Heee! So I finally wrote my entry for the JelloForever forum's September Challenge. I had a basic idea planned out, but I was so caught up in Mighty, that I hadn't taken the time to just sit down and write this! After seeing Redemption, I found a renewed interest! Parts of this takes place during Redemption and is from three different perspectives-I wanted to try something different and I hope y'all enjoy it! I don't own Pepperidge farm or their slogan. I do own a box of goldfish though!

SPOILERS- 2x01 Redemption

The Snack that Smiles Back

Virgil Minelli tuned out the enraged voice buzzing in his ear that had been griping and nitpicking for the better part of an hour. He managed to add in monosyllable answers at convenient moments in the one-sided conversation as he gripped the black plastic phone. His thoughts wandered as he stared at the mountain of paperwork in front of him. Finally, he was able to politely hand up the phone and turn his full attention to the matter at hand.

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he fumbled around his desk drawer for a bottle of aspirin and paused when his hand came in contact with plastic. Withdrawing it slowly, he looked down in amusement at the little clear bag of orange crackers. He fondly stared at his granddaughter's favorite snack before he opened the bag and withdrew a handful of the smiling orange fish. Popping a handful into his mouth, he turned his gaze to the stack of complaints that had once again crossed his desk.

He sighed loudly and contemplated knocking the entire stack to the ground. Although he was sure it would give him immense personal satisfaction, it wouldn't make the matter disappear. He narrowed his eyes and wondered just when he had become the director of a daycare center rather that the respected director of California's leading law enforcement. Sometimes he wondered if he should schedule arts and crafts for Lisbon's team. Honestly, Wayne Rigsby already had snack time down and Patrick Jane had become proficient at nap time. Hello, my name is Virgil Minelli and we are now accepting applications for our fall semester.

Chuckling to himself, he opened the first file and scanned the complaint. Probability indicated that the majority of these complaints had to do with Patrick Jane. The man could close cases like a fiend, but his methods were becoming more and more reckless. He knew Lisbon was adept a solving crimes herself, and he wondered if the consultant was really worth the damage control and complaints that seemed to be rolled up into an annoying blond package.

Feeling restless, he decided to go for a walk around the office before continuing his paperwork. Some days he really wished he didn't have the added responsibility. He grimaced as he contemplated the meeting that would occur in a few hours time, and hoped he would be lucky enough to announce the change of cases and remain relatively unscathed. Between Lisbon's sharp tongue and the consultant's mind tricks, he wasn't looking forward to the announcement, but it needed to be done.

Remaining relatively hidden, he paused in the doorway and took a moment to observe the couple in question. Pulling out the bag of goldfish crackers he continued to munch. They really were too close, he noted with a raised eyebrow and tried to narrow down the moment everything had changed. They still fought, but touches lingered and were accepted while they communicated silently. It was almost unnerving, and he could see why they were so effective in the field. They were a force to be reckoned with, and although they weren't breaking procedure, something needed to be done until they were able to regain their perspective.

He dreaded returning to his office, and he snapped at a few agents who stopped him to ask ridiculous questions. Narrowing his eyes, he stalked down the hallway while clutching the bag of crackers. Shutting the door to his office, he exhaled slowly when he realized Agent Sam Bosco would be arriving in a few minutes. Returning to his desk, he heard a loud crunch and paused. Raising his foot, he stared at the crushed remains of a smiling orange cracker and he prayed that incident wasn't some bizarre cosmic foreshadowing. He really couldn't handle it.


Agent Sam Bosco watched with interest as he stood just out of sight of Minelli's office. Wiping his palms on his pants, he waited for her to come into his line of sight. He hadn't seen her in years. He sucked in a breath when she rounded the corner, bickering with the blond man he knew to be Patrick Jane. His lips quirked into a smile as he observed the tension in her frame. She was definitely pissed. Some things would never change, and Teresa Lisbon's temper was one of them.

She was still the little spitfire he remembered, but somewhere along the way she had grown up, matured. He still remembered her as the young woman determined to prove herself, working twice as hard to be 'one of the guys'. Now she was filled with self-confidence and poise, clearly able to handle herself in any situation. Damn, she looked good. Her hair was different, more feminine. It suited her, he thought. She had finally reconciled the battle between woman and officer, and it worked for her. He knew she had the respect of any agent in this office, and he was proud of her. She had done well.

His gaze flickered over to the man beside her, and his smile disappeared. Everything he had been told about this man, screamed irresponsible and reckless. He wondered why she put up with him. Teresa was like him-straight and by the book, and he was surprised she was compromising her job security by supporting the man. It was clear that he was using her-manipulating her needs in order to reach his own goal and that frustrated him. Obviously, she hadn't grown up as much as he had thought.

He was slightly surprised when Jane held open the door to Minelli's office and was even more surprised when Teresa accepted the chivalrous gesture. He pushed down the flash of possessive jealousy that coursed through him when Teresa turned her head towards Jane. Her eyes softened and her lips curved into the barest hint of a seductive smile as Jane's hand rested at the small of her back. Bosco's eyes narrowed when he realized that not once had Teresa Lisbon ever smiled at him like that. He was hooked.


A small smile crossed Patrick Jane's face as he peeked into Lisbon's office the next morning. She was fixated on her computer while she periodically took a sip of coffee. His grin widened when he saw the carton of goldfish crackers spilled next to her mug. The scene was so subtly her, and he was surprised she hadn't noticed his intrusion. He took a moment to just stare at her, like a man lost in the desert catching his first glimpse of water. God, he hoped it wasn't a mirage.

"What do you want, Jane?" she asked without moving her head. She couldn't stay angry with him for long. He jumped a mile before entering with a sheepish expression. She shot him a quick smile before returning her attention to her computer.

"Goldfish?" she asked while shoving the carton towards him.

His body tightened slightly at the sight of the small smiling fish. Lately, everything seemed to remind him of Red John and his ineptitude in catching the serial killer. Lisbon shot him a baffled look, and Jane realized he had been shooting the snack a look of horror. He offered her an apologetic smile. Anything with a smile sent him swirling into unpleasant memories. Realization dawned on her, and she casually raised an eyebrow. Jane knew an inquisition would follow and he quickly cut her off.

"Tell me, Lisbon. Do you often eat food that smiles back at you?" His eyes sparkled as he leaned closer to her. She rolled her eyes, and proceeded to ponder the question. Biting her lip, her forehead crinkled for a few minutes.

"Actually, I do," she said slowly as if she just uncovered an enormous realization. "I had dinosaur chicken nuggets last night," she added with a grin. Jane burst out laughing at the unexpected comment. "They were on sale," she protested.

"Oh, how practical," he teased. Swiping her box of goldfish he returned to his couch with a thump. Maybe the snack wouldn't be so bad. After all, it was only a smile.