Straws
by TropicalStormEmily

Teresa Lisbon opened the door begrudgingly. Patrick Jane stood in the doorway, rocking back and forth on his heels, overnight bag in hand. How unlucky did she have to be, to pick the short straw? There were four of them, that was only a twenty-five percent chance! So, how did she get stuck with Jane for the night? Well, Jane's house was flooded, being at the low part of the valley, and LaRoche had forbade him to sleep upstairs at CBI headquarters as he had taken to from time to time. The team of course, had readily offered to put up the consultant for the night. However, when no one wanted the responsibility, they fell to juvenile decision-making tactics, and drew straws. Lisbon drew last after Van Pelt, Rigsby, and Cho. Of course, she managed to pick the straw that was shorter than the other three, a dreadful realization she came to after the other three had chosen straws. She had rolled her eyes and grumbled something about being the senior agent in charge, but no one volunteered to take Jane off her hands for the night. So, she was stuck in a scenario that she had picked by sheer chance. Straws! That's why Patrick Jane was at her doorway. Straws.

"Um…I'm going to pretend you look happy, and invite myself in!" Patrick stepped in the doorway past a glaring Lisbon and dropped his bag near her couch. He took off his jacket, flung it on the couch and stretched his arms high above his head, leaning back a little. "Ready for the sleepover of your life, Lisbon?" His smile was comical. "Bet you didn't have a lot of those when you were younger, too into schoolwork, sports…the ruthless Lisbon ambition." He paused. "Never fear, I promise this will make up for all your missed experiences. Where's the bathroom?" Lisbon raised an eyebrow and pointed behind him. He grabbed his bag off the floor and hightailed it in that direction.

"That way. Just don't cause any trouble, okay? I'd like to have one night where you're not being completely unhelpful." Lisbon folded her arms. She was already in clothes for bed, it was getting late. It was a t-shirt and exercise shorts, but hey, she wasn't going to wear what she usually wore, if Jane was in her apartment that night. While Jane was presumably getting changed, she grabbed some extra blankets, and a pillow to throw on the couch. She then made her way to the kitchen, intent on drinking a cup of her favorite decaf Columbian coffee. Maybe the familiar aroma and taste would alleviate some of the Jane-stress. But how much trouble could he get into in one night, in her apartment?

The answer came from a crash followed by a distant "I'm okay!" But her bathroom was close down the hallway, his voice wouldn't have been that faint. The only room farther down was…her bedroom. Teresa rolled her eyes and set off at a run, feet softly padding across hard wood floors. She found Jane carefully putting back the top drawer of her jewelry box with a guilty look on his face. She paused for a second, taken aback. This was the only time she had seen Jane in anything but a three-piece suit. He wore a white t-shirt, along with green and blue flannel pajama pants. He grinned while sliding the drawer carefully into place.

"Some of this is actually quite pretty, I don't know why you never wear it, Lisbon!" the grin seemed to be plastered to his face. He held up a particular bracelet that she hadn't worn in a year and a half. It was gold, and had a small heart charm dangling from it. He held it up in front of his face and looked at it carefully. "Christmas present?" Lisbon raised an eyebrow. "No, no" Jane continued, "present for being in a bridal party! College friend."

"High-school friend. Now get out of my stuff and go back to where you're welcome- in the living room. Don't make me sleep out there just to keep an eye on you." As soon as she said it, she regretted it. Putting the palm of her hand to her forehead, she realized that she wasn't helping out a friend. This was more like babysitting. To her dismay, but not surprise, Jane did not leave the room. "Just one more thing!" He smiled, and watched her eyes as we walked to the other side of the room. He must have seen something in them, because he reached the head of the bed and yanked a pillow off, awkwardly holding it above his head, staring at plain, navy blue sheets. He then dejectedly brought it to his side. "Oh, I was so sure…a-ha!" He flipped over the other pillow on Teresa's queen sized bed, to reveal a handgun.

"Okay. Yes, Jane. I sleep with a gun. Very paranoid of me, I know. Now leave." The last two words were emphasized. His mouth twitched guiltily to a half-amused, half-scared expression, but he made his way out of the room and back to the living room. Before leaving her room, Lisbon grabbed the pillow not hiding the gun, and the black quilt off the foot of her bed. There was no way she was letting this trouble-maker out of her sight until he fell asleep. She shut the door decisively behind her and made her way down the hallway. Jane had sprawled out on the couch, and was presently flicking through channels on a dusty remote that hadn't been picked up in a week. Lisbon dropped her pillow and qilt next to the couch and turned away.

"Lisbon…there's nothing on! Don't you have Comcast or Direct TV or something? Netflix?" He glanced back at her as she made her way to the kitchen. She shook her head no. Lisbon didn't have much time for watching tv regularly. She much preferred books. A few programs were recorded on her television, but nothing she was too into.

"Some movies in the cabinet next to the television." Lisbon called from the kitchen. She laughed, and got out two mugs. Tea for Jane? But she didn't have tea… Oh well, she thought, screw it, and poured him a cup of what she was having. When she handed it to him over the back of the sofa, he looked at her inquisitively. His nose gave a small sniff, but did not seem to curl up in disgust.

"Coffee?" he asked, and took a small sip. "Hm…actually not terrible." His eyebrows momentarily lifted, and he gave an accepting nod of his head.

"Glad you approve, now budge up." Lisbon sat down to his right as Patrick swung his feet to the coffee table. Lisbon bet her knees up to her chest and leaned against the back of the couch in relief. She closed her eyes. "Feet off the coffee table, Jane," she said calmly, with eyes closed. She heard a thump and unwillingly opened her eyes. His feet were certainly on the ground, but he was looking at her glumly.

"Really, Lisbon? That much of a stickler for the rules? Well fine. I will sit here uncomfortably in your apartment while my house fills with water due to an unfortunate sewage leak. You know, Lisbon, I could be out of house and home for a while until it gets fixed. Best get used to me now." He grinned and took a larger sip of coffee.

"Patrick Jane, are you threatening me with continual harassment if I don't leave you to your own devices tonight?" She crossed her arms and tilted her torso back. Everything about her pose screamed 'what is your problem?'

"No. Yes. Maybe. That depends, is it working?" His eyes followed her face as she got up.

"Fine, you can have the couch." Lisbon picked up her pillow and quilt and moved to the leather armchair, pulling the lever to spring up the footrest.

"Ah, that's better," Jane remarked as he swung up his bare feet and tossed a blanket over his lanky body. He settled on his side, with arms crossed, eyes slowly closing. The TV played on for a while, some random cop show on. That's what was usually on when Lisbon turned on her TV anyways. CSwhatever and Psychic Detectives and Special Crimes Unit: Narnia, and the like. Lisbon and Jane made a few remarks about how inaccurate the shows were, and what would happen if the CBI was on a television series. Jane shared his dislike for cameras, and they both agreed that they wouldn't make a very good TV show. They went on this topic for a while, before the conversation started to diminish.

Lisbon finally began to yawn. "No funny business. Don't mess with my stuff, Jane." Soon enough after, she was asleep. He looked at her and smiled, shaking his head. Tormenting her was no fun when she was asleep, it could all wait until morning.

Soon after, Jane began to drift off into a peaceful sleep. It was much easier to fall asleep surrounded by the comfort of a friend. Just knowing she was there, he felt protected from the world. Jane knew that Lisbon could keep his demons at bay, if only for the night.He owed her for so much more than just letting him sleep over. Tomorrow, he thought, I'll find a way to thank her. After all, I did make sure she got the short straw.