You know, I've used four of the five team members as a first person narrator in my fic. That hardly seems fair does it now? Written for the August Jello-forever challenge prompt: Lemonade. I have to say, this prompt gave me a really random idea. Mainly a friendship/team fic, but hints of J/L if you like.
Also, I was thinking about how Rigsby is used in fic both by myself and others (ignoring shippy fic with VP, since I don't read a lot of that). Often he's comic relief, or convenient muscle, or something similar.I've decided that it would be kind of awesome if Rigsby was secretly kind of brilliant in his own way. And it's not just because I kind of love him. He must be a pretty competent agent to get on that team after all.
As always, I own nothing.
Blessed are the Peacemakers...
Wayne Rigsby slipped on his sunglasses and glanced around the Sacramento fair grounds, trying to ignore the heat. A couple of the carnival's employees had been found murdered on the other side of town a couple of days prior. As a result the SCU had been called in. It was mid-afternoon and the team had been at the amusement park almost the entire day both conducting interviews and getting the lay of the land.
The heat may have been almost oppressive, but Rigsby had to admit that there were worse places to have to spend your workday. Even if most of the suspects ranged from reticent to downright uncooperative, at least the snacks were good. Lisbon had scolded him indulgently when she caught him with candy floss earlier, so he'd decided to keep his bag of mini-donuts out of sight. Mockery or no, it sure beat scrounging for yogurt in the CBI fridge.
Not everyone was enjoying the perks of the carnival as much as he was. He could tell the boss was getting frustrated. The team had no idea if the carnival itself was involved in the murders so they hadn't been able to shut it down. Now, after several hours in the thick of things, Lisbon looked like she was completely worn out by the sounds, the lights and the crowds. But then Lisbon was pretty down to earth. A bit too practical to enjoy the constant confection and superficiality of an amusement park for too long. As he started to experience what was almost certainly a sugar crash, Rigsby couldn't help but empathize with her point of view.
Jane on the other hand was in his element.
It had come as a shock to absolutely no one that Patrick Jane loved amusement parks. Even if Rigsby hadn't seen the consultant in Vegas already, Rigsby would have been shocked if Jane had displayed anything less than glee at the prospect of an investigation at a carnival.
If only Jane would stick to investigating.
But the man couldn't seem to help himself. He was poking his nose in everywhere. Dragging Lisbon through half of the exhibits, buying overpriced crap from the gift stores, playing carnival games, all of which he was ridiculously good at of course, mainly because he knew how most of them were rigged. Since he knew the magic behind the games it wasn't long before Jane was loudly explaining the secrets to Rigsby and Cho for all to hear. His attempts to show off had been funny at first, but after one too many angry operators threatened to forcibly keep Jane away from the games, Lisbon stepped in for a quiet word with her consultant.
Rigsby wasn't sure exactly what she'd said. She'd been equal parts amused and frustrated at the beginning of the conversation. By the end of it the amusement had all but disappeared. To Jane's credit, he did abandon the games, although not without one more parting shot at the now fuming carnival employee.
Obviously disappointed with the outcome of his stint playing carnival games (he hadn't yet managed to win Lisbon the large green striped tiger he'd promised her earlier to the rest of the team's amusement), Jane had skulked off in the opposite direction.
Rigsby couldn't help laughing when the irrepressible consultant popped up beside him ten minutes later with about a hundred ride tokens clutched in his left hand. Apparently Jane had decided to amuse himself at the fair in another way.
After enjoying his first few rides solo, Jane was clearly becoming bored again. After exiting one of the many spinning rides that seemed designed to cause motion sickness, he approached the team, a hopeful look in his eye.
Rigsby snickered when Cho took one look at the man and gave him a very quick, very decisive, "No."
Shaking his head, Jane turned to Rigsby, handed him a handful of tickets and ordered him to take Van Pelt for a ride on the Merry-Go-Round by the end of the day. Apparently it was her favourite. Well, that and the swings. Rigsby could pick.
Awkwardly shoving the tickets into his pocket and muttering something about "being on the job, but maybe later," Rigsby had avoided Grace's eye. Which, when he did glance over at her, seemed to be fine with her, since she was busy doing the same thing.
With a wave of his hand at what he clearly considered to be pure stupidity on both of their parts, Jane turned towards his real object.
Apparently the consultant had taken it into his head that she needed to go on the Ferris Wheel with him. He even tried to convince her that the bird's eye view of the entire park would be beneficial for the case.
That argument was about as convincing as you'd expect.
She snapped at him. Told him she was working, that she had a job to do, that she didn't have time to play games. And if he wasn't going to help her, could he at the very least not get in her way?
Jane looked momentarily crestfallen, before bounding away in the opposite direction.
Rigsby wasn't particularly concerned by the sudden disappearance. Jane'd be back in less than fifteen minutes anyway. Couldn't stay away if he'd wanted to. No, Rigsby certainly wasn't concerned about Jane.
But he was getting concerned about Lisbon.
Her frustration with her consultant was obviously moving into the danger zone.
Rigsby knew his place on the team, and he knew what people thought of him. He was the affable, slightly naïve, occasionally even bumbling Agent Rigsby. He was also big, and he looked intimidating, the team's muscle. He was the one the boss called on when she needed back-up in a fight. Actually, he kind of liked that. It was fun to stare down at some of the scumbags they dealt with, watch the bravado drain out of their eyes when they were confronted by someone a good six inches taller than themselves. And he especially liked when Lisbon called him in to do it. After all, she wasn't the easiest person to impress. Still, he knew what people sometimes thought about him because of it. It could make him easy to overlook. No one thought he was stupid of course. He was the arson expert, and he had a bit of undercover experience as well. He'd worked for his position at the CBI, and he'd deserved it when he got it. But Rigsby also didn't feel the need to put himself forward, to make sure each and every one of his contributions was recognized. That wasn't his style.
He was a facilitator. He quietly got done whatever needed to be.
Because Wayne Rigsby knew that at the end of the day, being a member of the team with the highest closed-case rate at the CBI would get him where he wanted to be.
Jane may have enjoyed being front and centre, but Rigsby had discovered early on that it was amazing, the things that you might see when you were unobtrusively lurking in the wings.
And unless it was case related, most of what he noticed he kept to himself.
Right now what he was noticing was that his boss was quickly reaching the end of her rope. The heat was bothering her more than she would ever admit. And the constant bells and whistles probably weren't helping. Rigsby knew Lisbon was probably longing for the quiet of her air conditioned office. The team was also getting nowhere, which was always guaranteed to put Teresa Lisbon in a bad mood. Add Jane's antics on top of that and it was a recipe for disaster.
Any minute now she'd explode.
Rigsby knew talking to Jane directly would be a fool's errand. Sometimes he figured the consultant deliberately did the opposite of what he was asked to just for fun. And while Rigsby didn't think the consultant would ever deliberately hurt Lisbon, Jane's reactions to criticism often weren't particularly proactive either.
And today he was all antics and games. Which, Rigsby would admit was often quite entertaining. He'd gone along with Jane's plans several times himself, when he should have known better. But sometimes the allure of catching the bad guy in an unorthodox way, or the chance to have a bit of fun, or even the peer pressure or occasional straight out blackmail caused Rigsby to become an accomplice in Jane's plots, even if he did feel a flash of guilt on account of his boss.
Because it wasn't always fun for Lisbon. Sure, sometimes she enjoyed the consultant as much as anyone else (sometimes Rigsby suspected, possibly more). She pretended to be irritated, because it was expected, but secretly she enjoyed Jane's company. Other times Jane, often without realizing it, quite simply pushed her too far.
It looked like this was going to be one of those times. Sure, Lisbon almost always threatened Jane if he was causing trouble. But today's threats weren't the fun ones. She wasn't threatening to lock him up in the funhouse or to dress him up like a clown and tie him to the Ferris Wheel; she was pulling him aside and speaking to him quietly, her voice calm and controlled while the vein in her neck started to throb.
It was genuine anger, not playful irritation.
And when Jane turned away from her, before scampering off in the direction of the midway, Rigsby saw Lisbon's mask of irritation slip for just a second to reveal the exhaustion she was really feeling underneath.
That really wasn't good.
Because it meant that when Jane returned with another irate carnival employee in tow for her to apologize to, or for another attempt to bully her onto one of the rides, or god only knows what else, Lisbon would almost certainly snap. And though Rigsby couldn't blame her for it, it would make things a hundred times worse.
She'd be annoyed with herself for letting Jane get to her, and with Jane for behaving like a child. Jane would be hurt at her rejection of his (probably genuine, if misguided) attempts to improve her mood by getting her to have a little fun. Then they'd snipe at each other for the rest of the case, both trying to prove that they didn't care what the other thought, and even if they did, they didn't need each other anyway.
And an already difficult case would go straight to hell in a handbasket.
Rigsby sighed. Clearly someone needed to diffuse the situation. It would have never occurred to Cho to do it and Van Pelt would be too scared of Jane's revenge or Lisbon's order to butt out to ever interfere.
Quietly Rigsby excused himself from the group. Like he'd said. He was the one who did what was necessary.
Rigsby returned about ten minutes later with five large cups of ice-cold freshly squeezed lemonade. They'd cost a minor fortune of course, but he was pretty sure they'd be worth it.
He handed the first to Lisbon. When she looked confused he'd explained that they all needed to keep hydrated. After most of the day outside in the summer, dehydration was a serious concern. As he'd known she would, she accepted the practical explanation and took the drink with a quiet thank you and a pleased smile.
Rigsby handed the second to Van Pelt. Ladies first after all, and only buying lemonade for Jane and Lisbon would have looked weird. Besides, he knew the redhead liked it, and even if the two of them weren't dating anymore, Rigsby still wanted to be friends. Not to mention, he liked doing little things for her.
He handed the third to Cho. Because he couldn't very well buy lemonade for everyone on the team except Cho, though he doubted the other man would have cared one way or the other. But, it really was damn hot out and they could all use a drink.
By that time Jane had returned. Rigsby handed him the fourth cup with a grin. When Jane raised an eyebrow in surprise, Rigsby'd shrugged, shot his colleague a guileless smile, and told the consultant that it wasn't a day at the fair without freshly squeezed lemonade. Predictably Jane's face lit up at the idea of someone else deciding to let loose and enjoy what the carnival had to offer. The consultant immediately agreed with Rigsby before taking the lemonade and cheerfully slapping him on the back.
Rigsby took a sip of his own lemonade before tossing the tray they'd come in into a nearby trash can, relieved no one had thought his actions were even the slightest bit strange. He hadn't expected them to though. He'd become an expert at flying under the radar with his plans.
His latest was certainly looking promising.
Lisbon's mood seemed to be improving thanks to the combination of the sugar and the temporary relief from the heat. Having a drink in his hand made it nearly impossible for Jane to go on any of the rides, and got in his way for a lot of the games. The lemonade served a dual purpose of not only keeping him out of trouble, but temporarily stopping him from pestering Lisbon to join him on a ride he couldn't comfortably enjoy himself at the moment. So when Jane sidled up to her a few minutes to point out something he'd noticed that might be worth checking out, Lisbon's temper had cooled enough that she actually considered his opinion instead of simply shooting it down waspishly.
Deciding the crisis had been averted (at least temporarily), Rigsby turned to ask Van Pelt how she was enjoying her lemonade.
When Rigsby scanned the crowds about ten minutes later for his boss and her consultant, he was unsurprised to see them both leaning against a temporary metal barrier, facing each other as they discussed something that had caught their attention in the distance. Both of them still drinking their lemonade.
Rigsby grinned, pleased with the results of his little plan, and uncaring that no one knew about his involvement. Like he'd said, he was quite happy to let his team's record speak for itself.
And everyone knew the cases went more smoothly when Jane and Lisbon worked with each other rather than against.
As a member of the team he was simply doing his part to help solve the case.
Rigsby smirked when he noticed Jane suddenly lean closer to murmur something in his boss's ear, vaguely gesturing in the other direction. Whatever it was Lisbon merely laughed before hitting her consultant playfully in the stomach.
Wayne couldn't be sure, but he could have sworn he even heard her promise to go on the Ferris Wheel at the end of the workday. Because after all, the view of the park would be even better after dark.
Rigsby fingered the tickets he'd shoved in his pocket earlier. If Jane and the boss were going to be occupied it probably wouldn't be too hard to convince Van Pelt to go on the Merry-Go-Round at the same time.
He grinned. Playing the unobtrusive peacemaker may sometimes seem like thankless work, but every so often it came with its own rewards.