Be Still, My Troubled Heart
Disclaimer: Don't own anything…quote by British author Douglas Adams.
Spoiler: Bleeding Heart
A/N: This idea has been swirling in my head for months. Very strangely, the most recent episode inspired me to finally write it. So here it is. It was supposed to be a one-shot, but ended up being too long, so I split it into two parts. Oh and for those of you who are wondering, a new chapter of Running Through Red Lights will be up shortly. Sorry for the wait!
Part I: Good Intentions
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."
Christ, he looks old.
The camera guy should be charged alongside the journalist simply for zooming in so close to his face.
He's not vain.
Okay, well maybe a little, but there's no harm in wanting to look good. He just hasn't been in front of a camera for almost six years and only now realizes that it's probably a good thing that this documentary will never see the light of day.
He can make out every single line on his face, the creases around his eyes, the ones marring his forehead. It's unsettling, unnerves him, reminds him of his own mortality, and despite his life threatening plans of revenge, unexpected worry tightens his insides, twisting uncomfortably as he fixates on the image of himself.
He remembers that moment vividly, casting his glance down, trying to appear vulnerable, bating the journalist, turning the tables on him to get a confession.
It had all been an act, a ploy, all his talk of love, betrayal, hurt; it had all been a farce.
And yet as he looks at himself, the only thing that comes to mind is honesty.
In his expression, he sees truth, sees candor, knows that the signs of aging on his face expose the extent of his feelings, weakness. All the words he thought he was carefully crafting to trap the reporter, ended up revealing things he's kept inside of him, thoughts and emotions that threaten to spill over the surface if he got too careless.
The realization is ugly, painful. It sinks deep inside of him, and manifests into a vice wrapped around his heart, squeezing it, disarming all his defenses, reminding him that it all happened on camera.
He should really destroy the tape.
He means to press eject, but mistakenly gets the rewind button.
Scowling at the complicated remote, he pauses the tape, ready to take it out, but the freeze frame catches his eye and he can't look away.
This must have been shot shortly after he stormed out following the journalist's stupid question about psychics.
He's not sure what the idiot asked her, but Lisbon's facial expression is priceless.
She looks a little uncomfortable, hands twisted in her lap, a suspicious look in her jade eyes, directly posed at the camera.
It's a typical Lisbon expression, mistrusting, but curious and perhaps a little stilted, but even here he sees the distinct difference between his close up and hers.
Unlike him, she looks positively radiant. Even in her efforts to conceal her discomfort, keep her guard up, there's still an air of openness, vulnerability about her. Instead of it making her look older, jaded, there's a youthfulness in her presence that captivates him. His thumb unconsciously finds the right button to continue the montage.
Jane smiles proudly when she deflects the reporter's inquiries about her private life, smirks at the burst of defiance in her expression. He'd like to think her sharp tongue is a product of his influence, but that would be foolish.
No, his Lisbon developed a streak of rebelliousness long before he met her. She's entirely capable of telling someone off, and he is a little envious that she can do it in such a polite way, that the person is caught completely off guard.
Not that Jane isn't known for the shock factor. However, more often than not people despise him afterwards. With Lisbon, her subverted wrath earns her the respect of those on the receiving end.
And for a man of many talents and a vast pool of knowledge, he has no trouble admitting he can learn a thing or two from the tiny spitfire.
That thought should send fire alarms off in his head, but he's too mesmerized by the television screen, watching as Lisbon continues to dodge question after question. It amuses him to no end, makes him forget about the sad little fact he discovered about himself earlier, but then the dimwitted reporter goes a little too far and Jane feels his disgust with him resurface.
"So what motivated you to become a cop?"
It's a cliché inquiry, something picked up from a poorly written crime drama, or any number of bad talk show interviews, but it does the trick.
A flash of something indefinable across her rosy features, then her perfect, pink lips turn into a frown, and her eyes again reveal nothing.
No suspicion, no mirth, no boldness.
"We're done here."
She says and Jane can't agree more, as the scene switches to the interview with Cho. Even though he's certain the agent will amuse him, lighten up his mood, Lisbon's reaction, the momentary hurt brought on by painful memories, evokes recollections of his own, reminding the consultant of demons that still seem to be chasing him, gaining speed at every turn.
Jane reaches over, ready to turn the tape off, but he's not quick enough, because he's suddenly well aware of the slow clicking of heels coming from behind him and he anticipates that it's Lisbon, before she even speaks,
"Hey, burning the midnight oil?"
He turns around, giving himself a moment for composure, before greeting her with a megawatt smile,
"Something like that."
There's a bit of awkward silence between them and he can't imagine why, considering this wouldn't be the first time she's come back to work in the middle of the night, usually because she forgot something, to find him here alone.
Jane figures it's not healthy how inextricably tied they both are to this building, but it's safe, neutral, still makes him feel at ease despite the knowledge that ever since a month ago, even the CBI HQ is not off limits to the man determined to make his life a living hell.
Lisbon distracts him from his thoughts by walking closer to the conference table, then quirking an eyebrow at him as her eye flickers to the flat screen on the wall.
"Please don't tell me you've amused yourself by stealing evidence and watching it."
She gestures to the tape, and his smile grows, even as she becomes more suspicious.
It reminds him of the video tape and although on some women the half scowl half smirk would be wholly unattractive, for Lisbon it works, quite well actually.
"It can't be stealing if it was never logged in." He responds whimsically.
"Jane," she exclaims in exasperation, "you can't just do that."
Yet her voice is waning, and he gets up quickly, pulling the cassette out of the VCR.
"Oh come on, it's not like anyone is going to miss it. Besides, aren't you even a little curious about what you look like on the tape?"
He's approached her by this point, standing in close enough proximity to tap the cassette against her shoulder, a sparkle of mischief in his glance that leaves her hypnotized.
The scowl on her face loosens slightly, lips curving into a smile,
"You're acting like there's something dirty on it,"
He's obviously not expecting such a bold reply, and paired with the playful glint in her eye, it has him clearing his throat and casting his glance elsewhere.
Lisbon seems to take pleasure in her small victory over him and he's about to tease her right back with something equally witty, when she breaks the silence,
"So what were you watching it for?"
Her voice is low, quiet, and for the first time, Jane realizes that they're the only two people on the floor; the only illumination is coming from the solitary desk lamp and the moonlight streaming in through the window.
The mood is oddly intimate, but he doesn't shy away, instead he slips the cassette in his breast pocket, and shrugs, teetering on his heels, his customary pose,
"Oh you know, reminiscing, reliving the good ole' days, seeing if I still have my touch."
Jane says this with a lightness he didn't know he was capable of, and Lisbon raises her eyebrow immediately, the solitary dimple making its presence as she counters him,
"And do you?"
It's meant to be playful, just a part of their banter, but it makes him think, which unfortunately reveals the uncertainty he felt earlier; the vulnerability that made him uncomfortable, made him flinch as he watched himself try to dupe someone else, only to reveal his own insecurities in the process.
Lisbon seems to notice the rapid change in his demeanor and even though it's brief, Jane knows he's ousted himself and is about to backtrack, but her unwavering glance halts him.
For a moment, he flashes back to their brief exchange in her office earlier, when she apologized for her insensitivity. He sees now that she's determined not to repeat her mistake again, that she's more attuned to him than ever, hoping to make up for lack of hindsight before.
Guilt is a powerful force and Lisbon is no stranger to it.
Despite his desire not to revisit the distress he felt then, his resolve weakens as she looks at him with large, compassionate eyes.
A shrill foreign sound breaks his fixation, startling both of them.
Lisbon reacts quickly, hand disappearing into her coat pocket to reveal her Blackberry, the screen flashing rapidly, beeping growing louder.
She frowns as she recognizes the number, a flash of realization, and looks back up at him almost apologetically,
"I gotta take this."
He nods at her to go even though he's deathly curious, and she walks over to her office, unlocking the door, and flicking on the lights.
The conversation is indistinct, but the blinds are half open and he can't help but smile to himself as he sees her open the top left drawer and pull out her badge, opening her clutch and slipping it inside.
He may not have much stability in his life, but there's something to be said for the calm a little certainty brings.
Therefore unlike others, Jane finds Lisbon's predictability, the little bits of knowledge about her that he knows will never change, a much greater source of comfort than anything he's had in the last couple years.
She feels an inexplicable sense of relief as soon as she locates her badge and puts it in her purse.
It's probably unhealthy to be that pacified by a piece of metal, but she rationalizes that at this point, it's a part of her, a symbol of all her hard work, of everything that she excels at. It's not just a police badge, it's a badge of honor and something that makes her feel that tiny bit more confident.
Something she thought she would need for tonight's plans.
She didn't expect to take the journalist's question so personally, but when he asked her what she did for fun and she found herself at a loss for words, it hit her very abruptly that she just didn't know the last time she actually had fun.
Sure, she enjoys the occasional case closed pizza and drinks with the team and despite her deepest misgivings, she does find it amusing whenever Jane does a magic trick or reads someone's mind in between cases, but having fun outside of work? Well that's very different and apparently very foreign to her as well.
With the recent turn of events, her hermit status would be justified; however, what unsettles her most is that she can't recall the last time she went out to dinner, saw a movie, or even went for a walk.
After the interview and plenty of rumination on her part, Lisbon was shocked to discover how easily absorbed she was in her job and with the ever present reminder that life is indeed too short, she felt a rude awakening, a spontaneity she couldn't recall ever feeling. It prompted her to call one of her few friends in Sacramento to inquire about her plans for the Friday night.
Lisbon wouldn't have been surprised if Liz didn't even pick up on her, but the ADA, whom Lisbon first met when she was transferred to the CBI, was very pleasant on the phone, even extended her condolences. She also surprised Lisbon by inviting her out for drinks with her friends.
It probably helped that Liz was in the same field of work and didn't take offense at Lisbon's lack of correspondence. The detective found herself getting more and more excited for tonight, even taking the time to scour her closet for clothes she'd bought but never wore, retrieving heels that were far too impractical for work but that stole her breath away when she saw them at a boutique months ago.
Now though, the anticipation has settled, turning into a twisting feeling in her belly as she watches Jane through the blinds in her office. She'd expected to find him here tonight, it wouldn't be the first time, but to catch him watching the tape, vainly concealing the sadness he undoubtedly felt, tugged at her heart in an unexpected way.
It also didn't help that she felt the remnants of guilt from before, when she so blindly inquired about his sour attitude in front of the camera. She felt terrible afterwards and now the feeling is back full force, making her reconsider her plans for tonight, despite how it would appear to her friend.
Damn that man and his sad, magnetic eyes.
"Teresa, where are you?"
The chatter in the background, slightly drowning out Liz's voice, interrupts Lisbon's train of thought, and she immediately feels uncomfortable, regretful.
Maybe she shouldn't skip out on her plans, be selfish for once, let herself have a carefree night.
She's earned it after all.
But one look at Jane, and she knows she won't be able to enjoy herself, not when she knows he's here all alone, painful memories of the past, his only companions.
She doesn't even realize what she's saying until she hears silence on the other end of the line and then a light chuckle, "are you at the office?"
Lisbon sighs heavily, shoulders slumped as she realizes she's been figured out, lame excuses of something coming up not good enough for the lawyer.
"Yeah, I forgot my badge at work, but one of my coworkers is here, and he-…"
"Say no more," Liz interrupts, voice sounding uncharacteristically amused.
It's then that Lisbon realizes her mistake. Jane's pretty infamous at the DA's office; they even have a color coding system so no one gets pummeled with "Jane" cases consecutively. He's also known to be her shadow, which she gets teased about mercilessly, so it's not hard for Liz to make the connection.
"It's not like that," Lisbon mumbles into the phone, now keenly aware of her office door being closed, with Jane within ear shot and always eager to pry into her personal life.
"Hey, you don't have to feel bad about it. His methods of police work might drive the entire DA's office crazy, but we're all in agreement that he's not bad to look at."
At this point, Lisbon feels her cheeks slowly heat up as she sinks into her chair, not even venturing to steal a glance at the small hand mirror she keeps in her drawer for fear of encountering the blush on her face, which would give Jane another reason to tease her in a few minutes.
She doesn't say anything for a moment and then there's rustling in the background, music growing louder as she detects another voice, even further away. Liz tells her to hold on, giving Lisbon a few moments to recuperate, before interrupting her thoughts again,
"Hey listen, my girls are here. I got to go. Don't be a stranger, alright?"
"I won't." Lisbon says quietly, feeling guilty again for breaking plans with the ADA, "how about dinner next week?"
"Sounds great. I'll see you then."
She throws the phone on the desk, resisting the urge to run her fingers through her hair, reminding herself that she took a ridiculous amount of time blow drying and styling her bangs, and for a second she sulks, irritated at her own self sabotage.
She should have just gone.
She almost contemplates doing it, but not a moment too soon, Jane walks into her office, balancing two cups of tea and a few packets of sugar under his chin.
He looks lighter somehow, more jovial and less melancholy than before, and she instantly remembers why she decided not to go.
Lisbon gets up to help him with the tea, shrugging off her pea coat in the process and Jane's eyes momentarily sweep over her, realization followed by a hint of appreciation crossing his features almost imperceptibly.
However, it's enough for Lisbon to feel the heat rise on her face again, and she all of the sudden feels self conscious.
Jane can't help his blatant stare or the remorse that overpowers him. He clears his throat, setting the two identical teacups on an empty part of her desk, before giving her another onceover, settling on her face.
In the light of her office, she looks different; he can see that she's taken more care than usual preparing for her evening.
Her lashes are accentuated by dark mascara, eyelids tinted a dark purple color, and shimmery but pale red lipstick, only highlight the delicate beauty of her face. Her makeup is subtle but breathtaking, and it contrasts nicely with the mauve top she's wearing.
The halter top is demure by many standards, barely exposing any skin, but the curve of her shoulder, the slender length of her bare arms, and the slight indentation of her clavicle are details that send a jolt of warmth through his entire body, for a moment making him forget that he likely ruined her night out.
Jane realizes he's staring when Lisbon clears her throat, hands unconsciously folding over her chest, giving him a quizzical look like only she can, "Jane?"
He blinks, then meets her eye again, looking regretful, "you were going somewhere, weren't you?"
She's surprised initially, but then realizes it's Jane and there's little that can be kept from him, especially when he wants to know, but she hesitates before answering,
"Just drinks with a couple girlfriends, no big deal."
Lisbon feels a little scrutinized under his intense gaze, skin breaking out in goose bumps. Yet she doesn't really want him to see how much his appreciative side glances warmed her heart just a few moments earlier, so she hides it, if only to stave off the blush slowly creeping back up her face.
"But it is." Jane counters, and she's taken aback by the sincerity in his voice. It's so rare that she gets to hear him speak so softly, yet so resolutely, when Red John's not involved.
"It's really nothing. I already made plans with Liz for next week, don't worry about it."
"Oh, Liz from the DA's office? What a charming lady. I really like her."
Lisbon nods, picking up her cup of tea and taking a long sip. It's not too hot, not too cold, just perfect. The liquid warmth travels through her system surprisingly fast, reminding her that she hasn't eaten since lunch.
She looks up a moment later only to find Jane looking pensively at her, teetering on his heels like he always does when he's in thought, a plan undoubtedly forming in his mind, as he taps his chin and looks around, one arm resting on his vest.
Lisbon sees this pose so often, her annoyed reaction is inevitable, and she fixes him with a stare,
"Oh, nothing," the consultant replies innocently, but he doesn't give her a moment of respite, before swiftly coming around the desk and picking up her jacket and purse for her.
She looks at him like he's gone mad, but he wastes no time, grabbing her gently by her elbow and pulling her along, "Jane, what on earth are you-…"
"We're going out." He announces as if it's the most casual thing in the world, but it's not, not at all.
Because he's still looking at her with a certain candor she can't pinpoint and his hand wrapped around her elbow makes her shiver, so there's really nothing commonplace or typical about any of this.
Lisbon can't ignore the jolt of pleasure resonating from his touch any more than she can quell the anticipation bubbling inside at the mere thought of spending the night out with Jane.
She can easily chalk this up to his unpredictability, the wild glint in his eye as he watches her expectedly, but as much as she can pretend for other people, internally Lisbon knows there's a part of her that's a little curious, a bit intrigued about spending time with Jane outside work.
Still, the rational part of her brain is cautious, contemplating if this is a good idea.
Sensing her hesitation, Jane softens his grasp on her elbow and steps a little closer, trying to ignore the tantalizing scent of her perfume as it wafts through the air, "I've already deterred your plans for the night, let me make it up to you?"
He leans in just barely, seeking out her diverted gaze. Lisbon feels herself gravitating towards him, briefly wondering when this went from her desire to comfort a friend, to contemplating letting Patrick Jane of all people take her out.
"C'mon, you know you want to say yes. If not for yourself than do it for vanity. It would be appalling if these beauties didn't see the light of day."
At first, she doesn't know what he's talking about, but then when his eyes travel south and she feels him nudge the side of her foot, Lisbon realizes with somewhat of a wry smile that he's referring to her shoes.
A complete indulgence on her part, she saw them a few months ago in a boutique in San Francisco, and she couldn't just pass by without trying them on. Much to her simultaneous chagrin and excitement, the lace up stilettos fit perfectly, and the more she looks at them now, admiring how well they compliment her outfit, the more Jane's words begin to convince her.
He watches her reaction and can almost pinpoint the exact moment that her resolve breaks.
The smile on his face is unmatched.
Lisbon lets out a huff of air and tries to pry her jacket from Jane's hands, but he simply turns her around and guides her arms into the coat, fingers brushing against the halter tie at the back of her neck.
He barely touches her, but she feels the tingle run up and down her body, almost frightened by how easily her body responds to the simplest of caresses. It almost makes her want to flee, but the pleasant weight of his hands on her shoulders keeps her in place, his strong frame radiating heat that seems to seep deep into her bones, despite the many layers of clothing between them.
It makes her feel a little uncomfortable to be at his physical mercy like this and Jane, as always very attuned to her moods, releases her but doesn't move. Instead, he brushes the hair from the nape of her neck and leans in; his breath against her ear is even more lethal to her senses than Jane's touch,
"You won't regret it, I promise."
Lisbon has the urge to smirk in his face, but can't bring herself up to turn around, afraid of what might happen. Instead she just ducks her head, and grabs her purse out of his grasp, trying to avoid his gaze, because she knows if she takes one look at him, sees the bottomless depth of his sea colored eyes again, regret will not be the emotion she'll be feeling.
And that's probably more hazardous to her health than having a night out with a friend.
Or maybe not, considering that friend is Jane.
God, help her.