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Verdigris

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There were several things that Teresa Lisbon had either never expected to happen or had at least given up on.

Her brother ever seeing sense was one of those things.

Lisbon knew she was absolutely in the right so wasn't willing to forgive or forget. Unfortunately, her brother also believed that he was completely correct. As stubbornness appeared to run in the family, that meant their other two siblings were caught in the middle, constantly begging for one of them to back down, for one of them to see sense. Hardly a month went by without her having an hour long telephone call, begging her to at least talk to Tommy, to try and go some way to healing the familial rift. She hated it too, but she wasn't willing to sacrifice her principles; even for her youngest brother. If he realized that what he did was wrong, then maybe she would be able to talk to him and they could get somewhere.

Having a committed relationship was something that had been becoming a distant hope, a distant dream.

Of course, contrary to popular belief, she did date occasionally. So, it usually never went beyond the first or second meet-up, or landed up being a one night stand without even the consideration of calling back again. But still. They were dates. They still counted. She just learned to never expect anything more than that. Men seemed to find her too formidable, too terrifying. Being a cop and having an erratic style was bad enough; Lisbon could never find a regular time to see prospective life-partners and they landed up growing frustrated and breaking it off before it even had a chance to develop into something more. Then there was the fact that she was also a senior agent and she had her own team. People just found her domineering and most men couldn't cope with the fact that she was the one to take the lead, that she had more control issues than you could shake a stick at. In short, she scared them off. Slowly but surely, she had been beginning to accept that.

There were other things too, but Jane was just… well, Jane.

Her expectations for him were unsurprisingly low. Within her first week of working with the man, she lost count of the number of empty promises he'd spouted off. Usually, when he uttered the word 'promise' or any of its synonyms, she now expected it to be broken within the next twenty four hours. Lisbon quickly learned not to attach any hopes to him, to pretend to trust him rather than actually rely upon him. To try and keep him at arm's length because it was better than being hurt by a man determined to kill a serial killer. He had tunnel vision when it came to Red John and it scared her.

She couldn't help but try to fix him though. It was just in her very nature. See a problem, she just had to solve it. It was half of the reason she became a cop; she just loved finding out the answers for people and making them feel better because of it. If she could work out how to stop Jane from hurting, then she would feel like she had achieved something.

It was an odd relationship - trying to stay distanced, yet trying desperately to help at the same time.

And it was also kind of inevitable that she wouldn't do it all that well. Lisbon knew that somewhere along the line she would screw up. There were some challenges that were just too big, even for her. But she certainly didn't expect herself to fail in the way she did. Since he'd been assigned to her team, Jane seemed to have learned to open up, to talk to people. Okay, so it may not have happened quite as often as she liked, but it was better than nothing at all. It was a breakthrough and she was fairly certain that she would have a couple more sometime soon.

What she hadn't expected was falling in love with him.

xxx

It didn't take Patrick Jane long to learn what was happening.

Teresa Lisbon was naturally a protective woman; it was instinctual to her. He watched as she fiercely protected her team, regardless of what happened to them. She never allowed them face the wrath of the fat cats without being there to help them out. But if they slipped up and needed reprimanding by herself, she wouldn't shy away from it. There was a reason she got to where she was and it wasn't by letting people walk all over her. The only thing was that he seemed to be the exception to that rule. She'd just start to reprimand him, as she always had, but eventually give up. Initially, he believed that it was because she'd learned that he just never listened, but there was something else. An expression in her eyes that stated otherwise.

He hadn't been sure what to think of that.

Instead of actively acknowledging it, he brushed it under the carpet. It was easier than dealing with it straight away. Not necessarily wise, because it was probably something he should nip in the bud, but he hadn't the heart nor the energy to do so. Though he'd never have dared admit it, he was scared. Scared of what that kind of conversation could lead to. Actually worried about the undue heartache he could cause her if he shattered her dreams so suddenly. Contrary to popular (her) beliefs, he did actually care about other people and how they felt. He wasn't a complete bastard.

He was just weak.

Always had been.

When his wife, his first wife, had pursued him, he'd practically hidden under the covers. Unless he was the one taking control, taking the lead, he was so oblivious to the fact that a woman was trying to seduce him, it was unbelievable. Mainly, because he was too busy trying to look for the hidden messages in their behavior, trying to see what they were really up to rather than accepting it at face value. Of course, if he was in a bar and a woman made a blithe comment, he knew what was happening, but if it was someone he knew and knew well, like Lisbon, it was another matter entirely.

But she didn't approach him, didn't act on her apparent feelings. Not the way other women did, not the way his wife had. Not because she lacked confidence, far from it, in fact. Probably because, despite the fact he was a civilian and therefore there was a loophole which allowed them to work together and have a romantic relationship, it looked inappropriate. After the Rigsby and Van Pelt debacle, she had to lead be example, not appear to subvert the very rules she was trying to uphold. And it didn't matter how many heated gazes she sent in his direction, nor how lax she was with him despite trying to be the opposite. Things just weren't going to change.

She did try dating other people and Jane had watched with interest. He always knew it was doomed to failure though. Regardless of how nice the other man was, how well he fitted her on paper, it just never worked. Her heart wasn't in it and though she never bothered to vocalize it. He knew exactly why: as time progressed onwards, she appeared to be developing stronger and stronger feelings for him. For a change, that wasn't his arrogance speaking. It was what he read in the situation. And Patrick Jane knew that if he could change those feelings in an instant, turn them off in her, he would.

He hated seeing her so unhappy.

That was why he swallowed his nerves, his pride and just kissed her.

xxx

They dated, for a while.

She was happy, he was not.

He'd assumed that she would realize that this was clearly a terrible idea, that they really weren't suited as they did so. Jane knew that he wasn't even over his first wife, but Lisbon didn't seem to have a clue. Well, they did say love was blind.

But at least she was smiling again; that was an achievement of sorts. Her whole face lit up whenever she did so and while he couldn't even bring himself to love her, he did like the affect being genuinely happy had on her. The spring in her step, the lightness in her touch, the sense of calm she practically embodied. It suited her - far more than the heaviness that seemed to previously surround her. Of course, if anybody noted the change in Lisbon's behavior, she would have scoffed at them, said they were absolutely mad. Having a man in her life didn't make her react any differently, it just meant she actually had a social life when previously she didn't.

And that was a good thing.

However, Lisbon wasn't as naïve as Jane assumed she was. She could tell that sometimes, his smiles were a little forced, as were the things he said and did. His movements weren't quite as relaxed as they could be and he always seemed to be, somehow, on edge. They still argued too, and not just about work now. It may have been the natural part of any relationship, but Lisbon couldn't help but wonder if, maybe, their arguments seemed to escalate further than any other couple's. She watched other people, she was a detective too, after all, trying desperately to work out what the difference was. Always comparing what she had to other people and they always seemed relaxed, at ease in their relationships whereas she was constantly scared of stepping on Jane's toes. And though she wasn't exactly experienced when it came to relationships, even she knew that couldn't be right.

It was after a particularly nasty argument when she made her decision. Though Jane's observations were correct, she was happier having somebody to share her life with, she couldn't keep tying him down. More than ever, Jane seemed to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and Lisbon couldn't help but wonder if she was half the problem. That if she were to cease their strange little relationship, Jane would be able to relax again, wouldn't feel so stifled, so torn with his emotions. As she went to tell him just that, he stunned her, rather like he usually did.

Of all the things for him to say the morning after they'd tried tearing each other to shreds with callous words and cruel remarks, suggesting marriage was pretty near the bottom of the list.

With no thought of her own, somehow, an acceptance slipped out.

And that was why, on this hot, sunny day, she found herself on a sandy beach, dressed in a simple, white gown with a particularly apprehensive Patrick Jane by her side.

Her brothers - all of them - were in attendance. Along with the team, a handful of friends and even a couple of her old college friends. Virgil Minelli, her ex-boss and mentor, though disapproving of her choice of life-partner had even agreed to give her away. It was a small ceremony, the kind that she'd always dreamed of, but had given up hope of ever having. Though she could scarcely believe it, it was almost as though Patrick, as she now generally thought of his as, had read her mind and plucked out that perfect little vision she'd always had pocketed away.

Theoretically, it was perfect. Not too big, everybody she'd wanted to attend (excepting her parents) was there. They hadn't rushed into it, not like they could have done. Taken their time over each and every decision. Theoretically, she was happy and this was the best day of her life.

So why was it, as she said 'I do', she couldn't help but wonder if she'd just made the biggest mistake of her life instead?