A/N: So I've been watching The Mentalist since the pilot, and I adore the show. I've only recently (read: last few days) checked out any fanfiction for it and was surprised by how little there is yet, particularly for Jane/Lisbon (Jisbon sounds so dirty, doesn't it?). On the bright side, there seems to be a number of really nice stories out there, and what can I say? I got inspired.
I hope you enjoy the start and, since I'm new to this fandom, I should warn you lot- I'm an absolute review whore. :) Anything you've got to say will be greatly appreciated, particularly constructive criticism.
Jane tossed the file he'd been reading onto the table next to them with an annoyed sigh. "For God's sake, woman, give it some time! He's not just going to jump at Rigsby and shout 'Here I am!' It'll happen if you just show some patience, I promise."
"That's it!" she hissed in a low voice, whirling to face the man hovering behind her at the monitor. Lisbon glanced at the others in the room out of the corners of her eyes, but judged them either too far away or too absorbed in their own work to notice this conversation. "I am your boss, Jane- you can call me 'boss' or 'Lisbon' or even 'Teresa' if you absolutely have to, but the next time you call me 'woman', I am going to knock you on your expensive, wrinkled suit-clad ass." She poked a finger into his chest to emphasize the point that she was not joking. She'd been too lax with Jane for far too long.
The amused, if somewhat exasperated smile he'd been wearing had evaporated. "Yes, ma'am," he replied stiffly, blue eyes flat with suppressed anger. Carefully leaning away from her, he collected the folder he'd been perusing while they waited for the suspect to show up and moved as far away from her as he could in the room.
Silence, punctuated only by the clacking of keyboards and the muted instructions passed over microphones to the agents in the field reigned for several minutes. Lisbon heaved a sigh and rolled her shoulders. Jane could be such a pain in the ass sometimes.
"Pardon me, Agent Lisbon, may I speak with you a moment?" The CBI psychologist who'd been brought in on this case because of the suspect's troubled mental history stood a few feet away, her pale blonde hair tucked up neatly into a bun.
Lisbon rubbed at her eyes tiredly. The more she tried to straighten Jane out, make him into a good law enforcement professional, the more it seemed he rebelled. It was exhausting trying to corral his more unorthodox behaviors, and she was reaching the point where she was sick of trying. Patrick Jane was a good man and an exceptional asset to the team, but the next chewing out she got from Minelli for covering for the man was likely to be her last. She'd had an official reprimand added to her file last week, a fact she'd made damn sure never reached her team's ears. They'd try to do something stupid to save her and likely only get their own asses in the frying pan, too. "Yes, Ms. Barbieri?" she asked.
With a gesture, Gina Barbieri motioned the agent to a quiet corner of the room, away from everyone. She had a few observations to share, none of which she thought the somewhat reserved senior agent would want overheard. "If it's not too forward of me, I think I have some insight for you into Mr. Jane that will help the two of you deal better with one another." She paused hesitantly. "Would you like to hear what I have to say? It won't all be pleasant," she warned with a raised hand.
"What is it?" She knew the question was short, but Lisbon was truly tired. Physically tired from the long surveillance period after the longer day, mentally tired from trying to keep Jane from doing something illegal and getting both of them fired, and frankly, emotionally tired.
The psychologist wanted to offer the poor woman some sympathy, which she could clearly use at the moment, or even a comfy chair, which she probably could have used even more. The folding metal chairs they'd stocked this place with were hell on the rear end. "I imagine that someone at your professional level has learned a thing or two about interpersonal communications," she began. Teresa Lisbon was already quite well known at CBI for taking unruly or difficult agents and transforming them into solid professional investigators. Her previous team had been a prime example of her talents.
Lisbon nodded, hoping the neatly pressed and refreshed-looking woman would come to her point quickly. Simply looking at her made Lisbon feel even more worn-out. "Yes," she replied at the woman's inquiring glance. "I took a course on it in college and a few more as continuing education at the agency, but field work kind of helps you develop it on the fly."
"Practical experience, employing the theoretical knowledge gained from the classroom," Gina said with a small smile. "I also suspect you've created a particular style for yourself that works well." At the shorter woman's nod, she continued. "When Patrick Jane was hired, I was assigned to study him, both in his interviews and in his first month as a field consultant. Were you aware of that?"
Lisbon glanced at the monitor a few feet away longingly. Maybe the suspect would save her the psychobabble and attack someone soon. She sighed. "Yes. When Jane was reassigned to my team, Lead Agent Jackson told me. He said that you were nuts yourself to let such a loose cannon through with your approval."
That brought a soft laugh from Gina. "I am fully aware of Mr. Jane's shortcomings, particularly his arrogance and impulsivity. Do you know why I recommended he be moved to permanent consultant status?"
"Because he closes cases like a fiend?" Lisbon shot back, her eyebrows raised to indicate just how stupid a question she thought that was. Why else would anyone think he would be a good fit for the CBI? "My team's got three Governor's Commendations hanging in my office to prove it, too. If he's not a psychic, he's the closest thing I've ever seen."
The blonde reached out and snagged two folding chairs, offering one to the exhausted-looking woman in front of her. "Because I also advised Deputy Director Minelli that he be placed on your team," she said evenly, sinking onto the metal seat. "Mr. Jane's more unfortunate tendencies are areas you seem to handle particularly well in other agents. Agent Cho, for example, was quite the hot potato- arrogant, surly, and insubordinate with superiors. No other senior agent wanted him on their team." Gina smiled broadly. "I understand he's quite the agent these days. He's even been mentioned for promotion to leading his own team in several meetings lately." Leaning forward, she placed a well-manicured hand on Lisbon's jeans-clad knee. "You have a gift for inspiring loyalty in the hardest of agents, and also for turning them into professionals that others wouldn't have imagined they could have become."
Lisbon eyed her warily. "I hear a 'but' coming."
Gina smiled at her. "But you accomplish that by being a no-nonsense mother hen who treats her team like somewhat exasperating but well-loved teenagers. Psychologically, you portray yourself as a woman comfortable acting like a man in the field, but as a mother figure in the office that knows the motivational prompts her children need to grow. At the same time, you erect an emotional shield to keep them all at enough of a distance that they'll remain loyal workers rather than true friends with emotional impact on you." She sat back and regarded the somewhat stunned-looking agent. "Am I being too blunt? I took you as the blunt type."
Lisbon waved a hand dazedly. "No, blunt is good. It's just- wow." She turned wide green eyes on the other woman. "You can tell all of that just from watching at a distance?" Not that she should have been surprised, given the observational powers she'd seen from Jane.
"And listening to office gossip," the psychologist added with a quirk of the lips. "You'd be surprised how much law enforcement types like to pass rumors and information like schoolgirls."
Tucking her somewhat messy hair behind her ear, Lisbon shook her head. "This is fascinating, don't get me wrong, but what does this have to do with reining in Jane?" She held up a finger in warning. "And don't tell me to coddle him, or indulge him, because I won't do it. If he wants to work at CBI, he has to start following the rules."
Gina sighed. "That's just it, Agent Lisbon. He has made remarkable progress in following the rules you've laid out for him, even if you don't see it. Believe me, when he worked for Agent Jackson, he was completely out of control and unwilling to make any sort of interpersonal connection. You, on the other hand, he's put exceptional effort into interacting with on a level you've deemed acceptable."
"I hear another 'but'." Even to her own ears, Lisbon's voice sounded frustrated. She couldn't help sneaking a glance at the topic of their conversation, either. He was propped against the wall, arms folded tightly over his chest as he stared intently at the monitor. His eyes never flickered in her direction.
"But Mr. Jane seems to have certain emotional hurdles that make normal interaction and relationship-building on more than a superficial level difficult. Both of which are understandable, given his history."
Boy, does Barbieri have that right, Lisbon thought to herself, but she also knew that no one but her knew that Jane was institutionalized after the murder of his family. As far as Ms. Barbieri knew, Jane was just dealing with his grief like normal, not like someone who had completely cracked under the pain and self-loathing. "Yes, I'm familiar with that, but I'm not going to give him enough rope to hang us all because he suffered personal tragedy," she said, flexing her hands. "Losing family doesn't mean you get to break the rules without consequence."
The psychologist sat back, a surprised expression on her face as if she'd just realized something that hadn't previously occurred to her. "It's perfectly all right to resent him, you know," she murmured.
Lisbon heaved an annoyed sigh. "I don't resent Jane. No, really, I don't. I just think he has to try to behave a little harder. The ends don't justify the means in our world- they do in his."
Gina frowned. "You've lost someone," she said, a light going off in her head. "Your mother or an older sister?"
"It's in my file," Lisbon responded flatly. She'd thought the bureau psychologist would have known that.
"I wasn't yet with CBI when you were hired," Gina explained. "And I don't make a practice of reading up on employees unless they're referred to me for services or an evaluation." Biting her lip, she wondered whether she should continue this discussion, given the news that had just been revealed. Studying the agent, she decided that perhaps the best way to do this would be to simply lay it out there. "I apologize, but I overheard your earlier conversation with Mr. Jane. To be as blunt as possible, he's trying to assert some form of authority in your eyes."
Lisbon rolled the eyes in question. "I'm his boss. He has no authority to assert, Ms. Barbieri. Besides, you give Jane an inch and he'll not only take the proverbial mile, but also come back and throw it in your face."
The psychologist sat forward, eager to clarify her words. "No, I'm sorry, but that's not what I meant, Agent Lisbon. I meant that he's trying to assert himself in the only avenue left open to him- as a male. He's trying to get you to pay attention to the fact that he is a man and that you are a woman. It's a bid to establish a form of dominance in some part of your relationship, given that you have most of the power in other areas."
Lisbon just gaped at her. What had she just said? "Are you saying that Jane's hitting on me?" she whispered, feeling her cheeks flare with color. God, this was mortifying.
"No, no, of course not," Gina soothed automatically. "Well, perhaps," she amended. "I haven't observed your interaction enough to tell. What I'm saying is that he's -subconsciously or not- trying to get you to treat him as a man rather than as a particularly unruly child. Your dealings extend beyond a purely professional relationship, and it seems he's feeling like you don't acknowledge the male aspects of his personality."
The concept absolutely demolished her train of thought. "I only treat him like that when he acts that way," she defended. "Otherwise, I treat him like everyone else on the team."
The psychologist nodded eagerly. "Precisely. Mr. Jane is attempting to change that behavior on your part by changing your dynamic. He doesn't want to be simply another cog in your wheel."
"Narcissist," Lisbon muttered, shooting Jane a dark look across the room. "He's just doing it for attention," she protested to the blonde somewhat desperately.
Gina rose from the chair and dusted off her navy skirt. "Yes, I believe he is. But precisely what type of attention he's trying to garner from you is entirely up for debate, as is whether he's aware of his behavior or not, which is certainly a factor given the difficulty in moving on to new personal relationships after the loss of a significant other." She smiled and offered her hand for a firm handshake from the agent. "I imagine that you'll want to mull this over and address the issue on your own. If, however, you or Mr. Jane would like someone to talk to, I'm available."
Lisbon snorted. She couldn't help it. "Get Jane into a psychologist's office willingly? You've got to be kidding. I'd have to drug him. He hates psychology almost as much as he hates religion and psychics."
Glancing at the blond man in question, Gina smiled enigmatically. "You have a surprisingly deep understanding of the man, Agent Lisbon. I'm somewhat perplexed that you haven't realized the current issue between you sooner." Shaking her head, she smiled sunnily. "Regardless, best of luck. Please keep my offer in mind."
A ruckus erupted in the room.
"Lisbon!" Jane called, jumping to a monitor as a flurry of movement erupted on the screen. "He's here!" He looked up with a devilish twinkle in his eye. "I told you to just have a little patience, didn't I?"
She grimaced even as she flew over to the monitor herself.
A/N; What do you think? Worth continuing?