AN: This is going to be a quick three or four part story, wrapping up before Sunday's episode proves me totally wrong. I'm going to be making a few assumptions in this fic, so humor me.

I'm pretty creeped out by the idea of Lisbon having coffee with Kirkland. Naturally, I decided to write about it. I have some weird notion that he is going to try and date her, and that she is going to be amenable to the whole thing. Can you imagine...Lisbon dating (the guy we're at least supposed to think is) Red John?

And does anyone else think that Kirkland looks a little like Tim Olyphant from Justified? All he needs is a cowboy hat and a shot of whiskey.

One other note that I have to squee about: Let's assume Kirkland is RJ (big assumption, I know). He called Jane "Mr. Jane" at the end of 5x07. And I'm sure we all remember how the note that was left on Jane's bedroom door started out. My brain about exploded when that happened.

There is also a possibility that I'm insane, but whatever.

Disclaimer: Not mine. The end.

Coffee and Confessions

Her phone rang at midway through the morning. It was a welcome distraction from the circles she was spinning in her mind.

Tommy Volker was consuming her. The idea that the son of a bitch could murder an entire village, cover it up, murder his assistant, and go on living like nothing had happened made her sick. And then, he'd had the audacity to threaten her, threaten her job, and talk down to her as though she was an idiot that had wandered into a situation she couldn't possibly understand.

It was becoming an obsession, she realized that. A burning desire to see the man wearing prison orange with no hope of parole. To wipe that smug, arrogant smirk off his face for good.

The problem was in the evidence. Namely, the fact that she didn't have anything substantial, anything beyond extraordinarily circumstantial proof.

But it was out there somewhere. And she would find it.

However, it wasn't looking like she was going to find it today. She had come up against multiple dead ends, potential witnesses who swore they hadn't seen or heard a thing, and sealed files. She wanted to bang her head against the wall.

The team was worried about her, she knew. Without ever saying a word, they had jumped on board with her investigation, looking up facts and double-checking statements in their limited free time.

Jane, predictably as of late, was no where to be found.

She was losing him again.

There were days now when the only time she would see him was when his supply of tea in the attic reached dangerously low levels and he was forced into the break room. She remembered the first time she had found him up in the bare, drafty room.

The only things there had been a rickety chair and a mattress he had pilfered from God knows where. Now...now it was like he had been feathering his nest. Every time she was there, it seemed like he had accumulated something else.

Lately, she had tried to avoid the room at all costs. Jane had made it perfectly clear that he didn't need or want her help, and she'd be damned if she would offer it again.

It wasn't as though she didn't know what he was doing. He was busy concocting some idiotic scheme to get Lorelei Martins out of whatever supermax prison she was in. She saw two possible outcomes for this.

One, he would fail miserably and wind up in jail himself.

Two, he would succeed.

Either way, she hoped he knew that she wouldn't be able to save him. She had already wasted every favor, every ounce of influence she'd ever had, to get him out of other scrapes. He was well and truly on his own.

She only prayed that she would have the strength to tell him that when he came to her.

The phone rang for a second time, jerking her out of her morose thoughts. She grabbed the receiver. "Lisbon," she said.

"Agent Lisbon," came a male voice on the other end. "This is Bob Kirkland. From Homeland Security?"

She sat up a little straighter. "Mr. Kirkland," she said. "To what do I owe the honor?"

She could hear the smile in his voice. "Call me Bob," he instructed. "And I was wondering if today would be a good time to buy you that cup of coffee. I'm in Sacramento for a meeting this afternoon, but my morning is pretty open."

"Do you have some information for me about Volker?" she asked, feeling a stirring of hope.

"Some," Kirkland told her. "Again, much of it requires a higher security clearance than you have, but I think what I can tell you will be helpful."

She smiled. "Then today would be an excellent day to go for coffee."

XxXxXxXxX

An hour later, she was in line at the small coffee shop around the corner from the office, keeping an eye out for Kirkland. She was a little early, but she had been far too eager to wait for long at her desk.

Absently, she perused the chalkboard menu. If she was being honest with herself, she should probably opt for something decaf. Realistically, she knew she wouldn't.

A hand touched her elbow lightly. "Agent Lisbon."

She turned and found Kirkland smiling at her. He was handsome enough, in a rough sort of way. The streaks of white in his dark hair lent him a distinguished look, one she discovered that she was surprisingly attracted to.

Too late, she wished she would have checked her make-up before she'd left.

"Hi," she said. "It's good to see you again."

His grin widened a touch. "You, too." He gestured to the small grouping of tables around them. "What are you drinking? I'll order, you go grab us a seat."

She rattled off her request, then settled herself at a table in front of the large front window. A few minutes later, Kirkland joined her, handing her the insulated cup.

"I have to admit," he told her, "I felt like an idiot ordering a cup of regular coffee here. I think the barista was judging me."

Lisbon laughed, taking a sip of her foamy beverage. "He probably was."

Kirkland took a drink of his own, the muscles in his face tightening almost imperceptibly. He sat the cup down with a soft clunk.

"Something wrong?" she asked.

He gave her a small, almost embarrassed smile. "To be perfectly honest, I'm not a coffee drinker. Give me tea any day."

"You know they have that here, right?"

"Oh, I know," he told her. "But I figured the barista wouldn't be the only one judging me if I came back here with tea. I was with the FBI for a decade before I joined Homeland Security, so I know that a dislike of coffee is is sacrilege in the cop world."

She laughed again, a little touched that he was trying to impress her, at least in a small way. "Your secret is safe with me, I promise."

"I appreciate your discretion," he said solemnly, then smiled once more before leaning slightly across the table. "Now," he said. "Volker."

She mimicked his pose unconsciously.

"He's currently out of the country," Kirkland said. "Back in South America, probably trying to wipe some other poor village off the map."

Lisbon felt her face tighten. "Unfortunately, I can't nail him for that. I'm more interested in crimes he's committed in the United States. I'm looking for anything I can nail his ass with - tax evasion, unpaid parking tickets, anything."

"You won't find anything that way," he said. "Volker is scrupulous about that sort of thing. He wants to ensure he can't be taken down for something so trivial."

She frowned. "I thought you said you had some information for me." It sounded like he was warning her off again.

"I do," he promised, reaching for a briefcase she hadn't noticed before. He withdrew a folder and handed it to her. "Don't open it here," he said.

She pressed her fingers into the manilla card stock embossed with the Homeland Security seal.

"It contains some of Volker's recent bank transactions. There are a few I'm sure you'll be interested in."

Her brows furrowed. "We already pulled his financials," she said, disappointed now.

Kirkland smiled again, his white teeth flashing. "You pulled his financials from the bank accounts you knew about. But I'm assuming it's difficult to find information on something you didn't even know existed."

The back of her neck started to prickle. "He has hidden accounts," she murmured, more to herself.

"Absolutely," Kirkland said. "Some are very well hidden. If he wasn't being investigated by DHS so deeply, we would have never found them. As it was, we had to get the CIA involved to get our information."

There was something not adding up in her mind, however. "I thought you warned me against looking into this," she said, eyes sharpening.

"I did," he admitted. "But then I realized it really wasn't fair to you. Your department has a phenomenal history of closing cases, and I figured you deserved a shot. Besides, we've reached a bit of a standstill on our end, and fresh eyes might do us some good."

"Thank you," she said, fingers smoothing over the file again.

"A word of warning though, Agent Lisbon." He was quite serious again. "I know you're willing to get Volker for any crimes he's committed. But I am telling you right now, you should only focus on the murders of Amanda Shaw and Cassie Flood. Anything else is out of your jurisdiction."

Instantly, she felt her defenses rise. "If I uncover evidence of other crimes, it's my job to prosecute him for them," she said, an edge to her voice.

Kirkland shook his head. "Not this time it's not. I don't want to sound patronizing, but Volker is involved in things that the CBI simply isn't equipped to deal with."

They had a staring contest for a brief moment, and she thought she saw sincerity in his eyes.

"Fine," she finally said. "But what if I happen to come across something during the murder investigations?"

"You call me," he told her, pulling out his card and scribbling a number on the back of it. "This is my cell. I always have it on me, day or night, so call whenever."

She tucked the card into her pocket. "Thanks."

There was a moment of silence. "I should probably be getting back," she said, almost regretfully.

He nodded, looking thoughtful.

She stood, and he followed. "Thank you for the coffee," she smiled. "And the new leads."

He grinned back. "You're very welcome for both."

Jane was waiting in her office when she pushed open the door, looking like he was full of nervous energy. She recognized his demeanor and it made her distinctly uneasy. The last time he had been in the building looking like that, he had told her he loved her and then summarily shot her.

"What's up?" she asked, trying for nonchalance. She tossed the file on her desk.

His eyes followed the gesture absently. "Where have you been?" His tone was almost sharp.

"Meeting with Homeland Security," she said, annoyed. "Why?"

"I wanted to ask for the next couple of days off," he told her, and her heart sank. He was going ahead with his plan, whatever it was.

"Can I ask why?" she said, knowing he was about to lie to her again.

"My great aunt Shirley died," he said casually.

She turned away for a moment and closed her eyes, feeling her anger rise. "Try again," she whispered.

"Deniability," he said quietly, his standard response to most of her questions these days.

She sighed, perching on the edge of her desk. "I feel obligated to tell ask you not to do whatever the hell it is you're planning."

"Consider your duty fulfilled." His expression was unreadable, unyielding.

"Then you should know that I won't be able to save you this time," she whispered.

He stood, coming to stand a few feet in front of her. "It was never your job to save me, Teresa.

"Someone had to."

He reached for both of her hands, and she could feel his rapidly thundering pulse. Whatever he was planning, it set him on edge. "You've come with me further than anyone. I won't forget that."

In that moment, she knew that he understood the risk involved. He knew there was a very high probability that this would come crashing down around him. And he was willing to go forward anyway, willing to run the risk of taking himself away from her for the rest of their lives, if not by his death, then by a prison term.

Unexpectedly, she felt a tear run down her cheek.

He brushed it away. "Don't give up on me just yet."

"You're not giving me a lot of options here," she choked out, struggling for composure.

Carefully, he tapped his fingers against the cross around her neck. "Have a little faith."

"Don't go," she whispered, aware that she was begging but not able to care.

He shook his head. "I'm too close to stop now. I don't have any options, either."

She took a deep breath for courage. "You could stay with me."

His expression softened, eyes bright. "I would if I could," he breathed. "Believe me."

There was no response she could make that would change his mind, so she kept silent, fully aware that this could be the very last time she saw him. Dimly, she was surprised she hadn't collapsed in a heap.

Jane studied her face, and she wondered what he saw. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, he leaned down, giving her enough time to run if she wanted to.

In point of fact, she didn't think she could move if her desk was on fire.

The first brush of his lips against hers was feather-light, barely there. The second pass was firmer, warmer.

She threw her arms around his neck before the third go-around, pulling him as close as she could get him.

He stumbled off-balance for a moment, resting his palms on the desk behind her for support. Then he took her face in his hands and let her feel the full force of his passion.

Her hands were in his hair, a long-standing fantasy. It felt like his lips were everywhere - against hers, tracing down her jawline, fluttering against her temples.

Her blood sang in her veins, heart pounding in her chest. Abruptly, he pulled back, resting his forehead against hers.

His breathing sounded as ragged as hers. "For luck," he whispered, touching her lips with the tip of one finger.

Then he was gone, door swinging shut behind him.

She stared stupidly long after he was gone from her sight, wondering if he would ever be back. Blessedly, she felt emotionally detached. She knew it was a defense mechanism, a way of coping with the upheaval and turmoil she knew was present under the surface.

He would go through with his plan, she knew.

It wasn't until later that she realized he had taken her cross with him.

She hoped it would protect him, since she couldn't. More than anything, she hoped he would be able to give it back to her himself.

Have a little faith, he had whispered.

So she did the only thing she could.

She prayed.