Disclaimer: Not mine. No infringement intended.

Rating: PG

Continuity/Spoilers: nothing specific, based on what we've seen up to 1.04, "Ladies in Red."

Summary: The worst Lisbon can do.

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Pity

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On the worst days, the truly terrible days when Jane tries her very last nerve, when Jane crosses every line in the book and then some, Lisbon doesn't bother with getting angry.

She feels sorry for him instead.

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Lisbon remembers Patrick Jane the Psychic. He was once a beloved staple on the talk show circuit. Maury. Regis and Kelly. The ladies of The View fawned over him like bees on honey. He even landed on Larry King once, though his crowning achievement was a spot on Oprah. Lisbon didn't really watch any of those, but Jane had his own syndicated show that used to air at 1:35am, that sweet dark nothing time when she couldn't sleep and nothing else but informericals was on. Jane was more appealing than Ron Popeil or the miracle cleaning powers of oranges.

She'd sit on her couch, bare feet propped on her Ikea coffee table, the latest case on her lap and Patrick Jane's painful sincerity on her TV. She'd watch, half-amused, half-disdained, wondering just why nobody saw Patrick Jane for the con man he really was. The pricey suits and the gelled back hair, the beautiful acting job just a shade too slick. She saw liars every day of her life, and she could see that the crinkle at the corners of his eyes wasn't sincerity, but triumph.

But he was entertaining, she'd given him that, a begrudging amusement that faded some when he talked about helping the police like he was some sort of legitimate consultant instead of a charlatan and a fraud. Here was a man who made a mockery out of what she did for a living. But she saw him in action once, before she made Senior Agent, a quiet and intense show in the interview room of a CBI field office, hers just one of a dozen faces peering past the panes for a glimpse. Even through glass, she could feel it, how Patrick Jane's got the whole world fooled.

It wasn't exactly admiration in her gut, and certainly not respect, but it was something.

*

Jane is sunshine curls and blinding smile, the walking poster boy of California's gleam. He's his very own magician's assistant, the living embodiment of a sleight of hand. And for all that glitter, Jane is also unprofessional, irresponsible, reckless, careless, and a whole slew of words with a prefix that means "not" or a suffix that means "without." A man defined by frivolity of manner, by the absence of virtue, but Lisbon knows that isn't entirely true. Not entirely, but just a little bit, because Lisbon remembers Patrick Jane the Psychic, and that man still lives, even if Jane likes dragging that piece of the past into the open as a dead relic. It's a misdirection like any other. Lisbon just doesn't know if Jane realizes it.

She wonders if he knows why he does what he does. Red John drives him, that's easy enough to see on paper. The cases are a means to an end. He has to stay close, this is how he'll get his hands on justice, but it's not justice she ever sees in his eyes. Sometimes she doesn't even think he solves the cases because it's the right thing to do, but just another con game to win. He doesn't say, never puts those words aloud, but he deems it all a penance, except Jane doesn't even believe in God, so who he's even sorry to?

Lisbon is sorry, though. Whenever Jane maneuvers her into a corner, and all she can do is shoot her way out, a bloody mess all on her hands. He puts her in that position and she can't even be angry. She just sees past the insufferable grins and wonders if Jane even realizes that he's the same man now as the one who got his wife and daughter killed, that same irreverence, that same conviction in winning, in his own ability to come out on top. It isn't confidence, but arrogance, rank and a thousand times more vile than offering bits of fake comfort to widows and grieving parents.

It's the worst thing she can do to him, to pity him. She knows he can smile his way past her disdain and even her disgust, but it would hurt him if he knew. Lisbon can be gracious, even if Jane doesn't know how.

She never lets her pity show.