Work Header

Love and Affection and Respect for Personal Boundaries

Work Text:

The thing is, Jane slipped past Grace's defenses months ago. It doesn't feel dangerously flirtatious to silently hold his gaze while the smile on his face gets wider and warmer; it feels like another morning in the office and Jane showing off another one of his skills for the team. It doesn't feel strange or suggestive for Jane to hold her hand, cup her shoulder, touch her waist or the back of her neck; it's just Jane and his tactile way of checking in, monitoring pulse and posture and body temperature.

Even after what he says to her, about her, when he's blind, he's still their Jane. Even after Dan is exposed as a fraud who used Grace to hurt them, to hurt Rigsby and Jane--even after Rigsby--

The point is, when Jane asks her to dinner a couple of days later, saying he owes her one, it's no stranger than Jane usually is and it's not a come-on, so Grace goes. It's nice having Jane all to herself. He's charming and solicitous--he knows just the kind of wine she'll like, when she doesn't know herself--and it doesn't even cross her mind to feel strange about indulging in a second glass while Jane switches to sparkling water. She's not remotely drunk, just relaxed and having a good time, by the time she and Jane finish sharing their desserts back and forth.

After dessert, Jane asks her to dance. She hesitates. Jane's bound to be a good dancer, and if she says she's not he'll insist that she can be and then he'll insist that she try so he can make it true, so there's no point in that argument. The restaurant is attached to a resort. It's the kind of place where there's dancing. There are people on the dance floor already, women in little black dresses and date clothes--but she and Jane came straight from work.

"Come on," Jane says, tugging gently on her hand. She doesn't even remember when he reached out. "If I can dance in a suit, so can you."

Jane's suit is all gray today, with a blue shirt. His jacket is slung over the back of his chair, like hers, but his vest is still buttoned up and he hasn't rolled up his sleeves. Her suit is nearly the same shade of gray, though her shirt is pink. She follows him to the dance floor, led by the hand, and she thinks they must look color-coordinated. She doesn't look around to see who's watching them, though. All her attention is on Jane, because Jane is watching her and looking pleased.

He shrugs his shoulder until her hand slides just to where he wants it; his hand is strong on her back (like Rigsby's hand when--no) and her other hand is held carefully in his grip. He says, "stay with me, keep your eyes on mine," and gives her no other instruction. She breathes with him, follows the gentle pressure of his hands, and before she knows what's happening they're dancing. She knows--because it's Jane, and that's how he works--that she's dancing beautifully, that they're dancing beautifully together. She holds his gaze, smiling, nearly laughing, as they step and turn and slide through the music, and Jane is smiling too, nearly laughing, all for her.

It feels like magic, like a fairy tale, when at the end of the second song, he leans in and kisses her. His grip on her hand tightens even as the hand on her back gentles, his thumb stroking softly over her spine. It's a kiss, it's obviously a kiss, however gently his lips tease hers into parting, however sweet it all is. It's a kiss but it's also Jane, and so when he looks her in the eye again and smiles, she smiles back, because it obviously wasn't what a kiss would have meant with anyone else.

They start dancing again and she tries to wonder if she's being foolish, if she's being really unusually dense or naive, but the truth is that her normal reaction would have been--well. She doesn't normally think men mean something else when they kiss her, but Jane is ... Jane. Not harmless, exactly, but nothing like any other man she's ever met. He's still smiling. They're still dancing.

When they stop again, he drops his hand from her back and tugs on her hand, so that she leans closer to him. He says softly, "Will you come upstairs with me and let me tell you what I want to do next?"

He waits for an answer, and it's--it's Jane being strange again, because it seems like it's honestly a question, not an invitation, not a press for her to say yes. She's not an idiot, she knows what he wants to do next, upstairs, after dinner and dancing and a kiss, but she also--after Dan, after--after Dan, after that whole disaster, and knowing that Jane knows something about her, even though he doesn't quite know what....

It would be like the kiss, she thinks. It would be sweet and gentle and it wouldn't mean what another man would mean, and even if this is just Jane making a strangely extravagant gift of the whole evening....

It should be her that owes him one. It should be her who's offering something to make up for nearly getting him and Rigsby killed by allowing herself to be used. This isn't that, and Jane wouldn't ask for that, and the question is a question, and when it comes down to it, Grace can't resist seeing what Jane will do next.

"Yes," she says. "I will."

Jane smiles brightly and they return to the table--Jane scribbles a room number on the check and they both shrug on their suit coats. It's only then that it occurs to her she was dancing with a gun on her hip, and it should have been ridiculous, and it never was, not for a moment.

She follows Jane up to a room on the second floor and perches on the edge of the king-sized bed when he gestures for her to take a seat. He sits on the footstool in front of the armchair; she could touch him if they both stretched out their hands, but not otherwise. She's looking down at him slightly. Jane couldn't have put her more in control of this situation without getting down on his knees and putting his hands up, and they both know it.

"The thing is, I..." Jane trails off, smiling, though the smile is small and warm now, not flashing bright like on the dance floor. "The thing is, Van Pelt--"

"I'm in your hotel room and waiting for you to proposition me," Grace says, flashing her own smile back. It isn't a sentence she could have said so easily before she knew Patrick Jane; it would have been a lie in attitude, if not in words, to anyone else. It's strange that it's not, now. "You're not going to spook me now by calling me Grace."

His smile widens enough to show teeth, and he seems to relax a little, though she can't say in what way he wasn't relaxed before. "Grace. The thing is, the thing I want you to understand, is that when you're with me you are not even in the running to be the person in the room who is most skittish about sex. Before tonight I hadn't kissed anyone in a very long time."

She believes it, instantly and completely. However tangentially, this touches on Jane's wife. He wouldn't lie about it. She wonders how long, exactly, and how long since he did anything else; it's strange to be absolutely sure that she really is better off in this respect than someone else, especially someone as beautiful and charming as Patrick Jane. Jane, who is here with her, who chose her out of everyone he knows--and she knows why, watching his face. For the same reason that she usually shies away from beautiful and charming men. Because it would be so much harder to face this with someone who wasn't at least a little bit skittish about sex.

Grace nods.

Jane closes his eyes, but doesn't lower his head; it's uncannily like he's blind again, still looking in her direction even though he can't see. She wants to reach for him, right then; she wants to orient him even though he's sitting still. She keeps quiet instead, waiting for him to say what he can't look her in the eye to say.

"I want to touch you," he says quietly, matter-of-factly. "I want to give you pleasure, I want to give you whatever you'll let me, as much as you'll let me. But I don't want anything from you in return. I don't want to be touched. I don't want to undress."

He opens his eyes again, searching her gaze while she takes that in.

The idea is strangely... Jane. She can't think how many times she's seen him lying on the couch at the office, sleeping or pretending to sleep, never undressed further than shirtsleeves. It would be wrong to undress him, she thinks--or else, it would be right, but she's nowhere near the miracle worker required to make right what's wrong with Jane. Maybe that means it's wrong to do this, wrong to get involved at all if she can't make it what it should be for him--but shouldn't he get what he wants, rather than nothing? Shouldn't he get to kiss someone, touch someone....

She can't deny that she wants to. Rigsby--the idea of getting involved with Rigsby--scares her and makes her think she could be brave enough to work things out someday. But with Jane, all she has to do is trust him to do one more amazing thing. She has to trust Jane almost as much as he has to trust her, not to think he's irretrievably strange for what he wants, not to pity him for being even more messed up than she is. They both have to go back to work tomorrow as if they don't know each other's secrets--but then Jane does that every day already.

Grace smiles, hoping it doesn't look as nervous as it feels, and leans back on her hands. "I accept your invitation, Mr. Jane. What do you want me to do?"

Jane studies her for a few seconds, smiling, radiating the closest thing to uncertainty she's ever seen from him. Hesitation, maybe. He's sizing her up, and she wonders if she was supposed to resist more, make him work for it. Jane's worked enough for one day, though, and so has Grace, and she's greedy to get to the fun part, scared like she's just boarded a roller coaster, or she's wearing a parachute and they've just opened the door on the clear blue sky.

"I think--if you want to--you could take off your gun and badge," Jane suggests. "I wouldn't feel right taking them from you."

The words are diffident, but it's his easing-you-into-it tone, and Grace smiles as she complies. She wonders idly if Jane's ever handled a gun at all, if he's as scrupulous as he seems right now about keeping his own hands safely off the deadly weapons. Lisbon would know, but it's not important now.

Grace sets her gun and badge tidily on the nightstand and puts her hands behind her again. Only then does Jane move, coming to sit beside her on the edge of the bed. He leans in slowly, his gaze dropping at the last second from her eyes to her mouth, and kisses her. Grace keeps her hands on the bedspread, reminding herself not to touch.

It feels weird, off-balance, to be touching nowhere except their mouths, and Jane's kisses are still light, tentative. He's close enough that she can feel his warmth down her right side, but their bodies don't make contact. As if he could hear that, Jane sets his hand flat on her belly, and Grace arches her back the slightest bit, pressing into the touch to tell him it's good. His tongue traces her lower lip, and she's wondering if it's all right to reciprocate when his hand shifts, popping open the bottom button of her shirt.

His fingers slide inside, still on the other side of her camisole from her skin--she's not even that ticklish, but she's suddenly laughing. She should stop, she should tell Jane it's just that it tickled, not that--

But Jane is laughing too, and tickles her a little bit deliberately, making her giggle harder. Just before she really wants to push his hand away, he presses his fingers down firmly, a touch that doesn't tickle at all, making her breath catch in her throat. His lips brush her cheek, the corner of her jaw, her ear, as he pops the rest of the buttons open and tugs on her shirt, untucking it from her pants.

His mouth presses against her throat as his hand flattens on her ribs, warm and solid. She's conscious of how quickly she's breathing when each inhalation presses against his palm, conscious of the speed of her heart when--

She grins and tilts her head to allow Jane better access. "Are you kissing me, or taking my pulse?"

"Multi-tasking," Jane says against her skin. His hand shifts up a little, so his thumb is pressed up under the curve of her breast. She can't really feel it--her workday bras are full-padding no-bounce specials--but it's there. Jane is touching her breast, on purpose and with her permission. They're doing this.

She swallows and keeps her voice light, knowing perfectly well that Jane knows just how she feels. "What does my pulse tell you?"

There's bound to be a pulse that would tell him she's aroused, and she wonders whether she is, whether she wants Jane to tell her she is. She feels warm and wet between her legs, her skin tingling at the thought of what Jane might do next. She feels just the least little temptation to pull away from Jane's grip and hide, but she ignores that one.

"I don't need your pulse to tell me you're excited," Jane murmurs, and his lips leave it, dropping kisses on her temple, her hair, as his hand slides back down toward her waist. "You're nervous, but less than I am."

She wants to reach for his pulse to gauge the difference; her fingers curl in the bedspread with the effort of keeping still, and she knows that part is only going to get harder from now on. Jane is trusting her as much as she's trusting Jane. She's not going to let him down. She's not going to touch him.

Jane takes his hand from her side and kneels up on the bed, moving behind her to start unbraiding her hair. He puts more care into it than she does when she braids it in the morning, far more care than when she shakes it out at night. By the time her hair is all loose and Jane's fingers are on her scalp, searching out the places where her hair pulled tight during the day, she's got her chin on her chest and is seriously reconsidering whether she wants to take any more clothes off, if it means Jane will stop doing this.

He starts working down her neck, dropping stray kisses on the crown of her head, then on the side of her throat when he pushes her hair out of the way. She shrugs her shirt off her shoulders and Jane takes it away. Grace leans forward, her hands limp between her knees, as Jane rubs the tension out of her muscles, her skin heating from the friction of his hands--Jane has excellent hands, of course, magician's hands, pickpocket's hands, quick and dexterous.

She's thought about those hands once or twice; Jane probably already knows that, so she'll never have to confess it. She smiles at that little weight lifted, that secret silently set free. She's barely registered that he's taken his hands from her shoulders when he's pulling up her camisole from the hem, and she raises her arms, letting him pull it off over her head.

He tosses it to the armchair--it lands over one arm and dangles there, perfectly emblematic of debauchery. She expects him to go for her bra next--her nipples tighten at the thought, aching to be touched as her heart speeds faster--but his arms go around her instead. The sleeves of his suit jacket are soft against her bare sides as he uses both hands to unbuckle her belt and pull it free. He coils it loosely and tosses it after her camisole.

He interlaces his fingers over her bare stomach, and it doesn't tickle at all this time. Then his hands part and turn, his fingers sliding just the least little bit under the waistband of her pants, brushing the bare skin above the top of her panties. She shudders at the feeling of Jane's fingers, warm and sure on her skin and headed down. Her hips push up into the touch, and her shoulders press back, half-involuntarily closing the distance to his body behind her, her bare shoulders brushing the lapels of his jacket.

"Ahhh," Jane murmurs, kissing the top of her head and sliding his hands back up her stomach. It's not a reproach, not quite, but Grace holds very still and lets Jane pull away from the contact.

His hands come up her ribs until his thumbs are tracing the line of her bra, and he finally, finally, unhooks it and pushes it off. Grace tosses it over herself to join the Getting Laid tableau on the chair. Even before she's dropped her hands Jane's fingers are moving over her back, scratching lightly at the pressure lines from her bra, a sensation that skitters down her spine and between her legs. Her breasts feel heavy, and the air on them feels startlingly cold, her nipples tight and sensitive. She wonders whether Jane will consider it cheating if she touches herself.

Jane's hands are there before she can firmly decide to raise her own, cupping her breasts. He pinches one nipple, hard but not too hard, a little spiraling hint of pain as he rolls it between finger and thumb. Grace bites her lip but can't hold back a throaty sound, though she remembers to sit up very straight. She's suddenly, strangely conscious that she's still wearing her shoes.

Jane slides a fingernail over the tip of her nipple, and Grace makes another sound, her cheeks hot, her knees splaying open.

"Good," Jane breathes behind her. "Good, that's good. I want to know what you like."

"I want," Grace says, and her voice comes out sounding strange, and even so she can't get the words out. "Jane, please--"

"Mmm." Jane's mouth is at the juncture of her neck and shoulder, and she clumsily kicks off her shoes, scooting around on the bed in the process.

Jane says, "Ah," and his hands slide down her stomach again to unbutton and unzip her pants. Grace is conscious of cool air against her skin--conscious of just how damp her panties already are--and then Jane's hands are continuing down the open vee of her pants. Before she's registered what's happening, he's pressing against her through the thin, wet cotton, sending a sudden spike of pleasure through her body.

"Jane," she gasps, because she's not in the habit of taking the Lord's name in vain at moments like this. Because she wants to remember that it's Jane, and no one else, making her body do this.

Behind her, Jane says, "Hm," and his fingers are only touching her lightly now, higher, skating over the surface of her underwear. She realizes she didn't move at all when he touched her there--didn't push into the touch or pull away or move at all. She thinks maybe she was just trying not to touch him again, because he doesn't want her to, but she also knows exactly how long it's been since she had a man's hand right there, and....

The last one wasn't Jane.

Jane's hands come up to her waist, and then Jane leans forward. She leans forward as he does, trying to keep the necessary margin of space between them. His hands shift to keep her still as his chest presses against her shoulders and his arms slide around her rib cage and his cheek presses down against her hair.

Grace laughs a little when she finally realizes she's being hugged, and she reaches up over her own shoulder and carefully pats Jane's, right where there are at least three layers of clothing between her skin and his. "It's okay, I was just--startled."

"You need to be able to see me," Jane announces. He kisses her forehead upside down and then lets go of her, moving completely out of contact before shuffling over to the edge of the bed on his knees. He never quite stands up straight, just folds down to kneel at her feet.
She's looking down at the top of Jane's head as he pulls her stockings off and sets them neatly aside with her shoes.

He curls his hands around her feet, pushing a thumb into each arch, and this time Grace can't help herself. "Oh, God."

Jane looks up, grinning. "Those heels can't be comfortable."

Grace tilts her head and smiles as he keeps working his thumbs along the soles of her feet. "Of course not. So tell me why I wear them, then."

"Oh, you think you have to wear heels to be truly professional, and you have to wear the highest ones you can get around in because you can't let Rigsby tower over you any more than necessary. Towering over Lisbon is just a bonus."

Jane says it like it's obvious. His voice is warm, like it's a small habit he finds endearing. Grace tells herself not to blush at Jane talking about her shoes, when she's already half naked, when he's already....

Jane releases her feet with a last squeeze to the toes. He kneels up and puts his hands on her shoulders, tugging her down into a kiss. She opens her mouth to his as soon as they meet, holding on tight to her own knees to keep from reaching for Jane. His hands move as he deepens the kiss. His tongue dips into her mouth and his hands slide inward, one at the nape of her neck and the other tracing over her collarbone, fingers slipping under her necklace to press against the skin where it usually rests. His hand is against her breastbone and he's taking her pulse again as he kisses her, holding her up or holding her back.

Grace opens her eyes to find Jane's eyes are closed, and she instantly feels like she's seen something she shouldn't, though she can't say what, exactly. Jane didn't say she couldn't look, and she's seen him with his eyes closed a hundred times, pretending to sleep.

She closes her eyes again instantly, but Jane pulls away a second later, murmuring against her lips, "Shhh, Grace, it's all right."

She opens her eyes at that, startled, because he sounds like he's trying to reassure her. Jane smiles and kisses her cheek, and then pushes her gently backwards, sitting her up and then lowering her to lean back on the bed. He follows her through the motion, so that he's bending over her when she's propped up on her elbows. He kisses her mouth once more and then starts moving downward, nudging her necklace aside to kiss the spot between her collarbones, down her breastbone. He licks delicately at the underside of one breast and Grace bites her lip and arches her back.

Jane glances up at her and smiles, and holds her gaze as he licks a line upward. His mouth closes on her nipple and Grace breaks, letting her head fall back and her eyes close. She drives her fingernails into her palms, not reaching for Jane, not holding his head there, not closing her thighs around him to anchor him, or herself, in this moment.

Jane's hands flatten over her ribs, and she tries to focus on that pressure instead of the feeling of Jane's mouth, his tongue, the faintest touch of his teeth. She focuses on not moving. She doesn't make a sound until Jane takes his mouth off her to nuzzle between her breasts. It takes an instant for her to process what that sensation is, and then she lifts her head enough to look and see the tip of his nose brushing her skin. Jane looks up at her. His hair has fallen forward, and his smile can only be called mischievous.

"Grace," he says. "I really do want to know what you like."

Grace lets her head fall back and closes her eyes; there's plenty she can't say while she looks him in the eye.

"Do that again," she manages, after she's licked her lips, after she's tried and failed to catch her breath. "I like that."

"I noticed," Jane says, which ought to be infuriating, except that he does it again, and as he does, his hands slide downward, toward her waist. His thumbs rub in little slow circles as they go, his mouth is gentler on her breast, barely moving at all.

"Yes," she whispers, when his hands stop at the top of her pants, sagging a little lower now that they're unfastened. She doesn't want him to stop again. "Yes."

His mouth leaves her, and the air is cold where she's wet from his mouth, her nipples, the strangely distinct path he licked. His hands are still warm and steady, assuring her that he's not going anywhere. They shift around her hips, and his fingers press up on the backs of her hips. She has to lift up so he can get her pants off.

Grace bites her lip, settles her weight on her heels and elbows, and follows the pressure of his fingers up. His fingers brush down and hesitate again at the edge of her panties.

She nods, but her eyes are still closed, and she doesn't know if he can see. It seems to take all her breath to whisper, "Yes," again.

He hooks his fingers into her panties and pulls them down. Her eyes open almost involuntarily when her butt comes back down, naked on top of the hotel bedspread. Jane is easing her pants and underwear down and off her legs.

She has to look, to see what he's doing, what he thinks of her, and she finds him kneeling at her feet, between her knees. He's looking up at her face, and he holds her gaze as he drops a kiss on her knee, and then on the other one. His hand closes on her ankle and she remembers that she didn't shave her legs this morning, but he's smiling even as his hand slides up her calf, even though she can feel the prickle of hair against his palm.

His eyes are bright, and he kisses the inside of her thigh, just above the knee, and then the same spot on her other leg, and he says, "Grace, you are really--" another kiss, an inch higher, and then another, "very, incredibly ..."

He kisses her thigh again and she knows that he's going to say beautiful. She thinks, from him, right now, tonight, she might even believe it.

He kisses higher, higher, and finally he says, "Brave."

She can't help grinning suddenly, and she feels like she's blushing all over her body, her skin going hot and tight, and Jane's eyes flick downward for an instant, telling her just how far down she's flushed. It's only for a second, though, and then his eyes are back on hers.

She wants to say it back to him--Jane, on his knees in a three-piece suit--Jane is as brave as she is, maybe more. But maybe that's one of the ways he's not supposed to be naked with her; maybe that's one of the things she's not supposed to see.

Jane is still smiling, anyway, kissing higher, and before she can decide to say anything--definitely before the flushed feeling subsides--her legs are open and he's kissing the top of her thigh. He adds, "Also, a very natural redhead."

She's startled into another laugh--she wants to smack the side of his head, a little, except that his mouth is at the crease of her hip. He's sucking at her skin, no harder than he has to, but she knows--and she knows he knows--it will bruise. The elastic of her panties will hit that spot tomorrow, and this will still be real in the morning. She's not laughing anymore, just watching the top of his head, feeling his mouth, her whole belly tightening at that small sensation.

Jane's hands are on the insides of her thighs, not pressing, just there. He's waiting for her to give him some kind of sign again; if she waits too long he'll look her in the eye again, ask again, and Grace really doesn't want to have to talk him through this. She lets her knees fall wider open, inviting him in. Jane's hands slide up, smoothly, naturally, and his thumbs sweep symmetrically up over her labia.

Grace's eyes squeeze shut and her thighs tense. It's just enough sensation to spark through her belly and spine, just enough to make her realize how open she is, how exposed, how wet. Her toes curl against the hotel carpeting and she says, "Yes, y--"

Jane's tongue is on her clit, and Grace moves this time, can't help moving, can't help making a sound that she hopes he understands is yes, yes. He doesn't hesitate any more, at least. His mouth and his hands move over her, the sensations blurring together into a haze of pleasure.

She's conscious of other things in flashes--the sensation of Jane's suit jacket against the inside of her knee, the shadows cast on the ceiling by the single lamp, the sight of Jane's bright blond head between her thighs, the lewd wet sound of his mouth on her. She hears herself, sometimes moaning, sometimes saying his name. She thinks maybe she's supposed to say something more than that, but every time she thinks she remembers what, he does something startling and perfect and all she can say is, "Jane."

She thinks he answers, sometimes, a particular touch of his fingers, a hum that vibrates through his lips and into her, a feedback loop she can barely stand. She's raking her fingernails across her palms, trying to keep herself still and quiet. She needs that little point of pain to balance out all the pleasure of Jane's mouth on her, Jane's fingers teasing her.

He is teasing, she realizes. As good as it feels, breathtaking, dazzling, it's not enough. Jane's fingers only tease, never push inside, and the pressure of his tongue is good but only a suggestion of what she wants. He wants her to ask, she knows that. Maybe he's being delicate, unsure whether this is where she will draw the line. Maybe he just wants to make her say it, because he's Jane and he delights in that sort of thing.

She knows all the words. I want you to finger my pussy, Jane, I want your fingers in my cunt. But she's biting her lip even thinking it. She doesn't want to say it. She's furiously frustrated suddenly--her hips twist and push into Jane's touch and it goes no deeper, gets no more satisfying. He wants her to say it and she's not going to say it.

Without a thought, her hand is open, reaching down between her legs to catch his hand--his fingers are wet, from her. Her fingertip slips and catches on his ring as she folds her fingers around his hand to push them where she wants them--fucking herself with Jane's fingers--but he twists them inside her without prompting. Her hand tightens on his as she gasps, and Jane raises his head far enough to laugh--it tickles against her thigh--and then kiss the back of her hand before he tugs it away from his.

Grace remembers abruptly that she's not supposed to touch. She grabs a handful of the bedspread and holds on as Jane's fingers and tongue push her closer and closer to the edge. Every muscle in her body tenses, trying to be still, trying to let it happen, trying to make it happen.

Jane says, "Grace, breathe," and his fingers skid inside her just there and his mouth is on her again and she's lost, shaking apart for him. She's gasping, letting out these half-voiced cries she can't hold back. It seems to go on for a long time before she's lying there, a silly wide grin on her face, feeling all at once warm and relaxed and wide awake and floating.

She realizes, eventually, that Jane isn't saying anything. Jane not saying anything is always a red flag of some kind, and she picks up her head and then pushes up onto her elbows. Jane's still kneeling between her splayed legs. His left hand is flat on her belly. His ring--Jane's wedding ring--reflects a light that shifts as she breathes. His forehead rests on her thigh, and at this angle she can't see his face, just the tumble of his hair and the line of his jaw. The tip of his ear is bright pink, and his shoulders are moving fast between her thighs, like he's breathing hard, like he's....

He's breathing hard. She wants to touch him and knows that now, more than ever, she can't, that this is when she could hurt him most. She stares at his hand, to try to keep from looking at his face. His ring is loose on his finger; he must have lost weight, after. He should have it resized, but she knows he can't ever bear to take the ring off. The ring, and everything it represents, is too much a part of Jane and everything he does. Even tonight. Probably especially tonight.

She should say something, at least. She's not sure that he even realizes she's looking at him, and she can think of just one other time that's ever happened. She shouldn't have been looking then--she hadn't, more than she had to. But this is something different, and even if Jane didn't plan this, it's part of what he chose her for. She's here with him for this. No one else.

Grace runs her own left hand up over her hip, slipping her fingers carefully into the spaces between Jane's. She's careful not to touch him, but if Jane is conscious at all he'll know her hand is there, that she's here in a sense other than the body he's leaning on.

He lifts his head a little but looks away, and Grace watches--feels--him pull himself together, getting his breathing under control. A few seconds before she thinks he'll look up at her, his hand turns and catches hers, and he's suddenly popping up to his feet, pulling her more gently along with him so that they're face to face--she looks up at him a little, without her shoes.

Jane isn't smiling, now, but his eyes are dry. He's looking at her intently, like she's a puzzle, like there's something more he needs to understand. She keeps very still, willing him not to see what she saw.

He squeezes her hand and says, "Thank you, Grace."

She kisses him, because she can't bear to say you're welcome.

It's a brief kiss, but she still tastes herself, sticky-salt on his mouth; she pulls back with a sheepish smile and Jane is smiling too, though he's perfectly unabashed. He squeezes her hand--with his wet fingers--and says, "You know, we've got this room all night."

Grace bursts out laughing--it's Jane, and she knows exactly how much he doesn't mean what anyone else would mean by it.

"I would love to sleep with you," she says, when she's got her voice under control.

Jane steps back and turns her by the hand toward the bathroom, smooth as a turn on the dance floor. "I took the liberty of setting out some pajamas, if you wanted something to sleep in."

Grace becomes suddenly conscious, when she drops her hand and takes her first step away from him, that she's naked--that she's naked because they just had sex, and that Jane is watching her walk naked across the room.

She doesn't let herself look back until she gets to the bathroom door, and Jane is in fact watching. He's standing right where she left him with his hands in his pockets, and a little lingering smile on his face. Grace raises her eyebrows. Jane shrugs and turns half away, and Grace shakes her head and steps into the bathroom, closing the door firmly behind her.

There's a pair of pajamas neatly folded on the counter--they're very proper men's pajamas, light blue with white piping trim. She touches them and finds they're cotton, washed soft as velvet. They must be old, but they're perfectly made, perfectly kept. Beside them is a toothbrush, identical to hers at home except that it's still in the package, and toothpaste, a travel-size tube of the same brand she usually takes on trips out of town.

Grace steps over to the counter, and looks up automatically at the motion in front of her--but it's herself, of course, in the mirror. Naked, and still flushed, her hair wild. And there, in the crease of her hip, is a little red mark that will be a bruise tomorrow. Grace runs her fingers over the spot, and then steps closer to the counter and stands with her legs apart, letting her hand drift in from the mark of Jane's mouth, between her legs. She's still wet, the curls there are dark and damp, and everywhere Jane touched is sensitive, almost aching. She shudders a little at the sensation of her own fingers where his were--she thinks for a greedy moment of going all over again here, alone--but that would be a waste.

Grace smiles ruefully at herself in the mirror and gets on with getting ready for bed, washing up, braiding her hair loosely even though she has nothing to fasten it with, and finally pulling on the pajamas. They smell faintly like Jane, and for a moment, before she adjusts to the feeling of being clothed again, it's as if his hands are everywhere, barely touching her skin. They're his, of course. She shakes her head at herself; they're just pajamas, clean and comfortable.

When she steps back out of the bathroom, Jane is lying on the bed. He's taken off his shoes and jacket and rolled up his shirtsleeves. He looks just like he usually does when he sleeps on the couch, except that his left hand rests lightly over his mouth, the first two fingers crossing his lips.

Grace hesitates. "Do you need...?"

Jane lifts his head slightly, and takes his hand away from his mouth to pat the bed beside him. "I'm fine. You sleep on the right, don't you?"

"Okay," Grace says, walking around to the right side of the bed, which is the one she prefers. He's found her phone and set it out on the nightstand beside her gun and badge, all close to her hand on the right side of the bed. "Now you're just showing off."

Jane shakes his head. "I had a fifty-fifty chance without knowing anything about you, and if I got it wrong you were overwhelmingly likely to go along anyway."

But he didn't get it wrong, of course. Grace just rolls her eyes and gets into the bed--he's lying on top of the covers, but he turned them down for her. She turns out the light.

The room doesn't really get dark; they didn't close the drapes all the way, and light leaks in from outside. When she turns her head she can see Jane lying beside her, one arm tucked behind his head. This all seems different in the dark, lying beside him, waiting to sleep.

"Jane?" She speaks before she intends to, and isn't sure exactly what to say next.

Jane turns his head toward her, wearing a crooked smile that looks different in shades of gray. "Anything above the collar is fine."

She could kiss him. If she did, it would be for the last time; by the time she wakes up he'll be sitting in the chair reading a newspaper, drinking coffee, back to be Jane again, and this night will be over. It's already over, really. She can kiss him and cling to it, or she can try something else.

Grace reaches out and runs her fingers through his hair, once and twice and then there's nothing to call it but petting him. Jane's eyes close.

"I've been wanting to do this for a while," she says softly.

Jane smiles even as he reaches up and gently tugs her hand down. "It's the curls. Women can't resist the curls. They're very useful that way."

He doesn't let go of her hand, but he doesn't hold on so tightly that she can't ease her fingers onto his wrist, finding the pulse just under the base of the thumb. She doesn't know what that little beat under her finger means, except that Jane is alive, but she says, "You're getting very sleepy."

Jane exhales, somewhere between a weary laugh and a happy sigh, and says, "You know, I think I might be."