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Field Test no.7

Field Test no.7: Phone Calls & Boundaries

This is part of the Field Test Series and is set during the first two seasons.

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He answered on the third ring, “Hm, mm?”

There was a pause and a woman said tentatively, “Mr. Cho?”

He had to think a minute before he replied sleepily, “No, not Cho. Would you like to speak to him?”

“Yes… Please.”

It took Jane a long moment to gather the energy to roll backwards, to push to Cho off. Cho flopped to his back like a dead fish. If dead fish were sweaty, beautiful, and had arms and legs that splayed out all over the place.

Jane laughed softly at the sight and found the phone’s tiny speaker and covered it with his thumb. “Hey.” When he got no response, he leaned closer and said louder, “Hey.

Cho didn’t open his eyes. “Go away.”

“That’s not what you said an hour—” He turned to look at the clock. “And ten minutes ago.”

“A lot can happen in an hour.”

“And ten minutes. Yes, it can. Anyway…” Jane sat the phone on Cho’s chest, right in the middle of the scattering of hair he loved so much, and tapped it. And then he added—even though it hadn’t sounded like an emergency and he had no idea of its relative importance, “You have a call. I think it’s an emergency.”

Cho opened one eye and squinted at the cell. He fumbled for it, then put it to his ear, giving Jane a peevish look that all but said, ‘You could have told me.’ “Yes?”

The woman on the end said something, a hurried stream of sibilant ups and downs. Cho sat up and shook his head. “No, it’s fine.”

Jane lay back—it was only eight-forty but he was exhausted. And hungry. But that’s what you got when you mixed abstinence and absence—three hours of sex and no dinner. Not that he was complaining. He’d turned down Van Pelt’s invitation to get something to eat at the cafe on I Street, just so he could be around when Lisbon, Cho, and Rigsby returned from what was supposed to be a three-day jaunt to Newport Beach for what was supposed to be a routine assignment.

He rolled to his side and touched the long, red wound on Cho’s upper thigh. It was almost a week old now, and had healed enough that Cho didn’t want to bother with a bandage. It was going to scar and once again, Jane wished he’d been there—although what he could’ve done, he didn’t know. Maybe talk the bad guy out of being so stupid as to run away from six agents and four police officers. Or simply to get in the bad guy’s way so Lisbon and company could catch him without the extended chase.

Cho leaned against the headboard and shot an odd look at Jane. “I’m sorry, ma’am, I don’t know who you are. What’s this about?”

Jane wasn’t exactly sure what happened in Newport—he’d have to get the details from Rigsby. Cho would only say that the man they were investigating tried to run and they caught him, but only after Cho tore his leg open on a wrought-iron fence and that, ‘It wasn’t a big deal so don’t worry about it—I’ve had worse.’

He bent down and kissed the battered flesh, smiling when Cho caressed the back of his neck.

“Yes, I remember her,” Cho said, “but—”

Jane looked up. Cho’s face had changed from sleepy confusion to exasperation, all in the space of a few seconds. He pulled away from Jane’s hands, Jane’s mouth, and got up, padding to the window to pace back and forth.

He rolled to his side and propped his head on his hand. The blinds were up and the moon rode low and bright. Bright enough to cast sharp shadowed lines across Cho’s shoulders and chest. As he paced, Jane followed the patterns, caught by the hypnotic way they skated across Cho’s skin, undulating like they were living things—like something Hitchcock would have used as a metaphor for a cage or maybe something more sinister, maybe a subtle way to—

“Ma’am? Yes, I’m sorry, but you were misinformed. No, not— Yes, good—”

Cho stopped moving and so did the lines—now they lay over his shoulders, like a cape. Jane wished he had a camera, a good one that could take nighttime photos. His was at home. Maybe he could get an extra one, just for moments like—

“What are you staring at?”

He looked up. “Hmm?” Cho had finished his call and was leaning against the small dresser that stood under the window. “Oh, nothing.” And then he smiled. Just two months ago, Cho would have curled within himself rather than stand nude in front of Jane. Now he stood straight, one hip cocked, totally at ease. The sight, the reason behind the ease, did funny things to Jane’s chest. His smile broadened. “Just enjoying the view.”

Cho made a face and said, “Ass.”

He patted the bed. Cho tossed the phone on the nightstand and they settled themselves again, Jane on his back, Cho laying over him with his head on his chest. Cho began to stroke Jane’s side, down his ribcage and then back up again and the familiarity, that was another kind of ease, and it did equally funny things to Jane’s chest—it made the hollow that lived inside his ribs seem a little less dark, a little less empty. He ran his fingers lightly over Cho’s shoulders, tracing the patterns of the shadows as he recalled them. “Does your leg hurt?”

“A little. It’s not a big deal.”

“You should put on that stuff your sister gave you.”

“It’ll get the sheets dirty.”

Jane was quiet for a moment, then, when it looked like Cho wasn’t going to bring it up, he murmured, “Who was that?”

“When?”

“Just now. On the phone.” And Jane pinched him, because really, who did he think he was talking about?

“Ow!” Cho slapped his hand away, then, “Some woman.”

“So I gathered.”

Cho shrugged. “Her mother is trying to set us up. The daughter and me, I mean.”

Jane stilled, then began stroking again. “Oh, really?”

“I met her last month. The mother. I mean.”

“When was this?”

“During the last Red John incident.”

“Hmm.”

“I didn’t tell you because, well, I guess I forgot.”

“That doesn’t seem like something one would forget.”

Cho shrugged—the scrape of his light beard was pleasantly rough and Jane shivered. “It wasn’t important.”

“How’d she get your number?”

“I don’t know. Probably Rigsby.”

“Okay,” Jane said.

Okay.

 

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Cho edged his way between two SUVs that were parked too close together and said, “No, it’s not.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it’s not.”

Jane stopped and turned around. The lights of the Calistoga Canyon parking lot shone on half of his face, making him look a little sinister as he insisted, “I bought last time. The shellfish, remember?” He even pointed his finger for emphasis.

Cho opened his mouth, then closed it. Damn. Jane was right. “That shouldn’t count, considering,” he said, more than a little begrudging. Because he was still pissed that he’d spent the entire night in the bathroom on his knees in front of the toilet while Jane had slept like a baby. That it was three by the time his stomach settled down and he was able to go back to bed.

The only upside, something he hadn’t told Jane, something he didn’t even like to think about because it was such a girl thing, was it had almost been worth it. Most people, if they had another place to sleep, would have simply left. That Jane stayed meant this wasn’t casual, that he was willing to put up with normal couple stuff. Like one partner throwing up all night.

Either that or Jane really was as lazy as Lisbon always said he was. “Okay, it’s my turn. But you need to get the appetizers. To make it even.”

Jane laughed. “No way.” And he walked on, calling out over his shoulder, “Take it like a man.”

Cho followed, slipping around a white Caddy so he could be a few steps ahead when they got to the sidewalk. “The drinks, then.” But he didn’t really mean it—he said it because he liked it when Jane got pissy.

Jane caught up with him and leaned into his shoulder as they walked, whispering in his ear, “That’s what I love about you, Cho—never give up, never surrender.”

Cho snorted softly and leaned back. Not too much, though—this side of the resort was empty, but the back terrace was just around the corner. “When did you watch it?”

“Galaxy Quest?”

“Yes.”

“When you all were in Newport.”

They separated for another couple that was leaving the restaurant. The woman gave Cho a knowing look, the man kept his head down. “Did you like it?” They were almost to the corner of the building—light spilled out into the gardens and he could hear laughter and the raucous sound of too many people talking too loud.

“A little. I didn’t get some of the references.”

“That’s because—” Cho began when his cell rang. He sighed and reached in his pocket. He’d had this night planned for two weeks and it’d better not be an emergency.

“Probably Lisbon with a case.”

Jane said it a little too eagerly—it had been a slow week and he’d been bored—he’d told Cho and Lisbon that several times a day. Cho looked at the display and held it up so Jane could see. “No. Unlisted.” He pushed a button then said, “Yes?”

“Is this Kimball Cho?” It was a woman, her voice high and breathy.

“Yes, it is.”

“Good. I was so— I mean, I wasn’t sure if this was the right number. My handwriting sucks and I thought it was a thirty-three and not a thirty-eight but I wasn’t really sure and—”

Cho’s stomach twisted, his heart sank. Not again and he had to break in because she was still rambling, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but—”

‘Ma’am.’ That’s so cute. I’m not a ma’am. I mean, some day I will be, when I’m, like, forty, but not yet, thank God. I—”

“Miss,” He tried again, firmly. He had the feeling she’d talk all night if he let her. “I’m sorry, but can you tell me what this is about?”

“Didn’t he tell you?”

“Didn’t who tell me what?” There was a shuffling sound behind him. He turned. Jane was standing there, staring up at the dark sky.

“Officer Rigsby. He gave me your number. He showed me your picture. You know, the one from that case you just solved. The one with the baby and that crazy stalker? You know the one.”

Cho rolled his eyes. It hadn’t been a crazy stalker. It had been a man from the UK who had followed his wife to California in order to defend his custody rights. The wife had accused the man of being a terrorist and since he was Middle Eastern, everybody and their dog had shown up. “Yes, I remember.” He didn’t remember being photographed, but then, the scene had been a melee with people and cameras all over the place.

“Well,” she hesitated, for the first time sounding as if she realized something was wrong. “He told me— I mean, he asked if I was single, and then he said that you were, too. And that you needed a girlfriend because you hadn’t been on a date in a long time and I usually don’t do this, but…”

She trailed off and he was suddenly furious at Rigsby for putting him in this position, for putting the girl whose name he didn’t know, in this position. “I’m very sorry, miss— What is your name?”

“Lisa. Lisa Miller.”

“I’m sorry, Lisa. I don’t need a girlfriend. I’m on a date right now.” It was only as he said it that he realized that he could have lied—something about a war wound or a sick mother—anything but bald rejection. But what the hell—it would be more cruel to let her think he was available and he simple didn’t want to go out with her.

She didn’t say anything and he stifled a frustrated sigh and turned. Jane was still standing there, hands still in his pockets, only now he was smiling straight at Cho—a careful, watchful smile. Cho cleared his throat and didn’t back away, wishing Lisa had called anytime but now. And she still wasn’t saying anything, so he said cautiously, “Miss?”

And then she spoke, “You know, it’s kind of mean, getting your friend to do that. Next time, why don’t you just save us both— I mean, I didn’t ask to be set up. I was just—”

His mouth dropped open. “I di—”

Lisa muttered something about a Tracy and how she was right, all men were—

—were something that he never found out because she hung up. He closed the phone and tucked it in his pocket thinking, Wait for it—

“Another set up?”

“Yes.”

“A lot of mothers are throwing their daughters at you, aren’t they?”

“It wasn’t a mother, it was Rigsby.”

“Rigsby is throwing his daughters at you?”

“Don’t. You know what I mean. C’mon.” Cho touched his sleeve. “They’re going to give our table away.”

But Jane didn’t say anything, so Cho just led the way to the restaurant and found the hostess. As they followed her, he was startled to find Jane walking so close he almost stepped on his heels. And when they sat down, instead of sitting on the opposite side like he always did, he sat in the chair next to Cho. He even scooted it closer. It was almost as if he was—

Cho shook his head at the bizarre notion and opened his menu. He wasn’t in the mood for a heavy dinner anymore, but it would be a waste, not using the, Thank you for helping me get Paul back, gift certificate Laurie had sent a month ago. Besides, it had taken an hour to get here and he had no intention of listening to Jane’s complain that he was starving all the way back home.

So he ordered. And Jane ordered. And they had a good meal and a good conversation that ranged from literature to 70s rock. It had been weeks since it was just the two of them, and he loved it, loved talking to Jane because he knew a little bit about everything, was widely read, and liked to listen as well.

But something was off, he thought, when Jane excused himself to go to the bathroom. He was too quiet, Cho decided. Not silent or morose or even pissed off. Just…

Quiet.

And he was quiet as they drove back to Cho’s, quiet when they parked and walked to the elevator, Cho in front, Jane behind, their footsteps echoing in the cavernous lot.

And when they got to the elevator, Jane was also quiet when he pushed Cho up against the doors, kissing the back of his neck, his ear, shocking Cho so thoroughly that it took him several tries to find the call button. When the doors opened, they fell through, first Cho, then Jane.

It was insane, something they shouldn’t be doing because public indecency wasn’t anything he wanted on his record, but he couldn’t stop himself, couldn’t stop Jane, especially when Jane shoved him up against the wall of the elevator and bit his collarbone through his new, expensive, blue shirt. He moaned and slammed his head hard against the metal enough to see stars, not really caring because he was too busy trying to loosen his tie to make room for Jane’s impatient mouth to think clearly.

When they got off the elevator and managed to get inside—Cho swearing a little because the door got stuck again and he had to open it with his shoulder—they didn’t make it to the bedroom. Jane tripped on the rug that he always tripped on and down they went. Cho laughed because it was funny and sexy, and when he tried to stand, Jane quietly dragged him back down and didn’t let him up for the next hour.

 

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‘Oh, come on,’ Jane thought, as he watched Rigsby nudge Cho in the ribs and then jerk his head towards the officer by the yellow crime scene tape. Wasn’t there some departmental rule about inter-office dating? Or would that be inter-departmental dating? Whatever, it had to be illegal to try to set up a cop during the performance of his or her duties. Sure, this cop was just standing there, trying to keep the reporters from jumping the line. And, sure, she was moderately pretty in a Charlie’s Angels sort of way, but still, work was work.

Which didn’t matter to Rigsby, apparently. He ignored Cho’s head shaking, dodged Cho’s hand, then pushed through the reporters and the cameramen. He scrambled over the tape and yes, after five minutes of what had to be inane small talk  because Rigsby still needed a lot of work in that arena, he nodded to the SUV where Cho was removing his gear, pointedly turned away. The cop smiled and nodded and Jane took his hands out of his pockets, stepping forward.

“Don’t do it,” came a soft voice at his side.

He looked over his shoulder. Lisbon had come up behind him, still dressed as if for a minor war in her vest, helmet, and safety glasses. The gear was in case the threat they’d received four hours ago had actually been serious and not a joke from some random lunatic.

Jane hadn’t quite gotten the details—it had something to do with explosives or small arms, or maybe it had been explosive small arms. In any case, it had sounded dangerous, not to mention painful, and he hadn’t needed to be told twice when Lisbon pointed to the street and said, ‘Stay.’He’d even gone to the opposite side and had watched from the other side of an SUV as a dozen black-clad officers surrounded the house. Like a swarm of very large, very grim ants. He still thought that was funny. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you do.”

Jane opened his mouth to say, ‘No, I don’t,’ because he usually loved to spar verbally with her, but, no, not tonight. He was frustrated, tired, and angry. Frustrated, because he’d warned Minelli not two days ago that Walter Berman, the random lunatic, might try this very thing. Tired, because he’d been standing around for two hours while the scene was cleared. Angry because he was fed up with Rigsby trying to set Cho up with every woman that came their way.

It had to stop.

“Jane.” Lisbon took off her glasses and helmet. Her hair was all over the place. He smoothed down the worst of it. “Thanks. Listen, I know Rigsby’s been a pain. Have you tried talking to him?”

There was still a strand of hair swooping out in back but he decided to leave it—it was endearing. “Whey would I want to talk to Rigsby?” he asked absently.

“No, Cho, you—” She stifled whatever curse she was going to throw at him and said with obvious patience, “Have you tried talking to Cho?

“Have you tried talking to Cho about what?”

Even Jane jumped at Cho’s voice. He was supposed to still be over by the SUV and it was no fair, that he could move so soundlessly. Jane put on a smile and said, “Er, dinner?” Which was less than smooth and he looked to Lisbon for support but coward that she was, she was gone, already across the street, walking fast towards the fire chief.

Jane turned back. Cho’s face was shiny and he smelled like smoke. His hair was standing up in little tufts and there was a black streak across his cheek. Jane reached out to wipe it away, remembering at the last minute why he couldn’t do that, not here, not now. It was always not here, not now, and the burn of anger he’d been living with for a month grew hotter.

“We ate four hours ago. Remember?” Cho gave him that steady, interrogator’s look.

“Still, you must be hungry again after all that running around, back and forth, in and out.” Jane gestured vaguely to the crime scene where no one was running around, back and forth or in and out.

“Yeah, I guess,” Cho said slowly. “Let me see if the guys want to go.”

He started to turn and Jane couldn’t help himself—even not here not now—he reached out and touched Cho’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Cho’s lips didn’t smile, but his eyes did. “Yeah. I’m fine. Thanks.”

He left with a long look back. Jane smiled innocently in reply—he even waved. But his smile faded away when the pretty blond cop accosted Cho as he ducked under the tape. She said something and when he tried to walk past her, she handed him a white piece of paper. When Cho didn’t take it, she stuck it in his shirt pocket.

Jane choked on a laugh because as brazen as that was, it was also direct and forthright, qualities he generally admired in women. But not tonight and the only thing that held him in place was the tiny fractional movement that Cho made as he didn’t turn to see if Jane was watching.

‘Have you tried talking to him?’

Jane thought he had. Not in so many words, of course, but his gestures the night of, and after, dinner at the Calistoga restaurant had been clear.

Hadn’t they?

No matter, he thought, as he stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his heels—he’d take care of it so there’d be no more doubts, no more misunderstandings. No more Rigsby interfering where he wasn’t wanted.

It was going to stop.

 

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Cho leaned forward and said in what he’d always considered his most serious, scariest, voice, “Next time, just tell the truth. If you’d been honest with us in the first place, you wouldn’t have spent the night here.”

Sean Preston nodded miserably.

“Next time it won’t go so easy for you, you know that, right?”

The boy nodded again and huddled deeper into his hoodie.

Sheila Preston leaned across and touched the back of Cho’s hand. She was early forties, beautiful, well dressed, well perfumed. “Officer…?”

“Cho, ma’am. Agent Cho.”

“Yes, I know, but what is your first name?”

She smiled coyly and he wanted to tell her his first name was none of her business. “Kimball.”

“Kimball. Will this go on his permanent record?”

“No, ma’am.”

“That good because it was just an innocent prank, you know how it is.” She waved a pink-nailed hand and laughed.

Cho did, but he wasn’t about to tell her that. “No, ma’am. I don’t.” Keying cars in the parking lot of the downtown Marriott wasn’t the crime of the century, but it wasn’t harmless, either. Especially when one of those cars turned out to be the AG’s own limo.

Sheila Preston went on as if he hadn’t spoken, “Anyway, it was all that Mike Garcia’s fault. If he hadn’t been around—”

“Mom,” Sean interrupted, sitting up, finally coming out of his daze, “it was not his fault and you know it. He wasn’t even—”

Cho raised his hand and said firmly, “We’ve been through that.” And they had, twenty-eight long minutes of back and forth accusations, back and forth excuses. “We’re done here. You need to sign a few forms. Then you can go.” He closed the folder and pushed his chair back.

Before he could stand, Sheila leaned forward and said, “Wait. Sean.” She turned to her son. “Why don’t you go outside and get a soda or something. Here…” She dug around in her purse and came up with a wad of cash. She stuffed it into the kid’s hand and practically pushed him out of his seat. She waited until he was gone and then turned to Cho.

Aw, crap.

He’d totally missed the signs. Probably because he’d been up for forty-three hours, hunting down the vandals after the AG had insisted that Minelli put his best people on the job. Which, oddly enough, had included Cho and Rigsby and no one else.

He drew back and opened his mouth, but before he could say a word, Sheila leaned across the table again and said, “I was talking to that sweet officer out there, Mr.…?”

He could just get up and leave, but that would be rude. And piss Minelli off because Sheila’s father belonged to the same country club as the AG. “Agent Rigsby.”

“Yes, Mr. Rigsby. He mentioned that you’d been having a hard time,” her voice dropped until she was barely whispering, “in the dating department. Now, I know I don’t look old enough, but I have a daughter and I just bet you two would—”

The door opened. Sheila broke off with a start and Cho looked around.

Jane stood there, framed in the doorway, smiling agreeably. He nodded to Sheila and she nodded back. And then he turned his smile on Cho.

Oh, shit.

He tried to stand, but Jane waved him back and stepped into the room and closed the door, still smiling like a lunatic. Or like he had the best secret ever and couldn’t wait to tell the world. “You know, Sheila… It is Sheila isn’t it?” He didn’t wait for her agreement, but went on. “I’ve always been fond of clichés, as overused as they are. ‘Once burned, twice shy,’ ‘A penny saved is a penny earned,’ or, my all time favorite, ‘A fool and his money are soon parted.’

He winked at Cho. It wasn’t a friendly wink and he wished he could run but Jane was blocking the door and scrambling around him wouldn’t be very dignified. “The thing is, all clichés have a grain of truth in them. They work, if you will. Now, take your son—he’s a hoodlum in the making and could probably benefit from the, ‘If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,’ cliché, but after witnessing your stellar parenting skills I think the die is cast in that regard.”

Cho jerked and met Jane’s waiting gaze. The Preston case had been too minor to call him in. Which meant he’d been watching the entire time, which meant— Cho glanced furtively at the observation room, wondering who else was behind the glass. “Jane.”

“Yes,” Jane continued as he moved one step closer, “I’m afraid your son is going to spend many years in jail. Probably most of his life.”

Sheila gasped. “Who the hell do you think—”

Jane waved his hand the way he did when he was just about to deliver a coup de grace. Or say something that would really get him into trouble. “I’m getting to that, Sheila. You see…” One more step. “I have another cliché that I want to discuss, the one about pictures. Do you know the one I’m talking about. Sheila?”

“Jane, cut it out,” Cho tried again.

Sheila glanced back and forth between them, confusion all over face. “Er, a… A picture’s worth a thousand words?”

“That’s correct,” Jane practically crowed. He was a foot away now. “A picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case, about three dozen.” He glanced at the one-way glass and smiled as if to say, ‘Are you watching?’ then turned to Cho.

Who leaned back in his chair and clutched the folder like an idiot and said, “Jane, don’t.”

Jane did. Slow and intent, his blue eyes like fire, he bent forward, one hand on the table, the other on the chair’s armrest. There was only five inches of air between them and time came to a screeching halt. Like in the elevator, Cho knew he could stop him, it wouldn’t take much, but he couldn’t seem to move. He didn’t bother to hope that no one was in the observation room—he knew they were, and because of that, he tried once more. “Jane?” 

Jane crossed the five inches of air and kissed him—no hesitation, just his mouth on Cho’s, familiar and warm, insistent, explicit.

Cho heard a loud noise and he pulled away maybe a hair, but Jane smiled and Cho loved that, loved it when he smiled like that while they were kissing, so he said a mental, Whatever, and murmured against Jane’s lips, “In for a penny, in for a pound?”

Jane’s eyes gleamed and he laughed, soft and happy. “Something like that.” And he kissed Cho again.

When they drew apart, only a few minutes later because Cho wasn’t as far gone as that, Sheila had disappeared and her chair was tipped over.

He pushed Jane back and stood up. His heart was racing and he was a little dizzy, so he concentrated on work things. He picked up the chair, then picked up the folder. It was bent and squashed and he smoothed it out with the desk’s edge, thinking that every time he saw it, he’d remember. Which, hopefully, would be never. Sean Preston might be a hoodlum in the making, as Jane had said, but maybe he’d learned something from the night in jail. Anything was possible.

“Well?”

He glanced over his shoulder. Jane had his hands in his pockets again but even in the low light of the interview room, Cho could see his face was flushed and not necessarily with lust. He straightened up. “I take it this was to get Rigsby to back off.”

“It was.”

“I take it you made sure he was next door, observing.”

Jane held the door open for him. “And Lisbon and Van Pelt. Just to be sure.”

Cho crushed the folder again. “Jane—”

Jane shrugged fatalistically. “It had to be done.”

“You could’ve just asked. I would have talked to him.” He left the room, making sure to give Jane wide berth as he passed by.

Jane raised his eyebrow and followed, shoulder to shoulder. “I didn’t think asking was necessary. I thought I’d made my intentions and desires clear.”

“Not so much.”

“Hmm.”

“Yeah. Next time? Just say something.”

Jane stopped, using his elbow to stop Cho as well. “Will there be a next time?”

He was dead serious and Cho said quietly, just as serious, “There wasn’t a first time, if you know what I mean.”

And Jane did. Cho could see it by his delighted smile, by the way he touched the back of Cho’s hand, just once, before they continued down the hall.

They were almost to the squad room and it really wasn’t the time, but there was something he had to know and it couldn’t wait. He moved closer and muttered, “Were you jealous?”

Jane tipped his head back and raised an eyebrow. “Of course not.”

Cho smiled, relieved, elated, because that was as good as a, Hell, yes, in Jane-speak. He followed Jane into the squad room, still smiling.

And then he remembered where he was and he replaced his smile with a blank nothing and sat down, tossing the folder on the desk. Everyone was pretending to be busy. Lisbon had her door closed and all he could see was the top of her head. Knowing her, she was either smirking or planning the reprimand he’d receive later.

Van Pelt was staring at her computer, her cheeks as pink as her sweater. And Rigsby—

Rigsby was hiding behind his monitor. He was too big for the seventeen inch screen, but he was hiding nonetheless. From what Cho could see his face was even redder than Van Pelt’s. Even his ears and Cho snorted as he got out a new folder and incident report to replace the ruined one. Served him right. He’d let him stew for a day or so and then they’d talk. It would be embarrassing, but Rigsby was into those kinds of conversations—he’d love it.

He frowned. Rigsby really would love it and he’d be lucky if he ever shut up about it, ever again.

He sighed, already dreading it.

And then he wanted to groan because Jane had stopped in the middle of the room, happy as could be—he always had to have the last word.

“So I take it we’re all on the same page?” he announced loudly. “And it’s understood,” he continued without waiting for an answer, looking around as if he were addressing a crowd of three hundred patsies instead of a group of three co-workers and incidental onlookers, “that there will be no more getting of dates for anyone in this office?”

Van Pelt coughed.

“Well, no one but Rigsby and Van Pelt, I mean,” Jane amended with a nod towards Van Pelt. “That’s a given.”

“Jane!” Van Pelt hissed. And then blushed even more, which Cho didn’t think possible.

Rigsby cleared his throat and peered around the side of his monitor. “Uh, Jane?”

Jane’s smile turned tiger sharp. “Yes, Wayne?”

“Maybe you’ll want—?” Rigsby held out a tentative hand. In his palm was a crumpled piece of paper.

Jane looked at Cho and Cho looked at Jane. Then Jane said over his shoulder as he turned to his couch, “No, I think you know what to do with that. I’m going to lay down for a while. It’s been a long day. Whatever happened to Sean Preston?”

Cho muttered, “Damnit,” and jumped up. He glanced at the sofa. Jane was already on his back, hands behind his head, eyes closed. He waved blindly and Cho muttered a different kind of, “Damnit,” and hurried from the room.

 

fin.