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"--And Lisbon? Tell Jane that if he sends me another flower arrangement, I'm going to make him eat it the next time that I see him."  

Teresa's torn between wincing and laughing. Robin Brooks has the kind of voice that goes honey-thick with conspiracy when she's making a joke; you only notice if you're paying attention. It's the kind of thing that's been driving Teresa to distraction since she was about thirteen years old, so she's got all the necessary defenses. She notices, and moves on.  

Jane hovers obviously in her periphery, smiling all the way up to his hound-dog eyes; he knows exactly who she's talking to, and he is so unrepentantly amused that she can't help herself-- she says "You want to tell him that yourself?" just to watch Jane make his eyes comically wide, a pantomime of fear as he shakes his head at her. "You don't want to talk to AUSA Brooks, Jane? That's too bad."  

Robin laughs low and honest in her ear and they make their good byes without much further ado. What Robin's voice does to Teresa notwithstanding, she's been a rock-steady friend all through Teresa's career with the CBI. They don't see one another socially that often, but if Robin needs to make a call, Teresa's always the one she contacts with anything-- questions or concerns, and the occasional very professional inquiry into one Patrick Jane's latest miracle confession that usually dissolves into thinly veiled bitching sessions for both of them. Jane's just the kind of person that sneaks up on you, even when you're on the look out. Robin works with Jane just often enough to know what a pain in the ass he can be without also suffering from the rose-colored glasses inspired by his constant and easy presence. She's just the confidant that Teresa needs, some days, and she's more valuable to Teresa than she suspects Robin knows.  

"And how is our favorite Assistant U.S. Attorney, Lisbon?"  

"She's got the case against MacClaren locked down. She's understandably smug and very pleased with the CBI team.” 

Jane's eyebrows beetle up predictably, all feigned hurt to match the sudden sorrowful droop of his shoulders. It's all terribly overdone and comedic, but Teresa withholds her instinctive grin.  

"The team? And what about the extremely hard-working consultant that secured her the ever-important confession?"  

"A confession that wasn't considered coerced by the grace of God and her very hard work, and that reminds me: Knock it off with the apology flowers."  

"Now why would I ever do that, Lisbon? Besides, they're not apology flowers. Someone has to make sure she feels appreciated, and I know for a fact that she loves tulips."  

Tulips, Teresa thinks with a smile she hides in the shuffle to get out of her officer.  Yeah, that fits.

"That might be the case, but she made some very dire threats about where those tulips might end up should she see you and them again too close together. And you're lucky her boyfriend's so understanding, or what Brooks may or may not do to you would be the least of your problems," Teresa tells him, and rolls her eyes at the relatively more honest smirk it puts on Jane's face. It's not often that the CBI coordinates with their federal counterparts but the few times they've hooked up with the L.A. Field Office have made an impact.  

"Oh, what's he going to do to me? You forget that he likes me, Lisbon, and the man's a powder puff about the people he likes," Jane says, looking very pleased with himself, and Teresa can't help smiling back at him. Jane only talks this gently about the people he himself likes-- Robin Brooks gets apology flowers, and her special agent boyfriend gets made fun of without any of Jane's typical contempt for federal law enforcement. Maybe it was Don's own experience with consultants, but he had been remarkably chill with Jane the first time they had met, striking a good balance between authority and honest interest in Jane's methods. Jane was a lot of good things, most days, but something in him had never lost the love of showmanship; he'd eaten up that interest with a spoon unrepentantly. Afterwards, it had of course been Jane's clever plan all along, to get in good with the local feds, keep his options open, whatever; Teresa hadn't had the energy or the motivation to call him on it and besides, it was Jane. Despite how it looked, there was still a chance that he had been playing Don Eppes from the start, though most likely not for the reasons he had cited.  

There are worse things than having the good opinion of the supervisory agent of the FBI's L.A. Major Crimes division, and no matter his motives, Teresa knows that Jane and her team have more than secured it. Teresa's known Don for a while now, their history less social than her and Robin's, marked with cases as milestones. It's still a friendship despite that, since Teresa rarely steps back from the job and Don's the same way. She likes him as a person and as an agent, which is surprisingly rare in their chosen field.  

"Maybe I should start sending him flowers, too?"  

"Might be a bit much," Teresa says, still a little lost in thought. "I like him better than I like you, most of the time, so I wouldn't rely on my help if he decides to pay you back."  

"Most of the time? Lisbon, I'm hurt, really wounded here."  

Teresa looks his way again. Jane doesn't look hurt at all, but she still feels guilt pinch at her. That's the thing about Jane-- Teresa knows by now that it's all about what you can't see at all. He's still probably half-playing her; at least half of his tells are just as constructed as the rest of him. She's learned to take a bizarre comfort in knowing that this means the tells she does catch are most likely designed just for her and no one else.  

"More consistently, anyway," she concedes, and Jane rewards her with a smirk that reaches his eyes. He gives her an arch "Just as I suspected" look, which Teresa nobly ignores. She lets herself be played all the way out of her office and down the hall, still paying a kind of penance that he gently, ruthlessly exploits all the way to Van Pelt's desk. Teresa cuts him off with a diversion that he takes willingly, recognizing the way she's gently drawing a line. "What kind of flowers would he like, anyway?"   

"Oh, something predictable and pedestrian most likely. He doesn't strike me as the kind of man who would care what kind, just as long as they weren't roses or lilies."  

Teresa's already been forgiven, so there's no need to give in and ask why the hell not roses or lilies, even though Jane makes his best hopeful face at her. Teresa just looks at him, waiting, until he sighs dramatically and continues. "He'd care rather a lot about the color, though. Something bright and unusual, oranges and purples, that kind of thing. But I would have to have some pretext to send them-- he might not be the jealous type but as delightfully pragmatic and logical as she is, I'm afraid our favorite attorney has quite a possessive streak."  

Teresa bites her lip against her smile-- Jane had stopped using names as soon as they had left the safety of her office, which was probably one part honest protectiveness and at least three parts dramatic and useless suspense building. Van Pelt's looking back at them avidly already, so curious about Jane's proclamations in particular and people in general. Cho, plowing steadily through the last of the paperwork from the bust he had taken point on last week, looks their way too-- he's easily bored by bureaucracy and politics, but Teresa knows that he treats office gossip like a valuable commodity.  

It's Rigsby, interested mostly because the day's been long and his own paperwork is mostly done, that gives in first-- Van Pelt isn't a gossip despite how much she loves hearing about other people, and Cho is never willing to be the first to give in to anything. "Who doesn't like roses or lilies?"  

Jane beams at him, and the room seems to brighten a tiny bit instantaneously. "A mutual acquaintance of ours."  

It's like dominoes. Cho pipes up, "Why not lilies and roses?"  

"They remind him of funerals," Jane tells him sincerely; Teresa, who had actually guessed that all on her own, winces at the confirmation.  

"And why are you thinking of getting him flowers?" Van Pelt's next, and Jane wags a finger at her.  

"Ah you weren't listening: I can't get him flowers; his girlfriend would get cranky."  

Van Pelt frowns. "But why would you if you could?"  

"Because I've been sending his girlfriend flowers."  

Teresa leans back against Jane's battered wooden desk and watches them continue to pepper Jane with questions until Jane is able to tell the whole story in the most round-about way possible and her team of highly trained and sometimes painfully easy-to-distract investigators lose interest. Jane gives her that same beaming smile, deeply pleased with himself, and Teresa can't help herself. The low afternoon sun streams in through the windows onto her team, and Patrick Jane is grinning at her like a faithful sidekick, a loyal wingman in a successful, harmless show. There are worse things to be, she thinks, with her own smile back at him. There are definitely worse things to be.