A/N: So, this is another one that's changed slightly from my original plan for it. I cannot say that I am upset by this at all. I kind of really love it. I don't know why (except that I do). I feel that it is fun times. The prompt was from corlando, Jane/Lisbon: Tarot reading. Now, to be clear, I know next to nothing about tarot. So can we all not obsess too much if I got the interpretations of the cards wrong? I may or may not have spent a fair bit of time this evening on Wikipedia. I tried. Any errors, however, are obviously mine.
Title: Tarot Cards
Lisbon passed yet another pair of female agents leaving her office on her way back from getting a refill of coffee. She recognized them as both being relatively new recruits to the fraud division.
"I can't believe the cards told him my next serious relationship would be with someone dark and handsome and close to the water," the first was saying. Lisbon thought her name might have been Gomez.
"You can't honestly believe that nonsense, Lisa," the second, McNeil, replied.
Gomez shrugged, "Well, Greg does love to surf…"
"Oh please," her friend said, rolling her eyes.
But the first agent was determined, "Come on! You can't dismiss it completely."
"Watch me," McNeil said dryly.
"Laura, he knew a card symbolized your mother because it had her favourite flower on it," Lopez reminded her.
That piece of evidence caused the sceptical McNeil to pause, "Well…"
"Well, what?" Gopez prompted.
"Oh, come on. Everyone knows he's not really psychic," McNeil replied. "He's said so himself."
"Van Pelt told me sometimes she wonders," the first woman said stubbornly.
"Okay, I'll admit it's weird," her companion was willing to admit. "But he could easily have rigged the deck."
Her friend was shaking her head before McNeil had even finished speaking. "I think it's something more. My grandmother was really into that stuff, swore by it."
"You're just saying that because you're hoping for Mr. Tall, handsome and wet," McNeil said with a smirk.
Lopez smirked. "Nothing wrong with being optimistic…"
Lisbon watched, shaking her head as the two laughing women walked away. Then she ducked into her office and shut the door.
"You seriously told Gomez that O'Leary would be her next serious relationship?" she asked incredulously.
The man sitting on her couch looked up, his speech slightly affected. "I'm sorry fair lady," he said. "I'm unsure what you're accusing me of. In fact, I'm not sure we've ever met, in this life at least. And I think I'd remember a woman like you, so full of sadness and hope. Tell me, how can I help you?"
"Oh drop the act, Jane," Lisbon said rolling her eyes.
Jane smiled. "So you know of me then, the Great Jane. I'm humbled that my name has reached the ears of one such as you. Although, I shouldn't exaggerate my skills. My modest room speaks for itself in that respect," he said, gesturing to her office where he and Van Pelt had draped black cloth over most of the furniture, except the white couch and the chair opposite it.
Seated on that very same couch wearing in an all-black suit in the dimmed light, Lisbon had to admit Jane was striking. And he sure knew how to put on a good show. But she wanted to talk to him like a normal person. "Could the Great Jane possibly speak sensibly for a minute?" she asked.
"What's sense to one person may be foolish to another, and what's nonsense wisdom," Jane said with twinkling eyes.
"Alright then, I'm leaving," Lisbon said, turning on her heel.
"Fine," Jane grumbled. "Buzzkill. What did you need Lisbon?"
"I was wondering if you seriously told Lopez to go after O'Leary," she said, repeating her earlier objection.
"I didn't tell her anything," Jane said with a shake of his head. "I simply read what the cards showed me. I can't help what she took from the reading."
Lisbon tilted her head, amused in spite of herself.
He grinned. "The cards may have given a little push," he admitted.
Lisbon sighed. "This is meant to be a fundraising event, not a matchmaking service."
"And the CBI will get $10.00 as a result of my little chat with the ladies of the fraud division," Jane promised her. "It's not my fault if Lopez gets more than that out of the deal."
"You're just lucky the two of them are on different teams" Lisbon grumbled.
"Oh, don't bother," Jane said with a wave of his hand. "Deep down I know you don't care about that. And inside you want to laugh. You know as well as I do how tiresome they were getting about it."
Lisbon stubbornly stuck to her point, "Still, you can't go around pairing people off, Jane."
"They're the ones reading things into what I say," Jane reminded her. "All I do is suggest."
Lisbon almost laughed, "You know as well as I do what the power of suggestion can do."
"And you were the one who wanted me to help out with the CBI fundraiser," Jane reminded her.
"I didn't mean by turning my office into an imitation of the set of a made-for-TV movie on the SyFy channel and doing your best impression of Swami CBI," Lisbon snarked.
Jane tilted his head at her. "Maybe next time you should be more specific then."
"I'll do that," Lisbon assured him.
"And hey, look on the bright side Lisbon," Jane told her. "I have been doing pretty well for myself. Even Cho bought a session with the Great Jane."
"What did you tell him?" Lisbon asked. "That his next major reading project will involve an author whose name starts with a consonant and a novel that mentions light?"
"Oh hush," Jane told her. "You know, most of the team has visited my lair here…"
"My office," Lisbon muttered.
He ignored her. "They were all good sports in the support of a good cause."
Lisbon was beginning to catch on. She sighed internally, "Jane…"
"Van Pelt quite liked her reading," Jane continued. "Seemed to find it helpful."
"It must have been hard giving a positive reading to someone you see almost every day," Lisbon said dryly.
Jane continued to ignore her. "Even Wainwright dropped by. That was a fun one."
Lisbon swore her heart stopped in her chest for a moment. "Oh god, don't tell me. No wait…"
Jane grinned, "Worried you were featured? No dear, I steered him away from fiery brunettes. Other than that, I'm afraid I can't reveal anything about our little chat, protecting my client's privacy and all."
Lisbon rolled her eyes, "Tarot readers do not have client privilege!"
"And we're not in a court of law," Jane countered.
"I'd noticed," she shot back.
"Come on Teresa," Jane wheedled. "The CBI is asking for your support."
This time she did sigh, "You're not serious."
He held out the chair across from her coffee table.
"What if I just gave you the five dollars?" Lisbon asked desperately, unsure why she was so adamantly against the idea of Jane giving her a tarot reading.
"Let's have it then," Jane said, holding out his hand.
Gratefully, Lisbon removed the five dollar bill from her wallet and gave it to him.
Grinning, Jane took her arm and let her to the chair.
"What?" he asked innocently. "You've paid for services rendered. Now I'm rendering them."
"No, I paid you not to render services," Lisbon reminded him.
"Hmm. There must have been some sort of mix-up then," Jane said, pretending to think about it. "Anyway, the Great Jane always honours his business transactions."
Lisbon scowled. "This is ludicrous."
"Oh, come on Teresa," Jane said. "What's the harm?"
"I just don't see the point in you giving me a fake reading is all. Especially given how much we already know about each other," she groused. But she did sit down in the chair he was holding out for her.
"Well, maybe I'll surprise you then," he murmured, walking back around the table to take his seat on the couch.
"That's what I'm afraid of," she murmured.
"It'll be painless, I promise," Jane assured her. "Now, do you have a question to ask the cards, Teresa?"
She paused. Not only did she have to sit through this, she had to think of some kind of question for the Great Jane? Oh, so not happening. "Uhh…"
"Not a problem," Jane said. "The Great Jane is more than happy to provide general readings."
"And unwanted ones," Lisbon muttered.
He ignored her. "Cut the deck please," he said holding it out to her.
After a second Lisbon did as he asked.
Jane smiled. "Thank you. Now I'll deal seven cards. The order of these cards should hopefully answer the questions in your heart you're too afraid to ask," he informed her, more than a touch of the "Great Jane" in his voice.
He ignored her feeble objection, dealing out cards just as he'd said he would.
Lisbon bit her lip.
Jane took her hand, turned it palm up on the table, and placed his own on top of it.
"What are you doing?" she asked, the faintest of tremors in her voice.
"Establishing a connection of course," Jane told her, his voice low. "Standard procedure."
Now her voice held a heavy dose of scepticism, "Jane…"
He couldn't resist the smallest of smiles. "Shh, Teresa. Just relax. I told you; it won't hurt."
She muttered something mostly unintelligible under her breath, but Jane was pretty sure he caught the words "foolish consultant" in the mix. He resisted the urge to smile at her.
"Alright Teresa," he said soothingly. "We're going to do a very simple spread today, since you're nervous. Here we come to the first card. This one usually represents your past."
"I already know what's in my past," she muttered.
Jane resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "We all do," he agreed. "But sometimes the cards give us new perspective."
Lisbon didn't look particularly impressed.
Jane flipped the first card. "Strength," he said slowly. "Well, now that's interesting, although not particularly surprising."
Lisbon blinked at the card then sighed when Jane didn't continue speaking. "Alright then, oh great one. What does the card mean?"
Jane looked up. "Discipline, control, stability, usually," he said softly. "In your case I imagine all three, Teresa. From what I can see in your eyes. Your role in the past perhaps?"
"Are you really going to conduct this reading like you don't know who I am?" Lisbon asked.
Jane smiled. "Sometimes it's easier," he admitted.
"If it's difficult, why are we bothering to do it at all?" Lisbon asked.
Jane's fingers tightened around her wrist. "Sometimes the difficult things are the most important."
"The Great Jane sure likes his platitudes," Teresa replied.
He shook his head. "No," Jane murmured. "I meant that."
She stared at him, then her eyes narrowed.
He smiled at her, all too aware of what she was thinking. "Patience, Teresa. It's bad luck to stop a reading mid-way through."
"So says the Great Jane?" she asked, a hint of a smile on her face.
He smiled back. "So say the stars."
To his surprise, she chuckled. "By all means, continue then."
Jane's smile held as he flipped the second card. "Your present," he explained. Then it was his turn to almost laugh. "Justice," he read, showing her the card. "Also appropriate, given your chosen profession. The balance of morality, duty and right. These are the questions that haunt you sometimes, aren't they Teresa? But never fear, with this card in your present, you can't be going far wrong."
Lisbon swallowed. Jane started to rub soothing circles on her wrist with his index finger. She wasn't sure he was even aware he was doing it. "Jane?" she asked with a smile. "Did you rig my tarot reading?"
He looked up at her, a fairly convincing frown on his face, Lisbon thought. "My dear," he said gently. "You cut the deck before I started. How could I have rigged this?"
"I assure you," he told her. "This is the universe working through a humble vessel."
"Very humble," she agreed.
He shot her a quick grin, then squeezing her hand, flipped the third card. "Influences," he murmured. "Queen of hearts," he said softly. "Usually a loving mother, or loyal friend."
Her whole body tightened. "Jane," she said. It was an obvious warning.
"She made you who you are," he replied softly. "Just as good, just as loyal."
Lisbon felt unexpected tears prick in her eyes. "Jane," she said again, this time on a whisper.
He was already flipping over the next card. "We'll move on," he promised. "After all, I promised you no pain. Obstacles," he said with a flourish. "The four of hearts."
"The four of hearts?" she repeated.
"Or cups, if you like," Jane admitted. "Both are used. But I prefer hearts today," he murmured.
"Ah," Lisbon said, leaning forward slightly.
"So, this one," Jane said. "Usually means you're dissatisfied with something, dissatisfied or contemplative. Are you satisfied Teresa," he asked, meeting her eyes.
"I..." she faltered. "Sure?"
"There's nothing you're looking for?" he prodded, rubbing his thumb along her wrist again.
Lisbon wished he'd stop doing that. It was distracting. "I don't know," she admitted after a moment.
Jane smiled. "Well, your card is telling you to open yourself up to new possibilities," he told her. "Overcome your obstacles, Teresa. I'm sure you can if you put your mind to it."
"Thanks," she said with a shaky laugh, shaking her head in an attempt to clear it. It didn't work.
Her slight discomfort seemed to please Jane, irritatingly. "Fifth card, Teresa" he told her. "Expectations." Then he flipped it. "Ehm, well, that's bad news."
Lisbon snickered. "Come on, Patrick," she said, slipping unconsciously into the first-name basis he'd been using for the entire reading. "Even an amateur like me knows that the death card doesn't actually mean death. I would expect better from the Great Jane."
"You're right of course," he told her. "The card symbolizes rebirth, change." He watched her intently, drawing his thumb along the line of her palm to get her attention. "Second card with that theme for you. I think the universe is trying to tell you something, dear. Maybe it's time to take stock, look around, let your world evolve."
"I'll see what I can do," she murmured, only half-hearing the words, focussing instead on his thumb which was now apparently tracing all of the lines of her palm. She'd always assumed things like palm reading and tarot were related, but she'd never heard of someone doing both at once before.
"Card six," Jane said, moving smoothly to the second to last card. "Best course of action. The two of clubs, or wands if you prefer. Hmmm."
"What's hmmm?" Lisbon asked, intrigued in spite of herself.
Jane seemed to be struggling with the words he wanted to say. "It's an optimistic card," he said at last.
Lisbon frowned in confusion. "Well, that's good, isn't it?"
Jane smiled slightly. "Yes, it's very good," he admitted. "It's telling you that now's the time to make your move. The power's in your hands, if you want it."
"Want what?" she prompted, leaning forward.
Jane took the opportunity to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "I'm afraid that's up to you, dear," he murmured. "So choose carefully."
She stared at him, unsure how to respond, the air in her office suddenly seeming much too close.
"And lastly," Jane said, not taking his eyes off of her. "The likely outcomes of your decision." He glanced down quickly at the card he'd just turned over before meeting her eyes again. "The two of hearts."
Lisbon's mouth went dry, though she wasn't sure why.
Jane twined his fingers through hers. "The card of partnerships and unions. Maybe even romance," he explained. "If you're lucky."
He squeezed her hand when she didn't speak.
She couldn't speak, didn't know what to say. Her hands were tingling (especially the one he'd been holding), her mind was whirling, her heart was thumping in her chest. Something had happened, something...
Jane stood suddenly – still holding onto her damn hand – and walked around the table towards her.
Lisbon finally found her voice. "You did rig my tarot reading..." she said in shock, as he pulled her up beside him. He had planned it. She didn't know how, but he... he'd wanted her to hear the reading.
Jane smiled, slowly, devastatingly. Lisbon's heart gave an odd little thud. "I told you Teresa," he said, his voice sinfully smooth. "I just let the universe speak through me." Then he raised her hand, and brushed his lips across the centre of her palm.
Lisbon's strangled gasp was audible in the quiet room, the black fabric lending an odd air of surrealism to the entire thing, except that she knew there was absolutely nothing surreal about any of it. It was somehow actually happening.
Jane's smile widened at the expression on her face. He reached up with his other hand to lightly cup her cheek, before placing a gentle kiss on the corner of her mouth. "Remember, it's your choice Teresa," he murmured against her cheek. "You have the power."
Then, with one final brush of his thumb along her knuckles, he slipped out of her office, leaving Lisbon staring after him in shock.
Turning around after a second, she stared at the table, the Great Jane's reading still prominently displayed. She noticed the deck sitting off to the side.
Biting her lip, and telling herself she was being foolish she strode over to the table.
After all, what could it hurt? The universe (or its messenger) clearly had information to convey. She flipped the top card.
Laughter bubbled up in her throat.
She had no idea what the official occult meaning of the card was (or if there even was one), but Lisbon figured it wouldn't hurt to take that one literally.
Grinning to herself, she restacked the cards neatly on the centre of the table for Jane.
He'd certainly be back sooner or later.
After all, he'd need to come get his cards.
As for anything else, well, he'd just have to wait until he got back to find out.
She hoped he wouldn't take too long.