Surprise! I'm back already. Let's consider this a gift for the holidays. ;) This chapter was very easy to write, and I did almost all of it in a car last night. I really hope you all like it. And I want to take a quick moment to thank my friend Bryan for proof reading this chapter, and for all of his kind words about this fic! Thank you to , eblonde, Ketatha, Juliette101, Flowerfaires, Im A WarriorGirl, jisbonshipperat-heart, Babi Baker, and wantingmore for your reviews, and thank you to all of the new people who either favorited or followed the story! Your interested means more to me than you could possibly know. I also want to thank you all for your kind words about my cousin. I really appreciate it. So, I hope you all enjoy chapter 15! Please review and let me know what you thought of it.

Disclaimer: Still don't own it.


Chapter 15

The clock on the kitchen wall was ticking monotonously as the young Teresa walked through the door. The house was quiet. She had just gotten back from walking Danny to his friend's house for the night, and Michael was still at his daycare. She wasn't completely sure where Tommy was, but she didn't keep track on him like she did the other two. He was almost 13; she didn't have to worry about him as much as she used to.

It was 3 in the afternoon. Their father was supposed to be at work, but Teresa knew she couldn't be too careful when it came to him and quickly surveyed the house for signs of his presence. None. She took an unconscious sigh of relief and relaxed, continuing with her backpack up the stairs. Passing her father's room, she continued down the hall towards her own, but stopped at a muffled sound coming from her brothers' room. She laid her backpack on the floor of the hallway and walked to the doorway, finding Tommy sitting on his bed, facing away from the door.

"Tommy?" Teresa knocked on the wall beside the doorframe, "What are you doing home?" She didn't get an answer, and stepped farther into the room, "Tommy?"

Tommy sniffled and wiped his nose with the sleeve of his shirt. "Go away."

"Tommy what's wrong?" Teresa sat on the bed, opposite of Tommy.

"Nothing's wrong." He snapped, wiping hastily at his eyes. It broke Teresa's heart to see her brother so sad, and it hurt even more that she didn't know what the cause of his distress was. Tommy had always been hard to get through to, it had always been difficult to get past his well structured walls he had built to protect himself.

"Tommy it has to be something. Did something happen at school? Have you been having problems with those boys again?" Teresa saw him wince at the mention of the boys at school. They'd been making fun of him, calling him a wuss and making fun of the way Teresa acted as his mother. Once they had even followed them home, sticks in the hands of two of them, and a knife in the hand of the other. Tommy had told Teresa, but made her promise that she wouldn't tell anyone, because he knew their father would take it out on him if he heard, no matter who's fault it was. Teresa had promised, but it caused her to constantly worry about her brother's safety.

"No, nothing happened at school, it wasn't anything!" He yelled, shoving away the hand that had moved to comfort him.

Teresa's eyes welled up with tears. "Thomas Lisbon you are going to tell me what is going on right now." She said sternly, using her best impression of their mother she could muster. It only seemed to make Tommy's tears come harder. He buried his head in his arms and turned away from her. And then it clicked. This was about their mother. "Oh Tommy." Teresa shifted on the bed, moving closer to her brother and, despite his attempts of resisting, wrapped her arms around him. He sobbed into her shoulder.

"I just miss her so much." She heard him say into her shirt.

"I know, I do too." She stroked his hair, doing her best to sooth him and keep her own tears away.

Tommy pulled back and looked at her. "And I hate him." There was no need to identify 'him,' she knew who he was talking about. But she just nodded and pulled him in again. He continued to cry, but she could feel the tension leave his shoulders. She knew the benefits of crying, she knew how much better a person felt after a good cry, but she couldn't do that. Not in front of him. She needed to be strong for Tommy. She'd have plenty of time to cry later that night, curled up in bed, long after everyone else in the house was asleep. Right when the realization of how alone she was kicked in. Right when she realized that everyone's lives in that house depended on her. Even her father's.

oOo

The best part about all of this time off from work; Lisbon thought to herself as she covered herself more with her blanket, I get to catch up on all of this reading. Lisbon flipped the page of her latest book, Catcher in the Rye. She had supposedly read it in high school, according to her English teacher, at least. Lisbon hadn't had much time to read books in high school, between her numerous jobs and taking care of her brothers. But lately, Lisbon had been thinking about it, and she figured there must have been a reason students were required to read these certain books in school. Some life lesson must have been learned; something more than just knowing the difference between the Transcendentalism period and the Romanticism period in the history of literature (what was that again?).

Lisbon had devoured The Scarlet Letter and Animal Farm, and had, surprisingly to even herself, sobbed her way through the end of Of Mice and Men. Lisbon chalked her newfound emotional roller-coaster down to the new medications she was on. Or maybe the amount of medications she was on had more to do with it.

Lisbon flipped to the first page of the eighth chapter when she heard the doorbell ring. She let it ring twice more before she pushed the blanket off of herself and set her book beside her. Lisbon stood, slowly, because at this point she couldn't do much quickly, and walked to her door, not even bothering to look through her peephole before opening it.

Jane walked through, arms full of groceries, and began to talk as if continuing a conversation they'd been having already.

"I couldn't find the type of yogurt you said you wanted, but I think I got everything else on the list." Jane said as he set the bags onto the counter. Lisbon shut the door and joined him in the kitchen, sitting at the table and watching him unpack the bags. It wasn't surprising, after all the time he'd spent there lately, but Lisbon couldn't help but find it somewhat weird that Jane knew exactly where everything in her kitchen was. She watched him move from drawer to cabinet to certain areas of the fridge. He moved without hesitation. If anyone from work had been witnessing this, they would only have more evidence toward Lisbon and Jane's "affair."

"I was thinking-" Jane continued, moving and putting the empty plastic bags in their place under the sink, "that tonight we could watch the season finale of Castle. Then we'd almost be caught up." Lisbon straightened the bandana she was wearing on her head; her hair was falling out again and she hadn't had time to go get it shaved yet. "I wonder if Castle and Beckett will finally get together. I mean, you work with someone that long, spend all that time with them, certain feelings have to develop, right?" Jane spoke absently, doing miscellaneous tasks around the kitchen.

"Jane, I don't think you should stay tonight." Lisbon said bluntly. Jane paused and turned to look at her.

"What?" Lisbon could hear the hurt in his voice; he wiped his hands dry on his pants and walked to the table.

"I don't think you should stay here tonight. I'm feeling all right today, and there's really no point for you to stay." She didn't mean for it to come out like that; she didn't mean that the only point to him staying was to take care of her-or did she? No, she enjoyed his company. But, wouldn't that mean that they had a relationship developing? Lisbon shook her head of the thoughts; she was beginning to confuse even herself.

"You... you don't want me to stay?" Lisbon could tell Jane was having trouble hiding the hurt from his face, but she didn't blame him.

"I just don't think it's a good idea. I mean, people at work, they're starting to talk about us." Lisbon hinted at their alleged relationship. There was nothing Lisbon hated more than rumors being spread about her. And if these rumors got to her boss? Who knows what would happen to her career.

"Are you sure, Lisbon? You haven't been doing very well over the past few days, and you get worse at night." Jane took a seat beside her.

"Yes, I'm sure. I can take care of myself, Jane. I don't need you." She wasn't a child. Sure there were times that she was not able to do everything by herself, but now wasn't one of those times. She didn't need him every moment. And she was beginning to be offended by the idea that she did.

"Sure you don't Lisbon," Jane was beginning to let his hurt get the better of him, "that's why I've been bringing you into the bathroom, and why I've been spoon feeding you, and helping you get dressed. You don't need me."

Lisbon felt her hands tingle with anger. She felt the blood rush to her cheeks and her heart begin to race. How dare he. When Lisbon didn't reply, Jane stood, forcibly pushing his chair back and removing himself from the kitchen. Lisbon didn't turn to look at him, but heard him make his way up the stairs and into her bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Lisbon put her head in her hands. She had hurt him. She didn't mean for that to be the way this conversation went. She didn't want to make him feel unwanted. But, she didn't want to give further ammunition to the gossips at the CBI.

She heard the bathroom door being slammed a few times, the closet being pushed open and closed. She knew he was packing this things. She took a few minutes to cool down, herself, before standing and going up the stairs. She knocked on the door and then opened it, to find Jane throwing things into his bags.

"You have to understand where I'm coming from." Lisbon semi-pleaded. She didn't want Jane to be hurt; she didn't want to be the cause of pain to someone who did so much for her, who meant so much to her.

Jane stopped and took a breath, refusing to look up, but speaking in a reasonable tone of voice. "I do."

"It's not forever. I just can't have those rumors to worry about, on top of everything else." Lisbon continued, walking farther into the room and sitting on the bed. Jane sat beside her, looking down at one of the shirts he had been packing, still in his hands. He didn't reply, and Lisbon placed her hand on his knee. "I don't want you to think that I don't appreciate everything you do for me, because I do, I really do. But, I think I need a night to prove to myself that I can still take care of myself. I've been it since I was 13. Taking care of myself and my brothers. I don't want to forget that." I can't let myself forget that I am strong.

"I understand." Jane said, standing and finishing packing his bag. He zipped it, kissed Lisbon on the forehead, and left without another word. Lisbon was still sitting on the bed when she heard her front door close. She wiped at a stray tear that had fallen and stood up, remembering all of the new groceries. She had yet to eat lunch, and food was sounding awfully good to her right now.

oOo

The decorative clock on her living room wall chimed twice, signifying to Lisbon that she was now up five hours past the time she wanted to go to sleep. About an hour before, Lisbon had given up trying to get to sleep in her bed and decided to try her luck on the couch in her living room. She had been tossing and turning ever since, and the thunder outside her window was not making it any easier.

Lisbon eventually sat up, switching the lamp beside her on and grabbing Catcher in the Rye off of the coffee table. The flow of rain on the roof of her building was calming; that calm only broken every few minutes by a clap of thunder and flash of lighting. Lisbon was deep into the plot of the book when the door bell all but gave her a heart attack. Lisbon glanced at the clock. 2:34 am. Who would be at her door at 2:34 am? Lisbon stood and put on her bathrobe, fastening her bandana around her head. She quickly walked to the door and looked through the peephole, opening the door as soon as her mind registered what she saw.

"Abbey!" Lisbon exclaimed worriedly as the nurse pushed her soaking wet hair off of her face, revealing her bloodshot, teary eyes. "You're soaking wet, come in!" Lisbon pulled her friend into her home, pulling off her jacket and hat as she did so. Abbey began to sob and Lisbon took her bathrobe off of herself and wrapped it around the shivering nurse.

"Abbey what is wrong?" Lisbon's heart raced at the possible events that could have Abbey this distraught.

"It's Drew! I got a call, I got a call from, from some guy, I don't even remember his name-" Abbey stammered, and Lisbon wrapped her arm around her friend and led her to the couch.

"Shhhh... now explain to me what happened." Lisbon said, sitting Abbey down on the couch and grabbing a newly cleaned towel from off of the laundry that she had meant to fold that day. She sat beside Abbey on the couch and began to dry her hair. The last thing they needed was for Abbey to get sick.

"I got a call from the army. They said-" Abbey's sobbing interrupted her story, and Lisbon moved the towel to the side for now. What ever Abbey was trying to tell her, it wasn't good. "they said that Drew was shot and killed today. He's gone, Teresa, Drew is gone!" Abbey fell into Teresa's arms and sobbed. Lisbon's breaths became shallow with the devastating news. She had never met Drew, but she knew how much he had meant to Abbey. She knew how much Abbey had loved him and how excited she was to begin her life with him. She knew Abbey's heart must have been shattered when she first received the news, and she knew that Abbey would not recover from this for a very, very long time.

But for now, Teresa held her friend. Abbey needed her, just like Lisbon had needed Abbey. And she was going to be here for her. She comforted her friend, rocking her back and forth, telling her that everything was going to be all right. Lisbon thought, this must be how Abbey felt. Knowing the other person needed to hear that everything was going to be okay, even if you yourself were not sure how things would turn out. After about ten minutes, when Abbey was slightly coherent, Lisbon took her upstairs to get her out of her wet clothes and into a pair of her pajamas. She then put her in her bed and got in beside her. Abbey grabbed Lisbon's hand as she drifted to sleep, clearly exhausted by the day's turn of events. Lisbon couldn't sleep, but instead laid there, staring at her friend. She wished she could do something to take away Abbey's pain, in the way she figured everyone probably felt about her. She wished they didn't feel that way, but now that she was experiencing the situation as an outsider, she understood better how her friend's were feeling.

Every now and then, Abbey would wake suddenly, the fear bottled up inside of her causing her brain to jump into action, and Lisbon would talk her down, and calm her back into a deep sleep. Eventually, Lisbon's own exhaustion got the better of her and she fell asleep as well, still holding onto her friend's hand. Lisbon realized now how much she had been relying on Abbey. Lisbon was now, somewhat selfishly, glad she could return the favor.