A/N: Wow, it has been awhile, hasn't it? And here I am, posting a little oneshot instead of working on one of my longer fics. Bad author, bad! Oh well, what can I say? This was inspired entirely by something Lisbon said in the episode "Paint it Red". When Van Pelt claimed Jane had called in sick, Lisbon said, "Jane never gets sick." That very night, I sat up in bed, literally until one in the morning, typing the majority of this fic. I went back to it a day later, just to make a few small revisions. And to think, this started out as the simple thought of how cute it would be if Jane woke up one morning, all sick and sniffly. (On the bright side, I found out how much fun it is to write about someone who has a stuffy nose! Seriously!) You see what can happen when my mind wanders? It's dangerous, I tell you! As far as future fics are concerned... I'm not planning anything related to The Mentalist. Sorry. But, we all know how quickly that can change, don't we? (FYI, I do like Jane/Lisbon, and... I don't yet know how I feel about Rigsby/Van Pelt.) Well, anyway, back to my life. I think I'm going to go watch House now! XD I've done enough "real" work for tonight. (It's finals week... ugh! Studying!) Ah, well. I hope you enjoy the randomness that spouted from my brain at one in the morning!

Disclaimer: Hey! And... The Mentalist gets added to the long list of things I do not own! Not that I care too much... just give me Jane! The rest can lay in a dump for all I care! (Hehe, okay, that was mean. Sorry. The others are cool too.)

Never Say Never

Patrick Jane woke with a start.

Then he realized that he had indeed woken up, which meant that at some point, he had fallen asleep. He was just beginning to ponder this when he thought of something else. He didn't know what had woken him up in the first place. However, this answer quickly became apparent as he repeated the action.

"Hatchoo!"

Patrick fell back onto his mattress with a cough and a groan. He couldn't believe it. He was sick. He, Patrick Jane, was sick.


Teresa Lisbon walked briskly into the office.

"We have a new case," she announced, holding up a file. "Twenty-three year old female was stabbed and – " she stopped mid-sentence as she looked up and realized that not everyone was present. "Where's Jane?"

"Oh, he called in sick," Van Pelt answered.

"What?" Lisbon asked, her tone disbelieving. "Oh, come on, he's faking it."

"I don't know," Van Pelt said. "He sounded pretty bad over the phone."

But Lisbon shook her head. "Jane never gets sick." She pulled out her cell phone.


Ten minutes later, Patrick Jane showed up at the office, looking tired and disheveled. His clothes were wrinkled and disorderly, as if they had been thrown on in a hurry. His skin was pale, making his flushed cheeks, red nose, and the bruise-colored circles under his eyes all the more prominent. He sniffed loudly and cleared his throat.

"So, wad's ub, Lisbid?" he asked stuffily.

The others stared at him, dumbfounded. Lisbon cleared her throat.

"As I was saying, twenty-three year old female stabbed and dumped in an alleyway…"

Jane flopped onto the couch and soon found himself dozing off, not hearing a word Lisbon was saying. Were it not for intermittent coughing, he might have fallen asleep.

"… What do you think, Jane? Jane? Jane!"

"Huh?" Jane's head snapped up. "Uh, yeah, sounds good. Wad do we ha… ha…" he trailed off. His eyelids fluttered closed, and his nose wrinkled. "Hah… hah… HATCHOO!" Jane sniffed pathetically, one hand covering his mouth and nose.

"Bless you," said Van Pelt and Cho simultaneously.

"Gesundheit," Rigsby chimed in.

"Do you hab a tissue, Lisbid?" Jane asked, his red-rimmed, baby blue eyes imploring. He sniffed again.

Lisbon scowled and handed Jane a box of tissues.

"Thags," he responded gratefully, before pulling three tissues out of the box and blowing his nose loudly. Then he wadded up the tissues and tossed them into the nearest trash can. "Dow, wad was I sayig?" He coughed. "Oh yeah, wad do we hab for ebidence?"

"I said that two minutes ago. Right before I moved on to suspects."

"Oh. Suspects. Right."

Lisbon sighed. "Anyway, as I was saying, I – where are you going?"

Jane had gotten up from his chair. "Bathroob," he said. "You can keeb goig without be." He stood, his legs wobbling for a moment before he gained his balance, then turned and walked down the hallway.

Van Pelt looked at Lisbon. "He seems really sick. Maybe you should send him home."

"I told you, he's faking it. Oh, come on, you guys aren't seriously buying into his act, are you?"

They heard a muffled, "HATCHOO!" from the direction of the men's bathroom.

Van Pelt, Cho, and Rigsby just stared at Lisbon, who sighed exasperatedly.
"Come on, guys, this is Jane. This is what he does. He wants you to think he's sick so that you'll feel sorry for him."

"Whatever you say, boss," muttered Rigsby.

Jane came back then, walking slowly and somewhat unsteadily. His eyes seemed to have lost their focus. He put his hand on a desk to steady himself. "Li… Lisbid…" he murmured. Then his eyes rolled back, and he collapsed with a loud crash and lay still on the floor.

"Jane!" Van Pelt exclaimed.

"Oh, please, he's faking it!" Lisbon replied. But she looked uncertain. "Jane? Jane?" A note of concerned filled her voice.

Van Pelt hurried to the fallen detective's side. She placed a hand on his forehead. "He's burning up!"

"You can't fake that," Rigsby muttered.

"Well, don't just stand there, move him to the couch!" Lisbon practically shouted.

Jane walked slowly, deliberately up the stairs, taking one step at a time. He knew where he was going. And, more importantly, he knew what he was going to find when he got there.

"No... No, I don't want to go there! I don't want to see this!" he said.

But his body wouldn't listen. He continued to move forward, up the steps, he was at the top now. Now he was walking down the white hallway.

A paralyzing terror gripped him. He couldn't stop. He had no control over his body. He wanted to scream.

He reached the door, saw the note taped to it. He didn't want to go into the room. He knew what he would see. But his hand moved of its own accord, turning the doorknob.

There it was. The face on the wall, painted in blood, smiling at him, mocking him, terrifying him.

"Ja-ane!" called a voice.

Jane spun around. He looked from side to side frantically, but saw no one. The voice was coming from all around him.

"Ja-ane!" it called again, mocking him. "I'm coming for you, Jane! Jane!"

No… NO! NO!

"NO! NO!"

"Jane!" Lisbon practically screamed, as she shook the man roughly.

"NO!" Jane shouted again, before his eyes snapped open. He gasped and began to cough, hard. Gagging violently, he rolled onto his stomach and vomited over the side of the couch, nearly in Lisbon's lap.

"Shh," Lisbon murmured soothingly as Jane's breathing slowed to normal. "Calm down, it's okay." She pushed Jane back onto the couch and pressed a cool cloth to his forehead.

"S-sorry," Jane said hoarsely.

"Don't worry about it. Rigsby will clean it up."

A ghost of a smile twitched Jane's lips for a brief moment. "Could I – " He coughed again, and swallowed roughly. "Water… please?" he croaked.

Van Pelt hurried to get him a glass of water. Jane took it and drank gratefully.

"Thags."

"No problem."

Jane shifted, pushing himself up with his arms so that he was half-sitting.

"Careful, don't move too much," Lisbon warned.

"Ah, don't worry. Ib fide. Ha… hah… hah… HATCHOO!" Jane sneezed loudly.

Lisbon smiled. "For what it's worth, I think I believe you now," she said.

Jane smiled too. "I know."

Lisbon's smile faltered. "Y-you know? What do you mean, you know?"

"I knew you had dis crazy idea dat I neber got sig." He sniffed. "I also knew dat I wouldn't be able to conbince you oderwise unless you actually saw me sig."

"You're saying you knew all this, and you called in sick anyway?" Lisbon asked skeptically.

"Yup. I knew you wouldn't belieb be. So, I figured I'd comb id to work and let you see be for yourself."

"And fainting was all part of this ingenious plan of yours, was it?"

"Yup." Jane sniffed again, and coughed lightly. Lisbon helped him lay back down. He looked like he could fall asleep, except that he was shivering.

"You cold?" Lisbon asked gently.

Jane shrugged. "A little," he admitted. Then he winced.

"What?" asked an alarmed Lisbon.

"Hm? Oh, nothig. Headache."

"Right." Lisbon turned to her team. "Cho, you go find a blanket. There's got to be one somewhere in this building. Van Pelt, go get some painkillers. Oh, and cough syrup. There's bound to be some of that around too. And Rigsby, I was serious when I said you'd clean this up. When you're all done, then you three should get started on the case."

They nodded, Rigsby somewhat reluctantly.

"I take it you're going to babysit Jane," he said.

Lisbon started to nod, but Jane shook his head.

"Ib fide," he protested weakly.

"The hell you are," Lisbon replied. "'Jane never gets sick', my ass."

Jane smiled to himself as he drifted back to sleep.