Waited So Long

Disclaimer: Don't own anything…lyrics by Death Cab for Cutie.

Rating: M

Spoiler: Red Badge.

A/N: This is written per request from Chiisana Minako. It was her idea and inspired by the picture she drew that's currently on my profile page. This was really fun to write and I hope you guys enjoy it! This is also my entry into the Jello Forever January Challenge. The prompt is New Beginnings.

XXX

"How I wish you could see the potential, the potential of you and me.
It's like a book elegantly bound but in a language that you can't read, just yet…"

XXX

The first thought that came to mind when he walked into her apartment was how different everything looked in the daylight.

He couldn't help his curious nature and let his eyes survey her living room, admiring her desk not for its convenient placement when they didn't make it to the bedroom last time, but for the various pictures and knickknacks standing atop it that remind him distinctly of Lisbon.

He remembers scanning the photograph of her brothers and the framed softball on her book shelf, a duplicate of the one she had in her office.

At some point, she interrupted his snooping, her skittishness and discomfort perhaps a product of both her current situation and the fact that for the first time he was in her apartment during the day, where certain truths cannot be hidden.

For the first time, they entered her sanctuary without their lips fused together or various articles of clothing discarded through the room as he carried her upstairs. For the first time, he wasn't here in the shroud of darkness and escaping before the sun rose up.

He was actually here, in her apartment, in her home, and she appeared more vulnerable to him than any of the other times when she lay bare before him, nude but always guarded.

Not like she was when she asked him to hypnotize her, clothed but so exposed, saucer like green eyes begging him not to take advantage.

Jane remembers feeling a prickling of longing as he scanned her room, but it was only temporary for they had bigger issues to deal with, more important truths to reveal.

Even then, before hypnosis he had no doubt she was innocent, it was just the how, what, where, and why that remained a mystery.

Her innocence was never a question.

Now, as he sits on her stairs, watching from the shadows as she moves around her living room with seemingly carefree abandon, he welcomes the sight and smiles to himself.

He's glad he never gave up on her, glad that there was an explanation for all this madness, because as much as he can deny it, Lisbon is more than just a partner to him, more than just a method of forgetting through physical indulgence.

Lisbon is stability.

His protector.

The shield that doesn't give up on him, that absorbs all his pain, and doesn't question anything, doesn't begrudge his anger or his vengeance. He thinks that perhaps the nickname St. Teresa is not that farfetched, considering everything this woman has done for him over the years.

Maybe that's why he's suddenly overcome with that feeling of longing again.

As she moves fluidly through her living room, that flimsy piece of material skimming her thighs, teasingly reminding him of the softness of her skin and the heat of her breath against his shoulder as she writhes beneath him, he feels a little saddened by their predicament.

He knows that their relationship is just a means of escape, not exactly a healthy way to deal with problems, but finds that he's unable to resist her, especially not now when she seems to be unintentionally driving him wild.

Their first kiss was unexpected, a build up of tension and anger, both feeling particularly disappointed with themselves upon finding out that Red John was no longer theirs, that he was handed over to Bosco.

Of course, it was insulting to him, but for Lisbon it was like a slap in the face, a question of her credibility as an officer of the law, one of the only things in her life that she thinks matters at this point. Therefore, it was no wonder they sought comfort in each other, feeling like the only two people who understood this personal failure.

From that moment, everything seemed to happen without much intervention on either of their parts.

When she asked him to come over one night, he didn't hesitate, and he also didn't question her when she kissed him as soon as they walked through the door, or when she not so subtly implied that he should leave right after, since they had work the next day.

He didn't bother arguing with her. He knew this was the most he could give her now or perhaps ever, and although there was a slight tug on his heart every time he realized how complacent she was about his inability to give her more, he never pushed, never probed her.

Instead, he took the little time they had together to let her know how much he actually cared, perhaps without words, but with touches, with kisses, hopefully imbuing her with the knowledge that she was important to him, even if he couldn't give her what she deserved.

The sudden amplification of music interrupts his thoughts and Jane looks up to find Lisbon smiling at him over her shoulder. One of the headphones dangles from her hand as she sways her hips to the rhythm of whatever song is playing on her IPOD.

It's unrecognizable to Jane, but he doesn't even care, as the sight of her shining green eyes and half smirk are enough to do him in completely, never mind the fact that he's grown to love the shape of her legs, which despite her diminutive stature seem to go on for miles.

He prefers them wrapped around his waist, but thinks the way he sees them now is a close second in preference.

"I don't think you're allowed to stare right now."

Her playful voice is uncharacteristic but when he sees the twinkle in her eye, vainly concealing the nerves beneath, Jane realizes this is all part of the act she has to put on.

She's supposed to be losing control…and their target should be here any minute.

For that reason alone, he shouldn't be rising to his feet and walking towards her, but Jane can't help himself, not one to ever follow protocol. So he surprises them both by walking determined towards her, like a wild animal stalking his prey.

He grabs her by her hips, pushing her body flush against him, fingers itching to disappear beneath the jersey she's wearing, yearning to feel her skin, the only source of comfort he's had in so long.

"I'm sorry, I can't help myself." He whispers against her hair, letting his lips trace over the shell of her ear.

Lisbon lets out a gasp when she feels the heat of his breath, but she quickly recovers. Jane expects her to be angry, to push him away, after all they are in the middle of work. It's also personal and it's an effort to clear her name. If anyone found out how truly close they were, it could compromise everything.

That's why she catches him off guard when she laughs softly against his chest, and he feels a pair of lithe hands slither up his torso.

"You're interrupting my practice." Lisbon says, green eyes glimmering mischievously as she tries to push away from him, but he grabs the wrist that rests on his vest, not letting her go.

"I'm supposed to be losing control, remember?" She murmurs almost to herself, but Jane hears her loud and clear.

He shouldn't be doing this, shouldn't be distracting her, but he can't help himself.

So instead of walking away, Jane tightens his hold on her waist, and lets his other hand trail down to the hem of her jersey, no longer just tempted to touch her porcelain skin, but actually doing so, fingers leaving licks of fire in their wake as he runs them up her inner thigh,

"I can help with that," He murmurs before leaning in for a kiss.

At first Lisbon struggles against him, trying to move away, even as his lips wreak havoc on her.

He feels incredible against her, mouth hot but soft, body hard but shielding her from everything she's afraid of. He's a constant in her life, sometimes annoying but always there.

Recently, he's become more than just a friend, but a source of comfort, someone who reminds her that she's still a woman behind her badge and that she can be sexy, desired. Her attempts to move away grow weaker as the kiss intensifies and eventually she gives in, fisting his vest as she pulls him closer, letting all her worries disappear if only for this brief moment.

The jersey has got to be one of her brothers', it's at least three sizes too big, leaving the skin of her neck and shoulder almost fully exposed, giving Jane the opportunity to trail his lips down her clavicle, feeling her shiver in response.

He relishes in the way she reacts to him, gets lost in her scent, in the warmth her body radiates through the flimsy shirt. He shuts his eyes against the nagging voice in the back of his head that tells him he needs to stop using this woman as a shield against reality, that she deserves more, needs more.

Jane is so consumed by the brunette in his arms, he doesn't even notice that Lisbon tries to disentangle herself from him, until she whispers his name, her eyes begging him to stop, as she is herself on the brink of something massive, at the abyss of a point of no return.

She looks at him and Jane's whole world snaps back into focus. He steps away from her, suddenly ashamed for indulging so heavily in her, for giving into his primitive desires, when he's the one who needs to be in control, supporting her.

"I'm sorry," He says softly, hand tracing her cheek as she slides her arms around his neck, fingers threading through his curls.

"It's okay," Lisbon smiles, though she's still uncertain. It's ridiculous how quickly she can fall under his spell, how her tough exterior and years of practice can wither away with just one touch, one simple kiss from him, and the heat of his body besides her.

"It's not, I was selfish. You need to focus right now, not have to fend off wandering, lascivious hands."

He's trying to make light of the situation, unsure of how else to deal with this little lapse in judgment, and she lets him, gives him a soft smile in return, his Lisbon's smile, not the flirtatious one from earlier.

"Lascivious huh?" She raises an eyebrow at him amusedly, but before Jane has the chance to respond, they both hear Cho's voice through the device tucked into Lisbon's left ear.

The Asian man alerts them that Dr. Carmen is approaching her front door and for a split second all color seems to drain from the detective's face. Jane suddenly feels like this was a terrible idea. He pulls her closer for a moment as she drops her arms to her side.

Though, before he has any words of wisdom for her, she glances back up at him and all her anxiety, all the vulnerability that's been swimming in her eyes is now replaced by guarded confidence.

It almost makes him forget how nervous she was just minutes ago…almost.

"I'm in position, thanks Cho." She says into the earpiece and gazes at Jane again, a silent suggestion that he disappear.

He nods, but before moving away, runs his thumb over her cheek one last time,

"Goes without saying, but be careful."

Her eyes grow wide, not only at the concern in his voice and intensity in his expression, but also at the irony of his request.

Jane is telling her to be careful, when it's usually him that she protects from dangerous situations.

It finally sinks in what's about to happen, but it's too late for doubts, too late to back out now, she needs to carry this out.

Needs to prove to herself that she can do this, prove to everyone else that she's not a murderer.

"I always am" Lisbon replies easily despite the tightness in her stomach and pleads with Jane silently for him to go away.

She needs to do this now, before she loses her nerve and seeing the genuine anxiety in his sea-colored gaze, only slightly concealing something beyond lust, will surely throw her off kilt and this isn't the time.

As if knowing the succession of her thoughts, Jane nods and walks back up the stairs, settling himself at the very top, hidden in the shadows, like a one way mirror.

He can see everything, but remains invisible.

He doesn't even feel himself become anxious until he runs his palms against the front of his slacks and finds them moist.

It's new feeling for him, this edginess.

Even in his own schemes, he's more carefree, constantly toying with the idea of not making it out alive, because after all what does he have to live for?

But this is different.

This is Lisbon and regardless of anything she has to say, she has everything to live for.

Therefore, instead of indulging himself in the way her body moves beneath that jersey as she resumes character, Jane trains his eyes on Carmen, realizing very quickly that if he only considered Lisbon a way to pass the time and someone to simply bail him out of trouble, his heart wouldn't be beating as wildly as it is now, and he wouldn't for once be praying that one of his ridiculous schemes worked out all right.

XXX

As soon as the cuffs are slapped on the psychiatrist's wrists and Lisbon coaxes Jane out from the shadows with a bright albeit exhausted smile, he realizes what the longing that's been gnawing at his chest means.

She gives him another grin, hands twitching to give him a hug, but refrains, instead excusing herself to change before heading back to the office to give an official statement.

It's in that moment, as Jane stands alone in her living room, that he understands that he wants more. That the ache in his chest that has manifested from a dull occasional twinge of pain to his constant companion tells him that what's happening between them is not enough for him.

He no longer craves just her body, just the softness of her lips, or the way she tastes. Instead, he finds himself yearning for late night conversation, leisurely touches, movie nights, and long walks.

Jane finds that he wants everything and for the first time in a long time, he doesn't think about guilt, he doesn't think about his family, or anything else that could be a detriment to pursuing this further.

Though he'll never give up his fight for revenge, he knows if he continues to deny himself the simple pleasure of human touch, companionship, perhaps even love, he may not live long enough to carry out his plan, at the very least.

He's immune to many things, criticism, reprimands, the occasional punch from a disgruntled suspect, but he's not immune to emptiness, loneliness, and unsuspectingly, Lisbon has come to encompass the remedy to all those things and more.

And now that he's realized this, identified what this yearning really means, he cannot escape the desire to tell her. He wants to walk up there to her room and announce his epiphany, never one for patience.

However, when Lisbon does come back down stairs, looking fatigued but relieved, he realizes something else.

Despite understanding what he wants, he never contemplated what she wants, doesn't know if her desires match his.

He's never even considered this before tonight; therefore, he can't pinpoint a time when she gave any intimation that she might want a real relationship.

His observant abilities are quite obsolete when he's not even looking for something so despite wanting to tell her as soon as possible, Jane recedes, instead making small talk and congratulating her on a job well done.

She seems more at ease than ever as she reorganizes her office and he watches her from his couch, glad that she's back, glad that this whole mess is over, and his Lisbon is still the boss, just as strong, stubborn, and competent as ever.

He thinks that he can settle for this for a little bit longer, give her some time to get over the revelations they made; however, that all changes when he sees Sam Bosco enter her office.

Jane doesn't know what they talk about. It seems almost irrelevant, because as soon as he sees the way Bosco looks at her, a red signal goes off in his head and a jealous streak he doesn't know he had threatens to consume him.

Apparently, he's not immune to possessiveness either, because all he wants to do now is announce to the world (or just to Bosco) that Lisbon is his.

"Mine" he thinks to himself, watching their exchange unfold and Jane knows despite his greatest attempt at self control, he won't be able to hold back now.

Not when there's another man who is in love with Lisbon.

It gives him great satisfaction to see the look of complete incredulity on her face when he tells her about Sam's feelings.

She can be sweetly oblivious to things around her, but particularly the affection of the older detective.

However, that's not enough.

It's not enough reassurance that she won't slip away from him, so instead of letting it go, instead of just allowing her to enjoy her donuts and head home after an exhausting day, Jane decides to wait until everyone else disperses for the night.

Somehow he knows she'll be the last to leave.

She always is.

XXX

She's startled by his presence in her office, having been so consumed with getting reacquainted with her space, Lisbon had not even considered that he would wait for her.

He shuts the door, even though there's no one who could disturb them but the janitor and looks at her for a moment.

"How does it feel to be back?" He asks, his concentrated expression dissolving into a grin.

Lisbon returns it, somewhat timidly though, "Good, are you sure you're okay? You look a bit pale."

Jane is a bit taken aback by her comment but catches his reflection in a small mirror on her desk and realizes he does look a bit out of sorts.

He's not used to being nervous, unsure of himself. He's usually calm and composed, but he doesn't let himself think too much about this; instead he walks right up to her, afraid he'll lose his nerve if he ruminates any more.

Lisbon tries to hide her surprise when he pulls her closer, wrapping his arm around her waist, the other trapping her against the desk.

It's not the lack of personal space between them, but more so the look of pure intensity on his face that catches her off guard, and she opens her mouth to speak, but Jane, always one step ahead of her, presses his finger gently to her lips and gives her a small smile,

"Just hear me out, okay? I need to say this."

As much as he tries to hide the desperation in his tone, Lisbon catches it right away and that's probably why she submits to his request. Jane is infinitely grateful yet again for her patience with him, but it does nothing to calm his nerves.

He feels like a gawky fifteen year old boy about to tell the most popular girl in school that he has a crush on her and that's terrifying on way too many levels for the clairvoyant consultant.

It amuses him that he can fall so easily into a cliché he never even got to experience.

His high school days were spent on bus stops and carnival stages, employing his god given talents to generate income under the tutelage of a demanding father, surrounded not by pretty girls in classrooms but by scantily clad performers at least a decade his senior, who called him "pretty boy wonder" in raspy voices.

The nostalgia easily distracts him, but Lisbon's temperate touch on his bicep breaks through Jane's reverie and he blinks, at first disoriented and then finding confusion in the jade eyes staring back at him, remembering what he came here to do.

He takes the hand on his bicep and kisses her knuckles gently, taking the time to move his lips over her skin, watching as her perplexity is dissolved by lust.

He doesn't want this to escalate, but he can't help himself.

She's just too damn appealing.

"You're making this so hard," Jane admits with a soft chuckle, and sees her confusion return once again.

"Making what hard?" Lisbon whispers back, slightly mesmerized by the way his lips ghost over her fingers.

Jane looks at her, trying to find the words, anything to make her understand how he feels, which he learns is increasingly difficult as each phrase he formulates in his mind somehow gets caught in his throat.

Lisbon sees his struggle and smiles softly at him,

"Just spit it out. I can't imagine that my night can get any weirder."

They both chuckle at the thought, and Jane indulges in this moment of normalcy between them, happy that despite everything that's happened between them in the last few months, both good and bad, they can still steal a moment to laugh together; a pure occurrence between two people, untainted by all the crap they go through on a daily basis.

He's afraid that if he confesses how he feels, he might scare her away, effectively destroying the delicate friendship they've built thus far, one that's a foundation for both their professional relationship and anything that goes on between them behind closed doors.

For a moment, she's laughing alongside him and she looks striking.

The dim light illuminates her features and Jane can't resist tucking a strand of hair behind her ear,

"You're beautiful," he whispers and relishes in the way she ducks her head and blushes, peering at him from beneath long, dark lashes. It's that look in her eye, the one of pure adoration and feminine appreciation that gives him strength, courage to say what he needs to say.

"You're also incredibly strong and brave, a force to be reckoned with as you've proven tonight."

He knows from personal experience that Lisbon doesn't accept compliments well, but it doesn't stop him from continuing on, "You're also a great friend to me. You've supported me, defended me, and stood by me even when I gave you reason not to, and I thank you for that."

"Jane, you don't-…"

"Let me finish. What I'm trying to say is that you're important to me and I don't want to lose all those things that I enjoy about our relationship, both working and personal."

"Jane, why would you lose those things?"

She looks at him with huge, questioning, green eyes and his heart chips a little when he realizes she must be thinking that he's going to end things with her. Her panicked expression gives him the strength to dispel her presumptions.

"Because I want more." He says simply, searching her look for realization, for understanding.

"More?" she inquires, uncertainty coating her words and Jane nods, finding it oddly humorous that two very articulate people are having trouble voicing their desires.

At least he is.

"Being in your apartment today, it made me realize something, Teresa. I'm tired of being only halfway in your life. I'm tired of not being able to cook you dinner or take you to a movie, or even give you a kiss on the cheek whenever I feel like it. I know we never discussed this before and I know you didn't sign up for this, but I just don't think I can do it anymore."

His words reverberate off the walls and then there's silence.

He doesn't realize how quickly his heart is beating and he can't even read the expression on Lisbon's face, but the quietude fills him with anxiety, a weight on his chest as he awaits her response.

He's not sure how she'll react. She seems to be thinking but it's as if his vision is opaque, because he can't tell at all what she will say.

"You know I haven't consulted the CBI rulebook on this, so I'm not sure if you'll be able to kiss me at work whenever you like, but the rest, I think I can work with that."

The smile she gives him is tentative and amusing, but the pounding in his ears doesn't allow him to be certain of what she said.

It seems like his mind can't process her response, "what are you saying?" He asks and this time, when Lisbon chuckles, the weight seems to melt away.

"I'm saying what took you so long."

Jane's certain the bewildered look on his face isn't very becoming, judging by the way Lisbon is now openly laughing at him, "how come you never said anything?"

Her eyes fall unconsciously to the wedding band on his finger, but she somehow feels that it wouldn't be a valid excuse for keeping silent about what she wanted.

Going into this, she had been certain of two things.

One: a relationship with Jane, in whatever capacity, involved Red John.

And two: she would never ask him to remove his wedding ring until he was ready nor would she ever point it out to him.

The promises she made to herself two months before still apply, so she fixes him with a pointed stare and speaks some version of the truth,

"You have to remember, the only reason this even started between us is because we were both pissed as hell that Minelli took Red John from us, from you. So, even if I wanted something, I didn't think you were ready."

The simplicity in her words and the honesty behind them resonate deep within him.

He's not stupid. He knows he's not perfect, that to the outside world he's still married and that he has an unhealthy obsession with an elusive serial killer, but hearing Lisbon's interpretation, her very justified reason for never asking him for more, leaves Jane feeling suddenly unburdened.

He has a lot to make up for, a lot he's been too blind to see before.

He also understands that despite all the baggage he comes with, all the qualities that would make him wholly unattractive to other women, this particular one, with her soft smile and stability is still here.

The gratitude Jane feels is overwhelming and he pulls her in for a kiss, finding no other way to communicate his appreciation.

Lisbon instantly responds, wrapping her arms tighter around his neck, as Jane hoists her up on the desk, tracing her lower lip with his tongue. He doesn't mean for the kiss to deepen but when he pulls back to find Lisbon panting, lips swollen with a faint blush coating her cheeks, he tries in vain to will away the flashbacks of the last few weeks spent in her bed, moonlight illuminating her features, similar lust swimming in her eyes.

"I want to try this with you." Jane whispers against her mouth, brushing the bangs from her face.

"Okay," Lisbon nods, and pulls him even closer, trapping him between her thighs. The intimate position sends spindles of pleasure down her spine and unmistakable desire crosses her features, making Jane suck in his breath.

"But can we start tomorrow?" she asks playfully, finger trailing down to settle at his belt buckle as she looks up at him through hooded lashes, "I had a hellish day and would prefer if you followed me back to my apartment tonight and didn't leave my bed till morning."

Jane chuckles at her comment.

Even after weeks of being with her like this, he is still a bit shocked anytime something sinful comes out of her mouth.

Nevertheless, he nuzzles her neck and replies candidly, "it would be my pleasure."

His breath is warm against her lips and when he leans in and brushes his mouth against hers, Lisbon doesn't protest.

Despite how many times they've done this and the playful conditions she's set up for the night, this kiss is different.

It holds promise.

Hope.

Not quite a clean slate, but certainly a new beginning.