that I could see."

"Symbolism," Jane muttered. "I would never do that to you Lisbon."

"You'd never paint me blue? I'm glad to hear it," she told him, trying desperately for the joke.

But stupid Jane was having none of it, and to her surprise he sounded almost uncertain. "I... I know I'm not the most reliable... don't have the best track record but... I promise you that I was going to get you off the hook whatever it took," he told her.

His gravity surprised her, "And if the plan to trap the Doc hadn't worked, what was next? Hypnotize him?" she asked indulgently.

"I was thinking maybe getting Van Pelt to tap his phone, or maybe just tailing him. I was also thinking of maybe hypnotizing Minnelli or insuring Bosco's evidence got magically destroyed. Though I suspect he'd been thinking the same thing. I think I came up with 22 contingency plans when all was said and done." He needed her to know that Bosco wasn't the only one who'd have her back. Who'd be willing to... her entire team had been about to lay down their careers for her if need be. And while he'd acknowledged to her team that she could have done it, he'd made sure that he never let the possibility slip in front of her. Not like that clod Bosco. He'd seen the betrayal in her eyes when she realized he thought she might be guilty. And he knew she was feeling a bit exposed after losing the Red John case, not to mention the recent fiasco involving the senator and her father. Lisbon had stood tall as always, but Jane knew her boss and former mentor's concern and lack of faith had hurt her. He'd vowed to never let her see him falter, not this week. He wasn't necessarily good for her, but at he'd promised himself he'd damn well be there.

After a brief pause, Lisbon spoke, shock evident in her voice, "Jane..." She hadn't known he'd taken it so seriously. Jane never took anything seriously, besides Red John that is.

"You don't always have to shut me out Teresa." He tried again. "I get that you don't completely trust me, but I am trying to be there for you. You don't always have to be Agent Lisbon talking to her consultant."

"You are my consultant," she pointed out logically, trying to ignore her racing heart.

"Not right now I'm not," Jane replied.

"Then what are you?"

"I don't know exactly, and neither do you." He certainly wasn't up to defining this, wasn't sure if he'd ever be. "But you can talk to me."

"I am talking to you," she replied.

"Now you're being deliberately obtuse," Jane scolded mildly.

"Jane..." she trailed off. "I can't, not tonight."

He knew when he was beaten. "Okay."

"22 contingency plans?" she asked in shock.

"Whatever it took," he told her simply.

She looked at him then, analyzed his face, then she smiled, just a little, realizing that maybe she did mean something to him.

He smiled briefly too, then his face turned serious. "I wanted to hold you, you know, when... well, when..."

"I might have wanted to be held," she whispered softly. "But..." she trailed off.

"Do you still...?" he asked, hopeful.

"Yeah," she whispered. "Later." Then her voice changed, strengthened. "Right now I want you to tell me a story. One of those ones that you tell Rigsby and Van Pelt that always has them so enraptured."

Jane hesitated, they'd been getting somewhere. Finally.

She took a breath, "Please Patrick?"

Unexpectedly he grinned, "But you're too clever to be taken in by one of those. How about we talk about something that held me enraptured?"

Lisbon almost laughed, "Well, this I've got to hear. Alright, what was it? Did you hide Bosco's PDA and then watch him stew about it for hours?"

Jane's smile grew, "No. While the good Agent Bosco might be good for amusement I highly doubt he could hold my interest for more than a few minutes. His former partner on the other hand..." Lisbon glanced up in surprise and he chuckled before continuing. "Oh yes my dear, watching you lure in our crooked little friend and then snare him in his own attempted trap."

"Jane..." she breathed.

"And then when you looked so innocently and honestly pleased about it afterwards. The look on your face Teresa, so proud of winning your little game, so happy with your little subterfuge. It made me want to drag you back into the shadows of your staircase and do the most interesting things..." God that smile, he was having trouble getting it out of his head even now.

Until she replaced it with another one, her lips curling up into a grin that was slightly sinful. "I was good wasn't I?" she asked him happily.

"You, my dear, were fantastic," he corrected. He stood and walked purposefully over to her. "And when you punched him in the nose... Damn woman."

She laughed, delighted and wrapped her arms around his neck. Yes, this was what she'd wanted. She'd just wanted someone there.

His hands slid dangerously low on her hips, "Between the shimmying, the jersey that was barely decent and the manipulation I had a hard time remembering what I was even doing there. Carmen wasn't the only one under your spell."

Lisbon stretched up on her tiptoes to run her nose along his jaw line, "How do you think I felt half naked in my living room, knowing you were lurking in the dark on the stairs already halfway to my bedroom?" she asked him huskily.

Jane quickly brushed his lips across hers a few times to torture them both before pulling back. "In the mood for something sinful in the shadows are we Lisbon?" he asked, his voice dropping an octave.

She let one of her hands drag down his chest as she moved in to kiss him properly. "I don't think I'm the only one," she whispered.

"No," he admitted, dragging his lips down the curve of her neck, pleased when she arched into him. "I never did get to see inside the room."

Slowly she pulled away, "Well, we can't have that." And taking his hand in hers led him towards the stairs determined to spend the rest of the night in her room, not talking.

Though she couldn't say she minded when he insisted on pausing more than once on their way up the stairs.

Later, much later, Jane was watching the woman beside him as she lay in his arms. She still wasn't talking about what had happened. He knew from personal experience that wasn't a good idea, but he also wouldn't force her anymore. She looked too content. He wondered what she was thinking about, if she was worried about repercussions of what had happened today, if...

He almost sighed. He was worried that if she continued to act so calm on the outside all the time that she really would explode one day, just as she'd threatened in her fake breakdown. "Lisbon..." he started.

"Get out of my head Jane," Lisbon told him sleepily. Ah, so he could be inside her body, but not her mind. Well that was interesting. But maybe it also wasn't fair. Especially since he'd been the one she'd let into her apartment. He'd been the one she'd let hypnotize her. He'd been the one she'd trusted with her plan. Not Bosco, him.

Wait, where did Bosco come into it? He wasn't the issue at hand, not even close. Just because the idiot was in love with her didn't mean she was going to throw herself into his arms.

"I was just going to say that you don't have to be calm and rational all the time Teresa."

"Yes I do," she replied even more sleepily.

"I wouldn't think any less of you."

"But I might." She paused, "Jane?"

"Yeah Lisbon?"

"Thanks for helping me prove my innocence."

"Any time." He tightened his arms around her instinctively. She was not going to go to prison. Not ever.

"Jane that's a bit too tight," she told him.

"Sorry," he loosened his grip and shifted positions.

She sighed. She hadn't necessarily wanted him to stop holding her entirely. She'd just wanted to be able to breathe without restriction. Although she supposed not actively holding her would make it easier for him to leave. They'd never actually spent the entire night together. Usually one of them left the hotel room in the very early morning. Since they were already at her apartment, tonight it would have to be him. And she hadn't been lying before when she'd admitted she wanted to be held.

Still, it was almost a shock when she realized that she didn't want him to go. Really didn't want him to go. And he had promised to hold her. "Stay," she whispered to him sleepily. "I don't want to be alone."

"Of course," he told her, as he tightened his arm around her again, making sure that he wasn't hurting her this time. "Does this mean I don't have to worry about competition from the hottie in the mail room?" he asked quietly.

Lisbon rolled over to face him in surprise, "What?" she asked, before trailing off in confusion. When she saw his grin it hit her, "You bastard!" she said as she tried to take a swing at him. He just laughed, ducking her easily in her tired state. He grabbed her hand, moved it out of the way of any sensitive parts and kissed her.

"I'm just glad I don't have to figure out a way to eliminate the competition," he murmured against her lips.


"Shh... Lisbon, you need your sleep."

"Was almost asleep, s'your fault I'm not anymore," she muttered.

"Hush, we'll talk in the morning," he promised.

"Not if I kill you first."

"Fine. Assuming I'm still alive then."

"Kay..." she said, smiling when she felt his arms wrap back around her.

He grinned as she drifted off again. Maybe she still didn't trust him, and maybe they hadn't actually talked about anything, and maybe she still reverted to Agent Lisbon more than he liked. But she had effectively asked him over to her apartment, even if she hadn't actually said the words, and he was the one she wanted in her bed, and he was the one she wanted to hold her.

So even though things were far from perfect between them, and even though he could still destroy her... Well....

Maybe whatever they were doing made them feel better, and maybe they both needed someone in their lives.

And so even thought it could still end in disaster, maybe this wasn't the worst idea in the world.

And maybe...

Well, just maybe.

The end