Okay, so I wasn't a fan of the last episode really, for any number of reasons. One of which is that I really felt Jane and Lisbon needed to have a conversation at some point. I also had a couple of lines of dialogue running through my head after reading the jello-forever April prompt, Wishes. Plus I got a few requests for something less depressing after my last fic. All of that added up to this. And while I wouldn't exactly call it fluffy, I think it's kinda fun.
Disclaimer: I still own nothing.
If wishes were fishes...
"Remind me why we're here again," Lisbon asked from the driver's seat of the SUV.
"Because," Jane told her patiently. "Marcia Jordan is either going to make contact with her brother or her ex-boyfriend. We want to talk to her first so the two of us are currently waiting outside the brother's house while Cho and Rigsby take the boyfriend's. And then once we have her in custody, our good friend Marcia will lead us to our killer."
"Right, and we're gonna what? Just ask nicely?" Lisbon asked sarcastically.
"Well, personally I'd recommend asking not so much nicely as in a loud voice." Jane told her. "She'll fold like a cheap umbrella once she's confronted by CBI agents looking like they mean business."
"Oh great. I'm glad all we'll need is an imposing interrogator because it's not like we have any actual evidence to back this up," Lisbon replied.
"Yes that does work in our favour," Jane agreed readily. "I'm sure Cho, with his voice that eerily lacks emotion of any kind, will find her very cooperative."
Lisbon sighed and rested her head against the window.
Jane looked over, "Something wrong?" he asked.
"You could tell me you know," Jane pressed. "Maybe I could help."
"Nothing's wrong Jane," Lisbon repeated. "I'm just tired."
Jane nodded. "You could take a catnap if you like. I can keep watch for a while."
"No thanks," Lisbon said quickly.
"I'm perfectly capable of watching a house Lisbon," Jane insisted. "I'm not going to run off and leave you here."
"Good to know."
"We could play a game to keep you awake," Jane offered.
"Like what, I spy?" Lisbon asked. "Okay, I'll go first. I spy with my little eye something that is dark and grey. Oh wait…"
"Such sarcasm," Jane tutted. "You are tired. You're not usually so grumpy."
"Sorry. I've just got a lot on my mind," Lisbon admitted.
Jane almost grinned. Now they were getting somewhere. "Still worried about the new boss?" he asked.
"Jane…" Lisbon warned.
He decided a temporary change in the subject was in order. "I'm getting hungry. Do we have any snacks in here?"
"Now you sound like RIgsby," Lisbon told him indulgently. "Check the glove compartment," she instructed.
Jane opened the compartment in front of him. "Aha! Granola bars," he exclaimed in triumph. Then he frowned. "These have raisins in them."
"So?" Lisbon asked.
"I hate raisins," Jane explained.
Lisbon rolled her eyes, "My heart bleeds."
But Jane ignored her. "You know what I wish?" When she didn't answer he continued with his thought. "That we could somehow get a cooler in here. Then we could have ice cream on stakeouts. Come on, tell me that wouldn't be fun?"
"Very practical," Lisbon couldn't help pointing out.
Jane almost scowled. She was being particularly stubborn today. "Seriously, I wish someone would invent some sort of portable freezer."
"Well, you know what they say," Lisbon told him. "If wishes were fishes…"
"The sea would be full." Jane finished.
"My grandmother always said 'We'd all have some fried.'" Lisbon told him absently.
"But Man's reach must always exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?" Jane pointed out. "I'm sure we could go all night. There are any number of folksy adages about the pitfalls and pluses of wanting what we can't have.
"It's probably part of the human condition," Lisbon replied.
"What do you want?" Jane asked her.
"Nothing," she told him quickly.
Lisbon sighed, "What I want I'm not going to get."
Jane did frown then. Lisbon wasn't usually so pessimistic. He didn't like it. He tried to lighten the mood. "I dunno, I bet we could find some place that still open that sells double churned chocolate ice-cream."
Lisbon let out a huff of amusement. "You got me," she said dryly. "If only we weren't on stakeout."
"Well yes, there is that," Jane admitted. "Seriously though, you could have anything, what would you want?"
Unsurprisingly (getting the woman to share anything was like pulling teeth) his questions were making her defensive. "What are you a genie all of a sudden? What do you care?" she asked, trying to deflect his question.
But he was familiar with that particular tactic. "I'm hurt that you think I don't care Lisbon. Besides, you never know. If you tell me I might be able to make it happen."
"I thought if you told someone a wish then it wouldn't come true."
"That's birthdays," Jane told her. "You have to tell genies your wish otherwise how would they know how to get it for you."
"I see. Out of curiosity, afterwards are we going to take a magic carpet ride?" Lisbon asked with a half-smile.
"Well, I certainly wasn't planning on it," he admitted. "But if you really want to fly around the city I think they offer balloon rides in the park on Saturdays."
"No thanks, I think I'll pass," Lisbon told him easily. "Temptation to throw you over board'd be too high."
"Ah." Jane said with a grin.
She grinned back briefly before turning her attention back to the house.
A few minutes later Jane continued the conversation. "You know though Lisbon, that'd only be a quick fix. I don't think tossing me from a balloon would make you happy in the long run."
"You're right," Lisbon admitted. "The inevitable murder charge'd be a bit of a downer as well."
"Exactly," Jane agreed. "Besides, if you did have three wishes I can't see you wasting one of them getting rid of me. I'm sure there are things that come before that."
Lisbon opened her mouth before she could stop herself then quickly closed it again. But it was too late. "Ah ha!" Jane exclaimed triumphantly. "Come on Lisbon, what is it?"
She shook her head slightly. "Jane can we just drop this? I already told you that what I want I'm not gonna get."
"Well, not with that attitude you're not," Jane admonished. "Which I find unbelievably sad by the way. Let yourself live a little Lisbon."
"It's not sad," she countered. "It's practical. Most people have to be practical Jane."
"Why?" He asked. "I'm not."
"You don't say."
"Come on," he wheedled. "As your genie I won't even impose the Aladdin limits on your wishes. No limits whatsoever. So feel free to wish for someone to fall in love with you. Maybe a multimillionaire businessman to come and sweep you off your feet," he grinned at her, pleased when she grinned back. "Or you could wish for more wishes, so you had an endless supply. And what was the third thing that wasn't allowed?" Jane trailed off as he tried to remember what it was. "Well, you could do that too, whatever it is. I can't quite think of it at the…"
"Wish people back from the dead," Lisbon said quietly.
Jane froze. Oh hell.
"It's probably one that comes up a lot I'd imagine," Lisbon remarked easily. "The fact that it'd be so common is probably why there are rules against it in all the stories."
Jane decided to just bite the bullet and say it. "Lisbon if I could bring Bosco back…"
"But you can't can you?" she interrupted. "Anymore than you can bring back your own family Jane. It's just how life works." She felt bad about playing the family card. But damn it, he was poking around in things he had no business disturbing and bringing up his family was the one thing that was pretty much guaranteed to make Jane shut down in the blink of an eye.
"Well, yes, but if you ever want to talk," he offered again.
"I'm fine Jane," Lisbon insisted. "It's part of the job. What we do is dangerous. We all accept that it could happen to any of us. It's just something you have to deal with."
"But you're not dealing with it," he told her earnestly. "You're refusing to deal with it. Seriously Lisbon, if you want to talk, I could…"
"Because you're the poster-boy for dealing with loss in a healthy way?" She snapped before she coulds top herself. "God Jane, I'm sorry, I just…"
He shook his head, "No, that was fair. Well deserved I'd imagine."
"Still…" She felt guilty. She tried not to bring up his family unless it was an absolute emergency.
"Don't worry about it Lisbon," Jane told her with a wave of his hand.
"Okay." She looked uncertain.
Jane grinned quickly. "Or, if you want, you can make it up to me by telling me what you'd really wish for."
But he was determined to get it out of her now, "Oh come on, there has to be something in the realm of the possible that you would want. A handsome man at your beck and call, a two week trip to a tropical resort, a favourite sports team to win some sort of championship…"
Lisbon sighed, realizing that he wasn't going to let this go. And because they were going to be in an enclosed space for the foreseeable future it was probably just easier to tell him. "You know what I want?" she asked. "What I really want? Just once I want things to be simple. To go the way they should."
Jane paused, surprised by her honesty. "That's not very exciting."
Lisbon shrugged, "You asked."
"I'm not very good at simple," he admitted.
Still, maybe there was something he could do. "I know things've been kind of tough the last couple of weeks Lisbon, but they'll turn around."
"Now who's quoting folksy sayings?" Lisbon asked.
Jane ignored that. "And I know Hightower's isn't exactly making work easy."
"She is for you," Lisbon muttered under her breath.
"Well, I am irreplaceable," he pointed out.
"Thanks, that makes me feel so much better."
"That's not what I meant."
"I know," she told him. And she did. She knew Jane probably wasn't thrilled with the situation. It wasn't like Hightower's ultimatum was his idea.
"In fact," Jane added. "I'll agree that the rules as she's laid them out are hardly fair. But she's trying to manipulate you, to assert her authority."
"There are other ways of doing that than playing pointless mind games with people," Lisbon couldn't help pointing out.
"And I'm sure you've read several books that explain them in great detail," Jane told her with a grin. "Not everyone has the same nurturing approach to leadership you do Lisbon. Our new director and her mental games would be one of those people."
"Yeah well, like I said, I want simple. I'm sick of mental games. I've already got you for that." The similarities between them struck Lisbon. "My god! You like her don't you?" she exclaimed.
"She intrigues me," Jane corrected. "She's a worthy adversary."
"Again, thanks ever so much."
"Now, what on earth makes you think I consider you an adversary?" he asked her in surprise.
"I can't imagine," Lisbon told him dryly.
"I'm not the enemy here Lisbon," Jane insisted. "And I have to say, it intrigues me that it never occurred to you to come talk to me about her threats."
"I guess I figured there wasn't much point," Lisbon told him. "Your typical response to authority is well-documented after all. Sometimes I think you do the opposite of what people ask just for the hell of it, whether you care about the outcome or not."
Jane grabbed her left shoulder and turned her towards him. "Lisbon I don't know quite what you think of me, but I would never deliberately try and sabotage your job. You know that right?"
"Yeah, I know," she told him with a sigh. "I know you'd never mean to. But you don't think Jane. And I can't be there to watch you all the time. So inevitably you'll get some crazy idea and you'll be sure it'll work and then you'll be off like a shot. You couldn't even get through a single case without getting into trouble. Even with the best intentions we both know it's inevitable that sooner or later you forget and when that happens I'm the one who's screwed."
"She's not gonna fire you Lisbon," Jane insisted.
"You and I both know that's not true," Lisbon told him quietly.
Okay, so he knew it, but that didn't mean he had to like it. "It's outrageous," Jane insisted.
"It's not," Lisbon disagreed quietly. Which may have been the most depressing thing of all. "I'm the agent in charge. If I can't control my team it's her job to find someone who can. I wish her luck with that."
"I could hypnotize her," Jane said suddenly.
"WHAT?" Lisbon asked scandalized.
"Hightower," Jane explained, as if that was the point that had her confused. "I could hypnotize her, then make her change her mind about this new deal she's got going on. It'd be a sort of poetic justice dontcha think? Her mental power game being destroyed by the mental tricks of her new golden boy."
"Jane you can't hypnotize the head of the CBI!" Lisbon told him.
"Why not?" Jane wondered. It seemed like a pretty good solution to him.
"Do I really even need to answer that?"Lisbon asked flabbergasted.
"Do you have a better idea?"
She didn't, but the lack of a better option was not a reason to do something, especially not something so completely insane. "Do you really think hypnotizing my boss would make my life simpler in the long run?" Lisbon couldn't help asking. "Especially since someone will inevitably find out eventually."
"At which point I'll tell them you were strenuously against the idea," Jane said calmly.
"Yeah, that'll make things all better."
Despite her sarcasm, Jane couldn't stop himself from considering the idea. "I bet Rigsby and Van Pelt would like it as well, seeing as she's probably about to give them some sort of ultimatum."
"That's their own fault," Lisbon said quickly.
Of course Jane saw through her. "And if you didn't sympathize you'd have done it yourself a month ago."
Lisbon shook her head sadly. "It's not that simple," she told him.
"If you really want simple you need to find yourself another team," Jane told her with a bit of a smile.
"There's a spot in Counter-terrorism opening up. Morrison's retiring," Lisbon remarked absently.
Jane glanced over sharply, "Since when?" he asked.
Lisbon shrugged. "Officially it hasn't been announced, but I keep my ears open."
She kept her ears open? Like she was seriously considering a transfer? No. Not his Lisbon. He didn't like the idea one bit. She was devoted to this job. She loved it. Or she had. He'd known she was unhappy and he'd been trying to keep a subtle eye on her, but the idea that she might actually leave… "Lisbon…"
"You wouldn't actually…" he started to ask.
"Why not? It'd probably be simpler all around," she pointed out. And it would probably mean she wouldn't have to play these stupid games. She'd always hated playing these stupid games with people.
"You'd leave poor Cho to head the unit?" Jane asked, trying to picture what things would be like with Lisbon gone. He wasn't a fan of the result.
"Oh, Cho wouldn't be the one who took over," Lisbon told him with a shake of her head. "The brass really don't like him. Too many black marks on his record. He's not exactly a team player. And that stunt you guys pulled a month ago really didn't really help him in that department. He's a great interrogator and good in the field, but you need more tact and diplomacy to lead a team."
"So who would they get?" Jane asked.
Lisbon shrugged. How should she know who they were considering to replace her? It was something she preferred not to think about. "You'd have to ask your good friend Special Agent Hightower that question."
Jane ignored that. "Seriously Lisbon, you've considered transferring?"
"Of course I have," she told him. "It'd be stupid not to consider all the options."
"I don't want you to transfer," Jane admitted.
Lisbon smiled, "That's sweet Jane. I don't know that I want to transfer either, but it's my decision not yours."
"I could threaten to quit if the transfer's approved," Jane pointed out somewhat desperately. "And we both know how Hightower feels about me."
But Lisbon was unperturbed. "She'd call your bluff."
"Who said it was a bluff?" he asked.
But Lisbon knew him pretty well. "What about Red John?"
"There are other ways of getting access to the case file," he told her.
"Not as effective."
"Do you really think I couldn't convince Cho to keep me informed at this point?" Jane asked her.
He ignored her tone, "You shouldn't have to transfer because of her agenda."
Lisbon just stared at him for a minute. "So basically what you're saying is that not only would I have Hightower threatening my job if you step out of line, but at the same time I'd have you preventing me from removing myself from the situation?"
Okay, he admitted that when she put it like that it sounded bad. It really wasn't though. "Lisbon, if I thought you actually wanted to transfer that'd be one thing, but you and I both know that you don't. And yes, I'll admit part of me balks at the idea of Hightower winning this round. I can tell you I certainly wasn't thrilled to hear that your job was being threatened."
"Yeah, you're really making the whole situation easier for me here," she told him dryly.
But Jane was determined to get her on his side. She didn't belong in counterterrorism. Everyone knew Serious Crimes was Lisbon's team. "What if I promised to try harder?" he offered. "I could be better Lisbon. Then you could stay. And I promise that if I don't do better I'll let you transfer without a fuss if you still want to."
"You're really going to try?" she asked tentaively
"Yes," he agreed immediately pleased that she seemed to be considering his proposal.
"Truly?" she double-checked.
Jane nodded a second time. "Yes, Lisbon. I will do my best to prevent you from losing your job," he promised. "If I don't you can tear up my couch."
"You'd just use the one in my office," she told him rationally.
But he had an argument of his own. "I doubt my new boss'd let me, whoever they turned out to be. It's why I need to keep you around."
Lisbon paused, "Okay Jane. We can give it a try," she told him.
Jane sent her a blinding smile. "See now Lisbon, isn't it better to talk things out instead of keeping them buried? And now you don't even have to worry about me rebelling against you out of spite since the whole thing was my idea to begin with."
"Yes, that is awfully convenient," Lisbon agreed.
Jane turned sharply towards her, straining to see her features in the near darkness. Despite her best efforts he caught the edges of her mouth quirking upwards. "You little minx!" he exclaimed. "You planned this!"
"I don't know what you're talking about," she told him.
Jane didn't know whether he was annoyed or impressed. "And you called Hightower out on her mind games!" he exclaimed.
"Actually," Lisbon corrected. "I said that while I didn't like them she was well within her rights to do it, since the desired outcome wasn't all that unreasonable. Besides I thought you said it made her a worthy adversary."
"You were already a worthy adversary!"
"Oh, so I am an adversary."
"Hush woman," he told her, his lips twitching in amusement. "I was trying to do something nice and you turned it against me. I feel used."
"Oh get over yourself," Lisbon told him with a wave of her hand. "Besides, I don't really see what other option I had, other than actually asking for that transfer. Which I'll remind you, neither of us really want me to do."
Jane paused. She did have a point there. "Fine. But this was still my idea."
"Of course it was," Lisbon told him agreeably.
"Well as long as we're clear on that," Jane muttered. Then he brightened again, "I think this calls for some ice cream! I think there's an all-night diner a few blocks from here."
"Need I remind you again that we're still on a stakeout?" Lisbon asked.
Jane just waved a hand at her, "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. Marcia was never going to show up here anyways. She was always going to go to her boyfriend's."
"Well if you knew that then why the hell have we been sitting here for the past three hours?" Lisbon demanded. "I have a million things I could have been doing back at the office."
If Jane was bothered by her outburst he didn't show it. "Two reasons. One, we needed to talk and I think you'll agree a stakeout provides ample opportunity. Two, you were going nuts in the office. You kept glancing around like you were expecting Hightower to walk in any second. You needed a break."
Lisbon was momentarily speechless. Jane could tell she was gearing up to tear him a new one when her phone rang.
"You should get that," he told her. "It'll be Cho telling you they've got Marcia and are taking her back to the CBI."
Lisbon glared at him and answered her phone. He watched her facial expression in amusement as she listened to what Cho had to say.
"Well?" he asked after she'd hung up.
"That was Cho. They caught Marcia trying to sneak around the back. Apparently she's giving them her full cooperation so there's no need for us to rush back," Lisbon admitted.
"Plenty of time for that ice-cream then," Jane told her.
Lisbon rolled her eyes but complied, heading towards the diner Jane had mentioned earlier.
Jane bounded from the car while she followed more sedately behind, shaking her head. When she got inside Jane told her to pick a table while he got the ice cream.
"How do you know what kind I want?" Lisbon asked.
Jane shot her a look that clearly indicated what he thought of that question. Lisbon just shrugged and took a seat, figuring that if he got it wrong she could always hold it over him for the rest of his life. She closed her eyes briefly as she waited for Jane. A few minutes later she felt him sliding into the booth across from her.
"Vanilla for me, and strawberry for the lady," he said.
Lisbon's eyes popped open in shock. "But, I didn't…"
"Just kidding," Jane admitted. "One scoop chocolate and one scoop cookies n' cream," he told her as he pushed her bowl towards her.
She grinned foolishly. "Thanks," she told him as she dug in. "Oh, that's good. This was definitely a good idea," Lisbon admitted.
Jane nodded, "Nothing like ice cream in the middle of the night. It's one of life's simple pleasures."
Lisbon froze momentarily before smiling again, "Yeah." She took another bite when something seemed to strike her. "Jane?" she asked.
"You never did tell me what you'd wish for," Lisbon pointed out.
"Sure I did," he told her. When she looked confused he clarified, "I told you I wanted ice cream."
"Of course." Lisbon shook her head and went back to her dessert.
Jane watched her for a moment. He'd gotten his second wish as well, even if he wasn't planning on telling her about it. And after all, it really had been all for her own good (though she didn't always appreciate things like that). She really had been jumpy all day. It was worrying. And she needed someone to keep an eye on her whether she knew it or not. He didn't mind doing it. She hadn't even noticed yet.
Besides, her couch was even more comfortable than his was.