Van Pelt was saying an emotional goodbye to Marissa, who had arranged to stay another week in Cleveland before going home to pack properly. Van Pelt had been emotional, anyway, Jane thought with a grin. Marissa had mainly looked embarrassed at such over the top affection, in the way that only a twelve year old could.
“Maybe we’ll see each other again,” Xander Harris said with a grin, holding out his hand for Jane to shake. “Maybe even without demons next time.”
“That would make a change.” Jane smiled brightly at the younger man. “Take care of those girls.”
“I always do.”
“I know.” He sighed. “They shouldn’t have to do what they do. But I can accept that there is no alternative. And they seem happy, I suppose. But they still shouldn’t have to do this.”
“I know.” Xander paused. “And that’s why I’m going to say this. You understand that they shouldn’t do this, that we should try and make these girls’ lives as normal as possible. You’re smart, you pick things up quickly and you had an absolutely hilarious, genius idea with the water pistols. If you ever get bored at the CBI, let me know. We always need more Watchers.”
Jane looked wistful. “When I’m done with the CBI, I’ll de dead or in prison. I can’t stop until I catch and kill Red John. And Lisbon said she’ll put me away if I do that. But thank you for the offer. Another lifetime, I might have said yes.”
“Just bear in mind you have options.” They shook hands again. “Have a safe journey.”
Xander waved off the CBI with a smile. He’d meant what he said to Jane – the man would be a good Watcher. If nothing else, he understood how to deal with teenage girls. Something Xander still struggled with. Obviously, he wouldn’t be allowed to work near Dawn, who still appeared to be in the middle of a giant crush, but still… It was something to remember for the future.
“I meant it, X-man. I like Blondie. And the others, actually. For cops, they ain’t half-bad,” Faith said with a grin. “Especially now the big guy’s banging the redhead. Everybody seems way more chilled since those two did the nasty.”
“I know. How weird is it when the people in the relationship are less relieved about overcoming sexual tension than those watching? I mean watching in a non-literal sense, obviously. It’s way weirder if they’re actually watching those two get it on.”
“Dunno about that,” Faith said contemplatively. “They’re a good looking pair. It might be entertaining.”
“Faith!” And just like that, Xander thought with a relieved grin, everything went back to normal.
“So what exactly are we going to tell Minelli?” The five of them were hovering awkwardly outside the CBI Headquarters, not quite sure how to explain their absence.
“I’ll do it,” Jane volunteered.
“No. You’ll only tell him something like we all ran off to join the circus and you had to rescue us from Russian acrobats or some equally ridiculous story.” Lisbon sighed. “I’ll talk to him.”
“I would never have used the circus story, but it is a good one to bear in mind for the future. I was going to say that you were all abducted by aliens and that only through my own special brand of brilliance were we all able to return to Earth, safe and completely unharmed.” At Lisbon’s glare, he caved in. “All right, I was going to hypnotise into thinking that he’d given us permission to spend two weeks in Cleveland and that he never needed to ask us about it again.”
“I’ll talk to him,” she repeated firmly.
Minelli, rather surprisingly, seemed remarkably accepting about the whole thing, waving away Lisbon’s hesitant explanations. She had aimed for something near the truth, while avoiding mentioning Xander Harris and all things related to him, and he seemed to accept the story of getting caught up with an abduction attempt on Van Pelt’s cousin. Sort of true, she thought with a grin.
As she walked back to her office, she caught a glimpse of a familiar figure. Tall, broad and bald, there was no mistaking Sam Bosco. She waved cheerfully at him, glad that he had been moved to Sacramento. She missed their easy camaraderie – Jane was fun, but sometimes it was nice to talk to someone who actually understand the difficulties of managing a team – and found herself looking forward to catching up with him. And seeing what he made of Jane, of course.
To her surprise, he gave her a sheepish smile and hurried on without stopping to talk to her. Still, she reasoned, maybe he was worried over a big case. Not that it could be as big as the Red John case. It was a small matter of pride that she was in charge of the biggest case the CBI were currently handling, maybe one of the biggest the agency had ever handled. And it wasn’t just because Jane worked with her. She was good and she knew it.
With a smile, she walked back into her office and started to catch up on her emails. Whatever Sam Bosco was doing in Sacramento, she had no doubts she would find out soon enough.
She had no idea that what Bosco was doing was taking her case away from her.
When she found out, Teresa Lisbon very seriously considered calling Xander Harris and asking him in more detail about vengeance demons.
A/N: And there we are: done at last! Everyone returned to where they should be for the start of Season 2, with only a few discrepancies from canon. Apart from the existence of demons and vampires, obviously! Thanks to all those who have reviewed already and all other reviews welcome, please.