A/N: I'm new to this 'ship, but an enthusiastic convert. I'm trying to write something a little more serious, but in the meantime, I thought I might ease myself in with a little crackfic. The inside of my head is a strange place – if Jane's memory palace is a carnival circuit, I think mine is a funhouse. Or possibly the asylum at Arkham. Anyhow, I've been away for a while – simply put, my old computer expired. And then my external storage went with it. All my notes, my archived fic, my book...So, here we are. Starting from scratch. Won't this be fun?

1. Coming thru' the rye...

Teresa Lisbon grits her teeth, disentangles her boot heel from another stack of tangled roots. What the hell were they doing out here? They were a Serious Crimes Unit. They investigated murders, arson, even art fraud, but...cattle rustling? Oh, Minelli could call it what he wanted, organized theft and trespass, but basically they were out trying to creep up on a bunch of folk who liked to steal cows. She trips, bites another curse. She could hear what has to be Rigsby crunching along some few hundred yards from her left, and scowls. He and Van Pelt were tall enough to see over this damn greenery, whilst she was stuck down here. She feels like a mouse in a maze.

Her radio crackles, and she slaps it on, grateful for the distraction, hoping it hasn't alerted anyone.


"Agent Lisbon, this is Deputy Merritt. We've, uh, found somebody." She could picture him, scrubbed and earnest, looking way too young for the uniform. Every time he calls her 'ma'am', his adam's apple dances with nerves. "Caught him climbing the fence by the south gate."

"Is he armed?" Sharp worry.

"No, ma'am. No gun...but he says he's on the investigation?"

Oh crap. She closes her eyes.

"Let me guess...he's wearing a suit, and totally inappropriate footwear?" Damn the man. "Just...keep him there. I'm on my way."

Turns, and trudges back along the corn-rows, catching her own inappropriate footwear and cursing her own lack of inches, inconsiderate damn cattle thieves and a certain consultant, who had been told very firmly to stay with the damn car. She'd cuffed him to the door to make a point. If anybody got to shoot the annoying s-o-b, it was going to be her.

She has a full mad on by the time she sees the group by the SUV's. And is totally derailed by the fact that the man next to Merritt is a complete stranger.

Quick dark eyes take in everything, the thin, pale face alert and interested, as he bounces on the balls of his feet, red and white trainers incongruous with the dark suit. The slightly manic grin with which he greets her is hardly reassuring either.

"Agent Lisbon? Hello." British accent. Cheery, unconcerned that he is surrounded by sleep-deprived and heavily-armed people. "Look, we seem to have a little misunderstanding here..."