It was later that evening, in an entirely different posture, that Lisbon found herself alone with the impetuous consultant once again. At least this time she didn't feel so vulnerable, so out of control - this time she'd put the perp away… she'd even had the pleasure of asserting herself by punching him in the face. Right in front of said consultant. It had felt good.
What she was not sure of, however, was how exactly she had found herself alone with him - again - in the course of one evening. Once was dangerous enough, and look what happened then, she thought to herself, biting her lip. Of course it had seemed innocent enough, Patrick Jane could make anything seem innocent. She'd driven them back to her apartment so that he could pick up his Citroen and be on his merry way, and thank goodness for that, except that he hadn't been on his merry way - he'd followed her in. "I left my jacket in your bathroom," He told her. Yeah.
So why was he pausing inside the doorway, jacket now in hand, looking at her like that? Like they had unfinished business?
"Jane… thanks for your help tonight," Lisbon said, and she had no idea where she had gathered the strength to look him straight in the eye. She might have felt the small vestiges of control seeping back into her life, she may have felt immense relief at her freedom - but she couldn't forget what had transpired earlier and how much it despaired her. They'd never be the same. Jane cocked his head to the side a little, eyes poring into her, looking very much the same as he always had.
"Lisbon, you're not going to make me leave."
Teresa put her hands on her hips, challenging him. "And why not?"
"Well, first, because you're not going to go to sleep for the next few hours - both of us know that. You're too wired from the thrill of the catch, and your head is too full of thinking about the last couple of days. Second, because you are not dressed in a way that makes you feel obliged to hurry me out of the room in embarrassment… and third, because I am still worried about you, and I am about to tell you that leaving here and worrying about you will not result in any sleep from me, so I'll be obliged to act up like a kid who needs timeout tomorrow," Patrick Jane had pulled his trump card… he was just waiting for the other player to fold.
She stared at him for a good few moments in what looked like gratitude (he cared?), blending into concern (he'll lose sleep?), into irksomeness (how dare he remark on my lack of clothes earlier!), to disgust (he knows I'll make him stay… arrogant bastard).
"Arrogant bastard?" Jane said, suddenly, feigning mild indignance. Blargh! She thought as he pulled that cheeky smile, eyebrows raised, bending over slightly to look directly in her eyes.
"I thought you said there's no such thing as psychics!" She retorted.
"There isn't. I just know you've been eking to call me that for a long time. I think you have, once or twice, I just can't picture if you said it to me or somebody else."
Lisbon huffed in annoyance and looked away. There was a pause, until she looked back at him sincerely, "You can stay."
"I knew you would." His smile turned into a full-on grin, both infuriating her and putting her at ease. How did he do that? "Can I make tea?"
"Sure, sure." She waved him off, turning to the sofa to roll the blanket up and put it away. A thought occurred to her, and she turned to her colleague. "Jane… ow-" Lisbon stood up too quickly, and blood rushed to the wound in her forehead, now patched by the EMTs after Minelli had insisted she be seen to. He'd actually given Jane a one-eyed death-glare, and Teresa found it nothing short of hilarious, the idea that their boss could possibly think Jane capable of any violence towards any person except Red John and those involved with him.
"Are you alright?" Patrick was suddenly by her side, two cups of tea in his hand.
"Yeah," She winced, sitting down and taking the cup.
"No you're not. Your head?"
Lisbon nodded, pressing her hand to her forehead again.
"Let me take a look," Jane asked, leaning over and peering at the wound. "Well, the swelling has gone down. So now all we have to deal with is a momma bear with a sore head…" He grinned, winking at her. Teresa had suddenly gone serious in her own thoughts, before looking up at him with an expression he couldn't decipher.
"How did you know about my dad?" She asked in a small voice, belying her mild trepidation over the issue.
"I read your file," he replied, simply, showing his palms for innocence.
"I'm sorry I used your father to get a rise out of you, Lisbon." He seemed sincere at least by half, sincere enough to seem to look deeper into her gaze than he usually did.
"No, you're not," Teresa retorted, derisively waving him off to conceal the shake in her hands, taking her cup in both hands. "Ugh, how do you drink this stuff?" She peered into the cup of tea with a cautious glare.
"Never underestimate the cosmological powers of a good cup of tea." Jane warned his friend, lightly. They sat for some time there on her lounge set, Jane with his legs crossed, Lisbon with her knees drawn up to her chest covered by the throw blanket; both staring into their own oceans of thought, just past each other. It was unsurprisingly Patrick who spoke first, distant voice, hands cradling his mug.
"Lisbon, ah… Minelli was concerned that you were going to harm yourself," He broached the topic with a tentative aplomb, fingering the lip of the teacup delicately. "It never really occurred to me that you would. I mean, it doesn't really occur to me now. But for a moment there… I'm not so sure."
Teresa Lisbon was caught like a deer in the headlights, first staring at him, and then looking away, blinking. "Oh."
For all the placatory words Patrick Jane wanted to feed the silence, he let it settle between them for a moment. "Do you remember the conversation we had, in the basement of Hardy's farm?"
"How could I forget," She replied. "You argued that we should have traded Red John's life for yours."
"Mmhmm," He nodded, wincing a little at the raw admission to himself that he still felt the same, at times. "Do you remember what you said to me?"
Lisbon thought over it, knowing vaguely the direction he was leading her in, but too tired and in far too much intermediary pain to resist or contribute. "I can't remember exactly but it was something along the lines of that there are people who care about you, that need you, and your sole reason for living being revenge is selfish and childish?"
"Something along those lines, yes." There was humor in his voice but his eyes were lead weights as he sat forward and looked directly at her. "Look at me." She did, eventually.
"Revenge isn't my sole reason for living. There are other things in my life that I live for. Fewer, yes, than before Red John killed my wife and child, and I won't deny that my need to bring him to justice is not in equal value to how much I lived for them when they were alive… but I do live for more than just revenge, Lisbon." He left the idea out on the coffee table to air, before continuing. "I can't speak for the rest of the team. But I live for moments that surprise me, moments that show me there are better things in human beings than I've been given cause to believe. Goodness knows few things do. Some of those moments… some of those better things, you have shown me. If you did something to harm yourself… you'd be harming-" He cleared his throat as his voice threatened to waiver. "You'd be harming one of my reasons to live."
"You don't mean-" She tried to cut off the gravity of his admission, half because she didn't think she could handle something so raw being just another one of his ruses… and half because if it was true, she didn't think she could handle being that responsible for somebody who she couldn't even trust to tell her the truth.
"Can you just trust me for once?" Jane pleaded. "Yes, I lie to you every day. But I lie to protect you. Why would I lie about this?"
"To protect me from myself?" She cut back, only regretting the words a little. He looked stung.
Patrick put down his teacup and shrugged. "I tried."
"I'm sorry, I didn't-"
"Yes, you did. I just didn't realize that your distrust of me ran that deep. Kind of sucks. Good to know, though," He threw out a cheap smile he reserved for moments when he could barely cover his feelings with such a thin mask, then raised himself from the seat.
"Jane-" Lisbon called, standing. "Don't go. I'm sorry. It's been a rough couple of days." She shrugged, gesturing to the wound on her forehead.
"I know. I'm only going to add to that," He said over his shoulder. "For the record, though, if I was really as untrustworthy as you think I am… I would have kissed you back."
The realization hit her almost as bad as she hit her head, but she dodged the shot well enough by crossing her arms and pushing one hip out. "Oh, really?"
What are you doing, tempting a trickster- Teresa's better judgement warned her. But hadn't she wanted this anyway? Her heart started beating uncomfortably, blood pressure through the ceiling. Jane paused, half turned towards her, hands in his pockets, looking down at the floor. Lisbon felt as though she could see his movements clearer by more than half as he held up a finger, seeming to pause in thought, pointing to the ceiling. Then he turned his head to the door once more - he was considering something, and she was half praying that it was considering saying something… not doing something impulse - but then in one short movement, dizzyingly fast, he was right in front of her. And though his movement was quick, and somewhere in the back of her mind she expected her lips to be crushed painfully against his so that she was winded by shock and a thousand other emotions she couldn't describe, she found herself dumbfounded by the most delicate, gentle kiss she had never imagined.
So gentle, in fact, that she stood on the tips of her toes to get another one. Just to make sure it was real- what the-
She stood down heavily, blinking at his chest which rumbled lightly with the sound of Patrick Jane's trademark chuckle… the kind reserved for a victory, or an equally victorious discovery.
"I'm still a little drunk," Teresa protested, turning away to busy herself, picking up the two cups from the coffee table and making enough of a clatter in the kitchen to distract from the aching tension in the room. She ducked her head around to the entrance way, where Jane stood exactly where she had left him, gaze a million miles away in his own thoughts. There was a mysterious smile on his face that didn't seem to fit any emotion she could pinpoint.
"Patrick…" She tried hesitantly. He started. "Try my couch on for size?"
"Oh-" He put his hands back in his pockets, full-volume grin threatening to break out the dimples on his cheeks. "-Why would you want to risk such untrustworthy company, my dear? Who knows what I'll trick you into next…"
Jane knew all it would earn him was a trademark Lisbon death-glare. "No funny business." She scolded from the kitchen, tea-towel in hand.
"Wouldn't dream of it…" He mumbled. Lisbon returned to the living area, staring pointedly at the wall as she addressed him.
"I get defensive." She told him, and saw his humored posture soften, the grin dissolve.
"I know." He said.
"I'm sorry I shut you down."
Jane shrugged. "You made up for it," He smiled, but with less cheek. She found herself smiling, her face warm. The moment was beautiful, but gone too soon, with the knocking of protocol at the door to her mind. Her smile faded, turned sombre.
"You know why we can't- you know," She tried, biting her lip afterwards and sharing a look with him that told her all she needed to, and he nodded. Suddenly, a wave of fatigue washed over her and she found herself caught in the grip of a rather large yawn.
"Mr. Wolf says it's bed'o'clock," He joked, but there was a tone to his voice that Lisbon couldn't quite place. He had said this before, to his daughter, she knew. The pause that fell in the space behind the spoken words, and the sting of pain flashing briefly through his bright eyes, confirmed as much.
"Ugh, there is going to be so much paperwork tomorrow…" Teresa rolled her eyes and sighed, making a move towards the stairs, but she could help from choosing a path that practically brushed shoulders with her unruly consultant… who took the opportunity to peck her on the cheek and murmur, "Sleep well." and then, before she could respond, he declared "Couch'o'clock!" in a louder voice, rolling and dropping into the couch where she had been sitting not a second before. She retreated to her bedroom, the door barely thick enough to hold their connection at bay, and lay in bed long after she'd turned out the light.
It was necessary for both of them, caught in the gravity of their chemistry and yet repelled by their circumstance, she knew. They had to play by the rules. Neither of them would sleep well in the company of each other - nor would they sleep any better away from each other that night… but she was grateful that he at least had the decency to leave before she woke the next morning, the throw blanket folded neatly on the corner of the couch. It was the only evidence that their fleeting moment of shared truth - the half time in the beautiful game they continued to play - had ever happened.
For now, it would have to do.