Authors note: I've had a niggly little voice in my head since 5x01 that wont shut up, so while trying to do my second gift exchange I ended up with this and a very separate idea completely and after trying to merge them for hours, I finally gave up and decided to do a tag of sorts so the plot bunny will leave me alone.

Disclaimer: Not mine, if it was I'd be in sunny L.A. not rainy Dublin.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jane knew he had found him, that spineless little rodent. A rapist, a criminal, a sick, pathetic bastard parading around daily, tainting a uniform that stood for everything he was not.

Almost as soon as he figured it out, Lisbon had figured him out. It worked like that, he read everybody and she read him. He knew this was a problem, a serious one that he could see no way of remedying.

Jane would do anything to get Red John, but involve her anymore than she absolutely needed to be. He knew why she was concerned; he had been abrupt in his attitude towards the case, rushing it so he could get back to Lorelie's possible accomplice.

That invisible wedge between them was plunging ever deeper; a chasm that grew through his actions and words.

He was treating her almost like a mistress; quickly dismissed when his wife calls.

He tried to exit quietly but she had hurried to catch up with him, catching the closing door. With dread he listened to her broach the subject of her helping him, concern and desperation rolling off her in waves.

She wanted to assist him, for him to finally let her in and share information and his thoughts, but he couldn't, she was too mixed up already, even if she refused to admit it.

He needed to leave, to flee her, so he swiftly refused her aid, knowing it was for the best. When he eventually found Lorelie, Jane did not want Lisbon near her and all her poisonous lies and half truths. The damage could be too great, perhaps it already was.

She was hesitant but she agreed she always did when he asked; he was her Achilles heel, the chink in her armour and most likely her downfall.

The doors slid shut, but her disappointment rode with him, an invisible companion in the small compartment.

Lisbon had issues with him and Lorelie together and no doubt with what he was willing to do to find and keep her, this would cloud his judgement if she were around. He couldn't do what he had to do if she was there.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jane thought back to her warning 19 days earlier.

Always the protector, she had asked that he not get pulled into Lorelie's game. He had resisted petulantly adding, like she had his.

Realistically he was already knee deep in it.

In actuality he had probably had begun it, only without knowing the rules and the consequences.

Trapped in that car with her then, at least an hour left on their journey he hadn't wanted to hear it, choosing instead to make light of her choice of words.

Distraction and avoidance, his go to tools, he had been like that in marriage too.

Unexpectedly he had ended up diverting himself, feeling a stab of arousal at his own suggested idea of twister. He would like to play that with her more than he'd care to admit, trapping her small body below his, entwining limbs together...

He was momentarily side tracked while still believing he was in control, when she had thrown him a curve ball. Her ability to surprise him was nothing new; but the frequency with which she did it was becoming unsettling. He longed for those six months back where he had missed so much.

"Go ahead and laugh but she is practically the first woman since your wife that you know..."

Lisbon had brought it up like it was nothing, this enchantress who ruled his world mentioned the most significant moment they had shared in both their recent years, as if it was a by the way.

Only Lisbon could easily broach his night with Red John's minion while smoothly and simultaneously avoiding theirs.

Bar that lone word.

Well he loved language and always latched on to the implications of semantics.

Sure his initial astonishment had shutdown his usual witty remarks and he let out a less than stellar "Oooh", but part of him had begun to think he dreamt it, that perhaps a decades worth of pent up desires had created a vivid fantasy.

So he felt outright vindicated by that solitary utterance of "practically."

Practically... ... practically... practically... It happily chugged through his mind on repeat.

It was the first time since that night, that she acknowledged that they had even been physically intimate. That amidst desperation and fear brought on by yet another near death experience, they had coupled. Just once in the dead of night and the subject had remained untouched since.

"It wouldn't be surprising if you had feelings for her..." she had continued, oblivious to where his mind stood on the subject.

He had been angry then, at her and her lack of trust in him, most certainly he had had sex with Lorelie; that flash in the pan, means to an ends, walking, talking human trap, but emotions had played no part in it. Why would she ever align herself with that woman?

So he had snapped his disgust at her at her and the topic had ceased.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Back in his present Jane dragged his hand down his face, his calloused fingertips failing to remove the stress and regret at his decision to not push further.

Surely by her logic then the same would have applied to her, but nooo, it was merely comfort and need, not love, not for her, never for Teresa Lisbon. Oh she could never fathom that, despite his saying the words to her.

And there it was the real reason why he had to do this on his own, all the months that followed both together and separate since it occurred and she had alluded to it only once as if it was not of any significance.

She was so far in denial that facing it could fracture them. His heart had been shattered once before and knowing the pain he could not risk inflicting it on her.

So what could he do, but keep her away. If he let her join him, she would hear more taunts, lose further faith in the institution that she dedicated her life too or worse have to face the truth of their actions... no this was the only way and for once he would not give into his selfish desires to be near her.

So he exited the elevator and stepped onto the street, aware that he was going to commit a crime, one of no doubt many he would do before this game ended. But he would do it, for her and for them, because he needed to know that he could finish this once and for all.