It was just after five by the time they arrive home. After discarding their shoes and coats, they made their way into the kitchen where Lisbon started to make dinner.
"Macaroni cheese ok?" Lisbon asked as she started pulling out ingredients.
"Sure" he said. He was standing in the entrance of her kitchen, looking uncomfortable.
"Jane…" Lisbon said almost playfully, sensing his unease. "I don't bite."
"Right…" he said. This was Lisbon. Teresa.. his friend. Why should he feel uncomfortable around her? He put his practiced mask on… not quite so firmly as he usually would, and strolled into the kitchen.
"Can I help with anything?"
"Sure, you can chop that bacon up."
"Yeah.. it gives it that extra flavour." She smiled at him, a little embarrassed.
"Oh.. ok." He opened the packet of bacon and started chopping it into squares. Lisbon got to work, boiling water and pouring a packet of macaroni into the water. She started humming slightly. Cooking seemed to relax her. She looked over at Jane. He was half way through chopping the bacon, but he had put the knife down. He was leaning against the counter for support.
"Jane?" Lisbon asked walking over to him. His eyes were closed and he was swaying slightly.
"Just a little dizzy."
"Here.." she helped him into a chair. "Water?"
She turned and filled a glass from the fridge and placed it in front of him.
"What brought that on?"
"I don't know.. I just started seeing spots."
"Have you eaten today?"
"Well there you go then."
She turned for the fridge, grabbing a can of lemonade and passing it to him.
He looked at it like it was poison.
"Drink." She ordered. "You sugar levels are probably low."
He made a face, but opened the can and took a sip anyway.
"Good." Lisbon said triumphantly. She turned and continued making the food.
"Do you want me to help?"
"No… you stay put. If you fall over in my kitchen, I'm responsible for you. And I don't need that responsibility on my shoulders." She smiled at him and he forced one back at her. He knew his blood pressure was high, he could feel the heat coursing through his veins. His heart rate was higher than usual and he couldn't control it. He had trained himself to be able to escalate his vitals, but never to slow them down if they were already up. He sighed, taking another sip of the lemonade. How did the tables turn so fast? One moment he's looking after Lisbon, and the next she has to look after him. He doesn't like feeling weak. But again, this was Lisbon. He knew she would do anything for him.
He really didn't deserve her as a friend. Here she was, loyal as ever. She was always trying to help him. She had hesitated signing him on to the team, but their friendship had grown quickly. He was always jeopardizing her job, she would be angry for a while, but the next day they would be fine again.
She finished making dinner, enjoying the company. When the macaroni was ready, she joined him at the breakfast bar. They ate in a comfortable silence. Jane sat there picking at his food. He was afraid if he started eating, his stomach would reject it.
"Jane, eat. You'll feel better if you do." She shoved a forkful into her mouth, almost as if she was trying to show him it wasn't poisoned.
He smirked at her and started eating properly. Sure enough, after he had eaten half of his plate, he was starting to feel his strength return, but he could still feel that dizzy pounding in his skull and his hands had started shaking. They finished their meal with idle chatter. Jane got up to do the dishes, ignoring Lisbon's protests. They compromised by doing them together, Jane washing, Lisbon drying. With the kitchen cleaned up, they sat down to watch a movie. Lisbon was using her best efforts to try and keep him distracted. She treated him to one of her favourites 'The Bodyguard.' They were sitting on the couch together, her curled up at one end, and him sitting with his legs crossed at the other. He seemed somewhat distracted through the movie, but Lisbon knew that was to be expected. He was fighting a battle with his own demons, not all of them old. They only made it an hour into the movie, before Lisbon noticed Jane's eyes starting to droop.
"Time for bed?" she asked.
He looked over at her, a little embarrassed.
"Yeah… I think so."
She got up, heading towards the stairs.
"Goodnight Jane." she said smiling at him.
Jane felt the panic build up inside of him. She was going to make him sleep on the couch. Alone. He couldn't bear the thought of having to face his nightmares alone tonight.
"Lisbon… I… I would understand if you thought it inappropriate… but… the couch… and you… and… I…"
"Jane? What is it? You can tell me." She said, seeing his struggle. She gave an encouraging smile.
He sighed, giving up.
"I don't want to be alone tonight."
Lisbon found her breath intake from surprise. She had not been expecting this one. She went through the options in her mind. She really couldn't see why it would be so bad. It's not like he would try anything… he just didn't want to be alone after finding out his daughter's dying of cancer… and besides, he had slept beside her one other time and everything had been ok.
"Sure Jane. Of course you can."
He smiled gratefully at her, before following her up the stairs.
They changed into their pyjamas, him in the bathroom, her in the bedroom. She was already in the bed when he entered the bedroom. Walking over to the right hand side of the bed, he pulled back the covers and turned so he was facing her.
She noticed he was trembling and reached out and grabbed his hand.
He smiled softly at her, grateful for the company.
She looked down, blushing slightly at the use of her Christian name. She knew he was exhausted. Today had been massive. Hell, the last week or so was just the cherry on top of the last eight years.
Tonight he might finally get some proper sleep.
When she looked up again, Jane's eyes were closed, his mouth slightly agape. Although most of his worry lines were smoothed down, his eyebrows were still furrowed into a frown.
Experimentally, with her free hand, she reached out and stroked his hair above his ear. The furrow of his brow relaxed, but his face didn't turn into the lazy grin she had seen earlier. She sighed, bringing her hand back from his head. She shifted, trying to get more comfortable.
Slowly she drifted off to sleep, her hand still intertwined with his.
A couple of hours later, Lisbon woke again. She turned and looked at the clock. 10.30. She looked at Jane. He was still completely out to it. He hadn't moved since they had gone to bed, but he did have a light sheen of sweat glistening on his forehead. Her motherly instincts getting the best of her, she reached out, laying the back of her hand on his head. He was running a fever.
"Hmmm…" Lisbon said, pushing some of his damp curls to the side of his face. Poor thing. She thought to herself. He really isn't handling this as well as he's letting on. He had stressed himself into getting sick.
Lisbon sighed, running her hand through his hair again. Her phone lit up on the bedside table, humming slightly, as it vibrated against the wood.
Silently, so she didn't wake her sleeping companion, she grabbed her phone and stepped out of the room. She looked at the caller I.D.
Grace Van Pelt.
Slightly cursing to herself, she answered. The team had no idea what had happened since Greer had collapsed.
"Lisbon." She answered, as she made her way downstairs and into the lounge.
"Boss. How's Greer? We haven't heard anything."
"Grace? Is Rigsby and Cho there?" she asked.
"Um… yeah…" Van Pelt answered, clearly worried that Lisbon hadn't just given her a straight answer.
There was a shuffling and a soft click before the other members voices came on the phone.
"Boss?" It was Rigsby. "What's happening?"
Lisbon spent the next five minutes filling in the team on Greer's condition. She didn't mention about how Jane found out, nor did she tell them about finding him in the corridor. It would have breached his privacy and his confidence in her.
The team was silent. Cho was the first to break the silence.
"How long?" he asked, his mono-toned voice now a tone of compassion.
"Not long. Could be a few months… could be a week. They're re-evaluating her tomorrow. What happened today was just proof of how fast she is deteriorating."
Lisbon heard an intake of breath. Grace.
"Jane…?" it was all that needed to be asked.
"He's staying with me." She waited for a snide remark, but having not received one, she continued. "He's hurting, a lot. But that's to be expected. We're going to have to be there for him. He needs to know he's not alone in this world.
"Ok Boss." She knew they were in shock and that this was probably the best response she was going to get.
"I'll organise it with Wainwright that Jane gets some extended leave. Just remember we're a family. We stick together no matter what.
"Guys, go home and get some rest, I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Ok, night boss." They all replied in sync.
Lisbon closed her phone, disconnecting the call.
She sighed before running a hand through her hair.
She ventured back upstairs, before climbing back into bed. Jane was curled up in a ball, facing away from her. She leaned over, reaching out to touch his forehead again. He was noticeably warmer than he had been ten minutes ago. Crap. He was burning up.
Lisbon sighed, knowing there wasn't anything she could do while he was asleep. Hopefully he would just sleep it off.
As a firm believer of Murphy, she silently wished she had never thought that. On cue, she heard a groan immerge from Jane's mouth.
He responded by groaning again, followed by a soft "No!"
He rolled onto his back, shaking his head from side to side.
"I'm sorry! Stop! Please!"
"Jane! Jane… wake up!" she was gently shaking him by the shoulders, trying to rid him of his nightmare.
His eyes flashed open. She was worried about how glazed they were.
He sat up, trying to slow his breathing. She sat up with him, rubbing soothing circles on his back. He was quite damp.
"It's ok Jane. You're alright. It was just a nightmare."
He let out an uneven, ragged breath in response.
He put his head in his hands. She could see he was in pain. Both physical and emotional.
"Patrick, I'll be right back, I'll go and get you some aspirin."
He nodded in response.
She raced downstairs, hunting through her medicine cabinet for the aspirin. She also found the thermometer so she grabbed that too. It was probably a good idea to monitor his temperature closely at the moment. She filled a glass of water from the fridge and headed back to the room. Jane was sitting up, hugging his knees. He had turned on the bedside light, now Lisbon could get a proper look at him. His blonde curls were sticking to his forehead, he was awfully pale and he was sweating badly. She could see that the shirt he was wearing, had indeed become quite damp.
"Drink this and take these." She instructed softly, handing over the water and the painkillers.
He obeyed, popping the tablets in his mouth and downing the water.
"Thanks." he said shakily.
"Jane, I'm just going to take your temperature. Ok?" she said, showing him the thermometer.
"Because you feel like you're burning up."
"How would you know?" he was completely serious. He wasn't even trying to make her feel uncomfortable- even though he was. He would have a field day if he knew she had been touching him in his sleep.
"Just put this in your mouth."
He complied by opening his mouth, allowing her to slip the device under his tongue. A minute or so later, the thermometer beeped.
"Moment of truth." She said out loud. "102.5…. Jane that's not good. What's going on with you, hmmm?" she sat down I front of him forcing him to look at her. He hesitated before answering.
"I feel awful. How much am I meant to be able to handle. It's all just too much."
Lisbon reached out and put a hand on his arm.
"I know Jane. I know. But we'll get through this. Together."
He looked up at her, with fever ridden eyes.
"I'm here for you Patrick… you do know that?"
"Patrick your temperature is too high. How would you feel about taking a cold shower before you go back to sleep?"
He nodded again and cleared his throat.
"Yeah… a shower would be good."
He pulled the blankets off and a shudder erupted through him. Goose-bumps appeared on the hollows of his cheeks. Lisbon didn't even know you could get goose-bumps on your face.
"Just make sure it's not a hot shower Jane. You'll only make yourself feel worse otherwise."
He nodded slyly, before grabbing a change of pale blue pyjamas from his bag on the floor. He walked rather unsteadily towards the en suite.
Lisbon waited until she heard the shower running before she crawled back into bed. She wasn't used to this quiet, broken side of Jane. He was usually so vivacious… larger than life. The thought of how much pain he's in, just made her want to sob.
Jane stayed in the shower for over half an hour. At first he listened to Lisbon, not allowing the temperature to reach any hotter than luke warm, but as the water hit his body, the chills that racked his body, became unbearable. He reached out, turning the shower nozzle onto hot. He stood there, letting the hot water run over his shivering body. He sighed in satisfaction. Soon the entire bathroom was covered in a soft layer of steam. God his head hurt. He was feeling dizzy and nauseated from the fever. Giving in, he sat down on the floor of the shower, letting the water flow over him. He leaned his head back against the wall, his vision flickering. Life sucks. He wasn't usually so pessimistic, but he could feel the dark and oppressing weight of his grief, cloud his vision and crushing his chest.
He shifted, his head protesting at the movement. Ok so maybe Lisbon was right. The heat was making him feel terrible. Although it was helping with the chills, he could feel himself getting more nauseated by the second. Reaching up to the shower nozzle, he turned it onto the coldest setting. Goosebumps erupted on his skin and he started shivering violently. He held his head under the freezing water until he couldn't handle it anymore.
Turning the nozzle off, he stood up and stepped out of the shower. He grabbed a fresh towel and dried himself quickly. His was shaking so intensely, that he was struggling to do the buttons up on his nightshirt. He finished dressing, an stepped out of the bathroom, his arms folded across his chest in an effort to warm himself up somewhat.
Lisbon was lying in the bed waiting for him. When he stepped out, she immediately sat up.
"You ok?" she asked in a tone of concern.
He padded nervously across the room, almost as if he was scared of invading her space again.
"Jane?" she asked again.
He shook his head in response. No. He was not ok.
"I don't feel well at all." He sat down on the side of the bed and she moved to sit by him. She placed a hand on his back. He felt hot to the touch and the chills still racked his body.
"Jane, I'm gonna take your temperature again. Ok?"
He nodded. He looked as if he was seeing things that weren't there. His eyes kept searching, never once focusing on one thing for more than a second. Lisbon popped the device in his mouth and watched the numbers rise. He winced when the shrill beeping erupted through the room. Lisbon took the device out of his mouth. She sighed when she read the numbers.
"Jane, I thought I told you to keep the water cold?"
He groaned slightly in response. There was a turmoil going on inside of him. His head was swimming and he was indeed seeing things. He could see Angela. She was sitting on Lisbon's chair in the corner of the room. She looked beautiful, but worry lines were carved into her flawless face. Jane knew he was hallucinating, but he couldn't take his eyes off of her.
Lisbon's face came into his line of sight. He looked at her, thinking she looked beautiful too… but she was in the way! He couldn't see his wife anymore! He tried to look around Lisbon, but she grabbed his face in her hands.
"Patrick! Look at me!"
He did as he was told, looking at her with glassy eyes.
"Do I need to ring an ambulance?" she asked in a questioning, but soft tone.
His eyes widened in response. No! that wouldn't work, if he was admitted to hospital he wouldn't be allowed to see Greer. They would probably get a psych consult too, and he wasn't sure he had enough energy to pass. His mental ability was slowly diminishing as the fever took hold of his body. He knew it was only temporary, but he didn't like his mind being messed with.
He shook his head.
"No." he cracked. "No hospitals."
"Jane, you could be seriously ill."
"Fine, but if your fever reaches over 104, then I'm making the call."
He nodded at the threat. He could still refuse to go, the paramedics wouldn't be able to take him if he wasn't consenting.
"Well… what do you want me to do then?" Lisbon asked, slightly exasperated. She had no idea what to do with him. He was too stubborn to listen anyway.
"I don't want to feel the pain anymore. If you think you can do that.. then let me know."
Lisbon winced. She hated seeing her friend so tormented. She knew he felt like this all of time, or had the pain locked in some hidden corner of his brain, but he usually didn't show it on the outside.
Jane looked around Lisbon, the chair in the corner of the room now empty.
"Jane… come on, hop in the bed.
Lisbon moved over to her side of the bed and lay down. Jane swung his legs up so they were on the bed. Just as he was about to lie down, Lisbon didn't the unthinkable, she reached out and pulled him towards her, his head landing on her chest. She wrapped her arms around him, taking advantage of his surprised state. He cautiously draped his arm over her middle, snuggling into her. She raised one of her hands and started stroking the side of his head, along his temple. He sighed in relief, her touch somewhat helping his pounding head.
Only a few moments later, she felt him relax against her, his breathing regulating.
God he was warm. It was a good thing she loved the heat, she usually got cold at night. He seemed to be acting as her human hot water bottle; even if the reason he was so warm was because he was running a high fever. She just hoped her body heat wouldn't escalate it.
Lisbon woke the next morning to find a small weight pressing into her chest. Jane.
She remembered the night before and immediately placed her hand on his forehead. He felt warm, but no longer felt like he was running a high fever. Her touch must have woken him because she felt him stir against her. He moved up, so his head was on his pillow and looked at her. He looked nervous.
"How are you feeling?" Lisbon asked.
"Yeah… better than last night." He shifted, so he could get a little closer to her again. "Lisbon… about last night… I'm sorry."
"What for? Everyone gets sick Jane."
"Yeah… I know… but not everyone tells their friend to take their pain away."
"And not every friend would have actually managed to do that. I haven't slept that well since my wife died. It's the first time in eight years that I went without that pain. I think it was listening to your heartbeat. It calmed me…. What… what I'm really trying to say… is thanks."
She reached over to the bedside table, grabbing the thermometer.
"May I?" she asked. He nodded and she popped it in his mouth, waiting for the beep. "100.7. That's heaps better, but still a little high."
She put the device back on the table and looked at the clock.
"Jane, its 9.00! I forgot to set my alarm last night!"
"Lisbon, calm down…. I ah… I asked Wainwright for the day off… I was hoping you would come to the hospital with me… for when we find out Greer's updated results?"
Lisbon sighed. Her momentary thought of being late had made her stomach drop.
"Of course Jane."
They arrived at the hospital, just after eleven. Lisbon had forced some toast into the still slightly shaky Jane, but he hadn't kicked up much of a fuss, knowing she was only trying to help him.
They made their way up to the oncology ward, to visit Greer. Tracy had gone to the cafeteria to grab some lunch, leaving the three of them free to chat. Greer had already been through her various tests, but she said that she was used to them. "Routines" she called them.
"You look pale." Greer said, directing her gaze to Jane. "You ok?"
He smiled at Greer.
"You're the one in a hospital bed, and you're asking me if I'm ok?"
He chuckled slightly.
"I wasn't well last night, but Teresa was a saint." He said, both he and Greer smiling at his pun. Lisbon just shook her head at the pair. Obviously the best thing for both of them was to be together. They made each other happy and at peace.
"Well… you need to look after yourself."
"I know Greer. I've already had this lecture from Lisbon."
"What… no you haven't!"
"Ahh.. but you see, my dear Lisbon, I could see it in your eyes."
Lisbon stuck her tongue out and the three of them erupted into laughter. Their laughter was cut short when the doctor entered the room, followed shortly by Tracy.
Greer, Jane and Lisbon, all looked like deer's in the headlights. It was the moment of truth. The doctor was holding a large, flat paper bag, containing her films.
"You have my results?" Greer asked.
"I do." The doctor replied.
Jane was watching him. He could see it in his eyes that it was bad news.
"The cancer has spread to your brain." He held up one of the films to the light, showing her brain. He pointed to a white mass."
"That's the tumour?" Greer asked, tears starting to well up in her eyes.
"I'm afraid so. I'm very sorry." The doctor said, putting the film back in its cover. Jane could see he was genuinely sad. Although the doctor was young, he had endured more sadness than anyone should. He had seen too much death for one man.
"How long?" Jane asked in an impatient tone.
"Three weeks… maybe less."
Lisbon felt her heart sink. She looked sideways, with eyes only for Jane.
He looked soulless. She wasn't sure he was going to come back completely from this one.
Tracy interrupted the silence.
"Are you sure?"
The doctor nodded.
Jane got up and strode out of the room.
Lisbon ran after him, after giving Greer's hand a small squeeze.
She rounded the corner just in time to see Jane punch a hole in the wall.
She had never seen this physical, angry side of Jane before. She knew it must have been there, the monster buried deep, but she never thought she would ever see it.
Tentatively, so she didn't startle him, she walked up to him.
"Jane?" she whispered softly.
He spun around to look at her.
"Lisbon." He said it as an accusation.
"Are you ok?"
"Am I ok? Am I ok? Do you bloody well think I'm ok?"
"I'm sorry Jane…" she placed a hand on his shoulder.
He shrugged away from her grip.
"Look would you just go away. I've been dealing with things on my own for longer then you've cared. I didn't need you then, and I don't need you now!"
Lisbon felt her heart crack.
"Ok…" she whispered. "I'll just leave you alone then." She turned and walked away from him, letting the tears that had been threatening spill free.
She walked through those two front doors, before her façade crumpled completely.