Authors note: I've had this on my computer for ages and all it needed was a spell check but have been so distracted with the finale I couldn't seem to focus on this, until today. So big apologies for the delay.
Disclaimer: If I owned it I'd have a plus instead of a minus in my bank account.
Cho and Lisbon settled in to their third round, the conversation flowing easily despite the downbeat start to the day. Lisbon started to sing along with the tunes that were crackling from the ancient sound system. Cho looked around at the near empty room, leather booths intermingled with a few wooden stools and beer barrels for tables. Cop bars were all the same; minimalistic and worn.
If any job required the use of alcohol to survive, it was the police force. Reality hit him, he was no longer one of them, he was a civilian and he was unemployed. The fear and doubt must have shown because Lisbon stopped singing softly and looked at him in concern.
"Cho, you okay?" she questioned.
"What am I going to do..." he muttered.
"Cho you will be fine, you are smart, capable, honest and loyal" Lisbon answered his unasked question.
Cho looked up, staring her dead in the eye, "How are you so okay with this, I got us fired."
Lisbon indicated to the barkeep her requirement for two more before leaning in closer to Cho.
"I've had a hell of a lot longer to prepare. I've lived with this possibility for nearly eight years, now it's a reality I guess I'm not surprised. Cho I mean it I don't want you feeling guilty, Jane would have gotten me fired sooner rather than later" she joked.
"Then you must have thought about it happening, made a plan, you know what you'd do next" he trailed off hoping for an answer.
"Yeah, it was just an idea for the longest time. I mean I could apply to other agencies... try different avenues... " she started, pausing to align her thoughts.
"But you wont?" he finished for her.
"Nah... Its funny but I'm really sick of paper work and being told what to do. Working with Jane has shown me that the rules sometimes need to be broken" she shrugged at her words.
"So what then?" he prompted her, surprised by her desire to rid herself of the management shackles she had fought so hard to attain.
"I've twenty years of pension as do you" she added, fidgeting with her glass, wording her thoughts.
"So I've a financial cushion, not to mention I've been squirreling away money for years. So all that and ten years of holiday back pay, means I can make changes... try something different."
Lisbon breathed out slowly, as if she was slightly embarrassed by what she was about to say. "Last time I got fired I did something impulsive."
"I got my detective licence" she tumbled out her words, aware that saying them made it more real "I looked into the rules and regulation; I already have my permits so..."
"Private Detective... huh" Cho repeated, the idea rolling around his head.
"Cho, I was the boss, my mistake was greater that yours go back into the force, start small they'll take you" she all but pleaded, realising where his mind was going.
"Maybe I don't want to either" he countered stubbornly.
"Cho", she warned.
"Hear me out Lisbon" he stopped her, "Over the years Jane has shown us a lot of things, but mostly that it's the people that count, they deserve justice regardless of the law."
"Cho I'm not becoming a vigilante, I'm becoming a Private Detective" she reminded him.
"So you can help people, without the ridiculousness of autocracies burdens."
"Yeah" she admitted.
"Me too" he said in finality.
"Lisbon I want too. I want to stay in Sacramento, I want to help people, and I don't want a new partner. It's why I never transferred, generally I dislike most people. I want to work with you. Don't worry I got cash too and probably the same amount of unused leave coming." He rationalised it, knowing his boss would appreciate the honesty.
"You serious?" she doubled checked.
"If you'll have me" he looked unsure for the first time in their working career.
Lisbon, knew her choice was risky, dangerous but having Cho there would mean back up, not to mention being part of a team. He wanted this she could see that, she'd be a fool to turn him down. Giving him her best Jane smile she held up her newly filled drink and toasted to their partnership.
Jane's day had gone from bad to worse. The remaining team members had been informed that Serious Crimes was temporarily shut down while major crimes would work their current cases. Rigsby and Jane would work with them while Van Pelt was being transferred to Ops.
He was seething.
Jane moved to get him-self a soothing cup of tea, loath to leave the relative comfort of her couch, yet his thirst needed to be quenched. His remaining two team mates along with half the building had left at five on the button.
Approaching the tea room he could hear Maryanne's voice chatting with another assistant, Amy something, in exaggerated hushed tones. Their voices were as clear as day.
"No, It had nothing to do with the consultant I swear" Amy declared.
"Steve told me that they both left, happy... not a care in the world."
"While Patrick was in Wainwrights office" Amy added her tone conspiratorial.
"She didn't say goodbye?" Maryanne asked aghast.
Jane heard silence and could only assume Amy was nodding an affirmative as indeed Lisbon had left without as much as a small wave.
"Steve said they looked very cosy" Maryanne emphasised the word, making it sound sleazy.
"They used to date you know, her and Cho" Amy added.
"No" Maryanne hissed gleefully
Jane nearly dropped his tea cup in shock, no they hadn't... they couldn't have... he would have known... right. Then again Cho never gave anything away and Lisbon was only readable when asked directly. They were always so chummy too.
Amy gleefully continued, "Yes years ago, or so I heard. You know I thought she had taken up with Jane but maybe it was a ruse. I figured she had to be to put up with him, that and he is hot."
"Wow, well I can see the appeal of Cho too, but he always seemed like such a cold fish."
"Still waters run deep and those arms..." Amy giggled.
Jane had heard enough, he no longer wanted tea, he needed air and to leave here this instant. Still he had no idea where he should go, this was his safe haven before today and now it was tainted. It was irrational he knew but he had always sought out Lisbon at these moments, she would be here, they would talk until he felt better.
Lisbon swayed unsteadily through her door, she had matched Cho drink for drink and she was feeling it. It was crazy but somehow this all felt right. Despite the situation a weight had been lifted, like she had been living under the threat of being fired for so long now that it had happened it was apparent that the threat had been worse than the eventuality.
Sure she was nervous and she would miss her team, her consultant but she had become settled. She never would have changed things up herself, and if she was honest she stayed far too long for that reason and some she'd rather not question too closely.
She looked around at the cold room, she had lived here for years and it was the exact same as when she moved in. There was never any time to do anything before, now though she had an abundance and she was going to do things on her terms.
Despite the late hour she booted up her computer. Checking her phone for missed calls, she took immense pleasure in turning off her alarm. It may be one in the morning but she didn't have to get up, it was like she was thirteen and it was a school night. Lisbon began browsing offices spaces, excited for the first time in a long time.