Dancing on the Precipice

Disclaimer: Don't own anything, lyrics by Dido.

Rating: M

Spoiler: 2.19

A/N: This is a sequel to "Something in Between", and second in what I expect might actually be a series of one shots, depending on season three. I can safely say that another installment is in the works but beyond that I'm not sure. This is also dedicated to my favorite romantic, Chiisana Minako, who has been nothing but supportive and encouraging as I've tackled story after story this summer. Thank you to Aquila1 for being an amazing beta, as always. I really hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as I loved writing it!


"I never wanna say its love
But it's really what I'm thinking of…"


"Oh, you're still here."

He doesn't stop what he's doing, merely looks over his shoulder. He tries to be discreet, but can't help the smile forming on his lips as he gives her an onceover. The fact that she's nearly drowning in an oversized flannel shirt and that her untamed curls have taken on a life of their own makes it very difficult for him to take the muted annoyance in her voice seriously.

"And I see that you're still mad."

"What a brilliant observation." Lisbon rolls her eyes at him before retrieving a coffee mug and a bowl from the cupboard. He feels a smidgen of disappointment when she doesn't even glance at the stove, not acknowledging his cooking at all.

"What could possibly make you think I wasn't mad at you?" She adds once the silence settles, a twinge of sarcasm in her voice.

He smirks.

"Well, considering last night-"

Lisbon shuts the cabinet with a loud thud and fixes him with narrowed stare.

"Just because I invited you over last night doesn't change anything," she informs him through gritted teeth. However, he's not daunted, if anything just a little amused.

"Oh I beg to differ," he chimes, keeping one eye on the burners.

"Don't you always." The muttered reply is tinged with an edge of bitterness and he frowns at her.

"I'll ignore that dear, since you're obviously not a morning person, but I'm completely serious. The fact that we had sex nullifies your anger."

"Oh really?" Lisbon shuts the drawer with her hip and faces him with crossed arms; he's met with an arched eyebrow as she leans against the counter.

Almost unconsciously, she raises her leg, the shirt revealing more of her bare thigh as the ball of her right foot comes to rest on her left ankle. Jane feels the faintest pull of desire but pushes it aside…for the time being.

Instead, he transfers the last pancake from the skillet to a plate before flipping off the burner and turning to look at her.

"Whether it's intended or not, anger usually breeds repulsion, and repulsion is a definite deterrent to lovemaking, ergo you cannot possibly be that upset with me."

Her eyes darken in response. "I'm good at separating emotions from actions."

This time, Jane's grin is almost predatory as he says, "No you're not."

It's probably his knowing tone that makes Lisbon shake her head and slip away from him. Still, he doesn't miss the flicker of nerves in her eyes as he follows her across the room; evidently, her words only to seem to hold any weight when spoken from a distance. Trying her best to ignore him, Lisbon reaches into the pantry, retrieving a box of cereal.

"What are you doing?"

"Getting cereal for breakfast, what does it look like?" She retorts, placing the box on the counter, before opening the refrigerator to get milk.

"But what about the breakfast I made?" Jane asks, pouting like a small child as he sweeps his hand about the room, highlighting the platter of pancakes near the stove and the bowl of berries on the table.

She might have given in if she wasn't so angry with him, but she is, so she purses her lips together to keep from smiling and returns to her task.

"I feel like cereal today."

He has no response for her biting remark and Lisbon actually smiles in triumph, glad to have apparently forced him into retreat. However, she soon realizes the victory is short-lived when in one smooth motion, she's pinned against the refrigerator, his arms on either side of her shoulders.


His eyes have darkened with determination and want and she fights back a shiver of anticipation as he steps closer to her, not quite touching, but still infringing on her personal space, the heat from his body already disabling her defenses.

Then, the intensity from his potent stare diminishes slightly and he smiles at her impishly.

"Isn't there anything I can do to change your mind?"

Predictably, Jane doesn't wait for her response, instead bites into a strawberry she hadn't realized he was holding. Chewing methodically while keeping his eyes on her, he unexpectedly leans down and places one slightly wet, red tinted kiss on her neck.

She moans in spite of herself, annoyed that she can succumb so easily to his ministrations. Then one of his hands slides under her shirt and any remaining resistance disintegrates as her own hands come to rest on his shoulders, feeling his warmth through the thin t-shirt.

Jane continues to drag his lips across her skin, pausing at the corner of her mouth, where his tongue lightly swipes over her bottom lip, before leaning back to look at her. Despite how often she's seen this glint in his eye, it still has the ability to precipitate a familiar stirring.

"What are you doing?" She whispers against his mouth, if only to show that she's not completely gone.

She knows that he sees through her façade, but its anticipation and not fury that sends a shiver through her. She doesn't really have a moment to dwell on her lack of self control, because Jane smiles and leans forward, lips barely grazing her cheek.

"I'm working on changing your mind," he informs playfully before finally pulling her into a kiss.

His hand grips the back of her thigh, lifting it to curl around his leg as he presses himself deeper into her; highlighting the thinness of the clothing separating them.

The touch of his tongue against hers prompts recollections of last night, sending a jolt of arousal she feels in the very tips of her toes. Want and need are no longer distinguishable as she moans into his mouth, fisting the hem of his t-shirt.

Jane feels the exact moment Lisbon melts fully into their kiss and he can't help smiling against her mouth, hands slipping around her to settle dangerously low on the delicate curve of her spine.

The smooth planes of skin beneath his fingertips distract him to the point that he doesn't realize the two of them are moving until he finds himself leaning back against the kitchen table, a dangerous jade stare holding him captive.

Transfixed, he watches as Lisbon brushes against him and reaches past him to retrieve a strawberry from the bowl. She stares into his face with part amusement and part innocence, eyes sparkling devilishly as she bites into the fruit, challenging him.

He grabs her wrist before she can take another bite, startling her, but eventually Lisbon relaxes, a lazy smirk on her face.

"What are you doing?" He echoes her earlier question, voice thick with lust. Lisbon feels the reverberation of his words through her entire body.

"You made all this food," she begins, ducking her head innocently, "I didn't want it to go to waste."

A low chuckle escapes as the stirring within him builds. A shot of adrenaline pulses through his system as her tongue runs over her bottom lip.

Jane relishes in the blush rising on her neck as he lowers his mouth to her hand, capturing the rest of the strawberry. He deliberately runs his tongue over her fingers afterward and can't help the burst of triumph as he detects her pulse escalating, her eyes glued to his lips.

Suddenly, Lisbon finds herself on top of the kitchen table, the smooth wood cool against her heated skin. She tries to focus but the desire coursing through her is too much, dulling her awareness of everything around her. After setting her on the table, Jane swiftly unbuttons the flannel and skims her breast, pressing his palm flat between her shoulder blades to keep her in place; unconsciously, her own hands press into the hard surface for support.

For a second, clarity seeps in as she realizes that regardless of how captivating his eyes are or how completely satiated and relaxed she's been in the last few months, she's supposed to be angry with him for doing something horribly disrespectful and frustrating at work. It doesn't matter if she let him into her bed once already in the last twelve hours, she shouldn't be doubly foolish now. Mind made up, Lisbon leans forward to push him off, but the feel of something cool and textured dragging along her collarbone derails her plans.

Jane watches intently, lustfully, as the red berry leaves a sugary trail across Lisbon's freckled skin, traveling up her throat and along her jaw. It's only when he traces the fruit along her lower lip, and slips it past her slightly parted mouth that he leans in and self-indulgently whispers against her ear.

"You're absolutely right; we shouldn't let any of this food go to waste."

The slightly mocking comment catches Lisbon off guard, but she doesn't have time to snap back. All vestiges of anger and frustration dissipate along with her the rest of her willpower when the chilled fruit descends to her sternum, leaving a wet path that Jane easily follows with his lips.

The moan escapes involuntarily as she arches her back against him, the sensation too strong to fight even though she finds his victorious smile against her chest irritating. In retaliation, she buries a fist in his curls, pushing his head closer to where she wants him.

Jane, however, appears absolutely unperturbed by her demands and continues to kiss along her ribcage and back up her side, pulling the button down over her shoulders until all he sees of her is pale skin and black lace, a contrast that makes him still for a moment, eyes sweeping appreciatively over her as she breathes heavily beneath his gaze.

She wills him not to stop, and he doesn't, hand running lazily up and down her spine, before settling over her breast, thumb drawing idle circles over her nipple, deliberately teasing.

Her breath hitches ever so slightly, and he leans in to kiss her slowly but deeply, releasing her lips only to flick his tongue over her pulse point, tasting the remnants of sweetness lingering on her skin.

"I don't know why we've never thought of this before, you and strawberries go splendidly together."

His comment seems to infuse Lisbon with some measure of lucidity and her eyes narrow with renewed irritation.

"I'm glad I meet with your approval."

"You needn't be so snarky, dear," Jane answers smoothly, thumb running across the edge of her underwear. "Especially not when you taste so sweet."

He makes no move to emphasize his point, just continues to stare amusedly at her, no longer tempering either the desire in his eyes or his physical reaction to her. Still, he looks the epitome of control and Lisbon frowns at him, mildly annoyed that she's been reduced to a mess of heated limbs and ragged breaths, while he stands perfectly calm before her.

Lisbon is aware that Jane toes the line constantly, teetering on the brink of completely letting go, but he always manages to reel himself in at the last minute. Perhaps, if they were more involved and didn't have such barriers between them, she would question him about it. However, there's still a certain level of detachment in their agreement.

She hates thinking of it like a business deal, but sometimes even though she knows that at some point this stopped being about simply making her feel better and became about something else entirely, there are still some dangerous lines they can't cross. At least not until everything else is resolved. So, instead of voicing her concerns, she's found more creative and indirect ways of pushing Jane to his limits.

A bashful smile spreads on her lips as she thinks about specific instances over the last few months and it doesn't go unnoticed by Jane, who seems to be tracking her thoughts.

"Do you ever turn this thing off?" He asks, nudging her temple affectionately with his nose, indulging in the fruity scent of her hair.

He feels, rather than sees, Lisbon's subsequent chuckle as she leans further back to meet his eyes with a pleased gaze. "Hello? Pot? Its Kettle calling."

Jane furrows his eyebrows for a moment appearing slighted, but Lisbon knows better.

"What's that supposed to mean?" He asks in a tone that's more amused than offended.

Lisbon rolls her eyes regardless, unable to resist bating him, "Oh please, like you don't know what I mean."

Jane stares blankly at her, and she takes the opportunity to move off the table, shuddering slightly as her breasts slide against his torso, reveling in the new proximity between them. She smiles inwardly when she detects the subtle change in his demeanor, his gaze darkening as his jaw clenches.

Feeling brave, she slips a hand underneath his t-shirt, fingers dancing playfully along his ribs. The reaction is instantaneous as Jane involuntarily presses her back against the table, the edge of the wood biting painfully into her backside.

Attempting to conceal her smirk, Lisbon makes the move to slide past him, but Jane halts her with his hands, imprinting them into her hips. She feels the faintest flutter of nerves when he hooks his thumbs into the sides of her underwear, pulling them slowly down her legs.

"I may know what you mean," he answers with a hint of arrogance. "But I'm more interested in figuring out where you think you're going."

His voice is rougher than usual, his cobalt gaze unusually bright. She bites her lip to keep from smiling as she adopts her best innocent expression and glances up at him from beneath hooded lashes.

"I'm getting breakfast."

Her hand slides up his torso, her cold palm resting against his sternum; it's impossible for her to hide the flutter of triumph when she feels the erratic beat of his heart beneath her fingers. It's satisfying to know that not even Patrick Jane can feign complete indifference.

"As I recall," she begins when he doesn't say anything. "You kept me from dinner last night, and I am very hungry, so-" She lets the words hang in the air between them for a moment before disentangling herself from him and moving past him but Jane has no intention of letting her go.

"You're not going anywhere," he nearly growls in her ear before lifting her back onto the table, this time sans underwear.

The surface is no longer as cold beneath her but Lisbon still gasps in surprise, now acutely aware of how exposed she is, the cool air in the kitchen amplifying the physical signs of her arousal. Jane's eyes sweep unabashedly over her, unable to resist the magnetic pull of her naked body.

"So what? You're going to stop me?" Lisbon interrupts his ogling, goading him. Jane's eyes darken impossibly more.

He's unreadable for a second before his lips spread into a predatory smirk and the creases around his eyes deepen.

"Most definitely."

It's then that Lisbon grabs the collar of his t-shirt, and pulls him into a long overdue kiss. When they break apart, she doesn't let him go far, freeing him of the material before sliding her arms around his shoulders.

"I was hoping you'd say that," she admits with a playful glint in her eye, the last moment of clarity before Jane pushes her further onto the table.


Unsurprisingly, Lisbon doesn't think about how there are other, much more comfortable places where they could be doing this. Still, she does briefly wonder whether they should move elsewhere for Jane's sake.

She's about to say something, but then she feels the lightest of kisses on the inside of her thigh and the subsequent jolt of arousal overrides anything else. Her body moves instinctively, hips arching forward, trying to get closer to the source of pleasure, but Jane has other ideas, switching sides and pressing his mouth over the tiny spattering of freckles on the inside of her hip.

There's no room for insecurity here, but patience has never been Lisbon's strong suit, so she grabs a hold of his hair and guides him to where she wants him, need dissolving all her inhibitions. Much later, she'll wonder how it's possible to be so overwrought by physical yearning that everything else ceases to matter; but for now Lisbon concentrates on the fact that Jane is no longer taunting her and is actually giving her what she wants.

His tongue runs expertly over her sleek flesh, retracing a path that's familiar but still potent enough to leave her shivering, every fiber in her being suddenly on fire. He's done teasing, instead his ministrations are deliberate and luxurious, drawing out her pleasure as he pulls her closer to his mouth; the light scrape of his teeth eliciting a moan from her that intensifies his arousal.

Jane senses her orgasm approaching, but despite his own desperation, there's a greater part of him that wants to prolong her delight, perhaps an apology in its own right for the mess he's made recently. Though his actions may not confirm it, he does feel genuine remorse for causing her temporary suspension. If possible, Hightower blindsided him and if he had known Lisbon would actually suffer the brunt of his tampering with evidence, he would have thought twice about it.

Of course, he'd never tell her so, because her distrust of his words runs deep (and rightfully so). Thankfully, he does have other tools at his disposal and thus, resolves to channel all his efforts into making her feel good.

Not giving Lisbon a moment to catch her breath, Jane pushes her legs further apart; cold air hits her skin, drawing out a heavy sigh from her already parted lips. When two fingers unexpectedly brush against her slickness, Lisbon trembles involuntarily, every muscle straining as she arches against the welcome brush of his tongue, her left foot coming off the table to rest over Jane's shoulder.

The feel of her smooth calf sliding along his skin snaps the last shred of Jane's willpower, and he moves his tongue in quicker circles, adding another finger to hasten her release. Unable to resist, he finds himself wrapping his hand around her ankle, then traveling upward, torturing himself to the point of aching as he traces her soft skin, from knee to hip to ribcage.

Just as his thumb brushes over her nipple, Lisbon unexpectedly takes hold of his wrist, gripping hard. Not a moment later, he feels her contract around his fingers and her back lifts suddenly off the table as her orgasm finally hits, leaving her trembling as she holds onto him.

The tight pressure in her abdomen dissolves into a pleasant heat that travels through her entire system. Gentle licks of fire engulf her as the peak subsides, intense sensations giving way to a satisfying lethargy that spreads like anesthetic, calming her frazzled nerves and relaxing tense muscles. The feeling of satiation seeps deep into her bones and she finally releases Jane's wrist, passing an apologetic swipe of her thumb against the bone.

However once the numbness subsides, the discomfort associated with reclining against the hard surface of the table makes itself known and Lisbon can't help wincing as she pushes herself into a sitting position, her leg freeing Jane so he's able to stand up.

Despite the murkiness in her mind and the rapid thud of her heart, she can't help smirking at the blond as he stretches, noticeably grimacing as he works out a crick in his neck.

"You okay?" She asks teasingly, running her foot up and down his leg.

"Yes," Jane replies, narrowing his eyes at her. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"I don't know," Lisbon shrugs her shoulders, tone uncharacteristically teasing. "Seems like maybe you're too old for these kitchen excursions."

Jane drops his hand from his neck as he steps closer to her and Lisbon stifles a chuckle at the curious mix of determination and mild offense in his expression.

"Oh, woman you are so going to regret saying that," he warns, grasping the back of her bare knee and trapping her leg in place. Lisbon merely smiles in return before dragging her hand from his torso all the way to the waistband of his sweats, fingers barely skimming the front, but enough to render him breathless for just a moment.

She takes Jane's brief stillness as an opportunity to provoke him further and applies a little more pressure, now stroking more boldly through the cotton, reveling in the way his hips jerk slightly in response.

"Am I, really?" She breathes the inquiry against his chest, lips ghosting over his skin. "Going to regret it?"

Her words spark something primal inside him and the moment Lisbon meets his smoldering blue gaze, her smile vanishes, replaced by a spark of desire that threatens to reignite into a full-fledged fire.

She expects him to pull her closer, and wrap her legs around him. She is amused to find herself already shuddering in anticipation of having no barriers between them, just skin to skin, but as usual, Jane surprises her. Spanning her waist with his hands, he turns her around until her back is pressed flush against his chest.

Her heart stammers from excitement and surprise, but that does nothing to detract from the warmth she feels from being nearly engulfed by Jane's larger frame. She has a little difficulty breathing when she realizes that he is completely naked behind her, nestled very intimately against her, and if possible it turns her on even more. His hands run pleasantly up and down her sides, detouring at her breasts before traveling upward again.

Jane says nothing, surprisingly patient, indulging in the feel of her entire body naked against his. Though Lisbon is fully aware of this, has learned at least a little of how he thinks, even during sex, having him so close to where she wants him only exacerbates her impatience and she bucks her hips in request.

"Is this how you're going to make me regret my words?" She pushes further, biting back a groan as one of his hands slides down between her legs, the other molding perfectly to her breast.

The low sound of Jane's laughter reverberates against her skin as his lips move imperceptibly over the shell of ear.

"No," he answers against her skin, kissing a wayward freckle on her shoulder. "This is how I'm going to prove you wrong."

And Lisbon doesn't have a moment to even think of a response as he tilts her forward and pushes inside. Once there's no semblance of space between them, Jane stills for a second, glad that there's no reason to pause for contraception, the feel of her so warm and pliant beneath him and now all around him too much even for his self control.

The moment of quiet contemplation quickly gives way to almost frantic action and his fingers press into her hips, holding her in place as he begins to move inside her with demanding strokes, forcing her to feel every inch of him.

Reflexively, Lisbon grabs onto the edge of the table, bracing herself against the pressure once again building in her limbs. With every thrust, her stomach presses into the hard wood, breasts nearly flattened against the surface, only amplifying the stirring she feels in every nerve, every muscle. Instead of fighting it, she follows the rhythm Jane has set, content to feel alongside him, experience rather than vie for control.

It is then that Lisbon realizes how dangerous their situation has become. What started out as a way of releasing tension and finding some peace in her life has suddenly transformed into something else entirely. It's frightening but also exhilarating. She should be angry with him and she is, impossibly so for his ridiculous behavior at work, but ultimately Jane was (annoyingly) right in his earlier conjecture. How angry could she possibly be if she's so willingly conceding to him, readily giving up control?

The thought settles uncomfortably, but it seems that her mind and body are separated for the time being, and no matter how deeply she's reeling from this newfound awareness, she can't fight against the blaze coursing through her as they begin to move faster Jane's hands are seemingly everywhere all at once, mapping out erratic trails all over her body.

She bites back a moan as he presses two fingers against her clit, still holding her close as he messages the slippery flesh, attuned to her every spasm and every tremor as she shakes beneath him.

Jane shifts his hips, inducing a string of moans from both of them as he hits a particularly sensitive spot. That, paired with the catlike way Lisbon's back arches as she throws her head back, lets him know that she's impossibly close. He's so focused on her, so concentrated on making her feel good that he's almost detached from this moment between them, insanely aroused but almost numbed to the sensations engulfing his body.

It's only when her arm extends backward and she awkwardly grabs onto him that he feels himself pulled back into it, mind shutting down as his arousal takes over completely. He's now not only aware of her impending climax but also of his as he feels every inch of her softness surrounding him, rendering him completely powerless against the coil tightening within as he struggles to not let this end too quickly.

However, as soon as he feels her contract around him, his name falling from her lips, Jane loses his battle to maintain self control and follows her over the edge. His fingers migrate to her breasts, palming the soft flesh as she shivers beneath him, the naturally seductive sway of her form only intensifying his orgasm.

Despite the stiffness in her arm, Lisbon trails her fingers over his skin, reveling in the way he reacts to her touch, breath haggard against her shoulder as she feels his heartbeat against her back. Jane doesn't let her go even as she pushes off the table, satiated but completely spent. Thus, she turns around and wraps her arms around him, allowing them both an indulgent moment of comfort, just for the two of them, free from anything that exists beyond the embrace.

The brush of her skin sends a shiver down his spine, but that's not what occupies his mind. Instead, as Lisbon willingly allows herself to be enveloped in his arms, Jane feels his heart swell, a sense of peace unlike any he's experienced in a very long time engulfing him from head to toe.

He grips her tighter to him in response, nose buried in her hair as her soft breath fans his chest. This time, feeling her so warm and supple in his grasp leaves him filled with simple contentment and just for a second Jane allows himself to revel in it.

He's known from the very beginning that crossing this line with her would be dangerous, but somehow he's been able to convince himself that the pleased smile on her face and the release of stress that usually follows their nights together are worth the vigorous exercise of his willpower.

However, now the emotions he's experiencing have made it painfully obvious that he can no longer toe the line with her and succeed. Sooner or later he'll have to acknowledge his feelings for her and confront the fact that this was probably never just about sex, no matter how many tricks he played on his own psyche.

The sudden appearance of goosebumps on Lisbon's skin breaks Jane from his ruminations and he reluctantly moves away from her to retrieve the flannel button down. It's only when he wraps it around her and Lisbon looks up at him with a shy green gaze and a relaxed smile that regret slowly begins to gnaw at him. She seems not to notice and after thanking him settles pleasantly in his arms again, reclining a little against the table as her heartbeat returns to normal.

Eventually though, a throaty laugh escapes and she looks up at him, jade eyes shining with a new revelation.

"I stand corrected, you know."

Jane is only confused for a second, before realizing what she's alluding to. He responds with a kiss to her forehead and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, "I'm glad I've proven I'm not too old for this, but as much as I enjoyed it, I can't say a repeat is in my future plans."

"Oh really? Why's that?"

Her bemused expression suggests that she expects a semi-teasing answer, so Jane hesitates for a moment. However, ultimately he decides to give her the truth, ready to face any repercussions his honesty may render.

His fingers continue to thread through raven curls as he gives Lisbon one long, searching look, "I prefer seeing your face. You have no idea how breathtaking you look when you let yourself just feel."

He says it so simply, but Lisbon feels the depth beneath his words instantly, and something warm passes through her, skin flushing under his knowing gaze. Jane doesn't look away, keeping his blues trained on her, if only to communicate everything he's too afraid to say aloud.

A succession of different emotions passes through the green orbs staring back at him, including a spark of bashfulness. Still, he sees understanding there too and possibly reciprocation, which is enough for now. Jane knows that even if she feels the same way, Lisbon won't admit to it, at least not right away. Even though they've been doing this dance for months, he knows Lisbon well enough to understand the kind of shield she carries around her heart.

Beyond that, he's not even sure she really wants him to take the time to chip away at her barriers, given what she probably thinks of him at the moment. He knows that sex can easily be separated from emotion and he's certain that despite how comfortable she is in his presence, there have only been a handful of times where she's truly been open with him. A sharp pain nicks at his chest when he realizes that there's absolutely no reason for her to trust him with her innermost self, given that he's placed her under the scrutiny of their new boss and consistently undermines her professionalism.

Suddenly and extremely selfishly, the desire to prove her wrong jolts him out of his thoughts, but the recognition in her eyes is already lost, signaling that she's guarded again. Lisbon stares at him uncertainly for a moment, before clearing her throat and making the decision to diffuse the unexpected awkwardness.

"So, breakfast?" She smiles ruefully, shooting him a sidelong glance as she moves towards the platter of pancakes cooling beside the stove.

At first Jane nods, still not fully recovered from his musings but willing to appease her. However, when she opens the cupboard to get plates, he changes his mind and grabs her arm. The sudden need to tell her something, anything to make her understand that his intention has never been to hurt her, prompts him to speak.

"About work-"

Predictably, Lisbon cuts him off, a flash of fire simmering beneath her temperate gaze.

"Let's not talk about that, Jane."

He frowns at her icy tone.

"But you have to understand that I never intended to threaten your career, I know how important your job is to you."

His words linger in the air between them, reverberating off the walls but ultimately dissolving into silence as Lisbon expels a heavy sigh, clearly unimpressed with his probing but also acknowledging why he can't let it go.

She's aware that he can never let anything he can't understand rest. Primarily, she knows it unnerves him that she's still sleeping with him, even after all his professional atrocities. A flash of bitterness settles deep within as she realizes that her motivation for being with him is something she doesn't want to confront. She will eventually have to…just not now.

"Look, I meant what I said in the crate. As much as you'd like to think of yourself as independent of the law, you're on the right side of it, Jane, and you're damn good at what you do, so I put up with your antics. Most of the time, it's enough."

"And the rest?"

The insecurity in his tone unsettles her, evaporating all her frustration with him when she realizes that he is, in fact, extremely troubled by this.

Edging a few steps towards him, she gingerly entwines her hand with his, pulling his fingers into a soft embrace as she sighs, "The rest, we'll figure out later. Now, if you don't want me to get cranky, stop keeping me from my pancakes."

Her half-hearted threat earns her a brilliant smile as Jane accepts her compromise, allowing himself to be pulled into her promises even if he's not exactly certain when this ambiguous 'later' will be.

Still, the faint flutter of hope trails after him and he teases her right back, earning a smack on the shoulder as he mutters something about her being uncharacteristically grumpy when she's hungry.

He knows they're going to need to talk eventually, because as damaged and closed off as they both are, they're not nearly deluded enough to engage in this charade indefinitely. There are already slivers of reality seeping through their carefully constructed fortress and sooner or later it will crumble.

For now, he'll obey her request, indulging in an act of normalcy that's both foreign and enlivening as he tries hard to push his worries aside for her.

Later though, when he sinks into her warmth again, he'll watch her as she comes, meeting her eyes in the darkness of her bedroom as she clings to him, because in that moment, there's no way either can deny the truth, suppress what they really feel for one another.

As Lisbon peers at him over the rim of her coffee cup, she makes it clear that she knows it too, has probably been aware of it for longer than he has.

It's only a matter of time now, and Jane realizes somewhat ruefully that time no matter how abundant it might seem is not something to be taken for granted.