Author's Note: goodness, it's been forever since I updated. Life has been a bit crazy as I'm sure it has for all of you. Even before covid-19 hit my country, I had gotten influenza A and was sick for a few weeks, then trying to catch up at work. Then, of course, my state shut-down happened and work got even crazier. Anyway… just some of the reasons I haven't updated. Sorry! I appreciate the lovely reviews and the interest in this story. Thank you!

I put some lines in from their first meetings (from flashback ep 5x05) for fun.

Chapter Four

Patrick Jane noticed the tall and uncomfortable agent's—Wayne Rigsby, he cataloged in his mind—eyes focus on something behind them just seconds before he heard the voice.

"Welcome to the CBI. I'm Senior Agent Lisbon."

He squeezed Charlotte's shoulder before dropping his arm and turning to see the newcomer, sliding his hands into the pockets of his suit pants. She was petite, brunette hair a bit past her shoulders and polite green eyes. A nice blouse and blazer, which may have made her seem pure business, but it was offset with dark wash jeans and sturdy boots. She would be ready for action at the drop of a hat, he surmised. Which, he supposed, was business in its own right in her line of work. As his gaze returned to her face from his quick perusal, he noticed that she seemed a bit stricken, like seeing them—or maybe just him—had knocked the wind out of her.

Interesting…

It seemed longer, but it was really mere seconds before her eyes widened fractionally and she turned to his daughter. The CBI agent seemed to shake herself out of her stupor and smiled at the teenage girl warmly. Jane narrowed his eyes. The look on the woman's face was almost as if they knew each other. He, too, looked over to Charlotte and was surprised to see her gaze fastened intently on the woman's face. And she was…was she trembling? He shifted closer in concern, his arm brushing against hers.

Like the woman had, Charlotte seemed to break herself out of her trance at the touch, looking up at him and smiling reassuringly in response to his questioning expression.

Still not quite sure what was going on—something he did not appreciate—Jane looked back to the woman in charge. "Hello, I'm Patrick Jane and this is my daughter Charlotte. Nice to meet you, Senior Agent Lisbon."

He heard some shuffling behind him as he spoke their names. Ah, so they recognized who he was, who they were. He couldn't say he was surprised. In fact, he had somewhat expected it. He knew that the CBI had taken over the Red John investigation. Still, he hoped it didn't affect Charlotte's time here. She had fought to switch assignments with her classmate Kyle. Fought the placement counselor, fought with him even. He hadn't wanted her anywhere near this building or organization.

"It's good to meet you two as well. Charlotte, we look forward to having you on board for the next two weeks." Agent Lisbon's voice was confident and steady, no longer betraying any of the emotions that had surfaced involuntarily when she had seen them. Jane eyed her speculatively. To recognize their names was one thing. To recognize his face before hearing the name was quite another. How was she involved with the Red John case? He thought this was the Serious Crimes Unit. The Red John case was in Serial Crimes.

Charlotte smiled with a level of eagerness she normally reserved for things like going to visit Pete and Samantha with their circus elephant. "Thanks. I'm excited for this opportunity."

"So," Jane drawled in the brief silence following. Lisbon was just too much of a mystery to him and it was in his nature to rattle mysterious cages. "Senior Agent Lisbon—wow, that is quite the mouthful. Surely you didn't come out of the womb a senior agent?"

Charlotte groaned, all embarrassed teen, and almost imperceptibly jabbed an elbow into him. He ignored her. Agent Lisbon raised a brow at him, looking a bit too unruffled for his tastes. He far preferred women to be thrown off their game around him. He'd have to try harder, it seems.

"I'm Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon, but feel free to call me Agent Lisbon or, if you'd prefer, just Lisbon." Ah. Jane added another detail to his catalog. Teresa. The woman in question gestured to the two men behind them before continuing. "I'm guessing you didn't quite get to the introductions yet."

"Actually, Agent Rigsby here introduced himself while his colleague went to retrieve you. We hadn't gotten a chance to return the favor yet," Jane said. Lisbon nodded.

"Well then, this is Agent Kimball Cho. Either of the two can answer questions or help when needed, Charlotte. Of course, Agent Grace Van Pelt will be your mentor so you will probably get all the help you need from her. She should be here any minute," Lisbon finished, looking down at her watch.

"Oh. You won't be my mentor?" Charlotte's voice sounded disappointed when she responded, which made Jane look at her sharply. The two of them would definitely be having a chat this evening.

Lisbon smiled gently. "I'm sorry, no. You will be mainly with the Cyber Crimes Unit, but Agent Van Pelt liaises with us a few days a week so you'll experience both departments in working with her. Actually, I suspect that Cyber Crimes will be much more interesting for you."

Charlotte shrugged, her 'whatever' gesture at odds with the light in her eyes. They all turned as the elevator dinged across the bullpen. A woman with long red hair came out and drew near.

Lisbon gestured toward her. "Here she is now. Van Pelt, this is Charlotte Jane and her father, Patrick."

To the younger agent's credit, she didn't allow much of her surprise to broadcast—of course, he still noticed—and grinned at his daughter. "Hello, Charlotte. I'm looking forward to working with you."

Charlotte, despite her apparent disappointment in not working with Lisbon, couldn't help but smile back at the genuine warmth that Van Pelt emitted. "Hello, Agent Van Pelt."

"Oh, call me Grace." She turned to Lisbon. "Shall I give her a tour, boss?"

"Good plan," Lisbon nodded.

With no hesitation, Charlotte gave him a quick hug and followed Van Pelt as she headed down the hallway. Uncharacteristically, Jane found himself hesitating. He really hated that Charlotte had been so dedicated to working her two weeks at the CBI. He watched the retreating back of his daughter.

"Mr. Jane?"

The gentle voice of the senior agent called his attention and he dragged his gaze from Charlotte to the petite woman. Her eyes were compassionate. He pushed down the urge to fidget under her eyes, which seemed to see too much.

"I'm sorry, you can't accompany her. I have some paperwork for you to sign before you leave, though," she said kindly. He nodded, bringing up a charming smile.

"Of course. Lead the way," he replied.

He followed her into her office off the side of the bullpen. It was pretty spacious, actually. Nice light from the windows. That wall would be perfect for a couch, he thought absently.

She gestured to one of the chairs in front of her desk and he sat, watching her as she sank into her own chair on the other side. Her necklace caught a ray of sun as she opened one of her drawers to withdraw some paperwork. A cross. Irish Catholic, he supposed, musing on her name and dark hair paired with green eyes. He wondered briefly how someone who headed a unit that dealt with serious crimes could possibly believe in childhood stories of some higher power, an all-knowing beneficent God.

Why would a merciful God allow a mother to be ripped from this earth, from her child? Even if her husband was an arrogant bastard.

Lisbon slid the paperwork across the desk and carefully set a pen on top. Interesting…no chance of brushing fingers with that subtle, yet strategic move. His curiosity stirred, thinking of the small ways she must shut down inappropriate contact or advances before they could even start. Must be tough to be a woman in law enforcement, let alone one working her way up the ranks.

"The first is a media release form for the summer program to take and use photos, probably on their website. The next is an agreement that Charlotte does not go out on any tasks that may involve danger. We don't currently have a case, but should we get one, that would mean no interviews with the suspects, et cetera," Lisbon informed him as he skimmed the top sheet. He looked up her, perfectly aware that some of his golden curls were draping a bit rakishly across his forehead.

Charm was a weapon and it was best to make sure he used it to have an ally at the CBI while Charlotte was here. His blue eyes fixed on her green with a roguish intensity that made some pink splash across her cheeks. He nearly smirked. She would easily fall in line with his plans.

But then she blinked and cleared her throat. "Do you have any questions, Mr. Jane?"

The slight blush abated as if through her sheer will power and, disconcerted, he leaned back, taking the papers and pen with him. She still hadn't progressed beyond formalities. Maybe she needed a bit of encouragement?

"You can call me Patrick."

Her voice was a bit cool. "I appreciate that, but I prefer to maintain a level of professionalism here in the workplace, Mr. Jane."

Huh. Maybe she wouldn't be falling in line with his plans. Well, he'd figure out ways to keep tabs on Charlotte somehow so he wasn't particularly worried. It was just…unusual to have a woman who obviously noticed him as a man, however unwillingly, dismiss her own attraction and prize professionalism over it.

"Agent Lisbon, I'll sign the second form, but I won't be signing the first. I'd rather Charlotte not be a face of any publicity," he said firmly, prepared for her to push back.

She surprised him once more by nodding in agreement. "Yes, I was actually going to advise you on concerns I have about that. I'm glad to see that won't be necessary."

He raised a brow. "Ah, getting it out in the open, I see."

"What?" She looked a bit confused.

"You know who we are."

Now she looked rather amused. Not outright smiling, but still a small crinkling around her eyes betrayed her amusement to him. "Mr. Jane. I am in law enforcement in California. On top of that, I lead a unit at the CBI. It would be strange if I didn't know your name and even more so if I pretended not to. Considering your previous career, I assume that attempting to do so would be an insult to your intelligence."

His breath caught in his throat, though he ruthlessly controlled his outward expression. Not only did she obliquely refer to his wife's case, but she didn't shy away from mentioning his time as a psychic.

He cleared his throat and some of his discomfort made it through despite his best attempts. "Yes, well. I knew immediately that you recognized me so thank you for your honesty. And for your understanding about me not wanting Charlotte involved in any publicity here."

The cool amusement seemed to evaporate and her eyes softened. He shifted in his chair, even more uncomfortable with the pity he felt from her. Her voice was gentle again. "Of course. I am not on your wife's case, but I have enough experience and knowledge that I would have advised you against it."

His hand tightened around the pen as she openly mentioned his wife. He didn't miss that Agent Lisbon's eyes went to his white knuckles, but he couldn't seem to relax.

She continued. "If you'd like to stop by Agent Bosco's office, I can call to see if he is in."

He remained silent, focusing on his bio-feedback.

"To check on the case," she prompted. She herself seemed unsure if it was a statement or a question, her tone rising a bit near the end.

He finally spoke. "Thank you again, Agent Lisbon, but I find it's best if I focus on my daughter and not the past. Perhaps that is shabby treatment of Angela, but I know myself well. And my wife would hate it far more if I neglected our daughter to follow demons of the past."

Even if he often felt a burning urge to hunt down his wife's murderer. Oh, what he would give to find Red John and kill him.

But Charlotte only had him. And as a poor stand-in for her mother, he was unwilling to do anything but be the best father he could be. So he had to be ruthless in avoiding the temptation to turn his mind to the mystery of Red John. To the task of revenge.

His words seemed to leave Lisbon without any barriers between him and her compassionate pity. She leaned forward, resting her elbows on her desk.

"Treasuring your daughter honors your wife's life, Mr. Jane. I admire you for your priorities as a father." There was an intriguing flash of pain in her eyes as she spoke that last word and, off-kilter as he was by the memories and this conversation in general, he didn't hold back.

"Ah, seems you have your own past, Agent Lisbon. A dysfunctional parent, it seems. Your father?"

Almost as soon as the words were out, he was cursing himself internally. Lisbon stiffened and leaned back, crossing her arms in a classic defensive position. He really needed to have more control. What was happening with him right now? He hadn't talked about Angie to anyone besides Charlotte in years. And throwing that reminder to Lisbon when he knew that was a painful memory for her was anything but strategic. He wanted to keep her open, have her as a possible resource while Charlotte was here.

Not get her guard up, position himself as an enemy.

"We seem to have gotten off track, Mr. Jane. If you sign the second form, I will make sure it gets where it needs to be."

Recognizing the remote tone in her voice, he sighed and did as she suggested. As he finished the flourish of his signature, she said once more. "Do you have any questions, Mr. Jane?"

She didn't seem to respond to subtle machinations and he was feeling drained from the emotions that he hadn't allowed to bubble in years so he went with honesty, meeting her eyes once more. "I apologize for the cold reading."

"Cold reading?" She seemed a little non-plussed.

"Yes. Referencing your past with your unhappy father."

"We're done for the day," her voice was firm, body tense, but then she rallied a forced smile. "Can I help you find your way out?"

"Sorry. I'm sorry. I meant to just apologize for that. I'm feeling a little unsettled. Being here. Leaving my daughter here," he said, allowing just the right amount of his emotion to creep in. She softened a bit, though her arms remained crossed. She had a soft heart, this one. He almost felt bad for using that for his own purposes…

Almost.

"I understand how you're feeling. I would probably feel the same way," she admitted almost grudgingly. "Listen, Charlotte will be fine here. My team is highly trained, we all know her circumstances, and she will hardly leave this building. In two weeks, your daughter will be back to enjoying her summer and you can go back to your everyday mundane worrying. Whatever that may be. Boys and such."

"Since I've never been a teenage girl, I wouldn't know what I should be worrying about. Perhaps you'd give me some insight?" The side of his mouth quirked even as he mentally reeled. That sounded…flirty. And not as a manipulation tactic. Seriously, he had to get himself under control. Lisbon's only response was rolling her eyes. Thank goodness. He didn't know what he'd do if she decided to respond in kind. He set the papers on the desk between them. "Thank you. Would you mind terribly if I called to check in from time to time?"

She shook her head. "I'll have Charlotte give you Van Pelt's card so you have her contact number."

Was that disappointment curling in his stomach? "Oh. I couldn't just call you?"

Wow, and if that wasn't revealing? At least to himself. Lisbon didn't seem to think much of it.

"As Agent Van Pelt will be spending the most time with Charlotte, it will just be easier to go straight to her." She stood, a clear indicator that their meeting was done. He followed suit, but was surprised at his urge to stay seated, to stay here in her company. This Agent Lisbon was a fascinating mix of kind and prickly.

Instead of setting the pen on top of the paperwork, he held it out to her. Narrowing her eyes, she reached out to take it. He made sure to hold it just a second too long and maneuvered his fingers to brush hers, feeling a bit of a shock at the butterflies that her touch instigated. She pulled the pen back quickly upon the contact and he smiled at her.

"Teresa Lisbon, that's a nice name."

He walked out in the wake of her silence, knowing that he had unsettled her with that last comment.

Knowing also that she hadn't realized how much she unsettled him.