Blooming Violets

By Diane


EMAIL: dianekateri@beneath-the-surface.net

RATING: Suitable for older children

SUMMARY: "Because she was breathtaking. And he was a fool." Two short missing scenes and one slightly longer AU ending for 616, Violets.

****

Loyalty

The house was stunning. Not what she would choose for herself, if by some miracle she could ever afford a place like this, but stunning nonetheless. And perfect for the con that was due to play out in a few short hours.

She took in the gleaming white walls and the tall glass windows as she climbed the steps to the front door. The place screamed money, just as she knew the inside would, especially now that Agent Pike's people had finished filling it with all sorts of sculptures and art. She recognised one or two of the Art Squad agents she passed on her way up, all dressed discreetly in caterer's uniforms, as well as some agents from Surveillance. All audio and visual devices were now up and running and being given one final check, and she had to admit it gave her a measure of reassurance; Jane's schemes weren't known for always going strictly to plan.

"Ah, Lisbon. Just the woman I was hoping for."

Seemingly from nowhere, Jane appeared by her side the second she stepped through the front door. Immediately, his fingers wrapped around her wrist.

"Why?" she asked suspiciously when he tugged gently, ignoring her blatant attempts to look around as he led her towards the stairs. She didn't bother resisting. Partly because she was too preoccupied with trying to ignore the warmth that flared at his touch, but mostly because she knew it really wasn't worth her effort.

"You, my dear, have a dress to try on." He beamed at her, and despite everything, her eyes rolled before she could stop them. But then his words fully registered.

"What, now?" She stopped halfway up the winding staircase, frowning at an obviously impatient Jane waiting on the step above. "But we have hours before we need to be ready." She paused to consider. "Wait, you're not worried you made a mistake and picked the wrong dress size, are you?" she teased. She was still more than a little miffed that he hadn't left that particular detail to her.

"Really, Lisbon, there's no need to be rude."

She snorted at this characteristic display of arrogance.

"I can assure you the dresses will fit perfectly," he continued, sending her a look that was gone so quickly it was impossible to interpret. "It will simply be easier to get into character when we go over our roles together."

Lisbon didn't know if that was entirely true, but she decided it was simpler to play along.

"Shall we?" he asked with a wink, before quickly relieving her of the shopping bags Wiley had given her, as well as the overnight bag she'd retrieved from her car. She was too disappointed to protest. She simply shook her head and sighed in resignation when, with another wide smile, he turned and took the stairs two at a time, leaving her to follow in his wake.

Moments later she found him standing in the doorway of the master bedroom, having already divested himself of her bags. With a guiding hand he ushered her inside. "The master bath is just along there," he leaned out of the doorway and pointed in the general direction of the other room, "where, I have been assured, there are no cameras. Now..." He grinned like a Cheshire Cat and rubbed his hands together far too gleefully for Lisbon's liking, "I'll be back shortly."

"Uh, Jane?" There was no way he was getting off that easily.

"Yes, dear?" With an air of nonchalance, he turned when he reached the doorway and leaned casually against the frame.

"What about you?" She crossed her arms and stared pointedly.

"Me?"

"Yes, you. If I have to wear that," she gestured to the bags on the bed, "don't you think you should change into something equally appropriate?" There was absolutely no way that of the two of them, she was the only one who was going to be getting dressed up for this.

"Don't worry, Lisbon. I too shall be properly attired."

And before she could press him further he was gone.

With a huff of annoyance she stared at the empty doorway, and preoccupied as she was, it was a good few seconds before she roused herself to take a quick look around the room. It didn't take long. It held only the basics, but the minimalistic style only served to highlight the stolen artwork on display. Their lure, Van Gogh's Poppy Flowers, hung framed in the corner, one of several pieces she'd become familiar with over the last few days. Thankfully, Jane—with the help of his memory palace—was the designated art connoisseur in this con.

With one last, almost helpless, look around, Lisbon reluctantly came to the conclusion that there were no other possible reasons for delay. She sighed heavily and walked towards the bed. With a grimace, she opened a bag and pulled out the dress she planned to wear that night before heading for the bathroom. She'd put it on and humour Jane, but the hair and make-up would just have to wait.

When she returned to the master bedroom a short time later, she found Jane relaxing at the foot of the bed. At the sight of him she stopped abruptly in her tracks. "I thought you were getting changed."

Jane stood and held his arms wide, presenting himself for inspection. Frowning, she let her eyes trail from unruly golden curls, over a well-worn shirt and suit, down to a very familiar pair of brown shoes.

"I did."

"You added a scarf." She knew she sounded incredulous, but really, a scarf? That was it?

"Don't you think I look the part, Lisbon?"

She scowled. Because really, he did. The damn scarf added a charm she wouldn't have thought possible, gave him a slightly eccentric air that suited him perfectly. It was decidedly unfair. If she had to dress up in a too short, too low cut, form fitting dress—with sky high heels—then it was only right that he should need to make some sort of an effort as well.

Irritated, she let his question go unanswered, and instead tugged self-consciously on the straps of her dress. What she wouldn't give for it to sit even a little higher. Trust Jane to pick the one she felt like she would fall out of at any second. That thought reminded her that, yes, he was still right in front of her, and she glanced up warily to find him grinning openly. It only served to rile her further.

Anticipating her, he held his hands wide before she could utter a word. "You can't threaten to shoot me, Lisbon. I'm pretty sure you're not hiding a firearm anywhere on your person."

His eyes wandered down her body for effect, but she determinedly fought the blush she felt spreading and immediately turned her scowl to a glare. "Maybe I can't shoot you, but I'll bet I could do some damage with that scarf you're wearing."

Jane merely chuckled.

Giving the dress up as a lost cause, Lisbon reached into a bag for matching shoes. She held one heel in each hand, debating the merits of barefoot versus practice, but for the sake of the con and her dignity, practice won. There would be less chance of falling flat on her face in front of their FBI colleagues—or their suspects.

"Why couldn't I be The Face?" she complained as she slipped them on her feet. "At least that way I'd be back in my own clothes after tonight."

Jane waved a hand dismissively. "Meh, that would never work."

The sudden stab of hurt took her by surprise. "What, you don't think I could lure Pulaski up here?" She aimed for indignation, but the pause before he spoke and the way his gaze held hers, told her she'd had a tell that hadn't gone amiss.

He shifted ever so slightly closer and leaned towards her earnestly. "Oh, of that I have no doubt. But if you were The Face that would make Kim an Inside Man, my girlfriend, and that is what wouldn't work. She could never be right in that role."

'And I am?' The words almost slipped from her lips, but she bit them back just in time. In the end she didn't say anything.

"Now," he went on, after a spell of utter silence. "Since everyone is just about finished downstairs, shall we say goodbye before I show you around? We should have some time to ourselves before our party guests arrive."

Not for the first time since Jane had returned to her life, confusion mingled with a healthy dose of frustration, but she consigned everything not relevant to the con to the back of her mind for now and cautiously moved forward to take his proffered arm.

It was obvious to her, to anyone, that Jane was in his element with this case. It was just her bad luck that after weeks of attempting to wean herself from his company, of telling herself some things just weren't meant to be, that it had come to this—a stint as his live-in girlfriend.

Devotion

She looked stunning. And the fact that she was completely oblivious only made her more so.

Yes, the dress was lower and shorter than she was used to, and maybe the heels had an extra inch or two, but with a few hours practice behind her, and a few outrageous but sincere compliments that had soon had her blushing like a school girl, she was carrying it off beautifully.

He still caught her fidgeting when she thought no one was looking, but since he'd barely taken his eyes off her since the moment she'd slipped barefoot into the bedroom, there was little about her he could have missed. Though that was true on almost any occasion, the vision now before him was so utterly different to what he was used to that he found his usual coping methods sorely stretched to the limit.

That he wasn't the only one aware of the change in her wardrobe hadn't escaped his notice. She'd had her fair share of admiring but discreet glances all evening. He was just glad Agent Pike's weren't among them, though he had no doubt the man was glued to the monitors back at the office by now, and that he would likely remain there for the foreseeable future.

Just the thought of that brought a knot to his stomach. The Art Squad agent had been kept more than a little busy over the past week, and while his and Lisbon's interactions had been nothing but professional, he wasn't blind. Pike's interest had been obvious from the moment she'd arrived at the first briefing, but it was Lisbon's light flirting as he'd wandered through aisles full of art that had caused the first horrible stirrings of unease.

Instinctively his eyes sought her out. He needed a few more quiet minutes to drink in the sight of her, but this time, to his surprise he found he was the one being watched. Unfortunately, the effect he appeared to be having on her at this moment was far from desirable. Clearly something had unsettled her; even from across the room her troubled expression was obvious. Worry lines he'd too often been the cause of creased her forehead, and nerves that had melted away under his ministrations had begun to creep back.

With a start, he had the disturbing realisation that, once again, he was responsible. His thoughts these last few minutes had not left him unaffected, and even if the changes were so subtle they went unnoticed by everybody else, Lisbon, he was reminded, had become extremely adept at reading him.

He didn't like being the reason for the look she wore, didn't like it one bit, but at least on this occasion it was within his power to fix. He set out to do so right away, working to find the tells that had given him away, and they didn't take long to spot.

Thankfully, they also didn't take long to correct—especially when Lisbon was the powerful incentive. In no time at all he'd eased the tension from his body and the apprehension from his eyes, and allowed his natural state of excitement at the fun of the evening ahead to show instead. To his delight, her response to his efforts was almost immediate and entirely positive. Her forehead became frown free again, leaving only simple curiosity in its place, and the worst of her nerves disappeared. When she finally glanced away, returning her full attention to Kim, he knew for certain he'd succeeded in reassuring her.

It warmed him, that reminder that he could also have a positive effect on her moods, and filled him with a sudden but strong and familiar rush of affection.

Perching against the low bar behind him, feeling far more like himself now, the activities around the room began to pique his interest—Lisbon's exchange with Agent Fischer in particular. The other woman was on her cell, nearing the end of her call if he had judged correctly, almost assuredly receiving the news that their part in the con was about to begin.

Anticipation bubbled within him.

When the call did indeed end a short time later, Lisbon's few brief words and nods of understanding merely confirmed his suspicion.

Fischer moved away, but Jane's eyes stayed on Lisbon. She had turned his way and was beginning to take slow, careful steps down the marble stairs, closing the distance between them. The brief wait seemed interminable, but when she finally came to a stop beside him, skirt swishing against his leg, just for the moment everything in his world seemed to right itself.

"They should be here any minute."

"Hmm," he acknowledged, before twisting around and reaching for the two glasses of champagne behind him. One he kept for himself and the other he handed to Lisbon. "Don't worry, Teresa." He pitched his voice low so only she could hear, and savoured the brief moment of intimacy it created. "You'll be wonderful."

Her answering look was more of a grimace, one that said she really didn't know if she could believe that, but he had more faith in her than she did. In the past she'd given some very convincing performances, and he trusted that once the first few nerve-racking minutes were out of the way, and she had her feet firmly under her, she wouldn't disappoint.

He, on the other hand, was greatly anticipating each and every minute. A meticulously planned con was well underway, one he was about to take centre stage in, and he got to indulge himself in the role of Lisbon's boyfriend with her by his side the entire way. There wasn't much that could make his evening any better.

So he was more than ready when the warning came, when he heard the call that Abbott and their mark had finally arrived. He suspected that in her way Lisbon was as well. She really wasn't very good at waiting.

"Show time," he muttered.

Instantly the room came alive. People broke off into smaller groups, started mingling. They sipped from champagne flutes and struck up random conversations. But he ignored them all. Focussing entirely on the woman beside him, he lifted his glass to hers, tapped their sides in a silent toast, and offered her an encouraging smile.

This time she returned it, even if it was edged slightly with panic. "Here we go," she muttered. She took one last deep breath, expelled it slowly, and with glass in hand headed for the door. Her shoulders straightened and her chin rose a little higher with every step she took, and when she arrived just as the bell rang, she was completely composed. He was proud of her.

Jane sipped at his champagne.

Pike, he decided, was a problem for later, one he was certain he would have plenty of time to deal with. For now he would focus on two of his favourite things: the con and Lisbon.

The first because it was wonderfully entertaining, and the second because she was deeply loved.

Faithful Love

They were the only two people left in their corner of the FBI building. Most had left some time ago, eager for a night off before they caught another case, and the rest had trickled out soon afterwards.

Darkness had long since fallen, leaving them under the soft glow of the overhead lamps. The quiet clicking of keys from Lisbon's keyboard was all that broke the silence. As conscientious as usual, she sat at her desk typing up her report on the art theft related murder, while behind her, Jane lay reclined on his brown, leather couch.

Sleep hadn't claimed him, though, as it often did during quiet times like these, when he had Lisbon's reassuring presence just an arm's length away. Tonight he lay staring unseeing at the ceiling far above, his hands clasped tightly across his stomach, while anxiously keeping one eye on the progress she made. His body was too alert, his mind too heedful of the words he had to say to even consider sleep.

So much had changed in the last twenty-four hours.

The night before he'd had to stand by and watch as Lisbon left on a date with another man. In those few brief moments his world had turned upside down. Only a lifetime of practice had allowed him to remain outwardly calm, while inside he was anything but. The high from the con had vanished instantly, and he found all he could do was drop to his couch listlessly as Lisbon and Pike walked away. While the rest of the team had enjoyed case-closed pizza, all offers of which he had despondently refused, he remained in the exact same spot and stayed there until long after everyone else had left.

The passing hours went unnoticed, and he had no idea when he finally forced himself to move from the office to his Airstream. He was functioning on auto-pilot. Falling atop his bed fully clothed, lying in almost the exact same position as he was now, his only thoughts had been of Lisbon.

Every image, every memory, every dream he'd dared to have, stressed what he already knew: their lives right now weren't what he wanted, weren't what he thought she wanted, and they certainly weren't what he'd hoped to have after all these months back in the States. And he only had himself to blame for his current predicament.

Now time was running out. Nothing specific about Agent Pike hinted that his attentions would prove more successful than any other man's, but intuition told him he had to act. And he always trusted his instincts.

As the first hints of dawn had appeared in the sky that morning after a very long, sleepless night, vague plans had taken root in Jane's mind. But as the day stretched on, as he watched her from his couch with a clearer mind, he decided to abandon them all for something far simpler. He needed to speak with her. Just speak with her and be direct. Lisbon valued honesty and truthfulness; he only hoped she recognised both in him, that it would be enough, and that he wasn't too late.

He would know very shortly.

Jane closed his eyes and breathed deeply. When he opened them soon afterwards, feeling no better prepared than he had been before, he swivelled his head to the left, twisting around a little in an attempt to see Lisbon's screen. From what he could make out she was almost finished.

"I think I'll visit the museum this weekend."

The sudden sound of his voice in an almost silent room was startling. Lisbon visibly jumped, but paused only briefly to take in his random comment before going back to work. "Oh? That's nice."

"Mm. I thought I'd take another look at the inspiration behind us catching a murderer and a gang of art thieves."

From the corner of his eye Jane saw Lisbon's fingers stop typing and hover over her keyboard. They remained there as she tried to puzzle that one out. "Inspiration?" she finally asked curiously.

Noting he'd piqued her interest, he stopped craning his neck into an uncomfortable position and returned his gaze to the ceiling. "Manet's Violets of course." He winced as he settled back into the cushions. "Since I may not have come up with quite such a brilliant plan for our con otherwise, I thought it would be a rather fitting way to wrap up the case."

Abandoning all pretence of work now, Lisbon spun in her chair to face him. "You got the idea for the con from a painting?" she asked sceptically.

Now that he had her full attention, Jane had to work harder at appearing his normal, composed self. Their familiar banter was just what he needed. He raised his eyebrows and turned to look at her. "You doubt me? Really, Lisbon!"

Her lips twitched and he could have sworn he saw her eyes sparkle.

Delighted, he turned away and closed his eyes, and settled in to wait. She wouldn't give in too quickly when it became clear he wasn't going to elaborate. She would sit quietly amused, dark hair falling over her shoulders in waves, indulging him for as long as her patience would allow.

When she sighed loudly almost right on schedule, he nearly smiled.

"So?"

"Hmm? So what?"

"So," she repeated, drawing out the word, "how did the painting give you the idea for the con?"

When Jane opened his eyes and turned to her, saw her bathed in the soft light from above, he found he was lost for words and unable to do anything but stare. Her smiling lips and honest eyes made all thoughts of teasing disappear, as did the look she wore—a look that revealed so much more than she was aware. His chest constricted when he thought of what he had nearly let slip through his fingers, and of how very much he still stood to lose.

Because she was breathtaking. And he was a fool.

"Jane?"

Her voice, now ever so slightly wary, finally forced a few words past his dry throat. "I read about the exhibition a few weeks ago, actually," he began vaguely. "Violets was one of the paintings that was mentioned—it reminded me of you." A small, nervous smile graced his lips, but he was entirely serious.

"I don't understand."

Without breaking eye contact, Jane slowly and deliberately swung his legs over the side of the couch and sat up. But when he settled on the edge he felt the urgent need to have her closer. Rising to his feet, he ignored her furrowed eyebrows as he stepped nearer, her widened eyes as he grasped the sides of her chair, and her small call of alarm when he rolled her over to his couch. When he sat down again he couldn't get her any closer.

"Jane?" she repeated, but she didn't try to move away.

As certain as he was that they wanted the same things—despite what her recent date with Pike would suggest—Jane found his search for the right words to be a lot harder than he'd expected. But he gathered his courage and let out a rather slow, slightly shaky breath.

"I remembered reading about Violets when the art case came up. Remembered how it made me think of you." His fingers moved around restlessly. "And because you were foremost in my mind when I realised a con would be the best way to catch these guys, I thought it was a chance for me to pretend, even for a little while, that I had what I wanted most." He shrugged self-consciously and another small smile fleetingly appeared. "Hence our role as a couple. Et voilà! Inspiration struck."

Jane could see her astonishment at the words he'd spoken, at what they implied, when her eyes widened even more. But just as he expected, just as she'd struggled with his statement days before that only she could play his girlfriend, she couldn't bring herself to focus on the words that mattered most.

"A painting of violets reminded you of me?"

He allowed her a brief moment's reprieve.

"Well, technically the story behind the painting reminded me of you." He sat quietly, watching closely as his words sank in.

"The story reminds you of me?" she repeated slowly, more carefully, before realisation began to dawn. "That story you told MacKaye? The one about the artist being in love with his brother's wife?"

Jane smiled softly. "Yes, that one, although I was thinking more about the part where it says she was his forbidden love. That because he couldn't express his love to her in words he had to do it in a different way." He chose his next words very deliberately. "I know exactly how that feels. That's all I was able to do for you for years."

Lisbon swallowed hard, and when her chest began to rise and fall more rapidly, Jane couldn't stop his own heart rate from keeping pace.

Her eyes flickered away briefly and a nervous burst of laughter escaped her throat. "You're just messing with me, right, Jane?"

Despite her words, he was sure she didn't believe that. Their relationship had never been a target for his mockery or amusement—it had been his one saving grace. But he did understand why she was so hesitant in accepting what he was finally trying to say.

With that in mind, he leaned ever so slightly closer and gripped the sides of her chair tighter, needing to make sure there was no misunderstanding. "I'm not messing with you," he told her, his voice growing strong and clear.

"Jane..." she called, uncertain.

He gazed up at her from his place on the low couch, willing her to understand—and believe. "I mean it," he said, quietly this time, but with no less conviction. "For a long time I couldn't say what I felt—or show it in the traditional sense. For several reasons. For all intents and purposes you were forbidden to me." He wanted to reach out and touch her but just barely managed to restrain himself. "I had to keep my promise, Lisbon. I had to finish what I set out to do. And no matter what you said, I had to do everything within my power to keep you from being in more danger than you were already in."

He leaned closer, looked into wide, round eyes.

"What I'm trying to say, and what I should have said long before now, is that I love you, Teresa."

Her breath hitched at the quietly uttered phrase, and her hands started to tremble. And he just couldn't stop himself from touching her anymore. His hands slipped into hers and they both held on with a white-knuckle grip.

"I love you," he repeated. "I fell in love with you a long time ago."

Lisbon sucked in a breath and closed her eyes tightly. When she blinked them open again long seconds later they were coated with tears, but she stubbornly fought to keep them from falling.

"Why?" she asked, shakily. "Why wait until now? You've been back in the U.S. for close to a year. We've been working together again for months." She hastily swiped away a tear that escaped and trailed down her cheek, frustration clear in every sharp, jerky movement she made. With each word she spoke her voice grew in strength, and her tone demanded nothing but complete honesty.

Jane felt a deep ache. He wasn't the only one his silence had hurt.

"You know me, Lisbon. You know me almost as well as I know myself. I cause trouble, get under people's skin, sometimes even without trying. If something I ever said or did..." His words trailed off when he found he couldn't voice that fear. Even within the safety of the FBI's walls, with Lisbon as close as she was, the possibility seemed all too real.

"That wouldn't be your fault, Jane," she insisted.

He didn't answer. They both knew nothing she said could ever make him believe that. Not with regards to his past, and not with regards to any possible future.

Jane carried on earnestly. "I accepted Abbott's deal because I thought I could finally have the chance to be with you, Teresa. I know I should have said something before now, and I can't tell you how sorry I am that I didn't. It wasn't my intention to hurt you. I just..." He paused for breath and worked hard to collect himself. "I've been so scared of losing you that I forgot there was more than one way that could happen."

They stared at one other in silent understanding, Lisbon's date the night before uppermost in their minds. "I thought you weren't ready," she began, "or that you didn't want..."

"I do want, Teresa," Jane interrupted, before she could finish the sentence. "I want you. Us. More than anything."

He looked down at where their hands were still joined and released a long, weary sigh. He wished he could stop there, but as much as he thought he knew what she wanted, it was far more important that she knew he understood the choice was hers. Her words on the plane all those months ago still weighed heavily on his mind.

"Agent Pike seems like a good man. And more than anything you deserve to be with a good man." He looked up with something akin to fear. "I think everyone would agree that's the last thing I am, but of course I'm still selfish enough that I hope you'll want to be with me."

The frustration had all but drained from Lisbon by the time he finished speaking. She sat before him, quiet and calm and unmoving, but with an air of confidence and a look in her eyes Jane was certain he had never seen.

"No one's purely good, Jane," she murmured, "and most aren't all bad. You have far more good in you than you give yourself credit for." She squeezed his hands and leaned forward until they were little more than inches apart. "Believe me. While you might still be able to pull one over on me, I do know the man I love."

For several long moments he stared up at her, heart thumping painfully against his chest, hardly daring to believe what he'd heard. But when one elegant eyebrow arched and a smile played around her lips, he knew his ears weren't deceiving him.

His face lit with wonder, and his smile grew when her slightly shaky laugh floated through the room. The sound was music to his ears.

He watched her, couldn't tear his eyes from her, as he grasped her fingers and brought her right hand to his lips, marvelling at every emotion that flickered in her eyes and crossed her face. When he placed a soft, tender kiss to her palm and then the thrumming pulse point in her wrist, her breath stuttered, and her eyes darkened before drifting shut. He wished fervently then that they were in a far more private place.

Completely distracted, it was some time before he realised her eyes had flown wide, and were gazing at him now with an altogether different look. Unnaturally still, the heavy rise and fall of her chest was even more noticeable than before, and her fingers held his in an almost painful grip.

Jane knew a moment's panic until realisation dawned.

She'd finally noticed.

Her eyes darted back and forth between his face and hand, trailed over his now bare ring finger as though unbelieving of what she'd found. The light sheen of tears returned to her eyes, and this time she couldn't stop several from falling.

Without uttering a word, he reached out and cupped her cheeks with both hands. With slow, sure movements his thumbs wiped the tears from her heated skin, back and forth, back and forth, until her look of shock gradually receded, and her earlier smile reappeared and blossomed.

It drew his eyes to her lips, and he felt the last thread of his control slip away. He just had to know the feel and taste of her. His intentions clear, he started to pull her closer, but she was already moving to meet him half way.

The first touch of her lips on his sent his heart rate sky-rocketing. They were soft and warm and held no hint of hesitation, and he was in heaven. One hand slipped into her hair where he carefully grasped a fistful of curls, and with part relief part desperation, he moved his lips slowly over hers. With deep, thorough kisses he explored her mouth, whispered her name, memorising and savouring each and every second.

When he felt warm hands rest briefly on his chest, press lightly against the bare skin at the neck of his shirt, his breath caught and he momentarily faltered. But then the teasing touch was gone and her arms had wound around his neck, and he returned her kisses again with rapidly growing passion.

Abruptly he brought them to their feet. With her arms still wrapped around him, forced to stand on tiptoe, they were so close not even a whisper of air could have passed between them. Restless hands began to move from her face to her back, trail along her sides, slowly searching and discovering, brushing the as yet untouched skin beneath her shirt. When she gasped against his mouth he bent his knees and wrapped his arms fully around her, pulling their entire bodies flush. Their mutual moans vibrated through them.

They broke apart breathless.

"In the interests of full disclosure," he murmured, trying desperately to catch his breath, "I should warn you that I'm never going to want to let you go."

His forehead dropped to hers as their ragged breathing filled the space between them, and he marvelled at the fact that he could hold her like this now. Touch her. He continued to do so while they stood wrapped in each other's arms, unwilling to stop when he had only just started, filing away every sensitive spot he discovered for a far more thorough exploration later. He smiled at each and every shiver he provoked.

"That's okay," she answered. "Despite the fact that you're crazy, I was thinking exactly the same about you."

Jane brushed a feather light kiss against her lips and chuckled. "Crazy, hm. Don't you mean ingenious?"

Lisbon snorted. "More like arrogant and cocky," she murmured next to his ear.

He felt her fingers rake through the ends of his hair and he tried to pull her even closer. "Confident and charismatic," he half moaned.

Lisbon started to reply, but a smile a mile wide spread across Jane's face before he quickly leaned down and covered her mouth with his.

'God, I love this woman,' was his last coherent thought before he forgot everything.

The End

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