And then again we feel...
Summary: There are different kinds of light that can chase away loneliness and darkness. Beta-ed by AlamoGirl. Written for yaba as a belated Christmas gift!fic. I hope you enjoy it! I feel this is always going to be one of those ones I feel a little unsure about, so hopefully it works for you. The song quoted is "Carousel" by Jacques Brel.
Merry-go-rounds quickly turning
Quickly turning for you and me
And the whole world madly turning
Turning, turning 'till you can't see
We're on a carousel
A crazy carousel
Teresa Lisbon thought the attic of the CBI building was dark.
She thought it was gloomy.
She thought it was dingy and dusty and unkempt.
She thought it was a place that things that were no longer needed went to fade away, out of sight.
And she thought it was a bit creepy, with all the shadows.
That was just how Patrick Jane liked it.
Angela had always been full of light.
She positively radiated it. Golden hair curling to her waist, pale, perfect skin, clear blue eyes, and when she smiled, showing practically perfect teeth, she was brilliant. On a nice day in the carnival she seemed to shine light right alongside the sun when she smiled that special smile. When she laughed she sparkled, when she teased she twinkled, when she was angry she flashed.
No wonder everyone loved her.
She was everybody's favourite, could tease a smile out of the grouchiest clown.
Patrick Jane didn't stand a chance.
Nineteen-year old Patrick Jane turned around quickly and, recognizing the voice of the woman calling out to him, sent his brightest smile in her direction. "Were you looking for me, Angie?" he asked, trying his best to sound charming.
The approaching young woman smiled her friendliest smile, but other than that the charm had no visible effect (much to his disappointment). "Who else would I be looking for?" she asked playfully.
"I think the new girl who works at the cotton candy stand is named Patty," the young Jane replied.
"She prefers Patricia," Angela countered.
Jane tilted his head in consideration. "That may be why she glared at me for almost the entire ten minutes I was talking to her earlier today."
Angela slapped him playfully in the arm. "You can be a real jerk sometimes Pat, you know that?"
Patrick shrugged his shoulders with exaggerated self-consciousness. "So, what did you need then?" he asked.
"I can't just come over and talk to my favourite boy-psychic?" Angela smirked.
He placed his hands over his chest, faking a wound. "You know they don't call me that anymore, Ange," he said petulantly. "I've graduated to a real psychic now. And if you're not careful then I'll be forced to read your mind, as a punishment."
"Alright hotshot," she said tilting her chin towards him in challenge. "What am I thinking right now?"
Jane gave her a once over. His eyes noticed the nervous fidgeting of her ankle, the way the fingers of her right hand were fingering her t-shirt, and the way her lips were parted in a slight smile. He grinned, slow, and devastating.
If he'd been anyone else he'd have missed the slight hitch in her breath.
"You're thinking that you want me to buy you a hot dog and take you on the Ferris wheel," he assured her.
Angela's eyes twinkled. "Actually, I was thinking that Gramps asked me to help him clear out the tent next to the fish pond. I was hoping you would help me," she added, batting her eyelashes for added effect.
Pat shook his head. "No," he disagreed. "That may be your excuse for looking for me. But I was right before, you want to go on the Ferris wheel. Come on Angie," he wheedled. "Just one ride. We both know it's your favourite, and what's the harm? We can pretend we're just like everyone else for a few minutes."
Angela bit her lip in hesitation.
Jane grinned internally in triumph. "I'll help you clear out the tent afterwards," he promised.
"Fine," Angela agreed quickly, before flouncing off in the direction of the Ferris wheel. "But you were wrong you know, Patty," she called over her shoulder. "I want cotton candy, not a hot dog."
He just grinned, "Whatever you say." The young psychic had discovered long ago that sometimes purposely making a 'mistake' in a reading was the best way of getting what you wanted from some people.
He took a moment to appreciate the, ahem, irritation in his target's hips, then jogged after her before he lost sight of her blonde hair in the afternoon crowds.
A much older Jane was standing in the CBI attic staring out the window, looking at the lights.
It was an odd perspective, looking down at the various street and security lights, all there to protect against humanity's distrust of the dark, of the unknown. And the CBI building wasn't even in one of the busier parts of town; the lights surrounding it were less frequent than say a bustling retail area. You could see the downtown off to the side, the light pollution stretching up in an orangeish haze. But mostly Jane was staring at scattered sparks of light in the dark, enjoying the way they cast slight shadows across the room, and enjoying the varying shades of grey in the near-darkness surrounding him.
He was getting used to the darkness. Had gotten used to the darkness.
It seemed appropriate to him that the brightest lights he could see were at a distance.
He had been used to looking out at the world from underneath a spotlight, but this was more appropriate now.
The distant lights were oddly beautiful. And he was certain he wouldn't be alone for much longer.
He could already hear her coming up the stairs now.
A few seconds later Lisbon walked up behind him (as expected).
"What are you doing?" she asked after a few seconds, when he didn't acknowledge her approach.
"Looking at the lights," Jane answered softly.
"Hmm," Lisbon said noncommittally.
Jane's quirked into a slight smile at the obvious disapproval in her voice. "The view is better up here than downstairs," he justified. Then he wondered why he felt the need to explain his actions to her at all.
"Still, it's hardy picturesque," Lisbon scoffed. "You can't even see that many city lights from here."
"Interesting that you value the number of lights," Jane murmured. "Usually things are beautiful because of their quality not their quantity. Based on my understanding of art at least."
The growl of frustration to his right was entirely expected. "This is hardly what I'd call art," she said sarcastically.
"Eye of the beholder I guess," he murmured.
Lisbon glanced at him briefly, frowning at the expression on his face. "Even so," she said. "I'd expect to see a few more lights. Especially since we're almost on the top of the building."
"Somehow I doubt the view would be much better from the roof," Jane told her. "Colder too."
"That's not what I meant," Lisbon scowled.
"Really?" Jane asked sarcastically.
"And the temperature in here's not what I'd call warm either," she added, deciding to ignore him.
Jane shrugged almost imperceptibly. "You get used to it."
"That's what I'm afraid of," she muttered.
"Just be patient, Lisbon," Jane told her. "Wait until the moon rises. Then you'll appreciate the lack of artificial light more."
Now it was her turn to grin slightly, "Will I?"
Jane nodded. "There's supposed to be a full moon tonight," he explained.
Lisbon watched him intently for a moment. "Okay," she said finally. Clasping her hands in front of her she turned her attention more fully to the lights in the distance.
Jane shook his head slightly. "You don't have to wait up here with me Lisbon," he assured her, the affection obvious in his voice.
"I know," she said bluntly, continuing to stare resolutely at the streetlights.
"Okay," he whispered, now watching her and not the lights outside.
She was made for the night, he thought so at least. That's when she shone. Maybe part of it was simply stereotype, the combination of pale skin and dark hair.
But that's not all it was.
She looked lovely in the daytime as well certainly, but for some reason he associated her more with the darkness. She was softer then somehow, less intimidating. Still strong, but not quite so superhuman. And he liked that.
It was usually the night that reminded him that she was also Teresa, not just Agent Lisbon.
Though, oddly, Agent Lisbon came out to play quite a bit after dark. Driving to crime scenes, checking up on bodies, and stake-outs. Her job meant that she was often active during the hours when most people have gone to bed. Not his Teresa though.
She was off to see a body, to search for justice while the world slept.
He could see her now, striding towards a crime scene, backlit by the red and blue lights of the squad cars, taking charge, bringing calm to the chaos.
He enjoyed her company during the day. He enjoyed the teasing, waiting for the twinkle in her eye, the playfulness. And while she was generally reasonably at ease on the job (which was when he saw her), Jane especially liked the moments when she let go just that little bit extra around him for a moment. Those rare times when Agent Lisbon let Teresa have fun.
But it was her face in the low light he remembered. Her standing at a distance at a crime scene, dressed mainly in dark clothing so her features seem more obvious. Working late at the office, the lamp at her desk on, providing her with her own little private area of light to surround her. At the CBI fundraiser, one of the few times he's seen her in formal wear. Or asleep in the car on the way back after a case, almost the only time he's seen her without her shields. (The only time he's seen her without them with her real consent. Hypnosis carried out in desperation doesn't count.)
She wasn't a woman at her best in the harsh light of day.
Lisbon was made for subtlety.
Then she was oddly open.
Not to mention, she was the only person alive who'd even bother to come and find him up here at this time of night.
"It took me a while to get used to this," he said suddenly.
Lisbon turned slightly in question.
"The darkness," he explained. "After I left... The State Fair was never really dark, Lisbon. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find somewhere with more of those little artificial lights per square inch than the circus. And all in different colours too. When we were all set up it sometimes felt like it was as bright at night as it was in the daytime."
"I never really thought about it," Lisbon said after a minute.
"Why would you?" Jane asked with a half-smile. "It was one of the first things I noticed when I left, the lack of gaudy lights."
"Not to mention no annoying music," Lisbon added.
"I can't say I miss that," he conceded.
"Guess you'd have been used to it anyway," Lisbon said.
"Yeah," he agreed. "It was something," he added. "In its way. All those lights."
"I bet," Lisbon breathed, unsure of where he was going with this, and unused to any kind of sudden, voluntary, communicativeness from Patrick Jane.
"Angela thought they were beautiful though," he murmured.
"Especially from the top of the Ferris wheel," Jane added. He turned towards his companion, his smile brief, but soft.
"Yeah?" Lisbon asked tentatively.
"Yeah," he said with a nod.
The State Fair was never subtle.
Especially not at night, though it did have its own special charm after sunset. At least, for the people who didn't work there. Seeing how things worked, how they were set up and assembled often had the effect of stripping their magic from them. It tended to make most circus employees a tad cynical; they always knew just what they were passing off as entertainment on a gullible public.
They had to lay down all the wires and set up generators to run the lights.
If they did go on the rides it was usually for purposes other than entertainment, for some sort of passive-aggressive, smirking reason.
She loved it all. Never seemed to get sick of it.
She walked around the fair like a bubbly little firecracker, exploding in an almost innocent pleasure at the slightest provocation. Her golden curls reflecting the sunlight as she went, spreading her own kind of happiness.
She didn't like the more obviously rigged games, but she was always dragging someone or other off to the basketball nets or to play whack-a-mole. The other employees rolled their eyes at her enthusiasm, but they always let her play, partly because of whose granddaughter she was and partly because of her personality. Her innocent joy seemed to melt the hearts of event he crankiest of carnies.
But even more than the games, she loved the rides. She was always dragging someone off to ride the swings, or go on the tilt-a-whirl, or the Merry-go-Round.
Jane somehow usually managed to make sure that he was her chosen victim.
The two of them were quite the pair, the golden couple. Two twin suns circling each other, two matching heads of golden hair, her practically carnival royalty, him the brilliant (and young) master of the con, one of the more charming men at the carnival. And that was saying something. He could have charmed anyone, but instead he was drawn to her. She was his match.
So Patrick Jane had spent hours rolling his eyes as he strapped himself into some sort of piece of plastic that was about to start rapidly spinning or bobbing up and down in the air.
His apparent irritation almost always succeeded in annoying her until her eyes flashed and she promised to drag him on more rides as punishment for his attitude.
So of course he only smirked more.
And then, inevitably, Angela'd drag him onto the Ferris wheel.
It was her absolute favourite.
No matter how many times she rode, Angela never seemed to get tired of it.
He'd asked her about it once, one day when he was tired of pretending to be more cynical than he was and was honestly wondering whether she ever got tired of what was essentially the same ride.
She'd turned to him in shock. "How can you say it's the same ride?" she'd asked. "When what you're looking at changes every time we move. You can see for miles and miles, and nothing's ever in the same place. I think it might be the best way to see the world."
Her enthusiasm should have annoyed him, instead he was entranced. Riding the Ferris wheel with Angela was nothing like riding it with his father (for oh so many reasons).
Angela didn't ride it subversively, or sarcastically. There was no element of 'I'm above this, but let's do it as a lark' with her. It just made her happy.
It didn't seem to matter how many times she went around, she still grasped his arm with the same level of excitement each time their cart paused at the top.
And when she pointed out all you could see from up there, whatever she singled out was beautiful.
Angela didn't see marks to interpret at a glance; she saw families with children, lovers falling in love, or teenagers pretending to be cool. She saw the lights of cities in the distance, the flash of the carnival lights around her.
"Do you know why I ride all the rides so much, Patty?" she asked him one day as their cart was rising slowly as the attendant filled all the carts.
"I just assumed you liked them," Jane answered with a shrug. "Unless it's because you enjoy torturing me at the same time."
"Well that is an added bonus," she said with a laugh. "But that's not the only reason," she assured him. "I like to remind myself that this is fun, what we do. We help people have fun. And when I go on the rides, or play the games I remember that we're not so different from all the people who visit every day, that everyone else who works here seems to sneer at sideways. When I ride the rides it's not 'us versus them' anymore, y'know?" she asked wistfully, staring off into the distance slightly. "I like that," she added softly.
That was the moment he fell in love with her, though he didn't know it at the time.
"I know what you mean," he told her.
She looked sideways at him. "I thought you might, Patrick. Somehow I thought you might..."
"You ever wish you could leave?" he asked her. "Just pack up and get out of here? No more fake, well, everything?"
Angela sighed. "No more Ferris wheel," she reminded him.
"No more need to try and feel like everybody else because we'd already be like everybody else," Jane countered.
"Yeah," she admitted.
"We could leave," he suggested rashly, as the cart neared the top. "You and me. I've had a couple of people asking me about my act. I could set up as a psychic and we could get away from here. Leave this place behind. Just the two of us."
"Are you serious?" she asked, obviously shocked.
"Course," he told her. "Not right away, we'd need to prepare, but why not? I never planned to stick around here my whole life. You should come with me."
She stared at him a moment before breaking out into smile. "Okay," she said.
"Okay?" he repeated in shock.
"Okay," she assured him with a laugh.
He couldn't reply; he was smiling too hard. She grabbed his arm and pointed something out to him in the distance. He made some sort of absent response without looking. Nothing could possibly have been as beautiful as she was at that moment, the lights behind her highlighting the joy on her face.
And when she laughed as their cart descended, Patrick Jane decided that riding the Ferris wheel was the best thing ever.
If you had the right person to ride it with.
"She wasn't jaded," Lisbon surmised when Jane eventually stopped talking.
"No," Jane agreed with a half-laugh. "Not at all," he added. "It was almost shocking, given where she grew up and what she saw."
"She wanted to see the best in people," Lisbon told him. "Maybe because of how she grew up."
"She made you want to see the best in people too," Jane said. Before adding cynically, "Something I never quite managed to do.
"I think most of us have trouble with that," Lisbon assured him. "I wouldn't worry too much."
Jane nearly laughed. "Lisbon, I basically took advantage of people for a living. I didn't even get close."
"What'd your wife think of that?" Lisbon asked before she could stop herself.
Jane winced. "She wasn't a fan," he admitted. "It seemed so simple, when we were young and stupid. We could leave the carnival and our problems would be solved, no more 'us and them'. No more taking advantage. We could be just like everybody else. And then practicalities intervened."
"You had to pay the bills," Lisbon guessed.
"Yeah," Jane said with a half-laugh. "And I liked it. Let's not dress it up too much Lisbon. I liked being the fabulous, famous psychic. Everyone staring at me in fascination, hanging on to my every word. It was okay at first, and then the whole thing got bigger and bigger. And Angela liked it less."
"Nothing's perfect," Lisbon murmured.
"No," Jane agreed. "Nothing is. Except maybe the Ferris wheel."
Lisbon stared at him, curled in on himself, staring, not even at the lights anymore, but at the floor. She ached for him when he was like this. He made you forget, with his smiles, what was really going on sometimes. And what made it that much worse was that she never, ever felt like she could make it better.
She wished there was something.
"My mother loved the Ferris wheel," she said suddenly, staring resolutely at the lights below.
Now it was Jane's turn to look up in shock.
"She liked a lot of the rides at the fair, or she tolerated them at least when she and my father took my brothers and me. She always found her own horse to ride after helping us up on the Merry Go Round and she usually ended up on a few others over the course of the day. But she always insisted we all go on the Ferris wheel together in the end, even if we did take up two or three carts. And even if I, or one or more of my brothers, was pretending to be too cool for it. We always did it. And she always said it was her favourite part of any trip to the fair. They were good Lisbon family memories..."
She flashed back to the six of them, all dark-haired, all smiling. Her father tickling her youngest brother, before throwing James up on his shoulders. Steve chasing Tommy, who'd apparently stolen the last of his cotton candy. Lisbon standing back and trying to look annoyed, but smiling when she caught her mother's eye as she stepped between the boys and barked out an order to restore a temporary truce. And then when her mother insisted on sharing a cart with her oldest daughter "In order to get a couple minutes of peace and quiet," laughing at her brothers squabbles about who had to ride with Dad then. Steve and Tommy's earlier argument forgotten as they banded together to demand their own cart. And then shifting closer to her mother once they finally got on the ride, so they could whisper and gossip about everything in sight.
She closed her eyes.
"You don't have to do this Lisbon," Jane said softly, though to her relief, he didn't try to touch her. "Tell me, I mean."
His remark almost made her smile. "I know," she assured him.
"Just because I mentioned my past to you, you don't need to feel obligated to tell me something. This isn't quid pro quo." The smile she heard in his voice made her look at him.
"I know," she repeated, this time with a hint of exasperation.
Jane still looked uncomfortable though. "This isn't some weird plan to make you feel obligated to tell me..."
She interrupted him. "Jane," she said quietly, if firmly. "It never even occurred to me that you were telling me about your family for any other reason than that you wanted to talk to someone." She smiled softly. "If I had I'd have been out of here long before now."
The smile he sent her was almost painful. "Thank you Lisbon."
"Of course," she said quickly.
"You're a good listener you know," he said after a moment. "Maybe it's why you're such a good cop."
"Maybe," she agreed noncommittally.
"The tackling might have something to do with it as well," Jane admitted in an attempt to lighten the mood.
"That and the gun," Lisbon agreed.
"You mean guns," Jane corrected.
She smirked. "Yeah."
"Nah," Jane said with a shake of his head. "Almost anyone can get a gun. I think it's the tackling. That and your voice. You can be very intimidating you know."
"Yeah, you really seem intimidated by me all the time," she snarked.
"Well, not me of course," Jane clarified. "Obviously. But don't feel badly about that, Lisbon, I'm a special case."
"You're something alright," Lisbon muttered.
Jane continued on blithely. "And all those criminals, quite intimidated by you. Especially after you slam them into a wall or something. You're very no-nonsense."
Lisbon chuckled. "Oh yeah, California's worst offenders just quake in their boots when they see yours truly."
"Well, obviously some of them don't," Jane agreed. "The criminal element doesn't always attract the smartest of people."
"True," Lisbon murmured. "And I guess I do alright."
"That's the spirit!" Jane said cheerfully.
She swatted him in the arm again, though she couldn't help smirking as she did it.
Jane smiled softly at her, before turning his attention back to the window. The moon was just starting to rise.
"I got a letter from Danny yesterday," he said suddenly, unwilling to let their conversation end.
Lisbon looked up in surprise. "Yeah?" she asked. "How is he?"
"Fine," Jane admitted. "At least according to him. No return address."
"Course not," Lisbon said easily. "Certainly not one that you'd tell me about anyway."
"Maybe not officially," Jane agreed. "Besides, even if I did, you'd never admit you heard it."
"I don't know what you're talking about," she replied quickly.
Jane beamed at her. "Yes you do," he said affectionately.
"I don't," Lisbon assured him with an obstinate shake of her head.
Jane smirked. "It's not the kind of letter you expect a reply to anyway."
Now it was Lisbon's turn to grin, "Guess the two of you haven't quite worked out your issues after all."
"Quite the contrary actually," Jane said loftily. "Danny admits that he may not completely hate me. That's definite progress."
Lisbon's expression turned sympathetic, and she ghosted two fingers along his forearm briefly. "Yeah?"
"Yeah," Jane admitted. "But only because he thinks Angela wouldn't have liked it."
"Well, there," Lisbon said awkwardly. "That's something."
"He says she wouldn't have liked a lot of things I seem to be doing," Jane added softly.
"You going to disagree, Lisbon?" he asked, almost amused.
"I happen to think that working for the CBI is a perfectly respectable occupation," she replied, obviously piqued.
"That's hardly what Danny was referring to," Jane said with a wave of his hand. "For all that the rest of the family might reflexively spit on the floor at any mention of law enforcement, Angie was a little more tolerant. Danny meant the other thing."
"I keep telling you this attic is unhealthy," Lisbon said quickly.
Jane smiled slightly and decided to let the matter drop.
"What do you want me to say Jane?" Lisbon asked, obviously annoyed by his silence. "Shall I repeat what we both already know? That I'm going to do everything in my power to prevent you from committing murder?"
"Course not," Jane assured her. "I wasn't expecting you to say anything."
"No, you just stand there smirking to yourself," Lisbon growled.
Jane shook his head softly. "Danny called Angie the only pure and good thing in his life. Red John took her. Because of me he lost something pure. It's the worst kind of crime."
"You can't..." Lisbon started to say.
Jane cut her off. "I do."
Lisbon sighed. He did. She knew he did. And as long as that was true there was really nothing she could do. "What was she like?" she asked instead. Normally she wouldn't have dared, but for whatever reason, Jane was in an oddly communicative mood. And talking about Angela was light years better than talking about her killer.
"She was perfect," Jane said without even thinking.
Lisbon smiled, though her eyes were sad. "Really?"
Lisbon bit her lip; amusement was rising to the forefront and she couldn't help it. "No flaws?"
"Not a one," Jane said quickly. Then he paused. "Well, not anything important."
"So her name was really appropriate then?" Lisbon teased.
"Yes," he agreed quickly.
"I'm sorry Jane," she said softly.
He looked at her again, something awfully like surprise in his eyes. "You are, aren't you?"
"Of course," she replied, almost confused.
Her reaction pleased him. "You're one in a million Lisbon, you know that?" he said sincerely.
She felt her cheeks beginning to heat up. So she nudged him in the arm to distract him. "Shut up."
He chuckled to himself. "She'd have liked you, you know?"
"Really?" Lisbon asked. Pleased she pushed a stray bit of hair behind her ear, "You think?"
Jane nodded. "She liked strong women."
"Thank you," Lisbon said awkwardly.
"Danny likes you too," Jane informed her.
Lisbon stared at him. "Oh, he does not!" she contradicted.
"He does!" Jane insisted. "You surprised him. In the end. And he heard about how you handcuffed Pete to a truck. You weren't what he expected. He doesn't quite agree with you where legalities are concerned, but he wanted me to thank you. And he thinks that you might be okay, even if you are a cop."
"I'm flattered," Lisbon said dryly.
"You should be," Jane assured her.
"For all your almost fanatical devotion to the law in some areas," Jane said. "You can be really quite open-minded in others. You see all the people involved. And you try not to judge them. At least not to their faces. That's more than most people."
Lisbon glanced at him sideways.
"Angela'd have liked that too," Jane murmured. "She'd have liked that you try not to take sides, that you try to keep an open mind. Angela didn't like the sides at the carnival. She wanted..." Jane swallowed, "She didn't like the 'us versus them' of it all."
Lisbon sighed. "Jane," she said softly. "You know there are just as many sides in what I do. Maybe not to you, but if you thinks cops don't have an 'us versus them' with criminals, you're dreaming. There are sides everywhere."
"But it's not you versus the world," Jane reminded her. "You don't see everyone as a criminal. You see you, and the rest of the world, most of whom are relatively law-abiding. You see the criminals as well, your opponents. But you also see the victims."
"Of course," she agreed.
"Not of course," he contradicted. "At the carnival it was us versus the public, aka those to be conned out of as much of their money as possible. Always. If you weren't one of us, you were a mark. You don't think that way Lisbon."
"And you do?" she challenged.
Jane looked away.
Lisbon gritted her teeth. "But you're not at the carnival anymore Jane."
"No," he agreed. "But old habits die hard."
"So then who's a mark now?" she demanded.
"Is everybody? Still?" she wondered.
He didn't answer.
"Is it me?" she pressed, her tone harder than she'd intended.
He whipped around quickly, the shock plainly visible on his face. "No!" he said a little too loudly.
Lisbon raised her eyebrows.
"No," Jane repeated firmly. "Not you. Of course not you," he assured her. "I promise, not you. Well... almost never."
"Except in extenuating circumstances?" she asked.
Jane nodded. "When it's for your own good," her murmured.
Lisbon punched him in the shoulder in irritation, but otherwise the ignored that. "Rigsby?" she pressed. "Cho? Van Pelt?"
Jane shook his head. "No," He admitted. "Well, maybe in a few more situations than you. Sometimes it's too easy to get them, especially Rigsby and Van Pelt."
Lisbon smirked. "Pranks don't count."
"Still," Jane said looking unimpressed.
"And what about the kids?" Lisbon continued.
"What?" Jane asked in confusion.
"The kids," Lisbon repeated. "The ones we meet on cases. The one's you're always going off to talk to or play with the second my back is turned."
"Well, not them either Lisbon," Jane said in exasperation. "They certainly didn't do anything wrong."
"They're innocent," she murmured.
"Yes," Jane agreed. Of course he wasn't going to con a bunch of six-year-olds. How would that even work? And what exactly did she think he was? Then he noticed the triumphant expression on her face. That was never a good sign for him.
"I guess not everyone's a mark then," Lisbon concluded.
His eyes widened and his hand clenched reflexively. "Still..." he said, determined not to give in to her. He didn't like the precedent of letting Lisbon win arguments about that sort of thing.
"It's better than nothing Jane," she reminded him gently.
"Maybe you took less of the circus mentality than you thought," Lisbon pressed, unwilling to give up her small advantage. It was so rare that she managed to throw Jane off balance she needed to take capitalize on every victory, no matter how brief. "Maybe Angela rubbed off on you."
"Or you did," he said without thinking.
That surprised her.
He sighed. "Don't get your hopes up Lisbon," he told her quickly. "It was inevitable; we spend so much time together after all."
"Of course," she agreed almost breathlessly.
Jane ran a hand through his hair. "It's not that I don't understand your position," he told her. "At least in theory."
She smirked. "In practice on the other hand..."
"Yeah, that's always the sticking point," Jane agreed.
"That and your love of drama," Lisbon added. "That seems to get you into trouble."
"Even you have to admit it's fun sometimes," Jane told her.
Lisbon smirked. "I have to admit nothing," she insisted.
"You can't fool me," he said with a shrug. "I know you enjoy it sometimes. You like having me around."
"I've told you that I like it when you solve cases," Lisbon reminded him.
"You say that," Jane agreed. "But I know the truth. Secretly you'd be bored if I was gone."
"Things would definitely be quieter, but quiet isn't always a bad thing," Lisbon shot back.
"No, but monotony is," Jane countered.
Lisbon smirked. "Do you really think that working in the Serious Crimes department could ever be monotonous?" she wondered.
"I suppose not," Jane agreed. "But you have to admit, I lighten things up around here sometimes."
"Yes you do," Lisbon agreed indulgently. "Sometimes you're like an overgrown child."
"Just for that I'm not bringing you any more strawberries," Jane told her.
"Whatever will I do?" Lisbon asked sarcastically.
"Well you'll have less strawberries," Jane told her.
"You'll still bring me strawberries," Lisbon told him confidently.
"Oh will I?" he asked.
"Yup," she agreed. "Next time you screw up and need a peace offering. So probably next week."
"Someone's awfully confident," Jane observed, though he admitted she was probably right. Even if it might not be quite so soon as the next week. But within the month he'd almost certainly be bringing her some kind of fruit.
"I know you," Lisbon told him.
"Do you?" he wondered softly.
She glanced at him. "Sometimes," she told him, suddenly serious.
He looked away first. "Being a bit immature, a bit childlike sometimes isn't the worst thing in the world Lisbon," he told her.
"I didn't say it was," she assured him. "But sometimes you cause me an awful lot of headaches," she reminded him.
"Maybe," Jane agreed slowly. "But sometimes children can bring a bit of joy to an otherwise terrible day. The innocence and all. They take such pleasure in the little things. They remind you of the good things in the world."
A tired and frustrated Patrick Jane walked up the stairs of his house.
He'd just had the same fight with his wife that they had with what felt like increasing regularity now.
She disapproved of his TV appearances, of his whole psychic persona actually. She'd told him the way he was going he'd soon be as bad as his father. He wasn't quite taking money from dying teenagers, but he was near to it.
He'd tried to explain, as he always did, that he wasn't ever claiming to heal disease with a cheap piece of plastic. He was just telling people things that they already knew, or giving them something to look forward to. And after all, false hope was better than despair all things considered. Most of what he told people was harmless after all. People wanted to hear that their loved ones were happy, that they loved them, that they wanted their family members to be happy. What was wrong with that?
Besides, he didn't have a high school diploma, and his only job experience was working as a 'psychic.' What alternative did he have to make a living?
He knew Angie had the best intentions, but sometimes he wondered if she really understood the world, or if she was just kidding herself.
He sighed. But that was unfair (probably). After all, she had a point. And his wife was mainly upset because he'd gotten home forty-five minutes later than he'd told her he would, and because their daughter was waiting upstairs for him to read her a story before she went to bed.
His perfect little Charlotte, with her parents' golden hair. He knocked on the door before pushing it all the way open and walking into the room.
Charlotte looked up immediately from her stuffed animals, who appeared to be in the middle of some sort of complicated conversation. "Daddy!" she cried. "Are you going to read me a story now?"
"Of course Pumpkin," he told her with a genuine smile, so very different than the one he'd been shooting towards the TV cameras all day. "Let's just get you all settled into bed first."
His daughter immediately dove under the blankets. The promised story apparently enough to make her obey, she wriggled around until she was comfortable.
After ensuring that she had her favourite Teddy Bear, Jane settled down beside her, the light from her bedside lamp encircling the two of them. "Now what would you like?" he asked. "Fox in Socks?"
"No!" Charlotte Jane objected emphatically.
"Make Way for the Ducklings?" her father tried again.
"No!" she giggled.
"Matthew and the Midnight Turkeys?" Jane wondered.
"N-," Charlotte paused for a moment, considering his suggestion. Then she slowly shook her head with a soft smile. "No, we read that yesterday Daddy."
"So we did," Jane agreed. "Well then Princess, what did you have in mind?"
"Angelina!" she yelled.
He laughed. He should have known. Angelina Ballerina, the book that had made his daughter decide she wanted to be a dancer (before changing her mind to magician, airplane rider, and horse trainer, all within a twenty-four hour period). Jane fished his daughter's favourite out of the pile of books teetering almost precariously beside the bed and started it to read.
"Ready?" he asked, making his voice sound intentionally deep.
"Daddy!" Charlotte objected before hitting him in the arm. "Read it properly!"
"Properly?" Jane asked, feigning confusion.
"In your normal voice!" his daughter ordered.
"Anything you like Princess," Jane promised in his normal voice. "Angelina Ballerina..." he started, smiling when he felt a small body burrow closer into his side.
Angelina was followed by Winnie the Pooh, but after that (and despite pleas for "Just one more Daddy! Just one, I promise!"), Jane eased himself off of the bed, kissed his daughter on the forehead and turned out the light. Though he did make sure to turn her nightlight on "To keep the monsters away."
Then with a final glance at the head of golden curls tucked above her pillow, he headed downstairs to (hopefully) make peace with his wife.
After all, if he was lucky enough to have two such women in his life, he'd be a fool to toss them away.
"Thank you for telling me about them." Lisbon said after a moment of silence.
Jane shrugged, deliberately not looking at her. "Thank you. And y'know, for... You didn't have to."
Lisbon waved that aside. "If you ever need to talk to someone again, Jane," she hesitated. "I hope you know that... well... I don't want you to think that there's no one who will listen," she offered awkwardly, gesturing vaguely in his direction.
Jane felt the (now almost familiar) bubble of affection rise in his chest. "Thank you Lisbon, and you know, you too" he told her sincerely. "But I don't want you to feel like you have to offer. You don't need anything else loaded on your plate."
"I offered because I wanted to Jane. And a burden shared is a burden halved," Lisbon said philosophically.
"But if we're both sharing then aren't we just giving each other half of our respective burdens?" Jane asked. "Then we each end up with a whole burden all over again."
"Different burden though," Lisbon pointed out. "The change could be refreshing."
Jane chuckled before he could help himself. "You really can be shockingly optimistic sometimes, you know that Lisbon?"
"Maybe I prefer it to the alternative," she told him truthfully.
Jane sighed. Lisbon was the type of person who made you wish the world was better, because she certainly didn't deserve what life had given her. He wished he could make her understand that. "The moon's rising," was all he said instead.
"So it is," Lisbon agreed. "It is lovely up here, even if it is cold and dark."
"Oh quit complaining and watch the moonrise Teresa," Jane ordered.
Lisbon smirked, but did as he ordered.
Jane alternated between watching the moon and his companion.
Both sights were about equally lovely, in their own ways.
Lisbon seemed to be watching the darkness rather intently. She was so focussed that she didn't even notice his surreptitious glances, a rarity in and of itself (if she had she'd have caught his gaze at least once). Of course, her distraction meant he could study her as much as he liked without fear of repercussions.
For all that she was at home in the darkness, Lisbon had never let it overtake her. Even if she didn't shine as brightly as some people, she'd never despaired. Not even with all she'd seen, all she'd lost. She still struggled against the darkness sometimes, become more subdued and maybe wanted to give it all up. Jane was sure she had some rather hefty demons of her own that she fought regularly. Still, in the end she refused to let them win. She was unquestionably fighting doggedly for good.
She was his own modern-day superhero, though she'd be the first to deny it.
While Teresa Lisbon might not look like an unlikely hero, Jane knew well that appearances could be deceiving. He wouldn't discount the possibility of her changing the world by sheer force of will.
She was one of the few people he'd risk almost anything to protect. There was certainly no one else in the world he'd consider talking to about his family. Most people would be irritatingly pitying, or overly maudlin. Not his Lisbon, she was just herself. And that somehow helped. Even her awkwardness tended to put him at ease.
And while Jane usually retreated to the attic so he could be alone to think (and maybe even plan), he could admit, to himself at least, that having her up there with him was far from unpleasant.
He was lucky to have her.
"Don't you get lonely up here?" Lisbon asked curiously, almost as if she was reading his thoughts.
"How could I get lonely when you constantly come to visit me?" he asked with a grin.
She smirked. "You're not going to get rid of me that easily," she assured him.
Jane's smile dimmed somewhat. He sighed. "It's not that I don't appreciate it Lisbon..."
"Don't even finish that sentence," she ordered curtly.
But as usual, Jane didn't really listen to her. "You shouldn't feel like you have to..."
"Jane..." Lisbon warned desperately.
"Teresa..." he whispered just as desperately.
Lisbon resisted the urge to bang her head (or his) against the wall. "You should quit when you're ahead you know," she told him.
He shook his head lightly, "I could say the same about you. Your stubbornness really is impressive sometimes Lisbon."
She smirked at him.
"I really do appreciate it you know," he told her softly. "All of it."
She exhaled slowly, glancing down at her hands. "I know."
"Okay," he whispered, briefly resting a hand on her shoulder before turning his attention back to the window.
The two of them stood in silence in the darkness of the attic for a while longer.
Suddenly Lisbon shivered. "Well," she said. "That's it. As nice as this has been, I'm cold now."
"I could get you a blanket," Jane offered gallantly.
Lisbon smirked. "Or I could go downstairs. I think I've been staring at lights in the distance long enough for one evening."
"Maybe," Jane acknowledged.
"I think it's time to return to civilization," she informed him.
"I suppose sitting alone in a half-abandoned attic, even if you have a companion isn't the most socially acceptable way to spend your time," Jane admitted. He could hardly expect a woman like Teresa Lisbon, who had so much going for her, to waste all of her time on someone like him.
"No," she agreed. Still, it was lovely Jane. I don't think I've ever actually watched the moon rise before. And you were right, it was better with less artificial light to compete."
"We should do it again next month," he joked.
"We'll see," Lisbon said noncommittally. "Or maybe we could do something a little more..."
"Traditional?" Jane suggested.
"That works," Lisbon agreed. "It's certainly nicer than the adjective I was considering."
"Hmm," Jane hummed.
Stretching her back briefly, Lisbon turned to leave. She turned once she got to the other side of the room. "You coming?" she asked expectantly from the doorway.
Jane paused, momentarily distracted by the way the moonlight highlighted her face.
Someone else might have found the imagery particularly appropriate.
Jane simply took a second to commit the lines of her jaw to memory.
Then, wordlessly, he stood and let her lead him downstairs to the bullpen where, even late as it was, lights were still dimly burning.
We're on a Ferris wheel
A crazy Ferris wheel
A wheel within a wheel
And suddenly we feel
The stars begin to reel
And down again around
And up again around
And up again around
So high above the ground
We feel we've got to yell
We're on a carousel
A crazy carousel
-Carousel by Jaques Brel
*Dives under blankets*