Redgret and Forgiveness
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.
Cho stood awkwardly outside Lisbon's office feeling nervous.
He didn't get nervous, that was Rigsby's job. But earlier that day he had disobeyed a direct order from his boss.
He'd done it before, usually after Jane urged him to. But this time Cho's insubordination had nothing to do with Jane. It was all him. And his actions had not only undermined Lisbon, but he'd also affected the entire unit: they were in hot water with the DA's office.
Cho didn't regret what he'd done, especially seeing how happy Anthony was to get his father back. Given a second chance he'd do it all over again.
When he first met the kid, Kimball had pegged him to be as worthless as he himself had been.
Cho's reason to join the gangs had been an outlet for his bitterness at his parents for taking away his dream of becoming a baseball player. In essence, it had been a sadistic method of throwing a tantrum. He'd taken pleasure every time his father got a call from the police.
In retrospect, Kimball couldn't believe how much if a punk he was.
But Anthony, all he wanted was to keep his father out of jail.
He'd thought that the kid was much better than himself, even though his circumstances were infinitely worse.
How could he not have helped him after misjudging him? How could he not try to give him a chance, when he, who had been a much lesser person had gotten one?
It wasn't fair. He couldn't stand by and do nothing.
But it also wasn't fair that his boss, whom he greatly esteemed, and the rest of the team would have to suffer the consequences of his actions.
Cho figured the least he could do was be honest and tell Lisbon up front before she had to start asking why they were suddenly getting the cold shoulder from the District Attorney.
Stealing himself, Cho knocked on Teresa Lisbon's door.
The minute he entered Cho saw straight away that Lisbon knew.
Not only that, he worked with Lisbon long enough to discern from her demeanor- her deceptively languid position, knees crossed, lips set thinly, green gaze hard- that she wanted him to know that she knew.
He could also tell from the way she kept her silence that she was waiting to hear his explanation, and that it had better be good.
"The kid who stole my car, the DA's case was against his father. He was innocent, and if he'd gone to jail the kid would have ended up in foster care or worse."
The hard line of Lisbon's lips softened somewhat even as her eyes seemed to grow darker.
Cho suddenly felt immense contrition as he remembered that she of all people would have understood. It wasn't just that she could emphasize with the kid's situation.
If he would have told her, she would have had his back. She always did.
And he'd repaid her by pulling a Jane.
He hadn't told her because he figured it would be better for her; deniability as the Mentalist always argued. But now watching how disappointed she was with him, Cho wondered how it was that Jane was able to stand having that emotion directed at him.
Guess his own disappointment in himself makes him immune, Cho surmised. There can't be anything worse than feeling responsible for getting your family killed.
Looking at Lisbon, Cho could practically read her thoughts, as he knew she was reading his. She was wondering if he thought he deserved the same leeway as Jane. And he let her know he didn't think so.
Jane's Jane, and I'm me. He's a consultant, I'm an agent. I should have known better, he conveyed with his eyes, shaking his head slightly in earnest.
He watched in dismay as Lisbon pinched the bridge of her nose in resigned anger.
"Good night Cho," she finally said, not looking at him.
Damn. She really is pissed.
Lying in his bed that night, Cho thought he couldn't remember the last time he felt so bad for something he'd done. Then suddenly he did. It had been after his once best friend David Seung was killed; Cho had been plagued by the fact that he hadn't returned his friend's call. Maybe if he had, David wouldn't have ended up dead. Thankfully David's grandmother had forgiven Cho and he was able to make peace with himself.
He hadn't been the best employee then either; keeping Lisbon in the dark until Jane came up with a ruse to find his friend's killer. Any other boss might have suspended him for going AWOL. But Lisbon hadn't. She had been amazing about the whole thing; hadn't said anything to berate his actions and even saved him from a lawsuit.
Could it be that her letting him off easy then was why he hadn't considered her reaction when he disobeyed her this time? Had he inadvertently taken advantage of her understanding?
Was she feeling unappreciated now? Disrespected?
They weren't words Kimball liked to associate with his boss. She was too good, too strong to feel that way.
He spent most of the night trying to come up with a way to make amends, to apologize. But that wasn't how he was; who he was.
He wished it was though. He felt a surge of jealousy at his fellow male co-workers: Rigsby for his open admiration for the boss and ability to admit when he was wrong. And Jane…Jane for seeming to not care about hurting her but whom always managed to somehow make her forgive him.
With those bitter thoughts, Cho fell into a restless sleep.
Thankfully, his dark mood didn't last much longer than early next morning. When he got to work, Cho found a corrective memo on his desk with a handwritten post it note stuck to it. He recognized the writing as Lisbon's and picked it up, feeling relief as he read it:
Next time it'll be a suspension if you don't talk to me first.
Turning on his computer, Cho typed a quick message on the office's intranet to Lisbon.
Less than a minute later he got a reply.
And just like that, all was forgiven.
Author's Note: This was first written in frustration with Cho's lack of regard towards Lisbon in the episode, then ended up being more of a study of their relationship in comparison with the others. Considering episode Bloodstream, I think Cho would have a hard time apologizing to Lisbon, but he'd still feel guilty over undermining her, which is why he thanked her for punishing him here; it gave them a chance to put the matter behind them. So yeah, might be weird logic, but that's what I came up with since the writers don't bother giving us those details. My first ever Cho fic! Let me know what you think :)