A/N: More holiday fic. This takes place somewhere around S3 and the start of S4, before moving into the future. I don't know the exact time frame, but events from the finale/premiere are definitely involved. Pretty sure this is my first song!fic, even if I added to the ending, just because.

Written for Wicked Shadow, prompt: J/L, Star Mile. (Lyrics by Joshua Radin in italics)

Star Mile

xx

Oh doubt in the girl by your side
She's feeding your pride
As you go for a ride
Down the Star Mile

Her eyes were always watching you.

Always her eyes.

Wary, hopeful, amused, irritated, but always interested.

Lisbon was always there. Lisbon was beside you. Lisbon tried to help you. You aren't always sure why exactly. Never quite sure why. And you don't know her motivations perfectly. That worries you.

Oh, you pretend you do. You're Patrick Jane after all. You used to pretend to be a psychic. Even if you can't read someone's mind, you can make a good guess.

You just have your doubts about her.

She says she wants to help you catch Red John. But you're not sure what she plans to do with you when that happens.

And when it happens, you're not sure how long she'll stay.

Because now that she's helping you, Red John's downfall is finally starting to feel like a when.

xx

Worlds arise as she lets you come in
A
duo begins
To
the Hollywood din
Of
the lonely

She's let you into her life. You didn't quite plan for that.

You weren't expecting to make friends.

You tell yourself that it doesn't matter.

Your revenge is all that matters.

Except that you know that she's lonely too.

(And that makes things more difficult than it should.)

xx

And all the gold dust in her eyes won't reform into rain
You
had and lost the one thing
You
kept in a safe place
Remember
the face
Of
the girl who had made you her own
And
how you left her alone

You're in jail. Again. For some reason it's not quite as fun as it was the first time.

For a start, this time you're not entirely certain that she'll come and save you. You're not even sure that she can.

You realize that you're completely alone, for the first time in a long time. Oh, you thought you were alone before, but you weren't. Not really. She was always there; sometimes she was a few steps behind, but she always caught up eventually.

But this time she can't come.

Before this whole mess started (before you pulled the trigger) you agreed that she should go check on her boss (ex-boss really). In fact, you were thrilled when she suggested that particular division of labour.

You thought it would be best if she wasn't at the shopping centre, just in case Red John did show up (something she always thought was unlikely). You thought it would be better for both of you. Safer. She'd be away from any possible action, she couldn't do something potentially stupid or dangerous to stop you from doing what you had to, and she couldn't get in the way. She also wouldn't have to try to stop you. She wouldn't have been in the middle. You wanted to spare her that at least. You really did think she'd be safer in the middle of nowhere with Madeleine and her children.

Instead she got shot. And she was alone. Effectively. Even just over the phone you knew,youknew that no one was helping her. She was nobody in that cabin's first concern.

And not two minutes later she wasn't even yours. You were focussed on the man you thought was a serial killer.

She'd done nothing but protect you for over seven years (you were on her team, her consultant, even her problem, but always hers), and you barely took the time to check to make sure she was alright.

You can picture her face after getting shot, the shock, the pain. You can picture it really well, better than you'd like really. And she was all alone. You wonder how long it took for Madeleine to notice her. You're sure Hightower took control before Grace did, poor duped Grace. Or maybe it was Lisbon herself who called it in, from her position shot on the floor. That would be like her.

And then she got back to Sacramento, and it was someone's job to tell her what you did. You hope very much that person told her gently.

You thought her face after getting shot was bad. You try very much not to picture her face when she heard your news.

Her eyes, oh her eyes.

(Their expression haunts you at night.)

xx

You haven't actually seen her face since. Checking up on her wasn't an option. Unsurprisingly the police would hardly let you take a detour to the hospital after you shot a man in front of a ridiculously large number of witnesses. You've been assured she'll make a full recovery, but still. You'd like to see her.

Make sure her eyes aren't too broken.

But you're both trapped, she in a hospital, you in your cell.

Alone, both of you.

You told the judge you wanted time to think, well you've got it now.

Somehow a lot of things aren't exactly what you expected them to be.

xx

All's well at the base of the hill
You might need to fill
A prescription to kill
Off the silence.

Even out of jail, things have changed.

(She helped get you out. She checked herself out of the hospital and drove to the jail to save you. You should have known she would.)

You find yourself wanting to check up on her.

She almost lost her job thanks to you.

She has a new boss.

Her consultant shot someone.

After being so alone in jail, you're not sure you quite like the feeling anymore.

It's different.

And anyway, you can't have Lisbon burying any more of her issues, or she really will be headed towards that mental breakdown she occasionally threatens. At the very least, she's still got to be stiff thanks to her gunshot wound. Perhaps you should check up on her.

Maybe you'll make her pot of tea.

Your suggestion makes her eyes smile.

xx

Look down from your tower on high
And take in the night
Look her right in the eye
She'll listen

You hide out in your attic again.

You can't help it.

Old habits are hard to break.

You tell yourself you were meant for this, you were meant for solitude. It doesn't matter if you like it. This is your path. There's nothing you can do to change that.

She's the only one who ever comes to find you up here.

Her eyes look particularly lovely in the low light.

They're always so shockingly, heartbreakingly hopeful.

When they catch your gaze you have the urge to confess.

Sometimes you even do.

You never can figure out why.

Maybe it's because she always makes you feel better.

xx

Life
goes to those that are true
The
regular news
Over
playing the blues
With
the light on

She saved a personal hero today.

You're happy for her.

She seems happy with herself.

She sits with you for a while, but then she leaves, says she's going to listen to some music.

You can picture her, sitting in her living room, listening to the soothing sounds of the saxophone, her eyes closed, getting caught up in comforting memories. (You know she listens to music with her eyes closed. She can't help it with her heart.)

It's something you're glad she has.

She needs a break from carrying the weight of the world from time to time.

She deserves it.

You wish you could see her smile as she relaxes. You wish you could see her eyes flutter shut in spite of herself.

But you weren't invited to that particular (very private) party.

And you're not sure you'd have attended even if you had been.

(At least that's what you tell yourself.)

xx

And if you burn the road
That'll lead you back to her in time
I watch you turn to stone
You can't find the sunlight

It hasn't happened yet, but one day you're going to push too hard, do something unforgiveable. She has an apparently inexhaustible supply of faith and patience, but you know deep down that even that must have its limits.

You tell yourself it'll be fine. You tell yourself it probably won't happen.

It's the "probably" that worries you.

Because what if it does?

What will you do then?

Who will come scold you in your attic with flashing eyes?

Who will drink tea with you?

Who will be left?

And yet, you still take horrendous advantage of her almost weekly.

It's just one of the many reasons you hate yourself.

xx

She's moving on without you
The
tide breaks
You
watch the stars fade
They
gather you back to their home
I
guess it's better than being alone

She's starting to pull away.

You can feel it.

It's all finally been enough, even for her.

Surprisingly it wasn't the big blowout you thought it would be.

It just went on too long, and took too much out of her.

She's tired. She's giving up.

You can practically see her eyes shuttering closed when she looks at you.

Your feeble (and often sporadic) attempts to keep her weren't enough.

And why should they have been?

Why should she stay?

For you?

Please.

Please.

(Oh please.)

You should let her go. You know you should.

It would be better for her.

It might even be better for you?

Would it though?

Would it make either of you happy?

It might be different if either of you had anyone else.

And after all, you know how she feels about giving up.

This can't be easy for her.

Maybe...

Maybe there's still more tea?

xxxxx

"Lisbon," you say in the doorway.

"Jane?" she replies in surprise as she looks up. She obviously wasn't expecting you.

"Do you want some tea?" you ask. "I made a pot."

She bites her lip. You can tell she wants to refuse. You can tell she's going to refuse.

"Please," you whisper.

That stops her. Her eyes widen in shock.

You take a step towards her, your hand reaching to brush along her desk.

"Jane... I..." she whispers, obviously torn.

But you don't care, because you're fairly certain you can see a spark of hope in her eyes.

"It's chamomile," you explain softly. "So it won't keep you awake. And I'll even buy you some six month old shortbread cookies from the vending machine to go with it."

"Actually, they were restocked last Tuesday," she murmured.

"Excellent," you reply. "You won't have to worry about cracking a tooth."

She smiles in spite of herself. It's only a half, but you'll take it.

You smile back, a little bigger. "I'll get the tea," you promise.

"Okay," she whispers, you can tell she's still torn, but she's also stronger than you'll ever be.

You resist the urge to hug her. You know that will send her scuttling back into herself. She won't believe it.

Instead you settle for running your fingers through hers briefly. "Good. I want to talk to you," you whisper back.

That absolutely gets her attention.

She looks up at you then, her eyes big.

You expect to see shock, but that's not what's there.

Now it's definitely hope.

Real hope. Probably in spite of herself, but you don't care. You always knew she was too good for the likes of you.

You squeeze her hand one last time, your eyes holding hers until you turn to fetch your drinks.

You commit the expression in her eyes to memory.

You promise yourself you won't take it for granted again.

You desperately hope it's a promise you can keep.

For both of your sakes.

xxxxx

The end