Author's Notes: The case discussed in this fic is entirely made up, and never happened in any particular episode. Just in case anybody gets confused. =D Jisbon all the way. Reviews are lovely and will inspire me to update soon! Constructive criticism is appreciated, flames are not. This is my first fic, so please be gentle. I'm thinking this fic will get to maybe three chapters? That could change. Anyway! Hope you like it, and please review!
Disclaimer: The Mentalist belongs to CBS. Not me. (I can only dream.)
Teresa Lisbon was sitting on the floor beside her bed, facing the corner so not even the people in her photographs could look at her. At the sound of the knock, she squeezed her eyes shut and let her forehead fall into her hands. This was what she was afraid of. This was exactly what she didn't want right now.
Their last case had been excruciating. Lisbon had never been so wrong about anybody in her entire life. She pressed her fingers to her temples, trying to rid herself of that terrible feeling, that regret that spilled over whenever she pictured that face. The anger—she wanted to scream, but somehow she felt no scream would be loud enough or powerful enough to make a difference.
Trust was earned, not given away. Trust was earned, not given away. Those were the words that always guided her. She believed in them. She really thought he had earned it. He had been a valuable asset, and not even Jane had seen through his lies. It had taken almost two weeks before she allowed the team to let him in on the case. He had seemed so solid, so real, so pure.
Lisbon let out a frustrated groan and sunk her head deeper into her lap. "Go awaaaay," she murmured childishly, her voice muffled behind her hands.
Even up the hallway, down the stairs, and around the corner, with two closed doors between them, he heard her. "I'm not leaving," he called through the door. It was a quiet call, but she heard it nonetheless.
There was something so definite in his tone that it drove the fight right out of Lisbon. Defeated, she shoved herself off the floor and stumbled toward the front door. It briefly occurred to her that she was a mess, but at this point she didn't really care. She was sick of putting on a show.
She opened the door and faced a handsome, put-together Patrick Jane. Speaking of always putting on a show, she thought bitterly. "I don't know if you can tell, but I'm really not in the mood," she said, her voice cracking slightly.
"I know," Jane replied sincerely. "Can I come in anyway?"
What was the point? He was going to find a way in whether she wanted him to or not. In reply, Lisbon rolled her eyes and pulled the door open, leaving it ajar and walking into the kitchen. Jane smiled faintly, shut the door, and followed her inside.
As soon as they were in the kitchen, she spun on him. "Can you just tell me what you're doing here?"
"What do you think I'm doing here?"
Lisbon glared at him. "I already told you I'm not in the mood. Just tell me why you're here."
Jane smiled and took his time getting situated in a stool by the counter. Lisbon stayed standing stiffly a few feet in front of him, her arms crossed over her chest. After reading her face for a moment, Jane dropped the pretense. He reached up and laid his hand on her shoulder. "I just wanted to see if you were okay."
"Do I look okay?"
"No, not really. Hence, my concern." Even in this state, he couldn't resist a hint of wittiness. He tried a different approach. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"No," Lisbon lied.
Jane saw right through her lie, and she knew it. It was written all over his face. She remembered him—Jane couldn't read his lies. "God dammit," she moaned, leaning over the countertop and burying her face in her hands. Every time she thought about how he'd fooled them all, and how many lives it had cost, she couldn't control her anger.
Jane was standing by her side in an instant, rubbing her back soothingly. "It's not your fault. It's my fault." Out of the corner of her eye, Lisbon could see him cast his eyes downward in shame. "I should have been able to see through him. None of this would have happened if I'd only been able to do my job."
Lisbon had been all set to tear him out and lay all the blame on him, just to get him out of the house, but as soon as he said that, she couldn't do it. The voice of warning in her head nagged her. How the hell does he always manage to make you feel sorry for him? He came here to see if you were okay, and now you're going to comfort him? What the hell is wrong with you?
Jane waited patiently while she rubbed her eyes and ran her fingers through her disheveled tresses. Lisbon pushed her hair from her eyes and straightened up to face him. "He fooled all of us. It wasn't just you."
Jane shrugged. "It wasn't just you, either." His hand, still on her back, continued its soothing strokes. Lisbon began to feel a light tingling sensation where his hand was touching her.
"How do you trust someone after that?" Lisbon mused morbidly, her rigid walls collapsing.
A sly look passed over Jane's features. "You never trust anybody anyway."
Lisbon froze. She knew she shouldn't have let him in. He could read her like a book, and it made her want to throw things. "What?" she spluttered.
"Don't pretend. It's pointless. You don't trust anybody. That's how you keep from getting hurt." Jane chuckled. His hand trailed up over her shoulder and down her arm. "Ironic, isn't it? You never trust a person so that you never experience the disappointment of that trust being broken. But then you don't know how to deal with it when it happens. You finally let someone in, and they let you down. It's the hurt of a thousand betrayals."
Lisbon shook his hand off her arm aggressively and stepped back, her anger flaring. "You think this is about me?" she spat. "I trusted him, and he was the killer all along—so you think this is about my feelings being hurt? What about those three little girls he killed while supposedly "helping" us? If we had only seen it sooner, they'd still be alive. And what about those seven other little girls he killed? Their families could have gotten closure so much sooner if we'd just done our jobs! We're trained to catch killers! That's what we do! And yet, he slipped through our fingers and we didn't even feel it. And you think this is about me?"
Jane didn't seem taken aback by her reaction. "Of course it's about you. And to me, it's about me. And I'll bet you anything that to Rigsby, it's about Rigsby, and same with Cho and Van Pelt." He took a step toward her, gently taking her wrists in his hands. "The guilt is only part of it. The rest of it is personal."
Lisbon felt tears brimming in the corners of her eyes. "Then why did you come here? To tell me exactly how much it hurts when someone you trust betrays you?"
"No," he said quietly, taking another step closer. His eyes locked with hers, and their faces were mere inches apart. "I just wanted to take some of the hurt away."
Lisbon's breath caught in her throat, and her skin flushed as Jane's fingers slid down to weave through hers. He's messing with you, the voice warned her. He doesn't have feelings for you. You only wish...
The voice nagged on, but Lisbon couldn't listen anymore. Jane had closed the distance between their bodies, releasing one of her hands to brush against her cheekbone. He slid a finger down her jaw line. Their noses brushed together, their lips were a breath apart. Lisbon was overwhelmed with pent-up emotions, feelings for Jane she'd kept locked in her heart for such a long time. Had he known all this time that she was in love with him? He couldn't possibly feel the same...
With one final smoldering gaze, Jane kissed her.
Updates soon, please review!!! -MizMiri