Title: Bartering

Disclaimer: It's not mine.

Rating: T

Summary: "Does this," she pointed at the dark lump in her sink, "look like a cake to you?" J/VP.

Thanks to dreamingofabetterday for the review to "Paper Pusher", it seriously is very much appreciated!


"I'm not even going to ask what you're doing." Grace told her flour-covered boyfriend, as she joined him in her kitchen; pots and pans littered almost every available surface and before he had turned to greet her with a large smile, she had thought she had seen one of her various recipe books in his hands. "I just want to be reassured that my kitchen will be standing later." Whether Jane believed it or not, she really did like her kitchen. Jane didn't respond and she grew concerned; his quietness usually meant nothing good. "It will be standing later, right?"

"Yes, Grace." Jane replied, while he continued to stare at the darkened oven. "Your terribly decorated…"

"Hey!" Grace interrupted. "It's not terribly decorated!" She moved her arms to cross against her chest. Sure, the colors didn't exactly match and the old barn animal wallpaper was probably a fire hazard, but she liked it.

Jane raised his eyebrows, which with the flour smeared across his face, was extremely comical to see. "I still have my beliefs that the wallpaper here," he gestured around the room, "reproduced the wallpaper in your bathroom." She glared; she happened to like her bathroom wallpapering also. "I'm sure with a few light colors and a little hard work; we could make the kitchen decorating look a little less hazardous."

"I think you're making it look more hazardous on your own, Patrick." It was her turn to gesture around the room. "Can I ask a question?" He nodded. "How do you expect to make anything, especially if you've got all the available spaces filled?" Jane glanced at the collection of pots, before he turned back to her with a smile. "I'm not putting them away for you. You decided to pull them all out; I'm absolutely positive that you can put them all back." She waited for him to move, but he didn't.

"I'm working, Grace."

Grace frowned. "Does your working have to involve turning my kitchen into a danger zone?"

"I know how to use a sponge. I also know how to use soap." Jane replied, brightly. "I'll clean the kitchen and myself up, before I take you out to dinner tonight." The oven dinged and Jane moved forward to open the oven door, which only produced a large cloud of black smoke. Grace coughed from her spot next to him, as she hoped the smoke detector wouldn't go off. "I think I did something wrong." Grace couldn't help but agree; whatever he had decided upon making had somewhat melted within the oven.

"I know I said I wouldn't ask," Grace said, as she hurriedly pulled the dark thing from her oven with a kitchen mitt, "but, what exactly did you make?"

Jane continued to grin. "It's a long story."

"I somehow doubt that." Grace replied; if she didn't know any better, she would have thought he was trying to burn down her apartment. "So, tell me the story." Jane nodded.

"Yesterday, I was approached by shady individuals; they told me that I had to go on a quest to put something together for them." Jane informed her and she rolled her eyes. "I was asked to pick up flour, cake mix…"

"You were trying to make a cake?" Grace asked, incredulously. "Does this," she pointed at the dark lump in her sink, "look like a cake to you?"

"In my defense," Jane answered, "the directions on the cake box aren't…"

"You can solve crimes, but you can't read directions?" Grace asked again, as she shook her head. "I don't get you at all."

"You still love me though," he informed her with a smile.

"Considering you almost burnt down my apartment?" She asked him. "I don't think so." Grace turned away from him; she felt his arms wrap around her tightly.

"I'll just have to change that, won't I?" Jane questioned, and before she could say another word or push him away, he had his lips pressed against her neck. Grace tried to mask her small smile; he had always believed that by kissing her, he was somehow managing to get out of being "punished" later.

"You're still cleaning this up." Grace said, even as he continued to suck lightly. "No amount of kissing will get you out of it." She felt him pull away from her.

"How about I do this?" He whispered into her ear, before he spun her around to face him—her brown eyes traced his face, which held a bright smile. He pressed his lips to hers. "Did that help?"

"I don't know," Grace playfully responded; even though she knew that she would still make him clean up his messes and then, quite probably ban him from her kitchen for life, "we might have to try that one again."

"Of course," he stated, as he leaned into kiss her once again, "with pleasure."