Alright, here it is, my Christmas!fic for Afterglow04. Prompt was "Take me Drunk," which I totally walked into. (And before you exclaim over the speed of this one, I actually wrote a large chunk of it concurrently with Chibs'. So there.) I'm not sure if it's what you wanted, exactly. But this is what I've come up with. I hope that you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!

I own nothing. Nothing at all.

Oh, and P.S. Is it wrong that I now kind of want LaRoche and Lisbon to become friends?

xxxxx

Drunken Disclosures

xxxxx

Lisbon waited impatiently beside her SUV for LaRoche to finish talking to Jane. While he was drunk. Actually, not just drunk, her consultant was completely and totally hammered.

Had she not been utterly convinced that Jane had absolutely nothing to do with Todd Johnson being set on fire while in CBI custody, Lisbon wouldn't have allowed the conversation, no matter how much Jane insisted. As it was, she was just mildly concerned. Whether he was guilty or not, Jane had an uncanny knack for pissing off the exact people that he really shouldn't. LaRoche accusing Jane of murder was one thing that Lisbon absolutely couldn't protect him from.

And while Lisbon knew her consultant was innocent, LaRoche didn't seem to think so. Jane wouldn't help his case their either. After all, he rarely told the whole truth and that habit wasn't exactly designed to make him look innocent. Lisbon wasn't exactly sure what he was withholding this time; maybe it was something completely trivial (though she doubted it). But LaRoche would almost certainly spot the deception and that didn't bode well.

Lisbon sighed and tried very hard not to worry. Jane would be fine. Maybe he was utterly plastered, but he was also still in remarkable control.

A few minutes later she saw LaRoche walk towards her. "Mr. Jane is free to go," the other agent told her.

Lisbon straightened up from where she was leaning against her SUV. "Great," she said.

"I suspect he's going to need some help getting home," LaRoche added unnecessarily. "He seems to be getting less lucid as time goes on."

Lisbon turned towards him, surprised by the comment. Still, no point in being rude. "I'd noticed," she said dryly. "I was trying to get him there when you interrupted us."

"Must be very tempting sometimes to just abandon him to his own devices," LaRoche continued.

Lisbon frowned. What was her colleague getting at exactly? Was this genuinely small talk, or was he fishing? "Sometimes," she admitted. "But most of the time it's easier to keep an eye on him. Plus, he was acting as part of an undercover operation for the CBI. It's my responsibility to see that he gets home safely."

"You're very protective Agent Lisbon, if you don't mind my saying so," LaRoche told her.

"I don't," she replied. "Jane's on my team."

"So protective," the agent continued, "That I'm surprised you haven't asked me what Mr. Jane and I discussed."

"Would you tell me if I did?" Lisbon asked.

LaRoche smiled slightly. It was the most expressive she'd seen on the other man's face since meeting him. "In this case I've no objection," he admitted. "You can relax Agent, for now. I'm inclined to agree with you, that Mr. Jane may not be the most likely suspect in Todd Johnson's murder."

Lisbon raised her eyebrows in surprise. A second later, she frowned.

LaRoche noticed. "I'm not playing you," he assured her. "Trying to lull you into a false sense of security. Mr. Jane is eccentric certainly, but that alone isn't a good enough reason to accuse him of murder. I'm not sure what he's up to exactly, but I don't think it's this."

"Thank you for telling me," Lisbon said with a nod. She still wasn't sure what his game was, and she still found his manner vaguely unsettling. But he came highly recommended and he had a job to do, just like everybody else. As long as he wasn't gunning unnecessarily for her people, she had no problem with him.

"If I receive more evidence that Jane, or anyone else on your team, is responsible for the murder, you will be seeing more of me," LaRoche cautioned.

Lisbon sighed. "Agent LaRoche, if Jane, or anyone else for that matter, committed murder, then they need to be tried for it," she said firmly. "But I know Jane didn't do it. I saw him just before he found Todd on fire."

"As you've said," LaRoche agreed. "Alright Agent, I think we understand each other. I'll leave you to go collect your consultant."

"Thanks," Lisbon said dryly. She had a feeling it wasn't going to be an easy task.

LaRoche turned to leave, before uncharacteristically pausing and turning back. "Do you need help?" he asked tentatively.

That definitely surprised her. She smiled slightly at the slightly awkward offer. "Naw," she said with a wave of her hand. "He's still walking. I've got it. But thanks."

He nodded. "See you later Agent."

"You too," she said absently. Lisbon watched him go. The man was even more inscrutable than Cho, and that was saying something. She didn't quite understand him, but she wasn't going to let him get to her anymore.

Besides, she had bigger problems to deal with right now.

Taking a deep breath Lisbon turned to go fetch her consultant.

She found Jane staring vacantly off to one side, still sitting at the table where he'd spoken to LaRoche.

"Jane?" she said, tentatively brushing a hand against his shoulder to get his attention.

He turned towards her, his expression distracted. Then his eyes seemed to regain the ability to focus. He grinned in obvious pleasure. "Ah, Lisbon! My favourite cop-hen!"

"What?" Lisbon asked, a smile growing on her own face. Having to deal with a drunk Patrick Jane was certainly a nuisance, but it had its perks. Especially since he seemed so cheerful. Besides, she'd be lying if seeing him so out of control wasn't amusing as hell. She doubted she'd see it again for a quite a while.

Jane stood up surprisingly gracefully given that he was obviously still a bit unsteady. Lisbon reached an arm under his shoulder to support him. She didn't feel like hauling him up if he fell flat on his ass, funny as that image was. "Easy now," she murmured.

"Thanks," Jane replied.

"No problem," Lisbon murmured. "Now what did you call me?"

"When?" Jane asked innocently.

"A second ago," Lisbon reminded him. "I think you called me a cop-hen."

"Oh," Jane said, waving a hand vaguely. "You're a cop-hen. Because you live in a cop-house."

"Ah."

Jane turned towards her slightly. "But I'm not a cop-hen," he explained seriously. "Or a cop-rooster either. I'm no kind of cop-chicken. Cop-fowl? Cop-fowl. That's funny."

"Hilarious," Lisbon agreed with a smirk.

"LaRoche thought so too," Jane informed her.

"I'm sure he did," Lisbon agreed. Now she really wished she hadn't missed that conversation. "Hey Jane?" she asked. "Do you think you could help me out here a little? The car is this way."

"Sorry," he said immediately as he turned the direction she led. "Just a bit unsteady on my feet," he admitted with a goofy smile.

"That's why I want to get you home," Lisbon told him, unsurprised when Jane wrapped an arm around her waist. She let him. It would be easier to get him into the SUV that way.

"Thanks," Jane said softly.

Lisbon shrugged slightly. "Well, Dr. Wilder's not around to do it like he normally would," she told him, joking slightly. "He's too busy giving a statement, so that just leaves me to see you home safe."

"Lucky me!" Jane said cheerfully. "You're much prettier than he is Lisbon."

She smirked. "I beg to differ."

Jane turned towards her suddenly. "Why Lisbon," he said gleefully. "Do tell! Do you think Dr. Wilder's dreamy?"

"Shouldn't we be painting each other's nails while we have this conversation?" Lisbon asked dryly.

Jane shook his head. "I don't have any nail polish," he admitted sadly. "I may have tea though. At my apartment. We can gossip over a tea of cup."

"You should drink water, not tea," Lisbon told him, ignoring his error. "You're already going to be dehydrated enough tomorrow morning."

"We can't gossip about boys over water, Lisbon," Jane said reproachful.

"We're not going to be gossiping about boys at all," Lisbon told him.

"You sure?" Jane asked. "I could braid your hair. I know how to braid hair Lisbon," he assured her.

Lisbon turned towards him curiously. She was about to ask why on earth Patrick Jane had learned to braid hair, when the likely answer occurred to her. It was something that fathers of little girls sometimes knew how to do. Judging by the expression on his face he seemed to have come to that realization himself. She nudged his shoulder to distract him. "What don't you know how to do?" she asked playfully.

He grinned, and shrugged his shoulders.

Lisbon regretted feeling the need to feed his ego, even just as a distraction. "As lovely as that sounds Jane, maybe not tonight," she said softly. "Come on, we're at the SUV. Get in."

"Okay," Jane agreed. "You do like ordering people around Lisbon," he said, cheerfulness suddenly back.

"Some people need it," she retorted before shutting the door behind him and walking around to the driver's side. She got in and started the vehicle. "Now, do you have your seatbelt on?" she asked.

"Yes, Agent Lisbon," Jane sang like a child in a classroom.

"Excellent," Lisbon muttered, as she reversed the vehicle out of its parking spot and turned towards Jane's apartment. She knew where it was of course, had picked him up there before on the way to various crime scenes, or other functions. Sometimes it was easier, sometimes it was on the way, and sometimes he just had car trouble. She was grateful for her familiarity with the route. She didn't really feel like relying on directions from a drunken Jane. He was sober enough that they'd probably still be accurate, but heaven only knew when she'd get them. Probably as she was driving past the streets she was supposed to be turning at.

She glanced over at Jane again, who was staring out the window. At least he was awake. She really didn't want to have to drag him into his building. Luckily the drive was short. Less time for him to drift off. Still, probably better to keep him talking. "You still with me?" she asked.

Jane turned towards her. "Yup," he agreed. "I won't fall asleep on you, Lisbon," he assured her.

"You better not," she mock-threatened.

Jane grinned. "Although that might be fun," he said.

"Somehow I don't think it'd be very restful," Lisbon muttered.

Jane's eyes shone. "What do you mean Agent Lisbon?" he asked. "What on earth would we be doing that would get in the way of getting a good night's rest?"

Lisbon cursed the blush she could feel rising on her cheeks. She hoped it was dark enough that he wouldn't notice, but probably not. Besides, even if Jane couldn't actually see it, he'd almost certainly know it was there. "Well, I'd probably be shoving you off of me, drunk or not," she said lightly.

Jane acknowledged that with a slight pout, followed by a nod of his head. "You're very violent, Lisbon. Besides, how was I to know what you meant?"

"Because you're you," Lisbon replied dryly.

"But I'm the one who's drunk," Jane countered. "If anything, I'm the one who should be making potentially embarrassing remarks."

Lisbon snickered, "Well, you did tell me to take you drunk."

"Make me drunk?" Jane scoffed. "I think it's a little late for that Lisbon."

Lisbon rolled her eyes. "Take!" she said firmly. "Take you."

Jane's eyes lit up in pleasure yet again. "Take me! Why Lisbon! You sly thing, why didn't you say anything before? And now, here I am, vulnerable and at your mercy. Well, Agent, aren't you going to read you, read who, read me my rights?" Jane asked, batting his eyes in exaggerated innocence.

Lisbon decided to just go with it. "In this situation what makes you think you have any rights Mr. Jane?"

"Ooh, Lisbon, is this you going dirty?" he asked lasciviously.

She laughed. "Behave or I'll have to use my handcuffs," she said dryly.

"Nice, very nice," Jane practically hummed in approval before switching back to his image of the vulnerable victim. "Be gentle with me officer," he pleaded, holding out his hands.

"Doesn't that defeat the point of having you at my mercy?" Lisbon asked curiously.

Jane chuckled. "I knew you had control issues Lisbon, but I had no idea…"

She rolled her eyes. "Jane?"

"Yes mistress?" he purred.

"Probably best if you don't finish that sentence," she informed him.

"Because you already find me irresistible?" he wondered.

"Because I'm now considering using my gun instead of my handcuffs," she corrected.

"Ah."

"Ah," she repeated as she pulled into the parking lot of his apartment complex. It figured that Jane was a friendly, if also flirty, drunk. "Alright, come on," she said. "Let's get you inside."

Jane fumbled with his seatbelt before getting out of the SUV. Lisbon was pleased to see that he was still upright, even if he was still weaving around a bit. She figured the alcohol in his system had to be hitting him harder now. She walked over to him and angled herself against him until he draped an arm over her reflexively. "Okay Jane," she said quietly. "What's your apartment number?"

"402," he answered immediately. "Fourth floor. Stairs are that way, but we should probably take the elevator."

"I agree," Lisbon said. No way was she hauling Jane up three flights of stairs. "And where is it?"

"Oh, same place," Jane said airily.

Lisbon shook her head, before walking in the direction Jane had pointed.

After a momentary delay outside his front door while Jane fumbled for his keys, Lisbon finally got him inside his apartment and the door shut behind them. She glanced around her surreptitiously. She could see the den, the kitchen, and a hall that she assumed led to a bedroom and bathroom. The decor was muted, though he had more furniture than she'd expected. There were even a couple of pictures on the wall. Lisbon wondered idly whether Jane had inherited art from the previous tenants as well. Somehow she doubted it.

Jane seemed to wake up a little once he got into his own space. He took off his jacket and tossed it over a chair. "Come on in," he invited lazily walking into the den. Lisbon followed. "Here's my apartment," Jane continued. "I'll give you a tour. This is the living room. Kitchen's over there. Bathroom's down the hall. And this is my furniture. That's my couch. You can lay down on it if you want," Jane added as an afterthought. And then the idea of Lisbon lying down on his couch seemed to strike him as hysterically funny and he started giggling to himself.

Lisbon smiled at him. She'd been right; Drunk Jane was definitely a worthwhile sight. "Thanks, I'm good," she assured him. "I'm going to get you a glass of water." She could probably go now, but her conscience wouldn't quite let her. She had it on good medical authority that Jane wasn't about to get alcohol poisoning, but it didn't matter. She needed to make sure, just for a little while. Plus, Jane was lighter this way, and she was kind of enjoying it. Anyway, he probably wouldn't remember all the details tomorrow, so what was the harm?

"I can do that," Jane said, walking into the kitchen after her.

"Oh, let me do it," Lisbon waved. "You're pretty unsteady. Just tell me where the glasses are."

Jane pointed her in the right direction, sat down at his kitchen table and watched as she filled him a glass of water.

She handed it to him, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "So what did LaRoche want?" she asked curiously.

Jane shrugged as he took a sip. "He wanted to know what Todd wanted to talk to me about that day," he admitted.

"What did you tell him?" Lisbon asked, leaning back against the counter.

"That I didn't know," Jane said with a grin. "I never actually got to talk to him. I made a guess though."

"And what was that?" Lisbon wondered, a hint of a smile playing across her face.

"That he was trying to make someone understand, so he could feel human," Jane summarized. "An' I offered to help find the real killer."

"Did you?" Lisbon asked surprised.

"Yup!" Jane told her cheerfully. "Because I'm a consultant. S'what I do. Agent LaRoche said he didn't need me though."

"Well, he can hardly accept help from one of the people he's supposed to be investigating Jane," Lisbon pointed out.

"Guess not," Jane grumbled into his water.

Lisbon smirked. "You know, I find it somewhat ironic that in many ways you're almost easier to deal with when you're drunk."

Jane smirked. "I'm not that much trouble Lisbon," he chided with a smile.

She stared pointedly at him.

Jane laughed. "Not as much trouble as our new problem LaRoche at least," he admitted. "He could cause us some friends," Jane said. Seconds later his eyebrows lowered in confusion.

"I got it," Lisbon said with a wave of her hand. "He doesn't seem like such a bad guy, though the voice is a bit creepy."

Jane stared at her. "You don't think he's a problem..." he murmured. "Which means you know something. Am I not on the top of LaRoche's suspect list any more Lisbon?" he asked.

She didn't answer.

"Damn," Jane muttered. "That was kind of fun."

Lisbon sighed. "Jane, you can't keep provoking people who could get you fired!"

"Why not?" Jane asked. "It's fun. Besides, LaRoche isn't going to fire me."

"Not at the moment," Lisbon growled.

"I didn't murder Todd Lisbon," Jane said as he leaned in closely, as if sharing a secret. Then he smiled and drank some of his water.

"I know, Jane," Lisbon said with an answering grin. She really help it. "I was there remember? In the building. I practically had to drag you downstairs to see him in the first place."

"S'right," Jane said waving his hand for emphasis. "You did. You forced me," he sighed contentedly. Then he frowned. "You've gotten very bossy all of a sudden," he told her indignantly.

"I am your boss," she reminded him dryly.

Jane stared at his water, apparently fascinated by the liquid. "I know, but you're very, very… You're sneaky Lisbon. You are."

"Thanks," Lisbon said sarcastically.

"You're welcome," Jane replied, missing the sarcasm. "And you're persistent. You don't give…" He trailed off, something obviously striking him. "You were in the building that night," he said abruptly.

"Y-e-s…" Lisbon said slowly.

"Means you're on ol' LaRoche's naughty list too," Jane said lazily. "You're a suspect. You're… But you didn't do it."

"No Jane," Lisbon agreed. "I didn't." She didn't think LaRoche thought she had either. But she didn't feel like explaining that to Jane at the moment. Maybe when he was sober.

"That's what I said," Jane agreed. Then he giggled. "Don't worry though Lisbon, I'll protect you from the big bad LaRoche. I promise. He won't, he won't batter you."

"What?" Lisbon asked with a laugh.

Jane paused. "Sorry. Bother. He won't bother you."

"Jane he's already talked to me," Lisbon told him gently. "I'm sure I'll have another interview or two, but I'm not worried. I'm not guilty. I don't need you to protect me."

"Yes you do," Jane said petulantly.

Lisbon laughed lightly again, "I really don't."

Jane's frown deepened. "You're mean."

"No I'm not," she chuckled. "If I was mean would I really have dragged your ass up here drunk out of your head?"

"An' you're persistent," Jane continued as if she hadn't spoken. "But s'okay, so am I. And I'll keep you safe."

"Thank you," Lisbon said dryly, fairly certain he wouldn't be remembering much of this conversation anyway. "Drink your water."

"Kay," Jane agreed, making a great show of drinking a half of what was left. "I'm still on the naughty list too Lisbon," he confided. "Even if I've apparently moved down a few places in the rankings."

"I know," she admitted.

"I'm also still drunk," Jane said sadly.

"Oh, I know," Lisbon assured him. "Drink some more water."

"Okay. You're very good at this you know. Very…" He trailed off in. Suddenly he had her by the arm, his expression concerned. "You're not upset are you?" he asked. "Should I have made Cho take me home?"

"Cho would have dropped you on your doorstep in a heap," Lisbon said bluntly.

"No he wouldn't have!" Jane disagreed indignantly. "Cho'n I have a special bond."

She resisted the urge to ruffle his hair. "Inside the door then."

Jane considered that for a second, "Maybe."

Lisbon smiled at him. "I'll get you some more water."

Jane grabbed her arm before she could take the glass from him. "I'm not making you upset though?" he asked, his face adorably concerned. "I jus' wanted to catch the bad guy… girl… nurse… assistant… person. Criminal." Lisbon watched his brow furrow again, "She was gonna stick a needle in my belly button!"

"Yes she was," Lisbon agreed, taking the water glass from him gently.

Jane ignored her, clearly unwilling to let go of the original issue. "But I didn't think about… I'm not usually drunk Lisbon," he assured her.

"I know that Jane."

He stared at her for the full thirty seconds it took her to re-fill his water glass. "Do you want a hug?" he asked as she set it in front of him again.

"Figures you'd be an affectionate drunk," Lisbon muttered.

"You never want my hugs," Jane lamented.

Lisbon wasn't entirely sure what to say to that. The only times he'd actually offered had been times when she'd been certain he'd been doing it for show anyway. It'd never even occurred to her that on some level those brief, awkward embraces might have meant something to him. "I…"

"You're mean," Jane repeated again.

Lisbon sighed. She was going to have to set his mind at ease or he'd never let it go. "Jane, believe it or not, at least half of my experience in avoiding a hangover comes from my own personal experience in my early twenties."

As expected, Jane perked up immediately. "Really?"

"No, I'm not gonna tell you about it," she informed him.

"Course you're not. You're Lisbon," Jane agreed.

She ignored that. "My point is, I have no problem with social drinking Jane."

"Oh."

"Yes, oh."

"I knew that," Jane said after a moment.

"I know you did," Lisbon replied. "At least you do when you're sober."

"I just didn't wanna make you upset Lisbon," Jane explained. "People shouldn't… They shouldn't… He shouldn't… Your people should know better is all. You deserve it."

The concern on his face was completely endearing, even if he was drunk off his ass. Lisbon softened. "I'm not upset Jane."

"Mhm." He still looked concerned.

Lisbon rolled her eyes. "Oh for Pete's sakes. Come here." To Jane's delight she stood held out her arms. He scrambled up from his chair and eagerly (if slightly unsteadily) returned the hug.

Lisbon wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned against his shoulder, ignoring the faint smell of whiskey.

Jane's arms were gentle around her waist, but slowly they tightened and he sighed, leaning his cheek against her hair.

Lisbon smiled into his vest. She hadn't expected Jane to be quite so... cuddly. If she needed any more proof that the alcohol was having quite an effect, this was it. She absently began tracing circles on his back with her hand. Jane hummed his approval and snuggled slightly closer, burying his nose in her hair.

Lisbon frowned slightly. What exactly was Jane after here? His defences were lowered, and all earlier joking aside, he was vulnerable. Not that this was inappropriate, but it was easily the closest she'd ever gotten to her consultant, at least physically. And it was different.

Her hands slowed and she gently pulled out of the embrace.

Jane sent her a lopsided smile, but it was the affection in his eyes that surprised her. She laughed softly and this time gave into the urge to ruffle his hair.

Jane watched her with interest, one hand still resting lightly on her waist. "I don't want you to be upset Lisbon," he told her after a moment. "I don't like it."

She smiled. She always liked to think that Jane cared about her and the team, but it was nice having it confirmed from time to time. And just because he was drunk didn't mean that he didn't mean it. "I'm not upset," she assured him a second time.

"Okay," Jane grinned cheerfully.

"Okay."

"You wanna dance?" Jane asked, turning abruptly to lead her into the other room. He wobbled a little before Lisbon could steady him. "You may have to lead," he giggled.

She shook her head. "There's no music," she reminded him.

Another expansive hand wave was sent her way from her consultant. "Technicalities," he assured her, before grabbing the remote to his stereo and flicking it on with a flourish. Something vaguely instrumental filled the apartment and Jane held a hand out to her.

Lisbon hesitated, "You should be getting to bed," she said slowly.

Jane pouted, "Soon," he promised. "I'll drink some more water after. Please?"

Lisbon sighed. "One dance," she agreed, taking his hand.

Jane grinned and pulled her into the same easy hold he had the last time they'd danced together. "Thank you," he told her. "I like this song."

Lisbon smirked. "Since it's your CD, that's not all that surprising."

"Guess not," Jane whispered.

"And you're not doing too badly at leading," Lisbon added, determined to keep things light. He was leaning a bit more heavily than normal, but that was understandable. And since they were basically swaying in place it was hardly taxing. Jane seemed quite pleased with the result. She wasn't sure what was going on with him exactly, but she somehow didn't mind the affection.

"I'm a good dancer, Lisbon," Jane told her.

"You're not bad," she agreed pleasantly. She was still surprised at how tactile Jane was being. For all his apparent friendliness, he very rarely touched people, at least not for reasons other than to take their pulse, or put them into a trance of some kind. Maybe it made sense that some kind of innocent physical contact was what he wanted when his inhibitions were lowered. And she was probably the closest thing to a friend he had. The idea made her smile.

Jane was silent for a while. When the music switched over to the next track a few minutes later he pulled back obediently.

"You're pretty Lisbon," he told her goofily for the second time that evening.

"What?" Lisbon asked, confused by the apparently random statement.

"Your hair," he explained, twirling a stray piece in his fingers. "Your hair's pretty like that."

Lisbon's heart gave a little jolt of surprise, "You're drunk remember."

Jane grinned again. "Very drunk," he agreed. "But you're still pretty."

She sighed, and pulled more fully out of his arms. "Let's get you to bed," she said tapping gently on his wrist.

"Kay," Jane said cheerfully.

"Okay."

"But just because I'm drunk doesn't mean I'm lying," he added in the same tone.

Lisbon closed her eyes briefly, "Jane…"

Even in his current state, her consultant apparently knew when not to push it. "Let me get that water like I promised," he said lurching back towards the kitchen.

Lisbon shook her head gently. He was awfully hard to get irritated at him when he was like this.

"You gonna sleep on my couch?" Jane asked after refilling his glass of water.

"No," Lisbon laughed. She'd noticed that the alcohol seemed not only to make him more talkative, but it also seemed to make him switch from one topic to another with no apparent logic connecting the two.

"But Lisbon," Jane whined. "I sleep on your couch all the time. N'your office."

She stared at him in confusion. "So?"

"So, so you could sleep on my couch if you wanted," Jane explained. "You're allowed."

She smiled at him. "Thank you Jane for the offer. But I'm still going to decline."

"Waiting for a more comfortable offer?" Jane asked waggling his eyebrows. "My bed has that special memory foam. Very good for the spine apparently."

Lisbon rolled her eyes. "What's gotten into you tonight?" she asked.

"Eight shots of whiskey," he answered candidly.

"I kn… Eight shots?" Lisbon asked scandalized.

"Think it was eight at least," Jane admitted. "May have lost count. Could be more. Don't worry Lisbon. The good Doctor calculated my body weight n'everything. Didn't count on a syringe full of straight alcohol. But you got there in the nick of time to stop that. So s'all safe. No bag in the river Teresa. T'reesa. Tray-sa. Te-raise-a." Jane devolved into a fit of giggles. "S'a nice name."

"Thank you."

He stared at her again, "You're not wearing earrings."

"No, I'm not," she agreed, not even trying to figure that one out.

"You have brown hair though," Jane concluded. "Brown hair and green eyes. I'll always remember that."

"That's nice."

"Thank you."

"I'm very glad you can remember my basic facial characteristics," Lisbon added dryly, walking over towards him. It was time for him to be getting to bed. She grabbed the glass of water to refill it. He might have to spend half the evening in the washroom, but hopefully he'd be slightly less hungover in the morning.

Jane watched her intently. "I remember more than that," he said, his voice low.

Surprised by his tone, Lisbon turned towards him. He was looming far closer than she'd expected. And he was staring at her; she could something in his eyes that she'd never expected to see from Jane of all people.

Her stifled gasp echoed in the kitchen.

"Jane," she warned, a slight edge of panic in her voice.

"Teresa," he replied throatily.

"You should get to bed," she whispered.

"I know," he whispered in the same husky whisper as before.

Lisbon swallowed, "That requires that you move."

Jane shook his head slightly, "I don't want to go to sleep right now."

"Jane…"

"My head is still fuzzy Lisbon," he told her softly.

She knew it was. But that was no excuse. "I'm sure it is…"

"It's fun. I'm having fun," he admitted slowly, almost painfully. "I like it. Tomorrow things will be back to the way they always are. And I don't want to go to sleep. You'll leave."

Her throat felt painfully clogged. "Jane…"

He dropped his head slightly so it was hanging next to hers. "I know," he whispered, standing just a little too close to her, one hand resting on her hip. "In a minute."

Lisbon froze momentarily, before relaxing her chin against his shoulder, and resting a hand beside it. "Okay," she exhaled.

After a minute of silence filled only by their breathing, Jane pulled back. "I should get to bed while I still can," he told her.

She nodded. "I hope tomorrow morning's not too painful."

Jane shrugged. "It's been a while since I've had a hangover. Might be interesting."

"Only you could ever consider a hangover 'interesting,'" Lisbon said indulgently.

Jane smirked, before yawning.

"Go to bed," Lisbon ordered gently. "Where's your spare key? I'll lock the door behind me."

Jane opened a drawer beside him and fished out a single key.

Lisbon took it, "I'll give it back to you tomorrow."

"You could keep it," Jane said casually. "For emergencies," he clarified, seeing her expression. "After all, who else'm I gonna give it to?"

Lisbon grinned. "Okay," she agreed. "Get some sleep."

Jane nodded then grabbed her arm. "Thank you Lisbon," he murmured. "Thanks for bringing me home."

"Of course," she said, resting a hand on his arm. "You're on my team. Team members look out for each other, right?"

His eyes smiled at her, "Right."

Detaching herself gently she walked to the door. "Night Jane," she called over her shoulder.

She heard a mumbled "Night," and when she turned, she saw him shuffling down the hallway.

Closing the door behind her, Lisbon leaned against it briefly. Well that had been interesting. Luckily, Jane probably wouldn't remember all of it.

Then she remembered his expression when he told her he didn't like it when she was upset, when he assured her that he cared, even if only with his eyes. She wrapped her arms around herself, feeling the warmth deep in her stomach.

She remembered his eyes when she accepted his offer of a hug, his disappointment that she hadn't decided to make herself at home on his couch. Maybe Patrick Jane wanted her friendship more than he'd ever admit sober.

Maybe she genuinely meant more to him than she'd ever expected.

And maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for both of them to be able to remember that.

xxxxx

The end

Merry Christmas!