A Secret Santa present for shoppingluva91 on the Jello-Forever forum.
I hope you like it!
Patrick Jane smiled to himself as he walked through the doors of the CBI. The building had a sort of familiarity about it for him; in a way it was almost soothing. On any given day, you could walk in and smell the coffee brewing or hear the cacophony of ringing telephones. It was the sort of place that stayed the same, no matter what the world was doing outside.
There wasn't much that he could count on in his life, but the stoicism of the CBI was an exception to the rule.
For instance, stepping out of the elevator, he first thing he would notice was the flaming red hair of Grace Van Pelt, hard at work on her computer as usual. First to arrive in the mornings and usually last to leave at night, other than himself or occasionally Lisbon, he had to admire Van Pelt's dedication to her job. The fire in her eyes was a quality he also saw in himself, though his passion ran to darker, more sinister things then finishing up last case's paperwork.
"Good morning, Grace," he greeted her.
Briefly, her gaze flicked up from her computer screen and she smiled at him.
She immediately resumed typing again. He left her to it.
The next thing Jane would notice would be the book lying on Cho's desk. Every night without fail, Cho would find the time to kick back and read a chapter or two before heading home. He never took the books with him. Jane wondered why. The written word seemed to be one of the very few things that gave Cho any kind of visible pleasure, but he seemed determined to cut it out of his personal life, as though it might become tainted in some way.
Rigsby's desk was strewn with multicoloured candy wrappers, a source of great annoyance to Van Pelt, who could often be heard berating Rigsby over the state of his working conditions. Jane suspected that Rigsby rather enjoyed these arguments and sometimes thought he left his desk that way on purpose, in order to provoke her. But in the end, he'd always clean them up if she asked him to. Jane thought that if Van Pelt were to ask Rigsby to fly her to the moon, he'd be on the phone with NASA in a heartbeat.
Across the room, he saw that the door to their fearless leader's office was slightly ajar. Should he go in and visit her?
No. Not yet. Lisbon was never at her best early in the morning. Best to let her mellow out a little before commencing his daily torture routine. His get-out-of-jail-free card supply was running dangerously low
Finally, Jane saw his couch, his safe haven in the world, an oasis of sorts. It was the one place where he could relax and sometimes actually get some sleep. He liked the rustling sound it made when he moved about and he liked the smell of the leather. It calmed him.
He peeled off his jacket and settled down for a quick nap to fill in time until something interesting happened.
But something was wrong. Something about his couch was not as it should be. But what was it?
He carefully inspected it, looking for visual imperfections but found none.
He inhaled, breathing in the crisp scent of leather…and something else.
How in the world had cinnamon found it's way onto his couch?
A memory came to him.
"And incidentally, you're smelling particularly good today. Is that cinnamon in the mix there somewhere?"
He'd been blind at the time, but he remembered the conversation. But to whom had he been speaking? Oh yes, Lisbon.
Lisbon smelt of cinnamon.
His couch smelt of cinnamon.
Therefore, Lisbon must have been on his couch recently and for an extended period too, to leave traces of her perfume behind.
Just then, the woman herself came striding out of her office, looking ready to kill.
"Jane," she growled and started towards him.
He smiled. This must be about the state trooper he'd handcuffed to the lamp-post last night.
"My office," she ordered. "Now."
Obediently, he followed her through the door. She waited for him to pass, and as he did so he caught a trace of that same cinnamon scent. She shut the door behind him.
"I must say, Lisbon," he said cheerfully as he sat down. "You really smell most delectable today. I could just eat you up."
She blushed. "Don't start. "
"As you wish, my little sugar cookie."
She hit him on the arm. "Enough joking around, you know damn well why you're here, so let's get on with it."
He tuned her out as she proceeded to give him the usual lecture about his irresponsibility, stupidity and disrespect. Every so often, he would nod or mumble something incoherent to make it seem like he was listening while his mind wandered onto more interesting things.
Once she had finally talked herself into silence, Jane pasted on a charming smile. "Lisbon, my dear, may I ask you something?"
"Have you been sleeping on my couch?"
She scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous Jane. When I need sleep I go home to bed, like normal people do."
He ignored the jibe. "Then you can't explain why my couch smells like your perfume all of a sudden?"
She went scarlet. "Never you mind," she said hastily.
"Oh but I do mind," he said. "See, you're wearing heavier make-up then usual today, to cover up the bags under your eyes and the fact that your skin looks pale. That suggests to me that you haven't been sleeping properly, and that isn't healthy."
"That's rich, coming from an insomniac like you."
"But Lisbon, this isn't about me, it's about you. I'm worried about you. Maybe if you talk to me, I can find some way to help."
To her surprise, she saw genuine concern in his eyes as he said all this and she couldn't help but feel a certain warmth towards him. In a gentler voice, she answered him.
"Thanks Jane, but I'm fine. Really."
"No you're not. You're upset about something, I can see it in your eyes."
"It's really not a big deal," she said dismissively, reaching for some of the morning's paperwork and hoping he'd take the hint and leave.
He grabbed her hand, and she felt her pulse quicken slightly.
"Lisbon. Talk to me."
Only once before had he spoken to her with such sincerity.
"Lisbon, I want you to know that you can trust me. No matter what happens, I will be there for you. I will. I need you to know that."
Could she truly trust him? She wasn't sure. But there was something in his eyes that made her feel like taking the chance.
Besides, she reasoned, if he was lying to her there were ways she could punish him. She could have his couch removed, for a start.
"You know that my mom happened around this time of year," she said slowly.
"I always find it hard to sleep for these couple of weeks, so I figured I'd take a leaf out of your book."
"That couch is the only place I've ever seen you truly relax and really let your guard down."
"Because I'm surrounded by four big, tough, gun-toting state agents. If you can't feel safe around that, when can you?"
She chuckled. "Funny. But seriously, when you're on your couch, you look almost peaceful, like there's no Red John or murder. I just thought I'd give it a try," she admitted, embarrassed. "Sounds stupid, right?"
"Not at all." There was no trace of mocking in his voice. "I understand."
"It's just hard, you know? Marking the anniversary of the day my life fell apart." If Jane didn't know better, he could swear that she was choking back tears, she kept wiping her eyes and if he listened hard, the slightest hint of a tremor could be heard in her voice.
His hand tightened on hers. "I know how it feels."
She nodded. He was one of the few people she knew who could truly understand the pain of having everything they had ripped out from under them.
"How do you do it?" she asked him.
"Get up every morning and pretend that everything's all right. You seem to treat life like it's one big joke, when you know better than anyone how fragile it is."
She could hardly believe she was having this conversation with Patrick Jane. He was hardly the go-to guy if you were in the mood for a heart-to-heart. His interests ran more to immature mind games and idiotic schemes that inevitably resulted in a truckload of paperwork arriving on her desk.
Today however, the childish side had taken a back seat and the tortured soul he kept hidden away was at the wheel.
"It's the only way I know how to be," he said. "If I didn't do that, I'd probably just curl up somewhere and let myself be consumed by my own guilt. And that certainly won't lead me to Red John."
She frowned at him. She hated it when he talked like that. Against all odds Jane was (sort-of) her friend and an important part of her team and the thought of him being thrown in jail for murder was more distressing then she liked to admit.
Deep down, she still clung on to the hope that she might be able to change his mind on the revenge thing.
Jane could sense the path the conversation was about to go down and to avoid it, quickly changed the subject.
"You know, I admire you, Lisbon."
"Your life has been scarred by death as much as mine has but still you manage to see the good in the human race. I wish I could do that."
"Maybe someday you will," she said quietly, squeezing his hand.
"I don't think so," he said. "I'll never be as good a person as you are, Lisbon."
He looked directly into her eyes as he said this and she felt her face redden again. Never before had he paid her such a compliment. Who would have guessed that a conversation with Jane could make her feel better, rather then worse?
"Thank you," she said to him. "You know, for listening."
"If you ever want to talk, I'm always here." Even as he said this he knew that it would never happen. Lisbon was more the suffer-in-silence type then one to pour her heart out to anyone who'd listen. He quite liked that about her, really. She had a strong sense of independence. He respected that.
She nodded. "Thanks."
Outside the office, they could hear the murmur of voices as Cho and Rigsby arrived for the day.
"Where's Jane?" they heard Rigsby ask.
"Lisbon's office," Van Pelt replied.
"What's he done now?" asked Cho, flatly.
"Don't know, but Lisbon was steaming when she came out to find him. Come to think of it, they've been in there a while."
"She's probably killed him," said Cho.
"Nah," Rigsby chimed in. "Think of all the extra paperwork."
They all laughed.
Jane's face lit up into its usual boyish grin.
"Come on. Let's have a really loud argument so they know I'm not dead," he suggested.
In spite of herself Lisbon chuckled. "Very mature, Jane."
He let her hand go, and yawned. "Well, I'm going to my couch. Give me a shout if something happens."
She smiled at him. "Enjoy your nap."
When Lisbon came back from lunch that day, she immediately knew that someone had been in her office. And it didn't take a genius to figure out whom that someone was. This had Jane all over it.
On her desk sat a purple teddy bear, with a note pinned to its chest.
I read somewhere that lavender helps with sleep and everyone knows a teddy bear gives the best kind of comfort in the world, so what could be better then a mix of the two?
Sweet dreams, Lisbon.
At first she didn't know whether to laugh or scream.
Once she got over the initial surprise, she considered the thought behind the gesture and it made her feel something she hadn't felt in a long time; appreciated. Cared for. It felt kind of nice.
So she took the bear, and incredibly, she did sleep better that night, in her own bed.
At the CBI, Jane settled back onto his couch and got comfortable.
He closed his eyes and listened to the sounds of the night watchmen making their rounds and the humming of the crickets outside.
The leather still held a faint vestige of cinnamon scent. It was quite a pleasant smell, really. He breathed it in and thought of brunette, ass-kicking agents who could take down men twice their size without breaking a sweat, and could deal with his lunacy better then anyone he'd ever met.
It was the first night he dreamed of Teresa Lisbon, but it sure wasn't the last.