Summary: On New Year's Eve Lisbon is stuck taking down the office Christmas tree. Jane pops in to help. Chock full of Jisbony goodness!
Author's Note: Okay, so I was originally going to call this "The After Christmas Blues" but I don't know, it didn't really click. I really hate coming up with titles. lol So, I was listening to Chasing Pavements by Adele and it seemed to fit better, plus I like having quotes at the top. :) So, I hope that works better, again if anyone has any better title ideas, or don't think the quotes work, let me know, I'd love suggestions. In Word, this was about eight pages long, so I broke it up to avoid scaring people. So the next chapter/part still goes with this and is on the same night. The title and the lyrics at the top are from the Adele song, Chasing Pavements (which is really good, if you haven't by chance heard it) :) Thanks for reading. Enjoy!
I've made up my mind. Don't need to think it over. If I'm wrong I am right, don't need to look no further. This ain't lust. I know this is love but...
Christmas was over and the worst part of it was staring her in the face, wilted, brown and rather sad looking. Sure, it was happy and bright all through December. It was nice to look at everyday; it's fresh pine scent was comforting and brought on warm memories. It was an absolute must for office Christmas parties. But every day after Christmas was like a ticking clock. When would the tree be taken down? Who would take it down?
Six days after Christmas. Teresa Lisbon.
As the senior agent, she should have instructed someone to do it, instead of allowing everyone else on her team take their vacation time until New Year's. Whether it was the spirit of the season that inspired her decision or the thought of being cooped up for more than a few days on the east coast with her family nagging her about being single, she didn't know. She was leaning toward the former, but couldn't lie to herself.
It was bad enough being harassed by phone about your martial status but a few days or more of "Where's your boyfriend? You know, Ter, your clock is ticking, your not exactly twenty anymore. What about my friend, you know, the one who works at the plant? He would be perfect for you!" would be more excruciating than she could even imagine. So she sucked it up, flew to her brother's for two days and made it back before she even had to think of the dying tree at CBI.
Unlike herself, she had put her duty off until the last day possible, New Year's Eve. She would have left it for the next day and gone out and celebrated with the few girlfriends she had in Sacramento if the team wouldn't be back tomorrow or she could spend a work day having a group Christmas tree de-ornamenting party. She groaned, almost regretting the few days of nothingness that had consumed her after she'd gotten back in the city, but found that she couldn't because she had enjoyed them too much.
Returning to the matter at hand, she allowed one discontented sigh pass through her lips before she advanced toward the Christmas tree, her mouth set in a steady frown. She went for the ornaments first; easy enough, she figured, starting at the bottom and working her way around and up.
Realizing that she couldn't just toss the ornaments to the floor or even into a box for that matter she stamped her foot, feeling a bit childish afterwards. The team, under Van Pelt's enthusiasm and coercion, had replaced the old tried and true plastic ornaments, springing for the real thing instead: glass. For a moment, Lisbon just stared at the ornament in her hand as if it would, by some Christmas magic, float out of her grasp and into the individual boxes then into a bigger box along with the lights and star into the storage room on the third floor.
This was going to take longer than she had expected. Sinking to the floor, she pulled five of the individual boxes toward her, took off one of the lids and began to put the ornaments back in their rightful place. After thirty minutes, she was mid tree and weary. Glancing at her watch she was surprised to find that it was 8:30. She frowned, berating herself for not coming in sooner. She would have, but didn't feel like bumping into or making small talk with any of her distant coworkers, so she'd waited to come at a safe time. No one in their right mind would be here this late on a national pastime that almost promised getting hammered and random hookups. Maybe except the security guard.
Groaning once more, she let herself fall backwards until her head touched the floor. The tree would almost be pretty from this angle if it wasn't so dead. She closed her eyes, trying to pick up the faint scent of pine. She finally found it as her body stilled and she drifted off to sleep.
Icy snow touched her nose. Odd, for Sacramento. She smiled anyway though, thinking of snow angels and a family who didn't nag...
"Lisbon?" Snow didn't talk.
She shot up, her heart beating irregularly, kicking the boxes at her feet. "Jane!"
He merely smirked at her, picking a piece of brittle, dead Christmas tree out of her hair. "What are you doing? I think Santa has already come and gone."
Her eyes narrowed as she watched him get up from his crouch. "Taking down the tree before everyone gets in here tomorrow. I volunteered, remember?"
"Out of the kindness of your heart as I recall. Not avoiding your precious family when they long to see you all year." He smiled, extended a hand and helped her to her feet.
She shook her head lightly, as if he didn't understand her completely. "What are you doing here anyway? You're supposed to be one of the ones out tonight. Drinking...seducing...whatever it is that you do on such holidays..."
"Hey, I do not seduce." He smirked.
"Oh, yeah. I've seen you in action." She retorted moving back to the ornaments.
"Why are you wasting time taking them all off individually?" He mused, watching her.
She glanced over her shoulder. "Well, I can't exactly throw them on the floor now can I?"
"Oh, yes, the Van Pelt takeover." He remembered with a smile. "There are other ways though..."
"What's your ingenious plan?"
"Move the couch over here. You toss, I'll box." He looked pleased with himself.
"Oh, you want to help me?" She queried. "No special plans that I wouldn't want to know about?"
"Not unless that includes helping the best boss ever deconstruct the world's most intricate Christmas tree." He crooned, heading for the couch, picking up one end and waiting on her.
She rolled her eyes and reluctantly moved to the other end of the couch picking up the end, her side lower to the ground than his.
They moved it across the room swiftly, Jane lifting his end much higher than hers just to show off. When the couch was a perfect distance away from the tree Jane hopped over one side and patiently waited. "Ball?"
She couldn't help but smile as she handed him the individual boxes and tossed him the first ornament. He was too clever for his own good. In an annoyingly charming way that made her question her own motives and feelings. He probably did it on purpose, she told herself. He knew what he was doing.
"How was Christmas? With the brothers and kiddies?" He asked, catching each ball and boxing it before she could untangle the next and toss him another.
"It was..." she began, about to complain, but found she couldn't, not to Jane. At least she had family left. Who did he have? "Nice. A little bombarding, but nice."
She knew better than to ask how his Christmas was. She knew he didn't want her to. She knew he probably didn't want her to know.
"Good, good. Bombardment is always fun. What kind of bombardment?"
"Oh," she stammered inadvertently, not expecting that. "Um...personal relationship bombardment..."
"Oh," he nodded, clearly not expecting her response. He dropped the next ornament, unprepared; it fell and shattered on the ground. "Oops," he said casually.
"Van Pelt's not going to be happy about that..." She said, grateful for the change in conversation. "I'll get a broom."
When she returned Jane was standing, his eyes turned wistfully on the Christmas tree. "Broom," she announced herself before she began sweeping the shards of burgundy into a pile. He held the dust pan.
"Crisis averted." He tried to smile before tilting the dust pan upwards and grabbing the broom. "I'll be back."
"We might need those again, you know?"
"No we won't," he said all knowingly before dipping out of the room.
"If you say so," Lisbon said to herself, shrugging before turning back to the tree, tossing the remainder of the ornaments to the couch, careful not to throw them too close together.