Okay, I know I haven't posted in a while. And I feel bad, 'cause for about a third of the time between chapters here I wasn't even working on it. But check out that scrollbar! C'mon, you can't blame me when you take a look at how HUGE this chapter is! So, this chapter is full of stuff, most of it permanent placeholders because my originality has the same value as crap. Anyway, without further adieu, I give you MAGIC KINGDOM!
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"Up and at 'em!"
He ripped open the blackout curtains, shimmying back to hop on Cho's bed like a child. Lisbon stood in the doorway, amused and eating a bowl of Fruit Loops. Her hair was slightly disheveled, but when Jane had commented on her 'nesting a few rats up in there', he earned himself a firm knee to the crotch. Rigsby moaned at the sunlight, kicking until he felt a body.
"It's just me!" van Pelt burst, rubbing her recently-kicked thigh. She had just gotten up from her residence in the middle.
"Grace, I'm sorry!" Rigsby jumped out of bed, attempting to give her a hug. She huffed and walked towards the kitchen, where he followed, still apologizing.
"What the hell, man?" Cho snapped groggily, but with enough energy to open his eyes. He was closest to the window, so sunlight hit him right in the face. He sat up. "What time is it?"
"Time for you to get up."
He threw a pillow at Jane before rolling off the bed.
"Hey, Jane, what should I wear to Magic Kingdom?"
Jane looked up, in the process of putting on dark, slim jeans. He held up a finger, buttoning them over his boxers. With a single stride he stood next to her, putting his hand to his chin and letting out a 'hmm'. Walking around, he took out the following articles: high heels, underwear, a pair of green earrings and a bottle of whipped cream. He nodded, satisfied, and shook the whipped cream. Lisbon looked at him with pursued lips, annoyed.
"You expect me to wear this to Magic Kingdom? Grow up."
"Oh, Magic Kingdom?" Jane asked, suddenly innocent, which was hard to do when his bare torso was just so there. "I thought you said 'Magic Kinkdom'. But seriously, this is a family-oriented place, you most definitely shouldn't wear that."
"I'll keep that in mind."
Jane nodded. "Anyway, I would suggest wearing your light green t-shirt with the breast pocket and your white shorts. I'll do your hair."
Lisbon gave him a look. "Since when do you do hair?"
"Since now. Here's your shorts." He threw the tiny, white piece of fabric at her face. She got a hold of them along with the shirt, and headed for the bathroom. Damn it, the team must have split to get dressed, because their bathroom was occupado. Gee, thanks for asking. She closed the door to their bedroom with her foot, so whoever came out of their bathroom in the hallway couldn't see her changing.
"How about you go out on the balcony, look at the animals," Lisbon suggested, gesturing to the clothes folded on the bed. Jane looked lazily outside, and then appreciatively back to her.
"Nah, I like the view from here."
She crossed her arms. "Look, kid, we can do this the easy way, or the I'll-chop-your-neck-so-hard-you-won't-remember-your-name way. Your choice."
Jane raised an eyebrow. "Kid? I'm nearly 4 years older then you."
She shrugged, beginning to untie the drawstring at her sweatpants. "I'm used to using it on boys younger than me. Now move."
He raised his hands in surrender and turned on his heel toward the balcony, closing sliding glass door and walking to the left, where more space could be found. A few moments later, as Jane counted his sixth zebra, she emerged, clad in the small yet cute clothing. He got up, nodded toward the now-empty bathroom, and waltzed inside, grabbing a brush.
Lisbon crossed her arms, rolling her eyes. "I'm only letting you do this because I trust you, you know. If I didn't have any faith in you, I would've kicked you off the balcony for even suggesting it."
He yanked the brush through her wild, curled hair, but it went down relatively smoothly. He dropped the brush on the counter and gathered up her locks in his hands, but Lisbon didn't really care to watch her own hair.
His face was barely twisting in thought, like his calculative expression with a hint of warmth. Blank, but thoughtful at the same time. She resisted the urge to trail her eyes down his defined chest in the reflection; she would never hear the end to that one. He caught her eyes in the mirror and winked.
She looked in the mirror, and raised her eyebrows. He had styled her hair into a taught bun; it rested on the top back of her head, and it was so tightly twisted that it didn't droop. Like he placed a ball in it and wrapped her hair around that. Her bangs and a few curly fly-aways framed her face, and the innocent hairstyle itself reminded her of something. Oh, yeah. Tinker bell.
"Thanks, Jane. Now put on some damn clothes."
Chuckling, he slid through the bathroom door and across the hall, to the bedroom. He already had on the nearly black, form-fitting jeans, so he came back with a faded blue shirt with black silhouettes of roofs near the bottom, but mainly a large clock tower –Big Ben- in the middle, the shape of a boy and a tiny dot standing on one of the arms. "Peter Pan."
"Yeah, I got that." He had been able to tame his hair a bit while in there, but she couldn't help and fix it even more, patting down a few Alfalfa hairs that were out of place. Satisfied, almost like it was a repayment for the good job he did on her hair, she turned around and squeezed some minty toothpaste on a baby blue toothbrush. Jane followed suit, separated at the other sink, and they both started scrubbing their teeth with the bristly utensil.
"Sho how big ish Machic Kingcdum?" Her words were mashed up from the toothbrush. He understood and answered.
"Pretchy big. A chon mowr ridesh ten Epcot, but shtill hash a pretchy lerng entchrance. Ya' walk a whil, then ya' get choo te ridesh." He spit out the remaining toothpaste in his mouth into the sink. She did, too, and wiped her mouth on a hand towel. He used the other clothe and watched her take out some of her makeup.
"But, yeah, like I said, the rides are a bit far out. You have to go over a few necks in the path." His eyes then got mischievous as he walked slowly towards her, right as she finished tapping on her eye shadow. "Speaking of necks…"
He laid his hands softly on her hips and pulled up, placing her on top of his own sneaker-clad shoes. As he did, she emitted a soft gasp, understood what he was getting at, and firmly tried to stomp his feet. The only problem was that she was barefoot, so all she ended up doing was making the bottom of her feet bruise.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled her neck. Lisbon realized in horror that, in the reflection on the mirror, they truly resembled an intimate, loving couple, his arms pulling her closer affectionately and her hands on his, trying to pull him away but frozen in the moment and being shown as tenderness. His strength around her wasn't terrifying; in fact, it was more like warmth enfulging her. But that didn't change how irritated her was at the moment. A thought raked her brain, and she propped her chin up in defiance.
"You know, Walter is never this controlling."
She could feel his jaw flex against her bare neck, but despite any distaste, he playfully scoffed. "Controlling? This is what being loved feels like; he's obviously doing something wrong."
"He's doing nothing wrong."
"Has he ever done this?"
He slid his hands, ever so slowly, to the hem of her shirt, toying with the seam. He dragged his hands under, to her stomach, sending dire wherever his fingertips touched her skin. Right when Lisbon came to her senses and readied herself to elbow him again, his fingers danced at her sides. A giggle bubbled up, and he grinned against her skin.
She couldn't believe it; Jane was tickling her. She tried to swat his hands away, covering her other hand over her own mouth to keep from laughing. She wiggled and squirmed, and managed to elbow him in his nearly healed rib. He winced and immediately jumped back, making her stumble with him as well.
In the end, she ended up, well, on top of him into the bathtub. They made a huge noise, too, and they heard the team question each other in the kitchen.
"What was that?"
Jane quickly slid the curtain over, trying and succeeding to regulate his breathing. Lisbon, who was nearly blushing out of her skin, was trying to find a way to escape. If she got up now, it would make too much noise. Van Pelt and the others were looking through their room, nearing the bathroom by the sound of it. Jane had been smart to close the curtain; if the team caught them in this compromising position, bricks would be shat. He took a silent, deep breath, but froze.
Lisbon was pressed up against him, her… chest up against his and her hips on his waist, legs entangled. The once-cold tub was now reflecting the fever, a sheen layer of sweat covering them in just a minute. The hand that covered her back was like a raging inferno, his clean breath on her lips turning the cool mint smell into a spiked drink, surging her awake. Everything was on fire. Her eyes met his, and she tried to decipher if he felt the same sort of magic as she did, the spark of wildfire inside of her. Did he?
Almost as if he could hear her thoughts, he furrowed his eyebrows as if in thought, and then squeezed his eyes shut. The soft moan that escaped his lips was hint enough of what was going through his head. His arms were wrapped around her, and he bucked his hips slightly, pulling her closer to him. A torrent of liquid heat shot through her body, and her hands reached for his hair…
No, she couldn't think like this. She needed to get away. But, instead of pulling away like she should have, she contemplated for a quick second. This whole trip, Jane had been cruel, horribly jealous and forcefully throwing himself onto her. Because of his certain skills, he never let her get her own revenge on him, always there at the last second to stop her. Or scare her away. Maybe…
She spread her legs to border his hips, bowing down to hotly kiss his neck. A barely audible growl sounded from his chest, and he lunged her forward to capture her lips. She pulled back before he could touch her. Still cloudy from want, he pulled her down to him once again, and she hissed with finality, "No."
His eyes shot open, boring into hers.
Footsteps entered the bathroom, but only, it seemed, Grace's. A quick sweep, and then she left.
They didn't listen to the words that she yelled to the others. Jane was too busy glaring at Lisbon, accusation and furious calculation in his blue eyes.
"Teresa, I want you to kiss me. Right now."
"Oh, hey guys," van Pelt said, right when the pair came into the kitchen. "I heard a commotion in the bathroom, so I checked it out. With the make-up and stuff I knew that you were somewhere in there, but I didn't know where Jane was…?" She seemed almost… nervous? A blush crept up her rosy cheeks. Tsk tsk, Grace, get your mind out of the gutter. Or, at least that's what Jane would have said, if he was in a better mood.
It was unfair to be cruel to the young woman, it wasn't her fault. Putting on a smile, he let his words be light and innocent. "Out on the balcony. I wanted to see the animals."
She nodded widely, letting out a puff of air. "Oh, gosh, why didn't I think of that. Yeah, okay. Rigsby and Cho are checking out the gift shop downstairs, and I told them that we would meet them. Shall we…?"
"We shall!" Lisbon piped up, grabbing her phone off the counter and stuffing it in her pocket. As they left she glanced back at Jane, but he was closing the door and avoiding her gaze at all costs. She bit her lip.
After she had refused his question, he realized what has been going on. Lisbon was humoring him, without any want and cruel intentions. He had slid out from under her, punched the tub smoothly, denting his own hand painfully, and quietly left, going outside to cool off. Lisbon had finished her make-up, trying not to think of him. More and more, it seemed, Lisbon was becoming braver against him, yet feeling more sad whenever her plan backfired. She had always cared about him, very much so, but she never thought that it would breach past friendship.
No, no, it wouldn't. She couldn't afford it.
'Afford it?' Lisbon asked herself as they walked into the warm, breezy air and down the side of the building towards the bus stop. 'Have I become so shallow as to calculate love?' She didn't even contradict the love notion. Something was there, and she came to terms that it was so similar to love that it could be called that. But no, of course, definitely not love.
Of course not, that would be the ultimate surrender.
She was not going to lose.
Cho took pictures when they got to the park, methodically. Jane was leading, and Lisbon was flanking the back, looking at the large lake beside the huge, slightly crowded path to the entrance. It looked like some sort of ferry service, and it looked a bit crowded, too. Like it was one of the rides. Lisbon shrugged it off as they all walked through the no-bag entrance.
After quickly sliding their cards in the admission, they saw a beautiful display. Fluffy grass decorated with flowers, forming a Mickey Mouse and tilted to give guests a full few. Above that stood a train station, ancient-looking but sturdy, tracks branching out from either side into lush trees. Below that, on either side of the flower arrangement, were wide walkways into the park itself. Really, they were small enough to be walkways but long enough to be counted as tunnels, a brief period of shade from the sun before emerging on the other side. Jane turned, walking backwards, and smile. Lisbon noticed that he didn't put his heart into it, not even half.
"Let's take the train to Frontierland, where we can go to the other two lands around it. After those, there is a Mexican restaurant across the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. No reservations today; we will eat what we can." He pursed his lips for a moment. "Not that it's inedible, just nothing special."
Rigsby jumped to touch a slight dent on the wall of the 'tunnel' as they went under it. "You know me; food is food."
Cho nudged him playfully, his newly emerged smile on his face as van Pelt hung her arm from his broad shoulder, smiling like a group of friends. Since they were all otherwise occupied, Lisbon, passed them to get to Jane. Pausing for a split second to grab a map from one of the stacks neatly propped on each side of the walkway, she folded it up in one hand and reached out to his shoulder with the other. He spoke before they even made contact.
"What you did was inexcusable, you know."
She sighed, stuffing the map in her pocket. "I know." They climbed up the stone steps, over the rushing crowd, and made it to the second floor, where they blended with the small crowd of people, who were also waiting. Their all-mighty card couldn't make the train move faster. She then murmured, very quietly: "Does this mean that you're disinterested now?"
"Excuse us, please," Jane said immediately to the others, his face cool. "I wanted to show Lisbon the view to the castle from here."
Jane smoothly, yet firmly, placed a hand on the Lisbon's' back, guiding her. They walked through the small, air-conditioned inside of the gift shop, which was nearly miniscule, and out the other side. A white railing kept them from falling over as it hung over the emerging people, very crowded streets with small buildings framing the land. A magnificent castle glimmered straight ahead, though a good ways' out. Surprisingly, no one else was with them on the small area.
Jane stared at her, the sunlight gleaming off his features. His eyes were more fiery than crashing, flickering blue orbs. He, very slightly, shook his head. "Never, no matter how disappointed I am with you, will I ever be disinterested."
She shook her head. "What I did was wrong, Jane." She turned her head from him, out to the shining castle. "And I feel guilty, guilty as hell, for doing that to you."
He sat down on one of the patio chairs near them, watching the train move on the opposite side of the park. They had about seven minutes, give or take, at this rate and distance. He then looked up at her, staring into her mossy emerald eyes.
"Lisbon." He was calm and collected, reaching out to grab her hand. He was trying to act nonchalant, eyes back to lazily scanning the people below, but she knew that he was quite interested in their conversation. "You are… I am irrevocably in love with you. It's my fault for pressuring you while I couldn't control myself, and you did what you needed to mentally, after these stressful past few days." She furrowed her eyebrows, and he suddenly stood up from his seat, finding her face to stare meaningfully into it and run a warm hand down her cheek, pulling a response out from her.
"Look, Jane, I care about you too." She stared back into his eyes, but she removed his hand from her face. "Maybe even love you, but not in the way you would hope I would. I can't… mentally love you, Jane. All of my thoughts in the open, like I'm another book for you to read…" She stepped back, pressing her hand against his chest as she did so he wouldn't follow. "You just think that you love me, but you don't. No, I'm just someone to fill in the void. If I-."
"You think you mean that little to me?" Jane said in a slow, agonizing tone, ignoring her arm to step even closer. His calm demeanor fell, eyes wide and incredulous as his broad body blocked the sun from her. "I am in love with you, Teresa. That is never going to change. Ever." He backed her into a corner, blocking out anyone that might look up to the balcony or through the gap from the other side of the small building.
"Jane, you're angry. You don't know what you're saying."
"The hell I don't!" He trailed his hands firmly underneath her shirt, winding them around her bare waist, closer to him until she could barely breathe. "I have not been clear enough with you over these past couple of days, and it's about time I stop playing games."
He unwound his arms to quickly run them to her bare thighs, hitching them over his hips. Using the brick wall as leverage, he grinded up, so she was only barely higher than his own face. His words began to grow quiet, voice cracking with strain. "I love you with every ounce that I am, and if you don't believe me, I'll prove it to you."
He crushed his lips to hers', intruding her mouth with his hot tongue before she could refuse him. Oh my God. Her hand grasped at his soft hair, but she couldn't decide whether to pull him away or shove his mouth more forcefully to hers. Her other hand clawed at his biceps, to swat him away, but that only made him angrier and press closer to her.
His eyes were closed, different from the first time he kissed her. He fiercely bit her lip, not hard enough to break the skin but enough to send a jolt throughout her body. The train blew its' whistle, but it was too far away for Jane to even remotely care. The sweltering sun didn't make his forceful condition any better, only fueling the desire to explore her mouth more feverently.
Eventually, his wandering tongue got its fill. Lisbon, who was still faintly trying to fight him back, had used all the strength she had not to participate. Even though she didn't kiss him back, it didn't mean she didn't enjoy it. Her fingers were still tangled into his hair, pressing him to her, and her thighs were vices, locking onto his slim waist so he couldn't move away from her. Not that he didn't have a smug reaction to that fact.
Soon, his mouth became less hungry, retreating his tongue to make it slower and tantalizing, calm enough to let him crack open his eyes and bore into her emerald ones'. His lips died down completely as he realized that there was a reason that she didn't kiss him back.
"I'm… sorry," Jane muttered against her lips, gently dropping her now-bruised thighs. Hopefully it was faint enough that the team wouldn't be able to see it. "I-I don't know what came over me. I promise, I won't ever kiss you like that again." He pulled away from her completely, taking long strides to the balcony and let the slight wind rid him of the redness of his cheeks and, more importantly, make sure she didn't have to see the confusion and hurt on his face.
Lisbon wasn't really sure if she didn't want him to kiss her like that again.
Jane was sure that their companions didn't suspect a thing when they returned to the station, even though both of their lips were slightly pink and swollen. He still acted the usual way; invading space, being irritating, and overall arrogant. When the train arrived just seconds later, they slid in beside the team on the low-key train, Lisbon flanking the outside. She pulled out her phone, but not to text Walter, to Jane's surprise (not that he would ever admit that). Instead, she opened up a games tab and tapped on hangman.
"Pick two-player," Jane murmured in her ear, and without another thought she agreed, typing in their names under the multiplayer option. The train lurched forward, and after a random pick, Jane had the first turn. "Here."
Without having to familiarize himself with the phone, he typed in the letters rather quickly, giving the phone back to Lisbon after hitting 'enter'. It was a short sentence, and after a few guesses Lisbon got it. 'Did you hate me?'
He was talking about the events that occurred on the balcony, just minutes before. She clasped her phone shut and turned her face up to look at him.
His hand slipped over hers', and he sighed at her straightforward tone, but it was more relieved than anything. "That's good to hear."
She shrugged. "I guess… I'm kind of tired of hating you. Not that I ever did, but…"
He nodded, and his kind smile willed her to continue.
"I…" Her voice became a whisper. "Care about you. Like love, but not love."
Jane resisted the urge to contradict her, like he always did. Of course it was love. It was only a matter of time before she exactly came to that solution. Until then…
Jane grinned, leaning over to press a silky-sweet kiss to her cheek. "I understand."
His lips were warm and thoughtful against her skin. A blush crept up her cheeks, and she shoved him away slightly to look away, out to the passing trees with sudden interest. "Stop with the kissing, please."
He leaned back, so far that he was nearly touching van Pelt, but despite the space between them he couldn't help but tease her a bit. "If you want to take control, be my guest. I wasn't aware that you were a… topper. In the bedroom, I mean."
Red. All that covered her cheeks were red these days. The train lurched to a stop, and she jumped up from her seat, stumbling off the train and through a pathway of 'red clay', layered into a sort of mountain that reminded her of termite hills. Jane chuckled far behind her.
When she broke out of the mountain-like trail in into the wide open, her mouth dropped. So. Many. People. Her logical streak overruled her dignity, and she chose to stay close to the exit, where she wouldn't get lost. And she waited, giving her poor cheeks time to cool off, leaning against the soft red structures, people breezing past her from the exit just a few yards to the left.
When Lisbon had enough dignity (and paleness) to her face to look up without feeling ashamed, she managed to make her time useful. Pulling her map from her pocket, she unfolded it and ran her finger slowly to the castle in the middle. She looked up and, straight ahead, was the left side of the shimmering building, spiked in delicate tufts at the top. There were so many different buildings around it… how the hell could Jane memorize it with just a glance, probably taking a few seconds tops? She shook her head, mystified.
How the whole thing worked was, in a way, simple. Convenient, only seeming difficult from how many rides there were. The castle was smack in the middle, and trees filled any space that wasn't already occupied. There was a line from the entrance, which she supposed was the 'road' that was narrow between two parallel lines of buildings, the same short height to seem symmetrical, mostly made up of shops. That was what she and Jane were overlooking on the balcony where they kissed.
She clutched the map to her chest for a brief second, out of embarrassment and maybe a bit of longing at the thought of what happened out there. No, no longing. At all. Or, at least, she hoped not.
She sighed and pulled the map more in front of her to review it again. She needed to get herself together, Damnit! With another sigh, she reviewed the map once more. It was actually quite interesting, like reading the legend at the beginning of a storybook, the map of a mystical kingdom.
Her finger touched a spot, nearly as large as the castle, but obviously only by width considering how it didn't seem to be a building at all. A brown-ish spot, in the middle of a round brush of green bushes, like a sort of shrine. It was right in front of the castle, several branches leading off around it. What was–?
"A bronze statue of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney," a smooth voice said from beside her, and she jumped. Then she realized who it was, the cocky undertone to his voice, and she rolled her eyes. "Fun fact about Walt: he was actually afraid of mice."
Rigsby looked over the front, reviewing the map upside-down. "Holy crap, this place is huge." His mouth was hitched slightly open in surprise. "I thought that Jane was making everything up. I kinda want to memorize everything, to get the feel of the land, you know."
"Me too," van Pelt said lightly, peeking over Jane's shoulder.
Cho kept silent, but he was right beside Rigsby from curiosity. Jane sighed, but it wasn't irritated at all. More of a thoughtful one, a light rumble along with the air.
"Alright kids, I'll show you everything you need to know when we eat later. Maybe Hollywood Studios tomorrow, before we leave. But, in the meantime…" He grinned at them all, and pointed away from the castle, a 90-degree turn to the right. A rickety entrance that was past a small bridge over rushing water, the line to it overflowing into the street. "Who's ready to get splashed?"
The hype over Splash Mountain was very understandable, Lisbon mused, trying to wring out the flyaway strands that were loosened from her bun. Jane nudged her temple with his bristly cheek playfully (Which he needed to shave), his thin, wet shirt sticking to him in all the right places. Rigsby was staring blankly at van Pelts' far more soaked shirt, which stuck pretty significantly to her as well. Cho pushed him out of the way before he did something stupid.
What you rode in was, basically, a log. Of course, it was probably made out of anything but wood, what with the lack of mold on it's nearly constant submergence in water. In it was four neat rows, two seats per row. It mostly took place inside, with a big 'OMG let's erupt down a mountain' finale at the end. That's the only time they ever got really wet, thinking back to the rocky ride. The whole interior was sing-songy, Georgian and very country. It was all about a rabbit being followed by a very hungry fox and bear, the animals magically evolving the ability to sing 'Zippity Doo Da'. At the end, whad'ya know, CRASH! little rabbit would fall into the briar patch right as they rushed down the 'Splash Mountain'. After that, they smoothly glided into port and exited with grins on their faces.
"That was fun!" Jane said conversationally, running a hand through his hair to remove all the excess water. His answer was a mutual shrug from Lisbon.
"It was alright… Why couldn't it have gone upside down?" Her mouth hitched slightly into a pout, which Jane found adorable.
"Dear, considering that we are on planet Earth (and specifically on water), gravity kind of makes that rather impossible." He patted her arm, and she swatted his hand away. He narrowed his eyes slightly.
"Using my powers," Rigsby said loudly, holding his hands to his temples overdramatically. "I pronounce that the next ride in Frontierworld will be… Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!"
"Couple things here," Jane began, watching counting off on his fingers and not trying to hide his amused smile. "First, it's 'Frontierland', along with 'Fantasyland', 'Tomorrowland', etcetera. Second, you're facing Thunder Mountain and you didn't even bother to close your eyes."
He shoved the blond lightly, chuckling. "Psh, dude, I knew that."
They began the small trek to Runaway Railroad, which also had a pretty full capacity. It only took less than a minute to reach it, and their golden cards were ready when they arrived at, oh my God, another rickety wooden entrance! Sarcasm, obviously. It was Frontierland after all, so why wouldn't everything be made of wood?
"You lead," Jane murmured to Cho, slowly creeping past the others to get to Lisbon. The path was considerable short, but it took a bit slower from angling up to the sky and then back down multiple times. Not steep, but enough to annoy certain people, like Lisbon.
"Just a test here…" Jane began, and reached out to grasp her hand. She pulled it away from him as if it burned, and soft blush coating her cheeks. He sighed heavily.
"What's wrong with me touching you?"
"Shh!" She hissed, the sound of chugging trains nearing closer to them. "Not so loud, the team might hear!"
After a few moments, he suddenly chuckled. Despite her warnings, he clasped back onto her hand, firm enough so she couldn't escape. "Rigsby likes the fact that you found someone, Cho knew the moment I met you (despite me being married at the time) that we would eventually get together, and van Pelt couldn't be happier. I'm sorry, but were you worried about their reactions?"
The train was in front of them now, and Jane whirled her around to clamp his hands on her shoulders, meeting her eyes. "Look at me, Teresa. Whatever's holding you back, it's part of my… quest to take it away, bring you closer to me. Which means a lot more touching… just a warning to you." His mouth formed into her favorite crooked smile, and he gently pressed his lips to hers.
His lips were warm, so much that she felt cold after he pulled away a split second away. He grabbed her hand once more, and she disregarded the urge to flee as he dragged her onto the very unsafe-looking train cart.
Lisbon was terrified the whole freaking ride. Not because of the ride itself; it was faster than Splash Mountain, which she really enjoyed. It climbed up, but instead of going straight down, it took a ton of steep turns as it chugged down the red clay, which expanded beside the ride to let the people on the normal train, like they had, exit or enter. It was kind of funny; a runaway train attraction right next to the normal one, like it was taunting it from how much faster it was.
But no, that's not why she was terrified. Imagine this: several rows of two-per-seats, with a single lap bar for each row. Now, Jane wasn't fat, not in the slightest. But he was broad, so his hips were nearly two times as big as her waist. Sure, it fit him pretty snug, tight against his dark slim jeans. On her, though, it hung above her three inches away, making it pretty easy for her to slip away. So, of course, her thoughts weren't exactly on the positive side at the moment.
Jane shifted beside her. "Hold my hand, Lisbon."
She looked at him like he was crazy. "No!" An earlier event came to mind in her outburst. "And you said that you wouldn't kiss me again, jerk."
He had sighed gently, as if he were explaining a simple math problem to a little girl. "If you really think back, you would know that I said 'I won't ever kiss you like that again', not that I wouldn't kiss you again. Now that it's settled, hold my hand before you have a panic attack."
She had, of course, rolled her eyes, and the train began to warm below them, about to start up. "Yes, Jane, because if I begin to fall off, the strength in your arm will be very helpful."
He leaned over as far as the bar could let him, brushing her ear with his lips. "I won't ever let go."
She leaned her head back, right as the train had lurched forward, and had audibly groaned. But she did accept his offer.
Now she reviewed her palm, and saw that she did more than accept his offer. Right when the train went over a hump, about to rush down, she traded his hand for his entire arm, wrapping her arms around it tightly and holding on, her head tight against his shoulder. As they walked out, he held out his arm to her once again, face innocent. "You can hold my arm again, you know; I know how fondyou are of them." Only one word could describe his face: annoying.
She narrowed her eyes at him before spinning on her heal, stalking ahead. Over her shoulder, she snapped, "And you wonder why I'm always angry at you!"
A chuckle behind her. "No I don't!"
She reached van Pelt, and immediately matched the rhythm of her stride. "Jerk," she muttered under her breath.
Van Pelt looked at her with worried eyes. "Anything happen?"
The brunette ran her fingers through her bangs, mussing it up before smoothing it down again. They had no idea where they were going now, so Jane would have to lead them soon. "Jane is just being Jane."
The man himself nudged in between the two women to get to the front. He was backpedaling with unnatural ease, weaving through people without a glance. "Alright, we are going to go over the bridge in front of Splash Mountain, take a turn to the left, into Liberty Square. After the Haunted Mansion there, we will go back to where that bridge is and take another left into Adventureland, to Pirates of the Caribbean, and onto Tortuga Tavern, the Mexican food place. We clear?"
The mutual 'yes' allowed him to turn back around and lead them away. Van Pelt gave her a reassuring smile, but Lisbon didn't blame her for being silent, what with Jane right there. Trying to keep the awkwardness away, Lisbon piped up. "So Jane, what's the Haunted Mansion? Is it scary?"
He slowed down to walk next to her, both talking to van Pelt and her. "The Haunted Mansion isn't scary, as much as it is ridiculous. Sure, it has an eerie exterior and interior, but it's the right enough of scary to balance out how silly it is." He shrugged slightly, stepping off the bridge in front of Splash Mountain, taking a sharp veer to the left and past the old-western buildings. "It's kind of like Spaceship Earth yesterday; it's a tour, but without the cool touch screens. So it's pretty slow, nice and refreshing from our time baking in the sun."
Lisbon noticed that his shirt was, thankfully, not sticking to his chest anymore when he commented on how hot it was. Jane eyed her shirt with a raised eyebrow, voice murmuring. "I'm a bit depressed that your shirt has dried, I might add."
She furrowed her eyebrows, looking down at her faded, pea-green shirt. "It was ever wet?"
"Yes, and…" His voice was only audible to her, leaning over to whisper in her ear. "It stuck to you in all the right places, my dear."
After contemplating his words for a small moment, she suddenly began to giggle. Jane watched her curiously, a bit of a frown on his lips. His voice was louder. "I was hoping that you would have blushed."
She shook her head, suddenly braver than before. "Well, after Splash Mountain, that's exactly, word for word, what I thought about you."
He incredulously raised an eyebrow. "You thought that about me? And you said it out loud without blushing? I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a bit unhappy at the fact."
"Why are you so obsessed with me blushing? I mean, it's just patches of heat."
He had that teasing glint in his eye. "Actually, the color itself is from red blood cells exploding. But your theory works, too."
A sign named 'Liberty Square' came into sight, more pilgrim-ish than the wild-west town behind them. It was like they were back in the times of the Puritans, and Lisbon half-expected Andrew Jackson to come trotting along and share a drink with one of the bystanders. Why would the Haunted Mansion be here?
They sharply turned to the left again, along a river. They seemed to be trailing along a river, toward a secluded corner covered in trees. It seemed ominous, so Lisbon figured that when they got closer it would probably be their destination. The whole dark feel to that particular spot made her yawn herself.
"Let me get this straight," Jane said, eyeing her teasingly. "You're yawning in Disney World?"
She shrugged, rubbing her bare neck. "I guess I slept wrong."
'Really? You slept like a baby in my arms last night', is what he wanted to say, but he had taken extra care to be out of the bed by the time she woke up, lounging on the balcony in the crisp morning air, before the sun really had a chance to heat him up. "Huh, I must've not noticed. You were still sleeping when I got up, so I just removed the pillows so you could have more room." His lie was nice and smooth. She nodded slightly, an embarrassed thanks.
Rigsby 'awed' from behind them. "Is that the Haunted Mansion?"
A withered building loomed past the trees, tucked snuggly away into the trees. It was dreadful, the lines beginning far from the building itself and the whole thing just scary. She resisted the urge to clutch Janes' hand, obvious that if she did, she would never hear the end of it.
"So… It's so scary that it's silly, huh, Jane?" Cho deadpanned, snapping a good picture of the mansion before continuing with the team. Jane pointed an accusing finger at him.
"Hey now, I never said that. I put the 'silly' and the 'scary' separately, mind you. They don't just join together on their own." He scoffed.
Cho shrugged, looking around lazily, the universal signal for 'I don't care'. Jane rolled his eyes, but then moved to sling his arm around Lisbon's shoulders. She dodged it, eyeing him warily. "What is it?"
He sighed heavily, showing his annoyance. "I was just going to ask if you would like to ride with me. You seem a bit… scared."
She straightened bravely. "I'm not scared, jackass. I'm tired. I was actually thinking of getting a cart to myself, maybe stealing a nap. If it's-."
Jane shook his head, cutting her off. "Trust me, Lisbon. If you ride this by yourself, you'll be hyperventilating before the good part even shows up. You'll be scared." He cocked his head, lowering his voice into a thoughtful murmur. "Let me ride with you."
His meaningful eyes made it even harder to disagree. "No, Jane. At least one of the team always sits alone, and it makes me feel bad. I'm perfectly content with sleeping this ride out, getting some shut-eye. I won't get scared." She shrugged, hiding her wariness as she looked back up to the corner.
He sighed. "You're going to regret it, I guarantee it."
They sidestepped the lines, heading past the awaiting people to the employee. "Look, I'm pretty tough, if you can recall my job." She nearly laughed at his slightly irritated expression. "Jane, face it; you're not always right."
Damnit, Jane was right.
First, it had been innocent enough; A plastic, black 'buggy', nice and compact that had enough room for two people. A simple lap bar, but it was like Spaceship Earth; it didn't jerk around. Ignoring the frustrated looks from Jane, she jumped into a separate buggy and relaxed, the air conditioning cooling her overheated face. The interior was even gloomier than the inside, dim without the sun shining on them, but that didn't really bother her.
Then she actually got to the ride itself, and grudgingly admitted that Jane was right, after all. Doorknobs jiggling, the spooky narrator chilling her spine, demonic pictures in shaking picture frames. She ended up curling into a ball, off-tuned maniacal laughter surrounding her. She tried to calm herself down, so she wouldn't be really worked up when she got off, because she so didn't need Jane teasing her right now. A shiver ran down her spine when she got a glimpse of ghosts dancing below them, and had to cover her eyes whenever they entered an attic full of memories and pictures of a ghostly woman killing off all of her past husbands.
Eventually, after a graveyard scene with goblins springing up in front of her and ghastly ghosts teasing around her, she finally sat up straight. She wouldn't want Jane finding her in the fetal position, near tears. So, after 'hitchhiking ghosts' teased around with her reflection, they reached the end. Unfortunately Jane was one ahead of her, and walked next to her buggy until her own metal band opened.
She didn't have time to get out on her own. Grabbing her hand, he pulled her up, only pausing to mutter something in Chos' ear. After his firm nod, Jane dragged her off of the moving platform and onto the gloomy floor once again. Workers that took their job WAY too seriously waved them off, eyes glazed and bodies stiff. She tried to copy their stance, straightening her back and raising her chin as he jerked her forward. He somehow found a small section outside of the 'Hall of Presidents' (A show about, well, the presidents), past the bathrooms and around another corner.
Nudging Lisbon against the brick, he pressed his hands on either side of the wall for support, while also trapping her. The cutoff to the street was behind them, though no one ventured this far, and trees were beside them. A wicked, know-it-all grin grew on his face, so close to hers, and his eyes were teasing. Lisbon grew impatient.
"So, you brought me all the way over here to smile?" She asked incredulously, so close that her arms brushed his chest when she crossed them.
He shrugged, which looked awkward with his arms straight in front of him, pressed against the brick on either side of her slender neck. "No, I brought you out here to compensate for my absence on the ride, my dear."
And, instead of laughing at her or taunting 'I told you so!', he shifted his arms to curl around her shoulders, pressing her face into his chest. "I'm sorry for leaving you alone like that."
She sighed, flustered but nevertheless still slightly annoyed. "Jane, you have no reason to be sorry, if this was even that big of a deal. I made you ride separate, away from me so I could sleep, which I did."
A chuckle rumbled beside her ear. "Lisbon, do you really think that I would believe that for even a second?"
Her lower lip stuck out, and she felt a slight relief that he couldn't see her. "No."
"Well, alright then. The reason I'm sorry is not because I should have forced myself to ride with you, but the fact that you were frightened in the first place." His hand patted the hair above her bun soothingly.
She pulled back to look at him. "Jane, I'm a grown woman. I think I can handle-."
"It's my job to make you as happy as possible on this trip. I can't do that if you won't let me any sadness for my mistakes." His cool breath washed her forehead as he sighed, sliding his arms downward until his hands folded at her waist. Her back was bowed against the brick, which wasn't really that uncomfortable.
"I'm perfectly fine. Sure, I was a bit spooked, but it's not like I'll have nightmares about it." She, cautiously, reach a hand up to his face, cradling his cheek. He leaned into it, and sighed again.
"You know what, I'm fine too. Just needed a bit of time alone with you, that's all." His voice was gentle and smooth, holding her gaze with his watery blue eyes. Before she knew it, he was swooping down and pressing his lips against hers.
He was smooth, like slow moving lava against her lips. He gently pried her lips open, slipping his tongue into her mouth and running it over the ridges at the top of her mouth. She wasn't angry with him, but she still couldn't kiss him back. Not without feeling that sense of lose, without being truly happy. Eventually he broke apart, eyes full of a want that he was trying to hide, along with the tiniest bit of hurt contributed with her lack of response. But then he smiled.
"Come on, I told Cho to start heading to Pirates. If we start now, I can get us there before them." Linking their fingers together, he pulled her back around the corner, off the steps and into the crowd at a brisk, comfortable speed. Instead of turning right on the main path, he went straight, past the castle and into a small branch. Taking a sharp right, he walked under the 'Adventureland' sign.
"Bingo," she heard him mutter under his breath, and she had to move her feet quickly to match his long strides. A random thought came to mind.
"Hey, Jane?" She asked, squeezing his hand slightly. His head turned immediately, though he still kept his uncanny sense of direction.
"Why did you… choose me?" She was trying to talk as mild as possible, flickering her eyes to the path before them and back to him. "I mean, there are a bunch of other willing women that would take you in a heartbeat. Why me, if I'm just going to put up a fight?"
He wasn't angry, like when Lisbon had asked 'Why me?' to him yesterday, around the time they were checking in to the hotel. He just quirked his mouth, yet it held no emotion, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Because I love you, not them."
She rolled her eyes, but still felt troubled. "It would be a lot easier on you if you didn't."
"We both know that I rarely ever choose the easy way. And the outcome in this particular 'quest' is you, the prize. Which I wouldn't lose to anyone." He nudged her with his shoulder playfully, enjoying her blush.
"Alright, charmer," she muttered, defeated. "What is this Pirates of the Caribbean ride, anyway?"
He took his hand away to scratch his head, which freed hers' to stuff in her pockets subconsciously. He continued around another curve. "It's a fun boat ride, only one drop in the entire thing. It's supposed to be funny, realistic pirate automatons and detailed interior. And there it is."
Nearly to the left, Lisbon eyed the building curiously. It had the sign on the front, along with a pirates flag. It didn't look like it was from some sort of play or little kid movie, no. It was the 'real deal', battered and torn from 'war'. The team showed up in the opposite direction, right as they showed up, and they joined together.
"Over there is where we're going to eat," Jane said, pointing to an open-seated building across the 'street'. The only cover was, well, a wooden cover that hung over the whole thing. There was a sign at the top that said 'Tortuga Tavern'. "It matches the pirate-y feel, doesn't it?"
Cho shrugged, and snapped a picture of it. "Sure."
Turning back around, he flashed the worker his card and let the team enter before them, into a space beside the real line. He placed a hand on the small of Lisbon's back, seemingly harmless, really. Except for the fact that his thumb sometimes wandered up a bit, running over her bra strap.
She removed his arm briskly, keeping her hand on his wrist. "Alright, no more touching."
He scoffed. "I can touch whenever I want. Wherever I want, too. Remember?" He slid his hand up from her hold on his wrist, back to guiding her with his wandering hand. It seemed as though he was in that mood. It was making her uncomfortable, how close he was. His finger dug slightly under the strap, as if to unhook it, and Lisbon roughly threw his arm to the side.
"What's with you?" She burst, yet still not enough to rise over the talking inside. "I'm tired of you thinking that you're so 'superior', enough to rule over my life more than I can myself. It's frustrating, like we're back at the office again and you're annoying the suspects." Her arms waved slightly, a sure sign of irritation. "Think about this; the way it is now, it's like I'm the suspect! Leave. Me. Alone."
Jane looked wide-eyed at her, mouth slightly agape. And then he turned apologetic, remorseful even. "Do you really want me to leave you alone?"
She rolled her eyes. Was her outburst for nothing? "Yes!"
He averted his eyes forward, like it stung just to look at her. He began to walk faster, to get to the front of the group, away from her. "Okay. Whatever you want."
She ignored the surge of pain at his expression, locked off from any type off hurt. She ignored how briskly he walked away from her, as if he was escaping.
And she definitely ignored how cold she was without him by her side.
He took the whole thing pretty far out.
He chose Rigsby or van Pelt to blabber with, and he sat all the way on the other side of the little boat, all to avoid her. The seats were about the size of the ones on the train, from the beginning, so they could all fit in one row. She caught him watching her, once, when the ride was jerking forward, to see her reaction. He hadn't averted his gaze; he kept on staring at her with those swirling blue eyes. Before any words could be spoken she turned her head, breaking the stare and ultimately his hypnotic hold. She nearly scoffed; it was his fault, anyway.
Now they were cruising in a raggedy village, Jack Sparrow popping up in barrels and other hiding places while 'A Pirates Life for Me' played. Right when they had entered the ride, after a few dark warnings from Blackbeard, they slid down a long ramp, smaller than Splash Mountain but around the same speed. Afterwards, it was really fun, like the inside Splash Mountain but smoother and without the talking animals. Eventually, the ride ended after a drunk (Was he ever sober?) Jack Sparrow sang the pirate song. She took a picture of him with her phone; she had to admit, he was one of her favorite celebrities.
Lisbon got off first when the boat lurched to the stop, followed by Rigsby, Cho, van Pelt, then him, who was patiently waiting for her to say something to him, she could feel it. She wasn't going to be the one to cave and apologize (For no reason!), nope. He just had to deal with it.
They kind of switched around, so that Jane was leading and she was near the back. He went straight across the street, and the restaurant was filled with the smell of Mexican food. They ordered, and Jane excused himself to go find them a table. Then the team turned on her.
She rolled her eyes. "Nothing. He's just being a big baby."
"No, he seems really upset," van Pelt said slowly, playing with her fingers. "We don't mean to be nosy, but…"
"No, I mean to be nosy," Cho deadpanned, crossing his arms. "What did you say."
It wasn't a question. "I told him to leave me alone. He was being… pushy."
Rigsby shrugged, but he was obviously uncomfortable with the conversation. "Seems reasonable. Jane can be pushy sometimes." Cho relaxed slightly and nodded along.
Van Pelt was still cautious, her eyebrows kind of furrowed. "I think you should apologize. I mean, he really-."
"No way." Lisbon shook her head, and turned slightly to look behind her. They could barely see Jane, who was all the way in the back, chin on his folded arms and eyes soaking in the surroundings. She turned back around. "I didn't do anything wrong. Sometimes he needs to just… give me my space."
Their food came before van Pelt could answer. Rigsby offered to carry it, and they weaved their way around tables to get to theirs. Lisbon chose the one across from Jane, near an open space to look out to the passing crowd. He looked to the food, and picked out what was his, plopping it in front of him. "Smells good."
Lisbon followed suit, scraping her chair back around to face the table. "The nachos are mine."
After a while of awkward chewing, Rigsby straightened up. "Hey, Jane, can you show me the map now?"
"Oh!" He said, muffled, chewing faster to speak again. He patted his mouth with his napkin, and then held his hand out to Lisbon. Since she kind of wanted to learn about it, too, she pulled the folded map out of her pocket and dropped it in his hand without a comment.
"Alright, group in," he said, unfolding the map. Lisbon squeezed in beside van Pelt, and tilted her head to look at the map the correct way. The whole thing was just a big, slightly misshapen circle.
Pointing to the bottom, his finger landed on a building. "This is the train station, which you all know of. Did you see that big street in front of it, before we really climbed on the steps to the station? Yeah, this is called 'Main Street U.S.A.'. It leads up to the Walt/Mickey statue in front of the castle." His finger barely traced the thick road, bordered by an array of shops. He nodded to Lisbon, a slight acknowledgement.
"Now, at the statue, it branches off five different ways, not including Main Street. It leads to, almost, each individual 'land'." He took another bite of his food before continuing.
"So, the path that starts going to the left, a little angled down, leads to Adventureland." He pointed to a large-ish building. "That's Pirates. We are here, just across the street. That's basically all that is really eventful to us in this land."
He led his hand back to the statue, and to a different path, still going left but tilted upward instead of down, right above the one prior.
"This goes straight to Liberty Square. That scary building at the top, near the river, is, you guessed it, the Haunted Mansion. Now, if you want to get to Frontierland, just go down and to the left. It's easier to get there from Adventureland, but you can still get there from Liberty." His finger pointed at two main attractions, each one wider than the castle on the map, at Frontierland. The land was snuggly tucked into the left of a big river, the Haunted Mansion easily in it's own corner on the other side. They really took the deserted wild-west theme pretty far out, considering that those two rides were the only things there, deserted. "This structure that looks like a mountain of red clay? Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Below it is Splash Mountain."
Then he pointed to the castle. "You can go through the tunnel in the castle to get to Fantasyland, this colorful large bit at the top. It's very cheerful, obviously different from Haunted Mansion. This space at the top, huge but filled with trees? Yeah, it's not really filled with trees. It used to be Toontown, but they're redoing it as an extension to Fantasyland. The put the trees there as a place-holder, to show the magic without showing the mechanics in the making of them. Finally, last but not least…"
He skipped the trail that was at a rough '2:00' position, which obviously led to the space between the two lands, almost like a shortcut. His finger traced the last path, to the right and tilted downward. "This is Tomorrowland. Very futuristic, all about 'tomorrow'. It has Space Mountain and a bunch of other stuff, so it's real fun, all galaxy-like."
He pointed at Main Street again. "Tonight, there are fireworks and an Electrical Parade. Or the other way around, I should say. We will stand on the side of the road for the Parade at 9, and into the street for fireworks at 10. Hey, maybe we can fit in a ride or two again in the middle of that time span." He checked his phone. "It's a quarter 'til 3 now. So, considering positioning ourselves and getting there early for the Parade… We have about 5 more hours, which means that if everything goes on plan… we'll be right on time." He closed his eyes, probably pulling up his other mental maps in his memory palace but directing his words to them. "Let's see… shame that there's no Magic Hours tonight, we could've stayed here until midnight… Tomorrow is Monday, right? Yeah, Hollywood Studios is open until 2am tomorrow. After that, we can take a day off, relax. Wednesday we can go to Animal Kingdom. EPCOT again the next. Yeah, I think that works out fine."
Jane matched the eyes of everyone, including Lisbon. "Friday, we leave at 8am to go back to Sacramento. Make the best of your time here." Releasing their gazes, he slid the map over to Rigsby with a slight smile. "Happy now?"
"Yeah, thanks man," Rigsby said enthusiastically, looking over the map again. Lisbon slid from her seat, murmuring her excuse to use the restroom. She really didn't need to 'go', but she did want to walk around the area a bit. Weaving around tables and people, she emerged into the sunlight and stretched, yawning. Kind of around Pirates of the Caribbean, to the left, was some sort of river. She could see the entrance, only a few yards away, but she chose to sweep a bit further out, finding an empty space to lean against a rail, the crowd rushing behind her. There was enough space for two people…
No, no, that's exactly what he wants her to do. He wants her to admit she was wrong, because he's too stubborn to do so himself. He knew how to get under her skin even when he wasn't there, and her neck kept on craning back and forth, just in case he would randomly show up. She sighed at her paranoia.
"Room for two?"
An unfamiliar figure brushed beside her, reversing her own stance by leaning his back against the railing, elbows on the wood. She eyed him suspiciously.
He was about the same height as Jane, with the trademark smooth voice, but that's about where the similarities ended. His hair was brown, layered in a choppy way close to his neck, near his shoulders with sloppy bangs tickling his eyes. He was definitely a southern boy; a little more than stubble on his face, blue jeans, cowboy boots and a white, elbow-length button-up tucked slightly in his buckle. All he was missing was a cowboy hat. And he worked it well, like he was born with the ensemble on. He was around her age, and she deemed him not a killer pretty fast.
"Yeah, sure." She eyed his strong, tan build one more time, before holding out her hand. "I'm Teresa."
He steadily covered it with his, but instead of shaking it, he held it up to his lips. "The pleasure's all mine, miss." Eying her blush with an amused smile, he didn't release her hand. His eyes were an odd honey color, undertoned with peach. She's never seen anything like that before, and either they were real, or he had pretty high-class contacts in. "The name's Eli, Elijah for long. Your choice, either way I'll answer."
Her lips twitched up. This guy wasn't bad. "Let me guess; Texas?"
He matched her gaze with a teasing one. "Lemme guess; Chicago?"
Her eyebrows rose. "Wow, you're good. I've been living in California since I turned 18, I didn't think that there was any Bears left in me."
His wild grin was immensely appealing. "So, I betcha switched to one of the California teams. San Fran or Oakland, maybe?"
She snorted. "Hell no, I'd rather drown myself in lava than become a traitor. Especially for them." She almost shivered.
He lifted her hand up to his mouth once more, perfect white teeth shimmering. "Truthful. I like-."
Eli froze, turning his head to the right, questioning to the source of the noise. Lisbon gritted her teeth. Please no, don't let it be…
An arm swung her around, and Janes' lips crushed into hers in a very unplatonic way, a hand wrapping around her neck to push her closer. What the hell is he doing? His tongue was wet and hot in her mouth, like he tasted her surprise. Like usual, she didn't kiss back, and she was able to get past the dizzying feeling to shove him away by his chest. He broke away from her, only to drape her shoulders with his arm.
He eyed Eli, accusing and overall cold. "Who are you?"
Eli held up both of his hands in surrender, but there was a flicker of thought while he watched Jane. Almost like he recognized him. "Now, 'm not lookin' for trouble. I can see that she's taken."
Jane matched Eli's beautiful yellow eyes with his own aquamarine ones, testosterone pumping in the air. He nodded his head to the street, meaning 'leave now, and I'll let you live' in man talk. Eli tipped his theoretical hat cautiously, managing a small wink to Lisbon before turning on his leather-clad heal.
"Y'all take care now."
After he left, Lisbon shoved Jane away, fuming. "Damnit, Jane! What the hell is wrong with you?"
He didn't answer, eyes to his feet. She took that as an invitation to continue.
"Eli was perfectly fine! And, if I recall, you haven't even talked to me since Pirates, so don't give me a 'I just felt like talking to you' jab." She looked back to the crowd, but he was already swallowed by the people. Nowhere to be found.
He bucked his chin higher up, and he grew a mischevious smirk. "If I recall, Teresa, you told me to leave you alone. I didn't know that you had a big problem with me not talking to you… Almost like you love me or something."
She crossed her arms, staring at him for a long moment. Then she turned around, not bothering to retort as she headed back to the tavern.
"Hey, wait!" Jane yelled from behind, right as the team exited the little restaurant. There was something about his voice, like for once he was truly sorry about his words. Yeah, right, and pigs could fly.
"Come on," she said, ignoring Jane's desperate call in the back of her mind. "Rigsby, lead us to… Fantasyland?"
He nodded, and led them cautiously forward, past the Frontierland sign and bordering the water surrounding the castle. Jane was running his finger down her spine and back, making her shiver involuntarily, as if he was apologizing. But she was still angry with him, so she just followed the new leader under the fairytale sign of 'Fantasyland'.
Without looking at any sign, the team automatically knew it whenever they entered Fantasyland. It was all very light and magical, colors everywhere and overall cheerful. Immediately to the left, the first thing they saw was something called 'Mickey's PhilharMagic'. Rigsby pointed to it. "That one first."
They walked in, surprised that instead of a line there was a group of people in a waiting room, plastic 3D glasses in a container on the wall. Jane grabbed five and distributed them out, whistling lightly and donning them on his curly hair. She watched him pull out his phone, tap a few buttons, and put it back in. Her phone buzzed. Wow, he texted her from 2 freaking feet away. As if talking was too good enough for him. All the same, she couldn't ignore it.
Pulling it out, she read the small words. 'Let's go swimming tonight.'
Her eyebrows furrowed, and she looked up to him. He was absorbing in the whole room, murmuring oddities about a few bystanders to Rigsby or Cho. 'What's in it for me?'
'Seeing me shirtless.'
'I already have.'
His response took an extra second. 'Seeing me wet and shirtless.'
'Ah, nearly impossible to resist. No.'
Her glasses were on her head, and started to slowly descend to her eyes. She brushed it back, resting against her bun, and snapped her phone closed. Eli was still on her mind, with his country accent and gentleman-ly charm. Would she ever see him again? With Jane following her every move, probably not. Her phone vibrated in her pocket once again.
'I'm truly sorry about that Eli guy, I was jealous.'
'No, you're not truly sorry. You just don't want me mad at you anymore.'
A pause. 'Is that such a bad thing?'
'Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, in a just a few minutes we will be presenting 'Mickey's PhilharMagic!' Please gather…"
Minnie Mouse's helium-enhanced voice bubbled over the speakers, catching the attention of everyone in the waiting room. Their voices lowered slightly, in expectation to the doors swinging open at any moment. She slid her cell into her pocket once more, not bothering to reply to his message. This whole day has been confusing so far, and despite everything that has happened, almost bland. She was itching or something to happen, but what?
The doors opened before she could think any more, and a familiar hand guided her to the right row of seats.
As if by magic, she didn't really mind it.
"That apple pie smelled good," Rigsby moaned, patting his full stomach.
Lisbon rolled her eyes as they dropped their glasses into a bin outside of the theatre, veering to the left for Peter Pan's Flight. "It was great, but I liked it for other reasons besides the special effects. Like how Donald steals the sorcerer's hat, and goes through the enhanced versions of each of the Disney classics. And the special effects." That sentence basically summed up the whole show, which kind of had an advanced nostalgia to it.
"It was fun," Jane agreed from beside her. There was still an edge to his voice, and it was like a scratch at the back of her throat; she wanted to get rid of it.
"What's wrong?" She asked, right as the worker at the front let them through with a flash of Rigsby's card. He looked at her immediately, but instead of answering, his eyes turned murderous and he glared at her. Wait, what did she do? Then she realized that he wasn't glaring at her, but something over her shoulder. She turned her head, and was greeted by a familiar face.
Instead of greeting Eli or anything, she playfully smiled. "You following us?"
He barked out a quick laugh. "No, but I did see yer little group here. I didn't know y'all were holders of the Magic Card." He held up his own card, identical except for the 'Elijah Hills' written across the front in flourish, like what each of their individual cards had in their own names. He stuffed it in the back of his blue jeans, and counted them off with his yellow eyes. "Room for one more? I have a family reunion tomorrow, so until then I'm purty much solo. If I'm not much of an intrusion."
Lisbon said, "Yes!" right when Jane muttered "Like hell." She nudged him harshly, but Eli caught on. He knew that he would intrude, but he seemed that he really didn't want to be alone today. So his honey eyes turned sheepish.
"I'm not tryin' to suck pity from y'all, but every year we come over here for our annual reunion. My wife and sons were…" he looked away, almost embarrassed. "…In a car crash, from a drunk driver. This is just my first year without 'em, and I kinda want some good company."
Jane perked his ears, thoughtful. Maybe they weren't so different after all. "I'm sorry to hear that, though I doubt that makes the pain feel any better. I'm Patrick Jane."
"Ah," Eli said, almost in… pride? "That's what I thought."
"I knew I'd seen you somewhere," Eli continued, nodding to Jane. "I saw you with 'Resa in that Liberty Square crowd earlier, must've be my subconscious talkin' to me when I saw her by the river not too long ago. And then I saw you again, whene'er you confronted me… then I was certain. You must be Channel 12."
Jane was fazed for a second, eyebrows twitching in confusion. Then composed himself quickly, his face almost professional. "Yes, I guess I was once known as that. Have I…? Sorry if I don't recall."
Eli shook his head, his shiny bangs brushing his eyelashes. "No, no, it's just that… Let me introduce myself again."
He held out his hand, a casual grin on his face. "My name's Channel 14."
Jane widened his eyes, taken aback, an emotion that seemed wrong on his face. "That's… surprising."
They stared at each other for a long moment, mildly daring the other to make a move. Lisbon broke it.
"Can someone please tell me what the hell's going on?"
"So… Eli was an old rival in the psychic business?"
Jane nodded slightly, as did Eli. They had convinced the people that led them board to allow three to a 'ship', and now they were cruising slowly over different scenarios, one of them a mini London under them that was only lit up by the tiny lights inside of Big Ben and inside the houses, like they were flying with Peter Pan. "To the press, that is. We never actually met."
Eli filled in the blanks. "In the beginning of both our careers, we was 'fighting' to see who would be the better man." He rolled his eyes, but with a smile. "He won over me. Thankfully, one of the women that I did service… well, we hit it off better than a baseball bat to a beehive. I told her after my show to meet me in Houston, when she had called me to contact her twin sister. When I first saw her…" He shrugged. Lisbon nodded, but then, cautiously, tested Eli.
"Quick, what am I thinking?"
He sighed. "You're thinking about something to think. Wait, now by the lick of your lips, something sweet… Apple pie? You must've just left the Philhar-thingy."
Dear Lord, it was another Jane. "Wow, you're good. You two should play cards sometime."
It was tense in the air again. Lisbon raised her eyebrows as they softly drifted into Neverland. "Or maybe not. Is there something wrong with that?"
Jane shook his head. "No, but… we did try to keep it separate. Back then. You get so used to reading someone like a book, per say, that when it finally happens to you… we both knew that there is a possibility of someone snapping."
Lisbon nodded as if it made sense. The team was in the boat in front of them, but they kept questions to themselves. Lisbon would introduce Eli to them at the end.
She was sandwiched in the middle of the two, Jane tracing patterns lightly on the bone of her bare knee. Kind of like the day on the airplane. It wasn't unpleasant.
They flew over bright mermaids, frozen in the sunny water. Eli looked at Jane's hand, then back to Lisbon. "'M real sorry about the whole thing earlier, I didn't mean to make you…uncomfortable." All three knew that she wasn't, but it was the right thing to say if it seemed as if she was 'taken'. "Tell me, how long have you two been together?"
Lisbon elbowed Jane in his side. "That's not what he means and you know it." She turned her head back to Eli. "We aren't together in that sense. At all. Not even remotely, really."
A perfect brown eyebrow perked behind the smooth curtain of his layered bangs. "Sounds to me like yer tryin' to convince yourself, 'nstead of me."
Jane sighed in relief from beside her. "Thank you!"
"Oh, shut up Jane," she mumbled, leaning back in her seat and crossing her arms, watching Peter Pan take the pirate ship from Captain Hook. She began to fantasize about what it would be like to fly, and a small smile crept onto her lips.
"Thinking about me, I presume," Jane noted at her smile, breaking into her thoughts. Lisbon turned her head to glare at him, but pointed her words to Eli.
"Eli, are you as annoying as Jane? Because if you are, I have to warn you that objects may go flying."
Jane leaned over Lisbon to non-subtly whisper: "She's a thrower."
"Damn straight," Lisbon muttered, pushing Jane to get out of the boat faster as they flew in beside the boarding platform. "I still think it's strange that you two happened to meet each other in Disney World. The odds are endless."
"Actually, they're about 1 in 45,000, only thinkin' of today." Eli's smile wasn't malignant, like Jane's usually was; it was teasing, no doubt, but it had a truly innocent quality to it.
Her feet padded on the ground, and Cho met her next to the boat immediately. "Who's he?"
"Oh, yeah," Lisbon said, stepping back to introduce the new guy. "This is Elijah. Him and Jane were… let's just say that he and Jane are two peas from the same pod."
They all understood her meaning, about the apparent skills that this man seemed to share with Jane. And then Rigsby got a good look at Eli's face. "Wow, you're eyes… they're yellow."
The southerner turned embarrassed. "Eh, yeah." He didn't really feel the need to add more, following the team as they headed across the street to 'it's a small world'. Van Pelt quietly scolded Rigsby for being rude before shyly eyeing Eli again.
"They're contacts, right?"
"Nope. All real." He tapped his temple knowingly. "It helps me see straight into the soul, sweetheart." In return, van Pelt looked almost terrified. Him and Jane chuckled simultaneously, though it sounded more like cackles.
"Stop with the scaring!" Lisbon snapped, which made Eli sheepishly try to hide a smile and look at his feet. He already seemed like part of the team with his casual attitude.
"Is this another Jane?" Cho asked Lisbon, expressionless and monotone to show what he was like to Eli. "Because, if it is, I'd rather stay at the hotel."
"You and me both," Lisbon whispered, barely audible. Her stomach gurgled, and it began to feel uncomfortable. She shook it off.
"It's freaky," Rigsby muttered, eyeing the sign to 'it's a small world' like it would jump out at him at any second. He'd heard the rumors. "Jane and him say stuff and laugh at the same time, like their minds are in sync. Even their voices are alike."
It was true. Both Jane and Eli had that soothing methodic voice of a hypnotist, the only giveaway their different accents and individual tones. Take away that, you had weapons of freakin' mass destruction. Damn sexy weapons. Oh God, what was she thinking? She shook the thoughts out of her head, subtle enough so the twins couldn't catch on.
"Ah, 'it's a small world'," Jane murmured, placing his hand on the small of Lisbon's back like he always did. She was beginning to sweat, but not from their closeness. Her hands were kind of clammy, and her stomach was really getting to her. "Take note that this is what nightmares are made of."
Lisbon shrugged, refusing the urge to lift her bangs to cool her forehead off. "Then don't ride it."
He gave her a pointed look. "Are you riding it?"
"Well, sure, I gue-."
"Then so am I." He said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world. She sighed heavily, eyeing Cho flash his golden card to the person up front. They ushered them into a side entrance, under a restaurant that overlooked the boat ride. The inside was really colorful and cheery, vibrant pastel colors surrounding them. Lisbon didn't feel so good at the idea.
The person who led them stopped at 'holding'. Basically, quite a few rows were separated by metal bars, and it was very short, enough to hold about 5 people. Probably the same size across as the boat itself, convenient for organizing yourselves while you waited. To the left, under an arch and across the water, they could see a boat slowly making it's way to them. Rigsby, Cho and Eli were in the row behind her, and van Pelt was leading, followed by Jane then a shaky Lisbon. Her hands were on either side of the railing, holding her up, and her face was visibly paled. The boat pulled up, and Jane didn't notice her condition until he was already sitting in the seat, looking up at her. Seeing her expression, his voice turned alarmed.
"Lisbon? Are you OK?" She backed away, letting the person who controlled the boarding of the rides know that she was definitely not riding. They closed the tiny doors to the boat, and Lisbon matched his eyes weakly.
"I… I think I'm gonna be sick."
And she ran off right as the boat took off, heading into the bathroom right next to Peter Pan… and puking her guts out.
"Damn… Mexican food."
Her vomiting ceased for the moment, so she flushed the toilet before another round came on. Or, it flushed by itself. Thankfully, in her frantic haze, she had chosen the stall all the way to the back, so no one could really listen in on her little puke-and-flush fest. God, she felt like crap.
A few more seconds ticked past. Her phone vibrated violently in her pocket, but she didn't want to look at it. She was feeling dizzy as-is, and she didn't want to read and make it worse. In the time span of ten minutes, she's had 7 episodes. She wasn't a doctor, but she was pretty sure that 7 consecutive fits of upchucking wasn't a good thing.
After she was positive that the worst was over, she stood up shakily and wiped a hand down her damp cheek. Right when she maneuvered herself straight on uncertain feet, drying her hands off on her shorts, she heard a knock.
"Occupado," Lisbon said hoarsely, opening the stall door to face her intruder.
"Hey." Van Pelts' eyes were concerned, and her titian hair was pulled back into a high ponytail. "Are you ok?"
Lisbon contemplated that for a moment. "No."
She nodded, understanding. "Do you… need to go back to the hotel?"
Again, she thought about the answer for a moment. Then she nodded, pushing her fuzzy brain to the limit while she calculated her own little schedule. "I'll be back by 7:30. Meet me in the front of the statue." She checked her phone. 14 missed messages. Jeez. "It's 4:30 now. I should be fine to get to the bus station by 7 tonight." She left the stall, and van Pelt nodded once more.
"Okay, I'll just go tell Jane-."
"No!" Lisbon yelled, and she made an effort to lower her voice when questioning looks came her way. "I mean, I want to be alone. I'll go out the back exit behind us, into Liberty Square, go to Frontierland and take the train back to the station." She shook her head, stubborn. "If Jane finds out, he'll most likely follow. Just… wait until you get a text from me so you can go back outside, okay?"
The agent was obviously hesitant. Did she have to lie? She always hated that. She voiced her thoughts out loud.
"No, no," Lisbon said, shaking her head to assure the woman. "Just stay in here until my signal. Then you can explain everything to him. Odds are, when you go back outside and he doesn't see me, he'll come to that conclusion on his own."
Van Pelt was still slightly ruffled, but it didn't take long for her to look assured and confident. "Okay, boss. See you at… 7:30?"
Lisbon nodded, and dodged to the left, towards the entrance in the back. "You bet. Thanks."
Van Pelt muttered something incoherent, but Lisbon was already out the door.
'Almost to the buses. You're good.'
Van Pelt sighed, sending back an affirmative reply and sliding the phone back into her pocket. This sucks. Jane will be fuming when he figures out. Which will obviously be really quick, since Jane was, you know… Jane. She let out another shaky breath, and left her spot on the wall to break out into the sunlight.
"Well?" Jane asked as soon as she walked out, his hair messy from, what she assumed, running his hands through it in his small fits of worry. "Is she okay? Where's Lisbon?"
"Um…" She felt the need that she didn't have to say any more to get the point across. His eyes narrowed in thought, and Eli averted his eyes in case of an outburst. He came to the conclusion a split second before Jane did.
"I see." The blonde's jaw was tense, but he didn't seem particularly angry. "Is there… any way I can catch up to her?"
Van Pelt shook her head, the tips of her ponytail brushing the back of her neck. Rigsby looked like he was about to take a step towards her, but he stopped himself as Jane seemed to become more collected. To everyone's' immense surprise, he shrugged nonchalantly.
"Alright, you win some you lose some. Anyone ready for Snow White's Scary Adventures? Or should we just go to Tomorrowland?" Jane tapped his bottom lip with his finger, contemplation molding in with utter comfort on his face.
Wait, what the hell? Maybe his feelings for her didn't go as deep as they seemed, that maybe he was tired of her for the moment. No, no, considering the past few days, they were more surprised that he didn't keep her handcuffed to him. Whenever she left his sight, he was visibly uneasy. Taking this into mind, Cho was the first to speak.
"You're not angry. Why aren't you angry?"
It took Jane a moment to answer. "She's going back to the hotel to heal herself. Of course, I would want to help her as much as I could… But sometimes a person has to be alone. And I don't blame her. So Tomorrowland? It's nearly 5 now."
Eli was the only one that could catch up with Jane's mood and actually comprehend what the hell was going on. "That sounds swell."
"So much for anger," van Pelt muttered, and Rigsby put a hand on her shoulder. An angry Jane would be more understandable than this. He was a ticking time bomb.
Without Lisbon, how were they supposed to keep him from exploding?
When Lisbon, at about 5:30, made it back to the hotel after a nearly-empty bus ride, she went straight to the gift shop to get some Tums and other stomach-related medicines. If she was on the mend, she better mend pretty fast in the time span of 2 hours. Her stomach was still upset, but she didn't really feel the urge exactly to throw up anymore. She really hoped it would go away, along with all the bitterness that had formed.
Dear lord, thinking back she realized that the whole day had been so dramatic. First the issue in the bathroom this morning, then the 'leave me alone!' thing, then Eli, then bleugh. It was too much, and Lisbon felt silly for even getting into her little spats with Jane. None of it meant anything, so she figured that it was just a result of spending too much time together. She slid her card into the slot and dropped the bag onto the counter, taking her shirt off somewhere in between. All rueful thoughts vanished when her once-sweaty skin hit the cool air. She rushed into the bathroom and turned on the shower, stripping quickly while the water heated up.
She hadn't been alone for ages. Well, she had, but not like this. Alone in a hotel, where more than 3/4 of the occupants were at a Disney park at this time. It was fantastic.
She felt sorry to take out the bun Jane had put in her hair, but she really needed to wash every part of her and get the grime all off. She let the waves tumble down her shoulders, and let out a sigh. Jane. What was he thinking right now? Was he angry? She didn't feel the need to belittle herself in his thoughts, no matter how arrogant that would seem; he'd made it very clear that he very much cares about her. What was he feeling? There was a way to check.
Before she jumped into the shower, she found her shorts near the bedroom door, and dug her phone out of one of the pockets. Aha. All of the messages held a sort of 'Where are you?' or 'Come here' or even 'I'll take you back to the hotel.' Except for one, the newest one, sent about ten minutes ago.
'See you before the parade. Hope you're doing well.'
Huh. No anger there. 'You sound like you're texting your grandmother. What are you all doing right now?'
His reply came immediately. He had ignored her jab and went straight to business, never a good sign. 'The Transit Authority PeopleMover. It tours Tomorrowland.'
She felt a bit of sadness, not being there to enjoy the rides. 'Have fun without me.'
One word washed away all her sadness, but then immediately replaced it with frustration for making her blush like a schoolgirl. 'Impossible.'
Throwing the phone back down on the heap of white denim, she half-stomped half-frolicked away, locking the bathroom door behind her. She knew that she didn't even have to close it, but it was just a precaution, and a bit of paranoia.
The water was a whole lot silkier and purer than her own back home, a fact she took note of the night before. She decided to take her time with the hotel-issued toiletries; she had the time to waste. When she finished her thorough shower, she slipped the towel around her and quickly walked through the doorway, to the bedroom. She gathered up her dirty clothes, found a bag in the laundry cabinet to throw them in, and kicked the door closed behind her.
The sun outside the balcony was low, and if you kept your eyes only on the animals in the little habitat below, it was almost as if you were in Africa. Heat included. It hadn't really been a boiling day; whenever the sun was briefly obscured behind clouds, an air of chill covered your overheated skin. Without the sun tonight, she figured it was okay to change into some tight jean-Capri's with a faded lavender top. Hell, Jane was wearing jeans, so it wasn't like there was a chance of her being fried alive inside of her clothes.
She took her phone and walked into the kitchen, popping a few medications in her mouth. Her stomach wasn't exactly in pain, but it was churning violently and uncomfortably. Which she didn't particularly want, and was hoping to get rid of.
In the time span of five minutes, she was lazily lounging on the couch, brushing her floral-scented hair with one hand and in the process of maneuvering her phone up with the other. It was only a quarter after six, which meant about 40 more minutes until she would make herself get up and go back down to the buses. She clumsily opened up her messages and texted Jane with one hand, tapping in words. 'What are you all doing now?'
It took him a few minutes. 'Just got off of Buzz Lightyear. About to go to the Laugh Factory.'
She could practically feel him sigh. 'Monster's Inc. is a show with a bunch of jokes in it. It's supposed to be real funny.'
She bit her lip, braiding a chunk of her wet hair and tying it around itself gently at the bottom. She did another, and texted back to him. God, she felt like she was 16 all over again, despite having a cell phone in her hand rather than a clunky telephone on her shoulder. 'Then I'll let you go, have fun.'
The braiding kept her hands busy, which kept her mind occupied in return, and her stomach was beginning to settle and churn less. She wasn't a doctor, but she figured that that was a good sign. The phone buzzed on her denim thigh. 'No. Keep talking to me.'
A moment passed. 'Because if you don't, I'll send you some very naughty-naughty pictures.'
'You're in Disney World, Jane. How naughty can you get?'
'I'll find a way. Maybe get a pic under Minnie's skirt or something.'
Their banter was starting to return, and she was happy for. Lisbon finished braiding the right side of her head and began on her left. When it was dry, it would be a sort of wavy. Since she didn't have the time to let it dry naturally, when she was finished she headed into the bathroom, taking out the hotel-customary blow drier and setting it to high.
For some reason, the most helpful or interesting of thoughts were thought about in the bathroom. She realized that she hadn't seen Jane in… When did she run out of 'small world'? Around 4? 4:15? Either way, it was more than two hours, three whenever she arrived at the statue. She also thought about Eli. Tomorrow, he would be at a family reunion, and odds are she won't see him again. She was a bit disappointed at that fact, but she didn't know him nearly well enough to invite him to another park with them in a few days. Well, she did, but it would be easier not to. She sighed in frustration, turning the drier off when her braids were dry and beginning to unwind them.
Wait a second, she was a cop for God's sake! She wasn't going to fall victim to love or any of that crap. Who cares if she hadn't seen Jane in a while? Who cares about some guy named Elijah? If the people around her are alive, she's good, end of story.
The tightness of her eyes betrayed her in the reflection in the mirror, the slight twitching of her jaw giving her away. She reluctantly admitted that she did want to see Eli again. More importantly, she actually missed Jane in a matter of mere hours. It was pathetic, but it was true. She desperately wanted him with her right now, but she would never truly admit that to herself, or more importantly, not to him. So, instead, she applied light makeup, slipped on some white flats the same color as the seams on her shirt, took another Tums, and made it out the door by 7.
She had a feeling that Jane was already at the statue. And she also had a feeling that she wanted to be there, too.
The castle was built thicker at the bottom, gradually crawling off the top in thin towers. Jane noticed right when they entered that it was an illusion to the eye; the castle wasn't very much tall at all, the architectural work making the eye see it more gigantic than it really was. But here, with van Pelt's 'oohs' and 'ahs', and with Cho snapping pictures of the building, it was just beautiful. Jane figured that, when he was analyzing it up close, he would be able to precisely pinpoint past the appearance, and zero into the height itself. But there, against the stone circled around the bronze statue directly in front of the color-changing castle, it was still magnificent, massive in size. It, for once, dazzled him.
The streets were clearing out, crowds of people on the side of the road, framing the pavement. Uniforms were stretching out rope to keep people back, and since the route to the parade was apparently wrapping around the statue and branching off into Liberty Square, they had to let themselves be swallowed into the crowds rather quickly. They had eaten at the Starlight Café in Tomorrowland only minutes earlier, nothing special. But it was surprisingly delicious, like Tortuga's Tavern, and very casual, so there were really no complaints.
"Do you suppose she'll get here in time?" Eli slurred from beside him, one bud of country music snuggly set into his ear. He was the model of calm, and if Jane were a better man, he would've respected him for it. Instead, he just shrugged, mutual.
"Your guess is as good as mine. Only five minutes until 7:30, but it's not like I'm keeping track."
"Mmhm," Eli chuckled, causing Jane to join in slightly as well. "And the sky ain't blue."
"Well, that's no fair, sometimes it's gray. Right now, it's pitch black. Besides, in actuality, the sky itself isn't exactly blue. It seems that way by-."
"Shut yer trap, you know what I mean."
Jane shrugged, not an ounce bit remorseful in any way. "Of course I do. But Lisbon isn't here to bicker with, so you're the best bet."
Eli sighed, brushing back bangs from his interesting eyes and matching Jane's teasing stare. "At first, 'Resa seemed like she overreacted to yer shenanigans, 'cause I didn't think they were half as bad as she figured in the slightest. Now I understand why she would throw shit at you." He raised his eyebrows, face suddenly innocent. "Did I do it right?"
Jane attempted to look deep in thought. "A little much on the language, but I'll give it a pass since you're Texan."
Eli scoffed, rearranging his little pod to fit in his ear better. "Everythang's bigger in Texas, including our wit. I have a whole bucket o' California blonde hair blue eyes stereotypes that I've been itching to keel over, if you'd like."
Jane didn't falter. "Fine. I'll grab my Ferrari, you grab your horse."
"Ferrari? Hell no, more like surfboard. How good'l that do you?"
"Better if we're racing in the water."
"If you can recall, horses can swim pretty darn well. I don't think the early western settlers of colonial America had a surfboard in handy when crossing them rivers."
"Oh yeah? During the time of-."
"Boys, boys," came a light voice from beside them, pulling them from their ridiculous dispute and onto the slightly pale face of Teresa Lisbon. "Why can't any of you choose a reasonable option? Like a boat? Seriously."
"No, jokingly," Jane said on reflex, sprouting a slight grin at her much-awaited arrival. "Hello, Lisbon. Are you feeling well? Did you take medicine?"
She nodded at both of the questions, but Jane could tell that she wasn't really at her best. Eli watched her carefully.
"I don't know whether to be happy yer here, or worried that you left the hotel." He gave her a warm chuckle, and she felt the urge to return it. Rigsby patted Lisbon's shoulder gently with his big hand, capturing her attention.
"I'm glad you're back, boss. You totally missed 'Space Mountain', though. While I was on it, I didn't know whether to puke or scream."
Lisbon tried to keep her composure from laughing at his truly innocent statement. "Sounds fun, Rigs. Real rollercoaster-y." And then she turned to van Pelt, giving her a glance that nearly said it all. "Thank you."
The agent nodded slightly, a bit sheepish from the gratitude. Lisbon turned away, but Cho stopped her. "Hi."
She knew what he was getting at, that she talked to everyone but him. Their agent-minds were linked together that way, and Lisbon tried to keep her face professional. "Hi."
A slight nod, and Rigsby chuckled boldly, catching wind of what they were trying to do. Jane cleared his throat, catching their attention.
"We should really clear out to the side before the officials clear us. I see a good space over there."
Lisbon half-expected Jane to grab her hand, or drape an arm around her shoulders, but he didn't. Well, isn't that what she wanted, anyhow? Him not touching her? She convinced herself that it gave her an uneasy feel because of how different it was from the past few days, and that it was just abrupt. Yeah, that was it. She trailed by the side of the team, close, not wanting to get separated. The quantity of people was astounding, really, and the idea of getting lost in it was terrifying. Rigsby didn't seem to mind the fact that she was holding onto a small corner his shirt, and she took that as an advantage to grasp onto it even tighter.
They fitted nicely into an open space that was 'front row', right behind the rope that separated them from the street, set up above the curve. All around them, there were children laughing, and a few vendors were walking down the street before the parade started, handing out rainbow light-up swords and neon jewelry. A scheme to run the parents' out of their money, obviously.
Jane brushed beside her, hands hanging lightly on the rope. Well, a would-be brush, if he was actually touching her, but she disregarded that thought as it appeared. She looked past the castle that gently changed bright colors and over the trees, into the clear night sky. Jane clucked his tongue, catching her attention.
"Are you sure you're all right? You seem pale."
His voice was nonchalant with an edge of a sort of curiosity to it. Maybe concern? She ran her fingers over her hair, barely touching the soft ridges made from her braids, and shrugged. "I'm fine, Jane. Really. In fact, I'm a bit hungry." It was true. Even though her stomach was constantly making noises and churning violently, it wasn't hurting and her appetite was starting to return. He shook his head softly.
"I can hear your stomach from here. You may think you're hungry, but whenever the food drops…" He made a motion with his hands, to portray throwing up. Lisbon grumbled in response, pouty from not being able to eat.
Jane chuckled, watching the people on the other side of the empty street move around and chat loudly. "We have soup at the hotel, you know. I ordered quite a few cans from the grocery store, and that should be okay when we return."
"But I'm hungry now."
Jane eyed her for a moment, and then shrugged, waving his hand out in front of him. "By all means, if upchucking again is what makes you happy, go ahead."
"Really? Thanks, Jane." She disregarded his attempt at discouragement and immediately began to go around the rope to the vendor across the street, which probably had hot dogs, but Jane grasped onto her wrist. The sudden touch sprung warmth up her arm, and she sucked in a barely audible breath.
"I was bluffing, Lisbon," Jane sighed, gingerly balancing her wrist between two fingers. "Next time, I'll have to be more elaborate."
She disregarded his words, her eyes watching his hand that covered her slightly clammy skin. "You're touching me."
His eyes widened slightly, then lowered to the ground, a sheepish smile gracing his lips. "You noticed that I haven't been."
"Why? I mean, I'm just curious in the sudden change."
He was about to say something along the lines of a sarcastic 'sure', but he changed his tone to explanatory. "You seem fragile right now, what with having a very sensitive stomach at the moment. It seems like the smallest change in your posture will upset you."
It was surprisingly sweet, the thought behind his actions. Or lack of. She slid his hand from her wrist and into her hand, lightly keeping it from falling from his calloused palm. "I don't really feel the urge to throw up right now, Jane."
"Give it time."
They could hear Eli talking to Cho, and feel the vibration of the rope as van Pelt leaned beside them, nearest Lisbon. "It's really pretty tonight. I mean, without the sun, there's actually a pretty cool breeze coming in."
Jane nodded, leaning over the barrier to look to the left, in sign of the parade. Some recorded, low voice was blaring on the speakers around them, something about the Main Street Electrical Parade 'beginning in just five minutes'. "There's supposed to be a little rain coming in this upcoming Tuesday, the day we head to Downtown Disney and such. Which means the humidity will be even more unbearable the next day, Animal Kingdom." Jane pretended to wipe sweat from his forehead, and van Pelt sighed.
"I thought California was bad in the humidity department. My hair frizzes up awfully, so I'm keeping it in a ponytail or something high-up for the whole trip." She straightened her red hair, but she wasn't very interested in the mundane task. Jane pulled his hand from Lisbon's to pat the agent soothingly on the back, which made her giggle slightly, a more lighter version of a chuckle. Lisbon smiled at the two and patted her pocket for her phone, but it wasn't there.
"What is it?" Jane asked worriedly, running his eyes over her to check and see if anything was wrong. He spotted her hand, and relaxed. "Oh, you forgot your phone at the hotel."
"I was on the couch, texting you, and then I went to blow dry my hair…" She was grumbling, crossing her arms as van Pelt brushed by her arm to talk to Eli, who seemed a bit out of place with the rest of the teams' chatter. Jane reached up to stroke her hair, feeling the silky waves around her head.
"Speaking of hair, yours is pretty. It looks kind of Earthy, which would make sense, considering your gorgeous green eyes and olive skin." He sent her a million watt smile, brighter than the castle a ways beside her. God, why did he have to do that? It made her skin even more clammy, looking at his beautiful features as he beamed down at her. And his lips… they were taught around his teeth, and a moist rosy color that almost looked at soft as rose petals themselves. She knew that they were, but she never got a taste by herself…
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls! The Main Street Electrical Parade is…"
The music from the parade boomed from down the street, cutting off the automated announcers voice. Jane kept his eyes locked on Lisbon, who just realized that she was on the tips of her toes, mere inches from his face. Or lips, with one hand on his shoulder and the other one in the act of reaching for his hand.
Oh. My. God.
She could not believe that she was about to kiss him! After the whole day, with him-kissing-her and her-making-sure-she-doesn't-kiss-back, all of her hard work of suffering in silence and contemplating her true feelings were ruined. If she didn't kiss him, she didn't have any rock-hard commitments, and she could really think about how she felt for him, which is why she had been extra careful not to kiss back. And now, with his eyes darker and his hand itching around her waist, she pulled away before the damage could be done, but it was already implied.
"Damn. Damn. Damnity-Damn Damn." She was chanting the profanity like a song, straining her muscles not to pace and tightening her fists around the rope. Her cop-senses could feel his gaze constantly on her, unwavering, as she tried to calm her thoughts. Finally, after a few colorfully-bright floats passed and Alice and Wonderland was sprouting, she tuned to look Jane directly in the eye.
"What? Why do you keep staring at me?"
He didn't turn towards her, his face suddenly forward to watch the odd characters from Underland dance around on the pavement or their individual floats. "You were about to kiss me."
Lisbon figured that it was better to lie badly then to tell the truth. "No, I wasn't."
"Yes, I think you were. But don't be at fault, Teresa; I was about to kiss you, too."
"Shocker," she mumbled, before lifting her chin up in defiance. "Just forget that everything happened, alright?"
"Not likely. You never kiss me back, yet now you initiate one?" He shook his head, golden hair now wheat-colored in the dull streetlights. "How am I supposed to forget that? And why don't you kiss me back? I can't be that bad of a kisser."
She sighed loudly, irritably. It was no use lying to Jane; he would know the true reason immediately and get pissed for her lying to him. So, she chose a shrug and a non-caring tone. "Kissing you back would mean that you won."
His voice was questioning, merely curious. "Won what?"
She used her hands to make her point, gesturing to him then her. "All of this. You told me I would love you by the end of this trip, and you always win as is. So, I'm not going to let you win, for once."
He laughed out loud, a harmonious sound she was only just getting used to hearing. "Of course you would think of this as a game. My fault; I constantly forget to dim down a bit for you."
"No, not that you're dumb or anything like that," Jane quickly reassured, waving to Cinderella as she passed in a pumpkin-shaped carriage. "It's just that… you know." He spun a finger around in a circle at his temple, implying that he was crazy. Or so insanely smart that he was crazy. Either way, concerning his gesture, Lisbon couldn't say that she disagreed.
"Yeah, I get it. So, if it's not a game, what is it?"
"It's just a promise." He looked down at her, his eyes full of admiration. "I'll always love you, and my promise to you is that you'll feel the same way, too. Which is a good thing."
She grimaced. "Not really."
He pretended to look hurt. "You don't want me loving you?"
She answered honestly. "I don't know."
He nodded, and it seemed more appreciative. "If I asked you that a few days ago, you would've said 'Hell no'. Progress, if you ask me."
"Yeah? Well, no one asked you."
Pinocchio passed them, drunken 'donkey' children taunting and joking with the people lined up the streets. Jane held out his hand for a high-five, and one of them shook it roughly and kissed it. Eli chuckled from behind them, and Jane aimed his words to her as he examined his knuckles casually. "Feisty. Keep it coming, it's adorable."
"Will punching you in the face be feisty enough to satisfy you? I'm sure that I can do that adorably enough for you."
"Well, as long as it's adorably done…"
She raised her fist, but he called her bluff without a blink of an eye. She lightly tapped it against his jaw, playfully firm, and he turned his head to kiss her fist. "You're right. That was rather adorable."
"Wow, Patrick Jane admitted that I was right. Can I get that in writing, so I can frame it?"
"Meh, I say that you're correct nearly all of the time. Whenever you win an argument against me, that's when you should throw a party."
"That day will come." She shrugged, the colorful lights in front of her flashing her skin different colors as she dropped her arm to her side. "And I'm waiting patiently for it to show up."
He nodded appreciatively. "Very good, almost healthy, even. Except for the obvious impossible implication. But that's just minor." In Jane talk, that was basically 'Ha ha, loser!'. She crossed her arms, bending her torso back to pop it. She had recovered from jetlag very well, considering how often she traveled in her line of duty, but that didn't mean she wasn't uncomfortable and tired.
"Shut up, Jane, I'm not stupid."
"Oh, goodness no, I know you're not stupid." He eyed her stiff stance with mild curiosity, but he seemed to disregard it and watch Snow White pass. "But I'm smarter. Whatever you call yourself after that is all your decision, nothing to do with me."
"Jackass," she muttered. "Damn arrogant son of a-."
"Really, again with the language? Are you from Sacramento, California or Cali?" He gestured to his ears, his face dropped into a whine. Lisbon was tempted to shout many profanities at him, just for the sake of annoying him, but Eli chose then to walk in between them, pulling the music buds out of his ears.
"Well, this has been one heck of a rodeo, but I reckon that it's my time to skedaddle." Lisbon sorted through his words quickly, for the meaning in his strong accent, but Jane spoke up.
"Oh, well, it was fun having you here., Elijah." Him and Eli shook hands, and she grasped at what he was saying.
Eli was leaving.
"Oof!" Eli gasped, after Lisbon had jumped into him for one of her rare hugs. Usually she would shake someone's hand, give a person a parting glare, really never anything special. Jane was surprised, because the only time he ever got a hug was whenever he had given her one first. So, joined with surprise, he was also jealous. The bloke was just leaving to go back to his hotel, not to war, so why was she hugging him, anyway?
She pulled back, blushing, but met Eli's flecked eyes with her own. His arms were strong –stronger than Jane's-, and his choppy bangs managed to stay out of the dandelion irises. He was so handsome, but it's not like it was only that. He was nice, sweet, like a happier variation of Jane that she really liked. And then she realized that she was comparing Eli with Jane, which wasn't the slightest bit right. What was wrong with her?
With a peck on her cheek, Eli pulled back, said his goodbyes to the team, and disappeared into the crowd. They all watched him until he left, and then Jane turned his head stared at her red face, an eyebrow raised in accusation. She tried to ignore him, but eventually the tingling feeling of being watched was rather annoying on her neck.
"What, Jane? What do you want?"
"Well… Not really want," he began slowly, almost stalling. The parade in front of him was also slowing, almost to its' end. "More like wonder. You've known me longer than him, yet…?"
"You and Elijah aren't the same, so don't try to compare." She took a deep breath in, and then let her words come out like a river. "He's a solved puzzle, so I don't have to really guess with him. He's, mentally, compatible for me. So it's easier to tune my emotions in with his. With you, though… you have a piece missing, so it's impossible to solve. Instead of tuning my own feelings in with yours, you do that for me. So, of course I would hug Eli; he wanted to hug me too. But I can never know with you."
"Well, you can always hug me, so you never really have to guess."
She rolled her eyes at his factual tone. "You know it's not just about that."
"Yeah, I do." He was trapped in space for a short moment, but he soon snapped out of it with one of his smiles that lit his whole face up. "But, before we get into that, I believe that I have a Wishes celebration to show you. Fireworks that surround you, as far as the eye can see. Can you stick by me long enough for that?" He held his hand out for her, palm up to the moon.
"I don't know, maybe. If you behave." She placed her hand into his, which caused his smile to stretch wider into a grin.
"You're right," he agreed, nodding. "We can save the naughty stuff for later."
"Yeah," she sighed, but then she realized what his implication was. "Hey!"
Why was she holding hands with a pervert again?
They finally made it back home, after watching pretty cool fireworks and a beautiful transforming castle. They could have ridden something between the parade and the Wishes display, but they wanted a good spot, nice and close to the castle. Which they did, in the middle of the road, in good view of the vibrant display. The fireworks were supposed to erupt around them, which they did. After that, the park was going to close soon anyway, so they managed to make it back at around a quarter after ten. Everyone went straight to their respective rooms. Except Lisbon.
After a quick stop at the bathroom right in front of the door, she ambled on her slightly sore feet to the kitchen, where the soup was supposed to be. She found broccoli with a thick cream of cheese. Bonus.
She ate it quickly after heating it up, ready to get enough sleep for Hollywood Studios tomorrow. With her soup she took a few more pills; she didn't really feel bad anymore, but she'd rather be safe than sorry. Slipping off her flats, she turned the corner into her tiny space, behind a doorway and into a miniscule hallway. She threw the shoes beside her suitcase, and was just started to rummage through her pajama selections when Jane emerged.
"Hey, feel better?" A white towel was tied carelessly around his hips, clothed just under his toned 'v'. His hair was wet and glistening, forming itself at the moment into its perfectly styled position at the very moment, and he was brushing his teeth in quick movements. She disregarded, or at least tried to, his undeniable handsome appearance. And failed.
"Uh, yeah, thanks." She slid into the bathroom with her clothes in her hand, the humidity from Jane's shower hitting her in the face like a brick. Oh, well, at least Jane used Axe and not some weird damn-that's-strong type of soap, so she could deal with the dense air, as long as it smelled good. She left the door open so he could finish with his teeth brushing, but closed the door to the separated section with the toilet to change.
She had chosen a plain gray t-shirt and black shorts lined with neon green, not really caring to call out to a specific sports-related team at the moment. After a few more cleanliness-related minutes at the sink, she walked back into the bedroom. Jane was there on the bed, atop the covers, wearing only black sweatpants over red boxers as he flicked aimlessly through the channels on the television. She fell into the bed, suddenly exhausted, and wrapped her arms around the fluffy pillow. It was probably filled with baby ostrich feathers or something, considering what hotel they were at.
"Tired?" Jane asked nonchalantly, stopping his reign of channel changing and shifting on the mattress, probably to face her.
"Gee," she began, turning her head to peek at him through her wavy hair. Yep, he was curved on his side. "What gave you that idea?"
"Well, seeing that you just-."
"Ugh," she griped, bowing her back to pop it and turn on her side toward him. "It's nearly 11, there should be a time limit on when you should stop talking."
They stared at each other for a few moments, before Jane sighed and turned off the T.V. "Alright, fine, no more talking. Goodnight?"
She smiled in victory. "Yup. Goodnight, Jane."
"Mmhm," he murmured, switching off the lights above them. She tried to find his face in the darkness, any signs of sparkling blue eyes or glittering dew-ridden curls. But it was like he wasn't even there. Even his breathing was quiet.
"Hypocrite," he muttered under his breath, but he managed to turn his tone politely curious. "Yes?"
Instead of answering, she scooted more onto his side of the large bed, something she would have expected him to do instead of her. But there she was, cautious, reaching out into the night for his bare skin. When she found it, she pressed her cheek against his neck, curling against him into a tight ball. She heard him sigh wistfully, carefully wrapping his arms around her frame as she foiled one of his supposed foolproof plans once again.
"What am I going to do with you?" He murmured, expecting her to complain when pulled back to gently kiss her on the forehead. But she was already asleep.
Soon, even he seemed to succumb to sleep as well.
So, since I'm in the 'mood' now, I'll probably be working pretty hard on Hollywood Studios next chapter. Which means it'll most likely come in sooner than this one did. Please, review! You don't even have to sign up on her to review! Also, I really really LOVE it when people fav this story! So yeah, hint hint.