Disclaimer: Neither "The Mentalist" nor its characters are mine and no money is made with this story. Seriously. Also, all lyrics used here are taken from "Eric's Song" by the more than wonderful Vienna Teng and of course belong to the artist.
A/N: This is not a song fic. I don't do song fics because I don't really like them. The lyrics are merely there to give each part a kind of theme. Also, many thanks to Fi, my wonderful friend and beta.
BEGINNINGS AND ENDS
"Strange how you know inside me. I measure the time and I stand amazed."
When Lisbon and Jane first meet, she thinks that this must be a joke. The last person she wants on her team is Patrick Jane, a not-so-psychic psychic, a loose cannon with his own dark agenda, but she is given no choice in the matter.
He is annoying, selfish, erratic and careless and although the man makes life miserable for her most of the time, she comes to appreciate him for what he brings to the table. She doesn't approve of his methods and the way he tends to talk to victims and criminals alike. Yet, she never dwells on these things for she knows that they are mere pieces of the mask Patrick Jane wears every day, a mask so carefully constructed that no one can see past it. It's what holds him together until he goes home at night.
Still, she realizes, she trusts him more than most people.
She hates that he can read her like an open book and doesn't hate it at the same time because he never takes advantage of all the things she is sure he knows about her. He's charming and funny, makes her blush and she wants to slap him every time he does but it's all in good fun and she finds that she likes it when he laughs.
It's not until he opens up to her one day about his plans for Red John that she grasps the full extent of the darkness that is his life. She can't wrap her mind around the contradiction between running around with him in the rain like children and listening to him telling her about the murder he has been planning for the past three years.
She sits there behind her desk, looks at him and doesn't believe a word he says but worries that it might be her biggest mistake.
"With each passing day the stories we say draw us tighter into our addiction,
confirm our conviction that some kind of miracle passed on our heads.
When Lisbon fights for Jane to remain part of the team no one, including him, understands why. His blind quest for vengeance had almost cost her her job and him his life. He had lied to her, betrayed her trust and taken advantage of her patience with him.
"Will it always be this way?" she had asked when she had found him, bloody and a little more broken than before, after three days of following false hints and willingly buying into the deception he was sold. He wanted to say no but although he could barely keep his eyes open he could still see the desperation and anger, the relief and warmth in her face and felt that she didn't deserve to be told another lie.
She is still mad as hell now, he can tell, and so for the first time in a long time he spares her his fake smiles, selfish games and endless cheery blabber because he realizes that she can see through it anyway. For the first time in forever he stops to consider the consequences of his actions for others, for her and feels a pain he can't categorize. All he wants to say to her now is that he is sorry but the one time Lisbon decides to look at him he sees in her eyes that she knows.
He can't help but feel that he did what he had to do and he doesn't expect or need anyone to understand. Yet, as he stands there in the doorway watching Lisbon trying to clean up the remnants of the mess he made, he feels guiltier for letting her down than for failing to catch Red John.
And he can't quite figure it out.
"How I am sure like never before of my reasons for defying reason.
Embracing the seasons we dance through the colors both followed and led."
When Lisbon and Jane dance for the first time, it feels more natural to him than he thinks it should.
She is in jeans and a Metallica t-shirt - her silent protest against a New Year's party she doesn't want to attend - and he knows she feels stupid for it now but finds that she looks stunning. She feels light under his touch and not for the first time he wonders about Lisbon. She's a colleague, a friend, someone he trusts and...something more.
'More' is a good word he supposes because it's harmless, doesn't come with commitments.
For a view precious moments he closes his eyes and pretends that she is his and that there is more to life than an empty house, a wall covered in blood and chasing the demons of his past. He will pay for it later, he knows, when guilt and shame won't let him sleep.
She starts to cry then and for a second panic rises in him because she is stronger than anyone he knows and he has never seen her like that.
"What is it?" he asks and she tells him that it's silly but he takes her for a walk in the park and lets her talk. She tells him that it's 16 years to the day that her mother died. Tells him about her alcoholic father and her brothers who tried to comfort her but never could. Tells him about the solitude she has grown accustomed to and the silence which she drowns in work. He thinks he owes her a little bit of his own truth but finds that he isn't ready. So, he takes her hand instead and lets her rest her head against his shoulder.
He feels so close to her in that moment and can tell that she feels it to, yet he pretends he doesn't know what to do about it.
When Lisbon gets shot and almost dies six days later he thinks it's time to stop pretending.
"Of course I forgive. I've seen how you live. Like a phoenix you rise from the ashes.
You pick up the pieces and the ghosts in the attic, they never quite leave."
When Teresa and Patrick have been together for a year, she asks him if he will ever let her in. He says nothing, just lies still in the dark holding on to her and in a strange way she feels content with the fact that she was able to predict this response.
'We sure have come a long way these past 12 months and 18 days.' she thinks and smiles to herself. There have been times when she had questioned her sanity for letting this man into her life and moments when she had felt complete in ways she had no words to describe. She would never have thought he would be the one to stay. She would never have thought she would be the one to count the days that he did.
It's strange, she realizes every now and then, that with all the things they have said to each other since that night in the park, they have never said the words and although she thinks that she might one day she believes that he never can. She's okay with that though because sometimes, when they go to bed and he just falls asleep without being tormented by nightmares, she knows. It's his silent confession. It's less than Patrick wishes he could say and more than Teresa could ever ask for.
Then, one night, he comes home and when she looks at him, she sees determination and dread written all over his face.
"Do you really want to know?" he asks and extends a hand to her. She takes it and they drive to his old house in silence. She doesn't know what to expect but finds herself to be utterly unprepared as she stands there staring at the red face on the wall and the torn old mattress on the dust-covered floor. Teresa doesn't have to look at Patrick to know the look on his face and she finds that she doesn't want to because it just might tear her asunder.
She feels sick. She wants to cry, wants to run and knows that she should but instead she just stands there staring. Building a life with Patrick Jane, she realizes, means building a life around this room, his past, his tragedy - a towering castle of guilt and shame, darkness and rage, sadness and fear. She doesn't know if she can, yet she knows that she has never wanted to fight for anything so much.
She wants to say something but the words won't come. So, instead, she just takes his hand. It's her silent promise. It's less than Teresa wishes she could do and more than Patrick could ever ask for.
"Strange how you fit into me, a gentle warmth filling the deepest of needs."
When Teresa and Patrick get married, it's just her and him and a Catholic priest on the beach on a warm day in autumn.
Patrick doesn't believe in God but knows that Teresa does and so he lets her have this. He thinks it is the least he can do. In return, he gets a quiet wedding by the ocean. He stands with his feet in the water that is almost too cold now. He closes his eyes and pretends that the tide can wash away the sorrow and shame he feels every time he thinks about the life he imposes on Teresa and how it will end. He tries to figure out why someone like her would even choose this kind of life but finds that all his shiny powers fail him in finding an answer to the biggest question of all.
Later though, during the ceremony, he looks at her and gets lost. He thinks about her brilliant green eyes, the fire, strength and kindness he finds in them and how she never stops to look at him in that special way of hers, no matter what idiotic stunt he pulls or stupid thing he says. He thinks about her voice which finds him even in his darkest hours, guides him home and calms him down. Thinks about the tears she cries sometimes when she thinks he's asleep and how they break him apart drop for drop. Thinks about how beautiful and fragile she looks in her simple white dress which the wind is playing its steady game with now. Thinks about her hands, so strong and so soft, her hands that never let go of his. Thinks about change and the things people do out of love and when he is asked to say his vows he has no words.
So he just tells Teresa that she is his world and harbor and touchstone and that he will protect her forever.
He wants to believe that he can.
"Strange how certain the journey. Time unfolds the petals for our eyes to see.
Strange how this journey is hurting in ways we accept as part of fate's decree."
The day Patrick walks out the door for what she thinks is the last time, Teresa's world falls apart.
Seven years they have waited for that call to come. She vaguely remembers making a promise that she would try and stop him but that was a lifetime ago and she is not that person anymore, so she doesn't hold him back when he leaves. Living with him, she has seen a darkness so dark that she finds herself unable to condemn him for his afflictions.
She had tried to be ready but how can you ever be ready for losing the one you love to his own private hell?! It's funny, she realizes now with a hint of bitterness, how you spent all your time waiting for that one day when it all ends and how waiting is all you can remember doing when it comes. She tries to hold on to what they had -the light-hearted moments and the serious ones, the laughter and the pain, the trust and comfort and warmth, the love - and she wants all of that to be enough for him but knows that it's not.
She once thought she could save him, turned a blind eye to the fact that it was never her place to do so and hoped that maybe she would never have to try. She knows she pays the price for her foolishness now and so she isn't angry at him, only at herself. Walking away on this day and finally coming face to face with his past, she reasons, is what Patrick has to do if he ever wants to be free. She tries to imagine life without him and fails but for the first time truly understands what it means to love Patrick Jane. So, she sits in their kitchen in the dark and waits.
Sits and waits and lets him go.
When he comes back six hours later, not a scratch on him, she can't wrap her mind around it. She lets it happen when he pulls her close, rests his head on her shoulder and cries. She wills herself to believe that this is happening and when she can, she cries too.
Later, when Teresa asks him why, he tells her that life is a curious thing for it brings about so much change we never notice until we stop to consider our path and he tells her that he feels that freedom comes at too high a price for him now.
She doesn't have an answer to that. She doesn't know if she believes it either but she closes her eyes and prays that it's true.
"For we don't realize our faith in the price unless it's been somehow elusive.
How swiftly we choose it, the sacred simplicity of you at my side."
A week after Hannah is born Patrick feels in himself a yearning for closure.
He sits under a blooming cherry tree by his first wife and child and tells them about a woman in jeans and a t-shirt he once danced with, a colleague who fought for him when no one else would, a friend who looked into the darkness with him, a wife who was willing to let him go so that he could be free, a mother and a beautiful child that looks just like her and a love he had never thought he could find again.
When he leaves them there in an ocean full of cherry blossoms he doesn't know when he will be back and he doesn't feel regret at the thought. He goes and spends one last night at his old house, paints layers and layers of white over the red face on the wall and feels an odd sense of relief when he leaves the keys on the front porch in the morning.
It's true, he knows, the ghosts and the demons never quite leave but he is determined to fight them for as long as he can. It's the least he can do in exchange for a second chance.
"What have you been doing all night?" Teresa asks when he gets home and she kisses him lightly.
"Things." he simply says and knows that she knows what it means.
Comments are love, especially since this is my first attempt at fanfic.