DISCLAIMER: The Mentalist does not belong to me. It is the creation of Bruno Heller. I'm writing this fiction to express my love for the series and maybe vent a little.
Lisbon stared at the e-mail she just got from the head of the IT services.
Your account has been suspended due to usage for personal matters and the use of profanity. Please also be advised that your superior has been informed of the illicit content of your exchanges.
Her eyes furrowed in confusion. What could have warranted such a decision? Personal matters? She had no personal life, and she was always civil and professional when writing her memos. She hardly ever used the office mail anyway, preferring to give directions to her team in person. Plus it was too much of a hassle to argue with Jane online; and truth be told not nearly as fun.
In fact the day before had been the first time she ever sent an online memo to her consultant; and that had only been to reply to an e-mail he sent her.
After they had solved the case of Judge Fitzwilliam's daughter's death, Jane had settled on her couch, preening like peacock. Lisbon had gotten so tired of hearing him crow about saving both her and Hightower's butts- conveniently forgetting that he'd been the one to put them in a hot water in the first place. To add insult to injury, she had seen how easily the blond had appeased Hightower with his charm and she vowed he wouldn't use his wiles on her.
After all, there was principle involved.
So the minute he smiled that charming smile of his and stood up from the couch to approach her desk, Lisbon initiated a preemptive attack. She'd dragged him out her office, went back inside, and locked the door, laughing to herself at how astonished Jane had looked.
When she refused to let him in, he had attempted to pacify her with an e-mail, to which she replied that he was better off apologizing in person the next day and to bring an origami duck with him.
Teresa wouldn't admit it under torture, but she'd taken to collecting those paper animals. As he hadn't made her one in over a year, she was glad to have an excuse to have one while securing some peace and quiet for herself for the rest of the day.
But it seemed that the plan had backfired. She hadn't seen nor heard from Jane since she'd sent the e-mail yesterday. Perhaps the first part of the memo had been so scathing that her latter suggestion of a peace offering was ignored? She was used to being snarky with him but maybe the humor wasn't as obvious on a computer screen.
Lisbon groaned. This is exactly why she hated the internet. There was way too much room for misinterpretation.
Could it really be that he'd taken her dressing down to heart? She had been serious, of course, but she hadn't meant to be hurtful. She would have been too embarrassed to ask for the origami in person but if they'd had the conversation face to face she'd at least know what to make of his absence.
To her relief, the man she was stressing over knocked lightly on her open door to get her attention. Once he had it, Jane came inside with an odd expression on his face.
"What's up Jane?" Lisbon asked, relieved enough that he'd finally showed up that she decided to ignore the fact that she was still supposed to be angry.
"I got quite an interesting e-mail," he stated, sitting down in the chair in front of her.
"Join the club," Teresa stated, remembering the memo she just read, "Is yours from IT too? This is ridiculous."
"Why, what's yours say?" Jane asked, hiding a smile.
"Look," she turned her computer screen over a bit so he could read it, then continued speaking as he did.
"I know Martin's held a grudge ever since I turned down his offer for dinner, but he can't do this. I mean, everything we write can be tracked. He can't accuse me without proof."
"But you are guilty. He has all the proof he needs."
"I didn't do anything Jane. " Lisbon stated impatiently.
"What about the e-mail you sent me yesterday?"
"What about it?" Bemused.
"You were suggesting some pretty extreme measures for me to get your forgiveness for my teeny tiny mistake on the last case."
"Jane, you had us open a sealed coffin for nothing. I'd say that's pretty big screw up. I'm not as easy as Hightower. "
"So you saw that," he stated carefully to keep his tone bland.
"Yes I did. I'm surprised she let you get away with it, it's beyond inappropriate. I just wanted to make sure you understood it wouldn't work on me so you shouldn't bother trying."
"Really?" Jane asked, in mock surprise, like he couldn't believe she considered a kiss from him that terrible.
"Duh, Jane," Lisbon answered; not understanding what was so hard to believe.
"And your alternative is better?"
"It's not like you haven't done it before, Jane so what's the big deal?"
"Yes, but it's been a while," Jane said, coughing as if to hide embarrassment, or laughter. Ignoring his weird behavior Lisbon continued.
"But you've been planning on it."
Lisbon rolled her eyes, not sure how much more of his deliberate obtuseness she could take. He must think she's an idiot.
"Jane you've previously given me an origami frog, a dragonfly, and a water lily," she said, counting off the paper structures on her fingers, "I can see that there's a theme here."
"Yes there is. But you've misread it completely."
"It's not the Ugly Duckling?"
"Swan Lake, my dear."
"Oh," Lisbon said, before shrugging. A swan figure was just as good as a duck anyway. Only…"Wait, I still don't get it. What does this have to do with taking away my e-mail privileges? There was nothing inappropriate in that e- mail."
"Yes there was."
"For God's sake, Jane, I know what I wrote," Lisbon exclaimed heatedly, turning her monitor back towards her, moving her mouse to access her sent files.
"Oh that's okay. I just so happen have a copy of your e-mail right here," Jane said, taking out a folded piece of paper from his vest pocket.
Lisbon reached over her desk to grab it but Jane held it out of her reach.
"I'm going to skip the beginning since it's all you ranting about how I'd gotten you in trouble when we both know you meant to say how much fun you had during our stake out."
"Yes, stuck hiding with you under a table with a corpse rotting in a coffin a few feet away was delightful."
"Not as delightful as you suggesting that to make amends I'd have to make love to you."
Lisbon's jaw dropped and her eyes went wide.
"I did no such thing," she sputtered.
Jane shook his head ruefully.
"Of course you weren't nearly as romantic in your request; but that's not surprising; you are a cop after all."
"Jane," Lisbon threatened, her face red at the mere thought of the implication, "do you need to read the Bureau's policy on sexual harassment?"
"No, but apparently you do, woman," Jane said, finally handing her the printed e-mail. "You should be more careful with your d's and' f's in the future," he added.
Teresa grabbed it and as she started reading silently Patrick joined her behind the desk.
"It's this last paragraph here," he pointed out helpfully, then started reading out loud over her shoulder.
"if you think you can make this better by a kiss on the cheek you're wrong. You're better off trying again tomorrow and giving me a f-"
Jane barely had time to swerve back as Lisbon sprang from her chair, aghast.
Oh my God!" Her hands shook as they held the print out.
Jane finally allowed himself to grin broadly; he'd almost burst holding in his mirth the whole time they'd been talking.
"I must say, Lisbon, I don't remember reading this penalty clause in my job description," he murmured next to her ear, enjoying how red her face and ears were becoming.
"Shut up, Jane!" Lisbon managed to spit out even as she was almost hyperventilating at the thought that this e-mail was read and misunderstood by others.
Jane stepped back, returning to his seat in front of her desk, but he was having too much of a ball to keep quiet.
"Allow me to point out that deep breaths would be very beneficial here. You need to compose yourself seeing as Hightower is about to come in," he stated, nodding at the door behind her desk.
Lisbon turned around just in time to see Madeline enter.
"Ahh, good, you're both here," the older woman said with a terse smile.
"Ma'am," Lisbon greeted her, furiously trying to think of what to say.
"I assume you know why I'm here, Agent Lisbon. Martin told me he sent you an e mail."
"Yes Ma'aam," Lisbon started apologetically, even as she had no idea how to fix this. Fortunately (or unfortunately-it was too soon for her to tell) Jane decided to step in.
"Oh Madeline, don't fret. Lisbon was just jealous of our kiss, so she wants to make sure I give her extra attention."
"Jane!" Lisbon snapped, horrified and lamenting her stupidity at thinking that Jane could ever say anything helpful in this situation. She'd have to think of something quick.
"Ma'am, I assure you," Lisbon began only to stop once she saw Hightower looking at Jane suspiciously.
"You two are dating?"
"No?" Madeline looked at the two of them skeptically, before raising an inquiring eyebrow at Jane.
"No," he agreed, then added, "But it's not like dating is a prerequisite for what she's asking for is it?"
Seeing Lisbon about to blow a gasket, Jane decided that he'd had enough fun, she was almost in tears in her mortification.
"On the other hand, Madeline, I think there must be a mistake. I mean, it's not like Lisbon to demand such a personal make up gift via her work e-mail."
"True," their boss agreed, before turning hard eyes on her subordinate, "On the other hand, it's also not like her to disclose knowledge of your apology to me, and yet she did." Here, Hightower flushed a bit before she continued. "So let's hear it Lisbon. Did you or did you not write that e-mail?"
"I did," Lisbon admitted. After all, she was caught red handed, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I meant no disrespect, I know Jane's behavior towards you in no way reflects your character. I know him and his ways which is specifically why I sent him that e-mail him to avoid the same thing happening to me."
"Funny," Hightower deadpanned.
"I thought so too," Jane said with a grin.
Lisbon's glare could have bored holes into him.
Madeline ignored them both and continued.
"Jane's behavior is not at fault here Agent, yours is," Hightower stated, removing her own copy of the e-mail from the folder in her hand. "How do you explain the last line. After you suggest he...engage in sexual activity with you-"
"Oh God, please stop, Lisbon interrupted, sinking into her desk chair burying her face in her hands.
"You state: Go ahead, you know you want to"?
Lisbon couldn't help the tiny whimper which escaped her throat, even though her mouth was closed.
"I never thought you'd stoop to such sickeningly blatant come on's, Agent," Madeline said acidly.
"Ma'am, I swear this is all just a big misunderstanding. I can explain."
Jane would feel sorry for her if he wasn't having so much fun watching her freak out.
"Please do, agent. I'd hate to have to take action against you should Patrick decide to sue for sexual harassment."
Lisbon sputtered and it was all Jane could do to keep from guffawing. He gave Lisbon a falsely pitying look before addressing her boss.
"Oh Madeline, I wouldn't do that."
"I was worried you'd say that," the CBI head said with a frown, before looking back at Lisbon.
"As a woman, I'm disgusted."
"Ma'am," this time Lisbon really was near tears. Jane' smirk quickly disappeared and was replaced with guilt as he remembered he'd decided to put an end to this.
"I mean it's obvious he has a crush on you but I never thought you'd encourage him, or use him for your own selfish needs."
Hightower's words made Jane's defense of Lisbon die on his lips, replaced with shock.
"Come again Madeline?"
"Jane, please. Don't get me started. Your feelings are obvious so let's not waste time arguing. We're trying to find a solution here."
Lisbon, on the other hand had an epiphany and finally found her escape from this nightmarish situation.
"Exactly, ma'am! I'm so glad you understand."
Jane's head snapped to her so fast she was surprised it didn't fly off his neck. What was she doing?
Meanwhile, Hightower looked intrigued.
"Well it's been bothering me for a while now, but I've sensed that Jane has developed some unprofessional feelings toward me. And while I value our partnership I don't think a relationship with him would be appropriate or beneficial to our work. Or my sanity," she added wryly.
Hightower crossed her arms, looking at Lisbon with interest.
"Did it occur to you to just talk to him about it?"
"I would have ma'am, if I thought it would help. But Jane's just a consultant. Even if the rules of non-fraternizing applied to him; you know he wouldn't follow them."
Jane watched in awe as Hightower nodded ruefully and Lisbon continued shamelessly with her bogus story.
"And talking would have made too big a deal out of the issue. Obviously his feelings are only superficial. Just base physical attraction, or he'd have taken off his ring. As you can see it's still on.
Here, both Jane and Madeline looked at the ring in question.
"So I came up with this plan to corner him, make him realize despite his attraction, a relationship wouldn't be possible."
Madeline looked equally impressed and skeptic.
"Reverse psychology, really?"
"Really?" Jane repeated darkly.
"Really," Lisbon stated firmly.
Hightower glanced at Jane, obviously trying to read his expression.
"Jane, do you have anything to say?"
"I'm good," he scowled, "now that Lisbon's cleared that up."
"Well then. I'm glad this is just a misunderstanding. For the record though, next time, it might be easier to just send me a memo, and I'll have a chat with him if it gets out of hand again."
"I will," Lisbon promised seriously.
"Well, I'll have Martin know you have your e-mail back."
"Jane. I hope you learned a lesson from this," Hightower said in parting.
After she left, a huge silly relieved grin threatened to split Lisbon's face.
"I can't believe, she actually bought it!"
"Neither can I," Jane glared down at her, his fists on his hips.
"Hey. It was her idea. Next time try not to let your crush be so obvious," Teresa teased, leaning back in her chair.
"That's not funny," Jane groused.
"Oh it is too," Lisbon insisted, "You'd be laughing your ass off if it were the other way around. Besides, it serves you right. You could have easily explained the situation instead of standing there laughing like an idiot."
"So could have you," Patrick pointed out.
"Yeah, but somehow I don't think she would have believed me. I never realized how lewd that e-mail sounded till you read it. Besides, if she found it easy to believe that I was demanding 'sexual favors' from you," Lisbon made quotes with her fingers, "then it's not too much of a stretch for her to believe I was only do so to stop you from being attracted to me."
"You're very happy with yourself now aren't you," Jane accused.
"Can you blame me," she smirked.
"Well, then, I guess I don't need to give you this anymore," he said, brandishing the origami swan he had made as an apology for her, before stomping out of her office with his tail between his legs.
Damn. She'd really wanted that swan.
Later that evening as Madeline was about to leave work, she spotted the two arguing as they headed to the elevator. They walked inside, and she was about to ask them to hold the lift when she overheard their conversation
"Come on Jane, you were going to do it anyway."
"Can't make me. I'm still upset with you after your earlier performance."
Madeline ran to the stairs. If she was lucky, they'd stop at every floor in the building and she'd be in her car and long gone before she had to see if they left in separate cars or not.
Author's note: Hi everyone! I'd decided to try my hand at something a little lighter this time. This has been on my mobile for months now, and I only remembered it after I had my own little misunderstanding with a dear friend via e-mail - You know who you are ;) I'd like to dedicate this to Chiziruchibi whose been having a rough time and all Jisbon fan's both here and on twitter. I'm not used to doing humor so be sure to let me know what you think.