A/N: So 3.12. I thought that was pretty AWESOME. He bought her A COUCH. Ahem. Yeah, I loved it. But I felt that it was missing another reference to the couch at the end. That'd better come up again. If not, well, at least it inspired a post-ep. Or rather, the bunny for a post-ep was unceremoniously tossed my way by several individuals. You know who you are.
Although, I'm not really even going to pretend to mind this time. Because this was fun. Hope you enjoy it.
Patrick Jane ambled towards the break room holding an empty cup of tea that needed to be re-filled. The lack of light didn't bother him; it rarely did. He'd gotten used to walking around the CBI building in semi-darkness.
It was almost comforting in its familiarity. Everything had its place at night when almost no one was around.
Then he froze as he neared Lisbon's office. Because something wasn't quite right; something was different. He crept softly over to his boss' door. All the lights were off inside her office as expected (she'd left hours ago), but still something was wrong. He couldn't quite put his finger on it...
The door wasn't quite closed all the way. Oh, it was resting in the door-jamb. It looked almost closed to the careless eye, but it wasn't latched.
Jane frowned. There was no way Lisbon had left her office door unlocked. She was far too careful for that. It was possible it was the cleaning service, but that was unlikely too. Though Jane did have a healthy distrust of the CBI cleaning service. Clearly they weren't always appropriately vetted. And that meant that this needed investigating.
He glanced around briefly to ensure that he wasn't being watched before softly pushing the door open.
The sight he was greeted by certainly wasn't what he'd been expecting.
It turned out that the nocturnal intruder was none other than the office's rightful occupant. Teresa Lisbon herself was curled up on her couch fast asleep.
Jane's breath caught in his throat as he crept softly into the office and closed the door to ensure that no one else found her like this. She wouldn't like it, though he certainly wasn't sorry that he'd stumbled across her. Even though Lisbon's hair obscured part of her face and the pillow another, Jane could see enough of her expression to know that her rest was peaceful. She was cuddled into the corner of her couch closest to her desk, one arm tucked under a couple of the throw pillows. And despite the fact that the woman could have almost certainly stretched out completely on the new, longer, couch, her knees were bent and drawn protectively towards her chin.
Jane smiled softly. It would seem that despite her earlier objections to the new purchase, Agent Lisbon was perfectly comfortable on the couch he'd bought for her. She made quite the picture, burrowed as deep into the couch cushions as she could get. This vulnerable woman with sleep-tousled hair in front of him was hard to reconcile with the fierce woman he dealt with daily.
As he watched her, Jane's smile disappeared.
But why was she here at all?
He was sure he'd seen her leave hours earlier. And in relatively good spirits too due to the solved case. Hightower hadn't even scolded about the faked serial killer involvement. Although that probably had more to do with the fact that the team had caught the real killer in the end and Hightower was all about final results. Besides, even Dr. Montague had been willing to play along. To be perfectly honest, the visiting consultant's statistical outlook on life had probably saved Jane's bacon there, his and Lisbon's. Because if the FBI had wanted to make trouble about the sham press conference, Jane had no doubt that they could have.
But Dr. Montague's lack of ego about that sort of thing had basically ensured that no formal complaint would ever be filed. And yet here Lisbon was, asleep in her office.
Jane's eyes darted around the room, searching for clues. The blinds were closed, her jacket was draped on the back of her desk chair, and she'd removed her shoes. Obviously her little nap had been intentional. Or, well, she'd at least meant to relax for a while.
He turned his attention back to her face, startlingly pale against her hair in the semi-darkness, her breathing slow and even. Jane was torn between wanting to go and find her a blanket – she would get cold in the CBI building all night. He knew from experience, and her smaller frame would probably lose body heat more quickly too – and wanting to wake her. The more he thought about it, the more Jane was sure Lisbon couldn't have possibly meant to spend the entire night in her office. Not if she'd left the door unlocked. She'd die of embarrassment if anyone caught her, and between the cleaning staff who came in at night and the fact that she probably didn't have a change of clothes with her for the morning, getting caught was almost inevitable.
Besides, Jane refused to believe that Teresa Lisbon had decided to start sleeping in her office. He didn't like it. It would have been one thing if there'd been an urgent case and her ridiculous work ethic preventing her from leaving, but sleeping alone at the office for no particular reason, well, that was... far from ideal. He would know. There must be some sort of mistake.
He didn't care how charming she looked lying there, he didn't like this. Praying it was all an innocent misunderstanding Jane crouched in front of her, his decision made.
"Lisbon," he said softly. She stirred but didn't wake. "Lisbon," he said again, a little more firmly as he rubbed her shoulder.
"Mmmhhm Wha?" she asked sleepily. "Jane?"
Jane's eyes twinkled. "That's right," he assured her gently. "Time to wake up sleepy head."
Lisbon burrowed into the pillows defiantly, moaning in displeasure. Jane brushed his hand down her arm, and she sighed and opened her eyes slowly.
She was greeted by the sight of a smiling Patrick Jane.
Lisbon blinked in confusion. "What're you doing here?" she murmured.
"I could ask you the same thing," he said lightly, knowing she wasn't quite awake yet.
Lisbon froze, suddenly realizing what was happening. She raised her head and glanced around in something like fear before cursing under her breath and practically trying to jump from the couch.
Jane used the hand still on her arm to prevent her from bolting right over him, and instead eased her into a sitting position. "What are you doing here, Lisbon?" he asked affectionately.
"It's my office," she snapped, deliberately evading his question as she brushed her hair out of her eyes and feeling her cheeks heat up in embarrassment at being caught where she was by Jane of all people. "I work here," she reminded him.
Jane shot her a look. "I meant what are you doing here so late?" he clarified as he reached over to grab her jacket. He handed it to her casually, "You don't have paperwork; I know you finished it earlier today. Most of it anyway. You didn't need to come back here."
"I forgot something," Lisbon fumbled as she put on the blazer, pleased to have something to do, even if only for a moment.
"Liar," Jane said succinctly. She may have been getting better at deceiving him generally, but not when she was in a half-panicked state and trying to get her bearings.
His challenge earned him a glare, though it wasn't up to her usual level.
"You shouldn't be sleeping on your couch, Lisbon," Jane told her gently.
"You're one to talk," she all but growled at him.
Jane ignored her crankiness, correctly attributing it to her embarrassment at being found. "I think we can both agree that my example is not one that should be followed in this particular area."
"Your example is not one to be followed in many areas," she retorted quickly.
"Lisbon..." he sighed and sat down next to her.
"Maybe I wanted to see what it's like," she said, offering him a still slightly sleepy smile, and trying to play the whole thing off. "After all, you do it all the time."
"Again," Jane said softly. "I feel the need to point out Lisbon, that my example is a poor one when it comes to sleep. Now on the other hand, if you suddenly feel the need to start taking up tea drinking in any sort of serious manner..."
He smiled at her, pleased when she grinned back. Then he took a risk, "Lisbon, what's going on?" he asked.
"Nothing," she assured him quickly.
He clenched his jaw. "Then why are you back at the office this late at night?"
She looked away immediately, and he could see the obvious hints of embarrassment still lingered on her face, much as she was trying to conceal them. "I..." she whispered. Then straightened her shoulders, "I don't know," she continued in a stronger tone. "I just... I couldn't sleep."
"Why not?" he prodded gently.
"I don't know," she admitted. "I just didn't feel like it." Her apartment was so empty sometimes. And for some reason she hadn't wanted to be there. Not all alone, after a case where family members had murdered each other for no good reason. And not after Rigsby and Cho's worrying little spat. Or her boss breathing down her neck wanting her to catch a serial killer who hadn't even been responsible. She'd wanted to be somewhere where she could clear her head. And that wasn't her apartment. Not that night anyway. So she'd gone for a drive. "I was restless," she explained to Jane. "And I got tired of tossing and turning. I thought a change of scenery might help. I somehow ended up here."
"Interesting that the place you go to when you need to feel comfort is your office Lisbon," Jane said pleasantly.
He turned towards her, "No, I didn't mean it like that. I'm just saying..."
"Jane there is no deeper meaning here," Lisbon assured him. "I just got in my car and drove. Probably only ended up here because I was tired and it's a familiar route."
"I wasn't judging you Lisbon," Jane told her softly.
She looked away.
He wrapped his fingers around her wrist. Lisbon sighed, knowing what was coming. One of Jane's tricks, taking her pulse, or some sort of relaxation/hypnosis pressure point thing, or who knows what. She should probably pull her hand away. Then he started was running his fingers in circles around her forearm. And it felt good. And she remembered that she was really, really tired. So she just lay back against the couch and let him do whatever the hell he was doing.
Jane smiled gently. "So what happened when you got here?" he asked. "It doesn't look like you broke out the paperwork."
Lisbon felt the corners of her mouth turning up. "Nah, that's done," she told him. "For now at least. I got here, and I was just so tired all of a sudden. So I thought maybe I'd try out the new couch. See if I could get comfortable..." she trailed off.
"And then, before knew it, you succumbed to exhaustion and the comforts of your new couch before you could help yourself," Jane finished, obviously amused.
"I only meant to lie down for a minute..." she scowled.
"I told you you'd like this couch, Lisbon," Jane crowed. "It's a much better piece of furnture than your old one."
"No it isn't," Lisbon said, disagreeing for what felt like the fifteenth time.
"The drool on the throw pillow disagrees," Jane told her.
"There's no drool on my pillow," she bit out.
He could see the defensiveness creeping back into her posture. "It's okay to like the couch Lisbon," he assured her.
She dropped her chin to her chest in exhaustion. Then something occurred to her. If he was going to tease her mercilessly about this she was damn well going to figure out why he'd done it in the first place. She turned her chin up to look at him. "Why'd you get me the couch Jane?" she asked curiously.
"I told you," he reminded her. "Your other couch was terrible."
"So?" she asked. "Maybe I liked it. And what business is it of yours anyway."
"Well..." Jane stalled. Then inspiration struck, "I'll remind you that I spend a fair bit of time on the couches in this unit. I appreciate the extra length of this one. Your other one was positively cramped. Not that it was something you'd necessarily notice."
Lisbon huffed in irritation; he heard her muttering under her breath, something about selfish, self-seeking consultants and that she wasn't that short.
Jane grinned, then his grin faded. "Why can't you sleep Teresa?" he asked her gently.
She stiffened beside him, and looked quickly away. "I told you I don't know!" she snapped, standing abruptly in irritation. Though to his surprise, Jane realized that her frustration wasn't actually directed at him.
"Have you tried warm milk?" Jane asked, his mind flashing back to the insomnia remedies he'd listed for Dr. Montague earlier.
Lisbon smirked. "No," she admitted. "But I'm not sure that'd help."
"You'll never know unless you try," Jane reminded her.
"I was probably just restless, too wound up from the case," Lisbon said. "After all, I did fall asleep on the couch pretty quickly." Then she ran a hand through her hair self-consciously, scowling at herself for bringing it up again.
"Lisbon," Jane interrupting her thoughts and not liking her discomfort. "I'm hardly someone to be embarrassed about falling asleep on couches in front of, as you rightly pointed out."
She snickered. "That's true, I guess."
"Still," Jane said pleasantly. "I think we can both agree that it'd be healthier if you got the remainder of your night's rest at home."
"Please Teresa," Jane asked.
His concern made her uncomfortable and her previously fading embarrassment rare up again. "I can take care of myself Jane!" she bit out.
He winced, knowing he'd taken a false step somewhere. He was in for it now. "I know," he assured her.
"Why does it matter to you so much if I fall sleep on my couch anyway?" Lisbon growled, defensiveness making her angrier than she'd intended.
Jane looked away.
It did matter to him. For what it was worth, her general health appeared to matter to Patrick Jane. This wasn't just him teasing her for actually liking his damn couch. She suddenly remembered the gentle way he'd chosen to wake her up minutes earlier. The affection in his eyes mingling with concern. And while he had teased her, it hadn't been nearly as much as she'd expected.
And now she'd probably gone and hurt his feelings.
"I guess it doesn't. I was surprised is all," Jane said with false cheer.
"Jane," she said, staring at him, equal parts shocked and guilty. "You were worried about me."
"Maybe I was," he said quickly. Now it was Jane's turn to be defensive. "I was curious about why you were here at least. What of it? After all, aren't you the one who keeps telling me how we're supposed to be a team or something?" he complained petulantly. "Isn't that one of your big lessons that you're always trying to teach me. Right before you yell at me and tell me to go away?"
Lisbon bit her lip, amused and touched by his frustration. She nudged his shoulder, affection bubbling up inside of her.
"And anyway," he said, still annoyed with her. "I thought you said you didn't like the new couch I got you."
"I liked my old couch," she reminded him, still grinning.
"This one's better," Jane repeated again.
Lisbon's grin didn't falter. "So you say."
"You looked pretty comfortable on it," Jane added, trying to regain the upper hand in the conversation.
It didn't work. "Figured I'd better try it out," Lisbon said. "Resign myself to my fate and all that. After all, knowing you I'm unlikely to ever find my old one."
"You mean Grace is unlikely to ever find your old one," Jane corrected, feeling pacified by her intimation that she'd probably keep the new couch.
She shrugged. "Jane?"
"Why did you buy me a couch in the first place?" she asked curiously.
He closed his eyes for the briefest of seconds. He should have known she'd ask him eventually. "What do you mean?" he asked, stalling for time.
She rolled her eyes. "I mean, why did you buy me a couch?" Really, why did the man always have to be so difficult every time he was asked a simple question.
Why had he bought her the couch?
He'd bought the couch because he knew something was up between Rigsby and Cho. Add that to Cho beating up a suspect, Rigsby and Van Pelt's general stupidity about hiding their romantic relationship, Hightower's ultimatum, Jane's own unconventional methods that Lisbon had to deal with practically constantly (up to and including convincing half of California there was another serial killer on the loose)...
Well he was just afraid that Lisbon was about to get sucker-punched by her team again. And she'd been happier lately, more like herself. So Jane was afraid of what a setback like Rigsby's problem coming to light might do to her. He may not have known exactly what Rigsby's troubles were yet exactly (though he had his suspicions), but Jane does know that it was serious. Because Cho was upset about something to do with the mess. Really upset. And if Cho was upset that meant things really weren't good. Jane was terrified it might send Lisbon scuttling back behind her own protective barriers to that place where she did nothing but survive. She may have survived there, but she wasn't ever happy.
So he'd bought her the couch. Because it was a bigger couch. It was a nicer couch. And most importantly it was a fluffier couch.
And he'd never thought that black one suited her anyway.
He'd bought Lisbon the couch because he'd wanted to show her that at least one of member of her team cared about her, thought about her, considered her comfort (even if he wasn't very good at doing it all the time).
Not that he could tell her any of that.
Instead Jane shrugged exaggeratedly. "A man can't just buy his boss a couch?"
Lisbon smirked. "Makes you wonder what the world's coming to," she agreed.
"It does," Jane nodded easily.
"Jane," she warned.
He huffed in irritation. "I was browsing through a store, happened to see the couch. You needed a new one, so I bought it for you."
"I did not need a new one," she repeated slowly.
Jane dismissed her objection with a slight wave of his hand. "Yes you did. Your old couch was terrible."
"It was perfectly fine!" she insisted.
"Exactly," Jane told her. "It was perfectly fine. The new one's better than perfectly fine. The new one's elegant, luxurious, better."
Lisbon's voice caught in her throat. "Jane..."
"Sometimes people need a little luxury, instead of perfectly fine," Jane continued, disdain dripping from his voice as he repeated her description of her old couch before he lapsed into silence.
"I guess it is pretty comfortable," Lisbon admitted after a minute, tentatively brushing a finger against his hand..
Jane sent her a blinding grin, pleased by her concession. "It's way better than your old couch. And I don't like to brag Lisbon, but I'm a bit of an expert on the subject of couches."
"Well, you certainly spend enough time lolling around on the one in the bullpen," she said dryly.
Jane acknowledged that with a pleased nod. Then, after another minute he stood and stretched. "Let me walk you to your car," he asked gently. "You should go home and sleep."
"And you?" she wondered.
He played dumb. "What about me?"
Lisbon stood herself. "Jane, don't be a pain," she ordered, putting her hands on her hips.
"Ooh, rhyming again are we Lisbon?" he observed pleasantly. Then he pouted. "You know, very little rhymes with Lisbon."
She smirked, "Well isn't it a shame that you now can't play the game."
He glanced at her affectionately. "Very funny."
"Isn't it just?" she agreed as she slid her shoes back on her feet.
"I'm nonplussed," Jane shot back as he watched her gather up her things.
"Thanks for not leaving me in my office Jane, for who knows who to find," she told him as she locked her office door for the second (and hopefully final) time that night.
"I almost just let you sleep," he admitted as they fell in step together on their way to the elevator.
"Staring at me like a creep?" she suggested innocently.
He shot her a look before smirking. "And not uttering a peep," he agreed.
This time Lisbon genuinely chuckled. "Yeah, well I appreciate that you didn't. How did you even know I was in there? Please tell me the door was at least closed."
"The door wasn't quite closed all the way," he admitted. "Something wasn't right, and I was curious."
"Of course you were."
"And there you were. Just lying there when I pushed open the door." And that was an image that probably wouldn't be leaving his brain any time soon. "You looked like you needed the rest," he continued tentatively. "You were out like a light."
"It's been a long case," she said with a shrug. "And it's late."
"Are you sure you're alright Lisbon?" he asked hesitantly.
Her head whipped around instinctively. It didn't matter that he apparently genuinely cared about her. She wasn't... she didn't... She wasn't used to dealing with people's concern.
Jane continued quickly. "I mean, is something bothering you? Because if you're not sleeping... and if you needed someone to talk to... I am familiar with insomnia after all..."
Lisbon's felt her heart give a couple of almost painful thuds. She brushed up against him gently, cutting off his rambling.
"Jane?" she asked indulgently, when he turned to look at her. "Have I seemed upset lately?"
Jane considered her question as he pressed the button to call the elevator. Then he examined her closely. "No..." he admitted. "Maybe a little cranky sometimes..."
"Jane..." she warned.
"But no more than normal," he continued.
"I have a good reason to be cranky with you around," she muttered.
"Maybe," he agreed. "But there was also that little outburst in your office."
Lisbon was momentarily confused. Then it clicked. "You mean my little outburst when I was frustrated because we couldn't catch a serial killer that it turned out you invented?"
"Don't be ridiculous Lisbon. I didn't invent him!" Jane corrected her. "The serial killer already existed. Still does if he hasn't died, which I suspect is the case. I admit I may have fabricated his involvement in our particular case, but really, Dr. Montague brought him up first."
Lisbon rolled her eyes. "Either way," she told him. "I had a good reason to be frustrated. Besides, fabricating a serial killer's far from the worst thing you've ever done. And in the end things were okay. I was just upset at the time. But it wasn't some horribly upsetting thing that drove me to sleeping in the office."
"Okay," Jane agreed, feeling a surprising amount of relief.
"I think you should take your own advice," Lisbon told him. "Try to sleep at home more."
Jane took a few calming breaths, unsurprised that she'd brought the conversation back around to that. He'd known his deflections earlier would only distract her for so long. He considered her request; he'd walked right into it anyway. "I'll try," he said after a moment. "But only if you promise not to start spending your nights in your office."
"Even though I now have my new fabulous couch?" she teased.
He smiled. "Even so," he insisted, suddenly turning serious.
"I'm fine Jane," she assured him firmly. "It was a weird series of events, that's it."
"I don't like the idea of you sleeping at work, Lisbon," he repeated. "I just don't." He didn't like it when she was upset. And she'd been right when she'd told him his habit of sleeping in the attic was unhealthy. But what did it matter what he did? What Lisbon did on the other hand... Of the two of them, she was supposed to be the sensible one.
Lisbon reached out and squeezed his bicep briefly, bringing him back to the conversation at hand. She was starting to get better at reading between his lines. And she was pretty sure she'd finally gotten this one right. She sent him a friendly smile.
Jane smiled back at her, before ushering her into the newly arrived elevator.
"Jane?" she asked as they stepped into the elevator.
"Yes Lisbon?" he asked.
"Thank you for the couch," she said sincerely, staring determinedly straight in front of her..
He smiled as he reached to push the button for the lobby. "You're welcome Lisbon," he said softly. "i'm glad you like it."
Lisbon smiled. She did like it. She really did.
She couldn't help it.