Written before I saw episode 1.12, but anything that happened up to 1.11 could be fair game. After I saw Red John's friends I was intrigued by how Jane's relationship with the team might be changing, specifically with Lisbon (I love their relationship and her character). Somehow I couldn't let the idea go, and this was the result.

Disclaimer: Obviously, I own nothing.

When Patrick Jane joined the CBI it was a means to an end.

His wife and child had been brutally murdered as a result of his own arrogance. He overcame the associated… mental issues only by dedicating his life to avenging their death. His single-minded quest for vengeance had given him a goal, and he went about achieving it as efficiently as possible. Though he was disgusted with his past life of deceit, he recognized that it had given him connections in law enforcement. Working with the police would give him easy access to all sorts of information and so he offered his services to the CBI in exchange for access to any potential leads relating to Red John.

When he first started working for the CBI Teresa Lisbon had just taken over the serious crimes unit. Before they were introduced her boss described her as a promising young agent dedicated to upholding the law, adding as almost an afterthought that she wouldn't rest until justice was served. Patrick put on his most charming smile, the one that masked any sinister motivations and made polite conversation about how happy he was to be working with her. Agent Lisbon managed a small smile as she shook his hand and responded politely, but it was clear that she was unimpressed. The face of Agent Cho, the stoic agent she'd brought with her, was even more impassive as he shook Patrick's hand in introduction. Patrick could see that they were skeptical at best, but they didn't have a choice and whether or not they liked him was irrelevant, as long as they brought him closer to Red John.

After their first case together Patrick thought that Lisbon might just kill him. Although he was disgusted with his former life and vehemently denied having any true psychic ability, he couldn't quite abandon his love of theatrics. He quickly deduced that it was highly probable that at least one member of the victim's family had been involved in her untimely death, though he was unsure whether or not they'd been working alone. In order to satisfy his own curiosity he'd played endless mental games with the lot of them until he'd elicited a confession. Several destroyed relationships of innocent grieving family members and evidence that would be inadmissible in court were the unfortunate byproducts of his unorthodoxy. Lisbon had spent much of her time attempting to contain his whirlwind of destruction, but in the end had been able to do little more than ensure that no one else got killed in the process (including, he acknowledged, himself) and that all the key pieces of evidence were still admissible. When he pointed out that at least the case had been solved, she acknowledged the fact, but wondered if the end justified the means.

As the weeks went on they came to an unspoken truce, he tried to keep the emotional damage to a minimum, or at least limit it to the guilty party and she'd protect him to the best of her ability and insist that he defer to her orders. He and Cho developed a relationship that, while not exactly warm, was based on mutual respect. Although the agent lacked conventional social skills and seemed to have a talent for saying inappropriate things to suspects, he was gifted at interrogation and often got the job done. Once Cho realized that though Jane's methods were unusual, they tended result in convictions, the Asian agent tolerated Jane's seemingly irrelevant questions in the interrogation room and would even ask his opinions of potential suspects. Lisbon had seemed to grow resigned to his presence and although she was usually polite, or at the very least civil, she never really warmed to him. To be fair, she never really seemed to warm to anyone. She and Cho appeared to get on well enough, although between the two of them it was hard to tell how close they actually were, and Jane wasn't really that interested in finding out.

Soon Agent Rigsby joined the team. The young agent was friendly and straightforward, even gullible. Where Lisbon was indifferent to his tricks (or at least pretended to be) and Cho was skeptical or dismissive, Rigsby was enthralled. Jane found himself playing to this responsive audience in order to elicit the young man's wonder. Often the trick was simple, based on the fact that most people respond in exactly the same way if things are put to them just so, but Rigsby never tired of it. Sometimes the junior agent seemed to believe that Jane might in fact actually be psychic. Before he knew it, Jane was almost enjoying himself. It became a game, seeing how much he could impress or shock Rigsby, watching Cho try to figure out how the trick was done and come up with a rational explanation, seeing how far he could push Lisbon before she went from rolling her eyes to yelling at him to do something productive or storming off. He played up his image as the arrogant consultant who could read people like a book. His all-knowing superior smile became almost a fixture on his face as he tried to figure out exactly what made these people tick. If he understood their motivations then maybe he could use them.

He watched as the team grew closer and developed almost a routine to solving cases. Although he and the boys had become almost friendly, his relationship with Lisbon remained strictly professional. She maintained a perceptible distance with almost anyone on the job and strongly discouraged any discussion of personal matters in the office. Jane found himself becoming curious about this woman who he'd previously considered only in the light of how she might help him catch Red John. Her dedication to justice meant that she was unlikely to abandon an unsolved case and her quiet competency meant that things very rarely went awry, and kept him alive. When it came right down to it she was probably ideal for his purposes, though her dedication to justice might throw a wrench in his eventual plans for revenge. That said, he realized one day that he knew almost nothing about her. He started observing her when she wasn't looking, and then when she was. He turned on the charm even more in his efforts to figure out her motivations. Instead of succumbing to his schemes, as many did, she became wary. Never seeming to trust either him or herself, she appeared to devote her energy into revealing as little as possible. Jane found he enjoyed the challenge.

He remembered hearing that her mother had died suddenly when she was young, explaining much of her demeanor. Her take charge attitude indicated that she'd likely been used to taking on responsibility from a young age, likely the oldest in her family, definitely the oldest girl. She lacked many of the typical female personality traits, indicating that she'd likely grown up in a male-dominated environment. She was slow to trust, indicating past betrayal, but she was extremely kind, especially when speaking to the victims and their families, then her voice softened perceptibly. She was reserved often to the point of appearing cold, but from the smirks he'd seen playing about the corners of her mouth during some of his more absurd interrogations he deduced that she had a dry sense of humour, that she kept mostly hidden. She joked around with the boys occaisionally, but never seemed to really let herself go. She adhered to the rules to the letter. She was fearless in the field, could take down a suspect twice her size with ease, but she didn't seem to know how to deal his antics. Around him she never seemed comfortable, as if she were terrified by what he might see. Although her attempts to conceal any lies she told him were often far from successful, he had to admit that although she was often translucent to him, she was far from transparent. He respected her abilities, and often let her get away with her little lies to give her piece of mind. She saw through most of his games and almost always seemed to know when he was manipulating her. Jane found that he liked her, almost despite himself.

Time passed. He managed to get himself suspended when one of his schemes resulted in a father guilty of killing his own daughter being shot by his distraught wife. Lisbon tried to keep him off the next case, but he went over her head because it featured Red John. He reminded her boss of exactly why he was helping them, and this thinly veiled threat got his suspension cancelled. Lisbon wasn't impressed. She and her team were even less impressed by his manipulation of them all for a dramatic confession. He found himself wanting to get back on their good side and felt a pang of something suspiciously like guilt when doughnuts didn't seem to do the trick. A jumping origami frog did eventually elicit a laugh from Lisbon so he figured he'd be forgiven soon enough.

Meanwhile, he amused himself provoking the newest member of the team, Grace Van Pelt. Devoutly religious, Agent Van Pelt strongly believed in an afterlife and was open even to the occult. Although Jane admired her strength of conviction and respected her right to hold views different from his own, he couldn't resist antagonizing her. That anyone could believe that psychics were real baffled him, having seen the artifice behind the art. Although he disagreed with most of her views, he liked the young agent for her friendliness, her compassion and her technical abilities. Soon their bickering was taking on an almost sibling quality to it.

His life began to take on a new routine. He talked to suspects, reading their body language and getting them to tell them things they didn't mean to. He took bets with Rigsby and Cho when they doubted his abilities, began doling out dating tips to the hapless Ribsby and became somewhat of a partner in crime of Cho's when it came to mocking those around them. Lisbon began to put more faith in his evaluations of the suspects, although he knew she would always remain somewhat skeptical. He even bought the team diamond necklaces and expensive watches after winning thousands of dollars memorizing cards at a casino. He began explaining more of his methods to them and started showing off more in the office, playing games and making them laugh. He even managed to convince Lisbon to let him try to read her mind, laughing at her embarrassment when he appeared to succeed. He trusted the team to bail him out of the life-threatening situations he got himself into weekly and once even managed to repay Lisbon the favour. Slowly she began to trust him, and to laugh more. What he didn't realize at the time was that with all his antics he began to genuinely laugh more too.

Then his former psychiatrist Sophie came back into his life. With Lisbon's help he repaid a former debt. He also got a sense of both what he might owe the woman who was technically his boss and of her own frustration with his constant mental games. So he told her the truth about his breakdown. Although she appreciated the gesture, and was sympathetic without judging, she didn't seem to know how to react, how to console him, and the awkward moment was saved by Van Pelt's interruption.

Then he was given an opportunity to find Red John. Legally the CBI couldn't help him, though Lisbon tried unofficially. Apparently this was the one time that she couldn't succeed, so Patrick cut his ties with the institution, emboldened by his initial success and confident that he could succeed on his own. Quickly he hit a dead end; although he'd cut himself off from the CBI's rules, he'd also cut himself off from its resources. Not knowing what to do, he lied about his progress when Lisbon called him, feeling absurdly grateful when she offered both help and pizza. Once back at the CBI he quickly accepted the explanation that they had a week to solve the case but couldn't use their badges to do so. All he could focus on was Red John. When interrogating the victim's mother with Lisbon he was quietly amused by her awkwardness and how lost she looked without her badge. When Red John contacted them he became single-minded and sure of success, ignoring all of Lisbon's warnings to move cautiously. He was euphoric when they solved the case. Then came the betrayal and the failure. Lisbon tried to comfort him, and when she assured him they'd get Red John next time he almost believed her. A phone call from a psychopath severed the tenuous hope.

He rode back to Sacramento in a kind of a trance, almost ignoring those around him. He tried to acknowledge the team's attempts at comfort, though he ignored their worried glances. Back at the office he gathered his things, but as he was about to leave he heard bits of a conversation between Rigsby, Cho and Van Pelt. Phrases like "Poor Jane, I wish there was something we could do," "He needed us and we failed," and "We'll get the psycho next time," were filtering through his brain, when Cho's voice caught his attention.

"Well, at least we'll always have the memory of Lisbon facing off against Minelli like a gunslinger in the old West, brazenly telling him that she'd ordered us to help Jane and that he might as well suspend her now. I guess it's comforting know our boss will always have our backs."

"Hey, we tried to take the fall, it's not our fault she wouldn't let us."

"We knew she wouldn't let us."

Realizing he was eavesdropping he gathered up his things. Barely able to meet their eyes, he muttered sincere thanks to his friends. As he walked to her office he realized what it must have cost her, how much all of them, but especially her had almost given up for him. As he reached her office she was just leaving. She seemed to want to say something, but couldn't decide on what that was, so she settled for offering him a ride home. He accepted, taking it for the comfort that she didn't know how else to give. They were mostly silent as she drove, but it wasn't uncomfortable. As they pulled up outside his house he felt Lisbon lightly touch his hand.

"Jane, I can't promise that we'll get him next time, or even the time after that, but we will get him eventually. He'll make a mistake, and then we'll be ready." Then she almost smiled, "Arrogance works both ways you know, we have that on our side."

As he turned at looked at her, he could see her trying, and just how out of her element she was. He smiled despite himself and then hugged her. She went rigid for a moment but he held on until she began to relax. He let the embrace last a second longer and whispered "Thank-you" in her ear, tossing "See you tomorrow" over his shoulder as he got out of the car. It wasn't enough, but he thought she might understand.

He was finally beginning to realize that the CBI had more to offer him then just access to computer databases.