I'm not sure how I feel about the season premiere. In general I didn't like it. And not because the case felt rushed (though it did I guess in hindsight), I generally don't care about the case of the week. There needs to be one. That is enough for me most of the time. And even though some of the character moments were nice, on the whole, not impressed.

This is a premiere post-ep, so obviously spoilers up until ep2.01 Redemption. You have been warned.

Don't own.

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In Plan B I Place my Trust

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It had been an interesting case. Not too complicated, no danger, no psychopath, no one had needed to shoot anyone, no one had gotten shot. Should have been a way to get things back on track.

Should have.

She'd had a plan.

"We need to earn back the trust that we've lost. From now on we work 100% straight. No more shortcuts..."

She'd been good at playing it straight. No, she was good at playing it straight. She knew that. Everyone knew that. She'd inflict a quick demonstration to prove it on anyone who tried to tell her otherwise. So her method was slower and not quite as much fun as his tricks. Frankly some things weren't supposed to be fun. Call her a spoilsport, but she figured maybe murder investigations fell into that category.

True, getting her investigation yanked out from under her with no room for discussion had been a bit of a kick in the teeth. The fact that it had been given to her former mentor was just the icing on the cake. Turns out her boss figured maybe the student wasn't good enough and so had gone back to the teacher. But that was ridiculous. She knew that. This wasn't punishment; this was sensible. Jane had always been too close to the Red John case. And now she was too close to the Red John case. She and Jane were both too... close.

Giving the case to someone else was a logical next step. Give everyone a chance to get some perspective. And Bosco was one hell of an agent. If anyone could figure things out it was him. No, she understood why they'd reassigned the case. Hell, if she'd been in Minelli's position she'd have done it herself, was almost glad of the break. It wasn't that she'd lost her case, not really. It was how she'd lost it.

"I fear a terminal screw-up is coming."
"That's not going to happen. I can handle him."
"Can you? Maybe since he saved your life you're going easy on him. Maybe you feel compelled to cut him some slack."

She remembered when her boss had trusted her to control Jane. When she'd been able to glean some sort of sense of satisfaction from the fact that she was the only one in the department who was able to work with the off-kilter consultant. The irony of her pride was not lost on her.

She'd risked her very promising career more than once for the idiot. And where had that gotten her exactly? A whole lot of people questioning her abilities, that's what. Her boss and her former mentor clearly thought something was up.

"And me Sam? What's clouding my judgement?"
"Good question you tell me."

Not that she'd actually needed to ask. She'd known what he'd thought had been clouding her judgement. What they all thought. And they weren't totally wrong either. Of course she was concerned about Jane, of course she felt the need to cut him some slack, and of course she was trying to protect him. He was on her team. She would not abandon him to the wolves. Show her an effective team leader who wouldn't do the same.

But all the time? And to the extent she did? She didn't know. She wasn't sure exactly how deep in this she was. She understood why he did what he did, and she knew him better than he thought she did. Knew him better than she wanted to sometimes. He was useful, she wouldn't deny it. He could see things no one else could, and he did help them solve cases. And yes, she liked him... most of the time. Then he had saved her life, when it would have been in his better interests not to. His only interests actually, as he chillingly reminded her from time to time. And she was grateful for that. So she was cutting him some slack, felt she owed him. And she hated that she felt like she owed him. Never mind that she was all that was standing between him and a very quick termination, never mind that she'd saved his life countless times, never mind that since they'd met she'd always been his one constant protector. None of that seemed to matter, not towards easing her guilt, and not to him. But him shooting Hardy had mattered to her.

And he knew it.

"I saved her life, she resents me."

And he used it. Maybe not even consciously all the time, but he knew she wouldn't let him slip away. And he punished her for her concern, goaded her into reacting, lashed out without seeming to, provoked, cajoled, undermined... the list went on and on. He wasn't cruel, not usually, not to her at least, not deliberately.

She knew that he relied on her, that she had some sort of flimsy hold over him, the extend of which she didn't know, that he knew he needed her. He even trusted her, as much as Jane trusted anyone. Probably even thought he respected her, though his actions told a different story sometimes. And the job meant something to him. And so did the team, maybe even something more than a means to an end.

He had decided to stay, even without his direct connection to Red John.

"I have nothing else to do."

No way could she resist that appeal. No way could she turn him away when he looked at her like that. She wasn't capable of turning away a lost soul, no matter who it was. Had gotten into this business to try and help people, to make things right. She believed that she was doing some good, even if he didn't. Other people fell under the spell of his overwhelming charm. She, on the other hand, was powerless when he was vulnerable.

Almost couldn't help it. She was used to taking care of people. It'd been trained into her at too young an age and she couldn't stop now. Besides it was still her team. And in many ways her team was better when Jane was on it. She winced mentally. Just ask them.

"Boss, no disrespect, but I think we need Jane."

Need Jane. After he'd insulted them and what they did. After he'd lashed out like a little boy who hadn't gotten what he wanted for desert. She wanted to smack him, but she'd just settled for leaving him behind. She wasn't foolish enough to think that their solve rate would be as high, admitted that things would be slower. But she was sick and tired of everyone doubting her abilities, especially when she thought she'd already proved her worth. They did not need Jane. He was an asset certainly, but not a necessity. Especially if working with him on her team was going to leave behind nothing but chaos and complaints.

Because she didn't feel like she was leading a team any more. She felt like she the titular head of a three ring circus, one where everyone knew what the real attraction was. Felt like her job consisted, not of directing her team, but of trying to make sure as little as possible was destroyed or that no one got hurt, innocent or guilty. Lately she hadn't been doing much of anything but watching her consultant rush through an area and then pick up the pieces afterwards. She wasn't directing; she was damage control.

And she resented him for that too.

She wasn't sure when exactly things had started to fall apart. It wasn't Hardy. That had just been the catalyst. It'd been before that. Jane was arrogant enough to believe that his services were so superior to anything else that the CBI would put up with just about anything for them.

He'd just never said it aloud until now.

"So we're lost without you are we?"
"Well, yeah, let's be honest here..."

That had really been the final straw. She's lost count long ago of how many times she'd put herself on the line for him, and this was his reaction. Not that she thought he meant it, not entirely (though the fact that he'd said it at all indicated there was a grain of truth there). He'd been angry about losing Red John, angry that there was nothing that he could do about it, angry that she'd seemed okay with it all. So he'd lashed out, tried to get her to react. But she'd had enough. The fact that he'd saved her life did not give him endless license to insult and belittle her and her work. So she'd called (what part of her still hoped was) his bluff and told him to go.

And when he'd apologized and asked to be allowed to work with her she'd accepted. The strawberries had been sweet. Of course he'd remembered. Then when he'd grabbed her hand and looked at her he'd dropped the act. She knew what that had meant, knew it was a big step for him, knew it wasn't something he'd do lightly, or probably for anyone else. Still, she'd made him promise.

"I need to know that you can do your work and be effective without creating a mess that I have to clean up."

He'd agreed. No mess. She'd tried to believe he was genuine. More fool her.

A small part of her had always been expecting him to do something idiotic. What she hadn't been expecting was for two members of her team to blindly follow his lead without a word. And why wouln't they? After all, the three of them knew that when push came to shove Mother Lisbon would have their backs, would clean up any mess and make sure nothing happened to them at least.

A mother looking after three uncooperative boys. She laughed mirthlessly under her breath. Well you know what they say about history repeating itself.

Her boys, they thought it was fun, thought it was a game. There were never any consequences for them, not really. Both went along with Jane's schemes primarily for the fun of it. But there were other reasons. One sometimes because he was goaded on by slights on his masculinity, taunts from the other two he sought to impress; the other, well who really knew. She'd thought she'd known him better, but apparently not. She figured he was too focused on the solve rate, used it as a measure of success, and nothing else seemed to matter to him. And why should it? He was in the perfect position to enjoy the fruits of Jane's insanity without having to suffer the consequences. And he was right about one thing, her team's closed case rate was still the highest in the department. Her solve rate was through the roof, but the confidence her colleagues once had ability to lead had plummeted. For every last one of them.

When she'd gotten the call from that real estate agent wondering why he hadn't been notified that an Agent Kimball Cho and his colleague were currently staking out a house for sale in Twenty Palms, and asked whether the current owner, one Miles Thorston was aware, she'd been furious. She'd controlled her anger of course, been diplomatic, apologized profusely for the short notice citing the exigent nature of the case. Gone so far as to imply that they were at a crucial point in their investigation and that full cooperation would almost certainly (she hoped) result in the capture of a dangerous criminal. Not that she'd known of course. He never told her the details. It was more fun for him that way. At least she'd managed to talk the real estate agent out of complaining to her boss and had avoided yet another formal complaint.

She'd asked him one thing, one thing. No mess. And here already there was one. Sure he'd solved the case, but that wasn't the point any more. He'd gone against her express orders and brought two of her team members along for the ride. By all accounts her agents had gone willingly. That had come as a slap in the face at the end of a pretty crappy couple of days. She'd calmed down by the time they'd gotten back. Rigsby had even looked vaguely guilty, Jane had of course been triumphant, and Cho, well, she didn't know anymore. She wanted to haul them into her office and yell. But she knew that'd have no effect. Maybe an impromptu trip to the back alley followed by individual ass-kickings was in order. At least the case was solved.

Still, she didn't know if that was enough.

She had two things. She was good at control and she was good at her job. And now that Jane was around she felt like she was good at neither.

She was used to figuring out what someone needed and using that to compromise, to deal, to come to some sort of agreement to get what she wanted. But Jane didn't need anything, not in the traditional sense. The only thing he needed was for her not to kick him out of her life. And he knew she wouldn't, not if he told her he needed her. So in effect he was invulnerable.

But she would find something. She would find a way to rein him in, to stop her team from following his every whim willy-nilly. She would draw a line and they would stick to it. And it wouldn't be 100% by the book. She could see now, that had been a stupid idea. It would never have worked with Jane anyways. He quite simply wasn't by the book. That was practically the point. But she would find another rule. And she would enforce it. And there would be fewer problems. And she would regain everyone's faith. Because she deserved it and this had been her world first.

She didn't know exactly what she was going to do yet, but that would come. And when it did, she'd make sure she succeeded. She was Teresa Lisbon. It was what she did.

Plan A had failed. It was time to figure out Plan B.

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Fin