Pairing: Teresa Lisbon/Patrick Jane
Fic Title: Drink Red Wine and Be Merry
Rating/Warning(s): NC17, sexual situations
Why This Must Be Read: Because the characterization is absolutely flawless - an impressive feat in any fic, but in an NC17 fic with these two it's just short of a miracle. Lisbon and Jane banter, bullshit, and sleep together - all without slipping out of character.
She turned away from him, staring resolutely at the monitor and wishing she remembered what she was looking at. "I have work to do."
"Ah, yes. Urgent workplace safety reports." Her head whipped around, and he made a dismissive gesture. "There's an OSHA handbook open on your desk. It's no use, Lisbon. You can't lie to me. What's so bad about going out to dinner with a colleague? We do it all the time while we're working cases."
"I don't see why I should bother to answer," she deadpanned, "seeing as you already know what I'm thinking."
"Of course I know. I'm just curious as to whether you do."
"Jane," she started, then sighed. "Do we have to play this game?"
"It's up to you. You're the one setting the rules."
"And you're the one breaking them."
"No. Just testing. It's a bad habit of mine." He slumped a little against the doorframe. "Come on, Lisbon. Misery loves company. I could use a little myself."
The naked plea in his voice startled her, and she searched his face for some inconsistency, discerned none. His smile had dropped away completely; he met her eyes squarely, but she saw with sudden clarity the deep shadows there, and wondered how often he did sleep besides the moments he snatched on that couch.
If she saw anything real, it was no more than what he intended her to see. But she found herself saying, "All the restaurants must be closed by now. It's late, and it's Christmas Eve."
He straightened up instantly, his eyes rekindling, a chameleon shift from that briefest flash of vulnerability (had she imagined it?) to a more familiar eager mischief. "Not all of them. I know a place. You'll like it, I think."
"All right. But I'm driving."
He held the door for her, and she heard a trace of laughter in his voice. "Of course you are," he said; but for just a moment, she felt his hand at the small of her back, guiding her forward.