Okay, Tylah. Here is Christmas and Jello/Jisbon on the weekend (the prompt). Kind of. Too late for Secret Santa, but how about as a New Year's gift? ;) Enjoy!

Don't own anything. Really. And just to warn you, this is almost too fluffy. :D

A Gift to Treasure

Jane stared at the ceiling from his spot on the couch. The team had the day off. In fact, almost everyone had the day off.

It was the Saturday before Christmas and, for some strange reason, crime seemed to be at a record low for this time of year. Many of the departments were on call rather than on duty—including the Serious Crimes Unit.

He sighed, glancing at his watch before putting his hands behind his head.

He was bored.

Bored, bored, bored.

And it was only 9:30 in the morning. He sighed, thinking about what the team was doing at this exact moment.

Rigsby and Van Pelt were probably sleeping in. After all, Jane was sure it had been a long night for them. Fun, but long nonetheless.

Cho was likely at his mother's, helping her with her Christmas baking. A very dedicated son. Interesting twist, considering he had been a juvenile delinquent.

And Lisbon. Well, she was probably decorating her apartment. Christmas songs playing, tripping over boughs of holly. A fascinating contradiction. Having bad memories of the holidays after her mother had died, but always trying so hard for her brothers. Jane knew- even if she didn't say anything- that she felt out of place visiting her brothers and their families. So she usually lied to them and came up with a plausible excuse. Like having to work on Christmas Day...

Jane sat up. Well, he could get his Christmas shopping done. And who better to join him than Lisbon? He'd even generously help her decorate her apartment first. He grinned and breezed out of the bullpen, heading for the elevator. Yes, this was a great plan. He wondered if he'd find some mistletoe hanging at the mall.

See, he'd decided that he was pretty much smitten with the lovely Agent Lisbon. Sure, he still felt responsible for his family's deaths. And yes, he loved his wife. But he had finally come to terms with the fact that it was okay to care for- to love- someone else. Because his wife was gone. And she wasn't coming back. And she and his daughter would want him to find some semblance of happiness.

Just as he cared for them still, was bound and determined to give them the justice they deserved by hunting down Red John, they too would want him to get what he deserved. A second chance. A chance to move forward.

And Jane was smart enough to know that the only way he could do so was with Teresa Lisbon. The one person who had seen every angle of him and hadn't backed off nervously. Or run away screaming. The one person who refused to give up on him.

The person he had fallen in love with.

The drive to her place was mercifully short. After he knocked on her door, he heard some puttering around before footsteps made their way to the door. A pause and then it opened, revealing Lisbon in red tights, green boxer shorts, and a black long sleeved tee that had a festive Christmas tree splashed across it. Her hair was mussed and she looked utterly relaxed. He wanted nothing more than to clasp her to him.

He held back. One step at a time...

"Jane? What's wrong? Is there a case?"

He deftly pushed by her so he was in her apartment. She shut the door and turned to him. Oh, yeah. He should probably answer. "No case. Just thought I'd help you create a festive atmosphere in your apartment."

She eyed him in bewilderment. He could tell she was about to kick him out so he quickly donned a pitiful 'I'm all alone in the world' look. Her eyes softened. Oh, yes. He had her right where he wanted her. "Fine. But one word about my outfit and you're gone."

"Don't worry, Lisbon. I would never tell anyone how luscious your legs look encased in red tights," he answered casually as he turned to straighten her tree. He sensed her surprise at his open compliment and ignored it. She would have to get used to that. And it was about time that she realized he appreciated her as a beautiful woman. Not just a friend. Or a boss.

He could tell the exact moment that she decided to let it go, to ignore the out-of-place and strange (to her) comment. She tightened the tree stand around the trunk and stepped back. Jane moved to stand beside her, shoulders brushing. "Looks great."

She smiled softly and took a deep breath, the scent of the pine tree filling her senses. "Yeah, it does."

He turned his eyes to her as she gazed at the tree. After a moment, she seemed to pull herself out of her reverie. She turned her head and caught his look, eyebrows lifting when their eyes met. He cleared his throat and averted his gaze, gesturing to the box of tangled lights. "Time for lights?"

She couldn't tell if he had been watching her or if he had happened to look at her at the same time that she had looked at him so again she let it slide. Briefly she wondered why he was there, if it was painful for him. Would it hurt to remember the holidays, to live the holidays? Or was it worse to be alone during them?

Ah, well. He was here and she hadn't kicked him out so that was that, she supposed. She grinned and he felt a little wary.

"I'll get some hot chocolate while you untangle the lights. 'Kay, Jane?"

She was already heading to the kitchen so he sighed and turned back to box of terror. Untangle the lights? Ugh. There were enough lights in there to tie up the entirety of the SCU team. Even Rigsby, large as he may be. Of course, that would require untangling the lights. A job which would likely take hours and manpower.

He could just imagine Lisbon's face as she returned. Oh. Maybe I should take that over if you can't get them untangled.

He shuddered at the thought of that blow to his pride. Rubbing his hands together determinedly, he delved into the box and began untangling.

He had gotten one of the seemingly millions of wires free and smooth by the time Lisbon returned. She smiled warmly as she handed him a mug topped with fluffy, white marshmallows. "Here."

He was enchanted with her relaxed and happy smile. He imagined seeing it every day. Perhaps in the morning after they had woken and crawled out of their bed. Their bed. Had a nice ring to it. By the time he had come out of his mini-daydream, she had set her mug down and began helping him untangle.

Unsurprisingly, she seemed to have a knack for untangling them. Untangling things. Like people. They each reached hands into the box. Warm skin brushed against warm skin. They froze. He stared at her face. Her eyes were downcast—staring at their hands—and her eyelashes made dark crescents against her cheeks. He felt a flicker of hope and then she frowned, pulling her hand away. "This should be enough. I'll get them on the tree if you don't mind grabbing the box of ornaments. It's in the closet under the stairs."

He nodded. "Yeah. Sure. That's fine."

He turned to get to the closet. Her voice caused him to pause. "It's kind of heavy. Let me know if you'd like some help."

Ask for Lisbon's help with one measly box?

He'd rather burn on a spit over an open fire with an entire team of Amazons ritually dancing around him.

As he muscled said measly box (okay, it may have been a wee bit hefty) down the hall, he pondered his next step with her. Spending the day with her like this was all well and good, but he didn't want to just keep on keeping on. He wanted to go forward. With Lisbon. Together.

Trying to be careful, he set the box down near the tree. As it thudded rather loudly, he suspected that he wasn't quite as gentle as he thought. Lisbon glanced over at him and grinned. "Thanks, Jane."

He wondered if he could ask her to call him Patrick. Then he decided that they probably weren't quite there yet.

"No problem, my dear."

He told himself he didn't sound slightly out of breath—from either the heavy lifting or her presence. He watched as she leaned up to wind some loose lights more tightly around the top branches. The stretch of her body caused her shirt to ride up, exposing the smooth skin of her waist. The sun streamed in the window behind her, creating highlights in her hair that almost took his breath away. God, he hadn't felt this in a long time.

Since his wife. His family.

He brought himself out of his stupor and grabbed an ornament before heading toward her and the tree with purpose. Deliberately, he crowded in behind her. Reaching around, he placed the ornament on the branch in front of her. She froze. He took a moment to savor the position they were in: her back against his chest, her hair tickling his nose as he subtly breathed in the scent of her shampoo, his arms surrounding her in something very close to an embrace. Warmth practically radiated off of her, filling the coldness that had clung to his person for years. Since the death of his family.

She cleared her throat and slipped out from under his arms, busying herself by the ornament. She flung some sardonic words at him. "You couldn't find another branch?"

He stared at her with an unfaltering gaze. "That branch needed an ornament."

His voice was serious—more serious than the occasion would normally call for—and it caused her to look up at him, curiously. He continued, words filled with intensity. "It had to be that one."

He wondered if she knew what he was saying behind the words. It has to be you.

She laughed a little. "Of course it did, Jane. Why am I surprised? You live to harass me."

She started to hang more ornaments and he tried to push away the hurt feeling that had accompanied her words. He didn't live to harass her. Well, to be fair, it wasn't her fault (or his) that she looked so adorable when she was irritated. Or angry. Or laughing. Or teasing.

Well, all the time, really.

When the tree was finished, the two plugged in the lights and stood back to gaze at its beauty. Jane wished he could put his arms around her and cradle her to his body as they appreciated the Christmas beauty in front of them. His words were soft when he spoke and he almost didn't realize that he was sharing with her.

"I haven't had a Christmas tree since my family was killed."

To her credit, she didn't move, didn't show any surprise.

"I haven't decorated a tree with someone since I left my family."

He knew what she was saying. Even when she had dated, she had kept the tree decorating ritual to herself. Lisbon knew that it was hard for Jane to share things about his family—just as hard as it was for her to—so she took a chance.

"It was always my mother's thing. Decorating the tree was a big deal. A big deal. And I tried to keep it up after she died. Dad wasn't into it, but the boys enjoyed it. Until they all moved out, I went back every Christmas and kept it up. Now the youngest has been married for three years and, though the boys' families get together during the holidays, I haven't been able to—" she paused, taking a deep breath. "I, uh, haven't been able to bring myself to join them. But I can't let go of the tree."

There was a moment of silence as she struggled. "I can't let go of her. Not all the way."

Of her mother. Of the memories.

Jane could relate.

"I can't let go of them, either."

His family. He felt her hand gently grasp his and squeeze.

"No one's asking you to, Jane."

He sighed. He knew that. But he wished that Lisbon expected, wanted, more from him. "I may not be able to let them go, but I don't think I need to cling to them anymore."

She turned her eyes to him, surprised. He squeezed her hand and grinned at her. "How 'bout helping me with my Christmas shopping?"

Her brow furrowed at his abrupt change of subject, but she nodded slowly. She didn't want to push him.

She didn't know he wanted to be pushed. At least a little.

Gathering coats, they tussled a bit over who would drive, but somehow (miraculously) they ended up in Jane's car. All went smoothly until they encountered the outer rim of the craziness that was the mall. Or, more specifically, the mall the weekend before Christmas.

After thirty minutes and twenty yards, they finally made it into the parking lot of the Target across the mall. They could walk across the street far more quickly than they could pierce the mall traffic and find a parking spot.

The mall was so chaotic that Jane had to grasp Lisbon's arm gently to keep her by his side. She was rather small and it was easy for the hordes to push her around a bit. She looked up at him and he felt almost husbandly again.

"So who do you need to shop for, Jane?"

He smiled. "The team."

She nodded, ready to organize a plan of action. She wasn't Senior Agent for nothing. "Right. Cho first."

She led them into the bookstore that happened to be on their right. Jane savored the next thirty minutes of banter as they each figured out what to give Cho for the holiday. Turns out the trip would be mutually beneficial—she still had her shopping for the team to do as well.

Next she led them to the sports gear store. For Rigsby. Both he and Lisbon were avid hockey fans. Jane endured the next thirty-five minutes of her having an enthusiastic conversation with the store clerk. As Lisbon wandered off to look at the jerseys, the clerk looked to Jane.

"Man, you are one lucky guy. She knows her hockey."

Jane smiled—a carefully calculated smile to let the guy know that: yes, he was lucky; yes, she knows her hockey; and yes, he was one lucky guy. She was not available.

When they finally left the sports store, he grabbed her hand and dragged her in the opposite direction. He stopped in front of a homeopathic, clean-living kind of store. Exactly the place someone who did yoga religiously would love. He tossed a smile back at her, noticing she was a little out of breath. Okay, maybe he had dragged her away a little quickly. Or a lot quickly. But the atmosphere at that last store had been too friendly for his liking.

She raised an eyebrow. "Why the sprint from the sports store?"

He shrugged nonchalantly and she rolled her eyes. "Jane, just because sports aren't your thing, it doesn't mean that others don't like them. Like me. Or even Van Pelt for that matter."

Jane thought he could really begin to love sports if they caused Lisbon to wear short jerseys with only panties.

"Besides, the sales guy was kinda cute," she complained mildly. He frowned. Exactly. Thus the sprint. "Do you think he was interested?"

Yes. Painfully interested. He shrugged, calling on all of his acting skills to pull this next whopper of a lie off. "I don't think so, Lisbon. I think he was just going for a big sale. The signed jersey. Sorry."

"Eh, no biggie." Jane was happy that she wasn't disappointed. Obviously it wasn't a big deal if the guy was interested or not. Thank God. Or the powers that be. Or fate. Or something similar that was more his style and not so…religious.

"Come on, my dear. I think Van Pelt will love the things from this store." He pulled her through the entranceway. Almost immediately, they were approached by an eager saleswoman.

"Hello. Can I help you find something?"

Lisbon glanced up at Jane and pointed to a secluded corner of the store. "I'll be over there."

The apron-bedecked woman watched in bewilderment as Lisbon hustled away from them before looking back to Jane. "Sir?"

He smiled charmingly. "Yes, we're looking for a gift for a friend."

The woman nodded knowingly. "Was there something in particular you and your wife wanted to get her?"

Jane blinked at her in surprise, for once rendered speechless. His wife? Lisbon? Oh yeah, his ring.

He found himself not terrified at the idea. In fact, it was rather growing on him. Would it be so bad to play along? Maybe as a little Christmas gift to himself.

"Well, she and my wife do yoga together all the time. And she's a health nut."

"How about this…" He followed the woman as she led him from object to object. He listened with only half an ear as he imagined today as the first Christmas for he and Lisbon. Their first married Christmas. After about five minutes of the woman making suggestions, Lisbon appeared at his elbow, clearly tired of keeping herself occupied.

"Did you find something?"

The woman smiled at her in excitement and watched the two with what appeared to be eagle-eyes. Or Jane could just be feeling guilty. Or sensitive. Or both.

Conscious of the woman's watchful gaze, he put his arm around Lisbon and pulled her into his side. "Dear, do you think Grace would like this better than that? Which would she be more likely to use?"

Lisbon stared up at him in surprise. Dear? Jane's eyes willed her to play along. What…? Oh. Lisbon figured that the clerk had been hitting on him and Jane was using her as an easy out. Surprising—since he was usually brutally honest to others. She mentally shrugged. Must have something to do with the game plan since Jane's actions were hardly ever (if ever, actually) without a reason.

She relaxed against him and threw one arm around his waist, tucking her hand up under his vest so it rested against him—only the thing cotton of his dress shirt between their skin. She pretended to deliberate for a moment. Jane memorized everything about the feel of her like this.


Lisbon pointed to one of the objects. "That one."

Jane nodded at the clerk and they headed up to the register. "Do you need to get her something?"

Lisbon shook her head. "Naw. I have her gift all set."

Jane paid and then, after a substantial amount of complaining about hunger pains (well, him complaining about his), they headed to the food court. Standing in line for a sandwich shop, Jane turned to Lisbon. "I'll be right back. I'm gonna go get us a root beer float to share."

He was gone before she could say anything. By the time he came back with the float, she had already gotten their sandwiches and was seated. As he sat, he smiled innocently at her. "The line was very long."

He took a sip out of the straw and slid it across the table to her. She hesitated for a moment. The team had all shared dinners and whatnot, but this. Sharing a drink with Jane—the same drink from the same straw—just seemed so intimate in a way. Trying not to be self-conscious about her actions, she wrapped her lips around the straw and drank. She ignored his heated gaze on her as she pushed the float back to the center of the table between them and dove into her sandwich.

After a bite, she looked up and noticed that the strange look was gone. "All done with your shopping now?"

"Actually, yes." He smiled in satisfaction.

"Good. Then we can get away from these crazy hordes and escape the mall."

His face fell at her words. He had to prolong their time together today. He had decided that this was it. Today was the day when he changed things between them.

When they were finished with lunch, he still hadn't thought up a way to keep them occupied for the rest of the day so he trailed along behind her forlornly as they headed toward the end of the mall where his car was parked. He scowled. If there were a God or even a Santa Clause, they surely would've thrown him a bone. Clearly, he was right in his assumption that neither existed. He shifted his eyes to glare upward at the non-existent beings and his gaze alit on something that could almost be described as heaven sent. If there was a heaven, that is. Although, with this miraculous timing he would think more on it later—just to be courteous.

Mistletoe. Above the doors to the parking lot. He upped his speed so he could close the last few steps between he and Lisbon. In his haste to reach the door with her, he grabbed her arm to tug her back as he launched himself forward the last foot.

Of course, this resulted in the two of them getting wedged in the doorway together. Lisbon, squashed chest to chest with him, looked up indignantly.

"What the hell, Jane?" She glowered up at him. "What's your problem?"

He smiled. She really was cute when she glowered. And when she was plastered to him. She put her hands to his chest to lever herself away from him. To prevent this, he put his arms around her and, with a brief look up, responded. "Mistletoe."

Her jaw dropped. She was sure she hadn't heard him right. How the hell would there be mistletoe at the mall doors? Wasn't that just asking for sexual harassment suits?

But as she looked up, she realized he was right. There really was mistletoe hanging above them. Her eyes moved down to his face again only to be surprised by how close it was to her own.

"Jane, I don't think—"

She was cut off by the feel of his lips on hers. His mouth slanted against hers in the most delicious way and just when she thought he would pull back (keeping it short and sweet and still within the bounds of friends or colleagues), he deepened the kiss. She had the brief thought that she should stop this before it went too far. Before she was pulled in too deeply. But as their kiss grew more passionate, all thoughts but the feel of him against her fled her mind.

The sound of catcalls and whistling had her coming back to reality and pulling back. For a moment, his lips followed, capturing small sips from her mouth. She pulled back farther. "Jane!"

His eyes opened and stared at her with an intensity she had never seen from him. She coughed nervously. "Um, I think it's time we left."

The drive home was awkward. Lisbon didn't know what had happened at the mall entrance and Jane was wondering how to make it happen again. When he pulled into the parking lot of her apartment complex, she hurriedly thanked him and was out of the car practically before he could get his seatbelt off. He rushed to get out and follow, but by the time he was out she was shutting her apartment door. In a moment of insanity, he kicked his car and muttered an expletive. That was how he knew it was serious. He kicked his car. His car.

Shit. What was he supposed to do next? It wasn't even 2:00. And he had entertained lovely ideas of spending the day with Lisbon tomorrow. Preferably cocooned in her apartment (her bed). A full Sunday of just the two of them sounded perfect.

But now he just had to weasel his way back into her apartment so he could confess his feelings to her. He felt the throbbing of his toe and looked to his car again. A slow smile spread on his face until it was full-fledged and full of mischief.

Lisbon sighed as a knock sounded on her door. As she headed to it, she cast fervent prayers skyward. Please don't let it be Jane.

She looked through the peephole.

It was Jane.

Of course it was Jane.

"What do you want, Jane?"

He looked guileless, standing on her front porch. "My tire is flat. I must have a slow leak."

She contemplated the likelihood that his statement was true. Probably not, but damnit! He knew just how to push her buttons. If it were true, she couldn't just pettily leave him standing out there. Sighing once more, she opened her door.

"Why does this feel so familiar?"

He grinned cheekily as he pushed past her. "Probably because we just did this same thing this morning."

She turned to him. "Do you have a spare?"

He regarded her closely. Hmm, that could be a loaded question. Did he have a spare of anything in life? No. He had used them all up. This was his last chance. And he had to make it work. "No."

"Jane, you have to make sure to have one at all times. It's dangerous."

She was right. It was dangerous. She moved to go past him and he grabbed her and kissed her.

No mistletoe. No excuses. Just a man wanting a woman. Him wanting her.

It was a short kiss. He needed them both to be coherent for this conversation. He pulled back and looked at her beautiful, confused face.

"Lisbon. I never thought I'd say this—feel this—again, but I think I'm falling in love with you," he breathed. The air was so still that there was no way she could pretend she had heard it wrong. Her eyes looked heartbroken. Lines furrowed his forehead. That wasn't the way she was supposed to look.

"Oh, Jane. You don't love me. You're not falling in love with me." Her response was firm.

"Just out of curiosity, why would you say that, my dear?" He kept his tone light to combat the depressing weight of hers.

"You have your priorities, Jane. You've never lied about them and I have tried really hard in the last few weeks to not delude myself about them. You want Red John. You want revenge. Period. End of story." He was a bit shaken by the finality of her tone.

"Well," he joked weakly, "that's a bit of a depressing end. A depressing story."

She closed her eyes, feeling the pain (hers or his, she wasn't sure…). "Jane…"

"Yes, Lisbon. I do want Red John. I will have revenge. I still want to kill him. I know that's an issue. But we can cross that bridge when it comes."

"Jane, if we did this, I don't think I could survive it unscathed if I had to arrest you. Detain you. Watch you become what you're hunting. Watch you begin to hate me."

He grasped her shoulders fiercely. "I will never hate you. Never. I will always be there for you. And I know we have different views on this—on his justice—but I have never been more willing to work on a compromise before. I need you, Lisbon."

He leaned his forehead to hers and breathed in her scent. She felt the warmth of his breath against her lips before his next words.

"I need you."

She was still scared. Still had reservations about him, about this. About them. But that slightly desperate note in his voice stuck in her mind and those three words played over and over in her head until she dropped the I and the you.

The only word rattling around in her mind was need.

Something she had ignored for years: her needs. She found she couldn't ignore his. And, if she were honest with herself, she couldn't ignore his. Not when he was so open about them with her.

She nodded against him. "Okay."

With that one word, Jane felt a great happiness well inside of him. It was more than he deserved. She was more than he deserved.

But if she was going to gift him with such a precious gift (herself), then he wasn't going to turn tail. He would treasure it. Treasure her.

He dropped a quick kiss on her lips and grasped her hand. "Let's have some hot chocolate, shall we?"

She bit her lip, looking deep in thought, likely wondering where they'd go from here.

He smiled. "One step at a time. As slow as you like, Teresa."

The use of her first name seemed to prod her into action and she preceded him into the kitchen. "Not too slow. Okay?"

He grinned at her back. That was his girl.


He liked the sound of that.

Oh, this Christmas was going to be anything but boring.