Title: he always gets what he wants
Rating: T, for language, humor, and minor violence scenes—set three to four years after the season 3 finale—but rest assured, there are no spoilers lurking for season four.
Total Word Count: 37,088+
Beta(s): 1st part: watchyouwalk, 2nd part: frogster, 3rd part: vegananthrofreak
Pairings: Patrick Jane/Teresa Lisbon, and quite a few others. ;)
Summary: Patrick Jane always got what he wanted, even if that meant using her in the process, to get Teresa Lisbon back exactly where she belonged—in his arms. J/L, J/VP.
I wrote this for Het Big Bang, and it was such a fun (and lighthearted) piece to write!
With that being said, I want to thank my three wonderful betas (who seriously made sure this piece was finished, and looking all beautiful for my deadline!) I also want to thank all of the people who held my hand, or cheered me on while I was trying to juggle 25K, a new work schedule, and a full-time university schedule.
Water cooler talk, at least in Agent Grace Van Pelt's mind, was not only trivial, but it was also a waste of time. It always seemed to be about the same things; who slept with who, who wanted to sleep with who, and the Serious Crimes Unit consultant, Patrick Jane.
(Honestly, it never ceased to amaze the fair red-haired agent how many women knew more about him than she did; especially after working with him for almost seven years.)
Usually, she tried to avoid the kitchenette before the boss arrived to scare off the gaggle of fan girls who seemed all too eager to bed Jane, but on that particular morning—after a long night of chasing down suspects—she just couldn't wait for the boss to arrive or for a cup of coffee. With her shoulders squared, she entered the small kitchenette on the third floor to find the usual early morning, pre-work employees sharing cups of coffee, talking over whatever juicy gossip the three had managed to stir up that morning, or the day previous.
None of them even acknowledged her as she moved toward the lukewarm coffee pot and began the search for her own pink coffee mug, which suited her just fine. She lifted her own mug from Jane's ever-so-impressive tea collection cabinet with a frown.
For the past week, somebody had been moving her coffee mug into Jane's tea collection, and quite frankly, it was beginning to annoy her. All she wanted was coffee, not a scavenger hunt at seven thirty on a Friday morning.
Maybe I should consider leaving a note, she mused while she set her pink mug down on the clean counter. No, she shook her head, it would never work. It was then, as she continued to plan out how to keep her mug in one place, that the conversation between the three women became more noticeable.
"…it just can't be true!" Taylor Conway from Payroll exclaimed. "Where'd you hear this juicy tidbit from?"
"Tammy in the Director's office—you know how she has to keep the employee records up to date, right?" Van Pelt couldn't place the voice to a face or a name, but she knew the other women were hanging on to her every word. "Well, yesterday evening, his marital status was changed from married to single. Apparently, they've been divorced for weeks now—and he's only getting around to telling everybody now!"
Van Pelt rolled her eyes as she poured her coffee; it wasn't as if they had anything /imore/i interesting or important to talk about than the destroyed love life of someone (she assumed) who was a state agent.
"Do you think he might like some comfort?" Aubrey Albright from Employee Support Services coyly asked. "Or even a home-cooked meal? I doubt he's going to do much cooking from a hotel room."
"Aub," the unknown voice chimed in with a laugh. "The last time you attempted to cook, you almost burnt down our apartment, remember?"
"I said I was sorry!"
"So no, I doubt he'll want burnt food or food poisoning."
The three women laughed softly.
"It's really sad though," Taylor commented. "He lost one wife to such horribleness, and now? He's lost a second for something else." She paused. "Of course, it does mean something that his second wife wasn't murdered."
"I always thought the woman was a bitch, or at the very least, a lesbian." Aubrey continued. "How could any woman give up a man as perfect as Patrick Jane?"
Van Pelt tensed; they couldn't be serious!
"Aubrey!" The two women chided. "Keep your voice down! I'm not even sure if anybody knows yet!"
"Sorry Di, Taylor! I'm just stating the facts."
The room grew silent, and Van Pelt tightened her hand around the handle of the half-full coffee pot. She was almost tempted to toss the contents on the three gossip mongers.
Patrick Jane loved his wife! Every time the man had managed to something idiotic for the past year and a half—which always happened like clockwork—he sent his wife a vase of a dozen red roses without the thorns; so there was no way that what they were saying held water at all!
"I agree with Aubrey, though." Diana confessed. "You would have to be insane to fall out of love with that man."
Van Pelt couldn't take another moment of their gossip, and without even grabbing her coffee mug, she left for the Serious Crimes Unit. The bullpen was rather full for an early morning, but she said nothing to anybody as she slid into her chair.
If Jane was getting a divorce, they would have known about it! They would have all seen some sign from Lisbon or Jane to indicate it was coming! But, no; she had never seen a sign from either Jane or Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon to suggest that their marriage of one year was falling apart.
"Morning, Grace." Rigsby greeted, and she almost wanted to ask him about the rumor—but if she didn't know anything, she doubted he knew. So instead, she just gave him a small wave in greeting. Cho was second-in-command, and if anybody would know, he probably would. "You look troubled; anything wrong?" She shook her head.
"I'm fine, really."
Logically, she knew asking him also might give him the wrong idea about her intentions toward the consultant. (Her intentions, of course, were pure at heart; she and Jane were what some people called friends, and Lisbon was her, well…boss…and asking either of them was out of the question.)
Lisbon had never once said it was all right to ask (or discuss) personal matters in the office, and Jane was Jane; the chances she'd even receive a truthful answer from the man were slim to none.
"Wayne?" He glanced up at her from his desk. "Is Cho here yet?"
"Nope, not yet anyway." Well, that ruined that plan. With a quick glance to her computer's clock, she knew Lisbon would be entering the bullpen soon, effectively putting an end to all chances of a pre-work conversation.
He opened his mouth to say something when she cut in. "Think we'll catch a case today?" Rigsby shrugged, and Van Pelt heaved a sigh of relief. She was a horrible liar, and if he had asked her why about Cho…she would have been caught.
"I hope." He replied. "Audits aren't exactly the thrill of my mornings." He then grinned up at her, from his desk. "This is one of those few times I wish I was Jane."
"Then, Lisbon yells at him." Cho answered, as he entered into the bullpen with a cup of coffee in his hand. "…and the illusion is broken." He sat down at his own desk, while Rigsby nodded, enthusiastically.
"Besides," Rigsby continued. "I don't think I could work with my wife."
Van Pelt wanted to laugh, but she couldn't. Even Cho, himself, seemed to be on the verge of a small frown before he noticed her staring, and just shrugged before drawing Rigsby into a conversation. Left alone, she tried to focus on everything and anything but the personal lives of the boss and the consultant. However, luck seemed to be on her side that morning as Lisbon rushed into the bullpen.
The woman, from a quick glance, certainly didn't look any different from any other day; she wore a dark collared shirt, dark dress pants, a leather jacket, her usual loafers, and the lone glittering cross around her neck. Unfortunately, neither Jane nor Lisbon wore their wedding bands to work for certain reasons (both dealing with Lisbon's, as Jane would always say, "paranoia".) So even trying to figure out via not-usually-worn jewelry would be impossible.
Rigsby sighed as the boss left for her office. "More audits today, then."
"It could be worse," Cho replied. "You could be diving through dumpsters." Rigsby grimaced, and glanced down at the phone on his desk.
"Just once, I wish it would ring."
And as if on cue, the phone rang and Rigsby hurried to answer it.
"Rigsby." There was a pause. "When I said I wanted a phone call, this wasn't what I had in mind."
"Are you sure?" Jane asked, as he entered the bullpen with his cell phone pressed against one ear. "I could have a body to report."
Rigsby slammed the phone down on the receiver, and Van Pelt chuckled. Jane was Jane—divorce or no divorce, he'd still try to get one over on somebody. "Funny."
"It did make your morning more interesting, didn't it?" Jane asked as he moved to sit on his couch.
"That's not the point." Rigsby argued. "What if a real crime happened and somebody needed us?"
"A few moments more wouldn't help them, Rigsby—we usually just get the dead ones." Jane answered before he turned his focus toward her. "Good morning, Grace. You're looking exceptionally lovely this morning."
"Thanks." She paused. "How are you doing this morning, Jane?"
"I'm doing just fine."
She turned in her desk chair to glance at him, as if there would really be a sign over his head saying something about the divorce, but he didn't lookany different from any other day, either.
He wore a navy blue three-piece suit, old brown leather shoes, and a semi-friendly smile aimed in her direction. He seemed relaxed, but it honestly didn't mean much—the man was the master of illusions and deceptions.
For all she knew, he could be hurting and nobody was even trying to sooth his pain! So, she did the only things she could think to do (aside from giving him a hug) in a situation like this.
She gave a bright smile and cheerfully asked, "Would you like a cup of tea?"
After all, what could it hurt?
"Grace, I have a question for you." Jane spoke finally, after he had been twiddling his thumbs for the past hour or so in the passenger seat of the SUV. She and Jane had left the crime scene on Lisbon's order, after having been able to do something that hadn't involved the use of pens, pencils, or filling out forms for at least a few hours. "I'm sure, by now, you've heard about Ter…" He paused, and cleared his throat. "Lisbon and I's…situation."
She frowned as her cheeks grew warm again, and she shot him a sideward glance. "How'd you know, Jane?"
"You're an open book, Van Pelt." Jane answered. "You've wanted to ask one of us all day, but of course you couldn't. Lisbon has never been one for talking about us, Cho couldn't honestly tell you without betraying Lisbon's trust, and Rigsby is clueless." Jane then shrugged.
"I'm sorry, Jane." And she really was. They made a good couple together, even if the romance had been a bit of a whirlwind (and unorthodox).
"I know you are." He answered. "However, that wasn't my question."
"What is it?" She couldn't exactly chance another glance in his direction—she was driving, and the last time her attention had been stolen, she had met Craig O'Laughlin.
(Her fingers, involuntarily, tightened around the steering wheel.)
"If you pull over, I'll ask."
"Is this related to our case?"
She sighed—what if Jane was pulling her leg? But then again, if Lisbon found out he had something even remotely related to the case to say (or ask), and she hadn't stopped, she'd never hear the end of it. "I don't know, Jane. Lisbon…"
"…can wait." He finished. "She's really all bark, and none of the bite."
Of course, he would say that! Lisbon wasn't his boss, and she had no control over him whatsoever.
"Fine." She replied, and eventually, she found a small picnic area off the side of the road and parked before he could say another word. "All right, Jane. We're parked. What'd you want to ask me?" She turned in her seat to glance at him just as he undid his seat belt and leaned over to yank the keys out of the ignition. "Jane! We need those!" She started to lean forward when he opened his car door and jumped out with a smirk on his face.
"Come and get them, Grace."
She wasn't about to indulge him and his childish games, but she wasn't going to just sit there either! Carefully, she undid her seat belt, opened her car door, and slid out of the vehicle.
"I'm calling Lisbon!"
"Good luck doing that without a phone!" He called back to her, and she grimaced before searching for her phone, which had been in her pocket at the crime scene (but was now mysteriously missing).
She stomped around the vehicle to find Jane sitting on the ledge of a picnic table with her iPhone in his hand. Luckily, it wasn't raining, and the weather was cool enough to sit outside comfortably—but they really needed to be back at the office.
He glanced up from the phone, smiled his smile, and waved her over. Begrudgingly, she moved toward him until they were inches apart.
"I don't understand the purpose of an iPhone," he told her. "You pay the extra money for all the bells and whistles, but you can't do anything special with it."
"Give me back my phone."
"No can do." He threw her a smile. "Do you want my question? Because once I get an acceptable answer, you can have your over-priced item back."
"Ask, please. We need to get back to Lisbon." He chuckled, and she crossed her arms against her chest. "Am I amusing you, Jane?" She was beginning to get angry, and very rarely did she aim her anger toward co-workers. Jane, if she grew angry enough however, was always the exception to the rule.
"Oh, Grace." Jane replied, still laughing. "Does Lisbon still frighten you?"
"Lisbon doesn't scare me!" She snapped in defense. Lisbon hadn't scared her since her first week of work years ago, and Jane knew that.
"Watch who you're calling a liar, Jane."
"Do you really think I'm scared of you?" He asked with a smile. "Lisbon may be all bark, but you're neither bark nor bite." He paused. "How'd you even score into the bureau, Grace? I've always wondered. You're not a violent person, you participate in standing on your head, and you aren't a bitch."
She clenched her hands into fists. Was he really suggesting that she had slept her way through the academy?
"I'll just walk back to the CBI." She turned her back on him, and started to walk away when he called her name again.
"Not listening!" She continued forward, and she could hear him behind her. "I am not above reporting you for sexual harassment, Jane."
"I don't doubt that." He called after her. "I'm sure another sexual harassment seminar is just what the unit wants."
"How would you know what we want?" She turned to face him. "And no, the reason 'you're an open book' no longer applies."
"Don't be so testy, Van Pelt." Jane replied. "I wasn't implying you had slept your way to the top. I was merely asking how somebody with your aptitude with being so…" she narrowed her eyes slightly. She wasn't psychic, but she had a feeling the man would try and throw the word "naïve" into trying to explain her. "…optimistic, could manage to earn a spot on Agent Lisbon's team, where most of her agents' are cynics, realists, and…"
"Skeptics?" She shot back, and he nodded. "Was that your question, Jane?"
"Nope." She furrowed her brows.
"Does this question lead anywhere related to our current case?"
"Nope." He repeated, and she sighed.
"Then why should I answer you?"
"Because, it's rude to ignore such a well-thought-out question." She blinked. "Don't tell me you don't have an answer."
She almost wanted to ignore him, but it wasn't in her nature. "Gee, Jane, I've never really asked Lisbon why she hired me."
"You're a lot like her, you know?" He suddenly stated. "Both of you are stubborn, sarcastic on your good days, and strong…it's why I fell in love with her."
"Do you still love her?"
"Does anybody truly grow out of loving another?" He asked. "I still love my wife, and I still love Lisbon…even if she doesn't like it." His expression grew somber. "I'm sure you understand."
She bit her lip and nodded, her anger forgotten, momentarily. Parts of her, even after months of intensive therapy, still loved and missed Craig. "I do."
"Which brings me to my question." He stated, and she nodded. "Are you currently seeing anybody?"
"What kind of a question is this?" She deflected. "My personal life is none of your b…"
"A very logical one." He interrupted, and her facial expression must have done something, for he sighed. "Just answer the question, Grace."
"No, Jane, I'm not." She replied, after a few moments of tense silence. "I still don't see why this question…"
"Go out with me. Be my girlfriend." He interrupted again, and she just stared at him. Had he completely gone and lost his mind? "We can go off into the sunset together." Yes, he had definitely lost his mind.
"Did you suffer a blow to the head?" She tilted her head toward him, and wondered if Lisbon hadn't accidently caused some head trauma to the consultant. "Should I call an ambulance?"
"I assure you, I am perfectly fine." He answered.
"Oh, well, in that case…" she paused; maybe she hadn't heard him right? "You want me to do what?"
"I'm sure you heard me, Grace." Jane answered, calmly. "I know you aren't completely hard of hearing."
"You really have no heart, do you?" If this was a joke, it was just mean—and she didn't like it.
He smirked. "I'm a cold, heartless bastard." She shook her head in pure disbelief; the man obviously had no idea what the word tact meant. Even more so, the man was an idiot for having just spent the last ten minutes or so insulting her. Honestly! Who did he think he was?
"And I'm really leaving now." She turned her back on him again, when she heard the familiar sounds of something jingling behind her.
"Forgetting these?" She didn't even need to turn to see that he was holding her keys in the air.
"No. I'm walking." She started to walk again, when she felt him grab onto her upper arm. "Let me go, Jane!"
"I need to forget her." He continued, softly. "You're the only other female who works on the unit, and you're the only one who isn't done in by my charms."
She cursed herself, mentally—why was it just her luck to be placed with Jane?
"You are really begging for me to hurt you, aren't you?" She struggled in his grasp again.
"Grace, please. It's not like I'm asking you to move in with me or marry me. I'm just asking for a push in the right direction."
"No, Jane." She repeated. It didn't even feelright, and she had no romantic feelings whatsoever toward him.
"Why not?" He let her upper arm go, and she turned to face him again.
"For one," she responded. "Rigsby would kill you."
(Though they weren't together—and hadn't been for a while—it didn't mean the man didn't still harbor feeling towards her…and throwing Jane into the mix didn't really seem like a good idea.)
"I can handle him. Go on."
"Two, Lisbon might try and kill me."
Jane chuckled. "We've been over this, Grace; the woman is all bark, and none the bite. Besides," he blinked. "She had her chance."
And once again, Van Pelt didn't think it was that simple or right…but apparently, Mr. Manipulator thought he could manipulate his own emotions. The human mind wasn't a machine. It just didn't work like that.
"Three, the bureau rules…"
"…only apply to state agents within the same unit." Jane beamed. "I'm a consultant. There's no clause in our contracts that prevent these things from happening."
Oh, how she wished there was…
"But above everything else," she continued. "It's because I said no."
"…which can easily be changed." He brightly responded, before he held out her keys and iPhone, which she happily grabbed before he could try and do something else with them (or to her). "You'll say yes, Agent Van Pelt."
She scoffed as she threw open her car door. "I wouldn't hold your breath, Jane."