A/N: SO. I am currently rather frustrated with show. The solution? Starting a fluffy multiparter of course! Probably best not to take this *too* seriously. It's not a farce, but it's also going to be mostly light. Because that's what I felt like writing. I hope you enjoy it!
Long lost (Long last)
Lisbon walked out into the bullpen, intent on getting an update from her team on their latest case. A young woman, April Johnson had been found, shot to death in a state park.
"Van Pelt," she called. "Anything on our victim's credit cards that stands out?"
The redhead shook her head. "No boss. Pretty much the usual suspects there, with the exception of a large number of transactions buying art supplies, but given April's hobbies that's not surprising."
Lisbon sighed. She'd figured as much. "And nothing that indicates April may have had an inappropriate relationship with her painting teacher?" she asked hopefully. They'd interviewed the man earlier in the day and he'd given off a serious 'creep' vibe. Lisbon wasn't sure it was a 'he's dangerous creepy' vibe or just a normal 'creepy' vibe, but the man had definitely looked like a good potential suspect.
Unfortunately, Van Pelt had bad news on that front too. "No, sorry. Nothing objectionable in his past that I could find. No priors, no formal complaints."
"His alibi's pretty solid too, Boss," Rigsby interjected, walking up. "He was leaving a bar just about time of death. Got him on a surveillance camera and everything. It's possible that he broke every traffic law on the books to get to the park in time to shoot April, but…"
"It's unlikely," Lisbon murmured.
"Yeah," Rigsby agreed.
"Oh, he didn't do it," Jane chimed in from his couch.
Lisbon turned towards him, a small smile on her face. "No?" she asked, her tone indulgent.
Jane shook his head. "Our artistic Mr. Robertson may be unpleasant little worm, but that's all he is, a worm. No way he summoned up the courage to actually point a gun at someone and pull the trigger. And you needn't look so disappointed about that fact, Lisbon. You already suspected as much anyway."
Lisbon decided not to reply to that last part. "He was the obvious suspect though," she pointed out. "Teacher with anger-management issues. We had to check him out."
"We did," Jane agreed. "Well, you guys did at least. Now he's clear and it's time to move on to finding the real killer."
Lisbon looked at him sceptically. "Which I suppose is what you've been doing?"
"Absolutely," Jane replied with a nod.
Lisbon walked towards the couch to take a better look at what had caught Jane's attention. She smirked when she saw the title of the book in his hands. "By reading art books?"
"Calligraphy books actually," he corrected her, with a grin of his own.
"Oh, no, there's a world of difference between painting and calligraphy, Lisbon," Jane told her, shaking his head at her mistake. "The art of writing. I'm actually finding it quite fascinating."
"Well, I'm glad we at the CBI could help you find a new hobby, Jane," Lisbon said dryly.
"Thank you," Jane replied, ignoring her sarcasm. "And in spite of your scepticism, I would point out that according to those credit card records you and Van Pelt were so seriously discussing only a few moments ago, April's interest in calligraphy was new. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't things that are new particularly suspicious in murder investigations?"
"How new?" Lisbon asked, suddenly interested.
"Two weeks," Jane told her. "I wonder if she was taking lessons anywhere. She obviously hadn't gotten very far through this particular book. The spine's barely creased."
"I'll look into the calligraphy thing, Boss," Van Pelt told her. "Maybe find a list of people who might teach it in the area."
Lisbon nodded. "Good idea. Jane…"
"I'm going to keep reading," Jane assured her. "Search for clues and all that, plus you're right. Maybe I do need a new hobby Lisbon."
She rolled her eyes. "I'm going to give the boyfriend a call again," she said, leaving the room.
Just before she left she heard Jane murmur to himself. "The long lost art of letter-writing…"
Lisbon didn't see her consultant again until they were on a trip to a local paper shop (Lisbon refused to call it a "Papery"), one that Van Pelt was pretty sure also held classes.
"Lisbon, did you know that calligraphy literally means 'beautiful writing'?" Jane asked. "It's usually only used for official documents now, and wedding invitations now. Well, that and movie props."
"No," she told him with a laugh. "How on earth would I know that? I never went to finishing school."
Lisbon turned slightly towards him, realizing he looked a little disappointed by her dismissal. "You're actually serious about this," she realized.
"I told you, it interests me," he reminded her. "And anyway, I don't think you would have learned calligraphy in finishing school. From what I can gather it was never something used much for day to day letter writing. It was always for more important documents."
"So you're saying that the next time I need to issue an official CBI memo that I should look into it?" she teased.
Jane smiled. "Couldn't hurt. You know, there is some concern that it's going to become a lost art, which is a shame. After all, calligraphy is just fancy handwrighting, and handwriting used to be very important, back when people actually wrote letters. Those letters could contain anything Lisbon, love, business, grocery lists, anything. People used to judge each other based on penmanship, you know."
"Kind of irrelevant now, in the age of the computer," Lisbon pointed out.
"Maybe I'll bring it back," Jane replied stubbornly..
"Good luck with that," she said dryly. After all, it wasn't like Jane had a wide acquaintance. And she couldn't think of any good reason he'd have for writing a bunch of letters.
This time Jane seemed unperturbed by her tone. "Thank you," he said cheerfully.
Lisbon drove in silence for a few moments, when something suddenly struck her. "Hey, what was that you said before about letters containing all sorts of things? Love… Wasn't our vic's best friend mentioning, how she thought maybe April had gotten close to someone new?"
"You caught that, did you grasshopper?" he asked, eyes twinkling.
She glared at him. "Oh, don't even go there."
"Relax Lisbon," Jane said with a wave of his hand. "All this means is that we have to go and find the letters, like in a Victorian mystery novel. Then this new friend, and possible killer, will be revealed."
"Except that if this actually a mystery novel, the letters are almost certainly burned to a crisp in a trash can somewhere," Lisbon shot back.
"In which case there's always a charred fragment containing just enough information to implicate the guilty party," Jane replied.
Lisbon pursed her lips to stop herself from laughing. "Mmhm."
"Or, barring that we'll fall back on getting a confession," Jane added cheerfully.
"Falling back on actual police work?" she asked, her tone as shocked as she could make it. "I'm surprised at you."
"Hush Lisbon," Jane said easily. "But tell me, when did you first read Sherlock Holmes?"
"What?" she asked, clearly startled by the apparent non sequitur.
"Oh come on," Jane told her. "That was clearly the gateway to your other, more lurid Victorian mysteries. So when was it?"
"I…" she faltered, all of a sudden, unsure why she didn't just tell him. To her relief they pulled up in front of the paper store a few seconds later.
"You can tell me on the way back," Jane assured her with a grin both endearing and infuriating.
Luckily for Lisbon, Jane became far too interested in the demeanour of the Papery storeowner to interrogate her further on her mystery-reading habits. He was too busy insisting that the meek-looking man, the one who'd spent a good ten minutes telling the two CBI employees about the newest Japanese writing papers he'd just had imported, was hiding a sinister side.
"I'm telling you Lisbon," Jane insisted. "That man was exactly the type to just snap and shoot a woman. All that rage building up inside him, due to past rejections no doubt. I'd imagine it just exploded."
"And do you have any evidence of this at all, Jane?" she asked dryly. "Just out of curiosity of course."
"Didn't you see his right hand?" Jane asked.
"I noticed he had one, if that's what you're asking," Lisbon replied. She wracked her brain, but as far as she could remember there hadn't been anything unusual about Mr. Morrison's right hand. No scars, no tattoos, no recent injuries, no distinguishing marks of any kind really.
"Well, of course he had one," Jane sad condescendingly. "I would hardly have asked you if you'd noticed it if it hadn't existed."
"So what then?" Lisbon prompted when Jane didn't continue.
"His fingers were twitching the entire time we were in the store," Jane reminded her.
"Well, yes," Lisbon agreed. "But they were twitching before we introduced ourselves, before he even noticed us actually. So the man has a twitch, what of it?"
"You saw those examples of calligraphy he showed us, calligraphy he'd done," Jane reminded her.
"The last one was dated a week ago," Jane added.
"So?" Lisbon asked. "Jane, the man teaches calligraphy. He admitted that much; there's certainly nothing illegal about that."
"He's also right-handed," Jane told her. "And calligraphy's something that requires a steady hand, meaning the twitch, although pretty constant, is also probably new. Something that's started in the last week."
Lisbon considered his theory. "You think it started after the murder?" she asked.
"It's rather poetic, don't you think Lisbon?" Jane asked. "Mr. Morrison finally breaks, takes another life, just like he's fantasized about all these years. He thought he could handle the guilt, but guilt always manifests itself somehow. And in his case, his guilt is visible on the very hand he used to pull the trigger and shoot April."
"I think I'm starting to spend too much time with you," Lisbon told him. "Because that actually kind of made sense."
Jane smirked. "Of course it made sense, Lisbon. It was the obvious conclusion. One might even say elementary."
Lisbon sighed, well aware of what was coming. She should have known he wouldn't give up on the idea. Once Jane got a thought into his head, he rarely let up on it until he saw it through and got the answers he wanted.
"So come on, tell me," Jane prompted.
"Tell you what?" she asked, feigning ignorance.
Now it was his turn to sigh. "When you first read Sherlock Holmes."
Lisbon pushed a lock of hair behind her ear and tried her best to sound casual. "Why do you want to know?"
Jane smiled, one of his nice ones though. One of the ones that didn't make Lisbon feel like he was trying to mess with her. "I can't just be curious?" he asked.
"You can," she agreed. "In fact, you often are."
"Exactly," Jane told her. "Although now, you're reluctance to tell me has really piqued my interest."
"I was twelve," Lisbon said bluntly.
The smile slipped off Jane's face.
"They were a present from my mother, for my last birthday. I didn't get around to reading them right away, not before... Anyway, then I did. Read them that is. Not that I had a whole lot of spare time at that point. But when I was alone. They were... distracting," she said finally.
"I assume you still have the same copies," Jane murmured.
"Why would I buy new copies of books I already own?" Lisbon said curtly, barely managing not to snap at him.
She glanced over at him, unable to help herself. Suddenly unbelievably annoyed at the man (even if his question had been completely innocent). He'd better not be pitying her.
But he wasn't. There was no pity at all on her consultant's face. Just sadness, and maybe hints of... well, if Lisbon had to guess she'd say affection, but it was hard to tell with Jane sometimes.
"And thus began a lifelong love of crime-fighting, I'll wager," Jane said after a moment.
"What?" Lisbon asked.
"Sherlock Holmes," Jane reminded her. "I mean, I know police work tends to run in families, but it's more than that with you. You like solving the mysteries, catching the bad guys."
"Of course I like catching the bad guys," Lisbon said in exasperation. "Some of us go into law enforcement for reasons that aren't so self-serving," she added pointedly.
"Plus you get to carry a gun," Jane replied cheerfully.
To her own surprise, Lisbon laughed. "All right, you got me," she said dryly. "So tell me then, when did you first read Sherlock Holmes, since we're sharing."
Jane smirked. "I was about sixteen. Not sure how I got my hands on a copy anymore. But I was always fascinated by the detail, the things he noticed."
Lisbon felt laughter bubbling up in her chest again. "Jane, you identified with Sherlock Holmes!" she exclaimed, before her giggles overcame her.
"Well," Jane muttered. "Maybe, yes."
Lisbon's laughter subsided into a chuckle. "That's... oh that's just great," she told him sincerely.
"I'm glad I could amuse you, Lisbon," Jane said, sounding slightly miffed.
But when Lisbon turned towards him, his eyes were laughing, so she wasn't too concerned about having insulted him.
"Tell me," she asked. "Did you make a study of the various kinds of tobacco ash?"
Jane smiled. "No. Human subjects were always more interesting to me."
"Hm," Lisbon said, smiling back. It was hard not to sometimes, really. Irritating as he was.
"Which is why I can't really tell you anything about the skill or accuracy of our particular calligraphy teacher," Jane added, bringing them back to the case. "For example, I can't tell you if the slant of his writing indicates a mercurial temper."
"Graphology's inadmissible in court anyway," Lisbon murmured absently.
Jane's eyes twinkled. "Since when do I care about court?" he asked.
"Well, you do enjoy riling up the judges, so you must care about it a little," Lisbon pointed out.
"Necessary evil," Jane told her dismissively.
Her face lit up. "Oh, so you do think the justice system is necessary then? I guess we must be rubbing off on you."
"Oh hush, Lisbon," Jane said affectionately. "I'm beginning to think calligraphy isn't for me," he said after a moment.
"It just isn't practical," Jane said sorrowfully.
"I'm sorry Jane," Lisbon replied, attempting to sound sympathetic.
"No, it's alright," He told her, suddenly grinning again. "I told you. I'm going to bring back letter-writing."
She just laughed as she pulled into the CBI parking lot.
But, true to his word, Jane did seem to mean what he'd said. Lisbon caught him writing on his couch more than once over the course of the day.
Whenever she asked him what he was doing, Jane just told her that she already knew what he was doing. She could only assume the letter-writing was part of an intricate plan to trick Mr. Morrison into confessing. But no, once Rigsby and Van Pelt pinpointed exactly when the man's hand tremor started, along with security footage showing his car on the way to the park, and a second search of April's apartment revealed a series of obviously unsolicited letters from the calligraphy teacher to his newest student (which she helpfully hadn't burned), getting a confession wasn't difficult.
Meaning Jane was writing mysterious letters were for purely personal reasons.
After updating Wainwright on the outcome of the case, Lisbon walked into the bullpen to congratulate her team, only to find them all holding three identical-looking sheets of paper.
Jane had disappeared.
"Do you know what these are about, Boss?" Van Pelt asked, looking amused and holding up her letter.
"No. What are they?" Lisbon asked, even though she had a pretty good idea.
"You mean you didn't get one?" Rigsby asked.
"No," Lisbon said again, with a shake of her head. "I haven't seen Jane since we arrested Morrison though."
"Neither have we," Rigsby replied. "He just left these on our desks. You've probably got one too."
"Not that I saw," Lisbon replied with a slow shake of her head. She'd stopped by her office briefly after meeting Wainwright to drop off some files and it had been letter-free. "Unless Jane decided to hide it somewhere."
"Ours were just on top of our keyboards," Cho told her.
"I'm sure yours is somewhere," Van Pelt assured her. "After all, it'd be weird if Jane left you out."
Lisbon smiled a little too brightly. "Probably," she agreed. "Knowing Jane he put it in some ridiculous place or other. It'll likely fall on my head when I get in my car to go home tonight or something."
Her team seemed to accept that explanation.
"So, do you know why Jane wrote them in the first place?" Van Pelt asked again.
"He didn't explain in the letters?" Lisbon asked curiously, all the while telling herself it was really none of her business what Jane had written to her team. If he'd wanted her to know, he'd have written her a letter of her own.
"No," Cho scoffed. "There's very little in the way of explanation in these."
Rigsby and Van Pelt nodded.
Lisbon was slightly confused by their reactions, but more than willing to share what information she did have. "Apparently he's bringing back the long lost art of letter writing."
Lisbon watched Van Pelt exchange an incredulous look wtih Rigsby. "With these?" she double-checked.
"I think so..." Lisbon said slowly, curious now in spite of herself. "Why? What do they say?"
Van Pelt exchanged another look with Rigsby before unfolding her letter with a flourish and starting to read.
I'm writing to complement you on your excellent work on the Lopez case last month. Manipulating the database to find the killer's second vehicle on that computer of yours was really quite well done. I've never been much for computers myself. Better with people. And that was really quite well done. I know Lisbon'll probably never mention it, but she thought so too.
"Except that you did mention it, Boss," Van Pelt said, awkwardly interrupting the reading of her letter. "Just not in front of Jane. Anyway... He continues -"
You always have a unique perspective on the world. I was wondering, do you prefer the colour green or the colour purple? Your wardrobe would suggest he former, but your purse the latter. Inquiring minds want to know.
P.S. I know you're torn about starting a relationship with the new man at your gym, but I say go for it. He's almost certainly at least as interested as you are.
Van Pelt folded her letter quickly, trying not to look embarrassed by the post script.
"That's what it says?" Lisbon asked. It hadn't been what she'd been expecting. Although, with Jane you never really knew what to expect.
"Yeah," Van Pelt agreed. "They're all like that. Kind of. Read yours Wayne."
Rigsby looked surprised at the request, but upon seeing Van Pelt's glare he obediently opened his letter. Blushing slightly, he began to read.
How are you? Is the little one still causing havoc running around everywhere? He seems to be a reasonably well-behaved little boy. You're doing a good job there. Sarah hasn't brought him into the office in a while though. Shame. It always makes for an interesting afternoon. Lisbon in particular seems to enjoy his visits.
I was wondering what you thought about ice cream sandwiches. On the one hand, the quality of the ice cream's not as good as buying a tub of ice cream, but on the other hand, ice cream sandwiches are more portable. I'm interested in your thoughts.
Also, you dropped a dot of mustard on the left side of your jacket at lunch today. I thought you'd like to know.
Van Pelt was noticeably snickering at that point. Lisbon was having trouble containing her own laughter, particularly when Rigsby tried to hide the small stain on the bottom of his jacket.
Taking pity on the man, Lisbon took everyone's attention off of him by turning towards Cho and raising an eyebrow.
Cho just stared back.
She didn't back down.
After a second, he sighed and made a big show of unfolding his letter, but Lisbon knew he didn't mind indulging her. He wouldn't have backed down so easily (or at all) if he had.
Cho cleared his throat.
Addressing you as 'Dear,' even as a matter of letter-writing convention didn't seem right somehow. I know you'll understand. I only draw attention to it as a point of interest.
I've noticed that you're back's been giving you less trouble lately. The acupuncture's really working, isn't it? Don't worry. I won't tell your mother. I know how irritating a gloating parent can be, even if they were right. I'm happy for you. You seem much more comfortable lately. And I know Lisbon's relieved too. She was always a bit worried for you. I could tell.
Have you ever tried calligraphy? I considered it briefly, but then changed my mind. Lost interest I guess. You don't really seem like the calligraphy type though. How many books would you say you read in a year? My estimate was around 75. Am I right? Don't bother to answer that. I know I am.
"Are you telling me that with those as a beginning, you aren't about to start a lengthy correspondence with Jane?" Lisbon asked playfully when Cho finished his letter.
"Well, seeing as we spend several hours of almost every day with him, I dunno, it seems kinda pointless," Rigsby pointed out.
"He only wrote these on a whim anyway," Cho added.
"Besides, what would we even talk about?" Van Pelt asked. "E-mail's faster anyway. No one writes letters anymore."
Lisbon sighed, feeling almost disappointed for some reason. "I guess that was why Jane wanted to bring it back."
"Hm," Van Pelt hummed. "Anyway, Cho's right. This is just one of Jane's crazy ideas he'll have grown tired of tomorrow."
"Probably," Lisbon agreed.
"You should go find your letter, Boss," Rigsby told her. "Find out whether Jane's curious about any of your food preferences."
Lisbon smiled. "Yeah, I'll just start searching my entire office to find a letter Jane may or may not have even written." Before any of her agents could insist that she must have a letter, Lisbon continued. "Anyway, case is closed. I just talked to Wainwright, everything's done, so you guys can all head out early if you want."
That got Rigsby's attention. Even Cho looked surprised. All three agents immediately began shutting down their computers, deciding to take full advantage of the rare opportunity.
"What about you, Boss?" Van Pelt asked as she stood up and started packing up her stuff.
"I've got a meeting for all team leaders in about twenty minutes, but after that I'm heading out too," Lisbon replied. "You guys go ahead."
"Okay," Rigsby cut in, before Van Pelt could object. "See you tomorrow, Boss."
"Bye," Lisbon said watching them for a second before heading towards her office.
Trying not to walk too quickly, Lisbon shut the door behind her and glanced around, but as far as she could tell there was no white envelope anywhere in sight. If Jane had written her a letter, he had indeed hidden it.
Lisbon waited until she was absolutely sure her team had left before starting her search. She looked in all the obvious placed, albeit as subtly as possible. And then when nothing turned up, she started looking in the less obvious places. After twenty minutes she told herself it was useless. If Jane had hidden her letter, he'd have hidden it in a place she'd never find it until she was least expecting to so there was no point in searching.
Far better to quietly and sensibly get ready for her meeting in ten minutes.
Which is what she started to do. Lisbon picked up a file and quite sensibly began reading it.
Why hadn't Jane written her a letter? It seemed odd for him to leave her out. The team had certainly been surprised when they'd heard she didn't have a letter of her own.
And he'd written everybody else one.
Maybe he'd gotten tired of bringing back the long lost art of letter-writing faster than he usually got tired of things and couldn't be bothered writing a fourth page of nonsense.
Not that it mattered anyway.
Lisbon went back to skimming her file.
Except that she'd read the file already. It wasn't distracting her from her foolish thoughts the way she'd hoped it would.
She told herself she didn't care. She told herself she was being an idiot. She told herself it didn't mean anything anyway.
Just because Jane had written letters to the rest of the team...
Especially given the general content of the letters. Complete and utter nonsense. The odd stray serious thought, but mostly all three were completely ridiculous. The letters were obviously something her consultant had used as a distraction, trying to find something to occupy his brain once the case started winding down.
He'd probably just been distracted by something else before he got around to writing her one.
It really didn't mean anything.
Except that a part of her couldn't help feeling like it was high school all over again, and she'd once again be shunned by the popular kids.
It was just a stupid little letter.
It was just...
It was just, she'd thought they were friends.
And now Lisbon felt even stupider, because she was beginning to realize that her own damn feelings were hurt, over something that couldn't have been less important. She and Jane were friends. And she was a grown woman for crying out loud. This shouldn't matter to her even a little bit.
But somehow, stupidly, it did.
All of a sudden she just wanted to go home.
Lisbon stood up abruptly. Time for her meeting. And then she really could leave.
About an hour later, Lisbon wandered into her office after the staff meeting, seriously exhausted and seriously wanting to go home.
And there it was.
The same fancy envelope she'd seen all the others with earlier, only this one was perched on her keyboard and it had her name on it.
Lisbon bit her lip, trying to conceal a sudden smile. She glanced around warily, but as far as she could tell there was no one around. The bullpen was dark, unsurprising since she'd sent the team home an hour ago. And she hadn't noticed Jane lurking in it on her way past. Maybe he'd gotten tired of waiting for her and left himself.
But before he'd gone, he'd slipped into her office and left a letter for her on her desk.
Shaking her head slightly at her own foolish pleasure, Lisbon dropped into her desk chair, switched on her desk lamp, picked up her letter, and began to read.
Alright, that's it for now. Not sure when the next one'll be up, but I wouldn't imagine it'll be too long.