Disclaimer: I own precious few things in life, and the Mentalist isn't one of them.
Author's Note: This takes place sometime in the future. This is my first shot at "the Mentalist." This fic is the result of being really bored at work. Enjoy!
It's Beautiful Here
Teresa Lisbon hadn't seen Patrick Jane in nearly a year. It was strange, the way you get used to having a person around. Even after all the time that had passed, she still looked around the office for him once in a while. Now, sitting at her desk early one morning, she felt the familiar pang of regret she always felt when she thought about him. And she found herself remembering, for the thousand-plus time, the last day she'd seen him.
She burst onto the roof of the building after climbing ten flights of stairs in record time. The scene she found prevented her from even trying to catch her breath. Jane stood facing Alan Greer, the man they now knew to be Red John. Both men were perched precariously near the edge of the roof. Greer had a knife, Jane was unarmed. Lisbon could see in Jane's eyes that his lack of a weapon was not of huge concern to him at that moment.
More officers arrived on the scene, calling for Greer to drop the weapon. But Greer knew, as Lisbon knew, that if he dropped the knife Jane would kill him. Lisbon could see Cho across the way. He had a clear shot at Greer. She caught his eye and nodded once. Cho nodded in return, understanding the silent order.
Jane and Greer were speaking to each other in low voices. Lisbon could only make out every other word. But when Jane called Greer a coward, everyone present heard. Lisbon saw Greer's eyes flash in anger and saw the two men move towards each other.
A shot ran out. Greer dropped the knife and clutched at his chest. Then he stumbled backwards and fell ten stories. Jane lunged at him but couldn't stop Red John from getting the quick death he didn't deserve.
Lisbon looked over at Cho who was handing his gun to the Agent in Charge, the same stoic look on his face as always. She looked back at Jane who was crouched by the edge of the roof, an unreadable expression on his face. Before she could move towards him he jumped to his feet, pushed passed the officers, and had fled down the stairs. Lisbon told them to let him go, and they obeyed.
An hour later Lisbon was in her car heading towards the place she instinctively knew Jane would be. Pulling into the cemetery she could make out his form sitting beside the graves of his wife and daughter. Walking over she sat down next to him, pulling her knees up to her chest like she used to as a child.
"You told Cho to take the shot," he said, his voice heavy with grief. It wasn't a question.
"Yes, I did."
"I would have been able to kill him before he had the chance to stab me."
He turned violently towards her. "Then why?" he demanded.
Lisbon could count on one hand the number of times she'd heard Jane raise his voice. Him doing so now caused her to flinch slightly.
Jane didn't let her reply. "You knew what this meant to me. I made a promise to my wife that I would find him and I would kill him. You took my chance. You had no right! I made a promise to her!"
"So did I!" Lisbon replied firmly.
Her response brought Jane out of his anger for a moment. "You…you what?"
"After that day in my office I came and stood right here and I promised your wife that I wouldn't let you become a murderer for her."
Jane digested her words. He could feel his throat starting to tighten. "But it's okay for Cho?"
"Cho was doing his job. Protecting a colleague. It's what he was trained to do. You were doing it out of anger and revenge."
A tear rolled down Jane's cheek. "It was my choice to make." Then his head fell and his shoulders began to shake with sobs.
Lisbon ran a hand through is hair like she used to do to her brothers when they were scared or upset. "You're the best man I've ever known," she whispered through her own tears. "I promised her I wouldn't let you rot in jail. And I promised your little girl that I wouldn't let her father become a killer."
It had been too much for Jane. He cried like he never had before. Lisbon wrapped him in her arms and rocked him like a child. They fell asleep together on the grass and when Lisbon woke, he was gone.
Minelli told her when she came in that morning that Jane had given his statement and then resigned his consultant position. She nodded and went into her office. On her desk was a note that said simply, "I can't stay, I'm sorry." She never told him or anyone about the night spent in the cemetery. That night when she drove past his house there was a "For Sale" sign in the yard and a cleaning crew in the driveway.
When the first postcard arrive two weeks later, Lisbon had been surprised to say the least. Though there was no return address or signature, she'd known who sent it. On the front was a picture of the Panama Canal. On the back was the message, "It's beautiful here. I wish you could see it." Lisbon had smiled at his familiar handwriting and taped the card to the wall behind her desk.
From then on, the postcards came each week like clockwork. Each one bore the picture of a new city or landmark. The Amazon Basin, the Galapagos, Big Ben, Notre Dame, the Parthenon, Vatican City, the Venice canals, the Sphinx, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, the Great Wall, Thai jungles, the Sydney Opera House, and many more. Each card bore the same message, "It's beautiful here. I wish you could see it."
Only twice had the message varied. The first time had been four months after he'd left. The postcard was from Israel and showed a picture of the Wailing Wall. Under the usual message the post script read, "I understand why you did it, and I'm grateful." That postcard hadn't been taped to the wall with the others. Instead she'd placed it on her desk, leaning it against the lamp.
The second varied message had come three months after that. This time the picture was of a nature preserve in Kenya, a giraffe standing in the foreground. That time, after the standard nine words she'd come to expect, the post script simply said, "I miss you every day." That card had been placed in her purse, next to the picture of her mother that she carried everywhere.
The rest of the team knew she got postcards from Jane. They watched as her wall filled with pictures of far-off places and distant adventures. But they never said anything about it to her. The days still passed, there were cases to solve and bad guys to catch. But it was never quite the same dynamic. Lisbon didn't joke as much, didn't go out after closing cases as often. The team had watched her and Jane grow closer over the months and years before he'd left. If asked, they'd all confess to believing that a romantic relationship hadn't been far away when Red John had reentered the picture and been caught. So they knew it was better not to say anything to their boss about their former consultant. Lisbon was grateful for that fact. Each new card she received filled her with both relief that he was still okay, and sadness that he was gone. She was glad the team understood and kept their peace.
Now, as Lisbon sat in her office that early morning, she counted the cards on her wall like she did almost every day. Forty-one, which made forty-three total and meant he'd been gone for forty-five weeks. If she was honest with herself, the pain and loneliness was as fresh as it had been forty-four weeks ago. She missed him the way she imagined she'd miss her elbows if they disappeared one day. She just didn't move right without him.
Shaking her head she turned back to her desk and was shocked to see a new postcard on top of her latest case file. She tried to remember if it had been there when she'd sat down but brushed the thought aside and picked up the card. It showed a picture of California.
Lisbon's breath caught in her throat as she turned the card over and saw that it had no stamp. The back read, "You're beautiful here. I wished for you every day. PS. I think I love you." Lisbon choked back tears. She slowly looked up, knowing that she'd find him standing in her doorway when she did.
And so he was, three piece suit and cocky grin and all. But there was something else as well. A sense of peace about him. A calmness in his face and eyes she had never seen before. She saw his glance move to the wall of postcards and she felt herself blush slightly.
"They were all beautiful places," he said. Lisbon felt his words wash over her. It was so good to hear his voice again. "But they'll be better next time," he added, "when we go together."
With that, Lisbon was out of her chair and in his arms. She tucked her head into his neck and wet his shoulder with her tears. He held her tightly, one hand in her hair and another on her back, and felt himself breath easily for the first time in much too long. Neither noticed when the other three agents walked in, saw the pair, and decided to go get coffee across the street.
When they finally broke apart, Jane leaned forward and brushed her lips gently with his own. "Hello," he said when he pulled away.
Lisbon laughed and sobbed at the same time. "Hi," she replied before capturing his lips and pulling him close again.
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