Holiday fic #7, for Chibs, who requested J/L: Once Jane realizes what her schedule is, he finds a new hobby in (secretly?) watching Lisbon work out.
Just FYI, this one might require a little bit of suspension of disbelief.
The first time he saw her, it actually was completely innocent.
Really, it was.
He'd been at the park, just out for a walk really, totally minding his own business. Actually, he'd just needed to get outside. After several hours lone in his motel room, he'd gotten desperate for a little natural light. Midmorning on a Saturday, that wasn't hard to find.
He'd slowly made his way to the park, lost in thought. He'd found an empty bench in the shade, sheltered by a rather large shrub of some kind (or maybe it was a group of shrubs), and sat down. Jane remembered being distracted by a rather loud dispute between a pair of teenagers walking by, something about a betrayal of some kind. It seemed one of the pair had dared to sit at a lunch table with the other's mortal enemy, and now she was voicing her displeasure.
Jane hid a smile. The things people argued about. He glanced around him, wondering how many little betrayals had been perpetrated by the people around him. They all looked perfectly normal, but you never knew what secrets they hid.
He'd been watching the elderly couple walking their dog on the other side of the park when he was distracted by someone running past them along the path. Jane wasn't sure why the woman caught his eye at first, possibly just a combination her speed and where she'd happened to be at that exact second.
Then he recognized her.
It was Lisbon.
Teresa Lisbon was running in the park.
She was still a fair distance away, but he was sure it was her. Jane leaned forward on his bench without realizing it, too distracted to pretend that he wasn't.
So Lisbon went jogging. Well, that wasn't surprising. She was in excellent shape after all. And anyway, it was fairly obvious, just from looking at her (or watching her chase down and tackle suspects) that she exercised regularly. Jogging on the weekends only made sense. Jane'd just never actually seen her in action before. Not until today.
It was... interesting.
He also wasn't sitting directly beside the path, so it was unlikely she'd see him. Jane was suddenly very glad of the protection afforded by his overgrown chunk of shrubbery.
He watched as she came slowly nearer. Lisbon's rhythm was steady, but not slow.
Her hair was tied back in a ponytail which swung back and forth behind her. She was wearing a white t-shirt and dark shorts (which well deserved their name).
She looked good.
And she was wearing perfectly sensible running attire, of course.
Perfectly sensible, Jane mentally repeated, but nothing like what he usually saw her in. He usually saw professional Lisbon, the Lisbon who wore variations on pant suits or when she was feeling more causal, a pair of dark jeans and some kind of jacket.
This was not a pantsuit. Not a pantsuit at all. It wasn't even in the same league as her leather jacket. This was Lisbon in active wear. Which was something else entirely, a whole other side to her. He told himself it was the novelty that had caught his attention.
Not that Jane hadn't seen her legs before. He had. Although, usually in situations where he wasn't supposed to be looking at them, because he was supposed to be concentrating on something else (usually something stupid, like work, or catching a killer). Well, he could look at them now. They were practically begging to be noticed.
Why on earth didn't that woman wear skirts to the office more often? She should. Jane wondered briefly if there was any possible way he could suggest that to her. He suspected not.
Which obviously meant that he should appreciate Lisbon's legs while he could see them. Her running shorts certainly set them off to their advantage. And come to think of it, the white t-shirt, though not nearly as form-fitting as the shorts (and possibly even a little baggy) certainly wasn't what he'd call oversized.
As he stared at her, Jane was pleased to note that the path that she was following curved a bit closer to his bench. Confident that his handy shrub would hide him, Jane stayed where he was and waited for her to run by.
Eventually she did. Jane swore he could see the muscles working in her legs (though he supposed that might have been his imagination). Lisbon was sweating slightly, but not overheated or panting (and her shorts were even better up close).
She was stunning.
And completely was lost in her own little world. Jane wasn't sure she'd have noticed him even without the shrub. Lisbon had headphones in, probably listening to music she'd be embarrassed to admit to in public. Suddenly, Jane wished he knew her playlist. He wondered if the Spice Girls were in the mix somewhere. Lisbon seemed very focused on the path in front of her, barely glancing in any other direction as she ran. Jane suspected she had a set distance she wanted to get through that morning.
He wondered what she was thinking about. He hoped it wasn't work.
He followed her with his eyes until she was out of sight.
And Jane stayed on the bench for another ten minutes, lost in his own thoughts.
He'd certainly gotten more of a distraction than he'd expected when he'd come outside in search of a bit of a sun.
The second time he saw her, it was mostly innocent.
After the first Saturday morning in the park, Jane found himself almost fascinated by Lisbon's exercise routine. He wondered if there was more to it than jogging. He was sure there had to be, But what?
He wanted to find out. Just to get to know her a little better, maybe unravel part of the mystery that was Teresa Lisbon. She'd told him once that he didn't know everything about her. Well, maybe that was true. Maybe he should try to figure more things out. Things that weren't associated with murder (and maybe were associated with sweat and sportswear).
So Jane found himself at the park on successive Saturday mornings, telling himself each and every time that he was just looking for a bit of fresh air and a walk. He never quite believed himself. He also didn't see Lisbon again. He wondered if she'd come earlier or later than usual the week he had seen her. Even after several failures, he was determined to catch her. After a while, he got so desperate he started making innocent remarks about exercise routines when speaking to Rigsby, Van Pelt and Cho.
He learned far more than he'd ever wanted to about yoga from Van Pelt, before he finally learned something useful.
It seemed that Lisbon had joined a new gym near her condo, one that offered an impressive array of yoga classes according to Van Pelt. Jane supposed his punishment for his nosiness was having to listen to a description of every single one. He'd have to start being more careful, or Van Pelt would start insisting he attend a yoga class with her, just to try.
Although... if Lisbon was at the class as well...
Jane shook himself. After all, Lisbon wouldn't be in the class. She'd clearly found other yoga classes that she liked. Not that Jane knew which ones those were exactly.
Clearly what he needed to do, was find her gym.
He realized he might have sounded a bit like a stalker, but it wasn't like that. He didn't want to hurt her. He was just fascinated by seeing Lisbon in other, non-professional scenarios. He didn't want to spy on Lisbon like some creep, he just liked seeing her when she wasn't Agent Lisbon. He liked seeing that other side of her.
(It wasn't all that he liked seeing.)
It took him two weeks to find the right gym. He'd taken to walking around her neighbourhood when he wasn't working, just on the off chance that he ran into her. He didn't have any luck right away. Then, one cloudy Tuesday, there she was.
He was walking by a gym about ten minutes from her house when he happened to glance in the window and see her.
Her back was to him, but it was still her. He'd recognize those shorts anywhere.
She was on a stepping-machine. Which Jane was sure worked a whole other set of muscles than jogging, based on his own limited observations at least.
Unfortunately, he couldn't stand in the middle of the sidewalk gawking at Lisbon (and there really was only so long a person could pretend to read a sign), so after a few minutes Jane was on his way again. (Although, he may have circled the block. But only once. Okay, twice.)
Then he really did leave Lisbon alone. He'd found where she liked to work out, seen her outside of work. He'd gotten what he wanted.
He'd really should have left it at that.
Because that was when things started getting even less innocent.
Jane had never really understood why gyms some gyms were full of windows, but luckily for him, Lisbon's was one of them. It also boasted a snack bar. A snack bar that was open to the public, and also mostly windows. Windows that divided it from the gym next door.
Honestly, it was almost like it'd been designed with his purpose in mind.
Well, except for the fact that the room where they held the yoga classes was on the other side of the building. And that room didn't have windows. He'd checked.
(Okay, he'd overheard it.)
Luckily, Lisbon didn't only go to yoga classes. She was usually at the gym either Tuesday or Thursday mornings (if not both) for some reason or other. She tended to mix up her exercise routine. (And she still went jogging, Jane'd discovered, early Saturday morning. Earlier than he'd thought.)
She liked to use the machines in the main room of the gym, the one that faced the street. Or she was in the room beside it, where the gym held various non-yoga classes. Today was some kind of aerobics, Jane didn't really care about the specifics. It was a class that Lisbon seemed to like.
He could see her out of the corner of his eye from his table at the snack bar next door. The place actually made a decent smoothie, which gave him an excuse to be there. Or at least made him less suspicious, considering the smoothies weren't the real attraction of the place at all. Although, he'd told Carrie, one of the college students who worked there that he couldn't get enough of the pomegranate punch.
Today, the shorts had made a reappearance (Jane was beginning to wonder if she owned several identical pairs), and Lisbon was wearing her usual t-shirt, this one a dark green. Jane could see all of her muscles flexing as jumped and bounced along with the instructor.
Lisbon was definitely sweating more today. All the exercise was agreeing with her.
She looked so alive.
Not like the frustrated woman he'd come to recognize at work, the one with the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Jane was beginning to wonder if that was half the reason he did this. Lisbon looked so worn down at work sometimes. It was nice to know that she wasn't always burdened with other people's problems.
Jane smiled at Carrie as she came to collect his empty cup; he started to leave her a (rather generous) tip.
"You know, you should really just ask her out," the young women said conversationally as he stood to leave.
Jane's head whipped around. "What?"
"Whoever she is," Carrie explained. "Or he. I'm not judging, but you really should just ask them out. It'd probably be easier."
Jane told himself to calm down. Carrie didn't actually know anything. She was just making a guess. She had no way of knowing... "I don't know what you're talking about," he said with a smile.
The young woman smirked. "Sure you don't," she replied. "Okay. Just keep coming in every week for the smoothies then."
"I will," Jane assured her, ducking out of the snack bar before Lisbon's class ended. He didn't want to run into her, or make it too obvious who he was watching.
He wondered if he'd failed on that second front.
Maybe he should start stopping by the snack bar for smoothies on days he knew she wouldn't be there, just to be safe.
The next time Jane caught Lisbon working out, he genuinely hadn't meant to.
It was late, the team had just gotten back from a long (and particularly brutal case). His insomnia was horrible. He hadn't wanted to go back to his hotel room, but the attic had ghosts of its own.
So he started wandering the CBI building. He didn't worry about someone seeing him walking the halls. For one, it was late. For another, he was already considered such an eccentric figure at the CBI, that even if someone did notice him, they wouldn't mention it.
Eventually he ended up in the basement.
The building was mostly deserted (except for security), so Jane was surprised to hear a faint thudding sound coming from down the hall. Curious, he made his way towards it, only to find himself outside the CBI gym. The gym wasn't particularly well used by the CBI employees as far as he could tell, and with good reason. It was in the basement,there were no windows, it was dark, and small, and not the most up to date facility in the world. Jane knew (or at least he'd surmised) that some people used it when they needed to blow off steam, but it was rarely crowded.
He was surprised anyone was there at all tonight.
Then he'd glanced in the door.
And there was Lisbon, wearing one of the t-shirts he'd become very familiar with lately (this one a pale blue) and a pair of calf-length yoga pants (making Jane think this little visit to the gym wasn't exactly planned). Her hair was tied back out of her face, as it usually was when she was working out.
And she was absolutely beating the crap out of a punching bag.
Jane winced as he watched her.
It was obvious the goal of this workout wasn't to improve her right hook (not that it needed it). He could practically feel the frustration coming out of her, could see it in the way she was holding her shoulders, and hear it in every thud of her fist hitting the bag in a rhythm that was too out of control to be deliberate.
He'd known the case had been hard for her. It'd been hard for all of them. Teenagers disappearing from a southern California town and found, hours later, tossed in a field, covered in cuts. They'd caught the sicko, three victims later. Jane had contented himself with the fact that they'd stopped him from finding victim four.
Lisbon hadn't said much at all.
But she'd been strong. Her team had looked to her for that. Maybe he had as well.
Who had she looked to?
After all, she was only letting out her own frustrations now, late at night, long after she'd thought everyone else had gone, and hidden away in the cramped gym in the basement of the CBI.
Jane had a sudden urge to go to her, maybe offer to hold her punching bag. But he wasn't sure if he'd become a help or a target. The way she was going, he wasn't sure she'd be able to control her frustration. She probably couldn't have named its source, or its target herself. There were so many things she was constantly up against. So many things that had to prey on her, even if she never let people see it.
Sometimes, when he thought about it, Jane worried she was fighting herself.
He didn't like to think about it.
Something that Lisbon didn't make easier by suddenly slumping against the punching bag in what could have been either defeat or exhaustion (or a mixture of both). Jane watched her shoulders shake slightly, and prayed it was from the exertion.
His heart ached for her.
Then it hit him.
He wasn't supposed to be here, wasn't supposed to see this. He had no right.
It wasn't like he could go to her. That wasn't their relationship.
Anyway, she wouldn't want him. Would have hated knowing someone had been watching her in her private moment.
Suddenly filled with shame, Jane had quietly turned and made his way back upstairs. He made sure he was safely back in his attic by the time Lisbon made her way upstairs again. He wouldn't say a word about what he'd seen.
But he had left a chocolate bar on her desk for her.
Two Saturdays after finding Lisbon in the basement, Jane found himself back on his favourite park bench. Couldn't help himself (and he'd gotten used to the early morning walk).
He hadn't been to her gym in the last week and a half. After all, what had he thought he was doing? This wasn't a game.
Seriously, what had he been thinking? Basically stalking his boss for over a month...
Jane stared at his shoes. He'd been invading Lisbon's privacy. There was no way around that. He'd been invading her privacy for weeks, and it hadn't even occurred to him that he was doing it. Honestly, what had he been thinking? He hadn't been, obviously. This was Lisbon. Lisbon wasn't just some woman put on the earth for his amusement. She was his friend. And he'd... he'd done whatever it is he'd done. Because he'd wanted to, and with his abilities, he could.
Jane felt a little creepy now, now that he'd thought about it. It was just... He'd really liked looking at her.
And there wasn't much he liked doing anymore.
Which was part of the reason he was back at the park.
A large part of him still wanted to see her. Except that today, Jane thought he might even wave at her as she ran by. Might try and make amends for the past mistakes (even if she didn't know about them). Try and keep things above-board this time.
Maybe that would make it all right.
"I was wondering if I'd see you here today," a voice said behind him.
Jane turned around abruptly.
And there she was, in her familiar shorts and t-shirt (this one a deep burgundy), her hair tied back in a ponytail, and she was smiling at him. She was also sweating. She'd obviously already started her run for the weekend. Jane sprang up from his bench. "Lisbon," he said stupidly.
"Jane," she replied, still grinning as she walked around the bench until she was standing beside him.
"I... Why did you think I'd be here?" he asked turning towards her (and cursing the question the second it was out of his mouth).
Lisbon rolled her eyes at him. "Because I was pretty sure I saw you here three weeks ago, and I definitely saw you here the week after that, but then you weren't here last week."
"Ah," Jane said stupidly, not entirely sure what else to say. She'd known he was (potentially) watching her for weeks?
"Like to take a Saturday morning walk in the park, do you?" Lisbon asked conversationally.
"Maybe I do," Jane defended. "What of it?"
Lisbon shrugged. "Just curious. Awfully coincidental that we're both here at around the same time, wouldn't you say?"
"Well, this park is close to the CBI, and your condo," Jane reminded her.
Lisbon chuckled. "True," she agreed. "And it's a public park."
"Exactly," Jane agreed.
"So how do you explain all those times you've been at my gym?" Lisbon asked.
Jane froze. "What? I don't... How..."
Lisbon laughed. "Gotcha. I could have sworn I saw you leaving the snack bar a couple of weeks ago."
"So I like a smoothie from time to time," Jane muttered.
"So it would seem," Lisbon agreed. "Although, I think it's more than time to time. Because while I was in there, I got talking to one of the women that works there, Carrie. She knows where I work, so she decided to mention this guy that came in sometimes during the week. She was pretty sure it was nothing, he seemed perfectly harmless, but then she'd heard about this guy who was stalking women on the news, and even though the descriptions didn't match at all, she thought it was better to be safe than sorry. So she told me about him. Wanted my professional opinion. Apparently a blond man in a three piece suit with a killer smile was dropping by the snack bar two to three times a week, always around the same time. Based on that description, it didn't take me long to identify the culprit," Lisbon explained.
"Right," Jane muttered. He couldn't believe Carrie had sold him out like that. And he'd left her such generous tips as well. Well, no more. Not that he could go back to that snack bar anyway now. And even if he could have, not that he'd been planning on it.
Lisbon took a step towards him, "Do you want to tell me what you were doing there Jane?" she asked gently.
"Uh," he hesitated, trying to think of some plausible-sounding reason for his behaviour.
"You can tell me," Lisbon pressed. "Why have you been watching me exercise?"
Jane sighed. "It's just..."
"Yes?" Lisbon prompted.
"I like..." Jane trailed off, his eyes dropping to her ankles as his gaze slowly trailed up her legs. He couldn't help himself. There they were, so close, so bare. He'd never seen them this close before. He let his eyes move from her shorts, curving up over her t-shirt, before finally landing on her face.
Her expression was surprised. "Oh," she gasped softly. Then, slowly, she smiled. "Oh. Well, why didn't you say anything?" she asked, taking a step towards him.
Jane swallowed. "Hmm?" he wondered, not entirely sure where this was going. She was even closer now. So close. He'd barely have to move his hands six inches, and they'd be resting on her waist. On her shorts.
"I mean, I wondered," Lisbon explained. "When I kept seeing you here. And then, when I thought I saw you at my gym..."
"About that," Jane tried to explain.
Lisbon didn't let him. "Of course, I thought you might just have decided to follow me around. As a kind of a joke, just for fun."
"No," Jane said with a shake of his head. It had never been a joke. She'd never been a joke.
"Why didn't you tell me you liked watching me exercise?" Lisbon pressed. "Liked watching me get all sweaty?"
Jane still couldn't think of anything to say. He didn't know how to deal with this. She was changing the rules all of a sudden. It wasn't fair. "I didn't mean to at first," he blurted out. "But you just looked so different."
"And you were curious," Lisbon said, filling in the rest. Meeting his eyes, she leaned in towards him conspiratorially. "You know," she whispered. "Maybe we could find a way of satisfying that curiosity of yours. Since you like seeing me work up a sweat."
Jane's brain was reeling. She couldn't possibly... He met her eyes. She seemed serious, even if she was smiling. And she was still standing so damn close to him. "What did you have in mind?" he asked.
Lisbon trailed a hand up his chest. "Something that would require you to become a more active participant," she said huskily. "If you think you can handle more than just observation."
Jane smiled slowly, his heart beginning to beat fast. "I think I can handle that," he assured her.
"Even if things end up getting a little sweaty?" Lisbon double-checked.
Jane's fingers began to itch to touch her. "Nothing wrong with that."
"Good!" Lisbon said cheerfully, taking a step backwards. "Come on then, I've got another quarter of a mile to go today."
With that, she was jogging back towards the path.
Jane just stared after her in shock. She'd been... she'd been teasing him all along.
Lisbon turned when she reached the path. "You coming or not?" she called.
Jane had half a mind not to, but he was too intrigued. She'd somehow managed to get a hold of all the cards, and she knew it. He jogged a few steps after her. "I'm not exactly dressed for it," he grumbled. His shoes in particular weren't the best for jogging.
Lisbon's grin was infectious, as she jogged in place and waited for him to get closer. "It's only a quarter of a mile. And I guess I just figured, you wear a three piece suit for almost everything, why not exercise? Anyway, maybe you'll be more prepared next time," she told him.
That caught Jane's attention. Next time? This wasn't just some prank she was playing as payback, then? He began to pick up the pace. "I think you'll be surprised at how well I can keep up."
Lisbon laughed and made sure to stay a few feet ahead of him. "We'll see," she told him. "Because who knows what might happen if you catch me."
With that, she took off down the path.
Jane stared after her for a moment, before breaking out into a run, not caring about what he was wearing (or the fact that this might mean he had to re-sole his shoes twice this year).
He had no intention of letting her get too far away.