Title: Just One More Time

Summary: It wasn't his fault, Cho decided. Not his fault that Wayne Rigsby joined the team. Not his fault, either, that Grace VanPelt joined the team. And now he's stuck in the middle. 3x18 Tag

Genre: Friendship/Angst

Rating: K

Characters/Pairing: Cho POV; Rigsby/Grace

Spoilers: Inspired by 3x18 The Red Mile and meant to take place at the end of the "day" for them, but no overt spoilers.

A/N: I think my heart grew three sizes during the scene when Rigsby went to Cho for advice about O'Laughlin and Grace. I adore the way Rigsby always goes to him, like his own personal therapist, even if Cho doesn't!

It's a quiet evening, the type Cho likes best. Paperwork's done, a murderer was put away, and the Boss is happy. He plans on spending this evening with a glass of Chardonnay and a book; it's Jane Eyre tonight.

Then there's a knock at the door.

It wasn't his fault, Cho decided. He'd been glad to transfer to Agent Lisbon's team. He respected her, as a person, as an agent, and as a team leader. He'd heard nothing but good things about her team.

Even with Patrick Jane—a mess if ever there was one—attached to their team, life was still good. He still had nothing but respect for Teresa Lisbon and the way she managed her team. He liked his fellow team-members. They all did their job, respected each other's space, and never saw each other outside of work. And then Chip Matthews took a promotion and suddenly they needed a replacement.

It wasn't Cho's fault that Wayne Rigsby was the one filled that void. It wasn't his fault that the eager young agent had considered them partners and practically joined at the hip within days of starting with the team. And it certainly wasn't his fault that Rigsby considered him someone to look up to, to go to for sage advice, and some kind of confidant. With Rigsby's introduction serving as "fresh blood", the team dynamics changed. They saw each other outside of the office, personal space lessened, and doing their job sometimes got complicated. And Cho found himself getting used to it. But then Rex King left for greener pastures—FBI, ironically—and he once again found himself called to Lisbon's office to offer advice on a replacement.

And it hadn't been his fault, either, that Agent Grace VanPelt had found herself applying for that same open space. He remembers her wide-eyed earnestness, the excited flush to her cheeks, and the way she clenched her hands ever so slightly while she waited for Lisbon's decision. He liked VanPelt, really he did, but if he had known then the trouble she would cause, he would surely have been tempted to change the verdict he gave Lisbon: "Take her."

And the second Rigsby laid eyes on her, Cho should have known it would have come to this. His self-proclaimed partner suddenly began to walk around all moony-eyed. Rigsby's conversations were peppered with: "What do you think of Agent VanPelt?" "Grace said that..." and "Did you see how Grace handled that suspect today?" It had only become worse as Rigsby fell in love, dated—and subsequently broke up—with VanPelt, and, of course, with the entrance of FBI Special Agent Eric O'Laughlin.

Before she joined the team, there had been only Cho's peaceful evenings, blissfully free of disruptions from a down-trodden Rigsby. Of course, it wasn't really all Grace's fault, and he didn't blame her (much). However, nature dictated cause-and-effect, and because of Grace, Cho was suffering the effect of having to pick up the pieces, which took the form of many interrupted evenings with a mostly inconsolable Rigsby.

Cho looks through the peep-hole, although he knows who it is, and had even been expecting this before he heard the knock.

Rigsby always looks just the same standing on Cho's doorstep. He looks pitiful, more like a kid than a tough CBI agent, with eyes that rival those of a puppy left outside in the rain.

And every time, Cho tells him to man up and tell VanPelt he loves her if he wants that, or to shut up and hold his peace, if he doesn't; to go home, and, most of all, that next time he's not going to open the door to him. And every time, he means it.

After all, Rigsby's an idiot, in general, and also an idiot in love—which is worse. But he's also Cho's partner and friend, so that makes him his idiot, as well, and his responsibility.

So, as he always does, he opens the door. Just one more time.


Hmm...that may have come across more VanPelt-hating than I meant it to. I hope it didn't read that way, because I don't hate Grace, and neither does Cho (in my fic or the show)! Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it. Reviews are always appreciated. :)