Disclaimer: Don't own anything.
Spoiler: The Scarlett Letter
Prompt: Lisbon decides to have Jane's couch reupholstered/cleaned/moved…(without telling him.)
A/N: This is dedicated to Frogster, not only because it's her idea (and Secret Santa present) but also because she constantly gives me positive feedback. Thank you, Shelli for being so sweet!
She feels the childishness of her actions seep in with every second that ticks by. She can just imagine the disapproving looks she would get from Bosco in particular; hands crossed over his chest as he frowns at her, wondering how she's stooped down to Jane's level, fighting him with trickery instead of good, hard reprimands.
On the other hand, perhaps Bosco wouldn't really mind what she's doing, considering his evident dislike for the man in question. She blinks as two men, one slightly beefy, the other slightly thin, approach her in matching blue uniforms.
They point to the couch and she nods. She's given the owner of the company all the instructions, so the two men do what they came to do without further questions. Lisbon is actually relieved when they finally leave; surprised she managed to pull this off without any interference.
She congratulates herself on strategically dispersing the members of her unit on various tasks in connection with their recent case and retrieves back into her office with a cup of coffee she knows she'll need it when Cho and Jane return from visiting the aunt of the deceased.
He senses that something is wrong almost as soon as he and Cho exit the elevator. Something is amiss but Jane can't quite put his finger on it until they arrive in the bullpen and he stops at the entrance.
Cho, who is reviewing the notes from their visit, walks over to his desk and drops his jacket on the chair without paying attention to Jane, but when he looks up, he finds the blond consultant standing in the doorway, appearing confused. Cho follows the direction Jane is looking in to find that a prominent piece of furniture is absent from the room.
"Do you know anything about this?" Jane asks with his eyebrows furrowed unnaturally.
"No," Cho shakes his head, pulling out his chair and sitting down, his stoic expression never changing.
Jane continues to stare at the empty spot where his couch used to be. He's somewhat miffed by how no one seems to be concerned that his most trusted companion has gone missing. Van Pelt is studiously typing away on her laptop, oblivious to everything around her, while Rigsby is in the break room no doubt searching for his secret stash of rice krispy treats in the cupboard.
He wants to ask one of them if they know anything about the whereabouts of his couch but figures they know just as much as Cho. He looks over at the spot where the brown leather recliner used to be and envisions a chalk white outline like in the cheesy '80s crime dramas, his couch being the victim of an atrocious kidnapping. Since no one else seems to care, it's up to him to catch the culprit.
However, as any good detective, he needs the perfect sidekick so unconsciously his feet carry him to the office of the one person who usually comes to his rescue when he's in trouble.
Jane never thinks about courteous acts like knocking, so he bursts into Lisbon's office as usual without permission. His sing song voice carries into the room but she doesn't even look up, concentrating on the report in front of her, a small smile stretching her lips as she asks,
"What is it, Jane?"
He closes the door behind him and observes her for a second. She looks very calm, nothing out of the ordinary, peacefully trying to focus on the task at hand, doing nothing to give him the impression that his presence has interrupted her routine.
Normally, he would continue on with his line of questioning, but something seems wrong about this. It's almost like she anticipated him coming here, she's way too calm, not even a hint of annoyance in her voice.
And then it dawns on him…
"It was you," He exclaims, catching her attention with surprise evident in his tone.
Lisbon tries to conceal the forming smirk, her rational side berating her for having so much fun with this, "Me what?" she asks, setting the paperwork aside and folding her hands on top of the desk, feigning ignorance.
The look on Jane's face is priceless, as he undoubtedly tries to discern whether she's playing him or is actually unaware of what's going on. Lisbon, invariably, starts to shift under his gaze, confidence wavering just a bit under his scrutiny.
"Well?" she prompts him when Jane doesn't say anything, but he just approaches her desk in slow strides, trying to build intimidation.
It doesn't work as well as he hopes it would, considering Lisbon is as familiar with his thought process as he is with hers, but when she reclines back in her chair, he figures that's enough torture.
"What'd you do to my couch? It's not here." He says straightforwardly and the concern etched on his face makes Lisbon almost break into a laugh, but she bites the inside of her cheek from doing so.
"It's not there? Really?"
Jane watches, somewhat shocked as she makes the point to walk to the window and peer through the blinds to confirm that his beloved, leather sofa is in fact missing. If he wasn't convinced she's responsible for his couch's absence before, he is now.
If she didn't know, her reaction wouldn't be as theatrical, as well thought out. Instead his Lisbon would be annoyed, irked that he was coming into her office distracting her from the current case.
In an effort to throw him off, she obviously just led him straight to her.
Perhaps if he wasn't as exhausted as he was, he would play along, humor her, pretend to still be unaware of her involvement, it would be quite entertaining; however, they are in the middle of a murder investigation of a 15 year old girl and he needs his couch to think, he needs a silent staring contest with Elvis to help him strategize and searching for his trusted companion is not in the plans.
"Lisbon, you know if you tell me what you did with my couch, I'll have the murderer to you by the end of the day."
She raises her eyebrow at him, hands on her hips, skeptical of his bargain. There's a bemused smile on her face and Jane feels almost like he's being bated, as if he's falling perfectly into her trap and although it surprises him, it also thrills him.
Apparently Lisbon is a worthy opponent not only in banter.
The slight desperation in Jane's suggestion amuses Lisbon, but she doesn't waver. There's that slight feeling of guilt sprouting again as she realizes how much fun she's truly having tormenting the usually composed consultant.
Jane watches the myriad of emotions cross Lisbon's features, her eyes never leaving his as she contemplates and just as she's about to speak, there's a knock on the door followed by Van Pelt's voice,
"Boss, we got a hit on the red Mustang our witness saw leave the crime scene, it's registered to a Jay Gilado, and we got an address."
Jane turns his attention back to Lisbon to see her facial expression completely transformed. There's no trace of amusement or mirth or actual interest, she's back in the professional boss mode and nods at Van Pelt, "alright, let's bring him in."
She walks quickly back to her desk, puts on her jacket, and picks up her badge, hand instinctively going to her hip to make sure her gun is in place. She does this without any regard for the conversation Van Pelt interrupted and it's only when she's half way out the door that she stops and turns her attention back to Jane,
"You'll obviously want to talk to this guy so stick around while we bring him in. Oh and since your couch has mysteriously disappeared, I suggest you use your desk as something other than a bookshelf."
She says this almost as an after thought, one foot out in the hallway, with Van Pelt and Rigsby standing by the elevators waiting for her. Lisbon doesn't wait for Jane to say anything, just walks out to meet the rest of the team.
Jane stands for a long time in her office, surprised that she didn't tell him to leave. He steps out into the bullpen for just a moment, surveying the suggested working space, and grimaces immediately. Whoever came up with the idea of a wooden desk and a swiveling chair as a productive working environment was seriously misguided.
For a second, he contemplates stealing the armchair in the shrink's office, since it's still unoccupied, but then something in Lisbon's office catches his eye and a smile that Lisbon would call devilish spreads over his features.
Lisbon isn't sure what she expects the next day, but the loud blasting of Rap music from inside her office is even more peculiar than she anticipated. She walks in to find Jane reclining on her couch as if he never left; in fact, if he didn't have a different suit on, Lisbon would assume he'd spent the night there.
Nevertheless, his choice of attire is the last thing on her mind when she notices the source of noise is a portable CD player propped up on the table next to her couch and when the sound stops, she realizes Jane has plugged in a set of headphones.
"Good morning, Lisbon. There's a Cran-apple muffin on the desk with your name on it." The blond man graces her with one of his heart melting smiles and she can't help but steal a glance at her desk.
Sure enough, there's a large, golden brown muffin standing on a small plate in the middle of her organized desk. Coincidentally, her stomach chooses that moment to remind her that she'd run out of the house with just her portable coffee mug this morning.
"Figured you'd skip breakfast as usual and since we're basically roommates for the time being, I wanted to show my appreciation for your hospitality."
Lisbon narrows her eyes at him as she approaches her chair, gingerly setting her things by the desk, unsure of whether to trust Jane or consider this one of his manipulations.
Then as he continues to smile at her, Lisbon recalls another time he surprised her, with a pony on her birthday. She'd been very suspicious of him all day but especially when he put a ridiculous bow on her office door and told her to open it. She'd honestly felt quite foolish afterward so Lisbon decides she'll embrace Jane's generosity and enjoy her muffin instead of worrying about it too much.
She thanks him for it, inquires about his morning, and asks if he has any thoughts on the case. It's only when he replies that he needs to ruminate on it some more and Lisbon decides to review the current evidence that she hears that god-awful noise again. This time it's coming from the headphones Jane is wearing.
The scene would be quite humorous if it weren't so irritating. A grown man in a three-piece suit with a very tranquil expression on his face, listening to such violent and angry music; Lisbon realizes quickly that this is meant to distract her from her tasks and is a perfect way for Jane to subtly bother her. So she walks over to him, yanking the headphones out of his ears, and giving him a disapproving glare,
"Really? You're really going to do this?"
"Do what?" Jane asks innocently as he sits up. Lisbon doesn't realize how close they are to one another until she finds that Jane's face is an inch away from her belt buckle. The implication of the proximity startles her slightly, causing blush to spread from her chest upwards, coloring her cheeks. She steps back immediately, fixing him with an annoyed look to conceal her discomfort.
It's not even noon yet and Jane has already managed to somehow get under her skin. Although, knowing how much he loves that damn couch, she can't blame him for trying to make this as unpleasant for her as possible. She actually has no doubt that he knows she's responsible, and logically she can be as vindictive as possible and kick him out of her office altogether, but something stops her.
Perhaps it's the knowledge that to go to all this trouble to bother her, he must have spent time thinking about her. For whatever reason that thought leaves her with a pleasant feeling she can't identify. She instinctively shakes the emotion away, not really understanding where it's coming from (or not wanting to admit that she knows exactly why she feels that way) and slaps him lightly on the shoulder,
"You know what you're doing and I want you to stop it. You can't annoy me when I've been nice enough to let you idle around in my office." she exclaims, perhaps angrier than she should be.
Jane rubs his shoulder, wincing at her like a wounded kitten.
She turns around to walk back to her desk, but she hears Jane mutter something dark under his breath, something that slightly resembles an accusation, perhaps that she shouldn't have taken his couch, then he wouldn't have to resort to such extreme measures.
She lets out a huff of air and without calming herself, turns around and locks eyes with him,
"Give it up, Jane. No amount of irritating or bothering me will bring your couch back before its ready-…"
"Aha," Jane exclaims, standing up, "So you know where it is."
Lisbon rolls her eyes, a slight smirk on her face as she crosses her arms, "maybe I do, maybe I don't but not even that awful music will get me to give it up…if I knew where it was."
Jane frowns as he approaches her, his walk feline-like and somewhat predatory, "You know, Lisbon, I have a few tools at my disposal which even you, my dear, may not be immune to."
He's close enough now for it to be almost unprofessional, but she doesn't push him away, her arms like lead at her sides, eyes watching as he towers over her. Even though the back of her thighs aren't even touching her desk, Lisbon feels as if he's already trapped her, his eyes staring deep into her, concentrated. She's seen that look before, it's familiar, he had it just last week when he-…
"Hey," she blinks, swatting his arm in the same spot again, "don't try to hypnotize it out of me, cheater. My gun is only a hand motion away." She gestures to the holster on the desk and Jane just smiles, shrugging,
"You'd never shoot me and besides it was worth a try."
Lisbon thinks he'll step away now, give up and stop invading her personal space, but Jane doesn't move, eyes no longer intrusively boring into her soul, but rather watching her carefully; trying to read her but in the superficial, facetious way she's used to. She doesn't move him either, her body unconsciously relaxing in his presence, as she catches a hint of his cologne. The combination of senses overpowers her, causing goose bumps to break out on her skin.
He doesn't step any closer, but the tension between them is palpable and Lisbon wonders how they can go from playful to serious in one brief undefined moment. It's so sudden, she can't recall the change occurring.
Jane watches her with interest, his mind distracted by the soft wave in her hair. It reminds him of when she used to wear her hair curly all the time. He remembers wondering if she purposefully did it so, but regardless he found himself liking it then. It's only when his hand twitches at his side, itching to reach out and run a finger through one of the loose ringlets that he forces himself away from her, uncertain of this strange desire to observe new things about the brunette in front of him.
Thankfully, before he has a chance to admire the softness of her lips, accentuated by a light, barely visible gloss, there's a knock on the door and Rigsby sticks his head inside. The two step away from each other too quickly and Lisbon immediately tears her eyes away from Jane, focusing on Rigsby.
Apparently, they found the victim's boyfriend…or what was left of him, his car torched and left on the side of highway 101 with him in it. Lisbon frowns immediately; it was obvious to Jane in the beginning that she was almost certain the vic's boyfriend was somehow involved.
Although his death doesn't rule him out as potential accomplice, it does complicate things and Jane can already tell Lisbon's beginning to feel the stress of the situation. He feels almost sorry for hassling her this morning, but reminds himself that she started this, she did something to annoy him first. The excuse seems juvenile but Jane doesn't contemplate further.
Instead, he shifts gears and decides to focus on the case; there'll be plenty of time to irritate the hell out of Lisbon after the murderer is caught.