Authors Note: Oh boy I should never give an ETA on my next chapter posting, it never works out. Job, commute, family, Paddy's day… anyway I'm sorry, I have no excuse as I've had this thing mostly written since before I posted the first chapter but time to double check it, is slim.
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
Thank you to the guests and reviewers, they make me post, and feel terrible for any delays.
Chalky blue merged with light orange as the blazing flame sank into the horizon. Its fiery light silhouetted the buildings to Lisbon's north, forming abstract black shapes; stark and rigid in the sky.
Lisbon waited for the set of twinkling lights to begin. She had grown to love the illumination of the Eiffel tower as dusk arrived. She ran her hand absentmindedly over the decorated stone; its polished surface was still bright in the fading luminosity.
She loved it here, it had been her dream for years to come and see this city, granted she had believed she would do it as a honeymoon destination, but it was better this way. Regardless it had been real and wonderful and anyway she had spent too long waiting on someday.
She sat down in the grooved stone seat; the Pont Neuf was the perfect place to watch the city shift from day to night. The soothing lap of the waves from the Seine fused with laughter on the wind. There was always the thrum of tourists and locals merging with the hum of the city, which formed a natural sound that calmed her.
Perhaps it was her inability to understand the language that made this possible or maybe the knowledge that no one knew her here, that she could be anyone, was what put her at peace.
She could smell coffee and flowers as a couple passed her. They chatted in an unknown tongue but their devotion was obvious. He watched her with an intensity that was enviable, as if she held his life in her hands. Suddenly the man grabbed her, easily lifting the woman as she cried out in surprise. Lisbon's mouth lifted at their antics, this city was filled to the brim with lovers.
It was vibrant here, alive and passionate, people moved through the street like blood through veins. It was so far from her daily grind in Sacramento and these last four weeks had been so magical, she almost forgot the pain that had sent her here.
Lisbon's body shivered with the chill of the oncoming night, she should probably return to the hotel. It was not far from here and grander than anything she had ever stayed in before bar her one night with Walter a few years back. It was a sumptuous mix of satins and silks with hard wood floors and antique pieces that made her feel uncharacteristically feminine.
'Like an angry little princess' echoed around her head and she shook the sound of his voice from her mind. She determinedly ignored how even the memory of his drawled version of her name sent thrills through her.
She shifted in the alcove, moving her eyes from the illuminated structure to the Louvre. Usually at this time she would stroll through the gardens but tonight she felt more pensive. Perhaps it was the knowledge that their time here was coming to an end, perhaps not.
She was so lost in thought; she failed to hear the man arrive behind her. Walter slid his arm around her delicate shoulders, but hastily removed it when Lisbon flinched.
Mashburn smiled to cover his hurt at her reaction, his grin glittering in the fading light. "Sorry, I thought you heard me call you," he explained.
"No, it's me I was miles away," Lisbon said, though neither had to strain to imagine exactly where.
He handed he a rose that he had concealed behind his back. She smiled at the gesture, curling up beside him. He was wonderful, attentive, and caring but despite Lisbon's reinvigorated view on life she felt almost nothing. The lust she had initially been bombarded with had fizzled, now as much she tried to reawaken these thoughts, she just couldn't seem to.
He had given her everything she could want, anticipated her needs as best he could, and treated her as if she were priceless. She figured having a mentalist by her side for a decade had ruined her, that Jane had created an ideal no one could live up to.
She ran the pad of her finger over the delicate petals, its vibrant red contrasted against her finger. It was so soft and beautifully delicate; Lisbon had to resist the urge to crush it, forever scarring its perfection.
She knew it was irrational but part of her wanted to scream. She hated herself for her traitorous heart. She had a good man, a sweet man and so help her she would be grateful for him.
She took a breath and turned towards Walter. He was handsome and together they probably looked perfect to an outsider, sitting, embracing each other in the most romantic city in the world. She was mad at herself for failing to be in this moment with him. Still they had a new city and a new adventure and she would leave her doubts here, she promised herself.
"Hungry?" Walter asked, running his hand up her arm to stave off the goosebumps that had everything to do with the temperature.
She nodded her agreement. She could murder a juicy hamburger.
"I was thinking seafood pasta?" he suggested.
"Sounds good" she answered, and it did, she could, no would make this work.
It had been nearly two months and Jane missed her. It was frustrating, trying to keep up the charade for the remaining team members and his drinking was becoming more of a crutch than he cared to admit. His mind kept wandering to his missing partner. Where was she? How was she? Did she miss him too?
The noise of the wind blowing full force outside the window was distracting and he was chilled despite being inside and sheltered from its voraciousness. It irritated him how the CBI had ceased to be a place of comfort now and he could no longer relax here.
Cho had made it crystal clear that he was not welcome to nap in Lisbon's old office, so he couldn't even rest under her blanket, on her couch anymore and it would look strange if he brought it out here.
Sometimes he snuck in at night, her lingering scent lulled him for a while.
It had been weeks and weeks of nothing, not a peep at least not directly. She had sent a postcard when she was leaving Paris a month into her trip. She addressed it to Grace.
He couldn't talk to Lisbon about any of his concerns, ideas or plans as they were separated by so much more than land and sea. He couldn't help but hope this was as hard for her as it was for him. He was petty like that.
He had another dream the night before; he had been back in Vegas. It was painful to put on the persona that got his family killed over and over, even in his dreams. He longed for her reassuring hand at the end.
"Hi," a pretty blonde chirped as she entered the bull pen, "You mind?" she gestured to the empty seat by his desk, placing her pert rump down before he could respond.
"No of course not," he replied, though it wasn't like she gave him a real choice, was it.
"So, I'm Sadie," she opened with, "I'm helping out your team, while you're short staffed."
Jane leaned over shaking her outstretched hand, "Patrick Jane," he smiled.
Just what he needed another giddy girl, she and Van Pelt were going to love each other. He regarded her closely; she would have been his type twenty years ago, sweet, breezy, naive. When did he start finding those traits wearisome and repulsive?
She was chatting animatedly but Jane tuned her out, distracted by a picture on one of the television screens that looped the news constantly.
Mashburn filled the screen, shaking hands with a Californian Senator and it was live. He searched for signs of Lisbon. Where was she? Were they back in Sacramento already? He needed to find them and talk to her.
He shot up out of his chair, and past a shocked Sadie. If she was near he would find her.
Jane rapped repeatedly on the hotel door, hating the déjà vu that reminded him of the last time he was here. His frustration grew, fuelled by his memory, if Walter didn't open the door soon, he would knock it down.
He raised his fist again right as the door opened. Clearly just roused from sleep, Walter looked at him with confusion.
"Patrick what brings you here?" he croaked, his voice thick with sleep.
"Can I come in?" Jane shoved past him not giving him the opportunity to refuse.
The room was dark, with only a single lamp illuminating the space. He was unable to see signs of her in the gloom.
"Dear friend, while it is always good to see you, I am terribly jet lagged and have a meeting in the morning," Mashburn groused.
"I need to speak to Lisbon," Jane explained, trying to see around the other man.
"Well call her then," Mashburn suggested.
"She won't answer, so can you get her?" Jane gestured to the other room.
"You think she's here?" Walter chuckled.
"No she decided to remain travelling. While I was disappointed, I could understand her reasons," he shrugged.
"You left her there, how could you do that to her?" Jane shouted.
"I offered to bring her back; she knew it was a work emergency. It's not like I left her without a word for six months," Walter countered, annoyed by Jane's tone.
Okay, Jane thought, he deserved that. Taking a breath to calm himself, he tried again a little more reasonably, "Can you tell me where she is please."
Mashburn crossed his arms, amusement etched on his face, "I don't think she wants you to know."
Jane lost his thin grip on his patience, "I will find out one way or another, so just tell me. I like you, let's keep it that way."
"I don't respond to idle threats Patrick. You know that. Yet I feel that every time you see her you drive a wedge further between you both, which in turn pushes her closer to me. So in the interest of finally resolving her lingering doubts, she is in Dubrovnik at the Hotel Alexandria for a few more days, maybe a week. So what will you do?" he questioned.
Jane stared at the man, seeking signs of deception, seeing none; he turned and left without a word. He wasn't sure what he was going to do but he knew he couldn't lose her to him.
Lisbon dodged people as they milled around her, the small town's walls filled with tourists. It was a beautiful place, crammed with ornately decorated buildings, hundreds of years older than the oldest buildings in Sacramento or Chicago. She adored the town, it was so different from Paris and Italy, but yet again she was getting ready to move on.
She had toured the city several times and was headed to her favourite spot away from the fray.
Moving through the crowd, she walked to the back walls. Following the side streets she moved to a small doorway cut into the stone. Inside a small cafe bar sat nestled on top of the rocks with steps down to the azure ocean below; she lay out her towel and removed her wrap dress. The sun was strong and she felt it caress her skin.
Walking across the hot stones to the edge, she plunged into the cold clear sea. The water was calm and she easily sliced through it, enjoying the feel on her body. She loved being by the ocean, she understood Jane's obsession with it more and more these days. Reprimanding herself, she looped back around to the metal rungs. Emerging, the warm air was like a balm on her skin as she moved out from the Adriatic.
She felt eyes watching her and casually glanced up at the walls above her, it was not unusual as tourists often explored the area from above. She herself, had walked around them a few days before, it was how she found this spot. She froze mid stride as she saw a halo of golden curls catch the sun. The light was in her eyes and the man was high above her, making her view difficult. She saw him casually move away and her rational mind kicked in.
He didn't know where she was, she had made Walter promise and even if he did he wouldn't come here, he had made it abundantly clear that she didn't matter. No it was her brain playing tricks on her, really right after she was thinking about him, she sees him... far too coincidental.
Lying down she signalled for a wine. She was wholly embracing the lifestyle here. She had never felt more relaxed though she was missing company. She had called Grace a few days ago for an update and ended up on the phone for over an hour.
She was glad the distance was allowing them to deepen their friendship. She had avoided the topic of her ex-consultant and Grace had not provided any information either and that suited her fine, perfect in fact. Except that apart from his Vegas trip this was longest they have gone without talking and he was her best friend at least on her side and her treacherous self-missed him.
She picked up her drink forcing herself to think of other things.
It had been way to close for Jane's liking, had he not moved away, then ducked behind one of the cannons she would have seen him. He had to be more careful, at least until he decided what to do and getting caught, mouth open and gaping like an old pervert was not going to be his plan A.
He shuddered despite the heat as the now forever imprinted image of his goddess emerging from the sea replayed itself.
He had yawned while he watched Lorelei frolic naked, while on the other end of the scale, Lisbon's modestly covered, glistening creamy skin, had sent a bolt of lust to somewhere that was supposed to be off limits.
He tried to rationalise the reaction, let's face it Lorelei happily bared her assets for anyone who would spare a passing glance, while Lisbon never showed off her curves, though she should, always, if that's what she is hiding under her boring blouses and dull slacks.
It was the novelty factor. That was all.
He stumbled around the wall stopping at the nearest cafe and ordering an ice tea as a cold shower was off limits. He had found her easier than he had thought, although her fair skin and dark hair separated her from the majority of sun worshippers here, it was more than that.
He sensed her; it was some weird tick he developed years ago, an ability to know when she was close. Gulping down the drink as soon as it was placed on the table, he thanked the waitress, tipped generously and snuck back to his viewpoint.
Clandestinely he watched as she lay down and sipped her drink, she seemed at peace, fully relaxed and he truly just wanted to climb down the nearest exit and join her. He wanted to share in this moment with her, to see a side of her he never experienced and if he was honest, seeing that body of hers up close was a huge enticement too.
Purely for the novelty of this situation of course.
He dragged his hand over his face, this would not do, while he hadn't exactly planned on what he was going to do when he got here, lusting after Lisbon was definitely not an option. No he would convince her that she belonged in Sacramento and pronto, he would just have to figure out how.