More Days Altered
This is meant to be a companion to Changing Days, although the format isn't quite the same. For one, the fic is over twice as long. Also, surprisingly I found Lisbon much, much harder to write than Jane. There's more dialogue and the fic isn't as succinct, although I'm not sure that's a bad thing. There was also much re-aranging of sections and much editing, but I think I'm fairly pleased with the result. I'd love to hear what you guys think.
Disclaimer: Still don't own a single thing.
On the day Theresa Lisbon's mother died she realized she was going to have to be the responsible one now.
She allowed herself one good cry in her room by herself, and then she wiped her eyes and pulled herself together. Someone had to get the family through this, and her father was… well, he wasn't exactly up to the task at the moment. Her mother had always been the glue, and now it was her turn to hold everything together. It didn't matter that at the moment she felt like she was caught in the centre of a tornado, Theresa Lisbon did not fail; she refused to.
On the day that four near strangers tried to hug her Theresa Lisbon realized that it was easier just not to tell people what had happened.
As soon as anyone found out that her mother had just died they felt compelled to hug her, regardless of how well they knew her, or apparently, how she felt about it. She was dealing with it just fine thank-you very much, and the endless unwanted hugs of well-meaning women just made her feel uncomfortable. She soon realized it was easier not to open up about her past, rather than face the pity or the ineffectual comfort of strangers.
On the day Theresa Lisbon joined the CBI she felt at home for the first time in years.
Here was one place where it didn't matter that she didn't know how to flip her hair and bat her eyes without feeling like a fool; it didn't matter that she preferred to spend an evening curled up with a book or a movie to hitting the hottest new club and it didn't even really matter what she looked like, or that she wasn't always smiling. What mattered was that she was smart, confident, logical, and she didn't panic in a crisis. People even seemed to appreciate her ability to keep her mouth shut and her emotions in check. She sat down at her new desk, logged into the computer and started researching the victim from the latest case. She felt different here, working in this building. It took her a minute to realize that she was happy.
On the day Theresa Lisbon first met Kendall Cho she felt good about her social skills for the first time in years.
On the day they first met she wasn't sure if he'd said more than ten words to her. The new agent was blunt and direct, almost to the point of rudeness. To be fair, it's not like she was known for her high level of social comfort. She was fine one on one, or even giving a presentation to a group, but in a crowd of people she didn't know, Lisbon was forced to admit that she wasn't at her best. It wasn't that she was anti-social, but she'd never seemed to be able to master the art of small talk, of appearing interested in the mundane details of other people's lives. She often couldn't even think of mundane details to ask about so that she could appear interested. Besides, people didn't think she smiled enough. But she knew how to deal with her superiors, when to push and when to hang back, and she knew how to talk to the victim's families, when to be blunt, when to be sympathetic and when to say nothing and let them tell the story. Cho, on the other hand, managed to alienate and insult two of the members of a victim's family within hours of starting his first case with the CBI. But she realized that the same things that made him off-putting when expressing sympathy also made him a tremendous asset in the interrogation room where people didn't know how to react to his blank demeanor and blunt questions. Even though he occasionally baffled their superiors, Lisbon understood Cho and his love of saying exactly what he meant. Between them they learned to communicate with each other by saying almost nothing at all.
On the day Theresa Lisbon met Patrick Jane she finally understood what her friends were talking about when they told her about meeting a man that "literally took their breath away."
When they were introduced she almost forgot to breathe. The man was absolutely gorgeous, and he knew it. Thankfully her control over her facial expressions meant that 99.99% of the population would never have noticed her reaction. Unfortunately, he was probably in that remaining hundredth of a percent. She'd heard about his record for closing cases so she was more than willing to accept him on her team. What she hadn't been prepared for was the obvious charm and killer smile he directed at her when he took her hand. Her distraction and her terror of revealing its cause had prevented her from saying much, so he probably thought she was some sort of antisocial government drone, but that didn't matter so much. Now that the first shock was over she'd know what to expect and she'd be able to ignore her attraction. It was unprofessional, not to mention the man had just lost his wife and obviously hadn't even begun to move on. He was clearly damaged; every so often you could see it in his eyes, lurking just behind that charming smile.
On the day of Theresa Lisbon's fourth first date in two months she realized she fell short of people's preconceived ideas.
They expected a CBI agent with several years under her belt to be brash and domineering. They thought she'd be loud and enthusiastic, an adrenaline junkie. No one seemed able to reconcile their expectations to the reality, a reserved, calm woman with a quiet voice and a dry wit. And even if they tried, men were put off by her reserve. She had trouble revealing anything of herself, always had. Not until she trusted someone at least, and no one seemed willing to wait around until that point.
Take her current predicament for example. The guy had seemed nice enough, he worked at city hall, so you think he'd have had been used to working with smart, competent women. Instead she was sitting in a stuffy restaurant longing for a breath of fresh air being subjected to conversation like this:
"So, you work for
the CSI? That must be exciting."
"Sometimes, but it's actually a lot more research and paperwork then television would lead you to believe."
"Yeah, but it's
your job get catch murderers and thieves. You're literally keeping
the public safe. That must make you feel sort of powerful."
"I don't know if powerful is the right word… I mean I feel a sense of satisfaction when we catch the bad guy… like we've had a good day I guess. I think it's more about responsibility. You probably feel the same way working at city hall sometimes."
"Oh it's not the same," her date said dismissively. "So, have you ever shot anyone? A dangerous criminal?"
"What!? Well… yes … but I'm not comfortable…"
"That must feel good."
"No! Of course not, I mean, just stopping a crazed killer or something, risking your life in the line of duty..."
It was an immeasurable relief when her phone rang and she was called into the office. She never thought she'd be grateful for a bomb threat. She apologized to her date, and tried not to run for the exit. When she got outside she smiled at the feel of the breeze on her face; she couldn't believe she'd bought a new blouse for this.
On the day that Lisbon discovered that being constantly under scruitiny had an up-side, she realized that she actually liked Patrick Jane.
He was absolutely insufferable! He was constantly poking and prodding, and watching, always watching! She couldn't do anything without him noticing, not one little thing. Sometimes she felt like she had no privacy anymore, he was everywhere she turned. So she was having a bad day, was that a crime? She'd almost slept through her alarm and she'd been rushed this morning. Now she could feel the beginnings of a headache and she couldn't find the painkillers she kept stashed in her desk. Of course, he probably could have told her what she'd done with them. He'd been in a particularly sunny mood, wanting to play. She'd sought refuge in her office, and he'd eventually left her alone, thank God. She almost groaned when she heard the knock at her door. "Come in," she said wearily.
He poked his head around the door, but surprisingly he wasn't smiling. "Hey Lisbon. Sorry to disturb. I brought you some peppermint tea. I know it sometimes helps your headaches. If not I've got some ibuprofen in my desk. And if you get really desperate I can always go on a chocolate run. I'm told Haagen-Dazs ice cream can work wonders."
An hour later when they were sitting on opposite sides of her desk, a pint of ice cream and two spoons between them Lisbon acknowledged that maybe being so fascinating to someone that they never stopped looking was better than people never bothering to scratch the surface. Besides, she had to admit, the attention could be oddly flattering, and very sweet.
On the day that Jane nearly died trying to interrogate a dangerous suspect against her express orders, Theresa Lisbon realized that there had to be a line, but worried that she'd never be able to get Jane to toe it.
Sure it was his own stupid fault that he'd almost died, but she'd seen the look of pure relief cross his face when she and Rigsby had arrived. Despite his idiocy he was her responsibility. Anyways, how could she possibly be good enough to run a team if she couldn't even corral a wayward consultant? For the first time in a long time, she felt like she was caught in the middle of a hurricane, only this time she wasn't sure what to do about it.
On the day that Theresa Lisbon finally lost it with Jane, she realized that telling people how you felt wasn't always such a horrible thing.
"It got the job done!"
"By sheer dumb luck!"
"Don't be ridiculous, at the very least it was intelligent luck."
"Shut up. You had no idea any of that was going to happen before you pulled that stupid stunt! What if the godmother hadn't been responsible? What if I hadn't figured out what you were up to and arrived when I did? You got really unbelievably lucky! And I ordered you specifically not to do it!"
"We've been over this a million times, if you tell me not to do something and I do it anyways then you have deniability and it's all on me!"
"But how do you
think it makes me look when everyone sees that I can't control a
consultant I supposedly supervise? That he won't do even the
simplest thing I've asked him to if it suits his fancy not to? How
do you think it makes me look when members of my team brazenly
disobey my orders to go along with your stupid schemes? I am still
technically your superior, Even if you don't respect me or my
decisions." She was so intent on yelling at him it didn't even
register that he looked like he'd been slapped. "One of these
days I'm going to have to start issuing official reprimands, which
I really don't want to do, but you're giving me no choice!
You're good Jane, but I'm sorry, you're not worth my career."
She had to stop for breath, "And another thing…"
Very quietly, "I'm so sorry Lisbon."
"You can't just… what?"
"You're absolutely right. I've been taking you for granted, even if I didn't entirely mean to. Seeing how far I could push, seeing how far you'd bend, and before I knew it I was having fun. We were solving cases so I thought that it didn't matter if I… I didn't… I mean… it was never my intention to…"
Lisbon almost gaped. Patrick Jane couldn't possibly be at a loss for words could he? Against her better judgment she threw him a bone, "Look Jane, I know you aren't trying to deliberately sabotage me, but you have to consider the consequences of what you're doing beyond getting a theatrical confession. The rest of the team and I are bound to uphold the law even if you aren't. So how about we establish some guidelines, You can say whatever crazy things you want to when we're interrogating and I'll try and support you in your crazy schemes because they do tend to be effective. But if I give you a specific and direct order not to do something, unless it's an absolute emergency then could you please try and respect that? Or I don't know, maybe limit it to three acts of direct defiance a year?"
"I'll try. Really Lisbon, I will." Then he looked right into her eyes, "And I am sorry."
"Okay," she nodded him out of her office with a small smile. That afternoon a vase of flowers and a box of her favourite chocolate turned up on her desk. She smiled as she read the note, "I know it's not much, but if makes you feel better I always have to be the one to call you after any so-called stupid schemes because Rigsby and Cho fear your wrath. Trust me, you're definitely the boss."
On the day that Theresa Lisbon had to spend a day watching women fawn over Jane, she realized that she hadn't quite managed to bury her… attraction to the aggravating man.
Their latest case had taken them inside an all-female gym, something that thrilled the male members of her team. And it was clear that the majority of the women didn't mind the intrusion, especially if Jane interviewed them personally. Jane, of course was basking in the attention, smile glued on his face, charm on full blast. Lisbon was trying, and failing, to check her annoyance. Obviously it wasn't because she was jealous, but it was irritating sometimes how cooperative people were with Jane. She wasn't even sure who she was more annoyed with, him or his flock of admirers. After a few more minutes of tricks and compliments, Jane wandered over.
"Well, most of them knew the victim, but not well. It seems she was new. They're all eager to help though. It seems she was well liked."
"Yes, I'm sure that's the only reason they're helping out. Tell me, how many phone numbers were tucked into your pocket?"
surprised at you. Do you really think I'd get the phone numbers of
"You're right. I'm sorry. E-mail addresses are much more common nowadays."
"Such sarcasm. Even you must admit that if the women respond positively I'll be more likely to get useful information from them."
"You just said they didn't have any useful information."
"I said most of them didn't know the victim well. However, I'm going to go meet Katy at the juice bar after she gets changed. Lovely girl. Apparently she and our victim were in a spinning class together on Tuesday nights and she noticed that she met a man afterwards a few times. Who knows, maybe some of the other women know who he was. I think I'll stick around."
"Well, then I'll leave you here. Try to remember you're trying to get useful information, not trying to win a bet with Cho."
"Aw, don't worry Lisbon, you'll always be my favourite girl."
She didn't know how to respond to that, but rather unfortunately, when she saw his grin before he walked away, she was sure that he had noticed that she was blushing.
On the day that Theresa Lisbon beat Patrick Jane at his own game she felt like she'd won the lottery.
Jane walked into the CBI offices in front of Rigsby and Cho, his hands held in front of him defensively. He started talking quickly like he was trying to cut off anything she might want to say to him, "Okay Lisbon, I know you told me not to antagonize the city council in case we needed their cooperation later in the case, but there was something suspicious about them. Don't worry, Rigsby and Cho were working behind the scenes, and I didn't do anything to make them too mad. You shouldn't get any serious complaints. Turns out they didn't know anything anyways. But at least now we don't have to worry about some sort of cover-up. You must have suspected something anyways, because when you told me not to bother cthe council you gave me that look that you have where I know you want to go in yourself, but you're being frustrated by people higher up. Plus you even did that thing with your eyes that I've told you about, when you look at me skeptically from the side, and it just makes me want to prove you wrong."
"I know," she said calmly as she walked towards him.
"Wait, what do you mean you know?" His obvious bewilderment made her grin.
"While you and the guys were out pestering the city council and making nuisances of yourselves, Van Pelt and I were able to talk to the mayor's smarmy lawyer without you interfering, something I'm sure you would have tried to do if you weren't distracted. We figured we'd get farther without you since the man clearly hates you. But he let his guard down when he was confronted by two women sincerely apologizing for your earlier antics. While he was showing us his very impressive art collection in his office we somehow stumbled on evidence of council fraud. That's motive right there. He confessed pretty quickly when cornered, tried to make a deal if he snitched on the mayor. He's negotiating with the head of the department now." Standing right in front of Jane, and thoroughly enjoying the dumfounded expression on his face, she invaded his personal space to reach onto the desk behind him and hand him a folder. "Confession's right there if you want to read it. Of course, the tricky part was getting you away from the suspect. Lucky for me that you love to tell me all about exactly what my facial expressions tell you."
Smirking at the mixture of shock and respect on his face, she turned and sashayed away. She was almost out of the room before he finally found his tongue, "Forget Dorothy, Hail to Glinda, Good Witch of the North."
On the day that Lisbon didn't know how to comfort Jane she finally sympathized with all of those women prone to hugging complete strangers.
He'd just seen first-hand the tragedy that exacting revenge could bring, seen that it was unlikely to give him closure. Since Jane had existed only to exact revenge for literally years now, Lisbon knew how much this affected his psyche. She had a strange urge to hug him in comfort and felt a sudden kinship to all those strange women who'd hugged her after her mother's death. It was the reaction of a helpless person who didn't know what to say, who recognized that words were inadequate and so took the only course of action they could think of. But Lisbon couldn't bring herself to hug Jane. He was too aloof, and physical comfort certainly wasn't her forte. The irony was that he would probably have known the exact right thing to do. All she could manage was to take his hand in hers. When she felt his fingers tighten around hers in response, she realized that maybe she wasn't doing as badly as she thought.
On the day that Theresa Lisbon accidentally eavesdropped on her team she realized that the traditional fate of the eavesdropper didn't always hold true.
Unfortunately the very self-important and very rich Mr. Peter Mills was a person of interest in their latest case. Apart from being wealthy and influential he was also very traditional. Highly adverse to the idea of women in positions of authority, particularly law enforcement, when dealing with Lisbon his demeanor ranged from dismissive, to rude, to downright ignoring just about anything she said. Unwilling to provoke him because it wasn't worth the resulting fuss, she tended to send one or more of the guys to deal with him. All three of them were talking to him now, but she figured she'd better go see how it was going. As she approached the door she heard Mr. Stuart-Mills' voice ringing loud and clear,
"Now you three seem like reasonable fellows, capable, strong, as you should be. Now I ask you? Is it reasonable that that mousy little superior of yours, Lisbon, or whatever her name is, should be able to order you down here to interrogate a man of my standing in the community? How she managed to rise in the ranks above you boys I'll never know; women should keep to their place if you ask me."
"And where would that be Mr. Stuart-Mills?" Jane asked. "In the kitchen? Not speaking unless they're spoken to first? We spoke to some of your neighbours about your relationship with your step-daughter and they said it was far from friendly. And you know what I think? I don't think she was kidnapped. I think that she got fed up with your sexist, antiquated treatment of the women in your life and that's why she left. The kidnapping cover-up that you fed her mother would have been more convincing if almost all of her personal belongings hadn't disappeared along with her. I'm sure we'll find her safe and sound somewhere more enlightened than in that house, though that wouldn't be hard. As for Agent Lisbon, she is by far the most competent, most compassionate, most forgiving and fairest law enforcement professional I have ever met. She could take you down in a second if she considered you worth the trouble. Now I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I'm a bit of a thorn in her side and I don't always treat her with the respect she deserves, but I have absolute faith in her abilities. A person saving your life on a biweekly basis will do that. From this point forward, you will treat her with respect, or me and the boys here," he said, gesturing to Rigsby and Cho, who were each standing stoically behind a shoulder, "will make things very unpleasant for you. Trust me, this interrogation could take much longer, and be a hell of a lot worse. Are we clear? Excellent. Now about your daughter…"
Deciding that Jane had everything well in hand Lisbon moved back towards her office in a daze. The boys might occasionally act like immature idiots, but they were her immature idiots. They trusted her to always have their back. What she was finally beginning to realize was that she could trust them to have hers.
On the day that Jane told her that he wasn't planning on killing Red John she realized just how much he'd come to mean to her.
One day he quietly walked into her office and shut the door. It was such a contrast to his usual animated demeanour that she immediately straightened in her chair and gave him her full intention.
"I just thought you should know that I'm not planning on killing Red John any more. I've decided that there are better ways to make him suffer, all of which, you will be pleased to know, are legal."
Lisbon was stunned. Whatever she'd been expecting it hadn't been that. Was he actually moving on? Healing? She was unprepared for the overwhelming relief (among other things) that accompanied his announcement. She was sure it showed on her face when she once nodded in response, "Thanks, Jane." Her voice almost broke, but she covered it with a cough, "If you ever need to talk…"
"I know… Thanks."
After he left her office she cradled her head in her hands, terrified by the violence of her reaction, something she was absolutely certain had absolutely nothing to do with her desire to uphold the law. Crap.
On the day Jane asked her out to dinner she wore her emerald blouse. She still didn't know how to bat her eyes, but she knew how to make sure he was looking at them anyways.