|The Mentalist story
||[Nov. 28th, 2008|07:57 pm]
Options, a Mentalist story. 3827 words, RATED NC17 SLASH explicit sex and some naughty language. Cho has an option for curing Jane's insomnia. Jane takes him up on it. Also found at the Keep .
Options, by glacis. Rated NC-17 (Cho/Jane). No copyright infringement intended. Spoilers for season 1 of The Mentalist through “Thin Red Line” (ep 8).
Patrick Jane’s eyes saw everything, and gave very little away.
Cho noticed it from the first conversation he had with the man. People often missed Cho’s jokes, because he’d perfected the deadpan delivery, a must growing up as a Chinese American kid in Oakland with a name that translated to ‘royally brave butterfly.’ It was either joke about it or fight about it, and he did a lot of both. So his humor had an edge to it, and most people missed it.
His mouth curled up in a grin, and his eyes lightened, and Cho realized just how dark they usually were. Dark, and still, and watchful. Not surprising, really, with what happened to his wife and kid. Coming home to find their corpses and a ‘gotcha’ note pasted on the bedroom door from the nutcase he was trying to catch would make the toughest guy crack. And Jane wasn’t tough.
He was fragile.
He put up a good cover, but Cho was a cop, with street instincts, and he saw through it. He saw it when Jane ran himself into the ground on a case, when there were kids involved, when some reckless instinct broke a case, when some investigator got all carried away with clues and forgot about the real people whose blood was painted on the wall. When he got in a murderer’s face, or a cop’s, and got his own face punched for it. When he’d gone for days without any real sleep then crapped out on the couch in the pit and slept like a baby in a crib. There was guilt there, and pain, eating the man up from the inside out. His cover was good, held up by natural arrogance, frightening intelligence, and a layer of smug superiority tempered by a knack for finding humor in everything. But underneath that cover was an abyss, and Jane was drowning in it.
He played along, nodding when Lisbon arrested first one kid then another, then an angry suspect who tried to break Jane’s nose for him. He rolled his eyes behind Van Pelt’s back when she sided with the psychic, but closed them in sympathy when she left Jane alone, after the psychic’s words undid him. Cho didn’t know if there was an afterlife, or if spirits talked, and didn’t really care. He focused on the living, and the recently dead, and finding justice for both. Van Pelt’s faith, Jane’s guilt, Lisbon’s ghosts, they weren’t his business. The stress fractures under Jane’s polished veneer shouldn’t be, either.
But they were.
Nobody mentioned the fact that Jane’s eyes were red when he came out of hiding an hour or so later, though Van Pelt’s sympathy was so thick it might as well have been a blunt instrument. Thankfully Rigsby distracted her before Jane ran away screaming or Lisbon locked her in the women’s room (or Cho smacked her hard enough to make her head ring). Lisbon gave Jane little sideways looks for the next two days, but Jane pretended nothing happened, so Lisbon did too.
Nine days later, Jane’s toothy smile was showing some wear around the edges, along with the beard stubble. They were in Bakersfield for a couple days, mopping up after a sociopath with a fetish for scalps and delusions of Geronimo-hood. Jane had done his usual mojo and found clues in the weirdest places that the rest of the team backed up with evidence. Cho kept a close eye on Jane, and Jane was starting to get a little jumpy from it. Might have been from the fact that he hadn’t slept in so long he was practically hallucinating.
Lisbon was too focused on in the case and the locals, Van Pelt and Rigsby were too distracted with each other, but Cho noticed. The case wrapped up near midnight, too late to go home, so they piled into the rental SUV and headed back to the hotel. Van Pelt and Rigsby did the will-she-won’t-he dance in the hotel bar, Lisbon went directly to her room, and Cho waited an hour before he followed her footsteps. Only he didn’t go to his room.
He went to Jane’s.
His knock was answered immediately, affirming his guess that Jane would get no sleep tonight either.
“Cho?” Jane looked alert, welcoming, and wary. “What’s wrong?”
Cho raised an eyebrow and asked, “Can I come in?”
Flashing him a confused look, Jane backed away from the door far enough for Cho to walk in the room. Cho stepped a few feet in and turned to face him. Jane’s confusion was fading to calculation.
“What is it?”
Cho took a breath. Now or never, he thought, and said softly, “I know you’re not sleeping.”
“I’ll be fine,” Jane shrugged, “as soon as I get back to the couch at work.”
He sent Cho a grin, but Cho narrowed his eyes and frowned at him.
“Working yourself beyond exhaustion doesn’t seem to do the trick, and you’re out of drugs, aren’t you?”
Jane leaned back against the door, watching Cho closely.
“It’s not a problem,” he enunciated clearly, as if Cho was hard of hearing. The ‘back off’ sign was posted. Cho ignored it.
“Yeah, it is, even before you get to the point of seeing dead people.”
Jane winced. One of the clues had been so far-fetched he’d joked that the victim was standing at his shoulder, pointing it out. At least the team took it for a joke. Rigsby had done a bad Bruce Willis impression the rest of the day, until Lisbon threatened to shoot him to shut him up. Cho sighed.
“Look, I’m not your mother, or your keeper. But I am your friend. And if you’re interested, there might be another option besides drugging yourself into a coma or running head-first into a wall.”
Blue eyes sparkled at him, and Cho just knew sarcastic humor was coming his way, so he moved fast to intercept it. Taking two quick steps forward he cornered Jane up against the wall. The shock on his face was priceless, his eyes widening and his mouth dropping open, but even better, it was useful.
Framing Jane’s jaw with his hand, Cho kept him steady and leaned in for a nice deep kiss. Jane smelled good, a mix of aftershave and sweat and rumpled cotton. His body felt good next to Cho, too slender, too much nervous energy barely contained by exhaustion, and Cho felt the beginning of an erection against his own. Jane’s lips were softer than Cho expected, and he let Cho play for a little while, tasting him, before pulling his head gently away.
Cho stepped back again, giving him his space. Jane was blushing slightly, but his eyes were steady on Cho’s, and if his breathing was a little uneven, well, so was Cho’s. Cho could feel his hands shaking a little, but he covered it up. It was a lot tougher to cover the tent in his trousers, but Jane was a gentleman and didn’t look down.
Cho had never been a gentleman. Jane looked good enough to eat, turned on as he was, even if he was trying not to admit it.
“You can punch me now if you want,” Cho offered, knowing Jane wouldn’t. From the look Jane gave him, it was obvious he knew Cho knew the offer wouldn’t be taken up.
“This is your option?” Jane asked. His voice was a little husky, and he cleared his throat. “Becoming lovers?”
The word sent a jolt through Cho’s nervous system that ended in his crotch. God, yes, lovers would be a good thing. A really good thing. He barely held on to his normal stoic tone as he said seriously, “You need to get your brain off-line somehow. If the drugs can’t do it, maybe blowing it off the tracks would work. I’ve got it on good authority that I’m damned good at blowing.”
Jane’s blush bloomed dramatically, even as he snickered. Cho cracked a smile at him, and Jane shook his head, laughing outright.
“Thank you for the offer. I do appreciate it.”
Cho could tell he meant it, and heaved an internal sigh of relief. He was pretty good at reading people and he hadn’t thought Jane would freak out, even if he didn’t take him up on it. Looked like he wasn’t going to, either.
“But I don’t think it would be a good idea,” Jane finished gently.
“Because we work together? Or because you don’t want to mess up our friendship? Or are you just not into me?”
Jane looked a little trapped. He must be tired, because usually his comebacks were damned fast. Cho gave him a concerned look. Jane dropped his eyes, and shrugged one shoulder.
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
Cho would have laughed at the old line, but the tightness in Jane’s voice wouldn’t let him.
“I’m not looking to marry you,” he said reasonably, hating the fact that he’d caused pain when he’d meant to bring relief. “I just want to sleep with you once in awhile. If you respond like most guys, come hard enough and you’ll pass out for a good eight hours.”
Jane shot him a look that said clearly ‘I doubt it’ and Cho amended, “Okay, maybe six hours. But it’ll be six hours you’re not getting now, and c’mon, man. You need the sleep.”
That got him the sweetest smile, but Cho could see in Jane’s eyes that the answer was still no. He reached out and touched Jane’s chin with his forefinger, tapping lightly once.
“Keep it in mind.”
He reached for the door knob and Jane stepped out of the way. As he was leaving, Cho looked over his shoulder. “Option’s open if you want it.”
He barely heard the “thank you” as he walked down the corridor to his own room.
The drive home the next day was weird, but Cho had years of practice not letting anything show on his face, and if Jane was a little quieter than usual, everybody else chalked it up to him being zombified from lack of sleep. Cho caught Jane looking at him a few times, the same look he wore at crime scenes, trying to figure him out. Keeping it cool, Cho pretended he saw nothing, and acted as if nothing had happened. Gradually, Jane relaxed.
Cho considered it a real accomplishment when Jane took a nap, slumping over onto his shoulder.
The next few weeks were fun, in a twisted sort of way. Jane would watch Cho, and Cho would ignore him. Then Rigsby got up a poker game, and for the first time since Jane joined them, Lisbon actually won. Shocked, she asked Jane if he was feeling all right. Jane glared indiscriminately at all of them before laughing.
“No. Everything’s fine.”
And just like that, it was. The sideways glances softened, and when they came his way, they lingered. Cho acted like he always had, friendly without pressure. Perhaps his offer had broken a barrier he didn’t know was there, but Cho found that Jane was more relaxed in his company than he ever had been.
Then another case knocked Jane off balance.
At the beginning of a double homicide with overtones of cop involvement, Jane found a baby in one victim’s car. Cho hadn’t been there, but Lisbon mentioned to Van Pelt, in passing, how easy Jane had been with the little girl. Made sense, of course. Jane had been a father. But there was an underlying anger, weirdly bound up with an empathy Jane didn’t usually show, as the case played out.
A young cop, trying to protect his mother, resenting his father, being stupid, killing a woman he thought was his father’s mistress who turned out to be his own half-sister. Like a freaking soap opera, except for the very real repercussions… a family broken into irreparable pieces. Jane hadn’t told anybody before he went off half-cocked, he never did, but Cho followed him. Saw him charm the family services people, take the baby and drop her into her step-grandmother’s arms. Phase one in family reconstruction, initiated.
A reconstruction Jane would never have. His family hadn’t been broken. It had been destroyed. Judging by the look on his face after he turned to leave the new family, and his smile fell away, this was just another step on the Patrick Jane Path of Penance. Going by past performances, it would be yet another sleepless night in that haunted house that used to be his home. Cho couldn’t make up his mind if he wanted to pound some sense into Jane’s head or toss him on the nearest horizontal surface and just pound into him.
Jane took the decision out of his hands.
Cho hadn’t known Jane even knew where he lived, though he supposed it shouldn’t surprise him. Still, when Jane showed up on his doorstep at two in the morning, it took a few minutes for Cho to unscramble his sleep-fogged mind. Jane shifted from one foot to the other, looking uncertain and hopeful.
“Is the option still open?” he finally asked.
That kick-started Cho’s brain. He said “yes” and pulled Jane through the door before the word finished leaving his lips. Jane gave a start, then snickered.
Cho nodded. “Sleepy?” he asked in return.
“Too wired to sleep,” Jane said, and Cho read the subtext.
Nightmares were too vivid. Case was too close. Had to get out of the crypt that was his house. Too many memories crowding his mind.
Cho could take care of that.
Jane’s eyes were watchful but his expression was blank. Cho could feel more than see the build-up of tension Jane’s muscles. He must have been at the end of his rope. For a moment, Cho thought about being the last choice of a desperate man, but that thought was quickly overtaken by the realization of how much Jane trusted him. He took that trust with the care it deserved, and brought Jane into his bedroom, balancing the need to take his time with the determination to make sure Jane knew he had no hesitation about what they were going to do.
Well, what he was going to do, and what Jane was going to enjoy.
Shouldering the door open, Cho led Jane into the room and stopped next to the bed. Jane stood there, his hands hovering indecisively around his vest buttons. Cho tossed him a grin before leaning in to kiss him. Some of the tension bled out as they dropped into the kiss, and Cho was able to get Jane’s jacket off, his vest and shirt unbuttoned, and splay one hand over the warm skin beneath before they finally broke for breath.
Jane’s expression was a little dazed, and it turned Cho on fiercely. Always so focused, always so intent, and he could mess with that, fuzz it up. Even as he had the thought the haze was clearing in the bright blue eyes, and Cho growled.
That would never do.
Yanking his shirt over his head, he tossed it in the general direction of the hamper in the corner and moved in close. This kiss was hotter, deeper, as skin touched skin for the first time. Jane was a furry little beast; it felt good, scratchy and intense, against his chest. One arm wrapped around Jane’s waist, another running along his zip, and there would be bruises on Cho’s shoulders from the strength in Jane’s hands as he held on for dear life.
And that was before Cho got his hand wrapped around Jane’s dick.
Something garbled that might have been a curse sailed over his head as Cho bent to his task. Cho sank to his knees, hands sliding around to take Jane’s trousers and briefs with him. It took a little wiggling to strip off his own sweatpants without losing his stroke, but he did it.
The sounds, and the heat, and the taste, and the fact that he finally had Jane right where he wanted him, was more than enough to get him hard. Jane wasn’t quite there yet, but it didn’t take long for Cho to catch him up to speed. Jane tasted bitter, slick and heavy on his tongue. Sweat trickled down the inside of his thighs, and Cho followed it with his fingers, down and then up, exploring, wringing more strangled noises from Jane.
Cho liked the soundtrack.
The sounds got louder, and a little more desperate, when he found his mark, fingers sliding in a little, out again, then back in a little deeper. Jane’s hips shifted, from the mouth sucking him into heaven in the front to the hand tormenting him in the back. Cho would have grinned if he hadn’t had such a mouthful. Instead, he hummed at the same time he slid three fingers in as deep as he could and hooked them, causing an immediate reaction.
Jane yelped “Shit!” distinctly and came like a fire hose.
He’d lined Jane up perfectly. As Jane’s knees went out, he collapsed backward onto the bed, and Cho followed, careful not to catch any tender parts with his knees, crawling on top of Jane to kiss him again. He didn’t expect the energy in the arms looped around him, and he pulled back from the kiss to see something he hadn’t expected.
The blow job hadn’t worked. Jane wasn’t the least bit sleepy-looking. If anything, he looked more wired than when he’d come in, if a lot less tense.
“Well, hell,” Cho groused.
Jane gave him a wide-eyed look. “What? I thought it was great!”
“You’re still awake,” Cho pointed out.
“Ah, well, there is that.” Jane gave him a beaming smile. “Did I forget to mention that I don’t usually fall asleep right after orgasm? In fact, I’m something of a cuddler.”
His eyes darkened, and Cho knew he was thinking of his wife. Time to nip that right in the bud. He wasn’t here so he could brood about past losses, but so that Cho could make him stop thinking. And get some sleep. Damnit.
“Plan B, then,” Cho told him briskly, and Jane was in the middle of asking him what he meant when he deftly shifted Jane onto his belly, bent down, and nipped him right on the ass.
“Youch!” The tone was startled, not pained, and Cho grinned before licking the place he’d just bitten. “Uhm, ouch?”
Ignoring the confusion Jane was muttering into the pillow, Cho went to work. Reaching over to dig the lube out of the drawer, he made sure to rub every part of his body that would reach against Jane’s back and butt, all the way up, all the way down. By the time he was back in place settled between Jane’s spread thighs, the muttering had degenerated into words that didn’t quite make sentences.
By the time he was finished with his preparations, the sounds were more like moans, not even making it to words.
Sliding home took some time, and effort, more to hold back than anything. Jane was tight, and Cho was careful, watching the way the muscles moved under the skin beneath his hands, listening for any noise that might indicate pain. There was an occasional hiss, but when he tried to draw back, Jane reached back and grabbed at him, pulling him forward, not letting him leave.
“Don’t you dare!”
“Dare?” he managed to gasp. “Stop?” God, he hoped not.
“Don’t stop,” Jane growled, and Cho obliged.
It didn’t last as long as he hoped it would, but it lasted long enough for Jane to shudder underneath him, tightening around him, before he gave up the fight and came, hard. They lay together, Cho wrapped up tightly behind Jane, Jane’s hands clenched in the sheets, Cho’s arms holding the warm trembling body close for several moments before he carefully withdrew. He expected another hiss, but all he got was a sigh.
Dropping a light kiss on Jane’s shoulder, Cho levered himself up off the bed and went to the bathroom for a hand towel. Holding it under the warm water, he stared at himself in the mirror. He hadn’t bothered to turn on the light, getting enough moonlight from the high windows, and his reflection looked ghostly.
Well, if ghosts got hickeys.
He’d kind of lost track in the heat of the moment, but Jane had done his share of biting, too. Absently wondering if it would look too strange if he wore a turtleneck while it was still eighty degrees outside, he went back into the bedroom and stopped in his tracks.
Jane was sprawled out on his belly in the bed, one arm splayed out across the mattress, the other curled around his pillow. Dark blond curls, damp with sweat, nearly obscured his face from Cho’s angle of vision, but he could see a relaxed, slightly open mouth and one shut eye, lashes dusting on the flushed cheek.
He was out for the count.
Manfully resisting the urge to punch the air and do a victory dance, Cho crept over to the bed. As gently and quietly as he could, he cleaned up what he could reach, then slipped under the sheet beside Jane. As the bed dipped, Jane’s head shifted.
“Right here, Patrick. Go to sleep. I’ve got you.”
He wrapped an arm around Jane’s waist, and with a muffled grunt, Jane’s head fell back on the pillow. A moment later, the only sound in the room was his even breathing.
Sometime before dawn, Cho woke up to Jane jerking next to him. His hands were clenched in fists, and he was grimacing, in pain or anger, it was hard to tell. Instinctively, Cho scooped him up and shifted him over, arranging him against his chest and along his side like an overgrown teddy bear. One arm wrapped firmly around Jane’s shoulders, the other hand carded through his curls, stroking slowly. To Cho’s vague surprise, it worked. The nightmare faded, and Jane settled down.
Staring down at Jane sleeping peacefully against his chest, Cho patted him once more and fell back to sleep.
The sun rose too early. Woken by the stabbing glare of sunlight in his face, Cho started to roll over and realized he was trapped.
Jane was still asleep.
Fighting the reflex to check for a pulse, because he couldn’t quite believe he’d worn the guy out that well, Cho grinned. When Jane finally woke up, he’d treat them both to waffles and orange juice, and maybe they’d talk. Or maybe not. Maybe they’d just let it be what it was, when it was needed. He could live with that.
He’d leave his options open.