(aka: the surprise attack of an old fandom just to round out the year, because why not)

set sometime mid-s6, et cetera

"Oh, you didn't," Jane says when he finds the manila folder lying on his couch one morning, plain and unremarkable.

It's early enough that they're pretty much the only two people around, at least in this corner of the office – Cho would've usually been here by this hour too, really, except that Jane had already spotted the telltale signs of a late night spent at his desk, which means that he'll probably be about fifteen minutes later than his usual.

"It's my file from the CBI," Lisbon answers anyway, turning her chair to face him. "I asked Abbott a while back if he was still holding on to any of our old stuff, he said he'd look around for me. Gave me that yesterday afternoon."

Neither of them mention the high likelihood that the only reason this file hadn't been gathering dust or worse in some FBI evidence archive was because of the manhunt for him. It's obvious, anyhow.

Jane has to briefly juggle the three mugs he's holding before he manages to hand the middle one to her and set the first one down near the edge of her desk, then sits down to sip at his own. He doesn't touch the file, not yet. "And you're giving it to me?"

Lisbon shrugs slightly. "I read your file back when I got the Red John case, you know I did. We all did."

"And when I joined the CBI, too," he adds, half under his breath, but Lisbon still nods.

It's true, after all. The two files might have looked nothing alike, barely even seemed to be describing the same person, but she'd needed everything she could find on Patrick Jane back then, as the apparent hyperfixation of a serial killer and then (also) as a surprise addition to her team.

Jane finally sets his tea aside to pick up the file – opens it, even, but his gaze stays on hers, without even a flicker down to the first page. "So this is a fair trade? Quid pro quo?"

"Something like that," Lisbon hedges, since truth be told she doesn't quite know what she's doing either. That's hardly a new feeling, though, around Jane.

"Ah. Well," Jane says with a tilt of his head, before closing the folder with an abrupt snap and tossing it back to her. "I'll pass."

Lisbon almost fumbles the catch at that, even as Jane reclaims his teacup and flops down on the couch in one motion, somehow managing not to spill anything in the process.

Honestly. Sometimes she really doesn't think she'll ever understand the man, but then again they haven't worked together this long for a want of flexibility on her part.

"Your loss, then," she retorts right back, sticking the folder back into the deep recesses of her desk drawer and shoving it closed.

"Eh. Half the fun's in figuring things out anyway, you know that," Jane replies airily.

Lisbon rolls her eyes, but the elevator dings before she can say anything further.

Jane's hand is already up in a vague (if jaunty) wave before she can even look over, though she recognises Cho's solid tread a split second later. "Cho, hey."

"Morning, Lisbon. Jane," Cho pauses, and Lisbon turns her chair back to catch his glance at the mug sitting on her desk, steam still rising steadily from it – coffee, not tea, as she now realises. "That for me?"

"Of course," Jane agrees readily, as Cho and Lisbon exchange a wordless question (did he–? yes) and a shrug. "Don't suppose you brought any pastries? No, I know you didn't, just a rhetorical question."

"Rhetorical doughnuts," Cho deadpans into his drink. "Right."

(Neither of them speak about the file any further, after that. It stays in her drawer, and she knows that he knows where it is, and he knows that she knows, and Lisbon vaguely remembers the days when this sort of thing used to give her headaches. Not anymore, though, and if he had ended up reading it at some point there hadn't been any sign of it, which makes her inclined to think that he hasn't.

Either way she doesn't even think about it until many months later, when she's packing up her desk for the move to DC, and Lisbon stares at the – still closed – folder for far too long before stuffing it even deeper into the boxes before Jane can notice.

It's too late for that, anyway.)