So I've been planning on writing vignettes related to 'Overcoming Trust Issues' for a while now, because I miss my fluffy story. But the first one (which had to be first because it's kind of an epilogue) turned out to be harder to write than I anticipated. I have no idea how many there will be, except that I have an idea for at least one more. This story may never really be complete. All the chapters are basically going to be one-shots, and (unless otherwise stated) are going to be in no particular order.
I hope you enjoy them. I'm anticipating that they'll all be pure fluff.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
This chapter takes place immediately after Overcoming Trust Issues. I didn't want to change the original story, but something felt incomplete.
Jane was observing the world from the corner of a couch. That was not unusual. What was unusal was that it wasn't his couch at the CBI, but a couch he'd only recently been granted access to, Lisbon's couch. His friend Lisbon. Her couch. He could see her now, curled up on the other end, contentedly eating her ice cream, and grinning. His friend Lisbon was relaxed. Her legs were curled up under her body in that way that women sat, but men never seemed, to and she was attacking her chocolate ice-cream with gusto. Clearly Lisbon was happy and he'd recently been re-granted the right to sit on her couch and trusted with the top secret location of her emergency ice-cream stash; all was right with the world. Jane smiled before turning his attention back to his own ice-cream.
Suddenly he frowned. But was all really right with the world? Admittedly his circumstances were much improved from a mere hour ago. Still, something felt slightly off. Oh yes, the reason behind his banishment from his friend's couch. And actually, not just from her couch, but more seriously, from her confidence. Lisbon had never actually explained it to him, even if she'd made it clear he'd been re-instated back into her good graces. A flying tackle from a normally reserved woman will do that. After all, if he didn't know the reason for his exile how could he (or Lisbon) prevent it from happening again? He admitted that his reasoning was somewhat dependant on Lisbon also wanting to prevent another random period of coldness, but he really didn't think that was an unwarranted assumption, if her grin was anything to go by.
Well, that was settled then, he'd just have to ask her about it. Asking her about it so it didn't come out sounding like an accusation would require some finesse, and of course would probably also involve some Lisbon-teasing. Which was a shame. Really. He was quite torn up by the prospect. Didn't keep a running tally of the number of times he could make her roll her eyes in a day, or anything else like that at all. His current record was twenty-two.
Finishing up his ice-cream and setting it on her coffee table he turned to her and smiled his friendliest smile, "So!" he began cheerfully.
"So," she replied, albeit in a slightly less exuberant manner. But she certainly wasn't wary or defensive. Good. Excellent. So far everything was proceeding just like he wanted. So it would probably all fall to pieces with his next statement. Oh well, nothing ventured…
"So," he repeated, "I was wondering if I might ask, just out of curiosity's sake of course, what precipitated my exile from your couch. I was becoming fond of it, and then I was abruptly cut off from my second-favourite sofa. I was a bit put out really. Even had a talk with my couch at the office, it agreed that I was allowed to see other pieces of furniture, so you really needn't have feared any sort of jealous recriminations." There, that didn't sound accusing. Keep the tone light Jane. Good.
Lisbon grinned, and blushed, turned away, and began fiddling with her spoon before placing her bowl on the table. Uh oh. That looked suspiciously like guilt. Red alert! She thought she'd made a mistake, and felt a bit badly. And maybe it had been a mistake, but everybody made them. He was hardly in a position to throw stones with his track record. Hence the teasing…
But she turned back to him. "Yeah. I figured you'd wonder about… I'm not sure how to explain really… just give me a second…" He waited patiently while she collected her thoughts. Okay, so he appeared to wait patiently. That was all that mattered really. Right?
"I assume you're up to date on the office gossip?" she asked suddenly.
He paused, was he up to date on it? Of course he was up to date on it! He started half of it. It was a bit of a hobby really, see how many rumours he could set in motion over any given week. And if he hadn't started actually started a given rumour, then he probably knew about it already, even without having to hear it from someone else. Why would… Oh. Oh. He had a sneaky suspicion she wasn't referring to the speculation about exactly what Minelli did in his cabin, or whether Ferrier from Missing Persons and Jones from Fraud were really having an affair (they were, going on six months now). "I assume you mean specifically the gossip about us, and not say, the discussions about whether Cho actually reads those books he always has with him or if they're just for show so he has an excuse not to talk to people?"
She smiled slightly, before confirming, "Yes, I do mean the gossip about us." She paused, "And how on earth did you successfully start a rumour that Cho doesn't actually read the books he carries around?" She shook her head slightly, "Never mind. Tell me later. The gossip about us, how much have you heard?"
Although he was amused that she knew about his central role creating gossip at the CBI, he pushed it aside for later, "Oh, the usual, we're sleeping together. Have been for months. Hence you smiling at me every so often, and not throwing me off your team, etc. etc. " He shrugged, he guess it made sense, after all she valued professionalism and privacy so highly. "I assume you were made aware of it a couple days ago. Lisbon, I know it sucks, but you have to ignore…"
"Oh I did." She told him. "That part was the easiest to dismiss. And actually, not all that surprising come to think of it. Besides, I knew it was just malicious gossip by small-minded agents who had nothing better to do with their time. The rest of it, well…"
He was confused. There was more? Had he actually missed some of the office gossip? Well that was humbling. He was so shocked it took him a minute to realize she'd stopped speaking. "What rest of it?" He prodded. If it wasn't the 'sleeping together' thing… He was actually kind of surprised she wasn't more upset about that. Although that probably meant 'the rest' was worse.
"You really haven't heard?" she asked. When he shook his head she shrugged, "That's surprising actually." Then he watched as she took a deep breath and tried to look nonchalant, "Well, I don't remember the specifics of course, but the general gist was that even if we weren't actually sleeping together you were worming your way into my affections and I was no longer objective, or able to control you. Which was a real shame since you were using me so that later you could use our relationship to kill Red John more easily. I'd be powerless to stop you and you'd take full advantage. Our not-so-friendly neighbourhood gossiper was phrasing it in such a way to indicate he was only concerned about my well-being." She snorted at the thought.
He… What? People thought that…She'd thought that… He was insulted! She'd thought that he was using her? Because of something some incompetent jerk she'd probably been promoted above about 18 times had said? He'd thought he'd been making progress, but apparently not as much as he'd hoped. She'd really thought he'd just toss her aside like that? Even before they'd become friends he'd never wanted to put her in the middle. He'd even told her that once! Alright, now he was the one who needed a second…
Even though she wasn't the one who'd pretended to be psychic, Lisbon seemed to have a pretty good idea of what was going through his head. "I'm so sorry Jane. I know it sounds pretty horrible given, well, given the last few weeks. If it makes you feel any better I didn't believe it." When he looked at her in disbelief she qualified her statement, "Not at first at least. I heard it, and okay, so I panicked. I mean, you almost always have some sort of ulterior motive in what you do. It's not always sinister, but it's there. But then I thought, no these two are just idiots. So we've been spending time together, Jane's not trying to incapacitate me or undermine me here. It's fine."
"And then?" he prompted, wait for the other shoe to drop.
"And then coincidence happened," she said, shrugging one shoulder. "People kept coming up to me and remarking about how little trouble you'd been over the past few weeks, how your behavior had appeared to change, and what had seemed ridiculous started to seem plausible. And I started having arguments with myself, saying that wasn't your intention, that you weren't cruel, well, okay, at least not to people who weren't criminals or jerks or something and so you figured probably deserved it. We were getting closer, lots of cops got friendly after working with each other long enough. It was natural. But then there was this little voice inside of me that I couldn't quite silence even if I also couldn't quite believe it, asking what if? I freaked out Jane."
She looked at him them, her eyes asking his forgiveness. He sighed. He knew he'd give it to her, but still… "Why not just ask me Theresa? Instead of just ignoring me, why not just ask me about it?"
"Well how do you start that particular conversation? Hi Jane, I was just wondering, are you trying to get closer to me so that you can use me for your own nefarious purposes later on?"
"I don't know if I'd have put it so bluntly, but it would have gotten the job done and you would have been spared three days of worry."
She looked down, wrapping her arms around herself refusing to meet his eyes, "Because I didn't want to hear it if the answer was yes."
And with that all of the self-righteous anger he'd been working on for oh, a good two minutes now, flew out the window. He could almost hear the whooshing sound it made on the way out. Screw personal boundaries, she was the one who'd basically barreled into him fifteen minutes ago. He put an arm around her shoulder and pulled her into their second hug of the evening. "Yeah, I wouldn't have wanted to hear it either." Well that had explained her extreme reaction when he'd told her he'd wanted to be friends. At least now he knew he wasn't the only one who wanted the relationship.
"I'm sorry I didn't trust you Patrick." She muttered against his shoulder.
He grinned at her use of his first name, and pulled back. "You just need practice. You'll see."
She grinned back, "Okay."
"So, just out of curiosity, how long were you planning on ignoring me for?"
"I was going to give it another day. My couch was pining."
Ah ha, a return of the Lisbon sarcasm. Excellent. Then, turning to stroke the arm of her couch, he asked "Were you feeling neglected?" He paused, "I know how we can remedy that!" he added excitedly.
"How?" she asked, her voice half exasperation, half amusement.
"The Turner Classic Movie channel is running all the old Rogers and Hammerstein musicals tonight! Movie night!"
"Jane most of those movies are completely ridiculous! They're not much good for anything but mocking…. Right. I'll go make popcorn."
"Anything I can do?"
"Yes." She told him, "You can tell me how on earth you managed to convince people that Cho doesn't actually read those big books of his."
"Ah. Well you see my dear, it's all about the power of suggestion…"