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If there’s one thing that is true about accidents, it’s that Patrick Jane has an uncanny ability to make them work to his advantage. He likes to think it’s because he’s easily adaptable, though five years of working with Teresa Lisbon have caused a few new suggestions to be thrown in—not that any of them are particularly glowing recommendations of Jane’s character, but he knows she has no malice. A fact that, at this current moment, is wearing a little thin on truthfulness, if her disgruntled expression is anything to go by.

Jane is mostly apologetic for his stunt with the diamond and the fire extinguisher, though he can’t say it wasn’t amusing, and he certainly isn’t sorry for the state he’s in now—stuck in the bullpen after hours, scouring for the darn thing with no one but dear Lisbon for company.

Certainly this happy accident is great for him, but the glares he feels raking his neck from where Lisbon crouches by Van Pelt’s desk aren’t too reassuring of her enjoyment. Jane pulls his head out of the clouds and lowers it to the floor, eyes scanning for any strange reflections or glints of—

“Aha!” he announces, and plunges his arm beneath the cabinet. Somewhere to his left, he hears Lisbon shuffling to her feet.

“Did you find it?” she asks, the sharp edge of her words dulled with hope.

After a small scuffle with some rather large dust bunnies, Jane extricates his arm from under the cabinet, and presents the diamond to Lisbon with a flourish. “A lovely gem for a lovelier woman,” he says, grinning, and a thrill of victory runs through him when she blushes, shaking her head despite the smile on her face.

“Thank you, Jane,” she says, and plucks it from his fingers. Beneath her sarcastic drawl he can hear sure signs of amusement and, considering this an accident successfully converted, stumbles to his feet feeling quite content.

He trails behind her as she heads into her office, surely to report the recovery of the diamond. Coming to a stop against the doorframe, Jane watches as Lisbon turns the diamond around with nimble fingers, admiring the way it catches the light. His smile softens at the sight.

“You know,” he muses, “I wouldn’t tell anyone if you wanted to keep it. It’s easy enough to say we never found it.” He brushes some dust off of his sleeve, as if to dispose of the evidence.

His comment earns him a sharp look from Lisbon, but he can hear the suppressed laughter in her voice when she says, “And what would I even do with a diamond this big?”

“Oh, I don’t know, but it is a beautiful piece. I’m sure it’d make someone very happy.”

Jane himself isn’t quite sure what he meant to imply with his last comment, so when Lisbon meets his gaze with a slight frown, he simply looks back at her, trying not to feel bashful. Her eyes drop to the diamond, where it is held loosely in the fingers of her left hand, and Jane feels his ears go warm. Surely the diamond was a bit too big for a ring—but it was beautiful, and the fact that Lisbon thinks that is what he had meant makes his heart rate quicken by a noticeable amount.

But the tense moment passes; Lisbon cracks a smile and looks back up at him with a teasing sparkle in her eyes. “Hmm, I think it’s a bit too gauche for me, Jane, but thanks for the offer.”

A nervous warmth burns in his chest, goaded by Lisbon’s forwardness. There’s a hint of pride in her easy smile, having picked up on his surprise. He won’t admit that she got him—and got him good, never mind that—but he can’t pass up the chance to flirt with her, especially when she pulled the first punch.

“Ah, well, it was worth a shot. Maybe someday, though.” He winks and now it’s her turn to blush, though she tries to hide it—and her growing smile—behind her hair as she turns toward the phone.

“In your dreams, Jane,” she says, and moves to shoo him out the door.

///

There are many dreams after that, not all his own, and many years, from which both have felt the burden. But the weight has lifted now, and how much lighter he feels—free from the darkness of his past, free to tell the woman he loves exactly how he feels about her, and free, oh so soon, to call her his wife.

The Patrick Jane who had stood in the CBI headquarters seven years ago and teased Teresa Lisbon with the promise of a diamond ring would have never imagined that he would be standing in a jewelry store now, shopping for just that very thing. He isn’t sure if she remembers that night, though he doesn’t think he could forget it. As he scans the merchandise, he hears her voice, both years and hours old, dissuading him from anything too gauche, and he doesn’t even try to hide the smile that forms at the memory.

She’ll always be a mystery to him, he’s sure, but his Teresa will always be the same.

When he finds the ring, he knows at first sight that it’s the one. It’s surely a bit more flashy than Lisbon is expecting, but it’s elegant and detailed and beautiful, and he is not one to give her anything less. After all, he has some promises to keep.

He meets her later that afternoon to file the proper paperwork and, since his proposal had already been as untraditional as he could have likely made it, decides that it’s no strange thing to show her the ring now, as he pens their information in all the correct spots.

Her disbelief is first, as he expected, her laughter changing from surprise to shock as she realizes that it’s real, that it’s hers. “Jane, are you sure?” she asks finally, still gazing in amazement at the box that she holds cradled in her hands. “This is too much.”

“Nonsense, Lisbon, it’s perfect. You know you love it, I can see it in your eyes. A lovely gem for a lovelier woman.” His eyes twinkle as he watches the gears of her memory turn, trying to unearth the familiar words.

It’s her smile that finally gives her away, wide and bright as the memory floods back. “That case back at CBI—the jewel heist. You tried to convince me to steal a diamond.”

“Not steal, just innocently rehome it,” he says with a shrug, and she laughs in disbelief. “Since this time I’ve actually proposed to you, it seems only right that I should follow through on my promise to get you a ring that matches your beauty.”

Her cheeks flush deep pink, but unlike in years past she no longer ducks her head, and instead shakes her head lightly, smiling all the while. “I never would have thought that all these years later, you’d finally give me a ring.”

He raises his eyebrows, intrigued at her phrasing. “You wanted me to?”

She shrugs nonchalantly, enjoying the fact that he’s still weak to her teasing. “A girl can dream.”

“Well in that case,” Jane says, taking the box from her hands, “let’s make it real.” The ring fits perfectly on her finger, and as Lisbon stares down at it, almost overwhelmed with affection for the man in front of her, it doesn’t escape her notice how nicely it sits on her hand. Not too heavy or too big. It’s perfect.

“It’s beautiful, Jane,” she whispers. Between the ring on the finger and the one resting beside her cross, Jane had certainly kept his promise—and better than even her dreams could have imagined. “And definitely worth waiting for.”

His smile grows wider, one of the bright and genuine ones that she’s been seeing with more frequency over the past few months. The thought of being able to see that smile for the rest of her life fills her with an indescribable warmth.

“Here’s to someday finally coming around,” he says, and brings her knuckles to his lips. “Ready to make it official?”

“You bet,” she says, and threads her fingers with his.

In Lisbon’s office on that night years ago, Jane never would have seen this day coming. It hadn’t been his plan, falling for her, but he wouldn’t change a thing about it. 

Of all the accidents he’d made in his life, this was definitely his favorite.